Wednesday, 27 May 2009

This has no relevance to anything but...

Skunk Anansie are getting back together! And they're going on tour! And I've got tickets! Nobody in the entire fucking world is more excited than me right now!

(Cross-posted everywhere on the internet that I frequent semi-occasionally)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

It's not just me!

Other people have noticed that Nadine Dorries is a huge lying crackpot!

"According to one Tory source, party officials have rebuked Ms Dorries on more than one occasion for her “increasing tendency to make wild and eccentric statements”. "

Yeah! Damn right! I bet they noticed that when they realised she had her own tag on this blog. Hey, I can dream.

This time, Nadine has been claiming that all the furore over MPs' expenses (I'm sorry, there is NOTHING ELSE in the English press. Except swine flu, which we've already decided is no big deal, and suddenly Madeleine McCann again, whom I absolutely will not write about because the whole saga with the disappearance and the press and the the desperate need for it to be All Someone's Fault depresses me more than I can say, and I just don't have the strength) is going to drive someone to suicide. Nobody in particular, just someone. Which is all our fault, as the baffled and angry public, and if we don't all shut up we'll have killed someone. Nadine is always going around accusing me of murdering people when nobody's actually dead. You can tell me abortion is murder as many times as you like, it won't make it true.

Of course, this may all be a plot by David Cameron to make me agree with him on something. Well done, Dave, it worked. I have a good bit of stuff to say about him in light of recent events, so look out for that soon.

A consensus has been reached! By the admission of her own fucking party, Nadine Dorries IS a huge lying crackpot! Looks Like Satire has accomplished its first goal of what will hopefully be many! Come join me in imaginary wine and muffins!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Lord Foulkes the Blog Troll

So, the expenses row. In case you’re not aware, the expenses claims of some of our MPs have been leaked and they’ve been claiming for some – ahem – spurious items, such as swimming pool maintenance. I did love the explanation for that one: "The pool came with the house and I needed to know how to run it. Once I was shown that one time, there were no more claims. I take care of the pool myself. I believe this represents 'value for money' for the taxpayer." Snerk. He couldn’t possibly have paid for his own pool maintenance, of course.

That’s not the point. The point is this.

A quick recap: a peer of the realm goes on TV to defend Michael Martin (who could have introduced reforms over the way expenses are dealt with and didn’t, so... zzzzzz. It’s dull, isn’t it? Sorry. This is why I haven’t written about it. Or read about it, excluding amusing anecdotes about swimming pool maintenance. We’ll be done with the dull background stuff in a minute, I promise). He goes on the news to talk to an interviewer about something that has made a lot of people pretty angry. And then he’s outraged that she asks him some questions he doesn’t particularly like.

This is classic:

He added that BBC presenters such as John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman were paid hundreds of thousands of pounds "to come on TV and sneer at democracy and undermine democracy. The vast majority of MPs are being undermined by you."

I’m really glad he said that, because until now I never knew that 'democracy' meant 'never questioning those in authority'. I sort of thought that the sign of a good democracy was that the men with the power would be held accountable if they misbehaved. Now I know better. If MPs do something that could be considered questionable, we have absolutely no right to question it, because that constitutes undermining democracy. I’m glad that Lord Foulkes is helping me with my vocabulary, and teaching me how to be a better citizen. I’ve obviously got some way to go, because I still think he’s a pillock. Is that wrong?

I’ve worked it out – Lord Foulkes is a blog troll. Think about it:

He said there were "far more important things going on in the world"

Does this look familiar? How many of us have got sucked into an argument with a troll who tells us that we should be ashamed for going on and on about slut-shaming or the abortion debate or sexism in the workplace or appallingly low rape conviction rates because someone else has it worse or how can you waste time on this when such-and-such is going on or you should be ashamed of yourselves. We all know what it means – I am massively uncomfortable! I do not want to think about this! Deflect! Deflect! Deflect!

Perhaps one of these days you'll do a thing about how much the BBC is being paid.

Don’t look at me! Look at yourselves! I’m clearly aware that criticism is well-deserved here, because otherwise I would be answering your questions instead of making inappropriate inquiries about your salary (nobody is complaining about how much MPs get paid, they’re complaining that the taxpayer is funding things that we probably shouldn’t be funding. Like horse manure. No, really, horse manure). There might already be a serious discussion about a relevant subject going on, a discussion which I have come here specifically to participate in, but I, with the breathtaking arrogance of a rich white aristocratic male, am going to waltz in and demand that everyone stop and have the conversation I want to have instead. I’m only pretending to be him as a journalistic device, and I have deep feelings of self-loathing at this point.

You're not at all sorry to interrupt me - every time an MP comes on you constantly harass them.

We all love this guy. You’re harassing me and it’s not fair! The nasty bitchy woman is asking me reasonable questions! Well, I’m a rich white aristocratic tosspot, and I don’t have to put up with that, no sir!

I feel I must also point out that in response to her questioning him on expenses claims as a general matter (and not even his expenses claims), he chooses to inform her that she is not worth her salary. He reduces her career to working three days a week and "talk[ing] nonsense". If anyone is doing any undermining of anyone or anything, it’s Shithead McGee here, the Troll of the Lords. He’s a small-minded, petulant bully. Hear that, Lord? You smell.

On another topic, apologies for the long absence. I just got promoted! Yay for me!

Monday, 23 March 2009

But racism is funny, you weirdo

Presented for your consideration, a story in two small parts that has amused and depressed me in equal measure.

Part one is set in a small pub just off the centre of town. Present: your faithful blogger (the Brunette), two of her closest friends (the Blonde and the Redhead – there is a reason I refer to us in joke form), the Blonde’s partner and another couple that the Blondes are friendly with. I have met them both before but barely spoken to either of them.

After complaining about how quiet the pub is, the male half of this couple pulls out his phone and shows us a text message. It's a joke. A joke that he will not read aloud. Can you guess where this might be going? Blonde sees message and laughs. Redhead sees message and makes a small noise of "I do not wish to engage". Brunette sees message. Message turns out to be a variation on the old "Bus full of lawyers goes over a cliff, which is a shame because one of the seats was empty" joke, but invoking a charming racial epithet. Brunette shakes her head sadly. At this, the joker gets his back up.

Joker: Do you not think that's funny?
Joker: Do you not like jokes like that?
Joker: Why not?
Brunette: I’m not a big fan of racism.
Joker: Don't say that! People can hear you!
Brunette: That's what it is, though.
Joker: Don’t say it out loud.
Brunette: I can’t believe I'm actually being told off for not laughing at a racist joke.
Joker: Stop saying that word!

The Blonde, I should add, later interprets this exchange as me telling him off.

Part two takes place over MSN. I am, for reasons best known to myself, talking to my ex-boyfriend. I am going to switch names at this point, just to confuse you all.

Ex: I thought of you the other day. I got into a conversation about the feminist aspects of the film Aliens.
Jen: Oh dear, is my influence spreading?
Ex: I don't mind, I always liked your strong views.
Jen: Most don't. I got told off the other week for a) not laughing at a racist joke and b) referring to it as racist out loud.
Ex: Oh! I should have guessed that was you!
Jen: Beg pardon?
Ex: Was it [repeats joke]? My brother has been telling me this story about how his friend Joker was out with this girl and he told that joke and she didn't find it funny.

Not only am I apparently the only person in my ex's general acquaintance who isn't thrown into paroxysms of laughter by racism, but also the racism = not funny thing is so bizarre and incomprehensible that Joker is telling people the story and these people find it so strange that they, in turn, pass it on. "My mate told a random girl this joke and she didn’t laugh." I am amused that I'm so instantly recognisable by my strident attitudes (amused enough that I now want to get a T-shirt that says "Strident Bitch: Don't Tell Me Jokes" and I'm getting my own Strident Bitch tag), but seriously. There is nobody in the entire world that hasn't heard some variation on that joke, so there's no real humour potential in the joke itself. The only reason to tell it is to bond with your fellow pub-goers over how much [insert specialised group] suck, and don't you just hate them (in a totally nice way, of course, but they need to realise that this isn't their country), and wouldn't it be funny if they died? But don't you dare call it for what it is. It's not racist, remember, it's politically incorrect, which is all cool and edgy and shit, and don't call me a racist because that's not fair. You’re totally bullying me by using that word. Whiiiiine.

Oh, and he didn't like it when I put the dampers on his sisters-having-sex fantasy either. Hah.

Monday, 16 March 2009

ANTM Blogging: All Pretences of Seriousness Abandoned Edition

I'm going to have to face up to it: I like America's Next Top Model. I wish to write about America's Next Top Model. But the show is fluff, pure and simple, and I cannot keep pretending I'm going to write worthy screeds on its attitudes towards women and how they are reflected or otherwise distorted in our society. Because I'm not.

So, with that out of the way:

My three girls for this cycle (which, yes, I watch on Youtube from England as soon as it's uploaded. I am a little addicted) are Teyona, Fo and Allison. I wasn't so keen on Allison until I saw the last batch of photos - the stupid group shot things with the light-up vibrators - and was immediately drawn to her in every photo she was in. Fo was my earliest pick, so I'm a little annoyed that she's turned out to be one of those "My hair! My hair! I'm nothing without my hair!" types. But I still like her. I'm charmed by her freckles. Teyona I like because she was the only one who pulled off the ridiculous make-up and styling in the promo picture.

I inexplicably hate Natalie. Tahlia, too. I know I'm meant to feel sorry for her, but she just... irritates me. Grrr. I didn't like Jessica, either, and am very pleased she's been booted.

The photoshoots have been a bit crap so far too. The first one was creepy as all get-out. Why, if you are so distressed at the loss of girlish innocence in this world, would you dress a bunch of models in little-girl clothes complete with huge killer heels? I thought it was quite disturbing. And why were the pictures so grainy? I know grain is sometimes a stylistic device, but in a "little girls playing games" shoot? No. And in the second one, they were posing with glow-in-the-dark vibrators. You can't tell me that's normal.

So, I'm pulling for a Teyona/Fo/Allison final three, and worrying a little about the upcoming "immigrant" shoot. Thoughts from other shameful addicts?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Today In Bad Ideas

Get married on Juliet's balcony! Yay! The place where two daft teenagers declared undying love and then died before they could change their minds!

Does nobody read anymore?

Monday, 9 March 2009


This scares the everloving shit out of me.

It's all horrible, every bit of it, but what really disturbs me is that the most so-say acceptable reason for hitting a woman is the wearing of revealing clothes in public. What the FUCK? Twenty per cent of people think it's at least sometimes acceptable to hit your girlfriend because... why? Because she's making other men look at her? What is it? I genuinely don't understand.

Also, I notice, it seems to be more acceptable to hit a woman for flirting than for cheating. I can't really think of anything to say about that, except yargh argh grrrrr argh bah scream arrrgggghhh. The more I see of the world, the more I am made to realise that female sexuality is bad and wrong and weird and scary and must be contained by any means necessary.

One of my ex's favourite lines to justify his possessiveness and dislike of my male friends was "Of course I trust you. I just don't trust them." The whole time we were together, this made no sense to me. How could he trust me if he didn't trust them, unless he thought they were rapists? I asked him a couple of times if that's what he thought, and he responded in complete shock that of course he didn't, how could I get that from what he said? So I remained confused.

I get it now. If I'm around a man who could conceivably find me attractive, said man might think about me. And that, right there, is the violation. There are versions of me running around in other people's heads, versions that no stern looks of his or monogamous nature of mine could regulate or control. It's got nothing to do with how I feel, and it's really not got much to do with whether or not said man would ever act on his hypothetical fantasies. The point is (or was) that they're out there. That somebody created a world where I did not belong to my ex. That in the recesses of somebody's imagination, I was being unfaithful. And (and this is the key point) I should not have been encouraging it. I think this is the logic: You know what men are like. You know what men's brains are like. You should know that being around them, wearing make-up and laughing at their jokes and dancing and everything else you do with your friends, will only make it worse. And unless you want them to be having those thoughts, why would you encourage it? And right there is where it becomes Your Fault.

I'm in no way saying that all men are like this. Indeed, I think my ex is an extreme case. But I look at survey results like that, and I have to acknowledge that no, it's not all that strange. He's not the only man who thinks this way, and I have a one in five chance of coming across another one.

It's stuff like this that makes feel justified in snapping at men in pubs who say shit like this then pretend, innocent faces firmly plastered on, that "it was only a joke". It's NOT only a joke. And I refuse to apologise for being a cranky, sexy, difficult feminist bitch. So there.

I was going to end there, but then I realised that I only put the last paragraph there to avoid ending another entry with "I'm really scared". Defiance is an easier stance to take at the moment, and one that won't result in me hiding in a cupboard for the next thirty years. What can you do with fear, except turn it into anger?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Currently Stuck In My Head...

I just wanted to have this somewhere. What don't you fuckin' understand... doo doo doo doo doo...

(Women + Money) = (Divorce + Damaged Children)

The BBC informs me that we must think of the children. Why, oh why, won’t we think of the children? Whose fault is it, you ask. Well, if you can possibly blame the working mothers, you do, don’t you? We all know the “mothers should be at home with the children” rhetoric, and if that’s what the article said I’d probably have ignored it. But it doesn’t say that.

"Most women now work and their new economic independence contributes to levels of family break-up which are higher in the UK than in any other Western European country."

Yeah, it’s not that we should be at home with the kids. It’s that women having money is causing divorce. If we really want to help the children, we will stop allowing women to have their own money. See, if women are reliant entirely on their husband’s income, then they will have no choice but to remain in unhappy, unhealthy relationships! Then the children will be alright!

I don’t know who comprised this “panel of independent experts”, but the Archbishop of Canterbury is listed as a contributor. Hmmm. These are, perhaps, not experts without an agenda. The thing is, I can understand people who believe that it’s detrimental to a child to have both parents working (usually phrased as “Mums should stay at home”, of course). I would like to stay at home with my hypothetical kids for a bit. I would also like my hypothetical partner to stay at home with the hypothetical kids for a bit. I totally, completely understand the thinking here. I learnt a lot from my parents in my early years (though probably not stuff that Rowan Williams would approve of – I asked my mother why I hadn’t been christened and she said: “that will be your decision to make when you’re older, Jennifer.”). If this panel has been stuffed with bishops and such, I can understand why they’re making such a big deal out of divorce, though I think people at the BBC would do well to bear in mind that correlation does not imply causation. But to say that women’s economic independence is causing divorce and hence harming the children? Can I get a “bullshit”?

The headline worried me, too. Selfish adults damage children. Clearly, they don’t mean selfish adults – they mean selfish mothers. And what does a mother have to do to be selfish? Not a lot. Want a career? Selfish. Part-time job? Selfish. Evening course? Back to school? Selfish, selfish. And god forbid you go out with friends. This is what we’re told. We’re given the impression that our child is so precious that he or she must be given all of our time. All of it. And then, when the child becomes a teenager and starts demanding independence, we are expected to adjust to that in a snap. If we get upset, or panic, we are yet again selfish. What this all comes down to is: women wish to be human. This wish is selfish. Men (of this type, at least) wish us to be quiet, perfect porcelain dolls with no needs of our own and an unlimited supply of unconditional love and nurturing, for which we demand nothing in return. This wish, we learn, is not selfish.

I am confused. I have gone right off the idea of having kids.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A Neat Display of Privilege

Carol Thatcher has been banned from a BBC show after making a racist remark in the dressing room. By the looks of it, the BBC didn't want to ban her from the show, but had no real choice since she refused to apologise. Her spokesman said:

"Carol never intended any racist comment. She made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jam pot when she was growing up. There's no way, obviously, that she would condone any racist comment - we would refute that entirely. It would not be in her nature to do anything like that. It is disgusting that we've had a leak of private conversations in the green room - the BBC has more leaks than Thames Water. Carol is mortified that anyone should take offence at a silly joke. She has summarily apologised."

I'm embarrassed to be so stunned by this. I am stunned that somebody would genuinely argue that it's not racist if the black guy really does look like a golliwog. I'm not stunned that she's done the "Well, I'm sorry YOU'RE SO SENSITIVE, you bunch of losers" apology, or that she's done the "I'm the real victim - that was a private conversation" defence. But the whole speech reeks of a privilege that really astonishes me.

Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and whatever else come, most of the time, from people who say they love the oppressed group in question and are totally all for their equal rights. And because they're all for equal rights, it's fine to call a black man a golliwog if he really looks like one, or call a woman a bitch or a whore if she really is one. And then someone objects, and they are shocked. Oh, come on, they say. Don't be so bloody dramatic. Fight the real enemy, the people who really hate you and aren't ashamed to say it. Go fight them. Leave me and my "silly jokes" alone.

Carol Thatcher is clearly stunned that we have mistaken her for a racist. And I am stunned that people still have to stand up and say: "It is unacceptable to compare a black guy to a golliwog, whether or not you think he really looks like one." And that, I suppose, is my privilege.