Calvin Cycle 2.0

An article recently came out about a a team which used a series of enzymes in a test tube to do something similar to what plants do in carbon fixation. However, the process is not entirely the same in that it uses different enzymes from a variety of sources, including animals and bacteria, to complete the reaction chain. This chimera test tube of enzymes is apparently 25% more efficient than its natural competitor, RuBisCo. Engineering a system more efficient than this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise because it is actually one of the least efficient enzymes in nature, as I have written previously (see also):

It is indisputable that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, and the burning of fossil fuels causes some or most of it.  However, CO2 is a natural part of the life cycle. Plants fixate CO2 from the atmosphere in order to grow. RuBisCo is the enzyme which fixes gaseous carbon into simple sugars in plants. This is arguably the single most important enzyme in existence. In addition to plants themselves, all animals and fungi, and most bacteria, are dependent on this enzyme working. It creates the food for those organisms. It also happens to be one of the least efficient enzymes. That is, it doesn’t work very well at doing its job, surprisingly. For one thing, it is very slow. RuBisCo is also capable of catalyzing oxygenation of its substrate rather than fixing a carbon dioxide molecule and it does so at fairly high rates. When oxygenation occurs, the energy is completely wasted because the byproduct isn’t useful for the plant. Moreover, energy has to be expended to reverse the process to make the substrate available for carbon fixation again. Some plants have even evolved special CO2 concentrating mechanisms to try to combat this problem. Increasing the carbon dioxide concentration of the air via burning fossil fuels should make plants better able to use this enzyme because increased concentration of the CO2 substrate increases the enzyme’s efficiency. For example, by increasing the likelihood that CO2 will be fixed rather than oxygen molecules. In other words, the expected result of increased carbon concentrations should be bigger plants, faster growing plants, and/or larger numbers of plants. Both agricultural and wild plants could be expected to benefit from this.

Intelligently designing a better system than RuBisCo, then, is seemingly one of the lowest bars in advanced genetics to cross. Not that that makes it easy in an absolute sense, only that it is easier than, say, designing human geniuses. Getting all these enzymes lined up physically and working well together in a chloroplast is no small barrier.

The obvious purpose of this work and research is to combat climate change. Personally, I am very skeptical that climate change as caused by released CO2 is actually something to worry about. I am inclined to think CO2 hysteria is more an expression of crypto-theology. So, the motivations for this work are suspect. That said, I could still see it being useful. Imagine the kinds of crops we could get if we made them 25% more efficient? What if we could use it to generate a very cheap source of organic fuels and/or starting chemical reagents. Even ignoring overblown warnings about an apocalypse, there is still potential use in this technology. I see no reason not to switch from fossil fuels to better sources if they are in fact better and cheaper.

However, there are other environmental considerations than climate change to at least think about. The first thing that comes to mind is what would be the consequences of introducing vastly more efficient plants into the wild, whether deliberate or inadvertent? Such a plant would presumably be at least a little more evolutionarily fit than its wild counterparts and potentially vastly more fit. If so, it could potentially disrupt entire ecosystems on a massive scale in a relatively short time. Out-competed plants would die out and all the life dependent on those plants would follow shortly thereafter, if they couldn’t adapt to the new composition of their environment. The quest to stop climate change could have unintended consequences far outstripping the largely imagined climate apocalypse. However, even in this case I have little doubt life as a whole would adapt and move on even if the disruption is quite severe. I am reminded of this rather charming documentary (called Cane toads: the conquest if the link goes bad) about the introduction of Cane Toads to Australia and all the havoc that caused. Unintended consequences are real, friends, and leftists are masters at generating them.

All this of course is assuming that this new system would actually work as well as they hope it might (and that the plants it was introduced in were otherwise capable of fierce ecological competition in addition to the new fixation system). This is possible. Evolution is subject to path dependence. Once the initial system of carbon fixation evolved, it would be stuck with the basic mechanism and could only adapt from that in minute steps. It would be very difficult to transfer to a completely different system naturally via small steps. In other words, it might be possible to tweak RuBisCo towards more efficiency, but nearly impossible to substitute a whole different enzyme which was much better overall. A newly evolved system, even if potentially better after additional evolution, would likely start off as less efficient as the already long extent and well adapted one and thus would have a hard time sticking around long enough to become a proper better alternative. Therefore, it is quite possible that better systems than RuBisCo are possible yet still unevolved. Some things are quite difficult to evolve.

On the other hand, it is also quite possible that there are good biological reasons for this inefficiency that we don’t know about. If so, other considerations may prevent the newly developed system from working well and/or resulting in a net loss in fitness due to side effects. In which case it won’t work and there is nothing to worry about. Either way, great care should be taken before committing to the introduction of a vastly different system of doing things, and that applies to biology as much as to government.

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Did Ancient Humans cause the mass extinctions of mega-fauna outside of Africa?

[Image Source]

Steve Sailer recently wrote an obituary for Henry Harpinding; a rare anthropologist who was open to the idea that genetics may play a role in racial differences. In the article he quoted the anthropologist and something caught my eye:

Probably most of our readers don’t have personal experience with old-fashioned, Pleistocene-style big game hunting. The only place in which it is still possible – not for much longer, at that – is Africa, where the big game had a chance to adapt as mankind gradually became formidable hunters and thus managed to survive until today. Without that experience, it’s hard to realize how remarkable Neanderthals were, how difficult hunting bison and elk with thrusting spears must have been. It’s not easy to appreciate the risks stone-age hunters had to take when they went after mammoths, rhinos, or Cape buffalo: it’s not exactly safe today, even with modern weapons. One of us, however (Henry Harpending) does have that experience, and the following note gives a flavor of what it’s like – particularly when you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re doing.

Encounter with a Buffalo

When I (HCH) was a graduate student in the 1960’s I spent a year and a half in the northern Kalahari desert doing fieldwork with !Kung Bushmen, foragers who lived by foraging wild foodstuffs and hunting game animals. With several other graduate students we had a base camp near the border with Southwest Africa (now Namibia) about 100 miles south of the Caprivi Strip on the northern border of Botswana. The nearest source of supplies was a two-day trip from their camp by four wheel drive truck.

Several weeks after the rainy season ended there were reports in the neighborhood of a cape buffalo that was harassing people and animals. Often older males lose rank and leave herd to wander by themselves, angry and uncomfortable. They are a threat to people and stock, especially horses.

We were out of meat in our camp, and so with the confidence and foolishness of youth we decided to hunt down the buffalo. We had visions of steaks and chops as well as many pounds of dried meat for travel rations and dog food. At that time permits for Buffalo were only a few dollars from the Botswana game department, and we had several. Although there were stories of Buffalo being aggressive and dangerous to hunt, to my eye they were simply large cattle. Bushmen never hunted them with their poison arrow and spear technology, but they too were naïve and had great faith in our high-powered rifle.

One morning we set off to where the animal had last been reported. The party was a colleague, several young Bushman males, and myself. We soon picked up its tracks and for several hours followed its wanderings through the low thorny scrub. To me the tracks looked exactly like those of a cow but the Bushmen never hesitated. When it was apparent at one point that there were no tracks at all in view I asked, and the Bushmen told me that there was no point in following the tracks since they knew exactly where it was going. We often saw this hunting with Bushmen­–they used actual tracks as a guide but knew the habits of animals so well that they often proceeded on their own to pick up actual tracks later on.

This went on for hours until, suddenly, a young man grabbed my shoulder and said “there it is.” I looked long and hard until I saw it, well camouflaged behind several yards of thick brush, sideways, staring hard at us with its bright pig eyes. It was about forty yards away.

As I brought the rifle up I was dismayed to realize that it still had a powerful telescopic sight. I should have removed it and use open iron sights in thick bush but I had forgotten. With the magnification of the scope I saw a black mass surrounded by brush. It took a moment to locate the front legs, then the chest. Oriented, I aimed and fired. “Bang-whump”, the bang from the rifle and the whump as the bullet struck the buffalo. He jerked a little, then simply stood there staring at me. “Bang-whump, bang-whump” as I fired two more rounds.

Now he tossed his head and snorted, then started running toward us. Buffalo charge with their nose high, only lowering their head to use their horns on contact. I fired one more round at the charging animal, head on, simply pointing at him because he was so close, then turned and ran. We discovered later that the bullet had struck his shoulder, ricocheted off his scapula, and exited through the skin on his side. It certainly didn’t slow him down at all: I might as well have been shooting at a railroad locomotive.

There were three of us running away now from the charging animal: my colleague, our camp dog, and myself.

The most obvious take away from this quote is that hunting large animals is incredibly difficult, even with modern high-powered rifles. Hunting them with wooden spears seems almost impossible. I find this quite believable. The second more subtle thing to notice about the quote is the assumption that despite the difficulty of stone age hunting, anatomically modern humans were able to completely wipe out 100s of species all over the world, including more than fifty in North America as it was slowly populated by the earliest Native Americans. This immediately brings up the question, if Native Americans really were so good at genociding animal species, why do modern anthropologists get so judgemental on European conquest of America? Surely the genocide of 50 species of animals is no worse than the genocide of one human race by another? How many extinct animal species does it take before a group of humans no longer gets special-snowflake victim status? Apparently more than 50. Of course, that logic only works if native Americans ACTUALLY wrought that level of devastation on animals.

Unlike Anthropologists, however, I am not quite ready to accept that small numbers of hunter-gatherer Native Americans, armed only with spears and/or bows, were able to ruthlessly exterminate huge species like the saber-tooth cat, woolly mammoth, and North American rhinoceros down to the last individual. Fortunately, a (relatively) new hypothesis for the cause of the most recent mass extinction event has been proposed. Specifically, the younger-dryas comet impact event which occurred around 12800 years ago. The idea is that a comet split into fragments and impacted at multiple points across the North American ice sheet, mostly over modern day Canada. Many of these fragments may have burst in the air like the Tunguska event and even any that may have hit ground would have encountered a mile or more thick ice sheet. Ice this thick makes finding residual craters unlikely after the ice melted.

Each comet fragment was estimated to be 1 – 2 km in size. A vast amount of energy could be expected to be released by the impact of the fragments, on the same order as large nuclear explosions. The energy released by these explosions would have lead to a very sudden melting of vast amounts of ice, biblical scale flooding across North America and potentially catastrophic sea level rise everywhere else. (Perhaps the flood in the bible isn’t quite as mythical as is generally believed.) One possible geological feature that could be accounted for by this is the channeled scablands in eastern Washington state.  I know the previously linked article states that this was caused by periodic large floods from the defunct lake Missoula, however Bretz, the geologist who proposed the idea of the scablands being formed in a massive flood, originally thought it was caused by a once-only almost unimaginable flooding event, and it was from constant bickering with his peers that the periodic flooding narrative was eventually accepted. The idea of and evidence for a comet impact around the time of the formation of the scablands has only been around since 2007 so the jury is still out on whether or not it constitutes a better explanation for the scablands than lake Missoula. It very well might.

Evidence for the impact includes things like carbon/rare metal layers, small spherical glass structures requiring high heat to form spread across much of the northern hemisphere, and enrichment of helium-3; a light gas which quickly escapes into space when not sequestered underground. You can see in the picture below the locations where geoscientists have unearthed evidence for this impact:


Beyond the material evidence for a cosmic impact (and the known extinctions you would expect such an impact to cause), the younger dryas was a period of exceptional cooling suddenly following a period of warming. This pattern is consistent with a planetary scale impact event; one which would throw a lot of light blocking dust into the atmosphere. The sudden deep freeze could be expected to heavily tax the survivors of the impact event itself and basically finish them off.

Earth temperatures

Which seems more likely to kill off hundreds of species all across the planet at around the same time: Cave men with wooden spears or an impact like that which probably killed off the dinosaurs? If you hadn’t guessed, I am going to put my money on an impact event. That isn’t to say ancient humans never caused the occasional extinction of isolated species, say native only to a small island, but the idea that stone-age humans could cause extinctions on this scale, this widely dispersed geographically, and in that short amount of time is and always has been preposterous. I can only speculate on how Anthropologists came to widely believe in the idea of ancient-human caused mass extinctions. It perhaps is the result of a mixture of environmentalist activism portraying humans as evil killers, made popular in the 20th century when this mass extinction became known and needed explaining, and a general conceit by humans to see themselves as the ultimate evolutionary product capable of profound alterations of the environment even with the most primitive tools. Regardless, an impact event seems a far more likely cause of mass extinctions than hunter-gatherers.

Moving on to something a lot more speculative and quite likely bullshit (but the kind of bullshit that is fun to think about). It is worth remembering Plato in light of the new evidence of a catastrophic impact 12800 years ago. In his critias and Timaeus Plato wrote descriptions of the lost civilization of Atlantis:

For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.

Plato’s account was very forth-rightly not a primary source. If he didn’t make it up outright, it was a story passed down by multiple generations of Greeks and the Greeks originally learned of it from the Egyptians, who also would have had to pass it down many generations. Therefore, any specifics he mentions probably can’t be all that reliable. Although, the continent mentioned in the passage above does remind the modern reader of America fairly easily. In particular, Plato was thought to have written his accounts of Atlantis around 360 BC and in them he mentions that Atlantis sank 9000 years before the time of Solon, who was multiple generations senior to Plato. This works out to roughly 9600 years before 360BC. Doing the math, that is about 11,976 years before the present day. Now, that doesn’t exactly match the time of the comet impact, but when you take into account the date of the impact itself has a margin of error of 200 or so years around 12800, the fact that Plato was relating a story that had essentially undergone a very long game of “telephone,” and no one really knows exactly when he wrote it or when Solon lived, the time frame is actually not that unreasonably off given the expected high degree of error all around. Certainly Plato’s description of the fall of Atlantis puts it close to when a planetary scale catastrophic event, one expected to cause massive flooding (and probably earthquakes and other geological upheavals), actually took place.

Still, just because there was a civilization destroying event doesn’t mean there was an actual civilization to destroy at the time. Is there any reason to think such a civilization could have existed? Rune soup took a big stab at this before, and I won’t repeat that massive effort, but I will mention some things I find relevant. Homo sapiens as a species have existed in their modern form for about 200,000 years. Presumably these humans have had a level of intelligence comparable to our own for most of that time, so it is kind of odd, when you think about it, that it took our ancestors so long to develop basic innovations such as agriculture, larger organized groups, and stone architecture. Physiologically they should have been able to do it far earlier than the 5,200 years ago conventionally accepted. What was going on for the other 195,000 years?

We don’t see too much evidence of large megalithic structures characteristic of a civilization before Mesopotamia, however there are some hints. The oldest known megalithic structure, as far as I know, only goes back to about 10,000 years ago (which puts the normal claim of the start of civilization 5,200 years ago in a hard spot by itself, but I won’t get into that). If civilization did exist before that, where did they leave all their temples and palaces? Please take a look at the following map:


This is a best guess map at dry land during the ice age when sea levels were considerably lower. The map looks a lot like today, but if you pay attention there is quite a bit more land. Of special note is in Indonesia where instead of a series of islands there is a very large and presumably fertile plain. When sea levels rose, an area larger than the size of modern day India was inundated. In addition, you will also notice that England in this map is not an island but attached to Europe and none of the north sea is visable. During the ice age the English channel would have all been above the surface. Though these two are notable examples, there is a very large amount of land all over the globe which was above sea level then and is below sea level now. Scientists estimate that sea level rose about 120 meters globally after the end of the ice age. Also of critical importance is the fact that today 44% of the worlds population lives within 150 kilometers of a coast line. Most big cities are on coasts as well, if this pattern has always been true or even more pronounced in the past then you would expect most historical civilizations to build close to the sea. And if they built close to the sea during the last ice age everything they built is probably under water today.

Does this mean Atlantis definitely existed? Not really. Considering the journey the story of Atlantis took before Plato wrote about it, his account is, by and large, unreliable. Even if Atlantis did exist in reality, I can’t help but think Plato’s account is unlikely to be an accurate description (through no fault of his own). But perhaps the question just needs to be rephrased. Is it possible that ancient civilizations existed earlier than is currently accepted in academia, even before the end of the last ice age? I would say yes if you loosely define civilization to be a society large and organized enough to engage in big architectural works with stone. Humans have been physiologically capable of such work for around 200,000 years; more than enough time and long enough before the end of the ice age to get the ball rolling. If they had engaged in big architectural projects, they almost certainly would have built their structures on land that is now under the sea and thus very difficult to find. Any such civilization that existed during the younger dryas comet almost certainly would have been destroyed. Even if they weren’t close to the impact site, their coastal cities would have flooded a short time after the impact and any agriculture not stopped due to the flooding would have had to contend with much lower temperatures and reduced sunlight. It is hard to imagine any civilization surviving that.

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The Hestia Society has recently created an “official” forum for neoreaction and the Dark Enlightenment. One of the first forum posts asked what movies or TV shows are out there which aren’t completely drenched with progressive nonsense. As I and others have detailed, many forms of entertainment and writing are little more than progressive propaganda including movies like 12 angry men, TV shows such as the walking dead, video games like mass effect, high school reading assignments, and even standardized tests with reading and writing portions. Also worth considering is that the tests themselves are designed to give skewed results with respect to comparing genders; which can then be used as infallible “science” in other propaganda. Convenient that. Please note that I think the tests still work, just not nearly as well as they could when it comes to specifically comparing average scores between genders.

Anyway, I spent some time thinking about this and gave a few answers in a comment and moved on (which you can see in the second link in this post). However, I had that on the back of my mind while I started on the next thing. Almost immediately after that comment I decided to do some in-depth digging to see what exactly was going on at Mizzou with all these protests in greater detail. Previously I had just glanced at a few articles. I find these sorts of outrage-porn events in the news-cycle depressing and tend to skip over many of them for the sake of my sanity at least until it grows large enough to force me deal with the despair and to look deeper. Events include hunger strikes by a student from a family worth 20 million but who is nonetheless O so oppressed (affirmative action or cronyism?), heads of the University resigning, and “professors” being hit with assault charges. (Also Mizzou isn’t the only University undergoing craziness.) Students are afraid to disagree with the protests because the university is shutting down freedom of speech (not to mention fear of retaliation from extremely crazy leftists),

The University of Missouri police department sent an email urging students to report offensive or hurtful speech – not because it is illegal – but so the Office of Student Conduct could take disciplinary action against these students.

Several of us are afraid to disagree with other students, who in turn may report us to the authorities so we can be “dealt with.” Many students have told me they are also afraid to speak out against the protest narrative, afraid they will be called “racist” and become campus pariahs.

Struggle sessions are real friends. This whole thing is just completely Kafkaesque. I mean the whole scene there just seems to be going completely nuts beyond all reason. People are getting hysterical if the reports are to be believed.  And most people actually seem to be against the radical leftists this time; a hopeful sign I suppose.

There were supposedly two big triggers, although I have to admit it is convoluted and different articles say different things. In one that I have seen, some black guy got mad because allegedly someone yelled “nigger” at him while driving by in a truck. I actually sympathize with him. I really do. I once had some asshole in a truck pass as fast and as close as he could while I was riding a bike and the passenger screamed out his window right as they passed me. I nearly had a heart attack. That was, after all, extremely dangerous for me if I had fallen or he had hit me. As in real danger, unlike someone yelling nigger but doing nothing else otherwise… He then got stopped ahead at a light, though, and I broke his mirror off as I myself ran the light and went on a trail next to the road in some woods where they couldn’t follow in the truck and wouldn’t keep up without a bike of their own. It was a nice revenge, and I don’t feel bad about it. What I am trying to say here is that I know what it is like to be the recipient of grief from an obnoxious asshole in a truck and can even understand why this guy would be mad. However, I can tell the difference between a singular asshole in a truck who needs an ass-kicking (or just ignoring) from a society wide problem of discrimination warranting protests, hunger strikes, and university president resignations. [People do protest for more bike friendly regulations etc, and I have never taken part in such a demonstration]

The other important incident is something I would expect from the onion. Apparently an unknown person went into a unisex bathroom at one of the dorms, shat on the floor, smeared shit all over the walls and door handle, then as a cherry on top (poorly) drew a swastika with their own poop:

Mizzou shit swastika cropped

I am not going to lie. When I first read about this, I laughed. I don’t mean a mild chuckle either, I mean a deep gut laugh that carried on for some minutes. I find this hilarious. Not so much that poop was spread along the walls (which is pretty immature), but the fact that thousands of people have completely gone ape-shit (chimped-out?) over poop on the walls. Like, how is this the reality we live in? How is it people don’t just step back and think “we are talking about poop on the walls, maybe we shouldn’t take this or ourselves so seriously?”

Now, this could have been a false flag where some deranged SJW carries out crimes in an effort to stir up a hornet’s nest of other SJWS, like with the “black church burnings” also happening in Missouri and which probably has contributed to the current growing craziness. Or the fake “confirmed KKK presence” also part of the absurd events going on at Mizzou. As detailed in the previous church burning link, it turns out that a black man was pretending to be a racist white burning churches because he just wants to stir up shit I guess (that is, he wanted to generally increase racial animosity). Of course, I doubt there was any reflection to strike the burnings off the list of white “crimes” after the truth was revealed. That doesn’t fit the desired narrative after all.

As far as the poop swastika goes, this is what I believe happened assuming it wasn’t a false flag. Someone, probably male between the ages of 18 and 21, got drunk and/or high, came back to the dorms late and had to take a shit. He was feeling mad or mischievous or antisocial or something and decided to make a big mess. He then proceeded to shit on the floor. Or perhaps he was so messed up he just shit on the floor for drunk reasons with no particular purpose [it happens…] then decided “I went that far, might as well roll with it. It gives me some ‘good’ ideas….” He then proceeded to spread the shit everywhere and thought it would be funny to make a swastika while he was at it. The only purpose behind his actions were to make people mad and disgust them by breaking taboos so why not? (I seriously, seriously doubt a real Nazi would use shit as his artistic medium) He was after entertainment rather than interested in making a point, as most trolls are. Well, I doubt he expected his shit trolling to escalate into world wide media coverage. Who would? Somewhere there is a poop brigader going “oh shit, my shit really caused a shit storm.” No troll could possibly imagine their extremely intoxicated decision to draw a poop swastika would result in weeks of protests, a hunger strike, complete stifling of free speech, and high ranking university officials resigning. Who would expect that level of over-reaction to some poop spread on the walls of a dorm? As cynical as I am about leftists and how crazy they are, even I wouldn’t have guessed that.

So anyway, these two things plus other alleged grievances led to a series of protests to end “racism,” as was already linked to earlier. In one case a professor, who happens to be an extremely homely white woman, tried to dismiss several journalists from the protest and physically engaged one guy recording video with his phone. Look at the the study topics and publications of this “professor” in the previously linked article:

A closer look at her Mizzou faculty page reveals much.

Her current subjects of reseach include: “50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.”

Selected publications: “Click, M. A., Lee, H., & Holladay, H. (2013). Making monsters: Lady Gaga, fan identification, and social media. Popular Music & Society, 6(3), 360-379.

Click, M. A., Aubrey, J. S., and Behm-Morawitz, E. (Eds.). (2010). Bitten by Twilight: Youth culture, media, and the vampire franchise. New York: Peter Lang.”

Accolades: “Outstanding Mentor” (2011) and as “Graduate Advisor of the Year” (2013).

How do people like this, doing such asinine and pointless “research,” manage to stay employed? On the taxpayers dime no less (she apparently is paid 4,700 a month). She’s a completely worthless parasite and I wish we could all get a refund on subsidizing higher education. This reminds me of how the taxpayers have spent millions of dollars studying why lesbians are fat. I could have answered that for free.

Its taken awhile to get to the point but the article about the professor and the journalists is what caused me to remember a specific movie that, if not really reactionary, isn’t supportive of SJWs and is what gave me the title of this post. You see, when the professor and student protesters were trying to evict the student journalists they came up with a chant:

“Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go.”

This real-life chant is extremely similar to one used by ultra-feminazis in the 1994 movie PCU. Toward the end of the movie, a group of militant “womenists” chant “This penis party has to go, Hey, hey. Ho, ho.” in protest to a large party being thrown by the protagonists. Talk about synchronicity. I just happened to have non-PC movies on the back of my mind when I read this article thanks to the neoreactionary forum post and immediately remembered that scene in PCU when the eerily similar chant at Mizzou was described.

The gist of the story is that a recent high school graduate (Tom) is going to various universities he was accepted to in order to decide which one he was going to attend. The weekend the movie takes place during is centered at Port Chester University (PCU) in Connecticut. In other words, it is a pun which can be doubly interpreted as Politically Correct University. I think it is also loosely based on a real school in Connecticut called Porter and Chester, though I have no reason to think that school is exceptionally politically correct. The name just happened to be convenient and that is probably the end of the reference. Tom ends up getting assigned someone to show him around who is essentially a nihilistic party animal (Droz) as a result of a practical joke on the later by one of Droz’s friends. Droz reluctantly does show him around after seeing there was no shirking the duty. Tom then proceeds to learn about all the many different radical, prig prog, leftist, student organizations which regularly protest and cause problems on campus. Blacks, gays, militant lesbian feminists, “the causeheads” which have a new cause every week, the grateful dead inspired mega-stoners etc, as well as people pursuing absolutely worthless degrees. Protests in the movie are obnoxious and disturb any sane people within proximity, not unlike real protesters at real universities today. The last group isn’t technically a protest group though; they just get mad that their “work” was deleted thanks to some messing with electricity to the computers by one of the protagonists. And not to leave conservatives out, the movie also has a very cloistered group of white republican Frat guys led by David Spade who spend most of their time hiding (literally) from radical leftists. Ya, really.

This movie definitely isn’t reactionary. If there is a moral to the story it is probably nihilism and hedonism (or maybe just be easy-going and have fun). However, I kind of think “a moral of the story” is a little too much to attribute and expect from a story along the lines of van wilder. It is first and foremost a comedy with a large number of one liners meant to make you laugh, and at that it succeeds masterfully. I feel it should be appealing to reactionaries simply because, if not reactionary itself, it spends the vast majority of its time making fun of SJWs (before the term was even coined). 90% of the time, SJWs are the butt of the joke. This simple fact is quite the breath of fresh air compared to the typically progressivism-oriented fair produced by the media. In that sense it is reactionary from the perspective of the middle, if you want to call anti-moralizing hedonists the middle. Let’s face it, we reactionaries moralize quite a bit and so do SJWs but from essentially diametrically opposed sets of morals. “Middle ground” might be an appropriate, if imperfect, description. I laughed quite a bit watching this movie which, combined with them actually targeting SJWs for once, allows me to forgive their essentially hedonistic message.

I first watched this movie when I was in high school and thought it was very funny. The most memorable moment (from my high school days perspective) being an interaction between a stoner and an old lady which I won’t ruin for you; you will have to watch the movie to find out what I am referring to.  I remember once in college I told many people about it and convinced a group to sit down and watch it. They liked it, but they seemed to think I over-hyped it. One friend (one of two who knows me in person and knows I write this blog, and will be forwarded a link to this post) even said that it was very dated or that it didn’t age well. We watched the movie together in 2006 or so and SJWs weren’t quite our primary concern. Though radical leftism was surely going on, we weren’t as interested or as informed about it as we are now. Needless to say, we have both moved pretty far to the right since we watched this back then…. I took the criticism in stride at the time, but with hindsight from the events from 2010 to 2015 I would say the movie is better suited to the current cultural climate now than it was then, or even probably when it was first released in 1994. In many respects, the satire in the movie has become essentially a reality today; the chanted lines in the movie and in Missouri for example. The leftists of reality today are very like the satirical leftists in PCU from 1994. The convergence of satire and reality is what give the comedic elements their punch. The pilloried leftists in the movie are much like how I would expect the leftists at Mizzou today to act and the movie leftists believe what the Mizzou leftists of today believe. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t do too well when it was first released; it was too prescient and ahead of its time I guess.

Now I want to go ahead and discuss specific quotes and events in the movie, but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it already. If you go to, a search engine which values privacy and doesn’t block streaming websites, and search “PCU 1994 stream” you may be able to watch the movie for free at the first link. I don’t know, though, because I never tried that.

[spoilers follow after the add, stop reading here if you would like to watch this movie prior to learning specific details about the jokes in it or keep going if you don’t care]

The movie starts with Tom going into the frat house dubbed “The Pit.” There is no one there to greet him so he just walks in and observes some pictures on the wall. In the frames from 1950s up to 1967 it shows in each a collection of pictures of respectable looking white men in suits. Then there is a change and in the 1969 image it is just one picture with a bunch of stereotypical dirty hippies; which are also now co-ed. You find out later that frats were banned at the University in 1967, which is what causes the change. It should be noted that banning frats (i.e., congregations of white males) seems to be a real goal today. As Tom moves through the pictures up until the contemporary year, they degenerate and get more shabby until the year prior to the setting of the movie (1993) where it is just a polaroid thumb-tacked to the wall. A not too subtle symbolism of advancing degeneracy. Overall, “the pit” is a very nice old building that is horrendously maintained and disrespected. Its a mess, people rollerblade inside, and grafiti is all over the walls in some rooms.

One of the earliest gags is about how people today often major in quite useless degrees. One of the members of “the pit” is nicknamed “Pigman” and they approach him as he is watching TV and “working” on his senior thesis. Droz explains Pigman’s thesis to Tom. Pigman is trying to prove the Caine/Hackmen theory which postulates that no matter what time of the day or night or which day of the week; there is always at least one Michael Caine or Gene Hackmen movie playing. Droz responds to Tom’s incredulity with the following line “That’s the beauty of college these days, you can major in Gameboy if you know how to bullshit.” Funny to be sure, but also disturbing when you compare it to the work of the actual professor mentioned above whose “research” is on twilight, 50 shades of grey, and lady gaga…. You can’t make this stuff up. This satire is barely satire. Scratch that, a Caine/Hackmen theory is actually more respectable than research on lady gaga and 50 shades of grey by a fair margin.

Towards the end of the movie the topic of useless majors is revisited. A series of people had their theses deleted as a result of an event earlier in the movie, and Droz peddles in providing completed theses to lazy students. To calm nerves he offers to help these people out by providing them ready-made work at no charge. One student wants a thesis for Sanskrit; to which Droz replies awestruck “Sanskrit? You’re majoring in a 5000 year old dead language?” He then gives him a thesis on latin saying that is the best he could do. The next student comes to him and tells Droz that he is majoring in Phys. Ed.  Droz replies “Phys. Ed.? You, out of my room. Seriously get out.” In 2015, we are no longer surprised to read about or meet people getting worthless degrees and doing worthless research since worthless degrees have only gotten more popular over time.

One of my favorite scenes occurs shortly after the description of the Caine/Hackman thesis. Droz finally agrees to really show Tom the campus and he proceeds to describe the culture of political correctness that we are all by now familiar with:

[Droz] “Here’s the deal, you have to get all of that 50s cornball shit out of your head. Its a whole new ballgame on campus these days and they call it PC.”

[Tom] “PC?”

[Droz] “Politically correct and its not just politics, its everything. Its what you eat, its what you wear, and its what you say. If you don’t watch yourself you can get in a boatload of trouble.

[as the conversation goes on, they walk out of the frat house and past a bunch of protesters, agitators, prig progs and advocates who are making noise]

[Droz] “For example, see these girls?”

[Tom] “Ya”

[Girl 1] “We have rights too”

[Girl 2] “choose to choose now”

[Droz] “No you don’t, those are women, call them girls and they’ll pop your face.”

[Tom and Droz continue walking past a series of other activists]

[Male 1] “Save the whales!”

[Male 2] “Gays in the military now!”

[Male 3] “Free Nelson Mandela!”

Notice how the middle one is now a reality…. All of these activists so far are white people for the most part. I would say that is pretty accurate; with the exception of identity politics most of the random SJW causes without reference to a specific human group are majority white. Sad really. At this point Tom and Droz spot a group of ultra-feminazi butch dykes.

[Tom and Droz stop and look ahead, brief pause]

[Tom] “What? Are those women?”

[Droz] “Those aren’t women Tom, they’re womenists”

[shows a bunch of short-haired butch dykes in camo all  looking angry; there is one attractive one]

[Dreadlocked butch dyke to attractive chic] “Hey Sam, isn’t that the guy you used to, uh…?”

[Sam] “Ya”

[Third plain-looking dyke] “You went out with a WHITE MALE!?” [surprised unbelief; all three are white women…]

[Sam] “What?! I was a freshman.”

[Dread Dyke] “Fresh person please.

[Droz attempts to approach Sam]

[Dread Dyke] “He’s coming over here, [blows a rape whistle] Sister’s form a wall!”

[A line of butch dykes form a wall between Sam and Droz.]

[Droz] “Hello, is Sam in there?”

[Dread Dyke] “In there? whats that supposed to mean?”

[Plain Dyke] “Ya, cock man oppressor!”

[Droz] “Why thank you. Can you just tell her that Mr. pokey stopped by”

[blank stares; Tom and Droz leave]

[Dread Dyke] “What the hell does that mean; Mr. pokey?”

[Plain Dyke] “I think he meant his [hmphf] phallus” [erects index fingers]

[Dread Dyke angrily turns to Sam] “You participated in a phallus naming?”

[Sam] “No, no i have no idea”

[Dread Dyke] “You stay away from him Sam, he’s an animal.”

I find this depiction of feminists gratifying. Saying that angry feminists aren’t women is true enough. It also captures the impotent rage well, as well as their stupidity. I also enjoyed Droz’s use of a cocky-funny response and how he held frame during this massive shit test. There are also stories of White! women who seem to hate white men and won’t date them. It is a small group; but they are invariably radical leftists which is what gives them that hate of their own race. They buy, hook, line and sinker, the propaganda that whites are evil oppressors and seek their own destruction. Though they probably did exist in 1994; I can only assume they are more common now. Or else they just get a lot more notoriety and news coverage. Either way, this attitude is perceived to be real among some small groups of radical leftists.

[Tom and Droz continue walking]

[Tom] “This place is kind of insane.”

[Droz] “Wait till you meet the causeheads.”

[Tom and Draz approach a university building. Hippi-looking people have formed a circle holding hands outside the building. Other hippis are dancing weirdly in the circle. Several are dressed in cow costumes. A chic is in front of them with a megaphone leading a chant. You find out later her “name” is Moonbeam.]

[Moonbeam] “What don’t we eat?”

[Protesters] “Meat”

[Moonbeam] “Why don’t we eat it”

[Protesters] “It’s murder”

[repeat ad nauseum]

[Droz] “These, Tom, are your causeheads. They find a world threatening issue and stick with it… for about a week.”

[Tom and Droz approach another pitfiend; a resident of the pit]

[Pitfiend] “Last week it was the ozone layer but now its meat. They were making chili burgers and won’t let anyone in.”

At this point about 7 pitfiends sneak past the protesters by new-age dancing through the crowd. They enter the cafeteria and grab the hamburger and meatballs and other things. As a hippi plays guitar singing hippi music and Moonbeam explains how the life of a student (dying from starvation) is worth sacrificing for a cow or other animals, the pitfiends hurl several hundred pounds of raw meat at the protesters from an upper story window. How satisfying that would be to do in real life.

Shortly afterward, the pitfiends are running but Tom is the last to get out and the only one the causeheads see. A large ultra-leftist mob then chase, with seeming violent intent, one solitary guy. This witch hunt scenario is a continuing gag throughout the movie and true enough in a figurative sense to how actual leftist mobs behave. As Tom was escaping, he happens to run into the group which is most like that of the current most radical and obnoxious protesters. Though in the movie they weren’t portrayed as obnoxious as their real life counterparts with the exception of their opinions. In terms of loudness and physical intimidation real life is worse than fiction (see also, and this). I like to call this all-black group in the movie “the Quanza group.” When Tom runs into them, the leader is giving a monologue on the evils of whiteness. The Quanza leader is saying “And the walls are painted white, and the chalk is white, and the paper is white, and even the copy machine is painted white. This my friend is a white devil’s conspiracy.” This is so absurd that you can’t help but laugh. Unfortunately, it isn’t too far off from the paranoia of real life black activists. The concept of white privilege can be pretty much summed up by the previous statements. Everything, no matter how trivial, is interpreted in terms of white vs. black by many protesters and far left academics. Yet the things often focused on as “white privilege” are typically just as asinine in real life as they were in this satire.

After Tom manages to escape from all the rabid leftists, making their attempt at lynching fruitless, they proceed to plan B and en masse submit complaint forms against the pit. The complaint form is one of my favorite additions to the movie. I used it as the post image at the top, but here it is again below (open in a new tab to read it):

PCU complaint form correct

The reason there are lines through it is because the movie shows this as a close up as “Moonbeam” fills it out. I swear, that name makes me laugh every time. I had to merge several screenshots so you could see everything in one image. I find this very funny. Levels of insensitivity can be no less than “typical.” This suggests that no matter what anyone does everyone is persistently and consistently “insensitive.” Sounds a lot like “white privelege”  and other leftist complaints in real life to me. When it comes to leftists, there is no such thing as someone doing the right thing and everyone is guilty of sins against political correctness. The other options are funny too; levels of offendedness and suggested punishments including written apologies and sensitivity workshops.

At this point the president of the university shows up and has a conversation with “Moonbeam” about the pit and expresses she also would like to get rid of them. Rather than go over every situation in detail; I will just provide some choice dialogue from the university president throughout the film. Some of it is pretty quotable stuff because of its absurdity; at least in my opinion.

  • [Talking to Moonbeam] “Those pit offenders are single-handedly destroying sensitivity levels on campus.”
  • [Addressing the residents of the pit] “Need I remind you that this house already has enough complaints to qualify for a sensitivity awareness weekend? You passed out cigarettes for a smoke-a-thon on earth day. You installed speed bumps on the handicap ramps, and most recently poured 100 pounds of meat on a peaceful vegan protest.” [Beyond hedonism, the pit is a group of super trolls who willfully rustle the jimmies of anyone prigging out]
  • [Addressing a University board member at a upscale party] “Well I think bisexual Asian studies should have its own building, but the question is who goes? The math department or the hockey team?”
  • [Addressing board members again] “I am going to announce the changing of the mascot from the offensive Port Chester Indian to an endangered species. Gentlemen, meet our new mascot: the Port Chester whooping crane.”

The last two especially remind  me of problems in universities today. Creating whole departments dedicated to advancing degeneracy is certainly something modern universities engage in. Various “victims” studies programs is common and a complete waste of taxpayer money. Moreover; leftists do legitimately seem interested in prioritizing these worthless cronyism departments at the expense of real academics and even sports; the later of which at least more people can enjoy. The last quote reminds me very much of the recent controversy with the Washington Redskins. Prig prog bureaucrats recently revoked their trademark primarily because it was “offensive.

Well, this post is already almost 5000 words so I am going to finish with two last scenarios. There are certainly other scenes and jokes worth mentioning; but I will leave it to you to watch the movie and see what they are. I suppose I should also mention that George Clinton the “funk” musician makes an appearance at the end. I am not really a fan; so that could have been left out in my opinion. However, I don’t think it detracts too much from the movie overall. It’s just there. Clinton doesn’t express any opinions, he just sings a song.

In the end there was a depiction of the victim Olympics which I enjoyed. In the scene, all the various groups are in line waiting to get into the party being thrown by the pit. They are impatient so they start trying to use their “victim” status to cut in line. Not only is it funny seeing various groups try to out-victim one another, but it is also illuminating to see the real reasons such groups engage in this: A selfish desire to gain social and financial advantage without actually contributing anything. It starts with the Quanza leader:

[Quanza leader] “I’m a black man; there is no justice for me here in America. I should be at the front of the line.”

[Camera moves towards front of line]

[Gay dude] “Ya well, I’m gay and subject to ridicule and discrimination wherever I go.”

[Camera moves even closer to the front of the line]

[Dread dyke] “Women are oppressed throughout the world, give it a rest.”

And I will leave you with the pitfiend’s take on the whole of PC culture. Though not exactly deep, I think it really captures the zeitgeist of the modern left without going into any sort of detailed analysis. These lines come before the party actually starts and it is getting protested by the “womenists.” This is when they are chanting the quote which reminded me of this movie and is similar to the real chant at Mizzou.

[Womenists] “This penis party has to go. Hey, hey. Ho, ho.

[Droz] “You try to spread joy and the PC shock troops shut you down.”

[Pitfiend Girl] “God, don’t they want to have a good time at least once in their lives?”

[Droz] “That’s a damn good point. The majority of students today are so cravenly PC they wouldn’t know a good time if it was sitting on their faces.”

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