Maybe my generation needs to take it down a peg?

I rarely watch reality TV anymore. Any I do watch are often reruns. I can’t tell you when I watched a singing/ talent reality show. However, I stumbled on this video on YouTube before. While not all of them are young (there’s a contestant who was about middle – aged), all but one fired up judges due to arrogance and rudely not taking no for an answer.

Most of the contestants seemed to be the epitome of Gen Y (and Z) stereotypes: entitled, spoiled, wanting everything now, not being able to handle rejection etc. Of course, it doesn’t represent all Gen Y (or most) or Gen Z.

Starting at 4:33, a girl named Charlotte, at only sixteen years old, tried to sing a Whitney Houston song. Judge Michael “Louis” Walsh got into a row with Sharon Osbourne after saying that Charlotte was ‘deluded’. He ended up getting wine thrown in his face. Harshness of Walsh’s comment aside (it was very snide, especially toward a sixteen – year – old), I wondered how Charlotte dealt with criticism or rejection in general and whether she ever did to that point, to be honest.

Then there were performers (one girl group and a solo male artist), who’s ego was way too big and they were quite rude to the judges and crew. Examples of the narcissism that Gen Y are often accused of, methinks.

 

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Sarah Huckabee – Sanders vs. Red Hen: this will be used as a weapon against the LGBTQ+ community

President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was recently told to leave Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia along with her husband and other family members.

Owner, Stephanie Wilkson later explained that her actions were in response to a number of gay employees being unhappy about Sanders’ support for a ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

While the exchange between the restaurant’s owner and Huckabee Sanders was allegedly cordial, according to Wilkinson, it has caused fierce debate on social media .Conservatives have likened the Huckabee Sanders incident to LGBTQ+ people being \ denied service, while progressives have been adamant that restaurants should be able to refuse services based on political affiliation.

Ironically, this comes only days after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favour of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips who was sued in 2012 for refusing to make a cake for a gay couple.

Secular Talk’s Kyle Kullinski lashed out at responses from both conservatives and progressives on his channel. He’s torn, but is leaning he reluctantly concluded that Sanders should have been served in case it backfires on progressives later on.

He denies that this is the equivalent of denying someone service because of race or sexual orientation, arguing (rightly) that the latter are not things that can be chosen or changed.

Yet, this case is strengthening the arguments against rights of LGBTQ+ people. Conservatives, like Newscorp columnist and Macquarie Radio guest presenter, Andrew Bolt have already made the comparison and treating it as ‘left’ hypocrisy.

I am against LGBTQ+ people being denied service because I see it as a slippery slope. As I’ve demonstrated in the past, in certain US states, it’s legal for mental health workers to deny to treat LGBTQ+ patients, unless their lives are in immediate danger. In 2015, a Michigan pediatrician refused to see a toddler who was being raised by a lesbian couple.

It’s happening in the US, and I fear that there’s a chance that Australia’s anti – discrimination laws will also be watered down in the not – so – distant future.

 

So, what should happen? If you’re a business owner or work for one, serve your customers. Simple. Of course, if someone is abusive or destroying stock, etc, then kick them out, by all means. But anything else will only backfire.

UPDATE:

I read yesterday that Red Hen owner, Stephanie Wilkinson resigned from her position after about seventy – five conservative protesters against the treatment of Huckabee Sanders. One allegedly threw chicken excrement aiming it at the restaurant (it landed on the pavement).

They have the right to protest. Throwing excrement is uncalled for, though. It’s also a pity that Wilkinson felt like she had to leave her job.

What do you think about the Sarah Huckabee Sanders/ Red Hen saga? Do you think businesses should have to serve customers no matter what (except for abuse, destruction of property/ stock, etc)? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

 

Cultural appropriation: a war no one can win

US funk, soul and pop singer, Bruno Mars was caught up in a cultural appropriation controversy earlier this year after he was accused of ‘appropriating’ African music. (Does this sound familiar? Wasn’t Elvis Presley condemned for a similar thing sixty or so years ago?). African American celebrities ended up coming to his aid.

Mars’ mother is Filipino and his father is Puerto Rican and Jewish.

To me, this proves that nobody can win the new aawar of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is:

…the act of using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing you understand and respect this culture.

From further reading I’ve done, I think cultural appropriation is about power, especially the power that the British had for decades over African and indigenous peoples (Aboriginal Australians,  Native Americans, etc).

As I said above, this has become an unwinable culture war. It is seen as nothing more by many people as an encroachment of free speech and expression.

Representations

A frankly absurd new rule I’ve been hearing and reading about is don’t write about something about a minority that you aren’t part of. Now, this is encroachment of free speech and expression. People should be able to write about and from any perspective that they like! As long it doesn’t aim to portray negative stereotypes, (unless in the form of satire or black comedy), why shouldn’t they? Should I be able to write a novel about a Syrian refugee, even though I’m not one? Yes! But I’ll make sure that I researched the topic, made sure I didn’t undermine their experiences or stereotype them.

Writing and the arts in general often require a level of research, sometimes extensive. At times, actors work in certain fields to get real – life experience on what it’s like to do that job.

Then, there are representations of minority groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community. Sure, some shows have done a fairly poor job of it. One thing that has annoyed me in the past is when a character is allegedly LGBTQ+, but are in a sams – sex relationship only briefly and their same – sex relationship, or alleged attraction is never spokwn of again. Then, there are shows that porttay lesbian or bi women, but seem to appeal to straight men.

One show has done things differently is Channel Eleven’s Neighbours. In 2010, teenager Chris Pappas, (played by James Mason), came out as gay.

Since then, Neighbours has had other LGB characters: Steph Scully (Carla Bonner), who has dated men and women on the show and jas been outed as bisexual and David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) and Aaron Brenner (Matt Wilson), a gay couple.

Screenshot of David and Aaron from Neighbours

 

None of the actors (to my knowledge), are LGB, but the way Neighbours portray the LGB community I think should be commended.

Eight years since Pappas came out, many of Neighbours’ fans are eagerly waiting tor the marriage of Brennan and Tanaka, with comedian Magda Szubanski set to play their celebrant.

Negative stereotypes can be harmful. It’s important not to dehumanise others. However, people should be able to express themselves and write, act or other things without being  seen as nefarious.

What do you think of cultural appropriation and media representation of minorities in general? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Author and educator causes storm over nappy changing comment

Screenshot o& Ravishly article: Should you ask your baby for consent to change their diaper?

Author and educator, Deanne Carson copped ridicule and strong criticism last week when she told ABC News that parents should seek consent from toddlers before changing their nappy. One of Carson’s critics is Joni Edelman from feminist site, Ravishly.

I have been quite vocal on social media that what Carson said actually makes a mockery of consent. I think it has the potential to unravel the awareness and aims of the #MeToo movement.

As Herald Sun’s Susie O’Brien said on Sunrise, it’s important to teach children about consent and bodily autonomy, but what Carson suggested was ‘absurd’. I agree.

Israel Folau can have his beliefs. People have a right to disagree

Rugby ball in front of goal posts
Image: iStock

Wallabies player, Israel Folau, has caused a storm after he posted on Instagram that gay people that don’t repent will go to hell. This comes less than twelve months since he expressed his view that marriage should be between a man and woman on Twitter. Rugby Australia are not planning to sack Folau, but will encourage him to be mindful of divisive comments on social media in the future. According to The Australian, Qantas and Swisse have threatened to withdraw sponsorship from Rugby Australia in revolt to Folau’s comments.

Here’s my take.

I actually agree with Rugby Australia for not sacking or suspending Folau.

I also defend the right of Qantas and Swisse to pull their sponsorship as a form of revolt. They can put their money where they like.

What Folau said would have hit a lot of people hard. The relationship between LGBTQ+ people and Christians has been rocky in the past to say the least.

While religious belief and participation is shown to be beneficial to people’s mental well – being, this can’t always be said for LGBTQ+ people. In fact, a number of LGBTQ+ people end up abandoning their religion because of the conflict between their sexuality and their religious affiliation.

Some attitudes and actions of some Christian (and other religious) organisations have been downright harmful.

So – called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapy; which is thankfuly becoming rarer, is known to be harmful and does not work. Multiple medical and psychological bodies around the world have publicly rejected the idea that sexual orientation can and should be changed. Some of them have also warned about potentially damaging effects of the practice. Conflict between sexual orientations and religious affiliation has also shown to be a risk factor to poor mental health and suicidal thoughts among LGBTQ+ people.

 

With all that said, Folau should be debated, not penalised or silenced.

People caould argue, what I said and linked above; that most medical bodies around the developed world reject the notion that sexual orientation can or should be changed. They also argue that sexual orientation can’t be chosen.

Christians also have different interpretations of the so – called ‘clobber passages’ in both the Old an$ New Testament that are often used as a justifications for condemning gay people.

Over the years, people have strongly argued that the bible doesn’t condemn LGBTQ+ people or same – sex relationships.

Chill and hear me out. The most common arguments of these Christians, sometimes referred to as ‘Side A’ Christians, are that the passages condemn same – sex acts (often committed by men), that were not consensual, were often committed against children or was committed as a ritual in idol worship (Corinthians, in particular, did worship Aphrodite).

Second common argument, which is kind of related, is the controversy over the interpretations of some of the Hebrew and Greek.

I understand why people are angry and hurt by Folau’s comments. I feel for people who have been damaged by the actions of certain Christians. However, I don’t think censoring or punishing people like Folau will ultimately do anyone any good.

Let Folau and those like him to have their say, then non – Christians and Christians alike can debate it out, then leave it alone. The LGBTQ+ community can’t be seen censoring people. Not after the hard – won battle of same – sex marriage in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

Public servants spend hours on dating and shopping sites


Laptop under love heart
Image: iStock

Bureaucrats are spending time looking at dating and shopping sites on the job, @according to Sunday Herald Sun. (‘Public servants spend thousands of work hours online looking for love’, Annika Smetherst, Sunday  Herald Sun, April, 1).

Smetherst reported that the Sunday Telegraph gained access to documents confirming a list of sites visited by Department of Social Services employees during work hours over twelve months. Sites included:

  • RSVP
  • Elite Singles
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • Twitter (Public servants can use Twitter for political debate, providing they don’t criticise other agencies or ministers, according to the Australian Public Service Commission)
  • Taste.com
  • Footy tips
  • Lite’n’easy
  • Kmart
  • Ikea
  • Movie schedules
  • Real estate
  • David Jones

Now, I admit that I have a habit of wasting time online when I should be doing other things. Sometimes, it’s good to take a break from what your work for a while. But the list above is extensive. And the hours over a twelve momth period is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
And how does this affect the running of the services? I know that Centrelink get lots of criticism about customer waiting times when trying to contact someone over the phone. Is this a possible reason? The public rightly expect that services that most of the public pay for is up to scratch. Unfortunately, the truth is, for years now, services like Centrelink, have been less than satisfactory.

This just fuels more public anger against politicians. They are tired of being treated by mugs. It’s more than enough.

Politicians and publis servants need to pick up their game. I’m not saying that public servants have no right to visit dating and shopping sites, but not at the expense of the quality of services that most of the public pay for and other rely on. The public have a right to demand a whole lot more and there needs to be accountability put back into politics and the public service. Waiting hours to talk to someone on the phone at Centrelink, (especially when it’s required for someone to maintain payments or to avoid gettimg a debt in overpayments, which can add up to the tens of thousands), is inexcusable.

But what can we do? We can wait until next year’s election, get Labor in and then… start all over agsin, I guess. The lack of an ethical compass of most politicians and, apparently public servants have, is disgusting, to be frank. But what can we do?! Maybe increased direect pressure might help. Contact MPs either by phone or email (be respectful, of course). Start social media campaigns. If you see a politician face to face, tell them of your disappointment. I’m just going off the top of my head here. Whether it’d do any good is another thing. How can you criticise someone who’s ethical compass and sense of duty is so out of whack and has been for decades now?

 

Anyone got any other suggestions on how we can spurr things on to make our public services better? What have your experienes with public service been? Let me know in the comments below.

My take on the religious freedom debate after same – sex marriage

open book
Image: Pexels

The inquiry into religious freedom after the legalisation of same sex marriage in Australia still rages on. Advocacy group just.equal has been able to access and upload PDF files both for and against more  so-called “religious freedom”. Here’s what I think.

While I don’t think that churches or other worship leaders should be forced to conduct same – sex marriage (which I thought was never a problem anyway), I am suspicious of calls for further extensions.

It’s all sounds really good and gentle. So you’re someone who wants to deny services to a same – sex couple wanting to get married? Then you lose business. Sounds fair, right? And everyone else should be able to exercise their conscience, right? Well, who, exactly, should be able to ‘exercise their conscience? Florists? Bakers?… Doctors? Pediatricians?

This is what I fear. And my fears aren’t completely baseless. In Tennessee, for example, it’s legal for mental health workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds. In Michigan, just before same – sex marriage was law nationwide, a pediatrician refused to see a toddler because she was raised by same – sex married parents. That was legal, by the way.

I’ve seen comments on articles and social media that that won’t happen here. They argue that people should be able to refuse to cater for a same – sex wedding. Nothing else.

Yeah. For now.

Let’s get one thing straight (no pun intended). These people who are asking for extensions in ‘religious freedom’ are asking for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Do you think that a baker will refuse to bake a cake for a couple that is getting remarried after a divorce? For some reason, I doubt it.

‘Religious freedom’ extensions are asking for the freedom to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. I wish journalists and conservatives in general would just admit that. If you don’t want to work for or cater LGBTQ+ people, then don’t work in the business or community services sector. Frankly, it’s that simple.

 

Thing is, I’m not convinced that it’ll stop at catering for weddings. If I did, I may have some sympathy for those arguing for it (I actually did once).

LGBTQ+ people have already had their lives debated endlessly for months in the lead up to same – sex marriage. Some were triggered with homophobic and transphobic abuse, which they thought they’d left behind. And now, people want the right to ‘other’ them… again.

Think about this another way.

You’re LGBTQ+. You’ve ummed and aaahed, fretted and dreaded coming out to your family, friends, church, workmates, etc due to fear of being rejected. This is also hard for young people who are merely questioning their sexuality, (believe me, I know). Unfortunately, for too many young LGBTQ+ people, their fears are realised and they are ostracised from loved ones, abused in their faith communities, kicked out of home, and sometimes, physically abused. Just imagine, you’re LGBTQ+ fret about telling your friends, family and faith community and your worse fears are confirmed. Your parents kick you out. A friend who you thought you could trust betrays or rejects you. You’re rejected by your faith community, unless you go through ‘conversion therapy’. You do the whole lot: prayer, exorcism, fasting. Nothing changes. You feel like you’ve ‘failed’. The cycle starts again, until you break. You may get your life on track after years of therapy, soul work and immense internal healing.

Years later, you meet the love of your life. You want to spend the rest of your lives together and decide to do that officially through marriage. You and your partner go through all the preparations. You come to planning your cake… then, you hit a brick wall. The baker refuses to make it on religious grounds. All your past comes back to haunt you. The rejection of your family, your friends, your colleagues.

 

Lastly, what peeves me off to no end is the reason why people are arguing this. And, no it’s not religion. It’s because they can’t see LGBTQ+ people as people. They see them as pornified stereotypes. Go online and see what people who are against LGBTQ+ couples say; that they are ‘practising homosexuals’. References to anal sex, etc. See what I’m getting at? They immediately put their head in the gutter and refer to LGBTQ+ people as ‘acts’ that they imagine they do. How icky is that?! And dangerous. I really believe that is the reason why hate crime against LGBTQ+ people occurs around the world. Get your head out of the gutter!!!! The couple asked for a cake, not for you to participate in a brothel!

There is another solution. Let businesses be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, but they should have to advertise it. Both on their premises and all their advertisements both in traditional and social media. If there is a backlash and they go bust, it’s their fault. But don’t allow them to drag LGBTQ+ people along, only to crush their dreams.

And, to those politicians who want this ‘right’ to be enshrined, don’t you DARE extend anti – discrimination laws any further. As many people on sofial media have said, last year, Australia voted for less discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, not more.

 

What do you think of the enqiry