Sunday 2 October 2016

Standing on the Shoulders of Aunts

Chekkitout. Caitlin "Home Ed" Moran and Emma "Magic" Watson chatting in a super middle class London kitchen. Two super-smart young[er than me] women talking about how to be a better woman. Really interesting. If you haven't read Moranifesto [reviewed] yet, this might be a start.

Not had enough lippy Moran? Try a pas de deux with Tim Minchin (sound only).

It's odd getting two interviews of/with the same person back to back. The same ideas pop up in both, often cast in the same phrasing, because that is what's near the surface of Moran's mind. I have two pairs of classes this year at The Institute: same material, different groups.  I want to give them parity of esteem so I explain the same key concepts in the intro to each class. But the jokes are different . . . well sometimes they're the same but they tend not to work so good the second time round, it sounds too much like a script. I don't know how stand-ups don't die of boredom. For example. in my QM = remedial maths class last week, I was trying to encourage them to talk to each other on the principal of  two half-solutions and a whole solution or two minds are better than one. "In this class it's okay to chat to your neighbour, it's not Mass . . . it's Maths >!heehaw!<". The . . .it's Maths rose unbidden in the turmoil that is my mind.

ANNyway, a nifty idea of Moran's (must be important, I heard it twice in one hour) is that the best way to get people to embrace one of her beliefs is not to go all earnest and say this is right, or this is A Right [equal pay for women, marriage equality, not being barracked and whistled at when you walk down the street]. Rather it's to say This Is Fun. David Bowie showed the world that bi-sexuality could be unspeakably glam and so allowed vacillating youth to try a bit of the other if so inclined. I've quoted her as saying that countries that dispossess blacks, gays and women are stupider because they are reducing the sample size of effectives to run the government and bureaucracy. My father as captain of a large naval vessel twigged that being a pettifogging martinet was actually bad for discipline. Although he did have certain quirks about what irked him.

Young Emma admitted that her younger mind tended to bin prostitution, pornography and sex-workers into a single bin - probably marked bad. Caitlin's take is more nuanced. She doesn't see why sex-work and sex-workers should be treated in a fundamentally different way to other service industries: if you can, without much criticism, pay someone to wipe your demented mother's bottom and pay someone else [different tool-kit] to bleach your own anus to a more attractive pink then it's hard to see why getting other aspects of activity down there serviced is made particularly illegal and under-the-counter. First step is to get sex-workers registered with the police so that they can tell someone that they've been trafficked, beaten or forced into non-consensual sex. She also offers a hilarious deconstruction of most internet porn: very few of the women there seem to be having fun [see her take on David Bowie etc above].

Oh yes, it was Banned Books Week last week. In my piece about BBW last year, I offered a Caitlin Moran argument to Austria about banning Mein Kampf. If you put it in every library, you'll expose it as poorly written, illogical, inconsistent and, well, stupid. Sweeping it under the nation's carpet just allows it to fester in the minds of the unhappy.

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