Greer! Rage! Langton! Racism!

Germaine Greer (1939–) : You may remember Germaine from such seminal texts as The Female Eunuch (1971), The Obstacle Race (1979), Sex and Destiny (1984), Shakespeare and The Madwoman’s Underclothes (1986), Daddy, We Hardly Knew You (1989), The Change (1991), Slip-Shod Sibyls (1995), the whole woman (1999) and last — but by no means least — The Beautiful Boy (2003). Cranky and opinionated, Germaine was once associated with The Push; a far cry from “the flabby intellectual atmosphere of the Melbourne Drift”, apparently. Recently, Germaine sunk the boot into Steve Irwin, to popular, ah, acclaim.

Even more recently, Germaine has been reflecting on rage, and former NSW Premier Bob Carr is impressed (Bob Carr pierced by Germaine Greer’s ‘ferocious logic’, Lauren Wilson, The Australian, August 15, 2008): ‘FORMER NSW premier Bob Carr last night endorsed polemicist Germaine Greer’s essay On Rage as “one of the most powerful pamphlets ever written in Australia”‘. Marcia Langton, on the other hand, reckons Greer’s arguments in On Rage fail to provide much in the way of logic, and are actually based on racist presuppositions…

I ain’t read it, of course, but Kim done gone and reviewed it.

Greer maintains rage of racists
Marcia Langton
The Australian
August 19, 2008

“RACISM and the highly evolved strategies that some white Australians use to dismiss, obstruct and trivialise Aboriginal people are like a virus: just when you think you have inoculated yourself against it, another version of the attack hits you when you are unprepared. Germaine Greer’s astonishing attack on me in her slight essay, On Rage, struck me as one of these mutant attacks. It is a cleverly disguised but nonetheless racist attack on Aboriginal people. Some will find this conclusion shocking, but let me explain…

The conclusions she wants us to draw from her essay and her many media appearances are threefold: the Aboriginal population and the many indigenous societies from which the rapidly growing Australian indigenous population is drawn (now about 500,000 people) is not viable; Aboriginal males are so crippled by what she calls rage, they cannot recover; Aboriginal women, notably myself, have contributed to their downfall that further belittles them.

Taken as a whole, her arguments are racist.

They are also just plain wrong.”

(Professor) Marcia Langton is the Foundation Chair of the University of Melbourne’s Australian Indigenous Studies Program and a member of the Board of Directors of the Cape York Institute For Policy and Leadership.

See also : Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show [extract], Marcia Langton, ABC, February 8, 2008 | Germaine Greer on Lateline, ABC, August 13, 2008 | Greer’s latest rage more glib than lib, Tracee Hutchison, The Age, August 16, 2008 | Disco on Greer on Hoyden About Town

Aboriginal bully jailed after rage
Paul Toohey
The Australian
August 23, 2008

AS Marcia Langton and Germaine Greer this week bickered about the cause of the violent rage inside Aboriginal men, that rage was asked to take a seat in the dock of the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

The name of the rage was Gary Aaron Albert, 32, described by the judge as a “full-blood Aboriginal man” from Katherine. Albert’s rage took perverse and cruel aspects.

On August 4 last year at the Jilkmingann community near Mataranka, after Albert had drunk 18 cans of beer, he started thinking his girlfriend was having thoughts for another man.

Albert took a can of spray deodorant, lit a lighter and blowtorched the woman’s leg until it blistered. That was not just rage. It was torture.

The victim of the rage was Natasha Daniels, a young woman from a big family from Ngukurr, on the banks of the Roper River, in east Arnhem Land. She lost a job she had held for four years as a ranger because of the constant brutality dealt out by her boyfriend.

Ms Daniels, once seen as such a good prospect, was now psychologically damaged and, as judge Dean Mildren told Albert, “utterly demoralised by your behaviour”.

Ms Daniels said she had never heard of Greer or Professor Langton, and was not thinking about whether Albert’s violence had its genesis in history.

“I just can’t forget what he did to me. It’s rushing back to me, these memories,” Ms Daniels said yesterday. “I don’t know why he did it. I met the wrong person, that’s all.

“A lot of women get hit from their husband, but I don’t know why. I’m really happy he went to jail for a long time. He kept me away from all my family. My family is happy he’s gone away.

“It will take me a while to get better. I want to move on and find another life. I don’t want to have another husband. I just want to be myself.”

The judge appeared to have no interest in Albert’s Aboriginality and did not make the usual “he is a cultural man” or “he had tragic upbringing” type comments.

Justice Mildren told Albert: “It is clear that you are a violent bully, with no respect for women, and no respect also, I might add, for orders of the courts.”

Albert, in various assaults, broke Ms Daniels’s arm in a flogging that caused her to black out from pain; punched her in the jaw; pushed her on to broken bottles; belted her with a metal file; and whipped her with an extension cord.

He hit her repeatedly with a square-edged length of timber and then slept between her and the door to prevent her escape. He smashed her about the head with an electric jug. He put a shotgun to her mouth and threatened to kill her if she was unfaithful.

When Ms Daniels was recuperating from one episode in Katherine hospital, Albert – whom the judge called a “control freak” – cancelled her flight home to Ngukurr to stop her returning to her family.

As part of her argument against the federal intervention in Northern Territory communities – set out in an essay, On Rage, published this month – Greer appears to say there is an inbuilt rage in Aborigines that could be tracked back 200 years to colonisation. Professor Langton called this leftist claptrap and said Greer had come to the defence of men who were destroying the innocence of Aboriginal women.

Professor Langton argued that Aboriginal men should take responsibility for their actions. The judge did not think Albert showed remorse; it is unlikely he views his eight-year non-parole sentence as taking responsibility. He probably just sees it as a long sentence.

While Professor Langton celebrated the federal intervention[?], it is worth noting that most of the assaults on Ms Daniels occurred post-intervention in public Territory towns.

In such places, rage sells for about $45 a carton.

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About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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