This Week in The Guardian #8

This week sees a human guinea pig teaching us a valuable lesson, the shallowest columnist in the world, how anti-vaxxers will ruin hugs and making sexism great again.

Every week (or, rather, most weeks, since the coronavirus torpedoed our schedule), we like to highlight three or four stories that go full-Guardian, but don’t require an entire article of refutation.
We encourage reader-participation here, so if you come across something you feel should be included in the next edition either post a link below, or send us an e-mail.

On coronavirus, men are calling all the shots. We’re seeing why it matters

This is just full Guardian mode. The crass generalisation. The factual inaccuracy. The casual sexism. It’s a Gabby Hinsliff offering, but in this instance Gabby is really the grating, hysterical voice of a movement.

The movement in question is “backwards”. In every possible way.

Women are naturally more cautious: would the government have made so many missteps over the lockdown if it was more inclusive?

She asks in her opening. Totally blind to the full-circle of identity politics, moving through “progressive” all the way back around to “regressive”.

I remember the 1990s. I grew up watching the X Files and Buffy and ER. Female doctors, female heroes, female FBI agents. Nobody made much of a thing about it.

That was the point of feminism, wasn’t it? To have all men and women treated as individuals first, and members of a gender second (or maybe not at all)?

Instead of that, we now have generalisations from the Victorian era bandied about in the name of “representation”. Recycling the notion that women are all angelic mother-figures, while men are aggressive animals who can barely control their base urges. It’s reductionist, ridiculous and insulting to both parties…but that’s what “progressive” means these days

The real lesson here is how little content matters to the modern journalist, how little they actually mean. Opinions are formed based on need and circumstance. Principles picked up dropped like accessories. Identity is everything.

If “women are naturally more cautious” had been written by a right-wing, male journalist, as an attack on female Labour Prime Minister? Well, then the Guardian would have been full of articles calling for the author’s resignation for misogyny. The studies she references, in another article at another time, would be have been “junk science” which “plays on old tropes”.

As much as we talk about progress, in many ways we are going backwards.

how anti-vaxxers capitalised on coronavirus fears to spread misinformation

The Guardian is concerned about “anti-vaxxers” spreading “conspiracy theories” which will stop everyone from wanting the magical superfast vaccine when it arrives on the market.

How do they counter this “misinformation”? With science and rational debate?


Instead they use cringey emotional blackmail:

the vaccine could be the world’s ticket out. The ticket to rebooting the economy, to travel, and to hugs. What happens if not enough people get vaccinated, and that ticket becomes invalid?

Hear that everyone? You’d better get that vaccine, or no more freedom and no more hugs!

Later they wheel out some psychologist to repeat all the familiar tropes about “conspiracy theories” being comforting for idiots (and plug his very creepy book at the same time):

“Whenever people are scared and they have a sense of losing control, that’s when these things emerge because for some people belief in a conspiracy is giving them comfort. It’s psychologically easier.”

And topping it all off with an anecdote about “Susan”, an otherwise anonymous Australian mother who didn’t use to believe in vaccination, but then had a good talk with a doctor, and now loves vaccines so much she’s volunteered to be a test case for the Covid19 jab. Seriously.

Why Trump is ramping up attacks on mail-in voting

We recently published an article about mail-in voting. How it’s insecure, historically much easier to cheat, and how despite all that (or maybe because of it), there is a concentrated push to talk-up the advantages of postal voting.

This kind of article, pointing out that since Trump hates something it must automatically be good, is exactly the kind of lazy rhetoric beloved of propagandists everywhere. No argument is provided at all.

That’s WHY you spend years pretending Trump is some kind of uniquely evil monster-lunatic, so that all you have to do is associate an idea/cause/person with him, and they are instantly discredited.

There’s even an admission that huge amounts of postal ballots could make it appearthere has been some corruption [our emphasis]:

Unlike past elections, America is unlikely to know the winner of the presidential race on election night as officials count ballots coming in (some states allow ballots to be counted as long as they are postmarked by election day) […]The candidate who appears to be ahead on election day may ultimately end up losing as more ballots are counted.

But, at the same time, they insist this would be meaningless, that (despite all the evidence) attacks on postal voting are “baseless”, and that anybody challenging the results of an election on that basis would be creating a “constitutional crisis”.

Clearly a set up to defend possibly rigged elections down the line.

BONUS – The Incurable Blandness of Freeman

I don’t know if any of you read Hadley Freeman much. I wouldn’t, if tracking Guardian content hadn’t accidentally become a quasi profession. She’s dreadful. Insultingly dreadful.

Her columns are dashed through with identity politics, “feminism” and name-dropping anecdotes about famous people she’s met. But really they mostly reveal is that she’s lived a pretty sheltered life, and can’t seem to imagine anybody else may not have done.

See her recent output throughout the “crisis”: Two weeks ago she was bemoaning the passing of the hotel breakfast buffet.

Yesterday she was totting up the “suffering” of lockdown, entirely through the medium of working from home and having to look after your children. The assumption that everyone out there is so comfortable and soft and suburban that they would relate to her experience and not, for instance, curl their lip at the disgusting shallowness of the take, is bizarre.

No words about the homeless, or those people who can’t pay rent because they lost their jobs, or cancer patients waiting on treatment while hospitals sit 40% empty, or the old people being killed by neglect. The real suffering is not just not mentioned, I honestly don’t think she has any conception of it. Just terrifyingly awful.

* * *

All told, a busy week three weeks for The Guardian. And we didn’t even cover the fact that over 50% of people infected with coronavirus never get symptoms…and somehow that makes it scarier , or the fact traditional families are highly dangerous and need to be monitored by the state to keep women safe.
Did we miss anything? Tell us about it in the comments below, and keep an eye out for articles that should go in the next issue.


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