A Slice of Life

commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology

02 Jun 12 Lingerie football: Y-front football would provide balance

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Li...

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Lingerie Football league game, 11Sep09. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Widespread protests have greeted an exhibition match to be played by 32 women from the US Lingerie Football League at Allphones Arena today.  Names like ‘Allphones Arena’  and other venues such as ‘Centrebet Stadium‘ might give you a clue that the single minded pursuit of profit motivates football leagues with little consideration for anything else.  Sporting ideals of fair play and playing for the love of the game have taken a back seat to the rabid hunt for $$$ for some time.  Should we really be surprised that a cynical exercise in promotion such as ‘lingerie football’ is about to take hold in Australia?  Feminists in the 60s and 70s may have burned their bras; women in this century happily wear little else to provide a spectacle for television cameras and provide a boost in ratings.  Germaine Greer would be turning in her grave if she was dead. (more…)

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17 Apr 12 Dawkins vs Pell on #QandA: Dopey Questions from a Dopey Audience

Richard Dawkins has commented since this debate that he was disappointed in his performance, blaming partly his jet lag, but also “… the astonishing bias of the audience and, second, the interfering chairman.”

During the debate, Dawkins repeatedly asked some members of the audience with credulity: why is that funny?  He really ought to have been able to answer his own question without thinking about it too much.


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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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23 Jul 10 Chasing Mummies: Archeology as Reality TV

Dr. Zahi Hawass at the British Museum - Speech
Image by vintagedept via Flickr

Dr Zahi Hawass the Egyptian archaeologist is well known to those who enjoy historical documentaries.  He is highly respected in his field and is the current Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.  I have always found his manner rather abrasive and have tended to avoid his offerings.  However, his new TV show program on the History Channel: ‘Chasing Mummies‘ is quite a different affair; this is actually riveting and addictive television.  The producers of ‘Chasing Mummies’ seem to have recognised the potential of Dr Hawass’ explosive temper and have harnessed it to great effect.

In one incident, Dr Hawass’ assistant Casey Fitchner gets completely blasted by the good doctor for being late to work.  Later, while exploring inside the Stepped Pyramid, Fitchner asks if there is somewhere she can go to the bathroom.  Dr Hawass informs her in no uncertain terms that the pyramid is a holy place and of course she can’t go.  Later, she can no longer resist the call of nature and wets herself on camera.  Dr Hawass’ outbursts make Gordon Ramsey look kindly and avuncular.


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30 Jul 08 Vodafone’s folding girlfriend

vodafone foldup girlfriendIn a recent Vodafone ad shown on Australian TV, a guy going on a trip decides he wants to take his wall map with him so he neatly folds it and puts it in his pocket. He then decides to take his computer, his TV and then his CD collection (including a large cabinet). He neatly folds them up one by one and puts them in his pocket. Just as he’s almost out the door he looks at his sleeping girlfriend, then comes back, folds her up and puts her in his pocket too. Vodafone uses the slogan ‘Take your world with you’ for this ad.

Is this commercial not just the slightest bit insulting to women? Firstly, he takes his girlfriend last, almost as an after thought. She is perhaps the least important of his essential accessories? Secondly, is that all she is? An accessory? The intended implication is that he is taking everything he loves with him but this seems to relegate her to the status of an object on a par with a computer or a TV. Vodafone might not have meant to be sexist and offensive but they have ceratinly managed it. It may provide an insight into the subconscious of the guys that create ads like this. The CGI are impressive and the concept is clever, but the bottom line leaves a lot to be desired.

Watch the full commercial here:

Aint that the way it is?

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06 Apr 08 Rogerson’s Underbelly

Underbelly DVD Cover
Image via Wikipedia

Disgraced former NSW detective Roger Rogerson has been writing reviews about the hit show Underbelly, which remains banned in Victoria pending outcomes of legal hearings involving key characters in the series. The reviews have appeared in The Daily Telegraph and syndicated Australian media coverage.

“I never liked Melbourne or their crooks. And watching Underbelly last night reminded me why. It wouldn’t have happened up here in Sydney like down there. We had more control over the crooks up here, and I reckon most of the crooks would agree. But as entertainment it was pretty good with more sex than violence.”
source: news.com.au

It seems very ironic for Rogerson to be writing about this program. Rogerson undoubtedly has excellent first hand knowledge of underworld dealings, but having been sent to prison for perverting the course of justice and for lying to the 1999 Police Integrity Commission it seems reasonable to wonder just how close that first hand knowledge is. Rogerson received his first criminal conviction in 1985 for involvement in drug dealing when he was charged with conspiring with notorious Melbourne drug dealer Dennis Allen to supply heroin. The conviction was overturned on appeal. Rogerson was responsible for the shooting death of Warren Lanfranchi. During the inquest the coroner found he was acting in the line of duty, but a jury declined to find he had acted in self-defence. Rogerson was later commended by the police force for his bravery. However, it was alleged by Lanfranchi’s partner, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, and later by the infamouse Neddy Smith, that Rogerson had murdered Lanfranchi as retribution for robbing another heroin dealer who was under police protection and for firing a gun at a police officer. Fellow police officer Michael Drury has alleged that Rogerson was involved in his attempted murder. Drury claims he refused to accept a bribe Rogerson offered to change his evidence in a heroin trafficking trial of convicted Melbourne drug dealer, Alan Williams. On June 6, 1984, Drury was shot twice through his kitchen window as he fed his three-year-old daughter, Belinda. Rogerson was charged with the shooting and Williams testified that Rogerson and Dale Flannery had agreed to murder Drury for $AU50,000 each. However, on November 20, 1989, Rogerson was acquitted.
source: Wikipedia

If the NSW police force had more control over crooks than their counterparts in Victoria did, could it be because the crooks were on their payroll? If the events depicted in the Australian mini series Blue Murder are to be believed, you’d have to say yes. Blue Murder was similarly banned in NSW until legal proceedings involving Rogerson and other characters were completed. Rogerson compares Underbelly favourably with Blue Murder in his column, which again seems ironic as Blue Murder doesn’t exactly paint a flattering portrait of him. I find Underbelly to be more concerned with entertainment than Blue Murder was, and there is definitely much more emphasis on sex. While it seems necessary to the story up to a point; of course cashed up criminals drive fast cars and love fast women, the sex scenes tend to predominate at the expense of the plot at times. Roger has also drawn attention to this tendency. I doubt the sex scenes have damaged the ratings much, but that said; I never miss an episode, it’s absolutely riveting. Blue Murder remains for me a much more realistic and serious work. The violence was cold blooded and chilling and the implications of a state largely run by a corrupt police force in tandem with organised crime quite terrifying.

Interestingly, Roger Rogerson has been much more complimentary towards Underbelly in his most recent column: Daily Telegraph, Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I wonder whose payroll he’s on now…

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