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October 2020

Friday Ephemera

Goodness, that’s a big one. || Suboptimal sights. || They bend. || It turns out the Minecraft world is actually quite big. || Attempt at playful belly-rubbing not entirely successful. || Desire me now or I will call you names. || Radical appliance relocation. || Attention, shoppers – you are being watched. || Wakey-wakey. || Oh, we’ve all done it at least once. || At last, a Letraset database. || Librarian training of note. || Law and order. || The thrill of drains. (h/t, Richard Cranium) || He’s an educator, you know. || Classroom scenes. || The constellation of Orion. First one to find the Horsehead Nebula wins a beverage voucher. || Girl’s got reflexes. || A festive treat. || And finally, fiendishly, it’s perhaps a tad excessive.

Your Children, Their Politics (2)

Further to this and this, Max Eden reveals what “prioritising equity” actually looks like:

[T]he Ohio Department of Education kicked off this school year by promoting… its recommended “Anti-Racist Allyship Starter Pack,” a resource for social studies teachers… It’s not clear whether anyone from the ODE reviewed these articles in full before recommending them. But surely someone at least took a cursory glance at them. The ODE recommended that teachers read “How White Womens’ [sic] Tears Threaten Black Existence,” “When Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels,” and “White People Have No Culture.” Teachers were also urged to read “In Defence of Looting” and “Forget ‘Looting,’ Capitalism is the Real Robbery.” More recommended reading: “The Case for Delegitimising the Police,” “Abolish the Police?”, and “Yes, We Literally Mean Abolish the Police.” 

Ohio social studies teachers - and by extension, their students – will learn that having brown skin is some kind of accomplishment, a basis for applause and favours, unlike being white, which is apparently the opposite, a basis for atonement. In order to achieve “absolution” – and yes, that term is used in the recommended literature, with all that it implies – the “stone idol” of “whiteness” must be “smashed to pieces.” Students and educators are also informed that insofar as “white people” have any culture at all, it is merely one “of colonisation, of genocide, of taking,” in which “envy and fear” are defining features. It is, we’re assured, “the culture of death.” 

If the above suggests the outpourings of monomaniacal bedlamites with dubious intentions, the kind of people you really shouldn’t entrust with influence over your children, then you may be on to something.

Somewhat related

Reheated (60)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

Artists For Gaia

Our betters sail north at taxpayer expense. Gas is released courageously.

Such was the level of inspiration, some of the assembled artists began to work their creative magic immediately: “Tracy Rowledge constructed three series of ‘automated’ physical drawings, mapping the movement of the boat during the expedition.” For readers of a technical inclination, these ‘automated’ drawings involved suspending a felt-tip pen from the underside of a chair, resulting in random scribble on numerous sheets of paper positioned underneath. This feat was “REALLY exciting,” we learn, as it “explored movement, time, place and permanence.” The radical innovation also freed the artist to leave the dangling pen and do something more interesting. According to her two brief blog entries, the sum total of her commentary, Ms Rowledge spent much of this liberated time struggling with Greenlandic place names and making sure her fellow passengers knew how “overwhelmed” she was. 

I Don’t Deserve This Shabby Treatment

On the routine vainglory of the academic left.

Professor Surber’s self-regard continues to tumesce. He has fathomed all of history and it validates him. Liberal-arts professors tend to be leftwing, we’re told, “because we liberal-arts professors... have carefully studied the actual dynamics of history and culture; and we have trained ourselves to think in complex, nuanced, and productive ways.” In short, if you haven’t reached a similarly leftwing conclusion, then you haven’t achieved sufficient complexity and nuance in your thinking, you peasant. Luckily, we can count on Professor Surber and his peers to guide us to the light, such is their benign magnificence. They may be cruelly underappreciated, but by God they’re better than us and they will save us from ourselves.

You’ll Notice They All Wear Shoes.

The unhappy sights at San Francisco’s 2012 radical nude-in:

Continue reading "Reheated (60)" »

Friday Ephemera

The timeless smell of Hopkins. || Scenes. (h/t, Julia) || Construction site scenes. || The thrill of kidney stones. || In the Ningaloo Canyons. || Attention, housewives. Do not clean clothes with gasoline. (h/t, Things) || Acting in trying circumstances. || Assorted BBC sound effects. || “The masses will rally behind us.” Behind meaning beneath, of course. || Rebuttals of note. || Place your bets. (h/t, Perry) || Giant, slow-motion balloon-pose-off of note. || “Plastic hottie… professional thot.” || Feel his pain. || Poor Jenn. || How to make a zig-zag pattern. (h/t, Damian) || A map of the internet, circa 1973. || Sexy aircraft. || Today’s word is. || What she said. || And finally, obviously, it’s harder without the heels.

Your Children, Their Politics

Further to this item here, Rafi steers us to more “equity” news, this time from the public high schools of San Francisco:  

Lowell [High School] has for decades admitted students based on a score that takes into account grade-point average and test results while setting aside a limited number of spots for qualified students from underrepresented schools, making it one of the best public high schools in the country.

One of the best. And so, needless to say, something had to be done:

The admission process will now mirror that at other district high schools, with priority given to siblings… and those living in census tracts where students post low test scores. The remaining spots will be assigned randomly.

Intellectual flourishing will doubtless ensue.

The debate over what to do about the lack of traditional merit criteria divided the city, with accusations of racism and elitism after community members said the lottery system would water down Lowell’s reputation. Others expressed concern for the students who have focused on academics so they could attend the school.

A preference for academic rigour and admission by ability is “racist,” you see. Please update your files and lifestyles accordingly. Note that the board decision was “unanimous,” while the views of local parents – those directly affected - were somewhat more complicated and deemed “divisive.” Note too the implication that the feelings of those who work hard and show ability should be trumped by the feelings of those who do neither.

And related to the above, this:

Continue reading "Your Children, Their Politics" »

If We Just Stop Noticing, Everything Will Be Fine

Board members say the changes are part of a larger effort to combat racism.

From the schools of San Diego, some “equity” news:  

Students will no longer be graded based on a yearly average, or on how late they turn in assignments. Those are just some of the major grading changes approved this week by California’s second-largest school district… “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years,” says San Diego Unified School District Vice President Richard Barrera.

The practices being confronted – i.e., excluded from consideration in academic grading - include expectations of “turning work in on time” and norms of “classroom behaviour.” Abandoning such standards is, we learn, an “accountability measure.” On grounds that acknowledging tardiness, misbehaviour and a lack of diligence results in “racial imbalance,” which, in the land of the bedlamites, simply won’t do.

Student School Board Member Zachary Patterson, who is also a junior at University City High School, says while some classmates expressed concerns about grade inflation, overall the feedback from his peers is positive.  

A license to disregard normal deadlines and to be selfishly disruptive, all with academic impunity. Why, it’s convenient and morally improving. Mr Patterson, an eleventh-grader who deploys the word inequities with dutiful enthusiasm, informs us, “Students all across the district are excited about this.”

After Patterson expressed concerns at this week’s meeting, the board will also review potential student disparities stemming from its zero-tolerance disciplinary policy on cheating in the coming weeks.

You see, expecting students to meet basic standards of behaviour, punctuality – and, it seems, probity - is “not fair,” according to SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera, who adds that the new policy is – and I quote - “an honest reckoning.” An intriguing choice of words.

Update, via Rafi in the comments:

And in other “equity” news

Friday Ephemera

In case of emergency, how to move the solar system. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || Little wooden woods. || Gardening gloves of note. || Grounds for divorce, a possible series. || Augmented reality for dogs. || I’m sensing doubt. || Just a few weeks, they said. || Awkward. || Kicking option. || Hokum pays. || Nippy. || “Possibly a chess piece.” || Our betters hate capitalism. || Angry bird. || Critical Drinker reviews The Boys season two. || One bedroom, one bathroom, outstanding view of airport. || About bloody time. || Not untrue. || That’s exactly how I would have done it. || Not as easy as it looks. || The thrill of Marks & Spencer’s Food Hall. || Furnishings of note. || And finally, madam, you must choose quickly.

Elsewhere (301)

FIRE report on the fallout of a class on global trade: 

As it has in earlier years, [adjunct professor Richard] Taylor’s instruction focused on early global trade, including trade in silver and potatoes. As part of the class, he also covered the more pernicious aspects of early trade, such as slavery, the abuse of indigenous populations, and the spreading of disease. On his final slide was a discussion prompt: “Do the positives outweigh the negatives?” A lively discussion ensued. One student said slavery could never be justified. According to Taylor, he clarified that no one is justifying slavery and asked students to consider global trade as a whole, including lives lost to disease and lives saved from famine.

None of which proved sufficient to prevent Professor Taylor being removed from his classroom and found guilty of “bias” - without appeal, without reference to any specific violations of policy, and without seeing any evidence of misconduct. Activist students, who seemingly prioritised activism over learning, accused the professor of committing a “heinous crime,” and of posing a “threat to the safety of our BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of colour] community.” For which, they insist, he should be “terminated fully.”

At which point, readers may wish to consider the possibility that “social justice” activism – in this case, waging a spiteful, nakedly dishonest smear campaign in order to destroy a man’s livelihood and thereby feel powerful – is much more exciting than studying, especially if you’re not particularly equipped for academic activity – a demographic from which such activists are very often drawn - and much more likely to gratify any malevolent inclinations.

That left-leaning educators and campus administrators generally pretend that these aren’t the kind of variables to consider when weighing accusations of “bias” - and a somewhat improbable “threat to the safety of our BIPOC community” - says quite a lot about the kind of people they are too, and the kind of environment they inhabit.*

Thom Nickels notes a scandalous development: 

Philadelphia Weekly, one of the city’s most venerable leftist “alternative” newsweeklies, has rocked the local journalism scene with its announcement that, starting next year, it will provide Philly readers with a different kind of alternative: it will change its editorial outlook from hard-liberal to conservative.

And Craig Frisby on what isn’t racism:

Continue reading "Elsewhere (301)" »

Friday Ephemera

Headpool. || Cranky when peckish. || From King Kong to Fleischer’s Superman, animated scenes. || “Pull on string” and other things seen by car mechanics. || The unspanked, a possible series. || Inconvenience of note. || Biometric security using veins. || Brøndby Garden City. || Launching satellites with a giant gun. || Seating solution of note. || The spirit of innovation. || Nommy nommy nom. || Always remove the nails. || Choices have consequences. (h/t, Perry) || Kagoshima. || The creatures who teach your children. || Somewhat related. || This is one of these. || Always remember, someone’s day was worse than yours. || Six dancers, one spinning platform. || And finally, musically, some daddy-daughter time.

Her Restless Mind

Time for another visit to the pages of Scary Mommy, a publication for progressive mothers, and where Ms Christine Organ has a problem

For years, I’ve known that I have trouble sitting still, that I find projects and things to fret over. I need to literally schedule time to binge watch TV, and I multitask like a freaking boss. What I don’t know is how to let my mind and body rest.

You see, leisurely uses of time, including “lounging about on a rainy Saturday afternoon,” are fraught with mental hazards:  

When I do something enjoyable – with no other “productive” purpose – I feel guilty… I’ve always thought that this is just how I’m wired (and maybe it is), but there’s something else at play too,

Happily, Ms Organ has fathomed the cause of her agitation and sorrow:

I suffer from internalised capitalism – and you probably do too.

Ms Organ, an “author and storyteller,” and user of Xanax, hints, almost coyly, at her own political leanings:

I’m on the democratic socialist end of the spectrum.

Then teases us some more:

Continue reading "Her Restless Mind" »