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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The Sound Of Shoehorning

Granted, hanging up spoons in straight rows isn’t quite as impressive as the oeuvre of Rembrandt. But if we pretend hard enough, maybe it will seem as if it were?

Steve Sailer spies some farcically woke art-exhibition notes

Photographs of which can be found here. This one in particular is quite a feat


In the comments, Joan adds, “They want to spoil everything.” Indeed, the tone of the exhibition notes is reliably sour and anhedonic. Only the contrivance is amusing, albeit unwittingly. And it occurs to me that it would save a lot of time and rhetorical straining to simply stamp each artwork with the words “BAD WHITEY.” The effect would be much the same and with little loss of meaningful content. It’s also worth pondering the term “white degeneracy,” and whether any other racial demographic would be subject to similar usage in the official display notes of a mainstream art exhibition.

Update 2:

It seems to me that juxtaposing Rembrandt’s paintings with half-arsed tat by the ungifted-but-heroically-brown - an unremarkable frame, some spoons in rows – is not a great way to establish the implied artistic parity. But in order to be woke and right-thinking, we must somehow will the equivalence into being. Or at least pretend.

And this is why wokeness is corrupting. It eats away at realism, and at honesty.

Also, open thread

Dark Comedy

It’s impossible to envision a world without race for the Democratic Party. For such people, it’s impossible to envision a world that gets beyond race because their bread and butter, their bottom line, their raison d'être, and everything that they’re trying to do depends upon people being kept in these boxes.

Professor Glenn Loury.

Martin Durkin’s new documentary, The Great American Race Game.

Mr Durkin’s films, which I strongly recommend, have been mentioned before.

Also, open thread.

Mother’s Pride

Just a bunch of white boys.

She chose to share, and thereby impress. Pronouns, obviously.

Update, via the comments:

Given Ms Vilkomerson’s ostentatiously woke outpourings elsewhere, I think we can assume that, whether true or fabricated, said tweet was intended to both amuse and be met with approval. A bit of peer-group positioning, The key part being the modish dismissal of “white boys.” (Sort of, “See, I’ve taught my daughter to disdain whiteness and masculinity. How brave I am.”) That said tweet conveys other things, and unintended ironies, seems to have escaped Ms Vilkomerson.

As public boasts go, it’s quite a strange thing. I mean, you can imagine a proud parent announcing that their fourteen-year-old had passed a chemistry exam or reached piano grade three or something. But wanting to announce that your fourteen-year-old has internalised pretentious disdain for white people, and white men in particular, seems… obnoxiously unhinged. That this is apparently something statusful, a basis for applause, or at least in-group belonging, does not make it seem less so.

Via Rafi.

Elsewhere (296)

Robert Murphy on the pathologies of the leftist campus:   

This is not a matter of “Oh, gee, there’s a bunch of people who have different views about whether health insurance should be provided by the government.” That’s not what I’m talking about. [These are people whose reaction is,] “Oh, there’s a speaker coming to campus and we don’t like that person’s views. We are going to credibly threaten that we will break stuff and hurt people, we will set things on fire and smash windows.” And so, then the school has to cancel because of security concerns. And then that gets spun as “Oh yeah, the reason that speaker couldn’t come here is because he would incite violence.” The kind of mindset that would do that and would see nothing weird about that. “Yeah, the reason the speaker can’t come here is because he promotes violence – by us, his enemies.” 

Which rather calls to mind the tenderly whispered wife-beater’s lament: “Don’t make me hurt you, baby.”

Needless to say, examples abound. And do note the role of their academic enablers.

Cathy Young on Lenin and his admirers: 

Many leftists in places like Jacobin magazine see Lenin as the “good communist” to Joseph Stalin’s “bad communist” — the revolutionary wrongly maligned as an authoritarian. Indeed, Lenin’s birthday this year was marked on Twitter by New York State Senator Julia Salazar, a member of the new crop of young progressive politicians. The “Lenin good, Stalin bad” formula was also popular among Soviet reformers, both in the late 1950s-early 1960s and in the late 1980s. It was wrong then; it is wrong now... As independent Russian historian Nikita Sokolov recently told Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Lenin’s only consistent position throughout his political career was that “he was a fundamental believer in violence as the solution to any problem.” 

Based on history, and their own writings, it seems entirely possible that devotees of Marxoid fantasy typically start with the ideal of violence and coercion, the titillating rewards of having power over others, and then work backwards in search of a pretext.

Oh, and Dr Jennifer Cassidy is an Oxford University politics lecturer who has thoughts on what kind of books you’re allowed to have on your shelves.

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Magical Beings

Again, via Darleen in the comments:

It’s as if the movie Inherit the Wind had a different ending.

She’s referring to this intriguing academic development

Instructors at a prominent university in Australia have been warned not to lecture on the natural historical record of that country; instead, they should teach a creation narrative regarding the origin of indigenous Australian people. Lecturers at the University of New South Wales “have been warned off making the familiar statement in class that ‘Aboriginal people have been in Australia for 40,000 years’,” The Australian reports. Instead, they should state that “Aborigines have been here ‘since the beginning of the Dreaming/s’ because this ‘reflects the beliefs of many Indigenous Australians that they have always been in Australia, from the beginning of time, and came from the land’.”

It seems we’ve gone from “The aboriginal population is primitive and unable to think rationally about things,” which is a sentiment to be denounced, especially in academia, and progressed to “We must treat the aboriginal population as if it were primitive and unable to think rationally about things.” Which, apparently, is something to be applauded. Especially in academia.

Don’t Oppress My People With Your Public Libraries

Further to recent rumblings in the comments, Captain Nemo steers us to the Twitter feed of Library Journal, a “global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators,” and which proudly directs its readers to the mental exertions of Ms Sofia Leung:

Our library collections, because they are written mostly by straight white men, are a physical manifestation of white men ideas taking up all the space in our library stacks. Pause here and think about this.

Ms Leung, an academic librarian, is unhappy that public libraries in the US, a white-majority culture with a white-majority history, tend to have, among other things, lots of books by authors with pale skin. This, we’re told, is an “interesting mini-eureka moment” that our Queen of Intersectional Rumination feels compelled to share. When Ms Leung discovers that public libraries in China and South Korea have quite a few books by Chinese and Korean authors, I’m sure she’ll be equally aghast. Every bit as offended.

Ms Leung airs her distaste for “white men ideas” – as if they had been uniform across continents and throughout history - while reminiscing about attending a “white AF conference” two years earlier. I was unsure what the “AF” might refer to and searched for some literary or scholarly explanation. It then occurred to me that a “white AF conference” is, to borrow the woke vernacular, a white as fuck conference. Which is how not-at-all-racist academic librarians convey their thoughts, apparently.

If you look at any United States library’s collection, especially those in higher education institutions, most of the collections (books, journals, archival papers, other media, etc.) are written by white dudes writing about white ideas, white things, or ideas, people, and things they stole from POC and then claimed as white property… When most of our collections filled with this so-called “knowledge,” it continues to validate only white voices and perspectives and erases the voices of people of colour. 

At which point, things get a little breathless and intermittently grammatical. However, readers may wish to ponder how synthesising insights from around the world, and from cultures long gone, and preserving those insights, in libraries, is somehow a bad thing. Readers may also wish to ponder the implications of a librarian and self-styled educator, schooled at the University of Washington and Barnard College, New York, and who is offended, something close to enraged, by the existence of “white ideas” and the “so-called ‘knowledge’” of “white dudes.”

As if sensing that her thoughts aren’t sufficiently lurid and unhinged, Ms Leung then shifts into higher gear:

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A Malevolent Hysteria

In the video below, Janice Fiamengo reports on recent events at the University of Chicago, where Rachel Fulton Brown, a professor of Medieval history, dared to suggest, briefly, that, as a notional group, white men aren’t entirely awful, and that Western civilisation isn’t wholly without merit. The professor has consequently been denounced by her peers as a “fascist white supremacist” and a “violent” menace to the wellbeing of anyone whose skin is heroically brown. And do note the number - 1,300, cited towards the end of the video - the significance of which will, I think, become apparent.

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Elsewhere (277)

Mark Bauerlein on Jordan Peterson and the hive-mind media: 

These cases typify what we might call the Peterson Effect. Peterson brings social science findings to bear on thorny matters of men and women. Those findings run against the progressive goal of eliminating male-female differences. The journalists are unaware of the science, but they are steeped in [progressive] ideology. It’s an obdurate mix of ignorance and certainty.

As we’ve seen, more than onceAnd which may in part explain why Peterson’s interviews often strike a chord with a wider public, in that they tend to reveal an eerie uniformity of assumptions and begged questions, and vanities, among the media class. 

Heather Mac Donald on “diversity” and dishonesty: 

Every remotely selective college is desperate to admit as many underrepresented minorities as possible, and brags openly about its diverse student body in marketing literature. Application forms solicit students’ racial identity not to exclude underrepresented minorities, but to favour them… Far from being a handicap, being black or Hispanic is usually worth at least a standard deviation in test scores and GPA in admission to selective colleges… At Harvard, test scores and a GPA that would give an Asian-American applicant only a 25 percent chance of admission provide a 95 percent admission guarantee to a black high school senior, according to data in an ongoing discrimination lawsuit against the university.

Victor Davis Hanson on calculations of “white privilege”: 

[In the world of “diversity,”] politics had something to do with skin colour, but how and why was inferred rather than defined. If a white-looking second-generation Arab American put on a head scarf and declaimed against U.S. policy, and if she had a name that was clearly not European in origin, then she too was a “minority” and could advance claims against “white privilege.” But should she dress in assimilated fashion and voice support for the state of Israel, then she probably possessed “white privilege” and joined the victimisers rather than the victims.

And Matthew Blackwell on the megalomaniacal horrors of the Khmer Rouge: 

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Elsewhere (275)

Zareer Masani on artefacts, treasures and preservation: 

Before the British came [to India], there was no indigenous tradition of exploring or conserving antiquity. The wonderful Buddhist stupas of the Mauryan empire (circa 2nd century BC) were destroyed, abandoned and forgotten during the Hindu revival, and then many Hindu temples met a similar fate during Muslim invasions from the 12th century… The fact is that we have no idea what would have become of the world’s ‘looted’ antiquities if they hadn’t been preserved in Western collections. Would the treasures of Beijing’s Summer Palace have survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Would the Elgin marbles have survived Turkish tour guides chopping off chunks to sell as souvenirs? Would ISIS have spared those Middle Eastern artefacts that survive in European museums?

Readers may care to speculate as to whether, for instance, the Natural History Museum of Berlin’s famous Brachiosaurus, the tallest mounted skeleton in the world, which was discovered and excavated by German palaeontologists in 1909 and is currently maintained by German taxpayers, would have fared better had it remained in Tanzania

Jonah Goldberg on “affirmative action” and its victims: 

If Harvard lifted its anti-Asian [admissions] criteria, Harvard’s own Office of Institutional Research said the share of Asian students at Harvard would more than double, from 19 percent to 43 percent. But that 43 percent wouldn’t be distributed equally among all courses and disciplines. It would be a boon for computer-science and biology classes, but even more seats would go empty in women’s history or poetry courses. And I can’t help but think that the faculties in the humanities and the softer social sciences have disproportionate sway on the cultural and political assumptions of the school’s administration. They are, after all, the talkers.

Related: Law professor Gail Heriot on the same, and on other campus dramas: 

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Elsewhere (273)

Natalie Solent on magical thinking, then and now:

Nongqawuse was a fifteen year old Xhosa girl who in 1856 had a vision in which three ancestral spirits told her that if the Xhosa people showed their trust by destroying their crops and killing their cattle, then on the appointed day the spirits would raise the dead, bountifully replace all that was destroyed, and sweep the British into the sea. Thousands believed this prophecy and slaughtered their cattle. But the dead slept on and the British remained in place. Nongqawuse explained that this lack of action was due to the amagogotya, the stingy ones, who had kept their cattle back from slaughter. She urged everyone to greater efforts. A new date was set for the prophecy to finally come true. The rate of cattle-killing rose to a climax. Eventually the Xhosa lost patience, and, with remarkable mercy, handed Nongqawuse over to the British. By then famine had reduced the population of British Kaffraria from 105,000 to fewer than 27,000.

Do click for the ‘now’ part.

Konstantin Kisin on the unhappy realities of ‘progressive’ utopia: 

These enemies of the [Soviet] state included my great-grandparents who met in a concentration camp for political prisoners. Every morning at their camp, three people would be picked out at random from the general population of the camp and thrown into the icy waters of the lake to freeze and drown in full view of the other prisoners to ‘keep things under control.’ With this background, I am —perhaps understandably— hypersensitive to the emerging far-left in Western politics. I can’t help noticing similarities in the rhetoric about “eradicating inequality,” “smashing the class system,” and a new age of “radical egalitarianism.” And when I do, I shudder, because… it’s a reminder of the unforgiving reality that those who don’t realise how good they have it, or take their lives of plenty for granted, are vulnerable to demagogic ideologies that promise to tear it all down to build a ‘better tomorrow.’

At which point, these budding intellectuals came to mind. 

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