Monday, March 18, 2013

ABORTION! Now that I've got your attention: abortion

OK. Fine. Right. Abortion, yeah?

I don't really like writing or talking about abortion, because...well, who does? Anytime you express an opinion on abortion you're likely to get someone calling you a monster or a Nazi or demanding to know how YOU would feel if you'd been aborted, and then you have to give them a lesson about logic and it goes on and on forever.

But look I've been thinking about abortion, and much like a mushroom sprouting from soil, an opinion has burst out on top of my head, so feel free to pick it.

The reason I'm thinking about it is because it's in the news a bit lately. Tasmania has introduced a bill to finally decriminalise abortion, and there is a bit of speculation swirling regarding the fact that in Victoria, the Liberals rely on the vote of rabid pro-lifer and perks-enjoyer Geoff Shaw, and that if Tony Abbott becomes prime minister he may have to rely in the Senate on the DLP's pro-life, pro-insanity Senator John Madigan.

So it's a bit topical. And really, it's always topical, because there are always people who won't let go, and keep trying to wind the clock back.

But here is the thing: I feel like a lot of the arguments go in the wrong direction, and they tend to go in the wrong direction because the anti-abortion lobby knows just which buttons to push. I think there is a line of thought which is not used often enough, and this is important because to me the real battle to defend abortion rights isn't in trying to convince pro-lifers to change their stance, but in the big middle ground of "don't-knows", the people who maybe haven't put much thought into it, but are ripe for the convincing by a pious-looking politician with a sincere-sounding speech.

First, we have to recognise that "pro-lifers" fall into two broad categories: real pro-lifers and fake pro-lifers.

The real pro-lifers are a minority - most "pro-lifers" are faking it. Real pro-lifers are the people who genuinely believe conception is the beginning of, not just life, but personhood. They sincerely believe that a foetus is a person with all the concomitant human rights that you or I have, and that aborting a foetus is the same as killing an actual child. They really believe the rubbish they spout about "the rights of the unborn child", and they won't listen at all when you point out that this is an oxymoron and there is actually no such thing as an "unborn child", given a "child" is someone who has been born. They also won't listen if you tell them that abortion can't be "murder" because murder is by definition illegal. Basically they won't listen to anything, so it's pointless to even try with these people.

And that pointlessness is, in fact, the point. The REAL pro-lifers are batshit insane. These are the ones who end up bombing abortion clinics and shooting doctors, and why wouldn't they? If you heard that down the road there was a government-sanctioned facility where doctors were shooting five-year-olds in the head, wouldn't you say some pretty extreme measures were needed to stop this? Wouldn't you, even if you lacked the courage to directly attack the child-killers yourself, heartily applaud those who did? How could you look negatively upon someone who stepped in to prevent children being slaughtered?

Well, that's how real pro-lifers see it. They are insane, and therefore their insane actions seem perfectly reasonable. And so naturally, there's no point trying to reason with them. They're fringe lunatics: we don't need to argue with them, we need to ignore them.

But then there are the fake pro-lifers. These are the ones who claim to be concerned about "the rights of the unborn child", but when faced with what is purportedly a nightmarish holocaust of kid-slaughter, say things like "safe, legal and rare", or demand that Medicare funding be removed.

I mean, imagine! Imagine believing that children are being murdered, but wanting it to be "safe, legal and rare"! Imagine saying, "Child murder is OK, but don't use taxpayer's money on it"! Come on.

Look at the debate that flares sometimes over instances of rape or incest. If you genuinely believed that foetuses were people, how could you make exceptions for rape or incest victims? "I don't think we should kill children except when their father's a rapist - babies need to be punished for that!" Please.

But a rape-incest exception, in fact, betrays a fake pro-lifer for what they are: a woman-punisher. The reason many "pro-lifers" are willing to entertain exceptions is because those exceptions deal with women whose pregnancy is not their fault.

And there is the key. The vast majority of "pro-lifers" are frauds who are simply out to punish women for having sex. They don't care about the "unborn children", or else they'd be marching with burning torches in the streets, storming abortion clinics daily. They will say their concern is for the poor dead babies, but then they'll go ahead and push for measures that allow abortion, but make it more expensive and difficult for a woman to access. Or they'll push to make it illegal, but exempt those women who came by their condition through "no fault of their own".

It is quite clear what these people are about. They are about ensuring that women don't "get away with it". They are about ensuring that if a woman DOES have the irrepressible audacity to have sex, she damn well better suffer for it. Either through a pregnancy or making abortions so difficult, expensive or dangerous that it turns her life upside down. The important thing is that women are made aware that their sin will not go unpunished. The important thing is that women NEVER feel free to enjoy sex without the threat of dire consequences.

And so what I say is, let's call these fake pro-lifers out. Every time a politician or a commentator or an activist claims they want to stop the killing of unborn babies, let's point out just how hypocritical they're being. Let's point out that if all they're willing to do is talk about it, call for cuts to funding or reductions in the numbers, they surely cannot be serious about considering these to be actual children.

And let's make sure those in-betweeners who haven't made their minds up and are just now looking curiously at the issue realise that the "pro-lifers" they see in the papers and on TV are full of disingenuous and malicious cant, and that if you want to be a pro-lifer, you can either join the lunatics or the liars.

Call 'em out, guys. The only way to make sure women retain control over their own bodies, is to make sure the other side doesn't get away with pretending that's not the field we're fighting on.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Time To Put On A Show!

And to tantalise your comedy-buds, check out this exclusive PROMO VIDEO, starring me and SPECIAL GUEST STARS Jonah, Kaia and Layla Pobjie! It demonstrates just how many hats I wear as a comedian.

Now go and buy some goddamn tickets!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

This Is Me

I like to count my blessings. I don't do it often enough, but I've been doing it more lately because I know what a good thing it is to do, to remind myself of what's fantastic about life.

And I have many blessings. My marvellous wife, my spectacular children, my adorable friends, the opportunity to get paid to write, and to have large numbers of people see my work. An absence of famine, war or violence from my life. The privilege of living as a thirtyish white man in a first world country. I am safe, well, and loved. Hell, my cup overfloweth.

I have a good life. I have a great life.

In fact, the only parts of my life that aren't good are the parts that are absolutely awful.

But those parts don't really count because they're not real. They're all in my head. They're my own weakness and stupidity overwhelming the logic centres of my brain. They're bullshit.

However, they do provide a fascinating (not really) insight into how a person can know their life is brilliant at the same time as they feel their life is unbearable.

But it's not real. Let me stress that. Let me stress in particular that I know it's not real. I already know.

Let me stress also that, as I mentioned above, I know how good my life is. I count my blessings.

This is relevant because when you talk about what's awful in your life, people tend to try to remind you of all the good things and try to scold you for not appreciating them, so it's useful to make it absolutely clear: yeah, I got that.

I got it. I got the good stuff. I got the blessings. I got what I need to be grateful for.

But there'll always be times when life remains awful, for one simple reason: I hate myself.

I've often heard it said that you can't love others until you love yourself. That sounds to me like crap, and I hope I'm right, because I like to think I love a great many people, but I could hardly hate myself more.

It may be that my overwhelming self-loathing is part of the bullshit I mentioned earlier. It may be it's all in my head. But I nevertheless know it to be true.

I know that I'm a failure. I know that I let my friends and family down every day. I know that I have wasted my time and my talent all my life. I know I'm ignorant, and lazy. I don't do enough, and I couldn't do enough if I wanted to because I lack the ability. I know I'll always have delusions that I can achieve beyond my grasp, and I know I'll be constantly disappointed when they're smashed time and again, and I know it won't stop me forming new ones and chasing after success like a pathetic dog running after a car.

I know I'm neglectful and callous. I know I treat people badly and that they deserve more from me, and I deserve less than I get from them. I know I disappoint people I love like it's going out of style and I know I have no idea how to maintain decent human relationships. I'm terrible in company and I'm useless alone. I unsettle people with my obnoxiousness and I disgust people with my desperation to be loved. I'll never have the love I want and I'll always have more than I deserve, if only out of pity, because if there's one thing I am worthy of, it's pity. No more so than the poor bastards caught up in my orbit though. Because I know I'm annoying, and insufferable, and destructive.

And I know I'm fat and I'm ugly and I'm flat-out disgusting. I feel sick every time I look in the mirror, and I know that's only fair because I'm repellent. And I know that this is mainly my own fault and I have brought my own revulsion upon myself through greed and laziness and lack of self-respect. And I know I won't change because I know I haven't got it in me. I know no matter how much I swear to improve myself, I'll fail. It's in my blood. I know I'll keep looking at the mirror, at that fat repulsive utterly unloveable creature, and feeling my stomach turn, till I go to the grave. I know every time I venture out I'm inflicting myself on the world, taking up too much room, getting in the way, turning off all I meet with my hideous size and unspeakable visage.

And I know most of all I deserve everything I get and more. I know when I look at myself I want to punch my face, hard and repeatedly, until I bleed, until I fall. I know when I think about myself I want to smash my head into a wall. I know every time I make a mistake, every time I let someone down, every time I make an unsuccessful pitch, every time I make a joke that doesn't get a laugh, every time I make a mess, every time I miss a day of work, every time I spill a drink, every time I forget to buy milk, every time I don't reply to an email...every single time I want to beat myself into unconsciousness.

And that's just what I want to do now, for my unmitigated narcissism in writing this. Because if there's anything worse than how much I hate myself, it's the burden I place on the world by insisting on sharing it with others. I'm very sorry.

I am, as Whitman said, large. I contain multitudes. I am smart and funny and dull and wise and foolish and arrogant and shy and loud and quiet and loving and kind and vicious and cold and sad and happy. But of all my shining facets, the biggest, the one that outshines all others, is self-loathing.

This is what it's like. Knowing you have a great life, and knowing it feels terrible. This is what it's like. Knowing you're a good person, and knowing you're a dreadful person.

This is what it's like.

When you say these things people tell you you're wrong, or that you need to snap out of it, or that you should adopt a more positive attitude. They tell you to count your blessings.

All of it's useless. I know I'm wrong, but I know I'm right. I don't want to be told anything. I just want to tell you - whoever "you" might be - that this is what it's like. Hating yourself.

Depression claimed me years ago, and it's made sure that my worst enemy is myself.

And I just want him gone.