Tag Archives: Graham Young

Bahnisch and Parish, hello: there is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in

12 Feb

It’s been a while since I’ve read more pompous and self righteous prose than that recently addressed via email by Mark Bahnisch(Lavartus Prodeo) and Ken Parish (Club Troppo) to the embattled Graham Young at On Line Opinion.

by Mademoiselle Lavender lou via flickr

 

The former can be seen here, the latter at Club Troppo.

I note that one of their major grievances appears to be that this affair has become public. Both blogs have cut Young loose since Christopher Pearson revealed the incipient scandal in the Australian last weekend.

So why do Lavartus Prodeo and Club Troppo object to what is most decidedly a matter of public interest, being put before the public?

Using phrases that are painfully typical of all attempts at middle class repression, they conclude that none of it is in the public interest, even though it raises questions of freedom of speech, religious freedom of speech, moderating across the board, the right to publish opposing opinions, corporate censorship, and much more.

Why on earth would these two blogs seek to keep these matters out of the public domain, and to silence public discussion?

Indeed, so strongly do they or their supporters feel that they have even attacked a comment I left at the Drum, and the Drum itself for publishing my comment.

What? Nobody is allowed to disagree, even on the ABC site, with these self proclaimed authority figures?

Thanks for telling the public it’s none of our concern, chaps. The public really loves people like you telling us what is and isn’t in our interests.

As my headline implies, it is precisely when eruptions such as these occur that an opportunity for public discussion about important matters presents itself.

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in, chaps. That’s how the light gets in.

How sad that Bahnisch and Parish have attempted to smother public debate, and instead avail themselves of the opportunity to strut the high moral ground.

And how moral is it to dump a colleague at the first sign of trouble? Young has never had complaints such as these made against him before in years of publishing a vast array of opinion.

Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in…L Cohen via Emerson

BTW

Re the anti discrimination option:

Mikey Bear, who is Greg Storer’s partner, left the following reply on the blog when I asked the anti discrimination question (before I knew the Victorian legislation):

“Why must they go to via an anti-discrimination path? That’s ludicrous. A letter to the advertisers proved far simpler, effective and expedient.”

So I guess that means we had better resign ourselves to global corporations deciding what we’ll read in the blogosphere.

As Andrew Bartlett points out on his blog, two of the most rabid columnists in Australia run blogs with vile commentary in the mainstream media, and no corporations ever pull their advertising because of them.

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The perfection of heterosexual marriage?

8 Feb
Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...

Image via Wikipedia

This article  written by me was first published at On Line Opinion December 2010.

Editor Graham Young published it in response to the earlier anti gay marriage piece by Bill Muehlenberg.

I have just read the article by Bill Muelhlenberg, Dismantling a homosexual marriage myth, published in Online Opinion Thursday November 25 2010, for the second time.

The sentiments expressed are the polar opposite to my own views on the subject of same sex marriage, views I’ve expressed in articles on this site. However, there is one point on which we agree.

The struggle for the right to same sex marriage does have several dimensions, as the article suggests, not all of them immediately apparent. The struggle is indeed about far more than a simplistic change to the wording of the Marriage Act. (Though it must be noted here that the wording of Marriage Act was in fact changed by the Howard government in 2004 to define marriage as only permissible between a man and woman. So perhaps the wording of the original Act was not quite so simple, if Howard felt compelled to change it).

I do not agree, however, that these deeper dimensions of the debate are gay conspiracies designed to subversively change the nature of marriage altogether. Indeed, I find the arguments for this theory rather bizarre.

For example. There is nothing currently in the Marriage Act that speaks to a legal prohibition against infidelity. Monogamy is nothing more than individual hope and intention. That is, there is no legal requirement for monogamy in the Marriage Act that faces revision or extinction should gays and lesbians be allowed to marry.

I am completely at a loss as to understand how permitting marriage between gays and lesbians will encourage infidelity and promiscuity in heterosexual married couples.

The author claims that, “The wonderful interaction of a man and a woman in the complementarity of heterosexual marriage is what makes it so special and beneficial.” De facto relationships aren’t blessed with this special beneficence, according to his paradigm. The author doesn’t mention whether this “complementarity” is only available in Christian marriage, and denied to those who marry in the Registry office or in mosques and synagogues.

I’d like to suggest that what makes a marriage “special and beneficial” is the commitment of the couple, to one another and to the love they live and create, regardless of their gender, religion or lack of it. I’d like to remind the author that very similar arguments were made, not so very long ago, against marriage between blacks and whites.

There are heterosexual marriages that work really well. There are heterosexual marriages that are sites of nuclear devastation and certainly do not work at all. And there are heterosexual marriages that occupy a place between these two extremes, and muddle lovingly along without much drama, one way or the other. But how, I ask in all good faith, will permitting gays and lesbians to marry affect the nature, progress and outcome of any of those marriages?

“The truth is,” the author instructs us, because he clearly believes he is someone who knows a) what the truth is, and b) what most of us think the truth is,  “homosexuals do not at all have in mind what most of us understand marriage to be.” I have to take Meulhlenberg up on this, because I was taught from an early age to always question terms such as “most of us.” To someone from my background (and there are many of us), the use of the term “most of us” to support an argument implies an unsubstantiated but hegemonic perspective that may well be highly inaccurate, if not delusional, and we must treat it with caution.

It is always inadvisable to assume that everybody else thinks like you, or that a “most of us” even exists.

Just what demographic is this “most of us” supposedly comprised of, anyway?

Whether or not all homosexuals have a different concept of marriage from “most of us” has not been determined. But whether they do or not is actually quite irrelevant in terms of the effects of their concepts on heterosexual marriage.

Heterosexuals can already do exactly whatever they choose within their marriages. There is nothing to stop them pursuing any and all kinds of perversions, unless one party in the marriage complains to the police. Gay and lesbian marriage is not going to change the status quo for heterosexuals, even if their ideas are as different as the author claims.

Back to the point on which we do have agreement. The struggle for same sex marriage is indeed about much more than allowing gays and lesbians the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. It is a struggle for equality. It is a struggle for the legal recognition of the all-embracing power of that force we call “love.” All embracing, that is, not exclusive. I do not believe that love excludes. I believe inclusion is one of its prime characteristics. I won’t presume to add that I believe “most of us” agree with my perspective, but I know some people do.

The struggle for same sex marriage is about our nation having the generosity of heart to acknowledge, in its laws, that love comes in many and varied ways, and there is not one amongst us who has the right to judge which loving way is right, and which loving way is wrong.

There are many arguments to be made against marriage, heterosexual and gay. There are many arguments to be made for it. There is no reasonable argument to be made for same sex couples being excluded from this institution, with all its wonders and all its failings. If some gays and lesbians wish to marry, for better or for worse, then it is their business and there is no good reason to exclude them from the joys and the catastrophes of the married state.

If there is fear abroad for the future of marriage, then address that fear at its real causes. For example.  Family violence in heterosexual marriage. The abuse and sexual abuse of children within heterosexual partnerships. Infidelity, overt and covert.  Inequality in heterosexual marriages.

To quote the magnificent Leonard Cohen on this last point, there’s “the homicidal bitching that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat.” As far as I am aware, much of this ‘homicidal bitching” goes down between heterosexual couples, and frequently concerns how much more housework women do than their male partners.

As well, there are heterosexuals who could well write an article titled “How to be married and still be a slut.” (I have strong reservations about the use of the term ‘slut’ in this pejorative manner, but that discussion is for another time and place).

The impression Meulhenberg has worked hard to create in his article is that heterosexual marriage is some kind of perfect state that no one other than heterosexuals may aspire to, and whose perfection will somehow be threatened by including gays and lesbians in the Marriage Act. This is simply not true. Anything bad that can happen in marriage is already happening, and nobody seems to be able to do very much about preventing it, if the child abuse and domestic violence statistics are anything to go by.

The questions that immediately arise in this reader’s mind are, how fragile is this institution, that its proponents must circle their wagons against any and every perceived threat?  How fragile is this institution that some people must fight with all their might to keep it exclusive?

Will focusing on the perceived evils of gay marriage distract heterosexuals from their collective responsibility for the parlous state of the institution of which they are currently in sole charge? Because whatever is going wrong in marriages, and there’s plenty going wrong, responsibility for it certainly can’t be laid at the doors of gays and lesbians.

In our culture, marriage is still an extremely powerful public and legal acknowledgment of love and commitment. This acknowledgement ought to be available to anyone who wants it.

As I have written here before, “Same sex marriage and same sex adoption are not dangers from which governments need to protect us. But the tyranny of religions destroying anybody’s democratic rights to these things, most certainly is.”

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