The UK has a long and respectable tradition of satire. But sometimes people are simply parodies of themselves.
- 'The celebration of one's heterosexuality. It is not a bigoted or intolerant thing to proclaim - it is simply stating the truth, that you are straight and not ashamed of that fact.' Fair enough. I'm straight, and I'm not ashamed of it. Great stuff.
- 'Being straight is not easy under the circumstances of our society. Straight people are being persecuted every day by political correctness.' Er - no I don't agree with that, in fact...
- 'Heterosexuals do not have equality, homosexuals have more rights then (sic) any sector of society.' WTF?! Hang on a second, that's just patently not true.
That's my imagined interaction with the laugh-of-the-moment organisation Straight Pride UK.
Now, the UK has a long and respectable tradition of satire. But sometimes people are simply parodies of themselves.
There is nothing which punctures the pomposity or unmasks the repulsiveness of various political figures or celebrities, social developments or cultural trends, like ridicule. The social satires of Charles Dickens, the outrageously daft puppet-narratives of Spitting Image, and the biting, acerbic political commentary of Chris Morris's The Day Today and Brasseye: all of these often revealed more through their mockery than direct criticism could lay bare.
But there is nothing more catastrophic for an organisation than to be strung up by its own words and actions.
This week an organisation called Straight Pride UK, which apparently campaigns for the rights of heterosexuals, found out about the Streisand Effect, when it tried to suppress information which it had willingly supplied to a blogger - Oliver Hotham. His version of events is here - and at the time of writing Straight Pride UK (SPUK) hasn't offered a formal response other than through its Twitter account. It claimed that Hotham had not been clear about his intended use of the material - he says otherwise. But if it's true that, as Hotham states, the information was provided by the organisation's Press Officer, under the heading 'Press Release', that raises some questions for the organisation which succeeded in getting Wordpress to take down the article.
But beyond the claims from Straight Pride UK that they were effectively duped into putting out such risibly ill-judged comments (which appear consistent with their espoused beliefs), what's worse is the material which they choose to make public on their website and through their Twitter account. See the quotes above for the tip of the iceberg.
In the first instance, starting an organisation to represent the rights of the dominant majority in a society is patently absurd, and speaks to the intolerance of those involved in their rejection of rights for a minority. It simply rings alarm bells for those who wish to see equality extended to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, disabilities, religious beliefs, or anything else.
Like any organisation representing a hegemonic majority, SPUK inverts reality to suit their claims, so that they feel confident in asserting that 'Being straight is not easy under the circumstances of our society. Straight people are being persecuted every day by political correctness.'
It's just plain nonsense. As a straight man I will never feel self-conscious about holding hands with my partner; I won't ever be assaulted for 'looking straight'; I won't ever be expected to justify my sexuality to someone. Jack Monroe has made this argument far better than I can in articulating just how absurd it is to ask for a Straight Pride March, for example. It's like asking for a White History Month: it seems intuitive to say it's only fair that there should be one. But the real answer is that it's every other month of the year. Such claims shows no understanding of the dynamics and history of persecution because of one's identity.
As Stewart Lee once said: 'If political correctness has achieved one thing it's to make the Conservative Party cloak its inherent racism behind more creative language.' Much the same could be said of Straight Pride UK's approach to sexual equality: though its creativity is sadly trumped by its laughable and unsubstantiated claims.
'[Homosexuals] have the right to take over city streets, dress ridiculously, and parade with danger and contempt'.
I'm going to stick my neck out and say that everyone has the right to dress ridiculously; that city streets are taken over every time there's a football match; and that the only thing parading with danger and contempt is Straight Pride UK's ignorance.