Guardian Linked To Racist Journalism

The phrase “linked to” is a favourite among the architects of moral panics. Marijuana was linked (back in the day) to black men raping white women. In more recent times, Ecstasy and various other safe drugs have been linked to (mostly invented) deaths. It is a favourite tool of tabloid journalism – claim ice cream is linked to gang violence and – Lo And Behold – it is! Because you just linked it.

In its endless descent into the journalistic gutter, the Guardian has adopted such tools too, such as its recent article Online trolling of women is linked to domestic violence, say campaigners. The Graun is, at least, smart enough to add “say campaigners” to the headline, so that when one points out that the claim is utterly baseless, the editor can respond: “we were just reporting what they said”.

This isn’t just sloppy journalism. The Guardian has long been militating for increased censorship of the Internet, and since it still maintains the pretence of supporting free speech, it must find online harm at every turn.

The Guardian itself appears to be becoming increasingly censored, especially on anything related to sex. What had originally seemed like the work of a few puritan journalists now seems to be official editorial policy. A series of good journalists have published ludicrously flimsy anti-sex articles. Not being privy to the internal workings of the organisation, I wonder what has been going on at Graun HQ. Does Julie Bindel stand over every journalist’s desk with a gun until she or he has produced yet another denunciation of “sexualisation” or “pornification”?

This feeling of a pro-censorship conspiracy is not just speculation: in her book The Sex Myth the sex worker/blogger/author/researcher Brooke Magnanti reveals that, after she won the Guardian’s 2003 blogger of the year award, a group of female Guardian journalists jointly threatened to resign if she was offered a column in the newspaper. Her crime was to present her sex work as a choice, and to refuse to label herself a victim, in strict contravention of Guardian editorial policy on sex work.

The Guardian’s hatred of any sexual expression is becoming so strong that the normally-PC paper is prepared to stray into the realm of racism where necessary. I’ve blogged previously about the jaw-dropping 2009 “white man’s porn is making black men into rapists” article by Tim Samuels.

Not to be outdone, Hadley Freeman (another once-sane journo who appears to have succumbed to the Curse of Guardian Towers) was enraged by Miley Cyrus’s recent twerking episode at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Her rage (of course) is primarily about open displays of sexuality: “she copied the dance moves of strippers” (but I know strippers who dance very well – what’s the problem?) and “female celebrities will one day feel that they don’t need to imitate porn actors” (all sexual expression is porn, and porn is bad, m’kay?)

Freeman tries to dress up her anti-sex rage as concern about racism, and digs herself a deep hole in the process. She casually drops in the fact that she has lived in the Notting Hill Carnival area for 12 years, which is kind-of like saying “I have black friends, you know”. I grew up a couple of miles north of Notting Hill, and while it was once a heavily Caribbean area, it had gentrified long before Freeman moved in.

She appears to be outraged that Cyrus had black backing singers: “a young wealthy woman from the south doing a garish imitation of black music and reducing black dancers to background fodder”. They are “fodder” in Freeman’s eyes anyway: to me, they are dancing beautifully, as only women of African origin can, and helping distract from the fact that Cyrus can’t dance. She refers to the event as a “minstrel show”. Other than banning black backing dancers from shows with white lead performers, it’s unclear what remedy Freeman would like to see.

She has fallen into the trap awaiting “progressive” middle-class puritans: dance and music originating in sub-Saharan Africa have always been far more overtly sexual than those originating in Europe. The overtness of African sexual expression offends the sensibility of European prudes, just as it offended (and titillated) European colonialists in Africa, who insisted that shameful African nudity was covered up.

Black music now dominates Western popular music forms. Not because (as Freeman suggests) whites are guilty of “cultural appropriation”, but simply because it is better, and it has come to dominate the meme-pool. It is hard to imagine what Western music and dance would be like today without African influences.

Freeman, of middle-class Jewish-American roots, educated in English boarding school and then Oxford, did not grow up around black culture. Like many privileged whites who grew up surrounded by privileged whites, she is discomfited by it, and all the Oxford education in the world cannot help her formulate linguistic tricks that adequately hide that fact.

The icing on the cake is that Freeman wraps up her bizarre articulation of dislike for black sexual expression in Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. King dreamed of a racially mixed world, but Freeman dreams of a world without strippers, porn and black backing dancers. What a sad, decaf, Euro-centric, Guardian-approved world that would be.

A Guide to the Morons of the Australian Election (Part 2)

Aussie journalist Georgia Lewis (who also blogs as The Rant Mistress) takes a break from smoking her billabong to complete her guide to the 2013 Australian elections. If you missed part 1, click here to read it first.

I could have written reams and reams on why Tony Abbott, Australia’s opposition leader, is leading the way with a moronic election campaign, I didn’t even scratch the surface with his carbon tax nonsense and there was plenty more to be said about how Labor Prime Minister Rudd is about as close to the original ideals of his party as Russell Crowe is to singing a note. But you are all busy people and there are many morons to watch with the Australian election and I want to share as many of them as I can.

Here are a few more for your enjoyment…

Stephanie Banister didn’t really get out of the starting blocks, the poor dear. Despite facing charges for putting anti-Islamic stickers on food in supermarkets, she was poised to be a candidate for the terminally idiotic One Nation party until an excruciating television interview happened. She laboured under the misapprehension that Islam is a country, she confused the Muslim holy book, the Quran, with “haram”, meaning “forbidden” and after the usual whine about being misquoted, she withdrew from the race.

Just as well then that One Nation party founder Pauline Hanson is making her sixth political comeback with a bid for a seat in the Senate. Australia’s upper house of Parliament, unlike the House of Lords, is elected with a proportional representation system. Each state is allocated a certain number of seats based on population and this is where all manner of moronic politicians often end up getting a lot of airplay. This year could be the year Pauline Hanson is one such pollie.

In 1996, Hanson won the federal lower house seat of Oxley as an independent after losing preselection for the Liberal Party (Australia’s Tories…) over remarks about Aboriginal Australians. It didn’t take long for her to be nicknamed “The Oxleymoron”. Her maiden speech was a festival of idiocy, with her fear of being “swamped by Asians” ringing in everyone’s ears. She also had a policy of “abolishing multiculturalism” although it was never really clear how she planned on achieving this. She lost her seat in the 1998 election and since then, she has been convicted and then acquitted of electoral fraud, and, for no good reason apart from attention-seeking, revealed that she had an affair with her former adviser, David Oldfield, giving Australians a collectively unwanted mental image. She is showing no signs of overcoming her battle with extreme idiocy.

Sadly, it seems the Australian Sex Party may have jumped the shark in this election. Another party with high hopes for the Senate, with its tablecloth-sized ballot paper, this party has some excellent and non-moronic policies. These include ensuring churches pay tax, legalising same-sex marriage, a secular education system and the decriminalisation of personal drug use.

Unfortunately, if you vote for the Sex Party above the line on the senate ballot (whereby you put a number one next to the party of your choice and let the party to distribute preferences as they see fit instead of laboriously numbering every single candidate below the line), your preferences might go to some unexpected places. The Sex Party has given preferences to One Nation, single-issue buffoon groups such as the Non-Custodial Parents Party, Climate Sceptics and the Shooters and Fishers, as well as the loopy Bob Katter’s Australia Party ahead of parties whose values are way more in line with the Sex Party, such as the Socialist Alliance and the Greens.

And I can tell you’re dying to know more about Bob Katter. He used to be a member of the National Party, which forms a coalition with the Liberal Party, to form either conservative governments or oppositions. But it would appear this all became a bit too radical for Katter. So he took his footy and left to form Katter’s Australian Party. This has been formed largely on the basis of economic protectionism – all armed forces, police and prison uniforms to be made in Australia, increased customs duty on good being imported into Australia and the like… And then there is the policy of resistance to same-sex marriage and restoring individual rights such as “fishing freely and boiling a billy without a permit.”

But this is not surprising from a man who said he wouldn’t let a homosexual person teach his children and claimed there were no gay people in his electorate. He promised to “walk backwards from Brisbane to Bourke” if this was proven to be untrue. A gay man in his electorate did reveal himself to the media but Katter has not yet taken the 582-mile stroll.

It is hardly surprising former Prime Minister, Paul Keating once referred to the Senate as “unrepresentative swill”. It has always been a magnet for weird power imbalances and surprise elections of people who would not stand a chance in the lower house. This sometimes means ridiculous legislation is either stopped or amended. Or it means productivity can come to a halt. Either way, it’s certainly entertaining.

And before Australia goes to the polls on Saturday, we have time for one more bonus moron. Enter stage right, Jaymes Diaz, a Liberal party candidate for the Lower House seat of Greenway. He naturally supports his leader, Tony Abbott, in his “stop the boats” policy on refugees. It’s just a shame that while he happily trumpets Abbott’s “six-point plan”, he was unable to name any of the six points when asked by a reporter. He has hardly been seen since this gaffe and it looks like he won’t win the western Sydney seat. But, rest assured, there will still be plenty of moron activity in both houses of Australia’s parliament for the foreseeable future.

A Guide to the Morons of the Australian Election (Part 1)

Australia’s election is approaching, and the campaign is even more moronic than one might expect. We asked our Australian correspondent Georgia Lewis (who actually lives in London, and also blogs here) to stop drinking Fosters for a moment, and explain what is going on; she told us that one blog post would not be enough to summarise the stupidity; so here is the first half of Georgia’s Aussie election report.

At the time of writing, I am reflecting on the very real possibility that this time next week, opposition leader, Tony Abbott will be the new Prime Minister of Australia. This is the man who rose to global fame after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard tore him a new one over his ongoing, tiresome misogyny and the video went viral. He has also amused people around the world this year by saying “suppository of wisdom”. Abbott is leader of the Australian equivalent of the Tories, the mis-named Liberal Party.

The current Prime Minister is Kevin Rudd. He is also the former Prime Minister. He defeated John Howard in 2007. Then Julia Gillard ousted him as leader. Then he ousted her this year in a bid to not lose the election quite so badly. Rudd represents the Labor Party. Yes, that’s how we spell the party name in Australia. I think it’s to detract attention away from the party’s union connections but it’s not very effective. Maybe Ed Milliband could try that here?

But here’s the thing about the Australian election this year – the two leaders are not actually morons. Not in the academic sense anyway. Abbott was a Rhodes scholar and the equally well-educated Rudd speaks Mandarin-Chinese. And it is pretty obvious what they are both doing when it comes to trying to win the September 7 election. They are appealing to morons.

When it comes to policy on asylum seekers – “boat people” – there is no real difference between the two parties. Both have lurched so far to the right on this one, it won’t matter who you vote for. Either way, if people arrive in leaky boats seeking asylum in Australia, there will be no change to mandatory detention, there will be further reliance on under-resourced neighbouring countries for “processing” and nobody is willing to allow asylum seekers currently in detention to be allowed to work while they wait for a decision on refugee status. Abbot’s “Stop the boats!” rhetoric is proving effective. He knows it is simplistic and populist just as Rudd knows that as more progressive approach isn’t necessarily a vote winner either.

I do not know of any Australians who have been personally inconvenienced by asylum seekers in any way, shape or form, but this does not stop the border control fear-mongering from being successful for both leaders.

Abbott has also achieved bonus fear about the Australian economy. That’d be the one that survived the global financial crisis probably better than any other nation on the planet. But apparently it will all be so much better under an Abbott government. This is when his moron behaviour starts to creep in. Among his fine examples of promised economic management is a very generous maternity leave scheme – except that it will be paid for with a 1.5% levy for all companies with a turnover of $5 million or more. These same companies have been given a tax cut. Of 1.5%. Genius!

Christopher Pyne, the likely education minister in an Abbott government, told Lateline, the Aussie equivalent of Newsnight, that Australia had become “obsessed” with class size and that Australia should look towards countries where schools with class sizes of 40 were not unusual as an example.

So the man who will probably be the next Education Minister has no issue with a policy that will create more idiocy in Australia. Brilliant! Still, more morons is probably a good way to ensure these buffoons stay in power. Keep ‘em dumb!

And speaking of dumb, Tony Abbott can’t help but let his religious views creep into policy either. When he was Health Minister, he was no fan of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. Despite being a prolife Roman Catholic, he wasn’t sure Australia needed a vaccine that would save the lives of women. Of course, this did not stop him crowing about it being finally included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme even though this happened because of pressure from the likes of then-Prime Minister John Howard.

Abbott’s views on Gardasil and, in turn, women, are more accurately reflected in this comment he made on the vaccine: “I won’t be rushing out to get my daughters vaccinated, maybe that’s because I’m a cruel, callow, heartless bastard but, look, I won’t be.”

Just in case he looked like he was appealing a bit too much to the anti-science, off-the-wall, Jenny McCarthy-endorsed anti-vaccine lobby, he quickly qualified that statement with a hurried addendum: “If there is a national immunisation programme, I certainly will be making sure that they get vaccinated [with Gardasil] under the programme.”

But, let’s face it, he already opened his damn fool mouth to reveal he thinks that it’s a slut shot – just one jab and your daughters will be instant harlots!

In contrast, apart from an embarrassing incident in which Rudd was caught on camera picking wax out of his ear, he is not quite as gaffe-prone as Abbott. Then again, he does not wear his religion on his sleeve and, unlike Abbott, he did not tell the media that one of the party’s candidates for the election has sex appeal. But that has been regarded as a storm in a C-cup and, hell, it’ll probably make him appear more like a knockabout Aussie bloke to the electorate.

Instead, Rudd has a reputation for being ruthless and difficult to work with – personally, that still sounds better than sexist and a bit creepy, but the Australian voters will probably disagree with me next weekend. And it seems Rudd is now weary – resigned to electoral defeat, unsure what his future holds. That will depend on how badly Labor loses the election. Absurd asylum seeker policy aside, Rudd has not run a particularly moronic campaign. It has had predictable flashes of populism designed to appeal to morons but in a head-to-head battle for supreme idiocy, Abbott keeps coming up trumps.

In the last week of campaigning, Abbott got in one last blast to appeal to the redneck voters. He spoke out about how he finds the burqa “confronting” and “not the sort of attire I would like to see widespread in our streets”. This was in defence of one of his candidates, Ray King, saying it was a “sign of oppression.”

Now, technically, a burqa is actually a mask worn across the nose, made of either stiffened cloth or metal, that does not cover the entire face. King actually mean “niqab” but, hey, all that Muslamic clothing looks the same! It is not compulsory for Australian women, Muslim or otherwise, to cover their whole faces, it is not a common sight in Australia, and neither party has a policy on Islamic attire but I guess it’s good to know where two men stand on this issue apropos of nothing.

King also gets a few more bonus moron points for the time he proposed a policing system whereby suspects would be injected with satellite-trackable microchips that would be fired from a “high-powered sniper rifle.”

Abbott’s nuanced take on the situation in Syria is that is “baddies versus baddies.” With insights like that, he will have so much to offer on the world stage in the coming months if he wins the election. Which I am pretty sure he will. Moron watchers of the world should be on red alert – things can only get dumber Down Under.