Friday, June 29, 2007
My Least Favourite Movie Of All Time
Personally my nomination is:
(SHOW ME THE ATROCIOUS SCRIPT!!) Jerry Maguire
I actually left a first date with a guy I quite liked just to get out of the cinema to avoid watching any more of this awful film. In it Tom Cruise leaves his confident business-woman fiance who is bisexual (eww!) and offers him a threesome (guys hate threesomes apparently!) and sets up with his single-mum secretary (don't worry she's widowed, not divorced! Unlike Renee Zellweger who plays her...) who lives with her sister (childless, divorced and super-miserable). There's a scene where Tom and the secretary are out on the town and you see the divorced sister at a "divorced women's club" (are there such things? I find none on Google, possibly because divorced women are able to participate in normal society and don't need a special club) sat around complaining about their ex-husbands (if there were such clubs would they do this? couldn't they go drinking or join salsa classes?) and then sat alone smoking (evil! evil!) in a darkened kitchen while ms. widowed laughs with TC in the driveway.
Any more nominations?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
If Women Ruled The World!
Feminist Love-In Alert!
Lice Up Yer Spife!
Musically, obviously, there wasn't much (anything) there. And as a genre I'd say girl- and boy-bands have very little to offer society as a whole. However, if we accept that they're here and here to stay, I have to say that of all the girl bands out there, the Spice Girls for me are one of the best. Which is to say one of the least offensive.
Ok so there wasn't a cardiologist spice or a corporate CEO spice, that would have been too much to ask. There was a sporty spice though - one that participated in sports(!) With the exception of posh, they weren't as ridiculously thin as most of the groups. They were all different from each other, they celebrated being (albeit two-dimensional) individuals. And they actually did make money out of their fame - which puts them streets ahead intellecually of most of the other groups who only made money for their managers. And GIRL POWER...? Not a bad thing to believe in when you're seven or eight, think we could all use a bit more of it now and again.
Into The Mix
Monday, June 25, 2007
Ten-Year-Old 'Was Asking For It'
Let's clarify: A 10-year-old girl meets two guys - Keith Fenn, 24, removes her clothes and rapes her, then Darren Wright, 34, takes her home and sexually assaults her. No-one, not even the defence, is suggesting that the girl consented. No, the defence's case rests on the fact that she was "dressed provocatively"and "appeared to be 16". And the jury accept it and hand down sentences that will mean Wright walks free today and Fenn in four months.
Did I miss a meeting when the law was changed to say it's ok to rape a 16-year-old? Or that wearing nice clothes counted as consent? It it really exposes how much is wrong with our legal system and also how deep rooted these horrible offensive attitudes are in our society.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Taking It Personally
A lot of these comments are pretty obviously from workers at Jezebel and related sites and their set-up mates. Some even started with "I don't work for Jezebel but..." which methinks doth protest too much.
The comments on Jezebel itself though are altogether different, much more in keeping with the theme and indeed quality of the site itself (Both F-Word editor Jess McCabe and myself would instantly remove comments that appeared to be personal attacks). Try these for size though:
Friday, June 22, 2007
The good news is that the NHS-sponsored Healthy Start programme offers vouchers for milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins. But I wanted to find out however how much help they could offer - so I filled in the online questionnaire making myself sound as needy as possible. And this is the hilarious outcome on the website:
Based on the information you have provided:
- You are 16 weeks pregnant
- You are under 18 years old
- You have 4 children under the age of four
1 voucher(s) a week worth £2.80 until your circumstances change.***************************************
That's right £2.80 to feed fruit, veg, milk and vitamins to my under-18 pregnant self and my four under-4 children. What will that buy? I headed over to Abel and Cole - organic and ethical food delivery company (wouldn't want to feed my innumerable children rubbish now, and I'm hardly going to have time to get out of the house and round the shops myself) and tried to decide between a melon at £2.95, 500g of peaches at £2.50 and 2 grapefruits at £2.10.
It's not a lot of help is it?
And what are they doing for big food corporates?
"since 1998 the Sainsbury Laboratory has received 6 Government grants, worth £1.1 million, from the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC). The BBSRC is part of the Government Office of Science and Technology, which answers to [former Sainsbury's chairman Lord] Sainsbury as Science Minister and has won an extra £50 million in funding since he became Minister". Just the tip of the iceberg according to Corporate Watch.
Making-Up The Numbers
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Smoke Without Fire
That said I am very much NOT in favour of the proposals by the Fostering Network that smokers be restricted from fostering children. Now I understand that such a move may be in the best interests of children with respiratory difficulties, etc. However firstly there is a shortfall of 10,000 foster parents in this country. How is this measure going to help close that. Secondly I think people are well aware of the dangers of exposing children to secondhand smoke, and I would expect foster parent and regular parents to take care to smoke outside and away from the home. Thirdly - are we going to start putting contraceptive hormones into cigarettes? If children need protecting from adults who smoke, surely ALL children need protecting, not just those who are in the fostering system.
Of course what is really going on is a bit of panic-button paranoia... they are really trying "to avoid any risk of legal action from children whose health is damaged by smoking while in care". Hmm.. which begs the question - if children can sue the fostering agency for putting them with smoking foster parents, can children sue their own parents for smoking while they were young? And in fact can children in general sue their parents if they did a rubbish job of raising them? I know a few people who stand to end up very rich.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The True Colours of Lad Mags
Monday, June 18, 2007
Anyone else see the holes in this?
1) Expert witnesses allowed to explain in general terms about rape victims and their common behaviour patterns.
2) An automatic right to use the alleged victim's videotaped interview with the police in place of her main evidence at the trial.
3) Allowing the jury to be told of any occasions when the woman confided in someone else about the rape .
Now (1) might do minimal good if the right well-trained experts are called as witnesses, in practice it'll probably just start up a market for phoney "expert" witnesses. What's the better the rape "experts" will be guys? (2) is presumably intended to deal with victims who later retract their accusations, a problem which would arise much less if victims were believed and given support. (3) Is actually not a law change, that already stands as of a ruling last year.
Maybe we shouldn't be ungrateful but it's way short of what is really needed to address the situation:
1) Specialist rape trauma centres in all decent-sized policce stations nationwide, staffed by women out of uniform who have had extensive training in dealing with that and equipped with medical equipment necessary for preparing physical evidence.
2) A major advertising campaign to let people know these centres have been set up.
3) Training in dealing with rape reports and sensitive referral where appropriate for all police.
4) Clarification of the existing law that says the defence need to prove consent and NOT vice versa. Judges who counsel otherwise should be thrown out.
5) Jurors should be screened and rejected if they believe that women can be responsible for their own rapes if they dress provocatively/flirt/engage in preliminary sexual behaviour/carry condoms/have a history of promiscuity/get drunk.
6) Jurors receive training explaining that none of those things affect whether or not a rape can have taken place. Judges who do not back up this message are thrown out.
7) A public information campaign that emphasises how rare false accusations of rape are, that reminds men that it is their responsibility to ensure they have consent and that a big new clampdown is underway.
Instead there is much moaning that there should be a level of intoxication beyond which it is assumed consent cannot be given. This might solve a few cases but for me it would be a weird rule to have and would probably lead to the "she wasn't drunk so i can't have raped her" defence proliferating.
What does anyone else think?
(Not) Working for the Man
The UK recently passed up an opportunity to make some really strong corporate manslaughter laws, that would really have meant a tidal shift in the way companies looked at risk.
The situation is now totally out of hand, corporations can get away with anything. Kids drinking shandy on a street corner can expect an ASBO leading to probation, fines and even jail. Corporations can murder people with total impunity. If you don't believe me - read this. If you do - read it anyway; it's one of the most compelling things I've read in ages.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Why is the Cru-Blog advertising Boob Jobs?
Then when you're done explain to me what this is supposed to be.
Sick as a Hellcat
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Who's The Daddy?
1) There is some kind of problem. They were raped and don't want the rapist to have rights and access to the child. They were a victim of incest and don't want the child to have that on their permanent record. The father has threatened them with violence or abuse if they "grass him up". They fear that an ex-partner or members of the family may attack or even murder the father if he is named.
2) They genuinely don't know who the father is. They had a one night stand and didn't get in touch afterwards or left false contact details. Or they may have been having simultaneous relationships with several men and not know which caused the pregnancy.
In either case who are they going to prosecute under the new laws? A new mother, baby under one arm, sat there either terrified or just quite honestly unaware of who the father of her child is? That doesn't seem very resonable. And how can they prosecute the father? They don't know who he is!
The quotes from Kate Stanley at The Institute of Public Policy Research are frighteningly out of touch with the realities of the kind of people who might be affected by this legislation:
"Everyone should know who to send a card to on Father's Day." Presumably newsagents are going to start selling 'Happy Father's Day - thanks for nothing!' cards shortly?
"Most people will be thanking their fathers tomorrow but many will be wondering who their father is and why they have not helped support their family." Does anyone really believe that writing the name of the man who abused and raped you on a birth certificate is going to result in that man coming round every other weekend to take your child out to the park and dressing up as santa on Christmas eve? And does anybody actually want their rapist round their house hanging out with their kids anyway?
It's difficult to know what to suggset - I can understand that politics has become so heavily a money game that people feel the only way to win it is to get our own money out. Trouble is that if we accept a totally money-based game we will then ultimately lose to the group with the most money - the multi-national corporates. In fact this is already happening, remember when MoveOn.org finally raised enough money to put an anti-Bush advert on during the superbowl? The TV companies refused to put it on because even though the money had been raised (a) they knew that future revenue would be greater from the big corporates and it was more important to keep them happy and (b) they were afraid of what the current administration would do to them if they showed the advert.
And remember every penny/cent we spend on these media activities ends up as an extra penny/cent in the pockets of the people who run the adverts - big corporates whose interests end up getting put ahead of those of ordinary people.
If women are involved in the political process but are refusing to pay for candidates air-time, that's ok with me.
Beauty Kit for Little Girls
Messed Up World
But then if you look at the most successful women we see regularly on TV and film - a high percentage of them have had boob jobs. So is it any surprise young girls aspire to be like them? Of course media coverage doesn't seem to cover the risk of DEATH from surgery, loss of sensation and ability to breastfeed. And heaven forbid the media should ever imply that women could be valued for something more than their physical appearance - or their attractiveness to men pawing over their photos on a truly repulsive website like the one mentioned. Maybe they should change the name to www.choose-which-girl-gets-cut.com Puke...
Friday, June 15, 2007
Spot The Intelligence
The Home Office has responded by pointing out that because he was away for more than two years, he has forfeitted his visa to stay in the UK where his wife and five (British citizen) children live.** Mr el-Banna's ten year old son Anas has written a letter to Gordon Brown, pointing out "My Dad was only out of the country because he was locked up over there." Now that is definitely intelligence.
On the upside Harriet Harman, the Cru-blog's on-going candidate of choice for the deputy leadership (from those running that is) is campaigning for Britain to raise the long-overdue issue of Guantanamo at the UN Security Council.
*If you're really wondering it was a battery charger the men bought from Argos.
**Oh and if you really want to know why they don't want him back in the country it may just be an attempt to hush up the horrific story of how badly MI5 mis-handled the case throughout.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Not so Stephen Mallone who took his stag party to Slovakia where he proceeded to get arrested dancing naked in a fountain. The media coverage seems to have focussed on his future wife ("a former carnival queen" - oh please BBC, your reporters can do better than that) and her distress at the prospect of postponing the wedding while he serves time in Bratislava's local prison. Even the local MP has jumped in and appears now to have secured Mallone's release.
Personally I am in favour of locking him up. Not because naked fountain-dancing bothers me all that much (though I can imagine it was intimidating to some). But because I think taking your stag do overseas and then totally ignoring local traditions and behaving loutishly sucks. I've been to Prague twice in my life, once in 1996 when I was struck by the beauty and historical charm of the place, and once in 2005 when I was horrified to see street after street of strip clubs catering exclusively to English stag do tourists, many still roaming the streets shouting at nine or ten in the morning, clearly having been out all night.
I don't see Czecks and Slovaks (nor Poles, Estonians, etc) chasing round the streets of London demanding more beer and access to cheap lap-dancing clubs. At best it's totally unfair that we should force the very worst elements of British customs onto unsuspecting foreigners. At worst it's abusive sexual tourism.
I'd like to think my local MP spends their time following up genuine miscarriages of justice and figuring out how to address real issues like healthcare and education. And I think we should leave Stephen Mallone to rot in jail for a couple of months as an example to the others.