Academia

Elsewhere (313)

Jonathan Kay on woke mysticism and the latest must-have identity niche:  

[O]ne of the main themes of the 32-page document is that the task of defining the Two-Spirit concept is (quite literally) beyond the powers of Western language and epistemology. And in any case, the category is almost completely open-ended: The act of proclaiming oneself Two-Spirited could be a statement about one’s gender, or sexual orientation, or both, or neither. Or 2S can be a statement about one’s politics, spirituality, or simply one’s desire to present as “anti-colonial.” […]

While the authors of the report were careful to source their work to Indigenous writers and interviewees, it’s interesting to note that all of the listed societal roles attributed to ancient Two-Spirited people align uncannily with the avant-garde outlook of a white 2022-era environmentalist who’s embraced intersectional conceptions of gender… We are told no fewer than nine times, for instance, that the authors are following an “anti-oppressive” approach. Colonialism is denounced more than a dozen times, including in its “heteronormative” (three times) variant.

Needless to say, the whole thing is a bit of a two-legged stool and, shall we say, not entirely consonant with anthropological evidence.

Libby Emmons on cheated female athletes and transgender overreach:

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You Will Practise Not Noticing

Further to recent rumblings in the comments, the Globe and Mail’s Phoebe Maltz Bovy offers what I believe is called a hot take:

Most will be familiar with the following scenario: a young girl, a teen or tween, gets in trouble with her school’s administration for a dress-code violation. Her supposed crime against decency: looking provocative. It will turn out that the girl was wearing some normal teenager outfit, jeans and a T-shirt or something equally boring, but had the audacity to attend school in a body with breasts, hips and a post-pubescent-looking behind… She is not choosing to draw attention to herself simply by existing. It’s the fault of the adults around her for sexualising her.

Given what follows, do keep that last line in mind.

But in a twist to the typical narrative, this time around, a high-school teacher in Oakville, Ont., made headlines for her curvaceous classroom presence.

That would be this chap’s curvaceous classroom presence.

“The conservative press and right-wing social media” are then mentioned, complete with implied hissing, on grounds that those irredeemable right-wingers have noticed something untoward:

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Reheated (72)

Some items from the archives:

No Black Lights Were Available.

New York Times contributor is oppressed by pedestrian-crossing traffic lights.

Mr Kaufman - who can doubtless detect racism in the motions of subatomic particles - would have us believe that his friend was using the word white as a racial descriptor, rather than, as seems more likely, an unremarkable acknowledgement of a traffic light’s colour when talking to a child. In light of which, Mr Kaufman’s claims of being “bombarded” with racism – daily, everywhere – become at least explicable, if not convincing. 

The pedestrian crossing signal that so distresses Mr Kaufman – a rudimentary humanoid figure, made of white lights on a black background – can be seen here, from a safe distance. You may want to steady yourselves. It’s all very upsetting, at least for the exquisitely sensitive. Mr Kaufman then goes on an investigative journey, in which he learns why, in a society with lots of non-English speakers, crossing signals with words are being replaced by simple, universal graphics, calibrated to capture attention – say, by using lights of a certain hue. Which all sounds quite sensible. Rather than, say, a nefarious racial conspiracy intended to break the will of the negro.

You May Clap When Moved.  

Mr Reed Altemus rubs his trousers, awaits applause.

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Marking Their Territory

And in totally-radical-toilet news

Female students at one of Latin America’s top Universities say trans activists staged a coup of a single-sex washroom on their campus, 

It started, you see, with feminist students painting a lesbian pride symbol on a wall near a campus library. As one does. This act of fearless self-involvement apparently inflicted nerve-shredding trauma on the trans activist contingent, who promptly denounced the lesbians as “TERFs, colonial fascists, and transphobes,” before announcing that lesbians are only permitted to use symbols of lesbianism that they, the trans activists, find congenial.

Shortly after, as a result of the lesbian symbol that had been painted, the trans students reportedly declared that they “did not feel safe” on the campus and went to administrators to demand a gender-neutral washroom be established in that area. While administrators agreed to create one, the students did not wait for it to be designated. Less than 24 hours later, the activists took over the largest female restroom, which was on the second floor of the Faculty of Philosophy.

Ah, the life of the mind.

Naturally, the first task was to give the toilets a makeover via the uplifting medium of graffiti, thereby communicating the life-enhancing qualities of prostitution:

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Victimhood Invoked, Victory Lap Indulged In

TIME spoke to Gender Queer author and illustrator Maia Kobabe about eir work, the efforts to restrict access to eir writing, and what ey make of the current cultural moment.

Captain, your signal’s breaking up. I’m getting a lot of static. Must be solar flares. That, or dangerously high levels of pretension caused by the proximity of Ms Kobabe, an activist and supposedly ungendered being, complete with boutique pronouns, and TIME’s Madeleine Carlisle. Given what follows, the words “restrict access” - and the subsequent claims of persecution - may seem a tad misleading. Ms Kobabe’s book, we learn, explores,

Questions around how to introduce nonbinary pronouns to people who might not be familiar them. And also how to be a role model as a nonbinary adult, especially in a setting like a classroom.

You see, our aspiring role model has produced a book combining hardcore self-involvement with dysmorphic cartoon pornography, with the results being made available to schoolchildren, including 11-year-olds. As one might imagine, there have been some, shall we say, reservations regarding whether a book of this kind should be circulated among children without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Readers may recall scenes in which parents attempted to read aloud passages from the book among fellow adults at school board meetings, typically resulting in reprimands, the shutting off of microphones, and threats of physical removal. Apparently, “vagina slime,” fellatio and “strap-on hotness” are inappropriate topics for adult discussion, even as an attempt to specify a problem, but totally fine for kids. Who apparently need to know about the joys of masturbating while driving.

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Reheated (71)

As I expect to be busy over the next few days, some items from the archives.

Something About The Tone.   

Urban Studies lecturer bemoans litter inequality, suggests bulldozing homes nicer than his own.

Our postcode class warrior also thinks that “deprived” and “marginalised” communities can be elevated, made less dysfunctional, by “the provision of services… such as… street cleaners.” Meaning more street cleaners, cleaning more frequently. He links to a report fretting about how to “narrow the gap” in litter, how to, “achieve fairer outcomes in street cleanliness.” But neither he nor the authors of said report explore an obvious factor. The words “drop” and “littering” simply don’t appear anywhere in the report, thereby suggesting that the food-smeared detritus and other unsightly objects just fall from the clouds mysteriously when the locals are asleep.

The report that Mr Matthews cites, supposedly as evidence of unfairness, actually states that council cleaning resources are “skewed towards deprived neighbourhoods” – with councils spending up to five times more on those areas than they spend on cleaning more respectable neighbourhoods. And yet even this is insufficient to overcome the locals’ antisocial behaviour. A regular visit by a council cleaning team, even one equipped with military hardware, won’t compensate for a dysfunctional attitude towards littering among both children and their parents. And fretting about inequalities in litter density is a little odd if you don’t consider how the litter gets there in the first place. 

The Dunning-Kruger Diaries, Part Two

Behold the creative outpourings of Ms Angeliki Chiado Tsoli.

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Just A Thought, But Hear Me Out

Maybe the racially neurotic should not be teaching children.

Say, the kinds of people who insist that maintaining discipline in class and ejecting those who seriously misbehave - thereby enabling the rest of the class to have some chance of learning something - is merely “upholding white supremacy,” and so, by implication, very, very bad. The kinds of people who, when their own words are quoted verbatim and they consequently encounter pushback, seemingly for the first time, complain about the stress of being disagreed with. 

As we’ve seen many times, when said neuroticism is made modish, statusful, and an institutional obligation, the practical results are not entirely inspiring. With six experiments in racial immunity from discipline, in six different cities, resulting in six surges in violent classroom assaults, up to and including actual riots. And with apologists for the policies doubling-down and subsequently claiming that “African-American boys” are more “physical” and “demonstrative,” and so punching teachers in the face, and groping them, and setting other students’ hair on fire, is how those students “engage in learning.”

And when educators have practised such dishonesties and have learned to perform the required mental contortions, the results can be quite eye-widening. We might, for instance, turn to Dr Albert Stabler, an assistant professor at Appalachian State University, whose thoughts are much aligned with those of our TikTok teacher linked above.

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In Space No-One Can Hear You Scream

“Decolonizing” the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) could boost its chances of success, says science historian Rebecca Charbonneau.

From Scientific American, obviously.

You see,

Increasingly, SETI scientists are grappling with the disquieting notion that, much like their intellectual forebears, their search may somehow be undermined by biases they only dimly perceive—biases that could, for instance, be related to the misunderstanding and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and other marginalised groups…

But of course. Some editorial trajectories are, I guess, inevitable. As one might imagine, the author of the article, Camilo Garzón, is keen to signal his own modish sensitivities, and so the interview with Ms Charbonneau begins as it means to go on: 

“Decolonisation” seems to be a problematic term,

This prompts much rhetorical nodding, along with the news that space exploration is “a stand-in for encounters with Indigenous peoples.” Sadly, before this claim can be explored or tested in any way, we shift sideways in search of a point. Says Ms Charbonneau:

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Not In Fact An Optimal Situation

It was, like, so awesome.” 

Or, “Woman with mental health problems craves validation from other people’s eight-year-olds, whom she manipulates, seemingly with impunity.”

Readers may wish to devise captions of their own. 

Update

Via the comments, and somewhat related, this illustration of ideological capture.  

And so, a woman who has been raped and is understandably uneasy about cross-dressing men venturing into female-only intimate spaces, including changing rooms, showers, and rape support groups, is patronised and scolded – at length, on her own doorstep, by a female police officer - for not believing that “trans women are women.” And the police officer, this rambling fool, the one doing the patronising, is the one who claims to be offended. On behalf of dysmorphic and autogynephile men. “You’ve got in your head that a trans woman is not a woman. You need to educate yourself,” says she.

In another context, it could pass for black comedy.

Also, open thread. Share ye links and bicker.


Only Doing It For The Betterment Of Us All

Time to revisit the world of “queer studies,” via the academic journal Qualitative Research:

I wanted to understand how my research participants experience sexual pleasure when reading shota, a Japanese genre of self-published erotic comics that features young boy characters. I therefore started reading the comics in the same way as my research participants had told me that they did it: while masturbating.

Hey, I’m just reading what it says here.

In this research note, I will recount how I set up an experimental method of masturbating to shota comics, and how this participant observation of my own desire not only gave me a more embodied understanding of the topic for my research but also made me think about loneliness and ways to combat it as driving forces of the culture of self-published erotic comics.

It’s embodied, you see. And before you go getting any untoward ideas, it’s all being done selflessly, high-mindedly, for the greater good:

Untangling this largely unresearched knot of desires for fictional boy characters will give us a better understanding of human sexuality and provide a more solid basis for policymaking.

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Elsewhere (312)

Anna Slatz on when an 80-year-old lady encounters the pointy end of transgender ideology:  

When [Julie] Jaman asked… why no signs had been posted informing women that males could potentially be in the locker rooms, she says she was told: “‘We post pride signs, and we assume that lets women know what to expect.’”

What is expected, it seems, is that women who are not entirely comfortable with dysmorphic men using ladies’ changing rooms and showers, and watching small girls undress, should simply pretend that it isn’t happening. As is the custom, a kind of farce ensues, including accusations of “hatred,” bigotry, and being “unscientific.”  

Heather Mac Donald on the woke capture, and corruption, of medicine:

Medical schools and medical societies are discarding traditional standards of merit in order to alter the demographic characteristics of their profession… Black students are not admitted into competitive residencies at the same rate as whites because their average [second year ‘Step One’] test scores are a standard deviation below those of whites. Step One has already been modified to try to shrink that gap; it now includes nonscience components such as “communication and interpersonal skills.” But the standard deviation in scores has persisted. In the world of antiracism, that persistence means only one thing: the test is to blame. It is Step One that, in the language of antiracism, “disadvantages” underrepresented minorities, not any lesser degree of medical knowledge…

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