Some items from the archives:
On pronouns, politeness, and the strange mental rumblings of Ms Laurie Penny.
Regarding rudeness, I’m generally polite by default, at least in person, and don’t go out of my way to needlessly put a kink in someone else’s day. I’ve had perfectly civil chats with people who regard themselves as transgender or gender-non-conforming or whatever. Nobody got upset. But what is often being asked – or demanded – is not a small thing, not in its implications.
Taken broadly, we are being asked to affirm, wholesale, a bundle of phenomena that includes not only actual gender dysphoria, whether the result of developmental anomalies or childhood molestation, but also autogynephilia, serious personality disorders, adolescent pretension, and assorted exhibitionist and unsavoury compulsions. The expectation seems to be that we should take these different phenomena, with very different moral connotations, as being one and the same thing, and then defer to them, habitually and uncritically. Which is asking rather more than can readily be agreed to.
At Middlebury College, woke piety erupts. A 74-year-old scholar is quite literally chased off campus.
Note that the rather animated protestors don’t seem too familiar with Dr Murray’s research and commentary, and as one of Middlebury’s sociology professors noted, “few, if any” of the protestors had ever read Murray’s books. Evidently, he’s nonetheless someone to be othered and to whom the students can attach the usual out-group labels – denouncing him as “sexist,” “racist,” “anti-gay,” and a “white nationalist.” (As even the briefest use of Google would reveal, Murray married a Thai woman while in the Peace Corps, has mixed-race children, has tutored inner-city black children for free, and was an early advocate of gay marriage - hardly the most obvious markers of a supposedly anti-gay white nationalist.)
Deep thoughts, shifting paradigms, and heads wrapped in meat.
For those who may be confounded by the profundity of the piece, a handy walk-through guide is available. Said guide points out that the performance will encourage among onlookers “a deeper level of critical thought.” Of the many ruminations that will doubtless be inspired is the following: “After seeing someone wrap their head in meat twice, does it still hold the same weight as it did the first time?”
The guide notes, rather earnestly, that the first attempt, by Mr Carvalho, to envelop his head in bread, string, and assorted meat products, prompted more amusement from the tiny audience than the subsequent repetition of it by Ms Cochrane. This is presented as an invitation to “a fundamental shift in paradigm” and some allegedly profound insight into gender politics. Or, how “different actions are read on different bodies.” Our artistic deep thinkers are seemingly unaware of the concepts of novelty and diminishing returns.
Also, open thread. Share ye links and bicker.