Monday, June 17, 2019

WTF happened over the weekend Kate?!

Ok I'll tell you.

So on Friday afternoon I went on Sky News to discuss whether Jo Brand should be allowed to make a joke about throwing battery acid on a hateful politician. Let's not get into that.

During the interview I mistakenly attributed nasty rape "jokes" to The Brexit Party when in fact they had come from a UKIP candidate, subsequently defended by party leadership. The Brexit Party hates rape jokes and much prefers making and defending homophobic remarks...or something.

Because of the mistake it is unlikely Sky News will release the clip. Which is fair enough. They have to correct stuff when they can.

Well people on Twitter were pretty angry and adamant that I should apologise. So I did.

You will notice my apology has 2200 retweets and 11000 likes. I also have 1500 new followers.

Then of course a bunch of people were angry that I should use the word "Nazi"...not a word I chose flippantly, a word I chose quite deliberately because the rise of the "mainstream" far right in this country and across the world has terrifying parallels to the rise of, well, the Nazis. And I think it's really important we challenge these things out as soon as we can see what is happening.

But also I'm a comedian so...

And then there's the reaction online... Way too much to share in detail. For the last 48hrs my twitter mentions and reactions have been scrolling in faster than I can actually read them so sorry if you said something wonderful and I missed it, but lets have a look at a few samples... (advance warning - it's going to get very very ugly).

(Wrong sort of "your". Every time.)

(Actually if anyone has the snap-chat "gender-swap" feature, I look like a "feminised" version of Christopher Eccleston, this is widely known and I'm very happy to resemble that very dashing man.)

(This within an hour of me sharing the picture above - with a much better joke, now obscured...Also if your dick looks like my nose mate - see a doctor.)

(They do. Often.)

(Why? Because I want to. How? Very well indeed.)

(They really seem to think being transgender, or looking androgynous, is a bad thing. Attention: it's not.)

(It's funny because...oh hang on...)

So that's, erm, gross. On the other hand loads of nice tweets (mostly from people who were immediately barraged with hate, sorry about that). And I'm in the top things discussed on Twitter in the UK over the weekend...

And then. And then there is this account... @kt_and_nick

Accuses me, twice, of child sex abuse. Wow.

And of course when you look at the full account it does not get better.

Makes a direct threat.

Is horrifically bigoted to a person with a disability.

And aggressively racist.

Who can track down who this guy actually is? I'd like to report him to the police but they openly admit they don't have the skills or resources to trace people (shocking, I know, another conversation). If someone knows who he is I will take legal action.

I'm totally fine though, it's not the first time I've had this sort of thing has happened. I'm totally blasé about it these days. Rather than sitting in a damp basement being a dickhead on the internet, I spent the weekend getting laid and going to the fair. Here's a picture of the latter...

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Friday, June 05, 2015

My shocking column from The Teacher in full.

Prepare to be horrified.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mick Taylor: A little obituary.

Magnus Betner, me, Mick Taylor, Mats Betner
It is incredibly sad but also deeply fitting that last week I should have arrived back from a tour of Norway to learn of the death of my former agent Mick Taylor. Tomorrow I am off to his funeral. Without Mick I would never have started touring Scandinavia and met a group of comics who have become some of my closest friends including Tobias Persson, Magnus Betner, Frederick Andersson and Lasse Nilsen.

I first met Mick when Magnus had decided to tour the UK with his help and the two arrived at Soho Comedy Club where I was MCing. Magnus was impressed with my stagecraft and, never one to move indecisively, Mick had signed me to his Loose Cannons agency within a few weeks.

I've never met or even heard of an agent as "hands on" as Mick. He thought nothing of driving us to gigs. He spoke to everyone, door staff, promoters, other acts, bar tenders, bouncers and audience members alike. He must have handed out 100 plus business cards most weeks and would end up arranging gigs himself if he thought the space or the bar was right for it.

One time he drove me to Up The Creek in Greenwich. In the afternoon he had taken dark and often controversial Norwegian act Dag Soras to a corporate booking for a Norwegian company. Dag was still in the back of the car and Mick was waxing lyrical about having enjoyed the show despite it being in a language he didn't speak. "I think it's the rhythm of comedy, it's a very distinct language, you don't have to understand the words to see the craftsmanship... I enjoy Dag's work just as much in Norwegian" he explained.

I rather dryly replied "Sometimes I actually prefer Dag's work in Norwegian". Mick laughed so hard I had to grab the wheel to stop us veering off the road.

Well I think that was Mick all over: a huge lover of the whole art of comedy, but often in need of some external steering.

Here's to you mate!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Goldsmiths and me. The full story. The proof.

The media have written a lot about my show at Goldsmith College being cancelled tonight and of course social media is now abuzz with people calling me a liar and claiming I've made the whole thing up. So here's my version. With screenshots to prove it. My apologies for releasing shots of what was obviously intended to be a private conversation, I wanted very much to avoid this but I'm not going to put up with being called a liar repeatedly. I have blurred out identifying details of the representative from Goldsmiths Comedy Society because I know from personal experience how the internet can over-react otherwise.

I was booked to do a show at Goldsmiths College, in south London. I've performed there many times before. The show was a joint event for the Comedy Society and the Feminist Society - members of which could come for free - and we then agreed that they would put up a ticket page for anyone else - such as local residents who fancied coming. As a way to cover costs or raise a few extra quid.

The day before the show (Sunday) I was getting a lot of hassle on Twitter because I had dared to suggest that cutting the opening hours of Spearmint Rhino strip club was a good thing. From the get-go I'd started blocking people on Twitter who were bothering me, so I could generally only see half of the conversation that was going on. I did however start to see messages like this one from @LSESUFeminists...

...I thought it was only fair to let the organisers know that I thought there was a risk of a protest or of people coming along to the show with the specific aim of disrupting it or arguing with me. I think it would be unprofessional not to warn organisers if there was a possibility of disruption.

It turned out they were already aware of controversy surrounding my performance - which I was not aware of...

...needless to say I was more bothered by the apparent low ticket sales - I hadn't realised (this would be clarified later) that this referred to tickets bought online, not to members of the Comedy Society and Feminist Society who would be just showing up on the night as they didn't have to pay. So I queried this...

...and for the benefit of those who have been suggesting that I wanted the show cancelled or that I invented the problem to get out of doing a show, you can also see I've made it abundantly clear I do want to do the show.

Also note that after the media got hold of the story Goldsmiths Comedy Society responded suggesting the show had been cut due to poor sales. A few points on that:

1. The show was never set up for tickets to be sold - it was a free event for students from the relevant societies. The tickets sold were extras on top of the expected crowd.
2. They were still expecting 50 people when hey pulled the event.
3. The show has been very popular elsewhere. In Edinburgh we had to cut the show slightly short to allow extra time to get the crowds in and out on weekends. It had all 4 and 5 star reviews. For example:
4. If you're going to pull a show over sales, you could save a lot of effort by just doing that rather than trying to call me a bad person!
5. Wow - isn't it petty and mean to refuse to accept that you screwed up and try instead to damage my professional reputation by undermining me with misleading data like that?

Then the issue of the sex industry comes up...

...but I was never sent the "safe space" policy so I can't see what it says. I can't understand how a Student Union can support a whole industry. Do they support the oil and gas industry? The textile industry? That's weird. But it may not be what the policy says - I haven't seen it so I haven't had a chance to agree to it or not.

The final word on the matter is this...

...needless to say I am far from best pleased and I ask for more information...

..which I get, rather confusing conflicting information though. What do those complaints say? I get a little bit of information... be clear I don't give a crap who choses to wear a scarf and who doesn't. I have a massive problem with all those countries and communities where women are directly or indirectly forced to wear a burqa or veil of any sort or punished for not doing so. But y'know, I'm a radical extremist right? I'm not really saying no-one's ever complained about me. But we have to assess complaints to see if they're even valid, right? Here's the full version of what I said...

...I wasn't shown the other complaints - I have asked for them.  I do feel bad that one individual has beens stuck in the middle of clearly a lot of conflicting angry voices (including mine). But on the other hand (philosophy mode now, strap in!) that's the responsibility that free speech gives us. People can say things, others can complain, someone needs to assess those complaints and see if they're worth acting on. Obviously I think I should have been allowed to perform. Especially as my show - which is not in any way about the sex industry or the burqa - is about free speech. Actually there is no better time to heckle than halfway through a show about free speech!

And yes - we probably will put it on somewhere else in London soon. It will be part of the Leicester Comedy Festival and hopefully the Brighton Fringe. I won't post links or I'll be accused of shamelessly using the incident to promote my work. But anyone who had a ticket for Goldsmiths - yes all eight of you!! - can drop me a line and be guest-listed and served free drinks by me personally at an upcoming performance.

Thank you for all the support.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Bad Gender Science alert

It's my birthday today and what a gift The Telegraph have sent! Two of my least favourite things wrapped up in one. Bad science being used to justify sexism!

Apparently, we're told, men need nights out with the lads. Not someone's opinion or the advice of their in-house agony aunt, no. This is SCIENCE, we're told.

The subtitle reads "Researchers in Germany found it was good for a man's health to be allowed time to bond with fellow males".

But read the article and they found nothing of the sort. They found it was good for a male Barbary macaque's health. They add "a type of ape which exhibits remarkably human-like social behaviour" so presumably it spends half the morning nursing a hangover while playing Angry Birds and then writing about how it "really needs to get more organised" on Facebook?

The tenuousness of the link is made even more apparent when they try to compare men "watching each other's backs" with Barbary macaques picking ticks and fleas off each other. Hmm, alerting your mate to someone looking at him aggressively in the queue for a kebab doesn't strike me as obviously analogous to combing his back hair for him if he can't reach.

The only reason to assume that what applies to Barbary macaques will also apply to humans would be if humans and macaques shared a common ancestor who also exhibited this behaviour. Not so.

Humans are much more closely related to bonobos. Do you know what bonobos do to relieve stress? They wank off members of their own family. Really they do. Who wants to write a piece in The Telegraph about the health benefits of familial mutual masturbation? No me either.

The reality is that the only reason this piece got published at all was because they know perfectly well that guys out there wanting to shirk other commitments and responsibilities and go out drinking will latch onto it. Well sorry, not fooled.

Look at the all-male groups in most pubs and clubs night after night. Look at the crowd at football matches across the country. Believe me, if all-male socialising was the key to male health you'd all be immortal by now! Instead your life expectancy is considerably shorter than ours.

I'd bet the exact opposite is true in humans - all male groups are likely to drink more, smoke more, get in more fights, eat more fast food, do more dangerous activities. I'd bet all-male socialising is linked to to poorer health in human men. But no-one's going to publish that in The Telegraph are they?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anthony Loewenstein line-by-line

Priorities trolling is a special kind of trolling. "Stop moaning about the pay gap, women in Saudi Arabia aren't allowed to vote". I know. The problems are actually related. I can care about more than one issue at a time. What do these dickheads do at weekends? "Is that the Cats Protection League? What about dogs!!!?", "Is that The Asthma Society? You know some people have Motor Neurone Disease."

For the record if I complain about Saudi Arabian women's rights I am called a racist and told that "things are hardly perfect here, shouldn't you focus on that first?".

Well apparently feminists - we're all doing it wrong (again). The wrong kind of feminism is helping the wrong people. 'Feminism lite' is letting down the women who need it the most says Anthony Loewenstein. Here's why he's wrong. In excruciating detail.

"Men are afraid to talk about feminism. If that sounds melodramatic, I’d ask you to count the number of articles written by male writers tackling the big and small issues around gender and women’s equality. You’ll be hard pressed to find a strong selection."

(1) To make this case you'd need to show me all the men who WANTED to write about feminism and were deterred. Maybe men, not women, are to blame for men not writing about feminism.

(2) The title suggests that this piece is going to be about how feminism needs to focus more on helping women in really tough situations. Now you think we all have to change our behaviour to help make male writers feel better about themselves?

"This is not acceptable. Men have a stake in gender equality, from promoting fair pay and no-fault divorce laws, all the way to stopping honour killings and sexual violence."

Yes poor men affected by a gender pay gap IN THEIR FAVOUR and honour killings OF WOMEN.

"We are boyfriends, husbands, fathers or friends, and yet too many of us shy away from these sensitive matters, fearing opprobrium."

Well yeah - if you write stupid things, you might get called out on it. That's free speech dude. Rather different from the rape threats I get on a regular basis I'd say.

"Too often, men worry they’ll be attacked by women for questioning a consensus position on feminist issues."

So you should be allowed to challenge "consensus positions" on feminism and women shouldn't be allowed to respond? You're no longer writing about feminism dude - you're just sitting on a massive great steaming pile of privilege muttering "must ask my butler to order more privilege".

"When Australian prime minister Julia Gillard was in power, a common refrain on the left was that she faced appalling attacks on her appearance and marital status."

"A common refrain" must be another term for "an actual fact".

"Her famous misogyny speech prompted headlines around the world after she accused her opponent, Tony Abbott, of sexism."

Yes sexism, That's what the whole feminism thing is about. Welcome to the party.

"There is no doubt that Gillard faced obstacles that men rarely have to contemplate, and that many of her ugliest critics have never accepted her legitimacy. Writer Anne Summers uncovered a litany of “vilification and denigration” against Gillard that went well beyond opposing the Labor leader’s policies. Many women applauded Gillard because they knew the daily realities of men ignoring, shaming or humiliating them at home, or at work."

So perhaps women around the world who have experienced similar prejudice and abuse felt pleased that she had called it out.

"And yet, during this entire period I found the debate depressingly staid."

What debate? The debate about whether sexism is ok? That's not a debate.

"The forums available to discuss these issues were limited, leaving (mostly female) feminists to defend Gillard from the trolls who mocked her ideas, clothes and hair." 

Perhaps you could send us the list of pitches you made to papers and journals asking for the opportunity to highlight the sexism she had experienced? Who stopped you adding your voice to this issue?

"My argument here isn’t that men should have been central in the debate – our role as privileged players in society has lasted far too long – but that mainstream feminism seemed only to feel aggrieved, and little else."

What the fuck else are we supposed to feel about RAMPANT SEXISM? Quizzical? Bemused? Aroused?

"But here’s the catch: Gillard ran a government that routinely enacted policies that harmed women, including placing asylum seekers in privatised immigration detention, backing warlords in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province, supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, cutting benefits for single mothers and opposing gay marriage."

And that doesn't make it ok for her to be criticised for her appearance.

More importantly - if you care so much about these issues - why don't YOU write about them? Instead of telling feminists what they should be writing about.

It seems like you live in this fantasy world where feminists are all paid a fortune to "sort out" gender inequality whatever way we think best and we have a big feminism staff meeting every morning to decide how to spend the money. That's not how it works. Lots of people write about trolling because they have experienced it. If we didn't get trolled so much we might have the personal resources to write more about other issues.

And it comes down to what will the media publish. In my experience as a woman it is really hard to sell articles that aren't related to a personal experience I've had. Men are much more easily accepted as "experts" on varied subjects. For instance you managed to sell this piece even though you clearly haven't even thought it through.

"There are countless other examples, yet they remained mostly dismissed by the same women (and men) who lavished support on Gillard for her “feminist ideals”."

Who has been dismissing these issues? The mainstream media. Which is not run by feminists. Far from it. At last weekend's Feminism In London conference I never heard Gillard's name mentioned - I did see a workshop on Turkish women's rights, a panel on issues around motherhood and panels on things like the harms of prostitution and women in the mental health system. I didn't see you there Anthony.

"The love-fest continued in September last year when Summers interviewed Gillard in an Oprah-style format, with sell-out crowds lapping it up. This was, unquestioningly, a moment of public catharsis. Of course, there is nothing wrong with praising Australia’s first female prime minister for her achievements – but at least be honest, and admit that a few principled speeches on her part don’t compensate for years of abandoning the very gender you claimed to be helping."

Can you hear yourself? "Australia's first female prime minister". Can you not imagine for a second why that might be important to Australian women? But yes the mainstream media very rarely challenge the political establishment on these sorts of issues. Why is it feminism's job to change that? Why not yours?

"In many of my books, female voices challenge a corrupt and militarised capitalist system, and it’s these characters that inspire me."

Characters? So you invent women and then say you're inspired by them? Does your imaginary girlfriend have a well-developed sense of irony? She's going to need it.

"We rarely hear from those women in the west, and if we do they are buried under the din of articles about face-lifts and marrying George Clooney (a great recipe for click-baiting)."

Feminists have repeatedly complained about and campaigned against the over-coverage of those issues in the media. Why don't you add your voices to their rather then attacking them for "not campaigning hard enough".

"I believe that’s part of the reason why female anti-feminism is growing, especially as issues many women see as tangential gain disproportionate online prominence."

Where's your science to back up "female anti-feminism is growing"? The only thing I see growing in male anti-feminism - yours.

"In Unspeakable Things, British writer Laurie Penny argues: The feminism that sells is the sort of feminism that can appeal to almost everybody while challenging nobody, feminism that soothes, that speaks for and to the middle class, aspirational feminism that speaks of shoes and shopping and sugar-free snacks and does not talk about poor women, queer women, ugly women, transsexual women, sex workers, single parents, or anybody else who fails to fit the mould."

Yes the media generally picks up on the least challenging aspects of feminism. It's almost like they're not run by feminists.

"This perfectly describes many western women who have become media spokespeople for their gender, appearing on TV with predictable lines."

Who? Who are you talking about? What predictable lines?

"These are the same self-described feminists now salivating over the possible US presidency of Hillary Clinton, despite her record as a pro-war Democrat who believes in endless war. Yes, some feminist hero."

I don't know who you mean. But yes a female president of the US would be a big deal actually. I didn't think you actually had to have a vagina to get this but I'm starting to think you do.

"In hindsight, there’s no solid reason why I couldn’t have written this article years ago, but I’ve hesitated to do so."

So you've been held back by "no solid reason"? FEMINISTS STOP!! Hold off on ending FGM. Let rape culture run a bit longer. Poor Anthony needs time to tie his shoelaces before he gets back on with attacking us.

"I’ve worried that I would be slammed for my white, male position and dismissed as ignorant of the real problems faced by women today."

Have a cookie.

"It’s an odd concern, because I don’t worry about extreme Zionists challenging me when I call them out on their racism (and I do receive plenty of vicious attacks whenever I write about it)."

Mmmm - comparing feminists to Zionists... Ho hum, makes a change from Hitler.

"The bottom line is that writing about feminism when male is like gatecrashing a party – and I’m concerned I’ll be slammed for daring to arrive without an invitation. But the responsibility to advocate for half the population falls of everyone’s shoulders, not just women."

Advocating for half the population - great - go ahead. Telling us all we're doing it wrong while we're fighting for our own rights AND at the same time telling us that we need to prioritise attending to a vague intangible feeling of discomfort you're experiencing - consider yourself slammed you whiny waste of space. How can I put this clearly? YOU'RE NOT HELPING.

"To do it meaningfully, however, we need to focus on the issues that truly need our help the most urgently: benefits taken away from single mums; sexual violence which affects all women, but especially already vulnerable ones; endemic racism which leads to parents of colour scared to have their child shot by police forces; lack of unionising or legislation which leaves women without working rights worldwide; the right not subject to rape threats and abuse, online and offline; equal pay for equal work."

But if we talk about online abuse (like Gillard's) we're missing the point? Feminists I know are campaigning on all these issues. If you think more needs doing, good, I agree, now here's an idea: do it.

"Ultimately, I realise I’ve been been too cautious for too long, not daring to add my voice to the debate. I agree with The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky who states that although misogyny predominantly affects women, “it’s important for men to acknowledge that as long as women aren’t free, men won’t be either.”"

If you're only interested in helping women achieve equality because of what you, as a man, can gain from it, you're not a feminist, you're a self-interested shit.

"But to win this battle, we have to remember that the debates about celebrity red carpet dresses and celeb-feminism are designed to distract us. This is feminism lite, and is little more than white noise. Gender equality will only be achieved by hard work and uncomfortable questions."

No it's not "feminism lite" it's not feminism. Feminism is not about celebrity dresses. It's about women. Always has been. And yes gender equality (MY equality) will only be achieved through hard work but how exactly is it therefore my job to do that work. Is it not the job of sexists to STOP BEING SEXIST? Why should it be left to the victims of inequality to end inequality. The whole point of inequality is that we have less resources with which to do so.

So thanks for your input on the five hundred subjects that feminism ought to be doing more about Anthony but my schedule's actually pretty full right now. To be honest I could do without the extra work of telling you where to stick your patronising anti-feminist bullshit.

And breath.