Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A plague on both your houses

Proving yet again that intellectuals aren't necessarily gifted with street smarts, much less good hearts, Germaine Greer for all the good and great work she has done over the last 40 years still seems unable to resist giving the like of Tim Blair's drooling, slavering lynch-mob of fanboys a free kick (like she'd care; my point here is that she's stirred all knuckle-draggers up, which can't be a good thing) with her unnecessary trashing of poor dead Steve Irwin, while capering in her clown suit to amuse the Poms yet again with how crass and dumb Australians are. (Now there's a difficult task ... not; the Poms are all too willing to believe it.) Personally I find this treacherous as well as sad.

Don't read the Blair comments thread if you've just eaten; some of the vicious, hateful, moronic misogyny is very hard to stomach. Blair, as per his usual technique, doesn't say anything OTT awful himself, but the piercing shriek of the dog-whistle to his pack of rabid acolytes to come and do his dirty work has obviously been heard. You can tell by the way they've come running.

What is it with people's blind desire to belong? Look what dark and monstrous alleys of misjudgement this desire can lead you down. Germaine wants the Poms to love her. And Blair's fanboys want to be Blair's fanboys.

You're all mad.


Bernice said...

Oh PC - can't agree - at all. I thought Germaine was deliberately overplaying her hand a little, but I don't think, in the final analysis, she said anything about Irwin that isn't true. She didn't say it nicely, true, she rarely does, but I have to agree with her. & her analysis of Aussie larrikinism is good for me too - tis the stuff of the strutting egoist. Nor do i have a problem with her pointing out to the poms that the khaki one was probably an opportunistic exhibitionist, & about as authentic an Aussie as - well ... Crocodile Dundee. Been a while since I wrestled a croc. & as for the TBs kicking goals - undoubtedly home goals - too self-referential to be otherwise.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hmm, cross-purposes here, I think. I didn't say I didn't agree with what she actually said. In the main, I did. And I thought the article was brilliantly written and, alas, very funny, and, double alas, probably mostly true. (I have talked about this more in the comments thread over at Sarsaparilla.) I don't think she's wrong. What I think she is is (a) unseemly and uncivilised in her kicking of someone who's not only down but newly dead, and (b) treacherous in her cultural cringing, an activity that became unfashionable circa 1973.

And so I'm extremely cross about the things I mentioned in this post. I really hate all this trashing of a bloke without a malicious bone in a body that's barely cold; and I've always disliked Greer's sucking up to the Poms at the expense of her fellow Australians. And it seems to me she's just doing it yet again.

Anonymous said...

I agree PC - shabby and cringe-making of Germaine to say this in the Guardian. The Brits do so love their strange little Australian stories.

But I can understand the urge to put the alternate position so strongly, given the media's sainting of Irwin. I guess in the emotional spin cycle of "journalism" these days, extreme positions and the manufacture of affect (and not reasoned arguments) get the attention. However, I'm not sure they do much else.

Personally, I find the celebration of Irwin as a conservationist really troubling, and I don't like the face he put on "conservation" - I don't believe animals should have to perform for their supper, or submit to being fondled and squeezed, to deserve saving. Much as I applaud SI for his quarantine ads, I don't necessarily think that the "Croc Hunter" approach is "better than nothing". Does showmanship like Irwin's actually lead people to appreciate endangered animals, or does it lead people to think putting them in zoos - which are more and more geared as "entertainment experiences" - is enough? And should we worry more about which private citizens - even with good intentions - are buying up endangered habitats? I can't help thinking about the "sanctuaries" for orangutans in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia where "saved" orphans are protected, only to be fed and cuddled by and perform for visitors. The alternative to this is the approach of marvellous organisations like BOS (the Borneo Orangutan Survival organisation) that make sanctuaries off-limits to humans, and work with the locals... ( Willie Smits, who started it, has been receiving death threats for years from loggers and the Indonesian army - now that's really putting yourself on the line.

The person I can't help see SI meeting at the Pearly Gates is Timothy Treadwell. (See Werner Herzog's gripping Grizzly Man).

Coy Lurker

Bernice said...

I don't wish to nag, but I still can't quite see where Germaine is singing for her supper to an English audience waiting to be delighted with some funny little ancedote about uncouth Aussies. I have no idea as to whether Irwin was what you saw is what you got, but I don't think Ms G is necessarily wrong to question his expertise. What I thought she was reclaiming was a knowledge the rest of us might share - the remarks about rays in southern waters etc etc. The manner in which most of us move through non-urban environments knowing that the critters will get out of way quickly & quietly. If anything I think Germaine is gilding the lily about the rest of us having that sort of sensitivity. The quiet laconic Aussie versus the larrikin. & i still can't read it as anti-Aussie tirade. What Germaine does is indignant at a high pitch at that very Oz habit of indifferent disinterest in analysing the things we find comforting, amusing - our propensity for myth-making.
I'd prefer to accuse of positing herself at the place of authenticity

Mindy said...

I found her annoying. I thought she was trashing someone just for the sake of it. I agree that it's a bit rough when the guy has only just died to be putting the boot in, in the manner which she did. That said she didn't deserve the farce that was the Karl Stephanovic 'interview' on ACA that I saw about 10 seconds of because it was so bad. Put in context her comments made more sense, but still I thought she only did it for the media exposure.

Melly` said...

Oh - my partner ranted and raved at GG's comments... (a strange thing men do to the bloody tv)and I said.. I think GG just often says incredible things for the shock value BECAUSE THAT IS HOW SHE EARNS HER MONEY. While I have questions some of SI's (milking cane toads wasnt a good idea at our house)methods... I am not going to critisize someone who did contribute to environmental efforts (even if some feel it misguided) when the best I can do is plant native fauna friendly plants, desex my dogs and cats, do clean up Australia day once a year and obey the fishing rules. He is dead - and was much loved. It isnt the time to say anything nasty. While I have always thought GG has intelligence and wit - I have also often found her just plain offensive.

Harriet the tortoise would of had a dreadful hard time in some sanctuary without humans. There is always good and bad. There are also times and places.

Laura (lucy tartan) said...

nice comment Coy Lurker.

Jessica said...

'I think GG just often says incredible things for the shock value BECAUSE THAT IS HOW SHE EARNS HER MONEY.'

Melly, i agree with you on that one.

Maybe it's just me, but Germaine Greer seems almost in a way like a batty old aunt. She comes out with some outrageous things, sometimes they're spot on and even funny, sometimes you think she might gotten stuck into the cooking sherry and had one too many, but after a while you begin to take the things she says with a grain of salt.

I didnt find anything too offensive or disrespectful about her peice, then again, i'm not a diehard Steve Irwin fan. I've read it three times now and it has a very jokey poking fun tone, but i guess the problem was the timing, not the content.

What i find offensive and rather alarming is people's reaction to the Greer peice. Obviously i just dont understand people. How does that peice warrant the violent attacks and comments people have made? It makes me sick to read them. Not just the ones on the Tim Blair site either. They're spread all throughout the internet.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Jessica, I can only say again, as I said in the original post and again in an earlier comment here: it's the timing. I'm not even an apologist for Steve Irwin, much less a fan.

It wasn't what she said.

It was the fact that she was trashing a newly dead person. Not only a newly dead person but one who never hurt a fly and did a lot of good in terms of his influence, no matter what one may have thought of his personal style.

I can't be the only person in the world who finds this demeaning of the newly dead completely gross.

And the other thing is this: I'm older than most bloggers and so remember Greer from the beginning of her career (well, of her fame) in the early 1970s. That was back when Australians of any abiltity were scuttling off to England because of its cultural superiority and vowing never to come home. It was quite a big ongoing public issue and it's what people mean by the phrase 'cultural cringe'. Greer went, and stayed, and has been ingratiatingly trashing Australia and Australians to the Brits ever since. And this infuriates me.

Galaxy said...

heheh. I've been playing with your kitten. s/he sat on the open can of fish(?) after s/he'd finished eating... my fault though, distracted him/her with the ball on a string.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Yes, Galaxy, playing with the kitten is a complete hoot. She (I think of her as a she) still amuses me and I have had her for ages now. It took me a long time to realise she'll purr if you click on her and hold when she's out of the basket.

ThirdCat also alerted me to the wolf (see the bunnyhero labs site), who sits down, lies down, growls, prowls, howls at the moon, and eats a chop.

Susoz said...

I don't think GG is trying to ingratiate herself with the Brits by trashing Australia. She's lived there for decades, she appears all over the tv and in the newspapers giving opinions on just about everything most days of the week. It's what she does. After Cherie Blair had a miscarriage, GG wrote a column saying Tony should leave her alone for god's sake (ie not fuck her any more) - now *that* was much more in bad taste than her column about Irwin. The British media turn to her because they know she can be guaranteed to give a strong opinion about things Australian when such an opinion is called for, but that isn't her only forte. And I don't think that article would have been seen as trashing Australia, just trashing Steve Irwin, who of course is not Australia personfiied (as we all agree.)

Pavlov's Cat said...

'The British media turn to her because they know she can be guaranteed to give a strong opinion about things Australian ...'

But that is exactly my point. They ask her to comment because they know that what she will almost certainly say will involve the kind of sneering about Australia that they want to hear.

Sorry Susoz, but this is an old gripe of mine about Greer from decades back. I think she is and always has been a cultural cringer, not to mention an insufferable know-all in her role as Professional Australian (despite that fact that she hasn't lived here for God knows how long and wouldn't bloody know) whenever the Poms want a sound bite, and that this is just the latest in a long line of this kind of thing. I do still think that the article was sneering about Australia, if only by implication.

I must say I'm also a bit stunned by the number of people who seem to think it's perfectly okay to publicly trash someone who has just died.

tigtog said...