27 December 2010

Checkmate, PC Brigade

Come Fly With Me. Sheer genius. Not like, comedy genius, obviously, but tactical genius. I was all ready to differ with Anton Vowl and say yes, actually, it is a teensy bit racist. The way so many of the jokes were based on ethnic stereotypes, and instead of the characters doing something surprisingly, amusingly and unpredictably out of keeping with the stereotype, the joke was that they fulfilled it? Yeah, I'd have said that was a little bit racist.

That was before Ian Foot, the airport's Chief Immigration Officer, came on. You know the hilariously lax one who lets middle-aged South Asian men in on blatantly false passports? That was before I heard him saying "I have been accused of being racist, but...". This is clever, I thought. This "but" may prove to be a red herring, and he may subsequently prove to be a racist anyway. I was, it turns out, proven right, and he continues "...if being highly suspicious of all foreigners makes you racist then yeah, I mean, sure".

This presents the liberal left with a problem. Lucas and Walliams might have just spent half an hour (with another two-and-a-half to come, yummy!) wanking tired, unfunny stereotypes dry, parroting tedious tabloid myths about porous borders and ripping off the most racist bits of Bo Selecta, but, crucially

THEY MADE FUN OF A RACIST FOR BEING RACIST

Aha, I thought, what if they're racist but don't know it? Or they're slyly pretending not to be racist when they are? No dice Alex

THEY MADE FUN OF A RACIST FOR SAYING HE WASN'T RACIST WHEN HE CLEARLY WAS RACIST

I mean, they couldn't be not-racist-butters themselves if they make fun of not-racist-butters. Not-racist-butters have no self-awareness, and smart, well-thought out, original comedy is all about self-awareness. Nobody would have the gall to take the piss out of a racist's lack of self-awareness while being a racist with no self-awareness themselves. No-one good enough to be on BBC1, anyway.

I'm on the ropes here. I would have thought an embarrassingly shite sit-com based largely on crudely belittling Blacks and both types of Asians would be an open goal, but then they parry my bullseye and ace me with this UKBA character. There's literally no way we can recover from this kind of snookering, and Lucas and Walliams, I hereby apologise for ever thinking your comedy was half-arsed, as subtle as a car-bomb and brimming with contempt for anyone whose Whiteness quotient comes to Irish or less.

11 December 2010

Important Lesson

What can we learn from Facebook hate? A lot, it turns out.
Kalum Dyson, of Frances Street in Brighouse, created a group called "Pakis Die" on the social networking website. The 21-year-old also posted messages including one which said: "Help me shoot all the Pakis." [...] But he also said he was not racist, claiming he had "black" friends.

I know these days we have a tendency to stretch "not racist" to include almost anything, but Dyson's pushing it a bit trying to cram full-on genocide fantasies in. So what I'd like to do here is kick the black-friend get-out clause in the bollocks once and for all.

Not minding people of one race does not cancel out hating people from a different race.

"Ja so I killed a few Jews, Blacks, Slavs and Gypsies solely for being Jews, Blacks, Slavs and Gypsies, but I'm not racist! I have Japanese allies for fuck's sake!"

22 November 2010

See the Victims Suffer! Suffer Victims, Suffer!

Not being Jewish, I can't begin to imagine how utterly fucking embarrassing it must be when the Nazi stooges in the EDL decide they want to be your friend, just because a country that's sort of yours even if you've never been is blowing up the right kind of brown people. When the ideological descendants of the people who slaughtered half your family start rubbing themselves against you like an amorous pitbull. So of course this is so unsurprising it almost hurts.

So I thought it might be interesting to look at another leg the fash have started humping, just so we can see what the Jews can expect from their new-found friends*. I am of course talking about the long-suffering women of Islam. They have a hard time, do these poor creatures, which is why we're going to play a game called "Muslimah Martyrs vs Ghastly Bints".

We all know it's terrible how Muslim women are oppressed. One of the worst examples is the brutal capital punishment meted out to those found guilty of adultery. Look at the admirable way the world has rallied round Sakineh Ashtani. Score one for Muslimah Martyrs.

Oh, but then Yasmin Alibhai Brown has to open her big brown mouth. Stone the ghastly bint! One all.

And then, you're poking round facebook watching the EDL go trolling, and just when you thought Muslimah Martyrs could pull ahead again:

POW! Ghastly Bints whips out a deft equaliser!

It's like fucking clockwork. Concerned about women being forced to dress a certain way? Force them to dress another way. It's no use just being weirded out by the symbols of patriarchal oppression. You've got to show some solidarity.

I don't know how they manage it. It must be so hard to stick up for fanny-bearing Muslims when you hate them with such a murderous, hungry vengeance. What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is the bacon test doesn't just cut one way.

You did the right thing Israel. They don't love you. They only want you for your fighter jets.

*Not like, friends-friends. Friends like the weird guy you say hi to by the nibbles and he keeps trying to engage you socially for the rest of the evening while telling really offensive jokes.

05 November 2010

Nice Guys vs Creepy Guys

Saw a great text-your-mercifully-brief-opinion in the Evening Standard the other day. Went a little something like this:
Why do women react so badly if you try to start up a conversation on the train? We're not all creeps, some of us are really nice guys!
I love it. I think it's perfect. I like how the guy imagines "creep" is like a job or something. Or that creepy people are required by law to wear a dirty raincoat on public transport. And that creepy people never, ever, ever incorporate being nice to their prey into their creepy, creepy plans.

But he's hit on the major problem with the Nice Guy. Nice isn't a species. It's something you do, not something you are. Same with creepy. A Nice Guy is someone who habitually does, or is currently doing, nice things for other people. A creepy guy is someone who habitually acts, or is currently acting, in a sexually inappropriate way. A Creepy guy who's being genuinely nice is a Nice Guy. A Nice Guy who's being Nice in a creepy way is a Creepy Guy.

But I don't think it quite stops there. Notice in this guy's scenario, both Nice and Creepy Guys talk to an attractive women on public transport. Since the text didn't mention anything like "when I just fancy a chat about the weather", I'm going to assume both of them are chatting to her because they want to fuck her. Now, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to fuck someone, any more than there's anything intrinsically wrong with making inane chit-chat with strangers. But isn't it interesting how they're both doing the same thing?

So here's one Nice Guy's theory. Nice Guys and Creepy Guys seem different - a Creepy Guy leers all over you, and you can practically see the reflections of his perverse fantasies in the drool, while a Nice Guy is too timidly respectful to even hold suggestive eye-contact, let alone pluck up the courage to kiss you. But we're both symptoms of the same disease. We can't judge what will be an appropriate balance of sexual forwardness and basic respectful decency. We can't weigh up the woman, the place and the situation and decide what will be pervy and icky, and what will be effectively seductive enough for it not to matter. When we do judge it right, we've often overthought the fuck out of it, and it comes off either stilted or calculating - loserish or pervy, depending. We also ignore women's sexual desire for us. Either we highly doubt such a thing exists, or we treat it as existing solely for our gratification.

Of course, there's no clear dividing line - other than that happy, happy limbo where you do the right thing at the right time and have a passable love-life. Nice Guys become Creepy Guys and visa versa. Creepy Guys, I'm sure, draw the line somewhere, but no-one ever notices when they do because it means they just sit there and text the Evening Standard. With Nice Guys, it's a more observable process. At some point, drunk, despondent or disappointed with ourselves and our own timidity, we decide to be a bit more forward. We worry about being creepy, but, if we're drunk, despondent or disappointed enough, we think "fuck it, it's only other people" and go for it. Trouble is, we've only solved half of our problems. We might no longer be too timid, but we're still clueless. I've done it. I've done it more than once, and I'm really really Nice.

And this is where so many creeps and pervs come from. We start off respectful, timid, Nice. It doesn't work for us, because we don't know how to do human courtship and, probably, because we're thinking "God I'd like to have a girlfriend just once before I die" instead of about how the target will interpret our advances. Eventually, for a variety of reasons and general disappointment being just one, we try being forward. We overshoot. It's awful, and, worse still, it doesn't work any better. But, eventually, we have limited success. A smile, a kiss, an actual shag-plus-long-term-relationship. And when that's over, we've learned a valuable lesson: doing something is more effective than doing nothing. Going too far is more likely to make us happy than not going far enough. Creepiness. Works.

This is how patriarchy functions. There isn't a perv gene attached to the Y chromosome. Misogyny is perpetuated among men wherever erring on the side of respect for women is less effective than erring on the side of getting sex-objects naked. The fact is, where being a shit to women is in any way in men's interest, then when in doubt, we will tend towards it. Societal trends and power structures acting on an individual level. And yes, I am arguing that the Creepy Guy on the tube may just be a Nice Guy who's fallen victim to the System. I'm also arguing that Nice Guys are just Creeps who have yet to grow the balls to do it properly. But mostly I'm staring at my own reflection in a text to the Evening Standard.

24 October 2010

You Don't Have to Be X to Be X-Bashed

President Bazza's done an "it gets better" video. Wow. You can't really beat that for a weighty voice behind your campaign.

Here's a weird bit though: he says, in a matter-of-fact, of-course-we-all-know-that tone of voice
I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay
which strikes me as decidedly odd. Being gay isn't like being fat, or black, or ginger. You can hide it. Which means anyone could be hiding it. Which means anyone could be secretly gay and therefore anyone can be bullied for being gay.

You don't have to fancy other boys for the other boys to call you gay. I got called gay for having long hair (because it meant I wanted to be a woman, which of course meant I wanted to put my cock in other men). Other symptoms of gayness include not liking football, drinking halves, and at primary school, holding hands with a girl. You don't have to be gay to be bullied for it. You don't even have to deviate from the straight and narrow to be bullied for being gay. You just have to be thought of as gay.

Homophobia doesn't compare well to racism. It's more like anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any other religious prejudice. Saying that because you're not gay, you're obviously not going to get bullied for it is irrational in the same way as "The Nazis killed six million Jews", when probably a good proportion of those people did not have Jewish mothers, did not practice the religion or culture or (Germany being the seat of the assimilation movement) just plain didn't consider themselves Jews. Pretending not to be a Jew was just one of those sneaky things Jews did. The EDL aren't averse to smashing up Hindu temples or beating up Sikhs for being Muslim. Paranoid anti-Islam blogs have the taqqiya get-out clause - Radical Muslims are required to hide their religion in order to take over the world, therefore any Muslim who claims to be a moderate may still be an extremist and anyone who denies being an Muslim may still be one, therefore anyone you accuse of Radical Islamic Muslimism is either guilty or guilty of taqqiya too.

Which brings us back to Obama. He may not have experienced being picked on for being gay, but he has experienced what a lot of ever-so-slightly effeminate kids have, which is persistent untrue accusations, with their own mechanism to prevent them being refuted.

Whether that hurts more, less or the same amount in different ways as factually accurate homophobic bullying I couldn't tell you, but actual homos have no monopoly on homophobia, and it still kills.

03 October 2010

Wait, What Was the Pretext Again?

The Mail shows its true colours on Halal meat. Obviously the Mail is very very angry that it might be SECRETLY FORCED TO EAT A HALAL, but why?

I can see the arguments against Halal slaughter, which is why, as a vegetarian I don't eat Halal meat. So I trawled through the article to see if they actually mentioned the slaughtering process. Here it is:
A spokesman for Tesco said: ‘Pre-stunned meat produced to halal standards conforms to all our stringent hygiene and animal welfare standards.’
Well, there you have it. Barbaric, I'm sure you'll agree. So let's not pretend the Mail gives a shit about animal rights here. Or at least not big enough a shit to actually mention them. The only party that actually does mention the contentious pre-stunning bit is Tesco, who still come across as horrible dhimmi badmen despite their racially tainted halal meat being no less humane.

Now since they can't be fucked discussing the actual bit they're meant to be objecting to, I wonder why they're so scandalised. Surely it can't just be an excuse to rail against Muslims and hammer dysphemisms like "Islamically slaughtered" into common parlance. Aha:
Patricia Dunton, 67, from Totteridge, North London, said she had been shopping in Waitrose for more than 30 years. Speaking before the Waitrose announcement, she said: ‘As a devout Christian, I won’t buy Duchy Originals lamb ever again, and I won’t buy lamb from Waitrose.I don’t like the fact that an Islamic prayer has been said over it. It should have been labelled so that I know what I am buying.’

Last night a spokeswoman for the Prince, who will become Supreme Governor of the Church of England when he becomes king, said he was unaware the Duchy Originals lamb was being killed according to ­Muslim law.
Worried they'll catch Islam. I see.

29 September 2010

English Defence Lulz

Some wag has made a fake facebook for the UAF's Weyman Bennett. It's very revealing. Shall we have a look? (Click for bigger)


So, of course, the first thing you notice about it is the bizarre obsession with not washing [Fig. 1]. Not sure where this whole "the UAF don't use soap or deodorant" thing comes from, unless you can't tell the difference between the smell of soap and the smell of stale lager. I think there might be a hippie in the train of thought somewhere, but really, I'm stumped. You can also see quite clearly that they've not even told their main joke very well. Come on lads, "Soap Dodger in Chief" as a job title would have been almost amusing.

Secondly, the gay joke [Fig. 2]. Don't these pigshit-thick Nazi stooges have an LGBT division? Isn't it specifically our dirty poofs that they want to protect from the militant Asian-looking people? Using "haha ur gay lol" as an insult, well, looks a bit like you've put the queer-bashing on hold so a few slow-witted homosexuals might help with the paki-bashing. Jewish division, take note.

Finally, the chimp [Fig. 3]. Now, I have it on good authority that the EDL is definitely NOT racist, and has no problem with the Blacks and Niggers, just the Pakis. So if they're going to pull off this "Black and White Unite Against Brown" thing, it might help if the light-skinned side of the equation tried not to call the 0.0002% dark-skinned side monkeys.

All in all, my advice to the EDL would be this: If you don't want people to think you're racist, homophobic Nazi dullards using "militant Muslims" as a lightning rod ("militant" here meaning "anyone that looks like"), try not to act like racist, homophobic Nazi dullards. A good start would be cutting out badly-crafted playground taunts aimed at sexual and ethnic minorities. Try it. It might work.

PS report it as fake it if you haven't already.
Update: GONE NOW.

08 September 2010

Burning Books

I've never particularly seen the significance of burning books. It's a symbolic act of destroying information, but the wonderful thing about the written word is that, especially in the digital age, it's not tied to a physical object. Burn as many of a book as you want, and as long as there's one copy left, it can be reproduced exactly. The written word, human language and our capacity to reproduce them are an not only awe-inspiringly beautiful, but astoundingly resilient. The pages and the size and the smell of books are nice and all, but that's really nothing compared to the text itself.

So I think this coming Saturday (the 11th) should be Everybody Burn a Great Book Day.

I think I'll burn 'To Kill a Mockingbird', as I remember sitting in my room, aged sixteen and halfway through my GCSE English Literature, and realising for the first time, during the courtroom passage, that reading great novels isn't just homework. It's interesting, it's gripping, it's thought provoking, it's fun, and that's what they were actually written for. I also have a spare charity-shop copy that only cost 79p. So on Saturday, to show how Harper Lee's words are more than ink and paper and stronger than fire, I will commit a classic of American literature to the sky and ashes.

PS. If you do burn a book on Everybody Burn A Great Book Day, make sure it's one you like, as we'll all assume that's the case.

Edit: PPS. Oh nuts, just realised it conflicts with someone else's book-burning event. I hope this doesn't get awkward.

04 September 2010

William Hague? Really Chris?

A few things spring to mind about the William Hague gay thing.

Firstly, looks-wise, if William Hague is gay with Christopher Myers, he's punching way above his weight, and it's the really other guy who should be making embarrassed denials.

Secondly, he'd have to be a fairly fucking stupid gay. I know, if I was in his gay shoes (and they'd be amazing shoes, because I'd be a gay), the last thing I'd do while trying to conceal my gay affair with a younger man from my female, vagina-having wife, is book a shared room with him. Book a double and a single, say you need the double for your bad back or some such shite. Cheese-on-toast man, you're a politician. A Tory politician no less. You should know how to have an affair.

Finally: again with the gay jokes? I've wondered before, but, with a couple of notable and silly exceptions, why can we not get our head around two men
  • being fond of
  • sleeping in a room with
  • spending more than ten minutes that don't involve drinking, punching or casual misogyny with
each other without assuming anal penetration? We let girls saunter off to the fucking toilet together without assuming one's going to end up on her knees, but if two men so much as hug with insufficient back-slapping, we expect they'll both crack a semi-on. I can almost get that we, as a society, can understand sweaty bareback man-love better than emotionally intimate, platonic man-love. But is tight-fisted, pragmatic man-room-sharing really that hard to grasp?

Edit: I have to confess, I once shared a room with another heterosexual man. For well over a month. To save money. Didn't get so much as a hand-job.

20 August 2010

Oh Libertarians

For my hundredth post bonanza, I have yet another fucking arsewit by the name of Serkan Toeran, from the FDP (German "Libertarians") who thinks "freedom" means "I like my money" and "state" means "other people get to have my money".
Women who choose to wear the burqa voluntarily cannot be accepted either, because individuals cannot control human dignity.
[...]
The burqa is not a religious, but rather a political symbol against our state order and a means of suppressing women
There are arguments for banning the burqa. I get that. But "liberal" parties and libertarians don't get to put them forward. We've had this before on minarets, but I've never seen it with this kind of language.

Friendly advice, you daft cunt. If you're going to pretend to be a party of freedom and very, very small government, maybe don't do down the individual or bang on about "state order". Otherwise people will start thinking libertarians and right-liberals are just a gaggle of skinflints, reactionaries and petty fascists throwing a wobbly about taxes. And that's meant to be a secret.

06 August 2010

Not The Barnet of a Straight-Talking Man

Interesting piece by Anwyn Crawford on Nick Cave, and why he's a woman-hating arsewart.


There are two main thrusts to her arguments, both of which are correct. The first is that Cave is a pretentious helmet. The second is more sophisticated and much more informative:
‘She’s wearing those blue stockings, I bet,’ Cave muses, an intriguing detail. She’s a smart woman, self-reliant; she doesn’t need him nearly as much as he needs her. ‘This desire to possess her is a wound,’ Cave croons, and then his voice turns hard, ‘and it’s nagging at me like a shrew.’ So the desire for a woman he can’t possess nags at him like the ultimate possessive, scolding woman. And now Cave arrives at the formulation of a paradox that has fuelled his entire oeuvre with increasingly tedious and puerile results: ‘But I know that to possess her is therefore not to desire her/ So that lil’ girl will just have to go!’ He shouts out his conclusion and the song shifts into a hideous death rattle, with Cave’s yelps sounding as strangled as his poor victim’s. He’s probably garrotting her with the stockings.
for Cave, as for his predecessors, women are both far better and far worse creatures than he – but whether they’re saints or sluts he has to kill them.
Basically, Nick Cave's songs display a rather, er, eccentric attitude to fanciable women, where both they and the desire to possess them are at once hated and fetishised. Fanciable women in Nick Caves songs also tend not to make it to the end of the song. Disturbing and intriguing, and probably exactly what the boy was after.

Cath Elliot has similar reservations about Eminem and Rihanna's new one:
My biggest issue with it is that so much of this “story” is told from the perpetrator’s point of view. We get to hear how awful being such a violent abusive bastard is for him, and how ashamed it makes him feel to be such a vile, despicable human being. And what with me being such a man-hating femnazi and all, I have to say my reaction to that level of self-pitying whining from a perpetrator of domestic violence is always going to be “Well boo fucking hoo mate, now shut the fuck up and let’s hear how the victim feels.” The problem here of course is that we don’t. We only get to hear, very briefly in the chorus, how much she enjoys it.
It's odd, while I'm not exactly pro-domestic abuse, I'd say the exact opposite: what the quintessential victim feels - pain, fear, anger, hate and so on - isn't that difficult to work out. I'm far more interested in thought-processes I can't identify with: people who abuse loved ones, and people who enjoy being abused by their loved ones. It's easy to think of yourself as the victim - questioning your own thought processes lest you become the perpetrator is a lot harder, a lot more socially necessary, and makes for much more exciting art.

Both writers are confusing two different debates: one feminist and one literary. "Should anti-heroes be given first-person narratives?" is a valid question if an old one, but not the same as "is it ever ok to punch your wife in the face?" and not one Cath Elliot addresses. It's also telling that she doesn't include any of Eminem's actual lyrics in her analysis. Anwyn Crawford does address, indirectly, the idea that it might not be Nick Cave but his characters speaking, but largely as a straw man and without any analysis of how this irony might work.
Ah, but Cave’s defenders like to point out, you are forgetting about the man’s exquisite humour! His delicately honed irony! He is a moral satirist without peer! (The subtext to this defence often being, ‘Lighten up, bitch!’). The notion that Cave is being ‘ironic’ has been used to excuse many of his worst indulgences, up to and including his pimp’s moustache. It is simply not true. As anyone who bothers to look up Cave’s press history will discover, the man takes himself seriously, very seriously indeed, and will threaten to break the legs – or worse – of any writer who dares suggest that his work is not nearly as good as he himself is convinced that it is.
The lighten-up-bitch brigade always assume that "it's just a joke" or "it's still a good song" somehow make it mean the opposite, or that "it's ironic" means disgusting attitudes can't be expressed through irony. Unfortunately, when the bitches they want to lighten up reply, they tend to mirror this, which is sad, as, in contrast, they're usually not complete idiots. Apart from the irrelevant pimpiness of the moustache, Crawford mistakenly assumes three things: firstly, that Cave doesn't pretend to take himself ludicrously seriously as part of yet another persona, secondly, that if he does take himself that seriously that it's not as a humourist and user of irony, and lastly that Cave's use of irony is humorous. It's not. It's gothic. Scroll up and look at his hair. It's gothic. End of discussion. Gothic.

Just like offensive humour, the gothic is a way of exploring and breaking taboos under controlled conditions. If we assume anything Cave says/sings/writes is him peering into a disturbed mind, it works the same as laughter: it says "this is not my opinion, but an abhorrent one I am pretending is my own for purposes of entertainment". Dark humour is the best example of this, but it works so well because both dark and humour rely on the same mechanism: looking closely at stuff you know to be wrong. Whether the gothic counts as proper irony is fairly irrelevant: it works the same way and is powerful in the same way. Crawford hits on this when she says:
I can still listen to The Birthday Party and find Cave’s sordid fantasies of woman-pie, kewpie dolls and six-inch gold blades stuck ‘in the head of a girl’ exhilarating and disturbing in equal measure.
I can't say for sure, but I imagine that, like most fans, if she found them less disturbing, she'd also find them a lot less exhilarating. There's an expectation of Nick Cave and, in this context at least, Eminem, to sing points of view you wouldn't agree with. Audiences come knowing not to agree with anything said, and if they do, to be unsettled by it.

What Nick Cave's defenders argue is "irony" is even simpler. Nick Cave is saying things that aren't his personal point of view, to an audience who know and expect exactly that. Writers do it all the time. Speaking in the persona of a violent misogynist doesn't make him or Eminem anti-woman, any more than writing Watership Down made Richard Adams a rabbit. This may not be healthy. It may be crass and tedious. It may still be misogynistic as fuck. But the gothic interior monologue is, to all intents and purposes, ironic, and irony is backwards. Nick Cave says things by saying the opposite. Eminem is clearly doing some kind of dialogue. To be fair, I think there probably are a lot of genuinely fucked-up attitudes to women in Nick Cave's music, and the less said about Eminem the better, but this demands a lot more analysis than "he sings about killing them". For fuck's sake, Murder Ballads averages 6.7 deaths per song. Misogynist or not, he's not a man who sings about things he finds pleasant or ethical. So let's instead look at what kind of women and treatment of women he finds unpleasant and unethical. He might still turn out to be a prick. There's still time.

Edit: The heartbreaking upshot of this kind of thinking is that PJ Harvey might actually be sane. I'm going to try and pretend that's not true though.

04 August 2010

Those Who Have Been Hurt

So I unfollowed Cunt of the Day on Twitter. The last straw was the inane, what-are-you-for pointlessness of giving the award to Ian Huntley, six years late, but what really made me decide that the occasional insult to neo-cons wasn't worth the massive, tedious reactionary streak was this. Specifically this:
The cuntishness of these two is far greater than that of Vicar Alex Brown who today has been found guilty of conducting hundreds of fake marriages
He did what? The dastard! The utter cunt.

Let's take a step back and look at what this awful, awful cunt did. He... he... Oh GOD I can barely bring myself to say it... he... [sniff]... he married people. To each other! Ah, says the cretin, but in doing so he facilitated illegal immigration.

Well then. Let's take a step back and look at what this awful, awful cunt facilitated. So controlled immigration of people we like is ok, obviously, but this is different, this is illegal immigration. It's a crime. They're basically criminals. Well, technically it's a civil offence. But still. Against the law.

What is it they're actually doing illegally though? Well, firstly, they've not got the right forms and permission slips. Secondly, apart from the ones that outstay their visas or do bogusasylumseekering, they enter the country illegally. And stay. Illegally.

Basically, the grievous offence of illegal immigration pretty much boils down to moving house without the proper paperwork. It's a victimless crime. It's victimlesser than a victimless crime. It's a crime where the only victim is the perpetrator, who is systematically fucked over by the society who despises him for arriving to be fucked over. If you can get your head round what a pathetic excuse for a crime that is, just think how mind-bogglingly harmless aiding and abetting it is. It's the victimless crime of victimless crimes, and Father Alex Brown doesn't deserve to be called a "bit of numptie at times", let alone a cunt.

Which brings me to my favourite bit. In the Guardian.
"We are particularly sorry for those who have been deceived and hurt by the actions of Father Alex Brown"
I can say with some authority that nobody has been hurt by the actions of Father Alex Brown. Anyone who has been hurt by the actions of Father Alex Brown deserves to be hurt. Hurt emotionally, hurt financially and hurt in the face with a big garden strimmer. If anyone who has been hurt by the actions of Father Alex Brown would like to get in contact with me, I will personally introduce them to what real pain is by tapping them gently in the groin with a small feather and rubbing their face with a silk cloth.

03 August 2010

My Bestest Bum-Chum Nick and His Soft, Soft Mouth

Ok, so I don't want to hammer this "feminists/gays/Muslims/[insert put-upon minority group] don't get jokes" meme, but I have to take issue with Laurie Pennie's latest-but-one. It's not so much a case of humourlessness, or not getting jokes, nor is it at all limited to any of those groups, but a very general failure by most people who analyse the politics of jokes to actually get to their message, or to separate the message from whether it's actually funny.

Anyway, Laurie takes issue with the nudges, winks and titters over the Con-Dem coalition, specifically the implication of David Cameron tenderly pushing his engorged penis up Nick Clegg's gently dilating anal opening. She largely sees the assorted innuendos as homophobic, saying:
Playground gay jokes have been employed across the political spectrum to cast aspersions on the new government from day one.
[...]
The conceit is dazzling in its banality, substituting genuine political analysis for sniggering dick-jokes: it’s Carry-On commentating, and it manages to belittle all parties involved while failing to enlighten us one iota about the reasons for the fractures already emerging in the new government.

The discomfort underlying all the "Eton fag" and "Brokeback partnership" catcalls is multifarious, but it’s hard not to get the impression that a coalition government is somehow not daddy enough for us; that political partnerships and electoral reform are somehow not manly enough for the tough, thrusting, winner-takes-all tradition of British politics. As any 13-year-old boy can tell you, anything with the slightest hint of hetero-abnormality is gay, and gay is, like, completely rubbish. Obviously.
The thing is, the theme of effeminacy doesn't seem to have come up much. The butt of this joke is not that they're gay, or a gay couple, it's that they're rather a mismatched gay couple. They're also really, really similar in appearance, background and demeanour, so the idea of them snogging another version of themselves is quite funny, especially since I'm pretty sure Dave would if he got the chance. Also, does anyone actually need enlightening about how a Tory/Lib-Dem coalition sank like a fucking rock?

There is a reason that the joke has to single out gays, and that's that it can only work because we know it not to be true. A heterosexual man and a woman as coalition partners wouldn't attract the same jokes because the jokes could quite feasibly be serious speculation, and therefore not jokes. Two heterosexual men probably aren't going to get together. Most importantly, the joke doesn't hinge on the idea that gayerism isn't normal, but on the idea that it is. Sure, it's nowhere near as normal as normal sex, but it's a normal thing that normally happens in normal life, just not necessarily between fully normal people leading fully normal lives. Fact is, we have got used to them being here and queer, even if that makes some of us even angrier.

Modern gay jokes are weird, anyway. Male characters copulating seems to be the punchline in an awful lot of Family Guy gags, and I'm not sure if Drawn Together even has any other plot devices. But just pointing at man-sex and tittering has just lost its punch. What both programmes have in common is that one, if not both, eager participants are clearly straight. The deviation we're meant to laugh at isn't from the societal norm of heterosexuality, but from the character's personal norm of heterosexuality and the societal norm of picking one or the other and sticking to it.

We're now at the point where homoeroticism is a - fuck it - the standard pisstake explanation for masculine closeness. Bush and Blair, Tim and Mike, Bert and Ernie (even though lovers tend not to sleep in separate beds), Sam and Frodo (even though it's clearly the reclusive old queen Bilbo and his "favourite nephew"). Any friendly relationship that gets too close to be normal gets upgraded to a sexual one, where that kind of closeness can be normal. What we shy away from is not two men loving each other and fucking, but two men loving each other and not fucking. Normalisation does take place, and I'm still confused as to why we're so threatened by fully-clothed masculine closeness, but homosexuality (or maybe just sexuality in general) seems more like a tool here than a threat.

Red hot Cameron-on-Clegg action isn't funny because poofs are funny, or a dismissal of their actual political relationship. It's funny because irresistible sexual desire is actually a far more plausible explanation than any political one for why either would go near the other, let alone form a government. It's also great gross-out humour, not because two men together is gross, but because these two men together is completely fucking rank. Polished, rubbery, pristine-haired, used-car salesman RANK.

21 July 2010

Eurabia-Mongering Part 2: Demographic Warfare

You know what’s quite good? The BBC’s More or Less. Since I blog slow and steady and the episode I want probably isn’t up any more, there’s a brief summary here and bonus details here. Basically, the ‘Muslim Demographics’ video gets a sound debunking.

Now this video really, really worries me. Not because of that creeping Islamicisificationment shite, but because of a nasty, nasty trend that seems to come with the territory of representative government: demographic warfare. Now I would partly put our quaint obsession with demographics down to our sense of community no longer being tied to location, the age of capitalist marketing and mass communication, but I don’t think it can be separated from the brass tacks of democracy. The system depends on balancing the interests of voting blocs and sections of the population against each other, and unfortunately the stronger a party’s grass roots, the more in touch both politicians and the system they represent are with the population, the more demographics and social grouping become an issue. Growth of a particular group is a boon to any other which shares its interests and a threat to anyone whose interests conflict. When this comes from social or economic change, for example an increase in unemployment or social mobility, it’s a rather neat, if indirect and probably deeply flawed and unreliable, mechanism for adjusting the ruling set of ideas to current conditions, or at least the way they seem.

The Muslim demographic conundrum is different. This group is not a product of social or economic factors. The reaction against this demographic change will not and cannot involve the practical circumstances that produced it. The sole reason for this demographic change is the people that constitute it, and so backlash will be, and can only be, against them. We should expect this to become more of an issue as the twenty-first century goes on, as more and more couples limit themselves to children they want, as international migration becomes (practically if not legally) easier and more desirable and as Europe adjusts to the children of immigrants. And as this attitude comes directly from representative government, expect it to become stronger, not weaker, as the liberal-democratic consensus settles in and groups who still hold power beyond their numbers and think they deserve it become ever more scared and petulant. And if we look at their fears, it is not of an illegitimate, external takeover, but of a group and ideology within Western society, and with the inalienable right to participate in it, increasing power alongside their numbers. Fear of Eurabia is fear of democracy, plain and simple.

Funnily enough, this idea of a sort of racial, sort of religious group hatching a logistical nightmare of a secret plot to take over the world, well, it seems disturbingly familiar. Pankaj Mishra:
This expectation of identity suicide has a rather grim history in enlightened Europe...Accused of mistreating their women and proliferating with devious rapidity, and goaded to abandon their religious and cultural baggage, many Jews in the 19th century paid an even higher cost of "integration" than that confronting Muslims today in France...As it turned out, those Jews who suppressed the Torah and Talmud and underwent drastic embourgeoisement became even more vulnerable to malign prejudice in post-Enlightenment Europe's secular nation-states.
Of course, the mistreatment of the Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was often overtly racial, whereas Eurabia-mongers are careful to focus exclusively on religion and culture. But claims that this is not at all about race start to crack when you remember this isn’t about immigration or assimilation but birth rates. This is an objection to natural-born citizens being born to natural-born citizens.

And there’s something about the Eurabia theory that’s inherently even more despicable than the old skool religious/racial conspiracy. The Elders of Zion take over the world by manipulating the banks, infiltrating and corrupting the culture and gaining a stranglehold over the government and media and yadda yadda you know the drill. In other words, in order for his dastardly plan to work, the Foul Fiend Finkelstein actually has to get off his matzoh-munching arse and do something, even if it’s just polluting a couple of flaxen-haired Nordic lasses with his mongrel seed. The Muslims, on the other hand, simply need to sit there and maybe knock each other up a bit. Just find a fanny to pop out of, Abdul, and you’re away. There’s something terrifying about the idea that not the actions, but the very existence, of human beings is a threat. And the other fundamental difference between worries about immigration and worries about birth rates is the practicality. Closing our borders will not arrest Muslim population growth. Worse still, as many of Europe’s natural-born Muslim citizens might not be eligible for citizenship in their “countries of ethnic origin”, even the racist’s favourite mass-deportation is unworkable. So what we end up with is a sizeable minority group whose very presence terrifies us, but who we can’t just send away.

Of course, imagining that the statistics are true, and not deftly pulled from some swastika-tattooed arse, there are some peaceful solutions. Firstly, we can adjust to the demographic change by extending a political and cultural olive branch to Muslims and hoping that, when they inevitably come to rule the world, they look on us as friends and not enemies. Secondly, we can hope that by promoting secularism and civic equality in our societies as much as possible, we will secularise our Muslims. Then, inshallah, they’ll find our beer, bacon and bikinis so enticing they stop bothering with all that implausible sky-wizard stuff. The fundamental problem with both these approaches is that, if you even hint at them to a Eurabia-monger, you get called a ‘dhimmi’ and laughed off. (‘Dhimmi’, pronounced with a /d/ instead of a ‘οΊ«’, is derived from the Idiot word for ‘quisling’).

But that’s assuming, wrongly, that these figures aren’t a shoddily-fabricated crock of lukewarm arse-piss. Someone has completely made up some terrifying statistics, to which the major solutions seem to be suspension of democracy and jus soli, perhaps with a spot of mass ethnic cleansing. I wonder what they could want.

Part 1

11 July 2010

Gandhi, King and Palestine

Nicholas D. Krystof reckons the Palestinians would be much better off following Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.'s example, and just should just quit all that naughtiness about suicide-bombing and firing cheeky rockets at Sderot. Alas, he's a nowt but a dreamer, as we all know they're incapable of pulling it off:
But then a group of Palestinian youths began to throw rocks at Israeli troops. That’s the biggest challenge: many Palestinians define “nonviolence” to include stone-throwing.
See what I mean? They're never going to manage. Too temperamental, no self-restraint. Sad, really, as it means they'll all have to get blown up some more.

The straight fact is, The Palestinians will never, ever achieve this because The Palestinians aren't a person. All it takes is one bloke who doesn't believe in it, and the nonviolence goes out the window. Adopting nonviolence doesn't make other people's violence disappear, any more than being vegetarian is going to abolish meat. And let's not pretend it was any different with Krystof's examples. While King might have been all about the peaceful civil disobedience, Malcolm X was still around and well up for any means necessary. For all Gandhi and friends' refusals to fight back, Sir Michael O'Dwyer still wound up with a cap in his ass. Even when Mandela renounced violence, he couldn't renounce it on anyone else's behalf. Looking back at successful nonviolent movements, almost universally hailed in hindsight as deserving and justified, we don't blame the pacifists thronging behind Gandhi, King and Biko for the violence of militants who shared their cause. But, as always seems to be the case, Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians find themselves squashed into one homogeneous brown consciousness, with Mahmoud Abbas as the hive's bloated queen, serviced by randy Hamas drones and popping out rock-slinging, mouse-watching, self-exploding larvae by the hundred.

For both morality and effectiveness, I'm firmly behind nonviolent movements, but it's ridiculous to suggest there's such thing as nonviolent peoples. Krystof is not comparing like with like, and invoking King and Gandhi is both inaccurate and underhand. Look what happens only one paragraph after those hot-headed Arabs start chucking rocks:
Soon after, the Israeli forces fired volleys of tear gas at us, and then charged. The protesters fled, some throwing rocks backward as they ran. It’s a far cry from the heroism of Gandhi’s followers, who refused even to raise their arms to ward off blows as they were clubbed.
Expecting "The Palestinians", as a bloc, to totally renounce violence is blatantly unworkable, and the fact that "they" inevitably can't manage it then justifies whatever human rights violations and collective punishment nonviolent protesters and bystanders then suffer. Obviously Israel doesn't want to kill innocent people or violate basic freedom of assembly, but what choice does it have when troublemakers insist on ruining it for everyone else? Oh well, we did our best. Lock and load boys, and try to hide those erections.

24 June 2010

Ban This Banful Ban on Bans

Found this on Tabloid Watch.

Something's just gone horribly weird here. Ok, I read the papers, I know Eurocrats are always banning shit, but I'm sort of baffled as to what's going on.

Is this, like, a ban on a ban? Is this a case of horrible dictators dictating what we can and can't dictate? How dare they restrict our freedom to restrict freedom! How dare they ban our ban! It shouldn't be allowed! It shouldn't even be allowed for it to be allowed! Why are we permitting them not to permit us to stop permitting this?

Having said that, it might be one of those bans that actually liberate women. This ban on banning a ban on banning bans (I think), unlike other bans, is actually reducing ban-freedom. These bureaucratic EU Eurocrats are not just forcing us not to force women not to be forced into something. They are LITERALLY forcing us to force them not to be forced not to force themselves into being forced into forcing us out of forcing them, by FORCE into the burkah! Or niqab. Hijab. Whatever. Something foreign. I'm confused enough as it is.

08 June 2010

Rape Jokes and Equal-Opportunities Offensiveness

Bear with me for being over a year behind on responding to this post, I’m afraid that’s how I fucking roll. Highlight:
For example, for at least a decade, comedians have been doing “white people are like this” and “black people are like this” humor. On the face of it, this is “equal,” but in a society that is organized around whiteness, the effect is not the same. Jokes about how lame uncool, stiff, or stingy white people are simply don’t have the same consequence as jokes about how blacks are lazy or prone to crime.
The article misses a more straightforward business point: some t-shirts will sell better than others. I’m willing to bet that offensive attacks on Arabs, Muslims and (assumed to be) illegal immigrants will prove more popular than light-hearted digs at whitey’s embarrassing dancing.

But the article also seems to have missed a wider point. They seem to read “offensive” and “socially damaging” as synonyms, which is a massive oversimplification. Taboos do not, cannot, be established simply by avoiding them. They have to be discussed, and shown, and there are several ways of doing this:
  • The Comeuppance: Oedipus goes mad and blinds himself, Mark Renton dives into in the worst toilet in Scotland for his methadone, Gene Hunt had got it all wrong, Bill gets killed.
  • Association with more established taboos: after raping the female-to-male transsexual, they murder him. Saying something stupid or evil within his first five minutes on screen. Doing something utterly evil and getting away with it.
  • Being played by Alan Rickman or having certain foreign accents.
  • The medium itself: if it’s in Grand Theft Auto or a Marilyn Manson video, this is a context where you expect taboos to be broken, and every transgression announces a taboo.
I’d even say computer games are popular precisely because they allow you to do things you can’t do in real life – not just shoot hookers, but leap several times your own height, fly a jet, lead armies of little blue-and-green men over a cliff, have several chances at life and so on. If you’re enjoying a video game, you might as well take it as a sign that you can’t, or shouldn’t, do this in real life. That’s why I’m unassuming and non-violent in real life, but turn into a murderous psychopath the moment you put a joypad in my hand.

It’s a truism to say that context is everything, but with humour, as with any treatment of taboos, it’s fairly important. Taboos are established and strengthened by breaking them under controlled conditions. With humour, this could be that it’s on an offensive t-shirt, that the character saying it is stupid or obviously prejudiced, or that the person saying it is Jimmy Carr. The Sick Joke is an important social institution which states quite clearly, “humour: do not express in seriousness”. This seems to work with most humour – the expectation of laughter officially states that this is not the speaker’s own opinion. Even with the most childish puns, the joker breaks and establishes the taboo assumption that because ‘ajar’ sounds like “a jar”, if the door is ajar it’s clearly not a door. I count four reasons not to say in seriousness what you might say in a joke:
  • The Unspeakably Sick Joke: You can’t say that because it’s socially unacceptable. You can think it, but please keep your opinion to yourself.
  • The Unthinkably Sick Joke: You can’t say that because it’s quite obviously a completely stupid opinion to hold, and absolutely nobody will agree with you. Change your mind as quickly as possible.
  • The Unreasonably Sick Joke: You can’t say that because, even if it does reflect the way that you think and act, the way you think and act doesn’t bear enough rationalisation to talk about.
  • The Unfunny Sick Joke: Aka the sick cracker joke. You can’t say that because it’s a bad joke that we’ve all heard a hundred times before. You do anyway. Everyone laughs, and wishes they weren’t laughing, which is even funnier.
The best satire usually involves the Unreasonably Sick Joke. You observe someone’s attitude or behaviour, and reformulate it as if it was the product of a conscious, rational thought process. The best belly laughs mix the Unthinkably Sick Joke and the Unfunny Sick Joke. Someone expresses a ludicrously offensive, stupid opinion. You laugh, thinking “God, that’s not even funny”. Which is funny. The Unspeakably Sick Jokes tend to be the most unfunny, smug and self-congratulatory and, scientifically speaking, the most closely equivalent to wanking in front of the mirror. Everybody thinks gays are disgusting, women are useless bitches and black people are all criminals. But what with PC and stuff you’re not supposed to say these things. I am though, because I’m a hero. This kind of joke is traditionally followed with “Am I right?”, which roughly translates to “This isn’t really a joke, laugh if you agree with me.”

So now I’m going to analyse some Sick Jokes, which, obviously, will not only be offensive and potentially triggering, but also pretty lengthy, so I won’t be offended if you skip to the end, carefully avoiding reading anything or clicking the links.

First, I’ll translate some t-shirts The Social Image objects to.
It’s not gay if you beat them up afterwards
Unreasonable. “Macho closet cases who use violence to sooth their feelings of self-doubt are fucking idiots”
Stop abortion: Kill sluts
It’s pretty self-contradictory, so at first I tended towards Unthinkable. On the other hand, avoiding hypocrisy has never been the pro-lifer’s strong point, so I’m going to go with Unspeakable. “Only sluts have abortions, and as such forfeit the right to life”.
[Crucifix] Men who wear sandals get what they deserve
Unthinkable. “Yeah, sandals are gay, but it’s not quite serious enough to kill people for it.”
[People fucking in hospital] Coma Sutra
Unfunny/Unreasonable. “Coma and Kama sound similar! Raping women in their sleep is a laughing matter!”
Slavery gets shit done
Unreasonable, sort of. A blunt way of saying “slavery, as an economic system, is immensely beneficial for the slave owner”. People who are offended by this should avoid history books like the plague.
Kill yourself: all the cool kids are doing it
Unreasonable. “Teenagers who kill themselves often do so partially out of concern for their image.”
Swallow or it’s going in your eye
Unspeakable. “Women should be required to swallow semen and, if necessary, threatened with physical pain into doing so.”
I’ve had it up to here with midgets
Unfunny/Unspeakable. “‘To have had up to here’ can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically. Midgets are lesser people.”
If a fat girl falls in the forest, do the trees laugh?
Unspeakable. “Fat girls are lesser people. It’s natural to laugh at them.”
[Man on bog] The Koran: Now in two-ply
Unspeakable, if that. “Islam is bollocks and Muslims should be regularly belittled”. Rule of thumb: if you can imagine people wearing a t-shirt unironically, it’s not just incitement to religious hatred, it’s also not actually a joke.
[Woman with utensil] I should be in the kitchen
Unspeakable. “Women should be in the kitchen”.
Arrest Black babies before they become criminals
Unreasonable/Unspeakable, can go either way. “Black people are (unfairly characterised as) criminals. This is obviously (not) genetic.”
[Stripper] I support single moms
Unspeakable. “Single mothers are often driven to demeaning sex work by poverty. I am not exploiting them but helping them.”
What about all the good things Hitler did?
Unthinkable. “We focus too much on all the war and genocide.” I ruled out Unspeakable as everyone and his dog mentions Autobahns and reviving the German economy all the fucking time. On the other hand, some people do confuse “never talking about” and “talking about all the fucking time”.
I [plane] NY
Unthinkable/Unfunny. “The ubiquitous heart symbol can be replaced with other things. I intend to fly a plane into the World Trade Centre”.

While it’s not actually humour (or funny, or good), Cath Elliot and Lady McScamp get understandably upset by a Marilyn Manson video where he sings meaningfully into the camera about being sensitive and heartbroken for three-and-a-half minutes, before bludgeoning an attractive blonde girl in her underwear to death. The standard response is along the lines of
If the viewer didn't previously think beating & raping women was sexy Manson sure wants them to think it now
Of course, it’s a Marilyn Manson video. Anything that happens in a Marilyn Manson video is deliberately crafted to shock you and so not something you should attempt yourself. Marilyn Manson knows this, his fans know this. But this video works two ways. He’s still a taboo-busting Gothic shock-rocker, but he’s also an empathetic artist/musician who pulls a face like a kicked puppy while he sings about loss. Is this ingeniously-crafted ambiguity, between emotional sensitivity and emotional overreaction, challenging our ideas of empathy and exposing the fine line between navel-gazing and psychosis? Or is he just trying to look sensitive to sell his power-ballad to the lucrative emo market without alienating his core fanbase?

Then there’s Ricky Gervais’s rape-jokes:
I've done it once and I'm really ashamed of it. It was Christmas - I'd had a couple of drinks and I took the car out. But I learned my lesson. I nearly killed an old lady. In the end I didn't kill her. In the end, I just raped her.
Unthinkable. “Raping old ladies is not as bad as drink-driving.” This one is ambiguous though – is raping old ladies unthinkable because old ladies are weak and vulnerable and rape is an awful, awful thing to do to anyone, or because old ladies aren’t sexy? Which aspect you find unthinkable (and therefore laugh at) determines quite reliably whether you need to be hit in the face with a shovel.
[Lengthy exchange where the inventor of a sex-machine pretends to test it on a female volunteer, but actually uses his own penis]
Unreasonable. “Men will often use subterfuge to have sex with a woman who wouldn’t let them otherwise”. It’s not a pleasant way to say it, but it’s true, and it’s not like you end up admiring the inventor.
From The Invention of Lying
[Tall, thin, pretty, blond, white woman is walking down the street and passes Gervais.
Gervais: The world's gonna end unless we have sex right now!
[Woman whips around and she looks at him, VERY frightened and frantic.]
Woman: Do we have time to get to a motel, or do we need to do it right here?!
Unspeakable. “Making women think they will die if they don’t have sex with you is something we’d all do if we got the chance.” What’s nasty about this is not that it’s a rape-joke, not that it condones rape, but that, in the trailer at least, it seems to pass people by as a light-hearted fantasy.

Right. Those are the jokes that didn’t make me laugh. Except that first t-shirt, I think I smirked. It’s quite clever, though I wouldn’t wear it. These are some Sick Jokes I do like.
PETA demo: Semi-naked women packaged as meat.
Unthinkable. “Women are meat”. Though PETA are usually godawful shite, this is clever. It plays on our entirely justified objections to treating women like meat, and makes us think about how we treat meat. If you’re offended at the objectification of women, good, so you should be, now get offended at your dinner, carnivore scum. PETA exploit the social function of “offence”.

Anal Cunt. Anal Cunt are fucking genius. Any opinion expressed by Anal Cunt is not the opinion of Anal Cunt. Any opinion expressed by Anal Cunt is probably not the opinion of anyone. Anyone whose opinion is expressed by Anal Cunt is an arsehole and a cunt. Some highlights:
your band is fucking awesome,you have the best sound
you're really really good, you're the best band around
[chorus:]hootie and the blowfish
Unthinkable. “Hootie and the Blowfish are a talented and inventive band and just the sort of thing Anal Cunt like”
[Of a potential rape victim]
I saw you wearing a 311 shirt and reading French poetry
To your lesbian lover who was wearing a beret
Unreasonable. “People who like 311, French poetry, sex with other women or wearing berets are socially objectionable, and deserve to be raped”. Apart from the (AC-standard) 311 dig, berets, French poetry and lipstickless lesbianism are somewhat frowned upon in certain circles, and let’s not pretend rape is never used to express disapproval of women.
You shouldn’t have been a woman
You shouldn’t have had a cunt[...]
You should’ve worn a chastity belt
You should’ve volunteered to fuck him
You should’ve been ugly
I hate you because you’re a woman
Unreasonable. “Rape victims should have modified their behaviour. Rape victims are partially, if not wholly to blame. Rape victims are to blame because they are women and it is possible to rape them. I hold these opinions because I hate women.” Don’t tell me anyone would ever un-ironically express that attitude in those words. Don’t tell me that people don’t have that attitude anyway.

Lastly, one of the many neo-Fascist closet-cases the BNP put up for election a while backsaid
Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible ordeal. To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that force-feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.
Feminism 101’s reply wasn’t outrage or condemnation, but sarcasm. They took him at his word. They made their readers envisage being force-fed chocolate cake. It’s pretty harrowing, and absolutely spot on. It’s also very funny. When some gobshite says if sex=chocolate cake, rape=walk in the park, yes, he’s drawn the wrong conclusion, but it’s much funnier, and much more effective as an argument, to point out that his premisses are sound and yes, force-feeding a woman her favourite dessert is a pretty effective way to ruin her life. You see, the thing nobody wants you to know about feminists is, for all their bluster about rape-jokes, they do them fucking brilliantly.

It’s not enough to just dismiss offensive humour, however offensive, simply because it’s offensive. Joking about something is just an oblique way of talking about it. Rape jokes tend to be considered the most offensive (and so to their fans, the most hilarious) because we’re still cagey about talking about rape. We’re still cagey about joking/talking about rape, not because rape is bad (we joke about war and death and all manner of serious stuff), but because, either straight-faced or as jokes, people say abhorrent and stupid things about it. And what people say about rape in jest is nowhere near as damaging as what misogynist cunts in in fuckwit-wigs say in all seriousness. Joking about rape is not a taboo because of how bad rape is, but because of how reluctant we are to discuss it, and how flippant certain people are about it in perfect seriousness.

Both the thin-skinned maiden aunts saying “that’s not funny” and the self-satisfied wags saying “calm down, it’s a joke” have failed catastrophically to understand the first thing about humour. It may well be a joke, but if the joke’s message is cuntish, you’re still a massive cunt. It may well be very funny indeed, and you may be a massive cunt with a fine turn of phrase and split-second comic timing, but I’m afraid that’s still a massive cunt. Ok so I'll snigger at your joke because it's good, but if you ever catch fire, you can piss on yourself laughing boy. Sorry.

07 June 2010

Shouting About Sex

Inspired by a twitter thingy, I thought I'd put a few thoughts down on shouting/talking about sex.
  • If you talk, people may talk back. If you shout, people pretend not to hear. Shouting minimises the risk of reply, engagement and conversation. Caribbean slaves would shout secret or subversive messages to each other, and be told off for form, not content.
  • If you're not doing it, thinking about sex can be quite frustrating. Talking, and then shouting about sex, externalises and escapes the frustration. This is why those who do it least talk about it most.
  • Talking about sex stops you thinking about sex. Shouting about sex is how you avoid talking about sex, and falling into conversations that will make you think about sex again.
  • Of the things that come with sexual relationships - kisses, cuddles, foreplay, physical and emotional intimacy, fucking - it usually hurts least to go without the last one. Or at least it's an itch you can scratch on your own. This is why only the most misjudged and sadistic porn films show kissing.
  • Thinking/talking/shouting about sex is a reflexive way to avoid thinking/talking/shouting about the other things you may be missing out on. Shouting about sex is rarely just shouting about sex.
  • It's easier to tackle difficult subjects indirectly. Shouting about sex is an indirect way of talking about relationships. 'Fucking' may well mean 'making love'. 'Felching' may mean 'kissing' and 'anal fisting' may mean 'absent-minded caresses'. 'Sex' is a euphemism for 'being intimate together'.
  • If you're not having sex, you're limited to shouting about the sex you're not having. It's far less painful to shout about the sex you don't want to be having anyway. This is why that guy makes all those jokes about bestiality, rape and skullfucking and why straight men pretend-flirt.
  • Talking about sex no-one wants to hear about is a massive conversation-killer. Sometimes the conversation turns to sex you don't want to hear about if you're not doing it yourself. Sometimes the conversation needs a bullet right between the eyes.
  • Sex and sexuality are a major part of how modern Western society communicates. Like with sex dreams, shouting about sex usually involves shouting a whole load of metaphors for things that are nothing to do with sex. Talking openly about sex is a great way to avoid talking openly about sex.
  • Shouting about sex is a fascinating exercise in translation.

06 June 2010

Israel's Tralfamadorians

Career fucknut Netanyahu on the Rachel Corrie:
We saw today the difference between a ship of peace activists, with whom we don't agree but respect their right to a different opinion from ours, and between a ship of hate organised by violent Turkish terror extremists
Now, our Bibi has missed one fundamental factor, that one event happened after the other. Obviously he (and his bullshitter in chief Mark Regev) have trouble thinking fourth-dimensionally, so I'll explain why this is significant. You see, while the people on the Mavi Marmara had no idea what would happen to the Rachel Corrie, the people on board the Rachel Corrie knew that when the Mavi Marmara had been hijacked, people who resisted were liable to get shot in the face at point blank range. This is caused by complex chronological stuff that most lay people would struggle with, but suffice to say, the Rachel Corrie knew to sit down and shut up or die in a way the Mavi Marmara did not.

To those acquainted with advanced physics, clocks, logic or calendars, this seems the most plausible explanation. However, those of us who don't buy into all that anti-Israel nonsense about learning from the past will understand that the ONLY difference is that one boat is owned by a vaguely respectable White, Western European country, and the other one was crammed sky-high with dirty Turks just itching to get martyred because that's what their monkey-god wants from them. Don't let the PC brigade tell you otherwise.

PS: Lenin has a characteristically excellent analysis of the situation (though I take issue with his exoticising, tacitly anti-Semitic use of "hasbara and chutzpah" where "propaganda and brass balls" would have done just as well).

Update: savages, it turns out.

04 March 2010

Those Jammy Palestinians

Came across this embarrassing effort in the FT yesterday. There's some fairly stupid shit in there, as you'd expect from a rambling tirade about questioning Israel's legitimacy that conveniently forgets the Nakba, and that thinks "no more rogue than America" qualifies you for a fucking medal or something. But here's the highlight:
There is simply no parallel between apartheid South Africa – where the white minority wielded power over the black majority – and the occupied territories, taken by Israel only after it was invaded by its neighbours. To make such a link is not only inaccurate, but offensive. If Arab Israelis were deprived of civil and franchise rights, that would justify such hyperbole, but of course they have the same rights as every Jewish Israeli.
I've seen this excuse trotted out a few times. The Palestinians can't claim Israel's racist because Arab Israelis have the same rights as proper ones, that sort of thing. Lovely little sleight of hand there. It's so easy to see this conflict in terms of Muslimarabpalestinian vs Jewisraeljew that we miss the distinctions, and so "Arabs have more rights in Israel than in any Arab country", if you're not paying attention, sounds an awful lot like "Palestinians have nothing to complain about". Until you remember Palestinians don't fall under Israeli law, are not Israeli Arabs and do not enjoy their rights. Just one to watch out for.

15 February 2010

Why You Shouldn't Torture Children (Advanced Beginners)

Bruce Anderson is one of the most disgusting cunts alive and the Independent is fucking doomed. We've all known this for a long time. Barely seems worth mentioning, to be honest. So Bruce, being the Indie's token psychotic neo-liberal, has decided to play the "I don't condone torture but..." game, which he gets about nineteen gold medals for by saying we absolutelyfuckinghavetodoit asmuchaspossibleateveryopportunity rightnowRIGHTNOWRIGHTNOWBEFOREILOSEMYHARDON.

Bruce weighs in with the tried-and-tested ticking bomb. Torture should be allowed because, facing the 100% certain outcome of a terrorist attack that could kill millions, we should suspend moral principles. At first glance, it's hard to argue. At second glance, it's utter bollocks. For a start, what terrorist with no fear of death plants a fucking time-bomb? There's also more sophisticated arguments. What if he didn't plant the bomb himself, but just knows someone who knows someone who's hiding and has the secret code? How certain do you have to be before you can torture someone? Will 99% do? 80%? 50/50? You know it's one of the thirty you hauled in. Torture them all for good measure? Come on! Clock's ticking!

The whole scenario is also incompatible with torture as it is actually practiced in these cases. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in a month. That was clearly not to force information out of him. Like the psychological experiments Naomi Klein talks about in The Shock Doctrine, the point is not to squeeze out vital leads, it's to disorientate the victim to the point where they let it slip out accidentally. The "torture doesn't work" arguments fall down here too: this is an entirely different method, which might well work, given the chance. All it takes is a method of torture that yields results and civilisation is fucked.

It's not just practical issues though. As well as ludicrously improbable, the ticking bomb is also immensely inconsistent. There's a bomb under Manhattan. Would you go paedo? If not, you're not making the utilitarian argument you pretend to. You're just using an emotive scenario because you want it so good people get to do bad things. Would you use torture if you knew you'd hang for it? Say no, and you're a coward, a hypocrite and condemning thousands, millions, billions of people to dirty-bomb death. Say yes, and there's no need to suspend the rule of law along with our moral principles. Once you've decided you absolutely need to torture someone, is it alright if you enjoy it? Is a full-on chubby permissible, or only a semi?

I'd thought of another, even better counter-argument, but Sydney Kentridge got there first. Bruce Anderson:
I once argued that if there were a ticking bomb, the Government would not only have a right to use torture. It would have a duty to use torture. Up sprang Sydney Kentridge... "Let's take your hypothesis a bit further. We have captured a terrorist, but he is a hardened character. We cannot be certain that he will crack in time. We have also captured his wife and children". After much agonising, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one answer to Sydney's question. Torture the wife and children.

This is where we see Bruce is a true pro at the game. The wife and kids argument is a clever one, because it exposes torture fans for what they are: pragmatic utilitarian realpolitikers, like Anderson, who are (understandably) willing to suspend moral principles to save innocent lives, or sadistic hypocrites with none to start with.

LibCon/Pickled Politics and Henry Porter rightly jump on him, but for all the wrong reasons. The fact that Bruce Anderson condones torturing children is not what makes him a horrible little shit who needs nailing to a cactus. It's the closest he will ever have to a redeeming feature. He's at least honest and consistent and if he could, he would save everybody in the world from super-hyper mega-terrorism, whatever it took. He's a horrible little shit who needs nailing to a cactus because he condones torture full stop.

Everybody's gut reaction to this article is utter, utter horror. Even Bruce Anderson's. An innocent woman and her child are about to go through horrific agony and abject terror which they have done nothing to deserve except marry and be born to the wrong man. But saying it's wrong to torture innocent people who don't deserve it is an awful, awful, stupid, suicidal awful, stupid argument. It's a tacit admission that some people do deserve it. It makes the moral questions of torture into a sliding scale, with Bad Men With Beards are at the underwater end. If you argue anything other than "torture is always wrong", then you're also arguing torture is sometimes right. And what that means in practice is: torture is always right when I want to do it. I just need to find the right situation.

04 January 2010

Muslimface

A fair few people seem to be recommending profiling Muslims, and the idea seems to be that it's NOT racial profiling, because Islam is a religion, not a race. Which is true, and who knows, it might just work. Thing is though, maybe I'm missing something really big here, but how exactly do you actually do it? I mean, I don't have my religion on my passport, so I could quite easily lie about it if someone asked me. If I had a really Muslim-sounding name, I could pretend I was an Arab Christian or a convert to atheism or something, or even travel on a false passport. Have a look at Old Holborn's picture of blatantly obvious Muslims.

I've been staring at it for like five minutes, and I still can't see the Islam. All I see is a load of brown people.

All in all, possibly the most inept attempt at an I'm-not-racist-but I have ever seen. Whatever happened to fucking standards?