This is a brief record of an altercation I had today with a journalist from the New Statesman. I am putting it up here in case anyone deletes any comments/tweets etc as I would like to keep the evidence. The hoo-ha began with this article by Steven Baxter on his NS Blog (aka @stebax on twitter, fka @antonvowl of still-going Enemies of Reason blog).
Baxter’s article celebrated the demise of the Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers, and told its journalists: ‘welcome to the clean world’.
My comment under his blogpost on the NS website went as follows:
”welcome to the clean world’
says it all doesn’t it? The ‘liberal press’ sees itself as ‘clean’ and sees ‘grub street’ as, well, dirty.
Sex is not dirty. Pictures of naked women or men or anyone of any gender are not dirty.
And I find the ‘clean world’ horribly boring and hypocritical.’
And when my comment seemed to be misunderstood I clarified:
‘My point was about how he distinguishes between the Sport being ‘dirty’ and the rest of the media/world being ‘clean’ which does place a moral value system on how we show representations of sex/nudity/rape in our papers.
I think these values are hypocritical.
If you want to see ‘rape porn’ you only need to read The Guardian which fetishises rape, or any number of liberal/feminist blogs which go on and on about e.g. The Mail’s portrayal of rape in a very detailed manner. With a kind of morbid fascination’.
Baxter did not respond on the blog but left a message on twitter, not addressed to me personally, but obviously aimed at me (I can’t reproduce his exact tweet as he blocks me on twitter):
But someone has provided a screengrab here:
Baxter’s comment was backed-up by his fellow NS blogger, and Orwell Prize judge (that Baxter has just been longlisted for) David Allen Green
There followed some ‘discussion’ in which Baxter never once addressed me directly. But others got involved in a general slag-athon of the well-known ‘troll’ that I have become. Of all the comments these stood out for me:
It is ironic that an article that set out to demonstrate the ‘dirty’ immoral nature of a newspaper with regards to its representation of women, sexuality and power (via stories about rape), should lead to comments by a group of men, some of whom have ‘power’ in the national media, about an individual woman’s sexuality. A woman who happened to criticise one of their ‘boys’. I don’t know what else to say really. I may write more on this when I have calmed down. But at the moment, I want to get as far away from Grub Street as I possibly can.
and here is Cath Elliott’s response to Baxter’s comment. Cath is also nominated for the Orwell Prize.