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February 2020

Rashly, He Appealed To Their Better Nature (2)

Or, In Which Your Host Learns Whether What He Does Is Of Value.

Yes, it’s time to remind patrons that this rickety barge, on whose seating your arses rest, 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 thirteen years, in close to 3,000 posts and over 100,000 comments, the reheated series is a pretty good place to start - in particular, the end-of-year summaries. If you like what you find there… well, there’s lots more of that.

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. Also, open thread

Friday Ephemera

On the upside, I bet the acoustics are tremendous. || For readers overseas, a brief guide to the beauty of English. (h/t, Brian) || “I own big shoe company.” || Today’s word is enrichment. || She’s really showing those patriarchal oppressors. || She does this better than you do. || At last, sliced mayonnaise. || “It loves like a man.” || Mothers and sons. || More joys of public transport. || Pulling Gs. || Script Doctor recaps Picard. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. || A project for the weekend. || Ice, ice, baby. || Two football tribes, one alley. || Crush, kill, destroy. || The Chrysler Building’s art-deco eagles, 1930. || How to move around your space station, plan B. || In Indonesian sperm-related news. || And finally, three times, you say?


This isn’t someone who barely squeaked through her degree. She was celebrated as the best there was at her school.

Janice Fiamengo ponders the mental state of a feminist and openly misandrist social worker

Kristina Agbebiyi, the lady in question, was hailed as “student of the year” by the University of Michigan’s social work department for her “commitment to political activities,” her embodiment of the “professional ethics of social work,” and for her “contribution to the positive image” of said field. Repeatedly boasting of a hatred of men is, we learn, not only a “commitment,” “a way of life” and a “revolutionary task,” but something to applaud. A credential of some kind. It “isn’t a game,” says Ms Agbebiyi.

Update, via the comments:

Readers may find themselves marvelling at how someone so fêted, and who evidently expects no challenging of her pronouncements by either peers or employers, nonetheless exults in theatrical victimhood and insists that she is “living oppression from the inside.” That the supposedly radical politics of which Ms Agbebiyi is so proud is usually an ostentatious leisure activity, an indulgence of the privileged, somehow passes unremarked. Though I do like the description of Ms Agbebiyi as a “narcissistic self-infatuate.”

Needless to say, the cause of this alleged “oppression” isn’t made clear, let alone persuasive. Apparently, it’s now the custom to invoke victimhood, as if it were a goal, a basis for acclaim, without actually specifying what it is that’s supposedly oppressing you. After browsing the lady’s Twitter feed, the best I can deduce is that the fact that prisons exist, at all, anywhere, is an unendurable burden on Ms Agbebiyi’s tissue-paper psyche. We should, it seems, wish for the “abolition” of prisons and “the ending of cops.” Because the world would be so much better if rapists, carjackers and sociopathic predators could act with impunity, uninhibited by even a small risk of punishment.

Some of Professor Fiamengo’s previous adventures in feminist psychology can be found here and here

Friday Ephemera

Tinkles is a big boy. || Surprises down below. (h/t, Damian) || He does this better than you do. || Old-school bugging device. || What’s in the box? || Wobble of note. || Smart diapers detect dampness. || Critical Drinker recaps Picard. || It passes the time. || Determined soap dispenser. || Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome. || Film criticism. (h/t, Dicentra) || It’s a fixer-upper, only $495,000. (h/t, Things) || It fires toilet paper and now you want one. || Clash of the titans. || Turtle of terror. || Asteroids size comparison. || A comprehensive archive of Mark Zuckerberg’s hairstyles. || It’s all in the ankles. || He’s not sure what you are, either. || Forbidden love. || And finally, you may wince when ready.

Our Betters Assemble

Or, When Your Colossal Sense Of Entitlement Doesn’t Quite Pay Off.

1. A gathering of radical minds.

It’s a “people’s assembly,” you see; but with very few people. Apparently, it’s hard to do radical ecomentalism, denouncing modern life and the use of fossil fuels, when it’s cold and you have no heating.

2. A slight delay.

One of the gathered titans suggests the formation of “a learning circle on decolonising Extinction Rebellion and our minds.” To pull in the punters, no doubt.

3. Alas, the situation has not improved.

Perhaps the protestors’ appeal has become, as they say, more selective. Also, spare a thought for the local residents, the ones having their minds decolonised, whether they like it or not, thanks to the combination of amplifiers and dogmatic morony.

Via Holborn.

Passionate Attachments

In the pages of Salon, where our progressive betters ruminate, Nicole Karlis ponders the latest fashionable anxiety. Specifically,

Stories of heartache, tears, stress and dehydration that people experienced after a forced separation from their water bottles.

Says Ms Karlis,

I have an irrational fear of the water bottle going missing, resulting in suddenly being thirsty and unable to access water. For the record, I did not start using a reusable water bottle until I moved to the Bay Area in 2013. 

Perhaps this is one of those moments when the significance of a statement may not be fully appreciated by the person making it.

Carrying a water bottle with me everywhere I go has turned into… a form of security, one that I’ve become strangely attached to... I am not alone. Plenty of people in my orbit have expressed a similar concern — an unease, really — at the prospect of misplacing their reusable water bottle. 

Now, now. We mustn’t rush to judgement.

For many, losing one’s water bottle will wreak havoc on their day, even their week.

I’m trying. I really am.

I sent out a query to the public to see if others felt what I am now calling “water-bottle separation anxiety.” I received over a dozen responses, suggesting that I may have tapped into a cultural phenomenon – one that relates as much to health and psychology as it does to our complicated personal relationship with natural resources.

What follows is a catalogue of unobvious woe and amateur dramatics. “Activist Manuela Barón” - whose area of activism is left fashionably unspecified - explains how her ancient, battered water bottle had become a “part of” her, and how the loss of it, at airport security, resulted in a swell of emotional activity:

“I cried as I went through the scanner and ran off to my gate; I didn’t realise it would be like saying goodbye to an old friend.”

At which point, it occurs to me I may be misusing the word explain.

Continue reading "Passionate Attachments" »

Friday Ephemera

Today’s word is elegance. || Today’s other word is barkour. || Yeah, okay, it’s pretty big, I guess. || Banana in orbit. || He does this better than you do. || And she does this quite well. || Don’t tell your mother. || Rotary mobile phone. || Whiskey decanter of note. || The Dutch Headwind Cycling Championships. || Win $2,000 at the Takhini Hot Springs Hair Freezing Contest. || Korean classic film archive. || Snake makeover. || “Mathematics operates with unearned privilege, just like whiteness.” || Scenes from the North. || How to confound face recognition. || The glamour of flight. || And finally, “The more leftwing you are, the more likely you are to have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness.”

Apocalypse Averted With Collective Juddering

The vast majority of people worldwide, as well as millions in the UK, do not have their needs met – let alone live lives of luxury from which air travel and weekly shopping sprees could be painlessly stripped out and replaced for example with dance lessons. 

Why, yes, I am reading the Guardian. How could you tell?

The paper’s leader writer, Susanna Rustin, is very much troubled by thoughts of impending catastrophe and is keen for your routine shopping - for groceries and maybe a pair of shoes - to be replaced, “painlessly,” with forms of “artistic expression and creativity.” Like dance lessons. It would, of course, be “a reordering of society.”

When so many of the pleasures that we take for granted in the west, and that are desired by billions of people who do not yet have them, are so carbon-intensive, it is surely incumbent upon us to think very hard about the things in which we take joy and meaning that are less demanding of energy and resources.

Because “dancing and singing could be part of the solution to the climate emergency.” It says so here.

If capitalists, politicians and scientists have so far not found the answers – and the global mass movement of people called for by Greta Thunberg and others is, despite recent progress, still proving elusive – could the creative arts possibly provide one means to break the impasse? If the climate emergency is seen as the consequence of a failure of imagination, then this would seem to make sense.

We will save the planet with our expertise in jive, quickstep and Viennese waltz.

this would seem to make sense.

Though presumably we may have to gyrate without shoes.

Some Assembly Required (2)

I thought we’d slide into the week gently with an open thread. Ever the gracious host, however, I’ll share some snippets for consideration.

First up, via Darleen, the intersectional woes of a hefty gay playwright who champions fatness as “political,” a feat of radicalism, while bemoaning the scarcity of sexual interest directed at his person, and while sharing snaps of himself sitting on the toilet, plus-sized pants around his knees.

We also have more scenes of Portland policing, in which The Unspanked can apparently menace with impunity.

Oh, and further to rumblings in the comments, Star Trek: Picard is still testing my patience with what feels like an interminable and badly-written prologue, with each episode being slightly less interesting than the one before.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

Blowback. || Corgi buns. || Because they should be. || Bargain detected. || Unexpected duo. || Small dog makeover of note. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || This, this and this are three of these. (h/t, Damian) || They’re just like normal people. || Assorted long cats. || “Chocolate chicken chicken cake” and other A.I. recipes. || Is it food? || Forbidden love. || Torment yourself with four-way Tetris. || 48 trombones. || Felted wool. || Furry pig monster. || Puddle scenes. || It did not go entirely to plan. || And finally, it’s remarkable just how quickly the day can turn to shit.