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December 2019

The Year Reheated

In which we marvel at the mental contortions of our self-imagined betters.

The year began with several displays of exquisite sensitivity by our woke betters, including the “poet and essayist” Rashaad Thomas, who managed to take umbrage at an old photograph in a restaurant, a photograph of miners drinking beer while covered in coal dust, which Mr Thomas promptly construed as “blackface,” a message of “whites only,” and therefore a “threat” to his wellbeing. And Zack Ford, the “LGBTQ Editor” at ThinkProgress, was traumatised by crime news. Specifically, on hearing that a woman alone at a bus stop in Chicago was able to defend herself from an armed mugger on account of herself being armed and shooting her attacker. According to Mr Ford, who declares himself a “proud SJW,” women being attacked on their way to work should not attempt to defend themselves: “If she had let him rob her, even at gunpoint, both likely would have survived.” And apparently, the well-being of the mugger – who was mugging while on probation - trumps any imperative for self-defence, even if the victim fears for her life. 

In February, we learned how to “shatter capitalism” and explode “fragile masculinities” with emojis, courtesy of the scrupulously woke Vice magazine, which, in entirely unrelated news, was simultaneously laying off hundreds of scrupulously woke employees. We also marvelled at the the creative outpourings of Ms Angeliki Chiado Tsoli, whose attempt to “challenge the existence of social, economic, cultural, and class-based inequalities” is both difficult to describe and a thing to behold. Other delights included the discovery of intersectional knitting, a subculture in which the merest deviation from the latest woke pieties can result in staggering levels of spite. And we mustn’t forget the news, courtesy of Salon, that many progressives are now suffering from “Post-Trump Sex Disorder.

In March we encountered Dr Deborah Cohan, a mistress of “embodied medicine” and “shamanic healing” employed by the University of California, and who rails against the “tendrils of white supremacy” - the ones in her head, presumably - while indulging in a kind of theatrical ethno-masochism. Such that we’re told, quite emphatically, that white doctors are a clear and obvious danger to non-white patients: “Health care is not safe for people of colour as long as the overwhelming majority of U.S. physicians are white.” A claim one might categorise as paranoid, invidious and wildly irresponsible. Though it did rather highlight the overlap of wokeness and ludicrous New Age woo

Dr Charlotte Riley, currently employed by the University of Southampton, unveiled her latest feminist innovation, which she titled Patriarchy Chicken, and which entails deliberately and repeatedly colliding with random male commuters. For the Sisterhood, you see. Mr Claude Boudeau thrilled us with his seemingly limitless artistic talents, namely a performance piece titled Cascade. We also witnessed the phenomenon of Brookylnite lefties in search of love via a socialist-only dating platform, with the fiercely egalitarian declaring their revolutionary ambitions to each other, along with their preferred pronouns and various mental health issues. Alas, said platform has not proved an enormous success, resulting instead in disgruntlement, mutual loathing, and demands for romantic quotas.

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Ms Luna Lee performs O Holy Night in a gayageum styl-ee

As is the custom here, posting will be intermittent over the holidays and readers are advised to subscribe to the blog feed, which will alert you to anything new as and when it materialises. Thanks for another 1.5 million or so visits this year and thousands of comments, many of which prompted discussions that are much more interesting than the actual posts. Which is pretty much the idea. And particular thanks to all those who’ve made PayPal donations to keep this rickety barge above water. It’s much appreciated. Curious newcomers and those with nothing better to do are welcome to rummage through the reheated series in search of entertainment.

To you and yours, a very good one. 

Friday Ephemera

Gently does it. (h/t, Darleen) || I’m no structural engineer, but I question the choice of material here. || “They mostly come at night, mostly.” || Children are not nunchucks. Because apparently this fact isn’t sufficiently obvious. || When you want your seafood fresh. || We are always falling. || For fitness enthusiasts, a lower back workout. || What sorcery is this? (h/t, Julia) || Seating choice of note. || Typographical choice of note. || Today’s words are upscale dining experience. || Good doggo. || Dogs versus frisbees, the eternal struggle. || Joe Lincoln, decoy maker, 1926. || Inadvisable. || Destiny. || Bones detected. || Better than one, they say. || Jingle Bells. || And finally, festively, you want one and you know it.

Our Betters In Love

Let’s turn to the pages of Slate, where left-leaning sophisticates mull the issues of the day. Among which, an obvious question for the woke and well-adjusted:

I (35, male) started dating someone (33, female) recently that I’ve really enjoyed connecting with and have found a higher level of chemistry with than anyone else I’ve dated. It’s exciting and has given me a chance to imagine a stable future with someone, something I’ve struggled to imagine in the past.

Ah, bless. And just in time for the holidays. Brings a tear to the eye.

But there’s something else that’s new for me this year that complicates things: I’ve started seeing sex workers.

At risk of seeming drearily conventional, the words stable future have suddenly taken on an ironic tinge. Still, the headline is memorable:

Do I Have to Tell My New Girlfriend I’m Going to Keep Seeing Sex Workers?

And hey, give the guy credit. He does a pretty good rhetorical dance:

To be clear, I’ve attempted to pursue it in the most ethical manner possible, being careful to consider everyone’s safety and consent. The moral issue of sex buying is a serious one for me, but one that I’ve ultimately come to believe can be ethical in the right context.

How immensely surprising.

I believe seeing a sex worker can make me a better partner. Not unlike seeing a therapist.


seeing a sex worker allows me to focus on myself.

Which, to date, has apparently been a struggle.

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Friday Ephemera

Best to watch the leash, madam. || Beverage of note. || Ah, Blighty. || They do, er, this better than you do. || Their difficulties were a mystery. (h/t, Fay) || On the matter of mincemeat. || Strange times. || Ancient ruins, reconstructed. || Pete Drake and his talking guitar, 1964. || At last, vegan Christmas dinner, for gamers, in a can. || Get a load of this guy. || These origami cicadas are better than yours. || Itsy bitsy. || The Maginot Line. (h/t, Things) || Visualising Moore’s Law in action, 1971 - 2019. || Close enough. || What could possibly go wrong? || “You can’t have Christmas without Star Trek, right?” || Unpriced goods on aisle four. (h/t, Damian) || And finally, the humans have some kind of force field.

Oh, and via the comments

Laurie is stunned.

But please, spare a thought for all those leftwing poets.

The Big Guns

Via Holborn, and from the pages of the communist Morning Star, a headline of crushing cultural import: 

115 Poets Back Labour.

Yes, with an election looming, the full weight of the nation’s leftwing “poetry community” is being brought to bear, no doubt decisively. Inspired and uplifted by these leftwing poets and their immense cultural gravity, “our austerity-scarred society” will be “healed” with the balm of “social justice.” Being leftwing poets, there are of course demands attached, including an entirely selfless call for even more “state support for… producers of the arts and culture” - half a billion or so a year being deemed insufficient, you see - along with a “universal basic income pilot,” and “an end to the political scapegoating of the unemployed.”

No tittering at the back.

Readers who can recall a line of verse by any of the signatories will receive a drinks voucher.

And if searing leftwing poetry is your thing, you may wish to gargle the radical outpourings of Mr Roy G Guzmán.

A Stupefying Vanity

The ideal of social justice does not complement the ideal of education. The ideal of social justice replaces the ideal of education.

Lifted from the comments, David Randall on academia’s “social justice” infestation:

“Social justice” was everywhere in higher education. It was the slogan of student activists, the raison d’etre of many academic programmes, the research focus of scholars in many fields, part of the formal mission statements of many colleges, and a phrase that rolled off the tongues of sophomores as the smug answer to virtually any question about public policy. Looking for a definition of the term that fit its ten thousand applications proved futile. “Social justice” may have meant particular things to particular people, but in general it signified only an emotional disposition… When someone says “social justice,” he need not spell out the underlying propositions. The ideas and the temperament are taken for granted. By contrast, any critique of the social justice ideology will be familiar to hardly any students and very few faculty members.

It's a long read, but one with much to chew.

My own attempt to define “social justice,” the contortions it entails, and the kinds of behaviour to which it gives license, is reposted below: 

“Social justice” entails treating people not as individuals but as mascots and categories. And judging a person and their actions based on which Designated Victim Group they supposedly belong to and then assigning various exemptions and indulgences depending on that notional group identity and whatever presumptuous baggage can be attached to it, with varying degrees of perversity. And conversely, assigning imaginary sins and “privilege” to someone else based on whatever Designated Oppressor Group they can be said to belong to, however fatuously, and regardless of the particulars of the actual person.

Which is to say, “social justice” is largely about judging people tribally, cartoonishly, and by different and contradictory standards, based on some supposed group identity, which apparently – and conveniently - overrides all else. It’s glib, question-begging and pernicious. Cargo-cult morality. Viewed with a cool eye, it’s something close to the opposite of justice. And yet, among our self-imagined betters, it’s the latest must-have.

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Friday Ephemera

Hardcore rave banana. || Baby cannon. || Good doggo. || Feet detected. || Underwhelming loaf. || Today’s word is rethink. || Slow-motion ocean. (h/t, Things) || Unfortunate phrasing. || “Its smell is compared to that of a dog, with the texture of breadcrumbs and the appearance of ping pong balls.” || Parental discipline of note. || Pamela didn’t realise what would subsequently happen to her curtains. || Context is for weaklings. || Car mine of note. (h/t, Dr Westerhaus) || Cooking with wool. || There’s a lot of it about. || The evolution of the scrollbar, a visual guide. || The statistical value of a dog’s life. || At last, a baby head Theremin. || Seedlings and chess. || And finally, festively, you want one and you know it.

It’s The Stuff Of The Soul

I think it’s time we elevated the tone with some coverage of the arts. Beginning with the colossal creative talents of Ms Sandrine Schaefer, whose collected Goose Studies are presented below. The opening extract, a site-specific installation, was performed in New York in October. The organisers of the event, titled Performance Is Alive, tell us that in order to avoid being “vapid,” they curate only “the best projects based on the merits of the work.” They are, we learn, presenting “art that’s critical and progressive and transgressive.” 

For those prone to erotic inflammation, a word of caution. The following video does contain traces of obligatory boobage.

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