We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Robert Reich’s article about Claudine Gay’s resignation is dishonest even by Guardian standards. Sorry, make that US academic standards.

In the days when Comment really was Free at the Guardian, an article as dishonest as this would have received short shrift from the commenters below the line. Because since then the Guardian has decided to protect its writers from hearing what their readers think of them, the author, President Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, probably believes he made his case well. Here is the article: “Powerful donors managed to push out Harvard’s Claudine Gay. But at what cost?”

In the fifth paragraph, Mr Reich writes,

I don’t know enough to address the charges of plagiarism against her, but it’s worth noting that all of them apparently came from the same source, via the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal.

He doesn’t know? Could he not have found out? It’s been all over the news, and not just from the Washington Free Beacon, though it was their scoop. (The first two links are to the NYT and the BBC respectively.) It’s not as if Reich would have had to spend months on research and do a paper with Harvard citations and everything. As well as being a former Secretary of Labour, Robert Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California at Berkeley. One might have expected an academic at a famous American university to be concerned enough by a claim of plagiarism against a distinguished colleague to put some effort into potentially clearing her name rather than weakly throwing his hands in the air and saying, “I dunno”. Unless, of course, he did not wish to know.

A little while later Reich does it again. He writes,

Stefanik then asked the presidents whether calls for intifada against Jews on campus violated the codes of conduct or harassment policies at their universities.

This is deceptive. The answers from the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania that caused such deep outrage were not said in response to Elise Stefanik asking them about whether calls for intifada against Jews violated the codes of conducts or harassment policies at their universities. They were said in response to Elise Stefanik asking them whether calls for genocide against Jews violated the codes of conduct or harassment policies at their universities. Watch the video. The relevant exchange is right at the start. Rep. Stefanik says, “And, Dr Gay, at Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment, yes or no?”. Dr Gay replies, “It can be, depending on the context.”

Genocide. Not intifada. Genocide. My apologies for being so repetitive, but the difference between “intifada” and “genocide” matters rather a lot.

Weirdly, one of Reich’s subsequent paragraph gets this right:

They should have answered unambiguously and unequivocally that calls for genocide of any group are intolerable.

What happened to make Reich change from claiming the equivocal answers from the three university presidents came in response to a question about “calls for intifada against Jews” in one paragraph to correctly saying that the issue was “calls for genocide against Jews” three paragraphs later? One might expect a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley would see the importance of accurately quoting someone. Unless, of course, the professor of public policy wanted the public to be confused.

Related post: “Why you can be a free speech absolutist and still think the presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn should resign in disgrace.”

Should the faces of the students at San Francisco State University who were happy to pay to kill Jews be blurred out, or not?

Ami Horowitz
@AmiHorowitz
My new video!
How bad is Antisemitism on campus?
Will Leftist college students give me money to kill Jews?!!!

The video linked to in the tweet starts with a clip of Horowitz talking to a San Francisco State University student whose back is facing us. Horowitz says,

“…And we want to fund operations against soft targets, schools, hospitals, Jewish cafes…

The video then cuts to Horowitz talking straight to camera. He says,

“I’m Ami Horowitz and anti-semitism is rising precipitously across the globe. How bad is it? I’m here at San Francisco State University, one of the most left-leaning instersectional schools across the country.

I’m here to raise money to kill Jews.”

Horowitz, who, in case anyone is unclear on this point, is not actually trying to raise money to murder Jews but to warn how commonplace support for the murder of Jews has become at American universities, proceeds to politely stop various young people who are walking along the paths in the SFSU campus and solicit their support for terrorism against Jews. There is no obfuscation about “Zionists” or “Israelis”; Horowitz says “Jews” throughout and is abundantly clear that he is talking about physical violence. In the sequence starting at 1:02 he says, “Attack, blow things up … blow shit up … all we have a rockets and suicide bombers”. The SFSU students are fine with that.

I can sympathise with Rebecca Levin who said in the replies,

Can you release any full conversations without breaks? I find this a bit hard to believe even as a Jew who recently graduated from college and editing can be deceptive and well, I’d really like for you to be a fraud vs this actually being real.

I, also, would really like this not to be true.

It would be a good thing for Horowitz to release the full videos. Deceptive editing is on my mind right now. Remember the way that George Eaton of the New Statesman was nice as pie when he went to interview Sir Roger Scruton and then maliciously edited Scruton’s words to make it seem that Scruton believed that each Chinese person is “a sort of replica of the next one”, when what Scruton had actually said was how frightening it was that the Chinese Government was trying to force each Chinese person into being a replica of the next one? Remember how Eaton posted a picture of himself swigging champagne to celebrate how he had got Scruton fired from an unpaid government role?

Well, that same George Eaton is celebrating again now. He has just been made Senior Politics Editor of the New Statesman. Deceptive editing does happen and is no bar to a successful career in journalism. At least… not if the journalist is left wing, a protection that Mr Horowitz does not have.

Like Rebecca Levin, if Mr Horowitz’s video were to be revealed to be deceptively edited, the moment of annoyance I would feel of seeing left wingers gloat at the “gotcha” would be far, far outweighed by the relief of knowing that it was not really the case that 28 out of 35 San Francisco State University students Horowitz spoke to expressed support for killing Jews and 17 out of 35 students Horowitz approached pledged money to kill Jews.

But, even though I would like to see the full unedited videos, it is difficult to see how the girl with the black bag could claim to have misunderstood Horowitz when he told her at 0:36 that he was raising money to strike Jews “around the world, in France, in Germany, in Britain, wherever they are”. Conceivably he could have edited out her horrified objections to this proposed terrorism, but could he really have made her appear to say, as she does say at 1:14, “Because it’s like, part of their religion. Like, they wanted to take over”? She then pledges him $30.

Given that the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, three of the top universities in the United States, found it tricky to say whether calling for the genocide of Jews was against the rules of their respective universities, I suppose we should not be surprised that San Francisco State University (“SF State prepares its students to become productive, ethical, active citizens with a global perspective”) wants to follow their lead.

Is contributing money that one has been explicitly assured (0:55) will be used to blow up “cafe’s, hospitals, Jewish schools, Jewish buses, synagogues, that kind of thing” legal in the United States? Whether it is or not, is there any good reason why the anonymity of sweetie with the black bag and the others who openly put their support, and in many cases their money, down for some Jew-killing should be preserved?

Listen to victims*! Tell their stories! (*Approved categories only)

For any Irish readers asking themselves, “What is a victim impact statement?”, the office of Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions has guidance:

If you are the victim of a crime you may make a Victim Impact Statement. A Victim Impact Statement is an account in your own words of the effect that the crime has had on you. You may, for example, have suffered a physical injury, be affected emotionally or psychologically. You might also have lost out financially.

But what if the victim cannot speak because the crime was murder? A later section of the guidance, “Who can make a Victim Impact Statement?” says that “a family member of a victim who has died, is ill or is incapacitated because of the crime” may speak in their place”. Ryan Casey fell into that category. He was the boyfriend of Ashling Murphy, who Wikipedia describes as “a 23-year-old Irish primary school teacher and traditional Irish musician … who was attacked and murdered by 31-year-old Slovak Romani father-of-five, Jozef Puška”.

In his Victim Impact Statement, Ryan Casey said that he and Ashling…

…had talked about how many kids they would have, and imagined they would be “little hurlers and camogie players and even better – musicians”. He said it did not make sense to him that someone who is “a burden to society can completely and permanently destroy someone… who is the complete opposite”, describing Ms Murphy as “a light with dreams, compassion, respect, a person who contributes to society in the best way possible”.

Mr Casey told Puska: “Because of you, I’ve lost my Ashling. Because if you, I will never get to marry my soulmate. Because of you, I will never see her smile again… I will have to somehow carry on without her.” He accused Puska of smirking, smiling and showing “zero remorse during this trial”.

Powerful words. Too powerful for some:

In case it disappears, the tweet is by @griptmedia and says,

Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland says the Irish media “were right” to not publish the full comments of Ryan Casey, boyfriend of murdered 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, claiming that his remarks were “incitement to hatred” and that it wouldn’t be “helpful” to share them.

The video clip within the tweet is taken from an edition of the BBC Northern Ireland programme “The View” shown on Thursday 30th November 2023. The presenter is Mark Carruthers.

To be frank, I have never been quite comfortable with the idea of Victim Impact Statements, or Victim Personal Statements as they are called here in the UK, occurring as an official part of the trial. Back in 2005, I quoted a letter to the Independent by one C. Lehman that said, “If we allow victims’ families to speak to judges about the effects of someone’s death, we risk creating a hierarchy of murder based on sentiment, the willingness of family members to speak and their fluency in doing so. Sentences should rightly vary according to the nature of the crime, but surely not according to whether a victim had a family who loved him, or whether the victim’s family can speak fluent English.”

The letter writer was not alone in their concerns – though no one seems to have anticipated the opposite problem, that the words of the family members of deeply loved victims would be so eloquent that they might actually change things – but their arguments did not prevail in either the UK or in Ireland. So be it, but if a society is going to make a point of giving an official platform so that those bereaved by murder can express their pain to the world, for God’s sake, let all of them be heard.

“Despite police not revealing the suspected knifeman’s identity or motive”

“Violence in Dublin after five hurt in knife attack” reports the BBC:

There are violent scenes in Dublin after an earlier knife attack in the city centre in which five people were injured
It is not clear exactly what caused the disturbances – involving clashes, and reports of a number of vehicles set on fire

The BBC’s line about it not being clear exactly what caused the disturbances is disingenuous. It is entirely clear what they are rioting about. From the Telegraph:

Violent anti-immigration protesters descended on Dublin city centre on Thursday night after five people were injured in a knife attack outside a school. At least three small children were injured in the attack in the Irish capital, as well as a man and a woman. A five-year-old girl sustained “serious injuries” and was receiving emergency treatment, police said. Despite police not revealing the suspected knifeman’s identity or motive, far-Right thugs emboldened by “misinformation” descended on the streets of the capital, setting fire to a police car, a tram and a double-decker bus, among other vehicles, and throwing fireworks at officers.

The only thing that is not entirely clear is whether the rioters are correct in thinking that the man who stabbed the children and adults is an Algerian migrant, as believed by those replying to this tweet by Micheál Martin, the Tánaiste (the deputy head of the Irish government).

It does not excuse the riots in the least if the rioters are correct to think that the would-be child murderer is any or all of a migrant, legal or illegal, or a Muslim, or from an ethnic minority. But the obfuscation from the Irish authorities and media on this point is making the situation worse.

The usual flashpoint for riots throughout history has been a rumour of crimes committed by a member of Group A against Group B. The riots in the Lozells district of Birmingham in 2005 have been almost forgotten because whites were not involved, but they were a typical example of the type, having been sparked by a completely unsubstantiated story that a black girl had been gang-raped by a group of South Asian men.

Sometimes the rumour is true, sometimes it is not.

If, as in that case, the inciting rumour is not true, the best tool for squelching the false claim and quelling the violence is a trusted press, taking the term “press” in a wider sense than just newspapers. If the rumour is true, the best tool for quelling the violence is still a trusted press. It can do things like publicising condemnations of the crime from leaders of the group to which the perpetrator belongs. What a pity that Ireland, like much of the Western World, no longer has a trusted press because it no longer has a trustworthy press.

It’s not “Despite police not revealing the suspected knifeman’s identity or motive, far-Right thugs emboldened by “misinformation” descended on the streets of the capital”, it’s a damn sight closer to “Because of police not revealing the suspected knifeman’s identity or motive, far-Right thugs emboldened by “misinformation” descended on the streets of the capital”. If the official sources of information won’t do their jobs, don’t be surprised when people turn to unofficial sources instead.

*

Related posts: “Try not lying” – about the sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities during the New Year celebrations of 1 January 2016, “If you do not want to see the BNP vindicated, try not proving them right”, and “Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms”.

Lest we remember

In my recent post, “Peace-lovers love using the passive voice”, I asked you to supply particularly egregious examples of media attempts to downplay murders by Hamas and other protected groups. Ben did just that. From Canadian TV:

In case it disappears, the tweet from @CTVNews says, “Canadian peace activist Vivian Silver, who went missing after Hamas attack, has died.

The use of “has died” rather than “is dead” makes it sound like she passed away in hospital within the last few days. Actually, she has been dead for a month because she was murdered on October 7th, alongside more than a thousand others. The only thing that has happened within the last few days is that they finally identified her remains. In most situations I would not read so much into a journalist’s slightly odd use of the present perfect for an event a month ago, but when every such oddity of phrasing works to push the murderers out of sight, it is not a coincidence, it’s a technique. Most headlines are written to grab the reader’s attention; these headlines are written to be forgotten. Like the small print in a dodgy contract, they are carefully crafted to meet the technical requirement of having been stated somewhere, but, in a betrayal of the normal function of journalism, those who write them would prefer you not to read on. That someone “has died” is scarcely news at all. Every morning’s news report gives its crop of vaguely prominent people who have died during the previous few days. They don’t want you to think about when or how she died. They don’t want you to think about the state in which Vivian Silver’s body must have been found, given that her remains were not identified for a month. They don’t want you to feel the horror of her murder.

I am going to post an image. If I have done this right, it will be hidden “below the fold”, so you must click the link in order to see it. I put it below the fold because it is horrifying. Am I doing the same as CTV in that tweet I was complaining about, then? No, the opposite. They do all they can to stop their readers ever thinking about the reality of terrorism. I am giving readers who cannot stop thinking about it the option not to see one particularly distressing photograph. The image I am talking about shows a poster put out by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in response to the La Mon restaurant bombing carried out by the IRA in 1978. These days people discussing this poster feel obliged to blur it out, but in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles they were not so sensitive. The poster shows what CTV and so many others in the modern media want to hide. Again and again, it says the word they will not say.

→ Continue reading: Lest we remember

Peace-lovers love using the passive voice

Soon after Hamas attacked Israel, Jeremy Corbyn made a speech. Kyle Orton noticed something odd about it:

“young people who died in the Negev desert”
“young people who’ve been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza”

Telling how he thinks.

So sad about those young people who “died in the desert”. What happened, did they forget water bottles and sun cream? Tut, tut, young people are so imprudent.

All languages have their irregularities. For instance, in Modern Journalese Jews can kill, where “to kill” is a transitive verb, but they die intransitively. Their allotted span of years happens to come to an end that day. The nearest the grammar of Journalese gets to expressing the idea that someone might have – uh, whatchamacallit, done that thing to a Jew so that they end up dying – is to tentatively mention an event that preceded it:

“Jewish man in California dies after confrontation during Israel-Hamas War protests”Time magazine.

But remember, folks, correlation is not causation. Though in this case, it was. The Community Notes to that tweet by Time magazine state “The medical examiner ruled Paul Kessler’s death a homicide.” He was – I’m speaking normal English, not Journalese, so this sentence is grammatical despite Mr Kessler having been a Jew – killed. The definitional question that remains open is whether his killing was murder.

That question is not open when it comes to the young Israelis who were murdered by Hamas at a music festival in the Negev Desert.

Edit: In the comments, AFT points out that the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs is not the same as the distinction between active and passive voice. An example of the latter distinction would be “The Israelis killed the Palestinians” versus “The Israelis were killed by the Palestinians”. I have seen enough evidence of the journalistic preference for headlines in which Israelis actively, dynamically, kill specified people versus those in which Israelis are killed by unspecified people, and vice versa for Palestinians, that I think I can leave the double meaning of “passive” in my post title unchanged. If you have seen a particularly egregious example of either distinction, add it to the comments.

This is the hierarchy:

1. A killed B.
2. B was killed by A.
3. B was killed. (No killer specified.)
4. B died after some event. (Whether or not their death was a result of that event is left unspecified.)
5. B died at a given location or time, such as “in the Negev desert”, from which the reader who keeps up with the news might be able to deduce that the death was not natural.

A related strategy for avoiding naming murderers from a protected group is to blame it all on the instrument. This might be called the “killer car” strategy, as perfected by the Washington Post’s infamous reference to “the Waukesha tragedy caused by a SUV”.

Samizdata quote of the day – fighting on regardless

No matter how many times I explained all this, the same question kept coming, over and over. ‘Why do you care so much?’ All I could say was: ‘Why do you not?’

The intercession of the most famous children’s writer in the world in the trans debate was a moment when I thought the argument would shift decisively in my direction. So beloved were the Harry Potter books, so impeccable were J. K. Rowling’s socialist credentials, so compelling her backstory, she would be listened to.

But no, not a bit of it. HMS Rowling – which had piped on board generations of children, and taught them to read for their pleasure and then for their children’s pleasure – was deserted faster than a plague ship, so taboo were the author’s perfectly commonplace views on women’s rights.

The young actors from the Harry Potter series of films instantly betrayed her. If I were a star who had never shown any ability to act past the pre-pubescent level that got me into the business, I’d be keeping my head down, not signing statements insinuating that my old mentor was a bigot.

Those actors – Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – deserve to be remembered as symbols of the most remarkable arrogance, cowardice and ingratitude. But asking what Rowling actually said that was so terrible produces nothing. You’ve never seen a transphobic statement from J. K. Rowling because none exists.

Graham Linehan

I am not a great admirer of Linehan but he is broadly right and his article is well worth reading.

The latest justification for censorship: protecting the UK’s precious and fragile broadcast ecology

Adam Boulton is a journalist and broadcaster who is a regular panelist on TalkTV, a competitor to GB News.

Some background: GB News presenters Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton both are currently suspended while the station investigates some crass remarks from Fox about a female journalist for Joe News, Ava-Santina Evans. You can hear what he said on the clip embedded in this report by Metro magazine: Dan Wootton suspended and investigated by GB News over Laurence Fox’s misogynistic Ava Evans remarks.

Fox’s sexual comments about Evans (“Who’d want to shag that?”) and Wootton’s sniggering at them were oafish, but I do not see what Evans has to complain about given that she has made almost identical remarks herself:

But, as ever, it’s OK when the Left does it. Last week the Guardian ran a piece by Alexandra Topping called “Russell Brand and why the allegations took so long to surface”. She said, rather defensively I thought, that “multiple experts” had told her it was from fear of Brand suing for libel. OK, the experts do have a point about Britain’s libel laws, and that is why I am making absolutely no comment about the criminal accusations against him and ask you to do likewise, but fear of libel does not explain why Brand remained a star for years despite making on-air sexual remarks about a woman in a manner far worse than anything Laurence Fox has done.

The truly disgusting behaviour of Brand and Jonathan Ross towards Andrew Sachs and Georgina Baillie in 2008 did not stop the Guardian’s George Monbiot calling Brand one of his “heroes” in 2014 and saying “He’s the best thing that has happened to the left in years”.

Brand did not cease being on the left. Until these allegations came out on September 16th, he was due to contribute to book called “Poetry for the Many” edited by Jeremy Corbyn and the trade unionist Len McCluskey. But Brand’s views had ceased to be an asset to the left, certainly to the sort of left that flourishes in the current broadcast ecology.

Samizdata quote of the day – True but censored

But now, Facebook is censoring accurate information about the relationship between industrial wind energy development and the increase in whale deaths off the East Coast.

Yesterday, Facebook and Instagram censored my post linking whale deaths to wind energy off the East Coast of the United States. The censorship came in the form of a “FactCheck.org” article from March 31, 2023, which relied entirely on U.S. government sources.

The censorship came on the exact same day that Public and Environmental Progress released a new documentary, “Thrown To The Wind,” which proves that the FactCheck.org article is false.

Michael Shellenberger

Samizdata quote of the day – the fake climate consensus

We are told climate change is a crisis, and that there is an “overwhelming scientific consensus.”

“It’s a manufactured consensus,” says climate scientist Judith Curry in my new video. She says scientists have an incentive to exaggerate risk to pursue “fame and fortune.”

She knows about that because she once spread alarm about climate change.

John Stossel

… which will come as a shock to no one here 😉

Samizdata quote of the day

“One of the few sensible things Noam Chomsky ever said was that if you want to understand the world, read the New York Times backwards; that is, start at the end of the story and read up.”

Steven F Hayward, making this comment in a long and damning critique of “climate crisis” viewpoints and suppressors of dissent.

(Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.)

N star star star star, not N star star star star star

Either the Independent‘s “Race Correspondent” (who, to add to the comedy, is called Nadine White) has written a report almost designed to be misunderstood, or she is a satirist of genius. I present to you this story:

“Now the royal family is dragged into the n-word race row”

Juicy! Which one of ’em was it? Will Meghan’s Spotify podcast be coming back so she can discuss it? Sorry to disappoint, but the connection to the current royal family is strong as a cobweb: it seems a catalogue of gems and jewels owned by the Royal Collection “contained more than 40 mentions of offensive racial terms”. The aberrant public catalogue concerning a sub-collection of jewels, cameos, and other small items was actually published fifteen years ago in 2008 but remained on the Royal Collection’s website until the intrepid offence archaeologists of the Independent found it last Thursday. Since the cataloguing and study of the whole collection by historians is an ongoing process, those particular entries could have been written decades earlier. Here is the current webpage. Fear not, it has been purged.

And about that “offensive racial term” in the 2008 version… it wasn’t the n-word the Independent wants you to think it was.

In the latest instance, the offensive terms are mostly used to describe people of African ancestry who appear on the jewels. The words are also included in a number of names of items in the collection.

One brooch is described in the following terms: “Head of a n**** in three-quarter profile to the right, with drop-pearl earring. This type of a n****’s head is found on several sixteenth-century cameos.”

Another item depicting a white person is accompanied by this description and slur: “Athough it uses the dark layers of the stone for the profile, the features are not n*****d’.

Count the asterisks. Four, not five. Ergo it was egro, or in the final example, egroid.

UPDATE 16:20 BST: Someone at the Independent read the readers’ comments. The newspaper has now changed n**** to n***o throughout the article.