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.

Westpac and O’Sullivan’s Law

If their social media profile is any measure of these things, one of the four main Australian banks, Westpac, is firmly in the vanguard of the Australian First Battalion of the Social Justice Warrior armed forces.

Their CEO, Brian Hartzer, is clearly one of the main drivers of this “progressive” attitude, witnessed by the following samples from his Creepbook for Business activity;

And this word salad that seems to be channeling Eric Morecombe’s line, “they’re all the right notes, just not in the right order“;

Some more virtue signalling that is surely guilty of cultural appropriation (or perhaps the drag queen beauty parade was ironically named after Islam’s holiest city?);

More here. No, really ladies, your promotion was entirely merit-based and not simply to hit Brian’s 50% diversity target;

We’re starting to run out of female leaders prepared to be touted as public examples so we’ll recycle a couple here;

And then we see something quite telling, hiding in plain sight, so to speak;

Actively and publicly supporting a political candidate (multiple times too) on the far left of the political spectrum. Well, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Obviously he’s allowed to have a personal political opinion but it seems mildly inappropriate to be expressing this in a work-related context.

However, he’s got form on this. Last year, during the same sex marriage referendum, Hartzer approved an SMS to be sent to all Westpac employees’ mobile phones encouraging to get out and vote “Yes”. Which, as measures of good shareholder value go, wouldn’t be top of the priority list, one imagines.

Similarly, Hartzer is happy to splash shareholders’ cash on rainbow lighting on the facade of the HQ during IDAHOBIT Day and have rainbow lapel pins handed out to his staff, none of whom feel at all intimidated or coerced into wearing them, I’m sure.

In a further example of Hartzer’s Olympic gold medal level of virtue signalling, the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (h/t the Welsh Twinkie) with the staff include the following gems;

  • Time off for transgender transitioning, and
  • Time off for “Sorry Business”, i.e. Aboriginal staff can take leave because many non-Aboriginal Australians are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Bill’s Opinion

O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organisation or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

Westpac is the case study of this.

Let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of banks; they are to provide shareholder value by securely-holding deposits and prudently writing loans in as efficient a way as possible. Anything else is gravy.

How’s Westpac tracking against that mandate?

Here’s an example to consider; the New Payments Platform (aka Osko), a method to quickly transfer money using a short ID code, was widely launched last year in Australia.

How’s Westpac going with implementing it?

Oh. That’s awkward.

Every city or house divided against itself will not stand

A recent survey suggests that London might not be the swinging epicentre of liberal values that it once was.

How strange.

About 15 years ago, I was delighted to witness the work of the hilariously bipolar close-hand magician and foul-mouthed comedian, Jerry Sadowitz, at the tiny Soho Theatre. One of his throwaway lines was the following;

So anyway, I was drinking in a gay bar just round the corner last night. How did I know it was a gay bar? Well, it’s in fucking London, isn’t it?“.

That this joke is/was funny is testament to the national stereotype London has of being a centre for all manner of non-traditional non-conservative values and lifestyles.

Comedy is built on kernels of commonly-held axioms. In the recent past, London was universally thought to be the home of the freaks, the weirdos, the people on the edge of society. It was a place where one could go and be relatively safe from harm and avoid people who were harshly judgemental.

The survey suggests this is a memory now, not reality.

What might have caused this, do we think?

Two obvious explanations come immediately to mind, either;

1. The population of London has changed its opinion, or

2. The population of London has changed, i.e. there’s been a replacement.

There’s an hilarious clue in the survey’s narrative;

Or, in other words, “if we exclude everyone with a religious opinion from the data, the remaining people are just as tolerant as everyone else“.

Quite.

But apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy your evening at the theatre?”.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, when a city’s population has a large increase of a particular demographic with conservative religious views, they bring their opinions with them largely unchanged.

God only knows what I’d be without Zhou/Zhe/They

Picking holes in the belief systems of the religious is a fun but ultimately unsatisfying exercise.

By definition, faith doesn’t require empirical evidence. Therefore anyone with an enquiring mind can use the Socratic method to dismiss claims of the reality of reincarnation, prophets flying to the moon on winged horses or all animal life descending from ancestors saved from a flood on a boat.

We couldn’t let this pass, however; Episcopal Church considers making God gender neutral.

The headline is, in itself, amusing. Presumably God might have an opinion that should be considered by the committee, given that he/she/zhe will have to live with their decision?

I’m sure the church committee wouldn’t have phrased the headline in the same way so we won’t dwell too long on it.

Obviously the motivation behind this investigation is erm, something, something, blah, blah, diversity and inclusion.

One wonders whether there’s a a risk of a guest appearance by our old friend the law of unintended consequences, however?

Why?

Let’s look at the uneasy relationship the Christian faith has had with science, particularly evolutionary biology over the previous 159 years. There has been a cautious dance undertaken by people of faith to accomodate the increasing evidence that all life today is a result of millions of years of evolution and, therefore, the planet and all the beasties crawling on it wasn’t actually created in 6 days a few thousand years ago.

Somehow, otherwise intelligent senior members of the church have managed to negotiate a position whereby God still exists but the parts of the bible that seem to describe particular biological or geological situations that conflict with observed reality are to be taken as symbolism not “gospel truth”.

So, a gender neutral God, what’s the problem?

Firstly, perhaps we should remind ourselves of the evolutionary history and purpose of there being any genders at all. Put simply, having 2 distinct genders enables genes to be more effectively passed on to the next generation as new combinations will find evolutionary advantages that neither parent might have exploited with theirs.

Gender, therefore, is a function of reproduction.

A discussion about the gender of the creator of the universe and all life therein should also seek to answer what purpose the gender (or not) serves?

Does God reproduce sexually? If so, with whom? Mrs. God?

If God doesn’t need to reproduce sexually, then there’s no obvious use for a gender for God. Presumably this is going to be the crucial question the church committee pondering God’s gender has to get to grips with.

A supplemental question might be, “if God has a neutral gender, how might he/she/zhe reproduce?”. Presumably reproduction does occur by God as humans were made in their image (Genesis 1:27).

Bill’s Opinion

It might seem like a smart move to decree that the Christian God is gender neutral, but it risks opening up a much wider set of questions for which the church may struggle to find comforting answers.

Ultimately, the dogma behind most religions (probably all religions but I’ve not investigated every one) require a suspension of the use of logic and empirical evidence. Exposing logical fallacies with religion is therefore the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.

Surfism

Clementine “the other gift that keeps on giving” Ford directs her ire at professional surfing this week.

Obviously she doesn’t feel the need to write about this week’s survey that lists the worst countries to live in if one was female, Saudi Arabia’s recent relaxation of the laws banning female drivers or, I dunno, any other actual tangible, physical, systemic, legal abuse of women anywhere in the world other than western countries.

Nope, the worst thing in the world of wimmin this week was that there is a 100% differential between the prize money for male surfers and female surfers.

It’s a fact, there is.

Using our razor we might investigate the possible reasons behind this.

A material piece of evidence might be found by looking at the viewing figures for various surfing competitions. Helpfully, direct comparisons between the popularity of male vs female competitions can be seen in real time by simply looking at the ASP World Tour YouTube channel.

The contests are helpfully separated on the channel and by looking at the viewing figures below it’s obvious to anybody with a mind open to the possibility that not everything is sexist that the girls are getting a fraction of the eyeballs than the boys.

No, really. It’s about a tenth of the viewing figures for nearly every comparison made.

How might we explain this anomaly? After all, as La Ford points out, they’re surfing the same waves.

Perhaps the majority of viewers are women and they like to ogle at the chiselled and highly-skilled men? Well, no, this study suggests not.

So, if men make up most YouTube viewers and dominate the viewing figures for sport, why aren’t they watching the athletic, toned girl surfers?

This must surely be the mystery of our age.

Bill’s Opinion

The total consistency of a performance delta in Olympic records (and any other objective sporting test you might use) between men and women would suggest that, as with everything else, elite males are more competent at surfing than elite females.

The professional surfing bodies pay their staff accordingly.

Clementine Ford dislikes the reality of this situation and claims it is due to sexism.

Actually it is due to the biological fact that humans are a dimorphic species.

Facts don’t care about Clementine’s feelings.

Let’s keep it low key and not make a fuss, Darling

Second marriages tend to be understated events; both parties are older, wiser, more experienced and often are focussed on making the public commitment to each other in front of a small group of close friends and family. Unless one or both parties were widowed, there’s a recognition that the “to death do us part” element of the commitment isn’t quite as legally-binding as they may have thought during the giddiness of their first attempt at the ceremony.

Obviously, there’s always an exception to prove the rule. Witness; planning a non-binary wedding.

I couldn’t even pick a pronoun. How was I supposed to decide what costume to wear on one of the most important days of my life?’

Yes, you sound a real catch, nice and stable, a great choice for a long term life partner.

“I’m in a body that isn’t saying the right things. It’s not me,” I explained. “I feel like I’m wearing a rubber suit all the time and nobody can see me inside it.”
“I see you,” he said. I knew he did. I felt it.

Is it just me or does anyone else remember this Peter Cook line from the classic film, Bedazzled;

George Spiggott (the Devil incarnate): In the words of Marcel Proust – and this applies to any woman in the world: If you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is, that they’re coming out with, ’til ten minutes past four in the morning… you’re in.

I’d recommend not reading the article and, let’s face it, it’s on the Guardian’s website, so few will but it continues in a very similar LOOK AT ME!!! theme;

When I walk down the aisle this time, in front of every person who knows me, it will be as someone who lives in their body. Not a bride on a cake, but as myself, a person who is too complicated for the simple rituals that are the pattern of our lives.

Let’s have moment’s silence for all those poor brides and grooms who were married as people not living in their body, but brides on cakes who sadly were commensurately-simple for those simple rituals.

No, I’ve no idea what any of that word salad means either.

Further ramblings and some pictures of a woman with a short hair cut can be found here.

Bill’s Opinion

There are few modern ironies greater than the fact that the only member of ZZ Top not to proudly display a beard is called Frank Beard.

However, the lack of self-awareness of people who angst about what their preferred pronoun should be is a close candidate.

The swimsuit issue

Reading or watching the news this week will have enlightened you with the fact that the Miss World competition is dropping the swimsuit element of the pageant and will be focussing instead on the achievements and character of the contestants rather than physical appearance.

….which is not dissimilar to existing competitions in the real world such as university entrance exams, job interviews, and other merit-based selection processes.

“How very progressive”, I don’t hear you say.

Of course, the coverage of the news aligns with whichever agenda the news outlet prefers to push; the NY Times piece linked above, for example, makes great mention of the female majority on the organisation’s board.

Statistics that seem to be lacking, on the other hand, include the viewing figures of the current competition. Perhaps my research is flawed but it would seem that, in the USA, only 172,000 tuned in to the 2016 broadcast, which is probably only a few more people than the extended families and friends of the contestants.

This chimes with the anecdotal experience too; think about it, have you ever had a conversation with a family member, friend or acquaintance about the Miss World competition? If so, was it at a time before or after the original Dukes of Hazzard tv series was still in production?

Bill’s Opinion

News articles helpfully informing us of changes to the Miss World competition format are about as relevant to most people’s lives as a 3 hour documentary on the relative merits of the viscosity of engine oil.

As for the future of Miss World now that the diversity balance has been addressed on the board, time will tell. It would seem that the prime objective of the competition (bringing an acceptable level of soft porn and glamour to mainstream TV viewing) has been somewhat usurped and trumped by the vast range of porn available on the internet.

Whether or not the competition can re-launch itself as a merit-based competition where physical beauty isn’t a factor will be interesting to observe, given that’s how most of the rest of human endeavour is judged anyway.

Of course, now that looks don’t matter, it surely won’t be long before the gender requirements will be challenged and dropped and the various attention-seeking types will enter the competition. A prediction for the archives; by 2025 a transgender person will be lauded for winning Miss World.

“Not diverse enough”

Have a guess what today’s headline is describing. Go on, give it your best shot.

We’ll start you off with a few options;

  • An exclusive golf club with an outdated dress code,
  • A 200 year old London gentlemen’s club,
  • The executive team running a FTSE100 company,
  • The government cabinet of ministers,
  • The shadow government cabinet of ministers,
  • The board of a charity with somewhat “progressive” credentials,
  • The nominees for a prestigious movie awards event,
  • Henry, the mild mannered janitor?

Nope, it’s the awfully-right wing London Pride carnival.

A quick history lesson for the younger readers; London’s “Pride” was originally “Gay Pride”, and started in 1972 on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York. The riots were a response to Police brutality during a raid on a gay bar and are seen as a key pivot point for gay rights.

Language and definitions are useful milestones on the journey here. From the Wiki page on the Stonewall Riots (emphasis added);

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth.

All of those groups in italics were comfortable enough to be grouped as “gay” for the purposes of the subsequent civil rights activism which resulted in discriminatory laws to be repealed. i.e. the LGBTQI movement of today would have just the one one letter, “G”, back then and the “LBTQ and I” folk would have willingly got right behind it.

Bill’s Opinion

What started out as a civil rights movement in the 1970s has been incredibly successful. When the gay rights movement is compared with other civil rights struggles (Blacks in the USA, Catholics in Northern Ireland, for example), it’s clear that the key goals of the movement have been achieved in a remarkably short time period.

When many individuals can agree on a common goal, they naturally self-identify within a group; that’s the “gay” part of gay pride, an individual’s sub-category of gayness is less important whilst the main shared goal is still being pursued.

Perhaps though, when the shared goal has been attained and the consensus can’t agree on a compelling replacement, the group will fracture back down to the individual level. At the lowest level of analysis, we are all ultimately sitting in our own unique subset at the intersection of a myriad of Venn Diagram circles. Finding critical common unaddressed needs, gripes and complaints across very diverse individuals is actually quite rare in most circumstances.

The current trend is for this fracturing of previously large groups into much more tightly-defined smaller groups, hence the continued proliferation of letters each year on the LBGTQI continuum.

This should be actively encouraged by any sane individual who loathes identity politics because the natural end of the road for this trend is that we are all considered a minority; the individual is the world’s smallest minority.