The Pendulum and the SMH Coven

We all know about the pendulum, and if we don’t, we are seeing it in action right now – you and me too.

There is no question that abuse, harassment, in fact any mistreatment of women in any way, is something the vast majority of men abhor. The Harvey Weinsteins are in the miniscule minority, but you would not know it at present.  It seems that every man is virtually guilty by association.  The current theme seems to be that attraction between the sexes, plus humour and flirting, all of which are normal preludes to procreation, itself important, have all fallen victim to the pendulum’s parabola.

My preferred online news source in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald, leans left and favours feminism – no problem with either for this reader – yet it is currently being pushed over the edge by the pendulum.  Nowhere was this more obvious than in a recent response to the Deneuve letter from a journalist I won’t name. The letter in question was 100 mostly-French women offering that the anti-man response had gone too far.

The Sydney Morning Herald piece was totally vitriolic towards the males of the species.  Words like coven appeared – as if that’s how men label a group of women all the time – along with witch and bitch.  In her efforts, she was notably supported by the SMH sub-editing or editing team. The short introduction to her Deneuve response, on the home page, was accompanied by a photo of the veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve – smoking.  In this day and age, not a good look.

On opening the column up, readers were greeted with another photo of Deneuve – standing with Roman Polanski!  The inevitable follow-up, presenting someone’s support of the Deneuve position, featured the opinion none other than Sylvio Berlusconi – Mr Bunga Bunga himself – a champion of respect for women.

Are we seeing a pattern here?  Was the SMH team telling us something?  Coven indeed.

Right wing columnist, television star and general pain in the ass Andrew Bolt came to prominence during the Iraq war which he supported vigorously and still did many years later.  He was among the first “bloggers” and even featured one of the war’s architects and prominent neoliberals Michael Ledeen writing in to tell him to keep up the good work at one stage.

I must admit I succumbed to the temptation to join in as I was totally opposed to Bolt’s views – for Bolt, think Sean Hannity with a mild Australian accent and Dutch heritage.  (Nothing against the Dutch, they are very nice people even if their language is often likened to a throat disease.)   On occasion, I must admit, my contributions, usually made late at night, were fueled by one or two nice bottles of wine, which had accompanied dinner, and went over the top in response to Bolt and the feral support team on his blog.

I did pour vitriol on those occasions, railing against Bolt and Australian Prime Minister John Howard – one of George W Bush’s most prominent enablers.  The anti-Deneuve column of two weeks ago made me recall some of my most egregious rants on Bolt’s blog.  I am not suggesting the feminist journalist in this case was drunk, but she did seem at least slightly out of control.  Notably, there was no opportunity given to comment and the piece does not appear in her archive on the site.

We have to wait for the pendulum to swing back, I guess. Meanwhile every guy who is a bit awkward with the opposite sex, and many are gauche in their early dealings and fumblings especially – just as may women are awkward in this area – plus any guy who is basically a poor screw in a variety of ways, will be lumped in with Weinstein.

By the way, is there some sort of visual version of onomatopoeia? That wonderful happenstance (if it is that) where words actually sound like they mean is best illustrated by the indelicate word fart.  The visual aspect I refer to is that Weinstein actually resembles what he is – a sleaze ball.  But it must be a coincidence as many of the offenders are, in contrast, well presented.

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