Tidings (9)
Elsewhere (186)

The Year Reheated

In which we marvel at the mental entanglements of our self-imagined betters.

Our year began in academia with a discussion panel of stern and pious ladies. Among them, Professor Judy Haiven, who believes that male students mustn’t speak first and must always defer to women, until the menfolk learn their place in the ‘progressive’ pecking order. Professor Haiven denounced the evils of an alleged male “monopoly” in a campus environment where women outnumber men, and while sitting on a panel with no male participants, and with no-one present to argue a substantively different view. Days later, and while reminding the world that she’s “a Journalism Fellow at Harvard,” our dear friend Laurie Penny struggled with the thought that printed newspapers tend to have an even number of pages. And artists Eames Armstrong and Matthew Ryan Rossetti showed us how to improve Shakespeare by “transgressing conventions,” “destabilising visibility,” and shrieking incoherently in various states of undress.

In February, Professor Janice Fiamengo, a critic of campus feminism, illustrated just how readily feminist “activism” blurs into sadism and sociopathy, while exposing how leftist groups are indulged by administrators with what amounts to a unilateral license for thuggery, disruption and physical violence. A sort of light relief came via an introduction to mukbang, the South Korean phenomenon of watching strangers eat, prodigiously and at length, on the internet. Further distraction was offered by the world of performance art, students of which shook our tiny minds with “intersectional meaning,” “the politics of identity” and three whole hours of radical pavement mopping

The rise of the hipster breakfast alarmed us in March, as did the more disastrous pretensions of ‘progressive’ education policy, in which classroom aggression was excused on grounds of race and imagined group victimhood, resulting in a widespread surge in violent assaults against staff and other students. As students’ hair was set on fire and female teachers were repeatedly punched in the face and hospitalised, “restorative justice co-ordinator” Eric Butler boasted, “I don’t blame, I don’t punish.” Adding insult to very real injury, white teachers who found themselves being beaten in class were subsequently asked not to press charges, because of the difficulties facing young black thugs burdened with criminal records.

April brought us the exquisitely tiny dramas of students at Harvard, where the emotional perils of a radical poetry slam became all too apparent, resulting in one student’s claim of fearing imminent death. Meanwhile, students at Stevenson College were left “harmed” and traumatised by an insufficiently sensitive buffet. Thankfully, saner voices prevailed in the pages of the Guardian, where Deborah Orr explained, or rather asserted, that the only vital qualification for presidential office is the possession of a vagina, the “symbolic power” of which “transcends all else.”

In May, we witnessed the intellectual heft of the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, including her belief that obesity isn’t chiefly a matter of inactivity and overeating but instead has a more pernicious cause, i.e., a lack of socialism: “It is inequality and disrespect,” we learned, “that makes people fat.” Though chunkier readers should note that waiting for a socialist revolution probably isn’t the best way to lose those extra pounds. We also pondered the deep ruminations of Marxist philosopher Adam Swift, who insists that reading to your children causes “unfair disadvantage” to the children of parents who are negligent and stupid, and should therefore induce feelings of guilt and discomfort. To our Marxist intellectual, being a competent, caring parent is something to atone for, being as it is an act of class oppression

Self-imagined truth-teller Tiffanie Drayton was a highlight of June, as she presented the rules of dating brown-skinned feminists much like herself - rules that happily coincide with lots of opportunist freeloading. Because demanding that male suitors pay for everything, every time, is proof of her independence and empowerment as a radical black woman. Another treasured moment came in the shape of Mr Reed Altemus, a performance artist intent on “subverting oppressive discourses” and ending war and poverty. By amplifying his trousers. And the Guardian’s Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett shared her romantic recollections of being raised in a squat - an “Islington house furnished from skips” - before inviting readers to “imagine what you and your friends could do with a crowbar, a guitar,” and someone else’s property

In July, the militant eco-collective Deep Green Resistance told us of their plans to “abolish masculinity,” “abolish whiteness” and bring about “complete economic collapse.” Thereby saving the world from people like thee and me. While the Guardian’s Aisha Mirza bemoaned the “psychic burden” of living among white people, which is worse than being mugged

The politics of ostentatiously non-conformist hair was explained to us in August, thanks to Annah Anti-Palindrome, a woman who channels her hatred of “everyone around me” into her feminism. The same month also introduced us to the comically neurotic Melissa Fabello, whose interracial dating advice entails regular confessions of “white supremacy,” which “has to be acknowledged – and dealt with – constantly.” Especially before any sex can commence. Oh, and Guardian columnist George Monbiot revealed his hitherto secret passion for scavenging roadkill - and waving dead, twitching squirrels at bewildered children

September was enlivened by another collection of agonised tweets from our leftist betters, while Guardian contributor Amy Roe indulged in a spot of recreational outrage and shared her harrowing experience as a “sweat-shame” survivor. 

The eternally downhearted Michelle Hanson was inconsolable in October, on discovering that the superhero dolls bought by small children are not in fact geared to the ideological preferences of a self-described “single older woman” who writes for the Guardian. Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Inclusive Excellence Centre, we learned that questioning the premises of “microaggressions” is itself now deemed a “microaggression” and therefore impermissible. And thanks to the left-leaning Independent, we learned of the alleged social benefits of paedophilia. The Independent also introduced us to the child-rearing skills of “non-binary” parent Dorian Stripe, who delights in buying dresses and tights for their infant son, and only grudgingly uses the pronoun ‘he’, supposedly because of the “one in one hundred chance my son will be transgender.”

In November, “intersectional feminist” Rachel Kuo instructed the unthinking white masses on the preconditions of ordering takeaway from any “ethnic” restaurant. A list that includes being intimately acquainted with regional politics, colonial history, and issues of “labour equity and immigration policy” – all before ordering that hot tossed chicken and sticky rice. Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Osman Faruqi, a “Sydney-based writer and activist,” demanded that someone else – taxpayers on the other side of the world – should pay for his leisure activities. Specifically, by nationalising Twitter. Mr Faruqi was subsequently astonished to hear that many readers had assumed his article was a cunning satire of leftist entitlement. Apparently, this failure to appreciate his seriousness and insight merely “shows how right-wing our political debate has become.”

And the year drew to a close with Laurie Penny touring the United States, after touring much of Europe and visiting Australia, and once again explaining how hard it is to be so radically left-wing, to be Laurie Penny. In the pages of Salon, Harvard-educated Silpa Kovvali was modishly insisting that gendered pronouns and honorifics are an “outdated linguistic tic” and therefore to be done away with. “Gender-neutral language should be the norm,” said she, on grounds that gendered pronouns are only accurate and expected practically all of the time. And on the cultural front, we savoured the delights of radical feminist poetry, courtesy of Ms Anna Binkovitz, and the breath-taking artistic feats of Ms Sandrine Schaefer, who inspired deep thought on many, many levels by gnawing at a lettuce while sprawling in her underpants

Yes, we covered some ground.

Comments

K

Thanks for a year of disentangling this stuff, David. Tip jar hit.

Richard Powell

It has indeed been a classic year. Thank you for doing your bit to disseminate these important cultural effusions; without your tireless efforts I would have remained in ignorance of so many of the cultural riches that surround us. I too have hit the tip jar. Here's to 2016!

MikeG81

My jimmies are rustled.

R. Sherman

Congrats on the Instalanche and on a successful year! I shall be buying something from Amazon shortly to get 2016 started off on the right foot. (Sorry for the able-ist metaphor.)

David

My jimmies are rustled.

I’m afraid to ask.

Min

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett shared her romantic recollections of being raised in a squat - an “Islington house furnished from skips” - before inviting readers to “imagine what you and your friends could do with a crowbar, a guitar,” and someone else’s property.

Missed that one. :-)

David

It’s funny. You put a year’s worth of leftism in one big pile and there’s a definite impression of... ripened bedlam.

James Kidder

Todd Rundgren once wrote: "Its so easy to be smart but its a struggle to be wise."

Spiny Norman

I’m afraid to ask.

It's a Reddit/4Chan meme from a year or two ago that more or less replaced "You mad, bro?" I'm not sure what the latest one is, as it's just too exhausting to try to keep up with the internet kool kidz.

David

It’s a Reddit/4Chan meme from a year or two ago that more or less replaced “You mad, bro?”

I’d like to say I was wiser now.

#DamnKidsWithTheirJeansAndTheirRapMusic

MikeG81

What's a Reddit/4Chan?

Sporkatus

David: "rustled jimmies" as a descriptive phrase of mood derives from deliberately revived obscure 50s slang. "Jimmies" being ice cream sprinkling bits, and to rustle meaning, well... To be made perturbed is thus to have one's figurative ice cream sprinkles stolen, or "jimmies rustled". Originated on 4chan, but is by no means limited to there.

Of course, through the magic of the internet, it then became inextricably linked with a picture of a gorilla from a cereal box. Of course.

Tony Andrews

Browse the website 'ratemyprofessor' to see how professor Judy Haiven's students rate her; not good.

Hal

What's a Reddit/4Chan?

Reddit

4Chan

Reddit/4Chan

Spiny Norman

More or less on-topic:

Obsessive Beatles fans can be a bit annoying, but I had no idea Beatlemania was a microagression.

Yup, it looks like someone's jimmies have been rustled.

Phil B

Well, Wally my Golly! (or should that be Rustle my Jimmy's?) I've learned something new.

sH2

Mr Faruqi was subsequently astonished to hear that many readers had assumed his article was a cunning satire of leftist entitlement. Apparently, this failure to appreciate his seriousness and insight merely “shows how right-wing our political debate has become.”

Perfect. Let's hope Guardian writers never become self-aware.

Katherine

It’s funny. You put a year’s worth of leftism in one big pile, as above, and there’s a definite impression of ripened bedlam.

Posted by: David | December 29, 2015 at 16:46

I misread this the first time as...impression of ripened bedpan.

Chester Draws

Following those links and seeing what the loons have posted since then is a disheartening experience.

Deep Green Resistance are cretins. They manage to link fracking to violence against women with no apparent realisation that increasing the number of men by 168% will increase the number of offences and that fracking is the "reason" only in the sense that any jobs would be: https://twitter.com/DGRWomensCaucus/status/681561713657921536

This is Dorian Stripe at home: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/everything-is-terrible-send-dorian-to-university#/ She's asking for money from other people to go to University, fair enough. To study Archaeology and Anthropology, which is not IMO. She's asking people to pay for her to have a lovely time, basically.

Meanwhile Osman Faruqi has moved on to much more important things: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/hey-politicians-keep-your-grubby-hands-off-taylor-swift

I don't think this blog is likely to run out of material any time soon.

Richard

Amazingly, newspapers not only have even numbered pages, they are divisible by 4. Is this Group Heteronormativity, or just the way the plates work? Pick the most complex idea, and therefore the wrong one.

Ian

Pick the most complex idea, and therefore the wrong one.

Should be a motto for the left.

David

Should be a motto for the left.

As we’ve seen many times, it pays to be unobvious.

Lurksalot

So far I've made it up to July. I'm trying to think of a word for 'funny *and* depressing'.

MacDoctor

I'm trying to think of a word for 'funny *and* depressing'

Hellarity (n). /hel ariti/
Laughing uproariously while suicidally depressed.

"There was much hellarity during President Obama's speech and some in the audience slit their wrists while still giggling hysterically"

You're welcome

jabrwok

An interesting new (to me anyway) example of cultural appropriation: https://www.facebook.com/sitecifras/videos/1084647104908985/

Safe for work, though kinda loud.

Em

the breath-taking artistic feats of Ms Sandrine Schaefer, who inspired deep thought on many, many levels by gnawing at a lettuce while sprawling in her underpants.

Assumed you were exaggerating for effect.
Turns out you weren't.

Have a great new year, David. Tip jar hit.

David

Have a great new year, David. Tip jar hit.

Thank you, madam. And to you.

Assumed you were exaggerating for effect. Turns out you weren’t.

It’s a niche pleasure of doing this, the fact that embellishment is pretty much redundant.

R. Sherman

Here's a Happy New Year palate cleanser.

David

Here’s a Happy New Year palate cleanser.

Blimey. They’re better behaved than many children.

WTP

OT for any Yanks who may be wondering what really prompted Lindsey Graham to drop out of the POTUS race:

http://www.databreaches.net/database-leak-exposes-3-3-million-hello-kitty-fans/

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Happy new year!

RY

Tip jar hit.

A very happy New Year, David.
Thanks for all the entertainment throughout this year.
Here's to many, many more.

And a very happy New Year to everyone!

R. Sherman

Just finished ordering a bunch of engineering textbooks through your Amazon link. My son wishes you a Happy New Year. (So do I, BTW.)

LHD

Marxist philosopher Adam Swift... insists that reading to your children causes “unfair disadvantage” to the children of parents who are negligent and stupid, and should therefore induce feelings of guilt and discomfort. To our Marxist intellectual, being a competent, caring parent is something to atone for, being as it is an act of class oppression.

That's a great post, David. Shows why Marxist thinking is despicable.

LHD

P.S. Happy new year. Your tip jar has been hit. Keep up the good work.

David

Happy new year. Your tip jar has been hit.

Thanks. And to you.

Shows why Marxist thinking is despicable.

Well, it’s quite strange to hear someone mouthing in-group pieties that signal their imagined elevation above the herd, while almost everything they say is inaccurate, wrong-headed or nakedly reprehensible. And at the heart of it is an attempt to displace responsibility (and an exploitable sense of guilt) from those who might deserve it – neglectful parents, say – to those who don’t. We’re told that, “Parents reading their children bedtime stories… are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children.” But functional parents don’t “disadvantage” the children of bad parents. Bad parents do that.

And all of this is aired while carefully ignoring even the most obvious reasons to object. Not esoteric quibbles, but really basic stuff, the things that leap to mind immediately. Even the sheer arrogance of it passes unremarked. Which gives the impression that the kind of Marxoid intellectuals who make such pronouncements have very little experience of arguing with people outside of their own rather narrow peer group – i.e., those on whom they wish to inflict their authoritarian fantasies.

mojo

I tossed ya what we uncouth colonials amusingly refer to as a "double sawbuck". Enjoy. I certainly have.

David

Enjoy. I certainly have.

Happy to hear it. And much appreciated.

Sporkatus

David, something you might have a little fun with (via the comments at Weaponsman, via Weaponsman, via Ace):
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273793754_CARBON_FIBRE_MASCULINITY

...Carbon fibre surfaces are material extensions of subjectivity, and carbon fibre surfaces are vectors of the cultural economies of masculine competition. Thirdly, the article gives an account of Oscar Pistorius as an example of the masculinization of carbon fibre, and the associated binding of a psychic attitude of misogyny and power to a form of violent and competitive masculine subjectivity. The paper unpacks the affects, economies and surfaces of “carbon fibre masculinity” and discusses Pistorius’ use of carbon fibre, homosociality and misogyny as forms of protest masculinity through which he unconsciously attempted to recuperate his gendered identity from emasculating discourses of disability.

Apparently Materials Science is now (or again?) The Patriarchy.

David

the masculinization of carbon fibre, and the associated binding of a psychic attitude of misogyny and power to a form of violent and competitive masculine subjectivity

And ten thousand engineers rolled their eyes.

Sporkatus

Let's just say I don't believe its the metaphysically infused attitudes of UR-OPPRESSOR MAN in carbon fiber that are keeping the field masculine. Much. Well, hardly at all.

Jen

Thanks for a great year of reads, David.

Also, this:

https://twitter.com/lizzyf620/status/682391200473677825

David

Also, this

Heh.

JuliaM

Here's to 2016, may it bring you all you desire.

Hungryman

Your services are very much appreciated.

As for money - if you figure out how to set up a referral for Amazon Japan, then I'm pretty sure you could retire on my manga purchases alone. I'm up to 4 double-stacked bookcases so far.
Ride my river of comicbooks to a life of luxury! Or maybe it will at least cover your Guardian subscription.

David

may it bring you all you desire.

Oh, I dunno. It’s quite a list. It’s laminated and everything.

Happy new year, Ms M. And to all you heathen rabble.

dicentra

That traitor thing in Jen's comment?

It both confuses and intrigues me.

And reveals my profound ignorance in matters gamer-related.

*is ashamed*

Geezer

Happy new year ... to all you heathen rabble.

Uh ... that would be me. You too.

Chester Draws

Adam Swift is apparently not opposed to reading to your children:

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/people/swift/

What he doesn't make clear is how his message has been twisted, so we are caught between what he has said in one place and what he says now, with some difficulty reconciling them. I like my academic corrections somewhat fuller than he has provided, but YMMV.

WTP

Re Adam Smith link..

I...I...Philosopher...I...I...on tv, radio...I...I...philosopher...I... My views were seriously misrepresented...

I'm crying for him...I mean, for I...

dan

As for money - if you figure out how to set up a referral for Amazon Japan
https://affiliate.amazon.co.jp/

Leave a comment here if you need a hand but you should be able to translate with CHrome

WTP

Adam Swift, not Smith...obviously...

Hal

That traitor thing in Jen's comment?

'tain't of gaming, it's the movie; From a stormtrooper's point of view, or anyone on that side, Finn is a traitor for running off to the rebellion . . .

David

What he doesn’t make clear is how his message has been twisted, so we are caught between what he has said in one place and what he says now, with some difficulty reconciling them.

Quite. Audio of the interview is still online and it certainly doesn’t sound as though Dr Swift was being pressured into saying what he chose to say, and say repeatedly. Readers can listen to whole thing and compare what they hear with the text of the original article, and the text of this blog, and decide for themselves whether Dr Swift has, as he claims, been egregiously misquoted, or misquoted at all. Perhaps he didn’t realise that his conceits and their implications – and what they say about him – might look rather different to people outside his peer group.

[ Added: ]

As such people often do, Dr Swift mixes claims of egalitarian compassion with casual arrogance and a presumed right to impose and violate. I lost count of how many times he talked about what “we” would allow law-abiding parents to do for their own children. Quite who the “we” is remained unclear. And listening to it again, I think what jars most is Dr Swift’s repeated claim that he’s justifying the family’s existence – as if it needed his blessing – and is “defending the family against complete fragmentation” – all while trying to excuse ways to undermine its conventions, its territory and its bonds, and while trying to excuse the undermining of parental responsibility with a mix of authoritarian intrusion and pretentious fretting.

rjmadden

Happy 2016 to our host and his readers.

Here's another good round-up of the year.

http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/review-of-year-limitless-stupidity-of.html

David

Here’s another good round-up of the year.

Seconded.

dicentra

'tain't of gaming, it's the movie; From a stormtrooper's point of view, or anyone on that side, Finn is a traitor for running off to the rebellion . . .

Yeah, I saw the movie so I know the ref. 'Twas the style of the GIFs and the mode of their use that says "gamer" to me.

Or maybe just 4chan. Either way, I wouldn't quite know how to join such a conversation.

mojo

Rustled Jimmys make as much (or as little) sense as 23 skiddoo

jimf

I propose adopting German pronouns for all nouns...wherein gender of the pronoun is unrelated to the actual gender of the noun...

Joe

A belated happy new year, David. Great blog.

The comments to this entry are closed.