I have not blogged here for a while but this really got me going. After a lush September spent largely by the poolside in warmer climes, when I had no inclination for social action whatsoever, and first half of October spent working , today I woke up with a feeling that a bit of hard-core irony over some racist prejudice or an attack on some xenophobic politician anywhere in the EU would be long overdue. Quite disappointingly, politicians have decided to behave for the time being. Even Britain's BNP has promised to revise its membership rules, and to allow non-white persons in. Not that they were struck by a revelation that non-white people are people too - rather, there is a court decision they simply have to implement, because (surprise, surprise) racial discrimination is forbidden in the UK.
I could, of course, spend some time discussing the finest points of why Latvian far-right journalists and politicians refuse to face up to the fact that they are indeed far right and xenophobic, but that would be no fun – and I hear that my colleague Iveta Kažoka has dealt with Latvia’s fake ‘conservatives’ in another blog.
Therefore, since I am in a lighter mood today, I will simply promote a wonderful little anti-racist website I have found, in faint hope that it might inspire some imitation in Latvia or elsewhere. The website is called SpEak You’re bRanes – yes, exactly the spelling – and it makes vicious fun of the shallow racist and ‘anti-PC’ comments that people often make when given the opportunity to speak their mind on some public forum that allows anonymity. In this case, the comments made fun of are all from BBC’s ‘Have Your Say”. I imagine how delicious it would be to have something similar in Latvian, making fun of the inconsequential blabbering often encountered on ‘delfi.lv’ and ‘diena.lv’ (the latter also before the recent takeover by the dark side). Obviously, many of the statements ridiculed by SpEak You’re bRanes are often encountered also outside Britain, and indeed anywhere in the world, because smug self-appointed representatives of the people (I do not mean MPs here… at least not primarily) are a universal phenomenon.
You may ask, is it legitimate to take so much joy in the fact that there are many prejudiced, immigrant-hating and bigoted people in the world? Well of course I am not taking joy in that fact, but I am glad there are people who can stand up to that nonsense and even laugh at it. In fact, making it appear as ridiculous as it deserves may be a viable strategy to fight it. So it is fair game to have a bit of fun with SpEak You’re bRanes. Because, in the words of one of their editorials, “An internet discussion forum is no place for unjustified assertions, straw-man arguments and hypocritical ad hominem attacks”.