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On Wednesday, we bore witness to a stark demonstration of the hypocrisy of social media activism, the callousness of so many of its practitioners and, unless some action has been taken by them in the interim, the double-standards of the platform custodians themselves.
Rapper, activist and self-important intellectual non-entity Talib Kweli Greene took to Twitter to condemn the liberal Muslim reformer and anti-extremist activist Maajid Nawaz as a racist shill and a tool of white supremacy and anti-Muslim bigotry. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr Nawaz, his journey spans an immense distance between extremes; after a rough start in life involving direct experiences of violent white racism in his native UK, he became radicalised and worked as an Islamist agitator under the banner of Hizb ut-Tahrir, for which he languished in an Egyptian prison, undergoing hardships I can’t imagine.
He has since done more to build bridges between faiths and communities, and fight extremism from every direction, be it xenophobia, jihadism, anti-Muslim bigotry, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms. But the irony of throwing accusations like this at such a man as Nawaz seems lost on Greene, who, on the other hand, is an evidently privileged narcissist who attempts to pass off his thoroughly banal pseudo-intellectual masturbation as some kind of liberationist activism. The sort of person who thinks bellowing “Black Lives Matter!” and “White Supremacy!” at various intervals should confer certain additional privileges upon you. Read More…
The most disturbing aspect of the recent Ellen Degeneres controversy was not so much that she was falsely accused of being a racist and isn’t one, but the fact that a mere allegation inspires such dismay in our culture that she was forced to acknowledge and deny it. She paid verbal fealty to a spurious narrative that is sustained only through fear.
Of course, Degeneres is a celebrity who is probably hyper-conscious of her public image, so she’s going to do everything she can to prevent any damage to that. It’s not so easy to ignore denunciations of that kind when it affects your bottom line.
But the reason I was opposed to her acknowledging the moronic witch hunters on Twitter is that I think that even the slightest flinch before their finger-pointing only encourages them to do it again. Especially, if they can make a seemingly untouchable megastar like Degeneres react. Read More…
It’s an interesting question to consider as we typically encounter morality through the linguistic disciplines of law, philosophy and literature, all of which are so-called “arts” subjects. Intuitively, one might feel that it is somewhat odd to associate science with morality, which more readily conjures up images of men atop pulpits than science’s white lab coats and microscopes.
Can morality be examined and dissected like the specimen on a Petri dish? Can its primary elements be systematised and labeled?
Once again, intuitively, one thinks not. The study of the physical processes of the natural world seems to have little to do with human morality.
But this is perhaps too narrow a definition of what science is and what its scope is limited to, which is not only the “hard sciences” of chemistry and physics. Even though, stereotypically, it is usually associated with these subjects. Read More…
I have ceased to be shocked at The Outrage Machine.
Now, when it grinds into gear to crush another unwitting victim, I no longer regard it with the same horror and disbelief I used to; I’ve gotten to know it too well
It’s the same pathetic pattern repeated over and over where some innocent person is subjected to a barrage of false accusations of racism and/or sexism by very sad people who scan social media looking for something, anything to be offended by. Read More…
Since the EU referendum, the media narrative around Brexit has pretty much solidified along the lines that it was a working class revolt against the elites. Whilst there is definitely some truth to that, I don’t think it’s a wholly accurate description of who voted Leave and why.
Just this week, The Guardian published a piece by Zoe Williams who pointed out that a deeper analysis of Brexit voters, since the referendum, showed just how many of them were middle class. Read More…
Earlier today I encountered this triptych of tweets on Twitter:
Maya Goodfellow the author of the tweets, argues that endeavours to teach refugees and immigrants about “western values” are problematic because inherent in that effort is an assumption that western values are somehow superior to others and also suggests that refugees/immigrants are “backwards”. Read More…
From the Imagine Athena archives. A story of incredible strength and virtue.
“I’m not a dancer anymore, who am I? – Jacques d’Amboise
When prima ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929-2000) played the part of a stricken polio victim in Resurgence (1944) when she was fifteen, little did she know that she was rehearsing her own sad fate. Read More…
In our latest podcast, Robin Gilbert-Jones pithily observes that with the increasing regularity of each new terrorist attack, people become numb to the violence and, as a result, slowly begin to surrender to the “new normal” that is terror in the West.
If you get a chance do watch this brilliant documentary about the life and work of the late Roald Dahl.
His mischievous, magnificent imagination contributed greatly to our literary culture and enriched many childhoods. Including my own!
It is a tragic thing to consider how much we would have lost if he had been killed in World War Two. Indeed he came close a few times whilst he was a pilot in the RAF, fighting in North Africa.
Just think how many fantastic writers, storytellers and poets died in that war, which we are all the poorer for.