Views from the sidelines of a non existent culture war.

Another week in the non existent culture war and the causality count rises but not so much that you need to drag yourself away from your ethically sourced, vegan, decaffeinated latte and your instagram post about saving the whales. And I’m not saying whales don’t need to be saved. Please don’t turn me into a whale hater because the truth is a bit more complex.

Truth invariably is, lacking the moral certainty of the sound bite or the mantra or the outright lie.

“Women aren’t being silenced,” they say, “especially not cishet, white, middle class, suburban mothers, whose language and sense of entitlement is rooted in their anglo saxon colonist heritage.”

“You haven’t read “White Fragility?”” they ask, their face the same shade of shocked as when your ma figured out you weren’t going to mass of a Sunday. “Too fragile,” I quip, irony lost to a crowd of humourless hecklers who have been told to laugh is like to lynch.

“Ok boomer!” they say, in a refrain that would be ageist, if ageism was a new age sin. “It’s not really mocking the elderly,” they explain, “only the greedy, gammon types, with their racism and their ignorance and their pathological refusal to boycott Wetherspoons.”

“We don’t ban books,” they say, “we ban bad books. Bad books are literal violence.” Any attempt to speak of the relativity of the term “bad” is mute, like when you try to tell your aunt that her local priest’s a flasher.

“If you don’t take the knee,” they say , “then you might as well put holes for eyes in your bed sheets and tattoo a swastika on your arse.” Whilst racism itself can be characterised by limitless macro and micro aggressions, anti racism has but one calling card. Bend down, then back up and cool off with a vitamin enriched natural spring water, infused with potassium and zinc.

The non-existent culture war is killing critical thought and replacing it with mindless mantras and pointless gestures. A generation raised to believe that disagreement is violence and difference is hate, damning itself to implosion from within as the real world rejects its 2D version of humanity, where people are caricatures and political thought is a concept that must be contained.

The non existent culture wars, where the privileged came and conquered the concept of “civil rights”, repackaged them in recycled paper, added some rainbow ribbons and stamped on a fist, before refurbishing them and selling them back to the kids, raised on the internet, that weren’t buying any revolution that was not televised.

And so it came to be that big corporations and big governments stood in solidarity with “civil rights” and they all mouthed the same slogans and advocated for the same stuff, in some countries. Ain’t gonna sell no jeans in Saudi with a rainbow flag, Levi’s. No computers in China with a free speech logo, Apple.

And the absolute genius of corporate civil rights is how little they cost, once you remove class as a signifier of need. Want to increase sales? Ramp up the social media output using the words “love” and “change” and “difference”. Improve staff morale? Hire a team of “divistery” experts that expose the outright ordinariness of most of your workforce and make them feel bad for decisions they neither participated in or benifit from. Damn sight cheaper than them an 8% pay rise, or putting in a room for breastfeeding, or putting the structures in place that address actual inequality in the workplace.

And with unions not fit for purpose and women’s orgs decrying women and anarchists censoring books, the corporate take-over of political ideas, they had no business stealing, is almost complete.

And here, in the dying embers of a democratic process, I stand on the ravaged remains of a traditionally left leaning Scotland that is arching further right, beneath the strain of a non existent culture war and I can’t help but be grateful.

How much worse would things be if this culture war was real and not only in the heads of racists, white supremacists, neo nazi netmummers, religious right, zealotry, football watching, God fearing, Wetherspoon’s drinking, brexit voting, Churchill worshipping, colonist mindset thinking, pie eating types?

Anti social media

Twitter just sent me a congratulations message ‘coz I’ve had my current account four years, in a machiavellian attempt to convince me that this is an achievement. It isn’t, of course. The main reason I’m still on twitter is the same reason I drank for thirty years, because it’s a hard habit to break, made especially difficult by twitter’s own policy, to hold you in limbo for a month after leaving, in case you change your mind.

Twitter is like a late pub with loud clientele and lifeless decor that sells watered down liquor to people too pissed to make good choices. The very act of being on it is debasing. Especially, if you’re a woman. Twitter has been at the forefront of the social media drive to cleanse humanity of the one time universally held knowledge that humans are a sexually dimorphic species and the consequent Western obsession with eradicating women as a sex class.

Dimorphic – that’s one of my top ten twitter adjectives. Day and night, I preach the word, ‘Humans are a sexually dimorphic species,’ into the dark echo chambers of twitter, where such a statement is revered and reviled in equal measure. I’m one of thousands of keyboard warriors who hold the line on this truth. And, if I’m honest, it gives me a sense of purpose, supporting this most just of causes, the global right of people to be able to state the fucking obvious.

I like to think, in my own small way, I am contributing to an important movement.

‘Course we all like to think of ourselves in a positive light and to imagine our actions have an impact. Nobody knows that better than twitter. And its algorithms meet my ego and then, puppet like, I play the role of someone whose words can change the world. And it’s a big part, but that’s the joy of twitter. Everyone has a starring role in their own twitter feed. Everyone’s a headliner and the whole world is your audience.

Until you spend long enough on twitter to realise that the whole world has shrunk to the size of two groups. Those that get it. Those that don’t. The ‘it’ is subjective and the algorithms are set to keep you batting for your tribe and baiting your opponents in this relentless game with a single aim, to keep you online, where twitter can sell you stuff and make their shareholders richer.

I haven’t always been this uber aware of the pointlessness of twitter. The first year was sort of fun. Finding all these folk who thought like I did about certain things. Feeling a sense of belonging that urban single mothers crave. Feeling a part of something greater. But the honeymoon gave way to the drudgery of day to day life in twittersville, where nothing changes but your follower count as everyone interesting gets banned or bails, for mental health reasons.

I should probably have quit long ago. I’ve dreamed about getting banned, for ages now. But it’s not been my road. It’s not that I don’t tweet the stuff that gets you banned. It’s the only stuff worth tweeting! It’s just I wake up the next day and instead of facing a lifetime ban, or at the very least, a suspension, I find a live feed and the cycle begins.

Until today. There was something about twitter’s ‘Congratulations’ that was particularly provocative. A platform founded on elevating the banal to the politically pertinent was commending me for continuing to allow its algorithms to manipulate my time. In layman’s terms, Twitter was taking the piss.

Always a Woman.

So I know it’s a cliche to be angry and feminist but like all the best cliches it has basis in fact. If you are a feminist in twenty first century Scotland and you are not fucking furious at the charging of Marion Millar for hate tweets, then you’re doing it wrong. You have completely missed the point of what female solidarity is all about and you should take the word ‘feminist’ out of your profile, even though it’s great for the work…

I am so tired of faux feminists fighting for women’s rights whilst refusing to acknowledge any given group’s rights are utterly dependant on lucid definitions. The idea that we can change the word ‘woman’ to make it mean ‘human’ without completely decimating women’s rights is patently absurd. The fact that we’ve done it, and no-one gives a fuck, is a indignation of how deep seated and all pervasive misogyny is.

It started with a call for kindness and inclusivity and ended up in a complete violation of every boundary we had built to protect our girls and our boys and our women. And why the fuck should we be inclusive of everybody? What other group is expected to centre the oppressor in their activism? Do we expect Marxists to campaign for the rights of capitalists? Do we demand tenant’s organisations open their ranks to landlords? Should we make the girl guides take in boys?

Too late! We’re already doing that. Because… inclusivity.

And because of inclusivity, they call us bleeders and breeders, instead of women and mothers. And because of inclusivity, they exclude us from events that we’ve helped to organise and organisations our mothers and grandmothers founded. And because of inclusivity, we have have been silenced, forced into compelled speech and fired for non compliance. And because of inclusivity, we have been arrested. Our words of protest posing a threat so real that charges are brought, whilst our rapes go unpunished and our murder rates increase.

See all the #metoo ing in the world ain’t worth shit if a woman is criminalised for stating core truths. Truths we all know. Truths we whisper when we meet in bars or catch up over coffee. Truths that are so self evident they don’t even need voicing. Men and women are different sexes of the the same species. They always have been. They always will be. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if one day we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.

I appreciate that stating the fact that women are a distinct sex class hurts the feelings of folk that truly believe sex is a spectrum and I don’t care. Stating that woman did not derive from man’s rib offends every God fearing Christian and yet, we are not persecuted for acknowledging it. Stating that meditation and a positive outlook never cured cancer really fucks off the wellness gurus but we don’t see the police charging people for taking the piss out of hippies.

In this time, when we claim no-one knows what a woman is, it is informative to look at who is being persecuted for their political beliefs. Black lesbians, working class mothers , muslim beauty salon owners, feminist academics, Indie children’s authors.

To a man, every last one of them are women.

We are living in a post truth world where the biggest liars get the best gigs. The right deny climate change and global pandemics. The left deny biological sex and class. Each perceives themselves as both morally and intellectually superior to their counterpart. Both sound equally stupid, to me. We live in a time when mumsnet is described as ‘a hotbed of terrorist radicalisation’ by lunatics who have the ears of presidents. Here, in Scotland, we are approaching a point when admitting that you know what a woman is, is a criminal offence.

And for all that, women continue to exist. We always have. We always will. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if, one day, we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.