David Thompson
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April 19, 2018

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The mural was designed by the feminist artist collective When Women Disrupt

So edgy.

David

So edgy.

Yes, the name does rather betray a comical vanity, a need to self-flatter. And yet Professor Trope seems unaware of this, just as she seems unaware of the symbolism of a supposedly ‘dialogue-sparking’ slogan – sorry, an installation - that mustn’t be disagreed with. Again, “dialogue” seems to be redefined as deference, or compliance, or just stand there silently while we insult you.

David

Above, art.

Some background on the, um, installation here and here. Apparently, the piece was “sponsored by the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment.” Which is a thing.

The portraits beneath the slogan are okay – not outstanding, but competent. (Though I’m now wondering if they’re self-portraits, which would make things even more telling.) But any aesthetic quality is rather soured and undermined by the slogan and accompanying blather – about “institutionalised and everyday systems of power and representation that reinforce racism, patriarchy, and inequity” – and the general pretence of victimhood. All while basking in one of the most cossetting and woke environments in human history.

And if racism and misogyny are, as claimed, rampant in what amounts to a leftist fiefdom, what does that say about leftism and the people it attracts?

LK

Bar-On also pointed out that use of the term “whiteness” [in the "Dismantle Whiteness" mural] was counterproductive, that “by using the word ‘whiteness’ instead of ‘racism,’ ‘prejudice,’ ‘bigotry,’ ‘intolerance’ or countless other options, the mural fails to draw the empathy and attention of the very people it should be targeting.”

It's an example of the delenda est rhetorical escalation that Douglas Murray was talking about yesterday, with a plausibly deniable ambiguity about whether it's an idea or a people that are delenda.

Jonathan

Whenever the left talk about 'Having a Conversation' about a subject, it seems to mean: " Shut up while we lecture you."

p.s David, I can't seem to post comments on your blog using the Brave browser. I've had to revert to Chrome (spits on floor). Anyone else experienced this?

Tim Newman

The irony is there probably are some inherent privileges to being white, but anyone suggesting they exist will be run out of town by the same people who insist there are other, demonstrably nonsensical, privileges at work. There are certainly some advantages to being black, or Asian, that are obvious, in case anyone thinks this all runs in one direction.

David

Whenever the left talk about ‘Having a Conversation’ about a subject, it seems to mean: “Shut up while we lecture you.”

Absolutely, it’s a signature dishonesty. Our intersectional ladies blather about “dialogue” in much the same way that other race hustlers claim to want “an honest conversation” about race while constantly narrowing the range of observable facts that you’re permitted to acknowledge. Which is to say, the one thing they absolutely do not want is an honest and realistic conversation. What they want is deference on an indefinite basis.

PiperPaul

Hold on...

"Alison Trope"?

Surely there's an upcoming SJW event done by a Sally Monger or something.

David

“Alison Trope”?

I know. It’s almost too perfect.

sH2

“The installation is intended to spark dialogue,” said Communications Professor Alison Trope.

It isn't an installation.
It isn't intended to spark dialogue.
Students at USC are not oppressed.

Everything they say is a lie.

David

Everything they say is a lie.

Pretty much.

R. Sherman

@Jonathon,

I've had the same problem following one of the recent Brave auto-updates. (I've been flipping over to Firefox to comment.) No problem with Brave anywhere else. It may be a Typepad-specific issue.

Karl

The irony is there probably are some inherent privileges to being white

I think you are in danger of allowing the progressives (as is their wont) to redefine the more usual meaning of privilege as a statutory or legal right to that of an advantage or benefit, thus making it sound more menacing. Of course there are advantages to being white - you can more effectively synthesize vitamin D in temperate climes for example.
There are no privileges in my country for being white however, now we (yes we) have done away with slavery.

Please report to the de-programming box.

R. Sherman

Query the use of the word, "dismantle?" It implies absolute destruction, non? How do they propose to accomplish this, when "whiteness" is an accident of birth? Or, are those questions not a permissible part of any dialogue?

Nikw211

Yet, when someone else wanted to spark some dialogue with a counter-protest exhibit of sorts, that was quickly removed.

Well, yes – and so it should have been in my opinion.

While scotch-taping up the handwritten message “White Male Privilege Is A Myth” is not nearly in the same league as throwing red paint all over the sign and/or mural, or setting fire to it, etc. it is nevertheless a form of vandalism if it was pasted right next to the DISMANTLE WHITENESS AND MISOGYNY ON THIS CAMPUS sign (as seems to have been the case in fact).

It can’t be all that surprising that it was therefore taken down, surely?

I cannot agree with student commentator Shauli Bar-On’s argument that:

    If the true intention is to initiate conversation, then USC should have allowed this poster to stay up alongside the mural regardless of whether or not the faculty agree with its message.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it seems quite clear that the Dismantle Whiteness ‘installation’ is both nasty and gratuitous as well as devoid of anything even remotely approaching creativity or original thought.And past experience also tells me I have every reason to believe that anything resembling actual dialogue or an exchange of views resulting from the 'installation' would be the absolute last thing the When Women Disrupt collective had in mind.

But even so, mild as it was in terms of vandalism, there are better and more appropriate ways of addressing this than graffitoing it.

Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist

I fixed the poster here:
https://twitter.com/hector_drummond/status/986945136197357568

R. Sherman

I think you are in danger of allowing the progressives (as is their wont) to redefine the more usual meaning of privilege as a statutory or legal right to that of an advantage or benefit....

The redefinition of "privilege" is designed to serve a greater purpose. Progressives believe that all humans are fungible and that success in life is merely the result of random chance. Individual virtue plays no role whatsoever. Further, what we define as "virtue," is now declared a "privilege" and lumped in with those things which truly are random accidents of birth/genetics, i.e. one's skin color, body type.

The Left then shifts the goal posts by declaring that Privileges have a moral component which necessitates the holders feel guilty about possessing them, even though they're supposedly the result of random chance.

The purpose of all this is to allow the Left to redistribute--in the service of fairness, naturally-- the fruits of their declared privileges to those without.

Karl

when "whiteness" is an accident of birth

OK I'll bite since I've recently been thinking a little about this. As far as I can tell, beyond their usual trick of simply redefining words to mean what they prefer them to mean, progressive bigots are able to mentally separate being white from "whiteness". You will notice that many of the most rabidly racist of their ilk are themselves white, so they seem to have managed the trick in their own case.

Like many white supremacists of the nineteenth century who didn't discount the possibility that the negro could be integrated into human society at some future point, our modern day progressive bigots believe that the "whiteness" of white folks could be dismantled at some future date. Presumably when progressives no longer fantasize racism into every human interaction they experience.
So don't hold your breath.

Incidentally, I also do crock-pot recipes!

Karl

Progressives believe that .. success in life is merely the result of random chance.

Sure. When they're not believing it to be the result of malign oppression.

Jonathan

@R.Sherman.

Thanks. I've had no problems with other blogs so you're probably right.

Daniel Ream

Incidentally, I also do crock-pot recipes!

I've switched almost entirely to the Instant Pot. Who has that kind of time?

David

it is nevertheless a form of vandalism

I’m not sure why. The reply was taped next to the ‘installation’, not over it, and was easily removed, and in no way damaged or obscured its content. And although perhaps unsightly, some kind of riposte seems in order. I doubt that the School of Journalism or the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment would be willing to sponsor, or tolerate, an ‘installation’ that demurred even mildly from the horseshit they happily propagate.

[ Added: ]

I suppose it touches on a broader issue, i.e., at what point normal proprieties are inadequate, and one has to play by rules not altogether dissimilar to one’s opponents’, who seem to have the enthusiastic backing of the institution and use it as a fiefdom. As I said, it’s unlikely that USC’s department of journalism and communication would similarly indulge a contrary position, however measured, and so it’s perhaps inevitable that improvised replies appear.

It’s also inevitable that they’ll promptly be taken down, of course. Lest they corrupt.

MC

there are better and more appropriate ways of addressing this than graffitoing it.

Yeah, but fires can spread.

jabrwok

Yeah, but fires can spread.

That's a feature.

pst314

Everything they say is a lie.

Including the words 'and' and 'the'.

Jen

there are better and more appropriate ways of addressing this

Such as?

pst314

it is nevertheless a form of vandalism if it was pasted right next to the DISMANTLE WHITENESS AND MISOGYNY ON THIS CAMPUS sign

Expressing disagreement in proximity to what you disagree with is vandalism? Really?

Sporkatus

The simple fact is that "white privilege" rhetoric is a multi-faceted tool to enshrine undeserved privilege of another kind. If ones station in life leans strongly on inherited wealth and social status, nepotism, politics, and the plying of graft, it is certainly undeserved - but this is the case for virtually any Useless Studies individual at a prestigious school. A wealthy parent, school connections, involvement with any number of Young Socialists Making A Difference activities, and grants from a foundation/forgiven student loan debts or perpetual studenthood later, and Bob is ones uncle.

As long as the properly privileged white political youth can then turn around and say "what, all this? Found it in my box of Cracker Jacks. Because I'm white. Woe is me, the terrible guilt of my advantage", then all is forgiven. Worse, it elevates their virtue, casts blame on an entire segment of society (with extra for any not engaging in mea culpa - i.e. not them), and serves to oppress people who share vague elements of appearance with them. Robbing them of any *actual* white privilege by empowering others to tear them down, control their politics, and shove them to the back of the line in defiance of any merit.

It's all about a notional upper class of whites, legends in their own minds, concluding that those "of color" are not a threat to them, but those others... well, they could pretend their way into Our Society, and They're Not Our Kind, Dear, and We Can't Have That. Attempting to enforce class distinctions in the mantle of "justice", forcing the middle class down and elevating chosen pets.

There are few things that fill me with more revulsion.

David

there are better and more appropriate ways of addressing this

The third item here seems relevant. Because apparently, on many campuses, it’s not okay to be white, and saying so, even as a bit of trolling, some gentle and belated pushback, is “racist” and “hateful.” Something to be “investigated” by campus bureaucrats.

R. Sherman

It's all about a notional upper class of whites...concluding that those "of color" are not a threat to them, but those others... well, they could pretend their way into Our Society, and They're Not Our Kind, Dear, and We Can't Have That. Attempting to enforce class distinctions in the mantle of "justice", forcing the middle class down and elevating chosen pets.

All of that.

Or, stated differently, White Privilege never seems to land on the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port.

As it happens, the youngest spent the last year trying to decide on a college, which led us, yet again, into the jungle of federally controlled student education financing. I remarked to my wife that the real purpose of this was to destroy the middle class by forcing students and parents to borrow tens of thousands of dollars in the hope that somehow a golden ring is at the end of it all. Alas, instead of the golden ring, there exists a lifetime of paying loans and delayed success. Meanwhile, the upper class percolates along without those worries and the "chosen pets" get fully funded degrees in Grievance Studies.

Jonathan

It rather baffles me when leftists talk about 'White Privilege' in countries where white people are the majority. It's as if the real problem they have is that white people have any power at all. When you look at the definitions of 'Whiteness' and 'Patriarchy' given next to the display, what they're actually describing is Western Civilisation. If that's what they really have a problem with, I can point them to any number of countries they're free to move to.

Sporkatus
It's as if the real problem they have is that white people have any power at all.
It's quite alright for *them* to have power if they pretend to feel guilty about it, and exercise that power "reluctantly" to ensure that you don't have any. Because for you to have any would be too much, you evil bigot you.

And you're quite correct. Refusing to identify the benefits of Western Civ as genuine because their advantages have come by other means, they'd see anyone upholding Western Civ is a threat to the New Soviet Man and the perfected order - which has them at the top, quite by coincidence.

Western Civ is clearly backward and retrograde, failing to take modern diversities into account; in contrast to the philosophy dividing society into oppressor and oppressed rooted in 1850s Europe and basing its sense of meaning in the 1960s.

Nikw211

Expressing disagreement in proximity to what you disagree with is vandalism? Really?

Yes, really.

Is this form of “Expressing disagreement in proximity to what you disagree with” in any way acceptable to you? Or this perhaps?

Because to me those forms absolutely are not.

Of course, sticking up that handwritten note is hardly in the same league as those two examples.

But that was precisely why I was careful to point out that it was “mild” and “not nearly in the same league as throwing red paint … or setting fire to it, etc.”.

But if you choose to ignore that and only see and react to the word “vandalism” as if I had made no distinction, then you are clearly misinterpreting what I was saying.

Such as?

Making a formal complaint to the USC authorities would be a start for one. Alerting the alumni would be another.

I’m not sure why.

Although we can never really know what someone intended, the aim of posting that particular message in that particular place makes it hard to imagine what other purpose the hand-written note might have had other than to upset the apple cart as it were.

For instance, I would be very, very annoyed to turn up at the National Gallery in London one morning only to find that members of a collective such as When Women Disrupt had got there before me and had plastered Post-it notes with messages such as “Rubens was a rapist!” or “Velazquez was a white male capitalist whore!” or whatever – not on the works, but only in proximity to them – and otherwise not damaging the actual paintings.

I also don’t think it would come as much of a surprise to anyone if the gallery attendants removed them.

And yet that College Fix piece asks the question:

    Guess which one is still up? If you said “Dismantle Whiteness,” you are correct.

Although that question is rhetorical, they do seem to be generally of the opinion that it should have been left up and that there is something amiss that it was taken down.

I suppose it touches on a broader issue, i.e., at what point normal proprieties are inadequate, and one has to play by rules not altogether dissimilar to one’s opponents’, who seem to have the enthusiastic backing of the institution and use it as a fiefdom.

All of that.

David
“If you deviate slightly… you’ll be seen as a hater.”

Also somewhat relevant.

jabrwok

the youngest spent the last year trying to decide on a college

Perhaps the youngest would be better advised to seek out a trade school. Less expensive, more useful, and far less likely to propagandize.

David

All of that.

As you know, I’m not a fan of actual vandalism and I’m wary of embracing loutishness as a response to the ongoing Mao-ling encroachment. But… there’s something heartening about seeing the Mao-lings who’ve disrupted an event being loudly mocked and out-chanted (as at one of Milo’s events, and one of Ben Shapiro’s,) or being booed offstage (as at some recent incident, the details of which now escape me). Just as it was heartening to see the masterful trolling of the “It’s okay to be white” flyers. It occurs to me that to effectively deal with these creatures, and their enablers, a combination of tactics may be required. By all means press alumni and use formal, legal and financial leverage wherever appropriate; but some improvised encouragement may prove necessary.

Because, so far, being decent about things doesn’t seem to be paying off terribly well.

R. Sherman

Perhaps the youngest would be better advised to seek out a trade school. Less expensive, more useful, and far less likely to propagandize.

I don't disagree. The "problem" is, his achievements have been difficult to ignore, such that they outweigh any "privileges" he might have. My out-of-pocket expense for his first year will be less than $100. He earned it; he should have the right to do what he wants with what amounts to his money.

Of course, he knows that if he loses the scholarships, or if his degree fails to lead to gainful employment, that's it. I refuse to borrow money for clown-school or remodel my basement so he can live there rent-free and "find himself."

It's amazing how firm parenting can focus the mind of one's children. It's worked for the older two, so he knows we mean business. One more and our work is done.

Karl

Making a formal complaint to the USC authorities would be a start for one.

Hmmm, how best to signal my disagreement with the prevailing authority over their idealogical determination to censor my viewpoint?
I know. I'll write them a stern letter. That'll show 'em.

Hopp Singg

Facts are racist and oppressive. We need fact-free honesty!

[And we're halfway there, already. Sigh]

pst314

For instance, I would be very, very annoyed to turn up at the National Gallery in London one morning only to find that members of a collective such as When Women Disrupt had got there before me and had plastered Post-it notes with messages...

Well, I think that was pretty much what the Communications Professor did in the first place, so whoever posted "white privilege is a myth" was merely posting graffiti next to other graffiti.

Nikw211

I know. I'll write them a stern letter. That'll show 'em.

Yes, it will.

Remember 'Mizzou'?

    Freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus, the system’s flagship, has fallen by more than 35 percent in the two years since.

    The university administration acknowledges that the main reason is a backlash from the events of 2015, as the campus has been shunned by students and families [...]

    Tyler Morris, a white student from St. Louis, said he was afraid of being stereotyped as a bigot if he went to Missouri. So he decided to go to Missouri Valley College, “just down the road” in Marshall.

Any institution that makes it a priority to denigrate the larger part of its population while that population has alternative options open to it is not an institution that is very likely to survive, let alone thrive.

pst314

Yes, it will.

The track record, so far, has been less than impressive.

Nikw211

... there’s something heartening about seeing the Mao-lings who’ve disrupted an event being loudly mocked and out-chanted ...

Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm no Ghandi. I am certainly not against pushing back in the face of brazen thuggery. Tolerance has a limit, for sure.

And I am absolutely not defending the message of the original 'installation' (as I said above, it is "both nasty and gratuitous as well as devoid of anything even remotely approaching creativity or original thought")

It's just that I think there is a significant difference between removing a cheeky sign from a work where it does not belong and, say, the many instances of flyers advertising events (for e.g. Cassie Jaye or Ben Shapiro) that have been posted with permission in public places being torn down - sometimes literally seconds after going up by some malcontent creepily stalking the bill poster. That is something that has happened on a number of occasions as I'm sure you're all too aware.

I think I'm just trying to point out that there are so many actual instances of people with differing viewpoints being roundly abused and/or silenced that I just don't see the removal of that particular sign as being all that significant in the scheme of things.

David

I just don’t see the removal of that particular sign as being all that significant in the scheme of things.

True, it just seemed rather symbolic of the broader pathology. And a little mischief seems in order if only to signal to other students that, contrary to appearances, the game hasn’t already been lost.

Jonathan

..the many instances of flyers advertising events (for e.g. Cassie Jaye or Ben Shapiro) that have been posted with permission in public places being torn down..

If the poster of the flyer had torn down the installation, you'd have a point. They didn't, they just put up a handwritten note of dissent next to it.

It's ironic that when a display put up by the self-styled #WomenWhoDisrupt is um, disrupted, in the mildest way possible; pearl-clutching ensues.

Darleen

"Whites" are so privileged there are writing contests they are not allowed to compete in.

Or is that The Guardian just assumes that minorities are incapable of competing with whites? Poor dears.

Who is racist now? I forget.

Clam

the masterful trolling of the “It’s okay to be white” flyers.

Saying 'it's okay to be wh*te' is 'disturbing'.

https://twitter.com/OrwellNGoode/status/987003039843340288

Sam

Our host said, "at what point normal proprieties are inadequate, and one has to play by rules not altogether dissimilar to one’s opponents’, who seem to have the enthusiastic backing of the institution and use it as a fiefdom?"

Quite. In fact I think this is THE central question for the loose coalition of tradcons, libertarians, free speech advocates and the like. It's even playing out in this thread with Nikw211 taking the teacher's pet approach and others approving of the guerrilla art response.

The more brash and inherently authoritarian among our coalition call those who favor civility "cucks" and - without irony - ridicule the notion that one can and should have principles. While the neutered pets ostensibly on our side (eg David Brooks, every GOPer) take every insult and humiliation with a "thank you sir, may I have another?". The majority of the coalition of the sane is stuck in the middle; clowns to the left and jokers to right. Only the clowns are enemies in disguise and the jokers are race realist PUAs.

I say wake me up when it's time for the shooting war.

Daniel Ream

On my last visit to Cuba, I was struck by all the graffiti I saw everywhere.

Of course, it was all universally pro-Castro/pro-government/pro-revolucion, rather neatly painted, and clearly refreshed frequently, given that the sun and salt air had failed to fade it appreciably.

Sam

Looking at those portraits it struck me that traditional communist propaganda at least had people smiling. For a progressive to wear anything but a priggish scoldface would undermine the central thesis that they are terribly oppressed, and not going to take it anymore!

David

Saying ‘it’s okay to be wh*te’ is ‘disturbing’.

Given the chosen locale, and other incidents, they could be seen as having unwelcome connotations - unlike the campus campaigns, which were clearly a dig at “privilege” shaming culture. I suspect other, less savoury parties have hijacked the slogan.

Pogonip

Elderly Guadalcanal veteran seeks same:

https://m.facebook.com/SaugertiesAmLePo72/posts/1702779786423749

Pogonip

Hi Sam,

The hair, the Soviet-style eyeglass frames, the stupid pout—can’t they come up with a little variety?

WTP

On my last visit to Cuba, I was struck by all the graffiti I saw everywhere.

Not that it makes too much difference, but now that the Castro regime is moved/moving on and I presume by possibly next winter Raul will be either dead or irrelevant, hoping one or the other anyway, I'm thinking of traveling to Cuba then. I have this perverse desire, at least just once more before I die, to have the freedom to drink a beer, smoke a cigar, and watch a live baseball game. I understand this is still possible? In Cuba? Yes?

neal

Well I do not know about your side of the pond.
Here in the colonies it is war memes, dick pics, and boobs on display.

Seems proper. Everyone posing with what passes for a weapon.

I am getting on in years, and could use a new hat. Or a swordcane, whatever.

Frontier fashion. Protective.

Daniel Ream

I understand this is still possible? In Cuba? Yes?

Oh, hell yes.

Cuba is a fascinating case study, in that 80+% of the island's economy comes from tourism and they're trying like hell to make the place look and feel like other Caribbean resort destinations. It's when the curtain drops momentarily and you see the iron fist within the velvet glove that's so illuminating.

If you do go, make sure you bring someone who speaks Spanish. Unlike most other Caribbean islands, you are safe as houses off the resort and dealing directly with the locals will save you a bundle. That said, certain nationalities (Canadian, most former Soviet satellites) are seen as Friends of Cuba, but the indoctrination runs deep. I would be careful about letting on you're from the US. Practice your 'aboots'.

Pogonip

Karl, welcome to the Small Appliance Alliance!

Veterans please pass the word about the elderly gent; he wants to talk to another survivor and, since he’s 96, if there IS another survivor the quicker we find him the better.

Chester Draws

Sam, I am currently doing a tour of Eastern Europe. Communist propaganda is a personal interest.

Workers were shown smiling. Soldiers and partisans were uniformly grim faced.

It depends whether the portrayed person is looking at the future or dealing with the past.

What got me in Bulgaria was the chutzpah of the regime to complain about the previous regime's oppression.

The kingdom did execute particularly stubborn opponents and did close down political groups. But at about one-hundredth the rate, and reluctantly rather than stated policy.

So it is with white and male privilege. They exist, for sure, but not as policy and not with the grimness depicted. Meanwhile the solution, while shown as a bright and positive future, will be 100 times worse.

Hal

The hair, the Soviet-style eyeglass frames, the stupid pout—can’t they come up with a little variety?

It's a special deal. They get 'em wholesale.

Karl

welcome to the Small Appliance Alliance

Glad to be aboard. I hope there'll be dips?

ZZG

Workers were shown smiling. Soldiers and partisans were uniformly grim faced. It depends whether the portrayed person is looking at the future or dealing with the past.

The East German national anthem had that pattern, taking turns between the "turned towards the future" theme (strings, new harvests, children playing, the world rebuilding itself), and the "crushing the remains of our evil past" theme (marching boots). It's a beautiful, stirring anthem - listen to too much of it, and you too will know that there are deep and noble reasons for drinking ersatz coffee and spying on your neighbors.

Spiny Norman

Pogonip,

Veterans please pass the word about the elderly gent; he wants to talk to another survivor and, since he’s 96, if there IS another survivor the quicker we find him the better.

I just clicked on your FB link, and it appears a couple have responded (or someone that knows one) and they appear willing, and more importantly, able to pay their fellow veteran a visit.

For whatever reason, I find this especially heartwarming.

Spiny Norman

ZZG,

...you too will know that there are deep and noble reasons for drinking ersatz coffee and spying on your neighbors.

Now playing at a college campus near you!

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