Tag: Culture

Generation Eggshell

Last week, I mentioned the efforts of law students to delay exams because of the “trauma” of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury results. You can read a desperate effort to defend these efforts here. Now we have the latest:

Omar Mahmood is a student at the University of Michigan. He considers himself a political conservative and a Muslim. And until recently, he enjoyed writing for both of the campus’s newspapers: the institutional, liberal paper, The Michigan Daily, and the conservative alternative paper, The Michigan Review.

After penning a satirical op-ed for The Review that mocked political correctness and trigger warnings, The Daily ordered him to apologize to an anonymous staffer who was offended and felt “threatened” by him. He refused and was fired.

Last week, he became the victim of what The College Fix has described as a “hate crime.” The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.” They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.

Boy, that column must have been just horrible. It must have been some Nazi screed or something. Um, here it is. Sample text:

The right thing… The right thing… I became so aware at that moment of the left hand that I had thrust out before falling, and suddenly my humanity was reduced to my handydnyss. The words rang in my eardrums, and my blood throbbed. This was the microaggression that broke the gender-neutral camel’s back. But unlike other microaggressions, this one triggered a shift in my worldview. All this while, I had been obsessed only with the color on this campus. All of a sudden, though, that became a side issue. All those race-based microaggressions now seemed trivial. I had, I realized, forgotten to think intersectionally.

The biggest obstacle to equality today is our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss. It’s a tragedy that I, a member of the left-handed community, had little to no idea of the atrocious persecution that we are dealt every day by institutions that are deeply embedded in society. So deeply embedded, and so ever-present, that we don’t even notice them.

When I was in college, a student responded to political correctness with a similar satirical op-ed about the oppression of Latvian Americans (sample: “if you look at a map of our campus through a hole poked in a box of Cap’n Crunch, it resembles a hammer and sickle, the symbol of our ultimate oppressor, the Soviet Union”). Some people didn’t like it. At least one person illustrated the politically correct’s inability to understand humor, penning a response that if he thought Latvian-American were being oppressed, he should come to the board about it. But no one tried to shut him up.

It’s only gotten worse for free speech on college campuses. You basically can’t say anything without someone not only getting offended but being empowered to make you shut up. Greenfield:

Frankly, those who fail to understand why the anonymous staffer felt threatened haven’t been paying attention. I completely understand, and fully support, the anon staffer. Mahmood’s satire forced the staffer to do something no young person should ever be required to do, every be required to suffer: think. This is, after all, the age of feelings, and it is clearly sufficient that deeply held beliefs not be challenged, as it gives rise to mental damage that no one should ever have to endure.

But that the Daily, in the face of such offensive conduct, fired Mahmood for his lefty-ism is a cloud that will hover over it for a very long time. By the way, the Daily isn’t a person, and can’t speak or make a decision. The decision must have come from the Most special snowflake editor, or the board of delicate teacups, to fire Mahmood rather than smack the anon staffer for being a disgrace to a student newspaper.

Greenfield also has a video of the four girls preparing to deface Mahmood’s door. But don’t expect anyone to respond to their vandalism and threats the same way they responded to Mahmood’s hurty hurty words. Because the one thing we’re learning is that you can never go too far when it comes to keeping people from being offended.

The Case for Spanking Vox

Ezra Klein’s Vox endeavor is a mixed bag. Sometimes it has some really intelligent articles. But with 30-some posts a day, it occasionally posts some really dumb shit with very little critical thought. For example, they recently posted about a deeply flawed study claiming female-named hurricanes kill more people than male-named hurricanes because sexism (a notion I debunk here). And today, they post this article arguing that we should ban spanking.

The stupidity of the article is revealed in the first two sentences:

The law prohibits you from spanking your boss, your employee, your spouse, your best friend, or a stranger you walk past on the street.

But in the United States, it’s still perfectly legal to spank your own children.

What … I … you … but … for …

(Sounds of Hal banging his head on the keyboard)

Seriously, Vox?

The reason we can spank our kids is because they are our fucking kids. We’re expected to exercise discipline and teach kids how to live and behave properly. The rules are different when we deal with adults. It’s true, you can’t spank your boss. You also can’t force her to eat her vegetables. You can’t make strangers to go to bed on time. If you told your employees they were grounded, they would laugh at you. And frankly, I’ve known some people who probably would enjoy a good spanking. Hell, there are some people who will pay strangers to spank them.

The article gets worse. It cites some research showing that spanking doesn’t work and that it causes long term damage. I have no doubt that abuse causes long-term damage. But the research on spanking is actually somewhat mixed. The reason is that children who grow up to have problems as adults often had problems as children too and therefore earned more physical discipline. There is some hint in the literature that spanking does benefit younger children, at ages when they are less amenable to reason and other forms of punishment.

The scientific case is not nearly clear enough to ban spanking, least of all (I guess) arrest or fine parents who do it. In a country where parents can be arrested for leaving their kid in a car for five minutes on a cool day, do we really want CPS arresting every parent who swats a kid’s bottom?

The rest of the article uses “everyone else is doing it” logic to say we should join other nations in banning spanking. But everyone else is not doing it. France hasn’t. The UK hasn’t. Australia hasn’t. Italy hasn’t. Canada hasn’t. This isn’t like the metric system where we are practically the only country in the world not doing it. This is clearly something that many countries have different opinions on. If Tunisia has banned spanking, good for them. I’m not using that as a basis for our domestic policies.

More countries outlaw abortion than outlaw spanking. Is Vox going to advocate that we should too? More countries use some form of Sharia Law than ban spanking. Is Vox going to advocate that we should adopt it? Well … I shouldn’t give them ideas.

To me, this just boils down to parental freedom. Spanking is not nearly so abusive and and not nearly so damaging that it mandates government intervention. If you don’t want to spank your kids, don’t spank your kids. But don’t come into my house and tell me how to discipline my offspring. Joseph Stromberg, who wrote the Vox article, clearly has a much lower threshold for government barging into our houses than I do.

The Captive Child

The Atlantic has a long but must-read article by Hannah Rosin on the overprotected child. In it, she documents how children today, despite increased safety and lower crime rates, have far less freedom to explore and be kids than previous generations did. We’ve harped on this before, but Rosin cites example after example of how little freedom we allow our children and how much of what makes childhood fun (and important) is being taken away.

There are too many good part to quote selectively. But here’s a key one:

I used to puzzle over a particular statistic that routinely comes up in articles about time use: even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers—and fathers—of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to. This seemed impossible to me until recently, when I began to think about my own life. My mother didn’t work all that much when I was younger, but she didn’t spend vast amounts of time with me, either. She didn’t arrange my playdates or drive me to swimming lessons or introduce me to cool music she liked. On weekdays after school she just expected me to show up for dinner; on weekends I barely saw her at all. I, on the other hand, might easily spend every waking Saturday hour with one if not all three of my children, taking one to a soccer game, the second to a theater program, the third to a friend’s house, or just hanging out with them at home. When my daughter was about 10, my husband suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult. Not 10 minutes in 10 years.

It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting. One very thorough study of “children’s independent mobility,” conducted in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9 percent, and now it’s even lower. When you ask parents why they are more protective than their parents were, they might answer that the world is more dangerous than it was when they were growing up. But this isn’t true, or at least not in the way that we think. For example, parents now routinely tell their children never to talk to strangers, even though all available evidence suggests that children have about the same (very slim) chance of being abducted by a stranger as they did a generation ago. Maybe the real question is, how did these fears come to have such a hold over us? And what have our children lost—and gained—as we’ve succumbed to them?

As an academic, I see the impact of this on young adults. We seem to be getting more and more “adults” who simply can’t function with mom and dad or some equivalent. They not only don’t object to parents calling professors about grades or coming to job interviews with them, they expect it. They expect their professors to hold their hands and cater to their every whim like their parents did.

But, ironically, given their first taste of even moderate freedom, many engage in dumb risky behavior. Only whereas previous generations’ risky behavior involved forts and creeks, these involve alcohol. That’s not a good tradeoff. Everyone has to take risks in life to realize where the boundaries are and when there fears are reasonable. Aren’t they better off taking those risks on the playground than the dorm room?

Not all college students are like this, of course. Not even a majority. But every professor or researcher I know has a recent tale of a kid who can’t cut the apron strings or who can’t function like an adult. Maybe they’ll grow up at some point. But wouldn’t it better for them to grow up a little as kids instead of trying to compress it all into four years of college?

I fear we’re fighting a losing battle on the Free Range Kids front. Our legal system massively favors over-parenting — in divorce fights, the kids are almost always given to the more overbearing parent. But there are still a few glimmers of hope that we can rescue childhood from the iron triangle of politicians, lawyers and media hysterics that have taken it away.

The A-Student Desperado

From the files of You’ve Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me:

An honor student in Texas was thrown in jail after she missed too many classes at her high school.

A judge issued Diane Tran, 17, a summons Wednesday for her excessive truancy after she missed class. She was arrested in open court.

Last month, Tran was issued a warning by the judge for missing school.

You know, I was an honor student — at least until late in high school. And every semester, I would have the “flu” for a week. That’s what I told my mother and that’s what she pretended to believe. I was unpopular, I was the shortest kid in class and I was shy. I needed a break from the other kids. But I kept up my work and I was on the honor roll, so no one cared. The point of school was to be educated, not to show up. Schools are not fucking jails and the people who ran mine didn’t treat it like one.

But … my reasons for skipping school were not her reasons. This story just gets better:

Tran said she works both full-time and part-time jobs, in addition to taking advanced and college level courses.

“She goes from job to job from school. She stays up until 7 a.m. in the morning doing her homework,” said Devin Hill, a classmate and co-worker.

On top of that, Tran said her parents spilt up and moved away, leaving her to support her younger sister.

Yeah. She’s skipping school occasionally because she’s so tired from working a job and a fucking half to support her family. What a monster! We can’t let responsible people like that roam the streets. Better for her to have just dropped out when she turned 16.

The judge admits he wanted to make an example of her. He did make an example … of what happens when tiny-brained men get a little bit of power and just how insanely stupid our Zero Tolerance policies have gotten.

Actually, no, I take that back. She is setting an example and it’s one I think should be set. Let’s make it policy: any student who maintains their grades and works a job and a half gets to skip school occasionally. Make it a reward for being a model citizen.

Look, I understand that that the law is the law. But laws untempered by mercy, justice and common sense are useless. Zero Tolerance policies and mindless obedience to the rules are going to destroy a generation of kids before all is said and done. Literally.

Jobs program in Venezuela!

It seems like even utpian collectivist paradises where verything is owned by the people and for the people and the wealthy are considered a necessary evil to be fleeced, has jobs problems. But some people are not content to just protest a government that actually will come after you for doing that, and have come up with their own way of making money. I am not encouragin OWS types to think this is an enterprise they need to pick up, but the way things are going I wouldn’t be surprised we do see something like that with some bank manager playing the role of the kidnapee.

Islam & Multiculturalism are like oil and water: they don’t mix..

We recently had some discussion on one of our other posts that veered into the topic of Islamic radicalization and the belief that it is all but a given that they will eventually takeover European natures, by democratic elections of all things, as they grow into the bigger population. Some of our resident Europeans assured us that this was all nonsense and blown out of proportion, something that made me wonder how much denial a person could live with considering I saw proof this problem first hand myself while visiting not one, but 6 different European countries. So when I was tipped off about this story, I figured it would be a nice introduction to the reality of the situation. Have a look:

Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up. Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’ The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’.

Having experienced a similar attitude in Barcelona, Milan, Brussels, Paris, & London, where they have entire neighborhoods which the non-Islamic natives avoid out of real fear for their safety, if not lives, as well as seeing it directed in Rotterdam where I personally witnessed several of the followers of the Koran tell locals/natives outright that they where going to cut off their infidel heads, enslave their weak ass children, and use their women as chattel, sooner than later, I am absolutely not surprised by news like this. And this tense situation which existed both before 9-11, was far more pronounced during my recent visits, I add.

Of course, the Euro politicians and their cheerleaders will tell you this is not the case: there is no friction between the Islamic immigrants – brought there to do the work the Europeans didn’t want to do and then not really integrated and absorbed into the local society, thus resulting in radicalized and disenfranchised youths whom turn to Jihad as a means to extract revenge against the perceived injustice done to them – and the natives. It’s all bullshit. That story is repeated everywhere across Europe.

It is not a coincidence that we see a trend in elections in European country after European country, where what they consider to be more right wing parties – like that of Geert Wilders – see massive gains, while the socialist parties that pretend this is not going on, lose seats. The people that bear the brunt of the problem are reacting. Of course, most of the elite political class simply blames it on Islamophobia and the fact that those those experience the problem first hand and want it addressed, just are not inclusive enough. The victim is blamed basically. The sad part is then how those that point out the problem are of course labeled and attacked, because admitting there is a problem means admitting that multiculturalism sucks ass and is a failure, especially when it comes to Islamic immigrants and their disenfranchised and radicalized offspring, and that goes against over 5 decades of ingrained collectivist ideology about the greatness of multiculturalism.

But the truth is that multiculturalism has failed – the radicalized youth of Islamic immigrants don’t believe in it at all – and some of the biggest believers in and pushers of multiculturalism and the multicultural experiment are finally acknowledging it is not working well for them. Hopefully the change that the Dutch are making is real and not just paper to appease the public.

America too, albeit to a much lesser degree, will have to deal with this multiculturalism issue, the failures it has caused, sooner than later. The percentage of our population that worships Allah isn’t anywhere near that in Europe, many are converted natives, and most are far better integrated, but the fact remains that there are always those that feel like they are outsiders, precisely because they where told there was no need to change their identify to adopt any of the host country’s beliefs, and then isolated start holding a grudge. At least we don’t have neighborhoods that are as bad as what we hear or see is going on in Europe. Then again, I have not been to Detroit in 2 decades, and I hear that’s not that much fun anymore either, not just because the democrats that have owned have run it into the ground, but because some of the same problems with the worshippers of Allah seen in European cities are popping up.