Westminster paedos: a look at reporting on the story of historical sex abuse gone unpunished.
The Guardian tells us that since Sir Jimmy Savile was dug up, stripped of his knighthood and beaten with sticks, 1,400 people have been investigated for child sex abuse.
That sound a lot. It might even be too much to actuall fund. Talk of a paedophile amnesty would be on the cards were the issue not so toxic. And, then, if you investigate the suspect, do you also investigate those who turned away and failed the victims?
The Guardian sums up:
Officer leading Operation Hydrant inquiry says out of 1,433 alleged offenders 76 were politicians, 43 were from music industry and 135 were from TV, film or radio
RealDoll’s take one helluva pounding. And Slade’s job is to go in there and make the rough, broken and chaffed smoother than a rubber glove.
Slade works with Matt McMullen, creator of Abyss Creations, located in Southern California.
“The original concept I had was actually not a sex toy at all,” says McMullen… “It was intended to be a poseable mannequin, or simply a form of art.” He quickly noticed that a lot of people saw the dolls in an erotic way. The company makes about 300 RealDolls each year. A standard-issue model sells for $6,500, while a meticulously customized one can go for as much as $50,000.
Slade replaces the damaged vagina, which looks like this:
Fiero traces his interest in dolls to playing with G.I. Joes and Barbie in his youth.
“I was born in 1960 so Joe was the guy I got to hang out with for those formative years.”
“Slade has a very important place in the doll world,” says Elena Dorfman, a photographer who documented that world in her 2005 book Still Lovers. “People are sending him their beloved—or at least a sex partner that they paid a lot of money for. They’re trusting him to fix her. It’s like sending someone you love to the doctor and hoping they’ll come out all right.”
Silicone RealDoll sex doll faces receive teeth at the Abyss Creations factory on February 5, 2004 in San Marcos, California. RealDolls are created using Hollywood special effects technology and have orifices made of a special soft grade of silicone for people who want to ‘enhance their sex lives’, according to Abyss Creations literature. Standard female models sell for about $6000, males for $7000, and are sold only over the Internet. ‘Shemales’ and other special orders are also available. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Slade has tips:
“If you care for it, if you treat it right, you can crank her knees up to her shoulders and bang away at that doll with good hard intercourse and come out shining. But clean her out… Clean her off. If you’ve got a hairy chest, you’re going to leave hairs all over her. If you’ve got a cat, she’s going to pick up cat hair. You want to take care of what you’ve got.”
The customers might be registered:
“I had one guy from Berkeley who had sex so hard with his doll that he ripped the leg off it. The doll was less than a year old, and destroyed. Her calves, from below the knee, had what looked almost like knife puncture wounds. Hundreds of them. I don’t know what this guy was doing to this doll.”
Has Slade ever been tempted to road test his repair:
“I’m not going to be fucking dolls and shipping them to other people. That’s fuckin’ rude. What kind of businessman would I be if I did that?”
The first miscreants to fall foul of the news laws on online pornography are two dominatrix. Their videos feature “heave whipping” and hard and repeated kicks to the genitals. Megara Furie and Mistress R’eal take a bow. The footage breaches the Authority for Television on Demand’s code.
Rule 14 of the Atvod handbook bans video-on-demand services from showing material that would be refused classification by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification), previously the British Board of Film Censors. You can read more about their record of censoring things here, here, here, here, here. It’s mixed.
And you can recall the words of Mervyn Griffith-Jones QC.
“Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book? Is it a book that you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?”
This is just brilliant. Listeners to the BBC World Service’s World Have Your Say show were introduced to Godfrey Elfwick, a student from Sheffield talking about the lastest Star Wars franchise, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens. Godfrey says the character “Dark Raider” is “racial stereotype”.
Godfrey Elfwick is a work of parody. Having said on twitter that he’d never seen Star Wars, the BBC got in touch:
@GodfreyElfwick hi looking for guest who has never seen Star Wars 2 talk on radio – wd u be interested? DM or email email@example.com — Angela Sheeran (@Sheerzee) April 17, 2015
Did Angela do any research? If she did, she must have missed Godfrey’s other tweets, like these:
Godfrey pricked the knowing liberal bubble with a skewer:
For some time now our happy island nation has, slowly but surely, been invaded by an uninvited and unwelcome breed.
This is nothing to do with immigration, asylum-seekers, refugees, the EU or any of the other supposed threats that exercise the newspapers at election time.
No, this is an insidious invasion that has targeted our TV screens, and in particular the advertisements, ‘trails’ and promotional montages that seem to take up as much time as the programmes they punctuate…
The invaders are instantly recognizable by their distinctive singing style: breathy, slightly flat, sometimes with an ‘emotive’ crack in the voice. Their songs are, variously: drippy, dippy, dull and dreary. They are invariably accompanied by willfully amateurish acoustic guitar. This formula is used to advertise everything from white goods to Barclays’ revolting ‘thank you’ to ‘real football fans’.
Raheem Sterling, the Liverpool player, is the worst person on the planet. We know this because the Daily Star features him on its Page 5. Pictured smiling and giving the thumbs up, the 20-year-old Liverpool and England player is placed alongside a photograph of Jimmy Guichard, also 20.
Jimmy is seen “dying in hospital”.
It is an utterly grim image. Looking at it feels invasive. But the photograph comes with the blessing of Jimmy’s mother, Karen, whose views are summed up in the headline:
“Kops must drop Sterling, urges tragic mum”
Jimmy died in 2013. That’s when the photographs of his dire condition were released. Back then Karen “explained how Jimmy Guichard died after taking a synthetic cannabis”.
The Daily Mail reported:
Keen sportsman Jimmy Guichard, 20, suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking one of the herbal substances. His mother Karen Audino said he was found unconscious next to an empty plastic bag from controversial legal high shop UK Skunkworks.
Keen sportsman Jimmy… suffered a heart attack and severe brain damage within hours of taking one of the herbal substances….he was found unconscious next to an empty plastic bag from controversial legal high shop UK Skunkworks.
So much for the exclusive.
It is worth noting that “according to the coroner’s report, there were no traces of alcohol or illegal drugs – including cannabis, cocaine, morphine or acid – in his system that could have caused his death.”
There was no inquest into his death.
But Karen suspects the legal high killed her son. She said:
“Jimmy experienced severe hypertension which caused his heart attack, but why that happened we don’t know. I believe whatever he took from the high street shop messed with his system and caused this. He was a fit, healthy lad and there was no reason for him to die.”
It is tragic. Your heart goes out to her.
But what has this to do with Raheem Sterling, who was filmed inhaling laughing gas in the privacy of his own home? Does he approve of drugs, suffering, pain and death? He is pictured giving the thumbs up as an innocent young man lies on his deathbed.
“The management need to take action and not pick him. They wouldn’t have him if he had been taking cocaine or heroin.”
But Sterling is not Adrian Mutu, the Chelsea player sacked for taking cocaine. He’s not Diego Maradona, whose contribution to the Peru’s GDP is legend. Any footballer who takes recreational drugs is not exactly going to enhance their performance. As Eric Cantona said of Maradona: “I prefer someone who uses cocaine on a Wednesday and plays at the weekend.”
A football club has every right to discipline a player who fails to show up for training or doesn’t perform on match days because he has over-indulged. It’s not a question of morality but of discipline. The higher levels of fitness in the modern game mean that footballers must be extremely self-disciplined about what they ingest. It’s not quite a monkish existence – roasting, bling-bling, mock Tudor mansions and Porsches are not, as far as I know, features of monastic life – but being a professional footballer does require a degree of abstinence and dedication that is not expected of most employees.
Which brings us to wonder what Raheem Sterling and Jimmy Guichard have in common? To link Sterling to the death of a young man is utterly unfair. We live in a world where the US President Barack Obama and the late Apple Corp. founder Steve Jobs have smoked cannabis. Are they now linked to all drug-related deaths?
This story is about morals, a creepy demand that adults who are good at football behave as the elite demand. They must be pure in thought and deed. It buys into the stories that footballers are State-sponsored ambassadors for healthy living (witness the haste with which politicians use sportsmen for their own ends, to advertise their own sounds morals on sexism, racism and atheticism) and that football fans – by and large the working class – are so thick and impressionable they look not to parents for guidance but to Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, John Terry or any leading adult footballer. The narrative assures us that Sterling is a “role model”.
He’s not. The suggestion that his stupidity in smoking a shisha pipe or inhaling laughing gas endangers lives is weak and as thick-headed as the player himself the day after the night before…
The Daily Star reports that The Proclaimers, singers of such monster-monster hits as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Letter from America, have written a song about Jimmy Savile. This follows news that Jonathan Maitland has written the drama An Audience with Jimmy Savile. Looks like the depraved old sod is still entertaining the masses from beyond the grave.
The Proclaimers song Then Again references Top of The Pops, the BBC TV show once fronted by Savile:
“I can’t believe that I couldn’t see how many dodgy men were running TV.
“While I was growing into a man they took advantage of their fans.
“When I was a boy the were stars of prime time television.
“But circumstances change and some of them ended up in prison.
“Now maybe we were on Top of the Pops.
“Some of the hosts have got the chop.
“I’m sleeping soundly in my bed cos Jimmy Savile’s still dead.”
The Daily Record says the song “also refers to the 70s paedophile ring at Westminster and features on the band’s new album Let’s Hear It For The Dogs.”
Savile never was tried for his alleged crimes. He’s dead. What of those still breathing who enabled, did and knew what was happening?
Get used to hearing a lot more about the Kincora Boys Home in Belfast.
Richard Kerr, a victim of abuse at Kincora told Channel 4 News that he was taken from the east Belfast home to London where he was molested by members of a VIP paedophile ring. Mr. Kerr alleges that he was abused by “very powerful people” at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square – locations at the centre of the ongoing inquiry which has been mired in controversy.
Last month Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out extending the scope of a child sexual abuse inquiry to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland saying that child protection is “a devolved matter” despite Home recommendations by a Home Affairs Committee report:
Raheem Sterling is not a money-grabber. Well, so says the Times. And ‘money grabber’ is in inverted commas, the words appearing in a headline comment on the Liverpool player’s view of himself as revealed in a BBC interview. In that chat, Sterling confirmed that he has rejected an offer of £100,000-a-week to extend his Liverpool contract, which still has over two years to run.
He also says he’s “flattered” that Arsenal are interested in hiring him.
And he stated:
“Everyone’s dream is growing up seeing themselves in an away kit somewhere in a sunny country.”
You might take that for poetic licence, Sterling’s ‘sunny country’ being North London in February. But the 20-year-old who left QPR to earn more money at Liverpool is a pragmatist. Sterling wants a move away from the Premier League.
And he won’t weep for Liverpool. Following Liverpool’s win at QPR, his boyhood club, Sterling wrote on his Instagram page:
“Back to where it all started great win from the boys 3 points yerrrr boiiii.”
See how he loves Liverpool. Well, they do pay him more than QPR were offering. Liverpool got Sterling in their club colours because they outbid all other teams, offering QPR an initial £500,000 for the teenager.
In The Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin, we learn:
Sterling was a regular in pick-up games organised by Walley on a pitch marked out in the back garden of the home of Tim Sherwood, Tottenham’s technical co-ordinator. A trial game was arranged, between Tottenham Under 15s and a Brent Schools select, featuring Sterling, who was thought to be available for £200,000. Remarkably, Spurs turned him down, because academy coaches were split about his long-term potential and the challenges of his background. Fulham were convinced they were about to sign him. “We had Raheem in the building, and were totally blown away when Liverpool came in for the boy,” admitted Barry Simmonds, their chief scout. Anderson and McParland had successfully lobbied Sterling’s family, and close friends, that Raheem’s best interests would be served by a £1 million move to Merseyside.
A month before his 15th birthday, he was billeted with ‘house parents’ and installed in the fifth form at Rainhill School in St Helens.
That last line makes nonsense of Ian Ladyman’s clim in the Mail that Sterling is a kid out of his depth. Ladyman compares Sterling’s contract manoeuverings with those of his former Liverpool colleague Luis Suarez, who also sought an early exit from Anfield:
“Suarez was a worldly-wise, well travelled football gun for hire when he decided to take Liverpool on. He left home at 14. He could cope. Sterling, on the other hand, still looks like a boy…and in some ways he still is.”
That would be the same Raheem Stelring who left his native Jamaica at age six and then moved from London to Liverpool at 14.
Ladyman doesn’t seeme to have read the Daily Mail’s 2012 profile of Sterling’s “extraordinary story”:
“Long before he confirmed his place as football’s next big thing with his first Premier League goal last weekend, Sterling was a whippet-quick slip of a boy from Jamaica with flowing plaits, using his skill to embarrass grown men in adult matches, laughing as they floundered in his wake… His journey… began almost 5,000 miles away in a notoriously dangerous district of Kingston, Jamaica, where he lived until he was six, when he emigrated to Britain and settled with his family on one of London’s toughest estates.
The area just north of Harlesden, comprising a maze of shabby concrete estates – Stonebridge, St Raphael’s and Churchend – is one of the poorest places in Britain and has become a breeding ground for violent crime and drug dealing.
Sterling ended up at Vernon House Special School, surrounded by “troubled” children. He “shunned gangs to play five-a-side with friends, and the Copland High School playing fields, in nearby Wembley, where he honed his game.”
We hear from Ann John, a Labour councillor for Stonebridge Ward. (Full disclosure: I grew up not far away. I’d avoid the Stoneridge Estate if it meant a much longer walk. It was notorious. It was a place anyone sane would want to get out of.) Says John:
“This is a real rags-to-riches story, so he deserves all the success he gets.”
One of Sterling’s former teachers says:
“Raheem is amazingly intelligent in so many ways… Raheem is a brilliant thinker. He would get concepts off the football pitch as well as on it. He had a great work ethic which lots of the other kids didn’t.”
So. That’s Raheem Sterling: ambitious, talented, smart and driven. Greedy? Yeah, probably. But no more or less than most of us.
Liverpool fans who want him to be one of their own are dreaming. He never was one of yours…
The Daily Mirror’s font-page news that”blunder cops” failed to “quiz 100 suspects” in the murder of BBC Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando contains an interesting element.
Jill Dando was murdered with a single bullet in 1999. She was stood on her doorstep in Fulham, London, when the killer struck.
The Met’s Operation Oxborough fingered Barry George, who was convicted of the crime. After eight years in prison, George was freed on appeal. Now his legal team have made their files public. These files include the news that the Met compiled a “possible suspect” list of 100 names who were not fully investigated. Another list mentions 11 men seen in the area at the time of Dando’s murder who were never identified.
So much for the unknowns. But the Mirror’s story – that interesting bit – comes at the end. We’re told that police spoke with Jeremy Paxman, Dando’s BBC colleague, and her friend Sir Cliff Richard. And then the Mirror shows readers a picture of the late actor Robin Williams looking sinister.
“Pop legend Sir Cliff, 74, said he had known Jill for around five years before the murder. He said they spent time together alongside showbiz pals including the late Hollywood state Robin Williams and TV host Gloria Hunniford.”
To which we can only wonder: was Williams lost? On a trip to the BBC’s offices did the great comic actor wonder into the wrong dressing room? Or did Williams, a keen fan of BBC Radio 2, Crimewatch and middle-of-the-road pop, seek his heroes out?
Or is it that the Mirror is simply adhering to the 3rd Rule of Tabloid Journalism: any story can be improved with a celebrity name?
Did Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz see mass murder as his route to eternal fame? The BBC says he did. Maybe. It repeats a line someone billed as Maria W. gave to German tabloid Bild. This source says Lubitz told her:
“One day I’m going to do something that will change the whole system, and everyone will know my name and remember.”
We are left to wonder why such a comment is not fully attributed? If “Maria W”, who says she dated Lubitz for five months, wants to speak to the Press, why not use her full name?
Whatever the truth of her story, the BBC has been willing to amplify it. It should be careful. As USA Today writes on the same matter, the woman is only Lubitz’s “purported former girlfriend”. The BBC makes no such claim for circumspection. It simply states that she had been his girlfriend:
Behind an internet paywall, Bild’s front-page story makes Lubitz’s apparent words the main reason why he did it and so many people died:
He threatened: “One day, everyone will know my name”
All facts say Bild and the BBC. But USA Today notes:
The claims could not immediately be verified independently.
She said he even warned her that he was going to commit an act so heinous that his name would be remembered for ever.
The woman, known only as Maria W, revealed to German newspaper Bild how he ominously told her last year: ‘One day I will do something that will change the whole system, and then all will know my name and remember it.’
When she heard about the airliner crash, she remembered Lubitz’s menacing prophecy.
‘I never knew what he meant, but now it makes sense,’ she said.
With so many innocent people killed, it would be a sound idea to check the source before reporting her words as fact.
The Telegraph repeats more from knowing Maria W.:
“He did it because he realised that because of his health problems his big dream of a job with Lufthansa; a job as captain and as a long haul pilot was as good as impossible… We spoke a lot about work and then he became another person. He became agitated about the circumstances in which he had to work, too little money, anxiety about his contract and too much pressure.”
Lubitz began work at Lufthanasa back in September 2013. Did he so soon after scoring his dream job job kill 149 people becaue of the pressure? Lubitz had previously worked at a Burger King behind a carwash, “flipping Whoppers and frying fries and talking to co-workers about his dream”. And after working as a fast food wallah he found his dream-job soul-destroying?
Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Lufthansa, has gone on the record:
“The co-pilot interrupted his training for six years, I would be interested to know why. I cannot tell you anything about the reasons of this interruption, but anybody who interrupts the training has to do a lot of tests so the competence and fitness would be checked again.”
Do we believe without question what the ex-lover says?
A Germanwings colleague who worked with Lubitz, one Frank Woiton, contradicts Maria W’s view:
“He wasn’t a person who you thought would commit suicide. He seemed very happy, and he wanted to become a captain for long-distance flights. He was very good at his job.”
So. Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC’s Gripper Stebson*, has been driven from the BBC. He leaves behind a bombshell-sized hole in the Beeb’s talent pool, a Top Gear producer with a split lip and dull-to-deadline James May and perky and predictable Richard Hammond to take the show forward.
Papers lead with news that sacked Jeremy Clarkson faces a “police quiz” (Daily Star and Daily Mail), “police probe” (Sun), “cop grilling” (Daily Mirror) and “police action” (Daily Express).
You cannot hit a BBC underling and get away with it. Well, not always you can’t. You see, in 2005, Richard Kay reported on an incident for the Daily Mail. The then BBC director general Mark Thompson had bitten newsroom colleague Anthony Massey.
Thompson’s 44-year-old victim suffered clear bite marks through his shirt, and immediately reported the incident. Their bosses were so determined to hush up the affair, however, that Massey was promptly sent to Rwanda on a perilous assignment. And Thompson, then a rising star, was allowed to continue his soaring career unhindered.
#NUSWomen15: Putting Policy into Action. So runs the slogan for the National Union of Students get together:
This year, on March 24 until the 26, hundreds of women will be descending upon Solihull for the best three days of the year: Women’s Conference.
Alongside debates on sex work (it should decriminalised) and money, motions to be debated include:
Motion 101: Putting pronouns on the cards
Submitted by: NUS LGBT Committee
1. Pronouns are used in the English language to replace nouns in order to make conversation easier. An example of the use of a pronoun is when referring to somebody instead of using their name.
2. The current delegate name badges at all NUS conferences and events simply state the delegate’s name, their constituent membership and if they attend an HE or an FE institution.
3. Delegates who use gender neutral pronouns currently have to write this on their badges themselves to ensure other delegates use their correct preferred pronouns.
Conference Further Believes:
1. Delegates currently having to manually write their pronouns on their badges may make them feel uncomfortable, othered, or outed as trans* (despite the safe space policy).
2. NUS Women’s Campaign is open to all who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women. The campaign affirms that self-definition of gender identity and pronouns are at the sole discretion of the individual in question.
3. Delegates to NUS Women’s conference may use pronouns that are not she/her, and encouraging all delegates to specify their pronouns will foster a culture of not assuming pronouns based on gender presentation and help ensure that everyone’s preferred gender pronouns are upheld.
4. All delegates specifying their pronouns and asking each other for pronouns may help to ensure that delegates are not misgendered, as this can make delegates feel unsafe or trigger gender dysphoria.
1. To ask all delegates attending NUS conferences and events for their pronouns at the point of registration (this would be a blank box which text could be typed into).
2. To print pronouns on all delegate’s badges.
3. To continue to reiterate when establishing the safe space policy that all delegates should respect and uphold each other’s pronouns.
When Brett and Naghmeh King told the story of their son Ashya King’s treatment to the Sun, the scoop was front-page news. Readers wanted to know what happened next to the desperatly ill child – Ashya is age 5 – who went on the run from the NHS in search of alternative proton beam therapy treatment.
The front page declares that the Kings were “hunted like criminals”. They were. Hampshire Police obtained a European arrest warrant for the parents on the issue of ‘neglect’. The papers told readers the boy had “hours to live“. The Mirror said it was “24 hours”. The Sun said it was “weeks“.
The message was that the parents were placing their child in mortal danger.
Safe spaces: Writing in the New York Times Judith Schulevitz takes up the story of university safe spaces, those zones of intolerance where diverse views of a diverse society are banned, where everything is ‘normal’.
She begins by looking at the work of Katherine Byron, a member of Brown University’s Sexual Assault Task Force. In her safe zone rape will be a taboo. No, not illegal. Rape is an abhorrent crime. This is a ban on anything that could upset rape victims.
Why did 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives on15 April 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium? We had thought it was to do with treating football fans as sub-human scum, a problem to be solved through new forms of control. How else was it that when the innocent were dying in cages the police called not for the ambulances but for the attack dogs? Why else was it that with the dead not yet buried and the dying in hospital, the Press felt able to continue the theme that all football fans deserved it?
Football was “a slum sport watched by slum people”. Well, so said the Sunday Times newspaper. But the Times was only right about the stadiums, neglected and inadequate. In May 1985, the Bradford City stadium fire in May 1985 killed 56 people.
In 1985, 38 Italian fans died following a charge by Liverpool supporters at the Heysel stadium. The dead were killed when a faulty wall collapsed.
So. Why were Liverpool fans given the Leppings Lane end at Hillsborough while their less well-supported opponents Nottingham Forest stood in the bigger end of the ground? Because that was how the police wanted it.
Appearing at the Hillsborough inquests in Warrington, Cheshire, David Duckenfield, the Hillsborough police match commander, says his failure to close a tunnel “was the direct cause of the deaths of 96 people”.
He was wrong. He made a terrible error. But that error was triggered by the top-down monstering of all football fans. David Duckenfield did not act in isolation.
The dead were libelled. At the coroner’s court, details of the deceased were read out together with their blood alcohol reading. That horror included the blood alcohol reading of a dead 10-year-old boy. The verdict was that the 96 had perished in an “Accidental Death”. No charges would be brought against anyone. Only the dead were to blame.
Suck it up. Move on. Years later the elite joined the bereft and abused in a minute’s silence. Your pain was now their pain, too. The conniving never stops.
The lies were maintained. Evidence presented without contest by the State propped up the narrative of drunkeness and violence.
Now David Duckenfield says he “froze” during the afternoon of the 1989 football disaster.
Mr Duckenfield is 70.
The wheels of justice turn slowly. We now see an old man in the dock. He is full of remourse. But he’s no longer a serving copper. But he was when he made a witness statement on 5 May 1989. He said:
Now he says he is sorry for his lie about fans forcing an exit gate open to enter the ground. He said it was a “lie of omission” when he said gates to the ground had been forced. “He claimed he was referring to the first opening of gate C, at 2,48pm, when he wrongly believed it had been forced and about 150 fans gained access”. He says:
“I am now very much older, very much wiser and very much more understanding of the events of the day and have decided to tell the whole truth.”
So says the old man no longer in uniform.
You wait long enough and if you’re lucky you get to hear the truth just before God makes his judgement…
Louise BROWN, born at Oldham Hospital near Manchester, Great Britain, is the result of the IN VITRO fertilization of her mother. The biologist Robert Edwards holds the baby beside the midwife and the surgeon Patrick STEPTOE, on July 25, 1978. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
How does an orthodoxy take hold? When designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana shared their views on love, sex, romance, gay marriage, children, IVF babies and children of same-sex couples the media and celebrity voices united in condeming them, siding with Elton John, who expressed his displeasure with a shrill call to boycott the brand.
The Daily Mirror has carried this news on its front page:
“Elton – I will never wear Dolce & Gabbana again after they dared call my kids synthetic”
Elton, who with his husband David Furnish is father to IVF-conceived sons Elijah and Zach, appeared over two more pages. It was “Elton’s fury” at an “astonishing attack”.
Elton said: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic?”
But they were synthesized? This is how the BBC explains IVF to GCSE students:
If a couple are having difficulty conceiving a child because the quantity or quality of the man’s sperm is poor then IVF can be used. This is where the egg is fertilised outside the woman’s body and then implanted back into her uterus. As FSH can also be used to encourage the production of several mature eggs at once, it is used as part of IVF to increase the number of eggs available for fertilisation.
Some people worry about the ethical implications of IVF. They are concerned that couples may want ‘designer babies’ with ‘desirable’ qualities, so may only want certain fertilised eggs. For example, they may want a girl if they have lots of boys in the family, or they may wish to avoid producing a baby with an inherited defect.
Elton goes on:
And shame on you for wagging your judgemental fingers at IVF… a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people both stright and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.
At which point anyone not laughing or thinking Chris Morris was writing the news should dash out and buy armfuls of D&G schmutters. Do they do a kids’ range? If they do, buy that, too. Elton John wants people who are judgemental banned. And – irony of irony – many voices on Twitter, that paragon of intolerance and incoherence, agree.
Southampton University’s debate on the State of Israel is called International Law and the State of Israel. The blurb runs:
This conference will be the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine. It is unique because it concerns the legitimacy in International Law of the Jewish state of Israel. Rather than focusing on Israeli actions in the 1967 Occupied Territories, the conference will focus on exploring themes of Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism; all of which are posed by Israel’s very nature.
And there you are. It is not about peace or the two-state solution. It’s is about a one-state solution which means making Israel an illegal country. It is a biased and bigotted conference more loaded than George Bush at a frat party. But it should go ahead.
Happy day for Amalie Bruun and Brian Harding. The pop duo known as Ex Cops are invited to play at the Austin, Texas, SXSW. It would be just great. Think of the exposure. Think of the fans. Don’t think of the money because the invite from McDonald’s wants you to appear for free.
This week our band was asked to play the McDonald’s Showcase at the annual South by Southwest, also known to music insiders as “SXSW.”
Their selling point was that this was “a great opportunity for additional exposure,” and that “McDonald’s will have their global digital team on site to meet with the bands, help with cross promotion, etc”
I don’t, and doubt that they know what this means either.
Getting past that rhetoric, at the very least a big corporation like McDonald’s can at least pay their talent a little. Right?
“There isn’t a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)”
As of 2013, McDonalds is valued at 90.3 billion dollars.
I won’t get into the internet semantics of things you’ve probably seen on your Facebook feed; like that thing where it takes a McDonald’s worker 4 months to earn what the CEO makes in an hour, or their GMO love affair, and I will certainly spare you the bounty of photos showing how they treat their animals.
In lieu of being paid like a real artist, or anyone who is employed to do a service, McDonald’s assures us that we will “be featured on screens throughout the event, as well as POSSIBLY mentioned on McDonald’s social media accounts like Facebook (57MM likes!)”
We recently headlined a show at the Brooklyn venue Baby’s Alright. They are by no means a DIY venue, but they are still an independent small business. The owners are people our age who used to book shows at Pianos and busted their asses to open a venue of their own in Brooklyn.
While I haven’t asked Billy or Zach how much they make annually (that would be weird) I’m going to guess they’re not looking at brownstones in Prospect Park at the moment. Yet when we played, we were paid very very fairly, were provided with drink tickets, and each band member fed a full entree from their menu (try the Brussels sprouts)
I will also go ahead and save time for any schill / troll rebuttals; “Are the other showcases paying you? No one is holding a gun to your head!” This is true. It is our choice (pretty much) to fly to Austin, play shows without soundcheck, and get paid nothing to a little. But hear this loud and clear, we LOVE making music, it is what we do, and despite some of its very apparent flaws, SXSW still provides a decent venue to be heard by some people who are really there to hear new music and not just do blow with dudes who wear square toe loafers.
It is a horrifying and gross reality when one sees the true nature of corporations and their pathetic attempts to achieve relevance with millennials. Doritos received a lot of flack for their stage a couple years ago, but i’m going to assume they paid Lady Gaga.
Oh, I almost forgot; “McDonald’s will offer free food to all audience members”
I don’t doubt that tons of bands will kowtow to this lame, lame attempt at a rock show. And I’m aware that to achieve any exposure is a Herculean task in 2015, but the Boethian Wheel is a real thing, and this will continue to exist if we, as artists, keep saying yes in exchange for a taste of success. Even if smells like a shitty Fish filet.’
Can you be a burger artiste? Just wondering because McDonald’s have a few opportunities – all unpaid – for anyone who can pump sauce into intersting shapes…
Adam Johnson has been arrested for “SUSPICION OF HAVING SEX WITH A GIRL OF 15′. It’s the Sun’s big news story. It’s also the front-page story in the Daily Star, Daily Express, and Daily Mirror.
It the lead sports story on the back page of the Express and Mail:
Adam Johnson is 27. The girl he allegedly had a sexual relationship with is below the age of consent. But the key part of the story, the bit that makes it travel, is that Adam Johnson plays football for Sunderland in the Premier League. He has played for England, too, and Manchester City. So. He’s front-page news. And five – yeah, FIVE – plolice cars SWOOPED” (Sun) on his “six-bedroom mansion”.
Who do they think he is, Cliff Richard?
Sunderland have moved quickly to suspend their employee. Is that fair? Or is it just what Sunderland think will play out well with the elite and the public?
It’s worthwhile to look at the law on sex. In England and Wales, the age of sexual consent for women has been set at 16 since 1885, when campaigners fought to raise it from 13 to prevent child prostitution. Key to promoting that law change was the journalist William Thomas Stead. He wrote lurid stories about “The Violation of the Virgins” and “The Confessions of a Brothel Keeper”. Readers lapped them up. Sales of his London newspaper skyrocketed. He helped create the style that would become the tabloid way.
Make it big. Make it loud. Give them a story no-one can ignore.
In 2010, the Chartered Institute of Journalists honoured the man billed as Britain’s first investigative journalist:
William Thomas Stead was acknowledged as Britain’s leading campaigning and investigative journalist in the late 1800s, particularly for his work in exposing the white-slave trade and child sex abuse in London’s brothels by the nation’s upper classes. This resulted in the passing of the Criminal Amendment Act which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16.
As part of his campaign, Stead “bought” a chimney sweep’s 13-year-old daughter (Eliza Armstrong) for £5 which earned him a three-month prison sentence. He continued to edit the Pall Mall Gazette (which later merged into the Evening Standard) from his prison cell.
Journalism matters. Words can shape your views and get things changed. Popular journalism can be dirty, messy and gutteral. And it is powerful. And we love it. Because without the ability to stir things up, make mistakes and dig deep into everyday stories, criminals, banks and matters the elite would rather you ignored there is no freedom of speech.
But sometimes, the innocent get the tabloid treatment.
Back to sex now. But what is sex?
In England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales we have to be 16 or older to have homosexual (gay) or heterosexual (straight) sex. ‘Sex’ means penetrative sex, oral sex or masturbating together.
What happens if you have underage sex?
The law sees it as sexual assault – it’s a criminal offence. This is because in the eyes of the law we are unable to give informed consent to sex when still a child.
A boy/man who has sex with a girl under 16 is breaking the law. Even if she agrees.
If she is 13-15, the boy/man could go to prison for two years.
If she is under 13 he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
A girl age 16 or over who has sex with a boy under 16 can be prosecuted for indecent assault.
Everyone is ready for sex at different ages but the law has to generalise. This is to protect those who are most vulnerable, from exploitation.
The law states that a boy or girl under the age of 16 cannot consent in law.
So. Adam Johnson, whose home was “raided”. Three unmarked police cars and, depending on what you read, one or two police vans were on the scene at 9am. We learn that his home is worth £1.85m. It has a games room and a gym. It is “lavish”. The Times counts four police cars and values the home at £1.6m. It also spots a “triple garage”, two acres of land and a loaded gun, legally owned by the footballer.
Adam Johnson is looking like the kind of man the tabloids and police love to get at: rich, talented and obvious.
But then we get a new fact. A “source” is quoted in the Sun:
“There is no suggestions he had full sex with her but ther was other sexual activity. The allegation included the claim that he knew she was 15.”
That this source is unnamed should make us circumspect. It is buried deep in the story, 10 paragraphs down. Its appearance could mean that we check our own prejudices. We may even decide to wait for all the facts to be known before judging Johnson.
But just as your passions cool and reason begin to take hold, the Sun adds that the maximum sentenced for “the offence” is 14 years. That seems a long times espcially when you read of other sentences, like the eight years prison handed to Peter Daly, subject of the Liverpool Echo’s headline “Merseyside paedophile jailed for paying to have children abused by their mothers”.
The Sun is cranking things up.
Worried that the Adam Johnson sex sensation is losing pace and is just a single-thread story, the Sun pads it out with dash of celebrity, telling readers that Johnson grew up in Country Durham close to where Billy Elliot was filmed. He “reportedly had a champange-fueled night out in London with actress Kym Marsh last year”.
Over in the Mirror, we hear from the mother of his girlfriend Stacey Flounders:
“He is a great lad and he has done nothing wrong… He is 100% innocent. He hasn’t been found guilty of anything..”
But is is guilty of being a well-paid footballer. So. Feel free to hate him and rush to judgement.
Some readers might worry Adam Johnson’s well-being. In its report, the Daily Express notes:
Four years ago Johsnon was left devastated when his best friend, former goalkeeper Dale Roebrts, killed himself after plunging into depair when was told his fiancee was having an affair with the brother of Chelsea defender John Terry… Said Johnson: “I’m not sure he could deal with the embarrassmment the story caused him.”
Don’t rush to condemn Adam Johnson. Back of and let the law deal with it. He’s out on police bail. And you can trust the police to be fair and thorough in an investigation into underage sex, can’t you.
Yesterday at Wembley Chelsea defeated Spurs 2-0 to win the Capital One Cup. But more importantly there was NO race riot. No white men in manmade fibres stopped a black man from boarding the Tube nor did they brawl with the self-styled ‘Yid Army’.
Police did make five arrests on the day. But none was for racist chanting.
To go with the police threats that they “may” arrest fans for racist chanting was Paddy Power offering football fans the opportunity to “PROVE YOU’RE NOT RACIST”.
We had hoped this was a lampooning of the police and the shrill and censorious anti-racsim outfit Kick It Out whose leader had called for Wembley to be “swamped” with moralising police officers, as if merely being a football fan made you a suspected Nazi (or vice versa).
But it was not. It really was the chance to be an un-racist, to publicly showcase that you were one of the enlightened, like David Cameron, every national newspaper editor, the Royal Family, the Metropolitan Police Force and pretty much everywhere else where a dark face is not a stain on the cue balls but a sign of the white leader’s moral goodness.
Said Paddy Power:
Chelsea fans were invited to ‘prove they’re not prejudiced’ before today’s Capital One Cup final – by having their photo taken with a Sikh, a Muslim woman in a burka, a black man and a woman in a wheelchair. The diversity-laden Kodak moment was designed to give the majority of Chelsea fans the chance to show that they don’t have an irresistible urge to racially abuse a black man when they see one – and to encourage fellow fans to ‘prove they’re not prejudiced’.
Why not a Sikh man in a burqa, a black man in a skirt and Hassidic Jew hat, a Muslim woman dressed as a glamour model and a woman in full Nazi regalia sat in a wheelchair? Come on. If you’re going to counter stereotypes, think a little.
Having branded all Chelsea fans as racists – and it is tempting for all football fans to now sing that song heard on the Paris Metro and wave a verbal two-fingers at the anti-football bigots ( ‘We‘re racist, we‘re racist, and that’s the way we like it, we like it, we like it‘) – we cast a glance at Paddy Power’s ‘bloggers’.
The writer in the bottom right corner could be black, as could the two albinos. Two out of the 24 appear to be women. But it doesn’t look all that diverse, even if you count the man with the ‘revese burqa’ across his eyes.
A look at Paddy Power’s board of directors reveals one woman from 11 members. No brown faces. No Asian, Muslim or Jewish names. But one is French.
And, unforgivably, none of this all-white board is hugging a black man.