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November 2016

Friday Ephemera

You think you’ve had a hard day? // Paramusical ensemble. // Lower the shields. // Belted sweaters and other 1970s fashion nightmares for men. // Designer bird houses. // Siberian beach snowballs. // Which Bond girl was formerly a chap? // Cow summoning. // Cosplay. // To say it’s so tiny, he handles it well. // A map of New York street trees. // Made of paper. // Matte painting. // Constructing Rushmore. // 1870s London. // Seen from above. // Today we are learning about salt. // “I get what ‘juicy’ means now.” // Decorated food. // Defensive vomiting. // And finally, the soothing sound of 14 pitched-down crying babies.

Elsewhere (219)

Via Jeff Wood, Robert Stacy McCain pokes through the feminist memoir of Jessica Valenti: 

The question raised by Sex Object, if read with a critical eye, is whether Jessica Valenti has ever been a victim of anything except her own bad judgment… What kind of fool would major in Women’s Studies? The kind of fool who loses her virginity at 14, goes off to Tulane, sleeps with her ex-boyfriend’s roommate, flunks out and then transfers to SUNY-Albany, that’s who. The only career possible for a Women’s Studies major is as a professional feminist, and there are only so many full-time gigs at non-profit “pro-choice” organisations to go around. However, the Feminist-Industrial Complex  —  the departments of Women’s Studies on some 700 college and university campuses across the United States  —  has a rent-seeking interest in promoting the metastatic growth of feminism, so the fact that many of their alumnae are quite nearly unemployable isn’t mentioned in the course catalogue.

See also this sorry but instructive tale. And Ms Valenti’s mental contortions have been noted here previously

Michael J Totten on the joys of feminist Shakespeare: 

The Globe Theatre’s new director, Emma Rice, detests the original Shakespeare. The Bard’s plays, she says, are “tedious” and “inaccessible.” Perhaps, with such a dim view of the source material and its creator, she should have taken a different job, but instead she chose to make Shakespeare more “relevant.” For instance, [in A Midsummer Night’s Dream] “Away, you Ethiope,” was changed to, “Get away from me, you ugly bitch.” Rice knew that plenty of Shakespeare purists would find her coarse edits appalling, so she had an actor walk on stage in a spacesuit and say, “Why this obsession with text?” She also placed identity politics front and centre. She mandated, for instance, that 50 percent of the cast be female regardless of the gender of the characters. “It’s the next step for feminism,” she said, “and it’s the next stage for society to smash down the last pillars that are against us.”

And David Kukoff on an alternative educational model of the 1970s that wasn’t altogether successful: 

Following a meeting with progressive-minded parents, [educator and drug counsellor Caldwell Williams] teamed up with English teacher Fred Holtby to create a curriculum that would channel the pop-psych teachings of the time. They wanted students to guide their own learning, focus on their feelings, and engage in raw dialogue about sex, drugs, and all the other topics that animated their lives. The teachings incorporated principles of the popular self-help movement known as est, then shifted to those of Scientology.

Shockingly, it turns out that hugging lessons, watching porn and choosing your own grades has its limitations.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Friday Ephemeraren’t

I know, I know. I’m leaving you to fend for yourselves again. But after nearly a decade of Fridays, I’m sure you know what to do in the comments. To get things rolling, here’s one of these, and one of those, and some of that. Plus, a Morgan Freeman flashback circa 1971, Brad Bird on animation, and because I know you so well, a searchable historical compendium of coarse and vulgar English

An Intellectual Being Rides Again

Melissa Fabello, the managing editor of Everyday Feminism, the one who told her readers that feminism is a Joy-Bringing Total Explanation For Everything In The World, is once again unhappy

When you’re a human being of any combination of marginalised identities making your way through the world, a funny thing happens: People want to fight with you a lot. And I don’t necessarily mean physical fights… but rather, the seemingly innocuous form of fighting known as “debating.”

Yes, Ms Fabello, our graduate, educator and publishing powerhouse, is also “a combination of marginalised identities” - all sadly unspecified - and is continually assailed by the life-threatening outrage that is People Who Disagree With Her. Specifically, people who don’t regard Ms Fabello’s “lived experience,” i.e., her pantomime of victimhood, as the rhetorical full stop, the decisive hand of cards, that she wishes it to be. Put another way, if Ms Fabello says she’s oppressed, then you mustn’t talk back or offer facts to the contrary. Because claims of “lived experience,” however theatrical, embellished or self-flattering they may be, are The Last Word, a triumphant “End Of,” to which no reply is welcome, or decent, or permitted.

If you’ve ever been a marginalised person on the internet, you may recognise this phenomenon as “The Facebook Comment Thread Effect” – and it’s the reason why so many people choose to bow out of these arguments entirely: not because they can’t defend themselves, but because they shouldn’t have to.

Note the conflation of defending a stated position - a not unreasonable expectation, even today, even on Facebook - with defending oneself, and the implication of an assault on one’s very being, or at least one’s ego, which is apparently unfair. This, remember, is a woman paid to edit feminist polemic in order to make it more convincing.

But these absurd arguments happen because there’s always at least one person who just can’t admit that they have no fucking idea what they’re talking about.

I’ll just leave that one there, I think.

It’s most frequently the people with the most privilege in any given situation who want to engage in “debate” with me and others. And that’s not because I expect more of, say, straight, white, cis men – because I most certainly do not.  

See, that wholesale embrace of “social justice” really does swell the heart and sharpen the mind, making it nimble, attuned to nuance. Not at all stiffened by presumption and the casual dismissal of entire notional categories of humankind.  

To the contrary, I expect this desperate attempt at domination because that’s how oppression works on an individual level.

Ah, so let’s be clear. When straight, white, cis men disagree with feminists and those who imagine themselves “marginalised,” and therefore pious, this is an evil act, a “desperate attempt at domination.” 

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