Flat White

What’s woke this week?

13 December 2019

5:00 AM

13 December 2019

5:00 AM

Recent news suggests that science is fast overtaking the arts at the vanguard of wokeness. The erstwhile boffins of physics and astronomy have transformed into trailblazing telescope toters for diversity and inclusivity, with their very own theories of relativity that would make Einstein turn in his grave. In other news modern art continues to make monkeys out of the pundits and we have more Christmas crackers for your seasonal reading pleasure. 

Invasion of the science snatchers

The latest issue of The Journal of Women in Culture and Society contains the kind of articles one might expect e.g. Queering Black Girlhood at the Virginia Industrial School and Asking For It: Rape Myths, Satire and Feminist Lacunae. But you might be surprised by the inclusion of an article from the unlikely world of physics. 

Physics used to be real science – you know, evidentiary-based, testable, replicable, fact-based science   but theoretical physics like string theory and quantum mechanics are partly studies in fashion and faith that have assumed dogma status through presentation by rock-star scientists. So it should really not be astonishing that physics can now be viewed and presented through the prism of intersectionality’.  

All of which leads us to the peer-reviewed ‘Making Black Women Scientists under White Empiricism: The Racialization of Epistemology in Physics by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Taking the award of Hélice D‘or for social justice jingoism dressed up as scientific language Ms Prescod-Weinstein’s article contains such gems as: 

String theory provides an example of how white supremacist racial prestige asymmetry produces an antiempiricist epistemic practice among physicists, white empiricism.


Disentangling physics from the norms of patriarchal white supremacy must begin with an honest accounting of the roots of the Western scientific project in the project of slavery.

No matter what perceived wrong they’re talking about it’s always the fault of the white patriarchy. 

Rather than attempt to read this dreck I suggest you read Peter Boghossian’s take on it here. As one of the perpetrators of last year’s Grievance studies affair, Boghossian knows a thing or two about sham scholarship.  

And that sound you hear? Einstein’s just gone on a break-dancing rampage. 

Space cadets 

This week saw a home-grown version of the previous article’s ilk: Diversity and inclusion in Australian astronomy’, published in the journal Nature Astronomy. In it author Lisa J Kewley trots out the usual harassment, unconscious bias and exclusionary workplace behaviour tropes. She also cites inclusionary advances such as events to ‘showcase and celebrate the achievements of internationally recognized Australian LGBTQIA+ researchers’; incorporating Aboriginal astronomy into astronomy open night events; and advertising female-only astronomy positions. 

She draws a rather long bow in her conclusion that: 

As the world prepares for the era of mega-telescopes, improving diversity in astronomy will be critical for maximizing new ideas and ensuring the future success of astronomy departments worldwide. 

I would have thought that in space no one can hear your pronouns. 

Art world goes bananas

When is a banana not a banana? When it’s fine art, that’s when. Last week the arty-farty Miami Arts Basel festival featured a work by Italian artist Maurizio Catellan, entitled The Comedian. It consisted of a banana taped to a wall with duct tape. Seriously. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough the ‘artwork’ then sold for $120,000, with other iterations fielding bids of up to $150,000 from museums. Things got even stickier when ‘performance artist’ David Datuna removed the banana from the wall, peeled it and ate it. Of course, the emperor’s courtiers, otherwise known as art critics, have been trying to convince us ever since that it really is art. I think that naked emperor has been out in the cold so long that he’s beginning to resemble a brass monkey.  

Both artists are described as boundary-pushers whose works include Datuna’s large blocks of ice spelling out Trump and then melting away (get it?) and Catellan’s large sculptures of extended middle fingers. I’ll leave you to draw your own artistic conclusions about what is an appropriate response to that. 

Christmas crackers I: Santa claws

A mum in Britain says she has been shamed on Facebook by other mums for using the term Father Christmas instead of the woke-preferred Santa Claus, which many now see as somehow gender-neutral.  Go figure. It’s 2019 so a fat bearded guy is now gender-neutral. Personally I prefer the bearded Mrs Santa in my family’s favourite Christmas animation: Robbie the Reindeer – Hooves of Fire. 

Christmas crackers II: Wreath ructions

Residents of a block of flats in Berkshire, England have been banned from placing Christmas wreaths on their front doors. One resident even received a letter stating that her offending wreath, the same one she’s been putting up for twenty years, would be confiscated if it wasn’t removed.  

It’s all in the interests of fire safety, apparently with the Radiant Group’s spokesperson saying: 

We have, and continue to take, steps to communicate our policy to all our residents and appreciate their cooperation in helping to keep everyone safe by ensuring communal areas are kept clear all year round.  

It’s hard to imagine just how big a front door wreath would have to be to actually impede residents in the case of a fire.   

 Christmas crackers III: Warring woke 

It’s often been said that in its attempts to ‘include’ everyone the Left is eating itself. Funny, but the interests of intersectionality don’t always actually intersect.  

A few weeks ago we brought you the story of PETA’s 100 per cent acrylic ‘Wool Hurts’ ugly Christmas sweater, which is going to save the planet one sheep at a time. Well, this week a report by UK environmental charity, Hubbub, says that your acrylic ugly Christmas sweater is actually choking the oceans with plastic waste. And they’ve even sunk the boot into Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day on 13 December because it encourages people to don their festive favourites and donate to charity.   

While I think ugly Christmas jumpers should be avoided just because they’re ugly you may now have to choose between saving cute little lambs or cute little baby turtles. In the eyes of the woke either way you’ll be a murderer. Merry Christmas.  

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