April fools

I’m not a big fan of April Fool’s day. As a journalist it’s a day when my inbox is filled with unfunny nonsense, and as a reader of newspapers and websites it’s a day when the papers try to get away with ridiculous bullshit such as claiming Graham Linehan deserves sympathy for his obsessive anti-trans bullying or that a bunch of bigots who are obsessed with other people’s genitals are our generation’s Suffragettes rather than our Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schafly.

But not everything printed on the first of April is bad faith bollocks. Some of it, such as this excellent piece by Jude Doyle, is very much worth your time. The title, “How the far right is turning feminists into fascists”, undersells the madness Doyle describes. I’m pretty clued up about all of this stuff but it’s still truly remarkable to see it laid out with such clarity.

Trying to follow these connections lands you in a human-centipede chain wherein Russian oligarchs dump dark money into U.S. evangelical think tanks and the evangelicals send that money back over the Atlantic to fund TERFs. A law banning teachers from mentioning homosexuality in the classroom appears first in Hungary then in Florida. Youth transition is banned in the U.K. (then restored) and then banned in Idaho. Vladimir Putin defends his invasion of Ukraine, comparing the cancellation of J.K. Rowling to that of Russia. The same regressive ideas swirl back and forth between continents like ocean currents, and with or without conscious coordination, we all end up living in the same mess.  Even the most extreme and implausible right-wing ideas have reach and institutional backing they might not otherwise have had, and a global slide into fascism goes from unthinkable to likely.