Monday, 31 October 2011

Fagburn: I Don't Care

I literally don't!

Jedward: Protection From The Ordinary

Always do the craZy thing! What would Jedward do?... Protection from the Ordinary!

Jedward via Twitter.
I genuinely thought this was quite profound - and a great philosophy.
Top lads.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Noam Chomsky: And The Social Media

Jeff Jetton: Do you think people are becoming more comfortable communicating through a device rather than face to face or verbally?

Noam Chomsky: My grandchildren, that's all they do. I mean, of course they talk to people, but an awful lot of their communication is extremely rapid, very shallow communication. Text messaging, Twitter, that sort of thing.

Jeff Jetton: What do you think are the implication for human behavior?

Noam Chomsky: It think it erodes normal human relations. It makes them more superficial, shallow, evanescent. One other effect is there's much less reading. I can see it even with my students, but also with my children and grandchildren, they just don't read much.

Jeff Jetton: Because there're so many distractions, or...?

Noam Chomsky: Well you know it's tempting... there's a kind of stimulus hunger that's cultivated by the rapidity and the graphic character and, for the boys at least, the violence, of this imaginary universe they're involved in. Video games for example. I have a daughter who lives near here. She comes over Sunday evening often for dinner. She brings her son, a high school student. And of course he hasn't done any homework all weekend, naturally, so he has to do all his homework Sunday night. What he calls doing homework is going into the living room while we're eating, sitting with his computer and with his headphones blaring something, talking to about ten friends on whatever you do it on on your computer, and occasionally doing some homework.

Jeff Jetton: How do you know what he's doing?

Noam Chomsky: I watch him.

This week this interview with Noam Chomsky has been picked up in a bowdelrised form by everyone from The New York Times to Salon.
'Crazy old anarchist guy hates Twitter!'
So I thought it would be interesting to show what Uncle Noam actually said - six months ago.
As opposed to just regurgitating crap out of context and that.

David Cameron: No Show

The endlessly annoying Andrew Marr interviews the even more annoying posh fuckwit David Cameron on The Andrew Marr Show.
You may have noticed it's been Bring Your Child To Work Day at cabinet office, and they've been announcing any old populist crap as policy.
Empire medals, stop their benefits, shoot Somali pirates, adoption and ethnicity, the royal family blah blah blah - has your brain turned to absolute mush yet?
So here's Andrew Marr - quite surreally - asking the prime minister about some scare story the Daily Mail made up.
Marr asked about the 36 out of 54 Commonwealth countries which "discriminate - quite savagely in some cases - against homosexuals."

"We are not just talking about it. We are also saying that British aid should have more strings attached.
"This is an issue where we are pushing for movement, we are prepared to put some money behind what we believe. But I'm afraid that you can't expect countries to change overnight.
"Britain is one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights. We are saying that is one of the things that determines our aid policy, and there have been particularly bad examples where we have taken action."

Mr Cameron desperately trying to flex his modernist muscle, there.
As Fagburn has pointed out endlessly, this is about human rights, gay rights have not been privileged - as The Daily Mail keeps claiming.
There is no new policy.
But hey, let's let The Daily Mail dictate the political agenda.
This is really working for me.

Gay Dads: The Two Of Us

When I did have a long-term boyfriend, whom the children saw most weekends, they never bothered to ask why Mr Scruffy – as they called him – was always there. And though they were fond of him, it was almost 18 months after we split up before one of them even noticed he hadn't been around. "Where's Mr Scruffy?" asked Ed one Saturday afternoon at the movies. Oh, he's been busy, I replied. Ed nodded his head and carried on picking out cola bottles at the pick 'n' mix counter.

"Gay Dad" in The Observer.
Fagburn quite likes this, but it is rather odd that The Observer got a gay dad weekly columnist at the exact same time that The Guardian began running Charlie Condou's column about being a gay dad, The Three Of Us.
They're both quite sweet - in a "Let me show me some photos of my baby" shut up kinda way - and clearly "a good thing", but where does this adoration and fetsish of the great gay dad spring from?
Just a year ago, gay dads Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow were presented as "weird" (and wonderful) on Channel 4.
And there was I thinking "heteronormativity" was just a load of academic wankspeak.

Pink List 2011: All Apologies

We said that compiling the Pink List is an inexact science, and readers, in their many comments, some of which are published here, agreed. Owing to an administrative blunder too low-fi to go into, one of the most influential gay men of this century, Peter Tatchell, was forgotten. It's not as if he's had a quiet year: in 2011, he co-ordinated the Equal Love campaign which helped persuade the Government to commit to same-sex marriage; lobbied the Commonwealth to call for LGBT human rights; and successfully campaigned for an end to the blanket, lifetime ban on gay blood donors. Kindly, Mr Tatchell has accepted our apology. "I am not much fussed by my omission," he said. "It is pleasing to see many previously little-known and unsung LGBT people on the list." Nonetheless, Peter, we are sorry.

The Independent On Sunday.
They then proceed to print some of the most boring letters ever sent;
"Great to see the Pink List again, but why no Hope Powell? She took the England women's football team to the World Cup finals, and has just been appointed to lead the Great Britain women's team to the Olympics... rather influential, I'd think."
It's what we were all thinking.
Jolly hockey sticks!

• Painting of Peter by Vince Laws.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sir Jimmy Savile: 1926-2011

Thank you for being you, Sir Jim.

On Stuart Walker and Christopher Jefferies: Shame

Yesterday Vincent Tabak was convicted of the murder of Joanna Yeates.
If we still did have hanging Christopher Jefferies could have swung for it.
Because most of the tabloids decided Mr Jefferies killed Jo last Christmas.
The only "evidence" they had was that some people thought he was "strange" and probably gay.
Case closed!
Here is Chris talking about his ordeal on Sky News - apparently he got a six-figure sum off their sister paper, The Sun, for defamation.
Yesterday an 18 year-old man, Ryan Esquierdo, was charged with the murder of Stuart Walker.
The Scottish press have intimated Stuart was killed by "a secret lover".
That's odd - last weekend the press said they thought he was the victim of an anti-gay hate crime.
This was then sent round the world as fact via Twitter.
During the week some papers hinted he may have been killed in a vigilante attack because he was a suspected child molester.
Of course, they can't all be right.
At the time of writing we do not know who killed Stuart Walker or why.
I hope the press and the public will not rush to judge in this case - for Chris's, and for Stuart's, and for all of our sake.

Weekend: Next Weekend

The Weekend lovefest continues apace.
Here's Tim Robey metaphorically spunking over director Andrew Haigh's face in the Daily Telegraph;
'The new British movie 'Weekend’ depicts a romance between two men with such intimacy and optimism that it is drawing audiences of all persuasions.'
While Tim "Timmy Teacakes" Teeman shot his load in The Times yesterday;
'Could this small British movie be the best relationship film ever — and not just a gay one?'
(Tim also gives away the ending - SPOILER ALERT! etc).
Note how both pieces stress its appeal to non-homosexual types - is that how they pitched it to their editors?
Are we supposed to be surprised?
I've enjoyed many, many films about straight people falling in love...
November's Attitude asks on its cover "Weekend: The Best British Gay Film Ever?"
But then you realise the competition's not exactly that great, is it?
Which is a recurring riff in writing about Weekend.
Is it any good?
Don't ask me, I ain't seen it yet - but I will dutifully trot along to my local arthouse cinema when it opens next weekend.
Obviously I won't pronounce forth until I've actually watched it, but seeing as most of the people who've been raving about it are posh gay tits I can't stick - and who thought "Wow! They made my boring bourgeois wannabe hipster life into a movie with two fit blokes!" - I'll almost certainly hate it.

Justice: Rough Justice

When you're not working, do you still hang out?

Xavier: "We don't really hang, but that's because Justice takes a lot of our time … even when we are not in the studio we are still making stuff for Justice. So we don't have the sense of 'What are you doing? Let's go to the movies!' but that's because we are permanently together. It's a permanent hang-out."

I love the idea of a permanent hang-out!

Xavier: "It doesn't seem gay to us but… "

Gaspard takes out his phone and shows me a manga-style cartoon of Xavier straddling him. It's been made by a Justice fan. Justice fans, it transpires, are fond of writing slash fiction, or making slash art, about the pair and posting it on Tumblr blogs.

"They are so disturbing," grins Gaspard. "The weirdest thing is they are made by 15-year-old girls."

Xavier: "It's great to imagine people taking time to make those drawings and stories. We'd like to collect them all and show them at some point. What have we done to make them do something like this? We'd love to meet them and understand."

Tim Jonze interviews Gallic symbols, Justice for Guardian Guide.
There's some Xavier/Gaspard slash fiction on this Tumblr here.
Actually written, not by a 15 year-old girl, but - surprise - by a grown gay man.

The Daily Mail: Corrections & Clarifications

Further to this article, we have been asked to make clear that while the ONS report did show that only a minority of Britons are in support of gay marriage, the more detailed statistics from the EU poll on which it was based suggest that the percentages for and against are about the same – 46% and 45% respectively – with a further 9% who ‘don’t know’. We are happy to clarify the position.

This correction appears online today - as a new footnote to Conservative UK: Most Britons still oppose gay marriage
That's not even the half of it.
As I pointed out at the time the factoid is five years old - so the use of the word "still" is a bare-faced lie.
And people weren't actually asked "Do you support gay marriage?" FFS.
And it's got nothing to do with the Office of National Statistics - it was just cited in a footnote (number 31 here) by them.
Irony may die laughing, but it was a footnote to a report titled Civil Partnerships Five Years On, which is about how social attitudes have changed since then.
Again, please phone up the lying cunt who made all this crap up - Steve Doughty - directly on 020 7938 6340 or email and tell the lying fucking fucker how you feel.
Good day.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Scott Olsen: Stand!

Scott Olsen, a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and a supporter of the Bradley Manning Support Network, was seriously injured when police attacked Occupy Oakland protesters with tear gas and other projectiles. One of these ‘projectiles’ hit Scott Olsen in the head, fracturing his skull.
Scott Olsen, a Marine veteran who did two tours in Iraq, was hit by a police projectile during last night’s brutal crackdown of Occupy Oakland. He is in serious but stable condition at an Oakland hospital. Friends have reported that Scott has a ‘skull fracture and swelling of the brain.’
Courage To Resist urge people to petition Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and list a number of ways to do so as well as a fund for people to donate to Scott’s medical expenses.

Bradley Manning Support Network.

Royal Succession: And You, You Will Be Queen

Fagburn thinks we should abolish the royal family.
I know they bring some happiness into the lives of a lot of people who are - how can I put this? - a bit thick, but the institution is incompatible with democracy.
So I'm not desperately excited by any attempt to "modernise" something that's inherently medieval.
It's like saying you're going to put a safetybelt on a ducking-stool - so what!!?
If this country hasn't come to its senses by then, it appears that the first-born child of Prince William Battenberg-Cake of Suxe-Coxburg and Gothic-Bold could succeed to the throne even if - heaven forfend - it's a girl.
And further, our monarch will be able to marry a Catholic.
Betcha by golly wow!
But would this theoretical future King Of England be allowed to civil partner or get gaymarried?
And, if so, what title would the king's husband have?
Fagburn will try and chase this up with "constitutional expert", Norman St John Stevas forthwith.
But please don't hold your breath - I don't actually give a fuck.

• The illustration is from a childrens' book showing Blondel, faithful minstrel, close friend and "special adviser" to King Richard I of Lionheart fame.

Tom Daley Watch: A League Of His Own

Our Tommy is on the tellybox tonight!
He is the gueststar for the first show of the new series of A League Of Their Own.
It's some sort of light-hearted celebrity sporting challenge thing on Sky (1).
Some other famous people are also on it.

Julie Burchill: Bye For Now

"Give the people what they want, goes the old line, and that day is here at last for me and the vast majority of Independent readers as I write my final column.
"I leave you with a light heart, well aware that it's time for me to move over. So I will now concentrate mainly on learning Hebrew and writing my memoir of philo-Semitism UNCHOSEN, with supplementary activity based around lunching, lazing and loafing. And the occasional foray into journalism, of course – I'd miss my trolls too much if I retired.
"L'hitraot! as we say in Israel – be seeing you!"

La Burchill signs off from her Independent column.
Fagburn got the feeling her wizened black heart was never really in this one, she can't even wind-up liberals like moi anymore.
All I remember over the last year has been the cracked record/mantra; "Try doing that in a Muslim country!"
And when she lapsed into one of her regular bouts of gay-bashing it was hard to feel insulted as they were laughably nonsensical and incomprehensible.
Fuck off Julie, you mad old right-wing Zionist Hove-dwelling witch.

Will Young: I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

“I have a bit of a funny thing with Rihanna. I’m a bit of a feminist and I think what Rihanna represents is not necessarily the best thing.
“She’s overtly sexual. And it’s so, ‘I’m an object and oh there’s another women in my video, are we lesbians, I’m not sure!’ It’s so disparaging towards women.
“Everyone plays the game, but it’s not good enough. It’s not empowering.
“I think as a woman Lady Gaga is far more interesting.”

Will Young - arguably Britain's most respected public intellectual since Bertrand Russell - gives his highly honed thoughts on the great "sexy videos" and fauxmosexuality debates during a discussion on that salon du nos jours The Jo Whiley Music Show.
This month your sex-hysterical and censorship-bonkers government announced it wants record companies to introduce an age ratings system for music videos.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Occupy St Paul's: Friend Or Foe

Revd Giles Fraser, Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, resigned today because of the church's plans to evict Occupy London protesters camped outside.
Being a thoroughly modern vicar Giles announced it on Twitter.
"It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul's Cathedral."
He told The Guardian; "I cannot support using violence to ask people to clear off the land. It is not about my sympathies or what I believe about the camp. I support the right to protest and in a perfect world we could have negotiated. But our legal advice was that this would have implied consent... The church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence."
Fagburn likes Giles Fraser.
Amongst his many good works, he is the founder and president of Inclusive Church;
"We call on our Church to live out the promise of the Gospel; to celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the body of Christ; and in the ordering of our common life to open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation."
(He's straight, since you're wondering).
Giles is a regular contributor to The Guardian.
Here is a piece on the Church of England and gay marriage; 500 Years Of Intolerance.
Of course not all his fellow churchmen agree with Giles Fraser.
On The Daily Mail's website Revd Peter Mullen writes; "The Bishop of London is quite right to say that the protesters should move on. It is a pity that he did not add the admonition to both them and to his Dean and Canons to grow up."
Revd Peter Mullen writes a lot for The Daily Mail, and is the Mail's go-to guy when they want a stupid quote from a reactionary cleric.
How reactionary?
In 2008, Mullen blogged;
"Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH.
"In addition, the obscene 'gay pride' parades and carnivals should be banned for they give rise to passive corruption, comparable to passive smoking. Young people forced to witness these excrescences are corrupted by them."
Which was nice.
Who do you think Jesus would support?

Stuart Walker Murder: No News

"One thing that is quickly obvious about Cumnock is its tolerance...
"According a range of gay people living in Cumnock, there is no sense of a dark, homophobic underbelly in the once prosperous mining town.
"Although reluctant to be named, not one gay person interviewed for this piece could remember having been bullied or targeted because of their sexuality..."

After the murder, anger of the town where gay barman died
Amelia Hill reports from Cumnock for The Guardian (Emphasis added), a story they trailed on the front page.
Most papers' websites today splashed the news; 'Gay barman Stuart Walker was quizzed over child sex crime claim' (Daily Mirror).
A story The Scottish Sun claims was their exclusive; "FIREBALL murder victim Stuart Walker was quizzed by cops over alleged indecency involving a 12-year-old boy after being accused by the lad's family."
Though the Scottish Sun added this qualifier from the police; "There is nothing to suggest at this time that the murder was connected to these allegations."
One wonders what they do know.
And how the press came to know this.
Well, after Hackgate we can have a pretty good guess who tipped the press off.
A report was filed, but police say the case had been recently closed.
There has been no new information about Stuart Walker or his murder in the London-based press - perhaps they've been too busy correcting their original version of events?
But the tabloids abhor this kind of news vacuum - what will they come up with over the weekend?
Scotland's Daily Record has been looking at this story from every possible angle.
According to the Record police have questioned one man about Stuart Walker's murder and taken a DNA sample from him.
They even published a photo of the man.
Insinuation after insinuation after speculation...
In the same paper; Friends tell how murdered barman Stuart Walker had 'time of his life' at party just hours before he was killed
At the time of writing Stuart's killer or killers are still unknown - to us.

Update Friday 6.30pm: Police have now arrested the 18 year-old man they were questioning about Stuart Walker's murder.
The Scottish Sun alleged earlier today; 'DETECTIVES were last night investigating if the savage killer of gay barman Stuart Walker was a secret lover gripped by a fit of rage' - Anonymous "source".
But please remember how much that has been written about this terrible case has turned out to be untrue or mere speculation...

Peter Tatchell: A National Treasure?

"It's a rare day indeed when we find ourselves in agreement with the Daily Mail, but we did so in the case of Peter Tatchell. Last year, having spent years vilifying the human rights activist and all his works, the paper conceded that he was more good than bad and labelled him, for sheer staying power if nothing else, a national treasure. We agree. Most agree. And thus there was widespread surprise to see that there was no mention at all of Tatchell on the Independent on Sunday's Pink List 2011. It is, after all, a list of the "101 most influential gay and lesbian people in Britain today". A strange omission. True, there was no place for Brian Paddick, or the author Sarah Waters, but with Tatchell having claimed seventh place last year, his absence took some explaining. And so we asked around, not least because he was none the wiser, and we discovered that a deliberate decision was taken by the judges to leave him off the list. Instead he was to be given the accolade – along with Stephen Fry and Sandi Toksvig – of "national treasure". But then something went wrong, something distinctly low-tech; the Post-it note with his name was shuffled into an incorrect pile and nobody noticed until it was too late. Oh well. "I am not much fussed," Tatchell says, when we explain. "These lists are fairly arbitrary, and I am glad for those unsung gay people who have been recognised." And, unlike them, he has that glowing accolade from the Mail."

Hugh Muir's Diary, The Guardian.

The Daily Mail calling Peter Tatchell a "national treasure" - imagine that!
You may have to.
Here's a piece by Hugh Muir in The Guardian last year Peter Tatchell: the reluctant national treasure.
But there Muir appears to be "consulting" a piece from The Guardian five years ago, which asked titularly (and rhetorically); Is Peter Tatchell a national treasure?
Reading that you realise the words "national treasure" are The Guardian's, not the Mail's.
Here's The Daily Mail piece that Hugh Muir refers to in today's Diary; He's been beaten by Mugabe's thugs and Russian Nazis: Is Peter Tatchell the bravest man in Britain?
Ironically it's one of the few recent profiles of Peter Tatchell that doesn't call him a "national treasure".
To my knowledge the Mail never has.
But let me know if you find one.

• Peter Tatchell has written an obituary of Rose Robertson - founder of the lesbian and gay counselling service Parents Enquiry - in today's Guardian.

• Donate to the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Death Of Gaddafi: The Rape Of A Nation Starts Here

BBC News - like other British media - has finally got round to covering the story that just before he died Colonel Gaddafi was "subjected to a violent sexual assault".
Which fairly makes the mind boggle.
The Guardian online claimed; "One of the fighters who captured Gaddafi tried to sodomise him after he was captured alive".
Blimey! Really?
Both were referring to graphic video footage on Global Post who made the allegation of sexual assault two days ago.
As you can see above, what actually happened was far less - or arguably worse - than the BBC's euphemism might have suggested.
It's hard to make out exactly what is going on.
An unknown object being thrust up his bum.
Of course, it's only a "sexual assault" if you believe that the anus is a sexual organ, but that's another argument.
Global Post claim he was "sodomized with a knife".
The Guardian's print version like others thought it was "a stick or metal rod" - but their guess is as good as yours, quite frankly.
Watching Gaddafi being kicked, beaten and shot by a bloodthirsty mob, it may have been the least of his problems.
Unless, of course, you think a man having his arsehole violated is the greater crime and the ultimate humiliation.
Human Rights Watch say Gaddafi's treatment after capture and execution without trial is "a war crime that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court."
That's if the ICC could be bothered to prosecute some US-backed victors for once.

Fagburn: In Briefs

There are two big gay stories running at the moment, but apart from them there's not much been worth commenting on in the papers this week.
A friend told me it was half-term. Dunno why, but this always seems to happen on shool holidays.
So here are a few things "in brief" that Fagburn thought may be of interest...

• Although a current obsession of the media is babies as a lifestyle accesory for rich and famous gay men, new American research - All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families - suggests "Contrary to stereotypes, children being raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to be living in poverty as children raised by married heterosexual households" (Summary). More on the media and marketing myth of gay men as a monied class - also much loved by our enemies on the right, of course - on the excellent Gay Money blog.

• Hopefully Fagburn won't be the last person in the virtual world to draw your attention to the genitaltastic, hilarious, but ultimately rather disturbing new video for Duck Soup's Big Bad Wolf. Can't wait to see Diva Fever do this.

• Fagburn is but of course in solidarity with everyone at Occupy London. And is so proud that two voices often heard speaking up for #occupylsx in the media have been our friends Naomi from UK Friends Of Bradley Manning and Ronan from Queer Resistance.

• It's Trade's 21st birthday on Saturday night Sunday morning - which makes Fagburn feel very old. Here's an interview with Laurence Malice to mark the occasion from the Independent blogs. One point on Axl Rose (note spelling) though: Fagburn witnessed this and it was one of Guns N Roses entourage asking if they could come along later, not Axl himself. Ever wondered what all the fuss was about? Here's Richard Smith's "award-winning" essay on a night at Trade Us Boys Together Clinging.

• Fagburn is gagging to see Lawrence Of Belgravia - the new documentary about my favourite failed Pop star, "Mad" Lawrence of Felt (and Denim fame). If you're not stuck in Brighton like me, you can see it at the London Film Festival this week.

• If you are stuck in Brighton, Owen Jones - author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class - is talking at Waterstone's this evening. I'm going. It's great that young Owen has become the go-to guy for sharp and fresh left-wing comment in the last few months, so why the hell wasn't he on the Newcomers section of The Independent's Pink List 2011?!!

• Flaunt magazine has a choice of two covers this month. One of James Franco sitting at a desk and one of his naked butt. Quite possibly a publishing first.

• Some bloke called Gareth Thomas is retiring from rugby. Snore! How many times? We don't do sport. But apropos of nada did you hear about the GT-tribute designer shoes by his chum, Christian Louboutin? A snip at £640!

• Russell Tovey returns to BBC3 with a new series of Him & Her. Not til next Tuesday mind, but there's a thing about it in The Independent today. And it means we can print a nice picture of the lovely "Ears" in his briefs. Enjoy!

Private Eye: Happy 50th Birthday!

The special 50th anniversary issue of Private Eye is - as they say - in your newsagent's now!
It's my favourite magazine, and always a highlight of my fortnight.
Ian Hislop took over as editor in 1986 - one of his greatest achievements remains unsung;
Steering Private Eye away from the public schoolboy sniggering homophobia that often infected it when Richard Ingrams was editor.
Thank you Mr Hislop, as ever, you done a very good job.
And many happy returns, my Eye - don't look back.

• You can revisit some of Private Eye's worst excesses - eg the cartoon strip The Gays (!) - at this great blog Streetlaughter - A Gay Cavalcade Of Comic Stereotypes.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Warhorses Of Letters: My Lovely Horse

Synopsis: "Stephen Fry stars as Napoleon's horse and Daniel Rigby stars as Wellington's horse in a love story of two horses sundered by war told through their letters to each other."

What more do you need to know?
Genius! I laughed like a gay horse.
Kiss Kiss Hoofprint.

BBC Radio 4 and on iPlayer.

Mail On Sunday: Sunday Lie-In

You may recall this story in the last Mail On Sunday.
'Demoted for not backing gay marriage: housing manager's pay slashed for criticising new law on Facebook'
Here's what the Mail didn't tell its readers.
According to a statement made by Trafford Housing Trust;
"At the end of 2010, we updated our Code of Conduct for Employees and provided it to all staff.
"This version of the code clearly set out what use employees can make of social networking sites such as Facebook.
"Some three months after this new code was issued, Mr Smith, without our authority or knowledge and on a Facebook page that identified him as a manager at Trafford Housing Trust, made comments that were found, by a full disciplinary investigation in which he had trade union representation, to be in breach of the company's code of conduct and other policies.
"Mr Smith was disciplined for his breach of company policy. The trust made no comment about any personal beliefs that he holds."
So the Mail On Sunday's claim that Adrian Smith was "Demoted For Not Backing Gay Marriage" was - to put it bluntly - another of their lies.
Whoda thunk it?
You may also be unsurprised to learn Mr Smith's legal action aganst THT is being bankrolled by the loons at the Christian Institute.
Praise be!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Stuart Walker: A Few Thoughts On A Tragedy

At the time of writing we still do not know why Stuart Walker was killed.
Perhaps only the bastard/s that killed him know that now.
It may yet turn out that it was a homophobic crime - though the police say there is no reason to think that it was and are pursuing another "positive line of inquiry".
And of course having blind faith in anything and everything the police say would be as foolish as believing everything you read in a right-wing tabloid.
There's been an endless stream of Tweets - telegraphed by the unreliable gay hysteric, Patrick Strudwick - that began late last night saying some variation on "Gay man Stuart Walker tied to a lamppost and burned to death" (See #ripstuartwalker and #stuartwalker on Twitter).
We now know that's not what happened, yet still they come.
Many claimed he had been murdered in an anti-gay hate crime.
Though you can see why people might have jumped to this conclusion, that's all they were doing; jumping to a conclusion.
As I've written below here this "information" was taken from a story that appeared on the Daily Mail's website last night;
Savagely beaten, tied to a lamppost and burned alive: Horrific fate of hotel manager who was murdered 'for being gay'
Two of those statements have turned out to be lies.
But anyone should be able to see that the Mail claiming Stuart was murdered "for being gay" was entirely speculative.
One would hope that no rational person believes everything they read in The Daily Mail without questioning it.
Most of all gay men.
It fills me with despair that journalists on the gay media this morning began reprinting the Mail's speculation as fact.
Not only without questioning it but - on what is clearly a huge story for them whatever the motive turns out to be - without checking it (most have now updated/rewritten their stories).
In the age of the internet it takes minutes to perform a basic factcheck on a story.
How long does it take to take to make a phone call to Strathclyde Police?
To my knowledge - and to his credit - the only gay journalist who did this was Scott Roberts at GaydarRadio News.
This, one would have thought, is merely maintaining the most basic of journalistic standards.
Many of the Tweets I recieved about Stuart Walker came from gay journalists.
I can well understand why anyone would want to express their anger and sadness at this murder.
But some gay mens' behaviour on this has been embarrassing, and occasionally hysterical.
Particularly the intemperance shown to those who said we should keep an open mind on the motive.
Anyone for irony?
I say none of this out of a mistaken belief in my own perfection and conceit, like anyone I too make mistakes and get things wrong - endlessly.
I initially took it as a given that he was found tied to a lamppost - I couldn't see why would someone make that up.
But this episode seems symptomatic of the poor editorial standards in the gay media that I have been documenting on this blog for the last 18 months.
How can you write a news story about a gay man's murder and not talk to the police first?
I hope this reminds people that whenever they read anything in the newspapers the question they should ask themselves is "Is this true?"
And as much of the gay news media is now just lifting stories from the straight press without checking it, I hope people ask that about anything in the gay media too.
And I hope none of those self-same gay journalists will be shameless enough to write about this story in the future without admitting their role in disseminating misinformation about it.
Some hope.

Richard Dawkins: Thought For The Day

"Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist."

Richard Hawkins interviewed by John Harris in a Guardian podcast.

You can still watch Richard Dawkins' excellent two-part series The God Delusion on 4OD.

Stuart Walker Murder: Still A Mystery

The murder of Stuart Walker is now trending on Twitter.
Many people are saying how upset and angry they are.
Who wouldn't be?
His death looks incredibly horrific and sadistic.
Stuart, 28, was found dead with "horrible injuries" on the edge of an industrial estate in Cumnock on Saturday Morning.
It has been said he had been tied to a lamppost, beaten and burned.
Much of the outrage on Twitter is because people say this was an anti-gay hate crime.
Whilst that looks likely, this angle was picked up last night from a story on the Daily Mail's website;
Savagely beaten, tied to a lamppost and burned alive: Horrific fate of hotel manager who was murdered 'for being gay'
Note the quote marks.
Their line in the story is far more nuanced; "Strathclyde Police would not rule out that Mr Walker had been murdered because of his sexuality and were now closely examining all aspects of the victim’s life."
ie the police when asked by the Mail said they do not know yet, and yes it may be an anti-gay hate crime.
But this is an old tabloid trick - ask a leading question, then turn a non-commital answer into a "story".
Note this is in The Daily Mail - a newspaper known for its sensationalism, exaggerations and distortions.
If we start taking our cues from them unquestioned we are fucked.
Note how BBC News has worded it;
"Following reports Mr Walker may have been targeted due to his sexuality, Strathclyde Police said they were looking into all aspects of his life."
"Following reports..." ie in The Daily Mail.
Stuart Walker was gay, and the awful ritualistic method of the claims he was tied to a lamppost and burned has echoes of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard.
It certainly looks like it could be a homophobic hate crime, but at the moment we do not know.
That's why the police are investigating.
Probably best not to reach a conclusion on this before the police - or a court of law - does.

Update: "They [Police] would not comment on reports he had been tied to a lamppost and beaten." The Guardian

Update 2 - 13.11: "Police are aware of reports about Mr Walker's sexuality and are trying to establish a motive. They said there was nothing to suggest a homophobic crime.
Det Insp John Hogg, of Strathclyde Police, said: "We are still working towards identifying a motive for this murder. I am aware of all the speculation in the media regarding Mr Walker and his death.
"At this time we have nothing to indicate that this is a homophobic crime.
"Until we know the exact circumstances surrounding this murder, we will not rule anything out and will keep an open mind on any possible motive for his terrible crime.
"There have also been reports that Mr Walker was tied to a post, this is not the case." BBC News online.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mark Gatiss: Best. Desert. Island. Discs. EVER!!!

Oh yes.

1. There is a Light that Never Goes Out - The Smiths.
2. Theme from On Her Majesty's Secret Service - John Barry.
3. If I Loved You (Carousel OST) - Shirley Jones.
4. Fantasia On A Theme - Vaughan Williams.
5. Come To Me (I Am Woman) - Su Pollard.
6. Beautiful Child - Rufus Wainwright.
7. Yes - McAlmont & Butler.
8. So In Love (Kiss Me Kate Broadway revival) - Marin Mazzie.

"I was genuinely torn between the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde or Su Pollard's Come to Me (I Am Woman)..."
Smashing stuff, but I think Mr Gatiss might be one of them.

Desert Islands Disc homepage and archive.

The IoS Pink List 2011: It's Just A Bit Of Fun, But Please Write In...

The votes are in!
The people have spoken!
The judges have ignored them!
This year's Independent On Sunday Pink List is as bafflingly random as ever.
A leader column acknowledges this; "It was never supposed to be a rival to the Nobel prizes. Its purpose was always to entertain, to inform and to celebrate the contribution to national life made by gay and lesbian citizens."
This year it has the veneer of democracy; they asked "readers to nominate the unsung heroes and heroines who make life as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person better – as well as the celebrities who make the world a more entertaining place."
It was good to see Elly Barnes (above), a teacher at Stoke Newington School, at number one.
Though the claim of her "eradicating homophobia in her school" by teaching about LGBT history sounds like ever such a slight exaggeration.
(And is nicked from a hyperbolic line in The Guardian).
But where were the other "unsung" community activists?
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, MD of UK Black Pride (64), Paul Martin, chief executive of Manchester's Lesbian & Gay Foundation (74), Nick Partridge of the THT (81), and Jackie Crozier of Manchester Pride (87).
Is that it?
Quite bafflingly - particularly if this was put to a (kind of) popular vote - Peter Tatchell is not featured at all.
The disgraced Independent contributor Johann Hari was also noticable by his absence - I wonder why...
Most offensive inclusion? Lord John Browne.
Former boss at BP when they were polluting the Gulf of Mexico and killing their workers.
Walked into a lordship, told the government to lift the cap on tuition fees.
And being forced out the closet cause you lied to a court about how you met your boyfriend might be sad, but hardly makes someone a queer hero or (barf) "national treasure".
This year was the first Pink List to include bisexual and trans people.
An admirable move, of course, but it makes the list rather wonky.
Just as it's well-meaning that the list tries to get an equal number of lesbians and gay men, but as there are markedly less out lesbians with a public profile you end up with some inclusions that just look tokenistic and silly.
Like the "night editor of The Times in Scotland" (94) and "Britain's only Goth, lesbian, transsexual stand-up comedian" (96).
Well, good for them, but does anyone think they should be in this 101?
And does anyone really think Scott "Nice But Dim" Mills deserves to be in the top ten?
And what on Jupiter has Jessie J ever done to warrant being placed at number three?
And where the fuck was Bradley Manning - a British citizen and truly heroic and influential (gay) man.
Oh well, same time next year...

Adam Werritty: International Man Of Mystery

"ON HIS bedroom wall at Edinburgh University Adam Werritty is said to have hung a poster of Margaret Thatcher.

"So it was perhaps unsurprising that Liam Fox, renowned for being on the Right of the Conservative party, recognised a kindred spirit when they were introduced.

"At the time, in the late Nineties, Dr Fox was a rising star of politics while Werritty was part-way through a degree course in public policy. Apart from their mutual adoration of the Iron Lady the pair soon discovered that they shared a common outlook on a whole range of subjects, from foreign policy to rugby.

"The exact details of that first meeting are lost but whether it was a Burns Night supper, as has been suggested, or some other event for young Conservatives Liam Fox made a fateful decision that evening. He took Adam Werritty under his wing, offering a room in his London flat to the younger man after he had finished his studies.

"It was the start of a special relationship which last week cost the Defence Secretary his job..."

The Express profiles Adam Werritty, international man of mystery and Liam Fox's BF BFF.
Not enough nudge-nudge wink-winkery and slurs and innuendo for yours truly, to be honest.
But having a poster of Margaret Thatcher on your student bedroom wall?
Now that is perverted.

Independent On Sunday: From The Message Boards

"Britain in the pink?
"What total rubbish, and who, exactly did your poll talk to - probably the guilt-ridden loony left who are all over these pages espousing their 'minority rules' ideas.
"Try a poll of a month ago in the UK that was much clearer: Over 70% are against gay marriages and this incessant push from a loudmouthed minority. The vast majority are conservative (with a small c), family orientated heterosexual.
"No we don't support your ideas or their cause. Marriage is between a man and a woman, aimed to grow the human race. The disgusting, depraved lifestyles of gays should be put back in their closet.
"Don't employ them, don't invite them into your home (I don't and wouldn't) - and make sure they know they are in the minority and wrong, and out of step with 'normal' lifestyles.
"Don't like the comment, you gay lovers? It's called freedom of speech, and no, thankfully I don't live in p**f loving london, or UK, circa 2011."

"Pedrowe" - writing in response to an IoS editorial, Britain Is In The Pink, accompanying the Pink List 2011.
"The poll of a month ago" he cites was a Daily Mail fiction.
Strange a moderator let this comment through - though I kind of like seeing the thoughts of homophobes who are utterly nutty and hateful published.
Probably helps us and "the cause".
And acts as a reminder that everything in the gay garden isn't rosy.

Boy George: Tweet Of The Week

"You could have naked boys pissing champagne at some gigs and it wouldn't help! Tonight was a bit like that!"

Boy George is positively underwhelmed by a DJ gig he was playing in Switzerland last night. Via Twitter.
Try dropping this delightful turn of phrase into conversation a few times next week.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Mail On Sunday: Spoiler

And remember if you hate The Gays there's always the Mail On Sunday.
I'll look into this tomorrow - though probably won't be able to speak to anyone at Trafford Housing til Monday - but please bear in mind the Mail has had an extremely cavalier attitude to the truth when writing about gay stories this year.
ie It keeps making them up.
Here's three big lies - all exposed by Fagburn.
'Foreign aid for countries with anti-gay records to be slashed, pledges Cameron'
'Conservative UK: Most Britons still oppose gay marriage'
''Indecent' Lesbian Kisses Face TV Watershed Crackdown'

Pink List 2011: Independent's Gay Day

Just got this scan of the front page courtesy of #tomorrowsnewspaperstoday on Twitter.
Golly, this is so exciting!
Does this mean Derren Brown is very influential cause he's got a new series on the tellybox to plug?
Fagburn is dieing to find out what they've done with J***** H***.

Ann Widdecombe: FFS!

Dear Ann,

You know if I was giving a big speech in London I would have bothered to check if what I'm talking about is true, and not just some homophobic crap made up by The Daily Mail.
Just a thought.



Derren Brown: Thought For The Day

“I was Christian for many years and it did touch on that ‘healing homosexuals within’ thing . I think you can easily look for things, anything to encourage the idea that it’s going to pass. So that was most of my twenties. And I think part of the elaborately maintained solitary poetic existence was a bit of a way of just avoiding the whole question...
“The religious thing and that slight potential that it could be cured as well. I read a couple of the books — it all kind of made sense. There are undoubtedly some psychological patterns involved and I was like: ‘Yeah, oh yeah! That story of not getting on well with my father and then sort of feeling a bit alienated from other boys at school and not quite fitting in.’ There are these sort of patterns but whether they exist because you are gay or whether they make you gay, this is the big point.”

Derren Brown interviewed in The Times.
Derren Brown: The Experiments is on Fridays on Channel 4.

Bradley Manning: 515 Days And Counting...

Queer Friends Of Bradley Manning at #OccupyLSX.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Spirit Day: Purple Lame

Yesterday every celebrity and queer person in the universe wore purple to show how much they support LGBT youth. Meanwhile, two Senate bills that would have actually helped stop bullying died quietly without much fanfare. Sorta ironic.
On Thursday the Senate Health, Education, Education & Pensions (HELP) Committee passed a massive education bill known as Elementary & Secondary Education Act with a bi-partisan vote of 15-7. However, the committee did not vote on whether to include Senator Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act nor Senator Bob Casey’s Safe Schools Improvement Act.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act would have been a comprehensive federal prohibition of discrimination in public schools against any students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any instance of bullying. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would have implemented nationwide strategies to help schools identify, prevent, promptly address, and keep stats on bullying.

The bills could have gotten out of committee with the twelve votes necessary. But both men left their sponsored acts out of the bill when they realized that neither would get the 60 bipartisan votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

Makes you wonder if all that purple spirit would have been better expended shaming Republicans into preventing the next wave of teen bullycides.

Great piece by Daniel Villarreal on Queerty.

Stonewall: Investing In Death

Stonewall have just launched their new subsite - Proud Employers.
"Jobs with LGB friendly employers".
No T for trans - natch.
Proud Employers main "Founding Partner" is Barclays.
Barclays are the biggest UK investor in the arms trade - worth £7.3 billion (War On Want).
Which would buy you a hell of a lot of cluster bombs.
The second founding partner is Credit Suisse - the tax-dodger's friend.
Third are the Earth-destroying crooks at BP.
So fucking proud!

Daily Telegraph: Dyer Maker

Black schoolboys underachieving because 'academic success is seen as gay'

Black schoolboys are underachieving in exams due to a cultural misconception that academic success is a sign of homosexuality, teaching leaders claim.

The Daily Telegraph.

Oh nos!
But if you read the small print you find Adolph Cameron is the head of the Jamican Teachers' Association and was talking about Black schoolboys in Jamaica.

"Mr Cameron told the BBC: "That notion of masculinity says that if as a male you aspire to perform highly it means you are feminine, even to the extent of saying you are gay."
"But in the context of Jamaica, which is so homophobic, male students don't want to be categorised in that way so that they would deliberately underperform in order that they are not."

Epic fail!
As usual racism trumps homophobia.

Gadaffi: Death Porn

The barefaced lie about Gadaffi being killed in the crossfire bodes ill for the openness, transparency and good government we can expect to see now in Libya. But today I am worrying about the effect on our society of human death as entertainment. I have never been an apologist for Gadaffi, but if his regime tortured and murdered, the remedy is not to torture and murder him – even the Nazis were given due process.

This murder is becoming the norm. It was a NATO air strike which took out Gadaffi’s escaping convoy and first wounded him. Two days ago two teenage sons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical US/Yemeni cleric executed without trial last week, were executed by a US drone attack as they had dinner. They were aged 16 and 19. They had committed no crime I can find alleged against them. There has been no publicity.

All this killing brings triumphalist politicians smirking on our screens. We seem to have become as dehumanised as ancient Rome...

The great Craig Murray.

Only The Times didn't print a picture of Gadaffi dead or dying on its front page today.
Going to the newsagents made me sick.

The Guardian: My Son Is Masturbating To Gay Porn

"My 14-year-old son told me he has been masturbating to gay porn and is also having urges to kiss his male friends. I have been comforting and supportive, saying he must have found this very confusing and it doesn't necessarily mean he is gay etc … but in truth I am knotted up inside, as like all parents I have hopes and visions for my children, and this was never on the agenda..."

If you would like to respond to this week's problem, please post your comment below.

I think she's deffo gay, dear.
Get over it.

One Direction: Awww...


Restless: One Star

"The sheer fatuity of the film's representation of bereavement and death is breathtaking, and even given that it is, arguably, supposed to be a semi-fantastical riff, there is something so insufferably smug about the whole proceedings. This film is so annoying that as the lights went up, I was to be found hanging from the cinema ceiling by my fingernails, growling."

Peter Bradshaw's review of Gus Van Sant's Restless in The Guardian.

Ivan Massow: Nice One Scotland!

TORY toff Ivan Massow was attacked by rock-wielding thugs during a visit to Scotland for Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire.
The gay insurance tycoon, 44, is a lifelong backer of the Conservative Party and is on their approved candidates list for potential MPs.
He's also pals with ex-PM Margaret Thatcher, famously escorting her to the 1999 party conference.

The Scottish Sun.
For the record Massow's not a "toff", all his fox hunting lord of the manor airs and graces are put on...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Fagburn: Read Wittgenstein

And then I realised it was all meaningless...

Stone Roses: The Second Coming Of A First Rate Idiot

"I don't trust the British fascination with homosexuals. All the best heroes in England are pantomime dames, you know, Danny La Rue. From working-class neighbourhoods right through to the Queen Mother, the hero is the man dressing up as the woman and I don't trust that shit, me."
Why the hell not?
"Violence comes from Romans, Nazis, Greeks - they were all homosexual. And I've got gay friends that will back me up. I just think Noel Coward is an old tosser who got on with the Queen Mother and ... I don't think he's anything to be idolised. He's their hero, not ours."

Ian Brown, Melody Maker April 1998.
Tickets to see this drug-addled fuckwit are a snip at £55...

Liam Fox: Bell End

Steve Bell in The Guardian.

George Kuchar: He Never Married

Obituary in The Guardian.

Threesome: Comedy Free

Fuck! This was shit.
Written by Tom MacRae - a gay.
But that's no excuse.
He also wrote Mile High - which was also painfully unfunny shit.
Really really really bad.

Ricky Gervais: Also Very Sorry

"I have never used the word Mongol. I have used 'mong', but never to mean Down Syndrome and never would."
"The meaning of words change over time — 'gay' for example. The modern use of the word 'mong' means dopey or ignorant — it's in slang and urban dictionaries."

The ever baffling Ricky Gervais blogs another hole.
I presume when Ricky said to Stephen Fry "At least I'm not gay" it was not in the modern use...