Thought crime spree

So Clem Ford got fed into the shredders over a tweet. It’s been deleted, but it was a short, dark bit o’ snark in response to an article diving into the massive imbalance between men and women in the hours worked looking after children at home. It’s that thing where most woman have two jobs now. Paid and unpaid. And it’s an imbalance which appears to be getting worse during the ‘ronapocalypse.

But somebody called the Thought Police.

And unusually for Clem Ford, she eventually backed down, a bit, and apologised, a little.

So this one definitely wouldn’t stand up as a Sideboob, although I might’ve given it a run for my old column at Fairfax because I’ve long been interested in the double standards applied to women and enjoyed by men (myself included, natch).

Example? I wrote one of the first columns about #gamergate in the mainstream media.

(I had to explain to the SMH editors what it was and why video games are a whole thing now before they’d run it.) Many, if not all the women who commented on this toxic shitshow, paid for it with a barrage of death and rape threats. They were doxxed. Some were SWATTed. Meanwhile I took a few precautions to lock down my online presence before publication, but it proved unnecessary. I got to have my say and send my invoice without consequence.

There may have been – just maybe, mind you – something of a double standard at work. Then and now.

For instance, I don’t recall Lord Mayor Capp stepping into the brawl when Ford was getting so many death and rape threats while book-touring the fair city of Melbourne that her publishers had to hire private security for her appearances. I don’t recall the mayor’s concern for ‘keeping the community together’ during COVID-19 bothering her even a little bit when man-sized intellectual Gumby, Joe Hildebrand tweeted pretty much the same joke.

But of course Joe gets his coin from Rupert, and maybe the Lord Mayor felt a special responsibility to protect the rate payers of Melbourne from Ford’s life threatening tweets.

Hence the slightly threatening tone of:

“I have asked the CEO to review the selection process for these grants.“

Very tough measures implied? Serious ramifications incoming!

Er no. Not really.

It’s all just performative dance. As a long thread from this guy made very very clear.

According the guy responsible for awarding grants, the decision to award a grant, once finalised is… well final. Even better, Leppert says, “Recouping funds is not even a legally available option.”

He goes on for another nine tweets, including the obvious point that, “It is entirely inappropriate to retrospectively apply special criteria to one applicant,” and the Council (or really just the Mayor) should think through the consequences of regulating the speech of grant recipients.

But of course regulating speech is what most free speech warriors are really all about.