Tag Archives: medialens

Reading challenge

My original reading challenge for this year (2016) was to finish 250 books and I think I read 21 or maybe 22. I’m quite happy with 22. I still love that number, though. The hugeness of 250 – the five-books-a-week of it – pleases me inordinately. However, the loveliness of reading 250 books is only fun in theory. At no point has it inspired me to actually read more than I do.

It’s a far-off adventurous challenge that I can dismiss as I knit and crochet and watch Four in a Bed on All4 as I dye yarn all night.

So this morning I had a more specific idea: I will finally make myself a reading list of the writers I have wanted to read for years but never got around to. I will read the MediaLens books I have yet to read, Chomsky, John Pilger, Naomi Klein, George Monbiot, The Racket, etc. Namely investigative and corruption-exposing books that are helpful. Helpful in what way? Um… in learning about the real world and not that proposed by the MSM. Primarily, using trusted sources for information.

Information about what? What do I want to find out?

I’m not sure. In the short term it’s how do we get to a place where the Conservative have 40% support while the state is being destroyed and public services eradicated?

On a broader theme, it’s: how to create a political movement that supports each individual in society? “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”

The world is facing imminent catastrophe and little seems to be said about changing behaviours and what we can do to save it. This is utterly bizarre to me. I also believe that change starts from where you are so local is where I need to focus.

My goal is to somehow see how Buddhism, capitalism, the propaganda model and Bristol all combine to demonstrate how the Green Party has failed to gain greater support. It’s quite lucky that my constituency, Bristol West, is one of the prize ones for the Green Party and one of the few in the country that have a chance at voting in a Green MP. Our leading candidate is Green MEP Molli Scot Caio so European matters will be on the list too.

Next up – the List.


  • Why Are We The Good Guys? (want to read) by David Cromwell
  • Newspeak (read) by David Edwards and David Cromwell
  • Guardians of Power (read) by David Edwards and David Cromwell
  • Free to be Human (want to read) by David Edwards
  • The Compassionate Revolution (own) by David Edwards
  • Private Planet by David Cromwell
  • Surviving Climate Change by David Cromwell and Mark Levee

Naomi Klein

  • This Changes Everything (own it)

Matt Kennard

  • The Racket (own it)

George Monbiot

  • The Age of Consent (own it)


  • Strikers, Hobblers, Conchies & Reds (own it)
  • Bristol novels

Noam Chomsky

  • Noam Chomsky – Necessary Illusions (already own it)
  • Alison Edgley – The Social and Political Thought of Noam Chomsky
    • In his work, Chomsky employs recognisably theoretical perspectives, as well as bodies of values, assumptions about human nature and reality, claims, and conclusions which not only look like theories, but I argue are theories. A prevalent example is what I refer to as his theory of the state. This theory holds that states are not neutral bodies operating for the good of all citizens in that society. Rather, they systematically serve the interests of elites at the expense of many of their own citizens. Writ large, the theory also leads to the claim that western states operate at the expense of large numbers of humanity beyond their own borders and citizens.

The Propaganda Model

Climate Change

European Parliament? (to come soon)

(I also want to work on my Bristol Literature list but that’s another topic for another post)

How being a single mother is just being a mother

“I love, more than anything, that I don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings or opinions into consideration when I do something… It’s just me and Jack against the world!”


Here’s something I wrote recently during an argument: “Your membership of this family is not unconditional. I’m sorry if I made you think it was.”

The argument was invariably (I can’t remember the specifics) about one of us not getting our needs met. It most likely had something to do with communication. I forget the argument but that sentiment about family membership being conditional stuck with me. If it applies to him then it must apply to me and to our daughter and to any other member of this family.

I was reminded of it today while reading the thread on mothering.com about “Why I love being a single mother”. Some of the behaviours these mothers were escaping were shocking. One writes:

“no more wondering if he is still cheating (of course he was!)”

Another member writes:

“I love that my home is emotionally peaceful now (yes, even with four kids).

I love that I am not walking on eggshells or tiptoeing around someone else’s moods and quirks.”

Another member:

Here’s my top five list:

1. Having control over my body, finances, and time.

2. Knowing exactly what to expect when I walk in the door.

3. Pride in my home, my family, my values and my life choices (and never having to compromise any of them).

4. Embracing my spirituality without feeling ashamed of my faith.

5. The ability to pass these gifts along to my son in the most loving environment I am capable of creating for him.

This thread has been going for eight years.

“I love that my kids do not dread coming home from school because dad is here
I love that they can go online without me worrying they will see porn (he never bothered to delete his downloaded videos or history)
I love that they don’t have to be on eggshells all the time wondering when he would go off next”

– nobody calls my older kids insulting names , like ” the little n…..s ” !

– I don´t have to hide food from him anymore , so that he doesn´t hurry up and eat it , before my kids get some or get in fights with him , because every time , we have cake or donuts or some special treat like that he goes ” do the adults get 2 and the kids 1 ?” or ” we ( the grow-ups ) should eat as much as we like and then give the kids the rest”

And the saddest one I’ve read so far:

Not seeing my children punched, kicked, slapped, pushed, bloodied – all in the name of “discipline”.
My children and I no longer living in fear or always being on edge.
No more holes in the walls, or broken possessions.
My kids not being walked over (literally!) because they were “in his way”.

But some of the sentiments don’t sit well with me:

“To sum up what everyone has posted: no interference.

I am the master of my domain!”

And the one I posted at the start:

“I love, more than anything, that I don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings or opinions into consideration when I do something.”

I don’t agree with those sentiments. The rules I mention about being in this family apply to me too. It isn’t my way or the highway but basic rules about love and putting each other’s needs first. My big task is how to make this ‘our’ task and create an environment where everyone can contribute.

I have changed in many ways since having a child. The state of my flat was a mess and I didn’t change that until I was told about it by M’s father. I need to go to the dentist but I didn’t do anything about it other than ponder for a while until my sister nudged me and said hey, you need to do something. I don’t always know best. There are things I’d rather let lie until someone forces me to do them. My housemate points out the cleaning and the tiny’s tv-watching and other things he sees. When he does it out of love and concern then I have to listen and no matter how annoyed I get that my issues are being mentioned, I pay attention.

I posted the Art of Loving on International Women’s Day because of its message that love is about giving and it is about loving others as much as you love yourself. Not more and not less. I remember a time in my life when I was asked to picture my situation as a film genre and what kind of role I had in it. I was the supporting cast in my own life! That just can’t happen anymore and I don’t want it to happen to my tiny child.

At first, the most difficult thing in setting boundaries and establishing rules seemed to be my reactions to other people’s reactions. Their anger, moodiness, lack of communication but mostly the anger. The yelling. The criticism. My response to it all was a huge well of emotions, mostly fear.

But then time passed and nothing happened to me. I didn’t die. I managed to survive and no one really minded being told that certain things were unacceptable. I’ve not worked it all out yet but that’s my main message to me and my daughter, there are rules and boundaries and they exist with anyone at anytime. Being a single mother is just being a mother and no one can escape people.

This is a sentiment which resonates with me:

It is easy to understand how there can be no more stable foundation for friendship than the shared awareness that both individuals are strongly committed to the happiness of the other. What room is there for jealousy, anger and resentment when we know that our friend or partner is deeply committed to making us happy? When we know he or she values our welfare as much as, perhaps even more than, his or her own happiness? Who inspires greater confidence in us than the person who truly believes that they gain more from kindness than from greedy self-indulgence?

(The Art of Loving – Medialens)

And being single has nothing to do with it.

Family photo

Kindness, understanding and compassion make you a feminist

A friend of mine on Twitter posted a quite fun little piece on coming out as a “feminist” – she did not previously self-identify as a feminist but recently she did and now she does. Actually, after an attack on Twitter she may have changed her mind. What I have told her though as that these women who commented on her blog post are not feminists, they are just unpleasantly argumentative. The following is what happened:

I thought the blog post Dear Feminism by @ladycurd summed up what a lot of women thought and it did it in a nice way.

I retweeted that tweet and I said “that about sums it up”.
Another Tweeter, and woman, @MadamJMo also retweeted but she said the following:

Urr. Can anyone bear to discuss this?! *sighs* “@LadyCurd: Dear Feminism, http://wp.me/p2fS6H-g3”

Not so nice; it was more of a call to arms to the “sisterhood” against someone this “sister” thought spoke badly about something they believed they represented – these are self-identifying feminists.

A fellow “feminist” @ClareSquiggle took up the call and the following conversation took place:

@MadamJMo @LadyCurd “If you want to call yourself a feminist you are one’…*proceeds to list silly, stereotypical prerequisites?* Please.

prerequisites were tongue in cheek. Was just some personal musings on why I didn’t nec. want to call myself a feminist

@LadyCurd I understood intention but unfortunately it mostly read as daft and misguided to me, rather than thoughtful/ helpful critique.

@ClareSquiggle nice. Isn’t an evidence based essay though, it is some musings from my head. I find such hostility unnecessary.

@LadyCurd …I had assumed that it was a more serious piece and read it so.

@LadyCurd I wasn’t trying to be hostile. I found the piece offensive in parts and was trying to explain why. With mention of transphobia…
…I had assumed that it was a more serious piece and read it so.

>> The comment “daft and misguided” does not seem very nice and “I found the piece offensive” does not lead to an explanation of how or why.

I had a discussion on Twitter with @MadamJMo

@MadamJMo I think it is truthful and sincere and speaks to a lot of people, what do you mean? @LadyCurd is a wonderful writer #hecklesup

@stillawake @ladycurd Not saying she’s a bad writer. Just think that post is insulting to feminists. Tired misconceptions about feminism.

“that post is insulting to feminists”, there was no mention of how apart from the “tired misconceptions”.

@MadamJMo @ladycurd I think they are relevant to a lot of people – esp those who still think of Germaine Greer as a feminist – did you see

@MadamJMo @ladycurd @ayiasophia s link to the conservative post, yesterday? now that was a funny misconception.Btw, I wasn’t insulted.

@stillawake If it ‘speaks to a lot of people’, that sadly reinforces what feminists know about the opposition we face. (Sorry, @ladycurd).

“we face” as if to suggest that @MadamJMo speaks for feminists or more worryingly for “feminism” as a whole.

I do not identify (often) as a feminist – mainly because I think of gender as trivial, my ultimate goal is for gender to be enjoyed, cherished, respected and ultimately to be seen as trivial compared to the individual.

This has not happened yet and for a large percentage of people it means that gender is a cause for their suffering and can affect quality of life and even length of life – violence against women is not a trivial matter and it is a reality.

Women are not a homogeneous group, however, and their issues are not the same across class, nationality, age and educational background. “We”, whoever “we” is, are not all the same.

Instead, I support equality and compassion and peace and justice for all and I wish for an end to suffering for everyone.

There was no compassion and kindness shown to a fellow woman who chose to write about her experience in the case of this Twitter discussion – there was sarcasm and superiority, unpleasantness, hostility, feigned resignation and rudeness.

If we cannot be nice to each other then who is it going to do it for us? I do not consider these women feminists, no matter what they write in their Twitter biographies. They spotted something they did not like and instead of presenting an articulate and compassionate argument, they attacked and made themselves feel superior.

What a wasted opportunity. They are, of course, welcome to respond on how and why they disagreed with the original post but they have to do it with kindness and compassion. I welcome what they have to say and look forward to learning something new.

For an example of how to deal with conflict when trying to change the world, it might be useful to see how organisations like Medialens, who are fighting against the distortions of the mass media, work. They do it with tolerance, generosity and kindness, rather than anger and hatred..