GIVE TIL IT HURTS

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Words mean things

Except, of course, when they don’t.

Political science professor Gay — who stepped down amid a tempest of allegations that she did not do enough to combat antisemitism and academic plagiarism Tuesday — will return to a position on the Cambridge, Mass., school’s faculty.

Bold mine, and indicative of some truly prime bullshit: 1) they are NOT “allegations,” and 2) it isn’t that she “didn’t do enough” to combat anything—she did plenty. Among other disgraceful things she is known for a fact to have done: she DID commit plagiarism, and she DID express her ((((JooJooJooJOOOOO!!!)))) hate clearly, unequivocally, even pridefully.

This, mind, while the selfsame dicks-with-ears puff out their sunken chests to indignantly declare the madman Trump ineligible to run for President because he’s a known “insurrectionist” and treasonous revolutionary—proving for all time that they really are incapable of shame, because otherwise they’d all be blushing so hard they’d stroke out and die of it.

The above rampant horsepuckey is but one of many abuses of the Mother Tongue we see perpetrated in the mass media every single day; in fact, I doubt it was even the most egregious example from that particular day. Fred Reed offers a primer for those who aspire to do better, a category which would not include any “mainstream” Jurassic Media “journalists.”

English, What’s Left of It, & Its Management
Recently I took part in a discussion of writing and how to do it on Counter-Currents. This being a topic of some importance to me, I decided to throw together a few thoughts in a form more coherent that I could do in a podcast. A danger in doing this is that readers will joyfully point out instances in which I have failed to follow my own suggestions. To these sins I confess in advance. Anyway:

This is not a golden age of writing. For one thing, few today have the grasp of English grammar that long ago we had learned by the fifth grade, or any idea why it might be important. Nor, I suspect, have many read much in the best authors in English, and so have not acquired an ingrained feel for what is good and what isn’t. I may be wrong. I hope so.

For another, good writing is elitist, and must be. Elitism means a preference for the better to the worse. In an intellectual climate resembling that of an urban bus station, in which the lower cultural orders seek to drag standards to the bottom, few will prefer good writing to bad, or know the difference.

Further, when people are in constant communication via telephones, garbling and semi-literacy are less important than they were when poor communication demanded clarity. In the following we will pretend that it is 1955 and that I am speaking to young people who want to write well.

To begin, my advice to the aspiring writer is to forget “creativity.” Writing is first a craft, involving rules and principles and things to which the student should learn to pay attention. Later, perhaps, writing is an art. You have to learn the notes before playing a concerto. Accepting this is important.

Also important, crucial I would say, is the habit of paying attention to language itself, not just its content. By this I mean the structure of sentences, choice of words, turn of phrase. If you read a piece and think it good, read it again and ask why it is good. If an analytical piece, is the analysis clear and compelling? The phrasing fresh and devoid of cliché? The vocabulary extensive and correct in use?

To again use a comparison to music, the listener doesn’t have to know music theory, but the musician does.

Lots, lots more good stuff to follow, including several rules I gleefully traduce on a habitual basis myself, just ’cause I think it’s funny. Even if you’re not a professional writer, you may find it interesting. NYPost link via JJ, Fred link via WRSA. Thanks, fellas!

Update! Also via JJ, Bill Ackerman digs deeper into the Gay brouhaha.

I first became concerned about @Harvard when 34 Harvard student organizations, early on the morning of October 8th before Israel had taken any military actions in Gaza, came out publicly in support of Hamas, a globally recognized terrorist organization, holding Israel ‘solely responsible’ for Hamas’ barbaric and heinous acts.

How could this be? I wondered.

When I saw President Gay’s initial statement about the massacre, it provided more context (!) for the student groups’ statement of support for terrorism. The protests began as pro-Palestine and then became anti-Israel. Shortly, thereafter, antisemitism exploded on campus as protesters who violated Harvard’s own codes of conduct were emboldened by the lack of enforcement of Harvard’s rules, and kept testing the limits on how aggressive, intimidating, and disruptive they could be to Jewish and Israeli students, and the student body at large. Sadly, antisemitism remains a simmering source of hate even at our best universities among a subset of students.

A few weeks later, I went up to campus to see things with my own eyes, and listen and learn from students and faculty. I met with 15 or so members of the faculty and a few hundred students in small and large settings, and a clearer picture began to emerge.

I ultimately concluded that antisemitism was not the core of the problem, it was simply a troubling warning sign – it was the “canary in the coal mine” – despite how destructive it was in impacting student life and learning on campus.  

I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment.

Then I did more research. The more I learned, the more concerned I became, and the more ignorant I realized I had been about DEI, a powerful movement that has not only pervaded Harvard, but the educational system at large. I came to understand that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant.

I have always believed that diversity is an important feature of a successful organization, but by diversity I mean diversity in its broadest form: diversity of viewpoints, politics, ethnicity, race, age, religion, experience, socioeconomic background, sexual identity, gender, one’s upbringing, and more. 

What I learned, however, was that DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather DEI was a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups that are deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology.

OHHH yeah, you’ll want to read all of this one. It’s choice stuff, covering a heckuva lot of bases well beyond the Gay business, and I haven’t finished it yet myself.

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