Friday, April 15, 2011

Contorted "sex with a horse" apologetics

Larissa Behrendt's now infamous Bess Price tweet:

Victorian barrister Jeremy Sear weighs in with a contorted analysis:
Let’s be rational about this.

The hyperbole in Larissa Behrendt’s tweet about Bess Price, who at the time was on Q&A on ABC defending John Howard’s “intervention” in the Northern Territory, refers to a disturbing image – apparently courtesy of ABC-TV’s notoriously offensive Wild West show Deadwood – but there was no defamatory link drawn between that activity and Ms Price. The tweet simply rated the two on a scale of “offensiveness” to Ms Behrendt.

That might have been a slightly exaggerated contrast to draw (as is the whole point of hyperbole), but it’s not “obscene vilification”. It’s not an attempt to “control” or “silence” a different view. It’s not “outrageous” or “marginalising” anyone. It’s a tweet expressing Ms Behrendt’s view that what Ms Price was saying was extremely offensive to her. Ms Price’s apparent determination to seek legal recourse for someone finding her “offensive” is laughable.

Obviously The Australian, and the Liberal Party, and Ms Price, and a number of other far-right commentators, think they can ride the shock from the revolting Deadwood image all the way past the fact that it wasn’t actually applied to Ms Price other than by way of contrast, and use it to damn an opponent, an Aboriginal woman, who has dared to take on Andrew Bolt in the courtroom. They can raise the profile of another Aboriginal woman who is in favour of their “intervention” at the cost of a critic of it.

It’s pretty shameless stuff...
What's really laughable here, and totally shameless, is that Crikey's resident barrister has published such a shallow, deeply flawed and apologetic "analysis".
  • On what basis is it concluded that Price and her supporters are not "rational" in finding the tweet offensive?
  • On what basis is it concluded that Behrendt's comment was meant to be hyperbolic?
  • The Northern Territory intervention was John Howard's intervention, then became Kevin Rudd's intervention and is now Julia Gillard's intervention.
  • Deadwood is not mentioned in the tweet and has nothing to do with the offensiveness comparison – the tweet refers simply to "a show where a guy had sex with a horse".
  • The tweet refers not to what Bess Price said as offensive but rather to Bess Price herself as effectively more offensive than a sex act with a horse.
  • If tested in court it could well emerge that a "reasonable" person might find Behrendt's comparison considerably more than "laughable".
  • On what basis is it concluded that Bess Price is a "far-right" commentator?
  • Andrew Bolt has nothing to do with this matter whatsoever.
The "law is an ass" only because some lawyers are asses.

Update Skeletons in Jeremy's closet rule out a political career:
It wouldn’t matter how much my views had changed, any youthful indiscretion or internet quote that could be taken out of context and misrepresented, would be, and it wouldn’t matter how transparent the motives and how ultimately irrelevant the attack – it’s the personal smears that get remembered, that stick. I get enough of that abuse as a minor blogger – you can imagine how much would come back to bite me if I ran in an election. Particularly on a lefty platform that would threaten the interests of, say, commercial media proprietors. It would be interesting, but ultimately not worth it, to see just how effectively they could use their influence to destroy me or anyone else who hadn’t been careful their whole life not to say or do anything controversial.
Life is tough for an attention-seeking minor blogger who writes for Crikey.


Anonymous Nic said...

I'd love to know what he said about Abott standing in front of 'those' two signs? See if his umbrage matches. I doubt it. AS to the 'far right'. Amazing, absolutely amazing, the man really has no idea what he's talking about.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Chistery said...

What really hurts is that in the middle of defamation case by Behrendt against Bolt, Behrendt demonstrates that everything Bolt said about her is true and worse, that Bess Price echos what Bolt said but in a language considerably more biting. Even Bolt would have showed restraint in calling Behrendt a "white blackfella".

That slapping sound you hear is Behrendt's lawyer doing a face-palm. This vindication of Bolt must have erked Sear into writing his irrational defence.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody needs to go back 30 years to find something stupid from Jeremy. 30 hours is usually enough.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He thinks he is so important that Murdoch is just waiting to personally launch a smear campaign.

Get over yourself.

5:22 AM  

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