For newcomers and the forgetful, two items from the archives:
A leftist compulsion is pondered.
A more subtle and common example occurred in January, when the family headed out to a Burns Night dinner at a restaurant adjacent to the university. Before the food appeared, we were treated to a brief poetry reading courtesy of a local academic. I was tempted to roll my eyes at the prospect, but he did get the crowd in good spirits. Until a poem about food and good company was somehow given, as he put it, “a political edge.” And so, we endured a contrived reference to Brexit - implicitly very bad - and a pointed nod across the ocean to a certain president, who we were encouraged to imagine naked.
At the time, I was struck by the presumption – the belief that everyone present would naturally agree - that opposition to Brexit and a disdain of Trump were things we, the customers, would without doubt have in common… The subtext was hard to miss: “This is a fashionable restaurant and its customers, being fashionable, will obviously hold left-of-centre views, especially regarding Brexit and Trump, both of which they should disdain and wish to be seen disdaining by their left-of-centre peers.” And when you’re out to enjoy a fancy meal with friends and family, this is an odd sentiment to encounter from someone you don’t know and whose ostensible job is to make you feel welcome.
Guardian columnist denounces Western medicine as “outdated,” champions use of bush dung.