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Tuesday, 01 June 2021 02:57

Vile Slurs

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According to one of the dictionaries, a slur is defined as:

 … an insinuation or allegation about someone that is likely to insult them or damage their reputation.

This definition is worth keeping in mind when we come to Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie and an “incident” said to have taken place in the Qantas Lounge in Melbourne in late March.  According to News Corp’s Samantha Maiden, no woke leftie and no fool:

Senator Jacqui Lambie [was] banned by Qantas for six months following [a] vile slur against CEO Alan Joyce.

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has been booted from the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge over a vile rant aimed at the airline’s CEO.

What did Lambie say?  According to Maiden:

Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has been grounded by Qantas for six months after a Chairman’s Lounge rant over her “p**sy power” that included homophobic slurs that the airline’s CEO was “a p**f”.

Was this vile?  Was it even a “slur”?  Back to our definition.  Is what Lambie said an allegation?  Err, nope. An insinuation?  Err, nope. Did the statement result in the “victim” suffering a damaged reputation?  Insulting?  Quite probably.  But it has to be an allegation or insinuation that is insulting.  If there is no insinuation or allegation, there is, by definition, no slur.  End of.  She was stating a fact, using colourful language, whatever her motivation.  And since when does “poof” lose the double o?  I am guessing that a whole generation of youngsters who routinely have used the word “gay” to mean uncool won’t be greatly scandalised by the use of the word “poof”.

Another media story on the Lambie incident began with “Warning: Offensive language”.  Note that nobody but nobody has taken up the issue of the “p**sy” word.  No identity group might be offended by that, evidently.

Maiden also noted, in respectful, almost hushed, tones:

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce … is happily married to his New Zealand partner Shane Lloyd …

What this has to do with anything is not clear.  Why the felt need by mainstream journalists and media outlets to speak in such a way?  To ask the question is to answer it.

That Maiden, whether or not a virtue signaller herself, has succumbed to politically correct newspeak says much about the extent to which the rules of the new identity game have become embedded in public life.  Of course, cultural relativism is upstream from identity politics, and this too has become the only accepted way of thinking handed down from the commanding heights of our modern institutions.

Needless to say, Lambie felt forced to issue the standard grovelling apology to all concerned.  But Lambie has also claimed that she never said that which she was reported as having said.  Whether she called Joyce a “poof” or not, what is noteworthy from this affair is the nature of the reporting of the alleged incident and the use of language – “slur”, “homophobic”, “vile”, “happily married”, “rant”, and “poof” losing the double -o and being replaced by asterisks.  It is significant as well that Lambie has gone to such astonishing lengths to establish that she did not call Joyce a poof.  Eliciting statements from Qantas.  Getting corroboration from those present.  Just to show she is not a homophobe.  This says plenty about where we have got to as a cowed culture.

Jordan Peterson achieved global fame (or infamy) over his refusal to accept being forced by his university employers and by new laws in Canada to speak particular words in certain contexts, namely gendered pronouns.  This went way further than prohibiting by law certain words (that are claimed to be offensive, even a hate crime).  It actually sought to make people use certain words.

What the Lambie case reminds us is that it doesn’t need legislative prohibition to achieve effective censorship and the prescription of what words we are obliged to use.  It can creep up on you.  We have been nudged into using only certain approved words to describe that which was once considered within the realm of “free speech”.  By making “gay” the only approved description of homosexuals, we have achieved the very same outcome as that which Jordan Peterson reacted against so vigorously.

Now censoring private conversations is on the woke agenda, as we have seen this year in Scotland.  In February, the Scottish media reported:

MSPs back criminalising hate speech at the dinner table.

Here is another headline on the Scottish legislation:

Hate crime bill: Hate talk in homes ‘must be prosecuted’.

This from no less than the Scottish Justice Secretary, one Humza Yousaf.  Despite Yousaf’s “leadership” on the issue, there was, mercifully, opposition:

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill has been condemned by critics including the Scottish Catholic Church, police representatives, academics and artists. It will introduce an offence of stirring-up of hatred against people with protected characteristics, including disability, sexual orientation and age.

The pushback is reassuring.  This is chilling stuff from the home of The Enlightenment, the birthplace of Adam Smith and David Hume.  It isn’t so long ago that homosexual activists and other champions of the sexual revolution were berating Christians to “get out of our bedrooms”.  (If only they stayed in their bedrooms).  Now, it seems, Christians and others are the ones that have to be worried about the woke state invading their dining rooms.  No slurs, no jokes, no casual homophobia (and other deemed offences against today’s preferred identity groups) will be allowed.

Slurs now include jokes, of course.  Jerry Seinfeld famously said he wouldn’t want to be doing stand-up on campus anymore.  John Cleese has similarly lamented the passing of offensive humour in the cause of identity politics.  The Canadian journalist Mark Steyn fell out with National Review in 2013, and walked, over editorial frowning on his repeating an old gag.  As Steyn explained:

The forces of “tolerance” are intolerant of anything less than full-blown celebratory approval.

The celebratory approval demanded now is mostly called “affirmation”.  We all have to affirm homosexuality, not merely tolerate it.

Steyn noted:

Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American television. But you can still find them in the archives, out on the edge of town, in Sub-Basement Level 12 of the ever-expanding Smithsonian Mausoleum of the Unsayable. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

For Hope, this was an oddly profound gag, discerning even at the dawn of the Age of Tolerance that there was something inherently coercive about the enterprise. Soon it would be insufficient merely to be “tolerant” — warily accepting, blithely indifferent, mildly amused, tepidly supportive, according to taste. The forces of “tolerance” would become intolerant of anything less than full-blown celebratory approval.

Second joke from the archives: Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra kept this one in the act for a quarter-century. On stage, Dino used to have a bit of business where he’d refill his tumbler and ask Frank, “How do you make a fruit cordial?” And Sinatra would respond, “I dunno. How do you make a fruit cordial?” And Dean would say, “Be nice to him.”

But no matter how nice you are, it’s never enough. Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, in his career-detonating interview with GQ, gave a rather thoughtful vernacular exegesis of the Bible’s line on sin, while carefully insisting that he and other Christians are obligated to love all sinners and leave it to the Almighty to adjudicate the competing charms of drunkards, fornicators, and homosexuals. Nevertheless, GLAAD — “the gatekeepers of politically correct gayness” as the (gay) novelist Bret Easton Ellis sneered — saw their opportunity and seized it. By taking out TV’s leading cable star, they would teach an important lesson pour encourager les autres — that espousing conventional Christian morality, even off-air, is incompatible with American celebrity.


Phil Robertson’s rendition of St Paul’s letter to the Romans is eerily familiar, of course, to Australians familiar with the (alas, still continuing) Israel Folau saga.

In his 2014 scholarly, painstaking and deeply countercultural book, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything, the American scholar Robert Reilly traces the normalisation of homosexuality over the last half century.  Reilly notes the end game of the gay liberation movement:

What they want is legal recognition that obliges everyone to recognize the legitimacy of their act.

“This is the right to see government and society affirm our lives”, as one gay leader quoted by Reilly put it.  And woe betide anyone who demurs, as Israel Folau learned to his great cost.  This has been the critically important play of the gay rights brigade and their fellow travellers – to appeal to basic private rights – it is all about “love” – when the real game is to achieve public affirmation, and thereafter the silencing, shaming and ultimately the elimination of opponents.  Utilising useful idiots like mainstream journalists. 

Or gay lawfare, as is the norm in America.  In the USA, it isn’t just bakers who refuse to bake gay wedding cakes that get thumped.  It is Supreme Court nominees who us the phrase “sexual preference” when we all know that gaydom is delivered at birth and the correct term is “sexual orientation”.  Never mind Kevin Spacey who “chooses” to live as a gay man or Gore Vidal who (as a homosexual man) suggested that the word is merely adjectival, as in “homosexual act”, and should never be used as a noun, as in “he is a homosexual”.  For Gore Vidal, even saying “homosexual person” was an error.  And never mind the whole category “bisexual” (the “B” in LGBT, the forgotten, inconvenient bit of the acronym) which suggests a certain fluidity of choice in these matters.

One reviewer of Reilly’s book noted:

The LGBT activists argued that, when it came to sexual ethics, one group should not be allowed to impose their morality on others. However, nature abhors a vacuum. The moment the LGBT activists obtained the right to legally marry, they sought to impose their moral vision on others, insisting that it was immoral not to accept their right to marry. They demanded that everyone not only accept their pseudo marriages, but that Christian-owned businesses service LGBT wedding rituals. The LGBT activists now insist that, because persons identified as LGBT have suffered discrimination in the past, hurting their feelings is a hate crime. According to LGBT’s new morality, religion does not allow you to discriminate.

Reilly’s book asks a fundamental question:

Why are Americans being forced to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable? 

This question has been forced underground.

And God help those who argue to homosexual people that they might want to consider changing course, if they wish to.  Daniel Andrews’ legislation making this illegal has killed that approach.

The American Catholic firebrand Austin Ruse has opined:

The gay rights movement slid through American institutions, both public and private, like a hot knife through butter. I suspect it has surprised even its proponents to see how fast we have capitulated. First philosophy fell, then psychology, the courts, education, the military and even the Boy Scouts followed.

But the movement to make gay okay isn’t just the work of gay rights movement agitators.  It is the work as well of the elites who shape popular culture and govern our lives.  As Angelo Codevilla points out:

Plato teaches that societies take on the features and tastes of the persons most prominent in them. Reilly shows how America's ruling class is shaping our society according to its taste for homosexuality and its distaste for natural families. 

We should not underestimate the strength of the elites’ commitment to turbo-charged tolerance and cultural and moral relativism.  And the traditional family must go, or at least it must be de-normalised.

The march of the gay-is-okay brigade has been carried over the finish line by any number of fellow travellers – moral relativists, the anti-religious, woke virtue signallers, the diversity-is-good contingent, sexual libertines, and the weak-at-heart who are simply not up for difficult fights.  Ronald Lee has observed that “The reason that the homosexual rights movement has managed to pick up such a large contingent of heterosexual fellow travellers is simple: because once that taboo is abrogated, no taboos are left”.  That is why homosexual activists and pro-abortionists are so often aligned.  

And corporate HR departments are some of the most woke fellow travellers.  As Reilly has reported, a British police chaplain was removed from his office for voicing support for traditional marriage on his personal blog.  Strathclyde police stated that Reverend Ross could … “believe in marriage in private if he so wishes, but he can’t express his opinions in public – even when he’s off duty”.  Perhaps with the new Scottish laws, he won’t even be able to express them in private.

The triumph of identity politics is now as near as it matters to complete.  When the double-o in “poof” is deleted, you realise that the game is up, and that anyone not on board will have his or her life, income, job, trade, public standing and right to fly on particular airlines, severely curtailed, if found out.  Saying anything untoward in public, or on social media, is dynamite.  And now that Western parliaments are coming for hate-chat at the dining room table, it is just about game, set and match.  The battle to silence ideological foes has been won, and the foes of normalised homosexuality don’t get any bigger than the Christian churches and spokesmen who choose to speak up over this issue.  To call a spade a spade and a sin a sin.

Mark Steyn calls the outcome of all this activity by the “commissars of gay compliance” “totalitarian”.  An iron fist in a velvet glove, with a limp wrist.  And in a culture of sexual libertinism, all bets (bar, so far, paedophilia and polyamory) are on.

I guess I will now have to remove my favourite Barry Humphries gag – that Adelaide can best be described as Yass with poofs – from my nightclub act.  And give up my secret ambition to start a band called The Homophobic Slurs.  These would be acts of intolerable subversion in the age of Orwellian conformism imposed by ideologues, enforced by thugs and punishable in the usual ways.  Just ask the now cancelled (homosexual) British historian, David Starkey.  He said “damned blacks” once in an interview and got the life sentence.

Ultimately, of course, “poof” is often (though not always) a put down, a case of casual heteronormativity, a starkly posed refusal-to-affirm that leaders of the gay rights movement and other members of the post-moral-truth archipelago crave, indeed, insist upon.  Hence, it must be stamped out.  It must especially be stamped out of the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge.

Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales.  
He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines - politics, geography and planning and business studies.  He spent over 25 years working in economic development and has published widely in Australian and international peer reviewed and other journals.  He has been a keynote speaker internationally on topics such as rural development, regional policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Much of his academic writing is available at
His recent writings on ideology, conservatism, politics, religion, culture, education and police corruption have been published in such journals as Quadrant, News Weekly and The Spectator Australia.
He has BA Hons and MA degrees in political science from the Australian National University and a PhD in geography and planning from the University of New England.  He currently has an adjunct Associate Professor position at a New Zealand Polytechnic.