IT IS NOW more than twenty years since Sokal and Bricmont hoaxed the leftwing academic world with their fake paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Theory” (“transformative” is a touch of brilliance there). As scientists, both had grown sick of scientific concepts being misused by postmodernist academics to discredit the very basis of objectivity. They knew that the authors of these papers had no knowledge of understanding or the sciences but would nevertheless be accepted as creditable as long as they showed themselves to be bona fide leftists. This included references to the gods of the postwar pantheon of “fools, frauds and firebrands”, as Roger Scruton so aptly called them — Foucault, Derrida, etc.
Sokal and Bricmont thus concocted a paper out of the meaningless verbiage that typified such research at the time and submitted it to a journal called Social Text, who had it peer-reviewed and published as authentic. A furore followed the revelation that the academic world had fallen for such obvious fakery. Despite the laughter and scorn of many, there were still plenty of defenders of nonsense within academia willing to claim the hoax meant nothing at all. Eventually the waters of discord settled, the academic idiocy continued and the Sokal hoax was gratefully forgotten by its critics and left unmentioned to a new generation of left wing scribblers.
IT CAN’T HAVE escaped the intelligent observer that the left — and what we can call the Establishment in general — is more than indulgent towards Islam. It is truly, madly, deeply, pathologically besotted with it.
Whether it’s Merkel opening her country up to a million immigrants or the other leaders of the West dribbling inanities about Islam being a religion of peace or the police and other authorities ignoring the systematic sexual abuse of thousands of girls by Muslim gangs, etc., to the immediate response of the media to every terrorist atrocity with blatherings about solidarity, unity and a condemnation of the threat from a phantom right-wing, the message is clear: Islam is a marvellous, wonderful, humanity-enriching culture that cannot be held responsible for the actions of those who act in its name, and those of us who aren’t Muslims (affectionately known as kuffars) must prostrate ourselves in admiration and submission to its every wish.
AS I’M NOT a follower of that tediously over-hyped game known as football I missed the initial outburst of horror that came when a manager of some club made some post-interview comment to some female journo which rocked the whole of western civilisation to its rapidly-decaying foundations because it was (don’t wait for it) sexist and “wholly unacceptable”…
ONE OF THE misfortunes for men getting old is that however little hair remains on top, plenty of it seems to spring from the nose and ears. To that rather mundane phenomenon can be added a tendency to tearfulness, if a couple of my friends are anything to go by.
The first of them, speaking to me on the phone last year, asked me if I ever found myself quietly crying on my own. He went on to say this had started happening to him – he would be sitting on his own (usually in the pub) and have a “quiet cry to himself”. He admitted there was not usually a specific subject prompting his tears. It was just something that welled up from inside. I could be cruel and just say that’s what comes of being a poet with an extremely irregular income and no pension plans in place, but I know it’s deeper than that.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER US ambassador to the UN and recently the non-appointed Secretary of State in the Trump administration, famously quipped that if the UN building in New York lost ten stories “it wouldn’t make a bit of difference”. He also said that “There’s not a bureaucracy in the world that couldn’t be made leaner.” I think the latter is definitely true while the former errs on the side of generosity…
Now it appears this insidious nannying culture of trigger warnings has already arrived — not so much at British universities (though that will be inevitable) but in the hallowed and righteous halls of the broadcast media. There used to be a thing called the watershed at nine o’clock, after which time more adult material could be shown. We didn’t need to be given explicit warnings about filth and violence.