Sunday, May 05, 2013
So it goes with the conservative commentariat, from homophobia to idle chatter about "abortion enthusiasts" ...
(Above: and as it turns out, from Fairfax journalists)
The pond's sympathy for Kate McClymont, whining about the difficulties of being a fearless journalist, evaporated the moment this line came up:
Jockey Jim Cassidy once spat on my back, well, given his size, the back of my knees, saying: "You fucking bitch, you've ruined my life." (Where angels fear to tread).
Cheap joke, cheap shot, though it's easy to understand why she did it. She was delivering a speech at the Australian Press Freedom Dinner on Friday, hosted by the MEAA and the Walkley Foundation.
No doubt everybody snorted into their beers, or their ports or their sherries or whatever else they were drinking, and a good laugh was had by all. Those short bloody jockeys, they're so bloody funny. Spit on your knees!
Oh slap my thighs and roll me all around.
It seems press freedom these days is the freedom to make midget jokes. It seems that's what serious journalists do. Make midget jokes.
Now Jim Cassidy wasn't a nice jockey, as you can see here, but if you're going to stand above the fray, stand aloof as a righteous crusader, should you be making midget jokes?
You see, midget jokes don't stand for much in a free and fearless press, they work much better In Bruges. No doubt it was nice to get in a short sharp dig at Cassidy - after all he did call her a fucking bitch - but is it wise to get down to the level of a midget?
You can see the problem the pond is having here, though it might pale against yarns of fearless fights against the Obeids, and bikies and legal actions and the rooting out of the evil that stalks the land, from which we're saved by Fairfax, and especially saved by Kate McClymont.
But who will save us from midget jokes?
Meanwhile, it seems nothing will save Niall Ferguson, one of the most fatuous of the neo-right, who stuck his foot and his tongue and his big mouth in it yet again, as reported in Niall Ferguson apologises for anti-gay remarks towards John Maynard Keynes.
Ferguson fatuously and infamously remarked that Keynes couldn't think about the future because he was homosexual and didn't have children.
Ferguson had to go to enormous lengths to try to dig himself out of the hole he'd prepared for himself, but here's where he continued to irritate the pond. As part of his grovelling apology, he said:
"As those who know me and my work are well aware, I detest all prejudice, sexual or otherwise"
What? He detests himself? He's full of self-loathing?
Wouldn't it be easier to say of course I'm a prejudiced git, what a pity I let my prejudices slip out that way. I do apologise for the slippage. And I love midgets.
As anyone who knows him and his work, Ferguson's full of prejudices and bilious bile, and the end of the western world is nigh clap trap, and he's a lightweight intellectual at that (remember his stoush with Krugman, encapsulated in The New Yorker summary here?).
You have to wonder whether it's all been buried in his noggin since the days when he was accused of hating Obama and having a Man-Crush On Paul Ryan.
Now there's nothing wrong with man crushes in general, but a man crush on Paul Ryan? Why that's as bad as a woman crush on mama/momma grizzly Sarah Palin...
Finally, there's a taste today for the sort of rhetorical excess and attack on rights to be expected during the Abbott years from fundamentalist Catholics like Miranda "let them eat two minute noodles" Devine, as laid out in The reality of abortion is exposed.
Seizing on the Gosnell matter, Devine makes reference to local abortion enthusiasts, as if anyone sensible would be an abortion enthusiast.
What is always forgotten in this rhetoric is what it was like in the bad old days. Women had few choices, none of them pleasant - including a back yard abortion, with all its medical, physical and social risks. Sad to say, very few can remember what it was like before campaigners like Bertram Wainer brought some sanity and some rights to women ...
If you want a reminder, have a read of the opening of David Grudmann's paper Abortion and the Law: a 25 year personal perspective (pdf format):
At 2.30 am, on a Saturday morning in the last week of October 1969, a 23 year old woman was brought into the emergency section of the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne. She was very ill and in a great deal of pain. Her blood pressure was 80/40, her pulse was rapid and weak. Her temperature was 39.40C. Her breathing was shallow. A foul bloody discharge emanated from her vagina. She was clinically in septic shock.
Emergency resuscitation procedures were started immediately. An intravenous line was set up and very high doses of broad spectrum antibiotics were commenced. She was admitted to the ward for observation and stabilisation prior to surgery. It was thought that she would need a hysterectomy. Twenty-four hours later she was dead. She was a victim of illegal backyard abortion.
In a just world, the politicians and the churches and their supporters like the Devine would have been had up on a charge of murder, because as surely as the backyard abortionist killed the woman by wielding the knife, so did they by wielding the words ...
Other alternatives were punitive. Imagine attempting to be a single mother without social or financial support, condemned to bringing up a bastard child.
So the usual solution was to have the child, by being placed in a house of shame, and then having the child snatched away, so that a lifetime of grieving could commence.
We all know how that worked out, with the Catholic church in the thick of it, though strangely if you google the story, and Julia Gillard's apology, it's British papers that turn up at the top of the page, such as the Daily Mail's 'Babies were snatched away before their mothers had even held them', and the UK Daily Terror, Australia's Roman Catholic Church apologises for forced adoptions.
That latter story suggests 150,000 women had their children taken away from them at birth, without their consent and often never to be seen again.
It's one of the most loathsome, sordid, pathetic and tragic episodes in the lives of women and the activities of assorted churches in this country.
In the pond's extended family, and typical of working class families, all three "solutions" were known - the rough abortion, the bastard child ignored by the family at large, and the snatched away child and the lifetime of grieving. None of them were easy, all of them were hard for the women involved. There is no easy solution, there are none without emotional risks and consequences.
And yet the Devine has the cheek to rabbit on about "abortion enthusiasts".
While at the same time, the Catholic church officially contains to condemn contraception outside the rhythm method as a sin. So they get you coming, and then they get you going ...
You won't find anything in the Devine's rhetoric about how she intends to avoid unwanted pregnancies - getting the church to accept the sensible, sane use of contraceptives - or what to do if abortion was banned and backyard abortions became viable again, or how to deal with the consequent victimisation of people, as performed in the old days by the Catholic church and religious bodies anxious to get their paws on surplus stock.
You won't find the Devine standing in judgment of a church run for and by men, who espouse a complete absence of sex as a way of life, and instead propose a kind of mystical fucking with a long absent god tucked away somewhere in their head, the madness such that many resort to molesting children.
That's the way it goes with the conservative commentariat.
An incessant ranting homophobia and an incessant constant desire to take away the right of women to control their bodies (and if you want to find where a lack of control gets you, have a listen to Anne Summers describing her experience with a back yard abortionist - The operation that made me a criminal, forced video at end of link).
Some days it's impossible to maintain a sense of humour and conceal the profound contempt the pond feels for fundamentalist Catholics like the Devine.
This is one of them ...
(Below: but there's always room for a couple of condom jokes)
Posted by dorothy parker at 5/05/2013 09:43:00 AM