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January 2021

Friday Ephemera

There’s a story here, I think. (h/t, Damian) || Knick-knack of note. || You know you want to. (h/t, Holborn) || Manly feats, a possible series. || Papercraft computers. Build your own and impress your friends. (h/t, Things) || Fun with cardboard. || Fun with cardboard 2. || Boom. || What’s behind the belly button? || It’s a Toshiba. || Temples in snow. || Super-metals, metallic glass. || 1960s Los Angeles. || Roland is the one of the right. || Always read the label. || In romance news. || Chords and scales visualised. || Cat storage solution. || If you like wine, look away now. || The teeth are a nice touch. || Attention, heterosexuals. || A historical dictionary of science fiction. || And finally, his voice is deeper than yours.

Your Guilt Has Been Determined Via Pantone Colour Chart

“There were so many students who came into the school with no preparation for the conversation about race or racism. They knew nothing about white privilege and white supremacy,” social policy professor Amy Hillier said.

It’s a dental school, by the way. For dentists.  

It occurs to me that if you’re brandishing the terms “white privilege” and “white supremacy,” and invoking “implicit bias” as if it weren’t laughable woo, such that the indoctrinated must “come to understand” foregone conclusions, it doesn’t sound much like a conversation. More a series of begged questions, whereby some people can be deemed guilty or complicit by virtue of their skin colour.

And yet, if you plan to be a dentist and attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, it seems you must first submit to condescension and insults, and accusations of being either a bigot or an enabler of bigotry, based solely on unchangeable aspects of your appearance. Because apparently you can’t do dentistry without the weird political woo of dogmatic parasites who’ve managed to insert themselves into yet another sphere of life.

Reheated (61)

For newcomers and the forgetful, two items from the archives:

The Blurting

A leftist compulsion is pondered.

A more subtle and common example occurred in January, when the family headed out to a Burns Night dinner at a restaurant adjacent to the university. Before the food appeared, we were treated to a brief poetry reading courtesy of a local academic. I was tempted to roll my eyes at the prospect, but he did get the crowd in good spirits. Until a poem about food and good company was somehow given, as he put it, “a political edge.” And so, we endured a contrived reference to Brexit - implicitly very bad - and a pointed nod across the ocean to a certain president, who we were encouraged to imagine naked.

At the time, I was struck by the presumption – the belief that everyone present would naturally agree - that opposition to Brexit and a disdain of Trump were things we, the customers, would without doubt have in common… The subtext was hard to miss: “This is a fashionable restaurant and its customers, being fashionable, will obviously hold left-of-centre views, especially regarding Brexit and Trump, both of which they should disdain and wish to be seen disdaining by their left-of-centre peers.” And when you’re out to enjoy a fancy meal with friends and family, this is an odd sentiment to encounter from someone you don’t know and whose ostensible job is to make you feel welcome.

Trust Me, I’m A Witchdoctor

Guardian columnist denounces Western medicine as “outdated,” champions use of bush dung.

Continue reading "Reheated (61)" »

Our Betters In Distress

From the Times, a tale of evil seen, if you tilt your head and squint:

The three wise monkeys have been a cultural trope throughout the world for centuries as a symbol of seeing, hearing and speaking no evil. Academics at the University of York have decided that they could be seen as an oppressive racial stereotype, and pulled an image of the animals from their website to avoid offence.

Organisers of a forthcoming art history conference apologised for using the picture in their call for submissions. “Upon reflection, we strongly believe that our first poster is not appropriate as its iconology promulgates a longstanding visual legacy of oppression and exploits racist stereotypes,” they wrote. “We bring this to your attention, so that we may be held accountable for our actions and, in our privileges, do and be better.”

I doubt that doing better is on the cards, somehow. Just more of the same.

The fretful academics - who deploy the words “Orality, Aurality, Opticality and Hapticity” and then applaud themselves - claim to be concerned for the feelings of others – others who may, hypothetically, be offended, indeed oppressed, by a seventeenth century Buddhist figurine showing three helpers of the divine, and whose monkey form is a phonetic pun to speakers of Japanese

Readers may note that the agonising – in which any depiction of a monkey immediately conjures thoughts of black people - does rather speak to the weirdly dogmatic assumptions of the agonised, rather than the object being agonised about, or how said object is generally understood. It must be those intersectional lenses we hear so much about. Which is to say, lefties project.

Via Mr Muldoon.

The Narcissist’s Priorities

An Antifa mob tried to stop police from responding to an armed man threatening to harm others and himself in downtown Portland on Friday afternoon.

I can’t help feeling there’s something rather telling about what follows:

Officers from the Portland Police Bureau responded to calls to the 300-block area of Southwest 4th Avenue after a 30-year-old man reportedly jumped from the second story window of the apartment complex, pulled out a knife and brandished the blade at people and cars passing by. According to police, the unnamed man is schizophrenic and threatened to kill himself.

Portland Police sent in its Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team but was interrupted and threatened by hostile Antifa protesters who had already been gathering nearby at Powell’s Books calling for Andy Ngo’s upcoming book [on Antifa] to be banned. “The extra noise and distraction made it impossible for the specially trained officers to speak to the man,” said the Portland Police in a press statement. “Officers implored the crowd to stop interfering, but their energy only increased.”

Note that, being our betters, they had to make the situation about themselves. Of course, the Antifa clowns’ self-absorbed screeching and jeering – their refusal to be quiet so that negotiation could be attempted - made the subsequent use of force more likely, not less. 

Police say the suicidal man’s mother arrived on scene and pleaded with the mob to disperse but they ignored her

Because they care, you see. 

Hush Now, Brown Person, I’ll Do The Talking

Well, here’s a thing. It turns out that “white supremacy” is surprisingly diverse. Or, as the Washington Post’s headline puts it

To Understand Trump’s support, we must think in terms of multiracial Whiteness.

The author of what follows, Ms Cristina Beltrán, is “an associate professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University.” Her areas of expertise are needless to say sweeping and numerous, extending from “feminist theory” to “Latinx, and race & gender politic,” because “Latinx” and “politic” is how we do things now. Being a leftist academic, Ms Beltrán is of course mystified by the existence of non-white Trump supporters and, by extension, non-white people who dare to deviate from her own leftist assumptions. And so, inevitably, contortions ensue: 

What are we to make of… Latino voters inspired by Trump? And what are we to make of unmistakably White mob violence that also includes non-White participants? I call this phenomenon multiracial whiteness — the promise that they, too, can lay claim to the politics of aggression, exclusion and domination.

Given last year’s scenes of rioting, looting and generally feral behaviour, and the feats of illogic to excuse such things - to say nothing of crime statistics over the last fifty years - the conceit that non-white people have somehow been excluded from participation in “mob violence” and “the politics of aggression” is faintly comical. But Ms Beltrán is not a woman to be impeded by observable reality, and hurries instead to list the many shortcomings of Donald Trump, whose seductive powers are, it would seem, dark and diabolical:

Trump… knows nothing of the history of Latinos in the United States and rarely even pretends to find value in Latinos’ distinct identities. Rather than offering his non-White voters recognition, Trump has offered them multiracial whiteness.

If the concept of “multiracial whiteness” sounds a tad unobvious and contrived, Ms Beltrán elaborates:

Multiracial whiteness reflects an understanding of whiteness as a political colour and not simply a racial identity — a discriminatory worldview in which feelings of freedom and belonging are produced through the persecution and dehumanisation of others.

“Multiracial whiteness” is, we’re told, “rooted in… indigenous dispossession and anti-blackness,” and is “a form of hierarchy in which the standing of one section of the population is premised on the debasement of others.” Motives that are perhaps more obvious than persecution, a little more mundane, are simply not considered. Readers may also wish to ponder how a distaste for racial preoccupation is framed, rather boldly, as “a discriminatory worldview.”

Continue reading "Hush Now, Brown Person, I’ll Do The Talking" »

Friday Ephemera

Look away now. || I laughed and I’m not sorry. || Maybe a bath. || Giant cat roams British countryside. || Today’s word is suboptimal. || Does both ends, you know. || He does this better than you do. || High drama. || Kinship detected. (h/t, Julia) || The thrill of fertilisation. || Modern fretting. || Wait for it. || You want one and you know it. || At last, an hour of whale probe ambience. || First-person parkour with balloons and monkeys. || Tape recorders of yore. (h/t, Things) || Light and layered glass. || More glamourous than thou. || It has “autonomous steaming technology.” || Snow in Nagano. || Not a lot happened, then quite a lot did. || And finally, the heroic intervention didn’t go entirely to plan.

Get Them While They’re Soft And Yielding (4)

A third-grade teacher at R.I. Meyerholz Elementary School began the lesson on “social identities” during a math class.

But of course. You see, for some primary-school teachers, conveying the basics of arithmetic and fractions isn’t sufficiently sexy or particularly statusful. Marxoid pronouncements on “power and privilege,” however, and sermons on how straight white men are oppressing everyone else, are much more flattering to the ego of a leftist educator. And after all, those pretentious resentments, the ones you hope to exploit, won’t cultivate themselves. Oh, and apparently, transgenderism and “nonbinary sexuality” are suitable classroom topics for the modern eight-year-old.

What, you didn’t know?

Nor did the parents

Update, via the comments, where Karen adds,

Today’s word is ‘fraud’.

Given the apparent indifference to parental approval – one might call it subterfuge - you do have to wonder exactly how much class time has been wasted on ‘projects’ of this kind. Or would have been, had parents not discovered what their children were actually being taught instead of mathematics. And it is, I think, interesting just how often these things occur without the knowledge or consent of the parents whose children are being indoctrinated and psychologically abused, as if such details didn’t matter. As if the children weren’t theirs.

Note too how readily parental umbrage is framed as “divisive.” As if the problem were the parents, not the ideologically possessed educators

Mother’s Pride

Just a bunch of white boys.

She chose to share, and thereby impress. Pronouns, obviously.

Update, via the comments:

Given Ms Vilkomerson’s ostentatiously woke outpourings elsewhere, I think we can assume that, whether true or fabricated, said tweet was intended to both amuse and be met with approval. A bit of peer-group positioning, The key part being the modish dismissal of “white boys.” (Sort of, “See, I’ve taught my daughter to disdain whiteness and masculinity. How brave I am.”) That said tweet conveys other things, and unintended ironies, seems to have escaped Ms Vilkomerson.

As public boasts go, it’s quite a strange thing. I mean, you can imagine a proud parent announcing that their fourteen-year-old had passed a chemistry exam or reached piano grade three or something. But wanting to announce that your fourteen-year-old has internalised pretentious disdain for white people, and white men in particular, seems… obnoxiously unhinged. That this is apparently something statusful, a basis for applause, or at least in-group belonging, does not make it seem less so.

Via Rafi.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Or, Our Betters Breathe Deeply - Into A Paper Bag

Our betters unsettled

Mr Tiedrich tweets about Donald Trump many times, every day. And Ms Vee meditates, you know. 

Update, via the comments:

Jen quips, “They’re going to miss him.”

Well, I suppose that if your peer group is one that requires endless, competitive signalling – via breathless claims of how monstrous and fascistic the current incumbent of the White House is, and how mentally debilitating even thinking about him is, which you nonetheless do, every day, of course – then the prospect of losing that object of hate, and status, must be a cause of… mixed feelings. Though it’s quite odd how the people who imagine themselves our political betters, the ones to whom we should defer, are very often neurotic monomaniacs whose minds seem bizarrely fragile and forever on the verge of coming undone. 

Update 2:

Continue reading "Withdrawal Symptoms" »