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From the Urban Dictionary: Troll One who posts a deliberately provocative message ... with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument No wonder journalists and politicians of a certain stripe detest trolls - the latter are guerrilla amateurs doing gratis - and often much more effectively - than the would be professionals: Sally Kohn - and just look at the things included in that damn pyramid that she counts as "Covert White Supremacy (socially acceptable)". One of them is "Assuming good intentions are enough"; another, somewhat bizarrely, is "Self-appointed white ally". It is not at all coincidental that Kohn happens to be plugging a new book with that Tweet. Jess Phillips MP - also not at all coincidentally plugging a new book. Laurie Penny - yet again, and not at all coincidentally, plugging a book.* *To be fair, as is well-known, she writes everything at such a hyperbolic pitch it is often hard to tell whether Penny writes this way because she's a troll in all but name or simply because she's talentless.
Toggle Commented yesterday on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
Where's a PhD when you need one? Do you remember that phrase, "the long, march through the institutions"? Well, rather curiously, the Times describes the author of 'Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism' as "a professor of Russian and East European studies". Yet a Google search for the same person returns her as an ethnographer and professor of Gender and Women's Studies. I suppose the two are not necessarily incompatible, but still that's quite some transformation from one field to another ... In any case, you have to admire her honesty (my italics): Those comrades’ insistence on government intervention may seem heavy-handed ...., but sometimes necessary social change — which soon comes to be seen as the natural order of things — needs an emancipation proclamation from above. No ambiguity there as to the real agenda.
Erotic! Heh. Eastern bloc women did not need to ... have sex ... for money. Indeed, they did not if an account I once read is to be believed - commodities such as bras, soap, and raincoats could all be exchanged for sexual favours at one point with no money changing hands at all ...
OT This generational divide between daughters and mothers who reached adulthood on either side of 1989 supports the idea that women had more fulfilling lives during the Communist era. [...] In all the Warsaw Pact countries, the imposition of one-party rule precipitated a sweeping overhaul of laws regarding the family. Communists invested major resources in the education and training of women and in guaranteeing their employment. State-run women’s committees sought to re-educate boys to accept girls as full comrades, and they attempted to convince their compatriots that male chauvinism was a remnant of the pre-socialist past. Although gender wage disparities and labor segregation persisted, and although the Communists never fully reformed domestic patriarchy, Communist women enjoyed a degree of self-sufficiency that few Western women could have imagined. Eastern bloc women did not need to marry, or have sex, for money. [ ... ] Those comrades’ insistence on government intervention may seem heavy-handed ...., but sometimes necessary social change — which soon comes to be seen as the natural order of things — needs an emancipation proclamation from above. Remarkable!
The opening paragraphs of Damore's memo: I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. A calm and measured response - in two parts: Part one and Part two. I feel a little disoriented.
BUGGER! Wrong link! Sorry, this is the link to the debate between Shapiro and Uygur I was referring to.
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2017 on Friday Ephemeraren’t at davidthompson
Likely many folks here will have seen this already, but I've not noticed it being mentioned so - just in case - and even speaking as someone who is not really down on the NHS - this video of a live debate is just phenomenal. The click bait phrase 'X destroys Y!' is so overused these days (mostly by The Independent it seems) that it is now practically meaningless (even for an expression that didn't exactly start off as profound) ... and yet watching Ben Shapiro repeatedly present actual arguments against Cenk Uygur's frankly embarrassing emotive floundering is really quite something to behold. The phrase 'rips him a new one' just does not do it justice. Long, but certainly worth it.
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2017 on Friday Ephemeraren’t at davidthompson
OT This dates from May this year, but I've only just come across it now: I am angry. Angry because now even questioning these issues is seen as an act of hate, discrimination, or intolerance. Angry because wanting to have open conversations is now considered hate speech. I am angry that [ ... ] I am now being forced to police my language [...] When I first attempted to ask in conversations and online, [...] I was met with slurs, threats, and even a death threat. [Several prominent speakers] have also faced threats, being fired, being no platformed, and in other ways censored [...] What makes this fascinating, in just oh so many ways, is the original context in which this appeared (the continual references to being angry leave a hint as to what that might be). I fear the opportunity for this writer to self-reflect on other contexts where precisely the same complaints could very easily be applied will be missed - to no one's surprise.
So those hench-lesbians ... they're certainly formidable ...
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2017 on Friday Ephemera at davidthompson
‘Give me your stuff.’ 'How could we cope if capitalism failed?' The answer may amuse.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2017 on Elsewhere (241) at davidthompson
OT I own a hoodie that reads, “Police Murder People.” I don’t wear it ironically; I wear it because (spoiler alert) police have a habit of murdering people. So says Black Lives Matter (Cambridge, US) organiser, spoken word poet, mother, freelance journalist and activist DiDi Delgado in her article/T-shirt and hoodie sales drive 'In Defense of Punching Cops: Why the original slave catchers can catch these hands'. ... I’m frequently referred to as a fanatic and an extremist in the comment sections of my articles and social media posts. I’ve even internalized this, and (like many queer Black organizers) have started referring to myself as a radical. [ ... ] From where I’m sitting, there are only two possible solutions ... We can continue to slowly build grassroots movements and increase pressure on the powers that be to abandon their regressive and oppressive regimes[,] or we can punch cops. I think both of these solutions have merit, but cop punching might solve our problem faster [ ... ] It ALWAYS comes down to the people rebelling and punching cops. It’s only a question of when.
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2017 on Elsewhere (240) at davidthompson
From The Huffington Post Dr Tiffany Page of the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmith's College in London defining the difference between 'sexual harassment' and 'sexual misconduct' in Higher Education (my italics): We use the term ‘sexual misconduct’ to describe forms of power enacted by academic and professional staff in their relations with students. Sexual harassment is one of a number of behaviours encompassed by misconduct, which can include assault, grooming, bullying, sexual invitations, comments, non-verbal communication, creation of atmospheres of discomfort and hostility, and promised resources in exchange for sexual access. While harassment certainly does occur, the term ‘sexual harassment’ captures only some of the possible abuses of power that may be enacted by staff in connection to students. I wonder what "comments" encompasses? Could an off-the-cuff 'dad' joke suddenly be ruled an act of sexual aggression if spoken at the wrong time in front of the 'wrong' person? Even "hostility", which on the face of it seems clear and even fairly reasonable, begs the question of definition because if even "non-verbal communication" can lead to "hostility" then what could not be included in such wide-ranging term? What kind of gestures, stances, or glances could be redefined as displays of aggression under such an elastic phrase (I assume they do not mean overt gestures such as flipping the bird or other vulgar hand signs)? How on earth would they ever be able to define what that means in practice let alone actually identify effective means of determining the truth of any accusation based on an act of "non-verbal communication"? How could even a witness be used to support or refute an accusation that person A looked at person B 'funny'? But the one that really made my jaw go crashing to the floor is "creation of atmospheres of discomfort". This, surely, could not be anything other than Kafkaesque if it were ever to become actual policy? And from that point of view it seems hardly better than the poison it is meant to be a cure for. Are there some professors who abuse their position and enter into inappropriate relations with their students? Yes, there are. Of course there are. And taking action to prevent such behaviour is a laudable goal in and of itself. But to expand the definition of this kind of offence to include "creation of atmospheres of discomfort" seems, quite frankly, absolute folly. It is all too easy to imagine how such a broad definition could be exploited for personal gain by the malevolent, the maladjusted or the just plain mad. Besides, it seems to me to be completely unrelated to solving the problem of inappropriate and abusive behaviour. It seems like a charter for transforming campuses into a state much like Florence under Savonarola.
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2017 on Elsewhere (240) at davidthompson
They do say fools rush in ...
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2017 on Elsewhere (239) at davidthompson
... there were almost as many people who chose the furthest possible point to the left as there were who chose all the conservative points, the centre-point and the most moderate left-of-centre point combined Ahem: Freshman enrolment ... has fallen by more than 35 percent in the two years since [the campus protests]. Before the protests, the university ... was experiencing steady growth and building new dormitories [but now] the university is temporarily closing seven dormitories and cutting more than 400 positions. Students of all races have shunned [the university], the drop in freshman enrollment last fall was strikingly higher among blacks, at 42 percent, than among whites, at 21 percent. By sheer numbers, the drop in white students has caused the greatest damage, since they make up a majority of those on campus. Tyler Morris, a white student from St. Louis, said he was afraid of being stereotyped as a bigot Somewhat apposite.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2017 on Elsewhere (239) at davidthompson
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