On the (Rest of the) Net.

carrie bradshaw writing

Was Sex & the City all in Carrie’s head? [Salon]

Follow the parody Twitter account, Sex & the City 3, by the same author. (While you’re at it, follow me, and stay tuned for some more SATC musings.)

Playboy: thanks for the memories (SFW). [Daily Life]

Bleak, but inspiring: “Freelancing & the Mythical Work/Life Balance.” [This Ain't Livin']

Why do they hate us? Christos Tsiolkas on Australia’s asylum seeker problem. [The Monthly]

Femen from the perspective of its activists (NSWF). [Vice]

I reviewed Domestic Warfare at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival for TheatrePress.

Image via I’m Charming You.

TV: Religious Extremism in the Fifth Season of True Blood.

True Blood has always had a socio-cultural-political-sexual statement to make: vampires are marginalised like blacks and gays. Supernatural beings are inherently sexual and therefore can’t be stopped. Vampires are just the beginning of a myriad of other “supes”: maenads, witches, “shifters, were-chickens and whatever the fuck else is out there!” as Sheriff Andy Bellefleur so eloquently puts it. If we grant acceptance to them, we have to accept everyone else.

So when mention of the biblical Lilith is made at the beginning of season five, along with the existence of Salome, it’s obvious the season was going to tackle the hard, religious issues.

Lilith has long been appropriated as a vampiric being, so it’s not unusual that she should be reappropriated for True Blood’s “original bible”—the vampire bible—as being created before Adam and Eve, not with Adam, and in God’s image. Ergo, God’s a vampire and “human shall nourish vampire”.

Lilith takes on the role of the temptress, her manifestation turning everyone who drinks her blood into hallucinating psychopaths, no one more than Bill, who kills numerous Authority members in his quest to be Lilith’s chosen one. Lilith urges both him, Salome and others to “Drink the blood, drink all the blood”, which destroys Bill’s vampire form and brings him back as something demonic and altogether other worldly. Lilith’s blood is no doubt a metaphor for blindly drinking the Kool Aid of organised religion.

The rest of the season, which culminated in Bill’s transcendence last night, also focusses on religious extremism, but I think it’s the Obama mask-wearing, supe-killing hate group terrorising Bon Temps that makes the most poignant remarks about religion.

The Human Patriots don’t come to the fore til about midway through the season, when Sam’s shifter friends, then Sam himself, Luna and Emma, are attacked. The conclusion is drawn that they were targeted because they’re shifters. Some digging by Sam and the sheriff’s office uncovers a website called the Human Patriot Manifesto, replete with a “grand dragon” à la the Ku Klux Klan, which vows to stop supes stealing our jobs, controlling the media, gaining equal rights and “making us feel bad for being regular old humans”. Sookie’s even caught in the cross-fire for simply being “associated with vampires”. Sounds an awful lot like, from an Australian perspective, the panic about asylum seekers in the media and the government. The amount of times I’ve heard someone say that we shouldn’t be accepting “boat people” into our country because they want to change our way of living, steal our jobs and mooch off our tax dollars on Centrelink (for those non-Aussies playing at home, that’s our department of welfare): so which is it? Do they want to take our jobs or not work at all?

It’s a very relevant debate on the way mainstream Western culture treats “others”: in this case, supernatural beings. That the terrorists wear Barack Obama masks (a reporter even asks if it’s true that Barack Obama is killing supes!) is a not-so-subtle dig at the opinion that Obama enables minorities (Muslim’s ’cause he is one, didn’t you know? And don’t the Republicans hate Mexicans?) instead of looking out for his countrymen. Again, not so different from the asylum seeker debate…

Speaking of “mainstreaming”, that’s the name given to the assimilation of vampires with humans, the movement which Chris Meloni’s Roman heads up. According to the U.S. Government’s liaison, he’s “the only one stopping the world from sliding back into the dark ages”. When the opposing Sanguinista movement (religious fundamentalists who believe in the literal translation of the vampire bible: that humans serve only as a food source for vampires) rises up from within the ranks of the Authority, all hell begins to break loose, some of which I couldn’t keep up with and am still trying to work through mentally.

But not everyone is hip to this idea, with the phrases “Wake up sister, it’s just a book. I knew the guy who wrote it and he was high the whole time,” “You are destroying the world based on a book that is thousands of years old… That’s the opposite of evolved,” and “The small-mindedness of your religion has literally kept you in the dark” rattling around throughout the season. If these aren’t a commentary on the religious right attempting to control the government in the U.S., then I don’t know what is. In fact, the Authority, as Pam so helpfully points out, is the vampire government and church: the church controls the government. Ever the bitchy voice of reason, she also ponders aloud the question of how many times she’ll have to live through the same “scenario happen[ing] over and over”. Rest assured, if the Republicans are elected this year, the United States will begin to resemble the dark age-esque, blood soaked mise en scène of Bon Temps, Louisiana. I guess we know who Alan Ball et al will be voting for…

Images via AllMyVideos.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Zoo Weekly, what will you think of next? Australia’s hottest asylum seekers, it would appear. [Daily Life]

The dearth of protected sexytimes on TV and in movies lead young people to have more unprotected sexytimes. [Jezebel]

Twitter: humanising the porn star. [Jezebel]

To bleed or not to bleed, that is the question most doctors should be asking their female patients interested in hormonal birth control. [AlterNet]

Apparently, six-year-olds want to be “sexy”. Cue outrage. While some points of the argument are valid, children are naturally sexually curious beings. I remember all my prep friends and I wanted to be “strippers” when we grew up, we thought Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” was the coolest thing going, and we used to play the “sex game” regularly. Kids just want to do what they think adults do, which they emulate in make-believe. I think it starts to become a problem if these ideals are still being expressed come the onset of puberty when the body is physically ready for what typically accompanies “sexiness”, but certainly not mentally. [Jezebel]

Image via The Hoopla.

TV: Top 11 TV Moments of 2011.

Paper Giants.

One of the best shows this year. Unfortunately, it only ran over two nights.

The Kennedys.

Wow. Just wow. I loved this miniseries that was cancelled by the History Channel in the U.S. because it allegedly portrayed the Kennedy family in too negative a light. Luckily, it was picked up by the ABC here. I am now officially in love with Greg Kinnear.

Go Back to Where You Came From.

Apart from Sarah Ferguson’s Four Corners expose on the meat industry (below), SBS’s Go Back to Where You Came From was the most groundbreaking television this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think it changed anyone’s minds about the plight of refugees in this country, because those who already empathise with asylum seekers were the show’s target audience, and those who think refugees should go back to where they came from snubbed the show.

Sookie & Eric Finally Get Together on True Blood.

While I’m more of a Sookie and Bill fan, and an Alcide-in-general fan, Eric’s turn as sensitive Sookie-lover in True Blood’s fourth season was a must-watch. But thankfully, the Nordic vampire is back to his old, heartless self.

Charlotte King’s Rape in Private Practice.

Private Practice is an oft-shunned show, in favour of its Seattle counterpart, Grey’s Anatomy, but season four dealt with abortion and rape particularly sensitively and realistically.

Four Corners’ Expose on the Meat Market.

This was probably one of the most talked about news stories in Australia, if one of the most poorly rated episodes of Four Corners. Not because people didn’t care, but because it was so hard to watch. It’s perhaps too soon to tell, but I think we are seeing a chance in meat practices in Australia because of this story.

The Slap.

I found one of ABC’s most anticipated shows of the year to be a spectacular letdown. I’d had Christos Tsiolkas’ novel on my reading list since it was released, however I missed out on reading it before the show premiered in October. Perhaps if I had read the book first I would feel differently about the show, but I found it to be stereotypical and tokenistic, and a massive disappointment from the screen version I had hyped up in my mind. Fail.

MamaMia Gets Its Own TV Show.

Probably not many TV watchers outside of the insular community of MamaMia and Sky News would have known about Mia Freedman’s lifestyle website making the switch to TV. I don’t have pay TV but, luckily, the shows are available to watch on the MamaMia website, YouTube and Facebook, where the panelists talk about all manner of things, like sex, mental illness, celebrity, porn, religion, parenthood and more.

Angry Boys.

I hadn’t watched any of Chris Lilley’s stuff before Angry Boys and, while a lot who had thought the show was a bit of a letdown, I really enjoyed it.

Housos.

Another one that was a bit hit-and-miss, I’d anticipated the show all year. While some moments were gold, others were just supremely unfunny.

At Home With Julia.

Finally, the cherry on top of a parody-tastic television year. I really enjoyed Amanda Bishop’s portrayal of Julia Gillard, but I still found the fact that there was a show about a sitting prime minister pretty offensive.

Any TV moments I missed here that you thought defined 2011?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Slap & Men Who Cheat.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] At Home with Julia: Funny or Disrespectful?

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same.

From “The Last Refuge of the Un-Australian” by Tony Birch:

“Recently, when a Pakistani migrant who had been granted permanent Australian residency in 1996 set himself on fire outside the federal parliament, as a result of his unsuccessful application to the Immigration Department to have his wife and child join him here, the Immigration Minister, Phillip Ruddock stated ‘it’s [self-immolation] not something we are used to or experienced with… sadly he sought to do so.’

“This man had done something that was very ‘un-Australian’. He had publicly expressed his grief and anguish at his treatment at the hands of Australian government officials. He had raised an issue that might tap away at all of those clichés of national foundation and celebration. It is not only ‘un-Australian’ to be, through experience, a whistle-blower against nation-building mythology. Simply ‘to be’ one of those who have been abused by the Australian nation is to be ‘un-Australian’.

“It is also ‘un-Australian’ to intern people without trial for up to four years, to subject people to months of isolation in solitary confinement. It is ‘un-Australian’ to remove those people to remote parts of the country where they cannot be visited by family or friends, to where the activities of the multi-national company that profits from their incarceration cannot be scrutinised by the media or the imprisoned’s legal representatives. It would be ‘un-Australian’ in the extreme to use water cannon, tear gas and truncheons against people imprisoned without trial, who are rightfully protesting about the abuse of their human rights.

“I cannot, as a trained historian, state this with empirical certainty, but it is a mathematical probability that it is ‘un-Australian’ to disparage and devalue the worth and lives of refugees by claiming, without evidence, that many of them ‘may be’ associated with ‘terrorists’. Likewise, the propagandist need to focus more closely on the supposed threat that the approximately 8,000 ‘illegal’ arrivals in the last ten years post to ‘our way of life’ rather than overturn a policy that contributed to more than 350 people drowning trying to get here in just one year (1999), is somewhat ‘un-Australian’ I would think.

“But of course the representatives of the Australian people, the federal government, engage in such behaviour on a daily basis. To ensure that such practices are not perceived as ‘un-Australian’ we not only transfer refugees to remote areas of the country, we un-people those who arrive here by reconfiguring them as ‘the ungrateful’, ‘the terrorist’, ‘the queue-jumper’ and legally as ‘the non-person’. ‘We’ can then protect Australia and ‘our way of life’ against the alien invader as ‘we’ did against ‘the Aborigines’ in the past, because they failed to adhere to the doctrine of terra nullius by unpatriotically refusing to reclassify themselves as ‘non-people’, in claiming their rights and identity as indigenous people.

“The Department of Immigration lists 37 countries that it regards as a threat to Australia, in that visitors who arrive from these countries, by boat or otherwise, are regarded as the most ‘at risk for overstaying their visa’. The countries listed include Bangladesh, Chile, India, Poland, Samoa and Vietnam. Most are non-white and none are Anglo or English speaking (as a first language). And yet approximately 20 per cent of arrivals to Australia who overstay their visas are British. There is no mention of Britain in the blacklisted countries. Nor do we see the fair skin of the backpacker behind the barbed-wire of the detention camps…

“We have a situation in Australia today where we are witnessing the human rights abuses of many people. Aboriginal people continue to be abused as a result of the crimes committed by white Australia both in the past and contemporary society. The abusive treatment of refugees is similar to the treatment of Aboriginal people in the country in that they pose a threat which, more than being based on any material manifestation, either real or imagined, is a threat to a way of life erected on xenophobia, selfishness and a fear of difference.

“We must transform the culture of Australian life by screaming to our politicians that such an idea is genuinely un-Australian and that we will not tolerate it. And we must do this beyond the act of the political gesture. Activism can be a loaded word, but still, to be active in some way, to speak, to write, to march, to protest, to be angry and to put that anger into expression and action is a suitably un-Australian idea at this time.”

This was written… wait for it… in April 2001. More than ten years ago and, indeed, before the September 11 attacks, and nothing has changed. Being young and naïve, I didn’t realise there was as strong an anti-Muslim culture as there is today, just over ten years on. And it’s appalling to have it made aware that Birch’s words are just as poignant today as they were a decade ago.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Melbourne Writers’ Festival: Beyond White Guilt.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] September 11, 10 Years On.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cowboys VS. Aliens & Indians… Does it Really Matter? They’re All the Same Anyway, According to the New Movie.

Elsewhere: [New York Magazine] 9/11 Encyclopedia: Xenophobia.

What Makes a Good Person?

Recently, Erica Bartle wrote about her Christian angst on Girl with a Satchel.

She said her “newfound sensibility” has made her “hyper-sensitive” to all that is wrong in the world. “Why can’t everything just be nice and Christian?!” she bemoans.

I wrote in response in the comments section that I don’t think what she’s experiencing is an exclusively faith (in the religious sense of the world; I’m an agnostic, yet I still believe in a higher power of some kind and that all things that are meant to be will eventuate. I know atheists who, like George Michael, have faith.) -based problem.

Last week, a former colleague and Facebook friend wrote an anti-refugee status along the lines of “fuck off, we’re full”. Classy. I commented, saying that as the “lucky country”, we should be extending our resources and welcoming asylum seekers with open arms, as they have a legal right to seek asylum in whichever country they can gain access to which is safer than their own. To cut a long story short, a shitstorm ensued, and bigoted bogans far and wide chimed in to berate me and asylum seekers alike.

They claimed “boat people” were making their local kinders stop celebrating Easter and Christmas and that while people like me have to pay for my education, they get it for free. I don’t know where they get this misinformation (middle-right mainstream media, step right up), which is what I wrote, albeit in a more forceful manner, and was attacked personally for it.

There is a fine line between standing up for what you believe in and berating all others who don’t subscribe to the same school of thought. If bigotry means not being able to see the other side and thinking less of those on it, then call me one, because I just can’t see the reasoning behind being so uncaring and un-compassionate. (The downside to free speech.)

So if standing up for what you believe in and the rights of others makes you a “good person” by a lot of peoples’ definitions, which side makes you a “better” person? The side that wants to protect our country’s borders and focus our money and resources on people already in it, or the side that believes we should extend those privileges to those in need, no matter which country they hail from? And why isn’t the latter the more mainstream and accepted view?

Bartle writes that sometimes her hypersensitivity to issues not unlike the one I just mentioned makes her wail, “Why can’t I just be NORMAL?!”

What is normal, anyway?

If normal means having the prejudiced views of the friends of my Facebook friend and, indeed, the two main governmental parties in this country, then normal is something I do not want to be. From the last two and a half years of content Bartle has posted on her blog (not to mention the two years before I discovered GWAS), I doubt it’s something she would really strive for, either.

But, to be a woman of God means to “let go of the idea of your awesomeness, your pride and your talents” and “burning ambitions/dreams/desires”. Forgive me, but the “god” I believe in wants me to be the best I can possibly be at whatever I choose. (“God” is starting to sound an awful lot like “mum”.) I want me to be, too. There’s that pride thing Bartle’s talking about…

So does being a “good person” mean being agreeable, having no passion and being boring? I know some of these people and, to my mind, they mightn’t be bad people, but they’re not much brighter than “normal”, either. To be a good person you need to buck the status quo, and be both passionate and compassionate. These things make you anything but boring and “normal”.

But we see what these things lead to, and it’s anything but compassion.

Take the Mia Freedman/Cadel Evans saga, for example. Freedman has made a career out of giving her opinion on all things media- and woman-centric, which is exactly why the unwashed masses turned on her when she deigned to question the focus we put on sportspeople at the expense of other, perhaps more deserving, people.

Bartle includes an excerpt from Get Her Off the Pitch: How Sport Took Over My Life by Lynne Truss, in which the author writes that sport can sometimes be a waste of time (my thoughts exactly!) which, in turn, got me thinking about pack mentality, both in sport and in religion.

We’ve seen how mobs of sports fans engage in rioting, amongst other pack-like behaviour. Even the very act of cheering and booing your favourite/least favourite team in the stands is inherently mob-like. Not to mention the “group-bonding” sessions of gang rape and group sex amongst teammates. (This is not to say all sport is bad; it’s just not for me, and this is just one of the myriad of reasons why.)

Religion, I believe, also encourages such actions. The use of deities to justify all manner of wars, massacres, executions, terrorism, riots, rapes, murders, stonings, and law reform, amongst many others. (This is not to say all those who are religious subscribe to such extremities, but I do believe that all organised religion is a crock.)

And we, as a society, accept such behaviours because they are hidden under the cloak of Godliness, or Australianess. (More on what is considered Australian and un-Australian tomorrow.)

So, this has gotten a little off-track, but I suppose I’m putting the question out there: “What makes a good person?” Obviously, this is a never-ending debate, but I do know that being one is certainly not dependent on religion or “patriotism”.

I think it’s dependent on being courageous, compassionate, respectful, which in turn generates respect, standing up for what you believe in and having the courage of your convictions, staying true to yourself, standing up for the underdog and yes, being a little bit proud and selfish every now and then. ’Cause no one respects a “yes” (wo)man.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] In Defence of Mia Freedman.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] I’m a Christian, Get Me Outta Here!

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes*.

 

Proposition me with a trip to the movies to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and, ordinarily, I wouldn’t be interested. Sci-fi, James Franco… not a fan of either.

But show me the trailer, with a heavy focus on the humanity of apes and how they’re  “just like us!” and hella yeah, I’m down to see it.

The film begins with James Franco as a scientist, who has been working on an anti-Alzheimer’s drug by injecting it into apes to see if their brains can repair themselves. Not only does the drug A-1-12 do this, it also creates new pathways in the brain, which means the recipient knows and can do things they couldn’t before.

Bright Eyes, the ape who produced such results, goes ape-shit, so to speak, and is put down. What was thought to be the drug’s fault is attributed to Bright Eyes’ unknown pregnancy and birth, and “she was just being protective” of the baby ape hidden in her enclosure.

The experiment is shut down and Franco’s character, Will Rodman, sees no option but to take the baby ape home to the San Francisco house he shares with his Alzheimer’s-inflicted father, Charles, played by John Lithgow.

Fast forward three years and Caesar, whom they’ve named the now-super ape, has had the A-1-12 transferred to him at birth, it is discovered. He has his own play area in the attic, and he gazes down at the human world below him, aching to experience life outside the confines of the Rodman home.

During this time, Will steals some vials of the A-1-12 drug and secretly gives them to the ailing Charles. The results are overnight and miraculous. With the introduction of Freida Pinto’s veterinarian Caroline, who barely has five lines in the movie and is literally the only female character, bar Bright Eyes who is killed off in the first five minutes to further the story for the male characters, it’s all one big happy family.

Five years later, Will is struggling to care for his dad, whose body has developed immunity to A-1-12, and to wrangle the increasingly smart, inquisitive, lonely and strong Caesar, who attacks a neighbour for roughing up Charles when he tries to drive away in his luxury car in a dementia-induced stupor.

Will is forced to send Caesar away, to a primate enclosure in the city. Unbeknownst to Will, Caesar and the other apes are treated like crap by the attendants, who are the first victims when the apes stage a revolution.

Each time Will and Caroline come to visit Caesar, he gradually wants nothing to do with them. He begrudges Will for abandoning him and allowing him to be treated “like an animal”.

This notion is really at the crux of the film. We treat animals like beings less than ourselves, even though we know more than ever about their thinking and feeling capacities, and we will live to suffer the consequences.

There are consequences when we treat them too much like humans, too. (Paging Paris Hilton.) We can see that when Caesar leads the motley crew of apes freed from “sanctuaries”, like the one Caesar and the other apes escape from, laboratories and the zoo, and when he tells (yes, apes can speak now. The miracle of A-1-12.) Will he’s “home” with his own species.

This is after the climactic Golden Gate Bridge fight scene, where man versus ape in an overwhelming victory for the latter. This scene perfectly illustrates the “pack mentality” we accuse sports stars of, and is illustrated by the London riots and the gang-rape of Lara Logan.

Other subtle and not-so-subtle metaphors in the film include the dichotomy of war, racism, prison, how we treat refugees, how we treat those we don’t understand, testing on animals (which, in this film, is null and void: Franklin, a lab technician who dies towards the end of the film after being exposed to the virus strain of A-1-12, A-1-13, proving it may work on apes, but it certainly doesn’t on humans) and, of course, the aforementioned way we treat animals.

I’m a sucker for an animal movie, and cried pretty much through the whole thing! And these “animals” weren’t even real! But, in retrospect, the flawless special effects and underlying meaning weren’t enough to save the dismal character development and non-ape related storyline. Pretty much all the characters were interchangeable.

I’m not a big fan of James Franco, and in this movie he didn’t annoy me with his James Franco-ness but, having said that, I would rather that than a repeat of his Oscars coast-through, which his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a mirror image of.

In terms of Pinto being the only woman in the movie, perhaps her no-character Caroline could have been spared in favour of one other female character with a bit of substance, a backstory, and a driving force in the storyline: mother Charlotte instead of father Charles.

But really, this reasoning is clutching at straws, as Rise of the Planet of the Apes is really all about the… erm… apes. Humans are merely transposable caricatures.

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Time’s “What Animals Think” August 16, 2010 Review.

Asylum Seekers: Have a Little Compassion.

Image via IMDb.

 

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman.” [The Bleeding Cool, via Jezebel]

“An Open Letter to Fred Nile”, member of the Christian Democratic Party, who said the baby being expected by Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, has “human rights” and should not be brought up in a home with two mummies. [MamaMia]

The anti-child-model argument. And it’s a good one. [The Guardian]

The navel-gazing of the Gen Y writer. [Harvest Magazine]

Latoya Peterson “On Being Feminism’s ‘Ms. Nigga’”. [Racialicious]

The old Hollywood deception that was Rock Hudson. [The Hairpin]

The case for spoilers. I’ve been guilty of giving away the ending of movies and TV shows, saying things like “Oh yeah, and then it grows back” about Jessica’s broken hymen in her first sexual encounter—as a human or vampire—with Hoyt on True Blood, when I asked a friend which episode they were up to. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Whoops! [Jezebel]

The (Real Life) Help. [Jezebel]

And if The Help, the DSK case and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child have taught us anything, it’s that domestic workers are treated like shit. But hope may be on the horizon… [The Houston Chronicle]

As per Beyonce’s suggestion, a new word for feminism: equalism. Though one suggestion seems to have been submitted by Voltron… [Jezebel]

Where have all the good men gone? Not posting on Twitter thread #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend and not being all “Post Gender Normative”, that’s for sure! [Tiger Beatdown, McSweeney’s]

Reproductive rights, consent and organ/egg donation. [Feministe]

Feminism and superheroes conference in Melbourne? So wish I was there! [The Age]

Six myths about terrorists. [MamaMia]

It’s (not) all about popular(ity) at Girl with a Satchel.

Rachel Hills on motivation and the fear of failure. And success! [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Classism on True Blood. [Tiger Beatdown]

Caroline Da Costa on why we need RU486 (the “abortion drug”). [MamaMia]

A step in the right direction to welcoming asylum seekers to Australia. [MamaMia]

Still with asylum seekers, along similar lines as my post this week. [The Punch]

Larry David as “feminist hero”? [Jezebel]

“Revolution” is what we call riots we like:

“… Guilt ridden white first-world bloggers… love protests in Syria and Iran and elsewhere because they can cast those people, members of an alien culture, race, and religion, as the perfect representations of resistance while totally stripping them of the actual thorny reality of political rage. Theocratic preferences are stripped away; violent behaviour… is ignored; the re-instantiation of sexist Islamic doctrine within the structures of protest movements are conveniently elided. This is the way of all patronising attitudes from the overclass towards resistance: in order to preserve its romanticized view, it has to occlude the particular grievances and goals that make the protest meaningful in the first place….” [L’Hôte]

In the wake of the death of a toddler attacked by a pitbull, The Punch’s Anthony Sharwood decrees “pitbulls should all be killed. Every last one. It really is as simple as that.” Hmm, not sure I agree…

Do zoos have a place in 2011? [The Punch]

This profile on 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner Michele Bachmann makes me want to pray to the God she so staunchly believes in that there’s still a little bit of sense and belief in President Obama left in the U.S. [The New Yorker]

Image via Jezebel.

Asylum Seekers: Have a Little Compassion.

Late last month an inquiry was launched into the high rates of self-harm and suicide attempts at detention centres across Australia.

Add to this the rioting and hunger strikes at detention centres in Queensland and Darwin, amongst others, and it’s a sorry state of affairs for asylum seekers in Australia.

Those who see asylum seekers as “illegals” when, in actual fact, anyone has the legal right to flee to another country to seek asylum, are probably reasoning that they brought this on themselves, that they shouldn’t expect to come into our country and be given a free ride, exempt from the laws “legal” citizens abide by.

If anyone saw Go Back to Where You Came From, the softening of Cronulla lifeguard Adam Hartup was immediate after he visited men on their final appeal to gain asylum at Villawood detention centre. He relayed the story of one man who said if he wasn’t granted asylum he would have to kill himself because he couldn’t return to his home country, where he would be killed anyway. What other option do these people have?

When you’re caged like an animal (and I don’t even believe in caging animals. Wait, does the zoo count?) and treated like you’re guilty for exerting your legal right to flee a dangerous country, there’s probably not a light at the end of the tunnel in sight.

While I don’t agree with rioting, we can’t let a few “bad eggs”, so to speak, influence the way we view the majority of detainees in detention centres, who are waiting quietly to have their legal right to seek asylum recognised.

Related: My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

Elsewhere: [ABC Lateline] Detention Centre Self-Harming Prompts Inquiry.

[The Age] Police Use Tear Gas to Quell Riot on Christmas Island.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

In praise of Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” music video fashion. Takes me right back to grade six… [XOJane]

Rachel Hills laments the lustre of the It Girl. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Should recreational drugs be decriminalised? [MamaMia]

Consent, ignorance and “The Unintentional Rapist”. [Persephone Magazine]

Charlie Fine: boy wonder. I hope my future 11-year-old is a switched on as this kid. [MamaMia]

“Your pussy isn’t pretty enough” and other vulva-shaming myths. [Rachel Rabbit White]

The perils of being a black woman dating. [Jezebel]

Feminism is NOT a dirty word, Beyonce. [Jezebel]

The feminine girl geek mystique. [Persephone Magazine]

New show The Playboy Club as feminist text? [Jezebel, via NPR]

“When The Rapist is a She.” [Salon]

“Lest we forget” about asylum seekers? [MamaMia]

Muslim Americans: they’re just like other Americans! [Salon]

Mitt Romney’s abortion history. [Salon]

On Generation X nostalgia. [The New York Times]

Breastfeeding: a feminist issue. [Persephone Magazine]

In defence of Rihanna’s “Man Down” video. [Persephone Magazine]

“What Happened to Obama’s Passion?” [The New York Times]

Does “sport get way too much attention in Australia to the detriment of other national heroes?” [BBC News]

Clark Gable’s old Hollywood “Scandal that Wasn’t”:

“But the studio didn’t quite have a handle on his [Gable's] image, casting him as an unrepentant villain and a laundryman. This was akin to casting Channing Tatum as a bad guy or smart person, when everyone knows he should only be taking off his shirt and/or doing dance moves, preferably while in the rain. Even cast in the wrong roles, Gable was remarkable. MGM’s head of publicity thus decided to further refine Gable’s image, capitalizing on his rural past and six-foot frame to create Clark Gable, The Lumberjack in Evening Clothes.” [The Hairpin]

How to be a dead body on TV. [The Wall Street Journal]

Fashion’s next big thing: a 10-year-old French girl. [Jezebel]

Image via XOJane.