Previous month:
October 2017
Next month:
December 2017

November 2017

I Fear Corners May Have Been Cut

At Ballou High School, Washington, DC, it would appear that miracles happen:

Teachers... say they often had students on their rosters they barely knew because the students almost never attended class.

And yet, this year, every student of suitable age, including those who were absent more often than in class, has somehow graduated and been accepted by a college or university. At a school were only 3% of students were deemed proficient in reading, where the average SAT score is 782 out of 1600, and where, according to one teacher, those who do attend, in the loosest possible sense, “roam the halls with impunity.”

Of course I use the word graduated in the same entirely bogus way favoured by the school’s administrators.

Via Rafi. 

I Don’t Think Goodwill Is Meant To Smell Like That

More lifting from the comments, where, following this post, we were discussing how to spot good intentions, however dire their actual consequences:

If we set aside the explicitly sadistic and murderous fantasies of Marx and Engels, and Lenin and Trotsky and all the others, I suppose we have to ask whether the claim of benevolence and altruism, or the delusion of such, signifies actual benevolence and altruism, or whether it can be used as camouflage, a fig leaf, for something else entirely.

What if someone - say, a politician and supposed intellectual - wants to confiscate even more of other people’s earnings and wants to do this regardless of whether such confiscation would have the social benefits they claimed it would have, even if it makes their stated objective impossible. Are we to trust in their self-image as a person of unassailable virtue?

And what about these guys here, the ones who want to compel us to live more simply, as they conceive it, and who claim, apparently in all seriousness, that not permitting us to own the “dispensable accoutrements of middle-class life,” including “cars, holidays, electronic equipment and multiple items of clothing,” will make us “better neighbours,” “better parents” and better people? Do you trust their stated motives - of “healing” us, and curing us of our acquisitiveness - and do you trust their self-image as benevolent and just?

And when a Guardian columnist rages against a random family in the neighbourhood, about whom she knows nothing beyond the size and amenities of their home, and then exults, proudly and in print, at the thought of that random family’s downfall and suffering, and at the thought of the “aggressive redistribution” of their belongings, and that Guardian columnist tells us how pleasing this will be and that she just “can’t wait,” are we to believe that her motives are selfless and high-minded?

Readers are invited to fathom the intentions in play behind each of the above examples.

Elsewhere (255)

Further to this Kafkaesque episode, Lindsay Shepherd explains the difficulties of dealing with the Mao-ling mentality

I know absolutely nothing [about my accuser or the accusation]. I don’t know how many people complained; I don’t know if it’s something specific that I said or that was in the [Jordan Peterson] clip; or something even that someone in the class said. Currently, the Rainbow Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University is demanding an apology from me… but first I feel I need to know… what am I apologising for?

Henry George on the Clown Quarter’s pathological coddling and its strange selectivity

King’s College London has made impressive new strides in its efforts to be crowned “social justice warrior college of the year.” As of this term, the King’s College London Student’s Union is paying what it calls ‘safe space marshals’ to attend speaking events and sit in the audience to protect the attendees from speech that might prove offensive or uncomfortable, with instructions to intervene at the first sign of wrongthink… The first speaker to enjoy this new form of policing was the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is, of course, considered a dire threat to student safety and wellbeing… This raises the question of whether or not these ‘safe space marshals’ would have intervened when the university’s Islamic Society hosted a speaker who failed to condemn stoning for adultery, calling it as merciful as euthanasia earlier this year.

And Jordan Peterson on the psychology of leftism

Hatred turns out to be a very powerful motivation. If you think about the sorts of things that happened in the Soviet Union, all these places that were supposed to be workers’ paradises - if you look at the outcomes and you had to infer whether it was goodness of heart and care for the working man that produced the genocides, or outright bitter resentment and hatred, it’s a lot easier to draw a causal path from the negative emotions to the outcome than from kind-hearted benevolence. You just don’t get gulags out of benevolence.

As noted here before and illustrated at length, 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. And it seems to me that when your chosen means of expressing piety and high motives include terrorising a lone female driver, picked at random, and trying to smash her car’s windscreen into her face while videoing her distress, then some self-reflection may be in order. And likewise, when Black Lives Matter activists and “social justice” juggernauts deliberately and laughingly obstruct ambulances and other emergency vehicles, and endanger the lives of random people, while giving the ambulance drivers the finger, this doesn’t exactly indicate some lofty moral purpose.

It does, however, tell the rest of us, quite vividly, what you are.

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

Friday Ephemera

Code brown and hairy. || Tricky conditions. || A delicate touch. (h/t, Obnoxio) || Today’s word is segue. (h/t, Ben) || In defiance of gravity. || An ongoing index of every physical record shop. || Pastries of note. || It’s a price she’s willing to pay. || Every bloody time. (h/t, Holborn) || When you’ve never held a baby before. || Bookmark of note. (h/t, Damian) || Animated collages. || Cross-cultural bonding. || His computer case modification is more ambitious than yours. || How to de-crumple a paper balloon. || The thrilling world of icicles. || Hand-carved wooden toys of note. || Cinemagraphic waves. || When victimhood is currency, strange things will happen. || And finally, artistically, his self-portrait-done-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-canvas-using-a-mirror is more impressive than yours.

Sow’s Ear

Lifted from the comments, some scenes from the University of California, Irvine, where great minds reveal themselves

Resistance is saying “fuck this,” you know, “fuck the police,” or whoever the fuck you invited over here and then listen to us, listen to what we’re saying. And we’re not just talking out of our ass, like we’re smart as fuck, you know what I mean? We read books, and we know shit; we know statistics. 

Oh, there’s video and everything. 

The Absurd And The Sinister Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

I understand your positionality… but the reality is it has created a toxic climate… an unsafe learning environment for students… It’s like neutrally playing a speech by Hitler.

That feeling when you’re a teaching assistant and in your communications class you play a Jordan Peterson clip about pronouns and freedom of speech, hoping to spur discussion, and you then get reported and hauled in front of faculty and the manager of the university’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Office for a ritual scolding, during which you’re accused of remaining politically neutral, which is deemed both a “problem” and in itself “threatening,” before being accused of “gender-based violence.”

The teaching assistant in question, Lindsay Shepherd, has, at the time of writing, been allowed to keep her teaching position at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, but must now file copies of her lesson plans in advance for vetting and must allow faculty members to sit in on her sessions as and when they wish. Presumably, to head off any further political neutrality

Readers can watch the Peterson clip here and are invited to report back on any “gender-based violence” they incur simply by watching it.

Update, via the comments: 

Continue reading "The Absurd And The Sinister Aren’t Mutually Exclusive" »

Anger Management

Tariq Khan is a PhD candidate at the University [of Illinois] and has taught courses such as “Constructing Race in America” and “U.S. Gender History since 1877.” He is also involved with various anarchist and communist organisations including Black Rose Anarchist Federation and Antifa, in addition to working with the undergraduate socialist students.

And this graduate instructor’s mental state is not at all in question.

Friday Ephemera

Interrupted house. (h/t, Captain Nemo) || Continue the research. (h/t, Damian) || Re:scam is a service to irritate scammers. || She mingles and hobnobs like you wouldn’t believe. (h/t, Simen) || On H Tracy Hall and the invention of the synthetic diamond. || Deadpool 2. || Shoreditch. (h/t, Holborn) || Crabs of note. (h/t, dicentra) || When you need a fancier axe. || 1939 New York World’s Fair. || Because being a student is so terribly fatiguing. || What to do if your parachute fails. || Iron powder. || Translucent pumpkin pie. || “I travelled across the whole entire world for this.” || One for the ladies. Note the subtle change of title. || So does this count as “social justice”? || And finally, intimately, “Tatiana can see out of both of Krista’s eyes, while Krista can only see out of one of Tatiana’s.”

Elsewhere (254)

Law professor Adam MacLeod on undoing the ‘progressive’ miseducation of his students: 

Slapping a label on the box without first opening the box and examining its contents is a form of cheating. Worse, it prevents you from discovering the treasures hidden inside the box. For example, when we discussed the Code of Hammurabi, some of you wanted to slap labels on what you read [“classist,” “racist,”] which enabled you to convince yourself that you had nothing to learn from ancient Babylonians. But when we peeled off the labels and looked carefully inside the box, we discovered several surprising truths.

Related: “Who is this Mozart?”  

Michael Walsh on the real-world destination of “social justice” activism: 

In the aftermath of the Ferguson riots in Missouri and the Freddie Gray fiasco in Baltimore, the decriminalisation of crime in the name of “social justice” - long a goal of the cultural-Marxist Left - got fully underway. The result was exactly what anyone not fully invested in Critical Theory would have expected… Baltimore is a prime example of what happens when citizens are categorised by skin colour or cultural background, and then have differing standards of behaviour applied to them by what should be an impartial justice system. Instead of “social justice,” the outcome is social disruption, mistrust, resentment and lawlessness.

If violent and predatory behaviour has consequences only for the victim, then the situation is unlikely to improve

And David Cole on gentrification, its opponents, and the kind of nakedly racial animus that’s apparently okay: 

Activists [in Pilsen, Chicago] protested the opening of a new restaurant in the neighbourhood. The owners of the eatery, named S.K.Y., are accused of “gentrifying” the neighbourhood with their presence. So of course the activists responded by defacing the building, threatening the staff, and blocking people from entering… But the chef-owner of S.K.Y., Stephen Gillanders, is baffled. His meals start at $7, hardly the stuff of billionaire foodies. So why the resistance from the locals? Well, it turns out that Gillanders is Filipino and his wife is Korean.

Media reports that have mentioned Gillanders’ race have suggested that it’s somehow odd that the activists are attacking a fellow minority… [But] the activists speak again and again of keeping Pilsen “Mexican.” Not “diverse,” not “rainbow,” but Mexican. In fact, CBS Chicago reported that it isn’t just Gillanders’ business that’s being targeted. The protesters are “demanding that non-Mexican owners here [at S.K.Y.] and across the street get out of Pilsen.” Viva la Raza! There’s your identity politics, leftists. This is the logical conclusion of the race-centred worldview that the left encourages non-whites to embrace.

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