“That Irksome Modern Phenomenon”

The usual reactionary stuff from Angela Shanahan, this right-wing Catholic mother of how many? Not that any of her personal life has a bearing on her stated views, attitudes or opinions. Or does it? She’s a bigot and clearly unable to do what good journalists used to be paid to do – present all aspects of a story from the different viewpoint of those affected and involved. She appears to have made no attempt to do that, resorting to the ‘many of us’ default to inform us of the ‘sheer hypocrisy’ of something she doesn’t believe in, has no connection with or understanding of. What she does or does not believe in probably few of us care and will care even less in the future as she continues to exhibit her personal beliefs for a press that has shown itself to be without morals or standards.
Angela Shanahan in The Australian is the Murdoch press at it’s worst, with articles like this on March 27, 2013 -thanks to M.L. for the link.
MANY outside the realm of political intrigue were disturbed by the events last Thursday. I am not talking about the attempt to get rid of Julia Gillard.
Many of us were appalled by the sheer hypocrisy generated by that irksome modern phenomenon, the institutional apology. Generally, I don’t believe in mass apologies; they have taken the place of personal moral culpability and cheapened contrition, even when an institutional policy needs to be abrogated.
Instead today’s mass apologies use the sheer intimidatory power of political correctness as a way of forcing a single view. And that politically correct view allows no nuance. Witness what happened to Tony Abbott because the nuances of his speech were not “right”.
Abbott’s crime was that he tried to be fair to adoptive parents. His language merely acknowledged that adoptees have two sets of parents, their birth or genetic parents and the adoptive parents who nurture them and bring them up.
That was not good enough for the extremists of the anti-adoption lobby who want to use a strict terminology to put adoption in the same moral realm as child kidnapping. This has happened before with these politicised apologies. Remember Brendan Nelson’s reply to Kevin Rudd’s stolen children apology? Nelson tried to introduce a bit of nuance into the apology. The policy was misguided, but some children were removed for their own good.
However, political correctness gives no quarter. During his speech Nelson was booed and jeered and Labor staff watching in the parliament turned their backs on him, as did thousands of people watching screens in front of Parliament House, just as some turned their backs on John Howard at a reconciliation event when he was PM.
But the hypocrisy of last Thursday’s apology went one step further. The PM said of the child victims of forced adoption: “You deserved the chance to know your mother and father.” Why doesn’t that apply equally to the children of same-sex and single surrogacy?
No one has bothered to point out that the PM’s official apology about the rupture of the mother-child relationship, which she called a “sacred and primeval bond”, leading to a conflict of identity, is all very well, but how do we get our heads around the hypocrisy of a society condemning altruistic adoption on the one hand and, on the other, going all gooey about two men or two women employing a baby maker or a sperm donor to get a child?
What of those children’s sense of identity? What of their confusion? How long will it be before we have to apologise for yet another failed social experiment on the innocent? And of course it is politically not at all correct to point out that a child who has two women on his or her birth certificate cannot actually be the child of both these women, or that the two men who have paid an Indian woman to carry a baby are not the parents of their baby.
The irony here is that adoption of infants of single mothers in the past was encouraged purely so that they could grow up in a mother-father family. What is more, adoption practices were changed as far back as the 1970s precisely so children could settle questions of identity by finding their birth parents if they wished.
All this is being ignored by extremists who want to ban adoption. They are offering an insult to the adoptive parents who work and struggle to bring up their children. Perhaps the birth mothers ought to be thanking them.
Many of the adoptees of the past are people whose own emotional damage has blinkered them to the experiences of the majority who have had fulfilling lives.

There are so many points here to pick up on, but none of them worth much when a journalist hasn’t done the homework, has no grasp on the subject or inclination to present a balanced story when they are paid for opinion, which in this example is worth nothing to those who were involved in the Apology and merely serves to perpetuate the prejudices of those who probably don’t need them reinforcing, as they are quite capable of doing that without Angela’s help! Sad to see an opportunity lost to progress understanding or could it be something about protecting a church that has done so much wrong to so many thousands?
My favourite quote is perhaps this, which is such a cracker it can’t go unremarked – Many of the adoptees of the past are people whose own emotional damage has blinkered them to the experiences of the majority who have had fulfilling lives. Since there are no figures on adoption ‘success’ yet, Angela obviously has a source of information the rest of us don’t have access to! As those of us who are ‘adoptees of the past’ know, emotional damage does not eliminate a fulfilling life, a productive life or give us blinkers to the experiences of others who may be at different stages in the adopted life. Such ignorance of the adopted life would in some other fields of endeavor, disqualify the writer from published opinion and rightly so. It has no useful purpose, serves no-one and merely perpetuates misinformation and ignorance.
I began boycotting the Murdoch press a long time ago and this article reminds me why, viewed against the background of some of the methods used by journalists who no longer seem to understand respectful behaviour towards those in crisis, trauma and dire circumstances. Sociopathological behaviour is alive and well and being paid a handsome salary for writing rubbish!


One thought on ““That Irksome Modern Phenomenon”

  1. I’ve never the phrase “political correctness” used by anyone who who did not sense a tiny bit of his or her power slipping away…and is angry because that power has always meant s/he never has to defend him/erself and never has to think unpleasant thoughts.

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