June 1, 2013

The other side

Yes, there is another point of view, which isn't the: "oh golly gosh calling a black man an ape isn't racist".

No, the other point of view is that a bit of vigorous name calling in A league sports is routine.

The problem is that Eddie didn't call anyone names.  Eddie had a few hundred white footballers to call upon, for his weird King Kong promo ramble, but he didn't miss a beat with singling out a black player, with the echos of "ape" fresh in his mind. 

The argument has a fragile hinge, which assumes:

- that animal analogy name calling, against black people, doesn't have a long and ugly tradition
- that sticks and stones break bones, but words never hurt
- that it would have been equally ok for a child or for Eddie to call Adam Goodes a faggot or a nigger; see, it's all equally innocent:  ape, retard, neanderthal, it's in good spirits, a lark.

Now Eddie Maguire has become a victim of his own political correctness. I really don’t have much sympathy for him – he helped set up the victim game at the start of the week.

However, his comments highlight how juvenile our society has become.

The Thought Police and Rapid Joke Investigation Squads have jumped in to condemn Eddie for a comment, that was, well, just an innocent comment. There was no malice. There was no racism.

In fact, the whole debacle has become a huge joke. Except that it’s not funny and no one is laughing.

If you can’t handle a 13 year old yelling from the sidelines, as an individual the problem is yours, not hers. She’s just a girl.

If footballers are offended at being compared to big, hairy apes then maybe they are in the wrong business. After all, they make a living by chasing around a bit of pig-skin, much like a bunch of monkeys.

And if society can’t handle it either, then it says more about the brittleness of our culture than it does about anything else.

It’s time for grown men to grow up.
 Grown men should grow up (c/o Kathy)


  1. I know quite a bit about racist abuse and derision, if you define the type of abuse I am most intimate with as "racist" given that there is nothing about my appearance or manner that would indicate any "race" other than "white". And I've never been abused for being white.

    But I don't get it. The man has a beard, right? He's big and hairy. Very big. The girl is thirteen. And a Collingwood supporter! It's lucky she found the ground.

    Surely we can cut these people some slack?

    This is a code where niggling players is especially part of the game. It's a kind of spectator participation and sometimes it works.

    I'm not satisfied this qualifies as racist abuse because I'm not satisfied any racist notion was in her mind. Kids call each other apes, monkeys, pigs and worse without necessarily any racist intent.

    I can't believe McGuire's stupidity and as he is a smart man I take what he says at face value. He had a brain snap. Haven't we all? He thought he could shrug it off with a quip perhaps to show how bizarre the whole episode was and it bombed. Big time. I can identify with that.

    And yes there is something unsettling about the tone and shrillness of the reaction. An outrage competition. People who behave that way are usually revealing something about themselves that they very obviously would prefer to keep concealed. Especially you have to suspect from themselves.

  2. Anonymous4:17 PM

    If Eddie wore a beard he'd look like an ape as well.

    And going by Geoffff's avatar he definitely is an ape - no question about it - but it don't get him upset - the ape that is.

    Which would mean apes a very understanding creatures, and to be called an ape should be taken as a compliment.


    1. Indeed Justin

      So are pigs

      As you were once called a pig by a whitefella I'm sure you also appreciate the compliment the sentiment involves especially coming from them.

      Which is why I thought you would be a certain signup as a proud member of the apes and pigs alliance. (motto : If you lose your grip on the branch you're breakfast)

      What would you rather be called? A pig/ape cross? Or an Islamist?

  3. The worst shrillness, Geoffff, has come from abusive people telling everyone to get over it. The Human Rights site had to close down a post because they were inundated with racist comments of the most vile kind.

    So yes, the shrillness is quite telling.

    Under criminal law children under 14 in Australia can't be held accountable. The AFL on the other hand creates its own rules and would, we assume, drag out a toddler and hold them to account.

    1. Caz I wasn't aware of the human rights site flame out but I'm not surprised. There's a problem. Much worse than the official human rights organs know I suspect.

      I'm still coming to terms with the fact that they plucked out a thirteen year old girl without her adult and paraded her before the crowd and the cameras. It's as if she was being summarily punished by public hectoring as "white trash". Where's the racism here?

      Whites can be anti-white racists just as Jews can be antisemites.

      If the story is true that she was questioned without her adult who was denied access then they should consider suing.

    2. No, her grandmother was with her, but it was a nice lie to spread, wasn't it?

      I heard the mother confirm this fact, by the way, on radio, so I'm going by a first hand source, not rubbish from the media.

      I didn't think there was any hectoring about "white trash". I thought it was all about Collingwood trash, and that's a hobby of all decent Victorians.

      There is such thing as "black trash" too, just ask a few black folk how that feels.

  4. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I think it may work like this:

    If one has reason (for whatever motivation) to be negative about another individual one tends to focus on, and ridicule the most obvious distinguishing feature the target has. Skin colour and race differences the most obvious, and easily attacked.

    If the target is one of your own then one tends to pick on other obvious distinguishing features such as body shape, looks, sexuality, attire, deformities, illnesses etc.

    The sad reality (or the beautiful truth) is we are all different and our differences can either be exploited for cynical reasons, or embraced for the colour and depth they reward our collective lives with.

    No one is special, but each and everyone of us is unique - and that is wonderful.