Monthly Archives: October 2010

Morning Erections

What’s the go with morning erections? You’re lying there, minding your own business and sleeping, when next thing you know you’ve pitched a tent. What’s the point? Most of the time you’re not yet awake enough to do anything useful with it, and when the rest of your body has woken up your penis has gone back sleep. It’s like our penises are taunting us. And our unfortunate partners.

Morning erections, you suck.


Don’t dismiss Madeleine Madden’s message

At 7:30pm on Sunday, 24 October 2010, Australia’s TV channels broadcast a young Aboriginal girl’s plea to end, within the next 20 years, the inequality between our Indigenous people and the rest of us. I won’t go in to what she said (you can read the GenerationOne media statement here) but I do want to talk about is the ignorant reaction of some, ah… ‘unenlightened’ people to her message.

Many people in Australia seem to think that because Aboriginal people seem to get ‘more government handouts and benefits than white Australians’ or because ‘they get preferential treatment in many areas of society … over other Australians because supposedly they are a minority’, there is no inequality.

Those arguments are simplistic, absurd and inexcusably ignorant of Australian history.

Yes, some Aboriginals do get benefits – health care concessions, lower interest rates on home loans, and so on – that most of us don’t, but so what? Most Aboriginals are in a very different situation to the rest of us, particularly us white Australians. We don’t tend to be discriminated against when seeking employment. We generally live longer and healthier lives. We don’t have a history of being oppressed.

Frankly, Aboriginal Australians are among the most disadvantaged indigenous people in the world. I defy anyone to prove otherwise. While it’s true that they live in a civilised, technologically advanced, democratic country, for much of their history since colonisation they haven’t been treated like Australian citizens (they’re still not recognised in the Constitution) and have been left to live in third world conditions.

There’s a line in a Blue King Brown song that says something like, “White man holds the key to black man’s identity”. I used to disagree with this, thinking that Aboriginals needed to stop allowing themselves to be victims. I was wrong. It’s white Australia that is treating them like victims, like children, thinking that we know best and they should do what we tell them to; that they should assimilate and be white like us (if only in lifestyle).

There are no simple solutions, and assimilation or segregation is not the answer. Continuing to throw money at the problems, many of which white Australians have created, will not repair 200-plus years of damage.

But we can start with trying to understand their culture; to understand why they may be reluctant to sever a traditional connection with their land in order to find employment in our larger towns or cities; to understand the challenges they face every day, even the ones who do move away or have long since lived in our cities; to understand the underlying causes behind the violence and the drinking; and to accept that we have a responsibility to help them so that one day they don’t need special programs or benefits to enable them to simply live.

So to the haters out there: No, Madeleine didn’t have a political agenda and she wasn’t after more money for Aboriginals. She was after better understanding of what her people face every day. She was asking for all of us to help her people stand up and overcome Aboriginal disadvantage, to take some responsibility for helping Indigenous Australians where successive governments have failed.

She was asking us to be the Australians we like to think we are, but too often are not.

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 “Since the masses of the people are inconstant, full of unruly desires, passionate, and reckless of consequences, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods, and the belief in punishment after death.” Polybius


“[C]reationists...are all guilty of heresy. You have a contradiction between the word of God as revealed in the Bible, and the word of God as revealed in the universe... Hersesy is denying the word of God, and the word of God is much more reliably expressed in the natural world as it’s revealed through reason and science than [the Bible]... Iain M Banks


“Religion … [is] a set of hypotheses arrived at by very primitive people two thousand years ago, and it’s not fit for purpose, it doesn’t describe reality, it’s that simple. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but when you start basically saying that reality isn’t reality, when you start saying this nonsense about the world is only six thousand years old, when you have this absolute refusal to meet with reality, we can’t just say, “You’re entitled to your view.” No you’re not! You’re not entitled to put that view across as being just as good as science, because we can prove that science works.” Iain M Banks