Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Insulting

I watched this lovely video on ABC.  It's about the ugliness that goes on in politics.   It's specifically about Australian politics, but I'm sure you could apply it to the politics of most other countries.

ABC talks about what's going on currently in Parliament, but also uses historical clips to remind us that the past wasn't all smiles and kisses on the cheek.  The difference now is we have immediate communication. The message is the same. But now the nastiness spreads faster. And because it's so easy for all of us to have a published and/or broadcast voice, the nastiness is more prevalent.  

The video also talks about Julia Gillard hatred and the insults she gets.  A lot of it relates to her being female.

Sadly lots of folks seem to lack the ability to fight about the issues. They have to go beyond all that and say cruel things about gender, race, weight, appearance, etc.   When it comes to that, in my eyes, the person has lost their argument.  Now they're just being infantile. 

As for Gillard, does she have a more difficult time BECAUSE she's female.?   I think to some degree....yes.  But I don't think it's about being female.   It's about being the first female.   People have certain expectations for her, sometimes lower and sometimes higher.  I think I personally judge Gillard more harshly because she's female.   I expected certain things from a female atheist leader and she didn't deliver. I would probably have felt more lenient towards a male Christian leader...like Kevin Rudd.  

In general, though, I think politicians are going to be ridiculed, especially if they have a lot of power and exposure.  Being male wouldn't save Gillard from the nastiness.  The public would find another way to ridicule her. If they didn't like her.

Wait....

Now I'm questioning myself.

I'm thinking of certain people who see an overweight female celebrity, they don't like, and say cruel things about her weight.  I often think they have nothing against overweight people in general.   They're just being nasty because they don't know how to express their grievances in a mature way.   But MAYBE I'm wrong.  Maybe they don't like the celebrity BECAUSE she's fat.   Maybe if the celebrity was thin, their opinion of the celebrity would be more lenient. Maybe they'd see her as being cute and feisty rather than something very negative.   

It's like with Obama.  People are very negative towards him; then claim they're not racist. It has nothing to do with race.   I just don't like that he's a Socialist and wants to ruin America.  But I have to wonder if it IS racism, and whether they'd be less bothered by Obama's policies if he was white. 

2 comments:

FruitCake said...

A very interesting clip, Dina. I think people are seeing more nastiness in parliament and politics because it is nastier. News of the nastiness might be spreading further because of improved communication and social networking, but it IS nonetheless nastier before it is communicated.

Paul Keating could be very cutting. I vividly remember, just before he lost his last election, telling a radio caller who was asking a fair question "Look, you're an idiot" and moving on to the next caller.

Many years ago, Lady Nancy Astor said to Churchill "Winston, if you were my husband I'd poison your tea," to which Winston quickly responded "If I were your husband, madam, I should drink it." [or something like that]

The 'adversarial system' mentioned by Philip Ruddock is a Westminster tradition, but there was a time when the few remarks made that were personal were at least witty.

When Gough said nothing would save the governor general it was not a death threat. He did not say Kerr was a drunken bum, he was talking about a legal challenge.

Now we see some truly disgusting, bullying behaviour that is unjustifiable. Just because it is an adversarial system and politicians are expected to speak against IDEAS they don't like, does not mean it has to be so vicious, or be personal. And just because it is traditionally an adversarial system, does not mean it has to be adversarial anyway.

Yes, people are swiping at Gillard's gender, but I think that's because it's easier to zero in on difference when frustrated. What they say might be sexist but is no necessarily motivated by misogyny.

So yes, I agree with you Dina. And I agree that politics - at least in Australia - has become personal and vitriolic and disgraceful.

And yes. People are responding at the level they see in parliament, because people usually deliver what is expected of them.

We have to be the change we want to see in the world.
Voters and politicians alike should reach deep inside and find something better in themselves.

Dina said...

Fruitcake: I see your point. I guess there can be a difference between blatant nastiness and biting commentary.

And yeah. We're all responsible for making a change towards better things.