Arts &
Arts Culture Analysis
Vol. 23, No. 3, 2024
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Robert J. Lewis
Senior Editor
Jason McDonald
Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Don Dewey
Chris Barry
Howard Richler
Gary Olson
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
Music Editor
Serge Gamache
Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Photographer Jerry Prindle
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes

Past Contributors
Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Charles Tayler
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

no concessions



For more of Liz, visit her fashion/brenda website.

Once upon a time, a first-year sociology major named Hannah turned up for a seminar in astronomy, AKA the ‘easy’ science requirement to complete a BA. Shortly into the lecture, Hannah’s confusion became apparent to her neighbors. Why were they talking about stars and not star signs? Poor girl had mistaken ‘astronomy’ for ‘astrology.’

When I first heard this story I thought hilarious! Who could be such a dimwit? The answer is -- me. I could be such a dimwit. 

In my university days, intoxicated by self-righteousness, I too said and did many dumb things. Drifting around campus, Smiths playing on my Walkman, I disdained capitalism and pooh-poohed marriage and family as a bourgeois trap. You know what they say–if you are not a liberal when you’re young. My point being, who was I to judge poor ditzy Hannah? 

I take it all back. Today’s progressives deserve no such concessions.
We, my fellow campus libs and I, might have been allergic to contrary opinion. But nobody could say we were living proof that education is not the same as intelligence. Hannah, at least, was a charming dimwit. This image perfectly symbolizes the level of farcical dimwittery among today’s campus dissidents.

That’s Tabaret Hall at University of Ottawa. Everyone reasonably assumed it was Columbia U or some other Ivy League, where acceptance rates average below ten percent. And yet here’s one of its chosen admitting she didn’t know what she was protesting. Here’s a Princeton student praising Kim Jung Un. My 80s commie cohorts look Churchillian by comparison. 

Along with their flagrant dumbassery, allow me to overgeneralize other defining characteristics of today’s young and radical.

They dress horribly.

Yes, I’m actually disparaging their appearance. Sorry if that strikes you as shallow, or snobby or ad hominem. But I grew up imagining everyone on the quad dressed like this.

Love Story may have been a cornball classic weeper par excellence, but I still prefer it to masked mobs in squalid tent encampments harassing anyone who looks Jewish. 

In their floral-embroidered faded denim, blowsy tops and suede boots, Aquarian revolutionaries dressed the part of naive utopians. Even perched on an anti-aircraft gun, Jane Fonda looked terrific. Black Panthers, in their leather bombers, berets and turtlenecks, were the nattiest drug dealers and cop killers in history. The new left is dystopian, bordering on nihilistic. Like these two, larping as suicide bombers.

Then again, until we see any of them wearing a vest packed with actual C4 and roofing nails—like real terrorists—it’s all just cosplay.

Of all SJWs, Net-Zero zealots are the worst offenders. This rogue’s gallery of overgrown theatre kids, gym class ‘last picks’ and dead-eyed ragamuffins has the temerity to demand that we re-engineer the entire global energy grid.

It’s like taking orders from Heaven’s Gate followers, those lost souls who believed eternity awaited in a spaceship hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet. 

I get it, chaining yourself to highways, shimmying up flagpoles, lighting things on fire and heaving buckets of paint at storefronts are dirty jobs. But dressing down is one thing, dressing as an expression of civilizational decay is another.

They are the West’s fertility crisis personified. 

If David Attenborough were narrating these gatherings, he wouldn’t have to reference mating rituals. Their aggressive gender neutrality makes me worry that, like the Shakers, they’re determined to eliminate themselves from the gene pool. No, for obvious reasons, performance nudity doesn’t count.

There’s been much debate online about the rules around sex inside these encampments. A whiteboard listing behavioural guidelines for protesters at George Washington University clearly forbids “sexual relationships.” However, a list of demands issued by the U Chicago encampment included Plan B, HIV tests (?) and (shudder) dental dams. Either way, all I see are images of young people at their sexual peak looking as neutered and sexless as China’s Red Guards. How will these Googlers, pictured last month at an anti-Israel sit-in, ever manage to procreate?

The one with the purple mask and pigtails inspired me to write a dad joke:

Me: Can you tell me what you call that hairstyle?

Googler: (shaking her head) frayed knot.

They are obedient and conformist.

Whether in opinion or clothing, my university peers bristled at authority and embraced variety. We were a little preppy (loafers, crew neck sweaters), collegiate (desert boots, hoodies, Levis), sometimes mod (army surplus, slim-fit trousers), and occasionally California surfer (Ocean Pacific, Vans, Ray Bans). Which leads me to the question? Are keffiyehs mandatory? 

An eerie sameness defines these radicals. Is the uniformity intentional? We know counter-revolutionaries, from the Jacobins to Castro’s guerilla warriors, have always dressed alike and it’s always been more or less on purpose—a kind of psy-op to signal strength through numbers. 

I sense these campus dissidents operate according to a chain of command, which is fine in a work or military setting but slightly repulsive inside what is meant to be a grassroots uprising. The pecking order seems to involve higher-ups barking orders at peons, like “wear your masks” and “don’t talk to the media.”

What would happen if one of these lowly plebes turned up without a keffiyeh? Would it be like the AIDs walk ribbon of Seinfeld fame? 

All interactions between encampments and media are guaranteed to ignite savage mockery on X and justifiably so. Their ludicrous statements and outlandish demands betray a lack of self-awareness so epic, you hardly need to point it out. Just sit back and wait for them to embarrass themselves. 

Yesterday, a Princeton student made a statement to the press, crying and blaming her school because she’s on a hunger strike: 

“This is absolutely unfair. My peers and, we are starving, we are physically exhausted. I’m quite literally shaking right now as you can see. We are both cold and hot at the same time. We are all immunocompromised. And based off the university’s meeting yesterday with some of our bargaining team, they would love to continue physically weakening us because they can’t stand to say no to unjust murder.”

Last week, we heard Marxist poetry PhD candidate Johanna King-Slutzky announce the need for ‘humanitarian aid’ for protestors barricaded inside Hamilton Hall. 

Isra Hirsi, Barnard student and daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, told CNN counter protestors used chemical weapons against her and her comrades. The ‘chemical weapon’ turned out to be fart spray. 

Last month, at a 21-hour tantrum sit-in at Vanderbilt University, a student called 911 to demand her fellow insurrectionist be granted safe passage to a washroom to change her tampon.

At Portland State University, a phalanx of protesters burst forth from the campus library in bike helmets and makeshift trashcan shields, charging toward a police barrier where they were promptly clotheslined.

Consequences are beyond their grasp. They assume future hiring managers will forget their flagrant support of the October 7th pogrom or that they leave behind mountains of trash resembling the aftermath of a tornado when their encampments are cleared out.

But their most juvenile delusion of all is believing their demands of a ceasefire will be met. This is what happens when you strap a kid into the back of a minivan until age 15. They imagine they can bend the universe to their will. If they howl loud enough, Israelis and Palestinians will join hands and sing Kumbaya, alternating Arabic and Hebrew for each line. Peace will fall over Gaza which, as you know, is a harmonious society of scholars and artists who placidly commune with nature and invented Algebra and the semicolon. 

Isn’t it depressing to think that this cohort is next in line to the seat of power? On that front, I have no good news for you.

Wait! Yes, I do have good news. These ballers.

. . . the lads—no, chads—of UNC’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity; the polo-clad broletariat that stood its ground and defended Old Glory from the Gaza mob while under a barrage of water bottles and rocks. Their courage has not gone unrewarded—a GoFundMe, which began as a humble gesture to throw them the “mother of all keggers,” has now ballooned to over half a million dollars.

How robust and sane they look. Not a single keffiyeh or wretched Covid mask or obvious personality disorder among them. Is that a Hooters t-shirt? I believe it is. 

Nature is healing.  




Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
ISSN 1718-2034


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