Appropriation Expropriated

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In theory, having a topic linked to my research background hit the limelight should be a Good Thing and a source of Career Opportunities. In practice, what I find is at best that cultural appropriation sold out when it went mainstream.

I know (having studied this stuff during my doctoral research) that there are serious, or at least well-meaning, concerns involved about the sustainability of minority cultures amidst predominant ones, or about the commodification of things held sacred. (Less often about abstract notions of offensiveness, since being in a position to care about what well-off undergrads are wearing at parties is itself a luxury—whisper it, a privilege—in global terms. Hence Young on profound offence.) There was always silly stuff as well, but a few years ago there was usually some effort involved in finding it. Now it comes pre-excoriated in the popular press, and of course the most ill-considered examples have gained the most prominence. (Sometimes aided by excitable reportage, as with the suggestion that anyone could threaten Mexican cultural integrity by donning a sombrero.)

So far reactions have included bemusement, disdain and exasperation; and I am going to have to pull rank and add an extra touch of intellectual snobbery to the mix, because good grief, what a bunch of narcissistic parvenus.

Things Learnt During a Server Upgrade

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  1. At some point e-mail stopped being passed to my Gmail account. I’d been using my registrar’s nameservers, which seem not to accept AAAA record entries, so IPv6 was enabled on the server but not associated with the domain. Hence there was no IPv6 rDNS either. At some point Gmail started rejecting e-mails on these grounds: lateish 2013 from what I can find, but I have reason to think I was still getting e-mail from this server in at least late 2014... If you entered anything into the contact form after things changed, it won’t have reached me, for which I apologise, unless it was s.e.o. spam or something.

  2. Cherokee is still maintained, if not exactly under active development, but absent from the repositories, so to keep using it I’d have had to build it from source, then work out what to do about the distro-specific aspects of my old installation. Hence I’m trying other webserver daemons, mainly Hiawatha at the moment. Since I use directory listings, I followed the suggestion to set TriggerOnCGIstatus. What that page doesn’t explain (and the manual doesn’t go into the implications of) is that if you have a CGI process dealing with something like this PHP snippet...


    ...the HTTP status will be correctly set to 302, but then the server will take over immediately and the Location header will never be sent, so the browser just displays an error page. So if you have e.g. a header redirection from /login to /admin after successful authentication, it will mystifyingly break.

  3. Also, if you don’t turn on EnablePathInfo then something like /example.php/something (used e.g. by SemanticScuttle) will mystifyingly break.

  4. Hence I’m currently feeling Lighttpd maybe has fewer gotchas, although I did have to spend time learning to persuade it not to send my extensionless fortune files as application/octet-stream.

  5. Oh, and the weblog software has also faded out of active development.

Lost and Fund

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Did you know DCMS is running an open consultation on its proposed Cultural Protection Fund?’s consultation search doesn’t.

Stark Raving Contrast

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Consider for example the difference between their opening video and ours. Theirs focuses on the contribution Britain makes to the EU budget but fails to reference the benefits our membership brings [...]. It’s fundamentally dishonest. [...] Our opening video, by contrast, features a range of people speaking from experience about the benefits of being in Europe. It’s entirely the positive case for staying in.

Extremely Minty

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One of the opening quotations in a Quilliam counter-extremism report:

“Nationalism and patriotism was instilled in me in a brutalising process lovingly referred to as weeding out the weak.”
Excerpt from testimony of Keith (Former BNP member)

So of course the first thing that pops into my mind is: