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Is that lesbian/vegan cafe closing over its 18% “man tax”? Or over its menu: “turmeric latte,” “pulled jackfruit burger,” “tofu benedict”?

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Here’s the stated reason why that vegan cafe run by out-and-proud Aussie lesbians is closing after only two years in operation:

A vegan cafe in Melbourne, Australia, which “became the punching bag of Melbourne” after introducing an 18 percent “man tax”, is closing down so its owner can pursue some “hands-on” work.

Handsome Her opened in 2017 and made international headlines with a bold approach to making a difference in closing the gender pay gap.

The owners of the Brunswick venture asked men to pay an 18 percent premium one week a month and advertised rules on a chalkboard out front that included “women have priority seating” and “respect goes both ways”.

Handsome Her owner Alexandra O’Brien turned herself into a pity party of one as she announced the cafe’s planned April 28 closure on Facebook:

“We were just one little tiny shop on Sydney Rd that was trying to carve out a swathe of space to prioritize women and women’s issues, and suddenly we became the punching bag of Melbourne and the internet.

“Yes, we are the evil, discriminatory, man-hating dykes who charge men more when didn’t you know the wage gap doesn’t even exist!?…

“We encouraged a range of diverse opinions from all intersections of society and insisted that people critique their inner fear of conflict with inquisitiveness and openness, rather than hostility. We do not believe in the age-old practice of silencing women as a way of stifling debate and avoiding conflict.

“We embrace conflict and leaning into the discomfort and think the world would be a better place if people would stop apportioning blame to others and start taking responsibility for their own contributions. If only we approach difficult discussions with a commitment to seek to understand rather than just being understood.”

Well! Owner O’Brien might want you to think that “leaning into the discomfort” by digging into male customers’ pockets was the reason her restaurant is folding.

But I’m certain that the real reason was the Handsome Her menu.

Woke as her customers might have been, did they really want to start their days with the “turmeric latte” (the “milk” being your choice of macadamia, almond, coconut, or soy)? Or how about the “immune booster” mix of beetroot, carrot, orange, and ginger juice? Or the “brekku smoothie” (banana, oats, peanut butter, maple, and cinnamon)?

Moving along to the entrees on the “100% plants” menu, there was the “pulled jackfruit burger,” the “tofu benedict,” and “Handsome Her’s big breakfast”: a mouth-watering combo of “king brown mushrooms, smoky [eggplant] bacon, homemade hash-browns, kale chips, smoked tomato, house baked beans, smashed avo and dukkha [sic] on organic multigrain toast.”

Well, at least the avocado toast looked OK–until I read that it read that it also contained “almond feta” and more of that eggplant bacon.

So, while Alexandra O’Brien might be telling you that Handsome Her failed because a “space” that’s “[c]reated by women for women” just can fly in the cruel world of male misogyny and “blame,” I think it failed because it was one pulled jackfruit burger too far.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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Annals of Catholic education: Notre Dame student government picks gal who thinks “men are gross” to direct its Department of Gender Relations

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The College Fix reports on a rather odd choice by students at a Catholic university for head of a unit supposedly devoted to helping the sexes get along better:

A University of Notre Dame student who has voiced negative statements about men and is openly opposed to Catholic sexual ethics was recently confirmed as director of the student government’s Department of Gender Relations.

The department “works to foster a healthy environment of communication and dialogue between individuals of different genders on campus,” according to its website.

The student who recently took the helm is Anne Jarrett. During the student senate confirmation hearing April 15, sophomore senator DC Morris raised concerns over Jarrett’s ability to work effectively with men as gender relations director given some of her past comments on social media.

Jarrett, a junior, tweeted March 29: “The only thing this has taught me is that men are gross and they don’t deserve opinions and I categorically do not want to f*** them.”

Jarrett, age 20 and a philosophy and gender-studies major at Notre Dame (bet you didn’t know Notre Dame even had a gender-studies department), had posted a Twitter photo of herself in Nike bike shorts as a protest against the “leggings mom” who had written a letter to the student newspaper pointing out that–surprise, surprise–gals who wear tight leggings get a lot of lewd attention from men. Jarrett’s photo of herself doing a leg lift was perhaps not as flattering as it could have been (you can view it here), and some male commenters had apparently voiced some blunt opinions about her looks.

The College Fix continues:

She said in other tweets regarding men: “I have a lot of sex with men for someone who condemns so vehemently giving men opportunities to disappoint me,” and “Cory Booker is the only man who is allowed to speak ever again thank you this has been a PSA.”

In yet another example of statements that have caused some to worry about her ability to be the leader of positive relationships between genders at Notre Dame, she said in an Instagram post last year: “You can trust [women about their bodies]. If we wanted your ignorant, irrelevant opinions, we’d ask.”

Strangely enough, though, for someone who has “a lot of sex with men,” Jarrett wrote an article for the HuffPost in October 2017 in which she described herself as having come out a “lesbian” (perhaps she has since changed her mind). The gist of the article was that Notre-Dame’s single-sex dorms somehow discriminate against transgenders:

The University currently only has undergraduate housing in which only students of one gender—male or female—are allowed to live in a dormitory together. Also, only people who were assigned that gender at birth are allowed to be in the rooms from midnight to 9 am on weeknights and 2 am to 9 am on the weekends, to, as the University says, help to create a dorm community. Students who break these parietals are subject to punishment. However, as members of other dorms who are of the same gender are allowed and sexual intercourse is banned by the University’s rules governing students, many students believe these rules are in place to limit heterosexual sexual activity on campus. This seems to enforce heteronormativity and ignore that LGBTQ+ students exist here. This also makes being a transgender student on campus impossible, as the University requires that you live in a community of those who all were assigned the same gender at birth, which can be an institutional challenge to the identities of transgender students.

Other tweets from Jarrett reported in the College Fix indicate that she feels just about as negatively about the Catholic Church as she feels about men:

Jarrett had said in a now deleted tweet: “I see the [Catholic] faith as inherently against female empowerment and sexual freedom.”

She also tweeted, “Catholic marriage isn’t about love, it was conceived to make licit the illicit act of sex for the purpose of procreation (evangelization).”

And she has quite the agenda for her new job heading the Department of Gender Relations:

Addressing her department members as “folx,” (a gender-neutral term which includes transgender and non-binary people), she laid out some of the initiatives she plans to pursue in the next school year, including: “sexual assault prevention,” “trans* student rights,” “PRIDE week,” “pronoun emphasis,” “discussions about sex/gender/sexuality,” “menstrual product availability,” and “PARIETALS ‘reform’ (REMOVAL).”

More info on Jarrett:

Jarrett is one of the founding members of Irish 4 Reproductive Health (I4RH), a group which describes themselves as “sex-positive feminists” who work to promote “reproductive justice” at Notre Dame. The group is in the process of suing Notre Dame for not providing abortifacients in their healthcare policy. I4RH delivers condoms, internal condoms, and lubricant to any students on the Notre Dame campus who request them via their Snapchat.

Still….

Student body President Elizabeth Boyle, who was director of the Department of Gender Relations prior to her election as president, defended her nomination of Jarrett at her senate confirmation, saying: “Bringing diversity and diversity of thought is exceptionally important.”

All I can say is: I guess Catholic education isn’t exactly what it used to be.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Mourn all you like over the Sri Lankan church bombings–but please don’t use the C-word or the M-word when you’re talking about them

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Photo: Chamila Karunarathne/AP
Three churches bombed, 290 people killed, and 500 wounded: that was Easter Sunday 2019 in Sri Lanka.
But here are some words you can’t use when talking about this ghastly and sacrilegious massacre:
Christian and Muslim.
Verboten C-word first (hat tip to Steve Crowder):
Tweet from former Democratic President Barack Obama:
The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.
Tweet from 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
On this holy weekend for many faiths, we must stand united against hatred and violence. I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.
Tweet from 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren:
I’m heartsick for the victims of today’s terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. Hundreds have been killed and wounded. To slaughter worshippers at church during Easter service is an act of great evil. My thoughts and my prayers are with the victims and their loved ones.
Ah, the “Easter worshippers.” To which religion did they belong, pray tell?
Compare the above to the religious specificity of Clinton’s March 15 tweet about the mosque massacre in  New Zealand:
My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community. We must continue to fight the perpetuation and normalization of Islamophobia and racism in all its forms.
But when six times as many people are slaughtered inside churches on one day as were slaughtered in that mosque…I don’t think we’re going to see many non-Christian women hanging crosses around their necks or blasting the Lord’s Prayer on loudspeakers at a public observance.
Now for the verboten M-word (from CNN):
Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide bombs, which injured at least 500 people, in the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago….
…Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the “terrorist incident” was carried out by followers of “religious extremism.”
Ah, “religious extremism.”
But a fly sinks into the ointment:
On Sunday evening, a leaked memo revealed that police were warned of a potential attack by an Islamist group known as the Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ), ten days before the Easter Sunday bombings
Uh-oh.
Sri Lankan officials scurry to offer us reassurance:
There were doubts that the NTJ, a little-known group which has previously defaced Buddhist statues, would have had the capacity to carry out such a sophisticated and coordinated attack alone. Transnational Islamists are known to operate in places like Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines.
But Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, said that little is known about Islamic radicalism in Sri Lanka and that it was “premature” to speculate on which organizations might have been involved.
A social media blackout was enforced in the aftermath of the attacks as authorities attempted to contain the violence and establish who carried out the attacks.
Ah, blacked-out social media to our rescue–what a relief. We won’t have to utter those nasty words Christian and Muslim after all. We have Easter worshippers and religious extremism to get the job done.
Posted by Charlotte Allen

Me for First Things: “Unplanned” isn’t the greatest movie–what’s great about it is that it has the mainstream-media film critics in a panic

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From my latest for First Things:

But [U.K. Guardian film critic Jordan] Hoffman’s real beef with Unplanned wasn’t the gore. It was the pro-life message—a message Hoffman found so alarming that he couldn’t stop talking about it, hauling in every extraneous argument he could think of: An African-American Planned Parenthood patient defies her weeping mother to stride into the clinic—so that means the movie must be racist. The Christian group Coalition for Life, whose members pray outside the clinic fence and beg patients to change their minds, “shames women.” The Bryan clinic finally goes out of business (as it did in real life), so Hoffman grumbles about “restricting women from their own constitutionally protected reproductive health.” In his last sentence he announces, “I’ll be making a donation to Planned Parenthood.” Is he a film critic or a pro-choice shill?

Hoffman is not alone in his personal investment. Forbes film critic Luke Y. Thompson announces in his review: “I have utilized Planned Parenthood for emergency birth control in the past.” Like Hoffman, Thompson works in a racism angle: Since Abby and most of the Coalition for Life people are white (as are 70 percent of Texans), “Unplanned ultimately posits the most bland whiteness as the ultimate signal of Christian goodness.” Thompson makes much of the fact that $1 million of the movie’s budget came from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who—horror of horrors—contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Lindell plays a cameo role in the film as a construction worker who knocks down the Planned Parenthood sign after the clinic folds. Thompson concludes: “[I]f you like Trump rallies, especially the ones featuring Mike Pence, this is probably the movie for you.”

Chicago Tribune reviewer Owen Gleiberman focuses almost exclusively on abortion politics. “The movie comes on like it’s trying to make converts, but what it’s really doing is mobilizing those on the pro-life side to come out and vote for politicians who will step up the legal assault on abortion rights,” Gleiberman writes. “‘Unplanned’…does a skillful job of using religious piety to conceal its underlying political agenda…It may look like it’s preaching, but it’s really campaigning.” And in case the reader didn’t get the message: “Unplanned” isn’t a good movie, but it’s effective propaganda.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Notre-Dame burns–giving Pete Buttigieg a chance to show off his French and display what an international sophisto he is

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Photo: Darron Cummings/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The devastating fire at the 850-year-old Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral was heart-breaker for most of the world–and a video-op for South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Buttigieg, a man of seven languages, got a chance to show off his French, display his  international sophistication as a citoyen du monde, and contrast himself pointedly to his potential GOP rival, the bumptious, mostly monolingual, and definitely America-centric Donald Trump.

Here’s the Newsweek site where you can watch the vid of Buttigieg displaying his Gallic fluency to French news outlet BFM-TV:

“To the people of France I would like to say that Notre Dame Cathedral was like a gift to the human race,” said Buttigieg. “We share the pain but we also thank you for this gift to civilization.”

Except that he said it en français.

And of course, since 90 percent of the French already can’t stand Trump, Buttigieg’s Francophone condolences went over like steak-frites after a Girondons de Bordeaux match:

Retweeting the BFM TV news segment on social media, French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud wrote: “Thank you Mayor for this message and congratulations for your french!” A slew of comments under the outlet’s tweet heaped praise on the South Bend, Indiana, mayor, who reportedly speaks seven languages, including Spanish, Italian, Norwegian and Arabic.

“America needs you the world needs you—Ladies gentlemen this is what a president sounds like,” read one comment that gained hundreds of likes. Another added: “This intelligence is something I’m craving. How wonderful to reach out to the people of France this way.”

So maybe if Mayor Pete washes out in the primaries for U.S. president, he can move to France to succeed French president Emmanuel Macron.

By the way, if you want donate to restore the ruined cathedral, here is the web page of the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris. It’s a 501(c)(3) charity under U.S. tax law, so your donation will be 100 percent tax-deductible.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Bill McKibben promises he won’t speak at your college graduation to tell you you will die from global warming-induced bubonic plague–is that swearsies, Bill?

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Lifelong global-warming apocalypse-monger Bill McKibben teams up with U.N. climate-change honcho Christiana Figueres to swear, swear, swear that they won’t be speaking at your college graduation unless your alma mater divests itself of fossil-fuel investments:

To have any chance of mitigating climate change, we need all people doing what they can…

That’s why the two of us, in addition to our work on climate change, have begun doing something else: refusing to accept honorary degrees from colleges that won’t divest their endowments of fossil fuels.

We’re under no illusion that our refusal to participate is a big deal. Of all the people at a college commencement, the honorary-degree recipient is the least important, but it is one more way for us to warn everyone that time is running out. We hope that others will follow our lead, as a reminder to college presidents and boards of trustees that society is quickly becoming disgruntled with inertia on this issue. Business as usual is the one thing we can’t afford.

McKibben and Figueres seem especially bent out of shape that their own undergrad alma maters, Harvard and Swarthmore respectively, haven’t hopped onto the climate-change-divestment bandwagon yet:

…[T]heir refusal to divest from fossil fuels has been painful for us to watch. So one of us has found himself sleeping in the shrubbery outside the Harvard president’s office as part of a large student protest for divestment.

That would be Bill, presumably.

Too bad, Harvard, because your newly minted grads will miss a chance to hear Bill rehash his latest the-end-is-near book, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? Read this excerpt in Rolling Stone for some real excitement:

In 2015, a study in the Journal of Mathematical Biology pointed out that if the world’s oceans kept warming, by 2100 they might become hot enough to “stop oxygen production by phyto-plankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.” Given that two-thirds of the Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton, that would “likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”

A year later, above the Arctic Circle, in Siberia, a heat wave thawed a reindeer carcass that had been trapped in the permafrost. The exposed body released anthrax into nearby water and soil, infecting two thousand reindeer grazing nearby, and they in turn infected some humans; a twelve-year-old boy died. As it turns out, permafrost is a “very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark” — scientists have managed to revive an eight-million-year-old bacterium they found beneath the surface of a glacier. Researchers believe there are fragments of the Spanish flu virus, smallpox, and bubonic plague buried in Siberia and Alaska.

Or consider this: as ice sheets melt, they take weight off land, and that can trigger earthquakes — seismic activity is already increasing in Greenland and Alaska. Meanwhile, the added weight of the new seawater starts to bend the Earth’s crust. “That will give you a massive increase in volcanic activity. It’ll activate faults to create earthquakes, submarine landslides, tsunamis, the whole lot,” explained the director of University College London’s Hazard Centre.

Yikes! Earthquakes, lava, and bubonic plague!

There’s more scary stuff:

A 2017 study in Australia, home to some of the world’s highest-tech farming, found that “wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change.” After tripling between 1900 and 1990, wheat yields had stagnated since, as temperatures increased a degree and rainfall declined by nearly a third. “The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in a hundred billion,” the researchers said, and it meant that despite all the expensive new technology farmers kept introducing, “they have succeeded only in standing still, not in moving forward.” Assuming the same trends continued, yields would actually start to decline inside of two decades, they reported….

{A]team of British researchers released a study demonstrating that even if you can grow plenty of food, the transportation system that distributes it runs through just fourteen major choke-points, and those are vulnerable to — you guessed it — massive disruption from climate change. For instance, U.S. rivers and canals carry a third of the world’s corn and soy, and they’ve been frequently shut down or crimped by flooding and drought in recent years…

Then there’s the protein deficiency:

The paper, in the journal Environmental Research, said that rising carbon dioxide levels, by speeding plant growth, seem to have reduced the amount of protein in basic staple crops, a finding so startling that, for many years, agronomists had overlooked hints that it was happening. But it seems to be true: when researchers grow grain at the carbon dioxide levels we expect for later this century, they find that minerals such as calcium and iron drop by 8 percent, and protein by about the same amount. In the developing world, where people rely on plants for their protein, that means huge reductions in nutrition: India alone could lose 5 percent of the protein in its total diet, putting 53 million people at new risk for protein deficiency. The loss of zinc, essential for maternal and infant health, could endanger 138 million people around the world. In 2018, rice researchers found “significantly less protein” when they grew eighteen varieties of rice in high–carbon dioxide test plots. “The idea that food became less nutritious was a surprise,” said one researcher.

And finally, the giant bugs:

[I]n August 2018, a massive new study found something just as frightening: crop pests were thriving in the new heat. “It gets better and better for them,” said one University of Colorado researcher. Even if we hit the UN target of limiting temperature rise to two degrees Celsius, pests should cut wheat yields by 46 percent, corn by 31 percent, and rice by 19 percent. “Warmer temperatures accelerate the metabolism of insect pests like aphids and corn borers at a predictable rate,” the researchers found. “That makes them hungrier[,] and warmer temperatures also speed up their reproduction.” Even fossilized plants from fifty million years ago make the point: “Plant damage from insects correlated with rising and falling temperatures, reaching a maximum during the warmest periods.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d want to skip the commencement ceremonies if they consisted of Bill McKibben predicting I’d be dead of smallpox, malnutrition, and oxygen deprivation before I got my student loans paid off.

Please, Bill and Christiana, you promise you’ll stay away?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

“Leggings mom” of Notre Dame has to endure something worse than bad student leggings at a Catholic U: bad student writing at a Catholic U

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Photo: Evening Standard

The poor “leggings mom” of Notre Dame!

She writes a letter to the student newspaper pointing out the obvious: that young women wear skin-tight semi-translucent leggings in order to show off their gym-sculpted backsides–and then get bent out of shape when young men happen to ogle their gym-sculpted backsides encased in those skin-tight, semi-translucent leggings.

I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds.

Yup. Men are that way.

It was bad enough that the letter triggered such feminist outrage that nearly every female student at Notre Dame promptly donned a pair of skin-tight, semi-translucent leggings showing off her backside, gym-sculpted or (more often) not, in order to protest “the idea that it’s a woman’s job to make sure that men don’t fall into sin,” as one theologically acute young woman put it.

But mother-of-four-sons Maryann White has had to endure something even worse than bad student leggings at an elite Catholic university: bad student writing at an elite Catholic university.

Read this April 12 letter to the student newspaper at Georgetown by Georgetown freshman Julianna Yablans (and keep in mind that U.S. News rates Georgetown No. 22 in the nation for all-around excellence):

Instead of criticizing women for their dress, those like White should support others in their self-expression however they feel comfortable.

“Their self-expression however they feel comfortable.” Hmmm.

There’s more:

White’s letter is an all-too-familiar sentiment for many girls, indicative of a larger culture in which women are taught to dress in a way that is not distracting to men….

Leggings are not inherently sexual, but women such as White are legitimizing the sexualization of the garment….

Although White targets the women of Notre Dame, the themes of her letter are heavily centered in what she perceives as Catholic values. However, Catholic values are rooted in acceptance, not criticizing others for their choices. White imposes her interpretation of Catholicism onto others, which is contrary to the core belief that people should be free to make their own decisions without judgement from others.

School deans and mothers should be figures who girls look up to and learn from. If the role models of women insist we cater our lifestyles to men, girls will be unable to create a sense of self and identity. We cannot control — and should not be responsible for — the way others think. The right of comfort and self-expression is inherent to our identity. As students and women, we can and will wear what we want without being criticized for it, and we should continue to support each other in the self-expression that is most preferred.

It’s perhaps churlish of me to mock the randomized diction and syntax of an 18-year-old. I’m a Catholic myself, so I’m probably sinning against “Catholic values…rooted in…not criticizing others for their choices.” Still, don’t you have to have a baseline command of the written English language in order to get into Georgetown?

At least Maryann White displayed a sense of humor in her Notre Dame letter:

Thanks for listening to the lecture. Catholic moms are good at those!

But no good deed goes unpunished, and the punishment for White seems to be even more irritating than all those Spandex-clad rear ends shoved into her face.

Posted by Charlotte Allen