Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Open Letter To Saffron Howden

Dear Ms Howden,
I read with interest your report in today's Age of, as the headline put it, Andrew Bolt's "link to racist reviews" of Anita Heiss' book. I have visited the Amazon site, read the reviews and comments, and I must say I am puzzled in the extreme. While many comments are acerbic, there is not one I can find that even the most dour appraisal of race relations could cast as racist.

As I am not a quality journalist, I fear I may have overlooked the posted comment(s) that inspired your headline (which I appreciate you did not write) and your first paragraph (which you almost certainly did write). Just to refresh your memory, here it is:
"RACIST comments published on US book retailer website Amazon about an Aboriginal author have reignited debate surrounding News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt's writings on indigenous people and drawn fire from Aboriginal groups."
So, could you:

1/ Provide me with one example of a racist comment from the Amazon thread. If your sensitivities preclude transcribing it, the name of the poster will do. I will take it from there.

2/ Explain why any comment you nominate is racist, at least as you define the word.

3/ According to your twitter feed of Wednesday*, you were keen to have a quick word with Ms. Heiss. Did you make a similar effort to contact Andrew Bolt? He is being accused in your story of fostering racism online. Surely his comments and observations on the charge of racism were worth the trouble of soliciting?

Many thanks for your attention to this matter. I will be blogging on the subject of your coverage and intend to post this note as an open letter.

In lieu of an example of racism from the Amazon thread, I intend to begin a campaign via my blog to have the matter taken before the Press Council.

Stanley Gudgeon

* the twitter request for a quick word with Heiss has now disappeared


  1. Thanks for holding people to account who use the word 'racism' as a weapon to suppress debate.

    Its being going on too long.

    Anita Heist richly deserved the criticism she received and now her cronies are trying to make it seem 'racism' is the cause and not her efforts to suppress freedom of speech.

    Use the Press Council like they do.

    1. Yeah, I totally agree. THANK YOU!

    2. Papachango over at Catallaxy has mentioned a very simple way to save screenshots that I’m sure many people are unaware of (I was – and I run a website!). On my laptop keyboard, I go to the top row of function keys towards the right-hand side and find a key marked “PrtSc” (for Print Screen). Hit that key while holding down the “Alt” key. Then open Microsoft Word and hit “Ctrl”/‘v’ (Control v), which pastes the screenshot in a format that can be edited by clicking on the define function (for me, a single finger hit on the touch pad). Right click to bring up editing options (i.e. altering the height and depth - just drag the vertical and horizontal boxes at the image’s edges).

  2. What a terrible lapse in taste, or perhaps shining a light on a great funk song - Check here for Billy Paul,

    If only we could all be that funky - but I guess some of us will always have no soul. Speaking of which have you seen Don "No Soul" Simmons? - how racist is that - and the way it treats Republicans!

  3. Professor, you miss the point. Many commenters at Amazon express derision of Ms Heiss's self identification as being black and or aboriginal. Under modern critical race theory this questioning is racist by definition.

    Racism has been redefined to meet their requirements and guarantee that they are right and you are wrong.

    Sorry, you loose. Welcome to the double plus good world of newspeak.

    1. Under Labor's race laws, if you say anything about any race that offends any person of that race then what you said is racist. That the Labor Party cannot see how this absurd law contradicts all they used to preach about free speech throughout the '60s and '70s when I was a naive young member of the Labor Party is one reason why I am no longer a member. Although, I do think Labor politicians were intelligent back then. Perhaps I was more naive than I remember.

      Pedro of Adelaide

    2. Counting Cats
      You are off your rocker.The Amazon comments amount to free speech, something that's is being stifled in Australia. And who by? The racist element that blights our lives in this once fine country.

    3. Pedro, you forgot to say 'apart from whites' as whites are apparently the only race who are racist.

    4. Counting Cats
      Weird isn't it when a book published by someone identifying as Aboriginal who chooses the title 'Am I Black Enough for You?' (an unoriginal title by the way that has been used before) attracts reasonable comments, questioning or derision - which one imagines was one of the reasons for the title - that those responses can then be declared as racist. It's not only weird, it's almost a creepy Orwellian sign of the future.

    5. Pedro, are you suggesting you have successfully matured having metamorphosed though delinquent idealism into a realist.

  4. Onya, Bunyip

    I am having a laugh because I'm of like mind with the commenters in the majority who condemn the title and intent of this book for its breathtaking hypocrisy.

    The few challengers to the majority are saying the negative reaction is "Bolta dogwhistling" causing his bloodhounds to attack, and some have vilified HIM in response!

    The laugh is that the twice I've followed links to sites to comment and read, I have done so HERE,not at Bolt's blog!!
    Cue:Vilification of professor Bunyip in 5,4,3,2,....

    Too funny!

  5. Walter Plinge of TulkaApril 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    I read the headline article in The Age too, then went to Amazon to check the latest reviews. Quite right professor -- not a single racist view at all (didn't check the comments however). Howden's items shows that these days 'racist' is hurled at anyone who doesn't toe the approved (leftist/progessive) line.

    I've been checking the Amazon reviews daily. The great majority of them are well written, correctly spelled, and thoughtful.

    1. Racism happens when you are arguing with a lefty and winning.

  6. Once the word racist/racism has been bandied about by the Left, even a Bunyip should know that all further argument and discussion is a lost cause. Guilty until proven innocent is at the heart of this chicanery.

    lefting around the word racist

  7. You need to get with the Comrade program Prof.

    Any one star commenter at Amazon has clearly committed a thought crime and is a pre-racist at minimum.

    There are officials who can attest to this.

  8. I, for one, am particularly concerned withed poor old numbers. He has become even more shrill and even less coherent in his postings on other sites regarding that book. Check out his sock puppet Bob 7 on one of the links.

    Bob, for goodness sake, get help. Professional help.You know you need it.

  9. Do you think Anita Heiss truly believed this book would be met with glowing reviews and thus serve as the final nail in the Andrew Bolt free speech saga? If so, she's now living with the unintended consequences of gloating in public for a bit of short term profit, which will unfortunately be painful for her. In the long term, this book will be seen as the defining moment in a debate on Aboriginality and entitlements. I can't see this going backwards now; the debate everyone's been skirting around for several decades is on.

    Heiss will one day be seen as the catalyst for the dismantling of an industry that has grown out of control. So I think she should be proud of that; money might even start going to people who really need it.

    1. She received $90 000 to write the book - of OUR money - so she doesn't really care about reviews - unless it's her fellow elitists. She'll probably win every State literary award for her effort (apart from Queensland of course). The elite Left know how to protect their own and secure their finances and get their message out at the same time!

    2. As a token gesture, to show how much she truly does care for the plight of Aboriginies, how about she donate the proceeds of her book to help those who are truly disadvantaged?

  10. I would add:
    4. Saffron, why are no comments allowed to appear below your article? Are you also part of the suppression?

  11. Howden records that one Jody Broun, co-chairwoman of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples (and who are they?), states "Aboriginal identity is defined by us, no one else". This is one more reason to remove from the statute book and administrative guidelines definitions of who is an Aboriginal. An application of such definitions that someone does not like are met with Broun's claim that only 'us' can provide an answer; (this may be seen in the Tasmanian saga). The other issue here is who comprises the 'us' to determine the matter. The notion that some existing Aboriginal community must 'accept' someone who self-identifies confers on a private actor considerable state power, open to abuse. It must be acknowledged that racial classification has long been part of our law, and for many years was calculated to discriminate adversely to Aboriginals. Now it's reversed, but is no more justifiable. Over on Amazon I observed that Heiss had missed the point: "'Australia' is not obsessed with notions of identity, but rather (in particular) persons who claim to be Aboriginal or indigenous. For the most part, the claim is an adjunct to claiming preferential treatment (on a racial basis, that is), and for this purpose some are issuing certificates of racial identity. The critics of persons such as Heiss are not interested in whether she is black enough, or not at all, but with devising policies to accord preferential treatment to those in need, and she does not qualify."

    More disturbing than Broun's comment is that Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke, appears to agree with Broun.

  12. Something odd has happened to the story on the SMH.

    The photograph of Anita Heiss has been changed at somepoint in the last hour.

    Can anyone confirm I am not going mad and the picture has indeed been changed?

    I do have a suggestion as to why a different picture was put there, but I am not sure it is legal for me to say it here. I don't want to get dragged in front of Big Brother.

    You have to admit it is rather strange that someone saw fit to go back to the article and change a picture.

    1. Gary, same picture on my computer.

    2. I have done a google image search on Anita to see if I could see the photograph that I thought was there. I found it, linked to a Fairfax article funny enough. It was a more side on shot, red dress, sultry looking.

      I am sure that is the picture that was attached to the article this morning.

      The picture there now is a smiling Anita, staring straight at the camera. Dare I say the exposure is a little more darker than the more well lit first one.

      I am 90%, but could be going a bit mad and mistaken.

    3. At least I know I am not going mad, I was worried there for a moment.

      Through the wonders of google, this is the pic I saw this morning...

      It may have been changed due to size I guess, there are a number of reasons I suppose. I just thought it was odd and just glad I was not mistaken.

  13. Is this the road we want to take Bunyip? Using the methods of the enemy that we despise? Is it right for soldiers to abuse the enemy just because it is done to them? Do we not run the risk of merely reflecting them, rather than standing true?

    Stanley Gudgeon???

    1. Anon: It is a splendid idea to drag this before the press council, which has ben very active in defining the use of language. "Illegal alien" is now banned, with "asylum seeker" to be used in its place. This would be a fine opportunity to force the press council to define "racism".

      I don't believe it can be done on the strength of the Amazon thread, no matter how much the press council might wish otherwise.

      The left has been very over the years at using the Establishment's institutions against the establishment, to paraphrase Alinsky.

      How nice to put the boot on the other foot!

    2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 12, 2012 at 5:21 PM

      Yes Bunyip, let's start our own Long March back through the institutions. The Press Council sounds like a good place to start, and the freedoms enjoyed by Australians on Amazon but not at home sound like a good issue to start with. All power to you.

  14. Quite right Bunyip. I read that Fairfax article and then spent an hour reading all the responses on Amazon and I remarked to my wife that "I was buggered if I can find and racism on the page." She turned to me and said "I'm sure that dreadful Andrew Bolt egged people on" so she grabbed the ipad and kept reading silently for a good twenty minutes and concluded that she couldn't find any evidence of racism either. So what are they on about? Its a form of brain washing is all I can explain it as. Attach the name "Bolt" to "racism" in an article and people believe it. Beggers belief I know, but a lot of people are very stupid these days and easily manipulated.

    1. I fear that's it, as you say, Bolt and Racism have been made a pigeon pair in the punter's mind.

      I mentioned BoltA to a mate the other day and his response was, "he's a racist isn't he?"

      The left has successfully embedded the perception.

  15. I rarely read the phage, but as it happens, while purchasing my morning coffee, the broadsheet was laid open on a table next to me. I was amused and then angered as to what Saffron Howden had written. I had been checking the random house reviews, and the Amazon reviews and I concur with you Bunyip, acerbic yes, racist no. Dear Saffron must have been betting that the majority of the readers were ignorant of the issue. What a sad state of affairs for free thinking individuals. I am looking forward to read her reply, but not expecting it. Keep it up Bunyip.

  16. I read the piece when it was first published online last night. I may be wrong but I have a feeling it may have been since edited as I thought the original made reference simply to an overseas site and not Amazon as it now reads in the opening paragraph. One wonders that if true, what the intention may have been. It's also interesting to note that even the writer who wrote that 'some' of the 80 comments were racist, is able to produce a headline inferring a number greater than 'some' of the majority. By the way, some of the comments in the Age article give an entirely ironic view of racism.

  17. Dearest Dingo

    ‘there is not one I can find that even the most dour appraisal of race relations could cast as racist”

    Either you need a new set of specs, or you have a bizarre definition of “racism”. I found the following comments on the Amazon site in about five minutes –


    “In Australia aboriginal people believe that "white" Australians owe them a living from birth to grave”


    “This then is the perfect refuge for someone who sucks on the teat of Australian system of inequality that gives more to Aboriginals (in her case part) than it does to the majority”


    “What the author should do is head to Kowanyama or Port Keats or Doomadgee or Mornington Island or Warburton and ask the locals there. Better yet, do it on a Friday night”


    “This book is written by a protected species in Australia”

    Let’s do a little analysis of these remarks, shall we? The first two characterise Aborigines as lazy and living off government handouts. The third uses the snide “Friday night” reference to brand them as drunks. The last one uses the word “species”, a term usually applied to classifying animals.

    Try some thing else. Substitute the word “Jews” for “Aborigines” in the above, and see how it comes across. Here’s a quote from Hitler –

    “the Jews are a people of robbers. He has never founded any civilisation, though he has destroyed civilisations by the hundred...everything he has stolen”


    “when the nation is no longer willing to be sucked dry by these Jewish parasites”


    “For us the Jews are also exceptionally damaging because they are being such gluttons.”

    Try that substitution thing again, only this time insert “Aborigines” for “Jews”. It has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?

    This is a fairly cautious dictionary definition of racism -
    “abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief”

    With apologies to Anita Heiss - Is this racist enough for you?

    1. I am sorry but you clearly do not understand the difference between offensive and racist.

      Let me clear it up for you.

      It is against the law to be racist.

      It is not against the law (thank God) to be offensive.

      Those posts could well be regarded as offensive but certainly not racist, not under the definitions of the law as I understand. Certainly not U.S. law where they are published.

      You should be very careful because were I one of those posters you have chosen to quote above as racist then I would be calling my lawyer as we speak.

    2. numbers you are delusional!

      Not one of those comments you quoted would I consider racist at all.

    3. "Certainly not U.S. law where they are published"
      I really couldn't give a stuff about US law. I'm an Australian. That, of course, is probably considered offensive on this site.

    4. As the Bard once described the Spud Peeler:
      "Your means are very slender, and your waste is great."


    5. Godwin's Law strikes again!
      Ahh Numbers, your rants are becoming so boringly predictable. No wonder you have to leave your own blog and comment on others.

    6. Seems Numbers you've discovered a new breed of social archetype, that of the 'chardonay racist'. I wonder if Saffron's readers had such eloquently put racism in mind when they read of "openly racist" comments. And why didn't she post these examples?

      BTW, you presume these comments are referring to her aboriginal identity, itself a point of contention, and not to her as an author of certain advantage doing very well from a system designed to help the disadvantaged. The latter is also a "species".

    7. Have you been to any of those towns on a Friday night numbers?


      I didn't think so.


    8. Reading between the lines is something many people often claim to be able to do.
      I have found that when different people read between the lines, they often read different things.
      Is it racist to note that certain jobs are only available for a certain group of people?
      Is it racist to note that some jobs have a lesser job requirement for a certain group of people than for the general population?
      I would assert that it is racist to title a book called "Am I Black Enough For You?" because "black" people from New Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, India, Pakistan, New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, etc. are not entitled to privileges that Anita is.

    9. Quote:
      "Let’s do a little analysis of these remarks, shall we? The first two characterise Aborigines as lazy and living off government handouts. The third uses the snide “Friday night” reference to brand them as drunks. The last one uses the word “species”, a term usually applied to classifying animals."

      Yeah, lets do, as you got it all wrong.
      1)The first two DO NOT haracterise Aborigines as lazy. Just because government does give more to Aborigines doesn't mean Aborigines are lazy. And yes, goverment does give more to Aborigines. As a migrant who just arrived in Australia I see it clearly. And there's nothing wrong about it. For example, single uneployed mother will get more from the goverment than working person. And that's not because single unemployed mothers are lazy.
      2)Term "Friday night" is being almost constantly applied to general australian public. At least that was my impression after reading SMH and DT. Didn't realise once applied to non-australians it constitutes racism and deserves front-page on
      3)Wrong again. I'm pretty sure by 'species' author didn't mean all Aborigines but white people pretending to be Aborigines to claim benfits.

      I'm pretty sure you realise yourself that your 4 examples are unimpressive. For that reason you decided to add quotes from Hitler hoping that would make Bolt look more racist. But for the Christ sake, it's beyond me how one could compare "Aborigines like to go out on Friday nights" with "the Jews are a people of robbers".

    10. "What the author should do is head to Kowanyama or Port Keats or Doomadgee or Mornington Island or Warburton and ask the locals there. Better yet, do it on a Friday night"

      So what's the problem? Presumably the citizens are either living perfectly happy lives either as stereotypical Aborigines or urban sophisticates like Heiss. Not sure what you are inferring from the statement?

    11. To note a factually accurate aspect of a race or group is not being racist, which itself requires an act of negative generalization.

      It is quite easily documented that Aboriginals receive more in terms of government and non-government support, and that there is a distinct advantage available in identifying as such, even if one were actually predominantly Austrian and raised in a western environment. To claim that noting this is "racist" is patently absurd.

      As to your quoted comments -

      1. Quite racist.

      2. Offensive, but a clear statement of fact.

      3. I'm not sure on this one. On one hand, it is quite certain that this comment portrays the neighborhoods mentioned as dangerous aboriginal enclaves. On the other hand, if Anita were to take this course of action, is it also quite certain she would be placing herself in an extremely dangerous situation.

      4. A simple statement of fact, if written provocatively. Being a quarter aboriginal yet identifying as aboriginal is protected from derision in Australia by court precedent.

      The rest of your post is quite silly. If Australia had legally enshrined advantages for Jews, plainly racist Jew-only tertiary education entrance pathways, and every single government form issued demanded a response to the question "are you Jewish", perhaps your analogy might work.

    12. Regarding the comments on the Amazon webite, questioning someone's morals (whoever they are directed to) doesn't automatically make them racist.

    13. @ Jupes
      I worked in Camooweal, Dajarra, Urandangie, Boulia, Bedourie and Birdsville with indigenous communities for five years in the nineties.

      @ Mick
      Thank you - racist and offensive - that was my point.

    14. "I worked in Camooweal, Dajarra, Urandangie, Boulia, Bedourie and Birdsville with indigenous communities for five years in the nineties."

      And you didn't you see any Aboriginal drunks on a Friday night? Wow.

      As I understand it, the post you criticised suggested that if Heiss asked her book title question in any of the towns mentioned, she would receive a less than positive reply from drunken Aborigines. Not an unreasonable position for anyone to take who has actually been in one of those communities on a Friday night.

      You claim to have worked in Aboriginal communities for five years yet think that stating the bleeding obvious is racist.

      It must be hard to live inside your head.


  18. It sure needs to go to the Press Council but, at the end of the day, it's only Fairfax whose readers are mainly inner-city left leaning ALP/Green supporters (plus Malcolm Turnbull).

    This shrinking audience is reflected in Fairfax's falling readership, advertising revenues and a share price that has dropped like a depth-charged submarine.

    Give it a decade and Fairfax will be unrecognisable, if it is still in existence in its current form.

  19. Reviewed your list.
    All seem accurate comments in the eye of the beholder and eminently defendable.

    Please note that "Jews" are not a separately privileged by Govt payments or Legislation and claim no privilege due to their race. Therefore none of your substitutions are valid.

    1. Governments may well privilege particular racial groups. That doesn't excuse vilification. To take your cockeyed reasoning to its logical absurdity, if the Jews had been privileged (rather than persecuted) in Nazi Germany, their vilification would have been OK.

    2. Are you really that thick. I do not see anybody villifying Aborigines here. We are having a go at Ms Heiss for diverting money from real Aboriginal people who are in need and then usinmg that money to crow about winning a court case that effectively bans people complaining about it. This is all about a personal distaste for Ms Heiss and her actions as an individual.

    3. No, but the fact of real privilege and taxpayer funded largess under the law would certainly be able to be commented upon and opposed.....those Aboriginal Extermination camps with the ovens are certainly a huge'll get it eventually.

    4. Yes it does excuse villification, of those who unfairly take advantage of of the privilege that Government give to particulalr racial groups. Such privileges are actual racism, which goes to prove that even left-winger like you favour racism, if it suits you to do so.

      The truth is that racism is only a problem, when it seen in deeds, like in Australian policy favouring Aborigines, rather than in mere words. but lefties are so stupid they can't tell the difference between someone calling another a coon and someone ruinig a whole people by giving them preferential treatment.

      Rococ Liberal

  20. I find it interesting to contrast the mode of determination of racial identity exercised by Australian Aborigines with that applied by some North American Indian tribes (see link to NY Times article below).
    It appears that In California people are being turfed out of Indian tribes because, whilst they may have strong racial/tribal ties, if their bone fides are not 100% up to scratch they can be excluded from the tribe. Cynics suggest that the division of reservation Casino revenue may be the driver. However, in Australia, one merely has to self-identify as Indigenous to be enrolled. Surely it is not the same self-interest motivation at play here that is being suggested in California?
    As an aside, I found this last paragraph from the NY Times report interesting in terms of it’s possible application to Indigenous Social Welfare (a paragraph, incidentally, which mysteriously ‘fell orf’ the Age website reproduction of the NY Times article)
    “The tribe has historically had the ability to remove people,” said Kevin Bearquiver, the bureau’s deputy director for the Pacific region. “Tolerance is a European thing brought to the country. We never tolerated things. We turned our back on people.”

    Link to full article

    The Irish Lion

    1. It is not correct to say that "in Australia, one merely has to self-identify as Indigenous to be enrolled"; see my post above. That governments recognise some self-selected bodies of people to be the judge of whether a person with some degree of Aboriginal blood has been 'accepted' in an Aboriginal community is thoroughly objectionable.

    2. Walter Plinge of TulkaApril 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Another item in a similar vein here --

      "What percentage of black parentage do you need to be considered black?"

    3. In the case of the American Indian tribes I suppose it is their own money being divvied out. Finite pot of money, so each additional person means less for the rest.

      In Australia it is a new allotment of money for each additional claimant. If it is something finite like affirmative action placements you just keep lobbying for more and the finite is increased - people gain but they don't lose. (That would be raaaaacist!)

      What they should do in Australia is identify the tribes (I think we can dispense with the new concept of 'nations'), give them money, and tell them to divide it to the deserving. As long as the committees involved are full-bloods, we can expect the standard to quickly become 'demonstrably at least 50% blooded'.

      Mother Lode

    4. There is no such thing as "new money", unless you claim the government prints the money as needed for each applicant.

      As each new applicant is added to the roles, more money is taken from the taxpayers.

      Thus, the taxpayers should have as much right to argue an applicant's merit as do the tribe members in the Indian tribes, right?

  21. My reading of the criticism of Heiss is that she received public funding for this book, posed a question she thought would be answered in her favour but is protected from the righteous wrath of the public by a hypocritical jurist's ruling. Nothing racist there. Her defenders fail to grasp the significance of the stance against such favourable treatment to a mediocre novelist instead of to someone from straitened circumstances getting assistance to publish. The constant references to Andrew Bolt just show that those in favour of the aboriginal industry feel threatened that their time has come and gone.

    1. A very good analysis.

      And it is righteous wrath, the same sort of wrath the public felt in ancient Rome when the grain ships were used to bring in sand for the arena whilst the people were starving.

      I remember Ayn Rand writing that anytime any politician recommends a course of benevolent action towards any special group, always ask yourself "At whose expense?' and the inner motivation of the proponent will be exposed. If there's anything that's not wanted by the subsidised, it's transparency. We are perfectly happy for Heiss to be privately funded for her scribbles. Let her find her own sponsor.

      He who pays the piper should be able to call the tune And people are saying, 'Why is this money meant for people in dire circumstances being given to this frivolous shop-till-you-drop urbanite? How is her book contributing in any way to the continuum of human experience? What value are we getting for this?' She is no James McBride or Harper Lee as far as talent is concerned.

      What we are getting is insults for daring to ask for details.

      I recommend in future that any applicant for an art's grant just be given a copy of La Boheme as a prize. Now those people really did suffer for their art.

      If Heiss wrote this book in order to build a bridge between the races, don't let her anywhere near Jerusalem! Kaboom! TEOTWAWKI.

      Salman Rushdie speaks.

  22. Bunyip, didn't know your name was Stanley Gudgeon. "Here's Luck" with the Press Council.

    1. Walter Plinge of Coffin BayApril 12, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      The Professor has always been Stanley Gudgeon. It's no secret. But you'd have to been a follower of his previous blog, when there was a Mrs Bunyip on the scene, to know that.

  23. The Age has now dropped the ridiculous Bolt banner and moved the story from #1 to #2 position. I suspect it will be deleted soon. This is probably the worst piece of journalism I have seen from the Age in a long time – feeding off the prejudices of their readers. It reads like a today-tonight story. Of course they know it to be true as well: they never allow comments on 'stories' that don't stack up.

  24. With 70 odd one star reviews she should be able to find a couple which fit a loose definition of racist, though she does say "some openly racist" which is not so loose a definition. One should ask how many racist reviews are required to justify dragging Andrew Bolt into a racial controversy -- manufactured or otherwise* -- who's crime at worst is publicising an outlet for expression. I read a large number of reviews and didn't come across anything "openly racist", just highly critical.

    What may happen though, and it already has in one guise (there is one sarcastic anti-Heiss review in the exaggerated tone of a bogan) is that a Heiss supporter can submit a racist review to provide ammo for their side. It wouldn't be the first time such a deception was attempted, no doubt some of the loonier comments on news sites are often these (not greens supporters - they're beyond mocking).

    * "Saffron Howden link to racism controversy" - easy isn't it!

  25. I posted a comment on Amazon so they will come for me soon. I have also written to the Labor Broadcasting Corp telling them I am disgusted at their brand of censorship tho they allow some disgusting comments on Abbott and Bolt.

  26. Anonymous at Apr 11 2012 4:46 ask the question, should we be using their tactics, which we find offensive, against them. Unfortunatly it has gone past that debate. If we do not resist with all of our might now we will loose the war. If this war is lost then there will only ever be their rules and we may never recover. Time to take off the gloves. I am complaining to the press council and will do so at any even imagined slight against any imagined victim that puts a boot into tghe lefties.

  27. As someone who made quite a few comments at the Random House site, I tried to make sure none of my comments were racist, but addressed the point being made by whoever I was responding to at the time.
    Reading one of the letters to the editor in the Australian this morning, apparently racism is rampant in Australia.
    Here in Darwin, as everyone knows, we have a very large black and coloured population. If an aboriginal man gets on a public bus reeking of grog and urine, vomits on the feet of a couple of passengers, then sexually harasses a young girl, trust me, its not the colour of his skin that gets him thrown off the bus.
    On the other hand we have thousands of indigenous people here who are hard working and generous, who love their children and enjoy their jobs and don't like getting dragged into arguments about a racism that exists mainly in the minds of those who go looking for it.

  28. If Tim Blair can have an eponymous Law, then surely an ailing Bunyip should also be so honoured. Might I suggest the formulation of Bunyip's Law as a corollary of Godwin's Law - the first person to cry "Racism" in any discussion being automatically declared the loser, and that exchange immediately abandoned.

  29. Gary M. You are correct. I read the article around 8am and noted how white (in skin colour and features) Anita looked in the photo.

    Yes the new photo is very different. GRRR I can't stand the manipulation and lies of the MSM.

  30. Bunyip,

    Can you keep us all informed regarding your efforts with the Press Council. I love the idea of using the Left's weapons on themselves.

  31. I am offended that Anita Heiss has deflected attention away from Aborinal children in dire need. We cant help the 5 year old drowned in a dam in the N.T whilst being raped. 5YEARS OLD RAPED IN A DAM DROWNED just imagine it ,or the 10 year old gang raped and passed off by the Qld. judicary as "cultural" or the Palm Island women jailed for 3 months for throwing a stone when a man had his liver cleaved in two.
    I ask Justice Mordecai Blomberg am i racist to remind the world of these events>? and to whom is the greater injustice?

  32. Prof - I just emailed this Saffron:


    Re your article today - I’ve read Andrew Bolt’s comments about fair-skinned aborigines in the papers & I’ve also read in the papers that Larissa Behrendt Tweeted that Bess Price’s comments on Q&A were more offensive than watching a video of a guy having sex with a horse & I’ve also read where Geoff Clark was found by a jury to have raped a woman & has, quote: ‘done all he could to prevent her receiving the $20,000 she had been awarded.’ – unquote. In your opinion, which of these people’s actions are the most disgusting? Why?


    Bill Thompson
    Southbank, Melbourne

    PS - Can you identify anything racist about my query? Am I racist enough for you?

  33. To the number 1375099, and Gary M. I think only one of the comments quoted is racist, namely: “In Australia aboriginal people believe that "white" Australians owe them a living from birth to grave”. It’s racist because its unfair and untrue (in my view and possibly placed by a provocateur), but the other comments are defensible, even if you are offended by them.

    #1375099, to use an example, the statement: “Aboriginals have higher crime rates than whites”, is automatically decried by the Left as racist. But it is not racist by the test of common sense, it is a fair and true statement and easily supported by publically available data and stats. The politically correct redefininition of the term “racist” to mean anything that offends the Left is not going to survive the Internet, even if the Left make the Laws and control the institutions.

    Jannie of Perth

    1. Oh, now I understand. Only one is racist, so it's OK.
      Your argument about statistics is patently ridiculous. The issue is not so much what is written, but how it is written. Analyse Bolt's writings (as Bromberg did), and you'll note the hate and derision fairly dripping off the page, much as it does here.

  34. Dear Saffron
    I suggest that you look up the definition of racism before you publish such shameful rubbish. RACIST ? in all caps, almost as if you are shouting this as an accusation? Should we now burn all these commentators at the stake?

    racism |ˈreɪsɪz(ə)m|
    the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    • prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief : a program to combat racism.

    I read most of the comments on Amazon and found that not once does anybody question whether her abilities are inferior or superior as an aborigine. As an author, yes, but as an aboriginal, no! You should read the comments again. Many are well written and explain the problem well and most question why she should be treated differently to any other human being.

    1. It is Anita Heiss that believes that she is entitled to special privilege because her maternal grandmother, whom she had never met, was aboriginal. She was not raised in an Aboriginal culture, and it is difficult to imagine how she chooses to identify as aboriginal. I would call her view, by the correct definition of the word, RACIST.

    2. By choosing to identify as aboriginal she receives benefits which were originally designed to help those who suffer from disadvantage or prejudice because of their Aboriginality. These benefits include special monetary allowances, grants, scholarships, and Government positions. Sometimes by taking these benefits and positions it is likely that others in greater or real need will miss out.

    3. Anybody questioning her entitlement is denied their freedom of speech or opinion by being sued, having their comments removed off the web, or being labelled a RACIST.

    Personally I believe that a journalist who does not uphold freedom of speech should resign from her profession in shame. My father was an extremely well respected journalist and despite being critical of many writers he always upheld their freedom of speech.

    As for Bolt, you should remember... 'If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.' Noam Chomsky

    1. "Anybody questioning her entitlement is denied their freedom of speech or opinion by being sued, having their comments removed off the web, or being labelled a RACIST."
      Are you being denied your freedom of speech?
      "Personally I believe that a journalist who does not uphold freedom of speech should resign from her profession in shame"
      Glad you are holding journalists accountable. How do you feel about "journalists" (quotes used in case you were referring to Bolt) who use vilification, bigotry and prejudice to sell newspapers?

  35. Well numbers,perhaps I'm not alone in seeing the entitlement mentality in action:

    In 1990, I enrolled a grade 5 child to my school, and as he was of dark complexion, I asked the parent(father) if he was of aboriginal or Torres island descent.
    Answer, no his(separated) mother was polynesian.
    Dad was obviously a whitey.

    On the following Monday morning, the father turned up at the office accompanied by a well known and very vocal aborigine leader.
    This fellow rudely demanded of the secretary an interview post haste.
    Once in the inner office he wasted no time telling me the new child was of aboriginal descent and he knew it because he'd checked and his grandmother had lived next to the child's great grandmother , so he would sign that the child was entitled to the various school grants etc.

    He then nailed it,as the father of the boy sat with head hung and said not one word, saying that of course the school would fund the student sleep over camp from a claim against the state govt grant,the parent wouldn't need to pay the $100or contribution towards books.

    This was not the only time I was left furious and impotent by demands of local aborigines who knew every dollar the state could be persuaded to part with to further their wishes.

    1. As a school principal (as I was for over twenty years) I wonder why you didn't manage your school finances so that the additional resources were allocated across your budget and used to assist all students, irrespective of race. This was standard practice in the schools in North Western Queensland with majority Aboriginal enrolments. I'm talking places such as Urandangie, Dajarra, Camooweal, Boulia, Bedourie and Birdsville. This strategy, incidentally, was strongly supported by the community reference groups that monitored NATSIEP funding, and was written into the group's charter.

  36. Hi Prof,
    I posted a comment on the American Amazon site regarding the loss of of free speech. The following is a comment which was posted against my comment.

    "That is a lie. Justice Bromberg explicitly said his ruling was not any sort of precedent that would deny anyone the right to discuss race in Australia. The only proviso is that they must do so calmly and get their facts right. Bolt did neither."

    Upon checking further comments posted against the initial comments I have found the same comment, obviously cut and pasted.

    Could it be one pair of hand or many pairs of hands responsible.

  37. You don't have to be a supporter of Bolt or a fellow traveller of many of the thick twits commenting here and elsewhere to be opposed to this nonsense.

    I think a better avenue of attack is to protest en masse to HREOC, reprising Bolt's views in order to highlight the absurdity of the unintended consequences now cascading from the original legal folly - the more publicly the better. I am surprised few If any journalists are concerned about it.

    A generation of professional wordsmiths is growing up unable to grasp the difference between being personally Insulted and being professionally defamed.

    1. "many of the thick twits commenting here" You're right about the blowflies, but I'd take issue with your last paragraph.
      Rather, they're unable grasp the difference between vilification and criticism.

  38. Dingbat Mr Numbers still using his glorious reminiscence of almost half a century ago to attempt to add credence to his trolling on almost every conservative blog on the net. Just google 1735099 and see what sort of life this guy lives.

    Good grief how do you find time to wipe yourself? Rhetorical question perhaps.

    Interesting your defence of a snidely provocative book written by someone who brags about the tragedy of 'having to' research in Paris. Who paid for that I wonder?

    1. By your own tortuous reasoning, "Commando Jim" as a tag is an attempt to add credibility to your post. I'll give you some advice for nothing - don't assign motives out of prejudice or bigotry.

  39. Just posted the following elsewhere but thought it may be of interest here.

    I just copied the text of the Age article onto a Word document. Strange thing—these are the words that appear above and below Bolt's photo:

    Andrew Bolt... not a team player.

    Racist link... Andrew Bolt. Photo: Justin McManus

    But above and below Heiss' photo:

    Anita Heiss.

    Anita Heiss. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

    "Racist link" seems an attempt to ram their Bolt=racist message home (disgusting), but the words "Andrew Bolt... not a team player" do not appear visible when looking at the Age article online. Odd. Anyone else want to give the copying and pasting into Word doc a go? (Be sure to highlight all the page including the pics.)

    WHO wrote that he's not a team player? Would they also like to explain why they feel he isn't?

    1. I had a longer reply to your first post there Tabitha saying the same as what you got at the Cat, but more. Serves me right for not reading through the end of the comments:

      You'll probably find that it's laziness (or ineptitude) on behalf of whoever pieced the article together for online publication, as its an image reuse from this article:

      The same image appears, this time with the "not a team player" alt text matching the image's caption. I doubt its a conspiracy, just incompetence. Copy-and-paste work at The Age, and not very good at that.

  40. I have sent an email to Miss Howden, informing her of my intention to make an official complaint to the Australian Press Council. I don't expect a reply.
    The collective have no idea about the three Rs.
    Respect,Responsibility and Reality.
    Judging by some of the Press Councils decisions handed down of late, she may in fact win a Walkley for the piece.

  41. Received this reply to my previous post from Bh over at Catallaxy:

    "Tabitha N, have had a look at the source code for the Age page, and the 'not a team player' is coming from the ALT image tag in HTML-speak. The ALT tag is supposed to describe the image, and will display if the image itself doesn't, for whatever reason. Somebody at the Age obviously that 'not a team player' bit was descriptive of that particular photo of Bolt. Methinks somebody was trying to add some sneaky editorial comment to the photo."

  42. Numbers. Ask yourself, could Bolt have written a book with a photo of Anita Heiss on the cover with the title, "Is Anita black enough for you"?

    There you go. That's the problem, imbecile.

    1. Sure he could, so long as he refrained from vilification based on snide, inaccurate and offensive language. He's already done that.
      Based on your post you probably lack the facility to recognise the same behaviour in others.

  43. "The racist Andrew Bolt!" seems to be the cry of the year from the poor grant-enabled left. I see it everywhere, as they all bitterly decry the horrid things he said in his column.

    And I keep thinking back to the concluding paragraph in the offending column:

    "In fact, let’s go beyond racial pride. Beyond black and white. Let’s be proud only of being human beings set on this land together, determined to find what unites us and not to invent such racist and trivial excuses to divide. Deal?"

    This, then, is the thesis that brings out total warfare and denigration from the loons?

    They no longer deserve polite treatment. They're beyond the Pale. Defend them at your own peril.

  44. "..Kowanyama or Port Keats or Doomadgee or Mornington Island or Warburton.."
    Yep, I've lived and worked in those places (and other Aboriginal communities) and you certainly wouldn't want to be out and about on a Friday night in any of them.
    So, what's the problem with the truth?

  45. Why are there 2 versions of the one article on the SMH website? There are quite a few subtle differences, possibly due to one version being edited further. But both are by the same author, and have the same publication date/time. And each uses different photos. Plus one is in the "National" section, and the other "Entertainment"

  46. Carpet baggers and politically correct money grabbers come in all colours including green, beige it would seem, seems to be the new black.