Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Politics, it’s all just arse

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Remember when Tony Abbott took the liberal party leadership from Malcolm Turnbull and we laughed and laughed?

Good times.

That was back in the days that I could watch Question Time and still care enough to throw things at the telly. Now, watching Tony Abbott clutching onto the dispatch box against which Paul Keating lounged so sardonically, my spirits sink down to my socks and make low growling sounds.

Try as I might, the only thoughts I can come up with on politics now is “it’s all just arse”.

It’s not a partisan problem; an intelligent, driven collation pursuing a right wing vision of the world would almost be a welcome thing at this point. It’s the lack of intelligence and vision that makes reading and writing about politics so dispiriting. Tim Dunlop’s “lightweight, puffball cypher…who demonstrably lacks popular appeal, and who has singularly failed to articulate a viable, positive justification for his claim to the prime ministership” is now our Prime Minister.

I can’t even summon a smug I-told-you-so piece about Abbott square-gaiting around the international stage, plopping malapropisms down in place of diplomacy. The reality of an inarticulate, visionless Prime Minister, so terrified of his own position that he hides the frozen inactivity of his government behind media blackouts and denied FOI requests is more depressing than enraging.

There’s no arguments to counter, there’s no debate to have against meaningless slogans and dogmatic simplifications. The unbelievably complex moral, social, economic and diplomatic issues in the asylum seeker debate devolve to Stop the Boats. The equally complex scientific, economic, moral and social issues of climate change; Axe the Tax. Macroeconomic management, global financial crisis, rapidly changing labour market, aging population and welfare reform; Reduce the Debt.

How do you have an argument with someone who refuses to articulate a position?

It’s all just arse.

Would arse, in fact, prove to be a more interesting article?

While almost all animals have an anus, humans are the only animal to have developed a fully padded arse.

Our spongy layer of fat and muscle developed when we stood up on our hind legs and walked around. It helps us keep our centre of gravity in the right place and means we can sit on our arses without using arms to support our weight, thus leaving hands free for developing tools, typing, driving and throwing remote controls at the telly.

The buttocks are composed of several muscles. The gluteus maximus is the largest and one of the strongest muscles in the body. The gluteus medius is a broad muscle on the outer surface of the pelvis. It’s partly covered by the gluteus maximus. The gluteus minimus is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles. It is shaped like a fan and located under the gluteus maximus. Together, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles help extend the thigh, turn the upper leg inward and support the body when standing on one leg.

Words matter, not just to writers, but to readers. The language we use frames the thoughts we have. Asylum seekers are officially illegal, despite the legality of their arrival. If that change of language passes into the public arena it changes the debate. But that's only relevant if there is, in fact, a debate between the public and the government on this issue. 

The word “callipygian” is sometimes used to describe someone with notably attractive buttocks. The term, naturally, comes from the Greek kallipygos, which literally means “beautiful buttocks”; the prefix is also a root of “calligraphy” (beautiful writing) and “calliope” (beautiful voice); callimammapygian means having both beautiful breasts and buttocks. Dasypygal is a word for someone who has particularly hairy buttocks.

Pygophilia is sexual arousal or excitement caused by seeing, playing with or touching the woman’s buttocks; people who have strong attraction to buttocks are called pygophilists.

Pygoscopia means observing someone’s rear; pygoscopophobia is a pathological fear of being its unwilling object.

There is an argument to be made that Abbott’s strategy of obfuscation and silence is actually working when political writers give up on writing about politics, and, that in doing so we are becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

The notion that the ideal of masculine vitality involved hefty buttocks was widespread. Scottish anatomist Robert Knox’s 1850 book The Races of Man describes the English as if they were race horses, as “broad-fronted, broad-bottomed, best for depth, range and equability.”

The science of climate change and the involvement of human activity in the rate of climate change is virtually undisputed by scientists. Abbott, by virtue of not having discussions has changed the discussion of science to a discussion of politically partisan feelings.

Ulf Buck, a blind German psychic, says he can tell people’s future by feeling their naked bottoms. This is proven scientific fact and not at all a scam by some mad kraut with a bottom fetish and hidden webcam.

Nuance and complexity are an essential part of any useful debate about nuanced and complex issues. When the government refuses to even recognise that the issues on which they are legislating are nuanced or complex, the only result can be legislation that does not address the issues.

In 2008 the US Federal Communications Commission proposed fining the American ABC $1.4 million for airing in 2003, between 6 am and 10 pm, an NYPD Blue episode showing a woman’s buttocks. According to the FCC, the episode violated its decency regulations because it depicts “sexual or excretory organs or activities”. In response to ABC’s argument that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, the ruling states: “Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense”.

A man who attempted to position himself as a conviction politician and a committed Christian is flying in the face of the most basic principles of conviction and Christianity. Despite this, his conviction of his own morality remains unchanged. The wilful blindness, lack of self-awareness and utter inability to question or understand his own actions is breathtaking.

The word buttocks occurs only three times in the King James Bible: once each in the Second Book of Samuel, the First Book of Chronicles, and the Book of Isaiah. There are no buttocks in the New Testament.

Politics. It’s all just arse.

Jane Gilmore

Jane Gilmore is the editor of The King's Tribune.

Follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneTribune