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Should we let the kids be cats? Adults have ceded all moral judgement

An absurdist stunt. Getty

An absurdist stunt. Getty


June 22, 2023   6 mins

“Creative” activities for little children tend to fall into two categories: unconstrained mess-making, and strict conformity to a pre-prepared template. The former encompasses the kind of smear and splatter “art” adoring parents pin to the fridge, while the latter looks more like colouring books, or — alternatively — the Toucan Box type “craft kits” beloved by middle-class families.

These two approaches to creativity for kids, the splatter and the craft kit, encapsulate two far broader lessons we deliver to children on how to live. On the one hand, unbounded self-expression coupled with absolute aesthetic relativism, in which we reject any imaginable constraint on a kind of “creativity” we imagine to come only from within ourselves. On the other, a rigid obedience to externally-imposed rules. And when I learned, earlier this week, that some secondary school children are now identifying as non-human creatures — or, in one case, as a cape-wearing moon — it left me wondering: do such absurdities apply the former lesson, rejecting every rule in the name of self-expression? Or are such youth in fact colouring inside the lines their teachers — which is to say us, the adults — have provided?

Schoolchildren, we learn, are now identifying as dinosaurs, horses, cats, and even planetary bodies. One pupil at a secondary school in Wales reported that a fellow pupil “feels very discriminated against if you do not refer to them as ‘catself’”. She added: “When they answer questions, they meow rather than answer a question in English. And the teachers are not allowed to get annoyed about this because it’s seen as discriminating.”

When my own daughter was a toddler, an art-world friend and I used to send one another pictures of our kids’ splatter paintings, with solemn commentary in the style of a contemporary gallery. Such affectionate mum-jokes aside, though, it would be extremely bad form to greet your pre-schooler’s colourful smears with substantive artistic critique rather than unalloyed delight, simply as joyful self-expression.

But it’s one thing embracing a three-year-old’s poster-paint splodges with judgement-free rapture. It’s another altogether when secondary-school teachers embrace (or, perhaps in many cases, have imposed on them) an equivalent refusal to judge even the most unconstrained self-expression. Within this stance of unconditional acceptance, the teachers in question are left completely unable to impose boundaries, even when limiting their pupils’ self-expression would, in fact, be a basic precondition for conducting a functional, meow-free lesson.

But while the contrasting approach to creativity — lines to colour inside, or a pre-prepared kit for assembly, for example — seems to offer more structure, in practice it’s less different than you might imagine. Whether literally or metaphorically, the “craft kit” approach represents the other extreme to the splatter painting: a total or near-total relinquishing of skill, judgement, and agency, in favour of pre-prepared templates.

And we see this applied, too, in young people’s lives. Some parents are now heavily involved in their offspring’s university life, and others have even gone into their child’s place of work to help them confront an angry customer, or phoned their boss to ask for a pay rise. Adults are also pre-defining the forms that supposedly radical self-expression takes, and then inviting young people to discover their “authentic selves” by adopting such an identity wholesale: a “craft kit” version of selfhood, as it were, requiring only simple instructions and little in the way of accomplishment. This agency-free, pre-assembled approach to living is now so widely accepted that it commands a whole month-long summer celebration, complete with a pocketbook’s worth of off-the-peg selves from which to choose.

But what, in reality, does either approach offer as a set of moral precepts on how to live? Both work well enough, provided the locus of authority is elsewhere: that is, if you have an admiring mummy to coo at your splatter painting, or a teacher on hand with a kit or print-out for you to complete. But they leave something to be desired at the point where individual judgement and agency is required — which is to say, in theory at least, for the whole of life after childhood.

It’s far rarer to find artistic endeavours offered to children that emphasise imitation, practice, and mastery of a technical skill — for example drawing freehand rather than colouring in. This is unsurprising, in a way: even assuming you possess the skill in question, helping a child make something nice using a method that’s difficult to master is much more time-consuming than praising them for making a mess, or else giving them a kit to do while you catch up on emails.

But the trouble with such approaches to “creativity” is precisely this: they swerve the acquisition of skill. And this means, in the end, swerving the acquisition of agency. We used to understand this, and treat artistic education as the inculcation of skill and judgement through practice. In the studios of Renaissance sculptors, for example, would-be “creatives” could spend years imitating existing works, and mastering technical skill, artistic register, and the larger aesthetic framework, before they were allowed anywhere near a composition of their own. The resulting skill, in the hands of even an average sculptor, could produce good work; allied with an exceptional talent such as Michelangelo’s, the result was masterpieces still world-famous today.

We might say: was Michelangelo not also expressing himself? Well, yes; but for all that his creations are exceptional in their vividness and exquisite execution, they also exist within a tradition of craftsmanship, as well as a visual register and shared religious and mythological framework. And creativity within such a demanding frame implies submission to what the philosopher-engineer Matthew Crawford calls the “affordances” of your chosen material and métier: not just your patiently-acquired skill, but also what stone can be persuaded to do, plus more broadly the topics and visual language that will make the result meaningful to others.

In place of this difficult-to-acquire matrix of skill and meaning, we’ve embraced the idea that “creativity” is a spontaneous property of individuals, drawn solely from within an individual without much need for training, practice, or imitation. So much so, in fact, that we’re running full-tilt into a new aesthetic age, that hands the aggregate treasure-trove of historic human visual and linguistic conventions wholesale to machines, treating it simply as a means of “training” programmes such as ChatGPT and Midjourney so that they may “create” new configurations of that cultural legacy on our behalf.

In doing so, we’ve sidelined that domain’s critical role as an enabler of creativity: providing the meanings to create with, and the skills to realise a vision. And again, we should not find it strange how easily this has been accepted, given that for decades now we’ve been treating the whole domain of skill, practice, and shared meaning as incidental to “creativity”.

There are signs that this poverty of skill-based judgement has percolated upwards, into adults. At the most literal level, adult colouring books are wildly popular as a way of relaxing, a trend that first hit the headlines in 2015. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is also the year the American Dialect Society nominated, as most creative new coinage, the transformation of “adult” into a verb meaning “behave like a grownup” — or that the same year, too, the overall American Dialect Society winner for innovative dialect was the “nonbinary” singular “they”.

In other words, in 2015 adults embraced, en masse, a form of artistic endeavour that surrenders overall control to an outside force. The same year, self-created identities became so mainstream as to begin reshaping language. And that same year, adults began expressing, also en masse, a generalised ambivalent distance from their own capacity (or willingness) to behave as adults.

Custom identities, adult colouring books and semi-ironic clinging to childhood have not disappeared since 2015. You can even buy (possibly ironic, possibly not) “I Adulted!” reward stickers on Amazon.But being an adult implies having the skills and knowledge to take independent action: in other words, knowing how to make a Pietà, rather than colouring inside the lines or making a mess.

And what exactly are you to do, as a child, when the adults around you offer no opportunity to develop any skills or moral frameworks, refuse to acknowledge any objective moral or aesthetic standards? Under those circumstances, you will have grown up thinking the skills, norms and shared meanings that form the basis of independent creativity or moral judgement are so irrelevant as to be ceded wholesale to imitation machines.

Then you get to the age of supposed autonomy, and find yourself without either a loving authority figure who will tell you your splatter art is wonderful, or even an authority to give you some lines to colour inside. We shouldn’t be surprised if many such adults feel nostalgia for the innocent age before anyone expected them to like being free.

If I have a measure of hope, it rests with the kids now riotously trolling this limitless-yet-rigid modern orthodoxy of value-free self-expression, by identifying as planets or dinosaurs and forcing their teachers to play along. If such absurdist stunts have little to offer on the artistic front, they nonetheless demonstrate an enduring truth. Human creativity will always meet and exceed its boundaries, even when it’s constrained only by the pretence that we can live without boundaries.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago

Nothing better demonstrates that, rather than being a sign of genuine body dismorphia, this is all performative and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you think of it as merely fashion then it will go away in time, it’s the fact that adults pander to it, or get angry about it, that makes it catnip to these teens.
Adults used to know that the best way to deter kids’ stupid behaviour or fashion choices was to ignore them, or laugh at them. Taking them seriously was just guaranteed to make them take it to another level.
When a teenager can no longer shock and get the attention they crave by claiming to be another gender, of course they’ll up the stakes and claim to be another species!
I’m just so bored of this whole debate I’m changing my pronouns to Ho/Hum.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The kids do seem to have found the ideal way to shut down the culture wars. For years people have been trying to get their point across with well reasoned arguments to no avail. The kids simply resort to mockery and have much more success

Curts
Curts
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s hilarious.
The right on poe-faced super pious virtuous Guardian reading teachers are now having to wrestle with a monster of their own making.
You wanted this, you deal with this.
You were paid to be focussed on reading and writing but you decided to try your hand at social engineering and didn’t think it through.
A generation of neurotic confused kids await with a generation of neurotic confused adults farther down the road. I can’t function without a safe space and I don’t know what I am this week.
Deal with it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Curts
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Indeed – all rather encouraging!

Curts
Curts
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s hilarious.
The right on poe-faced super pious virtuous Guardian reading teachers are now having to wrestle with a monster of their own making.
You wanted this, you deal with this.
You were paid to be focussed on reading and writing but you decided to try your hand at social engineering and didn’t think it through.
A generation of neurotic confused kids await with a generation of neurotic confused adults farther down the road. I can’t function without a safe space and I don’t know what I am this week.
Deal with it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Curts
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Indeed – all rather encouraging!

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m changing my pronouns to Ho/Hum
🙂

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’m considering Hum/Bug

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Possibly one of these kids should tell their teachers they now identify as a Donkey – and adopt the pronouns Hee/Haw?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Or if there is a cat in the class then they can identify as a Parrot with pronouns Copy/Cat. Alternatively, a Sheep with pronouns Bar/Bar. Parrots and Sheep seem to be all the teachers want their pupils to be after all.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Or if there is a cat in the class then they can identify as a Parrot with pronouns Copy/Cat. Alternatively, a Sheep with pronouns Bar/Bar. Parrots and Sheep seem to be all the teachers want their pupils to be after all.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Possibly one of these kids should tell their teachers they now identify as a Donkey – and adopt the pronouns Hee/Haw?

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’m considering Hum/Bug

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

It was a child that pointed out that the king was in fact naked when none of his courtiers dared to point out the obvious. When adults have constructed belief systems that are obviously false and stupid and enforce them with hysterical rigidity it remains for children to subvert them and to point out the absurdity.

“Discrimination” used to be a word to show you were not only adult but someone who could distinguish the best from the worst and chose the best. It has now been subverted to being an activity that is deplored. The Rye teacher showed a complete lack of discrimination in her approach to her pupils by supporting the fantasists and criticising the rational children.

This is understandable where irrationality is lauded and discrimination disparaged.

While the idiocies of transgenderism is supported individual lives will be wrecked by those taking it seriously; but the irrationality of a ridged approach to matters where it is declared that the science is clear when it almost certainly is not is much mere dangerous. Criticism of the transgender fantasy is relatively easy once adults try to claim children purporting to be cats should be accepted as such but the probable irrationality of much climate dogma can only be properly criticised by those who are prepared to spend time and genuine scientific knowledge to go against the dogma by looking in detail at the data. These will be inevitably few when all the funds are channeled into supporting the dogma.

The life of generations has been wrecked by the supposedly scientific dogma of communism we should be wary of other supposed scientific dogmas and not be too ready to conform to behaviour dictated by such supposedly settled science. Discrimination and genuine enquiry is what will save us.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Communism, as M Muggeridge pointed attracts urban people who have a grudge against their fellow man and civilisation. Civilisation whether that of Sumer or of today occurs because people have solved engineering problems, namely construction of buildings and water supply. The Woke attracts under achieving unfit humanities graduates because it removes the shame at their lack of spirit. They lack spirit but not ego, so underachieve and the Woke Agenda provides an excuse for failure.
One hardly find say a Woke Person from a top engineering school( especially mining ) who play rugby, boxes or hockey or elite military units because their life depends upon overcoming physical and mental challenges.To be employable they must have had their minds an body tempered by adversity in order to devlop fortitude, a requisite for winning at contact sports and solving engineering problems.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Communism, as M Muggeridge pointed attracts urban people who have a grudge against their fellow man and civilisation. Civilisation whether that of Sumer or of today occurs because people have solved engineering problems, namely construction of buildings and water supply. The Woke attracts under achieving unfit humanities graduates because it removes the shame at their lack of spirit. They lack spirit but not ego, so underachieve and the Woke Agenda provides an excuse for failure.
One hardly find say a Woke Person from a top engineering school( especially mining ) who play rugby, boxes or hockey or elite military units because their life depends upon overcoming physical and mental challenges.To be employable they must have had their minds an body tempered by adversity in order to devlop fortitude, a requisite for winning at contact sports and solving engineering problems.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“Adults used to know that the best way to deter kids’ stupid behaviour or fashion choices was to ignore them, or laugh at them.”
or by copying them

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘If you think of it as merely fashion then it will go away in time.’

I don’t think that’s true, and it’s a dangerous mistake to make. Increasingly, laws are being changed to accommodate these delusions.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

Huw,
Perhaps I expressed myself poorly. Maybe I should have said “If we had thought of this as merely fashion ….”
I fear, because we stupidly did pander to it, it is too engrained for it to disappear any time soon. FAR too many of the teaching profession have not merely pandered to it, they’ve actively encouraged and promoted it.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

Huw,
Perhaps I expressed myself poorly. Maybe I should have said “If we had thought of this as merely fashion ….”
I fear, because we stupidly did pander to it, it is too engrained for it to disappear any time soon. FAR too many of the teaching profession have not merely pandered to it, they’ve actively encouraged and promoted it.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“When a teenager can no longer shock and get the attention they crave …”
Yes, and this problem has a history that goes well beyond that of child psychology. Elite society, including its most sophisticated adults, has for well over a century celebrated “shock” per se as the primary purpose of art. By now, avant-garde art has been institutionalized and even bureaucratized. Ironically, though, its explicit goal of shocking the public–that is, of deconstructing the “bourgeois” or “patriarchal” world–has not changed. On the contrary, postmodernism and wokism have reinvigorated it.
 See Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991) and Diana Crane, The Transformation of the Avant-Garde:The New York Art World, 1940-1985 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). 

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

There was also a reassurance that you could be properly rebellious if you were rebelling against something – the opposing force of adult authority. You could be simulatenously brave, anarchic, transgressive and paradoxically safe knowing that the opposing force would not indulge you.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The kids do seem to have found the ideal way to shut down the culture wars. For years people have been trying to get their point across with well reasoned arguments to no avail. The kids simply resort to mockery and have much more success

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m changing my pronouns to Ho/Hum
🙂

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

It was a child that pointed out that the king was in fact naked when none of his courtiers dared to point out the obvious. When adults have constructed belief systems that are obviously false and stupid and enforce them with hysterical rigidity it remains for children to subvert them and to point out the absurdity.

“Discrimination” used to be a word to show you were not only adult but someone who could distinguish the best from the worst and chose the best. It has now been subverted to being an activity that is deplored. The Rye teacher showed a complete lack of discrimination in her approach to her pupils by supporting the fantasists and criticising the rational children.

This is understandable where irrationality is lauded and discrimination disparaged.

While the idiocies of transgenderism is supported individual lives will be wrecked by those taking it seriously; but the irrationality of a ridged approach to matters where it is declared that the science is clear when it almost certainly is not is much mere dangerous. Criticism of the transgender fantasy is relatively easy once adults try to claim children purporting to be cats should be accepted as such but the probable irrationality of much climate dogma can only be properly criticised by those who are prepared to spend time and genuine scientific knowledge to go against the dogma by looking in detail at the data. These will be inevitably few when all the funds are channeled into supporting the dogma.

The life of generations has been wrecked by the supposedly scientific dogma of communism we should be wary of other supposed scientific dogmas and not be too ready to conform to behaviour dictated by such supposedly settled science. Discrimination and genuine enquiry is what will save us.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“Adults used to know that the best way to deter kids’ stupid behaviour or fashion choices was to ignore them, or laugh at them.”
or by copying them

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘If you think of it as merely fashion then it will go away in time.’

I don’t think that’s true, and it’s a dangerous mistake to make. Increasingly, laws are being changed to accommodate these delusions.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“When a teenager can no longer shock and get the attention they crave …”
Yes, and this problem has a history that goes well beyond that of child psychology. Elite society, including its most sophisticated adults, has for well over a century celebrated “shock” per se as the primary purpose of art. By now, avant-garde art has been institutionalized and even bureaucratized. Ironically, though, its explicit goal of shocking the public–that is, of deconstructing the “bourgeois” or “patriarchal” world–has not changed. On the contrary, postmodernism and wokism have reinvigorated it.
 See Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991) and Diana Crane, The Transformation of the Avant-Garde:The New York Art World, 1940-1985 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989). 

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

There was also a reassurance that you could be properly rebellious if you were rebelling against something – the opposing force of adult authority. You could be simulatenously brave, anarchic, transgressive and paradoxically safe knowing that the opposing force would not indulge you.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago

Nothing better demonstrates that, rather than being a sign of genuine body dismorphia, this is all performative and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you think of it as merely fashion then it will go away in time, it’s the fact that adults pander to it, or get angry about it, that makes it catnip to these teens.
Adults used to know that the best way to deter kids’ stupid behaviour or fashion choices was to ignore them, or laugh at them. Taking them seriously was just guaranteed to make them take it to another level.
When a teenager can no longer shock and get the attention they crave by claiming to be another gender, of course they’ll up the stakes and claim to be another species!
I’m just so bored of this whole debate I’m changing my pronouns to Ho/Hum.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago

I think it’s much more nefarious. Children are being used as tools to propel the ideological and political agenda of adults, with flagrant disregard for the consequences.

It started about a decade ago with climate change alarmism and planetary doom. It wasn’t enough to educate kids about the issue. We had to scare them with hysterical claims and enlist them as activists. They were marching in the streets, instead of studying in class. Now we have a generation of children who think the future is a disaster.

Then Covid hit and we locked them out of the classroom, forced them to wear masks and undergo a medical intervention for a disease that literally had no impact on their health. Even worse, we enlisted them as warriors to spread the narrative that Covid would kill us all, unless we rigidly followed the rules prescribed by their institutional care givers.

Then the race riots started. Children were no longer children. They were either oppressed or oppressors. Learning the history of slavery was no longer enough. They had to march in the street and tear down the symbols of this oppressive civilization. More importantly, they had to push back against the racists who dared to question this ideology.

Now we have the trans ideology. Kids aren’t stupid. They learn quickly. It’s better to be a victim than an oppressor. The adults teach to them to embrace this suffering and affirm themselves, even if it means radical interventions that will make them medical patients for life.

We’ve created a generation of progressive activists marching through the streets and the institutions. Their future looks like nothing but dysfunction and despair, but at least it’s all been for a good cause.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are spot on! I’ve just recently been a witness on two occasions where children viciously verbally attacked adults in public for being “racists” when the adults had not been remotely “racist”, they had just pointed out antisocial behaviour. These kids have been radicalised by overlapping transhuman (antihuman) ideologies, and we must fight back against this child abuse.

Also… slight correction – you mean “When covid tyranny hit…” – “covid” didn’t “hit” anyone, government abuse of power (ie tyranny) did.

Robyn Gausman-Burnett
Robyn Gausman-Burnett
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

This all started long before 2010, I would trace this back as far as 1975 in the United States. As Mary stated in this excellent piece the position of teachers to display unconditional acceptance begins with the EHA (Education for Handicapped Children) and devolves completely with the introduction of IDEA-B the Individuals with Disabilities Act part B, in 1990. This mandated that all students with disabilities be placed in their “Least Restrictive Environment”.
While this law had noble intentions to “mainstream” children who had previously been excluded from accessing educational services including children who were blind, deaf, and those with physical disabilities. In the ’70s children were segregated into different educational programs and facilities for a number of reasons. This included students who were of low-intelligence and those with severe psychological and emotional regulation disorders. In the 1970s many of these children, especially those who were deaf, blind, or with physical disabilities were not educated at all. The EHA established the right for all students to be placed in their Least Restrictive Environment for school to ensure they had access to the same “high quality instruction” as students in mainstream classrooms. At the time there was a high focus on the condition a student had and how the diagnosis would/could impact the instructional goals for the student such that the goals of the instructional environment could not be met.
Then in 1990 a revision to IDEA came into effect that focused on the best needs of the individual, rather than their condition. This shifted the conversation, instead of being about how a diagnosis could impact the student’s development, behavior, and overall classroom instructional environment, it became about how to best mainstream ALL students in the classroom. Instead at looking at how a student’s condition could change the instructional environment or be at odds with the norms and requirements for skill development and mastery the conversation shifted. Today, students are expected to be placed in mainstream classes all times with supports from classroom aids and services, and only excluded from the classroom in exceptional situations. This shift in language and process is what has altered thousands of classroom environments all across the United States, and by extension much of the western world.
In schools across the country the priority is to generally keep a student in the most mainstream classroom for instruction. It does not matter anymore if that student’s impact or presence in the classroom interferes with, or in some cases completely destroys, the learning environment. Teachers, administrators, and other staff are beholden to IEPs-individualized education plans that are used to support students with disabilities. Mental health concerns, such as the ones listed by Ms. Harrington are ignored, at best, or indulged as teachers are required to suspend the traditional rules of their classroom in service to creating the inclusive environment required by law for individual students.
If you want to discuss the government’s abuse of power, it began when the government empowered parents to challenge the norms of the classroom in such a radical way. This created an antagonistic atmosphere where teachers and administrators, who have trained for many years to support student learning, began to develop adversarial relationships with parents who were empowered to use a new, costly, and adversarial process that challenged schools for academic and learning supports. Additionally, today inclusive implementation practices are evaluated, and given as much weight as test scores, for local, state, and federal funding, school quality rankings, and honors at public school districts nationwide.
I can acknowledge that many students benefited from this process, in the early years. However, with time and hindsight, I would also say that this process degraded curricular expectations, the norms of instruction, and behavior management. By 2015, (25 years after IDEA-B) it was easier for teachers to permit students to engage in whatever “permitted: behaviors were listed on their accommodations plans, than to maintain their high standards for classroom norms. In classrooms across the country families push for their child to be the recipient of “alternative behavior management plans”, tutoring or accelerated education a child might generally not qualify for, and modified curricula. Policies like these allow students to remain in the classroom despite presenting behaviors or mastery levels that are at-odds with the stated learning goals of the course or instructional best practices. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that strong behavioral norms and performance expectations for students, including those with disabilities, are linked to better longer-term outcomes.
Recent articles from news sources around the West write extensively about students who are excluded from school for various reasons. This is a one-sided and incomplete picture. Many in the United States have also observed the violence in the classroom has increased, more teachers cite this as a reason to leave the profession. While many will say this is a consequence of isolation and pandemic related school closures the increase in school violence predates the pandemic. The only reason schools and districts are excluding students with negative or classroom-degrading behaviors is because they must, or they will lose their workforce.
Inclusion, as a goal in and of itself as first propagated in the United States through the EHA and later IDEA are the roots of the bad in-school practices. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools developed in response to the mainstreaming of students with physical, behavioral, psychological, or other learning differences. The ideology which underpins inclusive classrooms, inclusive learning, and the “Be Nice” philosophy begins with took root in schools through these acts of congress.
As a teacher, with special ed certification, I must concede that there are millions of students around the world who undoubtedly benefited from these policies. I am by no means saying that we need to get rid of these laws. They exist because prior to 1975 students were excluded from educational opportunities they should have received. Given that education is generally considered public good, we have to examine if this public good is working for the majority of the public it serves. Today it is time to recognize that the goals for inclusivity may create negative externalities that impact far more than the singular individual student covered under the IEP.
In the future we must always examine what “progress” was made from these laws in light of the harms they also inadvertently created. Anything that transforms institutions, and this transformed American public education, brings with it unintended consequences. Only now, at the 30+ year mark, can we look back and examine how much learning and school environments were permanently changed when mastery and competence were no longer the sole marker of a school’s success.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago

Excellent insider’s perspective. Thank you for this measured, detailed analysis and reflection.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago

Excellent piece. Marxist influence in schools starts in the UK about 1935 and becomes worse after 1965. Intellectually there is a need fro at least three streams. Some pupils can cope with studying French, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit by the age of 11 years, others who win scholarships to Cambridge to read maths at 17 years of age and other will be lucky to to leave school literate. There are also thugs who are best taught be ex military/naval NCOs. Then there are the the people with dyslexia, ADHD, autism, Downs Syndrome, etc who need specialist teachers in special schools. Some children cannot cope with 1200 plus pupil schools. One size fits all, lack of selection, streaming, discipline and sports has been disasterous for most pupils.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
10 months ago

Excellent insider’s perspective. Thank you for this measured, detailed analysis and reflection.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago

Excellent piece. Marxist influence in schools starts in the UK about 1935 and becomes worse after 1965. Intellectually there is a need fro at least three streams. Some pupils can cope with studying French, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit by the age of 11 years, others who win scholarships to Cambridge to read maths at 17 years of age and other will be lucky to to leave school literate. There are also thugs who are best taught be ex military/naval NCOs. Then there are the the people with dyslexia, ADHD, autism, Downs Syndrome, etc who need specialist teachers in special schools. Some children cannot cope with 1200 plus pupil schools. One size fits all, lack of selection, streaming, discipline and sports has been disasterous for most pupils.

R. G-B
R. G-B
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

This all started long before 2010, I would trace this back as far as 1975 in the United States. As Mary stated in this excellent piece the position of teachers to display unconditional acceptance begins with the EHA (Education for Handicapped Children) and devolves completely with the introduction of IDEA-B the Individuals with Disabilities Act part B, in 1990. This mandated that all students with disabilities be placed in their “Least Restrictive Environment”.
While this law had noble intentions to “mainstream” children who had previously been excluded from accessing educational services including children who were blind, deaf, and those with physical disabilities. In the ’70s children were segregated into different educational programs and facilities for a number of reasons. This included students who were of low-intelligence and those with severe psychological and emotional regulation disorders. In the 1970s many of these children, especially those who were deaf, blind, or with physical disabilities were not educated at all. The EHA established the right for all students to be placed in their Least Restrictive Environment for school to ensure they had access to the same “high quality instruction” as students in mainstream classrooms. At the time there was a high focus on the condition a student had and how the diagnosis would/could impact the instructional goals for the student such that the goals of the instructional environment could not be met.
Then in 1990 a revision to IDEA came into effect that focused on the best needs of the individual, rather than their condition. This shifted the conversation, instead of being about how a diagnosis could impact the student’s development, behavior, and overall classroom instructional environment, it became about how to best mainstream ALL students in the classroom. Instead at looking at how a student’s condition could change the instructional environment or be at odds with the norms and requirements for skill development and mastery the conversation shifted. Today, students are expected to be placed in mainstream classes all times with supports from classroom aids and services, and only excluded from the classroom in exceptional situations. This shift in language and process is what has altered thousands of classroom environments all across the United States, and by extension much of the western world. 
In schools across the country the priority is to generally keep a student in the most mainstream classroom for instruction. It does not matter anymore if that student’s impact or presence in the classroom interferes with, or in some cases completely destroys, the learning environment. Teachers, administrators, and other staff are beholden to IEPs-individualized education plans that are used to support students with disabilities. Mental health concerns, such as the ones listed by Ms. Harrington are ignored, at best, or indulged as teachers are required to suspend the traditional rules of their classroom in service to creating the inclusive environment required by law for individual students.
If you want to discuss the government’s abuse of power, it began when the government empowered parents to challenge the norms of the classroom in such a radical way. This created an antagonistic atmosphere where teachers and administrators, who have trained for many years to support student learning, began to develop adversarial relationships with parents who were empowered to use a new, costly, and adversarial process that challenged schools for academic and learning supports. Additionally, today inclusive implementation practices are evaluated, and given as much weight as test scores, for local, state, and federal funding, school quality rankings, and honors at public school districts nationwide.
I can acknowledge that many students benefited from this process, in the early years. However, with time and hindsight, I would also say that this process degraded curricular expectations, the norms of instruction, and behavior management. By 2015, (25 years after IDEA-B) it was easier for teachers to permit students to engage in whatever “permitted: behaviors were listed on their accommodations plans, than to maintain their high standards for classroom norms. In classrooms across the country families push for their child to be the recipient of “alternative behavior management plans”, tutoring or accelerated education a child might generally not qualify for, and modified curricula. Policies like these allow students to remain in the classroom despite presenting behaviors or mastery levels that are at-odds with the stated learning goals of the course or instructional best practices. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that strong behavioral norms and performance expectations for students, including those with disabilities, are linked to better longer-term outcomes. 
Recent articles from news sources around the West write extensively about students who are excluded from school for various reasons. This is a one-sided and incomplete picture. Many in the United States have also observed the violence in the classroom has increased, more teachers cite this as a reason to leave the profession. While many will say this is a consequence of isolation and pandemic related school closures the increase in school violence predates the pandemic. The only reason schools and districts are excluding students with negative or classroom-degrading behaviors is because they must, or they will lose their workforce. 
Inclusion, as a goal in and of itself as first propagated in the United States through the EHA and later IDEA are the roots of the bad in-school practices. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools developed in response to the mainstreaming of students with physical, behavioral, psychological, or other learning differences. The ideology which underpins inclusive classrooms, inclusive learning, and the “Be Nice” philosophy begins with took root in schools through these acts of congress. 
As a teacher, with special ed certification, I must concede that there are millions of students around the world who undoubtedly benefited from these policies. I am by no means saying that we need to get rid of these laws. They exist because prior to 1975 students were excluded from educational opportunities they should have received. Given that education is generally considered public good, we have to examine if this public good is working for the majority of the public it serves. Today it is time to recognize that the goals for inclusivity may create negative externalities that impact far more than the singular individual student covered under the IEP.
In the future we must always examine what “progress” was made from these laws in light of the harms they also inadvertently created. Anything that transforms institutions, and this transformed American public education, brings with it unintended consequences. Only now, at the 30+ year mark, can we look back and examine how much learning and school environments were permanently changed when mastery and competence were no longer the sole marker of a school’s success.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You are spot on! I’ve just recently been a witness on two occasions where children viciously verbally attacked adults in public for being “racists” when the adults had not been remotely “racist”, they had just pointed out antisocial behaviour. These kids have been radicalised by overlapping transhuman (antihuman) ideologies, and we must fight back against this child abuse.

Also… slight correction – you mean “When covid tyranny hit…” – “covid” didn’t “hit” anyone, government abuse of power (ie tyranny) did.

Robyn Gausman-Burnett
Robyn Gausman-Burnett
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

This all started long before 2010, I would trace this back as far as 1975 in the United States. As Mary stated in this excellent piece the position of teachers to display unconditional acceptance begins with the EHA (Education for Handicapped Children) and devolves completely with the introduction of IDEA-B the Individuals with Disabilities Act part B, in 1990. This mandated that all students with disabilities be placed in their “Least Restrictive Environment”.
While this law had noble intentions to “mainstream” children who had previously been excluded from accessing educational services including children who were blind, deaf, and those with physical disabilities. In the ’70s children were segregated into different educational programs and facilities for a number of reasons. This included students who were of low-intelligence and those with severe psychological and emotional regulation disorders. In the 1970s many of these children, especially those who were deaf, blind, or with physical disabilities were not educated at all. The EHA established the right for all students to be placed in their Least Restrictive Environment for school to ensure they had access to the same “high quality instruction” as students in mainstream classrooms. At the time there was a high focus on the condition a student had and how the diagnosis would/could impact the instructional goals for the student such that the goals of the instructional environment could not be met.
Then in 1990 a revision to IDEA came into effect that focused on the best needs of the individual, rather than their condition. This shifted the conversation, instead of being about how a diagnosis could impact the student’s development, behavior, and overall classroom instructional environment, it became about how to best mainstream ALL students in the classroom. Instead at looking at how a student’s condition could change the instructional environment or be at odds with the norms and requirements for skill development and mastery the conversation shifted. Today, students are expected to be placed in mainstream classes all times with supports from classroom aids and services, and only excluded from the classroom in exceptional situations. This shift in language and process is what has altered thousands of classroom environments all across the United States, and by extension much of the western world.
In schools across the country the priority is to generally keep a student in the most mainstream classroom for instruction. It does not matter anymore if that student’s impact or presence in the classroom interferes with, or in some cases completely destroys, the learning environment. Teachers, administrators, and other staff are beholden to IEPs-individualized education plans that are used to support students with disabilities. Mental health concerns, such as the ones listed by Ms. Harrington are ignored, at best, or indulged as teachers are required to suspend the traditional rules of their classroom in service to creating the inclusive environment required by law for individual students.
If you want to discuss the government’s abuse of power, it began when the government empowered parents to challenge the norms of the classroom in such a radical way. This created an antagonistic atmosphere where teachers and administrators, who have trained for many years to support student learning, began to develop adversarial relationships with parents who were empowered to use a new, costly, and adversarial process that challenged schools for academic and learning supports. Additionally, today inclusive implementation practices are evaluated, and given as much weight as test scores, for local, state, and federal funding, school quality rankings, and honors at public school districts nationwide.
I can acknowledge that many students benefited from this process, in the early years. However, with time and hindsight, I would also say that this process degraded curricular expectations, the norms of instruction, and behavior management. By 2015, (25 years after IDEA-B) it was easier for teachers to permit students to engage in whatever “permitted: behaviors were listed on their accommodations plans, than to maintain their high standards for classroom norms. In classrooms across the country families push for their child to be the recipient of “alternative behavior management plans”, tutoring or accelerated education a child might generally not qualify for, and modified curricula. Policies like these allow students to remain in the classroom despite presenting behaviors or mastery levels that are at-odds with the stated learning goals of the course or instructional best practices. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that strong behavioral norms and performance expectations for students, including those with disabilities, are linked to better longer-term outcomes.
Recent articles from news sources around the West write extensively about students who are excluded from school for various reasons. This is a one-sided and incomplete picture. Many in the United States have also observed the violence in the classroom has increased, more teachers cite this as a reason to leave the profession. While many will say this is a consequence of isolation and pandemic related school closures the increase in school violence predates the pandemic. The only reason schools and districts are excluding students with negative or classroom-degrading behaviors is because they must, or they will lose their workforce.
Inclusion, as a goal in and of itself as first propagated in the United States through the EHA and later IDEA are the roots of the bad in-school practices. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools developed in response to the mainstreaming of students with physical, behavioral, psychological, or other learning differences. The ideology which underpins inclusive classrooms, inclusive learning, and the “Be Nice” philosophy begins with took root in schools through these acts of congress.
As a teacher, with special ed certification, I must concede that there are millions of students around the world who undoubtedly benefited from these policies. I am by no means saying that we need to get rid of these laws. They exist because prior to 1975 students were excluded from educational opportunities they should have received. Given that education is generally considered public good, we have to examine if this public good is working for the majority of the public it serves. Today it is time to recognize that the goals for inclusivity may create negative externalities that impact far more than the singular individual student covered under the IEP.
In the future we must always examine what “progress” was made from these laws in light of the harms they also inadvertently created. Anything that transforms institutions, and this transformed American public education, brings with it unintended consequences. Only now, at the 30+ year mark, can we look back and examine how much learning and school environments were permanently changed when mastery and competence were no longer the sole marker of a school’s success.

R. G-B
R. G-B
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

This all started long before 2010, I would trace this back as far as 1975 in the United States. As Mary stated in this excellent piece the position of teachers to display unconditional acceptance begins with the EHA (Education for Handicapped Children) and devolves completely with the introduction of IDEA-B the Individuals with Disabilities Act part B, in 1990. This mandated that all students with disabilities be placed in their “Least Restrictive Environment”.
While this law had noble intentions to “mainstream” children who had previously been excluded from accessing educational services including children who were blind, deaf, and those with physical disabilities. In the ’70s children were segregated into different educational programs and facilities for a number of reasons. This included students who were of low-intelligence and those with severe psychological and emotional regulation disorders. In the 1970s many of these children, especially those who were deaf, blind, or with physical disabilities were not educated at all. The EHA established the right for all students to be placed in their Least Restrictive Environment for school to ensure they had access to the same “high quality instruction” as students in mainstream classrooms. At the time there was a high focus on the condition a student had and how the diagnosis would/could impact the instructional goals for the student such that the goals of the instructional environment could not be met.
Then in 1990 a revision to IDEA came into effect that focused on the best needs of the individual, rather than their condition. This shifted the conversation, instead of being about how a diagnosis could impact the student’s development, behavior, and overall classroom instructional environment, it became about how to best mainstream ALL students in the classroom. Instead at looking at how a student’s condition could change the instructional environment or be at odds with the norms and requirements for skill development and mastery the conversation shifted. Today, students are expected to be placed in mainstream classes all times with supports from classroom aids and services, and only excluded from the classroom in exceptional situations. This shift in language and process is what has altered thousands of classroom environments all across the United States, and by extension much of the western world. 
In schools across the country the priority is to generally keep a student in the most mainstream classroom for instruction. It does not matter anymore if that student’s impact or presence in the classroom interferes with, or in some cases completely destroys, the learning environment. Teachers, administrators, and other staff are beholden to IEPs-individualized education plans that are used to support students with disabilities. Mental health concerns, such as the ones listed by Ms. Harrington are ignored, at best, or indulged as teachers are required to suspend the traditional rules of their classroom in service to creating the inclusive environment required by law for individual students.
If you want to discuss the government’s abuse of power, it began when the government empowered parents to challenge the norms of the classroom in such a radical way. This created an antagonistic atmosphere where teachers and administrators, who have trained for many years to support student learning, began to develop adversarial relationships with parents who were empowered to use a new, costly, and adversarial process that challenged schools for academic and learning supports. Additionally, today inclusive implementation practices are evaluated, and given as much weight as test scores, for local, state, and federal funding, school quality rankings, and honors at public school districts nationwide.
I can acknowledge that many students benefited from this process, in the early years. However, with time and hindsight, I would also say that this process degraded curricular expectations, the norms of instruction, and behavior management. By 2015, (25 years after IDEA-B) it was easier for teachers to permit students to engage in whatever “permitted: behaviors were listed on their accommodations plans, than to maintain their high standards for classroom norms. In classrooms across the country families push for their child to be the recipient of “alternative behavior management plans”, tutoring or accelerated education a child might generally not qualify for, and modified curricula. Policies like these allow students to remain in the classroom despite presenting behaviors or mastery levels that are at-odds with the stated learning goals of the course or instructional best practices. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that strong behavioral norms and performance expectations for students, including those with disabilities, are linked to better longer-term outcomes. 
Recent articles from news sources around the West write extensively about students who are excluded from school for various reasons. This is a one-sided and incomplete picture. Many in the United States have also observed the violence in the classroom has increased, more teachers cite this as a reason to leave the profession. While many will say this is a consequence of isolation and pandemic related school closures the increase in school violence predates the pandemic. The only reason schools and districts are excluding students with negative or classroom-degrading behaviors is because they must, or they will lose their workforce. 
Inclusion, as a goal in and of itself as first propagated in the United States through the EHA and later IDEA are the roots of the bad in-school practices. Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools developed in response to the mainstreaming of students with physical, behavioral, psychological, or other learning differences. The ideology which underpins inclusive classrooms, inclusive learning, and the “Be Nice” philosophy begins with took root in schools through these acts of congress. 
As a teacher, with special ed certification, I must concede that there are millions of students around the world who undoubtedly benefited from these policies. I am by no means saying that we need to get rid of these laws. They exist because prior to 1975 students were excluded from educational opportunities they should have received. Given that education is generally considered public good, we have to examine if this public good is working for the majority of the public it serves. Today it is time to recognize that the goals for inclusivity may create negative externalities that impact far more than the singular individual student covered under the IEP.
In the future we must always examine what “progress” was made from these laws in light of the harms they also inadvertently created. Anything that transforms institutions, and this transformed American public education, brings with it unintended consequences. Only now, at the 30+ year mark, can we look back and examine how much learning and school environments were permanently changed when mastery and competence were no longer the sole marker of a school’s success.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago

I think it’s much more nefarious. Children are being used as tools to propel the ideological and political agenda of adults, with flagrant disregard for the consequences.

It started about a decade ago with climate change alarmism and planetary doom. It wasn’t enough to educate kids about the issue. We had to scare them with hysterical claims and enlist them as activists. They were marching in the streets, instead of studying in class. Now we have a generation of children who think the future is a disaster.

Then Covid hit and we locked them out of the classroom, forced them to wear masks and undergo a medical intervention for a disease that literally had no impact on their health. Even worse, we enlisted them as warriors to spread the narrative that Covid would kill us all, unless we rigidly followed the rules prescribed by their institutional care givers.

Then the race riots started. Children were no longer children. They were either oppressed or oppressors. Learning the history of slavery was no longer enough. They had to march in the street and tear down the symbols of this oppressive civilization. More importantly, they had to push back against the racists who dared to question this ideology.

Now we have the trans ideology. Kids aren’t stupid. They learn quickly. It’s better to be a victim than an oppressor. The adults teach to them to embrace this suffering and affirm themselves, even if it means radical interventions that will make them medical patients for life.

We’ve created a generation of progressive activists marching through the streets and the institutions. Their future looks like nothing but dysfunction and despair, but at least it’s all been for a good cause.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago

If you haven’t heard the interchange between the schoolchildren at Rye College and their teacher that was secretly recorded, and posted across all social media platform, I thoroughly recommend it. You will not believe the absurdity coming out of the teacher’s mouth, but you will also swell with pride and admiration for those children and breathe a sigh of relief that some REAL adults in this country have raised their children to speak truth to power. And in a respectful tone, too. Not once, during the interchange, do the children sound hysterical, they speak calmly and rationally. The teacher, however, sounds unhinged and should not be allowed to continue to be responsible for the welfare of any children. It’s child abuse to gaslight children into denying reality. I would have not believed this was happening if a 13-year-old I know (not one given to exaggeration or lies) recently told me there is a girl in her class who MUST be acknowledged as a horse, who canters around the room and answers “neigh” to her teachers. The other day, a Canadian friend told me her son was bitten by a 4-year-old identifying as a dog. He was reprimanded for complaining that a “boy” bit him, when it was clearly a “dog”. Often, dogs that get a taste for human blood are destroyed. I wonder if the “teachers” would stop calling the boy a dog if someone suggested the lethal injection?! The important thing to remember is that this is not just “nonsense”, it is a very dangerous and pernicious part of the transhuman agenda and must be rejected vehemently. Teach your children to correct their teachers and stand by the truth at all times. We need a generation of warriors to take on what’s coming down the line next!

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

If hadn’t listened to the recording myself, I would not have believed the reports.
Did you know there are THREE sexes? You never stop learning…

Last edited 10 months ago by Arkadian X
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Is that why “Threeples” are becoming popular?

Saul D
Saul D
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Middlesex, Sussex and Essex?

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Is that why “Threeples” are becoming popular?

Saul D
Saul D
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Middlesex, Sussex and Essex?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

must name and shame to stop this nonsense…

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Excellent.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Teenagers have openly started to rebel against some of this – to the horror of their teachers.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I wonder what the teachers response would be if you suggested that neutering the biter, as neutering is effective in controlling aggression in male dogs and also helps with the problems caused by unrestricted breeding. Dollars to doughnuts the teacher will remind you that you are talking about castrating a child, not an animal.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

If hadn’t listened to the recording myself, I would not have believed the reports.
Did you know there are THREE sexes? You never stop learning…

Last edited 10 months ago by Arkadian X
Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

must name and shame to stop this nonsense…

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Excellent.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Teenagers have openly started to rebel against some of this – to the horror of their teachers.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I wonder what the teachers response would be if you suggested that neutering the biter, as neutering is effective in controlling aggression in male dogs and also helps with the problems caused by unrestricted breeding. Dollars to doughnuts the teacher will remind you that you are talking about castrating a child, not an animal.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago

If you haven’t heard the interchange between the schoolchildren at Rye College and their teacher that was secretly recorded, and posted across all social media platform, I thoroughly recommend it. You will not believe the absurdity coming out of the teacher’s mouth, but you will also swell with pride and admiration for those children and breathe a sigh of relief that some REAL adults in this country have raised their children to speak truth to power. And in a respectful tone, too. Not once, during the interchange, do the children sound hysterical, they speak calmly and rationally. The teacher, however, sounds unhinged and should not be allowed to continue to be responsible for the welfare of any children. It’s child abuse to gaslight children into denying reality. I would have not believed this was happening if a 13-year-old I know (not one given to exaggeration or lies) recently told me there is a girl in her class who MUST be acknowledged as a horse, who canters around the room and answers “neigh” to her teachers. The other day, a Canadian friend told me her son was bitten by a 4-year-old identifying as a dog. He was reprimanded for complaining that a “boy” bit him, when it was clearly a “dog”. Often, dogs that get a taste for human blood are destroyed. I wonder if the “teachers” would stop calling the boy a dog if someone suggested the lethal injection?! The important thing to remember is that this is not just “nonsense”, it is a very dangerous and pernicious part of the transhuman agenda and must be rejected vehemently. Teach your children to correct their teachers and stand by the truth at all times. We need a generation of warriors to take on what’s coming down the line next!

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago

Given the gender-bending nonsense that schools are attempting to inculcate in our kids, I’m proud of them kicking back by pretending to identify as cats, dinosaurs, celestial objects, etc.
Using humour to ridicule authority is quite British – is anyone aware of kids in other countries doing the same?
I can definitely see the Aussies getting in on the act, although not our US, Canadian & Kiwi cousins (too earnest).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

That was pretty much my reaction too.

For us Brits, not taking ourselves too seriously is a serious business!

What is most amusing though, is the pathetic conformity of those having hissy fits, such as the teacher demanding the cat-identifying pupil be taken seriously by the other pupils, or else find another school. Pomposity at its finest.

Just perhaps, there’s a “lesson” here for us all, and of course MH weaves this into her narrative at the end, in a not dissimilar way to Kathleen Stock in her “The Kids are Alright” essay a few weeks ago.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Oh no, the Canadians are the worst! See my post for example!

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Not to rain on the parade, but you need to understand that “identifying as” animals is downstream of adult sexual subcultures just as “identifying as” a different sex is. There is considerable overlap online between “furries”, “trans” (and I’m afraid to say, “adult babies”).
I’d worry about what a child saying it’s a cat has been doing online.

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

Further to this, it’s worth going to TikTok and search for “therians” – a set of neo-identities which are spiritually rather than physically animals. You’ll find a disturbing number of tween and teen girls there, often giving their age and looking to meet others.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

living partly in the virtual world and partly in the real one…

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

living partly in the virtual world and partly in the real one…

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

I can understand your concern regarding the furry culture thing.
However, I’m pretty sure the kids are just taking the pi55, and not really identifying as animals.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

You are very much mistaken … do not look into “furry culture” unless you want to wonder how a future Tacitus will depict early 21st C. depravity.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

This may be true of the examples quoted recently but this has been an undercurrent in queer ideology for a long time, from the relatively benign cultural appropriation of 2 Spirit through to the sex driven furry fetishists.
Anime has pulled a lot of young people into gender ideology via these routes with (anecdotally) autistic children being particularly vulnerable.

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

I’ll just point out the case of Aimee Challenor, a young man calling himself “trans”, who wreaked havoc in the UK Green party. Also involved in adult baby and furry subcultures (the latter since a young teen). His father is currently serving a long sentence for rape and other sexual abuse of a pre-teen girl child, in his attic.
As I said above, the original genesis of *all* of this is adult male fetish subcultures.
Until this is clear to all and acknowledged by those with the power to do something about it, the disaster will continue to unfold.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

You are very much mistaken … do not look into “furry culture” unless you want to wonder how a future Tacitus will depict early 21st C. depravity.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

This may be true of the examples quoted recently but this has been an undercurrent in queer ideology for a long time, from the relatively benign cultural appropriation of 2 Spirit through to the sex driven furry fetishists.
Anime has pulled a lot of young people into gender ideology via these routes with (anecdotally) autistic children being particularly vulnerable.

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

I’ll just point out the case of Aimee Challenor, a young man calling himself “trans”, who wreaked havoc in the UK Green party. Also involved in adult baby and furry subcultures (the latter since a young teen). His father is currently serving a long sentence for rape and other sexual abuse of a pre-teen girl child, in his attic.
As I said above, the original genesis of *all* of this is adult male fetish subcultures.
Until this is clear to all and acknowledged by those with the power to do something about it, the disaster will continue to unfold.

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

Further to this, it’s worth going to TikTok and search for “therians” – a set of neo-identities which are spiritually rather than physically animals. You’ll find a disturbing number of tween and teen girls there, often giving their age and looking to meet others.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

I can understand your concern regarding the furry culture thing.
However, I’m pretty sure the kids are just taking the pi55, and not really identifying as animals.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

What’s wrong with being a cat? You can wander in and out of school as you will. That Mr Jones who spiked your (Tennis) balls when they went into his garden – well now it’s payback time – you go and pee (urinate if you are middle-class cat) all over his Wife’s organic herb garden.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

That was pretty much my reaction too.

For us Brits, not taking ourselves too seriously is a serious business!

What is most amusing though, is the pathetic conformity of those having hissy fits, such as the teacher demanding the cat-identifying pupil be taken seriously by the other pupils, or else find another school. Pomposity at its finest.

Just perhaps, there’s a “lesson” here for us all, and of course MH weaves this into her narrative at the end, in a not dissimilar way to Kathleen Stock in her “The Kids are Alright” essay a few weeks ago.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Oh no, the Canadians are the worst! See my post for example!

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Not to rain on the parade, but you need to understand that “identifying as” animals is downstream of adult sexual subcultures just as “identifying as” a different sex is. There is considerable overlap online between “furries”, “trans” (and I’m afraid to say, “adult babies”).
I’d worry about what a child saying it’s a cat has been doing online.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

What’s wrong with being a cat? You can wander in and out of school as you will. That Mr Jones who spiked your (Tennis) balls when they went into his garden – well now it’s payback time – you go and pee (urinate if you are middle-class cat) all over his Wife’s organic herb garden.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago

Given the gender-bending nonsense that schools are attempting to inculcate in our kids, I’m proud of them kicking back by pretending to identify as cats, dinosaurs, celestial objects, etc.
Using humour to ridicule authority is quite British – is anyone aware of kids in other countries doing the same?
I can definitely see the Aussies getting in on the act, although not our US, Canadian & Kiwi cousins (too earnest).

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago

This to me feels like a case of an entire society going mad. I for one can’t believe some of the things that are being discussed and taken seriously these last few years. We are hoping for 13 year old kids to save us from the asylum their would-be responsible adults have created.
An entire society seemingly unable to find reasons to enforce even the most basic limits to behaviour. Perhaps it can be called a Nietzschean tragedy, it’d please those fond of turning to Nietzsche for wisdom: a society on its way to committing suicide by going collectively insane…

Last edited 10 months ago by Emre S
Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
10 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

You are so right. In his “A Winter’s Tale,” Shakespeare tells us that children “exchange innocence for innocence,” they “know not the doctrine of ill-doing nor dream that any do.” The “imposition” for them is “cleared,” meaning that they are not tainted by original sin. Dostoevsky, in his “Brothers K,” likewise says that children have not eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and for that reason are not only easy but also delicious targets. We then have Hegel telling us that “innocence” will come only at the end of History, not before. Progressivism is the rejection of the very idea of innocence. It is precisely that at which we recoil in horror.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago

This comment is so profound I screenshot it! Thank you!

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago

Those are great references, thank you!

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago

This comment is so profound I screenshot it! Thank you!

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago

Those are great references, thank you!

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
10 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

You are so right. In his “A Winter’s Tale,” Shakespeare tells us that children “exchange innocence for innocence,” they “know not the doctrine of ill-doing nor dream that any do.” The “imposition” for them is “cleared,” meaning that they are not tainted by original sin. Dostoevsky, in his “Brothers K,” likewise says that children have not eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and for that reason are not only easy but also delicious targets. We then have Hegel telling us that “innocence” will come only at the end of History, not before. Progressivism is the rejection of the very idea of innocence. It is precisely that at which we recoil in horror.

Emre S
Emre S
10 months ago

This to me feels like a case of an entire society going mad. I for one can’t believe some of the things that are being discussed and taken seriously these last few years. We are hoping for 13 year old kids to save us from the asylum their would-be responsible adults have created.
An entire society seemingly unable to find reasons to enforce even the most basic limits to behaviour. Perhaps it can be called a Nietzschean tragedy, it’d please those fond of turning to Nietzsche for wisdom: a society on its way to committing suicide by going collectively insane…

Last edited 10 months ago by Emre S
Paolo Canonica
Paolo Canonica
10 months ago

I see this as the latest iteration of a trend that has been going on for at least a couple of decades: the supremacy of feeling over reason. “I feel” has become proof enough, in many areas. I noticed in the early 2000s that people were replacing “I think” with “I feel” – to mean the same thing. Then I noticed that all that was required for proof that someone or something was offensive, was for someone to feel offended (or more recently, all that is required to prove that someone is scary is for someone to feel scared). “I am offended, therefore this is offensive/ I am scared, therefore this is scary” was the illogical reasoning. Recently, this has become even more extreme, with “I feel like a cat” becoming proof enough that you are, in fact, a cat. Reason has gone out of the window.

Paolo Canonica
Paolo Canonica
10 months ago

I see this as the latest iteration of a trend that has been going on for at least a couple of decades: the supremacy of feeling over reason. “I feel” has become proof enough, in many areas. I noticed in the early 2000s that people were replacing “I think” with “I feel” – to mean the same thing. Then I noticed that all that was required for proof that someone or something was offensive, was for someone to feel offended (or more recently, all that is required to prove that someone is scary is for someone to feel scared). “I am offended, therefore this is offensive/ I am scared, therefore this is scary” was the illogical reasoning. Recently, this has become even more extreme, with “I feel like a cat” becoming proof enough that you are, in fact, a cat. Reason has gone out of the window.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago

These kids are simply taking the p!ss. It is what children have always done when confronted with arrant stupidity. It is what I would have done. There is hope for the future.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Me too, I would have identified as something different every day if I thought it meant winding the teachers up.

Felice Camino
Felice Camino
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’d like to think that you are right, but my daughter (who follows sites like mumsnet so that I don’t have to!) says that this trend of being a furrie is deeply worrying. These kids are no more taking the p!ss than those kids who say they are trans, are. They mean it. They have been down dangerous rabbit holes on the interrnet and it’s already too late to pull them back out.
There is a whole other world on the internet that we oldies know nothing about, and the consequences of it are going to hit society like the trans agenda did fairly soon.

stephen archer
stephen archer
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

It’s not the kids that are the problem, it’s the adults’ and society’s handling of this phenomenon which is cause for concern.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

I take your comment seriously, after all you are the one with the daughter. I was really only going by my own childhood – how I would have reacted. I have no answer except to limit the time children spend on the internet without supervision.
Why do children need the internet at all? Their social world is all around them. They are naturally gregarious. Perhaps by asking that question I am showing how out of touch I am.

stephen archer
stephen archer
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

It’s not the kids that are the problem, it’s the adults’ and society’s handling of this phenomenon which is cause for concern.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

I take your comment seriously, after all you are the one with the daughter. I was really only going by my own childhood – how I would have reacted. I have no answer except to limit the time children spend on the internet without supervision.
Why do children need the internet at all? Their social world is all around them. They are naturally gregarious. Perhaps by asking that question I am showing how out of touch I am.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Me too, I would have identified as something different every day if I thought it meant winding the teachers up.

Felice Camino
Felice Camino
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’d like to think that you are right, but my daughter (who follows sites like mumsnet so that I don’t have to!) says that this trend of being a furrie is deeply worrying. These kids are no more taking the p!ss than those kids who say they are trans, are. They mean it. They have been down dangerous rabbit holes on the interrnet and it’s already too late to pull them back out.
There is a whole other world on the internet that we oldies know nothing about, and the consequences of it are going to hit society like the trans agenda did fairly soon.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago

These kids are simply taking the p!ss. It is what children have always done when confronted with arrant stupidity. It is what I would have done. There is hope for the future.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
10 months ago

We don’t routinely educate cats in this country so maybe we should be asking the parents to make alternative arrangements for their feline. This way they can live their truth while allowing their peers to be educated without unnecessary distraction.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago
Reply to  Amanda Elliott

Yes, and perhaps the cat child should be forced to use the sandbox instead of the girls’ restroom. And given a can of cat food at lunch. That’ll be a wake up call.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Or perhaps a rodent hunt or some nice ripe carrion?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Or perhaps a rodent hunt or some nice ripe carrion?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
10 months ago
Reply to  Amanda Elliott

Yes, and perhaps the cat child should be forced to use the sandbox instead of the girls’ restroom. And given a can of cat food at lunch. That’ll be a wake up call.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
10 months ago

We don’t routinely educate cats in this country so maybe we should be asking the parents to make alternative arrangements for their feline. This way they can live their truth while allowing their peers to be educated without unnecessary distraction.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago

Thanks for an enjoyable and thought provoking article. All creativity involves repeated practice but is not necessarily limited to the arts. My son spends hours practising football in the back garden and as a result is a rather good 10 year old footballer. I don’t think things are quite as anaemic as Mary makes them out to be. I just work hard to limit my kids’ access to digital technology which I think can really get in the way if you allow it to.
This article also reminded me of something the cellist Pablo Casals said (I think) at the ripe old age of 67 after resuming practice following the withdrawal of German forces from France in 1944: ‘I think I’m making progress. I think I see some improvement.’
Herein lies the real secret – the more you know, the more aware you are of your ignorance. The amateur thinks playing the piano is pressing the right combination of keys – the maestro knows that that is just the beginning.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago

Thanks for an enjoyable and thought provoking article. All creativity involves repeated practice but is not necessarily limited to the arts. My son spends hours practising football in the back garden and as a result is a rather good 10 year old footballer. I don’t think things are quite as anaemic as Mary makes them out to be. I just work hard to limit my kids’ access to digital technology which I think can really get in the way if you allow it to.
This article also reminded me of something the cellist Pablo Casals said (I think) at the ripe old age of 67 after resuming practice following the withdrawal of German forces from France in 1944: ‘I think I’m making progress. I think I see some improvement.’
Herein lies the real secret – the more you know, the more aware you are of your ignorance. The amateur thinks playing the piano is pressing the right combination of keys – the maestro knows that that is just the beginning.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago

Some of these phenomena have been around for about a decade at least. Tumblr, a blog site for all truly sane people, saw numerous articles about people identifying as non-human entities. They referred to themselves as otherkin. This included animals, fictional and mythical creatures and also fictional characters.

One of the most bizarre examples of this, and an extremely infamous example of internet lore, is the Final Fantasy House. Final Fantasy being the Japenese computer role-playing game series. Each of the house mates identified as a different character from one of the games in the series. The youtuber, Fredrick Knudsen, has a very good video covering this bizarre event.

What it does show is that fringe ideas from the internet are finding their way mainstream and not just the white nationalist ones inspiring online safety bills. I very much doubt anyone is parliament is forwarding such legislation on the grounds that children think they can identify as anything their imagination can conjure.

I’m also reminded of numerous occurrences in The X Files where Scully would take Mulder to task for feeding people’s paranoia and delusions. Scully was right (even if she was always wrong) and I think our teachers need the same lesson.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

If you want to see some truly alarming transhuman nonsense checkout the artist known as “Grimes” (also wife of Elon Musk), who – I think – identifies as an “alien queen”. It’s not just bonkers, it’s dangerous, as she has fans who get inculcated.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Cults of personality are starting to form around non-existent entities. The real world is turning into a strange blend of science fiction and religion. Stories like Dune are looking like an understatement.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Fortunately most of it is contained in an online unreality. In the real world, I speak to people every single day who are rational, sane and are aware that this is all nonsense, even if they’ve thought better of declaring their opinions on twitter!

Felice Camino
Felice Camino
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

That is your experience and mine. Unfortunately, many kids live much of their life on the internet and a number of them have become deeply irrational.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

Prior to western universal education, a great many people’s lives were dominated by irrational beliefs. It’s as if something latent has re-emerged with the internet, whilst at the same time our populations have never been “better educated”.
This is partly what i refer to when asking that we should try to understand ourselves more fully. The “irrational” can have a powerful hold on us; i’d suggest it derives from the linkage between the need for survival over tens of thousands of years when signs and changes in the natural world meant the difference between life and death. The meanings of these signs led to practices such as human sacrifice (Atzecs, Incas, Abraham, etc.) so their power on our fears and imaginations are obvious. Those latent fears seem to be making a comeback.
To some extent, those fears became displaced by organised religion, but that in turn led to huge and bloody conflicts, belief in witches and the Inquisition. Then came the Enlightenment, but the effort to overturn its tenets has released those fears back into the wild.
(Apologies if that looks like an over-complicated reply!)

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Felice Camino

Prior to western universal education, a great many people’s lives were dominated by irrational beliefs. It’s as if something latent has re-emerged with the internet, whilst at the same time our populations have never been “better educated”.
This is partly what i refer to when asking that we should try to understand ourselves more fully. The “irrational” can have a powerful hold on us; i’d suggest it derives from the linkage between the need for survival over tens of thousands of years when signs and changes in the natural world meant the difference between life and death. The meanings of these signs led to practices such as human sacrifice (Atzecs, Incas, Abraham, etc.) so their power on our fears and imaginations are obvious. Those latent fears seem to be making a comeback.
To some extent, those fears became displaced by organised religion, but that in turn led to huge and bloody conflicts, belief in witches and the Inquisition. Then came the Enlightenment, but the effort to overturn its tenets has released those fears back into the wild.
(Apologies if that looks like an over-complicated reply!)

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
Felice Camino
Felice Camino
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

That is your experience and mine. Unfortunately, many kids live much of their life on the internet and a number of them have become deeply irrational.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Fortunately most of it is contained in an online unreality. In the real world, I speak to people every single day who are rational, sane and are aware that this is all nonsense, even if they’ve thought better of declaring their opinions on twitter!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Cults of personality are starting to form around non-existent entities. The real world is turning into a strange blend of science fiction and religion. Stories like Dune are looking like an understatement.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

If you want to see some truly alarming transhuman nonsense checkout the artist known as “Grimes” (also wife of Elon Musk), who – I think – identifies as an “alien queen”. It’s not just bonkers, it’s dangerous, as she has fans who get inculcated.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
10 months ago

Some of these phenomena have been around for about a decade at least. Tumblr, a blog site for all truly sane people, saw numerous articles about people identifying as non-human entities. They referred to themselves as otherkin. This included animals, fictional and mythical creatures and also fictional characters.

One of the most bizarre examples of this, and an extremely infamous example of internet lore, is the Final Fantasy House. Final Fantasy being the Japenese computer role-playing game series. Each of the house mates identified as a different character from one of the games in the series. The youtuber, Fredrick Knudsen, has a very good video covering this bizarre event.

What it does show is that fringe ideas from the internet are finding their way mainstream and not just the white nationalist ones inspiring online safety bills. I very much doubt anyone is parliament is forwarding such legislation on the grounds that children think they can identify as anything their imagination can conjure.

I’m also reminded of numerous occurrences in The X Files where Scully would take Mulder to task for feeding people’s paranoia and delusions. Scully was right (even if she was always wrong) and I think our teachers need the same lesson.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago

Yesterday I happen to see the thumbnail of a new show on the BBC. This was a documentary (or interview or whatever) on Elliot/Ellen Page, and it was described as men, women and *non-binary* people telling their stories.
So, “non-binary” (no “so-called” and no inverted commas in the text) is a concept well known and well accepted. A third sex. After all, the BBC tells me.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

They say non binary mean ‘non conforming to gender stereotypes’. I call that normal because gender stereotypes are generally bullish!t. My generation said don’t pigeonhole me, the subsequent generations have therefore doubled down on identity labels in response, made up a whole load more and thrown reality in the trash as it’s the greatest threat to them.
It’s not just adulting that they’re finding too hard, it’s reality.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Who are “they”, the BBC?

Dominic A
Dominic A
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Old adage – We are one human family, let’s bring down barriers. If you cut me do I not bleed?
New ‘progressive adage’ – I am profoundly, specially other. Your words to the contrary do actual violence to me (and yet there is no bleeding….).

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Who are “they”, the BBC?

Dominic A
Dominic A
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Old adage – We are one human family, let’s bring down barriers. If you cut me do I not bleed?
New ‘progressive adage’ – I am profoundly, specially other. Your words to the contrary do actual violence to me (and yet there is no bleeding….).

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

They say non binary mean ‘non conforming to gender stereotypes’. I call that normal because gender stereotypes are generally bullish!t. My generation said don’t pigeonhole me, the subsequent generations have therefore doubled down on identity labels in response, made up a whole load more and thrown reality in the trash as it’s the greatest threat to them.
It’s not just adulting that they’re finding too hard, it’s reality.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago

Yesterday I happen to see the thumbnail of a new show on the BBC. This was a documentary (or interview or whatever) on Elliot/Ellen Page, and it was described as men, women and *non-binary* people telling their stories.
So, “non-binary” (no “so-called” and no inverted commas in the text) is a concept well known and well accepted. A third sex. After all, the BBC tells me.

Marissa M
Marissa M
10 months ago

I have a different take on articles like these, which I have been reading with some regularity the past few months. I just think: At last. Here we go. Turning the corner on the lunacy. Exposing the nonsense for what it is.
Hopefully society is now truly becoming “woke” to the silliness of this whole movement.

Marissa M
Marissa M
10 months ago

I have a different take on articles like these, which I have been reading with some regularity the past few months. I just think: At last. Here we go. Turning the corner on the lunacy. Exposing the nonsense for what it is.
Hopefully society is now truly becoming “woke” to the silliness of this whole movement.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
10 months ago

One of my granddaughters who is 4 is mad about horses. At home she gallops or trots around, tosses her head, whinnies, neighs, snorts and even canters about with a dessert spoon clamped between her teeth. At such times to suggest that she is in fact a girl is to invite opprobrium. Fortunately she is already grown up enough to know the difference between playtime and reality.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
10 months ago

One of my granddaughters who is 4 is mad about horses. At home she gallops or trots around, tosses her head, whinnies, neighs, snorts and even canters about with a dessert spoon clamped between her teeth. At such times to suggest that she is in fact a girl is to invite opprobrium. Fortunately she is already grown up enough to know the difference between playtime and reality.

Britt Harrison
Britt Harrison
10 months ago

“Swerving the acquisition of agency” – excellent point. This nourishes fear at the very idea of having to be an agent and fear at the idea of having to make choices and fear at having to evaluate the values that inform choices. No wonder groupthink then becomes attractive.
And for anyone looking to develop skills in drawing, I have found this man’s YouTube lessons really helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waHuGbyjghA

Britt Harrison
Britt Harrison
10 months ago

“Swerving the acquisition of agency” – excellent point. This nourishes fear at the very idea of having to be an agent and fear at the idea of having to make choices and fear at having to evaluate the values that inform choices. No wonder groupthink then becomes attractive.
And for anyone looking to develop skills in drawing, I have found this man’s YouTube lessons really helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waHuGbyjghA

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

A second excellent article today.
Also a useful reminder – the part about the Renaissance and what were effectively artistic apprenticeships – that *useful creativity* requires some discipline. It’s not simply about “expressing yourself”. I’m sure you don’t get to write like Mary Harrington without a couple of decades of serious living, studying and learning first.
But that’s not the modern narrative, is it ? “My creativity” should be just as valid and valued as anyone elses, regardless of quality or utility. Just as it’s now possible to have your own personal “truth”.
Most of us are probably knocking on a bit, so hardly impartial here. But I do think a major failing of Western society is an over-emphasis on youth and “new stuff” and an under-appreciation of experience and judgement.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

A second excellent article today.
Also a useful reminder – the part about the Renaissance and what were effectively artistic apprenticeships – that *useful creativity* requires some discipline. It’s not simply about “expressing yourself”. I’m sure you don’t get to write like Mary Harrington without a couple of decades of serious living, studying and learning first.
But that’s not the modern narrative, is it ? “My creativity” should be just as valid and valued as anyone elses, regardless of quality or utility. Just as it’s now possible to have your own personal “truth”.
Most of us are probably knocking on a bit, so hardly impartial here. But I do think a major failing of Western society is an over-emphasis on youth and “new stuff” and an under-appreciation of experience and judgement.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
10 months ago

This is really the result of decades of living in a western society that rejects adulthood. Youth is seen being a positive state in and of itself. Adulthood is to be avoided: feelings are valued over facts, short term rewards over the long term advantages. The avoidance of responsibility, putting off marriage, putting off children. The desire to remain youthful in manner and looks and actively aspiring to it via dress, surgery and habits.
Last year I took my daughter to see a kids movie, Paws of Fury. I was slightly amused by reading a review online afterwards, by a random person, that stated the movie wasn’t really very good and to only see it if you were taking a child. Erm, well, it is a PG cartoon movie about cats and dogs and clearly for children. Why on earth would you go see it as a single adult with no kids? That said, the movie, although clearly aimed at age 5-7, was full of references that only an adult would catch on to. What is this desire of adults to latch on to things for children and make them appealing to older people?
Likewise, I just received a junk catalogue in the mail for cosmetic products and there were two pages devoted to make up (for adults) branded with Barbie slogans. For adults!

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
10 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Youth is fun, whereas adulthood is hard. They want all the freedom of adulthood but without the accompanying responsibilities/consequences.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
10 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Youth is fun, whereas adulthood is hard. They want all the freedom of adulthood but without the accompanying responsibilities/consequences.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
10 months ago

This is really the result of decades of living in a western society that rejects adulthood. Youth is seen being a positive state in and of itself. Adulthood is to be avoided: feelings are valued over facts, short term rewards over the long term advantages. The avoidance of responsibility, putting off marriage, putting off children. The desire to remain youthful in manner and looks and actively aspiring to it via dress, surgery and habits.
Last year I took my daughter to see a kids movie, Paws of Fury. I was slightly amused by reading a review online afterwards, by a random person, that stated the movie wasn’t really very good and to only see it if you were taking a child. Erm, well, it is a PG cartoon movie about cats and dogs and clearly for children. Why on earth would you go see it as a single adult with no kids? That said, the movie, although clearly aimed at age 5-7, was full of references that only an adult would catch on to. What is this desire of adults to latch on to things for children and make them appealing to older people?
Likewise, I just received a junk catalogue in the mail for cosmetic products and there were two pages devoted to make up (for adults) branded with Barbie slogans. For adults!

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
10 months ago

Were my granddaughters to declare themselves to be mice could they claim they are in mortal danger from those identifying as cats? If so would it be the police or the zoo keeper who would keep them safe. I would have exclude myself from having to take any responsibility for their safety as I don’t speak cat and mouse.

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
10 months ago

Were my granddaughters to declare themselves to be mice could they claim they are in mortal danger from those identifying as cats? If so would it be the police or the zoo keeper who would keep them safe. I would have exclude myself from having to take any responsibility for their safety as I don’t speak cat and mouse.

penny wright
penny wright
10 months ago

I have wondered for a long time what the opposite of adults treating their pets as human would be – basically treating their kids as pets.
In all seriousness, cats and horses etc don’t go to school. We don’t have anti discrimination law to protect non-humans, planetary bodies aren’t human bodies. I struggle to understand why no one is saying to their kids, or no principal is saying, we respect you but if you are what you say you are we need to treat you that way. I am pretty sure feeding a child cat food, locking them outside during the day, giving them bowls of water and kitty litter would quickly end some of this stuff.

penny wright
penny wright
10 months ago

I have wondered for a long time what the opposite of adults treating their pets as human would be – basically treating their kids as pets.
In all seriousness, cats and horses etc don’t go to school. We don’t have anti discrimination law to protect non-humans, planetary bodies aren’t human bodies. I struggle to understand why no one is saying to their kids, or no principal is saying, we respect you but if you are what you say you are we need to treat you that way. I am pretty sure feeding a child cat food, locking them outside during the day, giving them bowls of water and kitty litter would quickly end some of this stuff.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

We can’t be far from a very necessary but quite likely very messy correction to these absurdities in the public schools.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

We can’t be far from a very necessary but quite likely very messy correction to these absurdities in the public schools.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago

Have we all forgotten our childhood? Kids do what they can get away with. They can smell weakness – and teachers nowadays stink of it.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago

Have we all forgotten our childhood? Kids do what they can get away with. They can smell weakness – and teachers nowadays stink of it.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
10 months ago

I read a while back that schools were actually NOT affirming children identifying as cats, etc.

Sheryl Rhodes
Sheryl Rhodes
10 months ago

I read a while back that schools were actually NOT affirming children identifying as cats, etc.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
10 months ago

Tell the kid insisting on being a cat to piss-off before you call the animal shelter. Cats don’t belong in the classroom because cats are stupid and cannot learn human things like reading and math.

Paul Rodolf
Paul Rodolf
10 months ago

Tell the kid insisting on being a cat to piss-off before you call the animal shelter. Cats don’t belong in the classroom because cats are stupid and cannot learn human things like reading and math.

john d rockemella
john d rockemella
10 months ago

Well us normal people don’t allow that nonsense with our kids, but these so called intellectuals and progressives can be told anything by educators or people of government and they are fine going along with it. Yes there are a lot of weak parents out there, and yes the educators are spineless weaklings. Stand up for your children, be prepared to sacrifice your freedom for it. Anything else is just pathetic.

john d rockemella
john d rockemella
10 months ago

Well us normal people don’t allow that nonsense with our kids, but these so called intellectuals and progressives can be told anything by educators or people of government and they are fine going along with it. Yes there are a lot of weak parents out there, and yes the educators are spineless weaklings. Stand up for your children, be prepared to sacrifice your freedom for it. Anything else is just pathetic.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
10 months ago

I never suspected Mary shared a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, but that’s certainly what this approach to art sounds like.

Last edited 10 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
10 months ago

I never suspected Mary shared a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, but that’s certainly what this approach to art sounds like.

Last edited 10 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
10 months ago

My God! Adult colouring books really DO exist! I had no idea! I’m naturally drawn to one image that shows a cute animal with huge ears in something like a flower-basket. Problem is, who is going to see the result? I know, those people who love to cradle their pooches in public – why don’t they colour THEM? Then we could have a pooch-colouring festival – for everyone! Oh, I know, I tend to get these ideas at this time of night. Creativity, you see.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
10 months ago