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A Monday Miscellany

Here’s a round up of interesting posts on the usual issues (and some others) in case you missed them first time round.

First, here’s a great post by Flesh is Grass, urging all UCU members to post their ballots before the 28 February deadline.

UCU Left repels potential and actual members. If you go to a meeting where UCU Left assume they are in a majority, it soon becomes apparent that they operate in a bubble. In their bubble non-left members don’t exist or are discouraged. So if you are not on the left, you’re probably at the bottom of the UCU Left priorities – solidarity will only be extended to you if UCU Left decides it is useful to do so. If you try to get involved to change their balance of power you will have to work all the harder. You are only welcome insofar as you pipe down, keep still, cough up, and let UCU Left objectify you into a member they can turn into a statistic, and count on to do what they say. They do not care about your kind – they want to occupy your union and enlist it, bodies and monies, into their political movement, and they aren’t keen to hear your opinion about it.

Next here are some interesting reflections on Muslim advocacy from Mohammed Amin.  He emphasises the need to analyse the current situation correctly in order to devise the right strategies for countering bigotry:

When strategies are based upon an incorrect assessment of the situation, fail to take account of allies, and sometimes even regard allies (such as the Government) as opponents, they are unlikely to succeed. In my view this accounts for many Muslim advocacy organisations seeking to counter anti-Muslim bigotry being relatively ineffectual.

Here’s a feisty piece from Ben Six, articulating an irritation with both intersectionality and Julie Birchill.

I will no more defend “intersectional” politics than a kick in the teeth. It is the place where modern trends of identity politics and attention-seeking meet – irrationality enforced by obnoxiousness. Nonetheless, Julie Burchill’s attack on the idea inThe Spectator is a miserable piece. Could she ever write? She cannot now. The third sentence contains three examples of alliteration. The word “bitch” is used twice in successive sentences. There is a “Winterval” joke, which is dishonest and triteand also as ill-timed as a reference could be.

Back to I/P – a teacher, Alasdair Power, reflects, a little wryly, on his experience of being asked to explain the case for the West Bank security barrier to Year 11 students in Manchester:

A colleague of mine at the time put him in touch with me. I think the  colleague must have heard me express a pro Israel opinion at a mixed gathering and the social novelty of this event must have pigeon holed me in his mind as a paid up Zionist warmonger.  At first I offered to put them in touch with one of the several people I know who are far better informed and far more interested in the topic. However, my colleague seemed to think my level of scholarship was of a suitably low level to be more accessible to the youth of today than that of an actual academic. Suitably humbled, I accepted the  commission, thinking I would find it stimulating at the very least. In due course I received  a series of questions from the students via email which I attempted to answer to the  best of my ability.

This wasn’t a blog I’d come across before, but I’ve now bookmarked it for future reference.

Ophelia Benson’s blog is a great resource for secularists and feminists.  Here she reports on a sickening example of victim blaming – these magazines were distributed to Year 6 children.

The magazines, Refuel 2 and Revolve 2 – which intersperse the text of the New Testament with dating advice, beauty tips and music reviews – warn girls not to go bra-less because “your nipples are much more noticeable and a distraction and temptation for men”, and not to wear tube tops and low-rise jeans because men are “sexually stimulated by what they see”.

“The Bible says not to cause anyone else to sin. Are you putting sexual thoughts about your body into guys’ heads? If you are showing a lot of skin you probably are,” it states.

Given that Year 6 children are only 10, it’s actually these magazines which are putting sexual thoughts into people’s head.

Penultimately, from Jay the Nerd Kid, here’s ‘Muslim, queer, feminist, it’s as complicated as it sounds’

It is possible to be me and be Muslim. I wear miniskirts. I flirt with cute girls in bars. I drive my mother to distraction with my scoop-neck t-shirts and exposed legs. I have male friends. I have loved women and men and people who are neither or both or a complex mixture. Islam is not my father telling me that I can’t join the choir because good Muslim girls don’t sing in public. Islam is not a man telling me I need to cover myself or feel ashamed. Allah does not ask me to be ashamed of myself. Allah asks me to love, to feel compassion, to be empathetic, to give my life in service to the creator and to creation. These are things I can happily and willingly do.

And finally, just for a change, a poem, ‘Sparrow Trapped in the airport’ by Averill Curdy.  As far as I know it has no bearing whatsoever on the usual HP preoccupations.