Archives: May 2009

Because of a deliberate campaign by the right-wing senator Eric Abetz, the ABC has gone out of its way to boost the Liberal voting and conservative element in the studio audience for the political discussion program Q & A.

ABC managing director Mark Scott told a Senate estimates hearing yesterday that, of the 2500 people who had attended the program this year, 34.4 per cent said they supported the Coalition, while 33.9 per cent voted Labor. Green voters comprised 12.8 per cent of audiences, while 2.4 per cent supported other parties and 16.6 per cent declined to reveal their voting intention…

…To restore the balance, Q & A producers leaned on Liberal politicians, firms such as Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers and organisations including the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australian Union of Jewish Students, the Australian Family Association and the Australian Retailers Association in their hunt for conservatives.

The Howard government has gone but their miserable culture wars live on. The ABC has to bow to the whims of wingnuts like Abetz or, presumably, stand accused of commie radical advocacy. There is a huge double standard at play here.

If that tactic had been employed by the ABC to boost input from people Mr Abetz didn’t approve of, it would have been called “stacking”. If efforts had been made to boost input from marginalised or less powerful groups in society, it would have been called “affirmative action”, and you know how well that goes down with the Abetzes and Albrechtsons. Oh, well, consistency, you know, the hobgoblin of little minds, etcetera.

12.8 percent Greens in the audience is called “over-representation”. When a single Liberal senator pressures the ABC to use affirmative action and stacking to increase the rightwing content of the audience, it’s called “balance”. Anyway, that explains why there are so many inane questions from young apparatchiks-in-the-making in this program’s audience.
Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo. Edited to correct typo “12.8 Greens” to “12.8 percent Greens

The Spike-Heeled Feminist Jackboot of Doom!

The Spike-Heeled Feminist Jackboot of Doom!

Check out this illustration, which goes with this massive outbreak of flatulence on Yes, that’s right. It looks like the kind of thing you’d see in the Mail or Telegraph, but it’s the BBC, which is very sad.

“Women who believe liberal values exploit their sexuality have something much greater to fear – the jackboot of dictatorship, says Clive James.” Oh, look, the word “jackboot” is closely juxtaposed with the image of a very, very expensive piece of bejewelled, stilletto heeled footwear – exactly the kind of footwear favoured by rich, selfish western funfeminists, obviously. The Manolo Blahniks, or jackboots, as your subconscious now suggests that they are, are stamping on… what? they’re stamping on all the women in the non-western world!

Clive thinks that it should be obvious that liberal democracy is best for women, but do you think feminists agree? No, because they hate democracy, and prefer the jackboot / manolo blahnik of dictatorship! Say whaa, you say? Yes, according to Clive this is the case. “Some Western feminists” (that’s code for most of us, I think) don’t want women to have freedom, which is proved by their lack of support for joining up with the US and bombing their countries back into the Stone age.

Kuwait is by no means, a perfectly constituted democracy. As far as I can figure out, there is a ruling family whose Emir chooses the government and calls elections for parliament. But women have now been elected to the parliament, by popular vote. It should hardly need saying that this would have been unlikely to happen if Saddam Hussein had been allowed to continue to rule the country by terror, but let’s leave his awful memory aside for a moment, if we can, and dare to put forward a general reflection.

Kuwait? Saddam Hussein? errrr….. Let’s just skip over that minor error and continue with James’s demonstration of how wrong all the western feminists are. The solution, he appears to be saying, is just to give up on this notion of women being equal to men and get themselves protectors from the world’s supply of naturally violent men. Yes, he’s reviving the old spectre of “regime change” again, to rescue the damsels who will strew flowers in their path when rescued by the violent western forces (but it’s good violence, you understand, not that bad violence practiced by The Other Side.)

Does this sound familiar? He’s reviving the old 2007 Decent talking point, that if you oppose invading and bombing other countries you hate democracy. If you’re a so-called feminist, and you don’t think the Coalition of the Willing should be reducing one country or another to rubble, that means you support the continued oppression of the women there. It’s logical, innit. And it’s linked to our unreasonable repudiation of violence. Unreasonable, because (Clive thinks) it’s a chick thing.

It’s just too clear a proof that men have a natural advantage when it comes to the application of violence. When you say that women have little chance against men if it comes to a physical battle, you are conceding that there really might be an intractable difference between the genders after all.

…Men will always monopolise the means of violence if they can. Women can learn to shoot guns, but there are no all-female armies, and even the Amazons were probably a myth. Women, on the whole, would naturally like to do something else, whereas an army, for too many men, is a home away from home, and often their only home.

…What [Aung San Suu Kyi] needs is an invading army…”

Yes, that’ll work. Depending on the good graces of the Warrior Class has worked really well for the women of the world, so far. That’s why the Sudan is such a fucking paradise. And I don’t get the feeling that the army was a home away from home for Clive. He spent his youth writing articles for the University rag and building his career. If he gets his wish, this old man won’t be invading Burma. His government will be sending younger men (and women) on this latest useless adventure. People like MY SON. Words are cheap, Clive.

And, Clive? The worst thing about this article is not that you’ve latched onto this ancient and pathetic gotcha fully two years after the other Decents did, and the rest of the blogosphere showed very convincingly what a pile of old dog’s balls it was. It’s not that you admit you won’t even use your position as a popular writer and functionary of The Burma Campaign to do anything for Aung San Suu Kyi because it’s not threatening and warlike enough – you terrifying old keyboard Kommando, you. No, it’s because you use the women of Burma and Iraq – or was it Kuwait? – to score some kind of point over the strawfeminists who you’d like to get off your lawn. And that does not make you the better person.

There’s a guy called Kant who wants a quick word with you. In the meantime though, Western Feminists, just give up your sick love of violent dictatorships! and get your bejewelled jackboot the hell off Aung San Suu Kyi!

25 May 2009, Comments (9)


Author: Helen

Next time you are sitting at the computer (make sure you have the sound turned up), and a dear child comes in and says something like “I can’t find any SOCKS!!”, click on the tab / extra window which you have opened with this link, and click the big blue button. Clutch your head Edvard Munch style.
H/T: Fetch me my Axe.

23 May 2009, Comments (7)

Earworm of the week

Author: Helen

From a most unlikely source.

Todas As Ruas Do Amor
Composer(s) Pedro Marques, Paulo Pereira
Lyrics writer(s) Pedro Marques
Eurovision Song Contest Semi Finals from the vast Olympiyski Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
Let it put you in your happy place. I’ve been to a renewal of vows (for two people with the health cards stacked against one of them) and a funeral in the last month, and not a dry eye in the place for either. Emotions are raw. This song makes me tear up, but in a good way.

Image of "eve" with an apple and snake, to illustrate the fact that sexual assault and simple bad sex is All Wimmins Fault.

I noticed an article in today’s SMH about yet another survey about sexual culture and mores which, of course, is in no way influenced by gender stereotypes.

Sex-education classes are failing to teach young women the skills they need to resist having sex they will later regret, an academic has said…

…Often neglected was the importance of teaching young women negotiation skills so that they could resist pressure from their peer group and partners.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia interviewed 68 girls aged 14 to 19 about the first time they had sex.

Read the whole article. What is missing here? Yup, that would be boys. And men.

I’m so sick of this deeply-entrenched idea that it’s is the responsibility of women and girls to police the boundaries of sexual behaviour and that, as we’ve seen in the Matthew Johns furore, men and boys are simply aggregations of brainless erectile material that can only be corralled, never asked to take responsibility themselves. As I’ve said elsewhere, and many have said before me, that view isn’t particularly complimentary to boys, is it?

I’m all for teaching girls to be more assertive, naturally. It comes with the territory of feminism. But not where it’s intended merely to compensate for boys’ bad behaviour. Why didn’t this study advocate behaviour modification as a necessary element in sex education for boys? Why can’t sex education address the rape myths and other toxic elements in our culture that keep the same bad things happening year after year?

As the events of the last few weeks have shown us, again, it’s not all about the girls.

(Update: H/T to Lauredhel for the totally-not-blaming-girls image, found on a page displaying the same article in the Independent Weekly.)

Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

19 May 2009, Comments (10)


Author: Helen

For those of you who don’t live in Australia, this is about the Australian rugby team who “sexually assaulted” / “had group sex with” a nineteen year old girl in New Zealand a few years ago (according to our very coy media terminology.) The only player identified so far is Matthew Johns. The incident was reported in an ABC documentary program, Four Corners (Transcript here, and some followup information here.) For further reading, I’d recommend these posts at Radical Rayedish and Hoyden.

For once, the response to the news about the “group sex”, (as they call it), garnered a stronger response than the usual limp slap on the wrist. Matthew Johns was stood down from playing and coaching. He has been made to apologise, twice, on television for hurting his family (although not the victim of the group attack) and was sacked from a lucrative talking heads gig. And all hell has broken loose.

Over the last week or two we’ve all had more than enough in both the internet and mainstream press to fill up our bingo cards several times over. What were you doing out dressed like that?…Hearing this must be so hard for his family!He’s rich. I think we all know what she’s after, hmmm?What did she expect, going off with the two guys?

Where Johns is not being portrayed as a victimised hero (Dear god, he’s only human! How many of us haven’t … Um, well, YMMV), the commentary on what he and the rest of the NRL fraternity get up to is infused with strangely essentialist arguments. One can’t help that suspect that the Evpsych rubbish that filters into the mainstream media is picked up and distorted by people who simply want to justify their behaviour. Radical Rayedish picked up on this astoundingly self-serving and stupid comment by a senior NRL official, who, with a million motivational courses and a dash of pseudoscience under the belt, tries to get all psychological on us:

STEVE BURRASTON, CEO NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS: These guys are pumped up, they are playing a very aggressive game and they are putting their bodies on the line, it’s fearless. …When we want them on the field we want them to be aggressive. They’ve got to make tackles, they’ve got to be fearless, then we want them to do things that other people don’t do. So we attract an aggressive, young, risk taking male. We give him a shower, put a suit on him and then say now we want you to be, you know, a submissive male. We want you to go out there and not have any problems, it’s very difficult to do that.

Burraston throws up his hands (What can you do?) because apparently, we must allow top sportsmen to use young girls as their personal meatsock, otherwise we have no choice but to make them into submissive males, which you just know he would have described as f**king p**fters except that he knew he was being interviewed by the ABC. What a steaming pile of crap that is.

And there we have it. The obverse of the misogynist distortions of the notion of consent where the woman falls on the wrong side of the madonna/whore complex (she was up for sex with Johns and one other, therefore, she shouldn’t have complained when the rest of the team jumped in, is pretty much the default position.) This is the idea of the manly man as a force that cannot control itself, and requires constant input from women on the right side of the madonna-whore complex to keep him in line. The fact that this is hardly complimentary to the men themselves escapes many commenters, as does the fact that this makes them close ideological kin to the wahabist nutters to whom they claim to be so superior (uncovered meat, anyone?)

But I notice these arguments aren’t used so much for men in other settings. We don’t, for instance, see high-risk-taking rock climbers, parachutists, ocean yachtsmen and sea kayakers regularly fronting up to the cameras pretending to apologise for their latest “gang bang” or euphemism du jour. I’m not sure how Mr Burraston would explain this one. Going around in a pack, poor socialisation, and being paid far too much money and being fawned upon constantly would probably explain more than any faux-psychological excuse based on the need for extra aggression to run around after a leather bladder.

13 May 2009, Comments (24)

At Home on the Cast Iron Balcony

Author: Helen

Spine of an old hardback copy of Ogden Nash's "Good Intentions" He who must not be named came home from school complaining that poetry was stupid.

He mentioned that he’d had a poem set in class by someone called “Ogden Nash” and that was the quintessence of stupid.

Reader, I did what anyone would have done in my place (i.e. obsessive Ogden Nash reader when young.) I ran to the bookcase and searched until I’d found the aged brown copy of Good Intentions, rescued from the last big cull of family books, bought by my mum, who died in the Summer of Love, 1968. I wanted to show HWMNBN that Ogden Nash wrote wacky and offbeat poetry which ought to be right up his alley.

My parents were of a generation that wrote their names and dates of purchase on book flyleaves, so I looked inside the dessicated brown cover and I found this. See over the fold: My mum must have bought this from a second hand bookshop.

11 May 2009, Comments (9)


Author: Helen

It always appears when a Federal or State budget night is – to use the MSM’s current fave word du jour – looming.

I saw it as I was coming out of the turnstiles at Parliament station. The poster for the Herald Sun: TAX SLUG BEER CIGS. Oh. Budget time.

This ghastly gastropod has terrorised the Australian scene for decades. My extensive research (i.e. Wikipedia) has eliminated the common slug, banana slug or even the Red Triangle slug (found in Melbourne snooker halls?) No, this is more of your gigantic mutant movie monster, like the Slugs that Ate Canberra.

The Hun obviously doesn’t approve of the Tax Slug and seems to be urging the citizens of Australia, as in any good B-movie, to band together to fight this mucous menace. Here is how a Hun journo and Aghast of Mt Martha see the Tax Slug:

The Tax Slug: Eating all your money!!1!1

However! We of the social democratic persuasion see the Tax Slug in a more glass-half-full way:

The Tax Slug, the social democratic view

Something I forgot to add when I photoshopped this Tax Slug… We can haz Paid Parental leave? I hear a weak cry of “yes”. But not until 2011, apparently. Bummer.

Some people of a needlessly literal and nitpicking type might drop in at this point to inform me that Slug is used here in the sense of a Tax Hit, as in taking a hit, possibly from the German schlage? Well, I refuse to believe that, that’s all. Not only have I forked out all that money for a mucus-proof suit and slug gun, but that would require me to believe that all these journos all over Australia, people who are paid to write, just keep recycling and recycling a piece of slang that was out of date when my mum was a girl. Say it isn’t so!

5 May 2009, Comments (8)

The Clade

Author: Helen


Pronunciation: ˈklād : Function: noun : Etymology: Greek klados

: a group of biological taxa (as species) that includes all descendants of one common ancestor.

Many of you are familiar with Chris Clarke, US environmental writer and all-round awesum blogger.

If you like his stuff, you might be interested to know he’s started an environmental blog, The Clade.

It appears it’s not parochial to the US or California. When I went there just now, the top story was from South Australia!

When you’ve finished looking around that site, read this – it’s beautiful.
Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo