Tag Archives: Language

What? I don’t even…

*Trigger warning for rape discussion (corrective sex)*

So Ricky Nixon, an AFL “personality” (former player manager), decided to publicly sledge a Fairfax columnist (is that different to journalist?) Suzanne Carbone on his Facebook page today.  As it was a public page/wall* the whole world could (and indeed did thanks to the article published by The Age and other places) see what he and his friends said about Suzanne Carbone.  It wasn’t pretty, it was incredibly sexist.  It was also incredibly immature.  Seriously guys, if someone says something you don’t like, debate it, don’t call that person names and suggest that the solution is “a good shag” because not only is that sexist and misogynist, but it also makes you look like a Neanderthal.  Debating ideas and opinions is not that difficult.  Name calling is certainly easier, but makes you look like a fool while the other person effectively wins.  Not a good strategy.

Continue reading What? I don’t even…

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Bad Journalism – The Age (12 Jan 2012)

Two articles in today’s Age (online) were so jaw-droppingly bad I thought I’d draw everyone’s attention to them.  The first is an article sourced from AFP, and appears to have been just been pasted in without any consideration of the AWFUL language included.

The article is titled, “Outrage as naked women dance for tourists in ‘human zoo‘”, seems just from the title, to be an article on tourism exploiting women – and then you read further in, not too much further in, just the first paragraph:

Rights campaigners and politicians have condemned a video showing women from a protected and primitive tribe dancing for tourists in exchange for food on India’s far-flung Andaman Islands.

Primitive?  Primitive?  According to who?  Is there any way that sentence could be any more racist?  The women are part of the  Jarawa people, an group of people indigenous to the Andaman Islands.  How hard is that to say versus “primitive”?

The second article is titled, “Court in same sex tennis furore” is in relation to Margaret Court and her issues with an equal marriage protest/action at the Australian Open.  Hoyden About Town blogged very nicely about the issue here.

Part way through the article…

Court, a 24-times grand slam singles champion and a pastor at the Victory Life Centre church in Perth, has long opposed same-sex marriage but sparked a fierce backlash from retired women’s champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both homosexuals, when she reiterated her views in a Western Australian newspaper recently.

“both homosexuals”?????  I don’t know how Martina Navratilove and Billie Jean King actually identify, but the correct terms most commonly used to describe women in same sex relationships, are lesbian or bisexual.  The term homosexual has a negative history from being classed as a mental disorder.  Steve Williams has a great blog on the issue here.

To my mind, the word “homosexual” has a very clinical cadence to it, and the emotions it seems to invoke appear to stem from the not too distant past when homosexuality was still thought of as an affliction and a mental disorder. There’s also an inherently androcentric core to the word “homosexual.” Of course, it can be used to refer to both gay and lesbian people, but I’d wager that the word “homosexual” is mostly used in reference to gay men, especially when utilized by social and religious conservatives. Moreover, it probably carries notions of sex and, by extension, anal sex or sodomy, which is usually one of the central pillars of disgust threaded throughout most prejudiced material.

 

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Bad slogan number 4,598,765,197,984,651 (no really)

Pain is temporary.  Quitting is forever

No and no… and no and no and no and no

Neither of those two statements are true.  Pain is not always temporary, and to suggest it is makes those who live with chronic pain either non-existent, or delusional.  Some pain is temporary, and some pain is not.

Quitting is not forever.  Quitting is just a thing.  Sometimes it can be about personal boundaries, abilities, or coping capacity.  Sometimes it can just be because you are done and don’t want to continue.  Sometimes it can be because you’ve changed your mind.  None of these things are necessarily permanent – though of course they could be, but that doesn’t mean that all things you quit are.

So, poster on the wall at my gym, kindly take your offensive slogan away and sod off – because fire… the effects of that can be permanent.

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Malaysia day one

I don’t know if I will do daily updates of my trip here to KL, but since I have the night done, and we’re waiting now to be tired enough to go to sleep (we mega napped this afternoon), I thought I’d upload my photos to Flickr and quickly write up today.

Though now with attempting to sort out phone dramas (I can connect to our pre-paid provider with no problems – Scott is having issues), I might not get the photos uploaded until later.

Anyway, things I’ve learnt – I’m too short.  This wasn’t something I’ve ever had an issue with when flying before, usually the shorter the better, but the Emirates seats were too high for me, meaning that I could not rest my feet on the ground.  When I was awake, this wasn’t too much of an issue, but when I slept (and our flight left Melbourne at 2:30am, so I was hoping to sleep), I would wake up in pain from my knees… or from gritting my teeth in my sleep against the knee pain.  I need a massage to recover from the flight, so that is something I have planned for tomorrow… vaguely.

Malaysia is as warm and humid as I could possibly want. Cold is a slightly distant memory and being warm is a nice change, sweating is a novel experience.

It is beautiful, the food so far has been amazing, the being in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language nor understand the signage (though a lot of it is also in English) is interesting (mostly from the analysing my own internal responses to this) and things are much closer than they generally appear.

Tomorrow, apart from the massage, Scott and I hope to go to Little India and then towards evening head over to China town to soak up the magnificence as well as the crowds.  We’re also planning to go to the top of the Petronas towers, see the museum, art gallery, bird park, butterfly house and everything else this week.  Oh and eating, we’re planning on doing a lot of eating.

 

[Quick edit – photos are now here]

 

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38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Down Under Feminists' Carnival Logo

Hello everyone and welcome to the 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  Thanks for all the fantastic submissions and to everyone who wrote all the fantastic articles I’m linking to.

If at any point I have misnamed, mislabled, or misgendered someone, please let me know immediately so that I can correct my error If I have included a post of yours that you would not like included, please let me know and I will remove it.  Should any of my links be broken, just let me know and I’ll attempt to fix it.

Continue reading 38th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

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Swear Jar

Fucking hell, the Victorian Liberal Party, in their grand “law and order” plan, have decided that instead of having people who are charged with using:

language deemed to be indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening. (The Age)

go to court, a process which is time consuming and rarely successful (on the point of the prosecutors), that police will now be able to issue an on-the-spot fine of up to $240.

The Age article continues:

The crackdown — which extends the Baillieu government’s ever-growing law-and-order agenda — means police will be able to issue infringement notices for offensive behaviour and indecent language similar to parking and speeding fines.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the idea was to lower the police workload by allowing them to issue fines instead of tackling bad language using the court system.

“It frees up police time for other law enforcement activities and enables them to more readily issue penalties against those offenders who deserve them,” Mr Clark said.

“By providing police with as many enforcement tools as possible, Parliament is sending a strong signal that people who engage in criminal behaviour can expect to be dealt with under the law.”

Offensive language has been an offence in Victoria since 1966. Swearing — if it is deemed serious enough — can carry a penalty of up to two years’ jail, and is even considered an offence if no one is present to hear it.

In truth, they’ve all been out of bounds since the Act was introduced in 1966, but until 2008 anyone thus charged had to have their case heard in court. That took time and effort and got in the way of more pressing cases. Frankly, who could blame the legal system if it collectively decided it really couldn’t be arsed to hear such matters – matters that Ross Garnaut might feasibly have described as “pissant”? (The Age -another article)

Because saying “FUCK” (and other swears) is clearly criminal behaviour.  I didn’t know, until now, that “offensive language” was actually a real offence, and only had been since 1966.  I’d also like to know what “offensive language” actually means.  Sure it’s almost described with “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language, but what does that really mean?

How will police define “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language?  Will some groups, as I suspect they will, receive far more leniency from police in relation to swearing than others?  Will some groups who have threatening language used towards them (those who are not white, the homeless, the LBGTIQ community, etc) really have an effective response from the police if they report the language used against them?

It has been suggested that this is just an attempt at revenue raising by the Victorian State Government, and I’m inclined to agree.  Instead of ensuring that minority groups who already have existing issues with police are protected adequately, this will be further power for some police to put the boot in even more.

Then there is the cultural impact – the fact that people can (and probably will) be fined for swearing at sporting events, live music concerts (Yeah, how is Cee-Lo (warning for NSFW swears) ever going to perform his song in Victoria?), comedy, or the theatre?  The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (one of the biggest comedy festivals in Australia -possibly the third biggest in the English speaking world), is worried that the new laws will impact on the festival next year.

Comedian Wil Anderson yesterday tweeted in response to the news. “Victoria announced on-the-spot fines of $240 for indecent language. Suddenly my [comedy festival] show is going to cost me a lot more next year.”

Melbourne International Comedy Festival director Susan Provan said she was taking a wait-and-see approach. “We at the Comedy Festival will be waiting with bated breath for news on what does and does not constitute swearing,” she said. However, she added that the festival may need to consider hiring people “with bleepers in all areas of our activity”.

The Baillieu government is pitching this as part of its ever-expanding law-and-order agenda, but the cynically inclined might wonder if it is not also a blatant revenue-raising exercise. Given the difficulty of successfully prosecuting someone for swearing (or, more broadly, offensive language) in court, this is by and large money the government would not otherwise have had. (The Age)

The Age article the excerpt above is from also defines all the places in which it will be illegal to swear – and about the only place you will be able to swear will be in the privacy of your own home – provided that the public is not gathering there – so not when you’re having a party probably.

In fact, there is little agreement even on what constitutes “offensive” language in 2011, as distinct from 1966. One man’s meat is another man’s cruelly harvested animal flesh, as it were.

In a much-noted ruling in 2002, NSW magistrate David Heilpern observed of the F word that “one would have to live an excessively cloistered existence not to come into regular contact with the word, and not to have become somewhat immune to its suggested previously legally offensive status”. (The Age)

With no fucking clue as to what constitutes offensive language, the potential for this new police power to be massively misused is very high.  Personally I’d take the fine to court and ask that the 2002 NSW ruling be taken into account, if I was fined by the police for swearing.  I have that luxury and privilege.  Those who have minimal incomes, minimal support, and/or an unfamiliarity with the Australian Justice System are going to struggle to have the fine waived, and in many cases struggle to pay the fine.

This is not a law which does anyone any favours if all the attention is put on “offensive” and none on “threatening”.  I’d like to see “threatening” strengthened, and a real discussion about whether or not we need to be protected from swears when we’re out in public these days.

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Dear the USA

This post is partially inspired by Chally’s post at Feministe, though on different topics, and nowhere near as well written as her piece – which I’ve just re-read and have fallen in love with all over again.

But anyway… here are some issues that I would LOVE the USA to address, because they piss me off no end.

I don’t live in the US

As Chally pointed out, the world does not revolve around you, not even close.  You are not the only country that uses the internet, though that must come as a bit of a shock.  Internet sites are getting better at noting this, but really, if you are a multinational company, and you sell to countries outside the US, defaulting to the US (especially when you can figure out that my IP is from Australia) is just rude.

Not to mention the number of times when I first started on the internet and put AU as the country code in forums and was asked if I was from Austin…. no, there really are other countries out here.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about a job vacancy listed in the LinkedIn groups I’m in and someone has listed a two letter state code, which I presume is somewhere in the US.  Oddly enough I’m not across your 50 states, where they are, what their capital cities are and how on earth to decode their state abbreviations.  If you’re a member of an international forum, for flying spaghetti monster’s sake, just spell out the state if it’s that important to you AND list that this job is in the US (so I can ignore the post and move to the next one).  Every other non-US role I’ve seen advertised lists the country – it’s just the USian jobs, which list two letter codes which could be anywhere, which piss me off.

So yes, start looking outside your borders, realise that there is an ENTIRE world out here, with people who use the internet, shop on the internet and who work and job hunt.

Continue reading Dear the USA

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