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Reviews | Anorak - Part 5

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We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.

Czech zoo chops off rhinos’ horns to deter poachers

Geography is not the Independent’s strongest suit. It tells readers today about a zoo in the Czech Republic, a country I know well. The paper says a “Prague Zoo” has been lopping off rhinos’ horns to deter poachers. The thieves sell the keratin horns to buyers in the Far East, where they are prized for

Earlier this month, poachers shot dead Vince, a 4-year-old male white rhino at France’s Thoiry Zoological Park, and removed his horn with a chainsaw.

“It’s an incredibly shocking and distressing occurrence,” said Crawford Allan, of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “It’s also a game-changer for zoos. They’ve woken up today and realized their world has changed if they have live rhinos in their collection.” The Zoo called was understandably shocked. “Vince was found this morning by [his] caretaker, who is very attached to the animals she cares for, and is deeply affected,” the zoo stared on Facebook. “This odious act was perpetrated despite the presence of five members of the zoological staff living on the spot and surveillance cameras.”

 

 

prague zoo rhino horn

 

So valued is rhino horn that people are willing to take great risk to get it. But back to the Indy, which is confusing readers and poachers by turning the Prague zoo into a moving target. It then rehashes an AP newswire report:

Prague zoo cuts off rhinos’ horns to stop poachers… Přemysl Rabas, the director of the Dvur Kralove zooaround 70 miles north-east of the country’s capital, Prague, said it was a tough decision, but their priority was the safety of the four southern white rhinos and 17 black ones – the largest group of its kind in Europe.

It’s actually just over 80 miles from Prague. There is a zoo in Prague. But there are no rhinos there.

 

Posted: 23rd, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Fake News: Channel 4 names wrong man as Westminster Bridge terror attacker

No sooner had a lunatic murdered a policeman and two others in Westminster, London, before being shot dead by police, than the mainstream media raced to see which of them could be first to name the alleged killer.

Channel 4 news was fast from the traps. Abu Izzadeen, also known as Trevor Brooks, was allegedly named as the person responsible by Channel 4. But his lawyer says he is in prison. There’s no way it was him. Whoops!

No sooner had one news source delivered the ‘facts’ than others rehashed Channel 4’s report and without bothering to check its veracity beamed it to their audiences. The media went full Trump!

The Indy dived in, allegedly mistakenly naming the alleged killer:

 

westminster wrong killer bridge terro

Unilad spread the wrong news:

 

westminster bridge attack

 

Lots more publishers joined in.

MaCleans in Canada even added a bit about the police “confirming” the alleged killer’s alleged identity. We’ve not seen police do anything of the sort.

 

trevor brooks wrong westminster

trevor brooks wrong westminster

 

On Twitter, voices called for circumspection, respect for the victims and to wait for the police to tell us more.

 

westminster bridge attack

 

And then Channel 4 began to sweat:

 

westminster wrong killer bridge terro

 

 

No need for facts. No need for fact-checking. Has Channel 4 been hacked by the Russians? Is Sean Spicer, the White House  spokesman, moonlighting as editor? Is Channel 4 discredited, indecent and dire?

Maybe.

 

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Europe’s robot sex brothel provides stiff competition for sex workers

The robots are coming! Well, not yet. But one day they will. The Daily Express says flesh and bone prostitutes have forced a mechanical sex parlour in Barcelona to shut. What the paper calls “Europe’s first sex robot brothel” is no longer open for business because women complained that the plug and play sex dolls were ruining their livelihoods.

We hear from Janet, a sex worker in city’s Raval district. “It is another strategy of the patriarchy that presents us as objects without rights or soul,” says Janet. “A privilege of the wealthy classes.”

 

lumidoll sex brothel

Live cam

 

For those of you uncertain if you were shagging an on-the-clock polymer sex doll or an on-the-clock woman, the Express tells its readers who have been on Stag dos, rugby club dinners and business trips to the Spanish city that the the house of ill repute was at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel “in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral”.

“The rooms are decorated with candles,” the paper noted in a previous story, “a single glass of cava and a bowl of strawberries, with pipped music that is similar to Michael Bolton. The TV also plays pornography.”

Yeah, that one. The one that shows Keeping up with the Kardashians on loop.

Posted: 22nd, March 2017 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Irony Overload: Labour MP Yvette Cooper wants to save us from online anti-Semites and other virtual haters

Yvette Cooper wants to set you free from fake news, horrible words and unpleasant images online. The UK Home Affairs Select Committee, which Cooper chairs, challenged directors of big social media companies – Facebook’s Simon Milner, Google’s Peter Barron and Twitter’s Nick Pickles – to explain why their businesses engage in “commercial prostitution” by allowing ad placements alongside nasty videos made by, amongst others, neo-Nazis and white supremacist David Duke, whose video Jews admit organising white genocide Labour MP Cooper called antisemitic and shocking. “I think most people would be appalled by that video and think that it goes against all standards of common decency in the United Kingdom,” said Cooper.

The charge is that in equipping nasty videos with ads, the likes of YouTube (owned by Google) is funding hate because the publisher takes a slice of the ad revenue. But if hate’s not a crime, the problem is one of taste not law?

Overlooking the sensational news that a Labour MP is now an expert in spotting anti-semitism, and just marvel at an MP of any hue deciding and defining the limits of good taste.

Google’s Matt Brittin told the committee, “I want to start by saying sorry” for allowing tax-payer funded Government adverts to feature alongside extremist material on YouTube. Cooper seized on it. “They are right to apologise for failing to stop extremists making profits from hatred, and for making profits themselves from advertising on these videos,” she said. “They need to say whether they will be paying back any of that advertising revenue. And to answer our questions on what more they are doing to root out extremism or illegal activity on YouTube. Because they are still failing to do enough to remove illegal or hate filled content from YouTube.”

And there it was again, that casual merging of what is illegal and what is legal and nasty. Not all unpleasant things are criminal, nor should they be made so.

Bannon helped Cooper out. “There is no clear definition of hate speech in British law,” he explained at length. “We have our own guidelines around hate speech. The guideline that we follow, which is very close to the law, is that a general expression against a country, for example, wouldn’t qualify as hate speech, but if you are promoting or advocating violence against a particular group based on their race or ethnicity, that would constitute hate speech. … I am not going to defend the content of the video; I found it abhorrent and offensive. However, the important question, which relates to wider issues of freedom of expression, is whether that content is illegal and whether it breaks our guidelines. Our policy and legal experts arrived at the conclusion that it didn’t. I think everyone in this room would agree that it was deeply distasteful.”

Cooper replied: “How on earth is the phrase, ‘Jews admit organising white genocide’, as well as being clearly false, not a statement that is a malicious or hateful comment about a group of people solely based on race, religion or the other protected characteristics that your own guidelines and community standards say are unacceptable?’

Guidelines are not laws, Yvette. Google is free to set its own rules. As is the Commons. So when Labour MP Tam Dalyell, aka Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (9 August 1932 – 26 January 2017), warned in dead-tree magazine Vanity Fair of a “cabal of Jewish advisers” unduly influencing Tony Blair, he wasn’t censored and banned. When Tam told the Zayed Centre, an organisation “established in fulfilment of the vision of his highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan” – that “there were 400,000 Jews in Britain who enjoyed a very strong and stunning influence” he was not sacked.

The then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose Jewish ancestry (one grandparent too many, apparently) caused Dalyell to sense something sinister in his blood, offered the grown up response: “These remarks are too unworthy to be worth a comment.”

When old-Etonian Dalyell died, tributes were fulsome. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “The Labour movement has lost a giant… As Father of the House his wisdom was passed on to countless MPs.” Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Jew-sniffer had been a “good friend and comrade”. Other “friends” of Corbyn work at Hamas, whose mantra is the annihilation of Jews. As one Guardian writer notes, “Corbyn has associated with the worst type of antisemites: Holocaust deniers, men who think Jews made bread from Christian blood or were behind the 9/11 atrocities. No blood libel was too bloody for them. He keeps saying he’s not a racist, but he’s happy to keep racist company.”

James Bloodworth wondered: “Why is no one asking about Jeremy Corbyn’s worrying connections?” Having stated his belief that Corbyn is no anti-Semite, Bloodworth looked at context:

Corbyn wrote a letter defending Stephen Sizer, the vicar disciplined by the Church of England for linking to an article on social media entitled 9/11: Israel Did It. [He] Presented a call-in programme on Press TV, a propaganda channel of the Iranian government which was banned by Ofcom and which regularly hosts Holocaust deniers.

Is Corbyn advertising these people by being among them? Should he be blocked from doing so, lest his meeting with bigots be seen as an endorsement in the same way anyone watching an advert for Marks and Spencer’s on a jihadi recruitment drive fall into thinking M&S is enlarging its underwear range and selling thermal suicide vests in all sizes? Should Labour Party members get their money back when the context gets nasty?

Or are well robust grown ups, who enjoy freedom of expression and the right to offend, who baulk at the idea of State censors demanding we adhere to their interpretation of “common decency”, those prudes who trammel free speech and treat people as a problem to police and patrol?

Let’s trust that we are.

Posted: 21st, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Anti-Trump swastika billboard in Phoenix road is more stupid that anything you’ll see in the White House

Phoenix billboard Nazis Trump

 

Let’s be clear: whoever erected the billboard calling Donald Trump a Nazi understands neither democracy nor history. The billboard on the 1000 block of Phoenix’s Grand Avenue is, according to reports, the work of Karen Fiorito. For those of you not au fait with the name ‘Karen’, Fox News tells us she’s a “female artist”. She is not a male artist, nor is she a coffee table.

“I got the opportunity to have a platform to say something, and I took that opportunity, and I take full responsibility for it,” Fiorito says. Shame that what she says is so crass and lazy.

Her portrait of Donald Trump sat before the nuclear mushroom clouds is the stuff of teenage angst. But the real misstep is the dollar signs that bear some resemblance to swastikas on each side of the orange lunk’s head. Irony of ironies, the other side of the same billboard carries the message “unity”, something history tells us Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were very much in favour of.

Her drawing is all about division. It’s childish, self-satisfied and regressive. It’s entirely in keeping with the shrill reaction to Trump’s presidency. It screams that the people – millions and millions of people – who voted for Trump, rejecting Hillary Clinton’s paternalism and the technocratic oligarchs who see democracy as something to be kept from the ‘low-information’ poor, are fascists akin to the Black Shirts. Taking the greatest evil and slapping it on a poster to attack someone who is not this age’s Hitler – really, he isn’t; read some books other than the one that reinforces your prejudices – demeans the Holocaust’s victims, negates actual Nazism and monsters the tens of millions of Americans who exercised their right to vote.

Using Nazi death camps to buttress your anti-human argument that the electorate voted for Trump because they were duped by Russian newbots and he spoke to their slack-jawed inherent racism co-opts the murdered millions into your monocular world view. It’s a hideous abuse.

In a game of Spot the Bigot, I’d point to the one screaming ‘Hitler!’ at everyone whose view they don’t agree with.

This lazy reductivism abates any need for reflection and the need to work out how progressive Left-wing politics mutated into a cloying, narcissistic hissy fit of entitlement, and why it is that the working classes seized their chance to storm the citadel and hope for a rosy-fingered dawn.

Posted: 19th, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trump apologists apologise for saying British spied on him for Obama

The good thing about post-truth is that you can never be right or wrong. You just get to accept dodgy dossier pushing Tony Blair’s invitation to ‘join the debate’. The truth is out there. But getting to the truth, reaching that actual kernel of fact, involves hitting a moving target, like being a Michael Jackson impersonator or getting through to Apple customer support. And so having heard Donald Trump tell the world that Barack Obama ‘wire-tapped’ his Trump Tower pad and White House spokesman Sean Spicer say the British spooks did it, we now get the other truth: it never happened. Maybe.

The BBC reports that Spicer will not repeat claims GCHQ spied on Trump. CNN adds that the White House ‘apologized to the British government’ over its latest fiasco.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with Q, telling him / her/ it that  Spicer’s comment was “unintentional”. He did not say it. It just was said.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 17th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Wretch ‘wraps’ with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Typo of the Day arrives via the Daily Mail, wherein the paper has constructed a story from Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Instagram account. The talented but often-injured player nicknamed ‘The Ox’, presumably on account of it being a reduction in his name and not because he runs like a castrated bullock, has been passing the time with ‘wrapper Wretch 32’ as he recuperates from his umpteenth injury.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal Daily Mail

 

Yes. Wretch is a Wrapper. Christmas is his busiest period and in the run-up to Mothering Sunday he’s not too busy to talk about music with the Arsenal player.

The best bit about the Mail’s error is that it’ repeated over and over.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal Daily Mail

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal Daily Mail

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester City ball: do we have any advance on 19 players getting sacked?

When Manchester City narrowly lost to Monaco in the Champions’ League, the media began to wonder which players would be looking for new jobs. Football is a brutal, nasty, venal business. Players kick a ball to the best of the abilities over a short career. The day after a match the hacks give them marks out of ’10’ and tell the failures they’d best start looking for new clubs.

In the excitement of guessing which working men will be shunted out the door, the press roll the dice. How many players are leaving Man City?

13: ‘Manchester City to axe THIRTEEN players in summer as Pep Guardiola plots squad overhaul’ (Daily Mirror).

15: ‘Skipper Vincent Kompany is set to head a potential 15-player Etihad exodus as boss Guardiola recognises his squad is not fit for purpose’  (The Sun) 

17: ‘Pep Guardiola set to axe Manchester City flops with 17 players fearing for their futures ahead of clear-out’ (Daily Mail).

18: ‘Pep Guardiola set for Manchester City clearout with 18 players at risk’ (The Guardian).

19: ‘There are doubts over the futures of as many as 19 of his [Guardiola’s] existing squad

Any advance on 19?

Posted: 17th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


George Osborne takes second job as editor of free newspaper

Never let it be said that Tory MP George Osborne is not a man of the people. The former Chancellor has taken a second job as the editor of the London Evening Standard freesheet. You do what you can to make ends meet in the expensive capital city. And where better to learn the true meaning of austerity than in a newspaper office?

Anyhow, it’s big news for the man once rejected by the Times’s graduate recruitment scheme.

 

george osborne standard sex drugs

 

Osborne will keep his job as Conservative MP for Tatton while he oversees the newspaper, working out how many times the owner’s son, Evgeny Lebedev, can appear in it before readers notice and care.

Anyhow, it’s a big job editing a newspaper, whereas being an MP is obviously a doddle.

Posted: 17th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sean Spicer’s tie is infiltrated by foreign powers

When Donald Trump’s spokesman and part-time East Bunny Sean Spicer claimed former President Barack Obama asked GCHQ to spy on Donald Trump at Trump Tower, the British spooks replied:  “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

Of course, spying on people is what spies do, and if they are not doing it, what is the point of them? They can’t all be moonlighting as tabloid journalists?

Senate Intelligence Committee members Richard Burr, of North Carolina, and Mark Warner, of Virginia, say they’ve seen no evidence that The British spied on Trump for Obama. “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” they said in a joint statement.

But Spicer knows better. He;s been watching the telly. He told the press:

“Last, on Fox News on March 14th, Judge Andrew Napolitano made the following statement: ‘Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice. He used GCHQ, what is that? It’s the initials for the British Intelligence Spying Agency. So simply, by having two people saying to them, “The President needs transcripts of conversations involved in candidate Trump’s conversations involving President-elect Trump,” he was able to get it and there’s no American fingerprints on this.'”

Trump, of course has accused Obama of espionage on a tweet. This week he told Fox News that he would be vindicated by new information “very soon”.

Time adds: “The White House has argued that Trump’s use of quotation marks around the phrase wires tapped implied he meant all manners of surveillance against him, but hasn’t offered any official proof of the claim, beyond reports in the press.”

Meanwhile, the internet notices Spier’s green tie. And gets to work:

 

spicer trump wiretap tie

 

Buzzfeed’s Jesse McLaren has more:

Posted: 17th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


McDonald’s twitter account to Donald Trump: ‘You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President’

Looks like McDonald’s might be more wholesome that otherwise thought. At 9:15 a.m today the McDonald’s official twitter account pinged a tweet to President Donald Trump: “You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands.”

 

twitter trumps tiny hands mcdonald's

 

 

Was someone clowning around with the McDonald’s account? The restaurant chain has deleted the tweet. It then tweeted (officially):

Twitter notified us that our account was compromised. We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this.

Round up the usual suspects:

 

 

Spotter: Gizmodo

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gay marriage outrage causes Cooper’s to cancel Bible Society deal

To Australia, where Coopers Beer is in trouble because the brand featured in a Bible Society video debate about gay marriage. The video features Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie (against) and Tim Wilson (for) supping Coopers Light ale as they talk about the rights and wrongs of gay marriage, which is not enshrined in Australian law. The film’s motto is ‘Keeping it light’.

Coopers say they didn’t pay for the beer to be drunk in the video. But they issued ‘commemorative cans as a celebration of the Bible Society’s 200 years of charitable work in Australia’, they said in a statement.

 

Coopers gay marriage bible

Bottled off

 

The reaction was monocular and predictable. You can see the video of people breaking Coopers beer bottles in the streets, flushing it down the loo and proclaiming that it will never again be served at a number of venues in Australia and New Zealand.

The reaction to a debate has been prejudicial, intolerant and regressive. And the worst part is that Cooper’s has panicked. With sales at stake, and with that people’s jobs, too, Cooper’s director of corporate affairs Melanie Cooper tells media: “Offence has been taken by our recent involvement, for which we are deeply sorry. We have listened to a range of community views, we acknowledge this feedback and respect everyone’s individual opinions and beliefs. We have consequently cancelled the release of our Bible Society commemorative cans and will be taking steps to show further support for our community, including joining Australian Marriage Equality.”

And that’s how you smash debate.

On one thing The Bible Society was right. It said the Keeping it Light campaign was intended to build a “national conversation”, to enlarge a debate which had  become “fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion”.

So much for freedom.

 

Posted: 16th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The F-rating doesn’t give an F-word about movies

The movement towards creating explicit codes of behaviour for every aspect of life – especially the messy bits about sex –  welcomes the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which is now using the ‘F-rating’ to signal films of a feminist type. This is “so [viewers can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera.” It is “applied to all films which are directed by women and/or written by women and/or have significant women on screen.”

That part about ‘significant women’ opens up a few issues, not least of all when it comes to grot movies, especially the girl-on-girl sort. The F-rating might not be the best guide to family entertainment or indeed anything approaching entertainment of any strain. But, then, the F-rating is not about films; it’s about educating the masses and turning people – wonderfully complex humans – into quotas. The official F-rated website explains the vision:

‘The stories we see on screen need to be told by a broad spectrum of people to represent our diverse culture. Without change, we will train the next generation to only recognise white males as the protagonists and the ones in control of the cameras, scripts and budgets. As well as equality on screen and behind the camera, more female film critics from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities need to be welcomed into the industry so that opinion and feedback is balanced.’

It’s certainly not about viewers, many of whom are women. It’s about gender. The thinking is that female film fans go to the cinema not to seek escapism but to reaffirm their identity. You’re not watching them; you’re looking at yourself. But you’ve already got free use of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to gawp at idealised filmic versions of yourself, so why spend good money on watching a narcissistic film?

Note 1: If equality is the mantra, then the IMDb could look at itself. According to Wikipedia, the IMDb ‘originated with a Usenet posting by British film fan and computer programmer Col Needham entitled “Those Eyes”, about actresses with beautiful eyes.’ Col is a white male – and since he flogged the site to Amazon, a very rich one.

Note 2: Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, a rich white male. Amazon Inc. has 7 ‘Officers’. All are white. One is a woman. Amazon has 11 directors – 9 of whom are male. Should businesses get an F-rating, too – and if so would the IMDb warrant one?

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Film, Money, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Powerwashing with Tourettes Syndrome

Powerwashing with Tourettes features Lewis Qball Nickell washing his garden patio. “Decided to do a video on just what Tourette’s syndrome really is,” says Lewis. “Let’s continue spreading awareness together! Oh and it was so much effort being serious this entire video.”

 

 

In another video, Lewis plays golf:

 

 

Follow Lewis on twitter.

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


‘Beware of Jews’ sign erected in London

To Stamford Hill, North London, where someone has stuck a ‘Beware of Jews’ road sign-style warning on a lamppost. This Jew is in a triangle, which signals danger ahead. If the Jew was in a circle it would be informative and more suited to a police diversity conference badge.

This sign isn’t the usual anti-Semite’s portrait of a Jew, such as you see at Egyptian airport bookshops, British University campuses, Nazi get-togethers and on the hustings with the liberal Left. This terrifying Jew who wants to suck your blood, steal your granny and not cross at the crossing is a ‘Stamford Hill Cowboy’, a traditionally-dressed Orthodox Jewish man.

Viewed in silhouette, this Jew looks a bit like silent film comedian Buster Keaton or George Galloway.

But it’s not funny. It’s nasty.

 

beware of the jew

 

Barry Bard, of Jewish neighbourhood watch Shomrim NE London, says whoever did it “has obviously gone to an effort to cause alarm and distress to local people”.

Shadow home secretary and MP for Hackney North Diane Abbott calls it it was “disgusting”. Labour’s MP for Tottenham David Lammy said it amounted to “despicable, nasty behaviour that has absolutely no place in our community”.

The number of anti-Semitic attacks is rising exponentially. Jews no longer feel as safe as they did.

Posted: 15th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Saudi Arabia’s new girls’ council doesn’t have any girls

saudi girls council men

 

Saudi Arabia’s inaugural girls’ council meeting in al-Qassim province was a hoot. As is the way whenever girls are invited to a cool new hang-out, lots of boys turn up in the hope of getting lucky. It gets a bit awkward when no girls arrive and the first Qassim Girls Council meeting attracts 13 men.

Of course, Saudi Arabia is not modelled on an Ibiza nightclub, but the penal system, wherein all women are treated as suspects and kept imprisoned lest they lead the lads astray. The men assure us that girls were at the meeting but in another room and accessible via video link. You can see the girls but not touch them. The Qassim Girls Council is more peep show than talking shop.

Saudi Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Saud heads the shindig. “In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men,” he says, “and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls.”

Hear that, ladies. You get to wash AND dry!

Spotter: The Real Stig

Posted: 14th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Woman accused of raping a man was born a man

Hear the one about the woman accused of raping a man – twice? The Indy delivers the facts in headline and teaser: ‘Woman appears in court charged with raping man twice – Newcastle woman will face four-day trial in December.’

Rape, as defined in English law, is:

Rape.

The elements of rape are:

(A) intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis;
(B) does not consent to the penetration, and
(A) does not reasonably believe that (B) consents
Penetration of the mouth is included.

The story of the woman accused of rape is, thus, an unusual one. The accused is named as Katie Brannen. Katie appeared at Newcastle Crown Court ‘accused of two offences of rape after allegedly attacking the man in January in South Shields’.

In all reports Katie is described as a woman, and self-identifies as such. The interesting part is that Katie has a penis. Katie is out on bail. Katie is banned from contacting the alleged victim and from all licensed premises.

Rachel Johnson tells Mail readers that Brannen was born male. Johnson says that this fact was ‘omitted in the moral panic around both privacy and misgendering, the progressive cause de nos jours. To call someone by the wrong title is considered verbal assault and even bigotry.’ This self-censorship has led to what Johnson calls a ‘fake fact – that women can and do rape men – rather than telling us the literal truth.’

It leads to all manner of questions. Is this a case of misattributed pronouns? Should we stick to gender-neutral language? Has liberation become censorship? How does this impact on the world beyond words – do we have gender-neutral prisons? To what extent can simple biological fact be altered? Is gender located not in culture, biology or society but in performance?

Transgender people should be free to identify however they choose but what about the rest of us? It’s confusing, no?

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tinder Select is quarantine for every syphilis-sacked SADO

Tinder select

The VIP entrance

 

Good news, shaggers. As you swipe left and right, chances are thinner than Donald Trump’s skin you’ll encounter a Hooray Henrietta, Premier League footballer, third-world despot or SADO (sons and daughters of…) because there’s a secret breeding stables called Tinder Select.

This is where the inbreds and syphilis sufferers in the celebrity Petri dish get quarantined, leaving functioning people for the rest of us to squire.

I’d imagine Tinder Select operates bit like the mobile toilets on a Hollywood film set or the broom cupboard in a London eatery, where dynasty-building nepotists and narcissists grab a life affirming knee-trembler.

You mustn’t feel jealous of the Tinder select crowd. They’ve been out in their place to spare the rest of us.

Spotter: Engadget

Posted: 9th, March 2017 | In: Reviews, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lincoln University’s student union awards itself a super-injunction against free speech

Is irony dead? Lincoln University’s Student Conservative Society has been banned from using official social media accounts because it posted Spiked’s news that the Student Union is “very intolerant” to free speech.

Upset at being branded intolerant and censorious, the student union banned the people who said they were. Talking about censorship has been censored. Lincoln University’s student union has awarded itself a super-injunction against free speech.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney calls the ban “intolerant, illiberal and totalitarian”.

Spiked notes:

According to a statement from the society, this was due to ‘an anonymous complaint over two tweets’. ‘The first, in relation to freedom of speech, linking an article from spiked, and the second was in relation to an SU questionnaire that had to be completed before voting in recent SU elections.’

After reading spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), the society decided to publicise the fact that Lincoln Students’ Union had received a Red ranking. Screenshots of the offending tweet, seen by spiked, show a picture of Lincoln’s ranking page, alongside emojis with their mouths zipped shut.

The SU’s action is so stupid, you wonder how its absolutists function in every day life? When confronted with such slack-jawed, mentally negligible dumb-arness the temptation must be to do things just because they upset these twerps. Too easy, of course. The challenge is to find the most ludicrous thing and run with that.

Suggestions to the usual address.

 

Posted: 8th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


TSA expects more sexual assault claims from its new pat-down search technique

To enter America, you might need to let America enter you. If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) thinks that you’re suspicious, you get the pat down. Your genitals are cupped, your anus is probed and your breasts undergo a vigorous investigation. And it’s getting more invasive. Now TSA offices have been advised to tell police to expect more accusations of sexual assault from holidaymakers and other travellers.

 

TSA

 

The TSA’s new standardised pat-down is more “comprehensive”, says  Bloomberg. Right now, the TSA tells uniformed frotters:

TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

The front hand will now be used more frequently.

“I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said Friday. The shift from the previous, risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply was phased in over the past two weeks after tests at smaller airports, he said.

The TSA screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches after they pass through an imaging scanner. People who decline to use this screening technology are automatically subject to physical searches.

While passengers may find the process more intrusive, the new screening procedure isn’t expected to increase overall airport security delays. However, “for the person who gets the pat down, it will slow them down,” Anderson said.

 

Especially if they have trouble walking afterwards.

Spotter: Consumerist

Posted: 8th, March 2017 | In: Reviews, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The intimacy issue: Millennials are having less sex than their grandparents did

It’s not surprising to read in the Archives of Sexual Behavior that American adults are having sex less than they were in the 1990s. What with ‘rape culture’, STDs, consent classes and contracts, moralising, the formalisation of choice and reduction of human autonomy, unwanted pregnancy, opportunity cost (women’s choices have increased over recent generations) and the proliferation of porn that fills the void created by the age’s fear of intimacy, it’s pretty remarkable anyone’s having sex at all.

Give it another twenty years and problematic, spontaneous sex will be gone, leaving human beings to replicate at the factory that seems to always give Hollywood A-listers his ‘n’ hers twins.

Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of the book Generation Me,  and co-authors Ryne Sherman at Florida Atlantic University and Brooke Wells at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, found that millennials had fewer sexual partners and less sex than their Generation X predecessors.

Sex is all around us. But it’s not about passion. Sex is an objectified conversation piece through which we get to know ourselves. Sex has been turned into a form of therapy. Show us your knickers, and the government and media’s invasive sexperts will analyse them with a forensic curiosity.

Yeah, spot the perverts.

Spotter: San Diego University

 

Posted: 8th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A heated debate on Emma Watson’s breasts

Cherry Wilson has a question for BBC viewers to chat about: ‘Is Emma Watson anti-feminist for exposing her breasts?’ Watson – young, attractive, feted, middle-class and rich – did not expose her breasts on Page 3 or in a Stag do film. She gave us a flash of bosom inside the reassuringly expensive Vanity Fair magazine. For milk-fed sops who’ve never escaped the nipple and those others who demand we #freethenipple (from what?), Emma’s are not on view. Her breasts are not served to us in the manner of Saint Agatha on the red carpet at a TV awards do. All we see is part of her bosom, no more than you’d see if Emma pulled on a bikini and asked us if we were ‘Beach Body Ready’.

 

emma watson tits

 

Cherry Wilson says Emma Watson’s breasts have ‘sparked a fierce debate on social media about what it means to be a feminist’. We thought feminism was about expanding freedom. It turns out its about scoring points on Twitter, pursing your lips, arguing for censorship and seeing deep-meaning in a nice gel’s cleavage.

LBC radio presenter Radio Julia Hartley-Brewer opined on Twitter: “She complains that women are sexualised and then sexualises herself in her own work. Hypocrisy.” Sexy? That’s a matter of interpretation. The pictures of Watson are pretty dull. Flick through any fashion mag – especially those really pricy ones – and you see more flesh than in a 1980s Argos catalogue.

Wilson considers the evidence and wonders, ‘So can you bare your breasts and still be a feminist?’ It’s a remarkably stupid question, not least of all because it’s laced with snobbery. Emma’s one of the BBC’s ‘us’ – a strong, knowing liberal who will get ’em out with a wry look and parodist’s nous. She not one of ‘them’ – the weak working-class woman who gets ’em out for cash in top shelf magazines and for a laugh at Aintree.

“Emma Watson has done more for women and for young girls than most of us put together,” says Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, ‘the UK’s largest membership charity for women’s rights’. How so? “She’s an empowered woman who is posing for a very tasteful image,” says Sam. “She’s not being exploited, she doing it in a controlling position. It’s a positive use of her body.”

Victoria Jenkinson, 20, a member of Girlguiding, adds: “A woman should be able to choose what she wants to do. This is what feminism is all about in 2017.” Putting a date on feminism implies it’s an evolving standard.

On the plus side, at least Emma breasts look homemade. When Elle magazine pumped out ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirts, it was soon revealed they were made by women working for 60p an hour in Mauritian sweatshops. If we’re seeking out trends, the important and voguish thing is not to be a feminist, but to look like you are. All the excellent campaigners who fought for female choice and equality are now on par with a cheap schmutter.

“Feminism is about giving women choice,” said Watson as the world appraised her artfully staged photos. “It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”

Yours, not much. But getting them out in magazines, plenty. As Ella Whelan notes, ‘The No More Page 3 campaign called for the banning of boobs from the pages of tabloid newspapers like the Sun, because, it claimed, pictures of topless women have no place in print media. However, the official campaign’s Facebook page celebrated Watson’s shoot, sharing an article that said ‘Emma Watson’s boobs prove we still need feminism’.

Blimey! If feminism is only of interest because Emma’s breasts are on display, how on earth did it become so important?

Posted: 7th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Uber driver are workers not employees and Travis Kalanick should drive

uber row

 

The video of Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver is all over the media. Kalanick is seen talking with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel. The conversation between the man Forbes estimates to hold a net worth of over £5.1billion and the mini-cab driver runs like this:

TK: Good to see you man, thank you.

FK: Good to see you too. I don’t know if you remember me but it’s fine.

TK: So we are reducing the number of black cars on the system over the next six months.

FK: Yeah it’s good.

TK: Yeah you probably saw it on the email.

FK: I saw the email, it starts in May. It’s all about the rating but you, you’re raising the standard and dropping the prices.

TK: We’re not dropping the price on black cars.

FK: Yeah but in general.

TK: We have to, we have competitors. Otherwise we’d go out of business. 

FK: But you have the business model in your hands, you could have the price as you want but you choose to buy everybody a ride.

TK: No, no, you’re misunderstanding. We started high end. We didn’t go low end because we wanted to, we went low end because we had to.

FK: Why? (Because of) Lyft?

TK: Yeah.

FK: That’s a piece of cake right there.

TK: No, it seems like a piece of cake because I’ve beaten them. But if I didn’t do the things I did, we would have been deep (inaudible).

FK: Why? We could go higher and more expensive.

TK: So here’s the thing. Luxe is in San Francisco so I have guys working on Luxe which will be 15 to 17 percent more expensive than black…

FK: But people aren’t trusting you anymore. Do you think people will buy cars anymore? We’ll buy them through Europe and invoice, nobody wants to buy a car. I lost $97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you. You keep changing every day.

TK: Hold on a second, what have I changed about black?

FK: You dropped the prices.

TK: On black?

FK: Yes.

TK: Bulls***. Bulls***.

FK: We started with $20. How much is the mile now, 2.75? 

TK: You know what, some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s***. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck.

FK: Good luck to you too but I know you’re not going to go far.

Kalanick comes across as a greedy and rude swine.

Newsweek says this is just the latest episode in a company mired by a ‘dysfunctional culture, bad press, a sketchy financial outlook [and] dissatisfied employees’.

Is there a certain delight in hoping the mighty will fall? ‘Every time we take an Uber we’re spreading its social poison,’ says Laurie Penny in the Guardian.

Keep in mind she’s talking about catching a taxi when she writes:

What we’re dealing with here is a new class of bastard: the bro gone pro, the freewheeling post-Randian slimeball whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model… This matters because Uber is more than just a tech firm. It is a social engineering outfit masquerading as a tech firm… Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

All that from hailing a car. And more!

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

First world problems never got so important.

Another Guardian writer is conflicted. Sonia Sodha writes: ‘My finger has hovered over the delete button on more than one occasion. So far, I haven’t pressed it.’

And you thought President Trump had issues with that other button.

And then he looks at the fact – and gets them wrong:

The extent to which drivers are satisfied in the here and now is irrelevant to whether they are employees or self-employed in the eyes of the law, and the rights to which that entitles them. In a scathing ruling last year, an employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are, in fact, employees, because Uber exerts a degree of control over them – including dictating the price they can charge consumers – that should not exist between a company and its self-employed contractors.

Wrong. They are classed as ‘workers‘. Workers enjoy some of the rights of employees but not all. They also get a degree of flexibility, which many Uber river prefer.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, March 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The European Union bans free speech for MEPs

News for those of you who think the vote for Brexit is not a glorious triumph for democracy – it was. The European Union will enforce a new rule that says any elected MEP giving full throat to ‘hate speech’ in the debating chamber will be fined up to €9,000. The live feed carrying their hateful words to the impressionable masses will be switched off.

Of course, hate speech is free speech. Shorn of the right to offend, debate dies. With contrary views censored, debate is moulded into suffocating propaganda. Censorship is more sinister than any MEP’s opinion, however daft, brave, rude, rebellious, uncertain, outrageous or risky.

But some people don’t get it that stymieing free speech is anti-human and reveals a deep mistrust of the electorate, people viewed as a race riot in waiting. UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett supports the rule. He tells the Associated Press: ‘What if this became not isolated incidents, but specific, where people could say, “Hey, this is a fantastic platform. It’s broad, it’s live-streamed. It can be recorded and repeated. Let’s use it for something more vociferous, more spectacular.”’

I’m more worried by what people are saying now rather than trying to regulate what others are thinking and might say. To paraphrase Corbett, ‘Let’s ban what we don’t agree with. Let’s make martyrs of dissenters. Let’s stop the tyranny of free speech. Let’s reveal our authoritarian, totalitarian-tendency, deep-seated fear of the demos by preventing them from seeing and hearing their elected representatives saying the wrong sort of things. Let’s kill off the disastrous democratic experiment by turning the chamber into a pious promulgator of moral righteousness. Let’s crush freedom.’

Posted: 3rd, March 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jimmy Savile’s sex-free sex den at High Royds Hospital

Fancy a peek inside ‘Jimmy Savile’s sex den’? This is where the ‘shamed star preyed on victims’. The Daily Star’s wrong, of course. Savile wasn’t shamed. Sir Jimmy was buried with full honours. The great and good lined up to praise the “colourful character”, the embodiment of “diligence and decency” who will be “greatly missed“. Savile was not shamed. He was dug up, possibly beaten with sticks and buried a good deal deeper down than the normal six feet, but the Papal knight died a State- approved hero.

Savile’s ‘sex den’ is the abandoned High Royds Hospital in Menston, West Yorkshire. Savile was a depraved, gibbering loon who hid in plain sight. He didn’t need a sex den. He had a caravan, a BBC studio pass and an NHS-issued gown.

Reading on we learn that the sex den featured no actual sex. The Star reports:

It was here sexual predator Savile targeted a number of women during the get-together in 1988. The party was to celebrate the centenary of the hospital, according to a 2014 report.

More of an office party than a sex den, then?

An investigation found that the monster had cupped women’s boobs and put his hand up one victim’s skirt during the event.

All nasty, pervy, leery, criminal and sad. But not what anyone would call a sex den, least of all the Star, whose Television X stablemate broadcasts hardcore pornography with such titles as Sexual Predator 1. 

As for Savile, well, the Star continues: ‘But the women didn’t make a formal complaint because sexual assault was considered an “occupational hazard”, the report said.’

Maybe that should be investigated – why nurses were seen as fair game?

Over in the Mirror, the sex den is gone. We are in the former hospital ‘where Jimmy Savile groped nurses and asked for a room in case he “pulled”‘. We see photographs by Kieran Young, 20, who posts as Exploring Lancashire.

“I had been here a few times previous but never found a way in,” he says. “I’ve always love the look of Victorian buildings so this really took my eye so I kept going back to get in. After five or six attempts I finally got in with a friend. My pictures encapsulate the past while also showing the morbid reality of the present.”

They’re good. We like looking over disused building, which given their massive size and emptiness often look haunting and sinister. Was Savile the worst thing to have occurred at West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, later Menston Mental Hospital and finally High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, where up to the 1960s inmates were buried in unmarked graves? Who listened to the poor and vulnerable back then? Who listens to them now?

A staff member is quoted talking about Savile in 2014: “He was just very free with his hands, so hands going round people, round their waist but then upwards, cupping under breasts, hands up the skirt. We just laughed it off, said ‘Dirty old man’ and didn’t go near him for the rest of the day. I can’t imagine that if we had said anything to anybody, or the police, that anybody would take it seriously, I don’t think, at that time. It was just an occupational hazard of being a woman.”

It sounds like Savile wasn’t the only man free with his hands. But he’s the focus of the Mail’s report, even if the paper does spell his name wrong.

 

jimmy savile nurse

 

The Mail issues an invitation: ‘Look inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a truly dark past: Jimmy Saville [sic] once prowled these corridors to launch sickening attacks on nurses.’

He more walked and jogged than prowled. That was the thing with Jimmy Savile – he was there for all to see, often dressed in a shining gold tracksuit and neon hair. He was hard to miss. But no-one was listening.

Posted: 26th, February 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0