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Posts Tagged ‘policy’

Toddler’s Senate Eviction ‘A Stunt’

Senator Hanson-Young says she was humiliated when Senate President John Hogg ordered her two-year-old daughter Kora to be removed from the chamber before a vote.

One of the most interesting things I’ve learnt about during my subject on masculinities this semester is how the historical model of a worker assumes that the person is a male head of household, and is therefore in possession of a full time domestic slave, ie a ‘wife’. When one is not in possession of this domestic slave, the standard full time work week becomes essentially beyond the capabilities of a single human being. It’s the consummate example of the supposedly ‘neutral person’ being a dood.

So Sarah Hanson-Young, not being a dood, and also being a mother, was probably bound at some point to be fucked over by her workplace. That sucks. Her child shouldn’t have been ejected from Parliament; Kora wasn’t running amok, crying, or doing anything else that could possibly have been construed as disruptive. It sounds like a combination of the Senate’s standing orders being a sexist fucking mess, and John Hogg having a huge goddamn stick up his arse. But, as with many stories about women in public life, this one has an xtra-special bonus round, where somebody wins a giant stuffed animal for impugning a woman’s disposition after the fact:

“There were definite alternate courses of action that could have shown you were more genuine in trying to not create a media event, because you don’t want to trick people’s emotions, you want people honestly [to] believe you were in a genuinely difficult position,” Senator Joyce said.

“If it was from a party that never effected stunts, you’d say ‘well, maybe it was a one-off’, but this is a party that is known for its stunts.”

He says Senator Hanson-Young should remember how important a senator’s job is.

“There are 21 million people who rely on the way that Senate votes, you’ve got to take that job seriously,” he said.

“Within that Senate are votes for things that might send people to war, that might get people killed. Do not ever lose sight of how important it is, the job inside the rails of that Senate chamber, and so this requires certain sacrifices.”

Oh, Bananaby, you absolute charmer! Being a woman who has a child is emotionally manipulative, unstable, uncommitted, flaky, stupid, and making a scene! I don’t know Senator Hanson-Young, but unless she’s a poorly programmed automaton, the suggestion that she would cause her baby distress to score a political point is fucking absurd. Maybe she was trying to make the vote on time, since Senators are only given four minutes from when the bell rings to assume their place? Maybe she doesn’t have a specially-built soundproof cage with feeding trough installed in her parliamentary office, in which she can deposit her inconvenient spawn at a moment’s notice during the days she sits?

Maybe Bananaby is a particularly egregious misogynist asscrunch, who’s never been the primary caregiver of a child and enjoys talking out his arsehole in order to score a political point off the back of a distressed baby girl. Maybe he needs to go back to Not Being a Sexist Dickmonger 101, issue a formal apology to Senator Hanson-Young and every working mother in the country, and get a fucking clue before he opens his spewhole.

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I’m probably already on the record somewhere as saying that marriage sucks, but I thought I’d have another go at it, given that some hatemongering scumracket judges in California decided that homos aren’t allowed to get married to eachother. As indicated by the first half of that sentence, I too do not think homos should be allowed to get married, although my sentiment is only coherent for a highly specific value of the word ‘marriage’ (and yes, I do happen to love discussing highly specific values of otherwise everyday words). I know saying that you’re against gay marriage, in the leftist world, is commensurate with vomiting into a large tub every day for five years and then flooding a happy rainbow unicorn land with your saved up puke, but give me a minute to make a list of some stuff.

1. Under the current system, all marriage sucks. It’s an inherently exclusionary way of validating one kind of highly specific relationship and awarding it benefits based on outdated criteria. It rests on a set of heteronormative assumptions (possibly the most heteronormative assumptions of all, unless you count the ones in ads for washing detergent), mostly to do with the production of children. Married hetero couples, it is assumed, produce the most and the best of society’s children; therefore, the union itself must confer special, glittery benefits upon its partakers. Of course, those of us with giant communist brains realise that unmarried hetero couples, unmarried homo couples, single men, single women, polyamorous people, and various combinations of the above all take care of children in our diverse modern society. Some would suggest that taking care of children may be the best criterion for assessing whether a person should receive benefits for taking care of children, but shh. Don’t tell Family First.

2. Marriage privileges some kinds of interdependent relationships over others. Namely, ones in which the participants are assumed to be fucking. This is a clever social fiction that I don’t fully understand, and which mirrors another, more deeply rooted (lol sorry) social fiction: if you don’t fuck eachother, it’s not a real relationship. It’s funny and/or absurd to think of two people getting married who don’t fuck eachother, isn’t it? To think of two people living together, declaring next of kinship, having children, and demanding social recognition of their interdependence, without fucking eachother? I find this attitude totally bizarre. What if two siblings, or three or four siblings, want to raise children together, or just live together? A group of female friends? A couple and their friend? A polyamorous relationship with three people, one of the partner’s parents, and a cousin from interstate?

All of these are de facto possibilities, and, I think, possibly better possibilities. Who knows how many people would be happier in some kind of alternate arrangement that didn’t involve a socially compulsory man-fucking-a-woman, or, in places with gay marriage, person-fucking-ONE-other-person. Hey, kids, guess what? It’s okay to  have kids with whomever you want. It’s okay to not fuck that person, it’s okay to not fuck anyone, and it’s okay to live by yourself, hate kids, and use your fertile years to build giant sculptures of zombie pirates out of Lego. 3… 2… 1… go.

3. Marriage at the moment is a weird, squishy consolidation of church stuff and state stuff. Instead of bitching about that, check this out: France has a pretty good solution, even if it’s in its infancy and has a while to go before you can let it out of the house on its own. The idea is that “marriage” is definitely a religious thing, and specific religions can impose whatever wacky norms they want on it. Civil unions, on the other hand, are definitely a State thing, and imply, socially speaking, nothing about whomever is seeking to be a party to one. You can have one, both, or neither, depending on what you had for breakfast this morning.

Obviously, the glaring omission in the French version is that only two people can enter into it at a time, and it suffers from conflating adult interdependency with caring for children. I think the solution is that someone smarter and more hard-working than me has to invent either a new kind of union, or a modified Civil Union, that specifically refers to the responsibility of spooning mashed veggies into a snotty infant after 1.5 hours of poor quality sleep.

4. The gay marriage movement ignores many of its own. It ignores many of the reasons gay people might want to get married. ‘Gay people can’t marry eachother for immigration status!’ Well, maybe you should think about reforming your shitty immigration system. ‘Gay people can’t access their partner’s health insurance!’ Stop me, but maybe you should reform your shitty health insurance system. etc. It ignores polyamorous people, and in fact seems to spend a lot of its time refuting the conservatives who say that it might lead to poly marriage. This is pretty stupid, because they’re right: consenting adults, blah blah blah. It ignores the rights of trans people, who might have a lot more complicated and traumatic legal bullshit than cis gay people if they want to get married. In short, it’s pretty fucking bourgeois.

So that’s why Eleanor Carnivore is against gay marriage. There’s another post in here somewhere about whether or not gay marriage can be seen as a kind of baby step on the way up to something that actually resembles equality, but I’ve got dinner to eat and an assignment that was due yesterday to write. Also: I’m officially asking for submissions for another Ask Aunt Carnivore, which appears to have been my most popular post. So, are you bored? Gassy? Lonely? Angry? Email me at shesacarnivore@gmail.com ! I want to turn your problems into a mildly amusing and ideologically motivated blog post help!

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You know all those comforting fantasies we all have about the 1950s? When men smoked pipes, chuckled heartily, and drank Scotch in their slippers? When women used upright Hoovers, baked cakes, and turned to Valium to numb the existential pain of enforced domestic servitude? When disobedient children could be disciplined in the proper, loving, Christian manner of being hit by someone bigger and more powerful than them? Well, fantasise no more, because Christian schools in Queensland have looked deep inside their shrivelled, reptilian hearts, and decided to continue the tradition of teachers giving students a good, hard whack-around when they’re being unruly.

Bundaberg Christian College principal Mark Bensley said corporal punishment had become a drawcard for some parents because of a “lack of boundaries” at other schools.

“A growing number of parents come to our school and say the school got their attention because it uses the paddle,” Mr Bensley said.

[…]

“It is always administered in a loving way. In fact, we pray with them afterwards.”

Whoa, whoa, people. Premeditated violence perpetrated against somene less powerful than you is an expression of love? What is this, 1984? If you say it often enough, do you start believing it’s true? And then the poor kid has to kneel down in front of God and pray with the person who just whacked them!  The Creeposaurus Rex factor here is off the charts! Institutionalised coercive violence alert! Abort! Get Jesus and the rest of the dino-riders in, quick!

So this is in Independent schools, right. Corporal punishment in State schools in QLD was “banned” in 1995, if by “banned” you mean “incurred the mild, tut-tutting, non-binding disapproval of some lazy politicians”.

In Queensland corporal punishment was banned in schools by a cabinet decision of 1995, but this is still not legally binding, and the paradoxical situation has arisen, where, in spite of the school ban, teachers can:

“…continue to have defence to a criminal charge of assault if their conduct is determined to be reasonable under the circumstances.” (Personal communication R. Welford, Attorney General, Queensland, Feb 21, 2002).

So not only did the Queensland Cabinet in 1995  fail to care a ha’-penny about pupils in Independent schools, they also didn’t think it was necessary for abusive tachers to suffer any kind of, you know, punishment. Which is highly amusing to your narrator this morning! Teachers who disobey the Cabinet’s bannination of violence potentially suffer no actual consequences, but if your kid is being too unruly during playlunch, you’d better belive that’s a paddlin’.

This seems to be something relatively peculiar to Queensland, if this article is anything to go by. It details the various ways in which government schools in the sunshine state are “cracking down” on students doing heinous, disruptive things like not wearing scrunchies:

“I tell them their hair can be any colour that is found in a human being. The girls have to have their hair tied back in a ribbon or scrunchies. The boys have to have their hair cut above their collar.”

I remember back when I was a young’un at school, a whopping 18 months ago, the massive learning difficulties I suffered because my school didn’t enforce gender normative hairdos. Undoubtedly I would’ve been at an advantage if all the girls had worn beehives, and a military barber was contracted to shear the boys’ ears off. Just think, the principal whipping out a metre ruler, using it to make sure all the beehives were at least 10cm off the scalp, and then giving you a right smack round the calves if they weren’t. Now that’s the kind of wholesome, egalitarian learning experience that schools are trying to cultivate in Queensland.

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I think I might make this weekly featurette a regular part of the lazy, vulgar blog I’ve birthed. I like feminism; feminism is my favoured cause, but it’s not the only utopia worth imagining. Which brings us to another characteristic of my cranial rumblings: ridiculous, ideological views that I hold only in theory, that are completely inapplicable to the real world and would have disastrous consequences if implemented right this second. I could write a whole post defending the concept of having many of one’s political views relevant only in worlds that don’t yet exist, but it wouldn’t have a satisfactory conclusion. I just have a suspicion that  one day, possessing a fully-formed vision of my personal anarchistic feminist wonderland will come in handy. One can only hope it will be because I’ve become the kind of organised, ruthless person who finally learns to keep track of what day of the week it is, and uses this developmental windfall to conquer the universe.

Anyway, one of these flights of leftist fantasy is my opposition to generational inheritance. I should probably disclose that I might at some point receive a small inheritance, and I will have no hesitation in spending it on wenches and ale, or whatever other pleasing fripperies might take my fancy. All right, probably non-perishable foods. Or my university debt. Let’s stop talking about this now. I am objecting to the concept of inheriting material wealth, not showing up at people’s funerals with a band of vicious, will-burning bureaucrats. Although that would probably make a pretty good movie, especially if the deceased came back to life and used his mouldering capitalist corpse to karate-chop the filthy commies into submission. Take that, Stalinist pigfuckers! Whp-chaaaa!

Where was I?

Right. What I’m saying is that the practice of passing on wealth from one generation to the next is an immoral institution that privileges random people who had the luck of being the progeny of wealthy forebears.

Lots of people seem to get very offended by this. Mostly, as far as I can tell, because it involves potentially disregarding the wishes of the dead. They think of Great Aunt Millicent, and then a huge, totalitarian government department that wants to nick her antique writing desk and grind it down into Filofaxes for ugly public servants. There’s also the point that an individual building up their personal wealth and passing it down to their kids is a massively oversentimentalised ideal, both for the people working day and night to give their children a future and for the offspring who appreciate that effort and use it to get a leg-up in their financial lives. It’s a central capitalist metanarrative, and it’s not surprising that questioning it seems to be completely taboo and moderately insulting.

Some people wrote an interesting article about one of the issues related to this discussion, which I cannot fucking find (LEARN YOU THE BOOKMARK SYSTEM, ELEANOR), wherein they questioned the extent to which any person’s wealth can truly be said to be “individual”. It’s an intriguing point, and as a scorner of rugged individualism, the idea that chance and circumstance are responsible for a large part of personal gain is charming to me despite its flaws (which I might go into at a later date). If you’re willing to entertain this idea, it has a lot of implications, which is where most of my anti-inheritance rationale springs from. If individual wealth isn’t necessarily or entirely a consequence of any kind of inherent advantage, or even lots of hard work, then it follows that not only should the community benefit more from people’s private wealth before they cark it, but that society’s claim on it once they’re dead is a lot stronger than whatever squalling kids they managed to pop out during their short period of cellular liveliness.

There are entirely utilitarian reasons for the immorality of inheritance, too. Yay income inequality! The hierarchical and dynastic social order that inheritance helps to engender is … kind of evil. The idea that any small number of people should have a birthright to a large amount of extant wealth is ridiculous and harmful. I like living in a country that has a relatively small gap between rich and poor, and that practises at least some small level of income redistribution. Viva la death taxes! If I had my way, it would be more drastic.

Grargh, economics! I don’t know how I got here, talking about economics on my “Online Web Log”. I’m going to go and be an hysterical feminist in real life to make up for this unwomanly dalliance in logical thought.

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