Monthly Archives: April 2013

Aside

Back in 1989 when I was in sixth-form studying for my general studies A-level our tutors did something brave that one could scarcely imagine happening today. For the politics module, they invited representatives of ALL the local political parties, including the far-right BNP to provide a presentation and take student Q&A. All my then tutors were ’60s children and undoubtedly more ‘Germaine Greer’ and ‘Benjamin Spock’ than ‘Enoch Powell’ politically speaking. Nonetheless they gave us students a chance to listen and make up our own minds and for that I can only applaud them. Education is about opening up access to knowledge and allowing people to make of it what they will, utilizing it to the best of their compassion and intelligence. We know when things are being hidden from us and we feel patronized, manipulated; unaccountably angry. Whether we agree with the principles of radical feminism – or nationalism – is beside the point: we’re all hungry for knowledge and experience, and we respond to trust.

Don’t censor. Let us make up our own minds.

And with respect to Keith and her peers in particular – is second-wave feminism the new communism? Does expressing non-liberal views on gender and sexuality put one on a McCarthy-esque blacklist? PC gone mad, you say…

GenderTrender

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In a shocking last minute decision Lawrence University representatives no-platformed Deep Green Resistance founding member Lierre Keith from her scheduled Earth Day appearance due to previous feminist comments she has made about gender. Specifically, she was banned from speaking at the university due to her belief that Gender is socially created and not biologically innate.

Keith is the author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability and a well known writer, Radical Feminist, food activist and environmentalist. Her scheduled speech “Stopping Civilization’s Violence to the Earth” was booked as part of Lawrence’s Greenfire Earth Week Speaking Series.

An event organizer contacted Keith on April 11 with the disturbing news that Lawrence University faculty lecturer Helen Boyd (pen name of Gail Kramer) who is identified in emails as “Professor Helen Boyd-Kramer, a well-known transadvocate” was organizing a campaign to censor Keith’s environmentalist lecture. Boyd-Kramer is the heterosexual wife of transgender…

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Like father, like son (update)

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Further to Like Father, like son, soundclips from the forthcoming Dimensionaut album are now available via the Sound of Contact website.

Sound of Contact is the new project from Simon Collins (son of Phil) and is something of a nod to his dad’s work in the nascent prog scene of the ’70s, albeit with a ’00s twist. If you’re a fan of Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, Frost*, Beardfish and DeeExpus this may well be your proverbial cup of musical tea.

It’s tricky to get a proper feel for the album from such short soundclips – album trailers, like movie trailers tend to be a compilation of all the exciting bits without the filler, and I felt kinda stung by the last generic, derivative DeeExpus record.

But if Collins has inherited a modicum of his dad’s talent along with the looks (spookily like Phil from his Genesis days) we should be in for a treat. Nick Davis (Genesis, Tony Banks, Marillion)behind the mixing desk and John Wesley (Porcupine Tree, Fish) on guitar also bode well for prog-fans. It’s a prog/space rock album with a sci-fi theme, if that helps…

Here’s the teaser:

Late contender in the hate Olympics is a long shot

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A few years ago I was dating a woman who had fled her hometown to escape a violent partner. When she mustered the courage to finally leave him following his years-long campaign of manipulation, harrassment and bullying he broke into her house and raped her at knifepoint whilst her kids slept in the next room.

Her story is far from uncommon: such crime is epidemic and endemic: and if it isn’t hate crime I don’t know what is.

So whilst I applaud the initiative on the part of Greater Manchester Police to extend their definition of hate crimes to ‘subcultures’ in a bid to raise awareness of violence targeting these groups, it seems extraordinary that crimes against women aren’t included in hate crime legislation.

Women have been and continue to be the #1 targets for bigotry. As a class they’re they’ve been perenially marginalized, undervalued and violated, worldwide and throughout human history. There are no ‘battered Blacks’ shelters’; no history of ‘Gay genital mutilation’. An incarcerated (for gynocide) biological non-female can sue for the ‘right’ to cosmetic surgery in a country that still denies born (XX) females reproductive autonomy as often as not.

They’re half the world population: more than half, actually, even though statistically, many more males are born year-on-year; mostly because our relative biological frailty and reckless behaviour proves reliably lethal, to us even more than them.

Being diagnosed XX can be a death sentence even whilst still in the womb; can connote second-class citizenship from the moment of birth; gives licence for authorities to mutilate genitals and pay less for more work. If you’re female and the victim of crime, good luck finding justice…

It’s not that Goths and Metallers don’t deserve their justice, of course they do. I was one of the latter and suffered for it during school. Sophie Lancaster paid the ultimate price in a sickening attack that shames us all; as did Steven Lawrence. But lets not forget that the Greater Manchester Police force (that) made its first ‘anti-Emo’ arrest within a fortnight of the new policy is the same force that failed for ten years to break a child sex ring for fear of being perceived racist; ten years in which dozens of girls suffered horrific, life-altering violence for the gratification of men. As I commented in a previous post ‘the integrity (and safety) of females is valued as subordinate to the integrity of ‘culture’’, cultures whose core meaning and values that are and always have been male-defined.

Detractors of ‘hate crime’ legislation and policy – usually members of privileged groups such as men and the middle-class – are right in the sense that singling out violence and discrimination against particular groups as especially serious is unproductive and fails to deal with root causes. Murder is murder; rape is rape; bullying is bullying; wage discrimination is wage discrimination. But their diagnosis of ‘political correctness gone mad’ is wrong.

Misogyny is the root predjudice; the foundation stone of hierarchy in a patriarchal system that is universal across cultures the world over. In this context, the failure to explicitly confront anti-female discrimination thru ‘hate’ legislation is disingenuous at best; scandalous at worst.

Online Harris-ment

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Noticed a spike in my stats a couple days ago – 515 reads. To put that in context I have just 50 followers and average maybe 30 reads a day.

What’s going on? Bloody Rolf Harris again, that’s what. Arrested this time. His name first came up in Yewtree reports as early as November and he spent Christmas in The Priory afflicted with depression. Scarcely a day goes by when his name isn’t the most popular search term referring readers to this blog, even though I’ve dropped down to the second and third pages of Google/Yahoo!/Bing results. Most of the accused unearthed by Yewtree have come out fighting: it’s only him and a couple others whose names are being kept out of MSM reports, even though his name was leaked by Mark Williams-Thomas so it’s obviously kosher. Weird.

If I was him – and so stressed out by investigations, allegations and speculations – I’d want to get my side in. And surely no-one really buys into this MRA-fuelled guff about false accusations destroying credibility and careers anymore, do they? Roman Polanski, anyone? Hell, Bill Clinton – that paragon of fair and democratic treatment of females – sat on a panel, bold as brass backing The Girl Effect campaign a couple years back. The longer Harris hides away from the media spotlight, the more it looks like he’s got something to hide. Clifford, Starr, Travis et al are ‘out’ and scarcely warrant a mention. Truth is, the abuse of women and kids is just so damn banal; fit fodder for gossip but does anybody really want to know? Steubenville was a case in point: stone-cold photographic evidence of wrongdoing and media and public opinion is way sympathetic to the perps. Same with Michael Le Vell – it’s all about his anguish and damaged career prospects – the aforementioned Harris, and as for Bill Roache and his rapey (and swiftly semi-retracted, but not really) diatribe about reincarnation etc…

If anyone had started a conversation with me a few years ago about ‘rape culture’, ‘male-privilege’ or ‘patriarchy’ I’d probably have been ‘like, whatever…’. Now it’s all I see when I open up my browser. Depressing…

C’mon Rolf; at least give us your side of the story. you know you want to…

Mad dogs and servicemen

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Few could have remained unmoved by the recent story of a teenaged girl savaged to death by a pack of pedigree dogs in Wigan:

‘Jade (Anderson) is believed to be the ninth child killed in a dog attack since 2005. Her death has intensified pressure on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to speed up changes to dog control legislation. An estimated 210,000 dogs attacks involving people take place each year’ (Independent, March 30, 2013)

Dogs are dangerous. Is this really news? After all, we’ve been here before: many times…

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This story about a whistleblower inside the allied military force in Iraq (trigger warning: rape) caught my eye in last week’s Guardian. The infantryman reported to his superiors, details of the so-called Mahmudiyah killings in Iraq in 2007, resulting in the prosecution of specialist Steven Green and several colleagues for rape and murder.

A US soldier was sentenced to 100 years in prison yesterday for one of the worst known cases involving US troops in Iraq – the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl and the killing of her father, mother and sister. The horrific slaying of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and her family happened in Mahmoudiya, around 20 miles south of Baghdad, on March 12 [2007].’

Soldiers are dangerous. Is this really news? After all, we’ve been here before, many times…

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The violent deaths of two 14 year-old girls, a half-decade and thousands of miles apart, savaged by a pack of wild animals, conditioned for aggression.

‘Pedigree’ animals are over-represented in attacks on humans. Banning this breed or that breed misses the point: inbreeding is immoral and causes innumerable health problems in animals (including a heightened predisposition to aggression?) but is only seen as problematic when it results on adverse effects to people (as if animals only exist for the convenience, pleasurement and service of humans…) Punishing individual owners misses the point too: highlighting these ‘problem’ cases perversely serves to obscure the systemic nature of the underlying immorality.

Forces and ex-forces personnel are over-represented in violent crime, homelessness, substance abuse and mental-health (including PTSD, Schizophrenia and so-called Gender-Dysphoria) statistics. Proscribing particular acts of violence, or against particular groups misses the point: violence is immoral and is the root cause of innumerable health and social problems in humanity. Making examples of individuals is all well and good, but by presenting their behaviour as aberrant, ultimately serves to obscure the systemic nature of the problem, or even what the problem really is.

A capacity for violence (hu)man and animal, is innate: selectively breeding for it isn’t. How much ‘collateral damage’ must we endure before our military/patriarchal/capitalist (frame it as you will) authorities are forced to confront their immorality?