Tomorrow, Friday 5th. I will be there and I don’t get out much.
I live near the town centre. People who go out at night in Ramsgate, living near me, should be able to walk home but over the past few months they may be stumbling along dark streets as if in a rural hamlet or underdeveloped African town.
I don’t know what time the lights are going off, as I don’t get out much, but I was very shocked to discover they were already off when I arrived home last night at just 11.40 (from commiserating with residents of Rochester and Strood).
Maybe making the streets too dark and unsafe to walk is a way of boosting the local economy for taxis? Or simply stopping people from going out?
In general I think darkness is a good idea, I think there is way too much light pollution at night, so we can’t see the milky way and it costs loads of money and resources to provide that street lighting but we seem to have taken a step too far to plunge towns into darkness. I’m not sure they’ve got the headline correct on Kent Councils web page about SAFE and sensible lighting http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/campaigns-and-events/safe-and-sensible-street-lighting
On a side NOTE: The last time I went to an small African city they had just got 24 hour electricity and street lights through the night. How shocked will they be if they make the journey to the UK to find we do not have street lighting at night!
There is a popular internet campaign to get Blanc banned from the UK and Canada after he was already kicked out of Australia. He runs seminars on how to pick up women, nothing wrong with that I think. According to those who want him banned he is sexist, racist, offensive and tricks women into having sex with him and he’s sharing his tips, tricks and vile attitude with men who pay to attend his seminars; thereby promoting sexism, rape and etc…
OK my instant reaction was to sign the petition as a way of signalling that I am against sexism.
But within seconds my other instant reaction saved me:
I am for Freedom of Speech and Against Censorship no matter if I disagree with the views, banning people (or books) does sit well with me.
Let us assume everything they say about Julien Blanc is correct and ask should he be banned from this country and should his writings and videos be banned.
NO and for so many reasons, I will try to be succinct.
- It is not easy to challenge offensive views when they are banned and therefore only discussed underground with like minded people. e.g. Many wanted the BNP banned from the BBC but when they have been given a voice it has been far easier to discredit their ridiculous racist arguments.
- Banning things makes them attractive and exciting. People want what they can’t have and it actually could give more credibility to minority views.
- Who gets to be the moral arbiter on what is unacceptable and banned? … when will my FoS be curtailed?
The last point may be the most important. I have held a whole pile of unpopular minority opinions for most of my life and am pleased that in the UK we are tolerant of vegetarian, atheist, left-wing, queer, feminists. I can say what I like and live how I please; that is not possible in many countries today. In my life time (am I’m not that old) it was perfectly legal to discriminate against people because of their race, gender or sexuality. It was once an unpopular minority who fought for changes in these laws. It is not surprising then that sexist, racist and homophobic views are still around but banning them is no way to challenge them. Banning the freedom of speech to express sexist views will not help women, at all.
There is the other question: Is it True What They are saying about Julien Blanc?
I don’t know and I’m not interested enough to find out. The man should be free to say what he wants and if people are willing to pay to hear him then that’s fine.
But I am a cynic, I don’t believe what I’m told just because it is in a newspaper. e.g:
- Last year I was told sex education lessons involved showing porn to junior school children. I looked into it and it was a load of nonsense. The material was put together by the BBC and you could only object if you found nudity objectionable.
- This is coupled with a campaign to replace sex education in schools with relationship education with a big message promoting monogamy and marriage.
- There is a campaign to ban porn, not really nasty stuff but ANY IMAGES intended to cause sexual arousal.
- Last week Parliament was presented with a clause to make prostitution illegal (paying for sex). It was thrown out of GB but in place in NI.
These things are all presented as if they are going to be good for women and children but they are not.
There is a moral agenda being promoted that sex should be within a monogamous relationship and recreational sex for fun is wrong, especially if it is between casual friends or strangers.
I can’t help wondering if the same moralists are behind the campaign to ban Julien Blanc, after all he seems to be happily promoting the idea that multiple casual partners is a good thing.
I would call myself a feminist, I am annoyed by sexism around me on a daily basis. So how offensive is Blanc?
Those who are outraged by him say watch this, so I did:
The clip and it isn’t as described in the Guardian. I think most people in the UK would watch this and see it as no big deal. It is not more sexist or racist than many stand-up comedy shows. It is edited so we do not get the full context but Blanc appears to be giving an entertaining talk in the way that many of us talk/joke about sex sometimes.
(sadly) I think you can hear far more offensive comments than these if you see a lot of stand-up comedy – even on TV, if you hang out in a bar or listen in to a bunch of men talking (not about football).
Does Blanc Manipulate Women Into Having Sex?
Another big question. How honest are any of us? I read How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Am I a fraud because when I’m nice to people and listen to them instead of bluntly telling them what I think? There are so many books about understanding the opposite sex. Is someone being deceptive if they learn lessons from those. The objection to Blanc seems to be because he talks about sex as a goal rather than getting a girlfriend, so as I said, it is a moral agenda.
I think the campaign against Blanc presents women as gullible victims who are easily taken in rather than people who actually also have their own goals and agenda.
Many people will sign that petition without watching the clip but if that is the worst they have on him then this really is a story about nothing.
If you want to read the alternative view point, it was in the Guardian
There is an alternative petition against banning Blanc. http://www.change.org/p/facebook-do-not-censor-julien-blanc-do-not-deny-julien-blanc-a-uk-visa
I didn’t sign that either because it says he isn’t sexist and he helps men. I don’t know if it is true and for me it is not the issue.
IF All they Say About Julien Blanc is True and it may be
To my mind the problem is not this man the problem is that vile views towards women and sex and violence can thrive in a society that is
- Sexually repressed.
These are the problems to tackle.
Would you like to stand up and talk in front of others?
Thanet speakers are meeting this Thursday, it is an open day so all are welcome and it is free. The event is at the Royal Temple Yacht Club (arrive 7.30 for 8pm prompt start).
I will be giving a short speech on How I Plan to Kill My Husband, please don’t tell him.
I blame Kent trading standards – their logo should be on it but is not currently showing…
Our website is up and running but with out the KTS logo, hopefully will be rectified soon.
If November nights are long, dark and lonely you could come and listen to me talk about
How I Plan To Kill My Husband.
A plot I am working on, ssshhh don’t tell him.
I don’t expect it to take long, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes (that goes for the plan as well as my little speech).
It will be at the Open Evening of Thanet Speaker’s Club on Thursday 13th November
arrive early 7.40ish because we start at 8pm prompt and generally finish at 10pm ish.
There will be other entertaining and interesting speakers and a chance to get up and have a go yourself – for 2 minutes.
As for the other important details.
It is FREE for guests
and it takes place at the Royal Temple Yacht Club