Friday, November 23, 2007

Fathers in Britain Have no Rights.

That's all there is to it guys. You've been sold up river. Congratulations, the mothers of your children no longer have to give you the time of day. They can do whatever they want with your kids, they don't have to ask you, they don't even have to tell you. They can have your sons and daughters and put them up for adoption for the sheer thrill of using your DNA to get pregnant and pop a sprog. Your country can fill up with your fatherless children while you wander around like a bunch of clueless morons.

Right now, I'm not sure if there's anything stopping a married mother from doing that while you, dad, sit there and watch, helpless to prevent it.

What am I talking about? Well, as if one loud-mouthed journalist wasn't enough publicly excoriating fathers in the newspaper of record (yes, that's right, the London Times now publishes grotesquely bigoted, nearly psychotic anti-father screed to keep the masses entertained), the highest courts in the land now say that if your partner wants to have your kid and give it away for adoption, she doesn't have to tell you.

Did you get that?

I don't mean that if your girlfriend gets pregnant, she can get an abortion and not let you know. That might be at least vaguely comprehensible given the defensible idea that she should be able to decide what she does with her body insofar as it doesn't harm another (depending, of course, on whether you think a fetus is "another").

No, I mean that she can take your baby to term, give birth and give your child away without you ever being the slightest the wiser.

Legally speaking, therefore, I honestly do not know what there is to stop your missus, mister married father-of-three, from putting all of the little cupcakes and snowflakes up for adoption without your consent, nor even knowledge, until all is said and done.

Say goodbye, if she lets you.

(And don't give me that line "she'd never do something like that". If she can, some mother will, somewhere. Just wait. Legally sanctioned evil is a very powerful and tempting force for the sufficiently spiteful. And let's not forget that classic fighting-words line "do what I say or you'll never see the kids again!"(*) Now she's got yet another way of making that actually happen, chum.)

Let's look at the case in question. The girl (I refuse to call her a woman) gets pregnant, then wants to have the kid, but also wants it adopted at birth. She doesn't want mom and pop to know, nor the father. A legal guardian and the local authority applied to the court to tell the parents and father. The court so ordered, but the appeals court reversed.

One judge, the unladylike unjust Lady Justice Arden, said the father's rights had not been violated because he did not have any to violate.

Could it be any clearer than that? The father of a now 19 week old child has no rights. None. Zip. Nada. Not even to be told.

How evil is that? It was Remembrance Day recently, wouldn't your own fathers be proud? Your country is now one big zipless fuck. She can do what she wants, and you have no say, all you have to do is provide the dick and I'm sure it won't be long before that becomes unnecessary too. If this is what women's rights are all about, then I am a full-on, dyed-in-the-wool, proudly unrepentant, male chauvinist boar.

Britain, you used to be a great nation. What in good God's name happened?

(*) My ex said (well, barely-coherently screamed) pretty much exactly that to me on one occasion. I said something like "don't be ridiculous" and laughed - I had little doubt that she might try if the anger took her, which it did and she did, but also thought that "family courts" and "the law" were there to prevent such a thing, which they clearly aren't. Do I feel betrayed? What the hell do you think?

Monday, November 19, 2007

How's about that, then?

Just a quick post today because I am struck by the juxtaposition of two items from the UK, one today and one from a couple of months ago. It seems that the aging DJ, Jimmy Savile has got his glasses back. For my readers who have no earthly clue who Jimmy Savile is, think of him as something like Elton John without the songs, silly costumes and gayness. Actually, they only really have silly glasses in common but I expect that Jimmy and Elton are pretty much equally famous in the UK in their own ways. By the way, it's arguable that Jimmy Saville invented twin turntable DJ'ing.

But anyway, these iconic specs were grabbed from Jimmy's face in the street last week. In an astonishingly determined bit of police work, the cops actually tracked the assailant down and retrieved the glasses. It turns out that the woman concerned was just playing "a bit of a prank" and that no further action would be taken. Jimmy took it all in his customary good humor and made something of a joke out of it.

Now, rewind to July, and the floods in Oxford, UK. Channel 4 news reporter Sue Turton (not as famous as Jimmy Savile or Elton John) is giving a live report by the side of a small river that used to be a road and her backside is deftly goosed by a passer by. The papers went loopy. Turton got a bit sniffy "I personally found the matter quite humiliating" and played the gender card: "Male reporters would never be treated to a public goosing. Should the women of my profession not expect the same respect?" The cops got all aggressive with talk of charges of sexual assault under the Public Order Act. I don't think they ever caught the fella, despite the whole thing being on camera and a hugely popular YouTube clip.

Can you spot the many differences between these two stories? Can you spot the biggest difference?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Socrates was a baaaaaad husband.

So I was listening to this highbrow podcast from the BBC Radio 4 about the life and works of Socrates.

I know, I know, it happens sometimes, I get all overcome with an urge for some actual culture in this otherwise age of morons.

But anyway, arch intellectual snob Melvyn Bragg is yacking away with these three head-in-the-clouds academics, one from each of Oxford and Cambridge (I expect you've heard of those) and another from Warwick (less likely you've heard of that one, but you never know), and they get to the bit about the old fart popping his clogs.

You know, the thing with the hemlock. "It is a far, far better thing..." No, wait, that's not right. Oh yes, his last words were: "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." (Fnar, fnar.) Come to think of it, "It is a far, far better thing..." would have been much better. But I digress.

We get some vitally important details such as the variety of hemlock that has the effect of a slow paralysis from the feet up and then we learn that as he lay dying Socrates asked that the women, his wife among them, be asked to leave. He wanted some peace and quiet, all that wailing and gnashing of teeth obviously getting in the way of a properly examined departure from life.

I mean, how's a philosopher supposed to think of some decent last words with all that racket going on? Eh?

At this point, the female member of the panel gets all insistent about how she thinks Socrates was not a good husband while the two male members (Fnar, fnar. Sorry) of the panel proceed to talk over her. She tried to make the point twice, she did, before she took the hint.

It was a brief and amusing skirmish in the battle of the sexes - some woman got her knickers in a pointless and irrelevant twist because a man did something she didn't approve of while undergoing one of the most iconic deaths of all history and a couple of men knock her point flat on its copious ass by taking absolutely no notice whatsoever. Score one for the guys there, I think (but she was outnumbered, 'tis true).

Sorry, I guess the testosterone's taking over today. Must've been that slab of male chauvinist pork I burned for supper. Grunt.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Imagine a world . . .

Imagine a world where rape is legal. Perhaps even a world where, for some, rape is a rite of passage amounting to proof a man can assert control over his own destiny. Some who have already completed that rite of passage may even encourage others to do so, both as a means to validate their own actions and to consolidate the practice.

Imagine the victim of that rape, knowing she has been violated, being bewildered, hurt to the core, and convinced by any reasonable moral standard that it was wrong, trying to find justice and appropriate consequences for the perpetrator. At first she is treated with bemusement that she should have such temerity. Then the excuses, the brush-offs begin "I'm sure he felt he was doing the right thing", "You must have done something to deserve it", "You shouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time", "I've heard that you're up for it pretty much whenever", "He says you were asking for it". If you're lucky, you get: "Most men aren't like that."

It would be no surprise that most of these apologists are men, most women simply turn their backs, but an astonishingly large fraction are happy to back up the men. It must be sickening.

If you persist, the accusations start: "Why do you have such a problem with men?", "There's obviously something wrong with you", "You have to face up to your own behavior, you can't hope to get better if you don't".

You know that to concede any of this will destroy you completely, both from within and by validating this twisted logic for others. So you keep going. Then they say you're obviously a danger to yourself and to others, and they're taking your children away to make sure you can't hurt them. They might even give the children to your rapist. Then, devastated and unable to function you get fired, then get into trouble because you can't pay the man who took your children. Because you were raped. Because he raped you. Suddenly, everything that matters is taken from you because of something that someone else did to you.

This is what it is like for men who are removed from their family home by false accusations of abuse, perhaps by a wife who has been abusive for years, but you took it because, well, you're not sure why anymore. It's a rite of passage now, for the self-assertive woman, to rid herself of a man she's decided is holding her back and her divorced friends will happily help her build a case, from raw cloth if necessary. Any regrets will just fuel the fire.

Don't tell me it's not like rape until you've lived through having your world turned upside down, your reputation questioned by anyone who feels like it, taken from and kept from everything you care about by the one person who was supposed to stand by you.

You know it is wrong, but no-one will listen. They apologize for the mother, excusing her actions by arguing that she must feel you are a threat, that you must have done something to deserve it, that it's your tough luck for marrying the wrong woman. It’s all your fault, after all. Idiotically, they ask: "Why would she lie?" But you know it's not true, it's patently ridiculous, isn't it? So you argue.

Most of the people with the power to help, but won't, will be women, but, confusingly, some of them will be men, although most men will just look at you strangely and change the subject when you ask them to try to see it your way, that you have to do something.

Keep going, and they'll judge you to have a problem with women. "Why are you such a misogynist?" they'll ask, "What’s wrong with you, that you can't admit to what you've done wrong". Try to cut a deal, try to bargain an admission of something you know you didn't do to get a little mercy, and all mercy will evaporate, you've just sacrificed yourself on the altar they constructed.

But it wouldn't matter anyway because it's a Catch-22. If you won't admit to the accusations then you're in denial and therefore a danger to your wife and kids.You have to be kept from them. Fighting that just proves their point (so does giving in). They're taking your children from you and giving them to the women who did this to you. Then they make you pay. And God help you if you break down and can't keep your job. Everything that matters is taken from you because of something that someone else did to you. That's what it's like, there's no need for imagination, it's out there, right here, right now. Rape is legal, if you're a man and divorce is the tool used to violate.

(This post was inspired by a comment on another blog which I've since lost, I think it was at Dr Helen's.)