Well, it looks like the bigots at the Daily Telegraph have found their next targeted minority. It’s time for some good old-fashioned poofta-bashing. Piers Akerman and some of his colleagues have decided that NSW government funding of the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is a terrible idea. Not all the Tele’s reporting on the issue has been blatantly homophobic. Joel Hildebrand’s article today focussed on the financial troubles plaguing the event. But yesterday’s Tele went nuts, with Piers Akerman’s article described as answering the vexed question of "Why should taxpayers struggle to pay mortgages while semi-naked homosexuals dance on floats?"
As if gay and lesbian people don’t pay taxes or take out mortgages. Piers Akerman’s column involves his usual tactic of playing on far-Right victimhood, accusing a marginalised group of becoming powerful and bullying bigots who marginalise them:
Now, homosexuals -- or their unelected representatives -- are intolerant of
No, Piers, they’re intolerant of your intolerance. And then there’s this argument that rightwing NSW Liberal powerbroker David Clarke always used to peddle (and perhaps still does) in factional gatherings:
The parade for years featured men dressed as outrageously named nuns who mocked the Roman Catholic Church with obscene labels, despite the fact that the wards of the hospice run by the sisters responsible for St Vincent’s Hospital was staffed with selfless souls who were humiliated by the parade’s depiction of their colleagues.
Yep, them pooftas are insulting our nuns! But don’t call Akerman homophobic because he knows all your nasty PC tricks. After all, homophobia is just ...
... a made-up word born of bureaucrats jumping onto the anti-discrimination bandwagon of the '80s.
But Akerman only spends one line on the real issue:
And forget any argument about support for World Youth Day and the Mardi Gras, there is just no equivalence in goals or aspirations for either participants or the State.What bullsh!t. The Tele had no problem with the government funding World Youth Day, an event that has cost taxpayers a secret sum. But then again, the Tele benefitted from the WYD as an official media partner. Don’t get me wrong - the NSW government had good financial reasons to back WYD. The same good reasons they also have to fund the Mardi Gras. But in the poofta-bashing world of Akerman and co, what’s good for the Papal goose isn’t good for the gay gander. The double standards are just breathtaking.
First published on the Crikey daily alert on Friday 3 October 2008.
UPDATE I: Jim Hanna writes this response on the Crikey website ...
Irfan Yusuf claims World Youth Day "cost taxpayers a secret sum." It was widely stated (then published in the 2008/09 Budget papers) that the value of servics provided by the NSW Government would be $86 million. It contributed no cash.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf
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