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January 2017

Snake Oil

For those who missed the update, the third part of Everyday Feminism’s “Healing from Toxic Whiteness” online seminar, relayed by the intrepid SJW Nonsense, is now available. This is the one in which Everyday Feminism founder Sandra Kim insists that “people of colour” can feel the emotions of their ancestors via “inter-generational trauma,” which is, we’re told, passed on “genetically” and “lives inside of your body.”

Go With What You Know

So what do we do? I think now is the time to get serious…. It’s kind of fluffy to talk about hope at the moment. I mean hope is great but in the meantime there’s always spite. Spite is good if you can’t get to hope. Carry on living and carry on working to spite those people.

I was under the impression that for Laurie Penny, quoted above, spite had long been a default position, a familiar and rather comfortable mental state. Hence the apocalyptic psychodrama, the enthusiasm for vandalism and violence, and for physical obstruction and mob harassment, and likewise the grandiose air of entitlement, and the bizarre fabrication of threats. Along with her disdain for the concerns of taxpayers as “anodyne and inconsequential,” and her complaints that remembering birthdays is both a ghastly imposition and “unpaid emotional labour.” And - oh yes - her pride in the abuse of people who politely ask for some basic civility.

So. Not, I think, a new development.

Friday Ephemera

I think there may be a word missing. (h/t, Julia) // How does your urologist lean? // Mrs Peel and other things. // Reversing the Avengers. // The Voder, 1939. // Miracle breakthrough in vertical bacon cooking. // Brutalist colouring book. Because concrete needs colour. // The cure for crying toddlers. // Feminist art. Because women are all about dirty pants, apparently. (h/t, SJW Nonsense.) // Feminist prose: “Your boner is a symbol of a world that is trying to destroy me.” // Eye robot. // Chocolate bolts. (h/t, Matthew) // Submarine tourism didn’t catch on. // Unexpected news. // They’re gaining on us. // Selfie culture. // The thrill of yarn. // Throaty notes. // Please take a moment to think of Maria. // And finally, improbably, “A woman flew through a tornado in a bathtub and survived.”

Elsewhere (223)

Ben Shapiro on abortion and evasion: 

Today, The Atlantic ran a bizarre piece by Moira Weigel titled, in Orwellian fashion, “How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Foetus Is a Person.” Which is somewhat like saying, “How the Microscope Pushed the Idea That Cells Exist,” or “How the Hubble Telescope Pushed the Idea That There Are Stars Outside Our Solar System.” […] But Weigel goes even further, assuring readers that ultrasounds were primarily a form of warfare against women rather than a tool allowing doctors to identify problems with foetal development as early as possible.  

“What is a foetal heartbeat?” asks Ms Weigel. “And why does it matter?” As we’ve seen, pregnancy is a subject that leaves some feminists looking not only disingenuous but actually monstrous

Roger Kimball on academia’s inauguration meltdown: 

Academia has an infantilising effect. I understand that. Many professors dress and act like adolescents right up to the time they are ready to hand in their tenure and live off their generous pensions. The Peter-Pan aspect of academia is not entirely the professors’ fault. After all, the points at which the real world intrudes upon academia are so few and so tenuous that academics may be forgiven for some of their hyperbole and inadvertently comic displays of self-importance. They exist, like kept women of yore, entirely at the pleasure of an affluent society they despise. So in a way it is not surprising that they endeavour to transform their entire campus into a sort of existential boudoir, which is French for “room for pouting in.”

Peter Wood on attempts to make ‘progressive’ activism mandatory for students:

New Civics has appropriated the name of an older subject, but not the content of that subject or its basic orientation to the world. Instead of trying to prepare students for adult participation in the self-governance of the nation, the New Civics tries to prepare students to become social and political activists who are grounded in broad antagonism towards America’s founding principles and its republican ethos.

And Malhar Mali interviews the people behind the excellent Real Peer Review:  

@RealPeerReview is a Twitter account that has steadily gained popularity and fans by exposing the humorous, nonsensical, and absurd trends in scholarship that are sometimes found in academic research. From Ph.D. theses, M.A. theses, to articles in disciplinary journals, the account highlights laughable “scholarship” such as exploring the black anus, how pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes are oppressive and symbols of white privilege, a paper on a researcher’s experience of completing jigsaw puzzles, and how a scholar felt while drinking coffee and reading the Guardian.  

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


Lifted from the comments, some links of possible interest.

Sargon’s Week In Stupid: Inauguration Special may offer some grim amusement. Do stick with it – there are gripping interviews and filmed outbursts of what one might generously describe as performance art, and the chutzpah of Bernie Sanders, captured at the end, is a thing to behold. (Amid all the moral dissonance and fits of outright lunacy, one of the more telling sights is the staggering amount of garbage left strewn on the streets by the feminist protestors. I can’t help thinking it’s rather symbolic and speaks to the character of those involved.)

Joan steers us to this charmingly progressive lady, who, immediately, emphatically and for no discernible reason, starts haranguing a fellow plane passenger and denouncing his failure to vote as she did - and threatening to vomit on him - before, some commotion later, being escorted from the flight by police officers. Something tells me her husband chose poorly. Or lost a bet.

And here we see a young lady of the left chanting “Love trumps hate.” Seconds before setting a woman’s hair on fire

Feel free to share findings of your own.

Friday Ephemera

Beef roses, $35. Say it with beef. // At last, vaginal energy eggs. Put some magic crystal detox in your downstairs lady wallet. // A shared moment. (h/t, Obo) // Unicycle polo. // Unloved YouTube videos. // This had not occurred to me. (h/t, dicentra) // Obviously, I denounce the cultural appropriation. // Slow-mo see-through combustion engine. // Celebrity deaths, calculated. // Ancient trees. // Good deed. // Shade. // Starlings and snow. // Batman TAS writer’s style guide. // Drone’s-eye view of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg. (h/t, Nate) // A history of recorded sound. // 125,000 rpm string and paper centrifuge. (h/t, Malcolm) // Get lost in a light maze. // EquiTable, an app. // And finally, fashionably, the discreet and wearable breast pump you’ve all been waiting for.

It’s Almost As If One Were An Excuse For The Other

Lifted from yesterday’s comments:

It’s interesting just how often “social justice” posturing entails something that looks an awful lot like spite or petty malice, or an attempt to harass and dominate, or some other obnoxious behaviour. Behaviour that, without a “social justice” pretext, might get you called a wanker or a bitch. A coincidence, I’m sure.

There are numerous examples of such behaviour in the archives, including thisthisthis, and both of these. One of the more vivid illustrations is this little gem, in which Black Lives Matter enthusiasts at an Ivy League university claim to be oppressed by hats and headphones, and promptly indulge in racist thuggery, targeting random white people with violence and abuse – and with impunity, of course - before being applauded by university staff. 

Today, Liz points out another, more recent example – a plan to disrupt Donald Trump’s inauguration by blocking bridges, obstructing traffic and sabotaging all of the Metro trains in Washington DC. Because nothing says “I’m virtuous” like ruining the day of tens of thousands of people and leaving them to worry about how to get home, or to work, or get to the doctor, or pick up their children.

[ Update, via the comments: ] 

It’s an odd thing to watch, this “radical” approach to “social change.” You have to wonder, at what point in the little warriors’ planning sessions did the tactics linked above - preventing Wal-Mart staff from getting home to their families, harassing random white people and making them walk through mud, and trapping a woman in a wheelchair and then taunting her – become good ideas, the way to signal righteousness? And as this behaviour is unlikely to result in any social effect that the activists claim to want – and in fact tends to strengthen opposition to their ostensible cause – you also have to wonder what the fundamental motive actually is. Given the vanishingly slim chance of instant social transformation, there isn’t much else to consider, apart from narcissism, selfishness and an obvious delight in having power over others.

It’s sometimes hard to see much difference between a “social justice” activist and a sociopath with a flimsy excuse.

A Peep Hole Into Bedlam

See how this is working. If you don’t believe that you are benefiting from “white supremacy,” or don’t believe that you’re being racist because you haven’t engaged in racist behaviour – by “colonising” or “enslaving” or excluding black people from things because of the colour of their skin - then this is just proof of how racist you really are, and of how pervasive “white supremacy” is.

The intrepid SJW Nonsense takes her sanity in her hands and offers a personal guide through Everyday Feminism’s “Healing from Toxic Whiteness” online seminar, the first two parts of which can be found linked below. During the “healing” process, we learn that one baldly asserted but entirely unproven thing somehow proves another baldly asserted but entirely unproven thing, again via bald assertion, and that this is a satisfactory basis for “social justice” activism. We also learn that Everyday Feminism founder Sandra Kim is “super, super, super excited” about her mission to purge white people of mental toxins, that “people of colour” can feel the emotions of their ancestors via “inter-generational trauma,” which is passed on “genetically,” and that simply being white makes one “complicit with racism.” 

Part One. Part Two.


Part Three

A word of caution. You may feel a strong urge to bite down on your own neck. Especially during part three.

Too Pale-Skinned For Comfort

TomJ steers us to another of academia’s identitarian dramas

Black students’ progress is being stalled by university tutors who are “60-year-old white men” and “potentially racist,” according to students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) in London. In a report called Degrees of Racism, the student union demands that “all academics must be prepared to acknowledge that they are capable of racism.” It claims unconscious bias is rife at the school — part of the University of London — and that white tutors allow white male students to dominate class discussions and have lower expectations of black and ethnic minority (BME) students because of “racist stereotypes of people of colour as less capable, or lazy.”

Alongside the usual demands for double standards and racial favouritism in hiring, and “compulsory classes for academics to combat unconscious bias,” the students want “all staff [to] feel able to confront each other’s racism.” The report, they say, is intended to address the “significant gap in attainment” between white and ethnic minority students. 

[The report] quotes black undergraduates who say their academic progress is being hampered by older white professors who cannot relate to them. “Both of my tutors are white men. How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one.

In short, the students are admitting, albeit unwittingly, that in fact they are the inflexible and bigoted ones, the ones preoccupied with racist (and ageist) stereotypes, and are incapable of feeling “comfortable” with people whose appearance differs from their own. Apparently, for them, learning is next to impossible unless they are being taught by people who look just like them, are of a similar age, and who share the assumptions of a subset of nineteen-year-olds.

Perhaps the students are too busy issuing grandiose demands to consider the humdrum fact that a person’s knowledge, perspective and experience, from which one hopes to benefit, necessarily take time to accumulate. Or to consider the possibility that stretching oneself beyond the familiar and comfortable is the general idea of education. And so it seems to me that the “significant gap in attainment” that the student union bemoans may have more to do with the limited abilities, and even more limited horizons, of the students in question.

Update, via the comments: 

Continue reading "Too Pale-Skinned For Comfort" »

Friday Ephemera

Headline of note. (h/t, Damian) // Horse versus rubber chicken. // How to sex, fatly. // Not all balloon pops are the same. // When poor impulse control meets a lack of foresight. // Surface tension. // The future is foolproof. // Two artificial intelligences engage in a strange and tedious argument. // Film effects of yesteryear. // Some animated engines. // Monochrome storms. // Classical mash-up. // Why you’re probably playing Monopoly all wrong. // Marbles and magnets. // Mongolian wrestlers. // Neglected grain silos. // Odd ice. // Impractical tableware. // And finally, some screwless, glueless Japanese joinery.