Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Bet Each Way

It seems unlikely that Hillary Clinton will get the Democrats nomination in the upcoming US election.

The reason why is made plain by that fabulous observer of leftist feminism, Camille Paglia:

If they are to be truly equal, women must fight their own fights and not rely on a borrowed spotlight. Hillary has tried to have it both ways: to batten on her husband's nostalgic popularity while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of sexism. Well, which is it? Are men convenient sugar daddies or condescending oppressors?

As her presidential hopes have begun to evaporate, Hillary has upped the ante in the crusading feminist department. Her surrogates are beating the grievance drums, trying to scare every angry female out of the bush. From that rag-tag crew, she will build her army. Let the red flags fly! Hillary is positioning herself as the Crucified One, betrayed, mocked, flogged, and shunted aside for the cause of Ultimate Womanhood.

But doesn't this saccharine melodrama undermine the central goals of feminism?
Do read the rest.

-- Nora

Throwing Out The Baby With The Bath Water

It's rare that one finds oneself in agreement with members of the 'arts' community but when Oz magazine's Richard Walsh describes the furore over photographer Bill Henson's pictures of naked boys and girls as 'an overreaction to whipped-up moral panic', one has to shrug and wonder if he's right.

NSW Police have raided an art gallery and seized pictures and Henson will probably face state charges. The art gallery may face federal charges over its web site, presumably for previewing the photos online.

I haven't seen the pictures in question to make a judgement for myself over their content and probably no one will be able to now. They have been stripped from the web and to go in search of them might now attract suspicion of being that most heinous of modern monsters, the paedophile.

Make no mistake - I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children. Let me repeat that: I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children.

Why the repetition? Because when it comes to paedophilia, it appears there is no other word in the language more likely to instantly turn an otherwise intelligent adult into a spitting ball of anger whose outrage renders them deaf, dumb and blind to all appeals to reasonable thought and judgement.

One wouldn't like to be in photographer Henson's shoes right now - we celebrate gangsters who execute their rivals and give their exes TV gigs but even if Henson is found innocent of the charges against him, he will likely have to move lest his house be firebombed. And why shouldn't the baying mob feel entitled to burn the monster when at this moment hysterical Hetty Johnston of Bravehearts, Prime Minister Rudd and the Leader of the Opposition are all queueing up to call Henson and his work revolting?

Is it revolting? Like I said, I haven't seen the pictures but one's better half did on a newspaper web site before they were expunged, presumably for fear of also being swept up in the net that snared the Sydney art gallery. Nora is of a slightly more sensitive disposition that oneself but she noted that although the photos were definitely 'provocative', only one could have been thought 'possibly pornographic at a stretch' and none raised a definitive, immediate red flag.

Nonetheless, the New South Wales public prosecutor and Australian Federal Police are probably about to charge all concerned.

I'll say it again: I regard all paedophiles as dangerous threats to the safety and well-being of children.

However, the 'paedo paranoia' that is gripping our society is also dangerous.

Witness today this news story:

A parliamentary inquiry is examining whether it is appropriate to have unclothed babies in commercials after it was revealed they are the subject of regular complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). ASB chief executive officer Alison Abernethy said images of babies in advertisements for nappies, Pull-Ups, baby wipes and bath products has raised the ire of sections of the community. "The nappy advertisements top the complaints in the category about sexualisation of children," she said. "Members of the community are concerned that those images will encourage pedophiles."
Just last week, I was happy to vehemently criticise school dance and drama teachers who train nine year old girls to bump and grind like rap gangsta hos just to win rock eisteddfod competitions.

But look, I don't know - it feels like overkill to send in the cops to raid art galleries. And it damn well is overkill to see a nappy ad on TV and be mortally fearful lest the image excite some sicko somewhere.

In fact, it's not simply overkill - it's a sickness in itself. We have reached a point where, whipped relentlessly into a frenzy by the media over this issue, we are seeing paedophiles lurking behind every tree and shrub so we don't let kids play outside or walk to school and we've banned parents from videotaping school pantos because we're afraid the tapes could fall into the hands of 'paedos'.

Even hysterical Hetty called the possibility of bans on nappy ads 'just ridiculous' during a radio interview but we've only reached that point of ridiculousness thanks in a large part to her in her role as Media Go-To Gal for a meaty quote on all matters paedophiliac.

And having reached this level of hyper-hysteria, one can only suggest a certain course of action.

Get up right now and go look through your family photo albums. If you have any pictures of your children in the bath, burn them immediately. They may not fall into the hands of paedophiles but may nonetheless be seen by friends who may report you on suspicion.

The same goes for any videos you may have of your children in any state of undress, particularly if, as many apparently do, you keep your tapes in the bag with your camera. People routinely place forelorn ads telling break-in merchants to keep the camera they stole but begging for the return of sentimental recordings of weddings, parties, etc. But beware - those same scroats who think nothing of breaking into your home, stealing your property and crapping on the carpet may suddenly become deeply moral if, while quickly scanning your tapes in prurient hope of discovering a bathing babe, they spot a bathing baby and they may dob you in.

Further, to all U2 fans - dispose of this album cover immediately:

You sick, sick bastards. They should castrate people like you then hang you.

-- Nick

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If The Booty Fits...

Nicky and I enjoy reading the weekend opinion pieces on a Saturday morning. They generally give us a laugh.

Like this piece by the Herald Sun's Janine di Giovanni.

Apparently she's the author of Madness Visible: A Memoir of War - serious and depressing subject matter to be sure, which appears to have skewed Janine's thinking into unintentional comedy in her other writing.

THE SMS arrived close to 5am. I know because I was sleeping next to my husband's phone when it bleeped. He went on snoring. I, of course, read it.
If she was sleeping next to her husband as well, couldn't she have nudged him to say, 'you've got a message'? But okay, perhaps the di Giovanni household is like the Charles' where the one nearest to the phone opens the message.

To say it was hopefully romantic would be putting it mildly. This was a blatant message from someone who wanted sex with my husband, and from the sound of it, at that moment.
If this happened in the Charles' household the reaction would be a modern variation to this exchange from The Thin Man:
Nora Charles: Pretty girl.
Nick Charles: Yes. She's a very nice type.
Nora Charles: You got types?
Nick Charles: Only you, darling. Lanky brunettes with wicked jaws
So how does Janine react?

When he woke up, I said he had five minutes to explain himself. My husband has many flaws, but lying is not one of them. He was as baffled as I was. He phoned the woman, a colleague, while I stood there fuming.
Gee, there ain't a lot of trust or respect going on in Janine's marriage is there?

She was sheepishly apologetic. She was drunk, she said, and she had a little crush on him.
She had a little crush? What woman doesn't mind having other women think 'her man' is a good sort? Janine apparently.

Didn't she know he was married with a small child, he asked in a perturbed voice (and that my wife checks my SMSs, I thought)?
See the subtext here: 'I'm pussywhipped'. I'd have thought more of Mr di Giovanni if he gave said woman a confident, firm and polite rebuff (rather than being sheepishly 'perturbed').

The woman apologised, profusely. She even asked to speak to me and breathlessly begged forgiveness, saying no harm was ever done. She was just trying to see if she could get lucky.
This woman is to be pitied, not pilloried. Obviously she lacks grace, wit, not to mention the emotional maturity to sustain a real relationship. The only way she can enjoy sex is to phone someone at random and say, in essence: 'let's fuck'. It's not the stuff a life long romance is made of, is it? Janine picks up on this but doesn't know where to run with it.

My spouse and I laughed about it, but it made me think. Now that I am old enough to say 'in my day', I will say it. In my day, it was the men who made the booty calls.
And my criticism of Ms Horny's maturity above applies equally here, but oddly enough Ms di Giovanni doesn't mind that in a man. A booty call is hardly elegant wooing is it?

But these days, it is women who are making the first moves. There's a lot of dirty SMS going out there.

The 600-page Study on Sexuality found that French women have twice as many partners as they did in the 1970s.

The study basically revealed that the old role of the male being the hunter of flesh and the female waiting patiently by the cave is long over. Now women are doing it for themselves.
As a feminist, you'd think she'd be delighted, you know, sisters are are doin' it for themselves:

Now, this is a song to celebrate
the conscious liberation of the female state.
Mothers, daughters,
and their daughters too, woh yeah,
woman to woman,
we're singing with you, ooh, ooh.
The "inferior sex" has got a new exterior
But she's not:

I asked around, and my friends seemed to be having the same experience. One friend, the mother of two young girls, said her husband's assistant relentlessly pursued him.

He said no several times, then he caved in, she said sadly. I just don't think that would have happened a few years ago.
Oh dear.

The feminist principles a few decades ago, when I came of age, would have excluded women from going after other women's property, even if there was sexual liberation.
Eh? What's this? A man being another woman's 'property'?

Hang on, I thought the entire feminist movement was about reclaiming a woman's identity, that she wasn't her husband's property, that no person could 'own' another?

It seems I was mistaken - 'women's liberation' was all about getting their own back on the 'patriarchy'.

And, despite the image of an independent, liberated woman, there has always been a taboo about a sexually voracious woman.
By other women mainly.

"Its just unattractive to see a woman on the make," says Laurence, a male friend. "But if I have my coffee in the morning in a bar, I get lots of looks from the mothers who just dropped their kids off at school."

Another friend's husband ran off with one of those hungry mothers and says the woman made the first move.
Yay! Sisters are doin' it for themselves.

I blame it all on new French First Lady Carla Bruni.
That's a big call.

She said monogamy was boring and talked glowingly of conquests.
If monogamy is boring, it's because you're not doing it right.

The report says young women have sex earlier, and have more partners - an average of five in their lifetime. In the 1970s, it was under two. (Men still have had the same number for the past 40 years - an average of 13.)

Where will this lead us? To a society of Carla-like, Amazonian women who take the lead not only in industry but in sex?
But, but, 'girls can do anything' - that's what two generations of young women have been indoctrinated to believe. The problem is, as Janine here has just discovered, women have taken that to mean 'girls can do anything they want without consequence'.

I am too old-fashioned for this. Go back to the male booty call, I say. And girls, let the men make the first move.
Ah Janine, the first blow from the clue-bat always hits hardest.

-- Nora

Sunday, May 18, 2008

At A Loss

Organisers and judges at Queensland eisteddfod contests claim to be shocked:

... by "disgusting" performances involving girls as young as seven dressed in stockings, crop tops and mini-skirts to perform sexy dances to "inappropriate" music...
President of the Rockhampton Eisteddfod Association Les Killion is at a loss to solve the problem:

"Unfortunately we can't put any rules in place to prevent it happening in the future," Mr Killion said.
Brisbane Eisteddfod Association secretary Anne Hellen feels equally impotent:

Mrs Schrader said she had tried to address the issue with several teachers. "Unfortunately, we can't stop this," she said. "All we can do is express our discontent or disappointment, and that doesn't seem to make much difference with the teachers. They just want to make an impression to win a contest."
They could try subtracting points from routines featuring inappropriately dressed students.

As for the teachers, what's that word they use to describe people who sexualise children?

-- Nick

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Through A Glass Darkly

Narcissus is a character of Greek and Roman mythology who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool and died of thirst rather than drink and spoil the view. His name gives us the word 'narcissism':

... for self love, based on self-image or ego... In psychology and psychiatry, excessive narcissism is recognized as a severe personality dysfunction or personality disorder, most characteristically Narcissistic personality disorder, also referred to as NPD.
By the way, here's Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi:

-- Nick

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Changing Perceptions About Lawyers

Barrister Saimo Chahal won Britain's Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2006 in the Mental Health category. Her firm, Bindmans & Partners, says:

“She sees her role as challenging the perception of the role of lawyers, providing representation to those who are disenfranchised, putting aside preconceptions and looking at the mentally ill person and the issues her/his case raises.”
She is currently seeking to 'challenge the perception of the role of lawyers' with the case of the allegedly 'disenfranchised' Peter Sutcliffe.

The 'issues his case raises' with regard to 'the mentally ill person' might be seen as his being tried as sane when he claimed and was found to be paranoid schizophrenic.

However, Sutcliffe 'wants to be declared sane and moved from Broadmoor psychiatric facility to a normal prison' as does Saimo, who:

...aims to get Sutcliffe transferred back into the prison system and has asked for a reassessment of his psychiatric condition... (and) will then attempt to use the European Convention on Human Rights for him to be freed within three years, on the grounds that a tariff was not set.
A tariff is the British legal term for an official declaration of sentence. Sutcliffe was told in 1981 he would serve at least 30 years:

...but that tariff was never formalised because his defence team did not hand in all the necessary paperwork. For that reason, his new lawyer claims his human rights were breached.
The alleged 'incompetance' of his defense now appears to be working in Sutcliffe's favour.

What worked in favour of the 12 women and the 16 year old girl he bludgeoned and stabbed to death and the seven more he tried to kill during his career as 'The Yorkshire Ripper'?

Victim Jayne McDonald, 16, was 'hit on the head three times with a hammer and had been stabbed about twenty times in the chest and on the back. There was repeated stabbing through one wound in her chest and and one wound in her back. Blood smears on her back revealed that Sutcliffe had tried to wiped his knife clean. When the police turned over her body, they discovered a broken bottle with the screw-top still attached had been embedded into her chest.'

Of Jacqueline Hill, her killer confessed: "I pulled Miss Hill's clothes off, most of them. I had a screwdriver on me, I think it had a yellow handle and a bent blade. I stabbed her in her lungs. Her eyes were wide open and she seemed to be looking at me with an accusing stare. This shook me up a bit, I jabbed the screwdriver into her eye but they stayed open, and I felt worse than ever. I left her lying on her back with her feet towards the entrance. I think she was dead when I left."

Sutcliffe hit Vera Millward three times on the head with a hammer, literally spilling her brains across her clothes and body, then, among other things, slashed so viciously across her stomach that her intestines had spilled out.

After killing Jean Jordan, he realised he'd left behind a freshly printed 5 pound note that could link him to the crime so days later he returned to her undiscovered body to retrieve the evidence. He couldn't find it and, enraged, mutilated her rotting corpse even further before attempting to cut off her head with a shard of broken glass then a hacksaw in an attempt to cover the tell-tale head wound signs of it being an attack by 'the Ripper'.

Barrister Chahal is a mother of two. Any daughters?

-- Nick

Crying Poor

British comedy actor John Cleese is complaining that lawyers for his estranged third wife Alyce Eichelberger have calculated Cleese earned £93,000 a month. But:

His true monthly income was around £55,000 a month, his lawyers said.
-- Nick

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Have You Heard The One About The Fish, The Cat And The Parrot?

The pointer to the story promises evil landlords who would take away a family's fish. So does the headline and the intro:

Family faces eviction over pet fish

A FAMILY has been told to get rid of their pet fish - or face the threat of eviction.
Useful word, fish - it's an irregular noun of which the singular is the same as the plural:

Fiona and Rick, who asked that their surname not be published, and their three children were shocked when their landlord issued a notice saying they were in breach of their tenancy agreement because they had a tank with 15 South American fish in it.
Ah, so it's not a single goldfish circling a bowl, it's a tank with 15 fish.

But wait - there's more. Fiona, Rick and their three kids aren't the only ones who like fish plural:

The couple admit they broke their agreement by getting a cat... and have given it away.
Well ok, they did the wrong thing and fobbed off the feline. Come on, you evil letting agent - what's a few hundred litres of stinky water on the living room carpet between landlord and tenants?

Oh, hang on:

But Fiona says the demand to get rid of the fish and their son's pet parrot is heartless and ridiculous.
The cat must be cheesed off too.

The Tenants Union of Queensland says the case is a sign of the times...
Yes, those times in which one wilfully breaks a contract multiple times then cries hard done by with support from lobby groups, the RSPCA and the media (though one suspects journalist Daryl Passmore is actually 'having a lend' of the Tenants Union's rental property crisis poster kids).

Fiona said... "We never thought for a moment that a fish tank would not be allowed. It's just a joke."
No, it's called a lease.

Honestly, you couldn't make early 21st century western society up.

-- Nick

Try To Stay Positive

Professor Matt Sanders claims you can easily control unruly toddlers in the supermarket:

Parents were told to praise good behaviour, involve children in the shopping experience and reward them after a tantrum-free trip.
A simple all-purpose slap used to work just fine but not anymore:

AN experienced nurse has been suspended after allegedly smacking an unruly toddler in a hospital emergency department. Jeanette Stewart is on full pay pending the outcome of a police and Department of Community Services investigation into the incident, involving a three-year- old girl, at the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital on April 15. The girl, who was in the emergency department with her mother and a sibling, is said to have been running around and misbehaving...
Nurse Stewart is facing criminal charges because there are other more fashionable methods of teaching children discipline:

A mother of a year 1 girl at Flemington Primary School, who asked not to be named, said her daughter watched the show (Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares), but had never used the F-word and rarely swore. "I reckon it teaches kids a bit of discipline if anything because he pulls people into line," she said.
A Year 1 student is around six years old. They don't 'watch', they are allowed to watch.

-- Nick

Taxonomically-Challenged Man Falls Foul Of Own Accusation

It's a PC favourite to point and scream 'racist!' at anyone who criticises Muslims in any way.

Which makes this all the more amusing:

A SYDNEY man sent death threats to a State MP, telling him Muslims would "blow up" his family for opposing the controversial development of an Islamic school... "How racist are you? ... I hope they put a car bomb in your driveway when your whole family is home," read an email sent on April 2... He told The Sunday Telegraph he regretted his actions but made the threats because he was angry at the racist attitude of people.
The perp not only had difficulty figuring out that the target of his threats hadn't actually written the pamphlet that got him steamed but he also evidently couldn't grasp that hoping Muslims car bombed the MPs home was making a 'racist' assumption that all Muslims are car bomb-making terrorists.

(And the fact that Islam is a religion, not a race, so you can't be 'racist' about it.)

-- Nick

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Preach It Brother Bill

In the light of these statistics:

A CHILD crime wave is sweeping Victoria with almost 10,000 children aged 14 and under dealt with by police in the past year.

Exposure to sex, violence and alcohol, broken families, and boredom in sprawling housing estates have been linked to a surge in kids accused of robbery, assault, rape and other offences...

...A startling 9860 children aged 10 to 14 were accused of committing crimes last financial year. It was 1532 more than the year before, and almost a third of all alleged juvenile offenders.

Most were accused of shoplifting (2119), damaging property (1642), burglary (1355), assault (1029) and stealing cars or their contents (1022).

Dozens were also quizzed over robbery, arson and sex offences - including 24 alleged rapists."
Where is our Bill Cosby?

Comedian Bill Cosby has warned black Americans to "stop looking for somebody to blame" and to confront the ills facing their communities...

...Cosby, who starred for many years in his own series, The Bill Cosby Show, and who has a doctorate in education, told several hundred people at a conference of community associations that some of his critics within the African-American community were "intellectual panhandlers" who enabled destructive behaviour by staying silent or blaming racism...

...He said adults were equally complicit if they failed to speak up.

"I haven't seen the demonstrations saying, 'I'm not allowing my children to listen to this'," he said. "It's killing us. We're not talking about it, and we're not beating it down."

-- Nora