Dinner parties, animal rights and newly defined crimes against Mother Nature top the list of woke stories this week. But they may not be what you’d immediately think.
Guess what’s coming at dinner?
I imagine that even leftist elite, SUV-driving, Democrat-voting white women would expect something a little more than handmade pasta for a dinner for eight that sets them back US$2500. Courtesy of Regina Jackson, a black real estate agent, and Sairo Rao, an Indian American failed candidate for Congress, you can have your pasta with side orders of hectoring and shaming — with a game of pin the tail on the racist for some post-dinner fun.
Race to Dinner is the very latest thing in self-loathing, unconscious-racist, history-revisionist circles, and, let’s face it, isn’t that everywhere in the Western world? But before you ask where you can sign up I’m disappointed to tell you that at this stage it’s only available in the US. Shucks.
The Guardian this week ran a piece about Race to Dinner parties, where participants are asked ‘What was a racist thing you did recently?’ and to explain and confront their privilege and the racist undertones of their statements. And you thought dinner party conversations were boring.
Rao, whose recent Twitter statements include ‘the American flag makes me sick’, moved from New York to Denver to be closer to her mostly white, college-educated friends but was ‘surprised to notice how they would distance themselves whenever she’d talk frankly about race’. All those eyes glazing over and women excusing themselves to go to the bathroom must have been a dead giveaway.
After campaigning ‘tirelessly for Hillary Clinton’ she threw her own brand of anti-racist manifesto at a tilt for Congress and lost but serendipitously met Jackson in the process. They set up Race to Dinner in spring 2019 and have held 15 dinners in cities across the US since then.
Some of the self-flagellating set that came to early dinners were unimpressed.
Susan Brown attended one of those earlier dinners. She says she felt like Rao and Jackson were angry at her the whole time, without ever learning why. She found Rao needlessly provocative and mean-spirited, unaware of her own class privilege, and divisive. She felt the dinner set her up to fail.
Another previous attendee, who did not want to be named, says she found Rao to be dogmatic, and presented a distorted depiction of history, leaving out facts that do not fit her narrative. At one point, she referred to Rao as “the Trump of the alt-left”.
But the model has changed since then because Rao says ‘They didn’t want to just have women rely on them to shout at them for being racist and then go home’. Now participants must pre-read White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism and commit to action.
And if you white men are wondering where you fit in all of this, the answer is, of course, nowhere because, according to Jackson:
White men are never going to change anything. If they were, they would have done it by now.
So much for centuries of Western culture and civilisation.
PETA projects I: Phil-i-buster
The people from PETA have been out of their burrows this week taking aim at Groundhog Day. Seemingly under the illusion that Punxsutawney Phil and the whole rigmarole that surrounds his appearance each year is actually about predicting the weather rather than a quaint tradition that allows a small borough to make a few bucks from tourism, PETA has called on the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to replace the famous Phil with an animatronic robot that could make accurate predictions. According to PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman:
Gentle, vulnerable groundhogs are not barometers.
Who would have thought?
In addition to the supposed cruelty aspect PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a letter to the club:
Today’s young people are born into a world of terabytes, and to them, watching a nocturnal rodent being pulled from a fake hole isn’t even worthy of a text message. This is a generation whose members book rides on their smart phones and will never walk into a bank to deposit a check.
So naturally, if it isn’t celebrated by the technologically and morally superior Twitter demographic the whole thing should be canned. I can’t imagine them taking too much interest in any ceremony undertaken by participants in top hats and tuxedoes and carrying canes. It’s soooo last century.
PETA projects II: Sticks and stones
Newkirk also called this week for people to stop referring to their pets as, well, pets. She wants animals to be known as companions and their owners to be called carers or guardians.
According to the Express:
Ms Newkirk compared calling animals pets to the treatment of women before feminism, when women were banned from owning property and patronisingly called “sweetie” or “honey” to make them seem “less of a person”.
The 70-year-old activist from Surrey added: “Animals are not pets – they are not your cheap burglar alarm, or something which allows you to go out for a walk.
“They are not ours as decorations or toys, they are living beings.
“A dog is a feeling, whole individual, with emotions and interests, not something you ‘have’.”
Note to self: I must stop calling our beautiful black Labrador ‘the dog’, as in ‘have you fed the dog yet?’. I was too busy ensuring she received the necessities and comforts of life to realise how insensitive and hurtful I was being.
In Belgium, a long-time thief charged with stealing bicycles has been sentenced to three years in prison for his crimes. And while in post-crime 2020 it’s unusual to hear about a judge throwing the book at a serial offender, it’s his reasoning that’s caused a stir. These were not mere thefts but ‘ecological crimes’, somehow akin to illegal logging and polluting rivers.
In his judgement his honour said:
It is therefore advisable to severely punish the defendant who commits crimes the gravity of which is important for the planet, since the victim deprived of his bicycle has no other option than to use a more polluting means of transport.
Just make sure you place all those recyclables in the correct bin. You never know who they’ll be coming for next. You can see how cynically – sorry, seriously – that practice is implemented here.
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