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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Tag Archives: bullshit

Look, I should say up front I am a little grouchy of late over feeling like as a woman I am being ‘locked out’ of certain cultural experiences. Since it’s acceptable to slip in slaps in the face to the idea that a woman might be more than a live blow up doll, might aspire to be more than the focus of mastabatory desire into songs, ads, movies, television, office banter etc etc ad infinitum, I am feeling a little like I am getting a giant “up yours” from the writers/speakers of such media/forums.

So…perhaps I am being mildy uncharitable but I really think not.

The Gruen Transfer [triumphant horn music heralding the arrival of an ALL NEW type of television show…intelligent debate, insight, critical thinking and ‘clever’ humour].

Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s space for all this, and a show about advertising, a show which ‘bites back’, talks back, debates, unpacks, pokes fun at, subverts is more than bloody welcome, it’s a necessity. Except that this show stops short almost every single time. The best one liner? From a woman. In response to the question “What’s wrong with this ad?” the prompt delivery “There’s no brown people”. Which is great. Except The Gruen Transfer is there for the quick hit one liner, not to actually engage with these issues.

Episode One I think (which of course featured scantily clad young hotties): One panelist observes in horror that only one percent of Australian women think they are beautiful!!! Does anyone take up the invitation to intelligently discuss the role of advertising in this mindset? Oh no, Wil (as ever) goes for the cheap gag, quipping that that one percent are “up ’emselves!”.

I thought, Hmm, the guy who made this point might make another…no. In response to an ad in which a disembodied tongue goes off on a frolic of its own, he expounds on how great this would be…you’d never have to ‘attend’ to foreplay again. You could watch tele, and say “Give me a call when she’s ready”. GET. FUCKED!

You know, it isn’t that I can’t see the humour in the one liners, it isn’t that I haven’t laughed. It can be fun and entertaining…it’s just that…well Wil in show two shows an ad featuring Kylie Minogue writhing and bucking on a mechanical bull in sexy underwear. She then defies the men in the audience to stand up. The discussion is about sexualisation in ads…Wil’s response “I know I can’t”. Yep, good mate, we got it. Hot chick=boner. I’m seeing who your audience is and it is not me. It isn’t that I can’t relate to the ‘hotness’ of Kylie – she’s gorgeous, the absolute pinnacle in that ad of heteronormative feminine sexiness…but ok…you tell me you’re gonna be critiquing, you display the perfect mastabatory fantasy scenario (go amuse yourselves for a while women who object/feel uncomfortable/are annoyed at the objectification and glorification of the Impossible Attainment of the Clean and Proper Body – cos it’s BOYZ TIME!!!) you crack a funny about cracking wood, and I’m supposed to applaud your intelligent subversive humour? Yet again. GET FUCKED.

Look, it’s slick, it’s amusing, I laugh at some of the remarks, I enjoy some of the challenges, it facilitates a surface level discussion (but it always STAYS surface level, the bottom line is a succesful ad is a good ad needs no critiquing or further discussion) and is better than lots of other stuff on tele. BUT. It’s SOOOOOooooo goddamned heteronormative, so white privilege, so misogynist…so the invitation for the average man who fancies himself a cut above the rest intellectually to ogle objectified, perfected, sanitised women’s bodies…and call it an intellectual exercise.

I call total bullshit.

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As it was prophesied, so it came to pass that on November 24, the good people of Australia united in a fervent cry of “I call total bullshit, Howard”.

And it was a beautiful sound. And the Lord saw that it was good that Howard be defeated with abundant humiliation. And all the people rejoiced singing praises to the shiny happy faces of Rudd, Gillard and McKew. And the people danced like Maxine and shouted that henceforth should this date (and this dance) be known as wonderful, and they decreed that all their sentences should start with “and”, and not “x is” like on the evil Facebook.

And the techno-fool whose name is sometimes called Fuckpoliteness prophesied that soon in this very place would appear a vision (complete with drunken camera work and foolhardy left wing commentary) of that moment where Howard was cast down and Rudd raised up in his place – so it shall be when the effect of the spirits wear off and she can function without tears of exhaustion, hysteria and joy.

Thus spaketh Fuckpoliteness and all those who see good.

(Translation?? Howard lost the election: “Suffer in the jock area, arsewipe”)

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Reading the wonderful M.LeBlanc on BitchPhD I came across the phrase above “I call total bullshit” – I love it. It’s so friggin direct, and it brings to mind the card game which is a nice allegory for politics at the moment. You can just see them at the table, thinking, shit I am lying my arse off but if they buy it….wooHOO!

Since the time drew nigh for this latest Australian Federal Election the Coalition (Liberal/National parties) has announced that, if elected, they will *do something* about climate change – not sign Kyoto, not specify what exactly they *would do*, but they would do something and it would be BIG, allright?? How dare you doubt the government who refused (and still refuses) to sign Kyoto, who advocate(d/s) the building of nuclear processing facilities, who supported uranium mining in Kakadu?? Frankly Howard is insulted by your pessimism and doubt.

Also, Howard has now changed his tune on *special interest groups* – you know, women, the poor, gays and lesbians, and well, the actual owners of this land we call Australia, Indigenous Australians. How? Well, no, he’s absolutely still going through with the military occupation of certain Aboriginal Communities, and no he isn’t about to change the laws banning alcohol (or get them printed into Indigenous languages, and make efforts to ensure that people KNOW why they are being arrested). Nor, if elected, will he say “sorry”, as in his *white male hetero wisdom* he’s decided that it’s purely symbolic, and what’s needed is practical reconciliation – ie/more Aboriginals in jail than ever before. “We ain’t done yet! The Howard brand of practical reconciliation has more to do”. (See You Just Think That Because You’re a Radical post for the attachment outlining what the Howard government has *really* done for “practical reconciliation” in this country)

Suddenly after refusing to engage with the issue Howard has announced that, if fucking electedthere will be 12 months of paid maternity leave for all women. Hallelujah right? NO…the Government will not be paying for this, the business will…now given that we know that many businesses either cannot or consider that they cannot afford to pay this, the inevitable outcome will be discrimination against women of childbearing age (which, let’s face it, extends from adolescence, to late forties) in favour of men. So the Government looks good for supporting this (after 11 years of refusing to) without having to do a SINGLE THING, and the upshot? More discrimination. Oh you are a true friend of women Howard. Of course, as my conservative boss pointed out (tongue in cheek) Howard could merely be trying to help out the women over childbearing age – though you know, if you’ve been unable to build your career in any way before that, what exactly are your chances of getting a job in your fifties?

Now he’s announced an end to the discrimination against same sex partners in terms of superannuation access – that’s right, if elected. BullSHIT Howard – you have said you are *conservatively tolerant* to gays, I’m not sure if you’d even know what transgendered meant, and at the last minute you are Lord of the Gays by announcing that you *will* do exactly what you promised three years ago and didn’t fucking deliver on? Excuse me if I don’t swallow your horseshit point scoring. If you meant it, you would have done it already…and quite frankly given your loose relationship with the truth in general evidenced over the last eleven years, and specifically the fact you promised to do this three years ago and haven’t I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

In each of these areas, he has taken a tokenistic stance. After damaging the cause of reconciliation irreperably, he now wants to use it as a slogan to get re-elected, but not if it will cost him anything. He has commited to paid maternity leave – to SOMEONE ELSE (business) paying, someone we already know WON’T pay, someone we’ve given free reign to with Work Choices. And he’s now trying to trade off a broken promise to establish his gay-cred. Wow. Too little far too fucking late? I’m sorry, but you simply CANNOT actively disparage and ignore and damage communities you have maintained are dangerous *special interest groups* that Australia *will not and should not* be *beholden to* and then expect me to believe the cards in your hand are what you say they are. We KNOW BETTER ARSEHOLE! On the 24th November this year you are going to hear a resounding cry of I CALL TOTAL BULLSHIT.

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An interesting thing happened in my office the other day, which, given I work in a suburban law firm, is noteworthy in and of itself. But it isn’t, in fact the end of the story.

 So the wonderful ‘Dred Girl’, who wrote the second half of my ‘about’ section because my headache was so bad I could think of nothing worth saying about myself, and another good friend turned up to my office to pick me up to go to dinner on Friday night, as is our custom. Now these two friends are both passionately left-wing and social-justice oriented women. My boss is a self confessed conservative, and I have to say here, an absolutely lovely man despite our political differences. They have met previously and had good natured political debates and in the past, while I haven’t agreed with his arguments, they’ve stayed pretty ‘grounded’ rather than getting heated or personal. So when they turned up to pick me up I expected a bit of stirring, a bit of banter, then a quick (and long overdue) exit from the office.

While I was finishing up my work, they all began chatting about the upcoming Australian Federal Elections. I got a bit lost on the computer, and the next time I looked up, all three were engaged in a very…how shall I put it? -“energetic”- political debate. All I could think was “I’m really fucking hungry, could we do this another time?”…but evidently we could not. Tempers were beginning to rise in frustration.

 

What started out as a debate ended up with my wonderful, lovely human being of a boss dismissing the very informed opinions of Dred Girl with phrases like “Oh bullshit”, “That’s just not true”. I couldn’t quite fathom what I was seeing. I do believe that a part of him was looking at her dreds, marking her as a radical, and dismissing the idea that she could possibly have any evidence to back up her claims. However, she does. She’s been studying the Howard government’s responses to immigration and Indigenous rights for several years now, and was trying to communicate with him that she could name legislation and cases. But he wasn’t hearing her at all.

 Further to this he kept claiming that her opinion was ‘radical’, and ‘extreme’.  This feeds into my earlier post on just how left or right wing one has to be to be labeled as extreme. Whereas my friend had legislation, cases, dates, facts, empirical data to back up her claims, her use of language immediately put my boss’s back up and had him damning her as just as extreme as a white guy claiming all Aboriginal Australians are “no-hopers”.

How did someone being passionate about a well informed, factually reinforceable political view get conflated with a redneck’s knee jerk racism? Every ‘fact’ this imaginary figure could conjure to ‘prove’ his point could be quickly and easily countered with a mountain of empirical evidence which points to the systemic institutionalization of racism in this country. The best anyone could come up with to counter my friends factual, solid points is about as mature a response as “Oh yeah? I’m rubber; you’re glue, bounces of me and sticks to you”. Or, as actually happened in this office, out of the mouth of a professional adult who is normally exceedingly polite “OH bullshit”. Nothing at all to back that up, just the bald proclamation “bullshit”.

 

One of the things that comes out of this for me is that apparently only right wing people are allowed to use emotive language in this country. It’s fine to label anyone left wing as a ‘hippie’, ‘academic’, ‘bleeding heart’, ‘black armband historian’, ‘ignorant’ or ‘deluded’. But left wing people need to beg for the approval of others, must always keep their voice even, their language neutral, their body language calm. Anger and scorn is ok if you are on the ‘right’ side. Pun intended. If we as left wing people are to get our points across, apparently we have to babysit others through the logical steps in our argument, and mustn’t ever be human enough to get passionate about our beliefs. On the one hand, I often find myself doing this in an order to get my point across, but on the other, is it really our job?

 

Another is that DG was accused of having read “too much” left wing literature. At this point I couldn’t bear anymore and had to interject to point out that the mainstream media is right wing sympathetic. It is not always “extreme” right wing, (although often it is and it still has ‘mass appeal’ and gets deemed ‘common sense’ – think of John Laws and Alan Jones) but for instance, how many times have you read of the ‘fact’ that we’re being “tyrannized” by political correctness, that political correctness has “gone wrong”/ “gone mad”, that post-modernism is cultural relativism, that we live in a post-feminist world? So why is it that when someone reads anything “left wing”, ie critically engaged and questioning of conventional nationalistic narratives, they’re told they’ve read “too much” left wing literature, yet it’s perfectly acceptable for those of a right wing view, to never read any left wing literature, and still expect to be considered as having an informed and balanced opinion? Given the predominance and saturation of right wing information, all someone is doing when they read “left wing” literature, is redressing a serious imbalance and deficiency in information, yet this is cast as enough to ‘skew’ their reasoning and for them not to be taken seriously.

 Anyway, the argument ended, and today my boss apologised and said he got ‘carried away’ – we had a chat over coffee and though I had to keep my voice even and soothing, like talking to a skittish horse, he was actually receptive to my points and seemed to have considered some of our points over the weekend. It’s no people’s revolution, but you know, it’s nice that he’s taking some stuff on board.  Anyway…I’ve ranted to the end of my lunch break. No concluding paragraph, just the end and a promise to crap on about this, or something vaguely related to it some time soon.  

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