Just as a note, the Australian payroll tax applies to all contractors, whether or not you operate as a "company" and whether or not you're an individual. A lot of companies in Oz prefer contract employees (especially in IT) because then they don't have to fork out the payroll tax themselves, the wankers. I don't know it'd be represented that on the pie, though, assuming you could find out the percentage of contract employees.
There's also the super contribution, which is a minimum of 9% of your income if you earn more than $450 a month gross.
It makes my blood boil when I go home and listen to my relatives whining about the tax rates in NZ. And they're the middle class ones, who are doing quite nicely, thank you.
Getting back to CDs, I still buy them. I will install iTunes over my dead body, and other than the indie outfits like Magnatunes, that don't carry the artists I want, the DRM and shite quality are reasons not to buy from most online vendors. Trent Reznor is doing the right thing, as far as I'm concerned.
By buying CDs, I can rip my nice OGGs (hell, if there was more 224 kbit AAC or VBR MP3, I'd buy those - I'm not a complete dork about music) and copy them onto any device I so choose.
Pitch Black released something recently that had OGG files on it, and I thought, COOL, no need to rip this one... until I found out they were 48kbit. Why the hell would I want to listen to AM-quality music?
Ahem, my bad. As a journalist, embellishing headlines for effect is... actually, it kinda *is* journalism.
I know I should change it... but it's a tomahawk of a headline: simple, balanced and brutal.
Trouble is, it's completely misleading, i.e. unbalanced. It's not great if your tool isn't right and you whack off your own foot.
Sure, headlines can be punny, exaggerating or sly. But outright wrong is something best reserved for the crappiest tabloids.
Regarding NSFW imagery being potentially the reason that portraits like Mika's weren't included in the exhibition ... unless we're one of the lucky few, it's not our workplace. :-)
I dunno, you see those nudie Greek and Roman statues in 3 dimensions; it is quite odd that an exhibition ostensibly about nudity and nakedness would avoid everyone's pink bits so assiduously.
In terms of nudes, I've always loved Goya's statement with the nude Maja. After the outcry over his first effort, he repainted her clothed. Of course, the clothing may well not be there: absolutely nothing is left to the imagination.
On another note, riffing off something that Jacqui said waaaay upthread, it is true that people like Julie Bindel can be held up to be kind of straw feminists these days. The kind of views epitomised by her ilk are not necessarily at the centre of feminist discourse these days, although they were par for the course from the mid-70s through to the mid-80s (at least, that was the last time anyone said to my face I was "male-identified" because I'm somewhat butch). But she and that kind of essentialist cultural feminist (I don't know if she IDs as such, but her ideas are in that vein) are a dying and increasingly marginalised breed. Well, at least that's my optimistic view - however, there's still plenty of it about, epitomised in that radical/cultural feminist type opposing themselves against what they call sex-positive "feminists" (yes, with the "feminist" in quotes). The sex wars are still not over for some.
But they no longer are the dominant influence in feminist circles. The change in perception of this type might be epitomised by what someone said the other day on my FB: "don't get me started on Jeffreys, Raymond and Bindel, they're like the holy trinity of [feminist] nutcases."
So, yeah, good to discuss them in the context of their influence on various phases of feminist history (oops, I feel Daly's cold glare in omitting HERstory from the grave), and their continuing influence on some now. But Bindel et al's views should not be presented as being the end-all and be-all of feminist thought (not that I'm trying to imply that Russell has that view, btw).
Yeah, the feminist movement is not immune to various kinds of erasure, including failing to acknowledge the varying concerns of non-whites, different classes, and as mentioned above, the fact that rape is not solely a women's issue. I do believe that feminism helped bring it to the fore as something that should be addressed on a systematic basis, not just blaming it on individual fucked-up behaviour.
Not so long ago, The Register did one of its "humour" pieces on two Swedish (?) women who were apparently roaming the countryside and sexually assaulting men. Most of the commenters on the story thought this was hilarious, with a few anti-feminist trolls who asserted that actual feminists would not consider that to be sexual assault. Of course, most of us would, but there is still that men vs women perception from non-feminists.
So, yes, the patriarchy (or to use the trendy term, the kyriarchy) fucks us all up. Men as a group may tend to benefit more in the long term, but that certainly isn't true of all individual men. The type of feminist who pretends problems like sexual assault are just problems for women are doing all of us a disservice. And it's bloody embarrassing for the rest of us. My understanding is that kind of stance has died a death in the last decade from those involved in providing assault support services; I certainly hope that it's the case. The last time I looked for support services for men here in Australia, they were actually mostly being provided as offshoots of women's shelters. Some progress there. I'm sorry that was too late for your family, Emma.
@Scott A, let's not make rape analogies unless you actually know what you're talking about. (As for Bindel giving you that "soiled" feeling after reading her, I know where you're coming from).
Speaking of "crazy old men" feminists, and Bindel's influences (particularly in the area of transphobia), Mary Daly died a few days ago. While she made some interesting observations about religion and patriarchy (and yes, some of the language puns were amusing/food for thought), her mangling of history and language in the service of her arguments, and her problems with race and transsexuals (and refusal to publicly acknowledge her mistakes) meant that she was not one of my "reference feminists". However, she was hugely influential and gave rise to a whole swathe of goddess-focussed religious practices (not to say all goddess-worshippers are Daly devotees btw), and a particular strain of lesbian separatism/cultural feminism (i.e. all women are better than all men, lol).
As Sculpin says: I feel lucky to have had her work to react against. For all her flaws — and there’s a vast taxonomy of them, as I recall — she was brave as hell, and her work scratched open a small, new opposing bravery in me. Ave atque vale, old Lunatic.
As for Garth George as a lesbian...
That's even worse than the Margaret Thatcher image.
I have to say - and excuse my language - fucking "political lesbians" give me a fucking stitch.
I don't need these twits to confer their "solidarity" on my sexuality. I resent the implied biphobia that goes with their views - that it's so much more radical to ID as a dyke than to deal with the genuine crap that bi people often encounter.
And to be honest, most lesbians of my acquaintance get on with men fairly well, because we are lesbians because we fancy women, not because of some fucked-up perception of men.
I do somewhat agree with the fact that our sexual expression isn't entirely innate - I tend to think it's a combination of actual inbuilt (by whatever mechanism) tendencies and some conditioning. For example, I myself (like most lesbians) could not be termed 100% gay (and unlike other lesbians, I will actually have sex with men at long intervals, if there's nothing else around), but I'm not as bisexual as I might be due to the fact that many men are still mired in sexist crap to a greater or lesser degree, and I don't want to deal with it.
Heh, it sounds like I'm a political lesbian! But honestly, I'm 95% gay, I don't seek out men as partners, and I can't see myself ever getting romantic about one. The people who do have the capability (of being bisexual or even mostly straight) and who deny it, are as bad as the "ex-gays" in various Christian movements, IMO.
It's compounded by the fact that they feel they have the right to speak for all feminists or all lesbians. Ok, there is such a thing as a polemical call to arms, but effectively saying "my way is the best and only way" is irritating, to say the least.
Also, I agree with Russell's remarks on the quality of the Grauniad's feminist writers in general - in between their professions of political lesbianism (not all of them, of course) and diatribes against the sex trade (sure, much of it is vile, but it doesn't have to be) and "sex-positive" feminists, I tend to skip over most of their columns. I'll stick to Shakesville, Pandagon and Shapely Prose for the bulk of my feminist reading.
@ recordari - Yes, I should have said "up until the 90s, German banks...."
The Swiss banks aren't a great example, to be sure, especially how they got their big boost in the 40s. :-( But the German banks were closely aligned to provincial and federal government in terms of business lending schemes and underwrote businesses from the small to the huge. Of course, they all got a bit more "entrepreneurial" in later years.
As for precious metals, yeah, it's just a bit too close to the idea that money is only worth what we agree it to be. Fondling gold coins is a little bit too close to cowrie shells to my liking. I suppose they both look pretty if the global financial system crashes, and people have a superstitious belief in the "value" of gold. More than they would in the value of EFTs or paper money, if it comes to the End Times. Heh.