The last episodes of Harry and Meghan’s Whingefest aired on Netflix last Thursday and my own favorite Briton, Top Gear lead presenter Jeremy Clarkson responded with some frank personal reaction in his Friday column in the Sun.
Jeremy is what the British would describe as “a bit of a lad” and, sadly, today’s Britannia is even more infested than America with pious left-wing holier-than-thous. In response to Jeremy Clarkson’s remarks, Woke Britannia essentially had a cow.
Something in excess of 20,000 shocked and offended bed wetters wrote in to Britain’s press regulator (no First Amendment in Blighty), demanding Clarkson be fired or beheaded or otherwise suppressed.
His column has been taken down, but apparently what provoked all the brouhaha was his writing anent Duchess Meghan:
“I hate her. Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon [leftist Nationalist Scottish Prime Minister] or Rose West [female serial killer]. I hate her on a cellular level.” And: “At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and thrown lumps of excrement at her.” He also contended that “everyone” his age “thinks the same way.”
British papers have been absolutely filled with denunciations of Clarkson’s politically incorrect remarks by everyone from Rishi Sunak to Nicola Sturgeon to his own daughter.
It’s sad really that, just like America, Britain, once a nation of lions has today wound up ruled by sheep.
The Wall Street Journal marvels, like the rest of us, at how the most elite educational institutions have fallen into the hands of utter nincompoops and morons deranged by contemptible, crack-brained ideology.
Stanford University administrators in May published an index of forbidden words to be eliminated from the school’s websites and computer code, and provided inclusive replacements to help re-educate the benighted.
Call yourself an “American”? Please don’t. Better to say “U.S. citizen,” per the bias hunters, lest you slight the rest of the Americas. “Immigrant” is also out, with “person who has immigrated” as the approved alternative. It’s the iron law of academic writing: Why use one word when four will do?
You can’t “master” your subject at Stanford any longer; in case you hadn’t heard, the school instructs that “historically, masters enslaved people.” And don’t dare design a “blind study,” which “unintentionally perpetuates that disability is somehow abnormal or negative, furthering an ableist culture.” Blind studies are good and useful, but never mind; “masked study” is to be preferred. Follow the science.
“Gangbusters” is banned because the index says it “invokes the notion of police action against ‘gangs’ in a positive light, which may have racial undertones.” Not to beat a dead horse (a phrase that the index says “normalizes violence against animals”), but you used to have to get a graduate degree in the humanities to write something that stupid.
The Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative is a “multi-phase” project of Stanford’s IT leaders. The list took “18 months of collaboration with stakeholder groups” to produce, the university tells us. We can’t imagine what’s next, except that it will surely involve more make-work for more administrators, whose proliferation has driven much of the rise in college tuition and student debt. For 16,937 students, Stanford lists 2,288 faculty and 15,750 administrative staff.
The list was prefaced with (to use another forbidden word) a trigger warning: “This website contains language that is offensive or harmful. Please engage with this website at your own pace.”
Ismael Cruz Córdova will be the first person of color to play an elf, Arondir “a silvan elf,” onscreen in a Tolkien project.
The Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien auctioned the rights to the stories originating in the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings and the winner was Jeff Bezos’s Amazon paying $250 million.
Comes the new Numenorean series that begins streaming September 2nd, long-time readers like myself, I expect, are going to feel that Christopher Tolkien did not get nearly enough, considering what Amazon and their millennial screenwriters and “showrunners” J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay will be doing to J.R.R. Tolkien mythical universe, in particular, repopulating it with characters of their own, and especially with characters whose raison d’être is not even a dramatic goal, but mere politically correct “diversity.”
Vanity Fair spilled the beans on what is coming back in February:
Amazon’s series will also broaden the notion of who shares the world of Middle-earth. One original story line centers on a silvan elf named Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova, who will be the first person of color to play an elf onscreen in a Tolkien project. He is involved in a forbidden relationship with Bronwyn, a human village healer played by Nazanin Boniadi, a British actor of Iranian heritage. Elsewhere, a Brit of Jamaican descent, Sir Lenny Henry, plays a harfoot elder, and Sophia Nomvete has a scene-stealing role as a dwarven princess named Disa—the latter being the first Black woman to play a dwarf in a Lord of the Rings movie, as well as the first female dwarf. “It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like,” says Lindsey Weber, executive producer of the series. “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”
When Amazon released photos of its multicultural cast, even without character names or plot details, the studio endured a reflexive attack from trolls—the anonymous online kind. “Obviously there was going to be push and backlash,” says Tolkien scholar Mariana Rios Maldonado, who is not affiliated with The Rings of Power, “but the question is from whom? Who are these people that feel so threatened or disgusted by the idea that an elf is Black or Latino or Asian?”
Catch the final note of intimidation in the second paragraph of the Vanity Fair summary. Get in line! Dare to object to the intrusion of extraneous and inconsistent characters and complete infidelity to J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagined world and text, and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MAKES YOU! A BIGOT! A RACIST! AN UNPERSON! THE NEXT SUBJECT OF TWO MINUTES HATE!
Well, too damn bad, Señorita Maldonado. I don’t feel “threatened,” but, yes!, I am already disgusted with the prospect of some self-important, brain-washed-at-school, 1980s-born twerps misusing their opportunity of working with the products of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination and brain to intrude their own completely incongruous and abrasively obnoxious political ideology.
It is perfectly obvious to every reader of the LOTR that Tolkien’s fantasies represent an alternative mythical pre-modern European world. Eskimos, Japanese, Cowboys and Indians, astronauts, sexual deviants, and the notion of Affirmative Action are all missing.
Tolkien was born in 1892. His sensibility is fundamentally Edwardian, and his viewpoint is completely Northern-European-centric, more than that: England-and-Scandinavian-centric. Persons of color are represented, as Haradrim pirates, as dark-skinned wild men, and, of course, possibly, one could argue, as Orcs. One will look in vain to find Dutchmen, Germans, Frenchmen, Italians, Spaniards, or Slavs.
There was no depiction whatsoever of female dwarves, and presumably Tolkien had his own reasons for omitting them. There can be no possible legitimate justification for Amazonian twerps putting in what a great author and creative genius left out.
One new character is Isildur’s sister Eärien, played by Ema Horvath. Invented for the series, this bright and ambitious young woman has dreams of being an architect. Horvath describes her as being “on the cusp of womanhood,” adding that “she’s still quite insecure and naïve about the way the world works.” Tolkien wrote that Elendil had two sons: Isildur and Anárion. (At the start of Rings of Power, Anárion is off screen.) When it came to inventing new details like Eärien, McKay and Payne say they and the writers’ room approached the task almost like historians, poring over Tolkien’s work to “excavate” details and common threads they could weave into a larger narrative.
For fans worried about conflicting canon, McKay and Payne point to one of Tolkien’s published letters, where he wrote about wanting “other minds and hands” to create art in his legendarium. “We feel like we’re taking up the gauntlet that he himself put down,” Payne adds. “He gave us what we like to say are the stars in the sky that we have to connect and draw the constellation in.”
The diversity of the cast has also been scrutinized. For the first time, Middle-earth will be populated by multiple actors of color, including those playing dwarves, elves, and more. It’s a decision that’s been key to the show’s DNA from the start, and [Cynthia] Addai-Robinson [who plays Tar-Miriel, the last legitimate ruler of Numenor] says to complain about that diversity would be to go against the very spirit of the source material. “[Tolkien] explores many themes, but one of them is the idea of people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and walks of life all coming together for a common cause,” she says. “For me personally, as a viewer, I would have the expectation that [the show] would reflect the real world, as well as the world as I aspire it to be.”
So much for Legitimacy! If we’re unbound by any obligations of fidelity to the author’s vision and we’re going to go right ahead and “reflect the real world” and have a go at making “the world as [we] aspire it to be,” well, we certainly don’t want to grow old and die. We clearly need to climb aboard the ship with Ar-Pharazon the Golden, break the Ban of the Valor, invade the Undying Lands, and go for Equity and Diversity of Immortality!
Tolkien might have liked the idea of other people writing fan fiction spin-offs set in Middle Earth, but he certainly would have expected his epigones to respect the Middle Earth he created as he defined it, and to confine their creative innovations to new storylines and personages consistent with the world as he invented it. He would have been absolutely infuriated by the intrusion of sanctimonious left-wing egalitarian ideology and identity group politics.
It’s clear that the new Amazon series will be certainly as bad as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which at least was watchable and had some good things in it. But it looks perfectly possible that it’s going to be every bit as bad as Jackson’s The Hobbit movies (which were terrible), or worse.
Amazon may butcher Tolkien’s Numenor as completely as they made a hash of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.
Sophia Nomvete plays dwarven princess named Disa and will be the first Black woman to play a dwarf in a Lord of the Rings movie, as well as the first female dwarf. And she’s missing her beard!
The Verge gleefully reported yesterday on an “open letter” written by SpaceX employees and circulated on the company’s internal chat system, criticizing Elon Musk’s public statements and urging “the company to better address executive leadership behavior as well as sexual harassment complaints.”
An open letter to SpaceX decrying CEO Elon Musk’s recent behavior has sparked open discussion among the company’s employees in an internal chat system. Employees are being encouraged to sign onto the letter’s suggestions, either publicly or anonymously, with a signed version of the letter to be delivered to the desk of SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell.
The letter, reviewed by The Verge, describes how Musk’s actions and the recent allegations of sexual harassment against him are negatively affecting SpaceX’s reputation. The document claims that employees “across the spectra of gender, ethnicity, seniority, and technical roles have collaborated on” writing the letter. It’s not known which SpaceX employees wrote the letter; the employees who posted the letter in the internal chat system have not responded to requests for comment.
“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter states. “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every Tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company. It is critical to make clear to our teams and to our potential talent pool that his messaging does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.”
SpaceX fired several employees involved in a letter that criticized Chief Executive Elon Musk and the way the company applies internal rules, according to an email to staff from SpaceX’s president and people familiar with it.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, said the company conducted an investigation and decided to terminate a number of employees who participated in the effort, according to the email, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Her email didn’t say how many people the company let go, and that number couldn’t immediately be determined.
Noah Karl contends that the Woke cultural shift that has swept through the Community of Fashion in recent years can be traced to the Civil Rights Movement and to the massive leftward shift of Academia.
The Professoriate used to be conventionally Liberal. Today it is conventionally Radical. One key reason for that shift is the dramatic increase of female academics.
I suspect that most of academia’s leftward shift was due to self-reinforcing processes: social homophily (conservatives not wanting to enter a profession where there aren’t many conservatives); political typing (conservatives feeling that an academic career “isn’t for them” in the same way that some women feel that a construction career “isn’t for them”); and discrimination (conservatives being discriminated against in hiring, research and funding).
However, one other possible cause of academia’s leftward shift, and of the rise of woke activism in particular, is the influx of women into that institution. …
[W]hy would the influx of women into academia have contributed to its leftward shift, and to the rise of woke activism in particular? As the psychologist Cory Clark notes, women are consistently less supportive of free speech than men, and consistently more supportive of censorship. Compared to men, they’re more likely to say: that hate speech is violence; that it’s acceptable to shout down a speaker; that controversial scientific findings should be censored; that people need to be more careful about the language they use; and that it should be illegal to say offensive things about minorities.
Clark argues, convincingly in my view, that this stems from women’s greater aversion to harm and conflict. They interpret various forms of speech as harmful to vulnerable groups, and wish to censor them for that reason. Whether these gender differences are cross-cultural universals remains a matter of debate. Women being more averse to harm and conflict would certainly make sense from an evolutionary point of view, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the differences are hard-wired. As with most traits that vary, I suspect there’s both a genetic and an environmental component. Whatever the precise mix, women’s greater aversion to harm and conflict does show up in many WEIRD countries, not least the United States.
Clark isn’t the only scholar to have noticed that women’s aversion to harm and conflict has profound implications for academia. Drawing on the work of psychologist Joyce Benenson, Arnold Kling notes: “Women have a social strategy that works well for protecting their individual health and the health of their children: emphasize safety, covertly undermine the status of unrelated females, and exclude rivals rather than reconcile with them.” This leads him to speculate that adding a lot of women to formerly male domains has made the culture of those domains more consistent with female tendencies. “The older culture valued open debate,” Kling notes. “The newer culture seeks to curtail speech it regards as dangerous.”
We know that, on average, women are less favourable to free speech and more favourable to censorship.
Lego announced Monday the company will work to remove gender stereotypes from its toys following a global study that looked into how creative play is gendered.
The research, commissioned by the Lego Group and carried out by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, found attitudes toward children’s activities and future goals continue to be unequal and confined to gender biases. Read the rest of this entry »
A liberal arts college in Massachusetts has warned its students and faculty against using ‘violent language’ – even banning the phrase ‘trigger warning’ for its association with guns.
Brandeis University in Waltham has created an anti-violence resource called the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center which provides information and advice to students and staff.
It lists words and idioms, including ‘picnic’ and ‘rule of thumb,’ which it claims are ‘violent’ and suggests dreary alternatives such as ‘outdoor eating’ for the former and ‘general rule’ for the latter. …
In addition to its page of ‘violent language’ the college has a whole section dedicated to ‘oppressive language,’ which includes ‘identity-based language,’ ‘language that doesn’t say what we mean,’ ‘culturally appropriative language’ and ‘person-first alternatives’
DEDICATED TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN
LOVING MEMORY OF EDWARD McCULLY, PRESIDENT
OF THE CLASS OF 1949, AND JAMES ELLIOT ’49,
LIKEWISE AN OUTSTANDING ATHLETE AND LEADER.
BECAUSE OF THE GREAT COMMISSION, ED AND
JIM, TOGETHER WITH NATHANAEL SAINT EX ’48,
ROGER YOUDERIAN AND PETER FLEMING WENT
TO THE MISSION FIELD WILLING FOR
“ANYTHING–ANYWHERE REGARDLESS OF COST.”
THEY CHOSE THE JUNGLES OF ECUADOR –
INHABITED BY THE AUCA INDIANS. FOR
GENERATIONS ALL STRANGERS WERE KILLED BY
THESE SAVAGE INDIANS. AFTER MANY DAYS OF
PATIENT PREPARATION AND DEVOUT PRAYER,
THE MISSIONARIES MADE THE FIRST FRIENDLY
CONTACT KNOWN TO HISTORY WITH THE AUCAS.
ON JANUARY 8, 1956, THE FIVE MISSIONARIES WERE
BRUTALLY SLAIN – – MARTYRS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
The 64-year-old plaque commemorated five missionaries slain in Ecuador, including three who were alumni of the DuPage County Christian liberal arts college. School officials are looking to replace the plaque, and a task force will review potential new wording, college President Philip Ryken said in the letter.
“The word ‘savage’ is regarded as pejorative and has been used historically to dehumanize and mistreat Indigenous peoples around the world,” he wrote. “Any descriptions on our campus of people or people groups should reflect the full dignity of human beings made in the image of God.”
Concerns about the wording on the plaque have come from about a dozen students and staff since the start of the school year, college spokesman Joseph Moore said.
Before it was taken down Tuesday, the plaque hung in the foyer of the college’s main chapel, where students traditionally gathered three times a week.
“I think inevitably language changes,” Moore said. “The meaning of language and descriptors can change over the decades, and it’s understandable that eventually we would have to examine whether something still honors people appropriately.”
The missionaries were killed in Ecuador in 1956. The plaque was donated by the college’s class of 1949, which included two of those killed.
College students Caitlyn Kasper and Isabella Wallmow applauded the decision to take down the plaque.
“I feel like it could be worded better, or more sensitively,” Kasper, 22, said.
She and Wallmow, 21, said they hoped the change would indicate the college’s willingness to revise and grapple with other past actions.
“Plaques like that have caused pain to people, and are almost a symbol of white superiority in their very presences and in how they make people of color feel unwelcome at Wheaton,” she said.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A congressional prayer at Capitol Building took over 24 hours to complete as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver concluded his prayer with amen, awomen, and amen variations of all 5,787 other genders.
“Amen, Awomen, Anonbinary, Agenderqueer, Atwo-spirit, Apolygender… this could take a while,” Rep. Cleaver said. “If anyone needs to go out and get some refreshments, feel free.”
After the prayer seemed to be finished, congresspeople tried to get up and leave, but Rep. Cleaver then said he was going to list all the gods he was praying to for clarification. “Yahweh, Allah, Joseph Smith, Brahma, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Thor, Odin, Isaac Asimov, Ra, Zeus, Loki, Isis, Xenu, the Force, the Lords of Kobol, Din, Nayru, Farore…” This went on for a while.
A new congressional rule will only allow Republicans to lead prayer for the sake of time, since they’ll pray to one God and conclude with “Amanlyman.”