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In other Fuck The Pope news…

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Vatican releases official statement saying that women’s wee is unholy.
The president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, said the pill “has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature” through female urine.

“We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill,” he said, without elaborating further.

Another day, another scare story designed to misinform the public about the dangers of oral contraception when the real problem here is that the forces of conservatism just don’t dig female reproductive self-determination.

Let’s set this straight: in every sip of tap water you imbibe very tiny traces of mood stabilisers, heart medication, hormones that are added to fast-food and packaged meat in significantly higher doses than the hormones left over from the contraceptive pill in waste, factory run-off, tranquilisers, fluorine, and hundreds of other chemicals – almost all of them in doses too small to make any medical difference. Oestrogens are present in drinking water from a host of sources, most notably from the by-products of plastics production, and studies have shown that most oestrogens in drinking water are natural – not the synthetic oestrogens present in oral contraception. Oestrogens and xeno-oestrogens in water are a by-product of: petro-chemicals such as car emissions, vaseline based skin creams, many common detergents, wax floor polish and paints; synthetic hormones and oestrogenic compounds found in meat, pesticides such as DDT,DDE which are still used all over the developing world, dieldrin, toxaphene, mirex, heptachlor and kepone as well as hundreds of other herbicides and pesticides, all of which have an ability to mimic natural oestrogen, polycarbonated plastics found in baby bottles and water jugs, cling wrap and polystyrene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used in the manufacture of electronic devices, and – minimally – from hormonal contraception in human waste.

Apparently, though, it’s only the oestrogen from contraceptive pills which is evil, at least as far as the Pope is concerned. Even though the dilution still isn’t enough to be an effective dose unless you were to drink, just for instance, the Thames.

Furthermore, contemporary causes of male infertility are infinite: traffic pollution, laptops, mobile phones, tight trousers and hot tubs, nappies, smoking, overeating, seafood, fast food and driving. In fact, being overweight actually increases levels of oestrogen in the bloodstream anyway, especially if you eat a lot of non-organic meat- meaning that if you’ve got moobs and want to shift them, back away from the cheesburger and stop pointing the finger at us self-sterilising ladies.

I don’t see the Pope asking us to stop eating so much junk in order to protect some sacred ideation of male potency. I don’t see that increasingly unfunny former Hitler Youth dresswearing cunt and his friends asking us all to wear looser trousers and stop smoking. Why would they, when they’ve already decided that by daring to decide for ourselves whether we want to have kids, we’ve symbolically castrated men?

Fuck you, Ratzinger, you terrible little cunt. The contraceptive pill is one of the most important inventions of the last three centuries, and doesn’t damage the environment so much as the status quo. I’m not a Christian, but if I were I’d get down on my knees every night to thank your God for the long-awaited miracle of contraception. We have the right to determine when and if we conceive as far as is technologically plausible, and if that makes you want to clutch your balls, then go right ahead – just don’t claim that there’s any scientific basis for it.

In order to make this point more fully, and because I have not been able to find a picture of the contraceptive pill anywhere that does not feature an artfully blurred, anonymous feminine hand tentatively reaching for a blister pack, here I am nomming my tasty tasty oral contraceptives. Om nom nom (Graphics by the ever-lovely Twitch, who is also a fan of the No Babies For Us plan).

Hope and Humbuggery: a Christmas tantrum.

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This sucks.

I’ve just arrived back from my mum’s place and been greeted with a bollocking HUGE gas bill that we have only a slim chance of paying, plus a plumbing system that’s still buggered to the tune of having to wash my hair and essential parts in the sink, with a saucepan. All this, and scrabbling to prepare for a parental visit: clean, fumigate, hide the S’M posters, hide the ashtrays, hide the kingskins, hide our same-sex partners, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll make 2009 intact.

At this most magical time of the year, I truly pity the undeserving souls who work in call centres. Having been on the line to a dogged unresponsive pissed-off hack for half an hour, you could hear a festering note of impending armaggedon in the weary British Gas man’s voice when he asked if he could keep me informed of any new products and services.

Talking of festering Armageddon, does anyone else feel like we’re approaching the end times?

Maybe it’s just me. But in the latter months of 2008, it’s become far less easy to be a freak in this country. The black dog of recession is crunching us in its bloody jaws and, unlike the States, we don’t have any liberal saviour preaching change who we can clutch at, whispering save us. The government is clamping down on everybody, no matter where they live or why. The poor, single parents and the mentally ill are going to suffer under the new welfare plan. The atmosphere in Whitehall is one of stunned denial, with ministers emerging over the ramparts to frantically fire desultory, mean sallies such as today’s announcement that bailiffs will be given new powers to enter debtors’ homes at will, physically restraining or pinning down the occupants if necessary.

Will Monaco and Jersey swarm with smart-suited Scrooges wearing knuckle-dusters?
Will hired muscle be sent to collect billions of pounds’ worth of debt from Britain’s richest tax-dodgers, like Philip Green? Will members of the treasury, recently found owing £645bn which my generation will have to stump up for in our middle age, be turfed out onto the street in their scanties? Nah, thought not. Once again, it’s the poorest and most vulnerable who are being targeted by this supposed people’s government, this government that promised us change, transparency, a new world order. Maybe that’s why Obamania is failing to cheer us up: we’ve heard this line before.

Meanwhile, in Vatican City a nominally celibate former Hitler Youth member in a dress has a Christmas message of goodwill and peace in our time. Yup, Ratzinger wants to defend holy heterosexuality from the despicable ‘gender blurring’ perpetrated by gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and women who don’t sit with their knees together in church:

‘We need something like human ecology, meant in the right way. The Church speaks of human nature as ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and asks that this order is respected.

“This is not out-of-date metaphysics. It comes from the faith in the Creator and from listening to the language of creation, despising which would mean self-destruction for humans and therefore a destruction of the work itself of God.”

I would like, at this point, to swallow the greater part of the Fuck The Pope tirade that was going to be my inevitable next outburst and instead point Herr Ratzinger towards the roll-call of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christian saints recently enumerated by activist scholars, amongst them Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Sebastian and ooh, wouldn’t you credit it, Saint George, patron of this blinkered isle.

I apologise for the unseasonal amount of bile and hatred in this post. Believe me, behind this cold, hard exterior twitters the pink and fluffy heart of a perpetual six-year-old who bounces out of bed at 5am on Christmas morning and dreams in sugarplums and fairy lights. But behind that is the chill adult realisation that we’re going to have to take the long road home. 2009 will be a hard, hard year, we didn’t need the IMF to tell us that. The rest of this beautiful, broken, brilliant decade is going to entail threats to socialism, liberalism and freedom of thought and action from all sides, with governments offering no quarter and giving none. Those of us brave enough to weather the distance, those of us with the strength and temerity to hold on to our liberal ideals, will need everything we’ve got to keep the hope in our heads alive.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. [Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’]

And that’s my Christmas message. Hope, if nothing else: hope, because that’s all we’ve got, that we will come through this with our sanity and our integrity, everyone: the poor, the young, the mentally ill, the geeks, the freaks, the queers and their allies, the feminists and race-activists and socialists and war protesters and those who dare to dream of a better and a fairer world. When we have nothing else but hope, we will have to find the energy from somewhere to keep on getting out of bed, keep on striving, keep on thinking for ourselves. I’m certainly going to keep on writing; I hope you’ll keep on reading. Thank you all for keeping up with this blog over the past year, and please believe me when I wish you, whatever your faith, a merry Christmas.