Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


Fear, Anger, Hate, Suffering

It’s been an unbelievable few days and now I’ve stumbled home in a daze after shedding some tears at today’s news, I will try to collect myself here.

At the weekend we saw the massacre of 49 mainly Latinx LGBT+ people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,FL. This act of homophobic terrorism shook the whole world and I walked down to Old Compton Street to be with the community at the vigil here in London and pay our respects.

Today one of our Labour MPs has been murdered by a man apparently shouting “Britain First” (the name of one of our openly racist and nationalist political groups). She was a passionate activist who was trying to serve people in her work. I did not know her, but friends did, and extremely high praise is all I have seen.

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Warning: may contain warnings

Trigger warnings! People are still talking about them.

Edit 2016: especially when the University of Chicago does this

As I think I’ve said before, I prefer terms like “content note” or just NB/ or similar, as I have read convincing arguments that the very use of the words “trigger warning” can be kind of self-defeating, so maybe it’s better to avoid that. Although whether “TW” may have the same effect, I’m not sure. Not my point.

What warning?

I’m talking about little notes at the start of something – a piece of writing or a talk, or a post in (for example) a facebook group – that gives people a heads-up about the content. It might be “Content note: disordered eating” or “TW: rape” or similar. The point is that if people aren’t in an appropriate state to deal with that or prefer it not creeping up on them unannounced, they don’t need to -just to let them know so they’re better prepared when it comes up.

What’s the problem? Continue reading


Substituting for ‘crazy’

As I’m sure I’ve argued before, words really do matter in some contexts. They both reflect and define our realities, and can indicate to each other what we feel and think about things, as well as what’s acceptable in groups.

People might now switch off because “omg the PC police” but, try replacing “political correctness gone mad” with “people would like respect” and see how things look…


Yeah, no, it really isn’t

Today’s subject is the increased use of terms that usually reference mental ill-health being substituted for descriptors of the unusual and notable like baffling, unconscionable, inexplicable, astonishing, amazing, awesome, fantastic, brilliant, shocking, clever, super, awful, despicable, outrageous, indefensible, unfair – and many more besides; I am (sadly) not a thesaurus.

That’s a big range of stuff to throw words like crazy, insane, mad, batshit or mentally ill at. I think it’s more common in America (especially insane) but seems fairly ubiquitous now, especially in clickbait headlines (a root of many ills).

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How I think of “privilege”

I’ve thought of myself as a feminist for a long time, but I too went through the phases of “but I don’t hate men! I like bras and make-up! I don’t like the word feminist!” – and I’m thoroughly over it (internalised misogyny is a whole other post…) but I have, for the last couple of years, thought a lot more about the concept described by this word privilege.

I once tried (and failed) to articulate the fact that it is more difficult to be a woman in this world than a man, to a guy at university. He, hilariously, told me to go and make a sandwich. So I gave up, for a long time.

What does it mean to you, or are you new to the concept, and has this been enlightening or do you not recognise it at all? Let me know in the comments…

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Death to “Banter”

Just a quick rant about one of my least favourite words today. See Edit II to read about what happened to a teacher’s protest on the subject.

In the last few years, “banter” has become an increasingly common excuse people trot out when they’re talking offensive crap and want to be let off the hook “because it’s just bants”.

Another meme that really needs to die on its arse ASAP

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Are you transphobic? Am I?

This is a difficult post to write, but it’s been on my mind for a while. No one is obliged to comment, or to educate me if I’m wrong (which no doubt I will be), but comments are, as ever, welcome, to continue the discussion.

I’ll start with some conditions – please read them first and try to bear them in mind if what I’m saying causes some rage.

Edit: some very constructive comments have happened, so thanks to everyone who’s pitched in and been civil with it. I’ve also added some stuff to the end of the post.

Transphobia is real. Hundreds of people are killed and abused every year because society says we must obviously present as male-men and female-women and some people disagree so much, fear and hate so much, that they think murder or assault is justified. It is not. Obviously. Continue reading


Atheism flux

A lot of people I know seem to be talking about atheism/humanism/secularism at the moment, so I thought I’d wade in with my first proper post of the year.

2014-01-09 13_21_23-New Humanist magazine _ Rationalist AssociationTom Chivers wrote the initial post in New Humanist‘s debate, “Is it time to move on from the New Atheism?”. For the uninitiated, new atheism is an outspoken anti-religious movement that encourages rational thinking, challenges to harmful religious ideas and powers held in society, and promotes secular culture and politics.

Tom argues that, while many think of New Atheism as something like: Richard Dawkins shouting at people and going very red in the face and think he’s a silly if not odious man and therefore atheists are all like him and just as irritating… perhaps it has actually been quite successful. Atheism has more visibility, it feels like more of a movement, for better or worse, and the heavy-handed tactic has paved the way for those who would rather take a softer approach.

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