Why Julia Gillard is my sister

3 Jul

I’m not the type of essentialist gender feminist who believes every woman is my sister simply because we share biological characteristics, unlike leading public figure Anne Summers, who in this article  expresses outrage against certain female MPs who did not resign “in solidarity” with Ms Gillard when she lost the ALP leadership to Kevin Rudd last week.

I don’t usually follow the line that a high achieving woman is making things better for all of those who share her sex. That to me is a romantic idea that has little basis in reality, indeed there are women among us considerably worse off after Ms Gillard’s prime ministership, for example the sole parents shifted to Newstart, and women seeking asylum.

Summers’ test of faith I find entirely self-defeating. What would it serve Australian society if every time a woman in public office was badly treated, her female colleagues resigned? In a nano second, there would be none of us left anywhere. It’s the sort of demand a comfortable middle class feminist can make from her armchair without pausing to consider the ramifications, for individuals and the greater good of our society.

That being said, these last few days I’ve noticed a sense of relief in myself and people around me. What is this about? The cessation of sexist abuse against Ms Gillard, that’s what it’s about.

It’s only since Ms Gillard left the leadership that it’s become painfully clear just how bad and how constant the gender-based abuse was. It’s like the relief you feel when you stop hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, if you are given to that form of self-abuse.  We no longer have to witness the daily public denigration of a woman, because she is a woman. We no longer have to witness the gender war in all its frightening darkness, as fought between Ms Gillard and the sexists from all walks of life, whose first complaint against the Prime Minister was that she is female, and who viewed every other dissatisfaction through that gender prism.

We have never seen such a terrifying display of anti woman feeling in our politics, because we have never had a female leader. We couldn’t see how bad it was until it stopped. We couldn’t see how the sexist abuse distracted from the most important  task of keeping our society functioning, which Ms Gillard’s government achieved better than almost any other Western government.

There is a great deal on which I vehemently disagreed with Ms Gillard. I did not personally take to her, though as Deputy PM I thought she would one day be an excellent leader. That day came too soon, and under fraught circumstances that could not have been worse for our first female PM. That the ALP chose to depose then leader Kevin Rudd in his first term was a questionable decision. That they should seize the opportunity to install the country’s first female leader, who as well as everything else was forced to become the blood-soaked symbol of the fallen man’s “knifing” beggars belief. One can only assume that as usual, the blokes brought a woman in to clean up their mess.

Though I am wary of joining anything, let alone a sisterhood (you will not find a woman less interested in or less capable of belonging than me) every time Ms Gillard was abused because of her sex, I was also abused. The unrelenting sexist and misogynist commentary directed towards her was directed at all women, though the perpetrators would no doubt strenuously deny that. It cannot be any other way, anymore than racism can only be aimed at one individual, leaving everyone else untouched.

We should be outraged at the contempt and insult daily enacted towards Ms Gillard. At any moment it can be and is turned against any woman who falls foul of those men and  women who are so conflicted in their attitudes towards us they can only fear and hate, solely because of our sex. One of Ms Gillard’s achievements, though it is not one any sane person could have anticipated or desired, is that she has shown us, through her personal endurance, the degree to which hatred of women still flourishes in Australian society and the awful toll it takes on that society.

In sexism and misogyny, Ms Gillard is my sister.

132 Responses to “Why Julia Gillard is my sister”

  1. hudsongodfrey July 3, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I rather despair of Summers’ attitudes to this. They’re too divisive by halves for my liking and I think that sense of a sisterhood pitted against a deeply sexist patriarchy that may have existed as recently as the end of the last century has waned somewhat to the point where it lacks real authenticity in modern Australia. There are just too many men who identify with a post feminist reality in their lives to be able to pin blame on the sisterhood for fragmenting over this Prime Ministerial dismissal.

    But it’s more than that. It’s the authenticity Gillard herself lost when she was seen as overreaching in trying to take the initiative against forms of sexism that are less overt simply because it fit with yet another belated attempt to remake her image as the “real Julia”. We lost most of our faith in Gillard as PM well prior to the events that precipitated her demise, and they had more to do with the last week of parliaments’ timing than anything else.

    It didn’t work, and in fact it backfired, and it’s a pity because I doubt Rudd redux is really the salve to all our ills, I really wish the lesson didn’t endeth here for Julia Gillard, and I hope there are more and better women who will lead in politics in the future. I think we do have a way to go in coming to terms with the advantages women bring to leadership somewhat differently than men might, but I also think we won’t be led towards it by pointing out the sexism as the subtext of every gender conversation. We need to see the positives in gender equality if that’s to be part of what any of us would be willing to vote for. Cometh the woman, cometh the hour I think we’d be ready now to do that for a second time.


    • Anonymous July 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      The confusions that riddle your post provide a rather perverse illustration of the points in the main post above.

      First, what on earth is “a post feminist reality” that “many men” identify with? I simply have no idea at all what the hell you’re talking about.

      For my money, Gillard lost authenticity when she seemed to be dutifully repeating the lines provided for her by a bunch of colourless ALP spin doctors. Remember the “moving forward” speech? The night after she ripped into Abbott with the misogyny speech, I was drinking in a bar. The two young women serving both talked about what a powerful effect that speech had on them. It was the exhilaration of something being, at last, called out for what it was. “Well, she’s got my vote again”, one of them said.

      “I think we do have a way to go in coming to terms with the advantages women bring to leadership somewhat differently than men might”.

      What does this mean, precisely? That women can’t lead in the same way men do? Perhaps Australia has a considerable way to go in simply seeing women as human beings possessing as wide a range of capabilities and flaws as men do. And I say Australia specifically because neither Jenny Shipley or Helen Clark in New Zealand had to put up with the same levels of industrial-grade horseshit as Julia Gillard did. And God knows NZ is no kind of “post-feminist” paradise.

      “I also think we won’t be led towards it by pointing out the sexism as the subtext of every gender conversation”.

      The depressing spectacle we have witnessed during the Gillard Prime Ministership is very much a product of the large proportion of men in Australia who do not have the basic intestinal fortitude to look honestly at the way things actually work around here. An inability to examine their own preconceptions. For God’s sake don’t mention the sexism. Don’t rock the boat.

      And then this extraordinary sentence: “We need to see the positives in gender equality if that’s to be part of what any of us would be willing to vote for”. Translated, I suppose you mean that if the blokes can see some good solid advantages for them, they might consider throwing the girls a bone.


      • paul walter July 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

        A nonnymouse speaks!
        Clearly an example of the mistrustful gender essentialism that was behind the vicious attack on Summers at her FB site.
        Such as: “..the large proportion of men..who do not have the intestinal fortitude to look honestly at the way things actually work here”.
        You have obviously been a man for a long time, to know so intimately our thought processes.
        NOTHING to do with cultural conditioning as to recidivist male tendencies? It can ONLY be conscious malice? I open a door for a woman, it can only be out of conscious spiterather than an act of respect for a confratere and fellow human?
        Frankly, I get ill at my constant good faith efforts to do and be right by women being regarded as having one exclusive element, malevolence.
        I should invert an earlier proposition of yours thus;
        “Perhaps Feminism has a considerable way to go in simply seeing men as human beings possessing of as wide a range of capabilities and flaws as women..”.


        • richardmudford July 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

          Well, yes – I have been a man for a little over fifty years, so I think I can claim to know something of our thought processes – not that there’s any particular evidence of any such processes displayed in your post, although there is rather a lot of hysterical squawking.

          Where did I talk about ‘conscious malice’ or ‘conscious spite’? I was talking about an unwillingness, if not an actual incapacity to appreciate “the degree to which hatred of women still flourishes in Australian society and the awful toll it takes on that society.”

          Christ Almighty, can we not get past this horse-shit about opening the damn door for people?

          It’s a crying shame that your sterling service as a doorman has gone unrecognised up until now, and a national disgrace that your ‘constant good faith efforts’ have ended up giving you an attack of the shivering colliwobbles.

          Poor you.


        • Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

          I was the only person in the new parliament house who opened doors for anyone, I soon stopped because the damn doors weighed about 100 or so kilos each.

          I am capable of opening my own doors but don’t snarl if some bloke does it for me as we had this weensy little revolution to be equal.

          Which means equal, not giggling dimwits when it suits and Gillard giggled at everything.

          But she was not a reluctant conscript, she had been conspiring to get the job for 18 months but then had no idea what to do with it.

          I think the real thing that has seen a rise and rise is the sort of racist filth thrown at Ed Husic yesterday because neither Abbott nor Gillard ever did anything to counter it, they both blew the race dog whistle with whole stadia of vuzuvulas.


      • hudsongodfrey July 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

        Is anonymous Richard Mudford as is usually the case when the avatars match?

        If you don’t know what “post feminist reality” means then it means exactly what it says, that we really live in a post feminist world. A place where feminism has already succeeded in making many important changes to how we view gender.

        I can agree if you wish that women can govern the same way as men do. And even that some notions of gender parity might infer we vote for our politicians on the merits. I certainly do think Gillard lost a lot of impetus because several of her policies lacked merit. But that wouldn’t be painting the entire picture, and it isn’t what I mean by the second of my statements you struggled to understand.

        When we endeavour as we do to elect a representative government I think a good mix of gender is a far healthier reflection of the kind of society many of us would aspire to than anything that is cast in the old patriarchal mold. And let’s face it you did tacitly invoke patriarchy by asking why women can’t lead like men rather than why men can’t govern like women.

        The sexes are different and vive la différence, and that doesn’t mean more or less equal, just able to contribute their own perspectives from lived experience. We should want to embrace that insofar as it serves to enhance our political conversation by making it more inclusive. We just don’t necessarily want to do it at the expense of losing sight of policy outcomes regardless of who we elect regardless of their gender.

        That’s not throwing a bone it’s recognising a standard. For those who don’t know the difference then it might also be difficult to maintain a good grasp of when sexism is just an unwarranted personal attack and when beating others over the head with allegations thereof is likely to be a strawman argument. Gillard tried to use it as a tactic and Abbott wheeling his wife out before the cameras wasn’t doing much better. Neither was greeted with anything short of thinly veiled cynicism.

        It is a pity that relief is palpable that Gillard’s demise probably means a respite from gender politics, but I don’t hear the opposition baying for Rudd’s blood over any perceived misogyny in his ascension to power. Does that just mean that for once the pot isn’t calling the kettle black, or that they just don’t care about the issue enough to even raise it? I wonder!

        In short I wrote with a clear intention to support Jennifer’s piece, but not without wanting to also point out the political realities, please don’t try to read things into my comments that aren’t there.


    • Garpal Gumnut July 5, 2013 at 1:03 am #

      Interesting sexist comments to an interesting posit Jennifer.
      As a patriarchal male, so lacking on this blog, I would imagine Julia as a daughter, niece, aunt or friend.
      Definitely not as a PM or wife or lover.
      Freud would have a field day with the usual sexist and politically blind suspects who lurk here.
      And possibly with me.


      • doug quixote July 5, 2013 at 7:54 am #

        Do you think anyone here believes any of your claims?

        As for you, BF Skinner rather than Freud.



        • hudsongodfrey July 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

          You do know the old joke about the guy who asks his psychologist whether she’s a freudian or a behaviorist. She reply’s “a bit of both actually”, to which he wonders “does that mean you like sex with electric shocks?”


  2. Ray (novelactivist) July 3, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Summers has simplified a complex problem. She seems to also conflate Labor with feminism – as if there is no feminism outside Labor.

    She also underestimates other Labor women, especially Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek who sided with Rudd. Why did they side with Rudd? For much the same reason Gillard shifted allegiance from the left to the shady, ruthless politics of the right, because that’s who had the power to deliver her the Prime Ministership.

    If Gillard can make such a ruthless calculation, why can’t other Labor women – especially those who might have ambitions?


  3. samjandwich July 3, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    You know, I was just reading about Rob Oakeshott having said the same thing – that Australians couldn’t handle having a woman in authority. http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/17836437/aussies-couldnt-handle-gillard-as-pm/

    So I say again… I hope the reason he’s resigning from his post is so that he can make a tilt at the presidency!


  4. Susan July 3, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I was surprised at Summers’ call for women to resign in ‘sisterhood’ as well. As you say, if we all did that there’s be no women left in public life which rather defeats the objective of equality. Equality means not having to make gender based decisions doesn’t it?


    • Jennifer Wilson July 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      Yes! I thought so!


      • Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

        I wonder why all the men didn’t resign when the woman became the leader and why Summers would never suggest it?

        Does she seriously think sexism is a one way thing directed only at poor widdle women.


  5. paul walter July 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Are you sure you are not actually Gillard’s sister?
    I think you are being a little hard on Summers,
    She obviously wrote it in a fit of pique, but her FB page indicates that she understands well-enough how and why the thing happened=the practicalities- and I think her underlying cultural critiquing is quite insightful, as to adding dimension and fleshing out as ( to theorising) , as to the origins and formation of the individuated socially reproduced isolationist conservative aussie mindset.
    Am thinking of bizarre parallel policies emanating out of parts of the USA as to intrusive ultrasounding/ shaming of women seeking pregnancy termination as example.
    A very Dalek mindset that indicates that the pathology is very resistant, its direct ancestor is the ‘sixties Frankfurt School insights as to WASP, puritanism and control freakery.


    • Jennifer Wilson July 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      I don’t do Facebook PW, so I missed out on that. I’m responding to that article.


    • zerograv1 July 9, 2013 at 2:13 am #

      Summers is near hopeless at insight and has never EVER written anything accurate, wise or worth saying….she reminds me of an Abbott-like slang flinging barking dog for feminism and is exactly the kind of parrot the feminist movement doesnt need….she is totally predictable in her opinions and often very unthinking and tends to rely on easy slurs against the patriachy etc….a very poor example to represent feminism IMHO


  6. paul walter July 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Just had the antenna man here, so have been denied an opportunity for the sharing of an an afterthought that occurred immediately AFTER the first post, as is the way with these things.
    At Summers’ FB page is installed a piece of vitriol directed at Summers, of the Michaela Cash sort, abusively accusing Summers of not going in hard enough against Rudd as to the leadership spill, eg Summers is portrayed as betraying the sisterhood for considering the unity aspect (like the female cabinet ministers) as well as the possible injustices involved in Gillard’s spill defeat.
    Given the 29% first party vote, It became academic as to whether Gillard was bad, good or indifferent as PM. She could have walked on water and they only would have crucified her.
    As Tanya Plibersek said on Monday’s QA, it became a matter of defending well-crafted social legislation dismantled, given the threat of both houses going to the austerity opposition, which would come close to turning this country a defacto one party state.


    • paul walter July 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Finally, I must say female Labor ministers have behaved more as adults than some of the prima-
      Donna-sh men.


      • Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        Righton. The big babies threw a tanty.


  7. doug quixote July 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Very true Jennifer. I think we will notice the same thing once President Obama’s term ends, namely the racist abuse aimed almost casually at the first black US President.

    Although, if Hillary becomes President, it may even intensify as it transfers to sexism and misogyny directed against a first woman President.

    As you are probably aware, I considered Julia a fine Prime Minister and one who would in time prove one of our best. I am sure however that she herself would be the first to admit that she made numerous errors of political judgement. I really don’t want to list them.

    But that is not the present issue : the constant stream of sometimes deliberate, sometimes casual abuse of a sexist and misogynist nature against her was palpable.

    I wondered often how she took it without flinching and that she was even able to ignore it: up until Abbott tried lecturing the Parliament on Slipper’s sexism and misogyny.

    That was the final straw for her, and the fox turned at bay, as the saying goes.

    I doubt whether any other leader of either Party could have successfully negotiated their way through the hung parliament. I now trust that Kevin Rudd will build upon her successes, and fully acknowledge her efforts, even if indirectly as achievements of the government of which he was part at least for eighteen months or so as Foreign Minister.


    • Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      But as has been pointed out before the three main policies “Gillard is claiming credit for are not hers.

      The NBN was and is Rudd’s baby, Gillard cancelled the computers in schools program you know to save money, the education review was started under Rudd and now steals money from poor uni. students to prop up rich private schools, pension increases and things are all Rudd’s.

      Gillards thing was the carbon tax only.


      • doug quixote July 3, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

        “As has been pointed out before” !

        Why don’t you quote yourself, you fucking fool?

        You have been debunked so often that you have no credibility whatsoever.


        • Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

          I am not fucking quoting myself Doug, the NBN was and is Rudd’s baby, Gillard did cancel the computers in schools program, Gillard did stop the ETS with Swan’s help and the Gonski review was started by Rudd and bastardised by Gillard.


  8. paul walter July 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I must say, I think the overall substance of Jennifer’s post is more helpful than harmful.
    Julia Gillard was PM for three years, a term you might say.
    The country did not collapse into a state of anarchy for it; Australia is still in the top handful of countries world wide, not the third world failed state the likes of Mirabella and Hockey would have us believe.
    I said at the time that I felt she had been handed a poison chalice; the country was still in deep loathing for the right faction that had done so poorly in some eastern states with its developer-oriented neoliberalism and inward looking social conservatism and she came to be identified with that element, for cooperating with it in the removal of Kevin Rudd and for certain decisions she took as PM.
    I think it will be still be some time before we work out the hierarchy of reasons for the ALP in-fighting: maybe the right was anxious of its control being broken, maybe Rudd WAS an asshole, maybe some of each, or all of both, or non of above.
    What was disturbing was that a group of otherwise intelligent, well-educated even talented people were unable to hold their egos in check and cooperate for the wider good, especially after the tabloid msm began working on the personality issues.


  9. fivefrogsblog July 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Adore this. My thoughts exactly (but much not eloquently expressed as usual). Xxx


  10. Marilyn July 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Gillard could never be my sister with her ingrained racism because dealing with sexist shits is pretty easy for me.


  11. Darrell July 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Thanks Jennifer.. Yes, isn’t life interesting.. Once again, women being asked to clean up the mess once again.. And, of course as an astrologer I had to write an astro-blog about all this, Julia making way for Kevin’s return etc.. at http://whatsitallmeanthen.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/the-stars-align-for-kevin-rudd-king.html#!/2013/06/the-stars-align-for-kevin-rudd-king.html.. While here is a little sample.. of what the astrological symbols say about Julia & Kevin from my favourite book ‘An Astrological Mandla’ by Dane Rudhyar once again, a kind of modern ‘I-Ching”..

    While I also turn to note the symbols for Julia Gillard’s natal Libra Sun, at *6deg03.. using the Sunrise chart, beginning with the previous symbol at *5degLib..

    A MAN REVEALING TO HIS STUDENTS THE FOUNDATION OF AN INNER KNOWLEDGE UPON WHICH A “NEW WORLD” COULD BE BUILT.. The necessity for the youthful Spirits to learn from a Teacher who through their long experience has been able to reach solid & illuminating truths, or “Seed ideas”..

    “When the pupil is ready, the Master appears.” But he or she may appear in many guises. What matters is not the Master, but the Mastery he “re-veals.” It is veiled in his or her person. Devotion to a guru may be the way, but sooner or later it should be transmuted into reverence; the truth within the disciple saluting in true humility the truth in the Teacher..

    This is the last stage of thirty-seventh sequence & it marks a culmination.. What is evoked is the essential, withal rather mysterious, process of TRANSMISSION. What is transmitted, if the situation is really understood by all participants, is not merely knowledge. It is actually “being-ness”…

    While also moving towards the next degree, at *6degLib..

    A MAN WATCHES HIS IDEALS TAKING SHAPE BEFORE HIS INNER VISION.. The need to visualise clearly one’s dreams of ideals in order to make them truly effectual..

    “What is well conceived can be easily formulated.” The process of interior visualisation can be quite essential, except in the case of a creative individual who has become a totally pure channel for the descent of Spiritual Power, & a clear lens through which the Archetype in the Mind of Man, or God, can be projected without distortion wherever needed..

    This is the first stage of the thirty-eight five-fold sequence.. It is a phase of INTERIOR FORMULATION in preparation for a creative projection of one’s ideals or concepts…

    While I also further note the following symbol or next “evolutionary step,” for her natal Libra Sun, ie. using a midday chart, on the day Julia was born, which also comes into play in this phase of the great evolutionary process at this stage in the second half of the zodiac cycle.. And, this symbol is also especially interesting since Julia also become Australia’s first female prime minister, & especially in light of the great vitriol & hatred heaped upon her by many in the community. And, so the symbol reads, at *7degLib..

    A WOMAN FEEDING CHICKENS & PROTECTING THEM FROM THE HAWKS.. The need to face the antagonism of “powers of darkness as one attempts to feed the mind of as yet helpless & frightened apprentices..

    The most basic “Law” of our Universe is that every release of new potentialities, or modes of energy, brings about a polarisation of effects – that is, the new potentiality will be used both for construction & destruction. It will arouse within individuals, or groups, to take a series of steps which will lead some to greater success, or others to deeper failure. Whoever makes possible this new release has to accept the karma of both the success & the failure. When Jesus showered his immense love upon lukewarm, Self-centred individuals, it inevitably came to be turned into violent hatred when these Soul-minds were unable to cope with its frightening intensity. Jesus had to accept Spiritual responsibility for those who crucified him..

    At this second stage we witness the contrast between the ideal envisioned clearly by the creative Consciousness, & what it will be in actual operation; thus the forever present struggle involved in making it possible for the future-oriented actualisers of an ideal to survive the attacks of tradition worshiping minds that can only follow the lines of automatic response. The keyword is GUARDIANSHIP…

    And, all this then as I also note the Sabian Symbols for Kevins’ natal Virgo Sun on the day of his birth, at 27deg34.. beginning at *27degVir..

    A GROUP OF ARISTOCRATIC LADIES MEET CEREMONIALLY AT A COURTS FUNCTION.. The ability to carry on a revered tradition in order to perpetuate Cultural standards of excellence.. At the highest level of achievement of any fully developed Culture the King considers himself in some manner a representative of the Power that controls the order of the Universe.

    This second stage symbol presents the contrast with the “profane” & the “Sacred” ritual. But the two need not be antithetic. Our overindividualistic & confused new generations find it valuable to study Japanese tea ceremonies, flower arrangement & judo etc.. The undisciplined need to learn REFINEMENT…

    While also moving towards the next degree, at *28degVir..

    A BALD HEADED MAN WHO HAS SEIZED POWER.. The sheer power of the personality in times that call for decision..

    Whether at the religious or at the Sociopolitical & Cultural level there comes a time when obsolete patterns of order & Cultural refinement have to be radically & relentlessly challenged. Catabolic personages emerge to seize power & dictate decisions that alter the structures of Society, or within an individual life, an intense urge for cathartic changes mobilises the will..

    At this third stage of the thirty-sixth sequence we face an unpostponable necessity for decision & transformation. Existence is motion. No static formation, however beautiful & inspiring, can remain for long unchallenged. Everything bows to THE POWER OF THE WILL – Divine, executively human, or Satanic…


  12. doug quixote July 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Pisces : Mars is in Uranus and this does not bode well for your future sex life.


    • paul walter July 5, 2013 at 12:42 am #



    • Darrell July 21, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks for your insightful comment.. While I also then ask what the Universe would like to say to you in reply.. I got *2degVir.. A LARGE WHITE CROSS DOMINATES THE LANDSCAPE.. The wisdom & compassion which only the experience of suffering & isolation can bring.. The individual must have gone beyond the state of Ego subjectivity in order to truly & objectively “See” & to discriminate. He or she must have learned detachment; & it is a lesson that no one can learn without the “Crucifixion” of the Ego-centred emotional life. In the Occult tradition, the eye that “Sees” must be washed by the blood of the heart. The experience of the Cross dominates the mystic Path that leads to Initiation, ie. to the entrance into a greater realm of activity & particular with an exalted Company of perfected beings.. While the discovery of significant features in any situation implied the use of the mind, both analytical & intuitive, now a contrasting stage is reached at which the mind itself has to be left behind & perhaps even seemingly destroyed in order that compassion & understanding may rise from the depth of the innermost being: a LIBERATING ORDEAL…


  13. samjandwich July 5, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    This advertorial from the Victorian Women’s Trust appeared in the SMH today… and presumably the Age as well, http://www.vwt.org.au/store/files/1372978906.pdf

    It seems to me to be a very good bookend to the Gillard era. Definitely worth a read.


  14. jo wiseman July 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Not that she needs the money, but who knows, Gillard might go on to create more female firsts or at least expand the ranks of females at senior levels elsewhere. I hope so.


    • Marilyn July 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      What is so good about being female firsts? Why are we so precious we must be given sinecures just because we are women?


      • jo wiseman July 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

        “What is so good about being female firsts?”
        What I find good about it is the extension of the full range of participation to women and the concomitant expansion of the way women are perceived.

        “Why are we so precious we must be given sinecures just because we are women?”
        I don’t think women should be given sinecures for being women so I can’t answer. Do you? Does JW? I think not. Does anyone? Who are you talking about? If you find anyone who does perhaps ask them.


        • hudsongodfrey July 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

          In some ways I think the ascension of women to their rightful share of power had gradually become inevitable. We nevertheless may choose to congratulate Julia Gillard for having the sheer temerity to grasp the golden chalice when it passed her way. After all before her we might have reckoned on a female PM sooner or later but the doing of the thing first is always some sort of psychological breakthrough for others who I hope will follow in the future.

          We should also be mindful that the term sinecure means office without responsibility, and for any faults she may have exhibited the one thing that should not be said of Gillard is that she did not ultimately bear responsibility for her failure to command the confidence of her colleagues and indeed the populace at large as evidenced through polling.

          She could well have chosen as other women in power have often done, and as some would encourage, to present herself as a political professional in a mannish mould. Thatcher did. And I think she did virtually nothing for women’s status because of it. Julia Gillard was, as many politicians are, at her best when speaking on her own behalf, as opposed to merely holding the party line, when she spoke on the issue of misogyny. It moved things decisively in a direction that has cleared a space for women to be themselves in public life with a little less room for sexist attitudes to crowd their voices as females and not just politicians out of the conversation. That was a very good thing.

          At the same time policy and politicking in a minority government are no recipe for success no matter who the chef is. She got canned because Labor were clearly looking like a spent force. I’m not sure that the Rudd move is going to work for them, but Gillard did the right thing in stepping down graciously with a certain amount of defiance and dignity, and I think it is better to see Labor at least trying to put up some resistance.


          • jo wiseman July 6, 2013 at 8:47 am #

            The PM position a sinecure? That’s just nuts.


            • hudsongodfrey July 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

              Yes it sounds like somebody’s been reading The Manchurian Candidate doesn’t it!


            • paul walter July 12, 2013 at 3:50 am #

              Yes and no. In reality, like the US presidency, it has become increasingly a sinecure as globalising Big capital captures the real levers of government from democracy.


              • jo wiseman July 12, 2013 at 7:02 am #

                I think we have different understandings of what a sinecure is. Sure the job of Prime Minister pays well but it’s hardly a job with little work and few responsibilities.


                • paul walter July 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

                  No. We know it is also- increasingly as I said above- a sinecure because democracy has been neutered by the oligarchy.
                  Yet it is hard work, because there is limited power for change and the politicians are trapped between their better natures and the urge to take the goodies then get out without making waves.
                  It’s the system..


                  • jo wiseman July 13, 2013 at 7:29 am #

                    With respect, you don’t know what sinecure means if you say it is a sinecure and it is hard work. Now I wonder if Marilyn doesn’t either. That would explain why she said something that sounds nuts. It would also make this subthread a pointless semantic exercise.


                    • jo wiseman July 13, 2013 at 7:48 am #

                      A sinecure would be something more like ambassador to Italy. The kind of job pollies give each other.


          • zerograv1 July 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

            You always were a natural humorist HG. “stepping down graciously” – thats one of the funniest parodies I’ve read in a long time. Have you thought about entering something in the Melbourne Comedy Festival – you have a real talent for it!


            • doug quixote July 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

              Was it not gracious?

              Did she barricade herself in the Prime Minister’s office like Joh Bjelke-Petersen?

              Did she attack her replacement like some other leaders we could name?

              Did she spit the dummy and refuse to sit in parliament that day?

              None of the above. It was gracious.


              • zerograv1 July 11, 2013 at 11:15 am #

                I wont recount the number of ways Gillard acted in a less the PM’ly way during her time in that office, but lets focus on the last 6 months…even blind freddy’s drovers dog knew that Gillard was a goner, an electoral liability to the ALP and had lost the co-operation of key house independants. Her response was more akin to bullying (I doubt Trish Crossin thought she was gracious especially the manner when the hatchet went into her career!) and Gillard replicated Latham’s style in terms of house debate. Gracious is the last word I would have used for some of her ranting. Once the leadership was again under media question, the jaw jutting pugilistic attitude Gillard displayed, the eventual “bring-it-on”, the “put up or shut up” calls from her coterie to Rudd’s camp, the “loser walks” call – none are signs of graciousness and more in line with the World Wrestling Federation promotional ads. If in your neck of the woods, that’s gracious behaviour then I’d hate to see what happens when you ARENT being polite to each other. Kevin was quite right to call out the HOR and ask for a kinder treatment between them all…


                • doug quixote July 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

                  That’s typical, try to change the subject.

                  We were discussing her behaviour calling the spill and after losing the ballot.

                  Not whether she once wet her nappy.


                  • zerograv1 July 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

                    Nice try at a deflection, care to address the points I made though?


                    • doug quixote July 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

                      Your points were and are irrelevant.


                    • zerograv1 July 13, 2013 at 1:03 am #

                      @Doug – I know the number of a good sand blaster that could clear your head of all that stuff your obviously sticking your head in. And here’s me thinking denialism was a conservative trait!


            • hudsongodfrey July 12, 2013 at 10:07 am #

              For the record I was talking about the way she conducted herself on the day not the lead up to it.

              If the truth must be told over the journey I think none of our politicians has behaved particularly graciously for some considerable time. The ordinary cut and thrust of politics has given way to dirt digging, dog whistling and white-anting one’s own colleagues. How anyone is supposed to rise entirely above that kind of professional quagmire gets harder to imagine by the minute.

              Either way you just don’t get to reel off a list of Gillard’s faults without acknowledging the shift bastards that she’s had to deal with in her own party and I’d argue even more on the opposition benches. Whatever happens I think history will reserve its harshest judgements for those who have undermined decent and worthwhile policy initiatives for reasons that have everything to do with personal gain and nothing to add to the national good.


        • Marilyn July 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm #


          I feel just like Shakira because the ALP did me over in much the same way in 1987 just as I was about to start uni.

          Things for single parents are now so bad even the shockers at ACA and TT are protesting.

          JO. let’s face it. Women like Anne Summers still in the 1950’s think we girls are being oppressed by men in blue ties.


          • jo wiseman July 7, 2013 at 8:53 am #

            I’m sorry to hear that Marilyn. I’ve had some big ups and downs myself.
            Anne Summers lives in a bubble that’s for sure. A niche feminist echo chamber.
            Gillard doesn’t exactly come from classic privilege does she? The big privilege she had was supportive and maybe ambitious parents. She’s smart, tough, dedicated, works hard and backs herself and I like to see those things rewarded in a woman even if it isn’t rewarded in all women. It’s not rewarded in all men either.


            • Marilyn July 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

              Have you ever actually met her Jo. Ever heard her say out loud that refugees with death penalties on their heads can go home because being buried to the waist and stoned to death is not persecution?

              And remember her ridiculous so-called expert refugee panel? This is what the actual joint parliamentary committee stated about that nonsense.

              The evidence that this approach will work is not yet supported by any
              downward trend in boat arrivals. While the committee is sympathetic to the view
              that this is still a ‘work in progress’, it is not the committee’s role to assess on a
              hypothetical basis whether implementation of the Expert Panel’s recommendations
              in their entirety at some point in the future would satisfactorily meet Australia’s
              human rights obligations. On the basis of the evidence before it, the committee
              considers that the measures as currently implemented carry a significant risk of
              being incompatible with a range of human rights. To the extent that some of those
              rights may be limited, the committee considers that the reasonableness and
              proportionality of those limitations have not been clearly demonstrated.

              It simply is neither tough, nor smart, nor intelligent to abuse the poorest of the poor in our community such as those we saw on 4 Corners on Monday night, or jail refugees or pretend we can break the laws just to appease racists.

              It is not tough nor smart to steal billions from the poorest uni. students on scholarships and give it to the richest private schools to appease the Christian lobby.

              I am tough too, but I don’t punish and torture those weaker than me to prove it. I take on the gutless powerful and I never shut up and I never go away.


              • jo wiseman July 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

                You obviously feel deeply about it. I don’t think Gillard is evil but I’m not going to argue it.
                What I had in mind when I said she is tough is the personal attacks she would have weathered on the way up through the political ranks.


        • zerograv1 July 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

          Ok I suggest you contact the women who run “Telstra Business woman of the year” – you will find great examples of people who believe women should be given awards mostly for being female. Some of the awarded are truly deserving, some far from it.


    • doug quixote July 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Indeed Jo – Gillard is only 51 and I cannot see such a person retiring to do her knitting or throwing darts at a picture of Marilyn for the next twenty years. 🙂


      • Marilyn July 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

        Doug, I don’t care if she throws darts at me, I can’t believe I would be important enough for her to bother though.


        • paul walter July 12, 2013 at 4:03 am #

          Some where between you Marilyn and Jo on this one.
          You have to have natural ability to reach the pinnacle and the job hasn’t got any easier over the last twenty years. It’s a job so hard and public as to have even strong people eventual display a weakness.
          Basically Gillard demonstrated two things.
          Firstly, that the nation doesn’t fall apart for having a woman as PM.
          Secondly, the job is tough enough to defeat a woman, as it has defeated preceding men


        • paul walter July 13, 2013 at 2:24 am #

          I will throw darts at you instead, if you miss this past time.


  15. doug quixote July 10, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Your non-sheep need you Jennifer! Where is our fix?


  16. paul walter July 12, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    A quick look at the header reminds me that Jennifer, Marilyn, Jo and also the other male and female contributors here are my sisters (and brothers) also. In other words I can see Gillard as my sister, too.
    Not because of her good points but also the bad things.
    If you’ve made as as many mistakes and thought as many dark thoughts as this writer, its a relief to see that under severe circumstances one’s claimed superiors will cock up as well


    • hudsongodfrey July 12, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      Perhaps in that case we should have to explore sibling rivalry as the new theme of discussion 🙂


  17. Freya July 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I wonder if everyone has been troubled by what is beginning to look like a three year demonstration of power and a comprehensive assault on the right of free speech (in the ‘unmediated’ sense) via the person of a Prime Minister who is ‘Different’. Perhaps women are not the only ones who feel less safe as a result?

    It appears to me an imaginary feminist party line is being drawn more by Eva Cox in her continuing use of the “loyalty” furphy. We should well know by now that these are the words of those in power, not of any feminist line that has ever really existed.

    Summers certainly raised the issue of loyalty – directed at the women inside the Labor party. I think you are making the same mistake as Eva Cox in verballing Summers and extending Summer’s position to that of all women/feminists. Of course I have no idea of Summer’s actual feelings about sisterly solidarity or a feminist party line, any more than you do. It seems to me that Summer’s article was a legitimate expression of anger at the party and it’s members. If only we had seen more such anger and directness before this, perhaps we would not all be feeling so uncomfortable now?


    • zerograv1 July 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      Yeah we really need more anger, bad mouthing , slurs and small mindedness in the major parties ….not…Summers brand of feminism disappeared with several decades old newspaper chip wrappings. It’s very much yesterdays news, ask any modern feminist if you don’t concur. What’s missing in huge gaps in her viewpoint is the issue of individual responsibility for your life, something you can’t take while you endlessly blame everyone and everything else for failure. Anger is jst ranting and rarely well thought out.


      • freya July 13, 2013 at 12:00 am #

        You sound a tad angry yourself Z.
        I would love to ask one of your ‘modern’ feminists but I suspect they are a product of your imagination, along with your other rather wildly sweeping statements. The suggestion that any kind of feminism is old news has been used since feminism began, Z. It’s an old trick – just close your eyes and it will all go away.


        • zerograv1 July 13, 2013 at 1:01 am #

          So you havent kept up huh? Do you know what a post modernist feminist is? Do you know the various types around nowdays? Do you even know the original history of feminism? I bet you dont….


          • paul walter July 13, 2013 at 2:23 am #

            zero, it could be that feminism hasn’t died out because the things that provoke it haven’t died out?
            Tell feminists they are issue-less ratbags and they’ll point you to a map of Africa and ask you if female circumcision and fertilty rights are the common practice across much of it along with high infant and maternal mortality, physical injury through birth at too young an age and poverty that Australians are so prosperous in comparison to that they can;t grasp the nature of it.
            I think what feminists really suffer from is some thing many men would identify with intimately; the frustration derived of the fact that the earth could be so much better, but that the system seems rigged against even the most basic humanitarian change, for what seem to be completely irrational reasons.


            • zerograv1 July 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

              Humanitarian and socially redeeming goals are a larger universal set than feminism…these arent reforms desired or confined to one sex or feminism only. Humanists and even the Catholic church also share those changes as aims. To some extent wider social goals like these were only embraced by the feminist movement once it had run out of puff debating domestic work sharing, gaining the vote, equality legislation etc and only entered feminist debate as an afterthought a couple of decades after the 70’s brand of feminism (FYI Feminist thought can be traced as far back as the 1700’s)


              • paul walter July 13, 2013 at 11:53 am #

                Eeeehhh, but you frustrate. Yes, its true that other social movements also embrace feminist humanitarian impulses.
                Of course it is true that women’s lib of the late sixties was part of a rainbow coalition of people who had seen through History According to the Victors. It could be said that like Indigenous activism it fell into a rut although Alternative Histories were fleshed out during these times, showing feminists and aborigines the same reasons for their doldrums as the wider blue collar working class movement had had to learn earlier- that the system can and will absorb pressure and absorb dissent,.


          • Freya July 13, 2013 at 9:31 am #

            My, what a lot of demanding questions. But, we have moved from ‘modern’ to ‘post’ I see. Keep going, you might eventually get it.


            • zerograv1 July 13, 2013 at 9:57 am #

              So you are answering No then?


              • freya July 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

                I can see why you might find some sort of quaint post-structuralist idea of feminisms appealing, Z. You can just sit around deconstructing your navel and pretending human rights don’t exist, because what is a human after all? And do they really exist anyway? As I said, close your eyes and it will all go away.


                • zerograv1 August 21, 2013 at 7:39 am #

                  Advice you would be well benefited by when repeating to a mirror


    • paul walter July 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

      Here is the thing, to me: the last few years and decades have indeed been about a “demonstration of power” and a “comprehensive assault on…free speech”.
      The power is (of) Rupert Murdoch and his allies.
      Our elected leaders have indeed been forced to publically betray their principles on issues particularly related to civil liberties, freedom of speech, arbitrary detention, censorship, dumbing down and uber surveillance, along with systematic human rights.abuse more generally as policy, against outsiders,
      Against this backdrop, Freya’s observation that Summers and others comments do assume the appearance of legitimate anger assumes meaning.
      It also sheds a new light the artificial nature of the dispute between others and Marilyn- truth is we all know that democracy is under threat and the actual disagreement substance concerns tactics, eg do you put up with Labor if things have gone beyond a point of no return, or “can” them when they do wrong, to discourage them from further backsliding.


      • freya July 13, 2013 at 12:07 am #

        Thanks for your clarification Paul. You express my suspicions of the dilemma we could be in and tactics being more important. Personality politics are the distraction.


        • paul walter July 13, 2013 at 2:07 am #

          Thank you Freya. I appreciate the fair response to my comment.
          The situation over the last few years got worse quick as to politics as an issue-free soap opera.
          As in the USA and Britain it only took a couple of years for people’s attentions to be diverted from the Great Heist of 2007, the Meltdown and the consequences as national economies were ransacked by tycoons betting that bought off governments would figure them “too big to fail” while the rest had to cop it sweet.
          But what’s trillions of world and life saving dollars compared to Abbott’s or Gillard’s ears or Obama’s African ancestry, say?
          Its not by accident that the black propagandists of Murdochs world lead the public to personality politics, imagine the anger if people had time and quiet to work through obscured information and actually think through how politics really works.
          There has been no bragging by the media and the Opposition about the IPA based economics agenda, for example, if the public were focused to it and understood its real meaning for them, it would be the Opposition facing a landslide defeat, not the ALP, Greens etc.


          • freya July 13, 2013 at 9:42 am #

            Sound arguments again Paul, and one’s I think many are contemplating, despite appearances.


  18. doug quixote July 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    “(FYI Feminist thought can be traced as far back as the 1700′s)”

    Really? No credit for Joan of Arc; Hildegard of Bingen; Boudicca; Cleopatra;

    or perhaps of legend, perhaps not, Clytemnestra; Ruth; or dare I add, of myth, Eve?

    You think you are so clever, Zero, but zero is about where you are.

    BTW, if you want polite answers, ask polite questions.


    • zerograv1 July 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

      Heroines in history arent necessarily feminists…that they become hero worshipped by later feminists doesnt mean they were either. Each of the examples you gave had a specific cause or power base to attend to, none were social activists for example, nor were they known for advancing the cause of women particularly, Im open to other examples you might have though.


  19. paul walter July 13, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    The issue of postmodernism is of course central to this fairly foundational issue, which was taken a step further in the unfolding in a harder line by Summers in today’s Fairfax column.
    The article itself was concerned that Rudd was not fairly acknowledging the positive side of Gillard’s term as PM. Was the problem the little fellow’s imitation of another famous little bloke’s most irritating habit, John Howard, in the blowing of his own bags, eg a sign of ego and self promotion removing the big picture issue of rescuing the legacy that he shares with Gillard?
    My response is that if he doesn’t keep his ego in check, he will have done far worse even than Howard and not learned from his humiliating experience of three years, because nothing short of success during and after the election campaign, if he can by some miracle salvage an ALP win, will save him from what we now know to be the predictable wrath of the ALP, particularly if he loses sight of the real game, doesn’t delegate and include and won’t listen.


    • paul walter July 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Ah yes, where was I?
      Pomo/ post structuralism.
      I think it originally was leftish critiquing of the type best exemplified by the famous Roland Barthes critique of media and news as not free from unconsciously loaded bias, Mythologies
      It developed into a critique also of the Left itself and its truth claims, which seemed ultimately as unprovable as earlier religious and philosophical metaphysics and as likely to deteriorate back into an unthinking conservatism (wearing a Stalinist botox) as previous belief systems. Parts of it were thus also ultimately misappropriated by the Right to defend the established order as surely as the Eureka flag was stolen from the left by the right, as “anything goes” became the norm in the new disillusioned times..
      Anne Summers may be part of the sixties movement that saw all this unfold, perhaps also Marilyn Lake, or Henry Reynolds as to Aboriginal history, or internationally, Edward Said and Orientalism and Colonialism.
      As things settled after the Great Depression and WW2, to the final flowering of High Industrialism and Colonialism before its collapse through automation and through the liberating advent of the Pill, for the new generation, postmodernism signalled unpredictability and complexity as to the new mode, as old ways and truths collapsed and it became every rat for him/her self, paving the way for Right Libertarianism’s deep valorisation of self and love thereof, along with the parallel discrediting of government as a positive if done right.
      So adored, that is, by mega capitalists out to justify not putting their whack in for Civil Society but instigating untrammeled exploitation of their fellow humans.
      Zero, the point Freya is trying to make is that white males do not “see” things the way an aborigine or a woman excluded “other” (or the original subset, blue collar workers) may seen things, history itself is contentious and for these excluded “others” the enemy is, actually, (usually) male or white or both rather than Tory or Laborite.
      I think for anyone to get what I mean, you’d have to read Henry Lawson’s mum Louisa’s poem “Iris Gertler”, as good as anything even Henry himself wrote, that proposes that the reality for most women in the nineteenth century was a depressing far cry from the idealised ideological representation of women as cherished collaborators in life, forgiven their frailties by generous men.
      Equally, given the amount of abuse I’ve copped from some feminists for merely asking questions about how the feminist vision would work, I can intimately identify with Zeroes dislike of some modern feminism/ists and the guilty till proven innocent approach it/they seem often to take as to men- to pinch a pomo line, I’d say its not yet demonstrable conclusively that men are perversely evil from birth or merely enculturated to it, although, for the moment,
      I will not contest the underlying assumption that we (men)are inevitably stuffed either way, It goes without saying that we are evil and deliberately and consciously so, all the time, and its definitely not Manicheism, but the mansplanasionist nonsense that men are unwitting victims of genetics and culture as to individuation, as are women.
      As Zero said early in the conversation, people need not automatically blame others left or right, male or female, for their problems, but do better to inform themselves about the world they live in and take on the effort of developing a “consciousness” that also includes the existentialist caveat that one takes responsibility for oneself and one’s actions. It’s a response to pomo/ post structuralism anti solidaritist Murdoch black propaganda stuff, not self actualisation, btw.
      So, this is WITHOUT denying that life is a rigged game for the majority and there IS justice in most of the complaint of the racial, ethnic or gendered “other”
      In short, if Summers et al’s criticism of male politics keeps Rudd from falling back into egotism and has him do the job properly, it would be fine with me.
      There you have it.


  20. paul walter July 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    BTW sorry for War and Peace, am trying to understand the issue myself as much as anyone else let alone succeed in helpinganyone elses understanding of these things.
    As if there would be anything original in what I said anyway, to achieve that.
    Wish I had the brains of a Wilson or Summers, btw; I envy them poisonously, they could effortlessly say something helpful for a reader in a sentence or two when it’s taken me half an hour to put down something in incoherent and incorrect form.


    • Freya July 14, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      “Stalinist botox” lol! Actually Paul, everything you said made sense to me and contributes to my own muddling along understanding. We are in a hall of mirrors here and need not get distracted by our own reflections too much. Anything which contributes to civil debate after the viciousness of the last three years can only help, as Doug pointed out. I have to defensively add that I have never met a feminist who believes men are any more evil than we are, so I am sorry if you get that impression sometimes, it’s a bit of a shitfight out there you know 😉 As to feminist visions, we are utopians, but have no more real idea than anyone else I’m afraid. On a historical note, some feminists identify the origins of activist feminism in the Abolitionist movement. Zero’s disingenuous sketch of feminist history is just more of the same self-flattering caricatures we get from both the left and right, I’m afraid. As to, Zero’s wider “humanitarian” goals, as women constitute half the population and and at least half of any other “minority” you can think of, we believe that our own liberation can only benefit pretty much everyone. Personally, I don’t really flatter myself we can save the planet too, but here’s hoping!


  21. paul walter July 14, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Am actually enjoying the conversation and that includes Zero’s contribution.
    Your last post wasn’t big, but communicated a lot. I’ve a sense of commonality with you, of aspiration, vision and sensibility that seem far to outweigh any differences..


    • doug quixote July 14, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      That is true for me as well. It is all too easy to focus on our points of disagreement, for they are the nuances of our views.

      If we were to reflect and consider instead just how much we all agree upon – at least we few here on this site – we’d wonder what all the fuss is about.


  22. ronsavage55555 July 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    News flash, July 14th, MelbourneTown

    (Please don’t choke on your Wheaties!)

    The Sunday Age today has an article, the first of a new series apparently, by a certain Melinda Tankard Reist.

    The article is allegedly on sport, but I didn’t read it.

    This raises 2 questions:

    o Where have I heard that name before?

    o Just how low can The (Sunday) Age sink?


    • doug quixote July 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Sport?? MTR must be diversifying. Things have been pretty quiet for the BACWA set lately. She may find her niche at last, commenting on lacrosse, ping pong and rounders. LOL


  23. paul walter July 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Meanwhile, out in the real world, Trayvon Martin’s killer is let off by a redneck jury in the southern state of Florida.


  24. doug quixote July 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    “From the start, prosecutors faced a difficult task in proving second-degree murder. That charge required Mr. Zimmerman to have evinced a “depraved mind,” brimming with ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent, when he shot Mr. Martin.

    Manslaughter, which under Florida law is typically added as a lesser charge if either side requests it, was a lower bar. Jurors needed to decide only that Mr. Zimmerman put himself in a situation that culminated in Mr. Martin’s death.

    But because of Florida’s laws, prosecutors had to persuade jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense. A shortage of evidence in the case made that a high hurdle, legal experts said.

    Even after three weeks of testimony, the fight between Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman on that rainy night was a muddle, fodder for reasonable doubt. It remained unclear who had started it, who screamed for help, who threw the first punch and at what point Mr. Zimmerman drew his gun. There were no witnesses to the shooting.

    ‘The state presented a case that was strong on guesswork and emotion but weak on evidence and proof’, Mr. O’Mara said. ”

    From a report by the NY Times.

    A jury can only decide a case upon the evidence presented; the six women of the jury apparently decided it was not proved as charged.

    A different result might have been desirable; I suspect people will die and riots may follow as a result. (DQ sighs)


    • paul walter July 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      On balance, I’d go with manslaughter. The evidence is clear enough as to that.


      • doug quixote July 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

        Don’t know, I wasn’t there. But I would have thought it was murder or nothing. It would be murder in NSW. These peculiar “stand your ground” laws in the USA are a disgrace and part of the reason that a country that rates itself as the world’s greatest democracy has fallen from grace.

        Sic transit gloria.


    • hudsongodfrey July 15, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      On what’s available to the public gaze he should have gone down for manslaughter every day of the week. Millions of black men have been fitted up far worse. But two wrongs wouldn’t make a right, and we didn’t sit on the jury.

      What seems hard to countenance in this case is simply that if he wanted to please self defence then the onus of proof falls upon him to justify that claim. If the question to be asked is about whether justice has been seen to be done here then the answer is equally seen to be that guns and killing are too lightly condoned in the great state of Florida.

      The people carrying posters saying “we are all Trayvon Martin” deserve better answers.


      • doug quixote July 15, 2013 at 10:58 am #

        “. . . because of Florida’s laws, prosecutors had to persuade jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense.”

        Read that carefully, HG. It is an abomination.

        I will try to track down and read those laws, which seem to justify murder in cases like this.


        • doug quixote July 15, 2013 at 11:29 am #

          Ok, I’ve read Chapter 776 of the Florida Statutes. Convoluted and messy, it appears to allow Zimmerman’s defence; the difficulty for the prosecutors is that if there are no witnesses, only a deceased and a self-declared “Victim Who Survived” just how can they prove that the VWS intended to kill a stranger he may never have seen before?

          Who kills strangers they have never seen before? Certainly it seems to me that the VWS must have their previous record investigated, to see if they have any propensity to violence.

          Zimmerman had some fairly minor infractions, but if they want to have laws of this sort, his previous behaviour needed to be put into consideration – a vast change in the law, I suspect.

          Far better to limit stand your ground to home defence situations, I would have thought.


          • hudsongodfrey July 15, 2013 at 11:54 am #

            It is surprising if they have turned what I, and I’m sure many others, understood to be the norm in terms of burden of proof for self defence virtually inside out. It is probably no wonder then that so many people are outraged and discouraged by what appears to most to be a terrible miscarriage of justice. Not to mention genuinely fearful of the implications.

            if that were the case here then it would be little wonder that it seems compelling to US citizens to arm themselves for self defence. And I think that’s very sad and very very wrong.

            Justice taken out of the hands of the state and put into those of the individual may in some of the senses that Americans like to emphasise represent greater freedom of the individual, but I think what is missed in that is that it certainly fails to represent freedom from individual acts of violence, and that sense of being protected by a Justice system is a far greater thing to lose.


            • doug quixote July 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

              There is much in what you say : it becomes the law of the jungle, kill or be killed. That seems to appeal to the rightist Americans, at least; a sort of a wild west throwback to where every man went armed.

              They watch too many westerns and too much television. Let’s hope their disease does not spread.


  25. freya July 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Here’s me thinking that personal responsibility meant taking no offence as well as giving none? And that denying difference was the same as repression?
    Must’ve wandered into the wrong paddock.


    • paul walter July 14, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Arent we always our own worst enemies?


  26. Freya July 15, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Very sadly true Mr Walter. I can only try to communicate, like anyone else.
    I’m no fan of Jung’s essentialism, but I find this expresses it better than I possibly could. If you replace man with self and woman with other..?

    “What can a man say about woman, his own opposite? I mean of course something sensible, that is outside the sexual program, free of resentment, illusion, and theory. Where is the man to be found capable of such superiority? Woman always stands just where the man’s shadow falls, so that he is only too liable to confuse the two.” (Women In Europe)


    • hudsongodfrey July 16, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      I think I’d like to hear you expand on some of those thoughts because there are a number of contexts whereby essentialism or arguments mostly against it intersect feminism and indeed are informed partly by some of Jung’s work that could be widely interpreted to mean lots of different things.

      I’m no expert, but Jung seems through the notion of archetypes to support a kind of view of essentialism that may itself be seized upon and distorted by some in almost the same way that critics of Darwin have tried over time have thrown up a constant fount of reasons to discredit theories that they simply dislike. I think we have to be mindful that just as evolutionary science has been advanced by genetics psychology is being advanced by neuroscience to the point where what we really want to say is not that things are all one way or they’re all the other, but that there are socially conditioned emphases that we want to encourage and discourage because we think some outcomes are better than others.

      I think I prefer to look at Jung as the kind of thinker whose best work was to recognise the potential to investigate some really useful questions about the emerging science of psychology. Whether he fully answered many of those questions about some of these things in a way we continue to regard as authoritative is, or should be, always open to the possibility for new and better science to come along.

      If we rely on science we have to be prepared for answers we don’t like.

      So where I’d have a problem with this is that, much as I don’t want to verbal you by mischaracterizing what you’ve written, I nevertheless have some degree of discomfort and scepticism about what happens if we’re proven wrong about anti-essentialism. What if we find out through neuroscience that the mind’s work is more deterministic, more genetically programmed than we first imagined?

      If that happened then who of us would truly be interpreting it to mean that the grand project of egalitarianism, of which feminism is one aspect along with equal rights across race and sexual orientation boundaries, should be allowed to wither and die. And if we wouldn’t then I’d ask whether we needed to rely on that kind of argument in the first place. I think our urge to greater equality and fairness in society and in interpersonal relations probably comes from somewhere other than any form of essential self interest. I think we have to introduce the concept of empathy into the conversation to even begin to drill for a more complete answer. One that is perhaps less susceptible to being undermined by essentialist debates and which happily also seems to be supported by some of the neuroscience as well as just the philosophical roots of those value systems which if you’re like me are apt to cause uneasiness at the prospect of the essential’s case.


      • doug quixote July 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

        Like most attempts at conceptualising reality and reducing it to a manageable set of memes, essentialism goes too far, as does non-essentialism and most other -isms.

        There is of course at least a grain of truth in each of the -isms created by the great thinkers (and some not so great) of humankind.

        It would be wonderful if feminism could be subsumed into egalitarianism, and was no longer required as a separate -ism, as I think you suggest.


        • hudsongodfrey July 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

          As long as we subsume things without denying the history of what it took to achieve them then I guess we could say that most forms of activism might see ultimate success as something that could retire their movements.

          I’m also interested in the idea that if we use science to support some of our arguments then what happens if ongoing research yields some results that simply don’t suit us as well. Maybe somebody should really have asked at the outset why the initial results were so welcome. After all that’s probably more to do with what we’re on about.


          • doug quixote July 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

            Subsume here does not mean “retire” the movement! Just that it is included, expanded into a greater struggle.

            The struggle for equality of all human beings.


            • hudsongodfrey July 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

              I’m not that keen to argue the finer points of subsuming, my thoughts were just that people will strongly identify as wronged minorities until such time as those wrongs are substantively addressed. I think we need that process of bringing up new issues by way of allowing people to form grass roots movements that identify things because it seems to speak to the authenticity of their issues. So the really interesting question might be about how anyone could supplant the role of that kind of narrower self interest from within your proposed broader based humanitarian project while engendering the stamp of authenticity that most such well meaning people are renowned for being unable to maintain.


              • doug quixote July 17, 2013 at 12:09 am #

                FFS, HG I’m not proposing anything! They can keep their feminism, post modern, archaic, anaphylactic, antediluvian or antidisestablishmentarianist – I really don’t give a flying fuck!


                • hudsongodfrey July 17, 2013 at 9:14 am #

                  FFS Doug, I’m not really disagreeing with you 🙂


              • freya July 17, 2013 at 8:34 am #

                Mr H, you are talking about what some call ‘strategic identifications’, such a Black Power and Gay Pride. I am also trying to talk about this. Authenticity is contested ground, much like legitimacy.


                • hudsongodfrey July 17, 2013 at 9:40 am #

                  Yes but authenticity and legitimacy are two completely different things. So to me you’ve supplied some great language here because if we can say that we occasionally try and legitimise what we authentically identify with based on a poorer set of priorities than we might then we begin I think to interrogate the problem with ideology that we’ve been skirting around in some of these discussions.


              • freya July 17, 2013 at 9:21 am #

                (I have fallen into the trap of assigning you a gender hudsongodfrey, apologies.)


                • hudsongodfrey July 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

                  The car in the Avatar has an agenda there’s no error there. 🙂


                  • freya July 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

                    Minefield of agendas lately, keep tripping over my own IEDs 😀


                    • hudsongodfrey July 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

                      I was actually going to misspell it agender as a kind of mischievous signifier 🙂


          • Freya July 17, 2013 at 8:23 am #

            Thanks Mr H, much food for thought! I’m no expert on anything, but we can all think. I was thinking about Jung’s idea of the collective shadow when that quote was thrown my way and it struck me as a stunning description of what appears to be a collective hysteria over the Julia Gillard leadership. Particularly, in the question it raises of how we can speak /think about the other without our own shadow getting in the way. Some of Jennifer Wilson’s recent posts talk about this too I think.

            Your point about the relevance of essentialism/anti essentialism is very well taken. In fact it has struck me that both Ms Wilson and I began with the same disclaimer. As if we are saying: “I’m sorry for ‘playing the gender-card’ but..”?

            I stand by my point that women are not a side issue. For every Trayvon Martin, one could raise ten Malala Yousafzai’s who did not survive. But women are not prone to rioting. The right and left has twisted feminist history to make it hard for any privileged white woman to say such things without being called names (Lady Macbeth? Madame Defarge? Emma Bovary even?). Jung might say that such epithets say more about what some men (and women) fear, than about their intended targets.

            The issue of scientific discourse is important. I wonder if it is more a case of Darwinism than Darwin (and Jungianism rather than Jung) which feminists object to?

            I’m not sure that Jung is past his use-by date. His insights into the self/other dichotomy and, implicitly, the idea of relationship and empathy, seem very useful here.


            • hudsongodfrey July 17, 2013 at 9:36 am #

              I think we want to be careful about using any sentences that start with “I’m not a such-and-such but….”, because the way they’re used is so often to transparently excuse rather than qualify whatever follows. So you can see how somebody might’ve misread that and not known whether to take it on face value. I will now.

              Interesting also that you raise Darwinism/Jungianism versus Darwin or Jung whereas others have raised feminism versus egalitarianism. The way I’m reading all of this does indeed relate back to ideas about the “other” that seem to me to stem from a lack of empathy and an overemphasis on narrow self interest, even to the extent that reactions we’re seeing against the different ideological stances reflect the same kinds of failures.


              • paul walter July 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

                I’m just wondering if this not something to come back to, this othering to do with self interest and lack of empathy and to what extent we are “inscribed” so to speak (against our delusions that we are in control) as to it.
                I raise it because I think Freya’s point re women more on the end of things as to global poverty is fair. In turn it’s probably fair to recall that of several hundred thousand years as a species we have only relative control over some of the conditions that determine our survival over the last few centuries. We are still in a mindset determined by things like massive female and infant mortality. We don’t “see” women, or say, poor people of different races, because it just not the reified (over a biological bedrock) cultural message.
                passed down.
                It may be that men and women just accepted that women would die young and culture was built around this reality,but changes in the mode of economic productions has changed the circumstances in which culture operates and is passed on.
                Eg, the cultural mode is out of whack with a productive mode that influences fertility, life span and other demographic elements and this too takes time to change, depending on how flexible a cultural mode is to adaptation..
                So, much between women and men seems “unheimlich” because we are not deep conditioned to see things other and maybe change will t ake longer than we think.


                • hudsongodfrey July 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

                  I think there’s two different aspects of some of these questions to be dealt with, they’re sort of like the cause and the effect of certain paradigms, or social constructs if you will. So without getting right down into the chicken and the egg, there’s this bad way of thinking about gender that we call patriarchy, (and here I’d suggest matriarchy would be equally as bad), and then there’s recognition of it and the work that needs to be done in addressing different approaches and what those might look like. The arguments we need to settle first about essentialism or nature versus nurture may help inform those better ways of thinking or come to establish new paradigms if you insist on using that intellectual sounding language. The thing I’m trying to stand astride though is that intellectualising why it is wrong to stone non-virgins or raped women to death, as they do in some countries, doesn’t seem to me to rely on philosophising as must as it does upon empathising with these extreme cases of “other”ing that allow us to so dehumanise another human being as to kill them for something that isn’t even their fault.


                  • Freya July 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

                    Good tip about ploys and qualifiers, thanks. Bit like saying “with respect …” 😀

                    I’m thinking the trick is not to take our outward identities too seriously? I see feminism more as a political position, rather than an ideology. Ideology implies some kind of unity and legitimacy which I’m not sure feminism has achieved, or even wants to achieve. Positions can be revised with new evidence more easily than ideology. (Qualifier: out on a limb here!)

                    Feminism’s goal is equality not world domination, so I can’t see its incompatible with egalitarianism. Most feminists think men struggle as much with arbitrary gender rules as women do.

                    I do agree empathy and respect for the other is crucial. And, perhaps more importantly, empathy and respect for the self. In our own individual strivings for recognition (from others instead of our self) we can be distracted by ideologies and group identities and words.. As zero said anger and shouting doesn’t help and we need to find a better way. But we need to communicate – how can the peasants demand bread if they won’t be heard?


                    • hudsongodfrey July 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

                      I agree about the goals of feminism but I’m careful to say that I also think it needs for the moment at least to remain as something separate from just egalitarianism. Thats why when it comes to anger and shouting I think we know that there’s emotional content therein, that while it may be less productive in a rational sense is nonetheless signifying of a kind of authenticity in people’s positions.

                      We may not like or encourage strong negative emotions like anger but I also think that when they happen then denying them would be folly because clearly there’s something unsatisfactory afoot that needs redress and if we’re truly going to stop “othering” behaviour we need to own our part in it when we cause anger in others.


                  • Freya July 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

                    Your last comment lost its reply button. It’s probably telling me to shut up because you have summed it all up for me. It’s good when agenders agree 🙂


                    • hudsongodfrey July 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

                      I agree. And it’s only because I generally log in using a WordPress account that using Notifications that appears I can carry on the conversation beyond the reply limit 🙂


                • freya July 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

                  There’s no blame in history. It does help with respect and understanding tho, and might make things more heimlich 🙂 I think you’re right about the need to control (fear?) which seems to get in the way of communication, and that requires attending to the self in a compassionate way.


  27. paul walter July 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    I think you’re talking to us of the dichotomy thing and us/them thinking, if not for me then must be be against me. What people don’t understand is their own physical limitations and the complexity of cognitive processes and processive life actualisation.
    The goal is the focus and nothing more exasperating than having something you’ve initiated snag up because you’ve somehow failed to take something into account and worse still when it involves others, then you have to explain and apologise and rethink and postpone, instead fixing whatever it was that lack of diligence created in the first place.
    Be “noice” if it was all only a dry run for the real thing- that we wake up after we die and find it was just a training exercise and we all now knock off for permanent beer and skittles, having already learnt it all and come into the fullest of being.
    But we have no evidence that it’s just a bad joke.
    I don’t think women are as passive as Jung suggests. Like men they learn when to front and when it’s more convenient to duck.
    The evidence to me suggests that men and women get on fine when they adjust a bit to each other and can treat each other as collaborators rather than opponents or impediments. eg other becomes self.
    “One” is ok, but the icing in my life has come at those time when ego was sublimated to the extent that I could bond, then enjoy the rewards nature has instilled into that part of the process.


    • Freya July 16, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Thank you Paul, I like your thinking, and your compassion. I had to chuckle at your descriptions of our human frailties and confusions. I agree with you that Jung has got it wrong about women (and thank you for the compliments.) This is the irony of the quote I think. We women have our own shadows, which can sometimes be men, as I thought your comment about being our own worst enemies suggested. (I assumed you were using the human “we”. Language is so tricky!)

      My position on the debate of the moment is a political one. My support of Summers’ position, is based on the observation through history that “women’s rights” have been repeatedly subsumed and put aside by ‘the left’ for More Important “Humanitarian” issues. (With the odd superficial concessions which Z mentioned). As if women are some kind of “minority”, which ‘we’ are not.

      More importantly, however, I think that Summers’ position identifies the ‘real’ common issue, by aiming her sights at the issue of free speech and individual rights. Obviously the party knows they have women over a barrel, just as Rudd knows he has the party over one. (I will leave you to draw your own conclusions over that last metaphor.) But hopefully the real battle is elsewhere, as I think you suggest. Thanks for listening Sir, much appreciated.


  28. paul walter July 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Doug; HG, what strikes me is the whole contrivance- the wording of the charges and the process in the case, against the context of “stand your ground”, itself contextualised against the right’s dismembering and privatising of civil society and human conduct reduced to whim and the personal idiosyncratic . It’s law of the jungle, “walk on my side of the street and I’ll waste you”, with the better off retreating to the citadel, or armed to the teeth and the rest just abandoned.
    Too much of “St James Infirmary” to all of this.


    • doug quixote July 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      It is appalling in its application. I am sure that the (mostly) good intentions of those who sponsored the Acts and who voted for them.

      How does it go? Oh yes : “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.


      • doug quixote July 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

        [edit : second sentence should read] I am sure that those who sponsored the Acts with (mostly) good intentions and those who voted for them would be horrified at the results flowing from them, including this case.


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  30. Lacas December 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    For those that insist that Gillard’s failure was in some way related to the fact Gillard is a woman, consider this. At the time of Gillard’s implosion the following power positions (at least) were held by and executed with exceptional competence by women: Queen, GG, Governor of NSW, Premier of NSW, CEO and Richest person in Australia, CEO of Australia’s largest bank.

    The thing is that Gillard was a backstabbing executive basket case who was an abject failure as PM. From the moment of becoming PM and despite expectations from all sides, everything Gillard touched turned to guano.

    Gillard was culpable for talking-up, making excuses for, and, protecting the lethal/toxic/insane regime that was the so-called Rudd government. When it suited Gillard she stabbed Rudd in the back. Then, Gillard stabbed the electorate in the back with the Carbon Tax Scam. For those with eyes to see there is a pattern here.

    The Gillard border ‘policy’ was simply a continuation of the Rudd slaughterhouse, which in time drowned neigh on a thousand would-be economic migrants and wasted tens of billions of dollars, whilst at the same time importing terrorists and people smugglers to live on welfare! The mining tax cost more to administer than it brought in, and, it still somehow managed to drive investment into competing nations (yes other countries have massive economic mineralization too chaps…)

    As always, the only people left voting for and standing by the failed experiment that was Gillard were the religious types who think it is more important to ‘believe’ than it is to get results, irrespective of how many people are smashed or killed in the process.

    The ‘True Believers’ having seen their old world Abraham religions exposed as nothing more than shams soaked with the blood of tens and more likely hundreds of millions of innocent lives have now have now rebranded their inanity. Those susceptible to high-sounding sanctimonious propaganda have now migrated to the Neo Con [sic] Religions; The Green Religion, The Religion of Political Correctness and The Religion of Socialism, which despite its relatively young age, already have a death doll approaching 100 million innocent civilians.



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