Thursday, December 21, 2006

Season's Beatings

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And cue joke about them 'stuffing your stocking'...Ho, ho, ho.

Play nice kids, and don't open your pressies too early. See yas in '07, if not before.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I Don't Give a BEEP Either

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Above: Pussycat Dolls - Courtney Act, Portia Turbo, Mitzi McIntosh, Vanessa Wagner, Lucy Loosebox and Rochelle (I forget which one's which)

I don't get the Pussycat Dolls. Did the feminist pioneers really foresee gender liberation evolving to take the form of women singing, blandly, about how damn freaking hot they are, just ask them?

I interpret the subtext of 'Beep', for example, to read: "Sleazy perverted men can masturbate and ejaculate semen in public over me, which is OK, because I'm so attractive that I get off knowing I turn on said perverts. Yay me."

Yeah - not sure that's a moral cue I'd personally seek to teach my daughter.

I know GenY women (sorry to use a marketing cliche, it's just easier) were born into an entirely different consciousness of expectations and achieveable goals, including career paths not just limited to either housewifery or flight attending, and maybe it's a little old-fashioned to think the PCD have taken confidence in sexuality beyond the empowering and into the...well, borderline sadistic...but I don't think I'm being a toothless old porch man here. There's a great, illustrative (though brief) scene in Mean Girls, for example (book and screenplay both written by women), showing a young girl dancing in a disturbingly provocative (for a 5 y.o) way - but she's only copying the film clip on the television in front of her, so what else does she know?

The PCDs strike me more as manifest of a form of feminism men would like women to embrace. They're kinda 'feminist' in the same way that women-on-women in straight porn are 'lesbian'.

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Plus - and this is just a personal thing - I don't find drag queens all that hot, anyway.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Position Vacant

Now that that bouncy little flea Grant Denyer has done his last stint presenting the weather on Sunrise, his tiny little shoes will need to be filled. And 2006 has seen quite a few individuals suddenly in need of finding themselves new jobs.

My suggested shortlist:

Naomi Robson: "Who gives a flying f#$k what the f#$king weather is? I can't f#$king tell you f#$k-all about the f#$king weather because I can't f#$king read a f#$cking autocue. How do I f#$king look, by the f#$king way? F#$king hot? Oh, that's the f#$king weather forecast? I do hate these f#$king cameras."

Kim Beazley: "Windy conditions in MelBorneo, showers in Pert, fine in Adelie penguin, overcast in BrisBainmarie, humid in HurtNey...And exactly how much did Alexander Downer know about sunshine in GoCart?"

Ted Haggard:
"I am not a weatherman.
OK, I am a weatherman, but I have no idea what the weather is.
OK, it might be cold and rainy, but that wasn't my fault.
OK, that was my fault. It's weather I've been warring against all my adult life.

Mark Foley: Hey sunshine, ure causing a warm front in my trousers. Do you want 2 cover me wif ure sweet yung snow? ;) LOL.

Milton Orkopoulos:

(Actually, I'm not gonna touch that one. So to speak.)

Axel Whitehead: "This cold front will cause strong winds in exposed locations. Temperatures will otherwise be extremely high."

Donald Rumsfeld: "We do know of certain knowledge that the weather is either hot, cold, wet, dry, a combination of all four, none of these, or not weather. I don't do weather. Simply because I have no evidence that weather does exist does not mean that I have evidence that it doesn't exist. Hey - weather happens."

PS: Jana Rawlinson, nee, Pittman has just named her spawn "Cornelis."

Jana Rawlinson, nee Pittman, should be repeatedly killed to death.

Friday, December 08, 2006

They Made It...Finally

UPDATE: Sandra Kanck, soon to be the last remaining Democrat in Australian politics, nails it in parliament yesterday:

I understand that members of the GLBTI community are hungering for this to get through, and I have been a strong supporter of them in getting this through. That is why I co-sponsored the motion with the Hons Michelle Lensink, Ian Hunter, Mark Parnell and Ann Bressington (that is, the bill we introduced on 27 September) because I felt so strongly about it. So, for those who want to apportion blame, I ask them to put it squarely where it belongs, and that is with the Labor Party...

We know, certainly from reading between the lines and also from hearing what the Hon. Mr Evans said in his speech last night, that the government has been negotiating with Family First over this legislation. I think the truth of it is that there were a significant number of ALP members who did not want to have the legislation that we passed in this chamber at the end of last year. This is, in a sense, a mishmash that has arisen, as the Attorney-General has attempted to deal with rogue members of the ALP who do not want to see equality for people of the GLBTI persuasion...

I pay tribute to the Attorney-General for coming up with a masterful strategy. To introduce a bill late into the session and then use others to get out the message that the bill is threatened with delay if any amendments are even con­sidered...It is effectively a form of blackmail. I can imagine, if the Attor­ney-General is listening now, that he will be grinning from ear to ear, because he is the sort of person who likes to have win-lose options, and he would see himself as winning here.

Saying it out loud again feels suspiciously like deja vu, but this time it's for real - SA has FINALLY caught up with the rest of the country, indeed world, and granted same-sex couple rights 5 years after the Rann Government promised it would do so.

Again, as I mentioned in last year's posting, full credit to Let's Get Equal and Ian Purcell, the lobby's engine, in particular. Somehow they managed to keep the faith in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Just have to be a Negative Narrelle for a few moments and get some frustrations out there, then I'll shut up about it.

The Rann Government, and AG Michael Atkinson especially, fucked this up royally. Not least the years they forced SA queers to wait for the very reforms they themselves promised in the lead-up to the 2002 election, the way they stalled, sabotaged and devalued their own legislation is nothing short of offensive. By the time the Statutes Amendment (Domestic Partners) Bill was finally introduced this year - with less than four weeks of parliament sitting, no less - it was a markedly different style of legislation than the original SA (Relationships) Bill. The DP Bill is more along the lines of Tasmania's legislation whereby multiple versions of non-conjugal couples can be classified as 'domestic partners' and qualify for legal rights and obligations accordingly.

Which is exactly what Fundies First and other anti-gay pollies wanted. In fact, they claimed a 'victory' with the 'improved' Bill because now that sexuality was taken out of the equation, it was no longer a 'gay issue', despite the reality that same-sex couples will overwhelmingly be the benefactors of this reform. But hey - God love the Fundie Fisters, both of them, they still voted against the Bill anyway (along with one lone Lib). So all that arse-kissing Atkinson did to draft a Bill that would please them came to shit.

And don't forget, Atkinson had no need to present a new Bill. The original Relationships Bill had already passed SA's Upper House in 2005 and had the numbers to pass the Lower House. SA Labor delayed the Bill so that it wouldn't be an issue at election time, shat on the Opposition to win a raft of new seats, and then made the bizarre claim that a new Bill needed to be drafted because the original was problematic and didn't have broad enough support. In fact, it was only problematic to Atkinson and his Bible-bashing mates in FF and the ALP Catholic Right. There was a clear democratic majority in parliament willing and able to pass the original Bill.

Not that legislation to provide for non-conjugal couples isn't without merit - it's just Atkinson's concealment of his true agenda that shits me. As Liberal David Pisoni argued:

(The Domestic Partners Bill) does not give (same-sex couples) recognition: it lumps them in with a wide variety of relationships that might not even want the rights and responsibilities they will be given. It rates the relationship of a long-term monogamous same-sex couple in the same way as, say, two spinster sisters living together, or two lifelong widowed friends who choose to share a home for friendship and financial security reasons,or flatmates who share friends and socialise together, or an invalid and their living carer in a kind-for-kind type relationship...

...This government has tried to placate the conservatives in the Labor Party (and I notice the Attorney-General sitting over there) and Family First by deliberately lumping same-sex relation­ships in with a wide range of relationships that are of a non-sexual nature...

...We now have a bill which gives rights and responsibilities to a broad range of domestic partners but which conveniently does not allow for the celebration or recognition of loving same-sex relationships in the same way as my wife and I can celebrate our relationship...

...The Labor Party tells (same-sex couples) one thing in an election climate—that is, what they want to hear—but when the government is asked to deliver, it is a compromise. It is a cop-out toFamily First and the conservatives in the right wing of the Labor Party...

It's scary when the Libs make a lot more sense about queer issues than Labor.

Pisoni's last point is of particular importance. While Atkinson could argue to conservative voters the fundie-friendliness of the new Bill, in the meantime so many Labor reps, especially those representing high percentage queer seats, were gushing in parliament about how damn terrific it was that same-sex couples were finally gaining rights, and how wonderfully pro-gay they and their government are for bringing about this reform. Talk about a bet each way.

Atkinson never wanted this to become law. He tried every devious trick to delay and jeopardise its passage. They won government in March this year, so why introduce the Bill in NOVEMBER instead one of the many months in between, when it could have been debated, amended and passed with comfortable passage of time? Short answer: because any delay to offset the Bill until 2007 could be attributed to the Opposition or minor parties, even though they were completely within their rights to properly examine the Bill and put forward any amendments for full and proper debate - that's democracy.

It's great the Bill has gone through and the practical upshot is that SA same-sex couples will finally have the rights they deserve and have been denied for so long. But the Rann Government does not deserve any kudos. Sure, it drafted the legislation and presented it in parliament, but it has also been its most effective and devious enemy.

Little wonder so many gays and lesbians leave SA when this disgrace of an administration is the best they can hope for. Don Dunstan would be squirming in his grave.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mini-Moonface Wins!

Three things to note:

1. Back in April, when undertaking my John Howard/Joan Ferguson intertextual analysis, I referred to how Joan was eventually brought down by Rita 'The Beater' Connors.

Quote me:

But don't despair - just when we thought nothing would ever stop Joan Ferguson, along came blonde bikie Rita Connors - and the rest is history...Someday, my blonde bikie will come too.

Kev's a vary unnertrectif men, but he is blond...

2. Am I the only one to have noticed an unsettling resemblance between

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3. How dare any feral lefty get her lesbian knickers in a knot about Uncle Rupert supposedly being biased against the Labor Party, or using his media machine to prop up Howard at every conceivable opportunity?

I thought yesterday's heading in the Tele, 'Rudderless', and sub-heading, 'Kevin leads Kim on sinking ship', was a completely objective, fair and responsible piece of reporting.

See, the Tele has a machine that can see into the future - that's how it's able to report with absolutely certainty things that haven't actually happened yet, e.g. Labor losing the next election.

Bet you feel pretty stupid for thinking the Tele is biased now, doncha? Huh?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hypocrisy and Condemnation are Also Diseases

(*TMI ALERT: Like 'spoiler' alert, but a warning that is a fairly personal post, and could fall into the Too Much Information category for some.)

December 1 is World AIDS Day, to commemorate those we've lost to this appalling disease and reaffirm our hope that a cure may some day be found.

Statistically, I live in a HIV+ ghetto, of sorts. It's incredibly disheartening to see the rising rate of infections among gay men in a first-world nation (not saying the problem in third-world nations is any less tragic, just that here we should know better), and instinctively it's so easy to condemn those men contracting HIV in this day-and-age, years after endless advertisements, campaigns and premature deaths, as foolish or stupid or argue that prevention campaigns of HIV/AIDS organisations, such as ACON, just aren't working.

But of course, as with most things, this cannot be reduced to soundbyte absolutes.

In and around inner Sydney, it's undeniable that sex and sexuality are omnipotent. Getting laid is a perennial preoccupation with many gay men, and between the pick-up joints, dance clubs, sex clubs, saunas and beats, it's pretty easy to find that instant, inconsequential gratification with anonymous contacts.

Bring crystal meth into the equation and any sense of mind to play safe flies straight out the window. If you've ever happened upon Gaydar, or any other gay chat sites post-MG or Sleaze, it's depressing to see how many profiles seek to be 'fucked raw' while still in their CM-induced hazes.

I know all this, because I've been a part of it. I've fucked guys I've known for less than an hour, whose name I don't remember at the time. I've picked up guys from the net who for all I know could have been serial killers (hey, I'm from Adelaide - it's not so far-fetched). I've fucked under the influence of chemicals (excluding CM). And three times, I've jeopardised my life and the lives of others through unprotected sex. Not something I'm particularly proud of, but I want to make clear I'm not placing myself in any position of judgment. I'm a sinner just like all the other blasphemers.

So when, a few years ago, my best friend at the time looked me in the face and told me, quite straightforwardly, that he was HIV positive, my visceral reaction was to feel anger that he could be so stupid, followed almost immediately by a more cerebral reminder that our roles could just as easily have been reversed. Like my three occasions, his was a moment of carelessness, when his dick wrested control of the ship from his brain. He contracted the disease because of a broken condom, but he was in a sauna at the time. The argument could go that if he hadn't been there to begin with, fucking a stranger about whose HIV status he had no idea, he would never have been at risk.

But is that a real solution? Avoid HIV by avoiding sex altogether? We know abstinence as a means of 'safe sex' (the 'safest' form of sex, as it were) just doesn't work. People are destined to fuck. Fuck men, fuck women, fuck both, sex is a biological imperative. Avoiding STIs/STDs by not having sex is akin to avoiding airborne diseases by not breathing.

So given that people are going to fuck, what is it about gay men (apart from the basic biological explanations) that makes HIV so prevalent in our day-to-day lives, a massive elephant in all our rooms we can only avoid speaking about for so long? Are we naturally more inclined to unsafe, irresponsible sexual practices? Should we model our sexuality more on the habits of heterosexual people, whose incidence of HIV infection is, comparably, significantly lower?

What I would argue is that a common unwanted consequence of unprotected sex between men and women, aside from STIs/STDs, is pregnancy. And without wanting to sound callous, unwanted pregnancies can be terminated. I know intelligent, highly self-respecting women who, like me, have fucked up once or twice. Choosing to terminate is never an easy decision, but it can be done. A gay man, on the other hand, cannot choose to terminate his accidental HIV contraction. It's a penalty for life for one accident, one lapse in judgment.

But what about repeat offenders, the apparent inner Sydney hedonists who keep fucking unsafely? Surely the safe sex messages of support organisations is falling on deaf ears? Perhaps - but ACON and other like groups can only do so much. Ultimately they are trampolines at the bottom of the cliff, not the fences at the top. Young men are being pushed over the edge by a world that still treats them as pariahs. How and where is a man supposed to find the self-respect that stops him from life-endangering sexual practices when his family has rejected him, his peers assaulted him and his society insists any relationship he seeks will ultimately be inferior, even worthless? Yes, ultimately everybody needs to take responsibility for their actions, but what will compel a man to take responsibility for securing his life when he doesn't really see a clear future for himself?

Of course, sex cannot go unregulated. To suggest this is ever an agenda pushed by queer activists and organisations is a fallacy. Liberation and pride arise through the realisation that homosexuality, and homosexual expression, are not wrong, unnatural or immoral. What is wrong is unsafe sexual expression, straight or queer.

I don't pretend to have a solution to what is currently a disturbing problem, that nearly 30 years after the mysterious 'gay disease' first appeared, men are still falling victim even when there is now a simple and almost always effective way of avoiding the disease. Maybe a reduction in the omnipotency of sex in gay men's world - at least in inner Sydney - could be a start, but it's not like the urges will suddenly cease to exist.

I'd like to think that the first step will be for gay men to have less of a fight on their hands when nurturing their own self-respect and sense of responsibility. Once they genuinely value and treasure their lives, why on earth will they want to jeopardise it?

I also have a feeling I'm not the only person who's not just made, but repeated, a stupid mistake that could have cost me dearly. Those without sin, etc. Every day I am grateful I've not become another statistic, but I never forget that is purely a case of good chance. I don't intend to repeat that mistake ever again.

In the meantime, I also never forget those friends, and friends of friends, who live with the spectre of HIV because of one mistake.

Fat Pat vs Mini-Moonface

So, it's on. Bring it, beeyotch, and so forth.

- Experience, including time in actual government.
- Stable, don't-frighten-the-horses sort of leader - strong contrast to Latham.
- During second bout of leadership, Labor has remained electorally competitive (according to opinion polls, anyway).
- Incumbency - there is overall a stronger image of unity so long as he's left alone until the election.

- Sort of guy whose current cerebral dodginess could lead to a statement like this:
"I, Kim Davies, feel I have the experience to lead the Labor Pains into the next erection, and while I have full confidence in Kevin Federline, I don’t believe he has quite the inexperience I haven’t not got or didn’t ever not have."
- Tool of the NSW Right, the puss-y infection of the ALP largely responsible for its current state(s) of disrepute.
- Two-time loser. Has an aura of "destined to be professional Opposition Leader, never PM" about him.
- Jenny Macklin as deputy.

- Good parliamentary performer - has rightly taken strips off Downer.
- Julia Gillard as potential deputy.
- Fresh blood.
- Better at 10-second sound bytes for the 6pm news than Beazley.

- Downer factor: Essentially not a particularly likeable guy. Comes across in that same, twerpy-little-private-school-toff-you-just-wanna-smack-around-the-head sort of way.
- Doesn't have that weathered, man-of-people factor projected by (at least initially) Hawke and Keating.
- Even his own colleagues apparently don't like him much. Doesn't inspire much confidence that his leadership will be solid (but then again, Howard's never been particularly well-liked by any of his minions, either).
- Would have to build his leadership image and cred in less than 12 months. And we all remember how disastrously that worked out for the last late-minute appointed leader.
- Strong Christian. Has previously said enough about separating personal beliefs from electoral responsibilities for me to think this may not necessarily be a major problem, but also seems just a little too keen for Labor to re-claim God - including Fundies First and other assorted nuts.

BIGGER PICTURE: Neither Rudd nor Beazley can win the next election - it's a bit like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic right now.

VERDICT: Keep Beazley to lead them to inevitable defeat in 2007 - with hopefully at least the Senate reverting back to non-Government control as one small saving grace - then shaft him and Macklin for Rudd and Gillard, to give the new guy 3 solid years to build his image.