Brown Study

Brown study

8 July 2017

9:00 AM

8 July 2017

9:00 AM

Despite what certain scurrilous publications have said about him, no doubt to foment discord in an otherwise harmonious party, I really am indebted to Christopher Pyne for his recent statesmanlike contribution to the political debate. His performance in the Cherry Bar in Sydney was not, as some of those publications have malevolently contended, simply a piece of undergraduate gloating about the triumph of the darlings of the left over the dark satanic forces of conservatism.

Nor was it, as others have argued, just the crass revelation of a secret Liberal plot to deny the public a vote on same sex marriage, which is neither here nor there anyway, as it is well known that the people want it, and there is therefore no need to hold a plebiscite to see what they want. (I wonder if Peter Hendy cooked up the signature salmon soufflé for which he became so famous during the secret meetings in his man-cave where the plotting to overthrow Tony Abbott took place. No doubt Niki Savva will reveal all in her coming book, Cherrygate: How the Libs got hooked on Rainbow Trout).

Nor, as certain unprincipled titles in the Fairfax stable have insinuated, was it just another example of how silly Pyne can be when he really tries. Nor, indeed, was it just brazen ingratitude for getting the Coalition to waste billions of dollars on ship-building in Adelaide to save his seat.

No, Pyne’s contribution to the debate was far more substantial and pivotal than any of those superficial interpretations would have you believe. Indeed, I know for a fact that he has determined the outcome of at least one vote, mine, that might determine the outcome of the next election. Until the day before Cherrygate, I believed, with the best will in the world, that Malcolm Turnbull was more or less a disaster, but that Bill Shorten would be worse, and so bad that one had to consider forgiving the Liberal Party for two years of treachery, waffling and adopting a job lot of Labor party policies, and very reluctantly hold one’s nose and vote for the Coalition. But Cherrygate has made everything so much clearer and simpler, thanks to Pyne’s reflections on where the Liberal party has come from and where he thinks it is going. We know now that there are factions in the Liberal party; one of them is the left faction; Tony Abbott was not doing their bidding and had to be dumped; Turnbull was their catspaw; the left has won and is in the ascendancy (if this is a victory, I would hate to see a nadir).

We know now, thanks to that laser-like analysis, that there is now no prospect of a non-left wing Coalition government; and we know that Turnbull is still a complete failure. Conservatism in the Liberal party is a lost cause. So, voting for the Coalition is pointless. But voting in the Senate for someone else now takes on a magical and totemic significance, thanks solely to young Christopher. He has converted me into a supporter of Cory Bernardi, David Leyonhjelm and Pauline Hanson. As they used to sing in gay bars: ‘What a difference a day makes; and the difference is you!’ Thanks Chris.

Due to my international fame, I have been invited to speak at a domain name conference in Orlando, Florida. I must say I have been looking forward to the event, not the least reason for this being to get away from the stultifying atmosphere of Australia and its political correctness, safe spaces, trigger warnings, gender realignment, segregated computer labs, re-writing Christmas carols and the hounding of innocent cartoonists. It will be a great relief to spend some time in the home of the brave, where freedom of speech and action are guaranteed by the constitution. But my enthusiasm has waned somewhat since I received the conference materials containing the alarming news, expressed in capitals letters, that there is to be NO MANSPREADING at the conference. To make sure there was no doubt about it, the announcement was accompanied by an equally alarming illustration, set out here for your edification. Even with the illustration, I must confess, having led a sheltered life, that I was not quite sure what particular acts were encompassed by this mysterious practice.

So I turned to the ever-helpful Urban Dictionary which provided me with the answer that the expression comes from certain ‘third wave feminists’ complaining about men on the subway spreading their legs and, as it were, taking up space. The Urban Dictionary, as it usually does, also gave a handy example of how the expression might be used in polite company, namely: ‘“Stop manspreading, you disgusting pig!” said the fat lady with a large purse taking up the seat next to her.’ I did not know whether to laugh or cry, but as laughing has probably been banned by the new puritans, I think I will just cry.

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