Sunday 5th of April 2020

after the mardi-gras, may as well wave the white flag...


From Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro, we are living in the age of the strong man. I also suspect that Scott Morrison is succumbing to this political style. Of course, not all men exhibit muscular masculinity. This is because there are many masculinities, which are subject to change and shaped by culture and personal context. Nonetheless, the problem with strong man politics is that it is inherently divisive and infrequently violent. In this politics, there are few winners and many losers.

So, what is the political “strong man” like?

The strong man finds it difficult to consider alternative perspectives. This is particularly apparent on issues around climate change. That is, the strong man knows better than climate scientists and retired fire commissioners. The strong man’s hubris — a mix of charm and conceit — means he is the exclusive guardian of truth. He knows the facts. Everything else is fake news, and only he can tell the difference. This constitutes the engine, which drives him forward.


Strong man politics is inherently violent. Obviously, the relationship between violence and masculinity is complex. As Raewynn Connell argues, “Most violence is not a matter of individual pathology.” There are structural connections and institutional layers here. However, the widespread vilification, imprisonment, disappearance and murder of journalists demonstrates the lengths to which the strong man will go in order to maintain his entitlements. Certainly, the AFP raids on the ABC are not on this scale. But the raids raise important, yet unanswered, political questions.


The Christian Church is not immune to strong man politics. Indeed, we had to learn the hard way from our own abuses of power. Initially, we struggled to see the problems — partly because we simultaneously venerated our strong men as we sanctified obedience. Moreover, how could you challenge our princes, who have been called by God? Inadvertently, the Church fostered a culture of deference where obedience was rewarded, often at the expense of others (such as children, women, LGBTIQ persons).

It is imperative for the Church, then, to enter the public square with others as equals, to critique and denounce the hubris and violence of strong man politics. After all, our common life, and our planet, depend on it.

Steven Ogden is Research Fellow in the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University. His most recent book is The Church, Authority, and Foucault.

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"After all, our common life, and our planet, depend on it?" What a lot of rot... SCIENCES are what we need not religious mumbo-jumbo, nor politics...

May as well wave the white flag…

Politics isn’t for the faint-hearted — or the sheep… We all need to do our bit. The motto for this website is “Democracy isn’t a spectator sport”. So. But, we have to deal with a multitude of conflicting view-points, half-baked delusions, prejudices, stupidity (possibly our own) and deceit. So, do we have to accept the decisions of the majority — even if they are totally stupid — and shut up? Or make a noise, shake the apple tree or revolt? At some stage in this democratic debate, some people are more skilled at motivating a majority of people, through various populistic means in a system that is mostly hierarchical and archaic. Unless we’re all part of the ubersicht committee, without delegation to a representative, we thus can express a direct point of view, then be voted upon by all of us, for whatever actions to take, regardless of the consequences

Is there room for some revisionism down the road? 

Presently due to a natural event called shittocrapustovirus19, some financiers (say Soros) who were betting for “globalisation”, are taking a bath. But do not shed tears for these fake jewish money-bags, as we know they edge their bets… They work the financial market like a complex set of pipes and evaporators which, like a kero-fridge on heat, will bring the cold cash at the end. Soros is still smiling, unless the picture used by the media is a stock foto that does not show his present mood.

Actions we democratically take can vary from baking a communal Sunday cake to going to war, building a new toilet block in a national Park or destroying the planet — or demand isolation. There will be argy-bargy. The main issues are peace, happiness and freedom. The secondary issues are the architecture: obtrusive, modern, classic, high, low, moralistically, like being churchy? Watch it. The religious mobs want to place more moralistic restrictions on the already tightened secular laws designed to fight “terrorism”....

The “strong men" of politics only got there because all the other candidates are (were) wishy-washy, more corrupt or the system is crooked to allow such lunatics becoming leaders. One caution though, Putin is a “strong man” of politics but he is more understanding and respectful of the dynamics of the system — which he helped create and now wants to change in his favour through the democratic process — than say a mad Johnson and a deceitful Morrison.

For Trump, the verdict is open. The Donald is a loony, but he understands from his own unsavoury adventures that the system is crooked with its many levels of deep states to be fought, which he equated to draining the swamp… So far it seems he has become one of the swamp's creature, though it could be a tactic to get closer to the other crooks. 

So, in regard to Steven Ogden’s most recent book The Church, Authority, and Foucault, be prepared for yet another boring second rate level of philosophical discourse about the same haystack that Aristotle and his mates studied to find the needless needle of human meaning… Don’t bother read it. No pessimism here, but a simple time saving (as if time could be saved!): enjoy life for what it is and the proteins you can steal.

For Gus, Foucault was a boring imprecise old fart, though as a French philosopher and historian, he has been described as one of the most influential and controversial scholars of post-World War II. His main controversial occupation was to make a mess at reinventing the wheels of philosophy with twigs, rubbish and rusty pipes borrowed from more serious thinkers. 

Foucault's sexual life as a gay French male and his work on sexuality suggests that Foucault's scholarly study of his methodological interpretation of his own sophistic roundabouts, made it possible for him to be both the object and the subject of his investigations of the history of homosexuality. Wonderful. Nothing wrong with this… But one can see why he was trying to reset all the parameters in his favour.

The gays, LGBTi’s, have now got their rights. Good. We voted for equality in marriage, good... as long as your partner isn’t a dog, a goat or a cat... but it can be a log of wood. Eventually the dollbots will demand equality… But here we need to mention that sometimes (often) gay people overstep their station and tend to become “strong men” (or women). Place them in charge of something and only gay people will pass the doors of the gizmo… The super-talented heteros will be filtered out. I know I should not bitch here. But I know too much… Whether you’re a painter, a musician or a trapeze artist, the gay mafia will get behind their person that managed to get his/her mitten on the officialdom levers and vice-versa to make sure you’re out… You’re buggered if you don’t wan’t to be buggered… Pardon my Frenchy… This isn’t not universal though, but it seems to be the rule rather than the exception… So this is a friendly advice to the raibow flag-waivers, be more accepting of the weirdos like us who are heterosexuals. Homosexuality isn’t the new normal, but a small equal part of the gamut of whom we are together.

Then we’ll wave the rainbow flag as we’ve done so far, but it’s a flag amongst many… Bugger, I just realised that we, heterosexuals, do not have a dedicated pennant...  We should design one forthwith, and fly it high above all else for the sheer number of us. Here we need to be careful as not to fly something that the navy has already used to signify quarantine like Lima — a yellow and black flag… In the time of coronusvirulus, flying the full yellow flag might let us into the harbours… And we can use the Romeo flag for social distancing. 

So after much consideration of the palette, the flag for the heterosexuals might be uncompromising brown and beige upright stripes… Safe.

Atheist flag-waiver...

blame trump for the epidemic...

The coronavirus epidemic is shaking humanity and turning the world upside down. Quick, somebody alert the media.

The Washington press corps is covering one of the largest, continuing stories in recent history the same way it has covered the Trump administration since Day One.

The formula is simple: Whatever the president does is not just wrong, it’s borderline evil. Details at 11.

In the real world, events are unfolding at a pace and scale impossible to comprehend. But at too many news outlets, the aim is not to inform. It’s to render the harshest possible judgment on the man journalists love to hate.

Already The New York Times has twice called the White House response “calamitous,” including once in a supposedly straight-news article.

This is beyond shameful. When antagonists like Sen. Chuck Schumer finally are working with Trump and when the Democratic governors of New York and California swap praise with the president over their partnerships, the media ought to take a hint that this time is different and there is no place for biased journalism-as-usual.


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