David Thompson
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July 20, 2010

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mlrosty

She sounds as nutty as Bidisha. It's hard to tell them apart. Does the Guardian buy them in bulk?

Mr Eugenides

Her living arrangements have been updated, if you revisit her blog. Needless to say, they remain delightfully quirky.

Anna

"Imperial capitalism is built on the docile bodies of women."

Wow. She just churns this stuff out –it's almost like she's reading it from a book written by an idiot.

Kimberly

Whatever you do, don't let nutty Laurie visit the Jersey Shore, as I did last weekend. There is most definitely a "bikini ideology" there, where the rule is: no matter how weird, or aged, your body, stuff it into a bikini. Big girls, small girls, short girls, tall girls, wide or narrow, fat or thin - all wearing the smallest bikinis possible. Some looked lovely, and some looked overstuffed, but they all seemed to be having a good time.

And at the end of the day, who cares? If you're at a locale where bathing suits are acceptable, it really doesn't matter what you have on. There's no semiotics or deeper meaning there. It's not a university campus or the boardroom. You are at THE SHORE. Anything goes. Perhaps it's the part about all those girls seeming to have a good time that Laurie really can't stand.

Peter Risdon

There are bikinis, and then there are bikinis. Padded ones for pubescent girls are good:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/15/primark-padded-bikinis-mumsnet-sexuality

David

mlrosty,

“It’s hard to tell them apart.”

Well, both are ostentatiously “radical” children of privilege who imagine themselves as being daringly at odds with the establishment, rather than comical features of it. And both seem prone to unargued assertion and absurd hyperbole. On the one hand, there’s Bidisha’s discovery of “cultural femicide” – a dastardly patriarchal plot whose goal is “the erasure of women from public life.” On the other, you’ve got Ms Penny’s belief that “the planet is boiling; the rivers are drying up; the human race may very well be about to tear itself apart.” I couldn’t say which is more entertaining.


Kimberly,

“You are at THE SHORE. Anything goes.”

Amen to that. It’s what the shore is for.

R. Sherman

This post would've been perfect had you provided illustrations.

Just sayin'

Peter Risdon

Incidentally, the link I put in my first comment might contain the roots of Ms Penny's feminism:

"I would have killed for a padded bra when I was in primary school, if only to give an extra boost to the wodges of toilet roll I had already begun to stuff into my crop-top. Like many girls, I was teased mercilessly for my flat chest by boys with undescended testicles who had already discovered that the best way to torture their female classmates was to mock us for not being sexy enough."

If the boys had fancied her more, who knows what might have happened.

David

Peter,

Like Bidisha, she does tend to blur the customary boundaries between argument, fantasy and personal psychodrama. One might compare Ms Penny’s article above with Bidisha’s claim that the “sexualisation” of the Olympics has “brutalising” and “devastating” effects on the male psyche:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/13/olympics2008.gender

It is strange, though, just how often Guardian contributors insinuate that other people - people who don’t read the Guardian - are mere dupes of social pressure and dastardly advertisers. Or particularly toned pole-vaulters. And the more they bemoan this alleged cultural oppression, the more they seem to assume that no-one but themselves, or people like themselves, could possibly escape its influence. It seems to me that not being oppressed by shampoo commercials and celebrity tattle rags is remarkably easy.

Anna

Peter,

"the link I put in my first comment might contain the roots of Ms Penny's feminism"

I don't even think it's feminism. She just wants to be noticed. That's why she says it's cool for 7 year olds to look like they've got tits. It's edgy and radical!

Franklin

On the other hand, I think I've figured out the answer to Bidisha's dating woes. "Hard-faced hack seeks similar" indeed. Bidisha and Penny would make an adorable soft-butch couple. I wouldn't want to be within earshot of the happy pair in a restaurant, but still.

Karen M

"My mental health has taken a turn for the worse. I'm struggling to care. I'm struggling to stay angry. That terrifies me more than anything... The centre-right have taken back my country and imposed dazzlingly punitive cuts to welfare and public services. Across the pond, the American right are winning the fight for ideological control of the world's only superpower. The planet is boiling; the rivers are drying up; the human race may very well be about to tear itself apart... That's what clinical depression does, you see. It takes away your anger, piece by piece... When terrible things happen - like a coalition government closing down your country piece by piece, slamming the door on the young, the poor, the sick, immigrants, women - you cease to really believe that anything can be done."

http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2010/06/public-service-announcement-another.html

Mustn't laugh...

David

Ah, an elected government that’s insufficiently leftwing. The End Times must be upon us.

Andrea Harris

"My entire friendship group left London at once."

Hmmm. Coincidence, or plan?

Spiny Norman

Ouch! I see Andrea hasn't lost her touch...

;^)

No, as Karen suggests, we must not laugh. That sort of over-the-top delusional thinking is a clear sign of genuine mental health issues. Although Penny may be enjoying the attention, she should seek professional help.

mlrosty

Being laughed at is the only way she'll learn.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

"Singer Katy Perry and heiresses the Kardashian sisters are among this week's 'best bikini body' celebrities, and ordinary women everywhere are trying to emulate their fairytale lifestyles by purchasing a particular cellulite-busting body scrub or embarking on a bizarre starvation diet."

And yet, embarking on a bizarre diet and claiming it's for the Religion of Green would probably be considered highly virtuous by the Guardian crowd.

davydai nikolenko

great comment someone left at that Penny Red blog

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anonymous said...

Idea for a post #1: Why do you feel it important to be angry all the time?

Idea for a post #2: Why do you always presume anger on the part of left wingers is always righteous and well-meaning, whereas the anger of the right is a mere manifestation of their entrenched nastiness?

Your fatigue could be some trace of your rational mind stepping in to prevent the rest of your brain collapsing under the weight of the cognitive dissonance you carry with the grace of an Anvil.

Give it a rest for a bit. Don't watch TV. Don't read the news, anywhere.

Making a living out of being perpetually outraged on behalf of some notional 'other' was always going to be a tough gig, irrespective of how uber-trendy that other is perceived to be.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://tinyurl.com/36yzq8k

Gene

It astonishes me how much ripe, raw, free inspiration The Guardian provides for bloggers, week after week. I hope you Brits appreciate this seemingly endless resource.

David

davydai nikolenko,

“Idea for a post #1: Why do you feel it important to be angry all the time?”

Quite. Though I suspect it may work the other way around. Pretending to be angry makes some people feel important all the time.

I think the basic pattern goes something like this. First learn to fixate on an unending series of personal issues and minor irritations, then inflate them to sociological scale as if they illustrated some heinous and systemic persecution, and then rail against the inflated version, thus framing oneself as righteously indignant, terribly radical and practically heroic.

Rather than, say, narcissistic and incontinent.

AC1

Someone else who revels in hate and narcissistic authoritarianism.

http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/21/liberal-journalists-suggest-government-shut-down-fox-news/

David

AC1,

I seem to remember Professor Juan Cole being aghast that Fox News should be *permitted* to exist. He said, “It is a highly ideological, explicitly ideological operation, and it is polluting the information environment…”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/09/projection.html

Which, coming from Juan Cole, is rather funny.

lauraw

"inflate them to sociological scale as if they illustrated some heinous and systemic persecution, and then rail against the inflated version, thus framing oneself as righteously indignant"

You either admire and emulate success and beauty in others or you hate it jealously.

The people in the latter camp have undoubtedly been miserable since prehistory. It's just our bad luck that they came up with a raft of political ideologies to explain their dyspepsia.

ojo

"My mental health has taken a turn for the worse. I'm struggling to care. I'm struggling to stay angry."

Talk about self-absorption. She even looks like a moody teenager.

David

“Talk about self-absorption.”

I suspect Ms Penny finds herself more compelling than her arguments. Which may explain why so many of her articles feature contradictory claims:

http://timworstall.com/2010/07/15/laurie-penny-is-confused/

Or simply beg the question...

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/06/hyper-indeed.html

Ms Penny’s default approach is to assert things vehemently, piling them high, with only the most fleeting and reluctant reference to reality. Which is how, for instance, we arrive at her conviction that football is nothing more than “commodified nationalism” played by “misogynist jocks” indulging in “organised sadism.” Or her claim that “US state governments compete to think up ever more cruel and unusual ways to punish women for sexual self-determination.” It’s all so overwrought, dogmatic and suspiciously humourless.

She likes to rail against things, especially things that aren’t entirely clear but are somehow taken as self-evident. She rails against the Conservative Party (or “hordes of drooling poshos”) and its “brutally intolerant moral agenda,” the details of which are somewhat vague. She rails against “the bruised superstructure of patriarchal capitalist control,” the particulars of which are – again - unspecified and mysterious. She rails against anti-war protestors “not being heard,” as if being heard must entail being agreed with and obeyed. Ours, she says, is a world “on fire.” That’s basically what she does. Or that’s what she does when not writing about herself and her unending personal and political miseries. For Ms Penny everything is political, no matter how small, self-indulgent or contrived. And the news is always bad.

Actually, the word “conviction” may be misleading. I’m not convinced she actually holds, or originates, many of the views she airs. Given the inconsistency, perversity and lack of evidence or logic, I suspect much of it is rhetorical drama and pretence. As Anna pointed out, so much of what Ms Penny writes sounds like a regurgitation of someone else’s assumptions. Perhaps these are the kinds of views she feels a radical person ought to have. Or ought to seem to have. And blimey, how radical is that?

rjmadden

"She rails against anti-war protestors “not being heard,” as if being heard must entail being agreed with and obeyed."

This is why I read this blog. ;D

WTP

"Perhaps these are the kinds of views she feels a radical person ought to have. Or ought to seem to have. And blimey, how radical is that? "

Rebel Without A Cause, anyone? Or better yet, The Wild One. "What are you rebelling against, Johnny?" "Waddaya got?". Sit quietly through 60 years of idiocy proclaimed as role-model "cool", well, Waddaya expect?

wayne fontes

David, I'm surprised you have no idea who Katy Perry is and the extent of her talents. Photographing her talents seem to keep at least a couple of paparazzi from succumbing to the bruising capitalist system.

http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=77Z&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&q=katy%20perry%2Bbikini&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1187&bih=647

David

Blimey. That’s an awful lot to take in before lunch.

dicentra

Well, yes. I suppose one could indulge one's neurotic dysmorphia, or one could just buy a one- or two-piece swimsuit with a blousy top.

http://www.womanwithin.com/Plus-Size-two-piece-swimsuits.aspx?DeptId=9293

Designed for non-perfect female forms and stuff and look perfectly fine.

But coping with reality is not nearly as much fun as getting paid to whinge incessantly, is it?

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