Tag: the independent

“Compassion” then illegal regime change

By Daniel Margrain
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 In case you thought the political-media response to the little boy on the beach was about compassion…
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Cathy Newman’s Hatchet Job

An indication of how desperate the mainstream media have become over Jeremy Corbyn’s runaway lead in the opinion polls was no better illustrated by Cathy Newman, the Channel 4 journalist who went into a panic on social media for implying in February that the mosque she visited displayed (falsely) a culture of intolerance and sexism [1]. Newman has been criticised on Twitter by attempted to dig up dirt in her smearing of Corbyn in relation to reports he had links with Holocaust deniers and people with anti-Semitic views.  The Independent reported that:

“The Channel 4 journalist interviewed the Labour leadership hopeful in an alleyway about his connections with Deir Yassin Remembered, a group founded by self-declared Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, and the cleric Raed Salah, who was convicted for inciting violence and racism after accusing Jews of using children’s blood to bake bread.

Corbyn denied her repeated suggestion that he had made “misjudgements” by attending events by Deir Yassin Remembered and describing Salah as an “honoured citizen” some years ago, accusing Newman of putting words in his mouth.

He insisted that Eisen was not a Holocaust denier when he met him 15 years ago, telling Newman: “Had he been a Holocaust denier, I would have had absolutely nothing to do with him. I was moved by the plight of people who had lost their village in Deir Yassin.

Corbyn said he was unaware Salah had been convicted of racial incitement when he met him. The interview, which was broadcast on Monday evening, quickly sparked a backlash against Newman, with many accusing her of trying to smear him.” [2].

TrutherTom in the Independent comments section commented:

“Now Jeremy Corbyn has dozens of Jewish academics writing a open letter to the Jerusalem Chronicle stating that he is not anti-semitic and so another expose backfires against anti Corbyn media. I did not see him getting angry but I was certainly feeling it myself as she kept repeating “Was it a misjudgement Mr Corbyn” ad nauseum.

Totally pathetic attempt to try and stitch him up while hoping to make a name for herself but all she has done is make herself look foolish and unprincipled and extremely arrogant. Full marks to Jeremy Corbyn for keeping his cool when others may have reacted hastily but his constant denial and refusal to be baited, made her look very superficial and rather stupid.”

Objectification kills

By Daniel Margrain

The 30 minute documentary film Killing Us Softly (1979) based on a lecture by Jean Kilbourne focuses on the effects of advertising on women’s self-image and the objectification of women’s bodies. Kilbourne argues that the superficial, objectifying and unreal portrayal of women in advertising lowers women’s self-esteem and that Sexualized images of women are being used to sell virtually all kinds of goods (1). Kilbourne argues that they degrade women, encourage abuse, and reinforce the patriarchal, sexist society whilst also drawing connection between advertising and pornography, stating that “the advertisers are America’s real pornographers”.(2).

Thirty six years after the release of Killing Us Softly, yesterday evenings Channel 4 News (July 23) reported on the inquest of 21 year old bulemia sufferer Eloise Perry who on the April 12 died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital one week after having swallowed eight unlicensed fat-burning pills that she purchsed from the internet. The pills, which the Food Standards Agency describe as being illegal to sell for human consumption, contained DNP which is an industrial chemical historically used in the manufacture of explosives and fungicides. Website companies who sell this chemical depict DNP as a fat burning product and some even use the tag line “getting leaner through chemistry” as a marketing tool.

No sooner were attempts made by the authorities to close down these sites, they reappeared under different names.  It’s clearly a battle that the authorities are losing. The fact that informed young people like Ms Parry who are aware of the risks are so desperate to lose weight that they are prepared to go to such extreme lengths raises wider questions about the nature of the society we live in.

The social pressures for young women to conform to certain expectations placed upon them by the media are immense. The upshot is that they are involved in a constant psychological battle between myth and reality. In Britain, for example, the average size of a woman is now 16 but the aspirational size is zero – an unobtainable goal for the vast majority.

The contradiction between reality and aspiration is undermining many of the gains that women made in the feminist debates of the 1960s and 1970s. What Ariel Levi terms “raunch culture” is another symptom of the undermining of the gains made. A tour by High Street Honey’s that involves women employed by lads mags touring the various university campuses throughout the country dressed as porn stars, is about as debased as it gets.

The notion that pole dancing which is sold as exercise classes at some universities and widely regarded as being empowering for women in terms of getting them in touch with their inner sexuality, is in reality, setting back women’s rights decades.

Activities like this inhibit the way both men and women feel about their bodies and therefore cannot be disentangled from the tragic case of Ms Parry. The normalization of sexist imagery in pop videos and television commercials and the sexualization of young girls clothes is another illustration of raunch culture in which fantasies, desires and ambitions are transformed into commodities to make money.

The growth in cosmetic surgery is another factor that increases expectations on women’s appearances. Ninety-one per cent of surgery is undertaken on women of which the most popular is breast enhancement. In America it’s normal practice for girls to be given breast enlargement as a graduation present. The fact that a growing number of girls suffer low self-esteem is a sad and depressing indictment on our society at large.