30 Apr 2008, Comments Off on Now that’s really going too far

Now that’s really going too far

Author: Helen

Iraq’s former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, has faced court on charges of genocide.

An Austrian dad has been arrested and charged with keeping his own daughter in the cellar for twenty-four years and repeatedly raping her, fathering seven children, three of whom were also incarcerated.

The controversy continues over John Yoo and his involvement in torture at Guantanamo.

A Frankston man has shot and killed his former girlfriend, in another example of killing one’s former wife or girlfriend, which is the Australian Way of honour killing.

A British teenager has just been jailed for life for beating a Goth girl to death for no reason other than that she looked Goth-y.

And Miley Cyrus has been doing some rather inappropriate photographs for Vanity Fair.

Guess which one of these miscreants has been made to issue a public apology.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom

Comments (0)

  • Sabina says:

    I wish, so much, that we lived in a world where this was surprising. I’m so ashamed of my country and my people and my species, more often than I’d like.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Well, with the apparent exception of John Yoo, the others will all end up in court. So I’m a little confused as to quite what you are saying. Certainly we hope that Miley Cyrus won’t end up in court over some possibly ill-planned (or possibly carefully) planned photos.

    Maybe you are arguing that a court sentence should include forcing the criminal to make a public apology?

    “the Australian Way of honour killing.” – really? It’s not ever struck me as particularly Australian. I mean, it’s not like it doesn’t get done in other countries. In fact, it’s rather middle eastern, is it not?

    One hopes that karma will eventually catch up with John Yoo, and even more with his hoighty-toighty mates.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    And the John Yoo reference discussion provides a lovely irony: how would you find students wanting to take “Torture 101” at Berkeley under Prof John Yoo? Well, you’d render them from their home country, naturally 😉

  • Helen says:

    I guess my point is that the others have all been involved in rape, torture and killing, or the enabling of same whereas little Miley has just been involved in a foolish and ill advised photoshoot (Blue Milk has a very interesting take on it here.) Yet none of the rapists, torture apologists or murderers seem to have been required to issue a public apology.

    Of course I wouldn’t recommend it, as it would become a nauseating exercise in self-exoneration comparable to the “I found God in Prison, quite coincidentally” syndrome.

  • su says:

    Not to mention that a 15 year old who was manipulated and taken advantage of by VF is doing the apologising, rather than VF.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I wonder whether she made to apologise to protect Disney’s bottom line, because one set of photos somehow makes her less saleable? It is Ick from every angle.

  • The “honour killing” remark really resonated with me. I get it. And is it uniquely Australian your commenter asks? Well, maybe not but the archetypal Aussie bloke is more comfortable communicating with a gun than words if he thinks his woman is straying elsewhere.

    These last few weeks with no TV, the news has had a different impact on me. I still read press online and listen to ABC radio news and BBC/NPR but it has been refreshing to not have the incessant news “updates” in my face all night. It’s harder to by into the beat ups.

  • Laura says:

    Helen, you’re the only blogger in my feeds who’s mentioned the Austrian case. It’s such an enormity that words fail, I guess.

  • Ariel says:

    I agree – amazing that a 15 year old is apologising for VF’s photo shoot. I’d think it was the grown-ups directing the shoot and manipulating the images who’d be responsible.

  • kate says:

    Maybe we only expect a public apology from people who are decent enough to do better in future? Not that I have read a newspaper at all this week so I can’t comment on these particular cases.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    > Well, maybe not but the archetypal Aussie bloke is more comfortable
    > communicating with a gun than words if he thinks his woman is
    > straying elsewhere

    you know, isn’t this offensive? Just what does Archetypical mean? Something
    that hardly ever happens? From womens weekly: some third of women cheat,
    in those cases some third of husbands find out about it (from gross memory, may be wrong by an order of magnitude) – but how many of these women
    die by gun?

    Of course it’s not acceptable, but it’s hardly archetypical is it?

  • Helen says:

    Maybe not archetypal as a gun-related offence – but as Phil Cleary has pointed out, it’s definitely a part of the Australian scene. Vicki Cleary was stabbed to death by her ex, Julie Ramage was strangled or bashed, not quite sure which. So the gun isn’t always in the picture but there is definitely a pattern whereby women are most at risk of being killed when they have just left their spouse or partner. It’s the same in the US. I’ve been meaning to blog this for a while but just haven’t got around to it.

  • […] POSTSCRIPT: I forgot to pass on the curse and nominate 5 people. Please put your list in the comments section below or someone close to you will die. Or else you’ll suddenly find Amanda Vanstone sexy. The cursed 5 are: Bane of Malakas, Faith, Robert Hollingworth, Bogan, and Stella. And anyone else who wants to have a go. This means you, too, Helen. […]

  • Ken says:

    I’m with Ozzie on this one. Yes, far too many women suffer violence after relationships break up. Far too many. Nevertheless, to posit that the use of violence instead of words is “archetypal” on the part of Australian men is simply wrong on a purely quantitative level; on a rhetorical level, it’s at least arguably offensive.

    Similarly, Helen’s analysis that the use of guns by Australian men against women is “maybe” not archetypal? Doesn’t hold quantitative water.

  • Helen says:

    Sorry if I was not sufficiently clear in commenting on AOF’s comment, but I think her use of “archetypal” referred to Murder in Australia, not male-female relationships across the board.

    Unfortunately, a woman is at most risk of death at the hands of her spouse or partner at or after the time of leaving the relationship. Therefore, when I hear of such a murder, I think “there it goes again”. That’s kind of archtypical.

    Here’s an interesting link; I keep meaning to blog it but never get around to it.


  • matilda says:

    But surely this is an eg. of the sexualisation of young girls? Sure the mag should have apologised for manipulating a minor but going by her words, it sounds like the young person is genuinely embarrassed now.

    Thought you would have been onto ugly sam newman by now. His latest dumb utterance was that women shouldn’t even be directors of footy clubs. Where do you start with someone like that? Good on the women who are taking a stand on this one, i say.

  • Helen says:

    Where do you start? Just a quick observation: I saw him last night on the Footy Show by accident, and was struck by his slitty-eyed, compressed-lipped, finger-jabbing meanness and spite. He completely outed himself in that session; while Gary Lyons wasn’t exactly a paragon of clued-ness, Newman was an utter disaster. With his comment of “women aren’t appropriate on Boards”, or words to that effect – I don’t have a transcript – he just dug himself a deeper hole. Unfortunately, the women in the live audience just simpered; they seem like a mass case of Stockholm syndrome, those people. Like a “celebrity” can do no wrong, or something. Then the ridiculous comments on news.com.au (I’ll hunt them out later) – absolutely stockholm syndrome to defend someone who obviously hates you so much.

    This follows hard on the heels of the BB episode 1 where Big Meathead muses to the camera that he hopes there won’t be too many women, because then he couldn’t possibly have a decent conversation.

    Right. I despair of Australia and its people when I watch too much TV.

  • Helen says:

    Gigglewick tells it like it is.

    In the latest edition of our local paper, there is a sad article about the drought of little kids in the local AFL junior team.


  • matilda says:

    Thankyou Helen, i knew you’d rise to the occasion. Now if i can just return to the subject of this thread: you’ve grouped some horrific events/behaviours with the VF photo shoot. Could this be a bit like comparing apples and oranges – when both fruit have gone rotten but in their own way? I just think that while no-one was physically harmed in the VF incident, a young girl, a minor, was clearly manipulated into posing suggestively, to satisfy the (male) media & the public’s appetite for nubile, pubescent female flesh. It appears this may have occured with the compliance of her adult family members – her carers. The psychological damage from being made to feel that her self-worth & her public appeal is primarily tied up with her body, rather than her other talents, is already palpable in that she’s being made to feel responsible for the whole shoddy episode. Let’s hope Miley has a strong mind and parents with some kind of moral compass who don’t want to further exploit her. Maybe there’s more of a parallel with the sam newman stuff, don’t think i have to join up the dots.

  • Helen says:

    The apples and oranges thing was the point. While the first examples have been involved in (or, in the case of Yoo, facilitating) murder, rape, torture, deprivation of liberty etc, while li’l Miley has been involved in… a softcore photoshoot. And she not only felt moved to apologise, but according to the news reports, was forced to. As opposed to, for instance, the teenager who kicked the Goth girl to death, or Herr Fritzl, who by all accounts have not had to make any public atomement to their victims.

    Consider also that Miley individually has done no harm, but harm is done incrementally to a broad class of people – girls and young women – by all the minor incidences of these kind of portrayals, taken together. But it’s the celeb-industrial complex which is causing the damage, along with the toy manufacturers and the clothes retailers and the magazines… they weren’t made to apologise.

  • Rayedish says:

    I like the point you were making with the jutxapositioning of those various wrongs. Words fail me about the majority that you listed but I think that Miley having to apologise for being manipulated is really sad. Where are those that are supposed too protect this very young woman from this sort of manipulation?

  • gigglewick says:

    Thanks for the plug Helen.

    I’m sure I’ve developed a range of interesting rage-induced tics over the last week.

    I know a bunch of women who are keen footy supporters at a range of levels, and am sure they could use their skills to equal benefit elsewhere.

    the fact that he clearly didn’t think that argument through is no excuse for him being given a national audience weekly to peddle what is at best a misrepresentation of women and at worst, misogyny and sexual harrassment.

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