A request for a favour

Hello lovely readers. You’re ace, you are. Well, most of you. The ones who don’t hate-read it to get a creaking rage-boner, anyway.

Today, I’d like you all to do me a tiny weeny little favour that will take about five minutes. I’ve found myself nominated for an RWL Award, which is very exciting as I never get nominated for anything usually.

I’m in awesome company in my category, and probably wouldn’t mind if any of them won, but I’ve never won anything in my life, so obviously I’d really like it to be me.

Can you take two seconds to vote for me?

Pretty please?

Pretty please with an improbably large pile of dessert toppings on the top?

Voting closes at midday tomorrow, Tuesday 19th March.

Make me feel happy inside and toss me a vote!

❤ xoxoxo Zoe

ETA: How very rude of me not to give you a little something to sweeten the deal. As a thank-you, here is a high-res stream of some kittens. You’re welcome.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

It’s that time of the week again. Here are some things that I read that I found interesting. Some of which weren’t even written this week. As always, drop me any links you think may interest me in the comments.

Public Order in the Gallery (This Day)- Wail writes beautifully on the experience of sitting in the public gallery at a trial, and the enforced passivity demanded by judges.

Alfie Meadows and Zak King are not guilty: now it’s time for police behaviour to be scrutinised (Petra Davis)- A discussion of the context of Alfie and Zak’s trial, and the implications.

The Hour of Power, 10th March (Nina Power & James Butler)- Radio show, discussing revenge. Even if you don’t listen to the whole hour, the first 7 minutes or so are cathartically raw.

How to do madness: An illustrated guide (zedkat)- an exploration of stock images used to illustrate discussions of mental health.

Brendan O’Neill and the feminist left’s lack of ‘ambition’ (ITISIWHOWILLIT)- That weeping syphilitic chode has been at it again. A feminist who isn’t me provides smackdown.

do your homework (or, what goes wrong when writers don’t… and then write about kink) (SexGeek)- There’s been some terrible writing about BDSM around. SexGeek provides detailed analysis and busts some myths.

Sex workers get raped too, but the resources to help them can be hard to find (Jessie Nicole)- Violence against sex workers is rife. There are a lot of barriers, but also solutions to this problem.

And finally, I’ve been burning through Game of Thrones once again in anticipation of the third season. I’ve been really bothered by something (well, apart from the obvious, like the rape, the misogyny, the racism, etc): how the seasons work, with those superlong seasons. It’s kind of fucked up. I suspected it might be something to do with wobbly axial tilt of the planet they live on, and so does this article, which also provides other food for thought.

The blood on the hands of the state

I want you to read this story of a man who died in prison having been jailed for stealing a gingerbread man. He was ill, mentally and physically. He was jailed for stealing a gingerbread man and died in a prison, having been thrown on the mercy of a state which refused to address his needs. I want you to feel the horror at the senselessness of this man’s death, of how it should have never happened.

It is a gutwrenching horror, difficult to put into words. A life ended over a gingerbread man. It pricks more keenly as you realise it is connected to so many other villainies.

Deaths in prison are startlingly common. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 34 deaths in prison, and five deaths in police custody. And the figures may be higher: it is hardly unheard of for the state to fudge the figures and pretend that this all happened elsewhere, to twist the truth so far that it becomes a lie.

And let us not forget the numerous failings of the state to care for people with mental and physical health problems. With their ATOS assessments and their bedroom taxes, with their attempts to cut the things which people need to stay alive, there have been deaths. There will be more.

This man was in prison due to a bloodthirsty crackdown from the state. They wanted to reassert their authority after the riots, pretend that justice was being done to assuage the fears of a mob which may have never existed at all. The media and the state colluded to whip up a panic about lawlessness and a hunger for revenge, when in fact this man had merely stolen a gingerbread man. He should have never been in prison in the first place.

And in fact, the whole institution of prison is merely a violence enacted by the state. You may attempt to justify it by crying out about the rapists and the paedophiles and the murderers, but remember that here you are braying in chorus with the foul bastards who would throw anyone they do not like into a hole to die, using your fears to protect their modesty. And if prison is your only solution, you lack imagination in devising new means for restorative justice–or new means for vengeance.

And why should we let these state murderers be the gatekeepers to justice? It is even, now, a crime to say that they have blood on their hands, with the judge–a cog in this vast machine of violence–saying “I can think of nothing more alarming than the statement that ‘Cameron has blood on his hands.” What about the fact that he does have blood on his hands? What about the fact that so do judges, and politicians, and police, and the state-sanctioned contractors who enact violence on behalf of this vicious state?

Do not justify it by saying there is nothing better. Think of things which are better.

And we shall grind all their prisons to dust, build a bonfire of their symbols of power, and we shall burn their machinery piece by piece. They cannot continue to murder with impunity. From the ashes, something new will rise. Something beautiful.

Rape in the headlines: is there a war on?

Trigger warning for rape

A quick look at the headlines today reveals a bucketload of stories about rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault. From the utterly unsurprising revelation that the police had heard complaints about Jimmy Savile and did precisely fuck all to the lead singer of a band appearing in court charged with conspiracy to rape a baby. From the death of one of the Delhi gang rapists to the ongoing fallout in the SWP over their utter failure to deal with sexual violence. All the way round to this utter shit-turd in the Daily Mail declaring that it’s actually the fault of teenage girls that they get sexually harassed and assaulted by powerful men [clean link, but don’t read it if you don’t want to spend the rest of the day furious/sad/triggered].

Is the media actually starting to care? Is this war finally going to be fought, colours nailed to the mast and the battle lines being drawn? On the one side vile old rapists, the cops and Petronella Wyatt, and on the other, everyone else? Could it possibly be that that is what is happening at last?

Nope.

To quote @FutureFutures, who encapsulated the problem perfectly in two words, rape sells.

They aren’t actually interested in reporting the nagging background reality of the fact that women get raped every single fucking day. They are interested in portraying only that which can be made lurid and reported in exactly the same way as one might report expenses fiddling or a public divorce.

The “real life” magazines have pursued this business model for decades, to the point where sometimes I wonder whether Take A Break editors are contractually obliged to include at least one “RAPED AT KNIFEPOINT BY THE GAS MAN” story per issue.

And it sells. It sells because they instances of rape that get reported are unimaginably horrid to far too many people. What gets put in the newspapers is mercifully rare: the stranger rapes, the celebrity rapists, and so forth. These are the ones deemed newsworthy not due to the fact that what happened was a rape, but rather, the glamour of celebrity or the tears of human tragedy.

For society at large, this war is not being fought. It’s just entertainment, a thing that sells papers and is interesting to read about.

The real war will continue to go unreported, unremarked upon. It is banal to those who set the agenda. It is traumas inflicted daily, it is denial that what happened was a problem. It is a deafening conspiracy of silence. It is rape apologism, trivialisation and dismissal. It is violence, it is manipulation. It is a feeling of unease, a burning desire for vengeance, a tenderness as friends mop away the tears. It is families and friends torn apart over who to believe, it is fear and it is loathing. It is feminists attempting to make noise, silenced by the dominant opinion that there is not a problem. It is support in any way possible.

And the war will rage on, unreported and unremarked upon, because all of these aspects of rape and rape culture are unmarketable. After all, it is only a certain line that will sell.

Fuck off, Ray Winstone

Hi there, Ray Winstone. I note you’re feeling rather sad, having witnessed what you no doubt consider to be a horrific sexual assault. The violent predator, Mr High Taxes, viciously violated Britain in an aggressive rape lasting for…

I’m sorry, I can’t even continue trying to sarcastically repeat what you said because FUCK OFF FUCK OFF FUCK OFF FUCK OFF FUCK OFF YOU VILE SHITTING DICKBURGER FUCK OFF AND BURN.

Rape is rape. Taxes are taxes.

Sure, it might make you a bit annoyed that you have to pay a bit of money to the state. I’m not exactly happy about it either. At least you got a hefty tax cut in the last budget–at least, I assume you did, despite one of your more recent film credits only taking the princely sum of £747.

Sorry, I digress.

Paying tax is somewhat trivial in comparison to rape. It really, really is. I’ve experienced both, and I should know. Fuck it, even if you haven’t experienced it, you should fucking well know this.

Every time another smug prick with a tedious opinion compares whatever their whiny cause is to rape, it trivialises rape, makes society take it less seriously. It is turning to countless survivors and shouting in their faces “Well, you think you’ve got problems? I have to pay some of my loads of fucking money, just like everyone else does. Also, there’s a windfarm near my house, and windfarms are also worse than that.” It is saying that violence doesn’t matter, that what really matters is making things comfier for those who are already comfortable.

It betrays a staggering ignorance at best, and, at worst, a willful lack of empathy so severe that you deserve to be swallowed by a horse’s anus.

But I’m feeling merciful today, Ray. I’ll tell you what, you go and fuck off and educate yourself. You go and fucking apologise for your shitty comments and genuinely learn why your comparison was a nonsense. You sort your fucking life out.

And then, come the revolution, maybe we’ll be merciful. Maybe we won’t inflict the worst punishment imaginable on you. Maybe we won’t raise your taxes.

Things I read this week that I found interesting

It’s that time of the week again. Here’s some things I read this week, even if they weren’t necessarily written this week. As always, drop things in the comments that I might like.

Alfie Meadows and Zak King found not guilty! (Defend the Right to Protest)- Just about the best news I’ve heard all week. These two lovely young people, after a two year ordeal, were found unanimously not guilty by the jury. The fight for justice for what the state did to them has just begun.

Another post about rape, assault and yet more excuses (Glosswitch)- Glosswitch identifies an area of rape apologism which is trotted out altogether too frequently.

We need to face up to hatred of prostitutes – among feminists, too (Hannah Betts)- An excellent post on prejudice against sex workers and how it manifests, and its impact.

Yo as a Pronoun (Grammar Girl)- Kids in Baltimore are using a gender-neutral pronoun: “Yo”. Here’s how it works.

Cameron pours his curves into suit for Europe speech (NewsBiscuit)- Spot-on satire of how the media like to report women appearing in public.

New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory May Be Good for You (Scientific American)- Short–but highly uncritical–overview of the research into polyamory. Check the last paragraph for some particularly uncritical reporting.

The Luxury of Surprise: Gender and Online Abuse (quiteirregular)- A man writes about how surprising online abuse is to him, and how this is a luxury.

[untitled]– Very sweet little webcomic detailing how terrible we are at talking about mental health problems as a society.

And finally, this is, quite simply, the funniest joke ever written.