You’ve guessed this already, haven’t you – she’s a Guardian columnist

A Cambridge academic has gone on strike after claiming that a porter’s refusal to call her “doctor” is racist.

Dr Priyamvada Gopal, a fellow specialising in postcolonial literature, is refusing to teach students at King’s College after experiencing what she described as “consistently racist aggression and profiling” from the college’s porters.

The lecturer announced her decision after an altercation with a porter on Monday.

She described on Twitter how she told him: “Please address me as Dr Gopal”, to which the porter responded: “I don’t care who you are.”

A certian standing upon dignity there. The thing is, it’s the wrong dignity for this country:

Dr Gopal, who is from India,


Dr Gopal’s remarks quickly sparked a backlash, with fellow academics saying that her demand to be addressed as “Dr” was unreasonable.

Dr Chris Kavanagh, an anthropologist at Oxford University, said it is “not that common in the UK to refer in everyday situations to academics as ‘Dr’”, adding: “Almost no one refers to me as Dr Kavanagh but that doesn’t mean they are anti-Irish.”

To insist that the habits and courtesies of your native land be imposed upon a foreign one would be, err, colonialist, wouldn’t it?

My apologies

The story of one man’s pregnancy: ‘It felt joyous, amazing and brilliant”

No, sorry, I’ll not buy it.

OK, sure, pregnancy is all of that. Equally, I’m just certain that the individual believes themselves to be a man, presents as such more often than not and might even have gained the legal right to be considered as such.

I’d even call xe him just to be polite.

But someone with functioning ovaries and womb to the point of being able to carry a child to term simply isn’t male in any useful sense of the definition. Sure, I’m a social dinosaur so eat my shorts.

Dawn Foster still doesn’t get it

Poverty is a trap: it should be eradicated. It’s no real answer just lifting a few children from families stuck on low wages into a different social milieu.

We have eradicated poverty. It simply does not exist in Britain. Barbara Castle pointed this out back in 1959.

We have inequality, sure we do. A great deal less than many suppose – consumption is the only form that matters, not income or wealth – but sure, we’ve got it.

But inequality and poverty are not the same thing.


The husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox has resigned from the two charities he set up in her memory after being publicly accused of sexual assault.

Technically I think he’s her widower.

But I think I must be evil. Ungracious at the very least. For my immediate supposition on hearing about two charities is that this means two CEO salaries.

Well, yes Mr. Eavis

Meanwhile, the Glastonbury festival founder, Michael Eavis, said he would continue to support the charity.

Speaking at the NME Awards on Wednesday night, he said: “We’ve raised millions through the years with Oxfam – six million quid and everyone’s said what a wonderful charity they are and we still support them.

“And for a few dodgy people – like with the NHS you get a few dodgy doctors and it doesn’t discredit the NHS, does it? So why should it affect Oxfam?”

And a few dodgy bankers shows that capitalism must be overturned, does it?

They’ve gone quite rigid with the shock

Time for an Epipen methinks:

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit stories have enthralled generations of children with their tales of warm camaraderie and gentle mischief.

But a new film adaptation of the much-loved classic has prompted a furious backlash and calls for it to be withdrawn from cinemas because the protagonist and his furry friends deliberately pelt an allergic man with blackberries.

Allergy UK said the film, due to be released in the UK next month, “mocks” allergy sufferers and trivialises a life threatening condition.

Carla Jones, the charity’s CEO, said: “Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children’s film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable, as is bullying.

“Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of food allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those who live with this condition, particularly parents who live in fear of their child suffering a life threatening reaction.”

No such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell the name right, eh? Wonder how much the film’s producers paid for this?

Of all the things to complain about

Just another pretty face: should Hollywood stop giving bad guys a face-lift?
Casting glamorous actors as killers, cult leaders and disgraced skaters they do not physically resemble is problematic

Actors are pretty. Because humans like looking at pretty people.

End of.

Go find something else to complain about. You know, starving Africans or something instead of people playing dress up.

Another way to say much the same thing. Yes, I know, as a freelance it’s difficult to find something to write about. There has to be something wrong with the world, something you the writer has a solution to, in order to get through to the editor and the corporate wallet. This is how I make my living too.

But better problems, please.

Don’t think so

Cleveland Indians to drop Chief Wahoo logo from team kit under pressure from Native Americans

No, this reads better:

The Cleveland Indians will remove the grinning “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms beginning in the 2019 season, the baseball team said on Monday, in a bow to critics who have long assailed the image as a racist Native American caricature.

I’d wager that actual Indians don’t give a toss – perhaps the occasional one who has done grievance studies aside. Large numbers of non-Indians who have done grievance studies though…..

What does anyone actually expect here?

“Purality” may be the least easy to grasp. Damore et al. explained it in a footnote. “For instance, an employee who sexually identifies as ‘a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin’ and ‘an expansive ornate building’ presented a talk entitled ‘Living as a Plural Being’ at an internal company event,” the suit read.

In addition to “furries,” some people have adopted an animalistic sexual identity. For instance, at least one transgender man didn’t stop with identifying as a woman. He — or, as he would prefer to be called, “it” — has “become” a dragon lady, and has undergone painful and expensive surgery including tooth removal, horn implants, nose modification, and the creation of a forked tongue. Born “Richard Hernandez,” the 55-year-old ex-human adopted the name “Eva Tiamat Baphomet Medusa.”

In common parlance, this transgender dragon lady would fit into the broader category of “Otherkin” — those who identify as non-human. (No word on how soon they’d clamor for the removal of human rights.) Indeed, one particularly crazed individual had surgery to become an extraterrestrial.

If you take all the social inadequates (aka “nerds”) and stick them in one place then what do you expect to happen?

Interesting problem

A woman who requested a female NHS nurse to perform her cervical smear test was “embarrassed and distressed” after a person with stubble and a deep voice summoned her for the intimate procedure.

When the patient pointed out the mistake, the nurse replied: “My gender is not male. I’m a transsexual.”

This weekend, the woman, who decided not to go ahead with the examination, said it was “weird where somebody says to you: ‘My gender is not male’ and you think: ‘Well, what does that even mean? You are clearly a man.’ ”

The nurse “had an obviously male appearance . . . close-cropped hair, a male facial appearance and voice, large number of tattoos and facial stubble”, she said.

The woman received an official NHS apology after she made a complaint about her treatment.

The incident has been revealed as Justine Greening, the equalities minister and education secretary, is considering proposals that would allow people to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis.

That is, when is gender simply self-defined (when, say, deciding to wear a dress, adopt a name one wishes to be known by) and when do the expectations of others make a difference?

Tanya Gold is back!

Cinema is the least revolutionary of the arts: it happily plugs autocracy and hyper-capitalism with the Avengers franchise, and Ironman the pretend philanthropist and stupid Batman – infantile billionaires who save the world with weapons that you might conceivably buy in the Conran Shop should you fall down a wormhole to Chelsea.

Meanwhile, social democracy looks on, powerless and weak, for it has no superheroes. Real – that is, elected – politicians are the villains in this world, plus aliens. They are corrupt, and lacking in Batmobiles.

Of course, we could all watch Ken Loach films instead. They being a body of work which details the perils of social democracy, how things work out when the State is relied upon to run the details of society.

Horror stories in fact.

Well, I dunno really

In short, Republicans under Trump have finally destroyed the New Deal, turning the government over to a small cadre of wealthy businessmen, unhampered, to run the country as they see fit.

That could be a mite of exaggeration there I fear.

Since 1980, Republican shredding of the social safety net has disproportionately hit women, particularly women of colour.

And that’s just bollocks. More is spent now on that social safety net than was then.

Nonsense, nonsense

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power, a book about Barack Obama’s presidency and the tenacity of white supremacy, has captured the attention of many of us. One crucial question is why now in this moment has his apolitical pessimism gained such wide acceptance?

Coates and I come from a great tradition of the black freedom struggle. He represents the neoliberal wing that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible. This wing reaps the benefits of the neoliberal establishment that rewards silences on issues such as Wall Street greed or Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and people.

The disagreement between Coates and me is clear: any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading. So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.

That’s by Cornel West. It’s also the purest nonsense.

There is no grand philosophical difference here. All that is occurring is the young bull moving in to cover the cows while the old bull frets on the sidelines about how things used to be.

Isn’t true meritocracy just joyous?

A.G. Sulzberger to Take Over as Publisher of The Times

On Jan. 1, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, 37, will replace his father, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who served as publisher for 25 years.

From the people who bring you complaints about the lack of social mobility, how the rich hoard the opportunities….

Dear God this woman is stupid

On Wednesday, my colleague at gal-dem, a magazine collective of women and non-binary people of colour (PoC) aimed at challenging the monolithic media landscape, received an email that threw the realities of our existence in a white-dominated environment into focus.

They were asked or some quotes, contacts, on the subject of “wokeness.”

As a fellow journalist I appreciate that it is sometimes hard, if not impossible, to say no to commissions given to us by our editors – and that there is an outdated mentality whereby editors think that white men can write about anything and everything, whereas black women comment and features writers, for instance, are only ever commissioned on the topic of race. Challenging that, even within an institution, can be hard.

But to ask the head of another media outlet for their contacts rather than doing research in this context seems shabby: an abuse of power in a time when it’s becoming clearer and clearer just how important it is for the voices of women of colour to be centred and our emotional labour respected.

To ask the head of another media outlet for their contacts rather than doing research in this context seems shabby
As the Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow said in the aftermath of Grenfell: “We the media report the lack of diversity in other walks of life – but our own record is nothing like good enough … We have to widen both our contact with, and awareness of, those who live outside and beyond our elite.”

So, you know, we should be widening the circle of people we contact about stories?

At gal-dem we are inundated with irrelevant requests for comment, advice and guidance from white people; and it’s tiring, these tokenistic faux attempts at diversity. Even as I was writing this piece I received yet another email from a journalist looking for a comment on a topic I do not care about. I have been asked only because I am a “black” voice, not because I have any expertise on the subject.

But we shouldn’t widen the circle of people we ask for comment about things.

Sociologist cannot do numbers

Surprise, eh?

On the same day that news broke that staff at the University of Birmingham are protesting the obscene pay of their vice-chancellor, I opened an email asking for donations to a food bank that my university, Birmingham City, has started for students. This Dickensian contrast in fortunes demonstrates the widening problems of inequality in universities since fees have been introduced.

I have seen firsthand how hard some of our students struggle to make ends meet so I understand why the university offers emergency food services. I’m sure we are likely not alone. The initiative was started by those on the frontline of student support and is a valuable effort to provide help in a broken system. The very fact that staff have had to reach out for food charity demonstrates the failure of higher education “reforms” to provide for those that need it most.

When my sister went to university, tuition was free and there was a generous maintenance grant. When I went a few years later, my fees were minimal and the grant was still intact for the students who needed it. I now teach in a sector that charges some of the highest fees in the world, and the maintenance grant has been replaced by a loan, with an interest rate far higher than that of most mortgages. It is chilling to think what future generations of students will have to overcome in order to participate in higher education.

There is no claim upon cashflow either or interest or capital repayment until graduation. Thus the existence of the loan and or the interest rate make no difference at all to student lifestyles while at university.