Karl du Fresne: Gender, booze and drugs

By July 14, 2013 Recent News

Breaking News 14 July 2013
ONE OF THE most interesting aspects of the recent upheaval in Australian politics was the way in which sexual politics intruded on media coverage.

High-profile female commentators such as Anne Summers and Kerry-Anne Walsh conspicuously lined up on the side of the deposed Julia Gillard. It was hard to avoid the conclusion that they saw Gillard’s overthrow by Kevin Rudd as part of a gender war.

As with the 2011 media coverage of Alasdair Thompson, the Auckland Employers’ Association chief who was mercilessly savaged because he made a politically incautious remark about women workers, it seems that some women journalists abandon all semblance of objectivity the moment gender issues crop up.
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DON’T YOU LOVE the way sanctimonious academics and health commissars demonise alcohol while sanitising, and even promoting, cannabis?

The head of Australia’s Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education – yet another of those tiresome taxpayer-funded anti-liquor groups with grandiose names – popped up on Jim Mora’s radio show a couple of days ago, essentially arguing that dope causes less damage than alcohol and should therefore be decriminalised.

This highly debatable proposition is frequently heard from smug, middle-class baby-boomers who are safely insulated from the pernicious effects of habitual cannabis use.

Such people are typically well-educated and have high-paying jobs, usually in the public sector. A spliff at the weekend does them no harm. They are far removed from the pestilential effects cannabis has among unskilled workers and those on welfare.

The pro-dope, anti-liquor evangelists still buy into the 1960s-era delusion that cannabis is grown and sold by harmless, dreamy hippies, whereas alcohol is foisted on a helpless populace by bloated, rapacious beer barons. Hostility to capitalism is often at the heart of anti-liquor lobbying.

“Dope harmless, booze wicked” is the wowser’s equivalent of the robotic chant “four legs good, two legs bad” from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

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