Behrendt, Bess Price, and Bolt. And adios from the Diaper Fox

15 Apr

“I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.”

Larissa Behrendt

So tweeted Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law and Indigenous Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, about remarks made by Bess Price, Chair of the Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council, on ABC’s qanda, Monday April 11.

Behrendt and Price disagree on the NT intervention implemented by John Howard in 2007, and Price expressed her support of the policy on Monday night.

Marcia Langton has now taken Behrendt to task for her tweet, framing it as a betrayal by a sophisticated urban Aboriginal woman of her bush sisters, and as an unprecedented public insult directed by a younger Aboriginal woman at an elder.

In a further twist, Behrendt is the principal litigant in current action against

Bess Price

columnist Andrew Bolt, who, it is alleged, indulged in racial vilification of Behrendt and other Aboriginals in a piece in which he questioned the right of what Bess Price calls “white blackfellas” to identify as Aboriginal. The case has provoked vigorous debate about the parameters of the right to free speech.

Oh my. This is why I don’t tweet anything, except the titles of posts. It’s taken many years for me to learn that putting my foot in my open mouth doesn’t have to be a default position, as was suggested to me on more than one occasion by a husband. Tweeting can only be trouble for a fool such as I, and given the stories, for many others who hotly squirm long after after reckless Twitter moments are over. Blogging is big enough risk.

Bolt published his views in a newspaper, and Behrendt thought she was only tweeting a friend, so in that sense comparisons are weak. However, if one considers the spirit of the content of both communications, there are un-nerving similarities. Contempt, disregard, mockery, denigration, insult, efforts to invalidate the other, inability to deal with opposing points of view; intolerance, prejudice, and  hatred.

Nothing more than you read in the comments on any blog on any day. We are, on the whole, an un-evolved lot.

Price is apparently consulting lawyers about the tweeted slur. Behrendt may yet find herself in Bolt’s shoes. What a time to have to leave the country, but leave I must!

Talking about slurs: how I came to be known as the Diaper Fox.

Diaper Fox

Some years ago a grandson of mine (growing up in the US, hence diaper) out of nowhere one morning took to calling me the Diaper Fox. At the time I was complaining about changing his little brother’s diaper while we discussed how we needed a fox to help us get rid of the jackrabbits that hop under the back fence from the desert and eat the lettuces. These two superficially unconnected issues became linked in his imagination, and I became Diaper Fox.

The name has stuck, and now everybody uses it. On the phone it’s when are you coming over, Diaper Fox, and will you bring me a toy crocodile, a sarong, a koala (real) a cool surfer t-shirt, and Vegemite!! while the littlest talking child sings out in the background “Diaper Fox Grandma! Diaper Fox Grandma!”

So on Monday I’m off to hold this gang of four scallywags in my arms again.

These kids are the best antidote I know to the beltings and bruisings of the adult world and though I always come home exhausted in body, I’m replenished in spirit. Children and dogs. They do it for me every time. I just wish I could persuade their parents to come home so I don’t have to suffer the indignities and dangers of long haul travel – last time our Qantas flight ran out of fuel (???) between LA and Brisbane and had to divert to Noumea. The time before it was water they ran out of, and everybody was asked to try not to pee. When we landed the stampede at the LAX dunnies was life threatening.

Adios, friends, be well and lively, and will see you again in a few weeks.

Gang of four Scallywags

7 Responses to “Behrendt, Bess Price, and Bolt. And adios from the Diaper Fox”

  1. David Horton April 15, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    I increasingly, as the sunset of old age comes up like thunder, think that air travel, like wisdom tooth extraction, or bone marrow biopsy, should only be attempted after enough sedative to send you to sleep for the duration of the procedure.

    Travel well, blog now and then.

    No comment on the above post, being an angel.


  2. PAUL WALTER April 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    I now know why I have walked into trouble with this on Facebook, I didnt watch QA this week. Langton apparently being egregious, as ever?
    Best of luck for trip to USA.


  3. Steve at the Pub April 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    A most unwise thing to have publicly put in writing (twittered) when one is a complainant in litigation of that nature.


  4. Marcia Langton April 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    I prefer the archaic meaning of egregious.


  5. PAUL WALTER April 16, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Jennifer I’d dispute that has changed that much. To, in effect, back the worst of indigenous- and white working class- people’s enemies in the form of Bolt, the purportive “human face” of neoliberalism, Howard and and Murdoch, over an honest broker like under seige like Behrendt, I found “egregious” in the extreme. Then there is the support for the Intervention in all its flagrant destructiveness, toward and scapegoating of, Australians.
    Best likely, actually, more grabs-“privatisations” for Aboriginal land and property whilst a few Pearson types join with the developers in rooking their unfortunate country people, who then also have their pittance of welfare flogged off them, just to add insult to injury.
    But the economic rationalists as ever, get their way and the treatment of groups like refugees and and koories becomes universalised, the country goes feudal; even the sick and crippled are later kicked off welfare, for tax cuts for the rich.
    No, no way, that’s not what white society ows aboriginals- another kick in the guts- at all. Or other Aussies.
    I DO beleive what’s been happening in our country is”egregious” and within the accepted meaning of the word.


  6. December 14, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!


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