Am I a bigot? (The case of June Chu and other examples of outrageous PC bullshit)


It’s totally outrageous PC bullshit that June Chu, a dean at Yale University, has been put on leave because her Yelp reviews offended some hypersensitive liberals. Besides the fact that I identify very strongly with Chu, whose remarks, style and background, could have been my own, there are strong reasons why we need to nip overweening political correctness in the bud. First, political correctness which flies in the face of common sense reinforces the conservatives’ perception that the divide between right and left is absolutely unbridgeable, and that liberals have generally lost touch with reality – not to speak of the concerns of the ordinary, middle class American. Increased divisiveness and polarization are the last things we need in the United States (or indeed, Europe) right now. Next, ostracization and censure of university staff (or students) for failing to tiptoe around the shibboleths of political correctness is a politicization of the campus which, in theory, is no different than hiring professors or admitting students on the basis of their substantive political beliefs. Whereas ardent bible-thumpers or neo-Marxists might consider such tests (and missions) appropriate in an institution of higher learning, the overwhelming, vast majority of students and teachers in elite universities would place freedom of expression and debate over and above any specific body of belief or political persuasion. Finally, and this is probably my biggest axe to grind, because it’s personal, I take issue with the credentials of today’s righteous PC firebrands. Having attended both Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, I know that many of these provocateurs are pampered white kids who’ve never experienced any form of racism, prejudice or discrimination – let alone harassment. It’s galling to me that they are taking on the mantle of minority oppression without the foggiest notion of what it actually feels like. Trust me, it’s something that the June Chus of this world and I know only too well. And THAT is why it’s utterly absurd to brand June Chu a hater or bigot, explaining the title of my vlog. You can find screencaps of Chu’s reviews here — and judge for yourself. As for the coverage of the incident itself, you can definitely Google that on your own. I have emailed my video to Chu and all her dean-colleagues. Their contact info is on this page.
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Daily Mind-ful 3 May 2017 (The evolution of the photographic image)

[Main topic of this vlog: I explain why I want to write a book about the evolution of the photographic image and associate, riff and reflect free-form on the subject.] I leave London at an ungodly hour in order to meet John at the antique dealers’ fair in Long Melford; I end up buying an Ironstone pitcher from the turn of the century; I’m intimidated to walk around the hall by myself because it’s full of (only) superannuated white men. Yes, I’m serious; My favorite house in the countryside (so far): the pink house in the center of Cavendish; I seriously mull the idea of writing two books, one about environmental photography, the other about the evolution of the photographic image over the past thirty years, especially these past ten; Not only should the evolution of the image itself be considered (technically and technologically) but the ethical and societal implications of these shifts and what they mean for our interactions with others, our self-image, our morality, etc. THAT is the principal reason why such a book would be fascinating and why this question has piqued my interest so ferociously; Here are the issues about the evolution of the photographic image that I have identified very quickly: 1) photoshopping, its prevalence and universal acceptance 2) the selfie (and its implications for our body image, self-image and psychology) and 3) the democratization of photography (i.e., the phenomenon of everyone becoming a photographer); documentary, “objective” reportage in the style of the Magnum photographers has mostly gone out of fashion and been replaced by a much more subjective style of photography which uses photography as the instrumentality of content or messaging, frequently activist-style messaging, to wit, environmental photography; that’s largely explained by the democratization of photographic technology which enables the man on the street to mimic the style of most news photographers these days. It means that the value-added of the photographic image originally conferred by mastery of equipment and darkroom processes has been replaced, of necessity, by content and meaning. To my mind, that’s a major and welcome improvement in the culture of photography; similarly, realistic, gritty photography in the style of Terry Richardson and Terry Jones (ID Magazine) are now outmoded; gardening is futile – by definition. I don’t get it; not having a Facebook page is really stupid because Instagram is a really impoverished and unsuitable platform for sharing third-party content, especially textual or lengthy, or, for that matter, my long-form rants about capitalism, art, the environment, millennials, child rearing, etc.; my favorite stories on Instagram are Eva Chen‘s because she’s so real, with huge doses of thankfulness and humility. Plus, she’s completely average-looking; My vlogging as a talking head is stymied because my intention to vlog about The Week, my favorite magazine in the whole world, has been defeated by the near unanimity of commentary on the past three weeks of headline news, dammit! (The Week’s strength is collating and summarizing the full range of political opinion on the same issue, news or topic, even when those opinions are diametrically opposed to one another); totally psyched to discover that Macron’s wife is way older than him; and that he may also be bi – ha!
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Daily Mind-ful 10 April 2017

Daily vlog diary: Erin Janus’ indictment of the dairy industry is a social media tour de force highlighting the power of video but it is too ideologically biased to take seriously. It’s my belief that animals should be subordinated to humans. Therefore, I can’t take arguments (like Janus’) against industrial food production predicated on the anthropomorphization of animals seriously; the power of Janus’ messaging style partially explains the effectiveness of Trump’s messaging; Bravo: EasyJet has almost eliminated the use of human agents at check-in; hipster design tropes have percolated into mainstream culture; airport retail is a great example of why shopping today sucks; immigration at Schipol took as long as the entire flight; many Amsterdam taxis are Teslas; we arrive at our Airbnb but there’s no one waiting for us; catastrophe averted – but not before John suggested returning immediately to England; pretty postcards from Amsterdam; last but not least: I was impressed to hear that McDonald’s is now asking job applicants to submit Snapchat footage along with their resumes.
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