Showing posts from June, 2018

“Like Hitler, or Milo Yiannopoulos”

Back in November 2017, Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Wilfred Laurier University in Ontario, was taken to task by two of her professors for showing a clip of a television show in which Professor Jordan Peterson talked about the problems he saw with Canada’s proposed Bill C-16 and the effects it would have on freedom of speech.

Her professors’ complaint? That showing the video clip was tantamount to putting the students in her discussion section at risk of doxxing, harassment, and physical threat because—they alleged—Professor Peterson had engaged in similar activities directed at his own students.

In her supervising professor Nathan Rambukkana’s words:
[Peterson] is a real person. But he is a real person who has engaged in targeting of trans students, basically doxxing them, if you know the term, giving out their personal information, so that they'll be attacked, harrassed, so that death threats will find them. This is something that he has done to his own students, that…

The Brain Game

Professor Keith Whittington (Politics, Princeton) has written a book defending the importance of free speech on American university campuses, which Princeton plans to send out this fall to its incoming students.

In Professor Whittington’s words:
The right to free speech is not an extrinsic value to a university that has to be imposed by outside forces to serve ends that have no immediate connection to the goals of higher education itself. Rather, the value of free speech is closely associated with the core commitments of the university itself. The failure to adequately foster an environment of free speech on campus represents a failure of the university to fully realize its own ideals and aspirations. Sacrificing speech subverts the very rationale for having a university and hampers the ability of universities to achieve their most basic goals. If we value what universities do and the role they play within American society, then we must likewise value free speech in universities. Nor …

Attack of the Killer Nouns

Milo and I were watching the livestream of the Heterodox Academy “Open Mind Conference” last week, and at one point he simply started shaking his head.

“It’s all throat-clearing, isn’t it?,” he asked me. “[Quoting] ‘Yes, I think that question about identity and expression is an important one, and one we should really focus on...’ WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.”


Everyone knows that academics have a peculiar way of speaking that makes it difficult for Random Laypersons to understand.

I myself have been accused by family members of using “big words” to no purpose, back in the day when I was just learning academese. I think the culprit in that particular conversation was “Christology,” but it could have been “exegesis.” I don’t think I knew the word “hermeneutics” at that point.

“But,” I defended myself, “it is a technical term. I am writing for other scholars who would know what it means.”

“But don’t you want people to read your work?” my sister countered.

I spluttered. What …

Bear and the Art of Prayer

Listen here!

Milo, the Heathers, and the New Sheriff in Town

Back at the end of January, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dave Rubin got together on Dave’s Rubin Report to talk about how popular they all were.

Okay, that’s not the title of the episode. It is “Frontline of Free Speech.” And, to be fair, it has had almost 3.4 million views to date. So you could justifiably say that our three free speech heroes have every right to be a bit...ahem...proud of themselves.

Except. After spending a good hour and half congratulating themselves for being on the frontline of free speech, they started taking questions from the Super Chat audience.

Here was one of the first ones that Dave read (at 1:33.20): “Quick one for Ben. I think we’ve already hit this, but any chance of a future discussion with Milo?”

Ben’s response was utterly predictable for those who know how ritualized this question has become:
No. Waste of time [reaches for his water glass]. I’d rather talk with people who have something say. Jordan’s response was somewhat more interesting. He l…

The Face of God

Let’s try a little test. Which of these faces looks most like God’s?

a) Milo

b) The Mona Lisa

c) Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait

d) Our Lady of Guadalupe

According to Joshua Conrad Jackson, Neil Hester, and Kurt Gray, in their recently published study “The faces of God in America: Revealing religious diversity across people and politics” (PLOS One June 11, 2018), most Americans would answer a) Milo.
Okay, they don’t say Milo as such. But look at the description that they do give:
What does God generally look like to American Christians? Participants saw God’s face as more masculine, Caucasian, attractive, intelligent, and loving compared to His anti-face, ts > 7.53, ps < 001 (see S1 Table for full statistics). See Fig 3. God’s face was also rated as significantly younger than the alternative composite, t = 31.83, p < .001, and as no more powerful, t = .47, p = .64, consistent with a general tendency for Americans to believe in a God who is more loving than stern. Importantly, t…

Maege Mormont and the Threat of Art

I do not watch Game of Thrones. I have no idea who this character is, whether I would like to be compared with her or not.

I learn from A Wiki of Ice and Fire that her name is Maege Mormont, the Lady of Bear Island, and that she is “a short, stout, grey-haired woman, and a fierce warrior.”
She dresses in patched ringmail, and her favored weapon is a spiked mace. She is dedicated to the old gods, and loyal to House Stark. According to her brother, Jeor, she is stubborn, short-tempered, and willful. Apparently, she carries the title of House Mormont because her brother’s only heir is an outlaw, while she herself has five daughters of mysterious paternity. Perhaps she changes shape and mates with a bear?

Well, I am a bear in one of my guises, but I don’t have any daughters. And thanks to Milo’s fat shaming, I am not exactly stout. But grey-haired? Check. Fierce warrior? I prefer “hot and happy,” but okay. You could say I am dedicated to the Old God—the God of the Psalms, the one moderni…