Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I have been somewhat quiet the past few weeks. It's amazing how working part-time and studying full-time can eat away so much at your schedule.

There have been many internal rants that may find their way onto this blog eventually. As for the moment, my ranting is being put on the back burner as I whimper through my last year of being an undergraduate.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Be My Baby

My head has been buzzing with various topics lately but none coherent enough to put down on here. However, an article in today's Guardian along with a friend's unplanned pregnancy, has left my internal world spinning.

Do you know there's an important anniversary next week? It's the anniversary of when abortion was legalised in this country. At last, women were acknowledged the legal right to have control over their own bodies. They could make the choice concerning reproduction. Why not, heterosexual (and some queer men) make those decisions every day, without judgement. And have no problems doing so.

Yet again, the ugly right-wing religious fanatics of America have reared their heads. As well as several states taking away women's right to emergency contraception, they want to lower the 24 week limit on abortions. And it's frightening to think Britain might be considering the same thing. You think governments would embrace abortion more. A lower population of wanted children means less of a drain on local and national social care resources. The illusion of smaller classrooms and lower unemployment rates could become a reality for some political parties.

But there seems to be such a stigma against this. Bear with me. Under no circumstances am I advocating women to be forced into abortions but to have it presented as a potential option to an unexpected pregnancy. It's not murder, it's not pissing off God, it's not selling your soul to Satan. Do those who say it's an act of murder give any thought to the circumstances when imposing this blanket judgement? What about a woman who has been raped or sexually abused and become pregnant as a result? It's all very well telling her to carry through with the pregnancy and give it up for adoption. Imagine living with the knowledge that this thing, this reminder of your pain and your abuser is growing inside your body. Or what if you simply don't want it? I seriously doubt before every pro-lifer engages in a sexual act that could result in a pregnancy stops for a moment and ponders over the potential life they could be creating. And don't get me started on eejits that claim even condoms cause murders. How dare they when an AIDs epidemic is sweeping across Africa, another example of humans literally fucking each other over? So, going back to the original comment on condoms, no male should masturbate because they might be killing off potential babies? Again, I'm sure every male pro-lifer thinks exactly the same thing when he's shaking hands with the bishop.

But am I getting angry for nothing? The facts speak differently. How many babies born at 24 weeks survive? 1%, rising to 11% at 23 weeks (Guardian, 17th October 2007). Are there really vast amounts of lives being taken? Yes, these embryos have the potential to grow into babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, middle aged, old aged individuals. Though here I have to admit my glaring contradiction that came to me when I was reading the fabulous We Need to Talk About Kevin. I believe abortion is a right but believe the death penalty is wrong. Does that mean I only value life in adults? Or teenagers if you're talking about America, where states can chop and change legislation on the death penalty. In a way, that's true as I don't believe you have human rights (or consciousness) until you come shooting into this world, whether that's via a vagina or tugged out via the intestine.

That's irrelevant. What I value is women's rights in this society. I may not always agree with the decisions they make but I am trying to learn to respect them. I may not wish their lives upon me but I should remember it's their life to live.

The Guardian article that created this ramble can be found here: Clickey click

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Ian Curtis, compression and Vanity Fair

The cosmic forces in the world are keeping me away from something I want. Very badly.

Control, the new film depicting the life and times of Ian Curtis, opens on general release in the UK this week. I adore Joy Division and the Manchester scene of the 1970s/80s since catching 24 Hour Party People on television one night. It's now one of my most played DVDs and my 'cheer up' film.

Alas, due to other social events and work, the earliest I can see this film is Monday. Monday?! Monday?! So I am not a happy bunny especially as my social life is going to have to be compressed and packed away for the next 8 months or so. Control marks the countdown to when my life is reduced to university, food, paid work and D.H. Lawrence (for no other reason than he's my author of the moment).

My annoyance was kicked off by reading the following article in ysterday's email edition of the Guardian (more on that later) on disability. The writer's stance in the article is that Control contains many themes but one theme that has been overlooked is one of disability. Ian Curtis is probably one of the most famous epileptics, at least in musical history. I read in a magazine article (possibly NME) that even the drum loop could set Ian off into a fit. You can see how music became both a love and an endurance test for him.

As with such articles, it goes off on a tangent and queries whether it is right for actors to depict disabilities they do not suffer from in reality. The comparison of Laurence Olivier blacking up to play Othello has caused some anger. See what you think - link to the article here. As a side topic, Francesca Martinez, who is mentioned in the article, is not a very funny comedienne. Well, she wasn't when I saw her almost a year ago. Her act was primarily based upon her disability which would have been interesting if it had been actually funny. Perhaps her act is improved - she apparently got excellent reviews at the Fringe.

And to my last point. I recently invested in a copy of Vanity Fair, the magazine. It's listed in the women's lifestyle section of most magazine sections. When you see straplines such as 'Iraq's Millions' and 'Bush's Bunker' (and actually referring to a person rather than anatomy) paraded alongside magazines proclaiming "Britney's Booze Bloat!" and "Chantelle is sick after every meal!" you wonder what the world is coming to.

Anyhoo, I read an interesting article on the media and presentation of information. Many newspapers have embraced the web and many post articles on-line, often free of charge. But this creates a problem for the editors. Individuals may not choose to invest in the money for a physical copy of the newspaper when they can access the articles for free. Indeed, as I discovered on my volunteer work placement, the Guardian on-line database has articles and news stories going as far back as the early 1970s.

For me, the news is part of my day. It doesn't feel right if I haven't glanced at the email edition of the Guardian (I pretend it's environmentally friendly to get the email edition - in reality it's so I don't waste money on a paper I don't have time to read) or catch the BBC institution of the Six O'Clock News. Information retrieval and presentation is something that interests me. Probably explains why I want to be an archivist. When I on holiday, I either invest in a copy of a broadsheet or log onto the BBC website, just to check Britain hasn't sunk into the sea when I've been away.

So, what is the way forward? The article (which doesn't appear on Vanity Fair's website - smart move) claims by 2012, the Internet will take over 'traditional' forms of news reporting. In some ways, I welcome that as it means information will, hopefully, more more accessible to the masses. But it's the choice of what news people choose to take in. Will they frequent downbeat stories about what fucked up things humans are doing to each other (most recent, events in Burma) or will they favour the latest in Britney's fall from grace?

I hope to God it's the former rather than the later.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

And so another year of study begins.....

Well, I've been cheating somewhat. The submission date for my dissertation is the end of January so I've been doing some long overdue study the past few weeks. Originally it was going to be a vast work looking at the concepts of individual and community within the context of the reigns of James IV, V and VI of Scotland. It would be a work encompassing gender, social and cultural identity within the royal court and the outside world of Scotland, excluding the Highlands. Nothing personal against the Highlands but the events going on during the periods I was looking at would be a dissertation within itself.

My supervisor took a look at my proposal and told me "There's too much here for 10, 000 words." As a result, my labour of love has been cut down to studying certain individuals (the three James) and within the confines of the political community based in Edinburgh. I seem to be developing a fondness for James V. Scottish historians seem to adore James IV. I don't. I think he's a sneaky little arsehole who helped killed his father then used religious acts to pretend he was sorry. I do have some respect for James VI but find certain aspects of his character rather amusing. In Elizabeth I's final years he was practically rubbing his hands in glee at becoming king of England. In between burning witches of course.

But James V was a different kettle of fish. The main reason I like him is the way he played Henry VIII and the Papacy off against each other. The Vatican were a tad nervous that Henry would convince his nephew to join the new faith. So what did James do? He screwed the Papacy for a hellva lot of cash and had a lot of power over appointments of archbishops. Then sucked up to his uncle in return for even more cash. It may sound mediocre by today's standards but, if you had power over the clergy, you had power over most of the political community. Who were the most educated people in Scottish society? The clergy, hence their roles in administration within the political sphere.

He also got to shag Marie of Guise who was one tough lady. Unfortunately she didn't do an extremely good job of passing her wisdom onto her daughter who would become Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, cousin to Elizabeth I and more right to the English throne than her. Elizabeth wasn't called a witch's bastard for nowt ya know.

So, instead of waffling so much I have to produce a well argued dissertation on the above topics.

Friday, 14 September 2007

"Old age. It's the only disease...that you don't look forward to being cured of. "

It's somewhat appropriate I am posting this today. This evening I am going to a 90th birthday dinner for my Great-Aunt. She still lives in her own home and is going strong for entering her ninth decade. To kill time I was browsing on You Tube for some music videos and I came across some clips from Young at Heart . This documentary was repeated on UK television during the summer and I accidentally bumped into it whilst channel hopping. I was intrigued by the topic. Most members of this choir are in their 80s yet still give unique performances of modern classics such as Schizophrenic
by Sonic Youth and the above performance of Fix You by Coldplay. One gent (I forget his name) was in his late 80s but was an enthusiastic mountain biker whilst another guy was proud to have an active sex life and claimed that was the secret behind a long life.

The documentary played on my heart strings. Fix You was originally meant to be a duet but the second performer died a few weeks before the concert. Other times, the choir gave a performance at a local prison and it was heart warming to see big tough guys with tattoos crying during some of the more ironic songs.

As the title of my entry says, old age is one disease few of us can escape from. But at least you can go out in style.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

New Blog

A friend of mine has set up a new music blog which is fan-bloody-tastic. There are tracks for you to sample as well as detailed descriptions for each one. There are 'You Should Know This Artist' posts and recommendations range from podcasts to indie to cheesy pop. Without further ado, here is a link to this mecca of knowledge: Wolf Lullaby run by the domineering Ms Alex. She has kick started my fading interest in podcasts and I'm now listening to the wonderful Jobacle - The Podcast For Workers Who Still Have A Personality... which is one of the best podcasts I have come across. It's interesting from a sociological point of view for me at the minute but the guy who presents this is hilarious and has an interesting take on life. It's well presented and sounds more like it belongs on a radio station.

So go have a browse through the blog and make Ms Alex's day by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


As usual, today's edition of the Guardian flopped into my inbox. One of the stories is an issue that makes me furious.

Gender pay gap amongst executives.

On a side note, it always amazes me how these stories pop up in the media so often. People seem to react as if it's a big surprise and how can this be happening with the Equal Pay Act in force? The excuses given in the article are pathetic. "There are more female executives in some sectors." And your point is? Just because you are a woman doesn't mean you should be getting paid less than a male counterpart for the same job. Again, one of the downfalls of living in a patriarchal, capitalist society.

Still on topic, I went to a talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival. It was a discussion about feminism and the panel consisted of Lynn Segal and Laura Kipnis. The former a British academic who was part of second wave feminism in the 70s, the later an American academic who seems to equate sexual identity with gender. It was a lively discussion but seemed to be dominated by audience members asking questions about child rearing and so on. For me, the subject of children is a battle ground for heterosexual couples, less so with same-gender couples.

The decision to have a child ultimately lies with the woman, this cannot be a truly equal decision made between the biological parents. The female can decide to remain pregnant or make decisions to remove that feature. Legislation caters more to females remaining the care giver after the child has left her body. Paternity leave for a father is, on average, two weeks whilst the mother is entitled, with recent legislation, up to nine months. Why should one assume the mother wants to remain the primary care giver? But, as Lynn Segal at the above talk argued, being a mother only lasts proximately 20 years of an estimated 60-80 year life span. It can be easier for the male to walk away. After all, he doesn't have it growing inside him. In the first 9 months of development, the mother suffers and this suffering is continued through to the birthing process. Talking to friends who have given birth, it sounds like a humiliating experience. Your body is no longer your own property, it is given over to midwives and nurses to stretch and tear and rip and pull and force. No orifice is safe, the body expels some matter through every one. Then there's dangers of your entire body going into shock after the birth which can lead to death. Meanwhile, the father struts around the waiting room, wondering if handing out cigars is a little ironic. And please let it be a boy so they can do worthwhile bonding activities like attend sporting events and learn it's not masculine to show your emotions.

Both genders suffer in this life but I feel that women are paid less, treated badly and generally fucked over because they had the rudeness to come into this life missing balls. And that's partly why I'm a feminist. Rant over.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

I met one of those people with heavy souls today.

Glasgow has been enjoyed a spell of gorgeous weather so, as karma for tells, it was time we encountered a downpour. By the time I got on the bus I was soaked to the skin. Most of the windows had been opened so I shut the one closest to me to prevent me getting a draft. At which point the gent who had been muttering to himself at the back of the bus apologised for opening those windows.

Now the gent had been read a book so I assumed he was one of those people who quietly reads out loud. He made a comment about the weather and we batted casual conversation back and forwards. Previously such conversations have been interesting. Once I spent three hours talking to an Israeli in the Pret in Sauchiehall Street. This time perhaps I should have read the signs when he made a comment about Jimi Hendrix and the price that gifted individuals may pay in return for having such delights. He was reading a book about Alexander the Great and the conversation (well, monologue on his part) turned to the gold standard and how we're getting screwed out of 2 grams every 10 grams or so. Suddenly, he asks me "Do you know what it's like to see a man starve to death?"

Alarm bells start ringing and are briefly drowned out by the thought 'Not recently, no.' I went for shaking my head in case my tongue slipped that comment out. He then precedes to tell me about a friend in India who starved to death. Bus Man had been stealing food but his friend refused to take it due to religious reasons i.e. God might be pissed. When he went to get some money to give to him instead, he came back to see his friend covered with a white sheet. By this point, tears were pouring down his face. I didn't know what else to do. I did the only thing I could do - I gave him a crumpled tissue from my pocket. All of a sudden he leapt to his feet and kept talking as he walked down the bus and got off at what I presume was his stop.

An interesting after affect was watching the reactions of the passengers. When Bus Man initially started his monologue, an elderly man got up and moved further down the bus. A woman stared at the window at him and shared a glance with the same elderly man, strangers before this moment. Myself? I sat there, a little shell shocked from what had happened. Touching a shell that heavy leaves you dazed for a while.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

No Karaoke please, we're Scottish.

I've returned from a week in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. My parents were fond of taking holidays in very quiet areas of Portugal. Very quiet areas where a passing horse and cart is big news. OK I may exaggerate but I've rarely been to a big resort location such as Spain. Bulgaria was suggested to us by the travel agents and I heard it was reasonably cheap. Of course that looks like it is about to change because Bulgaria joined the EU at the beginning of this year.

One day Him Indoors and I decided to take a tour to the cities of Nessebar and Burgas. Both places were an experience. Burgas made me feel like I was in a production of 'The Third Man' and I kept expecting to see Orson Welles strutting around the square and muttering something about cuckoo clocks. The experience of that city made me feel like a fat and reasonably wealthy European. There was a small family of beggars wandering about. One little girl tried to take a tourist's ice cream cone headed for the bin and was loudly told to 'Fuck off' by the six foot English inbred idiot who possessed it. Myself I was pissed off by the kids coming up to me whilst I was trying to read my book but I ignored them. I had used up all my energy glaring at someone on the tour bus who used the word 'Pikey' to describe the Gypsy population.

Our tour guide was a charming Bulgarian girl who Anglicised her name to Daisy. This was a common occurrence amongst the Bulgarians I encountered in hotels and restaurants. On the transport between Burgas and Nessebar she offered up a Q& A session and answered some rather interesting questions. One was about the EU and she remarked that it was becoming more expensive to live in Bulgaria. The average Bulgarian takes home around 300 levs a month which is approximately £100. I'm sure Mr West could explain the ins and outs of requirements countries need to fill before being allowed EU membership better than I can. According to Daisy the cost of living and essentials such as water and electricity are going up but the wages are not rising to cope with this. She commented that most of the farm land in Bulgaria is going to waste due to the ghost of the Communist regime. Very little of the younger population has any interest in farming so most of the land is being sold for property development. Our hotel was across the road from a very busy building site so I can testify to that. To give you an idea of the development, our hotel was near the back end of Sunny Beach. Here are some photos taken from our balcony and the restaurant:

Please note this is only a small sample but there are literally hotels as far as the eye can see. Of course, tourists bring money with them. There were hundreds of restaurants and bars yet most of them seemed to tout one USP.


Nearly every bloody bar we went to had sodding karaoke. One night we were having a meal in a local restaurant and, halfway through our dinner, a musician (I use that term loosely) struck up his guitar and started belted out classics such as 'Alice? Who the fuck is Alice?' and 'Stairway to Heaven'. The drunken English party sitting beside him were lapping this up and screeching along with him. Him Indoors reported one half of the restaurant was loving every minute of this 'entertainment' whilst the other half look horrified they had ordered desserts and had to prolong this agony. The food was very nice but I am an old fashioned fart in that I like to have conversations with the person I am having a meal with. I do not want to have to raise my voice over 20 drunkards and 1 very bad musician.

Rant over. Having said that Bulgaria is a rather charming country and tipping is not expected. In a country where a good cup of coffee costs 60p I felt rather guilty if I didn't tip the waitress the extra few levs from my change. A decent three course meal with wine can be bought for under £20, again in the more expensive areas. The bar and restaurant staff seem genuinely grateful for any tips, no matter how small. One waitress seem positively puzzled when I handed back my 2lev change. I hope to return to Bulgaria in a few years to see how much, or how little, it has changed.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

STOP PRESS! WWAO agrees with Iain Banks

It must be compulsory for wannabe writers in fifth year at school to read The Wasp Factory and marvel at it.

It's not very good. Perhaps I was somewhat jaded when I read it for the first time. The book was the same age as me when I picked it up from the 'Older Students' section of my school library. The slim book was finished in a weekend and I was not left very impressed. In 1984, the year Orwellians were doing Jones impressions of "We're all doomed!", readers may have been more shocked at images of maggots feeding off living brains. And the brains of children for that matter.

Next came an attempt to read The Crow Road. Twice I picked up that heavy volume and twice it was returned to the library unread. It was not until this year that I finally finished a copy. Again the story was about nothing. I may have missed out on some wonderful metaphor for life but, honestly, it was really about the main character getting his hole wasn't it? But it was well written and had enough interesting plot twists to keep the reader engaged. Better than some of the painfully written tripe that appears on the lists of book trendsetters such as Richard and Judy.

And your point caller? I was reading through yesterday's email edition of The Guardian. The bibliophile's dirty weekend, or the Guardian Hay Festival, is under way and Mr Banks is appearing at it. Having published his first novel in years he needs to do something to promote it. Hence the article I read in this weekend's Guardian. Unlike some writers who like cowering away from politics, Banks makes no qualms about it. He famously ripped up his passport when Blair went to war against Iraq (please note, Britain didn't go to war) and stamped his literate foot in Dead Air.

One thing annoys me about Guardian interviewers is the immature attitude they take. Honestly, why would you suggest weeing in a swimming pool to a man in his 50s? However, there are some gems in this article. The following quote sums up a lot of my feelings on America:

"Personally, I believe when faced with an imperial power - and let's not kid ourselves, that's exactly what the USA is - one ought to do everything nonviolent one can to resist it, just on principle. The USA is a great country full of great people. It's just their propensity as a whole for electing idiots and then conducting a foreign policy of the utmost depravity that I object to."

The full article is here for anyone who is interested.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Because it's Friday

I wish I had been older to appreciate Dennis Pennis when I was younger. The best bit is the copyright section. I remember people talking about doing that at a creative writing lesson. However I don't know how true it is.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Middle Class Doctors = Responsible Parents?

I should really post my thoughts on the recent shambles that was the Scottish Elections. However, the university system has decided this is exam season so my brain is too fried to start making sense of that chaos. For the moment I shall direct you to Mr Buckland's for some on the spot reporting of this incident.

So I am going to turn my thoughts to, in my opinion, a rather interesting sociological occurrence via the media. I am a great lover and critic of the media. It can be a wonderful outlet which opens an individual up to new ideas and opinions. Or it can be biased rot like the recent story of a child who has gone missing in the Algarve. First up, I will admit my own bias which is I love the Algarve. I have been going on holiday there for a number of years which has somewhat influenced my opinion on this matter.

For those unfamiliar with the story (or too damn lazy to click on the link) a young toddler has gone missing in Portugal. Her parents showed wonderful parenting skills by leaving three toddlers, alone in a ground floor apartment, whilst they went out for a lovely meal at a tapas restaurant. Goodness, I hear you cry, this must be some awful working class chav family who don't know how to look after their children. Er, nope. They're a middle class family and both parents are doctors. Not your typical 'Mum buggers off on holiday and leaves latchkey kids behind' headline. As a result (the BBC has been particularly bad at this) the media have been pointing out what the Portuguese police have been doing wrong and how the restaurant was 'only' a few hundred yards away.

Correct me if I'm wrong but there wouldn't be a problem if the parents had taken some responsibility for their children. Earlier news reports said there were NINE adults in the group. Nine?! And out of that nine NONE of them could avoid this fantastic dinner? Not one of them could have a lonely microwave meal for one and the company of three sleeping toddlers. Or here's a radical thought: take your kids with you! What gets me is that if this was a working class family from a 'rough' area the tabloids would be hounding them for neglecting their child. But we don't expect that behaviour from middle class families do we? So, the media has to take a different approach. Let's point out everything the Portuguese police have done wrong (in our eyes) and hopefully everyone will ignore the parents are entirely to blame for their child going missing. Toddlers are notorious escape artists and can get into trouble in a matter of minutes.

An extract from the above article
"The police had not issued a description of what Madeleine had been wearing, one of the first things a British force would be presumed to have done." She was wearing pyjamas. I'm not a kidnapper of small children but wouldn't logic deem that the culprit (if there was one) would have removed the obvious nightwear as soon as possible? Despite the crazy things Brits do on holiday, a child wearing pyjamas in the middle of the day would stand out like a sore thumb. The urban legend behind my argument is false but there is some logic there.

In the long run, a child has gone missing and I truly hope she turns up in a relatively undamaged way. The longer this goes on, the more I think this missing case is going to turn into another investigation beginning with M.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Scottish Christian Party

I received a 'personal' letter from the Scottish Christian party this morning. Needless to say it has been ripped up and put to better use in my recycling bin. Sadly I couldn't find the campaign video from a few years ago (which is more shocking and hilarious than this one) but feel free to enjoy the one I've posted below.

800% increase of breast cancer if you have an abortion!

250% increase of attacks on teachers!

Do you know 897% of statistics are made up on the spot?

And what the fuck? Comparing Nazi persecution of Jews to what's happening to Christians in a secular society? The two don't even compare. Consumerism is the God we worship now. Get over it.

Percentage of me voting for them tomorrow? Fuck all.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

It's True: Creative Writing can make You go Crazy

I'm sure by now the people who read this blog will be aware of the college shootings in Virginia, USA. If not, then you need to watch the news more often and look beyond the weekly edition of Heat magazine for news information.

One thing that has emerged from this horrible event is that the gunman was part of a creative writing class. AOL has published some of his writings that have come via a fellow student. I am somewhat sceptical of the authenticity of his work, mainly because I wrote better work when I was 12. But we shall come onto that later. The comments upon the news story are revealing in themselves. One commenter says this "porn" should not be published by such a worthy source as AOL. Will this person think twice about renting a film such as Teaching Mrs Tingle or reading Stephen King's novella The Body because it contains such examples of imaginary "porn"?

So, what do these pieces of writing have to say? One features a 13 year old boy with stepfather issues and the second one is the adventures of under-age gamblers in a casino who get caught by their hated schoolteacher. First of all, the quality of these pieces is....well....shit. Take away the striking images conveyed by his word choice and you have some badly written tripe whose author is probably an extreme loner. As the America media is never tired of pointing out, we have to watch out for those ticking time bombs.

If I was at school I probably would have been labelled a 'ticking time bomb'. Why? Because my creative fiction pieces were not very far off what Cho Seung-Hui wrote. I once received the top grade in the class for a piece of work which, after numerous violent acts, ended with the protagonist being shot in the head. Several pieces of work included themes of rape, self harm, murder, torture and suicide. As far as I was aware I was never considered at risk to myself or other pupils. Not once was I referred onto any counselling or asked to attend such a thing. Out of interest, a boy in the year above me wrote an excellent short story about an ETA bombing. I wonder if his work would still be as highly praised as it was when I was at school six years ago?

Bringing this back to my original point, what benefit is examining this guy's attempt at creative writing? His description of being introverted and not wishing to be very sociable sounds like many creative writers I've met. Writing is a strictly self-centred business and you get used to being on your own. In this case all it means that in the event of this college shooting a legacy has been left behind. Some people leave internet blogs behind. Others leave suicide notes.
Cho Seung-Hui left behind some badly written pieces of creative writing. On the grand scale of things; does it really matter? 32 students and professors are dead for the simple reason they turned up to class on time. Trying to create a stereotype for these kind of murders is not going to help.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Feminism is Sin

Apparently I am a whore AND a child of Satan because I am a feminist. This man seems to completely disregard the fact that some women (like myself) take the Pill due to problems with our menstrual cycle. Oh and I am a deranged, depraved, sodomite as well. I love how he categorises feminism along with murder. This man's views are so similar to the views of men from the mediaeval period I was studying last semester at university. As the second video I posted conveys, the Bible is about individual interpretation. It is frightening such views still exist today. Feminism is not evil because we are children of a non existent entity. Feminism is there because we live in a patriarchal society that favours men.

It is 2am and I need sleep.

Another quick aside before I go, this man does not appear to be up on feminist thought. I recently posted about shaving on a feminist message board and the majority of feminist thought is about having the right NOT to shave.

The second video calmed me down somewhat :-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Bob Dylan and Post-Structuralism?

I think my last entry was a little depressing so this one is going to be light hearted. Well, as light hearted as I can do.

I was in a Sociology lecture the other day for a 'Topics of Comparative Historical Sociology' class which focused on the concept of liberalism stretching from the Enlightenment going right up to Charles Taylor (know as 'Chuck' to the lecturer) and Ernest Gellner. This lecture was a revision lecture and the teacher is so passionate about the subject it's hard not to agree with everything she says. The following comparison made me smile. This is somewhat paraphrased:

"OK, lets try and explain the differences between the Enlightenment and post-structuralism, post-colonialism and everything else post! Think of Bob Dylan, Blowing in the Wind and that 60s feeling of we're going to change the world for the benefit of everyone else?" pause "Everyone in this room is too young for Bob Dylan, aren't they? Anyway, go and listen to Blowing in the Wind and that should explain what I'm talking about. Then, jump to post-everything else and think of Radiohead, No Surprises. This is what Western intellect has become, this narcissistic naval gazing self-absorption with ourselves. While people are being killed for being different ethnic identities, in the West Sociologists are worrying about the affects of the Ipod on teenagers."

So, while I was waiting on the bus home, my Ipod alternated between the Folk Singer and naval gazing.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Those crazy Nazis...

Funny enough, the title is NOT referring to university or my part-time job.

It's mandatory for all History students to have taken at least ONE German history class during their education. Specifically, a class which features the Nazis at some point. Considering these topics are extremely popular at Higher History level a worrying number of students in this class are potential teachers. Teaching - the fail safe option for people with social science degrees.

But enough ranting. I have a group presentation next week concerning the concept of the racial state in post-1933 Germany. Unsurprisingly, I was assigned the topic of women to research. It has proved some interesting reading. Although Jews were one of the main groups focused upon, they were not the only ones. This was helped by the Nazis criminalising social behaviour and making it racial. Female prostitution became a racial crime rather than a social one. You were threatening the Aryan race. Nice Aryan boys that were dipping their nib in the prostitution pool picked up all sorts of nasty STDs and kindly passed them onto nice Aryan girls when they got married. Obviously this could threaten the health of the Master Race which Hitler and his posse weren't too happy about.

Sterilisation was a common approach as well. The 'Final Solution' didn't really kick off until the late 1930s. One case example I read involved a heterosexual couple who had applied for a marriage license (which could be rejected on racial and social groups). They were denied the license because the woman was hard of hearing. Before they could get married the woman had to agree to be sterilised. Between 1933-39 over 400 women died from such procedures. How many men died from the same procedure? 80.

Earlier this week, I visited an open evening for the Lesbains Archive in the Glasgow Women's Library. One of the artefacts was a banner that had been made a feminist rally down in London. Various symbols were dotted along the banner. One I was extremely surprised at was the black triangle. It's one of the many feminist symbols I find uncomfortable. Why would you adopt a symbol from such a destructive regime to convey your cause? On a feminist message board, one member proudly posted she was getting a tattoo of the Black Triangle. In my opinion, that's not much different from getting a swastika printed on your body. Social movements trying to 're-claim' symbols do not work. Attempts to re-claim queer as a positive identity have not been hugely successful.

So, more of a pondering entry than a rant. Apologies for any disappointed readers ;-)

Monday, 8 January 2007

Saddam Hussein - a bit late....

I was going to post this with a bit more thought and consideration. My LiveJournal friends saw my first instant, and rather unplanned, reaction to his murder. As requested by others here is the original post written on Saturday 30th December 2006 in all it's pissed off glory:

After going to bed last night with confusion over the actual date of his death, I awoke this morning to the news he had been executed. I wasn't going to journal about this after I had thought about it but a post on a friend's LJ (along the lines of "Rot in hell, Saddam" - you know who you are) I felt I had to comment.

Saddam's death is going to achieve nothing positive in Iraq. The country is in enough of a state without one group creating a martyr. I love the hypocritical stance Margaret Beckett took which I saw quoted on BBC News 24. While she applauded Saddam being brought 'to account for his crimes' in the same statement she said the British government didn't support the use of the death penalty in Iraq or elsewhere. *headdesk*

I suspect Saddam was tried and sentenced under Iraqi law or some form of 'neutral' international law. That is something I need to do more reading on. Another reason why I wanted to delay making a post about this. Yes, he committed terrible crimes against humanity. But what about America who bombed civilians in the first Gulf War? What about the killing happening in Iraq, committed by both armed 'peace keeping forces' and Iraqis themselves? What about the crimes committed by ordinary soldiers in Vietnam, Germany, China?

It is the victors who write the history of the war illegal occupation. The New Year will see blood spilled in Iraq as it has done for the past three years. All because the Americans needed a scapegoat for 9/11.

Please note, I am not against Americans altogether. It is the American administration and our British government that are encouraging this idea of realist international politics. I seem to have missed the announcement the United States of America was the peace keeping force of the world. Silly me, I thought it was still NATO and the UN. I guess I was wrong.