Previous month:
September 2017
Next month:
November 2017

October 2017

The Thrill Of Giving

Patrons are reminded that this rickety barge is kept afloat by the kindness of strangers. If you’d like to help it remain buoyant for a while longer, there’s an orange button below with which to monetise any love. Debit and credit cards are accepted. For those wishing to express their love regularly, there’s a monthly subscription option top left. And if one-click haste is called for, my new PalPay.Me page can be found here. Additionally, any Amazon shopping done via this link or the search widget top right, or for Amazon US via this link, results in a small fee for your host at no extra cost to you.

For newcomers wishing to know more about what’s been going on here for the last decade or so, and in over 2,000 posts and 70,000 comments, the reheated series is a pretty good place to start. There you’ll find odysseys in consciousness-raising by fearless taxpayer-funded artists; several displays of the true warmth and compassion of Guardian readers; the bewildering mental contortions of leftwing academics; and quite a few things like this

If you can, do take a moment to poke through the discussion threads too. The posts are intended as starting points, not full stops, and the comments are where much of the good stuff is waiting to be found. And do please join in.

Again, thanks for the support, the comments, and the company. 

Elsewhere (249)

Katherine Kersten on leftist dogma versus educational standards: 

For years, the Edina Public Schools have been one of the brightest stars of Minnesota public education… But today, test scores are sinking. One in five Edina High School students can’t read at grade level and one in three can’t do grade-level math. These test results dropped EHS’s ranking among Minnesota high schools from 5th to 29th in reading proficiency, and from 10th to 40th in math proficiency between 2014 and 2017… There’s been a profound shift in district leaders’ educational philosophy. In place of academic excellence for all, the district’s primary mission is now to ensure that students think correctly on social and political issues — most importantly, on race and “white privilege.” […] The school is pervaded by an obsession with race. Katie Mahoney, Highlands Elementary School’s “racially conscious” principal, was hired in 2016. This fall, she announced that the school’s “challenges” for 2017-18 are to teach children “how to embrace ancestry, genetic code and melanin,” and to how “to be change-makers.”

If that doesn’t sound sufficiently dogmatic and perverse, and just a little sinister, then do read the whole thing. There’s more.

Larry Sand on truant teachers: 

A Fordham Institute study released in September demonstrates the full extent of the absentee problem… 28.3 percent of teachers in traditional public schools are chronically absent — defined as missing more than 10 days of school per year because of illness or personal reasons. In charter schools — most of which are not unionised — the corresponding rate is just 10.3 percent.

And Toni Airaksinen on underhanded educators: 

Two Canadian professors have developed an approach they call “Trojan horse pedagogy” to peddle social justice to otherwise unassuming students. Sal Renshaw and Renee Valiquette, both of whom teach at Nipissing University in Ontario, detailed their extensive “ruse” in a recently published book, boasting that their “Introduction to Interdisciplinary Analysis” class is actually a “social justice” course in disguise… “Our goal in this class is to move both hearts and minds, in part by ‘forcing’ an encounter with at least some knowledges that students have already decided they are not interested in,” Renshaw and Valiquette explain, adding that the classes are “rooted in… post-structural feminist theory.”

According to Renshaw and Valiquette, being dishonest about course content, and about the subsequent likelihood of getting a job, is “a pathway to social justice education” and therefore, they insist, “the ruse is justified.” The lecturers in question admit that for many students “social justice” claptrap has a poor reputation and is actively avoided, which prompts the professors to sidestep that reputational challenge by simply lying to students about what it is they’re paying for. The two words you’re looking for are fire and immediately.

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

Reheated (51)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

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

In which we brave the bleeding edge of conceptual performance.

For those who may be confounded by the profundity of the piece, a handy walk-through guide points out that the performance will encourage among onlookers “a deeper level of critical thought.” 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.

An Eighteen-Year Project

Proud feminist Polly Dunning shares her experience of motherhood.

Thank goodness that Ms Dunning, who “felt sick” at even the thought of “something male” growing inside her, is totally opposed to all that “casual and ingrained sexism.” 

Insufficiently Swiped

Immense, frustrated love machine Caleb Luna wonders why his Grindr profile attracts so little interest.

The option of weight loss isn’t explored, at all. Instead, it seems, we should all “interrogate” and “expand” our desires via immersion in intersectional dogma: “You can start by diversifying the range of bodies you allow into your pool of sexual possibilities,” says he. Thus empowered, we will overcome our “phobias,” which is to say our preferences, and consequently start lusting after “alternative bodies.” Specifically, bodies like Mr Luna’s. 

Continue reading "Reheated (51)" »

Screeching Truth To Power

Further to this video of the hat-stealing, drunk-driving, threat-making racist and Angry Studies devotee Edith Macias, Jennifer Kabbany has more

Peers of the young Latina woman who swiped the hat, Edith Macias, have rallied to her defence, demanding the university protect her from any charges and even pay her rent in a “solidarity” document released Oct. 1.

The “statement of solidarity” is the usual dumpster fire of hyperbole, dishonesty and pretension, and makes no mention whatsoever of Ms Macias publicising her own behaviour and urging others to copy it, complete with hashtag. We do, however, learn that Tucker Carlson is a “far-right white supremacist.” With almost charming obliviousness, the statement also demands that Ms Macias be provided with free mental health counselling, due to the “emotionally and physically taxing nature” of being outed, not least by herself, as a thief who indulges in racial diatribes and threats of violence, both verbally and in writing.  

As noted in Friday’s thread, and in light of these demands for further cossetting and exemption, the odds of Ms Macias reflecting on her own behaviour and assumptions, and how they result in the dramas of her life, seem vanishingly slim.

Elsewhere (248)

Jim Goad on rappers, shootings and bullet-hole cred: 

In late October 2005, a rapper named Cam’ron took three bullets in an attempted DC carjacking. When a reporter asked him for a quote as he was leaving Howard University Hospital, Cam’ron quipped, “I got shot three times and my album comes out November 22.” [...] Being shot is such a shot in the arm for the aspirant hip-hop mogul, a rapper named Gravy got shot in the buttocks outside a Brooklyn radio station in April 2006 before heading right into the studio for an interview. As it turns out, Gravy had one of his friends shoot him because he knew it would be good publicity.

Toni Airaksinen on more things you mustn’t think on campus: 

Angela Putman, who teaches public speaking at Penn State-Brandywine, designed a comprehensive three-day seminar on “white privilege” for her students, then interviewed 12 attendees on their belief in meritocracy and equal opportunity. To her dismay, Putman discovered that these “whiteness ideologies” were widely endorsed by students, many of whom agreed that “if I work hard, I can be successful.”

Believing in study, effort and diligence as positive things and broad prerequisites for success is, apparently, a harmful and racist ideology. Unlike cultivating resentment and then spending decades seething at how racist, sexist and hopelessly unfair everything is, which I’m sure is bound to pay off.

And Mark Steyn on the indignant librarian, The Cat In The Hat, and the great racist retcon: 

The piece argues that the Cat in the Hat’s bow tie is meant to be an evocation of 19th-century racist minstrel shows. Now, just off the top of my head, cartoon characters who wear bow ties: Porky Pig, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Huckleberry Hound. Yogi Bear doesn’t wear a bow, he wears a tie like me, but his boy sidekick Boo Boo the Bear wears a bow tie. Ambrosia, I think the name is, in ‘My Little Pony’ wears a bow tie. I’m not one of the many men in the western world who are obsessed with ‘My Little Pony’ and have ‘My Little Pony’ parties, but I happen to know this one character in ‘My Little Pony’ wears a bow tie. Cartoon characters wear bow ties. That has nothing to do the minstrel shows. We are making ourselves a society too stupid to survive.  

Readers are invited to speculate as to exactly when said books became so “steeped in racist propaganda,” as the librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro claims, and therefore corrupting of children. Presumably, it was at some point after Ms Phipps Soeiro was photographed proudly dressed as the aforementioned cat, at work, with children, while celebrating the birthday of one Theodor Seuss Geisel

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