Monday, January 10, 2005

Some Germane Thoughts On Germaine

This blog intends to be a Big Brother-free zone. I watch my fair share of rubbish on television but I can usually justify it on the grounds that it is either entertaining or has some kind of 'sub-text' that reveals something interesting or useful. For me, BB has neither of these justifications.

I mention it today only because it has now sought to lure a different type of viewer by including Germaine Greer. Sure enough, the 'quality' papers have been spewing out articles about her, mostly focusing on why she's doing it. The money, obviously. Her late signing for the programme suggests she only agreed when the bucks got big enough. I don't criticise her for that. None of us can say with certainty what we would refuse to do if the reward were big enough.

My problem with Germaine is that, like many politicians, she has an opinion on everything and is not just just a 'rent-a-quote' but a 'rent-an-intellectual'. But because she so often shoots from the hip her arguments are intellectual mutton dressed up as lamb. (I was going to say a bit like the lady herself, but let's not get personal).
She has written contemptuously about male-to-female transexuals, calling them "men masquerading as women" and "a gross parody of my sex", showing a complete failure to understand the nature of the condition. In this, she is no different than most of the population. The difference is that this is someone who is supposed to be highly intelligent and something of an expert on the subject of sexuality. It was the cruel and insulting nature of that particular rant that so annoyed me. Being a transexual makes being gay seem like a picnic. I once got to know a male-to-female transexual and, as I often told her, she was the bravest person I knew.

Germaine is now making a television programme which attacks those who oppose fox hunting. Apparently, one of her arguments is that factory farming is far more cruel. Few anti-hunters would disagree with that but that in itself does not justify fox hunting. There's also one important ethical distinction. People don't gather round the chicken coops or in the abbatoirs dressed in red coats, drinking sherry, and calling it a sport or a social occasion.

Amazingly, however much she spouts intellectually worthless bigotry, like the worst kind of London cabbie shouting over his shoulder, the liberal chattering classes still regard Germaine as 'one of us'.
Nice work if you can get it.
And a nice trick if you can pull it off.


At 3:57 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Whilst desparately trying not to get sucked into Big Brother watching, i caught 5 minutes the other day and couldn't help but smile to myself at Germiane's response when asked by one of the other housemates why John McCririck was getting away with being so rude to everyone. Germaine's reply, delivered with a winning smile, was: "because none of us has cut his cock off yet." Probably not doing much to counter the "all feminists are lesbian man-haters" school of thought, but Mr McCririck was being utterly vile and, had I been stuck in the house too, I would have been happy to provide the knife if I thought it would shut him up...
Also, I though her problem with m-to-f transexuals was that there is more to being a woman than having tits and a hole, and simply cutting off one's willy, getting breast implants, and taking hormones doesn't make one, in the true literal sense, a "woman", it makes one a post-operative transexual. Although I imagine the subtlety of the difference is lost on most whiney bigoted childish horseracing commentators...

But I am enjoying your blog, especially during those quiet moments during the working day when I've got nothing else better to do (i.e. all the time)...

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Adam said...

P.S. What's happened to Carlo?

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

The point is that m to f transexuals are not cutting off their willies to become women. They already are women. They are simply re-aligning their physiology with their true gender. Unfortunately, people muddle up sexuality, gender and physiology. That's why many mistakenly think that male homosexuals would like to be women.

I said that Carlo would return in the new year, although I didn't say which new year. However, he will return soon, once the scriptwriting team return from their extended Christmas break. I'll tell Carlo you were asking after him.

Glad we still manage to alleviate the boredom of the working day. It's written for much the same purpose.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger The absent referent said...

Not to further intellectualize - bad habit, sometimes - but being a woman is more than just being born with a vagina and the hormones that will eventually get breasts growing. It's a cultural performance as well, a parody of role known as "woman" that is assumed to have an original but actually doesn't, since we're so far from being "natural" beings at this point that we can only talk about it theoretically, and even then not very convincingly. So the idea that "drag" queens or transexuals are actually trying to be something they're not overlooks the fact that so is everybody else. We're all trying to conform to a role that has no original.

Oh, and by the way, very bad hat G.G.'s wearing. She's parodying something there, but I'm not exactly sure what.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Please intellectualize as much as you want. It keeps us on our toes.
It's a valid point you make and a lot of role-playing goes on in the gay community, e.g. embracing stereotypes as described, if my memory serves me, in Erving Goffman's book 'Stigma'.
It's a topic I may have to return to upstairs in the main blog.

To be fair to Prof. Greer, although it pains me to do so, I think the hat she is wearing was part of some silly costume game they had to play in the programme. Just a pity it wasn't large enough to cover her face.


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