By Sifu Crockett
This piece (first published April 27 2017) has a companion — “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Yassmin?” — You’ll find the link to at the bottom of this page. Both pieces work to inform each other.
It has taken less than a day for the usual defenders of Yassmin Abdel-Magied to raise their shackles in response to not only the furore Yazzo created on ANZAC Day 2017, thru no fault but her own, but more so to go into battle against the ensuing — and extremely deserving — consequences. What a surprise.
According to lawyer Duncan Fine (yesterday):
“We should celebrate Yassmin Abdel-Magied, not attack her.”
Celebrate what, exactly, Duncan?
The outpouring of defensive fuss, which, like always, effectively muddies the waters, accuses those like me (and you?) — who insist upon not only freedom of speech, but that it must retain the licence to offend where necessary — of denying Yazzo the very right to exercise her opinions. Sorry, but we’re having none of that.
Although I’m no fan, as you’ll soon see, Madonna King, to be fair, was ‘somewhat’ on the money when she said, today:
“If Yassmin Abdel-Magied was out of line, her attackers were worse.”
So, We Ought Address That First
Countless commenters across social media are venting their anger towards not just Yazzo’s ill-forged ANZAC remarks, but are also floundering amid a rising tide of exasperation at her, in general, since her ill-fated appearance on the ABC’s “Q and A” show in February 2017, when, in addition to lying thru her teeth about a number of things, managed to drop the now-famous clanger, “Islam is THE most feminist religion.”
Much of this outrage was vile. I agree. I can’t ever support that sort of personal attack. Yazzo may very well be a dizzy, mind numbingly vacant representative of, well, everything… but that’s no crime. And really, folks, we can do better than dish out the hatred.
Those of you familiar with one of my previous pieces, know how I feel about freedom of speech, as I defended Ann Coulter’s right to it. Not Coulter herself — Just her right to speak; and my right to hear her. Same goes for Yazzo. And as I’ve already said, wouldn’t you rather the drivel of people like Yazzo to be out in the open? So you can attack it intelligently? “It” being the operative word. Not necessarily her.
Duncan Fine (a lawyer, no less) has seized upon the chance to first spin the Yazzo crisis into a lambasting of all those who opposed her; then on into a further turn, attacking George Brandis and his call, which I’ve already vigorously defended, for the necessary changes to the wording of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
If we’re not careful, Fine will get away with this piece of deft spin. He’s essentially saying that freedom of speech is only okay until people like me (and you?) disagree with it. And that people like me (us?) are hypocrites. Well, if we don’t shoot that shit down in flames, it’ll stand.
So, Let’s Be Clear:
Yazzo did exercise her right to free speech. She said what she thought; what she feels; what she believes. Good. It’s out in the open. Again, we know a little bit more about what makes her tick. Good. Yet here’s the rub: That ‘freedom’ does not mean it’s consequence-free.
I mean, really, has Yazzo been sued, or punished? No. Nor should she be. She said what she said. It ruffled feathers. And people shot back. All good. So now let’s also get clear on this:
Why Then Did She Delete the Parenthetical Remarks?
According to Yazzo herself, it was brought (magically?) to her attention that she was being disrespectful.
Drink that in: She actually needed to have that brought to her attention? As I’ve always said about dimwitted views: Let people like Yazzo talk. Give them enough rope. Then sit back and let the magic of the rope do its bit… right before your very eyes.
So… Sack Her?
Many have called for the ABC to sack Yazzo. In response, the ABC have defended her, saying, essentially, that what she does on her own time is outside the domain of the ABC (in other words, none of their business).
I find that odd. You? Cos it’s funny how even, say, rugby league players can be fined and disciplined for things they do off the field that have nothing to do with their club, the game, or the NRL.
Says oodles, doesn’t it, when footballers are held to a higher standard than taxpayer-funded people like Yassmin Abdel-Magied? Let’s not spell out what this says of the ABC (that, we already know).
Countless Australians are now calling ever so loudly for her to be booted from all taxpayer-funded positions. And up to a point I agree. But not because she spoke her mind on ANZAC Day. No. But because she’s a twit. She is not, as she loudly proclaims, “A woman of agency.” Whatever the hell that means.
And In Trolls the Backup
To be expected, it didn’t take Clementine Ford long to do exactly what she’s claiming others don’t have the right to do (piss on disagreeable viewpoints).
Her Facebook post yesterday has so far accrued thousands of comments — Mostly hating on her, mind you. Although I don’t want to get derailed here, Clemmy is definitely the bearer of one ugly tongue, for little better use than misappropriating facts, demonising men, and courting hatred.
According to Clemmy:
“The real reason good old fashioned racist Aussie dickheads feel so comfortable baying for the blood of a woman like Yassmin is because she is a Muslim woman of colour who they want to believe doesn’t have the right to be here.”
Really? I think we’ve seen that one trolled out enough times to see it for the flimsy argument that it is.
But she went on:
“Yassmin is worth one million of these derelict arseholes. I was born here. So you can fucking come after me, dickheads. I am not afraid of you. You people are a pathetic bunch of cowards with no fucking respect for history.”
See how valuable freedom of speech is? It reveals the very deep, rotten core of an individual — And all in their very own words. You couldn’t ask her to make it any easier for you.
Let’s Correct Ford
While there’s much to strip from Clemmy’s post, what we can say to her and all those defending Yazzo is that ANZAC Day is not a glorification of war. It is not a denial of history. It is a commemoration of the fallen. And that explains why the massive outpouring of outrage, amid (I’ll admit) the unfortunate accompaniment of excessive vitriol.
But, and this is the only form of defence I’ll mount, this is because it is felt by many, many Australians as an attack launched while standing on the graves of men — our diggers — who died believing they were defending the freedom of this country.
Counter that with whatever you like… and at your own peril.
Take a Breath
If I may assume this chance to say anything to those who truly spewed their vitriolic rage at Yazzo: Please, take a breath first. Be angry. Be outraged if you must. But just insist upon yourself that you voice your opposition in ways that help the very cause you’re in favor of: Freedom of speech.
The last thing any of us ought want is for our message to be shot down in flames because of not being the best of messengers.
With a little thought, we can strip faulty arguments and opinions to shreds. And when we do, we avoid falling into the waiting traps set by the likes of Duncan Fine, Madonna King and Clementine Ford. Let’s face it, people like Yazzo do 90% of the work for us. Let’s not allow that advantage to slip thru our fingers.
When we lose our cool, predators like Duncan Fine use it as an excuse to claim:
“The whole campaign … against Section 18C and for absolute freedom of speech has been a sham.”
And Madonna King (I said we’d get back to her) can go even further:
“Yassmin Abdel-Magied taught us all a valuable lesson this week. Free speech, to some of its advocates, only works if it supports bigotry, racism and sexism.”
So, okay, we don’t for one moment support the abuse. However, Yazzo’s not only a public figure, but a publicly funded one; and a self-proclaimed representative. Hence, there are to be consequences to her aired opinions. And rightly so. However, as we readily see, she is one of a growing number of people in Australia who have found their way into the protected species category.
This is evident in the fact that King’s spin is not dissimilar to Fine’s:
“Free speech isn’t exactly free. … it seems it is only free when it supports their side of the argument.”
Free speech is not a right to speak without consequence. Yazzo didn’t disgrace herself with remarks said only in private. Ummm… Facebook? Hello? Is she not speaking directly to the public? As she is, with over 62,000 followers, we the public have the right of reply.
Like most of you, I can’t agree with what Yazzo said. But that’s not the point. It’s not, because so have many commenters have gone the other way and agreed with her. So what? That’s their right. Again, not the point.
To that end, I previously posted this:
“Interestingly, a number of people are now coming out supporting what Yazzo said, claiming that the ANZACs didn’t fight for our freedom, but for imperialism. And worse, that Australia is now openly committing atrocities (amazingly long reached for justification).
“Now, while the government’s agenda in sending our troops into war is one thing, which we may now be able to know in hindsight, that’s not what our diggers thought. That’s not what they thought they were fighting for.
“ANZAC Day is about that. About them. Not about government or policy — Neither then nor now!
“Men died. Men were scarred for life. And irrespective of alleged imperialist motives, nothing can take away the fact that the sacrifices these men made kept Australia free.
“And with that freedom under more threat now than ever, there’s much to learn from the spirit of the Aussie digger that we need to see unite us today.”
So, comrades, do tell me what you reckon. Comments can be made below or back on Facebook by clicking HERE.
Do remember to click here to read the Follow-up:
“How Do You Solve a Problem Like Yassmin?“
NB: the above link will be posted shortly
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