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.

You may be an accessory to murder, m’lud

This makes sense at first glance, but is there a deeper truth being ignored?

An Australian Supreme Court Judge has released a violent Muslim criminal in order for him to emigrate to Lebanon.

Fair enough, eh? A nasty violent man rejects the core principles of western civilisation so requests permission to remove himself and move to a country whose values are more in line with his personal philosophy.

Justice Des Fagan further urged authorities to assist violent career criminal Mohamed Naaman to realise his dream of leaving the country to live in Lebanon as “it would appear to suit all parties”.

Quite right, Judge Des Fagan, let him go and good riddance.

But wait, what’s this?

It was claimed Naaman was preoccupied with Islamic State and once told a Queensland parole officer that he “would go to Syria and become a suicide bomber, then stated he was joking”.

Boom tish! As punchlines go, that’s better than anything in evidence on Saturday Night Live these days.

How did that go down with the esteemed judge?

“He has espoused his adherence to Islam over many years. He has shown himself to be an Islamic bigot, expressing contempt and hatred for anyone who does not accept the Koran, being the overwhelming majority of Australians,” Justice Fagan said.

And there’s this;

Forensic psychiatrist Kerri Eagle said Naaman, a long-term illicit drug user with signs of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, would be highly likely to keep committing violent crimes upon his release from custody.

Oh great. What does the judge think about that?

Justice Fagan agreed, saying: “The only mitigating consideration with respect to this bleak forecast is that the defendant’s past violence has not been of a high level and has not been premeditated.”

Oh, well that’s all right then; he’s not managed to make a bomb yet so he’s mostly harmless. Until that changes. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

The judge seems to need help with basic logic, though;

During the hearing, the court heard Naaman wanted to renounce his Australian citizenship and return to Lebanon, prompting Justice Fagan to ask why he shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

“If somebody wishes to immigrate from Australia … why wouldn’t the state wish to facilitate it if it’s possible?” he said.

Yeah, if he wants to go and we don’t want him here why can’t he be allowed to leave?

There is a reason and fortunately the prosecutor managed to articulate it;

Mr Agius said Australia had obligations to help prevent terrorist acts overseas.

“If he returns to Syria to fight the Syrian government and to kill infidels as he said he wishes to do, under Australian law that would be a serious terrorism offence,” he said.

Yeah, that.

Bill’s Opinion

Whilst no sane citizen of a western democracy would want to share a planet, let alone a country or city, with someone as mad and dangerous as Mohammed Naaman, there is a wider consideration here;

Namely, we are not the fucking recruitment department of Islamic State, shipping future terrorists over to Syria to be brutalised and trained to kill without remorse.

As Sam Harris says, we should judge these people by their words, we should listen when they tell us they want to kill us in the name of Islam and we ought to believe them.

As expensive as it will be for Mohammed to be walking around Brisbane on a curfew with a monitoring ankle bracelet or, better still, bored to tears reading the Koran cover to cover in jail, at least the police know where he is and what he’s doing.

If they wave goodbye to him at the airport, who knows what he’s going to get up to over the next few years? At best, he’ll be blown up by a drone before he’s done anything too heinous. However, other possibilities include furthering the murderous cause of Islamic State, attacking our allies or, worse, our troops or citizens in the region or coming back to a western country but now filled with significant training and even more motivation to do us harm.

Should any of those negative outcomes occur, the families of those hurt or killed would have a solid moral case to make against Judge Des Fagan.

Des Fagan, j’accuse.

Vegan humour failure

tautology (noun)

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

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

Anyway, “vegan humour failure” is clearly tautologous.

Witness;

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s an interesting statement;

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

An “uproar”?

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

Bill’s Opinion

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

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

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

There is another axiom we have been reminded of too;

There are three questions one never needs to ask;

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

2. Do you do CrossFit/BootCamp?

3. Are you vegan?

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

Academic rigour

The researchers at the University of New South Wales have released a study suggesting the marsupial “lion” died out as a result of climate change, not because of competition with humans.

After analysing the chemical structure of fossil teeth, the researchers concluded thylacoleo carnifex was a highly specialised apex predator, hunting primarily in forests and unlikely to be capable of competing in more open geography.

Therefore, they conclude, the climate change that impacted the Australian landscape significantly during the “lion’s” nearly 2 million year reign on the continent was responsible for its extinction, not the humans who just happened to have arrived about 15,000 years before its demise.

We’re not in a position to challenge the chemical analysis of the teeth, this isn’t a scientific blog after all. But there are some significant questions that jump out at us;

1. How big was the sample size used and how geographically diverse were the locations they were discovered?

The newsdesk report doesn’t say and the actual study isn’t available to us yet but I have a memory of a previous report about the “lion” that suggests around 65 individuals have been found to date (if anyone can correct this, please do so below).

2. What’s the time line of the known existence of the “lion” against ice ages and human arrival?

The marsupial was around for about 2 million years, dying out 35 to 40 thousand years ago.

There have been many glacial and interglacial periods during the current ice age (yes, we are currently in an ice age), during which the flora of Australia was significantly impacted.

Humans first arrived around 60 thousand years ago.

Coincidentally, the Australian megafauna mainly died out 15 thousand years after the humans arrived.

Bill’s Opinion

Prima facie, this looks like some solid scientific research followed by blatant propaganda and over-reach.

The analysis of the fossils is probably solid; the animals likely did live and hunt in forests.

Claiming that as the reason for their extinction because the climate started changing 350,000 years ago seems an extremely long bow to draw.

For example, why then did it take 305,000 years of climate change to kill them off, along with all of the other major fauna and, coincidently, this was just 15,000 years after a new apex predator had arrived replete with mechanical hunting advantages and “fire stick” land clearance techniques?

Occam’s Razor works on the principle that the answer that relies on the fewest assumptions is likely to be the correct one.

An assumption that humans arrived and out-competed with the previous apex predator beats the dual assumptions that they co-existed but the animals failed to evolve to gradually-changing conditions over several thousand years.

There’s another point in favour of the “humans killed them off” theory; researchers try to find a “climate change” hook to all their research because that’s where the money flows.

Royally projecting a strawman

37 year old first time soon-to-be mother, Meghan Windsor, has been suffering from first trimester sickness and has been taking things easy on her recent tour to the Antipodes.

This is the fault of duh patriarchy, apparently.

Here’s some evidence;

“People are complaining about the few engagements you missed”.

Go on, name one person who’s complained. You’ve strewn hyperlinks all over your column, it seems strange there isn’t one to any report of these multiple complainants.

“The woman formerly known as Meghan Markle will notice her identity transform”.

Okaaay. As in, “transform into a member of one of the most privileged and wealthy families in the world”? Excuse me if I’m late for the protest march demanding Meghan is released from the evil clutches of duh patriarchy.

Bill’s Opinion

We could spend the remainder of this post fisking Kasey Edwards’ couple of hundred words where she builds strawmen and complains about how unfair biology is but, really, what’s the point?

Instead, let’s just offer some musical commentary on Kasey’s views.

Take it away Jake;

“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.

What does “sorry” even mean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where might this all lead, do we think?

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

Bill’s Opinion

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

The summarised results are shown below;

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

– The Jallianwala Bagh massacre

– The Battle of Stamford Bridge

– The tyranny of the Danelaw

– The Reconquista

– The First World War

– The Second World War

– Child labour in the factories during the Industrial Revolution

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

– Brexit

– James Corden

I’m so, so sorry*.

*not sorry

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

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

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

Regardless, this is of interest;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nah, didn’t think so.

Bill’s Opinion

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

Let’s list the reasons offered by the critics;

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

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

2. It might upset Indonesia.

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

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

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

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

Bravo.