To err is Deveny, to be a hypocrite Devine
For anyone who still cares, I thought it might be interesting to compare and contrast the recent public outbursts of arguably Australia’s greatest female controversialists, Catherine Deveny and Miranda Devine, and see if we can get to the bottom of this tirade titlefight.
In the pinko lefto red corner we have Deveny. Weighing in as a self-proclaimed “serial pest”, and “cultural terrorist”, this fiery feminist heavyweight from Melbourne is best known for her quick left jabs and rapid fire uppercuts, such as “I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid tonight”, and the other cracker about Rove McManus’s dead wife.
In the neo-conservanista blue corner we have Devine. Weighing in as a devout Roman Catholic and smug upholder of our dwindling moral high ground, this Sydney based journalist is best known for her elusive footwork and sneaky right hooks, such her now classic gay sledge, “You’ve had enough of rogering gerbils I see”.
So what do these blundering barrages expose about the values of these two queens of controversy? Let’s dust off the gloves, get in in the ring, and duke this bout out good and proper.
Ding Ding! Round 1! Aaaaaand, fight!
First up Deveny leads with a brutal display of blunt comic force, with the suspect, “I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid tonight” tweet. At first glance, this comment is indefensibly in bad taste, and anyone who thinks it’s funny to laugh about child sexual abuse is clearly in with the paedos and should either hang their head in shame or in some sort of crudely constructed gallows.
But really, was that the intent of the gag?
Surely conservative critics would only agree that sexualisation of children is deplorably prevalent in today’s morally suss society. Toys such as Bratz dolls encourage young girls to don make-up the moment they ditch the nappies, and raunchy and revealing attire in pop music videos clearly aimed at minors is an even greater drawcard in selling sex to schoolkids.
To dig frankly not too deep into Deveny’s joke reveals that the gag was in fact aimed at such sexualisation culture using Bindi Irwin as the fall-girl, and while extremely rough around the edges, sadly for The Great Australian Outrage Machine™ does not expose Deveny as some sick peddler of child porn humour.
Ding Ding! Round 2!
And we’re back with Deveny who breaks fast out of her corner with the Logies inspired humdinger, “Rove and Tasma look so cute! I hope she doesn’t die too”. Thwack!
Now I get comedy, I’ve seen The Aristocrats and I’m pretty sure I got the joke, but this king hit to the cranium still has me perplexed. If this is satire, I have no idea what it’s satirising, and if it’s an in-joke between Deveny and her buddy Rove then I have no idea why a globally public broadcast medium was chosen to pass this colourful “note” around the “class”.
In fact, a team of joke scientists from The Lolz Institute have been working on this one for over a week now and none of them have even cracked a smirk let alone broken into a hearty guffaw. So all we’re left with is bad taste and off-colour humour, and exposes Deveny as just telling a crap and insensitive gag that could very well have deeply upset Mr McManus and the entire family of his late wife.
Ding Ding! Round 3!
It’s Devine now, who’s been playing the Muhammad Ali waiting game, patiently wearing down her flailing opponent, and comes back with a holier-than-thou column in the SMH about Deveny being “a crudity that was just too much”, snobbily looking down on the comedienne for being so foolish as to court controversy on Twitter. The inference of course being a real journalist like Miranda would never make such a rookie error. Kapow! Sting like a bee bitch!
But wait! Just when you think the blue corner has her opponent pasted to the mat, in a bizarre unrelated turn of events Devine retorts back to one of her gay readers on the very medium in which she just gave Deveny a thorough lambasting, sledging her commenter’s homosexuality with the seminal hypocritical masterwork, “you’ve had enough of rogering gerbils I see. great. thanks”.
Don’t touch that dial sportsfans, we’ve a fight on our hands!
The context is that Twitter user Justin Barbour (sadly that’s Barbour not Beiber) accused Devine of homophobia in a recent column where she suggested same-sex unions posed a threat to the institution of marriage.
In the online slanging match that ensued, Devine focussed on the outrage of the altercation rather than clarify her position on the actual topic, and after Barbour threw up his hands with “had enough of attacking the gays for now i see. great, thanks”, Devine threw back her gerbil sledge.
So what does this outburst expose about the values of our fair columnist? Now remember (if indeed there were ever any confusion), Devine is not a comedian, so any defence of good natured hyperbole is surely a reach by her own standards. Devine is a capital J journalist, she says what she means and means what she says, and demands integrity with every inch of her columns.
To generalise that all gay men have sex with gerbils is nothing but homophobia. It’s a derogatory comment designed to deride not only the man Devine was “engaging in robust debate” with, but also the entire gay lifestyle, and exposes a nasty little nugget of what deeply held opinion Devine might really have about the gay community.
The downside of making hateful generalisations was a lesson hard-learned recently by cameraman Simon Fuller, after being immediately fired from Channel 9 for calling Melbourne Muslim Gad Amr, “a fucking terrorist”.
You could argue that while not as harsh in its profanity, the Devine outburst springs from a similar pool of disdain and was handled in a not too dissimilar heat-of-the-moment sledge-like manner.
And it’s a notion that one can only assume would have been ringing loudly through Miranda’s brain after she hit the send button, causing her to hastily delete her comment. A track-covering move that was alas, in vain. Damn you tricksy internets and your incessantly geeky record keeping.
Still, at least it’s a good thing Miranda didn’t use the F-word. There are standards to uphold, after all.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…