So, I got around to watching last night’s episode of Close Up, and strangely did not walk away feeling like I needed to de-ice the freezer so I could smash up the ice in the sink to vent my anger.
Because what sums it up is this: when Mark Sainsbury interrupted Norman Maclean of Southlanders for
Killing Women Life, Norm said nothing.
When Alison McCulloch of ALRANZ interrupted Norm, he put on his very best unimpressed-headmaster voice and said “Please do not interrupt me when I’m in the middle of a sentence.”
He didn’t add “young lady” at the end, but you could see it hanging there in mid-air.
Here’s the important bit: Norman Maclean simply will not state what Southlanders For Hate will do if given the names of staff employed in the abortion services section of Invercargill Hospital.
Sure, five minutes after he was first asked he parrotted some line about being “committed to peaceful protest”, but subsequently tried to argue that if those staff feel intimidated and afraid to have their names published, that’s got nothing to do with an organised group declaring it’ll “name and shame” them, that’s just their problem. They’re just choosing to be afraid in the context of an organised group whose spokesman states that their work is “child abuse in the womb”. They’re just oversensitive about working in a world where people in their profession are regularly targeted, threatened, and murdered by so-called “pro–life” people.
Alison McCulloch put it very well: it doesn’t actually matter if every single member of Southlanders For Letting People Die is a cuddly vegan hippie (though it’s unlikely). Because if that information is published, there will be someone out there who will act on it.
Abortion clinics in this country have been firebombed. That’s the simple facts of the matter.
But Norman Maclean had another ridiculous card in his hand: the “consumer rights” card. Because all people have the “right to know who is providing their care.”
Like Alison said, can’t people just ask a midwife if they perform abortions?
What I want to know is – and it’s the same thing that made me think we should demand that they Name The Dentists, too – why does abortion make it on the list of things which so define a person’s identity that they’re an indelible part of their character?
Why not summon all the GPs in New Zealand to public hearings so we can ask them if they are now or have ever been a member of the Communist Party?
Like Alison McCulloch said, we know very well what happens to lists of doctors who perform abortions. Do any of us think we’ll see Norman Maclean take the tiniest bit of personal responsibility when a healthcare worker in Southland gets harassed, sent abusive mail, attacked?
I’m thinking not.
Let us rejoice, friends, for tonight, after a long dalliance, that complete cocktease Kate Middleton becomes unequivocally public property.
She’s lead us a merry chase, occasionally succumbing to paparazzi shots and always keeping us interested with sly little suggestions that maybe she wasn’t going to sacrifice 90% of her autonomy on the altar of hereditary monarchy just for the sake of marrying the guy she loves.
Oh, how we will always look back in fondness on the way she secured our affections with her naughty little case of reticence, even as we turned what was almost certainly her genuine concerns about how it usually goes down for a girl marrying The Heir To The Throne into a tawdry cliche about Waity Katie and her obvious desperate ovarian-driven need to Capture A Man.
But after tonight, the game is over, peeps.
As citizens of the Empire she will oneday theoretically co-rule, from tomorrow until the end of time we will own Kate Middleton. All our hopes and dreams can be pinned on her, all our worries and concerns can be laid at her door, the fate of all Western society will now be in her hands. We will no longer be limited to the few public occasions she’s attended in the past; we can demand access to her thoughts and dreams and wardrobe and menstrual cycle every single day for the rest of her life.
I mean … of course it’s terrible what happened to Diana, but that’s all in the past and we’ve totally learnt our lessons about how our incessant clamouring for personal details of the royal family can literally be fatal. But this is different, because, um, well, it’s a public event, and she’s a public figure now, and what do they expect?
Shut up! I’m not contributing to a societal expectation that the public have a right to know everything tabloid editors deem fit to print about Kate Middleton’s life! I just like royal weddings! And royal births! And constant reviews of what the royals are wearing and eating* and where they’re going and whether toe-sucking is involved!
SHE’S OUR PROPERTY NOW AND WE HAVE RIGHTS, DAMMIT.
For the more visually-inclined, I think South Park put it fucking brilliantly.
*And when they’re not eating which of course has nothing to do with cultural expectations of brides being thin.
Well, WordPress just ate a post, so fuckit. I am tired.
Long story short: Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Employment, gets pissy that two solo mothers are making noise about training allowance cuts.
Paula Bennett responds by releasing confidential information about these women’s incomes.
Ooh, sick burn, Paula. You sure triumphed over the forces of raising-children-on-your-own-while-studying.
Too bad the Cabinet Manual doesn’t seem to concur, and citing the Privacy Commission’s website as a backup? Not the best idea you ever had because if there’s one thing bloggers love, it’s being able to just check things online.
End result? You want to have a petty little flamewar, Paula, get a fucking blog and don’t use your position as a fucking Minister of the Crown to bully people into silence.