HB-Oh, fuck off

Here’s what happened on my International Women’s Day:

 

I started the day listening to Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill, which I haven’t heard since Coogan used it as a comedy device on The Trip, and before that it’d been years.

 

It’s alright, you know, that album. She can hold a tune and despite her much-spoofed understanding of the concept of irony, it’s great to hear a record in which someone’s willing to be vulnerable and honest. But it’s that honesty that most depresses me.

 

Aside from the pop-rock anthemic quality of the album, and the lovely (though screechy) vocal arrangements, I think a large part of the reason the album was successful was this sense that it was relatable. And I just don’t fucking relate.

 

What’s more, I’m sad that other people – especially women – would find the feelings espoused on the record as universal.

 

I don’t want to disparage either the creativity or honesty of another woman, especially as this is about International Women’s Day and women should be allowed to be and feel exactly what they want, without being derided for it.

 

This is more of a lament about the state of things.

 

Take, You Oughtta Know

 

Here’s the answer to her questions:

 

‘Yes, she’d probably go down on him in a theatre. That’s not the perfect measure of the perversion you allude to. The relative merits of you both operate outside the realms of your willingness to give head in public, and in either case, it’s not a fucking competition.’

 

‘No, he’s almost certainly not thinking of you when he fucks her.”

 

“No, he doesn’t feel it when you scratch your nails down someone else’s back, it’s a physiological impossibility, and in any case, he’s busy fucking his new girlfriend.”

 

I want to live in a world where women just assume that anyone they used to fuck is thinking about them constantly, because they’re immeasurably unique and magnificent, but that they aren’t arsed either way. When’s that album coming out?

 

The dream break-up album track list would go:

 

  1. “Who are you again?”
  2. “Didn’t we used to fuck?”
  3. “Best of luck in all your future endeavours [The “Ah Well” Remix]”
  4. “I’m fucking great”
  5. “Next!”
  6. Six
  7. Songs
  8. Not
  9. About
  10. Dick
  11. At All
  12. “Still great”

 

No-one’s saying it isn’t tricky if you’re in love and someone bins you. I’m not even saying if you want to hold someone accountable for not loving you anymore, as if they were contractually obliged to, is bad. I’m not disputing her feelings, anyone else’s feelings, and I’m not saying there’s a wrong or right way to cope with rejection. Knock yourself out if you’re consumed with anger about the issue to a point where you want to write a catchy album about the whole fucking thing.

 

What I hate is this sense that those feelings are universal. Because they aren’t. I’ve never felt them and I’ve been in love. I hate the sense that a woman’s identity is beholden to their relationships with men.

 

Which is why when I’d stopped listening to Alanis on my way to work and walked into the communal staff area in which women were discussing the division of domestic labour in their homes, I felt further saddened.

 

I don’t care what you do in your house. I don’t care if you live in shit, or if you cook and clean all day. I don’t care if your fella does it all, or nothing.

 

But I do care that you’re discussing it in work. I do care that you speak about the said division of labour as if there were universal truths pertaining to gender identity and cleanliness. I do care that you’re doing it on my time. I do care that some of you are 24 and talking about still walking into domestic arrangements in which you’re doing all the fucking chores, when you don’t want to. I care that you’re arguing with your fella about him not picking his clothes up off the bedroom floor in 2015 as if there aren’t other fucking options and you aren’t in control of your own fucking living arrangements.

 

I care that there’s an assumption I know what you’re talking about. I care that you’re in work and there’s still this Loose Women-style narrative that this is what men are and this is what women are and that the liberated bit of it is just fucking identifying it and moaning.

 

You have a choice. Unless there’s a threat of physical violence in the household, and I’ve no doubt – statistically speaking – that is a reality for some of them, you have a choice. Don’t do it.

 

“But if I don’t do it, he won’t do it…” So none of you do it, and live in shit. Just don’t bore me with dull rhetoric, because you have a choice. And if you don’t have a choice, don’t sanctify your relationship in other instances when you talk about him being a great dad or your rock. If you’re getting the tea on simply because you’ve got a fanny, you’re not in a relationship, you’re in a fucking prison.

 

“Me and Steve are going to Madrid in May…”

 

If this is the same Steve who you’ve told the office you row with because he hasn’t washed up in four years, why don’t you go to Spain on your own and fuck a few Spaniards?

 

As I say, it’s not the individual women I have the problem with. We live in a society that informs us and our relationships. It’s not that people are in shit relationships; it’s that we’re creating shit relationships for each other by normalising behaviours and gender roles that are bad for us.

 

It’s that we live in a world in which it is commonplace for women to openly discuss and dwell on all the various ways they are oppressed, but it’s not commonplace for other women to say…” Oh man, Steve sounds like an absolute oppressive wankstain. Have you considered living with someone who’ll clean for you, or better still why not fuck your way around Great Britain and then when you cook and clean for yourself it’ll seem less exploitative?”

 

Later on that same day I came home to watch Better Call Saul.

 

Oh man, I am loving Better Call Saul.

 

At this point I think it has even better potential than Breaking Bad, which I also love. It has the same great cinematography and soundtrack, but I think Saul is a much more rounded character and it’s funnier. But it got me thinking about all my favourite TV programmes.

 

The Sopranos is the greatest, obviously. Not up for debate. Then we have The Wire, Breaking Bad… they’re all programmes that you could watch time and again and still enjoy.

 

And yet. No great women in any of them.

 

Carmella Soprano, possibly. But not until season 4 and in any case one great female – and her greatness could be contested because her role is a device for virtue over sin for much of the drama – does not make for any meaningful dent.

 

I don’t think I’m actively selecting male dominated dramas, either.

 

Game of Thrones and House of Cards have a couple of women of interest, but you couldn’t say the drama in either isn’t inherently propelled by men.

 

No, my International Women’s Day was dominated and, indeed, subjugated by the prevailing sense that I don’t recognise myself in the social constructs of womanhood. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

 

I’m reminded that there are other women in the world suffering horribly in war and poverty, and so my petty observations about what it means to be a woman are fairly meek and inconsequential.

 

I’m reminded that we do have that one great TV show (not Girls; Girls is shit) in which women are sexual, emotional and intellectual protagonists; Orange is the New Black (I’d put it on the school syllabus). I’m also reminded that for every Alanis there’s a Missy Elliott talking about working big dicks and using her music to boast about how beautiful and talented she is, without apology.

 

It’s not about slating Alanis, or the staffroom women with terrible husbands. I have lots and lots of great women in my life who don’t subscribe to aforementioned constructs either. We don’t attack the women, we attack the constructs.

 

I’m just saying that there’s a lot of work to be done, post-feminism is a myth, and it’s about time HBO stopped ignoring women.

 

Happy (Belated) International Women’s Day!

 


Celebrity Paedophiles

During the course of the last couple of years we’ve all been fairly astonished by the depth and scale of the British paedophile scandal.

Turns out that in the 1970’s, Light Entertainment was awash with predatory paedophiles abusing children, and procuring children for others to abuse, along with other criminal sexual and violent acts.

It seems barely a month goes by without new arrests, suspects and accusations being leveled at public figures, before a criminal trial in the case of the (few still) living, or a posthumous reconciliation of the fact that hugely popular cultural figures died having never answered for their abhorrent criminality (Savile, Cyril Smith and others).

Which begs the question; are we witnessing a witch-hunt? Are the public so buoyed-up by this tidal wave of historical – I hate the use of this word, in this context, because it suggests a distance that doesn’t exist – paedophile exposure that we want more? Are vulnerable ex-celebrities sitting targets for women who were kids in the 70’s, just waiting to prey on their wealth and notoriety for personal gain?

Well, the answer to that is almost certainly, no. And there are good reasons for that. Liz Kershaw, who has spoken brilliantly about her experiences with Savile and given some great insight into the culture of Radio 1 whilst she worked there, suggested that Operation Yew Tree don’t need evidence to go after certain celebrities, which is why she felt it wasn’t appropriate for her to pursue a sexual abuse incident in the workplace prosecution after a colleague (she won’t name) put his hands up her top at work. She says she felt this wasn’t a sexual act in any case, and was more about power, and putting her “in her place”.

It is, of course, her own choice about whether or not she wants to pursue the matter. And it is also her own choice as to how she wishes to view the assault.

Nonetheless; I think it is worth mentioning that Paedophilia and rape are always about power. Power and control are the central premise of all violent sexual criminal activity.

Which is why most victims of sexual abuse never report the abuse, either in the moment or retrospectively (once again, that historic word irks me, and I don’t think it’s either accurate or ethical) and why the current stream of child sex abuse claims aren’t really a witch hunt.

When a person reports an “historic” sexual abuse allegation, even in the current climate, and with great swathes of new jobs for people assigned to treat alleged victims more sensitively than before, they are forced to recite details of the incident. There is a burden of proof to be ascertained.

No famous person under the Yew Tree umbrella is going to go prison for one solitary accusation, or even several accusations, that don’t follow the same pattern.

It is possible, indeed probable, that many victims of celebrity child abusers felt that the Yew Tree investigation has afforded them the opportunity to speak out about their abuse, but ultimately the CPS needs to feel there is enough of a case for it to go to court. And we are talking about some of the wealthiest people in the country who have shrouded themselves in some of the best criminal defense teams.

Criminal profilers know that predatory paedophiles are most successful when they create an outward profile of impunity. Priests, teachers, scout leaders, community workers, religious leaders, and charity workers make for typical working choices for paedophiles. Which is not to say – of course – that everyone involved in these professions are doing so to abuse children. Of course, the vast majority of people in these professions won’t abuse children. But if you were wanting unsupervised access to vulnerable children, and a moral standing in the community that afforded you protection, these occupational choices would seem logical.

Reeks a bit of Daily Mail that, but I make no apologies.

Of course, parents, family members and family friends, perpetrate most sexual abuse of children, which is much harder in terms of social prevention.

The point is that this dynamic, of private predator and public saintliness serves paedophiles extremely well.

In the case of celebrity paedophiles, I’m sure we’ll see bigger ‘saints’ exposed, which brings me to the main crux of my argument.

As more and more public figures come under scrutiny – indeed rumours abound about Elm House Guest Lodge and a number of other celebrities and establishment figures. How long will it be before – and it’s sort of beginning already – this progress in examining the paedophilic activity of public figures, will be dampened by outcries from people who start to see people they like or admire exposed as child abusers?

Woody Allen’s a good example. Us leftie, thinkers love an Allen, film don’t we? We’ve loved to see the philosophical, neurotic, wit make films about… oh, fucking impossibly attractive young women again. And them fucking each other. And them fucking him for a bit, using words they’d never use, and then fucking off again.

You’ve got two clear camps here. You’ve got the “handy if you want to justify loving Allen films” version of bitter Mia Farrow, who fucked Sinatra when she was 19 anyway, so she hasn’t got a leg to stand on, and he’s been happily married for over twenty years and she wasn’t his adopted daughter, side.

And then you’ve got the… he was fifty and took pictures of his girlfriend’s nineteen year old daughter’s fanny, which she subsequently found. You’ve known this girl since she was eight, so the length of your marriage matters not one fucking jot, your adult daughter still maintains you abused her and your art belies your odd and unsettling preoccupation with young women. So there’s something disturbing about your sexual behaviour at the very fucking least. Also, to attribute an alleged survivor’s account to manipulation, is a really clever way to strengthen that dichotomy I spoke about earlier when paedophiles cultivate their public image to detract from their criminality.

“What’s the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married her…”

Well, you met her when she was 8 and you were 45, Woody. She’s the sister of your kids, Woody. She was your girlfriend’s daughter, Woody.

The truth is, I don’t know whether Woody abused his daughter. But more importantly, neither do you.

Victoria Coren seems to though, give this shit a read if you can’t stand the thought of your favourite filmmaker being a paedophile:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/09/woody-allen-dylan-farrow-alleged-sexual-abuse

Probably don’t read it if you’ve ever been the victim of a sexual crime though, because it turns out Victoria doesn’t trust your own version of what happened to you.

Which is the sole reason many survivors don’t ever want to publically accuse their abusers. They fear they won’t be believed.

“We’re not saying you’re a liar, because in your head it probably seemed that way…”

There’s no getting away from the fact that that Guardian article is potentially the most offensive, cunty thing I’ve ever read. Nonetheless, I do understand that compulsion to not want your favourite celebrity to be a paedophile. I myself am a big fan of the music of Michael Jackson, but those rumours persist and there is no getting away from the fact that his relationship and dubious proximity to great numbers of children is at the very least questionable.

It’s ok for Fred Talbot and Rolf Harris, but we’re not quite so fucking vocal about Pete Townshend’s book that never materialized or Bill Wyman’s marriage to Mandy Smith.

And these paedophiles, alleged paedophiles and men whose sexuality is at the very least questionable… they use their cool ticket in the same way priests and scout leaders use their social currency. Because people are unable or unwilling to look past carefully constructed power structures that may, or may not be, the very platform upon which their criminal activity rests.

There’s no witch-hunt. The people who bravely come forward to accuse their abusers face no five minutes of fame, usually constitute a wider body of robust evidence – Talbot wrote a fucking diary of abuse and was still acquitted of some of the crimes he was accused of – they have to make their way through the legal teams of much richer people, and – most often – their testimony never even makes it to court.

It’s time to separate the art from the crime. Which seems easier to do when it’s Rolf Harris, not the Rolling Stones. It’s time to understand, recognize and address institutional paedophilia – in all its guises – from Westminster to fucking Hollywood. While we’re at it, this Independent Review (which has had to be disbanded because everyone the Tories pick to run it turns out to be related or known to high profile politicians, Lords and royalty who are all implicated in an alleged paedophile ring of which Savile is alleged to have been a part, which might explain why he was effectively handed the keys to Broadmoor, where he allegedly abused the ill) needs to kick in, but it never will because all roads lead to Thatcher and the Throne. It’s time to recognize that the talented paedophiles are still fucking paedophiles. And it’s time Victoria Coren Mitchell fucked right off.


I Don’t Want Your Freedom

There’s no doubt about it that new media has its upsides. For one, it provides knobbers like me with an arena to espouse ridiculous opinions and frame it like a potty-mouthed Mussolini for strangers who aren’t arsed and don’t agree. For another, you get to see things like 15-second videos of Idris Elba doing sit-ups and for me that’s entirely justified the Internet and everything on it.

You get to know about news events before the national news teams report it, and you get to see celebrities writing pissed up rants, deleting them, apologising for them, and then doing it again. Everyone’s a winner.

But there are, of course, intrinsic flaws in new technology that make for some horrific and seemingly inescapable trauma.

The first is that knobbers like me have an arena to espouse ridiculous opinions like a potty-mouthed Mussolini. And the second is that this new information landscape is difficult to navigate. The important things get lost. There are a myriad of dissenting voices, but only the powerful, hegemonic voices survive the malaise.

There are some notable exceptions. I mentioned The London Riots in a previous blog, which were partly mobilised because of social network activity and there are some great voices and political positions I’ve only ever heard from via the internet, but nonetheless I think the point remains.

For me, one of the most troubling outcomes of social media has been the reinforcement of Western Islamophobia.

There just seems to be great swathes of people who have a warped conception of Islam and Muslims, and because new media operates so insidiously, many of these people think they hate Muslims for entirely rational, logical and ethical reasons and that their position on Muslims came from their own experiences of them, which usually just isn’t true.

Islamophobia isn’t a new thing, of course. Edward Said wrote in his academic discourse of ‘Orientalism’ and the power of positioning people from the East as of ‘The great other’ – something different. Unlike us. To be feared and reviled in equal measure and as of having fundamentally different views to the rest of us.

This is an important message that has served Western governments well when trying to persuade us to go to war for oil, and framing it within a fictional premise of a potential for weapons of mass destruction, or when supporting Israel and funding their mass genocide, or when trying to contextualise Bin Laden in such a way that negates the fact they have previously funded him.

In addition to the most powerful governments in the world manipulating ordinary people into believing Muslims aren’t like us, there is a second reinforcement of Islamophobia from Nazis. The UKIPs, BNPs, Tea Parties, Tories and just general fascist arseholes whose hatred is not just restricted to Islam, but for whom Islam is a fantastic and culturally endorsed scapegoat. The seemingly constant and intellectually stunted bandying around of words like ‘Sharia Law’ by people who know little of it, is relatively new, profoundly disturbing and further evidence of the growing culture of animosity. Most of the founding laws in Europe and America were based on Christian religious scripture. Muslims themselves are divided – secularists, traditionalists and modernist – on a great many issues.

The mistreatment and murder of women and homosexuals is not something that is pertinent to Islam. As is demonstrated in Russia, the USA and Europe every day of every year.

Perhaps the most troubling thing for me is a new third-wave branch of Islamophobia. The neo-liberal assertion of Freedom of Speech, as espoused around the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Freedom of Speech is important to me. Vitally important. Not least because it allows me an arena for my potty-mouthed Mussolini points of view. But I question everyone’s conception of freedom.

How free are ordinary, decent Muslim people when they must first suffer the huge and numerous political attacks upon them by Western Governments who put oil and money before the lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslim people globally? When they live here – sometimes as a consequence of aforementioned mistreatment, sometimes as nationals – they are persecuted for their religious identity. They go to the cinema and every second film is a Hollywood interpretation of their ‘otherness, violence and incivility’ – see Argo, American Sniper et al. They go on social media sites and are confronted with distorted understandings of Islam presented in a way to escalate fear and hatred. They see support for one-policy Nazi parties whose entire identity is built around sustaining, maintaining and creating a climate of prejudice.

And another thing; each time there is an Islamic Fundamentalist terror attack the Muslim community are criticised for not being vehement enough in their condemnation of said attack.

I don’t remember Christians being asked to go on television and apologise for sectarian bombings. Nor should they. It’s implied.

Which brings us back to Charlie Hebdo.

Freedom of Speech is important. Satire is also important. It pricks at the conscience of the powerful and it has the power to provoke and stimulate conversation, which can result in beneficial change. I think everyone should be a target for satire, including the religious.

I just don’t feel that attacking the personal beliefs of a group of already marginalised people is proper satire. First decent Muslims get fucked over by laws that undermine, murder and persecute them and then they face the further indignity of a second image of the Prophet Mohammed as some sort of internationally agreed code for global unity against terror? No.

The world has decided that the best way to fight hate is with more hate, and it’s this hate that will make for a better future for us all? No, thanks.

Satire is about socking it to the man. Not socking it to the persecuted on behalf of the man.

If we want to critique religion, I’m in. I won’t do it in the Ricky Gervais, professional atheist way, because it’s dull, condescending and doesn’t take into account that people who rely on religion are often doing so in the poorest of countries, after centuries of tradition and deserve a discussion, not derision.

But if we’re just looking to attack one religion, continuing to not identify their wrongful persecution, not reporting attacks on them properly, and frame it as a crusade for freedom? Je ne suis pas Charlie.


Katie Fucking Hopkins

There’s no two ways about it; I love shit telly. I’ve always loved shit telly, and I will continue to love shit telly. My friends often tell me that there are worthier pursuits, and there are, but I love the inordinate sense of pleasure I derive from watching people be dicks for my entertainment.

Partly because I’m also a dick. But mostly because, so are you.

Every single thing we ever watch on television is entirely weighted by political and socio-economic burden, so you may at well be watching Animals Do the Funniest Things, as opposed to an art house documentary, because neither are pure and polar bears are funny as fuck when they slip.

I’m not even trying to justify my watching of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother, because I always watch it and one year George Galloway wore a leotard and pretended to lick milk out of a purring Rula Lenska’s hands, and that’s entertainment in anyone’s book.

I think sometimes though, you have to look at the freak show and rule yourself out.

I’m there.

It’s been just over a week and I’ve watched a televised sexual assault, racial abuse, predatory sexual behaviour and relentless bullying, and at some point you have to object to a platform for Katie Hopkins.

Here’s (part of) the problem with having a vehicle for Katie Hopkins:

Big Brother is a popularity contest and Katie Hopkins is a Nazi.

Freedom of Speech seems to be the topic of the moment (next blog), nonetheless lines need to be drawn.

Abu Hamza might do a cracking Katy Perry impression, and perhaps Pinochet had a heart of gold after a couple of bottles of vino and would’ve got in the hot tub with his dick out. I wouldn’t want to know though, because I’m unwilling to look past their failings.

And let’s talk about those failings.

She called Palestinians filthy rodents and endorsed Israeli bombing.

She recently tweeted “Little sweaty jocks, sending us Ebola bombs in the form of sweaty Glaswegians just isn’t cricket. Scottish NHS sucks.”

She’s claimed she wouldn’t employ a fat person.

She hates the unemployed.

She works for The Sun.

On that basis, she’s legitimately abhorrent.

She preys on the scared and the disenfranchised, because people who hold reactionary views tend to be those of us most in need. And because those people are aspirational, they see someone with a posh accent, as ‘classy.’ So it works as a sort of double-pronged success.

What happens in Big Brother is that people are judged primarily on their behaviour for three weeks, and usually this operates in almost total isolation from their way of living.

This means people like Jim Davidson win Big Brother, despite having a racist act for 30 years and generally being a massive cunt.

One could argue that I’m demonstrating sour grapes towards Davidson – and I am – but the point remains.

In the scheme of things, it’s no great shakes if Hopkins wins Big Brother, but I just don’t want to be a part of it.

In the first few episodes – and there was much to be offended about – one of the most offensive suggestions was that Hopkins is clever.

If she were clever she wouldn’t be fucking around on Channel 5 with a couple of Page Three Girls and Keith fucking Chegwin.

None of the intellectual powerhouses in Great Britain have ever, EVER sat down and argued the misfortunate social scourge that is parents naming their children Tyler.

Never.

Nor will they.

Neither is she employed (which in itself is a sin) to espouse, “What we’re all thinking, but too scared to say.”

Not until I hear her say “My career is a vehicle of hate, because it earns me money and yields me an attention I revel in,  and because I’m fundamentally deeply unhappy and desperate for the approval of dick.”

I don’t care about Katie Hopkins’ pleasant, softer side in the same way I didn’t care Hitler was a vegetarian, dog-lover.

Just not arsed.

It’s possibly true that Katie’s hatred of fat is as a consequence of her own patriarchal slavishness to be considered attractive, which is fully demonstrated by the endless coquettish giggles and pouts.

It also might be true that she doesn’t believe what she’s saying and is instead just trying to earn a living by being the pantomime villain.

The point is that she is a filthy embodiment of attributes any humane, thinking person would object to.

Big Brother is giving Hopkins the opportunity to demonstrate her party trick – and she’ll win or lose on that basis – when she shouldn’t have been invited to the fucking party.


I Am The Mob

I wrote a blog about Ched Evans a while ago, and I didn’t want to then. I’m now writing a follow-up, and I particularly don’t want to now.

Nonetheless; I’m a minority, lefty, feminazi, vitriolic, brainless, bra-burning, anti-democratic, clueless, useless, hopeless, slaggy, tree-hugging, hippy, loony, man-hating, fully-paid-up-member-of-mob-rule-party slut and… hey, this is what we do.

As I type – and the media narrative changes hourly – Oldham Athletic Football Club have decided not to sign Ched Evans after days of public wrangling. When announcing their decision, they decided to do so by deriding the abuse they had received during aforementioned days of wrangling over the decision of whether or not to hire a rapist with an unspent conviction, who remains on license, has been convicted in a court of law, has lost two subsequent criminal appeals and is currently being fast-tracked for a review into said conviction.

The alleged death and rape threats strike me as a stark and rather contradictory position to that of people who are opposed to wanting sex offenders to play professional football, which is a role that involves community work and is therefore pertinent to the conviction. There is indeed a cynical part of me that believes that those supportive of Ched Evans’ reinstatement into professional football would have more to gain from anonymous death and rape threats to footballing professionals, than those opposed to it. But in any case – wouldn’t it have been a glowing indictment of humanity if OAFC had represented many of their other fans by publically condemning rape and sexual violence within the same statement?

I think, whatever your position, one cannot help, but concede that a great number of those within sport have done a sterling job at demonising great swathes of the British public, and – in many ways – positioning both Evans and indeed football executives and controlling bodies as victims.

There is little to be said on the case that has not yet been said. But I think there are some conclusions to be drawn from the last four years that are profoundly important.

Since I’m depressed about the entire issue, I’ll start with the good shit.

There have been some incredibly brave football journalists and fans who have stuck their heads above the parapet and have openly, robustly, and articulately spoken out against misogyny and then defended their decision, in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Part of the reason Rape Culture – in football and in society as a whole – is so successful is because it operates insidiously and in tiny, almost unperceivable ways as well as in huge, heinous ways like rape.

So when a football journalist (especially when they are male, but in either case) openly criticises the behaviours of football executives, players, managers or fans this can have a tangible and profound effect on their career. They might not get invited to certain press conferences, they threaten relationships with contacts they have who may give them important information at clubs, and – in addition – they may face polarising their audience for whom it would be much easier to write transfer rumours and dressing room banter pieces. Or they could have taken a third route – as many journalists have – and written a non-committal, “two sides to every story” piece that reflects the story, but does so in a way as to not threaten their own position.

Therefore it really is a powerful, important and brave thing to do to take a stand that rejects the footballing establishment’s thus far callous and immoral handling of the whole affair.

Ok, that’s it. That’s all I can do for positivity.

There are a few things that are deeply worrying that I haven’t addressed in my previous blog that I’d like to highlight here.

The first is Gordon Taylor.

Gordon Taylor likened the Hillsborough Tragedy yesterday, to the Ched Evans case. That is, the smearing of an entire city by the media, a massive government cover-up of the gross negligence of the Police, resulting in 96 deaths; being measured against a man being sent to prison for raping a teenage girl.

Even if – and money makes the fucking world go around – Ched somehow manages to get his conviction overturned retrospectively (a long shot made shorter by the amount of money being thrown at it for big name lawyers, but nonetheless a long shot), the cases are so magnificently incomparable as to be a vile and disgusting desecration of those that lost their lives, and the very fact a person would have it within his capabilities to compare the two, speaks volumes about his desperation and morality. How dare this person speak of the uncivilised behaviour of those campaigning for a rape survivor in the very same statement!

Gordon has made no secret of the fact that he believes Ched Evans should play football again on license. He’s also made some very pertinent remarks about the possibility of Ched’s innocence, which lack impartiality and pragmatism, and shows utter disregard for the continuous suffering the survivor in this case has endured, which has been heavily documented.

And let’s make no bones about this; I don’t believe Gordon Taylor or indeed any of the managers who allegedly anonymously offered their support to the Oldham Athletic board to sign Evans have any special affection for him.

It’s not about Evans. It’s just about cash.

Football executives do not want to have to lose money as a consequence of the criminal behaviour of any of their footballers and the real crux of this is that they don’t want Evans’ case to set a new precedent in which – heaven forbid – football fans might have a right to hold the people whose wages they pay accountable for their behaviour.

It’s not lucrative.

Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football, their campaign screamed.

Until of course that meant preventing top flight defenders and strikers play football, which meant profit losses and unhappy sponsors and yanks and Russian businessmen and all sorts of complicated executive meetings involving numbers of middle-aged white men panicking about television rights and losing their summer houses in the fucking Algarve.

And then it becomes, “Everyone deserves a second chance” and, “How can we magic criminal abuse into a seven match ban, lads?”

And they do it. Because there’s too much money involved for them not to do it.

Which brings me to my second point.

It’s great, but –ethically speaking – the only acceptable course of action to withdraw sponsorship of a club considering hiring a rapist on license. Mecca and Zen deserve perhaps minimal respect for their decision to do so, given that their decision was almost certainly motivated by money at some level. Nonetheless, to use their economic strength in a way that denounces sexual violence is to be applauded.

Conversely, Mike Ashley owner of Sports Direct who declined to publically withdraw sponsorship and is rumoured to have privately supported Evans’ signing to the club, only further typifies the footballing establishment (Ashley owns and part owns other football clubs) and their institutional failure to adhere to supporting women and decent football fans, in favour of the dollar.

You can bet your life that the talks that took place at any of the football clubs that have been reported to have considered signing Evans at any point since his release have not involved great numbers of women, have not included representatives for organisations committed to ending sexual violence and have been more of a “How can we sign Evans without a furore?” as opposed to a “How can we help Ched understand what constitutes rape and make sure he doesn’t do it again?”

Which brings me on to my last point.

Ched Evans’ clearly forced statement which claims he objects to the victimisation of the person he is convicted of raping is at direct odds with the website his family and friends established that serves to further ridicule, pour scorn on, dehumanise and subjugate his survivor.

I had the misfortune to read some of it, which includes a letter from another rape survivor who discredits and humiliates the woman who has been proven in a court of law to have been raped. And other hideous chapters about Evans that position him more as a wrongly-imprisoned Mandela, than a thick, Welsh rapist.

It’s one of the most disgusting, indefensible and deplorable texts I have ever witnessed.

It shows such a blatant disregard for women, their sexual agency, their emotional value and such a stunted and medieval conception of what constitutes sexual violence, that reading it becomes not just an intensely saddening experience, but also a frightening one.

It does however, cast some light as to the sort of reasoning and lack of basic humanity that could have prompted Ched to commit his crime in the first place.

Every day we must think primarily of the suffering endured by Ched’s survivor and the many thousands of women who are raped.

And not just raped, but victimised for reporting it.

And then their supporters must face victimisation and bold, relentless, commercial, corporate, institutional condemnation in a variety of ways; on social media, at the pub, down the shops, in the office… because objecting to rape, objecting to disproportional favourable employment opportunities for men who rape, objecting to the team you pay money to go and watch play football twice a week consisting of a rapist and a board of people paying him makes you a slag, a hippy, a loony, a lefty, a feminazi, a do-gooder, a liberal, a slut, a man-hater and part of the mob.

PS Someone robbed and rehashed my first Ched Evans blog if you’d like to read it in a slightly shittier format. Don’t say I never give you owt:

https://ballsthecat.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/baby-its-cold-outside/


God Bless Us, One and All…

It doesn’t matter what sort of life you have carved out for yourself –nice friends, an active social life, a home you like living in, a lovely little long-term romantic relationship, a stylish wardrobe, a full gym membership, respectful colleagues, a fabulous coffee maker – it all goes to absolute shit when you are once again surrounded by a group of your extended relatives.

Yes, there are people who have to face Christmas without family, or money, or alone, or in the wake of terminal illness, in war, or after a close bereavement. Their pain – of course -is much deeper and more profound than those of us who just had to face the hideous onslaught of familial criticism and Mrs Brown’s Boys.

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That being said; my family can go and fuck themselves.

It started on Christmas Eve.

The eight additional adults and two additional children I was welcoming into my home –six of whom only left today (2nd January) – entered the house on Christmas Eve in the early afternoon and by half six my mother was crying.

What terrible injustice had she been served on this, the sacred annual celebration of the Eve before Christ’s birth? I’d put half a tablespoon of Garam Masala in a three-litre quantity of a Jamie Oliver Parsnip Soup recipe.

My mother had requested Parsnip Soup some six weeks before Christmas, because she’s on a ridiculous protein diet and wanted something (and I quote) “to look forward to” so I scoured the fucking internet, shopped for the fucker, and found myself going next door to borrow a fucking blender from my twatty next door neighbours to accommodate her request.

You’ll just have to take my word for how ill suited I am to the role of middle-class soup maker. I don’t even like soup.

My mother and I have lived on some of the shittest council estates in Greater Manchester, and the monumental personal difficulty I experienced whilst reading Jamie’s mockney recipe instructions (and subsequent twee “soup community forum” comments), buying organic vegetable stock and swallowing my pride and knocking on next door’s for an implement I wasn’t sure they possessed and didn’t know how to use was my little Christmas present to her. And how was I repaid?

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She wailed about Christmas being ruined “You KNOW I don’t like curry!” (once again, half a teaspoon of Garam Masala in three litres of fluid, akin to pissing in a swimming pool) in front of my six year old kid, and that pretty much set the tone for Christmas.

Christmas Day went the way it went in pretty much every household in Britain. Those that should have been drunk, weren’t, and those that shouldn’t ever drink, were hammered by half four.

My mother wore a white tuxedo, obviously. My brothers (early thirties) hijacked the computer games console and then spent two and a half hours sulking about a perceived injustice pertaining to the result of said game. Three quarters of an hour were spent barking pidgin Italian to foreign relatives down the phone. I cooked the dinner, served the dinner, cleared up after the dinner and washed the dining receptacles totally unaided. My brother’s girlfriend gave my stepdad a sort of lap dance. My other brother had a row with my mother about paedophile priests and the lunacy of organised religion, and at one point my mum came down in my dressing gown which was definitely in my bedroom, folded up in the drawer underneath my sex toys.

Since Christmas Day I have been to Yorkshire for a couple of days and my family STAYED. In my house. I wasn’t there. They all live up the road.

On New Year’s Eve when – for a fleeting moment – everyone seemed amiable and in reasonably high spirits my ma did this thing she does when she’s not the centre of attention and asked us all to remember dead people who weren’t there. In the epicentre of a moment of global enforced sentimentality and morose retrospection, my mother harnessed the mood and brought it squarely back to her and her sequinned fucking body con dress. And, you know, in a way you have to admire the plucky fucker.

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We also spent an arduous afternoon in an Italian restaurant on New Year’s Day, which involved my brother’s girlfriend wearing only a bra on her upper torso, and my mother asking if they had any gluten-free coconut cake. They didn’t.

But going back to the original point, it’s not about family specifics or race or class or gender. Whenever you return to your family, you’ll always be whatever role they have carved out for you from an early age.

If you’re the selfish cunt, you’ll always be the selfish cunt to them, whether you spend your life volunteering for Oxfam and saving dead seals, or not. If you’re the lovely one, like say, my youngest brother, you could spend your days butchering small children and still be saved the turkey breast and given the last Quality Street Purple One.

Which sort of explains Russell Brand and Miley Cyrus.

So chin up, selfish cunts and next year – go on holiday.


How to Currie Favour

It takes a very special level of cunt to be able to go on television and say to a much younger reality television personality that they should live their lives for other people, when they effectively handed the keys of a hospital to a paedophile who went on to sexually abuse many of the patients in his care.

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I mean, that is next-level cuntery, surely?

 

All those cunts in the cunt factory and she’s managed to edge right in front by stating that she felt it wrong for aforementioned personality to leave her kids for three weeks to go on telly, when she was once Health Secretary and is quoted as saying, ‘Good Christian people don’t get AIDS…”

 

For those of you with better things to do, I’m talking about Edwina Currie appearing on this year’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” on ITV1.

 

Sweet Christ, she’s evil.

 

Most of us would hide away if we’d positioned the most notorious paedophile in British history in a place he went on to abuse great numbers; not Edwina.

 

She also once suggested old people who couldn’t afford their heating bills should “…wrap up warm in winter.” That’s the sort of monumental bell end we’re dealing with.

 

It’s no great surprise to any of us that Edwina Currie is a Tory woman.

 

Tory women are – without exception – the enemy of other women, never ever feminists, and are amongst the biggest man-pleasers on the planet.

 

I don’t like reducing any group of women to their gender, but right-wing women are an exception.

 

All of them – Dorries to Thatcher to Currie to Hopkins to Mensch -live for the approval of dick.

 

Even if you were looking for another explanation for women to be actively involved in a political identity that actively serves to undermine, marginalize and negate them, and do so fervently; coquettish giggles (Currie and Hopkins do it identically) and parliamentary love affairs give the fucking game away.

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It’s a more advanced version of when women pretend to be gay and snog on nightclub dancefloors so that surrounding dickheads will find them more desirable.

 

Tory women protect and defend the notion of capitalism, which is inherently misogynist – and claim the feminist act is merely the fact that they’re doing it surrounded by men – because, and it’s absolutely fucking obvious, the middle-aged white men who benefit from their brand of politics are their target audience.

Mensch admits cosmetic surgery

 

They use right-wing politics as a glorified, “I’m not like other women” statement.

 

Fucking right you’re not.

 

And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t slut-shaming. I don’t give a shit about who or how they’ve fucked – not even Currie’s four year affair with Major (although it’s rich after her outdated morality preaching) – and I won’t get into an arena where I’ll criticize the way they look or how they parent.

 

I’ll leave that to the likes of them.

 

But I simply cannot let it go unsaid that Tory women are almost identical in temperament and motive. And Currie is no exception.

 

There’s no doubt about it that when commentators wrongly identify a right-wing woman as a feminist, it hurts more. I feel sadder when someone with a fanny subscribes to ideas that make things harder for both themselves, and me. But I reconcile myself with the fact that they’re much bigger victims of patriarchy than I, and if the pursuit of the D is that important to them – and it clearly is – it’s just another reason for the rest of us to fight.

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Fuck me, that Currie is a jeb though…


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