An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sunday Times and the Lesbian Avengers, c. 1995

I've lately been reading Nick Davies' Flat Earth News, an excellent book-length attack on the dire state of British journalism. Grimly informative for the most part, it does turn up a few headslappingly ridiculous events. Like the aftermath of when a protest group called the 'Lesbian Avengers' invaded the Sunday Times offices:

Ellis, formerly of the Sun, was managing editor responsible for news and he really didn't like what the lesbian avengers had done, so he put his head together with a couple of other executives and decided that what was needed here was a bit of infiltration: they would put an undercover reporter in among these women and expose their evil ways. And no sooner was the idea agreed than the reporter was chosen. Ciaran Byrne would go in undercover. This was an odd choice because Ciaran Byrne was a trainee with little experience of reporting and none at all of working undercover, which is always demanding and sometimes dangerous. Furthermore, Ciaran Byrne is a man. That caused a little trouble.

Byrne didn't want to do it. The women would spot him immediately, as soon as he started to speak, he complained. No problem, said the executives: they'd get him a voice coach to teach him to sound likme a woman. And they would get a clothing coach to teach him to dress like a woman. Byrne protested that he still wouldn't look like a woman. But that wast he point, explained the executives: 'They're all so bloody ugly, they look like men!"

'Course, by picking up and propagating the most ridiculous passage in the book, despite the story not existing anywhere else on the internet, I'm doing exactly what Davies gets justifiably grumpy at the press for. Mea maxima culpa.

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