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Definitely did not see this one coming - #DumpTheGuardian
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2017 on Elsewhere (235) at davidthompson
lies and outright projection. That. Of course, that - but I would also add her staggering levels of idleness. All of us work under pressure of time, and none of us are perfect, but - and most certainly not for the first time - a striking feature of that Baffler piece is its laziness. For instance, this second sentence (my italics): On May 26, 2017, white supremacist Jeremy Christian allegedly murdered two men and maimed another as they attempted to defend two women he took to be Muslim from his abuse on Portland public transit. It's not ungrammatical, sure, but it does seems to be awfully slipshod and poorly constructed for someone who makes their living as a writer. And then comes this paragraph: The free speech debate is the ultimate rhetorical proxy war. What is it, after all, that these new free speech warriors are so anxious to be allowed to say, and why, when the microphones are finally shoved in front of their mouths, when they have the attention they crave, won’t they say it? What examples does she give the reader to illustrate her claim that "these new free speech warriors" have nothing to say or even refuse to speak "when the microphones are finally shoved in front of their mouths"? She gives none at all; just leaves it hanging, briefly, before changing the subject. The idleness, the dishonesty, the projection as well as the ignorance of or contempt for anything resembling professional ethics in that one particular paragraph is made startlingly clear by drawing a contrast between those words and these incidents: this with Bret Weinstein, this with Heather MacDonald, this with Charles Murray, this with Milo Yiannopoulis, this with Janice Fiamengo, this with Christina Hoff-Sommers, this with Ben Shapiro, this with Jordan Peterson, this with Warren Farrell, and, perhaps bizarrely (or maybe not so bizarrely), even this with Bernie Sanders. It is really quite hard for a speaker to be heard over the wailing of fire alarms, air horns, screaming, foot-stamping, or in the face of mayhem, rioting, petrol-bomb throwing, and even physical assault. So for Penny to ask "why, when the microphones are finally shoved in front of their mouths, when they have the attention they crave, won’t they say [something]?" reaches some new peak of laziness and lying that are her hallmark signatures.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
Tim Newman on the fashionable and expanded redefinition of nerd. From the keyboard of the same non-nerd: Let us reiterate: this is arrant, dangerous bollocks. A lot of people desperate to believe in their own goodness can come up with some pretty damn convincing bollocks, and part of what makes it convincing is that they are so eager to convince themselves. One day, probably in the not too distant future, the writer of those lines is going to be woken up early one morning by a persistent and nagging doubt that something is not quite right. Then, probably, she's going to look for the source of that doubt in amongst the lines of her old articles and books. And at some point, she is going to be struck forcefully by the revelation that every one of those criticisms she thought she was making about the world around her was, in actual fact, an unerringly precise portrait of herself and her political allies. I would not like to be around when that particularly Penny drops.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
Every absurd claim, every vanity, every bogus statistic, is left unchallenged, as if it were unassailable and self-evident. I wonder - has anyone approached Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for her thoughts on 'The Ship Is Sinking' yet? And I wonder when we can expect Time magazine to publish a review of the piece? After all, it was Time that gave the then 22 year-old Miss Sulkowicz the space to pen an op-ed in which she wrote: Every day, I am afraid to leave my room. Even seeing people who look remotely like my rapist scares me. Last semester I was working in the dark room in the photography department. Though my rapist wasn’t in my class, he asked permission from his teacher to come and work in the dark room during my class time. I started crying and hyperventilating. As long as he’s on campus with me, he can continue to harass me. I wonder how long I will be wondering for ...
Toggle Commented May 26, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
It’s insinuated into more reputable subjects, slyly, without parents’ knowledge or approval, and results in the subject on which it piggy-backs – and whose class time it uses - being intellectually degraded, thereby reducing any benefit that might have otherwise been had. It’s worth noting the sheer arrogance of the educators who are foisting their own politics on any children left in their care. It might interest you to know that this training initiative is quite likely a response to the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa)’s call for a Global Competency for an Inclusive World In other words, far from being the instigators of this, Teach for America and EdX are just one group of educators amongst many – around the world that is – responding to that report. As the BBC reported last year the idea is that: Schools can provide opportunities for young people to learn about global development, equip them with the means of accessing and analysing different cultures, help students engage in international and intercultural relations, and foster the value of the diversity of people. However: A big part of the problem is that there is no clear definition of what global competence should embrace, and how to make it measurable for educational policy and practice. The report goes on to explain the OECD’s answer to that problem through a series of questions students could be tested on which include, among other things: How well can [students] comprehend other people's thoughts, beliefs and feelings, and see the world from their perspectives? What are the different approaches to multicultural and global education used in different countries? How are culturally diverse groups of students being taught? How well are schools challenging cultural and gender biases and stereotypes? How can receiving countries integrate diverse groups of people and avoid rising extremism and fundamentalism? Et voilà - here comes a six-week online course to help teachers "blend secondary math instruction with topics such as inequity, poverty, and privilege to transform students into global thinkers and mathematicians.” To what extent such questions are likely to be eagerly adopted by teachers in the average Saudi-funded Wahhabist Madrassa is hard for anyone to say ...
Toggle Commented May 18, 2017 on Insert Ideology Here at davidthompson
From sH2 Does 'polyamory' count as greed or selfishness? From the article on John Updike: Though later, in his 1996 memoir Self-Consciousness — which is an altogether excellent read — Updike would speak of that youthful promiscuity with great disdain, proclaiming those behaviors to be “malicious, greedy … obnoxious … rapacious and sneaky … remorseless,” ...
Toggle Commented May 16, 2017 on Elsewhere (232) at davidthompson
And yet that dynamic seems awfully common among devotees of unstable multi-partner relationships While what prompted Kolpakov to shoot Anable is still unknown, I just noticed another video from The Skpetic Feminist called 'Polyamory As Opposite of Jealousy' in which Kolpakov can be heard to say: “Polygamy is ... almost always focussed around the disproportionate pleasure of the male ... that’s not at all what polyamory is. Poly people will have to be very patient and just explain to people - time and again, time and again, time and again, that it’s about being able to love more than one person at a time.” That video is dated to May 3rd, just 10 days before the shooting. The description box below the dateline includes – for some reason in parenthesis – this note: (This was streamed before Athena joined our relationship of Poly-Fidelity). I stress that this is all just speculation, and again that Kolpakov is said to be suffering from PTSD – but again, it really is hard to believe that the complexities of adding a third woman to their polyamorous set-up did not play some role in increasing his stress levels. Commitment to idealism founders to the extent that it is in conflict with reality. This might well turn out to be a tragic example of that.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2017 on Elsewhere (232) at davidthompson
What nobody ever does is closely examine the rate at which polyamorous relationships fail, the mental state of the people involved in them In a somewhat uncanny coincidence, a trio of polyamorous feminist atheists on Youtube, going by the name of The Skeptic Feminist took a tragic turn at the weekend when the only male member of the group, Aleksandr Kolpakov (known online as ‘Russian Dead Pool’) shot and fatally wounded Heather Anable (whose online name was ‘Poison Ivy’, named after the Batman villainess). Kolpakov was a US Army veteran and it’s understood that he had been suffering from PTSD. As with Tim Newman, these were consenting adults and how they chose to organize their domestic affairs was nobody’s business but their own – even so, I find it quite hard to imagine how the particular stresses and strains involved in living in a polyamorous relationship would have been helpful for the stress levels of someone with an already imbalanced mental state. For instance, I’m not sure how seriously to take this, from Miss Dreadful’s piece on polyamory in the New Statesman: I live in a commune, I date multiple people ... I’ve made the same choice that men my age have been able to make for centuries without being scolded by society ... Next week, one of my partners is getting married, and this week I went to his stag night as part of the groom’s party. I’m happy for him, and for his fiancee, whose permission I got before mentioning her in this piece. Penny has talked widely and often about the delicacy of her own mental state so I feel there’s something more than a little hollow and unconvincing about the eagerness with which she wants to let the reader know how calmly she is taking to this news of the marriage of one of her partners. I can't help but feel someone - Penny or the former partner's new spouse - is being slighted. In a not dissimilar way, here is a short video The Skeptic Feminist made in which the late Miss Anable, with Kolpakov sitting beside her, tries to argue for the virtues of “Committed Polyamory”. And also in a not dissimilar way to Penny, you have to wonder who exactly Anable is trying to convince with her argument – the audience or herself. I guess no one reads John Updike anymore.
Toggle Commented May 16, 2017 on Elsewhere (232) at davidthompson
Godfrey Elfwick goes to #Eurovision
Toggle Commented May 13, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
Who??!?! Have a butcher's at this
Toggle Commented May 5, 2017 on Friday Ephemeraren’t at davidthompson
Yes, it's all made up crap. It is? To be fair, it's hard to tell these days as we all know. I’ve used up my free articles for the month Also me.
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2017 on Don’t Inhale The Thinner at davidthompson
I can't make up my mind as to whether this story best illustrates the meaning of irony or schadenfreude. Thoughts, anyone?
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2017 on Don’t Inhale The Thinner at davidthompson
In for a Penny, ... I may be alone in this, but on reading that Slate article, I felt a palpable sense of relief - Miss Dreadful has finally come out of the political closet she has been hiding herself in all this time and has just come straight out with it (my italics): We are sick and tired of years of watching invertebrates and parasites suck the life out the body politic and being told this is what democracy looks like ... ... this is allowed. It is absolutely allowed, in a system that calls itself democratic and has not yet faced prosecution for false advertising. It shouldn’t be allowed, but it is. Theresa May [...] has abandoned almost all pretense of respect for the veneer of democratic decency lacquering the cracks in British civil society I am no longer a supporter of Scottish independence. I am now an advocate of Scottish invasion. Britain doesn’t do crypto-dictatorship with as much braggadocio as other nations I might mention, but we do it all the same. The answer is that British democracy is broken, and the pieces are on fire, and the people picking them up, the people trying to reassemble a fractured future for themselves in the shoddy rubble of this fucked-up country, will never work in Westminster. There you go. The line about wishing for an invasion by the Scots is intended as a joke, obviously, but the intention behind the joke is as startlingly clear as the other extracts I've picked out - Penny is begging for the iron hand of a dictator to sweep aside all those icky things she detests - you know, those icky things like other people having points of view that are not to her personal liking. Like a thousand spoiled and smarmy pieces of shit that preceded her - Unity Mitford springs to mind - allowing the plebs the vote leads to all manner of bother - bother of the kind that sees Penny's pet politics never see the light of day (or if they do, only ever see it stillborn). "Fascist" is so over used that its currency has been practically devalued - nevertheless, I find it really quite hard to read that Slate piece by Penny and not arrive at the conclusion that she is a thorough-going anti-democratic snobbish dictator-worshipping piece of shit.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
Feminist dilemma. Here is another. It's really quite extraordinary, especially the last third or so. The author is a sociology instructor ... I have to ask, and not for the first time, what on Earth are they doing in sociology?
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
Very funny article here in my opinion - well worth the read. Here's a taster: To find fault with the former First Daughter is to invite the wrath of thousands. Love of Chelsea correlates closely with love of Hillary, toward whom her fans have long felt an odd protectiveness, as if she were a stroke survivor regaining the power of speech rather than one of the most influential people in the world. That goes even more for Chelsea, who is often treated less like an independent 37-year-old multi-millionaire and more like the 12-year-old who still deserves to be left alone.
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
#ProgressivesCareMore While I voted Remain and am not overly filled with warmth at the thought of our current Prime Minister, I nevertheless get really rather irritated by the dreary conceit behind this graphic, which has proliferated like the proverbial mushrooms after rain on my social media since May's snap election announcement. Although he was talking about Plato, I think Popper has something interesting to say about the underlying message of things like that graphic: In defending collectivism, [Plato] can appeal to our humanitarian feeling of unselfishness; in his attack [on individualism], he can brand all individuals as selfish, as capable of devotion to anything but themselves. This attack, although aimed by Plato against individualism in our sense, i.e. against the rights of human individuals, reaches of course only a very different target, egoism. But this difference is constantly ignored by Plato and by most Platonists. Why did Plato try to attack individualism? I think he knew very well what he was doing when he trained his guns upon this position, for individualism, perhaps even more than equalitarianism, was a stronghold in the defences of the new humanitarian creed. The emancipation of the individual was indeed the great spiritual revolution which had to led to the breakdown of tribalism and to the rise of democracy. Plato’s uncanny sociological intuition shows itself in the way in which he invariably discerned the enemy wherever he met him.
Toggle Commented Apr 20, 2017 on The Moron Veto at davidthompson
Amy Alkon has identified the unnamed beneficiary of these piously lowered standards I don't know Alkon and am a little uneasy about her identifying the "unnamed beneficiary" in question as this means that "Alex Southwell" must now also be identified against his/her wishes. On the other hand, I was also slightly amused to spot this: Teaching Statement: Taking from Paolo Freire, ... The "unnamed beneficiary" has spelt Freire's name wrong - it's Paulo Freire, not Paolo Freire
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2017 on Elsewhere (230) at davidthompson
... thuggish ‘activism’, which gratifies all manner of unbecoming impulses, and requires less intelligence. Slightly off topic I know, but I have just become aware of Shelley Garland, 'an activist and a feminist ... currently completing an MA degree in philosophy'. I feel she may have plumbed philosophical depths hitherto undreamed of with this Huffington Post blog in which she poses the question 'Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?' Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa's biggest cities. If white men no longer had the vote, the progressive cause would be strengthened. It would not be necessary to deny white men indefinitely – the denial of the vote to white men for 20 years (just less than a generation) would go some way to seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world. The influence of reckless white males were one of the primary reasons that led to the Great Recession which began in 2008. This would also strike a blow against toxic white masculinity, one that is long needed. Like Heather MacDonald, I am generally also 'reluctant to wield the epithet “fascist”'. Then again, if the cap fits ...
Toggle Commented Apr 13, 2017 on Academia, That Temple Of The Mind at davidthompson
... the being named Caleb Luna is “a first-year PhD student at University of California, Berkeley, ... I clicked through to Luna's Twitter account and the first thing I see is this reTweet, apparently shared with approval. Good to see that critical thinking is in rude health at UC Berkeley then.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2017 on Insufficiently Swiped at davidthompson
Confess! Ffffuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkk! 'Scuse my French, but ... Ffffuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkk! “We have all reinforced hypermasculinity one way or another regardless of our gender! ..." Really interesting use of the word 'all' there ...
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2017 on Shakedown, Down Under at davidthompson
Off Topic, but related ... ... probably the craziest thing I've seen in a long, long while ...
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2017 on Shakedown, Down Under at davidthompson
Oh, and then there’s this, which I think you just have to see for yourself. A case of life imitating art?
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2017 on Friday Ephemeraren’t at davidthompson
“My favorite thing to talk about are the things you’re not supposed to talk about.” At least that's one thing Miki Agrawal and her staff agree on, then.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2017 on Elsewhere (228) at davidthompson
such dramas and spluttering aren’t rare aberrations, but routine events Have you seen this open letter from the McMaster's University President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) yet? [T]he concept of freedom of speech has most often been mobilized to protect specifically counter-hegemonic ideas, ideas that actually challenge, rather than reiterate, the status quo. Freedom of speech was also not conceived as a means to protect normative ideas from contestation by marginalized communities, but to protect those whose speech might actually contest normative or nationalist ideals from censure, punishment, or retaliation by state forces. There is nothing rebellious or revolutionary about insisting on the naturalness of the (now long debunked) gender binary or of what Dr. Peterson describes as the “biological fact” of sexual difference neatly categorizable as ‘male’ and ‘female’ (a “fact” subjected to intense critique, questioning and reconsideration by numerous scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and even the biological sciences for several decades now, which demonstrates the limited extent of Dr. Peterson’s knowledge on this subject, since he seems either entirely unaware of this body of literature or else unwilling to engage with the challenge it poses for his own arguments). Can you credit the gall of it? I know I can't. I no longer believe that they think anyone is stupid enough to actually believe this mockery of an argument, this sham justification which permits them alone the right to say what they want, when and where they want, with absolute impunity, while simultaneously demanding that others be forbidden that very same right. If I had any patience left for this hateful nonsense, I would be embarrassed. The flimsiness of the veil they are trying to cover their obscene grasping at power with is rank with dishonesty. They are fooling no one with this (except perhaps some naive and idealistic students who sincerely think they are doing the right thing). But while no one is fooled, there are more than a few who are intimidated into silence by them out of fear - a silence which they are choosing to interpret as tacit agreement (but in their heart of hearts they must surely know that this is capitulation, not assent). Peterson's highly appropriate response.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2017 on Caliban’s Mirror at davidthompson
In other news ... Oh ... my ... God. For a moment, I was completely baffled - what possible umbrage could she take from that model of a bi-plane? Then I saw her explanation. And then I saw who her employer is: Consumer affairs reporter for @BuzzFeedNews. Fres-YES. Pet mama. Tell me all your scam and shady biz stories I think it says more about the calibre of staff at Buzzed than it does about graduates of Chicano-Latina studies (but hey, po-TAY-to, po-TAR-to). I was born in the 70s, my parents in the 40s and my grandparents in the teens/20s meaning that World War I and World War II weren't just things that happened in history classes - they were a very real part of my family's lived experience. As a North American woman in her 20s that would forgive her ignorance - it does not - as someone who gets to write 'journalist' on her resume and as a reporter into consumer affairs - forgive her gullibility, her lack of caution, and the total absence of the kind of fact-checking that ought to be second nature to someone in her profession. (And given that such facts are literally accessible at her finger-tips, it makes this an inexcusable act of incompetence). Is it any wonder people have such little faith in journalism these days?
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2017 on Caliban’s Mirror at davidthompson