Hug a Tory
‘From the early records of Greek and Latin slang, where [words for pig] were used to describe the female genitalia through to modern uses of ‘pig’ to mock the police, the fascist and the male chauvinist, pigs seems to have borne the brunt of our rage, fear, affection and desire for the ‘low’. [But] it was precisely the ambivalence of the pig, at the intersection of a number of symbolic thresholds, which had traditionally made it a useful animal to think with.’ – Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression
As I said earlier, it is hard not to enjoy the ridiculing of Cameron. But if we take a step back, it should be clear that an atmosphere of sexual humiliation is one that favours current forms of power rather than dismantles them. Robin James points out the role of hazing in sexual abuse, and in some ways we can consider the whole range of ways in which the English haute-bourgeoisie initiate children into its ranks as a form of abuse. This is one of the points I was trying to get across in my piece on humour in the latest New Humanist (below). Boarding school and the top end of Oxbridge are environments designed to produce the very hardening and insensitivity which allows Tories to dehumanise and demonise the poor. Class wounds everyone, especially the ‘privileged’.
Continue reading Mark Fisher on #piggate and the death of British satire
Piggies – The Beatles
We Are the Pigs – Suede
Pigs (Three Different Ones) – Pink Floyd
Maggie’s Farm – The Specials
All Pigs Must Die – Death in June
Stand By Your Ham – Pig Aid
(a 2008 charity song made by pig farmers to raise awareness of high feed prices)
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Fascist Pig – Suicidal Tendencies
Ham n Eggs – A Tribe Called Quest
Itsu – Plaid
September (accidental) – Matthew Herbert
Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag – Pigbag
Piggy – Nine Inch Nails
Dear Diary, Men Are Pigs – Finally Punk
Pigs in Zen – Jane’s Addiction
Making Bacon – The Pork Dukes
And, of course, Cassetteboy – Getting Piggy With It
This is the edited text of a talk given by Alex Niven at the NewBridge Project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne last week.
I’d like to start with a quotation from Dubliners, James Joyce’s first work of fiction, published almost exactly a hundred years ago. It was written largely in the Edwardian period, in the last days of British colonial rule over Ireland; that is, on the eve of the Irish Revolution:
That night the city wore the mask of a capital
Dubliners is a collection of realist—some might say magic realist—stories about residents of Dublin in which almost all of the characters feel disillusioned or constricted in some way; paralysis is a word that echoes throughout the book. But Dubliners isn’t, in the end, a pessimistic work. Even though the characters in Joyce’s stories are paralysed on the one hand, there is also a sense that something is about to happen, a sense that Dublin is about to break free and come into its own. Within five years of the publication of Joyce’s book, Dublin was indeed the capital of a newly independent nation. And, a century later, it still is.
This is not to say that capitals and nations don’t bring with them their own kinds of problems and responsibilities and limitations. But I think something in the music of that quotation does help to emphasise the fact that radical change in the
circumstances of a city, a country, the world, can happen very quickly. Revolutions are possible. Political campaigns are not futile. Big collective projects can succeed. At certain moments in our history, we are able to take significant steps towards the creation of the ideal city, channelling utopian ideals, even if utopia is by definition unrealisable. Continue reading A rupture in the ground – Alex Niven on Corbyn & the ideal city
This is an edited extract from Smile if you Dare: Politics and Pointy Hats with the Pet Shop Boys, by Ramzy Alwakeel, which will be published by Repeater next year.
Two decades on, there’s something implausible about Very.
The Pet Shop Boys’ fifth album snuck posthumanism and panic sex into the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Its arrogant title said: here is our essence; an easy reference point; a convenient definition. But once you probed it, touched its bright orange case with trembling fingers, the conceit started to unravel.
You looked at the sleeve inlay and saw giant eggs, conical hats and beach balls before you spotted any human faces. Continue reading Smile If You Dare: Politics and Pointy Hats with the Pet Shop Boys