A few news stories today:
The Australian government has decided to apologize to the aboriginal people of Australia. You know, the ones that they took land from, raped, stole children to try and assimilate, and otherwise murdered and abused... those guys. While we have to acknowledge it as a step forward, because all the previous administrations before Rudd's outright refused (especially Howard's wannabe-Bush administration, which skirted around the issue more than Clinton chases skirts); how can we see this as a triumph? If anything, it is a bittersweet admission of failure decades too late. And even though the government is attempting a resolution to this longstanding issue that truly has been persistent on the Australian Continent, it still reeks of "I'm sorry, BUT..." Why? because in the first place, they make it explicitly clear that the government is issuing an apology for the past injustices, and that the current Australian population really takes no part in any of the blame of past injustice. This is a complicated apology, because it is basically saying sorry for someone else, in a time past, while not acknowledging any fault of your own -- so how is it an apology? And what makes it even worse is that according to general Australian Aboriginal philosophy, every person that arrives on Australian land, and lives and works upon it, is taking advantage of the colonists abuse of power and abuse of the Aboriginal peoples, many of whom they forced out of their own homeland, or worse, massacred. Even tourists are to share in the blame of what happened to aboriginals, according to their traditions, and when you think about it, they have a truly valid point -- anyone living and visiting Australia who wasn't native to the place is in some ways, subtle or otherwise, taking advantage of the territorial and abusive practices of the first colonists. The same could be said for Native Americans and today's American citizens. And the fact that the Australian government thinks it can just issue an "apology" and be done with it is another colonial smack in the face, because it implies that their apology is valid, and incontestable -- in other words, they don't "offer an apology," or "ask for forgiveness", they think it works like going to confession, and being cleansed no matter what they've done. Aboriginals are given no chance to respond, once again they are forced to agree with the policies of the white settlers. That's not fair dinkum at all. Bunyips in billabongs are more believable than this new "forgiveness" aimed at repairing tensions.
Giuliani is out (according to almost everyone) after his poor results in Florida, whose primaries only count if you're Republican. That shows with Clinton's remarkably un-talked-about trounce of Obama and Roberts, with over 50% of apparently irrelevant Florida democratic primary votes. But back to Florida.911 for Giuliani. He's stepping out before it gets really bad, to at least save face at Giuliani partners, his lucrative law firm/consultancy. It's a wise choice. For all the guff people gave Thompson and his lackluster attempts at campaigning, combined with his mannerism verging on comatose, tales of Giuliani's assumed political vigor was widely exaggerated -- his campaign could be more aptly compared to a slow process of rigor mortis, rotting to boot. Of course, Guiliani's political corpse only gives renewed sustenance to the political advisor vultures on McCain's staff, who sees this complete turnaround in fate as an opportunity to grab as much electoral nutrition as they can as if greedy contestants on super-market sweep. And when they hear the *beep* of Romney's harsh and negative campaign spiral down in ratings, they jump for joy as we reach the check out, a.k.a. super duper Tuesday. McCain, the man everyone thought was dead in the water a few months ago, has come back with a vengeance, and not many saw it coming, if anyone. The lesser of all evils philosophy is definitely giving him the lift. Super Duper Tuesday will probably be either the capstone or the demise of either McCain or Romney, and a winner will emerge. Things are less clear, however, for the Democrats. It could happen that Obama and Clinton come out in a dead heat, and the race to the finish will only be determined at the National Convention, which historically a pony show with the nomination all but secured except for formal confirming, and nothing more -- but might now be very serious business. Always one for a showdown, fight to the death, let's hope for a delegate battle, winner takes all.
Note on the by fair the stupidest news stories:
Lester Holt, Journalist for MSNBC, made a good point in an interview last night. He said that because of the blogosphere and the rapidity of news reporting today, national networks and news outlets are in some ways compromised when they decide what to cover, when to cover it, and how much time they can allow for fact checking. In a sense, the quick pace and availability of news has degraded the quality of traditional news, popularizing it and making pop culture and stories that normally wouldn't have received attention, well, receive attention. In some cases, like people's push for publicizing Darfur atrocities, this is good; but in most cases this means that asinine stories on celebrities and people in fat suits, etc., get more coverage, and unjustifiably so -- and kitschy stories with sensational bents are bleeding into the carpet of hard news formats/stories. Take for instance the uses of celebrity couple nicknames with the political machines of campaigns. "Billary",...., really? Is this news? And why is it that it's perfectly acceptable to assume that a woman candidate is a combined creature leaning on her man (yes, she has had him campaign for her, but so do MOST if not all candidate's spouses, regardless of gender). But somehow it's completely unbelievable for a man to be a combined creature with his female counterpart? When Bill ran, he wasn't Billary, and Obama isn't Obamelle, and Edwards isn't Elizawards. Both wives have spoken out forcefully for Barrack and John, but they aren't given the same credit for it. Yes, Clinton is a special case as an ex-president, but anyone who follows the big show knows that Hillary is pulling the strings in this campaign, and Bill is just a sideshow to the main attraction. Clinton might even be guilty or propagating these ideas of a team, but either way, what is so inherently scary about a woman standing on her own two feet in the first place, instead of kneeling at the feet of a man (as Bill, and many middle-aged wealthy white men are probably more used to). Think about it -- throughout history, women have been viewed as not only shorter in actual physical stature, but unable to stand erect, and even those crazy creationists would like to see woman with a curved silhouette rather than standing tall.