So I recently had a comment rejected by the overseers of all things proper and decent at the online version of the Australian daily newspaper The Age. And sure, it’s their publication and web site… and if they want to exclude my perspective from the public conversation, it is certainly their prerogative. It’s not the first time and I think it unlikely it will be the last. Nevertheless, it is interesting … and I think very revealing… to look at the kind of commentary from their own readers they would prefer be denied a platform.
My unwanted remarks were in response to a column by the reliably vexatious feminist activist Clementine Ford in which she went after the critics of media personality and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied (‘The hypocrisy that lies behind the reaction to seven words from Yassmin Abdel-Magied’) . Yassmin had caused quite a kerfuffle recently when she used Australia’s national day of remembrance – a day dedicated to those who fought in the world wars – to indulge in a little self-aggrandizing virtue signalling about refugees via Twitter.
I didn’t address the predictably overblown backlash to Yassmin’s deliberate provocation. Instead, my comments focused on what I consider to be Clementine’s unjustified assumption that she occupies the moral high-ground in her sanctimonious judgement of Yasmin’s critics.
Here is my comment that the gatekeepers of The Age’s forum deemed undeserving of inclusion in the public discussion and debate. In my post I referenced another column by Clementine which had been published just a few weeks prior:
This moral indignation and accusations of hypocrisy are a bit rich coming from someone who used her platform in this publication a few weeks ago to target specific high school boys in Sydney for public ridicule after they made a pro-feminist video.
Not only did this adult woman express her open contempt for these kids from Sydney Boys High School and a shameless resentment for the fact they received kudos for their efforts… she suggested that threatening women with rape is much more in their character than making well-intentioned videos with positive messages about women:
“It’s better than the rape threats and abuse that schoolboys often seem to throw about the internet … but is it really an amazing project deserving of heartfelt praise and gratitude?” (Clementine Ford, March 16 2017, The Age)
As you can see in the screenshot above, there is no reason given for the decision by the overseers of the discussion board at the Age to designate a comment unworthy of inclusion. A post deemed unacceptable just ends up in the ‘rejected’ section of your ‘Masthead’ page a day or two after being submitted (the snippet in the screenshot of the other rejected comment is one I submitted in response to the previous Clementine Ford column I referenced and which inspired the video below).
Absent any declared justification for rejection, I am left to conjecture about their reasons for the rebuff.
It can’t be my use of language, since my comment is nothing other than an accurate description of Clementine’s argument using her own words which I quoted verbatim. Which leaves only one plausible explanation as far as I can tell: The Age feels obliged to protect the poor darling from having the weaknesses and inconsistencies of her perspective exposed.
Such valour! What chivalry! This instinct to shield the little lady from genuine critique of her ideas is… dare I say it… practically traditional! Even suggestive of old timey patriarchal values!
The Age is happy to let Clementine dish it out… but apparently they know she can’t take it in return. Either that, or they are well aware that Clementine is a hypocrite, a phony, an intellectual lightweight… that she is the embodiment of every cruel, bigoted, self-serving and intolerant character flaw that she and the rest of the principle-‘fluid’, allegedly ‘progressive’- Left loudly proclaim to oppose.
Ultimately, it just comes down to a good business decision on behalf of the editorial staff at The Age. They recognise that it is in their interest to protect their property from effective scrutiny and critique.