Archive | December, 2014

On being irresistible

31 Dec

Perhaps I’m contrary and ungrateful but I never felt good about being told by a lover  “You are irresistible.” I’d much rather he or she said something like  “I can’t resist you” and in that utterance, joyfully assumed the burden of supernatural compulsion instead of burdening me with it.

It would also be much more honest if things went wrong and my lover said “I now can/must resist you because my wife caught me, or I found someone else, or I’ve changed my mind” or whatever event provoked a change in his or her assessment of the situation. Instead of undermining my sense of myself with their change of heart, the responsibility then properly rests with the one whose desires, for whatever reason, have shifted.

I’ve never in my life found anyone to be irresistible. I’ve been overwhelmed by desire, overwhelmed by love, overwhelmed by seriously significant stupidity, but overwhelmed by my own sensations, the agent of my own downfall, not a victim subjected to another’s supernatural powers. In the end this matters, this sense that if I am drowning in love and desire, however recklessly, I am doing my own drowning the other isn’t bewitching me into it.

This may seem like unimportant hair-splitting carping, but it’s actually about taking responsibility, and empowerment. The statement “You are irresistible” gives the other all the power, and denies me the opportunity to take responsibility for my own actions. “I can’t resist you” takes all responsibility, and taking honest responsibility always empowers. The inability to resist is not in itself a negative thing. Denying it as part of one’s character might well be.

And there is something endearing about a human being who can admit an inability to resist as an aspect of his or her own self, rather than it being the fault of an irresistible other.

For women, being thought irresistible has caused and continues to cause us no end of grief, abuse, and in some instances, death. If we are credited with supernatural powers, we will also be made to pay for them. Excessive restrictions are placed on our freedoms in an effort to contain and control our perceived potentially uncontrollable natures. Those who abuse us may be leniently viewed in the light of our magically seductive powers. At its crudest, the irresistibility narrative says wearing short skirts will make men rape us, and there is a continuum from there. Telling a woman she’s irresistible is always an abdication of responsibility. You can’t resist her. It’s your thing, not hers. Own it.

End of rant.

Happy New Year.

 

irresistible

 

 

 

Akerman turns on Abbott again, and where is the quirk?

29 Dec
Trouble in Paradise?

Trouble in Paradise?

 

Well, the Daily Tele is just the gift that keeps on giving.

Sitting in a cafe in Jindabyne yesterday Mrs Chook was leafing through the rag when she came across this gem by Piers Akerman titled “PM Tony Abbott’s obstinance is protecting chief of staff Peta Credlin”

I’m unable to contain my delight at the ongoing Murdoch press displeasure with its chosen Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and this piece by the odious Piers had me cackling like a Shakespearean witch. It’s not a good look for the Prime Minister to refer to Chief of Staff Credlin as “the boss” in public, thunders Piers, and if he can’t control his own office how can he control the country? “It is clear that Abbott has developed an almost unhealthy reliance on Credlin’s advice,” roars Piers, and even though that may please feminists it doesn’t please anybody else, he adds. He also takes a swipe at perceived ABC bias, there’s no doubt about Piers, he gets his all favourite prejudices into his copy seamlessly.

In a more general vein, why is it that we can no longer have politicians with any personality? Since when did it become de rigueur that anyone with ambition to political office must first be stripped of individual human characteristics? Why do our elected members have no quirk? Where has the quirk gone? Why can’t we have it anymore? Who said, no more quirk?

And why, when the occasional quirk slips through the quirk police, is the individual concerned pilloried for not knowing how to play the game?

Tony Abbott is the price we pay for eradicating quirk from our political character. Apart from all his other faults, and they are many, the man has absolutely no quirk. He is a bland mouther of hideously outdated sermonising platitudes. He is, like a dust bunny in a dark corner, entirely without substance. Every move he makes screams “Look at me making this move! Look at me being Prime Minister! Look at me threatening Putin! Look at me finding lost aeroplanes! Look at me Peta, look at me!”

And we all look, baffled, and afraid for our country.

Unless we’re in the hot tub

 

Hot Tub

Samantha the Maiden, Abbott, and the supernatural powers of marriage

27 Dec

Sitting in a cafe in Cooma the other day with nothing to read I flicked through the Sunday Telegraph of December 21. Always a mistake looking at the Tele, but my judgement about everything has been off for months, so what’s one more error.

There I came upon a piece by Samantha Maiden on Senator Jacqui Lambie titled “I’m addicted to my Botox.”

I didn’t have a great deal of interest in that revelation but what did catch my eye was Ms Maiden’s description of the Senator “admitting she’s been single for more than a decade” and later in the paragraph “Ms Lambie admits she’s been single since her thirties.”

Admit is a tricky little word. It’s usually understood to mean confess, as in the offender admits. I’m at a loss to understand why a woman has to admit she’s single, or why Ms Maiden poses the suggestion that Ms Lambie has committed an offence against society by using that word to describe the woman’s relationship status.

Then a few days later came this opinion piece in the Age, questioning Prime Minster Tony Abbott’s references for new Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.  He is a decent human being and is married with two little children, the PM declared, ergo the man has learned a depth of compassion the unmarried without children cannot possibly have achieved that more than qualifies him for his new portfolio.

There are echoes here of claims made by Morrison’s previous area of responsibility, the Department for Immigration and Border Protection that simply by being an elected member and Minister of the Crown, Morrison has a unique and profound insight into community standards and values that qualify him to exert unprecedented powers while remaining absolutely unaccountable to anyone.

I have to say here that I disagree with the author of the Age piece when he claims that not having children If anything … strengthens your sense of understanding and empathy for others. That’s just as silly as the claims he’s disputing.  Understanding and empathy aren’t dependent on one’s relationship status or parenthood, and it’s just as possible to argue that both situations can lead to all kinds of negative behaviours that aren’t in the least understanding and empathic.

Having spent Christmas time with seriously feral toddlers I can attest to that. The youngest, who has just learned to say “No” and “Mine” spent much of his time snatching his brother’s presents off him then trailing round the house, overwhelmed by the noisy stupidity of it all, alternately chanting and whining  “No No No” and “Mine mine mine” at nothing and no one while his brother yowled hideously at the injustice of it all. Tested beyond endurance by our little ones, the adults took to drink. That we all got through it and still love each other is no testament to our compassionate natures but rather to the quality of the champagne.

Anyways, what both Maiden and Abbott’s comments emphasise is the ideology subscribed to by public representatives of the orthodox political and social class whose beliefs continue to dominate Australian society. All one has to do is demonstrate one has a relationship and children to be accepted. How one actually behaves within the family unit is beside the point as long as one is seen to inhabit one.

And this brings me to Richard Flanagan’s Booker prize-winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Unfortunately I am far from home in the Snowy Mountains and don’t have my copy with me so can’t directly quote. At one point Flanagan lists the horrors of a long marriage in which neither partner has ever really known the other while one has been chronically unfaithful, and the stunting effects on the offspring of such a union. He ends this lengthy account of unexamined misery with two words: A family.

It’s chilling.

Here are some mountain wild flowers  to cheer you up.

Wildflowers

Abbott: Labor made me do it.

15 Dec

article-5898-hero Independent Australia

Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised this prior to gaining office :

…and the commitment that I’ve been giving to the Australian people is that there’ll be no surprises and no excuses under a Coalition government.

Source: May 21, 2013 – Joint Doorstop Interview, Bundamba, Queensland

It was, of course, a ludicrous promise to make. There is nothing as constant as change, and any credible adult government must deal with change that may at times cause decisions to be reviewed, and commitments to be re-assessed. The Abbott government has spectacularly failed to demonstrate this fundamental adult coping skill, not least in Abbott’s fantastical undertaking to protect us from the inevitable surprises of inevitable change in the first place.

No surprises

While on the one hand using that refuge of scoundrels the old “situations change” line to excuse broken promises and commitments he never intended to keep, Abbott continues to cling to his no surprises and no excuses mantra. He can’t have it both ways. If he wants unexpected situational change (surprise) to explain his backflips, he can’t have a commitment to no surprises as well. Hell, he needs surprises to explain his changes, because nothing else credibly achieves that.

Promising citizens there will be no surprises is elephant excrement, unless we’re all about to die, in which case we can reasonably expect there likely won’t be anymore surprises, not in this world anyway.

Annabel Crabb noted that in the first three months of Abbott taking office his party could well be renamed “The Surprise Party.” The broken promises and unexpected decisions just keep on keeping on.

No excuses

If he wants to continue to claim that his is a “no excuses” government, Abbott is going to have to stop blaming the ALP for every difficulty the LNP encounters. They’ve been in office for over twelve months now. No government can blame its predecessor indefinitely, otherwise political rhetoric will come to consist entirely of what they did made us do what we did, or some infantile variation on that tiresome theme. Anyone involved in the management of children knows the old he/she started it is a path to hellish infinity that endears the instigator to nobody.

“The ALP made me do it” is no way to run a country. If you are making changes because a situation has altered since you took office, how is that the responsibility of the previous government? If these changes are genuine, why not clearly explain them? Any other approach is an excuse that insults the intelligence of all thinking people.

LNP narrative consists almost entirely of unpleasant surprises and excuses for them, or really only one excuse: the ALP made us do it.  Did this government know nothing before it was elected? Was it so naive, so ill-informed, so out of touch that it took office as if newly born into political life? Doesn’t it know every government has to deal with the decisions of its predecessor and that we don’t actually care about that, it’s part of their job description and we expect them to stop whining and get on with it?

This government urgently needs to grow up and understand the serious responsibility they have towards the  citizens of this country. We need a government that has at least achieved tertiary standards of development, and not one that is still toilet training in day care.

Too little, too late, Prime Minister

12 Dec

Abbott on Women's Work

 

 

Prime Minister and Minister for Women Tony Abbott yesterday claimed that criticisms of his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, are “sexist.” His observation followed reports that relations between Ms Credlin and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have soured, leading to them being described by one frontbencher as “two Siamese fighting fish in the same tank.”

The frontbencher didn’t mention the gender of the fighting fish.

It’s hilarious to hear Tony Abbott accuse his own party of sexism. It can’t even be taken seriously enough to be given the label hypocrisy. It’s a blatant attempt to adopt principles the man simply does not have and never will. Abbott has still to grasp that he has no credibility, and no amount of politically correct language co-option is going to give it to him.

There’s nothing he can say about finally contributing to the UN Green Climate Fund, “sweating blood” for constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, or protecting women from sexism that will provoke anything in the community but scoffing guffaws.

Abbott has left his run for decency far too late. His dire unpopularity seems to be causing a spin-doctored rethink in his politics, however, it’s painfully evident that any rethink is not a change of heart, but a superficial shift of attitude designed to haul his sorry arse out of the sinkhole of public contempt in which it has become increasingly mired.

So he can try to sell it again, one presumes.

 

Abbott on women

Morrison now seeks sole authority over citizenship decisions.

10 Dec

Diagram_of_citizenshipThe Department of Immigration and Border Protection, under the authority of Minister Scott Morrison, is in the process of seeking amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 that will give the minister draconian powers over not only asylum seekers, but  anyone who has become or wishes to become an Australian citizen.

The Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, will give Morrison the power to set aside decisions made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on the character and identity of those applying for citizenship or who have already received it, in a public interest test determined solely by the Minister.

The DIBA submission to a Senate committee argues that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values. This particular insight therefore qualifies Morrison to overrule AAT decisions. It is the bill’s intention to grant a minister, in this case Morrison, the power to determine an individual’s “good character” or otherwise, regardless of any ruling made by the AAT. Morrison’s decision will be unchallengeable.

The bill also aims to give Morrison the right to determine “fraud” or “misrepresentation” in applications for citizenship. In such instances Morrison can revoke papers regardless of whether or not the individual concerned has been convicted of either offence. 

That is, Morrison or the minister concerned has the power to determine “guilt” outside of any criminal proceedings, denying individuals the presumption of innocence.

The notion that anyone has particular insight or is entitled to absolute power because he or she is an MP and minister of the Crown is extremely dangerous. It is confusing the office with the human being who holds it. High office does not automatically endow its holder with integrity or insight. We are all too familiar with “killers in high places who say their prayers out loud” as Leonard Cohen puts it.

Morrison’s ongoing lunges for absolute power must be challenged. This is a liberal democracy. We do not have ministers who overrule the expert opinions of experienced tribunals. We do not have ministers who are above the rule of law and entitled to deprive any human being of the presumption of innocence. We do not have ministers who are answerable to nobody, whose decisions are unchallengeable, and who are allowed to carry out their department’s business in absolute secrecy. No, we do not.

Pyne’s advertising campaign is long-term LNP propaganda

9 Dec

anti_public_education_propaganda_by_8manderz8-d5xz1cjOnly days after the education reform bill was defeated in the Senate, the government has launched what it describes as an “information” campaign, funded by tax payers, that claims to educate the public about the failed proposed reforms to higher education.

The campaign to promote understanding of the failed bill is funded by taxpayers. The Abbott government justifies this by claiming the campaign meets all necessary guide-lines to qualify not as political advertising, but as information that is in the public interest. Obviously, the campaign was prepared in anticipation of a Senate defeat.

Shadow Education Minister Kim Carr claimed this morning on ABC Radio National’s early AM program that the advertising is deliberately misleading, and falsely claims that the government will pay “around half of your undergraduate degree.” Carr has fact checked this claim with universities in Western Australia and Queensland and depending on the discipline, students will pay between 57% and 88% of the costs of their degrees.

This is a job for the ABC’s Fact Check unit, if it still exists.

The government’s goal is to create a narrative in which the LNP is struggling to introduce reforms that are positive for students financially (good) and is being thwarted in its efforts by an uncooperative opposition and minor parties (bad). In other words, the Abbott government is striving to gives us what’s best for us against a relentless opposition that doesn’t care about us.

Their goal, I imagine, is to ignite resentment and discontent in the electorate towards an obstructionist ALP and minor parties, a narrative we can expect to see strengthen in the next two years as we approach the next election.

The fact that this is a dud reform quite rightly prevented from realisation is irrelevant. There is also no mention of proposed cuts to universities in the campaign.

Tony Abbott, his ministers and backbenchers take every opportunity to persuade us that all their troubles are the responsibility of the previous Labor government. There is only so long a government can use this tactic to distract from its own incompetence. I’d suggest the Abbott government has long since passed that time limit.

The government is engaged in an ongoing election battle that began years ago when Abbott became LOTO. This most recent taxpayer-funded “information campaign” is yet another sign that Abbott is not so much concerned with good governance as he is with winning the next election. The education reform bill advertising is long-game propaganda, and contributes to Abbott’s over-arching narrative of governmental good intentions thwarted both by Labor’s legacy, and its alleged ongoing obstruction.

 

 

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