Negative people eh? They piss me off. I’ve just had a week of it at work. Launched a new site, had some vocal critics being as rabid as a right-wing troll – all bluster no facts. Had a lot of positive people too but it was the negative people who really wore me down. Mainly because they were attacking so incessantly and irrationally with no factual basis or integrity and I was hamstrung due to my position and the position of my team. What I want to know is how some people can feel so able to criticise and offer no alternative, no justification, no qualification for their argument. They just think that so that makes it right. The gall of it. I would be embarrassed.
I don’t mind being proved wrong. I am always open to discussion. I just don’t like it when people fail to engage with basic rules of discussion. Abuse and back-handed comments are the way of the wimp. Intellectual discussion and reasonable argument is a mark of an adult. Are they scared? Have they recognised a hole in their own abilities?
Sometimes though you really want to tell someone to just go f**k themselves.
But you don’t.
Morris Iemma, you just don’t get it. So you don’t want two year olds drawn into a gender war? That’s fine, because the littlies at Tempe aren’t. As was pointed out in this article over at the SMH, if you had a think about where the centre was and who was using it you just might realise that there were kids there with two mums or two dads or one mum and two dads, or some other combination. And not all of these ‘strange’ combinations would arise through same-sex couplings, they would eventuate from divorce, from remarriage, from death.
These kids are seeing themselves reflected in books and other kids are learning about their mates.
It’s got nothing to do with SEX. Get it? They’re not explaining the mechanics of it. No one believes that all stories about a mummy and a daddy imply they have sex so why would you believe that all books about gays or lesbians do the same? Because when YOU think of gays and lesbians you only see sex. You don’t see the whole person. You don’t see love. Just debased and depraved sex. Kids don’t understand or know about sex so why would they suddenly wake up to it when given a picture of a different type of family? Because an adult feels uncomfortable and makes the issue about sex.
My son’s childcare centre is also in the middle of Sydney. There are a number of children with two mums and/or two dads. The carers have discussed with me their desire to discuss this with the children. Can you honestly think of an easier way than through a non-threatening, simple kids story book? No, neither can I.
If Iemma is going to ask how high every time the Daily Telecrap says jump then a whole lot more Labor voters are going to be looking for alternatives further to the left.
So, Shane Warne’s been at it again. Yes, there’s texting. (Sidenote: I love the way that word has become part of our vocabulary). Yes, there are English tabloids. Yes, there are models. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit.
I have taken a beating in the past from a lot of people who think that a woman of my persuasion, of my thinking, should loathe Warney. And I know I should. I can hear it now: he’s a pig. He’s a womanising bastard.
But boy, can he bowl.
And this is where I suspect my feminist credentials start to become undone. I should hate Warney. I should despise his behaviour. I should feel sympathy for his wife (instead of laughing at her two left feet). But I don’t.
I can see the damage he causes. I can see that his personal life is a disaster and if he was my brother I would give him a piece of my mind. My love was cemented the day I was at the SCG and saw Warney clowning about with the crowd, while standing in the slips. One minute he’s clowing, the next ball bowled he takes a lightning-quick catch as if he’s eating he’s WeetBix. Regular as Christmas.
I saw Stuart McGill and his wife advertising kitchen renovations in the paper today and I thought: that McGill. He’s so cultured. He knows about wine, he knows about food, he doesn’t send text messages to drunken nurses he met in some dodgy nightclub in Leeds (or wherever). He can bowl, but he just doesn’t have IT. I know I should adore McGill. He is the thinking-woman’s cricketer. But that’s the problem. Cricketers don’t think. They drink and play. And in the rare case of those like Gilchrist, they play passionate homage to their families and set themselves impeccably high standards by walking.
But Warney…well, he’s just Warney. And he can send text messages until he’s 60 and I will still just tut-tut and say, ah Warney, you silly bugger. But I remember when he was in the slips at the SCG…
Ok, so I’m in the line at Coles Broadway today and I can’t help but overhear the checkoutbloke at the next counter. The conversation goes a little like this:
Checkoutbloke: Are you Australian?
Checkoutbloke: There’s not many of us left. We’re a dying race.
Checkoutbloke: Australians. People who were born here. English Australians. There’s not many of us left.
Checkoutbloke: There’s so many other people now, not Australians. People like you and me are in the minority. I go to Uni and eighty per cent of my classes are people who are not Australians.
Checkoutbloke: I am concerned for Australia’s future. We’re dying out.
Woman: Well, I think it makes life more interesting.
Checkoutbloke: Hardly anyone at uni comes from an English background. I mean, they’re all Chinese, or Japanese, or Polish. Some of them are from Asia or America or Canandia…
And on and on and on. I had to try really hard to stop myself correcting him: people from CANADA are CANADIAN. There’s no such country as CANADIA you MORON.
My checkoutchick was of an Asian background. Her name was Jenny. She was clearly overhearing the conversation and was perturbed but she hid it well. The poor woman who just wanted to pay for her groceries was giggling almost uncontrollably by the end of it, such was her nervousness. The butch ahead of me in the line with the cous cous in her trolley was doing all she could not to punch the guy out.
Why is this remarkable? Well, in some parts of this great nation of ours I guess it wouldn’t be worth a remark of any kind. But I live in Newtown. I was shopping in Broadway. Coles at Broadway has always had a, how shall I put it, rather multicultural range of goods. Culture here is multi, there is no one culture. If you don’t like it you don’t live here. Simple as that. There are plenty of other places you can live if you like your bread white. I was dumbfounded that this bloke was so strident and that he actually sought out a customer, who was white and blonde, to whom he could expound his thoughts, rather loudly.
And what does this all mean? Who the f**k knows. Probably nothing. I just thought I would get it out there and give you something to think about.
And one other thing, what does this have to do with books? Probably nothing but the book part of this blog has been on ‘hiatus’ for a while so I thought I would bore you with other things.
The SMH has made an attempt to do its bit in furthering the status of the intellectual in Australia by asking a group of intellectuals to name their top 10 Australian brains. In the summary article though Michael Visontay finds that even among intellectuals, the idea of the ‘public intellectual’ is a touchy matter. We love our sportsman, we love our show-biz types but we keep our brains under wraps. And is it any wonder? As Visontay points out:
The space for fresh and challenging ideas in Australia is shrinking – universities are losing their resources to nourish them, governments promote less tolerance of them and the media devotes less space to them.
Says it all really. As a nation we have always been keen to play down our intellectual bent, we haven’t placed value on intellectual achievements and anyone seen to be intellectual is now branded as ‘elite’.
So with all this in mind it was interesting to read who really are, in the minds of those who voted, our top public intellectuals. The real story of the votes isn’t told in the offline version of the SMH. Most of the votes are available online and on first glance the one defining factor is that voters chose those who were politically aligned to themselves. The lefties voted for the left and the right, well, I give you Keith Windschuttle’s list:
(At first I thought his list was a joke but then I realised he was probably serious. Can the first two on Windschuttle’s list really be labelled ‘intellectuals’? If so then the nation is in far worse shape than I thought).
So how useful is such an exercise? Well, for a start it was published in the arts section of a broadsheet, so it’s preaching to the converted. Aside from this what does it offer us? Ultimately I don’t think it offers that much. The obvious weighting towards those already in the news (well, it is public intellectuals I guess) and the obvious agendas of some voters (and not just those on the Right) make it a highly subjective exercise that will reach a minimal audience who already discuss the merits of our intellectuals in their everyday lives.