Grunting, dimwit, male stereotypes alarm fathers
In a smart bar lissom, single women sip cocktails and contemplate potential mates. The prospects do not look good, however, for the men in the bar aren't men at all - they're pigs. This was the premise of a recent US advertisement for that nation's market-leader condom brand, Trojan. The punchline came when one pig trotted off to the gents, bought himself one of its products and was transformed back into Homo sapiens. Ads such as these have led to an increasingly strident protest at the way that men are portrayed in the media.
According to Paul Nathanson and Katharine Young, two authors at the heart of the movement, the advert exemplifies the growing phenomenon of misandry: hatred of men. They insist that misandry is now pervasive and that we should be every bit as alert to it as we are to misogyny. They argue that men are now routinely defined by a limited set of negative stereotypes: the man as fool, slob or irrelevance. And they contend that nowhere are these archetypes more apparent than in advertising.
But is it really of concern? "Ask women why they thought it was a problem when they were ridiculed," says Nathanson. "I don't think men and women are different in that respect. Do two wrongs make a right?" Left unchallenged, he says, these images take on the patina of truth that will seep into the minds of those who implement laws and develop policy.
One man making a stand is Glenn Sacks, an American journalist whose newsletter reaches 50,000 subscribers. In 2004 he was alerted to an ad for Verizon. It showed a father trying to help his daughter with her maths homework only to be humiliated by her and her mother. Sacks, who has a son and daughter, says: "The worst thing about it was not that it shows the man being an idiot, because we see that all the time, but seeing the man portrayed as an idiot in front of his daughter and ridiculed by her mother in front of his daughter." He says his campaign prompted 3,000 people to contact Verizon and the ad was pulled.
But what most concerns Sacks, Nathanson and Young is the potential impact on boys growing up surrounded by images that tell them there is no acceptable or dignified way to be a man. "If you just have a bunch of negative images, how are boys ever going to develop a positive image of themselves?" says Young.
Sacks is appalled by the Trojan advert, and concerned about the message it sends to boys such as his 14-year-old son. "A boy looking at that would think that men are just inferior, disgusting animals and have to change and jump through hoops in order to be as good as women." Like Nathanson, he doesn't believe that these stereotypes stay locked harmlessly inside the TV. After a sex education class at school, his son complained, "It's always the boys who are wrong; boys who are trying to put one over on the girls," - "and they get this drum beat," says Sacks. "They are just fed a steady diet of this."
Destructive British Leftist "non judgmentalism" bears fruit
It is no exaggeration to say that today's children have been betrayed by today's adults. The killing of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool is a direct consequence of a mass abdication of responsibility by the generations that should have been protecting him - and his murderer, too. I am not talking about Rhys's grieving mother and father, who are loving parents of the sort every child should have. I mean the agencies of state, from police officers and local authorities to those in Whitehall and Westminster who have turned their backs on adult obligations and discouraged the rest of us from taking them on.
Although we are the most spied-upon nation in Europe and although we have spent billions on social renewal schemes, we have reached a state in which children and teenagers in big cities live in terror of other children and teenagers and in despair of protection from adults. They carry knives because they are afraid. They are afraid on their way to and from school and they learn almost nothing when they get there, partly because adults don't protect them from bullying, thieving and disruption. Teachers have either lost or relinquished their authority and children can expect little or no guidance and protection from them, or from their parents, or from council care, or from the police.
Children know the police cannot protect them from gang leaders and that they would be daft to cooperate as witnesses. I know of two boys who were tortured by a young teenager to stop them giving evidence against him. For many young people in inner cities, there is no alternative to the comparative safety of gang life.
Since January eight young people have died in shootings - six in London, one in Manchester and now one in Liverpool. According to Home Office figures, the total number of young people aged between five and 16 who were murdered, one way or another, has gone down from 44 in 1995 to 20 in 2005-6 (and 40% of these were killed by a parent). However, overall gun killings went up from 49 in 2005-6 to 58 in 2006-7, which is a big leap.
Knife crime has gone up and knife owning is becoming common: 12 teenagers have been stabbed to death since the beginning of this year. The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London found that between 22,000 and 57,000 young people could have been the victims of knife crime in 2004; without better official data it is impossible to know. It is clear that violent crime among those under 18 has risen for four consecutive years. And it is increasingly clear that, like mass illiteracy and innumeracy, this is at root due to an adult flight from responsibility - a loss of a sense of proper authority, replaced by a misguided pursuit of improper authority.
Take policing, the first, thin line of protection. I find it incredible to learn that there are known gangs in Croxteth, where Rhys was shot (as in Peckham, where Damilola Taylor was stabbed). If the police know of these gangs, why don't they control them with all possible severity? Why don't they watch them ceaselessly and remove the ringleaders with Asbos? Why don't they have police on the beat, as politicians keep promising? Of course they know of these gangs. Recognising the gravity of gang gun crime, Merseyside police set up a special unit called Matrix two years ago with 200 officers. Why aren't they patrolling the danger spots aggressively? If 200 officers are not enough, why aren't there more?
According to locals, the car park where Rhys died had become a meeting place for gangs, yet plans to have police there between 8pm and midnight were withdrawn last May. A camera was proposed for this coming October. It is depressing by comparison that a camera was already in place on a beach in Sussex to catch two girls exposing their breasts, and police were available to arrest and charge them, and accompany them to court last week (though the case was later dropped), while nobody from our busybody state was watching the known troublespot where Rhys died.
There was also police time and presence enough in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, this month to arrest a boy who threw a sausage at a man in the street and to charge him with assault, for which he could stand trial at vast expense. A police culture that permits this is the culture of Nero - fiddling with cocktail sausages while the inner cities burn.
The police are not entirely to blame, however. It is not their fault that under politically correct micromanagement from Whitehall, policing has become pen pushing, forcing them off the beat. Alistair McWhirter, a former chief constable of Suffolk, recently made the well-known point that officers spend much of their time doing preposterous amounts of paperwork. A file for a simple assault case contained 128 pieces of paper and had been handled by more than 50 people before it got to court. Recording an arrest will take up at least a morning of an officer's time in paperwork. It was irresponsible enough to dream up such a time-wasting procedure; it has been almost criminally irresponsible, after several years of complaint, to continue with it. This is the betrayal of the Whitehall mandarins, who have insisted on this nonsense, in all public services, backed by government.
The failures of the police are only one part of a complex collection of social problems and if society is broken, the police can hardly be expected to fix it. What's needed is a passionate backlash against irresponsibility and irresponsible, misguided waste and the terrible state sector mentality that promotes both. It's this mentality that has produced teachers who can't or won't teach, school leavers who are unemployable, students who can't study, feckless parents, broken homes, police who are obsessed with things that don't matter, neighbours who dare not stand up to other people's children, jails overcrowded with the wrong people, idiotic state sector make-work, intrusive quangos imposing idiotic make-work and the divisive follies of multiculturalism and uncontrolled immigration. Until we begin to stand up against all these things, we can probably expect more senseless killings of children.
Halal meat for prisoners in Australia
What's happened to the advice: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time
ALL prisoners at Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre are being served halal meat - whether or not they are Muslim. Halal meat is blessed and slaughtered by a Muslim slaughterman and cooked and stored in accordance with religious laws. "Wolston prison provides all prisoners halal meat as it can be sourced at the same price as non-halal meat," a Corrective Services spokesman said. However, only about 10 of the prison's 570 inmates currently request a halal diet.
Last year a Muslim child-sex offender was awarded $2000 compensation because he was not given fresh halal meat while he was in prison. The Anti-Discrimination Tribunal found that the State Government had directly discriminated against Sharif Mahommed while he was in Wolston and Palen Creek correctional centres. The Government appealed against the decision, with Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence saying it could open the floodgates to prisoners requesting "all manner of special diets". The Government lost its appeal.
Special diets given to Queensland prisoners include vegetarian; no pork, ham or bacon; no seafood; Asian; diabetic; soft food; no mushroom; low fat; low salt; no salt; gluten-free; no curry; no pineapple; no lactose; high fibre; and vitamised.
Testing times for migrants to Australia
MIGRANTS will face a tough new citizenship test obliging them to endorse the values of mateship and the fair go, as well as learn the English language. For the first time, the Federal Government has laid out what it regards as the 10 essential Australian values every citizen must embrace.
A draft copy of the pamphlet Becoming an Australian Citizen, which will be given to all new citizenship applicants before their test, will be released by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews and Prime Minister John Howard today. It describes Australia as a nation at ease with the world and itself, but lays down a firm obligation on aspiring citizens to respect the nation's core values.
Questions in the citizenship test will range from the types of official flag, the national flower and colours, to sporting heroes, national days, military achievements, convict history and the fate of Aborigines. Migrants can even be asked where the origin of the word Digger comes from, along with the well-known expressions such as Anzac and battler. Migrants will face a 20-question test drawn at random from a list of 200. They must correctly answer 60 per cent.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.