Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dawkinsian Feminism?

Currently top of Cru-blogs hot hunks list is still Richard Dawkins. I've just found this great article on embryonic stem cell research.

Of course these distributors of God's love to the world are not new to the idea of defending embryos however small, they've been doing it for years as part of their wildly successful ongoing campaign to make life as miserable as possible for women in general. Large parts of the US now hold essentially no abortion facilities and in many places it is close to impossible to obtain the morning after pill. In the UK we already have pharmacies refusing to dispense the pill and the MAP on the grounds that they prevent implantation of a fertilised egg rather than fertilisation.

What gets me is that you never see the "It's Against God's Will" placards turning up outside IVF centres. It's surely just as much against what God wanted to make babies when he had planned for you not to. But then women refused IVF might escape lives of domestic servitude and perhaps use the available time to assemble and protest the way the church has been treating them for the last 2000 years. And if medical intervention is against God's will then why have hospitals at all? Or even pharmacies? Surely God will not let you die unless it is his will for you to die. And why wear a watch? Surely God will not let you be late for brunch unless it is his will for you to be late. And why why do anything at all unless you really feel like it cos surely God will make you do what he wants if he wills it so...?

And here's another one. Since God didn't want us to have that extra-marital sex* anyway then how can he want you to keep the resulting sprog? Pretty mixed messages there. Also the demand for abortions might be a whole lot lower if women getting pregnant outside of wedlock weren't totally ostracised for being "loose women" by their church and local community in these areas.

* Widely preached in churches but the actual bible is very ambiguous on the subject. Not keen in the new testament and reference to adultery in the ten commandments but the rest of the old testament contains innumerable references to women working as hookers or concubines and no-one seemed to mind.

London Free Papers - As Rubbish As The Rest

Glad someone else noticed this. Personally I usually look up the latest news on the BBC on my 'phone on the way in. Eventually I was tempted however and picked up one of the freebees (actually I picked up about three - I had to to clear a seat so I could sit down on the bus). And the coverage they offer is RUBBISH, utter RUBBISH. Posh Spice, Jordan, Kate Moss, articles about "Why I like reading this free paper rather than the other one" and general piffle.

One of them today (the one without a website) had a front cover headline along the lines of "Modern Life Causes Breast Cancer". The point is sound of course: increases in obesity, drinking, poor diets, lack of exercise, etc have led to dramatic increases in breast cancer rates (women being bigger means there's more breast matter to be at risk for starters). However the article headline to me at least implies that the rise has been caused by women getting the vote, joining the workforce, etc and the article itself glosses over the factors above and focusses on the fact that we're all not having enough babies before we hit 30.

Now I don't know any specific numbers but here's a straightforward FACT that I am sure about - the risks of having a baby outweigh the risks of not having one. True all over the world ladies - if you want to live longer, don't have kids. Another thing that isn't mentioned is the amount of women having breast "enhancement" surgery, I can't help thinking intrusive surgery to insert a sack full of silicon that might burst at any moment int your breasts probably doesn't reduce your cancer risk...

...that sort of article really is what I call a waste of trees!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heavenly reading matter

I'm now finally in possession of a copy of Richard Dawkins new book "The God Delusion", a fantastic read. He states in the introduction that he's hoping readers will by the end be ready to publically declare themselves atheists. Well I'm only on chapter two but count me in please! And if any religious people are reading this - consider this: I've read the bible, the whole thing, from cover to cover, and I'm still an atheist. So if you're so sure of your beliefs, why not read this book? What are you afraid of. Mail me and I'll lend you my copy.

And religious protectionism is still apparently on the rise. Berlin's Opera House is cancelling a show because it features the heads of two guys from the 1st and 7th centuries.

I can only respond to this by quoting Professor Dawkins himself talking about the Danish cartoon furore: "if you want to get excited about affronts to Muslims, read the Amnesty International reports on Syria and Saudi Arabia".

He might, if he'd noticed how quickly the US and UK forces were abandoning Afghanistan after they got their oil deal signed, have added Afghanistan or at least Taliban-ruled southern Afghanistan to that list. Suggesting that women have a right to an education, a job or to be treated better than a goat is a capital offence there these days.

Avert your eyes

A more humourous contribution to the Lads Mags debate...

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Johann Hari's response, in the Independent, to the on-going pope vs. muslims debate is well worth a read.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

So was it worth the $2trillion?

Harking back to something I posted on a while ago now. It's always nice to know that your money's been well spent.

Why can't we have REAL NEWS?

There's been a lot on the news about the allegedy failings of the UK care system. This BBC article for example, which offers the shocking news that "Of the 6,000 who leave care each year, 4,500 will have no qualifications and a fifth will be homeless", and a number of other similarly shocking statistics.

Now I'm not saying the UK care system is good, nor indeed as good as it should be but there are a few things they haven't mentioned here:

1) At what age were these kids taken into care? After 15 years with bad parents and 6 months in a foster home, I think the blame for a child not achieving his or her potential might in some cases lie with the local authority for not spotting that the child needed to be taken into care soon enough.

2) Why were these children taken into care? Now I grew up in what can only be described as an abusive household. However I had very good results at school in tests, etc and I was never in trouble with the law (not least because I knew what would happen to me if I did). So no-one ever questioned whether I was in a suitable home, etc. The "triggers" they look for are things like poor school results and criminal activity. And then they're surprised that the kids they find have low academic resuts and high rates of criminal activity.

I'm all in favour of improving the system but doesn't seem that current criticism can be taken to mean very much given the lack of statistically useful data.

Welsh Cru

Cru and Mr Cru had a lovely weekend away celebrating Bitter's birthday (of the gothic storytelling/comedy duo Bitter and Twisted) and taking the opportunity to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology, second time there for me but new on Mr Cru and Twisted and fascinating for us all. Recommend a trip if you are in the area any time. Last time I stayed at the eco-retreat tipis, though I can't find the proper website for that although it is available as a weekend through lots of the "experience"-selling websites like here.

And I'm back in Wales (sort-of) tomorrowas a guest of Nicola Haywood-Thomas on BBC Radio Wales. I'll be there sometime between 1.30pm and 2pm explaining why Britain being top of the European league-tables for plastic surgery is nothing to be proud of. Please listen in and if you like dial in and back me up too!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Brutal? Yes, Truth...

Tony Blair's latest speech to the TUC just had me foaming at the mouth with fury. Firstly there was the string of excuses for his attrocious policy-making:

1) "government is a hard, difficult business."

2) "for those of you who think that you'll ever get a government where everything is fine - that doesn't happen."

3) "the brutal truth about all politicians and all political leaders is that you have your difficult times and have your better times"

4) "the decisions you take are often very, very hard to take"

If the job's too hard for you Tony - give it to someone who can do it. Like me...

Secondly, there were some protestors there with banners saying "Troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq" and he told them (quoting from the radio here, it's not in the article, nor in the official scripts because it was a response to what was going on) "we have to protect democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq against the threats from the Taleban and Al Qaeda". Now I fully accept that the Taleban would like to run Afghanistan but if Al Qaeda are in Iraq, then thats our fault. Saddam Hussein while not at all a nice guy was definitely keeping Islamic fundamentalists out of his country. The struggles in Iraq right now are a mixture of trouble we stirred up and attempts to get us out.

What I see and hear when Tony Blair speaks is a the paranoia of someone who knows they've done a terrible terrible thing and is clutching at straws to try to cover their own back. I strongly doubt Gordon Brown is any better but he couldn't be any worse.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ever feel like you've been Cheated?

The Red Lion, Great Windmill Street, Soho is closing. Tonight. Forever. They're turning it into offices. Now I've been compering comedy in the upstairs room there for about three years on and off and there's been comedy in that room for more than five years. More importantly it's the room in which Karl Marx was commissioned to write and wrote the first draft of the Communist Manifesto. That's a pretty major occurrence in modern history. Without it things might have been very different indeed.

Now National Heritage-type issues are really not my bag. I'm all in favour of them but I just don't consider them "my" causes. I do womens issues and secularism (although Marx had some very interseting points to make on both). Still I am utterly furious that it's being closed down without so much as a wimper. I only found out myself a few days ago. I called English Heritage and they told me it's not grade 2 starred listed - only grade two, so it's nothing to do with them, I have to speak to Westminster Council. The latter hasn't answered it's phone or returned my call since. We're having one last comedy night there tonight. Aaron Barshack (the comedy terrorist guy) is coming along and has contact a few other people of the activist type to see if there is any interest in making a fuss.

Karl Marx is audibly turning in his grave.

Back to Life

Apologies for the blog silence over the last couple of weeks. The success of the show led to me being invited to take part in a number of "showcase" shows in front of some very large audiences. My favourites were "Spank!" - a very noisy late night gig where I weirdly bumped in to an old friends who turns out to be the cousin of one of the other acts on the bill - and "Lunchbox Live" which at about 1pm seemed very early to be doing skits about orgasms and, well, those of you who've seen my set will know the rest...

Anyway so that's my excuse for not being on blog. When we got back we mostly just slept and vegged out. Doing a few shows though too.

I see while I was napping something truly unexpected has happened - the Guardian gender page has published a real feminist article. Actually one which ties in with some things I've been saying for a while.

Also "while I was out..." there's another new bill in parliament which sets out to ban viewing violent pornography (it is already illegal to produce or distribute it). Lots of people are moaning about the bill saying it's the producers of such vile things who should be prosecuted. Which in theory would completely solve the problem but in practice would have no effect at all. Why?

1) We live in a world full of economic unbalance. If the demand for something exists in the west, the supply for it will emerge in the third world.

2) It's already illegal to produce it and yet it still exists.

3) I don't want to work and interract with people who spend their evenings indoors with their high-speed internet access and a box of tissues watching women being violently raped and murdered.