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Friday Ephemera

Gravity is a cruel mistress. // The abandoned sofas of Los Angeles. // Lynda Carter lets rip. // A momentary rabbit. // “I love you, robot.” // At last, robotic tentacles. What could possibly go wrong? // His black paint is blacker than yours. // If only your children had been this well-behaved. (h/t, Damian) // Puppies versus couches, the oldest battle. // Dog Botox. // “Don’t do anything stupid.” // Punk in 60 seconds. // 24 seconds of frog cell division. // On zed versus zee. // Typing breakthroughs of yore. // Baked potato. // He has more baby pandas than you do. // How to build an impractical clock. // An archive of Japanese animation. // Melting and unmelting. // Attention, Western feminists. // Beat box. // And finally, foxily, and armed with ample duct tape, a beat box babe.

Shakedown, Down Under

SJW Nonsense reports from Australia’s Clown Quarter, where jokes about absurdity will be punished absurdly

On the 28th May 2013, an incident took place in a computer lab on the campus at the Queensland University of Technology. A student, Alex Wood, and two friends walked into the computer lab, hoping to use a computer. A university staff member, Cindy Prior, approached the group and asked them whether or not they were indigenous, informing them that they had entered an “indigenous space” for aboriginal students, and that they needed to find another computer room on campus. The students left the lab at her request. Later, Alex posted a comment in a student Facebook group, saying, “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT: stopping segregation with segregation?” Among many comments was one by another student, Jackson Powell, saying, “I wonder where the white supremacist computer lab is?”

In August 2015, over two years after the incident occurred, Alex and Jackson discovered that legal action was being taken against them for their Facebook comments. Who was so grievously harmed to be pursuing this legally, years later? None other than Cindy Prior, the woman who had initially asked Alex and his friends to leave the computer lab due to their race. Ms Prior claimed that the comments caused her to suffer “offence, embarrassment, humiliation and psychiatric injury.” Ms Prior was not mentioned by name anywhere in the comments, but she was so psychologically damaged by the posts that she had been unable to return to work due to the “trauma,” and was now seeking some $250,000 in lost wages, general damages and future economic loss.

The chronically hyperbolical Ms Prior claimed to have suffered from “sweating,” as a result of students even questioning the need for a racially segregated computer lab, and to have felt “at risk of imminent but unpredictable physical or verbal assault.” Happily, this opportunist scam ultimately failed, but only after other targets of Ms Prior’s grasping psychodrama had settled out of court.

Reheated (49)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

An Intellectual Being Rides Again

Empowered feminist Melissa Fabello explains the deep, deep trauma of being disagreed with.

Ms Fabello chastises those who ironically use the term “social justice warrior” – which, she explains, is an “invalidating behaviour,” one that can get “really oppressive really quickly.”

We Can’t Promise Not To Hit You

The Clown Quarter is a foretaste of left’s corrected, more compassionate society. Hence all the threats and punching.  

To recap, the university’s stated rationale for censorship is that it can’t protect either the speakers or their audience from disruption and thuggery by its own students, which is quite an admission, really. And as we’ve seen, the threat of physical intimidation and mob harassment – by these would-be intellectuals of the left – is quite real. What the university doesn’t admit, however, is that this problem won’t be solved by banning any speakers deemed remotely controversial – in this case, two speakers who prefer evidence and debate over threats and hysteria. The problem will only be addressed, or begin to be addressed, when leftist students no longer feel that mob censorship and physical intimidation are things they can get away with, and get away with repeatedly, without facing consequences. Say, being expelled.

You’re Doing It All Wrong.

Avowed “feminist killjoy” Josefin Hedlund wants to correct your erotic preferences and make them egalitarian. For “social justice.”

Love and sex are unequally “distributed,” says Ms Hedlund, with an unfair amount of both going to people who are deemed lovable and attractive by the people loving them, and not to insufferable sociopaths with horrific disfigurements. Or, one suspects, self-styled “feminist killjoys.” And this is because of capitalism. It’s “obvious,” you see. 

There’s more, should you want it, in the greatest hits. And tickling the tip jar is what keeps this place afloat. 

Friday Ephemeraren’t

Once again, you’ll have to throw together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. I will, however, set the ball rolling with an unorthodox approach to convenient and accessible public transport, an improvisational robotic marimba player, and news from the world of niche attractions, where “scholars have identified the northern coast of Colombia as a hotbed of man-goat coitus.”

Oh, and then there’s this, which I think you just have to see for yourself.

Don’t Even Think It

These are moves of power, not moves of reason.

Filmmaker Rob Montz visits Yale, where the Clown Quarter’s trademark psychodrama has alarming influence

Mr Montz previously visited Brown University, his alma mater. And for those who may have missed it, Evan Coyne Maloney’s documentary Indoctrinate U was released almost a decade ago. Evidently, things have not improved.

Elsewhere (228)

Claire Lehmann on the denial of gender differences and its (literally) poisonous effects: 

[Feminist author Cordelia Fine] argued that neuroscientists should be schooled in the theory of intersectionality — “the principle that important social identities like gender, ethnicity, and social class mutually constitute, reinforce, and naturalise one another.” At first glance, this is a peculiar demand… To practise intersectionality, one must privilege the voices of black women over white women, and the voices of women over men, for example. The least privileged deserve the most sympathy; the straight white male deserves the least. The relevance for neuroscience is unclear at best. But its utility as an ideological weapon has made it popular among academics hoping to politicise scholarship and silence their enemies.

Richard Reeves and Dmitrios Halikias on our new would-be overlords: 

One overlooked irony of the events at Middlebury is how they proved some of the points that [Charles] Murray made in his book, Coming Apart, which he had been invited to discuss. The book documents the separation of a “new upper class,” raised in rich neighbourhoods, immersed in liberal, cosmopolitan values, and educated at expensive, liberal universities. In other words, it profiles the students of Middlebury College… We found that the schools where students have attempted to disinvite speakers are substantially wealthier and more expensive than average. Since 2014, there have been attempts at some 90 colleges to disinvite speakers, mostly conservatives. The average enrollee at a college where students have attempted to restrict free speech comes from a family with an annual income $32,000 higher than that of the average student in America. In the chart below, the pattern is clear: the more economically exclusive the institution, the more likely it is the students have attempted to hinder free speech.

For those who missed it, Dr Murray’s first-hand account of the Middlebury protest-cum-riot can be found here

Jordan Peterson on “white privilege” as a rhetorical tactic: 

The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, there is absolutely nothing that’s more racist than that. It’s absolutely abhorrent… and precisely the sort of danger that people who are really looking for trouble would push.

And Cathy Young on the dishonesties and delusions of feminist author Rebecca Solnit:

Solnit claims domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to American women; yet Centres for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that all assault, domestic or not, ranks eighth among causes of injury to women — behind not only falls and car accidents but insect stings and animal bites.

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

Caliban’s Mirror

Elliott Dordick reports

Several faculty members at Pitzer College recently discussed launching an “investigation” of a student paper for accurately reporting a student’s public comments about “cultural appropriation.”

These comments here, about the chest-crushing oppression of seeing white people wearing big hooped earrings.

Professors and administrators at the Claremont Colleges took to public Facebook posts to vent their frustrations, proposing free speech limits on campus and an “investigation” to shut down the conservative student journal.

Because that’s what grown-ups do now. At least on campus.

“We have a serious problem with the Claremont Independent bullying young women of colour and illegally posting their emails, exposing them to violence,” Suyapa Portillo, an Assistant Professor of Chicano-Latino Studies at Pitzer College, recently posted to her public Facebook page. 

Quoting verbatim public comments - comments that were directed at the entire campus via the Student Talk listserv and sprayed onto a wall - is now “bullying” and “violence,” apparently. At least on campus.

“This is dangerous, irresponsible slander and [is] unacceptable. The minute one of our women of colour students feels unsafe on campus ALL of our students of colour and faculty of colour are unsafe. #STOPBullying #TitleIX #ShutItDown #StopHate.”

“Shut it down,” she hashtags, seated proudly on a pile of non sequitur. Because accurate and undisputed quoting is, via some unspecified mental contortion, now to be regarded as slanderous and hateful, and a mortal threat to every brownish person within a ten-mile radius, and thus something to be stopped.

At least on campus.

Friday Ephemera

And yet the first thing I noticed was the lack of shoes. (h/t Obo) // Remember, feminists are the ones we’re supposed to take seriously. // Her favourite thing. // The final resting places of seven famous dogs. // Forgotten guest-stars of Murder, She Wrote. // His model tornado is better than yours. // A bit gusty. // A good hard poke should do it. // The underbellies of horses. // 1980s New York. // Non-stop Chuck Norris. // Assorted Sixties nuclear tests. // Jordan Peterson on “privilege” and its precedents. // This seems to work and it’s cheaper than divorce. // This is exactly how I would have done it. // This should be a thing. (h/t, Damian) // And this should not. // Lakeside property. // Rock music. // Flashback. // And finally, live radio transmissions from the airports of the world.

Because They Haven’t Quite Infantilised The Students Enough

Amber Athey notes another data point in the decline of academia

A University of Arizona classroom dialogue guide encourages professors to use the “Oops/ouch method,” where students who are offended in class say “ouch” and the offender responds with “oops.”

Apparently, the way to “maximise free speech in the classroom” is to “create a safe space” in which pantomime ensues, and by advising faculty that “microaggressions,” even those on unrelated matters in personal conversations, should be “interrupted” – and interrupted “immediately” - as being “harmful to the classroom environment.” When not eavesdropping on private conversations and offering unsolicited correction, faculty are advised by the guide to be on the look-out for a range of classroom “challenges” and “cultural misunderstandings,” including:    

A heterosexual student claiming that LGBTQIA+ individuals do not have the right to exist.

Because, obviously, that must happen all but daily on a politically correct campus. And,

A white student threatening an African American student over views on affirmative action.

Other forbidden behaviours include acknowledging in class that illegal immigrants have in fact broken the law, or using gendered metaphors in descriptions of atoms, or “questioning the credibility and validity” of (certain) students’ accounts of an event, even if one has contradictory information. “Feelings,” at least those of some students, must not be “nullified.”

Curiously, all of the examples given, and they are numerous, assume that only members of Designated Victim Groups will ever be on the receiving end of “problematic behaviour.” There is no guideline for how to deal with, say, opportunist and vindictive accusations of racism or “privilege,” or attempts to denigrate straight, white male students as inherently ignorant and oppressive, which are hardly inconceivable in an environment where “microaggressions” are regarded as a pressing issue, and where students with brown skin are deemed, automatically and by default, victims of “institutional discrimination” and therefore in need of collective “validation.”

Elsewhere (227)

The College Fix reports on a daring breakthrough in educational standards: 

The New York State Board of Regents will consider tomorrow whether to go with a task force’s recommendation to scrap a teacher literacy exam known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test. “Part of the reason,” NBC New York reports, is because “an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it.” It is expected the Board will abandon the assessment.

Because expecting educators to be even nominally competent is so Twentieth Century.

Victor Davis Hanson on politics and incompetence: 

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York. But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unploughed for days. The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

John Ellis on why the National Endowment for the Arts is a bad thing: 

From the organisation’s website, “The NEA is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.” That mission statement prompts a few questions… How does creating a false market for art promote and strengthen creative capacity? The NEA model artificially props up mostly unwanted markets by using tax dollars that get funnelled through inefficient and wasteful bureaucracies… Artificially propping up an unwanted market does not benefit the arts. It does benefit the people who work in the NEA office and the many local organisations that help funnel taxpayers’ money to arts organisations, though. What it does to the arts is create a marketplace that supports bad art.

See also this

And Anthony Gockowski spies a terribly radical approach to being terribly radical: 

Continue reading "Elsewhere (227)" »

Opening Windows Into Men’s Souls

Let’s say I assess your ‘unconscious bias’ and give you a diagnosis. Well, there’s no evidence that it predicts your behaviour. So what good is it? Well, it’s good if you want people to send you to ‘retraining’ exercises so that you can have your perceptions adjusted in the direction that your organisation thinks is proper. And that’s happening. It’s becoming mandatory… But there’s no evidence whatsoever that ‘unconscious bias’ retraining programmes have the effect they’re supposed to have, and there’s some evidence that they actually have the reverse effect. And maybe that’s because people don’t really like being marched off to re-education by their employers after they’ve been ‘diagnosed’ as racist, even if there’s no evidence that they in fact are. It’s an absolute misuse of psychology. It’s an assault on freedom.

Dr Jordan Peterson, filmed at Ryerson University, chats about the ideological corruption of social psychology

Note that Dr Peterson’s talks are being denounced in advance - as “dangerous,” “hateful” and “white male arrogance” - by left-leaning umbrage-takers, most of whom claim, piously and repeatedly, to value “diversity” and “alternative views,” while trying to get Peterson’s talks cancelled or forcibly disrupted.

Friday Ephemera

Chap rotates his own feet 157 degrees. // More tongue than is decent. // “Mr Estala appeared to be intoxicated.” // Libation station. // Oil-absorbent material of note. // Organ relocation during pregnancy. // Globe-making of yore. // Smart glasses with liquid lenses. // Starfleet spacecraft comparison. His looks bigger than yours. // At last, an assault trombone. // Robot pianist. I said pianist. // 3D-printed housing. (h/t, Dr W) // Corked honey. // Headline of note. // “Antarctica’s best cuisine, with fine wines and seven-course lunches on Sundays.” // Frankly, I’ve been to worse gigs. // Phones from antiquity. // If you get pulled over, this will be the new sobriety test. // Doctor Strange reversed. In which time takes one for the team. // And finally, reassuringly, a bedtime tale.