Twerps to the right of me…

And indeed there are twerps to the left as well, but lately one side has been absolutely fabulous in form! I think particularly of Bones and Jolt and their respective lucubrations on the matter of Adam Goodes. See Jim Belshaw’s post Adam Goodes, sporting behaviour, stereotyping and the importance of manners and respect – Jim is much more polite than I might have been.

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Moult and Cones

Supplementing what Jim had to say, I refer you to the editorial in this weekend’s Saturday Paper. It ends on a part of the “Goodes and the little girl” story that I certainly recall but many seem to have forgotten.

… The other argument, made by helpful white commentators, is that Goodes brought the treatment by fans on himself. Alan Jones is a particular exponent of this theory: that Goodes is being punished for complaining that a small girl called him an ape. This, of course, has nothing to do with racism.

“They just don’t like the fellow,” Jones said this week. “And Adam Goodes can fix all this by changing his behaviour. But what’s he say today? ‘Oh, I’m going to leave. I may have to resign. I can’t hack it.’

“Ask the little 13-year-old girl how she handled that. She was paraded over the national media as a person who really had to apologise.

“She wrote a letter and apologised. I mean, the poor little thing, 13 years of age, disabled mother. I mean, give me a break…”

The little girl who Jones mentioned, who called Goodes an ape, wrote a letter after the incident. It was brief, but it said more and made more sense and served a greater purpose than did all the ink that would tell you Goodes is the problem.

“Dear Adam. It was good to talk to you on the phone. I’m sorry for being racist. I didn’t mean any harm and now I’ll think twice before I speak.’’

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#IStandWithAdam

Meanwhile we have the saga of Bronwyn Bishop and the long-delayed apology. That she is now a running sore in the government’s standing is obvious. Her days are well and truly numbered. It is a fact, rather than an opinion, that she has been a bloody awful Speaker of the House of Representatives: see Australia needs a truly independent Speaker.

Of course BB’s recent sins have generated quite a deal of internet and social media fun too:

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Lately people have been dragging up all sorts of little gems about BB. Peter FitzSimons today:

There is a wonderful yarn in Stephen Loosley’s latest book Machine Rules, highlighted by Laurie Oakes​ yesterday, about a dinner attended by Loosley, Peter Costello and Bronwyn Bishop in the late ’80s, just as Bishop’s star was on the rise.

“I bet your thinking,” Costello reportedly said to Loosley, leaning over the table to him, “it would take you only 10 minutes to demolish Bronwyn as Liberal leader. Well, you’re not going to get the chance. It will take me only five minutes.”

Let the record show, John Howard also spotted the flaws early. Circa 1993, I was MC-ing a function at the then Regent Hotel, at which Mr Howard – then in the very depth of his wilderness years – was the guest speaker. Over pre-dinner drinks I asked him whether he thought Ms Bishop – then at the height of her popularity – would take the Liberal leadership. He looked at me, leaned in close, and said out of the side of his mouth, with great emphasis: “Over … my … dead … body.”

And The Gadfly in The Saturday Paper reminds me that BB started at Sydney University the same year I did – not that I ever knew her.

Reaching for David Leser’s authoritative biography, Bronwyn Bishop: A Woman in Pursuit of Power, we find this:

“How was it that Bishop never graduated [in law] with the class of ’65? What kind of student was she? Her own explanation is that marriage intervened. ‘I actually didn’t take my degree because I got married instead,’ she told the Australian Magazine in March 1989. In 1993 she told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘I think I missed a few subjects. Lots of people did, you know.’

“Bishop failed a total of 11 subjects over six years. In her first year, in 1960, she failed all four subjects and was required to repeat the year. She then passed the next three years before stumbling once more in 1964 when she failed all four subjects again. In 1965 she repeated those same four subjects but ended up failing three of them. The university had a rule at the time that a student had to show cause why he or she should be allowed to repeat for a third time. Bronwyn Setright was deemed ineligible to continue.”…

One source reports that Old Kero inveigled herself onto the organising committee of the law school reunion dinners that are held every 10 years for those who graduated the year she should have, if she hadn’t got married, or missed a few subjects – or whatever.

Finally, just to note that Chris T, Persian Danny and I will be indulging in absolutely delicious halal food again next Saturday. Cory Bernadi: the folks at the Australian Institute of Sport should be so lucky! But then Cory is a dead-set twerp, eh!

Update

Well the twerps never stop, do they? See the latest on Dolt: Andrew Bolt’s claim Stolen Generations a ‘myth’ spurs Press Council complaint. Of course Volt can then indulge his long-standing love of being persecuted, and does: A sinister attempt to gag debate on the “stolen generations”.

31 July: failed post, great day at Woonona

This morning I actually completed a post but Windows Live Writer and this ancient computer had a spasm which lost the post. Nor did I have time to redo it, as I had to head out fairly early to meet my Diggers friend S.H. at Steelers in order to catch a Dion’s bus up to Woonona to go to the Woonona-Bulli RSL.

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The idea was to meet S’s parents who live at Moss Vale but visit this club every month. They are about my age. S’s mother was born in Shellharbour, where my father was also born. I figured we would know people in common, and so it proved as her home as a child was next to my cousin Max! We had a great day of sharing.

Earlier I had posted July’s stats. The overall result here is better than last month. The most read posts in July have been:

  1. Home page / Archives 832 views in July.
  2. Reclaiming Australia Persian-style in Wollongong 82
  3. Of Pakistani origin, but not radical extremist… 60
  4. Outnumbered, Merlin, and other recently seen TV 46
  5. A very mixed bag 19
  6. I return to teaching — 1985 18
  7. All my posts 15
  8. My mother and the secret river; Ulster accent; class act 14
  9. Tom Thumb Lagoon 13
  10. Lost Wollongong 13
  11. What a treasury of family history! 12
  12. About 12
  13. Friday Australian poem: #NS6 – Mary Gilmore “Old Botany Bay” 10
  14. Ian Thorpe – free at last? 9
  15. Random Friday memory 22 – Beethoven in Minnamurra 9

Go back, lunchtime prayers, Adam Goodes

Go Back to Where You Came From (Series 3) began last night and delivered an up-to-date picture of where many stand on refugees and asylum seekers. I commend the program website to you.

Participant Kim Vuga is quite weird: I think so at any rate. See Go Back To Where You Came From episode 1 recap: Kim Vuga told ‘You don’t know anything’.

The self-described freelance journalist from Townsville sent the show trending first on Twitter with her inflammatory comments…

  • “I don’t believe that people are stateless because everyone comes from somewhere.” Face, meet palm #GoBackSBS

The most explosive argument came as the show’s six participants stood out the front of Darwin Correctional Centre.

[Nicole] Judge, who worked on Manus Island and gave evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into the death of Reza Berati, became angry when Vuga called the 23 year-old Iranian asylum seeker a “troublemaker”.

“One of the troublemakers that had died had been standing over people,” Vuga said to her.

Judge, from Sydney’s northern beaches, became highly emotional as she defended Mr Berati.

“Please don’t insult me by insulting a man that I knew,” she screamed over Vuga.

“You have no idea who Reza Berati is. I knew him; I played soccer with him, and he died at the hands of an Australian employed guard.”

“You don’t know anything,” she told Vuga…

Even one of my more mindless pleasures, Channel 10’s Family Feud, has been reminding us that this is after all one of the most successful multicultural societies on earth. encompassing both people called “Vuga” (rather than Smith or Jones) and contestants like last night’s:

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Imagine how shocked I was earlier in the evening when I found myself agreeing with Paul Sheehan when The Drum discussed NSW to audit school prayer groups for extremism amid claims radical Islam preached at Sydney’s Epping Boys High School. He thought this was nonsense.

I spent at least two years sitting in, and being made welcome in, such a lunchtime prayer group. I have alluded to this many times: London ten years on; Bringing it home; Recycle and prelude: nine years ago; Some reflections on the late teen suicide bomber. From the last one there:

My former student [a member of the lunchtime prayer group] does “look the part.” He is clearly sub-continental and may wear some kind of funny hat. He possibly carries Islamic literature. But of course it seems clear to me that he is a zero security threat – in fact, an asset to this country and, through his work, several others.

I just hope we can all make such distinctions: but unfortunately the common talk makes this difficult. We become obsessed with damnably stupid ideas about the significance of halal markings on chocolate – though not apparently by statements about the same item probably also being kosher. We start to see all Muslims as terrorists, or at best not to be trusted as not being sufficiently “Aussie”!

I do despair: but all praise to people like Tanvir (the blogger quoted above) and friends. There may be the hope we need.

To clarify too: such lunchtime prayer groups are not part of the official religious education that state schools provide space for, commonly called “Scripture”. In NSW:

Under the Education Act 1990, public schools provide special religious education. This is provided by authorised representatives of approved religious groups to students who have nominated that religion. Times for these classes are negotiated with the school.

In November 2011 the Minister for Education published a media release that announced a minimum time of 30 minutes of meaningful teaching time per week in primary schools and a minimum of one period per week in secondary schools.

Rather they are voluntary ex-curricular gatherings for cultural, social or other purposes (train-spotting or butterfly collecting, perhaps) usually run by students for students. I belonged myself in the 1950s to the Interschool Christian Fellowship which met at lunchtimes – and still does. Similarly the school I last taught in also had a Jewish group, at times a Buddhist group, and latterly an Islamic group.

My experience in the years from 9/11 to London then Cronulla 2005 is that the consensus on The Drum last night is correct: it is better to keep dialogue open rather than to seek to “audit” (and then ban or punish?) the expression of opinions, which will occur anyway.

I am much saddened by the treatment of former Australian of the Year and Swans player Adam Goodes. See Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes considering retirement over booing scandal.

Retired Swans premiership player Michael O’Loughlin, who Goodes considers a father figure, did not dismiss the retirement talk when contacted on Tuesday night, while AFL Players’ Association  said no one could blame Goodes if he made that decision…

An emotional O’Loughlin told Fairfax Media he was now embarrassed to take his family to away matches.

“I hope the world takes notice of this,” he said. “This isn’t a WA thing or an AFL thing – it’s an Australian issue. To be called an Abo, a nigger, a black so and so, for your entire life, and then expected to sit there and accept it, it’s a reflection on Australia and where we are as a country.

“For people to say it’s not racist … What else can it be? They are booing someone who is a dual Brownlow medallist and someone who has a hundred other accolades. They are booing someone who has done so much to make sure kids get a better education. They are booing someone who has given so much more back to the game than many others.

“I read about one fan who was evicted after yelling out, ‘Get back to the zoo’. He was just ‘banter’. What absolute garbage. Because someone like Adam doesn’t sit in the corner and accept it – and neither would I – he is booed.

“I won’t be taking my children to watch football interstate until that stops. My mate is copping it everywhere he goes.”

Goodes, 35, decided during the off-season to play one last season with the Swans…