Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ranty Rant Rant

Ooh, but there are a lot of things making me angry today.

It all started quite early this morning when I read on Annie Slaminsky's blog about Boris Johnson's new sidekick saying that black boys should have black, male teachers.

I know absolutely nothing about the reality of what it's like being a teacher in inner-city London, but I'm deeply suspicious of any attempt to segregate people of different racial origins, I'm deeply suspicious of any attempt to articulate 'being black' with a propensity to commit crime (black people don't commit crime: poor people commit crime*, and if a disproportionate number of poor people are black then perhaps that ought to be the focus, just saying), and I'm deeply suspicious of any suggestion that what a given profession needs is fewer women in it.

THEN I open the newspaper to read that the Burmese junta is impounding food aid and not allowing foreign aid workers in, which just beggars belief. What are they going to do with 38 tonnes of biscuits, for fuck's sake - throw a big tea party for all their junta chums?

THEN (and I realise we are descending quite rapidly in order of importance here) I happen upon an article in the Telegraph about female bloggers who have got book deals and newspaper columns and agents and sitcom deals, which is great and all, but why must they all be either sexbloggers or mums? Are we *ever* going to get beyond the idea that our bodies and motherhood (or 'childcare and gynaecology' as our old chum Mary Dejevsky put it) is all that women are able or qualified to talk about?

And on that same note, my ongoing anally-retentive project to count how many letters published in the Guardian and the Observer are by men and how many by women is starting to really depress me too, especially as I have a sneaking suspicion that it actually over-represents the number of women who write in to the paper. And now I'm thinking that maybe the reason we don't write to the papers is because we're programmed to think that our bodies and motherhood are all we're able or qualified to talk about, no thanks to you, THE TELEGRAPH.

Crikey. I think it might be time for a little lie-down.

UPDATE: Now I've had a little lie-down and feel a bit calmer, may I say how much I enjoyed Alexis Petridis's review of the Nick Cave Hammersmith Apollo gig. 'He has developed a style of keyboard-playing that Little Richard would have rejected as slightly florid: legs splayed, knees bent, head back, one arm skyward and, at particularly dramatic moments, fist shaking at God. The overall effect is at once viscerally powerful and coolly ironic, both hilarious and utterly gripping.' Excellent. The world will be a poorer place when the boy Cave eventually pops his apocalyptic clogs.

* Anonymous pulled me up on this in the comments, quite rightly. What I meant was, if you're going to commit a crime, it's probably got more to do with your economic and social circumstances (i.e. stuff that can, theoretically, be changed) than anything else. But Anonymous reminded me that very rich people also commit crimes, and then I spent a long time thinking about all the different kinds of crimes that people commit, and the underlying reasons for them, and I accept Anonymous's charge of being ridiculously simplistic. That's the trouble with ranting; it's never very rational.


James said...

Hurrah for blogs - enabling people to rant since 1999 (ish!)

Vicus Scurra said...

I am pleased that you have calmed down, we are not at home to Mrs Stroppy.

patroclus said...

James: Yes indeed. I think it was 1997, though.

Vicus: It's because I had two cups of Earl Grey instead of my usual one.

Annie said...

The world is all wrong.

I blame the teachers.

Alex Petridis made me laugh trialling designer men's sunglasses in the Guardian magazine; 'They're so unflattering the purchaser might aw well bin them and put the bag they came in over his head instead.'

Anonymous said...

"Poor people commit crime"? This isn't the 1860s, you know. You condemn the generalisation that black people commit crime...but make your own generalisation that poor people commit crime. Does Conrad Black's 7-figure salary count as 'poor'?

patroclus said...

Hi Anon, yes, you're right, although I was thinking more of violent crime. (But then I suppose you also get barristers shooting at people out of the windows of their Chelsea abodes.) I was just angry at the fact that Ray Lewis (and/or Boris Johnson) seemed to be equating black kids with youth crime - or at least the BBC made it seem that way in its article.

cello said...

And this is just the start of the BJ nightmares. More black, male teachers would be good, but teaching anyone.

Clair said...

Well, you are with child, so maybe this blog could become a book soon. I can honestly say that I have earned not a penny from my blog - unless the person at 20th Century Fox who keeps reading it would like to tell me something...

nuttycow said...

Have just read the Torygraph article and I agree with you. However, sadly, people like to read about sex (Jilly Cooper anyone?) and the publishers know what sells.

Glad you managed to have a little rant though :)