animal rights, BBC, Feminism

Women, Dogs, and People

Today a woman died. But this is not what the Yucca is here to report. Rather, the Yucca noticed the way in which the BBC presents the news. The title is: “Woman and dog killed in collision”.


The dog is given pretty much equal status as the woman (apart from the fact that the two are not ordered alphabetically): normally, the title would have said something like “Woman killed in collision” and then they would have mentioned, in the article, that the woman had been killed while walking her dog. And that yes, by the way, for the animal lovers out there, the dog had died too. In a similar way in which they could have reported that a woman had been run over while listening to her iPod. And that, yes, for the iGeeks out there, the iPod was fucked beyond repair. Animals as objects, the usual.

But this time the BBC has chosen to put the dog up there with the woman. My feminist self suggests me that, had it been a man rather than a woman, the title would have probably not mentioned the dog… but that’s another story: women as animals, animals as objects, women as objects. The usual.

This is probably just a bored Sunday evening editor taking the liberty of a lifetime. But thanks anyway: the Yucca takes notice of another of those puny subterranean shifts that will, one day, amount to emancipation.

BBC, Britain, general elections, gordon brown, labour leadership, Labour Leadership Contest, Labour Party, Margaret Beckett, New Labour, Politics, Rory Bremner, Sunday AM

embarrassingly Gordon

Watch Brown’s reaction to Bremner’s sketch yesterday on Sunday AM. It’s a perfect example of the kind of awkwardness that might very well cost Brown the next election. He must have been told by his aides not to be shy about the fact that Bremner once fooled Margaret Beckett into thinking she was actually speaking with the Chancellor. So Brown is eager to mention the anecdote, but makes a meal of it: he tries to mention it a first time, but nobody is interested, so he gives up half way through. Then Gordon tries again, this time goes through with it, but it’s too late, and again no one’s interested, no one laughs. He was supposed to give the impression that he is not afraid to talk about embarrassing things. But he only succeeded in once again confirming the common-place that he is an embarrassment in public.

7/7, 9/11, BBC, Britain, Ethics, intentions, Iraq, Islam, London, Philosophy, philosophy of action, Philosophy PhD, Political Philosophy, Politics, Radio4, Terrorism, Tony Blair, US Government

Blair, Responsibility, and Terrorism

Just heard PM’s interview on Radio4. An issue came up which already came up yesterday in the Commons; an issue of responsibility. Let us suppose that terrorism (or attacks against westerns, or whatever) has increased since, say, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Are the US and UK Government responsible for that, given that their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was deliberate and intentional? Blair has a good answer to that: look (as he always, annoyingly, starts his answers), we can’t be responsible for the actions of others. And this is true. Responsibility is not causally transitive. So even if it made sense to say that the decision of the UK Government to invade Iraq caused the terrorist’s decision to blow up tube trains in London (and it isn’t at all clear what it means for one’s action to cause another’s action, given that the former, supposedly, was not sufficient to bring about the latter, otherwise the latter would not be an action), that does not mean that the UK Government is responsible for those trains being blown up; it is only who blew them up that is responsible. So that the counterfactual ‘the London trains would have not been blown up if the Government had not invaded Iraq’, even if true, would not bring with it responsibility for the Government. But there are at least to replies to Blair’s answer which, unfortunately, John (who fancies himself a bit too much to be a good interviewer) did not put to the PM: firstly, responsibility comes in if the government could have prevented what happened (but if the counterfactual is true, wouldn’t not invading Iraq have been a way to prevent the attacks? I guess the issue is whether you can do counterfactuals with people’s intentions and actions; and still, even then, it’s not clear that they would carry any responsibility). Secondly, there is an issue of prediction: because it is the Government’s responsibility to try and predict threats, it the Government could have predicted the threat, then, even though it cannot be responsible for someone else’s action, it would still be responsible for not having predicted someone else’s actions, which resulted in the attacks. In this latter case, both who blew up the trains and the Government would be responsible for the people who died on 7/7, because both who blew up the trains and the Government could and should have prevented what happened.

antisemitism, BBC, Britain, Bush, Israel, Politics, Terrorism

misusing words: ‘terrorist’ and ‘boycott’

The term ‘terrorist’ is abused. There are a lot of ugly monsters – who deserve their intestine microwaved – out there. But, contrary to what President Bush’s speech-writers appear to think, they are not all terrorists. This point, often made by the left, I accept (as I have already discussed here). But now I have noticed that ‘boycott’ is another term often abused and misused (by the left (read: BBC), for example). Someone should tell the BBC News editors that if Israel (and the US) don’t want to negotiate with people whose expressed aim in life is the destruction of Israel, that is not a boycott. Last night, one of those ugly monsters who are not terrorists (believe it or not, Mr. Bush) approached me with a knife. I dared to run away, instead of negotiating over the contents of my wallet. I am waiting for the poor fucker to complain to the BBC over my unfeeling boycott.