Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blow, Girls, Blow!

Probably-respected Aboriginal academic Mark Rose has slammed the publishers of the Australian version of The Daring Book For Girls, because it shows girls how to play the didgeridoo.

Is this out of a negative assessment for the female lung capacity? No.

Is it a Jerry Lewis-style assertion that not only are women not funny, they're not gifted with woodwinds either? No.

Is it just brainless sexism wrapped up as cultural mystique? No.

The truth is far more terrible. Mark Rose is stricken with fear for poor girls who may attempt to carry out the Daring Book's instructions, because...

Playing the didgeridoo causes women to become infertile.

Yes! A barren fate awaits those girls who feel like quick tootle, says Dr Rose, demonstrating the calm reason and scientific thinking that marks him as a giant of academe.

The issue's got him in an absolute panic, so concerned is he for the fairer sex. Teaching a girl to play the didgeridoo is like encouraging her to play with razor blades, he says, although I must take issue with him here. If my daughter is to become infertile, better she do it with a didgeridoo than with razor blades. The didgeridoo, after all, won't cause flesh wounds, and at least she'll be able to amuse herself with music as she lives out her childless life and dies alone.

Rose says the publishers committed an "extreme cultural indiscretion". But I say it is YOU, doctor, who have committed the extreme indiscretion: you have caused Andrew Bolt to sound reasonable.

And that's unforgivable*.

*although I still can't quite see why Andrew thinks talking to whales is "oppressive"...


Anonymous said...

So what he is saying is that Girls+Woodwind = didgeridon't?


Anonymous said...

I thought I had misread or something when I read about the razor blades. I thought maybe two different stories had blended in my mind, but he really did say that??? I don't get it...And it brings up disturbing visuals.

Miles McClagan said...

That's so weird, there was a kid at my school that played the recorder, and he was infertile...well, he didn't get any sex, on account of his love of the recorder...sort of the same thing?

Gilfer said...

[Defending the book's content,] Shona Martyn, the publishing director of HarperCollins Australia...said her own daughter had been encouraged to play the instrument by local indigenous people during trip to Uluru.

Presumably the locals at Uluru took a dislike to Shona's family, as this appears to be a fiendishly subtle plot eliminate any possibility of future generations.

Ben Pobjie said...

Oh Shona Martyn, unable to see the dastardly machinations of the indigenous vendetta.

Pirra said...

I am incredibly late to the party, but there are a lot of different superstitions surrounding women and didgeridoo's.
In some tribes, if a woman touches one she will become pregnant. (Which is why it's so fracking hilarious when my husband chases my sister with one just to watch her cower in the corner screaming profanity at him.)

And even though I am logical enough and intelligent enough to surmise it is all just superstitious nonsense, I still won't touch one either! (Well that's my excuse for not vacuuming the corner in which it lives.)