Previous month:
February 2018
Next month:
April 2018

March 2018

Friday Ephemera

He wants someone to help him wash his hands. || Jetpack Samurai. You heard me. || 14,000 Apollo photos turned into gifs. (h/t, Coudal) || In local news. (h/t, Julia) || Supply and demand. || More densely populated than Manhattan. || Made using Google Earth. || He does this better than you do. || And he does this better than your kids did. (h/t, Damian) || “Writer, teacher and broadcaster.” || Stealth SUV. || For fans of the mechanical. || Kitchen knife made of foil. || Frozen lake versus red-hot jackhammer. || Joinery of note. || Book thief curses of the Middle Ages. || How the Devil got his horns. || This depiction, seen as a child, has lingered in the memory. || This is one of these. || “Mine’s real.” || And finally, if you find this footage amusing, you’re a terrible, terrible person.

Elsewhere (266)

David Paxton on identitarian pay complaints: 

A pay gap between two men is the product of market forces, but a pay gap between a man and a woman is attributable to either the market or to patriarchal oppression, depending on whom it favours… Pointing at specific cases, highlighting a demographic difference, and then declaring discrimination to be the sole cause without further evidence, is a tactic favoured by those who consider themselves thoroughly modern... But this thought process is pre-medieval – an unreflective instinct of pattern-seeking mammals who habitually see conspiracies in misattributions of cause and effect. Just as infant deaths were once blamed on a neighbour’s malevolent witchcraft, and crop failure on insufficient animal sacrifice, today’s hashtags blame identity-group discrimination for pay differentials when perfectly logical alternative explanations are readily available.

David Solway, husband of Janice Fiamengo, on the corrosive shakedown named “social justice”: 

My wife, who for many years donated one fifth of her salary to charity, is anything but a heartless conservative, and I have gone out of my way to help people in distress. We do not reject the social safety net intended to assist the unfortunate who have, as they say, “fallen through the cracks.” But helping measures must be closely and fairly monitored so that the indolent and inept do not gradually displace or usurp the productive and the competent, to everyone’s ultimate disadvantage. A difficult task, to be sure, but worth undertaking. “Social justice” makes no attempt to distinguish the one from the other… The old saw that development grinds to a halt when there are as many or more people riding in the wagon as pulling it applies with a vengeance.

And Toni Airaksinen on the feminist appropriation of “toxic masculinity”: 

The term may have first been popularised by early forms of the men’s advocacy movements. (Not feminist movements, as one might expect.) For example, one book that seeks to raise awareness of issues that men face, titled Man Enough: Fathers, Sons, and the Search for Masculinity (1994), highlighted one of the earliest examples of toxic masculinity in the literature. “Without a “father in residence,” [men] may go through life striving towards an ideal of exaggerated, even toxic, masculinity,” the author of the book, Frank Pittman, said on the topic of young men without fathers. But the term has recently been co-opted by the feminist establishment as a way to scapegoat, blame, and denigrate men as a whole. In the college classroom, toxic masculinity is presented to students as a reality that affects all men, and is harmful to all women.

And so we arrive at the contradiction of feminists who denounce “toxic masculinity” as both all-pervasive and a fundamental evil, at least among white people, while simultaneously endorsing fatherlessness and family instability, i.e., the most obvious causes of the behaviour they claim to dislike. 

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

Your Children, Their Politics

Science may still be divided over whether gender differences are rooted in biology or culture, but many of Sweden’s government-funded preschools are doing what they can to deconstruct them. State curriculum urges teachers and principals to embrace their role as social engineers, requiring them to “counteract traditional gender roles and gender patterns.”

“Their role as social engineers.” And so, 

Two schools rolled out what was called a compensatory gender strategy. Boys and girls at the preschools were separated for part of the day and coached in traits associated with the other gender. Boys massaged each other’s feet. Girls were led in barefoot walks in the snow, and told to throw open the window and scream.

Yes, it’s faintly absurd and veering towards comedy. But if you read the whole thing, you may well be struck by the eye-widening arrogance and vanity of the educators, who, as self-appointed “social engineers,” feel entitled to “counteract” normative gender differences, along with the preferences of parents, some of whom have complained about their children’s subsequent behaviour.

Via Ben Sixsmith

Paranormal Beings Walk Among Us

Now hush and approach with caution: 

My magical practice is based in African Diasporic voodoo, herbology, and root-work. I came to these rituals by studying Black slave rebellions, and unearthing the ways in which enslaved folx used hexes and curses to thwart their masters.

Not entirely successfully, it seems, given the word masters.

I turned to these traditions most open-heartedly in the midst of Black Lives Matter protests circa 2014, when I started to feel hopeless and emotionally drained after regular violent confrontations with the police at demonstrations. By wielding these protective amulets, reciting these incantations, calling upon the Orishas, and working intimately with the plants, stones, roots, and bones of my environment, I began to feel more empowered.

Because when your behaviour is so appalling that you’re repeatedly getting into scuffles with the police, what you need, obviously, isn’t a rethink of your life choices, but a magical amulet.

Quickly, my focus in the Craft moved away from damning hexes against white supremacy to community care work and deep psycho-social-spiritual healing for Black and Brown people in the struggle. As a queer Black woman scientist activist, Queer Magic For The Resistance is what I’m always giving.

The lady sharing her deep, uncanny wisdom is named Iman, a sorceress of sorts, and an affiliate of Queer Magic For The Resistance, a “collective and political affinity group based in Oakland, California.” Because of course it is. Iman, whose “whole world is magical,” describes herself as a “scientist” and “emotional care provider,” a purveyor of roots, herbs and “emotional emergency response.” As when equipping the LARPing sociopaths of Antifa with herbal teas and “healing shields.” For her, she says, “magic is resistance.”

To reality, I’m guessing.

Friday Ephemera

Budget cuts. || Black Panther. || Bathroom essentials. || Will hospitals give back an amputated limb if you ask for it? || Embroidered bacteria. || It’s bigger than most. || 25 days in the life of a bean. || Boneshaker race, 1928. || Swinging London, 1967. || In need of friction. || San Francisco scenes. || Something on the floor. (h/t, Obo) || This is one of these. || And this is one of those. || Because you’ve always wanted a warp speed calculator. || While you pee. || Paranormal property. (h/t, Damian) || Popping balloons. || Thoughts on ladies’ fashion, New York, 1930. || Tweet of note. (h/t, dicentra) || Teatime view of note. || Macau, China. || Mussolini’s Rome. || Scrotum adventure. || An old machine from the Seventies, now far from home, stirs. || And finally, a horrifying shark attack.

You Just Can’t Please Some People

A North Carolina State University sociology instructor contends that vegan and vegetarian men are guilty of “upholding the gender binary” and perpetuating “white masculinity.”

Imagine my surprise

Meatless Meals and Masculinity was written by Mari Mycek, a doctoral candidate and teaching assistant in the NCSU sociology department, who argues that vegan and vegetarian men have reclaimed their “previously-stigmatised consumption identity” to wield power over women by framing their lifestyle as a rational, rather than emotional, choice.

It seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to, personally. But as we’ve seen so many times, the contrived agonising must never end. Especially for woke sociology lecturers who wish to remind the world of their own Brahmin status in the progressive pecking order.  


Continue reading "You Just Can’t Please Some People" »

Brown Science

According to Cheryl E. Matias and Paul T. Le, both of the University of Colorado at Denver, the belief that the apprehension of, and substance of, scientific discoveries is independent of whatever one’s skin colour may happen to be, is a problem. One that results in the spread of “whiteness ideology,” and thereby “white supremacy.”  

Nikita Vladimirov pokes through the mental wreckage

According to Matias and Le, “our science is out of touch with the experiences of our students of Colour and, instead, represents post-colonial discourses of White power and control.” “Whiteness embraces White ideology, and because Whites are at the apex of the racial hierarchy, whiteness becomes normalized and is invisible to those who benefit the most from it,” the scholars observe. “This is particularly troubling because the normality of whiteness means that Whites do not believe that they are actively investing in White supremacy or racism, which keeps oppression intact.”

And Kafkatrapping, apparently, is the apex of woke scholarship.

Because if you demur, or suggest that the laws of electromagnetism don’t dramatically alter depending on the melanin levels of the person doing the maths, then you just don’t care about “students of Colour” being “victims of deculturalization” and being “invalidated.” Indeed, you are “erasing the values and culture of indigenous people,” and are bolstering “post-colonial discourses of White power and control over people of Colour via forcing the internalization of Western science knowledge.” Instead, all people of pallor must denounce themselves as oppressors, embrace “other ways of knowing” and “re-imagine what science education spaces can look like.”

Sadly, however, and despite the assertions above, the aboriginal alternatives to Maxwell’s equations and commutative algebra remain oddly unspecified.

Somewhat related


Continue reading "Brown Science" »

Reheated (52)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

He’s Being Rugged, And We Can’t Have That

Transvestite potter says Bear Grylls is a bad influence, denounces masculinity as “useless” and “counter-productive.” 

It’s true that rafting skills and urine-drinking may be niche concerns and of obvious practical use only to explorers, hardy outdoors types, and people whose package holidays have gone catastrophically wrong. But – and it’s quite a big one - there’s something to be said for seeing people in unfamiliar and rather trying circumstances achieving more – sometimes much more - than they thought they ever could. Which is both the premise and appeal of Mr Grylls’ various, quite popular TV programmes. However, showing people that they may be much more capable than they previously believed, resulting in a sense of great personal satisfaction, is apparently unimportant, a mere “hangover” from more primitive, less Guardian-friendly times.

She’s Seething With Empowerment

Polite man holds door open for woman. Woman starts screaming.

No amount of public speaking or articles in the Guardian is likely to have much effect on how people in general may view the eye-catchingly rotund in terms of physical attractiveness. It’s a pointless endeavour, like shouting at rain. The more practical alternative, the one over which a person might exert some actual leverage, is losing weight, such that one can breathe properly and is not in continual discomfort, as the author admits, or not becoming quite so huge in the first place. Thereby avoiding the mental and emotional complications exhibited above, such as acting like a mad woman and bullying a stranger for being nice to you.  

Flatter, Mythologize, Rinse, Repeat

According to the New York Times, Laurie Penny is oppressed, and also a cyborg.

By all means take a moment to realign your mind with the notion of Ms Penny as a “cyborg” writer and in some way marginalised - “marked as other” – and struggling against the pressures of not being heard. Except of course when she’s on TV, or Five Live, or Radio 4, or when airing her various and bewildering concerns in the pages of the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Independent.

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

Friday Ephemera

Giant wearable woollen cat heads. (h/t, Darleen) || Feeding goldfinches. || Pigeon movie database. || Packaging of note. || Now there’s an empowered lady. || Snowfall in Rome. || The council at work. || A caption seems in order. || Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain. || Today’s word is optics. || True. || “Let me check your feet.” || “I check our numbers at the end of every week.” || Don’t give them the secret of fire. || Today’s other word is metaphor. || When your offices are mistaken for something else. (h/t, Julia) || Meanwhile, in academia. || The museum of obsolete media. (h/t, Things) || She does this better than you do. || And finally, in specialist news, “For a small number of individuals, farting isn’t just a taboo by-product of human digestion—it’s the primary focus of their sex lives.”

It’s A Fractal Indignation

Meanwhile, in the world of clown-shoe education: 

Saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes is listed as a microaggression on a lengthy “anti-oppression” guide posted online by Simmons College. “This guide is intended to provide some general information about anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion as well as information and resources for the social justice issues key to the Simmons College community,” it states, adding “this guide is by no means exhaustive.”

It does, however, have eight subsections and contains links to over 100 further sources of recreational agonising. Because the fever dream must never end

Apparently, the sneezing thing is fraught with oppressive potential because it implies an “assumption of one’s own religious identity as the norm,” and “conveys one’s perception that everyone is Christian.” (There is as yet no word on the injurious effects of greetings and gestures favoured by other religious groups, or on how offended one should be when, following a sneeze, someone says sahha or yarhamukom-Allah.) And that time when I sneezed in the checkout queue in a Marks & Spencer Food Hall and the lady behind me instinctively said “Bless you,” what she really meant, obviously, is “Convert to the one true faith or may The Lord damn your heathen carcass.”

Given the university’s Augean mission to catalogue and denounce all possible sin, however small and theoretical, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the act of compiling lists of things to complain about has itself proved problematic. Specifically,  

Labelling oppression with “phobia” suffixes is harmful, 

And so,

The guide’s authors explain that they replaced the typical suffix “phobia,” such as Islamophobia, with the term “misia,” because the term “phobia” is offensive to people with phobias.

At which point, the very fabric of spacetime began to boil.