Bleats

There's A Ridiculous Moral Panic Over Woody And His Fella In Toy Story 4

Honestly, internet, try harder.

As dumb moral panics go, the current one sweeping the US social medias about Disney’s insidious plan to indoctrinate children to the sinister gay agenda via Toy Story 4 would definitely rank in the top five dumbest. But here we are.

According to a website, the film will have Woody coming out as bisexual.

Dude’s got moves.

And that’s not happening. No matter how much people share this (entirely fake) tweet:

…?

The story was broken on NPC Daily last money, in a piece which also casually mentioned how Simba will be gay in the new Lion King remake and that Disney are planning their first transgender princess.

And thus you might be going “hey, that sounds outrageously wrong!” And it is: in the sense that it’s completely made up.

NPC Daily is a joke news site, one which literally calls itself “a news and politics satire site” just in case the point’s not obvious by its content.

And fortunately in 2019 everyone is familiar with the concept of “fake news” and knows to check the source for stories which sound like they’re garbage. Just kidding! People lost their minds.

…and so on.

So anyway: the lesson here is that a) it’s important to question things which sound like they’re wildly unlikely, and b) maybe don’t tweet about them without checking so you’re not defensively backpedalling afterwards trying to convince the world that yes, you absolutely knew it was a joke and THAT WAS THE JOKE DON’T YOU GET IT?

Gillette's New Ad Starring A Trans Man Is Not For Diversity Points, It's Good Business

Hey, maybe this inclusivity thing will catch on!

Earlier this year Gillette decided to bring down the very foundations of civilised society – or, to put it another way, made an ad for their company.

The ad in question – ‘The Best Men Can Be’ – basically said to their predominantly male user base “hey, think of the example you set”.

And oh! the outcry! And oh! the promises from people that they would never ever ever ever buy a Gillette product again because suggesting that men be more responsible for and thoughtful about their actions is downright misandrist, for some reason.

And obviously Gillette were punished for their activist stance on whether men should be dicks or not by… um, absolutely no drop in sales in the aftermath.

And so now we come to their new advertisement:

The new video, featuring Canadian trans man Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, is similarly moving and poignant, showing a proud dad teaching his son to shave for the first time.

It’s something which cis men can easily relate to: learning to shave is a big deal as a teenager, and the anxiety about starting to develop facial hair too early or too late is very real. And for many of us it was a big deal when our dad showed us how it was done.

So watching this young man, whose transition has now reached the point where he’s growing facial hair, going through this rite of passage is another powerful reminder of just how similar people are.

And needless to say, there’s no shortage of reaction online demonstrating the sort of carefully reasoned, fact-based and well-expressed commentary which is the hallmark of frothing bigots on the internet.

However, this is all fine from the company’s perspective, because that’s how publicity works.

The angry Reddit community who (unsuccessfully) set out to make the previous ad the most disliked in history? That gave massive engagement numbers, which drove video shares and media attention.

In fact, all the evidence suggests that taking a firm stance on what masculinity means in 2019 has done nothing but help Gillette and set them apart from their competitors.

In fact, despite predictions, the follow up research showed that the ad was a hit – especially with women, who are far more engaged with the shaving (ahem) “conversation”. Short version of long data: men didn’t change their brand behaviour, even if they were supposedly furious about the virtue signalling, but women did.

So this new, inclusive, trans-visibility-enhancing ad might be genuinely admirable, but it’s also just smart business. It’s win-win!

Except for online bigots, but… actually, that seems like a bonus win.

Bob Hawke Saved Countless Lives With His Action In The AIDS Crisis, And Put The Rest Of The World To Shame

When other countries were dithering, the Hawke Government took decisive action.

There are many reasons to celebrate the life and prime ministership of Bob Hawke – Medicare! Saving the Franklin! More than doubling high school retention rates! The Sex Discrimination Act! His uncompromising opposition to racism and support for non-discriminatory immigration! Protecting Antarctica from oil exploration! The National Parks system! – but there was one which might have gone overlooked and which saved countless Australian lives.

AIDS was probably already stalking Australia by the late sixties but escaped detection until the early 80s. And since the disease seemed to be largely confined to marginalised communities of gay men, sex workers and injecting drug users – groups which governments were generally happy to ignore, or occasionally demonise for easy political points – governments around the world were happy to drag their feet.

UK PM Margaret Thatcher refused prevention campaigns as being “in bad taste” and warned that then health minister Lord Fowler would be known as the “Minister for AIDS” if he kept making such a song and dance about it. In the US, the administration of Ronald Reagan’s response to the growing death toll was largely limited to making homophobic jokes.

‘They’re so swishy, am I right?”

In Australia, however, the response was very, very different.

Grassroots community groups snapped into action around the country, but it was the Hawke government that ensured that Australia would have a lower rate of HIV transmission compared with the rest of the western world by ensuring that the public health system worked with those groups to treat the epidemic as an urgent health issue rather than a moral punishment for people that were totally asking for it. And if anyone says that government never does anything to help people, this is a perfect comeback.

That was thanks to Hawke’s trust in his then-health minister, Neal Blewett, who fought pressure inside and outside the government to ensure funding for AIDS education, prevention, treatment and support.

Also, there was this ad:

We’ll never know how many lives were saved, but we can speculate on whether any of the subsequent PMs would have actively worked to address AIDS had it emerged under their watch.

Would the man who literally changed the marriage laws specifically to exclude same sex couples have leapt into action over a disease that largely affected gay men?

Would the Labor PMs that personally voted against marriage equality grasped the nettle? Can you imagine the Liberal leaders that oversaw the same sex marriage postal vote (including two who advocated for the No side and then scurried out of parliament to avoid voting on the actual legislation) leaping into action, including the one that took a day and a half to address the question “do gay people go to hell?”

Rest well, Bob. You earned it.

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