Dark vision: the world of Melinda Tankard Reist

24 Sep

Last night’s Australian Story on ABCTV invited its audience into the world of the remarkable photographer Poli Papapetrou and her family, in particular that of her daughter, Olympia.

When Olympia was six, Poli took a portrait of her naked in a re-creation of a much earlier image made by Lewis Carroll, known as the author of Alice in Wonderland, as well as for his photographic studies of young girls.

Poli’s photograph caused expressions of outrage from Kevin Rudd, Bravehearts founder and child advocate Hetty Johnston, and of course my old nemesis, Melinda Tankard Reist, all of whom found Olympia’s image highly offensive and her mother even more so for making it.

Olympia, now sixteen,  has become interested in what’s known as “selfies” which for the uninitiated are self-portraits, usually taken by teenage girls in various stages of undress, and posted on the internet. Her critique of this practice can be read here.

Australian Story  invited Melinda Tankard Reist to comment on selfies, and the manner in which we gaze upon young girls in our culture. Tankard Reist declared that because our vision is so tainted by pornography thanks to the pornified, sexualised atmosphere in which we dwell, it has become impossible for us to innocently view images of girls, whether they be those made by Poli Papapetrou of her daughter, the notorious photographs of Bill Henson, or selfies.

My damn spell check will not accept selfies as a word and insists on changing it. That means something, doesn’t it.

The sudden appearance of Ms Tankard Reist in the middle of what had, up till then, been an engrossing  portrait of a loved-filled, creative family life complete with what I suspect were rescued greyhounds, was something akin to the shocking effects felt at the  manifestation of a bad fairy at a joyous christening. Dark, forbidding, increasingly grim-lipped, Tankard Reist described to us of our loss of innocence, our inability to ever see a naked child as anything other than sexual fodder, thanks to the porn saturated universe we have wilfully allowed to engulf us.

We have, whether we realise it or not, had our capacity to gaze innocently upon the young stolen from us by pedophiles. In some abominable alchemical exchange, that gaze has been replaced with their dark and evil vision, and most of us do not even know what we have lost. Obviously, it is up to Melinda to tell us.

I don’t know about everybody else, but when I see a naked child the last thing that comes to mind is sex. I don’t think, oh my, that child is sexualised!Heavens, I even take photos of my grandsons with their willies out and their gorgeous naked buttocks that I could just kiss and kiss!

Set against the backdrop of Olympia and her family, Tankard Reist’s message has never sounded so insanely deviant. Of course there are situations in which girls are exploited and abused. But to lose the ability to tell one thing from another is a dangerous tragedy. Most of us retain that ability. Tankard Reist does not. In warning us of the loss of the innocent gaze, she reveals only that hers is lost. Mine is not and no matter how many pornographic images I’m bombarded with, it will never be lost.

Olympia’s family are an excellent example of how to combat pornographic assaults on the gaze, and raise children capable of distinguishing between art and beauty, and exploitation and abuse. Tankard Reist’s dark vision has no place in this world, and indeed, brings only destruction.

94 Responses to “Dark vision: the world of Melinda Tankard Reist”

  1. Ray (novelactivist) September 24, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    I was massively disappointed to see MTR represented in the program. She had no place. I suppose this was due to the ABC’s misguided policy to provide ‘balance’. MTR is a hypocrite. When Olympia wrote her piece MTR mistakenly thought Olympia was on her team.

    Unfortunately I do not think Olympia is fully aware that MTR was one of the principle agitators condemning her image.

    But there is another twist here and that is in regard to the new chief editor of The Age, under his governance The Age has included a number of articles from the pro-sexualisation moral panickers and MTR now contributes to the Sunday Age. I suppose it is to his credit that he included Olympia’s piece but then, did he really understand her position?

    On my blog I have provided several examples of people who posed naked as children and who have no regrets, love their images, want people to see them and claim that it was a wonderful experience that benefited them in many ways.

    Olympia is one of those models.

    However, people who listened to MTR and Hetty (and Rudd) might believe that Olympia was irredeemably damaged by the experience. How wrong they were.


    • Enoughofthejudging September 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Olympia writes an article lording her opinion on “selfies” when she had her first nude selfie at 6 years of age!

      A “selfie” is judged on a sliding scale of how much it can provoke a response, attention or sexuality. So the audience is as much to blame as the individual selfie. Which is precisely how child nudity however innocent can attract wrong doing individuals who’s reaction isn’t innocent. So why provoke and if it isn’t provoking then why condem selfies?

      We don’t all come from a privileged background, or have photography mothers lurking to take a beautiful snap.

      If you don’t like it – don’t look? But please get off your high horse.


    • zerograv1 December 28, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      But then there is this http://vimeo.com/64611906


      • hudsongodfrey December 28, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        I’m not buying your open ended post. If you want to find a video that was released last July and raise it at this late date then make the running as to what YOU think of it, otherwise you’re really no better than MTR simply throwing stuff out there and assuming outrage will follow. Need she say more? Well. yes she damned well does need to say more and so does anyone!?


  2. Jan Dobson September 24, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    We all learn life’s lessons. Our choices as parents will include whether this will be in an atmosphere of openness and acceptance or fear and disapproval. I, for one, support the former.

    Ask yourself, if we remove the stigma of nudity, what long term harm would those selfies do? And the corollary, with no more name calling and shaming, how much more confident and less easily manipulated might we all be?

    Peodophia is a concern, but blaming the possible victims is not the answer. Perhaps by empowering ourselves, by being open, and particularly by removing the fear of exposure, we may in fact reduce the incidence.

    Perhaps pornography and some sexual crime thrives because of the illictness. I don’t have those answers. I do know that Olympia appears to me a more balanced adult than most


    • Ray (novelactivist) September 24, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Hi Jan,

      I think it’s important to note that Olympia actually has no problem with nudity or sexually revealing selfies. She has a more nuanced view. She objects to the way the selfies are rated and that it becomes a competition amongst girls based merely on appearance.

      This morning the TV shows have been filled with stories about the Emmies and the Brownlow, as well as images of women posing in high fashion. Channel 9 had the cheek to draw attention to the ABC program (whilst misrepresenting Olympia’s position) and express concern over the selfie phenomenon and then a few minutes later run a segment critically examining the photos of celebs from the Emmies, without apparently registering that selfies are an extension of the celebrity culture which they gleefully exploit.


      • Jan Dobson September 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

        Agree with your assessment of Olympia, Ray. She is a compelling, admirable young woman. And my heart goes out to anyone who becomes involved in any competition with others to ‘find’ his or her own value, and isn’t that all of us at sometime. I though Australian Story were exemplary this time, no histrionics or apologies (and why should there be?).

        My response, and I possibly didn’t express myself clearly, was more geared toward MTR and her ‘nudity is bad and opens you to exploitation’ message, mentioned in the article, and the often expressed and, totally understandable from parents, ‘you’ll regret those photos when you’re older’ meme.

        I think the only juxtipation between Olympia’s story and Tankard Reist is that nudity is involved. MTR appears to associate nudity with pornography and pornography with child sexual abuse. If we could remove the ‘shame’ factor, perhaps we could see and give our attention to the importance of the low self image issue raised by Olympia and the ‘your actions may result in abuse’ (and therefore it is somehow your fault) that I hear in the OMG nude child crowd.


    • hudsongodfrey September 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Maybe selfies are by becoming notionally ubiquitous removing the stigma of nudity by simply making it more commonplace in the new media. I think that the sexual conservatives are right to fear this and I for one am happy to see their perversions laid bare by our rejection of them.

      There are as I mentioned below signs that the argument is lost if the Q&A goes as follows.

      Q: What’s wrong with Selfies?

      A: Your picture could be shared without your knowledge

      Q: So?

      A: Well if your nude that would be a bad thing.

      Q: Why what would be bad about it?


      We could be waiting for quite a while for that last answer if we’ve stopped caring about the taboo and the social stigma….. Otherwise what are we claiming that we support instead?


  3. 8 Degrees of Latitude September 24, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Jennifer, thank you. You done It again!

    I regard it as one of the good fortunes of life that I have never met Melinda Tankard Reist. I don’t think I would like her or her essentially prurient view of the universe. I do know Hetty Johnston and understand why she approaches these matters with the perspective she does, though I don’t agree with the totality of her solutions. Kevin Rudd is, well, a politician. He was speaking out on a manufactured issue, the way they always do. His intervention was a selfie of another sort 🙂

    Of selfies themselves, I can only say that humanity has always made use of technology that comes within grasp. Why anyone would want to share images of themselves in various states of undress, at least with anyone other than their currently significant other, is something that escapes me completely. It strikes me as immature. But what would I know?

    That said, humans are by nature voyeuristic – not only in the sexual sense – and pornography is a fact of life. It used to be dirty postcards. Now it’s moving pictures on the internet. To which I say, so what.

    The problem we all have with the Melinda Tankard Reists (and others) of this world is that they seek to prescribe what is proper and proscribe what they believe to be improper.They’re perfectly entitled to hold the views they do. But I’m damn sure those views, that we’re all going to hell for being naughty little boys and girls, is a pretty small minority position.

    There is nothing wrong with nude photos or artistic portrayals of the human body.

    There is everything wrong with paedophiles (I don’t buy the marginal arguments there at all).

    Perhaps we all need to grow up. But I wouldn’t want to be a grown-up in MTR’s world.


    • Ray (novelactivist) September 25, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      8 Degrees,

      Hetty was totally wrong on the Henson issue and Bravehearts made a submission to a senate inquiry that was so extreme it beggers belief and which attempted to overturn an artistic precedent that is as old as art itself – that the naked child is a legitimate subject. I understand that Hetty is concerned to protect children but in this case there was no victim. And in the Henson case, by making a complaint to the police, Hetty foolishly became the perpetrator of abuse against Henson and his model – whom Hetty made no attempt to consult.


      • 8 Degrees of Latitude September 27, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

        Ray, I think that’s right. But we need to consider the historical circumstances that produced such a response from Hetty Johnston.That said, I don’t think Henson’s art is particularly productive. But that’s my own value judgement and I would far rather leave such things up to individual assessment.


    • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      I think you’ve got a fairly good attitude to this. Just on the subject of selfies or more specifically sexting, I think it is more or less a form of flirting that isn’t necessarily meant to be shared in a voyeuristic way. It may just be a problem of language that we use, but voyeurism in the truest sense of the word has the taint of violation to it whereas there may be none unless these images are somehow misappropriated from a private sphere into the realm of public availability without consent.

      This is where I think the conversation should turn to the fact that what Olympia had to say from her own experience had more to do with distinctions between how nudity could be used in different contexts than about leaping to conclusions that all gazes are either prurient or voyeuristic somehow.

      I think the conversation about those contexts and the implications of behaviours teenagers are likely to experiment with are inevitable and often worthwhile especially when you have a young girl articulating her thoughts from within the moment as it were. The conversation in that tense may at least be open ended since clearly young people are obviously less closed to the possibility of expressing themselves in whatever context they feel comfortable with. I hope that means that in rejecting those adults who are so excessively keen upon imprinting their sexually repressive attitudes these kids are truly being non-conformists rather than just switching over from one cultural stream to another without giving it enough thought.

      I think the way to think about it is all wrapped up in the idea that while modes of sexual expression may vary within cultures over time the one constant factor seems to be that it is never a good or positive thing to condemn others simply for enjoying something which you do not if that thing creates no real harm.


      • 8 Degrees of Latitude September 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

        We would certainly not disagree 🙂

        My fervent wish is that all meddlers, especially ones with religious agendas that have nothing to do with me, or my assessment of reality. would go off and play with themselves elsewhere.


        • hudsongodfrey September 28, 2013 at 10:28 am #

          Well my fervent hope would be that people are disabused of the kind of thinking that subscribes greatest merit to believing the least credible propositions and outsources morality to charlatans and hypocrites.

          And that’s only the government, wait ’til I started on religion 🙂


    • SamB October 2, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Johnson is a dangerous zealot who has no place in the child protection ‘industry’. She has stated on the record many times that it is better innocent men (always men) go to jail than one guilty go free.
      In fact she is represents everything that is bad about child protection whipping up hysteria and diverting attention from a serious problem. The fact her organisation – which does no discernible good- receives massive government funding whist state social services for child protection are woefully underfunded is an example of the harm she does.


      • hudsongodfrey October 2, 2013 at 11:43 am #

        The problem is that enough people believe her rhetoric that I suspect it only creates a protest movement if some conciliatory form of acknowledgement isn’t forthcoming. Frankly though I think some people in becoming attuned to such things become a version the perversion that they set out to destroy. Will it only be when everything is see through a pervert’s eyes that we realise who has the dirty minds?


        • paul walter October 5, 2013 at 6:35 am #

          You’d have to balance a ledger by saying events in their earlier lives could have stressed their thinking.
          Was Hetty Johnson a victim of rape or other violence eg?
          hudsongodfrey invites us to see through a perverts eye’s presumably this means someone with a genuine problem through the constituting of the necessary involvement of others for the success enactment of the stimulus commands for a fantasy to take wing, sadly without out the necessary “off” switch to shut it down back where it belongs in the individual’s head.
          My guess it becomes necessary to intervene when someone is coerced into being involved. I know its the old Kantian Volkswagen at work, to the more sophisticated am redfaced but still I’d say I like help if I’m being beaten up and I think If I saw some one else in the situation I ;d react the same, to stop it.
          The species survives on self interest, whether altruism is its opposite or a derivativeof it is secondary to the sense of it being necessary and part of the precious value and meaning equipment that makes life so exquisite for rare and brief moments. I feel sorry for the pathological in a way, what can it mean if nothing means anything?


          • hudsongodfrey October 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

            I’m a bit sceptical about attempts at moral philosophy verging upon saying things are a certain way. There are pitfalls in it some of which are very relevant to the way many moral crusaders think, being theologically inclined for the most part.

            The first and most obvious is that when we start to say things are a certain way we often shift back and forth between meaning things and people as if the two did not differ. While the inanimate may have nature, and some inanimate objects such as artworks were created with a certain amount of intentionality behind them, we sometimes struggle to grasp that differences between artist and viewer’s perspectives are problems of perception not the nature of the thing.

            That struggle leads to a certain amount of frustration for those who crave certainty and want to nail things down, but they nevertheless shift their focus onto human nature only to commit a second group of fallacies.

            If we look to morality with a view to differentiating good from evil and acting accordingly then it is tempting to see the two as being in balance and therefore infer an even distribution of both. This would be fine except for the problem of perception being so subjective and often skewed by factors like risk aversion that amplify the danger contained within those things that are recognisably bad in our lives. It is thus that some people will argue either that there is a lot more bad in the world than most others perceive to be the case, or that virtually no amount of good being derived from something will balance out the small amount of bad they see in it.

            If you simply fail to differentiate the same way as others do and you’re the outlier who see’s moral peril in more situations than most others then of course we’re going to question your perceptions. But the thing to understand is that for those of us who understand that not all deviancy is the kind of perversion we need to condemn the line is still going to be drawn at harm to others including the line against moral crusading unnecessarily diminishing the right of others to enjoy their art, relationships or whatever as much as anyone can be.


            • doug quixote October 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

              There are still many who would like to cover up “David” or put a nappy on dogs. Yogi Bear and Donald Duck are bottomless, you know. Disgusting and depraved.


              • Debra O'Brien October 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

                Why are you even looking at where Donald Duck’s bum should be? You should be kept right away from Huey, Lois and Dewey.


                • doug quixote October 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

                  I’ll just keep ducking for cover.

                  But if I was a MTR follower, I would emphasise that if the Lord had meant us to be naked, we would have been born that way.



                  • hudsongodfrey October 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

                    Now wait a minute….!

                    Clearly what the sky mama really wanted was for us to be bald, blind and toothless without fully developed minds, bodies or reproductive capability… So pretty much as MTR’s lot would prefer I’ll wager.


  4. richardmudford September 24, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    “But to lose the ability to tell one thing from another is a dangerous tragedy.”

    I absolutely agree.

    Why should the paedophiles perspective be the one that matters most?


    • Al September 25, 2013 at 6:36 am #

      It doesn’t.


  5. samjandwich September 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Interesting to look at this issue in the context of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse (for example…). I didn’t see the program last night, thanks be to Buddha by the sound of it [shudder!], but it would seem to me that recommendations that might be made to prevent paedophiles from having contact with children through their work there is a risk that children could be set up as these “untouchable” beings and almost quarantined from any sort of information of a sexual nature – which given the inconsistency of parenting styles [Bah! How deplorable that parents might decide for themselves how their kids grow up] and the intrinsically sexual elements of the human animal, would doubtless set them up for a very confusing coming-of-age period.

    In order to avert this possibility, I would say it’s pretty obvious that we need to be supporting expressions such as this of the asexuality of children, and of the realisation that as adolescence sets in this asexuality changes into an interest, which requires information in order to develop in a healthy way.

    That is to say, that while we need to learn more about exploitation and how to stop it, we need to do this to a background of developing our understanding children and young people on their own terms… rather than to project the most virulent of society’s fears onto them. [esp wicked, bad, naughty, evil MTR!]


    • Ray (novelactivist) September 25, 2013 at 11:38 am #


      But it hasn’t got anything to do with the sexuality or asexuality of the child. There is nothing the child can do to avoid predators, other than to not be near a predator. I cannot think of a more asexual context than a child going to school and doing exactly what all school children do – yet they may still fall pray to a predator adult as a teacher, nun or priest.

      You are right that this is all about adult projection onto children.


  6. Wyn September 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Spot on. Yet again, MTR is so wrong. The reason “our vision is tainted” is because the Hetty Johnson’s and MTR’s of the world are telling us that the image of nudity=pornography and anyone who thinks differently is a pervert at best and a paedophile at worst.


    • hudsongodfrey September 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      I agree, and when I read your outrage at the pornographic gaze of these so called do gooders making all Poli’s beautiful work seem bad I am struck mostly by the terrible injustice of it.


  7. Matthew September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    MTR did republish and heap praise on Olympia’s “Dark undercurrents of teenage girls’ selfies” article from The Age on her website but in a 2008 letter to the Sydney Morning Herald she criticised her parents for allowing Art Monthly to publish the photo and also said this; “On their own, the images that show Olympia reclining naked, her pose and look more that of an adult, can be seen as sexualised”. I would suspect MTR didn’t make the connection that the girl on the front cover of Art Monthly was the same young woman who wrote the article for The Age. MTR then had the gall to tweet to Olympia last night; “No issue with your image so much but placing you next to porn torture [she means another picture of an artwork inside the magazine] problematic I think”. What a fucking bullshit artist.

    Unfortunately I also had some issues with Olympia’s articles. They really sound a bit patronising and moralising, almost in the same tone that MTR uses. She even says in the show; “I think our culture is washed in this objectification of women, I really think so, I think social media adds to this. So if we see celebrities posting raunchy pictures on Facebook, we want to do that, because that’s what they are doing”. Yeah, because everyone else an automation with no free will and only you are able to resist it. And this quote from Olympia could have come straight out of MTR’s mouth; “Boys tastes are not always sophisticated. The aesthetic yard stick is what they see in pornography. So girls have to conform to what boys see in pornography. And then girls post photos to out hot the other girls by porn star criteria”. Olympia doesn’t seem to grasp that she’s doing the same thing to the girls in the selfies that Melinda and Hetty did to her.

    More moral panic (without a lick of evidence to show harm), more moralising, more patronising finger waging. Except for Poli’s art, it was a rather maddening half hour of TV.


  8. helvityni September 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    “Olympia’s family are an excellent example of how to combat pornographic assaults on the gaze, and raise children capable of distinguishing between art and beauty, and exploitation and abuse. Tankard Reist’s dark vision has no place in this world, and indeed, brings only destruction.”

    Spot on Jennifer, beautifully expressed.


  9. hudsongodfrey September 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    It may be even worse. In the minds of Reist’s followers and viewers of the program the ABC endorses her brand of sexual conservatism by including her with the label “cultural commentator” seems to make her the authoritative source on the subject in the received message as it were. People will probably google she and Ms Johnson looking for help after seeing this. And what will they find? A complete and thorough misunderstanding of the topic.

    And it’s a pity because her segment comes in straight off the back of Olympia saying “It’s not porn it’s art!” The claim Reist makes that “I wish we could see these images as innocent… the pornographic landscape has changed everything” seems in direct contradiction to everything this girl and her mother’s beautiful works of art seem to stand for in my gaze, and I feel sure, the Nelson family’s view also.


    A couple if things from yesterday….

    Kids process information about sexuality at a fairly early age because it is omnipresent in the human condition whether we advertise the fact or not.

    Maybe the less inhibited kid winds up happier in the long run if they’re not assailed by many of the same sexual hangups I know my generation struggled to overcome. Either way I see nothing to celebrate the the rise of the selfie, but nor do I see very much to condemn. I think we probably break the mystique of the popular culture by not overreacting to it in precisely the way it expects to draw attention to itself through soliciting outrage.


    This idea flows on from the earlier one…..

    We know that exhibitionists are going to attract attention. It’s kind of in the definition of what it means to be one. And we know that the media love to make something of intergenerational tensions, that being a staple theme of the latter part of the 20th Century.

    What we would not know and never see are the number of kids who either do this stuff with absolutely no ill effects or who simply disengage or perhaps even show no interest at all in the first place. The disinterested kids would for all practical intents and purposes invisible within our social discourse. They’re probably in the well balanced majority and good luck to them for that.

    But doesn’t our social discourse evolve around the envelope pushers. When a group of women got together in the 1960’s to discard a few undergarments at a protest the media later thoughtfully dubbed “bra burning”, a question was nevertheless asked. Back then the question was, “What’s wrong with women being treated equally?” Now the question is, “What’s wrong with young people wanting to explore their sexuality through sexting?”

    Sexting may not be the ground shaking movement that feminism has been. I don’t in that sense wish to make a direct comparison. I am nevertheless intrigued by the observation that when those kinds of questions are asked those to whom they are put never have any real answers. Yet they always debate with the presumption of some great wrong contained within condemnations of non-specific origin or form. It’s how we can so easily pick who’s on the losing side of the argument.


    In the case of art pictures like the ones Poli has taken of her daugher Olympia, or the Henson photos I wonder if it isn’t about time for somebody to ask whether any of us should give a damn if some perverted person does get off on them? After all to have the art lost to posterity and the enjoyment of many is a very great price to play to deny an illicit pleasure to a very few.

    Too radical?


    • Ray (novelactivist) September 25, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      WE might add that it is both normal and almost omnipresent for people to be interested in how others look naked and that anyone who says they don’t have any prurient interest is likely to be a raging hypocrite.


      • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 10:44 am #


        I was just thinking that in terms of trying to say something constructive about the distinction between voyeurism and the merely prurient gaze. The added aspect of violation in true voyeurism makes something of a difference because people have a right to control the context in which they share of themselves.

        However in looking for the right language I checked the dictionary meaning of prurience and it struck me then that we seem to use it almost exclusively in a pejorative sense where the context is often to criticise hypocrisy.

        Perhaps from time to time it wouldn’t hurt to simply say that to be without prurience we would lose so much more than any of us would ever care to surrender.

        If making those acknowledgements gets us to the point of saying we may find beauty in all things without being quite so consumed by our own fears or those of the unmerited condemnations of others then clearly it moves our relationship with art in particular to a far better place.

        If that then supplies a better context for art and other cultural expressions that may include a sexual element then we may also have ways of talking about the difference between fantasy and reality that don’t employ largely inappropriate language like that of “objectification” and “sexualisation”, We need to take far more care not to insinuate that negative language across almost any instance where reason to suppose that the prurient gaze has exclusively negative implications is completely insupportable.


        • Ray (novelactivist) September 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

          I should point out that Olympia was concerned more about narcissism than sexual prurience – meaning that the selfie doesn’t have to be sexual.


          • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

            Yes, she’s really writing very much from a teenage girl’s perspective, and what she’s really critiquing are peer group pressures. The real possibility is that the audience she’ll find are other kids of her age who similarly, without deconstructing it or knowing quite what narcissism is, are quite able to relate without their elders’ assistance.


  10. paul walter September 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Of the posts, the one by Matthew intrigues me, it gets closest to calling out what is wrong with the MTR,et al, position,, not so much the propositions that society is “sexualised” (people are more correctly, objectivised and commodified in our societal mode) in claiming the right to decide for others what is tacky and there fore what should be viewed or listened to,
    It is responding to an internal panic, rather than some thing proposed by scientists and valorises “gut” over rationality and objective research, observation and theorising.
    Reist and co are well meaning enough, but in t heir rush to get facts to accord with theories to provide easy answers,, often seem to miss problematic elements in their cases, in their enthusiasm.
    I remember as a young lad being ushered into the grown ups world via 4 Corners. One of the first,episodes, one that will forever abide in my memory, was the story about the Cargo Cult in New Guinea (this is going back to circa early nineteen sixties) and the natives incredulously gazing at their own images in mirrors bought by the white people.
    I cant spot the difference, as to do with fascination with novelty and narcisism


  11. doug quixote September 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it seems that pornography is as well.

    Tankard Reist proves again that what she sees is a dirty old man in a raincoat behind every bush, waiting to jump out and molest any young animal in sight.

    It is of course a projection of her own mind.

    I feel pity for someone so damaged.


  12. lindathestar September 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Thanks for writing this. It expresses what I felt and thought also after seeing the program. I heard MTR speak earlier this year and was impressed by her capacity to woo a crowd by overwhelming them; and sad the crowd was sucked in. I wrote a post about it. http://lindathestar.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/no-space-for-sex-positivity-in-sexualisation-talk/


    • paul walter September 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      Folks, read ;lindatestar’s post at her blogsite. Unlike a lot of linx that turn up here, this one is not frivolous and actually presents a useful emphasis on a neglected part of the issue, apparently witnessed at a school at Bendigo.
      It discusses underlying commercial and “control” motives and as she frames it, an ugly picture, no make up or adornment here.


    • hudsongodfrey September 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      I do very much agree. It’s a form of solipsism. People who are ill at ease with either other people having differing sexual tastes or the idea that their children may not be asexual beings at almost any age, seem more likely to have a problem either with the idea of diversity itself or just their own overprotective parenting style. It is these people to whose biases I can only presume MTR appeals, and their children whose sexual upbringing her agenda most negatively impacts.

      If I can only speak to the dumb way that we were brought up when it came to matters sexual then all I can say is that any similar result as I feel sure MTR’s work would perpetuate should be regarded as a mild but nonetheless condemnable form of child abuse.


      • paul walter September 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

        I’ll quote lindatestar’s second para, re the “presentation”.
        “It was slick..rapid fire images, intense (loaded?) quotes, statistics and emotional button pushing” and ends up concluding, “Leaps of logic using unattributed research as starting point” were being employed by someone perhaps more interested in “changing minds” than considering facts.
        A brainwashed person is a programmed zombie. If you cant employ your freewill in dealing with life how can you be a complete person?
        These people seem as much involved with their infatuation with social and mind control technologies, as a reactive stroke on their part against a world, people and themselves that they dont understand as much as any fading concern as to the young people.
        Couple sexual
        Hansonism with other issues involving surveillance and consent manufacture such as “othering” of people who belong to the “wrong” race)and I give humanity a matter of two or three generations more at most, before the word “human” becomes an utterly redundant concept..


        • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 12:33 am #

          Many of the people who become fixated on their “mission” to change us and our society are obvious reactionaries in denial of the fact that they’re more bothered by change than they are with discerning what specific aspects of it they’re against. They’d be the kind of people who’d enthusiastically cheer for Reg (Cleese’s character) in the scene from Monty Python’s life of Brian known affectionately for the line “What have the Romans ever done for us”.

          We need to recognise that while not everyone heckles the benefits of living in the developed in a country with a culture such as our own far outweigh regressing to some former time. And you can easily extrapolate that to sexuality. Write a sketch if you will, “What has the sexual revolution done for us….”

          The question is far from rhetorical because basically at root sexual conservatives are sexual regressives. They hate the sexual revolution and everything that it has ever stood for. Personal freedoms and the commensurate exercise of responsibility over urges we were taught at one time to fear and distrust still leave them weak kneed and desperate for means to control the situation by imposing on it the only thing that they do trust, an external authority. Usually that authority is a religious deity of some sort, but in the rare absence of god bothering there are social mores and condemnation in the form of taboos and stigmatisation to contend with.

          What you’re often basically dealing with are parents who for many of the right reasons want to protect and care for their children, but have adopted an approach, whether it comes via tradition or some other inclination, of treating everyone like children in order to achieve their end. That when it comes to sex these people grow up still thinking in a very rule based fashion about what is naughty and nice is clearly a vestige of that childlike and childish approach being maintained and perpetuated from one generation to the next.

          And yes they’re often hypocritical but that’s just an offshoot of the whole ridiculous nature of trying to impose unrealistic constraints on aspects of our nature where they’re frankly not needed.

          The only real question I can think of is whether we don’t all sometimes want to have our cake and eat it too when it comes to not entirely getting rid of titillation.


          • paul walter September 25, 2013 at 12:45 am #

            Yes. Their panicky attempts to “save” the children can be doing more harm than good by way of induced complexes that manifest later when reality lcollides with cock and bull.
            . I was just pleased to read someone getting so close to grasping both the process and the monstrous, audacious criminality behind mind control- the mad, ultimate and loutish invasion of “others” space.and viability.


  13. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 25, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Dr Jennifer Wilson encapsulates the intrusion into this Australian Story superbly:

    “Dark, forbidding, increasingly grim-lipped,
    Tankard Reist described to us of our loss of
    innocence, our inability to ever see a naked
    child as anything other than sexual fodder,
    thanks to the porn saturated universe we
    have wilfully allowed to engulf us.”

    A dark vision indeed, and one that compels me to ask whether MTR is the seemingly successful self-appointed arbiter as to the portrayal of children and women she is presented as being, or a promoted tool in the hands of others, useful primarily because of her loss of the capacity for an innocent gaze.

    paul walter’s post to this thread of September 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm spotlights the ‘tool’ hypothesis with the words:

    “Couple sexual Hansonism with other issues
    involving surveillance and consent manufacture
    such as “othering” of people ………….”

    One example of ‘othering’ upon which Jennifer has written is that which has been attempted in the case of Julian Assange with respect to allegations of sexual improprieties committed in Sweden. Curiously, MTR figured in some of this long-running ‘othering’ campaign being waged against Assange. Some months ago, on Twitter, I saw some tweets posted by ‘@wikileaks’ advising voting status of an online poll being run on a US site for some such title as ‘person of the year’. Julian Assange, needless to say, was one of the front-running candidates for the award.

    Upon clicking the link in the ‘@wikileaks’ tweet to the actual polling site, who should I see as the only other candidate within a bull’s roar of Assange, but MTR, who was at that point actually leading the field! MTR, an (another) Australian, on an American poll for an American award! The publicity able to be generated by the ‘@wikileaks’ tweets was sufficient to mobilize enough votes for Assange to win in the end, but I was astounded to see so well orchestrated a following for MTR on a US site in a primarily US cause.

    The coupling of MTR’s dark vision of inescapable assigned guilt as to the empowering of the ‘pedophile’ being attached to ALL in society, with the surveillance state’s increasingly first-resort to the laying of charges of sexual impropriety in cases where it desires to manufacture public consent to over-zealous, or outright malicious, prosecution of dissidents, is a matter of profound concern. It is just so easy for the various agencies of the surveillance state to emplace what it choses to identify as pornography on people’s computers, and then have that pornographic matter ‘found’ in the increasingly warrantless searches with which it targets dissidents, or those chosen to be made examples of as to the power of that secret state. Possession of pornography is the perfect frame-up offence, with guilt established by mere apparent possession courtesy of the guilt-peddling dark vision of the MTRs of this world.


    • paul walter September 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      Forrest Gump, beaut last para in particular. The dark vision of a Nurse Ratched.or Sister Jeanne of the Angels.
      There is violence in this intrusion on both childhood.and adulthood. And there is violence in the misappropriation and caricaturing of real world issues in pursuit of personal ambition.
      This is the message they are sending us.
      They want us, all of us, body and soul, down to microlevel, from the inside out.
      Invariably we are told, this is because its all our fault, whatever is bothering them and we are to be on permanent stand by to attend on the aggrieved elect we have so grossly, inadvertently and inevitably offended.


    • helvityni September 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      The Arts will be in good hands, the Brandis hands…
      The NBN is in equally well looked after by Mr Turnbull.

      Dark Ages, here we come…


      • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

        Yes and if Morrison has his way the news of the day will be published in Latin!


        • helvityni September 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

          Yes in Latin acronyms, double trouble; we can read about Ms Bishop’s ‘successful’ trip to New York only in Indonesian…no probs, we have all been to Bali and are practically bi-lingual… 🙂


  14. hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Here she pops up again http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/09/24/3855497.htm same negativity different subject.


    • Paul September 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      An excellent article, argued well, based on science and intriguing for its revelations of the behind-the-scenes skull duggery by Freedman and co.

      Freedman and others should take note and not allow undisclosed advertisers to corrupt their views whilst shrilly crying for others to reveal their allegiances. Who would have thought that a medical company would try and manipulate public opinion to promote their 100% safe product?


      • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

        You must be kidding me. The article is nothing more than a trojan horse for anti-choicers to preach to the converted. And there’s nothing so set upon lapping up that rhetoric that clotted religion.

        Melinda Tankard-Reist is the kind of disingenuous person who’ll threaten to sue if you as much as associate her with any possible religious denomination. She tried thus to intimidate Jennifer rather than simply attest to whatever religious tradition it is that she chooses to associate herself with. And yet here we see women who are activists, journalists and even physicians being targeted by ad hominem simply because they struggled for years to get RU486 into circulation in this country for the sake of the overwhelmingly larger number of women that it helps.

        It may be correct to point out that where incorrectly or unadvisedly used any such drug may cause some complications. Maybe that article sans social commentary belongs in the Lancet. Otherwise where the public broadcaster sees it’s role in proliferating those thin edge of the wedge arguments against reproductive choice is somewhat beyond me?


        • Paul September 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

          Your equally kidding me! MTR is but a small slice of that article – there is so much more to be gained.
          Perhaps the public broadcaster allowed the article because they were able to discern it addressed so much more rather than being about MTR.


          • hudsongodfrey September 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

            Okay so go back to what I’ve written above, and then to the article itself and tell me when you take out the MTR stuff and the obvious anti-choice subtext why what remains belongs in the ABC’s religious pages rather than in the Lancet where a peer review process would better be able to sort the sheep from the goats?

            Now I’m clear in my support for feminism, pro-choice position, and about my agnosticism. Through encountering a series of her articles on the Drum and subsequently frequenting Jennifer’s blog I have come to recognise in MTR somebody with an agenda that I distrust and in many ways dislike.

            If you would do me a similar courtesy in stating where your allegiances lie then we may continue to disagree, but at least I’ll be able to respect you more than I do MTR who actively avoids stating many of her positions.

            Similarly the piece itself so mirrored Reist’s work, agenda and modus operandi in not dealing straightforwardly with the issue of faith within its subtext that I struggle to separate the two. Surely it would seem intellectually more honest to dispense with any writer’s scientific credentials who selectively rejects science around the human person at conception while as selectively presenting doubts about how the medical profession treats a drug she is against if it is for religious reasons. Klein’s credentials are in this respect frustratingly undisclosed in a manner I find hypocritical of one who wishes to divulge those of pro-choice women.

            Where are the numbers, percentages, figures from clinical trials etc to support this argument? What indeed is said of the overwhelming majority of women who benefit from non-surgical termination?


  15. Deano September 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    The way much of the ‘traditional media’ handles this subject often leaves me feeling like I’m on the wrong planet. Physical (but non-sexual) abuse of children – even including murder – seems to now be regarded as less of a worry than some supposed sexualisation existing in the minds of morals campaigners. Their careful exclusion of all other aspects of child welfare gives their game away. They see sexual situations where everyone else just sees some kids innocently playing.


    • paul walter September 26, 2013 at 7:23 am #

      Terrible bee to have in yr bonnet, Deano?
      I think it just seems to suggest a failure at reconciliation with sexuality. But your point concerning the lack of interest of people here wanting to save other people’s children is an enduring human quirk that seems attenuated by uncertain times as society and people seem isolationist and defensive, a sort of Hobbesian, edgy thingy.
      It’s amazing how the West has turned its back on the Southern or Third World, through rigged trade conditions or force, coercion or trickery,.
      We avert our eyes at suffering. I think the reasons are complex.and not always savory, which is where how and why things like culture and politics come into.things emergent. This being reinforced as the people who run things prepare to weaken us, their Plebeian enablers, to further consolidate their own positions.
      It never occurred to the Henson faux outrage perps that the photos were massively fascinating in exploring edginess and uncertainty against a back drop of pervasive surveillance, greyness and self consciousness (or not). It’s touching about zeitgeist within the vanguard too far in front of the wider weltanschuang; shadows, movement and space reflex consciousness of the turbulence.
      Renate Klein? the name turns up just every so often; another gloomster from the opinionated classes.


  16. Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 26, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    This tweet that appeared in Jennifer Wilson’s Twitter @ mentions timeline yesterday caught my attention:

    Reading the linked ‘Only The Sangfroid’ blog post made on Tuesday 24 September 2013, I saw this:

    “… Back in January 2012, two fairly prominent
    Australian male writers, Justin Shaw and Ben Pobjie,
    responded to MTR’s anti-porn stance with claims that
    she just needed to orgasm (with a fire-hose, if necessary)
    and that she needed to watch porn through a man’s eyes.
    Dr Wilson went one step further and began to publish
    personal information about MTR. It was difficult to know
    why she did this, if not for the purpose of intimidation.”

    The words ‘to publish personal information about MTR’ contained within the quote constituted an hyperlink to an earlier post to the blog ‘Only The Sangfroid’ made, on of all days, 18 January 2012. That day was, if I recall correctly, the very day that MTR was claimed to have been driven off Twitter and decided to no longer ‘turn the other cheek’ with respect to what she defined as online abuse. For a detailed analysis of that chronology, see: https://noplaceforsheep.com/2012/01/21/entitlement-bullying-and-private-faith/#comment-11175

    As I recall, the so-called ‘personal information about MTR’ to which reference is being made on ‘Only The Sangfroid’ was derived from a Wikipedia entry on MTR. It was not ‘mined from Facebook, Twitter, &c, &c’ as implied in that 18 January 2012 blogpost, but from a Wikipedia entry on a public figure. The reason this stands out in memory is that that Wikipedia entry which had been the source of the so-called ‘personal information’ was progressively altered by way of the deletion of information during the very early days of the ‘#MTRsues’ tweetstorm which erupted consequent upon Dr Wilson’s having revealed on this blog that she was threatened with lawsuit by MTR. The propriety of those Wikipedia edits was questioned by many at the time.

    In the light of the use by Dr Wilson of information concerning a public figure that had, at least until then recency been available online being considered to have been ‘one step further’ than the stance attributed to Justin Shaw and Ben Pobjie in the same paragraph, are we to conclude that that meant Shaw and Pobjie escaped the threat of legal action that was made against Wilson?

    How interesting that the 18 January 2012 ‘Only The Sangfroid’ blogpost so completely foreshadowed one of the two legs of MTR’s threat of legal action for defamation that had already been instituted in clear expectation that receipt of such threat would not have been publicised by its recipient, Dr Wilson. Quite remarkable, really.

    Chronology can be everything in coming to an understanding of matters of this nature. It doesn’t hurt for people to be reminded of that. The hindsight can also be even more revealing for those who don’t need such reminding.


    • paul walter September 26, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Vicious bastards, aren’t they? They are Xtians, of course..
      Elsewhere, we observe you are still not quite reconciled to the Fact of Peta Credlin.
      If you can learn to love big sister, maybe you will even end up joyfully embracing the concepts “Julie Bishop” and “Miranda Devine”.
      “Personal information”..
      The mind boggles!!


      • paul walter September 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

        One final thought comes to mind, that inadvertently turns up in the wash, is the early reference to the obscured issue of sexual dysfunction and its causes. This is of course is no joke.
        With women (also boys), much of the problem is down to rough handling, often by men, in this immediate post feudal era, where residues of more primitive times continue to impact and socially reproduce,including through the discordant anxieties of the BACWAs
        If Sangfroid is an MTR ally or clone, is the reference to hose pipe an appeal to feminists, a setting up of MTR as a victim of sexism?
        We need to recall if some of these people are sexually dysfunctional, that they are more in need of sympathy than ridicule.
        The fact that the MTR’s of this world are apparently so stuffed up themselves, ought not to be a cause for satisfaction. Our task is to see they don’t pass their hangups onto the next generation, but this should not preclude sympathy those who are already victims of an as yet imperfect system.
        But how do you get people like MTR to “loosen up”, to the extent that they can finally understand their own injured selves and begin healing themselves?
        This is madness.


    • hudsongodfrey September 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      So I’ve posted my thoughts on his blog and will be interested to see whether they elicit any response. I had always guessed one of the sources of Jennifer’s comments may have been Leslie Cannold’s blog where the MTR biography still resides.


      So maybe it was also Leslie gleaning from other since expurgated online sources that led to this kernel of insight into where the lady gets her religious views.

      It sure beats me why she wouldn’t in offering some kind of rebuttal to Jennifer’s remarks choose for the benefit of her supporters and elucidation of others to frankly and openly disclose her beliefs with a view to allaying our suspicions as to why her brand of sexual conservatism seems to track quite so parallel with that of the religious right.


      • paul walter September 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

        MTR is trying to imitate feminists.
        Feminist activists have a whole tool box of “transgressive” (of patriarchy, the term they conceive to describe the sources and forces of authoritarian, inward lookingness and exclusion) tools and feel not inclined to do anything but call “bullshit”, in witnessing the politics of our age.
        Its attention seeking and psycho-drama from MTR, our most recent Aimee Semple McPherson, ranging from convenient protection of “brand” to image building.
        There is the same sanctity here, that we saw in Vanessa Redgrave’s interpretation of Sister Jeanne in, “The Devils”. Conservatives borrow the mode, if you like from genuine activists (lacking the wit to come up with something original of their own) and employ radical language and gesture to sell and impose unfalsified conservative values.


        • hudsongodfrey September 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

          Okay, but seriously you’re going to want to bring your cultural references more up to date than 1971 before too long. Most of the cast may be dead.

          So what I think you’re trying to say is that MTR et al would like to be genuine tub thumping evangelists but they conceal their zeal wanting to appear relevant and ingratiate themselves with the masses by inveigling their way into the feminist media under false auspices.

          Or something like that…..It’s kinda complex and it ain’t entirely kosher.

          I get the sense you were beginning to feel the frustration duplicity tends to elicit and rightly reflecting upon how frustrated sexual conservatives would also be with their own situation.

          If religion is the problem, though it isn’t always, then I prefer a proselytiser who bears the courage of his convictions to a shill any day.

          But let’s also be clear even on a completely atheistic account of our culture these tendencies to prudishness come from somewhere within our collective psyche carried by the taboos and stigmas we’re all quite well aware of regardless of our religious heritage.

          It seems to me that if you want to compare religion with superstition then if we’re right to distrust sexually conservative attitudes then it is the associated taboos and stigmas that give form to the shibboleth.

          So the dimensions of the question to me are that maybe you can come to some of those cultural tropes by means quite apart from religion, it’s just that the answers to those questions are I think lost in the deception and hypocrisy some religious people practice almost as a badge of pride in the cleverness of their apologetics without realising that in so doing they’ve completely hollowed out he vessel of human understanding.

          It’s the intellectual deceit that’s the hardest part to stomach.


          • paul walter September 27, 2013 at 1:28 am #

            Cutting to the chase, I guess it comes back to a conservative religious account of life, sexual morality and behaviour not proving sufficiently adequate in the sceptical, questioning and literate world of post ww2.
            MTR and co could represent the unfinished business of culture shock originating in the sixties and seventies. Unlike many of us, some people were in fear of change, perhaps through upbringing and could never function comfortably in the new society because of inculcated fears about things like sex.
            It is the duplicity but also a sense of pity that people have to stoop to really serious depths in resorting to it, the fears must be rampant.


            • hudsongodfrey September 27, 2013 at 10:32 am #

              I don’t really remember the 60’s.

              But I think it increasingly comes down to a conservative account that may not necessarily be a religious one, but often is almost despite itself. In other words, when people’s emotional intelligence urges them in a certain direction perhaps lacking any other frame of reference the only rationalisations that seem to fit are ones that support their sexual conservatism. I guess this might be especially true of parents whose urge is to protect in a society where it could be argued that sexual enjoyment has been allowed to become somewhat synonymous with things like risky behaviour and naughtiness.

              Mentioning that these attitudes are somewhat repressive of our natural human urges even for teens may not be what people want to hear thus any rationalisation they do offer starts with the conclusion that they want to satisfy and works backwards to find evidence that selectively fits with it. Needless to say this would be a patently falsified case for sexual conservatism but nobody wants to hear it because they’re happier with the answer they constructed to be emotionally satisfying.

              It isn’t religion but there’s little doubt that the parallels between the two are very strong, not only do they agree, but any cursory glance at religious apologetics should be enough to confirm that the same kinds of logic are at work there.


  17. doug quixote September 27, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Deceptive and duplicitous, that was the charge.

    I don’t really care if a holy roller wants to rail against objectification, pornography and exploitation.

    But I do care if someone gains access to schools, public meetings, politicians and media by claiming not to be religiously motivated and pushes the same line, all the time pretending not to have religious reasons for the agenda.

    Her motivations are of no great interest; the hiding of those motivations is.


    • paul walter September 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      It’s a shame and its revealing,that MTR refuses the testing of her theories in open forums.
      I think hudsongodfrey’s observations are perceptive and he doesn’t shy from the fact that the initial response to endemic violence is sufficient provocation for the outrage.
      Some where the thinking and impulses got corrupted though, it became about MTR rather than any cause.
      I was thinking last night, dq, the role of the schools in perpetuating this sort of nonsense, the principals ought to be rheemed backwards through a chaff-cutter, this is ideological and political not didactic and philosophical and you start to smell the influence of small townTea Party ideology on what passes for local conservative thinking.


  18. j1morisris October 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Your detached discussion of the way depravity is projected onto society in general ignores the way it particularly affects middle-aged men, who seem to fit the manufactured stereotype of ‘the child molester’. Since I was approached by a security person in Brisbane City library and told I wasn’t allowed to sit (I was reading a book while my daughter played on a nearby computer) in that part of the (open plan) library I never feel comfortable anywhere near children. Even walking on the footpath with my own daughter or sitting on the park bench while she plays with other children. It is weird but it hasn’t just happened by accident. Redefining men as people to fear has been central to feminism for many years.


    • hudsongodfrey October 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      I feel your pain and I also refuse to be cowed by that sense of projected universal guilt, but if you have MTR mixed up with a feminist then I’m just here to tell you that I for one think you’ve been dudded.


    • doug quixote October 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      I agree with hudsongodfrey. Tankard Reist pretends to feminism to push her BACWA (Banning and Censoring Wowser Agenda).

      It is a tool she uses to achieve her covert ends.


  19. samjandwich October 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Here’s my bad taste joke, which MTR might like:

    Q: What do you call the substance that’s found in high quantities in the blood of child abusers?

    A: Molesterol

    Haha, speaking of bad taste, I had duck fat on my toast-and-jam this morning. feeling very well-lubricated today!


  20. zerograv1 January 12, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    New article by MTR, and this is a debate worth having, interested in the thoughts by Sheep contributors http://www.theage.com.au/comment/single-mothers-are-the-heroines-not-the-villains-20140111-30nqz.html


    • paul walter January 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      Another example of the extremists putting off the mainstream.
      MTR has distanced herself from the extreme end of conservative politics and it’s not all about image, there is some sincerity in the article as well.
      She appears to have been moved to lift her game in response to evolved conditions.
      She’s equivocated a little, ultimately- she is still unashamedly conservative, but there is that differentiation between rational conservatism and the bark at the moon fundamentist stuff issuing forth from the deranged Bernardi.
      I think she knows that, just like her opponents, there will usually be unresolved and unresolvable contradiction in a given position put on a given issue, yay or nay.
      Risking crucifixion here, but , face value, it is not the worst thing she has ever written.


      • hudsongodfrey January 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

        Maybe so but I think she’s always been keen to co-opt other agendas to smuggle in some of her own and in this case it’s anti-abortion.

        I think you read some of these things take away the positives and deny the obvious negatives any of the oxygen that they don’t deserve.


        • paul walter January 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

          I know, HG.

          One swallow does not a summer make.

          Still, its an intriging if slight deviation or change of line from the one when the ALP was in power; some sense of a response.

          You have to hope that least some conservatives will have become disquieted by the last six months, in the way people who come from the other side of politics have been disturbed.

          I don’t think you will get her to change on terminations. It’s rusted on and an article of faith by now.

          Unfortunately for her, she is just not stupid enough to be able to obscure the contradictions in her own position from herself, as with most of us ultimately on the more vexed and complex issues of our time.


          • hudsongodfrey January 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

            Ah well I suppose we have to consider the conflation of ideas she espouses from the point of view of somebody who actually believes as she, albeit rather coyly, attests that she does. If only she and her ilk would return the favour it might even seem tolerable. Tolerance being the operative word in a sentence that should never cross the threshold of public policy making.


          • zerograv1 January 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

            I think the conservative thinkers, now they have the mantle of office, have to consider the wider society outcomes from their actions. I’m a complete disbeleiver in the notion of “compassionate conservative” and cynical enough to see this as a grab for the middle ground especially now the polls are stinking away from the moronic rightwing sloganist vote. So there is a scramble for moderate positons, political clawing born of desperation and a need to be perceived as socially acceptable. To me, the whole “Feminist” v “Feminist Conservative” rankle was somewhat sidelined when Julia lost the PM’s position (It s a long waged war on Feminnist blogs going over many years) if you like, moved to a different boxing ring, so the electorate has been viewed from new eyes – although the postion of “whats in it for me” hasnt altered a jot. Her post is a lot like Costello’s action to implement the baby bonus on the death rattle months of certain government loss – something to be remembered by.


  21. Jan Dobson January 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    If my choices are only between the views espoused by Cory Bernardi or Melinda Tankard Reist, I will unequivocally come down on the side of Ms Reist, as she has portrayed her views in the link to The Age article. There is no doubt that we should support all and anyone in our society who is disadvantaged and that no one should be vilified or marginalised because of their social standing or lack thereof.

    However, the same respect should be shown to those with whom we disagree and I think it is clear that, in this regard, Ms Reist and Mr Bernardi sing from the same hymnal. Ms Reist has a long and unpleasant history of narrow mindedness and prejudice and one artlcle does not an volte face make.


    • paul walter January 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      I agree.
      It’s only a hope.
      Can beggars be choosers, this late in the day?
      A friend in need can be a friend indeed and I’ll always welcome a new ally in the struggle for social justice.
      I’m not “sold” yet, but am taking an open mind and watching brief to see where this slight change leads- contempt prior to investigationhas cost me toomuch in the past.
      Am not expecting miracles and also remain sceptical, but will watch with interest and a little hope. Much worse than it is now and we will be under overt rather than covert fascism.
      And in some respects that article seems a contrast to some of the past stuff. I’m hoping she has seen things pass too far to the right and wants a climb back, a balancing. In the past, her aim has been at libertarians, neolibs and and the left.
      That she should go after Bernardi this time, could be something of interest and I am on a hiding to nothing.


      • hudsongodfrey January 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

        Have you considered the possibility that some of us have no intention of being treated as “beggars”. I’m sure neither Reist nor Bernardi do. They are people who seek to wield influence, so as luck would have it in a democracy are we after a fashion, we indeed should seek to be choosers. In fact it may be the only way.


    • hudsongodfrey January 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      My thoughts, strictly in terms of any effect either cannon might have on public affairs, are that governments are inherently tasked with doing more that one thing at a time. In the same way that we hold it to be within their remit to divide their attentions between disciplines as disparate as education, industrial relations, and that most beloved of all, national security, we who expect representatives to walk upright and chew gum might petition them to resist the entreaties of both Reist and Bernardi in the sound knowledge that to do so serves at least two of our best interests.

      Or more simply put a choice between the lesser of the two evils you enumerated is not necessarily on the cards.

      Like many such things we may take from Reist’s latest epistle the knowledge that there are some things we agree with and spring keenly to the consideration of single mothers everywhere, leaving aside any other elements of doctrine we don’t subscribe to because she is as she is and we are otherwise not in complete agreement. Being not in complete agreement is always open to the possibility of partial agreement and that’s the bit with all the utility in it.


  22. doug quixote January 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    To HG and Paul Walter : MTR lays claim to feminist credentials. She can hardly be seen to make a united front with Cory Bernardi. Wouldn’t do at all.


    • hudsongodfrey January 12, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      Never thought that she could! Did I suggest such a thing?


      • paul walter January 13, 2014 at 2:36 am #

        Ditto (so to speak).


      • doug quixote January 13, 2014 at 7:23 am #

        Talk about hypersensitive! I am agreeing with you both, just stating the basic grounds behind MTR’s little dissension piece. A piece which I thought said fuck all useful about anything.

        If MTR were genuine she would attack the tabbott much more vigorously.


        • hudsongodfrey January 13, 2014 at 10:09 am #

          I dunno Doug, maybe it was a joke that could’ve worked with the right delivery but didn’t come across in written form. I’ve been made to regret even attempting sarcasm, because there’s always somebody to seize upon the literal meaning trying to take you down. You may argue to a standstill only to find it was a dumb misunderstanding.

          As for whether MTR is genuine, I think she genuinely wants to change public policy in ways I wouldn’t welcome. She may also tend to view the Abbott government as relatively receptive and hold back from critiquing their obvious hypocrisy with those political goals in mind.


        • paul walter January 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

          Ok, two things.

          You can invert the Bernardi /feminism thing. “..MTR lays claim to Xtian credentials, yet attacks Bernardi”?

          I am back to my original point.

          The new government is so extreme that some at least conservatives even may have become alienated as to said government’s coarser policies and attitudes…”civilised indeed!”

          She attacked Bernardi..from that point it’s only a short step to attacking Abbott himself, say on the subject of the treatment of refugee women and kids in detention camps,

          Ok, not likely,
          Just the same, I can ask if it is not a symptom of a “rub” starting to develop between the hard right and others driven to a reconsideration of the harsher stuff over the last six months.


  23. Nicefiller February 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

    I do agree with all the ideas you’ve introduced for your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for newbies. May you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.
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  1. Don’t teach your babies how to fall in love… @NoPlaceForSheep and Melinda Tankard Reist duke it out | Only The Sangfroid - September 24, 2013

    […] effects felt at the  manifestation of a bad fairy at a joyous christening.  [Source: Wilson, J. 'Dark vision: the world of Melinda Tankard Reist', No Place for […]


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