I have an article in today’s Comment Central called ‘Social media and the place(wo)men’. You can read it here.
I don’t generally like to say that all millenials are snowflakes, because (a) I know some that are not, and (b) it doesn’t help in getting young people on your side to tar all of them with the same brush.
So when the Head of Gresham’s School attacked millenials for being snowflakes, I was somewhat sympathetic to this reply:
Rebecca Lawrence, who attended Gresham’s between 2007 and 2011, before Mr Robb was head teacher, hit back in an article on the blogging site Medium.
She said: ‘Negative stereotypes of millennials are two a penny and you don’t have to look far to find the source.
It’s disheartening for anyone to hear, whether it’s their head teacher or one they’re linked with.
I feel like he’s in a Gresham’s bubble, maybe children at his school are privileged and so are more entitled but he shouldn’t generalise our generation from a few’.
Ms Lawrence, 23, added: ‘It was quite personal to me, as growing up I had a lot of jobs in restaurants and cafes to finance unpaid internships.’
former students were offended by his generalisations, with one penning in reply: ‘These assertions left me feeling uncomfortable.’
Phil Right said ‘Every generation thinks the next one is ‘spoilt, molly-coddled and entitled’.
The generation before the baby-boomers thought that of the baby boomers. And who would deny that they were right about them?
This is worrying:
Cambridge University is to strip a paedophile of his academic qualifications after he was jailed for 32-years for conducting a campaign of appalling web based abuse against a string of vulnerable victims.
Dr Matthew Falder, 29, who obtained a masters degree and PhD from Cambridge, admitted blackmailing scores of men, women and children, into carrying out humiliating and degrading acts, which left three so traumatised they attempted to take their own lives.
Lock him up and throw away the key. Cut off his head and stick it on a spike near the Tower of London. Draw and quarter him. They’re all fine with me. But you can’t take away his degree, that’s re-writing history. It’s like pretending that Hitler wasn’t an artist.
And how is this a deterrence? Anyone depraved and sick enough to do what he did is hardly going to be bothered at the thought that they might lose their degree in media studies as well as going to jail for decades.
This is, I suspect, a disguised political move. Who’s going to complain about someone like this having their degree revoked? No-one much (I hardly count). But once you allow the principle, then it’s going to gradually get extended, until eventually Universities will be able to revoke your degree for expressing the wrong political opinion. Cambridge should be stopped from doing this.
I’ve put up a free sample chapter of The Biscuit Factory Vol. I here. It will make you so happy you will dance like you are possessed by Weird Al Yankovic (although he’s still alive, so maybe it’s just you). It will make you so sad that you will weep buckets of tears, enough to fill your washing machine to clean the clothes that you soil when you read the disgusting part. And it will transport you into the heavens, so much so that you might see a little cartoon ghost trying to escape out of your body. (Pull the little fellow back in, he’s not supposed to get out. And if he looks like Donald Duck rather than you, see a doctor.)
Another basic income proposal is making the media rounds. This one is a bit different, it involves giving people under 55 £5000 a year for two years at the time of their choosing, over the course of a decade.
The RSA suggested that the money would benefit those left out of work by the increasing automation of jobs through the 2020s
I would have thought that people over 55 are just at risk of ending up on the scrapheap because of automation as young people.
While the scheme would cost around £14.5bn per year, the RSA said, the government would make savings by axing other state benefits such as Child Benefit, Tax Credits and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
So in other words, this isn’t going to happen. Not in a million years.
One of the things that attracts even sensible libertarians like Tim Worstall to the Basic Income Scheme is that you can supposedly just sweep away all the bureaucracy involved with the welfare state and give all the money that goes on that directly to people instead. No need to decide who should get paid the dole and who shouldn’t, just give the money to everyone. They’ll be enough to go around if you axe all the bureaucrats.
If that were true then it might be a good idea (although I have various other problems with it, which I won’t go into here). But, meanwhile, reality. Axing all the welfare state bureaucracy? Is that really going to happen? To answer that question, do this sum. Multiply 32 by 1024, add 10000, square it, then multiply by a million, then cube it. Take the number you’ve ended up with, and write ‘No, of course that won’t happen’ that many times on a very large blackboard. There’s your answer. There is no way on God’s Earth that any government can just make this happen.
And even if they somehow magically did, within a few years the bureaucracy will have come back, because the BBC and The Guardian would continually run all sorts of stories about how Something Must Be Done about the various issues that will arise, and before long the whole apparatus will have re-established itself, and now it will cost twice as much (or three times as much, because it will inevitably be even more expensive than before, plus you’ll have to start building up structures from scratch again).
As for this particular model, they say:
Payments would not be means tested, but applicants would have to demonstrate how they intended to use the money. “The payment could be administered through a range of accredited organisations, which could be local authorities, schools, colleges, advisory services, accredited employers and trade unions,” the report adds.
This is ghastly. You only get the money if you get stamp of approval from ‘progressive’ institutions. Even ‘accredited employers’ will have to be progressive, with the right equality policies, etc. So you’ll have to be doing something that the progs approve of to get your hands on any dosh. Writing an eco-novel, fine. Writing a novel like mine, forget it. So basically this is just another way that the progs can get their hands on more money which they control.
The King set the Prince an impossible task. When the Prince unexpectantly achieved the task, the King was angry, and stamped his feet, and said the Prince had somehow cheated. Then he set the Prince another impossible task.
That’s how I read WHO latest tactics, as set out on Dick Puddlecote’s blog.
The other day I blogged about the garbage work I used to see in Sociology departments amongst the grad students. ‘High School Social Science Projects’, I called them.
Via Christopher Snowdon, here’s a modern equivalent from some ‘health psychologists’ that’s been reported breathlessly in The Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman, and on Sky News, with a front page on The Metro (although I can’t find the story on the Meto website anymore).
Snowdon has demolished the paper, as he has done with plenty of previous garbage science papers, but still they come, and still they make the news, so I thought I’d add my own 2 cents.
Is this even a scientific paper at all? Let’s look at the ‘Aims’ first, in the authors’ own words:
To describe the marketing messages stated (in text) or depicted (in image) by retailers and producers for low/er strength wine and beer products sold online by the four main supermarkets in the UK during February–March 2016, and to compare these messages with those used for comparable regular strength products.
So their aim, the aim of a supposedly scientific paper, is to look at some supermarket booze ads, describe them, and compare them to other supermarket booze ads. The only thing lacking is the exercise book in which they can paste the ads they’ve cut out.
But wait – this next bit, ‘sample identification’, sounds scientific:
Searches were conducted of the websites of the four main UK retailers (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons) between February and March 2016 to identify webpages marketing low/er strength wines and beers. For each webpage marketing low/er strength alcohol products the webpage of a comparable regular strength alcohol product was identified on the same website. Regular strength alcohol products which are as similar as possible to the identified low/er strength alcohol products were selected for analysis
So, no. ‘Sample identification’ just means that they were able to use their finely-trained skills to locate some booze ads on supermarket websites.
Finally, here’s some science:
A series of Chi squared tests were performed to compare differences in marketing messages of low/er vs. regular strength wines and beers. For all analyses, we considered a 5% Type I error rate at the level of the superordinate theme and type of drink (global), with a Holm-Šídák multiplicity correction which takes into account the dependence between the subordinate themes contained within a superordinate theme per drink
Yes, they carried out some entirely pointless statistical analyses, and tried to make it sound all technical. All to get the result that ads for lower-alcohol booze tended to emphasise messages about health, alcohol content and occasions over taste. Seeing as no-one has ever seen an ad for low-alcohol booze that talks about taste, this is hardly a surprise. (Although you can be sure that had the alcohol industry done this, then the same authors would have been screaming about the alcohol industry trying to get everyone, including kids, drinking more because low-alcohol booze tastes better.)
The authors then say:
Low/er compared to regular strength wines were significantly more likely to be marketed as suitable for consumption on any occasion/everyday [e.g., ‘Perfect option for every taste and occasion’] [X 2 (1, n = 172) = 7.75, p = .005]
However, no evidence is provided that any ad said anything about drinking every day. ‘Every occasion’ does not mean ‘every day.’ It doesn’t mean every lunchtime, and every dinner time. It means every time there’s a social gathering, such as Friday night drinks. (Of course, you could take it to mean ‘every possible time you could drink’, but that’s your business. An ad can’t stop you doing that.)
Then we come to the money quote, the one that the newspapers got excited about:
Presenting low/er strength alcohol products as suitable for consumption on a wider range of occasions than regular strength products suggests they may be being marketed to replace soft drinks rather than alcohol products of regular strength.
That’s it. That’s all there is. There is no actual result here. No evidence at all. It all rests on a ‘suggests’. All it’s saying is ‘It kind of looks like the ads say you can drink low-alcohol drinks on occasions where you wouldn’t drink a full-strength one, so maybe these companies are trying to make people drink this stuff instead of a Coke’.
Seriously, that’s all there is to this paper. A dubious Twitter-level opinion, dressed up with some scientific verbiage to make it look credible, but which does nothing to support the claim being made. (Not that I would give a shit whether alcohol companies were doing this anyway. I’m an adult, I can make my own decisions.) This is a Sociology seminar talking-point, not a scientific result.
They also say:
Furthermore, the marketing messages suggesting extended occasions for low/er strength alcohol consumption may be additional to regular strength alcohol consumption
Note again that this all rests on a ‘suggesting.’ I can make suggestions all day, that doesn’t mean they should be published in supposed scientific journals.
while maintaining or extending recognition of the main brand in question.
Do they expect the brands not to do this in their advertising?
Importantly, although the development and sale of low/er strength alcohol alternatives has been portrayed by the alcohol industry as a way of removing units from the market (thereby reducing alcohol consumption in the population), none of the marketing messages captured on retailers’ and producers’ websites marketing low/er strength alcohol wines and beers mentioned drinking less
Why would they talk about drinking less when they’re selling lower-alcohol drinks? The point is the drinks have less alcohol, so you can drink the same amount but still consume less alcohol.
And it’s not like people simply do what ads tell them. We know that they don’t necessarily do that. The government puts “Just say No to drugs” ads everywhere, but not everyone listens, do they? And anyway, why should the producers of a legal commercial product be forced to make ads saying ‘Buy less of our products’?
or reducing alcohol harms
If you saw an ad that said ‘this lower-alcohol beer will damage your liver less than full-strength beer will’, is that any more likely to make you buy it? Psychologists are, after all, always telling us that negative framing doesn’t work as well as positive framing.
Besides, people are already aware of the harms associated with alcohol. It’s not like an ad that went on about it would be giving us new information. We already consider the harm that alcohol can cause when we weigh up when, what and how much to drink. That’s why I don’t drink every lunchtime and every night.
Low/er strength wines and beers appear to be marketed not as substitutes for higher strength products
No evidence has been shown to support this claim.
but as ones that can be consumed on additional occasions
Again, there’s no evidence for this. The authors talk about low alcohol beer being advertised as perfect for having at picnics, barbeques, beaches, sports events, but they’re assuming that drinkers wouldn’t normally drink at such events, when of course they do. There’s no suggestion that you should have these drinks instead of a soft drink. (Of course some people may be tempted to have a low-alcohol drink when perhaps they would have had a soft drink instead of alcohol, but that’s their free choice. Advertisers can’t stop people doing that.)
with an added implication of healthiness…
But lower alcohol drinks are healthy, compared to drinking regular strength alcohol. That’s the context.
Overall, all we have is another High School Social Science Project dressed up as real science, which has fooled newspapers into taking it seriously/given lazy editors some free copy.
In my early days as a University lecturer — which wasn’t that long ago — I sometimes found myself reluctantly involved in ‘multidisciplinary’ work. In the case of most other discplines this was fine. But there were a few disciplines, namely the ones that had a rep for being havens of bullshit, that turned out to be full of — surprise suprise — bullshit.
Probably the worst was Sociology. (You’re shocked, I know. You never saw that coming.) There was one practice that was popular at the time amongst Sociology PhD students, at least judging by some of the presentations I was forced to attend. This I called the High School Social Science Project. The student would hold up an exercise book, into which they had pasted sections they had cut out of magazines and newspapers. Headlines, pictures, stories, snippets. The sort of thing you’d sometimes have to do in high school, in Social Science class. (Actually, I’m not sure I ever did anything like this in high school. But some kids definitely did.)
Then the student would provide us with their left-wing opinion on whatever the topic was, these opinions being a simplified — although only slightly simplified — version of the sort of theory that was popular amongst the Sociology lecturers. The material in the exercise book was sort of supposed to be evidence for this interpretation, although of course it was nothing of the sort. Or perhaps it was just supposed to be an illustration of the theory in action. Or perhaps just window-dressing. You never knew, because concepts like evidence were never mentioned.
The Sociology lecturers all acted as though this was perfectly normal, while we multi-displinary academics from non-Sociology departments (young ‘uns the lot of us) sat there with our jaws hanging open, unable to believe what they were seeing. Of course, the slightest attempt at criticism of what was being said, or the method, would cause the sociologists to circle the wagon and get aggressive, and basically try to make you feel like a bad person and a fascist for talking about evidence and logical analysis and the testing of theories. And they certainly didn’t like even the suggestion that perhaps pasting stuff you’d cut out of magazines into an exercise book wasn’t serious scholarship. This was Intertextual Media Analysis, or some such grand shit.
Whenever I would tell people about this, they always seemed like they were reluctant to believe me. I think they thought I was exaggerating for comic effect. I wish to God I was.
(To be continued…)
Heard much about the Nunes memo and the claims by the Republicans that the FBI colluded with the Democrats to ‘wiretap’ the Trump campaign from the UK media? Nope, not me either. Just a few small, hidden away nothing to see here stories, and some scoffing.
Now, maybe, as the Democrats claim, it’s all overblown. But this is the same media that has been hyping every little possibility that Trump is a Russian puppet for over a year, putting every dubious beat-up they can onto their front pages. But anything that goes the other way is just given the move-along-sonny treatment.
It’s also noticeable that when you type ‘Nunes memo’ into Google, you get page after page after page of left-wing sources. CNN, Vanity Fair, Time, Rolling Stone, Slate, The Independent, FactCheck, Vox, MSNBC, The Nation, Polifact, The Nation, LA Times, NBC News, ThinkProgress, Vice, Mother Jones, The Economist, Newsweek, NY Times, Vice, Huffington Post, etc., with only the occasional ‘acceptable’ right-wing, anti-Trump place there, like National Review. Is that Google manipulating the search results, or is it just a reflection of the left-wing bias of the MSM?
It’s also noticeable that many of these media outlets are playing the old game of ‘heavily promote the lone Republican/Conservative who disagrees’ angle, just like the UK media does witrh Anna Soubry over Brexit. Although it’s an old tactic, I nevertheless propose we call it the ‘Soubry strategy’.
The EU is, in many ways, no different to a private organisation. A club. And it’s this club that Britain and all the other EU countries have handed the keys to. Being in the EU is like having signed a really, really bad PFI contract, the worst one ever.
Imagine if G4 came up to your family and said, ‘We want you to hand over most of your important family decisions to us. We’ll make whatever decisions we think are best for you. Although basically we’ll just do whatever we like. And you have to fund our operation, which is expensive.’ You’d tell them to bugger off, right? Even if they said that your dodgy Uncle Ted is a part of it, and he’ll help them make the right decisions, and you can tell Ted what you think, and he’ll pass it on.
But this is in essence what the UK did over the decades. But dodgy Uncle Ted was clever; he didn’t put it like that. He sold it well. The truth about what was really going on was hidden. The Europeans were presented with a fait accompli. The Brits were told they were joining a free trade area. Gradually the powers of the private club were ramped up, and votes were avoided, and the club grew more and more powerful, and more and more arrogant.
When the UK had finally had enough, and decided to leave, and stop paying large sums to the club every week, it was like a family wanting to leave a protection racket. Threats were made, constantly. Insults flew. ‘You’ll never work in this town again’, the UK was told. The boys came around, cracked their knuckles, made some lightly-veiled threats, and knocked a few vases over.
The funny thing is that the sort of people who like the EU are generally the sort of people who don’t like power being given to private companies, and especially not to private clubs. But the EU is just the mother of all private clubs, an elite fraternity which colludes with the ruling classes so that Europe moves in the direction they all want. Private clubs are all right, it seems, as long as they present themselves in the right way, and have the right aims.
(It may be objected that the EU backroom is no different in principle than the UK civil service, so if we’re all right with the latter, why not the former? To this it could be replied that civil service has grown up organically with the democratically-elected government, and it is objective, two qualities which the EU does not have. It has to be said, however, that the civil service has become alarmingly club-like in recent years itself.)
This ‘ecosexual’ film was made by a University Professor of Art at UC Santa Cruz called Elizabeth Stephens. It stars herself and a friend molesting trees and rocks.
More details about ecosex, should you require them, here.
(Via — where else? — David Thompson).
P.S. Elizabeth — Beth — Stephens’ partner is Annie Sprinkle, whose name may vaguely ring a bell. She was a porn actress-turned-performance artist in the 70s and 80s, who became a darling of the gender studies world. One of her most famous performance pieces was called ‘Public Cervix Announcement’, where she got the audience to look at her cervix with a speculum and flashlight.
Spiked’s annual University rankings for free speech are out now. The results don’t surprise me at all, and they illustrate well the diminishing of what was a great British institution. Speech is now much less free at a UK University than it is in the rest of the society, especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
As far as the left is concerned, this is just the beginning. If the likes of Josh Connor (left) get control, then you can look forward to the banning of Conservative groups, round-the-clock surveillance of all speech for any signs of sexism and racism, political rewriting of lectures, and kangaroo courts.
(Or perhaps I should say you can look forward to more of that sort of thing.)
Part of the problem here is the strangehold the state has on the University sector; while that isn’t perhaps the root cause, it makes things a lot worse. But it won’t be long before the public starts to wonder why they should be forced to fund the Social Sciences. Or even why they should fund the Universities at all. We need doctors, sure, but even they can fund themselves, the thinking will go.
The socialists have long treated Universities as test beds. After some retreats in the 80s, they’re well in control now. What is happening there now will spread to the rest of society in five to ten, or fifteen years. Universities aren’t just silly places full of foolish undergrads and irrelevant lecturers. They are where most of our young people are now being trained how to think. As the ads say, Universities are where the future is being made.
Theresa May’s strategy recently seems to be to sit as still as possible so no-one notices she’s there. That way she hopes to stay in the job as long as possible, until she can eventually say, ‘Well, we had some difficulties, but we somehow managed to muddle through’.
But that’s not going to work, because while she’s just sitting there not uttering a peek the Remainers and the EU are scuttling about, busily preparing ways to screw us over. And the Brexiteers can see this. So, while it’s risky to dump her given the tiny, fragile majority the Tories have, which is vulnerable to just a handful of Remainers voting the wrong way, she has to go, because otherwise the Remainers will win anyway.
If she dumped Hammond she could possibly survive, but as she’s clearly unable to do that, she’s toast.