Rod Liddle

Tread carefully! Your garden is saturated with racial meaning – and so is Ikea

A sociologist who makes Malcolm Bradbury’s History Man look balanced

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

Is your life saturated with racial meaning? The most common answer to this question, when I ask friends and acquaintances, and sometimes people in the street going about their business, is: ‘Your inquiry makes no sense whatsoever. It sounds like the sort of pretentious and thoroughly bogus question dreamed up by some idiotic sociology lecturer in a third-rate polytechnic. Now go away, I have lost my place in the queue at Burger King and will have to wait ages for a bacon double cheeseburger.’

The correct answer, however, is ‘yes’. Our lives are saturated with racial meaning — I have it on good authority. I don’t know what it means, but nonetheless we are all soaking wet with racial meaning, all of us. You especially, probably. This is the view of a man called Dr Ben Pitcher who is — as coincidence would have it — an idiotic sociology lecturer at a third-rate polytechnic. The ‘University’ of Westminster, to be precise, an institution ranked 106th out of the 121 universities in the Sunday Times University Guide, and for sociology ranked 81st out of 89 in the Guardian (which knows a sociologist when it sees one).

Dr Ben has been unpicking the racial subtexts and tropes and memes which infect our lives and, um, saturate us — and of course he has concentrated his attention, as is only right, on the racist excrescence which is Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4. This long-running temple of filth must be seen ‘in the context of the rise of racist and fascist parties in Europe’ and indeed ‘the crisis in white identity’. That’s why, you see, those supposedly cosy and genteel old coves on GQT are always telling people to root out invasive alien species from their gardens and fling them on the compost heap or burn them or poison them or something.

That’s what we want to do with immigrants, you see. Every time you rid the borders of your pond of an infestation of Japanese knotweed, you are subconsciously kicking a Roma in the testicles. He really does say this, Dr Ben. I haven’t made it up. His comments about GQT were reported in the Daily Mail and, thinking it was a spoof, I did the unheard of — researched. I looked him up. And he is very clear that when the fogeys on Gardeners’ Question Time are all worrying about invasive species, and urging listeners to prepare good, pure soil for their native plants, they are actually morphing, quite perceptibly, into Adolf Hitler.


I don’t know if Dr Ben has a garden. I saw a picture of him and he doesn’t look like the gardening type, frankly. He looks a bit like Trenton Oldfield, that charming if misguided Australian who disrupted the boat race a couple of years back, in protest at the vile elitism of universities which actually require their undergraduates to possess a qualification or two before they’re let inside. But if he did have a garden, what would he do with the Japanese knotweed? Welcome it? Make it a cup of coffee, insisting upon its right to live here, with no reduction in benefits, as a free and consensual member of the British weed community?

But I delved further. And it seems that Gardeners’ Question Time is by no means the only focus of Dr Ben’s laser-sharp mind, with its irrepressible commitment to show you racism in a handful of dust. Because Dr Ben is worried about something else we all do, something to which we’re partial.

Yes — Nordic furniture.

We are not wandering around Ikea because the stuff is quite cheap plus they also do those meatballs when you’re bored of looking at flatpack tables, but because we are imbued with a fascistic desire to get back in touch with our mythical Aryan roots — part of that crisis in white identity once again. So that’s why we like Danish and Norwegian and Swedish furniture: if we were less saturated with racial meaning, we’d instead be spending our Saturdays browsing around the many Rwandan or Somalian furniture hyperstores which throng the outskirts of our towns and cities. And we would thus furnish our homes in a congenially non-racist manner instead of all those didactic straight lines, their bland surfaces betraying a certain dialectic.

Dr Ben talks about all this in a short video he made. He’s standing in front of a bookcase, natch, in which the two standout names are Hegel, natch, and Derrida, natch squared, maybe even natch cubed. Dr Ben makes Howard Kirk — the late Malcolm Bradbury’s hilarious charlatan of a sociology lecturer — sort of rational and sane, and much less funny. Given a choice between the two of them, surely Kirk would be the first to get tenure? Even as a comic creation he out-thinks Dr Ben.

I suppose this story does not amount to much in the great scheme of things. Within a few days our collective hilarity will subside and our memory of Dr Ben will dwindle to nothing. And he will resume, come September, teaching a selection of the nation’s dimbos a lexicon of unadulterated, specious, intellectually incoherent balls. The only question which remains is — wouldn’t those dimbos be much, much, better off doing something else instead, like they used to? What on earth is the point of the poor kids getting themselves into £27,000 worth of debt, simply for the benefit of having a degree from an institution which very few employers would take seriously?

Its chancellor, incidentally, is Lord Paul — the Labour peer forced to resign as Deputy Speaker after getting caught up in the expenses scandal. Not that this fact matters terribly. But the level of teaching, the depth of thought — faux intellectual, faux academic, a sort of pretend form of learning, handed down by supposed academics who would themselves be better off doing some purifying form of manual labour. Just, y’know, sayin’.

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Show comments
  • StephanieJCW

    I loved this story I really did. The man is absolutely barking! And he is thinking he should be taken seriously??

    • global city

      The trouble is that he IS taken seriously…deadly so, by all the most important institutions and regulatory organisations, both here and in the EU.

      His ideas are incredibly poisonous, but typical and indicative of the sort of bile that informs government policy.

    • Gwangi

      But didn’t you know, EVERYTHING is racist these days. The computer you are looking at is racist, the glass of water you sip from is racist, the chair you sit on is racist too – they are just unaware of their innate racism which affects everything is a racist society…

      • vieuxceps2

        Gwangi,the only thing in today’s world that is not racist is black racism.Or indeed any other colour save white.

        • Kitty MLB

          Indeed, I remember the US elections with people
          saying they voted for Obama because he looked
          like them. Could you imagine the outrage if people here said they voted for Cameron because he’s white.

          • Gwangi

            Indeed, so true. I think the levels of discrimination against white men, who the BBC, the media, political parties et al seem so keen to mock, belittle, disparage, ridicule and actively discriminate against with sly ‘positive action’ policies, means that many white men will be forced to be as racist and secksist as ethnics and women. So maybe white men should only vote for white men eh?
            The Labour party’s insane man-hating policies will lose it many votes, certainly – all their nonsense about closing a gender pay gap – when an UNFAIR gender pay gap DOES NOT EXIST! Same job gets the same pay. Now, if you play with lifetime averages…and that is precisely what the femi-pressure groups do to get the result they want. It is intellectual fraud, no less. And none of them demand a closing of the benefits and healthcare gap (women get the vast majority of benefits and healthcare spending in the UK).
            And supposedly black people are unemployed because of awful racism. Well really. I know Polish people who get work – menial work, sure, but work – within hours of arriving in the UK. And yet 50% of young black men are unemployed. That is THEIR BAD, as they say on the street. Their attitude stinks and they’re lazy, preferring playing gangsta rapper than working in jobs they see as beneath them.

        • Gwangi

          Yep, and now as the majority of London schoolkids are non-white, the most victims of racism and bullying at schools are white. I would never send my kids to schools for of black gangstas and Islamo-bangla-turdds.

        • ROGERUS

          vieuxceps2 Since when were black and white colours?

          • vieuxceps2

            Since Lefty decreed it.

  • gin

    Ikea in Wembley and Edmonton then, packed with customers trying to get back to their Aryan roots………

    • global city

      and most of them are, er, of colour!

      How does he account for that?

      • Gwangi

        Indeed. That mob at IKEA Edmonton a few years ago who fought to be first into the sales was maybe 80% black… Edmonton is very vibrant and diverse, of course…

        • global city

          Yes, which shows the lunacy of the man’s whole ideology. This, of course, was not pointed out by R4…. or by Baroness Young who totally agrees with Pitcher’s utterly bigoted and hateful views toward white folk.

    • sarahsmith232

      Ha! Wicked but hilarious.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Mao & Pol Pot had the right idea – send them all out to the countryside for re-education digging ditches & spreading muck.

    • MikeF

      But this is what they are like when they come back.

  • Hippograd

    That’s why, you see, those supposedly cosy and genteel old coves on GQT are
    always telling people to root out invasive alien species from their
    gardens and fling them on the compost heap or burn them or poison them
    or something.

    Peter Simple was writing on the key topic of racist plant-life long ago. In the apartheid years Mrs Dutt-Pauker had a praeternatural ability to sense the presence of a South African shrub or flower in the gardens of Marxmount, her palatial mansion in Hampstead. She would then, in a splendid gesture of solidarity with the oppressed of the Third World, tear it out by the roots. And we should never forget Simple’s greatest contribution of all to the ever-enthralling debate around issues of racism:

    The prejudometer is an electronic device, easily fitting in pocket or handbag, for testing racial prejudice. You simply point it at the person you want to test (including yourself), press a button and read off the result in prejudons, the internationally recognised scientific unit of racial prejudice.

    End Column

    • JimHHalpert

      We are all guilty!

  • The_greyhound

    Rod,
    are you absolutely sure that Dr Pitcher didn’t arrive at Westminster Dolts’ direct from the Unseen University in Discworld where his previous roles included the Chair of Indefinite Studies, the Lecturer in Recent Runes, and the Chair of Oblique Frogs?

  • global city

    What we forget though, and this is to our peril, is that it is just this sort of rank, lunatic assertion that informs and shapes so much policy of government. It is easy to mock and dismiss the likes of Pitcher (have you noticed how nobody has picked up on the fact that Baroness Young heartily agreed with the loon?), but that is to miss just how sinister it all is.

    The whole equalities sector is grown from such ‘fertile thought’. The main point I would add is that it is incredibly racist, but then again so much of the PC, multicultural doctrine is based in some truly awful assumptions about ‘white folk’.

    Academe should be cleared of all of this destructive stuff…all the pseudo-cultural Marxist claptrap, obscurantists and cod-revisionists of the left. Pitcher and his ilk are incredibly influential people and therein lies the true danger.

    Rod…why not interview baroness young and fore her to contextualise and then justify her agreeing with Dr Knotweed?

    • John Dalton

      b dot pitcher at westminster dot ac dot uk

      I’ve already sent him my thoughts.

      • global city

        Thanks for that…I’ll do likewise.

        • John Dalton

          Let’s hope we’re not the only ones! Why should these idiots be allowed to get away with this cr*p?

  • Baron

    Smart guy, Dr Ben Pitcher, if he sticks to it, he’ll retire on it easily with juicy pension, a cluster of academic awards on the wall, a cushy job in a quango or two.

    One must never underestimate the depth of repentance of the pseudo-liberal fruitcakes in charge for the sins of our forefathers.

  • The_greyhound

    I expect Professor Sir Bennie Pitcher is now working on the waycism
    inherent in the act of washing our faces. While changing his name, pitch
    having such negative connotations about blackness.

  • Archibald Heatherington

    Sociology is by its very nature an impoverished excuse for an academic discipline.

    Tom Lehrer put it rather well in his song, “Sociology”:

    Strange
    Is the change
    They’re trying to arrange
    Today in sociology

    Fanatics
    In their attics
    Are learning mathematics
    Just for sociology

    Persuasion
    By equation
    They all feel it’s much more satisfactory
    They, in an ivory steeple
    Far away from all people
    They do research in sociology

    Guys
    Who wrote lies
    Now present them in disguise
    A cinch in sociology

    Attract
    Quite abstract
    Without one single fact
    Disblended sociology

    Birds
    Who used words
    Now all talk in terms of X and Y and Z
    They can take one small matrix
    And really do great tricks
    All in the name of sociology

    Joes
    Who wrote prose
    Now write algebra, who knows
    It may be sociology

    They’re
    Everywhere
    Full of Sigma and Chi squared
    And full of sociology

    They consult
    Sounding occult
    Talking like a Mathematics PhD
    They can snow all their clients
    By calling it science
    Although it’s only sociology

  • John Lea

    Brilliant article, and well done, Rod, for unearthing this idiotic turnip (Pitcher). I had a look at this twerp online and he is beyond parody. I think someone needs to write a contemporary version of The HIstory Man – Rod?

  • sarahsmith232

    Should it even be legal for this borderline retard to be in such a position? He did his PHD at the University of East London (to anyone not familiar – THE lowest rankest Uni’ in this country, place looks it as well, looks like a disused warehouse). I just wonder whether that PHD might very well have been an indulgent mummy and daddy self-funded PHD, by any chance. Worst of it is though, this dodo is not only in a position of responsibility for the kids in that Uni’ of Westminster place, he also works as an examiner for the University of Brighton. How and why is any of this flipping legal???!!!

    • Kitty MLB

      Well I have dealings with an American academic with a
      PhD in alternative literature-whatever that is.He forever
      disparages Shakespeare, Cambridge academics and finds
      it highly amusing to say: Stratford upon Disney. I do wish
      someone would put him out to pasture in a garden or field somewhere.But honestly some of these academics are somewhat tiresome. And as for those with PhD’s who
      become politicians..maybe they should be rented out as
      gardeners.

    • vieuxceps2

      Quite agree we should ask your question-Why? Rod Liddle’s dissection of his lunatic maunderings brought me joy,but on reflection we should realise that this lefty buffoon and his mates and masters are propagating their weird and weedy ideas all over our growing young people.That’s dangerous for us all. As you say,how can this be legal?Why are they not rooted out and made into (organic) compost emeritus?

  • Chingfordassociates .

    This explains why he is a sociologist and not a botanist.

  • MikeF

    “He’s standing in front of a bookcase” – I wonder if its from Ikea.

    • Kitty MLB

      Indeed its just resentment. Rather like resenting those who have a sumptuous
      Persian rug instead of a thin rather unremarkable rug from Argos that you might have. Metaphorically speaking obviously.

      • MikeF

        Bang on – I am sure that if I had an Axminster I would be a socialist. But the question then is which would be cause and which effect.

        • My grandparents have an Axminster or two. But I think that’s because they’re 15 miles distant and it’s an easy ride: socialism ain’t their bag, I’m happy to say.

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh I didn’t know what an Axminster was. I won’t
            google now as I assume its a car .in another life
            I’d have liked the idea of a Harley Davidson and
            riding it across America…was a bit of a Rock
            Music babe for a while as a student.

          • girondas2

            Almost – Austin Westminster.
            Probably carpeted with Axminster

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh, I see ! a carpet and a car.. this is getting awfully highbrow.
            Ah, I assume this Austin Westminster was made by Austen Martin. Hope I got that one right.

          • girondas2

            1

          • If you were like other rock music babes, you would have played The Eagles.

          • Kitty MLB

            Yes indeed I most certainly have. I also liked Bruce Springsteen ,The Beetles and I might have mentioned Dire Straits amongst others. My best friend loved Queen.

          • Queen is Queen, if I may say so.

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh you mean the chaos theory? a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere and chaos presumes elsewhere.Cannot envisage socialism as a beautiful butterfly regardless of
          the chaos which it creates, but chaos it indeed
          creates so therefore I reluctantly say effect.
          Try a small English classic car….Lefties hate them…and they’re fun.

  • carpetburn

    This is the reason why as a society we are going backwards. Dr Ben Pitcher needs to be escorted to the nearest nuthouse and left there.

    • Simon Fay

      Unfair: he’s likely all too sane but of very low character and with his eye on the main chance, unashamed to pour this toxic crud into young impressionable minds whilst he chases status amid the warped social ecology that has grown up like knotweed around “public intellectualism”.

    • Kitty MLB

      For how many million of years have we evolved…Darwin
      would be turning in his grave or rubbing his hands together
      with glee…that man is as stupid as a confused baboon.

    • girondas2

      “Dr Ben Pitcher needs to be escorted to the nearest nuthouse and left there.”

      Ah! He was, and there he remains. He can do little harm

  • Max07

    It worries me that perpetrators of the sort of twaddle that Dr Pitcher inflicts on the rest of us have no sense of their own ridiculousness. Doesn’t the inner BS detector occasionally sound an alarm? Apparently not. And of course, if you can somehow bring racism into the equation, you are more or less untouchable. Not too keen on rhododendrons or Japanese knotweed? Worry that they might be spoiling native landscapes? Racist, racist! Unfortunately for Dr Pitcher, however, neither plant knows the meaning of multiculturalism. Both are natural despots and colonisers and neither is happy unless it has supplanted all other species and developed a successful monoculture.

    • Oedipus Rex

      It worries me that perpetrators of the sort of twaddle that Dr Pitcher
      inflicts on the rest of us have no sense of their own ridiculousness.

      True – and I know from bitter experience (I work P/T in HE) that these same ‘twaddle perpetrators’ also tend to stereotype ALL Americans as ‘having no sense of irony’. (You know that old canard that Americans think ‘irony’ is a town in Arkansas). Which is of course in itself deeply ironic to the point of pants auto-urination hilarity.

      • Funny. I’m American and I felt sure that irony was rather like coppery, only not so shiny.

  • Kitty MLB

    Rpd I have a tree in my garden that produces golden apples, I am wondering whether
    it belongs in the Garden of Hesperides. Should I send it back to Greece.
    There is also Jamaican Dogweed growing in the field near by. But that will kill you I think.
    What about racial food..I know a UKIP person who won’t buy any food which
    originates from the EU. and I am sure black jelly babies were banned a while back..
    that was very funny.

    • Alexsandr

      what has become of ‘black jacks’ sold to us kids for 4 for an old penny. Liquorice, I seem to remember.

      • pedestrianblogger

        They all went to live in the Japan Alps.

        • girondas2

          He won’t like that when he reads it

        • Heh heh heh heh heh….

    • It means you’re Atalanta, Kitty. Re-born for the 21st century.

      • Kitty MLB

        I rather like the sound of that 🙂

        • : ) You could make something of the myth your avatar. A golden apple? Scene of a Grecian paradise? Flowing limbs or locks?

          • Kitty MLB

            What do you think of her then ? You can’t actually see the golden apples she’s looking after, in the full picture…but never mind.

        • Aha! We now see the beautiful vision! Bellissima!

          • Kitty MLB

            I was originally looking for a golden apple but
            then she popped up 🙂

          • Perfect!

  • monkey for sale

    Q – What’s the difference between Dr Ben and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown ?

    A – Not a joke, there’s no punchline.

  • Sean L

    A garden’s surely an apt metaphor for a civilisation, being a highly artificial form of life under perennial threat from without as much as within, surviving at all only by careful government. But it’s only him that’s making the racial connection, so only he can be properly culpable of biologically inspired racism. As for IKEA, the one up from Tottenham Hale attracts at least as many alien as homegrown species, its ever helpful staff being predominantly of the non-white variety.

    • It’s not THAT artificial. I use real dirt and real flowers with real water. What, dare I ask, do YOU use?

      • Sean L

        Therein lies the artifice. Without your intervention there couldn’t *be* a garden. Try using a dictionary.

        • But it could be said that a garden isn’t an apt metaphor for civilization — it’s a symptom of it. And: it is in the nature of man to transcend what nature gives him. I’m thinking of writing a book of aphorisms ; )

  • Alexsandr

    Tom Sharpe invented the character Wilt – He had obviously met Dr Pitcher.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wilt-Tom-Sharpe/dp/0099435489
    good film with griff rhys jones too.

    • Kitty MLB

      I wonder why the PC obsessives never banned those books..came across
      them once- thought they were hilarious- but maybe a little public schoolboy
      humour. Perhaps a little close to the knuckle too.

      • Alexsandr

        i suppose a blow up f*cking doll is a little risque!

  • Well said Rod.

    You’ve pretty much summed up my own feelings about my fellow academics and why medium to long term I plan to get out of this collective insanity.

  • Liz

    And there was me thinking Rod Liddle & chums’ tone deafness to social cues wasn’t because they didn’t have any insight into why they like and do the things they do.

    • Kitty MLB

      Dearest Lizzie, Rod is a very insightful chap and never tone deaf but with selective hearing in regards to social cues ( in another world he could have been your Darcy )

    • Do you agree with Ben, Liz? That’s the question. You must realize he’s the most goshawful chump. I’ve known cleverer chipmunks, for cryin’ out loud.

  • AJH1968

    Ben Pitcher should be at University (perhaps one of the top ones), but as an object of study and observation or better still in a specimen jar.

  • Damon

    Lord Ben Pitcher? Baron Pitcher of Westminster? Give it about ten years.

  • Dr Ben is out of his mind. He’s a Leftist so I’m not surprised. Meanwhile, which university is 107, dare I ask?

    • Gwangi

      Well, this guy went to several rubbish ‘universities’ studying pretend subjects before teaching a pretend subject at a rubbish ‘university’ himself. As Benbo says himself: “I studied Literature at Goldsmiths (BA) and Cultural Studies at Lancaster University (MA) and the University of East London (PhD).” These three dumps are well known for their low standard, high rates of cheating, and for offering silly non-subjects which have the word ‘studies’ in them.

      And so yet another freeloading parasitic mediocrity hops on board the great gravy train of academe – which actively cons young people into getting into huge debt so they can get degrees in ‘fun’ subjects at fake universities which are utterly and literally useless (and well as academically dodgy) and which will leave them unemployed or at best working in Tesco, Lidl or, um. Ikea – the racists!

      • ROGERUS

        Gwangi was that working in Lidl or as Liddle?

        • Gwangi

          Well, every Liddle helps…

          • ROGERUS

            Gwangi I think that should be Lidl

      • Yes, it’s not a good system now for the students OR for society.

    • girondas2

      Hey! The one that’s better than 108 and don’t be cheeky

  • Gwangi

    Yep, hilarious – but predictable (though I wish you’d put a link to sociologist Ben’s witterings). It really is beyond parody or satire, so even campus comedies that takes things to extremes, from The History Man to A Campus Conspiracy to Crump, simply cannot match the real world situation. Sadly the obsession with race and gender, and identity politics, has infected ALL subject areas, however – and if you want funding as an academic, you’re much more likely to get it if you blather on about race too.
    Really, if these pompous twerp academics were all sacked (or maybe replaced by immigrants who worked for less than half their inflated salaries) would the world be worse off? Or what about just selling degrees to students for 5 grand? Forget any teaching or lectures – just 5 big ones for the qualification. Then we could sack all the academics, whose salaries including massive pensions are bankrupting us all, and maybe force them to get real jobs like ordinary people?
    I once knew a 4th rate former poly where the word ‘black’ had been banned, as had failing students – ever!
    Oh and everywhere smoking rooms have become prayer rooms – or, rather, MUSLIM prayer rooms because anyone else is made unwelcome if they dare enter this ‘prayer’ room (where no doubt smoking wrecks of suicide bombing campaigns are being planned as we speak).

  • mikewaller

    RL, you really are the Sun-readers intellectual! I am 70 and can tell you that one of the scarcest commodities at this age is a new idea. The kind of conventional “wisdom” and quasi-intellectual yobbery you trade in available by the bucket-load, not least thanks to Messrs Murdoch and Rothermere; but something really new is to be treasured. And, in my view, the idea that the widespread opposition to “alien” species and racism might have a common (if you will forgive the pun) root, is, I think, just such an idea. Where you take it depends on the depth of your intelligence and your personal prejudices. However, trying to strangle it at birth marks you and the clowns below who applaud you out as dip-heads of the first water.

    • Max07

      There is no ‘widespread opposition’ to alien plant species. Suburban gardens are filled with them, and the autumn plant catalogues will be brimming with yet more novelties from all over the world. There is some concern – although I’m still not sure I would call it ‘widespread’; frankly most people couldn’t give a toss – about invasive non-native plants escaping into the wild, because they can do untold damage to our ecosystem.

      • Kudzu in America being an egregious example — except that it was planted deliberately by government authorities, of course.

        • Max07

          I have done battle with Japanese Knotweed. I’ve searched my soul on this one and can find no trace of personal animosity towards this plant on account of its nationality. My dislike of it has much more to do with its indestructibility and terrifying ability to push myriad runners through solid concrete at an alarming rate, not to mention the fact that it can render your home virtually unsaleable. Some building societies refuse to grant mortgages on homes that are infested with the stuff. I suppose I could attempt to brand such institutions as racist. There is currently so much paranoia about the term that they might well be persuaded to back down.

      • Kitty MLB

        I’d have opposition to Jamacian Dogweed and several
        others that grow in our wild if I were you Max.Or you’ll
        end up shuffling off this mortal coil.

        • ugly_fish

          Pedant alert! To “shuffle of this mortal coil” refers to the action of the soul sloughing of the constriction of the body, in much the same way as a butterfly breaks free of its chrysalis. So you should rather say “…shuffling off YOUR mortal coil.”

          • Yeah, but life itself is a mortal coil, ain’t it? Life is a death sentence, as someone said.

          • vieuxceps2

            “Shuffling off this mortal coil- Would you have us misquote the Bard?

          • Kitty MLB

            I think the answer is yes. A fish out of water but not a ugly one.. quite sweet really, in a way.

      • mikewaller

        It is the concern about species such as rhododendrons and Japaneses Knot Weed to which I was referring. One could take the view in respect of the ecosystem that what happens, happens; but, clearly, some people, such as yourself, object to the status quo being upset. If you cannot see a parallel between that and a concern that changes in the racial mix may impact negatively on our socio-political system, I suggest that you eat more fish. Again I stress, that from a scientific stand point the implications of such a linkage are worth exploring. My guess is that it’s grounded in our evolutionary past. Simply to rubbish the possibility seems to me childish in the extreme; but, conversely, to apply the naturalistic fallacy (is = ought) would be equally daft.

        • Max07

          Forgive my simplistic approach, Mike. However, just for the benefit of dullards like me who lack omega three, could you spell out exactly what you would do if you found that knotweed had taken root in your garden? Shake your head and say ‘whatever happens, happens’, as it swamps everything that is in its path and begins to eat its way through the concrete? Delight that the horticultural status quo has finally been shaken out of its torpor by this new and exciting usurper? Somehow I doubt it. Plants like this are a disaster in the wild; they have no natural enemies and do not so much change an ecosystem as destroy it.

          If closet racism is the real reason why a few of us worry about such things (most people don’t – they’re far more interested in Eastenders and McDonalds) you will have to look a great deal further afield than a certain sort of Englishness. There have, for example, been concerns about eucalyptus trees in South America and South Africa. I doubt that these worries stem from some deeply suppressed racism on the part of natives of those countries towards Australians. It’s much more likely that they arise because the trees have a habit of poisoning the soil and turning the place into a sterile desert.

          • mikewaller

            You entirely misread my stance. I share with many the wish that grey squirrels had not been introduced into this country and the reds displaced. Similarly I would happily take part in attempts to eliminate rhododendrons from our countryside. So when I say “One could take the view” I mean “One approach would be to”, not that the laissez faire philosophy is one I favour.

            I look at such issues from an evolutionary perspective and this leads me to speculate that what the guy had to say about human attitudes to what they find acceptable in their gardens and the wider ecosystem might share a common root with attitudes to “the other” in an entirely human context. I very much doubt that this is what the academic who first raised the idea (and then got a kicking from Liddle) had in mind; my guess would that he would think it all culturally induced. However, it still seems to me an idea worth exploring and simply to seek to strangle it at birth as Liddle did, frankly, shameful.

          • Max07

            Personally I’m not sure that Dr Pitcher has come up with anything new; he has just dressed things up with a sort of faux messianic fervour. Of course many living things find it easier to exist in a constant environment rather than one in which there is rapid change. I have listened to the ‘Thinking Allowed’ programme in which he appeared. I think that if you are prepared to say that a R4 gardening programme is ‘saturated with racial meaning’, you must expect a robust and similarly intemperate response. It wasn’t, however, the silliest remark of the piece. The award for that must surely go to Lola Young, who drew a direct link between rhododendron control and, in her words, ‘Paki-bashing’.

          • mikewaller

            I think that on basis of the quotations you have cited one would have to find both Dr Pitcher (and Lola Young) guilty as charged. However I still strenuously object to the unalloyed rubbishing of ideas. As has been shown, the basic issue could well be taken in directions that both would find somewhat discomforting. Far better that than a virtual version of book burning.

    • Ridcully

      Well, now we know which university you graduated friom.

      • mikewaller

        I trust this makes more sense to you than it does to me.

    • liamjq

      proof positive that there’s no fool like an old fool…you must indeed be a true child of the 60s and immersed in such garbage all your life….still you have a succinct writing style ..you manage to sneer at the working class (Sun readers) foreigners (white Australians) natch and rich Jews…if your weren’t no doubt a retired sociology lecturer you’d be in line for an honorary PhD

      • mikewaller

        As I suppose is usually your experience, you are wrong in almost every aspect. My intervention arose purely out of a deep contempt for those who would suppress novel ideas, a category into which it would seem both you and Liddle fall.

        • liamjq

          You and that idiot “academic” talk of new ideas as if you’re a couple of plasma physicists!!!……nothing could be further from their end of the spectrum ,,so to speak…save it for your dinner party chums I had that Derrida in my cab once lovely guy ..fairly put that Lacan bloke in his place going up to Edinburgh this year Sir?..too hideously white for me!

          • mikewaller

            Might tablets help?

  • Terry Field

    I like biscuits.
    With plain chocolate .
    Does that make me a lesbian, even though I am a male man?

    • You mean you like plain chocolate digestives or you like biscuits and eat plain chocolate with them? I have a feeling the distinction could make a difference.

      • Terry Field

        AH – you betray yourself as a Jungian Analyst!
        Is there salvation for anyone who eats plain chocolate when unattached to a digestive biscuit!???
        DOLT!
        OBVIOUSLY a unified Plain Digestive Biscuit.
        HOW could you have fallen into such a trap?
        Were you not trained in Vienna?

        • Yes, I realize now it was a stupid question.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh that is damaging for the equilibrium of any male man. You cannot separate
      a digestive biscuit with plain chocolate.. they belong together, the biscuit with a
      thin coat of dark chocolate. Dipped in Coffee so that the chocolate and the biscuit slightly melts before eating.
      PS- ‘ male man’ have you come across any female men?

      • Terry Field

        Have I come across any!
        Goodness me, they are now everywhere- just look at the specimens that appear all over the mainstream televisual media!
        The third way of Blair in fact related to the third sexual way!
        Half-chaps are sprouting like mushrooms on a dungheap.
        They are funny, and amuse me.
        I understand 20% of British non-females are now infertile.
        I am surprised it is not more like 40% these days.
        I agree with your dunking comment, although a very rapid dunk is needed before the coffee becomes a mocha and a spoon is required to enjoy the faux-sponge that nestles at the bottom of the coffee-cup.
        I blame socialism and flouride in the water-supply.
        I recall Rock Hudson had very good teeth ………………….see what I mean,
        Our version would be called Marshmallow Thames.

  • girondas2

    I’ve never heard of Ben Pitcher You’ll probably find that his students haven’t either.(attendance at lectures isn’t compulsory).
    You gotta have a little sympathy for the waifs and strays of modern academe – How can you be sure you exist unless you see your name in The Spectator?

    • Kitty MLB

      Thank God for that. Those early morning lectures got in the way of that debauched social life that some students must have.. sick as a parrot some mornings. Especially for those who were ‘ rock babes’ whilst a student.
      More into saxophone jazz these days.. everyone grows up eventually.
      You must feel a little sorry for todays waifs and strays.. they will spend years paying for what others had free.

      • girondas2

        Were you a rock babe Kitty and did we meet?

        • Kitty MLB

          We may have done but I were young and rebellious and slightly blotto, so would have forgotten you. Oh you were not a
          handsome young lecturer of mine named Mr Adamson were you? Oh I blush to this day, I hope your not.
          Although I still adore Bruce Spingsteen, U2, ELO, the Beetles and Pink Floyd I eventually discovered the Manhatten Jazz Quintet and the One O Clock Club and Branford Marsalis and my studies improved immensely.
          A man here, I have only just encountered has introduced
          me to someone named Andy Sheppard.. who I shall disappear
          off to right now and investigate.

    • Guffaw!

  • lindzen4pm

    Dr. Pitcher did write ‘The Cultural Politics Of Being A Knob’.

    Semi… cough…. autobiographical?

  • if we were less saturated with racial meaning, we’d instead be spending our Saturdays browsing around the many Rwandan or Somalian furniture hyperstores which throng the outskirts of our towns and cities

    Hilarious.
    But in keeping with my reputation as blog grammar bore, it’s ‘bored with’ not ‘bored of’.

    • Max07

      I think Rod may have been adding what you might call ‘colloquial colour’, Shenandoah. My personal gripe is the tendency for people to ‘fall’ pregnant these days. Surely you fall ill but become pregnant.

  • Winter Jasmine

    utter rubbish

  • Guest

    excellent

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