Monday, January 14, 2013

Anger and its consequences: Julie Burchill in the Guardian


Julie Burchill has been published in the media since my teenage years. While I do not always agree with her, I have found her writing to be thought-provoking on issues that are important to me. She is currently in the news for being accused of transphobia. Her close friend Suzanne Moore was attacked for a comment made in an essay about women's anger. Ms. Burchill has used the Guardian page 'Comment is Free' to defend her friend. This is loyal.  This is also very angry. There may be a noble ambition behind the piece, but there is much to question about the way it was done. For example, she wrote:

"To have your c0ck cut off and then plead special privileges as women - above natural-born women, who don't know the meaning of suffering, apparently - is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah:  the boy who killed his parents and then asked the jury for clemency on the grounds he was an orphan."

Read the rest of it for yourself here.

My first question, actually, is for the editor:  was this piece not proofed before publication? If it was, then presumably the Guardian considers the language and imagery used to be beyond reproach? If so, I'd like to know your definition of 'transphobic'.

My second question is for Ms. Burchill:  why did you not use your considerable journalistic experience to write a piece without such clumsy, obvious and insulting jabs at the general trans community. You are smart and witty enough to demonstrate your support for your friend without resorting to name-calling. Not to mention that the resulting furore has drowned out any valid points you might have made about the original response to Suzanne Moore's essay. I'm sadly disappointed in you, Julie.

here are some current links to various responses to the situation:

A poll in the Independent - did JB go too far?
Tim Stanley in the Telegraph - liberals being illiberal
Roz Kaveney Trans people response also in the Guardian via 'Comment is Free'
Daily Mail puts its own particular spin on the story
Pink News reports the story
HuffPostUK highlights Lynne Featherstone comment
Paris Lees writes a response in Diva magazine

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