Sequel man

Ghostbusters, Predator, The Karate Kid, a slew of new Star Wars films, Miama Vice, etc…. the 80s remakes just keep on coming.

There’s one we’ve not seen yet, but it surely must be due out soon.

Soul Man

Plot (from Wikipedia):

Mark Watson, is the pampered son of a rich family who is about to attend Harvard Law School along with his best friend Gordon. Unfortunately, his father’s neurotic psychiatrist talks his patient into having more fun for himself instead of spending money on his son. Faced with the prospect of having to pay for law school by himself, Mark decides to apply for a scholarship, but the only suitable one is for African-Americans only. He decides to cheat by using tanning pills in a larger dose than prescribed to appear as an African-American. Watson then sets out for Harvard, naïvely believing that blacks have no problems at all in American society.

However, once immersed in a black student’s life, Mark finds that people are less lenient than he imagined and more prone to see him as a black person instead of a fellow student. He meets a young African-American student named Sarah Walker, whom he first only flirts with; gradually, however, he genuinely falls in love with her. As it turns out, she was the original candidate for the scholarship which he had usurped, and now she has to work hard as a waitress to support herself and her son George while studying. Slowly, Mark begins to regret his deed, and after a chaotic day—in which Sarah, his parents (who are not aware of his double life) and his classmate Whitney, who is also his landlord’s daughter, make surprise visits at the same time—he drops the charade and openly reveals himself to be white.

Mark declares to his professor that he wishes to pay back the scholarship and do charity work to make amends for his fraud. When asked what he has learned, he says that he realizes that he could have changed back to being white at any time and so does not really know what it means to be black.

Sarah decides to give him another chance, and Mark decides to work his way through college.

Instead of simply copying the story of the movie, perhaps it’s time for a twist. As we’ve read above, the original plot device was that a pampered white kid loses access to the money he needs to get to college. To modernise it, perhaps we could switch the ethnicities and reasons for being unable to attend Harvard?

Mark Wong, is the son of a 2nd generation Asian family who, through hard work and intelligence is about to apply to attend Harvard Law School along with his best friend Gordon. Unfortunately, Harvard has limited the number of places open to his ethnicity in favour of other ethnicities, such as African Americans and Cherokees, even if they have scored lower on against the entry criteria. Faced with the prospect of having to attend an inferior law school, Mark decides to apply, but as an African-American. He decides to cheat by using tanning pills in a larger dose than prescribed to appear as an African-American. Wong then sets out for Harvard, naïvely believing that blacks have no problems at all in American society.

However, once immersed in a black student’s life, Mark finds that people are less lenient than he imagined and more prone to see him as a black person instead of a fellow student. He meets a young African-American named Sarah Walker, whom he first only flirts with; gradually, however, he genuinely falls in love with her. As it turns out, she was the original candidate for the place which he had usurped, and now she has to work in a job to support herself and her son George while studying to achieve better grades with which she intends to re-apply to Harvard. Slowly, Mark begins to regret his deed, and after a chaotic day—in which Sarah, his parents (who are not aware of his double life) and his classmate Whitney, who is also his landlord’s daughter, make surprise visits at the same time—he drops the charade and openly reveals himself to be Asian.

Mark declares to his professor that he wishes to give up his place at Harvard, attend Boondocks University and do charity work to make amends for his fraud. When asked what he has learned, he says that he realizes that he could have changed back to being Asian at any time and so does not really know what it means to be black.

Sarah decides to dox him on social media and Kathy Griffiths retweets this, resulting in a Twitter mob ruining Mark’s life. He decides to jump in front of a subway train.

Bill’s Opinion

Pure fantasy, of course. Nothing like that could ever happen in reality.

I’ll take “things that didn’t happen” for $800, Jussie

Jussie Smollett is an actor and musician. Apparently he is famous for this and also for recently telling everyone about his sexuality.

No, I’d never heard of him either.

Shockingly, he was badly beaten at 2am on Tuesday morning in Chicago. The attackers apparently recognised him, called him a gay and racial slur, beat him, poured a chemical (possibly bleach) on him and wrapped a rope around his neck. The reports didn’t confirm which knot, if any, was used.

Side note of interest; the temperature in Chicago at the time was -14 degrees C.

There’s a breakdown of the reported facts here and a load of screen shots of the reactions of celebrities and politicians who clearly didn’t learn a lesson from the Covington Catholic School lunacy.

Bill’s Opinion

Using our patented razor, we are going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the explanation requiring the least number of assumptions to be correct, and therefore the most likely truth of the situation, is that Jussie is suffering from a mental condition that has resulted in him making the whole thing up.

Alternatively, there really are a pair of racist homophobes living in Chicago who were walking around in the early hours of a weekday morning in arctic conditions carrying bleach and a length of rope on the off-chance they recognise a famous gay black man buying a sandwich.

Let’s hope the Chicago Police investigate the hell out of this.

Behold, my virtue!

I’m the underrepresented voice in the room“?

That may be correct; there probably aren’t too many qualified actuaries speaking at the conference who have a degree from the prestigious Babson College, including 2 years of overseas study, a year of which was at the London School of Economics, and who have been employed by organisations such as Facebook and Willis Towers.

But yes, Steven, you’ve had it bloody tough, eh?

I bet nary a day has gone by in your career when some alpha male actuary with his white privilege has made a joke at your expense, perhaps suggesting that your ethnic background had a .74684 correlation with the 9th decile of life expectancy in a random sample demographic of the Bay Area.

The cruel laughter of your colleagues must have stung.

Bill’s Opinion

When exactly did being a victim become fashionable?

What an utterly pathetic individual.

He’s had one of the best educations money can buy, a exceptionally well paid international career and yet here he is claiming victim status to his entire professional network and beyond.

Here’s an idea, Steve; do the speaking gig and donate the fee to an orphanage in Bangladesh or a charity that digs wells for sub-Saharan African villages.

Also, “white-passing“? Ever met someone with vitiligo? That’s not a term I’d chuck around casually if I were you.

Oh, and as for helpfully explaining which gender pronouns you prefer….. I’d just stick with “Twat” if I were you, it seems to suit you.

“Orwellian” is often over-used

This isn’t one of those occasions.

Male middle school teacher is disciplined for refusing to oversee a female student, who identifies as male, undress.

Follow the link to the story but here’s a summary of the situation;

  • A girl, between the ages of 11 and 13 (USA middle school) identifies as male
  • The school has agreed to allow her to undress in the boys’ changing room
  • A male PE teacher has refused to be present in the changing room while she is undressed
  • The teacher has been disciplined

Stop for a moment and re-read that.
Assuming motivation is claiming to be capable of mind-reading, so we won’t engage in that here. Instead, we will look at what is being asked of individuals by the actions being undertaken;

The student is demanding the teaching staff and male students accept her claim of being male and ignore any physical evidence to the contrary.

The school has agreed to these demands and has passed the requirement to agree to these demands to the male students and the teaching staff.

The male students haven’t agreed to these demands.

The male PE teacher hasn’t agreed to these demands.

Bill’s Opinion

The problem with the school’s decision to accept the demands and require similar acceptance from others is that the school is not the only party which might incur “cost” from the consequences.

It’s not mind reading to assume the male students might feel somewhat uncomfortable about having a naked girl in their changing room. It’s also not mind reading to assume the male teacher doesn’t want to be subject to a criminal prosecution for an inappropriate association with a minor.

By demanding the students and teaching staff agree to the statement, “I’m now a boy” , the school is requiring others to change their thoughts. In the case of the male PE teacher, the school is demanding he ignores his knowledge of criminal legislation, regardless of whether or not the requirement is contrary to his moral or ethical views.

Obviously this is insanity.

More importantly though, what role are the parents, guardians and other responsible adults playing?

Specifically, what on earth are the parents of the girl thinking by allowing her to be naked in the company of naked boys who are going through puberty?

Where’s the duty of care by the school, the Board of Governors, the district education authorities, etc.?

This is the point where the truth and practical consequences of theoretical virtue signalling is tested. A hashtag on Twitter is one thing, going to jail for watching a minor of the opposite sex get undressed is quite a different thing.

Finally, even if everyone involved genuinely signed up to the changes, has anyone thought about the consequences that in a few years the, now older, girl has a change of mind and decides that she was exploited and shouldn’t have been indulged in her teenage mistakes?

Oh, and for the benefit of the anonymous corrector yesterday; yes, I call this Cultural Marxism. What do you call it?

It’s science, Jim, but not as we know it

At first blush, this seems like yet a further example of the debasement of science in the cause of cultural Marxism; Scientists petition the Trump administration over changes to Title IX rules.

As scientists, we are compelled to write to you, our elected representatives, about the current administration’s proposal to legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth, based on genitalia, and with plans to clarify disputes using “genetic testing”. This proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.

The temptation is to dismiss this as propaganda because it runs counter to the everyday human experience; 99.999% of the interactions you will likely have today will be with people who are clearly male or clearly female.

However, if you like your world view to be informed by objective truth rather than dogma, it can be worth employing an alternative approach when faced with a statement that is counter-intuitive; “steelman” the position. That is, assume they are arguing in good faith and look for the strongest argument and facts in support of their position.

Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Picking up a few statements made, let’s look for the one most likely to be difficult to falsify;

The relationship between sex chromosomes, genitalia, and gender identity is complex, and not fully understood.

That’s fair enough. The word “identity” is most important in that sentence. Without it, most people would disagree, probably even disagreeing with the “not fully understood” part too.

It’s not a very strong argument to use as a basis of how we define gender though. Your identity and how I and the rest of the world perceive it are not necessarily aligned.

There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex.

Let’s assume the authors are arguing in good faith. If so, we would need them to explain what they mean by the inference that gender and sex are different concepts. In the contemporary version of the English language, these nouns are interchangeable.

Without this common understanding of definitions, it’s impossible to agree or disagree with this statement. Therefore it’s not the best argument they have.

Even if such tests existed, it would be unconscionable to use the pretext of science to enact policies that overrule the lived experience of people’s own gender identities.

Again, without knowing what you mean by gender versus sex, this statement has no persuasive merit.

Though scientists are just beginning to understand the biological basis of gender identity, it is clear that many factors, known and unknown, mediate the complex links between identity, genes, and anatomy.

This is a re-worded version of the opening statement. We agree, as long as the word “identity” remains.

In intersex people, their genitalia, as well as their various secondary sexual characteristics, can differ from what clinicians would predict from their sex chromosomes.

Yes, not disputed. Caster Semenya, for example. The causes and symptoms of intersex are not the same as transgenderness or body dismorphia.

It’s a strong argument for intersex people but, as they are only 0.05% of humans, it would be disingenuous to then expand this for other groups.

The proposed policy will force many intersex people to be legally classified in ways that erase their intersex status and identity, as well as lead to more medically unnecessary and risky surgeries at birth.

If true, the legislation is poorly-worded. It’s not apparent how the changes to school funding rules would result in gender surgery at the birth of an intersex person.

This might be a strong argument for intersex people but the case hasn’t been made with enough supporting detail to persuade sceptics.

Millions of Americans identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, or have intersex bodies, and are at increased risk of physical and mental health disorders resulting from discrimination, fear for personal safety, and family and societal rejection.

The bundling of transgender (a condition which seems to be underpinned by mental causes), gender non-conforming (this requires a definition before we can address it) and intersex (a physical condition caused by hormonal variances during gestation), is either erroneous or deliberate.

It’s hard to determine the truth of statements about the causes of mental health disorders when multiple conditions are bundled together as if they were Triple A mortgage-backed securities.

This is not their most persuasive argument, therefore.

Our best available evidence shows that affirmation of gender identity is paramount to the survival, health, and livelihood of transgender and intersex people.

There is definitely significant scientific dispute and debate on this point and what the best available evidence is showing. The work of Debra Soh and Lee Jussim, for example.

Again, not the most persuasive argument.

Bill’s Opinion

The opening statement is inaccurate by omission; the administration is not proposing to “legally define gender as a binary condition determined at birth“, it’s much more specific than that. The missing part of that sentence might be, “for the purposes of the Title IX clause of the United States Education Amendments of 1972“.

It’s an important omission. The proposed changes are specific to funding decisions of schools, and have no wider societal or Constitutional impact. Arguing such is to invoke the slippery slope fallacy.

The strongest arguments made in the scientists’ letter are relating to intersex individuals, the “I” in LGBTQI. If the proposed Title IX changes bundle the handling of this medical condition with that of the wider “TQ” groups of the LGBTQI consortium, the legislation has made the mirror image of the error the scientists have made. That is, making sweeping generalisations about multiple categories of people where great differences are very apparent.

My conclusion is, if we assume both sides are arguing in good faith and with the best interests of all concerned at heart, the letter writers might want to offer solutions to the pragmatic societal problems caused by gender being defined to be whatever a person says it is.

Similarly, the Trump administration legislation drafters might want to think about what approaches should be taken for different categories of condition.

Lastly, to fall back to an Ad Hominen, the entire letter risks being dismissed as complete hogwash because of one signatory, an utterly discredited Malthusian;

Paul R. Ehrlich, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Biology,

Stanford University

A word of advice to letter writers and petition creators in general; there are some signatures it’s just better not to collect.

Grandad, what did you do in the Culture War?

I took the battle back to them, laddie. They don’t like it up ’em.

What follows is meant as “open source” for people to tweak as they see fit. Find out what works for you and let people know the versions that are successful.

Also, it’s not a completely original thought; it was inspired by a line in a TV show I watched recently (Bodyguard on Netflix).

Part of my current working week involves a status discussion with a representative from an adjacent department. The particular representative is a young (just turned 30) female.

Some background colour I’ve learned about this individual; she’s a divorced single mother of two children, she’s vehemently anti-Trump (but, when asked which of his policies were offensive, struggled to name one), and she’s morbidly obese.

During our previous 2 meetings she has offered the opinion that I am a privileged, old, white, heterosexual, male. For reasons of courtesy, I’ve ignored these statements as they were irrelevant to the facts and purpose of our meeting.

It’s tempting to drop down a rabbit hole and try to become amateur psychologists based on those sparse facts, but we won’t.

Instead, here’s a summary of how I shut this annoyance down during our third meeting;

Angry Overweight Single Woman: “Blah blah blah, financial reporting, blah blah blah, programme governance, blah blah blah, you’re a privileged, old, white, heterosexual, man“.

William of Ockham: “Excuse me, but did you just assume my ethnicity and gender? Do you not realise I am mixed race and identify as non-binary?”.

Angry Overweight Single Woman: (silence for a full minute while she stared at me, blinking frequently, then changed the subject and never mentioned it since).

Throughout this interaction I maintained an impassive poker face, giving as few visual clues as possible to indicate what I was saying might not be completely grounded in fact.

I have not subsequently told her it was a joke, untrue, or a social experiment, etc. I have no plans to do so either; my statement will not be reversed.

Amusingly, if I get a call from the HR Director, I could bring my ancestry.com DNA result that shows I’m only 27% ethnically British. The question they would then need to grapple with is, how do you define race? Good luck with that one.

It would also be interesting to learn how they would prove or disprove my claim of identifying as gender non-binary. Is there an objective test we can apply?

Bill’s Opinion

If the cultural Marxism disease has overtaken your employer, this passive aggressive approach, or a variation of it, might be a useful strategy to begin the process of remediation. It’s turning their own weapons of sentimentality for diversity back on them to demonstrate that the opposite outcome is being achieved; you can’t be truly inclusive if you are prepared to exclude and demonise an entire group of individuals based on immutable characteristics such as age, genital configuration, melanin levels and sexual orientation.

If you are prepared to take this step with me, there are several important points that you will need to commit to and practice;

– Poker face. This is a potentially serious step you are about to take with career-damaging implications if you get it wrong. Do not smirk or offer any visual or verbal clues that you are being in anyway insincere.

– Don’t back down. Saying, “Sorry, it was just a joke” is not going to end well for you. I repeat, saying sorry is going to result in very negative outcomes for you. There are enough examples of apologies only serving to embolden the cultural Marxists.

– Believe what you are saying. Everybody on planet Earth is mixed race, especially given there is no scientific definition of race, only generalisations based on bell curves of statistical distribution. As for the gender claim; remember that they believe there are far more than two genders, so you will need to see their definitions of each before you can, in good faith, confirm which one most closely matches the version you identify with this week.

Hopefully this helps you on your journey through the institutional insanity that is modern corporate life. Please do share this advice and report back in the comments how it went for you and any lessons from which we can all learn.

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.

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.