Prices are set at the margins – part 2

A 69 year old man wants to change his age to 49 to be able to trick younger women into dating him.

No, really.

Just when you thought an Irish bogtrotter with no known African relatives receiving a grant for “identifying as black” was insane, here comes the next marginal price-setting for the cultural Marxists;

A bunch of lawyers and at least one judge, presumably all funded by the generous Dutch taxpayers, are going to have to discuss this in a court of law. Intelligent, highly-qualified sane adult humans are going to stand up in court and argue for and against age being a social construct.

Stop laughing at the back, this is important stuff.

Bill’s Opinion

If gender and race are social constructs, why not age?

Indeed, why not species?

In fact, why not gravity? If we agree that gravity is a social construct and its oppressive requirement for us to stay permanently attached to the earth’s surface is a result of institutional patriarchal hierarchy, why can’t we sue the government for preventing us from swooping like the birds?

Alternatively, the future version of Edward Gibbon, when documenting the decline and fall of western civilisation, might point to moments such as these as being pivotal in the process of opening the gates to let the barbarians in and run amok.

Prices are set at the margins

A white theatre director, who describes himself as an “African born again”, has come under fire, after securing public funding intended to help ethnic minorities develop their stage careers.

Wait, what?

Anthony Lennon, 53, who was born in London and whose parents are Irish, won a place on a two year Arts Council funded scheme, after a leading black theatre company accepted his claim to be of “mixed heritage”.

He was one of four “theatre practitioners of colour”, to be awarded part of a £400,000 talent development grant.

But Mr Lennon has been accused of being a “racial imposter” after it emerged that despite changing his name to Taharka Ekundayo at one point, he is unquestionably white.

Okaaaaaay.

The company involved, Talawa, which is one of the country’s leading black theatre groups, last night defended its position, insisting Mr Lennon was an “exceptional” person for the role.

Exceptional? Well, there’s no doubt that’s an appropriate description, but perhaps not with the meaning intended.

In a statement, a Talawa spokesman said: “As an artist of mixed heritage he is not only eligible for the position, but his experience, work and achievements make him an exceptional person for the role.”

Mixed heritage? Like I am of mixed heritage? Which application form do I need to complete for my grant money?

Anthony Lennon (right)

He later wrote: “Some people call themselves a born-again Christian. Some people call me a born-again African. I prefer to call myself an African born again.”

He has also talked about going through the “struggles of a black actor”.

But he has at times also acknowledged his true ethnic heritage, telling a BBC documentary in 1990: “My parents are white, and so are their parents, and so are their parents, and so are their parents.”

Ok. So we’re talking Elizabeth Warren levels of ethnic heritage here, if at all.

Habeeb Akande, a writer on race issues, said: “Many of us are becoming sick and tired of racial imposters who are commodifying blackness for their own financial gain. You cannot wear the cloak of blackness when it suits you.”

Actually, it would seem one absolutely can “wear the cloak of blackness when it suits you” and get a slice of a £400k grant too.

Bill’s Opinion

Hilarity such as this can be expected while the “social constructionists” tie themselves in logical knots. If race, gender, sexuality, etc. are merely social constructs, there will be people on the margins who will find ways to benefit.

Anthony “Ali G” Lennon is actually remaining consistent to his world view; he genuinely believes he has some characteristics or history that qualifies him as an African. That being the case, why wouldn’t he feel qualified for a handout targeted to that demographic?

Of course, it’s not Lennon’s call. We have a societal duty to treat people suffering from mental illness with sympathy but not pander to their delusions. If a man presented himself to you claiming to be Icarus, you wouldn’t hand him a bag of feathers and a pot of glue then drive him to the nearest cliff.

There actually may be some historical explanation as to why someone with a background of several generations in Ireland might have dark skin; the legacy of the Spanish Armada. This might also explain the curious fact that “Juan” (pronounced “Ju-on”) is a common first name on the Isle of Man.

Nonetheless, our intersectional Bedlamites are going to be increasingly faced with such logical quandaries as Lennon while they try to legislate for something as difficult to define as race.

Perhaps the best response is to buy popcorn and enjoy the show.

See also, Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal.

Some competitions are not worth winning

It is unlikely Rebel Wilson has ever experienced winning anything athletic or academic during her school years.

She’s coming third in a competition nobody sane actually wants to win, however.

Bill’s Opinion

First ‘plus sized’ girl to lead a ‘Rom Com‘” isn’t exactly “first woman to sail solo around the world” or “first man on the moon”.

Let’s give her a participation award.

Vegan humour failure

tautology (noun)

1 the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession ).

This definition amuses me. Although not a tautology in itself, it is verbose. My preference is, “redundancy of words“.

Anyway, “vegan humour failure” is clearly tautologous.

Witness;

Vegan pitches rubbish idea, is rejected in a mildly funny way, then gets the guy fired.

BuzzFeed reported that Sitwell, the former editor of Waitrose Food magazine, made the statement in an email to freelance writer Selene Nelson, who had pitched a series on plant-based cooking.

In his response, Sitwell reportedly wrote to her, “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”

Not the funniest rejection letter in history, granted, but it’s not without humour.

Of course, if he’d have realised that it was going to be read by the vicariously offended, rather than just the original recipient, he may have worded it slightly differently. “No thanks, this is not of interest to our readers“, probably would have sufficed.

Here’s an interesting statement;

Following an uproar, Sitwell, who is also a food critic on BBC’s “MasterChef,” apologised and said that he is resigning from his position at the magazine, which states it features “recipes and articles from the world’s best chefs and food writers.”

An “uproar”?

I must have missed the edition of the Oxford English Dictionary where the definition of “uproar” was amended to include “half a dozen Twitter users complaining“.

Bill’s Opinion

The correct response to the criticism should have been, “it was a joke, feel free to laugh or fuck off“.

Instead, William Sitwell made the fatal mistake of apologising. This only encourages the social media mob pile on until their target’s career has been destroyed. Better still, if their life has also been destroyed.

The rule of our age is simple; never apologise, never explain.

There is another axiom we have been reminded of too;

There are three questions one never needs to ask;

1. Are you from Texas/Yorkshire/Queen’sland?

2. Do you do CrossFit/BootCamp?

3. Are you vegan?

For those of you who may have been traumatised by the gratuitous mentions of vegans in today’s post, here’s a soothing picture of a delicious serving of Steak Tartare;

Only the truly selfless become parents

Anyone who’s raised children will understand that it’s a fairly ego-destroying process for significant periods of time. In the early years your sleep patterns are hugely disrupted, your social life hits a somewhat lower gear and holidays can sometimes involve almost as much work as relaxation. As for those days when one could jump on a plane for a last minute weekend city break to somewhere romantic like Rome or Manchester….. nah.

From a purely accounting point of view, the decision to become a parent is irrational. For most people, however, it’s a quite selfless act of altruism to bring a new life into the world, nurture it, keep it safe from harm and gradually let them gain increasing levels of independence.

Science has other plans for us, it seems. As we’ve seen recently, science now enables pathologically-single late middle-aged women to fly to third world countries, ignore the orphans languishing in state institutions, buy someone else’s fertilised eggs and give birth to a child with which they share no common genes.

Hopefully Manda is learning to be a little less self-centred by now, but we doubt it.

She has a lesbian equivalent in the USA, it would seem; same sex couple play pass the parcel with an embryo.

The question that remains unanswered throughout the article linked above is, why?

There are hints scattered around though, if one cares to search. For example;

Although they both hoped to one day have children, Bliss wanted a baby that was biologically hers but did not want to be pregnant.

Gosh, that’s a bit of a problem, eh? Speaking personally, I’d quite like to have a big night out drinking the finest wines known to humanity until sunrise, have a couple of hours shuteye and wake up with a clear head.

Same-sex female couples usually have children via a sperm donor with one woman carrying the baby and the other adopting it.
However, both Bliss and Ashleigh wanted to be involved.

Hmm, well, if it’s that important a solution must be found.

Bill’s Opinion

On a scale of selfishness, Bliss and Ashleigh are certainly not as extreme as our friend Manda who, but for the purchase of someone else’s baby, was one step away from buying cats.

It does seem somewhat self-centred nonetheless. And that’s ignoring the stupid first name the poor lad has been saddled with. Tssk, Texans, eh?

Let’s give the last word to their doctor, Cathy “howdy” Doody, who presumably said this without a hint of irony or sarcasm;

 Dr Doody believes Effortless Reciprocal IVF allows same-sex female couples to have a unique bond with their babies and makes for a more ‘natural’ pregnancy.

What does “sorry” even mean

Another day, another national apology on behalf of someone else;

This month’s Prime Minister of Australia (c) apologised to victims of institutional sexual abuse.

As we’ve seen previously, Sorry is a very easy word to say when there are only positive consequences for the speaker.

These national vicarious apologies on behalf of perpetrators who are long dead or languishing in jail would be amusing if it weren’t for the seriousness of the situations they are describing.

Politicians who make these public statements seem to have missed the fact that “sorry” has two meanings;

The first is an expression of contrition and regret for an action you personally were responsible for undertaking. “I’m so sorry I ran over your cat on my driveway“.

The second is an expression of sympathy. “I’m so sorry you have been diagnosed with cancer, that must be devastating for you“.

These national apologies seem to fall into the second category whilst pretending to be the first.

Where might this all lead, do we think?

If we have a duty to apologise for historical crimes for which we have no responsibility but just have some vague connection to the criminal such as nationality, ethnicity or ancestry, what other crimes should we ask the jury to take into consideration?

Bill’s Opinion

Some time ago, I submitted my DNA to Ancestry.com to understand my ancestral heritage.

The summarised results are shown below;

it’s fairly clear to even the casual observer that, at a minimum, I should apologise for the following historic crimes;

– The Jallianwala Bagh massacre

– The Battle of Stamford Bridge

– The tyranny of the Danelaw

– The Reconquista

– The First World War

– The Second World War

– Child labour in the factories during the Industrial Revolution

– The reign of King John and the subsequent War of Independence

– Brexit

– James Corden

I’m so, so sorry*.

*not sorry

Embassies in Jerusalem? Sometimes it’s enough just to observe who it upsets

We aren’t a fan of fallacious arguments round here, we prefer to start with a hypothesis and then observe empirical evidence before refining our views. Sometimes though, a fallacy is a good enough touchstone for a more robust investigation.

What’s the correct name for the fallacy of dismissing an argument because a large number of people who are almost always wrong about most things are upset by a particular argument? It’s not quite ad hominem, perhaps poisoning the well?

Regardless, this is of interest;

This Month’s Australian Prime Minister (c) has announced he will be following Trump’s lead and relocating the Australian Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

It’s a highly political move, not least because there is a critical election currently underway in a constituency with a large Jewish population.

Why this political move surprises anyone is perhaps the great mystery. After all, as Thomas Sowell said;

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind.

The list of people apoplectic with rage about this announcement is instructive. The entire mainstream media, the government media, academia, celebrities and even bandana-wearing househusbands are united in their view that it is a bad thing.

The Sydney Morning Herald has no fewer than 5 different articles on the decision today. If nothing else, the decision has brought some positives to the lives of those journalists who are paid by the word;

Have you got that, readers; it’s a bad thing.

Out of curiosity, do we think there could be any room in a newspaper with the tagline, “Independent. Always” for just one article with a headline such as, “This was clumsy by the PM but of course the embassy should be in the country’s capital“?

Nah, didn’t think so.

Bill’s Opinion

Is Australia’s decision to relocate her embassy to Jerusalem a bad thing?

Let’s list the reasons offered by the critics;

1. It’s an obscenely politically move in an attempt to win an election.

Well yeah, duh. We refer you back to the Sowell quote; everything politicians do is political. Does that make it the wrong thing to do though?

2. It might upset Indonesia.

The correct response to this is to point out it is a decision by a sovereign nation with regards to its relationship to another sovereign nation. If a third sovereign nation feels it can offer an opinion on this, they should be prepared for similar advice and guidance to be offered on their domestic policies. Mind your own damn business, Indonesia, it’s not as if you are the moral beacon of the world.

3. We are not anti-Semitic, but we are against the state of Israel’s policies and actions with regards to the Palestinians.

Everything before the word “but” is always bullshit. The Palestinians keep electing groups who openly call for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. If you can draw moral equivalence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, you are simply not debating in good faith are you?

Scott Morrison is a politician, which means he is grubby, self-interested and venal. Sometimes, however, even the grubby, self-interested and venal will make a correct decision for incorrect reasons.

Bravo.

The madness of Queen Shebah

Mischievous readers in Australia could have some fun, if they were that way inclined.

Shebah is a ride share service like Uber and Ola. It differs in one significant way, however; the drivers and passengers are female.

Fine“, we might say, “it’s perfectly reasonable for female passengers and drivers to want this additional safety measure. Men can call an Uber“.

If that was the policy, there’d be no opportunity for fun and this blog post wouldn’t need to be written.

Of course, we are living on Planet Insanity so the Shebah folks have tied themselves into logical knots by trying to be more woke than you and I.

Sit back and enjoy our little ride into madness courtesy of the FAQ section of their website (additional questions in bold are ours);

Who can drive or ride with the service?

Ok, only women or children, including boys under 18.

So, the teenage Said Imasi would have been ok to ride on his own then? Here’s a picture of him when he was “fourteen” (he’s the fully grown man on the right);

What about trans people?

Great, so in your “intersectionally feminist” opinion, “Hannah” Mouncey is ok to drive and ride;

As is the serial rapist, “Karen” White.

Okaaaay.

Discrimination is definitely not a thing you condone?

When you say you don’t discriminate, are there any limits?

That’s quite a complex set of restrictions and exceptions. It feels like it could be better illustrated with a decision tree/flow chart diagram along the lines of, “do you have a penis but you are accompanied by a woman and very small child?

Speaking of discrimination, how do you prevent a man or a “woman” with a penis from registering as a driver? What checks are there?

You’ll need to upload photos of all of the following – legally, they must be current so make sure they’re always up to date!

 Your gorgeous face

 Your car: front, back and side view

 The front of your drivers licence

 The back of your drivers licence (with current home address if changed)

 Your car registration

 A roadworthy certificate that is less than 12 months old

 Current rideshare insurance for the car you’ll be driving*

 A Passenger Transport Licence Code from Services NSW (formerly the Department of Roads and Maritime Services)

 A Working With Children Check valid for paid work

Not much in that list to prevent someone like “Hannah” Mouncey from registering to drive then. “Karen” White might struggle with the Working With Children Check, of course.

Bill’s Opinion

Male Australians wishing to have some fun might register for the Shebah service, wear a wig and hail a cab.

They could then claim discrimination if their custom is refused on the grounds of their gender.

Why? Well, if you say you’re a woman, you’re a woman, according to Shebah. It’s right there in their policies and terms of service. If you took Shebah to the various state anti-discrimination ombudsperson, a strong case could be made that the logical inconsistencies of their policy negate any claim of a valid exception to the anti-discrimination laws.

For the sake of clarity, let’s list the inconsistencies;

1. We don’t discriminate. However…. no male drivers, no male passengers under 13, or over 18 unless accompanied by a woman and a baby.

2. We are a female service for females. However…. see (1) regarding male passengers. Also, if a man says he’s a woman we accept him/her at his/her word.

3. We take our drivers’ safety very seriously. However…. see (2), we aren’t going to perform a Crocodile Dundee genital cup to check whether the trans driver still has his/her boy’s bits or not.

Hands up who’s prepared to be the test case for Sanity vs. Shebah 2018?

Reefer madness

The Climate Council (no, not a shite Paul Weller band) quoted a UN official recently;

The inference being, of course, if you care about the Great Barrier Reef, you need to care about climate change because that’s the biggest cause of damage to said reef.

Obviously these scientists know what they’re talking and in no way are they obfuscating or trying to mislead.

Oh, this is awkward.

The overarching consensus is:
Key Great Barrier Reef ecosystems continue to be in poor condition. This is largely due to the collective impact of land run-off associated with past and ongoing catchment development, coastal development activities, extreme weather events and climate change impacts such as the 2016 and 2017 coral bleaching events.

Current initiatives will not meet the water quality targets. To accelerate the change in on-ground management, improvements to governance, program design, delivery and evaluation systems are urgently needed. This will require greater incorporation of social and economic factors, better targeting and prioritisation, exploration of alternative management options and increased support and resources.

The evidence base supporting this consensus is provided in a series of four supporting chapters. The main conclusions were:

1 The decline of marine water quality associated with land-based run-off from the adjacent catchments is a major cause of the current poor state of many of the coastal and marine ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef. Water quality improvement has an important role in ecosystem resilience.

2 The main source of the primary pollutants (nutrients, fine sediments and pesticides) from Great Barrier Reef catchments is diffuse source pollution from agriculture. These pollutants pose a risk to Great Barrier Reef coastal and marine ecosystems.

3 Progress towards the water quality targets has been slow and the present trajectory suggests these targets will not be met.

4 Greater effort to improve water quality is urgently required to progress substantial pollutant reductions using an expanded scope of tailored and innovative solutions. Climate change adaptation and mitigation, cumulative impact assessment for major projects and better policy coordination are also required to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

5 There is an urgent need for greater investment in voluntary practice change programs, the use of regulatory tools and other policy mechanisms to accelerate the adoption of practice change, and robust monitoring and evaluation programs to measure the rate and effectiveness of adoption.

6 Strengthened and more effective coordination of Australian and Queensland government policies and programs, further collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders, and strong evaluation systems are critical to the success of Great Barrier Reef water quality initiatives.

7 Priorities for reducing pollutant loads are now established at a catchment scale, based on the exposure of coastal and marine ecosystems to land-based pollutants, and should be used to guide investment.

8 A greater focus on experimentation, prioritisation and evaluation at different scales, coupled with the use of modelling and other approaches to understand future scenarios, could further improve water quality programs.

Hang on, the biggest problem is water quality, primarily due to agricultural run-off?

How curious.

Why then, would the Climate Council of Australia suggest climate change is the biggest enemy?

Bill’s Opinion

Follow the money (highlights mine);

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change and solutions based on the most up-to-date science available.

We’re made up of some of the country’s leading climate scientists, health, renewable energy and policy experts, as well as a team of staff, and a huge community of volunteers and supporters who power our work. As an independent voice on climate change, we get climate stories into the media, produce hard-hitting reports, call out misinformation as we see it and promote climate solutions such as the transition to renewables.

The Climate Council was founded in 2013 by tens of thousands of Australians to create a new, an independent and 100% community-funded organisation in response to the abolition of the Australian Climate Commission.

Please keep donating money so that we can all keep our jobs“, in other words.

There is an uncomfortable axiom about charities and not for profit organisations; they have an ecosystem (no pun intended) around simply existing that keeps many people employed and feeling important.

That the initial facts justifying the creation of the charity/NFP may have changed, are no longer compelling or worse, are proven false, can be of little interest to the organisation when so many people rely on its existence for their day to day subsistence.

A recent example of this is the UK’s Kids Company. Similarly, there were cases of US polio eradication charities that struggled with the existential threat following the success of the vaccination programme and, in a few cases, resorted to changing their mission and committing fraud.

Obviously, one hesitates to accuse the Climate Council of fraud so there must be some other reason that they would have forgotten to mention the significant role of agricultural run off in the damage inflicted to the reef.

In other news, the head of the Climate Council is Tim Flannery, a man with a stellar track record of science-based predictions.

Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome

noun

Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.

Fair warning; if you are allergic to the accent demonstrated in the song Valley Girl, this is going to hurt. You may consider soaking a box of Q-tips in bleach in preparation for repairing the aural damage.

This week, as part of my regular reconnaissance of enemy territory, I have subjected myself to the Ezra Klein podcast.
Ezra writes for Vox. On balance, it’s fair to say that Ezra has a great voice for print media. If you didn’t know otherwise, you might be forgiven for thinking Ezra was a 16 year old girl living in the San Fernando Valley.
Ad hominen fun aside, his podcasts are a great insight to a particular media mindset; this one is a doozy.

In it, Ezra interviews Amy Chozik, author of the book “Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling“.

Before you set off with us on the journey of discovery, perhaps have a pencil and paper handy to count the number of redundant times the words “like” and “so” are used. The podcast might have been 15 minutes shorter if precision of language was a concept the pair understood.

In the podcast, our protagonists discuss the reporting of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The overwhelming emotion expressed by these two objective journalists is one of regret and, dare we suggest it, shame.

The pair talk about “bias” a lot but not in terms of any suggestion they were biased towards wishing for a Clinton presidency but that they weren’t biased enough in their reporting.

For example, at 17 minutes in, they discuss the “tragedy” of the result. This is not the language employed by unbiased professional reporters. However, any semblance or artifice that they would describe themselves in those professional terms is shed as the conversation develops.

Ok, so we have two partisan writers discussing an election that didn’t go their way. At least the form of the conversation should be easy listening? They’re paid to write for a living, at least.

Nah. Wince as the English language is mangled under our brutal wrestling tag team; “lightning rod-ness” was a particular stand out, as were “stories we pre-wrote” and “pre-writing” whilst discussing the articles they hoped to file after Clinton’s victory. Presumably “pre-writing” is the writing one does before one writes?

See also, “pre-planning“, the planning one does before one plans, and “pre-warning“, the warning one gives before a warning, (to be clear, they don’t use these terms, they’re just two of my pet peeves).

Wonder also at how “gendered” the media coverage of the election was. Other people’s coverage, of course, our two heroes never once made any capital out of the biological differences between Hillary and Bernie or Donald. Oh no sir-ee (or madam/gender fluid person).

Enjoy also the exquisite irony of the use of the phrase, “abdicating our responsibility to think it through“. Spoiler alert; they aren’t talking about why the public didn’t trust Hillary or their reporting of Hillary.

An almost a throwaway line; “Trump’s bashing of the first amendment” was instructive. The fact that there’s no explanation of what is meant by that assertion speaks volumes; Ezra accepts it unquestionably as an axiom we all understand (or should be forced to?). It’s still not clear what he’s done to stop free speech.

Perhaps the best amusement is to had towards the end of the interview where we discover that the abuse directed at journalists was worse from Bernie Sanders’ supporters than anything Trump’s redneck, white-supremacist, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, Islamaphobes could throw. Really? The left can be more brutal and threatening? Who knew?

Bill’s Opinion

Theres a significant problem with much of what passes as contemporary political discourse; people have lost the ability or desire to understand the opposing view. It is fashionable to write off one’s opponent as acting in bad faith and therefore deserving of whatever sanction we see fit, ranging from “no platforming” to impeachment and prosecution.

Subjecting ourselves to interviews such as this one help us understand how the other side are thinking. The expression “to steel man an argument” is something worth exploring if this is of interest.

A secondary advantage of listening to interviews like this is it is unintentionally fucking hilarious and a wonderful example of the meaning of the word schadenfreude.

Lastly, among his many verbal tics, Ezra frequently uses the expression “I’m curious” to commence a question that could simply have started with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” or “how”.

Ironically, it is apparent to the most casual observer that the one characteristic Klein doesn’t posses is curiosity;

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates