I don’t know whether on-line abuse is mostly reserved for women, especially prominent women, but I suspect it is. Misogyny runs deep in our society, as does envy. Author and commentator, Jane Caro, related some of the abuse she received after tweeting subsequent to the May 18 election result. It was the usual sort of abuse reserved for women, I presume: Blah, blah, bitch, blah, blah, cow, blah, blah. To give an example: some right-wing nut job (RWNJ) had a go at her, ending with “your own bloviated sense of self importance [sic] has landed you where you currently find yourself”. I couldn’t help myself. I replied: “What? As a highly successful, much loved author and commentator?” To which he replied “Highly successful at leading progressive lemmings off the edge of the cliff you mean? A woman obsessed with the currency of victim hood [sic] and indentity [sic] politics. Steeped in the unremarkable qualities of cultural Marxism. Government is God to you moronic leftists. Isn’t it ?” Some of the standard RWNJ tropes of ‘cultural Marxism’, ‘identity politics’ and ‘victimhood’, were used, although ham-fistedly, but there was no original thought behind any of this, just a sneering disdain for a woman who was successful, insightful, and respected. There was also the standard inability of the RWNJ to use English without misspelling words or punctuating effectively. Again, I couldn’t help myself. I replied: “No, we get on with life and do quite nicely. It is the gullibles we feel sorry for. Written any best-selling books lately, have you?” Funnily enough, this vacuous abuser seemed to go away after that.
I never seem to get the amount of abuse that more successful people like Ms Caro receive, except perhaps from creationists. It may be because I am a bloke, although as my twitter handle is anonymous, this is not obvious. It may be because I am such a minor player in this struggle against these mindless RWNJs. Sometimes, I think that, with the 500+ ‘essays’ (or ‘rants’, as my partner calls them) on my website, I can always find a relevant link to send to the abusers. I suspect that showing them I can string a few words together into a hopefully coherent argument frightens them off, as it seems to be anathema to them. If this is so, I am sure they will be happy to know I will continue to ‘rant’.
I don’t think your reasonable, well informed, commentary is ranting, but then that may be because it mostly aligns with my views. I did feel an almighty urge to rant on Saturday night. I actually signed up with face book and was about to vent my spleen, under the influence of a few supposedly calming drinks. Somehow, though, some sensible part of me decided to wait until the next day. Yesterday I deleted the face book account, took a deep breath, and went for a run. While I was running I ranted to myself. I ranted about the malign influence of polluters, land developers, religious zealots, foreign media moguls and others on our society and our democracy. I ranted about how worried I am about what is happening to the environment and how little we, as a species, seem to care for the world that has nurtured us. I ran, and ranted, with venom, until I could do neither anymore. Ranting is cathartic. So is running. We just need to get some politicians who are better at both, and who are not beholden to, or part of, that group I mentioned.
Maybe; it depends on your point of view. The few RWNJs who have commented on these pages mostly have been inarticulate and abusive, so, were deleted. However, one commented on a piece I posted which was actually about him (I seem to remember he was a One Notion goose). It can still be found somewhere on these pages.
There are quite a few tells which immediately identify vacuous right wingers and mindless conservatives (apologies for any tautology). “Cultural Marxism”, “social justice warrior”, “do-gooder” make regular appearances in their comments. The most obvious tell though is that they usually haven’t got a clue about the issue they’re commenting on. They eschew fact and reasoned commentary by well-informed “experts” but are very big on their own opinion. Can’t recall how many times I’ve addressed the old “we’re all entitled to our opinion” furphy.
One could easily believe that we are fast approaching peak stupidity in this country, having already passed peak complacency nearly two decades back. The only positive is that, as Waleed Ali said, commentary and its effects (outrage, blind self-interested inanity etc) are enormously amplified on social media. But what would I know? I’m still completely at a loss as to how anyone could return such a hopeless, policy-less, corrupt, self-interested rabble to government. Had it been a Labor government in the same position I would have gladly contributed to them being given the boot. But as Keating (actually Jack Lang) said – in the race of life always back self-interest. Poor fella my country. If this election is anything to go by future generations are, to use good old Aussie vernacular, rooted.
I agree with most of what you say, but I hope the nation is not rooted. I think the best way to prevent it from being so, is to get rid of the Murdoch media. Then we may have a chance.
Alas, dear compatriots who share precisely my own view of the Illiberal Party dirty-tricks victory, we do live in ‘Straya’, being the name used by menny of the types who votered for Clive Mine-o-saur, or Miss Dipswitch (sorry, naughty one), and the Rural-Regional Rorts Party.
I like Jon’s reference to this election outcome symbolising the arrival of peak stupidity. And that pervasive air of blind complacency is a major drawback in Australia’s consumption-driven, Murdoch-saturated and un-intellectual Kulcha. The sentiments of Patrick White in his nineteen-fifties essay “The Prodigal Son”, and in the poem “Standardisation” by A.D. Hope around that time, even now ring true. Now of course, there are vast positives we enjoy, but it remains a fact that the truly humanistic, deeply reflective thinker in Australia often finds few kindred spirits outside academe. Healthy, vibrant social-political dialogue is not helped by the lotus-land style of life here. And as usual we must recall, the likes of Palestine or Venezuala…..or the Discombobulated States of Trumpica, are much more “rooted” than we seem to be here in Oz. Yet.