Friday, March 05, 2021

Attempt to cancel Texas song backfires

Confederate General Robert E. Lee was fond of telling his troops before they went into battle, ‘”The eyes of the South are upon you.” In 1903, a member of the University of Texas band wrote some lyrics and put them to the tune of “I’ve been working on the railroad.” “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” debuted at a school minstrel show — with white students appearing in blackface — and has been adopted as the UT alma mater.

It’s more than that, of course, It’s a Texas institution and now, cancel culture hysterics have come for it.

But it’s very hard to cancel an institution. Knock down a few statues, erase the history books — these are easy. But the history, tradition, and sheer emotion tied up into an institution — even the barbarians will have trouble canceling that.

The Texas Tribune obtained emails from donors to University President Jay Hartzell that show the depth of feeling against the idea of canceling the institution that is “The Eyes of Texas.”

“My wife and I have given an endowment in excess of $1 million to athletics. This could very easily be rescinded if things don’t drastically change around here,” wrote one donor in October. His name was redacted by UT-Austin. “Has everyone become oblivious of who supports athletics??”

Hartzell had already publicly stated the university would keep the song, but hundreds of emails obtained through public records requests show that decision didn’t quell the furor among some of the most ardent supporters of “The Eyes.”

From June to late October, over 70% of the nearly 300 people who emailed Hartzell’s office about “The Eyes” demanded the school keep playing it. Around 75 people in emails explicitly threatened to stop supporting the school financially, calling on the university to take a heavier hand with students and athletes they believed were disrespecting university tradition by protesting it.

The lyrics of the song are inoffensive and rather pedestrian.

The Eyes of Texas are upon you,

All the livelong day.

The Eyes of Texas are upon you,

You cannot get away.

Do not think you can escape them

At night or early in the morn —

The Eyes of Texas are upon you

‘Til Gabriel blows his horn.

The song has been sung at weddings. It was sung at former first lady Ladybird Johnson’s funeral. It has embedded itself in the fabric of people’s lives.

Now, on the 185th anniversary of Texas independence, controversy threatens it. But the song won’t be canceled without a fight.

“[Alumni] are pulling planned gifts, canceling donations, walking away from causes and programs that have been their passion for years, even decades and turning away in disgust. Last night one texted me at 1:00 am, trying to find a way to revoke a 7-figure donation,” President of the Longhorn Alumni Band Charitable Fund Board of Trustees Kent Kostka wrote to a group of administrators, including Hartzell. “This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. Real damage is being done every day by the ongoing silence.”

Indeed, most alumni want Hartzell to be more forceful in defending the tradition. Even though the lyrics themselves are inoffensive, the “racist undertones” and the history of the song are what matter to the culture destroyers.


The Texas Cowboys school spirit association was a key social group on the UT campus for decades. In the past, Gordan said members would put on blackface and perform a sort of a minstrel show each year for their schoolmates.

Gordan said the “The Eyes of Texas” is a satirical rendition of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee’s saying “the eyes of the south are upon you,” which was made popular on the UT campus by former university president William Lambdin Prather.

Do these children really believe they’re fighting racism by canceling a song? Tearing down a monument? Scrubbing a history text? Racism is a disease of the heart and soul and isn’t cured by inflaming passions against the fight against it by attacking symbols that have nothing to do with racism unless the meaning or context in which they appear is horribly twisted by those not seeking to heal but to hurt.

At bottom, cancel culture is cruelty writ large. Symbols that have deep personal meaning to perhaps millions of people are attacked with full knowledge that they are injuring their feelings. That’s cruel and unjust.

Right now, fear of being seen as “racist” is what’s driving this effort forward. Perhaps fear of suffering financially is the antidote. Neither solution is optimal and none will be found as long as the goal isn’t ending racism, as much as it is revenge against those who perpetrated historic injustices.


There's nothing equal or fair about your transgender 'equality' order, President Biden - all it will do is destroy women's sports, damage women's rights, and turn people against the trans cause

President Joe Biden is big on equality and has spent much of his life fighting and campaigning for it.

Indeed, in his inauguration speech on January 20, he reminded us that the American dream is predicated on the belief 'that we are all created equal'.

But he did so with this sobering caveat: 'Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal, that we are all created equal, and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, and fear have torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never secure. Through civil war, the Great Depression, world war, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setback, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of our moments enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward, and we can do that now.'

I was very moved when he said this, and I believed his commitment to equality for all was entirely sincere.

But now I wonder if President Biden even understands what the word means?

According to the dictionary, it is defined as 'the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities'.

By that criteria, I believe in equality and I'm sure Joe Biden would say this is what he believes it to mean too.

But where we differ is over what to do when a campaign to achieve equality in any particular aspect of society where inequality and discrimination exists, creates a new inequality and discrimination.

That's the point we've reached in the battle for trans rights and in the process a new destructive inequality against women's rights is being directly fuelled by President Biden.

Let me be very clear for those already charging to have me summarily cancelled for my 'transphobia': I support the right of all trans people to be treated equally in every way and have loudly said so for many years.

But that long, hard-fought and very necessary battle cannot come at the expense of another long, hard-fought battle for equality waged by women.

Yet that is exactly what's happening.

One of the first things Biden did after taking office was sign Executive Order 13988 which demands that measures be taken to 'prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.'

This sounds perfectly reasonable until you get into the weeds of the order and discover that among various recommendations, it seeks to allow transgender athletes to compete according to their gender identity, as opposed to their biological sex.

Specifically, it says that transgender women who have gone through male puberty should be able to compete in women's sports.

This, I'm afraid, is utter madness.

The majority of trans women born to male biological bodies who've gone through puberty are self-evidently going to be bigger, stronger, faster and more powerful than women born to female biological bodies.

Again, this is not me being 'transphobic', it's me stating an obvious fact.

That's why we have gender-specific competition in almost every sport and events like the Olympics.

Put bluntly: Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player ever but would be beaten by any of the Top 1000 men's players.

And if this new presidential endorsement of trans women's rights to compete in women's sport becomes the accepted norm, then women's sport as we know it in America will be destroyed.

The problem is so obvious, I can't believe it actually has to be spelled out again. But sadly, it does.

And it's vital that it is.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, a gay woman and one of the world's most vociferous LGBTQ campaigners, articulated all the issues perfectly in a newspaper op-ed two years ago.

She explained, respectfully, how trans women born to male biological bodies have a large physical advantage: 'Hundreds of athletes who have changed gender by declaration and limited hormone treatment have already achieved honours as women that were beyond their capabilities as men, especially in sports in which power rather than skill is paramount. But simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy. Indeed, if a male were to change gender in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable.'

Then she warned of another more cynical potential consequence: 'A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It's insane and it's cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.'

Of course, Navratilova was absolutely right about all of this including the likelihood of the final grim scenario happening.

Cheating in sport for huge financial gain has never been more rampant.

But for pointing out the bleeding obvious, Navratilova was shamed, vilified, cancelled by various official bodies who accused her of 'perpetuating dangerous myths', and convicted of being 'transphobic' by the court of social media.

All of which just showed how dangerously deluded and absurd this debate has become.

Now, President Biden has poured a whole heap of fuel onto the already raging fires.

And once more, Martina Navratilova is courageously putting her neck on the line to safeguard women's sport.

She has formed a coalition, The Women's Sports Policy Working Group, designed to promote what it termed an ethical, science-based approach to address the 'vitriolic' public debate.

The group argues that trans girls and women who have never experienced male puberty or 'mitigated their sex-linked advantages' should be fully included in women's sport, but those trans women who've gone through puberty as males should be barred from competing against women who haven't.

This seems an entirely sensible and rational compromise to me.

Navratilova reaffirmed that she has a 'long history of advocating for women's and LGBTQ rights' but added: 'In sport, however, advocating for women's rights means talking sex and sex-linked biology. The performance gap between male athletes and female athletes emerges from the onset of male puberty, and from that point forward even second-tier males can beat the very best females.'

And there, surely, is the proverbial nail on the head of this debate?

What can possibly be 'equal' about a system that allows mediocre athletes in men's sport to switch genders, without any requirement for surgery to change sex, and instantly become world-beating athletes in women's sport - as we've been seeing more and more in things like sprinting, weight-lifting and cycling?

How does that do anything but create a new inequality and discrimination against women born to female biological bodies?

How does it not damage women's rights as it seeks to promote trans women's rights?

Yet that is what Joe Biden wants to let happen.

Yesterday, his administration announced it was rescinding support given under the Trump administration for a lawsuit aimed at preventing transgender athletes from competing in girls' high school sports.

It was filed by three young female athletes who believe their ability to compete has been unfairly damaged by trans women competing against them.

One of them, Alanna Smith, said: 'People should realize that a lot of biological females have missed out on making it to meets that really matter like states and regionals and the transgender athletes have taken spots on the podium that belong to biological females. We train for so many days a week, so many hours to be the best in our state and the best in our region and these biological males are just taking it away from us and we really deserve it.'

These girls deserve fairness and equality too, don't they?

The bottom line is this: trans women should be free to play competitive sport.

Whether that means they compete against each other or against men born to the same biological bodies is a matter for serious debate.

But allowing women born to physically superior male biological bodies who've gone through puberty to compete against women born to female biological bodies should be banned because all it does it create a new inequality and a new discrimination.

Everybody knows this, but very few people in authority seem prepared to say so for fear they will be the next for the trans lobby cancel culture chopping block.

That's why I salute Martina Navratilova who has fought so hard for equality all her life, including for trans people, and sees the inherent inequality that Biden's executive order represents.

She also knows that this furore will only serve to further alienate trans people rather than win much-needed support from non-trans people.

If Biden truly believes in the American dream that everyone is equal then he needs to stand up to the ultra-woke hard-left progressive elements of his party forcing through this obviously unfair agenda and defend the right of women not to see their sport demolished at the altar of political correctness.

It's time to show you know what equality really means, Mr President.


Miss USA Can Reject Applicants Who Aren’t Biologically Female: Judge

The Miss United States of America competition is able to only accept biological females, a judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, a George W. Bush appointee, said the pageant organization can’t be forced to let transgender women participate in its pageants.

“Because I viewed it as an organization that does promote a message and seeks to maintain control of that message, I view it as an association that cannot under the Constitution be required to allow plaintiff to participate in what defendant says is a contradiction of that message,” Mosman ruled from the bench, referring to the organization’s stated mission of promoting “natural-born” females, The Oregonian reported.

The judge cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, in which the nation’s top judges ruled the state of New Jersey could not force the Boy Scouts organization to accept gay scoutmasters.

Mosman also told the court that Miss USA is an expressive organization, as opposed to a commercial one.

That means it has a First Amendment Right to its “message” and cannot be required to alter it, Courthouse News reported.

The ruling came in Green v. Miss United States of America. Anita Noelle Green, a male who identifies as a woman, sued the pageant corporation in 2019, alleging it could not exclude people who identify as transgender women.

The original filing alleged gender-identity discrimination. Lawyers wrote that the plaintiff “was excluded from participating in defendant’s pageant program due to an express discriminatory eligibility policy requiring contestants to be ‘natural born female.’ This policy, intentionally designed to exclude the specific class to which plaintiff belongs—transgender females—is discriminatory because it denied plaintiff the full and equal advantages and privileges of defendant’s services in violation of Oregon’s public accommodations law.”

The defendant in a motion to dismiss said they were protected by their First Amendment rights to free speech and free association.

“In a society where women receive fewer opportunities than men, women deserve a platform to compete, to speak, and to be celebrated. Defendant provides this platform through its beauty pageant—a competition where women express themselves, build confidence, and vie for the crown of Miss United States of America before a live audience,” the organization said, adding that it selects contestants on criteria including character, age, biological sex, and residency.

In a statement in response to the ruling, Green expressed disappointment but said “we will be exploring ways to move forward.”

“I believe United States of America Miss is on the wrong side of history for choosing to actively discriminate against transgender people, but the road to creating a meaningful change has always been a long and bumpy one,” Green said.

John Kaempf, who represented Miss USA, told the Daily Caller that the ruling was a “great victory for supporters of the First Amendment.”

“My client has nothing against the LGBTQ community. But the federal court’s decision upholds the important First Amendment right not to have others force you to present a message you do not support,” he said. “My client believes that only biological, naturally born females are women. Others have the right to hold a different view.”


Facebook BLOCKS baby bottle company Tommee Tippee's new breastfeeding advert for showing nudity

The Newcastle-based firm has launched a breastfeeding campaign called 'The Boob Life', which it described as an unapologetic celebration of mothers, their bodies and their choices.

Tommee Tippee has faced advertising restrictions due to the social media platform's policies, but has been allowed to show the clip as an organic post on its page.

The company says broadcasters are also prohibiting the video until after the watershed because of 'excessive visible skin'.

The advert was commissioned following research by Tommee Tippee that revealed 93 per cent of mothers felt their mental, physical and emotional struggles with feeding had gone unacknowledged.

Only one in 10 young mothers said they felt comfortable breastfeeding in public.

Featuring real-life mothers and their babies, the company says it aims to support parents through their feeding journey, whether they choose breastfeeding, pumps, bottles or a combination of the three.

Tommee Tippee UK's Nicola Wallace said: 'It's outrageous and hugely offensive to women - we should be normalising breastfeeding in society and what real women's bodies look like, not pandering to outdated societal views on what's appropriate.

'We are only just seeing real depictions of periods on TV for the first time, it's not good enough, and Tommee Tippee are taking a stand. This is not just about mums, it's about unobjectifying women's bodies.'

Facebook says it understands that nudity can be shared for a variety of reasons, including as a form of protest, to raise awareness about a cause or for educational or medical reasons.

Where such intent is clear, Facebook makes allowances for the content. For example, it may restrict some images of female breasts that include the nipple but it will allow other images, including those showing women actively engaged in breastfeeding and photos of post-mastectomy scarring.

It also allows uncovered female nipples in the context of birth giving and after-birth moments.

But its advertising policies are different and when advertisers place an order, each advert is reviewed against these policies.

Under these guidelines, some content is prohibited, including nudity or implied nudity, excessive visible skin or cleavage, even if not explicitly sexual in nature.

The platform says it aims to strike a balance between allowing businesses and organisations to show ads that are of interest and value to people, while also making sure its global community feels comfortable.

A Facebook spokesperson said: 'This campaign is important and we applaud the work Tommee Tippee is doing to support new mums in their breastfeeding journey. 'We allow all posts of breastfeeding on Facebook and Instagram, but we do not allow adverts showing visible nipples.

'Ads are governed by a stricter set of policies because they receive paid distribution to appear in people's feeds, and that's why these were removed.'

The video has been praised by many, with scores of people leaving comments online.

Justine Roberts, founder and CEO of Mumsnet, said: 'Feeding babies can arouse all sorts of emotions: bliss and sadness, pride and frustration, relaxation and exhaustion.

'This film captures all that and more. It doesn't show the sanitised version of feeding that we've come to expect from ads, TV and film. It shows feeding all in its unvarnished glory, from wet T-shirts, painful nipples and full-force toddler latches to midnight bottle-juggling and sleepy dads.

'It celebrates breastfeeding as it really is and dispels the frankly weird expectation that it should be done 'discreetly' and without any hiccups, which can leave many thinking that they must be "doing it wrong".

'Hats off to Tommee Tippee for bucking the trend and celebrating feeding babies for what it is.'

One social media user said on Tommee Tippee's Facebook page: 'What an absolute breath of fresh air. 'Showing real babies with real mums, with real situations. Normalise nipples and breasts being shown in breastfeeding advertising.'

Another wrote: 'This is such a beautifully made advert, 100 per cent kudos to the team, absolutely got it spot on.'




No comments: