tip off

Rundle: like a Lambie to the slaughter as dick jokes uncover the Right’s elitism

Accusing Jacqui Lambie of sexism is unfair, and ignores the spectres of prejudice caused by class and gender.

Last week Senator Jacqui Lambie rose to her feet in the red chamber and asked her first set of questions without notice. She was as wobbly as the wooden bike she would later be riding around the forecourt of Parliament, laughing just a little too much — but she wasn’t a disgrace, either, and there’s no reason she won’t get the hang of it. Yet she is rapidly proving to be the most visibly eccentric of the new crossbench senators, as her two PUP companions, Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang, are relatively straightforward types, the staged victory hug at the carbon tax repeal notwithstanding.

Now she’s in hot water again for playing along with a Hobart breakfast DJ crew — isn’t that just about the most depressing phrase you’ve ever heard? — and telling them and their several listeners that her ideal man was one who was well-endowed financially and well endowe- oh for god’s sake, who had a big dick. After which, chaos erupted. For days it had become increasingly irritating that two stories — MH17 and Gaza — were crowding out all others.

That this became the only item worthy of adding to the roster, suggested that news selection had officially become insane. Lambie was slated for being a goose, for offending the dignity of blah blah, and — well, it wasn’t completely clear what the objection was.  Then inevitably, this being Australia, Sweden of the south, comment took a gender equalitarian turn, and Lambie was slammed for saying something that a man couldn’t say in the equivalent manner, and was it sexist to say this about a man, and was it encouraging sexism against women to say this about a man, and etc, etc. Every awful aspect of Australian cultural politics — the endless invitation to joyless self-censorship — was on display. The obvious answer to the conundrum was this: cultural power is not symmetrical, and a man saying he was on the lookout for a wife with an outstanding front bench fnarr fnarr, wouldn’t get away with it because women’s bodies are pre-objectified in our culture. It’s a little more complicated than that, since it’s about the straight gaze — I suspect Penny Wong could get away with some incorrect on-air musings if she were that type of person (which, of course, she isn’t).

Cultural power is not symmetrical, and a man saying he was on the lookout for a wife with an outstanding front bench fnarr fnarr wouldn’t get away with it because women’s bodies are pre-objectified in our culture.”

But the main objection to Lambie, implicit though it was, was that she didn’t play the role of the politician in these situations, which is to be flustered. The breakfast FM appearance is a time-honoured enactment of the elite-popular split in Oz politics — having resigned ourselves to being ruled by a self-selecting caste, the mass of the population gets a taste of reverse power, of sorts, when pollies are embarrassed in pop culture situations. Lambie didn’t play that game, because she’s not from the political caste — she gave the answer a lot of listeners were probably giving back, jokingly, listening along in the car. The horror is not at the crudity of the remarks, the horror is that she didn’t see her role as being a stooge representative of Parliament, to the people it rules. For added giggles, the issue centred on a dick joke, and the phallus, as the locus of power, must be veiled at all times. Indeed the half-buried Parliament house is a veiled phallus. For $500, you can buy this topic for your cultural studies MA.

What it also shows is the way in which the arrival of the PUP senators and Ricky Muir has thrown the whole “elites” bullshit of the Right into sharp focus. For years, party and media members of the political caste have presented themselves as representatives of the masses against the elite, this line reaching its absurd heights with Nick Cater’s The Lucky Culture. The masses, we were told, were right-wing,  free-market, piously conservative and religious. And were happy to be represented by the likes of Miranda Devine.

Well, surprise. A few of the masses made it into Parliament, and they are nothing like the straw dogs that the Right had established. Their politics cleave to no simplistic Left or Right split, their manner is far from the petit-bourgeois fantasy of the Caters et al, and they don’t seem to be in a mood to conform to a deadened Australian political culture. So one cheer for them, however they got there, and whatever might happen. Anyone who really thinks that a senator giving a zoo crew as good as she gets hasn’t realised the degree to which they’ve internalised Australian political ideology.

41
  • 1
    pritu
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    We need more Lambie and Muir and much much less Erica Betz & ilk.

  • 2
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    …a Hobart breakfast DJ crew — isn’t that just about the most depressing phrase you’ve ever heard?’

    Haha, Guy, it’s a definite contender.

    I did reflect on whether Lambie’s 24 year-old son was mortified - or perhaps chuffed - with his mother’s revelations on his own physique.

  • 3
    Pamela
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy
    We would be lost without your erudite observations.
    One hopes that this Lamb, caught in the tractor blades of the machine that is the political commentariat, develops sharp survival skills before she is mown down.

  • 4
    Andybob
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I was so outraged I didnt know whether to wring my hands or clutch my pearls.

  • 5
    Katie
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Why is no one pointing out the real sexism at play here is the fact she was asked the question in the first place. How many single men are in parliament and how many of them have been asked about their ideal woman? Institutionally it remains acceptable to ask professional women these things and focussing on the answer she gave misses the real issue. Her answers disclose her to be shallow, and possessing questionable judgement, and perhaps as having a robust sense of humour. The fact she was asked the question in the first place, and that no one is calling those who questioned her for what it is, is the far more revealing issue.

  • 6
    mikeb
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    ‘…a Hobart breakfast DJ crew — isn’t that just about the most depressing phrase you’ve ever heard?’
    Well no. It’s far more depressing to pad this article with such a snide and snobbish aside which wasn’t even particularly funny. Fail GR.
    That being said Lambie was led to slaughter by the nose, and the worrying thing is that she didn’t see it for what it was. Heart FM are still pushing it as far as they can for the publicity. The silly woman was on there again this morning whilst they replayed the juicy bits over & over. She may well have said what many women think but really, an elected representative of the nation on a pretty good pay packet should know better.

  • 7
    David Coady
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Nice piece Guy, except for the nasty dig at Hobart.

  • 8
    johnd
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    As a slightly-out-of-Hobart resident, I can assure you that this “Hobart breakfast DJ crew” is hardly held in high esteem. They are only slightly better than giving Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel a slot on community radio.

  • 9
    Pamela
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    TOP MARKS TO JOHND
    for “Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel”
    such lovely words

    Hobart should not lament alone- all of us in cities across the nation have our unfortunate share of “Cletusses” delivering a distressing diatribe of drivel daily.

  • 10
    Emoticom
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    So Lambie was a bit wink-wink nudge-nudge naughty. It’s a bit of schoolyard humour from a rather fierce, boganesque representative of a large section of the populace. There is no place for deep intellectual analysis of a light-hearted off the cuff remark. Lordy, how po faced we have become. Personally I am delighted to have Lambie in parliament, though I disagree with much of her politics to date. A bit more honesty and a bit less grandstanding, manipulation and spin will add colour and life to a near moribund institution.

  • 11
    Brian Williams
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Good on Jacqui. One suspects that the males complaining about her comments are mostly those feeling a little bit chastened at not measuring up to her requirements.

  • 12
    Robert Brown
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who really thinks that a senator giving a zoo crew as good as she gets hasn’t realised the degree to which they’ve internalised Australian political ideology.

    I don’t understand this sentence.

  • 13
    paddy
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Bloody hell, I was just managing to keep myself from completely losing it….Until Andybob’s contribution.

    Sigh.

    Keyboard destroyed.

  • 14
    citizen k
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Katie. A male Senator would not have been asked about his relationship history, nor about what he looks for in a female partner. I’m astonished that so few of the commentaries thus far have made what seems to me to be the obvious - and salient - point.

  • 15
    Nick Seidenman
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    The obvious answer to the conundrum was this: cultural power is not symmetrical, and a man saying he was on the lookout for a wife with an outstanding front bench fnarr fnarr, wouldn’t get away with it because women’s bodies are pre-objectified in our culture.”

    Spot on!

    What it also shows is the way in which the arrival of the PUP senators and Ricky Muir has thrown the whole “elites” bullshit of the Right into sharp focus. “

    The advent of the Country Party upset the status quo of its time in much the same way, introducing non-elites into what had then been a large club of Protectionists and Free-traders. There’s almost an odd, back-to-the-future feeling in seeing the PUP — founded by one-time Country Party member Clive Palmer — shaking up today’s club.

  • 16
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Pritu - suits me.
    Ms K & CitizenK - I wouild have thought that would be exactly what a male would be asked though a major’s preselection check list would go ‘task-task’ at not having a handbag and probably go for one so equipped. Can anyone think of a bachelor, at least of the unconfirmed variety?
    MikeB - “She may well have said what many women think but really, an elected representative of the nation on a pretty good pay packet should know better... than .. wot? Saying what she thinks? Can’t agree with that at all.
    Please do not grovel or apologise Ms Lambie, NO MORE ROBOTS!

  • 17
    tonysee
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The irony is, Lambie comes across as someone who wouldn’t have a bar of ‘cultural power is not symmetrical …’ and the whole analysis thing.

    Her explanation was that she was trying to be funny and it didn’t work. I agree.

  • 18
    Steve777
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    The political right push the agenda of the only elites that count in their world - those with wealth and corporate power. The Right variously use populism, social conservatism and demonisation of out-groups, including dogwhistling to racists, to get enough of ‘the masses’ to vote for the agenda of corporate wealth and power.

  • 19
    hayden pearce
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    My god ! Who would have thunk it? An fm breakfast program that doesn’t have the gravitas of am, radio national. What is the world coming to?

  • 20
    Terrence John Snedden
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Lambie has an awkward, common and self-deprecating sense of humour which is refreshing. For mine she must be measured by her policies and decisions in parliament as a representative of her constituents. As disappointing as I might find her she is probably doing okay by them. Which is more than you can say of some of our more polished and accomplished politicians.

  • 21
    Mark Kennedy
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I can’t understand why Rundle who can obviously write wastes his time with this shit. I certainly haven’t wasted my time reading it.

  • 22
    Terence O'Connell
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    For mine she’s little more than a dumb arsed army copper from that basket case State with the lowest education levels, the highest welfare dependency and unemployment rate that mostly votes Tory. The thumbs up rejoicing at the repeal of the carbon tax said it all - a bogan right winger and apt representative of the 50% below the mean on the IQ scale.

  • 23
    fractious
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    3 and a half stars from me (the Finbar Saunders reference is worth the admission fee). Margaret?

  • 24
    Lyn Gain
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Emoticom. What’s more, as far as I can see, she said that he had to have a package between his legs, and then the msm translated this to well hung, and then social media said big dick. It obviously didn’t occur to anybody that Lambie may have been referring to quality not quantity.

  • 25
    The Old Bill
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    So Jackie wants a relationship with a rugged handsome and successful entrepreneur? Rupert Murdoch is now free, otherwise a home grown one from Tasmania should be easy enough to find. If you have your own ute and a chainsaw, you are on your way.

  • 26
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I think there may be something missing from the sentence:

    ’ Anyone who really thinks that a senator giving a zoo crew as good as she gets hasn’t realised the degree to which they’ve internalised Australian political ideology.’

    One possibility is something like -

    Anyone who really thinks that a senator giving a zoo crew as good as she gets has lost her roots hasn’t realised the degree to which they’ve internalised Australian political ideology.

  • 27
    Ingle Knight
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Why read him if you don’t want the cultural analysis? There is no other commentator I’m aware of in the mainstreamish media who uses cultural philosophy to recognise that the selections made by the media – that is, the opaque nature and operation of their mediating role – as an issue which is of equal importance to the content of the story itself.

  • 28
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Jacqui and Ricki…..don’t ya just love them…Jacqui could go right thru ya cause she was in the military…..yeahhh…and Ricki could do a trick if ever ya was short of kangaroo spoor…

    Indeed if democracy reigns supreme we should have more Jacquis and Rickis in parliament….and a bloody good thing too..

    We need more scrubbers with limited IQ and grist to old Mike Willesee’s mill…we need more representatives who are hard up and reach out to cuddly billionaires for a job change…..and we need more Senators who can get elected on 0.2% of the vote to prove the flexibility and fairness of the electoral system…..

    And all any girl like Jacqui needs is a billionaire with a handsome lunchbox…..enough to make WHO magazine front cover…..yeah….

  • 29
    Liamj
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if GR hasn’t misread the medias distaste for Lambie/bogans-rising. Sure the antipathy is there, but its not due to Lambie simply not conforming to stereotype, its cos blunt truth-telling is kryptonite to the mealy-mouthed bullshitting that is the bread & butter of mainstream media.

    It takes truckloads of bullshit to justify Hockeys budget, Ginas avarice, or Co — Banks frauds, backbreaking contortions of logic and fact, elaborate confections of polite fiction and unchallenged assertion. If Lambie’s public honesty catches on, we’ll be neckdeep in naked emperors, & unemployed flacks, by lunchtime.

  • 30
    Andrew Dolt
    Posted Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    What’s an elitist snipe at a Hobart breakfast DJ crew doing in an article complaining about elitism, hmmm hah?

  • 31
    Darren
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Crikey, your standards have been slipping for some time in my opinion and I have been considering my subscription for a whole now. But this, this confirms it. My subscription is over at the next renewal. What a load of garbage this is. So according to Rundle, because women are objectified it is ok for them to make whatever comment they want about men and that is just fine. No consideration of the Christian based but I think general philosophy of do unto others as you would have the, do unto you. No according to Rundle, it is just fine for a woman to judge a man on huge size of his package at the same time as screaming harassment, sexist etc at a man should he do the same about her body parts.

    Objectification of women is, I agree, asymmetrical by a large degree. But I cannot see how that justifies this behavior. The way to fix the asymmetry is not to remove it by having equal objectification of men.

  • 32
    Chris Hartwell
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    By the by Darren - that ain’t a Christian-based philosophy. More a humanist one that Christians have (appropriately) appropriated. One that more of them really should cleave to.

  • 33
    Wobbly
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Parliament House = phallic?!? Jesus Guy you’re gone a bit cock-eyed.

    One huge pubic mound with pornstar labiaplasty. Reeks like a tuna factory too!

  • 34
    Lyn Gain
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Really Wobbly, Shades of Slipper!

  • 35
    Mike Smith
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Darren, objectification of (most) men wouldn’t work, they’d smirk and enjoy it. Those that don’t have small packages.

  • 36
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I am glad that most correspondents are taking the piss out of Guy’s pissant piece.

    I said before that this litter of Pups…..The Brick, Yeo, Jacqui, Ricki are just doing what pups do…defecating and pissing all over the place, chewing the furniture and sniffing each others asses.

    Jacqui was just having a sniff around for a Clivealike with a lunchbox she could get mischief into.

    Don’t worry big Clive will have them house trained in no time….he has a training camp on the Sunshine Coast manned by dinosaurs which could teach these Pups the essentials of Clive’s world.

  • 37
    Darren
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    @ Chris Hartwell, I should have inserted the words “commonly considered Christian” at the front of that. I fully agree with you.

    @ Mike Smith. Therein lies the exact issue here. The notion that males are somehow a homogeneous bunch who would all like it so it is acceptable is precicely the point.

  • 38
    Chris
    Posted Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, gee, a politician off message and having a joke. What a disaster. Maybe we should all lighten up a bit.

    Our democracy clearly works in electing the best candidates to the senate.

    Gives new meaning to choking on your cornflakes.

    And on the flipside, a man with a big package would need a woman with a big slot to put it in…

  • 39
    Jennifer Green
    Posted Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The last sentence doesn’t make sense. Do you mean
    Anyone who really thinks that a senator giving a zoo crew as good as she gets [is a bad thing?]hasn’t realised the degree to which they’ve internalised Australian political ideology.

  • 40
    warwick fry
    Posted Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Sorry Derrin - but Guy has you outclassed

  • 41
    Thomas Stuart
    Posted Sunday, 17 August 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m stumped by the last sentence …

Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...