Free Speech – A Thoroughly Modern Liberal Problem

This piece was promoted by a comment on a previous piece about free speech.

I would be interested to hear your views on whether you think the Free Speech Crusade has a bit of an image problem at the moment. I’m referring to all the free speech banners being waved at this weekend’s ‘Football Lads Alliance’ March in London. Not much digging is required before you discover this lot are a load of knuckle dragging far right racists. Yet again, as per the recent ‘Nazi Pug’ business there’s a direct link between the issues you raise and infamous chancer ‘Tommy Robinson’.

Now this is not an attack on the poster of this comment but it is a rebuttal of the malaise that current liberals and “the left” seem to have with what free speech actually is.

Or Freeze Peach as some unfunny, condescending twats have taken to calling it.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This comment perfectly encapsulates the general patronisation that the issue of free speech has reached with some on the political left (of which I still count myself a part of).

The points in this comment are:

Image Problem – Image would suggest ownership.  No one owns free speech and that is the main point, it is for anyone and everyone.  To wish to attach an image to it is nefarious and rather transparent, as the rest of the comment goes on to nail home.

Crusade – this, on its own is not a terrible descriptor but taken with the other points in the comment the referencing to a religious (and as some would undoubtedly suggest, racial) war is not lost.  That religion is still one of the biggest opponents of free speech should be noted.

Football Lads Alliance March – this is inaccurate, see further points.

Not much digging – well indeed not much at all if, as I suspect you probably just read a few headlines (which were actually changed) from the failed Independent and failing Guardian newspaper websites and they will simply confirm your own bias.

Far-right racists – they were there, most types of people were there but hey just focus on one fraction of the attendees.

Tommy Robinson – see also, Football Lads Alliance March.  Basically this whole comment could have been condensed to:

“Tommy Robinson (whatever his real name is, ho ho ho ) was there and therefore this free speech thing is only a thing so racists can insult Muslims.”

That the march was reported as being a gathering of the “alt-right” or even “far-right” was enough evidence of the general lack of comprehension that some have about the actual event.  But that labelling has a purpose and that is to undermine free speech.

What currently sums up the attitude to this event and the chastisement of free speech in general is the treatment of Vanity Von Glow.

Because merely being a drag queen and appearing at this event can see you shunned by the apparent liberal and free thinking sections of society.  You do have to wonder whose knuckles are actually dragging on the ground.

 

In other related news, subject to a 3 month public consultation, the Sentencing Council for England and Wales has drafted changes to public order offences, including anyone perceived as targeting online a “protected characteristics” including “race; sex; disability; age; sexual orientation; religion or belief; pregnancy and maternity; and gender reassignment.”

People convicted of hate crimes could get harsher sentences if they have large number of social media followers

Police threaten to arrest Facebook users after ‘tiny drugs bust’ mocked

 

One final point; if we are going to do the “guilt by association” trope, then allow me to introduce you to Richard Spencer.  Who is, even in my mind, far-right in the true sense of the word and more importantly a white supremacist.  This is what he had to say about the lefty-maligned “Day of Freedom”

So for me, if I’m being accused of guilty by association then let it be with Tommy Robinson, a Nazi pug and a drag queen; the rest of you can bunk up with with your actual fascist bedfellows.

Nighty night.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

No I don’t know what is going on with the font.

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Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed…

“…And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!”

-Mr. Charrington, Nineteen Eighty-Four

 

The happiest days of my life were in infants and primary school (ages 5-11).  It was a time of fun, of basic understanding, of being able to be a child, of not being bullied, of manic cartoons on TV and of learning new words, especially the “naughty” ones.

This is Cheetara…

She was a ThunderCat (and probably the cause of many predilections of the phenomenon known today as a Furry).

She was also the cause of one of the few times I got into trouble with teachers at primary school.  I decided to dub here, with a new swear word I’d heard, Shitara.

This was shared only amongst a small number of my peer group, no harm was done.

Until someone told the teacher and I had to do lines as penance from knowing and using a rude word in class.

By the time I’d reach secondary school and was in my final year studying for exams so would come the next time I’d get lines for using a four-letter word.

Or a few four-letter words.

While a mate of mine kept taking stuff out of my pencil-case and throwing them at others in class; I proclaimed, in perfect timing just as the level of the classroom dropped, “leave it alone, you fucking cunt.”

The teacher, whom I thought out of class at the time, rose from behind a high bench and thus I was duly punished.

Lines, by the way, for those that don’t know, are akin to what Bart Simpson writes out at the start of every episode.

The point of these above stories is you really have to know your audience and your surroundings.

 

Exeter University student explains racist message revelation

Arsalan Motavali acted in an extremely cowardly and underhand way but is now a much-lauded member of the ever growing group of thought police that Mr. Charrington in George Orwell’s 1984 was a part of.

To be honest, if you were in a group with a load of people you didn’t know 100% you are pretty stupid to post stuff that is going to offend people, so I don’t really have any sympathy for those expelled by the university except for the fact that the actions that lead to their expulsion is a complete assault on free speech and free thought.

You’d think that if people were saying things that were offensive to you, you might what to call them out on it first, challenge them.  But Arsalan left the group.  He walked away.  That should have been the end of it.

But Mr. Motavali; seeking brownie points, got a few of his colleagues together and then, a few months later, such was the pressing nature of the crime, sought to publicly shame the offenders and thereby the university into taking action.

Given this man his badge for the Thinkpol and let him join Minitru, he is a strong and courageous citizen.

 

The Whatsapp groups I’m in with my friends work on what could be considered to be Mutually Assured Destruction.  In today’s society, what we post is intended to amuse and shock each other.  The misguided and hate filled out there would probably call it displays of “toxic masculinity,” really it is just friends talking, banter if you must, a way of brightening up the day.

But above all, it is a private conversation.

The thoughts, views and jokes told in the threads do not reflect the real life thoughts and behaviours of those involved in it, I can guarantee that, as much as I can probably say the same about those punished by Exeter University.

But we now live in a country where what is said and what is typed can lead to let alone imbalanced but completely unnecessary punishment.

There is a time and a place to say things but there is never a time and a place to think things, that is the beauty of private thought and sadly that is what some want to change.  The slippery slope is paved with good, offensive jokes.

Chip chop chip chop the last man is dead.

 

Thanks for reading.

The Day the Beer Sexism War was Won

A few weeks ago I wrote a small piece about Bolton Beer Festival and its “stand against sexism” and having been this weekend, as I have done annual for many years, I thought I’d reply to my own piece about the battlefield that has now been cleared and of the full and total victory that has now been won.

Sexism in the beer industry has become a hot topic over the last several months, but it has been gratifying to see that a number of our local breweries have taken this on board and rebranded/removed offensive marketing materials.  The war is not yet won, but we have prevailed in numerous battles.

This was the opening gambit in the festival programme and they sold themselves short, clearly not counting on the devastating blow they would strike with their “stand.”

Which was indeed a stand. With lots of nice stickers, so, if I get the intention correctly, women can label themselves…

Label themselves with slogans such as “I drink pints” and “I know about ABV.”

Of course what is offensive varies from person to person but so people think that everyone else can make up their own minds, when really then need others to do it for them.

I was then told that pump clip parade may have had to field a complaint, or at least a query about Siren Craft’s offerings.

 

 

Disgusting sexism.

In fact I mentioned as much to a brewer acquaintance friend about one of his recent cans…

 

Strangely he thought I was joking, so he clearly doesn’t take this issue as seriously as I do.

People are just better off removing women from advertising in general.

After all, CAMRA are removing women based on the clothes they wear.

Of course while at the festival I spoke to many people of the female variety who were aghast that some people were offended by the sight of, drawings, photographs or the very real, presence of a pair of breasts.

These women are suffering from internalised misogyny and aren’t really worth paying attention to when all is said and done.  I mean if they don’t see themselves as perpetual victims living in an oppressive patriarchy then perhaps they best off, much like darts walk on girls and F1’s grid girls, being ignored and ostracised.

 

In a war, generally two sides a fighting.  It must be really annoying when it is just one “side” doing a lot of huffing and puffing and the rest are actual belligerents who just don’t care.

 

The war is won, the battle for wokeness of all continues.

 

Viva la revolution.

 

Thanks for reading.

A Snap Dog, a Nazi Pug and a Count go into a Court…

A few weeks back I wrote about the case of Count Dankula just after he had been found guilty of being “grossly offensive” for teaching his dog to react to the phrase (heard 23 times in the posted video) “Gas the Jews” and various other phrases.

Yesterday the young man in question, Mark(us) Meechan was fined £800 for the act of telling a joke.

Fortunately he wasn’t martyred on the alter of free speech by facing a custodial sentence but in a case that dragged on for 2 years, based on no complaints at all, you have to wonder, just from a financial point of view, what have we as a nation gained from this because it certainly isn’t swelling of the public coffers and a much needed boost to police budgets.

Though if this is how the police are going to waste their time then they clearly have an abundance of staff and money to waste on frivolous nonsense like this and don’t need any more increase in their budgets.

David Baddiel, comedian AND Jew, so therefore ticking all demographics so the “sides” wanting his opinion on this case can claim the real victory for themselves, wrote a very good article dissecting the trial, what is a joke and what is offensive.  Personally the people happy to see Dankula charged and fined are relying on some rather spurious information to back up their side of the argument but then again I would say that.

The thing is, even in my free speech absolutism head I can see why this was taken to court, the phrase “Gas the Jews” when taken completely out of, or completely without context, is offensive.  Technically, as that is how the judge (no jury was used in this case) came to his verdict, then as I’ve simply quoted it, now twice in this piece (and once in the original piece) I could be charged with being “grossly offensive.”

Which brings us to the case of Chelsea Russell.

A woman of 19, now with a criminal conviction, £585 less in her savings and a tag so she can observe and 8 week curfew.  Her most heinous of crimes…?

Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I’m trippin’
Now I’m clutchin’ on my forty, all I can think about is drillin’
I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga
I think I’m trippin’, I think I’m trippin’

Quoting, on Facebook, the above lyrics, from a song called “I’m Trippin'” by “Snap Dog” (not Snoop).

As I’ve now quoted these lyrics on social media I too am perhaps in violation of some interpretation of a law that says I’m being “grossly offensive.”

The lyric site I copied them from are also in violation.

The websites that host the video for this song, or stream it are in violation also.

The artist himself is also guilty.

The rap in my music collection consists of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice-T (also his metal band Body Count, with their problematic song “Cop Killer”) and N.W.A – whose actual name, for those that don’t know, is “Niggaz Wit Attitudes.”

There lyrics are laden with nigger/nigga pejoratives.

The mere act of typing “the n-word” is a crime.

If we extend this to its natural conclusion, quoting absolutely anything, context be damned is a criminal offence here in the UK.

Chris Rock best not tour the UK again.

 

Thanks for reading.

Beer: Zealotry, Supersessionism and Schisms

I will start this by admitting self-censorship on this post.

Apart from the fact that this piece has gone through numerous drafts as to its actual nature in my head, the title did originally have the word Putsch in it.  I thought better of it, mainly because was and still am getting pretty sick of Nazi associations.  Where as I like a good hyperbole as much as the next shamelessly needful, clamouring for any form of attention blogger out there I do have to draw a line somewhere.

That said, hate crime and the continual court trials of people for saying rude and apparently nasty things is exceedingly good fascism.

Anyway, this piece is actually going to be rather personal and has become focussed this way purely because of the events of Saturday 21st April 2018.

It was a glorious, sunny but not too hot as to burn my perpetually pallid-ashen privileged white skin, and I’d arranged to meet up with some old work colleges, some I’d not seen since the two and a half years I left my job of over a decade working with them.

Like an old musical group getting back together for the love of music rather than a cheap cash-in, we all clicked and it was like the conversation had never missed a beat.  The faint patters of 2005-onwards, beat out a wonderful rhythm and that this took place in the Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road in Manchester brought into focus exactly what had gone on in my relationship with “the beer world.”

The fact that a phrase like that exists (world is far better replaced by bubble or echo chamber really) crystallises just what bullshit goes on in the world, the real world, thanks to the advent of social media.

I didn’t join Twitter until 2013, it would also seem that this was the year I also started this blog (I have other blogs that have been going far longer, good luck finding them) and joined CAMRA.

I had though, been drinking in the Marble Arch since 2005 when, on one Friday out of the month, I’d send out an email laced with double entendres that would get me sacked in a heart-beat these days, inviting out anyone who wished to spend a bit of their pay cheque on some beers and food in a few pubs in Manchester centre.

This was back in the day when the brewery was still in the pub, the Smithfield was still a hotel (and very red) and possibly the ceiling to the Crown & Kettle was only just being discovered.

It was the days of original Dobber, lip-stingingly sharp Marble Ginger and Pint, before cans became a chance to generate some fine Brewdog-style, everyone is picking on us, marketing.

It was a time of work mates just drinking, just actual drinking, in pubs, in actual pubs.

7 fucking years before my presence on Twitter.

I’d been going to beer festivals even before 2005.

Rather ironically in the Marble on this 2018 evening I did bump into 2 people I’d encountered on twitter previously.  One guy who runs Beer O’Clock show and I did once rile by claiming (rightly) that the #hopinions segments where getting very desperate.  They were then, who knows what they are like now.  The other bloke I think had just joined BO’C when I removed myself.

I’d asked them where they’d been and what their plans were for the rest of the evening. They’d done a few brew taps (non-existent in 2005, non-existent until about 2013) and that they were thinking of going to the Pilcrow, a soulless place, so desperately in need of a personality that it hadn’t even managed to steal one via osmosis from the “help” of willing slaves that built it from scratch.

I did suggest visits to the Angel, Smithfield and Crown & Kettle (as a route back to their hotel),  I had suggested a quick trip down the hill to Runaway Brewery but that wasn’t really possible given the time.  I do hope they took in those pubs and had a fine time.

They could have been tourists from another country or just unsure where to go next and looking for a pointer or two, instead there were from the beer world, knowledgeable and urbane and these two very nice people meant absolutely nothing to me.

For the five years I put into twitter, yes another odd phrase, I put half a decade of my life “into twitter” – I met and talked to some, nice people.

Not good people.  Good people is an anathema.  They were nice.  Helpful.  Friendly company.

This may be me burning my bridges but that is not the aim.

I left twitter, everyone’s lives moved on.  Next.

And then CAMRA have to do this revitalisation thing and I think I can guess, given the results, or at least THE ONE RESULT, what the reaction is.

It wouldn’t even surprise me if the reaction is very much like Brexit.

Old people.  What do they know?  Head in the sand.  Its OK, they’ll die soon and we can move on.  They don’t represent me.  I’m cancelling my membership.  I’m cutting up my card.  The vote wasn’t fair.  The threshold was too high.  Not enough of a turn-out.  I represent the silent majority.

As far as I’m concerned some would have actually wanted this result, I finally chance to virtue signal about how irrelevant CAMRA is and likewise how very relevant they are. A ha ha ha.

Nuance is dead.  Facts are dead.  It is and always will be us verses them but for some reason we can’t ever be the bigger people, shrug and move on, we have to, just have to move even further to the other side to address some hypothetical imbalance.

 

It is with no small irony that, being an actual active CAMRA member, I was thinking of leaving the organisation last year.  But life got in the way and I didn’t cancel my direct debit.

Why would I leave?  Well it is a nonsense really.  I give my Spoons vouchers to my mates.  I know enough people at all the local beer festivals I volunteer at (to get free beer, like everyone else does) to guess I can continue to volunteer at them (mainly because I’m quick, helpful and not as drunk as most of the other volunteers working behind the bar) and it just seems like a unnecessary folly.  A folly I am at least making use of in actual involvement.

In the Venn-diagram of CAMRA vs craft and everything in between, the bubble peak point because in my time out of it, I drink, I enjoy myself and I’m surrounded by real people free of beer bullshit.

On 21st April 2018 a vote happened.  A few people on social media got upset.  A few people on social media were OK with it.  A few people on social media fell out with each other because of it.

In the real world.  With real drinkers. In real pubs.  Drinking was done and no shits were given.  Let the beer egotists argue amongst themselves.  Whatever fills up your day.

The bubble is inflated by the hot air of elitist, all of which needing their own and their adversaries bullshit in order to justify their own reason for being in the bubble.

Of course this post is part of the bullshit.  Here is hoping it is the one final turd that causes the shit-show to slurry as a giant shit-tide out into the fucking sea.  I somewhat doubt it.

I raise my glass to you all.  It passed the time.

 

Thanks for reading.

A Beer Burka

The Seasonal CAMRA Festival Must-Have

Pirate performer ‘mortified’ after she is told to cover up her cleavage at beer festival

When Wigan CAMRA host their “treat adults like adults” annual beer festival they usually have a theme night where you can get free entry if you are dressed as that year’s festival theme.

Being Wigan, everything is generally related to pies and rather laboured puns.  Puns which would probably turn the stomach of the puritans gleefully filling the pages of pumpclip parade

This year, 2018, it was a PIE-lot.There has been a PIE-King (that’s a pun on Viking, clearly cultural appropriation) and a whole host of other that despite searching for images and being to lazy to walk to my glass cabinet to check the artwork, I can’t be bothered to delve in to only to point out that there was once, of course, a PIE-Rate.

So where as modern feminists leap with joy as young women lose jobs as walk-on girls in darts and grid girls in motor sports, because, you know, women should have choices just not 100% there own, so too it would seem that CAMRA, as they try and “revitalise” and after a few recent to-dos and as they succumb to the inevitable supersessionism that is spreading through the beer world like a virulent yeast infection they have now gone full circle and over to the other side.

A side inhabited by the virtuous, the puritanical, the zealots.  Those against choice or even actual equality.

Whether future CAMRA festivals will feature dress codes for women, remains to be seen.  Perhaps it might depend if the festival is held in a place of worship where alcohol is acceptable but what a woman wears is subject to patrols by their approved modesty police.

Or maybe everyone can take a breath, behave like adults, so trying to feed into an “us vs them” mentality and actual approach life and all its aspects with rationality and clear thinking.

It can happen.

Maybe.

 

Thanks for reading.

Hitler had the Right Idea. He was just an Underachiever…

 

I love Bill Hicks.  One of the last great stand-up comedians out there and very much missed.

If you watch the video from 52 seconds to 1 minute, then that is where the title of this very short piece is from and of course taken as just that quote you’d be thinking…wow, that is quite a nasty thing to say.

If you were then to watch the full 2 minutes and 52 seconds of the video, in fact it you were to search for the whole set, you’d see it in its true meaning and form.

You know…

CONTEXT

 

Thanks reading.