Friday, June 30, 2006

Sex and drugs and rock and roll.....

Sorry, I can have a strange sense of humour at times, but this made me laugh....

US actor David Hasselhoff has been treated in hospital after being hurt in a chandelier accident.

At first I thought it might be some strange sexual mishap a la Hutchence, but no, he was at the gym.

Oh for the days of sex , drugs and rock and roll. Even Keef falls out of a tree. Where are the suicides, murders, misadventure and nasty ends in hotel rooms.

Ruth Kelly: just carries on digging that enormous hole

Ruth Kelly, what are you like?

First you make stupid ambiguous statements about lesbian and gay rights, then you refuse an interview with Pink Paper and now the latest is that you have snubbed Saturday's EuroPride. Bloody hell, they have even been successful in roping in a Tory and a Lib Dem but hark, no comment cometh from inside the Labour Party or Ms Kelly's department.

A spokesperson for Ruthie babe said that she has other commitments such as attending Labour Party's national policy forum on Saturday. I mean, you couldn't just do a bit of multitasking and attend both of the events, even briefly, could ya. No, because you don't want to upset Opus Dei, do you? Ruth, you don't seem to give a damn that you are pissing off lesbians and gay men.

Just who does Ruth Kelly really represent?

In the words (briefly changed) of The Beat: "Stand down Ruth, Stand Down"!!

'Justifying' being gay .

A recent report has looked into the 'causes' of people being gay. Interestingly it looks at men and not women . Why do we need research into why someone is gay ? Is it a problem that needs fixing? Its as irrelevant as research into why someone is heterosexual or why they like certain consensual sexual practices. Why can't difference just be accepted , whether that is sexuality, mental health, 'disability' or people who just do not fit in. The danger of this research is that it pathologises difference. The underlying danger is to try to find a 'cure'.

An argument has been made that this sort of research can help fight discrimination :

Andy Forrest, a spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall, commenting on this and other studies, said: "Increasingly, credible evidence appears to indicate that being gay is genetically determined rather than being a so-called lifestyle choice.
"It adds further weight to the argument that lesbian and gay people should be treated equally in society and not discriminated against for something that's just as inherent as skin colour."

I have some problems with that. Ok, some might be less homophobic because they feel gay people 'can't help it'. So outright homophobia may be replaced by sympathy, very reminiscent of attitudes to disabled people. The 'oh isn't it sad, poor things, tragic ....' .There is the stance in the Church of England where some seem to accept that it cannot be helped but the actions can be controlled , the idea of ' practising homosexuals'. This also implies it is all about sex and ignores the emotional aspects of gay relationships.

Finally, in response to the Stonewall reaction , what is the problem with it being a choice. Why would that be a bad thing ? Many feminists have chosen to be political lesbians and that is a valid lifestyle. I find justifying people being gay as a way to appease homophobia a defensive tactic. It panders to prejudice. LGBT people should just be accepted , not studied as a problem to be understood.

Peter Tatchell is further debating the issue on Comment is Free.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Science Fiction: the Geek in me

Ok, I admit it, hand on heart, I am a Sci-Fi Geek. Feel much, much better already sharing that nugget of exciting information (can’t see anyone in the back row agreeing with me so will just ignore their giggles!) I don’t go to those conventions … I not that sad… yet! Though I know people who do and dress up as Captain Kirk or as a member of the Borg Collective from Star Trek Voyager (“resistance is futile…." "You will sell hundreds of trot papers…”!!)

So was pleased to see a gang of Scottish Trekkies indulging in a bit of amateur dramatics by making a tribute film to Star Trek: Enterprise, which was cancelled on American telly in May 2005. The crew met through Dundee’s Star Trek Club, Sector 001 and well, it started with a camcorder, sticky back plastic, shoestring budget and a script. Hey presto, the final edit is taking place and the film should be ready by the end of the year and will be free to download. Can’t wait!

Maybe someone will make a tribute to Buffy or to Angel because I never liked the way they ended the series. I would also love to re-make Space 1999. But also UFO because of the fashion (silver clothes and purple hair... you can appreciate it without dropping acid), lame acting, 60s psychedelic music (yeah, groovy baby!) and the wonderful Gerry and Sylvia Anderson team created the programmes, which is too good an opportunity to miss. It was the Crossroads of the sci-fi world.

...Maybe some amateur Dr Who thrown in the mix as well (can I play a Cyberwoman please?).

Ah, but must keep the Sci-Fi geek in me in check. If anyone has any other ideas about re-makes etc. they want to share please do. Us Sci-Fi geeks need to stick together (you can indeed remain anonymous).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


So sayoonara to Tim Henmen, who was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer today. The final score was 6-4 6-0 6-2.

Tim, word of advice, just stick to the washing powder adverts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

'Lad Mags' belong on top shelf...?

MP Claire Curtis-Thomas presented a bill today in the House of Commons to regulate the sale and display of sexually explicit material. She is concerned about mags such as Zoo and Nuts and also the Daily Sport.

Curtis-Thomas argues: "It is now vital for an independent body to regulate these types of publications. My bill proposed the establishment of a new independent, non-partisan regulator for the sale and display of sexually explicit material, with binding codes and transparent well publicised guidelines: a regulator motivated not by profit but by social responsibility"....

This is pretty much similar to the position that Object takes where they argue for "mechanisms to allow the appropriate regulation of the media".

In other words curtailing freedom of speech and state censorship. I don't like the 'Lads Mags' or the Daily Sport either. They indeed objectify and degrade women but censoring them or just removing them to the top shelf helps nobody. The emphasis made by Curtis-Thomas is on the potential damage these mags can have on children. Surely it is more a case of teenage lads?

Suppressing a point of view you don't like only exposes your own political cowardice. Why don't we just argue and criticise instead of resorting to censorship. Defeating ideas through argument is a much more preferablele way. Shoving the 'Lads Mags' on the top shelf could arguably harden their images because they will probably see they have nothing to lose. Wow! They can "rub shoulders" with Penthouse and Playboy now.

Will increasing state censorship and regulating porn actually help in reducing violence against women? I don't think it will.

There are many things I find objectionable and dislike such as the Daily Mail and The Sun with their screaming racist headlines about "bogus" asylum seekers and/or "criminal" asylum seekers yet what impact do those headlines and articles have on people? I don't see any campaign to force them onto the top shelf.

What I find scary is quotes like, "freedom of expression does not come without responsibility and should always be limited by its potential for harm". (Jennifer Drew - Object)

"free speech sanctifies their rights to do so, while we pay the price" (Rachel Bell on sexual violence)

I believe we do need to challenge these sexist assumptions and perceptions of women but through debate and not by censorship. The "gut reaction" politics of seeing images and ideas we don't like blinds us into pushing for the very thing which is potentially harmful and dangerous and that is censorship. I am sick of the way women are objectified in this society but suppression will only lead to festering and women will not benefit from this. Censorship is not liberating nor is it emancipating. Argument is.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Wimbledon starts today

Sod the football. Hurrah, Wimbledon is upon us. Well, I knew it was raining in London for a reason...

Feminism and the art of dialogue

There is a sensible, well argued and interesting post over at Mind the Gap regarding thoughts on blogging, hostility and feminist dialogue.

Winter says: "In personal group situations, I find that feminists of different persuasion are generally well able to communicate ideas and opinions without eye gouging"..

Eye gouging...? I have visions of it kicking off all Grand Guignol.

My experience of being involved in the feminist movement has been uneven. I have had good and bad experiences. Very good ones in relation to defending rights by campaigning for a woman's right to choose, pay, childcare issues and so on. The feeling of solidarity was, for me, more prevalent than what I experienced when I was active in the revolutionary left. But the more negative and explosive situations were over issues such as porn, prostitution and violence against women.

I found to my shock if you didn't hold the correct interpretation of patriarchy then you were selling women out. There was no discussion or open debate. And that, for me, is the problem. Winter is right when she says we need to have communication and dialogue. We have disagreements but we should air them freely without worry that they will chucked in the recycle bin. Supressing debate is bad news. It will stunt the growth and continue the fragmentation of feminism. And as a socialist feminist I don't want to see that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

An Ode to Hazel Blears

Just saw Hazel Blears on Channel 4 news. And just for you my little Blairite stooge, a little ode...

Hazel Blears, Hazel Blears
stirring up our fears
of young men who have
had too many beers
who like to impress their peers.

Government policy veers
as the News of the Screws steers
those without much between their ears
to longer sentences.
"Three Cheers", says our Hazel Blears!
.....But it will all end in tears

T&G Union Women

In the latest issue of Together (the magazine for women in my own union the T&G) there were a couple of interesting reports.

Domestic Violence
A workplace support policy for victims of domestic violence was recently written into a Birmingham manufacturing company’s conditions of employment. A pledge is made “to sensitively support employees who are experiencing domestic violence and whose work may be affected through character changes, performance related issues, withdrawal from social grouping, an increase in absenteeism or timekeeping problems”.

It seems that women have started to use the initiative and some have stated that had this level of support been available in the workplace before then they would have used it then.

This reminds me of the Raise the Roof Campaign in Unison, which has similar views on workplace policies regarding domestic violence. What does strike me though is no matter how useful getting a policy through management it is equally as important to educate people around in the workplace around domestic violence. And training union members as well as stewards is vital as well. I know there were disagreements at Unison Women’s conference about the nature of policy implementation and training reps but it has to be done.

At the 2002 TUC Women's Conference, delegates completed a survey on domestic violence and 55 per cent stated that they, or someone they worked with, had experienced domestic violence. The TUC Women's Policy Officer, Rebecca “bureaucrat” Gill, stated that: "As a movement we recognise that it is our responsibility to work with employers and to work with our members to ensure that those who perpetrate domestic violence are not sheltered in our workplaces or organisations."

Domestic Violence is a workplace issue and therefore a trade union issue. In my opinion, more has to be done. And very little has been done so far.

Women and trade unionism in Ghana
There was a report from women active in the trade union movement in Ghana and how they are fighting against sexism. Adwoa Sakyi, gender officer of the General Agricultural Workers’ Union of Ghana, spoke about male resistance to women working outside of the home and the other was against women increasing their representation in the union.

Adwoa said: “Women said they wanted to work on the farms but the men would not let them. And the men said if they not let their wives work they would not be respected as husbands”. She also said that attitudes changed when the union organised joint role-play exercises followed by focus group discussions of men and women (both separately and together).

A piece by Ann Quesney (Abortion Rights Director) rounding up the work done by Abortion Rights in the past year, including the postcard campaign ‘would you turn the clock back on her rights’ (Are you listening at the back Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor?!)

Equal Pay
Two key calls from the T&G were vetoed by the employers’ representatives regarding the government’s Women and Work Commission report on equal pay. These were mandatory equal pay audits and legal rights for equality representatives. Diana Holland (T&G national organiser for women, race and equalities) declared “disappointment” at the outcome.

No surprise there then..!

But then according to Rebecca “bureaucrat” Gill there isn’t the political momentum to fight for equal pay. So, does that mean Rebecca, that this is also the position of the TUC? Can’t be arsed attitude?

….That old chant just springs to mind: “TUC get off your knees/organise a general strike”! (Catchy little number, don't you think, Rebecca?)

I agree with Boris !

Worrying really when I find myself agreeing with Boris Johnson writing in the Daily Telegraph. His comments, on the Colin Stagg/Rachel Nickell case ,are also picked up on other blogs .

At a time when the principles of justice are being more and more eroded by Blair and Reid the voice of sanity is Boris !

For a good analysis of the the way this government has undermined civil liberties and the foundations of justice I would recommend Helena Kennedy's book on the subject. Hardly a raving leftie but highly critical of Blair and willing to speak out, unlike some of the clones he surrounds himself with.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An interesting comment on Megan's law

Just to draw attention to a thought provoking non hysterical piece by Peter Tatchell, on Megan's Law , over at 'comment is free'.

Never one to shy away from debate he also bothers to engage in with the comments , which doesn't often happen over there.

More thoughtful rational debate is needed in this area. Laws made in a media led panic, to show 'toughness', rarely make good laws.

Another comment on the issue worth looking at is from the government-appointed children's commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green. I have heard him speak and found him an impassioned believer in children's rights . He also spends time listening to children rather than demonising them. Given the choice between taking on board the views of the News of the World or Sir Al I know who I would listen to. I just hope the Government , when formulating ways to protect children, does not go for the quick popularist response.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Religious Moralists just can't leave abortion alone....

I have been waiting for some hateful moralistic reactionary to start the ball rolling over abortion and now we do. Step forward one Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor who will be calling on health ministers to lower the 24-week abortion limit at a private meeting of the Department of Health. Because of the technological advances it means that the abortion laws are outdated.
The DoH have stated that the,"government has no plans to change the law over abortion".

It does cause extreme concern that there is a constant threat of chipping away of the 1967 Act. In the States there has been a vote to ban abortion in South Dakota (and other states have followed suit) and Bush has packed his mates in the Supreme Court so Roe v Wade is hanging by a thread.

This argument about "technological advances" is false because there will always be women who need late abortions for whatever reasons. Around 1% of abortions take place after 20 weeks. And we must continue to defend that right.

As the pro-choice slogan goes: "As early as possible as late as necessary"!

Or "If abortion is murder then fucking is a felony.." (I remember seeing that on a pro-choice placard and loved it then and still love it now)

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, go shove your morality and leave women free to make their own choices...


17/6/06 Blanco signs law that would ban abortions in Louisiana

Ohio is going the same way as well where they want to make it a felony to help a friend who is seeking an abortion travelling to another state.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From thought police to virtual punch ups....

I haven't been on the blogs much the last few days. I had a catch up today. I decided to pop over to my favourite blog Feminist First. This was the site that put my comment in the naughty room (sorry recycle bin ) and told me what I was really saying before adding 'strictly no right of reply'. I notice FF must have a bit of time on her hands as she has now opened 'Open Auditions' for the recycle bin.

Now I had been planning a 'naughty room ' of my own on Stroppyblog, where people who annoyed me could be taken to and told off (but not shot). I think perhaps Feminist First may be better at taking the strict disapproving role. In fact her talents are wasted, I can see a whole new career stretching before her. Anyway I thought I might help her quest for bad feminists and men to tell off by giving her request a link. See, I can be sisterly when I try . Or perhaps I just don't like being silenced by women who call themselves feminists.

If you really want to be told off I suggest you don't agree with her, question something she has said or basically espouse a different opinion. Of course to really rattle her cage criticise Andrea (saint) Dworkin and discuss S/M (preferably of the lesbian variety) in a non disapproving tone. Of course you can't go wrong with the old favourites of porn and prostitution.

May still do our own version here. Of course I am not sure the idea of 'strictly no reply' and creating a naughty room will go down to well . After dipping my toe into the thought police territory of rad fem sites I popped by Will's site and the Drink Soaked Poppinjays . Quite a virtual punch up. Definite candidates for Feminist Firsts naughty room. Love to see her tell off Will. I did not see the comments before they were deleted at HP, so can't judge what annoyed Will. I don't spend to much time at HP. Although there are good posts on the issues, I find the comments on women and LGBT issues often range from schoolboy , via dismissive to outright offensive. Very occasionally I can be arsed to comment.

If I had a choice though , I would rather the arguments over at Will's than the thought police at Feminist First and Twisty. And whether they like it or not I am a feminist and a socialist.

I will do a more serious post soon (though there is a serious point here). To much going in the real world to concentrate much at the moment. So griping and sarcasm it is. Apparently I have created a genre of gripcasm - combining griping and sarcasm in one sentence. Don't know why anyone would think that!

FF has taken down her post on 'open auditions' for the naughty room.

In Defence of the Blow Job

Shooting, shagging, religion and now the blow job. What next, you cry?! Blogsites such here and here have been discussing the blow job in some length. Now, as I said in a previous post about what rad fems get up to in to sack, I don’t care what women do or don't do though as long they are having a good time.

But what got me was this quote from Twisty (I Blame Patriarchy blog)

“It is anti-feminist to point out the ideological problems with certain patriarchal sexbot traditions because so many women enjoy patriarchal sexbot traditions.”

It sure is anti-feminist, Twisty! Why is it so wrong for a woman a. give a blowjob and b. to enjoy the experience?

And why Twisty did you find it icky that women commented about their sexual activities? Surely as a feminist blog you shouldn’t have a problem with that.

The thing what bugs me, really bugs me, is the constant intrusion by rad fems whether it is looking at dirty pictures and/or giving a bloke a blow job. This criticism and the holier than holy bullshit gags me more than an average blow job. Saint Andrea would approve of this “thou shalt not suck a dick..” commandment.

Yes, of course, it is up to a woman and if she is coerced into doing something against her will then it is wrong BUT what happens if you enjoy the experience. Women have sexual desires and enjoy sex (Shock! Horror!). My sewer like fantasies will be definitely expunged with some carbolic soap if the rad fems had their way.

It really boils down to this, that even if a woman enjoys sex she can’t really enjoy it because she is being brainwashed by the patriarchal order and therefore can’t make an informed choice. Well, you sure can use that argument about anything under patriarchal capitalism. Are we really free to choose in any given situation?

Sheila Jeffreys made some comment once about how shocked she was that lesbians used vibrators and that she was appalled that they were using oppressive phallic instruments. My point is, look Sheila, there is some bad shit happening to women out there and vibrators isn’t one of them.

In the words of Antiprincess: Twisty, blow me!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Equal Pay for Women Players at Wimbledon..?

I like watching tennis. I have always liked watching tennis from a young age and I even play the damn sport.

But….. well, it was reading the report that Tessa Jowell will call for the abolition of the pay differences between men and women players at Wimbledon. Players like Venus Williams have threatened to strike over it. This has been an ongoing issue for years. And it took Billie Jean King to thrash Bobbie Riggs at the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973 for people just to take women’s tennis seriously. The argument to pay women less is that they don’t play as many sets as men. John McEnroe made the comment that women couldn’t compete at that same level. I think Martina Navratilova challenged him and he declined. I think we know who would have won!

On the one hand it is important to view women’s tennis on an equal basis to the men’s game. But…well, does anyone, regardless of their gender deserve, £655,000 (men’s prize money) for winning the tournament? These players are paid obscene amounts of money plus endorsements etc. Their response, similar to a L’Oreal shampoo advert, would be “cos I’m worth it”! But are they?

Tessa Jowell argues in her letter to the All England club’s chair that women’s game attracts equal levels of attention as the men’s game and this should be highlighted in them receiving the same winnings. She also includes issues around equal opportunities and so on.

This is all well and good but Tessa, come a bit closer, a bit more. Yes, that’ll do. This may hurt your ears a bit but….. What About Equal Pay For All Women!

Tessa, me old Blairite stooge, fight for equal pay for all women and not just for the glamorous sporting world who really don’t need you to fight their corner. What about ordinary women in ordinary jobs, eh?

Oh and give old Ruth K. a nudge from reading her Opus Dei tracts so she too can get off her backside and do something constructive for women.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Why a Megan's Law is wrong

According to reports, a government minister is being dispatched to the States to find out more about the Megan's Law system. In the States, parents must be informed when sex offenders move to their area after being freed from prison. The reason this has happened is due to a newspaper found out that 60 paedophiles had been moved to hostels near schools.

Reid has also hinted that he may consider calls for parents to get more information about sex offenders in their area.

Opponents to Megan's Law in the States argue that it encourages vigilantism, does not give the offender the chance to merge back into society, only 80% comply with the registration process and that majority of cases occur within the family.

Yes, it is all fundmentally about "stranger danger" and it is easier to imagine and grapple with the stereotypical view of the child sex abuser as a seedy man who lurks around playgrounds. It is easier to think of them living on the margins of society and not part of a family.

I remember a piece in the Guardian about the murder of Sarah Payne and comparing it to a recent case of a young girl who had been sexually abused and murdered by her father. No shock outrage for this young girl and it depicted a kind of hierarchy of victims with "stranger" murders at the apex. Majority of cases of sexual abuse occurs in the family and by someone the child knows. But the potential Megan's law taps into the unknown and the fear of the unknown. The stranger lurking out there, living in a hostel down the road from you. Yet contradictory, abuse in the family still remains hidden. Child abuse, rather like domestic violence exists in the "private sphere".

It disgusts me that bully-boy and gutless Reid is pandering to a populist agenda and a highly politicised agenda it is. The criminologist Roger Graef argued that the government should "bite the bullet and face down public ignorance and vindictiveness". He was writing about prisons but it could easily be applied to this. The tabloids fan the flames with their vile "naming and shaming" tactics and watch it spiral out of control in places like Paulsgrove where lynch mob mentality ruled.

I remember reading a piece in a newsletter for survivors of child sexual abuse and the author asked a pertinent question: How many of those people out in Paulsgrove baying for the blood of paedophiles are sexually abusing their own kids?

Update: 19/6/06

Piece in today's Guardian warning Reid of lynch mob rule

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Hard Candy

I really wouldn't recommend watching this film when you are recovering from a hangover as the trendy shaky camera shots, which may add tension to a scene but also jar a tad as well (makes your head spin as well!). I had heard about the controversy surrounding this film and its subject matter. What made me laugh was when I was buying my ticket the woman behind the counter smirked and asked me whether I was over 18. I replied, "Yeah, by about 18 years"! Sorry but I digress....

The film starts with emails going back and forward to "Lensman" and "Thonggrrrl" and they agree to meet. Thonggrrl is Hayley a cute and clever 14 year old and she meets Jeff a 32 year old photographer. Both start entering playful and flirtatious banter and it seems obvious some kind of sexual frisson is developing. Jeff flatters and charms Hayley by saying how clever and mature she looks but it is false as she does looks 14. They go back to his place under the pretext of seeing a bootleg copy of a Goldfrapp concert. Jeff's house has a very respectable pad full of mod cons and photos of young models strewn on his walls. They chat and things become potentially sexual. They mix drinks though Hayley tells him she prefers to mix her own drinks and mixes his. Jeff starts to try and photograph Hayley until he passes out.

It is at this stage you start to understand Hayley's intention and Jeff's has awoken to his worst nightmare. "I told you, never allow anyone to mix your drink"! says Hayley to a bound Jeff.
The lighting has gone from sunny colours to cold blues. This represents the change in tempo and turn of the tables, so to speak. You don't know what Hayley has in mind for Jeff except it involves "maintenance surgery"!

What originally started as banter now becomes much more charged. I found the dialogue and the narrative rather stagey and sometimes lacked flow but other times it was powerful. What starts out with Jeff pursuing girls like Hayley over the internet and getting to know how to manipulate them. He finds out Hayley has been doing her own homework about his lifestyle. Is Hayley the daughter of surgeon? Why does the camera pan onto a noticeboard in the cafe where they meet which shows a poster of missing teenager? What connection does Hayley have with this missing girl? And what does Jeff have to do with it all? Is Hayley an avenging angel punishing child abusers?

I don't want to give too much away but I was interested that Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian compared the film to illusionary and surreal Odishon (Audition) which he argued was superior. I am not totally sure about this as there are differences between Hard Candy and Audition. Though obviously I can see the comparison such as the torture scenes and making individual (collective) men to be responsible for their behaviour.

But I did find myself identfying with Hayley as when Jeff asks who she really is. She replies, "I am every girl you have pictured, touched and molested". The reason why I felt for Hayley is the real frustration and anger at the number of girls and women who are sexually abused and raped and who never get justice but are instead disbelieved and silenced. And before you say anything I am not going to quote from the SCUM manifesto. Even Linda Williams in this month's Sight and Sound says, "I cheered at every stage of her nasty little plan". You do want her to get away with it.

The poster of the film shows Hayley in a red hoodie looking like Little Red Riding Hood and in pursuit of the next big bad wolf. The film may have problems such as it is uneven but the script is kind of powerful. Especially the idea of the pursuer beomes the pursued. The fact that Jeff is in a position of power over Hayley yet she knows which buttons to push to get him where she wants him or as she says, "carpe omnium" (take it all) and thankfully none of the Lolita bullshit either.

The acting is great. Ellen Page (Hayley) gives an electrifying performance while Patrick Wilson (Jeff) presents himself as this realistic and credible nice down -to -earth three-dimensional guy and that's what is creepy about it all. He is average and like any other bloke.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life 'most inspirational film' ever: Bah Humbug!!

There are many things which annoy me and the film It's a Wonderful Life makes me want to pick up something heavy and lob it at my television screen everytime that twee little film is on at Xmas. So, imagine my horror when I saw it's been voted as the "most inspirational film ever made" by the American Film Institute (AFI).
Inspirational for what? Mawkish sentimentally .... Oh yes. Saccharine coated pig-swill ... most certainly. Instead the AFI state that the film has given people fresh hope at times of trauma and devastation. But frankly this isn't the film to do that, instead maybe, it gives people a "quick fix" and some kind of reassurrance or just downright escapist nostaligia but inspirational? Nope...

Don't get me wrong I like my escapism like the next person but this film has a far deeper and conservative message.

I am not a fan of David Mamet but he wrote an excellent piece in the Guardian in December 2001 and an extended version appeared in the same month in Sight and Sound magazine. Mamet compares Capra's seasonal family film to A Christmas Carol and that at the centre it is not Scrooge but Bob Cratchit. Cratchit or George Bailey runs the gauntlet of redemption and second chances. The community and the family are important features in his life and maintaining that order is important to George. Yet George is a banker and an altrusitic one which throws up so many contradictions such as that he may be a capitalist but he is a kind one!

The myth, as well, that George Bailey and his family are happy but poor. Because being poor is a kind of a redemption and something which should be admired. But like all good escapism the poverty issue is resolved by George's rich friend and everything is once again snug and secure in Capra's fantasy.

Mamet also compares It a Wonderful Life (1946) to De Sica's The Bicycle Thieves (1948) where the characters are not one-dimensional happy poor people but real human beings in real poverty and experiencing real situations. There are no such convenient happy endings in De Sica's film. What is also apparant is the old-fashion lushness of It's a Wonderful Life compared to the monochrone grainy neo-realism of The Bicycle Thieves.

As Mamet ends his article with, "we should perhaps note our unremarked acceptance of the metaphor of happiness as wealth".

That is why I am using a photo to advertise this post of The Bicycle Thieves.

To finish with I would like throw open the comments and ask you what films have influenced and inspired you.

My three films are: Battle of Algiers
Night of the Hunter (primarily due to the "painterly style" of the late and great cinematographer Stanley Cortez and a shame that Charles Laughton never directed again)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Weekly Worker and their take on the Sheridan letter

I know, I know, I shouldn't rise to the bait but I re-read Peter Manson's piece in Weekly Worker (that paper is designed for the top shelf...) about the open letter from Tommy Sheridan. So, I have sent a letter in and here it is...

Dear Editor

While reading Peter Manson’s analysis of the problems concerning Tommy Sheridan’s open letter (Weekly Worker, 627) I was struck by a feeling of déjà vu or as Dolly Parton once sang, “here you go again”.

Sheridan has made remarks (unhelpful, in my opinion) regarding feminism and the strange notion that the SSP has become a “gender-obsessed discussion group”. This then gives comrade Manson licence to attack feminism as “petty bourgeois” and akin to “petty bourgeois nationalism”. Unfortunately, Manson lumps all forms of feminism together under the banner of “petty bourgeois” and then bizarrely compares it to petty bourgeois nationalism. For a start, nationalism and feminism are two entirely different social phenomena and how he made this ideological conflation is strange beyond belief.

I don’t know what the internal issues are in the SSP but the fact that Sheridan zooms in on gender makes me wonder why he has done that. Interestingly, he has attacked the 50-50 policy, which in my opinion has both positives and negatives. But in the short-term it is a way of getting women involved in the leadership. Therefore what do the CPGB and Sheridan proposes in getting women active in all structures of the organisation? And when comrade Manson argues that “we champion genuine equality for women” it just seems to be abstract window-dressing because anyone can say it and what does it mean exactly. How you gonna do it in practical terms, that’s what I want to know?

"Strictly no right of reply".... Rad Fem thought police.

In earlier posts I have spoken about highlighting womens and LGBT issues on male leftie blogs. In the spirit of fairness I feel I should also do this with feminist blogs. I recently felt quite frustrated reading radical feminist blogs that focused on issues of appearance such as wearing bra's and shaving their legs . Now I do understand the importance of the issue of appearance and women , both Louise and I have posted/commented on this . I do though lose the will to live at what can seem navel gazing when there is a lot worse happening to women in the world.

Yesterday I came across a Rad Fem site, Feminist First, that was discussing wearing a bra . I had previously ploughed through a similar site posting at length on various beauty rituals. I suppose I wanted to make the point that as feminists perhaps we should focus outwards a little and that we are privileged if that is our only concern (and of course it isn't , even in the West there are major issues/problems for women). I commented, and for me I think fairly inoffensively.

The site was moderated . Today I received an e-mail telling me my comment had been put in the recycle bin !

I do understand that feminist blogs do attract some unpleasant comments . At Stroppyblog we have also received some. My view though is not to censor but to show them. I do not think I said anything that should have caused great offence, it was my views as a feminist. Why not put the comments up with the original post so that others could argue and disagree with me if they wanted. I think its called debate !

Of course my punishment for daring to disagree did not end there. In the recycle bin the moderator had added her own 'interpretation' of what I had said , the heading being "BETWEEN THE LINES OF A TROLL COMMENT" . I am not a troll. I only post under Stroppybird. I gave my e-mail address and the link to Stroppyblog, so hardly hiding.

Feminist First then added 'interpretations' of what I was really saying (silly me for not knowing my own mind or not being aware of the concept of conditioning). They were added to my comments and written as though I was saying them, putting words into my mouth. They include :

I am accustomed to criticising feminists and dismissing issues that are important to women and this has made me unpopular in the past

In debates I do not worry about being 'popular'. In regard to all the 'interpretations' I would like to point out I say what I mean . I do not dismiss issues that are important to women . I may apply some critical thought, and for that I do not apologise. I also listen to other views and debate, something that seems unfamiliar to Feminist First.

Another interpretation made was :

I don't like my breasts as they are, but im not about to admit to this after dissing the writer of a post on women loving themselves. Besides, I feel a bit guilty about the negativity, hostility and arrogance of my comment, but my bra size mitigates all that.

Apparently from my comment this person could deduce that I hate my body and can't admit to it. I wish I could be so smug and able to assess people from a few lines on a blog. I find it patronising to be told how I feel about my body. I am not in 'denial'. I also don't feel in the slightest bit guilty and do not consider my comments to have been negative,hostile or arrogant. They were my views and feelings and as valid as any other on the site.

So I thought , ok i'll reply. Then I saw at the top of the recycle bin Strictly no right of reply.

This really pisses me of. I would like to debate with this site but am not allowed to. The list of rules about who can comment more or less says don't bother unless you agree. I can imagine some very empty comment boxes on the MLBs if they operated this rule!

To debate and disagree is not to be negative, hostile or arrogant. Strictly no right of reply and 'interpretations' is. I am happy for people to comment, disagree and debate with me on this blog.
I am sure I will, if not already, be labelled a woman hater for posting this here. I would rather debate on Feminist First , but I am not allowed to do that . I am censored and 'interpreted' because I did not go on the site and agree. I didn't play ball with the smugness and arrogance of someone who can 'interpret' and criticise me but not allow a right to reply. I hate to say this, but sometimes there is just to much in common between Rad Fems and religious fundamentalists. Wonder what the Rad Fem equivalent is of a fatwa !!

Feminist First you are welcome to debate here anytime and not be censored . An option you do not allow on your site. It may seem a strange concept at first, but i'm sure you will get the hang of it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blair "to change" asbestos ruling

What's this, I say, Tony Blair gone soft? He has said that he is hoping to change a ruling that will stop widows receiving full compensation for their partners deaths from asbestos. Insurers successfully challenged a judgement favouring bereaved families and workers who have contacted mesothelioma at work.

Blair said: "I regret that judgement. I'm looking at the moment to see the best opportunity for us to change it", he told a GMB conference in Blackpool.

Well, we haven't heard what he has up his sleeve but being cynical I cannot imagine it is going to be shockingly radical. I mean, when will there be Corporate Manslaughter legislation? The government has stalled on this for years.

According to Thompsons Solicitors 220 workplace deaths result from mesothelioma in the UK alone. This doesn't include the people injured due to asbestos related illnesses.

And with this law lords ruling, insurers will save tens of millions of pounds annually off the backs of people who have died or are dying of mesothelioma. This absolutely stinks!

Centre for Corporate Accountability

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tory 'pop idol' ?

Inspired perhaps by the levels of voting by the public as part of reality shows , the Tories have come up with their latest gimmick :

"Every voter in London will be able to have a say in choosing the Conservative candidate to be the capital's mayor.
David Cameron hopes the unique process - involving hustings and then text and phone voting - will boost the Tories' chances in the 2008 election
. "

My first though was , oh good, the chance to vote for the most ridiculous candidate. But the Tories have learnt from reality TV, and the revenue generated, and there will be a 'modest charge' to stop vote rigging. Damm. Of course maximum meddling would have involved the left working together to support the most embarrassing Tory candidate. So that would never have worked then.

Perhaps as well as hustings and texts they can put the candidates in a house for the final week and give them tasks . They could also have a Tory version of Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing or Stars in their eyes.

Of course there is the old fashioned option of having policies. But hey, given the little difference between the Tories and Labour , perhaps who can outdo the other most in the superficial gimmick stakes is the only way to tell them apart. Blair started the spin and image strategy , looks like he is being beaten at his own game.

update 14/6/06

Notice that Stroppyblog is up to date with the news, Harry's Place has only just posted on this .

Fear and panic .....

I notice in the news today that the doctor who caused the scare around MMR and autism is to be charged with serious professional misconduct. I find the whole issue interesting for a number of reasons. It has shown how much the public distrust the medical profession. There was a willingness to believe the scare story even though subsequent research has not backed up the claims of a link with autism made by Dr Wakefield.

There are reasons to exercise critical judgement of the medical profession, but the trend to believe any scare story is not the way forward. It often feels to me that as a society, and particularly the woolly element of the middle classes, we are willing to embrace lots of nonsense. I come across many people who are happier to believe the words of a ‘crystal therapist’ than a doctor. People who say ‘what do experts know’. Well yes, exercise some critical thought but there is a clue in the word expert.

The other issue I find interesting is that the fear of MMR and autism does not seem to have educated the public about what autism is. Looking today at the page on the BBC News site there was not a link to the Autism Society or of any of the groups set up by people with autism/aspergers. Most people’s views are still either of very disturbed children or of Rain man.

The reality is that autism is part of a spectrum, including aspergers. It is still a recent diagnosis and although it seems hereditary, no cause is known for it. The debate around MMR has been unhelpful. Some awareness of aspergers and autism could have come from it, but did not. It is not all negative. Many people on the spectrum are what are called high functioning. It is not all ‘bad’. There are positives as well as negatives aspects to autism and aspergers, as there are for people who are not on the spectrum. Trouble is, as with mental illness and learning disability, in this society there is still the fear of people who do not fit in and of the unknown. Many of the problems faced are due to the attitudes and ignorance of other people. It is often 'hidden' and so there is an expectation for someone to 'fit in'. When someone does not then the reaction to them is often critical.

Perhaps now the MMR debate can move from fear and panic to looking at autism and aspergers in a more rational light. Perhaps people can take the time to understand and appreciate the differences .

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Just who would you not kick out of bed....

After being egged on by the wonderful Stroppybird and the fact it is a Sunday and I am also in kinda frivolous mood, we thought that as have done posts on shooting, sex and religion (not strictly in that order..) and it seems to bring the punters in. We decided to ask you lovely commenters about who you would and would not kick out of bed in the morning (well, it is a Sunday afternoon and maybe you still are in bed..)

Anyway, I will kick off with my list (remember this isn't po-faced seriousness)

Who I would kick out of bed

Jude Law (pretty boy and no talent)
Brad Pitt (just soooo brainless)
Hugh Grant (cos he is witless)
Chris Martin (isn't it obvious)
Guy Ritchie (what does Madonna see in him?)

Who I would not kick out of bed

Madonna (cos she is fantastic)
Gael Garcia Bernal (..gorgeous)
Antonio Banderas (pre- Hollywood years mind you)
Susan Sarandon (sexy)
Vincent D'onofrio ("weirdly attractive")

Please feel free to rip the list to shreads and even put your own forward

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mobilise Against Abuse and Rape!

The following is an excerpt from the May edition of Vukani! (Arise!) - Workers Organisation for Socialist Action (WOSA)

National - The Zuma rape trial has, after months of degrading, intimate detailing of a woman’s sexual and abusive past, finally ended with an expected outcome: Jacob Zuma was found not guilty of rape. The trial has opened up and laid bare many contradictions and tensions found in post-Apartheid South Africa, ranging from tribalism to internal power struggles in the ANC. But, most importantly, the trial has all too vividly exposed the sexism and misogyny – hatred of women – that permeates all sections of society: the judicial system, the media, political parties, and parts of the general population.

This trial was actually not extraordinary. The media attention it received and the political debates it opened up were, but as a rape trial, it followed a pattern numerous women laying charges of rape have experienced: little sympathy and unsatisfactory help from the police in terms of getting counselling and advice; no protection from the most intimate questions during cross examination in court; and a ‘not guilty’ judgement based in part on the woman’s dress code, displayed affection towards the man, and an interrogation of her sexual/abusive background. As in so many other rape trials, it was the accuser who was put on trial, not the accused.

In South Africa, a rape survivor’s sexual past may be admitted as evidence in court if the presiding judge allows it, as did judge van der Merwe in the Zuma case. “The fact that the judges who apply the law often still assume such a history to be relevant, means that a shameful double standards about men and women’s sexuality is still prevalent in our largely patriarchal society. It is based on the primitive assumption that women who have any sexual history at all are somehow less worthy of respect and concern than men and more prone to fabricating allegations of sexual assault”, wrote the AIDS Legal Network in a press statement. The reason a woman’s clothing and her sexual history is brought up in rape trials is to discredit her according to misogynist standards, which claim the right to decide what is appropriate sexual behaviour for women and to punish any woman breaking the defined boundaries.

The treatment of Zuma’s accuser outside the courtroom, where hundreds of people mocked, threatened and harassed her, showed in a reprehensible way how a woman daring to challenge patriarchy – in this case by taking a man to court for violating her – can expect to be treated. WOSA is appalled by the involvement of mainly the youth organisations of the ANC and SACP in these demonstrations, which were more acts of persecuting a woman than to give support to a man, and by their misogynist statements during and after the trial. We are likewise appalled by Zuma’s display of patriarchal arrogance as he led his supporters in song on the very steps to the court at the beginning of the trial, and by his refusal to call on them to respect the complainant.

The support for this man by COSATU, SACP, the Alliance youth organisations and parts of the ANC indicates their willingness to sacrifice a principled stand on women’s equality for the sake of male-dominated personality-driven power politics. This has nothing to do with the real class struggle for workers’ empowerment and control, and serves as a sad remainder of the state of the class consciousness within South Africa. We challenge the organisations and parties that support Jacob Zuma to show us how he has championed the cause of the working class in post-Apartheid South Africa. To our knowledge, there is no public evidence of Zuma criticising the neo-liberal policies of Thabo Mbeki, embodied most clearly within the GEAR policy. How can he be presented as the left alternative by any left group with political integrity?

Organisations such as the People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) and the AIDS Legal Network demand a change in rape laws, to protect rape survivors from secondary stigmatisation in courts and the “sexist and patriarchal attitudes of lawyers and judges”. WOSA fully supports the call for a change in rape laws. Only one in nine rapes is reported to the police, and of these cases, only 7 per cent are successfully prosecuted. In a country with among the world’s highest rape statistics, where 50 per cent of all women in South Africa are at risk of being raped once in their lifetime and where gang rapes is the most common form of rape, it should be declared a breach of human rights not to provide gender-sensitive and adequate support as well as legal protection for people surviving rape and abuse.

WOSA calls on the revolutionary left, most of which is still male-dominated, to seriously take up the struggle against women abuse and rape – this includes picketing with women’s groups and participating in their activities. A socialist programme must also include looking at the attitudes towards women within our own organisations, and actively recruiting women to our movements. The left needs to realise that without the involvement of women, any social revolution will only be representative of half the working class population – and as such, it will fail.


The Workers’ Organisation for Socialist Action (WOSA) is a socialist organisation. We believe that the problems of housing, unemployment, poverty, HIV/AIDS, gender inequalities, expensive basic services and environmental destruction cannot be solved under capitalism, which is the system we have in South Africa. Under capitalism, bosses and capitalists make profits by keeping wages low, by retrenching workers and by not spending money on making workplaces safe. The capitalist competition between countries and arms companies fuels war, death and destruction.

If anyone is interested in the May newsletter please email me as there is no link. It's sent to supporters via email.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Punk rockers with flowers in their hair

Everytime I go to the gym I hear this song, "I wish I was a punk rocker (with flowers in my hair)" by Sandi Thom. Now the lyrics are fine, it is just the title makes me think.... fluffy hippy. Maybe she wants to bring together hippydom and punk but won't self-respecting punks be frothing at the mouths at this outrage? And wasn't it Johnny Rotten who said, "never trust a hippy"! Punk kinda passed me by as I was around 7 when it all kicked off and I was still listening to Abba (I don't listen to them no more... oh well, if you insist..). And anyway I am a New Romantic at heart (where's me Visage collection gone..?)
But knowing me (no pun intended) I will be humming along to it in no time and give me 6 months I will probably like it.

Well, suppose it beats the Sugababes and Girls Aloud (apologies to Ed at International Rooksbyism as I know he is a fan of their lyrical in-depth analytical portrayal of women's oppression under patriarchal capitalism...)

Note to the Sentencing Guidelines Council: Yes Means Yes, No Means NO!

I would have posted something about the latest guidelines from the Sentencing Council yesterday but Blogger seemed to be throwing a wobbler.

According to the report, rapists will receive reduced prison sentences if the "victim has withdrawn her consent to sex at the last minute". The Sentencing Guidelines Council directs judges that "date rape" or "acquaintance rape" is as serious as " stranger rape" but it said that there should be less severe punishments in cases where the victim "said 'no' to sexual intercourse at the last moment. This could be a mitigating factor.

Ruth Hall from Women Against Rape, accused the Council of creating a two-tier system for rape allegations and that women have a right to change their minds at any time. The number of rapists successfully prosecuted last year fell, despite an increase in attacks. Four out of five are between sexual acquaintances.

But the more difficult area involved rapes where the couple had sexual familiarity, according to the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Ruth Hall is spot-on in her criticisms highlighting the fact a two- tier system for rape allegations will appear. These Guidelines throw up the usual contradictions where rape is seemed to be taken seriously but at the same time there are the panderings to sexist stereotypes. There was a case in the States recently were the rapist was the victim's ex-boyfriend because of this "sexual familiarity" his sentence was reduced.

Women have a right to say no at any time. Unlike so-called feminists like Camille Paglia who argue that if a woman goes back to a man's place she is given out "mixed messages" and that the man will obviously think sex is on the cards.

Hey Camille, which bit of "NO" is a mixed message?? Who needs bourgeois commentors when you have old reactionaries like Camille!

I am worried that these proposals are spousal immunuity by the back door. Bear in mind that spousal immunity wasn't abolished until 1990.

Are we going back to the days where a woman will be expected to "honour" a man with her body even when it's against her will?

To restate the obvious, rape is rape and no means no!

There is a post about these Guidelines on Mind the Gap

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What do radical feminists do in bed..?

Before anyone condemns me for the title of this post I will explain my motives.
I wasn’t going to write this but I felt compelled. Well, more like damn angry.

While reading some of the rad fem blogs regarding “pornstitution” (new fangled word for lumping porn and prostitution together) I remembered a friend of mine some years ago admitting that she liked looking at soft porn (both lesbian and straight) as she was turned on by the images. She whispered this to me in a conspiratorial way as she felt guilty and ashamed. Her final remark depressed me as she said she couldn’t talk about this to other feminists as she was afraid of being accused of betraying the cause. Is she “woman hating”? Of course not!

Now that was not the feminism I signed up for. For me the opposite is true. I want women to be able to discuss their needs, desires, sex and sexuality without the fear of any condemnation, in an open and free way.

The usual “finger wagging morality” stunts feminism. Being able to discuss ideas is part and parcel of liberation. Women already get enough moralistic lectures in this society. So, if a woman is turned on by porn images does that mean she is capitulating to patriarchy?

Sexuality and sex is complex and contradictory in a patriarchal capitalist society. Women are the ones who are gazed at and rarely are they the gazers. Women are objectified and sex is commodified but a straight forward simplistic explanation of sexual desire cannot simply be reliant on patriarchy or an economistic view of capitalism. Women’s sexuality is bound up with patriarchal ideas along with the dominance of male sexuality.

Why is it so odd or even wrong for women to find porn sexy and a turn on? The guilt tripping and the condemnation will only serve one purpose and that is to alienate women. Why, as a feminist, do I need to justify my sexual desires?

Aren’t we big enough to be able to discuss, argue and debate in an open rational way? Whether women enjoy fetishes, bondage, porn, s/m, vanilla, dildos, swinging from the light fittings and so on, I don’t care as long as it is the woman’s choice.

What is the distinction of “good sex” and “bad sex”? Answer: it is up to women to decide.

All I am saying that we cannot judge women, make our own assumptions and come to rigid conclusions. Nor is it helpful to hold the belief that women are just passive victims of patriarchy to know what desire is. We are not just saturated with sexual imagery we are also saturated by morality. It is no to moralism but yes to sexual freedom on our own terms without the lectures. I want radical feminism out of the bedroom and if I want to be the dominatrix, well that's my business.

As lesbian feminist Joan Nestle (from the book, A Restricted Country) argues:

"Don't scream penis at me, but help to change the world so no woman feels shame or fear because she likes to fuck."

Damn right!

I don’t care what radical feminists do in bed and I expect them not to give a damn about what I do.

This article by Lynne Segal is also worth a read.

Monday, June 05, 2006

So who would you nominate to be shot, come the revolution.....

In the manner of Big Brother or Pop Idol I thought I would open up comments for who should be lined up against the wall and shot after the overthrow of capitalism.
Before anyone gets all arsey and starts lecturing me about encouraging assassination and terrorism this is a joke ! I am not advocating people being shot under socialism. I am not in favour of the death penalty. In the real world, as opposed to the fantasy land of blogs, I would just think of some strange and unusual torment for them . Customised to the reasons they piss me off in the first place.

So again, this is a joke. I also blame AN for encouraging this.

So I'll start this off, and may add to it later.

James Blunt for being an upper class ex army twit who seems to want to be the musical equivalent of Hugh Grant. His voice is irritating and his songs whiney.

Dido. Arghhh. This is what 'girlies' are supposed to like. Her songs always seem to be playing in women's clothes shops . Drippy.

All people who went fox hunting. Actually won't shoot them, just chase them over fields until they are exhausted. The dogs can then tear at them. See if they still think its sport then !

Obsessive reactionary religious types who lecture people about how they should live their lives, impose their beliefs on others , and pass judgement . Especially the hypocrites. Perhaps not shoot them, just pelt them with stones until they topple from their moral high ground.

Middle aged men who have pony tails. I know, totally superficial, but they are an affront to any sort of style . Oh and men with beer guts who insist on walking aroung town centres without tops on, passing comment on the appearance of women.

The chattering classes who have dinner parties, witter on competitively about house prices, schools , nannies and babies. Especially those who want to downsize and buy a B&B in some remote part of France. Those who witter on about crystal therapy and buy 'authentic ethnic' tat will suffer a longer more painful death than shooting. I'll give that some thought.

Of course I would include racists, sexists, hompohobes, Tories , Melanie Phillips etc . Goes without saying.

Better stop now, hopefully I have caused some offence .

Do please feel free to add your suggestions and rant in the comments !

Bloody world cup !

Ok, going to get stroppy.

This is going to be a World Cup free zone. Noticed today the spread of football related posts on some of the MLBs. Some of course wrapped it up in politics, discussing whether it is ideologically correct to adopt an 'anyone but England mentality. ' My one concession to this is yes, but that's because my background is Scottish!

Perhaps a second concession, we could do a 'casualty' count of all those leftie men who get thumped in pubs . Never mind blogging, they are out in the real world, part of the rough and tumble of revolutionary politics. Never mind those who risked their lives or went to prison for what they believed, here at Stroppyblog we should honour those who stood up for their principles and cheered the other side .

Sadly even my second favourite blog (sorry AN and Jim Jay, have to have some loyalty ) has posted on the subject and as such will lose one Stroppyblog star .

Personally sport bores me witless. The prospect of idiotic men, and women, wittering on in the real world and in the media about football for the next few weeks is starting to make my head hurt.
Now my escape from reality, the world of blogs, is getting all footbally.

Not being girlie either, even if the pic is of flower arranging (its called irony ), women are just as bad. No problem with Nick Hornby type lists on music, but no football !!

'tired and irritable' bloggers .....

Saw this report about children and computers and wondered how much might apply to bloggers .....

"A head teacher is taking children's computers and TVs from their bedrooms in an effort to improve behaviour.
Duncan Harper, of New Woodlands School, which deals with pupils excluded from other primary schools in Lewisham, south London, said standards had risen.
Parents gave permission for him to enter their houses after he told them pupils were arriving tired and irritable every morning.
Mr Harper said stopping computer and TV use at night made a "real difference".
Mr Harper said: "When we turn up they are usually absolutely gobsmacked. "

Of course add late night alcohol and daytime blogging ....

"Some four-year-olds threw tantrums in class because they could not communicate in any other way, it found. "

Sounds like some meetings I have been to .

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Male leftie bloggers............

Over the last few days there has been lots of talk on the blogosphere about sexism and male leftie bloggers (MLBs) . We at Stroppyblog have been critical of the level of debate , and attitudes to, women/LGBT and equality issues on the blogs and the left in general.

As a joke, on the 'Catherine Bennett on the average male blogger ' post I suggested star ratings , naming and shaming, taking over failing blogs and Stroppyblog gold stars for posts/MLBs on these issues. AN and Jim Jay encouraged these ideas , and I really don't need encouraging ! Jim suggested a Stroppyblog approved logo of a woman patting a boys head.

Not sure if we will be actually allowed to take over 'failing' blogs !! It would be good though to highlight posts on MLBs that take the issues on board, as well as the occasional highlighting of some of the worst elements (wanker of the week perhaps !). One thing we won't be doing is worrying about what time someone posts a blog or whether they talk about music!! So Paul, keep up the late night/early morning music posts .

We would also welcome guest posts here. Ed has offered to write one on the issues for the left and feminism from a 'straight pro-feminist male (SPFMs) ' perspective .

So to start this off, a mention of two MLBs and SPFMs (Eds term which we have pinched) :

Ed for his post on women newsreaders
AN for his post on sex workers

Oh and mustn't forget Paul . He has kindly offered to cook, clean and scrub showers for us . This offer is also open to the right woman , who must be dressed in a rubber catsuit .No, Im not making it up! Think we will need a whole new category for you Paul.

So suggestions please for blogs, posters, awards, logos ...........

Friday, June 02, 2006

Virtual net curtain twitching !

Apparently Texas is to offer live surveillance footage of the Mexican border on the internet. The idea is for web users anywhere in the world to report, by freephone, when they spot any apparently illegal border crossing.

This development will create a new bread of virtual net-twitchers and expand the concept of neighbourhood watch. A real 'reality show'.

For those who live close by there and are looking for a new hobby, get a bit of fresh air and exercise , there are the Minutemen

" a group of US civilian volunteers that has been patrolling the Mexican border began last week building a fence along a section of the frontier.
The Minutemen group started erecting the fence on privately-owned land in Arizona on Saturday, saying it is "doing the job the federal government will not do". "

Its a shame they can't have public hanging and flogging really. Damm liberals spoil all their fun .

Tory policy shock!

A post for all those cynics who questioned whether Cameron and his New Tories had any policies, of course they have. Oh yea of little faith. The first sighting of one very important policy has been reported on the News 24 website :

"Drivers should be able to turn left at red lights in a bid to ease congestion, the Conservatives have proposed. "

Groundbreaking stuff from cuddly Cameron . Should speed the passage of him, his bike and his car following behind with his clean undies.....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Catherine Bennett on the average male blogger

"Men used to go fishing when they wanted to get away from the wife and swap smutty jokes. Now they take up blogging".

I am not a fan usually of Catherine Bennett but I think she hits the nail on the head when it comes describing your average male blogger. She points out the low opinion of women which exists on many blogs including the Guardian's own Comment is free site. I mean, take a random look at the blogs such as Harry's Place, Guido and I am also including leftie blogs as well, where feminism has passed them by. As far as these specimens of the male sex are concerned, it is all about totty, whether she shaves her legs and that women really, you know, really want to stay at home and have kids. Quite.

And they wonder why women rarely comment on these testosterone charged blogs. I imagine these blogsites as cyberpubs. And don't get me started on the defensive behaviour you receive when you actually criticise the rampant sexism on some of these sites....

I get bored by these ideas of women and frankly demoralised. Some of the "jokes" and "comments" remind me of the 1970s and which therefore should be consigned to the dustbin of sexist history.

Think about it chaps, it just aint clever or.... funny!