A Slice of Life
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commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology
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19 Apr 16 I don’t want to appear to be a misogynist but…

julia_gillard_cleavage Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Parliament wearing a low cut blouse. Quite conservative as low cut blouses go and pretty much standard attire for many women in government and corporate roles, and in general. Despite this, Australian columnist Grace Collier sparked the a controversy after telling a panel on Australia’s ABC Radio National that Gillard should show less skin in the workplace.

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06 Oct 11 Andrew Bolt: more offensive than sex with a horse?

andrew boltRecently, the well known columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.  Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”, reported the Herald Sun.

Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said there was no attempt by  members of the group to shut down freedom of speech or debate about racial identity issues.  Mr Merkel said Bolt was free to express his views on the subject but should not have chosen to attack the nine individuals he named in his columns and blog.

Many of us, including myself, may not agree with Andrew Bolt’s views on this issue and many others.  Whatever happened to the famous saying, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Voltaire which many in the legal profession are fond of quoting: ” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ”

Yes, there are a number of errors in Bolt’ articles on this topic.  Is Bolt being prosecuted for publishing errors?  It is true that had the facts been presented accurately Bolt’s arguments would not hold much water.  For example, he questioned indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt‘s Aboriginality, incorrectly stating that her father was German and that she is somehow claiming benefits that should be the right of indigenous people of ‘purer blood’. In the sometimes heated court exchanges, Bolt took exception to the prosecution’s comparison of the debate and Bolt’s views to Nazi race laws, the Holocaust and eugenics.  Bolt argued those who chose to identify with only one part of their background over another were contributing to racism and came at the cost of less focus on the important issues of education, housing, health and poverty.

It is interesting to note that earlier in the year, Larissa Berendt attracted criticism after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as “less offensive than Bess Price“, an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention. “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.” (more…)

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12 Jul 11 OMG I’m a GPS: 6 degrees of separation

Gillard's stepdaughter poses for 'Zoo Weekly'Some time ago (26th December 2008 to be precise) I published an article entitled “OMG I’m a gay porn star” The article was about the unforeseen consequences of Googling oneself. My search discovered that I share my name with another ‘Liam Alexander’ who is a model on a site called ‘originaleuroboys’; a gay porn service. In the article I wondered if “this Liam is a real person…; quite likely he was dreamed up by two guys fantasizing on the phone”. However, I learned that this Liam is a real person after receiving this comment:

“Liam Alexander the porn star is for real. I was the photographer that did the originaleuroboys.com photoshoot with Liam that is now on originaleuroboys.com. To add the the interest in Liam take a look at our studio website http://www.7bluestudio.com because Liam features on the homepage larger than ever! Ben Willis, Director”

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09 Apr 10 Heckler exposes ‘celebrities’ thin skins

w:George Lucas

Image via Wikipedia

I recently watched a documentary on SBS TV called “Heckler”.  In this program, a series of well known entertainers and comedians recount their reactions to hecklers and also, that most loathsome of all television denizons: critics.  Celebrities such as George Lucas, Bill Maher, Mike Ditka, Rob Zombie, Howie Mandel are interviewed.

Heckler is initially interesting as an account of how entertainers deal with the disruptions of hard core hecklers.   Some deal with audience antagonists with skill, firing back one liners and making the disruption an amusing part of the act.  Others become overwhelmed with rage and descend to exchanging obscenities; allowing the heckler to win in doing so.  As the program progresses the focus is more and more on critics and how they are the lowest form of life.

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03 May 09 The Weekend Eunuch

female eunuch“When I was in high school in the ’70s, I was a member of a generation of girls lucky enough to benefit from the gains won for us by the feminists of earlier decades.  We were told we could do and be anything we wanted.  Yet, more than 30 years later, there are still some occupations and professions that many people regard as ‘men’s work’…”  Editors Note by Judith Whelan, editor of the Good Weekend Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald.  Whelan goes on to say that the ‘women’s issue’ will contain stories on women in a range of jobs; a jockey. a pilot an engineer, a doctor and an umpire.  It might well be true that many occupations and professions are still regarded as men’s work, that the glass ceiling still exists and that equal employment opportunity rules go only part of the way towards redressing the imbalance.  However, this belies the fact that Whelan’s editorship of The Good Weekend may well have significantly hampered the feminist cause and moves towards equality. 

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