Friday, 2 August 2013

Men Still Fall For This Stuff?

An article in Zoo Magazine (it is a 'men's magazine' for those of you privileged enough not to be familiar with it) features a picture of a topless woman called Lana Parker. She is described as a 'Surrey Sexpot' who has an urgent need. Bluntly speaking she 'could do with a visit from a friendly male builder...' because 'I'm trying to decorate my new bedroom and I've knocked a hole out of the wall. I need a bit of male help, if anyone wants to give me a hand...'

Let's be practical here. Firstly, Google a picture of Lana Parker and you will instantly question (maybe not if you are a lusty male who falls for tacky innuendos) whether this woman would actually wield a sledgehammer against a wall and be strong enough to knock a hole in it. Secondly, they all come from Surrey don't they? Remember the 'Bored Surrey Housewives' tale of the 1980s? Fact or fiction who knows but acres of video footage of women calling themselves bored rich Surrey housewives and column inches of written salacious details of forbidden Surrey sex tales sold well and became a mini Surrey industry in itself. All from touting the 'I am here, helpless, so come and get me because I need you' line. 

Thirdly, Lana Parker would need more than a hand if she has indeed created a hole in the wall. Think of the mess that would have resulted from a mismanaged builiding job? However, no such practicalities are alluded to here. All she needs is a male reader who may be a fat banker who has no idea about DIY or a real life builder who has never been propositioned before to launch himself into some ridiculous fantasy about being THE builder who saves Lana Parker. 

The narrative of the male soft porn industry that now hides itself like a wolf in sheep's clothing within the pages of a magazine that commands respectability because it is sold in respectable outlets has not changed since the 1980s. What does this say about the men who rely on such drivel for self pleasure? 

P/S Lest someone accuse me of buying or reading Zoo magazine I didn't. This blog post was inspired by an article written by Deborah Ross in the I Newspaper titled: 'Come on feminsts, You need to lighten Up'. 
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Thursday, 1 August 2013

More Groucho Marx Than Karl Marx -Free Schools

In a moment that can only be described as satirical and farcical, something to be found in abundance in Groucho Marx's sketches, Michael Gove has roped in Karl Marx to support the proliferation of free schools. Writing in today's The Guardian newspaper in an article titled, 'Wrong again, Ed' the Education Secretary presents his evidence in a manner that would be more suited to a multi-faith leaflet which calls upon the followers of major religions to act together for a common greater good.

Gove cites most of the major political groups - Conservatives, Liberals, Classical Republicans and Marxists (yes, that's right) - and states that they ALL support free schools. The killer punch lies in the line: 'Marxists support free schools because they embody the ideal of the soviet, a self-managing institution run by workers in the wider public interest'. 

Quite extraordinary given that Michael Gove despises the Left and groups them all together as 'communists', which is a slur political term by the right, more commonly used by American Republicans.

Having sat through much of the Marxism Festival a few weeks ago I know enough to recognise the main flaw in his statement: Marxism was about centralisation. By contrast, power is devolved to free schools from local authorities. Ironic really when you consider that the term 'Soviet' means 'council' which, in turn, denotes a governance structure of elected representatives. Free schools and academies are run by private individuals and private companies. Marx did not advocate selective entry and free schools have been accused of being selective in their geographical location and the students that they take in.

Marx's dictum that the bourgeoisie cannot exist without revolutionizing society could have been an observation of the Free School movement. It is a revolution in education that chases the tail of neoliberalism while stealing the revolutionary aspect of Marxism to sell it. As a mother I find this mish mash of political theories rather alarming and can only hope that a deliberate rewriting of great thinkers is not a tactic being used to sell political ideologies.
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