Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kiss N Tell, Grauniad style

So it turns out that, as part of his important inquiries into "domestic extremism" - aka environmental protests - undercover policeman Michael Kennedy had sexual relationships with various female protesters. Doubtless it was necessary to preserve his cover. It was tricky enough to explain his non-vegan eating habits. Refusal to sleep with hippy girls would have raised serious questions about his commitment to the cause. And he could scarcely have introduced them to his wife, who - apart from anything else - had to be kept in the dark for reasons of national security.

The Guardian is fairly salivating at the tale of Anna, a European eco-activist who met Kennedy in 2005 at the tender age of 21. We learn that she "had sex with him more than 20 times" during the course of a few months, a statistic whose relevance to the story of police tactics is I confess lost on me. Admittedly the sex is not described in any great detail, as it would be if the Sun or the News of the World were covering the incident, but we are treated to the news that Anna "knew he was seeing other people at the same time" and that allegedly the cop "also had a long-term relationship with a woman in Nottingham".

Read to the bottom of the story and you find this plea for more dirt:

Did you know Mark Kennedy?

I believe the Screws traditionally end their exposés of rutting footballers and the like with a similar request to ex-lovers to sell their story.

Mind you, this being the Guardian, even an old-fashioned kiss 'n' tell has to be incorporated within a narrative of female victimhood and gender politics. There's a concentration on the woman's feelings of "violation" on discover that her casual lover was picking up a police salary. She was "questioning whether this [sleeping with women] was a tactic – or part of his task – to become more trusted or respected within the scene" and if, therefore, he was effectively being paid to sleep with her. If you think about that, that makes him the prostitute, rather than her, but the Guardian can't put "sex" and "money" without turning the story into one of female exploitation.

Quiet Riot Girl - whose promising new blog is devoted to the Grauniad and its not-so-hidden agendas - has much more to say about the meaning of "violation" in this context and how it can easily be stretched:

Words are very subtle and important things. Journalists use particular words for a reason. This word, ‘violated’ fell into the Guardian’s hands who grabbed it and ran.

I wonder what words the woman will use to describe her feelings when she sees the story in the paper. I wonder if she might agree with me that they have taken her sense of ‘violation’ and used it for their own ends?

I think the word I might use is ‘exploited’. But that’s a loaded term too.

The whole post's well worth a read.