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April 25, 2021

"Scientists Create Early Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey," and I see slightly fewer than 1,000,000 ways this could go badly.

I for one, welcome our new monkey overlords.

I'm not saying that this will result in a race of monkey-slaves doing the bidding of their AI overlords thereby heralding the extinction of the human race, I'm just saying...

Okay, I'm saying that.

Regardless, I am going to nominate this as the week's most unintentionally comical line:

But some ethicists worry about how such research could go wrong.

But need not worry, they have no intention of turning the earth into a dystopian hell where humans are hunted down like animals.

Belmonte acknowledges the ethical concerns. But he stresses that his team has no intention of trying to create animals with the part-human, part-monkey embryos, or even to try to grow human organs in such a closely related species.

They have only good intentions and as everyone knows the road to hell is paved with...

Uh, oh.

"I don't see this type of research being ethically problematic," said Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University. "It's aimed at lofty humanitarian goals."

Interestingly, given that the Chinese Communist Party is currently accused of harvesting organs from Muslim slaves for transplant, this could actually be a step up for them, ethically speaking.

And yes, this is starting to sound like the opening act of every single disaster movie ever.

But, I'm probably overreacting.

"My first question is: Why?" said Kirstin Matthews, a fellow for science and technology at Rice University's Baker Institute. "I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we're just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do."

Okay, okay, so we have the impassioned moral case for caution being made by the concerned outsider scientist.

Monkey Slave 1

I'm thinking Catherine Zeta-Jones.

And then there's the scientist blind to the moral hazards of his work, ignoring the warnings, obsessed as he is with the purely clinical aspects of his work and speaking in the antiseptic terms of the amoral.

"This is one of the major problems in medicine — organ transplantation," said Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, Calif., and a co-author of the Cell study. "The demand for that is much higher than the supply."

Monkey Slave 2

I'm picking up a Robert Duvall vibe here but we need someone younger.

Dwayne Johnson it is.

What am I talking about? In 20 years, this will be what the cast looks like.

Shutterstock_589592669

The science itself is fascinating. Thousands of people do die each year because of a lack of available organs for transplant, and earlier efforts to create these "chimeras" using sheep and pig embryos (human bacon! try to unremember that!) have failed.

...So Belmonte teamed up with scientists in China and elsewhere to try something different. The researchers injected 25 cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells from humans — commonly called iPS cells — into embryos from macaque monkeys, which are much more closely genetically related to humans than are sheep and pigs.

After one day, the researchers reported, they were able to detect human cells growing in 132 of the embryos and were able study the embryos for up to 19 days. That enabled the scientists to learn more about how animal cells and human cells communicate, an important step toward eventually helping researchers find new ways to grow organs for transplantation in other animals, Belmonte said.

See, no ethical dilemmas here, move along.

"Our goal is not to generate any new organism, any monster," Belmonte said.

It never is.

Shutterstock_332669927

Believe it or not, it hasn't gotten weird yet.

But this type of scientific work and the possibilities it opens up raises serious questions for some ethicists. The biggest concern, they said, is that someone could try to take this work further and attempt to make a baby out of an embryo made this way. Specifically, the critics worry that human cells could become part of the developing brain of such an embryo — and of the brain of the resulting animal.

"Should it be regulated as human because it has a significant proportion of human cells in it? Or should it be regulated just as an animal? Or something else?" Rice University's Matthews said. "At what point are you taking something and using it for organs when it actually is starting to think and have logic?"

Let's dial it up just a bit more.

"Nobody really wants monkeys walking around with human eggs and human sperm inside them," said Hank Greely, a Stanford University bioethicist who co-wrote an article in the same issue of the journal that critiques the line of research while noting that this particular study was ethically done. "Because if a monkey with human sperm meets a monkey with human eggs, nobody wants a human embryo inside a monkey's uterus."

Oh, yuck!

Shutterstock_695408200

Greely said he hopes the work will spur a more general debate about how far scientists should be allowed to go with this kind of research.

"I don't think we're on the edge of beyond the Planet of the Apes. I think rogue scientists are few and far between. But they're not zero," Greely said. "So I do think it's an appropriate time for us to start thinking about, 'Should we ever let these go beyond a petri dish?'"

It's telling that it does not even occur to him that the petri dish can be problematic. At what point are we dealing with an embryo that is arguably human? What would be the criteria? Is it even possible to create a criteria?

For several years, the National Institutes of Health has been weighing the idea of lifting a ban on funding for this kind of research but has been waiting for new guidelines, which are expected to come out next month, from the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

An article announcing this from 2016:

"Part-human, part-animal embryos."

J.

April 25, 2021 at 04:15 PM in Science | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 21, 2021

Professor says the problem with academia today is "too many conservatives." But here's the real punch line: He makes a point, just not the one he intended.

Everyone had quite a bit of fun with this earlier in the week.

That's ridiculous, right?

Why, everyone knows academia skews left. Way left.

Campus Reform contacted Siddique about this claim. When presented with a study published by the National Association of Scholars showing that college professors donate to Democrats ninety-five times more than to Republicans, Siddique insisted this was not relevant.

Not relevant?  I know what you want to do. You want to type up a witty retort, quite possibly in all caps so as to be more persuasive, but hold on to that thought for a moment.

Campus Reform has reported on hundreds of business school professors who endorsed President Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election.

Joe Biden?  Why that's clear evidence THAT THEY ARE JUST A BUNCH OF...

Put down the Mountain Dew and step away from the keyboard for a moment.

Nicole Neily, President of Speech First, criticized Siddique for his factually "incorrect" premise, citing a study showing that university administrators, on average, lean more left than their professors.

"Factually" incorrect is the worst kind of incorrect, because, you know, facts.

And it wasn't just Nicole Neily jumping on the Fact Express to truth and justice, it was Samual Abrams, too, whoever he is.

"Dr. Siddique's factual premise is incorrect; Sarah Lawrence professor Samuel Abrams the ideological composition of university administrators several years ago, and found that they actually lean farther left than even university professors," Neily told Campus Reform.

Akshually...

They can lean all they want, leaning is easy. Leaning is free.

You know what's not free?  Acting.  Acting can cost you.  Money, standing, privilege.

So, instead, they lean, and if they lean hard enough, maybe no one will notice they aren't doing anything, at least nothing that affects them directly.

Siddique noticed, and said something.  Sure, he has a cartoonish view of conservatism, and completely missed the larger point, but he's just falling into the same trap as the rest of us too often do.

There is a difference between preaching and acting, between virtue signalling and living with real-life consequences.

Let's put it this way, John Kerry travels in a private jet the better to lecture the rest of us about the sacrifices we must all make for the sake of the environment. Nancy Pelosi and Lori Lightfoot go to salons so they may be more presentable when they explain to the rest of us why it doesn't much matter whether we are presentable or not, and university administrators sing from the woke hymnal as much as necessary, but have no intention of putting any of it into practice in a manner that would interfere with their own wealth and comfort.

More to the point, it has nothing to do with ideology, principle or fundamental belief systems. Those things may be important to us, but they are just useful distractions to those in power.

Here's Siddique's original tweet.

The problem with academia today is that it has too many conservatives. They run the university. They sit in admin & on university boards enforcing manufactured austerity, combating unionization, & casualizing most of the professoriate.

Let's take a look at these one by one, from Siddique's point of view:

"Enforcing manufactured austerity."

Harvard has an endowment a little shy of $40 billion, Yale around $30 billion, Stanford and Princeton around $25 billion.

Even Siddique's own University of Massachusetts has an endowment a little short of $1 billion and an annual budget of $3.4 billion.

Why all the money? Why is Harvard "hoarding" nearly $40 billion? Think of all the social justice work they could do, if they really meant it. Instead, they talk about it, preening away, and "speaking out" against injustice.

Anything to keep the rubes busy.

"Combating unionization."

They typically fight it tooth and nail, where they can, particularly the richest and most woke of the private universities whose resistance to the unionization of their grad students has earned its own Wikipedia entry.

Oh, they totally believe in unions.  Elsewhere.

"Casualizing the professoriate."

Yes, "casualize" is a real thing.

If a business casualizes its employees or casualizes their labour, it replaces employees with permanent contracts and full rights with employees with temporary contracts and few rights.

It's tough to unionize contract workers.

This is a big issue in higher academic circles.

In the past, critics like myself and others were urged not to fret about the adjunctification, or "casualization," of academic labor. Again and again, jowly college presidents, rear admirals of learned societies bearing epaulets, line managers at elite doctoral mills, and assorted free-market types in bow ties, assured us that the institution of tenure was doing just swell. When it came to the growing ranks of nontenured, they spoke of "redundancies," "strategic redeployment of resources," and riffed about the need to be "nimble" in response to "shifting market demand." In many ways, these thought leaders were the brainy forebears of our current epistemological moment — a moment in which citizens are implored to ignore relevant data and their own engagement with empirical reality. Everything is perfect.

That things were nowhere near perfect in our vocation was as clear 10 years ago as is the desolate street outside your window today.

But as long as they contributed to Joe Biden, it's all good, right?

Back to Siddique for a moment.

Those who think that the ideological character of the university can be discerned by the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how institutions work. You have to look at management, not labor.

He has a point, but even that doesn't fully apply here. The faculty is in on it, too, at least the upper echelons, which they will do anything to preserve. Quoting Salazar again.

It cannot be denied that the apathy of tenured professors to the plight of their nontenured colleagues is a failure of common decency and professional solidarity (about which, more anon). But it pales in comparison to the dereliction of duty of our administrative overseers. It is they who made more or less all of the decisions just mentioned. Once those decisions were put into play, all that remained was for the present Covid-19 crisis to accelerate our free fall to the bottom.

When your self-interest conflicts with your ideals guess which wins out?

Siddique appears sincere in his beliefs, and when interviewed by Campus Reform above was invariably polite and seemed open to some intellectual give and take.

But both he and Campus Reform missed the real story. When all is said and done, when you drill down to the motivations of those with control, this has nothing to do with liberal vs. conservative values, or "right" vs. "left." It never does.

It's about power, seizing it, and more importantly, keeping it.

The top two people at Harvard are white men.

Harvard president

Same thing at Yale.

Yale president

Why don't they resign and make room for a BIPOC? They're perfectly happy denying your kid admission, particularly if he or she is Asian, in favor of furthering "diversity," so why don't they live what they preach?

Harvard has no Hispanic deans. None. Why not move out a couple more white guys? They've got plenty to spare! Why are the two Asian deans from a single country, India? How does that reflect the student body?

College administrators can pave their grassy country estates with BLM signs, they can support the Biden campaign and adopt 47 pronouns for describing their students, but it's all for the singular purpose of preserving their own wealth, comfort, and power.

That's what we're not supposed to notice while we scramble about screaming "hypocrisy!" and fighting ideological battles that they consider not timeless values but merely mechanisms, tools to be used for their own benefit. 

They know it's hypocrisy.

The don't care.

April 21, 2021 at 06:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 16, 2021

Cherry blossoms bloomed a few days earlier than expected meaning we're all supposed to panic or something.

Cherry Blossom Panic Cover 2

Never let a crisis go to waste?

How about never let a completely benign and utterly common event go to waste!

I regret to inform you that it's true, the cherry blossoms bloomed a few days earlier this year than originally expected.

Maybe you should start getting your affairs in order.

Also, turn over control of your life to the government. That will also be necessary I'm afraid.

Assuming you don't want to die!

However, as beautiful as it was, the early bloom is a grim reminder of the threats that the iconic Tidal Basin faces from a changing climate. Already, the basin floods and inundates the famous trees' roots daily, and this will only worsen as the planet warms. Estimates show that within 50 years, high tide will rise an additional 6 inches, which is entirely unsustainable.

Excuse me for a moment, I need to run around hysterically for a while.

Okay, I feel better now.

One thing though, kind of interesting I guess if you are some kind of data nerd, that the writer did not consider particularly relevant to the matter.

The cherry blossoms have bloomed earlier than this year 4 out of the last 11 years, and on or about the same time for another 2, suggesting that this year was, as "grim reminders of the threats that the iconic Tidal Basin faces from a changing climate" go, kinda average.

Cherry Blossom Doom 1 (1)

I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to notice that.

It doesn't matter, we have a scientific consensus, and as everyone knows, once you have scientific consensus it can never be challenged.

That's just what science is all about.

J.

April 16, 2021 at 02:13 PM in Current Affairs, Global Warming with CONSENSUS WATCH | Permalink | Comments (2)

April 10, 2021

Newly arrived "Kondo Karens" try to shut down decades-old local car club in East Austin noting such things as "toxic masculinity."

68373491-29ef-45f1-b847-f9627dd091d0

I could not confirm at press time whether or not a manager had been seen yet.

Full disclosure, I am a car guy. I've shown cars at car shows (purely amateur "fun field" stuff) and genuinely enjoy the myriad cultures and subcultures that comprise the love of automobiles and that routinely brings people of all races and backgrounds together.

Which I guess is why it must be destroyed.

Some variation of this assembly has taken place nearly every Sunday afternoon since the early nineties. But now many residents of The Weaver, a newly built luxury apartment building across the street—whose website promises renters access to a "community that is rich in history and tradition"—have decided it's time for the weekly event to come to an unceremonious end.

A twitter commenter noted that,

"In legal-speak it's called "coming to the nuisance."

He noted the people who come to the nuisance usually lose, although I don't believe that's true in the long run. They'll win the court battles but eventually will lose the economic war.

It's what happened when the Washington DC metro area began pushing out into the outer counties with real vigor back in the '90s. People wanted to "get out in the country," none of whom apparently had ever actually lived in the country, the sum total of their knowledge regarding rural life coming from Hallmark Christmas cards and coming-of-age Family Channel cable fare.

Much to the surprise of the newcomers, nature smells, and complaints began rolling in about the smell of manure and the like from the abutting farms.

And something had to be done about it!

There wasn't much they could really do, of course, farms are gonna farm, but while the legal and even political battles were won by the farmers, they eventually lost the war as developers bought all the land, the farmers left, cash in pocket, and now large swaths of these outer counties have become suburban seas of builder-grade condos and McMansion developments for socially insecure status seekers.

Which brings us back to Austin.

Some of the building's residents defend the car club gatherings and note they predate The Weaver residents' arrival in the neighborhood, but many others have grown tired of the loud music, annoyed by the traffic, and turned off by the smell of skidding tires.

In promoting the condo complex, The Weaver condo notes,

"...the thrill of thriving in vibrant East Austin style."

It would appear the thrill of East Austin's "vibrant style" diminishes in appeal the closer you get to it. The obvious solution is, don't get close to it if you don't like it.

Or, I guess you could demand the existing neighborhood conform to your expectations of a watered down, sanitized, and quieter "vibrancy" probably involving Pinot Grigio and Teslas humming along in electrified silence.

One particularly vocal tenant, a non-Hispanic white woman with short blond hair who appeared to be in her fifties and refused to give her name, claimed that smoke from the tires was killing nearby trees...

Tire smoke is a well-known herbicide. It's amazing the whole east side of Austin hasn't already been deforested by burnouts.

Forget Agent Orange, we should have sent battalions of East Side care enthusiasts to Viet Nam, do some burnouts, clear out those jungles in no time.

...and that traffic from the gathering would make it impossible for an ambulance to reach her in the event of a medical emergency (though two other roads to the apartment building remain accessible at all times).

She SO wants to call a manager.

Another Weaver resident voiced more generalized criticism, calling the event a "display of toxic masculinity."

East Austin: A Superfund site of toxic masculinity.

And if we're going to describe a love of automobiles and occasional burnouts (they gather for a few hours one day a week) "toxic masculinity," then I'd describe whatever this is as "toxic femininity."

The Weaver Chicano Park 6

"Socially distanced social hour!"

I think all the testosterone just drained from my body. Maybe I need to revisit my pronouns...

The next day, it was clear that patience remained in short supply. Watching from her upper-floor apartment, one of The Weaver's most vocal critics of the car clubs, the blond woman who worried about emergency responders being able to reach her, decided she'd had enough. She bounded downstairs and into the street in high heels, holding her iPhone to film the offending vehicles and threatening to call the police on another group of men standing beside an old-school Ford sedan who looked unamused.

"Cultural tolerance," and "diversity makes us stronger," are concepts widely celebrated by the upper classes.

In the abstract.

He [a car enthusiast] wondered why instead of calling the police and creating unnecessary tension the blond woman and other angry residents hadn't walked across the street and introduced themselves first, opening up dialogue. "If you come with good energy, you'll find out that we're just here to chill and enjoy the cars and the scenery," he said. "Don't be scared."

That would require they actually live that tolerance, genuinely open their minds to a different culture, learn about it, understand it, perhaps even come to appreciate it.

"It's just a few hours out of the week."

Too much for the Kondo Karens. I mean, it's one thing to have "them" come around and care for their grounds, remove their garbage, walk their dogs, serve them their lattes, but look, there are boundaries. They certainly don't want to have to live with them.

To my surprise, this makes me want to visit Austin now, if only to rent a Mustang or a Camaro, or some other appropriate symbol of toxic masculinity, and do a few social justice burnouts in front of The Weaver.

Incidentally, if you'd like to read a full-out profane and passionate rampage about this, check out this series of rage tweets. I follow him, a real car guy who rarely goes off the hook like this, and it is glorious. But really, profane.

 

There was a rally not long ago in support of the car clubs and the mayor even stopped by so maybe there's still some hope.

April 10, 2021 at 08:44 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4)

April 09, 2021

University of Oxford changing music degree curriculum to address "white hegemony" because things like learning musical notation is colonialist

The problem with Oxford's music curriculum?

Way too much music.

(You should be able to get behind the Telegraph's paywall going through MSN here.)

Documents reveal that faculty members, who decide on courses that form the music degree, have proposed reforms to address this "white hegemony", including rethinking the study of musical notation because it is a "colonialist representational system".

Teaching notation which has not "shaken off its connection to its colonial past" would be a "slap in the face" for some students, documents state, and music-writing studies have been earmarked for rebranding to be more inclusive.

"A slap in the face."

You know, notes, bars, sharp signs,... definitely can see those causing PCRTTSD, or "Post Critical Race Theory Traumatic Stress Disorder."

What exactly is this musical notation that they want to eliminate as a necessary course to get a degree in music from Oxford?

Pretty much what you think it is, "sheet music," the means by which musicians both aspiring and otherwise can create and share complex compositions.

Musical notation, visual record of heard or imagined musical sound, or a set of visual instructions for performance of music. It usually takes written or printed form and is a conscious, comparatively laborious process. Its use is occasioned by one of two motives: as an aid to memory or as communication. By extension of the former, it helps the shaping of a composition to a level of sophistication that is impossible in a purely oral tradition. By extension of the latter, it serves as a means of preserving music (although incompletely and imperfectly) over long periods of time, facilitates performance by others, and presents music in a form suitable for study and analysis.

What is its connection to colonialism? The best I can determine is that it was developed during a time when European nations were colonizing large portions of the world. If that's the measure by which we cancel things now, things could get interesting.

Maybe we should eliminate scientific notation as a requirement for getting a degree in mathematics. It is believed the first attempt at developing scientific notation was in ancient Greece. Greece is a part of Europe, Greece is full of white people (well, white-ish), and they had slaves, so I guess out it goes. Just use smaller numbers from now on, say no larger than 1000, I'm sure that will work out fine.

Incidentally, if you find you are triggered by things like musical notation, maybe you should consider the very real possibility that you picked the wrong major.

It's like wanting to be a carpenter but you've got this wood allergy so if they could maybe eliminate the wood part of the job that would be great, thanks.

Professors said the classical repertoire taught at Oxford, which spans works by Mozart and Beethoven, focuses too much on "white European music from the slave period."

"The slave period."

I have news for them: We're still in the slave period. We've always been in the slave period.

A genuine and enduring human scandal, but a fact.

And where might slavery be most prevalent today?

Overall, in the countries that are not European and were never European colonies.

 

Global Slavery Index 2018

Which countries are doing the most to end modern slavery?

Overall, the countries that are European or were European colonies.

Highlights-response-1156x1520

That's something you don't see discussed very much in academic circles or the media or pretty much anywhere.

Maybe we should be recolonizing the musical curriculum instead.

Academics have also proposed that musical skills such as learning to play the keyboard or conducting orchestras should no longer be compulsory because the repertoire "structurally centres white European music" which causes "students of colour great distress".

A few thoughts:

The university of Oxford is in England which is part of Europe.

So, a European university centering on European music really should not be much of a revelation.

As for "white European music," well, I guess that's important.

If you're a racist.

It is also noted that the "vast bulk of tutors for techniques are white men".

A faculty checklist devised to tick off student demands notes that hip hop and jazz are on the curriculum at Oxford, providing "non-Eurocentric" topics of study. But professors questioning whether the "structure of our curriculum supports white supremacy" have also highlighted the issue of an "almost all-white faculty" giving "privilege to white musics".

Fun fact: The UK is over 85% white.

Adding additional forms of music is a great idea, but centering a degree in music on on its traditional European roots at a university in Europe sounds pretty unworthy of controversy to me.

Options focussing on French composer Machaut and Schubert's last decade could be changed to focus on "African and African Diasporic Musics", "Global Musics", and "Popular Musics" under one proposal.

By all means, add other forms of music, other options. In  fact, those already exist at Oxford as they should. But this is Oxford, the music degree they offer should be focused on Oxford.

Or are we allowed to "deny their lived experience," because I thought that was a thing now.

Another suggestion is that pop music will come into greater focus, allowing students to study mooted events in popular culture including "Dua Lipa's Record Breaking Livestream" and "Artists Demanding Trump Stop Using Their Songs".

Maybe they can offer a masters degree in "Listening to Spotify While I Update My Instagram Profile." That should have a lot of currency in the market.

This is how cultures not just die, but commit ritual suicide. They are no longer proud of their heritage but ashamed of it. To paraphrase Ben Shapiro, they have been convinced that every bad thing done by a white European was unique to white Europeans, and every good thing done is common to all humanity when the exact opposite is true.

The culture is dying, and it's doing it on purpose.

April 9, 2021 at 03:55 PM in Current Affairs, Education, Woke Madness | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 06, 2021

Evergreen trees are now racist as Portland school board member puts a halt to naming evergreens as a school mascot because of lynching. Wait, what?!

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School in Portland, Oregon conducted a months-long process to choose a new mascot whittling the original list down from over 2000 names to 420 and eventually to 5 finalists only to have ended up picking the racist one, "evergreen trees."

Talk about bad luck.

There is an irony here in that the only reason I can think of for choosing a plant phylum for your school mascot (Who's their main football rival? The Fighting Ferns?), is if you wanted to bend over backwards and twice on Sunday to avoid any possibility that your choice could be the least bit controversial or give offense to anyone. What's left after that? Lint? Masonry? Maybe something off the periodic table? "The fearsome Ida B. Wells-Barnett Helium Molecules," does have a certain ring to it...

While evergreen trees might seem inoffensive to someone who is not a Community Engagement and Policy Coordinator for the city of Portland, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett high school was fortunate to have as a School Board Director, Michelle DePass, who managed to turn the seemingly innocent conifer into something far more sinister.

"I'm wondering if there was any concern with the imagery there, in using a tree ... as our mascot?" DePass asked the mascot renaming committee.

Incidentally, they were replacing their old mascot, the Trojan.

WilsonMascot_small

I guess that offended, who, the politically powerful Oregon Ancient Greece lobby?

"I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might've been a really big blind spot."

There are blind spots, and then there are anti-racist supervision spots with the power to conjure up racist intent out of little more than pretense and pine needles. 

"Lynching is a really difficult topic to talk about and as a sole Black board member, I invite you, beg you, implore you to join me in disrupting the situations, practices, that are racist."

We're still talking about a tree. I think.

These are the dots you have to connect to understand her logic, or what passes for it:

  • Ida B. Wells was a prominent civil rights activist post Civil War, exposing the brutal treatment of blacks in the south including the barbaric practice of lynching.
  • Lynching mobs often used trees.
  • Evergreen trees are trees.
  • Ergo, evergreen trees are racist.

Kind of a "post hoc ergo propter hoc" argument only with a few more hocs, a couple of ergos, and maybe another propter or two.

"I can't do this by myself," she said.

This immense burden falls to her.

Stunning. Brave.

Insane.

As it turns out, the naming committee, including an African-American, says they had actually discussed the connection.

"We did talk about it, but we were looking at the symbolism more as a tree of life, than a tree of death," Osborne, who is African American, told the school board. "You could certainly take it either way, depending upon your position."

Yes, assuming one of those positions is located in crazy town.

The naming committee even discussed the relative merits of trees suitable for lynchings depending on their taxonomic classification.

"Lynching trees typically are not evergreens," he added, saying deciduous trees with large, lower branches were typically used to hang Black people in the south.

I feel I should remind readers here that this was part of a discussion about a school mascot.

While they had originally agreed to delay the decision, they decided last night to cave in to the absurdity.

I also wanted to let everyone know that we will be changing the mascot recommendation which we initially presented to the School Board on March 30.  After further discussion, reflection, and consideration, the renaming committee and I determined that Evergreens is not an appropriate mascot for our school.  While the Evergreens certainly do symbolize strength and vitality for many cultural, regional, and racial groups, Evergreens can also evoke painful memories of brutal lynchings that Ida B. Wells reported on. 

Evergreen trees = brutal lynchings.

News you can use!

Of course this kind of thing weaponizes completely benign objects, creates yet more invisible landmines for the innocent to inadvertently trigger, and ultimately trivializes something that is deadly serious.

As Leo Terrell put it,

This subject bothers me a lot. I've been a civil rights attorney for 30 years. I taught U.S. History for seven years. I've never had a client complain that a tree is racist. I've never had a case that deals with the tree being racist. It devalues true racism in this country... It diminishes and devalues what actually happened in the 30s and 40s and 50s.

There is an "Ida B Wells Middle School" located in Washington DC which had recently changed their name and chose to keep their mascot, still calling themselves "the wolves."

Now, I don't want to stir up any trouble, but wolves are related to dogs which are related to German Shepherds which were often used as...

April 6, 2021 at 03:00 PM in Racism, Woke Madness | Permalink | Comments (2)