Anthropology

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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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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Reheated (69)

For newcomers and the nostalgic, more items from the archives:

Our Betters In Distress.  

At the University of York, scenes of theatrical fretting.

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. 

Our Betters Victorious, But Still Unhappy.  

Los Angeles Times columnist has considerate neighbours and is therefore, naturally, outraged.

As readers may be a little confused by the air of displeasure, I should point out that no history of neighbourly rancour is offered as an excuse – no disputes over hedges or noisy pets. Nothing of that sort is mentioned at all. Ms Heffernan’s neighbours are, it seems, to be frowned upon, indeed despised, in print, in a newspaper they may well read, simply for failing to vote for Mr Biden.

Modern Love

If it wasn’t complicated and unsatisfying, everyone would do it.

To illustrate this terribly progressive lifestyle arrangement, we’re introduced to a Brooklynite comedian and podcaster named Billy, his girlfriend Megan, and his girlfriend Megan’s other boyfriend Kyle.

Land Of The Before Times

An attempt is made to glamorise a fashionably radical hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

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Miracle Occurs, Authorities Confounded

Two prisoners at New Jersey’s only women’s prison have become pregnant after having sex with a transgender inmate. The women had engaged in “consensual sexual relationships with another incarcerated person,” the state’s department of corrections told NJ.com. They were being held at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility at Union Township, about 16 miles west of New York City. The transgender prisoner, Demi Minor, 27, who is serving 30 years for manslaughter, has been moved to another prison for young adults.

Clearly, dad material.

As a result of the pregnancies, the New Jersey Corrections Department said it was currently reviewing the policy for housing transgender incarcerated persons with the intention of “implementing minor modifications.”

Maybe we’re the ones in the mirror universe, where everything is slightly askew.

Via Darleen in the comments.

Also, open thread. Share ye links and bicker.


Those Critical Faculties

Come, let us dip a toe in the world of woke theatre criticism. From the pages of Intermission magazine, where the Toronto Star’s theatre critics, Aisling Murphy and Karen Fricker, applaud each other, and thereby themselves, for seeing an indigenous play and submitting to conditions on what they may say about it:

We both responded really positively to the show. But the reason we’re not writing a traditional review is because [playwright and director] Kim Harvey did not invite reviews of this Toronto premiere production of Kamloopa. This follows on from the world premiere production in 2018 in Vancouver in which she invited Indigenous women to write love letters to the show but did not invite traditional reviews.

You see, for Ms Harvey, our unflinching and very indigenous creative person, “staging theatre productions is a form of Indigenous ceremony,” and is therefore, conveniently, exempt from customary feedback, i.e., reviews of a kind that paying customers might have found useful, had they been available. And so, reviewers of pallor, should they be permitted, must first attend a circle, in which they will be told, in advance, how artful and profound the work in question is, and what they should say about it. After all, it’s so much easier on the ego, and any teetering vanity, if no acknowledgement of any shortcoming is permitted.

Despite not being brown and magical beings themselves, Ms Murphy and Ms Fricker are keen to show their approval of, and deference to, this artistic innovation:

Here, white critics were invited, but with the caveat of listening and bearing witness to Kim’s artistic philosophies first: to me, that felt not only fair but really rich. 

Bearing witness, you say. To artistic philosophies. Because you can’t just turn up with tickets in the hope of entertainment.

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When Your Opinions Are Social Jewellery

The TRIGGERnometry duo interview Rob Henderson, coiner of the term luxury beliefs:

Luxury beliefs I define as ideas and opinions that confer status on the upper class, while often inflicting costs on the lower classes… The way that people used to demonstrate their social class was through material goods, through expensive items… Today, it’s not necessarily the case… [Affluent] students will often downplay their wealth or even lie about how rich their parents are… [Now,] it’s luxury beliefs. It’s the unusual, novel viewpoints that they’re expressing to distinguish themselves. They crave distinction, that’s the key goal here…

An easy way to show that you’re not a member of the riff-raff, the masses, is to hold the opposite opinion, or a strange opinion that maybe doesn’t make sense, because it shows you’re not one of them. It’s not just the opinion itself, but the way that you express it. If you express it using vocabulary that no-one has ever heard of, for example… You often are not paying the price for your luxury beliefs, but even if you do, it’s still not nearly the same as the cost inflicted on the lower classes if they were to adopt those luxury beliefs too. […]

I talked to a friend of mine who was telling me, “When I set my Tinder radius to one mile, just around the university, and I see the bios of the women, a lot of their profiles say things like ‘poly’ or ‘keeping it casual’ – basically, they’re not interested in anything too serious.” He says something like half of them have something like that in their bio. And then he said, “But when I expand the radius on my Tinder to five miles, to include the rest of the city and the more run-down areas beyond the university bubble, half the women are single moms.” And basically, the luxury beliefs of the former group, the educated group, trickled down and ended up having this outsize effect on the people who are less fortunate, who don’t have the [social and] economic capital of the people who can afford that belief.

Several examples are given, along with their likely effects if enacted by the cash-strapped and credulous. One or two of them have of course been touched on here before. Indeed, we have a tag for such things, via which you can find one of Mr Henderson’s early articles on the subject.

Mr Henderson’s Substack can be found here.

Also, open thread.


Reheated (68)

For newcomers and the nostalgic, more items from the archives:

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

Woke academic bemoans racism, while casually erasing agency from anyone brownish who happens to disagree with her.

For Ms Beltrán, then, those who tire of racial tribalism and identitarian drama, and who prefer to be engaged with as individuals, are merely surrendering to “whiteness” and “white supremacy,” and are therefore the enemy, traitorous, or at best, dupes. And for Ms Beltrán, the extremist is not the person who fixates on race as the overriding characteristic and sole basis for “recognition” - as the ideological mass around which all else must revolve - but the person who doesn’t.

Your Guilt Has Been Determined Via Pantone Colour Chart.

A mandatory course for dentists is announced. Confessions of pallor are expected.

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.

Her Unspeakable Woes (2)

Haughty bitches claim to be oppressed, while disdaining the little people who serve them drinks.

Continue reading "Reheated (68)" »


Incongruous Men

Further to the eye-widening incident mentioned in the later paragraphs here, another taste of trans ideology in Canadian women’s shelters:

At first, Jane says she’d just tried to avoid Max [a pseudonym], who she described as being over 6’ tall and obviously male. But just weeks after arriving, Jane says she caught him in the hall outside of her room, completely nude but for a bra he was holding to his chest as he modelled his body in the full-length mirror near Jane’s door. He was fully intact and was not covering his genitalia in any way…

Jane attempted to complain to staff over what had happened, but says her concerns were given a low priority and dismissed… “They just said ‘some people don’t respect boundaries.’ Nothing was done.”  

Other incidents, including the bullying of a severely disabled resident and the repeated theft of kitchen knives, along with threats to use them on other residents, prompted further complaints.

But the staff member quickly expressed that they were more concerned about Jane having perceived Max as male.

The man in question was, belatedly, moved elsewhere. However, a second dysmorphic man, also unstable, appeared in the shelter, resulting in additional questioning of the shelter’s effectively unisex policy. Which in turn had consequences for the complainant:

“We are a trans-friendly house. We will be having more trans women coming in. So, the decision has been made that this is not the right place for you,” the manager says, before accusing Jane of being “dishonest” about her position on trans rights during her intake… “The fact is, you’re transphobic. We are a non-transphobic agency, and it is not appropriate for you to be living here,” the manager is heard saying, “I asked you when you moved in, and you lied — you said you weren’t transphobic.”

Given the subject matter, it’s not a happy read. But it does, I think, convey where modish pretensions can lead. 

Update:

In the comments, sH2 juxtaposes the shelter’s annoyance that Jane should perceive Max as male with Max’s evident delight in displaying his penis. “Hard not to,” he adds. Well, in the case above, and in the case of Tyler Porter, mentioned previously, and doubtless in many others, I suspect that’s rather the point.

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Your Salary Will Be Paid When We Can Be Bothered To Get Around To It

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is a government agency that coordinates medical care and social well-being in the Beaver State. During the pandemic, OHA was responsible for coordinating Oregon’s vaccination drive and disseminating information about COVID-19—both vital tasks. The agency’s office for equity and inclusion, however, prefers not to rush the business of government. In fact, the office’s program manager delayed a meeting with partner organisations on the stated grounds that “urgency is a white supremacy value.”

You see, among the woke, you can’t reschedule a meeting without denouncing the works of the white devil.

Update: In the comments, Connor adds,

As our host would say, ‘cultivated neurosis’.

Well, yes. Apparently, it’s somehow not enough to simply reschedule a meeting to accommodate those who aren’t quite prepared. Instead, you have to ostentatiously invoke and then denounce some imaginary “white supremacy,” a supposed “value” of which is getting things done promptly. Because preferring a meeting to happen sooner rather than later, at some undetermined time and place, is seemingly a bad thing and, by implication, The Fault Of All White People. It’s as if these creatures have some bizarre mental checklist of ideological tics and affectations that must be inserted incongruously into almost any humdrum interaction.

The related “white” evils of punctuality and forethought - also known as adulthood - have been touched on here before.

Consider this an open thread. Or don’t, whatever.


Womenfolk, Know Your Place

And in sports news:

An adult biological male who identifies as a woman edged out a 13-year-old girl to take first place in a women’s skateboarding contest held in New York Saturday.

Sometimes reality is a little too on-the-nose.

Update, via the comments, where Melofon adds,

Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire takes a brave stand in favour of ... the tradition and competitive integrity of the sport of women’s skateboarding. Opening itself up to the (correct) rebuttal that it has no interest in skateboarding or women in skateboarding, and is only covering it to pick on the tranny.

Well, I doubt that ladies’ skateboarding is a regular topic of conversation at the Daily Wire, or among its readers, but the particulars of the sport are not the thing that’s most interesting. There is a wider context, of which the above is very much part. I would guess that readers are more likely to be interested in the pretence that unwell men can become women, seemingly by dint of wishing, and are therefore to be admitted, unopposed, into women’s sports and women’s intimate spaces. The Daily Wire’s readers may even regard this trend, correctly, as pretentious, unrealistic, and unhappy in its implications.

To register this phenomenon - and its wide and rapid spread - as noteworthy is rather more than, as Melofon puts it, picking on the tranny.

More details of the skateboarding saga can be found here.

Readers will note that several wins by dysmorphic men have occurred in women’s skateboarding, and that female players who aren’t entirely happy with this arrangement find themselves assailed by trans activists for daring to complain. Again, the issue isn’t ladies’ skateboarding as such, but rather the ongoing and widespread efforts to normalise something that’s quite odd, one might say surreal, and often unjust.

If another example is required, one that shows, quite vividly, just how awry things can get…

Continue reading "Womenfolk, Know Your Place" »


Anthropological Snippets

Three items presented for your betterment:  

First up, “Kids and kink can coexist at Pride in a totally fine way,” we’re told.  

You see, exhibitionist displays of fetishes – say, transvestism, sadomasochism, nipple clamps and cock rings - constitute a “justice space” and “kids and youth voices are vital to justice movements.” “Kids,” we learn, “are a vulnerable and marginalised group” and must therefore – yes, therefore - be exposed to narcissistic psychodrama and the penises of creepy, damaged men.

It’s all about those “intersecting identities and oppressions.”

This second item reminds us, inadvertently, of two fairly obvious options. You could, of course, regurgitate pseudo-scholarly prattle in a condescending tone, complete with facial theatre. Or you could just, you know, dial back on the carbs and sugar, and thereby live longer without the serious health problems. Or the mental contortions.

Oh, and somehow, inexcusably, I’ve only today discovered this.

I think it’s safe to say that your cross-cultural interview isn’t going terribly well when the interviewee starts throwing his own faeces at you.

Also, open thread.


Signal Received

On the subject of ostentatious hair colouring, Emil Kirkegaard has some thoughts:

For those not into memes: the idea is that poisonous animals advertise their dangerousness by [using] bright colours to scare away predators. Humans appear to do the same, as those who are poisonous -- mentally ill -- colour their hair in bright, dangerous-looking colours. Since this meme was made in about 2014, we’ve seen a strong increase in the number of people with unnatural hair colours. In the same time, we have seen a rise in mental illness in left-wingers…

Is unnatural hair colour associated with mental illness, or are we being misled by a few prominent people with this hair style who appear very mentally ill? We decided to find out using the venerable OKCupid dataset.

Charts and number-crunching ensue.

The full paper - Blue Hair and the Blues: Dying Your Hair Unnatural Colours is Associated with Depression - can be downloaded here