I’m sorry to keep coming back to this story, but it is a fine illustration of the depths to which the British media will sink when they think that they have a defenseless minority that they can persecute at will. Let’s have a brief recap.
It all started when Suzanne Moore said something mildly insensitive (possibly out of ignorance) in an article, and was questioned about it on Twitter. Instead of engaging with her critic, she flung off a series of insults about trans people, got the predictable response, then left Twitter in a huff claiming that she had been driven away.
Then Julie Burchill leapt to her friend’s defense with an article that was basically a whole string of insults about trans people all gathered into one place and held together with protestations of Ms. Burchill’s poor, working class nature, as compared to the wealthy and highly educated trans community. The Observer got a lot of stick for publishing this, so they withdrew it, probably to escape the embarrassment of the huge amount of criticism they were getting on their website. Burchill immediately re-sold the piece to her old working class buddy, Toby Young (the son of Baron Young of Dartington), who published it in the Telegraph, where it remains online to this day.
We have since been treated to a succession of articles by concerned journalists explaining how bad it is that Ms. Burchill should be treated in this way, because getting paid twice for a piece of writing that is currently available to be read all over the world means that she has been subjected to censorship thanks to the lobbying of the evil and powerful trans cabal.
Yesterday Roz Kaveney was summoned onto BBC Radio 4′s Media Show to discuss the issue with Mr. Young (who, by the way, goes by @toadmeister on Twitter). You can listen to it here. You may notice, as I did, that Roz’s comments have been clumsily edited so that she’s cut off in mid flow several times. Toadmeister, on the other hand, is allowed to talk freely. Roz explains what happened here.
The irony of someone being accused of censorship of an article that is freely available worldwide having her words edited out of a debate on the subject is presumably lost on the commentariat. However, I was chatting with Roz on the phone earlier today and we both agreed that the BBC probably didn’t intend any malice. It is just that they had a debate between a member of the nobility on one hand, and on the other a representative of a minority group, all of whom the World Health Organization and the NHS regards as mentally ill, and they gave prominence to those speakers accordingly.
Meanwhile Suzanne Moore has taken to the Guardian to explain how belief in freedom is incompatible with equality, so equality has to go. She reports her recent experiences thus: “The wrath of the transgender community has been insane.” Well of course. As we are all mentally ill, what does she expect? But of course you will all have seen the vile and vicious way in which I have attacked Ms. Moore here. (Julie Burchill must be sick with envy of me.) And there’s more. If you really want to see how leading members of the trans community have poured hatred and bile on poor Ms. Moore’s head I recommend that you read Christine Burns and Paris Lees.
The original fuss, of course, was caused by Moore’s unfortunate use of “Brazilian transsexual” as a punchline. Well Pink News discovered that a Brazilian trans woman was murdered this very week. That’s not actually very surprising as the murder rate for Brazilian trans women is currently running at between 2 and 3 every week. But hey, they had a picture of the unfortunate woman in a skimpy costume, and as nothing says Important News Story more loudly than big boobies they ran with it to help explain why some trans people were so upset with Moore.
Because, you know, freedom of speech.
This morning Moore is claiming that her threat was just a joke. I guess you can interpret that in two ways. On the one hand she may still be in desperate need of lessons on how to use social media [Hint: is good for indicating a joke]. But it is also possible that she has learned very quickly how to troll for outrage so that she can then continue to paint herself as a victim.
There is one aspect of the whole thing that I find troubling. Some trans people are saying things like, “It would never happen if I was black/disabled/Jewish/Muslim/etc.” Ironically these are some of the same people extolling the virtues of intersectionality. There is no greasy totem poll of oppression, people. This sort of highlighting of the actions of a few extremists in order to smear the bulk of a despised group gets done to many different groups, not just us.
Still, I have learned from this how a proper journalist is supposed to behave, and now I am going to put it into practice. You see, SFWA has just issued the 200th edition of its magazine, the SFWA Bulletin. The cover is graced by a picture of a good looking red-haired woman (see below). Inside Mike Resnick has an article about sexy women editors. In true journalistic tradition, I am assuming that this is All About Me, and will sue.
Firstly there’s breach of copyright. SFWA has clearly used my picture on the cover of their magazine without permission. (And by the way, people, that’s scale armor I’m wearing, not a chain mail bikini. Even I’m not that stupid.) Secondly, if Mike has failed to list me amongst his list of the totally hawtest women editors in the community, I shall sue for defamation.
As a well-known and outspoken feminist writer, I am sure that I can rely on the support of the UK media in my quest for fair treatment.
And see here for some alternative versions, given that Jim Hines and John Scalzi are not available to model.