Monday, 18 June 2012

Time to Move On

In September last year, a local opinionista* was found to have contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

OK – big deal. A reasonable person would assume that this opinionista would have learned something by the experience, and moved on.

After all, there are hundreds of journalists publishing every day in this country, and they seem to manage, without too much trouble, to stay on the right side of the RDA.

They seem able, most of the time, to get the basic facts straight. This was not the case in the offending articles.

This opinionista might have perhaps considered the mature and responsible behaviour of issuing a personal apology (whether compelled to do so or otherwise), and making it clear to those maligned that a mistake was made. Displaying a little humility and regret would also have been becoming.

In this case, however, we’re not dealing with “reasonable”. Instead, we’ve seen behaviour which would be par for the course in kindergartens across the country. I say kindergartens advisedly. By the time most kids are into pre-school, they’ve outgrown tantrums.

This person has posted ad nauseum about what he calls “free speech” since Bromberg’s judgement.

In fact the rate of posts about this topic (free speech) has risen exponentially since the Finkelstein Report in this country and the Leveson Inquiry in the UK. These posts are written as if the experience of being found in breach of the RDA somehow endows an expertise not available to those who are responsible enough to print accurate and honest reports.

Perhaps we should look to the serial rapists of the world to advise us on the issue of sexual violence?

If it wasn’t so disgraceful it would have a funny side. A sense of humour, however, is not a virtue displayed by this person. This virtue, of course, is rarely seen in those who take themselves so seriously as to be easily offended if any personal criticism is made. This is probably not an ideal characteristic in someone who makes a living out of packaging hate and vilification, and retailing it as opinion.

The thing about heat and kitchen comes to mind. And whilst we’re into cliché, there’s that other one about pot and kettle.

This brings me to a few examples of hypocrisy that (through the magic of the screen shot) I’ve preserved, dear reader, for your edification.

This first one relates to the recently-published “Am I Black Enough For You” by Anita Heiss, one of the defendants in the September 2011 case. The opinionista was waxing lyrical about Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s music.

The actual text of my post, broken by the link, is “Is Gurrumul black enough for you, Andrew?”
I thought that given his previous views on what he regards as “real” aborigines, he’d care to comment on Gurrumul’s authenticity. He’d had lots to say on the topic in the past.

Not on your Nelly – my comment was wiped. Now was it fear of further litigation? Hard to see how – all he had to say was “yes”.

Maybe the link was the problem. How embarrassing it would be if someone actually bought it and read it. Visions of book-burning emerge…..

Then there was this -

Perhaps this one was a bit strong. “Bloody disgrace” might cause offence to those of delicate disposition. But we’re talking here about someone who will use all sorts of name-calling and snide references to vilify, so I thought he’d be OK with it.

Perhaps I’m just a bit too direct.

And this -

Now this time my comment was directed towards another commentator (“Big Ted”). Big Ted is regularly abused by the bleating bigots who inhabit this blog in the same way as beetles thrive in cow dung, so obviously agreeing with him might get these same bigots offside.

That is obviously an unacceptable risk.

Nothing is sacred here – not even religion. See what happened when I posted a fairly harmless remark about Cardinal George Pell -


After all, Pell came down on our local Bishop like a ton of bricks. His crime? He said something that the Vatican disagreed with.

You can't tell me that the Herald Sun was worried about litigation from George Pell.

Now what was our mate saying about free speech?

* A more accurate description than "columnist" or "journalist".

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