News articles about transgenders confuse me

I am privileged enough to have benefited from an excellent education in English comprehension, some of which stuck in my sub-standard brain, but newspaper articles about transgender folk in 2019 always require re-reading.

Am I alone in this? Is this just me?

This one, for example, needed three passes before I worked out what was going on;

Zach Barack honoured to be Marvel’s first openly transgender star

The 23-year-old gushed about the role during an interview with Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday. And reflecting on his casting, the star admitted his Hollywood debut still hasn’t sunk in.
“I’m kind of losing my mind a little bit, but I’m acting like I’m not. I don’t know that it fully has (sunk in),” he confessed. “I don’t quite have the capacity to explain how meaningful it is to me.”
Referencing comics as an “important” part of his childhood, Zach went on to explain that there’s “something very inherently trans about those stories”, where a character has to balance life as a teenager and their secret self.

Did you work it out? “Zach” is a woman who thinks she’s a man.

The pictures often help, to be fair. If you find your inner voice saying something along the lines of, “Christ, that’s an ugly man/woman“, it’ll be because they aren’t.

It turns out millions of years of evolution have resulted in the ability to rapidly sort other humans into potential mate/not potential mate categories before we are even consciously aware of the process occurring.

In “Zach’s” words;

“Especially being a transmasculine person, because sometimes there’s a pressure to be a different way than I feel naturally inclined to do because I want to fit in, and I have to actively fight that instinct,” he reflected.

Fighting one’s instinct to “fit in”? That’s a road to happiness and mental well-being, I’m sure.

“The fact of the matter is, being in this movie is so beyond incredibly meaningful, and I hope that it means something to other people.”

Well done, you got a job. It’s probably only meaningful to you and a couple of other people…. like your landlord and bank manager.

Here’s another example:

A transgender man who is fighting to have his child be the first in the UK to legally not have a mother made a documentary showing his child’s face whilst arguing that his family needed court anonymity to protect them from harm.

This being the UK’s Daily Telegraph, one of the last to get the “woke” memo, they give the game away early:

Freddy McConnell, who was born a woman, launched a High Court battle against the Government earlier this year after the General Registrar Office (GRO) refused to register him as the “father” on his child’s birth certificate.

Ok, it’s a woman who’s convinced herself that she’s a man… but not enough to stop her from going to a sperm donor and subsequently pushing a baby through the birth canal and out of her “male vagina” 9 months later.

As an aside, can you imagine the linguistic contortions the midwifery team had to put themselves through to avoid stepping on “Freddie’s” offence eggshells? One has to have some sympathy.

Selective acceptance of inconvenient facts seems to be a theme in “Freddie’s” world:

Mr McConnell was accused of being in “serious breach of his duty of candour to the Court” by failing to disclose the existence of a documentary called Seahorse, which he began filming three years ago. 
Throughout the documentary – which premiered at the trendy New York film festival Tribeca in April – Mr McConnell openly shares personal details including his attempts to get pregnant, giving birth and footage of his child’s face.  
The court heard how Mr McConnell completed his gender transition several years ago and was able to access a sperm donor 10 days after legally becoming a man. As a result, he became pregnant and later gave birth to YY.

Ah, nothing channels Marlene Dietrich’s “I vont to be alone” like being the star of your own BBC documentary. That takes living off the grid to a new level, eh?

The evidence prompted Sir Andrew <McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court> to raise concerns about transgender men’s ability to access fertility treatment in the UK, as he called on the government to review the current legislation. 

Ya think?

Not least of the concerns should be that it’s highly unlikely “Freddie” paid for the treatment out of their own bank account but received it from the UK’s publicly-funded National Health Service.

As a slight digression, if “Freddie” was the recipient of thousands of pounds’ worth of IVF treatment on the NHS, let’s spare a thought for the minimum wage earning taxpayers stacking supermarket shelves on the night shift to pay for it.

But how did I make the leap of faith to assume “Freddie” didn’t get the IVF privately?

Because she/he isn’t on a high salary. We know that because the article helpfully tells us the name of her/his employer.

In April, two months after the initial court hearing, he gave an interview to The Guardian – where he works as a digital journalist – revealing his own full name, where they live and specific medical details of his transition process. 

So, an alternate headline for the story about Freddie and his male vagina could have been:

BBC makes documentary about transgender Guardian journalist.

Echo chamber much?

Bill’s Opinion

Confusing media reports of transgender folk fall into two categories; those that refer to their “new” gender in a sympathetic attempt to not further the subject’s psychological pain, and those that are deliberate in their attempt to obfuscate and change the meaning of previously universally understood nouns.

There’s possibly a third, supplemental reason for these misleading exercises in English comprehension; digital media is paid for by clicks and time spent on pages. If I have to page back and forth up an article until I’ve understood what’s being presented to me, it registers as a positive statistic to the advertising industry. There’s value in the confusion.

Or as the old sales cliché goes (borrowed from Sun Tzu), “where there’s chaos, there’s margin“.

The result of the confluence of these three reasons to change the meaning of millenia-old nouns is a change to our method of assessing the words presented to us. No woman of child-bearing age is going to look at “Zach” and unconsciously register “him” as a potential father of her future children. The lizard brain has got there first and already deselected “him” out.

There’s a solid scientific study simply waiting to be had to confirm this hypothesis. Good luck ever working again if you undertake it though.

So we unconsciously learn to associate “transgender” with the word “not“. As in “transgender woman” equals “not woman“. I somehow doubt this was the desired outcome of those who seek to change our language.

The cultural Marxists are generally not slow to spot failures of strategy though, so I predict there will be a concerted effort to no longer use transgender as a prefix in future, to be replaced with something else with less linguistic baggage.

We will know sanity has completely lost the culture war when we are told we should not (and later, cannot) use a prefix at all to describe transgender people.

No male Bonding

Actress Lashana Lynch will take on the iconic spy role of 007 in Bond 25, according to reports.

Not really; the click bait headline tricks you into learning she’s just been given his code name after James Bond has “retired”.

Putting aside the ridiculous journalistic contortions required to rely on “reports” as a source of news, and who the hell is Lashana Lynch anyway… who cares?

But seriously, who gives a stuff whether Bond is played by a man, woman, Indian, Eskimo or African? It’s a fictional character in a film, a make believe story with people pretending to be someone they aren’t.

If people watch the movie and judge it to be fun and/or credible, they’ll tell other people who will then pay money to watch it. If it stinks, everyone who sees it will loudly say so at every opportunity.

Unlike, say the appointment of a diversity hire CEO of bank, movies have quite a rapid feedback mechanism. The studio accountants will know within weeks of the premiere whether or not a break from the standard formula has worked with the ticket-buying public.

Bill’s Opinion

The next James Bond could be played by a wheelchair-bound gay Native American amputee with a pet squirrel for all I care.

James Bond is not some sacred religious figure who can only be played by a macho white English alpha male. If fact, Daniel Craig is only the 2nd Englishman to have played the part (3rd if you count the David Niven spoof).

If a Bond movie with a non “traditional” actor gets good reviews from sources I trust, I’ll pay to see it. If it gets Ghostbuster-esque reviews (Guardian – 4 stars vs everyone else who doesn’t write for a Woke media outlet – very few stars) I won’t.

Ghostbusters could only reach 22nd place on a list of 2016 films by revenue, by the way.

We’re gonna need a bigger shredder

Back when Jesus was but a young lad, we kicked this organ off with an examination of why reparations for slavery is a tempting idea but utter lunacy.

Ah, those halcyon days of early 2017 before the world as we knew it went absolutely insane.

Since then, the USA Democratic Party has continued down the road of investigating whether reparations make sense, debating it in Washington.

As we predicted, they are now running into huge issues which are unlikely to be ever resolved. The idea of generational guilt seems to be making a comeback, for example, with Senator Mitch McConnell being asked to “please explain” why two of his relatives five generations ago owned slaves?

To repeat, an apparently otherwise fully-functioning sentient member of the human race just asked someone to comment on the actions 150 years ago of someone with whom they share about 6.25% of DNA…..

Yes, that’s the road we’re on. And it gets worse from here, go back and read my original post on the subject to get an idea of what further lunacy we’ll have to endure. Sometimes slippery slopes have to slide a long way down before they achieve fallacy status.

To McConnell’s credit, he responded perfectly; pointing out the previous President was in the same genetic fix. 

It’s clear this is a bad idea that is going to hang around for sometime to come. The question sensible people should ask now is, what’s the risk to me and where’s the opportunity?

Bill’s Opinion

If you are an American reading this, it’s highly unlikely you currently know whether or not your ancestry passes the slavery purity test. It’s a risk and one which, if it transpires, will certainly cause difficulties for you should you work in politics.

Depending on how long this runs before it’s universally agreed to be daft, there’s a risk that regular people may take a hit (likely financial) if they are found to have had slave owner ancestors.

Actually, let’s clarify that last sentence; EVERYONE ALIVE TODAY has slave owning ancestors. Until William Wilberforce, it was the primary source of cheap labour across every continent throughout human history; if you won a battle against your enemies, you enslaved them. It was just the rule for hundreds of generations.

The amazing thing was that it was ever made illegal at all. Thank you, Christianity and the industrial revolution…..

Of course, the difference between my non-American slave-owning relatives and yours is that mine owned slaves before written records were widely kept. Lucky me.

In fact, it could be argued that people like me, the undocumented slave owning descendants, are the really evil ones because we are hiding in plain sight… No, let’s not give the radical left any more stupid ideas.

There is a silver lining though; there’s a business opportunity here. Every person of ambition who suspects there may be a skeleton in their cupboard from 150 years ago is likely to suddenly be in need of a “cleanskin” service. That is, every electronic and paper record from that era needs to magically disappear like an Epstein flight manifest.

So, this is a call for expressions of interest for funds for my new business venture, Slave Ownership Records Removal Instantly, or SORRI for short.

Our initial start up seed money will be spent on flame-throwers (for the libraries), large degaussing equipment (for data centres) and to pay the salaries of some hairy-arsed mercenaries to undertake the cleansing activities.

 

 

 

 

Crikey! Where fallacies live

Australia has two “new media” organisations of note; Quillette and Crikey.

They could hardly be more different. The stated aim of Quillette is to publish “heterodox” ideas and be “where free speech lives“. A grand and quite brave claim for a website hosted in Australia, a country where the right to not be offended has been invented and given higher priority than the right to speak.

Crikey is a left of centre website with a focus on Australian politics.

Australian politics is not a hugely interesting subject, being mainly a real life case study of the Dunning-Kruger effect and venal opportunism in an extremely small fish pond. It’s like Lord of the Flies re-imagined with middle-aged characters and less violence.

Hence I tend to read more articles published by Quillette than Crikey.

This one by Guy Rundle has done nothing to change that.

He’s written about the Israel Folau saga….. because what the world really needs right now is yet more partisan speculation on that case, right?

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his article is the style of rhetoric he employs for the argument he is trying to make.

Thinking about the subject matter, one could probably write in a choice of styles that might look something like the following list (or a combination of it):

  • Factual; straight reporting of who said what, known relevant legal precedent and process, likely next steps and timelines.
  • Reactions; reporting how a range of stakeholders claim to feel and have responded to the case.
  • Measured opinion; based on the case, here’s my personal view of the morality of each stakeholder and my prediction for the future.
  • Sketch; poking fun at those involved in a way designed to amuse the reader.

The first two are what we’d hope objective news media would produce, the latter two are classed as “OpEd” and are, by definition, subjective. Here’s the rub though, if you claim to be a serious professional, even a subjective opinion requires the underpinning discipline of accuracy.

I’ve read and re-read Rundle’s article several times. It takes a while to understand what’s being presented to the reader on the page. What follows is an attempt at deciphering The Rundle Code (tm) :

First paragraph;

How is the right’s push on religious freedom going? Terribly! It’s really great to watch — a bright spot in an otherwise bleak political landscape. There’s no way it can end well for them, and whatever happens will in someway benefit the left. As an added bonus, they are actively damaging previous successes they had in securing the autonomy of religious institutions in hiring practices. I’m loving every installment of this.

Ok. Ignore the two spelling mistakes… He’s correctly framing the case as a culture war battleground and he’s chosen his team.

Second paragraph;

Let’s do a quick recap. During the same-sex marriage plebiscite, one of the right’s more desperate tactics was to allege that a “yes” vote would be an assault on religious freedom in this country, for reasons they couldn’t explain. Discrimination on the basis of sexuality was already outlawed — same-sex marriage simply added one more area in which they couldn’t be discriminated against.

People did explain. You rejected their explanations. Here’s mine at the time, for example, and a subsequent follow up confirming my concerns were correct.

Third paragraph…. where Rundle claims to be able to read the minds of two other people;

The “religious freedom” scare came from a section of the conservative right identified with both elite Catholics like Paul Kelly — who see religion as a glue to bind society together whatever their real attachment to belief in God — and Protestant politico-cultural hysterics like Andrew Bolt, who believe the pagan endtimes are upon us. 

Quite what the definition of a politico-cultural hysteric is remains a mystery Rundle doesn’t help solve. I think it means he disagrees with something the person said.

 Fourth paragraph;

This gang has rode out before, in the great 18C debacle — remember 18C? — and had their arses handed to them by Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, petrified of the reaction from Big Multiculturalism. They lost on 18C, and they had a lot better material to work with. The best they could come up with on religious expression was Israel Folau.

Nice use of the vernacular there. What a Big Multiculturalism is goes unexplained.

Do we detect a hint of sarcasm in the line, “the best they could come up with”? What’s the inference? That Folau isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer? Ah, the bigotry of low expectations.

Are all Pacific Islanders stupid, Mr. Rundle, or just this one? To quote Ali G, “is it ‘cos he is black?

Fifth paragraph;

Personally I don’t think sports people should have to trade away their citizenship freedoms to do what they’re good at. But Folau appears to have flouted a contract he knowingly signed and it’s a far-from-ideal rallying point. Luckily for the right, the cultural left has come to their rescue, turning Folau’s childish just-so story pronouncements of “burning in hell” into potent political statements, by constructing them as potent hate speech.

Ignore the missing comma. Right then, which clause in Folau’s contract are you referring to? Oh, you haven’t seen the contract? Ah….

And we’ve decided stupid, brown Folau is childish now? Keep digging, son.

Paragraphs six, seven, eight and nine attempt to delve into the nature of rights. It’s safe to say these are not going to be challenging the USA Federalist Papers for intellectual robustness any time soon.

Rights that Rundle rejects are labelled content-based junk rights. It’s interesting that Rundle puts forward a strawman argument that there is a movement to legislate a right to Religious Freedom. I’m not aware of this, unless he’s referring to the removal of existing restrictions.

Paragraph ten, wherein Rundle goes full ad hominin on two people he doesn’t agree with;

In The Australian, Katrina Grace Kelly — her name at time of writing — noted that Folau’s claims were unlikely to succeed given the lean towards employers in such laws, but that if they did, they’d reset employment law entirely. The Institute of Public Affairs’ John Roskam is running a little dog ‘n’ pony show around the right (word is still out on whether Roskam is pony or dog), and Freedom Boy Tim Wilson made a cute little comment on the push by getting sworn in on a copy of Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom

That first dig is a reference to the fact that Ms. Kelly recently changed her name from the one she was given when she was adopted. The inference Rundle is offering is this won’t be her final name change. I’m not sure how that is in any way relevant to the Folau case, so will have to conclude he’s just being mean because he’s a misogynist (see what I did there?).

As for the line about Roskam being a dog or a pony, that tells us more about Rundle’s character than Roskam’s.

The final two paragraphs go on to predict Folau will lose and the right will whine.

Bill’s Opinion

I spotted the following fallacies used by Rundle, see if you can find any more; ad hominin, strawman, slippery slope, tu quoque, cherry picking.

However, this article is extremely informative, actually because of its form not it’s argument. Rundle has acknowledged this is the battleground for the culture war and, through an astounding inability to argue his side’s case without reverting to use of fallacies, has demonstrated his concerns about the weakness of his team’s position.

Better still, professional journalist Guy Rundle had to revert to the bigotry of low expectations, racism and misogyny to make his arguments.

How fun!

A rose by any other name?

It’s too easy to point at this kind of thinking, shake our heads and mutter, “…and this is why you got Brexit and Trump”. The thing is with clichés is that they are obviously based on an observable phenomenon other people can see as clearly as the person offering it. Whether or not the pithy cliché is completely accurate or not isn’t the point; there’s something true within the theme.

Witness this outstanding article by Brandon Ambrosino;

The invention of ‘heterosexuality’.

Before you click that link, a warning; it’s a 3,000+ word essay, so have a comfortable seat and a hot beverage ready if you’re planning on reading it.

A good rule to apply before reading anything on any subject is to consider the motivation of the writer when creating the content. This rule is particularly relevant to articles about sex in “news” media. My personal view is that these can be broken down into broad categories of;

1. Designed for prurient titillation – most stories about the sex lives of celebrities fall into this bucket,
2. Medical/informative – a new treatment for an STD, for example. There can be quite an overlap with category (1) at the same time, though, and
3. Persuasive – this is a variation on Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism. Put simply, “you normies are doing it wrong and, if only you would find me hot, you’d be so much happier and a better person”. Hence the current swathe of opinion pieces explaining how straight men are being transphobic for not getting aroused by men in dresses.

Guess which category Brandon’s BBC essay fall into?

An early clue can be found as to the motivation of the article;

“Sex has no history,” writes queer theorist David Halperin at the University of Michigan, because it’s “grounded in the functioning of the body.” Sexuality, on the other hand, precisely because it’s a “cultural production,” does have a history. In other words, while sex is something that appears hardwired into most species, the naming and categorising of those acts, and those who practise those acts, is a historical phenomenon, and can and should be studied as such.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it? The “queer theorist’s” statement that sexuality is a “cultural production” is accepted as fact and remains completely unchallenged for the remainder of the article.

Everything that then follows is built upon that foundation;

Or put another way: there have always been sexual instincts throughout the animal world (sex). But at a specific point in time, humans attached meaning to these instincts (sexuality). When humans talk about heterosexuality, we’re talking about the second thing.

We then have a potted history about the invention of the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual”, chucking in reference to another term invented at the same time, “heterogenit”, which was a synonym for bestiality. Because shagging animals is such a normal part of life’s rich tapestry that it needs a less pejorative term, doesn’t it?

One could be excused for wondering at this point whether the article’s headline could be amended to “The invention of the word ‘heterosexuality’’ and result in a much shorter opinion piece?

But of course, we know where this is going….

“Normal” is a loaded word, of course, and it has been misused throughout history. Hierarchical ordering leading to slavery was at one time accepted as normal, as was a geocentric cosmology. It was only by questioning the foundations of the consensus view that “normal” phenomena were dethroned from their privileged positions.

Normal” in my world describes the frequent naturally-occurring version of something. I’m not aware of a radically-different meaning universally-accepted by English speakers. If that makes the adjective “loaded”, we’ve not got much common ground on which we can converse.

Subsequent paragraphs continue to convince us that commonly-understood nouns and adjectives have a different meaning to those we previously thought. Everything you hold as true is wrong, is a theme we are being told, for example;

Socially, too, heterosexuality is losing its “high ground,” as it were. If there was a time when homosexual indiscretions were the scandals du jour, we’ve since moved on to another world, one riddled with the heterosexual affairs of politicians and celebrities, complete with pictures, text messages, and more than a few video tapes. Popular culture is replete with images of dysfunctional straight relationships and marriages. Further, between 1960 and 1980, Katz notes, the divorce rate rose 90%. And while it’s dropped considerably over the past three decades, it hasn’t recovered so much that anyone can claim “relationship instability” is something exclusive to homosexuality, as Katz shrewdly notes.

Sure, being outed as gay was a scandal in the past…..perhaps because it was illegal?
Heterosexual affairs by the rich and famous are scandals….. perhaps because the participants are rich and famous?
Affairs, in general, are scandalous…..perhaps because they are evidence of a failure of trust and human nature is to be shocked by this?

Let’s cut to the main message, found in the final paragraph. Clearly this isn’t a category 1 or 2 article about sex, it’s a “please find me hot” category 3. What is it the writer is trying to convince us to do that we currently frustrate him by refusing to?

The line between heterosexuality and homosexuality isn’t just blurry, as some take Kinsey’s research to imply – it’s an invention, a myth, and an outdated one. Men and women will continue to have different-genital sex with each other until the human species is no more. But heterosexuality – as a social marker, as a way of life, as an identity – may well die out long before then.

Bill’s Opinion

This article was paid for by the British taxpayer. They have paid for someone to explain to them that they are having the wrong kind of sex.

The reason they are having the wrong kind of sex is because, according to Critical Theory, as hinted at by the “queer theorist”, we are born with no inherent qualities. Everything we desire and act upon is a result of societal factors. We are empty vessels, tabula rasa, and if only we could start again, we could build a utopia where everyone would be happy to stick their bits into anyone or anything.

You can believe that to be true.

I don’t believe it to be true and my evidence is my existence; an inherent desire to put their bits into members of the opposite sex for thousands of preceding generations, predating language and recognisable societal groups has resulted in my birth. If that innate desire didn’t exist and was simply a result of a social construct, how did the society come into existence in the first place?

Never apologise, never explain

….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.

Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.

PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.

The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.

Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.

An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.

The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.

Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.

The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.

These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.

Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.

The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.

Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.

Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.

However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.

The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.

Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them

Bill’s Opinion

If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.

Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry. 

Kill it with fire

Sorry, but this saga isn’t going away and nobody is covering themselves with glory;

Christian charity to be investigated for helping Israel Folau.

Yes, Tom Decent was less interested in Australia’s progression to the cricket World Cup semi final after defeating England yesterday but continued his single issue activism journalism.

In a worrying omen for Folau, Gillian Triggs, the previous Australian Human Rights Commission president has offered words of support for his cause. Why is this worrying? Well, Triggs is one of those cultural bellwethers like Peter Fitzsimons; on any given issue, if they’ve made a public prediction about it, you’re usually safe to assume the opposite will occur.

Back to the inconvenient Israel Folau; he’s raised a further $1.2m in the previous 24 hours via a Christian charity donation website. Given that the previous money hasn’t been refunded yet, he’s probably well over the $2m level.

Understandably, this has really annoyed the people who are correct about these things. So, rather than bother letting due process play out, they’re trying to close him down again.

A number of complainants, however, have confirmed to the Herald that they have raised their concerns with the charities commission over the fundraising role played by the ACL.

In a statement, the commission said it “expected all registered charities to meet their obligations under the ACNC Act and the Governance Standards”.

“The ACNC can investigate concerns that a charity has breached the ACNC Act or the Governance Standards,” the statement said. “This may include not pursuing its charitable purpose, not operating in a not-for-profit manner, or providing private benefits to members.”

Presumably these complainants are hoping to help Folau raise a further $3m next week by going out of their way to annoy everyone who ever let a religious thought enter their head into donating in a act of defiance at being told what to think?

At least the Christians have realised the media aren’t their friends;

ACL’s managing director Martyn Iles was contacted for comment.

Quite right. Declining calls from Tom Decent is the smart thing to do at this stage; he stopped trying to pretend he was “Independent. Always” some time ago.

Bills Opinion

It’s not beyond the realms of belief that the Charities Commission will shut this latest fundraiser down. I don’t have any insight into the organisation but there’s a good chance it’s a captured institution given that it’s (a) public sector, and (b) not a meritocracy (but I repeat myself).

If they do, which direction does this saga tack next? People are increasingly wanting to offer Folau support and have shown they will find a way of doing so.

The only logical course to prevent these despicable people from supporting bigotry is to prevent Folau from enjoying the privileges of owning a bank account and accessing the internet and telephone networks.

Anything is reasonable in response to discovering Emanuel Goldstein in our midst, after all.

Why Khan’t you just shut up and do your damn job?

At last, chance to chat about something unrelated to religious rugby players…..

People sometimes ask me why we moved from London to Sydney? Reasons they are correct in assuming played a factor include the weather, the beaches, sailing and the chance to work in the vanguard, nay, the cutting edge of business and industry.

Ok, nobody seriously suggests the latter; if you think Sydney is leading the world in anything commercial, you’ve not been paying attention. It’s not even leading Australia in making good coffee; that’s Melbourne. Sydney sniffily looks down on it’s northern neighbour, Brisbane, as being backward but at least Brisbane has the humility to rarely pretend to be anything other than an oversized country town where everyone is related.

The main reason we moved out of London is that we didn’t fancy burying one or more of our children after they’d bled out on a London street.

Don’t get me wrong, London is absolutely still my favourite city in the world. If you’re earning a decent wedge of cash and enjoy good food, drink, music, arts and great value travel options, London is the place to live. If you’ve got kids of high school age, however, it’s really a holiday destination only.

We could see the trend years ago with a general and pervasive atmosphere of danger increasing over the years. I lived there for most of my adult life and had a great time but this was partly due to the fact that I was, (1) able to afford to live in one of the nicer areas, and (2) physically confident in most conflict situations (thank you Mr. Hamilton, my junior school teacher who introduced me to rugby).

Even with those mitigating factors, there were still a few occasions where the danger crept into our lives. My significant other still berates me for the time when we were travelling home on a bus one afternoon after I’d been playing rugby and I foolishly prevented a young man from attempting to get on through the rear doors (to avoid paying his fare) and he and two mates jumped me. Two factors were in my favour that day; I was in significantly better physical condition relative to the youths and, most importantly, they didn’t have any weapons. Thanks to that second factor and the help from another bloke on the bus, I was unhurt and they left with bruises. It was still stupid of me, however.

One doesn’t just arrive at being financially independent and handy in a fight though, you must survive adolescence and the initial phase of your working life first. High school age children are at a disadvantage, therefore.

Since we left, for reasons unclear to us, Londoners elected (and subsequently re-elected) a mayor who seems uninterested in delivering the most basic of requirements of his job description; i.e. keeping the population alive and physically safe.

Sadiq Khan has overseen the most rapid escalation in knife crime and other forms of serious violence that the capital has experienced since before Robert Peel thought about getting some hairy-arsed blokes together to calm things down a little.

How bad is it? 30 deaths from stabbings since the start of the year.

From that article;

How many stabbings were there in London in 2018?

Figures from London’s Metropolitan police showed that knife crime surged by 16 per cent in the capital year-on-year in 2018, as Britain’s crime epidemic continues.

There were 1,299 stabbings in London up to the end of April, according to official statistics from the Met Police.

In 2017-18, there were 137 knife offences for every 100,000 people in the capital.

2018 was London’s bloodiest year in almost a decade as the murder toll reached 134.

These statistics are appalling but they also tend to obfuscate even worse realisations. For example, how young those 30 murder victims are.

The reason I used The Sun’s article above rather than a more “respectable” mainstream media outlet is because it lists each of this year’s fatalities and gives their ages. Take a moment and scan down the list. Most of those murdered were 25 years old or younger.

When one looks at the probability of being stabbed in London, the “137 in 100,000” is not relevant if you are, say, an 18 year old. Clearly the risk is far greater for you and nearly everything an 18 year old would consider as being fun is likely to contribute to worsening that probability, such as going to a party, drinking in a bar, attending a music festival, walking home from a friend’s house at night, etc.

Bill’s Opinion

Things are likely to get far worse before London improves. The good news is that crime epidemics can be reversed in large global cities like London. New York in the 80s and 90s is the precedent for this.

However, it’s clear that the leadership is where the change starts. If your mayor is more interested at ranting on Twitter about his distaste for the President of the United States than, say, increasing visible policing, targeted stop and search, curfews for school age children, enforcing truancy laws, and generally being bothered about the rule of law, then don’t expect knife crime and other violence to reduce in a hurry.  

Alistair Williams has a good perspective on this;

Australian hypocrisy’s name is Lisa Wilkinson

Christ, can we please all just shut up about Israel bloody Folau?

No? Ok then, here’s our 3rd sodding blog post in a week about the ridiculous saga…..

For those who care enough to continue reading this blog and this specific post but aren’t bothered enough to keep up with the news, which I suppose is probably the square root of bugger all people, the latest update is as follows;

Go Fund Me have taken down his donation page because it breaches their terms of service.

The money will be refunded to the donors.

The Sunday Project (“prow-ject” in the vernacular) host, Lisa Wilkinson, berated a God botherer in a hard-hitting interview last night because he was of the wrong opinion.

Firstly, the Go Fund Me terms and conditions are linked on our previous offering on this subject if you’re curious. They really don’t explicitly exclude Israel’s campaign, but have a big clause about the website’s discretionary powers which would allow them to shut him or anyone else down at a whim. The reporting of this that tries to claim a breach of terms is either wrong or duplicitous. At this stage of the culture war, it’s probably going to save you time if you just assume the latter.

In summary, they are a private website and the contract you sign when you use it allows them to do whatever the hell they want. That isn’t the same as pre-emptively banning on principle Israel Folau’s campaign or similar campaigns.

Refunding the money will be interesting, however. As commenter, Sgt 73rd Regt mentions on our previous post, the inference is that the money goes straight to a trust bank account and doesn’t sit on the Go Fund Me account earning interest for them. I will be able to confirm what really happens shortly as I, ahem, may have considered it worth an amusing tenner to donate under Lisa Wilkinson’s beta male husband’s name….

Which brings us on to the increasingly haggard, post-menopausal La Wilkinson….

Last night on a TV show nobody was watching, she gave a 30 year old God botherer a proper lesson in investigative journalism. Nah, not really; she just did the easiest thing in the world and ran logic rings around someone with faith. If this is important work, there’s a billion people in India who believe God looks like a blue elephant whom she could doorstep with a willing camera crew.

Picking on God botherers is fine, if that’s how you want to make your money but we would like to point out two reasons why La Wilkinson is being incredibly hypocritical;

  1. Her co-host on The Prow-ject is an outspoken muslim  who has struggled in the past, on camera, to explain his faith’s doctrinal view of homosexuals. Presumably, her hard-hitting interview with Waleed will air later this week?
  2. A very lucrative part of Lisa’s annual salary is earned from hosting “Carols in the Domain” each Christmas. One assumes she’s spotted the underlying religious element of that TV program?

Bill’s Opinion

I promise this is the last missive on this subject until something halfway interesting occurs (and that doesn’t include faux legal advice in the comments from a failed civil engineer).

It’s probably worth clarifying my personal faith regarding this issue first; I’m an atheist who enjoys the benefits of where the Judeo-Christian tradition arrived in 2019. Perhaps a “cultural Christian”, if you will. I have no animus whatsoever toward homosexuals, to use the cliché, some of my best friends, etc.

If I could be so inclined, I could seek out discussions with people of faith and run logic rings around them just for fun. In fact, when I was younger, more foolish and cruel, I often did, asking my Christian relatives what they thought about those awkward fossils in the Natural History Museum and what the implications were for their reading of the Old Testament, for example.

What seems odd to me is that Lisa is applauded for poking fun at someone of a particular faith, especially as she’s very fucking happy to take their coin every Christmas. We can play the whataboutery game here too; why doesn’t she ask the question of other religions, for example the bloke she sits next to several evenings a week?

If you don’t believe in the tenets of Christian faith, why would you care about whether it teaches some people will go to a place you don’t believe exists?

Those who suggest this is no longer just about a kick and clap football player and his employer are correct. This is a cultural war being played in AND BY the media. Go Fund Me were bullied into closing down the campaign after a concerted effort by the a small subset of the media. It will be interesting to see where the battle is fought next.

Next week on the Sunday Prow-ject, Lisa Wilkinson angrily confronts Harry Potter fans who claim she can’t travel to Hogwarts.

Take it away, Waleed;

Doing the Decent thing

Tom Decent seems to have decided to not selectively edit today;

GoFundMe’s fine print says the crowdfunding site cannot be used for “campaigns we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of, or for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or sex.”

Here’s my take on his previous attempt to steer the narrative.

Bill’s Opinion

There was a time when journalists used to at least attempt to offer their work as being without bias. I recall a time when they would be referred to as “reporters”. That noun seems to be out of favour now.

It’s absolutely fine to be an “activist”, we all have causes we support, but it’s highly disingenuous to pretend to be a “journalist” at the same time.