A line was crossed

Bold highlighting, mine:

A large number of people walked out of Jerry Sadowitz’s show [contrary to Sadowitz’s tweet] as they felt uncomfortable and unsafe to remain in the venue. We have received an unprecedented number of complaints that could not be ignored and we had a duty to respond. The subsequent abuse directed to our teams is also equally unacceptable.

“At the Pleasance, our values are to be inclusive, diverse and welcoming. We are proud of the progress we have made across our programming, which includes significant investment and support for Black, Asian and Global Majority artists, LGBTQ+ voices, those from working-class backgrounds, and the strong representation of women. We do not believe that racism, homophobia, sexism or misogynistic language have a place in our venues.

“In a changing world, stories and language that were once accepted on stage, whether performed in character or not, need to be challenged. There is a line that we will not cross at the Pleasance, and it was our view that this line was crossed on this occasion.

“We don’t vet the full content of acts in advance and while Jerry Sadowitz is a controversial comedian, we could not have known the specifics of his performance. The Pleasance has staged his work numerous times over the years, but as soon as we received complaints from those in the building which caused us great concern, we knew we could not allow the final performance to go ahead.

“The arts and comedy, in particular, have always pushed the boundaries of social norms but this boundary is always moving. Our industry has to move with it. However, this does not mean that we can allow such content to be on our stages.”

Same week:

Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York State.

Bill’s Opinion

If you don’t value free speech, feel free to stop using it.

Defending free speech as a concept is useless if you then fail to defend speech with which you disagree.

I’ve seen Sadowitz live twice. They were two of the best comedy and close hand magic (that’s his other skill) shows I’ve ever seen. The jokes he told were outrageous and offensive, and I laughed like a drain.

On stage, he plays a character, a bitter, hateful failure with mental illness. It’s partially based on himself, of course, but it is an on stage persona.

If the line we can no longer cross is in-character comedy, or if offensive words are treated as if the context in which they are spoken is irrelevant, how do we differ from the Ayatollah who ordered what happened to Salman Rushdie?

If you want to help, buy a Sadowitz DVD and a book by Rushdie (Midnight’s Children is least bad; I generally dislike his writing but I’ll defend to the death his right to write shite).

The SMH’s high priest is in the bully pulpit

We start today with our constantly handy flow chart:

The Australian discount royal family, the Wilkinson-Fitzsimons of Mosman, are frequent content generators for this site, mainly due to their permanent resident status at the nexus of hubris, moralising, and self-unawareness.

They are the perfectly-suited couple, creating what must be the world’s most securely-vacuum sealed echo chamber in their bijou home. NASA scientists are craving research access to this natural phenomenon, where dissenting opinions cannot enter.

Lisa Wilkinson is the family bread-winner, despite many of her recent salary reviews being shockingly impacted by the patriarchy. She comforts herself in her selfless public service of tweeting helpful improvement suggestions to airport security processes to speed her route past her loyal subjects to the Qantas President’s Lounge

Crueller commentators than I might suggest Peter Fitzsimons’ contribution to the family income is somewhat irrelevant in comparison to his spouse, so much so, that others have even suggested she actually subsidises his army of history research interns churning out his regular contributions to the bargain clearance baskets in Australia bookstores.

Similarly, it seems barely credible his frequent vernacular-rich, comma-heavy columns in the Sydney Morning Herald attract a real wage. Few would be surprised if the rumours were confirmed that Lisa slips a cheque to the Accounts department each month to cover his “earnings”.

There’s no shame in this if it were true; it’s a perfectly respectable way for Executives in Manly to keep their wives busy with loss-making cup cake delivery businesses rather than having the time to spare for extra-curricular lessons with the tennis coach. Why not female TV presenters? Equality an’ all that, it’s 2022, you chauvinists.

Fitzsimons is a complex character nonetheless. I’m reminded of a quote about the late All Black, Keith Murdoch, who was infamously sent home in disgrace from a tour to Wales for cowardly knocking out a hotel security guard; “Keith was an unhappy drunk”.

Fitzsimons is sober these days. It’s unclear to me which is worse, being a thin-skinned bully when under the influence, or continuing this behaviour once the fighting juice has been forsaken?

Why do I ask this?

Consider his latest skirmish in the culture war. Peter has chosen a side on the debate about whether Aboriginal Australians should have further constitutional recognition, or “The Voice”. Unsurprisingly, Peter picked the one requiring least personal cost and maximum public virtue (check the flow chart above).

As is Peter’s idiom however, once a position has been taken, dissenting opinions are not allowed. Alternate takes are greeted as if calls for murder. Peter tends to spend so much time living in the logical fallacy, “ad hominem”, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn Lisa has bought their 5th home in that postcode to save on his rental costs.

(Yes, I’m aware of the irony that I’ve just accused someone of reverting to ad hominem attacks in a column which is almost entirely ad hominem. Sometimes that’s the only language bullies understand).

You can read the details about this week’s moralising in the Spectator. In summary, Senator Jacinta Price believes the energy and resources of the Voice campaign might be better directed to those in need in remote communities. Peter strongly disagrees and is alleged to have been less than a gentlemen about it when they met for an interview on the topic. On verra, if/once the tape is released.

He’s since made veiled legal threats to Price to retract her statement that he bullied her.

Some important context; Senator Price is Aboriginal, has spent a great deal of her life with these communities and devotes huge amounts of time and personal resources to delivering tangible outcomes for disadvantaged Aboriginal communities. She also has very little access to funding for a protracted legal battle.

Peter is a private school-educated spouse of a multi-millionaire and devotes huge amounts of time tweeting signals of virtue on his iPhone from the downstairs toilet of his wife’s prime Sydney real estate. Oh, and he’s a socialist (eye roll).

Bill’s Opinion

I’m genuinely undecided on “The Voice”.

However, it’s my observation there is a very lucrative industry channeling government funds to a growing metropolitan Aboriginal demographic. It’s the political third rail to suggest this is not right, and for your career’s sake, stay well away from what the definition of “aboriginal” is for the purpose of funding allocation.

Meanwhile, the infant mortality rate in some communities in NT and north QLD is STILL equivalent to some sub-Saharan African states despite decades of “intervention”.

Perhaps we can chew gum and walk at the same time. Observed fact suggests we struggle with that.

However, unlike Peter Fitzsimons, I treat situations where people disagree with me as learning opportunities. Particularly when they’ve got a far more relevant CV compared to mine.

As for Fitzsimons’ cup cake delivery business, I’m not across the details of the SMH’s accounts, but if I were Tory Maguire, Bevan Shields, Mike Sneesby, James Chessell, or the directors of Nine Media, I might ask for a reconciliation between payroll and accounts receivables. Is Lisa paying for his column inches?

Actually, it’s probably worse if they discover they really are paying for this bullying thin-skinned 1970’s sports jock throwback masquerading as one of the caring and the good. What does that say about their judgement and authority on the shop floor?

He can dish it out but can’t take it. We’ve all known people like that. When we meet them, if we are brave, we confront them on their terms. They always turn tail and run away.

The best performing teams generally operate a “no dickheads” policy. Perhaps it’s time for Peter to spend more time double parking his coal-powered car outside chi chi Mosman cafés.

Denial, not a river in Egypt or India

I have been travelling extensively for the last two weeks. My travels have taken me through various Asian hub airports and around the Indian sub-continent.

Through observation, I can confirm the petty bureaucrats and rule-givers across Asia are as illogical and stupid as their counterparts in Australia.

In a message exchange to a good friend I expressed the sentiment that I have accepted the lunacy. He congratulated me on reaching the fifth stage of the Kubler-Ross rubric.

The fact that I may have reached acceptance still doesn’t make any of this madness right though.

For example, I must wear a mask on the train to Sydney airport. I can remove it in the airport. I must replace it on the Malaysian Airways flight, except whilst sipping on a drink or eating (I can nurse a drink for a loooong time).

The mask must remain on at Kuala Lumpur airport unless I am in the Business Class Lounge. It must go back on the moment I leave the lounge, of course.

I must also wear the mask on the Indian domestic flights. The pre-flight announcement requests us to maintain anti-social distancing between our fellow passengers, seemingly oblivious to the sardine-tin we are sharing. Officially, we must wear our masks in the airports, unless proving our identify but the local security staff nearly all use theirs as chin-warmers so are not enforcing the rule on the public anyway.

The day prior to a visit to a supplier’s office, a test kit was delivered to my hotel room with the request that I use it and bring the negative result with me the next day. This wasn’t requested at all during the visit.

Trying to make any sense of this results in a headache. Questioning why this still is going on is a fool’s errand; there is no consistent thread of logic holding any of this together.

In the meantime, my colleagues chuckle behind their hands at the ineffective and leaky Indian airport security checks as we remove shoes and belts, take laptops out of bags, display our power adaptors for inspection, etc. and make disparaging remarks about how silly it all is.

We don’t comment on the inconsistency of the masks though. There’s a code of silence as we put them on, take them off, rinse, repeat.

This is either a deadly disease that can be prevented by the addition of a knitted woollen barrier over the mouth and nose, or isn’t and it can’t.

That we are all continually living like this makes me wonder if we have become fully house-trained. What else might we quietly and compliantly accept now in the future?

Bill’s Opinion

I can think of only two possible reasons for this bio-security theatre to remain in place;

1. The process to remove the rule has far more steps and gatekeepers than the process to impose it. We must participate in the Holy Communion to the god of Covid until eventually a person in authority decides we can stop, or

2. It’s about the love of power and control. The gatekeepers preventing the removal of this ridiculous charade from our lives know it serves no purpose. They know we know it serves no purpose. They know we know they know we know it serves no purpose. But yet they keep the rules in place.

Aaaaand exhale.

You could have just thrown a big party

William of Ockham’s Law of Single Issue Activism; if the main goals of the lobbyists or charity are achieved, the infrastructure will not be disbanded but will be redirected, usually to a corrupted facsimile of the original purpose.

The spark for the idea for this theory is a vague memory of hearing the history of the charities set up to eradicate smallpox. The memory hasn’t stood up to the test of Google but my recollection was, once the goal of eradication had been achieved, several charities continued but engaged in fraudulent activities.

We have a perfect present day example with the organisation, Stonewall:

Originally founded after the Stonewall riots in New York to fight for decriminalisation of homosexuality and equal rights for that demographic, the campaign is arguably the most successful single issue civil rights movement ever. Homosexuals have exactly the same rights as heterosexuals and are excluded from no profession. They can marry and are able to adopt children. Well, everywhere except certain countries, but Stonewall doesn’t seem too interested in taking that fight on.

If one could go back in time and tell the founders of their success, a big cheer and massive closing down party would seem the most likely response.

But the 2022 version of Stonewall is instead operating a shakedown scheme, “advising” organisations on how to use pronouns at £2,000 a time. Rather like, “that’s a nice company you’ve got there, would be a shame if someone started accusing it of bigotry and hate”.

A similar model was successfully used by Rev. Al Sharpton long after the USA Civil Rights organisations achieved their key stated goals.

The Suffragette movement and first wave feminism were similarly very successful in achieving their goals of votes for woman and equal access to the professions.

It’s been over two generations since women were required to obtain their father or husband’s permission to take out a mortgage, for example. As for equal access to the professions; most people reading this will currently have a female boss further up in the hierarchy, several dozen if you work for Wokepac (absolutely none of whom got there through just redefining the noun, “manager”. No, not at all).

But just like our other corrupted campaigns above, feminism has been warped into a poor facsimile of its original purpose. Today, feminism looks more like a desire to copy all aspects of being male, with little discussion about the negative consequences.

Women are told the lie they can have a career and delay finding a life partner and childbirth. Or that hook up culture is equally fine for both males and females.

The cold reality of our inability to dramatically extend the female fertility window or the asymmetrical biological and emotional consequences of hooking up as if they were male are not mentioned so much, however. You go, girl!

Antifa is another case study that springs to mind. When was the last time you met an actual Fascist who wasn’t Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, or Prime Minister of New Zealand or Canada?

Our final example is the environmental lobby. Those old enough to remember the campaign to remove CFCs from aerosols and fridges to reduce the hole in the ozone layer might wonder what happened. Tick, successful.

Remember the campaign to reduce acid rain? Tick, successful.

What do you think happened to all those employees of the not for profit organisations and non governmental organisations built to achieve these two goals? What about the thousands of people working on the fundraising campaigns?

Do you think they looked at the ever-improving data and decided it was a job well done, called a few venues and chucked a massive party?

Or, do you think they segued in to a new campaign, resulting in autistic teenage Swedes lecturing us about computer models that have yet to reverse predict the observed temperature at any point in their use, while your fuel and heating bill is rising daily.

Bill’s Opinion

The key to being a good party guest is knowing when it’s time to go home.

Give me back the Berlin Wall

….Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby
It is murder

At some point in the last few decades, we seem to have lived through what Leonard Cohen predicted in the song quoted above, The Future: There’ll be the breaking of the ancient Western code.

One important aspect of that ancient western code was that children mattered more than any other demographic and we should sacrifice for them, not the other way around.

But consider three significant points of evidence in the argument this is no longer our code:

1. Abortion.

It’s always happened, true. From secret potions to beating of bellies to coat hangers and back street arrangements. In countries where it was made legal, the argument was that, if it no longer carried a criminal offence it might be made safe, early and rare. Those words were much used in the campaign during the original Roe vs Wade ruling.

Early and rare seem to have been dramatically forgotten in subsequent years, however.

Approximately 1 million abortions are performed annually in the USA of which, up to 18,000 are in the third trimester. Let’s hope they were at least safe.

2. Lockdown.

For two years, most countries went through several phases of closing the schools and shutting their children away in bedrooms to be educated remotely. School and community sport was banned, as was playing in the parks or even meeting with friends.

We all knew this would impact the most vulnerable kids, those without computers and parents at home, those with abusive family members, those with emotional and mental health issues. But we did it anyway.

Why? To save them from a disease we knew didn’t pose any material risk to the young. We sacrificed those at the start of their lives for the sake of those at the end of theirs.

3. Transgender.

We’ve accepted fiction as fact and figures of authority have presented this to children.

Quite reasonably, many children have now acted upon this lie and genuinely believe they are born in the wrong body and, worse, this unhappy situation can be ameliorated by a mixture of powerful drugs, life changing permanent surgery and the rest of society going along with this charade.

A study of 81,000 teenagers discovered 2,200 thought they were a different gender to the one everyone in the world would have said they were if asked about 10 years ago.

A not insignificant proportion of these confused kids are going to physically act upon these thoughts by taking drugs, slicing bits off themselves and acting out a cosplay fantasy of their new gender.

We can be bloody certain this will not improve their happiness at all.

Well done, everyone. Seriously, well done.

Bill’s Opinion

Golda Mier famously said of the Arabs;:

“We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.”

I believe that quote is relevant today but it needs a slight modification to reflect our pathological self-loathing:

We will only have peace when we love our children more than we hate ourselves.

Which cat killed curiosity?

You’d be forgiven for not paying attention to the “election” of the new Leader of the Conservative Party (AKA “The Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”) in the UK right now.

As some wag put it on the socials yesterday, it’s rather like having to choose your favourite Covid vaccine. Except you’re not being asked to choose.

There have been a series of press conferences and televised debates. Plenty of opportunity for our media class to pose the hard questions. One topic notably absent from the mouths of any of the candidates, not even the otherwise great Kemi Badenoch, and certainly not asked by the journalists is “whither lockdowns?”.

As in, were they a good idea, should we even consider them again, how did the cost/benefit analysis play out two years down the track, etc.?

Complete silence.

I have to check myself in my surprise at this. Am I wrong in thinking what we just lived through was without precedent in peace time? That the speed at which basic civil liberties and rights were cast aside was shocking and brutalising for huge numbers of citizens?

It seems more than strange that a single question hasn’t been reserved about it during the dozens of hours of candidate scrutiny. Is nobody interested in whether any of the candidates would use these powers again on us. Just me?

Bill’s Opinion

Many of us state a belief we are living with a fiction of choice, that our “democracy” is nothing more than a unaparty, a single party of government.

I would love to hear a counter argument to that view in the context of a political and media consensus to completely avoid discussing what’s just happened.

And when you finished explaining that, have an attempt at describing to me how an Epstein and a Maxwell can be convicted of crimes involving possibly hundreds of other co-criminals but no other investigations or prosecutions are apparently underway?

Please define “projection”

This is delicious from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Osman Faruqi, Culture News Editor and Columnist:

Diverse representation is important, but so is what people stand for.

Remember kids, everything before the word but is bullshit.

When the eight candidates in the running to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party were officially revealed on Wednesday, one thing immediately stood out.

Four of them – former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, his replacement Nadhim Zahawi, Attorney-General Suella Braverman, and Kemi Badenoch – are not white. With Sunak considered the favourite, it’s probable that the UK will soon have a person of colour as its prime minister for the first time.

Tugendhat is Jewish, but that’s not a ethnic minority in Osman’s mind, presumably? Wrong kind of minority?

Sunak’s grandparents were born in British India before migrating to East Africa (what is now Kenya and Tanzania) and then eventually making their way to the UK.

So what? So was Gandhi and Cliff fucking Richards. Also, British India? Who on earth calls it that in 2022?

Despite this, Sunak has embraced policies that would deny that same benefit to thousands of other potential migrants.

No. He embraced a policy that would deny that same benefit to people who travelled across (checks the map) at least 4 countries in the EU to then cross the English Channel. Sunak’s family filled in the appropriate form and waited to be invited. Let’s compare apples with apples, eh?

Is (diversity) just about having a room full of people from different backgrounds, genders and sexualities to tick a box and make everyone feel good, regardless of what those people actually do with their power? Or is the goal really about leveraging people’s lived experiences to ensure policies take into account the needs and desires of groups that have been historically marginalised?

Or it is about everyone agreeing with me, Osman Faruqi, sole holder of the Sacred Compass of Truth?

Undoubtedly, there is something seductive about the narrative of a “first non-white” or “first female” prime minister, because of the supposed signal it sends about social progress. But without interrogating the ideology behind those firsts, and the kinds of policies they intend to implement for the groups they represent, the signal doesn’t mean anything.

Or, “you’re not really black if you don’t agree with me”.

Bill’s Opinion

Osman likes diversity but not that kind of diversity. See also; people who like freedom of speech except for speech they dislike.

Maybe, and I’m just going to put this out there, the colour of your skin doesn’t matter as much as the content of your character?

The NSW IQ test results are in

The New South Wales technocrats are suffering from attention deficit syndrome, so we’re back to press conferences with meaningless statistics.

The Brad and Kerry Show yesterday resulted in a statement from the state’s most senior doctor with this as its final paragraph (bold mine):

Finally, I am urging everyone to continue to do the little things that will make a big difference, including staying home if unwell, testing if you have symptoms, and practicing good hygiene by washing your hands or sanitising regularly.

This statement was spoken by a medical doctor whose entire working day for over two and half years has been to be across all things Covid.

My job is nothing to do with Covid but I know that there have been multiple studies confirming the virus is exclusively airborne with minimal evidence of surface transmission.

Kerry Chant must surely be aware of this too.

Bill’s Opinion

What are our possible explanations?

1. Kerry is utterly rubbish at her prime responsibility.

2. Kerry doesn’t write this stuff and feels compelled to speak it, whilst knowing it’s incorrect.

3. Kerry knows it’s incorrect but doesn’t think it’s good for us if she updates the message based on new knowledge.

4. A bizarre alternative reason I’m not imaginative enough to think of.

None of these reasons are going to help Kerry convince anyone who has been paying attention to listen to a damn word she or her colleagues say ever again.

Line up peeps for your 4th jab of a 95% effective vaccine that prevents the spread so well that everyone you know has had the disease already.

Race ya!

We have a classic good news/bad news tale for you today.

Good news: the number of Australian Aboriginal people on the national census has doubled in 20 years.

Bad news: it’s probably not because there’s many more Australian Aboriginal people.

First of all, as with all surveys, the question asked is critical:

Rather than the current question – which asks respondents whether they are of “Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin” – he wants the ABS to ask: “Are you a verified or authenticated Aboriginal person?”

Verified or authenticated. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel mild discomfort at the thought of having to prove one’s ethnicity and receive an offical confirmation?

I feel certain we’ve seen that in the past and it never really ended well.

There’s a few contradictions the linked article chooses not to discuss.

An obvious one springs from these two paragraphs (bold, mine):

Bronwyn Carlson, the head of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, said there was no need for a “fury of panic” about the increase in Indigenous self-identification.

….It was only later in life, after researching her family history, that she wholeheartedly embraced her Aboriginal identity.

Am I reading that correctly? A person who didn’t previous realise they were Aboriginal now heads up an academic department studying matters Aboriginal? Was there no suitable applicant who was actually, y’know, raised in an Aboriginal family?

Not to labour the point, and I know one doesn’t need to be Greek to study the ancient Athenians, but it does feel like Macquarie Uni missed a golden opportunity for affirmative action in recruiting that job.

Another contradiction is the often raised subject of the historic and, sometimes claimed, ongoing genocide of this group of Australians. It’s hard to reconcile this with a doubling in 20 years of the same demographic. Perhaps this is explained by the third contradiction;

If being Aboriginal is to guarantee a life of persecution and discrimination, why are so many more people identifying as such?

Bill’s Opinion

Incentives matter. Ask Bill Pascoe.

If we legislate by ethnicity, we will eventually have to have the uncomfortable discussion about definitions of race. That will lead inevitably to definition of gradients of the ethnicity and creation of methods to prove it.

Play that movie to the end for me, please.