Why do I continue to watch “Hadley!”? I’m sure its a symptom of some deep seeded self-loathing.
Amongst his right wing rantings I’ve noticed a running theme; the presence of journalists from The Australian criticising the Greens week in, week out. Curiously, Hadley seems to ignore one crucial fact, The Australian believes the Greens are “hypocrites; that they are bad for the nation; and that they should be destroyed at the ballot box”. Irrespective of personal views on the Greens, it is truly appalling that a newspaper, which the public has a right to expect objective coverage from, has an editorial stance to see the destruction of a political party that has the support of at least 11% of the population, and Hadley too is apart of this concerted effort to wreck and ruin progressive politics in Australia.
To keep it short and sweet; fuck Hadley and fuck The Australian.
I mentioned in my rant yesterday that Portia di Rossi refused interviews from men during her recent trip to Australia. I tried to give an explanation of how this was not sexist, but the constrains of a blog makes a lengthy analysis difficult. Hence the link (it’s in the title, how sick is that?). Pretty much explains how I feel. I also feel the authors general argument could be used to rebut nonsense like “reverse racism”. C’mon white men, you don’t catch hell.
Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine make me....something something
So I woke up this morning, in my friends house, at around 8.45 am. I had stayed the night to avoid spending an additional $10 (I’m a uni student cut me some slack) on a taxi to my place after we had cabbed home from West Ryde. As I woke up before him, and it was nearly 9, I decided to make myself at home and do what any 20 year old male would do after a night out, watch ‘Insiders’ on the ABC.
I knew this was going to be a bad idea when I saw the Herald Sun’s official dickhead Andrew Bolt was on the panel. To give a quick run through, Andrew is a conservative columnist and strong supporter of the former Prime Minister John Howard. Amongst other things, he believes the Stolen Generation is a myth, and that Earth’s climate has been cooling for the past 10 years. General horse shit. The upside to the situation was that everytime Bolt would open his fat ignorant noise hole, Barry Cassidy would have a look on his face roughly equivalent to “Fuck not again”.
About half an hour into the show the topic of gay marriage came up. Predictably, Bolt expressed his opposition to gay marriage. He seemed to imply that children raised in LGBT families would somehow be damaged. As I was ragin’ at the TV my friend happened to descend from his room. He kindly offered me the Sunday Telegraph to read. In an almost fate-like event I found myself to Miranda Devine’s opinion piece on gay marriage. Seeing as the ‘Insiders’ transcript isn’t up, I’ll focus the rest of this post on Devine’s piece.
Devine starts off with what I suppose is a take down of Portia De Rossi, who according to Devine did not do interviews with men in a recent visit to Australia. Devine classes this as “flagrant sexism” and goes on to decry that “selective intolerance has marked the gay-marriage campaign”. Firstly, one could hardly describe di Rossi, who has played heterosexual characters in shows like ‘Better Off Ted’ and the classic ‘Arrested Development’, as a sexist. But even if she does hold a venomous hatred for men, who cares? What does it matter? Devine seems happy to declare this as an example of sexism but says nothing of what clearly is the largest gender issue in Hollywood, the anorexic standard of beauty which tortures the minds and bodies of women for an unachievable goal, which di Rossi herself has suffered for in the past.
Devine then goes onto wax lyrical about the hardships conservatives face when opposing gay marriage, saying “anyone who dares speak against it is crucified as an evil homophobe or religious extremist, guilty of hounding youngsters to suicide”. She goes on to trash the general gay marriage movement, arguing it ignores the horrendous acts against LGBT individuals around the world, asking “Has anyone asked what gays think?”. She uses the words of gay rights activitist Dennis Altman to denounce the movement as “self-indulgent crap”.
It is obvious here that Devine wants to paint the gay marriage as some ivory tower liberal idea, divorced from the pains of LGBT people around the world. Simply put, she’s wrong. Numerouspieces of evidence show that denial of marriage equality rights causes a significant rise in incidence of anxiety diseases in LGBT people. I guess one could even see these surveys as “[asking] what the gays think”. Whilst she sees the victims of the gay marriage movement as being conservatives who get their feelings hurt by being called a homphobe, she ignores that systematic homophobia has led to LGBT people being six times more likely to be harassed then heterosexuals. Of course Devine’s not interested in home grown homophobia, instead focusing on the evils of “less enlightened” (READ: Black and Brown) parts of the world. Yes, any issue can be turned into a dog whistle for right-wingers like Devine.
What Devine is trying to do is create a dichotomy between fighting for equal marriage rights and fighting homophobia, acting as if there can only be one or the other. I get the feeling that had Devine been a columnist in the 60’s she would have argued that the civil rights movement would have to choose between ending segregation, or ending the racist killings of activists and the bombing of southern churches, because you can’t have both!
Devine finishes the article by asking “what gays will (sic) bring to the institution of marriage … how will they improve it?”. Here I can see some sort of agreement with Miranda, after all when one third of heterosexual marriages end in divorce you can see that the current model seems to be a spectacular failure that needs to be improved. The question itself reveals Devine’s deep seeded heterosexism, by assuming heterosexual marriages are the bar to which LBGT couples must better in order to get the same rights.
But this isn’t enough for Devine. She goes on to write “One consequence of remaking marriage to include gays is that it will be transformed from an institution centred on the well-being of children to one centred on the self-fulfilment of adults…….Marriage offers children the optimal chance to thrive, and grow up free of abuse. But this, it seems, is not worthy of respect or protection”. The clear implication here is that a gay marriage is bad for children, by moving away from a focus on “the well-being of children” and removing “respect” for an institution allows children to “thrive……free of abuse”. Devine overestimates just how well heterosexual marriages protect children, with 50% of divorces involving children. Indeed, had Devine spoken to Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen (top name), she would have found out that the paper is running a series of articles on domestic violence, a problem created by the introverted and patriarchial nature of nuclear family-style heterosexual marriage that Devine so loves.
In general though, the argument that gay marriage harms children brought up in the family is well and truly discredited. A 2007 review by the Australian Psychological Society into LGBT families found that children raised in such families were raised just as well as children in heterosexual families, as it is the quality of the parenting and general childhood environment that matters, not arbitrary family structures or parent gender ratios. Indeed, the review found that the main source of problems for children in LGBT families is societal homophobia. It is here that Devine could restore the “respect and protection” for “the well-being of children” by accepting LGBT marriage and family rights.
In an aside, during the parliamentary debate on gay marriage Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said “I will happily take any Labor senator or member to the front bar of any working-class pub that he nominates so that he can advocate gay marriage………I will happily stand back and hold his coat.” Apart from the fact that the Labor party has been disgraceful in not accepting gay marriage, the most recent poll has the majority of Australians supporting gay marriage, with 53% in favour and 36% opposed. Indeed 57% of Labor voters are in favour of gay marriage, so chances of a working class desertion seems unlikely. And whilst I don’t like to go all anecdotal, as I live in a working/middle class area, I get the vibe that most people are either actively or innocuously supportive of gay marriage. So whilst I don’t like to hurt conservatives feelings, my message to Boswell is simple: go fuck yourself.
I had a long struggle yesterday trying to come up with something to rant about on this thing. That was well and truly fixed this morning when I woke to hear the news coming out of the NATO summit in Lisbon. Two big news stories have come out of this summit; plans to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and an agreement on developing a missile defence shield.
So why has this news got me so geared up. Firstly, the missile defence shield , at the expense of offending Sarah Palin, is fucking retarded. It is a series of missiles that are supposedly able to shoot down other missiles. To give you an idea, it’s like getting you and all the other inhabitants of your house and the houses around you to stand over your collective fences and point rifles at one neighbour, too shoot one of their bullets down just in case they have a gun. The whole thing is a fairly paper thin threat towards Iran, which will now have to deal with conveniently placed NATO missiles as well the constant pressure from Israel, and shows just how committed NATO is to war and militarism in spite of any of its rhetoric on maintaining peace.
The second story is the withdrawal. This, on the surface, may seem as if it’s a good thing. Without even debating why we are in Afghanistan (too make it clear, I don’t believe bombing one of the most brutalised nations in the world will bring about peace any time soon), it is clear that the entire war is becoming a quagmire. The war is becoming increasingly unpopular, with the majority of Australians supporting withdrawal, in direct contrast to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s feverish demands to occupy Afghanistan for at least another decade. Of course the main driving force behind the popular opposition to the war is the deaths of Australian soldiers (I like to note here that if both leaders really cared for the troops as much as theyclaim, then they would end Australia’s involvement immediately to keep them out of harms way). And whilst the deaths of soldiers in an unpopular (and I would argue unjust) war can never be excused, there is also the too often ignored tale of the increasing Afghan civilian death toll, with official UN statistics (which are often grossly understated) showing a 31% increase in 2010. Current attempts at US led reconciliation seem to be failing, with the the US seemingly focused on eliminating opponents of the occupation rather then securing peace.
It is for these reasons that I support a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. However, I maintain a deep skepticism of any thing led by the US and NATO. Withdrawal plans are “conditional”, a euphemism used by the Bush Administration that aimed at easing public tension whilst keeping the occupation alive and kicking. It already seems that our Government is confident that Australian troops will stay in Afghanistan despite the 2014 deadline.
But the real cause of skepticism comes from the supposed withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. President Obama announced on the 27th of February that the US would begin withdrawing troops and end combat activities. Hidden within the plan was the retention of 50 000 troops and a mass expansion of the presence of private security contractors. As Jeremy Scahill pointed out in an interview on Democracy Now! the US intends to maintain their embassy in Baghdad. This seems like nothing special until you realise the embassy is the size of the Vatican City, making it the largest embassy ever built, by anyone, at any time, clearly aiming to maintain a US stranglehold over the domestic control of Iraq. It is clear that the American Government and Military has no intention to ever allow Iraq to be a truly sovereign nation, and I fear the exact same is in stall for Afghanistan.
I have no doubt painted a bleak picture of the current situation in Afghanistan. The Afghan people have suffered long enough, and if they do not have a natural right to self-determination as is often implied, then they have surely earned that right multiple times over. This can only come about with a true withdrawal of foreign troops and contractors, allowing all the Afghan people to negotiate a peaceful and just reconciliation. Such a withdrawal can never be led by occupying forces, who will always act in there own interests to maintain control over the occupied people. A true withdrawal can only come about through a struggle from below, both from the people of Afghanistan, and from the people of the occupying nations. We share a common interest, and interest in producing a peaceful world where we do not waste our resources on destroying one another, but rather use them to produce that better for each generation. It is only through this struggle, that we can expect a true end to the Afghanistan War.
So I wanted a really visceral opening blog, but seeing as exams are done and I’ve been listening to Best Coast and Girls all day, I can’t seem to get angry at anything. BUT! I did manage to come across some great articles, so ill pull a Mike the Mad Biologist and give y’all some links!