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Her Rights at Work
September 6, 2012 8:14 PM   Subscribe

The Political Persecution of Australia’s First Female Prime Minister "Can it really be the case that a tax – a carbon tax – could spur so many people to such levels of hatred? I find that impossible to believe, so I have to conclude that the persecution of Julia Gillard has to be about something else." Warning - some text and imagery may be NSFW or offensive - a "Vanilla" version is available
posted by mattoxic (149 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, I found a lot of that hard to read through [and recommend the vanilla version] and I really did not know much of the seamy underbelly of people's dislike of this woman. It was worth it to get to the end of it
I would like today for we shareholders in Australia Pty Ltd. to make a similar commitment: The persecution of our prime minister: it stops with me.

So next time you get one of those emails, don’t delete it – send it back to whoever sent it to you and tell them: It stops with me. When someone in your company refers to the prime minister disrespectfully, don’t ignore it – tell them off: it stops with me. And if you stumble across a website or a FaceBook page that contains offensive commentary or images, don’t avert your eyes – make a comment calmly saying how sad this makes you feel: it stops with me....

If enough of us push back, perhaps we can stop it. And if we can, perhaps that will help restore some dignity and respect to the holder of our highest office.

We would be a better place if we could.
posted by jessamyn at 8:27 PM on September 6, 2012 [31 favorites]


There's a new facebook group, "Destroy The Joint", in response to Alan Jones comment that all these women in politics are destroying the joint. https://www.facebook.com/DestroyTheJoint
posted by wilful at 8:39 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The sad truth is jessamyn is that she's been an incredibly effective PM. Unlike those in opposition who have also been incredibly effective, but not in any way positive or constructive. They have excelled in populism, sloganeering and fortunately for them have had the considerable might of the Murdoch press relentlessly abetting and cheering them on.
posted by mattoxic at 8:40 PM on September 6, 2012


MAY be NSFW?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:41 PM on September 6, 2012


MAY be NSFW?!??

Depends where you work, as always.
posted by Jimbob at 8:46 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


MAY be NSFW?

Depends where you work.
posted by mattoxic at 8:48 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


JINX!!
posted by mattoxic at 8:48 PM on September 6, 2012


Makes me glad to be out of Australia at the moment, and sad to hear what's happened while we've been away.
posted by Neale at 8:50 PM on September 6, 2012


Jesus. What is wrong with people?
posted by newdaddy at 8:51 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Other prime ministers have changed policies or gone back on promises. Paul Keating did not proceed with the L-A-W tax cuts. John Howard introduced a GST. Both were accused of backflips and of breaking promises. Neither was ever called a “liar”.

I don’t think the presentation should have glossed over the vitriol directed at Howard. "The rodent" was one of the more affectionate nicknames for the former Prime Minister. Abuse and harassment of political figures is a fine Australia tradition, right up there with xenophobia and homophobia.

Despite that, there is no denying that the abuse received by Gillard is far, far, far beyond that which was directed at Howard or Keating, and that much of it is not rooted in the inherent distrust of politicians/factional opponents, but rather a vile misogyny.
posted by kithrater at 8:55 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


From the article: Other prime ministers have changed policies or gone back on promises. Paul Keating did not proceed with the L-A-W tax cuts. John Howard introduced a GST. Both were accused of backflips and of breaking promises. Neither was ever called a “liar”.

That's completely untrue. Howard was called "the lying rodent" by one of his own men, and the nickname "honest John" was only ever used sarcastically, IMHO.

But mostly he became well known as a master of equivocation: economical with the truth at best, and at worst deliberately deceptive. He was famous not only for the use of weasel words, but for setting up entire bureaucratic weasel structures that would enable him to wriggle out of any responsibility for anything he said, by pretending that he was misinformed & that he made the correct decision at the time based on the facts at hand.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm afraid we also saw this happen in New Zealand, where former Prime Minister Helen Clark was castigated as a childless lesbian "feminazi" and popular right-wing bloggers dissemenated crudely sexualised images of her.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The rodent" That's hardly sexist. And I can't see Kim Beasley or Simon Crean or even KRUDD carrying on like Abbott does.
posted by mattoxic at 8:59 PM on September 6, 2012


Wow - "weasel structures" exactly defines an attribute of governments (generally) I've been unable to find the right words for. Thank-you.
posted by cromagnon at 9:01 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Howard never faced anything like this. The misogyny is breathtaking and unprecedented.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:01 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ugh. That was some ugly stuff. I wonder how much of the hatred is because she's a woman, and how much of the misogyny is just a crude expression of hatred that would be just as intense if she were a man, but expressed differently. There's no shortage of moronic hatred for politicians of all stripes and sexes. Also, you can't ignore the role of a carbon tax plays in amplifying hatred - it's a tax aimed directly at changing people's lifestyles, and having a comfortable urban politician tell you that they're going to punish you for driving a truck is something not likely to go down well with a lot of people.
posted by Dasein at 9:01 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me a lot of some of the things said about Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign (and she was more traditional than Gilliard by a country mile). That was very disheartening to read, but I feel better off, if not happier, for knowing about it.
posted by immlass at 9:16 PM on September 6, 2012


Yeah it's been very depressing really - and I say this as someone who thought the move to install Gillard was breath-takingly idiotic and wholly predictable in its electoral result (esp in QLD, where - duh! - the Labor party needs every vote it can get).

A mutual friend posted something jaw-droppingly sexist on her wall - adding "So wrong but so funny". I called her out on in (on her wall, by asking if she'd like someone saying that about her, didn't seem very "Christian") - she hasn't spoken to me since. Sigh.

One thin Gillard's Prime Ministership has illustrated I think, is that the odds of a female prime minister being elected are pretty long.
posted by smoke at 9:20 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Lying rodent' is not at all sexist, but when arguing that someone is being attacked more, more viciously and differently than similar public figures because of her sex, it helps not to make bafflingly inaccurate underobservations of the attacks made on your comparative male figures that people unsympathetic to your argument could easily pick out as evidence for your own ignorance/incorrectness.
"Nobody ever called Howard a liar", lol. and seriously "The notion that the prime minister is a “liar” has now been firmly planted in the public mind." This has been my perception since I was in primary school, under Howard.

Similarly, people use language towards and about each other that even a few years ago would have been considered totally out of line. - is this right? I may just not be noticing it, but I still have a book of Keating's insults: perhaps language today doesn't seem to compare in that it's not as funny and memorable, but that guy had some harsh names for people.

While I'm clearly no dedicated political follower, I think Summers actually downplays what's happening by arguing that politics in general is much less civil than it used to be, and on top of that Julia is getting misogynistic crap. My impression is that most political discussion is much the same as ever, and the misogynism is the only real change. Making it sound like part of a general move towards personal attacks and rudeness, to my mind, makes it a lot easier for people to say that it's just part of politics 'these days', and she shouldn't complain unless she's willing to spearhead a general movement of politeness (and then they'll point out some example where she made a personal attack and say 'see she does it too'.)

I agree a little with Dasein that it would be interesting to know how much is 'extra' hatred and how much is just differently expressed, but I disagree that the carbon tax is an excuse: the GST was, as far as I could see at the time, considered at least as much an attack on 'regular people'. I think one difference is that the carbon tax has the mining companies behind the opposition making a more focused fight, but I don't remember any particular group doing the same for the GST?
posted by jacalata at 9:20 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having now read the article, whilst I agree with her broader thrust, I have a few quibbles, namely:

1) "although the means by which Gillard assumed the top job was controversial – and became more so over the course of time – initially her elevation was greeted with widespread enthusiasm."

This is untrue in my opinion, and even with the most liberal definition of "widespread enthusiasm", extremely debatable.

2) Her argument about the leaks during the election campaign, the subsequent drop in polling, and pinning that directly on the fact it attacked Gillard's lack of femininity in attacking welfare is frankly simplistic, race-horse-calling blah - with nothing in the data to suggest it's the case.

Interesting that both of these two weakness fall back on the ever-so-common journalistic practices of a) gross misunderstanding of what polling means and how it works, and b) speaking for the motives of a nebulous and unverifiable public. It shits me. You don't need to prop your argument up with these faulty struts to argue that Gillard has endured an unfair tsunami of chauvinism.
posted by smoke at 9:31 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only thing I could come up with.
posted by Talez at 9:31 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Katy Gallagher (Labor)
Rosemary Follett (Labor)
Clare Martin (Labor)
Kristina Keneally (Labor)
Carmen Lawrence (Labor)
Lara Giddings (Labor)
Joan Kirner (Labor)
Anna Bligh (Labor)

Kate Carnell (Liberal - and though pretty progressive)

Speaks volumes
posted by mattoxic at 9:36 PM on September 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Talez, did you also create this one or did it just see I came from Metafilter? :)
posted by jacalata at 9:41 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Added quotation marks.]
posted by taz at 9:54 PM on September 6, 2012


I'm not Australian and have never been to Australia, but from observation, there is a certain national archetype in Australia known as the "bloke". Historian Russel Ward described him in 1958:
..a practical man, rough and ready in his manners and quick to decry any appearance of affection in others... Though capable of great exertion in an emergency, he normally feels no impulse to work hard without good cause. He swears hard and consistently, gambles heavily and often, and drinks deeply on occasion... he is a greater knocker of eminent people unless, as is in the case of his sporting heroes, they are distinguished by physical prowess. He is fiercely independent... above all he will stick to his mates though thick and thin, even if he thinks they may be wrong... He tends to be a rolling stone, highly suspect if he should chance to gather much moss.
Crocodile Dundee might be a character-type, though with a heavy dose of irony. It's a stereotype of course. Key thing that differentiates the bloke from say, the American frontiersman or cowboy archetype, is Aussie blokes stick together, as Ward says, "above all". Your either a "good bloke" or you're ostracized. So it doesn't surprise me to see a sort of nation-wide bloke reaction to a female "eminent person", because many blokes might believe that is what good blokes are supposed to do, and/or they'll stand by other blokes even if they think it is wrong.
posted by stbalbach at 9:59 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


MAY be NSFW?

Depends where you work.


The question, as always, is whether it is NSFW in NSW. I believe it may be SFW in (American) NSF though, but completely inappropriate for SFW.
posted by the cydonian at 10:00 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaks volumes

Most of those were last minute ringers for failing regimes though. Off the top of my head most were given poison chalices, and quite a few were not popularly elected.

That said: I live here, I follow politics quite closely, and until this moment I had generally thought that, while misogynistic, the abuse heaped at Gillard was broadly on par with Howard, as distasteful as I found it.
People hate her, people hated him, but she had a higher level of relentless negativity to bat away, in part because of how she ended up as PM.

Today, in reading this, I am starting to revise my opinion.

Also, people of the world. I am sorry. There should be a trigger warning: Contains Christopher Pyne.
posted by Mezentian at 10:01 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not Australian and have never been to Australia, but from observation, there is a certain national archetype in Australia known as the "bloke". Historian Russel Ward described him in 1958:


It's no longer 1958
posted by mattoxic at 10:02 PM on September 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


People hate her, people hated him, but she had a higher level of relentless negativity to bat away, in part because of how she ended up as PM.

I think part of what makes the abuse directed at Gillard especially disturbing is the source. Maybe my memory is a little hazy, but I recall that most of the more serious abuse directed at Howard was from "unserious" members of the polity: hardcore socialists and communists, students, and militant unionists. Gillard, however, came under attack from the (in some cases inexplicably) "serious": talkback radio hosts, mining lobbyists, Coalition parliamentarians, and Rudd loyalists.
posted by kithrater at 10:03 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


stbalbach, sounds like you're trying to talk about what we call Tall Poppy Syndrome. The entire question is whether Gillard is being attacked more, or differently, than equivalent male 'eminent persons'. The answer, according to Summers and with pretty broad agreement here, is yes.
posted by jacalata at 10:03 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gillard, however, came under attack from the... Rudd loyalists.

I for one am shocked ;)
posted by jacalata at 10:04 PM on September 6, 2012


but I recall that most of the more serious abuse directed at Howard was from "unserious" members of the polity

I always came across a groundswell of disgust, from the GST through the Telstra sell off, Tampa, AWB, Afghanistan, Iraq....

But he seemed to be able to bribe his way through elections with well timed tax cuts, and Labour never seemed to get any traction after the first election until the electorate got all It's Time in his face. And Costello's attempts at white-anting Mr 18% were always piss-weak.

Hard to believe things could get worse.
posted by Mezentian at 10:11 PM on September 6, 2012


It's obvious that the abuse directed at her is extremely gendered, and it's very bad.

However, some of the presuppositions here are a bit naïve, honestly:
"Can it really be the case that a tax – a carbon tax – could spur so many people to such levels of hatred? I find that impossible to believe, so I have to conclude that the persecution of Julia Gillard has to be about something else."
Even though the author finds this impossible to believe, doesn't make it untrue. I find it extremely easy to believe. A carbon tax threatens the economic interests of some of the most powerful, rich, and unscrupulous multinationals on earth. They have near-unlimited resources to use to smear, attack, denigrate, and otherwise work against politicians who advocate policies that go against their interest. Given this backing, it's not surprising at all that there's a wellspring of hate against Gillard over the carbon tax.

As for the gendered part, that's obvious, and that makes it extra ugly. But that's how women have always been attacked by the powerful. A man in the same position would be attacked with similar viciousness, but the form of the attacks would be different. I wouldn't be surprised if the attacks were also gendered, though, but in a different way, suggesting tree-hugging, emasculated hippieness or some such.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:21 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if the attacks were also gendered, though, but in a different way, suggesting tree-hugging, emasculated hippieness or some such.

For our international readers: the Bob of "Bob Brown's Bitch" (and referenced to in the strap-on cartoon") was probably Australia's highest profile gay politician until recently, being leader of the Greens Party and one of the kingmakers that helped put Gillard's minority government into power.

And, according to Tony Windsor (another independent and kingmaker), Abbott is reported to have said: "The only thing I wouldn't do is sell my arse - but I'd have to give serious thought to it" in the days and weeks after the last election when Abbott and Gillard were trying to shore up the numbers to form the minority government.

Abbott denies the words, but Windsor has read them into Hansard. I'm not sure if Abbott's response has been, but there's a widespread belief that Windsor is telling the truth since he's basically a dead MP walking.

There's been some weird sexualisation of this Parliament since the beginning.
posted by Mezentian at 10:30 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always came across a groundswell of disgust

Oh, I'm definitely not disputing there was a general level of disgust towards Howard. I'm just trying to identify the difference locations of the deepest, blackest wells of dsigust were for Howard in comparison to Gillard.

Even though the author finds this impossible to believe, doesn't make it untrue. I find it extremely easy to believe.

The problem with this argument is how does it explain the lack of hatred directed at Kevin Rudd, the winner of the 2007 election, who promised a carbon price and is thought to have suffered a massive (and politically fatal) drop in popularity due to not delivering on the promised carbon price?
posted by kithrater at 10:40 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hard to believe things could get worse.

Ask a QLDer if they think that... Newman and Abbott are definitely cut from the same cloth.
posted by smoke at 10:47 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


who promised a carbon price and is thought to have suffered a massive (and politically fatal) drop in popularity due to not delivering on the promised carbon price?

To be fair, I never understood that at all. I think it's all around the nominal difference between a carbon tax and a carbon price, and Julia's "No Carbon Tax under a government I lead" promise, which I think is the real knife in her back.

(Incidentally, apparently you can download that as a ringtone from the Liberal Party's website.
posted by Mezentian at 10:48 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Similarly, people use language towards and about each other that even a few years ago would have been considered totally out of line. - is this right? I may just not be noticing it, but I still have a book of Keating's insults: perhaps language today doesn't seem to compare in that it's not as funny and memorable, but that guy had some harsh names for people."

The difference - or at least part of it - is that Keating (& Hawke, & Gough, & yes, even Fraser & Howard) had some wit about them, as did the people who were attacking them. Latham had it too, and it was about the only reason he got the job of Opposition Leader. That wit, and the fact they they gave as good (or better) than they got, garnered them a level of grudging admiration. Hell, even that boring wax dolly Rudd's personal popularity went up after that video of his swearing outburst went public, because it made him seem human…

This is Australia, land of the crude-but-clever quip. Oscar Wilde would've fitted right in, given a few years to become suitably bogan-acclimated. Hell, we produced Barry Humphries - probably the closest modern equivalent. We appreciate that shit, and that goes beyond party lines - even the most hardline Lefties I've known appreciated Big Russ's humour (to a policeman who'd just pulled him over for speeding: "This State is a very big place - where would you like to go?"), and I know plenty of rabid right-wingers who were wryly amused and grudgingly agreed with Latham's "conga-line of suckholes" appraisal.

But yeah, this is different. The style has changed; there's no longer any wit leavening the blow. It's just pure nastyness, verging on blind hatred. kithrater's got a point; that sort of thing did exist before, and it came from the loons on both sides. Now it's coming from the everywhere - not only against Gillard, but against Abbot as well (though less publicly) - and not only is it lowering the quality of political discussion, but displacing real discourse as well.

You can laugh off a clever quip as a clever quip & get on with real discussion - but when you're faced with vile accusations & poisonous rhetoric from alleged mouthpieces of the commentariat like Jones & Hadley, you've got to deal with that before moving to the real business. (Pickering's just a nasty little cunt, and by many accounts always has been). And then, they just come up with more of the same the next day, and so on, and so on…
posted by Pinback at 10:52 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pickering's just a nasty little cunt

Interestingly, for a man whose claim to fame rests heavily on his satirical caricatures of politicians and their penises, he doesn't seem to have crossed the line into caricatures of vulvas. That may have been considered beyond the pale, hence the strap-on as some kind of middle ground....?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:02 PM on September 6, 2012


I'm afraid we also saw this happen in New Zealand, where former Prime Minister Helen Clark was castigated as a childless lesbian "feminazi" and popular right-wing bloggers dissemenated crudely sexualised images of her.

When Jenny Shipley was Prime Minister she was heckled by unionists yelling that her husband should beat her. Ruth Richardson also copped a lot of abuse.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:47 PM on September 6, 2012


I guess we in the US should be grateful that the more polite but thinly-veiled epithet "socialist" is used to denigrate our center-right president who happens to be black.
posted by univac at 12:10 AM on September 7, 2012


Howard ... had some wit about (him)

Citation needed!

Neither Lazarus with a triple by-pass, No GST or Non-Core Promises are witty.
posted by Mezentian at 12:38 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Howard was massively unfunny, utterly humourless.

Christopher Pyne I believe can have em rolling the the aisles.
posted by mattoxic at 12:41 AM on September 7, 2012


Christopher Pyne I believe can have em rolling the the aisles.

Yes, but that's unintentional.
posted by Mezentian at 12:42 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Howard thought he was funny. I can still picture that evil little snarl of his.

In order to be able to gauge this, I need to know how insulated I am from it. I mean, yes, I know nasty things were said about Howard, the lying rodent, because I'm a card carrying pinko.

How widespread is this stuff about Gillard, in comparison? I mean, I know The Australian and The Herald Sun are stoking it, as are the shock jocks, but are a huge proportion of the population really emailing that "Time for your morning briefing, Bob" cartoon to each other? Because I'm clearly not on any of those mailing lists.
posted by Jimbob at 12:45 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


but are a huge proportion of the population really emailing that "Time for your morning briefing, Bob" cartoon to each other?

I've not seen that sort of thing, but I wouldn't be shown it.

But I think they are sending that stuff around. My own parental units are very much in the "lying bitch" school, and my boss (a 500 Clubber) showed me the e-mail that was going around regarding the Slater & Gordon stuff about a week before the story hit the Oz.
posted by Mezentian at 12:52 AM on September 7, 2012


This is Australia, land of the crude-but-clever quip. Oscar Wilde would've fitted right in, given a few years to become suitably bogan-acclimated. Hell, we produced Barry Humphries - probably the closest modern equivalent.

Barry Humphries = Dame Edna (for us foreigners) and evidently, much more besides.

Carry on.
posted by gohabsgo at 12:57 AM on September 7, 2012


The problem with this argument is how does it explain the lack of hatred directed at Kevin Rudd, the winner of the 2007 election, who promised a carbon price and is thought to have suffered a massive (and politically fatal) drop in popularity due to not delivering on the promised carbon price?

The inconsistency between public reaction to (a) a complex cap-and-trade scheme that was impossible to understand but widely believed to be a responsible reaction to global warming, and (b) a simpler carbon tax designed to achieve identical ends by identical market effects at lower cost and with less uncertainty, is easily explained in the light of two facts:

1: Option (b) includes the magic word "tax";
2: Most Australians are fucking idiots.
posted by flabdablet at 12:58 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


She should have called it a 'levy', seems to have worked for Abbott's plan to tax large businesses to pay for his maternity leave policy, which completely unsurprisingly will benefit high income earners more than low income earners.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:08 AM on September 7, 2012


The accusation of misogny has also been thrown at the heavy criticism of Gina Rinehart.

People do really intensely dislike Rinehart, Gillard and Abbott. It's surely hard to separate the dislike of these people from misogny.

Fraser was really, really hated in 1975 wasn't he? Eggs were even thrown at him and so on later in his term too. Is it that different to the hatred of Gillard?
posted by sien at 1:37 AM on September 7, 2012


Are there many people calling Gina Rinehart a 'fat bitch' or a 'cow' on 2GB?
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:07 AM on September 7, 2012


The misogny aimed at Reinhart is unnecessary and distracting. Plenty to attack her for without making fun of her appearance. Ball not man etc.
posted by Jimbob at 2:07 AM on September 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


But yes, the comments mentioned in sien's link are atrocious. Q&A is such a shame, in the sense that it could be so much more than the drivel that it is.

Though, from the link: "I don’t hear Andrew Forrest or Frank Lowy or Gerry Harvey or Harry Triguboff or James Packer or Ivan Glasenberg (the second richest in the country) being called greedy for doing their jobs."

Then the blogger needs to listen harder. Gerry Harvey was called out for his greed a while back when he made a statement along the lines of not caring about homeless people, as they didn't buy furniture and big screen TVs. And I note Clive Palmer being notably absent from that list.

And the media is more than happy to start sharpening the knives over the possible downfall of the Tinkler empire.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:29 AM on September 7, 2012


During the US republican primaries this year, I was uncomfortable with the "crazy" charactorization of Michele Bachman. Well yeah, she was - but no more than the other candidates. She didn't suggest putting a colony on the moon.

The whole Michele Bachman is CRAZY narrative felt motivated by her gender. From out of context quotes to bad candid facial expressions caught on film. And much of it were from suposedly pro-women liberals. The whole thing felt like "look at the silly woman and her crazy ideas! She shouldn't worry her pretty head about politics!"

Mind you, I did not like her; I've got a liberal streak a mile wide. But she was represented and ultimately dismissed differently than her male opponents. So, yeah we got that here in spades.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:38 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I don’t hear Andrew Forrest or Frank Lowy or Gerry Harvey or Harry Triguboff or James Packer or Ivan Glasenberg (the second richest in the country) being called greedy for doing their jobs."

Harvey's level of greed is minimal, Packer gets called out often, and I have never heard of Triguboff or Glasenberg (so that should tell you something).

Forrest, for all his faults, is widely considered to be a decent guy (if a but of a shyster), and his interest in Aboriginal culture is -- as far as I can tell -- overplayed but not overstated.

The whole Michele Bachman is CRAZY narrative felt motivated by her gender.

I never picked that.
posted by Mezentian at 3:00 AM on September 7, 2012


WTF?
sien really?
"Fraser was really, really hated in 1975 wasn't he? Eggs were even thrown at him and so on later in his term too. Is it that different to the hatred of Gillard?
posted by sien at 9:37 AM on September 7 [+][!]


you really think the vile, pornographic, sexual, brutally rape-culture encouraging messages I just read (for the first time) about a female PM are even remotely equivalent to throwing eggs at a male PM?

The equivalence would be throwing bloody bull's testicles & sliced open bull's penises at him every single time he stepped out the door.

Because this is happening is social media land, it seems that some observers feel a certain remoteness from how viscerally frightening this kind of abuse is.

I remember truly sexists jokes told about Australians in Europe a few decades ago " Q: What's the Australian definition of foreplay? A: Brace yourself, Sheila!" that I refused to laugh at because 1: I had never been there and 2: BECAUSE THEY WERE SEXIST.

to improve social discourse and encourage an atmosphere where women in public aren't metaphorically brutalised like this (there's enough of that going on behind closed doors, thanks a bunch) you do actually need to say, No I don't find that funny, No I'm actually really offended by this, No it stops with me.

Not, "ah well a male politician was villified too so it's not misogyny".

Did you see those images?
posted by Wilder at 3:39 AM on September 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I remember truly sexists jokes told about Australians in Europe a few decades ago " Q: What's the Australian definition of foreplay? A: Brace yourself, Sheila!" that I refused to laugh at because 1: I had never been there and 2: BECAUSE THEY WERE SEXIST.

That's a sexist joke? Looks like a joke about sex to me. *shrugs*.
posted by Leon at 4:05 AM on September 7, 2012


Could be racist, of course.
posted by Leon at 4:05 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


2: Most Australians are fucking idiots.

What's wrong with that? Idiots are easier to seduce.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 AM on September 7, 2012


White guys sure are having problems adapting, aren't they?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:15 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's precisely the problem.
posted by clarknova at 4:15 AM on September 7, 2012


What's wrong with that?

Didn't say anything was wrong with it, merely that it's both a self-evident fact and a good explanation for so many people who enthusiastically supported a cap-and-trade ETS being so virulently opposed to an almost equivalent carbon tax.

Idiots are easier to seduce.

I wouldn't know, never having seduced one.
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 AM on September 7, 2012


Q: What's the Australian definition of foreplay?

A: You awake?
posted by mattoxic at 4:27 AM on September 7, 2012


Pickering's cartoon - only one in a series email around parliament, apparently - depicts Gillard in a strap-on calling on Bob Brown, the former leader of the Greens Party. Brown is openly gay.

Misogyny plus homophobia.

Little wonder the pollies snuck through the WikiLeaks Amendment at 3am. Their email alone would have Bryce flipping through the Act.
posted by de at 4:35 AM on September 7, 2012


Q: What's the Australian definition of foreplay?

A: You awake?


Were you asleep during the entire Assange cockup?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:49 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Leon and mattoxic: Are you seriously asking why jokes about rape are sexist?

Impressively dense.

I'm in the sheltered cove of 'everyone knows my political and social leanings and knows just how fucking vitrolic I can get when they start so they leave well enough alone now'. I'd only read the vanilla piece previously and the uncensored version was vile. It's the same misogynist bullshit that women go through writ large. There's no such thing as decent measured criticism, you've gotta get a comment about gendere in there too - god forbid someone forget she's a woman in power, right? No sense it applying any measured thought when you can crack on about her looks, her private life, her voice, and the general fact she's a woman and all of the nasty bits of intellectual sewerage attached to that.

I have this slim hope that all the fucking fools here in Queensland who voted for Newman's wrecking crew turn tail and vote Labour in the federal election. It is a slim, close to skeletal hope, but it's a hope nonetheless, born of just how appalled the general populace is getting now they've worked out that slashing state employees to a bare minimum (and under) hurts every one, from their hip pocket to just how long it's going to take for anything to happen. Except that most of them are sexist fools as well, and believe Abbott's lying bullshit.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:50 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Australia, get a grip.....
posted by caddis at 4:51 AM on September 7, 2012


didnt she come into power in what was basically a hostile takeover against a liberal candidate? am not up on Oz politics, but that's probably reason enough to raise the misogyny by a factor of a google :P
posted by liza at 4:52 AM on September 7, 2012


I'm still pretty angry about how Kevin Rudd was rolled (and I think his being known ubiquitously by his first name had a significant influence on the practice continuing with Gillard) and so I tend to have a bit of a negative attitude towards the PM because of it, but I'm fairly pained by the level of sexist vitriol that's heaped upon her. I wonder if she talks to Hillary Clinton much? They both belong to a very special club in this regard. I'll call it out or make it known I'm not happy to hear shitty remarks that are gender based, but it's a terrible situation to which there's no simple solution. And caddis, it's not the country, it's the chronic, evil sexist attitude perpetuated (for the mostpart) by males. It just happens to be high profile here now because Julia Gillard is PM. But what do you think Hannity or Limbaugh or Beck would be saying or validating their listeners say if it was Hillary who had become president 4 years ago?
posted by peacay at 5:02 AM on September 7, 2012


I hadn't heard of Tony Abbott until this; what a tool, "Staunch Conservative Catholic" seems to mean gets away with being a tool because he believes that Confession absolves him of his sins.
posted by NiteMayr at 5:05 AM on September 7, 2012


I hadn't heard of Tony Abbott until this

Oh, sure, show off...
posted by pompomtom at 5:06 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


MAY be NSFW?
Depends where you work.


The convention is that naked bodies and so on need a NSFW tag, regardless of whether some people work where it's OK. The NSFW tag should be moved up to the first link and the "may be" should be removed.
posted by pracowity at 5:07 AM on September 7, 2012


Leon and mattoxic: Are you seriously asking why jokes about rape are sexist?

Are you fucking kidding?
posted by mattoxic at 5:21 AM on September 7, 2012


The convention is that naked bodies and so on need a NSFW tag, regardless of whether some people work where it's OK. The NSFW tag should be moved up to the first link and the "may be" should be removed.


Um

The article itself has a pretty decent warning that it may be offensive - and there is a bold link to a "vanilla" version within the article. So if you were brave enough to click through my warning, then hopefully you would have been in the good hands of the author's own warning.

I said may be NSFW because - I don't know where you work, though is seems quite possibly a kindergarten. Where I work, it would pretty well instantly understood that I was viewing an article that was discussing the Pickering cartoon - The actual only outwardly offensive item - not that images of the ditch the witch banners aren't also offensive.
posted by mattoxic at 5:29 AM on September 7, 2012


the Pickering cartoon - The actual only outwardly offensive item

O RLY? [NSFW] - from the article.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:40 AM on September 7, 2012


oh yeah
posted by mattoxic at 5:42 AM on September 7, 2012


To summarise, for people who are at work and can't view what I just linked: the article, which was described as "may be NSFW" contained an image of a completely naked woman in a shower, with Prime Minister Gillard's head photoshopped onto it.

Anybody reading the description "may be NSFW" could have thought that it was a marginal thing, maybe a swear word or two, not a PHOTO OF A COMPLETELY NAKED WOMAN, FULL FRONTAL, which is *always* NSFW.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 AM on September 7, 2012


Yes, I have received nude representations of Gillard by SMS (two at least) with "jokes" about not wanting to have sex with her. I am female and a lefty. The people who sent them = male friends, but I get tired of saying, hey this is offensive - because then I hear "oh the whole world's gone bloody mad over political correctness". I just ignore them. I guess I shouldn't - I've felt for a long time that many of our female pollies get a raw deal that the male pollies don't face, but the way everyone seems to deal with it is hoping ignoring bad behaviour will make it go away.
posted by b33j at 5:53 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I have received nude representations of Gillard by SMS (two at least) with "jokes" about not wanting to have sex with her. I am female and a lefty. The people who sent them = male friends, but I get tired of saying, hey this is offensive - because then I hear "oh the whole world's gone bloody mad over political correctness".

b33j (really? not the best user name for this discussion but I am sure it is out of context): you need a better class of friends. Seriously, only complete fucking idiots send this type of thing and think it's hilarious.

At least the cartoon has a subversive lulz. The bad photoshop is just.... wrong.
posted by Mezentian at 6:02 AM on September 7, 2012


The misogyny is disgusting.

Doesn't change the fact that Gillard is a conviction-less politician who's been a disaster for the left. Broke her promise to increase foreign aid (directly resulting in thousands of deaths in developing countries), stridently anti-teacher and anti-teacher's union, to the right of Rudd on refugees, imperialist war in Afghanistan, etc. Not to mention being the world's most prominent left-wing atheist homophobe.
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:17 AM on September 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


*ex-left-wing atheist homophobe. Gillard hasn't been a progressive since university.
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole Michele Bachman is CRAZY narrative felt motivated by her gender.

I consider myself a feminist, but I won't give you that one. Either she's crazy or some combination of stupid and evil. As are Rick Santorum, Todd Akin, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Herman "3-3-3" Cain, Christine "I am not a witch I'm you" O'Donnell, and Orly "Birther Queen" Taitz.

You want misogyny in American politics (without going into anything relating to abortion or birth control, which should be obvious enough), look at how people talk about Nancy Pelosi.
posted by Foosnark at 6:22 AM on September 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not to mention being the world's most prominent left-wing atheist homophobe.

I hate to point this out, but you're wrong.
For a start, she has clearly articulated her views on why she thinks gay marriage isn't something she can support. On most levels, I think that gives her "concviction", but at least she can articulate reasons that go beyond "God says".

Fair enough you don't agree with them, but I think you'll need to go further to support your claims of homophobia, much less being anti-education (teacher's unions are a state issue).

I'll have to give you a point for the "imperialist war in Afghanistan" (although she is continuing a war started two PMs ago, and a war which is not unpopular).

to the right of Rudd on refugees

I'll have to pay that. Although I'd be willing to suggest Rudd would have moved to offshore processing eventually. But this topic will become a derail.
posted by Mezentian at 6:26 AM on September 7, 2012


Leon and mattoxic: Are you seriously asking why jokes about rape are sexist?

I'm reading a joke about how Australian men are crap at foreplay. What are you reading?
posted by Leon at 6:28 AM on September 7, 2012


I'm reading a joke about how Australian men are crap at foreplay. What are you reading?

I'd direct you to the ongoing Assange thread, I suspect.
posted by Mezentian at 6:31 AM on September 7, 2012


Maybe, dontjumplarry. Julia Gillard (and Rudd. And Latham. And Beasley) is a great reason why I vote Green these days. But the whole "Bob Brown's Bitch" thing? Please call me when people walk around with "Ratzinger's Rent-boy" signs for Abbott. Or at least when anyone in the media finally decides to call him out for the liar he is.
posted by Jimbob at 6:34 AM on September 7, 2012


I'd direct you to the ongoing Assange thread, I suspect.

That joke has been around for decades. Literally. Like, tens of years.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:38 AM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And another thing: Interesting to see that since Gillard showed a bit of steel by giving the lunar right a well-deserved spray, Michelle Grattan seems to be taking a break from sinking the slipper into the PM, writing instead about issues of substance and even tossing her the occasional biscuit.

Personally I was quite cheered by that glimpse of the real Julia (as opposed to the Real Julia wheeled out during the last election campaign).

Rudd? Meh.

I was prepared to be impressed by Kevin Rudd in the early stages of his campaign against Howard, because he was making all the right noises on climate change and on an apology to the indigenous community and assorted other issues that Howard had been fighting tooth and nail to avoid doing anything about for years. But then he came out in support of the vile Gunns paper mill in the Tamar Valley, and I knew at once that his greenwash was just greenwash.

Rudd was all about the big gesture and the media grandstanding. Gillard, by contrast, has actually done things. She's wrong on refugees and she's wrong on gay marriage and she's wrong on "performance measurement" for Australian schools and teachers, but no more so than Rudd; and given a choice between Gillard and Abbott I honestly can't see why any thinking Australian would need to do so for more than two seconds.

The fact that she's going to lose the next election, and lose it hard, makes me weep for my country and yearn for a leader who knows how to crash through or crash. As does the fact that there are those on the progressive side of politics who apparently believe that dumping Gillard and getting Rudd back would make a lick of difference to Labor's chances at this point.

What this country needs is less Dickhead Abbott and more Christine Milne and more Kerry Nettle and more Sarah Hanson-Young. But I'd settle for Gillard if the alternative is Abbott. Turnbull I could probably just about stomach.

I'm 50 now. That puts me on the cusp of being officially Old; I have relatives busily dying left right and centre. And it saddens me to realize that those who remember just how cringeworthy Australian politics can be when the Right is in control are now firmly in the minority.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 AM on September 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


That joke has been around for decades. Literally. Like, tens of years.

I know. And I have heard it about every blokey culture. But the whole "are you awake/rape culture" thing seemed to suggest a nod towards Assange.

That, or Ten viral marketing. And they're not that smart.
posted by Mezentian at 6:42 AM on September 7, 2012


The fact that she's going to lose the next election, and lose it hard, makes me weep for my country

I'm no Labor voter these days, I'm not a Gillard fan, and I do think she's on a train to Annihilation Station, but I also think that the twin forces of Campell "The Cut-erator" Newman and Mr Rabbit mean that we might be facing a one term Abbott Government.

There are two "facts" as I see them:
1. Tony is not a good leader.
2. What is happening is Queensland has people worried. Kennett-level worried.
posted by Mezentian at 6:48 AM on September 7, 2012


What is happening is Queensland has people worried. Kennett-level worried.

Can someone elaborate on what's happening in Queensland for those of us who like Australia but are not up on what scandalous or terrible things are currently happening there?
posted by mightygodking at 6:58 AM on September 7, 2012


(Former Federal Liberal and Former Prime Minster In Waiting) Peter Costello was called in after the absolute wipe-out of Labor after more than a decade in office (initially the insanely popular Peter Beaty, latterly Anna Bligh.... There were floods) by the new premier Cambell "Ex-Brisbane Mayor" Newman.

He has gutted all the things. Apparently he has targeted 20,000 public service jobs. This week alone are 500 from the Mines Department (Qld is a major mining state) and 3,000 from Queensland Health.

And there has been some slashing of State Government programs, like breast cancer screening.

The unions today have released a report (prepared by academics) that says that Costello's report into the state of Qld's finances was wildly inaccurate and that Newman's cuts were out of all proportion.

Newman's gone from a tsunami-style win to a toxic approval rating in less than a year.

I'm no Queenslander, and I tend to the left side of politics, but those are some key points as I see them.
posted by Mezentian at 7:08 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bullies/conservatives use race, gender and religion as attack vectors because that hides the true motivation. They are happy to be seen as racists or misogynists because if they showed their true motivation (power/brutality), they wouldn't be able to gather a following.
posted by gjc at 8:01 AM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how long until Queensland goes from being a donor to a recipient in the GST stakes. In the 2012 review they're up to 0.985 so I'm assuming next year.
posted by Talez at 8:30 AM on September 7, 2012


Doesn't change the fact that Gillard is a conviction-less politician who's been a disaster for the left.

Protip: It's not always about you. And by that I mean the "left". Whatever that is. If you want to make a difference, I'd suggest whining on an American based forum is not the most effective thing you could do.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 9:21 AM on September 7, 2012


mattoxic:

For enlightenment, consider that it's not terribly uncommon to have sex without foreplay.

Now you tell a joke that says Australian foreplay doesn't even involve a conversation, much less the type of conversation where consent would normally be negotiated.

Now think about sex sans foreplay again.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:28 AM on September 7, 2012


It's no longer 1958
posted by mattoxic


You apparently missed the word "archetype" (a mythological type). The archetype Ward describes didn't exist in 1958, either. But people still like to associate with it, just as you see people associating with the Cowboy and other masculine "types" who live in a suburban home and work at Wall-mart. You probably believe it's progressive and clever to say the bloke archetype is outdated in 2012, but people in Australia have been saying the "bloke" is outdated since at least 1915, when the famous book/movie "Songs of a Sentimental Bloke" came out (it's about a tough 'bush bloke' who settles down and marries, not coincidentally the same time as the suffrage movement).
posted by stbalbach at 11:47 AM on September 7, 2012


jacalata: "stbalbach, sounds like you're trying to talk about what we call Tall Poppy Syndrome. The entire question is whether Gillard is being attacked more, or differently, than equivalent male 'eminent persons'. The answer, according to Summers and with pretty broad agreement here, is yes."

No question that being a female opens her up to more criticism because she is not a bloke, blokes by definition stick together. The classic bloke described by Ward wouldn't even dream of marrying and settling down, women are for the "sentimental" or "soft" man. Again, this is an archetype, not a modern reality (Australian men do marry), but it shapes behavior and mindsets about how a "good bloke" should behave towards a woman in power.
posted by stbalbach at 11:54 AM on September 7, 2012


During the US republican primaries this year, I was uncomfortable with the "crazy" charactorization of Michele Bachman. Well yeah, she was - but no more than the other candidates. She didn't suggest putting a colony on the moon.

Yeah, remember the leak about her migraines? The language was interesting - descriptions of her headaches being "incapacitating", "debilitating" and quotes to the effect of "her headaches occur when she's under a lot of stress" and "she has to take a lot of pills - pills to prevent them, pills when she has them, pills after she recovers from them". In other words: unstable, a pill-popper, fragile, and not up to the task. As far as I remember, it seemed to have come out of Rove's office, proving that her own party was not afraid to use subtle misogyny to knock her out of the race.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:19 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


and more Sarah Hanson-Young

Now you've gone too far.

I had to put up with Sarah Hanson-Young at Adelaide uni for years when she was a perennial student politician. Fifteen years later, I've graduated, got a real job, she still thinks she's a student politician. Her efforts to try and take Christine Milne's deputy position stung. In the field of Doc Martins-Wearing Adelaide University Ex-Student Politician Minor Party Federal Senators, she's no Stott-Desopja.
posted by Jimbob at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's quite obvious, in my opinion, that Hanson-Young is virtually the only Greens senator that could be considered a professional politician. Like the other professionals in the majors who have never had real jobs, her strident rhetoric turns off anyone not devoted to the party. Give me the measured, evidence-based Christine Milne, or the excellent Scott Ludlam any day of the week.

although she is continuing a war started two PMs ago, and a war which is not unpopular

This is untrue. All polling about the Afghanistan War (Galaxy and Essential, I believe) shows that it is, in fact, massively unpopular with the public. Support for ending it is not as high as support for pokies reform (another Labor squib, you useless bastards can only do the popular thing when it's right wing it seems), but still very high.
posted by smoke at 3:27 PM on September 7, 2012


Now you tell a joke that says Australian foreplay doesn't even involve a conversation, much less the type of conversation where consent would normally be negotiated.

Oldie but a goodie - the joke actually suggests that the Australian (it doesn't stipulate which partner speaks the punchline) isn't particularly romantic. The question posed - "you awake?" - is actually negotiating consent.

So, if I were to say to my partner (and a pretty normal adult mature relationship) - "you awake?" she would either say - sleepily - "hmmm, not tonight" or "no". I would not then rape her.
posted by mattoxic at 5:15 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


You apparently missed the word "archetype" (a mythological type).

stbalbach

The quick point I wanted to make was that I would have hoped we had moved on since 1958. Clearly there is still issues with dealing with woman - but unfortunately we have the internet, social networking kicking this misogyny along.
posted by mattoxic at 5:27 PM on September 7, 2012


Protip: It's not always about you. And by that I mean the "left". Whatever that is. If you want to make a difference, I'd suggest whining on an American based forum is not the most effective thing you could do.

Huh? You're saying that I shouldn't make a negative comment about an Australian political figure on an American website because it couldn't possibly make a difference?

If "likely to make a difference" were the threshold for making a Metafilter comment, I don't think you'd see many comments on here.
posted by dontjumplarry at 6:03 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a start, she has clearly articulated her views on why she thinks gay marriage isn't something she can support. On most levels, I think that gives her "concviction", but at least she can articulate reasons that go beyond "God says".

Clearly articulated? I'm not sure I agree - all I recall is that she said she did not support gay marriage, and did support the Marriage Act in its current form, but not why. Do you have a cite?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:04 PM on September 7, 2012


If I'm not wrong, the worst thing that could possibly happen for Gillard, just has:
"Prime Minister Julia Gillard has failed to appear at the opening session of the APEC summit, because her father has died."
posted by de at 10:08 PM on September 7, 2012


For enlightenment, consider that it's not terribly uncommon to have sex without foreplay.

Really? I thought that only happened in True Blood.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:13 PM on September 7, 2012


From Q&A:
You know, I, of all people, and I think people in this room and beyond this room, know a bit about my personal life, I, of all people, would sit before you and say I think that you can have a relationship of love and commitment and trust and understanding that doesn't need a marriage certificate associated with it. I mean that's my life experience and so I’m speaking from that life experience. It then becomes a question - you know, if you believe, as I do, that people can have, you know, deep and committed relationships without a marriage certificate, it becomes an issue about, you know, how are we going to deal with this cultural institution of longstanding in Australian society and are we going to try and change it to fit circumstances where people are in love and deeply committed but don't fit the current Marriage Act or are we going to grow up new traditions and norms that embrace that?

Not necessarily a popular view on gay marriage among advocates for change, but I think clearly articulated (inasmuch as a transcript from Q&A can be).
posted by Mezentian at 10:18 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, that statement. I thought that one was rather offensive, actually. It comes down to 'I choose not to get married, so you shouldn't have the choice at all'.

But it doesn't tell me why she has a problem with gay marriage - rather, it suggests to me that she doesn't have a problem with it at all, and she's only against it because she's concerned that it's a vote loser. Which is rather annoying.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:33 PM on September 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas writes "Anybody reading the description 'may be NSFW' could have thought that it was a marginal thing, maybe a swear word or two, not a PHOTO OF A COMPLETELY NAKED WOMAN, FULL FRONTAL, which is *always* NSFW."

We've count phone sex operators, escorts, porn clerks and Husler employees (some former) as members. I'm pretty sure full frontal nudity would be just dine at their workplaces. Plus of course all the people who work at home.
posted by Mitheral at 11:04 PM on September 7, 2012


Yeah, I know this ship has sailed and sunk, but I've always felt labelling posts with "Nudity" / "Offensive Language" / whatever would be a much smarter idea than "NSFW". Put the ingredients on the label, don't assume X would be unsafe at work, or that X would be any safer at home.
posted by Jimbob at 12:31 AM on September 8, 2012


Ah, Larry Pickering, you scamp. Your razor sharp wit is as fresh as ever.
posted by bystander at 3:45 AM on September 8, 2012


I think there are a few things going on here. I'm a nasty, racist, misogynist homophobe. It happens when I flash to anger and lash out at the target (seems to mainly happen in Sydney traffic) and I want to slam the most obvious characteristic of the doddering old fat fuck who just cut me off. Of course, it is limited to muttering under my breath.
Its obviously unattractive, and I try to change, but I can recognise this sort of reflex sexism in some of the comments (e.g. silly cow) when the speaker is scrambling for emphasis and grabs the nearest intensifier, that happens to be sexist.
Not nice, and deserving of apologies.
But the premeditated, sexual violence threatening, humourless nastiness evidenced in some of those photos is different.
It points to a deep evil streak of hate that is bubbling to the surface, it is the difference between performing in black face and burning a cross in front of a black church, just an incredibly horrible level.
And even horrible racist, misogynists like me should do everything we can to stamp it out.
posted by bystander at 3:56 AM on September 8, 2012


Australia responds to the death of Gillard's father. NSF the sane...
posted by Jimbob at 4:08 AM on September 8, 2012


I'm not going to defend the misogyny, but I suspect that US readers are missing a lot of the context here. To start with, Larry Pickering has been drawing cartoons with naked politicians since forever (i.e., 1974). It's his schtick. I don't find him funny, but it's a very traditional sort of unfunnyness. Secondly, Australian politicians notoriously use invective and insults. Here, for instance, is an archive of insults used by one of Gillard's predecessors. I bet that if Gillard had been called a "stupid foul-mouthed grub" it would have been included as an example of the unparalleled depths of invective used against her, whereas it's pretty well par for the course. Lastly, Australia is a parliamentary democracy. Part of the Opposition's strategy is to weaken the position of the Prime Minister by damaging their image. So if anyone thinks that Abbott wouldn't have been calling a male PM a liar in similar circumstances they are blissfully naive. This is what Australian opposition politicians do.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:27 AM on September 8, 2012


Oh, I should explain: in Parliamentary democracies you can have a change of Prime Minister at any time, usually via a by-election but sometimes by having one or more politicians switch allegiance in parliament. In contrast, in the USA you're stuck with the President for a four-year term. So Oppositions in Australia will portray their opponents in the worst possible light, because they may be just a few by-elections from gaining power.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:31 AM on September 8, 2012


Australia responds to the death of Gillard's father. NSF the sane...

Ahh the internet. It does bring forth the cockhead.
posted by mattoxic at 5:09 AM on September 8, 2012


Australia responds to the death of Gillard's father.

Beware of tweets bearing GIFTs.
posted by flabdablet at 5:11 AM on September 8, 2012


Australia responds to the death of Gillard's father.

What the fucking fuck? I think Gillard's a blithering incompetent, but for fuck's sake, leave her alone to grieve. That's absolutely shameful.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:49 AM on September 8, 2012


I know there are arseholes in every single country on earth, but....but....that's just..... (speechless)
posted by Wilder at 5:56 AM on September 8, 2012


So Oppositions in Australia will portray their opponents in the worst possible light, because they may be just a few by-elections from gaining power.

I remember in the Howard-Beazley era, listening to the last sitting day of Parliament for the year, and hearing the two leaders wish each other and their families (by name) a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The atmosphere was jovial, you got the impression that the two sides of politics, no matter what they said to each other in the chamber, sat down for lunch together. Hell, my memory might be fuzzy here, but I even seem to recall Eric Abetz not being a total stinking fuckhead to Bob Brown.

I listened to the last sitting day last year, hoping I might hear some of the same, but I didn't, it was total chaos and bitterness, mostly coming from the opposition benches. For a while I just put this attitude down to their blue-blood tory born-to-rule unwillingness to admit they lost two elections, but it really does feel deeper and nastier than that. This isn't normal.
posted by Jimbob at 7:31 AM on September 8, 2012


Australia responds to the death of Gillard's father.

Ugh. That's just vile.
posted by Mezentian at 10:08 AM on September 8, 2012


When you use sexist invective against a woman it is different to using either 'normal' invective against her, or using it against a man. There is no real equivalent, apart from the homophobic stuff launched against Bob Brown. I'm always reminded of this bit I read on Mighty Girl:
“And being an “equal opportunity offender”—as in, “It’s okay, because Daniel Tosh makes fun of ALL people: women, men, AIDS victims, dead babies, gay guys, blah blah blah”—falls apart when you remember (as so many of us are forced to all the time) that all people are not in equal positions of power. “Oh, don’t worry—I punch everyone in the face! People, baby ducks, a lion, this Easter Island statue, the ocean…” Okay, well that baby duck is dead now. And you’re a duck-murderer.”

Slinging sexist invective is not the female equivalent of 'normal' political invective. It's considerably less complex for starters and often reduces the level of any discussion because you can't just address the issues when the issues are "I think you're a bitch". There is no real way to combat that, not when the issue at hand is actually carbon taxes. Ignoring it means ignoring the effects too and that doesn't help either. You can try address it - doesn't work. Ignore it - doesn't work. Sexist invective reduces ALL political discussion. And it's been really really obvious in her term at PM that political discussion has lost almost all of its complexity in favour of "she's a bitch and a liar and selling us down the river because women are untrustworthy". It has a different effect to sling that shit, no matter how normal invective is.

And I don't recall anything as vile as those reactions to her father's death. Even amongst my lefty teen friends. We hated Howard but there was nothing so gleefully nasty and vile and deeply personal. Hell, when Abbott admitted the whole possible-lost-son-from-premarital-sex the invective was not nearly so vile - even though he's on record with some antiquated and awful ideas about premarital sex and women. But no, nothing even close to what gets dealt to Gillard on her father's death.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:02 PM on September 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It isn't normal - I work in a heavily unionised industry. I was walking through the lunch room when Gillard was briefing the press over national disability insurance. There were about five or so hi viz jackets in the room, and I stopped to listen to the PM. One said, "fucking bitch, she needs a good root". Then rest joined in with similar sentiments. I asked "You guys in the union?"
"Yeah"
"And you would vote for Abbott? Work choices?"

"No, but I won't vote for this bitch either"

I don't think she can recover. She's kicked so many own goals, and the Herald Sun - the rag with the highest readership has been utterly relentless in campaigning against her. What chance has she?
posted by mattoxic at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having seem all the goings on overnight:
This is not the Australia I signed up for.

My fellow Australians (some, not all) are fucking vile creatures and I want no part of any society they are members of. There is a petition for what good that is, but short of calling people on their behaviour, I feel somewhat powerless and sick at the moment.
posted by Mezentian at 7:50 PM on September 8, 2012


I remember in the Howard-Beazley era, listening to the last sitting day of Parliament for the year, and hearing the two leaders wish each other and their families (by name) a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The atmosphere was jovial, you got the impression that the two sides of politics, no matter what they said to each other in the chamber, sat down for lunch together.

I think Keating was responsible for a lot of the change. His invective was very strong and quite personal (he kept going on about Howard's eyebrows, for instance) and instead of people going "Gosh, that's quite appalling" you had lefties sniggering and going on about his great command of English. But this wasn't true: he wasn't an orator; he was merely a bully; and their acceptance of his tactics meant a permanent lowering of Australian political standards.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:22 PM on September 8, 2012


Oh Joe, a quick trawl through 100-odd years of Hansards, minutes, and other transcripts will swiftly disabuse you of any notion that Keating had a monopoly on either quality or quantity of invective.

Honestly, that view is just so ahistorical and uninformed.

Of course, it has nothing to do with Gillard, anyway, as we've never had a PM with whom to be chauvinist before, which has effected and changed public discourse around said PM, and the office.
posted by smoke at 1:01 AM on September 9, 2012


“harlots, sleazebags, frauds, immoral cheats, blackguards, pigs, mugs, clowns, boxheads, criminal intellects, criminals, stupid crooks, corporate crooks, friends of tax cheats, brain-damaged, loopy crims, stupid foul-mouthed grub, piece of criminal garbage, dullards, stupid, mindless, crazy, alley cat, bunyip aristocracy, clot, fop, gigolo, hare-brained, hillbilly, malcontent, mealy-mouthed, ninny, rustbucket, scumbag, scum, sucker, thug, dimwits, dummies, a swill, a pig sty, Liberal muck, vile constituency, fools and incompetents, rip-off merchants, perfumed gigolos, gutless spiv, glib rubbish, tripe and drivel, constitutional vandals, stunned mullets, half-baked crim, insane stupidities, champion liar, ghouls of the National Party, barnyard bullies, piece of parliamentary filth.”
- Keating insults as reported by Mungo MacCallum

I don't see any insults targeting an opponents manliness, fertility, libido or any inciting sexual violence. Keating was a brawler, but the tone was about honesty, ability, smarts or achievement, all things I'd suggest are fair game in politics.
Whether you have children, or need to be made an honest woman, doesn't look like fair game to me.
posted by bystander at 4:50 AM on September 9, 2012


Oh Joe, a quick trawl through 100-odd years of Hansards, minutes, and other transcripts will swiftly disabuse you of any notion that Keating had a monopoly on either quality or quantity of invective.

Honestly, that view is just so ahistorical and uninformed.


I don't know what your qualifications are, beyond a general level of snottiness, but Keating's vulgarity was widely reported at the time both locally and overseas. No Australian Prime Minister before or since has been so notorious for their use of insults and foul language.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:06 AM on September 9, 2012


But the thing about Keating is that he was almost always correct.

Wilson Tuckey really is a boxhead who would be flat out counting past ten.

Peter Costello really is all tip and no iceberg.

But Julia Gillard is not actually Bob Brown's bitch, and this seems to me to be a pretty vital distinction.
posted by flabdablet at 6:16 AM on September 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


No, none of those things are true; and I think if the latte socialists hadn't given their sniggering approval to Keating's vicious bullying we'd have a saner political climate and Julia Gillard wouldn't be depicted as a fat tart with a rubber phallus.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:26 AM on September 9, 2012


Latte socialists?
Tart?

This whole Pickering/Gillard thing is going somewhere. It has Abbott's name all over it, (not Keating's).

Q: What do Pickering and Abbott have in common?
A: Howard got them both Liberal pre-selection. (Pickering failed to win his seat.)

Q: What did Kennett and Howard have in common with Abbott?
A: They were unelectable, too. Be very scared.
posted by de at 12:15 PM on September 9, 2012


I don't know what your qualifications are, beyond a general level of snottiness

Political Science major from ANU - not that it mattesr, my qualifications in this respect are facts.

No, none of those things are true; and I think if the latte socialists hadn't given their sniggering approval to Keating's vicious bullying we'd have a saner political climate and Julia Gillard wouldn't be depicted as a fat tart with a rubber phallus.

Hypotheticals are a bit of a waste of time; that's unknowable and unknown. I personally think that - in addition to the obvious chauvinism (and I don't know why everyone is so keen to downplay it; it's crystal clear, I think other factors contributing to the current parliamentary atmosphere is the functionally-unique minority government; the professionalisation of Australian politicians; the rise of astroturfing and lobbyists in the public discourse; and the atomisation of the media and said discourse (the internet, of course, is part of that. You used to have buy Wake Up Australia to see quasi-fascist fear-mongering. Now you can get it on Twitter easy as).
posted by smoke at 3:38 PM on September 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm a Chardonnay-sipping Socialist, thank you very much!

I look forward to the appropriate period of mourning in Parliament today... for about five minutes before the knives come out.

(Also interesting: Craig Emmerson looked to be on the verge of tears yesterday. That's arguably the most real emotion I've seen in Canberra since Rudd got the boot.)
posted by Mezentian at 3:48 PM on September 9, 2012


Interesting to put the abuse aside for a moment, and look at actual data:
The monthly personal ratings measures have Julia Gillard up four on approval to 35% and down three on disapproval to 54%, while Tony Abbott records his worst net rating yet with approval down four to 32% and disapproval up four to 55%
(Pollbludger).

The Coalition’s TPP lead is 55-44.

So what this seems to say, if we permit ourselves the usual gross generalization of pretending there is a single "public" out there, who "thinks things", is that people like Julia Gillard more than Tony Abbott - they approve of her more, they disapprove of her less. The main target of dislike is the Labor party itself, not its leader. However, if you read that linked article, with the exception of the carbon tax, the public approves of pretty much every reform Labor has been responsible for!

Fucked if I know what the hell's going on...
posted by Jimbob at 8:27 PM on September 9, 2012


In the immortal words of Gary Brecher: My gang yay, your gang boo. It really is that simple. The rest is cosmetics.
posted by flabdablet at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2012


I think if the latte socialists hadn't given their sniggering approval to Keating's vicious bullying we'd have a saner political climate

Speaking as one in favour of an equitable distribution of the benefits of civilisation who has just had a very nice latte with my lunch, I doubt very much that my sniggering is anywhere near that influential.

The Australian political climate has always been robust, always been argumentative, and always involved a regrettable amount of tedious playground-grade misbehaviour in Question Time. Truly, the only thing that set Keating apart from his peers in that regard was that the man was articulate enough to make his snide remarks memorable.

Near as I can tell, the slippery slope into insanity in Australian public discourse began when the Howard Government attempted to do a Microsoft-style embrace, extend, extinguish number on that dipshit fishmonger and her little gang of fuckwit cronies, but lost the plot before the "extinguish" part. Pauline Hanson was an absolute gift to those in the media who make their living off the stinking carrion of slaughtered reason. They burrowed into the carcass of the decency she killed and they've been gleefully dismembering it ever since.

But the thing that's pushed us all the way down that slippery slope and left us splashing helplessly in the cesspool at the bottom is, without any shadow of a doubt, Tony Abbott. Abbott has an ex-journo's instinct for the trigger phrase, the simplistic slogan and the racist, misogynist, homophobic dog whistle, and he uses them all with murderous precision. As a result, he's about to be swept into office on a rising tide of incoherent and furious stupidity.

And people will blame the carbon tax for that too, and keep on barracking for the Coalition as it goes about doing the bidding of its billionaire mates with a thousand cuts on the employment conditions of the overwhelming majority, returning us to our rightful place as the world's leading per-capita polluter, and running as many other ham-fisted, regressive, short-sighted policies as it takes to restore this country's reputation as a place where thinking people are simply ashamed to live.

Because there are things you will be required to remember in Abbott's brave new Australia:

1. Global warming is bullshit because we have lots of coal to sell.

2. We're in constant danger of being swamped by boats full of queue-jumping illegal immigrants.

3. Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Andrew Forrest are better people than you because they have so much money, and you must work hard to give them more.

4. People with less money than Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer and Andrew Forrest are "elites" and you must ignore their opinions.

5. Publicly funded services are inefficient by definition and must be abolished and/or sold off at a discount, preferably to consortia of overseas corporations with bad reputations at home.

6. The GST was never a great big new tax on everything.

7. La, la, la, I can't hear you.
posted by flabdablet at 10:12 PM on September 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


There was an interesting piece in the Global Mail relating to this stuff.
posted by smoke at 10:31 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Howrudd
Costello
Keating
Hanson

Feeling a little less morose now. Thanks, Red.
posted by flabdablet at 4:06 AM on September 10, 2012


Keating is still telling it like it is.
posted by flabdablet at 5:58 AM on September 11, 2012


Gillard should take her time returning to work. She's never polled so well.
posted by de at 3:52 AM on September 17, 2012


and just in case anyone could miss the impact of this on daily life.... the victim shaming on Jill Meagher is just.... ugh!
posted by Wilder at 7:22 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus, that's foul even for the Murdoch press.
posted by flabdablet at 10:38 AM on September 26, 2012


Well, to their credit they didn't try hacking into her phone. I hope.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:02 PM on September 27, 2012


There's a call on her phone made a minute or so before she was snatched.
If Murdoch hadn't been caught out, what are the odds someone would have tried?
posted by Mezentian at 7:11 AM on September 28, 2012


Alan Jones: Did Shame Kill Her Father?

posted by Mezentian at 3:48 AM on September 29, 2012


Oh god.
My entire world has exploded with Alan Jones:

VETERAN broadcaster and 2GB host Alan Jones has claimed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father died of "shame" because of the political "lies" his daughter told.
He told a group of 100 Young Liberals that John Gillard's death was the fault of his proud child.
He went on to suggest Ms Gillard's tears of grief, for a man she publicly said she "will miss for the rest of my life", were what sparked a sudden leap in political polling for her.
Mr Gillard, a former psychiatric nurse, died in Adelaide on September 8, age 83.
The remarks occurred during Mr Jones' 50-minute speech at the annual $100-per-head Sydney University Liberal Club President's Dinner, on the top floor of Sydney's Waterfront restaurant in The Rocks last Saturday.
After referring to Ms Gillard's track record with telling the truth to voters over issues including the carbon tax, Mr Jones said her father's death was caused by the Prime Minister herself.


That's just vile.
posted by Mezentian at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2012


Yeah, that (along with the weasel non-apology) were vile enough that even some of Jones's rusted-on supporters are now flaking off. Which, in the name of common human decency, can't happen fast enough.

The upside for Gillard is that she will likely get at least some public opinion bounce as a direct result of Jones's incredible boorishness.

The upside for the rest of us is that Jones, as a major shareholder of the radio station evil enough to employ him, has pretty comprehensively shot himself in the wallet.
posted by flabdablet at 1:27 PM on October 1, 2012


Behind the scenes at 2GB
posted by flabdablet at 7:11 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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