Coffee House

Rod Liddle on Moore, Burchill and Featherstone’s lovely bitch fight

16 January 2013

16 January 2013

In tomorrow’s Spectator, Rod Liddle gives his verdict on the social media storm caused by Suzanne Moore and then Julie Burchill. Liddle suggests that until the ‘entire bourgeois bien-pensant left’ self-immolates, leaving a slight scent of goji berries, bystanders can ‘enjoy ourselves watching them tear each other to pieces, mired in their competing victimhoods seething with acquired sensitivity, with inchoate rage and fury, inventing more and more hate crimes with which they might punish people who are not themselves’.

He describes Burchill’s Observer  as ‘easily the best piece the paper has carried in a decade’, and then examines the response of the government and the Observer’s editor:

‘At which point the government got involved. No, it really did. Its most idiotic minister, the Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone — again utilising that conduit for the shriekingly self-obsessed and vapid, Twitter — described Burchill’s article as ‘bigoted vomit’ and suggested that both she and the editor of the Observer, a man called John Mulholland, should be sacked immediately. Should government ministers do that sort of thing, demand the sacking of newspaper editors? Even if they are incalculably stupid ministers with a track record of saying incalculably stupid things? She is the minister for International Development these days, Featherstone, so it is not even part of her brief. Although I suppose it is part of her brief as a non-cissexist heterosexual woman, in a very real sense.

‘How did Mr Mulholland respond? Did this titan of the press, this staunch and stoic defender of freedom of speech stand by his columnist? Um, not exactly. He instead apologised for having run Julie Burchill’s article and within the hour the piece had been expunged from the joint Guardian-Observer website, no trace of it remaining. But in making his apology Mulholland did say that the Observer supported freedom of speech and did so terribly bravely sometimes. Just, er, not this time.’

What did Liddle think of the language used by Moore and Burchill? His full article will appear in tomorrow’s Spectator. Click here to subscribe.


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Show comments
  • Bob339

    Liberal and Democrat together are oxymoronic.

  • http://twitter.com/ThedirtfromDirt Dirt
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001394314534 Robyn Duckworth

    “Bitch” fight – mysoginistic offensive language used by a male. Just another example of the daily abuse women face in the media and the typical language used to oppress women. Unfortunately people are so used to this that there’s no point complaining.

    • Colonel Mustard

      But you did anyway.

      • Fergus Pickering

        And so did I. And so ought you, Colonel.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Oh, dear, Pickering. Are we now at the stage that one is to be denounced if one does not denounce sufficiently? Why of course we are. This is whingeing, chip-shouldered, faux outrage, offence hair trigger Britain. All must conform – all must complain – how very North Korea.

  • Vulture

    So long as there’s still someone called BLOTT who can admit to it without cracking up and write such arrant balls, then satire is not dead.

  • Austin Barry

    Politicians seem to believe that the mad, rancid but politically correct, views of a typical braying and yelping Any Questions audience represent the views of the electorate.

    They don’t.

  • SirMortimerPosh

    LOL – I heard something called Roz Kaveney on the radio talking about being a transexual ‘woman’ so I googled ‘her’ and found a startling image of a Les Dawson type drag grotesque. Are we supposed to treat these types seriously and nod in assent when they tell you they are women. This along with many other modern trends makes me want to scream about the children’s tale about the kings new clothes. Has the world gone mad?

    • Austin Barry

      “Trannies’ are a living paradox: men who mutilate themselves to become the ‘women’ they seem to detest.

      • SirMortimerPosh

        They are manifestly mentally ill. There is no other explanation outside the ridiculous claptrap spewed out by the fools who want to persuade us that a man can become a woman by cutting off his d ck and b0lllocks and dressing up like a travesty in women’s clothing. When there are people advocating this kind of deviance as normal we are in a pretty strange place. These people need help, not encouragement.

      • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

        Trannies don’t ‘mutilate’ themselves, they just wear trousers to annoy male Christians.

  • Charlottey

    What would Rod Liddle know? I seem to recall him admitting a few years’ back that he didn’t even know what ‘transgender’ meant, let alone being competent enough to have an opinion on it:) What a bunch of duffers you journos (vermin, or whatever you’re calling yourselves these days) really are. Good job the internet is soon to render the British Press extinct as it’s about time that the way was paved for writers and commentators with actual talent rather than the old public school network connection of boring, media-ocre duffers!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Good od, was Rod Liddle at a Public School? I thought he went to Milwall Comprehensive.

  • http://twitter.com/DeccaQuinne Karen Barclay

    The best? Oh, dear. Journalism may as well give up. Then he can spend more time on Millwall forums. They’re bound to have a higher standard of debate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robyn.lesueur Robyn Le Sueur

    Apparently we’re moderating comments that disagree with us now Spectator? I guess it’s okay to dish it out in a national news paper, but calling you transphobic for doing so is just crossing the line?

    • coffeehousewall.co.uk

      What does ‘transphobic’ mean? Did you invent that yourself? It isn’t very clever. I am not sure that anyone here or in the wider UK world is ‘afraid’ of these people with a particular mental illness. And if you mean that people ‘hate’ these people with a particular mental illness then you’d need to introduce the Greek verb ‘miseo’. But I don’t think people do hate those with this mental illness. They may reasonably hate those who peddle surgery as a solution to this mental illness, just as they might reasonably hate those who peddle hard drugs to those who are vulnerable.

      So you probably mean the word ‘miso-trans-ist’. But as I have said, people don’t hate those with a mental illness, just those who cause those with mental illness further harm.

      And it is not clear what the ‘trans’ bit means? Usually ‘trans’ has meant a transvestite, a person who gets some pleasure out of dressing as a woman. In private I guess it matters little what a person gets up to. But in public it does seem rather embarrassing to see someone essentially manifesting a mental illness. But this again usually elicits sympathy not hatred.

      And if you mean by ‘trans’ someone who is ‘transitioning’ as you put it, then that really doesn’t seem very accurate since they are not transitioning from being a man to a woman as you would no doubt imply, but a man to a man who has undergone painful and pointless surgery that benefits those who are paid to encourage and perform it, but does not change the absolute fact that he remains a man.

      So I am not sure that the word ‘transphobic’ has any meaning at all. Perhaps it gives you pleasure in using it, and you have created a fantasy world where it does have meaning. But that is the way of the left. Change the meaning of words and you can begin to change the nature of the world.

      • coffeehousewall.co.uk

        And in terms of hatred, I followed one poster here to their facebook page and found the comment…

        If only transphobes could just dig a whole and die slowly

        We don’t have to look far to see where the real hatred comes from.

        (ps. It’s not clear what these transphobes should dig a whole lot of?)

      • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

        transphobic means you.

  • Guest

    Apparently we’re moderating comments that disagree we us now Observer? I guess it’s okay to dish it out in a national news paper, but a comment calling your transphobic for doing so is just crossing the line?

  • Fergus Pickering

    Do you think you could NOT call any spat between women a bitch fight. Thank you very much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robyn.lesueur Robyn Le Sueur

    The transphobes are literally crawling out of the woodwork and jumping with glee after good old Julie Burchill gave them a slight bit of legitimacy to their non-sense aren’t they? Sorry normality police, you’re in the minority on this particular issue, I guess that makes you abnormal too.

    • coffeehousewall.co.uk

      Not really Robin. No “transgender” person is normal. They all deserve sympathy but none should be deceived by being encouraged. They have massive psychological issues that require treatment just as those women who cannot stop having cosmetic surgery need help not operations.

      • Beverley_C

        Do you know anything about trans people? Have you ever met any? If not then I suggest you go and meet some and speak with them in depth. I did and I learned a great deal and lost a lot of my pre-conceptions about what it meant.

        Yes, a lot of them have psychological problems – depression being very common – but that is easily relieved by hormonal treatment. Most of them do not undergo surgery.

        One pill costing 50p a day gives most of them massive relief from their condition and in a group whose suicide rate is way above the norm, that sounds like effective treatment to me.

        Bev.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          Don’t confuse the moron.

  • Curnonsky

    The emerging caste system of victimhood would put India to shame for its complexity. Some clever PC mathematician needs to develop an algorithm to compute where each being stands (the Nazis made a primitive stab at it with the Nuremberg Laws, but in the age of Google surely we can do better?).

  • FrankS

    Just what was so insulting about Suzanne Moore’s original remark, likening the “body of a Brazilian transsexual” to an impossible ideal of female beauty?
    It sounds quite flattering to me.

    • Daniel Maris

      When you think: “I’d like a logical answer to this question.” do you

      (a) Listen to what Stephen Hawkings has to say on the matter.

      (b) Go to the library and read up on Bertrand Russell.

      (c) Consult your neighbourhood transgenderist?

      The problem here is that a Government Minister and a few others have opted for (c).

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      She could have referenced Jordan, or any of the other small hips, big breasts, news stories on the right hand panel of the Daily Mail, that are far more damaging to women, and more relevant to the point she was attempting to make.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Featherstone, Thacker and Shoesmith. Looky-likes all descended from the type who (wo)manned Auschwitz, Buchenwald and in Kolyma.

    Aufseherinnen all.

  • David Ossitt

    Look at the photograph, is it a bloke wearing a wig in drag?

    • FrankS

      Perhaps Featherstone self-identifies as a transsexual trapped in a woman’s body.

      • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

        Maybe she does, and is that a problem?

        • FrankS

          I haven’t asked her!

          • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

            She has a website and is quite willing to answer inquiries.

  • dalai guevara

    ..the hate crime of yet again not giving the plebs the referendum they deserve? Do clarify in your next tax deductable (and deducted) chain store Latte break.

  • Colonel Mustard

    It’s astounding how much hate-filled bile the Left spew when they gather in a mob to denounce someone for spewing hate-filled bile. Supremely unaware, they just don’t get it.

    All freedom of speech is equal but some freedom of speech is more equal than others.

  • coffeehousewall.co.uk

    Even worse than the assault on freedom of speech, just a hint at what politicians hope to achieve, is the public exhibition of the outrage to common sense and British tradition which is the idea that the state can decide to call a man a woman just because he has undergone some surgery. This is the much worse crime. Such people who feel the need to mutilate themselves need sympathy, not the encouragement to believe they can become what they can never be, of a different gender.

    But this is all part of the agenda which the political class has adopted, subverting all normal, common-sense realities and creating a virtual world where black is white, and male is female, and two men can get married. But it is all just an illusion. Reality will bounce back and it will become clear that the political class, and all those ramming the political correct agenda of the left down our throats, have been deceiving and deceived.

    • Ali Buchan

      Explain what the word gender means (surely you wouldn’t just resort to physiology), and explain why the gender by which someone wishes to be understood matters to you. If someone feels female, why isn’t that enough for you to accept them as such?

      And to suggest that it’s a “crime” to think in a different way to you! Pots and kettles?

      • Daniel Maris

        This is nonsense. Of course it has social implications. Are you saying that any man who feels a bit “female” one morning should be allowed to walk into the female toilets and showers at work. No – of course you’re not saying that. So it is a choice which has huge social implications.

        I think any sensible understands that gender is part physiology and part social conditioning. And no doubt more often that not social conditioning tends to exaggerate gender differences.

        Interesting though that you say “surely you wouldn’t just resort to physiology” when many gay activists to that – they claim being gay is purely a result of DNA/physiology and has nothing to do with social conditioning.

        It seems that in the world of gender politics, life is like a “box of chocolates”. (Clarification: I hate that line from that God awful film).

        • Ali Buchan

          My understanding is that physiology deals with parts and their functions rather than any addressing intrinsic ‘nature’. Apologies if that was wrong.

          Re your first paragraph: ‘Feeling’ is obviously assessed by psychologists and other experts, in advance of any kind of readjustment. As far as I’m aware, that’s what informs decisions as to appropriate behaviour in everyday situations.

          Arguably, the reason there are negative social implications is because of those who have a pre-existing antipathetic or fearful feeling towards trans people and struggle to come to terms with them fulfilling an active, visible role across society. The chap who made the initial comment seems to be an example of that.

          In believing that there are ‘normal’ human beings and ‘abnormal’ human beings, the latter deserving of ‘sympathy’, he erects a barrier to ‘progress’, as I would term the word.

          • britabroad

            D’y know something? I really would prefer to be French. There’s something about being French, isn’t there? Stylish. Sophisticated. Now i could go live in France. really work on my French conversation skills. Get a French passport even. Live as a Frenchman. But when it comes down to it, I wasn’t born French & no amount of telling people, particularly the French, otherwise is going to alter that. I’d just be one of those abnormal group of Englishmen who pretend to be French

            • Ali Buchan

              I don’t think that’s a great analogy, though it does throw up perhaps the crucial question of whether ‘what you are’ merely an extension of what your chosen society allows you to be, or whether it’s something inherent that exists independently in oneself. If it’s the latter, are you the sum of your physical parts or is that just a conduit through which to express feelings which develop over time?

              To go back to your example, you tend to just have to do something ‘useful’ to be ‘accepted’. Look at Kevin Pietersen, for example.

            • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.kirk.9216 Thomas Kirk

              what if you were born, i dunno, corsica ?alsace ? Quebec? Tahiti ?

            • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

              Are you a Burgundian or a Parisian?

          • coffeehousewall.co.uk

            Of course there are normal human behaviours and abnormal human behaviours. A man deciding that by some surgery he can become a woman is a sign of an abnormal behaviour and mentality that requires sympathy and psychiatric help, not state facilitation of his delusion.

            The idea that gender can be detached from physiology is simply part of the agenda to subvert all normal human relations. If there is no male or female (and normal people know there are), then there is no mother an dfather, no husband and wife, and the state is able to define relations as it chooses, destroying normal family and marital relationships.

            But this was always the intent. Marxism does not believe in the family, in marriage or in normal human relations.

        • http://twitter.com/cathg77 cath

          people who wish to transition do not choose this….do you really think anyone would want to suffer the way they do?

          • coffeehousewall.co.uk

            Again, a pointless argument. The fact of mental suffering indicates that they are suffering from a mental illness. There are people who are so mentally ill that they have surgically removed arms and legs. Others refuse to eat and starve themselves to death. Others gorge themselves to morbid obesity. People do lots of things to their bodies because they have a mental illness. Many mass murderers have felt ‘driven’ to commit their crimes and do not seem them as crimes – is that OK? Does it just depend on what the subject believes?

            Only the left uses language to subvert reality. Only the left determines that what a person thinks is reality.

            There is no ‘transition’. A man is always a man, he just becomes a man whose mental illness is more manifest and worthy of greater sympathy towards him, and anger towards those who have encouraged his mental illness.

            We should be furious that our Government has pandered to this lobby and deceived a small number of men into believing that the state has the authority to declare them a woman, even fraudulently changing the facts on their birth certificate, when in fact, in cold scientific fact, every cell of their body shouts out that he is still a man.

            What next? There are some people who are undergoing surgery to try and transform themselves into animal form. Must we accept their madness as truth and will we see them gain a pedigree certificate rather than a birth certificate?

      • SirMortimerPosh

        Because they are NOT female. They have cut off their private parts and dressed up funny. Are you mad?

        • Ali Buchan

          Define ‘female’. Are you, for instance, less ‘female’, if you’ve had a hysterectomy?

          • coffeehousewall.co.uk

            Every cell of a female body is female. It is constituted genetically different from every cell of a man. If all that were left were a human brain in a jar it would still be that of a man or a woman.

            Only the loony left would think it possible to redefine female – and they are trying and succeeding. Their intent is evil and must be resisted.

          • SirMortimerPosh

            Don’t try and recruit the rest of us into your madness. You want to define female? Biology does it definitively. Females have xxy chromosomes. Any other silly definition is just a f ck ed up delusion. Are you a delusionist?

            • Colonel Mustard

              It is the manipulation of language over fact – the main weapon of the left who can be relied upon to get behind any idea likely to turn reality on its head. Subjective too. Words mean what they want them to mean, offence is taken rather than given. Ergo they call all the shots. In more and more walks of life we must tread on eggshells to avoid their outrage and denouncement.

              • SirMortimerPosh

                Unfortunately, this kind of linguistic mumbo jumbo is not just a characteristic of the left; rather, it is rife throughout the political class. It is all to do with the lack of respect that idealogues in general have for the truth. By ‘truth’, I mean objective reality and empiricism. They all claim their beliefs are true, just like fundamentalist religious nutcases do. I hope that in the future, such nonsense will become as ridiculous to the rest of us as we feel the claims of sixteenth and seventeenth century witch finders seem to us today.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zoe-Ellen-Brain/1036085884 Zoe Ellen Brain

              The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism January 1, 2008 vol. 93 no. 1 182-189

              A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous
              puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced
              two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a
              46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

              You were saying?

              It behooves anyone who insults others talking about “bizarre world views” not to be spouting the simplified child’s version of biology, which anyone remotely knowledgeable on the issue would know is complete nonsense.

              • SirMortimerPosh

                Don’t quote me freaks of nature and hermaphrodites. We are talking bad drag queens like that Ros geezer that looks like Les Dawson on a bad day. Dawson used to bring the house down when he appeared like that, these geezers want us to shower them with respect and admiration.

                • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

                  Everyone is a freak of nature and a hermaphrodite, you really should do some basic biology.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          No they haven’t… in most cases… and yes you are.

    • Daniel Maris

      I am not sure “reality” will bounce back – due to technological innovation (given a woman can bring a child to birth on her stomach wall, I doubt medical science will be incapable of doing the same with a man before too long).

      However, I am v. much with you on calling time on this sort of nonsense. Transgender lifestyles lie well outside the scope of most people’s lives. It doesn’t mean transgender people have to be persecuted but it does mean we should stop this pretence that their lifestyle is as “normal” as everyone else’s and on a par in terms of psychological/social challenges. Most of them, for one thing, will be on serious medication with serious side effects.

      • http://twitter.com/cathg77 cath

        serious medication such as what? clearly no idea. and normal? define normal. and who gets to decide what is normal?

        • coffeehousewall.co.uk

          Normal – a person is born a man or a woman. This is what they always are. A quick test of any cell will show absolutely if the person is a man or a woman.

          Who gets to decide normal? Well the absolute and vast majority of normal people in every time and place. Certainly not a tiny minority of leftists who want to subvert everything normal and rebuild society in accordance with their perverted and demonic vision.

          If a man thinks he is a woman he needs psychiatric help not encouragement to cut his genitals off. That doesn’t make him a woman any more than having breast implants.

          • coffeehousewall.co.uk

            It’s a bit odd that this ‘cath’ account has only ever posted 4 posts, all on this thread, and clearly the author is not a regular reader of the Spectator or any conservative sites and media. So it looks like it is another sockpuppet or else another troll from some lobby group.

          • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

            I love how you use ‘science’.

            All males were once females. Females who have had a child are half ‘male’ due to the way in which the child’s DNA reacts with her body. And that is before you get into the issue of chromosome abnormalities.

            As for the idea that leftists are subverting society, you really need to wake up. This whole row grows out of the political lesbian movement that became so introverted and ‘leftist’ in an effort to ’empower’ ‘wombmen’ that they proposed killing #boy children’.

            As for the idea that transsexualism relates to genital mutilation, this is another trope pushed by the politically correct to promote ‘female empowerment’ agenda, whereas it is simply a option in the process, and one that many transsexuals do not opt for.

        • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

          I suspect the medication referred to is hormones.

    • http://twitter.com/cathg77 cath

      normal, common sense, ……….gosh they can never become a different gender. where to start with. hmmmm dont think i will bother i would only be wasting my time on someone so closed-minded

      • coffeehousewall.co.uk

        Lol. The idea that a person can change their gender is so insane that anyone proposing it is either mentally sick themselves, or is evil and wishes to impose a mental sickness on society.

        As I have said, those who believe they can become a woman are to be sympathised with and should receive the necessary mental health support. Those who encourage them in their mental illness are beyond and beneath contempt. No better than the pushers of hard drugs.

      • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

        A female builder or a male nursery nurse has changed their gender in the eyes of ‘normal’ people.

        • FrankS

          I think you’re a little confused there, eeore!

          • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

            No I am simply being precise with regard to language.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      You condemn political correctness, while perpetuating the exact meme that the politically correct have taken years to carefully construct.

      Well done.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “…mired in their competing victimhoods seething with acquired sensitivity, with inchoate rage and fury, inventing more and more hate crimes with which they might punish people who are not themselves…”

    They must hate that. It sums them up and what they aspire to perfectly. The more they rant about it the more on target you know that it was.

  • Youbian

    It seems the Lib Dems can say what they want. Cameron will not stand up to them. Imagine the fuss if a Tory made a fuss about a Guardian or BBC journalist.

  • David Lindsay

    Julie Burchill is always either spectacularly right or spectacularly wrong. In this case, the former.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Good God, Lindsay. I agree with you. Either you have had a rare attack of sanity or … I don’t know. Anyway, congratulations Professor.

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      Why do I picture you on a bus driving round Bermondsey in 1983 banging a drum?

      But leaving that aside. I find your views odd, given your promotion of fatherhood that you fall into line with the precise line of thinking that destroyed it.

  • Beverley_C

    It seems that many journalists cannot see anything published by another journalist as being harmful or wrong. They all go on about Ms Burchill as if she has a talent for anything other than being rude which, having read her article, I rather doubt.

    Bev.

    • Jez

      I bet she’s got the courage to back something she believes in- even when it’s blatantly obvious that it’s going against most of the out of touch smug, elitist scumbags that frequent our vipers den of a media bubble here in the UK.

      Courage to stand for ones convictions- an alien concept for 99.9% of our media or political class it seems.

      • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

        Silly.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Featherstone’s doing a grand job keeping authoritarian cretinism in the public eye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    No surprise Rod Liddle would do his equivalent of a three year old saying “bum” because he thinks it’s naughty and will get him attention by praising Burchill’s disgusting bile. But what I’m trying to work out is why Fraser Nelson thinks this makes him a “national treasure”, what is so brilliant about making over the top remarks with no other purpose than to generate a lot of noise?

    • Adrian Drummond

      If you have something cogent and interesting to say, most people, no doubt, are only to willing to listen. However, if it is just to be insulting, it just comes across as … well, just a lot of noise.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Rather a Liddle on the page than a Blott on the landscape.

    • Daniel Maris

      Matthew –

      You seem to have developed the art of the “vacuum” argument. There is absolutely nothing there, is there? You aren’t challenging anything stated. All you are doing is throwing around some ad hominem comments.

      What exactly riled you in the original articles?

    • http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/ eeore

      It is not so long ago that Liddle was claiming Jimmy Saville fiddling with kids was all a bit of fun…

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