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When did Australia turn into America?

Not having a dig at our American cousins here, but I’ve always felt flag veneration is more their thing what with their national anthem being about it and with every other person you meet prepared to tell you that it’s illegal to set fire to it (which apparently it isn’t). Maybe some of my fellow Brits feel much the same for the Union Jack, especially those who know it’s real name is the Union Flag, but here in Oz most people I’ve come across seem much less attached to the Australian Flag. There are those republican types who dislike the constant reminder of Britain’s influence provided by the Union Flag in the top left quarter, and there are those who say that it doesn’t represent the aborigines and Torres Strait islanders who were here first. There are those who think the Southern Cross bit has been hijacked by bogans anyway. And there are those to whom it’s just the flag and apart from maybe waving one on Australia Day or watching it being lowered to half mast on ANZAC Day they probably don’t think about it often.*

I didn’t realise there were a group that venerated it in a similar fashion to the Americans and ‘Old Glory’ or that this group was more commonly known as opposition MPs, but apparently it’s so because they’re angry about a scene in an ABC satirical comedy called At Home With Julia, featuring Julia Gillard impersonator Amanda Bishop (you’ve seen her on this blog before). In this scene, to be broadcast this evening unless the ABC have chickened out and pulled it, Bishop’s Julia Gillard dances the horizontal tango with the First Bloke, Tim Mathieson, as played by Phil Lloyd. On the floor of the Prime Minister’s office. Under a duvet sized Australian flag. And the Liberal Party and their allies have gone apeshit.

COALITION MPs have attacked a controversial TV satire on Julia Gillard as demeaning and suggested ABC funding should be reviewed.
[…]
Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro also expressed disgust with At Home with Julia, suggesting to the party room that the national broadcaster’s funding should be reviewed.

I’d agree, but not for that reason. Where I’m from many people complain about the TV licence forcing people who don’t watch BBC programmes to pay for the BBC anyway, but since it’s funded out of general taxation people pay for the ABC even if they haven’t got a television. Review away, but review the principle of making people pay for a service they don’t necessarily use rather than use it as a stick to beat them with because you find some of their content objectionable. Once again, this is liberalism in name only – the Australian Liberal Party seems to be as conservative as they come.

… Nationals MP John Forrest [urged] the return of tasteful comedy shows such as the 1970s series Are You Being Served.
Mr Forrest told colleagues the satirical take on Ms Gillard’s private life demeaned the office of prime minister, after learning tomorrow’s episode features on-air prime minister Amanda Bishop and actor Phil Lloyd, playing Tim Mathieson, naked on her office floor under an Australian flag.
“Having sex in the prime minister’s office under the Australian flag is the last straw for me,” Mr Forrest reportedly told MPs.

So, is this sticking up for Julia Gillard or disappointment that you won’t get to see Amanda Bishop’s arse, John? Apparently, neither. It’s the flaaaaag.

“It’s nothing to do with Julia Gillard. I’m not trying to defend her. It’s the office of prime minister and it’s not even funny.
“The old English traditional shows like Are You Being Served – they were funny, but this isn’t.”

John, they weren’t funny. You found them funny. Lots of other people also find them funny. Other people don’t. I’ve been for a look on YouTube to refresh my memory, and I found it to be a repetitive series of jokes mostly involving the ambiguous availability of an unambiguously camp salesman in a menswear department and the pussy of the ancient woman with a blue rinse who works opposite (feline kind, but – oh, my sides – never referred to as a cat). This may have been bleeding edge comedy in the 1970s when it began, and to be honest I did think the I’m free/pussy gags were funny the first time, but it felt like the show really didn’t have much else. Blackadder or Yes Minister it ain’t, but if John Forrest is amused by it then he’s welcome to buy it on DVD. I suspect the ABC, despite all the things for which it could be criticised, has a better grasp of what audiences in 2011 want. In fact if ratings are any guide what they want is actually on Channel 7 (and much of it is shit if you ask me) but the ABC seem to be doing an okay job of treading the middle ground, and if it makes John Forrest feel better they are still buying second hand stuff from Britain.

“And to desecrate the flag dishonours what my dad did.”

I don’t know what your dad did, John, but was it anything to do with fighting to prevent dictatorial types attempting to control other people’s lives? I’m only asking.

Or, bearing in mind the religious nut element of Australian politics, is it just the thought of Julia Gillard having sex that’s upsetting people? Newsflash, prudes: the woman is 50 in a couple of weeks – she’s probably not a virgin, and having had a stable relationship with the same guy for some years she probably enjoys it when he gives her a nice hot fuck as an alternative to a cup of Milo at bedtime. I wouldn’t want to see it on my TV either – in a weird kind of way that has to do with her job and personality it’d be like seeing your parents do it – but I can live with it being referred to on TV. And if not I know what to do about it, as does one Liberal who does actually act up to the name and understands what choice means.

But Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop said if people didn’t like the show they could change channels.
She said former prime minister John Howard had been lampooned for years by comedy shows.

And Julia Gillard herself? To her credit also, she’s calmly said she won’t be watching (fair enough – I can’t even look at myself making a speech on someone else’s wedding video) and other than that has no commented the whole thing. And while I haven’t got a lot of time for her that attitude as raised my opinion of her a smidgeon.

VIDEO: Gillard on that naked flag scene

Americans seem to venerate their flag because they think it stands for freedom, representing as it does the original 13 colonies which gained independence from Britain as well as the 50 states of today. Brits and Aussies not so much because their flags are more hybrids of other flags, and in the case of Australia independence was granted at least as much as it was won. So let’s leave the flag veneration to people that not only understand it but, understand also that what a flag stands for is rather more important than the flag itself. Because I think that if something’s symbolic of being free to do only as you’re told I’m not sure it’s worth venerating in the first place, as illustrated by a couple of my favourite American libertarians.

* Personally I’m happy with whatever flag Australia choose to have and don’t mind what people choose to tattoo on themselves, so I suppose that puts me in the last group.

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Aaaah, look, they’re getting all grown up

For a blog that’s supposed to be the semi-coherent rantings of an English expat upset at the goings on in the land of his birth I feel it’s been a bit overly focused on Aussie affairs lately, and was determined to give it a rest for a bit. The trouble is that while the phone-not-hacking business seems to be dominating news in the UK, and is also being so well blogged elsewhere I haven’t got much to add, there appears to be a wider variety of things going on here that have got sufficiently far up my nose to blog about. Money being wasted, carbon tax, some more money being wasted, different money being wasted elsewhere, politicians saying one thing and doing another, politicians talking complete bollocks, politicians talking bollocks whilst wasting money, politicians destroying the cattle industry – Christ, I’ve just realised I haven’t even done that one, but fortunately the Real World Libertarian has covered that as well. Well, best intentions of mice and bloggers blahblahblah, because I’m going to do another one. No apologies though, because this is important – Australia’s nannies have decided it’s growing up enough to be allowed scary videogames.

SEXUALLY explicit and violent video and computer games banned in Australia could soon be sold here after all state and federal governments except New South Wales agreed to an R18+ rating for video games.

Now as I’ve mentioned before, the reason we don’t already have one was that one state, South Australia, would not agree and that unanimity was required for change on this, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing much has actually changed. NSW abstained rather than objected as SA had done in the past, although the new Attorney-General from NSW, Greg Smith, is reportedly a conservative (yeah, that Liberal kind of ‘liberal’ again) and argued against introducing an R18+ classification.

Mr Smith said he abstained from the vote because it needed to go to state cabinet first as the government was new – it was elected in March – and so he could consult the community.

Same same but different, you’d think, because that’s really not far off the old situation – one strongly conservative view, quite possibly religiously influenced, held by a paternalist know-it-all in a position that lets him decide for the whole country rather than just his state (or better yet, his family) has apparently been exchanged for another. However, the federal government are not letting one state lay down the law for the whole country anymore. Kind of begs the question why they’ve been content to do so up to this point, but nevermind.

Brendan O’Connor says the Federal Government would over-ride NSW and implement the R18+ rating regardless of its decision.

And then there’s that community Greg Smith mentioned, and that can be divided into three groups: the gamers, who overwhelmingly want to be able to buy adult oriented games since so many of them are adults; the non-gamers who mostly don’t care or support the gamers; and the small but phenomenally noisy and, for their numbers, highly influential Christian lobby, who up ’til now have mostly opposed games that would be rated R18+ because of the violence and the risk of a T&A being included. Presumably the feeling is this sort of thing inevitably leads to hot women playing World of Warcraft in the nip and naked gaming parties, which in turn can only lead to sticky sheets, Kleenex shortages and babies, and this game-induced lust-fuelled sexmageddon will meet the game-induced bloodlust-fuelled murderpocalypse head on.

No, I don’t know how they get there either, and that many of the kind of games they worry about are not only not banned but are sold to 15 year olds here in Australia because of rather than despite the lack of an RA18+ rating seems to have escaped them until now. On that point there seems to have been a waking up and smelling of coffee

THE Australian Christian Lobby has overturned its opposition to a new R18+ category for adult computer games, saying a new in-principle deal would keep extreme games out of Australia.

… though it’s not exactly a Damascene conversion.

“The draft R18+ guidelines as originally proposed would have matched the R18+ guidelines for films,” spokesman Rob Ward said.
“This was clearly never in the interests of the community, with the boundaries of the R18+ film guidelines slowly eroded to allow extreme violence, actual sex and simulated pedophilia in films.
“Although ACL awaits the final detail from the meeting, it appears that the existing ceiling for games has been maintained with a commitment to move the more extreme MA15+ games into a newly-created R18+ rating.”

So while the Christian lobby, or at least one of its most vocal parts, has worked out that the current situation is counter-productive they haven’t gone quite as far as conceding that they don’t speak for ‘the community’, just themselves, or that adults in Australia should be able to buy the same games that are available elsewhere without the game developer having to specially ruin it for the local market.

Still, the main thing is that the opposition to an R18+ category has pretty much dried up and I’d say it’s almost certain that it’ll be in place in time for Christmas orders. And I’d be prepared to bet that although the wording on the game classification guidelines may be slightly different to those for other media I’d be prepared to bet that the official censors – the people who’ve been employed to nanny us but have often allowed games aimed at adults to slip through as MA15+ – will allow into Oz unaltered games that they can’t at the moment.

I’d prefer to see an end to the gaming nanny completely, and realistically with online sales growing – my last two games purchases were made via Steam and with the prices of games in the shops I’m likely to carry on buying that way – I don’t see how they expect to stop someone downloading games that aren’t for sale here anyway. Even if the internet filter plan hadn’t stalled I’m sure serious gamers would be working out ways around it so they could download ZombieSplatterKill4 from the US or elsewhere.

So I have mixed feelings about it, but overall there are more positives than negatives. It didn’t go as far as I’d hoped and certainly not as far as I’d like, but baby steps I suppose. Progress has been made and Nanny is going to let us play the scary and slightly naughty games now, which for a country with the biggest and most blatantly sited sex shops I’ve ever seen is probably about time.

View Larger Map — Sexyland, just off the Tullamarine freeway about ten minutes from Melbourne international airport

For those who are interested there’s a good potted history of the road to an adult games rating on The Age’s Screen Play blog.

In Soviet Russia, beer drinks you

Actually it’s probably more accurate to say that in Soviet Russia beer now drinks you, but it used to eat you because up ’til now they’ve been classing it as food to avoid regulating it, but sadly this shining example of sticking a rather wobbly middle finger up to the healthist nannies has fallen by the wayside.

Under legislation signed by President Dmitry Medvedev, all drinks with alcoholic content higher than 0.5 percent are now classified as alcoholic and subject to sales restrictions.
Before, anything containing less than 10 percent alcohol was treated as a foodstuff and exempt from rules applied to strong drinks.

And why the change?

The reform seeks to end the familiar sight of Russians drinking beer on their way to work in the mornings. The law bans drinking in public from next January, although similar rules on spirits have long been ignored.

Why can’t they just sack the pissed ones? Sure, the poor sods won’t be able to afford to buy beer and won’t have any work to be on their way to while drinking it, but that’s kind of the point. And even if they do start to enforce the public drinking laws it doesn’t strike me as all that difficult to get around the same way people in the west sneak grog into events, though that does mean them drinking spirits rather than beer, and mixed in with something soft to disguise it. Vodka seems to be the old favourite, which is a happy coincidence for the Russians though perhaps not for the Kremlin.

The Kremlin hopes the measures will reduce ruinous levels of alcoholism in Russia, where consumption is double the critical level established by the World Health Organisation.

Of course they’re also restricting the ability to buy alcohol by fiddling with permitted open hours, and if the WHO are jerking chains I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised if increased duties and minimum pricing get mentioned next. And of course once you’ve got that lot all organised nobody can ever touch a drop again without prior approval, right? Oh.

Vodka may be distilled from any starch/sugar-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grains such as sorghum, corn, rye or wheat. Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior. Some vodkas are made from potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice, sugar beets and sometimes even byproducts of oil refining or wood pulp processing.

Okay, so you can make the stuff out of nearly anything, and since they’ve been doing it for several hundred years it doesn’t sound like it’s rocket science either. Maybe Russians will become clean living and forgo the boozy breakfasts, and maybe they’ll switch to some home made instant blindness in a jam jar that you could use to launch a Soyuz as an alternative to drinking the stuff.

Oh well, as long as it’s not beer, eh? Na zdorovia, fellas.

>Officially stupid

>One of the latest lists at Cracked! is 6 Things You Won’t Believe Got Banned By Modern Government. Like similar articles there, such as bizarre taxation or some more things that are banned somewhere, it’s as much a set of reasons why governments really shouldn’t be allowed to do much as it is a piece of internet humour. However, there’s something for Australia to be proud of – not only was the number one banned thing you won’t believe right here in Oz, but in a way it’s kind of good. But for a completely ridiculous and pointless reason of course.

Infantilisation

Oh no, a computer game. We’re all doomed.

A new ‘sexy party’ computer game has outraged parents with lurid adult content which they claim will encourage orgies and under-age sex.
The Nintendo Wii game We Dare has styled itself ‘sexy’ but has only been given a 12+ rating.
Many parents insist it is not suitable for a console which is popular with families and teenagers.

So? Don’t let them play it then.

Parents have described the 12+ certificate as ‘appalling’ and ‘unbelievable’.
Laura Pearson, 52, from Birmingham, said: ‘I have a 13-year-old daughter and if I knew she was playing such a highly charged sexual game with boys, I would be appalled.’

So? Don’t let her play it then, and tell her she can’t visit friends who have got it. She does still rely on you for everything, right? Hint hint.

‘Nintendo Wii’s are family consoles popular among children and youngsters. This is totally inappropriate.’

What, Laura, and your reaction isn’t when you have the simple alternative of not buying it and not letting them play it?

George Hardy, a 46-year-old father, said: ‘No wonder we have problems in society with unsafe sex and under-age sex when kids can get hold of games like this.’

At the risk of repeating myself, if you’re worried about your kids then don’t let them play it. You’re not everybody’s father, George.

‘Imagine a room of testerone-fuelled teenagers playing this, something could get out of hand. It sounds drastic but I could see it.’

So don’t fucking let them play it.

Rachel Caswell, 28, who has a ten-year-old daughter Heidi, said: ‘Luckily I won’t have to worry about this for a while but to think that in just two years, my little girl could legally play this game is just unbelievable.’

Jesus Christ, do you lot want David Cameron to personally go round the shops and take every copy off the shelves, or fucking what? Are you so weak and devoid of any fucking instinct for parenting that you’ve incapable of handling this in any way except whining to the Mainly fucking Fail? The fucking word you need to use is ‘No’. It’s two letters, adjacent in the fucking alphabet, forming a single, easy to remember syllable. Stop crying to Nanny and fucking learn it.

‘Kinell! Can’t people fucking do anything for themselves anymore?

When do people get ownership of their own bodies back?

I ask only because New South Wales seems to have decided that it owns a bit more of its female citizens than it used to, and it’s a part that I’d have imagined most women would have said is absolutely theirs and nobody else’s.

From March in New South Wales, although not in Victoria, it will be a crime to enter into a commercial surrogacy agreement … punishable by two years’ jail and a $110,000 fine.

Yes, ladies of New South Wales, your government owns your uteruses. Well, what else do you call it when someone has the final say over the use of something if not ownership? And in fact it’s not just the women living there that the NSW government doesn’t like to have making money with their reproductive systems. From what I can see the law applies to NSW residents seeking a surrogate rather than the surrogate themselves, and this is to stop people hopping on a plane and paying a few thousand bucks to someone in India or elsewhere. Get caught at it and that $110,000 fine might blow anything being saved for the baby’s future and then some, and that’s assuming they don’t simply jail the parents and take the baby into care. Not saying NSW would do that sort of thing but I suspect the childcatchers of the UK would.

“If we are banning commercial surrogacy in Australia why would we allow it to take place somewhere else?” [says Community Services minister Linda Burney]

I’ve got news for you, Linda. It’s not your fucking choice to make. You lot get a say over New South Wales, and I’d suggest far too big a say already, but that’s fucking it. You do not get to determine what people are allowed to do with their bodies in other states and you sure as hell don’t get to in completely different countries.

… Linda Burney, introduced the legislation extending the ban on commercial surrogacy to overseas arrangements. She was concerned not just about poor women from third world countries being exploited…

And if it’s entirely a personal choice with no exploitation involved, what then? You’ve just done some Indian woman out of a decent amount of money with which she could have done all sorts of things for her own family. She’s not being held down and raped for this, she’s being paid. Exploitation? You might see it that way but she might see it as a simple commercial arrangement that she’s quite comfortable with, and might see laws brought in by some hand wringing white do-gooder projecting her own values as the actions of a patronising, spiteful, racist bitch who’s still got a touch of the White (Wo)man’s burden.

… but also about the welfare of the child, especially when the surrogates are also donating the egg.

“I believe very much that a child has an absolute right to know who they are and where they come from and that’s not possible if they’re a surrogate child from overseas.”

It’s not about what you believe but about what the parties involved believe. For what it’s worth I’m kind of inclined to agree but it’s not up to me either. Nor is it as simple as a child’s right. Does the surrogate not have a right to take the money and just go if that happens to be what they want? Don’t they have the right to state very clearly that they’re not after a relationship but a cheque? Look, if they want to swap email addresses and have some kind of, I don’t know what you’d call it, some semi-family abroad who send birthday cards and photos then fine. But if the surrogate actually wants to avoid that then what about her rights?

See the clash, Linda? Probably not because like so many politicians you are obsessed with rights and give no thought at all to liberties. If you lot just stayed out of the way then the child would naturally have the freedom to ask and to seek out the surrogate if that’s what they want, who in turn would have the freedom to try to avoid being found, again if that’s what they want. And vice versa. This isn’t good enough for politicians who, in the interests of fairness and impartiality, tend to take sides without even realising they’re doing it. And then they just fuck things up for everybody.

And do you know what the weirdest thing is? As the only place where even the street trade is almost entirely legal New South Wales has the most liberal prostitution laws of any Australian state. In short they have no problems at all with a woman using her vagina to make money, but if she starts thinking a few centimetres further up then the government steps in and takes over.

Not your womb. Theirs.

The state is mother.

And that means, ladies, that if you bring any children into the world you are in fact bringing them into the world on behalf of the state, and as you lie exhausted and drained and drenched in sweat by the effort of childbirth, and as the hours of labour and the straining of both your body and your entire vocabulary of swearwords is swept away by new maternal feelings as you see and hear and touch for the first time that being you have created within yourself, the state would very much like you to fucking remember whose kid it really is and how they’re to be brought up. So tits out for the sprogs, girls, because breast is best and the state’s drones want to ensure you don’t have any other option.

A CONTROVERSIAL call to make infant formula available only on prescription to boost breastfeeding rates has merit, the Australian Breastfeeding Association says.
A Melbourne expert argues that infant formula should be available only on prescription to boost breast feeding rates.
Doctors say a push to restrict infant formula could create difficult hurdles for young mums.
But association spokeswoman Kate Mortensen said RMIT University expert Jennifer James’ proposal had merit and should definitely be seriously looked at.
Ms Mortensen also backed Dr James’ proposed ban on infant formula manufacturers marketing their products to the public.

Yes, this is still bottle milk formula we’re talking about, not tobacco.

“We support more support for mothers in general because most mothers do want to breastfeed, and they’re able to with better support and better information,” [Kate Mortenson] said.

It sounds like she’s nicked half the supports for that Delhi footbridge. Look, Kate, our species is about 200,000 years old and our ape-man antecedents go back maybe twenty times that, and in those thousands of years we’ve managed get along without any need of support for support in support of breast feeding. We’re good at the whole sex and child rearing thing, including breast feeding infants. We’re so good at breeding and raising children that we managed to rebuild the population from possibly as low as a couple of thousand individuals 70,000 odd years ago to its current 7 billion despite war, famine and disease wiping out uncountable millions of us in the meantime. Individuals may not be, which in the past meant they’d be unsuccessful at raising children and in the present means they’ll buy formula, but as a species we’re bloody good at rearing replacement humans not only without supportive types supporting supportive efforts of support but, for much of that time, without a even a language with which to offer any bloody support. Christ, my cat managed, and in her case six million years of evolution has produced a creature that, while capable of surprising affection, is also so daft that she’ll walk over the food in the near side of the dish to see if the stuff on the other side tastes better. Thick as two Planck length planks, I’m telling you. But despite being dense enough to bend light she still managed to feed a litter of kittens without some bossy tortoiseshell earth mother cat offering support for support of support to support her. In a supportive way.

I’ve got no problem with Kate Mortenson or Dr Jennifer James or anyone else thinking that breast is better. Hell, I’m prepared to believe it probably is better since we’ve evolved for it and it for us, whereas drinking cow juice and formula is a very recent move. And I have no problem with that information being put out there and I have no problem with trying to remove social barriers that might discourage breast feeding. Obviously in an ideal world everyone would just be able to look at breasts very functionally and mothers could simply feed whenever and wherever they needed to without anyone being bothered, but the world is not ideal and breasts do have a sexual significance. Sorry, sisters, but they do, and denying it is not dealing with it. And so prudes will complain about the dreaded breast while most of us men will either try to sneak a peek or look in absolutely every direction but the breast feeding mother unless forced to, and even then we’ll try to look at a point at least twenty feet above her head. Yes, I am one of those, and yes, I realise that while it’s a lot less embarrassing for her than staring straight at them and going, ‘Phwoar’ it’s still going to make the poor girl feel self concious. It’s often embarrassing for the mum and for men around her doing their best to respect both her privacy and her right to do one of the most natural things she ever will. We all know it shouldn’t be, but it is. A very brave girl might go to extremes and bare her breasts with the announcement that the gents have a few minutes to admire the view after which she’s going to feed her child, thank you very much, and she’d deserve nothing less than a twenty minute standing ovation for it. Others would be mortified at the thought and choose – the operative word, for the benefit of Jen and Kate – choose a more private environment. Probably the majority these days take the middle ground of lifting tee shirts or undoing some buttons and ignoring the extra attention drawn by what is really a pretty modest amount of skin being exposed, and there are even products available to help with that. Not surprisingly the breast zealots (is ‘brealots’ a word?) disapprove of them.

Nursing covers – the postnatal clothing accessory designed to allow mothers to breastfeed “discreetly” – are becoming an increasingly common sight as mothers cover up for fear of accidentally flashing a bare breast or midriff in public.
Mothers and breastfeeding experts are firmly divided over whether they are a wonderful idea or a step back to the Dark Ages.
Firmly in the “pro” camp is Murrumbeena mother Rebecca Azzopardi, who says her Peek a Boob cover allows her to feed six-month-old daughter Maya in situations where she might otherwise feel too self-conscious.
“I’m not ashamed of breastfeeding, but [the cover] is something that comes in handy when I’m out in public by myself, or even when I’m in a group with some male friends or around people that I think might feel uncomfortable,” she says.
“For example, I used it at the doctor’s surgery the other day. I had to feed her in front of quite a few older men and I thought they would probably be a bit embarrassed to see me breastfeeding. It comes in handy for those times when you’re not sure how people are going to react.”

Fair enough. She wants to breast feed and has chosen – Kate, Jennifer – chosen to buy a product that means she’s comfortable doing it in places where otherwise she’d rather not. Sorry the world’s not perfect yet but in the meantime isn’t something that gets more women who want to breast feed actually doing it a good thing? Apparently not.

Jennifer James…

Oh, gosh, what a surprise.

Jennifer James, a senior lecturer in breastfeeding at RMIT and a lactation consultant for 28 years, believes breastfeeding covers only reinforce the idea that nursing women should cover up.
“It’s time that women stood up and said, ‘Sorry, don’t like it? Then look away’,” she says.

As I said, it takes a brave girl. Or possibly just one more intent on making the point than feeding the baby.

“It also sends an incredibly negative message to the baby.”

What, more negative than, ‘Sorry about lunch, kid, but your mother’s tits are political now’?

Breastfeeding is meant to be a very interactive thing. When they are awake and feeding they are learning, so if you cover them up with a tent, the baby loses that contact with the world.

Oh, come on. What about the millions and millions of us who were born at a time when mothers had to leave the room? Did we all lose that contact with the world, and if so did we miss out? Or did it all take place at an age where we couldn’t even focus on the world, which we would entirely forget within five or six years, and actually had few desires anyway beyond mum, milk, cuddles and not being in our own shit for too much of the day? I’ll credit the Australian Breastfeeding Association spokesbrealot – not Kate this time – with being a bit more practical.

Australian Breastfeeding Association spokeswoman Karen Ingram says there are arguments for and against the cover-up range.
“We need to be really clear that women don’t need to cover themselves while they are breastfeeding and by law they are allowed to breastfeed anywhere, any time, whether they have a cover over their baby or not,” she says. “But for some mums it does help. Whatever assists the mum to breastfeed her baby should be accepted.”

Quite. It’s simply a matter of choice, and if the brealots are right that most mothers want to breast feed – and again I suspect they are – then given half a chance those mothers are likely to make that choice of their own volition. Ideally there’d be boobs on every street corner (and not a car crash to be heard) as women exercise their right to breast feed anywhere, but in this less than perfect world some women would rather minimise the exposure of their breasts.

But the ultimate sin against the sacred boob is that other women don’t do it at all and buy formula milk instead. There are lots of different reasons why but again it boils down to a personal choice, the most offensive c-word in the vocabulary of the righteous. Choice is bad when the wrong choice might be chosen, so what Dr James and her ABA pal Kate want to do is to make breast feeding the only approved choice – approved by them and, since they want the law to remove the option of formula for any woman whose nipples aren’t sufficiently wrecked to convince a doctor to write a ‘scrip’, approved ultimately by the state itself.

So let’s just imagine a scenario where this actually comes about and let’s imagine what the results will be when, for whatever reasons – and the actual reason is none of our business – some women want to bottle feed their babies. ‘Breast is best’ is already orthodoxy and there’s an element who’ll judge and criticise mothers who’ve chosen bottle, which must make them feel really good about themselves if they’ve tried to breast feed and given up with cracked nipples or just didn’t produce enough. So let’s imagine that formula milk is basically off limits to anyone who is feeding a baby and who isn’t in fact a man. How many will feel judged and looked on as failures, inadequate mothers, by society and by their peers and by the medical profession itself because the orthodoxy of breast is best is even stronger than now? How many of them will go to the doctor to ask for the government permission slip to buy formula milk, and how many will be too embarrassed and ashamed to? How many will be bullied and cajoled or shamed into carrying on as best they can despite pain and discomfort, or a possibly underfed baby? How many of them will actually have to beg milk, breast or formula, on the QT from their most trusted friends or relatives? And how long will it be before a black market supplies that which Dr Jennifer James and Kate Mortenson want to have put beyond the casual reach of mothers, and the nourishment of a significant minority of babies becomes reliant on the activity of criminals?

Ridiculous? Impossible? Not at all. Why wouldn’t there be when there’s already a black market in breast milk?

A BLACK market in breast milk has developed in Australia as families desperate to feed their babies the natural elixir are being charged up to $1000 a litre on the internet.

A thousand bucks? ‘Elixir’ had better be right. That’s… that’s… that’s more than petrol for God’s sake. Does it come in a 24ct gold bottle? Was it expressed by Scarlett Johansson? It’s MILK, not cocaine.

One mother contacted the Gold Coast based Mother’s Milk Bank to ask what the real “going rate” was for breast milk after online sharks demanded the extortionate amount when she placed a web advert seeking human milk.
Mother’s Milk Bank director Marea Ryan told her that the not-for-profit bank sold milk for $50 for 1.2 litres.
“I think it is increasing more and more as people become a lot more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding,” Ms Ryan said.

Or as they’re increasingly made to feel like lousy parents if they’re buying formula.

“It is very dangerous because in an unregulated fashion there are no checks and balances, the milk would not have been tested for viruses and bacteria,” Dr James said.

Well, yeah, obviously, but … hang on, Dr who?

“Women are being put in this insidious position because of a lack of breast milk banks nationally.”

Which will be the same as if government controls the supply of formula. But what did you say your name was again?

“They have no option but to look outside the system.”

Exactly what I’ve said will happen if women have no free choice between breast and formula. In fact it sounds like you’ll not only create a black market but you’ll boost an existing one. And sorry, but I’m sure you said your name was Dr James, am I right?

RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) lactation expert Dr Jennifer James said she was aware of the growing unregulated black market.

It is you! Bloody hell, Jen, you may know more than I will ever care to about lactation but how the hell can the likelihood of a formula black market escape you when you’ve got the evidence of a breast milk black market in front of your face? It’s demand and supply – what the fuck did you expect was going to happen when you inflate that demand by nagging about breast milk all the bloody time?

The risky practice has increased with the advent of the internet where women advertise their milk for sale.

[sarcasm]No? I’m in shock.[/sarcasm] And her solution?*

Dr James said there should be breast milk banks in all major hospitals but blamed inconsistent legislation for making them difficult to set up.
“In some states it is classified as a food while in others it is human tissue or bodily fluids,” she said. “The milk bank at the Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney had to close down because it was classified as bodily fluid. We need nationally consistent guidelines.”

Ah, yes, of course. The answer is central government. The answer is always central government, especially when it comes to raising future generations of the taxpayers that are essential to governments’ own survival.

Quite often I blog with a slight element of despair because someone has suggested giving government even more power to intrude and micromanage lives, and rather than howling them down vast numbers of people begin to nod and mumble that yes, it would be just super if the government would monitor and rule on the minutiae of their existence, and yours and mine and everyone else’s too because the government have to do it for/to everybody. Happily, stepping between mums and their children looks to be one step too far (my emphasis).

Avondale Heights mum Christine Rookas said it should be a mother’s choice whether to breast feed or not.
“I would be very frightened and afraid to think that formula will be prescribed,” Ms Rookas said.
“I think there’s already a paranoia for mothers. They feel guilty enough about using formula milk.”
… other mums who commented on the heraldsun.com.au were scathing about Dr James’s suggestion.
“What do these people know about every person’s situation?,” Dee said in a post at 12.57am this morning.
“Unless you are in a situation such as my family, please don’t speak for us. Don’t push your ideas on us if you haven’t walk in our shoes. These are personal decision that is made (sic) by each individual.

They are woman, Jennifer, hear them roar: ‘Piss off and leave us alone’. You would force mothers into breast feeding despite the fact that many would choose to do so anyway, even if many of them would rather keep their breasts covered up instead of partaking in the open display of maternalism that you advocate. Surely it’s best if mums can find whatever level of exposure or screening they as individuals are comfortable with and then carry on with the job of getting milk down babies’ throats, which I thought was the whole idea. But if you get government to intervene, if you get it literally to lay down the law on how babies must be fed and to force mothers, who by nature overwhelmingly want the best they can do for their children anyway, to breast feed regardless of whether they’re comfortable, then once again government takes away a little bit of our ownership of ourselves. Parents may still conceive their children and mothers may still give birth to them, but the state, which already demands so much control over a child’s upbringing and education and yes, diet too, will also control how they are fed from birth. With that level of needless interference over both of them how much could a new mother honestly say that her child, and even her breasts and milk, are hers and not the governments?

I’m sure your intentions are the best, Dr James, but the road to hell is paved with many more like them.

* That is the process which will solve the issue, not her personal solution. That’d be yucky and not what I want to think of when I’m about to get a milky cup of tea.

Offence seeker of the week.

Oh, those crazy Kiwis at Air New Zealand just don’t know when to stop. Last year they ran ads and safety videos featuring staff wearing nothing but body paint prompting a prude backlash of a whopping one complaint to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority.

“All genital areas were hidden but they left nothing to the imagination and [it] conjured pictures that none of us needed,” the complainant said.

No, you just have a dirty mind, that’s all. That might have occurred to the ASA as well but they settled for saying the ad was unlikely to offend many other people (sadly avoiding the opportunity of asking whether there’s any right not to be offended in the first place). Then, as I mentioned back in January, they ran the ‘Cougar’ advert and, according to the offence seekers, demeaned every woman over 35 past, present and future. Or something.

But this time they’ve really pushed boundaries of taste and decency by running an advert with ‘whoop-whoop’ in it, the heartless, insensitive basta… wait, what?

The advertisement has prompted a woman who lost her father in the crash to label the airline’s use of the phrase as insensitive.

“It definitely tugs at the heartstrings,” Jayne Holtham said. “The second you say that, you remember the last few seconds of the flight.”

Oh? A crash? Okay, go on…

There was a “whoop whoop” warning from a ground-proximity system just before an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Antarctica’s Mt Erebus … killing 257 people.

Whaaaaat? Oh, come on. That’s a bit bloody tenuous. There are ringtones and slot machines and heaps of video games and any number of movie and TV shows that include similar noises – are you telling me you complain about all of them? No? Does anyone else who had a relative die in any other air crash complain? No? So this is just because it’s the actual company involved in the crash in which your relative died, and apart from them any use of the sound or someone printing or saying the words ‘whoop-whoop’ and there’s no tugging of the heartstrings at all? None of this should bother you then.

I’m sure some would think I shouldn’t be taking the mick out of your recent loss, which I’m surprised I missed in the papers and must be an oversight on my part since it’s not like I live out in the back of Woop Woop or anything… just an expression, sorry.* So, when did this happen, exactly?

[Flight 901] crashed into Mount Erebus in sector whiteout conditions on November 28, 1979, killing all 257 people aboard.

Oh. Thirty-one years ago. Too soon, is it?

Restoring some of my faith in humanity, other relatives don’t agree.

However, Susan O’Rourke, whose mother Marlene Hansen was a passenger on the flight, said the phrase did not upset her.

“It’s commonly used. I have even used it on my Facebook page, so I’ve got no issues with it,” she said.

“It’s used all over the world by many different people, especially younger ones.”

Which is what Air New Zealand said.

Nicked from The Australian

In a statement, an airline spokeswoman said the words referred to a “party phrase”.

“The theme of the advert is `Let’s Party’ and DJs at dance parties will often call out, `Can I get a whoop whoop?’ and the crowd responds with `Whoop whoop!’.”

See? Nothing to do with cockpit alarms or anything like that. I’m glad the Susan O’Rourke and her sister at least can see that.

O’Rourke’s sister, Melanie Fishburn, said she was not worried by the phrase.

Oh, thank fu…

However, the sisters said they understood why some relatives might be upset.

And they were doing so well. Look, on a certain level I can understand as well. As it’s been explained I can make the connection, though I wouldn’t have had a hope in hell otherwise, but three decades on isn’t it perhaps time anyone who has a problem put it behind them? Shit happens and people die, and the number of us who will never suffer the loss of a parent through one means or another is quite small – and when people do that inevitably means the equal or greater tragedy of parents outliving their children. No matter who we lose and how close they were eventually we need to stop grieving, get a grip and remember that life goes on. Above all we need to remember that things that remind us of our deceased loved ones can crop up all the time and completely at random, but if someone hasn’t actually said, ‘Hey, remember that time when your [insert dead rellie] said such-and-such, what a card, eh, how we all laughed?’ you can be pretty confident that it wasn’t meant. It’s just chance connections made in our own minds and no-one, least of all whoever or whatever prompted the memory, bears any responsibility. It’s sad that this woman’s dad died in an air crash, but it’s sadder still that after 31 years she hasn’t moved on enough that the airline involved can’t run an advert, quite possibly dreamt up by someone who wasn’t even born at the time, without her getting upset.

And not sad so much as fucking enraging is that we’re again pandering to the concept that there’s some innate right to go through life without being offended, and for this Air New Zealand do bear a portion of the blame.

The company apologised if anyone was offended.

No! There is nothing to apologise for. You used a phrase in an advert, that’s all. If someone doesn’t like it they can whine all they like but their fragile feelings DO NOT give them any fucking veto on your use of the English language. I get offended by things all the time – all the fucking time – including by these constant fucking displays of victimhood and the associated need for the whole fucking universe to revolve on fucking eggshells to avoid even the lightest bruising of an ego or the gentlest hurt to someone’s feelings. It doesn’t merely boil my piss, it dilutes it with a generous serve of four star leaded petrol and compresses it to about thirty or forty atmospheres before releasing a bolt of fucking lightning through it. And yet I don’t complain because I know being offended gives me no such right. Sure, I rant about it here or I tell my wife how full of pricks the world so often seems to be, but I never, never, ask that anyone stop on my account. I just stay offended until I get the chance to blog it out of my system, at least until someone else comes along to do it all over again.

There is no right to not be offended. Learn to live with it.

* No, I’m bloody not.

The religion of peace vs the religion of love.

There’s a fair amount of anti-Islam feeling going on at the moment, and with disturbing videos such as this* (which appears to be an actual girl’s death by stoning and is NSF anywhere – it is without doubt the most distressing thing I’ve seen since Neda Agha-Soltan was shot and killed, and if anything the behaviour of the mob makes it even worse) it’s easy to understand why. There sometimes seems to be no way we in nominally Christian nations can find common ground with what many commenters sarcastically refer to as the religion of peace. On the other hand, a good read of the Bible could easily have you wondering why the hell not (death stuff in bold, rape and assorted lunacy underlined):

  • Genesis 38:7 – Er killed for unspecified reasons (‘wicked in the sight of the Lord’).
  • Genesis 38:9 – Er’s brother Onan killed for not getting Er’s widow pregnant.
  • Exodus 19:12 – death by stoning if you try to go up or even touch a holy mountain (includes animals, so it’s pretty fucked up to throw a stick at it for your dog to fetch).
  • Exodus 21:15 – death for striking a parent.
  • Exodus 21:17 – death for cursing a parent.
  • Exodus 22:20 – death for sacrificing to a different god.
  • Exodus 31:14 – death for profaning the sabbath [er, whut? – AE] and exile for working on it.
  • Exodus 31:15 – actually, no, death for working on the sabbath.
  • Exodus 35:2 – yes, definitely death for working on the sabbath.
  • Leviticus 20:9 – death for cursing a parent.
  • Leviticus 20:10,11,12 – death for adultery with a neighbour and certain in-laws.
  • Leviticus 20:13 – death for being a gay man.
  • Leviticus 20:14 – death by burning alive for sleeping with a woman and her mother (which makes a lot of porn a capital offence).
  • Leviticus 20:27 – death by stoning for being Derek Acorah or another medium or psychic.
  • Leviticus 21:9 – death by burning alive for prostitution if the girl is a priest’s daughter.
  • Leviticus 24:16 – death by stoning for blasphemy.
  • Leviticus 27 – death for not following through on any sacrifices that you’d promised.
  • Numbers 3:10 – death for being an outsider and going too near the tabernacle (what qualifies as too near isn’t specified).
  • Numbers 4:20 – death for being a Kohathite [me neither – AE] and seeing ‘the holy things’.
  • Numbers 11:1 – having your tents burned down for being a bit whiny.
  • Numbers 14:36 – death for scouts returning with bad news and being less than keen on attacking.
  • Numbers 15:32 – death by stoning for gathering sticks on the sabbath.
  • Numbers 16:32 – buried alive for being a lippy bastard to Moses or for being the family of one of the lippy bastards.
  • Numbers 16:35 – being burned alive for being associated with the lippy bastards.
  • Number 18:7 – death to outsiders who go too near the alter.
  • Numbers 25:4 – death by hanging or plague for worshipping another god.
  • Numbers 31:18 – approves raping young girls taken prisoner (but death for their families)
  • Deuteronomy 7 – basically commanding the genocidal destruction of half a dozen cities full of unbelievers.
  • Deuteronomy 13:5 – death by stoning for being a false prophet who suggests people worship another god.
  • Deuteronomy 13:10 – actually, just suggesting people worship another god, death by stoning.
  • Deuteronomy 13:15 – hack the population of an entire city to pieces and destroy everything in it because just some of the inhabitants suggested people worship another god.
  • Deuteronomy 15:12-17 – a slave is to be set free after six years and given livestock, grain and wine, unless he or she voluntarily chooses to remain in slavery, in which case he or she is to be nailed to a door by their ear [I am absolutely not making this up – it was a real WTF moment when I read that bit].
  • Deuteronomy 17:6 – death by stoning for sacrificing an animal that is less than perfect (providing there are at least two witnesses – can’t say fairer than that).
  • Deuteronomy 17:12 – death for not obeying the rulings of religious courts.
  • Deuteronomy 21:11-14 – approves rape of female prisoners.
  • Deuteronomy 21:21 – death by stoning for sons who rebel against their parents.
  • Deuteronomy 22:22 – death for adultery (both parties).
  • Deuteronomy 22:13 – whipping for a man who falsely accuses his new wife of not being a virgin.
  • Deuteronomy 22:20 – death by stoning for her if she really wasn’t a virgin.
  • Deuteronomy 22:23 – death by stoning for an engaged girl who puts out for someone else and for the lad who got very temporarily lucky (rape victims who don’t cry for help are also stoned to death, but only if they live in a city – the rapist gets stoned to death in either case).
  • Deuteronomy 22:28 – forced marriage to her rapist for a rape victim who isn’t engaged.
  • Deuteronomy 23:10 – soldiers who’ve had a wank in camp have to stay outside all day and have a wash at sunset [worth comparing with the last three and some of the others involving women, this one – another WTF moment for me].
  • Joshua 1: 18 – death for disobedience to Joshua.
  • Joshua 6 – genocide.
  • Joshua 7 – an entire family stoned and immolated because the head of the family kept war booty that was supposed to be sacrificed [and yet at the same time Ezekiel 18:20 says that sons are not to suffer for the sins of their fathers].
  • Joshua 8 – more genocide.
  • Joshua 10 – lots more genocide.
  • Joshua 11 – light genocide and some animal cruelty.

Frankly I’d read enough at this point, but let’s not forget the Bible is also all for things like genital mutilation of infant boys, holding captive and raping women taken prisoner during war, selling your children into debt bondage, slavery subject to certain conditions and various other stuff we’d all find unthinkable now.

Oh, and when women have got the painters in they’re unclean, which, what with the bleeding, bloating, stomach cramps and so on, might not be a huge comfort. For a religion of love you’d think there’d have been something about chocolate or flowers or ice cream, but no. Sorry, ladies, not even a hot water bottle’s worth of sympathy. Uncleanliness it is and you’ve just got to rock with it. I imagine you should blame that Eve bird from Genesis since she was told that because of her the miracle of childbirth for all women was going to be like shoving a fire extinguisher through a letter box, so I expect the whole menstrual cramps and unclean business is probably her fault as well.

You get stuff that makes sense like offspring not being responsible for the sins of their parents and vice versa, but then there’re examples of precisely that going on with Eve’s disobedience and with illegitimate offspring and their own offspring to the tenth generation are excluded from ‘the assembly’. So is anyone who’s had their balls crushed or, somewhat surprisingly given prescribed male genital mutilation, their knob cut off. Suffice to say that the Bible, if taken literally, would make Christians and Jews every bit as vicious, violent, misogynistic and downright batshit insane as anything the Koran has to offer, and of course in the past they have been.

And in case you think it’s all Old Testament stuff and that Christians are beyond that? Well, ignoring the fact that plenty think the Old Testament is evidence that the world was created at a date that would make it more recent than agriculture was developed, and therefore are very much not beyond it, there’s some good stuff in the New Testament as well.
  • Matthew 5:28 – according to Jesus just looking at a woman lustfully is equivalent to adultery [and since he’d already said (Matthew 5:17) that he wasn’t up for changing any part of the Old Testament laws presumably that meant having a quick perv at a nice backside on the other side of the road is punishable by being stoned to death].
  • Matthew 10:34 – not the hippy dude after all, Jesus said he hadn’t come to bring peace, he’d come to bring a sword.
  • Luke 12 – oh, and fire as well. And division, sons against fathers and so forth.
  • Luke 14 – disciples are expected to hate their parents. And their wives. And siblings, and children. And themselves.
  • Acts 5 – believers are to give absolutely everything you have for redistribution and don’t try to hide anything or lie about it, or they get killed.
  • Ephesians 5:22 – women should submit to their husbands.
  • Titus 2:9 – slaves [slavery is still okay, apparently] should submit to their masters.
  • Romans 1:26,27 & 32 – death for gay men and lesbians [the lesbians had been getting away with it for a couple of thousand years at this point, which clearly wasn’t on]
  • 1 Corinthians 11:5 – women should cover their heads in church unless they want their hair shaved off.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:34 – oh, and also they should keep shtum while they’re in there.

Seem at all like what we’re worrying about at the moment with Islam, no? Surely the prospect of fundamentalist Judaism/Christianity should be just as scary and outrageous, if not more so. I mean, look: low value on human life, check; death sentences even for fairly trivial offences, check; women treated as second class citizens with far fewer rights, check; approval of rape, check; approval of raping minors, check; otherwise pretty hung up on other people’s sex lives, check; a worrying inclination to kill everyone and destroy everything that stands in the way of the faithful, check; violent proselytisation, check; holy war, check; promise of heavenly reward in the next world in return for zealous butchery in this one, check… need I go on?

Much of the criticism levelled at Islam is for stuff that is absolutely okay according to both Testaments, and bearing in mind that some of that stuff is two thousand years older than the Koran you have to wonder how much of what went in the latter was influenced by traditions that were already ancient. Why the hell aren’t we all worrying about Christianity? At the moment Christians still comfortably outnumber Muslims by half a billion or so and one of the world’s biggest Christian nations has several thousand nuclear weapons, can call on more than two million men and women under arms with some highly advanced weaponry, seems indisposed towards electing a leader who is not themselves religious, and has a track record of conflict with other nations over the last… what, forty years? Fifty? And while we’re worrying about Muslims playing the my-god’s-better-than-your-god game there seems to be a growing number of Christians, especially in the US, who insist on a literal interpretation of the bits of the Bible that condone homophobia and support their belief in a very young (in geological terms) Earth despite the existence of some very, very ancient rocks. Maybe they’ll go in for the whole spreading the message by the sword thing next.

Yeah, smartass,  how would you like Norway to glow in the fucking dark?

So am I worried about Christianity? No, not hugely (though not quite ‘not at all’ either). And even though I think the so-called fundamentalist Christians, the Creationist gang, are a bit on the loopy side I don’t think anyone else should be. Yes, I do have a problem with their attempts to get Creationism taught in science classes, but not so much because I don’t believe it myself as because like anything that can’t actually be disproved it doesn’t qualify as a scientific theory. It doesn’t end there either – I have a problem with their frequent desire to have secular laws based on their religious laws, I have a problem with the book burning brigade (not just this Pastor Terry Jones bloke’s threat to burn Korans today – assuming he doesn’t change his mind again and burn them after all – but also those nutjobs burning Harry Potter books in case they taught their children how to do spells) and I have a problem with the massive hang ups some of the more prudish of them have about other people having anything other than vanilla sex, and frequently that too.

But, and this is a very important but, I don’t think any but the most microscopic handful of them want a return to stoning and burning people to death, violent proselytising, raping women and children and genocidal destruction of entire cities. You see, whatever we think of their beliefs, as a group Christians are just a bit too nice for that. Biblically and historically they’re an awful bunch of people that non-Christians should be utterly shit scared of, but all that stuff, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Malleus Maleficarum, witch trials, persecution of unbelievers, the kill-them-all-God-will-know-his-own thing, no small amount of papal bull, and all the violence and ridiculously harsh punishment in the Bible is in the past. Well, for most Christians it is, and I’m sure for most of the rest virtually all of it is.

No, Christianity really doesn’t worry me much despite everything in the Bible because Christians filter what it has to say through a layer – albeit of variable thickness – of pragmatism and common sense. And for that reason Islam also doesn’t worry me much no matter what’s in the Koran. I can’t imagine there’s anything in there that’s worse than the Bible, and just as most Christians have left the worst of that behind them I’ve met Muslims, probably typical ones, who also interpret their scripture in a way that is more up to date and even handed for everyone around them. To me that suggests that their religion is not so much a cause of violence and misogyny as it is an excuse for it among those who are naturally inclined towards violence and misogyny… just as Christianity and Judaism used to be (and probably still are for a very small number of people).

And if I’ve not convinced you ask yourselves this: if they weren’t already spoken for in the religious madness department and if stoning women still went on in modern Christianity do you think perhaps the mob in that video, the same ones who brained that poor girl with rocks and breeze blocks while somewhat insanely trying to keep her dignity intact by covering her legs and backside as her blood pooled around her head, would look at the Bible and say something like, “Hey, guys, have you seen what’s in this Bible book? It’s got the whole lot in here. Seriously, fellas, this sounds like just the religion for us.”

And with what the Bible would give them to work with wouldn’t they be just as violent and misogynistic as Christians? With that in mind is it Islam per se we should worry about or just generally unthinking, irrationally violent fucknuts who love nothing more than to hate?

P.S. – several hours have gone into this blog post over the last three days, mostly spent thumbing through an ancient family Bible and searching online versions for the various examples of Biblical death, destruction and general hideousness I gave near the top, and by the way I skipped plenty of stuff. In the meantime the antics of the wannabe book burner in Florida prompted Dizzy to write this, in which he’s given a link to an satirical ‘Whose God Is More Vicious?‘ quiz based on genuine scripture from both religions. Interesting answers, though if you’ve read all of my verbose rantings today you probably won’t be surprised. Anyway, seven out of ten is my score to beat (and humiliate, and lash, and stone, and burn and so on), with a metaphorical land of milk and honey for anyone getting full marks first go.

* H/T Leg-iron and Captain Ranty.

Advertising complaints up over and down under.

Over at the Filthy Engineer’s I noticed that these two adverts have been banned after making the Advertising Standards Wibblers upset.

Well, clearly the first one is a little suspect because there’s no evidence in the photo that the ladder is properly supported or, given that she’s not holding on properly, that the girl has received adequate health and safety training. Presumably the second should carry some kind of warning about the dangers of wild animals. Am I right? Ah, no. The ASA were flooded by literally some complaints about the merest hint of side boob in the first and the completely gratuitous porn shot reminder, for those that might need it, that the girl in the second is in possession of a dangerous vagina.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 33 people complained that the ads were unsuitable for children, offensive and condoned or encouraged anti-social behaviour.

The ASA said the two banned ads contained sexual undertones and appeared in an untargeted medium likely to be seen by children, ruling that they breached rules covering responsible advertising and decency.

Oh, the humanity!

It said both images were “likely to cause serious offence to many adults”.

Bad news, fellas. Banning things because 33 humourless, hand-wringing killjoys with vaginaphobia offends me on a very deep and personal level because of the implication that I can’t cope without you doing my thinking for me and that I can’t decide for myself what is and isn’t moral. No joke, when paternalistic moralising twats like you decide what’s good for everybody and ban what you feel isn’t I am genuinely offended. Now, you could attempt to ban bans or you could decide that there’s no fucking right not to be offended and un-ban what you’ve banned. Either way, your move.

Still, hopefully the Filthy Engineer will be cheered by the news that not all bansturbation succeeds. Early last month I blogged on some road safety ads that had aired here in Victoria, and had attracted complaints because they dared to be a bit tongue in cheek and suggest that whenever someone uses a mobile phone while driving ginger people will have sex with each other. At the time the Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that the ads were silly but not offensive.

Oh noes!

And now it seems the ASB has had more complaints about an ad for the ANZ Bank featuring a red haired woman giving really bad customer service (my bold).

… the latest complaint focuses on the hair colour of Barbara, played by veteran performer Genevieve Morris.

“The advertisement patently slurs red-haired persons as obnoxious and inferior,” the anonymous complainant wrrote (sic).‘‘If any other ethnic group was identified thus you would promptly shrink from allowing the advertisement and brand the producer.’’

The bank has defended its advertisement, saying Morris was chosen for the role because of her comic ability rather than her copper locks.

Got that? She could have been bald for all ANZ cared, anonymous auburn person. Or russet or strawberry blonde or whatever you prefer. And that’s probably why, despite welcoming our new titian*-haired overlord, the ASB told you to stuff off again. Even if you are genuinely offended, and you shouldn’t be, stop playing your hair colour as a victim card. Being beaten up at school for having red hair is one thing but getting upset about joke adverts? If it’s not heightist to suggest it, life’s just too short.

Ooops, sorry.

* H/T to Roget, without whose work I would have run out of synonyms for ginger during the course of this blog.