The BBC has advised its journalists not to use the word ‘terror’ or ‘terrorist’ when some bloke blows himself up screaming ‘Allahu akbar’ in a public place, thus killing as well lots of non-Allahu akbar kind of people. The words ‘terror’ or ‘terrorist’ are, in this context, pejorative and the use of them involves making an assumption, which of course we must never do. It may not have been terror which the chap intended to instil in the local population, but enlightenment, good cheer and a general sense of bonhomie, of course. Given that the BBC no longer uses the word ‘Islamic’ whenever mentioning these sorts of actions, it is a bit of a struggle to know how its journalists will describe them at all. Perhaps they will simply cease reporting them. Or just show the footage and comment only: ‘Bang! Now have a guess who did this.’
Another person who thinks we should not make assumptions is the writer David Minerva Clover. David describes herself as a ‘33-year-old dinosaur enthusiast… queer, trans, parent, he/him’. I could see us getting along just fine, especially on the dinosaur front. David has got upset because scientific literature often makes the assumption that men produce sperm. This may be an infallible truth, but David doesn’t like it and would much prefer it if sperm were not assigned a gender of origin at all. This is because David thinks she is a man, but sadly a man unable to produce sperm (because she is a woman and thus without what are known, to the medical establishment, as ‘bollocks’). She also does not like the term ‘brothers and sisters’, re-tweeting: ‘When you say [transgender] “brothers and sisters”, you’re erasing non-binary, two-spirit, and gender expansive trans folks who live beyond the binary. Constantly being erased is exhausting.’
Being erased is exhausting, isn’t it? I’m pretty sick of it myself. My suspicion, though, is that it’s people like David — and indeed the BBC — who are doing most of the erasing around here, an observation with which another writer, Gareth Roberts — who is gay — would quickly attest. Mr Roberts is an accomplished screenwriter and has written several episodes of Doctor Who. He had been commissioned to write a short story about the idiotic timelord for BBC Books, as part of a collection. However, once he had written it, the publishers revealed that it would not appear solely because of complaints, including one from a fellow writer, that he had ‘transphobic views’. This seemed to amount to having used the word ‘trannies’ once in a tweet. Children’s author Susie Day seems to have been the source of the complaint. She tweeted: ‘So, since that Doctor Who writer’s blogged about it: I’m a contributor who questioned GR’s inclusion in the anthology, on account of him being a vocal transphobe, amongst some other views he found in the bin.’
So, on account of his views, he was erased. There was nothing in his short story that was ‘transphobic’, so far as I understand. More’s the pity, really: it might have given a bit of balance to the current incarnation of Doctor Who in which the plots are so woke children are turning off in their droves (check out the audience figures). But no. There were no ‘terf’ cyberwomen righteously zapping transgendered daleks who are mincing about shrieking ‘Exfoliate, exfoliate’. Simply because Roberts believes that men who transition to women are not authentic women, either objectively or subjectively, he is no longer allowed to be published — even though those views are not expressed in his work.
The problem here is not that bone-headed totalitarians like Susie Day might shriek and stamp their little feet — she is perfectly entitled, if she so wishes, to try to banish from the world everyone who has a different opinion to her so that she ends up in a make-believe kingdom as facile as those which inhabit her books. The real problem is that the publishers kowtow, terrified out of their wits. That is the stock corporate response, these days — an immediate prostration before people who are arguing, in essence, that black is white and anyone who says it isn’t should not be allowed to have work.
Another heretic to be erased recently was a pastor from the Isle of Man, Jules Gomes. The Revd Gomes is an occasional contributor to the website Conservative Woman and has fairly forthright views on matters regarding gender, a disposition he strongly believes that he shares with the Lord Jesus Christ. He does not wish to push gay people off buildings, but he might object to icing their wedding cakes. Recently he has defended the (largely) Muslim parents in Birmingham who object to their infant school children being taught about transgenderism and gay marriage, pointing out that a teacher who insists to her pupils that Islam is a peaceable and just religion and then tells them it’s OK to have two blokes for a dad is guilty of ‘doublethink on steroids’. Well, sure. But the whole intersectional edifice is doublethink on steroids and it doesn’t stop the depthless ninnies spewing it out, week after week.
Anyway, Gomes had been invited to deliver a talk at Oxford Town Hall, entitled ‘Feminism was women’s greatest enemy until transgenderism came along’ — so you get the picture of the man. He’s kinda right of centre on this sort of stuff. He had already been warned by organisers to expect to be assaulted, quite possibly with a milkshake or two. But now Oxford City Council has banned him from speaking because the nature of his speech does not reflect the council’s ethos of ‘valuing diversity’. They value diversity very much in Oxford — except when it comes to diversity of opinion, and then they don’t like it one bit. They close down debate and wish to be deaf to all opinions other than their own.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free