This is the archive of the original tigtogblog

tigtog now posts at the new and improved Hoyden About Town. She also blogs at Larvatus Prodeo and Finally A Feminism 101 Blog. If the new Hoydenspace is down you should find updates below.

Posts begin below the Feed Modules from the blogs named above.

Hoyden About Town

Latest Posts from Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog


Breaking rules since 1963

you can't tig on a togApparently, even before his birth, my nickname not only broke all the rules of tig but my very existence as a tigtog supports the exploitation of Elijah Wood's trusting nature.

Who knew?

"No, Elijah, you can't tig on a tog, you can't tag on a tig, you have to do an elephant impression if you're gonna tig Billy...

Ssssilly hobbitsssesss, we hatessss them.


I gots me some theme music!

Well, Joanne in Bolton who wrote it thinks she named it for her cat, who is obviously the most superior of felines, but here is ambient electronica "Tigtog". I'm not the biggest electronica fan in the world, but I quite like this.

Atticus, Scout , mad dogs and morphine addicts

A few weeks ago this post by zuzu made me bump To Kill A Mockingbird up to the top of my "classics I gotta read one day" list. I started reading it a few hours ago and have now finished Part 1.

I was engaged by the first page:
"Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some members of the family that we had no recorded ancestors on either side at the Battle of Hastings. All we had was Simon Finch, a fur-trapping apothecary from Cornwall, whose piety was exceeded only by his stinginess."
... and the third page made me fall in love:
"[...] but they were Haverfords, in Maycomb County a name synonymous with jackass."
Although I've not yet seen the movie, every word uttered by Atticus Finch convinces me that Gregory Peck was perfectly cast in the part. Like everybody else, I utterly adore Scout, and Miss Maudie Atkinson is damn fine too. Obviously I will shortly need to chase up the DVD.

There is the added joy that I picked up my copy in a secondhand store, and it appears to have been used by a high school student(s), with underlinings, highlightings and marginata scattered throughout. I smiled at the marginata on molasses ("golden syrup") and was disturbed to find that Morphodite was unsullied by any markings at all. Kids these days.

New cartoon concept

I have been laid semi-low by the dreaded lurgy this week, making me more churlish than my usual charming self, resulting in dialogue such as the following:
tigtog: "I'm still feeling icky and woozy, so I'm going to have a lie down"

Mr Tog: "Icky and Woozy? Isn't that a cartoon show?"

tigtog: "oh yeah - they barf, and shit, and barf and barf and shit..."


Tragedy of the Closet

There's been a lot of ink and electrons devoted to Brokeback Mountain, but here's what I think is the best review (major plot spoilers alert)- An Affair to Remember from the New York Review of Books' Daniel Mendelsohn, pointing out that marketing (which might be particular to the States) that plays up the "universal love story" aspect of the film over the "closeted lies tragedy" aspect minimises the achievement of both Annie Proulx's story and Ang Lee's film.

"The real achievement of Brokeback Mountain is not that it tells a universal love story that happens to have gay characters in it, but that it tells a distinctively gay story that happens to be so well told that any feeling person can be moved by it. If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they're not really homosexual—that they're more like the heart of America than like "gay people"—you're pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed."
I live in inner Sydney, in a cul-de-sac only one block long, and there has always been at least two or three homosexual households living in the street during my fifteen years - sometimes men, sometimes women, and sometimes singleton housemates. They've never been "loud and proud" rainbow flaggers but they've never hidden either - there's no closets that I know of in our street.

It seems to be a different thing at my school, though. In a school of nearly 500 kids, I've never heard a whisper of any gay parents during my kids' journey through years K-6, and I must say that seems statistically unlikely. Now I'm not much of a one for schoolyard gossip, so maybe I just don't know who they are, but I suspect that it might be more of a case that families with two mummies or two daddies, who may not be closeted in any other aspect of their lives, choose to interact with the school body in a closeted manner (perhaps only one parent ever does the school run).

That's not up there with Jack and Ennis levels of tragedy, but it's sad if gay parents feel such closeting is necessary. Stifling is never healthy, for the family or for the community around it.


Trade Practises Act no protection against misleading advertising from pregnancy counsellors

Nastasha Stott Despoja is introducing into Parliament the Transparent Advertising and Notification of Pregnancy Counselling Services Bill. Why is this necessary? Because Tony Abbott is seeking to increase funding to pregnancy counselling services.

Abbott's move looks reasonable until you realise that both existing and future federal funding for pregnancy counselling only goes to pro-life organisations, and that Abbot's avowed purpose is to lower the abortion rate without funding pro-choice organisations that traditionally offer full sex education and contraceptive advice as well as advice regarding the three options for an unwanted pregnancy: adoption, abortion and keeping the baby.

The pro-life pregnancy counsellors are under no obligation to be honest about whether they offer the full range of family planning options, and in other countries have a record of being deceptive and stringing women along until it is too late to take the abortion option, so that they have to complete the pregnancy with the health and employment risks that entails. Stott-Despoja's bill would compel such services to be honest in their advertising and up-front services description about their refusal to refer pregnant women to abortion providers.

Charles Richardson of Crikey! points out that working only on lowering the abortion rate without concurrent funding for education and contraception is pure foolishness, and that "safe, legal and rare" is being cynically and/or misguidedly misinterpreted, depending on who is jumping on the bandwagon:

"But targeting the abortion rate in isolation makes no sense. It would be like announcing that the rate of open-heart surgery is too high. In one sense, yes – it would be good for any medical procedure to be needed less. But if people need open-heart surgery, they should have it: the proper way to reduce it is to reduce the incidence of heart disease."

The honest provision of pregnancy counselling should not require a Bill of Parliament, but so long as it does let's ask that the two existing pro-choice pregnancy counselling services in QLD and NSW get their fair share of the increased funding pie as well.

Get a bloody move on

Listening to Richard Glover on ABC702 this afternoon, I heard a poem I hadn't heard for years, "The Australaise". My dad read it to me long ago. By CJ Dennis, it was entered, tongue I imagine firmly in cheek, for a national anthem competition in 1908. Dennis revised it on the outbreak of the Great War and dedicated it to the AIF, amongst whom it was widely distributed.

The blank is the "Great Australian Adjective" i.e. bloody, to which I have pledged myself to return, as I realise my speech has become AmericanTVised enough that fuck falls far too casually from my lips. I grew up in a land of bloody drongoes and flamin' sheilas, mate. The Anglo-Saxon expletive should be reserved for moments of the highest emotion, not merely casual emphasis.

A Marching Song Air - Onward Christian Soldiers

Fellers of Australier,
Blokes an' coves an' coots,
Shift yer --- carcases,
Move yer --- boots.
Gird yer --- loins up,
Get yer --- gun,
Set the --- enermy
An' watch the blighters run.

Get a --- move on,
Have some --- sense.
Learn the --- art of
Self de- --- -fence.

Have some --- brains be-
Neath yer --- lids.
An' swing a --- sabre
Fer the missus an' the kids.
Chuck supportin' --- posts,
An' strikin' --- lights,
Support a ---- fam'ly an'
Strike fer yer --- rights.

Get a --- move on, etc.

Joy is --- fleetin',
Life is --- short.
Wot's the use uv wastin' it
All on --- sport?
Hitch yer --- tip-dray
To a --- star.
Let yer --- watchword be
"Australi- --- -ar!"

Get a --- move on, etc.

'0w's the --- nation
Goin' to ixpand
'Lest us --- blokes an' coves
Lend a --- 'and?
'Eave yer --- apathy
Down a --- chasm;
'Ump yer --- burden with
Enthusi- --- -asm.

Get a --- move on, etc.

W'en old mother Britain
Calls yer native land
Take a --- rifle
In yer --- 'and
Keep yer --- upper lip
Stiff as stiff kin be,
An' speed a --- bullet for
Post- --- -ity.

Get a --- move on, etc.

W'en the --- bugle
Sounds "Ad- --- -vance"
Don't be like a flock er sheep
In a --- trance
Biff the --- Kaiser
Where it don't agree
Spifler- --- -cate him
To Eternity.

Get a --- move on, etc.

Fellers of Australier,
Cobbers, chaps an' mates,
Hear the --- German
Kickin' at the gates!
Blow the --- bugle,
Beat the --- drum,
Upper-cut an' out the cow
To kingdom- --- -come!

Get a --- move on,
Have some --- sense.
Learn the --- art of
Self de- --- -fence.

by C.J. Dennis
(With some acknowledgements to W.T. Goodge.)


Our PM's higher purpose

Shamelessly stolen from Billy Connolly (paraphrased): "John Howard's only use is to show us what Harry Potter will look like when he's old" - Enough Rope, ABC Australia Feb 20, 2006

After the defeat of Lord Voldeshort, Harry struggled to find work for years and ended up having to make ends meet with cheesy photo shoots for the Daily Prophet.

Image from

Packer lacked respect for women - is anybody surprised?

Stephen Mayne, in today's Crikey! , dishes some dirt on the long-rumored philandering of Kerry Packer and his serial string of alleged mistresses over the years and ties it up in a bow of anecdotes detailing KP's utter lack of respect for women in general. He then ends it, oddly, with:
Where are Australia's feminists in this debate? You won't see them tackling the issue in any ACP publications but surely Fairfax and News Ltd columnists will have a crack once the dust has settled. And what about a female politician having the courage to get up and say something in one of our Parliaments? Too afraid of the backlash from a still awesomely powerful media empire, are we?
I'm not sure exactly what he wishes feminists to say about the big dead tax-minimiser. I doubt you'll see any feminists leaping to defend his misogyny in any way, and there's been plenty of stuff written over the years about the boys' club at PBL under the reins of the sexist arsehole dynasty. Apart from that, what is there to be said and in what debate?

A female journalist already outed his mistress, which was more a blow for prurience than feminism. What good would a rant or two about KP's sexism do? I'm all for female pollies getting up and having a stoush with the blokes about corporate and other institutional patriarchy if it's going to gain women something useful, but would just mouthing off about KP as an MCP be forwarding any particular legislative agenda?

Mayne's query makes no sense.

Can rape be committed under duress?

A disturbing tale on many levels from today's news: When duress is no argument for rape

The assaulted girl in this account was obviously traumatised terribly, and there appears to be no doubt that she was raped and assaulted by several men at the instigation of one man. Not having been on the jury, I don't know whether they simply disbelieved the defendants that they were forced by the other man to assault the girl or be killed, or whether the jury thought that even if there was coercion that they should have refused anyway.

And rape from across the world -
Film award forces Serbs to face spectre of Bosnia's rape babies

No doubt some of the soldiers in any war who rape civilian women are acting under duress from their commanders and troopmates, but the precedent set at Nuremberg is that to obey an illegal order is no defense against a criminal charge. Thus, soldiers who rape commit war crimes.

Should men who are not soldiers be held to the same standards? It's tempting when one feels oppressed by our rape culture to say yes, always. But is it ethically defensible, in either the war crime situation or the gang leader coercing rape situation, to demand that someone die to save another from assault?

After all, the bank manager who is coerced at gunpoint to open the safe for the armed robbers is not considered to be an accomplice to the crime, let alone charged with the crime itself.

My own gut reaction to rapists is to grab the blunt butter knife and fantasise about castration. In terms of social order I feel that even men who are coerced into rape should be punished for the greater good of women's safety in society. It's entirely justified pragmatically, but that's not always the same thing as ethical.


I'm an amateur

I only just realised that when I turned on word verification for the comments, I also accidentally checked the 'moderate comments' option as well. Because I didn't mean to do this, I didn't check the 'email alerts' option, so comments were sitting there in the moderation queue while I was obliviously wondering where all my mates were.

So I hope not too many of you have given up on dialogue with me. I'm still up for it.

Sydney Blogger's Meet - April Fool's Day Picnic

At yesterday's latte-blog the consensus was to have an outdoor meet once the weather got cooler, to make it a family-friendly location, and get as many bloggers along we can. April Fool's Day seemed to all concerned to be the perfect choice, so long as it starts after the April Fool's ref blows the midday whistle.

So, Saturday 1st April in the Royal Botanic Gardens from 1pm it is.

It was suggested somewhere near the bottom of the U of Farm Cove would be best - how about the lawn to the east of the Main Pond? [map] There's a toilet block nearby, also an overpriced kiosk about 100m south, and the group should be easily visible from the main path by the waterfront.

BYO whatever, and maybe put some thought into nibbles for sharing? Those with bad backs/knees should bring a folding chair.

I have no idea on seekrit signal stuff for mystery bloggers. I'm sure we can come up with something over the next month though.

UPDATE: some photos of where we'll be here. So far it looks like Morgan, Tim and the tigtogmob, unless some of you Sydney blog-buggers are waiting for a seekrit signal. We never came up with one.

UPDATE 2: If anyone is planning on wandering past to check if we're freaks before strolling up and introducing themselves, look out for Steed's bowler and umbrella.

UPDATE 3: It's looking a bit blustery and the clouds are louring, so if there's nobody on the lawn with a bowler hat take a look up in the kiosk seating area to the south of the pond.

UPDATE POST-EVENT: a good time was had by all. More details here.

Blogwhoring at Pandagon

Amanda kindly lent me some space at her place while she's off hijinking in Amsterdam.

Unfortunately it appears she didn't get my revised draft in time, so what's up at Pandagon is crudely made and the last paragraph should just be ignored entirely because I was such a wuss.

The version I'd hoped would be up at Pandagon is below. The version that went up is here.

Modesty? That's what body doubles are for!

This is the post that was meant to go up at Pandagon, although obviously Amanda didn't get my revision in time so the crappy first draft went up instead. Fuckfuckittyfuck.

There's been a moderate amount of eyerolling ennui in the feminist blogosphere over yet another magazine cover with supposedly edgy cheesecake shots of nude starlets. Annie Leibowitz took some shots supposedly inspired by Hollywood glamour for Vanity Fair as directed by the designer Tom Ford, and surprise, surprise the shots of the nude teenagers got the cover (Dakota Fanning inside the mag is thankfully reported as fully clothed in her homage to Chanel's Hollywood).

In purely business terms I applaud Vanity Fair's marketing savvy, I just wish those downplaying the cynical pandering to the male gaze could distinguish weary disgust from genuine outrage, let alone actual feminist concerns.

Lance Mannion is I suppose what we in the British Commonwealth would call a luvvie i.e. a film/theatre wonk, who generally blogs on the nuts/bolts/foibles of showbiz with his own take on progressive politics sprinkled lightly throughout. Generally one of my favourite reads, he had a long post in response to a post on the new Salon bloggy feature Broadsheet where they dissed the VF cover for yet again pushing young actresses into gratuitous nudity. Lance muses on wherefore the feminist "outrage", where it seems he just doesn't get it ('cos actors have much harder challenges to face in their profession than nudity, like playing murderers, what's the big deal?).

Lance even defends the charge that female actors are so much more imposed upon than men with the argument that now that the use of curvaceous body doubles is so widespread due to actual talented actors being skin-and-bones, that female actors are no longer imposed on so much regarding film nudity now. (!)

While Lance acknowledges the pernicious pressure regarding Hollywood thinness, he presents the servant class of body doubles as if it is a genuine solution for to the film nudity pressures for women but much less so for men. I posted a brief primer/reminder on radfem sex class theory regarding the gender imbalance in marketed skin and why it's disturbing, but due to length limits never even got around to addressing the idea that body doubles for bashful underweight actresses aren't a solution, they're an egregious exacerbation of the problem.

Lance mailed me back with a response that he attempted a reply in the comments thread, but found it getting too long and involved so intended to work an answer up into a full post, which I was looking forward to as he is a genuinely thoughtful writer. It started promisingly:
"I believe that most female nudity in the movies is gratuitous.
The question of how much pressure actresses feel to get naked on camera is separate from the question, "Why should they?"
And then I hit this:
"I think it's also separate from the issue of the double standard."
The rest of the post is about nudity qua nudity and "why should they?": when it's justified in a film/theatre show or not, how some actors have coped with nudity pressure, all with some excellent points and examples from the POV of career choices. Lance does come back to the double standard a few times, notably with reference to the career of serial creep Jack Nicholson, but is more interested in the film-making/theatre questions as an industry insider rather than examining the cultural clues in the stories being told and the images chosen to tell them.

He does at least note that I disagree with him and that I sent him a link to what he agrees is the funniest blogging on the VF kerfuffle. The man does have taste, and his POV is not all bad, merely insufficiently feminist. Lance has a preference for the light rapier touch in his skewerings, his focus is to be entertaining while elucidating which he does extraordinarily well.

Due to my own sad lack of his Inigo-de-Montoya-ish dexterity I am limited to a blunt and rusty sabre as my tool for the radical examination of society's underbelly, but my envy is of a genial kind, so I'm not inclined to ponderously wave my sabre at Lance's jugular for turning his point of focus away from the double standard, even though he's wrong-wrongitty-wrong about it being a separate issue from why should young actresses think hard about getting naked on camera.

At least we who know what patriarchy lurks in the heart of Man can bitch about the double standard to our hearts content here at Pandagon.

Dan at Lance's place made a good point about male nudity on film:
The double standard, at least in the minds of male actors and audiences, grows out of the fact that our culture has such an immature attitude about penises, specifically penis size. A small-breasted actress can go topless without provoking gales of laughter. When this becomes true of an actor showing a small penis, the double standard can be laid to rest.

This is unfortunately truer than I would like, although surely Lance's argument about body doubles on film could be extended across the gender divide and some stallions could pick up a few extra bucks convincing the audience that the stars are as well hung as they are tall.

I've done my time on the fringes of showbiz. In personal email Lance argued that body-doubles are well paid and seem to enjoy the work, so where's the harm? I certainly have no objection to a few more women screwing some bucks out of the scrimp-on-the-small-stuff producers (body doubles need audition showreels too after all) but still: when all the filming's done there's still more female nudes up on screen and stage than there are male nudes, which is the initial premise of the feminist argument about the double standard, and what he's written, entertaining and fascinating though it is, still doesn't address that.


Prostitots and babywhores

I blogged a while back about the disturbing trend of sexualised dolls as toys for little girls.

There's a very interesting article in the SMH on Turning Girls Into Eye Candy.

"We can't allow marketers to colonise this nor should it be demonised by the right either. It's the corporate exploitation of children's sexuality that is disgusting and dangerous, not the sexuality itself."

Kilbourne utters a last word of warning: the bombardment of sexual images are not designed solely to sell us or our children on sex: "What it's really about is selling us on shopping. Our generation didn't shop for recreation, we didn't hang around malls," she said.

"Learn early about appearance and it it turns you into a good little consumer. Teach a seven-year-old that sex is about accessorising and you've secured a lifetime of lingerie buying. If you disassociate sex from non-market feelings - pleasure, desire, intimacy - and associate it instead with consumable superficialities, you'll not only keep the rabble in line, you'll have them lined up at the mall."

Consumerism not only clutters up our houses, it clutters up our minds and our relationships. Fuck consumerism.

How the hell did I do that?

I go to add a few Sydney latte-bloggers to my sidebar, and my formatting goes to hell. You guys are bastards.

UPDATE: so, now I have a whole new blog look. Hmmm. I suppose it might grow on me. So much for the blogroll for the moment though.

So, how does one tell the axe-murderers from the con-artists?

I'm off shortly to the Sydney latte-blog get-together. I've got together IRL with net-buddies before in my USENet days, and shared fun and hospitality, but whenever I speak of it to people who don't interact online they are always concerned re the safety aspects of meeting up with people I've never seen.

I think coffee and gelato in crowded Saturday afternoon Leichhardt is safe enough apart from the assault on one's sensiblities from the decor, and the sense of personality one absorbs from reading someone day after day is probably more reliable than one's instincts about co-workers, gym-buddies or the blokes down the footy club.

Still, if I never come back, track down Suki and Susoz, and either wreak vengeance or form a posse with their grieving relatives.

UPDATE: Belay that posse alert - we're all fine!

As well as the two grrls named Su, I met Tim of Deltoid, Flashman of Electron Soup, Morgan of Morgspace and Weezil of MGK. Apart from wilting a bit in the heat and humidity, we were as pleasant a bunch of lunchers as could be imagined. Looking forward to an April Fool's Blogger's Picnic in the Botanical Gardens, on which more details shall be forthcoming.


The Tigling, who just turned 11 last October, is now officially taller than me.

I didn't overtake my mum until I was 14.

She's also taller than the Togster who turns 13 in May. They just take after different sides of the family - Mr Tog was nearly his current 6' at age 12, while my brother was only round the 5'2" at age 12 and is now 6'3". Going by the Togster's feet, I expect him to take after his noncle's height more than my modest 5'4" or my Dad's average 5'9".

It will be interesting to see just how tall my little Amazon ends up.


417 - this is sport?

There's a lot that can be said about the Cheney shooting incident, but this is the one point that just keeps on making me say "huh?"

The quail that Cheney's party were shooting were pen raised, with no natural survival instincts from people (after all, they'd been fed by people every day). Of 500 birds released for Cheney's party, they shot 417 plus one lawyer. Makes you wonder if even one bird was likely to get away if Deadeye Dick hadn't been so rudely interrupted.

Sport hunting is when you go out with your gun with a good chance that you'll come back with nothing. 417 birds from 500 isn't sport, it's slaughter on a par with shooting fish in a barrel.

But of course, clearing all obstacles from the course for some but not others is the neocon notion of "achievement".

Best rant

...on education standards/expectations so far this year.

So, am I a prophet?

Abbott the Feminist from Daily FluteHaving blogged
rather a lot,
I'm glad that Tony Abbott no longer has veto power over the importation of RU486.

Back in November, I blogged that I doubted the Australian Parliament voting for a more pro-choice position on RU486 against John Howard's very craftily implied wishes would make a big news story in Bushco's American media, even though him winning the vote a few years ago to send troops to Iraq was covered widely.

I grant entirely that sending troops to war is generally considered a bigger story, but with the speculation about new Supreme Court Justice Alito's position on imminent challenges to Roe v. Wade, surely the position of Bushco's War-on-Terra ally on such an important social policy matter should make a blip or two on the media radar.

So, Google News gives me low level stories on, CBC Canada, CNN and Fox News, so I guess my prophetic skills kinda suck - I didn't think the story would get even that much attention in deference to our Lord Voldeshort's (thankyou Daily Flute for the new Howard nickname) image as a strong partner in Iraq. Ach, I should have realised - I doubt most Americans realise that the only Aussie troops over there are a few hundred of our most elite soldiers who are at far less risk than the underfunded and minimally trained American grunts anyway, and they wouldn't be able to pick Howard out of a lineup, so what does it matter over there?

Still, it's good to see that the cross-party working group of female senators who sponsored this bill are planning to introduce more bills directly addressing the concerns of women voters e.g. childcare, value-neutral pregnancy counselling, Medicare funding for reproductive health, sex education. If some of the forced childbirth mob are so concerned about the abortion rate and the low reproductive rate of middle-class Australians, perhaps they might consider making childcare a tax-deductible expense for mothers who wish/need to continue to work? Maybe business tax deductions for providing on-site creches as well?

It's appalling to read of the womb-ownership paradigm made manifest in the conviction of a young man who murdered his married lover after she ended the affair and told him that she'd aborted her pregnancy by him.

"Abbott the Feminist" image from The Daily Flute


Vale Poco

I'll miss you, furry purry friend.

More on Poco's end.


I grieve

My 15-year-old cat Poco developed a growth in her jaw last November. X-rays and biopsy showed that while it was non-malignant, it was eating away absorbing the bone on both sides of her mandible, so that her chin was essentially gone. The only option was surgery that might give her another 6 months but she would have to have a feeding tube in her stomach and be kept inside - Poco could never have handled not being able to go out.

She lost weight slowly at first, and her grooming suffered. Then she lost weight rapidly, but was still climbing the fence to our cat-lady-neighbour over the back to loudly nag for treats, she was still bright-eyed and still affectionate. Cat-lady-neighbour was concerned, but I let her know that I was taking her to the vet regularly for monitoring.

I gave her pain-killers, mashed her food and gently syringed pet-milk and broth down her throat. I bathed her for the first times in her life so that her fur would not get too matted with gunk. But she still kept getting thinner. Last weekend I decided it was time to say goodbye, and that on Monday I would tell the vet to send her to sleep.

I saw her climb the back fence in the morning, and when I went to call her to me so I could put her in the cat-carrier, she didn't come. She didn't come in for her evening meal either. I can handle the thought that she decided to find a quiet place and never wake up.

Today I spoke to my neighbour. She called the RSPCA on Monday without consulting me and told them to take Poco away to be put down. She told me that she told the RSPCA that the cat had an owner, the RSPCA person knocked on my door and couldn't raise me, so they took my cat away. I was horrified, and what's more I knew she was lying.

I rang the RSPCA, and they were told to come and collect an injured stray. Their policy is to contact owners in such cases and give the owners the option of being with their pets while they are given the injection. That bitch over the back fence stole that moment from me, where I could stroke her softly to sleep while remembering all my cherished times with Poco from the very first time she danced out to sniff my fingers while her sibs hid nose-twitching under the daybed in the house full of children who gave her to me.

I hate my neighbour.


Be vewwy vewwy qwiet...

Keep up to date with Firedoglake - pretty much live-blogging the unfolding Cheney croney-shoot scandal.

Image from Firedoglake

For extra-chewy goodness, Amanda at Pandagon argues persuasively against another blogger's premise that conservativism is about limited government.


Woman charged in Brokeback Mountain disturbance

Ah, but it's not what you might think.

UPDATE: She was fined $176 (A$ or US$ is unclear) and won't have any conviction recorded so long as she behaves for 90 days.


Sunday, Darwin Sunday

Happy Darwin Day! Today is Darwin's birthday, and many American churches are having an Evolution Sunday to sermonise about the harmony that can exist between faith and science. I recommend hieing thee to Pharyngula, where PZ will undoubtedly mark the day in Minnesota time.

PZ's already taken a few runs at Ken Ham today. Ham is predictably unimpressed at the whole idea , and oh what a surprise manages to turn the talk around to Richard "if this arch-atheist didn't exist we'd have to invent him" Dawkins. If you've never noodled around the Answers in Genesis website, do - it's a creationist eye-opener.

The Panda's Thumb has an interesting comments thread.

High-school homophobia

So my son, who turns 13 in a few months, started in high-school last week. This week, a class was disrupted when the teacher left for five minutes and a scuffle broke out between two boys. One boy had been taunting the other about how he was obviously hopelessly gay-gay-gay and the taunted boy snapped and started shoving the other boy around the room and pushing stools off tables.

Both boys were escorted off to the principal's office, and the other boys speculated in delicious round-eyed fascination over whether the boy who snapped would be suspended. There was no comment that either the taunting or the over-reaction had been in any way a stupid way to behave about homosexuals.

How do you even start suggesting a decent coping procedure for this type of thing? I suggested that the taunting boy might have a habit of just picking on other boys like this, and that a decent response if it happens to him might be "why are you so worried about who's gay?", but I don't know.


My poor friend oddprofessor is horrified.

I tried to game this one a few times, hoping for Patrick Stewart, but I kept on getting:

Your Daddy Is Ozzy Osbourne

What You Call Him: Pops

Why You Love Him: He's your sugar daddy

Could be fuckin' worse.

No! Don't look at the meme behind the cartoon!

I'd hate for a new reader to think that this blog was all-abortion all the time (that's just a current Parliamentary issue of the moment). I do actually have other political and personal concerns.

I had difficulty writing about the whole cartoon riots situation, because I've been too appalled at my children's fear that someone in Australia would publish the cartoons and then we'd have arsonist riots here, which is an idea they picked up from school somehow. The Cronulla riots and payback vandalism last December don't make that fear any easier to dispel.

I have however engaged on the subject on some discussion lists I belong to, and I've found it disturbing because a lot of people from whom I've been taking a contrary stance are clever people whose opinions I respect, and yet I find them at differing degrees of odds with me regarding a lot of the Western response to the initial provocation by the Danish newspaper and also what's happening now. Some disjointed excerpts from my posts in other forums below:

Most of Islam is not issuing death threats, or even shaking fists. But a lot of people in countries where Muslims are not doing either seem bent and determined on "showing 'em" that by damn we'll look at pictures of Mohammed in our newspapers if we want to (so there!), and why can't you towelheads be better-mannered?
Blame the religious leadership in those theocracies for being cynically jingoistic about exploiting their faith for the sake of politics, sure. But getting huffy about these particular death threats seems a tad disingenuous - the mullahs and imams in Syria and Iran will issue death threats at the drop of a hat, and Muslims in other countries have no control over that. I'm sure most Christians in the USA would like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to shut the fuck up too.
I believe that a fundamental part of this new event has been ignored: the question of whether it's fair to allow a religion to make requirements of non-believers.

Actually, I think that's the right-wing talking point they want us all to concentrate on to the exclusion of the question of common courtesy. Pretending that slaughtering a calf in the front yard across from the Hindu neighbours is a reasonable act of free expression rings hollow when one has trucked it in especially from the slaughterhouse yard in the next town after buying butcher-cuts from the supermarket for the last 20 years.

More substantive matters of restricted personal choice are simply not at issue here, and when and if they are is the time to address them.

Simple courtesy means that I don't abuse the hypothetical Muslim man down the street because his wife and daughter wear simple headscarf hijab. But human rights principles mean that if the daughter comes knocking on my door asking me to call the police to stop her father forcing her into an arranged marriage, you bet I'm going to protect her against any of her father's demands to send her back to him. There's no slippery slope from courtesy to some religious beliefs to capitulation to all of them.

The agenda on both sides of this represents publishing these pictures as much more than it actually is. The West's free-speechers say it's a bulwark against some nebulous but allegedly inevitable escalation in Muslim demands that non-Muslims restrict their lives in ways that the West will not stand, and in Islam the rabble-rousers say that it's the ramparts for a full out assault on the freedom of Muslims to worship at all.

I'd rather look at the men behind the curtain at how and why these two contrasting agendas seem to be deliberately pushing into a positive feedback cycle, because I'm noticing that if we the people of either West or Islam fully buy into the fear-mongers' agenda it's going to be that much easier to sell restricting our freedoms in the name of safety to us.


I'm not unaware or making light of fears that extremist Islamists want us all to live under Sha'ria law: some of the countries that are now theocratic fundamentalist states were once moderate and secular, so to fail to guard against theocrats taking power here would be foolish. Especially in light of their stance against any form of equal rights for women.

I just don't think it's as large a threat as some of the demagogues want me to think it is. At this point in time I'm much more afraid of the would-be-autocrats in my own democratically elected government, mostly made up of White Christian men, than I am afraid of Muslim immigrants in general.


Sometimes you don't even have to read the article

Senator Lyn Allison, my current Australian hero, got a lot of attention worldwide this week when she stood up in the Senate and said:

"An estimated 1 in 3 women have had an abortion, and I am one of them"

Now, here's a little game. Just looking at the two pictures of Senator Allison below, both published in major Australian newspapers, which paper do you think views opinionated female politicians as actual people versus which paper views them as alien harridans? And how do you think that view extends to respecting the opinions and decisions of the rest of us womenfolk in general?


Caption: Had abortion ...Lyn Allison

Caption: From left: Senators Lyn Allison, Judith Troeth, Fiona Nash and Claire Moore.

The Senate ended up voting in favour of the private members' bill to remove the Health Minister's existing veto power over the importation of the abortifacent drug RU-486, in the first bill subject to a conscience vote since 2002. Now the debate moves on to the lower House of Representatives.

Top pic from Brisbane Courier-Mail, lower pic from The Age)

The Eunuch spurns Mystique

It's no secret that Germaine Greer is is not now, and never has been, especially enamoured of Betty Friedan's seminal work, The Feminine Mystique. Her own seminal work, The Female Eunuch, was conceived as a direct counterpoint to Friedan's book.

So I guess it's also no surprise that Greer avoids hagiography in her epitaph for Friedan. It's clear Greer disliked Friedan, finding her arrogant and obtuse in general, even while admiring her role in the founding of NOW.

It's worth a read.


Anonymous cowards for forced childbirth

They want to force women to bear children against their will, and they won't even stand up and say who they are.


As you might expect, their rhetoric is full of misinformation regarding the risks of medical abortions and begging the question of whether a fetus is a person. The pic to the right is the full page ad they took out in newspapers this week.

Parliament debates lifting the Health Minister's veto power over recommendations from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regarding RU486 this week. There's more interesting material in todays Sydney Morning Herald, where a politician planning to vote against the bill to lift the veto seems to have no stronger argument than grosssly twisted statistics and one of the purest pieces of sophistry I've seen in Australian politics ever: equivocation as to whether an abortion drug can be properly described as "therapeutic". Seeing as the TGA regulates silicon breast implants, I'm essaying a guess that abortion is at least as therapeutic a procedure as "correcting underdeveloped breasts".

For those who haven't been playing along at home: because of a purely political compromise with forced-childbirth advocate Senator Brian Harradine, who held the balance of power in the Senate a few years back, legislation was passed that gave the Health Minister extraordinary veto powers over RU486 instead of leaving approval matters to the TGA, as is the case for all other medical drugs. And this is in a country where abortion is absolutely legal, not resting on a single Supreme Court decision regarding constitutionality like the USA's Roe v Wade.

The legislation was passed by the government as a prid-quo-pro to persuade Harradine to vote with the Coalition against matters he was personally sympathetic to, such as native title regulations and environmental issues, because Harradine's religious convictions against abortion were so strong that he was willing to vote against his principles in other areas to get any anti-abortion legislation passed.

I have heard, and believe it, that falling to the temptation offered here by the Coalition was a horrendously difficult decision for Harradine, and that he struggles with whether betraying fully sapient and suffering indigenous peoples for the sake of insensate fetuses was justifiable. He doesn't seem to struggle with the health and financial problems faced by fully sapient women who simply do not want to be pregnant, however.

At least Harradine owns his statements advocating forced childbirth for women who don't want to be pregnant. In the States, forced childbirth advocates proudly stand forth and tell us they are honoured to be doing what they see as God's work. But Australians Against RU486 don't even have the guts to stand up and tell us who they are.

Feminist link farm

I can't be fucking HL Mencken-meets-Germaine Greer every goddam day, you know.
This is merely one example of the word-wrangling skills of the inimitable Twisty Faster, a reminder that Texas has more to offer than just the distinction of being the state the Bush family chose for bagging their carpet.

Shakespeare's Sister has a short, sharp post up on why she's a feminist, and an unrepentantly humourless one at times.

Feministe has a long, long comments thread on the choice of either keeping your birth-surname or adopting your husband's surname on marriage.

And most of them have articles noting the passingof Betty Friedan. Her book was the second feminist book I ever read, Germaine Greer being the first. There's no justice in the world that Phyllis Schafly survives to belittle Friedan's legacy.


Spineless against the neocons

The Australian Labor Party is not in quite so parlous a state of spinelessness against the reigning neocon agenda as the Democrat party is in the USA, but neither party can be called either honestly progressive or clear on what they actually do stand for, except for not being conservatives.

Good article examining the Dems from Pam's House Blend, riffing of Bob Burnett at the Huffington Post (he made an embarassing error claiming a dearth of terrorist targets in Virginia, home of the Pentagon and the CIA just for starters, but the rest of his points are dead on).

Definite food for thought for our own so-called progressive Labor pollies. Grow a fucking spine if you want our votes.

(Thanks ahmo for the tip)


The Chimperor

Yesterday's State of the Union speech by President Bush is a good chance to present you these works of art I found floating around the Interweb a while back.

Not tonight, Laura

If they can't afford health insurance, let them eat pretzels
Let them eat pretzels
Source: Mercury Rising

I have nothing to offer but blood, pork, deficits and smarm

A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.[*]

* y'know, I didn't even have to fisk that one - that's an actual King George III quote. Scary.

Culled from Crikey! this past week

Crikey! websiteA new political party launched in Australia last week - the Secular Party of Australia. This new party is committed to the separation of church and state and points out that
  • The Liberal Party is too socially conservative
  • The ALP is too economically conservative
  • The Greens are too socialist economically
  • The Democrats are confused about their role
  • All these parties condone the unwarranted imposition of religious views.
They do have a point there. I haven't heard anything about them in the news except from Crikey!, and a search of Google News resulted in: Your search - "Secular Party of Australia" - did not match any documents.
So nice to see that the corporate media are keeping us informed.

John Malkovich and British novelist Nicholas Shakespeare are apparently preparing a film treatment of the story of Truganini. Obviously the story of the last Tasmanian fullblood aborigine(TM) will be controversial, and in a way I think it's best that the story is not being done by Aussies. Let's see John Howard try and pressure Malkovich and Shakespeare about not presenting the "black armband" version of history.

Stephen Mayne typoed "cow-towing" for "kowtowing" in an article about Rupert Murdoch, and many ribs were mightily tickled. Obviously cow-towing should now become the national sport: the spectator base seems built in.

Julian "bandwagon" McGauran is an anti-abortionist, likely to support Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce on RU-486, and maybe even get behind Joyce's idea that vaccinating young girls against cancer is wrong-wrongitty-wrongbecause it might encourage them to go out and have promiscuous sex (cue vapours). After all, it's obviously only fear of cancer that's stopped them from becoming right little slappers so far - little things like pregnancy, gonorrhea and herpes not being big enough scarecrows for the religious right it seems. If it wasn't for the fact that it would necessarily mean that their wives (who surely suffer enough just living with them) would also be infected, I'd wish HPV on all these caring family men who can't see the women for their wombs, as being so blinded by genitals they will ignore any symptoms and end up with penile cancer (the only known treatment - amputation). It would only be fair.

And back to my own opinion: a Prime Minister who bemoans "vulgarism on TV" instead of using that perfectly cromulent word "vulgarity" should be slappised and spankinated, hard. But only by someone committed to civil discourse, of course.