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August 2018

An Involuntary Transformation

The idea that nobody thought any of this through is an extraordinary admission… If you are having problems integrating people when immigration is at a relative historic low, why would you think you could do it better when it’s at an all-time high? […] It’s an odd thing to do, societally and culturally - to, for instance, without any mandate from the general public, decide to become something totally different… It’s an odd thing - for a society to effectively decide to abolish what it has been hitherto, and to become something totally new.

Douglas Murray, speaking recently in Norway. The talk begins around one hour seven minutes in. Via Simen Thoresen in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

The freshness is sealed in. (h/t, Julia) || Newcastle scenes. || Giant robot Pikachu rampage. (h/t, Damian) || Robotic sand flea. || Just another day at the salon. || Light vortex. || Venn diagram of note. || The Sounds of His Coming and other album covers. || Assassin’s cabinet, 1682. || Hail versus sunroof. || Headline of note. || Something error happen. || An encyclopaedia of science fiction. || Simple pleasures. || Unspoken rules, spoken. || Enriched. || Berezka redux. || Our betters in the respectable mainstream media. || The understated gaming throne you’ve always wanted. || Ah, my little dumpling sweetykins. || You want one and you know it. || And finally, as excuses go, it’s not the worst I’ve heard.

Elsewhere (281)

Further to recent rumblings in the comments, Helen Dale on the massive oversupply of negligibly-talented artists and writers: 

There are too many artists, too many people who want to be artists, and most of them aren’t very good… Meanwhile, universities (yes, you can go to university, rack up student debt, and ‘learn’ to be a writer) tell some people – depending on skin tone, sex, orientation, or something else – that as a matter of routine they have an important and luminous story to tell because of what they are… These people are everywhere in the economy, living hand-to-mouth and doing idiot things like demanding “luxury communism now.”  

Via Tim, James Delingpole and David Craig on low standards in higher education: 

When we were at university, probably one out of six school-leavers went to university. Now it’s about one out of every two. The number of people going to university has gone up from about 700,000 thirty years ago to over 2.3 million now… The way we’ve achieved that is not by increasing the intellectual capacity of British youth. For example, now, around 51% of all people going to university are getting in on three ‘D’s at A-level, or worse. Leeds Metropolitan University during one year had 97 courses for which you only needed two ‘E’s at A-level… We’ve increased the number of students with a huge drop in the bar you need to get over to get a place at university, and to be able to borrow up to £50,000 of taxpayers’ money.

There are currently around £100bn in outstanding student loans, of which, according to some estimates, 83% are expected to be in default to varying degrees.

Continue reading "Elsewhere (281)" »

Dirty Secret

Readers may recall our various, quite lengthy discussions regarding the desperately bohemian Laurie Penny and her enthusiasm for supposedly radical lifestyles, which often entail parasitism and tend to have ruinous effects on those born without means:

Laurie is following the standard trajectory of her type. Her status and career would have been much less likely without the very same bourgeois values she claims to despise and urges others to reject. If instead of a stable, rather comfortable middle-class upbringing she’d been raised in keeping with her own professed values – say, by a welfare-dependent single parent with multiple transient partners and no stability or commitment - I somehow doubt she’d have been able to spend time at Wadham College finding herself politically and playing “riot girl.” And I doubt she’d now be able to flit around the world while tweeting about how oppressed she is.

Likewise, her self-imagined role as a wordsmith revolutionary would be much harder to sustain without a great many other people cultivating those same bourgeois values and keeping things ticking over. A fact that Laurie counts on, despite her pretence. In effect, we, the bourgeois rubes whose values she rails against, are her safety net. The fact that few of us are credulous enough to take her at her words and follow her advice is what allows her to mouth it in relative comfort and security, knowing that the destruction of capitalism, marriage and the family unit (and all that would go with it), which she claims to want, won’t happen just yet.

Well, a self-styled bohemian type seems to agree:

I’m a Boho, and square society should indulge and appreciate Boho contributions, IMHO. But I also think that Boho values are RUINOUS for everyday people. Seriously: for 5% of us, living the Boho way is excellent, but for most people Boho values and life-techniques will wreck them. That’s where I differ hugely from my fellow Bohos: I WANT square society to prosper, to be proud, to do a good square job, etc. Bohemia (which I love and am committed to) is dependent on a vigorous, healthy conventional society. It ain’t the reverse! Don’t let me down, squares.

At least the honesty is refreshing.

Prepare My Bathosub

Right, I’m off for a few days, a holiday of sorts. Chiefly, it’s to attend a niece’s wedding at a fancy country house in the middle of nowhere, but it’s also an opportunity to not think about whatever pretentious agonising is in fashion this week among our self-imagined betters. By all means use the comments to share links and bicker while I’m away. And for God’s sake, use coasters.

Oh, and while I remember, via Dicentra, this. And via Damian, this

Elsewhere (280)

Heather Mac Donald on media dishonesties and contrived definitions:  

What do you do if you are the New York Times and 20 people show up to the white-supremacist rally that you had been breathlessly billing as further proof of the normalisation of hatred in the Donald Trump era? Expand the definition of “white supremacist” to cover a large portion of the American electorate and its representatives… It turns out that if you are for “immigration restrictions,” “ending affirmative action,” or “instituting trade protections,” you have been influenced by white nationalism and are embracing “policy issues the far right has promoted.”

And again, on biology, ideology, and inconsistent feminists

It turns out, however, that males and females differentially respond to stress, environmental risk factors, drugs, and disease, as an initiative called Women’s Health Research at Yale devotes itself to documenting… Such discoveries should be the death knell for social constructivism. Along with many others like them, they buttress the possibility that uneven sex ratios in various fields are in part the result of males and females’ different average dispositions toward competition, risk, and abstract rather than people-centred work (an observation that got computer engineer James Damore fired from Google). And yet, feminist social-justice warriors are perfectly capable of proceeding on several contradictory fronts simultaneously. Even as the director of the Yale initiative insists that it’s time to “stop treating women as a subgroup of the human population” (because women are biologically and psychologically distinct from males), the magazine and its sources carefully follow the conventions of social constructivism.

As Ms Mac Donald points out, “For academic feminists, male and female biology is either interchangeable or immutable, depending on what complaint they need to lodge.” The James Damore saga was outlined here.

Steven Pinker on feminist utopia:  

Continue reading "Elsewhere (280)" »

Friday Ephemera

How to un-dent your car. || The lost art of fire-jumping. || Interspecies communication. || Nommy nom. (h/t, Matthew) || Enhance. || Polly Toynbee, hypocrite. || Not entirely unrelated. || The umbrella on the left is the magic one. || On light and relativity. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || Rude elephant. || Build your own computer. || If English were phonetically consistent, it might sound like this. || Owen “goal” Jones. || Gavin did not reply. (h/t, Obo) || A map of Chicago’s gangland, 1923-26. (h/t, Coudal) || Girl Talk In A Box. (h/t, Things) || Male spiders in make-up. || And finally, “Evil is a make-believe concept,” say vegetarian cyclists, before being rammed with a car and then stabbed to death by jihadis.

Tipping Poison In The Ear

An unnamed New York Times reader asks, “How can I cure my white guilt?”  

I’m riddled with shame. White shame. This isn’t helpful to me or to anyone, especially people of colour. I feel like there is no “me” outside of my white/upper middle class/cisgender identity. I feel like my literal existence hurts people, like I’m always taking up space that should belong to someone else.

Times contributors Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, self-styled purveyors of “radically empathic advice,” inform this unhappy, seemingly demented reader that, “We do live in a culture steeped in white supremacy and class bigotry, as well as patriarchal values,” and therefore any comforts and advantages the reader might have, however they were arrived at, are “unearned, the product of corrupt systems,” for which “every white person should be ashamed.” “What you really feel,” they continue, “is trapped within an identity that marks you, inescapably, as an oppressor.”

Today’s words are abuse, creepy and cult.  

Via Dicentra

Clown Quarter Contagion

In the comments, Farnsworth M Muldoon steers us to this unhappy development

Male, pale and stale university professors are to be given “reverse mentors” to teach them about unconscious bias, under a new Government funded scheme. Under the project, white men in senior academic posts will be assigned a junior female colleague from an ethnic minority as a mentor... Prof Jon Rowe, who is overseeing the project at Birmingham University, said he hoped the scheme will allow eminent professors to confront their own biases and leave them “feeling quite uncomfortable.”

Professor Rowe admits that no evidence of “overt prejudice” against women and minorities has been found, but nonetheless hopes to inflict discomfort on those deemed sufficiently pale. As if, in itself, this would be some kind of triumph. “We are mindful that previous attempts at addressing such imbalances have not been successful,” says the professor. And so, rather than revisiting his own egalitarian assumptions regarding the distribution of interest, aptitude and talent, he and his team will be searching for witches and racial ectoplasm.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that the role of “reverse mentor” will attract people already sympathetic to the hokum being peddled, and intrigued by the personal leverage it affords, and who may feel an ideological obligation to unearth some damning but invisible sin, fairly or otherwise, if only to validate their own conceits. Which is to say, the so-called mentors – who’ve agreed to participate in a project that by definition assumes white guilt - seem more likely to be racially bigoted than any random member of staff.

The speed with which patent woo can propagate among the supposedly intelligent is quite remarkable. The pseudoscience of “unconscious bias” testing and correction has been repeatedly exposed as both laughable and pernicious - a kind of diversity Scientology - and yet it spreads, thanks to ideological modishness and taxpayer funding. And when minority students reject the excuses and woo being peddled ostensibly for their benefit, they may find themselves denounced by their self-appointed saviours.

[ Expanded via the comments. ] 

Friday Ephemera

London wildlife. (h/t, Holborn) || Interspecies communication. || It’s a chemical art. (h/t, Matthew) || “As languages develop, they create colour names in a certain order.” || Packaging of note. (h/t, Obo) || Debra Soh on transsexuality, fetishes and gaydar. || Nocturnal time lapse. || Heh. (h/t, Julia) || Her bad day was way worse than yours. || The big bitchin’ choons of the ancient world. (h/t, Pogonip) || For working dogs. || In Missouri, sideboob and underboob are banned in public. || Tapping tape. || “The size of Dan’s scrotum affects every aspect of his daily life.” || Holedown is a game. || She’s a druid, obviously, and a feminine chaos dragon. || And finally, I think you’ve got a little something on your face.