The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Oh, is Ian Thorpe gay?

So Ian Thorpe is gay, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Well I have an opinion, too.

Ian Thorpe can do whatever the hell he likes.

He can stay in, or he can come out, and he can do it whenever and wherever he wants to. No one has the right to tell him he did it in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or to the wrong people. No one. My opinion, then, is that I have no opinion, because I don’t have a right to one.

I do, however, have an opinion on everyone else’s opinions.

To the people who say he shouldn’t have come out at all – I will just say, as politely as I can, fück you.

To the people who say he should have come out sooner (that means you, Kerryn Phelps) – no, he shouldn’t have. Being a supremely gifted athlete doesn’t mean you suddenly have to let the rest of us make your decisions for you. He came out when he wanted to. That’s it.

You might also like to consider if a guilt-trip is the best thing for someone suffering from depression.

To the people who sarcastically say they didn’t see it coming (take a bow, Joe Hildebrand) – your lack of empathy and ability to stereotype is noted.

To the people who say they are sick of all the media attention this sort of thing generates – media companies aren’t manufacturing the market for these stories, they’re exploiting it. If you don’t think it should be a big deal, stop making it a big deal. Because it really isn’t.

To the people who Ian has inspired, to those that are now remembering their own internal struggle, and to Ian Thorpe himself, I say this – I am sorry you live in a society that obsesses over whether someone is gay or not.

Because it’s nobody’s business but yours.

12000 Years Without Boats

Should you ever feel sufficiently bored to pay a visit to Scott Morrison’s website you’ll notice two things. Firstly, you’ll notice that it’s time to take a good, long look at your life and, secondly, you’ll see a series of triumphal proclamations claiming that there have been x number of days without ‘boats’.

Now clearly this statement cannot be taken at face value. Simple logic begs the question – if there have been no boats, what have the Navy been turning back all this time? We therefore come to the conclusion that this statement needs to be examined. So let’s examine it.

Clearly, boats are still arriving. Sources that I am unwilling and unable to name inform me that the pace of boat interceptions hasn’t really changed since I was serving in the comparatively benign Operation Resolute. We have, however, ceased the practice of transporting asylum seekers to Christmas Island and have instead been either sending them back outside our EEZ or taking them to Manus Island. So what’s changed?

Basically, the LNP is now in a position to say that no boat arrivals set foot on Australian territory. I suppose this is a major triumph and, considering that this is done merely at the cost of turning all boat interceptions from benign to hostile, endangering the lives of asylum seekers and Navy personnel and housing people in a facility that wouldn’t pass muster as an abandoned dog shelter, it’s probably cheap at the price. Largely because the Restricted OP RESOLUTE has turned into the Secret OP SOVEREIGN BORDERS. And any price is cheap, really, if you don’t know you’re paying it.

Of course, there have been a few minor hiccups. An unintentional breach of Indonesian waters generated much derision for the Navy (I’d like to see any of those smarmy commentators navigate a boat out of the harbour, much less the open ocean) and soured not a little our relationship with our Northern neighbours. Allegations of cruelty and torture tarnished the reputation of the Navy somewhat, with a little of the mud splattering our venerable aunty – the ABC. And, of course, a large number of newspapers spent a few glorious weeks misidentifying RAN vessels and splashing pictures of ‘orange’ lifeboats, being curiously obsessed with the fact that they were orange (all lifeboats are orange).

Which is as it should be, I suppose. The task of the military is to enforce and facilitate government policy and, I guess, to absorb the blame along with the hard knocks.  But it’s okay, because it’s been 180 days without boats. Which means what, exactly?

What it means is that due to the population voting for a policy of deliberately treating people so badly that they don’t attempt to seek refuge with us, the government has been able to combine xenophobia with the official secrets act to produce a situation where they can say ‘there are no boats’, when the truth is that there are boats, just not in our troglodytic, provincial, goldfish-brained and fucking stupid backyard. So, the number of boats hasn’t changed. We’ve just misused the military and the secrecy provisions designed to protect the nation in such a way that different rhetoric is now possible. And tapped into poisonous xenophobia in order to secure public buy-in. Which is a tactic as old as civilisation.

So considering that nothing has really changed, why not go the whole hog? The situation we’re in is as old as civilisation so I think that we can justly claim that it has now been 12000 years without boats.

Too: Steve Noyce, Re: Todd Carney

Hi Steve,

My name is Tim, and I’m writing too you too share my thoughts on your recent sacking of Todd Carney.

I should first point out that I’m not a particularly huge fan of the Rugby Leagues, as the scrums are just to fiercely contested for me. Every time I see one I think “OMG they look like they’re actually pushing this time”. It’s very stressful. I’m also not a fan of oceanic mascots for land-based sporting teams. Sorry, Steve, but a shark just isn’t believable. They can’t move backwards, for starters. And I hear they get quite emotional at the sight of blood. Assuming, that is, that they haven’t just suffocated a few seconds after kick-off. Armadillos are land animals, though. And I’m quite good at drawing armadillos. Well, I’m good at tracing them. I’d be happy too trace you a new mascot if you like. His name could be Adillo and he could be accompanied by a speech bubble that says “I’m Adillo”.

As for Todd Carney, well… I don’t know him from a bar of soap. Sorry that’s probably an exaggeration. I’ve never met Todd personally, but I’ve seen photos, and he doesn’t look to much like a bar of soap, so I think I probably would know him from bar of soap. Although I guess it if was dark and the soap was a life-sized replica of Todd Carney, then maybe I’d have too ask them both a few questions too make sure. Whatever. The point is I’d never wash myself with Todd Carney. Not with his mouth anyway, as it’s probably full of urine.

Which brings me too the subject of my letter.

As much as everyone has been asking what was going through Todd’s mind when he pïssed in his mouth, I want too know what was going through your mind when you sacked him for it. Do you remember when you were a kid, and you went too the bubbler on a hot day, and the water came out warm at first, and you let the water run on your hand for a while so you knew when it was cool enough too drink? Well I do, Steve, so naturally my first thought was “Why didn’t Todd piss into his hands first?” I didn’t want too play the blame game though, so I stopped wondering that and just hoped that he hadn’t had any asparagus for dinner. Then I decided that he probably just likes too recycle.

But what were you worried about? What concerned you so much that you felt you had too end his career? Did you think his poor aim at the urinal would affect his kicking game? Because if you did, I think I should point out he wasn’t aiming at the urinal, he was aiming at his mouth. So his aim seems pretty good, and you should probably let him kick more. Then maybe you’d stop coming last.

Oh sorry, I just saw your media release! Let’s see if it sheds any light on your motives. You sacked him because you are

committed to building a successful club, a club with strong values and a club which sets and respects high standards in all aspects of its operations and activities.

Is it a shame thing, Steve? Has he brought the Sharks into disrepute? Will people start showing less respect too a bottom-of-the-ladder team that has never won a premiership and was fined $150,000 for salary cap breaches and $1,000,000 for the use of illegal supplements, just because a single person pïssed in his mouth while not at work? Now that I think about it, do you think that maaaaaaybe you might have more reason too terminate your own contact?

Or is it a role model thing? Are you worried that hordes of impressionable young children will start skipping off too the urinal every time they’re thirsty? Because if you’re worried about role models, Steve, there are bigger issues too worry about. For example, you might have too start sacking people who throw to many forward passes. Or who punch another player. Or spear tackle. Those are some pretty heavy issues, Steve. And I haven’t even mentioned the most heaviest.

You may have noticed the odd grammatical error in this letter (if you haven’t, look again, they’re not to hard too find). They make the letter quite difficult too read, don’t they? But it’s not my fault, Steve, it’s Todd’s.

You see, Todd is a huge role model, and has a profound impact on the actions of all impressionable Australians. Well I’m an impressionable Australian. And I saw Todd’s tattoo.

Todd Carney tatt

So yeah, now I write like an idiot, and anyone else who’s seen Todd’s tattoo writes like an idiot to. That’s the real danger here, Steve. People can pïss in their mouths all they like, and they only harm themselves. But bad grammar… bad grammar is infectious, and just to annoying too tolerate.

Think about it, Steve. Take a stand against bad grammar and media hysteria and hypocrisy. Re-hire Todd, make him fix his tattoo, and sack yourself.

Take it from someone who doesn’t care about Rugby League, or the Sharks, or Todd Carney – it’s the right thing too do.

Yours sincerely,

Tim

Left or Right? I’ll Go With Clever, Thankyou…

The relatively recent extreme polarisation of American politics has revealed some disturbing things about Middle America, the influence of evangelical Christianity and End-Times thinking and the ease with which fringe elements can gain traction in a democracy.

One of the most disturbing facts of American politics is the Tea Party – not so much its influence, which I think is a little bit overblown by a panicky liberal media, but rather the very fact of its existence. It is difficult to understand how we can live in a world where ideas like Libertarianism cause any reaction other than incredulous laughter, but the bare fact of it remains, staring us in the face every time we see a poorly spelt banner demanding that some federal government personage be banished from some room in the banner-holder’s house.

But it’s not just the right who appear to have been infected with this particular brand of stupidity. The partisans of the left have begun to show a worrying tendency to look and sound rather like their Tea Party opponents, right down to the poorly spelt, practically meaningless banners being waved about. It’s a phenomenon that has been aptly described as ‘shouting past each other’, where both sides of the political debate take such extreme positions that there are no grounds for discussion on any issue. Which is the opposite of what adversarial politics is supposed to be about.

But only in America, right? Why does any of this matter to us?

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that Australia has caught up with it’s bigger, older cousin and developed a Tea Party all of its very own. And not just that, we have managed to elect one of the most divisive PM’s in our brief history, beginning the alarmingly rapid process of similarly polarising our own political debate.

And here, as in the US, the left is beginning to sound as shrill and loony as the right.

I understand the rationale. The fringe right uses bully-boy tactics, rank and obvious populism and catchy slogans. It must therefore be necessary for the left to do the same, to avoid losing ground, no?

NO!

Our position is always going to be more complex, more subtle, less packagable than the right’s for the simple fact that it is always and without exception a more intelligent and considered position. Okay, so we seem academic and distant by comparison, but this is what happens when you throw away the comforting certainty of thousands of years of prejudice and superstition and attempt to solve problems using the intellect as the primary tool. This is why most Western democracies have become more or less progressive. This is why humanist ideas have so quickly found their way into law and into popular morality, a bare century after their conception. It is because in the real world – the real, complex, difficult world that we live in, cleverness is what is required to make things actually work.

We cannot, on the left, lose even the superficial imprimatur of that cleverness. It may be very appealing to put on the warpaint and shout back at the idiots on the other side, but it cannot be done without causing severe damage. Looking and sounding like the Tea Party is not going to convert people of the right – they are largely intransigent. All it will achieve is the alienation of supporters and partisans we already have.

In short – stay classy, progressive left-wingers. It works better in the long run, believe me.