Sandpit

March 13th, 2017

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 09:06 | #1

    The response to the untimely death of Bill Leak has shed light on how badly the language and terms of political discussion – especially about where power lies in Australian society – has been distorted.

    For some 20 years Leak was employed to draw a daily editorial cartoon for a national broadsheet newspaper published by the largest media corporation operating in Australia. The general outlook of that newspaper aligns with the interests of Australia’s most powerful business sectors, and with the dominant factions of the current goverment of Australia. Whatever may be said about Leak personally or about his cartoons, his was undoubtedly a position of power to shape the terms of public discourse, and by any objective criteria he was a member of Australia’s political and media elite.

    However, in the days since his untimely death we have been regaled by claims that Leak was some kind of persecuted dissident on a par with Nelson Mandela in Robben Island or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in exile, that his daily offerings in the OzFail were some kind of courageous outsider critique of “the elites”. and that criticism of his cartoons by those who (justifiably or not) found them offensive was a species of totalitarian suppression.

    This sort of Orwellian corruption of discourse about where power lies and how it is exercised in Australia needs to be incisively deconstructed and strenuously resisted.

  2. Smith
    March 13th, 2017 at 09:38 | #2

    @Paul Norton

    Leak will be forgotten in a matter of days, except by his supporters at News Limited who will try to keep the flame alive. But it will be for nought, because, unlike the Charlie Hedbo cartoonists, he wasn’t murdered. He died of natural causes, albeit much too young.

    This said, he shouldn’t have been pursued by the Human Rights Commission over the offending cartoon. Political cartoonists are supposed to give offence and it was a grievous error of judgement by the HRC to go after him. However, the claim, heard since his death, that his brand of cartooning was courageous, is ridiculous. His cartoons in the Australian appealed directly to the prejudices of the people who read the Australian. Sucking up to your readers is not courageous. If he’d published his cartoons in the Guardian – now that would have been courageous.

  3. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 10:44 | #3

    The thing is that it wasn’t the HRC that decided to go after him. A complaint was lodged pursuant to applicable legislation and the HRC had to consider the complaint in accordance with its complaints process.
    https://www.humanrights.gov.au/australian-human-rights-commission-s-complaint-process-complaints-about-sex-race-disability-and-age

    Further, in this particular case the woman lodging the complaint withdrew it before the conciliation process was able to commence.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/11/18/woman-behind-bill-leak-cartoon-complaint-dropped-charges-due-harassment

    Much of the commentary about this case has been avoidably mistaken about the second point. Most of what we read in the MSM about the workings of the HRC and its State and Territory counterparts is based on complete ignorance of the complaints procedures used by these bodies.

  4. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 11:39 | #4

    I have mixed feelings about Bill Leak. I didn’t like his reactionary cartoons on unions, power and wealth, safe schools, climate change and so on. Bit I think it was brave of Leak to take on Islam and the consequence of doing that was to make himself a potential terrorist target, according to Australia’s spooks. Apparently Leak moved house due to the threat. It is a great pity that much of today’s cultural relativist and identity politics Left fawns over Islam, as was the case when, in an argument with Jacqui Lambie, a self-promoting narcissist named Yassmin Abdel-Magied told us on Q&A that Islam the most feminist of all religions. After that event, the cultural relativist Left piled on to the soft target, Lambie, who is admittedly a fool, and portrayed Abdel-Magied as a victim. I didn’t see any attempt to deconstruct the nonsense claim that Islam is feminist or any attempt to deconstruct her claim that she is a poor little victim of racism who just so happens to be a ubiquitous media darling who quite literally gets to sit next to the prime minister for dinner and go on taxpayer funded junkets.

    Bill Leak summed the situation up with a perfect cartoon https://twitter.com/ZanettiCartoons/status/832376552499261440

  5. david
    March 13th, 2017 at 13:20 | #5

    I appeared as a defence lawyer in the criminal courts for 40 years and I confirm of those I appeared for, often sex offenders generally for rape, indecent dealing or other child abuse offences, the defendants were almost 100% non-aboriginal. I cannot recall anyone including the now departed Bill ever satirising this obvious fact. The fact of aboriginal fathers being drunkards and ignorant of their childrens’ names or needs never came up in my experience. To so represent this as a fact with so little regard for the feelings of aborigines or more particularly aboriginal fathers is no more free speech in play than my walking down the street and abusing a 12 year old girl as being a “slut” because she wears a Justin Bieber T shirt.

  6. Julie Thomas
    March 13th, 2017 at 13:50 | #6

    “It is a great pity that much of today’s cultural relativist and identity politics Left fawns over Islam, as was the case when, in an argument with Jacqui Lambie, a self-promoting narcissist named Yassmin Abdel-Magied told us on Q&A that Islam the most feminist of all religions. After that event, the cultural relativist Left piled on to the soft target, Lambie, who is admittedly a fool, and portrayed Abdel-Magied as a victim.”

    I think it is a great pity that some people see fawning in behaviour that is, in other less vindictive interpretations, simply a withholding of critique until it becomes appropriate to be critical without adding to the demonisation that the “admittedly a fool” Lambie and her kind are so willing and able to prosecute in this anti-Muslim climate.

    I saw no victimisation of the “self promoting narcissist” – and isn’t that self-serving personality diagnosis a giveaway as to the possible personality features of people who choose to see fawning behaviour where it doesn’t exist.

    I did ‘see’ in the claim that Islam was ‘for her’ the most feminist of all religions, an interpretation of Islam from an Australian perspective that is the way in which Islam will be integrated into Australian culture and become part of our way of life.

    Bill Leak was not brave; just a brain damaged man with too many psychological issues that were present before his famous fall from a balcony, to be capable of summing up any situation with any insight.

  7. Tim Macknay
    March 13th, 2017 at 13:56 | #7

    Good news that the attention focused on One Nation in the lead-up to the WA state election has not led to any substantive results for that party at the ballot box.

  8. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 14:58 | #8

    A comment I have made in response to Smith @2 is held up in moderation. What it basically says is that the AHRC did not decide to “go after” Leak. It received a complaint from an Aboriginal woman which it then would have acted on in accordance with its procedures.

    In the first instance this would have entailed writing to Leak informing him of the complaint (with a copy of the complaint attached), inviting him to respond to the complaint, and informing him of the AHRC’s procedures for resolving the complaint, which in the first instance would have involved a conciliation conference between Leak and the Aboriginal woman to allow the two of them to try to resolve the matter to their mutual satisfaction.

    As the Aboriginal woman withdrew the complaint before it reached the conciliation stage, the only other communication Leak would have had from the AHRC would have been a letter informing him that the complaint had been withdrawn.

  9. GrueBleen
    March 13th, 2017 at 15:28 | #9

    @Paul Norton
    The only thing I would add to that, Paul, is that Leak’s lawyer has stated that he responded to an HRC communication by claiming the 18d defence, but as far as I’m aware, this was at an early stage – in response to the initial HRC notification, I think. Hence, I believe, Trigg was correct in stating that Leak (and/or his lawyer) had not made a formal notification re defences.

  10. GrueBleen
    March 13th, 2017 at 15:41 | #10

    @Julie Thomas
    Well put, JT.

    I would note that there is actually some ‘objective’ evidence for claiming Islam as more ‘feminist’ that any variety of Christianity or Judaism, and that is the right of married women to retain their own personality, and their own property.

    Islamic women have retained the right to own and control such property as they may bring to the marriage, whereas this right has only been extended to Christians very recently. Indeed, I can still remember when women in Australia (regardless of religion) could not get any kind of bank credit without getting a male ‘guarantor’ to sign the loan application.

    So even a well off woman (say a female lawyer or doctor) couldn’t get a loan to buy a house without having the approval of some ‘guarantor’ male. That says a lot for so-called Judeo-Christian Civilisation, doesn’t it.

    So personally, I wouldn’t rush to criticise Yassmin. I think she has a clearly objective case for the “religion” – but maybe not so much for the society and its laws, Sharia or otherwise. But then “Judeo-Christian Civilisations” haven’t obeyed their holy book(s) much either – “Thou shalt not bear false witness” ? Say no more.

  11. Sancho
    March 13th, 2017 at 16:35 | #11

    Apologising for Islam is destroying the Left. It does more to delegitimise progressive politics than any amount of lying or cynical maneuvering or fake news from the domestic right.

    Most voters in western democracies are poorly-informed and non-political. They don’t care about the fine points of Islamic theology and Koranic tradition, and they don’t think a lot about the complexities of post-colonialism and globalisation. They only know that 1.5 billion people are vocally and violently opposed to Enlightenment values and small-l liberal ideals, and also very keen to emigrate, en masse, to wealthy nations where those ideals are dominant.

    What should those voters think when they see the Left falling over itself to excuse and protect religious ultraconservatives solely because it upsets their slightly less religious, slightly less conservative domestic opponents?

  12. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 16:45 | #12

    When I see Yassmin Abdel-Magied engage in David Irving style historical revisionism, or seek counsel from Hizb ut-Tahrir, I see a George Pell in drag, period.

  13. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 17:00 | #13

    @Julie Thomas

    “Bill Leak was not brave; just a brain damaged man with too many psychological issues … ”
    Wow, that’s unnecessarily vicious. As to Yassmin Abdel-Magied, she has constructed a infantile version of Islam in which it was progressive until the white colonialists interfered, which is a childish discourse that has appeal among certain elements on the Left.

    junkee com/ junk-explained-heres-everything-jacqui-lambie-doesnt-know-about-sharia-law/42598

    GruBleen:

    “So personally, I wouldn’t rush to criticise Yassmin. I think she has a clearly objective case for the “religion”

    In my view, she really is no such thing. Her victim’s version of history is objectively racist, pits white against the Other and fails to acknowledge the shortcomings of a religion which go back its brutal warlord founder who waged war, raped and enslaved, had a gaggle of wives and deflowered a 9 year old, which, even by the standards of the time, was pushing things (from my readings 11-12 being a more likely age).

    A progressive Islam, Christianity or Judaism is only possible if it faces up to the horrifying events in their histories, the ugliness of the theologies and the wicked bits in the foundational texts (like the god-ordered genocide of the Canaanites in the Old Testament).

  14. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 17:20 | #14

    @Paul Norton

    According to the Human Rights Commission website:

    The President may terminate a complaint on the grounds set out in s 46PH, being:

    (c) the President is satisfied that the complaint was trivial, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance;

    The complaint against Leak should have been immediately binned on the grounds that it was misconceived, lacking in substance and trivial.

  15. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 17:37 | #15

    Considering that representative Aboriginal organisations of the standing of the NSW Aboriginal Lands Council took issue with the cartoon that prompted the complaint, it would have been a cavalier use of the President’s powers under that section (which are, in any case, in practice exercised by AHRC staff on behalf of the President) to have immediately terminated the complaint rather than setting in train the conciliation process.

  16. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 18:50 | #16

    @Paul Norton

    Well, no, given the content of the cartoon, Bill Leak clearly had no case to answer. Satirists, including cartoonists, should be able to go about their business without being molested by political lobby groups. Any satirist worth his or her salt will be despised by the half the community. I’ve read that the stress of legal proceedings is equivalent to the stress experience during a relationship break up or the death of a loved one. I once experienced it personally and I found that contention that to be a right.

    Surely it is a human right to be free from vexatious weaponised litigation. Recep Erdogan is currently using litigation as a weapon in Turkey, Lee Kuan Yew (and his successors) used it to shut up opponents in Singapore and Gillian Triggs has done the same thing as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. Of course Triggs’ misdeeds are an order of magnitude less than the other examples I cite but aren’t we supposed to be a genuine liberal democracy?

  17. GrueBleen
    March 13th, 2017 at 19:08 | #17

    @HED PE

    “Bill Leak was not brave; just a brain damaged man with too many psychological issues … ”
    Wow, that’s unnecessarily vicious.

    No, just a factual statement.

    Yassmin Abdel-Magied, she has constructed a infantile version of Islam

    Wau, that’s unnecessarily vicious.

    Her victim’s version of history is objectively racist, pits white against the Other

    But isn’t that the very essence of colonial history: pitting “whites” against “the Other” ? Or have I completely misunderstood the European rape of Africa, in particular ? Of course it’s also true that “colonial history” pitted whites against whites in numerous so-called “World Wars”. Mere tens of millions killed in a couple of colonial adventures during the previous century.

    a religion which go back its brutal warlord founder who waged war, raped and enslaved, had a gaggle of wives and deflowered a 9 year old, which, even by the standards of the time, was pushing things (from my readings 11-12 being a more likely age).

    Then your readings are very fallible – Mohammad was just as much a myth as Iesus Christos and Siddhartha Gautama. But I am interested: what was your reading ? The Quran in the original Arabic ?

    A progressive Islam, Christianity or Judaism is only possible if it faces up to the horrifying events in their histories,

    Provided that we are talking about real histories, not myths such as the ‘Caananite “genocide”‘.

    But what I was talking about was the distinction between the ‘religion’ as expressed in its holy books and its variety of canon law (eg Sharia) and the actual practice of the religion’s adherents. So far as I can see Muslims are no more rigorous at behaving according to their religion than Jews or Christians are. Go to any “believing” Christian and ask him how many sacrifices to Jehovah he’s made – you are aware that the Bible requires its believers to commit ritual sacrifices, yes ? And to kill sinners such as those who labour on the Sabbath ?

    And that is what is called “the separation of Church and State”..

    Nonetheless, there is much in Islam that was indeed more protective of women and their rights than in Judaism or Christianity – the marriage property laws being a prime example. We should all keep in mind that humanising our society has been a “long slow march through the institutions” since the liberation that was begun in the Enlightenment

  18. GrueBleen
    March 13th, 2017 at 19:14 | #18

    @Sancho

    Apologising for Islam is destroying the Left.

    Maybe, but it’ll have to take its place in the queue along with all the other things that are “destroying the Left”.

  19. Smith
    March 13th, 2017 at 19:14 | #19

    @Paul Norton

    Triggs should have used her judgement and strangled the case at birth. The point of having someone distinguished, experienced and capable as HRC President is that they have the antennae to know which cases to pursue. If the HRC President is just going to be a box ticker who hides behind processes you might as well have the work experience kid in the job.

  20. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 19:47 | #20

    @GrueBleen

    But isn’t that the very essence of colonial history: pitting “whites” against “the Other” ?

    Colonial history, i.e. the history of colonisation, is an ongoing historial process for which we have evidence dating back to prehistory. The Middle East, including north Africa, has been carved up by various empires over many thousands of years. The Egyptian empire once stretched from Sudan to Syria, for example. Islam itself resulted in many empires and had some success in places you would presumably call white, like parts of modern day Ukraine, Spain, the Balkans, Sicily etc etc.

    So where did you get the idea that empires were all about something called white? The Teletubbies? SpongeBob Squarepants?

    Mohammad was just as much a myth …

    No, he was an historical figure, although we can’t be 100% sure about the historical details.

  21. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 20:20 | #21

    @Paul Norton

    To add to my point, GrueBleen below tells us that every historical episode of colonialism, including the work of the Aztecs and Incas, had white power pulling the levers (even though no white person ever new these empires existed until the 16th century!). Technically this is a racist claim and I could lodge an RDA complaint. But would this be in keeping with the principles of liberal democracy?

    Surely the RDA should be about real and substantive racism that can have a major impact on people’s lives, for instance “x” calling for the mass liquidation or placement in concentration camps of everyone belonging to ethnic group”y”. I don’t think the rough and tumble of everyday banter should clog up the courts and that’s why I’m not going to sue Julie Thomas for her defamatory comments about me on this thread.

  22. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 20:21 | #22

    HED [email protected], only 3 per cent of complaints lodged with the AHRC proceed to court. The great majority are resolved via conciliation. The “ordeal” that Leak faced, had the complaint been proceeded with, was that of sitting down with the Aboriginal woman who lodged the complaint, or perhaps even just having a phone conversation with her, to talk about the cartoon and her concerns about it and to see if they could agree on an amicable confidential resolution of the matter. This conversation would have been assisted by a trained conciliator and both Leak and the complainant would have been able to have a support person with them.

    Smith @19, perhaps Triggs used her judgment to decide that as a non-Aboriginal person it was not her place to cavalierly second-guess Aboriginal people about what they ought and ought not to take exception to.

    As a matter of historical interest, Triggs was President of the AHRC when Shurat Hadin lodged a complaint with the AHRC under the Race Discrimination Act against acdemics involved in anti-Israel boycott campaigns. She did not exercise her powers to terminate that complaint either, which in the event fizzled out totally when it went to court. We know that the loudest outcry against her had she done so would have come from exactly the same quarters that think she should have strangled the complaint against Leak at birth.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/10/israeli-legal-centre-abandons-lawsuit-against-sydney-academic

  23. Paul Norton
    March 13th, 2017 at 20:35 | #23

    In fact, we find that one of Leak’s QuadRANT hagiographers, Peter Smith, was an enthusiastic supporter of Shurat Hadin’s vexatious use of the RDA and the AHRC complaints procedures against supporters of the BDS movement.

    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2014/12/dancing-wailing-wall/

  24. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 21:11 | #24

    Paul Norton @22:

    You say Triggs didn’t bin the Shurat Hadin complaint but you quite rightly acknowledge that it was vexatious rubbish. To my mind this is another example of Triggs’ inability to exercise sound judgement.

    You also say:

    Smith @19, perhaps Triggs used her judgment to decide that as a non-Aboriginal person it was not her place to cavalierly second-guess Aboriginal people about what they ought and ought not to take exception to.

    I think most well rounded people are capable of empathy and as a woman Triggs should have ample personal experience of discrimination and she should have dismissed at trivial. Who cares what an Aboriginal person to takes exception to? As an opinionated retired diabetic, fat ugly middle aged working class white lefty guy raised by the dregs of rural white trash, I take exception to 100 things every day, including some of the comments on this thread, but I believe I have no right to use the judicial system to bludgeon everyone who annoys me. And no one has to care about my petty grievances either. In an open society, we should all be encouraged to take offence on the chin (different rules apply to children as bullying is objectively harmful and scary when you’re young).

    If I was Bill Leak and forced into conciliation (the HRC legislation allows for mandatory conciliation) I would have told the complainant to GFY, bared my hairy bottom in her general direction, tolder her that her mother was a hamster and her father smelled of elderberries, then done a cartoon about it.

  25. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 22:25 | #25

    @Paul Norton

    Further on this comment:

    Smith @19, perhaps Triggs used her judgment to decide that as a non-Aboriginal person it was not her place to cavalierly second-guess Aboriginal people about what they ought and ought not to take exception to.

    The legislation gives the AHRC President (i.e. Triggs) the duty of immediately knocking out complaints that are ” trivial, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance”. If Triggs can’t perform that duty, she is unsuited to the role and should resign. Or be sacked.

  26. Julie Thomas
    March 13th, 2017 at 23:05 | #26

    @HED PE

    Yeah whatever.

    Although I do have to point out to you that enlightened people understand that what you see in the people you deride is more likely to be true of your own self rather than an accurate analysis of the person you are judging. Have you ever wondered why you are so lacking in serenity and peace of mind?

    You seem a bit annoyed at certain things that a good psychologist could help you deal with more effectively than your whinging and complaints suggest you currently deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

    But feel free to sue me. I have been threatened before in that way by right wing people who object to my freedom to speak.

    There was an interesting interview on RN with Leak that occurred after his brain injury. Check it out and see if you can find any evidence that he had any interest in understanding the world around him from any perspective except his own as a fascinating and wonderful man who deserves to always be the center of everyone’s attention.

  27. Julie Thomas
    March 13th, 2017 at 23:11 | #27

    @GrueBleen

    Passing strange how right wingers are so apparently worried about the destruction of the left. As if freedom and fairness could ever be destroyed by a religion that is so similar to the Christianity that hasn’t managed to destroy these ideas.

  28. HED PE
    March 13th, 2017 at 23:33 | #28

    @Julie Thomas

    But feel free to sue me. I have been threatened before in that way by right wing people who object to my freedom to speak.

    Right wingers like you aren’t worth it and I have already said that I’m prepared to tolerates slugs in my garden as part of an open political ecology. I’m plenty serene, but you aren’t judging by your comment history, which looks like the contents of a toddler’s potty.

    You seem a bit annoyed at certain things that a good psychologist could help you deal with more effectively than your whinging and complaints suggest you currently deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

    Maybe your advice would be best offered to the whinger who objected to Leak’s cartoon?

    Check it out and see if you can find any evidence that he had any interest in understanding the world around him from any perspective except his own as a fascinating and wonderful man who deserves to always be the center of everyone’s attention.

    You enjoy trolling dead people before they’ve even been buried??! Now that’s creepy and offensive behaviour but I think it should still be legal. I’d be much more worried if you left your potty and computer and shared the streets with the rest of us 😉

  29. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:02 | #29

    Come on people. Let’s be civil.

  30. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:15 | #30

    I was hoping things would stay civil but that does appear to be possible with Julie Thomas. A quick google reveals a dozen occasions on which she has used the same types of insults when someone disagrees with her then she also likes to wheel out some sob story about mommy and daddy:

    Yep an intensely critical parent and years of depression and anxiety and intense inappropriate self-criticism dogged me in the first half of my life and I remain very aware of my faults.

    Strewth, the “intensely critical parent” obviously wasn’t critical enough!!

  31. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:17 | #31

    @Tim Macknay

    Were the initial comments on the self proclaimed muslim woman’s personality characteristics were civil? Or should you be more specific about who is not being civil?

  32. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:24 | #32

    @HED PE

    Slow down hon. Your grammar and ability to express your feeling are deteriorating.

    You don’t like women do you?

  33. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:27 | #33

    @Julie Thomas

    Rather obviously, you comments about me and Bill Leak’s still warm corpse were far less civil.

    But as an adult, I know Tim is right. Sorry folks, I will not feed the troll in future. Or to put it another way I will not reply to its baiting.

  34. Nick
    March 14th, 2017 at 00:54 | #34

    Come now little snowflake. Julie is just stating her opinion.

    There’s no need for all this pearl clutching. Take it on the chin, waffen-ssm.

    Sorry, HED PE. I’ve only visited that Zanetti twitter account you linked to once.

    Is that how they talk there? In oddly coded sexual humour and potty insults?

    “@ZanettiCartoons @yassmin_a Total c*** #deport & retrieve the tax payer money wasted on this bush pig”

    I’m not sure why you think it’s us who are harming his legacy?

    I honestly don’t get that. Why aren’t you out there criticising those people?

    Where’s the “ok mate, I know where you’re coming from, but tone it down a bit”?

  35. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 01:11 | #35

    @Nick

    I have no idea who Zanetti is. I linked to the first google search result twitter account with the cartoon. I didn’t read the comments because all I wanted to do was show the cartoon. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  36. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 02:06 | #36

    @HED PE

    So where did you get the idea that empires were all about something called white? The Teletubbies? SpongeBob Squarepants?

    Wau, that’s unnecessarily vicious.

    No, he was an historical figure, although we can’t be 100% sure about the historical details.

    So where did you get your historical “knowledge” from, The Teletubbies? SpongeBob Squarepants?

    Technically this is a racist claim and I could lodge an RDA complaint. But would this be in keeping with the principles of liberal democracy?

    Technically, that is a totally asinine statement.

  37. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 02:27 | #37

    @Julie Thomas

    Passing strange how right wingers are so apparently worried about the destruction of the left

    Without the “Left” who could they blame for all their failures ? If “the Left” didn’t exist, it would have to be invented.

    As if freedom and fairness could ever be destroyed by a religion

    Well Christianity did quite a bit of at least repressing freedom over the years. Starting from Constantine’s installation of Christianity as the official religion of Rome (completed around 400 CE) to the Enlightenment which began the process of sidelining religion in the 1700s is a long time, and it must have seemed to many along the way that indeed “freedom and fairness” were dead.

  38. Collin Street
    March 14th, 2017 at 06:05 | #38

    Technically, that is a totally asinine statement.

    If someone said that to you face-to-face you’d at least start to consider the possibility that there was something actually-clinically cognitively wrong with them, no?

  39. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 08:02 | #39

    @Collin Street

    If someone said that to you face-to-face you’d at least start to consider the possibility that there was something actually-clinically cognitively wrong with them, no?

    Technically, and in every other possible way, Collin, that was a totally asinine statement.

    And yes, I do consider the possibility that you have some clinically cognitive problems.

  40. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 08:14 | #40

    @GrueBleen

    You breathlessly told us that every colonial project ever undertaken on planet Earth is the work of white people, which means you think white people for toppling the Cham Kingdom, Genghis Khan, the Bantu expansion and the growth of the Incan and Aztec empires, in spite of their rather conspicuous absence, presumably through some type of sorcery. Asinine and cognitively impaired, anyone? And objectively racist.

  41. Smith
    March 14th, 2017 at 09:25 | #41

    @Paul Norton

    This reinforces my point. Triggs should not have let the HRC be used as an instrument by people looking to make cheap political points. She should have been strong enough to call BS on trivial or vexatious cases. This is what a strong President would have done. Yes, she would have been p*ssed on from a great height, but that comes with the territory when you are HRC President. By waiving things through that should have been stopped, she copped it anyway, created pseudo-martyrs like Leak, and created an opening for those who would like to declare open season on minorities.

  42. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 10:29 | #42

    From wiki:

    “The term “white race” or “white people” entered the major European languages in the later 17th century, originating with the racialization of slavery at the time, in the context of the Atlantic slave trade[12] and the enslavement of native peoples in the Spanish Empire.[13]

    “It has repeatedly been ascribed to strains of blood, ancestry, and physical traits, and was eventually made into a subject of scientific research, which culminated in scientific racism, which was later widely repudiated by the scientific community. According to historian Irene Silverblatt, “Race thinking … made social categories into racial truths.”[13]

    “Bruce David Baum, citing the work of Ruth Frankenberg, states, “the history of modern racist domination has been bound up with the history of how European peoples defined themselves (and sometimes some other peoples) as members of a superior ‘white race’.”[14]

    Alastair Bonnett argues that ‘white identity’, as it is presently conceived, is an American project, reflecting American interpretations of race and history.[15]”

    It is the “superior” judgement that ‘we’ (although being a woman means that I am never fully part of the category of superior beings like a white man is) came to have about our abilities and our progress vis a vis the rest of the human race that provides me with all the justification I need to constantly and so “breathlessly” critique western civilisation and consider that this is something that is all to the good of western civilisation which is sometimes regarded as a concrete thing rather than a continuing process.

  43. Paul Norton
    March 14th, 2017 at 11:02 | #43

    Returning to the general political point about reactions to Leak’s death, since the sad news came through last Friday QuadRANT Online has published ten consecutive items prompted by it, some of them written in the purplest prose you will ever read outside of a certain kind of student newspaper. QuadRANT has published no articles about any other matter during this period, and certainly not the WA State election result. Compare this with Green Left Weekly publishing just seven articles in two weeks last November/December prompted by the death of Fidel Castro, without featuring him on the front page of either of those two editions.

  44. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 11:16 | #44

    Not a peep about poor old Bill Leak and what an awesome intellect he was on the Pauline Hanson page though.

    Currently the main topic is the terrible cost of airport parking but surprise surprise very few of the fans seem to care about this and instead are wanting Pauline to do something about the cost of hospital parking.

  45. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 13:45 | #45

    @Julie Thomas

    Were the initial comments on the self proclaimed muslim woman’s personality characteristics were civil? Or should you be more specific about who is not being civil?

    While I thought HED PE’s apparent determination to have an argument about Yasmin Abdel-Magied was a sign of trouble, his comments about her weren’t noticeably worse than what is often said about public figures on this blog. My comment was prompted more by you and HED PE being uncivil to each other, than about public figures. HED PE is clearly the main culprit, although I suppose I made my comment general because I would have found your characterisation of him as a right winger insulting had you directed it at me, so a read it as a bit on the uncivil side.

    I listened to that RN interview with Bill Leak that you mentioned. I was very interesting, but I think it’s a little unfair to characterise Leak as overly self absorbed based on that interview alone, given that the subject of the interview was himself and his experiences. I think anyone’s responses in that context are likely to come across as a little narcissistic. It’s possible that he was a very self absorbed character of course. I wouldn’t know.

  46. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 13:51 | #46

    @HED PE

    I was hoping things would stay civil but that does appear to be possible with Julie Thomas.

    It’s always possible to stay civil.

    As you seem to be a relatively new visitor to Prof Q’s blog, I feel I should tell you that some of the sorts of things you’ve said on this thread have in the past led to other commenters being banned. If you want to keep on coming here and participating in discussions, I suggest that you tone it down and particularly try to avoid name calling and deliberate insults. This is meant as friendly advice, and I hope you take it that way.

  47. John Quiggin
    March 14th, 2017 at 13:55 | #47

    I’ll remind everyone and HDE in particular as a new arrival, of the requirement for civility.

  48. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 13:55 | #48

    @Julie Thomas
    That should be “I read it as a bit on the uncivil side”. Sorry.

  49. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:12 | #49

    @Tim Macknay
    It’s a little ironic that, in a comment where I took issue with you for characterising someone as overly narcissistic, I unintentionally typed the phrase “I was very interesting” instead of “it was very interesting”. Oops. 😉

  50. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 14:19 | #50

    @Paul Norton
    I just read some of the Quadrant articles. It really highlights what a tiny, hermetic circle the Sydney rightwing commentariat is.

    I tried to open the Pauline Hanson page, but it kept crashing by browser for some reason.

  51. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 15:08 | #51

    @Paul Norton

    I don’t understand why you would read Quadrant other than as some sort of academic exercise. Generally speaking, I’d prefer to take an acid bath. Does Quadrant have a big readership and influence?

  52. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 15:16 | #52

    @HED PE

    Or to put it another way I will not reply to its baiting.

    Oh yes you will.

  53. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 15:19 | #53

    @Tim Macknay

    I would have found your characterisation of him as a right winger insulting had you directed it at me

    Why do so many get so insulted by so little ?

  54. Tim Macknay
    March 14th, 2017 at 15:23 | #54

    @GrueBleen
    Good question. In my case, context, I suppose.

  55. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:12 | #55

    @Julie Thomas
    Interesting, JT.

    My view is simply that ‘superiority feelings’ are pandemic to the entire human race, but it took a lot of hard work to change that into ‘superiority complex’. Yes, the appalling pseudo-science helped it along, but that was really mainly a matter of using “science” to “prove” what was already “known” (and not for the first, or last, time).

    And I grant the Americans carried it to new depths, but they weren’t alone. Though I am curious as to whether any other group ever created an equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan – I’m not aware of any, offhand, but … Also interesting to consider Shakespeare’s Othello and what that might indicate about “race” attitudes then.

    Otherwise it is quite enervating how some just don’t know the difference between ‘conquest’ and ‘colonisation’ and have no concept of context.

  56. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:33 | #56

    colonization
    ˌkɒlənʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
    noun
    noun: colonisation: the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

    It is certainly intriguing to think that some apparently literate folk think colonisation is all about one particular race. I’m still waiting, breathlessly, for GrueBleen to explain how the Kinh conquering and settling in the old Cham Kingdom, eastern Khmer, and various smaller neighbouring lands to establish what we now know as Việt Nam was the work of white people, none of whom were within several thousand kilometres of these places. Once GrueBleen solves this riddle for the world’s historians, there are several thousand others awaiting his stroke of genius.

  57. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 16:52 | #57

    @Tim Macknay

    Thanks for your follow up. I am surprised that you think that what was said about Yasmin Abdel-Magied is normal comment on this blog. I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    I’d been on the right wing nut job site, you know the one that claims to be a leading libertarian site and the comments there about her were almost exactly the same as were made by HED PE. I don’t watch Q & A and the only thing I know about her is that it was clear she was saying that it was her interpretation that she was putting forward and she was not offering a scholarly treatise of the extant beliefs of Islam.

    It seems to me that her interpretation is one of the ways that Islam can and will be interpreted by Australians differently than it is interpreted in Middle Eastern cultures and through this reinterpretation it will become part of the famous Australian way of life. The two Muslims that I know well who have lived here in my community for decades now have their own idiosyncratic interpretations of their religion and what is good about it, as do the Christians I know.

    And…Did you miss the bit where it was said in among the many descriptions of the way HED PE likes things to be, that; “In an open society, we should all be encouraged to take offence on the chin” Perhaps I was aiming too high and missed his chin?

    And…. I didn’t really mean to say he was right wing – although I didn’t make any effort to clarify that sentence- that is true – but it is also true that it’s only right wing people who have ever threatened to sue me for what I’ve said. Terje did it a few years ago.

    I have read a lot more about Bill Leak than that particular interview and I wonder that it comes across as an insult to say that someone lacks the ability to think of things from other perspectives than their own. It is a common human trait I’d say and it takes a deliberate effort to learn to do such a thing.

    I think that Bill has always lacked self-confidence in himself and it is that lack of self-confidence that leads to lots of people coming across as self-absorbed. This was an observation that speaks to the conclusion I made that he doesn’t have the ability to do insightful critique of the complexity of the political and social world at the level that he is given credit for by his acolytes on the right.

    The Pauline Hanson site that I mentioned is a facebook page. Pauline Hanson Please Explain it is called. I read this sort of thing but I can’t come at Quadrant to keep up with what the right wing peeps are worrying about and test my own understanding of the complexity of the political and social world. The Pauline Hanson mob are very similar to some of my neighbours.

  58. Paul Norton
    March 14th, 2017 at 18:05 | #58

    HED PE @51, QuadRANT has a small readership but it includes people who are influential within right of centre politics in Australia, or closely connected with people who are. Its elegies for Bill Leak are very much in tune with what you might have read in the Murdoch tabloids. The current editor of its print version was a close associate of Margaret Thatcher.

  59. GrueBleen
    March 14th, 2017 at 18:59 | #59

    @Julie Thomas

    I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    My experience of this on ProfQ’s blog is less, I should say, than yours at least in recent times. However, I very much tend to agree. ProfQ has always tried to set the ‘tone’ of the blog as intelligent discourse about substantial issues – though some of us have occasionally veered off into interpersonal dialogue.

    Other than that, your (psycho)analysis appears eminently sound to me, but I’m not sure that quite enough account has been taken of Leak’s head injury. You would know better than me that “Traumatic Brain Injury” (so called) has a high rate of incidence among convicted criminals. So, I don’t know if Leak may have suffered TBI from his fall, but neither could I rule it out. And mainly, I could not know if any of that affected his later years. But his cartoons did become progressively more simple minded, confronting and combative (and he’s too old to put it down to lead in the brain, though he probably has that too).

    I’m somewhat entertained by the thought that TerjeP threatened to sue you – he was serious ? Yes, I guess he would be 🙂 And now we have a Pauline Hanson type here wailing “Please explain! Please explain?” all the time. I haven’t had the amusement provided by such a one in this blog, ever. Oh well, easy come, rough go.

  60. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 19:21 | #60

    @Paul Norton

    Prompted by your comment I ducked in to have a look at Quadrant for the first time in years and disicovered; the ALFW sucks, 60% of Australia will be taken over by the Aboriginals; unions sabotaged the WWII war effort; hagiographies of Bill Leak etc … It was just as sickening as I remember it. I can imagine Cory Bernardi and Tony Abbott reading this stuff but I doubt the more moderate elements in the Libs would bother. And none of it seems to be agenda setting. Maybe I’ll check in on Quadrant again in 5 years time in the forlorn hope that it will be readable.

  61. HED PE
    March 14th, 2017 at 21:06 | #61

    @Julie Thomas

    I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    You didn’t notice yourself kicking Bill Leak’s still warm corpse?

    Bill Leak was not brave; just a brain damaged man with too many psychological issues …

    We would never have any type of altercation if you hadn’t decided to breach the comments policy by telling me I was mentally deranged and in need of psychological help. I spent a good hour looking at your past comments on this and other forums and found 7 other occasions on which you’ve told someone you disagree with that they need psychological help interspersed with, random insults and sob stories about your own depression and hangups about your parents. I must say I’ve never seen anything like it outside of Catallaxy, a blog that I haven’t read in 10 years because too many of the commenters remind me of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining.

    Amyway, I’m hoping we can draw under this and proceed to engage in a mature and disinterested exchange of views on matters of political economy. I imagine John Quiggin has no interest or the time to provide a child minding service for old people.

  62. Julie Thomas
    March 14th, 2017 at 21:39 | #62

    @HED PE

    Short term memory problems or impulsivity?

  63. March 15th, 2017 at 08:26 | #63

    Just in case anybody was wondering, if Bill Leak’s corpse is still warm it’s because someone’s been storing it next to the radiator. Human bodies cool at about 1.5 degrees C an hour, meaning that about 12 hours gets you well back to room temperature.
    And I’ve even heard that some people use that new-fangled frigeration stuff.
    The What’s-his-name cartoon was hardly more objectionable than every second Bill leak cartoon, many of which would with a simple change of label have fitted neatly into Der Sturmer.

  64. Julie Thomas
    March 15th, 2017 at 09:07 | #64

    Yeah warm corpses – mmmmmm.

    I restrained myself from going there rather than indulge my very strong impulse to object to the patently irrational idea that corpses stay warm for so long but a fetish is a fetish and if loving Bill is your thing, who am I to object to an emotive reason for attacking a critique of a dead artist.

    But I found this comment on a rwnj site and I think it is so very insightful about why Leak is so beloved by the right and by some putative lefties.

    “I have been reflecting about Bill Leak and I think the thing I just adored about his work was that on seeing his newest offering, I felt that someone else was on my side, seeing things they way I see them.
    Of course he was much much funnier than I could ever be, but it was wonderful to know that someone out there “got” the same vibe about most things that I did. Got my copy of “Trigger Warning” today.”

    There are various attempts to explain what various humans find funny and not a lot of consensus but the finding of a fellow traveller is what Leak offered. Unlike the surprising and out of left field original but when you think about it obvious, associations that David Rowe and David Pope offer in their cartoons.

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media rather than pen and ink. The garish colours and uniformity of colour and line that digital platforms provide I found quite ugly but perhaps that was part of the ‘funny’ aspect for right wing people with their simplistic views of the world and how it should be.

  65. Vince
    March 15th, 2017 at 11:00 | #65

    @david

    Well said David.

  66. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2017 at 11:49 | #66

    @Julie Thomas

    I am surprised that you think that what was said about Yasmin Abdel-Magied is normal comment on this blog. I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    I didn’t mean to imply that it was ‘normal’ comment, just that it was no worse than other things that have been said about public figures on the blog that have not been regarded as beyond the pale. I am specifically thinking of a period a few years ago when many commenters were routinely describing figures such as Rudd and Abbott as narcissistic and psychopathic. I disliked this practice at the time, however I recall at one juncture Prof Q not necessarily endorsing comments of that kind, but noting that he didn’t consider the habit of speculating about the psychiatric status of public figures as unacceptable. It’s true that in this instance the target of the comments was a young woman rather than a powerful male politician, but the nature of the comment itself wasn’t fundamentally worse.

    Regarding Yassmin Abdel-Magied herself, like you I don’t watch Q&A and I rarely watch television at all, so I had actually never heard of her before I read online commentary about her exchange with Jacqui Lambie on, I think, The Guardian. As a result of the discussion on this thread I went and read the transcript of the Q&A episode. I must say I didn’t find anything particularly particularly unreasonable about Abdel-Magied’s comments. If she has found a way to make her religion compatible with feminism and with living in a modern liberal democracy, so much the better for her and the people around her. It was not as though she was demanding that her religious standards should be imposed on other people.

    Regarding Leak, I don’t think I said it was insulting to imply that someone lacks the ability to think of things from perspectives other than their own – only that it would be unfair to infer that on the basis of a person’s responses in an interview where they were asked to talk about themselves for forty five minutes. 🙂 You say you’ve read other things about Leak and your view isn’t based simply on that interview – fair enough, although I admit I’m rather skeptical that it’s possible to arrive at a conclusion like that about someone without actually knowing them well. On his cartoons – When I used to read The Australian (going back a decade now) I often enjoyed his work but I never noticed a particularly deep level of insight about politics and society. It was mostly playful mockery. I’ve barely noticed his more recent work apart from the ones that have attracted controversy.

    Like Gruebleen, I’m rather bemused that Terje had threatened to sue you. Presumably it was for defamation? I’d always had the impression that, whatever else you may say about him, Terje was at least consistent in his “libertarian” ideology. But it turns out that after all that, his “libertarianism” was just a self serving posture. Ah, well.

  67. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 15:34 | #67

    @Tim Macknay

    “…many commenters were routinely describing figures such as Rudd and Abbott as narcissistic and psychopathic

    But Tim, that is what they are and have repeatedly shown themselves to be, such that even amateur psycho-diagnosticians like us can understand. Stating facts is always acceptable, surely ?

    “…his “libertarianism” was just a self serving posture.”

    Have you ever known a self-identified “libertarian” for whom that isn’t true ? Real true libertarians have no need to label themselves or inhabit philosophical boxes – they just are, and do what they do, and to hell with the rest of us. And I never for a moment believed TerjeP to be an actual libertarian.

  68. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2017 at 15:39 | #68

    @GrueBleen

    But Tim, that is what they are and have repeatedly shown themselves to be, such that even amateur psycho-diagnosticians like us can understand. Stating facts is always acceptable, surely ?

    No, I don’t accept that at all. They weren’t statements of “facts”, they were the use of psychological or psychiatric terms as a way of disparaging people who were disliked for other reasons.

  69. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 15:39 | #69

    @Julie Thomas

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media

    And long before that, any sense of humour he once possessed, had thoroughly deserted him.

    Rowe and Pope, though unforgivingly savage, are still nonetheless funny (even if it’s often graveyard humour).

  70. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 15:45 | #70

    @Tim Macknay

    “…the use of psychological or psychiatric terms as a way of disparaging people who were disliked for other reasons.

    Well that may be true for you, but I didn’t and don’t “dislike” them – neither of them are in any way important enough to me for me to have “feelings” of any kind about them.

    I just wanted them to get out of the way and stop mucking up our nation and our lives. And that is what I still want – though I grant Rudd has pretty much gotten out of our lives recently. Abbott next.

  71. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2017 at 15:51 | #71

    @Julie Thomas

    And…Did you miss the bit where it was said in among the many descriptions of the way HED PE likes things to be, that; “In an open society, we should all be encouraged to take offence on the chin” Perhaps I was aiming too high and missed his chin?

    Sorry, forgot to mention that yes, I did actually miss that bit!

  72. HED PE
    March 15th, 2017 at 16:38 | #72

    @Tim Macknay

    Tim, if George Pell said that Christianity is the most feminist religion and blamed the Jews for the current defects in the Christian world, would you find that objectionable? I know I would and it is for that reason that I find Abdel-Magied’s historical revisionism and theology, as set out in the junkee article I linked to as well as the Q&A under discussion, repulsive. I also question her connections with Hizb ut-Tahrir, a regressive far right Islamic group that denounces Jews as wicked, hates gays and thinks 12 year old girls are ripe for marriage.

    I’m surprised that you haven’t heard of Yassmin Abdel-Magied because she seems to pop up everywhere, including next to Malcolm Turnbull at last year’s Iftar, which was a widely reported event. Here she writes about it in the Guardian www theguardian com /commentisfree/2016/jun/18/why-the-prime-ministers-iftar-means-a-lot-to-muslims-in-australia

    Obviously I would like to see progressive versions of all the Abrahamic religions take root and flourish in Australia but I don’t see Abdel-Magied as being part of that project any more so than George Pell.

  73. HED PE
    March 15th, 2017 at 16:51 | #73

    @Tim Macknay

    A blog is private property and the blog owner has set some rules. Thomas blatantly and routinely breaches those rules, I found seven cases during a quick search. When I said “cop it on the chin”, I wasn’t promoting an exchange of defamatory comments. I can’t see how meaningful intercourse is possible on a blog if folk start flaming each other. Thanks to Thomas’ thuggery, this thread has largely been a waste of time.

  74. Julie Thomas
    March 15th, 2017 at 17:39 | #74

    @Tim Macknay

    People vary in how they ‘see’ or interpret the significance in the things people do, or find patterns in human behaviour and in this case, I made an assessment that I recognised a pattern of behaviour that was irrational and not fair comment of the type acceptable here, but a critique that is characteristic of a male who just dislikes a certain type of woman.

    I have already explained that the comments were so very similar to the way in which the rwnj’s were talking about her at the time.

    HED PE didn’t only diagnosis that she was narcissistic but made some sort of accusation that she was stealing tax-payer money to go on jaunts or something like that – I’m not really that bothered to go back and check exactly what he said. But he was referring to a govt funded trip she took somewhere, which is another seriously right wing thing to say.

    As you say there is no real comparison between this woman and Kevin bloody Rudd as fair targets for comment or speculation on the psychological possibilities that motivate their behaviour. Good for you though for sticking up for PED HE. I like that.

    And having just read your later comment, you did miss things that HED PE said like; people should take offence on the chin. For me that comment just leaps out and hits me in some part of my thinking apparatus and red flags go up saying hello here is an up himself person who needs some therapy :). People have different abilities; we need to cooperate to build good societies.

    Thanks for agreeing that the woman deserved some credit for having “found a way to make her religion compatible with feminism and with living in a modern liberal democracy” and I thought of that today listening to Julie Dowling – an Aboriginal artist who was on today on The Spirit of Things, I think it was – explaining her way of finding Christianity to be compatible with her commitment to aboriginality.

    If I was marking her for her understanding of Christianity she would fail but in the context of integrating two seemingly incompatible cultures she gets full marks for creativity.

    The interview with Leak for sure was about him and his experiences, but Richard Fiedler, the interviewer, is so very good at going wherever the interviewee wants to go that if there had been any interest by Leak in how his brain damage affected his personality or the way he finds meaning in life the universe and everything it would have come out.

    I listen to Richard and his interviews with a variety of people as often as I can. There is so much grist for the mill; the mill being the attempt to understanding the patterns or rules of human behaviour.

    I was amazed at how little interest Leak showed in the meaning of some of the bizarre delusions that he had while recovering. The one about the old woman in a coma who he imagined had been making obscene jokes is particularly interesting as an indication of interest in understanding how he ‘works’ and where his ideas come from.

    Do you find this to be a negative criticism that someone is entitled to be offended by? I don’t think it is so.

    My previous interest in Leak has been about him as an artist not a political actor or cartoonist; artists are supposed to reveal themselves or somethings about themselves in their art. Bill’s art has always been banal and shallow and easy for people to like without wondering about anything significant. Again not necessarily a negative criticism; just an observation about his personality characteristics.

    Terje lol. It was on Club Troppo I think and Terjay didn’t like to be ‘psychoanalysed’ in the way that I do. He was quite sure it was abuse.

  75. Tim Macknay
    March 15th, 2017 at 18:43 | #75

    @HED PE

    Tim, if George Pell said that Christianity is the most feminist religion and blamed the Jews for the current defects in the Christian world, would you find that objectionable?

    Well, I generally take eveything George Pell says with a bargeload of salt. If he blamed the Jews for everything I’d certainly find it objectionable, but also unsurprising considering the extent to which anti-Semitism is baked into the theoretical framework of Christianity. If he argued that Christianity was the most feminist religion, I wouldn’t find it objectionable, although there is a distinct possibility I would find it risible.

    However I don’t think such a construction usefully resembles what Abdel-Magied actually said. From my reading of the transcript, her statement about Islam being “the most feminist” was a personal perspective and based on her understanding of some historical comparisons. Also, obviously, she is a successful young professional woman who doesn’t find her religion to be incompatible with that fact.

    As to the stuff about historical revisionism, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. I didn’t read anything like that in the transcript of the Q&A episode. Did she say it on another occasion? Her association with Hizb ut-Tahrir is odd, in the sense that her personal views and lifestyle don’t seem to match up with its ultraconservative prescriptions. But then, perhaps it’s not so different from a young professional woman who is a catholic seeking spiritual advice from a catholic priest, even though he is a representative of a rightwing, authoritarian and sexist religious organisation that harbours and protects child rapists. Religion is odd like that.

    I confess though I don’t really get your comparison with George Pell. Pell is a politically well connected senior official in a powerful established church who has reactionary political views independently of his religion, and uses his very considerable influence to promote a reactionary political agenda. Abdel-Magied is a 25 year old woman who has recently become a public figure, has limited powers of influence, and as far as I can tell, has relatively liberal political opinions. So the comparison makes no sense to me, nor does the fuss about her remarks.

  76. HED PE
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:22 | #76

    @Tim Macknay

    So the comparison makes no sense to me, nor does the fuss about her remarks.

    I did not say Abdel-Magied has Pell’s influence. Nonetheless she must be of some moderate significance as the federal Government has paid for her overseas trips, she gets to sit next to the PM for dinner, has written opinion pieces in The Guardian, Fin Review, SMH and so on and so forth. I thought my initial comment would have gone unnoticed and I am myself surprised by all the fuss. Here is the type of comment from Abdel-Magied that I find objectionable:

    what most people don’t know is that the misappropriated ‘Sharia’ invoked today by extremist groups and regimes is radically different from the original product, not least as a result of Western colonisation and modern imperialism.

    No one who has read about the history of North Africa/ME could take this racist nonsense, which mererly substitutes Westerners (code for whites) for Jews, seriously. From the time of the Prophet, North Africa/ME has been carved up time and again by numerous non-Western colonial enterprises, including the Ottoman empire. And sharia has always included slavery, stonings, amputations, mistreatment of women and gays etc.. These were not Western interventions.

    It is a great irony that Abdel-Magied pines for the days before the Western powers entered North Africa/ME because at that time her dark skin would have made her a suitable candidate for slavery, something that the Brits outlawed. You might recall that Saudi Arabia and Yemen only grudgingly outlawed slavery in 1962, after much nagging from Britain. But of course, even today prominent Islamic scholars in the ME argue for the return of slavery, including members of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars, like Al-Fawzan.

    Anyway, I’m way past bored with Abdel-Magied so I’ll leave it there.

  77. Ikonoclast
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:24 | #77

    When I was young, maybe 10 or 12, I first became aware of anti-Semitism. I didn’t get it. Wasn’t Jesus a Jew? If Christians disliked Jews, then they disliked Jesus. Then I became aware of the “Jews killed Jesus” reasoning. But Jesus was still a Jew and the Romans nailed him to the cross. Eh, what? About that time I gave up on religion. It made no sense at all.

  78. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:38 | #78

    @Tim Macknay
    Your response to Heterodox Economics Directory Political Economy (presuming, of course, that he isn’t actually a member of the hed Planet Earth gangsta rap group) is completely on target in my opinion. HED PEs response was puzzling – why would this have such an emotionally destabilising impact on him ?

    My own take, FWIW, is that Yassmin is a not very bright, nor experienced, young lady – though she is the ABC host to its quite popular series Australia Wide – who, in a different place and time, might have seriously wanted to be a “bride of Christ”. Her characterisation of sharia was, to me, inane: it isn’t written down, but people live by it rigorously even though it’s continually adapting and changing and takes a lot of carryon to unscramble.

    Kinda what life might be like for us if we only had unwritten common law (and maybe good old Christian Canon Law) to live by.

    But in respect of at least one point, she is correct: Sharia’s inclusion of a degree of female autonomy in marriage as well as a married woman’s right to retain property is way ahead of Christianity and Judaism. I can’t say I’ve actually closely read, or infallibly remember, the Bible from end to end, but I have simply never encountered anything written in the Bible that acknowledges any degree of female rights and autonomy. Therefore, clearly and demonstrably, her contention that – of the three Abrahamic religions anyway – Islam is the most feminist, is validated.

    So it goes.

  79. Ikonoclast
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:44 | #79

    @HED PE

    Abdel-Magied seems a fairly typical young religious person of almost any persuasion: high on religion and loving the high because it’s all about them being special and knowing more than anyone else. It’s hilarious to watch.

  80. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:52 | #80

    @HED PE

    Anyway, I’m way past bored with Abdel-Magied so I’ll leave it there.

    And so say all of us.

    But I have to say that your final post was a lot more reasonable than your first. Congratulations.

    And I am amused that Yassmin, too, simply can’t distinguish between two different things: colonialism and imperialism (aka conquest). The British did not colonise India, and the Dutch did not colonise Indonesia. They did respectively conquer and rule, though.

    But the British did colonise America (in competition with a few others), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya etc (and together with the Dutch tried to colonise South Africa). Quite different undertakings from sending in the troops and establishing an imperial ruling class – which is the trick that the Normans taught the Anglo-Saxons and later the northern Italians.

  81. GrueBleen
    March 15th, 2017 at 19:58 | #81

    @Ikonoclast
    It’s hilarious to watch.

    Quite so, Ikono.

    But you really will have to work on your history: there was no “Jesus Christ” so the Romans never him to a cross. Spartacus, on the other hand …

    And basically the entire ‘praxis’ of Christianity is of essentailly European – in fact Italian – origin, so the mythical “Jesus” being supposedly Jewish had no meaning for them – surely you’ve seen the very “caucasian” representaions of Jesus, Maryam, God etc. Not a Jew amongst ’em.

  82. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 11:29 | #82

    @GrueBleen

    Well that may be true for you, but I didn’t and don’t “dislike” them – neither of them are in any way important enough to me for me to have “feelings” of any kind about them.


    I think my view of Rudd and Abbott was the same as yours – I had no particular opinion of them as individuals, but as politicians I was glad to see Rudd bow out of the game and look forward to Abbott doing the same.

  83. Paul Norton
    March 16th, 2017 at 11:44 | #83

    The latest elegiac offering from QuadRANT includes the following:

    “What did they accuse you of, Bill, what was your crime?… My hands are trembling as I write. My eyes are full of tears. My heart is heavy with foreboding. When an artist, a writer, a poet, a satirist is persecuted, the country that lets it happen slides toward totalitarianism. No, that’s wrong. A country that funds a spiteful bureaucracy to punish those of whose words it disapproves is already there. It’s just a question of degree. To tolerate that is worse than simply being stripped of the freedom millions died to win and defend. Rather, it is to throw away freedom and liberty like so much worthless rubbish. Today they pick off a cartoonist and a laughing, joyful mob dips its hankies in the blood for souvenirs. Tomorrow? It could be any door — your door, my door, any door — on which the enforcer’s fist bangs in the darkness.”

  84. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 11:47 | #84

    @Julie Thomas

    Do you find this to be a negative criticism that someone is entitled to be offended by? I don’t think it is so.

    I didn’t mean to imply that I was offended by your characterising Leak in that way – I wasn’t. I do tend to think that if someone told me that I was incapable of seeing things from other people’s point of view, I would take it as a fairly serious criticism and, depending on the context and the intent of the person making the statement, potentially as an insult*. However, I agree that such a comment should not necessarily be regarded as a criticism – it might just be an observation, as was your comment about Leak.

    I agree with you about Leak’s account of his hospital bed hallucinations – he seemed to prefer to treat them as funny stories rather than pondering their meaning.

    *When I talk about insults I don’t mean to imply that I am always, or often, offended or hurt by insults. I’m using the term descriptively to refer to a type of comment that is intended to offend or hurt, rather than one that necessarily does so. Insults are often ineffectual.

  85. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 11:56 | #85

    @Paul Norton
    Good grief. That is absurd. They really have absolutely no perspective at all, do they?

  86. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 12:06 | #86

    I wonder if Quadrant has ever heard of Atena Farghadani.

  87. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 12:34 | #87

    @Julie Thomas

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media rather than pen and ink. The garish colours and uniformity of colour and line that digital platforms provide I found quite ugly but perhaps that was part of the ‘funny’ aspect for right wing people with their simplistic views of the world and how it should be.

    I’ve just had a look at some of Leak’s recent cartoons on his web site, and I have to say that you’re absolutely spot on. His use of colour had changed dramatically since a decade ago, and did become noticeably more garish. I was also struck that virtually all his recent cartoons more-or-less straightforwardly reflected ideological positions taken by The Australian, and repetitively covered a handful of themes, all of which were issues of particular obsession to the reactionary right. It’s a shame.

  88. GrueBleen
    March 16th, 2017 at 13:53 | #88

    @Tim Macknay

    I wonder if Quadrant has ever heard of Atena Farghadani.his more often.

    Well I hadn’t until you just mentioned her. The Persians were once a mighty people – only laid low by the idiotic Sassanid-Byzantium wars – and they may yet come again.

    But hey, that Quadrant cri du cul is really something – we should do this more often. But who’s left to do it to; would anybody get emotional over Larry Pickering these days ?

  89. GrueBleen
    March 16th, 2017 at 14:04 | #89

    @Tim Macknay

    “…virtually all his recent cartoons more-or-less straightforwardly reflected ideological positions taken by The Australian, and repetitively covered a handful of themes, all of which were issues of particular obsession to the reactionary right.

    But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    Now who said that, I wonder.

  90. Julie Thomas
    March 16th, 2017 at 14:13 | #90

    @Tim Macknay

    Some people lack the natural ability to feel empathy toward others; there are genes and there are dysfunctional upbringings that combine in complex ways to produce the variety of human personalities that we see.

    Tests show that I am one of the people who lack empathy. I score very low on scales that measure social skills and such but very high on rationality and problem solving. I really don’t understand why other people react in the way that they do, when from my perspective I’m simply telling them what I have observed and noticed about their characteristics.

    Not everyone is annoyed or inappropriately incredibly angry though; the problem if there is one is that I can’t tell who is likely to respond well to what I say and who is not.

    I don’t feel insulted or hurt, when people judge me and say things, like for example that I’m “thuggish”. I think about it and I get a second opinion from or one of my psychologist friends and psychologists seem to be the easiest people for me to get along with.

  91. HED PE
    March 16th, 2017 at 15:47 | #91

    Julie Thomas,

    thanks for mentioning Richard Fidler and his interviews on ABC radio earlier on this thread. I looked him up then listened to a couple of his podcasts, including the one with Bill Leak. Richard has a great interviewing style and comes across as a decent and kind man and I look forward to his futures shows.

  92. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 16:58 | #92

    I’m assuming it’s the same Richard Fidler who used to be one of the Doug Anthony All Stars years ago.

  93. HED PE
    March 16th, 2017 at 17:23 | #93

    @Tim Macknay

    Yes, he is. I thought the face looked familiar but I did not recognise the name so I checked his wiki bio. All three Doug Anthony All Stars come across as intelligent and pleasant chaps in my view. Poor Tim Ferguson now uses a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis.

  94. Tim Macknay
    March 16th, 2017 at 17:54 | #94

    @HED PE
    I didn’t know that about Tim Ferguson. I’m sorry to hear it.

  95. HED PE
    March 17th, 2017 at 13:25 | #95

    The new ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, said something quite reasonable, which is that it can be OK for individuals to break unfair laws. This is what the suffragettes had to do to get women the vote, it is what the working class had to do to gain a safe workplace and industrial rights, it is what gays had to do to bring down discriminatory laws and police harassment and it is what people of colour have to do to confront legal and systemic racism. Now Malcolm Turnbull, his toy soldiers and the Murdoch pitbulls are ripping in to her: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/16/sally-mcmanus-has-guts-who-cares-if-the-liberals-moan-about-her

  96. Tim Macknay
    March 17th, 2017 at 14:05 | #96

    @HED PE
    There’s good piece in today’s Crikey skewering the hypocrisy of journalists who are happy to take information from leakers and whistleblowers (who are often breaking the law, in the public interest as they see it) but are apparently overcome with pearl clutching when a trade unionist suggests that breaking unjust laws might be OK.

  97. Ikonoclast
    March 17th, 2017 at 14:19 | #97

    @Tim Macknay

    Well said. I like the reference to the pearl clutching. Sums them up really. If one utters the F word in such supposedly polite company then one is the worst person in the world. But supporting unjust wars that kill non-combatants and children in their thousands and putting people in Pacific Archipelago concentration camps is perfectly okay according to them.

  98. HED PE
    March 17th, 2017 at 15:24 | #98

    @Tim Macknay

    Yes, it was only a few years ago that a couple of News Corp journos were dragged before the courts and narrowly escaped jail for breaking a law that they (and their employer) thought was unjust!!? http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1961451.htm

    It is a pity Shorten whimpered like a poodle instead of giving a rousing speech about liberty and the struggle of ordinary people for justice. I miss Gough, even though he was way before my time! Why doesn’t the Left produce great orators anymore?

  99. HED PE
    March 17th, 2017 at 15:24 | #99

    Yes, it was only a few years ago that a couple of News Corp journos were dragged before the courts and narrowly escaped jail for breaking a law that they (and their employer) thought was unjust!!? http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1961451.htm
    It is a pity Shorten whimpered like a poodle instead of giving a rousing speech about liberty and the struggle of ordinary people for justice. I miss Gough, even though he was way before my time! Why doesn’t the Left produce great orators anymore?

  100. GrueBleen
    March 17th, 2017 at 15:38 | #100

    @Tim Macknay

    …that breaking unjust laws might be OK.

    Isn’t that just ‘civi disobedience’ which is a well established democratic right ?

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