A fortnight before President Biden took office, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that “mother”, “father”, “daughter”, “brother” and other gendered words to describe familial relationships would be removed from House rules. Henceforth in official documents they would be replaced by the gender-neutral terms “parent”, “child” or “sibling”. The purpose of this was to “honour all gender identities”.
Then, within hours of his inauguration, the president’s first executive order decreed that his administration would fully apply the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling that denying rights “‘because of ... sex’ covers discrimination on the basis of gender identity” too. That this finally gives American trans people the same protections long enjoyed in Britain, for example from workplace discrimination, reversing President Trump’s disgraceful ban on trans military personnel, should be celebrated.… Seguir leyendo »
Visiting California, I’m always shocked how Americans — even vaping, Prius-driving, liberal Democrats — treat their Mexican staff. Need someone to toil in the sun for 12 hours on minimum wage? Need a nanny who won’t kick off when you’re constantly late? Hire a Mexican. Employers engage little with these people who inhabit their yards and homes (the language barrier is cited) but if they do, the tone is exquisitely patronising. Mexicans aren’t so much individuals as a class of biddable, brown Untermensch.
Likewise President Trump has addressed the Mexican government like a lazy pool-cleaner, a bus-boy who dropped a tray.… Seguir leyendo »
Outside UCLA hospital they gather with their candles and their teddies, spooky lookalikes in full Thriller garb, wan teenagers wearing a single lace glove. They sway and sing I’ll Be There with sad faces to disguise the serotonin buzz from their frenzied collective mourn-in. Fans cry now for Michael Jackson, but they killed him. They always do.
I met Pete Doherty’s mother a few years back when he was at his most vulnerable, flicking between rehab and jail, just one misjudged fix from extinction. And she told me about his fans, who’d slip him gear when he was struggling to quit, tell her they went to every gig he ever performed “just in case, you know, it happens to be his last”.… Seguir leyendo »
A psychotherapist friend was explaining why she had forbidden her 12-year-old daughter from joining Facebook. It had driven several of her patients, around the same age as her daughter, to the verge of mental breakdown. But surely these girls were unusually fragile: if not Facebook, wouldn't there have been some other catalyst? Maybe, she said, but few young egos are strong enough to deal with this stuff.
I thought she was being alarmist and somewhat old-fashioned. Our generation merely utilises the internet: our children have it hardwired into their synapses. It is their medium, just as ours was television: our parents fretted similiarly - and impotently - about its new-fangled consequences.… Seguir leyendo »