Women: Stop Bloody Whingeing

I’m always astonished that the Daily Mail is supposedly read by more women than men. The Daily Mail does employ a lot of female writers, but these writers seem to be employed solely to write the most misogynistic drivel from a female perspective. It’s why their articles always seem to weave this fact into the title, with prefixes like: ‘I’m a woman but…’ or suffixes: ‘something horrible about women… AND I’M A WOMAN!’. Today’s article is written by Sandra Parsons – who I don’t think I’ve ever written about, but it’s a beauty: ‘Whingeing women? now they ARE depressing!’.

It’s the kind of article that doesn’t need any discussion, it just needs to be copied and pasted so that your eyes can widen and your mouth open as you consider that she was paid to write this shit. She starts:

Rates of depression in women have doubled since the Seventies, according to a new study of mental health problems.

The women most at risk are those of childbearing age, and the researchers concluded this is because they are buckling under the strain of trying to cope with that old chestnut, ‘having it all’.

Now, I hate to sound unsisterly. But if I hear one more woman droning on about how hard life is for us today, I may have to set about her with my enormously bulky handbag…

Before taking the favourite Daily Mail editorial line on depression:

We all know people who suffer from genuine depression: it is a terrible, debilitating illness. But there is a huge difference between real depression and whingeing — and we confuse the two at our peril.

The world divides, in my experience, into whingers and troupers.

She picks out one ‘whinger’ in particular:

As for the divorced mother-of-two who writes anonymously for the website Mumsnet under the pseudonym ‘the Plankton’ and claims to have received thousands of sympathetic emails in response to her childish rants about her ‘lonely life at the bottom of the sexual food chain’ — stop acting like a petulant teen and grow up.

She even has some sisterly for ‘the Plankton’:

Try spending a bit of cash on some luxurious underwear or sexy shoes. It will make you feel better and may go some way to staunching the flood of self-pity that is clearly making men run a mile.

Ah yes, the solution to all womanly problems: treat yourself to some underwear and shoes and all will be right.

Meanwhile, in the same column – after she has produced two lists: Top Ten Whingers and Top Ten Troopers (or is it ‘troupers’ – she doesn’t seem to know), Sandra Parsons has a little aside:

One in ten mothers didn’t enjoy their summer holiday because they were just as busy with chores as they are at home.

I’m surprised it’s so low.

For several years we’ve gone to a chateau in France with friends, and I can confirm that the novelty of cooking for 12 soon palls.

Our first year there we thought we were staying in a hotel, but I arrived to find I would be expected to take my turn in cooking for a host of discerning French people (all of whom were cordon bleu standard).

It took me weeks to recover. But this year one of our number, Simon, turned out to be an enthusiastic (and brilliant) amateur chef who insisted on cooking every night. Don’t go on holiday without one!

So, Sandra, please clarify, are you a ‘whinger’ or a ‘trooper’?

You know why

Today’s Daily Mail front page features a big plug for the Daily Mail ‘Femail’ section and asks the question:

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Penny Smith’s article tried to look at the reasons why women might feel this way and she identifies:

  1. Fairy stories
  2. Dolls – specifically Barbie
  3. Playground pressure
  4. Boys – who have posters of glamorous women on their walls

No mention of the role that the media plays, or that the worst culprit is the newspaper that is publishing this article. Worse, Penny Smith at one point looks at the difference between how men perceive their own bodies or image and quotes Nick Ferrari who claims that men look in the mirror and see themselves as fantastic because:

It’s our defence mechanism… we are bullied by the women in our lives, and told that we’re useless at everything from putting up shelves to making a souffle rise – and likewise in the bedroom…

Penny Smith then pretty much wipes out any remaining credibility by admitting:

Even if said in jest, I suspect he’s right.

I’m always amazed at the queue of women ready to write misogynistic drivel in the Mail. Here is a section of the Daily Mail aimed at women and the best it can come up with is this stereotypical tripe. In an article about why 97% of women have at least one ‘I hate my body’ moment every day the writer still manages to admit that men are only different because women bully them so much that they have become delusional as a defence mechanism.

To complete the hypocrisy you only have to turn to page 3 of today’s Daily Mail and look at the pictures of Kate Moss – who at 37 has a body most women would be ecstatic with – but the Daily Mail can easily find fault with her. For starters the Mail prints a big picture of her bottom accompanied with a caption that mocks the small lines visible in the picture. As if that wasn’t enough they also include a paparazzi photo showing what she looks like without make-up – described as the ‘bare reality’.

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It’s no secret that the Daily Mail really hates women, so I wonder why every few months they feel obliged to ask why women hate they way they look. When a supermodel is slaughtered on page 3 you can see why the average women finds it so easy to pick faults with their body.

To churn, or not to churn

Earlier in the week Ginsters – famous for pasties and pies – decided to get some cheap advertising by conducting a poll using Onepoll.com that they knew would appeal to the Churnalists out there. Naturally the poll is referred to in sombre tomes as a ‘study’ and it just happens to confirm the sort of misogynistic drivel that makes your average tabloid editor very happy:

Three quarters of all important household decisions are made by women, a study found yesterday.

I won’t bother you with any further details – it’s just a typical poll ‘finding’ that ‘confirms’ a few lazy stereotypes about women being the ones with the real power etc – but I’ll just focus on the fact that it worked. The Daily Mail managed a spectacular 83% cut, 98% pasted with 2499 characters overlapping; whilst the Daily Express worked really hard, cutting just 61% and pasting just 60%.

Another successful result for Onepoll.com (who I appear to be essentially but unintentionally plugging here – but do visit them as a one-stop-shop for all your churnalism needs) and another happy client, getting press coverage for a fraction of the cost. However, Onepoll are not always successful. If they take the round side of a gender issue, then the papers won’t go near their CTRL-V keys. Austin Reed followed up the Ginster poll with another ‘revealing’ gender poll:

It’s official – men are better at shopping than women, it emerged yesterday (Weds).

Research has revealed that even though they shop more frequently, women are more likely to come home empty-handed having failed to find what they were looking for…

And when it comes to updating their wardrobe men like to spend MORE on clothes than women.

Note how this poll is also referred to as ‘research’ and a ‘study’ which seems a bit of a glorification. Regardless, the result doesn’t suit the media narrative about women and shopping and it has yet to be churned by any newspaper. I guess there are some filters applied to churnalism after all.

Too many brown faces in Question Time audience, says Littlejohn

Appropriately, Richard Littlejohn’s last appearance on BBC’s Question Time came on the first of April 2010. It was in Stevenage and Richard Littlejohn looks back on this appearance in his column today – a column that calls for Question Time to be scrapped and ‘put out of its misery’. Why exactly does he want the show to be scrapped, what was it about his final appearance (he insists he has turned down invitations to appear on the show since) that made him no longer want to engage with the public?

Well, it all seems to boil down to the fact that Richard Littlejohn is a bit of a racist xenophobe. He just hates stepping outside of his own gated, white, affluent, Conservative monkeysphere and realising that we’re actually a diverse bunch of non-tory voters. Richard Littlejohn recounts how in Stevenage he looked into the audience and saw:

The audience is always the same noxious, inarticulate blend of Left-wing local government activists, NHS malcontents, trades union officials, spotty students and women in headscarves. Occasionally, they throw in a couple of comedy Tories with dandruff, for the rest of the crowd to boo.

Last time I was on the programme, it came from Stevenage, Herts, where 93 per cent of the population is white, and which elected a Conservative MP in 2010 with 41.4 per cent of the vote.

Yet the audience looked as if it had been bussed in from central casting, carefully selected to reflect the BBC’s view of what Britain should look like. If 41.4 per cent of that audience were Conservative voters, they did a damn good job of disguising it.

He saw the people outside of his monkeysphere and labelled them all as enemies. He saw not just women – a group he has always reserved a special level of deep hatred for over the years – but, gulp, women in headscarves. Thus his ultimate fears – women and foreigners – were combined in one frightening instant before his droopy, vision-less eyes. For the record whilst it is true that 41.4 per cent of people voted Conservative, it should be noted that 33.4 per cent voted Labour (the seat had been retained by Labour since 1997) and another 16.6% Lib Dem. Therefore Conservatives voters where never likely to form the majority of the audience – even more so when the local turnout for the election was only 64.8 per cent.

As for expecting 93% of the audience to be white, well, isn’t the point of BBC programming to be as representative as possible and in particular political discussions should be as inclusive as possible – which is kind of the point in Question Time giving a wide audience of people the chance to engage with senior politicians.

You will have noticed that I suggested Richard Littlejohn was a racist at the start of this post, it is a point he is always quick to deny. In fact he fielded a question during his last Question Time appearance from a young lad who suggested he was a favourite writer of BNP leader Nick Griffin, which he was, Nick Griffin said so. Littlejohn reacted very angrily and made the young lad retract the accusation. I’m pretty sure Richard Littlejohn would never read this blog, but if he does and he wants to get his lawyers in touch for libel I think I would take my chances and stand by my belief that Richard Littlejohn is racist.

Richard does not help his case by constantly providing my point of view with clear evidence, as he does in his column today. When he remembers looking at the audience in Stevenage he recounts his shock that it wasn’t the 93 per cent white, 41.4 per cent Tory audience he had hoped for and comments:

I took one look at them and thought to myself: if this is a true representation of the people of Stevenage, then we really are all going to hell in a handcart.

I’m not quite sure how he could argue that this isn’t a blatantly racist statement, especially given his statistical prelude in which he tried to argue that the number of brown faces in the audience should have been minimal. He is basically suggesting that when even Tory-voting white enclaves are dappled with brown faces then the end of the world is nigh – he is after all suggesting that such a path is a path towards hell. Add to this his normal inverted comma disdain of any attempt to ‘celebrate the “diversity” of the nation’ and you can see why Littlejohn candidly admits that you ‘shouldn’t waste your time’ applying to be in the audience ‘if you happen to be a Daily Mail reader’ (although he doesn’t comment on the frequent appearances of Mail columnists on Question Time, probably because this kind of ruins his very narrow, silly argument).

Indeed, what Richard Littlejohn fails to see is that his argument for why Question Time should be scrapped is actually a pretty compelling argument for why Question Time should carry on just as it is. If you are a Daily Mail reader, or tabloid reader in general, then you already have many ‘news’ outlets filled with xenophobic, dishonest bile that you can cuddle up to everyday; you don’t need Question Time to be turned into more of the same. Littlejohn complains that the BBC should ‘devise a programme which accurately reflects the wider views of the great British public’, without realising that it does reflect the wider views of the public, what it is careful to avoid is representing the noisy minority whom Richard Littlejohn writes for.

Irrespective of how hard the right-wing media try to turn us into a nation of xenophobic, ignorant bigots, Question Time demonstrates time and again that they’ve not succeeded. When a right-wing journalist gets a hard time on Question Time from the audience it is not because that audience is stuffed full of liberal malcontents, but rather that an intelligent audience can easily see through the usual distortions trotted out by such people. What Littlejohn sees when he looks into a Question Time audience is the future: diverse, intelligent, concerned and proactive individuals who want a fairer world for everyone (along with the occasional person that makes me facepalm as happened last night). It is the reason that tired, simple, Conservative thinkers like Littlejohn rarely step outside of their own sycophantic mailbag, and why they decide to lock themselves away in gated communities in foreign countries.

As a brief aside, I also found it amusing for Richard to describe the audience as ‘inarticulate’ given his past record of very famous verbal humiliations, and to claim that Question Time has passed its best when earlier this week he plagiarised his own writing, again, and made a claim that was astoundingly stupid, even by his standards:

Haringey hired someone to give hopscotch lessons to Asian women.

As Full Fact points out:

Back in 1995, former Conservative Party Chairman Brian Mawhinney regaled his Party’s Conference with a story of how taxpayer’s money was being similarly spent on hopscotch for Asian women.

In fact, it later transpired that the public money had been given to the Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre, a well-respected voluntary organisation that deals with domestic violence, language and integration issues in Camden, which neighbours Haringey.

So could a similar misunderstanding have been made by Richard Littlejohn?

We contacted Hanringey Borough Council to ask about the mysterious job, who weren’t aware of one fitting Mr Littlejohn’s description. We’ve also tried to get in touch with Mr Littlejohn himself to find out more about how he came across this vacancy, but have yet to hear back from him.

But the Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre did advertise for a management position in May last year.

So whilst as yet we’re unable to say with complete certainty that Haringey haven’t been engaging the services of Asian hopscotch specialists, given the claim’s history and the proximity of an Asian women’s voluntary centre named Hopscotch to Haringey, you might be advised to treat this particular “non-job” with some scepticism.

And isn’t it funny how Richard Littlejohn is only now calling for the scrapping of Question Time, when largely Conservative politicians are getting grief, when he seemed perfectly happy to appear when Labour were getting the same treatment. Or perhaps the audiences back then were still white enough, perhaps his brain has a clear limit on the amount of brown faces in a crowd that are acceptable and it was finally broken last April?

Who knows. What I do know is that if Richard Littlejohn is concerned about certain things passing their sale-by-date, he should really start with his own career.

The ‘Thought Police’

A lot has been written about the sacking of Andy Gray and the forced resignation of Richard Keys, with some papers printing articles suggesting that men are the real victims of sexism, punished for being the perpetrators of it whilst no-one has sacked the Loose Women team. You can read an excellent blog post here on why that is not an argument, but this post is going to try and unravel the latest Peter Hitchen column which as usual takes a rather unique view of the situation.

The headline pretty much sums up his argument: ‘Think it was right to sack Andy Gray? See how you feel when the Thought Police come for you’. Peter is adamant that ‘Mr Gray and Mr Keys should not have been sacked, or disciplined in any way’. His reasoning is that:

The things they said were not intended for broadcast and they were not transmitted. They were private conversations. I don’t care that those conversations were leaked. Any remotely public figure has to assume this will happen nowadays. But if Mr Gray and Mr Keys didn’t intend their remarks to be broadcast, they shouldn’t be judged professionally as if they had intended it.

It is quite simply unjust to condemn a man for having his private conversation transmitted to the world by someone else.

In your own time, amongst your own friends you can say what you like. If you hate blacks / gays / whites / women / Coronation Street / the Daily Mail / the Guardian or whatever you will normally end up with a group of friends who share the same values as you do. Conversation amongst your social can cover whatever topics you want because you know they will not be offended because you know they think / feel the same way. The world might not like racists, but it makes no attempt to ban their thoughts, stop their congregation or conversations and it allows them to form groups such as the BNP or EDL. There is no such thing as the thought police, and no barriers to private conversation – or indeed public expression, just visit Youtube, message boards, blogs and comment threads for evidence. If you want to publicly be a misogynist, you can be and you will not be alone.

However, sometimes in life you will be forced into situations in which you must sacrifice your personal opinions. Every single person who has a job must for the hours they are in work comply with the ethos of that company and the company must conform to set standards of behaviour – yes, specifically with regards to equality (be it race, religion, sex or sexuality etc). This is not about having a ‘thought police’ or preventing said employee from holding private conversations with friends about how they would love to ‘hang out the back of that bird from HR’ or ‘smash that bitch from the call centre’ or whatever the hell they want to say amongst friends. No, it is simply the acknowledgment that when in work you are not amongst your friends. Instead you will be forced to work with people who may not share your values, who have no desire to be your friend or even like you. Likewise, you might not like them or share their values and you would never consider being friendly with them outside work. That is their right and that is your right.

This is why a company must have policies in place to let every employee know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in the work place – after all, you are being paid to perform a role and to represent a company, as soon as you accept a contract of employment you give up your right to be yourself to some extent for the period of time when you are in work. When you are in work you change your behaviour because the people around you are likely to be far more diverse in thoughts / feelings / beliefs than your social group. Every individual reserves the right to choose their friends, media (newspapers, TV news, entertainment, websites etc) to suit their own tastes. All an employer asks in return is that when in work people just switch off their strong views and instead just treat everyone with a neutral respect. If you wouldn’t choose to go drinking with a misogynist, why should you be forced to listen to one whilst you are in work? If you don’t choose to read the Guardian in your spare time, why should you be forced to be constantly heckled by a Guardian reader in work?

It is called ‘being professional’. Andy Gray and Richard Keys can meet up whenever they want outside of work and privately discuss who they’d love to smash, or what jobs women are not suited to and so on. However, when they are in work they cannot, it is that simple. In reality, when you are a public figure, paid handsomely to be the front-men for Sky Sports you do give up some rights to even do this, as your job involves you having a public profile I’m sure Sky would want them to represent the corporation positively outside of work. Much-maligned public sector workers have to conduct themselves responsibly in their private lives for this reason.

If you are in work it is just common sense to restrain from making racist comments, or grinning at a female member of staff picking something off the floor before greeting her with the line ‘while you’re down their love’. It is not acceptable behaviour, it is that simple. It is obvious that the kind of comments made by Gray and Keys are repeated all across the country because a lot of men are still in the grip of a deep-rooted misogyny, but no-one is interested in stopping these conversations taking place. There is no thought police. All that this story represents is that this behaviour is totally unacceptable in a professional environment, which should be apparent should anyone spend a few minutes reading their contract of employment. You wouldn’t turn up to work in Bermuda shorts swigging lager, so why should you reserve the right to turn up to work and be racist, sexist or whatever else.

Peter Hitchens – as always – is just utterly wrong. The fact that the recordings were never meant to be broadcast is completely irrelevant because they were still in work, they should have been acting professionally at all times – colleagues could be just as offended as the potential viewers. It is that simple. We would have no sympathy had they been drinking on the job, or if they had been berating an assistant referee for being black and therefore incapable of grasping the civilised rules of football. All most people want is the freedom to go to work and not face verbal mocking for their sex, sexuality, race, religion and so on. To me, this really doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but sadly – thanks to the twisted arguments of the right-wing media – equality has become just as evil a word as liberalism.

Daily Mail deals with domestic abuse

The Supreme Court has ruled that courts should recognise psychological domestic abuse as well as just physical violence:

Lady Hale said that ‘violence’ can also include ‘strength or intensity of emotion, fervour and passion’.

She said the legal understanding of domestic violence had moved on ‘from a narrow focus upon battered wives and physical contact’.

The Justice of the Supreme Court said the meaning of ‘violence’ under the 1996 Act should be brought up to date in line with modern thinking.

Lady Hale added: ‘The essential question is whether an updated meaning is consistent with the statutory purpose.

‘In this case the purpose (of the Act) is to ensure that a person is not obliged to remain living in a home where she, her children or other members of her household are at risk of harm.’

The Daily Mail hack covering this story has hidden behind the ubiquitous ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ and the headline writer decided that this headline was appropriate: ‘Women entitled to a council house if they move out because their partner shouts at them, top judges rule’. Yes, that really is the headline. It goes without saying that the hack puts inverted commas around ‘violence’, ‘abused’ and ‘homeless’ because clearly if a women isn’t physically beaten then they are not victims of violence or abuse and they should stay at home to be psychologically abused.

Incidentally the female victim in the case that led to the ruling described her treatment as:

Mrs Yemshaw had told the housing officers that her husband, who rented the property in his sole name, shouted in front of the children and did not treat her ‘like a human’.

Still, she should be grateful that she wasn’t really a victim of ‘violence’ or ‘abuse’, eh?


On the Daily Mail website for your consumption right now: ‘Countdown numbers girl Rachel Riley left blushing after contestant’s word is “panties”‘

Hosts of top TV show Countdown were left with red faces when a contestant spelt ‘panties’.

Numbers girl Rachel Riley was left blushing and host Jeff Stelling was left smiling as the rude word was produced yesterday.

Viewers sat with bated breath waiting to see what the two contestants would go for – and were stunned when the naughty word popped up.

This was in the Femail section of the website, remind me again – when women are served up with this contemptible drivel – why the Daily Mail has such a large female audience?

The Freak Show business model of modern journalism

I attended a blogging event over the weekend which I want to write up at some point – I’m still gathering my thoughts somewhat – and I had the chance to get across my basic disgust at the disinformation printed as a matter of course by the tabloid media. What I didn’t get round to saying was how a substantial amount of journalism had become simply sticking a few pictures of a women in a bikini and writing about how she looks. Every day on the Mail website you will see articles like this one: ‘Wild Thing no more: A fuller figured Neve Campbell emerges from the Hawaii sea in bikini’. You all know the drill:

  1. Said celebrity is a bit too fat for the Daily Mail.
  2. What is worse is that they used to look incredible – here, have some photos of said celebrity 12 years ago so you can all shake your heads in disgust at how she has let herself go.
  3. You will notice that the old photos of said celebrity feature naked breasts, we have pixelated the nipples because we think that might offend you. We do not think this kind of ‘journalism’ could offend you.
  4. The celebrity happens to have a new movie out. We’ll list the names of all the main actors, along with the name of the film as many times as possible. This helps our website get as many hits as possible.
  5. You’ll notice we have also put photos of said celebrity over the years looking nice at film premieres. This is because we have lots of these photos on file, it is effortless for us to print them and we know how many of our visitors prefer pictures to real journalism.
  6. Please enjoy the film trailer. Again, we are just making sure we hoover up as many Google searches as possible. It also helps to bulk up an article that essentially could be reduced to ‘woman goes to beach’.

This kind of article forms the bulk of Mail Online content and it is not journalism. Furthermore, it is creating the atmosphere in which women are reduced to objects that can fit into three main categories*:

  1. A women with a ‘fuller figure’, meaning that they used to look really slender and have let themselves go; or that they have always ‘bucked the trend’ by seeming happy to have a fuller figure. These women are bad because with a bit of effort they could conform to the Mail’s exacting standards of womanhood.
  2. A women who is too skinny. The Mail will inform you of the ‘shocking’ diets these women follow in order to maintain an unhealthy figure – they will accompany this information with photos of said ‘bony’ body in a bikini if possible. This celebrity should in theory gain weight (which would also be covered as they would then enter the unacceptable territory of category 1) but the Mail will sometimes let their approval of category 2 slip by referring to such women as ‘slender’, or having a small frame. This implies that they are not unhealthy and that weight is natural. This category is therefore bad in some ways – in that strict diets are shocking and skinny women look all bony; but at the same time because categories 1 & 3 are even more unacceptable we can only conclude that all women should strive to be in category 2, even if the Mail will still criticise both the end result (whilst also happily ogling the end result) and the way it was achieved (even if they admire their self-control and discipline whilst on such diets, discipline sadly lacking from categories 1 & 3).
  3. A women who is grossly overweight. These women are clearly really fat and as such the Daily Mail will delight in taking photos of them and giving their readers free reign to abuse said women in the comments. Often the worst thing about category 3 women is that they seem proud of their weight, or at the very least they look ‘unconcerned’ when wondering around in public. Generally these women need to be shamed into taking the ‘shocking diets’ which will then lead them into the criticism faced by category 2, along with photographs showing protruding bones and so forth. However, category 2 is infinitely preferable to the Daily Mail.

The same website that criticises Neve Campbell for daring to age and having a ‘fuller figure’ (which appears to be to the untrained eye** a very nice figure) can happily feature an article not far away criticising (ostensibly) a different female celebrity for being ‘skinny’: ‘”I ate 1,000 calories a day”: Skinny Whitney Port reveals her punishing diet secrets’. Yet the Daily Mail only refers to her as skinny in the headline, they use the much more positive ‘slender’ throughout the article to describe her. Women cannot win. The best they can hope for is to be a category 2, which is to be dangerously obsessive about their weight and diet at the expense of their long-term health.

The Daily Mail website is a modern freakshow in which women and men are paraded in order to be mocked by the visiting reader. It is also an unintended freakshow in which the sorry business model of modern journalism is revealed: pack in the reader by appealing to their basest instincts. It seems that body fascism along with a large dose of patronising misogyny sells. Sadly, because it sells it is also here to stay.

* I think you can also put male celebrities into the same categories, except replace really skinny in category 2 with really muscular.
** I am aware after my exposure to proper journalists on the weekend that I am not a real journalist as I haven’t had the formal training which makes real journalists the very elite of ‘writing stuff down’. Presumably real journalists will be mocking my perception of Neve Campbell because they can see her figure in a proper journalistic context, i.e. they will be sat there going: ‘Sure, I mean a casual non-journalist would think she looks OK, but put a photo of her with her tits out taken 12 years ago next to a photo of her now and you can see just how wrong she is.’

Money for nothing

Peter Hitchens is somehow paid for being a hateful little man. If one writer really embodies the backward, bigoted bitterness that is the Daily Mail then it is him. Staggeringly misogynistic, sneeringly homophobic and unflinchingly elitist his latest column argues that university is a place where people become ‘parasites’ and learn nothing whilst wasting taxpayers money. Peter is bitter because he ‘went to one and spent the whole time being a Trotsky­ist troublemaker at the taxpayers’ expense’, so he therefore projects his own inadequacies on every other graduate / undergraduate in the UK:

We seem to accept without question that it is a good thing that the young should go through this dubious experience. Worse, employers seem to have fallen completely for the idea that a university degree is essential – when it is often a handicap.

For many people, college is a corrupting, demoralising experience. They imagine they are independent when they are in fact parasites, living off their parents or off others and these days often doomed to return home with a sense of grievance and no job.

And it gets worse, because students get up to all sorts of puerile things like SEX and drinking alcohol, which non-graduates avoid presumably:

And they pass through the nasty, sordid rite of passage known as ‘Freshers’ Week’, in which they are encouraged to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol and to lose what’s left of their sexual inhibitions after the creepy sex educators have got at them at school.

‘Creepy sex educators’ in school? Why are so many Daily Mail writers utterly obsessed with sex and children? What is creepier, a Mail article about a ‘sexualised’ 10-year-old (complete with lots of photos) along with a discussion about why she is wearing a bra, or children receiving education about relationships in schools? He carries on:

And if they are being taught an arts subject, they will find that their courses are crammed with anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-traditional material. Proper literature
is despised and ‘deconstructed’.

Our enviable national history is likewise questioned, though nothing good is put in its place. Even if they are study­ing something serious, their whole lives will be dominated by assumptions of political correctness, down to notices in the bars warning against ‘homophobia’ and other thought crimes.

Somehow Peter Hitchens claims to know what is taught in every single arts subject the length and breadth of the UK. Even though he went to one university. 30 years ago. Imagine the horrors of drinking in a university bar that doesn’t even condone homophobia – note the inverted commas around homophobia as if it isn’t real and this sentence isn’t an example of it.

So does Hitchens want all universities shut? No, he just wants them to return to the good old days:

time has come to close most of our universities and shrink the rest so they do what they are supposed to do – educating an elite in the best that has ever been written, thought and said, and undertaking real hard scientific research.

At least he is honest: he hates liberals, gays, women and the poor and just wants merry old England to return to the age of landed gentry and serfs. I know people will want to point out that Peter is merely being paid to be provocative, but I’d urge you to look at his output (and the arguments he sometimes gets into with commenters on his blog) and you will see that he really believes what he writes.