6 Mar 2008, Comments Off on Yes Dear, I’ll help you overthrow the military-industrial complex just as soon as I get this passionfruit sponge out of the oven

Yes Dear, I’ll help you overthrow the military-industrial complex just as soon as I get this passionfruit sponge out of the oven

Author: Helen

MTAG protest on Francis st, 20 Feb 2008

These women and kids are all here under duress, and I’m not even sure about the dog.

If you’re a member of an industry group and you’re being interviewed by the local rag (the Maribyrnong Mail) about protests by local residents involving your industry, you’d want to have the best possible shot at winning people over to your cause, wouldn’t you? Local truck driver and fossil Paul Robinson did a marvellous job in the latest edition, managing to insult more than half of the local population. Genius!

(My bold):

A showdown is looming between the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group and truck drivers challenging the group’s decision to use women and children in its protest a fortnight ago.

Because of course all those women were protesting because the men had told them to… excuse me?
Does anyone think it’s a little strange that the journo reports that as straight-out fact, without any “he claimed” or “alleged” or other qualification?

About 150 protesters, including men, women and children, brought morning peak-hour traffic to a standstill for about half an hour from 8 am on Wednesday…They were demonstrating against increased truck traffic expected on Yarraville’s already congested roads when bay dredging works are complete.

…”The majority of the industry is very hostile towards [MTAG president] Peter Knight because he used women and children. That’s unprofessional…”

Got that? Men are the rational actors in the protest; women are mindless automatons who are used by, that is, brought along as props by, the real (male) protesters.

In the case of children, it’s possible that some people bring children who don’t understand the issues. It appears, though, that some children understand perfectly well. But Robinson lumps the “women and children” together as subjects to be “used” by the real protesters, that is, the men.

Could it be that the women present had read and heard some of the readily available information and had independently come to the conclusion that going to the protest was a good idea? Could it even be that some women had persuaded their menfolk to come along? Stand back as Paul Robinson’s brain explodes.

If nothing else, I suppose it shows consistency. A group that’s calling for the right of truck drivers to use residential streets forever, because that’s how they did it back before WWII, could only be expected to have strange ideas about the autonomy of sheilas women.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

Comments (0)

  • Tim says:

    I screwed up that comment. The first sentence is meant to say “Well, what do you expect from a Neighbours villain?”, ie. Paul Robinson. Snot as funny now.

  • Dave says:

    The truckies like to point out the Docklands Highway was always a truck route and the residents of Yarraville knew that when they brought their Real Estate.
    Well the area is zoned residential, there are schools alongside the truck route, lead levels and asthma rates several times higher then the norm, a whole raft of public health concerns, which quite frankly trump any trivial argument about who was there first.

  • Helen says:

    Tim, I didn’t think of that. Yes, Paul Robinson the perennial Neighbours villain. :-))

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Look, me, I’m worried about the important issues in life.

    For example, the passionfruit sponge. Was it ok? Did it taste good?

    More importantly, is there a bounty for planting said sponge smack in the face of the truckie?

    I’d make fun of the journo too, but he’s only working for the local rag.

  • Helen says:

    It’s the cream pie, isn’t it, which is traditionally used as a projectile?

    Sponge came out a treat. They never win a prize at the Royal show though, Ozzie, too much diesel grit in ’em.

  • blue milk says:

    I like the bit “that’s unprofessional”. Hahaha too funny.

  • David F says:

    Wow isn’t it amazing how journalists can give validity to a totally skewed view just by leaving important qualifiers out of the text…
    I have seen people respond perfectly to the that sort of suggestive writing, throw in a few seemingly informed statements leave out some important qualifying commentary and pretty soon you’ll have the public eating out of your hand.
    Do you remember at the time of the Tampa incident? How long was it before the words illegals or cue jumpers became common? The media and politicians (or was it the other way around?) had people falling over themselves out of the fear that hoards of cue-jumpers were on their way to invade our country!
    I think we need to introduce ‘Critical thinking’ into our classrooms so people can easily see how the subtle manipulation of words can influence.

    Good on them for getting out there and fighting for their community!

  • […] Caste-iron Helen catches the Maribyrnong Mail in a piece of rampant sexism. […]

  • Ariel says:

    Isn’t it just awful … so patronising and stone-age … ‘women and children’ … as if women and children are one and the same in terms of their ability to think and act for hemselves.

    Our local Greens senator, Colleen Hartland, sent me a ‘letter to the editor’ she’s written in response to that article yesterday, and here’s an excerpt (in two parts) I love:

    ‘Message to you from the 21st Century, Paul. Women are fully realised humans. We think for ourselves. We understand that diesel chokes our air. Some of us even get elected to Parliament for saying we’ll campaign against the trucks in using residential streets.’


    ‘As for kids, from what I hear, they know diesel when they smell it, and they drag their parents along to the protests.’

  • kate says:

    You never can win with kids at demos – either you’ve brought the little innocents along to a dangerous place, where they don’t understand what you’re demonstrating for, or you’ve left them with someone else for a few hours, which we all know makes you a Bad Mother.

    Dear Paul, when we take our kid along with us somewhere, we’re not ‘using’ him, we’re just being his parents.

  • ChrisS says:

    I detect a similar mentality, wait for it, that comes from anti-abortion advocates, who’s most eager voices, tend to be males (in the US anyway)

    As for the Docklands Highway, local residents can thank Kennet(t) for that re-zoning in the 1990’s.

    And the elephant in the room is the looming crisis regarding micro fine particles from pollution. Literally everywhere.

  • jape says:

    “I think we need to introduce ‘Critical thinking’ into our classrooms so people can easily see how the subtle manipulation of words can influence.” David F.

    It’s called framing, DF, it’s been perfected by the neocons and adapted by a certain PM to work on our very own shores. Read all about it:


  • Cristy says:

    According to the rules I am supposed to let you know that I just gave you a “Blogging Excellence Award”.

  • Helen says:

    “I think we need to introduce ‘Critical thinking’ into our classrooms so people can easily see how the subtle manipulation of words can influence.” David F.

    David, we had something like that when I was a kid – it was called “clear thinking”, was part of English (the not-english-Lit subject English) and involved taking news articles and other items apart while the teacher identified instances of reductio ad absurdum, tautology and whatever.

    What a great training to be a blogger! (even though they weren’t invented yet)

    Girlchild tells me that kind of thing has been shifted to SOSE and Literature. At the moment they are taking Fight Club apart very forensically (if you haven’t read / seen that one, it’s thick with gender and social issues).

  • Helen says:

    Obviously, we missed out on HTML classes 😉

  • My Little One chanted “Free David Hicks!” when we went to the anti-GM rally. Poor little thing is indocrtinated, and yes, ME A BAD MOTHER (as Kate says).

    Great post, Helen.

  • […] But if you want to witness the nadir of suburban newspaper reportage, read Helen’s post here. […]

  • Helen says:

    My Little One chanted “Free David Hicks!” when we went to the anti-GM rally.


    *Dials Human Services*

  • bronislava says:

    aaaargh! what a shocker!!

    on the other hand, that’s a rockin’ blog-post-title you got there 🙂

  • Helen says:

    Why, thank you, Bronislava. I have to say the letters page is twice its usual size this week (in the same local paper, that is), and they give the truck lobby and the article a right pasting. The local Greens MP praised Ariel’s boy for his involvement!

    According to a previous article, another little boy is circulating a petition at the same school, in opposition (ie. in support of the truck lobby). My own little boy informs me that his petition has “no words” on it, ie. just a collection of signatures. If true, this would be quite wrongity-wrong and the teachers should pull him up and explain the rules. But it could be just my kid’s powers of observation so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

    My favourite blog post title of all time: “Whatnot II: The Whatnottening”. (THat was Belle Waring http://examinedlife.typepad.com/. )

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