4/3/17: JAPCAT Roundup

The quantity of JAPCAT articles (Jewish Awareness of Politically Correct Absurdities Transpiring) is rising, rising, rising!

Finding JAPCAT articles used to be a novelty. Now, they are getting pumped out daily. My, what a mess the old left has found itself in!

Today, we have two articles, both of which properly hone in on the elements of power and the display of such power, in SJW schenanigans.

William Deresiewicz writes “On Political Correctness”, where he orients Political Correctness as tantamount to a secular religion:

So this is how I’ve come to understand the situation. Selective private colleges have become religious schools. The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority of faculty and administrators who work at them. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion.

Meanwhile, in “The Age of Offence”, Ira Wells, after establishing his liberal bona fides by scoffing at the right and other virtue-signaling, concedes that:

An increasingly sensitive and fine-grained vocabulary for registering and opposing forms of sexism, racism, ableism and religious intolerance has undeniably been developing within higher education.

Wells provides a few examples, such as this one:

… a case at the University of Ottawa in 2015, where a free yoga class was cancelled by the Centre for Students with Disabilities due to concerns over “cultural appropriation.” An official with the centre explained that, as yoga comes from cultures that “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy … we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practising yoga.”

Wells adds:

Although media coverage does its work of simplification and amplification, the fact remains that, in certain quarters within the academy, the threshold for causing (and taking) offence has never been lower. A bad joke can bring down a student government. The wrong word can get you fired. Practising yoga could make you complicit in histories of imperial rape. Simply showing one’s face in certain places could induce a micro trauma in students from vulnerable communities.

Insofar as Wells’ article is useful, and not just another retread of the obvious, it is his more-or-less correct appraisal of how the trolling Alt-Right is something of a direct consequence of Political Correctness:

As it turned out, the diverse coalition of Trump skeptics—the unlikely confederacy of GOP insiders, neoconservatives, public relations professionals and leftists who were so certain of Trump’s defeat—had all stumbled into committing some version of what literary critics once called the affective fallacy. They presumed that voters, confronted with Trump’s boundless vulgarity, would feel what they felt, hear what they heard: a churlish demagogue spewing loathsome nonsense. Instead, what many voters heard—and apparently continue to hear—is an authentic appeal for liberty from a corrupt authority. The more Trump goaded his opponents into denouncing his latest outrage, the more evidence he appeared to garner of an institutionalized elite creeping ever further into the sovereign terrain of the private self. The actual execution was closer to performance art than a coherent political strategy, and its stunning effectiveness derived from the perfect continuity of media and message. It was Marshall McLuhan as rewritten by Huckleberry Finn: vulgarity is freedom.

Then, we get more liberal bona-fides calling for a tempering of P.C. if progressives are ever to unite and actualize progressive Utopia:

To the graduate student or professor steeped in Althusser, Gramsci, Fanon or Žižek, the suggestion that the worst forms of (say) racism are operating on such an engrained, unconscious level that we are not even aware of them as racist will be uncontroversial. However, to anyone outside those circles, including many classical liberals—the academic leftists’ natural allies in the fight for progressive values—the notion that we need a new professional class of exorcists to detect offensive speech and re-educate the public mind comes across as self-interested charlatanism…

The question, today, is how to effect progressive social change without actively contributing to the right-wing parody of academia, leaving large numbers of well-intentioned people behind and bolstering the compensatory offensiveness of Trumpism.

Will the P.C. Left take Wells’ advice? Of course not. As we are seeing since Nov of 2016, the Left is quadrupling down instead:

Where do we go from here? Some will see the popular legitimation of Trumpist macroaggression (alongside the rise of right-wing media: Breitbart and Drudge in the United States, Rebel Media in Canada) as further evidence that now, more than ever, the university needs to be inclusive and respectful of difference—a safe space where diversity is valued and students are sheltered from the atavistic forces ascendant in the wider political culture. On our increasingly cosmopolitan, diverse and globalized campuses, we must remain ever vigilant against naturalizing our own assumptions and cognizant of the minor yet morally important ways in which offensive speech can be an impediment to learning.

This approach will involve the re-entrenchment and expansion both of implicit norms and explicit disciplinary measures for curbing the freedom of expression. There will be more cultural sensitivity training, more censorship, more calling out, more exclusions to preserve the purity of inclusivity. The right-wing media will continue to do its work. The university will appear increasingly ridiculous, brittle and irrelevant.

Wells is speaking rhetorically here, but I say ‘Amen to that.’

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