The Feminism-Industrial Complex: Academia and the Means of Production



Sara Ahmed is a lesbian and a feminist, not necessarily in that order. There is always a chicken-and-the-egg question about such matters. Correlation is not causation, but this particular correlation is sufficiently common as to be a phenomenon deserving its own categorical label, as Professor Ahmed acknowledges.

“Last week,” Professor Ahmed wrote in late February, “I enjoyed attending the Lesbian Lives conference in Brighton (my fifth!). I gave a lecture drawn from material in my chapter on ‘Lesbian Feminism’ which is the final chapter of the book I am working on.”

Gosh, what a coincidence. Lesbian feminism is also a subject of my own book, Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature. As I explain in the introduction to this 120-page book now available through Amazon ($11.69 in paperback, $1.99 on Kindle), it is a work in progress. Later this year, I plan to publish a revised and expanded second edition, but after many months of research, I felt a need to publish something — even if it was something with typographical errors that make me grind my teeth in agony — as I had promised loyal readers who had repeatedly told me, “You should write a book.”

OK, so I did write a book, and I am in fact still writing the same book, which is to say that I continue compiling material for the second edition. Self-publishing through Amazon’s CreateSpace program affords me the opportunity to do this exactly the way I want, when I want, without the hassles of arguing with an editor or publisher. People who have never been through the non-fiction book publishing process can scarcely imagine what it’s like: You informally “pitch” a proposal to a publisher. He loves your idea. You crank out a few thousand words — an outline, a couple of draft chapters, etc. — and send that off, then wait to hear back on the approval. Alas, the publisher took it to his editorial board, and the board had some issues, so the publisher is going to need you to re-work your proposal, and so forth. There comes a point in this process where it dawns on you that (a) you are no longer talking about them publishingyour book, but rather are negotiating for a chance to write their book, and (b) if their book idea is so much better than your book idea, let them hire somebody else to write it. But I digress . . .

Professor Sarah Ahmed is director of the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) at Goldsmiths College, University of London:


The Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) provides a coordinating hub for feminist work at Goldsmiths. In addition to organising seminars and conferences, the CFR offers a symbolic and intellectual home for the MA in Gender, Media and Culture, co-convened by the Departments of Media & Communications and Sociology. . . .
By ‘feminist research’ we include any work that is informed by an active engagement with feminist intellectual debates, and any research that investigates questions of power, inequality and difference including race, class, disability as well as gender and sexuality. . . .
We have identified four key and loose strands of feminist research activity at Goldsmiths:

  • Intersectionality; gender and class; feminist of colour scholarship and activism; queer feminism; transfeminism.
  • Feminist genealogies, new feminism, post-feminism.
  • Feminist cultural theory (including feminist engagements with visual culture, new media, screen culture and technology)
  • Feminist work on embodiment, affect and emotion


In other words, the Centre for Feminist Research is a major institutional cog in the wheel of the Feminist-Industrial Complex and the lesbian Professor Sarah Ahmed is its director. Correlation is not causation, but neither is this correlation entirely a coincidence. Professor Ahmed is author of several books, including Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2006) which is described thus:


In this groundbreaking work, Sara Ahmed demonstrates how queer studies can put phenomenology to productive use. Focusing on the “orientation” aspect of “sexual orientation” and the “orient” in “orientalism,” Ahmed examines what it means for bodies to be situated in space and time. Bodies take shape as they move through the world directing themselves toward or away from objects and others. Being “orientated” means feeling at home, knowing where one stands, or having certain objects within reach. Orientations affect what is proximate to the body or what can be reached. A queer phenomenology, Ahmed contends, reveals how social relations are arranged spatially, how queerness disrupts and reorders these relations by not following the accepted paths, and how a politics of disorientation puts other objects within reach, those that might, at first glance, seem awry.
Ahmed proposes that a queer phenomenology might investigate not only how the concept of orientation is informed by phenomenology but also the orientation of phenomenology itself. Thus she reflects on the significance of the objects that appear—and those that do not—as signs of orientation in classic phenomenological texts such as Husserl’s Ideas. In developing a queer model of orientations, she combines readings of phenomenological texts — by Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Fanon — with insights drawn from queer studies, feminist theory, critical race theory, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. Queer Phenomenology points queer theory in bold new directions.


Published by Duke University Press Books, Queer Phenomenologycurrently ranks #4 among’s bestsellers for “Textbooks . . . Gay & Lesbian Studies,” which tells you that it is widely assigned for college students in this field. This is not trival information, but is important to understanding how the Feminist-Industrial Complex operates. Based in academia, especially in Women’s Studies programs, this system creates employment opportunities for Professional Feminists who get paid to indoctrinate young women. Higher education is subsidized by taxpayers, and thus the Women’s Studies programs amount to taxing citizens in order to pay Professional Feminists to promote their ideology. However, it’s not as if teaching one or two courses each semester requires a 40-hour work week. The tenured Ph.D. has plenty of spare time for “research” and, if they are industrious and ambitious, this spare time is spent writing journal articles and books or (as is entirely common) writing journal articles that are then compiled into books. So the Professional Feminist writes a 5,000-word essay one month and a 1,500-word book review the next month — getting paid for each of these articles, extra income on top of her university salary — and if she’s shrewd enough to keep her work focused around a general theme, she steadily produces the raw product of her next book.

Suppose she can crank out 4,000 words a month. This isn’t really that much. When I was on the presidential campaign trail in 2011-2012, I would regularly produce 1,500-2,000 words a day. For a tenured Ph.D. in Women’s Studies to write a thousand words a week would seem quite an easy workload, even in addition to her teaching and other faculty work, attending staff meetings and so forth. Supposing a production rate of roughly a thousand words per week, then, a Women’s Studies professor could produce a new 75,000-word book every 18 months. (Hint: Just checked my word-count on this blog post, and it’s about 1,100 words already.) Let us now examine Professor Ahmed’s authorial output:



Put aside all questions about the quality of Professor Ahmed’s research and writing and instead focus only on the quantity of her authorial output. During a period of 16 years, she published seven books totaling 1,807 pages. That is to say, she published about 113 pages per year in books, on top of her other academic production. Professor Ahmed “has also edited or co-edited 7 books and journals, and has published over 60 journal articles and book chapters,” according to her Wikipedia page, which quotes one enthusiastic admirer: “Few academic writers working in the UK context today can match Sara Ahmed in her prolific output, and fewer still can maintain the consistently high level of her theoretical explorations.” Professor Ahmed is, then, a relentless dynamo of feminism whose efficient production of “high level . . . theoretical explorations” make her a marvel of postmodern academia. Yet despite her fame within the feminist universe, it is quite likely that you never heard of Professor Ahmed before, and that you have never encountered any of her several books. This is because the Feminist-Industrial Complex operates inside an academic bubble, insulated both from the commercial marketplace and the ordinary lives of ordinary people.

Except for her 2000 book Strange Encounters (published by Routledge, “the world’s leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences”), all of Professor Ahmed’s books were published by university presses. While I don’t want to write a treatise on the economics of academic publishing, let’s just say it’s not about cranking out bestsellers. You’re not going to find a big display of Sara Ahmed books at your local Barnes & Noble store. No, the market “demand” for the output of university presses comes almost entirely from within academia itself. A moderately successful book will be purchased by several hundred university libraries, while the more successful book will be assigned as a text in university classes, thus generating several hundred more orders from university bookstores. If a book from a university press should become in any way popular outside this institutional marketplace, that’s a bonus. What this means for the Feminist-Industrial Complex is that, without the artificial marketplace created by taxpayer-subsidized college and university Women’s Studies programs, the economics of supply and demand would shrivel the career opportunities in this field to the merest fraction of what now exists. If what Professor Glenn Reynolds calls The Higher Education Bubble should ever burst, feminism as we know it would be devastated.

Consider, for example, the February conference at which Professor Ahmed presented her lecture which was, as she said, “drawn from material in . . . the final chapter of the book I am working on.” The 22nd Annual Lesbian Lives Conference was “hosted by University of Brighton LGBT and Queer Life Research Hub in conjunction with Women’s Studies Centre, University College Dublin.” So we have two universities producing this lesbian conference which featured lesbians from other universities talking about lesbianism. If you’re wondering what sort of topics were discussed at this two-day university-sponsored event in Brighton, you’re in luck. The program for the conference was posted online, and we can therefore list this small sample of the proceedings:


Chair: Kath Browne
Sheila Pardoe: Borders and betrothals: queer tourism and Toronto’s Grand Pride Wedding
Laine Zisman Newman: (Un)Happy haunted houses: Queering majoritarian space through protest and
Megan Chawansky: The next Abby Wambach: Lesbian sporting celebrity within Sport for Development and
Peace (SDP) projects
Ilana Eloit: Feminist trouble: The lesbian political subject and the archaeology of an anti-racist lesbian thought
in France (1970-1985)

Moderator: Jane Czyzselska (Diva Magazine and Middlesex University)
CampbellX :‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’: How to De-Colonize / Reclaim Lesbian Desire
Janet Jones: ‘Hey lesbian feminism! Don’t tell me how to have sex!’ Radical feminist silencing and what
disabled lesbians do in bed
Jane Traies: Invisible Intimacies: Sex and the Older Lesbian

Chair: Jane Hattrick
Suzanne van Rossenberg: At the intersection of feminist art, LGBTI activism and research
Karin Sellberg and Joanna Benecke: Femme is a Feminist Issue
Sneha Kar Chaudhuri: Closet Lesbian Love and the tradition of Sakhiyani: Representing queerness in Bollywood now
Gail Neill: ‘A different kind of girl’: Young women’s understanding and negotiation of sexual identities


The reader may well wonder how anyone ever managed to become a lesbian before there were academic conferences where they could learn how to “reclaim lesbian desire” or represent “queerness in Bollywood.” Yet perhaps a more interesting and relevant question is: Exactly who the hell are these people?

Randomly, I did a Google search on a couple of the panelists. Dr. Megan Chawansky is a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton’s School of Sport and Service Management:


Dr. Megan Chawansky was awarded her PhD in Sport and Exercise Humanities from Ohio State University (USA) in 2008. She was a postdoctoral research officer at The University of Bath from 2009-2011, and then worked as a lecturer at The University of Iowa. Megan received her master’s degree in women’s studies from Ohio State University and acquired her undergraduate degree in psychology and women’s studies from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Megan was a captain and all-league performer as a member of the women’s basketball team.
Megan’s research focuses on socio-cultural power struggles around gender, and the way in which these struggles shape the subjectivities, bodies, and lives of girls and women. Megan accesses various theoretical understandings of power, gender, and methodologies within her research. Early in her career, Megan’s research outputs focused primarily on US women’s sports. At present, Megan’s research focuses on the transnational sport for development and peace (SDP) movement, and her research outputs have been both theoretical and applied. Megan was a fellow of Women Win, a Programme Director for PeacePlayers International-Cyprus, and also served as a development intern at the Women’s Sports Foundation (US).


So, basically, she went to Northwestern on a basketball scholarship (a 5-foot-11 guard, she wore jersey No. 24 for the Wildcats) and never left academia — a prototypical feminist success story. Then there is Suzanne van Rossenberg, a student in the Art and Design doctoral program at Middlesex University, where her research is described thus:


The Business Case of Feminist or Queer Art
Creating the possibility to say no to the dominant hetero-normative economic and political structures of art. Or yes. But to least write a story about it that replaces an older one.
Feminist art and queer art have recently gained major visibility, but how does this create reliable positions for feminist and queer cultural practitioners to carry out their work? The historicisation of feminist art clashes with the political and economic position of artists, like myself, who have decided to operate within the space between art and feminist activism. My research raises the question whether the omission of the economic contextualisation and interpretation of art has hindered artists with minority backgrounds to have full and equal access to the multiple art worlds that characterise the global art scene; to money and recognition. It seeks to explore the relation between everyday feminisms, their economic structures and the function of feminist art practices by making deliberate intersections with LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) activism, emancipation and human rights advocacy. Repeatedly stepping in and out of artistic, activist and theoretical structures informs the (fragmented) creation of feminist or queer art spaces on either side; spaces that take the political and economic structures of art, art theory and feminisms into account, increase a network of audiences and improve the political and economic positions of feminist and queer cultural practitioners. Conclusively, my research aims to investigate whether transdisciplinary “methodologies” of queer or feminist art, art theory and institutional critique augment the “constituency” for feminist or queer art spaces.


If the transdisciplinary methodologies of your deliberate interesections aren’t queer, blame the dominant heteronormative economic and political structures, or something.

Whenever I quote this kind of feminist jargon to sane people who live in the real world, the reaction is a mixture of incredulity (“Do people really go to college to learn that crap?”) and dismissal (“What a bunch of fringe kooks!”). yet the fact is that such activism/research is taken very seriously within academia. Remember that every year, more than 90,000 students enroll in Women’s Studies courses, which are taught at 700 U.S. colleges and universities. Thousands of faculty members are employed to teach these classes, and what the faculty are paid to teach is what defines “feminism” in the minds of their students.

In answer to the most obvious question — “What use is any of this in the real world?” — the answer is, “None whatsoever.” However, the “real world” (i.e., the capitalist marketplace, where profit is generated from the sale of goods and services) produces enough excess revenue that many millions of dollars a year can be siphoned off to fund these academic swamps, as well as to pay for government agencies where a Women’s Studies graduate can be employed to do nothing except to meddle around in the lives of other people. Also, the “real world” of capitalism has over the past century heaped up untold billions of dollars at tax-exempt philanthropic foundations which, in turn, constantly hand over huge sums in grants to various non-profit groups that employ “activist” types to advocate for social change. The Feminist-Industrial Complex thus intersects both with the ever-expanding liberal Welfare State and with the non-profit sector which (surprise!) constantly advocates for even more government Welfare State programs.

So while (a) the jargon of radical feminism strikes most people as nonsensical gibberish, and (b) you might think that the graduates with their Women’s Studies degrees would be qualified to become nothing other than a barista at Starbucks, in fact (c) academic gibberish is enormously influential because (d) it drives the agenda of major institutions in society, including perhaps the school your children attend. As much as you may want to dismiss the Feminist-Industrial Complex as an irrelevant absurdity, just keep in mind that there were people who laughed off the 1960s New Left as a bunch of fringe kooks, but now one of their disciples is the President of the United States.

Now think about what “fundamental transformation” might be next. If I haven’t yet convinced you to take feminism seriously, just imagine what Hillary Clinton might accomplish if she gets elected in 2016.


While you contemplate that nightmare, let’s return to the lesbian conference in Brighton, England, where Professor Sara Ahmed gave her speech about “Living Lesbian Lives.” Many of Professor Ahmed’s sources will be familiar names to those who have followed the “Sex Trouble” series here: Shulamith Firestone, Rita Mae Brown, Marilyn Frye, Adrienne Rich, Julia Penelope, Audre Lorde and Judith Butler. Here is a 350-word slice of what Professor Ahmed told the Brighton lesbians:


Heterosexuality could be described as an elaborate support system. Support is how much you have to fall back on when you fall. To leave heterosexuality can be to leave those institutional forms of protecting, cherishing, holding. You have less to fall back on when you fall. When things break a whole life can unravel.
When family is not there to prop you up, when you disappear from family life, you had to find other ways of being supported. When you disappear from family life: does this happen to you? You go home, you go back home and it feels like you are watching yourself disappear: watching your own life unravel, thread by thread. No one has willed or intended your disappearance. Just slowly, just slowly, as talk of family, of heterosexuality as the future, of lives that you do not live, just slowly, just slowly, you disappear. They welcome you, they are kind, you are the lesbian aunties from London, say, but it is harder and harder to breath. And then when you leave you might go and find a lesbian bar or queer space; it can be such a relief. You feel like a toe, liberated from a cramped shoe. And we need to think about that: how the restriction of life when heterosexuality remains a presumption can be countered by creating spaces that are looser, freer not only because you are not surrounded by what you are not because you are reminding there are so many ways to be.
So much invention comes from the necessity of creating our own support systems. Note here the significance of fragility to this history: how we too can be shattered, how we need each other to put our lives back together again. And: if we are recognised as fragile, breakable, broken, we are often assumed to have caused our own damage. We after all have willingly left the apparently safer paths, the more brightly lit paths of heterosexuality. What did you expect, dear: what did you expect? . . .


You can read the whole thing, in which Professor Ahmed portrays lesbian feminists as engaged in a heroic struggle of “creating our own support systems” — except that they have really done nothing of the kind. What feminists like Professor Ahmed have done instead is to attach themselves parasitically to taxpayer-funded institutions, using political power (and legal threats of “discrimination” claims) to force the rest of us to subsidize their racket. Without the money the Feminist-Industrial Complex has extorted from society through their political shakedown scheme — “Bake us a lesbian wedding cake, or else!” — there would be no funding for their conferences, no tenured jobs for their leaders, no one willing to buy their books full of lunatic gibberish.

No one inside academia is permitted to say this, however. You might be sued for violating someone’s civil rights if you told the truth about feminism at any university in America today. The power of the Feminist-Industrial Complex is deployed to silence truth-tellers and to empower liars. Fortunately, they have no power over me.

Loyal readers have been funding my research, thanks to the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:


By the way, I’ll be on the Joe Prich BlogTalkRadio show tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Today Joe’s co-host Bree Mars called to remind me about the schedule and I went on about 45-minute rant.

Like I keep saying: People need to wake the hell up!

Beijing defends HK vote plan after foreign criticism

BEIJING–Beijing on Thursday defended Hong Kong’s plan to vet candidates for its 2017 leadership election, saying it represented public opinion “from all walks of life” in the territory despite mass pro-democracy protests on the issue last year.

The statement by China’s foreign ministry came as Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying hit back at “uncivilized” critics after he was booed and heckled by local residents.

New York-based Human Rights Watch denounced the election plan as a “farce,” a “rejection of international law” and a “betrayal of democratic aspirations in Hong Kong.”

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei countered: “We certainly cannot agree with such accusations.”

The roadmap “represents the public opinions from all walks of life in Hong Kong towards the referendum of the chief executive of Hong Kong,” Hong told a regular briefing of reporters.

He added that the plan “meets the realities of Hong Kong, accommodates the rights and interests of Hong Kong people and is a viable, reasonable and pragmatic solution.”

A senior Hong Kong government source also hit back at HRW’s criticism.

“Up until now, no one has ever answered the question what is the international standard for this unprecedented case, the election in the context of a special administrative region under the one country two systems,” they said.

The Hong Kong government kicked off a promotional campaign to sell the vote plan after its launch but Leung and his deputy, Carrie Lam, were drowned out by protesters as they visited a middle-class district late Wednesday.

Protesters booed the pair and blocked their path with yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the democracy movement.

“Yesterday during the district visit … there were some hecklers who kept using loud voices and quite uncivilized words to try to speak over others,” Leung told reporters Thursday.

“It’s not democratic behavior,” he said.

‘Utter capitulation to Beijing’

Currently the city’s leader is chosen by a 1,200-strong election committee.

Beijing has promised universal suffrage for the 2017 vote, but has said that candidates must be approved first by a nominating committee.

“The central government consistently supports efforts to advance the democratic development” in the territory, Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said on Wednesday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

RollingStone Rape ‘Survivor’ Drunken Emily Renda Is Rape Hoaxer’s Best Advocate

The self-described rape “survivor” who introduced a rape fraudster to a Rolling Stone journalist has conflicting accounts of her own alleged sexual assault.

Emily Renda introduced her friend, Jackie Coakley, to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the disgraced Rolling Stone journalist.

A self-proclaimed ‘sexual assault survivor’ herself, Renda was instrumental in introducing rape hoaxer Coakley to Sabrina Rubin Erdely taking credit for it in an email to UVA administrators: “I’ve been talking to her [Erdely] and focusing her in on positive people to speak with.”

Renda has often called herself a “rape survivor” and is identified as such in the Rolling Stone piece but she has given conflicting accounts that suggest her sexual assault was manufactured.

Richard Carrier’s latest smears are poorly researched, insulting to women activists, and defamatory

Richard like the rape obsessed PZ Myers is the one of the founding members of the feminazi SJW infested Athiesm plus.

Richard Carrier has just published some of the most vacuous and insulting of the recent smears against Atheist Ireland, Hemant Mehta and me. And so I have to again reschedule other activities, including finishing my response to the more considered posts by Ashley Miller, MA Melby and Secular Woman, in order to ensure that Richard’s false claims are corrected on the record before even more myths take hold.

Richard includes false claims about Atheist Ireland and its members, a hidden insult against women activists, false claims about Hemant Mehta, and of course the obligatory defamatory claims about me. Some of his claims seem based on prejudice plus zero research, and some on sources that represent mostly one set of perspectives, some of the content of which he misrepresents.

A word of warning for those who selectively dislike long posts. If you were full of praise when I was lengthily defending PZ Myers and his friends, but are not so happy with me lengthily defending other people against them, you might prefer to reminisce about those earlier days instead

false rape accuser and liar Emma Sulkowicz


That word “allegedly” is important to add because all I’m doing is giving a thumbnail summary of what Paul Nungesser alleges in his federal lawsuit against Columbia University, its president Lee Bollinger and Professor Jon Kessler. They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, and Nungesser has served up a buffet of revenge on Emma “Mattress Girl” Sulkowicz. She tried and failed to get Nungesser expelled from Columbia with what was, according to his lawsuit, a false rape accusation. When that failed, allegedly, Sulkowicz convinced two other Columbia students to accuse Nungesser of sexual misconduct and both of those accusations also failed. That’s when, with the approval Professor Kessler, Sulkowicz began her “performance art” project, carrying a mattress around the Columbia campus to publicize her accusations against Nungesser, despite the fact that he had been completely cleared of wrongdoing.

Now, if we ponder every possible avenue by which Paul Nungesser could (a) vindicate his reputation, (b) possibly collect a large cash settlement, and (c) deliver a brutal payback to Sulkowicz for her effort to destroy him, I doubt he could have done better than what he has done: Instead of suing Sulkowicz, he sues Columbia. Why?


  1. Columbia’s endowment is reported at $9.2 billion — that’s billionwith a “b” — which means they may (and probably should) decide that quietly paying Nungesser a couple of million bucks is a small price to pay for ridding themselves of this bad publicity.
  2. Suing Columbia calls attention to how the university violated its own policy by permitting Sulkowicz to breach the confidentially requirements of the university’s sexual misconduct hearing process and, indeed, by endorsing this breach through Professor Kessler’s role in Sulkowicz’s “performance art” project.
  3. Most of all, by not naming Sulkowicz as a defendant, this means that Sulkowicz does not have cause to respond to the allegations he makes against her in the Columbia lawsuit, and guess what? You can’t be sued for defamation because of allegations made in a lawsuit.

In other words, if Nungesser had said some of these things during an interview with a reporter — e.g., that Sulkowicz contracted chlamydia after she had sex with two guys at a party — maybe she could have sued him for defamation. And if he had named her as a defendant, they could have fought it out in court. As it is, all this negative stuff about her is now a matter of public record: “Nungesser said X, Y and Z,” and there isn’t a damned thing she can do to prevent anyone from quoting it.

There is plenty of legitimate basis for Nungesser suing Columbia, but it’s the irreparable damage his suit will do to Sulkowicz (and her clearly dubious claim that he raped her) which is the real news here. Of course, Sulkowicz doesn’t get it, providing this clueless quote to the Columbia student newspaper:


“It’s ridiculous that he would read it as a ‘bullying strategy,’ especially given his continued public attempts to smear my reputation, when really it’s just an artistic expression of the personal trauma I’ve experienced at Columbia. If artists are not allowed to make art that reflect on our experiences, then how are we to heal?”


Sweetheart, you are done. Finished. Over. Maybe you don’t realize it yet, but you will never recover from this, not ever.

Be sure to read paragraphs 16, 18 and 26especially 26 — and don’t miss the footnote at the bottom of page 7.

“Punch back twice as hard,” indeed.





Child poverty panel launched

The government held the first meeting on Monday of a panel to draw up measures to address child poverty that will be reflected in a state budget for fiscal 2016 starting in April next year.

“We will consult with experts in the field and map out an effective policy package,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko said at the meeting.

The launch of the panel followed a meeting on April 2 for a public-private initiative to break the cycle of child poverty. The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Quenching Taiwan’s thirst, rain fronts due this week: CWB

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Central Weather Bureau (中央氣象局) announced that Taiwan will be affected by frontal rain this week, just in time to quench thirsty reservoirs nationwide amid the most severe drought in recent years.

The western and northeastern areas of Taiwan will be most heavily affected by the frontal rain, but showers will rain down nationwide.

However, third-stage water rationing has yet to be lifted, despite the current weather forecast, said officials.

The Water Resources Agency (水利署) also said that it had begun rainmaking procedures at reservoirs across Taiwan yesterday, taking full advantage of the frontal rain.

Reservoirs included in the rainmaking process that began yesterday at 2 p.m. were Shihmen (石門), Baoshan No. 2. (寶二), Yung-Ho Shan (永和山), Mingde (明德), and Liyutang (鯉魚潭). Wusanto (烏山頭), Zengwen (曾文), and Nanhua (南化) were scheduled to begin the process at 5 p.m.

Two C130 planes were deployed by the Air Force yesterday at 1:30 p.m., targeting Liyutang and Shihmen’s reservoir watersheds to commence rainmaking procedures.

Ricky Wong program deal with ATV still being tuned
Ricky Wong program deal with ATV still being tuned

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cash-strapped Asia Television has been given an extra week to consider Ricky Wong Wai-kay’s idea of it airing HKTV shows.

ATV expressed interest in a collaboration just before a deadline of 5pm yesterday.

Wong’s offer was in the wake of an announcement that ATV’s free-to-air broadcasting license will not be renewed.

Internet-based Hong Kong Television Network would air 1,000 hours of its productions four hours daily until December 31 or when ATV folds.

They would split advertising revenue generated by broadcast HKTV content equally, with a guarantee of HK$5 million a month for ATV.

ATV executive director Ip Ka- po’s initial response was that the deal did not appeal enough, but “if Wong is interested in our platform there’s room for discussion,” he said yesterday after ATV’s board approved talks with HKTV.

Yet there was more to a deal than money, he said.

“We need to know if the content is fit to broadcast, we need to comply with standards of the [Communications Authority].”

Asked if that meant checking political content, Ip said his main concerns were whether viewers would want to watch HKTV shows and if the shows complied with the Broadcasting Ordinance.

Ip and Wong spoke by phone yesterday afternoon.

There is room for more talk, Ip said later, and he hopes to meet with Wong on content of HKTV shows, time slots and pricing.

He said later on a radio show that ATV would like a guaranteed HK$10 million a month.

Ip also said ATV would have no problem paying April wages and it was at work to ensure May wages are paid on time.

The Communications Authority announced last night it will withdraw ATV’s frequencies next April 1 following the Executive Council’s decision not to renew the license. That came after the broadcaster sought a rethink. JASMINE SIU


#expogate #calgaryexpo tweet racist picture/statue of 2 black men in chains



That is real. That is what Calgary Expo tweeted several hours ago. This the same group that kicked out the Honey Badgers because they participated in a civil discussion with feminists and had the Gamergate logo on their banner. This is what the group that wanted to create an environment of equality tweeted on their own accord.

I understand they are Canadian and may not have the same level of race issues as we have in the United States. However, I am sure that one could take this picture to the middle of India and they would find it racist.

Of course, the tweet has since been deleted. I do not know who tweets for the group. One would think they would have the business and social savvy to know that was not the best picture to tweet or inappropriately caption. One would think the negative press they have received would have kept them on their best behavior. One would be wrong because the tweet sat around for hours before anyone realized how terrible it made them look.

For all those who support the Calgary Expo, that is what you are supporting. And you wonder why people have such a terrible opinion of so-called “social justice warriors.”



Copyright lawsuit against Jay-Z over Big Pimpin’ goes to jury


Long-standing allegations of copyright infringement against Jay-Z will finally be heard by a jury, as the relative of a late Egyptian composer says the American hip hop mogul unlawfully sampled his uncle’s 1960s song.

Osama Ahmed Fahmy first filed a lawsuit against rapper Jay-Z and producer Timbaland in 2007, alleging that the pair illegally sampled the Egyptian song “Khosara, Khosara” in their 1999 hit, “Big Pimpin.’”

After years of litigation — involving complex issues related to statutes of limitations and sub-licensing agreements — a California judge ruled March 30 that a jury should decide whether the American artists had the right to sample the song.

“The copyright owner has the right to ensure that somebody else doesn’t use the work in a different medium or different form without the copyright owner’s consent,” explained Keith Wesley, a Los Angeles-based lawyer representing Fahmy.

Fahmy says he is the heir of Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi, who wrote “Khosara, Khosara.” The song was performed by beloved Egyptian crooner Abdel Halim Hafez and featured in the 1960 film, Fata Ahlami (Dreams of Youth).

The opening bars of “Khosara, Khosara” are unmistakable on “Big Pimpin’” Whether the artists sampled the song is not up for contention; what is being debated is whether they had the legal right to use it in the first place.

The “Big Pimpin’” producers reportedly sub-licensed “Khosara, Khosara” from EMI Arabia, which acquired the rights to the song from Egyptian label Sout el-Phan.

But Fahmy contends that EMI Arabia did not have the right to sub-license the recording, making whatever agreement the label had with the “Big Pimpin’” producers void.

“We’re looking for fair compensation for use of ‘Khosara, Khosara’ in a very popular song over more than the past decade. Our claim for monetary compensation extends to both record sales, royalties and a portion of concern revenues,” said Wesley, adding that the exact figures are confidential.

The lawsuit — which names MTV, Paramount Pictures, Universal Music, and Warner Music as co-defendants, among others — also alleges that “Big Pimpin’” has “mutilated” the original song.

“Here it’s of great concern to the owners of “Khosara, Khosara”. . . it’s a new derivative work that includes some content that offends the sensibilities of many people,” Wesley said, about Jay-Z’s version.

In the song, he raps, “You know I thug em, (expletive) em, love em, leave em/Cause I don’t (expletive) need em,” while the music video shows the rapper dancing on a yacht alongside dozens of bikini-clad women.

George Dimitri Sawa, a musician and historian of Arabic music based in Toronto, said he remembers “Khosara, Khosara” from when he was a child growing up in Alexandria, Egypt.

“This song is from the 50s, when I was a child. It’s sad, (the lyrics say) that you, my neighbour, have left me. It’s a sad song,” he said.

Sawa told the Star that the music of Abdel Halim Hafez, who is one of Egypt’s most celebrated singers from that period, was loved by many, including former President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

“He sang songs that people could sing along (to) easily, and in that way, it was very well liked. He was fond of Nasser, and Nasser was fond of him,” Sawa said.

Contacted by the Star, David Steinberg, a lawyer representing the record company defendants, said he could not comment on the ongoing case.

“He had the chance to say, ‘I don’t want to allow sublicenses.’ The whole notion of whether he consented to them is frankly undisputed,” Steinberg said.

“Big Pimpin’” features on Jay-Z’s fifth album, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal more than a decade later, the rapper was critical of the hit track, saying that while re-reading the lyrics to past songs can sometimes be profound, “Big Pimpin’” was the exception.

“It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing?” Jay-Z said.

JAXA plans Japan’s first moon shot in 2018

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to attempt Japan’s first lunar landing in fiscal 2018, sources close to the project said Sunday.

JAXA has said it will use unmanned probes to study the possible use of materials on the moon as well as its environment, which could pave the way for future manned missions.

JAXA is expected to brief a government panel on the project with the aim of securing funding for mission preparations from the budget for fiscal 2016, which begins next April, the sources said.

The mission involves the experimental Smart Lander for Investigating Moon and would represent Japan’s first lunar exploration attempt since JAXA launched an unmanned orbiter in 2007.

SLIM is likely to be launched on an Epsilon advanced rocket, the sources said.

The SLIM mission is aimed at establishing a method for pinpoint landings that would make it possible to approach a target area with a level of accuracy ranging in the hundreds of meters.

In 2013, a Chinese probe made the world’s first soft landing on the moon in nearly 40 years, joining both the United States and the former Soviet Union as the only countries to achieve the feat.

Only the United States has achieved a manned moon landing.

Government to promote reform proposal to public

Government to promote reform proposal to public


The Chief Secretary, Carrie Lam, says senior officials will reach out to the community to promote the government’s proposed reform package, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday.Mrs Lam said the large-scale promotional campaign is aimed at familiarising the public with the importance and urgency of political reform. She said the responsible officials are determined to gain support from the public, and hoped that the campaign could be done in peaceful and rational manner.

Meanwhile League of Social Democrats lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung says he’s willing to resign if the public thinks LegCo should support the upcoming political reform proposal.

He insists that he will veto the proposal, reiterating that a de-facto referendum is the best way to find out what the public thinks about the issue.

He added that he’s not worried that some pan-democratic lawmakers will change their votes, saying they will have to face the consequences of doing that.

Jazz Hands Please: NUS Now Says It’s ‘Sexist To Compliment A Woman On Her Handwriting’

The world of student politics is a conflicted place. It can becolonialist and Eurocentric” to commemorate the Holocaustone minute but “racist” and “Islamophobic” to condemn ISIS the next. The NUS calendar for 2015 continues that theme of lively, contradictory thinking when it holds its annual conference in Liverpool on April 21 (before the black students conference, the disabled students conference and the “anti-racist, anti-fascist” event).

In a taster of what to expect, the University of Bristol’s motion – which has been democratically ratified by its student union – is called: “Research sexism in education environments,” and proposes that it is sexist to compliment a woman on her handwriting.

A copy of the motion was leaked to the Bristol Tab, it reads:

“There is a false assumption that with the access of women into Higher Education and with the majority of students being women that the classrooms or labs are not spaces where sexism is felt.

“Women are always asked to justify their claims of feeling uncomfortable or to ‘prove’ that a space is hostile.

“It is widely assumed that learning spaces can no longer be male dominated and that women can’t feel excluded given that they might outnumber men in the room.

“However we still hear things like ‘you are good at logic for a girl’, ‘your handwriting is nice’ said by a male lab demonstrator.

“We’re still not feeling confident to ask questions at a research seminar, women still speak less in seminars compared to men, and still experience sexual harassment at academic conferences – this is anecdotal evidence usually shared in safe spaces.

“But we know that in many subjects women student numbers drop from undergraduate, to postgraduate taught to then postgraduate research level because educational spaces and academic attitudes are patriarchal and unwelcoming.”

There you go. Even though, as the authors admit, women outnumber and outperform men in higher education, they continue to be the victims because men are nice to them.

This, from the same young minds that brought us NUS Women’s Campaign and its plea for the use of jazz hands instead of clapping.

#expogate #CalgaryExpo faces consumer backlash after expelling female critics of feminism



A group of female webcomic artists and online radio hosts have been ejected from the Calgary Expo, a Canadian pop culture convention, after publicly disagreeing with members of a feminist panel discussion.

Staff at the expo informed them that they had received reports of ‘harassment’ at the panel, but footage of the discussion shows that no such behaviour took place. Consumers accused the Calgary Expo of engaging in political intolerance, and have begun a boycott of the convention’s sponsors.

The ejected group are co-hosts of the Honey Badger Brigade, an online radio show that covers politics and pop culture. It was set up in 2013 by Alison Tieman, creator of the Xenospora  webcomic. Both the comic and the show have acquired a dedicated fan base in recent years, and it was fans who helped raise over $9,000 for the Honey Badgers to set up a promotional booth at the Calgary Expo.

Previous guests on the radio show included porn star and activist Mercedes Carrera and science fiction author Brad R. Torgersen, both of whom are prominent critics of the trend towards intolerance and censorship in popular culture. According to the Honey Badgers, convention staff approached them early on Friday and informed them that their group was not just banned from the convention, but from all conventions managed by Fan Expo, which runs a number of similar events across Canada.

For a team of webcomic artists and pop culture commentators, this is a serious professional blow – made all the more frustrating by the convention’s refusal to provide a clear reason for their course of action. I spoke to Alison Tieman and other members of the Honey Badger Brigade yesterday.

According to their account, they encountered no problems at all on the first day of the convention, when  they were simply manning their booth. In the afternoon, however, Alison and other members of their group decided to attend a feminist panel event discussing the depiction of women in comic books.

During the Q&A session, Alison publicly disagreed with one of the panelists, and gave a short statement in which she argued that the brand of feminism articulated by the panelists was too quick to embrace victimhood. This appears to have been the catalyst for the expo’s decision to eject the Honey Badgers from their conference.

Alison says that their booth was approached by convention staff early on Friday, who informed them that they would have to leave. Convention staff refused to give a reason for their decision without a guarantee that their conversation was not being recorded.

According to Tieman, convention staff told her “if we tried to record them, they would just eject us without giving a reason.” Once recording equipment had been turned off, the Honey Badgers were informed that there had been 25 separate reports of ‘harassment’ at the panel event.

When pressed, staff were unable to point to specific instances of harassment, but nevertheless went ahead with the ejection. The Honey Badgers captured a full recording of the discussion, which reveals no sign of harassment or disruptive behavior. Although they clearly disagree, both Alison and the panelists exchange their views civilly. Unless disagreement counts as harassment, it is difficult to tell what the problem was.


Karen Straughan, a well known YouTube pundit and co-host of the Honey Badgers says Tieman’s comment was a “classic second-wave feminist” argument, arguing against the casting of “actual, real-life women in the comic book industry as damsels in distress”.

Straughan also emphasised the civility of Tieman. “She engaged in no violations of policy, she used no abusive language. She asked for permission to speak, was granted permission to speak, and spoke her mind – and that’s apparently harassment!” The Calgary Expo released a statement explaining their decision. Claiming to provide a “positive and safe event for everyone”, the Expo said they “had reason to believe that the Exhibitor in question [did] not fall in line with this mandate”.

The expo have yet to highlight a specific example of the Honey Badgers compromising the safety or positivity of the event. By way of contrast, Karen alleges that the people who really felt unsafe at the event were the Honey Badgers’ fans. “They were afraid to talk to us, and we had to reassure them” says Karen. “There was one guy who was basically having a panic attack right there.

He was worried that if he was seen speaking to us then that would be a big problem for him.” I asked the expo if they had any plans to address this in line with their mandate of “safety” and “positivity”, but they have yet to provide any details beyond their initial statement. Backlash The Expo’s response was unconvincing to consumers, who quicklyflooded the #CalgaryExpo hashtag with critical tweets.

Many alleged that the convention was using “safety” as an excuse for political discrimination, while others noted the hypocrisy of expelling female creators from a pop culture convention in the name of feminism.

Consumers aren’t just speaking out on Twitter. They’re also complaining to the Calgary Expo’s sponsors, which include CMP Chevrolet, Vue Weekly, Pattison Outdoor advertising, Air Electronics, and ATB Financial. Threads to co-ordinate the email campaign have been posted on Reddit and 8chan. Company representatives are likely to find themselves with flooded inboxes on Monday. One former sponser has alreadydistanced themselves from the expo.

No doubt aware of their PR misstep, the Calgary Expo’s social media team have begun deleting potentially offensive tweets. A tweet linking to an article from the feminist blog The Mary Sue was deleted, perhaps out of fear that the close connection between the blog and the expo would add legitimacy to claims of political discrimination. Another tweet containing an image some found offensive was also deleted, no doubt to avoid further controversy.

None of this frantic PR manuevering has done any help for the Calgary Expo’s credibility, and they now face a campaign from angry consumers. Their convention’s hashtag, #CalgaryExpo, has been completely taken over by their critics, and despite some praise from progressive blogs, the consensus of pop culture fans is turning against them. Thousands of fans are now urging the Expo to retract their decision and own up to their mistake.

None of this is any solace to Alison, the 23-year veteran of the comic book industry, who has suffered the most professional blowback from the incident. Now facing permanent exclusion from Canada’s most popular pop culture convention, she posted a tearful video to YouTube giving her full account of the ordeal.


It will be difficult for the Calgary Expo to maintain their argument that they were trying to create a “safe and welcoming environment” when they have a debacle like this on their hands. Alison’s video is likely to add fuel to what now appears to be the start of long-term campaign against the convention’s sponsors, with the expo’s bizarre code of conduct likely to become a key target.

This story is another example of the continued politicization of pop culture, a trend which shows no sign of stopping. Video games, sci-fi, and comic books have become flashpoints, with creators and companies facing an unprecedented level of pressure. No doubt the majority would like a de-escalation in the conflict, but political intolerance is a poor way to go about it.