Gardening's Racial Subtext

Lawn Maintenance Is Racist

Further to the previous post, more “critical race thought” from a severely educated young person

You see, a pleasing lawn is not only “racist” but obviously a manifestation of “the white psyche’s compulsion to establish complete dominion over ‘property.’” (Do note the scare quotes around the word property, which is apparently a doubtful concept with no basis in reality.) Now excuse me while I nip across the road to tell the chap at number 32, the one whose family hail from India, that his immaculate lawn is merely a sign of his own oppression, of submission to “white norms,” “white supremacy,” and the “white conception of property.”

I’m sure he’ll appreciate being educated in this way.

Via Dicentra

Reheated (48)

For newcomers, more items from the archives:

Well, Soil Is Sort Of Brown

Your furniture choices are informed by the “crisis in white identity,” says sociology lecturer. And Gardeners’ Question Time is all about race.

Given the Guardian’s intense gravitational pull on certain kinds of stupid, it was perhaps inevitable that Dr Pitcher would find a welcome there. Now it turns out that squirrels are yet another proxy for “our” unspoken racial sentiment. Our esteemed intellectual, who divines hidden racism by means of his third eye, is hurt by the avalanche of mockery aimed at his earlier pronouncements, claiming his words have been misconstrued, while also claiming that same derision proves him right, and while repeating the very claims that resulted in laughter. He does, however, concede that “the uprooting of… Japanese knotweed is... not necessarily motivated by racist intent.”  

Ladies First

You men must learn your place in the progressive pecking order.

“On television interviews, on platforms and political meetings, at any presentations — if there’s no woman speaker, then the event does not take place,” says Professor Haiven. By which she means, such gatherings should not be permitted. She’s quite emphatic on this point. Professor Haiven is also keen on punishing people who say things of which she doesn’t approve, and which she casually conflates with acts of violence. And this great thinker can denounce the evils of an alleged male “monopoly” in an environment where women outnumber men by quite some margin, and while sitting on a panel with no male participants, and with no-one willing to argue a substantively different view. 

Answers On A Postcard, Please.

Squat enthusiast invites readers to “imagine what you and your friends could do with a crowbar, a guitar,” and someone else’s property. 

Says Ms Cosslett, “Communes represented a different way of being – sharing the cooking, the cleaning and the childcare was not only practical but also beneficial to the wellbeing of the members.” Readers who as students shared a house and cleaning duties, in theory at least, will no doubt testify to the practicality of this approach and the lofty hygiene standards that invariably resulted. Now imagine those high standards applied to parenting and childcare.

There’s more, should you want it, in the greatest hits. And tickling the tip jar is what keeps this place afloat.

The Year Reheated

In which we reflect on the woes of the Guardianista class, on the great thinkers of academia, and on the mind-shattering wonders of contemporary art.

In January we marvelled at the modesty of the novelist Brigid Delaney, who told Guardian readers that her lifestyle and living arrangements should be determined not by her budget, as is generally the custom, but by her self-estimated importance as a creative person. And therefore taxpayers should pay for her to live in a much nicer flat in a more happening part of town. On the same day in the same paper, fellow creative person Amien Essif bemoaned the fact that “there’s not much money in writing these days.” And so, again, the taxpayer must be made to “subsidise creativity” – including Mr Essif’s own writing on “consumerism, gentrification and hegemony.” For which, it turns out, there isn’t much of a market.

February brought us other elevated sensibilities, among them those of David Dennis, a man who regards the word “serve” as sexist and who, at home, frets about how food is put on plates. For him, meal times are a theatre of patriarchal oppression and fraught with complication. Gender politics also inspired the radical ladies of Columbia University to combat “male-centricity” by making all-girl pornography that is “hard to masturbate to.” Because thwarting masturbation with badly-made erotica is both a “guerrilla action” and “a feminist statement.”

In March the Guardian unveiled its roster of trainee journalists, thereby offering a glimpse of Guardians-yet-to-come. These hothouse talents, for whom lifestyle and pop culture are areas of expertise, promised to tackle “the issues that matter” to an entire generation, from students’ bedrooms and “canoeing to work” to an extended critique of drop-crotch meggings. Meanwhile, the paper’s Leo Hickman looked back on ten years of struggling with ethical purity and the “pangs of consumer guilt” brought on by buying Kenyan mangetout. Being so globally sensitive, Mr Hickman believes that the way to make Kenyan pea farmers richer is to not buy their goods. Despite his displays of piety, Mr Hickman was assailed by his even more pious readers, who pointed out that our fretful Guardianista “cannot be living ethically” or be “environmentally sound” while also having mains power and three healthy children.

April drew to our attention the talents of Ms Keeley Haftner, a taxpayer-funded artist and self-styled educator of the masses, who, in the name of art, deposited garbage on the streets of Saskatoon and was subsequently bewildered by said taxpayers’ lack of gratitude. Oh, and Guardian contributor Paul Krugman was paid $25,000 per month to think about the wickedness of economic inequality. 

In May we beheld the fearsome intellect of Ms Lierre Keith, a radical eco-socialist and “gender abolitionist” whose interests include “sabotaging infrastructure” and cutting power lines, on grounds that leaving tens of thousands of people without light and heat will somehow encourage “class consciousness” and the end of capitalism. 

Urban Studies lecturer Peter Matthews was a highlight of June, thanks to his concern for litter inequality, though with no apparent interest in how litter actually materialises, and his idea for defending the “poor and marginalised” with a “physically radical intervention” – i.e., demolishing homes nicer than his own. Another June notable was Ms Silvia Murray Wakefield, a “London-based feminist and mother of two,” who finds the World Cup distressing and oppressive, due to her belief that all of womanhood is being “erased” by a sporting event that occurs once every four years

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Well, Soil is Sort of Brown

Worthy of the Guardian, but found in the Telegraph

It is the softly spoken radio show that provides good-natured help and advice to thousands of gardeners every week. So regular listeners to Gardeners’ Question Time may be horrified to discover it has been accused of peddling racial stereotypes. According to an academic, the sedate Radio 4 panel show is riddled with “racial meanings” disguised as horticultural advice.

Dr Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster…  

That’s this chap.

…claimed the programme’s regular discussions on soil purity and non-native species promoted nationalist and fascist beliefs. Speaking on another Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed, the academic said: “Gardeners’ Question Time is not the most controversial show on Radio 4, and yet it is layered with, saturated with, racial meanings.” 

“The context here is the rise of nationalism. The rise of racist and fascist parties across Europe. Nationalism is about shoring up a fantasy of national integrity. My question is, what feeds nationalism? What makes nationalism powerful?” Dr Pitcher said the “crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain” meant people felt unable to express their views for fear of being called racist, so expressed their racial identity in other ways, such as talking about gardening.

Remember, folks. For academics in the Clown Quarter, it pays to be unobvious

When not hearing racism in discussions of soil acidity - and seeing it in Scandinavian furniture, which is “all about race” - Dr Pitcher writes about “how the meanings of race are made and remade in acts of creative consumption.” And, obviously, “the relationship between race and neoliberal capitalism.” He is, in fact, “setting out a framework for thinking about race in the twenty-first century.” Our senior lecturer in sociology also ruminates deeply on “Top Gear and postfeminist media culture.” Yes, a giant walks among us. Let’s all follow him. 


Here’s the Gardeners’ Question Time website, in case any of you want to comb through the content for those hidden racial messages with which it’s apparently “saturated.” The episodes on the National Botanic Garden of Wales and the Chelsea Flower Show look particularly suspicious.

Update 2

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