Oxford University – Clap Hands, Here Comes Brain-Death!

I had some very good times when I lived in Cambridge, including a spell as treasurer of a pub football team in which sportsmen of both town and gown backgrounds played well together.


I even wrote a team song, which ( I heard from one of the strikers, now a professor! ) was still being sung, though rarely,  as recently as last year! Three decades or more, and still going!

I delighted in wandering along the Cam’s banks, strolling in the quads of King’s and other colleges, and like anyone else, revered the ancient University.

Although Oxford was the great rival, that place too has always stood high in my esteem. 

Thus while I had to laugh at the sheer moronism of this story, it saddened me too, for Oxbridge, I had felt, was not reduced to the level of other  British institutions of higher education.

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So who let these inane dorkesses in?

As the National Union of Students’ Women’s conference opened yesterday, delegates were asked to replace applause with ‘feminist jazz hands’.

…the Oxford University Student Union’s Women’s Campaign (@womcam) claimed clapping was ‘triggering anxiety’. This latest safe-space policy requested attendees refrain from applauding motions that included calls to ‘end transphobia, biphobia, and Islamophobia on campus.’ .



Of course, as soon as one hears the ‘phobia’ words, one grasps that one has entered PC Phantasmagoria Land, where Boogeymen – sorry Boogeypersons – dwell. But I was also baffled, never having heard the phrase ‘jazz hands’ before. What could it mean?

It must be well known back in The Old Country, for the author, a sane student called Sam, doesn’t bother to explain it.

So I looked it up -”the extension of a performer’s hands with palms toward the audience and fingers splayed. It is commonly associated with especially exuberant types of performance…”


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Whose ‘jazz hands?’ Comrade Chairperson of Oxbridge Brain-Dead Women’s Collective?


Aha! Something like what those other morons, the police-hating, knuckle-dragging pro-criminal demo dunces in the USA, do, while oinking ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot!’ in support of anti-social undesirables who get what’s coming to them! 

As to why clapping might conceivably trigger anxiety, I’m none the wiser.

In my speech-making days, anxiety might obtrude if NOBODY clapped! But as a sound, it always heartened me, and when we clapped for others, there was no sign the merry din filled them with trepidation..

Best you read it for yourselves. It’s hilarious, especially this last bit, which I append in case you’re too busy to follow the link!,

.On one notable feminist Facebook group, a discussion began on whether the use of feminist jazz hands meant the NUS delegates were engaging in some sort of abhorrent ‘cultural appropriation’. In their attempt to create a space safe from oppressive clapping, it appeared to some that the conference may have just also offended ‘gay black men’, as jazz hands were ‘used as a signal among New Orleans LGBT community as a way of identifying themselves to one another.’


laugh Laughter