Category Archives: howling at the moon

“There are no tears, just pity and fear”

What the hell, South Africa?

Seriously, can somebody please give me a positive association for this country?  If it’s not car-jackings in Jo’burg, it’s growing up amidst the global embargoes in place because of apartheid.  Not to mention what the accent does to my brain – it really is like tinfoil on a filling sometimes.

Is patriarchal society really an excuse for 1 in 4 men committing rape?  We’re not talking about in the midst of civil war either (and I don’t think rape as a weapon is ever, ever excusable. But hey, it’s cheaper than bullets, right?)

It’s rare in this over-exposed, media-junkie life of mine that a news item can make me feel sick to the stomach.  This managed it from the headline and it only got worse.  I struggle with the blanket ideologies of feminism, but one thing I really feel we still have to fight for is better and more effective prosecution of rape.

I’m lucky to have the life that I do, working in a ‘man’s job’ with nary a comment being passed.  I honestly thought equality was within our grasp and in so many ways it could be.

As long as men can inflict this on women, we’ll never be equal.  That’s as wrong as it is terrifying, and I never thought I’d be in a place to admit that.

“I don’t go to therapy to find out if I’m a freak”

It’s astounding to me that this can still be the case, but there are therapists out there in Blighty still attempting to “de-gay” people.  Even the expression ‘treatment for homosexuality’, as this article phrases it, fills me with a kind of cold dread.

Saddest of all is that people even in our ‘enlightened’ age can be made to feel that being homosexual is an illness, that it’s something so wrong or shameful that they simply have to have it exorcised, like some form of perverted demon.  While I have had the occasional bout of questioning, of musing over how much easier my life would be if I just stuck to dating men, ultimately it comes down to biology.

When I see an attractive woman, the relevant departments wake up and make their individual contributions to a physical ‘zing’, and all the well-intend chatting in the world won’t stop that from happening.  Similarly, although there are a great many men I find to be handsome and witty and brilliant, I don’t get that ‘raaaaaaaawr I’m gonna jump him’ feeling at all.  (Fernando Torres being the exception, but as I keep reminding everyone – he looks like a girl!).

Ultimately, if people seek ‘treatment’ for whatever reason, therapists can’t simply ignore them or pretend it isn’t an issue.  I really can’t see an alternative course to helping those affected to rationalise and accept their homosexual feelings, any attempts at a ‘cure’ just simply don’t work.  Offering the impossible would be unethical at best.

In further sex-sex-sex news, the Committee of Advertising Practice (judging by some of the adverts lately, there’s an R missing from that acronym) is considering a relaxation of the rules on advertisements for abortion services and condom/STD ads before the watershed.  To which I say, about bloody time.

In the many snippets on rolling news channels that I was half-paying attention to, a seemingly educated gentleman made the point that these are all perfectly legal services, and why therefore should they be subject to restrictions?  I couldn’t agree more, because this country needs more sex education and not less.  The problem is, with everything from Hollyoaks to the Pussycat Dolls (oh, get your own ‘yoof’ terms, I’m on the march to 30 dontchaknow?) that teenagers (and younger) are being presented with the fantasy of sex.  What they need is a large dose of reality – including consequences like STDs and pregnancy.

Speaking of which, here’s an absolutely terrifying report about the irresponsibility of 16-24 year olds: 68 freaking percent admitted they don’t use condoms.  What the hell?  Are you really saying that in a huge metropolitan place like London, with all the access to the internet and everything else that so many people can think that sort of behaviour is safe?  The comments of sheer ignorance regarding HIV made my jaw drop when I first read it on the Tube tonight.  Not getting AIDS because you’re “not gay” or too young, or the disease isn’t as fatal and life-wrecking as it used to be?  While I accept that advances in HIV drug therapies have made it livable, this is not a lifestyle change you want to make voluntarily.  I feel like I’m in a flashback to the 80s (though of course I was only a nipper then) and any minute now there’ll be a press conference with Ronald Reagan not even saying the word.

Are we really back there?  The misinformation, playing Russian Roulette with every ejaculation?  I really don’t know what to say about this anymore, but if ever there was a sign that we need to ramp up the accurate information being given out to these morons, I think we just received it loud and clear.

“this may be God’s country, but this is my country too”

Now, I generally know better than to wade into the whole Northern Ireland thing.  Sure, I resent its impact on life in the West of Scotland where I grew up, but whichever side you take, you piss off 50% of the people  around you. 

That said, I view Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom because um, it is.  Whether it should be is a matter to be debated by more qualified people than little old me.  The fact remains that legally, it is part of our less-than-perfect Union.

Except in one particular regard that bothers me, that the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.  Whether this is a concession to abortion  in the Republic, or simply one more battle the British government of the time didn’t feel they could take on, I’m unsure.  What is shocking that for all the trouble this annexation has caused through the centuries, the residents don’t even get the full benefits and access to healthcare that citizens are entitled to.  Ridiculous.  Let’s hope Diane Abbott and co. can get this sorted once and for all in the autumn.

“bound to catch the heavens if they fall”

Shock, and indeed horror.   It seems that the Democratic primary system is once again throwing out a winner who can’t win the general election.   The election is close between these two, it’s not like Obama is the runaway winner, and yet Tomasky is still whining that we didn’t just pack up and go home after Iowa, basically.  I could like Obama, and any Democrat winning is the ideal outcome.  But in a year like this it should be impossible for the Republicans.  I honestly don’t think you can blame the protracted primary battle, if anything it’s increased Obama’s strength as a candidate.  All the same issues would have arisen, but at least Hillary pulled her punches on a lot of it, something the Republcians would feel no obligation to do.

While I’m here, referring to her campaign as ‘the Clintons’ is sexist.  I’m like, the definition of a non-feminist and I can call it as misogyny, so what does that tell you?  Oh, and Obama basically walks out of his church of twenty years, throwing every one connected with it under the proverbial bus.  So why is that just reported as fact and nobody is calling him on it?  Shouldn’t there be discussion over why he didn’t consider this at the start of the campaign?  Or why he’s changed position on this issue pretty much every time it’s been raised?  What is the influence of the church on his thinking and his policies, does it matter to him or not?  Not vital, but certainly important.  It’s just sort of sliding through as a non-event, but I’d like to see what would have happened if Hillary had the same problem with, I dunno, a rabid band of man-hating Methodists.

Ach, never mind.  At least she won Puerto Rico.  Vamos a hangear!!

“aw she’s madonna, all cloven hoof and flared nose”

A timely reminder of why I hate horse-racing. I’ve been surprisingly reticent when it comes to the topic of animal cruelty, and I can only suppose it’s because it’s one of the few issues that renders me emotionally incontinent. For years I’ve been dissolving into tears at RSPCA adverts, remaining unmoved by any other charity heartstring-tuggers. I give money to animal charities when I can but duck out on their literature because it breaks my heart to see or even think of an animal in pain.

I’ll confess that my aversion to racing is fairly recent – in my younger years we were shielded from the notion of horses being destroyed after races. My grandpa was an avid gambler, much like the others of his generation and geography whose lives revolved around drinking, smoking and punting a bit on the gee-gees. As kids we were largely reliant on him for excursions during my dad’s working hours, and for somewhere to go when we had frazzled every last parental nerve. Summer holidays especially were punctuated by daily trips to Ladrokes or Colvilles, whatever the nearest bookie was. My memories of my grandpa as an active man are limited and shadowy, but I only need to close my eyes and I can see the tobacco and drink stained carpets, the peeling leather stools and clouds of smoke so thick you needed a lighthouse to find your way back out. Hardly an environment for a growing child, but the rules were less stringently applied then, and while I occasionally picked a horse for it’s funny name, it’s not like they were letting me gamble.

Always women behind the counters, with scratchy spiral perms or blow-dried peaks of blonde sponsored by Bostik. Make-up applied by the trowel, floaty blouses that were neither modest nor flattering. Two types of clientele: the dapper retirees, always pressed and Brylcreemed with smoke-stained fingers and a faint smell of whisky (it’s not Scotch back there, remember?); and the ‘rougher’ element, the ones in tracky bottoms and trainers, gambling their giros away.

With these less than salubrious surroundings, you’d think I would have hated it from the start. But without the knowledge of the cruelty, it just looked like horses playing their own kind of sports day. We were nowhere near the ‘horsey’ type, hardly our socioeconomic bracket if you catch my drift. The closest I ever got was handing polo mints to the horses up on the big estate near my high school.

Then in my early teens I read Black Beauty and I realised that people are so very hateful when it comes to animals. Having pets in the house we were taught never to hurt or tease them, and it sickens me to think that there’s a sport which basically involves pushing an animal to its limits in order to win money for the humans who bought it. I don’t see any particular skill in being a jockey, other than being able to force a creature past its limits most effectively, and that’s not something I would brag about. I can’t bear to seem them liberally applying the whip, horses straining to get this whole unpleasant experience over with. When horses break their legs they can’t be put on bed rest with a nice signed cast until it’s all better, they have to be put down.

So that’s why I don’t have a flutter on the Grand National, nor do I ever consider buying a stupid hat for Royal Ascot. It’s cruel and unnecessary, so if you want your kicks go to a football match and bay at highly paid volunteers until they fall over and hurt themselves, yeah? It might stop Ronaldo and Drogba diving if they knew vets were on hand to euthanise them.

“I’d be surpisingly good for you”

The bezzer kindly pointed out this article this morning, and I do love me a bit of Charlie Brooker, it has to be said. Funny though he is, like so many Guardian-and-other-lefty journalists, he’s missing the point. Boris has thus far run an exemplary campaign, and yes, probably because the Tory political machine has him carefully controlled. Doesn’t that just prove that it can be done though? That his affability can be combined with some political clout? Does the mayor, or any elected head of a body really decide everything alone? Of course not, there are teams of advisers, and the man at the top is simply the one who chooses between the options presented. ‘Twas ever thus.

Another thing that galls me, and Brooker puts it in a slightly dormouse-unfriendly way, is this anyone-but-Tories reaction. Oh, I know, it exists everywhere – die-hards on both sides, in every electoral system who wouldn’t vote for their own spouse/child if they were running under the opposing party’s banner; even if their own party was running a stick of celery as some form of protest. Blithely dismissing proven accusations of corruption, nepotism and whatever else, because all that matters is that Labour retains a seat. Doesn’t matter that Ken may have failed in certain areas, because we absolutely know for sure that a Tory would fail more. It’s lazy, is what it is. They’ve all set out their policies in bullet points, why not look at that and compare? Oh, because if you did that you might have to concede that the Boris campaign has some ideas, that they might save some money, or perhaps even make the Mayor’s office accountable to the people paying for it? Terrible behaviour, really.

“you’re a big, fat, bigoted arsehole”

There’s a post in the works with my thoughts on the upcoming London mayoral election (at times a welcome respite from the Clinton/Obama marathon, with the added bonus of watching Ken squirm). This article (originally linked to by the wonderful Seaneen, whose frankly excellent blog you can find here) is too frightening to wait. Bagsnatching is worse than rape, eh? Silly little me for not realising. Never mind the legal definition, it’s only rape if he smacks you about a bit as well? I know the BNP is a jerkoff reactionary asylum for the politically incontinent, but Jesus H, can’t they just stick to racism? At least you know what to expect and how to dismiss them, but this has shocked me beyond all reason.