The Telemann is exquisite. The video is a masterwork illustrating how to detract from a subject you’re supposed to be highlighting.

I hope that synthetic meat is cheaper than what we currently have to pay. :>

Wow.  All of this.   Thank you Jane Clare Jones.

 

“That identity necessarily involves relation all becomes painfully, politically obvious in how this whole thing is playing out in practice. Someone can claim that trans people have an absolute right to determine their identity, but were that actually a simple ontological truth, then we wouldn’t be in an endless, fraught spiral about pronouns and misgendering and the world’s recalcitrant refusal to offer up the correct ‘validation.’ Being what you are is not merely a matter of a feeling, or of a ‘feeling of some fundamental essence.’ It’s a matter of being recognised by other human beings as the thing that you think you are.[2] It’s a matter of social relations. And this is why we’re in this whole fucking nightmare mess. Because we have a political movement claiming, on the one hand, that this is just a matter of identity, and it doesn’t affect anyone else, and anyone who thinks otherwise is just a nasty evil bigot, while, at the same time, because identity is all about social relations, they’re throwing a ton of their political weight into trying to control people’s speech, and behaviours, to enforce the validation of those identities.

[…]

The issue about the conflict over spaces, and the conflict about competing rights, is, in some sense, simply an amplification of this fundamental ontological issue. The trans rights movement is committed to claiming that trans people’s access to spaces, and trans people’s rights, has no impact on women’s spaces, or women’s rights, in just the same way as they claim that trans people are the sole and singular arbiters of their own identities, and it doesn’t affect anyone else. Were any of this actually true, this god-awful scrap wouldn’t be happening, because, despite the daily bullshit turned out by the trans rights movement, none of it is happening because a bunch of left-wing feminist women were suddenly afflicted by a plague of inexplicable hatred. The fact that it’s manifestly untrue that this doesn’t affect anyone else – and that, despite quintupling-down, the advocates of the ideology know that it’s untrue – is entirely given by the exhaustive efforts to control the ways people respond to trans people. Indeed, as we saw when we looked at Stonewall’s definition of ‘transphobia,’ it is given, most chillingly, by the effort to proscribe as an act of hatred the refusal – or to be blunt, often just the plain inability – to ‘correctly’ recognise a trans person’s identity.

[…]

This is what I’m talking about when I say that the totalitarianism we see from the trans rights movement – the threats, the slurs, the bullying, the demands for validation, the lists of narcissistic diktats, the inveterate Woke Stasi bullshit policing of people’s Twitter likes and retweets – is all, at a basic ontological level, baked in. If you ground a political movement on the idea that people are actually something that they’re not – or, to be a bit more charitable, you decide, for the first time in history, that the identity of someone does not reside is any observable feature of that someone, but only in some imperceptible internal magic essence – then you will inevitably end up trying to turn that imperceptible essence into a reality by rigidly disciplining other people’s recognition procedures, and disciplining them, moreover, away from what they actually do recognise. Even if this didn’t all cash out into an fuck-off huge rights conflict over access to women’s spaces (which it inevitably does, for exactly the reason of the social recognition such access conveys), the claim that trans rights has no effect on anyone else would still, at this base ontological level, be a MASSIVE fucking lie. No purported civil rights movement has ever tried to mandate, with such coercive force, how people speak, what they can and can’t believe, and what they must pretend to perceive, all in contravention of what they actually do perceive.”

  What’s going on in the US is chilling by nature.  The democratic underpinnings of their society are being being eroded at frightening rate as misinformation, lies, and propaganda replace the space once reserved for reasonable public discourse.  This process of disintegration isn’t new, but is hastened by the current republican administration’s dedication to a post-truth version of reality exemplified by their leader whose internal process seems to be this:  “I am right because I am always right”.

Scary stuff.  Arnold Isaacs, writing for Tom’s Dispatch catches a glimpse into the post-truth world that much of the American leadership seems to be mired in.

 

“President Trump looks like a quite different case. He clearly lies consciously at times, but generally the style and content of his falsehoods give the impression that he has engaged in a kind of internal mental Photoshopping, reshaping facts inside his mind until they conform to something he wants to say at a given moment.

A recent report in the Daily Beast described an episode that fits remarkably well with that theory.

As told by the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, at a March 2017 White House meeting between the president and representatives of leading veterans organizations, Rick Weidman of Vietnam Veterans of America brought up the subject of Agent Orange, the widely used U.S. defoliant that has had long-term health effects on American soldiers and Vietnamese villagers.

As Suebsaeng reconstructed the discussion, Trump responded by asking if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie” — a reference evidently to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. Several veterans in the room tried to explain to the president that the scene he remembered involved napalm, an incendiary agent, not Agent Orange. But Trump wouldn’t back down, Suebsaeng recounted, “and proceeded to say things like, ‘no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.'” His comment directly to Weidman was, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie.”

What makes the Daily Beast report particularly revealing is not just that Trump was ignorant of the facts and would not listen to people who clearly knew better. That behavior is all too familiar to anyone even casually aware of Trump’s record. The argument with the veterans was different because his misstatement did not arise from any of the usual reasons. He was not answering a critic or tearing down someone who frustrated him or making an argument for a policy opinion or defending some past statement.

Sticking to his version of Agent Orange was purely a reflection of his personality. On a subject one can safely assume he had not thought about until that moment, he seized on a fragmentary memory of something he’d seen on a screen years earlier, jumped to a wrong conclusion, and was then immediately convinced that he was correct solely because he had heard himself saying it — not only certain that he was right, but oblivious to the fact that everyone he was talking to knew more about the subject than he did.

In effect, this story strongly suggests, Trump’s thought process (if you can call it that) boils down to: I am right because I am always right.

Lots of people absorb facts selectively and adapt them to fit opinions they already hold. That’s human nature. But the president’s ability to twist the truth, consciously or not, is extreme. So is his apparently unshakable conviction that no matter what the subject is, no one knows more than he does, which means he has no need to listen to anyone who tries to correct his misstatements. In a person with his power and responsibilities, those qualities are truly frightening.

As alarming as his record is, though, it would be a serious mistake to think of Trump as the only or even the principal enemy of truth and truth-tellers. There is a large army out there churning out false information, using technology that lets them spread their messages to a mass audience with minimal effort and expense. But the largest threat to truth, I fear, is not from the liars and truth twisters, but from deep in our collective and individual human nature.”

It’s easier to believe a familiar lie than the uncomfortable truth – this is our human tendency – but now, more than ever, we need to seek out that uncomfortable space where we see ourselves and our situations for what they are, not what we want them to be.

 

Damn. Just go read it all.

Jane Clare Jones

Normally when I write I make jokes. But this morning I find I really don’t feel like joking about any of this right now. I finished working late yesterday afternoon to discover Graham Linehan telling me on Twitter that Twitter had announced a potential new policy that would lead to the ‘immediate silencing’ of my voice. And when I read the proposed policy I realised, with a wash of sudden cold shock, that he was right. Those of you who know me, know me. You know that I have dedicated my entire adult life to thinking about injustice, and to analysing how mechanisms of domination function to destroy the lives of vast numbers of people, because of their sex, or sexual orientation, or socio-economic class, or race. You know I’ve never bothered much with accumulating civic or financial power, because I think we live in a bankrupt neoliberal patriarchal white…

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