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Miranda Devine

May 22, 2009

Reconciled to contradiction

Miranda Devine made an attempt in yesterday's SMH to develop an argument

Miranda Devine made an attempt in yesterday’s SMH to develop an argument that explained how responsibility for footballers engaging in group sex belonged with persons other than the footballers. She failed. The multiple idiocies strewn throughout her column make her argument in “defence of violent sports and the men who play them” approach total incoherence. Here are some examples to get you started, although I encourage you to read the full column:

… the Johns case is a beachhead in the war against masculinity, waged by those who think the only difference between men and women is cultural.

No one enjoys the smell of urine in the street but Mason’s discreet call of nature was hardly a capital offence in the scheme of things and at least he was wearing a nice suit.

Killing off rugby league isn’t going to stop men being aggressive and sexually motivated. In fact, such games are the few outlets boys have left for excess physical energy.

The thrust of Devine’s argument boils down to a form of “boys will be boys”, as she appears fixated on the notion that the urge to engage in violence is a natural part of masculinity, and one that football helps to address. As she explains:

In sanctioned team violence on the football field, young men can test their courage and express what it feels to be male, to have testosterone surging through young bodies, building huge muscles and attack instincts for which society has little use any more. It is teaching them, not to be violent but how to control their violent urges.

A shame it doesn’t teach them more about not engaging in degrading and potentially exploitative group sex.

Needless to say, Devine’s column also apportions a fair amount of responsibility to modern, sexually liberated values:

in which the liberalisation of sex has travelled on an inevitable continuum from the 1960s to some Brave New World free-for-all where Huxleyan teens engage in clinical couplings in which the only things to be negotiated are safety and consent.

But I do have to congratulate Miranda on an achievement in her column. She managed to simultaneously blame football’s problems on (i) feminism and (ii) the fact that ‘girls are taught … to judge their worth and the worth of others by “hotness”‘. The enemy of her enemy is certainly not her friend.

UPDATE: More on Devine’s column at Fuck Politeness.

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18 thoughts on “Reconciled to contradiction

  1. Daphon

    I think Adele Horin’s piece in the SMH today is an interesting read after Devine’s article:

    Having grown up both as a ‘bookish boy’ and gay, the story rang some bells for me.

  2. Tobias Ziegler

    JG, your comment on Jeremy’s post from last weekend was not approved because it consisted of nothing but personal attacks. You’ll have better luck if you actually develop an argument about an issue. But since you believe our readers have missed out on something special, I’ll reproduce your comment here with the offending content removed:

    Imagine being impugned by ______ _______ Luvvie Catharine Lumby for being “unethical”

    She fumes in today’s Oz. “Nobody should walk away from a sexual encounter feeling blamed, or shamed, or hurt,” Lumby said. “It was completely wrong, morally wrong, and unethical.”,,25490825-2702,00.html

    What is wrong with this country, that such mediocrities are constantly deferred to? Why is this __________ _____ ________ constantly trotted as a reputable commentator, judge, and jury? How the fuck is she a Professor!!??

    Matty Johns should sue the boiler suit off the _____ ____.

    There you go – now the only thing people have missed out on is your inventiveness with insults. But I’m sure they’ll be impressed by your perceptiveness and eloquence nonetheless.

  3. Venise Alstergren

    I’ve written a long comment on this subject under Guy Rundle’s article. Anyone who wants to rip me to pieces, now is your chance. I’ve tried to present an hypothesis quite different to her vacuous comments. Have I succeeded in making some germ of an idea? You be the judges.

  4. John Greenfield

    Oh, and by the way Jeremy and Tobias, in banning my perceptive and eloquent thoughts on this issue, you are no better than the authoritarian Religious Right, which you – quite rightly – hate, and now obviously – quite hypocritically – claim to be different from.

  5. michelle

    It would have been better for women if feminism had appealed to men’s better natures.

    And in one sentence Devine demonstrates exactly why she has no right to be voicing opinions that invoke feminism.

  6. zoomster

    If rugby is satisfying all their violent and lustful instincts, you’d think rugby players would be the last people indulging in this kind of behaviour and it would be the preserve of male librarians and IT nerds.

    Yet I don’t think most women would feel uneasy when they saw the local chess club getting on to the train after a good hard game.

  7. Mobius Ecko

    Sorry link didn’t work: Wo+Man

  8. Mobius Ecko

    Yeah caf isn’t it something that females always say that men can never understand them yet they know men inside out?

  9. PeeBee

    GavinM@9 Don’t you get it, she is asking for it!

    After that little diatribe, she can never be able to cry rape.

  10. GavinM

    “…So please, please, please, don’t try and speak for us about “expressing what it feels to be male” and similar. You really have no idea.”

    Spot on caf, I think I’d be fairly safe in saying that most males don’t find the need to gang-bang a 19 year old girl to ‘express’ themselves. Kind of makes me wonder what sort of blokes Miranda hangs around with.

  11. caf

    Miranda, you don’t know, and won’t ever know, what it’s like to be a bloke.

    So please, please, please, don’t try and speak for us about “expressing what it feels to be male” and similar. You really have no idea.

  12. zoot

    Can opinion columnists jump the shark?

  13. Joal

    A fun game to play when reading Mirand Divine’s column is to try and guess which hobby horse this column is heading towards. Sadly though, guessing that today’s was “feminism bashing” was a bit too easy.

  14. Catsidhe

    what it feels to be male, to have testosterone surging through young bodies, building huge muscles and attack instincts for which society has little use any more.

    Ahh, yeah. Whatever you reckon, Miranda.

    And if I was to write a column which talks inter alia about what it feels like to be female, to have oestrogen surging through young bodies, building breasts and child-bearing hips, and nurturing instincts to be passive and submissive for which society has little use any more…

    Well, they would quite rightly put me away. Especially as I don’t know anything of the sort.

  15. confessions

    sigh, more star-struckism, if they weren’t footballers there’s no way she’d be blaming anyone for their behaviour except the men themselves.

  16. Ross Sharp

    what it feels to be male, to have testosterone surging through young bodies, building huge muscles and attack instincts for which society has little use any more.



    It’s just so … weird on so many levels.

  17. wah

    Miranda is saying you shouldn’t be expected to be a tough rugby player AND control your sexual urges and be respectful to woman.
    So what does that say about her father and brother who she says played the game?
    In trying to defend footballers she has insulted the majority of athletes who know the difference between playing competitive sport and being an arsehole off the field.
    The woman is a fool.

  18. TD

    Glad you got to this one. It took me a good half hour to read the Devine column because of all the red mist that crept up after every sentence.

    That post you link to is a ripper.