Tuesday, April 28, 2015
UK: Hopkins Hate and the inhumanity of political correctness
The latest Twitterfury with Katie Hopkins exposes the ugliness of PC
What kind of twisted society would be made more irate by 400 words in a newspaper column than by the deaths of 400 human beings at sea? Our society. Britain in 2015.
When it was reported earlier this week that 400 migrants fleeing poverty and war died in the Mediterranean after their boat from Libya capsized, there was some shaking of heads, sure, and a few handwringing newspaper articles that were shared by a smattering of briefly mournful tweeters. But that was nothing compared with the response to Sun columnist Katie Hopkins’ article about the migrants, in which she said we should send gunships rather than rescue boats to deal with them: that caused the media and Twitter and sections of celebville to go into meltdown. It’s official: we’re now more offended by words than by death. Behold the otherworldliness, even inhumanity, of political correctness, which bristles more at the terms used to describe a horrific event than it does at the event itself.
Hopkins’ article was nasty, yes. Not only did she say she felt nothing for the sort of migrants who find themselves at the mercy of the seas between Africa and Europe — she also described them as ‘cockroaches’ and said they pose a threat to European cities, which are already ‘swamped’ by migrants. Horrible stuff. Nonetheless, a burning question must be asked of the Twitterstorm her piece provoked, in which everyone from Russell Brand to pretty much all Guardian hacks raged against her, accusing her of being a ‘Nazi’, setting up a petition demanding she be dumped by the Sun, and, in some cases, even shopping her to the police. And the question is this: Where was this searing anger, this keyboard-busting fury, when the 400 were reported dead? When, as a direct consequence of the policies of the EU, with its unhinged fear of African and Middle Eastern migrants, these people were actually perishing at sea? If you were made more furious by Hopkins’ article than you were by the deaths themselves, if you tweeted and wailed and petitioned against her but said maybe just an ‘Oh dear’ about the deaths, then it isn’t only Katie who’s fucked up.
What we can see here, clear as day, is the moral turpitude of PC, the warped nature of modern society’s obsession with speech at the expense of everything else, its myopic focus on the appearance of things rather than on things themselves. Ours is an era in which supposed progressives care far more about policing and correcting people’s speech than they do about transforming and improving the real, physical, social world. Left-leaning campaigners devote infinitely more time to keeping an eye on the words politicians and newspapers use to talk about immigrants — insisting that they must ‘change the language’ — than they do to agitating for the dismantling of strict immigration controls. Radical student activists are now wholly concerned with the terms used to describe oppressed people and have nada, zilch, zero to say about how still-existing oppression might be ended.
Ours is a world in which radicals in Australia recently went berserk over PM Tony Abbott’s use of the word ‘lifestyle choice’ to describe the situation of extremely rural Aboriginal communities, yet cannot propose any solution to the depravity of Aboriginal life, the fact that Aborigines are the only people in a Western country who live in Third World conditions. And a world in which, now, numerous people have become obsessed with fixing the problem of Katie Hopkins — via a sacking or censorship or maybe police involvement — yet cannot utter a word about fixing the institutions and policies that caused the deaths of those 400 people she said stupid things about.
What this reveals is that PC is not only censorious, clamouring endlessly for the punishment of those who used wicked or simply wrong terminology — it is also profoundly conservative. It seeks to maintain linguistic order, and in the process pacify public passions, rather than transform the political conditions that cause division, oppression or poverty in the first place. Many on the right foolishly think of PC as some kind of left-wing conspiracy, a case of ‘Cultural Marxists’ overturning institutions and imposing a new, revolutionary rhetoric and outlook. (Where the left is conspiratorially convinced that a ‘neoliberal cabal’ runs the world, the right prefers to fantasise about sects of ‘Cultural Marxists’ conquering our lives.)
But this is nonsense. PC is better understood as a kind of social scaffolding, the new form of unforgiving authority that replaced the collapse of traditional values and which now seeks to hold our fraying societies together. It does not seek to overturn the world; rather, it largely accommodates to the world as it exists, inventing new terms and phrases that excuse or, worse, celebrate the already existing divisions of life in the 21st century.
So rather than overturn racism, it rehabilitates it, through progressive-posing talk of the need for increased racial awareness and consciousness. Far from ending the divide between the sexes, it updates it, replacing the Victorian idea of female weakness with new-fangled notions of women’s fair, feminine qualities in contrast with men’s blinkered competitiveness and machismo. And far from challenging the many great problems that still face humanity — from economic sluggishness, to the profound development gap between North and South, to the mass movements of people that are provoked by such harsh realities — it concerns itself far more with how we talk about these things than it does with how we might tackle and end them. Economic slothfulness becomes ‘eco-friendliness’. Slow growth, or rather no growth, in the Third World is re-imagined as ‘sustainable development’. And the PC watch as the mass and great movements of humanity across the globe are stopped or crushed by government forces and they say: ‘Hey, hey! Whatever you do, don’t call those migrants a “flood” or a “swarm”.’ In short, use nice words as you enforce the global order against them. PC is both an apology for division and poverty, and a distraction from meaningful debate about real, proper change.
And now, the immorality of PC, the baseness of it, has led to the surreal situation where a columnist who said horrible things about migrants is grassed up to the police — the same police who play a key role in throwing out of Britain anyone deemed to be an illegal immigrant and in the process contribute to the criminalisation of migration. Worse, the right-on tweeters who fulminated most loudly against Hopkins come from those sections of public life that are most pro-EU, most enamoured with the very political structure whose policies of keeping out any immigrant with dark skin led to those deaths. They probably even mix in circles that include generous smatterings of EU officials and Brussels-based activists.
There you have it, PC summed up: observers rage against a columnist who called migrants from Africa ‘cockroaches’, and then probably logged off from Twitter to have dinner and drinks with the very people whose power, whose clout, whose laws reduce those migrants to the level of cockroaches in the actual world, the real world, the physical world of borders and seas.
Lauren Southern: Why I am not a feminist
Obsession with Poldark's chest is 'sexist and undermines the whole show', female co-star claims
Why did they hire such a jealous shrew?
As Captain Ross Poldark, his brooding good looks and rippling muscles have sent women around the country into a frenzy.
But Aidan Turner's Poldark co-star Heida Reed has claimed the obsession with his body is sexist, and is unintentionally undermining the BBC1 series.
Miss Reed, 27, who stars in the period drama as Poldark's former lover Elizabeth, said Turner, 31, was being 'objectified' in a way that would not be tolerated if he were female.
Claiming it is evidence of reverse sexism, Miss Reed said: 'I think there should be the same standard for both sexes when it comes to things like this.
'Of course it's nice for everyone involved that he's viewed as a sex symbol or very attractive man. But it's getting a little bit ridiculous. I think it just undermines the rest of the show.
'I don't think it should be any more allowed than if a woman was in the same situation. And if she was, the media would have a field day that she's being objectified.'
Reed said she knew 'for a fact that [Turner is] completely baffled by the amount of interest' in the popularity of images that show him scything in a field.
'The producers had no idea that was going to happen either,' she explained. 'They never said 'let's have his shirt taken off and everyone will go nuts'. It wasn't a strategy.'
The Icelandic actress's comments follow overwhelming interest in Turner's physique from Poldark's avid fans.
Hundreds of viewers have taken to Twitter to marvel at his strapping form, as scenes showed him swimming naked in the sea and scything a field topless.
One joked on Twitter: 'If Poldark gets any hotter we'll have to call the fire brigade.' Another told MailOnline: 'There isn't a single woman I know, who doesn't think he's absolutely gorgeous.'
And they even complained after last week's episode failed to feature Turner's bare chest. One posted: 'All bad news on the Poldark front tonight. @Aidan didn't get his shirt off once.'
However while fans' interest might be taken for flattery, Miss Reed said Turner, who is reportedly engaged to his girlfriend of four years, actress Sarah Greene, is 'completely baffled' by the level of attention, which has included online marriage proposals.
Miss Reed, who is currently starring in a play about revenge porn called Scarlet, in which she appears on stage in just her underwear was speaking to the Daily Telegraph.
Poldark, which is based on the books by Winston Graham, has followed Ross Poldark since he returned from the American War of Independence only to find that his father has died and his former fiancée, Elizabeth, has married another man.
He rescues Demelza, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, 22, from life as a street urchin and takes her in as his maid.
And their relationship develops from a working one to one of passion, climaxing with a steamy bedroom scene.
Female sex offenders
Report from an international conference held in Australia
WHEN Theresa Goddard touched down at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, she thought she was meeting the man of her dreams to start her “incest family”.
The 45-year-old whose online avatar is “pervstepmom”, had been chatting with a 51-year-old father-of-two online for months, sharing photographs, messages and plans to have a baby of their own.
Only after she quit her job at a lumber mill and flew south, she was arrested in an undercover sting led by US Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Kevin Laws, who had been working undercover to capture the woman in the unusual case. “I was the dad pimping out my children,” Mr Laws told news.com.au.
“She posted an ad looking for an incest family. I responded. She wanted to do a number of things. [For me] to get her pregnant. To adopt a child to keep in the basement.”
Ms Goddard is now serving 10 years in jail and Mr Laws used the example as part of his keynote address at a Gold Coast conference focussing on the underreported and often misunderstood realm of female sexual offending.
The Youth, Technology and Virtual Communities Conference is attended by more than 300 delegates from around the world and is focusing on female sexual offenders as its main theme.
“They’ve always been out there but this conference is centred around them. It’s good to get people to think outside the box,” Mr Laws said. “A lot of the females are worse than the males, as far as deviants go.”
The conference takes place over the next three days and aims to provide those in law enforcement and protective services with international expertise to tackle a difficult and evolving issue.
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, from Taskforce Argos, the Queenland Police unit responsible for hunting down sexual predators said feedback from previous years meant delegates wanted more information on what motivates female sexual offenders.
“We are certainly seeing an increase in our arrests for female sexual offenders,” he said.
“In 12 months we arrested 172 sex offenders - three have been female. The proportion is very different, we are interested in what drives this to happen.”
“Also the variance in sentencing we see …. What is the society view? What is the media view? What is the judiciary view? We’re black and white, but the sentencing regime tends to be very interesting.”
The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault estimates female offenders are responsible for just 5 per cent of all offences, but it’s a hugely undocumented area made difficult by the lack of research and victims’ reluctance to report crimes.
Studies show that female sex offenders are likely to be known to the victim and male coercion can be an important part of their offending. Detective Rouse said as in all cases, there is no typical profile of a sex offender.
“They come from all walks of life. There’s no way you can put them in a box and say that is the threat. There are always common denominators …[but] there is no single common denonimator.”
The role of technology is also a major component with speeches by representatives from Facebook and Google. Detective Rouse said the rise of online dating has provided would-be offenders with plenty of opportunity, however it’s also given greater scope to police to catch criminals.
“We’re quite patient. We spend several years on a lot of our operations. It comes with that element of risk.”
He said parents and children need to remember not to post photographs of themselves or accept friend requests from strangers.
“We really need mums and dads to educate themselves about the technology they’re providing their kids. You’ve got to remember it does more than ring — it’s a mobile computer now. Threatening that you’re going to take device away and block them from the internet, that’s not going to work, you’re much better off supporting them.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.