Latest newsletter #168 Click to read online


Babette Francis

Trophy Liberated
MTV has stripped its Video Music Awards trophy of a sex, courageously liberating "him" from the oppressive confines of the antiquated gender binary. As of this year, MTV's "Moonman" trophy, a rainbow-tinted astronaut traditionally bestowed upon the ceremony's winners, has officially transitioned into the "Moon Person" trophy. "Why should it be a man?" MTV President Chris McCarthy asked The New York Times this week. Why indeed! "It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be nonconformist," he argued.

Alternatively, it just could be a trophy. But that's the problem with inanimate objects - when you ask for their preferred gender pronouns, they almost never answer. So it is good of MTV to liberate a helpless trophy or it would have been doomed to life in a glass cabinet enduring the coerced imposition of masculinity.

How your taxes are used
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has generously bestowed $30 million of taxpayers' money to establish an LGBTI "Pride Centre" in Melbourne. This roused the wrath of Sally Goldner, executive director of Transgender Victoria who accused the organisers of permitting "transphobic attitudes", "non-binary erasure" and "mental health stigma". She objected to a convenor greeting the audience with the phrase "Ladies and Gentlemen" despite there being several non-binary people in attendance.

She also objected to lesbian advocacy group "Matrix Guild" requesting a "safe space" within the Pride Centre for biological women only. "That's instantly transphobic language, if an organisation has a bad record on diversity, they shouldn't have a place in the Pride Centre." she said. The Pride Centre Board has apologised for its "insensitivity". (The Australian, 9 August 2017). The Victorian Aids Council will also be based at the Pride Centre - is this a tacit admission that homosexuality is linked to the risk of contracting AIDS?

Cultural Misappropriation
The Wall Street Journal reported on 11 August 2017 that Diana Schutz, a white artist of impeccable left-wing credentials, exhibited a painting in this year's Whitney Biennial in New York. The painting, called "Open Casket" depicted in a "non-realistic, wholly respectful way", the disfigured body of Emmet Till, a black teenager lynched in Mississipi in 1955 by southern racists. Protestors tried to have the painting removed from the show, and one protestor, Hannah Black, demanded it be destroyed, saying that "It is not acceptable for a white person to transmute black suffering into profit and fun".

The Whitney refused to remove the painting but the indignation continued when the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art held an exhibition of Diana Schutz's work. Even though "Open Casket" was not among the paintings exhibited, a group of black artists demanded that the ICA cancel the show.

Diana Schutz had dared to create a piece of what the protestors called "racist iconography" so the ICA had no right to exhibit any of her work. The Wall Street Journal commented that "It is a wonder that they didn't also suggest she be flogged in Boston Common".

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