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Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+ Media

Things that are different are not the same

A typically incisive piece by Parker Molloy on the censorious clowns who claim that legitimate criticism of what they say and write is the same as the attempted murder of Salman Rushdie.

That is the problem people have with the “cancel culture” discourse. It’s selective, it flattens important distinctions between horrific acts (beheadings and physical attacks!) and free speech (dissent, boycotts, protests). The “cancel culture” brigade sure loves to claim that speech it doesn’t like (dissent, boycotts, protests) is a threat to speech, while sitting mostly silently on actual threats to free expression, like the Republican plan to use obscenity laws to make certain books on LGBTQ topics illegal to sell, the Republican-led purging of books from school and local libraries, and the Republican-led re-writing of textbook standards to remove “divisive” issues. Funny how none of that is “cancel culture,” and yet they think someone speaking out against J.K. Rowling’s factually incorrect rants about trans people (i.e. using their freedom of speech) represents a threat to the very concept of “free speech.” The reason is simple: one of these advances their own agenda, the other doesn’t.

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Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+

An evergreen post

I posted something on Twitter last night that I could post pretty much any time, any day, in response to someone doing something utterly vile: trans people have been trying to warn you about this person, this organisation or this publication for years.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

In Rainbows

June is Pride Month in the US, and because so many brands are global now that means it’s Pride Month here too. Social media managers have changed their brand avatars to include rainbows, and at the end of the month they’ll take the rainbows away again. And in the meantime, they may not do a single damn thing to support LGBT+ people, let alone help them. All too often a rainbow flag on a corporate Twitter account is an empty gesture.

Not all firms wrap themselves in the rainbow as an empty marketing ploy. Apple lobbies against anti-LGBT+ legislation, for example. But many firms, including the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Amazon, have given considerable sums of cash to anti-LGBT+ politicians. And many broadcasters, publishers and streaming services have been happy to profit from anti-LGBT+ abuse masquerading as legitimate comment or edgy comedy.

“Corporations in hypocrites shocker”, I know. But while it’s always fun to mock such firms’ hypocrisy on social media, I think it’s more important to try and do something positive around Pride. There are countless LGBT+ owned businesses who would really appreciate your custom; countless LGBT+ authors whose books would be a brilliant addition to your reading list; amazing LGBT+ artists of all kinds who are doing great things. Whenever you see a rainbow, think of it as a reminder that your money and your attention can make a real difference to LGBT+ people and organisations.

Categories
Bullshit

Copaganda

I learnt a new word today: copaganda. It’s when you try to change the news agenda to protect the reputation of the police, and it’s happening just now over the trial of rapist, murderer and police officer Wayne Couzens.

This is from Sky News:

“It’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

A senior investigator on Sarah Everard’s case, former DCI Simon Harding, says police officers “do not view” Wayne Couzens as a police officer and he “should never have been near a uniform”.

That’s blatantly untrue. As Jonathan Crenshaw points out on Twitter:

Couzens was hired *after* his earlier behaviour came to light. his force  nickname was “the rapist”. he was part of an elite unit, had a warrant card and a gun. he was respected.

It also appears that his colleagues gave him sufficient time to clear his mobile phone history before knocking on his door.

The police would like you to focus on the idea of Couzens as a bad apple in the hope that you don’t remember the rest of the saying: one bad apple spoils the barrel. There is a huge problem of dangerous men working for the police and the Met would really rather you didn’t think about that. Portraying Couzens as some kind of lone wolf is an attempt to evade responsibility.

 

Categories
Bullshit Health

Salad daze

This, by Amanda Mull for The Atlantic, is brilliant: Don’t Believe The Salad Millionaire.

It’s about the CEO of a salad chain for affluent customers. Said CEO claimed that the solution to COVID wasn’t masks or vaccinations: it’s salad. Americans are too fat, too lazy, and it’s their fault if they get sick.

As Mull writes:

that salad is the ideal medicine for an incredibly contagious respiratory virus might not be a trustworthy argument coming from a literal salad millionaire.

But there’s a wider point here.

More interesting, though, is how telling Neman’s salvational ramblings are of a harmful conviction about health that America’s wealthiest, most privileged class long ago laundered into common sense: that people who, unlike them, end up sick or poor have simply refused to make the right choices and help themselves. Speculating that America’s health-care crisis could be solved if everyone just had to eat some salad is not only lazy and wrong; it’s perpetuating an attitude that is making health—and the pandemic—worse for millions of people.

Although this is a story about the US, it’s just as relevant here: our media and political class has the same contempt. But despite the constant narrative of the undeserving poor, poor people don’t make bad food choices because they are stupid or greedy. They make bad food choices because they’re forced to. Poor people make bad choices because they’re poor.

Research has shown that poor people know what they’re missing from their diets, and they want quite badly to have those things.

Food is expensive. It’s expensive to buy good quality ingredients. It’s expensive to buy cookware and kitchenware. It’s expensive to pay for the energy to heat your food. And it’s expensive in terms of time: time spent preparing, time spent cooking, time spent shopping, time spent getting to and from the shops – shops that in many cases are far away from where many poorer people live.

I love to cook, but I’m doing it in a kitchen full of privilege: I can afford to pay my rent, cover my utility bills and still have enough money left to buy good quality ingredients. I have enough free time that I can afford to spend hours messing around with recipes I don’t know if I’ll even like, and I can make things for the kids in the knowledge that if they don’t like it I can simply whip up something else or get a takeaway. I can afford to waste food. These things are luxuries denied to many people.

I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett’s story about poor people’s boots:

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

As Mull writes:

The people who benefit most from this belief system tend to be those who have parlayed personal advantages into even more enormous personal wealth; they were born on third base and swear they hit a triple.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

“You are not one of the witches. You are one of the witch-hunters”

A fantastic thread from author Dr Claire Askew on the ignorance of bigots claiming to be the descendants of witches. Turns out they’re as ignorant about history as they are about biology.

Our ancestor-witches weren’t witches. They were people who, among other things, committed the so-called sins of being old, disabled, single, too sexually active, not sexually active enough, and/or – yep, you guessed it – living outside or subverting social norms around gender.

…’witchcraft’ in the olden days was actually an excuse to launch a programme of panicked eugenics. The people the witch-hunters wanted to get rid of were precisely the people who still face the most oppression in our society today: including trans/non-binary folx.

…If you chuck around transmisogyny or go in for this gender essentialist crap about biological female WHATEVER, you are not one of the witches. You are one of the witch-hunters. You are writing a new Malleus Maleficarum when you partake in transphobia, ableism, racism, bigotry.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

I see the biology experts have logged on again

A genuine post from a self-proclaimed “gender critical” feminist on Twitter today:

I don’t believe trans women are allowed in lifts. Something to do with the HRT they take. Read it on Stonewall.

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Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+ Media

The LGB Alliance isn’t a hate group. It’s much worse than that

A must-read thread on why the LGB Alliance aren’t a hate group: they’re much more sinister than that.

Well, that’s an oversimplification. They most certain are a hate group, and act the same as any other anti-LGBT hate group, but more than that, they’re something more sinister: They are controlled opposition. And that’s considerably worse.

…They’re not just a hate group; they’re masquerading as a legitimate LGB rights organisation, seeking to undermine the existing charity that fights for LGBT rights, and replace them, while being nothing but an arm of the religious right.

…Imagine for a second they hadn’t faced such public scrutiny and pushback and got their way? The UK would have an “LGB rights charity” that opposes anti-bullying, opposes hate crime legislation, thinks gay teachers are predators and that school LGBT groups are harmful

This is all well documented and easy to find. Media outlets that continue to platform them or present them as a legitimate organisation are either incompetent or malevolent.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+ Media

Twitter is not real

Whatever you think of the SNP/Green Party deal, it’s significant that 94.9% of the SNP membership voted in favour of a deal whose key points included GRA reform. Once again it demonstrates that the spittle-flecked anti-trans fury you see online isn’t representative of reality.

But it is representative of what gets printed in the papers. As many people have pointed out, Twitter is used disproportionately by people in the media. It’s a good source of stories on slow news days and of content to plagiarise, and it’s also home to a number of echo chambers where journalists hang out.

There was a good example of this earlier in the week when the BBC ran a story about Ofcom leaving the Stonewall Diversity Champions project. The wording of the article was very strange, suggesting that the LGB Alliance was a rival to Europe’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group (and since when did human rights organisations have rivalries?), completely misrepresenting why most of the LGBT+ community hates the LGBA and using the same language about trans people that anti-trans hate groups use.

If you look at the writer on Twitter, his following list is a who’s-who of anti-trans activism; his wife, also on Twitter, is an anti-trans activist who used her account to boast of “peak transing” her husband – the anti-trans equivalent of redpilling, where you successfully recruit somebody to the cult – back in 2018. Here in Scotland, a Scotsman writer’s recent piece on anti-trans activists being ejected from an Edinburgh pub had to be pulled completely: first it was edited to remove the deliberate misgendering she’d put in the news story; then it was pulled altogether, presumably because the lawyers decided it was legally actionable. If you look at the writer’s Twitter account, it too is a who’s who of anti-trans activists and hate groups.

These anti-trans activists are not writing columns, where opinions are labelled as such. These people are writing news stories, which are supposed to be unbiased and transparent. When you’re reporting news you can shape the story without telling any lies: you simply choose to platform this voice but not that one; to publish what group A tells you but not the rebuttal from group B.

People who are deeply immersed in the anti-trans movement should not be writing news reports on activism they or their friends are actively involved in. It’s unethical, immoral and in blatant breach of the NUJ Code of Conduct. In fact, it’s in breach of every version of the Code since the original in 1936: A journalist “should not falsify information or distort or misrepresent facts.”

Twitter is not real, and neither are the scare stories the echo chambers’ tame journalists circulate. What they’re publishing isn’t journalism; it’s client journalism, journalism that twists reality to suit the agenda of its friends. Or as it’s also known: propaganda.

Categories
Bullshit LGBTQ+

New Zealand vs new zealots

This is beautiful. The anti-trans group Speak Up For Women sent many submissions to the New Zealand Human Rights Council, but while they posted their submissions publicly they didn’t post the response – even though the letter explicitly asked them to. The reason? The HRC handed them their bigoted arses on a plate.