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February 2016
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April 2016

March 2016

Lofty Beings

In the pages of Everyday Feminism, creative colossus Katherine Garcia is attempting to justify her suboptimal life choices and their suboptimal consequences:

I am – and always have been – a daydreamer. There is proof of this in my school records, which contain copious notes from teachers, commenting on the disproportionate amount of time I spent looking out the window, compared to the amount of time I spent paying attention to their lectures. And to this day, I dread anything that gets in the way of my daydreaming.

Hey, I didn’t say she was doing it well. But in short, Ms Garcia regards work outside of her creative endeavours as “very distracting,” chiefly because,  

it doesn’t allow me to zone out like I need to in order to reach the level of mental creativity so necessary to my well-being.

A delicate flower in a cruel world.

My creativity has been criticised because it’s viewed as unnecessary, distracting, disrupting, and a waste of time.

Well, in part I suppose that depends on whether or not that creativity and extensive daydreaming – all that zoning out - pays the bills.

I know from experience that it’s damn near impossible to think straight, let alone get anything done, while worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills on an empty stomach.

Ah. Apparently, “society” is deterring life’s daydreamers from “pursuing creative fields – like fine art, film-making, writing, music, and dance.” And there’s an inexcusable “failure to acknowledge the contributions made by creative people in all sectors of society,” which makes said daydreamers feel guilty and inadequate, which is terribly oppressive.

Coming from a low-income family, it seemed more beneficial to pursue a career in business – something that would bring more immediate rewards that I could then transfer over to my family.

Not a trivial point. In financial terms, the lifetime return on an arts degree is very often negative and there’s something to be said for practicality, especially if your background is a modest one. Social mobility presupposes a certain realism, a pragmatism, and making choices accordingly – say, with regard to the costs and benefits of tertiary education, which is for most an expensive one-time opportunity. Perhaps now is a good time to glance at Ms Garcia’s biography:  

Katherine Garcia… is a recent college graduate with a BA in Radio, TV and Film, and soon-to-be graduate school student pursuing a Masters in Women and Gender Studies.

As I was saying, pragmatism. Ms Garcia, however, is determined to find fault elsewhere: 

Continue reading "Lofty Beings" »

Elsewhere (194)

Heather Mac Donald pokes at the ongoing rot of academia: 

Earlier this week, several dozen Emory students barged into the school’s administration building to demand protection from “Trump 2016” slogans that had been written in chalk on campus walkways. Acting out a by-now standardised psychodrama of oppression and vulnerability, the students claimed that seeing Trump’s name on the sidewalk confirmed that they were “unsafe” at Emory. College sophomore Jonathan Peraza led the allegedly traumatised students in a chant: “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” As the Emory protesters entered the administration building, they drew on the Communist Manifesto to express their pitiable plight: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Oddly, the chalk marks made by certain other groups did not induce similar fits of theatrical weeping. 

Glenn Reynolds on the same: 

When students at Emory University — annual cost of attendance, $63,058 per year — act so foolishly, and worse, are indulged by those who are supposed to supply adult guidance, it gives the appearance that higher education is largely a waste of societal resources. That’s not a good place to be, right now. 

Meanwhile, at the University of Virginia

Students are petitioning for the immediate removal of a conservative student representative who refused to vote in favour of a university-funded group for illegal immigrants.

The student in question dared to use the “offensive” and “xenophobic” factual description of illegal immigrants as, er, illegal. And so he must be punished.

And at Harvard

In a class I attended earlier this semester, a large portion of the first meeting was devoted to compiling a list of rules for class discussion. A student contended that as a woman, she would be unable to sit across from a student who declared that he was strongly against abortion, and the other students in the seminar vigorously defended this declaration.

Sitting across a room from someone with whom she disagrees is something that she, as an empowered modern woman, an intellectual, simply cannot do.

And at San Francisco State University, the latest thing, apparently, is identitarian hair policing.* 

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for. *Added via the comments, thanks to RY. 

Friday Ephemeraren’t

As I’m busy elsewhere, I’m afraid you’ll have to throw together your own pile of links in the comments. After nine years of Fridays I’m sure you know what to do. Indulge yourselves. I’ll set the ball rolling with an attempt to melt pennies with sunlight, some self-tightening trainers, a submarine surfacing in the Arctic Circle, the magnetic suit buttons you’ve always wanted but could only dream of, and an impressive display by Mr Smooth

Play nicely. I’ll be checking in later.

Elsewhere (193)

Heather Mac Donald on the myths of Black Lives Matter: 

Police officers —of all races— are disproportionately endangered by black assailants. Over the past decade, according to FBI data, 40% of cop killers have been black. Officers are killed by blacks at a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate at which blacks are killed by police. Some may find evidence of police bias in the fact that black people make up 26% of the police-shooting victims, compared with their 13% representation in the national population. But as residents of poor black neighbourhoods know too well, violent crimes are disproportionately committed by black people. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15% of the population there. Such a concentration of criminal violence in minority communities means that officers will be disproportionately confronting armed and often resisting suspects in those communities, raising officers’ own risk of using lethal force.

College Fix reports on the importance of getting in that leftist indoctrination while minds are soft and yielding

Stef Bernal-Martinez, a self-described “radical queer progressive educator” at Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina, took her entire first grade class to a local Black Lives Matter rally this past Thursday. Yes, during the school day… “The project that my class took on in this quarter was a study of the Black Lives Matter movement,” she says. “And so, we’ve been investigating and asking questions about the issues and the causes that people are fighting for, and my kids... were very excited to, sort of, join the movement themselves.” 

Parents of the children in her class were informed,

The students will be wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts during the march on Thursday. 

No, don’t raise that eyebrow. When it comes to impressionable six-year-olds, progressive role models are important. Ms Bernal-Martinez is of course enthused by “social justice work” and tells us that she endures a life of oppression in a “White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.” When not busy indoctrinating the small children left in her care, she spends her time “envisioning a world without physical or intangible borders.” 

Continue reading "Elsewhere (193)" »

Friday Ephemera

Hi there. // Nose job. // Places in Norway named after Hell. // Leech swallows worm. // This. // That. // How to send email, 1984. // Maglev spherical tyres. // Very small drawings. // Diving suits and submarines. // Romanian salt mine tourist attraction. // Teeny tiny micro-robots drag big car. // A brief history of rhythm-making machines. // A brief history of synthesized speech. // A brief history of Star Trek prop recycling. // Hard-to-kill plant. // Portuguese spillway. // And a pink one for the lady. // Big hair metal band publicity shots. // “My name’s David Rees and I have an artisanal pencil sharpening business.” (h/t, Coudal) // Potential snag with quantum teleportation. // And finally, what you probably didn’t know about Teflon-coated super-suction aeroplane toilets.

The Glow of the Patriarchy

Via Tim Blair, who has an eye for these things, some momentous news from the land down under

A Yarra councillor wants to see more ‘green and red lady’ pedestrian signals installed across the inner city to promote gender equality.

Well, obviously. It’s what your taxes are for.

Yarra Council announced yesterday the silhouette of a woman would be installed at a new pedestrian crossing in Richmond. Greens Councillor Misha Coleman said the initiative was a “unique and rare” way to display gender equity and she would like to see Yarra known for its ‘green lady’ signals. “I’m a mother of two young children and we always talk about waiting for the ‘green man’,” Councillor Coleman said. “From when kids are young enough to walk they are given an instruction by a man and it has never occurred to any of us that that is inherently so biased.”

The suitably empowering and bias-free signal can be beheld here. Apparently, it depicts Mary Rogers, the second woman in Australia elected to local government, circa 1920. And clearly it’s a vast improvement over the heinously oppressive stick figure previously in use, and which no doubt crushed the spirits of small girls across Australia and steered them towards lives of grinding gender conformity.

After attending several International Women’s Day functions, Councillor Coleman said women were “blown away” by the ‘green lady’ initiative. “I think the main reason was because ‘why didn’t we think of that before and why have we accepted [that] the man tells us whether to walk or not’,” she said.

Those of you picturing aggrieved feminists expressing their defiance of the luminously oppressive male silhouette by randomly blundering into the road - and into oncoming traffic - are very bad people.

Elsewhere (192)

Stephen Beard on women in STEM, absent males and the Great Diversity Hustle: 

Most large organisations — certainly universities — now have Diversity Officers, Diversity Consultants and Women’s Officers. Many of these Officers and Consultants and the like have academic backgrounds in gender or women’s studies... Perhaps this is why diversity bosses have chosen to focus on the four areas in STEM [out of eight] where men still make up the majority, rather than education, where men make up less than 25% of undergraduate and post-graduate students. This is a much more alarming statistic, given that only one-in-four British primary schools have a single male teacher, and there are over a million children in the UK growing up without a father. With the possible detrimental effects of not having positive male role-models, this is a much more pressing issue than the concerns of middle-class academic women seeking special privileges in their career.

The STEM fields in which women outnumber men are, oddly enough, not deemed biased or bothersome. 

Kyle Brooks on competitive outrage on campus: 

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been enmeshed in controversy over the last few weeks in the wake of its chancellor mistaking a photo of two white students donning beauty facial masks as blackface and falsely accusing the students of being “racist.” […] Since the incident – which one student activist labelled “Bloody Sunday” – the campus has hosted diversity forums at which students have accused the campus of being steeped in racism and suggested administrators are not doing enough about it. One Black Student Union member even told peers she missed several days of school because she was too distraught by the blackface picture to attend class.

Related, their failure to know stuff is entirely due to your racism

Protesters interrupted the University of Wisconsin system’s Board of Regents meeting for a third time last week, demanding the end of “blatantly oppressive” standardised testing.

You see, the student protestors are ethereal beings of exquisite sensitivity, such that they are emotionally crushed by any hint of mockery – say, when laughed at for gathering in a “healing circle” - and are rendered tearful and distraught by any testing of their abilities. Such as they might be.* 

And Andrew Follett on the “feminist glaciology” hokum recently doing the rounds: 

The University of Oregon historian who wrote a study claiming glaciers are sexist said in an interview on Friday that the general public isn’t educated enough about feminism to understand his research. In the interview, Dr Mark Carey claims that when his studies are “described to non-specialists, the research can be misunderstood and potentially misrepresented.” […] The research was financially supported by taxpayer dollars. The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave Carey a five-year grant to write his “feminist glaciology” paper. He has received a total of $709,125 in grants from the NSF, according to his curriculum vitae. Carey did not address the huge sum of money he received in the interview.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for. [*Added via the comments.] 

Friday Ephemera

New Order’s Blue Monday, performed in an old-school style. // Space race remnants. // Orbits is a game. // For those who had fun with Ultraflow, there’s now Ultraflow 2. But beware the hardcore mode. // A brief history of the umlaut. // Bike bell of note. // These bees make cannabis honey. // It happens, apparently. // Ocus is a puzzle. // It’s scenic, yes, but not everyone’s cup of tea. // A collection of coffee lids. (h/t, Things) // Acrylic and ink. // A series of bad decisions. // Rock salt firearms. // Music made with stones. // An archive of Oz magazine. // It’s a job with a high staff turnover. // “The victim pulled the knife out of his own neck, and stabbed his attacker.” // Thanks, Mythbusters. // It’s Marvel time. // And finally, ambitiously, all this little boy needs is a bit of a morale boost.

The Little Things

Further to yesterday’s post (and any number of others), Arthur C Brooks on the consequences of competitive victimhood

Victimhood culture makes for worse citizens — people who are less helpful, more entitled, and more selfish. In 2010, four social psychologists from Stanford University published an article titled “Victim Entitlement to Behave Selfishly” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers randomly assigned 104 human subjects to two groups. Members of one group were prompted to write a short essay about a time when they felt bored; the other to write about “a time when your life seemed unfair. Perhaps you felt wronged or slighted by someone.” After writing the essay, the participants were interviewed and asked if they wanted to help the scholars in a simple, easy task.

The results were stark. Those who wrote the essays about being wronged were 26 percent less likely to help the researchers, and were rated by the researchers as feeling 13 percent more entitled. In a separate experiment, the researchers found that members of the unfairness group were 11 percent more likely to express selfish attitudes. In a comical and telling aside, the researchers noted that the [self-defined] victims were more likely than the non-victims to leave trash behind on the desks and to steal the experimenters’ pens.

Imagine my surprise. Via Ace

Elsewhere (191)

Victor Davis Hanson on the vulgarity, hypocrisy - and appeal - of Donald Trump: 

The children of Republican elites do not sit in classes where a quarter of the students do not speak English… Their children are not on buses where an altercation between squabbling eight-year-olds leads to a tattooed parent arriving at your home to challenge you to a fight over “disrespecting” his family name. The establishment Republicans... are rarely stopped in a Walmart parking lot by a gang-banger in the next parking stall who out of the blue says, “Hey essay, what the fuck are you looking at me for already? And what are you going to do about it, punk?” 

Much like our own Guardianistas, gripped as they are by the Simon Schama Tendency

John Daniel Davidson on mass immigration and cultural decline: 

In the long term, Europe can either prefer its own civilisation and culture, and defend it, or capitulate to another. But it cannot absorb masses of unassimilated members of another culture and expect to survive. It will be changed forever, and the change will be in the direction of the immigrants’ way of life, and away from that of the native-born. This is a difficult truth to accept in our egalitarian age.

And Mary Grabar on Melissa Click and her equally arrogant faculty supporters: 

When news of her firing came, supporters doubled down: at the faculty council meeting, no one supported her firing. In fact, faculty expressed concern about how the decision would impact “the ability of academics to participate in activism.” […] What we have is a group of employees assuming the right to use company time in any way they want. Their outrage at outside scrutiny shows a level of privilege that no other profession enjoys. Attorneys, doctors, engineers, or manufacturers, all can be sued, but a professor who cheats students preparing for communications careers by teaching Lady Gaga cannot.

As Grabar notes, many of Click’s supporters, chiefly from the worlds of sociology and gender studies, were featured in David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin’s 2009 book One-Party Classroom, an eye-widening catalogue of absurdly dogmatic and politicised courses often taught by educators of questionable competence.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.