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September 2018

The Perils of Jogging

For want of anything better to do, we turn to the pages of the Guardian, where columnist Zoe Williams is once again unhappy and resentful

The tweeting began before 6am, as healthy, responsible people announced to the world that they were going to the gym for their 6am workout, and might go for a run later… By 7am, someone had posted a picture of themselves doing a complicated yoga posture on a log, and I was as angry as a bull. The problem wasn’t the hashtagging; the problem is with fitness itself.

Ms Williams, it seems, spends every dawn monitoring Twitter hashtags of which she disapproves and raging at the thought of strangers exercising. And she does this while writing an ostensible fitness column for the Guardian, the details of which she struggles to retain:  

I have been writing a fitness column for a year and in this time I’ve digested very little about what exercise does for your body.

Or as the headline puts it,

I’m not sure what exercise does for your body.

This appears, incidentally, inches above a reminder of the importance of supporting the paper’s relentless professionalism. However, there are some things Ms Williams does know:

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Friday Ephemera

Thrilling architecture. (h/t, Damian) || Lest we forget. || Labour Party Conference, #1 and #2. || Ladies and gentlemen, the Huffington Post. || We don’t talk about Papa Bear. || The up-nose view. || While they sleep, a visitor calls. || Vault of the Atomic Space Age. (h/t, Things) || Robotic, self-solving Rubik’s Cube. || “Stop gendering your baby.” || Bee cheeks. || Bum scratch of note. || A brief history of guitar distortion. || More professional outrage. || Professional tag. || Yes, but does yours tilt and rotate? || This thing here, on roadside hoardings. || This is one of these. || She does this better than you would, all things considered. || Scenes. || And finally, a certain Starfleet captain asks, “Have I still got the magic?

She Seems Nice

Feminist activist and Russian law student Anna Dovgalyuk has taken to pouring a bleach and water mixture on the crotches of unsuspecting men on the St. Petersburg Metro for their anti-feminist sin of “manspreading.” In a “video manifesto,” Dovgalyuk dumps the mixture contained in a water bottle onto over 60 men’s crotches. Most are too stunned to react… “This solution is 30 times more concentrated than the mixture used by housewives when doing the laundry,” she claims in the video. “It eats colours in the fabric in a matter of minutes — leaving indelible stains.”

Ah, feminist activists. Just like normal women.

Impossible To Satisfy, By Design

Bo and Ben Winegard ponder woke piety and its contradictions

Even Woke language for popular consumption is complicated by a quickly changing list of taboo epithets. Is it wrong to say homosexual relationship? Is it all right to say African-AmericanWill I be berated if I say Mexican-American? These changing prohibitions function well to distinguish elites from hoi polloi because they require devotion, erudition, and the right social acquaintances to understand.

Using arcane language and adhering to constantly changing norms about acceptable epithets are not particularly effective for attracting people from the broader population to one’s cause. In fact, they almost certainly alienate many average, and otherwise sympathetic, Americans, who understandably disdain indecipherable prose and elite superciliousness. Therefore, this signalling function of the Woke faith is actually antithetical to the stated goals of Wokeness (i.e., creating a more just social world—which requires a broad coalition of different classes of people).

Also antithetical to the stated goals of Wokeness is the tendency of its most popular preachers to castigate sinners instead of calmly attempting to persuade them of the justness of the Woke doctrine. Antithetical, but perfectly comprehensible from a signalling perspective. Those who are Woke don’t really want to inhabit an entirely Woke world without the bigoted masses; instead, they want to occupy a world of good and evil, of the just and the wicked, of the high status and the low status, of the elite and hoi polloi. 

As noted here previously, it helps if you think of woke piety as a kind of positional good, a marker of in-group status, jealously defended and forever in peril; and hence the unattractive desperation and crab-bucket dynamic that so often accompany such displays. For the woke, it’s always winter, but never Christmas. As Kristian Niemietz put it

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I Axe You

Sounding dim and uneducated is now, it seems, something to aspire to and encourage, especially at universities

A sociolinguist from Stanford University claims the way African-Americans speak leads to discrimination across the board — in the court system, interactions with police, education, and employment. Professor John Rickford says, “Black Vernacular English” is viewed as less “trustworthy, intelligent and well-educated” than so-called standard “white” English, and that “dismantling this construction is part of the fight for racial justice.” Rickford, who is the current president of the Linguistic Society of America, said the “modern-day racialisation of language” — which mandates that African-Americans conform to the white norm — has its roots in slavery.

In other words, bad whitey. Because judging people by what falls from their mouths – its comprehensibility, precision and so forth – is racist and oppressive. And if someone sounds barely literate, and uninterested in being understood by anyone outside of their immediate circle, then you should pretend that this is somehow your fault. It’s the way of the woke. 

We’ve been here before, of course, when CUNY’s Dr A. W. Strouse - an enthusiast of “social justice” and whose dissertation is titled Literary Theories of the Foreskin – denounced “bourgeois white teachers” and insisted that correcting errors of spelling and basic grammar can “make students feel bewildered, hurt, or angry,” and should therefore be abandoned.

A conceit that prompted the following:  

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Alien Shapeshifter Pretends To Be Journalist

Why female superheroes shouldn’t hit old ladies.

Yes, it’s the Guardian, a page labelled “Opinion: Women,” where we find Zoe Williams mulling the issues of the day:

The new female Captain Marvel does just that in a film trailer – Superman would never be allowed to stoop so low. What’s going on?

That’s this trailer here, and specifically, this brief scene

Apart from… some obligatory superhero amnesia and a bit of kinetic energy, the main thing we see is the Captain punching an old lady.

The punch in question is the most memorable shot of an otherwise unremarkable trailer, and as Marvel Comics enthusiasts may know - and as anyone within reach of a search engine could rapidly discover - the titular heroine is almost certainly not punching an old lady, but punching an alien shapeshifter, a Skrull, disguised as an old lady and up to no good. However, Ms Williams is famed for her struggles with research, even as a concept, a thing one might do, theoretically, and doesn’t seem entirely clear what her own point is. And so we must endure a rambling, barely coherent piece, jumping from Jodie Whittaker’s swearing to Germaine Greer and “gender fluidity,” before arriving at a conclusion. Or at least an approximation of one. Namely, that women being at odds with other women – whether in the form of televised debates between feminists, or female superheroes belting sinister aliens disguised as pensioners – is another facet of the Patriarchy and its relentless Male Gaze.  

You see, gal-on-gal conflicts are,

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Clock Ticks Regardless

I found myself despising all men.

In the pages of the Guardian, a dissatisfied feminist howls at the Moon:  

Life isn’t going how we thought it would. We’re being left behind and without the financial ability (or housing) to freeze eggs or go it alone, or adopt… The idea that single people in their 30s are all having fun is a lie. We are the have-nots and we are sad. What now?

In response to this mournful noise, the Guardian’s resident agony aunt, Mariella Frostrup, informs us that “society has not yet shape-shifted enough to fully integrate us,” by which she means unhappy feminists, and that “the seismic changes needed to make the world more bearable… aren’t happening fast enough.” The possibility that feminist expectations may not be entirely realistic - and that “despising all men” isn’t necessarily a great way to attract a male partner and live a happy life - are oddly unexplored.

Instead, Ms Frostrup rambles about “social justice” and “universal childcare” as “issues that matter.” Because feminists are so thrusting and empowered that they expect the care of their own children to be organised and paid for by some other sucker.

Somewhat related, this

Via Joan.

Friday Ephemera

Female wrestler uses thighs and buttocks to impressive effect. || Mishap of note. || Today’s word is placebo. || Our betters gather. || Vacuum, baby. || One-armed violinist. || Mushroom 11 is a game. || Furong Zhen is a place that exists. || This is one of these. || We are tumbling through the heavens. || How many hamsters would you need to power a typical house? || He is, needless to say, a sociology professor. || Cinema cats. || Chocolate kraken. (h/t, Julia) || Autonomous chairs. || Niche humour. (h/t, Ben) || Oh Waitrose, never change. (h/t, Damian) || Life imitates art. || Add feet to your arse. || “When you domesticate a fox, you don’t make a dog.” || And finally, via Tim, a little project for the weekend.

The Bedlamite Shag

One for Tim Newman, I think:

My friend Bear identifies as someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (often erroneously referred to as multiple personality disorder) which is integral to how and why they practice polyamory. They say, “I don’t have any illusion one person could meet all my personalities’ needs. We are very different. Different tastes, different hobbies, different things which make us happy.”

As I’ve said before, readers may wish to ponder why a publication aimed at fierce, empowered feminists – would-be remakers of the world - should presume that much of its readership has quite serious mental health issues


Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tim has some thoughts.