Good Grief

Having stared into the possibility of my own fathers demise this week (yes, I know I am a drama queen), I have a great deal of sympathy for any family suffering a loss, particularly the sudden loss of a healthy and young person, a parent of young children. This post has nothing to do with a certain celebrity zoo keeper, this is about feminism.

I read with interest Mary Helen‘s post on being an older feminist. Many women of my age (36 and thereabouts) can be heard to spout such nonsense as “I’m not a feminist but…..(insert feminist statement here)”. As in, “I’m not a feminist, but I believe in equal pay for equal work”. Sorry dear, but you are a feminist, and there isn’t a thing Stan Zemanek can do about it, except make you revile the word, and corrupt the power inherent in taking ownership of the word. The word feminist has been taken by the new right, and been refashioned to mean only negatives.

My mother was a feminist. She worked outside the home, she studied, she had opinions, she had realistic (ie. high) ideas of her own self worth. I dare say that if she had had the same choices and opportunities that were available to women of my generation that she would have made different choices, but she fought for opportunities that we now take for granted. And any denial of feminism, any acceptance that feminist equals the talkback radio definition of the word is a betrayal of the women who fought for the privileges we enjoy today.

Complacency has no place in todays feminists. If we accept that the rights we have today are enough, and that there is no more to fight for, then we’ll keep living in a world where women are punished for having an opinion.
Nothing wrong with having an opinion. I understand that a time of grief is not the right time to put the boot in, and Ms Greer’s timing could have been better, but the invective that has poured upon this women for her comments is totally over the top.

By the same token, have you noticed the language that has been used to criticise her ?

I won’t clutter up this post (do your own goole search if you don’t believe this is a true sampling), but some of the people attacking her make her sound measured and reasonable.

“Why the bitterness, Germaine? Someone take a bite out of your gingerbread house? …”

“Inhuman: Leftist Hag Germaine Greer Celebrates Death of Steve Irwin”

“Suffice it to say that Greer, now in her declining years, is a malcontent and an iconoclast who decided, for whatever nonsensical reason, to turn her venom towards the chief icon of the cable television channel “Animal Planet.”

“After passing away from a stingray attack, Steve Irwin is denigrated by deranged feminist Germaine Greer.”

What she said may not be tasteful, or kind, or compassionate, but if it was said by a man, would the reaction be different?

I think it would.

A man died so Germaine Greer decided the time was right to express that thought . What a sweet girl she is.

Greer Sticks to her Guns

SMH Link

I know I am a little out of step with public opinion. OK, a lot. But I am truly surprised at how much crap has been flung at Germaine Greer. As M-H points out, the nerve was still very raw, but I am surprised at just how raw.

I remember hearing the first Princess Di jokes less than 24 hours after her death, and though thinking them in bad taste, was not shocked. The death of a celebrity can inspire strong feelings (I mourned deeply for Freddie Mercury), but Steve Irwin wasn’t someone that was really on my radar, and I apologise to anyone that thought my defence of Germaine Greer was in poor taste.

I stand by that support, but apologise for any offence the timing may have caused.

Crikey !

Poor Germaine Greer.

Having felt the barbs of the press myself, it was nauseating this morning to read the attacks on Germaine Greer because of her comments about Steve Irwin published in The Guardian today.

Steve Irwin loved nature. He tried to conserve it. He made a lot of money, and spent a lot of it buying up wilderness and protecting it. As a strategy for protecting habitat for vulnerable species, this doesn’t suck. But roaming around the countryside poking wild animals with sticks doesn’t endear him to me much. Credit where credit is due – he was a great ambassador for Australian tourism in the US, he used his wealth for good, and many thought him charming, charismatic, and entertaining.

He also fed a crocodile while holding his one month old son, he described John Howard as the greatest leader the world had ever seen, and he was busy developing a TV series for his eight year old daughter when he died.
A commenter on the SMH website sums it up well. I’m paraphrasing here, but the comment went something like “Get a grip. He was an entertainer, not a saint. It’s not like he was Fred Hollows or Victor Chang – those people really made a difference”.

Germaine wrote The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin, but probably not before a whole generation of kids in shorts seven sizes too small has learned to shout in the ears of animals with hearing 10 times more acute than theirs, determined to become millionaire animal-loving zoo-owners in their turn.

And I have to admit that I have a great deal of sympathy with her. And also for Terry, Bindii and Bob.

Happy Fathers Day

My parents are on holiday for a month. They flew into Thailand, and intended (after careful consideration and consultation with expats in Australia) to travel to Burma. Last I heard they were on the road to Mandalay with a car and driver, and having a wonderful time.

I sent Dad an email this morning, wishing him a happy Fathers Day. At lunchtime, I was talking to a customer when my brother interrupted me to tell me that Dad was on the phone.

“Happy Fathers Day”, I shrieked into the phone, to be met with a shocked silence. “He didn’t tell you then”, Dad said…

Mum had left the car to take a picture (with her snazzy new camera) of another bloody temple. Since it was raining, Dad gallantly got out of the car to hold an umbrella over her (and her new camera). She took the picture and got back into the car. Dad walked around to the other side of the car and slipped on the wet road, and broke his ankle – both bones.

They were flown to Thailand yesterday, and it has been deternmined that when the swelling goes down, he will need an operation to put pins in his bones to help them mend. He’ll have to stay in Thailand for a few weeks healing before he can fly home.

Travel insurance is paying for everything, Mum has a bench in his room to sleep on, the nurses are very pretty, and he was given a single rose with his breakfast. The hospital has a reputation for being a leading destiantion for “medical tourism”.

All well and good. Until I did a wee google serach and found this link.

I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said that I love my Dad. That anything happening to him disturbs my happiness and sense of wellbeing. Add to that my memories of my grandfathers death when he and my grandmother were in Broome on holiday, and I have a paranoid fear that something terrible will happen while I am miles away.

I’m sure everything will be fine, but I’ll be sleeping with my passport under my pillow tonight.

Chickens are Rainforest Creatures

So I suppose there is no real surprise in finding this nest in the backyard. The girls have been free ranging rather a lot in the past few weeks, and we found a few eggs in a little nest in the middle of the garden last week.
Then this morning Liza (Minelli) was unaccounted for. Mark found her sitting on this…

Behind the house there is some ivy growing up a trellis. Obviously the girls have found a way in and have made a nice comfy nest, with room for all four of them to snuggle up together.

Eggs anyone ?