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December 2020

The Year Reheated

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

The year began with a display of the Guardian’s famed sense of proportion, with the paper’s Barbara Ellen informing us, emphatically, that, “We’re nearly all vegan now” - we being the general population - before asking with equal confidence, “Who isn’t vegan in some way these days?” The Vegan Society, meanwhile, acknowledged that the demographic in question amounts to barely 1% of the British population. Hungry for more fearless and irrefutable leftwing journalism, we turned to the pages of Salon, where the chronically breathless Mr Chauncey DeVega declared that “The American people” – and not just Salon columnists – “are in a manic state because of Trump’s regime.” 300 million citizens are, we learned, living in fear of Mr Trump’s “fascism,” his allegedly annihilationist tendencies, and of course his “secret police.” 

Meanwhile, Slate readers mulled the moral quandaries of progressive life, before being rewarded with somewhat peculiar and potentially disastrous advice, on subjects including sex tapes and prodigious weight gain. And via which, we learned that the best way for an insecure straight woman to find romantic and sexual satisfaction is for her to start dating polyamorists and gay people, on grounds that this will ease both her trust issues and her frequent panic attacks.

In February, we learned, via the Guardian, of the latest must-have status accessory – namely, dinner parties at which one pays $2,500 to be scolded as a racist, an upholder of “white supremacy,” based on nothing, by someone suitably brown and opportunist. Participants – “mostly Democrats” – are told to “own their racism,” however invisible, and are warned against having “unmonitored thoughts.” Elsewhere in the Guardian, we were assured by leader writer Susanna Rustin that a “reordering of society” is in order, to correct the apparently unendurable problem of some people having a standard of living not yet available to every single human being on the planet. “Lives of luxury” – defined by “weekly shopping sprees” – could be “replaced” – “painlessly” – with “artistic expression and creativity,” specifically, dance lessons.  

While in Salon, Bay Area progressive Nicole Karlis wrote of the “heartache, tears and stress” brought on by the loss of one’s plastic water bottle. A sentiment echoed by fellow progressives and non-specific activists, who shared their wrenching tales of “water-bottle separation anxiety,” a phenomenon that can apparently induce fits of weeping and feelings of “falling into chaos.” 

In March, readers of the Observer were invited to ponder the profound moral question, “Is it ever acceptable for a feminist to hire a cleaner?” Much fretting ensued regarding the acceptable sex and skin colour of the person doing the cleaning, with the paper’s Sally Howard deciding that the most feminist way to empower cleaning ladies - and to avoid the “structural devaluation of women’s work” - is to make said ladies unemployed. The views of Ms Howard’s former cleaners, fired in the name of feminism, were not deemed worthy of inclusion.

Continue reading "The Year Reheated" »


From the archives, one of my favourites. Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet’s short film about the Moon - and what can sometimes happen when people stop to look at it. Seemed oddly appropriate. If you haven’t seen it before, enjoy.

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, this year more than most, a very good one. 

When The Lady On The Checkout Is Your Class Enemy

From the Socialism 101 Reddit, a question of crushing import:  

Are cashiers working class? I know this sounds like it should be obvious, but think about it. Cashiers do not produce any commodities. Under a non-capitalistic society, nobody would do what they do. In fact, their job is almost more like a cop. They keep commodities away from people and demand that you pay a fee to the bourgeois to access them. And if you refuse, they will use the violence of the state against you by reporting you to the authorities for shoplifting. So how are they, in a Marxist analysis, working class?

Yes, it’s real, or was, until deleted for attracting attention from unclean heathens. And needless to say, earnest rumblings ensued. You do, I think, have to marvel at the thought of someone going through life continually scanning for class enemies, obstructers of the Great Proletarian Revolution, and concluding that checkout assistants have just made the list.

Note the line,

Under a non-capitalistic society, nobody would do what they do.

Note too that the implications of this claim, for all manner of unglamorous but necessary tasks, are somehow not explored.

Consider this an open thread, in which to share links and bicker. 

Friday Ephemera

Test footage from Attack of the Giant Grandma. || At last, a pedestal for your glasses. || One for the ladies. || His black car is blacker than your black car. (h/t, Elephants Gerald) || He does this better than you. || Get woke, go broke. || Today’s word is suboptimal. || The politics of button replacement. || Mountain King makeover. || Kite of note. || Arctic scenes. || Adventures in the fourth dimension. || Opportunity detected. || Something error happen. || How to make a small sword. || Mystery solved. || Interspecies scenes. (h/t, Damian) || Stayin’ Alive. || Effects pedal colour chart. (h/t, Things) || Fiddlesome trees. || Wasps versus drone, flamethrower. || And finally, satisfy your hunger for experimental jazz.

Our Betters Make Laws

Welcome to Seattle, where a dislike of being robbed, or seeing others being robbed, is disdained as “anti-poverty bias.” 

It’s called “the poverty defence,” and would not only make stealing legal, but apparently fencing items as well, and would cover over 100 misdemeanour crimes.

Because enabling criminals and demoralising their victims will result in flourishing neighbourhoods, a boom in employment, and a future that’s more progressive and compassionate. Full of hugs and puppies.

Update: via the comments: 

As noted in the piece, the most enthusiastic supporters of the proposal, the ones disdaining objections as “anti-poverty bias,” are remarkably contemptuous of the people whose lives will be degraded, should the proposal succeed. And who almost certainly have a much clearer understanding of the proposal’s supposed beneficiaries, having encountered them first-hand, most likely more than once. But the compulsion to indulge criminal choices, from a safe distance, and to then bask in the subsequent in-group elevation, is, for some, quite strong, despite the contortions it can entail.

And regardless of the consequences for the victims of such posturing.

Update 2:

Continue reading "Our Betters Make Laws" »

Friday Ephemera

Contraband detected. || Before and after. || Face time. || Assorted shipping forecasts and other radio jottings. (h/t, Things) || Lifestyle choice. || I don’t think that’s real lava. || When you have one of these at the end of the hall. || The thrill of 1970s carpeting. || The thrill of dryer lint. || Assorted Swiss chalets. || At last, a mushroom claw machine. || Headphones suggested for The Lure of the Hole. || The Manual Library, from tractors and firearms to Roland synthesizers. (h/t, Things) || Failure is not forgiven. || Forbidden love, 1 and 2. || Good deed. || In San Diego schools. || Scenes from Mother Russia. || Vintage Las Vegas. || Today’s word is parenting. || And finally, groovers, it’s time to pump up the jam.

We Must Let Him Improve Us

Mr Bob Chipman, a woke scold, avowed feminist, and film reviewer - in pretty much that order these days - shares his deep, uplifting philosophy. The dynamic may not be entirely unfamiliar.

Mr Chipman is an enthusiast of socialism (albeit, it seems, for others) and a man entranced by his own allegedly vast intelligence, which he mentions frequently. He is, he assures us, “an American of intelligence,” unlike people who are insufficiently leftwing, whom he views as “not redeemable” and indeed subhuman. His favoured terms for those who would dare to vote differently include “obsolete trash,” “backward people,” “obsolete whites” and “Nazi motherfuckers.” These lively definitions would most likely be applied to the readers of this blog, its host, and presumably our friends and families.

When not sharing his eugenic fantasies of a world forcibly depopulated of people who disagree with him, Mr Chipman suggests that his fellow leftists pleasure themselves by finding a non-leftwing person, any non-leftwing person, and making their “day/week/life a little bit miserable.”

Mr Chipman appears to have difficulty being happy and struggles to understand why anyone might dislike him.

Also, open thread. Share ye links and bicker.

The Librarians Will Save Us

A group of 13 “abolitionist librarians” from Ivy League universities… is demanding that their colleagues “immediately begin the work of divesting from police and prisons.” […] The group wants Ivy League librarians to “explicitly name policing itself as the problem” and take actions that will lead to the “complete abolition of law enforcement.”

Something-something “white supremacy” something-something “privilege.” I’m paraphrasing, of course. But really, it’s the same doctrinaire horseshit we’ve seen a hundred times. And according to which, the world will be enormously improved by the “abolition of policing in all its forms.” If that isn’t sufficiently unambiguous, our Ivy League librarians insist that their “ultimate goal” is, and I quote, “the complete abolition of law enforcement… everywhere.” Because “a world without policing” will somehow, rather conveniently, be a world without crime. And because helping people find the books that they’d like to borrow is just too boring and insufficiently high-status for minds such as these.

More than 700 individuals and organisations have signed the petition.

By the way, and before you ask, that sickly-sweet odour is the ongoing decay of your civilisation. A society in which the children of the elite are immersed in such dogma - and are told that their civilisation shouldn’t defend itself against sociopathy and predation - isn’t, I’d suggest, in the best of health. And when these mouthings are deemed high-status, both sophisticated and aspirational, a marker of in-group belonging, then the words preening degeneracy seem entirely apt. 

Previously in the world of uppity librarians

Friday Ephemera

Cats sending signals. || Corner piano. || Some precision parking. || AI-generated comic panels. || Great moments in pillow innovation. || Paranormal activity. || Plot twist detected. || Little nymph. || Festive temptation. “It should be wet in the middle,” says Fanny. || Their first time. || Flexible stems. || At last, selfie cake. || How to eat cake with a wine glass. (Spoon optional.) || A long walk. || Bread lights, obviously. || Ready for battle. || Miracle breakthrough. || Subdivision detected. || Switched-on blonde with bagpipes. || Bold marketing decision. || “Horse semen is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet.” || And finally, and piously, a claim is made. Readers will, I suspect, draw their own conclusions.

The White Outdoors

The British countryside remains a distinctly white and often intimidating place for BAME communities.

So says the Guardian’s north of England correspondent, Nazia Parveen.

The British countryside being the preserve of the white middle classes is a perception that is backed by stark figures, with ethnic minorities often deterred from heading into the outdoors due to deep-rooted, complex barriers… Only 1% of visitors to UK national parks come from BAME backgrounds, and statistics from the outdoor sector paint a similar picture, with only around 1% of summer mountain leaders and rock-climbing instructors in the UK from ethnic minorities.

I’m sure the relative scarcity of brown-skinned rock-climbing instructors plays a pivotal role.

The reasons behind this reluctance to venture out are complicated.

Ah, but of course. Though some may be more obvious than others. The concentration of minorities in urban centres and the consequent logistics of travel to the countryside being fairly self-explanatory. We’re also told of “a lack of culturally appropriate provisions,” though details as to what these culturally appropriate provisions might be, or indeed why they should be provided, seemingly at public expense, are left to the readers’ imagination. We are, however, steered to the distinct impression that these “last bastions of whiteness” are a very bad thing and that something must be done.

Continue reading "The White Outdoors" »