Thursday, 30 January 2014

'An Eminent Person: the Strange Life & Marvellous Afterlife of the Chevalier D'Eon, Overture: The Traders' Chorus'

Where coffee boils and scandal-sheets are sold,
hunched over cups, we tussle with a question:
just what is the Chevalier to be called?

When told, some men turn giddy, some appalled,
but all compelled to give it their attention.
It seems to us a new thing in the world;

this world which, in its recent memory, brawled
to settle facts of conquest and succession,
asks now what one such warrior should be called.

Philosophers will posit; tavern-bawds
laugh "'Omm or femm? You just can't say wi'Frenchmen! "
It seems to us, this new thing in our world,

a puzzle which we cannot leave unsolved.
So men are polled, a betting-pool is sanctioned:
at this Exchange, a new thing in the world,
we'll settle what this specimen should be called.


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Your Move, Mr Hannan

I'm going to assume that everyone reading this blog is aware of 'journalist' Caleb Hannan's vile article in which he outed a stealth trans woman for the sake of getting more hits on his article about a new type of golf club, but for anyone unfamiliar with the case, you can get up to speed on it here.

I got angry about this, and so I did what I always do when I'm angry: I wrote a poem about it. And, because I have a YouTube channel now and I'm getting better at updating it regularly, I reeled off a quick recording of me reciting the poem and put it up on  said channel. Nothing fancy: just me sat reading the words off my laptop screen and filming it with my phone camera. 

My channel's a pretty small operation. There isn't a huge market for videos of a minor Northern English trans poet ranting about stuff, as a general rule. But within a week, the view count for the video had surpassed the record for my previously most-viewed video, 'The Bathroom Thing', posted six months ago.

In a way, this upsets me. Partly because I feel crap taking a note of how many views the thing has had, given that Hannan's piece was such a shameless piece of clickbait. There's a certain horrible irony in the fact that the poem of mine which has gotten the most views so far is one in which I chastise a journalistic bottom-feeder for valuing pageviews over an actual human's life. But it also upsets me because it means that this thing is still an issue. Hannan has neither resigned nor been fired. His editors at Grantland have issued a meaningless, lip-service apology and then done nothing. Indeed, as Parker Marie Molloy has pointed out in a piece for The Advocate, Hannan still 'decline[s] to provide any quotes or statements...on the record' about the whole affair. In other words, Caleb Hannan, who sought to strip a woman of her privacy in life, now enjoys the very same privilege, the very same comfort, he sought to deny Essay Anne Vanderbilt. Because he's afraid of being misrepresented. Because he's afraid of the way others may interpret his words. Because he's afraid people will have a worse impression of him if he says anything more. Because he doesn't want to cede control of his self-image to others. Because he wants control of his story.

Oh. Oh, the irony.

Well, I guess the viewcount for 'Resume' can only go up: because until such time as Caleb Hannan stops hiding like the coward he is and goes on record about what he did, I will be posting the video to Twitter and Facebook once a day, every day. It's a tiny, inconsequential thing to do to try and make the guy human the eff up and be accountable for his actions, but it's all I can do. Join me in sharing it, if you like: we can't make a loud noise or even a lot of it but we can make a constant one, and that might be enough to prompt him to action. If we speak at one constant volume, at one constant pitch, right into his ear...he probably still won't hear. But maybe we can be that annoying buzzing noise in the background and nark him off.

Or maybe he can come out and say something - preferably 'I resign' - and then the buzzing stops.

Say something on record and I'll stop, Mr Hannan. You have a choice - a choice you never gave your victim. Your chance. Your choice. Your move.