Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Feminist gets incoherent about pornography
Feminists mostly are. They preach sexual liberation but don't like what it produces. Liberation for me but not for thee, seems to be their gospel. They are prudes without moorings. Just some excerpts below. In the second last paragraph she says she has no problem with pornography -- as long as it is "nice" pornography, apparently. She'd make a good little Fascist: Cheerfully intolerant of other people's choices and preferences. Nobody forced her to buy a lads' magazine. She is just a self-righteous busybody
By Clementine Ford
I’ve spent the past few weeks monitoring the hideous mess that is the Zoo Weekly Facebook page, a group which currently boasts more than 33,000 members.
As far as I can tell, the group’s updates seem to divide their time between two things. Firstly, inviting female fans to submit half naked photographs of themselves to be ‘liked’ and commented on by the group’s members, presumably with the purpose of being later featured in the magazine itself for the financial reimbursement of ‘Validation’. And secondly, to conduct a complicated game called ‘Left or Right’ in which members are presented with two images (mostly of women) and asked to choose which side they’d prefer. While the game seems to mostly preoccupy itself with the challenge of choosing between which of the attractive women in the pairings the members would most like to insert their penises into, the occasional inclusion of morbidly obese women seems designed to elicit sophisticated responses like this: “I’ve got a awesome pick up line for the one on the right.. I’d just roll up with “Geeze you don’t sweat much for a fat mole”” and I’ll smashing it all night..”
Ladies, form an orderly queue.
Unfortunately, this isn't just about the antics of a bunch of perpetually juvenile men and their light-hearted fondness for female objectification. It's also part of a much broader attempt to limit the roles women are allowed to play - to offer a retro system of reward for those who play along, and punishment for those who don't. It explains why a handful of fans and commenters on Zoo Weekly's Facebook page are women, why so many of them send free photos of themselves in g-strings and disembodied poses, and why these things leap so jarringly off the page with the palpable desperation to be noticed by the discerning critics around them. The world is full of the kind of female chauvinist pigs that Ariel Levy wrote about in her polemic of the same name; women who prostrate themselves before a cavalcade of men, whose mutually shared view of their value is inherently tied up in female willingness to subjugate itself for approval.
Let me be clear about one thing. I have no problem with sexting, pornographic photographs or women getting off on being looked at and sexually desired. But the mass objectification that takes place in a realm like Zoo Weekly is something different, and sits uncomfortably in any kind of dialogue trying to pass it off as empowered sexual expression. Getting off on being fantasised about is one thing. Facilitating a system that sees your ONLY value as being how much its male participants want to ‘smash you’ is another thing entirely.
At the end of the day, we can talk all we like about empowered choice and sex positive feminism. These things have no currency in a model that thrives on offering women up on a platter to cater to the sexual fantasies men who will never respect them. It doesn’t matter how many enthusiastic endorsements a woman might get for how her bottom looks in a lacy g-string. At the end of the day, she’s still nothing more than a vagina that can't talk back or a torso that can't run away.
Codeine abuse leads to calls for painkiller rethink
Once again a foolish minority can apparently reduce otherwise good options for the responsible majority. The regulatory attack on painkillers is very vigorous because some people overuse them. And that often leaves available alternatives -- such as paracetamol -- that are quite unsafe. APC's (Bex) were banned to prevent a few cases of kidney disease but their preferred replacemnent -- paracetamol -- causes thousands of destroyed livers. My own preferred remedy for post-operative pain -- Di-Gesic (Dextropropoxyphene) has now been banned because some addicts were using it
Senior health officials are warning of a looming public health crisis from abuse of over-the-counter painkillers.
Doctors are frustrated by admissions of critically injured patients to emergency rooms after sustained use of painkillers that contain a mixture of codeine and ibuprofen, such as Nurofen Plus.
While many take the drugs responsibly, the consequences for those who do not can be so severe that some doctors and pharmacists believe it's time to review the sale of these drugs.
Frankie Bean began using Nurofen Plus 24 hours a day to stave off the chronic pain of Lupus disease, an auto immune condition that leaves her in pain every day.
"Initially it was just that I could work and I could have my life back and I was really excited about that, so I was just willing to do whatever it took to do that," she told ABC1's 7.30.
"But then I sort of started realising that I was a bit hooked on it. I didn't want to be, but I didn't want to give up my life again."
The constant use of pain killers lowered her blood pressure so badly she passed out at work.
The next thing I knew my sister was by my side balling her eyes out and I was passed out out the front of my work and I was on the ground and there were ambulance people around me taking me off to the hospital.
"I was just at work and I hadn't felt good in the morning, like I was getting a bit dizzy and stuff and I just put it down to Lupus," she said.
"The next thing I knew my sister was by my side bawling her eyes out and I was passed out out the front of my work and I was on the ground and there were ambulance people around me taking me off to the hospital."
Weeks later Ms Bean quit cold turkey and now says she will never take the tablets again. "I had headaches, I vomited a lot, I was absolutely horrible to be around," she said. "It is something that people don't realise, I had no idea that I could get addicted to codeine."
Now she has turned to yoga every morning to help with the joint pain.
Doctor Matthew Frei runs a drug treatment clinic in Melbourne and knows first hand how addictive codeine can be. "It is a close relative of drugs like morphine and heroin, so yes, it is an addictive drug," he said. "We're a bit unusual in Australia in that you can purchase codeine over the counter, that's not the case in all parts of the world."
It is quite a scary and foreign idea to someone who has not had much contact with the drug-using culture to be offered a treatment that's usually offered to heroin addicts.
"It is quite a scary and foreign idea to someone who has not had much contact with the drug-using culture to be offered a treatment that's usually offered to heroin addicts," he said.
"However, the principles of addiction to codeine or prescription opioids, to all the opioids are very similar."
Back in the 1950s and 1960s people were getting addicted to Bex headache powder [APCs], which contained caffeine. The serious problems that resulted saw them banned in 1977. [It was actually the Phenacetin in them which was seen as a problem. If caffeine is a problem we should ban coffee! But guess what phenacetic metabilizes into? Paracetamol!]
Dr Frei says drug addiction is a marketing manoeuvre for these over-the-counter pain killers.
"It's using an anti-inflammatory agent, linking it to another drug which causes the patient to keep on taking it because of the withdrawal symptoms they get when the effect wears off, and thereby accumulating bigger and bigger doses," he said.
"This is headache powders [APCs] revisited."
Today's compound analgesics are known by their popular brand names like Nurofen Plus, Panafen Plus and Mersyndol.
The codeine in the drugs gets consumers hooked, but the real danger is the ibuprofen they contain which in large doses is toxic and can cause internal bleeding.
One of my worst moments in the last few years was when I was up all night with a young man who was otherwise well, who was bleeding torrentially from a giant ulcer in his stomach which was caused by compound analgesics.
"The peptic ulcers can also be lethal, in fact, one of my worst moments in the last few years was when I was up all night with a young man who was otherwise well, who was bleeding torrentially from a giant ulcer in his stomach which was caused by compound analgesics," he said.
There has been at least one death from over the counter codeine in Australia and Dr Foy says it was only through good fortune that this young patient survived.
"This man needed 14 units of blood and we were running out of blood, and by the time he was anesthetised, he was in really big trouble, but fortunately for him there was a very good surgeon handy who moved quickly and stopped the bleeding and he has now recovered," he said.
Since 2008 doctors around the country have been documenting scores of cases of codeine abuse some leading to peptic ulcers, kidney failure and even pancreatitis.
Dr Foy says it is extremely frustrating to see young people turn up with life threatening conditions created by codeine and ibuprofen abuse.
"It is an extremely unpleasant sensation to be up in the middle of the night with somebody who looks as though they're going to die to no purpose. It's pointless," he said.
Vic. Department of Human Services cuts reporting as attacks on children and disabled in state care surge
A SURGE in assaults and sex attacks on children and disabled people in state care to record levels has seen the Department of Human Services respond by slashing its reporting.
Critics say the move ignores calls for reform and transparency to protect our most vulnerable and will hide any future increases.
There were a record 512 assaults, sex attacks and rapes of kids in care last year - a 130 per cent jump in three years - data obtained by the Herald Sun after a six-month Freedom of Information battle for annual figures reveals. Attacks on disabled DHS clients was up 180 per cent to 236.
People in care are most likely to be attacked by state-appointed carers or case workers, with more than one attack a day.
Despite the toll, the DHS has axed more than half its reporting categories.
Public Advocate Colleen Pearce said it was important that, as the Government sought to understand the type and extent of abuse, violence and assault in services for people with a disability or mental illness, that incident reporting was as clear as possible.
"Only that way will the service system properly understand abuse and develop effective strategies to prevent it and respond to it," Ms Pearce said.
Actual assaults, rapes and sex attacks are now recorded in the same categories as threats.
DHS also no longer separately reports overdoses or drug use nor the type of drug involved. And children in care caught with illegal weapons or explosives are recorded under the same heading as those found with alcohol and cigarettes.
DHS said reporting was simplified to encourage staff to report incidents. "The previous categories were unclear and overly complex, reducing compliance and reporting," spokeswoman Gen Farrell said.
Opposition child safety spokeswoman Danielle Green said the Government's "blatant attempt to hide this damning truth" was alarming.
"Public sector job cuts to watchdogs will further erode scrutiny of the Government's performance on protecting the most vulnerable," Ms Green said.
"Under (Community Services Minister) Mary Wooldridge's watch, more children are being abused in state care, not less. This is deeply disturbing."
Ms Farrell said all allegations of client physical or sexual assault were Category One incidents and were investigated internally, by police and referred to the relevant commissioner for monitoring and review.
Murdoch media still thriving
News Corporation says its Australian newspapers are suffering from weak advertising markets and the shift of readers online.
The global media company has tripled its net profit for the three months to September 30, 2012, making $US2.23 billion ($A2.16 billion), up from $US738 million ($A715.50 million) in the prior corresponding period.
The result was boosted by the sale of News Corp’s stake in software company NDS in July 2012, which produced a $US1.4 billion ($A1.36 billion) gain.
But News Corp’s publishing unit, which includes News Ltd mastheads such as the Herald Sun and The Australian, posted a significant fall in earnings as advertising revenues continued to fall.
"In Australian publishing, the decline in display and classified advertising has clearly hit these businesses," News Corp chief operating officer Chase Carey told analysts.
"As discussed previously, we have major plans already being undertaken by our management team to address these shifts."
News Corp’s Australian arm, News Ltd, in June said it would consolidate its newsrooms and reduce staff, cutting its 19 divisions on Australia’s east coast to five.
News Corp’s total publishing business earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell 48 per cent from the previous year to $US57 million ($A55.26 million).
Mr Carey said "most of our other businesses" were on target, including the benefits of a new Sunday edition of The Sun newspaper in the UK, which had started to flow through.
"That said, these businesses continue to face challenges stemming from lower advertising revenues as readers continue to migrate to digital platforms," Mr Carey said.
The company also incurred $US67 million ($A64.96 million) in costs related to the phone hacking scandal in the UK.
Another $US5 million ($A4.85 million) in costs were booked for News Corp’s proposed separation of its publishing and entertainment business.
News Corp chief financial officer David DeVoe said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were expected to grow in the "high singles to low double digit range" in 2012/13, from an adjusted $US5.6 billion ($A5.43 billion) in 2011/12.
The media group’s cable network programming division posted the strongest growth in first quarter earnings, generating $US953 million ($A923.94 million) in EBIT, up 23 per cent from the prior corresponding period.
Its film and television divisions also posted earnings growth.
News Corp’s total revenue in the three months to September of $US8.14 billion ($A7.89 billion) was up two per cent from $US7.96 billion in the prior corresponding period.
Chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch did not attend Wednesday’s results presentation.
"Even against considerable currency headwinds due to a stronger dollar, we were able to increase News Corp’s revenue and adjusted segment operating profit over the prior year quarter while continuing to make key investments to position us for future growth," he said in a statement.