David Thompson
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July 17, 2011

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JuliaM

"...rolling in a ditch with Julie Bindel..."

I've quite gone off my cornflakes..!

Anna

"If I were the patriarchy, I'd be laughing at us right now."

Can't decide who to cheer for… Can they both lose?

David Gillies

Egads, Laurie Penny vs. Julie Bindel. Oiled up and in bikinis, armed with copies of the Communist Manifesto, one hopes. What a couple of silly-billies.

The Patriarchy

HahahaHAHAHA.

Mr Eugenides

"If I were the patriarchy..."

I thought Beyonce phrased it better, to be honest.

But still, what a fascinating insight into Laurie's worldview: she really does believe that those of us with testicles - those of us who, you know, control all the means of production 'n' that - sit at our computers, presumably in football shirts with violent porn on in the background, mocking feminists for being too bitchy to ever have a chance of overthrowing the phallocracy.

OK, so maybe there's a germ of truth in that.

David

Mr E,

So far as I can make out, the dispute seems to be about journalistic accuracy, which, given the parties concerned, is a tad comical. Though sceptics may wonder whether some other, less high-minded rivalry is also in play. Either way, radical-on-radical action is often entertaining.

Ross

What's most interesting to me is that Ms Penny's penchant for making things up is an open secret amoung fellow left wing pundits.

Bindel is a loon and a bigot (against men as much as transexuals) but she doesn't take herself as desperately seriously as Laurie Penny does so I'm on Bindel's side on this.

Fun fact- Julie Bindel's very positive Wikipedia page was created by the now famous "David R of Methusalah Productions".

David

Ross,

“What’s most interesting to me is that Ms Penny’s penchant for making things up is an open secret among fellow left wing pundits.”

Laurie is also, it seems, willing to fabricate threats against her, thus raising her status in her own victimhood hierarchy. During a Twitter exchange with Guido Fawkes about protests at political fundraising events – an exchange in which Ms Penny was faring badly – things took a strange turn.

A mocking Guido said,

You might see your mum and dad at the ball.

Laurie replied,

Why would my parents be at a Tory ball? They’re both legal aid solicitors in Horsham, and they vote Labour.

Then, abruptly and apropos of nothing, Laurie seemed to lose her mind:

Stop threatening my family, you pathetic little man, or I’ll report you to the police.

A puzzled Guido replied,

Eh?

Adding,

Imagine the scene: “Officer I’d like to report someone for suggesting my parents might be Tories.”

Despite being asked to present proof of this alleged threat to her family, Ms Penny declined. Though this lack of evidence didn’t inhibit some of her admirers and fellow activists, who promptly made threats against Guido of a less imaginary kind. Among them, Aaron John Peters, a “Ph.D. candidate at Royal Holloway, proud UCL grad and occupier,” who said,

@GuidoFawkes: your card is marked by a lot of very angry people who are very good at direct action both off and online.

So although we laugh at Laurie Penny’s lack of journalistic and intellectual credibility, there is a more… pathological aspect to it.

Col. Milquetoast

With the character limit, txtspk and generally questionable spelling on twitter I think it can sometimes be nearly incomprehensible so I've tried to translate Penny to make it more clear :
The details of our conflict aren't really important especially if I can disparage your position by accusing you of giving aid and comfort to The Enemy because, of course, we should all limit what we say based on how The Enemy might privately react to it. But this rule mostly applies to you. Please shut up.

Once you do that only then can we finally be in solidarity against The Enemy. Okay? Thanks.

Col. Milquetoast

There is something about Laurie Penny's writing that reminds me of the various politically preoccupied university students I've known. It brings back memories. There must be a universal style book somewhere or at least a secret decoder ring.

Anna

Then, abruptly and apropos of nothing, Laurie seemed to lose her mind:

Okay, now she's officially creepy.

Ross

"Okay, now she’s officially creepy. "

Yeah, I mean the fact she just flips out and makes wild accusations in a forum where everyone can see what's been said is a sign that she is a little loopy.

Though it does reinforce my opinion that she's just a chronic attention seeker, manufacturing drama to make everyone look at her.

Henry

"There is something about Laurie Penny's writing that reminds me of the various politically preoccupied university students I've known."

Col Milquetoast: I know exactly what you mean. A particular personality-type must get sucked into student activism.

Re:"If I were the Patriarchy I'd be laughing at us right now!"

I think this tiff is part of the - to her - bewildering process where Penny, who has been rather spoiled by all the unwarranted media attention, runs into quite a lot of disrespect (literary, journalistic, and other), and finds that she needs to grow up...fast.

It's not working instant wonders for her inimitable writing style, nor for her flawless logic :)

Bart

“If I were the patriarchy, I'd be laughing at us right now.”

We laugh at you anyway. You're a very silly person. And using terms like "the patriarchy" doesn't help your not being laughed at cause.

And why is Ms Penny threatening to call the police on Guido? Aren't they the guys she has running street battles against all day long?

Col. Milquetoast

What's most interesting to me is that Ms Penny's penchant for making things up is an open secret amoung fellow left wing pundits.

obviously, they don't mention it because it is ambiently false.

Stop threatening my family, you pathetic little man, or I’ll report you to the police.

Well, it is ambiently true. The level of ambience being determined by how many people will ignore the facts and support and repeat her position because they share some political beliefs.

Oh, what a cruel world it would be to face criticism despite pointing out that you and your critic share some beliefs and that you have a common enemy!

btw, from here on out any disagreement with me will lead to my new universal response : "This is stupid. If I were the patriarchy, I'd be laughing at us right now…" Hopefully, it'll even get me out of speeding tickets.

Ronno

What's most interesting to me is that Ms Penny's penchant for making things up is an open secret amoung fellow left wing pundits.

Someone should tell Michael Ezra…

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/12/21/laurie-penny-voice-for-a-generation/

Tom Foster

David:

"Laurie is also, it seems, willing to fabricate threats against her…"

And of course she fabricated those "homophobic" twitter attacks on Johann Hari a while ago, didn't she?

Anyway, great stuff, this Bindel-Penny fight. Very entertaining.

David

Tom,

Yes, Laurie does seem to have trouble distinguishing reality from the convenient-but-imagined.

Isobel

The Penny drops further re the Bindel story in this blog post... in which Penny joins the comments section after it's pointed out her recent book is recycled material: http://madamjmo.blogspot.com/2011/07/laurie-penny-looking-familiar.html

rjmadden

The debris may amuse.

It did. :D

sackcloth and ashes

'You have lied about interviewing both me and Finn for your book. You have been found out. Just admit it and learn from it'.

Hmm, how many other of Penny's 'interviews' and 'reports' are of similar provenance?

Alex Levi-Smith

As a general fan of feminist journalists and writers, I would like to support Laurie; unfortunately I cannot because I know that she is indeed dishonest and immoral in her journalism.

She appears to have no qualms in lying about about anything to rise up the journo ladder even if it means dishonestly tainting the lives of those around her as a result.

The article she wrote early on in her 'career' about burlesque is a case in point in effectively ruining other people's reputations through deceit - and is how I personally know that she will lie to get ahead. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/may/15/burlesque-feminism-proud-galleries).

Laurie got involved briefly in a cabaret group at Oxford University that i was also part of. Unlike many male and female students involved Penny chose to strip down to nipple tassels while performing in the show.

However in this article, which she ironically wrote at a time when she still had naked frontal pictures of her upper torso on Facebook (which she has subsequently chosen to remove) she wrote that she was forced to strip and forced to smile ("until your face hurts") through her misery.

The Guardian webpage indeed now has a number of corrective notes at the bottom including: "Changes were made to the second paragraph to make clear that the author was not persuaded by the managers of a local burlesque troupe to get into stripping, but did so voluntarily."

However the horrible implications made on our directors/producers (both rather camp male burlesque performers themselves) by the original article cannot really be removed.

She also made the bizarre comment that while at the Edinburgh fringe "it was a rare day indeed when a shy, bewildered girl wasn't crying in the toilets backstage because she thought her costume made her look fat". I was on that tour, and am still friends with most of the girls who were on that tour. They were all flabbergasted (and would have been amused had not the implications of this line from the article been so insulting to them) by this as they did not feel fat (thank you very much), did not ever cry on that trip, were not bewildered, and did not feel like victims in any way while in the show... And of course the majority hadn't wanted to show off all their body parts (on stage or on Facebook) as Penny was so keen to do anyway!

After Edinburgh, the directors decided to be less generous in letting almost anyone who wanted to to perform in the show in some way do so. Hence Penny - who was not a natural performer - was no longer asked to be in the show. Perhaps this is where her bitterness lies. Therefore her article also mourns the demise of certain acts, claiming the show "ditched our most subversive acts". It certainly did not as anyone who saw the later shows can attest to. But yes it had ditched the less talented ones involved!

In all, she attempted to smear the really rather gentle directors/producers of the show by saying they forced her to strip, made girls cry and made them smile through the misery. Essentially she painted them up to be horrors, which couldn't have been further from the truth. She also painted the girls (oddly enough not boys - i guess boys have no feelings or body issues to contend with in her mind) as being insecure victims when they were performers, singers, comedians and dancers who still feel very proud to have been involved in the show.

David

Alex,

As has been shown here many times, Laurie likes projecting onto others the feelings and motives she thinks they ought to have in order to flatter her own, rather fanciful worldview (and by extension, herself). Apparently she does this in the service of something called “social justice.” And so another egalitarian ‘radical’ presumes to impose her fantasies on others, reducing them to props in her own psychodrama.

It’s ironic, to say the very least.

sackcloth and ashes

@ Alex Levi-Smith

That is a fascinating, and disturbing, post about Ms Penny. She is clearly a female version of Hari.

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