Posts Tagged ‘South Park’

Government Bans Gay, But Not Trans, Conversion Therapy

April 12, 2022

Last week the government finally came to a decision about banning gay and transgender conversion therapies, and the result has predictably been controversial. Gay conversion therapies were outlawed, which is what LGBTQ+ groups wanted. But trans conversion therapies weren’t, which was very much what the gender critical movement wanted but definitely not welcomed by the mainstream gay organisations like Stonewall. The government had intended to put on a gay conference attended by members and representatives of the various gay organisations in the UK, but a large number of these have pulled out in protest. The decision itself follows a consultation process with the British public which was also controversial. It was initially going to be short, spurring fears amongst the gender critical that the government had already made up its decision to ban trans conversion therapies and that the process was deliberately being kept short to prevent people opposed to a trans conversion ban having their say. Then, after pressure and criticism, the government lengthened the consultation period.

I filled out the consultation document online. The link and web address was provided by my local Labour party in concert with one of the gay organisations. There was also a request or a directive telling us to vote for a ban on both types of conversion therapies. In fact I filled out the form stating that I was in favour of banning gay conversion therapy, but not trans. I’ll explain why.

Gay conversion therapy is horrendous. As gay people have explained, back in the past it involved the use of aversion therapy, giving gays electric shocks or drugs to make them sick, and worse, in order to destroy their sexual attraction to their own sex. Pat Mills, one of the titans of the British comics industry and a man of very left-wing opinions, tells how the Roman Catholic church in Belgium in the 1950s had a group of 15 young gay men castrated in order to cure them. Way back in the teens and the twenties of the last century, the Italian Futurists attacked a contemporary Italian scientist for advocating the same thing. Clive Simpson, a gender critical gay YouTuber, has made the point that such treatments are illegal and would not be used today. This was in response to an article in the Pink Paper by a transgendered person stating that he had been subjected to such terrible medical treatment back in the 1960s. The Lotus Eaters have weighed in on the issue in one of their videos, citing statistics that showed that only a tiny percentage of gay and trans people had been subjected to conversion therapy. The therapy itself, they stated, was mainly attempts to talk them out of their sexual orientation and was consensual.

I’m not entirely convinced this is the case.

Some of the readers of this blog may recall an episode of South Park where the adults misinterpret comments by Butters as indicating that he’s bisexual. Butters isn’t, but he’s sent to a centre to cure him of his perceived bisexuality. I think the place is run by Christians, who believe they can ‘pray the gay away’. In actual fact, it’s a hellish place whose inmates are made to feel humiliated, worthless and hopeless because of their sexuality. There are jokes about the terrible amount of suicide in the centre, with the officials running the place shocked and alarmed as yet another gay youngster takes his or her own life. The comedy’s black, as in just about all South Park episodes, but there’s a point to it. But there’s a serious point to the satire. Eventually Butters is released by his family, who find themselves no longer caring if he’s a little bit bicurious, just so they can have him back.

I think the type of institution South Park was satirising is largely an American phenomenon, but Private Eye has raised the alarm about similar places over here. I recall that a little while ago there was an article in the ‘In The Back’ section about a similar centre in Wales, and the suffering it inflicted on the young people sent there. I believe some of the inmates may have tried to harm themselves or commit suicide, and there were fears for safety of a young girl, who’d been sent there. It was definitely a case where the ‘cure’ was far worse than the ‘disease’. I am also unsure how consensual such treatment is. The young people that go there may well have given their formal consent, but I suspect they would have been under great pressure from their families to do so. It’s because of all this that I have absolutely no hesitation in demanding gay conversion therapy be banned.

Trans conversion therapy, however, raises a number of different issues.

I gather that historically aversion therapy has been used to treat people, who are now classed as trans. I think Han Eysenck used it to cure a transvestite trucker, and the trans soul who wrote the piece in the Pink Paper claimed it had been used on him in the early ’60s. As Clive Simpson said, this wouldn’t be used now. I believe others have described going through a process of counselling like the gay conversion therapy, which similarly left them feeling degraded and hopeless. If this was all that was involved, then I would have cheerfully voted for a ban on trans conversion therapy as well. But it’s more complicated than that.

Traditionally the process of transition has been lengthy and subject to stringent medical supervision. Those changing sex have been required to live as a member of the opposite sex for two years and are continually asked if this is what they really want. As it should be for such radical, life-changing surgery. I’m sure that the sexual reassignment surgery is appropriate and beneficial in many cases. But there’s a real danger of misdiagnosis. The gender critical activists have noted that quite often people with severe mental health problems and autism have been diagnosed as transgender when they very probably aren’t. And there is a large a growing number of detransitioners, former transpeople who are attempting to return, as far as possible, to their birth sex because they have found that the transition hasn’t worked out for them. Clearly you need to be as sure as possible in such cases that you are doing the right thing, and that may involve deterring people who have become mistakenly convinced that they’re trans.

The danger is, therefore, that any ban on trans conversion therapy would prevent this, so that the affirmative care model is the only treatment permitted.

This is predicated on the assumption that the individual always knows what is best for him- or herself, and that their desire to change gender must therefore be supported. This has resulted in gay and trans activist teachers over the other side of the Pond claiming the right to ask small children as young as four what their gender, as opposed to their biological sex, is.

Which in my view is highly dangerous.

If there was a way to distinguish quack and pseudo-scientific trans ‘cures’ that just lead to despair and humiliation from serious medical advice intended to deter the genuinely mistaken from going down a surgical path they would later regret, then I would be all for it. But at the moment this doesn’t seem to be the case. I therefore conclude that I fully agree with both the ban on gay conversion therapy and the decision not to ban it for the transgendered.

One of the strict requirement of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors were required to take since the development of rational medicine in ancient Greece was ‘First, do no harm.’ I am terribly afraid that a ban on trans conversion therapy, especially in today’s ideological climate where trans identification seems to be encouraged for ideological reasons, would do exactly that.

The Influence of Metal Hurlant on Science Fiction Cinema

April 25, 2017

Yesterday I put up a piece I found on YouTube about the influence French Science Fiction comics had on Star Wars. This short video by the same poster, Abstract Looper, explores the profound influence the artists of the French adult SF comic, Metal Hurlant, known to the Anglophone world as Heavy Metal, has had on modern Science Fiction cinema. Metal Hurlant was founded in 1974 by Les Humanoides Associees Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, Dionnet and Philippe Druillet. The video shows the striking visual similarities between scenes and designs in the comic’s various strips, and the films Mad Max, Alien, Blade Runner, Nausicaa – Valley of the Wind, Avatar, the original 70s Battlestar Galactica TV series, Hellboy, Prometheus and the Matrix. There’s a clip of Ridley Scott saying that when he made Alien, he was influenced by the visual material produced by Moebius and the French magazine. Guillermo del Toro also confessed that he was influenced by Richard Corben, another of the magazine’s artists. Terry Gilliam also states that the magazine was an influence on him. As does James Cameron. Rutgar Hauer, who played Roy Batty in Blade Runner also appears, telling how the producers visualised the future as already old. In fact, the producers of Blade Runner based their vision of Los Angeles on the towering cityscapes of Philippe Druillet. As well as Druillet, Dionnet, Corben and Moebius, another of the comic’s creators, the Franco-Yugoslavian artist Enki Bilal, was also influential. Also making the point are the similarities between the comics’ art and the concept drawings produced for the Alien and Matrix movies.

You could also add the Judge Dredd movies to this list as well. 2000 AD’s creator, Pat Mills, hates superhero comics. When he launched the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic way back in the 1970s, he was influenced by the French SF comics. Which naturally includes Metal Hurlant. Judge Dredd’s look was created by Carlos Ezquerra, a Spanish artist living in London, who has an artistic style very similar to Moebius.

As an aside, I was also pleased that the interview with Ridley Scott also had Russian subtitles. This shows how much the world has changed since I was at school. This was the years of the new Cold War, created by Thatcher and Reagan, when there were real fears of nuclear Armageddon. I felt profoundly optimistic when the Berlin Wall fell, along with Communism. There seemed at last a real possibility of a genuine, lasting peace between eastern and western Europe. I believe very strongly that it has been a massive improvement in world affairs that the peoples of the former eastern bloc can come to Britain to live, work and raise families.

And I am appalled and angry that Trump and the Democrats are pushing a new Cold War with Putin, and thus endangering the world all over again.

Warning: Heavy Metal was an ‘adult’ comic, which means that there’s some cartoon nudity. This was the magazine that was filmed as The Heavy Metal Movie, and which became notorious for the female nudity of the ‘Taarna’ sequence, which in turn inspired the episode ‘Major B***age’ in South Park. This may have changed, however. In an interview in the comics press a few years ago, its British editor stated that the magazine was dropping the nudity, because it was irrelevant given the amount of real nudity on the Web. He promised that the magazine would still be sexy, however.

Kevin Logan on Alex Jones Ranting about Race War in America

November 30, 2016

A little while ago I put up a few videos lampooning Alex Jones, the main man behind the conspiracy internet news programme, Infowars. Jones seems to believe that there is a massive conspiracy by the American government and the global elite to wreck and destroy the world’s peoples, including Americans, and turn them into their slaves under a one-world government. He is convinced non-human forces are behind this, though he admits he doesn’t know if they are literally satanic or extraterrestrial. As you might expect, he’s massively right-wing, and gave his very vocal support to Donald Trump. He also did his bit to spread some ludicrous claims about Hillary Clinton, Obama and the Democrats. Among other bizarre allegations, Infowars claimed that Clinton was a demonically possessed Satanist.

Jones himself also has an unusual style of presentation in front of the camera. He can start off normal and rational enough, but quite often he starts ranting and pounding the table like, to use his own words, ‘a fluoride maddened chimpanzee’.

In this video from Kevin Logan, who has posted a long series of vlog pieces taking apart the misogynist claims of the men’s rights activists, he shows Jones screaming about how there is now a race war going on in America, which he seems to think is stirred up by the elites to divide and conquer. Logan has cut this with scenes from South Park, with Cartman also running about like Chicken Little shouting that race war has broken out. And then there’s another scene where Jones rips off his shirt, and runs screaming out of the studio. There’s also another piece, where he’s going on about somebody being in bed with a goblin, which has been edited so it becomes almost a rap. It ends with Jones ranting about chemicals in the water turning frogs gay.

It’s hilarious, but there is a serious point in all this. Jones is something of a force on the internet, and he does spout crazy, dangerous nonsense. And he does have some influence, even if it’s paltry compared to the power of the mainstream networks, as Trump was several times a guest on his show. Jones and his bonkers conspiracy theories now have a connection to the White House and the new president-elect. These are very scary times.

Vox Political on IDS Replacement, Stephen Crabb

March 19, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has put up a piece giving a few choice facts about the man now filling IDS’ seat in Cabinet, Stephen Crabb. He points out that Crabb has enthusiastically supported all of the benefit cuts, including the 30 per cent reduction in ESA. However, he begins by talking about Crabb’s enthusiasm for curing gay people.

No, he isn’t a mutant crab. That was a bad joke.

Not a joke is his apparent belief that people who are gay can be cured of it. He is on record as having taken interns from a charity called Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), and sponsored a ‘gay cure’ event run by the same organisation in 2012.

Perhaps he thinks serious illnesses and disabilities like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and amputated limbs can also be cured. Let’s face it, everyone carrying out Work Capability Assessments seems to have that belief, so he wouldn’t be alone.

While times have changed and there is far greater acceptance of gays and homosexuality than there was when I was growing up, it’s fair to say that many people still believe that it’s wrong and unnatural, even though it is found amongst other animals, not just humans. What I believe is incontestable is that the alleged cures do more harm than good. There have been a series of scandals amongst the various religious charities and groups in America, which claim to be able to cure gay men and women. A number of the leaders of these groups, who claim to be ‘ex-gay’, have been exposed as hypocrites, actively carrying on a gay lifestyle while claiming to have successfully left it behind. Some have also engaged in intimate bodily contact with the people they claim they are trying to cure, under the pretext that they are just trying to check to make sure that such same-sex contact doesn’t arouse them. I believe the head of one of these organizations, Exodus, even resigned and admitted that the cure didn’t work and he was still gay.

What is equally worrying is the immense psychological harm that can be done by these organisation to vulnerable young people. There’s a South Park episode in which one of the characters is mistakenly diagnosed as being bisexual, and packed off to a special treatment centre run by one of these organisations. One of the jokes in the episode is about the young people incarcerated in this institution keeping on committing suicide. South Park is known for its grotesque humour, which is often in flagrantly poor taste, but like much of the show’s contents it does make a perfectly valid point: there is indeed a danger of the young men and women sent to them trying to commit suicide. Private Eye in one of its columns a few years ago reported the case of a teenage girl, who was suffering from depression. This young woman was packed off to one of these institutions, which had been given permission to open over here by one of the local authorities. The girl had a history of suicide attempts, and there was considerable fear for her safety. The cornerstone of the old Hippocratic Oath that doctors had to swear was ‘First, do no harm’. If the supposed treatment entails making a vulnerable person feel so depressed that they are in danger of taking their own life, then it’s clear that the treatment violates that cornerstone of medical morality and should be discontinued. And you don’t necessarily have to believe that homosexuality is right to consider that inflicting people with needless pain and suffering is at all moral.

Crabb’s attitude to curing people of homosexuality is only one of his qualities that make him manifestly unfit for government. As a supporter of the government’s austerity programme he will no doubt carrying with their work of murdering and culling the disabled through their chequebook euthanasia. IDS was a disgrace, and it’s disgraceful – but expected – that he’s been succeeded by this man.

Trump Ramps the Stupid Up To 11: Snowstorm Caused by Muslims

January 24, 2016

This apparently was announced on the Andrew Marr show here in Britain. A massive snowstorm has hit the eastern US, and Donald Trump has blamed it on the Muslims.

Yes, it’s Muslim snow.

This has to be one of the most stupid things a presidential candidate has ever said. The rants against immigrants and blocking Muslim immigration just follow the usual right-wing logic of xenophobia and the fear of being overrun by the Other. But this is paranoia taken to a new height. Or depth. What makes him think it’s caused by Muslims. Did someone analyse its crystalline structure, and find ‘Allah’ written inside, like there was a spate of people allegedly finding the word written in Arabic letters in fruit not so long ago? Or did someone in the State Department or CIA tell him, ‘Watch yourself, Donald. The Muslims are all going to be praying for snow this weekend, so we’ve got a major meteorological crisis coming’. And if the Muslims have got such exquisite control over the weather, how is it that most of the Middle East is still parched desert, and we’ve still got global warming.

There was a sociological survey done a little while ago, which found that people were inclined to blame the government or authorities even for things over which they generally had absolutely no control, like the weather. I don’t know about the general population and its attitudes, though I’m inclined to believe it. But it certainly seems true of Trump. I’m surprised he hasn’t blamed it on Obama. Obama gets blamed for everything by Conservatives, even when its something they themselves are responsible. Track Palin, Sarah Palin’s son, was arrested for punching his girlfriend in the face. So his mother actually stood up and gave a speech, claiming that his violence was all the fault of Obama, because army veterans like Track weren’t getting the respect they deserved.

But more on that story later.

Trump’s splutterings on the weather remind me of the pronouncement by the Iranian government a few years ago claiming that topless women cause earthquakes. Allah was so angered by godless, immodest females prancing about unclad that He was hitting the world with powerful earthquakes. This provoked a mixture of rage and incredulous hilarity around the world. Women across the globe staged topless demonstrations against the bizarre pronouncement. And as it transpired, there was indeed another earthquakes. But this was probably coincidence, or aftershocks or something, rather than God’s rage.

The Iranian’s pronouncement at least had a certain logic behind it, according to the norms of their society. Their religion requires that women be covered up from head to foot when they appear in public. Violation of these norms anger God, and so when women transgress the enforced standards of modest clothing, God takes revenge. But this is just sheer paranoia, based on the idea that Muslims are some terrible, malign force. There is, according to Trump’s pronouncement, no reason why they should send a snowstorm on America. They just hate America. And, unfortunately, this is basically how many Americans do see Muslims and the problems of the Middle East. They don’t connect it to the US – and indeed, the West in general – interfering in their internal politics, and their invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. They just see it as a simple case of evil Muslims hating righteous America. There’s no reason for it. Muslims are simply like that. And Trump, unfortunately, reflects that naïve, stupid and dangerous view.

Apart from the sheer bigotry and absolute lack of any kind of sophisticated understanding of the Middle East and Islamic world on display here, it also shows how close modern American politics is becoming to the weird, twisted world of South Park. I wonder how long it’ll be before Trump takes his place up there with the other maniacs, nutters, and bonkers, out of control celebs the show has ruthlessly pilloried over the years. After all, he’s as racist as Mel Gibson, although it’s directed against Muslims rather than the Jews.

ISIS Training Methods: Kick Your Recruits in the Nads

December 11, 2015

Last weekend or so, I reblogged a video I found on A Site Best Not Mentioned, which showed ISIS and al-Qaeda blowing each other up in full, computer-generated colour and mayhem. This is another news report which makes you wonder about the weird, weird world the Islamists inhabit. In this video, TomoNews report on an ISIS training video from Pakistan, which shows the crazed ghazis kicking each other in the crown jewels. I supposed it’s to toughen them up, but, why? I mean, Why? The more I see of them, the less like true religious warriors for truth they seem. More like South Park’s take on the Three Stooges, when they replaced them with three serial killers, one of whom was Jeffrey Dahmer.

All I can think of is that ISIS bases its training manual on the 1990s Japanese game show, Endurance. That show had their contestants going all they way round the world, and being tortured in bizarrely different ways in each country. In Spain they were dangled off a fortress wall why stone balls were catapulted upwards to hit them on their rears.

Here’s a reminder of just how weird and sadistic the show was, from Tarrant on TV.

Endurance has since gone the way of all TV shows that have gone as far as they can. But its legacy lives on with ISIS training videos.