Monday, 18 July 2016

Brexit and generational warfare...

Brexit: the generational war is taken up by David Davis

The new minister for Brexit, David Davis has lost no time in taking up the cudgels in his party's ongoing generational war. His apparently generous offer to allow people from the EU who are already living in the UK to stay after the country leaves, sounds good, on one level. Potentially no mass deportations of friends and co-workers. However the more one looks at the reasons behind this, the more it can be revealed for what it is, generational war on British young people.

The reason he is making this apparently "generous" offer is so that British people resident in the EU will also not be forced to return to the UK, these people are mostly retired or middle-aged people who have established themselves in places like France and Spain. Obviously, to his mind, having a couple of million of these people returning to the UK very unhappy that their lives in Europe have been disrupted by a government which professes a desire to keep state interference in people's lives to a minimum.

When I was younger, experiencing the fag end of the horrible Thatcher government and the dreary and pointless Major government, I needed to find work abroad in the EU. I was able to do that, in the absence of any work in the UK, because we were in the EU. I worked in Greece, Denmark and France (twice). It was a whole lot better than the dole in the UK. That possibility will not be available for young people growing up in the dismal grinding poverty of Brexit Britain. No option to find work in Germany like the workers of Auf Wiedersehen Pet. Stuck in the UK, probably in dead-end jobs, if they are lucky. Denied the opportunities to travel and develop their careers and lives in Europe the younger generation, already under pressure from their elders whose never-had-it-so-good lives continue to outshine the younger people who can barely afford the rents the older generation charge them to live I their homes.

Brexit is generational warfare at its most damaging and its most oppressive. Davis is currently commander-in-chief of the forces of oppression directed at the young since the Tories came to power. As with everything else this government has done, Brexit will harm everyone, but the older generations will be protected and cushioned by their representatives in parliament, while the hopes and dreams of the young are, once again, crushed by economic vindictiveness.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Gullible Subject: when facts are fiction.

As most trans people know, media coverage about us is still often wildly inaccurate and misleading at best. It is not just TERFs who churn out deliberate disinformation, straw-man arguments, fabricated information and assertions based on zero data, it is the right-wing "christian" fundamentalists, the Tea Party and the like, predictable "libertarian" white males and former celebs engaging in "greering" (v: to desperately try an maintain the media limelight if you are a celebrity has-been). 

These days it appears that ignorance is news, and is presented as knowledge. From Trump to Boris Johnson and Gove, facts are fiction, the truth is an inconvenience, lies work better. Ideology is more important than reality. We are in a world in which, increasingly, the ill-informed and mendacious but headline-grabbing assertion is mainstream media currency. fact-checking seems to be a thing of the past in most media platforms and is treated as an troublesome inconvenience in the rest.

The idea of "balance" has developed into a source of drama in which those with knowledge and insight are set against someone with no knowledge but a bag full of ignorant "commonsense" one-liners. I am truly surprised that we don't have a flat-Earther on TV  telling us how this is all just computer graphics every time Hubble telescope produces images of a new galaxy or some other celestial wonder.

The dangers of this are clear. Already Baudrillard has argued that the distinction between "reality" and our media-manipulated universe is blurred. The dangers of living in a fantasy world have been manifest throughout history, from Easter Island to the Third Reich. The media's quest to produce Gullible Subjects believing whatever they are fed is exemplified by CN Lester's outstanding article in the Independent. The media has mythologised trans people in the same way for a century to the extent that most of what we see there is so far from the varied and richly diverse experiences of trans men, women and non-binary people that it might as well be fictional.

This is how right-wing fictions of trans people have resulted in transphobic "bathroom bills" in conservative states of the US, by preying on the outdated and fictionalised media representation of the trans woman's transformation being only skin-deep.

However for me there are parallels with far greater fictions that continue to threaten humanity's existence and this was exemplified by Barack Obama's recent visit to Hiroshima. As someone with a strong imagination Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both emotionally painful places for me to visit, as was Dachau, but I felt it my duty as a human being to visit the atomic bomb memorials there since I had the opportunity, after all one of my relatives was a victim of Hiroshima; 6 years old at the time, she was permanently sterilised by the effects of radiation.

The horror of the atomic bomb is exemplified by two things in Nagasaki's memorial park. These offerings to shrines for the dead are buckets and bottles of water, because that was the one thing the victims of the blast gasped for, in the hours after the explosion.  The second is the collection of names in many volumes of books piled up high to the ceiling in the quiet memorial building. 170,000 people have died as a result of the atomic attack on Nagasaki. The chilling statistic is that "only" around 60,000 of these had died by the 31 December 1945. The rest died subsequently, and are still dying now. The list grows longer, by a few names still, every year. and probably most of the victims of Nagasaki were not even born until well after 1945.

We live in dangerous times when fictions can lead to disaster on a huge scale.  The fiction that a President Trump would be anything other than an unmitigated disaster for the United States and the world, the fiction that the UK will be better as an isolated island a long way off the coast of Maine, the fiction that someone might someday "win" a nuclear war, the fiction that climate change does not exist, the fiction that we can close our borders to the rest of the world, despite growing numbers of refugees from war, oppression and poverty worldwide.  The fiction that Britain is still a great power, that our historically short-lived empire made us great, or that it served anything other than economic imperialism based on slavery and exploitation. The fiction that there is, or was ever can be any such thing as "independence" for nation-states.

These fictions are carefully cultivated by our media. In the second world war our survival depended on being able to mobilise the country and get everyone to contribute to the war effort. Today the media-political complex needs to maintain public opinion in a state of gullibility ready to be mobilised to accept whatever consent they decide they need to manufacture to maintain neoliberal neocolonial exploitation of others as well as our own citizens. Hence the production of the Gullible Subject fed a constant stream of fictions necessary to maintain him or her in readiness to accept whatever they want to manipulate them to believe at short notice, whether for military adventures or economic vandalism designed to oppress the very people being beguiled into supporting it. Marshall McLuhan described media as "extensions of ourselves",  in reality that means extensions of those who control the mass media that shape our lives and produce the fictions that create and maintain the Gullible Subject. These are the real enemies, the Viscount Rothermeres, the Rupert Murdochs, the Laura Kusenbergs whose production of Gullible Subjects the media-political comples's power depends. It is their ability to control the mass of Gullible Subjects which represents the source of their power, a power which is being dangerously misused by those who know how to hoodwink, delude and ultimately, if necessary betray the masses.

So powerful has this culture of decision and the gullible subject become now however, that it appears to have gained a life of its own as people now engage in campaigns of self-delusion, independent of the mass media, since it is so much easier to hoodwink oneself with comfortable lies than to face the uncomfortable and often depressing realities of the world. If we are ever to take back control, break the spell of the Gullible Subject we need to be clear ourselves about reality and fiction. "The masters tools will never dismantle the master's house."

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Statement in Solidarity With The Morning Star

We the undersigned are grateful that the Morning Star has provided a space where transphobia can be expressed openly and hate for those perverts, queers, feminists and poofters who try and look like women to use our women's bathrooms and go for a pee. Now that the war has been lost against gays and lesbians (ugh!) and feminism, we are grateful to have another group to hate. 

We hate trannies, and also we hate that nasty lefty, commie fagot of a president who is supporting them. We are grateful that the Morning Star and a group of TERFs is helping provide the legititimacy we need to root out and destroy those trannies wherever they are (and if a few women who look a bit butch get in the way and are attacked also, well that is just too bad, serves them right for not wearing dresses and for cutting their hair). As everyone knows groups like ours only thrive by having others to use as proxy enemies to nurture hate and unite people behind us in ways that would never have been possible otherwise. We look forward to many years of beating up on trannies as a means of establishing our neocon rightwing agenda to once again re-establish our God-given right to Christian white male dominance.

Thank you Morning Star, thank you TERFs. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

Government of North Carolina 
Government of Mississippi
Republican Party of North Dakota
Donald Trump Supporters Group
Ted Cruz Supporters Group
The Tea Party
Westboro Baptist Church
The Ku Klux Klan

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Police...

Looks like Germaine Greer has appointed herself chief of the newly formed Marriage Police. Yet another courageous police force regulating trans bodies and cis minds necessary to protect the world from the collapse of civilisation as we know it;

  • Mandated chromosome testing at every registry office, by the Marriage Police
  • Genital checking at every women's toilet, the "You're really a man because I say so" Police. 
  • Changing rooms and toilets policed for the slightest sign of gender non-conformity, something that appears to have affected more cis women than trans people so far. 
  • Sexuality Police telling trans people that they can only be repressed gay men or "autogynephiles". 
  • Appearance Police telling us that we are "too masculine" to be women, but then telling us we are over-feminine products of patriarchal shrinks.
  • Freezepeach Police telling us that we just have to shut up and enjoy other people's right to tell us who we are without comeback. This force has a Special Branch; the Hypocrisy Special Section to protect hypocrites from having their double-standards exposed.
  • Sex Police, in some locations to ensure we cannot reproduce.
  • Feminist Police telling us we cannot be feminists unless [fill in impossible criterion here]
  • Housing Police, making sure more of us are homeless than cis people.
  • Employment Police, making sure we are unemployed or underemployed, and trying to get us sacked.
  • Social Service Police, taking our children away.
  • Media Police, making sure we are always forced into a slanging match with a transphobe for your entertainment when we get on TV or the Radio.
  • Social Media Police, extended harassment, abuse, doxxing and outing online.

Of course society needs all these police forces, trans bodies and cis people's attitudes need policing firmly and robustly, where would we be without these thin blue lines...?

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Are you Paying Attention Cis People...?

The incident of the girl who was ejected from the women’s toilets in a Hull McDonalds is significant and exposes problems on so many different levels it is difficult to know where to start, so in no particular order here goes…

Transphobic Bathroom Legislation

The girl, a cisgender lesbian was thrown out of McDonalds after a customer complained that there had been a man in the ladies toilets. The girl in question Ny Richardson, was then asked for her ID and ejected from the premises when she could not produce any, after the police had been called. This is very relevent to the transphobic legislation being enacted in places like North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi primarily targeting trans women. My guess is that not only are these repressive laws going to be difficult/impossible to enforce but most of those who will be accused of using the “wrong” bathroom will be cis women.

This is not an insignificant issue and demonstrates the problems of enforcement that police services in these states are facing, something they have admitted already.

Everyday Sexism

Ny Richardson was in a party of rather rowdy girls claim McDonalds, and they were ejected because of this. Well I have been in fast-food restaurants where there have been rowdy men plenty of times. Rowdiness is expected of groups of men, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this group of girls were subject to a considerably lower threshold of tolerance for rowdy behaviour than they would have been if they had been a group of say, male football supporters; “Boys will be boys, just a bit of high spirits!”

Transphobia and Misgendering

However the most revealing part of this is the way she made, not only the local papers, but national lesbian media for being misgendered. Trans people get misgendered all the time, I was misgendered in Costa Coffee recently, it pissed me off but it isn’t headline news. If it were the Evening Standard would have to devote a page every day to trans people being misgendered in London. The usual ignorant pundits in the media tell us not to get so uptight about being misgendered, both individually and as a group, yet when it happens to a cisgender person it hits the headlines. Perhaps some cis people who regularly attack us and misgender us need to think about this. What if you were persistantly misgendered, what if you were constantly told you are a gender you are not…? 

Welcome to life as a trans person. A trans person on social media recently posted this wonderful thought to explain how many cis people’s understandings of trans people need to develop. 

The fact that a cis person being misgendered - an everyday occurence for trans people - hits the headlines demonstrates that maybe the effect of being misgendered, while so rarely experienced by cis people, may have the same, or even worse, profoundly hurtful effects that it can for trans people. 

Time to sit up, listen and learn cis people, this is an important teaching moment...

Monday, 4 April 2016

Has-Beens PLC: Doing good business for Weldon, McEwan etc

Fay Weldon needs to be much more specific. When she declares that the battle of the sexes has been won - by women, she needs to indicate to which planet she is referring. She certainly can't be referring to this one, and the UK in particular, because once again reported rapes and sexual assaults have risen dramatically this year, women still earn 20-30% less than men and jobs which employ a lot of women generally have lower rates of pay and tighter supervision regimes.

As Laura Bates' project has shown everyday sexism and rape culture cast huge shadows over the lives of many women, with working class women more likely to be subject to sexual violence than most. FGM is still a crime inflicted on girls in the UK regularly, I could go on....

So to assert that the "battle of the sexes" as she likes to call it, has been won by women is quite simply wrong. Obviously if you are living the cushy chocolate-box life of an aging author maybe things appear differently. All her outburst has shown really is that she needs to get out more.

As for her her reasoning that trans women (or as she ignorantly calls us "men who want to be women") exist only because this battle of the sexes has been won, flies in the face, not only of the experience of the majority of women facing discrimination every day but historical and archaeological evidence that shows that trans people, including trans women, have been around for millennia, and in every civilisation worthy of the name.

One gets the feeling there must be a publicity agency out there for fading celebs; like Greer, Burchill, McEwan, and others I have forgotten already like that Crystal Maze person, whatever his name is...

"Hello, Has-Beens here....

Yes, Ms Wheldon we advise people like you on attempting to retain the limelight, yes...

Of course, I see, well we advise making a stupid misinformed statement about trans people Ms Wheldon.

 No, trans people, T-R-A-N-S people, transgender people. You'd better Google it.

Why? Well because not enough people know a trans person yet to know you are talking rubbish, no watercooler discussions about how ignorant you are, so you can get away with saying whatever you like. You are still guaranteed a headline though. Do you have a new publication to push...?

...I see. Thank you Ms Wheldon, Has-Beens PLC is always happy to help. I will charge it to your account.


Thank you...


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Joan Smith: transphobic or ignorant?

The following represents my opinion of Joan Smith's article in the Independent on Sunday today.

This is part of what Joan Smith wrote in the Indie today and it is profoundly dishonest in my opinion;

"That’s why I think feminism is robust enough to weather attacks from some trans activists, who seem unable to disagree with distinguished figures in the women’s movement without trying to turn them into hate figures. I disagree with Germaine Greer on various issues, including prostitution, but her 1970 bestseller The Female Eunuch remains an intellectual challenge and an inspiration. Personal attacks and calls for “no-platforming” have no place in one of the world’s great human rights movements."

Dishonest, and indeed disingenuous because it attempts to situate trans people as being opposed to feminism. This is the way the standard-issue, concern-trolling, disingenuous anti-trans activists argue. For Smith's information trans people are also feminists, indeed I would wager that a greater proportion of trans people describe themselves as feminists than cis people. Feminism is not under attack from trans people nor has it ever been. Nor are the vast majority of feminists opposed to trans people in the same way that Greer is. A small group of anti-trans fanatics who describe themselves as "feminists" have attempted to use feminism as a cover for bigotry and hate-mongering. These people routinely attempt to set up a false division between trans people and feminism, as Smith has done, but this is done deliberately to mislead.  

So there are two alternative scenarios regarding Smith's outburst today. The first scenario is that she is as dishonest and disingenuous as these bigoted anti-trans activists. By attempting to position trans people in opposition to feminists, she is employing the same tactics used by them and many other oppressors throughout the ages. If this is the case she should be regarded as just another cheap shot transphobe and join the long list of privileged people bullying trans people like the far-right evangelical "Christian" fanatics attempting to introduce laws aimed at bullying trans people, especially trans kids, into taking their own lives. If so she is beneath contempt.

On the other hand she could simply be repeating what has become the mantra of the privileged who have not really thought about or understood the issues relating to no-platforming. Does she really think that Germaine Greer's brand of transphobic hate is something we can politely disagree with? Has she ever tried arguing with a person who hates her? If so she really has a problem, and in my opinion is both ignorant of and unaware of what she is writing about. The herd mentality has taken over regarding the issue of no-platforming and the white cis-privileged middle-class have opted for simplistic arguments rather than understanding how privilege actually works.

Whether Smith's outburst is genuine disingenuousness and represents an attempt to harm trans people, or whether it is pure ignorance and banal herd-following, it represents a pretty unedifying end to what is hopefully her last column in mainstream media.