January 23, 2018
Further to the recent, eye-widening exchange between Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman, Conor Friedersdorf on scandalous paraphrasing:
In the interview, Newman relies on this technique [of perverse rephrasing] to a remarkable extent, making it a useful illustration of a much broader pernicious trend. Peterson was not evasive or unwilling to be clear about his meaning. And Newman’s exaggerated restatements of his views mostly led viewers astray, not closer to the truth… One of the most important things this interview illustrates — one reason it is worth noting at length — is how Newman repeatedly poses as if she is holding a controversialist accountable, when in fact, for the duration of the interview, it is she that is “stirring things up” and “whipping people into a state of anger.”
Fabian Tassano on “critical thinking”:
It is interesting that the scholars feel able to announce in advance, on behalf of their own students, and the students of other history tutors at Oxford, a decision on whether students will engage with the [Ethics and Empire] project. One might think that the ability to “think critically” would include openness to ideas from heterodox perspectives, as well as the capacity to decide for oneself, independently of one’s tutors, whether a source of information is worthy of consideration. One has to remember, however, that the word “critical” may have a special technical meaning in the context of the humanities.
Via Claire Lehmann, Kerryn Pholi on Aboriginal taboos:
Those who mourn the demise of Aboriginal culture almost always regard things from the viewpoint of the men, who were indeed dispossessed of their land, and subsequently their traditions and status. Land wasn’t the only item of property they lost, however. They also lost or traded their women to the settlers, and this absorption – along with frontier warfare and disease – rapidly eroded tribal structures and doomed Aboriginal traditions to obsolescence. The settlers arrived with a wealth of goods and a shortage of females, and they were generally less enthusiastic about beating women than was customary in Aboriginal culture… The men lost a lot in the invasion, while the women had little to lose and plenty to gain.
And Joe Katzman on leftism as a never-ending status game:
Do you have any doubt about the left’s hatred for those who will not stay in their assigned status? Have you noticed their quickness to turn on their own allies? Fail to follow the latest fad, and your status is demoted. Perhaps you’ve noticed that endlessly callous virtue signalling is the identifying badge of our modern try-hard Striver Class. Maybe that’s because American public education is now a 20-year Milgram Experiment, where the meta-message inside political correctness is to override your own judgement, in favour of deliberately-shifting judgements from people with higher status. These aren’t accidents. They’re clues.
Very much related, the second item here.
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