Overly-masculine photocopying

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

About 25 years ago I worked on a UK-wide project with three rather splendid colleagues, the memories of whom rest with me today.  One of them, a witty, clever, insightful man of huge experience, regularly had me helpless with laughter as he told his many stories, quite often of his mishaps.  He had a vulnerability with a certain sort of female academic.  He was, for example, once publicly harangued for using a photocopier in an overly-masculine way.  Although this never made any sense to me (and still doesn't), there was always a small part of me which wondered what he'd done to deserve this.  I record this here as an act of atonement as it's now clear that he was probably just being bullied by someone who liked doing things like that.  This came to me as I read Lionel Shriver's article in a recent Spectator: Millennials aren’t taking offence. They’re hunting for victims – with its rich tales of campus aggression, this time from students.  Here's a taster:

"Despite youth’s reputed belief in the importance of being earnest, the whole ID politics movement is emotionally disingenuous. When during that Evergreen foofaraw a rabid convocation of students cowed the college president into lowering his arms at the podium because they found his hand gestures ‘threatening’, those students didn’t feel jeopardised; they were dominating and emasculating a man supposedly in authority. The students cowering in ‘safe spaces’ don’t feel endangered; they’re claiming territory. In protecting the faux-helpless from noxious opinions via no-platforming, they’re exercising power. The experience of exercising power isn’t scary, except on the receiving end; it’s supremely gratifying. These people aren’t frightened. They want you to be frightened of them. And we’re not talking ‘microaggression’. PC police often prefer macroaggression, the kind that can get people sacked."

The only positive thing about any of this is "foofaraw" a word new to me and one to be used again ... .  Here's a Merriam Webster word of the day podcast to explain all.  NB, when I looked this up, the word of the day was almost as good, paradiddle.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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