Sunday, December 09, 2018

BBC One Christmas ad: heartwarming tale or lousy depiction of working mothers?

Sorry to be prehistoric about this but I think the mother should be at home rather than working.  Many families manage it.  The key is to value people above things.  I live on very little from Presbyterian cussedness.  I give most of my money away.  So I know it can be done.  I concede that living in London on little could be a big problem but let me surprise Londoners by noting that London is not the world.

We have a lot of Londoners in Australia -- enjoying blue skies, dry winters and everything 90% the same as it was at home. Marmite is available in all supermarkets.  You have to watch out for that pesky New Zealand Marmite though.  It's not the same

And no-one  will despise you because of your accent

Featuring a mother who leaves the office to spend time with her teenage son, BBC One’s new Christmas advert was intended to be heartwarming.

But the two-minute film has divided female viewers into those who love it and those who believe it “guilt-trips” working mothers.

Wonderland, made by the BBC’s in-house creative team and set in a seaside town, begins with a harassed mother dashing out to work as her family eat breakfast. Her teenage son texts her to ask if she can watch the Christmas lights switch-on that evening but she says she may be too busy.

The unhappy boy, is pictured roaming the seafront and playing arcade games alone, while his mother is stuck behind her desk. Just as she becomes overwhelmed with work, time freezes and she leaves the office so the pair can spend precious time with each other.

The BBC said the message of the film is simple: “When you do manage to get some time with the ones you love, be sure to cherish it.”

But some women felt it struck the wrong tone, and asked why the man pictured briefly at the breakfast table - the boy’s stepfather, according to the BBC, although this is not clear in the film - was not taking an active parenting role.

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, the parenting forum, said: “Our users are pretty united in thinking the BBC’s Christmas ad hits a bit of a bum note.

“From the apparently incapable dad to the implication that mothers’ employment is both optional and selfish, it pulls off the distinctly non-festive trick of putting all the blame on already frantic mothers and making them feel pretty lousy (and, presumably, making emotionally competent fathers feel ever-more invisible).”

One mother on the site said: “I absolutely hate BBC One’s Christmas advert. I feel like that woman every single day and, like lots of parents, I have no choice but to work full time. It’s a constant juggle and the guilt is unbearable.

“You can’t bloody well freeze time and I think they are playing on people’s emotions to sell a product.”

Another said: “Where is the dad? Why isn’t he sorting out the morning? Why isn’t he ridden with guilt? Why isn’t he taking time off to spend with his son?”

But another said: “I cried but partly because my teenage children don’t want to spend any time with me!”

On social media, the response was largely positive, with viewers praising the film as “wonderful” and “emotional”. Many said they had been moved to tears and it had reminded them of the importance of spending time with loved ones.

One wrote that it had struck a chord: “As a mum of three boys this has tipped me over the edge. Charity shop drop this morning, rugby fixtures, Christmas fairs, picking up the tree… cannot wait to press pause with my family this Christmas.”

Last year’s film, The Supporting Act, explored a similar theme but with a single father who appeared too busy to help his daughter practise for her school talent show, only to help her out in the end.

Working Families, a charity which helps companies including Barclays, Royal Mail and the Foreign Office with work-life balance, said the Wonderland film painted a negative picture of office life.

“Some working parents do have the experience portrayed in the ad but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Catherine Gregory, the company’s head of marketing and communications.

“Work shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing or something that prevents us from spending time with our children. It’s possible, with the support of your employer, to have a fulfilling work life and also be there for loved ones that depend on you.

“The tide is turning in terms of that. Employers are starting to realise there is a business case for being flexible and family-friendly.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We have had an extraordinarily positive response to the film from audiences. Everyone is busy at this time of year and the film is simply about people cherishing the time they spend with loved ones.”


Forensic science meltdown in Britain

This comes on top of notorious integrity breakdowns in the USA and Australia so must further undermine confidence in scientific evidence

Forty-one motorists have had their criminal convictions quashed after alleged tampering with evidence by scientists in the biggest forensics scandal for decades.

A further 50 accused of drug-driving but who had yet to come to court have also had their cases dropped after an investigation into the data tampering led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

They were among 10,500 cases across 42 forces re-examined by police after allegations emerged that scientists at a Randox Testing Services (RTS) site in Manchester had manipulated forensics data.

James Vaughan, the NPCC’s lead on forensics who headed the inquiry, said that there were few more serious conspiracies to pervert the course of justice than undermining the safety of more than 10,000 cases.

“It’s the most serious breach of forensic science standards in my living memory,” said Mr Vaughan, who is chief constable of Dorset. At least 35 of the people are said to be suing for compensation.

A team of 12 detectives have so far interviewed eight suspects over the alleged forensic data manipulation which dates back to 2014.

Two men, aged 31 and 47,  arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice by Greater Manchester Police have been bailed until January.

Much of the work carried out at the laboratory involves the analysis of blood samples of people arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence of drugs.

Of the 2,700 cases that have so far been fully re-examined, 90 have been discontinued or reopened. One conviction was overturned in the Court of Appeal. All were road traffic offences.

Of the 90, 40 had already been convicted, fined and banned. Although most had pleaded guilty, their convictions were quashed.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has also dropped cases against the 50 who had been charged or were in the process of being prosecuted.

Four have been taken to the Court of Appeal, with one case overturned, one resulting in a reduced sentence, one being rejected and a fourth still to be decided.

Some 2,300 cases have been struck from the retesting process as there were no evidence the outcome would have been affected by the scandal.

No rapes, sex offences or cases of serious violence were affected. Of the highest priority cases, nearly 90% - some 800 - have been re-tested with the rest to be completed by April 2019. Mr Vaughan said he hoped re-examination of the final, lower priority cases would be completed by the end of next year.

Mr Vaughan said the scandal had created a “perfect storm” for an already stretched police forensics service now facing huge demand for re-testing in the investigation and the loss of RTS, which is no longer being used by forces.

The knock-on effect could be delays in investigations and prosecutions across the UK. “There was already a chronic shortage of toxicology capacity in England and Wales that has been further exacerbated by the fact that RTS gave up their accreditation. We have a perfect storm,” he said.

Civil Liberties specialists Hudgell Solicitors confirmed they are representing 35 people who have already had their convictions quashed, and others who are now pursing civil cases to seek damages for the impact it has had on their lives.

“This is a national scandal which has had a devastating impact on the lives of the many people we are representing,” said Andrew Petherbridge, Head of Civil Liberties at Hudgell Solicitors.

The final bill for retesting is expected to be more than £2m with Randox covering the cost. Mr Vaughan said that all retesting was expected to be completed by the end of 2019.


Political Correctness and Parroting Talking Points Are Destroying Civil Discussion

Experts estimate that the average consumer sees 10,000 ads a day. Slogans like “Just Do It,” “Drivers Wanted,” and “I’m Loving It” are easily recognizable to the modern ear. But what if advertising has penetrated beyond just products and services? What if it has saturated our lives so much that we hardly notice?

Think of these familiar mantras: “Build Bridges Not Walls,” “Love Trumps Hate,” or “Believe Women.” These political slogans sound almost identical to any major ad campaign. Yet, when the political space becomes transformed into an advertising space, it changes civic debate into slogans wars. And the with the best one-liner wins.

While it may seem easier to don your tribe’s T-shirt and march away from a discussion, this current cultural trend stands as an alarming threat to liberty and a civil society. Rather than discussing, debating, or examining the evidence of an argument, we yell a catch-phrase. Or we simply parrot soundbites. Yet, neither method takes the time to analyze and discuss, to weigh the positives and negatives of an issue. Neither method approaches a problem with a mind open to creative solutions or evidence-based results.

Indeed, our culture steers away from factual discussions because they can “hurt people’s feelings.” However, when we cannot have an honest discussion for fear of offending, we have lost our ability to truly connect. Political correctness ironically sought to provide “tolerant” guardrails for our communication, but has ultimately yielded a society which fears open dialogue.

Moral relativism, which denies the existence of truth, has further resulted in everyone’s “perspective” being held as equally true and valid, regardless of the facts or evidence.

It says, “We all have different ways of seeing this issue.” While that may be true, evidence points to certain perspectives being more intellectually feasible than others. When a society cannot identify one position as being morally correct or intellectually feasible, debate becomes useless, and thinking becomes futile. This stands as an extraordinarily dangerous trend in a governmental system designed to be run “by the people.” When the people cease to think, how can they produce a reasonable society?

Another contributor to the lack of dialogue stems from the public education system which often prizes memorization of answers over analysis. Critical thinking scores in higher education have also plummeted as reported last year in The Wall Street Journal. In more than half of the 200 schools reviewed, “at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table.” When thinking for oneself is not taught, students begin to prefer another person’s interpretation of data to analyzing a primary source on their own.

Further, as a result of our over-processed, fast-paced world, our ability to stop, to read and to think has become compromised. Preferences for videos over reading, has turned our culture into a primarily visual culture which relies on another’s interpretation of facts rather than our own primary source discoveries.

However, the human heart longs to seek, to understand and to know. This longing does not apply only to certain generations or times in history. Rather, this need for analysis, discovery and connectedness stands as a hard-wiring of human beings. Reacquainting ourselves with this basic need will help us to rediscover what it means to be human, to live civilly, and to be part of something greater than ourselves.

The Renaissance marked a period of a return to the sources, classic texts and ancient philosophy. In Latin it is called ad fontes, or “back to the sources.” Thus, the current lack of dialogue in our culture presents a unique opportunity to return to primary sources, and to ourselves. Groups like the National Review Institute Fellowship Program, the Policy Circle and the Trinity Forum foster dialogue between people about liberty, morality, economics, and what it means to live in a civil society. Whether in a program context or informal meetings in a home, ordinary Americans can begin discussion groups centered around what really matters for the future of our families and this country.

Perhaps at this cultural crossroads of advertising instead of analyzing, we have an opportunity to return to the sources. Such a return would benefit our country not only on an individual level, but it could give meaning to our divisions and perhaps result in better unity, better understanding and a better country.


The New York Times Reveals Serious Problems with Trans Ideology in Opinion Piece

Every once in a while, we’re offered a peek behind an ideological curtain. That’s what happened last week in The New York Times.

If you were a surgeon and someone asked you to perform a surgery that would not heal, would not help, would not make them feel better, and would leave the patient with a permanent wound, would you do it? Is there any area of medicine where such a request would even be considered?

The answer to the first question is, of course, no. No one should perform a surgery that does not help, does not heal, does not make someone feel better, and that would leave a permanent wound. The answer to the second question – does any field of medicine perform such surgeries—is yes. One. Only one.

In the case of gender dysphoria, doctors perform a surgery that, in effect, amputates perfectly healthy body parts. This kind of surgery is not performed in the case of any other type of what’s called “body dissociative disorder,” cases in which patients believe they were born into the wrong body. For example, there are those who believe they should be without an arm or a leg. But their requests to become an amputee are not honored, nor even taken seriously.

However, in the case of gender dysphoria, amputative surgery will, we’re told, “align someone’s physical body with their internal sense of sex and gender.” We are told that without this surgery, they’d be a high risk of suicide and other mental health risks.

At best, this is pseudo-scientific. Dr. Paul McHugh, longtime chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School, has argued for years that such procedures ignore and may even aggravate underlying psycho-social troubles. In fact, those who undergo sex-reassignment still have a suicide rate nearly twenty times that of the general population. That’s why McHugh famously called transgender medicine “cooperating with mental illness” and that’s why he put an end to surgeries at Johns Hopkins.

So why should these surgeries proceed? Andrew Long Chu, in a stunning, must-read piece in The New York Times, ventured an answer. Chu is a man who identifies as a woman and is currently raising money for sex-reassignment surgery. In his Times piece, he says that he knows the transition won’t make him happy. “Until the day I die,” he writes, “my body will regard [the result of this surgery] as a wound … (that) will require regular, painful attention to maintain.”

Chu even admits that the transition process and treatments have made him more miserable. “I was not suicidal before hormones,” he writes. “Now I often am.” And yet he insists that he has a right to the surgery—and that no doctor should refuse. Why? Because, it’s what he wants. That’s it.

This deeply troubling opinion piece reads like a cry for help. In fact, more than a few transgender advocates have condemned it. And to be clear, not everyone who pursues gender reassignment surgery reports being as miserable as Chu. But his story is revealing something very important. Already, this is the only type of surgery that amputates fully-functioning and otherwise-healthy body parts for no physically necessary reason. The justification has always been emotional and psychological health. Now we have an individual admitting that it won’t help him emotionally or psychologically either, but that he still wants the surgery anyway. If that’s all it takes, then it’s clear: Transgender ideology isn’t really about health or scientific reality at all. What we’re doing is aiding and abetting serious problems, not helping.

As hard – brutal even – as this piece is to read, please do. It’s a look behind the curtain of a harmful ideology to which our entire culture is currently bowing down. Anyone who disagrees is a bigot. Well, read this piece, and then read Ryan Anderson’s important response to it, and see who’s being hateful and who’s being loving. As Ryan writes, The New York Times just “revealed painful truths about transgender lives.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 comment:

ScienceABC123 said...

If there was ever a surgical procedure that can be shown to do no good and therefore should be banned, it's gender reassignment surgery.