Sunday, September 10, 2006

some random sunday thoughts

this morning i woke up thinking about germaine greer and the whole steve irwin controversy that she sparked with her newspaper article. i was wondering why it is that so many people hate her. why do we fear the greer?

this is a theme that i visited early on in this blog's life, with a promise that i would write something on it. germaine has long been a prickly figure, who seems to make everyone pissed off when she opens her mouth. i want to explore the reasons why this might be, and why she seems to have the status of someone who's embarrassing and you roll your eyes whenever she publishes. it reminds me a bit of the former saint helen de garner who fell from the pedestal when she published the first stone. it became apparent to me how much vitriolic reaction she was attracting because of it when i was at a party and tried to discuss the book with some friends. they were all most hateful, and totally condemned her, while i said things like, well she tackled a difficult subject, she admitted her weaknesses and was brutally honest, not the least with herself and i love her candour. but no one would give me an inch. and when i asked, none of them had read the book.

i started writing the greer thing this morning, on my laptop in bed, feeling like carrie. then i got out of bed, had some toast and then john returned back from a trip out to get a birthday present for princess (next tuesday everyone. TEN YEARS OLD.) he brought the papers home with him.

i had a quick look at the front page of the age, and wondered why my reaction to peter brock's death has been so neutral verging on not-much-sympathy, in comparison to the croc man's death, where i felt sorry enough to encourage the kids to write cards to bindi.

i can say what the reason was. put simply, brock recently left his partner of more than 25 years. i'm being a hypocrite when i say that i felt sorry for steve because although he was flawed, you could say he had a good heart and was a very authentic "bloke." but why am i more accepting of his flaws (which were kind of in the "tool" basket) than brock's?

we are all flawed human beings, but i guess we tolerate some flaws more readily than others.

then, also on the front page, there's an article, small, bottom left corner, reporting that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT SADDAM HAD ANY CONNECTIONS TO AL-QAEDA.

let me ask you a question. did you at any time think there were links? why did you think that?

when i disussed it with john a while ago, with me saying, and there's no evidence that saddam was connected to al-qaeda, he said oh, i thought there was.

so people obviously thought there was. because it had been suggested, repeated, by governments around the world, the media dutifully reported what the pollies said, and just like that, with a wave of the wand and a shower of glittery stuff, an idea is planted, and grows in the public's mind. if you read the news thoroughly and follow stories, you can get a glimmer of what might be the truth. but if you rely on talk with others, and reading headlines and/or first paragraph stuff, then you are missing out. likewise if you read the herald-sun. i also think that the australian, being a murdoch paper, is much more tabloidy and less solid than people realise. the australian has the formerly-deserved reputation of being the most high-brow, generalist paper available in melbourne, which i think is bunkum. it's getting more low-brow by the day. look at their selection of images, and their use of headlines and you'll see what i mean.

i couldn't read the article in full, i was already feeling the pain. then i turned the page, and there's an article about a school reference book which contains text about state-sponsored or organised terrorism, with mention of the united states and israel amongst several other nations. and about how the government is demanding it be withdrawn from schools.

if this isn't attempted censorship, then what is?

if this isn't evidence that our government, like all governments around the world, is trying to creating its own history by taking certain perspectives, and by doing this, manipulating us, then what is?

i just had to leave the paper. i can't stand it. i just can't stand it. that people either can't see it, or just cry conspiracy theory when you try to talk about this sort of stuff.

does anyone share my brain ache about all this?


Anonymous said...

I dont think it is just the government that is manipulative, it's also various media, visual imagery that has more effect on the brain, and makes everything really confusing.

While Germaine has a point, and i think today's heroes are pretty pathetic, the biggest contribution of Irwin was to inspire the confidence of kiddies to follow their passions, whatever they are.

I never understood sportspeople as heroes, Or philanthropy emblazoned with the donor's name.

Chai said...

Why clokey thought what he thought.

And regd Brock v/s Irwin, Brock's goals were not ss grand... whereas Irwin tried to change the world.

Regd the Australian, I once got a 10 week subscription for $4. It is so infuriatingly biased that when I was offered the same deal, I declined and continued my Age subscription which is like $26 for 4 weeks. If you know me, this is a HUGE statement.

Chai said...

ss grand = so grand

I'm not Craig said...

Thanks for the post. I’ve been up most of the night with a baby who won’t sleep and it’s nice to have some stuff to think through during that spare time. This comment may get ridiculously long, but here’s what I’ve been thinking since 3am…

Helen Garner
My mother in law has met Helen Garner and she tells me that she is a lovely person. I don’t hate Helen Garner, but I disagree with nearly everything that she has ever written (well, the parts I’ve read, which includes “The First Stone”). For a fairly good analysis of where Ms Garner went wrong with that book, I recommend “Bodyjamming”, edited by Jenna Mead, which is a collection of essays in response to that book, including one from one of the two women who were the subjects of Ms Garner’s book.

Germaine Greer
Ms Greer has said and written many wonderful things in the past but some of her recent statements have been just plain silly. I won’t list them all, but I remember seeing Ms Greer on “enough Rope” a few years ago. The one statement that continues to bug me most was “Women don’t realize how much men hate them.” When Denton challenged that statement, she responding by referring to how often women are killed at home by their partners.

The only implication from all this was that all men hate all women. The idea that I hate my wife, possibly enough that I may want to kill her, is too appallingly offensive to put into words.

Also, I haven’t read her article on Steve Irwin, but for fucks sake, the guy just died. He seemed like an incredibly genuine bloke who cared deeply for his family and the environment. This is a terrible time for his wife and two children, and if Ms Greer had an issue with him she could have written it whilst he was alive, or waited until his family had at least started to come to terms with losing him. To stick the boot in just after his death is low and cowardly and looks like nothing more than a very cheap plea for attention.

I remember that within about a week after the September 11 attack the US government attempted to link Saddam to the attacks, or to Al Qaeda, or both. This was universally dismissed as ridiculous and the neocons in the administration temporarily pulled their collective heads in. Unfortunately, they didn’t give up, and it is deeply distressing that after a few months of reworking their strategy they managed to come up with enough implication and innuendo and baseless assertion to convince large parts of the American public (and Australians too, apparently) that there was some sort of link.

It scares me that public opinion is so easily influenced, and annoys the hell out of me that the public continues to vote for people who have been shown time and time again to be dishonest and willing to say and do anything to achieve their aims. It’s particularly wrong where the aim they want to achieve is a war. So many needless deaths.

Sorry, that did get rather long. In summary, hell yes I share your brain ache about all this.

BEVIS said...

I agree with I'm Not Craig. Both for everything he said in his above comment, and because my name is not Craig either.

BEVIS said...

PS - Happy Birthday to Princess for Tuesday!

Kit Fur Cat said...

As someone who knows family members of Peter Brock and grew up brain washed into the whole "Holden's rule, Ford's rust" thing I mourn Peter's passing.

I never got in on the cult of Irwin and have probably learnt more about him in the past fortnight then I did previously. He was part of my cultural cringe fear, which I doubt I am alone in.

I am not supporting Greer but she is right in one thing, she said something others were thinking (namely my elderly parents and others of their generation).

I am sad at Steve's passing, on many levels. If his death raises awareness and helps save more delicate ecosystems then it was not in vain.

Sadly I think we will see more idiots killing innocent creatures or "revenge" as some media outlets have labelled it.

Vale Steve. Vale Peter. Lest we forget; Vale Mr Chipp. Vale Mr Thiele.