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

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.

“Mental Slavery”

India’s current ruling party, the BJP, is almost the definition of a “broad church”, with moderates such as Prime Minister Modi but also complete loons and extremists such as the Hindu nationalists.

This is the sort of nonsense they tend to get up to when they’ve got half a chance; Shimla to be renamed Shyamala to end “mental slavery”.

This is the latest in a series of renaming activities that have been occurring since Shiv Sena (a really loony Hindu nationalist party, not amateurs at it like the BJP) renamed Bombay to Mumbai in 1995.

Some of these name changes have more historic justification than others.

The etymology for “Madras”, for example, referred to it as “black town” in the local language with “white town” reserved for the Europeans.

When Bombay was founded by the Portuguese, it was a collection of fishing huts. The reference back to some ancient temple to “Mumba Devi” is tenuous at best.

As for Calcutta being renamed Kolkata, I challenge anyone not paying extremely close attention to distinguish between the two pronunciations. That’s an expensive change of spelling.

Bill’s Opinion

71 years after Indian independence, what is meant by “mental slavery” is anyone’s guess. Are they suggesting that a name that most residents of Simla/Shyamala wouldn’t associate with the British still has some dangerous colonial issues? Given that the vast majority of Simla residents were born after the British had already left, this seems quite unlikely.

It’s comforting to note that the Indian government has solved all of the pressing higher priority issues facing the country already to be able to allocate any intellectual or more tangible resources to addressing this problem.

Finally, it’s going to be fun observing the inevitable debate about what to rename the country to.

No, seriously, “India” didn’t exist as a country prior to the East India Company’s foray from mercantilism into military expansion; “the Indies” and “India” were European nouns for swathes of territory far greater than the lands of the Deccan.

Most locals would have associated themselves to their local language, religion, ethnicity, region and ruling maharajah, rather than a supra-national identity.

A Bengali and a Keralan would not have recognised themselves as countrymen prior to the 1800s, as witnessed by the lack of support the southerners offered the easterners during the Mutiny of 1857.

The Indians can use whatever place names they want, of course, but using a colonial history as an excuse for driving a Hindu nationalist identity is an act of convenience not logic.

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?

Go on then, explain how this would work

A ban on gay conversion therapy is the most important thing on the Australian LBGTIQ people’s things to do next list, apparently.

Really?

Some unanswered questions leap to mind about the survey of 2,662 LBGTIQ folks;

  1. Did the interviewees confirm with which of the letters of the LBGTIQ alphabet they identify?
  2. If so, were the survey results adjusted in any way to reflect the ratio of those letters in the general population? The medical phenomenon known as Intersex (the “I”), for example, occurs in about 0.05% of the population whereas male homosexuals make up around 1.9%. Was the intersex person’s opinion weighted to be worth 38 times that of the gay man’s?
  3. Did the survey ask for or offer any suggestions of how such a ban might work?

It’s just that we’re a little sceptical about seeking a unified opinion from such a diverse set of individuals on anything other than matters that impact them universally.

Homosexuality, for example, might have both a genetic and an environmental cause. The reason someone is transgender might also have a genetic and an environmental cause but not necessarily the same ones as the gay man’s. In fact, if we really got into the subject we may find that no two gay men are gay for exactly the same combination of reasons either.

Statistical obfuscation aside, there’s a few outstanding issues with the survey’s conclusion; how would this be written into law and enforced?

Imagine a young man from Adelaide, let’s call him Christopher, a devout Christian with a firm belief in those Christian values. He saved his virginity until he married and is now the proud father of four lovely children.

The problem is, human sexuality is a complex thing and he’s troubled with erotic thoughts about other men. He doesn’t want to be unfaithful to his wife and his religious beliefs strongly inform him that these thoughts are unnatural.

Regardless of whether we believe there’s a moral position to be taken on homosexuality or not, it is his firm desire to overcome these urges.

If he confides in a friend and the friend tells him to focus on his wife, buy her sexy lingerie and increase the romance in their relationship, will this friend now be breaking the new law?

What about if he confides in the family doctor who then refers him to a mental health professional? Are these two doctors acting illegally?

Perhaps even Christopher is in breach of the new anti-gay conversion law by seeking help in the first place? Where is the line drawn?

And the current gay conversion therapists, do they physically force their clients to attend the sessions? Do they use blackmail? Coercion? Surely there are existing laws against that behaviour already?

Bill’s Opinion

This is where Identity Politics leads eventually…… and it should be completely encouraged!

Why? Because the statistical obfuscation required to lump together groups of individuals, survey them for an opinion and then present it back as a unanimously-agreed statement will backfire quickly.

The idea that a man who enjoys having sex with a man, a woman who enjoys having sex with a woman, a man who believes he’s a woman, a woman who believes she’s a man, a person who was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and whatever it is the other letters of LBGTIQ+ stand for all have the same opinions on anything simply doesn’t stand up to any level of real life scrutiny, as anyone who has met people from these letters can confirm.

Don’t believe me? Invite one of each to a café and ask them what their coffee order is.

The survey is guilty of the same statistical error the USA financial industry made with the blending of sub-prime loans with AAA debt and will end in the same mess.

Carry on please!

Long form conversation is the new soundbite

That traditional media is dying a painful and not so slow death is hard to dispute. The body count is rising everywhere one looks, in the last couple of years we’ve seen various mastheads either close down or be reduced to a shadow of their former selves. Examples include the UK’s The Independent (just a website now), the UK’s The Guardian (asking for “charitable” donations at the bottom of every online article), the New York Daily News (half the staff were fired last month) and Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald (bought by a domestic TV station for a fraction of its previous valuation).

Perhaps for a real time illustration of what might be the problem we should have a look at today’s version of the Sydney Morning Herald’s website;

The main story of the day is a feel good piece by Julie Clun about a man who raises money for a cancer charity. Ok, lovely, but it’s not exactly the “news” topic one would expect is it, especially in these febrile days of North Korea, Iran, Brexit, deadly forest fires in Greece, domestic banking scandals, and difficult times for the domestic Federal government, etc.?

Second on the website is our old friend Clementine “the other gift that keeps on giving” Ford, whining on about men not doing enough domestic chores in relationships, especially in the first few years after the first child is born. This might be true and the researchers may well have been justified in spending their grant money on undertaking the study but perhaps the “problem” is multi-dimensional and those men have felt the pressure to work longer hours and harder (and let’s face it, more dangerous) jobs to cover their increased financial responsibilities? Clementine doesn’t seem to be curious about this, and more importantly, the sub-editor didn’t wonder whether her entire article wasn’t just some massive exercise in personal projection.

Third on the website is an astoundingly naive article about a man diagnosed with mental health issues (which the article admits includes the risk of self harm or even suicide) who found it difficult to buy travel insurance. Not “couldn’t buy travel insurance“, but he had to ring around a bit and pay more when he found a company that would cover him. News flash for Rachel Clun, THAT’S HOW INSURANCE WORKS; they asses the risk that you will make a claim and price the policy accordingly.

Next, article number four is probably the best example of “reporting of news” as we’ll get today; Deborah Snow and Nick O’Malley wrote about a breaking political scandal.

Fifth on the list is the story of an airline employee who got so drunk on a layover between flights that he had to spend a night in hospital at the airline’s expense and was unable to perform his scheduled duties on the return flight. The tone of Anna Perry’s piece on this presumably open and shut case of employee dismissal is that the airline is being somewhat harsh by firing him. Anna doesn’t find the space to ponder whether we would like to get on flights staffed by half-drunk staff or pay higher prices for tickets that include the $20,000 hospital bill for their big nights out in the Big Apple.

The sixth article is a fun look at some drug smugglers who were involved in a boat chase before being caught dumping 600kg of cocaine in the sea. Some actual reporting there by Tracey Ferrier, well done.

The last article is a formulaic hand-wringing climate change article by the SMH’s resident “weather is climate” writer, Peter Hannam, with great use of our old friend “could”, as in “if it doesn’t rain soon, we could have to finally switch on the desalination plant we built ages ago and that has cost half a million dollars a day to sit idle ever since“.

If you are a current or former employee of the media company formerly known as Fairfax (publisher of the SMH) here’s a direct message to you; Aristotle said, “the life unexamined is not worth living“. Perhaps you should have a good look at yourself and wonder why people didn’t want to pay money for your work.

It pains me to mention this but there is also a glaring statistic to be found looking at those 7 top articles; of the 8 writers, 6 are women.

I’m not suggesting that this is the reason the newspaper is making its final circle around the toilet bowl, I’m sure women can report on news and write just as articulately as men, but it might be a symptom not a cause of the greater problem; one struggles to believe that Clementine Ford, for example, is the main bread-winner in her household. Perhaps the job of opinion-writer on gender politics (or however it is she would describe her idiom) doesn’t command a particularly stellar salary because, well, people don’t want to read the bloody tosh she writes? Perhaps that’s the case with most of the remaining jobs at the Herald and many of the employees are bringing in the 2nd income in their house, supplementing a primary wage-earner?

The business model of companies such as the Sydney Morning Herald is broken and broken beyond repair. We won’t pay for their output any longer.

H. L. Mencken may (or may not, it’s hard to confirm) have said, “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people“.

I like much of Mencken’s work but I hope he didn’t say that because I challenge its accuracy.

Why?

Podcasts.

It turns out that this relatively new method of sharing information is hugely popular. The podcasts insights website suggests that half of all US households listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. Comedy being the most popular category but closely followed by education and news.

Anyone who has listened to a podcast will have realised that it differs from the traditional media of newspapers, TV and radio in one significant factor; they are LONG.

How long? The Joe Rogan Experience is in the top 5 of downloaded podcasts and he rarely releases an episode shorter than 3 hours. His average listener numbers per episode? 3 million.

Dan Carlin regularly drops 2 to 3 hour conversations about history that get higher listener numbers than CNN gets viewers. Let me repeat that; Conversations about history.

People such as Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, Sam Harris, etc. are having lengthy, detailed and nuanced discussions about, well, all sorts of subjects that wouldn’t get more than 600 words in the pages of the Wall Street Journal or the Sydney Morning Herald. In this format, highly-nuanced points can be made, clarified, challenged and refined in a way we’ve never been able to consume previously. This has also resulted in a move away from the problem with formats such as the CNN panel discussion where each participant is simply waiting to shout a pithy one-liner (or even a one-worder) over their “opponents” rather than listening and responding intelligently.

Now look at our soon to be unemployed SMH journalists; imagine if Clementine Ford was asked to produce a coherent discussion about her apparent area of expertise for three hours a week, how many people would choose to listen to it, do we think? How articulate would it be, how well-thought through and defendable would her arguments be?

Quite.

The lesson from podcasts is that huge numbers of people are crying out for long form discussions that take their knowledge of a subject, any subject, forward and don’t just leave them with the executive summary of the revision notes.

Of course, it hasn’t escaped me that you are reading this rather than listening to it but that’s mainly a function of the fact that I don’t have expertise in any subject that covers 3 hours of conversation and that I have the perfect voice for the written, not spoken, word.

Mr. Chesterton’s Fence

This popped up on my Creepbook for Business timeline today;

Firstly, if anyone can explain in the comments what a “Gender Economist” is and what tangible benefit they bring to the species, I’ll be very grateful.

I’m more curious to examine Mrs/Miss/Ms Moore’s idea in more detail, however.

G. K. Chesterton famously described an imaginary fence in the middle of a field and suggested that we shouldn’t allow someone to take it down unless they could describe precisely why it was originally built. His point being that there was presumably a very good reason it was there in the first place and, although that reason may not still be valid, we should not remove it until we’ve understood the consequences.

What then, might we be giving up if we were to remove all honorifics when addressing each other? Why have honorifics been in use for all these years of human history?

Here’s a few reasons I can think of immediately;

1. A sign of respect and deference when addressing someone.

2. To add further information to a person’s name, such as gender and, in the case of females, marital status (since the 1960s, this additional item of information can be opted out of by the request to use “Ms”).

3. To assist in efficiently providing context and clarification particularly in situations when there are two people with similar names, Joe Smith and Jo Smith, for example.

4. Professional information and status, such as Doctor, Reverend, Professor, Captain, Darth, etc.

5. To provide additional information about the age of the person, particularly for males (Master), but more ambiguously for females (Miss).

There’s probably other reasons but five seems a good enough number to justify not removing them without fully planning for the consequences.

Bill’s Opinion

Susanne Moore might want to consider legally changing her name as, simply by looking at her first name, we can tell she’s female regardless of whether or not it is prefaced with an honorific.

However, it’s still not clear to me why it is a problem that people receive additional information with a person’s name.

Noah more racism

Trevor Noah is a South African comedian currently earning big bucks in the USA as the darling of the left-leaning media (but I repeat myself).

Not being much of a TV viewer, especially not of programmes filled with virtue signalling, my only previous exposure to Trevor’s work was when he appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix show, “Comedians in cars getting coffee”, which, incidentally, would be more grammatically-pleasing if it were renamed “buying” or “drinking” coffee.

Actually, the shows title is often misleading in other ways; Sarah Jessica Parker, for example, is a mediocre actress who may have also once or twice said something funny but she completely failed to repeat the experience on camera throughout the entirety of her episode.

But we digress.

On Noah’s episode, he seemed to make great store by referencing his experiences living under the oppressive Apartheid system.

For the record, Noah was born in 1984. Apartheid was overturned and democratic majority rule was implemented in 1994.

Perhaps Noah has vivid pre-pubescent memories of institutional racism and segregation or perhaps he is playing the race card to inveigle himself with a sympathetic but naive American audience.

Anyway, it turns out that even people with melanin in their skin can still be racist. Footage of Noah has surfaced of him saying mean things about Australian Aborignal women.

Wait, what?

Bill’s Opinion

This must be very confusing for people, how can a dark-skinned person be racist?

Using our patented razor of logic, we can easily clear this up;

People familiar with the ethnic demographics of South Africa will realise that Trevor Noah is what is/was referred to there as “Coloured”, that is, mixed race.

Somewhere in his ancestry Trevor has a European ancestor, presumably a horrid oppressive rapist white person (but I repeat myself).

Clearly it’s these genes that are responsible for Trevor’s vile comments that Australian Aboriginal women are not attractive and not the fact that people of all ethnic backgrounds can be racist dickheads.