Archives: January 2012

29 Jan 2012, Comments (0)

Down Under Feminist Carnival #44

Author: Helen

Down Under Feminists Carnival

This month’s Carnival is brought to you by Mary of Hoyden about Town and the Ada Initiative, among many other cool technology groups and projects. Mary is the latest recipient of the Linux Australia Rusty Wrench, an award for services to the Open Source software community.

What with the kerfuffle I’ve had re. being hacked and changing domains, I’ve neglected to post about the last two Carnivals. Here are links to DUFC #42 and #43.

I took Maggie for a checkup a few weeks ago because I was worried about the way she was losing oomph in her back legs. I twittered my distress and a blogfriend sent me a link about a vet in Oakleigh who is reported to be doing great things with a new stem cell technique. So I took her there, too.

One of her front legs has been stuffed for a while. She does a cheerful swagger and shuffle round the park, but she doesn’t keep ahead of me the way she used to. Instead, I need to stop and wait for her.

Maggie has arthritis and calcification in her spine and in her hips and in the dodgy front elbow. She’s had extensive X-rays under a general anaesthetic with Cartrophen and cortisone administered by needle while she was under. I’ve been given instructions for her new regimen: More Cartrophen – yes, I know about the sharks, but it’s the dog I know and love versus the shark I’ve never met. Heat packs twice daily on the spine. Fish oil capsules and Glucosamine/Chondroitin capsules (“Give her one of those fish oil capsules,” said the droll, shaggy-grey-haired vet from Central Casting, “take one yourself and give one to the husband.”) Gentle hip stretches, which she submits to with more grace than you’d think. Excercise twice daily, which she gets anyway, and more – “keep her moving,” said the vet.

She goes back on Monday for a followup examination and the vet will decide whether or not to offer a new stem cell treatment which has supposedly worked quite well for the few dogs on which it’s been tried.

It’s all a lot to get our heads around. How much more time she has left is up for grabs. We have to make sure that that time is happy and pain free and as active as her spine and joints allow.

For now, she is pottering and sniffing the exciting smells in her favourite haunts…

Maggie pottering along the edge of the Stony Creek


It appears MTR (also the acronym for the right-wing Melbourne Talk Radio, which is funny, in a way) is the Feminist of the Moment for the mainstream media. And a large part of her appeal, it seems to me, is that feminism, as she defines it, is a conservative, bourgeois feminism, threatening to specified corporate interests – She’s done good work with Collective Shout and her opposition to the pornification of little girls in general – but generally unthreatening to entrenched patriarchal systems.

This was illustrated by this nauseating letter from Neville Wright in last Sunday’s AGE – “All power to Melinda Tankard Reist. I have long wondered when the feminists would wake up…” (scroll down to “Feminism Reevaluated”). Gag.

She has just issued a legal threat to another blogger, No Place for Sheep, for speculating on this interview by Rachel Hills, and asking why MTR’s religious affiliations weren’t given prominence. For those unfamiliar with Tankard Reist, she’s a “pro-life feminist”, that is, anti-abortion.

I don’t really care what Tankard Reist’s religious affiliations are. What matters to me is that she was employed as a bioethics advisor to the ultraconservative, anti-choice senator Brian Harradine for twelve years. Twelve years. That’s not just a brief stint in a job to pay the rent. That’s a longstanding association with the Australian equivalent of, say, Pat Buchanan. Brian Harradine used his position in the Senate to further a “traditionalist” and antifeminist agenda, such as banning RU-486 and the imposition of Australia’s version of the Global Gag Rule.

With the still-widespread notion of feminism as a monolithic hivemind, with a spokeswoman (used to be Germaine Greer, remember – anything she uttered was assumed to be written in some Feminist bible somewhere), I’m afraid MTR will become (has already become) the next “spokeswoman” in the popular imagination.

Feminism is a broad movement and has some eccentric offshoots. MTR, despite her sometimes valuable role in speaking up for little girls, is one of them. Anyone who identifies as feminist should be able to do so, but it doesn’t automatically validate every part of their ideology as feminist. Melinda Tankard Reist doesn’t speak for me.
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town

Ha, ha, joking – the world hasn’t gone to shit noticeably more in one week, and it was fairly unsurprising that Martin Ferguson and (presumably) other members of the Labor right would be spying on their own electorate. Anyone who was active in the 60s and 70s has a file on them as thick as a Stephen King novel. Yet the details were especially sickening in a creepy, Peter Hoeg-type way – a bland suburban residential development housing a not very Top Secret cubicle farm, NOSIC. (Got to love that acronym!) There, the cubicle jockeys, presumably sad, underemployed students and recent graduates, trawl through the Facebook and Twitter accounts of anyone who’s been active in environmental protest…

…OH HI Cubicle jockey who is reading this over at NOSIC, brought hither by various keywords! How good do you feel about yourself, working for Marn’s Stasi Lite? I was once underemployed and desperate myself, but yeah but no. This is a disgrace. I was so angry I went out today and participated in a demonstration covert surveillance operation on Ferguson’s office with these excellent chaps.

Sorry about the picture quality, snapped clandestinely with the shoe phone:

Facebook group at Keep an Eye on Martin Ferguson protest at Marn's Preston office, 10 January 2012

One of the spooks pictured above is the author of this opinion piece in today’s AGE.

Anti-coal activists pose a political threat. That’s why we’re being spied on.

I’d like to know how the government can justify employing a private company to spy on me. As an anti-coal activist, and member of one of three main community groups in Australia campaigning against the coal industry, I was alarmed by revelations in The Saturday Age that the Australian Federal Police has singled us out as a potential threat and is employing a private company to spy on us.

The AFP were there before we were, natch, because the other spooks at NOSIC had read the Facebook group. Of course. This is your taxes at work: Pimply postgrads being paid to spy on your nephew’s facebook page; Police missing their lunch to stand outside Martin Ferguson’s mostly empty office protecting it against a piece of harmless theatre. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so bloody depressing.