Don’t mention the pork …

Canada has been through the mill of legislation that restricts free speech. A number of folk, including Mark Steyn, fell foul of it. Their equivalent of section 18c has been repealed. Our freedom of speech continues backwards at a rate of knots. This is how we over here look to Mr Steyn over there …

~Certainly, free speech in Australia is in a parlous condition. This week, the New South Wales Supreme Court finally wrapped up an 11-year defamation case:

An epic legal battle in Australia over a withering restaurant review by a food critic has finally ended, with a newspaper forced to pay $AUS623,526 [£349,000] for a notorious critique which described the pork belly as “the porcine equal of a parched Weetbix [Weetabix]”

The 2003 review, by Matthew Evans, in the Sydney Morning Herald of plush waterside restaurant Coco Roco provided colourful descriptions of the “soggy blackberries”, “overcooked potatoes”, “outstandingly dull” roast chicken and limoncello oysters that “jangle like a car crash”, before warning readers – perhaps unnecessarily – to “stay home”.

“I’ve never had pork belly that could almost be described as dry,” Evans noted. “Until tonight… Why anyone would put apricots in a sherry-scented white sauce with a prime rib steak is beyond me.”

He also said that the sorbet “jangles the mouth like a gamelan concert”.

None of that strikes me as that withering, not to anyone who recalls the Death Wish director Michael Winner’s foray into restaurant criticism for The Sunday Times. The late Mr Winner would have found “soggy blackberries” and “rubbery and tasteless” apricots rather anodyne criticisms. There seems no good reason why Mr Evans’ review should have led to two jury trials, another before a judge, two appeals, two special-leave High Court applications and a High Court hearing. Of the three restaurateurs, one reported that she “could not walk for half an hour after reading it”, while another claimed it caused her to put on 125 pounds and attempt suicide. That would seem to be their problem, rather than Mr Evans’. I’ve certainly had worse reviews without feeling the urge to take the “outstandingly dull” roast chicken out of the oven and put my head in its place.

The judge, Peter Hall, decided “the hurt to feelings” was exacerbated because the review remained available online. A very dangerous judgment in my view because it will make it more likely that craven media outlets will react to the persistently aggrieved (such as the usual belligerent Islamic lobby groups) by vacuuming the archival record.

At any rate, a society in which you can’t call somebody’s blackberries “soggy” and express bewilderment at the combination of prime rib and apricots in sherry-scented white sauce is not free.

The juvenilia …

Recently some of the juvenilia have prevented Sophie Mirabella and Julie Bishop from putting forward their view on life.

Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have cancelled engagements to speak at universities.

This is not a phenomenon confined to Australia. There is an interesting article in this week’s edition of Time by David Von Drehle.

These are salad days for organizers of petition drives …

Zealous students at such institutions as Brandeis University, Smith College and Rutgers University have leveraged social media to drive away invited graduation-day speakers.

He takes a fairly forgiving stance …

Fish swim, birds fly, students protest. Anyone who has been 20 years old surely recalls the fierce clarity of a college student’s mind. The sharp steel of a whetted education, undulled by the nicks and scrapes of experience, makes for the slashing brilliance that breeds innovators and artists – and revolutionaries.

He observes that …

So far the young thought police have used their powers to enforce left-wing purity, amid signs that todays students have moved beyond identity politics to new orthodoxies.

Their victims include Christine Lagarde, Ayaan Hirsi, Condoleezza Rice and Robert Birganeau.

His conclusion is that …

If America’s treasured institutions of higher learning are to remain bastions of free speech and arenas of robust debate, there must be grownups ready to defend those ideals.

… but to keep our sympathy alive for the children he finishes with a nice journalistic flourish, a quote from a protest song that the grownups will identify with.

What he didn’t say was that many of these students will go on to work for Time and other mainstream media, continue to push the new orthodoxies, albeit without the kicking and screaming and continue to ensure that only one side of debate gets a hearing. Perhaps he hopes to write for Time again …

I really haven’t seen much of the slashing brilliance, just a rabble incapable of putting a coherent argument, elevating trivia to a level of significance quite beyond its true importance and determined that the rest of us will toe their line. Times they are not changing for the better.

 

O’er the land of the free …

Being free to say your piece matters. For example, if you thought a book inappropriate for your ninth grade daughter to study in English you could go to a school board meeting and say so, right?

The discussion was about the book, but the real issue is the right to have a discussion.

That could so easily have been me …

“Shut up”, he explained …

Free speech again, gee I go on about it.

Of course we all believe in it …

but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’…

Sadly, it seems that far too many have drawn the line, and enjoy the freedom of speech appropriate to their side of the line but want to shut it down on the other side of the line.

And enjoy it they do, they relish it. The twitterverse is awash with rude and moronic abuse. The politically correct reserve no space for polite respect. Contrary arguments must be howled down rather than argued against.

I commend this essay for anyone with an interest in what they might be allowed to say in the future.

“Oh Allah, count the Buddhists and the Hindus one by one. Oh Allah, count them and kill them to the very last one”. Sheikh Sharif Hussein.

The latest Fairfax-Nielsen poll finds that 88% of respondents thought section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act should be left alone. That’s probably because they think that the law is there to protect us from being the victims of people like Sheik Hussein. The good sheikh, however, has been investigated by the South Australian Police who find that no law has been broken. 18c doesn’t seem to be doing a real good job of protecting Hindus and Buddhists. On the other hand, a newspaper editorial dishing the same sentiments back to the Sheikh and his followers might well offend someone.

It’s fine to offend someone for their conservative values, they are probably dog fuckers anyway, it’s fine to offend rich, old, white men. It wouldn’t do, though to offend  young, white, aboriginal females.

A pox on 18C. Get rid of it George and lets just make it a level playing field. Let Adam Goodes berate me for the sins of my ancestors, let the Sheikh mouth off at the Buddhists, let Mona Eltahawy racially vilify me, I’m a pom, I’m used to it.

Just let me argue back without fear of losing my house.

 

Reverse Turing manoeuvre …

Alan Turing was gay and a genius, he laid the foundation for modern computing. Persecution led to his suicide in 1954. A great loss to the world.

Reuters April 3rd

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich has stepped down, the company said on Thursday, after an online dating service urged a boycott of the company’s web browser because of a donation Eich made to opponents of gay marriage.

The software company came under fire for appointing Eich as CEO last month. In 2008, he gave money to oppose the legalization of gay marriage in California, a hot-button issue especially at a company that boasts about its policy of inclusiveness and diversity.

While gay activists applauded the move, many in the technology community lamented the departure of Eich, who invented the programming language Javascript and co-founded Mozilla.

Eich donated $1,000 in 2008 in support of California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state until it was struck down by the Supreme Court in June.

Proposition 8, a referendum put to the people of California, was passed in November 2008 with 52.4%  of the vote and presumably to the approval of one Barack Obama …

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I don’t give a rat’s arse about gay marriage much less my own. I am one of the many Australians who live in a committed relationship without benefit of state or church sanction. And that privilege is available to gay couples too. I do care about the right of a person to donate to or speak up for a cause they believe in without it leading to their subsequent victimisation.

Inclusiveness and diversity is not best expressed by kicking someone out.

Why is President Obama wearing a scarlet letter … all is explained <HERE>.

 

 

Caution, offensive language …

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT 1975 – SECT 18C

Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin

(1)  It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

(a)  the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and

(b)  the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

Being offended is really a very easy thing to do. If, for instance, I was called a pom, which accurately describes my national or ethnic origin, I could take offense and give the lawyers a call. The assumption seems to be that we are all peculiarly sensitive about our race, colour or national or ethnic origin.

On the other hand we are expected to be extremely tolerant of offensive language and behaviour in every other aspect of our lives.

The former arbiter of good taste, our ABC, can see nothing wrong in designating one of its critics a dogfucker and photoshopping a picture of him thus engaged and offering it on national TV for the amusement of the masses. The same organisation showed considerably more sensitivity by not showing any of these pictures in its extensive coverage of March in March.

marchinmarch-protestors-600The Fuck Abbott t-shirts were originally designed and produced by Clementine Ford, an Age columnist (calumnist?) and promoted in the Age newspaper. You will be relieved to know that they are are ethically produced

It seems that there are a lot of people out there who are keen to speak freely, expect me to be very tolerant of their free speaking but are not happy to extend that courtesy to others.

As a foot note I do like Tim Blair’s explanation of March in March … because there isn’t a month called Stupid Whiny Bitching.

 

Can you trust Habib … ?

Sometimes I despair at the news.

The new racism is a reality. The way you use it is to scream racism every time you can massage the facts anywhere near enough to maybe get them somewhere close to where a one-eyed supporter of your pet cause might, at a stretch, think you a victim. Even the Liberal party will do it. What chance have we got of free speech?

Lets take an out-and-out example of racism. In the heat of the moment we let go at our footy opponent with … “You stupid black bastard!!”

We’re gone for all money. The black word gives the game away. Expect to be sitting out a few seasons. We may well point out that the word black is the only true word in the whole sentence, it will avail us nought.

Can you trust Habib? She’s a politician, right, so probably not. Especially if it’s your back against the wall, not hers. The wall, in this case, being a thinly veiled racial slur.

Her name is Habib, seems reasonable to call her that. To call her trustworthiness into account? Fine by me.

Racist? Get real.

Translator’s note.

Liberal, is the Australian word for conservative. I guess we don’t call them conservatives because they no longer believe in free speech. We don’t call them republicans because , with a few notable exceptions, they cling to the monarchy.