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June 2018

Today’s Word Is Optics

So anyway, there’s a large, lavish room in which wealthy and statusful people are giving each other prizes. Then, rather incongruously, a particularly wealthy and statusful person steps onto the stage and shouts “Fuck Trump!” At which point, the other wealthy and statusful people rise to their feet, applauding, and whistling, and cheering. As if something terribly brave had just taken place.

And those doing the applauding, and whistling and cheering, seem oblivious to the message being sent by this display. Specifically, that “Fuck Trump!” translates as something like: Fuck Trump and all of the people who voted for him.” Some of whom, perhaps many of whom, may have grown tired of being openly and gleefully disdained by people much richer and more statusful than themselves, their self-imagined betters, and who may find their only obvious recourse to such disdain is to vote for Donald Trump again.

Via sH2 in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

Do try this at home and let us know how it goes. || Giants among us. || Made of chocolate. || Kitchen contentment. || Cosplay of note. || I can’t be entirely sure, but I think he’s looking at you. || An interview with Heather Mac Donald. || Somewhat unimpressed. || A Muhammadan holy man speaks. (h/t, Damian) || “Khomeini was not Iranian. He was a Hindu living in Britain.” || Today’s word is burn. (h/t, Darleen) || On complicated bin collection. || Metamorphosing beetle of note. || He folds paper better than you do. || A cappella Deep Note. || “It sounds like your ass cheeks are too close together.” || The timing’s a little out, but still. || Intersection. || This happened. || The doomsday bunkers of your dreams. (h/t, Things) || And finally, fashionably, raincoats for your trainers.

Rise Of The Bedlamites

Andy Ngo on paying the price for other people’s intersectional piety

[Portland bakery owner, John] Blomgren’s chronology matches and corroborates [his employees’] version of events. However, having established that his staff had done nothing wrong did not alter Blomgren’s decision to fire them. “In this situation it doesn’t really matter that the two staff members working are not themselves racist because the call they made to deny [student and activist, Lillian Green] service caused her to feel like she had been discriminated against,” his statement explained. “Sometimes impact outweighs intent and when that happens people do need to be held accountable.” The bakery has since deleted this statement and denies firing the employees to “save face or to appease anyone.” 

If the word accountable has a perverse and sour ring to it, it should. “Dismantling the white supremacist hetero-patriarchy,” as Mr Blomgren puts it, is apparently something that small eateries should do now, ostentatiously, above all else, and is best achieved, it seems, by firing female employees for the sin of doing their jobs. Mr Ngo covers the escalating drama, and others, in some detail, and none of it is particularly encouraging. But it does reveal quite a lot about who such people are, the psychology in play, and the consequences of prostrating yourself in front of relentlessly spiteful “social justice” bedlamites.

The section on Cameron Whitten, one of Portland’s more prominent “social justice” activists, is also worth highlighting:

“I think he’s actually a sociopath,” speculates ‘Alex,’ a Portland-based social justice activist who has worked extensively with Whitten and witnessed his strategic use of baseless accusations of racism to take down opponents and manipulate allies. Fearful of retribution given Whitten’s growing influence, Alex spoke to me on condition of anonymity but provided evidence of their relationship. “He’s created a chilling effect in Portland. People are scared of him and no one knows how to intervene.” Alex expressed sympathy for Blomgren and said Whitten selects his targets carefully — mainly white progressives who are likely to trip over themselves when accused of racism. Some of them offer him money or career opportunities.

If you think the word sociopath sounds a bit strong, do read the whole thing.

[ Added: ] In the comments, Rafi notes that the above bears a striking resemblance to a protection racket, which it pretty much is. It certainly seems to have attracted the kinds of personalities that you’d expect to find involved in one. And if you encourage the credulous to cultivate delusions of collective guilt, and to contort themselves, abase themselves, in order to conform - and if you do it institutionally, systemically, in the name of progressive education - then it’s hardly surprising that moochers, narcissists and borderline personalities waste no time in exploiting it.

Previously, this and this

Yes, But Which Group Do You Belong To?

“On your interest in young men, particularly on the young male in Western societies… I think that’s your focus – I think it’s fair to say that your focus is on how men feel in society…”

“No, I don’t think that that is my focus…. I think the fact that what I’m doing is being construed in that manner is a consequence of the overwhelming influence of identity politics on our political and philosophical discourse. What I’m doing is constantly being viewed as a manifestation of identity politics, and so people talk about my particular attraction for ‘young white men.’ The audiences that come to see me – and I hate to even categorise them in this manner because it’s part of playing the same game – are very diverse ethnically and with regards to gender. The problem is that the way that our discourse is framed right now, it’s impossible to avoid being shunted into an identity politics box. And I think there’s nothing about that that isn’t reprehensible.”  

“You sound quite angry.”

The Economist’s Anne McElvoy interviews Jordan Peterson.  

The interview is by no means a Cathy Newman-level car crash, and is at times quite interesting; but it does, I think, tell us more about the assumptions of the interviewer, and by extension her peers, than those of the person being interviewed. For instance, about 43 minutes in, Peterson mentions sex differences in antisocial behaviour, and the types of bullying that tend to be favoured by women more than men. This is met with disbelief and indignation, as if this rather obvious and unremarkable phenomenon – the differing ways in which men and women tend to express aggression - were some kind of scandalous affront to womanhood, something one shouldn’t acknowledge, and indeed should lie about.

Happy Meal

A quick test. Can you guess the occupation of the person quoted below? 

OK, officially, I now hate white people. I am a white people [sic], for God’s sake, but can we keep them - us - out of my neighbourhood?

Yes, once again, via Facebook, an educator speaks. Specifically, Rutgers University history professor James Livingston, following a visit to the Harlem Shake burger restaurant, which was, in his words, “overrun with little Caucasian assholes who know their parents will approve of anything they do.” In this case, the children of unsightly and problematic pallor were sliding on the floor and singing loudly. Activities that no brown-skinned child has ever indulged in, and which, naturally, the professor felt obliged to racialize:

Slide around the floor, you little shithead, sing loudly, you moron. Do what you want, nobody here is gonna restrict your right to be white.

And nothing enhances the purchase of a burger quite like a crescendo of racial animosity:

I hereby resign from my race. Fuck these people. Yeah, I know, it’s about access to my dinner. Fuck you, too.

While the professor claims that his vehement dislike of white people, and especially white children, is only now official, readers may arrive at their own conclusions. “I just don’t want little Caucasians overrunning my life,” the educator subsequently explained: 

Please God, remand them to the suburbs, where they and their parents can colonize every restaurant, all the while pretending that the idiotic indulgence of their privilege signifies cosmopolitan — you know, as in sophisticated “European” — commitments.

So, to recap. Our white-and-woke educator is upset, one might say fuming, that white people - other white people, that is - are “colonizing” his neighbourhood. Unlike him, you see, those other white people are privileged and indulged, and presumably crawling with mites. And unlike him, they should be remanded to the suburbs, where they belong.

Oh, and by the way, here’s Jelena Pasic, the Croatian-born owner of the restaurant in question. Readers are invited to speculate as to how Ms Pasic might feel about some neurotic, racist wanker trying to shame away her customers.


Continue reading "Happy Meal" »

And Sometimes This Happens

The gallery says Lee Bul’s famous artwork Majestic Splendor (1991–2018) caught fire while it was being removed from the exhibition. Majestic Splendor is composed of sequin-covered rotting fish. When it was shown in 1997 at New York’s MoMA, it had to be removed as the smell made visitors feel sick. For the Hayward show, the fish were placed in potassium permanganate. Although it is not flammable, the chemical does increase the flammability of other combustible materials. On receiving advice, the gallery decided to withdraw the artwork, but it spontaneously combusted mid-removal.

However, “only minimal damage” was inflicted by the self-destructing art, the pre-destroyed magnificence of which can be savoured in detail here

Via Julia

Friday Ephemera

Classy lady of note. || In coffee-related news. || Thriller, deconstructed. || This is not drawing. || A robot that draws on walls. || Because you’ve always wanted one. || The cost of lowered standards. || The British at play. Yes, we all do it. || Footpath of note. || A famous fibreglass foetus. || Monolith action figure. “Zero points of articulation.” || It’s a suitcase and a mini-kitchen. || It’s a pocket knife, a bottle opener, and a pivoted USB stick. || New York, seen from above, in very high definition. || Snake attack. (h/t, Julia) || Ten hours of ocean creatures. || Camel versus cactus. || Excuse of note. || This. (h/t, Dicentra) || The Einstein Theory of Relativity, 1923. || Please stop noticing reality. || Meet the robots of Ocado. (h/t, drb) || And finally, a size-conscious twister overcompensates.