Monday, January 24, 2011

Double standards

Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray seem quite horrible.  Thinking their microphones were turned off, they made sexist remarks about two female match officials and a sports executive.  This is how the Guardian reports it:

Keys and Gray were recorded during transmission of Saturday's Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool complaining that the assistant referee, Sian Massey, probably didn't know the offside rule and that someone "fucked up big" by appointing a female match official. "The game's gone mad," said Keys, the channel's football anchor.

But that’s pretty wide of the mark.  In fact, they stated flatly that women – all women - don’t understand the offside rule.  Their claim that the game had gone mad referred unambiguously to the hiring of women as match officials.  And they said other horrible and horribly sexist things.

Everyone seems to want an apology. This seems to be the standard response to outrage of any kind these days.  Infidelity, theft, illegal wars…. what we really want in cases like these is a public apology.  Let me explain why people bay for PublicApology™: change is bad.  Apparently we want to use notpology as a proxy for actually doing something to prevent damaging behaviour from happening again. We don’t really care for the most part whether future bad behaviour is prevented as long as we can pretend it has been and get on with things without too much change happening.  Change is bad, I think I mentioned that.

I’m tempted to be satisfied with condemnation about the remarks.  It was a set of fucking moronic things to say and only contemptible idiots could say such things.  My instinct is to respond with contempt.  Don’t tune in.  Don’t demand an apology and then pretend it’s permission to tune in again despite their idiotic views.

But the vibe that came from this story was indignation (in the sense of unfairness) and condemnation (in the sense that something ought to be done (presumably by someone else) about it).

The very next story on the BBC news was about a Church of England church in Darlington (right on my doorstep!) which might be converting to Catholicism because it doesn’t want any of its officials to have a vagina. As far as I know, Sky Sport doesn’t endorse the views of its idiots.  The church does.  Not just the Darlington church in question, but the Church of England in general.  It obviously thinks there’s merit in people leaving the church if they don’t think vaginas are compatible with spreading the world of god.  This is a far, far worse example of sexism both in this particular case and in the general case of the Catholic church not allowing women to be priests than is some random idiots spreading poison off-record0. 

But there was no condemnation or indignation from the BBC. It was just accepted as OK that religions get to play by different rules.  There was no phone-in, no pundit, no pretence that there are two sides.  It’s just automatically OK for religions to do such horrible things. The horror doesn’t go away.  We just pretend it does.

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