Tuesday, 10 December 2013

12 Varieties of modern British Bullshit - #3 - "Diversity"

This isn't authentically British bullshit. I apologise for claiming ownership of yet another stupid idea we saw fit to import from the States.

What can I possibly add to the debate about diversity?

Just this: the 'diversity' racket is nothing more than an attack on meritocracy. The principle is this: to not employ people on merit, but simply because they are not white British straight male. Any deviation from that template, the more the better, and you'll probably get the job.

It takes the most intellectually challenged of ninnyish nincompoops to not see that this is racial discrimination, also gender discrimination and, yes, discrimination based on sexuality. Every one of the things the political Left in Britain have lectured us about the evils of, all neatly packaged together in one word - and the Left cannot get enough of it.

Furthermore, I can't get over the tone of voice with which leftists deny this is true: the intellectual vanity of those who say "don't be ridiculous, you can't be racist towards whites" (#2 in our series), as if it were the most obvious thing under the sun. Or the vacuous claim that "underrepresentation" is sufficient reason to discriminate against me, and screw the consequences.

To conclude, the fight against discrimination has become just a ploy to bury the white man, It's number 3 on our chart. It's corrosive crap.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

12 Varieties of modern British Bullshit - #2 - "You can't be racist towards whites"

Part the second of our series, here is a quote from an interview with Jo Brand: 

"My personal opinion is that you can't be racist towards white people. ...I think the definition of racism also encompasses political power. So you can't be racist towards a race that’s politically more powerful than a minority. That to me is the correct definition of racism"

This thoroughly dishonest argument is unfortunately not something that originated with Jo Brand, and gets wheeled out every time someone like Diane Abbott makes a stupid remark about white people.

I think it's funny how Brand's personal opinion happens to tally with what some very leftist journalists want her to think; even funnier how she explains to us what the correct definition of a word is - as though it was up to her - a correct definition that depends on some nebulous, unspecified definition of power.

In reality, if a man is being beaten up for being white, do you think he'd be comforted to be told that a small number of others of the same colour as him have "political power"? Because I sure as hell don't have political power - and grouping me with them is another variety of identifying me by colour, which used to be technically called racism (1 or 2 political re-definitions ago)

What Brand says comes from a culture that values the political power to be gained by competitive victimhood. If you can claim to be more of a victim, and can persuade those in power to be act out of guilt, there is plenty of leverage to be got. In this culture, I know if I so much as mention that Brand is a somewhat overweight feminist, I will be accused of first degree 'hatred' - but these facts may go some way to explaining why her 'personal opinion' so closely tallies with the victimhood brigade 

It's #2 on our varieties of British bullshit. It's crap

Friday, 1 November 2013

Things wrong with gender politics #34057

I can hear you asking, so what's number 764? ..and sniggering. Anyway here we go:

Recently, I was enjoying a Youtube video of a young woman playing a Bach piece on the guitar ... till I saw this comment underneath it:

"The guys complimenting? her looks are undoubtedly nice and well-intentioned but miss the fact that as a woman, it is frustrating to spend so much of your life being judged on your looks. Even here, her appearance is being used as a measure of her quality.

She's put so much love into her craft, and it shows in her sublime musicianship. Honour that dedication by talking about that"

Let's do a quick run-down of what the Youtube user has got wrong:
  1. she has taken offence on someone else's behalf. In point of fact the guitarist in question has agreed to to use her looks for publicity. ie: to gain an advantage
  2. she is telling men what to think and what to talk about. Does noone else think this is ridiculously bossy?
  3. she confuses commenting on the woman's looks with judging her on her looks
I'm not sure what "judging someone on their looks" actually means, but it seems to be an invention of modern feminists. I believe I am at liberty to comment on a woman's looks if I want to. Men like to do so, and if someone doesn't like that fact than why on earth should I or anyone else care?

There is this perpetual and entirely unjustified complaint that women have to work twice as hard to be judged on anything other than their looks - as though the same might not be equally true of men. Is it not distinctly possible that a woman may not only have the advantage of being able to use her looks to create a favourable impression, but also the advantage of countless imagined injustices like this swaying people's minds - a thousand reasons in her favour other than her ability?

If I comment that someone is pretty it doesn't mean I don't value any other part of her. It merely reflects my own instinctive thoughts and feelings, and I'm ..excuse me.. buggered if I'm going to be told what to think, feel and say by a feminist who is enjoying a whinge about totally imaginary unfairness.

This merely reflects the fact that feminists have got way way too confident about their right to tell men what to do based on the most spurious justification that they can dream up on the spot. You wonder if they do this at the office and in the home, in their social lives...

UPDATE: And Another Thing: note the feminist's words about the young woman's "sublime musicianship". It's likely that the reason she is gushing in such flowery terms about the (perfectly competent) performance on the video, is that the performer is a woman.

Because of the perceived and very dubious injustice in judgements of ability, she elects to give excessive praise to a woman - almost certainly more than she'd give to a man playing the same piece, no matter how well he played it.

She may be doing so not for the reasons I've outlined, but merely because of a kind of sisterly solidarity with another woman - whether the woman wants it or not. The justifications for this sort of thing tend to come thick and fast, but the ultimate result is discrimination, pure and simple - which is surely precisely what feminists claim to be angry about.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Was Alfred really Great, was Aethelred really Unready?

I have to say that I'm very attached to the very pro-Anglo-Saxon history I grew up with. I tend to side with Voltaire when he says that History is a "pack of lies we play on the dead". But if we're going to deal in lies, we may as well make it a patriotic

Yep, Mr Logic, Mr look-for-evidence, and I'm happy with a patriotic history. I'm afraid it's a reflection on how much contempt I have for the academic study of history, as compared with Mathematics and some of the sciences.

But we all still love a well-told piece of history. You can still find Michael Wood's "In search of the Dark Ages" on Youtube (why is there no DVD??) and it's an absolute treasure. This evening, my partner and I watched the sorry tale of Aethelred the Unready, and I found myself reading more about this much-maligned King.

It's interesting stuff but it was the work of a few minutes to find yet more examples of historians' woolly thinking. Around the same time as Michael Wood was making this program (and wondering out loud why on earth didn't Aethelred think of doing something other than trying to pay the Vikings off) a historian named Simon Keynes started publishing books trying to resurrect Aethelred's reputation. I came across an excerpt from a book hotly contesting Keynes' view.

The argument is a strange one. It seems that "one popular explanation advaced for Alfred's victory, and Aethelred's defeat is that the two kings faced quite different threats. This would seem a simple case of comparing the evidence for the sizes of the armies faced by both kings. But the ensuing argument in the book doesn't look at any evidence given by Keynes, but says that if we go by the sources, the armies were of similar size, if we discard the sources as untrustworthy, then we are left with "mere speculation".

At which point I start to think that someone has messed up here. Has a whole book been written using mere speculation? Or did the second author simply fail to read it? HE goes on to say

"Alfred's victory, and Aethelred's defeat cannot be explained simply by ... differences in the forces arrayed against them. Rather, we must return to the kings themselves"

And right there we've hit another piece of nonsense. Why must we return to the kings themselves? The story of Aethelred's reign is the story of appalling internecine struggle, which must have crippled any attempts to form a united front against the Vikings. Of course, Aethelred may have been a failure at keeping his various leaders on-side, but once again we're left with the phrase "mere speculation" - which seems to be the hallmark of every piece of academic history I ever study. There is endless listing of "supporting" evidence and not very cogent argument at all to explain why anyone should take this view rather than the other.

Never trust history.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

One day busking

Recently I started busking regularly, and after some ups and downs I'm in the middle of a time when every day is a story in itself - a week's worth of interesting events massed together in a morning's work on the street.

Today there was the man trying to sell pyramid schemes, who clapped loudly and alone for about a minute after all my pieces, then the lady with the most beautiful smile of all - reminiscent of someone I loved and lost - came with her son and I played her favourite tune (Ricuerdos del Alhambra) then his (twinkle, twinkle little star) and how she beamed...It felt like the high point of my life. At some stage I played Radiohead's Creep and entirely lost myself in it. After that a man who looked a little like a 40-something rocker walked towards me looking fixedly - I wondered if there was half a chance he was going to throw a punch for some reason - but smiling, who said "Absoutely beautiful! That's years of practice"...and walked off again.

Then my friend Tim, who plays lazy jazz improvisations of hymns and songs on the piano, saying he'd had his best morning ever - pondering whether it was because he'd prayed that morning. The seeds from the tree coming down and pelting me and my guitar case as I played Bach - the German tourist who appreciated same (the Bach not the tree)

The whole month of playing has been full of little stories - a woman who told me In My Life was her wedding song when I played it. Girls probably too young for me leaving notes and phone numbers, waving at me the next day when they see me. My family doesn't make me smile, but these fleeting friends who will many of them go back to China, Korea, Spain, France and Italy next week, these are the ones I think about with a happy smile - for our shared moments.

(post was actually started and mostly written on the 19th July)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Why we don't need feminism

So recently I was talking to a woman who told me about some incident, explaining to me that "this is why we need feminism". Now she's repeating an idea she's seen on the internet, "reasons why we still need feminism" is something of a meme on Twitter and Facebook. In one case, a bunch of naive students from Oxford University decided to have their pictures taken infront of the Radcliffe Camera with placards hung round their neck giving their own handwritten notes on why feminism was still needed. They looked exceptionally foolish.

No doubt men's rights activists have already responded in their own, inimitable fashion. But I'd like to give my own little rebuttal if I can. Here's why we don't need feminism.

  • We don't need another rabid political group of resentful crazies selectively picking statistics and then misrepresenting them, claiming they show discrimination when close analysis shows just the opposite, or talking about "patriarchical violence" whilst suppressing research showing symmetry in partner/domestic violence
  • We don't need young women to be told that if any man criticizes them, ever, then it is ok to call him a "misogynist" and to never listen to a single thing he has to say - and then to claim innocently that they weren't  implying that he hated women when that is precisely what they were doing.
  • We don't need good science undermined by people stupid enough to thing that if you want men and women to be the same psychologically, then the real world will magically be that way.
  • We don't need an army of amateur theorists on YouTube finding hidden (actually non-existent) patriarchical subtexts in TV drama, or making the ludicrous assertion that toy-manufacturers would rather sell to just boys, halving their profits, rather than marketing to girls (when the manufacturers have made strenuous efforts to sell to girls). We don't need the same theorist to baldly turn around 30 seconds later and find an example of hitherto invisible marketing to girls, and then complain about how it's being done, without offering any alternative
  • We don't, in short,  need every discussion, every aspect of life viewed from the narrow political point of view of writers whose only talent is to foster the maximum resentment between men and women - simply to acquire political support for a divisive, selfish cause.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

BBC racial hypocrisy

The BBC seem to have an odd policy of reporting crimes. If the suspect is black or Asian, they will either not report it at all, or not give a description, even until a suspect is arrested, when they might give a name. If the suspect is white (as with the Shipley stabbings recently) they will assiduously report this fact, even after arrests have been made, so there is no need for people to phone in with information.

Look at the grooming scandal, but also a recent case of an Asian girl who was killed (decapitated as it turned out much later). This was reported around the same time as the BBC were making a fuss about attacks on Muslims in the wake of the attack on soldier Lee Rigby. So it may have been taken that this was another such revenge attack - you may have continued to think this until finally the bulletins finally started to give the very obviously Muslim name of the man charged.

Specious justifications

The justification I've heard for this nonsense is that saying "the police are searching for a Muslim seen near the crime-scene" might incite racial tension. There are some obvious problems with this:
  • if you apply this rule, you must apply it across the board, otherwise you are discriminating against whites, which is great if you've been lecturing people for years about racial discrimination
  • there is assumption that if you one-sidedly describe suspects as "white", there will be no chance of racial hatred. 
Let's take this last point apart. Firstly there is the imbecilic canard that only whites are racist. Secondly, consider the fact that one of the problems with the Muslim community in the UK is the feeling - held by many young Muslims - that white Westerners hate them for their religion, either secretly or openly. It is precisely this impression that makes some Muslims vulnerable to the arguments of radical jihadists, and more likely to join extremist groups.

So in the name of avoiding ethnic tensions, there is every reason to suppose that the Beeb could be making them worse.

Egalitarian hypocrisy

The justification above, of trying to avert racism by not describing suspects as black/Muslim, is initially persuasive for some people. It's the sort of thing that makes my partner nod sagely in agreement*. But bear in mind that it is the same people whose lives seem to revolve around the ideal of equality (a “mirage” anyway, as recently deceased Kenneth Minogue rightly put it) who then start making different rules for Muslims/Christians, or men/women. In other words, they care about equality for specific groups, chosen in a very political way. 

If you wanted a single, succinct argument for leftist hypocrisy then this would have to be it.

* have you noticed the power of giving plausible reasons for things? Some in the pick-up community claim that this is very powerful tool in seduction, and I'm ready to believe them

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Technology and insidious authoritarianism

Here's a comment I made on a recent Guardian story about bugging etc. As soon as I used the word "bugging" I recognized that this is not an absolutely new phenomenon. I worry about what happens when you put two trends together:

a) the authoritarian impulses of ordinary people. This includes the impetus to make more and more laws, and more criminal offences (I think 3000 new offences were created under New Labour), but also modern attempts to control what people say and think, which seem to be in vogue in recent years.

b) at the same time, advances in technology mean that it is a thousand times easier to do things far more intrusive than bugging phones. Security services can look at emails, texts, records and content of phone calls, on a massive scale. They can certainly amass more information about the people of the UK than a thousand spies and analysts would ever have the time to look at.

This is why the discussion is even more relevant today. It would be quite easy to put in place a database of information about people that could be plundered at will.  All we then need is a sufficiently authoritarian government - and they could misuse it horribly. We'd instantly have something worse than the frightening Stasi of East Germany.

We've been quite confident that such a thing couldn't happen in the UK. But the further the Cold War recedes into history, the less people remember about the benefits of free speech (and one or two other freedoms), and the less we teach our children, the more political of whom now enthusiastically spout about what kinds of speech we should forbid - lest particular victim groups be offended. We have ridiculous new "hate speech" laws, as though hate were something that could even be defined, let alone measured or verified.

People are getting more and more confident in the intensely enjoyable game of policing language and thought.  And the technology is there ready to spy on us. Unfortunately, this isn't paranoid, it's the way things are going.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lego for girls scandal!

You will think this is a small matter, and you will be wrong.

For years, it seems that more boys than girls have played with Lego, especially after the age of 4 or 5. This desn't seem like the most earth-shattering news, nor does it strike me as an urgent problem to be solved. But for some people it is. I wonder if you can guess who?


Lots of girls begging their parents for Lego would of course mean a huge increase in sales for that company, and make its owners very rich indeed. They have tried 5 or 6 times to make new ranges that will appeal to girls. These tend to come in pink coloured packaging, to be easier to build, and are centred around the social play that girls prefer. (feminists will have to get angry about the continued gender stereotyping if and when girls actually buy the stuff)

Yet members of the sisterhood are so busily looking for signs of patriarchy everywhere that they SERIOUSLY believe that the makers of Lego don't want to sell their products to young girls. These are probably the same people who think it is insidious social programming of some sort that is forcing young girls to choose My Little Pony instead of Star Wars toys.

I think these people belong in a secure psychiatric ward. Many of us laugh it off as an unimportant piece of lunacy. But this kind of thinking is everywhere. The sad fact is that not only women but also many men accept this sort of nonsense and repeat it with a straight face (then wait for approval like a good dog). Women 'harness the power of Twitter', destroy free speech on Facebook, get YouTube videos that they don't agree with banned on dubious grounds. They want to control the language we use, they are even starting to suggest in some countries that anti-feminist writings be censored. What I'm writing could one day disappear from Google searches, because a deeply stupid group of individuals feel threatened by my not agreeing with them.

This is how free speech dies. It's all justified by the same political rhetoric that persuades grown adults that toy manufacturers are more interested in maintaining a mythical 'patriarchy' than they are in selling more toys or keeping their shareholders happy.

Trying to understand the EDL

This is one of those things that one feels afraid to talk about - therefore we probably should do so.

We've seen some ugly behaviour, from people associated with the English Defence League, in response to the Woolwich murder a few weeks ago. There has been anger in the UK press about this. But I wonder if members of the EDL may in fact have a good deal in common with those who are seduced by radical Islamism.

  a) they are often poor, young men with a grievance,
  b) they think that society has sold them down the river,
  c) they have a prejudiced fear of each other, which is encouraged by politicians

When you start to look at the differences, you realise they are actually just different kinds of alienation. Young Muslim men have become or been made so conscious of their religion, and of the colour of their skin, that they sometimes don't know whether they are imagining prejudice, or whether it's really there. Perhaps they resent this effect on their lives as much as any single, mindless act of racism.

Having talked to many Muslims, I can't escape the impression that some cultivate a 'seige' mentality, this old and rather dangerous idea that the Christian (or godless) West has got it in for them, so Muslims have to stick together. It's dangerous because, as we know, us-and-them distrust tends to breed the same attitude in reply*

We're lectured by the Guardian newspaper on a nearly daily basis about how this must feel. But, oddly, noone bothers to imagine what is fuelling EDL members' feelings. These are humans beings, after all, and it won't help anybody to just dismiss them out of hand. Indeed, it's rather strange that we're told to sympathize with hackers-off-of-heads and to vilify another group for prejudice. I can't speak for EDL members, but here's a first attempt.

  • They and their fathers and grandfathers never agreed to the huge influx of immigrants into the UK, and those without work may wonder why so many are being brought in to do the few remaining jobs. Around 2.5 million people are unemployed in the UK, and there are apparently around half a million job vacancies.
  • They also have a perception that the immigrants have brought a whole lot of trouble with them, and many headlines about grooming scandals, bombings, failed bomb plots, and now beheadings just reinforce that belief. They've seen a way of life crumble and die, replaced by uncertainty and fear. They are then told that even to mention any of these feelings in connection with immigrants is disgusting racism. It's not surprising that they feel abandoned by the UK ruling elite.

These are just different reasons for both groups feeling alienated. Politicians know that if they encourage these feelings of alienation, they will be able to exercise influence over these young men. 

I will never join either group, but to self-righteously understand one group and vilify another is to take sides. It is not impartial journalism or analysis. If anyone reads this, I imagine I will most likely be accused of 'hatred' for even daring to think about the EDL, but that would just be an indication of how stupid we're being about this issue.

*after 9/11, an angry young man went on Channel 4 news saying that an attack on one Muslim, was an attack on all his brothers - perhaps as justification for what had happened. The presenter, Jon Snow asked what about the Muslims who had been killed in the twin towers, but the young hot-head ignored him

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

More tales from the impartial BBC

I've been fairly unimpressed by the BBC's much vaunted impartiality for many years, and for a while joined in the revels on biasedBBC.com. It's time for a quick recap.

The bias news is mixed. The customary harmonious chumminess towards the Labour party was rudely interrupted by the excellent grilling of Mr Miliband on the World at One. I cannot remember Radio 4 being so hard on a Labour leader before. What an honest, straightforward chap he is!

Anyway full marks to the Beeb there - if only for spreading the excreta far, wide, and generously.

On the other hand, I'm sad to report that the once excellent series Coast is having a disappointing eighth series. There are only so many times you can go around the British coastline and find many original things to say. (they've already stretched a point and been to France, Belgium, and Denmark)

Searching for original ideas, some goon proposed that they give a theme to each program. OK, could be worse, and there are episodes on estuaries and on how we take our pleasures by the seaside. Unfortunately episode 2 was entitled "The Workers", and the soundtrack for the first 5 minutes was some stirring Soviet Revolutionary music.

No doubt this was meant in jest (yes?) but - bearing in mind the dishonesty of* proclaiming ones impartiality whilst sending employees to workshops to ensure the correct point of view - perhaps they need to be told that the joke isn't funny.

* choosing just one example from many, here is another viewpoint showing the same phenomenon.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

"The Riddle" all nonsense. Well of course it was

When I enjoy a morning coffee in Costas, they currently play quite a lot of 80s music in the background, and some of it is not bad. Whoever does the UK playlists for Costas and Starbucks evidently knows their stuff.

Today I found myself whistling along to Nik Kershaw's "The Riddle", and thinking about the nonsensical lyrics. A look at the video made me wince, and I decided the only honourable explanation was that he made up the lyrics with  tongue in cheek, and released it as such to see if people made anything of it. I was pleased that my research brought up this interview:

"My producer (Peter Collins) came over to my house just before we commenced recording on the second album to hear how I was getting on with the writing. He went away saying he thought it sounded great but didn't think I had the first single. Incensed by this, I went straight up to the spare room and got the chords and melody together for the Riddle. This must've taken all of twenty minutes. Knowing time was short before we started recording I jotted down some jibberish with the intention of writing the real lyric as we were recording it.

... we decided to stick with what we had. "Let's call it the Riddle", I thought. Then people would think it was actually about something. 

.. to make matters worse, the marketing and promotions people at MCA decided to make a competition out of it (without telling me). The response was unbelievable. We got sack loads of mail with elaborate and detailed analysis of the song. Line by line, word by word. Some were the size of small novels. Some even made sense!! People stopped me in the street to give me their thoughts and theories..

It all got a bit out of hand and, very quickly, passed the point at which I could come clean without pissing off a lot of people. In short, "The Riddle" is nonsense, rubbish, bollocks, the confused ramblings of an 80's popstar.

Please forgive me. I knew not what I did."

Nice tune though - I was initially attracted to it as having a similar melody line to Chris deBurgh's "Spaceman" song and (I may be the only person to make this link) with a version of "Stairway to Heaven" that I knew.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

12 Varieties of modern British Bullshit - #1 - "Opponents of mass immigration are all racists"

A new series! And I haven't decided what the 12 Varieties are yet. I'm sure it won't be hard to think of something.

The first is from David Aaronovitch's piece (£) in the Times, entitled "Forget ‘concerns’ on migration. Here are facts". The title tells you a lot: it purports to contain 'facts' about immigration (and it does contain some), but the whole tenor of the piece is slanted with the modern canard, today's piece of Bullshit:

1) those in the UK who oppose immigration are all racists and xenophobes

Things wrong with it: it's not true for a start, but more importantly it immediately stifles debate - precisely what those on the left want, it seems. I've no doubt that there are indeed racists in the UK who oppose immigration, but there is a problem.

We need an honest, clear discussion over how much immigration to allow into the United Kingdom*. Unlimited? None at all? Somewhere inbetween?

Those (always on the left) who think immigration is a Good Thing never seem to explain why. They simply claim that those who oppose them are 'racist'. I'm sorry to treat everyone like idiots but this is not a reason for allowing more immigration.

Unemployment levels in the UK are around 2,500,000. The number of job vacancies is apparently 500,000.  I think it's fair, if slightly simplified, to ask why we need another 500,000 immigrants? Could there be other issues for British society that outweigh any supposed economic benefits? (do the benefits exist?)

But by this point the debate will have already descended into a shambles. Half of England will be shouting "Racism" at the other half. It's a wonderful example of an important debate being derailed by childish behaviour. It's our first bit of modern-day British Bullshit!

I hope you enjoy it.

*does anyone think we shouldn't debate things that affect us all? I think we can ignore them

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Broadening definitions for fun and political profit

I'm possibly guilty of getting all my facts from Anna Raccoon - rather her than the Graun or the Torygraph, anyway - but here is yet more of the evidence against Jimmy Savile, from her blog.

"This new and brave survivor of historic abuse had decided to publicly identify herself after 34 years of silence as Leisha Brookes, now aged 45. What a horrific tale she had to tell. At nine years old she was befriended ‘by a cameraman’ who she thought ‘would make her famous’. She was taken to meet Jimmy Savile three or four times at BBC centre. For two years this nine year old was regularly encouraged to ‘sit on the knee’ of 35 other men at the BBC. Or maybe the 35 ‘other men’ were seen on the three or four occasions  she also saw Savile. That’s nearly nine pairs of knees on each occasion, but however many pairs of knees were involved, it is difficult to see the evidence of abuse, or why Savile is singled out for naming in this shocking account - if there are 35 child abusers still alive, including the cameraman, why is the Sunday Express so shy of naming them? Surely they are not waiting for them to die, and be named and shamed like Savile? There could be children at risk right now!"

Anna notes that FleetStreetFox - not a blogger I have much time for - tweeted on another issue "I don't like the comparisons to the Savile affair, this is grown women being groped; not children raped". And this is, I suppose, very much the impression of Savile we've been given by the papers - of a child-rapist. Yet I'm still troubled by 4 things

1) he's dead so cannot defend himself, no lawyers are working for him, and there cannot be a proper trial
2) that being the case, why is everyone sure all these "allegations" are true? (before an investigation is complete)
3) what exactly are the allegations anyway? Anyone have any details?
4) when details of the allegations DO come out, they are pathetic as evidence

I do not know what Jimmy Savile did or didn't do. I wonder if anyone ever will, with the reporting we've had. But I do recall similar inflated figures (tens of thousands annually as I recall) for "child abuse" being publicised by a charity. The definition of "child abuse" had been broadened to anyone under 18 who had been slightly miffed by anything from a search in a police-station to a beating in Brixton etcetc 

Is it also so with the very vague Savile claims? Who knows, really...

We've been here before. Definitions of racism seem to be somewhat flexible, depending on what your political aim happens to be at the time. The definition of "misogyny" was also changed at some stage, to mean the same thing as sexism, though people do, of course, still use it to imply hatred of women (the "old" meaning).

It's an old story, politicians will twist words to try to fool people. And people are stupid enough to fall for it, mainly the journalists who write the sort of rubbish you see in the links in the last paragraph.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Abortion as caring for your offspring

Reading through the heated comements under a Telegraph piece on the issue of abortion, I found this beauty explaining the benefits of abortion. Allow me to quote:

"Such a smug comment suggests that you frown upon people not caring for their offspring, yet you disagree with a persons choice to abort their pregnancy because they will not be able to care for the child"

So caring for your offspring now includes killing them if you doubt - as every parent alive probably does more than once - that you'll be able to look after them.

I wonder at the idea that this is caring for the child. Is it not possible that some of the mothers are in fact, looking after themselves, sadly. These are people who are in many cases as able physically and intellectually, as anyone else to look after a child - do they just choose not to?

And someone has to die because of that?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Watch the Jimmy Saville evidence crumble away..

It's a long read, but how about this for proper investigative journalism. Anna Raccoon has read through and analysed (you know, like journalists are supposed to...) the Leavitt report on an aspect of the Saville witch-hunt.

We are unable to see much of the evidence against Saville, nor can we know who is making the allegations of course, because of their nature. But why are these complainants being called 'victims' already, by the press and by the police? Why are allegations, after someones death, being called 'crimes', without challenge?

Read through the comments as well. Some of the comenters know the people involved, and frequented internet forums where the women (particularly one) discussed the issue for a year before it came out in the press. Each element of the story is examined.

Reading this was like watching the film Twelve Angry Men. A case that initially looks indisputable slowly crumbles as the evidence is actually looked at, item by item. Quite gripping.

- - -

A further note in this sorry tale. Another blogger was a little skeptical when the Sunday Express ran a main headline screaming in big capitals: "SAVILLE WAS PART OF SATANIC RING". It turns out that the lone source for this story was a psychotherapist named Valerie Sinason who has relentlessly fed the press stories including "hair-raising accounts of diabolical rituals", she "was, indeed still is, the leading proponent of the view that SRA is widespread in Britain".

These stories tend to be quite hard to verify, and should perhaps be treated with a little caution. If you think I'm being unfair, here is a sample of Sinason's very scientific method from an interview in the Observer newspaper. Read it and weep:

'Sinason insists she doesn't use recovered-memory techniques. "I'm an analytic therapist," she says. "The idea of that is someone showing, through their behaviour, that all sorts of things might have happened to them." Signs that a patient has suffered satanically include flinching at green or purple objects, the colours of the high priest and priestess's robes. "And if someone shudders when they enter a room, you know it's not ordinary incest."

Another warning, she says, is the patient saying: "I don't know." "What they really mean is: 'I can't bear to say.'" A patient who "overpraises" their family is also suspicious. "The more insecure you are, the more you praise. 'Oh my family was wonderful! I can't remember any of it!'"'

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Woman's hour tells us how it is!

You've got to love Woman's hour on Radio 4. Apparently there needs to be some balance with the rest of  the station's content, supposedly largely male-biased - though a quick glance at the schedules, or a cursory listen to programmes like Generations apart -  feminist output presented as mainstream - would seem to give the lie to this.

I used to find it hard to put into words exactly what made me so uncomfortable about Woman's hour, concluding that it was the sheer abundance of unchallenged assumptions which makes it such a politically charged programme - on  a channel that proudly boasts of its 'impartiality'.

Yesterday Jane Garvey and guests covered "slut-shaming" and the "sexualisation of girls" at school. One of her guests was Labour MP Dianne Abbott, Shadow Public Health minister. (do the Labour party leadership think everyone has forgotten Ms Abbott's last public relations triumph?). Now Abbott said nothing that surprised me or made me any fonder of her politics (as Public Health minister, would she devote any thought at all to boys? because she doesn't give the impression that she would) But more important, I think, is the nature of the discussion of the topic.

Of course, Woman's hour is a show designed to be by, for and about women. The problem comes with the sniping references to men. They are no longer simply giving a woman's view, but have moved onto different territory: making statements about men and women that need to be verified or not as may be the case. The makers of Woman's hour do not seem to get this point.

Put another way: once you start telling people how much easier men have it, or how they are entirely responsible for a perceived unfairness in sexual politics, then it is (or ought to be) necessary to provide some evidence, or some of the bigger picture that does include how men see things. You can no longer justifiably hide behind the idea that you're giving the "female viewpoint".

Abbott told us with relish (apparently talking about promiscuous sexual activity) that such behaviour is celebrated for men and how unfair it is that women have to suffer for it. This is a rather old and carefully chosen comparison that ignores the big picture of sexual politics.

A student representative joined the discussion to tell us what was going on "on the ground", as Ms Garvey put it. She similarly thought that it was always the girl who was blamed for 'sexting'. If this is true (any evidence?) you could argue that the act of sending a text is slightly more proactive than the act of receiving it, but hey ho. 

Interestingly, the student said, with regard to slut-shaming "but..girls do it to other girls as well. It's not just boys". This was off-message, and the conversation was hurriedly moved along. In actual fact, don't girls in fact care far more what other girls think of them, and compete with each other over how grown-up they are? Then there are the magazine's they read, the music videos they watch. Just how much of this new 'sexualisation' is caused by boys who desperately want sex - and have always been the same way?

Abbott seemed to think that if the adults were as internet-savvy as the kids it might help. But how exactly? She didn't believe in snooping, nor did she suggest how to make porn invisible to kids. The magazine's/TV/music and new attitudes among girls were only obliquely referred to by the discussion. Garvey and her guests skirted around them by talking in the passive - saying vaguely that "pressure was being put" on girls, and that girls were being "victimised by a pornified culture", whatever that means. 

Quick as they were to say how easy men had it, and to imply that all was the fault of men, they deliberately chose unclear ways of talking about where the pressure was actually coming from. This isn't an honest and impartial discussion of an issue, it's propaganda. Myself I prefer education. But I don't think people can tell the difference any more..