So like most memes, “Okay Boomer,” got quickly overused.
I get that many of the older generation occupy leadership positions now and are doing little or actively obstructing sensible reforms around important issues such as climate change and I get that many younger people are particularly frustrated by this. But I don’t entirely accept the premise that age or generation explains such behaviour.
People (and I use that term generously) like Scott Morrison, Angus Taylor and Peter Dutton don’t lie about climate change, the economy and refugees because they are Baby Boomers. They do it because they are corrupt and have no sense of responsibility for the future of their country. Let’s not use their generation as an excuse for being truly awful people. Some of the most compassionate, intelligent and progressive people I know are Baby Boomers. And many of the pettiest trolls I know are millennials.
I’m not being facetious when I tell you I failed a test of my character recently. As I’m of Anglosaxon descent I don’t expect Borderforce to try to deport me so I’m happy to share the story here.
It happened playing sport. After a few years of supposed retirement I’ve returned to playing soccer this year. I’m actually loving being back into it. Much as I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself physically and mentally through running and triathlon, team sport provides a different outlet.
I don’t usually give myself a hard time about losing games or making mistakes, but I was reflecting on a recent game and I realised that although on many levels I had played a good game, at another level I was pretty disappointed in myself.
I’ll elaborate. It was game that we won comfortably. I felt I had done my job pretty well and even scored a goal, which is rare for me. But where I failed was something that I thought of as a whole lot more important than the result of a social game of sport.
If you worry about climate change but you disagree with Extinction Rebellion or Student Climate Strike protesters I can to some extent understand your dilemma.
If you feel the disruption it causes creates fodder for the Murdoch Press and other corrupt mouthpieces of the resource industry (such as the Liberal Party) to shift the argument away from the issues and pretend they’re not paid science-denying traitors, I can see the logic in that argument. Certainly in recent weeks, even as series of climate science reports have confirmed the urgency of our impending crisis increases and a global movement calling for change has shown , our corporate media has run endless articles and discussion on why students should stay in school, how much disruption (don’t forget the faked photo of rubbish supposedly left after one such rally) these actions cause and whether any protester who isn’t vegan is a hypocrite (spoiler alert: they’re not this is a pithy and disingenuous way of ignoring the message that is only used by idiots or people appealing to idiots).
But personally I’m not persuaded that this is good enough argument against direct protest action. After all, corporate media is always going to do this, regardless of how much material they have.
I know I'm not meant to say that. Obviously if I want to engage with and understand people with different opinions, then writing this goes against my purpose. But I would feel disingenuous if I didn't admit it. And it wouldn't hurt some people to hear it either.
The wide variety of reaction to Ellen Degeneres' friendship with George Bush showed we are hardly all on the same page in relation to how much tolerance we should have for the behaviour of our friends, I thought it was important to be open about how I look at those who disagree with me.
I’m not sure if it just me that has changed or the nature of politics under our failing democratic systems. I wrote a few years back that you can hold whatever opinion you like, but if your actions don’t negatively affect other people, I don’t really mind.
I don’t think like that anymore though.
So I haven’t written much recently.
This has certainly not been due to having less to say. There are currently more ideas for articles that I want to write floating around in my brain than I can keep track of.
And whilst life has been particularly busy over the last few months and it would be convenient to attribute my lack of productivity to external factors and describe it as out of my control; this would not be entirely accurate. If I wanted to make time to write more I easily could have, without significantly impacting any other important aspect of my life.
But I’ve actually made a deliberate decision to spend more time being non-productive.
So two weeks ago we had a bit of a cold snap. It didn’t come as a surprise either. Actually it was so widely and breathlessly predicted by the media you might have thought we were about to witness an apocalyptic climate event from a Hollywood movie.
There was a lot of rain forecast but I really wanted to get a run in with my friend, Naomi. I hadn’t managed much running since my last race so I was really keen to shake out for a longish run, plus Naomi is always brilliant company to run with (she is also far too photogenic for my liking, so I always look very average next to her, but that is forgivable).
Still as the weekend got closer the forecasts continued to get worse and worse.
I must have flirted with the idea of a raincheck more seriously than conservative politicians flirt with Neo-Nazis, but I just kept coming back to the fact that I’ve run in the rain before and once I get started it is often barely noticeable.
Down, down, ethics are down.
However you spin it, you can’t expect to be taken seriously when you claim to be phasing out single use plastic bags because you care about the environment and then bring back crappy plastic collectibles as a gimmicky marketing ploy. Admittedly little in recent memory suggests the company really wants to be taken seriously (who do they pay for their advertising campaigns?) as long as they get your money. But even by their standards, the hypocrisy is striking.
This is 2019! Microplastics are already estimated to be contaminating the human food chain in multiples forms and by some estimates, the Pacific Trash Vortex could be larger than this country! As the acknowledged global problems of plastic pollution and species extinction intensify, this type of tone-deaf cash grab shows exactly how little his giant company cares for the environment.
There is obviously much to be thankful for in life, but I have to admit there are a few things that we should be quite concerned about too. The ongoing rate of species extinction has accelerated alarmingly recently, while climate change continues largely unabated as parts of the Northern Hemisphere burn with record temperatures. The United States (a somewhat ironic name given its own dysfunctional internal politics) appears to be trying to conjure an excuse for a war with Iran and our useless Prime Minister has signalled his support (no doubt emboldened by the fact that the proven lies about WMD in Iraq have done little to damage John Howard). Meanwhile record wage stagnation after six years of Coalition government has Australia steaming towards a painful recession.
If you hadn’t been too worried about much of that recently, I don’t actually don’t blame you… because you probably barely heard about it. Unfortunately it seems there is simply no time for news outlets to report and analyse these types of issues when they have to cover every utterance of one self-entitled rugby player (well former rugby player now) and every rumour about the British Royal Family.
The last time I tried yoga, Australian PM’s served full terms and its voters cared about climate change. So when Amy invited me to come along to the first Lululemon winter yoga session I could hardly refuse, but I was a little nervous.
A little unsure of what to expect- would I be melting like the polar icecaps or as loose as Prince Phillip’s driving- I rocked up to the newly reopened Mana Movement Studio on Murray Street with about three different sets of clothes- one for every eventuality (except I didn’t think to bring a mat- but thankfully was able to pick one up at the studio).
I like lazy takeaway as much as the next person. Well, actually I prefer a simple meal at home, but I do sometimes enjoy lazy takeaways, especially late in the week.
Where I certainly don't use lazy takeaways is for interpreting election results.
After the six year shit-show of heartless incompetence and cronyism, it is understandable that many people would be disappointed to see Rupert Murdoch and Gina Reinhart retain power through their puppets in the Liberal Party for another three years. Add in the widely reported media narrative that Labor would win and the result was doubly painful.
And it truly was a bad result for our country and an indictment on our voters.
But when you’re upset is not usually when we do our best analyses, nor when we are gloating insufferably (quick note to all the Liberal supporters I know, the fact that the Coalition were re-elected does nothing to make me respect you more) and while I sympathise with the anger and concerns many have for the future, I couldn’t really go along with some of the popular narratives used to describe the admittedly disastrous result for our country.
There is a slightly painful irony to Australians joking about Trump voters.
Australians generally don't show a great amount of interest for in depth analysis of national politics (thanks in part to the appalling and partisan coverage of commercial media networks), let alone international politics. But even so, most Australians seem at least peripherally aware of the colossal and ongoing train-wreck that is the Trump Presidency.
I noted a few months back that the number of Australian commentators willing to stick their necks out in support of Donald Trump had quietly diminished over the previous twelve months of demonstrable incompetence and dishonesty. Now Australians of many political persuasions (except perhaps One Notion voters who would probably vote for him if they could) sneer at President Trump and the voters who still support him, even as he dismantles their country for the benefit of the ultra-rich.
This reaction might seem perfectly reasonable to most people, but it actually really pisses me off.
Okay it's a bad pun but that is kind of fitting. In my view, everything to do with Fraser Anning being hit with an egg was bad.
I’ve already written one post about Anning tonight and I so even the fact that I am writing about that lowlife again frustrates me, but so does everything about this episode.
How there are still people that want to hear the senator speak at an event is another slightly depressing aspect of this whole saga, but regardless of my disdain for the senator, I didn’t like anything about this story.
As someone who lives on this planet and a father who hopes my child lives on it long after me, I couldn’t not find the tens of thousands of Australian students who walked out of school as part of international protests over inaction on climate change powerfully uplifting. With everyone from the Reserve Bank to our intelligence agencies to the scientific community delivering blunt warnings of the threat posed by climate change, the Abbot/Turnbull/Morrison government’s refusal to stand up to their donors/owners in the coal industry is as self-servingly treasonous as David Cameron’s actions around the Brexit referendum.
I have a particular contempt for those who seek to demonise vulnerable minorities for their own gain. It must take a singular level of conceit and lack of empathy.
With characters like Hanson, Palmer, Dutton and Katter already inhabiting the Australian political … this particular niche is getting pretty crowded, but the rising (or perhaps sinking) frontrunner in this moral race to the bottom could be Fraser Anning.
I’ve been reluctant to write much about his deliberately provocative exploits in the past because I didn’t want to give him any kind of publicity, but after his illogical and appalling response to the Christchurch attack, we are past that. Anyone still supporting him is not going to be swayed by anything I say- even if I stick to mono-syllabic words.
So how do we judge his supporters?
Scott Morrison may believe compassion is some kind of affliction, but I believe it is important; just as I believe its absence is a character flaw. And like anyone with any compassion, I was obviously happy to see the Phelps Amendment passed yesterday.
But having said that, it is quite a limited and conservative amendment really. My happiness was certainly tempered by the fact that there is still much more that needs to be done; and even more so by the government response in the following 24 hours.
Still, it is at least a start. I must say I had little faith in them, but I have to give some credit to Shorten and the ALP for not buckling in the face of sustained and deceitful public pressure from the government cheerleaders in the Murdoch Press.
The aftermath of the recent sexual assault and murder of a young woman in Melbourne is depressingly familiar.
Most reasonable people feel anger, sadness or both as we mourn and reflect on the fact that the innocent victim could just as easily have been someone close to us. That's how you react if you have a shred of empathy anyway. There is a very different reaction from a small but vocal segment of society that is just as familiar.
This smug and clichéd response is used almost universally by all manner of MRAs, alt-right edgelords and old-fashioned chauvinists (or at least the half of them that can manage three-syllable words) in response to almost any criticism from a woman.
The trouble is, it’s not.
There is a huge ideological gulf between misandrists and the type of submissive women these men seem to want to see in society. Most women occupy the space in between, where they are not afraid to call out unacceptable behaviour of an individual, but have no problem with the male gender as a whole.
“Fraser Anning charges taxpayers to try to legitimise neo-Nazis,” is barely a sensational headline. Nothing about Anning’s appearance at the hate rally in St Kilda is surprising. Given he faces a crowded field for the racist vote, he had to do something to separate himself from Hanson, Katter and even the LNP, so I suspect he views the angry response as positive publicity.
Anning’s attendance at the rally wasn’t the whole story of the day though. I feel there are some other noteworthy points that have been overshadowed and are worthy of more attention.
As the calamitous country-sized dumpster fire that is the Trump Presidency burns ever higher and more bizarre, it is notable that there are fewer MAGA-chanting misanthropes basking in its warmth.
On both sides of the Pacific, there were a number of commentators who celebrated Trump’s ascension to America’s Commander-in-Chief, (whilst ignoring his blatant racism, sexism, dishonesty, stupidity, nepotism and other faults) as a victory for right wing populism and a black eye for progressive politics. With their hypocrisy writ large and the benefit of hindsight, these cheers must seem embarrassing now to all bet the most ardent Trump supporter.
Our Prime Minister is truly a vile caricature of humanity.
Remember ScumMo’s claim that he prayed and wept over the fate of refugees in offshore detention? Or his professed willingness to work to at least evacuate the children in the lead up to the Wentworth by-election. He doesn’t seem so upset about it now does he?
But while refugees may seem a whole lot less human to the government now that Wentworth has been lost, they are still just as human and are suffering no less than before. Medical reports from countless agencies are truly shocking!
Kerryn Phelps and the crossbench haven’t forgotten though. And while it’s taken a long time, we are finally seeing tiny signs of compassion and backbone on this issue from the ALP, instead of the supine grovelling to racists that has dominated the last ten years of immigration policy.
I didn’t really want to add to the hyperbolic reaction to the Tasmanian Government’s recent changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act, but it seems like people are going to keep talking about it in either a disingenuous or plain ignorant fashion so I want to put a few thoughts out.
Firstly, to my knowledge, I have never needed to use by birth certificate to prove my gender. If my gender was not recorded on my birth certificate, it would have made zero difference to my life. But if you were transgender person, and one who had already had to endure years of suspicion, derision and hostility to your true sex, wouldn’t it be nice to not have that detail recorded where you can’t change it?
Unless a cisgender individual has had to use their birth certificate to prove their gender, I can’t see how they can credibly argue that removing the detail from it will have a negative impact on children in the future.
Unless of course they do have an agenda and have no problem with lacking credibility...