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February 2019

Spent, He Retired To His Fainting Couch

Right, I’m taking a few days off. Call it a long weekend. A revitalising interlude. By all means amuse yourselves by sharing links and snippets in the comments and then bickering about them. I’ll leave you with some conversational possibilities, including an inadvisable solution; an activity for the weekend, the rules of which are somewhat unclear to me; some stop-motion cross-sections; a small boy’s sporting monologue; and, via Damian, how to spot a classy diner.

The reheated series and greatest hits are there to be poked at.

The Dunning-Kruger Diaries, Part Two

Performance artist Angeliki Chiado Tsoli is, we’re told, “interested in… contributing her knowledge as an artistic and pedagogical tool.” Her work, we learn, “explores the political, poetic and displaced body through actions in the public space, photography, video, sound, installation and experimental writing.” Further exploration is done “through a visual and mental poetic space.” If the magnitude of her labours is somehow unclear, we’re also informed,

Angeliki aims to… challenge the existence of social, economic, cultural, and class-based inequalities.

Do bear these things in mind as you thrill to the video embedded below, in which Ms Tsoli unleashes a fearless, selfless and terribly radical “intervention” at a crossing on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. Said intervention, titled Attempting to Reach Equilibrium in Times of Dystopia, is of course crammed with aesthetic value. A particular highlight occurs around 2:30 when a passing police car stops, resulting in a need to explain that what is happening is actually art. 

Continue reading "The Dunning-Kruger Diaries, Part Two" »

Friday Ephemera

A beginner’s guide to snake removal. || Just a little bit of give. || Bees want your tears. || Cobalt tarantula. || Lucille Ball demonstrates the Sonovox, 1939. || Backfire is a game. || Thug life. || Some very Guardian thinking. || Ping, pong and spin. || Step aside, puny humans. (h/t, Dicentra) || Opal uncovered. || When it’s too much effort to fold paper and throw. || “To prove their mousy worth, they’ll overthrow the Earth.” || Evaporating horse sweat. || Isle of Wight attraction of note. || Using wood. || Why cats don’t rule the Earth. || Always respect the media. || You don’t often see them. || Meanwhile, in sporting news. || Not cake. || And finally, via Damian, I’m not entirely sure what the protocol here is.

Reheated (54)

For newcomers, more items from the archives.

You Look Like You Need Some Art

In which we thrill to the creative eruptions of Ms Sandrine Schaefer.

The pretence of intellectual heft and critical discernment is quite funny, given the unspoken rules of pretend artists and their pretend art. Like practically all of her fellow hustlers, Ms Schaefer tells us that she “investigates” and “questions” things, and presumably interrogates them; but despite this allegedly relentless curiosity, I doubt that any specific insight or profundity is ever conveyed to her audience, such as it is, via the art, such as it is. And of course, we’re not supposed to notice this, or notice the comical mismatch of arch rhetoric and inept flummery. And so, in order to feign discernment, one has to not discern any number of really obvious things.

Don’t Oppress My People With Your Big Hooped Earrings

On the woes of radical accessorising at Pitzer College, Claremont, California.

It does, I think, take a particular chutzpah to publicly claim to be oppressed - by other people’s earrings - while spending more than the median household income at a glorified holiday resort.

Fashionable Malice

Woke educators attempt to inculcate dishonesty, bemoan pockets of resistance. 

“White fragility” is the unremarkable fact that people by and large don’t like being slandered as racists and then assigned with some pretentious collective guilt, the supposed atonement for which requires deference to actual racists and predatory hokum merchants.

Continue reading "Reheated (54)" »

When Bitches Gather

Kathrine Jebsen Moore explores the high-passion minefield of intersectional knitting

She was even accused of being a neo-Nazi because she enjoys drinking Guinness. 

It’s the tale of a yarn enthusiast who mentions her excitement about the prospect of visiting India, a life-long dream. And who is promptly scolded by the woke knitting community – a thing that exists, apparently - for being a “coloniser,” for harming “non-white people,” and for being “racist.” A struggle session ensues.

For many readers, the world of knitting activism may be unfamiliar terrain; but the dynamics on display will, I think, be quite familiar.

Update, via the comments:

Having read the piece, TimT and others note, “This is awful behaviour.”

Well, yes. The pieties of the woke-lings are nakedly ill-intended. It’s a malevolent little drama. But then, being woke is the latest excuse for archetypal mean girl behaviour, which may explain why “social justice” posturing attracts so many women. It’s the fashionable, statusful way to be an utter bitch. Though instead of picking on someone for having unfashionable shoes or the wrong kind of bag, they’ve seized on someone’s enthusiasm, their moment of joy, and done their damnedest to sour it.

As we’ve seen many times, woke psychology is not what it pretends. Not even close.

Update 2

Paula adds, “I read the Quillette article and all the original post and still can’t see anything offensive. What are these people on?”

Viewed objectively, there isn’t anything to be offended by. Ms Templer describes her excitement and says that for her, a young woman with little experience of global travel, the opportunity to fly halfway around the planet is “like being offered a seat on a flight to Mars.” That’s it.

But for those inclined to recreational grievance-seeking, that’s the appeal. The less basis there is for indignation, the more pleasurable the scolding becomes. It’s a twisted power dynamic, a form of gaslighting. And for a certain kind of person, making someone anxious and confused, and then making them prostrate themselves in public – when there’s no reason to do so – is the sweetest triumph.

It’s a game for budding sociopaths.

Update 3:

And via Darleen, of course there’s more.

Trump, Erections, And A Lack Thereof

Salon interrupts its usual programming – repeatedly announcing how terrible white people are – to bring us this:

Trump’s assault on the country’s mental health is part of a much larger pattern: the Republican Party and the conservative movement have, for decades, advanced an agenda which has hurt the overall health and well-being of most Americans.

I suspect the “most Americans” bit is doing some heavy lifting there. As we saw recently, those whose minds come undone at the mere thought of Mr Trump - resulting in alcoholism, divorces, the stalking of ex-boyfriends, and sessions with psychiatrists - tend to belong to a fairly specific demographic. One that, oddly enough, includes readers of Salon.

Donald Trump’s negative impact on mental health extends to the intimate sexual lives of many people as well.

We’re told this by Mr Chauncey DeVega, Salon’s politics staff writer, who attempts to bolster his claims by wheeling out some niche expertise:  

I recently spoke with Dr Susan Block. “Dr Suzy” is the founder and director of the Dr Susan Block Institute for the Erotic Arts & Sciences. 

Okay, then.

Dr Suzy, our high priestess of the erotic arts and sciences, promptly informs us,   

Trump’s campaign and presidency has created a type of PTSD — what I call “Post-Trump Sex Disorder.” Trump has created feelings of fear, loathing, and nausea. People just don’t want to have sex.

Dr Suzy’s pronouncements are varied and numerous, though her train of thought is, it has to be said, not the easiest to follow:

The news media is part of the problem as well. The news is full of stories about bad sex. They don’t really like to talk about good sex. When you have this media obsession with bad sex with the usual “all American” war worship and racism, as well as economic disparities and the way that corporations are in control, it really sucks the life out of a person. 

Apparently, the news media and unspecified corporations are behind it all. Stealing our sexual essence, I mean.

Continue reading "Trump, Erections, And A Lack Thereof" »

Her Womanly Woes

Author Lynn Enright is an empowered feminist - and is therefore crushed and rendered tearful by a commonplace word

I realised that by not using the word vulva, I was doing myself and my genitals a disservice… Using the words vulva and vagina interchangeably isn’t a harmless linguistic quirk: it’s actually a technique for diminishing a woman’s sexual agency.

Ms Enright invokes fellow feminist Harriet Lerner, who claims that the common usage of vagina is an act of “psychic genital mutilation.”

Elsewhere (289)

Via Darleen, Mary Hudson on the dirty secrets of ‘progressive’ public education:

There was an ethos of hostile resistance. Those who wanted to learn were prevented from doing so. Anyone who “cooperated with the system” was bullied. No homework was done. Students said they couldn’t do it because if textbooks were found in their backpacks, the offending students would be beaten up… I tried everything imaginable to overcome student resistance. Nothing worked. At one point I rearranged the seating to enable the students who wanted to engage to come to the front of the classroom. The principal was informed, and I was reprimanded. This was “discriminatory.” 

Somewhat related, this, this, and the third item here

Jonah Goldberg on the immorality of “social justice”: 

Among the myriad problems with this worldview is that individual circumstances are boiled away… Vast abstract categories of human beings are swept up into notions of collective guilt — or victimhood… Traditionally, a person is only supposed to be responsible for the wrongs he or she committed against a specific person. If Person A does something terrible entirely unbeknownst to Person B, it is unjust to hold Person B accountable solely because of the colour of his skin. It’s even more grotesque to hold Person B accountable for the things done by Person A if Person A lived 300 years ago.

Andy Meek on a modern vice: 

Robocallers and spam callers are getting quite good at masking their identity. They do this partly by “spoofing” local numbers, making it seem like a legitimate local number is calling to increase the likelihood that you’ll answer. That’s the reason, according to [caller-ID app] Hiya, that around 9 percent of spam calls a month actually get answered by phone owners even though they don’t recognise the number calling. Nine percent might not sound like much, until you consider the fact that 26.3 billion robocalls were made to American phones in 2018. That’s up 46 percent from 2017’s total of 18 billion.

And via Ace, some news from the world of powerlifting, an activity we don’t often cover here:

Continue reading "Elsewhere (289)" »

There’s Always A Bloody Catch

Tomorrow, Saturday, is this blog’s twelfth birthday. That’s a stretch of time I hadn’t envisioned when I started doing this. Back in February 2007, I had no idea what I was doing with this thing - and no expectation that I’d still be doing it, hopefully a little better, more than a decade later. I can’t quite decide if this is a feat of unparalleled heroism on my part, or just bloody-minded obstinacy.

Either way, it’s a tissue-thin pretext to remind patrons that this rickety barge is kept afloat by the kindness of strangers. If you’d like to help it remain buoyant 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 UK 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 twelve years, in over 2,600 posts and more than 90,000 comments, the reheated series is a pretty good place to start - in particular, the end-of-year summaries. There you’ll find the gaseous emissions of ecologically-minded artists; adventures at the arse-end of academia; thoughts on rioting and the left-leaning media; and much pondering of the thought processes of empowered feminists. 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.

As always, thanks for the support, the comments, and the company. 

Friday Ephemera

Today’s word is multitasking. A story unfolds. || Shocking scenes of Canadian road rage. || Redundant words. || CIA-issue rectal tool kit. For when you need to discreetly stash those tiny saws and drills. || Calligraphy with drill. || Crash heard, culprit detected. || Tone-deafness test. || Pop stars and their younger selves. || Ceaseless vigilance. || Don’t try this at home. || A drink and a show, in one. || Why women are often nesh. || This is one of these. || A Scandal in Bohemia. Starring Jeremy Brett. || When butterflies attack. || Making chains. || Maximum wife points. || You want one and you know it. || Local woman rendered in yarn. || Swell jelly. || Festive scenes. | Feel-good footage. || Or nearest offer.