Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Margaret Court, Meryl Tankard Reist, Chairman Rupert's twittering, and strange days indeed ...

(Above: Barbara Streisand in her den).

Nobody told me there would be days like these. Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar Mama ... (John Lennon).

First up in the peculiarity stakes was former tennis champion Margaret Court, earning ire for her fundamentalist Christian ways. (Rainbow flags rule out love match with Margaret Court).

Head off to Court's website, and you get an undiluted blast from the Victory Life Centre.

Who knew - outside Perth - that she'd been travelling as the Rev Dr. Court for a couple of decades with her very own church since June 1995 (now incorporated as a recognised denomination), and that the mission statement is the usual collection of biblical quotes, with an emphasis on the born again, offering healing services and proposing that a good way to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to speak in tongues:

We simply ask Jesus in prayer to fill us with His Spirit and then begin to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives you utterance.

Ask Him with this prayer:

Lord Jesus,
I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
By faith I believe that I receive.
Now begin to speak out in the language that the Spirit gives you (not in English).

Uh huh. Speaking in tongues, but not in English. At last a solution to that problem with the backhand that sees the Pond do poorly in doubles.

Yep, it turns out that Court is one of the Leviticus mob, which is to say that undue attention is paid to 18:22 and the matter of homosexuality - as opposed to what Jesus had to say - what, he didn't say anything? - but no attention is paid at all to quintessentially more important matters:

19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

Phew. Thank the long absent lord that tennis balls only mingle rubber, cotton or perhaps a wool/nylon blend. As for heads and tatts:

19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

Thanks, long lost one, how about slaves?

25:45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
25:46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever ...

Dammit, the wrong side one in the Civil War, and as always we recommend a little light reading at the Skeptic's Bible before retiring (provided you're not the sort of person who might wake at 2 am to brood about the spelling of sceptic).

Meanwhile, on another planet, there comes the threat of Melinda Tankard Reist to sue blogger Jennifer Wilson, publishing under the name No Place for Sheep, as outlined in Anti-porn activist threaten to sue blogger over religion claims.

Tankard Reist, who trades as a feminist, while managing to work for many years as a staffer with Brian Harradine, might have a job putting the cork back into the bottle if she keeps wandering down this path.

For example, at another blog there's Melinda Tankard Reist - A Biography. Now we don't endorse the contents, or know of their truth and accuracy - we merely in the style of Fox - report and others - perhaps you - decide, but at the moment the contents don't seem to be the subject of a Tankard Reist action. What to make of this?

Could it result in what the Sceptical Lawyer calls The Streisand Effect:

...the Streisand effect covers those situations where the threat of legal action has brought publicity to the information sought to be suppressed.

Streisand had sued to get photos of her mansion taken down, and as a result of proceedings, according to the lawyer, more than 420,000 subsequently visited the site in the next month. Indeed vigilant googling might lead you here, unless you want to see the bizarre, completely legitimate Streisand dream house photo shoot as presented in Harper's Bazaar here.

But back to the Sceptical Lawyer:

In the event, I think that the Melinda Tankard-Reist case might fall into the category of case where the bringing of a legal action just brings more criticism and scrutiny of that person’s views. Certainly there has been a number of blog posts and tweets which are very critical. Ms Tankard-Reist may also find that her name is forever linked with the allegedly defamatory statements in other people’s minds, even if she does get a court order taking them down. To explain what I mean by ‘linking’, whenever I think about poor Liskula Cohen, the words “NYC Skank” also come into my head (courtesy of the defamatory blog). Although I know the blog was defamatory, the notions of “NYC Skank” and “Liskula Cohen” are inextricably linked in my head. I wonder if the same may happen to me with Ms Tankard-Reist. Will the notions of Christian fundamentalism and duplicity pop into my head whenever I think of her, even if she does establish defamation and cause Ms Wilson to take down all her posts?

Indeed. Important questions for us all to ponder, merely raised so that you might decide.

Already twitterers have been twittering (All of a twitter as legal threat to blogger adds spice to the public battle), and already Jill Singer has weighed in at the HUN, with Unholy row for feminism high ground, proposing that Melinda Tankard Reist is looking flakier by the day ... she risks painting herself as a reluctant Christian - and willing bully. Presumably the HUN lawyers legalled the column ...

Meanwhile, swimming against the tide, Dave Gaukroger proposes that no mention of Tankard Reist's religious views should be made in relation to her political arguments, since this would be a mere ad hominem attack (Melinda Tankard Reist critics create undeserved sideshow - behind the paywall, and - given the wretchedness of Gaukroger's arguments, long may it stay there).

It surely takes some skill to hang around with both Spinifex Press and the thoughts of Brian Harradine ...

If you're interested you can find the thoughts of mtr here. Think of a visit as the Streisand effect in motion ...

Meanwhile, the pond anxiously scanned the papers. After the unfortunate affair involving Andrew Bolt, surely the IPA would have already taken out a full page in The Australian bemoaning the attack on free speech, and the use of defamation threats to silence arguments, debates and opponents, and the commentariat would have been at full screech, like a flock of Major Mitchells wheeling through the air.

Come on down Janet Albrechtsen:
Okay, maybe not, because it seems Dame Slap just loves Tebowing. No Gaukrogering confusion between religion and politics for her.

Tewbowing is a strange on field ritual performed by Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, even as it seems the long absent lord has abandoned Tebow and the Broncos to the atheists, secularists, philistines, or perhaps to the true believers who play better football (A football field is no place for nutty religious fanaticism). Where is your messiah now, Tebowing Tim?

Meanwhile, the world now waits daily with tremulous excitement the tweets of one Rupert Murdoch, who has managed to confuse Optus and Potus (Potus to Optus: Murdoch blames iPad for mangling tweet spray at Obama), and who endorses SOPA, which will see Wiki and other sites fall silent in protest today - if only the pond knew how to switch off in solidarity.

It seems Chairman Rupert doesn't understand that revealing the inner goose online is the sort of thing wise old farts are supposed to warn youngsters about.

It was fair use, your honour, fair use ... because you see Chairman Rupert owns Fox, which backs The Simpsons, and the use of an image like this is exactly the sort of misuse of images and videos on YouTube that News Corp does on a daily basis around the world ...

Can we at least call it poetical piratical irony?

The likely result? Murdoch will do what he did for MySpace and make Twitter seem utterly uncool. It's the most fiendish business plan ever devised ... and once the young abandon it, and the stock's price falls, he'll snap it up, so he can drive it even further into the ground ...

Take it away Mr. Lennon:

Nobody told me there would be days like these. Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar Mama ...

(Below: some recent tweets from arch twit exponent chairman Rupert).

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