William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

This Week In Doom: Grade Deflation

This is ART, which we know because it is ugly.

This is ART, which we know because it is ugly.

This week’s doom: “higher” education, art, and sex.

Racism’s return

It may be time to rethink the idea of academic freedom. Seems this professor blurted out a series of racist tweets, but the college at which she works can’t give her the boot because of the aforementioned “freedom.” See for yourself:

“Black masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, black masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges,” Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and Caucasian-American studies at Boston University, tweeted in March.

In another tweet from January, she wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in black-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.”

In another, she called black males a “problem population.”…

“Why is black America so reluctant to identify black college males as a problem population?” she asked.

I may have some of the details wrong. You’d better click the original news story to check me.

Uniform diversity

One way to solve endemic academic racism is to enforce diversity on every campus. Or so says academic expert Daryl Smith. HT Brett Stevens.

In her keynote address, higher education diversity expert Daryl G. Smith recommended a path forward for UNC, drawing from her 2009 book Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work…

The most radical idea Smith espoused in her address was that faculty and staff members should be hired and fired on the basis of their understanding of diversity…

She told the audience that, like technological proficiency, competence in issues of diversity “has to be a condition of employment.”

Smith also recommended reeducation camps (yes, really) for the growing-ever-smaller group of recalcitrant professors who insist on teaching only their expertise.

Gag orders

This item proves Smith’s contention. If we work hard enough, we can eliminate all unapproved ideas.

…the politically correct university is a world of land mines, where faculty and students have no idea what innocuous comment might be seen as an offense…

On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise.

Darn tootin’ they do. How else can diversity survive unless everybody thinks the same?

Retroactive reeducation

The most creative ploy to diversify thought was thought up by students at one Washington college, who petitioned to have an alumnus’s degree revoked because, the students claim, this non-diverse fellow does not “believe in climate change” and publicly said so. Embarrassing, right?

“We’re framing it in a more radical way,” [student representative] D’Angelo said. “We’re not just trying to have a conversation with him or hold him accountable. We’re trying to revoke his degree and get people to pay attention.”

This could be the start of something big! Not only could a university threatening to retroactively revoke degrees impose diversity, which is good in and of itself, but it could produce new “revenue streams” (to use the lingo). Once a decade alumni must submit an Affidavit of Conformity, along with a hefty “processing fee”, else their degrees are erased. You heard it here first!

More black racism

Even the presence of black people is giving some students the jitters. Or so says a new report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

…just “walking into or sitting in” a classroom full of black people is an aggression in itself.

“Students of no color reported feeling uncomfortable and unwelcomed just walking into or sitting in the classroom, especially if they were the only person of no color, or one of a few,” stated the report, which designated the experience an aggression.

“People do not necessarily say I do not belong, but I feel as if I do not when I am in a classroom and I am the one White person,” said one student, identified as a Spanish female, who is quoted in the report.

Again, my cut-and-paste function is on the fritz today, so you’d better check the original for precise quotes.

From theory to practice

Academics invented the idea that not only can you be whatever you what to be, but that everybody else must agree to your “choice” or they must be labeled a bigot or something-or-other-phobe.

Transgender army major wins victory in conservative Serbia. “A Serbian human rights body ruled that the army had discriminated against [this man pretending to be a woman] by saying [this man] was a potential stain on its honor.”

We’ve come to the point where it’s necessary to say “It’s Not Hateful To Point Out Bruce Jenner Isn’t A Woman.

No less a formidable source than the “AP Stylebook” declared a few years ago that Associated Press employees are to use “the pronoun preferred by the individuals” in cases where confusion may arise.

My preferred pronoun—and you had better use it or I’ll sic the government on you—“His Exultedness.”

Now there are no such things as “gender reassignments” or “sex change surgeries”. Not only are they physically impossible, but they are a barbaric assault on the English language, an abuse which leads to things like this:

Lopez implied variously that gender as we know it is “a social construct, not a biological one,” and thus malleable, and that there also may be a “biological link to a person’s transgender identity.” These two concepts are flatly irreconcilable, but the point here is not to make sense of anything; the point is to signal your sensitivity to a controversial topic, even though such signaling encourages a mass delusion and puts peoples’ health and well-being at risk.

Filed under toilet training: “A Canadian mom is dragging the Catholic Church before the Alberta Human Rights Commission because the Catholic school district said her son had to use the boy’s bathroom.

The school has even installed a special non-gendered bathroom for this situation, but the mother feels this solution is not good enough for her child; she claims no harm will come to anyone if he is allowed to use the girls’ restroom. She cited a doctor who said the boy has “gender dysphoria.”

This is something to follow because Canada has slipped a little lower down the Slide of Insanity than we have.

Here’s a question nobody was asking, yet somehow it got asked: Polling Finds Growing Acceptance of Gay Marriage—and a Gay President. Perhaps her Hillaryship will discover she is same-sex attracted? Beats claiming to be an Indian, am I right?

Bad art

Last week was good for bad art—which is now most of it. A hideous painting by Picasso, the Iberian Imp, sold for a whopping $179 million bucks (and change). This fascinated the citizenry, of course, because they equate price with value.

Here’s an item on the Scourge of Eyes “Banksy” that is nearly as depressing. “It’s standard dormroom Marxist stoner type stuff aimed at the lowest hanging fruits of social critique. Pretty insipid and rarely if ever at odds even the most milquetoast mainstream progressive thought.” Et cetera.

This one’s not for the squeamish. I hesitate to post it, but I do so to document that the end can not be very far off. “‘Vaginal Knitting’ Is Here To Make Everyone Afraid Of Performance Art Once Again.”

“I’m spending 28 days knitting from wool that I’ve inserted in my vagina,” the Melbourne-based artist explains in the video above. “Everyday I take a new skein of wool that’s been wound so that it will unravel from the centre and I stick it up inside me… and then I pull out the thread and knit.”

The work is officially called “Casting Off My Womb,” but was lovingly dubbed “Vaginal Knitting” by the Australian TV channel SBS2Australia. Taking place in Darwin, Australia, the performance project aims to address taboos surrounding female genitals and a woman’s body in general, similar to the many provocative endeavors spearheaded by Jenkin’s art activism group, Craft Cartel

Jenkins is not the first female artist to test the limits of the public’s uneasiness with the naked female form. Marina Abramovic explored pagan rituals associated with a woman’s body in “Balkan Erotic Epic,” Yoko Ono dared audiences to literally cut off her clothes in “Cut Piece,” and Marni Kotak, well, she gave birth in an art gallery. And that’s just naming a few veterans. More recently, the Brooklyn-based artist Christine Cha challenged woman to “Rub Out” together in support of female masturbation.

For more doom and doom-like matters, see this roundup.

24 Comments

  1. sigh…too many “modest proposals”. Where can we go to escape this (or tell or children or grandchildren to go)?

  2. Why does the language of “bigotry” only run one way? What about the “natural-law deniers” or the “Christian-a-phobes”?

  3. I hung out with “black college males” when I was that age, and have no idea what the hell the problem is here. The guys and I had a blast when we were kids. If anything, as I recall, they usually were the saner and more conservative voices in the room. My wife taught High School in Jersey City back in the day, and she got along just fine. I used to chaperone the dances there, and the kids were great. We always had a laugh and got on just fine. It’s your fear of black people that is the problem. As my friends would say, “You’re trippin’.”

    As for the sex and art stuff, I don’t know why you pay it any attention. It’s nice that the Serbs, a very Spartan sort of folk, are socially liberalizing a little here, I suppose. I don’t get that art at all. It’s boring.

    JMJ

  4. “my cut-and-paste function is on the fritz today”

    On the fritz??!! Can we still say that? Or is it evidence of Germanism?

  5. You hooked one Briggs, now reel him in. 😉

  6. Mitlon Hathaway

    May 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Jersey McJones comments:

    “I hung out with “white college males” when I was that age, and have no idea what the hell the problem is here. The guys and I had a blast when we were kids. . . . It’s your fear of white people that is the problem.”

    I never know whether to take your comments seriously, Mr McJones – to me, your comment comes across as pandering to white people.

    As a reality check, the group of white kids that I hung around with in my youth were, without exception, clueless *ssh*les.

  7. Briggs,

    Toilet gender:

    Women toilet are already gender neutral since all stalls are individual. Letting a boy that look like a girl go into an individual stall of the girl side would hard traumatized anyone.

    What are you actually afraid that could happen? Other than people will stop caring about what other people do.

    Maybe if you could show how it could be harmful to allow him.

  8. I get the feeling, Milton, you’re not the friendliest sorta guy.

    JMJ

  9. I thought I was the only one that thinks Picasso’s work is idiotic! His work is truly awful. Nice post Briggs, bit depressing.

  10. In fear the world may be ending, I find I am actually agreeing with JMJ (except the obligatory jab at conservatives and white folks). This is probably a one-time event, so enjoy while it lasts.

    Sylvain: It is dishonest and psychologically damaging to encourage people to believe in fantasies. I keep wondering if the gender folk would encourage children to refuse to sit in a classroom because they believed there were invisible giant spiders in the room. Both are delusions—which should never be encouraged.

  11. So you never brought Santa Claus to your kid

  12. Semiotic Animal

    May 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Racism, correctly so called, is the imputation of causal power to race which it cannot have. For example, it is not racist to note that black people have lower rates of skin cancer for indeed it is due to the race and color of the their skin. It is racist to suppose that black people murder police officers at a higher rate than any other race in America because they are black.
    The modern meaning of racism is not the imputation of causal powers, but to believe differently than one should according to some arbitrary standard. Thus, it is racist to believe that black people murder police at a higher rate than other races, whether or not this is true, because it conflicts with some arbitrary standard which can be nothing other than a lie.
    When the second meaning overcomes the first, the term loses its credibility and first meaning begins to appear to be acceptable and even good in opposition to the obvious lie that the second is. As such, though your typos are obvious enough my friend and his compatriots are increasing speaking and thinking in such ways and real racism is gaining credibility.

  13. Milton Hathaway

    May 17, 2015 at 2:08 am

    JMJ – Paraphrasing Navin R Johnson, I am *not* unfriendly, I’m a jerk.

    Prof Briggs did something in this post that I’ve never seen before, and I found it so deliciously tasty that I couldn’t resist taking a bite for myself. You just happened to be the one who put yourself on the menu.

  14. Speaking of diversity, the wind in the Lake Woebegone image (at the roundup link) is coming from opposing directions. Both sailboats are on close-hauled windward tacks but in opposite directions. Opposing directions are the antithesis of diversity.

  15. Briggs

    May 17, 2015 at 6:16 am

    All,

    On the religion of progressives: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418476/why-left-will-never-talk-about-its-real-agenda-jonah-goldberg

    Milton,

    I was beginning to worry nobody noticed.

  16. we all noticed, but why belabor the obvious? recall Swift’s “modest proposal”?

  17. Sylvain: No, my parents never told us there was a Santa Claus. I have no kids, but neither brother of mine told their kids there was a Santa Claus. I consider Santa a lie and bad thing for parents to tell their children exists. (You may call me Scrooge—it’s a title I wear proudly.)

  18. Sylvain Allard

    May 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Briggs,

    How exactly can you suggest that progressivism is a monolithic movement?

    There is no unique dogma among progressive. There are as many progressive that don’t believe in the global warming hype, but believe in gay marriage, than you have religious conservative that believe in global warming but not gay marriage. There are no universally recognized leader, like the pope is for the catholics. There is no monolithic movement where all progressive buy into a universal dogma, so there cannot be a secret progressive agenda.

    What is the Holy Trinity for you?

  19. Sylvain: Progressives believe they need the government to do everything for them. That is the defining characteristic. All good things come from the government, much as in religion all good things come from whatever god is worshipped. Lately, they seem to think America needs to do penance for all its evils, but that may not be universal yet.

  20. Sheri,

    I guess then that the caracteristic of conservative is to not be realize what the government is doing for them.

    You have a house. Who guarantee that it is yours. The government through its law and judicial system.

    Where ever you go on earth you will fall under government rule of some sort. Where the government is the weakest the population suffers the most. Where the government is the strongest the population will usually fair better, communism would be a bad example, so to would be free for all capitalism, since capitalist never fear to put rules that will favor them, as was seen in the USA in the late 1800s

    As hard as anyone would like to get rid of it, government will always be there in some form or other.

    I was reading a science and technology book that explained that big government rise out of necessity. 10,000 years ago that necessity was hydrologic works and it was the role if government to coordinate and make sure that all participated to their individual capacity.

  21. Progressive thought is a type of neo-Puritanism. Its obsessions are strictly moral, unconcerned largely with matters factual. It’s also now ironically a reactionary world view, clinging emotively to a very early 20th century world view. It’s largely abandoned all claims over economic theory and seems uninterested in even social studies research. Its embraced relativism, making itself intellectually impotent. The radical agenda is now coming from rather conservative quarters. Those types of libertarian conservative are generating new ideas relating to social policy and responsibility, the relationship between state and citizenry, taxation, and so forth. It doesn’t help that the labeling is now back the front, with certain conservatives being more radical and progressives more interested in maintaining the status quo, even when the status quo is ultimately unsustainable. I suppose such historical cycles are not unusual. In a hundred years from now those who identify as ‘Progressive’ will be progressive once again perhaps.

  22. Sylvain: Actually, it’s a characteristic of conservatives to note what the government is doing TO them.

    You are creating a false dichotomy here: Either BIG government or NO government. There is such a thing as limited government. As noted, some government functions are necessary.

    The difference between progressives and conservatives is progressives view the government as the source of life and justice, conservatives view it as a necessary evil.

    You are not seriously saying progressives are so altruistic they only pass rules that help everyone. Why, then, are there so many progressives that pay no taxes, fly around on private jets and are in the top 1%. The Clintons made $25 million or more in just over a year from speaking fees, while claiming they are not rich and Bill has to work to pay the bills. Maybe a closer look at the RICH progressives would be a good idea. Not any altruism there.

  23. “It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee- house for the voice of the kingdom”
    Jonathan Swift.
    ( The Conduct of the Allies)
    from book of quotations but apropos of many blogs.
    This one not included ,of course!

  24. Your Exuldedness,
    What happened to the paragraph on grade deflation? All I see is carping about everything else in the wastelands of academia.

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