A FAMOUS GROUSE
ANOTHER day, another outrage — and another nightmarish neologism with which the commentariat may drive us batty. This time it’s “incel”, which gained traction following the Toronto van attack in which nutjob Alek Minassian killed ten people and injured 15 others in Canada’s worst mass killing in almost 30 years.
Incel comes from “involuntarily celibate”, which is how the 25-year-old Minassian has described himself, this being the golden age of identity politics. Naturally, there’s a “community” out there that is almost exclusively male and deeply frustrated by the dormancy in the trouser department.
Should we feel their pain? It’s a provocation that economist Robin Hanson, who teaches at George Mason University in Virginia, raises in his blog, Overcoming Bias: namely, how is it that we concern ourselves with a more equitable distribution of wealth, yet we regard the desire for a sort of sexual redistribution as being, if I may, utterly bonkers?
“One might plausibly argue,” Hanson wrote, “that those with much less access to sex suffer to a similar degree as those with low income, and might similarly hope to gain from organizing around this identity, to lobby for redistribution along this axis and to at least implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met.
“As with income inequality, most folks concerned about sex inequality might explicitly reject violence as a method, at least for now, and yet still be encouraged privately when the possibility of violence helps move others to support their policies.”
Commentators were quick to denounce Hanson’s ideas as being a bit creepy, chiefly because many of those who identity as incels are, frankly, unreconstructed misogynists.
Judging by the rape fantasies they post online, they are, like most extremists, probably not that averse to a bit of terrorism in achieving their aims and, here at the Mahogany Ridge, we were perhaps not alone in thinking, yeah, that’ll get you laid, driving a van into a bunch of “normies”, or regular folk who have sex.
Back to neologisms, though. Is there a chance that “infant” could work for EFF leader Julius Malema and his followers on social media: “involuntarily fascist and notably toxic”?
Following news that the 72-year-old owner of a Limpopo game park, Mike Hodge, had been badly mauled by a ten-year-old lion, Shamba, which was subsequently shot dead, Malema tweeted, “Our lion, Mafusa.”
He later asked News24, “Did the Lion survive? We are worried about it, please update us. I will listen on the radio if you don’t mind. . .”
This was almost as funny as that hoary schoolboy chestnut about the dog needing a tetanus shot because it had bitten the gardener.
But, given that Hodge was British, there was obvious political capital here, and Shamba was soon praised as a martyr who championed the landless; memes of lions wearing red berets were all over Twitter.
The Times of London, meanwhile, reported that Hodge and his wife have shut their park after receiving death threats and abuse, and critics of the “canned wildlife” industry also leapt into the fray, arguing that these parks have no conservation value.
Moreover, they point out, captive lions quickly lose their fear of people in such places, and attacks on tourists are not uncommon.
Studies have suggested that lions picked up a taste for humans with the slave trade. Those who were ill or too weak to be marched off to the ports and markets were abandoned along the way, and became easy prey for the beasts.
There are other theories, but the upshot here is that it is probably best to not have lions around the house.
Another neologism that has been bothering us lately is “terf”, rising as it has like a dragon above the gender battlefield. It’s an acronym, “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”, and it is a label given by their opponents to those, like author Germaine Greer, who reject alliances with people who used to be men.
“The insistence,” Greer has said, “that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males.”
Or, as the British columnist Rod Liddle put it, “Terf: A sensible woman who knows that the person in the ladies’ toilet with a formidable beard and a slightly weird smile is, actually, of a different sex from her.”
Be that as it may, the worst thing about these terms is that you need to be au fait with them in order to be considered “woke”, or “socially aware”.
People who regard themselves as such, and use “woke” in their speech, should be avoided to such an extent that they, too, are incel.
This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.