Prodnose Priests

Last October I said:

A couple of years back I realised that middle-class snobbery is what drives so much social and political campaigning these days. Probably the best example is the campaign to reduce sugar in people’s diets – for their own good, of course. It is always fizzy drinks and sugary snacks that get cited, never fancy desserts.

Who is trending on Twitter this week, leading the charge in campaigning for the government to introduce new laws aimed at restricting certain foodstuffs in the name of tackling obesity?

I’m sure the lower classes, who are forever blamed for putting a burden on the NHS with their delinquent lifestyles, are delighted to have former Etonian and Oxford graduate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall telling them how to live. Naturally, multi-millionaire Jamie Oliver is four-square behind him:

Albeit looking rather porky himself. Maybe he should do a little less meddling in other people’s lives and hit the gym? And speaking of Jamie Oliver:

Mr Oliver told BBC Breakfast that he does not ban junk food in his home, but that it is only eaten by his children as a “treat”.

Ah, so he’s free to feed his own fucking brats whatever shit they demand, but the choices of other parents ought to be reigned in by the government.

I’ve said this before, these dickheads would be a lot better off going to church. There they can do all the moral posturing they like, and receive assurances of their virtue from someone who is paid to deliver them. People are fond of saying that religion has declined in Britain, but I disagree: all it’s done is take other forms. The prodnosery, meddling, hand-wringing, and moral sneering at those considered less virtuous is alive and well, it’s just the clothes worn by the high priests are different.

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Irrational Fears

A few weeks ago, when the fuss about the two black men being asked to leave Starbucks was at its height, the ZMan remarked that many American liberals genuinely believe there is a major demographic actively looking to lynch black men, even in New York, and is only kept from doing so by heroic progressives (or something). I doubt any black people believe this, even the lunatics who crop up in academia; the ones who perpetuate this nonsense without anything to gain personally seem to be white liberals who don’t know much about anyone other than white liberals. Now it’s certain there are black men who come to harm at the hands of whites, not least prosecutors who like chucking them in jail to advance their careers, but I thought it an odd mindset to carry through life. How do these people go about their daily business believing they’re surrounded by millions of people who are looking to murder some random black guy the moment they think they can get away with it?

Then last week I came across something similar in a discussion related to this post, where I said:

Modern men and women want to enter into something as complicated as a relationship but expect to be able to exit at the push of a button as if it never happened. I’ve seen women declaring love and talking earnestly with a man about long-term plans and then a few days later end the relationship by phone and block all communication saying “it’s best we both move on”, like some toad of a politician who’s been caught breaking the law. Men do the same thing, and it puts a serious question mark over anything which happened prior to that: if you’re prepared to pull the plug and run away like that, it was probably never serious in the first place – and he or she is certainly not ready for the give-and-take of a proper relationship. I’ve always seen a refusal to talk as simple cowardice.

I’ll not link to the actual discussion, mainly because I generally like the other stuff the lady in question has to say and I don’t want to bad-mouth her on my blog (by contrast, deranged and rather unpleasant feminists like Laurie Penny and Natalia Antonova with large public followings are fair game). But here’s what she said:

No one is EVER owed your attention, your friendship, your time, or access to you. So, yes, you can & should block/mute/ignore people. Especially exes. They can turn nasty so easily. Safety first.

The sentiments in the first part I covered well enough in this post, and I was surprised to see them expressed by someone who isn’t an obvious headcase. And while I know that people can turn nasty, can you imagine going into a relationship with “safety first” being the key driver? Isn’t dating supposed to be fun? I responded as follows:

Ah, this is where we disagree. A relationship is by definition a set of mutual obligations where you *do* owe each other (within reason). This is even captured in the wedding vows.

Which was met with:

Absolutely disagree. Even in marriage. If you no longer wish to be with someone, you are free to leave. If they can keep you prisoner that is a recipe for abuse.

So what on earth is the point in entering into a relationship – of any kind – where there are no mutual obligations and one party can just walk away whenever they feel like it? So I responded:

I believe you have moral obligations to one another to at least try to fix things and not just walk out. Otherwise there’s not much point going into a relationship in the first place. Granted there comes a time when you just need to leave.

And this was the reply:

Nope. You NEVER have moral obligations to the other person to try to fix things up. Nor do you go into the relationship like a prison sentence. You always have a right to be free from violence, abuse, rape, etc. This is non-negotiable. I don’t care what words were said.

At no point did I suggest a woman should stick around in a relationship while being subject to violence, abuse, and rape. I just said that, in most normal circumstances, you have a moral obligation to at least try to work things out. But it appears there are women out there who operate on the assumption that violence, abuse, and rape are likely to feature in a relationship and adjust their entire approach to men accordingly. The default setting of some women seems to be “this man could rape and abuse me, so for my own safety I consider I owe him nothing whatsoever”. As a worldview, it’s an odd one even by the standards of those featured on this blog and it makes me wonder how people navigate even basic social conventions with opinions like this. Quite staggeringly, the same person said a few months ago:

I don’t have a boyfriend. I wish I did. I have been unlucky in that regard.

Unlucky. And on another occasion I remarked:

I’ve *never* met a woman too physically unattractive to get a boyfriend, it’s always for other reasons that they’re single.

And the response was:

Sometimes it’s just bad luck.

The woman in question isn’t some purple-haired tattooed nutter who treats being raped as a handy entry on a CV, she’s fairly normal on many topics including the lunacy of third-wave campus feminism. Yet this is her view of men and relationships. Between this and feminists’ habit of being blindsided by sex pests if they mouth the correct political platitudes, something’s gone badly wrong somewhere, hasn’t it?

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Sprightly Veterans

I came across this story on Twitter, which I’ve translated using Google:

During the Victory Day parade, Vladimir Putin’s guard firmly pushed the veteran of the Great Patriotic War, who was walking next to him, from the president. After that, Putin personally approached him and suggested going to the Alexander Garden and laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

If you follow the link you can watch a video of the events unfold, and you can clearly see this man in uniform being manhandled by a goon in a suit. If this veteran of the Great Patriotic War was 18 in May 1945 he’d be 91 now. I must say, for a man that age he looks awfully sprightly – almost all the British or American WWII vets are wheelchair bound (George Bush Snr. for example, who is 93 years old).

The victory celebrations in Russia underwent somewhat of a revival during Vladimir Putin’s rule and are now seen as much as a celebration of his new, assertive Russia as anything else. But the veterans played an important symbolic role at the parades and other celebrations (Defender of the Fatherland Day, for example), without whom the whole thing would have looked a bit like something a South American dictatorship might have put on. Provided the link to the defeat of the Nazis can be maintained it remains authentic, and the presence of veterans reinforced that. But what happens when the veterans have all died off?

Life expectancy in Russia for men is just shy of 65 for men, and was even lower for those who lived through the war. It is frankly quite incredible that any Russian war veteran should even be alive now, let alone wandering alone and unaided alongside Putin’s entourage and able to withstand a shove from a security guard without falling over. I don’t know if the whole thing was staged, but I am pretty sure that whoever this man in uniform is, he wasn’t wearing one during the Great Patriotic War. I’ll be interested to hear what story gets told about him in the coming days, and how many Russia-watchers repeat it uncritically.

UPDATE

Apparently the veteran is one Dmitri Sirkachev and born in 1924, making him 94. All I can say is that he is in incredibly good shape for a man of that age. I suspect we’re going to be seeing WWII veterans at these parades for a decade or two yet.

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A Shell of their former selves

Yesterday I received an email from Shell containing more diversity mumbo-jumbo than I thought possible:

We have just celebrated International Women’s Day, when women are recognized for their achievements regardless of age, race or beliefs.

This sentence reads as though it was written by a committee. Why not just stop after “achievements”? What have age, race, and beliefs got to do with women’s day?

The value that women have in the workforce is truly immeasurable.

Is it? Could you not apply the proportion of women in the workforce to the overall value added by the company (“profits”)? Cross-reference this with the total women’s wage bill and you’d have an order of magnitude at least. You could refine things further by assuming whichever women (and men) were involved in writing this press release represented negative value to the tune of their salaries.

At Shell, the unlimited potential in each woman is considered one of our greatest resources.

Considered by whom? I bet investors are a lot more interested in your production rate, reserves, and cash pile. And “unlimited potential in each woman”? Does each man have unlimited potential? Or only those who went to Delft?

They then provide links to various webpages, which contain such gems as:

Shell promotes a culture that is gender balanced. This extends to the way we hire and develop our female talent. We run leadership workshops designed specifically for women.

Nothing says gender equality quite like leadership workshops designed specifically for women.

In the last five years, Shell has increased female representation on our Board of Directors from 8% to 33%. We have also seen the representation of women in senior leadership positions rise from 16% in 2012 to 22% in 2017.

I for one will be extremely interested to see how this pans out. It’s not that I don’t think women can be leaders, it’s that when a company adopts progressive initiatives based on politically-driven social science papers originating in the lunatic fringe of western academia, they’ve lost all perspective. Pepsi’s CEO is Indra Nooyi, an Indian woman, and they pointedly don’t make a big song and dance about it because she is undoubtedly there on merit alone. I worked in and around Shell organisations between 2004 and 2009, and there were plenty of capable women doing very well there, some of whom were in senior positions. There didn’t seem to be any impediment to women back then, they were just fewer in number for the most obvious and natural of reasons. If Shell now believes it’s necessary to artificially inflate the number of women in senior positions in the way they’ve described above, it’s a sign they’re less interested in oil and gas production than social engineering.

For us, this is just the beginning.

The beginning of the end, I suspect. Shell will survive for a long time on its legacy production, reserves, and vast cash pile, but I’d hazard a guess that very little it has done or will do since the oil price crash in 2015 will contribute to its long term future. Applying the “clogs to clogs in three generations” analogy, Shell’s latest generation of whizz-kid managers are eyeing up their next Ferrari while the factory falls into disrepair.

I’ve an inkling I might yet be young enough to write the obituary of Big Oil. As many predicted, their demise won’t be due to a lack of oil in the ground.

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More Progressive Sex Pests

I’ve written several posts (1, 2, 3, 4) on the subject of how sex pests hide among the ranks of progressive movements, and how supposed feminists either unwittingly or deliberately provide cover for their misbehaviour.

So you can imagine I wasn’t tremendously surprised by this story last week:

During [Clay] Johnson’s first job in politics, on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, Schacht and a fellow campaign worker separately accused Johnson of sexual assault. Word of both women’s complaints reached several of Dean’s top deputies. But Johnson kept his job, and his work on the campaign became his ticket to a high-profile career.

He went on to co-found a pathbreaking political consulting firm. Powerful groups and people sought his thoughts on the future of tech in politics; his Twitter banner shows him cracking a joke to a roomful of government officials including President Barack Obama. Despite Schacht’s warning about his behavior, the Sunlight Foundation chose him to head its flagship technology division. He left amid a staff insurrection over his lewd and menacing behavior. And still, he rose higher.

His reputation seemed to be an open secret.

Like Harvey Weinstein, everyone knew he was a sex pest but because he was a good progressive type, the feminists didn’t mind. Then yesterday I read this story:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has resigned following allegations of assault by four women.

The New Yorker magazine published a report quoting the women, two of them ex-girlfriends, who accused Mr Schneiderman, 63, of hitting them.

Mr Schneiderman has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump.

Now there’s a surprise, eh? But let’s don pussyhats and protest Mike Pence’s misogyny because he doesn’t eat dinner alone with any woman other than his wife.

This is what happens when politics are used as the sole judge of one’s character, and people turn a blind eye to bad behavior provided the perpetrator has the correct politics. If lefty women want to reduce the rate at which they’re being sexually assaulted, they could perhaps try avoiding lefty men claiming to be feminists. It’s starting to become a clear warning sign.

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Credulous fools at the BBC

There is an excellent three-part BBC documentary out there called Welcome to Lagos (it’s on YouTube and Vimeo) covering life in the Nigerian commercial capital. The series focuses on a number of individuals, one of whom was a guy who lived on an enormous  municipal rubbish dump and earned cash selling whatever he could find in the mountain of discarded waste. He was young, energetic, and had an abundance of charisma (which is presumably why the producers selected him) and aspired to be a singer/rap star in Lagos’ highly informal music scene. We saw him get cleaned up, dressed up, and get photos for his album cover done, and a fair amount of his singing. Near the end of the series the audience was looking forward to a satisfying conclusion to this rags to (relative) riches story.

Instead, the guy got in a fight off camera which resulted in the other person losing an eye. Whoops. What became clear to anyone who knew Lagos was that far from being a charming young man with big dreams down on his luck, this chap they’d chosen to profile was a vicious thug. Nigerians are particularly good at turning on the charm and this talent extends to criminals as well; he’d obviously fooled the BBC and by the time they realised who they were dealing with it was too late. The series concluded with the man exiled from the rubbish dump, effectively losing his home, in a compromise negotiated with the one-eyed man’s relatives. The alternatives were to lose an eye of his own or be killed. I could imagine the BBC people looking on with horror as this unfolded, finally realising what sort of people live on a Nigerian rubbish dump.

I was reminded of this when I read this BBC article:

More than 3,000 Nigerian migrants who failed to reach Europe, have been flown home by the International Organization for Migration. Many sold everything to make the trip and aren’t sure how to face their families, writes Colin Freeman.

Evans William tells me he sold everything but the kitchen sink to fund his dream of getting to Europe. And I mean everything – his bed, his fridge, his TV, his spare clothes and his mobile phone.

Now this may be true, but I wonder how many Nigerians would advise the BBC to take this man’s story at face value.

After borrowing yet more cash, he finally had enough to pay a smuggling gang to take him from Nigeria across the Sahara to Libya.

So he’s an economic migrant, not a refugee or asylum seeker.

In all, it cost him £750 ($1,000), but he wasn’t worried. Once in Europe, he figured, he could quickly earn enough to pay off his creditors, and eventually return home to start a business of his own.

What was he going to do after illegally entering Europe that would “quickly” earn him $1,000? The BBC didn’t bother to ask, of course. I suspect any Nigerian reading this would consider this chap to be bad news and not the sort they’d want moving in next door, but here’s the BBC lending him a sympathetic ear.

When I met Evans last month, he’d just returned home to Benin City in southern Nigeria, where he was among hundreds of migrants staying in a government-requisitioned hotel.

They’d been flown back by the International Organization for Migration, a UN body that helps illegal migrants who want to return home.

As well as a free plane ticket, they get a few nights’ hotel accommodation, and £200 in pocket money while they find their feet. They’re also offered job training, to give them a better chance of a livelihood.

This is a bit of a slap in the face to those millions of Nigerians who don’t try to enter Europe illegally to make a quick $1,000 committing crimes, and instead work their arses off at home trying to improve their lives legally.

The scheme is partly bankrolled by a £3bn fund set up by the European Union in 2015, the year the migrant crisis dominated the news.

Were the taxpayers informed this money would be used to bankroll fit, healthy, men looking for opportunities to graft, or were they assured it was for desperate families fleeing war and persecution?

Most, like Evans, are virtually destitute. And while they appreciate the offers of job training, it’s fairly basic stuff, like hairdressing or tailoring, or learning how to farm. For those who dreamed of making it in Europe, that’s a bit of a comedown.

I wonder how much sympathy the average Nigerian has for their countrymen who, having failed to realise their dream of working a life of crime in Europe, now have to come back home to receive training in doing something useful?

What also hurts, though, is the feeling that they’ll be seen as failures by their peers and relatives.

What sort of peers does the BBC think these men have?

Many could only make the trip because mum and dad sold off the family silver. Nobody wants to come back penniless, and admit that they blew what’s seen – rightly or wrongly – as the chance of a lifetime.

Ah yes, the deep sense of shame and familial pride which is so strong among Nigeria’s criminal fraternity.

Gloomier still was Abibu, a tough-looking young man who was on the same flight home as Evans. He had a fresh-looking scar on his face, and a scowl that deepened as he talked.

Ah, here we go. A fresh scar on his face, eh? From what? Did the BBC ask how he got it?

His mother, he said, had sold her only plot of land to fund his trip to Europe. He hadn’t even told her he was back.

He sounds lovely. Hands up all those who really thinks his mother willingly sold her “only plot of land” to fund Abibu’s trip?

“If my mum sees me she’ll get sick with worry,” he said.

An odd phrase, it must be said.

“And all the neighbours, saying, ‘This guy’s mum sold her land so he could go to Europe – and then he failed!’ If I hear anyone saying that, I tell you, I’ll kill them.”

Shame, he sounds like he’d have made such a contribution to European life.

Which of the training opportunities did Abibu fancy? Hairdresser? Farmer? He seemed to have other work in mind. “I’ll look at the offers,” he admitted grudgingly. “But I’m worried I’ll end up committing crime to get the money back.”

Really? What sort of crime?

“Robbery, probably.”

A real shame.

He sounded like he meant it, and I found myself wondering just what Abibu had done to get that scar on his face.

I assume you didn’t ask because the answer would have ruined the sob-story.

What we have here is the BBC interviewing people who are in all likelihood dangerous, violent criminals but presenting them as ordinary Nigerians deserving of our sympathy. This would be the equivalent of Nigerian journalists writing puff-pieces on English  football hooligans arrested in Russia this summer, or members of drug gangs which plague sink estates in Britain. Could they not have found any Nigerians a bit more deserving of their attention?

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Outcome of Equality

There’s an awful lot wrong in this story:

A police officer is suing the Metropolitan Police after watching hours of child rape videos as part of an investigation left her with post traumatic stress disorder. Cara Creaby is seeking more than £200,000 in damages for the ‘psychiatric injury’ she says she suffered while investigating the rape of three young girls, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Okay.

The 29-year-old, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, joined the Met in 2009 and three years later became part of the ‘Sapphire Unit’ handling child abuse cases. In December 2014 she was made the main contact for three young girls suspected of being victims of grooming and serious sexual offences by disabled paedophile Michael D’Costa – who would later be jailed for 16 years. As Sexual Offence Investigative Technique officer, Mrs Creaby had to search the paedophile’s home and seized a diary detailing his crimes, more than 100 videos of him abusing the girls, and children’s clothing and school bags. High Court papers say Mrs Creaby formed an ‘emotional bond’ with the girls, whom she had to support and interview, which was ‘especially harrowing’ as she also had to view footage of them being ‘sexually abused and degraded’.

I’m obviously speaking as a layman here, but this looks like a case where a separation of roles might have been a good idea. Is it really sensible that the person who “supports” the victims of paedophiles also has to review the most gruesome bits of evidence? I’d have thought police psychologists would have set up the roles and assigned the tasks such that “emotional bonds” didn’t form where they might hamper the investigating officer or leave them traumatised.

For example, I had a friend who was a Royal Marine officer and, as part of his duties, was once called upon to inform a woman on the base that her husband had been badly wounded in Afghanistan and was now a triple amputee. How it works is two officers who don’t personally know the family are selected to walk up to the door, ring the bell, and immediately tell the woman what has happened. I’m not sure how long they spend with her, but they quickly hand over to a support team who takes things from there. The idea is this poor woman will form a more constructive psychological attachment to the support team members than if they’d been the ones to break the initial news. According to the plan, the woman will never see the two officers again in her life, thus sparing her flashbacks and ruined relations. Whoever came up with this system thought about it and worked out the psychological impact of each step, and how to separate the roles. My friend said it was one of the worst things he’s ever had to do in his life.

So my question is, why hasn’t a similar procedure been applied to police investigating harrowing crimes against children?

She would spend ‘at least eight hours at a time’ watching the videos to work out what happened in them, the documents say.

Couldn’t this task have been assigned to somebody who has never met the children, with the lead investigator only seeing those parts essential for securing a conviction?

It is claimed Mrs Creaby told her superiors ‘multiple times’ about the volume of her work and the effect it was having on her, but she was just told to ‘carry on as best she could’. According to her lawyer, David Mies at Slater & Gordon, there was no risk assessment, offers of help or consideration of how to share the workload.

Is this true, or is she just looking for a payout? I’m inclined towards the former.

By March 2015, Mrs Creaby was said to be ‘visibly struggling’ and became ‘more tired, unkempt, short with colleagues and emotional in the workplace’ but again was allegedly not given any support.

If this can be proved, and I suspect it can, she’s likely to win this case.

She also began to ‘experience intrusive flashbacks and nightmares of the child rape she had been required to watch’ and also ‘noticed that when she was with her partner, any act of intimacy caused her to panic and become tearful’.

Frankly, this sort of thing would affect the stoutest of people. Presumably this is why, until recently, only certain types of people would be considered for severely stressful and difficult jobs, but we’ve since moved into a world where anybody can do any job, and indeed have a right to. There was a time when the job of sifting through a paedophile’s home movie collection would have been handed to a man with a strong constitution, not a woman who was clearly not up to it.

She was diagnosed with PTSD as a result and according to the legal documents, the officer asked for help but was told by bosses at Scotland Yard to ‘stick to the job at hand’.

Well, yeah. We’ve been told for some time now that women can do the same jobs as men regardless, and this theory is now being severely tested. Telling a highly traumatised and obviously suffering woman to “stick to the job at hand” is perfectly consistent with telling women they are equally suited to all aspects of policing (and every other profession) as men. Both are heinously irresponsible; this woman should never have been given such a task in the first place. We’re going to see a lot more lawsuits like this.

(I’ve written before about people in the wrong job.)

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Consistency

Here’s a story:

GPs should be based in gyms in a bid to tackle Britain’s growing obesity crisis, public health experts say

“For too long the NHS has shouldered the burden of society’s unhealthy lifestyles. A radical and imaginative move like this could empower people to take responsibility for their own health and move towards an NHS focused on prevention over cure.”

More than one in four adults in the UK are now obese and obesity-related conditions cost the NHS more than £1billion a year.

Studies have shown British adults lead increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which is fuelling the obesity crisis.

Last month, University of Liverpool researchers revealed that living a “couch potato” lifestyle and staying desk-bound all day at the office for just two weeks triggered a decline in health which could spiral into weight gain and health problems like diabetes. But exercising and being active throughout the day reversed symptoms within a fortnight.

Now experts believe making access to exercise easier could encourage more people to take it up, reducing the burden of obesity on the NHS.

Britain is a nation of obese land-whales who don’t get enough exercise, putting an intolerable burden on the NHS. Okay, got it. Here’s another story:

Remember the “beach body ready” adverts that were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority a few years ago?

The infamous bright yellow billboards by Protein World read “are you beach body ready?” alongside the image of a slim, blonde woman in a yellow bikini.

[They] received a huge amount of backlash about the body image message they were sending – in a nutshell, the internet unanimously decided they were body shaming.

Which is why one plus-size fashion brand’s latest campaign has been a breath of fresh air.

Mimicking Protein World’s original 2015 adverts in colour scheme and style, navabi’s campaign champions women of all sizes as we get further towards beach season.

It features models including Bethany Rutter, navabi’s own social editor, Stephanie Yeboah, otherwise known as NerdAboutTown and Lauren Tallulah Smeets, also known as Curvy Roamer.

The billboard will appear in London’s West End this week, in addition to navabi’s website dedicated to the campaign.

So showing slim women in a bikini constitutes “body-shaming”, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fat, and indeed it should be celebrated.

So which is it? The two stories are somewhat contradictory, yes? Actually, no. The first thing to understand is none of this is about health, nor problems with how society views women. The “health experts” in the first story are concerned primarily with increasing their own power, prestige, and incomes; similarly, NHS employees are mostly interested in making their lives easier, either by working less or getting paid more. Both groups enjoy using their positions to tell millions of people how to live, which coincidentally looks an awful lot like middle-class snobbery.

Those who complained about the original Protein World advert and are praising the navabi one are primarily interested in promoting their lifestyle choices, forcing people to approve them instead of subjecting them to ridicule. They don’t care whether they are healthy or not, they simply don’t like the usual public reaction to X, Y, and Z and think society should change its views to align with theirs.

Far from being contradictory, the two campaigns are wholly consistent in that both are run by a handful of grifters who think they get to tell people how to live and what they should think. That today’s chosen subject matter appears to bring the respective efforts into conflict overlooks the principle aim of each campaign: you must do as we say. This is why you get people supporting both NHS policies on obesity while simultaneously celebrating fatness.

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Another casualty of identity politics

This story is worth reporting, but not in the way the Washington Post has chosen:

The three D.C. students couldn’t believe the news. They’d developed a method to purify lead-contaminated water in school drinking fountains, and NASA announced last month that they were finalists in the agency’s prestigious high school competition — the only all-black, female team to make it that far.

The NASA competition called on students to find creative ways to use space technology in their everyday lives. The teens said they considered dozens of ideas but settled on a water purification system because they noticed some water fountains in their school could not be used because of potential lead contamination.

They worked at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator — a technology lab focused on diversity and entrepreneurship near Howard University — where they volunteer, and their mentor at the incubator encouraged them to compete and supervised them on weekends as they built a prototype.

The teens purchased two jars, placing meters in each to test the purity of the water. In one jar, the teens place shards of copper in the water — with the copper acting as the experimental contaminant. An electric fan spins the water while filtering floss — a type of fiber — collects contaminated particles. Once clean, the water is transferred by a straw into the second jar. The meters verify that the water is clean, and the teens said they trust their system so much, they drank the water.

This is a fantastic achievement for which the three girls ought to be extremely proud. Here’s their picture.So what’s the rest of the story? This:

The next stage of the science competition included public voting, and the Banneker High School students — Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner and Bria Snell, all 17-year-old high school juniors — turned to social media to promote their project.

But while the teens were gaining traction on social media and racking up votes, users on 4chan — an anonymous Internet forum where users are known to push hoaxes and spew racist and homophobic comments — were trying to ensure the students wouldn’t win.

The anonymous posters used racial epithets, argued that the students’ project did not deserve to be a finalist and said that the black community was voting for the teens only because of their race. They urged people to vote against the Banneker trio, and one user offered to put the topic on an Internet thread about President Trump to garner more attention. They recommended computer programs that would hack the voting system to give a team of teenage boys a boost.

Which is pretty appalling however you cut it, but I suspect it is a symptom rather than a cause. In the era of affirmative action and identity politics, a lot of people would assume these three girls had advanced in the competition because they were black and female, rather than because their invention was any good. If you are going to promote people on the basis of their membership of a minority group rather than their competence, pretty soon people will question whether any member of a minority group is competent and deserving of their position.

As I’ve argued on this blog before, what is so insulting about efforts to help women in STEM fields is that it ignores the millions of women who have done very well in STEM without affirmative action or other patronising policies which lower the bar. The real losers from affirmative action policies aimed at helping minorities is not people who fall outside the designated groups but genuinely competent minorities who not only have to sit alongside less-capable colleagues of the same sex or skin colour, but now have their own competencies called into question. Some time ago a very capable female engineer was invited to attend a management training course reserved only for the best and brightest in the organisation. She confessed she felt uncomfortable because she found it full of women, and she hoped her being female wasn’t the only reason she’d been asked to attend. She wanted to be there wholly on merit or not at all, and I could understand why.

The online abuse targeting the three girls in the story above is unsurprising given how gender and race have been elevated above human achievement in the era of identity politics. At some point, those who fall outside the designated victim groups will start to push back and much of it will be unpleasant. Not so long ago few would have doubted these girls deserve to reach the finals of the NASA competition, and they would have been held up as an example to aspiring black and female students. Instead their achievements are being doubted and the competition, along with everything else, turned into a political circus. It’s a shame the Washington Post chose to make the story about idiotic racists on obscure web forums rather than the appalling effects on society of the poisonous identity politics they’ve done so much to promote.

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Incels: a lot like modern feminists

In the past week or so a new term has entered into the mainstream lexicon: incel, which is an abbreviation of involuntarily celibate. It is the word used to describe angry young men who can’t get laid and then go onto commit acts of violence, often describing their lack of success with women as motivation for their crimes. The term has come to prominence because someone fitting this description drove a van into a bunch of people in Toronto, killing 10.

There is no doubt that the Toronto van driver and others like him display deep-rooted misogyny and hate women, but nevertheless it’s worth trying to understand how and why they became so alienated. However, feminist Twitter is having none of it, believing social ostracism and mental illness is something to be disregarded entirely insofar as men are concerned. As usual, feminist bellwether Natalia Antonova provides a neat example:

Firstly, allow me to mention the irony that a journalist and playwright is seemingly unaware of the term “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

Secondly, what else is the third-wave feminist movement but a planet-sized temper tantrum that the sexual revolution didn’t deliver as promised in terms of power, prestige – and romantic partners? It sure as hell isn’t about rights, given the movement’s roots in American academia and its proponents overwhelmingly coming from coastal, metropolitan liberal arts circles where women enjoy more rights than at any point in human history. Modern, western feminism is largely about self-entitled, privileged, middle-class women demanding nice things in life they are not prepared to earn, preferring to believe it’s the unreasonableness of men that is preventing them attaining what they so richly deserve.

In terms of dealing with rejection – something all of us must face throughout our lives – feminists are no better than incels. True, they don’t go around murdering people with vans but their effect on society has been equally if not more destructive. And say what you like about deranged, homicidal incels but they at least refrain from giving self-righteous lectures about how virtuous they are when the full extent of the carnage is known. The feminist reaction to incels is that of a self-declared victim group protecting its turf and ensuring they have a monopoly on gender-based suffering; any and all sympathy or understanding for those confused, angry, and ostracised by the opposite sex must go to feminists and nobody else. Either that, or they’re simply upset because, amid all the hysterical screeching and yelling, some men are trying to get a word in edgeways.

Whatever the case, there’s not a whole lot of difference that I can see between lunatic incels and deranged, third-wave feminists.

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