Betteridge’s Law of Wokery

The Buccaneers embody Tampa’s love of pirates. Is that a problem?

No.

But wait, there’s more:

When the National Football League expanded to 28 teams in 1973, the league awarded Tampa an expansion team, prompting a name-the-team contest in 1975. “Buccaneers” won, a reference to the pirates who frequented the coasts of Florida in the 17th and 18th centuries. But team executives wanted the logo to be a “classy” pirate — a cross between Robin Hood, Errol Flynn, the musketeer D’Artagnan and pirate Jean Lafitte. It was a logo the team maintained until 1997 when they switched to a more aggressive, menacing Jolly Roger.

The last time the Jolly Roger was aggressive and menacing rather than a mildly amusing children’s joke, the year started with “18”.

Yet, while this celebration of piracy seems like innocent fun and pride in a local culture, there is danger in romanticizing ruthless cutthroats who created a crisis in world trade when they captured and plundered thousands of ships on Atlantic trade routes between the Americas, Africa and Great Britain.

Stop right there. Just stop.

Why? Because it takes these murderous thieves who did terrible things — like locking women and children in a burning church — and makes them a symbol of freedom and adventure, erasing their wicked deeds from historical memory. These were men (and women) who willingly participated in murder, torture and the brutal enslavement of Africans and Indigenous peoples.

Ok, there we go. You’re a racist. We’re all racist.

Is there a Microsoft Word macro thingy to run to automatically churn this formulaic bollocks out?

Start Menu/Setttings/System Updates/Install Microsoft Word Wokerator Plug-in.

There then follows a potted summary of some selected elements of nautical history, utterly irrelevant to a game of American Football.

Perhaps time has dulled us to the atrocities committed by these 17th and 18th century outlaws. Or perhaps it’s the fact that if pirates of the Golden Age were bloodthirsty, so too were the nations who opposed them. They willingly and purposefully massacred millions of African and Indigenous peoples in the name of colonization. Pirates, then, are seen as romantic heroes — the underdogs fighting the establishment — whom historian Marcus Rediker refers to as proto-democratic, egalitarian and multicultural.

Should we celebrate their complicated legacy? It’s a question Tampa Bay has to contend with as we collectively contemplate other major sports mascots with dubious legacies, like their Super Bowl rivals in Kansas City.

Bill’s Opinion

Don’t invite Jamie H. Goodall to a Superbowl Party and for fucksake don’t ask for her opinion about Halloween.

Masquerading as the enemy of the people

Today is Australia Day, the national holiday celebrating the arrival of of the First Fleet of convicts to Australia in 1788.

Over the years, there have been calls to change the date, celebrate something other than the start of multiple harsh prison sentences or make it a day of national mourning on behalf of the people who were already here and were subsequently subjugated.

It can sometimes be bit controversial, to say the least.

However, it’s currently Australia’s national day. The weather is usually pretty good and workers get a day off to go to the beach, barbecue and drink beer. Most Australians you talk to are pretty happy about the national holiday and see no reason for it to change.

How do I know most Australians feel this way?

Because a survey in 2019 showed exactly that. 72% of the Australians surveyed don’t care enough to support a change. Plenty of similar surveys repeat these findings.

Hold that thought in your head for a moment.

Now try this thought experiment; imagine you were the agent of an enemy country and you had managed to gain influence on the editorial decisions of a national newspaper. What would be the theme of the news articles and opinion pieces you would commission on the host country’s national day?

Would it look something like this?

As at 11am this morning, those were the headlines, in order, on the Sydney Morning Herald’s front page.

Nation building stuff, eh?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me or place words in my mouth. I am not saying the SMH editors should not be allowed to commission so many articles of such a similar theme, I’m also not saying the editors are traitors or unpatriotic.

I am, however, pointing out the massive disconnect between the views of the overwhelming majority of the country and the very obvious theme being presented by this newspaper. Nobody can be in any doubt as to where the SMH sits on the “whither Oz Day?” question.

Meanwhile, most Australians don’t actually even consider it a question worth asking.

Bill’s Opinion

If President Xi wanted to run a subversion operation in the Australian media, it would probably not look very different to today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

I doubt that is what this is, but it’s remarkable how much similarity is hiding in plain sight.

I’m sure the writers of these articles have the best of motivations, they would genuinely like to see significant improvements to the welfare and lives of indigenous Australians. Writing these articles probably makes them feel they have helped.

One might cynically ask them, “What tangible actions have you personally taken, such as donating money or time to an Aboriginal charity, or did you think banging out 300 words about the morals of people long dead was enough?“.

As for the commissioning editor, I would ask the following question, “Are you getting paid by President Xi or is this just pro-bono?”

Kick long, smash packs

Our old friend Hannah Mouncey is back in the news; he’s shes’s suing the Australia Rules Football league in Canberra for the right to play in the top women’s grade.

The main story is a bit boring, the usual guff as a sporting body tries to navigate the absolute minefield that is balancing the rights of one group (women), with another (men who believe they are women).

What is interesting though, is the imperfect solution currently in place. It’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.

Read carefully what the league’s current alternate solution is to allowing Hannah to play A grade:

From a community football standpoint, the new policy states that “transgender women may play in women‘s competitions, transgender men can play in men’s competitions and non-binary people can choose which competition to play in.”

Also at community level, the statement notes that “Gender diverse players may not be excluded for reasons of relevant competitive advantage over cisgender players in the competition.”

Mouncey, who will instead have to play in the B grade because it’s not considered part of the AFLW development pathway, said she was making a stand for the wider trans community.

Think about it for a moment; because they want to protect the women on the pathway to elite level, they’ve put an already physically stronger player down a grade to smash the lower quality players instead.

I imagine there was much back slapping and congratulations when they came up with that genius compromise. Turns out it’s not an acceptable solution to our builder in a skirt mate anyway.

Bill’s Opinion

The league are clearly trying their hardest to be sensitive to Hannah, you can even see it in the use of the highly politicised noun, “cisgender“, a word literally nobody in regular society ever uses.

They’re failing of course. What is being demanded by Hannah is the rights of women, including the right to play sport against broadly equivalent physical competitors, are encroached upon rather than face biological and physical reality.

Until about five minutes ago, women’s sport was a limited entry competition. To join, you were required to posses a vagina and not have benefited from testosterone outside of a normal range for women.

Not that the entry criteria used to be quite as gauche to state that, but we all understood the meaning of the noun, “woman”, back then.

Stories like this are implicitly requiring us to not comment on the physical evidence being presented to our eyes. Any innocent young child will look at the picture above and realise there is a man standing in a group of women.

As adults, we are being dared to notice and comment on it.

As Douglas Murray points out in his excellent book, The Madness of Crowds, now we pretend we don’t know things we’ve always known to be true until very recently.

Jenna hates….. the free speech of

….MP Craig Kelly.

Jenna Hates has been given the keys to the Sydney Morning Herald Grievance Vehicle again this week.

Today’s subject of her trademark bitterness and hatred is an MP whose views she can’t stand.

Jenna and I have much in common in that regard, she’s just more discriminatory than me as I can’t stand the views of all MPs.

One of Mr. Kelly’s constituents has decided to undertake a personal project of offence archeology and, helpfully, our resident academic, Jenna Hates, has convinced a national newspaper it’s interesting enough to publish. No, really.

Tom Kristensen is a landscaper, artist and just owner-built a house in Hughes. But sometime in 2019, he turned his mind to local politics. Not to stand for election, no way, he’s never been a member of any political party, too sceptical.

But his local member had started to use Facebook to spread messages which the ecology graduate knew were not based on any kind of scientific evidence. Kristensen got busy. He decided to note and analyse every single Facebook post on Craig Kelly’s page, its topic, its style of writing and its image.

…. as any reasonable person would do….. if they were OCD.

Also, “not based on any kind of scientific evidence” just slipped in there without a supporting description of the method used to come to that conclusion. We mention this because the word “any” is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Jenna Hates helpfully reminds us of the peer review process or lack there of:

This isn’t for academic research. It is to save the nation from his dangerous conspiratorial and anti-science influence. His job is to represent his community. What he is actually doing is misleading his constituents, misrepresenting science, endangering lives.

We do love a good blood on their hands accusation.

What conspiracy theories is he peddling?

The worst seems to be the false flag theory about last week’s attack on The Capitol. Yeah, that’s pretty daft, particularly from someone who is an elected official. I’m not sure how it risks the lives of Australians though.

The other two themes Jenna Hates, erm, hates, are his suggestion that two existing approved drugs might be used as pharmaceutical treatment for the Kung Flu ‘rona.

Again, unless he’s able to influence the medical profession into prescribing these, it’s just words.

Of course, we could have predicted Jenna’s preference on how to deal with Kelly, it’s a shame the bookies aren’t taking bets. Spoiler alerts, it doesn’t involve presenting counter evidence and debating him or getting up off her arse and actively campaigning for an alternative candidate:

It is such a shame we don’t have a code of conduct for parliamentarians, or an Australian Federal Integrity Commission, which perhaps could punish behaviour like this and send those responsible to Siberia (looking forward to the debate in parliament this year).

Hands up who thinks she’s only partially joking about Siberia?

Bill’s Opinion

For the record, I have no opinion on Craig Kelly as I avoid reading about Australian politicians as much as I possibly can, mainly due to the obvious fact they are stupid at best but usually with the added bonus quality of venality.

I also don’t know whether the two drugs listed reduce the impact of the virus or not. I’m willing to bet neither do you or Jenna Hates. I’m certain Kelly hasn’t a Scooby Doo.

Why don’t we know? Because they’ve been politicised. If you mention them, you will be labelled a conspiracy theorist and dangerously right wing.

In a world other than the Clownworld we’re currently inhabiting, existing approved pharmaceutical therapies for conditions adjacent to the virus would be taken through objective scientific enquiry and the results published for the medical profession to assess. If they prove effective, we’d all be happy. If not, we’d shrug and move on.

In 2021, however, we talk about shutting down the speech of those who suggest such a thing.

2021 already looks like its theme will be authoritarianism.

Mostly peaceful

The online world is a bit of a dumpster fire this week, with everyone with an opinion feeling uninhibited enough to let us know their hot take on the situation, with the added not insignificant bonus of publicly demonstrating their virtue.

Careful observers with memories longer than a few months might spot some slight inconsistencies in these public opinions, however.

For example, those who are loudly proclaiming on their soshal mejia accounts the Trump supporters breaking into The Capitol was an attempted coup yet didn’t speak up against any of the following:

  • The four year campaign to impeach the President on the basis of an election “hacked” by Russia which, after an expensive taxpayer funded investigation, turned out to be a big nothingburger,
  • The nightly Antifa riots in Portland, the destruction of the city centre and the implementation of a lawless “autonomous zone”,
  • The nightly attacks on the Portland courthouse,
  • The invasion of the Senate by anti-Brett Kavanaugh protesters,
  • The riots across the USA and looting of department stores in the name of BLM,
  • BLM and Antifa threatening diners in restaurants and suburban residents in their homes.

Given time and motivation, we could continue to list multiple examples of illegal and violent protest over the last four years, and undertake the offence archeology on the accounts of those who were silent then, vocal now. People are doing this for high profile names such as Alexandria Occasionally Correct with amusing results.

But for the average person, you, for example, what’s the standard you’ve demonstrated? Have you applied the same principles when your team screwed up as when the other side did?

If you didn’t, what does that make you?

Bill’s Opinion

In the few jurisdictions where it still exists, your freedom of speech should be unaffected by your record of subjective and partisan commentary.

That statement notwithstanding, your inability to apply objective standards and principles and your lack of courage to do so in public massively reduces your credibility.

You may exercise your freedom of speech to attempt to persuade us that, despite the long history of coup attempts and successful coups around the world, an unarmed raggle taggle bunch of cosplay Davy Crockets entering a building is a clear and present danger to the world’s most powerful military force. We, however, will judge those twitterings in the context of your previously demonstrated commitment to consistency.

My view on the events in The Capitol are that it was illegal and the rule of law must be maintained. That was also my view on the looting during the summer of BLM, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and all of the other illegal acts we witnessed last year but were given a free pass by many for reasons of political expediency.

I suggest this is a time for a long look in the mirror in case the Nietzsche quote applies to you:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Why is this lying liar lying to me?

Today’s title is what the British current affairs interviewer, Jeremy Paxman, apparently used to ask himself whenever he interviewed a politician.

As a strategy, it can’t be faulted.

Witness:

For those who are unaware of the festival of Kwanzaa, it is a relative newcomer to the calendar, invented in 1966.

Some background on the Harris childhood may be useful too; She was born in 1964 to a Jamaican father and Indian mother. Her parents divorced in 1972. Kamala and her mother moved to Canada in 1976.

Of course, it is entirely possible an Indian immigrant single mother was an early adopter of a newly-invented festival for the sake of her mixed race daughters two decades before the rest of the USA had heard of it….whilst living in Canada.

It’s also possible Jussie Smollett was attacked by two Nigerian Trump supporters at 2am in a blizzard.

Bill’s Opinion

The chances the Harris family ever celebrated Kwanzaa aren’t quite zero but it is highly unlikely.

However, the explanation requiring the fewest assumptions to be true is that Kamala Harris is lying.

We can’t read minds, so the reason why she would lie about this can only be known by her.

The fact she chooses to tell lies about inconsequential matters such as this and the music she listened to whilst in college, is an indication of two possibilities though;

1. She must think people are really fucking stupid, and

2. She’s prepared to sell the most ridiculous fabrications as fact.

Neither of which are particularly comforting characteristics for the person who will take over from Joe Biden next year.

By the way, if you are reading this and thinking, “but Trump lied all the time“, you might want to consider the possibility you’ve fallen into a partisan mental oubliette where you don’t apply standards objectively.

Douglas Bader is cancelled

Two legs good, no legs better….

Imagine being named after the wife of William Shakespeare and having a 21 year career as a Hollywood actress and yet not understanding the meaning of the verb, “acting“?

Anne Hathaway seems not to know that three-fingered witches capable of magic aren’t real;

Bill’s Opinion

Of course she knows witches aren’t real and that acting is pretending to be someone/thing you aren’t.

She’s signalling, “please don’t hurt me” to a very small group of people on social media, intoxicated by the power to make famous people do and say things when threatened.

The correct response, particularly when one is a multi-millionaire capable of living comfortably without having to work for the remainder of one’s life, is “oh do fuck off; nobody is really offended and, even if they were, it’s a great life lesson to toughen the fuck up or never engage with the outside world again”.

Everything is racist – Kiwi edition

As there’s nothing else of interest going on in the world, here’s the news from the Asia-Pacific capital of wokeness and virtual signalling; don’t like facial tattoos? Then you can’t sell your book here.

We know the drill these days, it happens the same way every time; someone says or tweets something, about three people take offence, they then contact an employer/advertiser/retailer and suggest they take action against the individual, pour encourager les autres.

Reading the history of the Maori “moko” or female chin tattoo, it seems to have gone through a similar cycle as the Australian observance of Anzac Day. It was not particularly popular and was likely to die out as a tradition but got a shot in the arm towards the end of the 20th century.

It’s unclear whether this was also as a result of a resurgence of national populism like John Howard’s hyping of what was really the backup version of Remembrance Day for his own political purposes.

Anyway, to the new foreign minister, putting facial tattoos aside, how qualified is she for the prestigious and demanding Foreign Affairs ministerial role? How about this for damning with faint praise;

Mahuta is the first woman to hold the position of foreign affairs minister and has been praised as articulate and competent.

Bill’s Opinion

Jump on to social media and describe a high profile African American politician as articulate and competent and see how that goes for you.

As for cancelling the sale of a book for the author’s non-criminal tweet, well, that’s a standard you’ll end up living up to yourself one day. Some wags have already pointed out the book website will happily sell Oswald Mosley’s autobiography.

He was a National Socialist, after all though, defending the indigenous culture of a small island nation and encouraging collectivism and big government.

My final opinion on this is that the words, “regrettable tattoo” are a tautology.

Banana splits

Perhaps this is the best illustration of how bifurcated the perception of the world is on some of the most important issues facing humanity:

Depending on your source of news, the names on this list are either worthy recipients of the prize or a combination of the incompetent and mendacious.

It’s such a mix of opposites, one almost expects some names to disappear off the page as they cancel each other out, as if when matter and anti-matter combine.

The latter part of the list has more than a hint of trolling to it; one struggles to think what Erdogan and Putin have done to progress peace, love and understanding, for example.

Obviously, we can all get behind the campaign to vote Piers “I never hacked a phone” Morgan as this year’s Peace Prize winner, if only to ensure the end of the Nobel Committee.

Bill’s Opinion

Regardless of your opinion on who should win it, this list tells us everting we need to know about why the world is currently the way it is.

Credibility level: Smollett

America is in crisis. The demand for hate crimes is outstripping supply.

As with all supply-side shortages, unsatisfactory, sub-standard products flood the market as a consequence until the natural balance is restored.

Consider the sad tale of Althea Bernstein; the likelihood of this “hate crime” happening as described by Ms Bernstein is so small it would need to be measured by an electron microscope.

Althea borrowed her Mum’s car, drove to near where a riot was occurring, replete with an large arson attack, then returned home past her curfew time with some light burns.

Anyone who reads this story and believes that four boys actually sprayed her with lighter fluid through a car window and followed it up with a lit cigarette lighter needs to seriously take a deep breath and down a cup of coffee.

Nonetheless, some high profile folks have accepted this at face value.

Who?

A couple of dumb football players, for a start. Let’s face it, critical thinking isn’t a core competency for kicking and catching a ball, but Todd Gurley and Oren Burks have managed to underachieve the already low intellectual expectations for their profession.

This is exquisite, though; Megan Markle spoke with Althea for 40 minutes. Apparently, “Meghan and Bernstein formed a connection over being biracial, and Meghan advised her to stay away from social media to avoid seeing negative comments“.

Negative comments such as, “liar, liar, pants on fire“, presumably?

Bill’s Opinion

You, I and everyone we know will read a story like the one Althea told her mother to justify coming home late with light burns to her face and immediately guess what happened; she disobeyed her mother, went to the riot and got splashed whilst having some innocent fun with Molotov cocktails.

That figures such as the football players and the ex-Princess are prepared to publicly state their support for her version of the evening leads us to believe only one of two things is true. Either;

1. They really are so gullible that this story seems credible. In which case, we should pity them, or;

2. Like us, they realise this doesn’t pass the sniff test but have decided to pretend that it does.

If (2) is correct, perhaps Theodore Dalrymple’s explanation is the best way to understand what is going on:

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.