You can stick your apology up your bum
Tim Mathieson owes us all an apology. He should apologise for apologising for his remarks about prostate cancer this week. Instead of apologising, what Tim Mathieson should have done was make like a tiny-handed Asian lady bum doctor, and lift a defiant middle finger in the direction of the narcs, whingers, screwed-up ideologues and craven opportunists who felt or feigned such burning indignation at his completely innocent little gag.
I am still trying to work out who was meant to be offended by his remark. Was it Asians? Was it women? Was it people with small hands?
Was he making a slight against the big-handed – apologies in advance to any sufferers of gigantism who might be reading this – or was he poking fun, so to speak, at those many men who have had to suffer the ignominy of an Ansell-gloved digit up the date?
A quick straw poll of blokes I know concluded that all Mathieson was doing was making the painfully obvious point that if you’re going to have someone rummaging around in your tradesman’s entrance it is probably best if they have the small hands of an Asian woman, as opposed to, say, a rugby league player from Tonga. Although if that Tongan rugby league player happened to be John Hopoate, at least you’d know you were in the hands of a professional, and he’d be in and out in a jiffy. Apologies here to rugby league players, Tongans, and John Hopoate.
Apologies to everyone. Get ‘em while they’re hot, out they go.
The sham outrage over Mathieson’s remarks and his subsequent shame-faced statement of contrition is a victory for the straighteners and sooks who are hell-bent on stripping our language of life and colour and replacing it with dead euphemisms and meaningless, sanitised politically correct clap-trap.
Much of the media coverage was abysmal and reflected an embarrassing incapacity on the part of some journalists to approach an issue from a normal human perspective, as opposed to the artificial and contrived world of party politics. I read and saw several straight-faced reports saying that Julia Gillard’s success in targeting Tony Abbott in the “gender war” – whatever that might be – had been undone by her partner’s unthinking and offensive comment. Clearly some of these people need to get out more. None of this reporting made sense.
EXTRA! EXTRA! TIM BUM GAFFE ROCKS PM!
Forgetting about the non-existent political implications of this non-event, there is a more important issue at play here. I would argue that it is even dangerous on health grounds that the bores got their way on this issue as they clearly have no understanding of how men actually talk about illness, and how we relate to each other when our mates are crook. I have three friends who have lost a testicle, the careless bastards, and when each of them was fighting cancer the humour was dark and constant. On the cusp of going through a procedure one mate was told, quite shamefully at the eleventh hour by an unthinking doctor, that he might want to save some sperm just in case there were any issues with his fertility afterwards. He had been given no prior warning of this unnerving fact and was darker than Kamahl – apologies to Kamahl there – about the blunt and belated nature of the warning. When he relayed the story to me though he was joking that the whole process was so slap-dash that the oncologist might as well have told him to retire to the small room with an ice-cube tray and a copy of Big Jugs, and exercise due care down the track when preparing gin and tonics for friends.
Another mate was diagnosed with bowel cancer a few years back. He is a brilliant writer and as befits a wordsmith of his calibre a colleague wrote him a terrific note reassuring him that bowel cancer was “a colon, not a full stop”. Another friend advised him that the hardest thing about having a colostomy bag was finding shoes to match.
Some of this might be bravado, or the demonstration of a masculine psychological need to make light in public of something which you cry yourself to sleep about in private, but whatever the case it is the way men are and it helps men get through this stuff.
There is a very famous and really important cartoon which for decades was seen as defining a very peculiar Australian ethos, which is that sometimes things seem so desperate that the only option is to laugh like a drain. Published on July 29, 1933, the cartoon by Stan Cross depicts two men on a high-rise building site. One has slipped and has his arms stretched high above him holding on to a plank of wood; the other is dangling below him hanging on to his mate’s legs, howling with laughter as his mate’s trousers have fallen down. The caption reads “For gorsake, stop laughing: This is serious!”
The cartoon dates from a time when you could not say the word “God” as a curse in the papers without risk of being charged with blasphemy. Despite its antiquity it had endured as a wonderful symbol of a very Australian take on lost causes, where humour was the only sensible option.
When you look at the nonsense Tim Mathieson experienced, and sadly abided by, you would have to say that this cartoon is now a relic from an old Australia which no longer exists. The pissants have got the upper hand, and that is something we should be really, really sorry about.
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