Tom Lehrer on satire

Next in an exhausting list of Things You Kind of Hoped Were Satire but Turned Out to Be True — this, from the academic Sunny Singh:

“I get regular invites to debate on various platforms. I always say no. Because debate is an imperialist capitalist white supremacist cis heteropatriarchal technique that transforms a potential exchange of knowledge into a tool of exclusion & oppression.”

Sunny runs a creative writing course at one of the country’s worst universities (according to the league tables), London Metropolitan.

At least it’s not one of the best universities – yet.

There’s a solution to this you know

We are supposed to be modelling how to be good citizens in a time of Covid, but I do not see a single student wiping down their desk or washing their hands in the numerous outdoor wash basins that have been installed.

You are the teacher, you are in loco parentis. You tell ’em. And if they don’t then punish them for not.

That being what teachers are for?

The new offence of fucking while black

We knew, of course, of the offence of driving while black. That demonstration of the racism inherent in the society etc. But this is a new one:

“To an escalating degree over my adult life. I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she wrote.
“I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring.”

Note what she insists is worse – not only but also! – which is that fucking while pretending to be black is indeed worse.

A bit odd we’d probably think but then there’s no explaining academia.

She also doesn’t explain quite what it is that she’s done. I assume it’s that she has said that she’s black when she ain’t.

Hmm, OK, and?

Elizabeth Warren was unavailable for comment.

Dear Zoe

This is called grading on the curve:

The decision in England, where results come out on Thursday, is more rigid still: alongside their predictions, teachers were asked to put their students in order, with none jointly ranked. Then, in what Ofqual called its “direct centre-level approach”, the predictions were largely disregarded; instead, schools have been allocated a fixed number of As, Bs etc based on their performances in previous years. Students’ results will rely jointly on where they were placed relative to their peers, and how students did in the years before them.

The aim is to sort pupils into bright, not so and not. So, rank order does this. What is your problem?

Teachers beg to differ

At least, teachers’ unions are aiming to differ:

Almost 9 in 10 parents say their children will go back to school in the new term, ONS reveals

There was a comment here that now is the time to fire all the teachers, derecognise the unions and then rehire those actually desired and those only.

There’s merit in that.

Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Your MBA Program

If you’ve been out in the working world for a while—and you should be if you are going after an MBA—returning to the classroom can be an adjustment. This is a critical juncture in your career, and it’s important that you hit the ground running and get as much out of the program as you can.

How Will You Pay?

There are a few routes for funding an MBA. Your employer might contribute toward the costs, or you may have savings. Ideally, you’ll be able to focus entirely on school without having to work, but this is not always possible. Still, arranging your finances so that you can think about school instead of worrying about money is important. You can take out a mix of federal and private student loans. For private loans, in addition to traditional sources, such as banks and credit unions, you can often find online lenders who offer low interest rates and repayment plans.

Take Advantage of Your Time

Being in an MBA program puts you in a unique situation to access a number of different opportunities. On-campus recruitment means that major companies will be around to give you a sense of what working with them would be like, but you shouldn’t stop there. Extracurricular activities and clubs can give you more information and experience. Explaining to people that you are an MBA student can often lead to access you might not otherwise have to informational interviews, conferences and data. In addition to the networking opportunities offered by your peers and professors, try meeting people at seminars and even cold contacting via LinkedIn or other methods. This is a time to be bold.


You need to strike a balance between learning as much as you can and not losing sight of your ultimate goals. One way you might approach this is allowing yourself to take a broader view in your first year that you narrow in your second to hone in on what you see yourself doing after you complete your degree. Having a long-term goal in mind can also be important because an MBA program can start to feel like too much of a good thing, with an overwhelming number of opportunities that can make you feel stressed out instead of excited if you aren’t sure where you want to be in five or ten years.


With all these opportunities and your driving ambition, it can be easy to make your graduate program the center of your life, but ironically, this might actually be the quickest path to burnout. Prioritize your studies without making them the be-all and end-all of your existence. Balance them with something that you can enjoy and that re-energizes you. For many people, this might be some type of physical activity, such as running or yoga, or it might be cooking or refinishing old furniture. In general, you should make an effort to continue pursuing your outside interests and maintaining the relationships you had prior to entering your MBA programs. Your family and friends who have cheered you on up to this point can be valuable sources of support and perspective during this exciting, challenging period.

Good question

Instead, we have thousands upon thousands of young people, often from poor backgrounds, saddled with £30,000 of debt after three years of gender realignment studies at the University of West Norfolk (formerly Downham Market Tech).

Where did he get this idea from?

Given the Telegraph’s paywall

We don’t know the reason that the expert goes on to give:

The Government proposals for some pupils to focus on English and maths when they return to school in September could lead to “cultural apartheid”, an expert has warned as headteachers vow to ignore the Government’s advice….

Our task therefore is to ponder what reasons there possibly could be.

Ideas along the lines of, well, literacy and numeracy are waacist, innit, are too obvious. What therefore is that argument?

The winning prize is employment at the fool think tank of your choice.

So here’s an interesting test then

We’ve been told for generations now that the secret to a better education is smaller class sizes. We must,m therefore, hire many more teachers. True, this has largely been said by the teachers’ unions but even that source might occasionally have a valid point. Although, when we consider that teaching is the profession with the lowest A level grades at entry perhaps not.

So, now we get to find out:

Maximum class size of 15 for England’s returning school pupils
Children will be kept in groups around half the size of normal classes but unions raise fears

Let’s see shall we? There’s going to be a massive rise in school performance? Or not? And someone is taking notes about this, right?

Entirely true Lily, entirely true

Children who are bullied for having ginger hair are “not dissimilar” to race victims, the actress Lily Cole has claimed.

It is indeed people being mean over a perceived physical difference.

About which we might say two things. Bullying occurs in entirely homogenous societies too, for human children are evil little bastards whatever the marital status of their parents. The second flowing from this first, if racist bullying is much the same as other kinds of bullying then perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much about the racist kind?

Actual racism, sure, that’s to be rooted out. But kids being nasty shits? And?

Certain changes would be needed to make this work

University students should be drafted into a new “national service” to boost social mobility, a Government adviser has said.

When undergraduates start their courses they could be automatically enrolled as Maths or English tutors for underprivileged children at local schools, according to Prof Lee Eliot Major of Exeter University.

The major change required would be to bring all new university students up to a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy.

Two Es in variants of grievance studies doesn’t constitute that proof.


Oxbridge row as report reveals diversity drive will hit ‘middle class’ students

If the middle class currently benefit then changes to benefit others will reduce the middle class benefit.

Seems logically obvious really.

Tee Hee

Her daughter, Iman, 21, studied for her GCSEs at Brighton College and was last year taking a fast-track A-level course in London.

Three or four years late is fast track now?

Yes, yes, I know, but…..

The way out

My Burning Ears:

I do hope that someone not utterly hare-brained has an idea how to get us out of our current one. Have the central banks actually been following some kind of long-term masterplan to that end, or have is what we’ve seen so far just a dance between periods of fire-fighting and spells of trying to gradually pull away from the fire-fighting without the steps necessarily belonging to some grander underlying scheme?

So far it’s been firefighting and hoping. Peeps keep trying to raise interest rates to get back to “normal” and the economy deflates again.

The problem is difficult.

The actual answer is economic growth. Well, yes, D’Oh. But the generation of that, well. Actually, this is an area where Ritchie is partly right. Monetary policy isn’t going to solve that problem. It can – and has – prevented deflation and thus negative growth. But actual growth?

Fiscal policy isn’t it either, although it can help. Reducing the UK tax burden to something like Singapore’s would help, certainly. And while I can dream no, that’s not a serious suggestion.

The other bit is government. Reduce the regulations preventing growth. The 1930s, for example, saw a housing led boom in the economy. But then back then it didn’t take 5 years to get from field to breaking ground with planning permission. REACH, as properly insisted upon, means you should pay up £250,000 for making even lab bench amounts of some new chemical to show that it’s not harmful. That slows down chemical research a bit, no? The entire economy is festooned with these restrictions that slow down economic growth.

One reason that it’s been computing – and online manifestations – that have been growing so much is that it’s all new. There are no regulations to stop you experimenting with whatever. You just can’t do that in any extant area of the economy.

The actual way out of the current slow growth and low interest rate world is laissez faire. Within the usual Common Law strictures of don’t kill the customers etc. But just leave markets and capitalism free to get on with experimenting.

Qualifications, eh?

This is my last column. After 26 years as a staff writer and 20 years – on and off – as a columnist, I’m leaving the Guardian. In April, I take up a post as professor of sociology at Manchester University.

The academic background is, umm, what?

Or are the two, Guardian columnist and professor of sociology, the same thing?


In a tweet directed to the university, she said: “This speaker is part of the anti-trans platform. Free speech is one thing, but trans rights are human rights and we shouldn’t be debating human rights.

We’re told these days that health care is a right, housing is a right, food is a right. We cannot discuss these things?

Freedom of religion is a human right yet we cannot discuss Israel, Judaism?

Tracey Loughran, a historian and dean in the Essex University humanities department,

She really want to insist that universities cannot discuss human rights?

Well, no, of course not, the argument is in fact that what I declare to be rights isn’t discussable only what we might add to that roster in the future…..