Eric Joyce trolls me by proxy

Out of courtesy, I sent a link to my blog post about Eric Joyce’s expense claims to Eric Joyce’s email.   I just received this charming response:

Hello M.K Hadjin, it’s Eric’s partner here. My name is India Knight. I read your Twitter account with increasing alarm. Obviously you’re both not well and horribly lonely. You’re also boring. I have more than once suggested that Eric take out a restraining order, but he seems to pity you.

I’d hate to write about you, but I’m longing to, quoting your 18 months’ worth of texts and your odd, stalkery painting of a man you’ve never met. Would that be ok? Is that what you need – attention? Do let me know. Or don’t. You are very much lolzy, whatever happens. But you knew that, right?
Get better!
India Knight
She was kind enough to send a postscript:
BTW, planning to post the cut & pasted below on my public timeline. See also my column in the Sunday Times. Such an interesting topic, insane women getting crushes online.
Sadly for India Knight, whoever she may be, I don’t read the Sunday Times.
What’s interesting about this letter is that my name is misspelled exactly in the same way Eric misspells it.
Such drama about a painting.  Honestly, he couldn’t just say thank you and put an end to the matter?  Maybe I’m just unimaginative, but I can’t find anything odd or stalkerish about sending a gift to someone who was interested in my art and wanted the gift.  I do have the emails from him to prove that he wanted it.  He told me what colors to use and what size to make it.    If he changed his mind, why didn’t he tell me?  He had plenty of opportunity.
It’s a pity he couldn’t simply give a polite response.  It’s all I wanted him to do.
I’ll leave it to my readers to decide whether that makes me “not well,” “horribly lonely”,  “boring” or  “insane”.  To me these accusations seem way over the top.  It sounds like what a very self-absorbed person does when criticized :  refuse to admit any wrong,  attack and devalue the person doing the criticizing.
Seems to me that it takes a lot more energy to conscript one’s girlfriend into writing vicious emails than it does to just say thank you.
Update: After I wrote this post, I got the following response:
Wow. Instant blogpost, like a letter through the door. Maybe back to the hospital? Meanwhile, we’re making a harassment complaint, plus you’ve slandered me, so there’s that. ENJOY YOUR REALLY GREAT, UNLONELY LIFE! XXXXXXXX from Not Eric : (
I’m unclear as to who thinks they’re being slandered here or why.   Also the talk of a harassment complaint is odd, since Eric never asked me not to contact him.
So I send a polite reply making these points, and get this response:

Please stop contacting me. It’s very aggressive. You’ve encouraged people on Twitter to contact me online.  I have no concerns at all about what you blog about.  If you contact me again, even by this means, my only recourse is to contact the police.  This is my final communication with you.

best wishes
eric joyce
 All my friends did was ask him why he didn’t say thank you after receiving a nice painting.   I’m just not seeing aggression there.    Aggression would be insults and threats, right?  Insults like “not well”, “horribly lonely”, “boring”, “insane”, “odd and stalkery” and threats like “I’ll write nasty things about you in my column” and “we’re making a harassment complaint, even though you’re not really harassing us.” But fair enough.  He made a formal request for me to stop emailing him and I’ll respect it.  I just don’t see why he had to troll me first.
But since he doesn’t care what I blog about, I can freely write about it.
Sadly, he never revealed what he had done to the painting.   I worked for five months on that painting, which is the longest time I’ve ever worked on a single painting.  I thought it would be representing me in Joyce’s office in the House of Commons so I agonized over it quite a lot.  It was a big investment of time, energy and love.    I wonder what he’s done with it.  I guess I’ll never know.
Update #2:
People are telling me Eric Joyce has deleted his twitter.
Update #3:
Apparently he’s back.  That was a short flounce.
Update #4:
Both Knight and the papers have apparently misunderstood which artwork I sent to Joyce.  It was not the portrait sketch I made of him.  That was just something I did for fun one evening.
The painting I sent was this abstract landscape, using the colors he specified (red, purple, and green):
Red, Purple, Green, mixed media, 70 x 100 cm, by M.K. Hajdin

Red, Purple, Green, mixed media, 70 x 100 cm, by M.K. Hajdin

The reason it took five months to finish is because it went through many stages.  Halfway through, Joyce said it wasn’t red enough, so I had to add a lot more red and adjust all of the other colors.  It’s got more red in it than I’d use, normally, but that’s what he wanted.

Quote of the Day: On Funding for the Arts

"Flying" by Mahtab Firouzabadi.  Source

Flying by Mahtab Firouzabadi.  Source

The Guardian printed an article about UK Culture Minister Maria Miller basically calling art a commodity.  Her comments were typical of those who can’t see past their capitalist indoctrination and are not that interesting in themselves, but the comments contained some spirited discussions, particularly this exchange between users Wilbe1, who claimed that governments are right to expect the arts to turn a profit, and domfloyd, who argued that treating the arts as a business would impoverish the culture in less quantifiable ways:

The benefits to society of public investment are not always (in fact, rarely) measurable in terms of money.

If we as a society decide that it is beneficial for all to have thriving culture and arts (and yes, that is certainly a debate worth having), then it seems wise to invest in it – and that means sometimes investing in things that may well turn out to be duds – a thriving art scene always contains duds, just as a thriving scientific research lab will inevitably spend money and time on research which ultimately turns out to be fruitless.

                                                                                                             — domfloyd

Hat tip to Twitter users @oystersearrings and @NTCRIT for the link.

Spot the Misogyny: Parliamentary Portraits Edition

I’ve been poking around the British Parliament website and found an archive with portraits of Members of Parliament.

Here’s Diane Abbott, the first black woman to be elected as an MP:

Diane Abbott MP by Stuart Parson Wright

Portrait of Diane Abbott MP by Stuart Pearson Wright.  Source

It’s a good portrait.  She has a wonderful face, full of character. But why is she naked?  True, you don’t really see anything, but would a male MP be depicted this way?

Judging by the other portraits on Parliament’s website, no.


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Hey, world! We’ve got 10,000 signatures for No More Page 3!

Our petition to get the UK tabloid The Sun to stop exploiting women’s bodies on its page 3 has now 10,000 signatures.  The media is beginning to notice us.

I hope that every woman who has ever felt awful because of Page 3 will join us, and that men will realize that this isn’t harmless fun – it really hurts women, and makes the world a worse place for us all to live in.

It’s not a conservative issue, or a liberal issue.  It’s a human rights issue.  It doesn’t matter what your political views or philosophy are.   All you need is to believe that respect and dignity are the right of all human beings.

If you haven’t signed already, please visit: and help us out.

The baby penguin community has our back!

Baby penguins congratulate us

Manufactured Crises

And now, even though I reiterate that this is not a political blog, I must talk more about the media.  I already talked about publicity stunts and manufactured outrage.  But now let’s talk about manufactured crises.

As an example, let’s have a look at an article about diabetes published on the BBC’s website today.  It’s like a page out of the Evil Overlord 101 syllabus.


1. Present a crisis. “[Insert Crisis Subject Here] is costing us millions of dollars/pounds/euros!”  Frame everything as a crisis!  Sure to grab the reader’s attention and induce the kind of anxiety that defuses critical thinking, as well as convince the reader that OMG WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOW.




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Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

“Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful,” smirks Kelly LeBrock in this shampoo commercial from the 1980s.

“I won’t, ’cause you’re not!” retorted my child self to the screen.


I thought she was weird looking, with strange slitty nostrils, so it made me question her apparently delusional assumption that all the other females on the planet are jealous of her.   I wasn’t the only one, either – “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful” has become  a classic bit of pop-culture sarcasm.

Since then I’ve learned more about what it means to be female in this world, and I’m here to share it with you.

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