Monday, 28 December 2009

Happy Post

Firstly, here's hoping that everyone had a very Merry Christmas; I certainly did, despite the mega amounts of things trying to stress me out this year.

One thing in particular that made me smile I'd like to share with you: it got sneaked in the news late at night on the 23rd, so I nearly missed it, but hip hip hooray and God bless Harriet Harman, she's done it. She's got the equality bill passed. :D

Here's the link for full discussion of what it will mean when the legislature comes into force, but in summation:

1) Banning pay secrecy

2) The definition of harrasment has been extended and consolidated: now defined as "unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating or hostile environment" which may or may not be related to a "protected" characteristic, such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation etc. It also covers harrasment on the grounds of an employee's connection to a person with a protected characteristic, and harrassment from a third party.

3) Private sector employers will be required to publish information about differences in pay between male and female employees.

4) Employers are allowed to positively discriminate, and take a "protected characteristic" into account when making recruitment or promotion decisions, all other things being equal.

5) Employment tribunals which uphold harrasment or discrimination claims may make recommendations to an organisation to prevent future discrimination.

Awesome. Just Awesome. Best Christmas present this country's had in a long while.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A post of very little sympathy

This article, and another one (trackback) really pissed me off today.

These stories should just not be run. It perpetuates the idea that those falsely accused of rape have such a hard time, the unspoken conclusion of which is that we shouldn't be bringing them to trial at all. Because you're *Ruining* these poor young men's lives!
Sorry, but Boo, Hoo.
Callous I may sound, here, but I don't really care. Mr Bacon can go away, re start his life (didn't even have to be in Malaysia) under a new name, and escape. What about the woman who was raped? Does she have that luxury? No. She has to live with what happened for the rest of her life. To make a comparison, the man in such a situation has had his name trashed. He can get another one. The woman has had the same thing done to her body. It is a private trashing, but therefore more personal, more immediate, and most importantly, irreversible. She cannot go down the council offices and get a new body, like he can get a new name.

Why, why, why are people (mostly men) so hung up on the idea that it is worse for the wrongly accused than for the victim(/survivor)? And then use the fact that a small percentage of men might possibly get wrongfully accused/convicted etc as an excuse for why we should not toughen up rape laws, and bring justice to the One in four* women in the Western world who will be raped at some point in their lives. Or prove wrong the 60% of rape victims/survivors who do not report their rape because they feel they will not be able to get it to court, let alone get a conviction.

Yes, it must be hard for someone to be accused of a crime they didn't commit. But please remember that more people report false claims of grand theft auto than rape. And that false claims make up less than 2% of all reported rapes.

The idea of concealing the accused's identity as well as the plaintiff's is, on the surface, quite an appealing sop to those who want it both ways, but as Ruth Hall from WAR (Women Against Rape) points out, "Most rapists are serial rapists. Many rape cases could be won if more than one woman came forward to give evidence." And if the defendant's identity is kept hidden, then these other possible victim/survivors cannot come forward.
The only scenarios in which this would not apply is if a) this is a first-time rapist (and we all know that all rapes are reported, and we always convict the bastards the first time) or b) we know the defendant is innocent (in which case, why the trial?) or c) All rapists only rape one victim, ever. And if c), then let's take another look at that troubling stat - that 1:4 women are raped at some time in their life. Lets take the lower estimate, the 1:6 even. Now, I can't find the exact stat for the gender split between men and women (I know there's ever so slightly more women in this country), but if we take it as 50:50, then that means, if every rapist only rapes one woman, that one in six men is a rapist.
So let's run through that scenario again, shall we? To argue that we should keep a defendant in a rape case's identity private (something denied to a defendant in any other crime), you are arguing that either a) we have a perfect system where all rapists are caught once they've committed rape, b) there is no such thing as rape, c) 1:6 men are rapists, or the much more likely scenario of d): it is more important for a man to preserve his reputation than it is for a woman to see justice.

Another terrifying thing is that the jury in this case took only 45 minutes to declare Mr Bacon innocent. And look at the circumstances - a woman too drunk to give consent, he carried on... where have I seen this before? And in 45 minutes, 12 people have decided that a man's right to pleasure trumps that of a woman's to bodily integrity. That men shouldn't have to go through all the bother of obtaining consent, of making sure a woman is really into it, if it's too much bother because she was drunk. That consent must be assumed, unless a woman is sober enough, rational enough, and brave enough to give a loud and clear "No!" (preferably accompanied with fighting him off, and then being found afterwards crying and showing obvious distress.). That rape is not rape, essentially, if she was drunk.

I admit I don't know all the facts here. There may be other factors to this case that I haven't considered. But this is the impression that is given out to the public in cases like this: women, if you're drunk and raped, it was your fault for getting drunk. When the message we should be sending out is: Men, if you don't want to be accused of rape, don't take advantage of women when they've been drinking. Never, ever, ever, presume consent, or that you are entitled to sex. No matter how many drinks she's had. No matter how many of them you bought her. No matter how short her skirt or low her neckline. No matter whether or not she's been flirting with you. No matter if she was happy with kissing. Not until she is getting the condom out of her handbag and passing it to you - or even better, she's asking you, actually saying those words "would you like to have sex with me?" can you presume consent. Follow that rule, and you'll never be accused of rape! Simple!**

*An oft quibbled with statistic. Which does apply to America, and is sometimes reduced to 1:6 (troubling enough even then, n'est pas?).

** and in fact much more simple than the current "rule" for women, which seems to be: don't get drunk, don't wear too short a skirt, don't draw attention to yourself, don't be sexual, don't flirt/kiss/otherwise encourage/talk to a man you don't intend to have sex with, (don't, in short, have fun or go out. Ever.) don't walk home alone at night, don't stay in the same room alone with a man, don't act/look/think in any possible way that could be interpreted as provocative, and.... well, you might still get raped. But if you followed all those rules, and told him no, screamed and shouted, tried to fight him off, and looked suitably upset afterwards, and remembered his face, and he isn't a lying f***wit as well as a rapist and doesn't fake an alibi, and you're lucky enough that the jury doesn't believe him anyway and think you're a lying little slut (because your previous sexual conduct must also be absolutely spotless) then you might, just might get a conviction. Which won't be Justice, (because he'll be out in a few years) but it might provide a tiny bit of solace and comfort while you try to put your life back together.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

One law for the Goose...

Ok, now I'm all in favour of criminals being rehabilitated, and made into productive members of society again, but this article really made me feel ill.

How come footballers can get away with this? They already get far and away too much money for what they do, and now they're being let off something like this with, effectively a slap on the wrist. This man has 13 previous convictions - THIRTEEN!! That would bar most people from being able to get a job anywhere, but because he's a footballer, he's going to get away with an 18 month sentence (of which he'll serve... how much...? Bet you not a lot.) and then he'll be back as normal. HOW is that supposed to be a detterent for him, or anyone else, to continue such crimes?

The worst bit is just how cosseted he's going to be when he comes out. Gordon Taylor, from the PFA is quoted as having said: "Everybody in life can have big problems to face and this is probably his biggest and I hope he's able to overcome it and if he needs help to get his life back on track I assure you we'll be there for him."
It's as if he's been falsely accused. Or people are treating him as if his prison sentence is as bad as what he has done to this woman, worse even. When let's face it, it's probably less than he deserves. I think a quote from his victim sums it up perfectly: "King's defence moaned that the sentence would lose him £1 million in earnings - but I've lost my face." (italics mine.)

This is the real meaning of "privilege" - Private Law. And I'm not sure if it's male privilege, or celebrity privilege, (In either case, I'll draw parallels with Polanski) but, as a society, we have GOT to stop thinking of it as a good thing.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Not Feminism for a change!

I'm just taking some time out from rushing to finish my MA dissertation and reading Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth, to discuss some current affairs. The big news at the moment, other than the postal strike, seems to be the fact that Question Time are proposing to give racist bigot Nick Griffin some airtime.

Now, I happen to think that the BNP have almost certainly used up their allotted oxygen quotient, and I would be quite happy if they all took a collective long walk off a short pier, BUT, I don't think this excuses the rest of us sane individuals in this country to resort to censorship.

There's the obvious quote from Voltaire, that whilst one may disagree absolutely with everything someone says, one should defend to the death their right to say it, or whilst I could refer readers to a wonderful blog post by Neil Gaiman about freedom of speech sometimes meaning that one has to defend the indefensible, I'd rather not just be glib and let someone else write my argument for me.

The BBC has long held a reputation for impartiality. Up until the Hutton Report and that whole whitewashed mess, it was taken for granted that the BBC was free from ties of government and political bias. Now, that reputation has been tarnished, but not to my mind destroyed. Censorship on a program such as Question Time would be, for me, another blow to that reputation, another example of a media institution not willing to put itself in the line of fire, for fear of not being politically correct. And I mean that just as much in the sense of not ascribing to some notion of "correct" politics. It's the job of a free press to report everything, not just the bits of politics that we find acceptable. Otherwise, we're no better than a banana republic, trying to keep its citizens happy and complient, by only telling them the authorised truth. We're above that in this country, and despite total f*ckwits like Griffin, we ought to remain so.

And I don't like the idea of people saying "we don't have to give the BNP the same rights as we'd give anyone else, because they're not a "real" political party". That's one step away from saying "I don't have to listen to you because you're a member of this group, and therefore not a real person." Slippery slope, perhaps, that's how these things start. Plus, of course, we'd be behaving just like the people we ostensibly hate. How much of a validation would that be for the BNP if we adopted their own tactics of bullying and prejudice in order to combat them?

If we didn't invite idiots like this into our media, if we demonise them and refuse to listen, that gives them further "proof" of the liberal media pandering to the governement, excluding them, etc. It gives them the opportunity to act the martyr, and makes this a debate about freedom of speech, not about what it should be about - the unacceptability of casual racism in British politics. We're being distracted by the ephemera into arguing about tangenital subjects, where the BNP are on much stronger ground. We are giving the BNP more publicity and recognition as a result of the controversy than as a result of having them on the BBC in the first place, (where at the very least his views are engaged with, and not allowed to go unchallenged while we dance around talking about the freedom of the press). As Griffin said himself: "I thank the political class and their allies for being so stupid. The huge furore that the political class has created around it clearly gives us a whole new level of public recognition."

On the other hand, if we stop this debate being about issues such as freedom of speech, this could actually be a fantastic opportunity for all opponents of the BNP. Their policies are shit. Not just the casual racism (though that's horrific enough), but the fact that they haven't really got a political standpoint on anything other than immigration. Challenge him on this and other issues, and people will see that they really, really don't want him or his grubby little party anywhere near running the country. The people who are going to be enthused by this are the people who would have voted for the BNP anyway. The moderates, on the other hand, might very well be alienated once they've actually had a chance to hear what the party's got to say for itself. So yes, drag Griffin in front of the cameras, have David Dimbleby and the pannelists grill him within an inch of his life, and I promise you he will be exposed for the racist, bigoted, half-witted, spineless little demagog he really is. His policies cannot stand up to reasoned debate, and his appearance in any legitimate forum will, far from conferring its legitimacy on him, show up, by contrast, just how little he deserves to be taken seriously. As the saying goes, give him enough rope and he'll hang himself.

Not engaging with an issue may save us the risk of accidentally legitimising it, but it allows Griffin's views to go unchallenged. We shouldn't be ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away, we should be fighting back, providing the counter arguments that often people don't hear, because they're hearing the BNP's views in isolation. Distasteful as it might be, sometimes we need to parade shit around, so people can see for themselves how badly it smells.

And of course, if you still don't agree with me, then you can always take comfort in one of my favourite quotes from Ferdinand Mount:
"One of the unsung freedoms that go with a free press is the freedom not to read it...."

Monday, 12 October 2009

Men on the Internet

Harassment on the Internet is a women's issue.

Oh, and have a look at this one (warning, may make you feel sick to your stomach/ ashamed of any testicles you may posses)

But, also contained in that first post is another of these wonderful nuggets. It's one of those things that gets to me when I can SEE the problem, just can't see the solution. So when a summation of the problem occurs that inherently contains an obvious solution I want to jump for joy.
This, I believe is one such:

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

And On that Subject...

As I've said before, and will keep saying, here and elsewhere: Men can be feminists. Men are in fact some of the most important feminists, because they are the ones with the power, they are the ones who can most easily effect change. Bollocks to anyone who says that men can't understand (or can't be explained to enough so they do understand), or aren't allowed a say because of their lack of personal experience, or can't be "proper" feminists because they have a penis. That's being as patronizing to them as they have been to us. We need men to stamp out this misogynistic shit at the roots. Some men are the problem. The rest of men need to be part of the solution.
In essence:
Men! the Feminist Auxilliary Force needs YOU!

And if you want to join, start by reading This

And then This.

Spread the Word, people!

Follow Up on Schrodinger's Rapist, and Equality by Reduction

I think I already linked to the Schrodinger's rapist post previously, but looking back on the comments that have appeared on that blog and others subsequently has been almost as interesting as the post itself.
If you want to read the debate, go read it, but I'm just going to quote one small passage from this blog

I think discomfort in inevitable in dismantling privilege. Guys are used to a lot of advantages that they don’t think of as advantages — they got to talk more in meetings, get interrupted less, and their views are not as easily dismissed. If those advantages go away, it “feels” unfair to them because they thought their privileged state was “normal.” And the longer term advantages of dismantling an unequal system are harder to see in the immediate term.

What cis het men see is the loss of the privilege to intrude on women’s solitude, and I think all the whinging is simply rationalization around reflexive defense of the privilege.

In fact, I think guys only come to grips with the loss of male privilege when they take a broader view of what is to be gained and lost. IME, either because they have self-interested reasons for thinking patriarchy sucks for everyone; or because they come face to face with what it does to women and can’t tolerate it. The latter is probably the easier sell, and that’s why exercises like getting high school boys to list the steps they take to walk to their car in a dark parking lot (and then hearing women’s lists — I got that from the Shapely Prose thread) are effective.

Beautifully put. And one of the biggest problems that feminists in this day and age face.

I also want to add another long quotation from this wonderful post here, about why respecting women's boundaries in this way is SO important.

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

  • it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (”mean bitch”)
  • it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (”crazy bitch”)
  • it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (”stuck-up bitch”)
  • it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (”angry bitch”)
  • it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (”bitch got daddy issues”)
  • it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (”dyke bitch”)
  • it is not okay to raise your voice (”shrill bitch”)
  • it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (”mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid. [...]

She didn’t fight back because you told her not to. Ever. Ever. You told her that was okay, and necessary, and right.

Please, please go and read the whole article. It's Here, just so's you don't have to scroll back up.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Oh, and another thing....

I would also like to add:

What kind of a f***ed up precedent is THAT going to set, if a guy can GET AWAY WITH CHILD RAPE because he was rich and famous??

Thank-you to all of you wonderful writers, artists, actors, directors etc, etc, etc who have NOT signed these stupid petitions, or have come out opposed to the whole thing (Yet another reason for me to love Neil Gaiman, and a reason for me to overlook, on this occasion, Chris Rock's annoying voice. - Seriously, great dude, I just have to listen to him in small chunks.) and believe that the artistic community should be held to the same legal standard as anyone else.

Great Art does not give you a get-out-of-jail-free card. Would you have excused Hitler if he'd been a slightly better painter?*

*Actually, my theory on this one is that if he'd been a good painter, he might have got laid a bit more, and not had to go into politics and become a "mass-murdering f**khead" (in the words of Eddie Izzard) - but then I'm being a bit facetious at the moment...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Frothing at the mouth

I kid you not, my Dad actually referred to me as a "Rabid Feminist" the other day.
Rabid? Really? Must have missed that fox bite last time I was on the continent. And I was wondering why I seemed to be going insane and frothing at the mouth a lot.

Oh no wait, that last one must be because of all the stuff I'm reading.
I've just discovered the people at Feministing and The Sexist, and am having a big ol read. And because I'm female, when I read, my brain tends to overheat and explode*.

And in some cases this is a good thing - like when I suddenly discover that contributor "Courtney" is the same one who wrote the book I've just finished reading - Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters.

In other cases, it's more stuff that I wish I could include my PhD to cover (but can't because at this rate it'd never be done...) such as the idea of "Force Fantasy" and why women of today don't buy it.

Also a track-back (ish?) to my post of 17th August about men who get rejected and then decide that appropriate countermeasures include escalating the war-of-the-sexes to actual violence. Here's another collection of them. With a title that just wouldn't be the same without the exclamation point.

An interesting question (with responses, which are sound, accessible, and frankly essential reading if you're in this situation) about how to explain male privilage to an intelligent man. (Also why there's no such thing as "Female Privilage", at the wonderfully named Finally Feminism 101)
And a tongue in cheek article about how to teach your daughter about feminism.
And a post about why we still need feminism at all.

Also, until today I had not realised what this word literally means. Or rather, I knew what a douche was, but hadn't actually connected the dots. And on that note... another example of "But I WANNA Ice-cream!" logic (I will explain if anyone ever posts a comment what I mean by that last statement.)

And finally, because I think this has been quite a long enough round-up, I want this hat.

*As a consequence of the content of the reading material, not the quality of my brain. The management refuses to accept claims that female brains are more shoddily constructed, or are more prone to overheating, and instead suggest that the user is at fault for operating a female brain in close proximity to a patriarchal society. Such operational conditions can frequently cause female brains running at high levels to overheat, explode or start a blog.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Yes, I know it's from the Daily Fail...

... but this article pisses me off.

I've ranted before about the inequalities caused by women having to pay for things like childcare (because God forbid they have a househusband to deal with that...) thus decreasing their effective earning potential compared to men, who often have wives who are prepared to support them at home. Now I get another chance to rant at how even when women find innovative solutions to this problem, they're penalized by a government completely unsympathetic to their needs (because parliament's full of men) who, by upholding the letter rather than the spirit of the law, are attempting to be politically correct, and end up offending more people than if they'd let it go. Not to mention destroying the working lives of the two women involved.

However, because this is the Daily Fail, I also have to point out the amusing irony (not sure if it's really irony, but it's in that general ballpark) of the comment by one Canadian reader:
All I can say is, "wow"! It's beyond belief some of the stories I read in this newspaper. People of the UK - you really need to rise up against this kind of fanatical governmental interference in everyday life. Absolutely ridiculous!
It is absolutely beyond belief... but not for the reasons you think!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Round Up

I Actually started this post about half-way down, but then I read this link and decided it should have Prominence.

This Should Be Our Manifesto.
"Let us name the problem for what it is, without insisting that we acknowledge you."

It is one of the most insulting and patronising things, for me, as a feminist, when I try and tell men about the kind of atrocities committed by men on a daily basis, and they respond "But we're not all like that".
I know. Otherwise I wouldn't be talking to you - I'd be out there with a gun destroying every Y chromosome on the face of the planet. If I didn't genuinely believe that there were good men out there, that men are not irredeemable scum one and all, then honest to God I would be trying to rid the world of them, not convince them to stand up with me and help me do something about the ones who give all the others a bad name.

Don't blame me for bringing the problem elements of your gender to your attention - blame those members of your gender who have made the problem in the first place.

I can get it that you might be feeling a bit insecure - you have, after all, just had a large, intelligent feminist vehemently and accurately degrading a large portion of your gender in front of you for five minutes - but please don't try and dismiss the problem because you aren't part of it. By doing so, you make yourself part of it.

Please realise that I'm not stupid. I'm not lumping you in with the problem elements. If I was, like I said, my reaction would be different. I'm asking you to help me, to get angry with me. I'm not yelling at you. I'm inviting you to yell with me.



And here's another collection of things that are bugging me at the minute:

Man shoots women at gym because he couldn't get a girlfriend

Article showing how our misogynist culture implicitly condones him


Two Articles about "pick-up artists" and the kind of culture that believes
a) women are stupid and can be tricked into having sex with you, if you know the right moves, and
b) it's ok to "blame all of womankind for viewing our bodies and lives as for ourselves, instead of for the pleasure of men."

One wonderful comment on the first article says:

"Having sex with ANYONE is not my, nor any other person’s, “price” for staying alive, for being female, for being attractive, for going to the gym, for wearing “slutty” clothing and/or high heels, for ANYTHING. Furthermore, I am not a sex worker, but if I were, I would have the right of any businessperson to refuse service (in compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws, etc.)

Seriously, do we have to print up T-shirts with the above statement? I hear NoSweat’s got a sale going on.


Moving from that to discussions of "the game" and PUAs in general; specifically the idea of "the neg" (criticizing a woman you're interested in, in order to get her to sleep with you; sounds counter intuitive, I know)

One person on there (also called Alex, sadly) mentions that:
"isn't the idea that the "neg" is some sort of device that exploits natural female vulnerability kind of sexist in itself? That most women are so insecure and dependent on the opinions of strangers that a passing mild insult from a stranger in a bar is enough to drive them into said strangers bed?"

Well, yes it is. But the problem isn't that it's a woman's "natural female vulnerability" which is being exploited - it isn't natural at all. It's the product of a culture which is based on "negging"
women, making them feel incomplete without a man, and suggests that their self-worth should be based on their ability to attract the opposite sex.

And talking of Alexes (kind of)
A beautiful comment on the first neg-article by another "Alessandra"

"Degrading a woman and breaking down her confidence is an easy way to gain power and influence over her. This has been done for centuries, albeit with a bit more rape and violence. Old habits never die.

If the object of the “Dating Game” is to screw as many women as possible, then yes, his technique works well. If it’s a matter of “conquering” women, like you do enemies or rogue countries, then anything you can do to break them is a win.

People who think with anything other than their genitals find other things to hope for"


A beautiful, if short, article, spoiled by the last two lines. And something that I promise to talk about later. The interaction of religion and feminism is something that's been building up for me as a while, and I think it's going to all come out soon.


And Finally, a little gallows-humour light relief.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Couldn't have put it better Myself.

Seriously, criticize Harriet Harman for the mess that is the NHS, but don't knock her on this one. Honestly, the one thing that would ever EVER tempt me back to voting Labour would be if she was heading the party.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Sorry it's been a while, but...

Oh my sweet God in Heaven, this is bloody marvelous.

God Bless Robert Peston for having the brains to work it out, and the guts to say it despite his Y Chromosome.

I won't go into it further at the moment, because I don't want to spoil the big grin running all over my face right now...


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Reading between the lines

Ok, just a brief one (at least intentionally, but these things tend to grow...) to point out a particular piece of reportage

Now, just to clarify, I don't want to comment on the whole Labour CTD* issue. I' just commenting on this particular article.

Firstly I'm concerned about an accusation that women in the Cabinet are "Window dressing" (Flint's words not mine) which, considering she herself has recently been involved in a photo shoot for some glossy fashion magazine (unspecified), plus the official reason for her resignation was that she didn't feel she was trusted by Brown, does seem to have a scary ring of truth about it. Are our female ministers just vote-winning "window dressing"? hmm.... Now you can accuse me of having watched too much Yes Minister recently, but it would be worrying if absolutely nothing has actually changed in politics, whilst at the same time the illusion has been created that some things have moved on...

Secondly, I'm concerned at this section:

"The week had also seen the resignations of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and some other ministers before Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell walked out on Thursday evening with an open call for Mr Brown to quit.

This was widely seen as part of coordinated attempt to challenge Mr Brown's position as Labour leader, but Ms Flint said she was not part of any plotting.

She said "negative briefings" from Downing Street had wrongly attempted to suggest she was part of a group of senior Labour women ministers wanting to unseat Mr Brown."

I'm sorry, a conspiracy of women? Who form considerably less than 20% of the government? Being able to de-stabilize the PM? Surely not.

I've been looking, and can't at the minute find a comprehensive list of all the people who've resigned from Labour over the past few weeks, but looking at the quote above, I'm starting to worry that it's not disproportionately the women who have been leaving. If it is actually them making a decision to leave, then fine, it almost suggests that they have principles, but if it's them being forced out, made into a convenient scapegoat (and isn't it telling that both Blears and Smith are out - the two most prominent (powerful?) female politicians that we had...) and quietly got rid of in order to preserve this lovely little boys-club that is parliament...

Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but it's at least as likely as saying there's a plot against the PM coming from "senior women ministers". I'm not going to draw any firm conclusions at the minute, but as the facts stand, we have a lot of senior women in government "resigning", one amid an acusation that women in parliament are merely "window dressing" and that the PM doesn't trust them. Is it too much of a leap to suggest that maybe women in government aren't particulalrly welcomed by their male collegues?

*Old doctor-slang.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Yay! I'm not alone!

There are other people out there blogging about the same kind of thing.

On livejournal, but let's not hold it against them...


And the Post that Spawned it

And another one. My favourite quote from which is from the comment at the bottom:
"The best option available [to prevent rape] is to teach everyone from a young age that female bodies aren't public property, to hold rapists responsible for raping people, and to stop holding girls and women responsible for not getting themselves raped."

This is almost a post for my own sake, rather than for anyone reading (helooo... Is there anyone out there....?) but still, they make good/angry reading.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Follow Up

BBC Documentary asking "Why can't women succeed in the workplace?"

Solution, from my point of view:

6 months mandatory paternity leave.

Wont go down easy with bosses and chiefs of industry, but it's absolutely, 100% the easiest/best/only option. The others being:

Women stop having children. (downsides would include destruction of human race)
Women go back to the home. (About as fun an option as above)
Being able to control the female "biological clock". (we don't yet have the science)

We need to get more men in the home. Simple as. Men find it easier to succeed because they don't have the pressures of family - they have a wife to take care of that for them. Women find it immeasurably harder to do the same as men if they don't have the support network that men do (ie a wife/unpaid domestic labour*). In order to get more women into careers, you have to get more men into the home. Once it's seen as "normal" for men to stay at home if they want to (or if their wife needs them to) then it should follow** that it will be seen as "normal" for women to be bosses. We need to dissociate gender-roles from biological sex.

Interesting point raised about half-way through, is that women in investment banking are eminently desirable, because it would probably stabilize economic trends. High levels of testosterone are responsible for the boom-and-bust phenomenon, as men take more risks. Women as women (not women behaving like men - see previous post) are better at assessing those risks, and while they wouldn't "boom" quite as often, they'd be far less likely to go bust.

* The "unpaid" being the important part. Most women find there's no point in earning a top salary if most of it has to go on hiring the nanny, chef and cleaner. If they could get that for free, they'd most likely keep working instead of staying at home.
**I say should, but there's a bit more to it than that.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


A couple of things in the news at the minute that caught my attention.

Women, even in the same job as men, still earn less.

It's not going to get better for another 180-odd years.

Apparently they don't earn as much because they have less of a sense of entitlement than men do.

Though I see an interesting correspondence with this, and wonder whether or not the women claimed as much as the men... interesting

And an interesting article about how even other people view men with more of a sense of entitlement than women. (ok, it's not quite about that, but I wanted to make it all fit nicely.)
Seriously though, if anyone has any doubt that women are still treated like second class citizens in this world, take a look at some of those comments under the article. Plenty of straight-up woman-bashing like:

"What exactly stops women forming their own corporations and filling their boards with women? Oh no that's too hard, easier to legislate yourself onto boards that don't want you"

"Half the cabinet wouldn't be there but for all women quotas."

Commenter1 : "the woman filling the post has to have at least the same skills as a male applicant."
Commenter 2:
"I disagree. Rather, the same or better!"

"If a man is currently filling a post, then a woman replacing (displacing) him must be at least as competent and qualified as the person she is replacing, if not more so." (my italics)

Lovely. A woman has to be better than a man to get exactly the same job. This is, and has been the status quo for decades. My Mum had to get better grades at A-level than her male peers just to get an offer at a university, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. You'd never see that today, and yet as soon as it gets beyond education and into the actual jobs market, that's suddenly fair? Hmm...

Oh, and of course the whole bell-curve IQ argument gets dragged up again. In summary, for those of you who don't know, there has been research done to suggest that the spectrum of IQs runs like this:
Women: Very pointed bell curve; Lots of women in the middle range of IQ, not a lot at either end (so not many really stupid women, but not many exceptionally smart ones either)
Men: Flatter bell curve; generally wider distribution of IQs with both ends higher than the female line. (So the bulk of very high IQs are male, but also the bulk of really low ones)
Never mind that the standard IQ test is a highly artificial way of measuring intelligence, people keep trying to suggest that this is a good thing for men; that because most of the high IQs are male, that men in general have a higher IQ than women. Wrong. Firstly, the average IQ (taking either the mode or mean average) is higher for women (using the medium, it's exactly the same). Secondly, that top section where men do better is only the very top end of the spectrum. In general, people being hired for board management are somewhere below that, so actually, women are still going to have better IQs at that level. And thirdly, statistics can be manipulated and presented in a way to show anything you damn well like, so really, I wish people would stop using this argument to try and suggest something it doesn't.

When it comes down to it, I'm actually in favour of this kind of quota as a temporary solution. Because the only other way, it seems, for women to get into top jobs is to act more like men. Once you have a good percentage of women at the top (rather than one or two token females), the criteria are going to change - You're going to have people at the top who can recognise the positives in typically female traits, and how they can be an asset to your business, people who can understand that soft-spoken is not the same as lacking confidence, that there is not just one set (male) way of doing things. And this is the clincher: they can hire women who are as good as men, but not, as the case is now, exactly the same as men. People have got this confused. They judge success by a purely male yardstick, and so in order for women to succeed in companies where men get to set the standards of merit, they have to behave like men.

It wouldn't surprise me that some people will think, with a quota system in place, that women at the top got there purely because of the quota. Yes, people are going to think that. But just because some people take a prejudiced view isn't a reason not to impliment a measure that could be immesurably beneficial.
People are going to see what they believe to be less-qualified women promoted above more-qualified men, but what they don't realise is that these women may actually be more qualified than the men but their positive qualities are not being recognised and, in fact, that at the minute being a woman in itself is a positive quality. The unpalatable thing to accept is that a woman in a top position is (at present) intrinsicly better than an equally qualified male candidate simply because she is a woman, and because she can start re-setting the yardstick to include the typically feminine merits that are currently being overlooked by men in charge.

I don't see quota having to be in force for long. A generation at maximum. Just enough to make people see that women can be successful and can promote success in their orgnaisations without having to behave like men. The thing is that if we don't, at the pace change is coming, we aren't going to see equal gender representation until 2225. And I don't even see that. Because unless we do something radical now, even the women at the top in 2225 are all going to act like men, because that's what they had to do to get the job.

We need quotas, no matter how unpalatable they may seem. Unless there is another measure we could take that allows women to succeed without having to compromise their identity and integrity, but at the minute I can't see one.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Dont Panic!

So the big story to hit the headlines at the minute is this Swine Flu problem. Which probably isn't as big a problem as all that. Only the BBC and to a certain extent the WHO* seem to be trying to make it worse. Yes, scandal and fear sell papers, but really BBC, I expected better.

The thing is, when you look at the actual facts, we have a virus which has, outside of Mexico, been very mild, and outside of the Americas has had less than a handful of cases. It's no worse than the average dose of human influenza. And lets face it, human flu is a bit of a crap virus. It makes you feel grotty for a few days, maybe a week, and then you make a full recovery. The only problem with that is when you get a secondary infection, such as pneumonia - which is treatable, but which can cause deaths in people whose immune systems are already compromised, or people who are less robust, such as the very young or the very old. I would be prepared to bet that the majority of deaths in Mexico aren't actually down to Swine Flu, but down to this kind of secondary infection. It doesn't help that Mexico doesn't have the healthcare and resources that Britain or the US have. Even if Swine Flu does start spreading among the UK populous at large, I highly doubt we'll see more deaths from it than we would see in the average year from regular human influenza.

But when you get the press jumping up and down on a story, you get terror and panic, and that just ends up causing more problems than it solves. Being the massive hypochondriac that I am, phrases like "There are numerous cases elsewhere - the highest number outside Mexico is the US - and Europeans have been told it is certain there will be deaths." really, really don't help anyone.
From the same article:

"It really is the whole of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic."
"It is not a question of whether people will die, but more a question of how many. Will it be hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands?"

And it's not just the press who are fueling this - the first quote was from Director General Margaret Chan, of the WHO, the other from Robert Madelin the European director-general of health and consumer protection. These are really people who ought to know better. I have no problems with telling people about the risks, I don't condone lying, but phrasing things in such an emotive way is just as bad as lying because you're giving them a false impression of the situation. Now is NOT the time to panic, and comments like that from officials, supposedly in the know, are just going to exacerbate an already tense situation.

The other thing is that people are splashing around the word "Pandemic" without telling people what it actually means. So you can see why Joe Bloggs on the street is confusing it with "apocalypse". When another WHO person is saying that "Clearly we are on track for a pandemic in the coming months." might it not be a good idea that we know what he's talking about?

A pandemic, just so everyone is clear on this, just means an infectious disease, with human to human transmission, affecting people on more than one continent. Stage 6 of the WHO guidelines require "increased and sustained transmission in the human population". So there's actually a few pandemics already going on without us noticing, we've already got an HIV pandemic going on, for example. And a TB one. And they're much more serious than the flu.

Really, right now it's time to take advice from Douglas Adams...

*Be careful to pronounce this "double-you aitch oh" not "Who", or you might get the same thing I did, which was my fiancee thinking I was accusing Keith Moon of scaremongering...

Tuesday, 31 March 2009


This made me so mad when I read it on the bus the other day.

Now let me get this straight; he claims she consented because
""I thought she gave me the come-on - the body and eye contact was there and she did not give me the brush-off.""
and "she did not stop him helping her take her jumper, bra, tracksuit bottoms and underwear off"
and, worst of all
"he thought that the woman had enjoyed the sex.
"She groaned," he said. "I'm not saying she had the time of her life, but she was there," he told the police. "She gave the impression she was enjoying it.""

So from this we can deduce: firstly, if a woman looks at you, or touches you, and doesn't make it explicitly clear that she does not want to have sex with you, she is giving you a come on, and it's ok to have sex with her.
If she does not attempt to stop you taking her clothes off (no matter whether she is capable of stopping you or not), then she wants to have sex.
And finally, a woman enjoys sex if she was "there". So any sex where the woman is present, she enjoys. And therefore there's no such thing as rape.

This is the problem when you assume consent until told otherwise. If the woman is then not capable of making herself clear, because she is drunk, or drugged, or whatever, then according to this judge and jury, she cannot be raped. Well thank you very much Patrick Hooton, your honour. You prick.

According to him "the woman's comment that she could not give consent because she was drunk was "completely wrong".
So I take it he was off sick the day they covered "diminished responsibility" in law school?

And Ms Kahn, the defense lawyer obviously skipped that class too, if she can say "there was no evidence that the woman had given consent or not, and that drunken consent is still consent." ... so, there was no evidence that she had consented either? But because of the way our stupid, stupid law is at the moment consent is presumed until proven otherwise.

What if this woman had been unconscious in a hospital bed, instead of drunk? Or if she'd been severely autistic? Or there was some medical reason where she could not give informed consent? What kind of sikko would he be portrayed as then, taking advantage of her? Why is this any different? Because she consented to getting drunk. Not sex, getting drunk.

It is still seen as the Woman's responsibility to a) not get into a situation where she can be raped, and b) if she does, issue a loud and clear "NO!" to the man involved (whether she is capable of doing so will not be taken into account.) It's practically Biblical - Deuteronomy 22, v24. "The woman is to die because she did not cry out for help"

Sadly, the woman was not right when she said "'the law has been changed for f like you, if you are too drunk to give consent it's rape', or something along those lines',", but she should have been. And it's worrying that a solicitor could have made such a mistake. If she could, who else could have? How many women are there out there who've been getting drunk, believeing that the law offers them the same protection as it would if they were sober? Because that's what this ruling says. It says you are no longer protected by the law if you are drunk.

And the worst part is, the guy is now complaining that his life has been ruined because of a false rape charge hanging over his head. Well surely, the solution to that would be don't f***ing sleep with women when they are pissed. It is called "Taking advantage". Guys, if you're really concerned about being brought up on rape charges, then it's really simple: think to yourself, "Does she really want sex, or is she just doing this because she's drunk? Is my need for sexual gratification more important than her physical and emotional wellbeing?" and if there is any doubt at all on the first question, remember the answer to the second is always, always No. If you respect a woman as a human being, and not just as a walking vagina, you will have nothing to fear.

Seriously, do you care that much about getting sex, and that little about the woman involved that wou're willing to take the risk that she might not actually want this and sleep with her anyway? She collapses on the bed, fully clothed, completely hammered, and any normal person would tuck her in and let her sleep it off. Instead, he decides to undress her and have sex with her?? And doesn't think this is in any way a violation of her rights?? That is rape, no matter which way you cut it, and to think that this man has been aquitted??? I feel sick.
Seriously, I've been that badly drunk once or twice (and I've known boatloads of men who get worse drunk regularly, and have nothing to fear from it) and right now, I'm just counting myself lucky that all the guys who've walked me home in that state have been kind enough to plonk me on the bed, leave me a bucket just in case, and quietly let themselves out. Because apparently, if they had decided to rape me instead, they'd be getting off scot free.

If I honestly thought anyone reads this who has any power to change things, I'd be down on my knees right now, begging them to campaign to change the law, so that consent is not presumed, and women can have a little bit of justice for once.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Mens Rea

I have often argued that in rape cases (and only rape cases) if it comes to court, the burden of proof should be on the Defense.

My main reasoning for this being it's much easier to prove that something did happen than it didn't - ie in cases when it's already been established that sexual intercourse did take place, it's easier for the defense to prove that the woman did give consent than it is for the woman to prove that she didn't.

The whine then comes from every section of male society (even some of the nice ones) "but if we actually make it easier for women to secure a conviction after they've been raped, then what's to stop all women who've had a one-night-stand and regretted it the next morning from hauling that poor little innocent man in front of the judges and ruining his life?" (I paraphrase, obviously.)

There seems to be this paranoia from men that if female consent is not presumed whenever they have sex, and must explicitly be given, then women in their thousands will start vindictively ruining men's lives on trumped up charges of rape. Guilty conscience/ fear of revenge much?

Why is it so hard for men to just suck it up and deal with the fact that women are not just there as something to stick the vagina to? What is so hard about treating women with respect, and making sure that sex is something she actually wants before you do it with her? Apparently it "kills the mood" - well sod that! Any man who puts "the mood" ( ie his pleasure) before a woman's safety and/or wellbeing isn't worth the time of day (I have a similar argument for men who won't use condoms). Similarly, if a woman's obviously drunk - what is wrong with, I dunno, not taking advantage of her?? Is a man getting his jollies really that important?

Presume non-consent until proven otherwise, and no-one's going to try and convict you for rape. It's that simple. The onus should NOT be on a woman to stop herself getting into a situation where she might be raped, it should be on the man to not create such a situation in the first place.

And even if a change in the system would lead to abuse - and I don't believe it would - I don't care. That is a problem for another day, and not an excuse to not change the system which is already open to horrific abuse, only the other way around. It is vanishingly rare these days to get a conviction on a rape case. Go look at the stats if you like, they're not hard to find. Sorry, guys, but with a system as crappy as this, you have no right to whinge that a positive change for women "might possibly be open to abuse". Boo fricken hoo.

But here I have it, the one piece of evidence that should finally shut men up about this "open to abuse" "problem": Mens Rea.

It means "guilty mind" (and not "men's excuse", as I would love to joke...) and means, in British Law, that if a man honestly believes that the woman was consenting, he is not guilty of rape. Seriously. Check it out on the 2003 sexual offenses act.

Now stop whining.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Evidence grows to support the former theory - that I am, in fact, plain stupid sometimes. It's long enough after the event that I can say this without ruining it for anyone...
I tuned into the first episode of the new season of Heroes* just a bit late. And by that I mean I caught the last, say, 5 minutes. The scene - some sort of flying craft, many characters from the show in orange jumpsuits, strapped to their seats. The hull of said craft has just been accidentally breached, and air is rushing out at an alarming rate, we see inside the cockpit, the view out the front, they're about to crash horribly... roll credits.

My reaction? "Wow! Heroes in Space!"

I am politically blind, sometimes. Orange jumpsuits still say to me "astronauts" rather than "Guantanamo". I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.


In other news, Microsoft have delved to a new level of moral cowardice.
I was discussing this with a friend, and he pointed me towards this further example.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think this kind of attitude is absolutely abysmal. It comes down to Microsoft and Blizzard and similar organizations actively condoning homophobia. You just do not ban anyone from using your services because they're openly gay: that is called discrimination, and as far as I am aware that is illegal, never mind completely unethical. It's like saying "no, you can't eat at my restaurant, you're openly black" - you see how prejudiced this sounds now?

This kind of homophobic attitude seems to be endemic on the interwebs. I've even seen some dude on Youtube suggesting that being harassed online is the gamer's fault for self-identifying as gay, and she should expect that kind of prejudice. Oh, and that if you have to tell people you're gay, then you obviously have no personality. Most people seem to think that a blanket ban on all references to sexuality is ok online, because it avoids the issue entirely... well, no it doesn't. As Lambda say in the above mentioned article "although preventing harassment is an admirable goal, a requirement that LGBT people remain invisible and silent is not an acceptable means of reaching that goal."
And it doesn't seem to apply the other way at all, despite what Microsoft may claim. Seriously, go onto any online MMO like WOW or X box live or similar, and you will find people regularly using terms like "gay" or "fag" as perjoratives, and no-one's pulling them up for it. To use my previous metaphor - do you really think this would be ok if they were yelling stuff like "Shit! I lost a life! That is so Black!" or, "Dude, you killed me! You are such a nigger!"... Something tells me Microsoft wouldn't be quite so blase. And yet apparently it's ok to bash queers. Joy.

I find it really odd/cowardly/abysmal that when a woman complains that she is being harassed by other gamers for being a lesbian, she is the one who gets banned. They're effectively condoning the actions of the bigots. What Microsoft are doing is saying that this woman asked to be harassed because she told people she was gay. That's a lot like saying a woman asked to be raped because she was wearing a short skirt. It's exactly the same logic, and it's disgusting.

I can see how it must be easier for the big companies to do that - I mean, what's easier, tackling one lesbian, or a whole crowd of bigots? I've heard suggestions that it's almost impossible to effectively police harrassment online, that "considering that it's an environment in which almost all communication is over unmonitored and unmoderated voice channels, there is nothing they can to to prevent anonymous Nazis from being vocally offensive - you can report a player but with no proof they can't take any action." but that didn't seem to stop them when someone reported Theressa for identifying as gay. Or when Andrews was plugging her LGBT friendly guild in, again, an unmonitored chat channel. People reported them, and the companies took action. Obviously they have the ability to prevent harrassment, but the moral cowardice to tackle a prejudice that has become endemic on their systems.

As someone famously said: All it takes for evil to triumph is for good [people] to do nothing.


In happier news, chimps might be conscious.


Also went to see Watchmen at the weekend. It's good.

It's probably the most faithful adaptation of the Graphic Novel possible - a lot of the dialogue and shots are lifted almost verbatim. Obviously they had to change a few things, but that's understandable, and thankfully, what they did change wasn't too glaring - it was only in retrospect when we were all sitting around afterwards that we started to notice some of them.

As a film in and of itself, it's fab. Beautifully, beautifully shot, but then from the director of 300, you'd expect that. You can definitely tell he was behind it. He does like his slo-mo, but in context it does work, and the colours and the choice of shots show so much care and attention to detail, it's stunning. It really captures the look of the book, if anything even more gritty and dark, because you can do more with shades of dark colours on film than you can in print.

The actors are absolutely fantastic, some stunning performances - none that stand out above the others, but no weak links either. It really is an ensemble piece.

The only possible point where it lets itself down is in the music. It's all fantastic music (with the exception of the worst rendition of Hallelujah I have so far heard.) but it's just not always appropriate to the scene. It's not quite as bad as having Live and Let Die at a funeral (Shrek III... oh dear) but it's stuff like that Hallelujah over a rather gratuitous sex scene - a little distracting, and doesn't quite work. And All Along the Watchtower as Nite Owl and Rorschach are approching Veidt's Antarctic base. At the same time, there are a few moments where they get it spot on - The Times, They are a Changing over the opening credits, which are in themselves The most stunning montage I have ever seen on film. Ever. Without exception. And there are a few moments that I thought it worked, but I'm sure people would argue with me over - Mozart's Requiem near the end, and The Sound of Silence at Blake's funeral (much more appropriate than Live and Let Die...)

A couple of things bugged me - mainly to do with the Sally/Blake stuff, in that the film comes out much more apologistic than the book - I'm sure for some naffy PC reasons that suggest someone just didn't think it through - but I'll leave that for a later date. I'm actually quite happy, in some ways, that they did what they did - simply because it gives me more to put in my thesis :D

Also, I think the focus of the film has changed a little from the book. Whereas the book is very much about universal decay and collapse, because of time restrictions, and the fact that the film has to focus soley on the protagonsits (I want to say Heroes, but no...) it comes out a lot more about individual tragedies. Which makes the end feel a little tacked-on, but there you go. It still works as a film, and I'm still going to see it again (partly because the Thesis demands it) and will almost certainly get the DVD.

*First Episode of volume 4, which I think is something like the beginning of season 3, or half way through it, or something.... It's complicated. But it's the first one of the new lot they've just started showing in the UK

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Either I am stupid, or Comma need to link properly...

Alicia Flagged this up on Wednesday; apparently I am actually published online. It's just a bit difficult to find the link from the Comma Website.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

And the answer is...

Groucho Marx.
Though I was actually thinking about Noam Chomsky when I wrote it. Perhaps you had to be in my head...

I get the feeling that I should be posting more often than monthly - perhaps I will when I have more on the writing front to report. Though in that vein - I was really happy to have been shortlisted for the Comma Press short-story competition a while back (should have blogged that one when it was more relevant) but am slightly concerned that there seems to be nothing about the competition, the translations or the winning story on their website. Hmm...

I'm just putting the finishing touches to the "Hall of Mirrors" short story which I'm thinking of sending to comma, and wondering what I'll do for the Bridport this year. Have been doing a bit of research into stage-magicians and illusionists. Perhaps there's some material in there...

I note that there's been a lot of tailing off my paragraphs today - perhaps it's something to do with the fact that I'm craving ice-cream...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Time Flies like a Banana

I have to start getting up earlier.

This is not because my Mum keeps saying so, nor because The Fiancee's mother keeps saying so, nor because both of them are up at 6:00 am to walk the dogs, practicing what they preach and making me feel guilty.

No, this is because I don't have time to read everything that I ought to, and still have time to do everything that I want to.

I've never managed to see how the average busy person can ever read the entirety of the paper before work, unless it's the Metro (and I'm not knocking that publication by any means, simply because it is free [a point I now actually want to discuss - so will come back to it] and easily digestible in the space of a 2 minute bus/metro ride to one's place of travaille.) Perhaps this is because I've never really had to spend longer than 20-30 minutes traveling to get to school/uni/etc except during bad traffic getting to a 9AM lecture at Warwick, when the road between campus and Leamington Spa was just one long queue that, if it hadn't been so cold out there, I would have decided to walk faster than.

The other possible option is that I am a product of the digital age, which means that (supposedly) I have no attention span, and can only concentrate on one thing for a fraction of a second, and a whole wodge of paper like a novel or a newspaper has to be digested in teeny tiny bites (or bytes) but I think it's fairly safe to say that this is bollocks.

I have actually come to the conclusion, that my inability to read an entire newspaper (assuming that these days I went out and bought one, instead of just looking at the BBC website) is because I don't get up early enough in the morning.

Neil Gaiman always seems to have loads of links to things like articles and newsworthy stuff and interviews, and I keep wondering how he finds them to post. I have decided it is because he too is part of the getting-up-earlier brigade, and must, like anyone who reads the newspaper, get up slightly earlier, just to find out what's going on in the world. And that is admirable.

So, - and this is not a New Year's resolution, because I don't make them (except for the one I made this year, which is to finaly pass my driving test, preferably before The Small Sibling does) - I intend to start getting up earlier in the morning. This should be made easier because The Fiancee is starting a new rotation at the hospital which means getting up at 7:00, and I have requested that I be kicked out of bed at the same time. It kind-of worked this morning, in that I got up, showered and out of bed (not necessarily in that order) by 8:00... only it's now 10:49 and I still haven't done any work. But I feel pretty well caught up on what's happening in the world: Detox diets don't work (surprise surprise) Kids are depressed (no sh1t, sherlock - but that's a rant for later) and Wedgewood have gone bust (shock horror!) I'm not entirely sure why people are having blood tests done at ASDA, but apparently it's happening, oh, and if you missed the Johnathan Creek special over Christmas, fear not.

On a more fun note - I'm very much liking the stuff they have over at, especially TypeTees. Apparently The Small Sibling got me this one for Christmas. It just hasn't arrived yet.

I am also wearing my lovely new gloveses today, which, what with the cold, and the fact that I am also huddling on the sofa, surrounded by piles of paper and wrapped in my snowman fleecy blanket, makes me feel like a very well-dressed bag-lady.

PS) 10 points to anyone who can get the titular reference.