The left demands censorship of all white male writing ?

It’s obvious; sexual identity is part of the fatal flaw of sexuality, at least according to Jean Paul Sartre. However, it maybe not so much sexual identity that’s part of the flaw but rather the genre and social structure imposed on it by the patriarchy, a.k.a white supremacy.

No idea? Neither have I but its fun looking up the ‘Postmodern Generator’ a brilliant site, parodying current academic language. Alternatively, to spend a morning listening to BBC Radio 4 which increasingly takes us deep into the anxious, prohibiting culture of post-modernism.

The bearers of this quasi- political gobbeldy-gook are frequently females with doctorates in social science, occupying powerful, influential positions.  In the last few days I’ve heard them covering a wide range of topics, starting with Dr Myriam Francois on Radio 4s, Moral Maze.

Blonde, former actress François, who converted to Islam aged twenty-one, has a PhD from Oxford focussing on Islam in Morocco. She’s a research associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies, University of London, and founder of the blog ‘We Need to Talk about Whiteness.’ She recently wrote in The Guardian that, ‘Britain is a country whose modernity was birthed in violence and racial supremacy.’ 

Naturally she doesn’t rejoice to see white folks enjoying themselves.  Last week, supported by CofE pundit, Giles Fraser, she explained how ‘racist humour serves to normalise the expression of white supremacy in our society.’

Jokes by the white majority are automatically, punching down,’ at vulnerable people ‘disempowered’ by their race, sex or gender. And they better stop it.

Not discouraged by her gender, Dr. Laura Van Broekhoeven is Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, a department of Oxford University. She appeared on BBC Front Row last week, in an edition which also featured, ‘50 Years of Queer Books,’ which presenter Stig Abel said includes Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Van Broekhoeven is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network and the European Ethnographic Museum Directors Group. She was a participant in the Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute and co-chair of the Oxford and Colonialism Network.

To her discomfort, Pitt Rivers currently holds 600,000 objects, many collected by the Victorian founder who wanted to explore the Evolutionary theory. Her interest is in ‘Repatriation and redress,’ i.e. giving many of them back.

She terms the collection ‘problematic,’ a Post-Modern key-word for ‘bad.’ Particularly worrying are the shrunken heads. The public were once told playfully that they held a curse, now that curse is called racism. The danger is that white supremacist viewers might think they are ‘primitive.’

‘We want to understand how their descendants might want to be talked about,’ says Van Broekhoeven. The heads must be, ‘contextualised,’ (another key-word) ‘understood as a result of religious ritual not violence.’

The museum itself is now accused of aggression. ‘The most violent space in Oxford,’ says its director who aims to change that by, ‘discussing power relations,’ ‘restitution’ and ‘repair.’ She has just submitted a report to the university about the future of the collection.

Her aim is now to focus on, ‘collaboration, inclusivity and reflexive inquiry.’ Academic speak for non-racism.  ‘We are engaging proactively with that,’ she explains, ‘Foregrounding self-representation, co-curating, querying unhelpful binaries, engaging with forced migrants, refugees, and working with the LGBTQIA.’

I hope the labels in her gallery are easier to understand. Radio 4 English may soon need an educational channel all of its own.  

Further problems we never knew we had were exposed by Dr Anna Derrig who teaches, ‘The ethics of life-writing’ at Goldsmiths College. It seems that almost every action now has an attendant moral problem, from looking at shrunken heads to jotting in your journal.

In ‘The Digital Human’ on BBC Radio 4, Derrig suggested ‘entitled’ people should not write about ‘voiceless’ people without their permission. Derrig particularly challenged men, accusing acclaimed writers such as Karl Ove Knausgaard, author of six autobiographical novels and falsetto voiced diarist David Sedaris, of ‘Life burgling.’ Sedaris, she said, is ‘Very wrong.’

American pop singer, Moby was also a ‘burglar’ for mentioning US actress Natalie Portman in his memoir without asking her first, but was exculpated as he apologised. Public apology being essential to this new culture of prohibition and anxiety.

No distinction was made between rude tweets and serious memoir, Moby and Knausgaard. In post-modernism qualitative distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, primitive and civilised are not allowed. 

 Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology and former head of the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE, advised writers to ‘reboot’ their work to avoid ‘collateral damage’ to those written about. Where this would have put great diarists of the past from Samuel Pepys to Anne Frank she doesn’t say, but the move to writing on line seems to be the main cause of the insecurity.

Danger lurks everywhere, no one is safe in this new world where privacy is being eroded by social media but paradoxically increasing numbers seek immediate fame and exposure.  

Respect for ‘identity’ seems to be posited as a safe-guard against unwanted intrusion and damage. The main aggressors commonly identified by these doctors as ‘entitled’ white men, always out to rob and abuse, ‘people of colour’ and women.

‘Who does the telling?’ Demands Prof. Livingstone. ‘How is their narrative demeaning others?’

 ‘Identity is always relational,’ she warns, urging an examination of all power relations, even between parents and children. There is even the new sin of ‘Sharenting,’ posting images of one’s children on Facebook or showing them to other adults without the child’s specific permission.

I prefer to think these women are all professors of extreme Dada, hoaxing BBC Radio 4, having a hoot about post-modernism and its acolytes. I  hope that, to quote a privileged pale, stale American male, they cannot be serious!

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16 Comments on The left demands censorship of all white male writing ?

  1. “.. There is even the new sin of ‘Sharenting,’ posting images of one’s children on Facebook or showing them to other adults without the child’s specific permission….”

    Why stop at children? Surely I need Gaia’s permission before photographing a landscape?

    Of course, we have no attested proof that any of the models that sat for the old Masters gave their full, explicit and informed permission for crowds to gawk at their image long after they were dead. I await the call from the woke activists to consign all art before Tracey Emin to the flames..

    • Why you mention Emin in relation to art I cannot think – but it reminds me of a labour councillor in Leeds long long ago lecturing us teachers on, among other things, how we should encourage West Indians kids to use patois (street talk) their ‘culture’ in the classroom and the need to avoid using the word ‘junk’ as it would offend the Chinese whose boats … etc.
      The parents of said WIs were furious that their kids were being encouraged to use language banned at home and said. And I don’t suppose the idiot ever learned that just about any Chineseish word pronounced by a Brit (especially a Yorkshire brit) sounds like nothing a Chinese would recognise as human speech. They don’t lead the world in perfect pitch for nothing.

  2. Jane, what a wonderful article. I have made the mistake of switching from the CD to the radio when driving, and have wondered if I had entered some terrible netherworld when listening to Radio4, or maybe I had accidently tuned to Radio Sociologist. Consequently, I have in recent years preferred Radio3. Unfortunately the overpaid at (what Vivian Stanshall used to call) Brainwashing House, have got wise to my attempts to avoid their message of the evil of the white man, and followed me to Radio 3. I heard, or at least I thought I heard, maybe I was negotiating a particularly tricky bend at the time, a discussion with a young composer praising the importance of his Eritrean grandfather, as well as Grime and Drill music in the creation of his new classical masterwork. Maybe I imagined it.

  3. The logic of their position is to claim to be everything, anything, and nothing, at the same time. If any of them proposed an end the philosophical sense, they would be seen as limiting and therefore as unjust and be immediately pulverized. To combat them, insist on every occasion on reason, and of course cut them at parties and balls.

    • Unless I’m mistaken, Your Majesty, you identify as an ancient mythical king – and there is the answer to this nonsense. The affliction by male whiteness can be expunged by declaring oneself brown and female. Evelyn Waugh seems to have thought of this before any of us, and poor Georgina Eliot has bungled. Maybe my many unpublished works will have better success if I become Bushra al Sheik.

  4. I object to the appropriation of Western civilization by those that had no part in creating and developing it. How dare they enjoy electricity, automobiles, aircraft, modern medicine and dentistry, railways, clean tap water…it’s simply theft on a Gargantuan scale. Oh, wait a minute…they were all created or developed almost exclusively by Dead White Males, so it’s OK then!

  5. The anxious prohibitive culture mentioned – how true. A constant state of agitation, self-appraisal and fear of doing the wrong thing. Perhaps to pause and reflect marks you out as of the Bourgeoisie?

  6. Sanctimonious and self-flagellating academics – just what we need for the C21. I’d have no issues with any of what they say if it wasn’t funded by the state – but it is. If they hate European civilization so much (and I’m sure even saying that phrase is probably a criminal offence these days) then where would they rather be in the world? They are the most free and most privileged women in history and they’re still whining.

  7. Postmodern Generator will not help to bring down this army of revolutionary academics. They are as immune to parody as they are to criticism. They almost certainly see themselves as kind of moral avant garde fufilling a sacred duty to lead society to a more diverse and inclusive future. Backing them up are the vast regular forces of do-gooder ground troops. These people take their moral lead from social justice warriors and the educated elite who specialise in denouncing social evils.

    Hence: Eco-Warriors declare mankind’s use of fossil fuels to be an evil which must be vanquished and the do-gooders, without much pause for reflection, announce that they are ready to fight the good fight – zero carbon emmissions, here we come.

    Hence: Social Justice Warriors denounce rampant Islamophobia and the do-gooders spot yet another juicy opportunity to be seen to be doing good. Without stopping to question what “Islamophobia” might be or if it really exists they are off to fight the good fight. Their moral leaders have pointed out the enemy and no self-respecting do-gooder will stand idly by while such a social evil prevails.

    • Let’s not forget it was John Major who began this expansion that left mediocrities looking for something they could waffle about. And I blame the phoney grammar school ethos that failed low lifes like me and has driven an immoveable wedge between posh studies however useless and disparaged industry, manufacturing and commerce

  8. These “doctors” are all the same. All they ever do is speak nonsense which they claim only SMART MEN can see as deeply profound. It’s the king’s new PhD. Have you, for example, ever seen the latest DSM-5, the psychologists’ “bible”? It is 500 pages of such definitions as “oppositional defant disorder” (rude); “expanded social anxiety disorder” (shy); etc. It is a demonology manual, full of obviously made-up nonsense pretending to be profound insights – the very definition of what Sir Peter Medawar rightly called “the unnatural sciences”.

    Remember this when you choose your therapist, a.k.a. your exorcist-cum-witch-finder-general. Some of them think there are only 107 demons (“disorders”) which can posses you (as the first edition claims). More up-to-date ones recognize 295 (DSM-IV). Perhaps realizing this demonology is making psychology into the laughing stock it deserves to be, the editors announced the number of demons in the DSM-5 did not increase, but that was only done by splitting up the “disorders” into .”subdivisions” – in other words, giving each demon a few assistant tempters.

    • Regrettably you are wrong to include DSM (more of less congruent with WHO’s ICD10) among the bogus scholarship of windbag PhDs. It is evidence based and continually revised and although some categories like ODD are subject to challenge, all possible efforts are made to make them secure. Such is the level of caution that time and again we are advised to delay diagnoses of children to allow for the vagaries of childhood development. Don’t blame the specialists for sloppy attributions and ridiculous claims (that suchabody has Autism or Aspergers, for example, and this gives them ‘insights’ – baloney, it’s a problem like ADHD and hearing threatening voices).
      Try Masters of the Mind by Theodore Millon, one of the chairs of the DSM team and tell me he’s fool enough to fall for BS.

      • For some reason I cannot respond to your post on the Mozart v rap thread, so I’ll leave it here.

        I agree with you on the modern “art”. It is why I look to traditional eastern stuff sometimes as it is still being made without cultural marxists mocking it, primitive or not. (the marxists will turn on that as the marxist-left eats everything in the end)

        I am still waiting for a modern western composer to create something sophisticated like Bach again. The symphony for Star Trek the Motion Picture came (kinda) close, but that is 40 years ago. Karl Jenkins is horribly repetitive. I want a revival in western classical music before I die.

        (same for architecture. Could we have gothic skyscrapers? Hell, even Mughal or Edo influences would be preferable to the horrible soulless phalluses clouding London).

        I want my country back please.

        • Carter Burwell always impresses in his Coen Brothers soundtracks. And whoever did the theme for BBCs Gentleman Jack ( Ann Lister diaries) is a talent. (off the point, but the series sanitises her a little – she was quite a predator, but had sound views on Right to Roamers using the footpath through her grounds – fired a pistol out of the window.)

    • No, this is nothing except empirical science, full of pride, colonizing an area (the area of morals) where the natural order is of a different kind than it understands. So it sets about trying to set up the order that it knows. And of course it all goes horribly wrong.