This Week in the Guardian #12

This week see’s the rise of the she-cession, a totally unharmed cat and special hugging instructions.

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.

Feminist Economics

Not a headline, or even an article, but actually an entire section in the Guardian US which I never knew existed before this week, and that’s a shame because it is a headline goldmine.

Started in February this year, Feminist Economics is not afraid of asking the real tough questions, like Why isn’t capitalism working for American women? or Is it impossible to breastfeed and have a full-time job? or Am I plankton?

This week’s article is headlined The ‘shecession’: why economic crisis is affecting women more than men and is exactly as enjoyable a read as it sounds.

Technically, the journalism is very poor. For one thing, the entire article hinges on this claim:

From February to May, 11.5 million women lost their jobs compared with 9 million men

But they never provide a source for this statistic. Or explain why those numbers equal 20.5 million jobs, when official sources report over 40 million jobs have been lost.

So, the data is potentially seriously flawed. But so is the entire premise of the article.

I mean does “number of jobs lost = impact”? If women lose 55% of the jobs, and men 45%, does that mean women are being hit harder?

What about families and dependents? What if one of those women had three sons and a disabled husband who all depend on her income. Then that one job loss has affected 4 men, but only one woman.

Can you quantify suffering like that in a complex and multi-variant world? Of course not.

The article itself says “in the Great Recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women”, but does that mean men were twice as affected as women? No, that’s absurd.

So the data is flawed, and the premise ridiculous, but nevertheless they seem hellbent on making this an issue. Having established their (flawed) question – “Why are women being more affected by this situation?” – they don’t even seem to realise they already answered it, neatly and succinctly:

In this economic crisis, job losses have shot across industries where women, particularly Black and Latina women, held a disproportionate number of jobs, such as hospitality, leisure and education.

Well, that’s that then. No need for the other 2000 words at all. It’s got nothing to with racism, or sexism.

Anyway, that’s “feminist economics”. Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time it makes an appearance in TWitG.

Oh it’s also paid-for content funded by the Open Society Foundation, in case you wanted to know.

Labour Gets Big Money Backing

Last week (or maybe the week before, time does fly) we charted the reinvention of Sir Keir Starmer through hundreds of Guardian column inches. Your favourite Deep State-backed paper is getting right behind this particular sock puppet. And now others are too.

The Guardian reports that “Big Labour donors returning to party under Keir Starmer”. And they seem to be happy about it.

It’s an odd choice of headline because, while a few big-money donors are apparently returning, you’d think the bigger news is the working class people leaving:

Big private donations dried up almost completely under Jeremy Corbyn, although the party’s huge membership and union support put it in a strong financial position without the need for funding from wealthy backers. However, Unite, Labour’s biggest union backer and a major supporter of Corbyn’s leadership, has issued warnings over future funding.

But who cares, right? Good riddance to them I say. The last thing a political party needs is grass-roots support, and nothing spoils a working-class movement like unionising.

Don’t even bother reading the internal report claiming Labour insiders threw the 2017 election.

The corruption is as sickening as it is obvious. Labour, so long a lost cause, almost became something worthy under Corbyn, and now it’s being torn apart in front of our eyes.

We have the disgusting spectacle of a notionally “progressive” paper praising the knighted leader of a “working people’s party” for winning over the big-money donors who moved to Switzerland to avoid paying UK taxes.

This really is clown world.

Don’t Panic: The Covid Cat Made a Full Recovery

This is technically from last week, but we missed it and it’s too good to ignore. “Owners warned not to kiss pets after first cat infected with coronavirus in UK”, the headline tells us.

By “after”, they mean three months after, because the cat was sick back in May. Which means owners have been kissing their pets willy-nilly for weeks with no cat plague in sight. The author doesn’t seem up to this simple piece of logic.

There’s almost too much to break down here. As a piece of comedic writing it borders on genius. From needlessly supplying us the cat’s gender, place of birth and age, to the throwaway reference to the fact the cat is fine, and that they found out by accident because the Glasgow Centre of Virology Studies is apparently devoting its money and time to randomly testing cat blood samples.

The scientist is a nice find too. It’s not many professionals who would have balls enough to put forward the hypothesis that “fluffier” cats might be more likely to catch the virus, but Prof Margaret Hosie is such a person:

maybe fluffier [cats] would be more ready to catch any sneezes or cough droplets.

I don’t know if “fluffy” is a scientific term, or what – if any – studies have been done correlating the amount of fluffiness with immune system response. Prof Mosie is obviously unclear on that too, hastening to add:

You can’t draw any significance from that.

No kidding.

The cherry on top is this photo of a very unimpressed cat:

It’s captioned “The cat (not pictured) and its owners have made a full recovery.”

So not only is the cat fine, but that’s not even the right cat. It’s just some stock image of some other cat.

Actually, by making sure the stock image matches the breed of the cat in the story whichever unpaid intern was tasked with putting “cat” into a google image search has shown an unusual level of initiative. A likely candidate for promotion in the future.

If this cat getting mildly sick and then getting better again has worried you in any way, don’t worry, the Graun is on the case – they’ve got a whole new article about it published yesterday:

We found the first cat in the UK with Covid-19 – but there’s no need to panic!


BONUS…Something positive for once

TWiTG has never once agreed with anything in the Guardian…until now.

This article on the history of British made-for-TV movie The Woman in Black is absolutely on the money. It’s one of the best and scariest horror films ever made and deserves any and all praise.

I’m one of the few lucky enough to own it on DVD from its limited original release back in 2007, and it’s a life-ruiningly frightening watch.

Go find a copy and watch it now. (Or save it for Halloween as long as the world hasn’t ended by then).

* * *

All told, a busy week for The Guardian. And we didn’t even cover the specialist hugging instructions (wash your hands and “plan ahead”) or that NASA is “joining the social justice movement” by changing the name of the “Eskimo Nebula”.
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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