[Seriously?] ‘Uncontrolled spread in dialogues’

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WUR students and staff are having to spend an increasing proportion of their time talking to each another. That needs to stop, says campaign group All Mouth, No Trousers.

Food dialogues, agriculture dialogues, climate dialogues and recently even a Dutch-snack-themed bitterbal dialogue. The new campaign group AMNT questions the benefit of what it calls ‘an uncontrolled spread in dialogues’. The group says we are waffling too much. Lots of people feel no need for all this hot air, and it is also a huge drag on productivity.

‘The occasional conversation is fine,’ says AMNT chair Cor Deksels. ‘There’s nothing wrong with that. What we oppose is this idea nowadays of setting up yet another dialogue for every single minor issue. You can’t get a decent day’s work in any more. And that’s the problem as far as we’re concerned.’ That is why Deksels advocates de-dialoguing WUR. ‘As our name implies: less talk gets you more action.’

These days, a dialogue is set up for every minor issue

AMNT itself divides opinion though. Several activists say the group is not inclusive. ‘I agree with AMNT’s message,’ says student and inter-sectional activist Allie Love (personal pronouns: they/them), ‘but the name is hugely problematic. The word “trousers” refers to a garment traditionally worn by men whereas “mouth” plays on the negative stereotype of the talkative female. So the connotations are highly patriarchal.’

Love thinks AMNT should therefore be banned. In their view, WUR should at the very least take a stand on the issue. Deksels denies AMNT is non-inclusive. ‘Whether you are a man, woman, fat, thin, black, white, yellow or purple: everyone is welcome. The only membership requirement is for you to be fed up with all those WUR dialogues. No one is interested in all that nonsense about our name.’

WUR has since responded in the appropriate fashion. Prompted by the fuss about AMNT’s name, a dialogue on ‘inclusive campaigning’ has been announced. A ‘meta-dialogue’ will also be set up in short order to discuss the benefits of dialogues.

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