30 October 2014


Because it never hurts to ask.

Dear universe, excite me
with the secrets that you hold.

Dear humankind, invite me,
as I am, into your fold.

Dear planet Earth, outlive me;
feed the ones I leave behind.

Dear progeny, forgive me
for a future undermined.

Dear ancestors, instruct me;
let my errors be forestalled.

Dear history, induct me;
let my triumphs be recalled.

Dear circumstance, select me
for the fortune you dispense.

Dear fortitude, protect me;
persevere in my defence.

Dear prejudice, unbind me;
let my view be unobscured.

Dear privilege, remind me
of the comfort I’ve secured.

Dear intellect, escort me;
stay forever by my side.

Dear skin and bones, support me
‘til I take my final stride.

17 October 2014

Christopher Pyne's Lament

Because the Good Old Days were so nice.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne is upset. Our schools' curricula aren't doing their job. They're not currently teaching Australia's children The Things That Christopher Pyne Likes, which are (as he suggests in this interview) "history, literacy, numeracy, science", "Western civilisation" and "our Judeo-Christian heritage". Something MUST BE DONE.

Leaving aside the extreme wibbly-wobbliness of the not-quite-accurate "Judeo-Christian" claim (see the gaping holes in the term exposed by Tony Taylor here and by Chrys Stevenson here),  Mr Pyne wants to return to the Good Old Days, when children had phonics and times tables whacked into them with a cane, when nobody argued about what Australia Day means, and when multiculturalism was just a fancy way of saying "Look! There's spaghetti in the shops now!".

Maybe I'm not explaining what Christopher Pyne wants very well. Maybe Christopher Pyne needs to explain it himself, in rhyming couplets. Take it away, ChrisPy:

We must learn about Judeo-Christian conquerors and kings!
And Judeo-Christian history! And Judeo-Christian things!
And Judeo-Christian English! And Judeo-Christian science!
And Judeo-Christian punishment for wilful non-compliance!

Non-Judeo-Christian education simply shan’t be had.
It makes fine, upright, Judeo-Christian citizens look bad!
If a lesson fails to make Judeo-Christian people proud,
Then it’s simply (by Judeo-Christian standards) not allowed.

Any subjects that appease the God of Abraham are apt;
But the other, more barbaric ones should probably be scrapped.
Asian neighbours, the Indigenous and other foreign stuff
Are all well and good, but not Judeo-Christian-y enough.

Sure, for forty thousand years there’s been some people here, but look:
Nothing worthwhile really happened ‘til they met with Captain Cook.
Since that day, our nation’s greatness simply cannot be denied.
Our curriculum needs cleaning up, so here’s a simple guide:

If it’s nice and white and clean and mentions ANZAC Day, it’s IN.
If it dares to bad-mouth God or Jesus, CHUCK IT IN THE BIN!
If it’s yellow, brown or – worst of all – a shade of Green, NO WAY.
If it’s Western and it’s civilised and likes the Queen, then YAY!

Soon, Judeo-Christian schoolkids with Judeo-Christian knowledge,
Will bring shiny, Western thoughts to their Judeo-Christian college.
Their Judeo-Christian books will line Judeo-Christian shelves
While they frown upon those less Judeo-Christian than themselves.

16 October 2014


Because everyone has one.

You can’t tell by looking.
She makes lustrous forests from stones and wire.
He teaches French horn in the afternoons.
She draws cartoons.
He’s raising his daughter’s kids.
She cooks for her neighbour.
He slept in a shed last night.
She hasn’t used today, but she might.
A battery maintains his heart.
It’s months since she enjoyed a meal.
His knees aren’t real.
She lost her baby.
He lost his wife.
Her tattoo hides the tale of a knife.
You can’t tell by looking.

11 September 2014

Needle vs Haystack

Because one in a million isn't always good.

You went searching for a schism in the study of autism,
‘Cause you’re certain vaccines cause it, and that needs to be explored.
And for every tract or lecture in support of your conjecture,
You found many more against, which you summarily ignored.

All the scientists conforming to the norm of global warming
Are, in your opinion, wrong, or at the very least misled;
Since an expert crunched some figures, showing human-centric triggers
Are a load of crap, so never mind what other experts said.

You’ve heard claims that every fossil ever found makes a colossal
Case for evolution here on Earth, including humankind.
But you noticed an omission in the record of transition
From bacterium to human, so you’re sure we’ve been designed.

You could search the world all over for a tiny four-leaf clover;
Or a hidden ukulele in a pile of violins;
For a prickle in a thicket, or a lucky golden ticket,
Or a silver needle buried in a haystack full of pins.

You’ll find papers reinforcing the position you’re endorsing,
So hooray for you, you clever sausage! Everybody cheer!
But the confirmation bias of statistical outliers
Doesn’t make the weight of evidence against you disappear.

29 August 2014

How to be a Christian

He’s the champion of the poor, the lost, the meek and dispossessed;
He invites all creeds and colours to his parish to be blessed;
He believes in being human, and in peaceable protest;
He loves Jesus, and he calls himself a Christian.

They’re a loving, married couple with a huge and loyal flock;
Spreading news of God through microphones and family-friendly rock;
They already know the getting-into-heaven secret knock;
Praise the Lord! Ch-ching! They call each other Christian.

He attends the sick and needy, if he gets the flights for free;
He tells lies and sells his arse to gain election victory;
He’ll support a wealthy mogul, but turn back a refugee;
He’s not quite a priest, but calls himself a Christian.

He’s ensconced within the Vatican, with wine and jewels and prayer;
He condones the rape of children by the men charged with their care;
He’ll protect the church’s name, but not those families in despair;
He’s a cardinal, and calls himself a Christian.

Now, I’ve read the Holy Bible, but I’m still a bit confused;
About what a “Christian” says and does, and how the word is used;
Which behaviour’s unforgivable, and which can be excused?
By what standards can one call oneself a Christian?

When I look to Christian leaders, their example isn’t plain;
Some are good and meek and giving, some destructive, cruel and vain;
But there is a single common thread, a prevalent refrain:
Someone’s Christian if they call themselves a Christian.

08 August 2014

Erica Betz

Because 1950s babies are better than your babies.

Eric Abetz, Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Employment and unabashed anti-abortionist, expressed his respect for studies "back from the 1950s" that support a link between breast cancer and abortion in a television interview last night.  The people on the internet went crazy, and this morning the Senator is on his back-pedal bike, claiming that he was cut off when he was about to say that the link isn't supported by current medical thinking.

Whatever, Eric. You're attending the World Congress of Families event in Melbourne this month because it has aims that you "broadly support". You've never been shy about your stance on abortion and so-called 'Family Values' which is the world's worst euphemism for "Ladies and Homos should do as they're told".

I can't speak for everyone, but I think you meant it.

Eric Abetz has no regrets.
He said what he meant to say.
A woman is best when stout of breast
And well in the family way.
He’s here to discuss your uterus -
It doesn’t belong to you;
Those studies begun since Menzies’ run
Are not worth a brass razoo.

29 July 2014


Because I honestly don't know.

Could it be I’m not a feminist? I’m never really sure.
I don’t think it means the thing I used to think it meant before.
And despite the helpful anecdotes and practical suggestions
From enthusiastic people on the web, I have some questions:

Can I shave my legs and armpits? Can I shop for sexy bras?
Can I ask for help with moving house and stubborn lids on jars?
Can I sneak a sidelong glance at well-formed bottoms at the gym?
Can I praise a man’s physique without objectifying him?

If I take my husband’s surname, have I finished being me?
If I earn more than my partner, is that inequality?
If I pole-dance in a bar, am I exploited or empowered?
If I don’t walk home at night-time, am I smart or just a coward?

Is it ok if I giggle when a sexist joke is funny?
Is it ok if I answer when a male friend calls me “honey”?
Is it ok to say “suffragist” instead of “suffragette”?
Is it ok if I don’t assume that every man’s a threat?

Should I ask the girl who risks her life by learning maths and reading?
Or the woman left to perish slowly, faceless, cut and bleeding?
Should I ask how FGM or acid-throwing victims feel
About whether it’s insulting when a man pays for a meal?