Thwack — the Mulcher has been ticked off by the feminist blog The Dawn Chorus. (Hello, Dawns.) The trouble magnet is once again J. Assange, this time prompted by the rape allegations against him.

Ms. 45 wonders that “Crikey wonder[s] why they don’t have female readers.” The ubiquitous Mel Campbell is “pretty disappointed” I should think the most sensible comment comes from Assange’s son Daniel: “I haven’t seen any evidence that there was any actual non-consensual sex involved at any point, so it looks to me that it’s just some sort of cultural misunderstanding or general social failure on the part of my father or the women that’s led to the situation.” The picky word here is “evidence” — there are claims and counter-claims.

Rats, and I do hate to disappoint Mel Campbell.

Pyscho-gential affinities et al

Lindy-Assange-t-shirtAh well, perhaps I can’t fully defend the “most sensible” bit. Only that in this instance, perhaps we could take a tip from Jon Stewart about extreme political posturing and “take it down a notch.” But … let’s be utterly plain — if Assange is guilty of rape, he should get what he deserves. And if the women have falsely accused Assange of the crime, then let’s be clear how malign and wicked that act would be. But clear is the last thing we can expect.

It is mucky, and getting muckier — see the Rundle report on the aggressive media counter-play by the defence, and Rundle’s clarifying Swedish timeline of the events as they can be known. It all sounds at the very least unpleasant, but wait we must to see how it washes up in court.

It’s only human nature that our opinions are inflected by psycho-genital affinities, skin groups and tribal-atavistic-geographical instincts, and religio-ideological beliefs. It’s very hard to be skeptical without being cynical, alert without being alarmed, or to see what’s before one’s nose, as Orwell put it. We can recall what happened to Lindy Chamberlain because of prejudice.

And if Assange does get extradited to America, it won’t be about getting justice for the two women. They’ll have a comfy waterboard, steel cross and three long nails waiting for him.

Assange is identified with, but is not WikiLeaks, anymore than Jimmy Wales is Wikipedia. Assange is obviously a Complicated Person. Separately from its founder, I happen to think WikiLeaks is a complicated good. To requote Slate: “It restores distrust in our most important institutions.”

Brickbats and prongs

Having applied the ruler on the knuckles, Mel Campbell also has this crushing advice: “Political commentary doesn’t suit Chong; he should probably confine his thoughts to arts and culture, which is the remit of his Crikey blog.” Chasten thou!

So, I’m drawing myself up and in the starchiest Lady Bracknell tones issuing this statement: “The Mulcher Reserves the Right to be Wrong, Perverse or Problematic on Any Subject It Chooses.” (But we draw the line at boring and tediously conventional.)

As I stumble out of the Difficult Politics Room into the Bickering-but-Unimportant Culture and Arts Room, I bump into who else but Mel Campbell, who’s been cooing over newsreader Sandra Sully‘s career moves at Channel Ten. Ah, lucky they, who can straddle the many prongs of the world.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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