February 22nd, 2012

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A Bladder of Piscean Eructations

I've been an LJ truant for the last week. Plus, I didn't have anything very urgent to say - just thoughts that rose and fell like burping carp.

I went to London on Friday afternoon, and as the train entered Box Tunnel my carriage was filled with the powerful scent of marijuana, coming in through the little slitty windows above the table. It lasted as long as we were in the tunnel (a couple of miles). Could it be that Box Tunnel's famous network of bunkers and control centres includes Churchill's personal dope farm? You heard it here first.

On Saturday night, I had dinner in the restaurant at the top of Tate Modern - my first visit to either the gallery or the restaurant. It was a delicious meal, if somewhat over-fancy in its presentation for my rustic taste (a teaspoonful of trout pate in its own gill-sized kilner jar? Really?), but St Pauls was very beautiful over the way, with its illuminated dome. Also, I wasn't paying.

Meanwhile, I see that as Greece becomes a satrapy of Brussels, in the UK a bunch of Tory peers are threatening to bring the business of the Government to a halt rather than allow elections to the upper house. Democracy seems to be thoroughly out of fashion, in fact - but let me say for the record that I still rather like it.

This seems to have been dubbed Trans Outing Week. First, as widely noted elsewhere (and nothing in this paragraph is exactly a scoop) there's the Paddy Power advert encouraging punters at the Cheltenham Festival to "spot the stallions" on Ladies' Day. [ETA, 23/2/12: The advert has now had its licence for broadcast on British television revoked! Thanks to the sterling work of Helen Belcher at Trans Media Watch - but not before at least one trans woman was publicly humiliated as a direct result of it.] I wouldn't want to be a tallish woman at Cheltenham this year, trans or cis. There's The Sun's reader hotline, inviting readers to let them know the identity of the British trans man who has recently given birth. (It was The Sun, you may remember, that was complaining last week about being the victim of a witch hunt.) And let's not forget the "smart" charity advert being installed in London bus stops, that uses a hi-res camera to determine the sex of people looking at it and shows the advert only to females. Apparently the idea is to make men experience the reality of sex discrimination, but it will also serve as a very effective "outing" device for trans women and men, as well of course as drawing unwelcome attention to cis people whose features aren't judged sufficiently masculine or feminine by the technology. Bus-stops, as the makers ought to know, are not renowned as places of safety at the best of times, but this is going to give the bigots a very convenient casus bully.

Finally, I've been attacked by the Ouroboros of ear-worms. I fell victim to it when foolishly watching an episode of Family Guy that referenced the closing credits to The Little House on the Prairie, in which Laura Ingalls Wilder runs gaily through a daisy meadow. The worst of it is, the tune's only about 25 seconds from beginning to end, but round and round it goes and WILL NOT STOP.