Holiday hangover

March 30, 2009

Quote of the Day:

The Pussycat Dolls do not represent feminism. It’s consumerism appropriating the rhetoric of feminism to sell sexism to young women.

Courtesy of thefword.org.uk

I’m not actually hungover – the title refers to my inability to concentrate on work after my week off. I’m on my fifth coffee and it doesn’t seem to be helping. I’m also worried about my cat who is having lung tests today.

The clocks changed so we have evenings again. Like any change I am desperately hoping it will stimulate productivity. One day I will accept that only I can change my activity levels but today is not that day.


I’ve got my feminist hat on

March 17, 2009

First and foremost today, I am wearing my feminist hat. Now that I’ve said it twice I might have to get a real hat. Quote of the day: 

“Masculinity is what phallotarians do to keep women feminized. Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered”

 – curtesy of Twisty at http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com

This quote puts into words something I think I have long had an intuition about. Knowing that if I don’t display an appropriate level of culturally sanctioned feminity when out and about people could stare or make comments. If that sounds daft or extreme I agree, but that doesn’t stop it happening. And I’m lucky that that’s only one end of the scale that leads ultimately to violence.

Is it wrong that I’m looking forward to reaching an age where I will no longer be considered fuckable so that I will no longer be subject (object) of the public gaze?

In other news: I have been a total slacker with my writing. I wonder if I should start writing something else; another major project or something that exists only for me. The short stories I wrote last year were what I thought a short story should be. I want to be absurd, ridiculous, but when I sit down to do it I get blank page anxiety. I bought a book called “Gasoline” by Dame Darcy, a visually pleasing work with lots of illustrations. This is the kind of thing I love, so why am I not writing it? Because silliness is inappropriate? Because it won’t win any prizes?

I have not been wasting my time though. It has been gorgeously sunny ( I can scarcely believe winter is over, I’m sure it only snowed last week and christmas was the week before). I spent half the weekend reading in the garden amongst my swaying laundry and cats who like to poke their faces through the back of the bench.


Slacker

October 23, 2008

I feel like an epic slacker. I haven’t posted for days, and I have achieved little worth reporting. It is freezing-ass cold. Partner’s sister is booked in for foetus extraction on monday so he’ll probably go away soon to establish his unclehood. I’m trying not to think about NaNo, willfully neglecting sewing mum’s xmas present, clinging desperately to my sanity as I proofread comma-laden gumph. In my rush this morning I only cut the nails on one hand so I’m typing lopsidedly. 

I have included a cool link for you to enjoy. There is only 1 country in the world that wants McCain in power and I’ll give you my earmuffs if you can guess which one:

http://www.iftheworldcouldvote.com/


Birmingham Book Festival

October 16, 2008

Yes, we the birminghamese have learned our words and there is now so much interest in books that we have our own library. And the library is giving us a festival!

http://www.birminghambookfestival.org/

It’s now halfway through so I doubt I’m going to do them any advertising favours here – though do look out for next year’s. I took partner to see Mark Thomas speak about his new book Belching out the Devil about Coca Cola and how many evil things they do in so many different countries.

This was extra fun for me because partner enjoys coke frequently. Ha. He may still go for it, it’s just not as easy when you know they pay workers less than a living wage in Turkey, they drain and pollute the water supplies of Indian villages, they use child labour in their sugar cane fields and turn a blind eye to their trade-unionist staff being shot in their bottling plants in Columbia. I can’t wait to read the book. I’ll let you know how it is. (we also got his previous book “As used on the famous Nelson Mandela”)

The great thing about Mark Thomas is how ordinary and approachable he is. He’s enthusiastic and good humoured with his blokey London accent and attitude – the opposite of the activist stereotype. (who does fit the activist stereotype? if you know, please share). I think it helps ordinary folk to put a person they can relate to to serious issues; it shows that you don’t have to be snobby or a hippy to boycott things, and you don’t have to be a raving loon to care about what goes on in the world. Good stuff.

When I first set this blog up I thought “gosh, why ever would I want to create a load of pages? I can’t even think of one” and now I’m getting overrun as I think I should add one for things worthy of boycott….


Some things you might like to know…

September 18, 2008

…About the government. Today’s educational topic brings you a list of laws enacted by the UK government in which they sold our freedoms for “security” that can be used fuck over any person they so choose. It’s like someone read Kafka’s The Trial and thought “Hey, that’s a great idea, by putting people on trial without charges we can keep them out the way and if we’re really lucky psychologically destroy them until they die”.

Like I said before: politics scares me. Monsterbeasts. Everywhere.

– The government can ban any groups it labels ‘terrorist’ – even my book club.
(Terrorism Act 2000)

– The government can monitor any and all private communication – no more phone sex for me.
(Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)

– Armed forces can be deployed domestically in peacetime – is terrified the same as terrorised? Because that’s how I feel when I see automatic rifles in the train station.
(Civil Contingencies Act 2004)

– Property and assets can be seized without warning or compensation – and it’s easy to get legal representation when you’re homeless.
(Civil Contingencies Act 2004)

– Spontaneous protest illegal around Parliament – so if you’re about to do something horrendous we, the electorate, can’t let you know how we feel about it?
(Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)

– Indefinite detention of foriegn citizens – everyone’s foreign somewhere; how would you feel in a foreign jail?
(Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001)

– Without trial, any British citizen can be tagged, put under house arrest and banned from using the telephone or internet – I’m so much safer in my cage, left to brood over what I could possibly have done. 5 Kafka points for this one.
(Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005)

– Any citizen can be imprisoned without charge for 28 days (42 days has passed the house of commons) – no where else in the world does this because, strangely enough, you need evidence of a crime before you can arrest someone.
(Terrorism Act 2006)

– It is illegal to ‘glorify terrorism’ – and if my book club was labeled terrorist I guess I’d be going down for this too.
(Terrorism Act 2006)

– The executive can change any current legislation without consulting Parliament, with very few exceptions – dictatorship anyone? Cause they always work out well, especially for the general populous. They also stay in place for years, decades, despite the whole world knowing what’s going on *ahemMugabe* so don’t expect anyone to bust in and rescue you.
(Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006)

– Arbitrary punishments with no legal precedents can be issued with little legal recourse, based on hearsay evidence – my brother’sgirlfriend’scousin said you like children, so you’re not allowed in the park any more.
(Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003)

– British citizens can be extradicted to the United States with no evidence presented – free holiday! Oh no wait…
(Extradition Act 2003)

– Compulsory identification for all British citizens, with an unlimited amount of details stored in a database, which the private sector will have some access to – you know why this sucks, but the whole corporate access part really fucks me off because that is all we’re likely to see of this scheme: masses of fucking targeted advertising and the inability to get a job because of a typo.
(Identity Cards Act 2006)

– Upon arrest the police have claim to your DNA, even if you are released without charge – if the government isn’t allowed to own my organs they sure as hell shouldn’t have my DNA.
(Criminal Justice Act 2003)

Credit to Queer Pagan for sending me the list


Politics scares me

September 8, 2008

And not because it’s complicated, or too much to understand. It scares me because of the way I look at certain politicians, see terrifying monsterbeasts, and then see loads of people loving and praising said monsterbeasts. It would be really easy to use Sarah Palin as an example here, Mrs “you can strip mine as many Alaskan national parks as you like as long as you birth that rape baby” but as I’m not American and have no voting rights in that country I’m going to leave that there.

What really concerns me, naturally, is my own country and the horrible certainty that we will see a Conservative government. I admit I see David Cameron as a monsterbeast. He’s all slippery and shiny on the outside, and uses a sneering tone of voice that implies that you’re the one saying something stupid. I have a fairly keen sense of when people are being insincere and Mr Cameron literally makes my skin crawl with how much of an act everything he does and says is. He’s just doing it for the media attention; why don’t people see that?

The man is a hypocrit. He claims to care about the environment then charters a plane to visit the arctic. He claims to be against the “social engineering” of the current government then talks of his plans to encourage more people to marry. He claims it’s the public’s own stupid fault for being overweight and yet how many in his cabinet have a BMI if under 25? I don’t understand how in the face of his obvious snobbish distaste for the British public he is still so well-liked. Or is this the type of person people feel should be in power? Is a hypocritical, snobbish media tart what people expect from a Prime Minister? If it is that is a damn depressing thought…


Superiority complex

August 8, 2008

My personal privileges as a white middle class UK citizen were brought to light this week by two very different encounters. The first was when a large group of black teenage boys wanted to get on the bus, weren’t allowed, then one of them sabotaged the bus. Although sabotaging a bus is rarely the best cause of action I sympathise with the boys. They are one of the most despised groups in our society, and one that it seems socially acceptable to despise since all the press about gangs, knife and gun crime. They were probably correct when they claimed the bus driver was being racist. I can appreciate the driver was intimidated by the number of them and only wanted to admit some to reduce the chance of rowdiness, but the fact that they could see there was space for them all to fit antagonised them. Unfortunately they did get a little rowdy then, proving in the minds of the passengers what they had suspected all along.

It’s actually that part that happened after that I had most problem with. The boys were not a gang, they were a football team on their way to practice. Despite that the disruntled passengers complained the driver should have done something sooner, they shouldn’t have been allowed onto another bus, and one of them called the police. These were all middle class white people, all very annoyed that their bus had been messed with. The guy who called the police actually shouted at the rest of us for not standing up with him when he confronted one of them (he’s obviously been reading too many opinion pieces on the Independent website). No one spoke up for the kids, but I guess there could have been some secret sympathisers.

I understand why they feel safer in large groups now, with so many suspicious glances.

Not that I understand their entire lives, obviously, though I do think hating teenagers is one of the first signs of aging.

My second encounter was with my new friend Neighbour. Neighbour lives next door (duh) and gets the same bus as me in the morning, giving us the opportunity for a five minute chat before the bus arrives. He is about 60, a working class Brummie who builds staircases for shops. I, being middle class and highly educated, assumed that I was so very much more clever than Neighbour, until we had a chat about books. He is a sci-fi fanatic and loves to read at any given opportunity, though for unspecified reasons (probably since he started living in pokey bedsits) he hasn’t read a book for 3 years. I could not allow this so I lent him A Brave New World and Oryx and Crake the next day: the only sci-fi books I could find at short notice. He was most pleased, and promised to lend me a book of his when another friend returns it, about a half-human half-martian and featuring philosophical discussion on the value of marriage. That is a book I would like to read. Which surprised me. Because I do have huge prejudices in the way I see the world, and I judged Neighbour on his appearance and class and his current main hobby of drinking Carling.

I am glad Neighbour befriended me, he has helped me see flaws in myself that I can address.