By Jane Fae
January 15, 2013
At the start of ‘Airplane’ – one of Hollywood’s all time greatest comedies – flight controller Steve McCloskey opines that he “picked a bad week to give up smoking”. As events turn from bad to worse, the list of things he gives up giving up on grows longer, encompassing smoking, glue sniffing and amphetamines, before he finally throws himself out of the control tower.
The last thing suggested here is that writer and columnist Suzanne Moore has any such bad habits. However, reading through the car crash that was her last week on Twitter (for now), I couldn’t help but think: she picked a bad week to take on the trans community.
Let’s start with the narrow focus – the stuff everyone has been writing about over the past 24 hours. A while back (though actually a little more than a week) Moore wrote a perfectly OK piece about the power of women’s anger. Ok, that is, apart from one small reference to Brazilian transsexuals which was not so much offensive as indelicate.
Some members of the twittersphere – not, in fact trans ones at all, initially – took exception to it and instead of apologising, Moore defended. Then she took to the Guardian to be ever so slightly rude about the trans community, which in turn got ruder back and possibly (it depends on your point of view) ruder still until Friday, when Moore walked. From Twitter, that is, claiming she had been bullied off.
There was a temporary respite until Sunday morning’s Observer, when friend and columnist Julie Burchill escalated the alert level from DefCon Three to DefCon One with a piece that oozed venom toward the trans community from its every pore. The trans community retaliated and, if we conclude the metaphor, the entire matter was now nuclear, with both sides MAD as hell.
Which takes us back to the start and why Moore really did choose the wrong week to take on the trans community.