It is reported that a woman has been jailed for two years for coughing (‘Woman jailed after coughing at officers’, Sunday Telegraph, May 10, 2020).

This punishment may seem a trifle harsh, especially when meted out to a woman; however, last April, 34-year-old Stacey Blackham ‘coughed and spat at police officers after threatening to infect them with coronavirus’; she ‘also tried to rip off an officer’s protective face mask and bit two officers while they arrested her’. In fact Blackham ‘was wanted for shoplifting and assault’, but if the police officers who were assaulted by her managed to escape without lasting damage, they are likely to be trampled in a stampede of feminists anxious to defend women from criticism because in their view, all are poor downtrodden victims – even when the victims of these ‘victims’ happen to be other women and/or children.

For example, Maïa Mazaurette, ‘France’s best-known relationship expert’, is described by the Telegraph’s Celia Walden as ‘guiding’ adulterers and would-be adulterers through the difficulties of the Coronavirus lockdown by advising on ‘virtual infidelity’; a ‘sex columnist’ who resides in Brooklyn with her American actor partner, Mazaurette insists that it could ‘“absolutely be helpful to couples”’; she even ‘belongs to a forum that organises [online orgies] three times a week “for only $10 an orgy, which isn’t bad”’  (‘Meet the sex consultant helping the French “virtually cheat” their way through lockdown’, Telegraph online, May 2, 2020).

Mazaurette escapes criticism, presumably because she is making money; but there is nothing new in that – plenty of women have organised brothels, and still do. Likewise, the female ‘intimacy coordinators’ brought in to coordinate sex scenes in the MeToo era (Anita Singh, ‘TV sex scenes “to be subject to social distancing rules”’, Telegraph online, April 27, 2020)  simply act as feminist window-dressing (or undressing) for the quasi-pornographic excesses of the ‘entertainment’ industry, justifying its innate sexism. Modern feminism apparently regards sexism chiefly as an inability to get an abortion; the right of actresses to ‘choose’ not to participate in sex scenes is ignored, or the new arrangement is hailed, simply because the director’s sexist fantasy is managed by a woman.

If men can do it, so can women, runs the argument – and yet it does not seem to extend to the good things that men do, only the bad things, like infidelity, promiscuity and abandoning inconvenient offspring. Caring for children and parents, looking after a home, volunteering in the community – all are seen as exploitation. And when women become the exploiters, they are not criticised but cheered.

The fact that women in times past seemed happy with being ‘only’ wives – and housewives to boot – is dismissed by feminists as the result of economic necessity; similarly, it is implied that owing to ignorance and not having access to birth control and abortion, they were ‘forced’ to have children that they did not really want. Even before the Coronavirus lockdown, feminists expressed alarm at some women choosing to become ‘tradwives’ (Estelle Lee, ‘The “tradwives” who believe their place is in the home’, Telegraph, January 21, 2020).

As to Ms Blackham, now contemplating her fate behind bars, no doubt they would argue that this particular ‘downtrodden victim’ just happened to fight back. It is hard to know who is most deserving of incarceration – the female wrongdoers or their ‘feminist’ defenders.
Sick joke? Unequal opportunities for humour in the Coronavirus pandemic

Tim Stanley defends the telling of bad jokes even during the current Coronavirus pandemic, because ‘[w]hen the Wuhan flu arrived in our own dear country, I imagined for a moment that it would conquer our partisan divides, but it has only reinforced them’; consequently, when the actress Miriam Margoyles ‘says that she wanted [Boris Johnson] to die’, he insists: ‘Horrible though that sounds, we should nevertheless keep some perspective. Ms Margolyes might be a loony-Leftie luvvie, but I want to live in a country where people feel things deeply and express them stupidly and, but for a chorus of disapproval, more-or-less get away with it. That is what we fought for in the Second World War – not just to survive but to live; not just to live but to be free (that, and to save the British Empire which, oddly, no one mentions anymore). So if we sling mud at each other, it may be vile and it may hurt, but it proves that we are still who we were before’ (‘Coronavirus hasn’t changed us that much – we’re still slinging mud at each other’, Telegraph online, May 11, 2020).

He is right that slinging mud ‘proves that we are still who we were before’, but only in that it still depends on who is slinging the mud, and who it is being slung at; the very fact that a ‘loony-Leftie luvvie’ is slinging mud at a Conservative politician is enough to guarantee that there will be only muted criticism – if that – of her bad taste. Depending on the target, a ‘vile and hurtful’ comment is instantly converted into a joke, and thanks largely to the BBC only recruiting left-wing comedians, any other variety are now an endangered species.

Having ditched our Judeo-Christian heritage and embraced the worship of politics, increasingly we are left with a battle between the vile and the even viler. The root of humour is humility, and once that is discarded we are left with pride; no longer able to laugh at ourselves, we can only jeer at the misfortune of a political enemy.The Left is very keen on equal opportunities, but even keener on equal outcomes, but when it comes to humour they are more equal than others; and the outcome is not very funny for the rest of us.

If we really wanted to emulate the War-time spirit, it would mean laughing at evil, not laughing at a sick person just because we happen to disagree with them – that just shows that the one slinging the mud is even sicker than the person at whom they are aiming. If, thanks to the Coronavirus we lose our national sense of humour, it would be an even sicker and sadder joke than anything a left-wing luvvie could muster.