Tab Tries: going to an arts lecture

ANDREW BUCHAN leaves the Natsci Labs for the flamboyant existential chaos of Sedgewick

Cambridge Natsci pps

On January 16th, one brave NatSci decided to attend a PPS lecture on ‘Nationalism and Ethnicity’.

For safety reasons, he was accompanied by a native social scientist who we’ll call Olivia.

Welcome to PPS land

15:05 – The acoustics in here are ridiculous. How is his voice so echoey? It’s just a square, brick room. Also: Islamophobia; Identity Politics

15:07 – He brings up his desktop. There’s a firefox tab open on “there are no choices”. This is already too much for me to handle on a Friday afternoon.


15:12 – As it turns out, reality is a construct.

15:16 – George is so good at words. Much better than me. Better than I? Better than me.

15:18 – He asked a question. Nobody answered. I feel at home.

The comforting sound of clever people being too uncomfortable to speak

15:23 – I’m writing because other people are. The guy next to me, who I’ll call Derek, hasn’t stopped writing for ages. It’s definitely a competition to see who can go the longest now (steady on there). He just stopped. I win this round, Derek.

15:25 – The lecturer (a Frankie Boyle look-a-like) is sitting behind several stacks of medium-to-large books which are clearly just for show.

15:30 – I have just learned that ‘feral’ is a coded racial term. Now I have to spend 3 minutes recalling any past situations in which I used that word to work out if I might have offended anyone.

15:40 – He said “white” with air quotes. What’s the difference between white and “white”?

Sorry, is this “offensive”?

15:43 – He made a comment about politicians trying to be social scientists. It was meant to be a put down but frankly I think he needs some perspective.

15:44 – Hell-oo, page 4.

15:49 – I wore a bright red jumper to try and fit in with the artsy scene. As it turns out, better choices would have included: red trousers, fingerless gloves, overpriced coffee.

15:51 – We’re going to talk about Charlie Hebdo soon and I can tell that I’m going to feel an overwhelming compulsion to draw a cartoon of Mohammed.

15:57 – “Whiteness is at the core of racism”. Sounds a bit racist to me, but then again that’s nothing less than what I’d expect from a white guy.

15:58 – Oh, it’s all OK. I briefly forgot that everything was a vague social construct anyway.

15:59 – “Whiteness is invisible to white people.” This sounds like a comedy superpower where you can turn invisible…but only to white people.

Captain Privilege strikes again!

I can wear whatever the hell I want now anyway.

16:04 – He said the words “scientific evidence” but I think what he meant to say was “wordy speculation.”

16:07 – I fear that at “this” rate he’ll “get” me into a “really” bad “habit” o”f throw”ing qu”ote”s arou”nd whe”n I’m not “sure” if th”eyr’”e s”tric”tl”y” n”e””cess””””a””””””r”””””””y””.

No way is this an original image

16:10 – He talked about vectors. I see no vectors.

16:15 – We should have had a break by now. Shouldn’t we? I was promised a break and could really use one.

16:17 – If this is just his talking voice, then how loud is he dur…you know what, never mind.

16:32- He’s now talking about Clash of Civilisations. Isn’t that a strategy game? No? Oh.

16:35 – He’s showing a graph of percentage of respondents who are xenophobic. The percentage axis is cheekily scaled to 70% to make everyone look 142% more racist.


16:45 – Allow me to again emphasise how much the lecturer looks like Frankie Boyle.

16:48 – I made the mistake of leaning back in my chair. Everyone looked at me like “wot the fuk r u doing m8, get back to writing” so I leaned forwards and wrote this.

Where I am mentally

16:50 – It’s not hard to deduce the lecturer’s personal views on any/all current world events.

16:52 – Then again, I guess that’s probably the point of arts lectures.