Desperately seeking alpha

WilliamofOckham.com content generator and great friend of this organ, Jess Irvine has written another informative Facebook post on her child’s nursery chat group.

Before we get into it, let’s have a quick reminder of an important phenomenon; the Dunning Kruger Effect. This has been summarised thus:

“.…If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent … The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.

With that context in mind, let’s have a look at Jess’ genius Mumsnet story.

Jess tells us she’s knocking on the door of her 40th year and has never invested in stocks outside of her Superannuation fund, which presumably is managed by somebody else. I’m not sure this is the sort of admission a “Senior Economics Writer” should make in public. One would be sceptical of a surgeon who admitted to never actually holding a scalpel, after all.

But still, not one to be worried by inconveniences such as competence, capability or knowledge, Jess has announced she’s going to be sharing her top stock picks over the near future.

I may need to write a “Jess Irvine piss take bot” to cover these announcements.

The secret to Jess’s investing success starts, as with all of Jess’s advice, with a spreadsheet. To a man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

So, with the spreadsheet, she has categorised the stocks in the ASX into her own unique budget labels: housing, household, utilities, transport, food, health, education, appearance, lifestyle and professional fees.

Curious minds might wonder at this point, why Jess’s investing strategy is limited to the Australian exchange, especially as most major tech companies are on the NASDAQ and the world’s major corporations are listed in London or New York? Keep wondering, as we aren’t told. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with a lack of knowledge and experience.

If you’re paging down the column looking for the first stock pick, don’t bother, we’re being made to wait. After all, Jess doesn’t want to rashly splash her $10,000 on just any old crap.

Wait, didn’t I mention this entire column is to tell us that one day, sometime in the future, Jess may buy up to $10,000 worth of shares?

That’s not strictly true, she does manage to get a mention in about her astute purchase, at the last market peak, of a tiny Sydney apartment, which she now owns is renting from a bank and, that she’s got nearly $300,000 in her pension, which suggests she’s made three fifths of fuck all alpha on the principle over the 20 years she’s been paying in.

The only missing components of a classic Jess Irvine’s Mumsnet post are mention of her coming last in a marathon and having a baby. Plenty of time for that when the stock picks are shared though.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s no real way to confirm this but I’m going to wildly speculate about Jess Irvine, Senior Economics Writer at the Sydney Morning Herald:

  1. The only reason she has that job title is because of her gender. She could not, surely, have been the most qualified business and economics writer available to that newspaper.
  2. The ongoing requirement for the news desk to maintain diversity quotas has emboldened her to push this kind of pointless and, frankly, embarrassing writing on the editors and, being spineless, they roll over and publish it.
  3. All of Jess’s stock picks will rise at least 10% in value over the next year. This will be hailed as genius (self-assessed). proof of her financial acumen and mastery of a pivot table.

In the meantime, nearly everything on the ASX will rise 10% too, what else can it do in an era of central banks hitting CTRL P to infinity?

My advice is don’t take slimming advice from an overweight person and don’t take stock tips from the shoe shine girl.

So, Debbie McGee, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?

The circling of the drain leading us down to the cesspool of stupidity continues to pick up speed. The evidence for this is contained in this classic example of Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism.

That law states; The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

I’m not going to fisk the article in detail because it is both repetitive and boring. I hope you’ll agree I’m not doing it a disservice with the TLDR version thus:

On dating apps and websites, men can often be very creepy. Sometimes this manifests itself in an expressed preference for specific physical features and racial stereotypes. Some men find Asian women attractive.

That a journalist has spotted the phenomenon of creepy men on dating sites is not particularly interesting, at least it’s a break from “reporting” celebrity Twitter spats. What’s more curious is the reasons offered and the people offering these reasons.

At the risk of being a little cruel, I do need to illustrate the reference to Sailer’s Law with some pictures. These three academics have provided explanations as to why some creepy men on Tinder prefer Asian women:

And these women have complained about creepy men on Tinder:

I think this might be some kind of Woke Purity Test that we’re not supposed to notice what is immediately obvious to anyone with eyes, or if we do, we’re not supposed to say what we see.

The first picture is of Dr. Michelle Aung Thin, who doesn’t present any empirical data to support her claim that men who find Asian women attractive do so due to “Oriental stereotypes in historical and popular culture”.

Our second picture is of Dr. Sophie Loy-Wilson, who claims men find Asian women hot due to well documented “racism against Asian women in the 19th and 20th centuries”.

The third picture is of Dr. Shawna Tang, who has managed to get inside the mind of the man who murdered workers and bystanders in an Atlanta massage business, and can categorically state it “was evidence of Asian women being the subjects of sexism and racism, which could be traced back to colonialism in Asia”…. as opposed to his well-documented struggle with evangelical Christianity and a sex addiction. Probably no need to bother with a prosecution and trial then, eh?

Bill’s Opinion

Anyone who has ever dated other humans will know there are a bunch of bloody weirdos out there, of both all genders.

It is somewhat unfortunate the three academics who claim to know for sure why some men prefer young, pretty, lithe Asian women all look like they’ve fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch face first on the way down.

I’m sure it’s just one of those strange serendipitous coincidences these academics aren’t hot yet they are certain the reasons some men like cute women can be blamed on something something Hong Kong brothels during the Opium Wars.

I suppose we’re not allowed to call it racism when (comparatively) rich white men are targeted by young women in bars across Asia as highly-desirable future spouses?

In the meantime, if you find your fingers hovering to swipe right on a profile of a cute woman on your hook up app of choice, don’t comment on her ethnicity. Say she looks like she’s got a great personality or something.

Jenna Hates men…

….who won’t fund her friends’ Quangos.

Although, it’s probably a safe bet she hates men in general. You’d likely get about 3-1 from Ladbrokes if you could bet against her misandry, particularly since the messy divorce and the birth of his new baby.

Anyway, the usual unreadable prose is offered today, relying on the tried and tested recipe of taking three unrelated reasons to clutch at pearls, then thread them together with a pure weft of golden tenuousness.

The conclusion to these appeals always seem to use the same formula too; everyone else must change and, by the way, pay.

Today, for example, something something consenting adults are having sex in Canberra, something something two allegations of sexual harassment, something something human rights, something something, you need to pay:

So much of this is easy. It’s about money. But it is also about will. And so far this government has not shown it has it. And I do not know whether even the current events are enough to push it to act. No matter what the now paused Gaetjens’ inquiry reveals, nor the Foster review nor Kate Jenkins’s review, nor last night’s embarrassments.

Bill’s Opinion

Do the left have any other emotional response than to project?

The people most likely to say words to the effect of, “the tories are fixated with money” just happen to be the ones most eager to get their hands on your money.

What’s particularly amusing is their inability to see the disconnect between the following two positions:

The government is venal, incompetent and analogous to some of the worst humans to have ever walked the planet”.

And:

This crisis requires government intervention and legislation to give them more power over our lives”.

Imagine the level of cognitive dissonance needed to simultaneously despise the power of the government but remain optimistic it’ll all be fixed once we replace them with the next lot and let them spend more of our money.

If you’ve lived long enough to suffer male pattern baldness or the menopause and you still have such childish thoughts, you may want to spend some moments in quiet reflection.

Finally, the William of Ockham solution to sexual harassment and worse in the Federal Parliament building is very straightforward; make it subject to the same legislation they’ve imposed on remote aboriginal communities and for the same reason.

Ban alcohol in the Australian Capital Territory.

What’s good for the goose is good for the Canberra.

Today’s Gell Mann example

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

Pay attention at the back….

Cyber attack on hospitals results in cancelled surgeries.

And on the same front page:

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller is spearheading a push to introduce consent technology via an app.

Mick Fuller is NSW’s top police officer. We pay him $649,500 to keep us safe from harm and lead the citizens through times of crisis with a quiet and commanding gravitas-based leadership.

One can only imagine the clown-like thought bubbles and word salads we’d be subjected to if we paid him something closer to the median annual salary which, depending on where you look, might be about a tenth of what he’s pulling.

A source close to the HQ* of the NSW Police Dept. has leaked the following suggestions to keep women safe that didn’t quite make it on Mick’s press statement:

  • Dress shop front mannequins as NYC Guardian Angels and locate them on train station platforms at night.
  • Any women who have a Tinder swipe left to right ratio greater than 1:2 are to be designated as too attractive to be allowed out in public without wearing a full yashmak and are limited to low alcohol drinks in bars and other hospitality venues.
  • All boys of high school age are to register on a centrally-held database once they’ve achieved “2nd base”, along with details of the skatepark or children’s playground in which this milestone was reached.
  • Nobody who has watched Last Tango in Paris is able to purchase butter, salted or unsalted, without the appropriate Service NSW QR code.
  • Women who commence extra marital affairs with men who rely on the “my wife and I sleep in separate bedrooms and are more like good friends than lovers these days” defence, are able to anonymously download their lover’s official NSW shagging records for confirmation.

Bill’s Opinion

No, this is fine. I can’t see any issues arising with the possibility of a central database tracking citizens’ sexual activity being in the hands of government.

I mean, it’s not as if we get a mea culpa about a massive data breach every couple of weeks, is it?

Also, I’m sure there’s absolutely no possibility someone who’s a bit rapey could use your thumb to open your phone after you’ve been rohipnol’d…..

Probably the worst part of this story isn’t the window-licking reporting of this brain fart with the obvious amnesia about how frequently we read of data breaches. It’s the fact it was floated by the person who, apparently on merit, made it to the tippety top of the competence hierarchy of the police force.

It’s quite an achievement, but perhaps Mick Fuller makes Cressida Dick look capable, which is really bad news for the many Brazilians living in Sydney.

*our source is currently unavailable for further comment as he’s just scored a fresh bottle of turps and is sheltering from the rain under a sheet of cardboard.

Consent craving

As is often the case, multiple stories on a similar theme are suspiciously appearing in the media and on people’s Creepbook feeds at the same time.

Exploring the reasons behind the coincidence of the trend, the narrative, can be the theme of another day.

Meanwhile, the current cause du jour is sexual harassment, rape and murder of women by men.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’m certain we can all agree those are bad things. Reducing them from our societies should be high on the priority list of everyone.

Note, I didn’t say “eliminate”.

It seems to me, the nexus of anger is to be found between the concepts of reduce and eliminate.

There’s clearly anger. Anger at the murder of Sarah Everard, anger at multiple sexual assaults and allegations of sexual assault by various political workers in Canberra, anger at domestic violence and the fact it’s committed mainly (but not exclusively) by men.

One of the banners at the Australian protest stated we should, “End Rape Now”. I would love to hear the placard owner’s thoughts on how a transition to that world might be achieved.

Banners at the London protests took issue with the fact it isn’t always safe for a lone female to walk on the street.

These statements of protest are clearly well-intentioned uses of rhetoric and hyperbole, but are they helping?

To return to that nexus; if you believe a world with zero rapes is possible, calling for a curfew for men would make sense.

If you rejected that idea, though, the screaming around the theme “all men are rapists” has the effect of drowning out a more sober discussion about practical actions to achieve reduction.

A related conversation was had between a group of fellow parents at our local high school recently; “the school should teach our children about consent“, was the cry.

An unpopular opinion was offered by one foolish soul:

a) I send my kids there to learn maths, English and science. I’ll teach morality, thanks.
b) If your kid doesn’t already know how to respect other people’s bodies by Year 7, YOU are the problem.
c) “Consent” has a specific legal definition which no teacher I’ve met would be capable of teaching in a one hour struggle session.
That went down like a cup of cold vomit, obviously.

Bill’s Opinion

Unusually for Spiked, this is sensible take on the problem.

It is not safe to walk home alone. It’s never been safe to walk home alone. Regardless of whether you are female or, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, male.

As Brett Weinstein stated recently, we are all descendants of rapists and murderers. The statistical probability you aren’t is so unlikely it’s not a credible option. Genetically, we have the capability within us. The miracle is that it doesn’t happen with much greater frequency.

To consider a zero rape world feasible is to believe millions of years of genetics can be overridden for 100% of the population 100% of the time.

If this describes your view, may I politely suggest you meet more human beings.

If you have a son, teach them to keep their hands to themselves unless invited. If you have a daughter, teach them most men are lovely, but some are cunts and they don’t often wear badges to explain which group they are a member of.

In the meantime, if you want to feel safe walking the streets, don’t do it after 6pm if there’s a “man curfew”; the men who stay home won’t be the ones you need to be concerned about.

Jenna Hates the IWD

No, not the erstwhile Intellectual Dark Web, subsequently disbanded because Sam Harris can’t get over his extreme case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Instead, Jenna Hates wants to cancel the International Women’s Day (today, by the way).

As many of Jenna Hates columns often do, this one takes three or more seemingly unrelated elements and then stitches them together in a quilt of misandry using a thread of logical fallacies.

Marvel at the dexterity with which she simultaneously claims an alleged rapist is innocent until proven guilty but then points out the chances of a woman ever making a false accusation of rape are minuscule, to the point of being nearly impossible.

Actually, if you read her column carefully, she doesn’t even offer him the olive branch of presumed innocence before chucking this feel-pinion in:

Just for the record, the director of Monash University’s Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, tells me it is rare – very rare – for a woman to make a false allegation of rape.

Got any data to back that assertion up?

Nah, no need for academics to bother with supporting evidence when making claims of truth.

Fortunately, here in the real world, we have access to search engines which suggest somewhere between 2 to 10% of rape allegations are fabricated (source 1, source 2, source 3).

So, we could “believe all women” and send a lot of innocent people to jail, or we could, I dunno, use the existing legal processes to test these claims and try our hardest to maintain some level of justice and standards for society to operate within.

Jenna Hates is not so concerned about that idea however, because all the circumstantial evidence points to Porter being a member of the political party she hates Nazi scumbag.

Exhibit 1 – He made a political decision Jenna Hates, erm, hates:

While he was minister for social services, he oversaw the destruction of the national sexual assault and counselling hotline, 1800 RESPECT, moving it from a women-led service to one which became part of Medibank, a company now profiting from rape.

By the way, does anyone else wonder whether Medibank’s legal team are planning on challenging that allegation? Get the popcorn in.

By that logic, Celgene, the manufacturer of Revlimid, is profiting from cancer. Don’t hold your breathe for the class action law case.

Exhibit 2 – There are allegations of his philandering:

It also doesn’t help his brand that he was one of the politicians pinged on the Four Corners episode Inside the Canberra Bubble, reported by Louise Milligan, where it was alleged he was seen “kissing and cuddling” a young woman staffer at a popular bar.

One can’t be sure what Jenna Hates hates the most about this; the alleged infidelity, the kissing, the age of the woman or the popularity of the bar?

Exhibit 3 – He’s had failed marriages:

In the meantime, he has had two marriages fall apart. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

One feels there may be an element of projection going on there. Has Jenna Hates loved and been rejected by any chance? Say it ain’t so.

Bill’s Opinion

As commentator Michael van der Riet infers on a reply to an earlier post, if you are prepared to suspend your standards simply because a convenient stick to beat an opponent presents itself, you have rejected the right to be taken seriously in future.

But yes, Jenna Hates, he definitely did it because he’s been divorced twice and changed the funding model for a support help line.

Burn him and anyone else who reminds me of my ex-husband!

“What about justice for the victim?”

For those of you (about half, looking at the stats) outside of Australia, a quick catch up on the background of this story:

It has been alleged a senior Federal Minister raped a girl in 1988. The woman committed suicide last year. The police have investigated the rape allegation and have found no evidence compelling enough to recommend prosecution.

Whatever the truth is, the situation is tragic. Tragic because a person was so disturbed they felt their only option was to end their life, and tragic because a man has a cloud of suspicion hanging over him but he and we have no way of seeking closure, either via a conviction of a crime or full exoneration.

Such is the imperfect world of criminal justice, unfortunately. That it happens all the time doesn’t make it any more tolerable, but there’s not a huge list of credible alternate systems with which we could replace the current version.

Many column inches have been partisanally hacked out on the subject, with the predictable red team/blue team split determining whether one is suddenly in favour of creating a shadow justice system or a moralistic championing of “the rule of law”. We could take these opinions seriously if they were in the context of a back catalogue of previously applying the same standard to their own side.

Very few, if any, are.

One such example is the TV appearance on ABC’s QandA of MP Anne Aly. She interrupted an opponent’s defence of the legal system with the words, “What about justice for the victim?“, scoring a solid 9/10 as a soundbite on the ABC’s show, which, as anyone who can tolerate watching it knows, is a show designed purely for soundbites rather than epistemology.

However, as a statement likely to take the sum total of human knowledge forward, it scores minus 1 million out of ten.

It’s a perfect example of the loaded question fallacy. The question assumes a crime has been committed and the victim is the female. Neither of which has been actually proven.

We expect our politicians, almost all of whom have no real world experience, to be partisan hacks. Their incentives are set to deliver such outcomes, so it’s unsurprising when we receive such mendacity.

What remains of journalism is delivering similar one-eyed tosh, too. Here’s one at the Grauniad which conflates three totally separate issues and ties them up with an obvious and predictable bow of duh patriarchy.

Humour me for moment as I lay out Katherine Murphy’s three unrelated topics:

1. Julia Gillard’s “misogyny speech” – more on this below.

2. A current ongoing rape investigation – let’s hope due process is followed.

3. An allegation from 1988 – the weak argument leaning on Le Coefficient de Gillard.

The Gillard speech is this particular type of journalist’s emergency grab bag whenever there’s a weak argument requiring support.

What they choose not to realise is the world divides into two groups;

1. People who think Gillard’s speech was analogous to MLK’s “I have a dream”, and

2. Those who saw it as a desperate ad hominem attack to divert from the awkward fact she was a dead duck PM relying on a highly compromised MP to cling to power.

Nobody in the history of the world has ever been convinced of an argument by being directed to Le Coefficient de Gillard.

Bill’s Opinion

Whilst legally obliged to vote in Australia, I choose to spoil my vote with increasingly realistic depictions of genitalia.

The reason for my conscientious objector status to casting a vote is because I am holding out for a voting option of a candidate who is willing to explain a standard and show they are prepared to hold their own side to it.

When they arrive on the ballot paper, I’ll vote for them.

In the meantime, if your view is, for this exceptional case of an allegation from the year before Taylor Swift and the entire cast of Hogwarts were born, we should suspend our justice system and do something else, perhaps you want to look around at your closest male friends and family and ask yourself, is this the future standard you want them to be held to?

Just expanding on this, do you want your father, brother or husband to be expected to resign from their job because of an unproven allegation from 32 years ago?

Alternatively, perhaps let’s accept the imperfect current system of criminal justice as the best we’ve found to date. If you have an alternative, you are more than welcome to describe it and start a movement to persuade us. Please keep Chesterton’s Fence front of mind if you do, though.

Jenna Hates MOPs

Today’s target of stern disapproval is a piece of legislation that performs no function other than enabling Ministers to hire staff.

The emerging facts as we know them:

Yet another Liberal Party staffer has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a parliamentary colleague, this time in Parliament House.

Yeah, that’s bad. It’s only 18 months since a similar alleged incident occurred in the offices of the same political party.

To be fair to Jenna Hates, she nearly continues along a non-partisan route of argument as if she might be interested in seeking truth:

Is the Liberal Party the worst workplace in the world? Is Labor any better? Can women only speak out after they leave?

That’s the second last time we hear about Jenna Hates’ side of the aisle though.

At the beginning of 2020, the Liberal Party released its National Code of Conduct, which insists any victim of criminal conduct should report the complaint to the police and parliamentary staffers should refer the matter to Parliament or government departments. Labor is in the final stages of updating its code of conduct and harassment policies and procedures. In its draft form, it at least says it will support the victim through the complaints process.

So, in summary; the code of conduct says “if the law is broken, tell the police“. Labor’s forthcoming version may add the coda, “and we will support you“. Lovely.

Jenna Hates seems to have also spotted a reversal of William Wilberforce’s famous campaign success:

Parliamentary staffers are the Uber drivers of the political process – they have no rights at work. They are hired and fired at the whim of the member of Parliament, under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act (MOPS).

The staff have no rights at work?

Wait. What??

What is this legislation that makes indentured labourers out of political staffers? Has anyone informed the UN or the International Court of Justice in The Hague?

This is the act of parliament she’s referring to. It may be worth a few moments of your time reading it (which would be more effort than Jenna Hates bothered to invest). The spoiler is, there’s nothing in the legislation giving immunity of prosecution for criminal acts nor overturning existing workers’ rights. It’s basically a vehicle allowing Ministers to use public funds to employ staff. That’s it.

Sadly, the premise Jenna Hates has wasted a column to assert is simply not true; the staff have all the protections any other junior employee has in the workplace.

The problem Jenna Hates has missed is these simply aren’t effective when very junior staff with huge ambitions are put in an environment with more senior staff with bad intentions and these two elements are mixed with alcohol. Taxpayer funded free alcohol too.

What has been alleged to have happened is simply what is always a risk in every workplace across the country when the edges are blurred between professional life and social life.

Bill’s Opinion

If Jenna Hates could think in a non-partisan way for just five minutes she would realise the alleged rapes and sexual assaults are not a problem unique to one political party, one parliament, one city or even just one country.

This is a uniquely human problem which can be reduced but is unlikely to ever be completely avoided.

If she were serious about preventing rape in the Federal Parliament, she’d write a column calling for an end to taxpayer funded parliamentary piss ups rather than trying to suggest the staff in Canberra are plantation workers being abused by the slave owners.

Then at least she wouldn’t be guilty of knowingly funding a rape culture with her taxes if that change were then to occur.*

* That’s a joke, I don’t really think she’s funding rapes, I’m just playing by her idiotic debating rules.

Kick long, smash packs

Our old friend Hannah Mouncey is back in the news; he’s shes’s suing the Australia Rules Football league in Canberra for the right to play in the top women’s grade.

The main story is a bit boring, the usual guff as a sporting body tries to navigate the absolute minefield that is balancing the rights of one group (women), with another (men who believe they are women).

What is interesting though, is the imperfect solution currently in place. It’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences.

Read carefully what the league’s current alternate solution is to allowing Hannah to play A grade:

From a community football standpoint, the new policy states that “transgender women may play in women‘s competitions, transgender men can play in men’s competitions and non-binary people can choose which competition to play in.”

Also at community level, the statement notes that “Gender diverse players may not be excluded for reasons of relevant competitive advantage over cisgender players in the competition.”

Mouncey, who will instead have to play in the B grade because it’s not considered part of the AFLW development pathway, said she was making a stand for the wider trans community.

Think about it for a moment; because they want to protect the women on the pathway to elite level, they’ve put an already physically stronger player down a grade to smash the lower quality players instead.

I imagine there was much back slapping and congratulations when they came up with that genius compromise. Turns out it’s not an acceptable solution to our builder in a skirt mate anyway.

Bill’s Opinion

The league are clearly trying their hardest to be sensitive to Hannah, you can even see it in the use of the highly politicised noun, “cisgender“, a word literally nobody in regular society ever uses.

They’re failing of course. What is being demanded by Hannah is the rights of women, including the right to play sport against broadly equivalent physical competitors, are encroached upon rather than face biological and physical reality.

Until about five minutes ago, women’s sport was a limited entry competition. To join, you were required to posses a vagina and not have benefited from testosterone outside of a normal range for women.

Not that the entry criteria used to be quite as gauche to state that, but we all understood the meaning of the noun, “woman”, back then.

Stories like this are implicitly requiring us to not comment on the physical evidence being presented to our eyes. Any innocent young child will look at the picture above and realise there is a man standing in a group of women.

As adults, we are being dared to notice and comment on it.

As Douglas Murray points out in his excellent book, The Madness of Crowds, now we pretend we don’t know things we’ve always known to be true until very recently.

I’ve been playing a round with my Secretary….

….she’s hoping I might get her in the club.

Poking fun at at the lunacy that passes for journalism and academia is one of the few remaining opportunities for fun during these days of no travel, no concerts, limited seating sports and all the other restrictions imposed on us for our own good.

So, ladies, gentlemen and binary non-conformists, please enjoy the Sydney Morning Herald’s resident and tenured Bedlamite, “Jenna Price is a columnist and academic“:

Shut them down. Shut them all down. Golf courses sit in the middle of our cities, using up valuable space in places that need more genuinely public land. Hectare after hectare devoted to a few people wandering around attempting to whack a ball into a hole in the ground. While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts, the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.

Using up valuable space“, which would otherwise be used how? A newly built Chesterton’s Fence?

While kids across the city queue for swings and the handful of remaining naughty roundabouts…“, please post any photographic evidence of these queues for swings.

“….the golfers do not queue except for expensive memberships in elite clubs.“. Jenna then proceeds to use her entire column to tell us public, not private golf courses, should be shut down.

Sydney’s lord mayor Clover Moore is in the spotlight again because she wants to decrease the number of holes in the Moore Park golf links from 18 to nine. Here is why. Moore Park is just over 113 hectares, according to City of Sydney staffers. Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One-tenth. That’s compared with 45 hectares for the golf course (a sport that so few people play) and 46 hectares for all the other sports fields and courts used by the vast majority of us. Moore Park Golf Club is what’s called a public club although those fees don’t seem particularly public to me.

“Less than one-tenth is for general recreation. One tenth.” Moore Park has a cricket stadium, a rugby/other sports stadium, multiple flat spaces for seasonal participation sports, several lakes and a lot of trees. What is the correct ratio for this parkland? We aren’t told.

Also, “links” doesn’t mean what Jenna thinks it does. But I’m sure she knows all about golf as they wouldn’t let someone who doesn’t know what the bloody hell they are talking about write a column. Cough, Peter Fitzsimons, cough.

Moore’s proposal to turn it into nine holes is such a good idea – but it doesn’t go far enough. Boot all the golf clubs out of cities where there is just not enough open space. Already the sport is being abandoned. Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.

Participation has plunged from 8.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.2 per cent in 2020, a decline of over 36 per cent in 19 years.“. Erm, there were 18,769,249 people in Australia in 2001, there are 25,649,985 here today. So, about 205,279 fewer people play golf. I make that a 12% decline in real numbers, not 36%.

You may wish to get someone from the Mathematics Faculty to do your sub-editing in future, Jenna.

Compare that with the sports that don’t rely on big footprints, fancy clobber, expensive gear, such as recreational walking, which has increased by 70 per cent to just under half the population.

No source for that claim in a column otherwise littered with hyperlinks, I note.

Why are we giving up massive amounts of space to a pursuit that offers so little to so few? Build a few outback golf links and send the 18-hole obsessives on a long drive.

Are you sure your objection is not an emotional reaction? This seems to delight in the prospect of punishing someone.

The cost and the way the sport is offered is just so off-putting for the majority.

So’s cricket, dinghy racing, Thai kick-boxing, cycling, high stakes poker and sky-diving. It’s still not an argument, Jenna.

Professor of sport at Federation University and also at Victoria University Rochelle Eime loves golf so much she even signed up her twin 14-year-old sons to the game when they couldn’t play footy because of COVID.

Some similarly aged children quite close to me have played nearly a full season of rugby union and rugby league this year and only missed a few weeks of training. Didn’t Rochelle get the memo?

That cost a total of $100 at the social club rate. When she wanted to join her local club, she was told it would cost $1000. Then told she could only play on certain days of the week.

Different clubs and membership types cost different amounts and have different restrictions. Who knew?

She works full-time. She can’t be popping off for a quick 18-holes on a workday.

Describing 18 holes of golf as “quick” suggests quite a lack of basic knowledge of what is involved.

Eime says golf is a traditional sport, rooted in the male competitive model and that’s hard to break down to something that works for modern lives, including those of women.

Sport can be competitive? Again, who knew?

Is competitive sport an exclusively male thing? The Williams sisters are on the phone and want to have a chat, Jenna.

Also, if your “modern life” doesn’t have time for golf, consider the possibility golf might not be for you. As an alternative, I believe there’s a clue in the name of F45 which might better help your diary planning.

“We need female voices in the decision-making.”

Ok. Hopefully that’ll be inclusive enough to include women who play golf or are at least vaguely aware of it. No, not you, Jenna, sit down.

Malcolm Gladwell, in A Good Walk Spoiled, possibly my favourite ever episode of his long-running series Revisionist History, spends the entire podcast exploring the social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.

And there we have the admission; Jenna heard a podcast once and the Sydney Morning Herald let her write a column about it.

…social, political and environmental wrongdoings of golf.” Oh come on, you can tick a few more boxes than that, Jenna. What about race, trans, gender and sexuality? Also, what about that chapter of Mein Kampf extolling the virtues of the sport?

Golf itself knows there is a problem and does its best to paper over them. A drive for membership here, a recognition that the game has to change there. By July this year, membership of Australian golf clubs had risen by 0.05 per cent, the first increase since 1998

Hands up who can spot a contradiction with an earlier claimed statistic? Bonus point if you can explain why, prima facie, the two numbers can exist together and still both be correct.

Golf Australia said in a statement that it would argue to retain any public golf course in Australia. Fine. But now it has to build a sport that fits with contemporary values and the lives of working women.

Because? Reasons.

Ready for the big finish?

Let’s see if it has the drive for that.

Boom tish. Try the veal.

Bill’s Opinion

Full disclosure; I have only ever played golf twice and consider those several hours as a an even worse waste of my life than the 3 English Premier League wendyball matches I was tricked into attending (spoiler alert; four and a half hours of no score…. and the fans still applauded as they left!).

The only practical use for golf is to separate out the sporting population from those of us who have realised team sports, particularly those involving physical contact, are the only ones worth playing. It serves a similar purpose as the ability to purchase personal car number plates, it’s a shibboleth.

However, unlike Jenna, I’m not filled with an irrational jealousy and resentment of those who find joy in participating in golf.

In fact, I’d be curious to know precisely what Jenna Price finds joy in, as her back catalogue suggests the answer is, well, not much, not much at all.

Give us a smile, Jenna!

Actually, on second thought, please don’t.