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150 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. mindy

    Lovely morning. I would like to have spent more of it asleep but it seems I am a bit ahead of daylight savings. One more week.

  2. Terry2

    I had a win: finally. Lost my glasses while clearing scrub as part of a revegetation project, some two months ago. Yesterday while working in the same area, found them nestling in a clump of Lantana.
    Perhaps it’s a good augur for the weekend – or is that auger ?

  3. jungney

    Today is the day we make fire preparations to the house: de-leaf the gutters, clear dead grass in the paddock at the back fence, clean up fuel from round about. Fire is well on us, already. Yesterday’s sunset was end of the world variety through a heavy haze of smoke.

  4. tigtog

    Some excellent advice for bloggers etc re dealing with threatened lawsuits for defamation from Ken at Popehat. He’s from the US, but he’s generalised the post to acccount for different jurisdictions as best he can.

  5. Liz

    Actually, tigtog I think the best advice is simply to talk to a lawyer before you do anything at all. If you feel like you can’t afford a lawyer contact artslaw.com.au for advice. As someone who’s had to consider a defamation threat, doing anything else is foolish.

  6. tigtog

    Getting competent advice is essentially the advice Ken gives, Liz. He just suggests that even before calling the lawyer there are several useful steps to take that don’t involve responding to the defamation threat directly in any way.

    To sum up:

    Calm down. Don’t panic. Carefully assess the situation. Act methodically and deliberately. Educate yourself. Seek competent advice.

    Chances are that it will blow over. If it doesn’t, you’ll be in a better position if you were cautious.

  7. Jacques de Molay

    Carn the Dockers.

  8. Graham Bell

    Good advice, tigtog. Although, “Calm down” might be a hard bit of advice to take.

    The risk of an over-pampered boofhead screaming to the heavens that he has been horribly defamed and ruined forever is one reason I usually decline invitations to be more specific in my comments, here or anywhere.

    I would rather lose an argument on-line (= temporarily bruised ego) than have to waste my time, energy and limited resources coping with threatening letters from the lawyers of such a boofhead (= permanent serious damage to me).

  9. jungney

    Go the Rural Fire Service! There are three fires categorised as ‘out of control’ within ten k’s; the closest is 7 k’s with a strong westerly tailwind.

  10. tigtog

    Best wishes for the wind to turn so that the fires burn back on themselves, jungney. It would give the RFS and the residents such as yourself some much needed rest and peace of mind.

    Most of my rellies that were living in the Lower Blue Mountains have moved down to less bushy areas near the coast over the last few years. That’s rather a relief.

  11. GregM

    Jacques @7


  12. Katz

    Purple stage fright.

  13. PavCat

    Has anyone else seen The Turning (which I thought was absolutely brilliant)? What did you think?

  14. tigtog

    Pav, I haven’t seen The Turning yet, but I plan to.

  15. Sam

    The Greens, it would appear, are fighting amongst themselves. But unlike the Labor Party, this will be a three way fight. Milne, Bandt and Hanson Young are set to to entertain us throughout this parliament.

    Everybody knew they would be in trouble after Brown left but I don’t think anyone thought it would be this quick.

    It should be fun to watch, though not for those who thought the Greens were the future of the Left.

  16. paul burns

    Predictions that the Greens are on the road to rack and ruin because of their “alliance” with the ALP under Gillard are just plain rubbish. So far as I can work out the Greens did not ditch any of their core principles back then, in the way Meg Lees did when she failed to block the Coalition’s GST. The Democrats gone done because of Lee’s pragmatism.
    The complaint about Milne, surely is that she is/was too much of an ideologue. She ain’t going to lose the support of her base for that. More worrying is the fact that, among other things, for whatever reason she apparently does not appeal to the yoof, who the Greens see as their best election workers.
    As for the “challenge”. According to the newspapers (I have no inside info, nor have I bothered ringing around to get it), Bandt was going to challenge Milne and he was backed by SHY. (Don’t know why she didn’t run – she’d kill the Coalition single-handedly and she now has a great public persona, which, sadly, Milne does not have.) So, it wasn’t, Sam @ 15

    a three way fight.

  17. Sam

    The complaint about Milne is that after the Greens lost one third of their vote, she adopted the Monty Python black knight position.

    Whether or not it was just a flesh wound remains to be seen, but it looks like a fair few of the Greens aren’t willing to wait and see.

  18. jungney

    Readings: Earth First! Journal; Militarized Mining in Wisconsin at Z Magazine; an informed account of Golden Dawn.

    Better than The Drum, for sure.

    I’d enjoy and appreciate sites routinely used by others.

  19. Jacques de Molay

    Gotta love it just saw on Bolt’s TV show special guest interview was that fringe Liberal Democrats extremist (guns for all), yet Bolt often refers to a far more mainstream party like the Greens as extremists.

    True colours and all that.

  20. Moz of Yarramulla

    Jacques de Molay:

    True colours and all that.

    The Cyndi Lauper version?

    I’ve been reading Loon Pond a bit and somewhere completely unrelated came across an old favourite cartoon: what if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing. Exactly. What if we do?

  21. Tyro Rex

    Terry @ 2: augur. Technically would need to involve the flight of birds.

  22. tigtog

    Has been heartening to see/read about the Golden Dawn MPs in Greece being charged with membership of a criminal organisation and held without bail. Let’s hope the charges stick.

    In other news of pushback against fascist bigots, the Lakota and Dakota grandmothers who captured the neonazis’ flag from Leith ND and burnt it on the Standing Rock Indian Nation reservation are my absolute heroes for the week.

  23. Debbieanne

    [email protected] was surfing when I saw a couple of fractions of that person(wondered wh he was). Sounded very libertarian to me, positively Randish, ‘what do we need govt for?’ . Ugh!

  24. jungney

    tigtog: yes, I read that about the First Nation’s people. Wounded Knee will live forever.

  25. Jacques de Molay

    For those that like their stoner/psychedelic rock Tumbleweed have just released their first album since getting back together in 2009, ‘Sounds From The Other Side’.

    It’s currently being streamed in full and for free on Faster Louder:


    Cracker of an album.

  26. jules

    Jaques de M – thanks for that.

  27. paul burns

    What tigtog said @ 22, though I hadn’t heard about the Lakota and Dakota grandmothers. The only way to beat neo-fascism is to show it no mercy. We all know what it can become if we don’t.

  28. tigtog

    Helen posted a link on the Lazy Sunday thread, expansion upon which belongs here on Salon. It’s regarding a Visiting Celebrity Lecturer in Literature at the University of Toronto, and some undeniably sexist things he said during an interview, which he’s apparently now claiming were “tricked” out of him by the young lady journalist because her young lady qualities made him forget he was talking to a journalist, or something like that (he’s not helping himself with any of his “explanations” so far).

    There’s been a LOT of articles/posts about this David Gilmour twerp over the last few days, and I’ve been munching popcorn through a fair few of them, but this comment on the Crooked Timber thread really got me thinking about how it hadn’t been raised on any of the other threads I’d been reading:

    Doctor Science wrote #107:

    Third, I’m surprised that no-one has brought up how David Gilmour’s “teaching” looks more like grooming. Especially the way he uses Tropic of Cancer as a boundary-violator, with the goal of getting the students to The Dying Animal — which as Chris Betram says @#2, is about a male professor describing how he seduces and fucks (female) students.

    He isn’t just an asshole, he’s creepy.

    Doctor Science is right. That is creepy.

  29. paul burns

    Commenting on works by Henry Miller and Philip Roth [cf. Lazy Sunday]
    I’ve read one Henry Miller novel, which I suppose makes me some kind of literary ignoramus, and I was so unimpressed by it I can’t remember the title.
    I think I read Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The only one of his books I’d really like to read is Plot against America – sounds like an interesting counterfactual history, albeit a novel.
    D. H. Lawrence was another author mentioned in the comments thread in the blog mentioned. I’ve read almost all of his work – unfortunately not the one set in Mexico – and sometimes he’s brilliant and sometimes he’s a bit, well, uneven.
    I’m surprised no one mentioned Norman Mailer, so far as I got down in the comments on the blog. I’ve read all his fiction and the man was clearly a genius.
    I’m surprised no one, so far as I scrolled down, no one mentioned Hemingway – of whom I’m a great fan – but I suppose works of genius like A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea were too sensitive for this Canadian prat. I won’t jump to accusatory conclusions and say he’s creepy, but he sure is stupid/closed-minded et al.

  30. paul burns

    Way back in the mists of time I’ve had some limited experience talking to journalists about myself and my work. You tell journos things because you want them to print them. You don’t get tricked into saying things to them. In fact, after the results of one’s first interview are published and you realise how what you say can be misinterpreted, (albeit very mildly and harmlessly) either by the journalist or the sub-editor, the second time round you’re extra careful about what you say.
    Gilmour has had novels published, won prizes. He’s no innocent in the woods being thrown to tricky young women journos. Come on! I’m very wary of calling blokes idiot sexists, but he clearly is one.

  31. jungney

    Thanks for the links @ 28. They were a door into an interesting netz world. There certainly is no shortage of participants! Happily I am not driven to form a view. It was interesting.

    I read The Rosy Crucifixion between the ages of fifteen and sixteen. At the time it was terrific but you couldn’t pay me to reread it now. I’m amazed that the readings for The Professor’s Esteemed Courses are so juvenile. They might these days be classified in the ‘young readers’ section of a bookshop thus: ‘hormone yoof lit’. And Roth as a ‘man’s man writer’. Spare us.

  32. jungney

    otoh, in defiance of my disinterest in forming an opinion, it seems that the professor’s curriculum might for the basis of a ‘men’s lit’ course. It could be a component in a course designed to explore literary representations of masculinity at different junctures over the last two centuries. That would require a commitment to a critical intellectual interest in masculinity that derived from a critical feminist understanding of masculinity and patriarchy.

    At the moment though, the professor appears to be some sort of weird intellectual outlier for the ‘men’s movement’ which is oddly vigorous in North America. So, his curriculum looks satirical.

  33. paul burns

    I see Mailer and Hemingway were mentioned in another thread on Crooked Tree. Loved the site. Hadn’t seen it before. At the least I’ll be a regular lurker there.

  34. Casey

    The celibate church gave these pedophiles safe haven because of of the lies that have had always been told for centuries about the sex lives of priests and within the dome of those lies, pedophiles for a very long time found almost the best shelter available in the community. That to my mind is why the celibate church has such an appalling problem on its hands.

    David Marr speaking about his Quarterly Essay on George Pell.


  35. paul burns

    I think Pell was just too blind to see what was going on even when it was spelt out in front of him. I think he is still too blind to see what was/is going on. May the Royal Commission open his eyes, assuming Kevin Andrews doesn’t do something to make it totally ineffective. Which I fear he will.
    Mind you the Victorian enquiry seems to have done very little to alter his view of mild outrage/blind denial that child abuse was going on, so I don’t have high hopes.

  36. paul burns

    Also, every good Catholic should have a copy of the works of G.K. Chesterton close at hand. He has an answer for everything up to c.1036 1936.

  37. tigtog

    paul burns, I can easily imagine you thoroughly enjoying the Crooked Timber zeitgeist. Interesting bloggers and cosmopolitan commentariat.

  38. jungney

    Casey, I read the report into CSA and the Catholic Church in Ireland closely. I haven’t followed the Australian instance closely on the grounds that it will be the same story. Occasional meeja reports convince me that it is the same.

    On another thread you mentioned your analysis of Rudd’s sorry speech. I’d enjoy having a squizz at anything published or, if not published to your satisfaction, a condensed account here on LP. If ya want.

  39. Casey

    Jungney it is clear from the Victorian inquiry that the rates of abuse for the Catholic Church are much higher than any other denomination or institution. Marr’s essay reveals how paedophiles were moved around by the church for years. Mind bogglingly pell apparently missed a lot of this. What the essay and the inquiry reveal is unaccountable male clericalism and it’s excesses. It has led me to conclude that pope Francis is a very nice pope who likes to exhibit his niceness by washing peoples feet and driving old cars but won’t be doing anything to change the system. If he was going to do something he would have sent cardinal law home to face justice. But no. Cardinal law is still sitting pretty in the Vatican. I will get back to you on the national apology. Heading into the Gillard/summers gig now.

  40. Casey

    I’m a bit excited about that.

  41. Katz

    We won’t know what Pell knew until one or another of these Royal Commissions subpoenas the records of the Catholic Church.

  42. GregM

    We won’t know what Pell knew until one or another of these Royal Commissions subpoenas the records of the Catholic Church.

    If Pell didn’t know in the 1970s and 80s, and before then and after, that there were paedophile priests and others in the Catholic Church being shifted around as their misdeeds were complained about it could have only been through wilful blindness, whatever the church records say.

  43. drsusancalvin

    The rapes endured at St Vincent De Paul’s Orphanage in South Melbourne in the 1960’s caused my brother and others like him to self destruct and die early in a sorry life of confused self loathing. The “survivors” are coming forward, the suicides are counted, but an analysis of probable institutional abuse of the many young men dead from overdoses, car accidents, and risk taking behavior would be the next step in recognizing the true impact of these perverted acts. Fix the law, allow the Catholic Church to be sued, bankrupt all the sick enabling complicit fuckers here and world wide.

  44. Katz

    True GregM, but without the records we can only suspect what he knew, unless Pell ‘fesses up. And that appears to be unlikely.

  45. zorronsky

    It’s not often we are given the privilege of a person of huge intellect, incredible nous, humility and graciousness, all in the one package with leadership as we have/had with Julia Gillard. Her Anne Summers interview tonight had me in tears for our understanding of what and where we are as a nation.

  46. Su

    Z were you there in person, or did you watch it on fox? If you or Casey have a link to any online transcript or a/v that would be great. There are times when the bucolic delights really pall, and this is one of them.

  47. GregM

    Katz I think that any subpeonas will produce next to no records. I am sure that Pell and his colleagues purged their records or placed them beyond the reach of Australian courts and royal commissions long ago.

    These are not people who see their vocation or mission as living out the message of the gospel. They are the people referred to in Matthew 23:1-39


    That is what the royal commission will show.

  48. Katz

    Possibly true, GregM.

    But still, it would be interesting to discover how much, or how little, a subpoena might turn up.

    Some years ago I worked on some diocesan records (not Australian) that revealed far more than those who granted access to them ever imagined.

  49. tigtog

    Su, it was broadcast live on ABC-24. It will probably repeated, but maybe on ABC-2.

    There’s a liveblog of highlights on Auntie.

    The ABC’s Emma Griffiths wrote up a summary of the interview.

  50. Casey

    Su, it’s repeating tonight at 11.35 on the main channel.

  51. tigtog

    Thanks Casey! Just in time to hit the record button before I toddle up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.

  52. Chris

    Fix the law, allow the Catholic Church to be sued, bankrupt all the sick enabling complicit fuckers here and world wide.

    I thought that they could be sued? But that the problem is that the Catholic church in Australia is not one legal entity but many independent ones. And the organisations who are legally (not morally) responsible for the abusers often have little to no money so not worth suing.

  53. jules

    Hope you enjoyed it Casey. I saw it on abc 4 and the atmosphere seemed amazing. Gillard is a class act and its a bit of a loss to Australian politics that she left.

    re Pell. FWIW My mother was a science teacher in catholic schools all her life, till she started working at the CEO. She was (is?) heavily involved in sustainability in the national curriculum.

    Anyway during her high school years she worked on a catholic sex education thing, Family Life, i think it was called. It was pretty conservative really (by my standards anyway), but did promote condom use (it was the mid 80s and this was in the context of AIDS/HIV). In the context of the time and Catholicism it was probably quite groundbreaking and progressive I have a feeling one of the kids she taught was Margaret Tighe’s son/sons (if not it was a someone with a similar attitude, but I’m fairly sure it was Tighe.)

    Within 24 hours of those classes Pell would know everything mum taught that day and would hear back from the Catholic hierarchy in Melbourne in various tone ranging from disapproval to fairly serious anger.

    So when he wanted to Pell could find out quite a bit about what was happening in his manor.

  54. JohnG

    Su et al, there are various links to a JG/AS interview on the RN website. It was broadcast last night on Big Ideas and is also on RNTV.

  55. zorronsky

    The Interview is now on iview

  56. Casey

    Jules, the groundswell of support for the woman was extraordinary. She had everyone eating out of her hand. It was very heartening to be surrounded by people who had passed through the valley with Gillard and came to understand that sexism and misogyny in Australia was still very strong and there was an understanding in the room that this woman had gone through all that because she was the first woman to become Prime Minister, and her going through it would make it easier for others. People appreciated that and you could just feel it around.

    This is from the Mama Mia website:

    3. On seeing sexist and offensive cartoons and statements about herself on social media:

    She felt not sadness or hurt but, ”more like murderous rage really”.

    “For my personal liberty, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t focus on them… At the end of the day, yes, it happened to me, but it’s not, you know, about me. It’s about all of us, about women and about the kind of society we want to be for all of us.”

    Women understood this early, when they saw Gillard being treated the way she was. It wasn’t about her – it was about all of us. If she got put on a menu as an x-rated piece food to be consumed, if she got drawn with strapping dildos on her, then what chance any other woman to even speak out let alone aspire to a national leadership role? That’s what Australian women learnt in 2013 – that sexism and misogyny were still terribly destructive forces that could be utilised to control and put women back in their place with a terrible fury.

    In the audience last night I was speaking to some women, trying to figure out the ratio of men to women in the room. It was heartening to see a great number of men but you could not deny that there were more women. Looking at the women it was very clear there was no one dominant age group – young, old, we were all there and that was so very good too.

    In the end she was asked a question about what was good about being the first woman prime minister. When she described what a woman could do in that role, the joy was apparent. Being Prime Minister had been her life’s pinnacle, that was clear. Her words of advice to women to go for a career in politics, if they wished to do so, even in light of the sexism and misogyny unleashed against her was extremely heartening. What you got from Julia Gillard last night was a sense of her extraordinary resilience and the very welcome knowledge that she has not been bowed, shattered or embittered by her experience and therefore neither should any woman who watched her go through the whole thing and sat wondering what hope for any woman in this country. It was a good night. I hope they get to discuss the carbon tax in Melbourne.

  57. Casey

    Re Pell, there are a no. of instances in Marr’s essay which recount how he was told things about paedophiles, once by a young student whom he told to “not be ridiculous”. He denies this.

    In another case (I think Searson was the paedophile) a Primary school headmaster was so concerned that he went up against the priest and told the Church to get rid of him or the paedophile priest. Pell heard these allegations but apparently there was not enough proof, he reckoned. I don’t know what proof he wanted. Everybody knew not to leave children alone with this priest. They chose the priest. This former teacher has now been paid substantial damages by the Catholic church. This paedophile priest who was completely personality disordered and carried a gun and had fantasies of being a colonel was only removed when he bashed a kid for giggling in church. Never mind the rapes. Apparently Pell thought that protecting children from the possibility of rape was not as important as protecting a demented fuckwit who carried a gun from allegations. So imagine the inability to move this church if a senior headmaster can’t do it. I’m sorry, but the Marr essay makes for a devastating reading experience and it’s not just Pell that comes off appallingly – its the whole church heirarchy.

    Drsusan I’m sorry for your loss. It must be infuriating to watch Pell continue to defend the corrupt institution which caused such devastation.

  58. tigtog

    Drsusancalvin, watching Pell duck and weave regarding paedophile priests still, after all these decades now of irrefutable evidence, must be terribly hard to bear for families who have lost loved ones to these unchecked depradations. Just how stupid does he (and the rest of the hierarchy) think we all are?

  59. Casey

    Good news, new research reveals that the brain structures of conservatives and liberals are physically different and respond to different stimuli. For instance, conservative brains feel fear as a dominant emotion. So if you want to fuck with a conservative brain, just scare them. They respond very well to fear.


  60. zorronsky

    GregM @ 47
    When my first daughter was born in ’62 I drove my wife and daughter to Melbourne from Adelaide and to Burwood Boy’s Home to show whomever was there that I wasn’t the person they had tried to make me believe I was.
    It had been 10 years since last I was there. The woman in charge was delighted to see an ‘Old boy’ return and volunteered to find the records of my years there.
    After a very long delay she returned empty handed with the excuse that my records must have been lost in the ‘fire’.
    I had effectively been expunged from the story of how so many boys were ‘helped’ during the difficult War years. I’ve never bothered to try and follow up on this experience and so I guess in a sense the ‘fire achieved it’s purpose.

  61. Katz

    Zorronsky, it is doubtless that the culture of cover up pervades Catholic institutions. On the other hand, 1962 fits comfortably within the time frame when the credibility of the Church, at least in matters paedophilial, was not strongly in question. Perhaps the Burwood Boys Home had already been the subject of complaints and perhaps someone had applied a precautionary match to the records.

    From the point of view of judicial process, however, records of the kind you are alluding to are of marginal interest. Beyond proving your residence in the home, they provide nothing. It is unlikely, for example, that a priest would annotate upon your satisfactoriness as a bedmate.

    More important would be any institutional response to police investigations pursuant to complaints made about inappropriate or illegal conduct.

    As far as I know, only recently have accused clergy actually been prosecuted. This did not happen in the 1960s. There are several reasons for this:

    1. Victims didn’t complain to church authorities.

    2. If victims did complain to church authorities they were persuaded to take the complaint no further.

    3. If victims complained to the police, they were persuaded to take their complaints no further.

    4. The police refused to proceed with the complaint.

    5. The police tipped off church authorities who quietly moved the offender on. I know of at least one case of this dating from the late 1960s.

    6. Never, during the 1960s, as far as I know, did the police proceed to prosecution.

    Therefore, as you can see, none of this generates a paper trail, except for any correspondence of complaint made to church authorities and any correspondence concerning the transfer of alleged malefactors to fresh climes. These letters are indicative of guilty knowledge and are highly embarrassing, but they are unlikely to support a charge of criminal complicity.

  62. GregM

    Just how stupid does he (and the rest of the hierarchy) think we all are?

    Tigtog I really think that they don’t care what we think.

    They have created a fantasy world for themselves in which they have Christ’s message, and a monopoly on it, so can do whatever they please and justify it in their self-righteousness as being divinely protected and revealed only to them, without the slightest regard for reality of the evil they practice, conceal and condone.

    Matthew 23:27 sums them up.

  63. paul burns

    Greg M, Zorronsky, Katz,
    I read somewhere recently (or perhaps saw it on TV when the Victorian Enquiry was televised) that many of the records re child abuse had been sent to the Vatican. If so, the problem will be getting them back.

    drsusancalvin, my deepest heartfelt sympathies for your brother. As you no doubt no these vile characters used to take advantage through the Confessional of young kids totally wet behind the ears as only young Catholics can be. Hopefully these perverted priests are all rotting in Hell. Nowadays I’m pretty devout, but I do believe there are some sins that should never be forgiven.

  64. Casey

    As the findings of the Victorian inquiry emerged, it was Frank Brennan who suggested that it was time to look at the institution of celibacy, not because the state in and of itself creates paedophiles but it’s time to start seeing that the celibate state allows certain disordered individuals to hide their predilections behind this requirement. It seems to me that whilst married people can also hide their pathology within the married state, the celibate priest whose paedophilic tendencies have been historically protected by the church, has more of a place to hide his proclivities than anywhere else. Especially when the response by the hierarchy has been to move them elsewhere. And even when the paedophile is outed, local bishops cannot defrock them. A lot of these priests remained priests till their dying days collecting a stipend from the church. Even after their activities had been proven in courts of law. This is because the church has some kind of responisiblity to them. Extraordinary.

  65. Helen

    So if you want to fuck with a conservative brain, just scare them. They respond very well to fear.

    Of course – that’s why the tabloids and right wing politicians have chosen fear (of brown people, of “druggies”, of Teh Terrible Public school system, of muslims, and so on)

  66. faustusnotes

    I don’t see it Casey. Healthy men don’t fuck children just because they’re banned from marriage, and if the problem with celibacy is not its impetus to kiddy-fiddling, but instead to secrecy, why are these guys covering up sex with children rather than mistresses? There is lots of evidence from Ireland of priests having mistresses; there were lots of avenues by which these guys could work around celibacy without breaking any civil laws, and the institution of celibacy would have encouraged exactly the same culture of cover up. The problem is the particular activity that they all “spontaneously” and “separately” engaged in and then covered up.

    Celibacy is a smoke screen the church is throwing up to cover the fact that this is a scandal of institutional governance. Paedophiles got to high places in the church, and they protected other paedophiles, and set up an institutional culture of protecting paedophiles. It’s no more complex than that.

  67. paul burns

    On Gillard last night. I was somewhat amazed at Julia’s reasoning as to why she opposed same-sex marriage. I think she was saying it was because she didn’t believe in marriage per se.

    Neither did this bloke.

    The decay, the corruption, the filth of bourgeois marriage, with its difficult divorce, its freedom for the man, its enslavement for the woman, the repulsive hypocrisy of sexual morality and relations fill the most active minded and best people with deep disgust.

    “The constraint of bourgeois marriage and the family laws of bourgeois states accentuate these evils and conflicts. It is the force of ‘holy property’. It sanctifies venality, degradation, filth. And the conventional hypocrisy of honest bourgeois society does the rest. People are beginning to protest against the prevailing rottenness and falseness, and the feelings of an individual change rapidly. The desire and urge to enjoyment easily attain unbridled force at a time when powerful empires are tottering, old forms of rule breaking down, when a whole social world is beginning to disappear. Sex and marriage forms, in their bourgeois sense, are unsatisfactory. A revolution in sex and marriage is approaching, corresponding to the proletarian revolution. It is easily comprehensible that the very involved complex of problems brought into existence should occupy the mind of the youth, as well as of women. They suffer particularly under present-day sexual grievances. They are rebelling with all the impetuosity of their years. We can understand that. Nothing could be more false than to preach monkish asceticism and the sanctity of dirty bourgeois morality to the youth. It is particularly serious if sex becomes the main mental concern during those years when it is physically most obvious. What fatal effects that has!

    To think, all this time we had a Leninist Prime Minister and we didn’t know it. 🙂

  68. Casey

    Yes, of course it’s why Tony won. I dunno about this brain bizzo really, I just think it’s amusing. But I’ve been thinking that nothing scares white blokes more than a white woman gone troppo.

    I put forward the example of the purported “white widow” who led the terrorist attacks in Kenya. Of course what she did is despicable, however, behind the justified horror and anger at what this woman did lurks the colonial fear of the blood taint, of infection by the other. I haven’t seen this in a while, not since looking at colonial lit and postco lit. It’s rather startling – the term “white widow”. The skin colour mixed in with gender mixed in with the state of widowhood all of which connotes the image of the spider – the murderous feminine. It’s an incredible psycho mix of the fear of gender and otherness and terror of miscegenation all in one hit.

  69. Casey

    Healthy men don’t fuck children just because they’re banned from marriage,

    I didn’t say that though and I would totally agree with that, in fact I have pointed that out in the past. I just said that people who are already wired to want to have sex with children might be attracted to the Catholic priesthood where the state of celibacy acts as a cloak for their predilections, perhaps more so than, say, the married state of another church like the Anglican church where they would have to cloak their activities from a wife as well as everything else – something they don’t have to do in the Catholic church. I don’t think we are in disagreement. I also don’t doubt that paedophiles go very high in the church and this is why it’s proliferated there.

    As an aside, the Marr essay also details an allegation against George Pell himself, which George Pell denies utterly. The matter was looked by the Church who put on a retired judge. He was not satisfied the complaint was established but felt that the person who made the allegation, Phillip Scott, gave the impression he was speaking honestly from an actual recollection.

    We also do know there was a collection of priests at a Victorian school raping children and passing them onto each other. We do know that priests all knew each other’s business and many knew when a priest was being moved from one parish to the next for interfering with children – nobody told the new parish though. This all came out in the Vic inquiry.

  70. faustusnotes

    I guess Casey your thesis depends on how easy it is to hide each of the three categories of shaggee from a wife:

    1. children
    2. mistresses
    3. sex workers

    I would suggest 1 and 3 are easier to hide from a wife than 2, but I’m guessing neither you nor I are experts on this particular form of subterfuge. It certainly seems that marriage need not be much of an impediment to 1, if 1 is being conducted entirely within the confines of orphanages and confessionals, i.e. in the professional rather than the personal life of the abuser.

    Perhaps another argument in support of the celibacy theme is that people with healthy sexual proclivities are not drawn to a cult that venerates celibacy. If I like shagging consenting women (be they married, casual or paid), and it’s an important part of my personal make-up, it’s unlikely that I’m going to see much appeal in an institution that tells me this is impossible and wrong. But if I like dogs, blow-up dolls, unattainable princesses that exist only in my mind, or children, then perhaps I won’t consider celibacy to be such an issue …

    (Is that what you were implying? If so, I missed it).

  71. zorronsky

    I should have made clear that I was indeed pointing out that the practice of erasure existed and flourished also in institutions other than RC. Burwood was a Methodist church Home. With regard to what those records included, it was also an opportunity to once again, in the good old Protestant way, get in whatever message they felt would serve future institutionalisation. In my case this came to light when, at the hostel for old boys in Hawthorn, my father disowned me because I was the ‘rotten apple in the barrel’. I didn’t know that he had been paying for my keep and I had only seen him once before while in hospital with rheumatic fever.
    I didn’t see him again for many years and was fortunate then to be able to regularly exchange visits and my children adored him.
    Incidentally of the wage of three pounds fifteen shillings I was earning at the time, three pounds ten shillings was taken for board.

  72. David Irving (no relation)

    I just finished Marr’s essay this morning. Pell strikes me as a seriously slippery fucker – a similar attitude to truth as Abbott.

  73. Casey

    FN, I had long searched for relative stats which showed levels of abuse across the denominations and professions and institutions. Up until the Victorian inquiry, I could not find anything that suggested that the rates of abuse were worse than anywhere else. There was an American study underwhich suggested this might be the case. Do you know of any Australian studies which show rates of abuse across professions and denominations etc? Because of the American study, my feeling was that perhaps the abuse rates are the same everywhere and that celibacy was hardly an explanation for paedophilia in the Church. However, the Victorian inquiry delivered a different picture to what I thought might be happening and clearly showed the rates are higher across denominations. To that end, as you say, I am in no way an expert in subterfuge but you have to begin to at least ask why it proliferates in the Catholic church. As you say the hierarchy will protect its own but it might also be that a paedophile attracted exclusively to kids (as opposed to situational abusers who can just as easily be attracted to adult women and men) might find find the vow of celibacy a bit of a relief and a cloak for their disordered wiring.

  74. David Irving (no relation)

    Casey, re the White Widow – she sounds like something staight out of a Bulldog Drummond story.

  75. David Irving (no relation)

    Straight, dammit. I hate this keyboard.

  76. jules

    White widow is also a particular strain of marijuana renowned for its potency, yield, yumminess and overall ease of growing. It was developed by an Australian grower, if the rumours be true.

  77. faustusnotes

    Casey, I’d be highly dubious about any academic study purporting to show such a relationship – selection bias much? It would be very hard to get a good sample. I think inquiries are the main way to get at the truth of these differences, and I am thoroughly unsurprised that the Victorian inquiry found such a result.

    There’s a lot of scandal in Thailand involving Buddhist monks, but the scandal there involves adult women, some willing and some unwilling/tricked. That scene has a lot less central heirarchy and fragmentation than the Catholic church, and probably (I don’t know) less veneration of the celibacy thing on its own (they also venerate poverty and vegetarianism). Draw your own conclusions …

  78. jules

    Samantha Lewthwaite is the human name of the person known as the “white widow” btw.

  79. Chris

    Casey, I’d be highly dubious about any academic study purporting to show such a relationship – selection bias much? It would be very hard to get a good sample.

    Could it simply be a case of more opportunity – eg the programs and the size of the programs the Catholic church ran where clergy had easy access to the children?

  80. faustusnotes

    Chris, to know that would require access to detailed records about the numbers of children in the system, and the numbers of abused children, probably with information about the groups they were in (classes, sunday schools, etc) over many years. It would be too hard, I think.

  81. faustusnotes

    US Government just shut down!

  82. tigtog

    Could it simply be a case of more opportunity – eg the programs and the size of the programs the Catholic church ran where clergy had easy access to the children?

    One of the big differences in the Catholic system versus other denominations is, of course, that children (or at least boys) are incorporated into the worship rituals as altar boys, giving them a direct relationship with the priests separate from the relationship the priests have with the rest of their family as congregants, and regular access to parts of the church (vestry etc) where other congregants generally do not go into. This alone gives Catholic clergy more access to children than the clergy of other denominations tend to have.

    Clergy who teach in schools have a far broader range of opportunities around children of course, and the Catholic church runs more schools than any other denominations, even/especially in minority Catholic countries/states, because of the clerical encouragement for Catholics to attend parochial schools. So it would actually be surprising to me if there were not more incidents of CSA in Catholic schools in toto than in other denominational schools, although the per capita rates might not be that different.

    Finally, given that paedophiles tend to have a certain cunning in both recognising and creating opportunities for themselves to groom/exploit children, and that paedophile rings are known to exist and exchange tactics/strategies, there might well be a paedophile-culture item of common-knowledge that becoming a Catholic clergyman rather than any other sort of clergyman is a path that would give rise to more opportunities for CSA. Nothing to do with religious beliefs per se, everything to do with institutional weaknesses.

  83. faustusnotes

    If it were just opportunity then the public school system would be the most prevalent source of abuse. Clearly it isn’t, and the clear difference between the public school system and the clergy is the degree of oversight and strictness of governance applied to teachers. A lot of teachers are young and unmarried too; but incidences of such abuse amongst public school teachers are very rare.

  84. tigtog

    FN, public school teachers are not given anything like the priestly respect/authority/trust that clerical teachers get. There’s a whole community – parents, staff and children – in a religious school which is acculturated to deferring to priestly authority. There is nothing remotely approaching that level of deference and associated opportunities for manipulation of trust in public schools, which is of course exactly why there is a stricter degree of oversight and governance and general accountability in public schools.

    It’s not just how many children these predators come into contact with each day. It’s how the system protects or fails to protect the children who come into contact with these predators every day. Public school teachers have always known that any discovery of CSA means not just the end of their teaching career but also a very likely term of imprisonment. Catholic clergy have by contrast known that any consequences for being discovered engaging in CSA are basically zero.

    So the opportunity/risk calculus for these predators is not remotely the same. Becoming a Catholic clergyman offered a far better chance of getting away with CSA over and over again, and going by the Church’s ongoing refusal to effectively acknowledge and reform their systemic institutional failures in this regard, it seems that becoming a Catholic clergyman still offers a better opportunity to get away with CSA over and over again than nearly any other career.

  85. faustusnotes

    My point exactly tigtog: it’s not about access or availability (though obviously these are necessary) but about governance and accountability. Which is why it’s not enough to let Pell off the hook if he can achieve some grubby state of plausible deniability. He is responsible for his church, and for controlling the behavior of his clergy. He didn’t, and whether he did that wilfully or blindly is only relevant for whether he should be charged for criminal negligence or conspiracy.

  86. paul burns

    Beats me how one can live in a presbytery with a rockspider and not realise within at worst a couple of months there’s something very wrong going on. They’re not exactly capacious buildings.

  87. Chris

    He is responsible for his church, and for controlling the behavior of his clergy. He didn’t, and whether he did that wilfully or blindly is only relevant for whether he should be charged for criminal negligence or conspiracy.

    Someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I think that although Pell has some moral authority over the many separate catholic organisations, in many cases (and there are specific ones which are exceptions) he has had no legal authority. The reporting hierarchy goes directly back to the Vatican rather than through him. People see the Catholic church in Australia as one organisation but in reality its lots of independent, often quite small ones.

    So whilst he could be publicly morally condemned for alleged lack of action, the legal responses may be quite limited.

  88. faustusnotes

    He has moral authority though, and usually people who lay a claim to moral authority have to behave morally. e.g. by cashing in paedophiles when they know they are active in their church, issuing directives on the cashing in of paedophiles, pushing for changes that would encourage accountability etc. We don’t see much of that from the Big P, do we?

  89. Casey

    So whilst he could be publicly morally condemned for alleged lack of action, the legal responses may be quite limited.

    He was still paying one pedophile a stipend after the creep had fled to England having been tipped off from someone high up in the church that the cops were about to move. Pell said he had no choice. Yet when the next Bishop in Victoria took over after Pell relocated to Sydney, he cut off the stipend pronto. I daresay that while you cannot defrock, there is much room to exercise some authority and Pell has refused to do so, always with excuses, excuses.

  90. tigtog

    In an tangent from FN’s upthread points about the lack of strict oversight/governance/accountability in the Church adding up to a a system whereby paedophiles could play all the angles to ensure a lack of consequences, I feel this story from Crooked Timber about a man in the USA being fired by his private employer for having a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic desktop background is somewhat inversely related. There’s a predictable Brony uproar regarding how can this be and why can’t he sue from folks who don’t realise just how few rights the average US employee has against any boss who happens to be an intolerant arsehole:

    It’s not merely that bosses are intolerant assholes, though clearly many of them are. It’s that they get to be intolerant assholes because the workplace is set up that way. Not by accident, or in the exception, but by design. In the typical American workplace, you can be fired for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all. By law.

    The Catholic church system whereby it is almost impossible to fire/expel a priest for any offence other than challenging the church hierarchy itself, strikes me as a mirror of the US employment laws in practice but with ultimately the same goal in principle – to protect the system’s owners/managers against those who actually create the products of the system (workers/congregants).

  91. faustusnotes

    Nice tangent, tigtog, and a valid point. People like Pell are responsible in large part for the structure and governance of the church, and the reasons it is completely impenetrable and non-responsive to congregants but willing to bend over backwards for paedophiles. It’s noteworthy that America’s weak workplace protections developed in a system with limited union power – where workers can organize, the kinds of insanity on display in that thread can’t happen. And whaddya know, the same is true in the catholic church – very limited ability for the laity to organize to protect their rights, though obviously for different reasons (the reasons you identified above about respect and piety).

    (And hasn’t CT been on a roll lately? Belle Waring particularly has been in fine fettle!)

  92. Chris

    He has moral authority though, and usually people who lay a claim to moral authority have to behave morally. e.g. by cashing in paedophiles when they know they are active in their church, issuing directives on the cashing in of paedophiles, pushing for changes that would encourage accountability etc.

    Yes definitely and from all that I have read I think she should be condemned for not pushing for reform.

    He was still paying one pedophile a stipend after the creep had fled to England having been tipped off from someone high up in the church that the cops were about to move.

    Its those cases which I find most appalling. Where the church has not only covered up cases of abuse, but moved them out of reach of the police and not even told the church leadership where they move to that they have been accused of sexually abusing children.

    t’s noteworthy that America’s weak workplace protections developed in a system with limited union power – where workers can organize, the kinds of insanity on display in that thread can’t happen.

    Union power in the US is not strictly less than in Australia. In some areas its surprisingly strong – eg in restrictions on what workers are allowed to do – say whether a worker is allowed to move their stuff from one cubicle to another or if it has to be done by someone from the right union. In others its pathetically weak – eg at-will employment mentioned above is very common.

  93. Obviously Obtuse

    Shorten, I think, went to Xavier. The first day of the royal commission a student from 30 odd years ago detailed sexual and physical abuse there. (Reported on RN, google whelan and xavier) I missed the sex abuse but saw students getting there heads banged together hard enough to make them cry from pain for talking in class. I cannot say how much i hate and hated the place. Wonder what he saw?
    Look up Broken Rites, search for Xavier, and they point out that Xavier still has their sports facilities named after a priest who they’ve paid money out on to hush up sex abuse allegations. (I checked this yesterday). We need some kind of earthfirst-style militancy against the catholics. I’d donate money to any group that proposed it. Can we close their schools down?

  94. GregM

    Union power in the US is not strictly less than in Australia. In some areas its surprisingly strong – eg in restrictions on what workers are allowed to do – say whether a worker is allowed to move their stuff from one cubicle to another or if it has to be done by someone from the right union.

    That’s not a sign of strong union power. It’s a sign of union rent-seeking. Happily most of our unions put that sort of behaviour behind them in the 1980s.

  95. zorronsky
  96. Chris

    That’s not a sign of strong union power. It’s a sign of union rent-seeking. Happily most of our unions put that sort of behaviour behind them in the 1980s.

    A union needs quite a bit of power to be able to force employers and other employees to comply with those sorts of demands though. So it might not be a responsible use of power, but its a sign of significant power regardless.

  97. paul burns

    tigtog @ 82,

    there might well be a paedophile-culture item of common-knowledge that becoming a Catholic clergyman rather than any other sort of clergyman is a path that would give rise to more opportunities for CSA. Nothing to do with religious beliefs per se, everything to do with institutional weaknesses.

    tigtog, I am sure that some time ago I read a lengthy article making exactly this point, citing chapter and verse, etc. Unfortunately I can’t remember its location. Peculiarly enough it may have been on one of the Catholic sites I surf from time to time. Sorry I can’t provide more detail.

  98. tigtog

    Gedankenexperiment from Slate on today’s big US news: How Would We Report on the Government Shutdown if It Were Happening in Another Country?

  99. tigtog

    While I’m in the mood for German words, this story definitely invokes schadenfreude: the KKK had to cancel a rally because it was scheduled to happen in a National Park, and all permits for special events in the national parks have been revoked due to the federal government shutdown.

    You just know the Klansmen were cheering the Tea Party on until their rally got cancelled.

  100. Casey

    Whilst the author of this piece is getting caned in the comments for being rather late in waking up to the fact that Gillard was an exceptional Prime Minister, it seems that Melbourne had a different flavour to Sydney, which is interesting. I wish I’d seen both:


  101. Liz

    It’s a really silly article. Three years of the media telling us what a hopeless performer she was. And now they discover she wasn’t.

  102. jules

    Oh and while we’re at it…

    FUCK YOU Metgasco.

  103. Liz

    Unfortunately, someone retweeted that tedious bore Dr Tad into my feed. He simply can’t stand the response Gillard is getting. The poor baby. Why didn’t those silly women consult with him about what the correct line is?

  104. faustusnotes

    Thanks for ruining my day with that Liz, I just looked and found this charming retweet:

    If asylum seekers were ever women I am sure that Women For Gillard would protest very strongly but luckily they are not.

    This manages to be simultaneously rhetorically weak and personally nasty. Well done! And when tweeting/retweeting such crap, do they consider how the alternative potential PM jumped the shark on this very topic? It’s going to be hard for Women For Gillard to protest the treatment of any asylum seekers, since Rudd has ensured they will be buried out of sight in PNG…

  105. faustusnotes

    oh wait that tweet is from June! I think I stumbled on an old Dr Tad …

  106. Liz

    Old, new. Dr. Tad is always a pain.

  107. FMark

    I recall a paper a few years ago that looked at sexual advances by the clergy in the US using the GSS, but (A) it was for adults, and (B) I’m not sure if the sample size was big enough to look at prevalence by denomination (usually only 2k-4k, so even with a large 3% prevalence that’s only a maximum of 120 respondents).

    I can try and track it down if there is interest from the LP hivemind though. The data should be publicly accessible.

  108. zorronsky

    [email protected]
    Quite a few Ruddites share Dr Tad’s misplaced distaste…

  109. faustusnotes

    Okay, found Dr Tad’s current twitter feed, completely understand complaints. Was that <140 characters!?

  110. Casey

    I am wondering when the media and everybody with an outraged opinion is going to get over Miley Cyrus’s decision to twerk at MTV and lick earth moving equipment on her latest video. I have read four articles today alone on the subject of Miley’s ’emerging sexuality’ and I am wondering if everyone has blown their minds or something and forgotten the last 25 years of modern pop music?

    Cause you’d think the way everyone is crapping on that Madonna never went and had a bit of sexual frisson the that statue of a saint in that little church on La Isla Bonita that time, not to mention her Sex book. Were people not alive when she published that?

    I dunno.

    I think people should be outraged about the animal onsie. The only reason I have hesitated mentioning it before is that I don’t understand a thing about it. I am like a cave person transported from the dawn of time into modernity, when it comes to this startling apparel. I actually gape at the yoof in their baby outfits and start anxiously clutching pearls because I know my lack of understanding marks my official entry into old age. I would be grateful if someone could explain the allure of walking down the street looking like Simba the lion king. I don’t at all get it. Does anyone have children that do this stuff? Wut are they trying to say exactly?

  111. jules

    Doesn’t this happen every time some manufactured “kid safe” pop industry product hits their 20s? Miley Cyrus’ actual music should generate more outrage than whatever she does to try and sell it. Its boring, soulless crap.

    Unlike her dad. Now there was a muso…

    Cute furry animals eventually rise up and destroy their witch oppressors too, so its probably a genetic memory or precognition or something Casey.

  112. paul burns

    I didn’t even realise it was going on.

  113. Helen

    Quite agree Casey – it’s like Elvis and his hip swivels all over again. Get off our lawn! When will people ever learn?

  114. jules

    Elvis – thats when the trouble began isn’t it. WE all know elvis is an anagram of “devil’s” with an occult (it means hidden) d.

  115. paul burns

    I thought it started with Frank Sinatra. That Old Black Magick.
    Or is the date for that song too late for that?

  116. faustusnotes

    I know this is probably stoush bait and I probably won’t have time today to engage, but it’s like that scene with teh light in that bug movie … I can’t resist …

    … to some extent the latest outrage about Twerky Cyrus is related to the increasing feminist concerns about pr0nification of culture. Largely it’s been coopted by conservatives (as all such concerns always are) but some of the people jumping on this bandwagon (e.g. Sinead O’connor) seem to be doing it from an implicitly or explicitly anti-pr0n perspective. Maybe the silliness of the outrage about Twerky Twerky Cyrus shows some of the contradictions and confusion associated with that anti-pr0nification literature?

  117. Russell

    Madonna, Elvis, Frank Sinatra ? Mae West did it all first.

  118. Casey

    I thought Sinaed’s letter was ridiculous.

  119. jules

    It started with jazz in the 20s Paul. Or in the 1700s.

    Basically throughout history any music that isn’t old, boring and European is considered satanic. (New, interesting, European music obviously is.)

    BTW Frank Sinatra was one of the last people to sing that song (possibly cos once he sang it he owned it), it was around for years before he made it his own.

  120. Katz


    Pop music enablers failing to replicate the counter cultural frisson of the late 1960s. I guess forgetfulness enables more money to be wrung out of that tired old trope.

    And Onesies as a personal statement?


    As up to date as 1967!

  121. jules

    Casey, seriously for a moment – why did you think Sinead’s letter was ridiculous, did you think all of it was, or just some of it?

  122. paul burns

    Suppose I might as well show my age. What’s a onesie? Is it the same as a selfie?

  123. jules

    Wait a minute – there are 2 sinead letters. The first one does seem a bit condescending in places – the second one was ok tho.

  124. Casey

    Jules it’s a slut shaming sexist patronizing load of crap!

  125. Casey

    Paul, lately kids are walking round in fancy dress outfits dressed as animals. Google animal onsie.

  126. faustusnotes

    The whole response broadly struck me as slut-shaming. Also, a good example of how aesthetic concerns about being “classy” or “tasteful” often get elided with slut-shaming when applied to young women.

  127. paul burns

    Casey @ 125,
    Ah, I remember seeing something about that on TV last week I think. Looks like fun. Thanks Casey.

  128. paul burns

    Also, what happens when they go into banks dressed like that? Does security freak out? 🙂

  129. jules

    When i was reading Sinead’s letter I was actually reminded of a Tool song called Hooker with a Penis. It kind of sums up the whole thing really. I thought Sinead O’Conner would have been smart enough to avoid being caught up in an ongoing marketing campaign for boring pointless music.

    Which is the only thing I think Miley Cyrus should be criticised for – making stupid, boring music and she’s hardly the only one on that boat.

  130. Jacques de Molay

    FWIW, I don’t know much about her music but good on Miley Cyrus for stirring up the pearl clutching establishment with her twerking, topless photo shoots and whatever, more power to her.

  131. Casey

    I don’t know Paul, I suspect they’d be asked to remove their snouts at the very least. As it stands my local shopping centre now looks like the Serengeti Wildlife Reserve. I think I could accommodate this generational statement if they were more friendly. But they insist on looking fluffy, cute and antisocial which is what is unnerving me. They all seem to look rather sullen as they go on their daily foraging or whatever it is they do. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are suicidal emos in those animal suits, it’s the only explanation.

  132. paul burns

    Casey, Casey, Casey,
    Yoof is always rather sullen.

  133. jules

    Once upon a time they wore koala suits and you’d hit them and steal their buckets.

    Why furries are scary.

  134. jules

    Jacques – Miley is the establishment, and nothing she does shakes up anything really. This whole thing is marketing thats all.

  135. Jacques de Molay

    Wouldn’t agree she is the establishment but no doubt there is marketing in it. Sex sells.

  136. Mindy

    It is interesting Casey – the directors cut is just Miley singing at the camera ala Sinead. The version I saw last night has all the swinging on the wrecking ball etc. That version is a bit OTT for me. I can see what Sinead is getting at but I am not so sure that Miley is being exploited so much as having a hell of a time after getting out of the Disney shackles. To me it looks like she is running a bit wild after the Hannah Montana days and has the money to pay for it.

    I thought Sinead’s letter was quite whorephobic to.

  137. Casey

    Mindy, the director is Terry Richardson – a somewhat controversial photographer who has been accused of exploiting young models and worse. Jezebel has done some stuff on him.

    My point is that nobody sent ‘motherly’ letters to Madonna, etc, talking about what ‘young ladies’ should do. You’d think Sinead never left the Catholic church of 1952, the way she goes on. I think Cyrus is getting it cause she is taking great delight is demolishing Hannah. On my facebook minifeed the consternation was coming from 40 plus mums, which made me roll my eyes in amusement. As if they weren’t gyrating to “Like a Virgin, Touched for the thirty first time”, back in the day, puleez.

    But as Jules points out, talent-wise she is completely outdone by her father’s mullet.

  138. Casey

    Heh, you thought the LP stoush of the past few days was crazytown, check this account of the twitter stoush between Miley and Sinead (h/t to Mindy):


  139. faustusnotes

    yes, that Sinead O’Connor letter is very anti sex worker, and also has perhaps one of the most contradictory sentences in the english language:

    If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you

    I would have thought that if someone wants you sexually, one can be fairly certain that they “give a fuck about you.” Maybe she meant to write “More than a fuck about you.” Who can say.

    Has the world of music criticism gone backwards to before Madonna? Is this what Madonna’s constant pushing of the barriers got for hte rest of us, a music press that hasn’t yet grown up about sex work and lust? The mind boggles.

  140. Mindy

    I’m going to come out and say it: I think Miley is quite a talented young lady and she can sing so much better than Billy Ray. Remember he inflicted this on us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byQIPdHMpjc

    Although I do have to admit that is one talented mullet. Being able to tie and untie itself from a hairband in one film clip is something I don’t think I have seen before.

  141. paul burns

    Was Miley Cyrus in the Mickey Mouse Club before she grew up or something?

  142. Su

    heh, Mindy. Best mullet I’ve seen this year is Paul Foot’s, last night on the Buzzcocks. Wispy, like a gonk, you just want to take it home and give it a saucer of milk. Whereas the Kajagoogoo, Cyrus stiff-as-a-hedgehog/porcupine version — reminiscent of a toilet brush.

    Any 40 plus mother worth her salt knows the way to turn your youngsters off things is too embrace them with gusto. Some friends of mine were big time party people, lots of recreational substances, interesting band members coming and going from the house. Their eldest rebelled by joining the most conservative evangelical outfit around, complete with folk rock guitar and Jesus lyrics. Hilarious, the mutual mortification. I take immense pleasure from telling my 19 year old, ” oh yeah I used to listen to that”. Cruel, cruel unnatural mother I am.

  143. Liz

    Yeah, I was having an argument with a friend about Miley Cyrus with a friend who insists it’s demeaning to all women. I just don’t get that.

  144. Su

    Demeaning no, but I’ve been thinking for while now that there is a distinctly nasty flavour to the relationship between the “public” and artists of all kinds. It’s like we urge them to extremes, to embody everything we simultaneously fear and desire and then at a crucial moment, having curdled our stomachs with it all we perform the ritual slaughter of the scapegoat, usually just rhetorically, but how much of what happened to Winehouse and even Adam Cullen is about personal foibles and how much is to do with our deliberate construction of a particular kind of artist figure, the person who can’t be good unless they step further and further into genuine peril.

    I saw a little piece about a sculptor who had not been working for a while because he was nursing his partner through a terminal illness, but now he had re-emerged. The tone of the commentator as he was explaining this back story just seemed bizarre, it was like he had been lost and diminished, as if actual life, struggles with human problems that invoke a sense of care are considered detrimental to work, while the vortex of self destructive addiction, the supreme selfishness of a person in that state is something we worship in the artist as enfant terrible. Artists can be both our scapegoats and the child/artisan walled up in the bridge or monument. I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself very well.

    Actually someone linked to a long piece about Daniel Radcliffe that has just been published I can’t quite remember where, anyway it gave me much the same sense of foreboding I felt about Britney Spears, even though he isn’t copping anything like the negative attention, just the sheer weight of attention, it’s a voracious thing, it can be annihilating. He mentioned that he felt quite a lot in common with his role as the young Bulgakov in thrall to morphine, having drunk himself into an amnesiac stupor for a couple of years. Someone posted the whole of series one of A Young Doctor’s Notebook on Youtube, it’s pretty darn amazing, I think. He and Hamm are really good.

  145. Helen

    Russell @ 117 – zackly. And before that there were those naughty, naughty jolie laidies at the Folie Bergeres. And before that…

    Casey, I saw two young girls in animal onesies about to cross Geelong Road the other day. They certainly are proliferating. And the stall where we usually stop to buy socks at Highpoint had a rack of onesies last time I was there.

  146. tigtog

    Su, much as I love Paul Foot and his manic caperings, I can’t really recommend his fashion sense!

    Regarding the weird relationship between the public and their icons, I read a fine example of it in the Terrorgraph today while waiting for my fish and chip dinner. Apparently Rihanna failed to impress some people in business class on the flight between Melbourne and Sydney because she sat there quietly with her sunglasses on for the whole flight so that she wouldn’t make eye contact with anybody. Oh noes, she wasn’t being entertaining for them! Therefore she is teh sux0r.

  147. Moz of Yarramulla

    [email protected]: Sinead O’Connor went off the rails some time ago. She embraced rastafarianism, released some truly awful albums, her live shows became even more awful than the albums, and her public comments have long since gone awry. So yeah, the letter didn’t surprise me, I read it and thought “well, at least she’s trying to be encouraging” in the same way that your racist old uncle saying “good to see you’re not working for that ***** any more” when you get a new job. The sentiment is there, but let’s just not read it too closely or think about some of her other attitudes.

    The thing that made me laugh was that Miley appears to be doing *exactly* what Sinead is suggesting she does. Viz, she’s doing her own thing.

  148. Su

    @ Tigtog Yes, why is it that the celeb dark glasses thing is popularly understood as affectation when it seems so clearly to be a last ditch attempt to limit availability? That half cm gap between the lens and the cornea is pretty much the last vestige of privacy allowed to them when they are in a public space.

  149. jules

    Su @ 144 – have you ever seen South Park episode “Britney’s New Look”.

    Its kind of eerily prescient.

  150. Su

    No, I hadn’t– yeah they nailed the whole creepy ritual takedown angle. I don’t watch SP regularly but Osama bin Laden has Farty pants was solid gold. And Red Hot Catholic Love.