I am sick. But not too sick to fail to appreciate the seamless transition from #MTRsues to #Joolya’s_shoe.
For better for worse, for richer or poorer (bleedin’ poorer that’s a fact), Jennifer Wilson has published extracts from the letter Melinda Tankard Reist‘s law-talking guy (Ric Lucas off Colquhoun Murphy) sent her “describing the two claims his client, Melinda Tankard Reist, intends to use as the basis of a defamation action against me”:
For instance you assert that Melinda Tankard Reist is a member of a church that preaches the second coming off [sic] Christ, the end time, evangelism and that sex filthies the human female and renders her impure. You claim that “Tankard Reist is a Baptist.” This is simply false, yet you have erected an entire panoply of criticism upon it. And you finish your attack by alleging without the slightest evidence that our client is “deceptive and duplicitous about her religious beliefs[“].
This is false and unwarranted, and seriously defamatory.
Renate Klein and Susan Hawthorne, the bRanes behind MTR’s Australian publisher Spinifex Press, spring to her defence as a fair dinkum feminist @ Your ABC, claiming that:
The subliminal context of the attempts to bring Melinda Tankard Reist to her knees and destroy her work is of course the elephant in the room: if her considerable impact on educating the public about the harms of the sex industry could be reduced, the pornography and prostitution promoters and profiteers would rejoice.
Maybe. But the real context (and manifest content) is MTR employing a lawyer to threaten legal action against a blogger. Further, I’m not convinced Jennifer Wilson is riding on an elephant as she goes into battle with the men @ Colquhoun Murphy, but even if she were, arguments regarding the nature, meaning, significance and impact of the sex industry upon workers and society must be judged on their own merits, not according to their origins.
Or so some reckon.
FWIW, the question of origins seems to me to lie at the heart and at the bottom of the teacup that is #MTRsues. That is, what
Countess Grishnackh Jennifer Wilson commented on was a biographical profile of a public figure — someone described as being “difficult to pigeonhole and impossible to ignore” — which arguably failed to ask some pertinent questions regarding the relationship between her public activism and her religious beliefs. In their response, Klein and Hawthorne refer to the fact that:
Portions of the now defunct 2007 Unbelief blog, to which so many commentators refer in a circular fashion, have recently been resurrected and has been posted on Leslie Cannold’s blog, labelled as “a Biography” of Melinda Tankard Reist. But its content has never been checked with Tankard Reist and it is full of erroneous and/or outdated statements – among others, concerning her religious affiliations and beliefs and incorrect assertions about ourselves.
That may be so: certainly, MTR recently denied being a Baptist and attending a church in Canberra, so those claims are now incorrect (assuming, of course, that such claims weren’t false to begin with). But it’s also the case that MTR remains at liberty to correct the record — and FTR, there are indeed several references to Spinifex, Hawthorne and Klein in Brian Baxter’s profile. I don’t know which assertions are incorrect, but perhaps the most controversial would be describing Klein as “one of the best-known and longest-established ‘pro-life feminists’ in Australia”; on the contrary, Hawthorne and Klein write that Klein “has always supported a woman’s decision to access abortion”.
Could the same be said of MTR? I dunno. In response to Mamamia, she stated that she sees no contradiction between being ‘pro-life’ and feminist, but it remains uncertain if her objection to abortion is a principled one (abortion is wrogn) or if it could be resolved if the real (and not subliminal) context for women’s reproductive choices were qualitatively different. (Note that a ‘pro-life’/’anti-abortion’ perspective is also not necessarily incompatible with support for a woman’s legal right to safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy.)
I’m also still unsure what MTR’s position on marriage v teh gheys is, or the status of her support for the Marriage Manifesto. Thus, while it remains the case that MTR was a signatory to the Manifesto (published on September 16, 2007) on behalf of the Australian Women’s Forum, that was then and this is now so who knows? In any event, Zora Simic has written an interesting paper (DOC) on ‘Anti-raunch feminism: An Australian case study’ in which she notes that:
Critics of the rise of the religious right in Australia have identified Tankard Reist as a major and influential figure within the movement, but these accounts are mostly confined to self-generated websites, and their impact cannot compare to the national audiences Tankard Reist routinely enjoys as a panellist on television shows such as the ABC’s Q & A. One of these critics, Brian Baxter, also argues that Tankard Reist’s long association with the radical feminist press Spinifex and in particular, with Renate Klein, a self-described pro-life radical lesbian feminist, may account for why Tankard Reist – unlike other members of the Religious Right – has not expressed any public opposition to homosexuality, or to gay marriage. In recent years, Tankard Reist has also strengthened her connection with the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Australia (CATWA), founded in Australia by influential radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys, a long-time critic of pornography, the beauty industry and capitalist misogyny, well in advance of Levy’s ‘raunch culture’ thesis. Jeffreys’ contention that the sexual revolution was oppressive to women, rather than liberating, has also been reproduced within anti-raunch feminism, with examples of raunch culture offered as damning evidence.
The brief argy bargy outside the Lobby restaurant in Canberra in which Joolya lost her shoe has produced predictably large amounts of static: a
miserable orc blogger named Bob reckons the so-called “activists” associated with the Embassy should get a job helping indigenous yoof.
Anyway here we have again the bankruptcy of the old Leftist approach: throw a demo. Every time some respectable body does this – the ACTU or Unions NSW or a pro-refugee group – the same thing happens: on the street the extremists take over. The Trots love a blue, “the worse things are the better they are” and by radicalizing everyone and breaking heads it all hastens the World October, onto revolution, comrades.
LOL. Speaking of Trots, John Passant can has some pretty fiery rhetoric of his own here. And now a blast from the very distant past:
The Age (Tuesday May 7, 1901) tells how the anarchist ‘Yarra Banker’ and trade union pioneer, John “Chummy” Fleming lead an unemployed protest to disrupt the Mayor’s welcome to the Duke and Duchess of York and the Ducal party.
Just as the Mayor was about to speak, “Fleming remarked that he was very sorry that in the circumstances he could not, on behalf of his party, extend a welcome to their Royal Highnesses, in view of the fact that they believed thousands of people here were out of work, and many in the colonies were consequently suffering the miseries of starvation. The Government had forced excessive burdens on the people, and were endeavouring, by a false and expensive show, to make the Royal visitors believe that everybody was prosperous and contented…”
Detective Stokes ran down the steps to the Yarra Bank and ordered Fleming to cease speaking. Fleming replied that he was just addressing a few friends. As a response to what Fleming called “the outrage on the right of free speech”, Fleming and his friends burst into singing the Marseillaise. The Ducal Party continued their procession.
Three days later, according to the Tocsin (May 16, 1901), Fleming “thought that the unemployed ought to be officially represented up at the Exhibition Building spread on Thursday evening in connection with the opening of the Federal Parliament. So he just strolled in, and after a friendly confab with one or two Labor members, who greatly enjoyed the idea, proceeded to luxuriate in the toffiest part of the whole assemblage. His presence was a grief of mind to Detective Macnamany, who assiduously tailed him for three hours and a half. At the end of that time Fleming got tired of the sport and considerately gave the officer an opportunity of showing him the door.”