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April 2019

Elsewhere (291)

Brad Polumbo on cultivated irresponsibility: 

During my final semester in college, I intentionally took a course focused on race, gender, and the history of oppression in the United States… The most jarring realisation: liberal academics define “oppression” so loosely that their victimhood narrative can never end… Each criterion is defined loosely enough to lend themselves to a kind of subjective self-victimisation. This is convincing a generation of young people that their life trajectories are beyond their control.

As noted here previously, woke piety is a kind of positional good, jealously defended and forever in peril. It’s a competitive gig and so the goal-posts have to move, generally by veering further into absurdity. And so we end up with agonised Guardian articles about being oppressed by free cake, and the menace posed by heteronormative pastries and spellcheck software, and about how men discussing barbecues is not only “oppressively penetrating,” but about as “oppressively penetrating” as a thing can be. And students with the moral wherewithal to resist this narrative may find themselves being denounced by their so-called educators.

Victor Davis Hanson on the social corrosive called “diversity”: 

For history’s rare multiracial and multi-ethnic republics, an e pluribus unum cohesion is essential. Each particular tribe must owe greater allegiance to the commonwealth than to those who superficially look or worship alike. Yet over the last 20 years we have deprecated “unity” and championed “diversity.” Americans are being urged by popular culture, universities, schools and government to emphasise their innate differences rather than their common similarities… Some hyphenate or add accents or foreign pronunciations to their names. Others fabricate phony ethnic pedigrees in hopes of gaining an edge in job-seeking or admissions. The common theme is to be anything other than just normal Americans for whom race, gender and ethnicity are incidental rather than essential to their character.

Taken at face value, “diversity” is the belief that the less we have in common, and feel we have in common, the happier we will be.

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The Inadequate And Resentful Should Not Be Put In Charge

Professor Child’s presentation was not explicitly concerned with space exploration or Mars, which is not surprising since her area of expertise is indigenous education and history. She told us that indigenous people have travelled extensively – specifically, by canoe – and mentioned some indigenous people who travelled to Europe in earlier eras, though not by canoe.

A panel of woke scolds share their thoughts on space travel - which turn out to be rather limited and not of obvious use. They do, however, have thoughts, many thoughts, on how terrible able-bodied white men are.

Janice Fiamengo takes notes:

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Thursday Ephemeraren’t

I know. I’m full of surprises.

Due to my having other commitments, you’ll have to fling together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. I’ll set the ball rolling with one way to spend that $3,000,000 you’ve got lying around; one man and his chicken; a moment of triumph; a display of woke parenting; and via Dicentra, an achievement unlocked.

Oh, and careful with that axe, Karen.

Dismantlers Of Patriarchy Dismantled

In niche eatery news:

A feminist-owned and operated cafe that made headlines around the world after introducing an 18% “man tax” on male customers will be closing its doors at the end of the month. Handsome Her, a vegan establishment located in Melbourne, Australia, will be going out of business on April 28, according to an announcement on its website.

It turns out that “brazen public discussions of structural inequality and oppression,” rules about women having “priority seating,” and serving turmeric lattes with macadamia milk, isn’t in fact the basis of a thriving business. Even in Brunswick, Melbourne. However, the empowered proprietors insist that the mockery aimed at their pricing policy merely “showed us how fragile masculinity is and solidified the necessity for us to confront and dismantle patriarchy.”

Via Orwell & Goode.

Friday Ephemera

If so, it’s news to me. || Woman preserves her late husband’s tattoos. || Two whole minutes of soul-wrenching art. || In Spain, turnips are being hurled at a man with a drum. || Capturing Death Valley. || Easy does it. || He does this better than you do. || It’s an awful lot of brown. || “His ideas about badgers did very little to make it easier to live in a dirt cave.” || Tim Newman on eternal hypocrisies. || “I care so deeply about the people in this world.” || “The short-term memories of monkeys have been improved by inserting human genes into their brains.” || These bees sleep in flowers. || Food chain negotiation. || Food chain negotiation 2. || And finally, in Kairuppala, India, it’s time for the flinging of faeces.

Don’t Oppress My People With Your Public Libraries

Further to recent rumblings in the comments, Captain Nemo steers us to the Twitter feed of Library Journal, a “global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators,” and which proudly directs its readers to the mental exertions of Ms Sofia Leung:

Our library collections, because they are written mostly by straight white men, are a physical manifestation of white men ideas taking up all the space in our library stacks. Pause here and think about this.

Ms Leung, an academic librarian, is unhappy that public libraries in the US, a white-majority culture with a white-majority history, tend to have, among other things, lots of books by authors with pale skin. This, we’re told, is an “interesting mini-eureka moment” that our Queen of Intersectional Rumination feels compelled to share. When Ms Leung discovers that public libraries in China and South Korea have quite a few books by Chinese and Korean authors, I’m sure she’ll be equally aghast. Every bit as offended.

Ms Leung airs her distaste for “white men ideas” – as if they had been uniform across continents and throughout history - while reminiscing about attending a “white AF conference” two years earlier. I was unsure what the “AF” might refer to and searched for some literary or scholarly explanation. It then occurred to me that a “white AF conference” is, to borrow the woke vernacular, a white as fuck conference. Which is how not-at-all-racist academic librarians convey their thoughts, apparently.

If you look at any United States library’s collection, especially those in higher education institutions, most of the collections (books, journals, archival papers, other media, etc.) are written by white dudes writing about white ideas, white things, or ideas, people, and things they stole from POC and then claimed as white property… When most of our collections filled with this so-called “knowledge,” it continues to validate only white voices and perspectives and erases the voices of people of colour. 

At which point, things get a little breathless and intermittently grammatical. However, readers may wish to ponder how synthesising insights from around the world, and from cultures long gone, and preserving those insights, in libraries, is somehow a bad thing. Readers may also wish to ponder the implications of a librarian and self-styled educator, schooled at the University of Washington and Barnard College, New York, and who is offended, something close to enraged, by the existence of “white ideas” and the “so-called ‘knowledge’” of “white dudes.”

As if sensing that her thoughts aren’t sufficiently lurid and unhinged, Ms Leung then shifts into higher gear:

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I Was Reminded Of Rice Krispies

In Snow, the artist creates an abstraction of a dreamlike physical and sensual act. We hear and see sugary snow falling and popping on female genitals.

Behold ye. We’re also assured that the artist in question, Ms Aasa Ersmark, will explode our tiny heathen minds with her “intriguing duality” and references to pornography, thereby bringing us within sniffing distance of “female desire, lust, pleasure and climax.”

For those now engorged with artistic appetite, an earlier effort, titled Volcano, can be found here.

Friday Ephemera

Ah, the wonderment of a child. (h/t, Holborn) || Assorted science-fiction dime novels, circa 1890-1910. (h/t, DRB) || Upmarket scenes. || How to make Korean ice-cream rolls. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || Iconic consoles. || Coat hangers, obviously. || She does this better than you do. || Art exhibit of note. || Technically correct. || Woke casting call. (h/t, Allan) || They found his skull and trousers. || Twofold Inc is a game. || If you snigger at this, even a bit, you’re a terrible, terrible person. || Always respect the media. || Mural of note. || More snuggest of snug fits. || Heh. || Effective but inadvisable. || “I am unable to can.” || Upscale construction set. (h/t, Things) || And finally, today’s words are escape velocity.

Saddle Monkeys

Should we stop using the word ‘cyclist’?

So asks Laura Laker in the pages of the Guardian, thereby adding to our collection of classic sentences from said newspaper. This is promptly followed by another contender: 

As the repair man rummaged around in my gas oven, I tried to explain something to him about cyclists.

Which perhaps conveys a flavour of what follows.

Stopping using the term “cyclist” has been up for debate since an Australian study last week found 31% of respondents viewed cyclists as less than human. 

Specifically, a minority of motorists have been known to indulge in “humorous references to violence against cyclists,” which is entirely unwarranted, apparently, and must not be allowed to continue.

It is easy to dehumanise people who cycle… because they often dress differently and move in a mechanical way, and drivers cannot see their faces… Public references to violence against cyclists are not uncommon, and rarely given the same condemnation as, for example, violence towards women or bullying.

It occurs to me that cyclists are more likely to be the subject of unkind humour if their behaviour, not their chosen outfit, is causing a problem, or is perceived as such. And note the bold conflation of actual violence with merely joking about it.

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