April Fool

What better time for returning to my long-lost blog than April Fool’s Day? I stopped blogging in early 2015 and didn’t come back for a long time. When I did start taking an interest earlier this year, I couldn’t get access to the mechanical gubbins that lets you write a post or get beneath the hood. I thought about starting a new blog, but it seemed such a waste to throw away all the work I’ve put into this one.

Then a remarkably quick response from the WordPress help forum solved the problem – I was logging in with the wrong username. Hence the relationship of this post to its title.

You will be pleased to know that I’ve removed the advertising from this blog, because I’m not prepared to inflict on you, dear readers, something I loathe. It will take a while to relearn everything and make some necessary changes. Looking back at an old blog is sort of comforting in a way, like reading an old diary, but there are things you wince at.

That’s all for now. I want to get my April Fool post in on time.

william mcgonagall as performance poet


Black Marianne: A freedom too far for France?

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and the groundswell of affirmation for freedom of expression in France, you might have thought that all was well in the land of Liberty, Egality, Fraternity. At least as far as what the state is prepared to allow in the name of artistic expression.

Not so in the small town of Fremainville, in Northern France, whose mayor has removed the statue of a black Marianne from outside the town hall. Here is the statue in question.

260115-marianne-noire-620Beautiful, isn’t she? Marianne is a national symbol of the French Republic, an allegory of liberty and reason, and a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty. You will be shocked to learn that most Mariannes are white.

And it appears the mayor, Marcel Allègre, wants to keep it that way. He claims that a black Marianne is a “Marianne of liberty, but not a Marianne of the French Republic. She undoubtedly represented something, but not the French Republic.”

So, absolute freedom of expression where the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are concerned, but you can’t allow a black Marianne to represent the French Republic? The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

If the French are serious about freedom of expression, then I suggest the government overrules this stupid, racist mayor, and puts the statue back in place. Furthermore, I suggest they commission more Mariannes, representing all the ethnic minorities.

Including a few Muslim Mariannes, complete with headscarf.

We are hypocrites if we allow Muhammed to be satirised but not the Holocaust

If I’m reluctant to say ‘Je suis Charlie’, it’s precisely because of the double standards.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

Oh the ignorance – and hypocrisy – is painful.

On the very same day satirists in France are killed in cold blood for exercising their right to free speech – including the right to use images which are offensive to many – self-righteous people over here, without any apparent irony, are spluttering in outrage at the use of images in satire which they themselves find offensive.

Because in the hypocritical UK, we seem to only support satire when it’s offending other people, but not when we ourselves are offended:

Miliband reprimands councillor over doctored Auschwitz Tory poster tweet

Truly supporting satire means supporting it even when we ourselves – or others we care about – find it offensive.

Not least because the best satire tends to be offensive.

Way back in 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote his brilliant satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” in which he proposed solving a famine in Ireland by persuading the poor…

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