Suzanne Moore/Julie Burchill Transsexual Guardian Twitter Row

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evilthecat:
Do you mean butches, or transmen?
I'd be careful before you start simplifying the world too far.

You're the one doing the simplifying here mate. I already outlined the lines I draw, and where I place them.

evilthecat:
In fact, since she has yet to clarify or apologise, I am only supposing that's what she meant.

Big assumption on your part she has anything to apologise for. If any apologies are in order, it's from those hypersensitive hatemongers who attacked Moore over that word.

evilthecat:

Blablahb:
They need to man up and resolve their problems, not flame others. ^_^

What's your opinion on Edward Said again, Blab?

I guess ad hominem is easier than recognizing irony. It's funny you'd bring him up though. Said landing in between Palestinian and American culture is what gave him a confused sense of identity, so he lashed out against the west. It's a well documented phenomenon in the forming of personal identity, and exactly what's happening here: People are hating on Moore because they have issues with their own gender that they can't resolve, so they become hypersensitive about it, and lash out at others.

evilthecat:
Let me repeat myself.
"Anyone who claims that they just "know" is deluding themselves."

Yeah, if only you had something biological to base that sweeping generalisation on...

FreedomofInformation:
Isn't this just a case of bitchy woman upset that confused men are stealing their "victimhood" status?

hmmm ?...

on Sunday this was published in the Observer (the Guardians sister Sunday paper).

*picture of a mans hands typing*

picture caption:

Cyberspace is 'plagued by the age-old boredom of men telling women not to talk and threatening them with all kinds of nastiness if they persist in saying what they feel'. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

start of article proper:

The brilliant writer Suzanne Moore and I go back a long way. I first met her when she was a young single mother living in a council flat; she took me out to interview me about my novel Ambition (republished by Corvus Books this spring, since you ask) for dear dead City Limits magazine. "I've got an entertaining budget of £12.50!" she said proudly. "Sod that, we're having lobster and champagne at Frederick's and I'm paying," I told her. Half a bottle of Bolly later, she looked at me with faraway eyes: "Ooo, I could get to like this..." And so she did.

I have observed her rise to the forefront of this country's great polemicists with a whole lot of pride - and just a tiny bit of envy. I am godmother to her three brilliant, beautiful daughters. Though we differ on certain issues we will have each other's backs until the sacred cows come home.

With this in mind, I was incredulous to read that my friend was being monstered on Twitter, to the extent that she had quit it, for supposedly picking on a minority - transsexuals. Though I imagine it to be something akin to being savaged by a dead sheep, as Denis Healey had it of Geoffrey Howe, I nevertheless felt indignant that a woman of such style and substance should be driven from her chosen mode of time-wasting by a bunch of dicks in chicks' clothing.

To my mind - I have given cool-headed consideration to the matter - a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write looks a lot like how I'd imagine the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run would look. That rude and ridic.

Here's what happened. In a book of essays called Red: The Waterstones Anthology, Suzanne contributed a piece about women's anger. She wrote that, among other things, women were angry about "not having the ideal body shape - that of a Brazilian transsexual". Rather than join her in decrying the idea that every broad should aim to look like an oven-ready porn star, the very vociferous transsexual lobby and their grim groupies picked on the messenger instead.

I must say that my only experience of the trans lobby thus far was hearing about the vile way they have persecuted another of my friends, the veteran women's rights and anti-domestic violence activist Julie Bindel - picketing events where she is speaking about such minor issues as the rape of children and the trafficking of women just because she refuses to accept that their relationship with their phantom limb is the most pressing problem that women - real and imagined - are facing right now.

Similarly, Suzanne's original piece was about the real horror of the bigger picture - how the savagery of a few old Etonians is having real, ruinous effects on the lives of the weakest members of our society, many of whom happen to be women. The reaction of the trans lobby reminded me very much of those wretched inner-city kids who shoot another inner-city kid dead in a fast-food shop for not showing them enough "respect". Ignore the real enemy - they're strong and will need real effort and organisation to fight. How much easier to lash out at those who are conveniently close to hand!

But they'd rather argue over semantics. To be fair, after having one's nuts taken off (see what I did there?) by endless decades in academia, it's all most of them are fit to do. Educated beyond all common sense and honesty, it was a hoot to see the screaming mimis accuse Suze of white feminist privilege; it may have been this that made her finally respond in the subsequent salty language she employed to answer her Twitter critics: "People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them."

She, the other JB and I are part of the minority of women of working-class origin to make it in what used to be called Fleet Street and I think this partly contributes to the stand-off with the trannies. (I know that's a wrong word, but having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as 'Cis' - sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff - they're lucky I'm not calling them shemales. Or shims.) We know that everything we have we got for ourselves. We have no family money, no safety net. And we are damned if we are going to be accused of being privileged by a bunch of bed-wetters in bad wigs.

It's been noted before that cyberspace, though supposedly all new and shiny, is plagued by the age-old boredom of men telling women not to talk and threatening them with all kinds of nastiness if they persist in saying what they feel.

The trans lobby is now saying that it wasn't so much the initial piece as Suzanne's refusal to apologise when told to that "made" them drive her from Twitter. Presumably she is meant to do this in the name of solidarity and the "struggle", though I find it very hard to imagine this mob struggling with anything apart from the English language and the concept of free speech.

To have your cock cut off and then plead special privileges as women - above natural-born women, who don't know the meaning of suffering, apparently - is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: the boy who killed his parents and then asked the jury for clemency on the grounds he was an orphan.

Shims, shemales, whatever you're calling yourselves these days - don't threaten or bully us lowly natural-born women, I warn you. We may not have as many lovely big swinging Phds as you, but we've experienced a lifetime of PMT and sexual harassment and many of us are now staring HRT and the menopause straight in the face - and still not flinching. Trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet. You really won't like us when we're angry.

this is what was on the third link in the OPs post.

here is what is there now:

Statement from John Mulholland, editor of The Observer:

We have decided to withdraw from publication the Julie Burchill comment piece 'Transsexuals should cut it out'. The piece was an attempt to explore contentious issues within what had become a highly-charged debate. The Observer is a paper which prides itself on ventilating difficult debates and airing challenging views. On this occasion we got it wrong and in light of the hurt and offence caused I apologise and have made the decision to withdraw the piece. The Observer Readers' Editor will report on these issues at greater length.

The comments posted beneath the article have also been removed in line with our deletion process and as a result these comments will no longer appear in individual users' profiles.

until it was down pulled it was the most viewed and commented on article on the Guardians webspace...and not in a good way...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2013/jan/14/theobserver-transgender

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jan/14/observer-withdraws-julie-burchill-column

the twitter exchange that started all this: http://storify.com/leftytgirl/suzanne-moore-timeline-of-trans-misogynistic-twitt

When someone says "you don't have the right to not be offended" all I hear is "I want to be able to vomit any and all kinds of crap out of my mouth and I don't want to have to deal with criticism about anything." What's wrong with these journalists that can't deal with a critique of something they wrote, can't step back and consider another point of view and engage in a civilized discussion? Isn't that what being a journalist is??

Yes, you have the freedom to say whatever you want. But in order to go about making a society in which intelligent discourse wins over trolling and "hey, I hadn't considered your point of view, perhaps I should educate myself more on transgender issues" wins over "I CAN SAY WHATEVS I WANT FUCK YOOOUUUUUUUUU," we need to have the discipline and human decency to take responsibility for our words and their power not just to wound the person/group they are directed towards, but their power to shape the collective attitude of the human race about said groups.

I do think that Moore's piece, specifically the bits referring to transgender peoples were offensive (especially considering the fact that she's supposed to be a feminist, I mean, how do you go around defending one minority but hating on another?), was poorly considered. I think people absolutely have the right to be outraged at what she said and express said outrage (you know, free speech), especially considering how hostile and frankly immature and unprofessional her response to the criticism was. Any writer must be prepared to deal with criticism. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen kind of thing.

As for Burchill's article, I don't blame The Guardian for taking it down. I think that's entirely within their discretion as a privately owned company. Such a thing is not uncommon and is not some kind of threat to our free speech. Now if the FBI kicked down Moore's door and dragged her off to prison for the crime of writing a thing, that is a violation of free speech. What the Guardian does with its property is its own business, and screaming at them to put it back up is no different than screaming at the to take it down. What gives you the right to tell them what to do?

moore and burchill are second wave 70s feminists and tbth a lot of self styled second wave 70s feminists were and are largely motivated by thinly veiled anger, hate and yes, prejudice.

and its always all about them.
doesn't mater what it is its about them.
because second wave 70s feminists are also "boomers".
the "me" generation.
and never, ever in the wrong.

i can't stand this little 70s feminist clique that have shacked up at the Guardian and tbh i hope they jump ship.

i mean compare Burchills piece with this : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/10/jin-xing-chinese-army-dancing-tv

hard to believe its the same newspaper

and rightfully so.

Blablahb:
Big assumption on your part she has anything to apologise for. If any apologies are in order, it's from those hypersensitive hatemongers who attacked Moore over that word.

Amusing how you've taken that as a moral point.

If I'm waiting in a restaurant, and someone jogs my arm so I spill soup all over their lap, I apologise to them because it's a professional demand. If I write for a magazine or paper and I write something which brings unwanted attention or damages the reputation of my publication, it's often good professional practice to apologise.

But no. For some reason Blablahb feels more in common with pop-feminists than with trans-activists, so naturally the side he doesn't like are all evil hatemongers motivated by pure, unbridled malice and we must never surrender! To the death!

Always a pleasure to read your nuanced approach to current events.

Blablahb:
I guess ad hominem is easier than recognizing irony.

Oh, I recognize irony. I recognize the irony of someone who whines endlessly about imaginary racism telling others to grow up and stop being hypersensitive.

At least they have some basis for whining.

Sleekit:
moore and burchill are second wave 70s feminists and tbth a lot of self styled second wave 70s feminists were and are largely motivated by thinly veiled anger, hate and yes, prejudice.

I think they're more 80s. Moore claims to have studied queer studies, which means she must have gone to college in the 90s at the earliest but it's clear she learned nothing, and the kind of arguments they make are straight out of some softcore rendition of the 1980s anti-pornography movement.

The reality is they're kind of their own thing. Self-consciously working-class (like hell), vehemently anti-intellectual, ready to cry "elitist" at anything more complicated and fancy than an 1980s issue of Cosmopolitan, broadly sex-negative, and generally opposed to anything but good old down to earth Leftist populism as the only means to better the situation of women.

evilthecat:

The reality is they're kind of their own thing. Self-consciously working-class (like hell), vehemently anti-intellectual, ready to cry "elitist" at anything more complicated and fancy than an 1980s issue of Cosmopolitan, broadly sex-negative, and generally opposed to anything but good old down to earth Leftist populism as the only means to better the situation of women.

Moore and Burchill - particularly the latter - are popular because they are provocative and polemical, not because they necessarily have much to say that is deep. Provocation garners attention, attention means readers, readers means money.

The occasional problem with such people is they tend to overstep the boundaries of taste or acceptability. Also that in many cases, animosity or tiresomeness against them reaches a level where they have to be sidelined.

evilthecat:
Amusing how you've taken that as a moral point.

Yeah, if some idiots have issues with themselves, which lead them to attack and insult someone like Moore, insisting the person they attacked apologise for the row strikes me as weird.

Shouldn't it be the attackers who do the apologising?

evilthecat:
At least they have some basis for whining.

Someone using the way Brazilian transsexuals look as a metaphor, is not a basis for vile attacks on that person.

Speaking of attacks on a person, I'm going to start reporting ad hominem from now on. This may be a sensitive issue for you, but that doesn't mean that everyone who doesn't share your opinion can be insulted.

Blablahb:
Yeah, if some idiots have issues with themselves, which lead them to attack and insult someone like Moore, insisting the person they attacked apologise for the row strikes me as weird.

If I use your name, nationality or some other characteristic of you, particularly an pejorative or belittling variation thereof, as an insult, I'm attacking you. Certainly, it would be conceivable that you would take offence, and I should have known that before using those words.

Also, while it seems the whole vicious trans attack narrative is bizarrely satisfying to you on some level (since you've been merrily abusing psychoanalysis, would you like me to do the same or would that be an "ad hominem"?) it's really not what happened. Moore was asked on twitter to redact her statement, she refused and instead defended her terminology with the following words:

"People can just f*** off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them."

The response was predictable.

Now, I don't particularly care if said response was "disproportionate". Being (relatively) cisgendered I can afford to see this as a small issue in a way others may not, but it was completely foreseeable. All this would have taken was a tiny apology and a simple redaction of a meaningless phrase in an entirely unrelated article. Moore chose to turn it into an issue, she was not randomly set upon by an angry mob.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of responsibility for what you say. If you insult someone, even indirectly or casually, you can expect a response.

Blablahb:
Speaking of attacks on a person, I'm going to start reporting ad hominem from now on.

Using a point from one thread to try and illustrate a point on another is not an attack. If you see it as such, I can only assume you're deeply ashamed of your opinions expressed on other threads (which I can understand, but is nothing to do with me). If you want to abuse the report button, do so by all means. I understand that's against forum rules.

Maybe you should "get a life", "man up" and "resolve your problems".

evilthecat:
If I use your name, nationality or some other characteristic of you, particularly an pejorative or belittling variation thereof, as an insult, I'm attacking you. Certainly, it would be conceivable that you would take offence, and I should have known that before using those words.

You can't expect people to beware the existance of people who will project their own personal issues in taking offense to things. You can't blame Moore for upsetting people who will go ballistic at the drop of a hat. Their issues and problems are exactly that: Their own problem.

They really should apologise to Moore for the attacks on her, freedom of speech does not mean freedom of responsibility for what you say after all.


Heck, I'm sure I could find some people who take offense to your very existance based on what you described about yourself so far. Plenty of fanatically religious lunatics around who disapprove of that.

Do you apologise for your existance towards such people?

If you don't, then why should Moore be expected to do a similar thing?

Blablahb have you actually read the key twitter exchanges in a timeline ?

More logs on the fire:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/julie-burchill-should-be-free-to-offend-8451861.html

Personally I am neutral towards this. I am not transgendered, nor do I know anyone transgendered. None of this affects me in the slightest.

Just supplying more food for thought, as it were.

Sleekit:
Blablahb have you actually read the key twitter exchanges in a timeline ?

I expect that after the way they attacked Moore, that'll have been little more than a mutual flamewar, so there's no purpose to that.

What's important is why it started, and that's not because Moore was offensive in any way, but because some people have issues with themselves that they project into outrage over others.

What's next? You can't call someone a man or a woman anymore because you run the risk of offending someone who can't quite figure out which they want to be yet?

Genocidicles:
More logs on the fire:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/julie-burchill-should-be-free-to-offend-8451861.html

"You'd think the trannies could take it really, their shoulders are broad enough." ^_^

Although it's pretty brilliant. If that remark doesn't start another flamewar, it shows the hypocrisy. The flamewar came sure enough though, with more men posting fake outrage, calling it hatespeech, saying the Independent sucks for allowing such a thing to be printed... wow.

Well this is surprising. Apparently myself and those like me are flavor of the week around here, as well as elsewhere, it seems. Of course I'm in no way surprised about those writers spewing things about how we're not feminine enough, "dicks in chick's clothing", etc, while ignoring the fact that we come in all shapes and sizes and so do they. If anything I'm more disappointed because they're either uninformed or refuse to be informed, which makes it terrible either way. I'd be glad to write up something explaining the basics of what we are and why we do what we do but the harsh reality is that they'd just skim over it and find points of contest to fight over.

Blablahb:

Sleekit:
Blablahb have you actually read the key twitter exchanges in a timeline ?

I expect that after the way they attacked Moore, that'll have been little more than a mutual flamewar, so there's no purpose to that.

actually the "flame war" as you put it didn't really kick off till halfway through the twitter exchange when moore said some pretty deliberately offensive things in response to some quite mildly expressed concern about how she was referring to transsexuals (concern intermingled with praise for her and the original article i might add).

said exchange is very much the hidden key to understanding what this little tête à tête is all about that a lot of people (not just here but in the wilder public and media) are missing.

anyway i hope you consider reading it because to pass judgemental comment when one is not in possession of all the information/facts doesn't reflect well on you and i did go to the bother of linking it so it could be read and included in informed debate and not just ignored.

oh and as for burchill...she has form on this issue...and unprovoked form at that.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2001/jan/20/weekend.julieburchill

Sleekit:
actually the "flame war" as you put it didn't really kick off till halfway through the twitter exchange when moore said some pretty deliberately offensive things in response to some quite mildly expressed concern about how she was referring to transsexuals (concern intermingled with praise for her and the original article i might add).

Yeah, the war on twitter maybe.

I'm not entirely sure why her article was offensive honestly, which is what sparked the backlash. It may be because I'm not trans or anything but it doesn't look very offensive.

Her friend is an idiot though. If I was getting attacked in the media I'd rather my dumb friends kept quiet rather than write an article making us look even worse.

her article wasn't.

it contained a single reference to "Brazilian transsexuals" that some considered a bit off.

then comes the twitter exchange about it, some rather seriously off comments from her being the bit most people didn't see, that's when it really kicked off, then a ragequit from twitter which got noticed.

then burchill waded in...

Blablahb:
I expect that after the way they attacked Moore, that'll have been little more than a mutual flamewar, so there's no purpose to that.

Seriously.. just go and read the exchange. I will try to summarize it below.

They didn't "attack Moore" for her article, a cisgendered feminist politely suggested that feminism entails a responsibility to deal with the reality of transphobia, and Moore kicked off, stated that she didn't "accept" transphobia (or islamophobia, or trans anything), made a bunch of comments about cutting off body parts, told various people to fuck off, accused them of not understanding or actively trying to derail the real argument about women or accused them of supporting the Tory cuts and then left twitter amidst a wave of bilious responses, not to her article, but to what she had said on Twitter.

On her return, she immediately retweeted a link to her article and claimed that this is what "started the row", apologised to those she had "misrepresented" on the very same day you said she didn't have to and then openly asked her colleagues in the media to "storify" the "abuse" which she had suffered. Then, again same day, claimed it was all just passion and was being hyped disproportionately. Two days later, threatened legal action against Pink News for including a mention of her in an article about a Brazilian transwoman being shot dead last week (although apparently, that threat was just a hilarious joke).

This is being mischaracterized as a freedom of the press issue, when really.. the only comment on the article itself was that that the use of language wasn't very feminist. Now, if Moore doesn't like people questioning her feminist credentials because she apparently doesn't care about trans issues, so fucking what? Those people may not have cushy media jobs, but they're entitled to express their opinion.

I can see why Moore received the flak she did - the original article is not particularly offensive, but the use of "Brazilian transsexuals" was probably not the best phrase (particularly in light of the abuses that trans-people suffer in Brazil) - though it was, of course, her Twitter comments (and refusing to apologise for vile and derogatory language during said Twitter exchanges) that kicked everything off. Had she kept her cool (particularly as many of the Twitter comments actually contained praise for the message of the article in general, just concern about her phraseology in terms of transsexuals) then all of this would be avoided - kind of ironic when she, and her supporters, ask those who have taken grievance against her to "grow up".

Her friend, though, has made everything worse - her article is full of abuse and derogatory statements. That article was way out of line - and it is appalling that the Observer took the decision to publish such a piece. There are already ministerial calls for both the second columnist and the Observer's editor to be fired (which, having read the articles, I can understand where the calls are coming from).

It is also particularly exquisite that people are trying to shut down the arguments of those offended with claims of "Free Speech". Not only does such a thing not explicitly exist within the UK (there are various rights of expression that are legally protected, but it is not as carte-blanche as in, say, America); but surely if you are arguing that the columnists have the right to say what they like, regardless of how vile or who it offends (as there is no right to not be offended), then surely those users on Twitter and the Guardian/Observer comments sections also have the right to express their views on the articles, regardless of how vile or offensive it is to the columnists. Free speech works both ways, folks.

Telling the offended public that they need "thicker skin"? Why the hell are the columnists being treated like dainty little flowers - shouldn't they just grow "thicker skins", particularly as they are not just random members of the public but people who have chosen a profession of public expression of their views?

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