Archive for the ‘language’ Category

This article in the SMH says that the Inner West Busway – which duplicates a bridge in Sydney’s inner west – has decreased travel time for buses and increased travel time for other motorists. (The new lanes opened last week.)

The article quotes two motorists:

Carla Heineken travels along Victoria Road four days a week on her way to Annandale. ”It takes me an extra eight minutes in the morning and at night it takes me an extra four minutes since that stupid bridge to nowhere opened,” Ms Heineken said.

Helen Hanfling, who drives from Drummoyne to work at Banksmeadow, said traffic had thickened in the past week on Victoria Road towards Anzac Bridge. Ms Hanfling said her journey time had grown from 45 minutes to an hour.

Someone who knows the traffic in that area may set me straight here, but I do wonder: have they taken into account the fact that traffic always gets suddenly worse in the first week after the school holidays?

It happens every single year. And every single year, it’s easy to forget that yes, it really was this bad before the summer kicked in (partly because the wind down of traffic before school holidays is more gradual).

Tip to the RTA: make any road changes at the beginning of the school holidays, and people might talk about how much of a positive difference it has made!

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Guardian headline: “Student becomes new police chief in Mexican town”

SMH headline: “Just 20, young mother becomes Mexican top cop”

The articles themselves are fairly comparable. The Guardian article leads with “She is a petite 20-year-old college student who paints her nails pink, has an infant son and believes in non-violence” – as if those are what matters to the appointment! It then mentions (in the third para) that she is a criminology student (ie something that suggests some relevant qualification), and the fifth para is this:

The town’s mayor, Jose Luis Guerrero, said she was the most qualified of a handful of applicants for a job, which in many parts of Mexico is considered tantamount to a death sentence.
[my emphasis]

I’m not terribly happy about the article’s treatment of this issue:

The appointment has upset some traditionalists – bloggers have asked if there are no men in the state of Chihuahua

I would have been happier had they made it clear that traditionalist clearly equals misogynist, since the suggestion seems to be that any man could do a better job than this specific woman. But look, I agree that appointing a 20 year old student (even if she is a criminology student) does raise some questions, and overall, the Guardian article appears to be a fairly objective treatment of the story.


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The summary of this article (TW on link for home invasion and violence) was as follows:

People urged to lock doors after teenage girl’s terrifying attack by a stranger who walked into her Sydney home.

Yeah. Whose attack was it?

Further reading here and here.

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Which can be found in the article linked here: the Australian MSM is not afraid to call anti-abortion groups by that name.

However, one disappointing similarity: an article about belief in myths about emergency contraception is in the “Life & Style” section. At least it’s in “Wellbeing”, ie health, but then, the top few articles in that section at the moment (other than the EC one) are: diet, diet, winter illnesses spread by food workers, diet, diet, let’s blame women who drink alcohol, adult anorexia (primarily about women) … now tell me, at which gender is this section primarily aimed?

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How to apologise

I really made an enormous mistake – clearly and obviously. And I’m really sorry about my choice of words.

Kristen Stewart apologising for comparing having photographs taken of her to rape.

Just in case anyone isn’t sure, that right there is an apology. Its major hallmark is that she said sorry for what she did, not for “offending” people.

Whatever you may think of her acting (and I have no opinion of it, having seen none of the Twilight movies), she deserves kudos for knowing how to apologise when she fucks up.

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Take a look at this article. It’s about a privileged couple who wanted alternative access to their property. They were not permitted to build a private road, but the council told them that a public road would be permitted. So they asked for a public road – and agreed to pay for it – and the council agreed to build it.

I’m not going to comment on the law of all this, or whether I think it’s right or wrong that the road is being built, or anything like that.

No, what I’m interested in is the way the article is written, who appears to have been doing what, and who is noticing whom doing what.


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A commercial radio station in Sydney (which I won’t name) has had a series of ads for a new breakfast crew (who I also won’t name, but two of them started on JJJ and I never liked them there, either).

I have seen three of these ads, but the conceit for each of them is the same: the ad shows three things in succession and names them, then puts them together and describes the new scene, then says: “Some combinations are just funny” and gives the names of the breakfast presenters and the radio station.

Maybe I’m just a feminist with no sense of humour, but I find none of the combinations funny. One of them is downright offensive, another is sexist, and the third simply has no humour.

The combinations are:


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… or is anyone else slightly frustrated by the assumptions which are just absolutely loaded into Panasonic’s current catchphrase, which is “The smartest guys in the room”?

I know, I know, there are assumptions loaded into every statement, but these ones really get my goat. In particular, the following assumptions:

– Panasonic’s stuff was conceived/designed/built/sold/etc by men.
– Men are the default person/there are only men in the room/the only people in the room that matter are men/men are smarter than women anyway so one only needs to talk about the smartest men to get the message across.


(And yes, I know that “guys” can be used to equal “people” in some contexts – I myself use “hey guys” as a generic greeting sometimes, although with less frequency than I once did. However, the use of “guy” when talking about “a guy” or “the guy” (or the plurals thereof) is generally used to refer to men – I’d say almost exclusively so.)

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