URLs du Jour

2020-08-01

[Amazon Link]

  • Via Hot Air, an interesting take from James Lindsay: No, the Woke Won’t Debate You. Here's Why.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked why it is that the Woke won’t seem to have a debate or discussion about their views, and I’ve been meaning to write something about it for ages, probably a year at this point. Surely you’ll have noticed that they don’t tend to engage in debates or conversation?

    It is not, as many think, a fear of being exposed as fraudulent or illegitimate—or otherwise of losing the debate or looking bad in the challenging conversation—that prevents those who have internalized a significant amount of the Critical Social Justice Theory mindset that prevents these sorts of things from happening. There’s a mountain of Theoretical reasons that they would avoid all such activities, and even if those are mere rationalizations of a more straightforward fear of being exposed as fraudulent or losing, they are shockingly well-developed and consistent rationalizations that deserve proper consideration and full explanation.

    Our Amazon Product du Jour provides one of those "reasons" (which avoid actual reasoning): if you're looking to destroy the structures of oppression, you can't play the oppressor's game of evidence, logic, precision, and clarity.

    Which brings us to…


  • Peter Franklin at the Brit website UnHerd helpfully lists Ten woke ways to shut down debate. For example, number seven is "I'm not here to educate you."

    In its proper context, the phrase “I’m not here to educate you” expresses the idea that members of oppressed groups are not responsible for explaining their oppression — and especially not to their oppressors. Quite right too. While it is the right of individuals to advocate for their community, it is certainly not a duty. In any case, the onus is on the people responsible for an injustice to undo it.

    Ostensibly well-meant, but intrusive, questions from a member of one culture to another also merit the above reply. No one should be expected to serve as an ambassador for a community just because they happen to belong to it.

    The trouble, of course, is that the use of “I’m not here to educate you” has mutated — being used in general argument as a get-out clause (and one that makes the other person look like the fool). If you didn’t want to get into a debate in the first place, then fair enough, but if you did and you’ve been challenged on something you’ve said, then it is your job to stand your claims up or concede the point.

    At (for example) the University Near Here, debate is shut down by having the administration aggressively push its "woke" positions out onto its official channels. You don't have to shut down a debate when you pretend that there are no alternate opinions.


  • Patterico's Pontifications notes one win for sanity against Woke Culure: Trader Joe's will not be rebranding its cutesy-named ethnic food products: Trader Jose's, Trader Ming’s, etc.

    That doesn't mean the war on problematic terms is over. The folks at Remodelista have (of course) dumped "master bedroom" and "master bathroom". And:

    CNN also compiled a list of words and expressions with racist roots. Among them: cakewalk, peanut gallery, blacklist, and grandfathered in. We’re adding these to our banned words list. And a reader pointed out that using the phrase “we discovered the work of so-and-so” is problematic. You won’t hear that sort of colonialist phrasing from us anymore either.

    Are they kidding? Apparently not. The Discovery doctrine was used to justify a Bad Thing: colonialism.

    (Without which we'd all still be on the African savanna, but that's OK.)

    The University Near Here calls its general education requirements The Discovery Program. I suppose that problematic terminology will soon be noticed and (with copious amounts of time, money, and hoopla) be renamed.

    And furthermore:

    This all reminds me of a Twitter thread I saw recently where someone warned advertisers to reconsider their campaigns, because in this woke era, what sounded fine last week might seem tone deaf this week. Scary enough, how standards change from week to week … but then, someone responded to the guy by saying “tone deaf” was “ableist” and she was offended because she is deaf. The woke scold thanked her, and the replies were filled with people adding a new term to the ban list.

    What will be the new name for Venetian Blinds?


  • The Josiah Bartlett Center has a good question: Why does it take 220% longer to become a cosmetologist than a police officer?.

    If you want to become a police officer in New Hampshire, you have to undergo 684 hours of training at the N.H. Police Academy. That’s less than it takes to become a licensed barber, and less than half as long as to become a cosmetologist.

    Most people probably don’t think of police as being subject to occupational licensing, but that’s what the training and certification process amount to. And the level of training required to become a police officer is much less than is required for people entering many other occupations, none of which carry a gun and have the authority to use lethal force.

    That's in New Hampshire. Your state may differ. But I'd wager that you can find equally nonsensical differences no matter where you live. Why, it's almost as if the rules are not the product of uniform and rational design, but merely the product of whatever interest group set them up.


  • And good news from Slashdot: One Mystery of Stonehenge's Origins Has Finally Been Solved.

    For more than four centuries, archaeologists and geologists have sought to determine the geographical origins of the stones used to build Stonehenge thousands of years ago. Pinning down the source of the large blocks known as sarsens that form the bulk of the monument has proved especially elusive.

    Spoiler: from about 25 kilometers north.

    But the real amazement for me is: back in 3000 BC, a farmer who must have been desperately scraping for his mere survival looked around at his neighbors and said: "Hey, you know what we need to do? Hew out a bunch of 20-ton rocks, tote them 25 kilometers south, stand them up in a circle, and…"

    How did he ever persuade people that was a good idea?