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June 2019

Friday Ephemera

Patriarchy detected. They were “taken by surprise.” || The circle of life. || Altered stone. || I think not. || Enthusiastic newcomers. || Wine glass of note. || Where to put the baby while you use a public toilet. || Medieval trade routes. (h/t, Brian) || Important notice of note. || He spent 3 years building a pyramid of pennies. || Periscope spectacles for the height impaired. || More liveliness in London. || Tesla vs Lovecraft is a game. || Gorilla crow. || Glories of the 1980s. || Thank goodness the clever ones are in charge. || Always respect the media. || Always trust Google. || Entirely unrelated. || One and four, obviously. (h/t, Tim) || And finally, via Dicentra, things that will be found by future archaeologists.

Playing No Part In Their Own Lives

Theodore Dalrymple on choice, crime and the importance of punishment:  

One of the explanations of ill behaviour, if you like, is a kind of mechanical one. People have certain experiences and they react to them in a certain self-destructive way, as if their behaviour was that of a billiard ball being impacted by another billiard ball… [But] agency is extremely important. You don’t deny that things are more difficult for some people than for others, but if you deny the agency of people, then you begin to treat them as objects rather than as subjects.

There’s been a very strong current in British intellectual circles that criminality is akin to an illness, and therefore it’s wrong to treat it as something that people have any control over. And of course this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In England, the leniency of our criminal justice system - precisely, I think, because of our tendency to sociologise everything, to say that people are not agents… this actually promotes criminality… It’s as if criminals didn’t have thought processes like us, [as if] they’re completely different from people like us. But they’re not different from people like us, on the whole…  

It’s very curious how people say that prison doesn’t work because a high proportion of prisoners when they come out commit offences again, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere in a British publication that this might indicate that actually they should be in prison for longer. Another very obvious consideration, which is completely beyond the British intellectual class, is that the number of victims of crime is very much greater than the number of perpetrators. So each perpetrator actually creates large numbers of victims, and therefore it’s not kind to people who live in areas where there’s a lot of criminality not to deal properly with the criminals. We deal with criminality as if it is a benefit received by the poor, instead of what it is, one of the great hardships of being poor.

Mr Dalrymple’s views are somewhat at odds with those found in the pages of the Guardian, where readers are told with great certainty that burglary is “really quite inconsequential,” unworthy of punishment, and that anger at being burgled and the subsequent sense of violation are somehow trivial, plebeian and unsophisticated. Such that expectations of lawfulness and justice - and not being preyed upon, repeatedly, with impunity - are airily dismissed as “idiotic attitudes.”

Did You Pack The Jar Of Testicles?

Would a future women-only space colony have to live with that same fear? Would the very idea of a self-sufficient community of women so infuriate and threaten men that they would take it as a challenge to seek out and invade any feminist planet? And what about the frozen sperm?

I’m sorry. I’m reading the Guardian. Perhaps things will settle down.

If our future colony is reliant on what it can transport from Earth, stocks will eventually run out unless they can be replenished, which means giving birth to at least a few male children. Whether, in a matriarchal society without examples of male aggression, those boys would grow up to be the kind of man who grabs a peaceful protester by the back of her neck remains one of the great unknowns.

Or not. Never mind.

Readers may be tickled by the conceit that men would be infuriated and threatened by the departure from Earth of the planet’s feminists. And not, say, delighted. In fact, given recent trends, it seems more likely that feminists would be the ones determined to sabotage and eliminate any all-male spaces, while exempting themselves from comparable restrictions. 

The rest is fairly predictable, the standard template, with jabs at “jowly white men in positions of power,” and inspirational rumblings in which women “just take the sperm and leave the men behind.” This bold vision of tomorrow is then traded for a more modest scenario, a compromise of sorts, in which, rather than being “redundant” and eliminated entirely, men are merely “educated… out of bullying and aggressive attitudes towards women” - an education that entails “putting women in positions of power on this planet before we think about how to populate others.”

We await the Guardian article in which a male columnist, perhaps white and somewhat jowly, ponders the appalling nature of women and how they require correction lest they contaminate the heavens with their inherent awfulness.

Via Guardian Science.

Elsewhere (293)

Daniel McGraw on the self-inflicted sorrows of Oberlin College:

Activists on campus immediately concluded the arrest of the three students was evidence of racial profiling, which suggests an assumption that either the students were falsely accused on account of their race, or that Gibson’s [Bakery and Market] was happy to allow whites to shoplift but drew the line at blacks. I heard versions of these two theories during interviews I conducted with dozens of the student protesters. But, despite the students’ claims and the vehemence of the language with which they were made, police and others testified that there had been no complaints or allegations of racism made against the family business since it opened in 1885. Not one. […]

As the protests continued, Gibson’s annual revenue almost halved… Eight full-time employees were reduced to one, and family members have had to forego their salaries (and still do, pending the receipt of damages) since the protests began. The Gibson family testified that all they wanted was for Oberlin College to send an email to the community affirming that Gibson’s was not racist and to move on. But the school refused and doubled down on its support for the protesters and their defamatory allegations.

Oberlin’s decision to double-down seems in part an attempt to deflect Mao-ling discontent at the college’s own supposed sins of “imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, and a cissexist heteropatriarchy.” Having encouraged students to cultivate woke psychodramas at every turn, the ensuing hostility had to be pointed somewhere. Which rather speaks to the character of those involved.

David Gibson, owner of the besieged bakery, shares his account of events here:

Police arrested the student. But the next day, hundreds of people gathered in protest. From bullhorns they called for a boycott. The sidewalk and park across the street from our store were filled with protesters holding signs labelling us racists and white supremacists. The arrest, they said, was the result of racial profiling. The narrative was set and there was no combating it… The shoplifter confessed to his crime and said the arrest wasn’t racially motivated. But Oberlin College refused to help set the record straight by issuing a public statement that our family is not racist and does not have a history of racial profiling or discrimination. The damage had been done. And the truth seemed irrelevant.

Inevitably, Oberlin’s student newspaper lays blame elsewhere, denouncing the media and an “increasingly authoritarian country” - one in which “sustained and brave student activism” - i.e., vindictive hysteria and attempting to destroy the livelihoods of entirely innocent people – might become more difficult and even have consequences. At which point, the words that come to mind are lefties project.

Continue reading "Elsewhere (293)" »

Decolonise Your Mind

A title I’ve stolen shamelessly from Orwell & Goode:

A new superstitious belief has emerged in some areas of Mozambique - that bald men have gold in their head. However, the head has to be taken to a witchdoctor who will use magical powers to extract the gold - and make them rich. As a result, police say five bald men have been killed in central Mozambique.

Adjust those holiday plans accordingly, baldies.

Not entirely unrelated.

Friday Ephemeraren’t

I’m still supposedly away – you can see how bad I am at it – and so you’re getting another opportunity to throw together your own pile of links and oddities in the comments. I’ll set the ball rolling with a D-list celebrity’s approach to public relations; Apollo 11 in real-time; this, via Damian; a game called Dissembler, which is trickier than it may seem; and some miniature sculptures made of dandelion seeds

Oh, and how to peel garlic.

Almost Laughing At The Idea

“There are hugely varied debates within a broadly left concern about issues of social equity and social discrimination.”

Members of the LSE sociology department are asked a seemingly unexpected question: Are there any right-wing sociologists?

“A lot of sociology would be left-leaning… but not because of some sort of political bias, but just because of the way that we think.”

Via Amir Sariaslan.

Update, via the comments:

Great moments in sociology. More great moments in sociology.

Woe Is He

In case you missed it in the comments, here’s another illustration of the severely educated and their unhappy mental trajectories. In this case, Mr Anthony Oliveira, a writer and “pop culture critic,” who boasts of his PhD, in English literature, and whose pronouncements are, shall we say, very much of a type. And so we learn that, “queer people are permanently disadvantaged and marginalised by the capitalist power structure,” that, “‘the family’ as we now understand it is a capitalist invention and is specifically designed to exclude queerness,” and that, “queerness is incompatible with capitalism.”

It just is.

What, you didn’t know?  

Readers may pause to wonder how the passing of time will treat those who’ve internalised such woke theatre and made it their persona, their schtick, with the inevitable declaration of pronouns (“he/them”) and equally inevitable pretensions of victimhood. Such that being gay is The Defining Feature Of One’s Life, the basis of a career, and framed by default in terms of exclusion, “oppression” and being marginalised. What happens when the professionally oppressed hit forty, or fifty? Will they still expect the world to be fascinated by their gayness, their queerness, and its supposed incompatibility with a market economy? Will they still be banging on about it?

When you’re a teenager, being gay is, understandably, a big deal. But if it’s still a big deal when you’re in your thirties, or forties or fifties - if it’s still your primary identity badge, the basis of your alleged oppression and intersectional status - as if you lived in the livelier parts of Yemen or Somalia, while actually living in Toronto, as Mr Oliveira does – then the words functional adult aren’t the ones that come to mind.

Via Tim Newman

Friday Ephemera

These fine ladies are out of your league. || Unfortunate alignments. (h/t, Damian) || The cat ladders of Switzerland. || On the upside, at least it wasn’t cancer. || Our woke world, a snapshot. || Physiotherapy is ableist and oppressive. || Apollo 11. (h/t, Things) || The hazards of inattentive grocery shopping. (h/t, Obnoxio) || Shadow of a volcano. || Amazon review of note. || Teaching a neural network to drive a car. || Dawn chorus. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || Sweet dreams. || Marital duels of the thirteenth century. || One of many. || Lively scenes. || Parenting shortfall. || She’s passionate about recycling. || Apparently, the word honk is no longer permitted on Facebook. || And finally, a notable courtship ritual.