Newt In A Tea Cup

{October 24, 2007}   Fascist Family Values

Edit: I have received a well-intentioned email from my older sister telling me that, quite frankly, I can do better. She is most probably right. In an attempt to displace her deep-seated feelings of inferiority that I did better at her at GCSE and A levels, she subtly inserts a comment regarding her uni learnings, my spelling and grammatical errors and lack of quoting sources. To which I reply; some of us actually have got jobs (you know, that work thing you haven’t touched since the end of college?) and the entire Ugly Betty Series to get through before it’s due back at blockbusters next week!

So here goes the post redux.

A few days ago I read an article in the Times where it says that a worrying number of Germans are starting to have nostalgia for the era of the Nazi’s. The leader of this radical rethink is Eva Herman. Herman used to hold down a job as newsreader however began trumpeting for the old values of femininity. Anyone who follows US politics will be familiar with the Schlafy’s of politics who make fortunes by insisting other women return to domesticity. Herman is keen to join them.

The Nazi kafuffle is to do with Eva deciding that the Nazi’s did great things with the roads and that their idea of family was quite spiffy really. The reason for this is that they had fabulous family values; you know, the three Ks (Kinder, Kuchen and Kirche).

This is exactly why anyone promoting family values is someone I instinctively avoid with a ten-foot barge pole. “Family” in this case stands for white, moneyed and “Values” means bigoted. In fact it’s pretty much a code word that can be used to signify the kind of Neanderthal political ponderings exactly the same way that “in my humble opinion” is usually followed by anything but.

I mean what kind of sick world are we in where the systematic killing of the disabled, militaristic jingoism, the active oppression and subjugation of women as breeding machines (who received medals for mass-producing) to supplement cannon fodder can be seen as family values?

How can the interests of our families be at such odds to the interests of the individual human being that forms the family?

Pah! Family Values as we know it is an illusion, I say!

Family Values are; love, compassion especially for those in trouble, understanding and respect especially for those who are not like us, a thirst for knowledge and understanding, a communal attempt to hoist each and everyone up instead of pressing people down.

Basically exactly what the feminist community is agitating for despite our reputation as wreckers of society.

The horrors of that era are simplified in a type of tunnel vision. The Aryan ideal is very narrow and anyone who didn’t fit it was out; homosexual, homeless, people with mental or physical disabilities, non-traditional women, pacifist, foreigners…Family values are the equivalent of propaganda posters- they look good and shiny but they are mass-produced dead, painted and eventually peel away under the rain of life to reveal a crumbling wall.

It seems to me that the important things in life are not things that can be measured or counted or dispatched with bureaucracy. When we start reducing relations to this in the name of morality we end in danger of forgetting the real faces behind the stories. No two people are the same and no two families are. This isn’t a defence of moral relativism but a rethink of what “moral” actually means.

No one can accuse the Nazis of being proponents of “moral values” by any stretch of the imagination. But “family values” are apparently not that irreconcilable with that type of fascism.

The fact that people can tie that together with “family values” shows that perhaps our idea of what a family should be is founded on misogynistic, exclusionary, bigoted ideas and traditions. Bringing this back may well be traditional, but it’s hardly beneficiary to anyone.

This article was very specifically focussing on the role of women and there is a certain backlash at the moment towards female upward mobility. Not a day passes that there isn’t some kind of article bemoaning how what women really want is traditional gender roles and abandoning advocating equal rights and opportunities to embrace passivity, baby bottles and unemployment is what we really need if we want to solve the problem of unequal pay/rape/discrimination; all variations on “don’t you women worry your pretty little heads. The men will take care of it and if we tell you it’s fair how dare you question it?”

Change is scary and uncomfortable so I can understand this nostalgia a bit. And yes, this is very familiar role and people like familiar because it may be brutal, terrifying and cost a thousand lives but at least you know where you stand; even if it’s barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

Don’t expect me to join you there.


{October 20, 2007}   JK said what now?!

In the same week that one of my mates skips out the closet so does Dumbledore.

No really. The slashers were right. Please adjust your seatbelts as fandom explodes and we are showered with jokes concerning wands, broomsticks and broom closets.

{October 10, 2007}   Same thing, Different time

Turns out that Jenna has started a trend of people chucking nooses here and there, every which way kind of like decorative Christmas baubles and tinsel. Of course, racism doesn’t really happen any more these days. It’s just a piece of string. And a cross is just a funky piece of woodwork, the vitruvian man is just a few chicken scratches and those white lines in the road are spilt paint and nothing more.

Shock at noose found on NY campus

Students at Columbia University were shocked by the incident
A black professor at Columbia University in New York has found a hangman’s noose left on her door.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Gee, ya think?

I don’t like the way this article paints an incomplete picture of the events of Jenna. There is a cynicism that there must be some kind of excuse for this. The full story is hidden with just enough revealed so you can tell something upset people but it doesn’t quite correspond to the reaction. The reality is rather different but also rather predictable.

The idea of nooses being hung on the doors of professors and in institutes of learnings harks back to the early days of integration. It’s hard to see how this would be out of place 100 or 50 years ago.

Haven’t we, as cultures, moved onwards?

That’s seriously depressing.

Columbia University has not identified the professor who found the noose on Tuesday, but students say she teaches a class on racial justice.

That sounds like classic silencing techniques. And very familiar.

How does anyone break a cycle like this?

{October 10, 2007}   Oh, hell yeah.

Smith ticks off ‘obsessed’ hacks

You know, I think that’s a perfectly scrumptious descriptor for the misogynists that keep floating to the top of our countries scum life.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has told journalists “obsessed” with her clothes and cleavage “to get over themselves”.

Beautiful. The closest a politician will get to “Do I look bovered, ya maner? Ain’t my problem.”*


Commentators began focusing on Ms Smith’s outfits in July after she made her first Commons statement as home secretary.

In a sober update on terrorism that was well received by MPs of all parties, she said the UK would “not be intimidated” by failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow Airport.

But it subsequently appeared the attention of some press sketch writers had focused more on style than substance.

As well as male writers describing her as “a babe”, “pneumatic” she was also said to have a “home front” – female colleagues were outraged, dubbing the comments “misogynistic”.

But the home secretary is not the only politician whose style has come under the critical eye of journalists.


Over the years, acres of newsprint have been devoted to shadow Commons leader Theresa May’s footwear, including leopard print kitten heels, and ex-minister Ann Widdecombe’s changing hairdos.

A number of women MPs have complained that sexism in the House of Commons is rife.

Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said she became a particular target when she tried to address the issue of strip-searching of women in Northern Ireland in a debate on the army.

“I heard completely audibly in the chamber one of the men on the Tory side say: ‘Oh, I’d like to strip search you any day’,” she said.

Former Tory Cabinet minister Gillian Shepherd said one Conservative MP “called us all Betty” because “you are all the same”.

Doesn’t it reassure you our country is in such capable, progressive hands?

*Well… not quite…

Sourced from the Beeb

{October 10, 2007}   I’m in the papers!

Newt colony’s £70,000 relocation

A colony of endangered newts is being relocated for the 2012 Olympics at a cost of £70,000, it has emerged.

About £450 – the equivalent of renting a double room for a month in the area – will be spent on moving each newt to make way for a temporary cycle circuit.

The great crested newts will be placed in a safe area within the new facility in Hog Hill, Redbridge, east London.

The London Development Agency had to ensure the newts’ safety as the creatures are protected by law.

The new circuit will replace the Eastway Cycle Circuit in Stratford, east London, which will become the Olympic Velopark.

Great crested newts are the largest species of newt in Britain.

Their numbers have declined in the UK over recent years, due to the destruction and pollution of their breeding sites and terrestrial habitat.

It is hoped work will start on the new circuit so it is ready in time for the new year.

This story is making me go both 🙂 and 😦

PMS is one of those bete noir that I hate yet reluctantly acknowledge. I hate them because they are misused as a catch all to dismiss legitimate concerns. It’s also a big joke that quite frankly pisses off every women who has actually had any serious pain or symptoms. Our modern female hysteria, if you will. Oh, and the fact I’m feeling moody or in pain doesn’t change how much of an asshole someone is.

Except that regularly, like clockwork, I end up spending entire days crying, disappearing to cry in bathrooms when I go out (I once spent over a third of a lunch in a cubicle…), and drastically cutting back on my active social life. I start something, stare at it blankly then walk away in despair. It’s not depression because it comes and goes.

I went to the nurse today and we chatted about it. She thinks it’s most likely PMS and suggested some vitamin pills, that I keep a diary of symptoms and watch how my eating habits change.

So where does it leave me? I hate the fact of the label… but what else could it be?

Aah… puberty. The nostalgia of that crushing feeling of awkward self-loathing… Your body deciding that it will either take years to get to the same spot as everyone else or that it’ll rush so quickly that the rest of you is left miles behind… Don’t you wish you were back in time; sitting in a classroom crossing and uncrossing your legs, trying to figure out how to exit the room tactfully and gracefully, whilst smuggling a tampon like a ninja on a mission and simultaneously stopping everyone from seeing the back of your skirt because you’ve got a sensation that bits of your insides are seeping through your clothes into a red stain?

It’s about to get a lot worse in the fascist control-phobic systems…

The girl was called out of class by a security guard during a school sweep last week to make sure no kids had backpacks or other banned bags.

Samantha Martin had a small purse with her that day.

That’s why the security guard, ex-Monticello cop Mike Bunce, asked her The Question.

She says he told her she couldn’t have a purse unless she had her period. Then he asked, “Do you have your period?”

…It appears that at least a few other girls were also asked the same question…

The small Sullivan County school has been in an uproar for the last week. Girls have worn tampons on their clothes in protest, and purses made out of tampon boxes. Some boys wore maxi-pads stuck to their shirts in support.

After hearing that someone might have been suspended for the protest, freshman Hannah Lindquist, 14, went to talk to Worden. She wore her protest necklace, an OB tampon box on a piece of yarn. She said Worden confiscated it, talked to her about the code of conduct and the backpack rule — and told her she was now “part of the problem.”

Inquiring minds want to know… how they going to check girls are telling the truth about said period?

This is more a question of paranoia over concealed weapons than sexism… After all the only way to make sure that someone isn’t carrying any kind of weapon is making them go naked… incidentally…

Two days ago, state police say, a 16-year-old boy wearing nothing but a paper bag on his head streaked through the high school as students arrived. The boy was charged with public lewdness, a misdemeanor. He told police he was protesting the backpack policy.

Aaaw… Creepy arse officials but those kids seriously brighten my day. Do you think we could market this tampon jewellery? 🙂

It just seems appropriate, is all…

et cetera