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May 2018

Friday Ephemeraren’t

Hey, it was this or nothing at all. But by all means throw together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. I’ll set the ball rolling with some balloons in Albuquerque; a dog that’s mastered invisibility; immune cell migration in the zebrafish inner ear; Nanjing, China, circa 1929; conversational robots; and, via Julia, some pulp cover treatments of classic novels. 

Oh, and the no-strings one-time date you’ve always wanted

Elsewhere (271)

Jonah Goldberg on “cultural appropriation” and pretentious outrage: 

Nearly every meal you’ve ever eaten is the by-product of centuries of cultural appropriation, to one extent or another. This column is written in English, a language that contains hundreds of thousands of words appropriated from other tongues. Just under two-thirds of our language derives from Latin or French. About a quarter is Germanic in origin. And about a sixth comes from Greek, Arabic and other languages… We are living through the greatest period of poverty alleviation in all of human history right now because countries in Asia and Africa have appropriated many economic policies and practices — free markets, property rights, etc. — that began as quirky artefacts of English and Dutch culture.

Douglas Murray on race and casting: 

In an era that is witnessing the politicisation and polarisation of absolutely everything, the realm of fiction and art – one of the great barrier-breakers we have – is also becoming a battle-ground for racial exclusivity and racial exclusion… Perhaps those who are attempting to push such agendas will at some point wake up to the fact that they are heading towards an almighty logical crash. For the same logic that saw Sierra Boggess [hounded] off West Side Story [for not being Puerto Rican] can just as easily be used to insist that all future Prince Hals or Isoldes should be white. Casting can either be colour blind or colour-obsessed. It cannot be both.

Kristian Niemietz on the media’s tongue-bathing of Marxism: 

If your ideas require impossible standards of purity in implementation in order to work, then maybe your ideas are not as great as you think they are. A good idea will still work out okay even in a distorted and poorly implemented version. That, arguably, is a big part of what makes a good idea good… Political and economic theories are never implemented in pure form, and their adherents are rarely impressed by politicians who claim to be inspired by them. That’s just par for the course. Marxists, however, are pretty much the only thinkers who accept no responsibility whatsoever for real-world approximations of their ideas. 

And the late Leszek Kolakowski on Marx’s knack for being wrong: 

What in the twentieth century perhaps comes closest to the working class revolution [predicted by Marx] were the events in Poland of 1980-81: the revolutionary movement of industrial workers (very strongly supported by the intelligentsia) against the exploiters, that is to say, the state. And this solitary example of a working class revolution (if even this may be counted) was directed against a socialist state, and carried out under the sign of the cross, with the blessing of the Pope. 

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

The Small Matter Of The Bar Tab (2)

Yes, it’s time to remind patrons 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, and remain ad-free, 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 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 2,500 posts and 80,000 comments, the reheated series is a pretty good place to start, and where you’ll find things like this, and like these. 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. 

Friday Ephemera

Indecisive motorist of note. || When tumbleweed attacks. || Underwater choreography. || “Cultural appreciation.” || What your tongue does when you talk. || Did Thanos kill you? || Incoming, duck. || Crushing crayons in a hydraulic press. || Hercules and Arnold fight over dung. || Sour dill pickle gummy gherkin. It’s warty, got girth and tastes of dill. || Lake traffic, Myanmar. || Some good grapes, man. || Gorgeous Teacher, 1965. Hormones, hotties and “Holy mackerel.” || Silent, kinetic sand-drawing machine. || Not, I think, moving at maximum speed. || Heather Mac Donald on campus psychodrama. || Little people. || Giants. || Snap. || Buddhist temples of note. || Before and after, 1906. || Tim Newman on toxic feminism. || And finally, from far away, here’s a snowstorm on a comet.

A Reminder Of Things Lost

From Wesley Yang’s Esquire profile of Jordan Peterson

Peterson is an apologist for a set of beliefs that we once took for granted but now require an articulate defence, such as: Free speech is an essential value; perfect equality inevitably conflicts with individual freedom; one should be cautious before attempting to reengineer social institutions that appear to be working; men and women are, in certain quantifiable respects, different. His life advice concerns the necessity to defer gratification, face up to the trials of life with equanimity, take responsibility for one’s own choices, and struggle against the temptation to grow resentful. How such traditional values came to be portrayed as a danger adjacent to Nazism is one of the puzzles of our time.

Maybe it’s a measure of the left’s influence and dysfunction.

Via Samizdata

Reheated (53)

For newcomers, some items from the archives:

Do Not Feed The Narcissists.

“Social justice” howler monkeys prove difficult to please.

So, to recap. Forty or so “social justice” activists disrupt a keynote address at DePauw University, holding signs that scold the audience for being insufficiently deferential to the protestors’ racial fixations and delusions of being oppressed. Being schooled in “privilege and identity,” and therefore suitably cowed and pretentious, the audience starts applauding the disruption, and applauding the scolding being aimed at them. And then those applauding are promptly scolded for doing so.

But I Am Not Androgynous

Salon’s Silpa Kovvali insists that gendered pronouns must be abolished. Everyone, she says, is a “they.”

Ms Kovvali believes that gendered pronouns and honorifics are an “outdated linguistic tic.” And not a useful, rather concise source of information, a signal of respect, and a way of clarifying who it is we’re talking about. Despite her claims, almost all of us seem quite happy to be referred to as either male or female, as if it were in fact “relevant,” and the demand for gender-neutral pronouns remains, to say the least, a niche concern. I’d even venture to suggest that some of us might feel slighted by the wilful omission of – diminishing of – our respective maleness or femaleness. However, Ms Kovvali feels a need to inform those less enlightened, i.e., the rest of us, that, “The goal is greater inclusion… to be respectful to those we write about, and to be clear to our readers.” By risking affront on a daily basis and introducing a clumsy and needless ambiguity. Because vagueness is the new clarity.

It’s A Fascist Groove Thang

Leftist students indulge in thuggery. Laurie Penny lies about it.

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