Monday, December 04, 2006


The latest excuse for cancelling Christmas: It "creates pressure"!

There are some miserable bitches in the world

A pre-school has "cancelled Christmas" because it believes traditional pageants put too much pressure on young children. Parents received a letter last week informing them the annual Christmas celebrations at the Maitland Nursery School would not go ahead. The pre-school's director, Megan Filis, blamed the Department of Community Services for acting like a scrooge. In a letter to parents, Ms Filis wrote: "Due to concerns about the amount of pressure put on young children, our funding body, DOCS, has directed all early childhood services to avoid the more traditional types of group performances that we have been used to."

DOCS denied it had made such a directive, but the damage was done. Children were upset and parents were angry. "It's appalling," said Rebecca Crebert, whose daughter, Isabella, had been practising for the December 15 concert. "It's a finale of the work done all year, all the songs and all the actions."

A DOCS spokeswoman said Ms Filis had misinterpreted comments that were made at a recent meeting with DOCS officers. "In this case, DOCS staff were asked whether concerts were too stressful for young children. DOCS advised that the key to a successful end-of-year function was to ensure they were fun and child-focused and not to go over the top," the spokeswoman said. "They're only little children, and it's meant to be about having fun." The spokeswoman said DOCs "encourages centres to enjoy the festive season".

Ms Filis said last year's Christmas concert had "created pressure for children". "We were trying to bring it back to children having a fun day, rather than doing a big performance," she said. Instead of a pageant, Ms Filis will hold three drop-in days, enabling parents to visit their children for an hour. "Our last day will be more relaxed and informal without the group performance," she wrote in the letter to parents.

Ms Filis said Santa Claus would make an appearance, but Mrs Crebert said this was not good enough. "Isabella loves to perform. She was just so disappointed and said: 'Oh, Mum, what's happened? Why won't they let me sing our songs?"' Many of the 120 children, aged three to five, had also invited their grandparents. "It's a kick in the guts for the kids, their parents and their extended families," Mrs Crebert said. "We were looking forward to this, and there's really no pressure involved."


Women pay the price of abandoning all standards

Feminism attacked traditional standards of female behaviour and young women have embraced that with a vengeance. So women are no longer treated with the respect that went with those traditional standards. Men now often describe all women as "Ho's" (whores, prostitutes) -- with the accompanying attitudes implied by that

Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are the stars of a new slew of internet gossip sites, fondly known as the "slagosphere", which run video of celebrity airheads and reams of paparazzi photographs that never make the magazines. Lately the on again, off again gal pals - or "frenemies" as they are sometimes called - have been plumbing new depths of banality and bad taste. They wear no underwear when they go out in their finery and keep accidentally-on-purpose flashing their shaven crotches to assembled cameras as they alight from Hilton's car or some limo. The gynaecological photos, complete with fresh caesarean scars in the case of recently single mother-of-two Spears, have become the talk of the internet.

But they have also unleashed a torrent of misogynistic abuse that is disturbingly violent and unhinged. The words are unprintable but the mouth-frothing hatred is startling. In site after site, from Egotastic! to The Superficial, anonymous writers tell the girls to "put it away" with a harshness that makes your toes curl. In one clip on the website X17, a male friend of Hilton's spews forth the most disgusting comments about Lohan's vagina to the paparazzi, now armed with video, while Hilton laughs up a storm at her frenemy's expense.

There is a terrible misogyny abroad at the moment - that has men walk up to attractive female strangers in nightclubs and hit them - not hit on them but punch them in the head with their fists. During schoolies week on the Gold Coast last month, for example, a 19-year-old man walking down Cavill Avenue king-hit pretty 18-year-old Natalie Montoya in the face, out of the blue, as she was standing on the corner with a group of girlfriends. "F--- off, slut," he said, knocking her to the ground and leaving her with a swollen nose and bleeding face.

After the shootings this year at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania and a high school in Colorado, The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert pointed out, "the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls". Herbert describes the attacks in Colorado and Pennsylvania as "hate crimes" against women, "part of a devastating continuum of misogyny that at its farthest extreme touches down in places like the one-room Amish schoolhouse".

From the extreme pornography so easily available on the internet, to rap lyrics that glory in violence against "bitches", to Big Brother's male contestants holding down a woman and "turkey slapping" her, to pedophile fantasy fashions for little girls, the effect is the same. It dehumanises and disrespects women so that any degrading treatment becomes acceptable.

But there is no point in simply demanding that men change their attitudes. It is no coincidence that the rise in misogyny seems to coincide with some women's rejection of any self-respect or modesty. Underwear-eschewing paparazzi favourites such as Hilton, Spears and Lohan have become role models for young girls all over the world, as Shelley Gare points out in her new book, The Triumph Of The Airheads.

When you think about it, the misogyny sparked on the internet by the It girls' latest antics makes a sort of sick sense. Why would a man respect a woman who doesn't respect herself, when most of society's traditional protections for women have been torn down, often by women themselves, in the name of freedom? But freedom to flash your genitalia to the world is not liberating. It's just sad and ugly, reducing womanly allure to the level of a baboon and giving men no reason to behave well.



Three stories from the one day in one State:

Kicked out (1)

A distressed woman was found close to collapse on a highway after hospital staff who treated her for a suspected heart attack refused to help her get home. The woman, 52, tried to walk the 20km from Atherton Hospital to her home near Yungaburra after explaining to staff she had no money and no one to pick her up. A Good Samaritan picked her up as she stumbled along the highway in her slippers and nightclothes in 30C heat. "They just don't seem to care any more," said the woman, who did not want to be identified. "The philosophy seems to be to get people in and get them out as quickly as they can."

An ambulance took the woman to Atherton Hospital after she woke with severe chest pains at 1am on Saturday, November 4. Doctors ruled out a heart attack, but could not identify the cause of her illness. She was told to go home later in the day.

"I went to the emergency counter and asked if they could help me get home," the woman said. "I didn't have any money on me for a taxi, my brother and daughter were overseas and my son was in Iraq. "I asked if an ambulance could take me, but she told me, 'No, the ambulance service is not a taxi service, madam'. I said I would just have to walk home. She shrugged her shoulders and turned her back."

The woman had walked for more than an hour when passing motorist Gail Fleming saw her in distress and offered her a lift. Ms Fleming, 58, from Atherton, said the woman was clutching her chest when she saw her walking up a hill about 4pm. "It was very hot and she was in a lot of stress," Ms Fleming said. "She just started crying straight away."

One Nation MP Rosa Lee Long raised the case in State Parliament last week to try to get more resources for hospitals in her Tablelands electorate. "She would never have made it home," Ms Long said. "These kinds of events cry out for an urgent roll-out of the promised extra funding, not in four or five years or even longer, but immediately."


Kicked out (2)

Grandmother Gaynor Ralph was kicked out of Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital with no shoes, no money and nowhere to go. Mrs Ralph, 75, was put in a taxi in only a hospital gown and her nightie despite telling staff she didn't know her son's new address. She had to be taken to a police station until officers could contact her son Charles. "I was appalled," he said yesterday. "She was told she had to go, even though they knew she had nowhere to go to." Mr Ralph was so stunned by his mother's treatment that he took pictures of her in the hospital gown after picking her up from the police station.

His mother had been in Europe when a medical emergency forced her to return to Australia for immediate treatment. She was flown to Brisbane because that's where her son lives. Mrs Ralph spent 60 hours in transit before being taken to the PA Hospital in a wheelchair with suspected deep vein thrombosis on Saturday, November 4. She was kept in hospital overnight, but a doctor examined her the next morning and told her to go home. Hospital staff gave her a taxi voucher and sent her packing.

"I had moved house and she didn't know where I'd moved to," Mr Ralph said. "Her mobile phone (battery) was flat and she didn't have any money because the hospital told us not to leave her with any valuables for security reasons."

Hospital staff said they were unable to reach Mr Ralph on his mobile phone, but police had no such problem. "I left late the night she was admitted, telling them I'd be back in the morning," Mr Ralph said. "As I arrived at the hospital I got a call from the police station to say that she was there. "I arrived at the station to find her in an ill-fitting hospital gown with no footwear."

His mother was in need of further treatment and should have been allowed to stay in hospital at least until he arrived, Mr Ralph said. "They knew I was coming and they still kicked her out," he said. "They will claim she agreed and she was willing to go. But they told her she had to go. "All she did as a frail old lady was comply to their demands." Mrs Ralph recovered at her son's home until she was well enough to return to her home in Tasmania.

State Opposition Health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek, who has been seeking answers for the Ralph family, said lives were being put at risk because under-funded hospitals were evicting patients too early. "It all comes back to 'bedlock'. Doctors are feeling pressure from above to clear the beds," he said.


Wrong kneejoint fitted -- deliberately

An Ipswich grandmother who waited five years for a knee replacement has been told she needs the operation again -- because surgeons fitted the wrong joint. Marilyn Hohnke, 62, has been suffering pain in her left knee since 1999, when she was first put on the waiting list for surgery at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. She expected the operation in December 2004 would fix her problem, but was disappointed to find it made no difference. Now an examination has revealed her knee joint will never work properly because it is too big for her.

Mrs Hohnke is furious to be back on the waiting list for a second time, and says she feels let down by the health system. "It was terrible having to wait five years for this operation in the first place, but finding out that it was a complete waste of time is just so discouraging," she said. "I don't know how the doctors could have made such a mistake. "I was shocked when they told me that it was the only joint available on the day of the operation so they had to use it. "I am now at the back of the queue again and don't know how long it will be before I get it fixed. "In the meantime, I can't walk properly because it causes me great discomfort."

She has now opted to have the second knee operation at Ipswich Hospital and has been on the waiting list since May. Bosses at the Royal Brisbane Hospital said Mrs Hohnke was considered too young for the knee replacement in 1999, even though it was causing her pain. They said the operation had been a success...


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