23 October 2009

Problem With Question Time

Short post to follow a long one.

Question Time last night: everyone except the BNP themselves seems to be gushing about how Nick Griffin got torn a new one last night, but I'm inclined to disagree. They said he was a wolf in sheep's clothing, but I don't think we ever really saw the wolf, although the sheep's clothing slipped a few times, like when he continued to evade questions about his Holocaust denial even when the Justice Minister told him he was safe. But there were three moments when I think everyone involved did abysmally:

"White": Instead of telling the audience and people at home that Griffin meant 'White' when he said 'indigenous' it would have been far more effective to simply press him on it until he admitted it himself, for example by asking him to clarify what "non-indigenous" meant. Just shouting "white" looked like a smear, and let him pass himself off as a witty anti-racist, with the retort that skin-colour doesn't matter.

Benefits of multiculturalism: Nick Griffin asserted that multiculturalism has been foisted on us by a liberal elite and has "given us nothing but tax-bills in return". He wasn't picked up on this, even in pure economic terms.

Wicked and vicious faith: Some idiot in the audience asked him about this and gave him a chance to go off on a rant he's probably been rehearsing since he got on the plane out of Libya. He wasn't picked up on his claim that "it says so in the Quran", as if you can just extrapolate from there, with no history of interpretation, what all Muslims actually believe.

The Yes-Platform types insisted that letting the BNP expose themselves would be the best strategy, but that's not what happened. I still don't know why Nick Griffin changed his mind about the gas chambers, and his neatly-worded, reasonable-sounding spiel about why Islam actually is a wicked and vicious faith was being repeated, uncut and unchallenged on the Today programme.

On the other hand, "The leader of a Ku Klux Klan, and almost entirely non-violent one" is a brilliant bit of backtracking.

Quote Me As Saying I Misquoted Myself

Man, Jan Moir is an terrible, terrible liar. Here's her attempt to justify making an utter arse of herself in front of the internet.
Last week, I wrote in this column about the death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately.
I've included this first line just to show that not everything Jan has written here is complete bollocks.
To my horror, it has been widely condemned as 'homophobic' and 'hateful'. Obviously, a great deal of offence has been taken and I regret any affront caused. This was never my intention.
This excuse never ceases to amuse me. You didn't intend to offend anyone because, being an insensitive, halfwitted cow who writes for one of the most cynically mendacious and manipulative publications in the country and doesn't understand Twitter, you thought you were addressing an audience exclusively composed of polite, middle-class homophobes who wouldn't be offended.
To be the focus of such depth of feeling has been an interesting experience, but I do not complain.
This is one of the best preambles to a lengthy complaint I've ever seen. Is there an award for this or something?
To them, I would like to say sorry if I have caused distress by the insensitive timing of the column, published so close to the funeral.
This is pretty good as well. The article was spot on, it's just, well, maybe she should have given it another week.

That's just the beginning of her bollocks though. She then reels off lie after lie after lie about what she said in her original column:
The point of my article was to suggest that, in my honest opinion, Stephen Gately's death raised many unanswered questions. What had really gone on?
They're only "unanswered" if you ignore the coroner and persist in asking questions about other people's private lives.
Absolutely none of this had anything to do with his sexuality. If he had been a heterosexual member of a boy band, I would have written exactly the same article.
even though he could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk
It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.
the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.
What had been reported about that night is that Stephen and his civil partner Andrew Cowles went to a nightclub and brought back a Bulgarian man to their apartment. There were also reports of drug-taking. Following this, it was reported that Cowles went to the bedroom with the Bulgarian, while Stephen remained on the sofa. I have never thought, or suggested, that what happened that night represented a so-called gay lifestyle; this is not how most gay people live.
Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael. Of course, in many cases this may be true.
Do you really hold your readership in such contempt you don't think we'll understand the difference between 'most don't' and 'many may not'?
My assertion that there was 'nothing natural' about Stephen's death has been wildly misinterpreted. What I meant by 'nothing natural' was that the natural duration of his life had been tragically shortened in a way that was shocking and out of the ordinary. Certainly, his death was unusual enough for a coroner to become involved.
Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this.
After all, Stephen was a role model for the young and if drugs were somehow involved in his death, as news reports suggested, should that not be a matter of public interest? We were told that Stephen died of 'natural causes' even before toxicology results had been released. This struck me as bizarre, given the circumstances.
I should apologise, as that second one isn't from the original article, but from the same embarassing excuse-fest. I would have thought Jan Moir would draw the line at lying about what she said in a separate article, but she obviously doesn't even trust Mail readers to remember ten seconds ago or scroll up.
The point of my observation that there was a 'happy ever after myth' surrounding such unions was that they can be just as problematic as heterosexual marriages.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael. Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet...
Indeed, I would stress that there was nothing in my article that could not be applied to a heterosexual couple as well as to a homosexual one.
Canasta, Jan?

And, of course, she misrepresents the reactions:
This brings me back to the bile, the fury, the inflammatory hate mail and the repeated posting of my home address on the internet. To say it was a hysterical overreaction would be putting it mildly, though clearly much of it was an orchestrated campaign by pressure groups and those with agendas of their own.
Ah, agendas.
However, I accept that many people - on Twitter and elsewhere - were merely expressing their own personal and heartfelt opinions or grievances. This said, I can't help wondering: is there a compulsion today to see bigotry and social intolerance where none exists by people who are determined to be outraged? Or was it a failure of communication on my part?
If by "failure of communication" you mean 'lie', then yes, it's several unconvincing failure of communications.
Certainly, something terrible went wrong as my column ricocheted through cyberspace
Was it that you wrote it?
It is worth stressing that the version of events I recounted in my column had already been in the public domain, having been described in detail in several newspapers.
The facts were never an issue in your article. The tens of thousands of people who complained about your article were based on your ham-fisted attempt to bring them together and speculate about how they might have killed him.
unread by many who complained
I think this is maybe why she thinks she can get away with such shameless lies. She genuinely doesn't think anyone read it, and obviously they won't be able to now, as they'll probably have thrown their print copy away by now.
Their view, and mine, was that it was perfectly reasonable of me to comment upon the manner of Stephen Gately's death, even if there are those who think that his celebrity and sexuality make him untouchable.
Revealing sentence here: the idea of him being untouchable because he wasn't even in the ground and his family were still reeling from the shock didn't cross her mind. This would go a long way to explain the other awful ghoulish shite this horrible, horrible woman has put her name to.
Can it really be that we are becoming a society where no one can dare to question the circumstances or behaviour of a person who happens to be gay without being labelled a homophobe?
I love this excuse as well. Hopefully her next column will go "No-one can even dare purposefully distort the facts without being labelled a liar".
Finally, I would just like to say that whatever did or did not happen in Majorca, a talented young man died before his time. This, of course, is a matter of regret and sadness for us all.
Except for you. You get paid by the word.

17 October 2009

Poor Jan Moir

I'm a bit late with this, so I'm sure you've all read the offending article and its fuckwit follow-up. So I'd like to ask you a question: how much do you know about Stephen Gately? Obviously fans will know a shitload more but let's face it, he was a fairly normal member of a band I don't like, who generally kept a low public profile. In fact, like most non-fans, I'd pretty much forgotten about him until he died. You can't expect me to know that much about the guy. But here's everything I do know:
  • Boyzone
  • Irish
  • Gay
  • Dead
That's more than enough for someone who isn't interested in Boyzone or where famous people put their willies. And if I hadn't known a single thing, really, neither of our lives would have been in the slightest bit different. But I'm not a journalist. My income doesn't depend on expressing spontaneous opinions on stiffs I never knew

Jan Moir's does. She's a professional journalist. When Gately inconsiderately died on her, she had to write something or else she would have been one of the people who didn't write about him. But Jan Moir is not just not that bright, and probably knows even less than those four facts. She desperately needs to link something to his death, or, well, what would she write? It's like when they kept finding those girls in Austrian cellars. I mean who the fuck knows anything about Austria for fuck's sake? So you've just got to link it to the Nazis. Always happens when you have to cover a story you know fuck all about. The serious uninformed journalist must strike a balance between free-association and uninformative whiffle. "Yewhat? Either you're joking about a man's death or you're serious, and I don't know which is worse" or "What the fuck was the point in me reading that then? I knew he was dead already so why don't you tell me something I don't know you pointless, overpaid cow?" Jan Moir, being particularly vulnerable to accusations of being a pointless, overpaid cow, must tread especially carefully. The untimely death of Stephen Gately has, therefore, three possible explanations:

  • Irish: You know, you could pull this off maybe. Heart conditions can be exacerbated by drinking, and everyone knows how the Irish like a drink. A few Irish people might complain, but it's not like they dodged that bullet anyway. It might look racist, but then you can always play the PC card and shout "You can't even insult someone because of their race without being called a racist". The only problem with this approach, really, is that we've been making Irish jokes for so long nobody takes them seriously.

  • Boyzone: See, you could pull off "The Curse of Boyzone" if one of them had died or gone off the rails before. In fact someone's probably got one all written up ready for the next one. But it just doesn't work on the first fatality. That's still an 80% survival rate. You could maybe insinuate that, instead of a few rounds of canasta, they had invited the other guy round for three-part harmonies, but that would have been a bit of a busman's holiday.

  • Gay: It's the only rational choice. Gayness, unlike Boyzone, is something people generally do in private, so you have absolutely no idea what it really involves. Also, very few people genuinely believe stupid shite about the Irish these days, but there's still a lot of people believe a lot of bollocks about gays, how they bum and what they do (drugs) when they're not bumming or doing their gay jobs. Yeah, there'll be complaints, and you'll finally prove to the world what a sorry excuse for a human being you are, but people will read your article and find it vaguely informative and stimulating.
Best of all, you won't have had to do a blind bit of research, you can just let stereotypes and readers' own prejudice do all the work for you, leaving you free to carry on championing gay rights.

But it looks like the Mail will have the last laugh anyway. Take that twitter! Man, I bet the blogosphere is quaking in its boots.

10 October 2009

Interesting Oxymoron

Odd. I've always found the things a bit silly. Either they're clever ways to describe something absurd (like 'living dead' or 'best worst movie'), silly puns ('same difference' and 'civil war'), or they're complete nonsense. I've found very few that anyone would actually use in a normal sentence without either a heavy dose of irony or a zombie apocalypse. There are some, like 'old boy', which probably started off as pithily ironic descriptions but carved themselves such a rut in the language we no longer think of them as such. But I could never think of one that had come up organically, with no attempt at contradiction.

Then I found one. It's pretty nasty. "Enemy civilian". I mean, if someone's doing something that makes them your enemy, they're not really a civilian and if someone's not actually fighting, then they can't be your enemy. Yet you see this phrase all the time. Especially from pro-Israeli types around Christmas last year.

I searched for it a bit and found this nasty piece of work:
Israel has often endagered its own soldiers in war for the fear that using superior firepower may cause civilian deaths among those who indiscriminately kill our civilians without batting an eyelid.
Now I have fairly strong opinions on this. I also didn’t like this dubious caveat:
I have no pleasure when truly innocent enemy civilians are killed
implying that just being a civilian isn’t enough to make a Palestinian innocent (I doubt he'd say the same for the long-suffering people of Sderot). But I'm not really interested in any of that. I'm interested in what he means by "among those". Who are "those who indiscriminately kill our civilians"? Are they Hamas or Al-Aqsa fighters? Clearly not, there are no civilians among fighters, by definition. So this "group" is quite clearly Palestinians. Cosmic X holds Palestinian civilians responsible for the actions of Palestinian combatants, and therefore reckons they are less deserving of life than Israeli civilians.

And this seems to be fairly typical of the kind of people who use this oxymoron regularly. The very idea that whether a civilian “belongs to” your side or theirs should affect the moral or strategic value of murdering them in cold blood is utterly revolting. The idea that their lives may be worth less, the idea that Palestinian civilians dying instead of Israelis should be slightly better because it might annoy Hamas are not ones you should be able to hold without getting regularly kicked in the groin, yet both seem to permeate these kinds of debates, and both are horrible, horrible attitudes that people get away with expressing on a daily basis. It astounds me how such a murderous, racist, not to mention nonsensical phrase slots so neatly into our language, and it says a lot about our attitudes.

02 October 2009

Another Fake String to His Rubbish Bow

MAN this is good. Rod Liddle is a feminist. As well as a socialist, of course.

In other news, Richard Barnbrook is a lifelong Black Panther.