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The magazine Index On Censorship was founded way back in 1972. I can’t say I have ever been enamoured with it, although I did contribute a couple of news reports in 1990, for which if I recall, I was not paid.
Thus, not being a regular reader, I was somewhat surprised to receive a forwarded media release to the effect it was being launched. Either the person who drafted this or my comprehension was at fault, but it turned out that a magazine called The Big Noise was being launched by the holding company, the Index On Censorship registered charity. As this launch was being held at Google’s massive offices in King’s Cross at 6pm on January 15, it meant I could kill two birds with one stone, so I went along.
Arriving early as usual, I waited around with the other ticket holders until the allotted time when we were taken up to the eighth floor where after a sumptuous buffet with drinks thrown in we went to the lecture theatre for the launch.
On the stage were satirist Rob Sears, Dora Papp, Xiaolu Guo and Editor Rachael Jolley. Lindsey Hilsum of Channel 4 had apparently been whisked off to Iraq; she was replaced with Saudi national Safa Al Ahmad, or perhaps she should be designated a former Saudi national, because in view of the hate she spewed over the country’s rulers, it would probably be unwise for her to return.
With so much oestrogen on the stage it would have been surprising if we were not treated to some feminist babble, especially as the title of The Big Noise launch event was HOW MACHO LEADERS HIDE THEIR WEAKNESS BY STIFLING DISSENT, DEBATE AND DEMOCRACY – see unflattering cartoon above.
Safa Al Ahmad was full of it, condemning Saudi misogyny, the patriarchy, yes, the patriarchy, claiming everybody in the country is oppressed, and that the Saudi royal family is gaslighting the world. It is clear she would love to replace the Saudi patriarchy with a gynocracy; if you want to see how that would turn out, look at Sweden.
Xiaolu Guo was quite a contrast to this at times foul-mouthed, angry woman. Al Ahmad speaks perfect English; Guo, who is primarily a novelist, speaks merely good English. She left her native China for London in 2002, and her criticisms of her homeland were mild by comparison.
Dora Papp shares her name with a Hungarian soccer player, but her dislike of macho games focused on Viktor Orbán whose major crime is seen as promoting the traditional family to the exclusion of the LGBT community, read sexual perversion. Orbán banned gender studies in 2018, probably because like most men be they macho or anything else, he takes issue with the narrative of perpetual male evil and lack of female agency.
Rob Sears said some unflattering things about Donald Trump which were half compliments. At the end of the meeting, I buttonholed him and asked him about Trump’s “Lock her up” chant. Did he know where this came from? Yes, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Did he understand the significance of them? I pointed out that these were not ordinary e-mails but that Clinton had managed somehow to transfer top secret information from the ultra-high security JWICS and SCIFs onto the regular Internet and her private server, wherein they had been hacked. I also pointed out that if Trump hated the media it was because it had lied about him continually for the past three years, including promoting the ludicrous Russian collusion hoax. I don’t know if he took all this in, but I added in future he would do better to read the official documents obtained under FOIA by Judicial Watch and others rather than rely on the likes of Rachel Maddow.
Not much mention had been made of Vladimir Putin, but can anyone seriously call these macho men weak, men like Trump, Putin, Orbán, and India’s Modi?
As the event ended, a tape of The Boys Are Back In Town was played. I was undoubtedly the only person in the building to have actually seen Thin Lizzy perform that song live, and, equally, the only one on whom the irony was not lost.