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Posts Tagged ‘illogic’

There is a homeless guy who sits outside my building every morning. He says g’day to the people he recognises. I always say good morning. I’ve noticed other people sometimes stop to chat at length. He begs. Lately, he’s been getting a bit more insistent on the begging front. I hope he’s doing ok.

This morning, after walking into the building, I got into the lift with an older man who I’ve seen quite a number of times around the building, but who I don’t actually know.

He turned to me, his eyes wide with horror and disgust. “Did you know that man out the front is a drug addict? He doesn’t have schizophrenia or anything … he injects drugs, methadone or something … I’ve just been to the pharmacist and they told me!”

Now, leaving aside the patient confidentiality issues with the pharmacist giving out that kind of information (and I am going to go and have a yell at the pharmacist later about that!), (1) methadone is not injected [ETA: well, I got that wrong – see Robbo’s comment below] (and if he’s on methadone, he doesn’t need money for it and also, it suggests he’s “doing something” about his “problem”, which is what I assume people like my interlocutor want to happen); and (2) poor mental health, homelessness and drug use often go hand in hand. Oh, and (3) who the fuck are we to judge?

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At least for men, and that’s who counts, right? Right?

At least, that’s what the SMH’s article today about the cure for prostate cancer causing impotence would have you believe.

Even if that were the case, there are so many things wrong with that concept. It implies that sex is necessary for men – and that maybe a life without sex wouldn’t be worth living (for a man). This disappears the experience of asexual men, men who are celibate but not asexual, men who cannot physically have the kind of sex the article is implicitly talking about (including many trans men and some men with disabilities), and probably others I’m not thinking about off the top of my head. In other words, the article has a clear implicit definition of “man” as “someone with a penis which works in the usual way, and who likes to use it for penetrative sex”.

The article also implies that this dilemma would only be a problem for men, which makes women invisible as sexual beings (or entirely).

The statement also appears to centre penetrative sex (and probably PIV at that) as “real sex” – everything else is, presumably, “not sex”.

And probably more. I’m writing this on the fly.

All of that would be so if the man who is the subject of the article, couldn’t actually have sex (as implicitly defined). (more…)

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Note: Thanks to Lauredhel for encouraging me to write this post; otherwise, it might have slipped through the cracks of “other priorities”.

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For various reasons – mostly because I seem to have a lot of friends who are doctors – I’ve had the opportunity to chat to a number of doctors, nurses and midwives about birth. Particularly topical at the moment is the home birth debate (as I’ve been drafting this post, I see that the government has announced that it will no longer be effectively prohibiting home birth, although it still won’t be supporting it).

All of the doctors with whom I have had the home birth vs hospital birth discussion have expressed a clear preference for hospital birth. This is not because they think hospitals are perfect – most of the doctors I know work in the (public!) hospital system, and are aware of at least some of the failures of that system. Similarly, the nurses and mid-wives that I’ve spoken to who work within the hospital system generally expressed a preference for hospital birth.

The reason for this near-universal preference is, I think, for two main reasons: (1) they spend more time with the births that go wrong (especially the doctors), and those stick in their minds, and (2) they are incredibly risk-averse.*

And fair enough, I say. However, I disagree with their assessment of risk.

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What I know about women…
Anthony Lapaglia on love and his 17 year relationship with Gia Carides.

When I saw the headline and the tagline on the SMH home page, I was willing to give Lapaglia credit and place all the blame on the subbies.

I then read the sexist joke with which the article commences, and was willing to put blame on the bloody journo who interviewed Lapaglia. But no, it turns out Lapaglia wrote the article himself, and it doesn’t exactly improve from that poor start.

The article is full of “my wife did this and so all women are like that”-type chauvinist generalisations. Worse: the way he describes his thought process makes it sound like he starts from a chauvinist assumption, and then his wife does something, which he interprets in a way consistent with the original assumption, thus backing up his sexism.

He may – repeat, may – know quite a bit about his wife and daughter (although given the sexist generalisations he makes in the article, it’s entirely possible they’ll turn around and surprise him one day).

However, there’s nothing in the article which convinces me that he knows anything about women in general.

I’d go further and say: on the assumption that he makes the same generalisations about men, there’s nothing in the article which convinces me that he knows anything about humans in general.

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(Not that I’m saying the NSW Government has proved it should stay in government, mind you!)

Anyway, the SMH this morning has reported that the NSW Opposition spokesman on legal affairs, Greg Smith, apparently thinks that people with disabilities are dangerous.

Talk about epic fail!

I actually think that Hatzistergos gets this pretty much right:

“The comments made by the shadow attorney-general in Parliament on this issue are outrageous and serve to demonise people with disabilities and mental illness,” Mr Hatzistergos said. “They also underline his complete lack of understanding of the challenges faced by these vulnerable members of the community as they go about their daily lives.”

So yes, he’s milking it for all it’s worth, politically-speaking. But I’ve got to say, I don’t think I want Greg Smith anywhere near any responsibility for policy relating to people with disabilities!

(Oh, and kudos to Hatzistergos for using “people first” language there, too. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says, but he seems to be an astute politician. And while he is very much against any sort of Charter of Rights, many of the public events that I’ve seen him at have been human rights events. Which I take to say more about his astuteness as a politician than his own personal stance on human rights, but I think it’s not a bad thing at all that the NSW AG shows his face at human rights events on a regular basis.)

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In a post about how privilege can make someone less able to make decisions which take multiple angles into account (that precis doesn’t do it justice, so I recommend reading the whole thing!), Old Feminist said this:

That’s why Americans not speaking English, or “Black English,” is so threatening. If the white male experience isn’t universally understood, it loses a lot of its power.

I’d never quite managed to pinpoint why people in English-speaking countries are often so threatened by people speaking another language, and I think that pretty much pinpoints it.

I think there’s an obverse side to it, too: someone speaking another language really highlights that there is another experience other than the white male experience, and highlights FOR someone who only experiences the white male experience that they cannot understand another experience (at least, not without some effort).

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ETA: I highly recommend Hexy’s post about this. It is much more comprehensive than mine, much more passionate, and you’ll learn a lot more about the relevant issues. It’s a long post, but well worth the time.

Robbo’s post alerted me to Andrew Bolt’s latest ignorant tirade about how Indigenous people aren’t doing what he thinks they should do.

Robbo also linked to Chris Graham’s excellent rebuttal over at Crikey.

Bolt’s argument is, essentially: “Oh, look, there are all these people who look white but who claim to be Indigenous Australians. I think they’re only making that claim to get all the handouts and awards and kudos that are available to Indigenous Australians and not to other Australians. I think they’re really white!”

Or, as Chris Graham put it:

For the record, here’s what Bolt and his followers are actually arguing: white people are pretending to be black so they can access benefits. But they’re not really black. They’re white. And that’s why black people are bad.

Chris Graham makes the main point, that identity is – and should be – self-defined (and that it runs deeper than skin colour). That’s really the crux of the whole issue, and if more people were a bit more tolerant, it wouldn’t be necessary to say anything more than that – it would be enough.

Of course, we live in the real world, so there is more to add.

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