Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’
In 2012 Australia, you can affirm anything you like, even if it’s unjust, narrow-minded or based on a belief that may be less than sound. Unfortunately, there’s no rule that dictates free speech needs to be well thought out and factual. When this is considered in the context of the free speech of a private citizen versus that of an elected official, it raises a pertinent question: should the personal beliefs of politicians take a back seat in order to champion the causes of the people who elected them, even if the causes don’t align with their individual faith or opinions? Should free speech apply to politicians while they are acting on behalf of the greater population?
A great many words have been, and will be, written about tennis champion Margaret Court’s views on homosexuality, especially in the lead-up to the Australian Open. Gay rights activists are planning on using the arena that bears her name as a quasi protest site during the event, and have called for it to be renamed because of her outspoken opinion. I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen of the protesting persuasion, but she’s entitled to express her views, however ludicrous and bigoted they may be.
I’m an advocate for equality and same-sex marriage. I’ve written numerous pieces centering on the subjects, but I think Margaret Court should be allowed to speak. I believe her opinions are that of a narrowed-minded zealot and based on irrational religious beliefs, but I also assert that she is entitled to have and air them. Does hearing her purport that same-sex marriage would “legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices” anger me and make me want to smack my head against a wall? Absolutely, but it’s her individual point of view. I’ve got mine. You’ve got yours. While I’d relish the opportunity to debate our differences of opinion, I learnt a long time ago that arguing with any sort of fanatic is futile: trying to have a rational, intellectual discussion with someone who isn’t flexible in their beliefs or accepting of facts and new ideas is never going to work. That said, providing we don’t incite hatred or endanger public safety with our opinions, we should be free to express them, whether privately or publicly, without fear of condemnation or reprisal.
There has been limited media coverage about the annual neo-Nazi Hammered Music Festival, most of which has focused on why this hate-filled, disgusting celebration of white pride is allowed to take place. As abhorrent as this event may be, it’s being held on private property, presumably out of sight and earshot of those who don’t want to hear it. Whether you wish you acknowledge the fact or not, attendees and performers are just as entitled as the rest of us to think and believe what they want. They aren’t spewing propaganda or spouting their preposterous views to the masses, and they aren’t airing their personal opinions publicly, unlike many who use the spotlight to constantly reiterate their beliefs.
Margaret Court has used her celebrity to broadcast her beliefs and faith, as well as raise the profile of her church, but is there really a problem with this? While some of her statements, including the affirmation that homosexuality is a choice, may be insensitive and not based on fact, she is free to say it. She’s not provoking violence or abuse against the gay community, and she is not acting on behalf of a group, nor is she an elected official.
What if Margaret Court was in a public position of power? What if she was a Member of Parliament? What about Premier of Western Australia? If she was Prime Minister, should she be free to express her deepest and most closely held beliefs while in that position? In my opinion, no. Someone who has been entrusted to act on behalf of a large, diverse group needs to be able to forgo their personal agenda and take their narrow-minded views, be they religious or not, out of the equation when making decisions that impact the community as a whole.
In Australian politics, there are currently several high-profile elected individuals with very strong religious views who have no qualms about letting these beliefs guide them while acting in their official capacities on behalf of the Australian people. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, a practising Catholic, was quoted in December 2009 in the Herald Sun as saying, “I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity.” While he has, on several occasions, suggested that politicians should not rely on religion to justify decisions or a specific point of view, his comments make it clear that his faith plays a very strong part in his thought process and rationale. Independent MP Bob Katter is on the record as stating that marriage equality is a stupid idea that “deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed”. I’m not disputing that they have the right to harbour these beliefs, where’s the line at which the personal views of politicians are required to take a back seat to a more broad-minded, progressive and socially acceptable perspective that’s representative of the views of their constituents?
Tony Abbott and Bob Katter are not alone in expressing their dogmatic views while acting on behalf of the people. In 2011, John Murphy, Labor MP for the seat of Reid in western Sydney, kicked the political hornet’s nest when he advised members of the Australian Labor Party who support same-sex marriage to ”join the Greens”. Is this petulant “my way or the highway” approach reflective of the attitude of his electorate? I think not. One person’s obstinate, black or white view should not be allowed to take precedence over the collective view of the almost 90,000 constituents in the electorate of Reid.
It may sound ridiculous and incredibly hypocritical to promote free speech in one paragraph and then suggest in the next that elected officials need to look past their own personal views in order to take a stance that, while not aligning with their own beliefs, fairly reflects what the community stands for and wishes to see achieved. Perhaps there is an element of hypocrisy to it, but politicians need to recognise that we have entrusted them to be our collective voice, and for this voice to be clearly heard, they have to look at the big picture, which often falls outside the line of sight that their bigoted or conservative blinkers allow.
For Australia to transform into a genuinely modern and forward-thinking society, we need to be led by free thinkers who can accept that personal religious views have don’t have a place in 21st century politics. We need strong leaders who make decisions based on fact and community sentiment, and who don’t feel compelled to constantly promulgate their individual beliefs and agendas; they need to remember that as a politician, they are the mouthpiece for twenty-two million voices, not just one. If our current politicians are unable to separate state from the church, mosque or synagogue, they need to step aside and make room for people who can.
When it comes to a group of individuals who have been empowered to represent the people and make untainted, logical choices based on fact for benefit of the collective group, there are occasions where free speech and faith are going to have to ride shotgun.
I’ve guest written a piece today for Magnificent Nose entitled ”Chivalry and the Shifting Goal Posts”. Funnily enough, it’s about chivalry, but it’s also got an angry woman on a bus and a sentence that concludes with “makeshift nappy for an infant with explosive diarrhoea.” How can you not be intrigued?
To tempt you with the toxic fruit of my mind, here’s a little glimpse behind the curtain:
No one wants to watch the early morning news story about an overnight murder and have to ask themselves, “Was that dismembered corpse floating in the river my date?” Gentlemen, nothing makes a more negative impression on your potential bed mate than her getting mugged while walking home alone, purely because you were too lazy to accompany her for the 600m journey back to her apartment. The only thing that will make this worse is if you refused to do so because the pub was still serving $5 pints, or because you wanted to see what happened in extra time. Should you do so, the only time you will ever see her again is if you catch her slashing your tyres or setting fire to your mailbox.
I know you want to keep reading this article, so click here to jump across to Magnificent Nose; if you don’t, they will beat me and I’ll cry like a 2-year-old girl. You really, really don’t want to see me crying and throwing a hissy fit.
When I first clicked on Emma Ashton’s piece today on The Punch entitled “Top tips for becoming a reality TV star”, I was under the illusion that I was about to read a satirical article that poked fun at the ludicrous phenomenon that is reality television. How wrong I was. In hindsight, I should have never expected that someone who describes themselves as a “reality TV consultant” would make a mockery of the very thing that apparently funds their lifestyle, especially when they run a blog devoted to reality television and profess to helping people “make their reality TV dream come true”. I think I may have just died a little bit inside. When we reach the point of having dedicated reality television consultants, it’s a fair indication that society is well and truly fucked.
Why are so many individuals under the misconception that they deserve to be famous? At what stage did the collective group vote and decide that everyone was entitled to their fifteen minutes of notoriety? Lamentably, most people are as boring as hell and, whether they’d like to admit it or not, would continue to make reality television about as enjoyable as having a tooth removed with fencing pliers, should they be given the opportunity to let their star shine. Let’s face it: if “I’m so glad it’s Friday!” is the most riveting Facebook status update you can manage, it’s unlikely that you are going to set the reality television world alight with your wit and personality; no one wants to watch a show starring someone who’s as entertaining as a brick in a freezer.
I’m not entirely sure what the trend away from amusing, quality television in favour of televised stupidity means for humanity, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it’s not a good thing. If reality television is the future, bring on 21 December and the zombie Apocalypse.
Seeing as the scourge on society that is reality television doesn’t look like vanishing in the foreseeable future, The Dissemination of Thought is pleased to provide its own useful, real tips on becoming a reality TV star; just bring a smile, and leave your talent at the door.
Tip 1: Have no discernible talent whatsoever
In this day and age you don’t need talent to be famous and, based on results from the Australian and American Idol franchises, you definitely don’t need to be able to hold a tune to release a record. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have ability, as long as you have sad eyes, a heartwarming story about overcoming adversity and/or human triumph, and an androgynous sexuality that appeals to both teenagers and their wallet-wielding parents. For the guys, maintaining a rugged growth of stubble will ensure that you are signed to a five-album deal and win two Grammys in your first eighteen months as a recording artist.
Tip 2: Be dumb and hate everything
If you’re a bigoted moron with an IQ similar to a telephone booth, don’t even worry about auditioning: you’re in. Should you be trying to develop a persona to convince producers and casting staff that you’re a narrow-minded twit, you need to hate everyone that’s different to you and despise everything you don’t understand, which, given that you are pretending to be an idiot, is most stuff. Immigrants? Can’t stand them. Any food that isn’t a pie or steak and chips? Foreign crap that gives you the shits. People with accents? Terrorists. For added impact, you should bleach your hair blonde and get yourself a Southern Cross tattoo. In the event that you are asked a question about politics or something intellectual during the audition, your standard answer should be “I dunno ‘bout that, but I can skol tequila and put my whole fist in my mouth.”
Tip 3: It’s all about the orange and the oil
If your aim is to be a reality star in a show that has anything to do with the beach, you’re going to need a tan and lots of oil; we’re talking about committing yourself to the point where you resemble a giant Oompla-Loompa who has bathed in baby oil. It doesn’t matter that you’re stupid and sound like Rocky after fighting twelve rounds with a mouth full of marshmallows: if you have a perpetual sheen not dissimilar to that of a roasting chicken, the reality TV world is your oyster.
A few more tips for those aspiring to be on the seventeenth season of Jersey Shore:
For guys: you’ll need to be ridiculously buffed, adorn yourself with stupid amounts of bling and buy a baseball cap with a stiff, unbent peak. To improve your chances of making the cut, get yourself a cool nickname like “Pauly D” or “Puffy P” and refer to yourself in the third person. A lot.
For girls: you’re going to need 74 bikinis that (unfortunately) leave nothing to the imagination, faux breasts that could double as floatation devices in the event your party boat sinks and a love of flashing the aforementioned floaties every time you see someone holding a camera, even if that someone is just your reflection in the mirror.
Bloggers get lazy towards the end of the year. Select any tag topic at random right now, and you’ll be overwhelmed by a plethora of pieces that have “top”, “resolutions” or “2011” in the title. It seems that everyone in the blogosphere is either resolving their ass off or making a list of their Top [insert number between 1 and 6,914] [insert generic cliché – preferably movies, albums or kitten names] of 2011. A few bloggers are, thankfully, churning out fresh articles, but the majority seem content with reposting their favourite pieces of the year and then attempting to persuade their readers that it’s amazing new work. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not. Literally publishing just the links to your ten best posts and then signing off with a corny festive season greeting isn’t entertaining, it’s boring. If you don’t have anything fresh to write about, don’t write; your readers would prefer you didn’t post inane, generic drivel each day just so you can convince yourself that you write daily.
Author’s note: the latter is why 365 day challenges have the potential to annoy the fuck out of everyone.
So, now that my beer and vodka-fuelled vociferation has concluded, I’m going to share with you a few new search terms that people have found The Dissemination of Thought with. While I’m fully aware it’s something I’ve touched on before, today we’re examining new stuff that people have looked for in the past three weeks. It’s a rehashed idea with fresh search phrases, so it’s technically new material, which officially makes this an original post and me less of a whinging hypocrite.
peter griffin naked
Everyone has issues; some people’s problems are just a lot worse than yours. If you ever think you can’t sink any lower into despair, just remember: at least you didn’t google a guy with balls for a chin in naked poses.
kelloggs shirazco pop
This search phrase is a little disconcerting, considering I only coined the name “Shirazco Pops” a week or two prior to writing this piece. Are Kellogg’s trying to pass my breakfast cereal and red wine masterpiece off as its own creation? Is there a chance they are preparing to make me an offer I can’t refuse? If it turns out to be the former, this means war; if it’s the latter, The Dissemination of Thought will cease to exist four seconds after their cheque clears.
my boyfriend thinks engagement rings are a ripoff and doesnt want to buy one
Whoever typed this into a search engine needs to run the fuck away from their frugal boyfriend as quickly as possible. While there is a chance the boyfriend just has no desire to propose to someone who uses Google like a Magic 8 Ball, the smart bet is on him using the ring money to finance an engagement jet ski.
sesame street the count snorts cocaine
What the fuck? Because there are so many things wrong with this, I’m not even sure where to start. Is there a Sesame Street spin-off that no one’s aware of called Blowin’ with Big Bird and Bert? Does Grover do a good deal on a kilo of coke? On a positive note, given that Count von Count is a puppet and has a felt nose, it’s unlikely that he would ever succumb to a perforated nasal septum.
Welcome to The Dissemination of Thought in 2012: I can’t wait to see what search terms the next twelve months bring.
When you’re a view stats junkie, all you focus on is your next hit. That feeling of euphoria that comes about by seeing someone comment on a post. That rush that can only be achieved by releasing site views and search terms into your bloodstream. For me, the quest for a fix involves pawing at my BlackBerry every eighteen seconds, day and night, yearning to see the flashing red light that indicates someone has liked, subscribed or felt compelled to comment. I know constantly looking for the light or feeling for the vibration (I do occasionally remember to put my phone on silent) isn’t healthy, but it’s what I do as a stats-addicted blogging strumpet.
In this obsessive state, tunnel vision takes over; there is no middle ground: you are either black in your constant quest for hit after sweet electronic hit, or you are white: throwing your BlackBerry and laptop into the river before curling up fully clothed under a shower, attempting to go cold turkey from the compulsion to check your blog statistics every six minutes.
Irrespective of whether you are black or white, this battle against blogging makes you lose sight of things: time; ensuring that you have more than an orange and soy sauce in your fridge ; what point you were trying to make with the confusing colour metaphors; and, most importantly, the grey area.
The grey area is the demilitarized zone of opinions and personal beliefs. It’s a part that’s usually forgotten about when we judge, argue or write someone else’s opinion off as wrong. While it’s easy and self-serving – albeit incredibly naïve – to assert that our opinion or belief is the right one, it’s critical that we recognise there’s a lot we don’t know and can’t see from black or white. As we’ve discussed, coming from either corner tends to see us have blinkers fitted; this inadvertent narrowing of our perspective results in an inability to see more than about ten feet in front of our specifically colour-coded noses. Isn’t it about time that we accept that between the absolutes of right and wrong, there’s a lovely shade of grey? I hear they have wildflowers growing there. And pancakes.
While I’m adverse to making resolutions of any sort – especially on New Year’s Eve – I think we should all resolve to try and spend more time in the grey area from 2012 onwards, especially before judging others and condemning them for thinking black instead of white, or vice versa. Just remember: mixing black and white produces grey; therefore, the grey area is the location from which to listen, learn and debate. Colours don’t lie.
I’m penning this (sort of) as I scrutinise the contents of my refrigerator, trying to ascertain what gastronomical marvel I can create with the ingredients that are staring back at me. After being away for 3 days over the Christmas long weekend, I’m being accosted with forlorn stares of loneliness from the items currently residing at Casa de Fisher & Paykel. Shit. There won’t be a Michelin star coming my way anytime soon. To bring you up to speed, I’m currently eyeballing:
- a near-empty jar of Vegemite
- a bottle of soy sauce
- three feta-filled olives (which are disappearing as I type this)
- an orange
If I open the freezer door, we can add coffee beans and a bottle of vodka to the list.
Given that a vodka-infused orange isn’t a recognised meal, it’s probably an opportune time to highlight 4 signs that indicate you need to go shopping.
1. You spend considerable time trying to work out what ingredients in your fridge you can combine to create something that passes as a meal
I just realised that I have a box of Coco Pops, but I’m lacking milk to add to them. I could eat them dry, or I could attempt to drown the grains of chocolate bliss with a 2009 Barossa Valley Shiraz. In executing the latter plan, I could determine once and for all if my “Shirazco Pops” concept is commercially feasible.
While your family and friends may assert that you can win MasterChef 2012 with your ability to create innovative dishes from seemingly mismatched ingredients, soaking Froot Loops in red wine is never, ever going to secure you a cookbook deal.
2. Vodka and soy sauce are two of the aforementioned ingredients
3. You can’t remember buying some of the stuff in your fridge
There’s an orange in my fridge that represents all the fruit and vegetables currently in my apartment. I’ve got no idea whether it’s a Valencia or Navel, but a variety-specific identification of the little ball of citrus isn’t relevant to our discussion. The point is, I have no recollection of purchasing it. I’m not usually an orange kind of guy, so I’m going to have to assume that I got it when I last had Southern Comfort and Coke.
If you get to the point of having random citrus in your refrigerator that you can’t account for, it’s time to get reacquainted with your local supermarket.
4. You are on a first-name basis with the proprietor of the local Indian restaurant
In the last 7-day period, I’ve had Indian delivered on Tuesday and Thursday, while Friday saw Thai added to the rotation. I was away on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I’ve got no doubt that I’ll be getting another curry for dinner tonight, and I’m reasonably confident that if I went a week without placing an order, the restaurant’s owner would call the police and report me missing.
If your collection of menus for local restaurants outnumber the individual food items in your fridge, or worse, you have speed dials allocated for them in your phone, you need to go shopping. Urgently.
Should you ever find yourself asking, “I’ve only got expired milk and oregano left, I wonder if I should go shopping?”, the answer’s in the question. Remember: breakfast cereal and tequila sprinkled with hundreds and thousands do not a meal make.