Leftist hypocrisy

Thoughts on socialism and leftism generally

Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Gavin » 29 Oct 2012, 17:20

It's funny you should have posted that just now because I was about to write on the Twitter thread that every time I look at a musician's Twitter feed it has an effect whereby it just puts me off them. It even makes it harder to listen to their music. Almost 100% of pop artists are banal, left-wing and foul mouthed. I'm not going to subscribe to any, because they never say anything of any substance anyway.

I've found that this is less the case with classical composers - including digital composers. Ninety-nine per cent of them are still left-wing, no doubt, equating left with "good" automatically, but even so they are less inane and self-obsessed. They are certainly far more skilled, and probably more sensitive too - after all, they are the ones actually making the music.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Elliott » 13 Nov 2012, 14:11

When this forum first started, I was frequently getting quite irate about the ravings of a feminist lunatic called Laurie Penny. Soon enough, I got other things to think about and I forgot about her in the fullness of time, though evidence of my contempt for her remains scattered around this forum in the form of the odd sly remark or scathing comment.

Ms. (I daren't say "Miss") Penny is a purveyor of the kind of blind, naive, simplistic, ideological Marxist feminism that is really the epitome of what we complain about on this forum. She has no idea about real life, is self-absorbed and narcissistic, projects her own personal issues onto women in general, and of course, is simultaneously insincere and convinced of her own sincerity.

Aged 26, her "persona" is that of a vulnerable little girl, finding all sorts of horrid things in the world and valiantly, virtuously, heroically combating them for the good of the poor, the needy and the voiceless.

Well then...

You can imagine my delight just now to stumble upon this video of Ms. Penny being trashed by conservative historian Prof. David Starkey. It truly is a wonderful watch, and I advise everyone to play it because you will soon be grinning from ear to ear.



An experience like that, which would have been very humiliating for Ms. Penny, could have been the kind of helpful wake-up call she needed to bring her out of her insincerity. Alas, three months later she has been made "contributing editor" of the New Statesman...
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Maxwell » 13 Nov 2012, 15:03

The ad hominem attack, victim stance and above all - the smirking - speaks volumes.

Starkey, however, should have kept a firmer grip on his rattle.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Heather » 13 Nov 2012, 15:26

Oh, the poor little victim, just trying to be the lone voice of truth!

I do feel a little sorry for her. For a woman, having a man lecture aggressively and jab his finger at you is extremely threatening. But then again, as my wise grandma used to say: "If you're going to play like a boy, you're going to get hurt like a boy, and don't come crying to me when it happens." Some people do need to be put in their place.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Gavin » 13 Nov 2012, 16:08

Ah yes, I saw this one some time ago, actually. She tried the usual liberal straw man/ad hom route and got a little bit more than she bargained for. Starkey is far better (self) educated than her of course, and can be rather petulant. He was right to be offended though, no doubt. I have to finish by saying it is incredible to me that Ms Penny is paid by anyone to speak anywhere.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Elliott » 13 Nov 2012, 16:18

Heather, I also feel quite sorry for her, and yes I can see it would be intimidating to have a man pointing at you like that. But the fact is she had already accused him of being a racist xenophobe and tried to nail him as a tax avoider too. The comeback was harsh, but she deserved it. She was like a precocious girl being put in her place by a grown-up.

Since writing my ecstatic previous post, I have googled the incident and it appears that in fact Penny was telling (a version of) the truth. The Thomas Paine Society have said that the event was cancelled because of timing issues, not because Penny had requested too high a fee, though the timing issues arose in the first place because Penny was asking for more money. This is probably what she meant when she later said she had been trying to avoid debating Starkey. It's a muddy water, but it seems that the event was cancelled basically because Penny sabotaged it too late for it to be rescued.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Caleb » 14 Nov 2012, 01:45

Ouch! In the modern parlance: owned! The organisers couldn't shut that one down fast enough. I don't feel sorry for her at all. She thought she was going to get a few sly shots in below the belt in passing and got a lot more than she bargained for. I'm glad also that a woman in the audience could be heard telling Penny that she started it. Many in the audience weren't particularly happy with Penny. I also thought it was rather clever of Starkey to tie in his response to her with his line about one of the great things that is essential to Britishness. Brilliant! You could see the guy behind him and hear the audience thinking, "This is going to be good!"

Gavin: I agree that I find it strange that people pay her to speak. Sure, she was clearly emotionally rattled, but she doesn't strike me as someone who is particularly articulate if asked to go off script.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Maxwell » 14 Nov 2012, 10:42

In terms of possession - self or otherwise - Starkey, rather than "owning" anything or anyone, gave himself away. Were the political shoe on the other foot would not such a self-righteously bawling, finger-jabbing person be seen as a stereotypical example of the ranting shout-em-down lefty? Might not the maintenance of civility have been more appropriate, especially considering the subject of the event?

Whereas Starkey gained nothing from his outburst (other than a brief rise in blood pressure and a permanent record of his temperamental incontinence), Penny was gifted not only a juicy example of "patriarchal aggression and hypocrisy" to spin but a glowing testament to her aptitude for provocation which, being highly prized by the modern media, makes the subsequent New Statesman appointment unsurprising. It's like watching a curious ceremony in which the controversialist baton is passed from one generation to the next.

If Hollywood ever need someone to play Professor Calculus in a version of the Tintin story Destination Moon, Starkey is their man. I'm thinking of the memorable scene in which Captain Haddock tells Calculus to stop acting the goat...

Image
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Caleb » 15 Nov 2012, 01:30

Maxwell: I disagree. Certain people on the right have been quietly taking it on the chin and trying to remain reasonable for decades now, and they've been on a hiding to nothing against all the snark. That's the whole point of snark, and why it's so insidious. It's a game of wearing you down with either a death by a million cuts or a death by a "gotcha!" moment if you lash out at it, followed by feigned indignance at the reaction to the provocation.

The better solution, of course, would be to not invite snarky people like Penny to such events, but that's simply not going to happen, of course.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Mike » 15 Nov 2012, 01:46

Maxwell wrote:Might not the maintenance of civility have been more appropriate, especially considering the subject of the event?


Definitely. There's nothing at all admirable about Prof. Starkey's performance in that clip, I feel. The provocation may have been considerable, and of course no-one would enjoy being on the end of ignorant criticism from a militant nonentity like Laurie Penny, but that sort of behaviour would deserve condemnation in a five-year-old, let alone a university professor. It's a pity that he saw fit to spoil an otherwise very telling point.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Maxwell » 15 Nov 2012, 12:30

Caleb wrote:Maxwell: I disagree.


I'm not sure exactly what you're disagreeing with, Caleb.

That it provides the viewer with an opportunity for catharsis and schadenfreude is clear but did Starkey's outburst yield any tangible benefit?

If Starkey had a valid point, then pressing it without anger but firmly, emphatically and persistantly - like a grownup - would have been deserving of admiration, sympathy and support.

I find nothing heartening in the episode.

Perhaps there is room for a Howard Beale moment to galvanise those who live in cowed quiescence, afraid of stepping on the cracks of PC, but I can't think of anyone who could could carry it off (without being carted off). Any suggestions?
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Maxwell » 15 Nov 2012, 13:16

Early '90s San Francisco political band Consolidated answer the accusation of hypocrisy with refreshing honesty (paraphrasing Woody Allen, I think). Audio only.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Caleb » 16 Nov 2012, 00:36

Maxwell: I understand where you're coming from, and why. I think the point was made better as it was. As I wrote, people have been taking this on the chin for decades. I should have perhaps added that they've been putting up a weak, civil kind of protest. They've been on a hiding to nothing. People like Penny have been winning the Culture Wars. That's it. Time to fight fire with fire. All of this speaks volumes about the broader society, of course. However, if people don't become a lot more passionate in dealing with people like Penny, then people like Penny will continue to win the Culture Wars.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Elliott » 16 Nov 2012, 10:06

This is difficult.

I definitely agree with Caleb that it is necessary for conservatives to combat the smugness of liberals who, for so long, have trampled us in debate - not because their ideas are right, but because they are fluffy and sound nice. The frustration conservatives feel about this constant defeat is why it felt so good to see Penny being put in her place.

But Maxwell is right. The manner in which Penny was cut down to size will not do conservatives many favours. Starkey could easily be lampooned as short-tempered and angry, at which point his argument could easily be dismissed as irrational, and we're back to square one.
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Re: Leftist hypocrisy

Postby Caleb » 19 Nov 2012, 03:32

That's the whole problem with dealing with snark though, and it's actually a deeper problem with the people who let Penny on who must have known that she was going to take some cheap shots. They also sat back and let her do so. The moderators or hosts of these events are usually incredibly weak and ineffectual. Then they wonder why things get out of hand.
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