I realised, watching Germaine Greer reduce herself to the point of ridicule on Q and A last night, why she became the most famous feminist of her age. She speaks a type of feminism palatable to the fellas; body and sex centric; trivial and titillating.
There are so many first wave Australian feminists who have made a difference for women. Unlike Greer, Eva Cox, Anne Summers and the recently deceased Joan Bielski stuck around Down Under to see their ideas manifest into reality. They weren’t in feminism just to make a name for themselves on the publishing circuit. They have devoted their lives to women-centred policy jobs, committees and NGO’s whose sole purpose has been to improve the lives of women and men in Australia and beyond.
Feminism is so much more work than the shock and awe we saw last night; it’s more than an excuse to say labia majora and clitoris on free to air TV. I don’t have a problem with that – don’t get me wrong. But the whole point of feminism was to rescue women from being diminished to sexy bit parts. Greer didn’t do the movement any favours last night.
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“Religion has wrought untold misery in human affairs. For the most part, it has been a squalid tale of bigotry, superstition, wishful thinking, and oppressive ideology.”
This damning indictment of religion, surprisingly enough, is not to be found in the work of the late Christopher Hitchens, or that of his compatriots Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett.
Rather, it prefaces Terry Eagleton’s book Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate in which he skewers both the Church as well as its most hard-heated critics - the New Atheists.
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Mainstream media holds a mirror up to society. If we take a look into that mirror, we see what is preoccupying our attention.
On a deeper level, we can gain significant insight into the way we tend to investigate and argue. Monday’s Q and A episode provided great insight into the superficial way we tend to approach philosophical and ethical topics.
The fast paced program is geared towards political discussion, but for this episode, the topic was God, Religion and Ethics. Disappointingly, There was a focus on sound bites, concrete current affairs and controversy, and as a result, many of us went away no more enlightened on the topics than before.
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While last night’s Q and A studio audience members were milling around in the ABC foyer drinking tea and listening to the harpist, they also had the chance to browse the entries in the satirical portrait prize the Bald Archies.
Tony Abbott was everywhere. There was Tony Abbott in monks robes, and budgie smugglers (no prizes for originality on that piece). There was Tony Abbott as a Na’vi from Pandora. There was Tony Abbott in a mankini. There was Tony Abbott with his finger in a hole in Bob Brown’s chest.
The people who dragged themselves out after dinner on a public holiday Monday night could have been forgiven for expecting to see the Tony Abbott hanging on the walls, the one who looms so large in the minds of people who enter satirical portrait prizes sponsored by the ABC. But it was a much smaller Tony Abbott who turned up in more ways than one.
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