I was looking forward to October. Amongst other stuff, including glad-handing with GLAAD and (i hope) taking tea with a Cardinal, i was down to speak at Feminism in London.
The subject? Speech and virtual space: my way of suggesting that many of the ongoing arguments in defense of “free speech” fail when transposed to the context of an online forum, or social media such as Twitter. I’ve written about that before: no doubt will do again.
That was not the issue.
Rather, my discontent with the way in which the UK government has sought to regulate pornography (also in the online context), was being used to foment controversy. Because of course, invited to speak on topic A, i would be bound to use the occasion to proselytise on topic B.
And even if i didn’t, the mere fact that my views on one topic failed to achieve some gold standard on another clearly make me quite unsuited to speak about anything else.
Sorry. That’s about as sarcastic as i am going to get.
I appear to have been target of a behind the scenes campaign. A shame, because i am more than happy to defend my actual views on the more controversial topic in pretty much any forum that cares to invite me.
Although, it would appear that that is not going to happen any time soon a) in some feminist circles and b) at trade meetings sponsored by some of Europe’s largest pornographers (the dislike that the latter have for my views was made very clear by two separate connections over the summer!). Because yes: this debate makes for some odd bedfellows; and the ultimate irony is that the policy pursued so avidly by a range of social reformers quite neatly dovetails with what those responsible for the largest volume of porn output would like it to be.
Go figure! But it seems to me that if what you advocate is what your supposed enemy wants you to advocate, you are missing the point somewhere.
So much for the fine detail.
I was told, politely, by organisers at FiL of what had been happening and we took what seems the sensible decision: that i should back away, for now, so that the relevant conference session not risk turning personal.
I remain a committed supporter, will probably pop in for a short while over conference weekend (24/25 October), and urge anyone else in London at that time to do the same. Because it is the largest feminist gathering in the UK and if you come away uninspired, then i suspect nothing will ever inspire you.
It is a wonderful event run by wonderful people – and long may it continue to be so.
Note: for completeness (it doesn’t add much to what i have already written above), here is my letter to FiL in respect of the matter.