What We’ve Been Up To
Academics Group co-chair Dr Philip Hammond has been researching and developing a history and critique of ‘intersectionality’ – Who needs ‘intersectionality’? – which is based on a presentation he gave at the last Academics Group meeting. Hammond goes back to the original work by American scholar and UCLA professor Kimberlé Crenshaw; considers the changing politics of intersectionality; analyses its weakness; and considers how it has moved from the margins to the centre.
Meanwhile, there are limited tickets left to our screening of The Great American Race Game, followed by a Q&A with the director, on July 1st (see below), and we are looking forward to your reactions to what is a revealing piece of work.
News from Planet America. The latest craze is for psychological sado-masochistic home entertainment. All it takes is to be filthy rich, have loads of time and a taste for vegan twice-cooked aubergine and you too can indulge your ego and reflect on what a good person you are for cleansing your mind this way. “Beam me up, Scottie!”
Alternatively, you could splash your undeserved riches on therapy from someone who loves to hate white people but doesn’t have a racist bone in her body.
In a week in which Bristol has put its Colston statue on display and been accused of glorifying mob rule by Save our Statues, the town of Hartlepool is playing safe by “explaining” its monkey statue. It says something about the current state of our society that the town feels it needs to do this.
It also says something about our society that the public shaming of those whose youthful transgressions have been ‘exposed’ through the agency of Twitter is gathering pace. How grateful some of us must be that the unforgiving cruelty of the Twitter spotlight had not been invented when we were young – at least our juvenile mistakes were not held against us for the rest of our lives.
Meanwhile, in the world of football, various commentators, including the England manager, have explained that anyone booing the gesture of “taking the knee” must be racist because, even though ‘taking the knee’ is practised by BLM organisations who espouse Marxist philosophy, it is wrong to think it means that when performed by English footballers. Clearly, Gareth Southgate must be a prime candidate for an American dinner of vegan twice-cooked aubergine. Let’s face it, he can afford it, even if the booing fans cannot.
Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill takes on the real meaning of the woke elites’ horror at fans booing England’s football stars ‘taking the knee’. He argues that these fans want to stop the culture war, yet Southgate, Gary Lineker, et al resent fans’ temerity in calling into question their moral authority. Picking up on the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter ‘inspiration’ he notes:
“that’s what the kneeling is increasingly all about – it’s a knee on the metaphorical neck of the gruff, unenlightened little people who make up football’s fanbase”
And finally, Dummy of the Week award goes collectively to those students at Oxford University’s Magdalen College, who have removed a portrait of the Queen as she is “colonial”. Magdalen College president Dinah Rose has defended them as follows:
“The MCR, an organisation of graduate students, has made a decision about its own common room. That is their affair. Magdalen stands by our students’ right to free speech and autonomy.”
Bless their little cotton socks, they will grow up one day.
If you are vexed by the rise of The Woke University, read Cieo thinktank boss Joanna Williams on how this institutional model has replaced educational goals with a mission to inculcate particular values (which we have also précied for you) and you may wonder how any academic can cope!
This coming week we have a regular Monday meeting (June 14th) and an Academics Group meeting on Tuesday (June 15th) – drop us a line if you would like to attend.