QED

Feminist Queer Anticolonial Propositions

Sydney University’s vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, is badgering the federal government for research funding to replace the fee losses from what was its pre-COVID 39 per cent international enrolment. I’m sure his university’s medical and scientific research is valuable but I don’t know about the campus’s feminism/gender research output. I also notice that nine of Spence’s professors and another five faculty types pledged allegiance to Extinction Rebellion last September, and wonder why they expect continued state funding to subvert civic laws and institutions. I agree with Spence that, as he looks for $270 million worth of economies, no area should be sacrosanct (except his pace-setting $1.5m remuneration package).

However, my focus on Sydney University research in this article involves its program since 2016,  “Hacking the Anthropocene”. I’ll also review the Canada-based peer-reviewed journal Feral Feminisms promoted by the university, with its Sydney Environment Institute calling for submissions last month.[1] Sydney and Melbourne university guest editors will Hack the Anthropocene and also the Capitalocene, Plantatitionocene (sic) and the Cthulucene (sic, should be Cthulhucene, not that it matters). For definition, check this footnote.[2]

The previous Issue 9.2 featured poet Alok Vaid-Menon, who extols his beauty in the clip below.

‘They will say that femininity is not powerful,’ Vaid-Menon acknowledges, ‘but i [ok] have stopped traffic simply by going outside’. The stakes of their public transfemininity remain laser clear, still, when they fantasize, ‘what would it mean to no longer have to be fabulous to survive?’”

I’ll return to Feral Feminisms later but will first deal with the university’s Hacking the Anthropocene (etc) seminars.

This venture began in April 2016 as “Feminist Queer Anticolonial Propositions” under the auspices of its foundation Sydney Environment Institute.[3] [4] The opening “family-friendly” SEI event featured “a unique gastronomic experience”. The invitation says,

Participants at this evening of art, conversation, exploration, and digestion will be encouraged to show their debt to (un)charismatic others and ask the world of invisible beings about what our common futures might hold.

Interdisciplinary US artist, the aptly-named Kathy High, set the tone with a “multimedia and interactive exploration of the power of poo. It investigates our intimate relation to the gut microbiome and asks whose poo would make you a superstar.” Usefully, a following discussion “Volatising Bouquet” involved smell research. As speaker Stephanie Springgay, a Toronto associate professor put it,

When smells are taken into the body for survival or pleasure, we open up our body  to that which is not us; to the other…

The academic, nose and climate-empowering evening was rounded off with a talk “Caution, workers below”, by environmental artist Perdita Phillips, “exploring the boundaries between human and nonhuman worlds”. Her accessory was “a modified ouija board, designed to communicate with the world of termites.”

The symposium series founder was Sydney University gender lecturer Dr. Astrida Neimanis, “co-hosted in 2017/2018 by Dr. Jennifer Hamilton of Composting [no misprint] Feminisms at Sydney University.”[5] The symposium has had three runs in Sydney, culminating in 2018 with sessions at the Sydney University Womens’ College on “What do we want?” The answer turned out to be “excellent coffee and snacks”. Neimanis and Hamilton blurbed, 

From the desirous pull of the fossil fuelled high-life to grass roots activist demands (‘what do we want?’), we ask if it is possible to pursue both extravagant pleasure and intersectional, intergenerational justice. We hope you can join us for a day of communal thought, wild performance and excellent coffee and snacks (you know you want it).

Last year the scholarly research-fest migrated to Melbourne. There it featured an imported NZ scholarly expert on tree-humping and “walkshop” people honouring the ingredients of concrete in pathways (seriously).[6]

But let’s get back to the 2016 inaugural symposium. I’m upset to have missed the “Howling the Anthropocene!” talk by Wollongong University’s Genders Professor Fiona Probyn-Rapsey (now with Sydney Uni and exploring, among other things, “critical whiteness studies”).

She was describeda leading scholar in the field of Animal Studies, which she approaches from a feminist postcolonial perspective.” She explains the anthropocenic howling like this:

Consider the dingo howl – not wild but periurban. How does a dingo, once tethered to a sanctuary fence, her body bearing old wounds of cigarette burns, learn to howl alongside the howling of inmates? The howling of inmates together, started off by one, joined by others – is a sound for the anthropocene — a goodnight, a nightmare, a prisoners [sic] lament, a warning, an eery [sic] embrace, a speculation, an agreement to sing along, a wave at the outside.

Another speaker, possibly taking the urine on the whole show, was Regrette Etcetera (below), talking on “Stretch Marx: Oestrogenic Ecosystems, Solastalgia, and Species-Panic in the Capitalocene”. She self- touted asa Sydney-based DJ, performer, artist, activist, whore etcetera, with a set of marketable identity descriptors that land university gigs like this.”

Ms Etcetera’s  talk was

a chirpily chiliastic whirlwind tour of some ambivalent Anthropocenes, tracing productive pollutions in Natures flooded with ‘gender- bending xenoestrogens’, and following the species-panics of an imperilled whiteness through the great ‘shemale-ing of humanity’ and on into an unknown land beyond Capitalism.

The next 2017 “Hacking” by the cutting-edge Sydney Uni research crowd was about “weathering”. It was supported by the SEI, the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre, a Swedish arts bunch and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

One speaker was fashionista Lisa Heinze on “What to Wear to Weather the End of the World as We Know It: A Future Fashion Manifesto.” I suspected she was also taking the urine, but she turned out to be

a sustainable lifestyle advocate currently pursuing a PhD on sustainable fashion at the University of Sydney… and a Fashion Revolution committee member” tackling fashion “for an environmentally and socially just future.

Drs Neimanis and Hamilton were doubly pained about the Anthropocene because of its racial whiteness.

Moving ‘Towards the idea of a black Anthropocene’ would re-centre that which is already centred in the Anthropocene—race—and would move against the implicit structural whiteness of the Anthropocene… potentially towards other more accountable, decolonised, geosocial futures.

The Anthropocene was also danced by arts specialists for the 2019 Sydney Festival, after a week-long workshop led by five choreographers, once more with Sydney Environment Institute en pointe. As sponsors explain,

The point is not to paint, or write, or dance, the scalar immensity of the Anthroprocene into a single paragraph or snapshot. This would just reinforce the Anthropocene’s seeming distance from our lived experience. Instead, arts and humanities endeavours find ways to make connections to that more-than-human scale through the sensory apparatuses of our bodies: a tastebud finds a pathway to a history of colonialism; the affective tenor of a metaphor brings us into the breathless bottom of the sea; a curved arm in an antenna-like gesture establishes our animal kinship to insect species rapidly disappearing.

This brings my essay back to 2020’s impending bunyip version of Canada’s magazine Feral Feminisms.
 The Sydney Environment Institute has invited ferals of all sexes to “address issues of the following: animal-human-ecological-vegetal-microbial-geological-cyborg relations.” Cyborgs, since you asked, are fictive beings combining human and mechanical life. Their relation to the purported climate emergency is obscure to me but the Sydney Environment Institute and the Feral Feminisms peer-reviewed journal take cyborgs seriously.

Feral Feminisms founding editor in perpetuity Ela Przybylo is a gender professor at Illinois State University, teaching queer and trans writing with a specialty in asexuality:

Przybylo looks to feminist political celibacy/asexuality, lesbian bed death, the asexual queer child, and the aging spinster as four figures that are asexually resonant…” Another of her books[7] “explores ugliness in relation to the intersectional processes of racialization, colonization and settler colonialism, gender-making, ableism, heteronormativity, and fatphobia.

For those of a masochistic bent, the video below delivers a full hour of Ms Przybylo’s  insights.

The journal is self or donor-funded, but obviously some work is done in academics’ flexitime.

Issue 12 of Feral Feminisms is guest-edited by Melbourne-based academic Dr Hayley Singer, a research associate of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. This Centre of Excellence was set up by the Rudd-Gillard governments with $24 million funding for 2011-2018, at the time the largest funding award to the humanities in Australian history. From 2018, says Wiki, the UWA-based collective has continued with funding from its node universities. It has 14 chief investigators, over 38 full-time postdoctoral fellows, 37 postgrads and more than 100 associate investigators. The 2017 “hack” symposium involved no fewer than four academics from the Emotions Centre.

Dr Singer (left) helpfully provides a playlist of her favourite songs to get contributors’ creative juices flowing. The playlist includes The Red Flag, People have the Power; Ship of Fools (could this be a low blow at UNSW’s Antarctic ice expert Chris Turney?), Love Yourself, Queendom, F—k You and God Only Knows.

For the guest-edited issue, the editorial directions for

queer, feminist, anti-colonial artists, scholars, and activists” say that the Anthropocene draws on settler colonial discourse, problematically homogenizes all humans as planet destroyers and implies that we are locked into these petrifying ways of being. As a colonial figure and inheritance, the Anthropocene is articulated as a teleological story-arc that jettisons ‘us all’ towards apocalypse but fails to interrogate which humans drive and benefit from ecological degradation. It fails to consider that social systems, rather than human nature, are the cause of such degradation. It figures and normalizes the privileged white cis-male as the epitome of human-ness.

Submissions can involve “a fingery theory” but even Google fails to explain the term.

While Anthropocene Hacking will make for a riveting Issue 12, Issue 2 (2014) is hard to beat, discoursing over 103 pages on “Feminist Un/Pleasure: Reflections upon Perversity, BDSM, and Desire.” I confess to a slightly prurient inspection of Issue 2 and was not disappointed. For example, contributor E. Gravelet writes,

Every kinky feminist queer that I have ever spoken to loves Macho Sluts. Well, maybe I’m just lucky enough to know the right people, but there appears to be an overarching consensus that Patrick Califia’s hotly controversial 1988 collection of dyke S/M smut should be considered a classic.[8]

The article appends a footnote which suggests why many a contributor is referred to as “they”:

Please note that, since this time, [author] Patrick Califia has transitioned and identifies as a transman.

An intriguing chapter in the index was “Tomatoes as Trauma” by Joseph Labine. An editor blurbs: “Using the soft, permeable and vulnerable flesh of the tomato, Joseph Labine exposes the thin borders between pain and sex.”

The issue features a screenplay celebrating the McGill University’s Women’s Centre. Screen character “Ummni” is authored by Ummni Khan, an Associate Law Professor at Canada’s Carleton University, specialising in research into BDSM and sex work.  Her character says, “I’d hurry over to the university centre to meet up with my soul sisters and debrief our daily encounters with patriarchy in a safe, ‘womyn-only’ space. Sexuality was our hottest topic.” Words like “gender stereotypes,” “misogyny,” and “subversion” can be heard. A third woman – self- chosen name Dragyn – is boiling water. The walls are covered with political posters advocating women’s rights.

Later they adjourn to a club:

In one corner are foot fetishists sucking hairy toes and massaging tired insteps. In another, an adult man is in diapers, holding a baby bottle in one hand and a beer in the other. By the window, a woman outfitted in the classic kinky nurse costume is leading her “patient” around on a dog leash. In the centre, are two men taking turns whipping a very butch woman tied to some hooks in a crucifixion pose.

Ummni (voice-over): Their audacity was stunning. Heart-breaking … I discovered stark differences in sexual practices, pleasures, aesthetics, and ethos, ranging from the classic s/m leather-dom to the animal-emulating furries. But there we were, bound together by our perverted sexuality and the disgust we evoked in others. It was sublime.

The edition was not short on supervisory oversight, with three editors, one guest editor, nine on the editorial board, six on the communications committee, and 13 on the advisory board, plus peer reviewers. A contributor thanked the editors for “their brilliantly committed work, meticulousness, and keen expertise throughout the process of creating this issue”. The issue was workshopped weekly at “FAG (Feminist Art Gallery) with Professor Allyson Mitchell “contributing chocolate mint tea and Deep Lez insights.” Amongst her other groundbreaking works, Professor Mitchell boasts on her university web page of recently co-constructing “Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House” whose goal is to

provoke and pervert. The humorous and costumed characters in the kastle – including polyamorous vampiric grannies, a demented women’s studies professor, and lesbian zombie folksingers – give expression to old and new anxieties, creating a space for critique, affect, and discussion.

The edition followed Toronto’s 2014 Feminist Porn Conference, run in conjunction with the Feminist Porn Awards, analogous to the Walkley Awards handed out for unionised downunder leftist journalists.[9] Described by the issue’s contributors as an “unprecedented platform” for “audiences full of dykes”, the issue saw one feminist stressing “how thrilled she was to be at FPcon [Feminist Porn Conference], how enormous were its accomplishments, and how stunning were its alternative visions.”

Other editions involved “interactive praxis of radical world-making” and “Disrupting U.S. state projects of devaluation and disposability.” The journal offered feminist responses to “cancel culture, rape culture, white supremacy, Native dispossession, xenophobia, heteronormativity, homonormativity, and other practices of exclusion/inclusion.”

The magazine sought reviewers not for critical appraisals but to “celebrate” the works of “trans, nonbinary, or Two-Spirit person[s].”

Issue No 10 wanted contributions relating, among other things, to queerness, transness, capitalism, colonialism, blackness, whiteness and sex work, “topics that are close to our queer fem(me)inine hearts!” Another issue focused on “imperial and colonial forces” and necropolitics determining “who is invited into the realm of social life and who, instead, is confined to social death?” (I know that “social death” feeling from trying to socialise in Dan Andrew’s locked-down People’s Republic of Victoria).

If you think LGBTQI is confusing, these Feminism scholars have hardly started. One reference is “Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Trans, Ace, Polyam, Kink, and Intersex People (Sense).” Incidentally “Q/WOC” stands for “Queer/Women of Color”.

Although past issues have been Canada-based, I felt a quiet pride that one scholar-contributor working on “post-structuralist and feminist theories of the body” hailed from Latrobe University, currently at risk of going broke.

The peer review process at Feral Feminisms is interesting, given that “peer-reviewed” papers normally count towards academics’ promotion, allocation of funds to departments and universities’ global ranking. Feral Feminisms says, “Submissions are subject to a two-tiered process. Guest Editors review all submissions and select for peer review those submissions that best fit the aims and scope of the issue. Subsequently, pieces under consideration are subject to double-anonymous peer review, are reviewed by peer reviewers, and receive collegial feedback on their work.”

Sounds good, until one finds:

Feral Feminisms needs Peer Reviewers! We invite prospective peer-reviewers with interests in intersectional feminist theory, queer and trans theory, anti-racism, decoloniality and Indigenous studies…Feral Feminisms welcomes involvement from individuals at various career stages within academia and beyond and particularly encourages graduate student participation. No previous peer review experience is required.” (My emphasis).

Just about all Australian universities have gender studies departments charging young females fat fees for feminist/queer/green-left teaching.[10] The staff have become so inbred that the weirdness of their output goes unquestioned. The motto of my own alma mater, UWA, is “Seek Wisdom”. You won’t find much of it in today’s arts faculties. Note also the Sydney feminists’ lame attempts to attach themselves to the global warming scare. If the scare is a dog, those are its fleas.

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come to think of it – essays to tickle the brain, is available as book ($34.95) or e-book ($14.95) here.

 
[1]The invitation has been taken down but read: “Call for submissions for Feral Feminisms’ special issue: Submit your written or artistic piece for the upcoming publication, CFP Issue 12 – Do-It-Together (DIT): Hacking the Anthropocene, by Sunday 31 May. Your piece will address issues of the following: animal-human-ecological-vegetal-microbial-geological-cyborg relations.” The deadline has been extended to June 13.

[2]The diverse earth-wide tentacular powers and forces and collected things with names like Naga, Gaia, Tangaroa (burst from water-full Papa), Terra, Haniyasu-hime, Spider Woman, Pachamama, Oya, Gorgo, Raven, A’akuluujjusi, and many many more.”

[3] Incidentally, the Anthropocene as a geologic era does not exist.

[4] This event was made possible by funding and support provided by the Sydney Environment Institute, with additional assistance from the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry of the University of Sydney.

[5] She now seems to be at UNE.

[6]This walkshop engages critically and sensually with what is beneath our feet, honouring both the ingredients that make up the concrete pathways that hold us and the soil beneath … We name and acknowledge the sand, lime, silt and clay and through an immersive process will explore the deep time … asking what is our responsibility to honour the concrete for both its utilitarian and multi-specied complexity and our obligation to unearth the negations of this concrete for the soil beneath.”

[7] On the Politics of Ugliness (Palgrave Macmillan 2018)

[8] The book “bolstered a burgeoning sex-positive leather dyke community”.

[9] For example, the ABC’s Cardinal Pell-chasing Louise Milligan won two Quill awards from the Melbourne Press Club, including the Gold Quill for best story of the year, and her book on child abuse allegations against Cardinal Pell  was awarded the 2017 Walkley Book Award and the Sir Owen Dixon Chambers Law Reporter of the Year Award. In a unanimous decision last April, the High Court annulled Pell’s convictions.

[10] Sydney University: “The study of gender is one of the most intellectually challenging and socially important areas of enquiry in the Humanities and Social Sciences.” Its SEI offers Gender and Environment (GCST263) — This unit uses feminist frameworks to investigate how environmental problems are shaped by intersecting factors of gender, race, sexuality, ability, economic status, and colonialisms. Drawing on examples such as climate change, toxic contamination, water privatisation, and resource extraction, this unit examines the material and conceptual links between human and non-human natures, and cultural, political, economic and social forces.”

25 comments
  • Doubting Thomas

    Tony takes yet another one for the team. Bravo!

  • Michael

    Elizabeth Beare, Michael’s Wife
    Let me echo that sentiment, Doubting Thomas. Tony has done a lot better than I managed to do when introduced to some of this rotting swamp garbage recently. Encouraged by someone from deep in my past, I read a recommended article which was still trying to attach a level sanity to the ‘anthropocene’ conference which it was summarising, but it was clear where the whole idea was heading: walking the insanity plank to drown in oblivion. Oh, it’s just fun, capriciousness and exploratory thinking, said he who recommended it to me, somewhat shamefaced about what was engaging him in the dotage of what was once an intellectual life. Well, actually, no, I say back, it’s a taxpayer funded trip inside the acid-soaked heads of some seriously disturbed and disintegrating souls who took too many drugs too young and lost all capacity for separating fantasy from reality in the increasingly absurd world they had created. In self-justification they are now trying to out-guru each other in attracting a coterie of similar crazies and/or bewildered students, ably assisted by various funding bodies too craven to try to resist their rise.
    The University of Sydney Faculty of Over The Rainbow, always something of a Sheltered Workshop for the Intellectually Enabled, has now descended completely into Bedlam on stilts, thus a pushover imho.
    The best my august Alma Mater can do now to retrieve itself from this deliberately meaningless allusive chatter (that is the point, they will tell you, twisted mouths and eyes wild) is to is pay out the tenured ones promoting this drivel and start again. Well done indeed, Tony, for wading through this sludge so that others can see it for what it is.

  • Michael

    Hmm. I note too that they are seeking peer reviewers.
    I have peer reviewed a heap of stuff in the social sciences over many years.
    Come and get me, darlings, but I must warn you.
    I can be quite feral. 🙂

  • ianl

    About a year ago, the International Commission on Stratigraphy (the official organisation, recognised by geologists worldwide as the arbiter of stratigraphical nomenclature) dismissed the noisy attempt by climate activists to invent a new era, which the activists wished to name as the “Anthropocene” for publicity.

    I repeat: the attempt was dismissed, on the grounds of no convincing evidence. The “Anthropocene” is a figment, a lie. Giving it credence by discussing it further is support of activism by default.

  • March

    Good grief, Looks like we’ll need more than one B-Ark to take away the refuse.

  • Lacebug

    I have no idea what i just read.

  • RB

    @March. Just be wary of dirty telephones and you will be fine. Perhaps number two could be in charge of cancel culture.

  • rod.stuart

    Lacebug
    Me neither.

  • Michael

    Elizabeth Beare, Michael’s Wife

    Shucks. Always forgetting to announce I am not Michael.
    I hope context suggests I was the person joking above about feral peer review.

    Michael wouldn’t deign to even joke with these frauds.

    And now we have the news that ‘Gone With The Wind’ and a raft of other items of cultural production in recent times have now gone down the memory hole, banned by major platforms like HBO and Netflix. Censored by the elites, just as the statues of our history and past are pulled down by the mob.
    Personally, I think the first half of ‘Gone With The Wind’ was an excellent and evocative piece of film-making, offering perspective on the Civil War that almost destroyed America; one of the best films to ever come out of Hollywood. The second half of GWTW was 1930’s romanticism run riot, but that was fun too in its own way as a look back in time, something we are increasingly forbidden to do. The awful burble of the ‘anthropocene’ is now all we are offered by way of art and too bad if you don’t want to go along with that specious nonsense. We are heading fast towards Year Zero; book burnings coming up next? The denunciations, shamings and platform cancelings have already commenced. Free speech is gasping its last.
    It now looks as though some of us are living long enough to see Mao’s Cultural Revolution happening all over again and not just on our doorstep but here inside our house. It is terrifying to think that the spirit of Pol Pot may not be far behind.

  • bearops

    Did this start when someone said it is ok to be nut? it seems now to be compulsory.

  • pgang

    bearops, no it began when the church started white-anting trinitarianism more than a thousand years ago. Then it accelerated when Aquinas elevated human reason to a higher rung on the epistemological ladder than revelation, defaulting to Greek paganism. This inevitably resulted in Descartes and his various humanist philosophical proteges. Whilst in its early days humanism attempted a reconciliation with revelation, that effort was progressively abandoned during the enlightenment, not surprisingly.
    This has led to our modern secular humanist societies – notably the pioneering France, Germany and Russia from the last couple of centuries, and now the almost total capitulation of all western culture in the past generation. Elizabeth Beare describes this process beautifully in her comments on her academic career.
    So what we are witnessing now, in various formats such as radical environmentalism, corana-virus lockdowns, faux-race riots, and the lunacy of higher education, is the result of our culture having been completely subsumed by the madness and vanity of the sinful human mind.

  • Stephen Due

    Thanks TT.
    Madness is engulfing major cultural institutions, not just in Sydney, but throughout the Anglosphere. Is it a symptom? Or the disease? Surely it is a symptom. Western civilisation is like a tree cut off from its roots. It stayed fresh and green for a while, but now is dying because of moral decline.
    Much is made of the Enlightenment, when science flowered and bore fruit. But science flourished in a fertile soil: without the moral transformation of Europe by Christianity there would have been no Enlightenment.
    It would be nice to be optimistic about the future. After all, civilisations have collapsed before, and been revived. But the collapse of the West is taking place on a global scale. There is no new land across the sea these days. This time it may really be the end. And on that cheerful note…

  • pgang

    Elizabeth, given that the GWTW report came from a newspaper I take it with a grain of salt. If the academy is rotten, how much more so the fourth estate.

  • Michael

    Elizabeth Beare, Michael’s Wife

    My message for those few who may still wish to exhibit sanity and dare I say it, job protection, within the Chancellery of my old Alma Mater is that this rot must be cut away as a matter of urgent fiat. This can be done either by axing the Faculty completely (no great loss as it stands) or less rigorously gently shepherding out the tenured dross onto early retirement and/or incapacity departures on disability payouts. Such departures would surely not be too hard to demonstrate as warranted.
    It can be done, has been done before termed as ‘restructuring’, so let it be done again now. All it takes is intestinal fortitude, after which the standing of this once-great University would be substantially improved. Relying on a fee-paying future of Chinese students in STEM subjects to underwrite the complete derangement shown above is no longer an option.

  • Michael

    Elizabeth Beare, Michael’s Wife

    Isn’t a new Vice-Chancellor due to arrive shortly at SU?
    Welcome, VC to be. Read my lips. I speak for many Alumni.

  • gary1

    Tony, your immense self restraint – even understatement – in detailing the lunacies of our age is astonishing. I hope that among your other appreciative readers, some are in a position to act, not merely enjoy the catharsis!

  • Michael

    Elizabeth Beare, Michael’s Wife

    “The edition was not short on supervisory oversight, with three editors, one guest editor, nine on the editorial board, six on the communications committee, and 13 on the advisory board, plus peer reviewers.”
    And this, dear readers, is how these people pad out their CV’s and get jobs when they apply to a selection committee of like-minded others for a well-paid academic position or a promotion to professorial status.
    Bingo!
    Your taxes at work, people, hiring the next generation of loonies to be let loose on your children who have worked so hard in their HSC year to get to these hallowed halls of learning. Or is that ‘unlearning’??

  • en passant

    “Defund the …” is the slogan of the moment. Insert your preferred choice, but we could begin with sexist gender studies.

  • Lacebug

    I made the mistake many years ago of enrolling in Aboriginal Literature at Syd Uni. Try criticising anything in that class and they had you marked as a racist.

  • L Louis

    Tony
    Your destruction [sic, not deconstruction] of this encroaching lunacy reads as a send up; but the age of satire is dead. Nor is it an excrescence or aberration, as some comments suggest. What your exemplary research thoroughly documents is
    “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

  • wstarck

    Those who produce nothing and vote for a living are arriving at the threshold of majority, and with demands which are immune to all reason and evidence. The only effective solution may ultimately prove to be to give them all they are asking for and leave natural selection to determine the resulting cull. Within a short time the drones would all have either joined the workers or made their most useful contribution to the biosphere as compost. The producers could then get back to work relieved of the burden and criticism of their parasites and with nature, society, resources and pollution all greatly improved.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    Was it William Blake who said: :”the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”? If only…..

    A harbinger of worse to come, I expect.

    Edward Gibbon

    “The five marks of the Roman [modern] decaying culture:

    Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;

    Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;

    Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;

    Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;

    Increased demand to live off the state.”

  • Feiko Bouman

    Thanks Tony,
    I had no idea that things were so extreme, so weird, so weird…decadent so borderline depraved.
    Of course we all knew that universities are seriously corrupt.
    (Excellent research-time-consuming. )
    BTW
    Enjoyed many of your Perth stories recently.

  • sirtony

    Alice,
    It appears that the Gibbon quotes are apocryphal although I have seen them on the internet. I paraphrase below from an article by Professor Kate van Liere (Calvin University History Professor):
    How could this string of awkward phrases pass for the words of one of the best historical writers in the English language? Not only is the syntax completely unlike Gibbon’s magisterial prose style, but much of the vocabulary is wholly anachronistic. “Obsession with sex” may not be a modern phenomenon, but surely it is a twentieth-century phrase, as is “living off the state.” In fact, the word “obsession” does not even appear once in Gibbon’s entire Decline and Fall. Nor do “freakish”, “sensationalistic”, or “disparity.” Gibbon never used the word “perversion” in the context of “sexual perversion.”
    You won’t find Gibbon summing up the “causes of decline” or “marks of decay” as neatly as in the bullet-pointed pseudo-Gibbon. The real Gibbon expressly warned that “the complaints of contemporary writers, who deplore the increase of luxury, and depravation of manners” tell us more about their own anxieties than about reliable historical patterns.
    It is off the mark to depict Gibbon as prophet of cultural decline, or as a critic of sexual perversion, decadent art, or welfare dependency. The first and the fourth of these apocryphal five “marks”—the ones about affluence—bear some resemblance to Gibbon’s own account of imperial Rome; he did have a lot to say about luxury and misplaced wealth. But the main culprits in Rome’s decline, as he saw it, were not ordinary citizens misbehaving, growing dissolute, or creating bad art. They were degenerate and immoral rulers, foreign invaders, and (most problematic for modern Christian readers) Christian converts and clergymen.
    As nobody once said, “Good ideas should not need historical quotations to make them credible.”

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Is the Minister for education aware of the crap that passes for education in our universities? If he does why does he/she not stop the flow of taxpayers funds to this absolute garbage? This is not education. If people want to play with Shite and with Ouija boards they can do it is their own time and on their own dime. And who gave the so called academics the job in the first place? This needs to be broadcast to the nation. I am sure the hard working men and women of this land would be thrilled to know how their tax dollars are being abused.

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