Friday, October 03, 2008

MEDIA/CRIKEY: The Daily Telegraph's next target ...

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
everyone else.

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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COMMENT: Daniel Pipes' cartoonist claims HAMAS donated to Obama campaign ...

They say you can tell alot about someone by the company they keep.

Daniel Pipes' blog recently engaged the services of one cartoonist calling him/herself "Stogie". You can read about the arrangement between Stogie and Pipes' website CampusWatch here on Stogie's blog Saberpoint. You can also view the cartoon here.

Of greater interest, though, are Stoogie's claims about HAMAS. On the comments page of Stoogies' blog occurs this exchange between Stoogie and a reader named "gerry" ...

gerry [10.02.08 - 7:28pm]: So tell me, dude. Do you believe Obama is a secret Moslem?

Stogie [10.02.08 - 7:53pm]: Worse. He's a Democrat.

gerry [10.02.08 - 9:30 pm]: OK, but do you think he's a Muslim secretly trying to take over the White House for the Islam death-cult? I think Dr Pipes says he is.

Stogie [10.02.08 - 11:24 pm]: Gerry, I don't think Obama is a Muslim. He doesn't make his wife wear a chador and he doesn't go to a mosque. However, Hamas and a number of other terrorist groups have endorsed him and even contributed money to his campaign. Clearly, they think that the election of Barack Obama is good for Islamic terrorism.
This is a serious allegation from someone associated with Pipes and the Middle East Forum. The cartoonist/blogger is effectively accusing the Democratic Party of accepting donations from a banned terrorist organisation. Will Pipes, the Middle East Forum and/or CampusWatch be making any comment on the allegations made by their engaged cartoonist? Do we take it that they agree with Stogie's sentiments? Does Pipes believe Obama the candidate-of-choice of HAMAS?

UPDATE I: CampusWatch have now published the cartoon of the Stogie chap. In case you're wondering who the hell CampusWatch is, here are some of their staff. Their profile states that CW ...

... reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America, with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students ...

The Middle East studies professorate is almost monolithically leftist due to a systematic exclusion of those with conservative or even moderately liberal views. The result is that Middle East studies lack intellectual diversity.
Among CW's goals are ...

Engage in an informed, serious, and constructive critique that will spur professors to make improvements. We look forward to the day when scholars of the Middle East provide studies on relevant topics, an honest appraisal of sensitive issues, a mainstream education of the young, a healthy debate in the classroom, and sensible policy guidance in a time of war.
Hence, CW is quite happy to post the works of a cartoonist whose blog includes this graphic ...

Obviously linking one's self to such objective critique of a Middle Eastern religion involves "an honest appraisal of sensitive issues" and "a mainstream education of the young". CW are clearly leading by example.

One wonders if CW believes that engaging and paying cartoonists who promote the burning of scriptures assists in overcoming "intolerance of alternative views". I mean, what is so intolerant about burning books? And what do CW donors think of the fact that their money is being used to pay cartoonists whose sensible views include:

... Hamas and Al-Queda and the Palestinians and the Iranian mullahs [are] in favor of Obama. They simply see him as the preferable candidate due to his perceived weaknesses. They think they can invade Israel and continue their jihad against the non-Islamic world with little or no intervention by Obama. He's the "peace" candidate. His father was a Muslim as was his grandfather, so they think he may have greater sympathy for their causes than McCain (and no doubt they are right).

A recent poll showed that close to 90% of Russians prefer Obama too; as they renew their aggression against neighboring countries like Georgia, they prefer a weak American president who will take no effective action to prevent their success.

Our enemies prefer Obama because they see him easier and more compliant with what they want to do in the world.
My advice to people like Professor John Esposito and others in the Middle East Studies sector is to ensure that the work of cartoonists such as Stogie are included in their teaching materials so that students can gain some insight into "alternative views". Follow the standard of objectivity and balance set by CampusWatch.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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