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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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steepholm steepholm
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"A bruised reed, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it"
So now we have the PCC's ruling on the Burchill affair. It reads, in summary: "No Individual could resent, Where Thousands equally were meant."

This is one of the main reasons why the PCC has always been a useless body. Things that would break the rules if you said them about a single identifiable individual you can say quite freely about a group of identifiable individuals. It's a bit like ruling that blowing up one person is against the law, but blowing up a coachload is fine. Nor is it clear that the problem will be fixed under any new regime, whether dreamt up by the government or by the press itself.

Useless buggers!

But why am I surprised? They've been useless buggers since their inception!



Edited at 2013-03-20 07:10 pm (UTC)

I am at a loss to understand what you want to be done about it. This person has the right to say any awful thing she wants about anyone. The only thing that can be done about it is to ignore her. You surely aren't advocating censorship which,if it were imposed, would very quickly be turned against the liberal positions you support?

Ah, but this is the UK and If 'this person' (Julie Burchill) were to say such things about Jews, Moslems, people of colour or gay people singular or plural, subeds would pull the article before publication if it ever got anywhere near. She got into serious trouble for some rabid anti Irish statements in an article quite recently.

What we (trans people) want is a level playing field where it is unreasonable that just one minority remains the butt of one hateful woman's transphobia and the ignorance of the print media- I've had forty years of this crap and it becomes a little tiresome after a while.

Remember that there would have been a case to answer even under these warped regulations if she'd gone after one trans person so how is insulting and demeaning a whole minority group to be perceived as any different?

The PCC know the rules- they simply refuse to follow them which is what you get when an organisation is left to police itself.

In my view, is she wants to say that Hitler is a saint, and all of the Popish Irish ought to be thrown into the anti-christ's roasting oven, that's fine, I just won't read her blog. If, on the other hand, she were censored for that, I could be, if I said the US ought to have national health insurance, be denounced as a communist and treated in the same way. there are plenty of people who would want to see me thrown in jail for saying something like that, which is why we have freedom of speech. The price is we have to tolerate our elected officials saying that the theory of evolution is a lie form the pit of hell. The way to deal with it to to change the mind of the voters, not to shut him up.

You can opt out of reading her blog, but the victims of transphobia can't opt out of being murdered. Her kind of demagoguery gets people beaten up, and worse.

(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-20 11:37 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-21 07:31 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-21 03:23 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-21 03:49 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - cmcmck, 2013-03-20 09:29 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-20 11:35 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - cmcmck, 2013-03-21 07:46 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-21 03:15 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - veronica_milvus, 2013-03-21 09:09 am (UTC)(Expand)
This person has the right to say any awful thing she wants about anyone.

Actually, not so. If she were to say equivalently offensive things against groups of people based on their colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation, she would almost certainly fall foul of the laws on hate speech. Trans people are not protected by such laws.

The PCC is not a legal body, however, merely the industry's notoriously limp attempt at self-regulation, and a body of which the Observer (where her article appeared) is a signed-up member. Clause 12 of the PCC's code, which deals with discrimination, states:

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.


Since Burchill said these things about thousands of people rather than just one, she didn't break the code. I didn't for a moment expect that the PCC would find otherwise, but I in turn find the PCC to be fairly pathetic.

The problem isn't that the law isn't being enforced against her, its that such an anti-democratic law exists at all.

Don't you see how ridiculous this is? Which is trans-genedered status? A sexual orientation or a mental disability? This is the kind of thing Aristophanes would be writing about today.

(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-20 09:28 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-20 11:39 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-21 07:34 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - cmcmck, 2013-03-20 09:31 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - tekalynn, 2013-03-20 10:27 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - veronica_milvus, 2013-03-21 09:13 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - heleninwales, 2013-03-21 02:48 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-21 03:17 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - heleninwales, 2013-03-21 04:04 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - sheenaghpugh, 2013-03-21 03:09 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - malkhos, 2013-03-21 03:20 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - steepholm, 2013-03-21 03:53 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - sheenaghpugh, 2013-03-21 04:35 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(Deleted comment)
I love "Verses on the Death of Dr Swift"! But no, I wasn't expecting the PCC to rule any differently - this has been used as a get-out clause on numerous occasions. Of course, the PCC code, which is enforced by the newspaper editors in order to bring newspaper editors to account, was also written by... the newspaper editors. (Shurely shome mishtake?)

I think there is a middle case between discriminating against an individual and discriminating against some abstract concept associated with an individual (e.g. homosexuality) - namely, when you discriminate against an identifiable group of people. Burchill wasn't for the most part inveighing against transsexuality as a concept, but she was saying a lot of defamatory things about trans people. I still can't see the justification for protecting one person but not many.

She was belatedly censored by the Observer's editors and the article removed from their online site. but the cat was out of the bag by then.

Indeed - and the article was swiftly republished in the Telegraph, with much hoo-hah about the sanctity of free speech and the right to offend (which didn't however extend to the commenters below the line, who were censored in droves).

Tell me this. If you look up British law on hate speech, race is covered, sexual orientation, religion are covered, but there seems to be no legislation on the grounds of gender, so vile general ramblings against women, whether cis or trans, is not a crime. Am I right about that?

No lawyer I, but yes, I believe that's true. Gender is protected under the PCC code (insofar as anything is), but not under hate speech legislation.

Thanks for that. Her persecution was particularly egregious - and perhaps fatal, as now appears.

I have a journalist friend who is attempting to place a story on the affair, but has apparently been told that no paper will likely want to touch it, since suicide is a "difficult" subject (unlike outing and degrading a primary school teacher, which is fun for everyone). Who said the press wasn't sensitive?