Please Update Your Files And Lifestyles Accordingly

From the pages of The Atlantic, a new torment for woke sophisticates:

The hidden bigotry of crosswords.

That sound you hear is barrel-bottom-scraping.

The popular puzzles are largely written and edited by older white men, who dictate what makes it into the grid—and what is kept out.

The world of woke crossword-puzzlers - because that’s a thing that exists - is one in which enthusiasts, via social media, grumble about white men, bemoan the insufficient prominence of “queer or POC colloquialisms,” share “off-colour jokes about hypothetical titles for a Melania Trump memoir,” and fret about the exact ratio of male and female names used as clues. Because a lack of “gender parity” in crossword puzzle clues constitutes one of “the systemic forces that threaten women.”

Crossword puzzles can do that, apparently.

The list of possible crossword-puzzle wrongdoings is, of course, extensive, ever-growing and not entirely straightforward.

Transgressions include clues for ILLEGAL (“One caught by border patrol”); MEN (“Exasperated comment from a feminist”); and HOOD (“Place with homies”). 

I’ll give you a moment to steady yourselves, to recover from all that gasping.

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Feminism Versus Scrabble

Heather Mac Donald on the obvious-but-seemingly-unthinkable:

Since the World Scrabble Championship began in 1991, all winners have been male. The North American Scrabble Championship has had one female winner (in 1987) since its founding in 1978. All eight finalists in this year’s French World Scrabble Championships were men. Competitive Scrabble constitutes a natural experiment for testing the feminist worldview. According to feminist dogma, males and females are identical in their aptitudes and interests. If men dominate certain data-based, abstract fields like engineering, physics and math, that imbalance must, by definition, be the result of sexism—whether a patriarchal culture that discourages girls from math or implicit bias in the hiring process.

But there are no cultural expectations that discourage females from memorising dictionaries—a typical strategy of competitive Scrabble players, often in a foreign language that the player doesn’t speak. Girls are as free as boys to lap up vocabulary. Nor are there misogynist gatekeepers to keep females out of Scrabble play; the game, usually first learned at home, is open to all. According to Hasbro, 83% of recreational Scrabble players 25 to 54 are female.

Championship Scrabble, however, rewards typically male obsessions: strategy, math, a passion for competition, and a drive to memorise facts. [World Scrabble Champion, Nigel] Richards’s mother told the Guardian in 2015 that he “related everything to numbers” when he was growing up. Feminists will need to employ circular logic to conjure forth a discriminatory barrier in Scrabble: Males’ excellence at a certain activity itself keeps females out. But that leaves unanswered the question of how males came to excel at Scrabble—or any other abstract, competitive activity—in the first place.

Also this:

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Elsewhere (272)

Via Herb Deutsch, Heather Mac Donald on identitarian dogma versus scientific proficiency: 

Yale has created a special undergraduate laboratory course that aims to enhance minority students’ “feelings of identifying as a scientist.” It does so by being “non-prescriptive” in what students research; they develop their own research questions. But “feelings” are only going to get you so far without mastery of the building blocks of scientific knowledge. Mastering those building blocks involves the memorisation of facts, among other skills. Assessing student knowledge of those facts can produce disparate results. The solution is to change the test or, ideally, eliminate it. A medical school supervisor recently advised a professor to write an exam that was less “fact-based” than the one he had proposed, even though knowledge of pathophysiology and the working of drugs, say, entails knowing facts.

Note too the claim, by the National Science Foundation, that progress in science requires a “diverse STEM workforce,” seemingly regardless of how this goal is arrived at. And as if the insufficiently “diverse” scientists previously supported by the NSF, and who between them have racked up a mere 200 Nobel Prizes, were somehow under-performing due to antiquated expectations of actual competence.

Also at Yale, this. Because an “emotional support guinea pig” is now a thing that exists.

Noah Rothman on the cost of universities’ administrative bloat: 

In the 20-year period from 1985 to 2005, the number of administrators increased at universities by 85 percent while the number of students and faculty increased by only 50 percent. In that same period, the number of administrative staff ballooned by a staggering 240 percent. It is no coincidence that in nearly the same period… the cost of achieving a higher education exploded. Between 1985 and 2011, the cost of a four-year degree increased by 498 percent while consumer inflation rose by just over 100 percent.

And Toni Airaksinen smells more money being burned in the name of wokeness

The University of California-Irvine Esports programme is looking to help promote “social justice” in the competitive gaming industry. 

Consequently, computer-games enthusiasts will be “required to undergo ‘diversity and inclusion’ trainings.”

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.


What we’re trying to show you is that this bad reporting comes from a particular historical, political and social milieu… There’s no way to explain why somebody isn’t a good person, doesn’t behave professionally, doesn’t behave ethically at their job [as a journalist] unless you understand their motivations.

Those of you who’ve been following the GamerGate saga may find the video below of interest. It’s an abridged version of a debate held over the weekend at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Airplay event in Miami, in which assorted journalists, gamers and game developers tried to communicate with each other, with varying degrees of success. I was watching it via livestream on Saturday evening. It’s the first time I’d seen a bomb threat announced live, twice. Even if it’s not your thing, it may be worth listening to Christina Hoff Sommers’ “huge boobs” anecdote around 6:46.

An unedited recording can be found in two parts here and here

In the Zone

A headline of note from the Belfast Telegraph

Man Fined for Sedating Girlfriend So He Could Keep Playing Video Games

In short, 

A court in Castrop-Rauxel, a town in eastern Germany, heard that the man’s (now ex) girlfriend had arrived home while he was playing games with his friend one night in August. Keen to keep playing after she came home, the man put sedative in her tea, causing her to sleep until midday the next day.

Via Chris Snowdon

Ideally, However, No-one Actually Wins

Here’s an essential purchase for the coming festivities. 

We may live in a materialistic world, but Aussie educator Andrea Thompson has created a fun way to help the next generation understand the importance of social responsibility in a new family board game. Fair Go is a unique board game where the winner is determined by who has the best reputation for philanthropy and social justice. 

From what I can make out – and it’s not always easy to follow - it’s a kind of “social justice” Monopoly, in which rolling a double six doesn’t get you an extra turn and you don’t get any money when you pass ‘Go’. The game is advertised, proudly, with the following endorsement by an unspecified grandma: “Great holiday fun – nobody finishes before the others.” And yes, there’s a thrilling video of Fair Go being played, albeit in a somewhat unexcited manner, by two right-thinking persons who, I’m sure, are feeling good about themselves. 

Andrea observed how hard it was to find a family game which could be adapted for different ability levels and where winning depended on making good choices, so she decided to create her own. She hopes that players learn how to win in a fun way “without hurting their friends.” 

As Tim Blair says, “Because so many board games end in terrible violence.” 

It’s a Class War Narrative

A few days ago we were talking about critics grafting their own political hang-ups onto early zombie films. As when cineaste Robin Wood informed readers that the zombies’ cannibalistic tendency “represents the ultimate in possessiveness, hence the logical end of human relations under capitalism.” Well. With that in mind, I feel it’s time for a few words from someone close to our hearts:  

I wondered if we could go back to talking about zombies and socialism? Because there is quite a lot of scholarship on this, recently, and a lot of people writing, erm, quite intelligently about the idea of the power of the zombie narrative as a class war narrative. 

See if you can guess who it is before you follow this link