Whilst he might have all the ethics and integrity of a Jayson Blair, there’s no denying that Matt Drudge is a genius at manipulating the media, either through headline-stealing exclusives, an ability to dictate the narrative of the latest political developments or… simply making shit up.
At the time of writing, it’s not clear which category this story falls into, but even if the ‘anonymous Clinton staffers’ who allegedly emailed the picture turns out to be a mischief-making falsehood aimed at stoking further divisions in the Democratic Party, the self-righteous denials from Hillary’s camp ring a little hollow in the context of some of the other lowbrow attacks she and her supporters have launched at Barack Obama. In no particular order:
Attacking him for a Kindergarten essay he wrote about wanting to be President; smearing him as a Muslim; publicly asking whether he’d ever dealt drugs; playing down his South Carolina victory by noting that Jesse Jackson won there too (and therefore any old black guy could win the state)…
I could go on, and it all makes the furious insistence from the Clintonistas about being pure as driven snow (another race-baiting pun?!) a little hard to take. Whether it truly came from a Clinton staffer or is another example of Drudge’s Dem-baiting bad behaviour, the most damaging thing for the Clinton campaign is that such a stunt doesn’t seem out of character.
In the crucible of political interest groups, you’d probably find ‘Men’s Rights‘ organisations on the same small and pig-ugly fringe as those campaigning for ‘White Civil Rights’. Sure, they might not be as militant, violent or as wired with hate as the rebranded racists who rely on code and innuendo to advance their Jim Crow agendas, and I’m sure some get drawn to these groups for noble reasons: concerns that the divorce courts unfairly favour women; concern about male suicide and mental illness; raising awareness of male cancers etc. But it’s hard to deny that they share some pretty unnerving similarities:
The belief that one privileged & well-fed group of people (white Anglo Saxons/men) are now being systematically discriminated against by another group that at one point or another has been beaten, enslaved, oppressed or denied equality (ethnic minorities/women)
A paranoid distrust of government and media institutions who ’feed us lies’ that only they, in their state of clear-eyed rationality, are able to detect.
A maniacal invocation of ‘politically correct fascists’ who weep and wail each time you mutter a thought which doesn’t appear on their pre-approved list of ‘safe thoughts’
The unbalanced promotion of stories about the ‘oppressed group’ (white Anglo Saxons/men) having violence committed against them by their ‘oppressors’ (ethnic minorities/women).
In the case of Steve Moxon – right-wing motormouth, immigration fear-monger and specialist on the scourge of ‘gender facism’, these worlds overlap with alarming regularity. Moxon is the self-proclaimed ‘whistle blower’ whose allegations about failures in the Immigration Service he worked for sparked a national controversy and led to the resignation of Beverley Hughes. Having first been praised for his courage by a petrified right-wing press, he then sought to toss all the goodwill to one side by penning a book that claimed the gollywog, the black & white minstrel show and the word ‘Paki’ aren’t racist. Somewhat predictably, he now turns his attention towards explaining how men are being discriminated against in a country unfairly weighted towards women.
In a blog post titled “The Ipswich killings are anything but indicative of how women treat men“, (hat tip: The F Word) he reheats some basic evolutionary biology to suggest that since ‘normal men’ are genetically predisposed to going around thrusting their dicks into any available orifice, and since their wives are sometimes too frigid/busy/dowdy to submit to sex on demand, sometimes a man’s only resort is to receive a handjob in some litter-strewn back alley:
The most straightforward and honest way to satiate the desire for extra-pair sex is to pay for it. But if men pay for extra-pair sex, then we intuitively see them as having ‘broken the rules’, in how we naturally ‘police’ the male hierarchy. This is why there is such a general downer on prostitution. Yet the exploitation here clearly is not of the women, but of the normal desires of men: men are exploited by women for money.
Damn you debased harlots who quench our thirst for illicit on-demand sex in the back of the family car! Just stop exploiting us so! Sadly, there’s more:
Looking at crime overall in prostitution, it’s suffered mainly by the male clients, and predominantly in the street scene, which is nowadays a very small proportion of prostitution (most being internet related or through ‘massage parlours’). The ruse of taking the money and not providing the ‘service’ is so ubiquitous that it merits a slang word for it: ‘clipping’. In the situation of street prostitution, the male client is very much not the one in control. Clients are at risk from girls singly or together, or from their male accomplices. Given this, it is amazing why there is not so very much more violence towards street prostitutes (emphasis mine).
Yes, truly amazing that one can summon the resolve to refrain from clubbing someone to death whilst in search of a blowjob. The point of all these miserly and misogynistic characterisations is to paint prostitutes not as victims who are driven into providing paid sex by either the ravages of poverty or drug abuse, but as devious schemers who exploit man’s natural desire for open-air fellatio by scamming, attacking or killing them. Yes, that’s right. Men are the ones most at risk from prostitution.
However much people like Moxon may seek to downplay it to advance their own self-interested agendas, the recent guilty verdicts against Steve Wright, Levi Bellfield and Mark Dixie remind us that women – whether prostitutes, models or students – remain the primary victims of the most horrific forms of violence and that whilst it might give ‘Men’s Rights’ advocates a self-righteous glow to wail about their oppression, such talk does a huge disservice to men and a grave injustice to women.
You’re the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s nominee for President. You’ve racked up 10 primary wins without reply, you’re racking up donations quicker than Live Aid, you’re leading in the opinion polls and your opponent’s best moment in last night’s debate was the bit that sounded somewhat like a concilliatory concession speech. From this position of great strength, you would’ve thought someone on the Obama campaign would’ve stopped Ted Kennedy from doing this to the hispanic community of Texas:
Seriously, with all the money they’ve been raising, couldn’t they shell out for a musical contribution that’s a little less, erm, tone deaf? (h/t Wonkette)
New York Magazine is running a nude photo spread of Lindsay Lohan posing as Marilyn Monroe in the last shoot she would do before she died. And I am appalled. Not because Lohan is pictured nude – to each their own on that front – but because there seems to be no awareness whatsoever about how this spread fetishizes the death and downfall of women in the public eye.
In many ways I completely agree; I’m not sure any young celebrity should seek to emulate such a tragic icon, either through their words or deeds or by stripping off for a facsimile of a classic photoshoot. But at the same time, I can’t decide whether this shoot is fetishising the downfall of celebrity women or reacting against it. One of the key parallels between the Lindsays of our day and the Marilyns of the past is that the same noxious ghouls who either exploited or failed to protect Norma Jean are still very much a fixture of our corrupting celebrity culture. They pressure these girls to stay young and beautiful, to throw themselves under every available camera and to attend high-profile parties where they are never more than arms-length away from drink and drugs. Even if things go horribly wrong (see the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith), they’ll still make a healthy profit. Then there’s the pack of paparazzi wolves that chase speeding cars, documenting every drink-driving offence, every all-night bender, every wardrobe malfunction. In their very public private lives, these celebrity starlets seem at the mercy of a media that is, in varying degrees, intrusive, vindictive and misogynistic. Now compare that to the reality of this photoshoot. Unlike Marilyn, Lindsay Lohan didn’t just allow the photographer to walk into her hotel room whilst, drunk and mentally unwell, she romped and writhed through reams of film. He made a request to her staff, her staff asked the star, and the star showed up with an entourage and agreed to do it on her own terms. Most importantly, she was in control.
The tragic symbolism of Marylin Munroe is such that it makes any attempt at emulation of her, particularly at a moment when she was most vulnerable, look deeply troubling. But it strikes me that the fetishisation of troubled beauty is much more prevailant in the papparazi scuffle - the trashy tabloids and celebrity magazines that hound and hassle and prejudge these girls every day – than it is in an upmarket photographer’s studio.
- What’s the reason for class tensions in this country? Is it our mixed success in tackling child poverty? The growing gap between rich & poor? Or is it because there just aren’t enough fucking grammar schools? According to the Daily Mail, middle class kids are ‘snubbing’ their ‘chavvy’ (ie working class) classmates and contributing to rising class tensions. Apparently “some parents from comfortable homes” (which I assume means ‘muesli-munching, head-in-the-clouds Guardianistas’) have the nerve of sending their little Mikes & Mollys to schools with:
“poor academic records so their children can experience social diversity…But despite entering into a “social mix”, there was less evidence of “social mixing”, the academics said. Attitudes among both parents and children in the study smacked of “cultural and intellectual superiority” that undermined attempts to build community relations.”
So as to underline the chasm between rich and poor, the class divide in pictures: One well-groomed middle-class achiever and one cheap chavvy slut.
- As an aside, just look at the the hysterically over-blown way Mail have dressed this girl – probably too risque even for a nightclub’s Back To School night. This is really the same newspaper that lectures us about paedophillia and the sexualisation of children?
- Andrew Brown defends the existence of the Church of England on the basis that it could help dampen conflicts & division. He also raises one of the points I made in an earlier post:
If, say, the Economist got its way and the Church of England were disestablished, and replaced by the American model of a confusion of sects all competing for votes, what could stop them responding to the popular demand for a condemnation of Islam? What could give them anything of the Church of England’s woolly, incoherent but essential belief that it has a duty to everyone in this country, no matter what their beliefs are. Can any sane person want a hundred English Paisleys competing against each other for the nationalist Christian congregations, and their money, and at last their votes? Because that is the spectre that rose from the debacle caused by Williams’ speech and interview.
After 10 straight wins in the Democratic Primaries, it’s becoming clear that you just Can’t Stop The ‘rack. Thankfully, for all the hope-haters out there, you can still Mock The ‘rack. Hillary shill Taylor Marsh posts a video of an ill-informed Obama fan being unable to cite any of the Senator’s legislative accomplishments: “his supporters can’t list one“
Psst, Taylor? Much as you’d love to paint them all (from the online ‘Obamabots’ to Ted Kennedy & Pat Leahy) as unthinking changebots, if it’s just one guy being interviewed, it’s got to be ‘a supporter’, not ‘his supporters’. David Kurtz reads more into it than you would’ve thought possible:
“I suspect this is a bit of a Rorschach test. Depending on your perspective, it’s proof that Obama is a lightweight, just goes to show what a gasbag Matthews is, or appeals to the same voyeuristic instinct that makes you slow down and gawk at a car accident.”
Sully stand-in hilzoy rebuts:
I think it’s only a Rorschach test for people who don’t bother to find whether or not Obama actually has any actual legislative achievements. If he does, then of course this just shows that this one supporter didn’t know what they are. If he doesn’t, it might show something more, e.g. that Obama is a lightweight. As it happens, Obama does have substantive legislative achievements.
Cameron Duodo writes about the potential of an Obama presidency to inspire not just America in general, but African Americans and Britons in particular, who had always (sometimes rightly) imagined a glass ceiling over their heads.
Gerard Baker expects the Clintons to go relentlessly negative in the run-up to the Texas & Ohio primaries on March 4th. Only thing that surprises me about this: I thought the Clintons went relentlessly negative over a month ago – how much lower can they sink?
“The kind of song The Shins might play if they had a sea of cherry tulips through which to tiptoe“:
Sorry for the lack of posts today, but I’ve got a stack of stuff lined up for tomorrow. As proof that this blog won’t go into liquidation everytime its author gets red-eyed and blue…
A song called “Red Eyed & Blue“
I’ll be spending most of the day skipping through various northern cities, so I won’t be posting anything more today. Service will hopefully resume tomorrow.
In the mean time, some musical relief:
Aquarium Drunkard looks forward to the upcoming collaboration between M. Ward and the eye-wateringly lovely Zooey Deschanel
Via Pitchfork, Vampire Weekend drop the afrobeats at Morning Becomes Eclectic
Catch you tomorrow
Wonkette translates what the Republicans really mean in their ‘main strategic attacks’ should Obama be the Democrats’ nominee for President:
Republican Attack Point:
“His greatest weakness is inexperience. He is not ready to be Commander in Chief. He is not ready to be President.”
“He will raise your taxes and then take that tax money and buy rims, and drugs, and he will also have Muslim AIDS forever. And he’s black.”
After three hours on a coach from Sheffield to London, we break down in some soul-destroying depot outside Milton Keynes. After about thirty minutes sat stationary, with most of the passengers either loading up on nicotine or staring impatiently out of the window, the group of lads at the back of the coach finally notice something’s amiss.
“What’s goin’ off lads? Are we there yet?”
“Nah Kev, I reckon we’ve broke down or summat”
“Oh yer fookin’ kiddin’! Where’d they buy the coach from, our Daz’s Dad?!”
The back of the coach erupts with laughter and rocks gently from side to side as scowls and soft punches get dished out playfully. A few moments later the laughter dies down and they start thinking about what they’re going to do about it.
“Summat’s up ‘ere lads, I reckon we should find out what’s goin’ off”
“We should get out and push, show them lasses how Wombwell lads are built!”
“Ere Gav, go find out what’s goin’ off will you?”
“Why me? How come I’ve got to fuckin’ well do it?”
“You’re Head of Transport, innit?”
“Head of Transport my arse! You can fuck right off! All I did were find out the fucking coach times!”
P O W E R:
What a relief. With all this talk of diversity, I was worried the white male wouldn’t have a voice in this election.
Down to the bomb shelters, people! Defeat is nigh! Melanie Phillips, that stoic bulwark against militant Islam, wants to know why representatives of Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton were recently spotted having talks with Syrian officials:
What in the world were they doing, in the middle of an American presidential campaign, in a place listed by the US State Department as a terrorist-sponsoring state?
The innocent explanation could be that they were buying rugs, and even that should be condemned as an act of treachery by tacitly funding their despotic death squads. Sadly, I think we all know this isn’t what they were up to, and that the meetings were arranged to seek the surrender of Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel to the malevolent genius of this guy. Hell, given the competitive nature of their campaigns, what’s to say they didn’t try to outbid each other by throwing in a few dozen missiles and the odd aircraft carrier? More Mel:
It would be nice if the rest of the US media could tear itself away from the spectacle of Hillary v Princess Obama and start asking such questions too.
‘Princess Obama’. How very grown up of her. Secretly, Melanie knows that all presidential candidates send representatives to meet with foreign officials, if only to enlighten them about their foreign policy vision. The fact that Clinton & Obama’s people even went so far as Syria should be a heartening sign to those of us without bomb shelters that they’re a little more inclined towards diplomacy than they are decimating Damascus.
As for the idea that the press is too obsessed with the beauty pageant of their campaigns to ask questions about these shady manoeuvrings, well that’s only true if you haven’t been paying attention. Obama has openly stated that he’d hold talks with hostile foreign powers, and he’s been forced to defend his position both in debates and on the stump.
Sure, this will only serve to heighten Phillips’ “our civilisation is on the brink of extinction” anxiety, but what’s the point in buying gas masks if you’re not prepared to use ‘em?
- The chief fantasist in the Diana inquest is finally given the chance to give
‘evidence’voice to the insane theory that a member of the Royal family illegally ordered the secret service to murder the mother of a future King. Once this expensive freak show’s been drawn to a close without the Duke of Edinburgh having been slimed as a Muslim-slaying psychopath (for shame!), has anyone considered the effect this will have on the economy? Royal corpse-chasing has become an incredibly profitable industry over the past 5 years: how will the court reporters and papparazzi, the biographers, Paul Burrells and jobless court jesters make their money now? More seriously, will the Daily Express have any news left to print?
- I know, what a silly question. The World’s Greatest Newspaper (TM) didn’t get its name for suddenly running out of hard-hitting journalistic exposes. No, it got its name from reheating stories about house price rises and running promotions to flog campervans.
- Alistair Darling, forever keen to taint his government as timid and indecisive, finally gets around to doing what he should’ve done months ago, ’temporarily’ nationalises Northern Rock and proceeds to take a deserved beating for 6 months of dithering.
- Charlie Booker savages the Smoker’s Permit plan:
His paper, incidentally, also proposes “incentives for large companies to provide a daily ‘exercise hour’ for staff”. Welcome to your future life: having struggled into work suffering withdrawal pangs because today’s smoking licence didn’t arrive in the post, you’re forced to spend 60 minutes doing squat-thrusts in the car park. And each time you start crying, a man in a helmet comes round to gently remind you that it’s all for your own good. Through a loudhailer.
If that sounds like a nightmare, don’t worry: you can still wriggle out of the squat-thrusts, provided you’re carrying a valid Laziness Licence, whose application process involves climbing a ladder to reach the forms (stored at the top of a 200ft crane), ticking 900 boxes with a 7kg pencil, and finally posting it into a motorised mailbox that persistently runs away from you at speeds of up to 25mph. In other words, you still have freedom of choice. Provided you’re carrying a valid Freedom of Choice Permit, that is.
Shorter Edward Pearce: The Conservatives, the party of Michael Howard and Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit and John Redwood, is now the only party we should trust to safeguard our rights. God help us.
Your chance to vote for the biggest mistake in British history. Ever the keen patriot, I chose the first option.
- At last, a blog devoted solely to the interests of white people! Stuff White People Like:
White people love “gifted” children, do you know why? Because an astounding 100% of their kids are gifted! Isn’t that amazing? I’m pretty sure the last non-gifted white child was born in 1962 in Reseda, CA. Since then, it’s been a pretty sweet run. The way it works is that white kids that are actually smart are quickly identified as “gifted” and take special classes and eventually end up in college and then law school or med school… But NEVER under any circumstance imply that their child is less than a genius. The idea that something could come from them and be less than greatness is too much for them to bear.
- Their latest entry raves about the white person pleasing virtues of Mos Def, but if you ask me he’s fallen off. Idris Elber is far, far cooler.
Update: Jim reminds me that it’s Charlie Brooker, not Booker. I blame all errors on a lack of caffeine.
Here’s another one from the Pie In The Sky school of social policy: a government health advisory board suggests that smokers should fill out a form and pay the government £10 for the right to smoke:
“You’ve got to get a form, a complex form – the government’s good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph. It’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker.” He added: “70% of smokers actually want to stop smoking. So if you just make it that little bit more difficult for them to actually re-start or even to start in the first place, yes I think it will make a big difference.”
For the pro-smoking lobby (a group poorly represented by industry cronies Forest, for it includes not only smokers & ex-smokers but non-smokers who are equally astonished by the current anti-fag hysteria) this is yet another example of Big Brother bureaucrats using legislation to force us all into the same pious, puritanical lifestyles they themselves
enjoy endure. But The Bleeding Heart Show abhors clichés, so rather than create a lot of hot air through huffing and puffing (okay, I was lying about the cliché part), we should take a moment to ponder the real life implications of this fantasist’s proposal:
This would criminalise cigarette vending machines you still find in pubs, since a machine can’t ascertain whether have the proper paperwork to purchase that stale packet of Benson & Hedges which only comes out if you give the machine a swift smack. No big trauma I guess, but jobs will be lost (somewhere in the world) as a result.
I’d presume that if it were to become criminal to sell cigarettes without a permit, it would also be a crime to smoke cigarettes without a permit. To mitigate against the risk of flagrant law-breaking, would the police be required to make routine checks outside pubs, nightclubs, workplaces and homes to make sure that everyone has their permit? If not militantly enforced, this proposal would see criminality rise dramatically.
Buying cigarettes from abroad, already a big problem for HM Customs, would inevitably become far more popular, and smokers might just decide to buy all their fags from countries without permit restrictions. Thus depriving the Treasury of money they might’ve earmarked for the NHS. To prevent this, is the government prepared to ban the purchase of all cigarettes from foreign countries. If it is, would that mean searching every car, white van and people carrier that rolls in from Calais?
If you pack in smoking halfway through your permit, can you get a partial refund?
Wouldn’t it be fairer to have a tiered system in place so that the gravel-voiced 40-fags-a-day brigade pay more for their permits than those who just buy the odd pack of 10 on a night out?
Would this then be followed by a licence to drink? Or a licence to buy chocolate? Or fast food? Or bread, sugar,
red meatany meat, vegetable oil, cheese, butter or countless other foodstuffs which, in excess, can damage your health?
It’s possible that Professor Julian Le Grand thought about these things before he made this proposal. But I doubt it.
A Google search of the terms “Wilco” and “postmodern”, for example, yields at least a few hundred matches. But why? And what is it supposed to mean? Often, it seems this invocation of postmodern doesn’t mean anything much or that it kind of means everything, a way of referring to contemporary culture in general.
Sometimes I wonder whether we’re guilty of over-analysing, over-intellectualising popular music, and other times I think its huge role in our cultural language means it deserves the same kind of recognition afforded to cinema and literature. Whatever, if one album deserves the postgrad pop writer treatment, it’s this one.
A collection of short stories or character studies – think of the snapshot constellations of Raymond Carver – with perhaps the only thing binding them together being the characters’ status as freaks, misfits, in some cases outcasts from the others’ stories (HP Lovecraft, Sax Rohmer). ‘San Bernadino’ sees an unmarried couple escaping to a motel with their new son; ‘In The Craters On The Moon’ is populated with recluses haunted by disasters, awaiting their extermination; the title track describes an execution-by-angry-mob, the narrator being beaten and then set alight to the soundtrack of an upbeat, rolling, piano-and-organ-flecked groove.
What do Cold War Kids, The Lemonheads, The Clash, The Shins, Radiohead, XTC, Elliott Smith, Babyshambles, Pulp, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Modest Mouse all have in common? Answer: they’re all on music playlists devised by a young lady by the name of Cindy McCain. Now, someone having great taste in music wouldn’t normally be a big deal, except our Cindy also happens to be the daughter of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Now if only her favourite bands could start a petition asking her to persuade Daddy not to campaign as a carpet-bombing harbinger of mass death and low taxes. (Hat tip: Pitchfork)
If this doesn’t manage to fill up an hour of your time, I suggest you waste it over at the Hype Machine.
Two very different renditions of two terrific pop songs. The first is a sparse, jittery, funk-inflected performance of Oxford Comma on the addictive debut from Vampire Weekend:
The second is a solo performance of Jens Lekman’s The Opposite of Hallelujah from last year’s The Night Falls Over Kortedala. A slower and more sparse rendition, it’s full of yearning, disappointment and utterly infectious whistling:
Note: Photo taken by Flickr user pa gillet, used under a Creative Commons license.
officially endorses The Bleeding Heart Show (kind of):
GOP Valentine cards – for people who really want to share the
Update: If that wasn’t enough, Barack Obama made you a mix tape.
(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)