The Cumberbatch “Coloured” Conundrum

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Oh, how the mighty fall! Turns out that after years of being lauded as both an actor by the press and a heartthrob by his adoring fangirls, Benedict Cumberbatch finally let slip his fine-shined shoes, revealing the pus-packed warts of prejudice on his feet. I of course refer to his recent Stateside appearance on the Tavis Smiley show, where the Sherlock star gave the audience, and the world, a taste of the the white supremacy burning in his blackened heart, reviving a term of address long since confined to the cobwebs of history:

“I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the US] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change,” Cumberbatch said on PBS talk show Tavis Smiley.

“Something’s gone wrong, we’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace.”

- The Independent, 26th January 2015

What a flagrant display of bare-faced, hate-soaked bigotry on Cumberbatch’s part, harking back to the days of Antebellum slavery and Jim Crow, wanting to see blackfolk restricted to beasts of burden for the whims of the white man….

Oh, wait…that’s not it! Not even close.

Try telling that, however, to the Tavis-viewing Twitterati, many of whom signalled their epic umbrage via their social medium of choice; in their minds, Cumberbatch’s use of the term “coloured” triggered a whole host of associations unconnected with the full context of his words. It didn’t take long for the special interest machine on this side of the pond to pick up his racial faux-pas and run with it. Show Racism the Red Card, the UK’s leading anti-racism charity, appreciated the basic gist of the actor’s argument, yet saw fit to take him to task for his “[in]appropriate” and “outdated” turn of phrase.

As eyeroll-eliciting as their speech-policing proved, it paled in comparison to the fuss kicked up by certain media columnists. In the Independent’s online op-ed section, one Yemisi Adegoke made the rather histrionic claim that “calling black people ‘coloured’ removes part of their humanity”, associating the word’s use with the dark days of white supremacy:

The word “coloured” was used in the 1960s and 70s, as it was considered a polite way to address people of colour compared to alternatives. For some it serves as an uncomfortable reminder of a time when racism was commonplace.

In the US context, the word has even stronger negative connotations. It takes us back to a time of segregation where “coloureds” were allocated separate schools, drinking fountains and entrances under the premise of being “separate but equal.” While the races were separate they certainly weren’t equal. Facilities were of much lower quality for African Americans who were regarded as and treated like second-class citizens.

The word “coloured” is offensive because it removes an element of humanity from people. Ribena is coloured, walls are coloured, people may be of colour but they are not coloured. It also harks back to the racist notion that being white is the default state and everyone else is “other,” an aberration from the norm.

In so far as Adegoke singles out the use of “coloured(s)” as noun rather than adjective, I actually think she’s onto something; unwittingly or otherwise, semi-casual references to “(the) coloureds”, or, in more modern parlance, “(the) blacks”, have a certain alienating effect on my ears, overplaying the difference between the demographic and all others at the expense of the internal diversity amongst its members. I notice this choice of wording being employed by right-on, identitipolitik-endorsing progressives as well as old-fashioned racists, reactionaries, and those simply set in their ways. Surprisingly, one of the best critiques of this linguistic subsumption comes from none other than neoreactionary icon Nick Land; in his Dark Enlightenment magnum opus, he identifies a glaring (and grating) example of term discrepancy in John Derbyshire’s notorious Takimag article, ‘The Talk: Nonblack Version’:

Yet even to a reasonably sympathetic, or scrupulously obnoxious, reading, Derbyshire’s article provides grounds for criticism. For instance, and from the beginning, it is notable that the racial reciprocal of “nonblack Americans” is ‘black Americans’, not “American blacks” (the term Derbyshire selects). This reversal of word order, switching nouns and adjectives, quickly settles into a pattern. Does it matter that Derbyshire requests the extension of civility to any “individual black” (rather than to ‘black individuals’)? It certainly makes a difference. To say that someone is ‘black’ is to say something about them, but to say that someone is ‘a black’ is to say who they are. The effect is subtly, yet distinctly, menacing, and Derbyshire is too well-trained, algebraically, to be excused from noticing it. After all, ‘John Derbyshire is a white’ sounds equally off, as does any analogous formulation, submerging the individual in the genus, to be retrieved as a mere instance, or example.

That said, Cumberbatch’s unwitting foray into speechcrime hardly stoops to this “subtly, yet distinctly, menacing” level; whatever historical associations his adjectival use calls to mind, the context clearly negates any malicious or dubious intent, making the accusation of “removing [black peoples’] humanity” all the more baffling.

I also find the distinction between “coloured person” and “person of colour” to be little more than a semantic squabble; to quote another Independent Voice, that of Matthew Norman: “It all seems a bit People’s Front of Judea/ Judean People’s Front to me”.  As such, I find it disappointing to read Bim Adewunmi (previously given honourable mention here for challenging Dianne Abbot’s racial granfaloonery) defend its significance with an “argument” that amounts to one big, fat genetic fallacy.

Note the difference, please. “Coloured” is not equivalent to “people of colour”.

A few people have piped up to ask what the difference between “coloured” and “people of colour” is. Here’s one Twitter user’s eloquent and succinct explanation:

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Truly, this is not difficult to grasp.

Maybe Adewunmi and Brulee might wanna tell that to the NAACP: clearly, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People failed to get the memo (which might explain their adherence to the adage that the only good “nigger” is a dead “nigger”).

All that aside, doesn’t the automatic equation of “coloured” with “black” signal a certain racial solipsism on the parts of Adegoke, Adewunmi, and the Tavis tweeters? Perhaps Cumberbatch used “coloured” as a catch-all for non-white actors (and actresses) in general, rather than any particular demographic thereof. Assuming the state of play resembles a chequerboard does something of a disservice to those not named for its tones. One could well make the argument that Cumberbatch exercised more racial sensitivity than his critics, not less.

Whichever of the two one might prefer, both “coloured person” and “person of colour” strike me as retardedly redundant terms to describe nonwhite folk, what with every fucker under the sun being some shade of something; with that in mind, it would hardly break my heart to see both terms fall into disuse with the passage of time. In the meantime, I see no need for the type of knee-jerk, context-ignorant speech-policing which only serves to degrade discourse on matters relevant to the people altmodischly addressed. To quote black British actor David Oyelowo: “To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for sound bites as opposed to substance.”

~MRDA~

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Halal & Hypocrisy XII: Vive la Dissonance!

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On the 7th of January, three Islamic gunmen stormed the offices of left-wing satirical mag Charlie Hebdo, killing eleven staff members in the ensuing bullet shower. The magazine had previously made an international name for itself by printing the Mohammed cartoons of 2006, and continuing to satirise Islam on its pages after being firebombed in 2011. Prior to all that, the magazine had secured a decades-old niche as France’s answer to Private Eye.

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The following Sunday, a legion of “leaders” came together in Paris to express their solidarity with those slain. Key figures from fifty of the world’s nations joined a substantial number of Parisians, taking to the streets to declare their fealty to the principle of free speech. Je suis Charlie, nous sommes le monde, and all that.

How I wish I’d been there amongst them – to spit on their fucking faces.

As things stand, I’ll settle for the next-best option: kindling the Inferno.

The public outpouring following the massacre really brought forth many of the issues discussed here under the heading ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’, illuminating the marked gulf between rhetoric and reality when it comes to civil liberties in the West. Deliciously, the narrative of these nation-state notaries standing with the French for freedom fell apart under the sustained squeeze of the press, with some all-too-revealing pics exposing the limits of their solidarity.

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More damningly and beautifully, one Daniel Wickham made the news for his listing of the various ways each of the figurehead’s nations violated the liberties of those in their jurisdictions, effectively making the phenomena of free-speech hypocrisy especially salient in the public consciousness. I even had to take my hat off to Anjem Choudary, opportunistic scoundrel though he may be, for his part in perforating this mendacious establishment narrative.

Following in their stead, and the most Infernal of traditions, here’s a bit more on the ways the Western governments represented at this shitshow fuck up when it comes to the principle of free expression.

As much as those running la République talked up a grand game in the face of abdullah aggression, their record on upholding their lip-serviced liberté, has proven pretty fucking abysmal. As much as Hollande preens about presiding over “a free country”, where folk get to“defend one’s ideas” sans state molestation, his words amount to a load of old couilles; as well as the headwear bans I’ve, erm, covered in previous episodes, the French citizenry find themselves subject to sanction for a variety of speechcrimes. Take movie icon Brigitte Bardot, who repeatedly found herself in the dock and out of pocket for “inciting racial hatred” via a series of impolitic opinions on immigration, particularly of the Muslim variety; most recently, she got hit with a €15,000 fine in 2008 after receiving her fifth conviction for the offence. I guess it says something when even her prosecutors tire of the tributes she pays to the Republic (and self-appointed victim lobbies) for the safeguarding of her civil liberties.

Other celebrity casualties of the Gallic gavel include Brit fashion designer John Galliano, fined €6,000 for unleashing a racist tirade at fellow restaurant diners in 2011; and the controversial comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, whose Hebrew-baiting earns him regular court convictions and performance bans from the Council of State. Not one to be dissuaded from delinquency, Dieudonné now finds himself in court on an “apology for terrorism” charge for signalling Facebook empathy with one of those behind the Paris kosher shop murders following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

In the grand scheme, however, Dieudonné’s but one of many subjected to trumped-up “terror” charges; in predictable fashion, the French state saw fit to slam the sobbing jackboot of suppression down on anyone expressing sympathy with the Muslim murderers. Within a week of the bloodshed, courts across the country had thrown the tome at those “condoning terrorism” a whopping 54 times, making the presence of France’s new Anti-Terror Act very much felt.

Even the publication at the heart of last month’s condolences failed to escape the French state’s schizophrenic approach to free expression. Back in 2006, the then-editor of Charlie Hebdo found himself forced to answer for his choice to publish three of the notorious Mohammed cartoons; brought before the gavel by the mewling of both the Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations, Philippe Val faced a potential €22,500 fine and six-years imprisonment; that the judge saw fit to spare him from such penalties hardly excuses the possibility existing in Hollande’s “free country”. Val would not extend the same grace to ex-employee Maurice Sinet, fired in 2008 after refusing to apologise for an “anti-Semitic” column linking Jewishness to social success. The hapless cartoonist would find himself wrapped up in a court-case clusterfuck over the contentious column.

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Since I’m back on the subject of “anti-Semitism”, the lazy conflation of Holocaust revisionism with Hebrew-hatred also ensures the former’s exclusion from the realm of la liberté d’expression. Introduced in 1990, the piece of special-pleading legalese known as the Gayssot Act makes it a crime to question key aspects of the official Holocaust narrative; yet even before that, prominent revisionist Robert Faurisson regularly lost dinner money to the French courts for going about his scholarly business. The years following 1990 would only see his (mis)fortunes continue, his most recent conviction and extortion taking place in 2006. When not putting the squeeze on Faurisson, l’Etat française validates the special-interest pigpiling of amusingly named revisionist websites, preventing them from being accessed on Gallic grounds.

All that said, singling out France for this free speech fuck-up seems a little unfair, what with the Teutonic territories all too eager to replicate the repression. As much as Merkel may condemn the attack on “freedom of opinion and of the press, (an attack on) a core element of our free and democratic culture”, German legislators seem more than happy to throw in their own jabs. Steeped in war guilt following their defeat in the last global Conflict Without Heroes, Deutschlanders have made a legalistic art form out of overcompensation; as such, no new edition of Hitler’s Mein Kampf has seen print since 1945, thanks to the Bavarian government sitting on the copyright; laws against spreading Nazi ideology plus the machinations of ministers make it unlikely that a new edition will see the light of German skies once the copyright expires later this year  – at least not without extensive state doctoring.

Of course, given all this historical guilt, the expected prohibition on revisionism stands firmer in Germanic countries than it does in France, with those who transgress given more than a fine for challenging the law and the narrative. Ask Germar Rudolf or Ernst Zündel, imprisoned in Germany for their perspectives and publications; or the Swiss-incarcerated Jurgen Graf; or, most infamously, the historian David Irving, thrown into an Austrian jail back in 2006 for his own historical heresies.

With similar prohibitions in Belgium, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Israel, and the Czech Republic — nations all represented in the photo-op fiasco — I suspect similar intrigues take place in those parts.

As regular Inferno readers know, whilst the UK offers a respite from the pervasiveness of criminalised inquiry in mainland Europe, it slides further and further into the shit when it comes to free speech in general. A land where folk get locked up and/or fined for poppy-burning, obnoxious rants on public transport, swearing at police, and internet trolling cannot be said to be governed by those who “stand squarely for free speech”, at least not by anyone possessed of a working brain cell. Little wonder, then, that those words fell from the gob of David “Cammy Boy” Cameron in his condemnation of the Paris attackers. “These people will never be able to take us off those values, ” he said, just weeks after his government outlawed the production of certain flavours of consensual pornography.

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The outrage at the Paris massacres makes for the perfect Trojan horse pretext to further erode what Cameron claims to preserve. No doubt the Home Secretary Theresa May, ever eager to slip her talons into the web, will use this as further justification for the “snooper’s charter” project she spent the last year talking up:

May confirmed her plan to tackle non-violent extremists: “I want to see new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the existing laws relating to terrorism. I want to see new civil powers to target extremists who stay within the law but still spread poisonous hatred. So both policies ‚ banning orders and extremism disruption orders ‚ will be in the next Conservative manifesto,” she said.

A Tory briefing note made clear that the banning orders, which can include denying access to the airwaves and to the net, would be targeted not just at so-called hate preachers but also those who sought to “disrupt the democratic process” and “undermine democracy”.

May said the banning orders were part of a widening of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, saying in the past preventive measures had focused only on the “hard end of the extremism spectrum. So the Home Office will soon, for the first time, assume responsibility for a new counter-extremism strategy that goes beyond terrorism.”

She said the measures would be overseen by the Home Office and would aim to eliminate all forms of extremism‚ including neo-Nazism and Islamist extremism. In particular, it would confront the “culture of bullying and intimidation” found in schools in Birmingham: “We must not sleepwalk into separation, segregation and sectarianism,” she said.

In her speech, May said Muslims in the UK were free to exercise their right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion but must realise that living in the country came with a responsibility to respect British values. She said: “You don’t just get the freedom to live how you choose to live, you have to respect other people’s right to do so too and you have to respect British values and institutions – the rule of law, democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities. These are the values that make our country what it is. These are our values. There is no place for extremism here.”

- The Guardian, Tuesday 30 September 2014

Yeah, Cammy Boy – Mrs May “stand[s] squarely for free speech”, doesn’t she? That excerpt doesn’t read like dissonant dicksplash coughed out by a conflicted, cuntish control freak, at all.

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I could go on and on with this, citing the Netherlands muzzling paedophilia advocates, Israel’s jailing of Palestinian cartoonists, general European curtailment of Islam-bashers, and the life sentencing of a Stateside rapper for “gang conspiracy” album sales (happily overturned – thanks, Obama!), but I think I’ve more than made my point about the pitiful “freedom of expression” offered by lip-servicing Western(ised) governments. As much as folk caught in the grip of vicarious existential dread tremble before “barbarians at the gate”, it strikes me that the worst barbarians have posed as the gatekeepers for far too long.

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In the words of the arresting Ann Sterzinger, “if governments are going to curtail free speech, then who are politicians to weep crocodile tears when independent operators follow their example?”

~MRDA~

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Mirai no MRDA: An Infernal Futurespective

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And so, lushes and reprobates, we arrive in the year 2015 with nary a hoverboard or flying car in sight. I’ve felt kinda cheated ever since this century/millennium began, waiting for the 21st-century space age speculated by many an 80s cartoon and Hollywood movie.

Still, there’s always broadband and blogging to dull the pain of dashed childhood expectations, and I plan to peck out many a provocative palliative over the next month or twelve. Topics up for Infernal attention over the next 364 solar culminations include:

Of course, there’ll also be the usual current-events-triggered tirades, a few more one-two jabs against democratic thought and politics, general immolations of identity politics of all stripes, and PC, and a cudgelling of conservatisms, concealed and candid.  Others may have failed to deliver on the promise of a sci-fi heaven, but I’ll definitely deliver on opening up Hell.

Till the next Infernal episode…

~MRDA~

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Season’s Skeetings

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Well, lushes and reprobates, seeing as this is “the season of goodwill”, I offer you the following best wishes, straight from my Infernal heart:

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Cower Behind the Kids!! Arrested Development as Activism

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She caught my eye just a few weeks ago, this woman, this mother. Clad in a cardy and layers of concern, she stood in front of an audience of millions and spoke her truth. With child in tow, this bluestocking Boudicca told tales of tawdry tabloids torturing her toddlers and the determination of her and her pressure group, Child Eyes UK, to counter the corrosion. Indeed, her militancy had accrued her something of a victory, convincing supermarket chains Tesco and Waitrose to accede to her demands.

Make no mistake, lushes and reprobates—Kathy McGuinness is a mum on a mission!

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So, what exactly does McGuinness wish to achieve thru Child Eyes? A quick perusal of the group’s site helps put together something of a picture; essentially, being rather perturbed by the “commercialisation and sexualisation” of modern childhood, they desire legislation to protect the perceived innocence of the nation’s kids, lest they succumb to “desensitisation”. To that end, they teamed up with the crusaders at No to Page 3 to nag the aforementioned supermarkets into removing provocative publications from the sight of small children, reinforcing my longstanding view that feminism and conservatism make fitting fuckbuddies. Unlike the sobbing sisterhood, however, Child Eyes UK operates on a more egalitarian ethos, citing the great British institution of the women’s weekly as one of its targets.

Despite their maternalist mores, the group empathically claims to oppose censorship: a claim I find hard to swallow, considering their endorsement of Cammy boy’s pornhibition policy, and their favourable estimation of socon icon (and Infernal whipping corpse) Mary Whitehouse.

On the face of it, Child Eyes UK strike me as yet another crew of rent-seeking, meddlesome mums, fighting to crèchify the country as a substitute for personal parenting. However, McGuinness’ appropriation of a child’s eye view makes me question whether its the kids she and her squad wish to protect. Going by my own observations and experiences of childhood, I strongly suspect CEUK impose a selectively edited “innocence” onto the flesh-and-blood kids they claim to champion for the sake of salving their own sensitivities.

In other words, just as a nonce looks at a child and sees a crotch ornament to slip on for size, the Child Eyes crew look at the young ‘uns and see a meat shield to cower behind. Wittingly or otherwise, the youngsters serve as convenient depositories for elder effusions—all that unseemly internal muck needs to spooge out somewhere.

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The birth of my homespun theory occurred last August when I read the story of aggrieved Stateside soccer mum Rebecca Seitz, who raised a big stink over an ad shown on breakfast telly whilst eating with her son. Admittedly, she didn’t go as far as CEUK in her demands and deeds, but I do remember my first response to her being: “Here’s a woman too squeamish to own her squeamishness”. Her son’s purportedly “wide-eyed” response paled in comparison to Seitz’s own media-haranguing outrage on his behalf, what with her pouting and tugging at the skirts of the broadcasters to make everything alright. Her belief in sex intrinsically being “a beautiful exquisite gift for people who are married” proved particularly telling.

Reactions like that make me wonder: How many of the activists pushing this “innocence” narrative do so as a result of unacknowledged maturation issues? Perhaps they campaign to turn the world into Planet Crèche in order to make their surroundings more conducive to their own psychology, rather than that of their kids—arrested development masquerading as activism. With their Procrusteanised concept of childhood, one could be forgiven for thinking them literally born yesterday, emerging from a laboratorial womb in  fully grown form, all the while exhibiting the most obnoxious traits shared by their pint-sized charges.

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Beyond the realm of militant mums, the reaction to a mother assaulted and arrested for swearing around schoolkids struck me as another salient example. A thread on the Mail’s Facefuck page found itself dominated by a chorus of cheers for the trotter who took her into custody, many of the copsuckers applauding him for protecting the “the playground”, that sacred reserve of “the children”, from her predatory, defiling words. Again, their bratty vehemence – not to mention their naivety regarding child discourse on playgrounds – marked them out as the violated children in need of protection; toss in unquestioning reverence for designated authorities and they can’t help but exemplify the psychological nadir of the childhood they hallow. With all that, plus their endorsement of Public Order Act enforcement, those over-weaned herd animals came across to me as more disgusting than the target of their ire could ever hope to be. Of course, those same mewling babies will throw their toys out of the cot over “political correctness gone mad” should the hard hand of the law fall on their behinds.

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Such mentalities being in depressing abundance, it hardly surprises me to see the Child Eyes chancers gain traction; those who know how to make their dysfunction serve a function will find rich pickings among the many, all too many, passively adherent to the same mindset. With or without the cover of children, many a so-called adult in Slave Britannia tugs at the skirt of the nanny state, begging it to save them from public smoking, video nasties, burqas, violent video games, and the burden of making sound parenting choices; and such a supine swad makes an ideal audience for any (also-enthralled) Mother McGuinness figure willing to perform the kiddy cower, taking to the act like babes to the breast.

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Say “aah”, Slave Britannians—time for bitty!

~MRDA~

Posted in Civil Liberties, Culture, Gender Issues, Moral Panic, News, Sex, Slave Britannia, The UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

One Probed Step for Man, One Giant Shriek for Progkind

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Last month proved rather eventful, what with the European Space Agency making the books for being the first to land a spacecraft on a comet’s surface. Many an ESA employee exploded in jubilation over the milestone, assured of their place in history. Naturally, media agencies everywhere were all too eager to capture such an unprecedented event for the archives, so the usual round of interviews with the milestone-makers ensued.

Enter Matt Taylor, former Newham co-denizen and Project Scientist at the helm of the lauded Rosetta mission, who happily gave the press an insider’s view on the momentous docking as it took place. Clad in tattoos and the most garish of garms, he gave the world a guided commentary on the Philae spacecraft as it landed on Comet 67P.

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However, certain parties were less than pleased with Taylor’s presentation. Over at The Verge, one Chris Plante saw fit to write an article with the headline “I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing”, describing the scientist’s choice of shirt as contributing to a culture of “casual misogyny” supposedly pervading the science field; according to this narrative, wearing a shirt depicting glamorous women oppresses would-be female scientists, preventing them from entering and advancing within a milieu they otherwise would have embraced. Plante’s assertion garnered support from various op-ed outlets, as well as an assortment of tweets and blogs from the SJW squad.

However, the thing that pissed me off more than the hectoring onslaught was Taylor’s reaction to it; during a progress report on the mission, days after the appearance, he broke down on camera, apologising to those he offended with his colourful wardrobe. For this viewer, it amounted to a pointless and cringeworthy act of contrition, ill-befitting anyone with a functioning brain; as I saw it, it came off as less of a considerate gesture to the oppressed and more a wail of defeat in the face of those eager to do some oppressing of their own. After all, what better way to prey than to masquerade oneself as prey?

And masquerade they did, this mob of gynocrats and Galahads, playing their violins to perfection. Amongst those affirming the not-so-radical notion that women are feeble were Slate scribe Phil Platt, who signalled his shirt-rending solidarity with the sisterhood by describing Taylor’s tailoring as an example of “casual sexism”; Terry McGlynn, who felt the need to scold the scientist for being “a sexist pigdog”; Mika McKinnon, who wagged her finger across her keyboard at Taylor’s “microaggression”; and the STEM women aghast at his “sartorial sexism”. Of course, online femorrhoid hangout Jezebel chimed in, framing the “kill yourself” retorts against the shirt-shaming brigade as “death threats”.

As if all that wasn’t lamentable enough, blogger Ann Althouse let rip a stinker of a post, declaring that “in the broad span of human culture, fashion is more important than space travel” (whilst hypocritically deflecting all criticism of her ilk as “overshadow[ing] the achievement of the Rosetta team”). Compounding that, she made the argument that by dressing in such provocative clothing Taylor was “asking for it” from the feminist fashion fash.

Which just left me thinking: Didn’t that lot get royally pissed off about being told how to dress just a few years back? So pissed off, in fact, that they stomped across multiple cities over it?

Does feminism require a penchant for rank hypocrisy or just a really short fucking memory?

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Furthermore, for all the condescending cocksplash about the shirt scaring and slighting women, did anyone actually make a point of asking his female ESA colleagues what they thought about it, or the opinion of Taylor’s tailor, the woman who created the “sexist” shirt in the first place?

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In their fervour to protect hypothetical women from shirt rape, the femiternalist contingent disregarded many of those living in the flesh ‘n’ blood world. Just as well for them, as they’d have to grapple with many a challenge to their narrative, including those coming from their own camp. Even in the case of the Third World, the value of feminism stands to question, but at least the issues Ayaan Hirsi Ali grapples with carry higher stakes for women than Shirtgate (or, for that matter, Gamergate); when a woman who endured and opposes genital mutilation calls your crusade “trivial bullshit”, I’d say it’s worth taking some notice. Hell, when Julie fucking Bindel finds you “toxic”,  it may well be time to re-evaluate your life choices!

Critiquing the Whitehouse burning at the breast of every Althouse stands as something of a sport here at the Inferno, and it pleases me to see other, more prominent voices getting in on the game. In his ‘Rosetta Stoning’ piece, Russia Today columnist Igor Ogorodnev likens the sandy slits of SJWs to the Puritans of yore, calling them out for degrading Western discourse with their stifling mores and lust for witch-hunts. Nothing illustrated that Mayflower mentality better than their calls for sartorial strictness in the wake of Shirtstorm. Not content with shaming Taylor for the sin of “sexism”, they started squawking about what constituted “appropriate” and “professional” attire as if they had a hand in his employment. Disregarding that the ESA had no problem with Taylor’s threads ‘n’ tattoos – as well as the existence of employers sharing similar outlooks – they opined at length about the iron laws of that ideal Platonic realm known as “the Workplace”; I had to laugh at the irony of these “professionalism” preachers, shooting for sobriety only to get rat-arsed on reification.

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Or perhaps ressentiment better describes their tipple of choice, what with having to wear constrictively conservative clothing for the cubicle. Perhaps the presence of a person, an environment, unfettered by such strictures gets the propriety-spouting critics hot under the (white) collar, seething for an equality of misery. One can only speculate…

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Whatever the case, all the SJW noise over a piece of fabric succeeded in stealing attention away from the issue of its wearer’s galactic accomplishment (including debate as to whether it warrants celebration as such). It also trivialises the potentially stronger case they could have made for sexism in the sciences in regard to research paper acceptance (which femanist Phil Platt admittedly makes mention of); perhaps those recruiting for the discipline could do with applying a little more of that rigour and empiricism to their selection processes, instead of taking tendencies for absolutes.

All that said, if it really takes a single shirt to keep women out of science, I think the field fares all the better without them.

~MRDA~

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Objets d’Arse: Bums Up for Twerking

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Along with the Mirror’s story of the “Sick paedophile caught with homemade ‘child abuse board game’ under his bed”, a particular slab of news sensationalism gave me a good laugh two weekends ago: the story of porno-monikered Jessica Vanessa, the day-care assistant who reportedly “Quit Her Job To Twerk For A Living And Is Now Making A Six Figure Salary”. Jay-Vee’s gluteal gyrations proved remarkably entertaining, her arse looking like it would moon its way to the moon during her interview clip. Ms Vanessa, however, derived less amusement from the whole thing, declaring the whole “twerk for a living” spin placed on her story “fucking stupid”.

That said, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if a certain stigma animated her protestations, if only in part; after all, the dance form known as “twerking”, with its brazen bawdiness, attracts more than its fair share of detractors. A recent example arose in response to a vid by metal band Mastodon featuring a troupe of buttock-bouncing video vixens, fresh from a hip-hop promo. No sooner had the band released their clip for ‘The Motherload’, the lead single from their new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, than a cacophony of voices in and around the metal world let forth an adversity of reactions. Some (like Yours Truly) found themselves bemused and/or amused by the incongruous mish-mash of rumps and riffs; others, were outraged/dismayed by what they saw as the intrusion of hip-hop/ghetto/”black” culture into “their” music; still others, like long-time metal journo Dom Lawson, saw fit to assume the mantle of social justice warrior, taking the band to task for the “crass misogyny” and “blatant, idiotic and utterly pointless sexism” that supposedly informs their video.

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True to the narrative of Lawson and other “social justice” types, Mastodon drummer-vocalist-lyricist Brann Dailor stepped up to defend the the pneumatic promo, describing it as both a subversion of “esoteric” ‘90s rock and metal vids and an “all-inclusive” shout-out to the band’s home state of Atlanta, the women featured being co-natives. “MRDA,” the white-knight contingent might say, seated comfortably in their righteous indignation…

…but what if the damsels willingly courted the dragon? The words of Jade, one of the jelly-jigglers featured in the clip, seem to suggest so; on none other than SJW sanatorium Tumblr, she made her side of the story heard:

Within minutes of the video dropping, there was a serious backlash. While most people seemed to “get” the band’s shout out to their hometown, Atlanta, others called it racist and sexist. Some people even called us dirty niggers and whores. Funny, the most sexist and racist sentiments came not from filming the actual video, but from a subset of metal fans who thought we simply didn’t belong. If anything, the video shoot was welcoming, the band clever and pleasant, and the girls bonded almost the second the music dropped. Much like the band, we weren’t concerned with thin, knee-jerk reactions to asses and twerking.

One of the reasons this video, for me, is garnering so much attention is that truly the women are not just asses—and there are a lot of fantastic asses in the building—but shown as 3D people, which scares folk. Another is the concern for cultural appropriation. From us and from them. The fear of metal being “tainted”, the fear of the band using a dance form associated with black culture for their own gain. These fears boil down into my one response: we all belong…..The guys are ATL homegrown. As much as metal is in their bones, so is trap music, so is Old Fourth Ward, so is Magic City. They repped Georgia not out of exploitation, but because it resonates with them and is a part of them. This video proves that metal can reach out and can be reached out to without parody, without hierarchy, and it is a good thing.

Ask us if it was racist or sexist. We were the ones right there experiencing it. I’ll tell you from my view: no.

Welp, social justice warriors, pop goes your narrative! Then again, when you insist on projecting your Galahad fantasies onto the world, such dissonance must become something of a constant over time. The unceasing furore over women choosing to twerk in a variety of “misogynist”, “racist”, and “degrading” contexts has been especially prevalent in entertainment media over the past year, ever since Miley Cyrus brought the act to mainstream attention with her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Prog pundits clamoured to complain about the “degradation” and “cultural appropriation” of her piece, not only for her own (derrière-deficient) wobbles, but also for her employment of more melanin(-and-mound)-infused movers ‘n’ shakers; in regard to the latter transgression, both Lily Allen and Taylor Swift would also find themselves in the firing line for employing bountiful black booty to shift singles — it’s like slavery, I tells ya!

From my vantage point, their social justice sloganeering can’t help but be tinged by a certain irony; with their use of slavery analogies to describe this phenomenon, these crusaders casually and effectively whitewash all agency away from those they claim to champion. The prospect that maybe, just maybe, these twerking girls (black and otherwise) actually enjoy bouncing their backsides in front of a camera never seems to occur to them. The sight of the Mastodon mapouka girls laughing and joking at the end of the vid struck me as a nice, humanising touch, one pretty much overlooked by the likes of Lawson. Just as most prozzies aren’t sobbing, trembling sex-slave props, but simply women who make a considered choice not to the majority’s liking, why can’t a similar schematic apply to (Not-So-)Little Miss Booty Bounce?

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The oblivious and/or opportunistic SJW recasting of agency as subjugation parallels a similar case here in the UK involving blackfolk who chose to participate as re-enactors in an arthouse slavery exhibit. A democracy of demagogues chimed in to condemn the “complicit racism”, “arrogance” and “privilege” of its creators and hosts, drowning out not only the directors and producers, but also the black actors who took part; in the words of one Lemn Sissay, “ignoring [them] as if they [were] dumb slaves”.

As in the case of sex workers, prog scolds seem to need a faceless, voiceless mound of brutalised bodies – real or perceived — to stand atop for self-validation.

The whole “cultural appropriation” angle shines a spotlight on another ugly aspect of their worldview; that which is derided as sexist, misogynistic, and repulsive one day gets effectively sanctified as a sacred cultural practice which must not be defiled by perceived outsiders the next. As writer (and Infernophile) Émelyne Museaux points out in regards to the what she terms “the Cyrus Conundrum”:

Miley Cyrus has not-so-recently taken to having voluptuous Black women (who were baselessly labeled as strippers) in her music videos, wearing removable gold plates on her teeth, collaborating with rappers and (most infamously) twerking. Twerking, a dance trend that involves wining, gyrating, and isolating your butt cheeks, has exploded all over the internet, with women of all shapes, sizes and races partaking in it. The educated Black person often feels disgraced upon seeing this, while the Black feminist is torn between what they view as the erotification of Black girls and women, and a woman’s right to own her sexuality. Both groups, however, want to distance themselves as much as possible from twerking….until a White woman does it. And this is where the problem comes in.

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The educated Black person will be the first to defend a Black kid who plays hockey, or listens to rock music. We’ll defend Black women, Queens of the Black culture, from racist attacks that say that all we do is twerk and have babies. But, somehow, twerking, the very thing that so many Black people loathe to see a Black woman performing and being subsequently judged for, is now a part of “our culture” and must be defended the moment a White woman does it. Let me reiterate: You all hated this toy and tried desperately to dispose of it, until another kid came along and wanted to play with it. Now it’s your favourite and you want to throw a damn tantrum.

In other words, thanks to the wonders of “intersectionality”, identity politics, and plain old-fashioned essentialism, black American progressives find themselves acting from a rather lamentable ethos: “It may be trash, but it’s our trash!” Of course, this is but one head of the hydra known as “cultural appropriation” theory, a train of thought whose adherents, in rhetoric and practice, often come across as 21st century prog analogues of George Wallace. Ém, too, picks up on the irony…

As much as Black people as a group bemoan the many negative characteristics and actions that are associated with us, and Black feminists gripe about a woman’s right to express her sexuality, to live and work on her own terms, this CC has exposed so many of you as hypocrites. You sound like the racists who said that Chuck Berry shouldn’t sing rock n’ roll, because he was Black and hijacking American (read: White) culture. You sound like the idiots who tell an eloquent Black guy in skinny jeans (like notable producer Pharell) that he’s “acting White”. All the CC has done is showcase that Black people are willing to set the Civil Rights movement back for the sake of a dance trend, short shorts and gold chains, and that we only want integration when, where, and how it suits us.

Listening to these activists and crusaders, I find myself wondering whether or not to set aside that succulent piece of fried chicken for the sake of “racial integrity”; fortunately, sense soon sets in, leading me to discard the nonsensical notion in favour of my own enjoyment once again. I suspect many on the twerk team feel the same way regarding their activity of choice, the personal not always being political after all.

For some, twerking evokes thoughts of exploitation, degradation, and cultural appropriation; for others, “degeneracy” and the downfall of Western civilisation. I simply see it as another form of art; not “high art”, to be sure, but certainly not without its cheek-bouncing charm: ass-thetic entertainment for both punter and participant.

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To all the griping, grousing busybodies — SJW and reactionary alike — I can only say: butt out!

~MRDA~

Posted in Entertainment, Gender Issues, Moral Panic, News, Racial Issues, Retinal Reprobation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments