Thursday, April 25, 2013

An amusing feminist wail

Clemmie Ford again.  She admits that her appearance is not enticing but faults the world for that!   I guess it makes her anger understandable, though. Buddhist-style ideas of reality acceptance as a path to happiness are obviously alien to her.

Her narcissism is even more unrelenting than her poor grammar.  The poor grammar starts out in the first paragraph below with "between my two siblings and I".  Naughty Clemmie:  You can say "me", you know!  It's allowed.  Or is good grammar not feminist?  See what a condescending patriarchal male I am!

But the quite sad thing about Clemmie's rant is her obsession with herself.  A little rain (even a tropical downpour) falls into all our lives but Clemmie seems to think that the good Lord (or is it mother Earth?) sends his showers down onto the heads of women only.  I have experienced  what I see as injustices and bad treatment (as a conservative teaching in a university Sociology Dept., what would I expect?) but I don't blame it on my being a man!  I wonder why? 

When I was a lad in the bad old patriarchal days, I was told to chop wood for the copper (only old folks will know what that is.  It's not a policeman) but my sister wasn't.  Until I cut my toe with an axe that didn't bother me much so I see Clemmie's wail about doing the dishes as singularly one-eyed.  She got off lightly.

Clemmie is severely unbalanced.  But there is a good market for anger -- even a "mighty river" of it (That narcissism again) -- so she will get by   -- JR

My own feminist awakening came about gradually. As a teenager, I argued vehemently with my father over the distribution of chores between my two siblings and I. Every evening after dinner, I'd hear the same words: "Right, girls. Time to do the washing up." Meanwhile, my brother was given leave to head to his bedroom and indulge himself as he pleased. I found this monstrously unfair.

During the now nightly arguments, I proposed a solution that I felt would address the fundamental inequality of our family's domestic arrangement and put an end to the bitter animosity that was steadily growing between father and child. I was prepared – happily! – to do the dishes every night without complaint as long as my brother and sister alternated. It seemed an equitable solution, and I couldn't see how it was less preferable to yelling at each other for half an hour while our food was trying to digest.

But rather than take me up on it, my father would either storm out or push me aside to do the dishes himself, instilling in me the early lesson that the discord over discrimination will almost never be attributed to the inequality that exists therein, but to the ones who insist on making a problem out of it. He didn't seem to understand that my objection was never to the expectation that I contribute to the domestic workload, but that my brother be excused from it by virtue of having a penis.

On other nights, as my sister and I stood bent over the soapy sink, my mother would try to appease me by saying, "It's just that I know I can trust you girls to do a good job. If I left Toby to do it, I'd have to do them again." Because you make it easy for him to perform badly! I would scream inside my head, unmoved by the meaningless compliment of being handy with a dish-brush. Years before I could properly articulate it in my head, I was experiencing first hand one of the casually pervasive assumptions that continue to divide the sexes – men are good at running the world, women at running the house.

Lest I give the impression my childhood was a 1950s throwback, with girls in ankle-length skirts and mid-19th century chastity belts, let me confuse you further by telling you most of my rudimentary feminist education came from my father. To my sister and I, he emphasised the need to always maintain financial independence and to never rely upon a man for our livelihoods. He was a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, defending a woman's right to choose and letting us know that if we were ever "in trouble", we should never be afraid to tell him. He drummed into us early on that we were never to tolerate a man hitting us, and told my brother that he was never to hit a woman.

It was a confusing time. Because even though I believed in all the principles of feminism, I was so disconnected from the word itself that for many years I would deflect it as if it were an accusation I needed to apologise for. "Well, obviously I believe in equal rights ... but I wouldn't call myself a feminist." I was scared to wear the tag for the same reason many women are scared to call themselves feminists – I thought no one would want to have sex with me.

The thing is, no one wanted to have sex with me anyway, feminist or not. And it dawned on me one day that if I were so frightened of being confused for a man-hating, hairy-legged, ugly shrew just because I expressed the belief that women deserved equality and liberation, then perhaps the time for feminism hadn't passed after all.

I have been fortunate to have experienced the kind of life in which such an awakening occurred free of violence, trauma or pain. Instead, it was a trickle of indignation that gave rise to a mighty river. I grew weary of the routine way I was expected to contribute to my own diminishment, laughing at jokes that positioned women as a punchline in order to stroke the egos of boys whose limited experience of disapproval resulted in gendered name calling and the withdrawal of erectile approval.

The stories I hear from other women show that some of them have been luckier, raised from birth to believe in their fundamental right to exist equally. But many others have come to feminism through painful things that fill me with sadness, and remind me of a friend's words that "feminism is finding a way of being a girl that doesn't hurt".

I come across many women in my line of work who believe in the fundamentals of feminism but are still at the crossroad of uncertainty. All around them, they hear the message that equality has been reached – that anything we agitate for now is just the greed of professional feminists trying to get away with institutionalising misandry.

I can present you factual arguments to discount that, and demonstrate gendered inequality both here and internationally. I can cite statistics that will shock you with into incredulity. But the fact is, only you can answer the question of whether or not you believe yet.

Think of the sexist jokes passed off as humour, the rape apology sites on Facebook, the disparate numbers of men in positions of power. Think of your potential earning capacity, or the fact that only one in four girls in India won't live past puberty. Think of how victims of sexual violence are made complicit in their attacks, or the fact that girls are sold as property in parts of the world only to be discarded or killed when they no longer have any financial value. Have you found a way yet of being a girl that doesn't hurt? Have they?

I realise that for some of you the analogy might be a little too fantastical. But being awoken into a feminist reality isn't really so different because it takes one out of uncertainty and into strength. When Buffy Summers tells her Potentials of the plan to share her power, she leaves them with these words: "From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice.  "Are you ready to be strong?"


A British kangaroo court

The drift to an East German system continues

A woman was jailed ‘in secret’ for trying to remove her father from a care home where his family thought he was in danger of dying.

Wanda Maddocks, 50, is the first person known to be imprisoned by the Court of Protection, which settles the affairs of people too ill to make their own decisions.

A judge ruled that she should go to prison for five months for contempt of court even though she was not present or represented by a lawyer.

Details of the case were made public for the first time yesterday and provoked a fresh row over behind-closed-doors justice.

Miss Maddocks, who served six weeks of her sentence, was jailed because she ignored the court’s orders not to try to remove her father John from the home.

She was condemned for incidents including taking the 80-year-old dementia sufferer to a court hearing and to see a solicitor.

She was also censured for producing a leaflet to try to publicise details of the case and giving her father a wooden cross ‘to ward off evil’ in the care home.

Her family said Mr Maddocks, a retired painter and decorator from Stoke-on-Trent, had been held ‘like a prisoner’ on the orders of a local council.

Miss Maddocks was initially not allowed to be named after the hearing and was identified only by her initials WM.  And the court’s ruling containing details of her sentence was not published.

The Court of Protection is a branch of the High Court and its hearings are always conducted in private.

Judge Martin Cardinal merely went through the motions of observing open justice when he handed down his sentence.  He ordered the doors of his courtroom in Birmingham to be unlocked and told ushers to announce in the corridor that members of the public were free to come in.

But there was no wider announcement of the judgment and no-one who was not directly involved is thought to have attended.

The ban on naming Miss Maddocks was lifted because there was no reason for it to remain in place after her release.  Mr Maddocks has since died.

He separated from wife June more than 30 years ago. She remarried but now suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.

The extraordinary case began when the grandfather-of-one was found collapsed at his own home last year.

He was placed in a care home and the local authority applied  for a legal order which said he must stay there.  These are introduced when officials believe someone could be at risk of harm, and put the Official Solicitor in charge of their affairs.

After a few months Miss Maddocks’ brother Ivan took him out of the care home for lunch.  Miss Maddocks was alerted and flew her father to Turkey, where she owns a number of properties.

They stayed for 13 weeks before returning to Britain, and her father went to a different care home.

Mr Maddocks said: ‘Wanda was certain she could care for him herself but the social services said he had to be put in the home. Wanda was very angry that they were taking Dad away from us.’

Miss Maddocks was jailed on September 11 last year after the sentencing in her absence by the Court of Protection in Birmingham, and sent to Foston Hall prison in Derby

She was freed from Foston Hall prison in Derby on November 1 after returning to the court to purge her contempt by apologising to the judge.

Judge Cardinal said in his ruling that ‘there is a history of the family being difficult with the local authority’ and that Miss Maddocks knew she had been ordered not to interfere with her father.

He said she had done so on a number of occasions. On one she took him from his care home to attend a court hearing. On another she took him to Birmingham to talk to a solicitor. [How awful! I thought that was a basic right]

Miss Maddocks was said to have left a long and abusive message on a social worker’s voicemail describing ‘you in your tarty little stuck up voice’ and to have called council staff names including ‘arrogant little cunning b*******’.

In one message she said: ‘I hope you all end up where my Dad is and I hope you all end up cursed.’

But the whistleblowing MP who first learned of the case, Lib Dem John Hemming, said: ‘The jailing of people in secret for contempt is not supposed to happen.

‘No records have been collected. I believe the judges have broken the rules of their own courts, but nobody is doing anything about it.’

‘One of the charges against the woman was that she took her father from his care home to see a solicitor. We now live in a country where ordinary people get locked up for taking their father to see a lawyer. Even in Iran they do not jail people for taking legal advice.’


Bungalows! Incorrect in Britain but popular anyway

A bungalow is a single story detached house in its own yard.  Few of any other type of house are built in Australia these days but Brits are not often offered them

Bungalows have been the butt of derision for decades. But the irony is that the British, in their modest, understated way, would actually prefer to live in a bungalow more than any other type of building.

Survey after survey shows that the bungalow always comes out on top. `The Bungalow' even remains the third most popular name for our homes, after The Cottage and  Rose Cottage.

Older people are particularly keen on them - they are so much easier to clean, so much more convenient for security measures and, of course, easier to get around in, without all those stairs to negotiate.

And yet no one seems to be catering for the legions of bungalow lovers. In 2009, only 300 bungalows, out of 100,000 new properties, were built in the whole country and many more were demolished. Just 2 per cent of our national housing stock is taken up by bungalows - even though 30 per cent of the nation are longing to live in one.

Now Policy Exchange, a Right-of-centre think tank much favoured by the Prime Minister, is determined to remedy the situation. In a new report, it suggests that, with an ageing population and a third of us keen to move into bungalows, they could help solve the current housing crisis.

`Older people, currently living in large family homes, might want to downsize to a bungalow, which is smaller and easier to maintain, as well as being on one floor and offering outside space,' says the report's author Alex Morton.

`There are huge numbers of spare rooms in homes older people are currently living in. What are needed are the homes that older people like and so would like to move into. But planning policy prevents these homes from being built.'

The trouble is that the Coalition, which is of course desperate to expand the number of homes in our crowded little island, insists on new developments cramming in at least  30 houses per hectare.

Bungalows - spreading horizontally, eating up all that lovely space - don't fit the bill. As a result, half of all newly built homes are one-bedroom or two-bedroom flats.

If we did come to our senses and started building bungalows instead, we would be reviving a British craze that has been going strong, here and abroad, for more than three centuries.

Our taste for the bungalow began in the 17th century, when British expats in India, working for the East India Company, fell for the local one-storey thatched houses, built in the Bengali style - thus the name bungalow, derived from the Hindi word `bangla', meaning Bengali.

These banglas also had verandahs, itself another Hindi word, meaning balustrade or balcony.

The housing style caught on quickly in colonial India, as a 1676 entry in the diary of the splendidly named Streynsham Master, working in the India Office, reveals: `It was thought fitt to sett up Bungales or  Hovells for all such English in the Company's service.'

Still, it took several centuries for the style to be brought back to these shores by returning colonial servants.

Of course, there had been one-storey houses in Britain, ever since prehistoric man first threw a primitive roof over a few rough stone walls. But the crucial thing about the first British bungalows of the late 19th century was that they were a positive style choice from the beginning.

Bungalows may have often been mocked by supposed sophisticates like Prince Charles, who has called them `homogenised boxes'.

But the people who really matter - the people who live in them - have always loved them; in stark contrast to the high-density tower blocks that crazily misguided planners commissioned by the thousand from the Fifties onwards.

Bungalows satisfied the national desire for home ownership on a limited budget, provided a pleasant touch of exotic history and met our island taste for things with a seaside flavour: the first British bungalows were built at Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington, both on the Kent coast, in 1869.

They soon became a popular form of seaside architecture all around our coast; not least because they're less likely to block the sea view of the bungalow behind you.


Australia:  Woman driver wants to have her cake and eat it too

She wants to do a man's work but then complains because she is not up to it

COMCAR driver Lynette Prater says she is still suffering from a shoulder injury she suffered carrying eight heavy bags for Defence Minister Stephen Smith while the senior cabinet member sat and waited in the car.

The workers' compensation authority Comcare refused to pay out for the injuries Ms Prater says she sustained while lugging the heavy bags of the Labor minister 15 months ago.

Mr Smith's office says the minister has no memory of the event and that he or his staff would usually offer to help lift their bags and heavy document cases.

According to papers lodged in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the then 49-year-old COMCAR driver picked up the minister at Canberra's RAAF Fairbairn airfield late on the night of November 20, 2011, as Mr Smith disembarked from a VIP flight.

Ms Prater's official incident report recalls; "Mr Smith came out and had two small silver cases with him, I then went to pick up the cases, they were extremely heavy and I could only manage to take one up to the car, he said he had a few more cases.

"Mr Smith put something else in the boot and then went and sat in the car, whilst I loaded the remaining cases in the boot." When they arrived at Parliament House, Ms Prater was left to unload the cases from the vehicle.

"Arriving at the basement Mr Smith went and got a trolley for him to take the cases inside and left me to take them out of the boot unassisted," the report reads.  "Left arm a bit tingly, I put this down to being a sore muscle."

The driver said she hoped the severe pain that developed in her shoulder after the incident would go away, but when she was diagnosed with a muscle tendon sprain she claimed for workers' compensation. Her claim was denied by Comare, which cited the delay between sustaining the injury and lodging the claim.

Now Ms Prater, who has not returned to her job and says she cannot afford to have her injury treated privately, is fighting Comcare's decision in the AAT with the case listed for a conciliation conference.

She told Fairfax that she accepted the task when it became clear she was expected to lift the minister's bags on her own. "I just shrugged my shoulders and thought 'oh well, I'm going to have to do it'," she said.

A spokesman for Mr Smith said he had not been aware of the issue until questioned by Fairfax.

"The minister and his staff regularly travel with secure briefcases and assist in the movement of them, without the need for a request for assistance."



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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