URLs du Jour


■ OK, this is more like it. We're done with the Insults for at least one verse. Proverbs 26:17:

Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

That's good advice. Don't do either of those things. Unless you're a blogger. Then don't do the first thing. The dog thing.

■ Because rushing into a quarrel not my own is what I do. For example, looking at the continuing embarrassment for the University Near Here. Let's go to the leftist The Tab for its slant on Swastika graffiti on UNH campus.

In a week that has already seen a bitter scandal sparked by cultural appropriation and students posing in blackface, nine swastikas were daubed on the walls of Stoke Residence Hall.

People who've been following this story will recognize that (1) the description of the events as a "bitter scandal" is inaccurate and overblown; (2) any "sparking" was done by people vociferously objecting to what they characterized as "cultural appropriation"; (3) one student who was claimed to be posting in blackface almost certainly was not; (4) "daubed" is off, too; I'd say "scrawled".

Anyway, there's a picture at the link. The swastikas are drawn backwards from Nazi swastikas, suggesting the vandals are slightly more illiterate than you would expect swastika-scrawlers to be.

The Tab claims the swastikas were "dismissed by the administration as an act of 'bias and vandalism.'" Actually, that's a quote from an e-mail sent out by the Stoke Hall Director, not exactly a UNH spokesperson. Never mind, it fed the outrage.

Faye DiBella, the outgoing president of UNH Hillel, told The Tab: “The Hall Director Kaleigh did send out an email. It was extremely unacceptable what she said. She called it an act of bias and vandalism. To call a hate act a form of bias is ridiculous. It needs to be explained: This is a hate crime.

“I was absolutely outraged but not surprised. We’ve had two incidents of blackface this week. Why swastikas now? The racism on this campus is unbelievable. It makes me really worried and concerned for students who live on campus. I want to reach out to Jewish students on campus and make sure they are OK.”

It should be mentioned (but almost never is) that such incidents are sometimes hoaxes. (“It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus climate.”) Sensible people (but not Faye DiBella) will wait before jumping to conclusions.

■ George F. Will has a column which should be read by anyone nattering about "cultural appropriation". Especially faculty, staff, and students at UNH. Kids, ‘Appropriation’ is how culture works.

The hysteria du jour, on campuses and elsewhere, against “appropriation” illustrates progressivism’s descent into authoritarianism leavened by philistinism. This “preening silliness” — the phrase is from The Federalist’s David Marcus — is by people oblivious to the fact that, as Marcus says, “culture blending is central to the development of, well, everything.”

Marcus's linked article is a couple years old, but continues to be relevant too.

■ At Reason, Sheldon Richman unveils The Base Rhetoric of Mainstream Taxation Talk. Richman takes off from Thomas Szasz's description of "base rhetoric" as that which attempts to disguise the speaker's value judgments "behind an ostensibly scientific and nonvaluational semantic screen."

We can see the base rhetoricians in action whenever they talk about taxation. From the terms of their discussion, you would never know that the money in question actually belongs to particular individuals, who obtained it through voluntary exchange or gift. Rather, the terms suggest that it belongs collectively to society, with the government being its agent of distribution. The only question, then, is: what's the fairest distribution?

■ New Hampshire's own Drew Cline writes at The Weekly Standard on Modern Medicis. That turns out to be … us, not the National Endowment for the Arts.

Eliminating the NEA would not decimate American arts. It would not usher in a new dark age. It simply would increase the private sector's share of nonprofit arts funding from 93.3 percent to 94.5 percent. Arts supporters should stop wasting their time defending the indefensible diversion of federal taxpayer money to the arts and concentrate their energies on more worthy political battles—or perhaps even on creating art themselves.

Kill the NEA, please.

■ Ah California. What would the other 49 states do without you to set a bad example of destructive over-regulation? Today's data point from the Pacific Legal Foundation: California threatens to shut down book signings and therefore small booksellers.

Acting on purported consumer protection concerns, the legislature recently expanded its autograph law (which formerly only applied to sports memorabilia) to include any signed item worth over $5—including books. Under that law, sellers must produce a certificate of authenticity and maintain detailed records of every sale for seven years.

And it just gets more onerous from there. The PLF is suing, but if they lose, will the last small bookstore leaving California please turn out the lights?