French Farce of a Gay Marriage

Missive directed at several newspapers after having watched the first gay marriage in France descend into a media scrum because one of the grooms had a point to make:

Sirs,

I’m a gay man, and fully in favour of same-sex marriage.

But I’d have a lot more respect for France’s first gay marriage if they’d done it quietly like a proper wedding instead of inviting 150 journalists and turning it into a media freak show. The younger groom looked distinctly uncomfortable with all the posturing that his gay-activist husband was indulging in, on what should have been their special day together.

It always annoys me when equality isn’t enough. It is a major issue I have with the gobbier members of the “gay community” (whatever that is supposed to be) over here who spend so much time and energy campaigning, that they don’t realise they’re putting people off and having the opposite effect that they think they are.

The battle had been one. It was bad form to stamp the defeated’s head into the ground.

Paul Harper

The Evening Standard printed it, heavily edited:

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Then the Independent printed a longer version:

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Coalition’s “Grown-Up” Junior Partner

Sirs,

I do wish Nick Clegg would stop saying that “the public decided this is what they wanted” when justifying his inability to break up the coalition.

Not one single voter had this in mind when we voted, something later proved by the resounding defeat of his proportional voting referendum which would have made these fake coalitions far more likely in future.

By hanging on for dear life to his tenuous and mostly imaginary grip on power, he does his party and the country a great disservice.

Paul Harper

Ageism and sexism in media is not a male-only problem

Rant at the Guardian after a particularly whiny front-page piece about the rarity of over 50’s female presenters:

Sirs,

You highlight that only 18% of media presenters over 50 are female.

Over 50% of the population of the country is female – why don’t these presenters have massive viewing figures? Surely if women wanted to support this “cause” then they’d watch and be supportive in huge numbers?

The answer is, of course, that it isn’t a “cause” at all, it’s just a few gobby individuals who feel their ‘special talents’ aren’t being appreciated.

They are right, they’re not being appreciated. But they’re not being appreciated by both men AND women equally, so the issue is NOT one of sexism.

Any female presenter who thinks she’s striking a blow for equality by appearing on shows for cooking or shopping or country walks is delusional. They are reinforcing stereotypes, not breaking them.

Paul Harper

Journalistic Double Standards

Letters sent to The Independent, The Guardian AND The Evening Standard in response to the gloating taking place in newspapers over the BBC’s statement on the Newsnight programme that senior Tories were implicated in child abuse. No individuals were named, or hinted at. The Independent and Guardian both published it (too early in the day to know if I have the full set!)

UPDATE: Managed to get it in all three papers! See below for individual screenshots…

Here’s the original letter:

Sirs,

It is ridiculous that the Director-General of the BBC has to resign over bad journalism that didn’t in itself do any harm, but the head of News Corp remains determinedly entrenched after criminal journalism that ruined lives.

This is why print media should be held to the same standard as broadcasters, and I hope Leveson takes a strong lead in that direction.

To read the smug, self-satisfied and desperately delusional crowing in newspapers over this affair is bordering on nauseating.

Paul Harper

The Independent published it, unedited as this (click on image to expand):

… while the Guardian didn’t seem to like the last paragraph, and published this (click on image to expand):

Finally, London’s Evening Standard shortened it the most:

Arsecandle and Felch

Comment on the Guardian web site in response to their article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/mar/11/1

I couldn’t agree more. A shop that thinks it’s a night club – pitch black with pounding “music”, with vacuous, useless and rude staff and full of self-obsessed nobodies desperate to be seen and heard – two things that are impossible given the light and sound levels. I hate the place with a vengeance. It is not for nothing that it and its adherents, are referred to as “Arsecandle and Felch”.

Catering largely to the downmarket gay male and his faghag female followers, it is unsurprising that it does well. Dedicated followers of label fashion are ten a penny on the streets of London, and A&F have tapped into this in much the same way that Hollister, Hackett and Superdry have started to. It’s lowest-common-denominator retail with spray-on aspiration. As genuine as the fake tans its customers so love.

I’m not surprised Saville Row don’t like it. I don’t like it either.

With all the predictability of a wet English summer’s day, it got to over 55 “recommended” clicks before they deleted it because it “did not comply with house rules”. I am assuming someone looked up “Felch” for them! <grin>

Scottish independence and “their 9%”

Sirs,

So, Alex Salmond and the SNP want 9% of all UK assets after devolution. No problem, as Scotland is 9% of the UK population.

I assume he’ll be taking only 9% of the UK’s oil, and his 9% share of the UK’s debt as well, then? The latter should be interesting since Scottish GDP is over £1,000 per-head lower than England’s, its per-head social, education and health costs are a lot higher than England’s and they would lose the quite ridiculous Barnett subsidy. I give them a couple of decades before they’re bust under those terms.

Also, since Scotland is over 9% of the UK’s land mass, he’ll need to decide which bits he’s leaving us. But fair’s fair, eh?

Scottish devolution? Can’t wait!

Paul Harper

Morons exist in offices as well as on the streets

Letter sent to the Guardian:

Sirs,

You tweeted: “@guardian: Help us update our #Londonriots map. Tweet, leave a comment or contact sam.jones [at] guardian.co.uk with your report http://bit.ly/paVqTH”

Really, Guardian? We’ve got brain dead morons in one borough already trying to prove they’re harder than the next borough’s brain dead morons and you want to supply a map for them to stick pins in? It looks like morons exist in offices as well as on the streets.

Totally irresponsible journalism of the type I would expect of the Daily Mail. You should be ashamed.

Paul Harper