Sweetness & Light

Simple Questions

If you want a deliriously bent answer from a modern leftist—or from a bureaucrat under leftist command—just ask a straight question. Basic as you like. Simple as can be.

The responses will likely involve more twists, logical flaws, conceptual inversions and outright denials of reality than you’d hear in a decade’s worth of magistrate’s court not-guilty pleas. Our left-inclined friends recently found themselves repeatedly caught out, for example, by being asked “What is a woman?”—a question so historically obvious that for centuries it wasn’t even a question.

US commentator Matt Walsh memorably composed a ninety-four-minute documentary in 2022 by putting that query to various gender activists (and a few representatives of the sane community). In the same year, South Australian Liberal senator Alex Antic caused all manner of mystification during a Senate Estimates hearing with Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy when he threw this into the mix: “Can someone please provide me with a definition of what a woman is?”

Silence followed. Heavy, awful silence, punctuated by a solitary, nervous cough. Silence so awkward that Senator Antic felt obliged to fill the void himself. “Department of Health? Definition of a man, definition of a woman?” Antic asked. “Anyone? It’s basic stuff. Professor Murphy?”

It took a while, but Murphy—drawing on all of his medical training and the fact he’s the father of two children—finally ventured: “Look, I think there are a variety of definitions …”

Invited to offer just one, Murphy played for time. “I think perhaps to give a more fulsome answer,” he said, “we should take that on notice.” Rational onlookers shared Antic’s subsequent astonishment: “You’re going to take on notice the question of what a woman is?”

“We’re happy to provide our working definition on notice,” the professor replied—and two months later a definition was duly delivered. It ran to nearly eighty words and included an all-purpose escape clause: “The Department of Health does not adopt a single definition.”

At least the department kept things relatively brief. Ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s attempted answer during a 2023 interview consumed four minutes and wasted more than 450 words, but still didn’t confirm anything beyond Gillard’s status as a world-class fact dodger. Interesting, however, was the former PM’s light dismissal of the whole “what is a woman” issue as a “kind of gotcha parlour game”.

She’s talking about half of the entire human species—and the oppressed half at that. The sisterhood, if you don’t mind. A cruelly put-upon portion of personkind so defeated and distressed that it is unable to cope even with Tony Abbott looking at his watch. And there she was, mocking as a mere “game” efforts to clarify their definitive essence.

Some feminist Julia turned out to be. Even current PM Anthony Albanese, who is usually to words as a bushfire is to koalas, managed a non-equivocal reply during a pre-election debate in 2022. “An adult female,” he said, indicating that Albanese’s better at remembering a three-word phrase than he is at remembering Australia’s unemployment rate, and that he’s also better than Julia at anticipating obvious questions.

Albo aside, Labor’s fear and confusion over the status of women make you wonder why they were all so keen on legalising same-sex marriage. What was the point when barely any of them know the difference? From the Left’s point of view, every marriage is potentially same-sex. It just depends on how wedded to their own biology the couple may be at any given time.

The “what is a woman” controversy has been put to bed lately, where it will presumably remain until someone breaks the no-peeking rule. Meanwhile, another basic definitional dilemma has emerged to confound Labor’s finest minds.

Anti-Israel activists are completely clear about the meaning of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” It calls for the State of Israel to be removed from its current location between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and to be replaced by a peaceful Palestinian paradise that would inevitably follow.

Those anti-Israel activists love a “river to the sea” chant. They also get off on Palestinian flags, Islamic keffiyehs and Hamas headbands, all for the exact same reason: they all indicate a fashionable loathing of Israel.

But our Labor leaders aren’t picking it up. “I’ve seen people say that those words mean the annihilation of Israel,” Education Minister Jason Clare said in early May of the “river to the sea” chant. “I’ve seen people say that it means the opposite.” Perhaps realising he’d never find any example of Israeli patriots calling for an Israel-endorsed destruction of Israel, Clare quickly moved on to the usual non-judgmental two-state talk.

“What I want all Australians to be arguing for, to be calling for, is a two-state solution,” he said. “Two countries, two people, two states side-by-side where people can live in peace without fear.”

It is true that peace without fear is possible in the Middle East. It’d be called Israel without Hamas, and steps are under way even as this is written to secure that objective.

Clare’s “river to the sea” appeasement—he’s the member, it should be noted, for the significantly Islamic New South Wales seat of Blaxland—was so clumsy that Prime Minister Albanese, celebrated solver of the “what is a woman” riddle, felt compelled to intervene. On this occasion it didn’t work out so well. 

The Israel-obliterating “river to the sea” chant, Albanese decided, “is a slogan that calls for opposition to a two-state solution”. Well, yes, but in the same overly generous sense, Charles Manson’s demand that his cult members commit mass murder in 1969 was only a call to address Californian overpopulation concerns.

They’ve got bugger-all idea about what a woman is, and they struggle to understand the Hamas Left’s howling hatred of Israel and Jews even after the argument-ending evidence of October 7. Worse than not understanding, leftists in thrall to Palestinian pity narratives typically feign a kind of obscenely optimistic ignorance.

In the wake of those Clare and Albanese bungles, former ACTU president turned Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney gave her own “river to the sea” reading. “Well, you know, it’s all in the interpretation,” she told Sky’s Tom Connell. “I’m not really 100 per cent familiar with that term. It could mean that we live harmoniously.”

Yep. That’s why the phrase is in the charter of Hamas, those famous harmony lovers. Theirs is a different kind of harmony, admittedly, featuring more than the usual amounts of slaughter, rape, torture, kidnapping, perversion, generational mental frailty and abject cowardice.

We now await the next questions for Labor identities to stumble over. Early suggestions: “What is terrorism?” and “Why do you support it?”

ASIDE from historical or analytical references in academic journals and the like, we don’t hear much these days about the good old Magna Carta.

We hear less still about the document’s remaining early examples, of which there are apparently four, located at various institutions across England. But in May we were reminded that a couple of Magna Carta originals reside in the British Library, thanks to news items about a pair of old biddies who attacked one of them.

These biddies, eighty-five-year-old Judy Bruce and her spring chicken eighty-two-year-old offsider Sue Parfitt, were acting on behalf of the Just Stop Oil anti-civilisation movement when they launched their assault. Parfitt held a chisel to the document’s strengthened glass case while Bruce tapped it ineffectively with a hammer, causing little real damage beyond a chip or two.

Interestingly, the making of strengthened glass requires intense industrial processes only made possible by fossil fuels. Thus was Just Stop Oil just stopped by oil. At which point Parfitt and Bruce glued themselves to the Magna Carta display case, no doubt using a product also derived from oil.

Ignore their technological illiteracy and evident late-life madness for a moment and let’s hear what the chisel sisters had to say. “The Magna Carta is rightly revered, being of great importance to our history, to our freedoms and to our laws,” Parfitt declared. “But there will be no freedom, no lawfulness, no rights, if we allow climate breakdown to become the catastrophe that is now threatened.”

We now pause to note that some reports refer to the Reverend Doctor Parfitt as a “Bristol vicar”, which sounds appropriately enough like rhyming slang. Regarding climate change, the Reverend certainly has her Bristol vicars in a twist.

That’s a nice line she’s got, though, about civilisation collapsing if temperatures increase by a couple of degrees. The lady reverend has just described Queensland. “We must get things in proportion,” Parfitt continued, which for her personally is advice long overdue.

“The abundance of life on earth, the climate stability that allows civilisation to continue is what must be revered and protected above all else, even above our most precious artefacts.”

But enough of Sue and Judy, who aren’t that precious anyway. For real anti-oil action, how do you reckon the destruction of ancient Aboriginal art would go? Have at it, climateers.

17 thoughts on “Simple Questions

  • lbloveday says:

    “Parfitt and Bruce glued themselves to the Magna Carta display case”
    I realise it can’t happen in the “civilised” West, but if I were running things, I would ordain that in future such pests will be unglued by amputating their hand(s).
    I reckon that one amputation would stop almost all future gluings and save much inconvenience and cost.

  • GaryR says:

    Similarly, as an alternative to the brutal canings administered by Singapore police to graffiti vandals (‘artists’ in Melbourne) how about spraying them head to toe with their own paint?

  • Alistair says:

    What is a women?
    Interestingly, this question is one that was easily answered 65.000 years ago by Aborigines – thus demonstrating that modern science does have something to learn from Aboriginal science after all.
    Now, Aborigines may have been a bit shaky on whether coitus was responsible for pregnancy … but these days, just maybe modern science has got that wrong too. It could all change tomorrow.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Where I come from in FNQ, aboriginal female pregnancies were supposedly caused by a Willy Wagtail singing on a moonlight night. That theory would be debunked these days since the modern folk would probably opine that in their 65,000 and more years here they were the first to invent artificial insemination along with astronomy and all the other “firsts.”

  • Bron says:

    Why don’t we ask Germaine Greer? She may still remember what it was like to be a woman.

  • Mid C Modern says:

    Many a belly laugh while reading this! (Better than crying I guess)
    Wonderful stuff, thank you Mr Blair.

  • Daffy says:

    I must make a T-shirt: from the sea to the river, Israel for ever!

  • Tony Tea says:

    “For real anti-oil action, how do you reckon the destruction of ancient Aboriginal art would go? Have at it, climateers.”
    If they can’t find any Aboriginal art, I could donate a few tea towels.

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