Y’all know he’s just an ugly-minded ol’ bigot, right?

Being a terrible human being hasn’t been an obstacle to making good, or even just interesting, music. Kanye West is just a Jerry Lee Lewis for the 21st century. But making popular music shouldn’t be a defense against repudiation. Kanye West is finding that out.

The rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, sent an Instagram post Friday suggesting fellow musician Sean “Diddy” Combs was controlled by Jewish people — a common antisemitic trope. Within hours, Instagram had removed the post and locked his account.

That sent Ye to Twitter, where he was publicly welcomed back by Elon Musk, who may soon take ownership of the company. Within hours, however, Ye had posted a separate antisemitic tweet that he would go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” Twitter, like Instagram, was quick to block the post and lock his account.

Unforgivable. That is Nazi shit, and it doesn’t matter that it’s coming out of a black man’s mouth. Actually, it may matter a great deal: conservative free-speech warriors are using it as an excuse to lay the groundwork for permitting antisemites and racists to freely promote their rotten ideas. They want to be able to shriek antisemitic jargon on the internet; they want to normalize it so that newspapers can freely post editorials blaming a Jewish cabal for every problem; they want it to get so familiar that they can sneak debates about “the Jewish question” into school rooms. That’s the future we should dread.

But a conservative-led movement to rein in what some see as “censorship” by Silicon Valley giants is poised to alter how they approach such decisions. Between a growing field of state laws that seek to restrict content moderation and Elon Musk’s determination to loosen Twitter’s policies, posts such as Ye’s could soon become more prevalent online.

A law passed by Texas last year, which could become a model for other Republican-led states if upheld by the courts, prohibits large online platforms from censoring users or limiting their posts based on the political views they express. Legal experts told The Washington Post that such laws would make it much riskier for social media companies such as Meta, which owns Instagram, and Twitter to moderate even blatantly antisemitic posts such as Ye’s.

And Musk has said that one of his goals for Twitter, should he complete a $44 billion deal to purchase the company and take it private, is to provide a forum for legal speech of all kinds. “If the citizens want something banned, then pass a law to do so, otherwise it should be allowed,” he tweeted in May.

I guess death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE is a kind of political statement, but it’s also something much more. It’s hate speech. It’s a threat of violence against people for the crime of being born to a certain set of parents. It’s a promise of cultural annihilation, the eradication of a people’s traditions and ideas. What’s also disturbing is that conservatives seem perfectly willing to equate those kinds of eliminationist views with their own political philosophy.

Offensive posts are nothing new on social media, of course. But the largest platforms, including Meta, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and ByteDance’s TikTok, have become much more active in recent years in developing and enforcing rules that restrict posts deemed threatening or hateful toward other users or groups of people. Those efforts have at times drawn backlash from prominent conservatives, from former president Donald Trump to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to Musk, who argue tech companies have gone too far in suppressing conservative voices.

So, telling people that they can’t go around threatening to murder other people is “suppressing conservative voices”? That’s a confession. Apparently, killing people who are different in some way has now become a conservative value.

I’m all in favor of suppressing conservatives then, just as I’m in favor of suppressing the KKK.

Can we at least try to be better people? Just for today, at least?

It’s Indigenous People’s Day! I hope everyone takes a moment to think about the people who were here in the Americas first.

You know what weirds me out, that I find terribly troubling about humanity? That in 1492 an intelligent man made a long, difficult journey from Europe to the Caribbean, where he met the Taíno people and their sophisticated culture, and he decided that the appropriate thing to do was to use guns and swords to enslave, rape, mutilate, and murder people to steal their labor and wealth. I don’t understand that at all. It’s certainly not how I would respond to discovering a new civilization, even if it was militarily weaker than mine. This would be an opportunity to learn new ideas and, even if I was a capitalist at heart, establish new trade networks of mutual benefit.

Fortunately, to feed my cynicism and learn how that could be, all I have to do is open today’s newspaper.

There’s Trump, baiting audiences with an opportunity to use a racial slur.

Surrounded by his adoring flock, Trump bellowed, “You know Putin mentioned the n-word. Do you know what the n-word is?”

Plenty of people shouted the answer they thought Trump was looking for — because there is only one answer. Hardly surprised by the response to his purposefully provocative question, Trump jumped in and said, “No, no, no, it’s the ‘nuclear’ word.”

There’s Tommy Tuberville, inciting racists with his claim that the Democrats want to support reparations because, in his mind, the victims of slavery are synonymous with the perpetrators of crimes. Hey, Tommy, the criminals were the ones who kidnapped people and then made them work in cane and tobacco and cotton fields. But as one of the dumbest people in the Senate, you wouldn’t know that.

Tuberville, appearing with Trump in a rural area of Nevada in support of those candidates, first told the crowd that the Democratic Party is “pro-crime, they want crime.” Then he exclaimed, “They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have.” What that means is hard to say, but GOP leaders know their base well, so telling the audience that Democrats want to steal what you have was the message Tuberville believes will animate some Republican voters.

Tuberville’s comment that caused such a backlash must also be viewed in the same light. Raising his voice in anger, the senator shouted, “They want reparations, because they think the people that do the crime are owed that! Bullsh**!” That line drew big cheers from the audience, with Tuberville adding, “They are not owed that.”

Then you see right-wing radio hosts blaming the Holocaust on LGBTQ people.

Do you know that part of the Weimer Republic was social degeneracy Europe had never seen before? Do you know, the whole LGBTQ thing? Do you know, that was going wild in places like Berlin at this time? And do you know that there were so many Germans, Jew-hatred or not, so many Germans who were willing to accept anything to make that degeneracy stop? They wanted it stopped. This is actually part – I’m glad you brought this up. This is part of why I’ve been warning time and time and time again – not cheering for – warning.

We’re still finding the bodies of dead Indian children at boarding schools.

Between 1869 and the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government and the churches. Though we don’t know how many children were taken in total, by 1900 there were 20,000 children in Indian boarding schools, and by 1925 that number had more than tripled. The U.S. Native children that were voluntarily or forcibly removed from their homes, families, and communities during this time were taken to schools far away where they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native culture. They suffered physical, sexual, cultural and spiritual abuse and neglect, and experienced treatment that in many cases constituted torture for speaking their Native languages. Many children never returned home and their fates have yet to be accounted for by the U.S. government.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at what that jerk Columbus did when he found new people — he exploited them.

I suggest a taxonomic revision. No longer “Homo sapiens,” because boy, that is a misnomer, and instead classify us as “Homo culus,” because we’re naturally assholes.

Never look at Star Wars in the same way again

George Lucas claimed he’d structured the movie around Joseph Campbell’s idea of the monomyth, that there was a universal human story that underpinned all legends. He should have been more skeptical, because as Maggie Mae Fish explains, Joseph Campbell was dishonest and a colossal asshole. A nazi sympathizer? Yuck.

I don’t think white men are intrinsically bad (I better not, since I am one), but one of the only human universals I’ll believe in is that if you grant any subgroup particular privileges and power, they’ll work like mad to consolidate that power, and will enthusiastically support anyone who can persuasively rationalize their status. Campbell was a Gríma Wormtongue for white middle-class Americans in the mid-20th century. As time grants us the distance to see what a cultural nightmare that time was, it shouldn’t be surprising that the sycophants who built the American myth are looking uglier day by day.

Jonathan Haidt goes full Jordan Peterson

Haidt seems to have realized how profitable outrage can be

Never go full Peterson. Unless, that is, you want to tap into the usual conservative grift.

So Haidt has announced that he’s quitting his professional society because they expect a statement about how their work contributes to the greater community. This is a great affront, especially since asking a super-privileged white guy to address issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, and anti-racism is profoundly offensive, I guess.

Last week the New York University (NYU) psychology professor announced that he would resign at the end of the year from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, his primary professional association, because of a newly adopted requirement that everybody presenting research at the group’s conferences explain how their submission advances “equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals.” It was the sort of litmus test against which he has warned, and which he sees as corroding institutions of higher learning.

“Telos means ‘the end, goal, or purpose for which an act is done, or at which a profession or institution aims,'” he wrote in a Sept. 20 piece published on the website of Heterodox Academy, an organization he cofounded that promotes viewpoint diversity on college campuses, and republished by the Chronicle of Higher Education. “The telos of a knife is to cut, the telos of medicine is to heal, and the telos of a university is truth.” [I’m sorry, that pegged my meter measuring pretentious pomposity in academic jargon]

“The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)—recently asked me to violate my quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth,” he added. “I was going to attend the annual conference in Atlanta next February to present some research with colleagues on a new and improved version of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. I was surprised to learn about a new rule: In order to present research at the conference, all social psychologists are now required to submit a statement explaining ‘whether and how this submission advances the equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals of SPSP.'”

Such diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements have proliferated at universities and in academic societies, he notes, even though “most academic work has nothing to do with diversity, so these mandatory statements force many academics to betray their quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth by spinning, twisting, or otherwise inventing some tenuous connection to diversity.”

This is absurd faux outrage, worthy of a Jordan Peterson. How can you get this upset at a request to justify the social consequences of your research? Is there something wrong with NYU that you can have a long career there and never have to explain how your work fits into the greater “telos” of the institution? Because it’s not simply “truth”, it’s deeper and more complex than that. Universities play a role in society, and it’s not to simply spit out abstract facts. To deny that is to deny a truth.

Also, it wasn’t a litmus test of any kind. The society is not requiring that you meet any diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements to submit an abstract; you’re asked whether your work advances their anti-racism goals. You could say “it doesn’t”, and your work will still be assessed on other criteria. I suspect this new statement is part of an intelligence-gathering effort, to see whether the society as a whole is making contributions to address the problem of racism. From that perspective, maybe Haidt dropping out is going to improve their metrics.

So I took a look at the onerous demands of SPSP. Here they are; they request a short statement to accompany abstracts submitted to their professional meeting.

  • Equity & Anti-racism:
    Evaluate the extent to which the submission advances SPSP’s goal of promoting equity, inclusion and anti-racism. To do so, please consider the equity statement as well as the submission as a whole. Submissions advancing equity, inclusion, and anti-racist goals may include (but are not limited to):

    • Diverse research participants (e.g., understudied or underserved populations)
    • Diverse research methods (e.g., methodology that promotes equity or engages underserved communities or scholars).
    • Diverse members of the research team (e.g., those from underrepresented sociodemographic backgrounds, from an array of career stages, from outside the United States, or with professional affiliations that are not typical at SPSP such as predominately undergraduate serving institutions, minority-serving institutions, or outside academia)
    • Presentation content (e.g., prejudice and discrimination, critical theories, cross-cultural research).

So? How could anyone find that difficult, or contravening the truth, to answer that honestly? That’s routine stuff. Any socially conscious institution could help you address those points with very little effort.

I made that point on Twitter myself.

I got so many responses from people who simply can’t imagine how I would address the social relevance of spider research, like it’s impossible that a biological subject could possibly have any influence on the human world. I think these bozos have a real problem. The SPSP has provided a list to tell you exactly how to answer their concerns.

  • Diverse research participants: my first project was to assess spider populations in the Stevens County community. I specifically sought out sites in a variety of residences, putting out a call in the local newspaper to get volunteers.
  • Diverse research methods: this one is a little tougher for me (fortunately, I don’t have to tick all the boxes) because it was a brief preliminary project without a lot of different approaches. But I could say it involved both field and lab work, and participants were given the choice in how they wanted to work.
  • Diverse members of the research team: ultra easy. I’m at a university that is committed to supporting diverse populations in the region. My student research teams have had native American and non-binary students and men and women actively involved in the work.
  • Presentation content: Another tough one, but not impossible. I’ve done presentations on the importance of spiders to the ecology of our communities to senior citizens and student groups. I can’t honestly say I’ve done work on prejudice or discrimination (although people definitely discriminate against spiders, I don’t think that’s what they mean), but there on my long list of potential projects is a survey of attitudes and spider populations on local reservations, compared to those in town.

I’d probably get my work rejected by the SPSP because it’s way outside the field of psychology, but not because I’m unaware of wider consequences. What blows my mind is that Haidt is a psychologist, studying “moral foundations”, and he blows a gasket because he can’t be bothered to explain, briefly, what this has to do with anti-racism, or diversity, or equity? What’s going on here? Does he only study the attitudes of wealthy white college students, or does he only bring white students into his research lab, and does he refuse to acknowledge the existence of other cultures in his work? I don’t believe any of that could be true (and if it were, it would call into question the validity of all of his research), and it ought to be trivial for him to check off the criteria for presenting at the meeting. At the very least, NYU has to have a diverse student body.

Instead, he chooses to posture and protest and complain. That will endear him to racists and knee-jerk freezepeachers, but it’s not going to cut it with the majority of his peers, who are, I’m sure, seeing this requirement not as a hurdle but an opportunity to make the broader significance of their research more explicit.

Going nuts over a flute

I had heard about it, but hadn’t seen it until now: apparently Lizzo desecrated a sacred, holy artifact of the Founding Fathers. That is, she played a flute once owned by James Madison. You can see it for yourself here…along with the over-the-top reactions of Ben Shapiro and Matt Walsh, who were outraged about something.

Don’t ever let them try and tell you that they aren’t racist. There is absolutely no other reason to be upset that a professional flautist played a flute while black that was owned by some guy who owned slaves in the 18th century.

How can you research the science of race when bad actors are eager to distort your conclusions?

There are interesting questions in the population genetics and evolution of different human groups, and it would be nice if there weren’t wretched ideologues who will happily misinterpret every difference between two groups of people, or even two people, to turn a description of differences into a ranking of superiority. It’s the Jordan Peterson problem of turning everything into evidence of a hierarchy.

Jedidiah Carlson provides some specific examples of how the right wing mangles research. It’s easy to see when the current fad is for murderous mass shooters to provide manifestos with their interpretation of the science; they are happy to name the credentialed scientists who provide fodder for their delusions.

The Buffalo shooter’s scientific bibliography has clear echoes to a similar citation scandal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this era, the National Front (NF), a neofascist political party in the UK that had been steadily growing throughout the 1970s, distributed a series of pamphlets with articles referencing mainstream academic research. Their goal was to justify the organization’s platform of ethnic nationalism, white supremacism, and eugenics using contemporary science. The first wave of NF propaganda proclaimed, “scientists say that races are born different in all sorts of ways, especially in intelligence. This is because we inherit our abilities genetically.” Here, the NF cited the work of Hans Eysenck and Arthur Jensen, two of the most vocal proponents of the hereditarian theory that genetics could explain IQ differences between racial groups. Steven Rose, a champion of radical science and coauthor of Not in Our Genes with Richard Lewontin and Leon Kamin, lambasted Eysenck and Jensen in a 1978 letter to the editor of Nature, calling upon them to “publicly and unequivocally dissociate themselves from the National Front and its use of their names in its propaganda.” Eysenck and Jensen both complied with Rose’s request, albeit without a hint of apology for the societal harm their research precipitated. Eysenck asserted that he was “absolutely opposed to any form of racism” and claimed that “No-one familiar with Professor Jensen’s or my own writings could possibly misinterpret our arguments about the mean differences between various racial and other groups with respect to intelligence as implying the kind of policies advocated by the National Front.” Jensen echoed this self-absolving and patently false sentiment but also took the opportunity to lash out against his leftist critics for being, as he believed, as guilty as the far right in their desire “to promote and to gain public acceptance of a particular dogmatic belief about the nature of racial differences.”

That’s fascinating. Jensen actually tried to argue that oh no, he’s not a racist!, while producing some of the most outrageously bad pseudoscience defending racist discrimination. This is an ongoing problem in recognition, because it is common for racists to deny they are racist, while promoting awful garbage that they will never deny. As the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, “Jensen worked hard to develop a reputation as an objective scientist who “just never thought along [racial] lines,” and to portray critics of his racist conclusions as politically motivated and unscientific.” Right. That’s why he has a long entry at the SPLC.

Jensen is way, way out there, and it’s patently obvious that he was a screaming bigot manipulating the data to support an evil conclusion. But there have also been other scientists, less aggressive about their racism, who have been quietly smuggling bad science into the literature. How about kindly old Grandpa EO Wilson, who, after his death, was found to have been supporting all kinds of openly racist ideas? On the one hand, we’re supposed to objectively evaluate scientific ideas, but on the other, we’re supposed to somehow ignore the biased presuppositions that have led to those ideas, which makes no sense. People regarded sociobiology with suspicion when it first came out, because we were supposed to consider only the limited set of facts presented within it, but somehow we should overlook the fact that it quickly acquired a following among the worst kinds of people, the ones who wanted a racist conclusion and could read between the lines and see that sociobiology was a tool to reach that conclusion? Only racists are allowed to see the obvious interpretations, critics are “politically motivated and unscientific”, which provides a useful ratchet to make sure only the racist perspective gets widely disseminated.

So what do we do about subjects like sociobiology or evolutionary psychology, which promote, with the authors’ open consent and approval, bad ideas like genetic reductionism or determinism? I don’t know. I don’t like the idea of censorship, so perhaps a better idea would be if the various channels of scientific communication, the journals and blogs and so forth, were more proactive in rejecting work that is so clearly constructed around fallacious premises? Good luck enforcing that. The gatekeepers seem to have mostly bought into the bad ideas, since they’re typically privileged beneficiaries of the biases.

And then even work in which the authors were not advocating racism (near as I can tell) will be chewed up and twisted by malicious actors to arrive at a malicious conclusion. There’s no avoiding that.

Much of the scientific community’s outrage in the aftermath of Buffalo centered around the shooter’s citation of a paper colloquially known as the “EA3” study (Lee et al., published in 2018 in Nature Genetics). This study, carried out in over 1.1 million individuals of European descent, identified hundreds of genetic variants associated with “educational attainment” (often abbreviated to EA)—i.e., the number of years of school completed, often taken to be an “easy-to-measure” proxy for intelligence. The shooter’s reference to the EA3 study came in the form of a screenshot of a plain-looking document (figure 1) proclaiming, “The latest findings on genetics and intelligence show that biological factors contribute to the gap in intelligence between European and African populations.” Beneath this image, the shooter weighed in with his own interpretation, punctuating his earlier claims that “whites and Blacks are separated by tens of thousands of years of evolution, and our genetic material is obviously very different.”

Many variations of this table can be found throughout the internet, but the earliest version can be traced back to a thread on 4chan (an anonymous and largely unmoderated online forum) timestamped to September 15, 2018, barely six weeks after Lee et al. was published online (on July 31, 2018). The original post that initiated this thread (figure 2) is a perfect example of what sociologist Aaron Panofsky calls “citizen scientific racism”: an individual, having come across the EA3 study, collected the top EA-associated variants from a supplementary table of the paper, annotated these variants with the allele frequencies in European and African populations using publicly available data from the 1000 Genomes Project, and curated a set of EA-associated variants with the greatest differences in population frequency to argue that Europeans are genetically predisposed to higher intelligence.

The responses to this thread rapidly crystallized into a simple propaganda strategy: turn these “findings” into a standalone unit of easily-digestible visual information—or a meme, for lack of a better term—and let it organically spread across other online spaces. Shortly thereafter, another user took these suggestions to task and independently reproduced the original post’s analysis, presenting the results in a table similar to that shown above. Within hours, this image began to circulate in other 4chan threads and mutate into alternate versions, often accompanied by zealous calls for diffusing these memes throughout the internet. “SPREAD THESE IMAGES LIKE WILDFIRE,” encouraged one user. “This is the new IOTBW” said another, referring to the racist slogan, “It’s OK to be white.” The meme was even passed on to a cabal of popular alt-right bloggers and Youtubers who “have several PhDs and can give you a hand…plus they’re fantastic propagandists.” This collective enthusiasm for propagandizing the EA3 study appears to have been wildly successful. Altogether, variations of this meme have been posted over 5,100 times on 4chan and regularly appear on more mainstream social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Quora. Contrary to the scientific community’s prevailing narrative that the shooter was an isolated extremist who happened to stumble upon the study,20 these data demonstrate that the EA3 study has been a significant force in empowering far-right extremists for years, virtually since the day it was first published.

(Note that Carlson article includes many figures that illustrate the point he’s making, but he’s flagged all of them with a “do not replicate” watermark. They often come from places like 4chan, so I agree, let’s not promote these vile sources.)

One step forward that Carlson promotes is the revitalization of activist-scientists. We need to speak up on all fronts, rather than passively sitting by while nonsense gets published in multiple outlets.

Weaponized science continues to threaten far more than the public image of scientific authority. Today, it has morphed and evolved to find new victims and modes of victimization, and exploits whatever platforms and resources are at its disposal to promote its message. Synthesizing the lessons learned from past radical science movements provides us with a path forward: our collective response to weaponized science must be fiercely multimodal and operationally diverse, taking place in the pages of scientific journals, the digital streets of social media, and the physical spaces of our institutions and cities.

He also gives us three challenges.

First, we must further educate ourselves on the ecosystem of weaponized science. Second, we must actively resituate our appetite for scientific progress towards the service and liberation of our communities. Finally, we must channel this knowledge and desire for change towards the development and implementation of creative strategies to disarm weaponized science, inoculate against its normalization, build resilience and solidarity, and spread those ideas like wildfire.

All right, I think I’ve been doing the first. I’m depressingly familiar with the bad science that gets published in all kinds of outlets. I’ve been involved in the second already, too, as one of those people who strongly believes that science should be serving a larger social purpose. The third…I’m not sure about what creative strategies I could implement, beyond just telling all of you what sucks about some of our modern science.

Gavin McInnes is a truly deplorable person

Creep.

How did this guy get any attention at all?

These quotes come from a book, We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism. I haven’t read it, I don’t think I could read it without hurling it into the trash. It must be rough to be an author writing a necessary book critiquing a subject that can only inspire deep revulsion.

The Proud Boys name first came to Gavin McInnes while he watched, with disgust, as a twelve-year-old boy with brown skin sank a musical number onstage at a school recital.

This little Puerto Rican kid comes out, and he goes, ‘I’ll make you a proud boy!’ It was the gayest fucking song, he said. When I was watching I was like, this is obviously the Hispanic son of a single mom. He did high-five a grown man afterward, but couldn’t have been the real dad.

The origins of the Proud Boys, the nation’s most notorious political fight club, can be traced to one reactionary bigot behind a microphone who hate a child he figured was a fatherless Puerto Rican. McInnes seems to embrace this characterization, though his wife is apparently appalled by it.
She’s pissed, she’s like: ‘So your whole thing, your whole organization, is mocking a twelve-year-old gay boy?’ he said. And I go: ‘That’s such a crude way to put it but yes. Yes it is. Because that little boy personifies how far gone we are.’

They know nothing about the boy. They don’t know that he’s gay, they don’t know that he’s fatherless, they don’t even know that he’s Puerto Rican, but McInnes invented this figure of hate and built his own public identity around it.

That Gavin McInnes is a notoriously popular public figure personifies how far gone we are.

To answer my question from the beginning, that confession came when McInnes “recalled the story for his guest, a comedian named Aaron Berg, who sat giggling…” There are a lot of enablers out there, people who think being transgressive is all it takes to be funny, who will sit and giggle at the most disgusting anecdotes. He built an audience of assholes, and that gave him what populist power he has.

Is this really where the discourse is at now?

Fresh off his demented obsession with women, and trans women, and what is a woman, and making a whole dumb-ass movie in which he demands that he be provided with a neat, pat definition of a woman (and getting upset because no one could give him an adequate one, which ought to have told him that his tidy binary premise was false), Matt Walsh has found a new cause célèbre. He’s unhappy with a Disney remake of the Little Mermaid because…

You know what else is unscientific? Mermaids. Period.

At the same time, he tries to argue that the appearance of mythical creatures like mermaids is a reflection of the culture, not necessarily a scientifically valid truth. Maybe mermaids are just a cultural artifact, like centaurs or trolls or gods, Mr Walsh. Get over yourself. You’re just reaching for justifications to excuse your bigotry.

It would be reassuring if I could just dismiss Matt Walsh as a deeply stupid person, but I’m afraid the evidence so far is that he is definitely a hateful bigot.

He’s also a useful example to illustrate how reason and science can be twisted into bogus rationalizations for unreasonable and unscientific and even wicked conclusions.


Right on schedule, now Walsh is claiming it was all a “joke”.

Was I supposed to laugh?

Remember, racism is bad

Wizards of the Coast, publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, is suing another company that is resurrecting an old TSR (original publisher of D&D) title, Star Frontiers. They say the the game besmirches their reputation because it gets a bit racist. Maybe a lot racist. I could argue that a lot of fantasy tropes are rooted in dividing people into imaginary races, so maybe the company in the glass house shouldn’t be throwing stones like that.

Except… excerpts from the game do sound hella racist.

That last bit is painful to read.

Think about your race carefully as some races are more superior in power etc., some races have latent issues, similar to blacks having issues with sickle cell enemia [sic] and family issues. Remember racism is bad, do don’t do racial things like racism. Have fun with it but remember some races are just sometimes superior in some ways.

Wizards of the Coast might have a case. The new TSR seems to be blatantly un-self aware, and they seem to be saying the quiet part out loud, naming their strong dumb race “negro” rather than hiding their stereotypes behind names like “orc”.

They’re also eager to cater to the transphobes, asking if any of their testers would like a trans “race”.

But remember racism is bad, don’t do a racism.