January 26, 2021
For newcomers and the forgetful, two items from the archives:
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.
Guardian columnist denounces Western medicine as “outdated,” champions use of bush dung.
Apparently, modern medical science, with its oppressive Western paradigms, is insufficiently deferential to “our ways of knowing, being and doing.” We must, says Ms Blow, “embrace all knowledge systems.” “Our unique lens, which views health as holistic and all-encompassing, has often been ignored or worse, considered inferior,” Ms Blow informs us. Well, not everyone is happy trusting their recovery to healing songs and delusions of aboriginal sorcery, and there’s only so much you can achieve by pushing crushed witchetty grubs into a person’s ear.
Despite attempts to romanticise aboriginal medicine, the persistent differences in health and lifespan rather speak for themselves. If aboriginal approaches, untainted by “colonial organisations,” are so praiseworthy and desirable, one wonders why aboriginal people suffer from alarming rates of diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, chlamydia and any number of other afflictions – from cardiovascular problems to hearing loss and disastrous oral hygiene. And the less contact they have with the “biomedical models” that so offend Ms Blow, the more pronounced the disparities seem to be. Being “disruptive” and “the antithesis of colonial” doesn’t appear to be working out awfully well.
There’s more, should you crave it, in the greatest hits.
Also, open thread.