Quick Post: Reply to @TeamOyeniyi

Hey Robyn,

Sorry for using the dreaded ‘open letter’ format (which I’m still trying to master, so please excuse any infelicities), but I needed vastly more space than Twitter was going to allow.

The puzzle relates to how you frame an argument against the idea of intersectionality with regard to white privilege.  At the outset, I’m not a feminist and I’m not even going to say that you’re wrong.  But I thought I’d use your post as a springboard to create an argument that, from my extremely limited perspective, you might find useful.

Continue reading “Quick Post: Reply to @TeamOyeniyi”

And I want to be a paperback writer… ‘Press Freedom’ is a crock #auspol #ausmedia

Reporters Without Borders have released their Press Freedom Index 2011-2012.

The Index operates around a single principle: any State interference with the Press is unconscionable and tyrannical.  Regarding Australia, RWB said:

In Australia (30th), the media were subjected to investigations and criticism by the authorities, and were denied access to information [Source: http://en.rsf.org/IMG/CLASSEMENT_2012/C_GENERAL_ANG.pdf]

The cheek of authorities criticising the Press!  And investigations?!interrobang?!

Let’s unpack this mystery of Press Unfreedom in Australia.  The period in question was 1 December 2010 to 30 November 2011.  Thus, it would cover the period where the Australian Government was establishing the Media Inquiry.  It would cover the period where The Australian took aim at the Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police.  It would cover the period where Australia responded to the News of the World phone hacking.

It seems that the inability to tolerate criticism is not a domestic issue.

There are some fundamental issues about the news to which we need answers.

Are news companies part of the entertainment media or are they something different?  All of our major news outlets have entertainment branches as sister companies and the overlap between news and ‘infotainment’ is getting larger.  Is this appropriate?  Is the only news worth knowing entertaining?

Are news companies a fourth estate of a healthy democracy?  If so, why do the other estates of a healthy democracy engage in checks and balances but not the news?  Why is a free press an unaccountable, irresponsible, unchallengable press?

Finally, what protects the ordinary citizen from the awesome power of the press?  Why are we all fair game for their thirst for scoops?  Why doesn’t my privacy deserve protection?

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation… but do they guide me towards stoicism?

I’ve had the great joy of becoming reacquainted with Gramsci.  It seems strange that a post inspired by his thinking will include very few references to his works.

Instead: Camus!  One of Camus’ more famous contributions to philosophy was his construction of the Sisyphus myth.  Sisyphus had angered the gods, so they punish him with a task: Sisyphus must roll a boulder to the top of a hill, then watch it roll down the other side, then rinse and repeat.

Camus wonders what Sisyphus’ punishment is.  He decides that it’s not the physical labour which is the torture:

‘If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious.  Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him?’ (Myth of Sisyphus, trans. Justin O’Brien)

By understanding his condition, he is punished.  The torture is not physical, but one of awareness.

‘Oedipus at the outset obeys fate without knowing it.  But from the moment he knows, his tragedy begins.’ (ibid.)

Camus links the myth back to the real world:

‘The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks and this fate is no less absurd.’ (ibid.)

It is easy for the cynical person to recognise the truth of Camus’ point.  We spend an exceptional amount of our lives at work, usually chained and caged by blind, irrational, oppressive forces which we cannot (easily) escape.  Most of us are at the mercy of superiors and their whims.  When we complete a task, there is little satisfaction as we realise that we have to descend in order to do the same thing yet again.  Camus declares this to be the absurd: our actions are only justified by the context and setting and that the reasons we give for what we do fundamentally rest upon irrational foundations. Continue reading “The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation… but do they guide me towards stoicism?”