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April 2017

A Creature Of Decorum And Poise

More scenes from UC Berkeley, where a group of College Republicans are having a barbecue, and a burly, ill-tempered transgender lady takes umbrage at this display of “fascism” and says she doesn’t “believe in property.” When it’s someone else’s.

Do watch to the end, when said lady discusses her busy afternoon of social engagements.

Friday Ephemera

They grow up so quickly. (h/t, Tim) // Swedish ladies gymnastics, 1905. // At last, black ice cream. // Sweaty vest and power loader not included. // London’s ganglands. // Thomas Sowell on the greed fallacy. // Battle of the sexes. (h/t, Obo) // Iceberg Alley. // His name was Bill Hitler. // 200-watt laser bazooka brings instant death to cardboard and balloons. // Cargo cult. // One-bean cup of coffee. // On earworms and chewing gum. // Tiny shrimp tempura. // Irony. // Robot game-play is an acquired taste. // Robot knife game. // An interview with a serial killer. (h/t, Jordan Peterson) // Recognition. // Morricone and Theremin. // Anamorphic sculptures. // If you fix the stars in place. // Artificial uterus. // Rutland State Fair, 1941. // And finally, the Great Emu War of 1932.

But Why Aren’t People Rushing To Buy My Art?

Because I know you heathens are all starved of high culture, here are edited highlights of Shannon Cochrane and Márcio Carvalho performing their colossal work Untitled at the 2013 Miami Performance International Festival. For those who may be confounded by the profundity of the piece, a handy walk-through guide is available here. Said guide points out that the performance will encourage among onlookers “a deeper level of critical thought.” Of the many ruminations that will doubtless be inspired is the following:

After seeing someone wrap their head in meat twice, does it still hold the same weight as it did the first time?

The guide notes, rather earnestly, that the first attempt, by Mr Carvalho, to envelop his head in bread, string and assorted meat products, prompted more amusement from the tiny audience than the subsequent repetition of it by Ms Cochrane. This is presented as an invitation to “a fundamental shift in paradigm” and some allegedly profound insight into gender politics. Or, how “different actions are read on different bodies.” Our artistic deep thinkers are seemingly unaware of the concepts of novelty and diminishing returns.

“This usage of time” is, we’re told, “an interesting one.” So brace yourselves. 

Continue reading "But Why Aren’t People Rushing To Buy My Art?" »


Ordinary people are perfectly comfortable with the idea that some people are smarter than others. They’re perfectly comfortable [with the idea] that what we call smart gets you kinds of jobs that you can’t get otherwise, all that kind of stuff. It’s the elites who are under the impression that “Oh, IQ tests only measure what IQ tests measure, and nobody is really able to define intelligence,” and this and that, “it’s culturally biased,” and on and on. And all of these things are the equivalent of saying the Earth is flat. These are not opinions that you can hold in contest with the scientific literature.

Sam Harris has a long and wide-ranging discussion with Charles Murray, spanning the taboos of IQ, social stratification, the poisonous effects of identity politics, the pros and cons of a universal basic income, and how Donald Trump became a weapon against a disdainful establishment.

Dr Murray’s adventures among the campus Mao-lings have been noted here previously

Friday Ephemera

I think it’s fair to call it a partial success. (h/t, Damian) // Today’s word is unceremonious. // Space make-up. // Thinking meat. // Crab versus banana. // With its devilled crabs and gold piano, the Everleigh Club was a better class of brothel. // Because at some point you’re going to want to hire a male belly dancer. // Some British follies. // Museum of Failure. // Fifteen seconds in, something can be heard. // Create your own language. // Lead us, oh wise one. // How to carry wine. // The coffee revolt of 1674. // Converted school. // Unrealistic New York apartments. // “I’m trans and I love Jordan Peterson.” // It’s the Japanese way. // His hand-carved food is more intricate than yours. // Feminist dilemma. // How to fix a faulty traffic light. // And finally, bluegrass interrupted.

Elsewhere (230)

Alex Southwell, a pseudonym, on “diversity” hires and the deskilling of academia:

I mentioned that I had received an email from one of the candidates and shared it with the committee members. After reading the email aloud, I argued that the missive effectively disqualified the candidate. The writing was riddled with awkward expression, malapropisms, misplaced punctuation, and other conceptual and formal problems… I asked my fellow committee members how we could possibly hire someone to teach writing who had written such an email. The candidate could not write. I also pointed to her application letter, which was similarly awkward and error-laden. My committee colleagues argued that “we do not teach grammar” in our writing classes. 

Further to the above, Amy Alkon has identified the unnamed beneficiary of these piously lowered standards, and shares some student feedback. As even basic grammar and punctuation are apparently deemed superfluous, even among faculty, and even in official documents, I suspect the “Liberal Studies” department at NYU is probably best avoided.

For more on the Clown Quarter’s disdain for competence, see also this and this

Noah Rothman on the delusional excuses of campus Mao-lings: 

Georgetown’s student paper The Hoya endorsed Oberlin’s assessment of the threat posed by Christina Hoff Sommers - and thus, critical statistical analysis - by asserting that her invitation to speak at the university amounted to endorsing “a harmful conversation.” The notion that one is under physical assault eventually legitimises — even demands — a preventative response. The editors at Wellesley College’s student newspaper inadvertently endorsed this grim totalitarianism in an editorial advocating the use of “appropriate measures” against those who support those they deem to be irresponsible politicians or lecturers. “[I]f people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted,” the piece read. Amid laborious prose that read as though an algorithm translated it from the original Mandarin, these students articulated the logical foundations of fascism: We, the victimised, are owed reparative justice. And here it comes.

And Theodore Dalrymple on vanity as policy: 

The Swedish government agreed to take 160,000 refugees or migrants from the Middle East in a single year (who did not want to claim asylum in Denmark, where the social security payments were lower). The government did this because it (and its supporters) wanted Sweden to be an ethical superpower, a country responsible to and for the whole world, rather than to and for itself… Even these ethical narcissists soon realised, however, that if they proceeded in this fashion for, say, ten years, Sweden would have become, with the aid of a little family reunification and a higher birthrate, a semi–Middle Eastern country stuck in the Baltic, and they promptly closed the borders… Since they were motivated not so much by the desire for change as the desire to preen themselves like ducks at the edge of a pond, they suddenly realised the danger they were in. Their desire to be good was much shallower than their desire to appear good.

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

Friday Ephemera

Convenient. // Three’s a crowd. // Breakdancing trio. // Fantastic foursome. // Ragnarok. Or, Marvel goes Flash Gordon. // The glorious outdoors. (h/t, Ben) // This. (h/t, Julia) // That. (h/t, Obo) // Big cat, scary noise. // “NASA says no humans have ever had sex in space.” // Parenting done well. I do like number one. // Labour of love, or maybe just doing things the hard way. // $6000 “luxury performance” smartphone boasts ruby buttons, on-call round-the-clock concierge, dated software. // Always double-knot, I say. // Warning: disco. // Sshh. I hear something. // Archery made simple. // A brief history of the cardboard box. // Clunk, click. // If they learn to make fire, we’re totally screwed. // And finally, heartwarmingly, dads and daughters: the eternal struggle.

Academia, That Temple Of The Mind

Further to this, Heather Mac Donald recounts her recent harassment by 300 or so student Mao-lings:  

When speakers need police escort on and off college campuses, an alarm bell should be going off that something has gone seriously awry… I am reluctant to wield the epithet “fascist” as promiscuously as my declared opponents do. But it must be observed that if campus conservatives tried to use physical force to block Senator Elizabeth Warren, say, from giving a speech, the New York Times would likely put the obstruction on the front page and the phrase “fascist” would be flying around like a swarm of hornets, followed immediately by the epithet “misogynist.” 

Indeed. But it seems highly unlikely that the mob of dogmatic morons – the ones banging on windows, blocking fire escapes and assaulting faculty - would wish their behaviour to be constrained by something as inconvenient as consistent and reciprocal principles. Despite the chanted professions of piety, what matters to the ‘protestors’, whose grasp of Ms Mac Donald’s written output is somewhat sketchy, is the thrill of harassing people, frustrating them, scaring them. And thereby, a sense of power.

Also this:

Of all the chants, “How do you spell racist?” “C-M-C,” was the most absurd. “Racist” Claremont McKenna College is so desperate for “diverse” students that it has historically admitted black and Hispanic students with an average 200-point lower SAT score than white and Asian students. Such racial preferences satisfy CMC’s desire for racial virtue but set the alleged beneficiaries up for academic struggles, if not failure.

As noted here. Such institutional privilege also provides an unending supply of academic inadequates who, feeling incongruous, direct their resentments into thuggish ‘activism’, which gratifies all manner of unbecoming impulses, and requires less intelligence.