What do the US Open umpire Carlos Ramos, Australian Greens Senator Adam Bandt, and Brexit voters have in common?
They might have plenty in common, as far as I know. But I’m going to write about the odd abuse they’re all copping. Apparently, they’re sexist, racist and misogynistic so-and-sos.
What’s striking is just how misplaced the attacks are. So much insightful criticism could be sent their way. And yet, critics just hurl ridiculous insults instead. It’s as if they’re daring people to point out how misguided those insults are.
Have we reached a point where criticism is measured by its emotive impact and the number of re-tweets, likes and shares? The quality of discourse is so bad on our media and social media that it almost resembles politics.
Let me show you what I mean.
First we had Brexit. Which was supposedly motivated by racism. Which is odd because the Europeans coming to the UK are mostly of the same race as us. To a far greater extent than Britain’s historic sources of immigration, anyway. Brexit was about nationalism, perhaps. Or anti-immigrant. But not racist.
As MEP Daniel Hannan points out in the Telegraph, and as I’ve written about before, Brexit is democracy at work. It reduces tensions about immigration instead of expressing them:
Which EU country now has the most positive view of immigration? Which EU country has no populist anti‑immigrant party represented in its main legislative chamber? The answer to both questions is the UK.
Of course, the reason why Britain is less worried about immigration and racism is obvious. We haven’t seen the same immigration crisis as central Europe. That’s despite every Syrian I met in Austria wanting to go to the UK in the end. And explaining why in better English than the typical London resident.
But how did Britain escape? By avoiding EU policy. The Guardian explains:
When it comes to tackling the European asylum and refugee crisis, Britain left Europe years ago.
In fact it is a direct result of Tony Blair’s famous 1997 Amsterdam treaty “opt-out” from EU immigration and asylum matters that Theresa May has been able to distance Britain from the worst refugee crisis since the second world war.
And this extraordinary point shows just how good our opt-out was: “After Angela Merkel’s humanitarian response to the crisis, Europe is rapidly shifting towards Theresa May’s position.” Congratulations Tony Blair.
The trouble is, European voters are having to turn to former neo-Nazi, right-wing, left-wing and downright bizarre political parties to get the immigration policy they want. Sounds to me like the EU is causing people to turn to racism, not Brexit…
The consequences are on show in Chemnitz, Germany. The top news story there is about the “Hetzjagt” of immigrants. “Hetzjagt” is a noun that’s difficult to translate, although the word “hetz” features in the film Braveheart. It’s a sort of persistent hounding, the technique used in a fox hunt. But in Chemnitz, it’s used on humans by ruffians…
Back to our theme for today. Misogyny is next.
Australian Greens Senator Adam Bandt isn’t so popular in his own circles right now. Here are some excerpts from a news.com.au article, so you can get a taste of Australian mainstream media and social discourse:
A Greens MP has been savaged for finding a woman attractive – his wife.
Federal member for Melbourne Adam Bandt had a weekend’s worth of criticism after posting a photo of himself and wife Claudia Perkins on Facebook.
“With hot wife at Bangarra opening night of ‘Dark Emu’,” the post said.
So far so good. But not among typical Greens voters:
One comment on his post blasted the MP for “putting your wife out there for public consumption”.
And yet another view was: “Does your wife have a name? Is she only defined by her relationship to you and her perceived attractiveness? I thought we were better than this.”
More than 1500 people commented on the Bandt post, but by today most were outraged by the outrage.
On and on it went. The senator’s wife tried to drag her husband out of the flames by pointing out that it was purely a statement of fact: “It was just a reference to how hot we are for each other even after 11 years together.”
Even Greens critics sided with the senator:
His post and the comments are fantastic and hilarious! Bandt has exposed The Greens and their loony tunes supporters for the nutters they really are. I reckon it’s done more to put people off the Greens than anything any one of us could do.
Crying “misogyny” has been a favourite in Australian politics ever since “Ditch the Witch” signs went up during the Julia Gillard years. (The link between females and witches has never been scientifically proven.) But the real point here is the irony. Adam Bandt, who is famous for saying, “When I see racism, I’ll call it out,” got a dose of his own medicine. Poor guy.
Australia’s latest prime minister is already caught up in a sexism scandal too. But that story is getting too repetitive.
Speaking of sexism, US Open umpire Carlos Ramos is copping it as well. In a game between a black woman and a half-black, half-Japanese woman, an accusation of racism was clearly not going to fly. Or it would completely confuse everybody. So Serena Williams went with plan B – sexism. Having noticed her opponent is female, she turned to the umpire instead.
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff,” she told viewers. Notice there was no mention of any tennis, perhaps the real reason she lost. But not according to her:
“… for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.
“He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women.”
I’m not sure what to make of any of that, logically speaking.
But consider Williams’s opponent’s response instead. Or, rather, the lack of it. The extraordinary level of composure shown by Naomi Osaka, which to me was more extraordinary than the game itself, or the game played with the umpire, doesn’t get much of a mention.
Osaka faced her childhood idol in her dream match-up, put up with a hostile crowd, apologised for beating the home star, admitted to being devastated to rob Williams of a symbolic 24th Grand Slam title, ignored the antics, and coolly slotted home a solid victory.
Compare that to Neymar, Boris Johnson and people booing her in the crowd.
What kind of investor are you?
By modern standards, you’re probably a racist, misogynist and sexist person. Which is fine by me, as long as you’re not actually any of the above.
But consider what sort of investor you want to be. Do you want to hurl insults based on their emotive effectiveness when things go wrong? Do you want to make profits on what’s fashionable, only to have those gains turn on you when the bubble pops?
Or do you want to remain focused in the face of market antics and hold on to your strategy for powerful gains?
At 2pm today, an extraordinary opportunity for investments that can deliver a prosperous retirement will be open to you.
Until next time,
Capital & Conflict