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Archive for the ‘society’ Category

I know I’ve been abandoning y’all,  but work is super-busy at the moment, so by the time I get home I’ve just been wanting to crash and space out. I also have a paper due Monday, but hopefully I’ll be back after that. Incidentally, a lot of this post will make little sense if you’re not familiar with Australian politics, but I’ve tried to include wiki links for context.

So, I saw Keating! The Musical this evening. To start, I was very impressed in a number of ways.  Mike McLeish (who played Paul Keating) has such amazing stage presence *fans self*, the music was great, and there was fun and hilarity.

I must admit I was rather ‘eh’ about the Alexander Downer bit, and the Gareth Evans / Cheryl Kernot bit actually rather rankled me (not least because apparently they had to go with having Kernot played by a male cast member. And honestly, the jibe about Howard’s thing about there being only ‘blokes’ on the ‘mateship’ fell exceedingly flat given the overwhelming abundance of peen involved in the show (hint: the ‘mateship’ wasn’t the only thing that only had ‘blokes’ on it).

There was a discussion over at LP a little while ago about how there was a palpable difference in the audience reactions to John Howard in the show pre and post election, and whilst I can’t really comment on that, I have to admit I found the last quarter of the show actually a bit depressing (and yes, I will admit in public that “The Light On The Hill” made me cry in the not-from-laughing way).

I couldn’t bring myself to laugh at the show’s Howard, because well, yes, he’s gone, but well fell pretty damned far and have quite a few rungs to drag ourselves back up, and honestly, my 12 year old self still feels fucking robbed. Because yes, I have a rosy view of Keating that comes from being a child whilst he was in power, but I knew enough to know that the reams of hatred directed at me at that age was in response to something he represented. And I was robbed of growing up with it. And as much as we can do now (and we have a lot to do), I can’t get that back.

And it still makes me sad, and angry, and wistful. And, in a way that may seem rather strange, I think I’m sadder about this ‘what could’ve been’ than I am about the various more personal ‘what could’ve beens’ of my childhood.

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This started out as being for The Angry Black Woman’s Carnival of Allies, but now I’m not so sure it fits with the intent of the Carnival. But it’s here either way.

So, I was reading belladame’s post for the carnival, about the perhaps limited utility of the word ally, and the notion that allies are ‘being PC to get cookies’, which is definitely a good read, but it actually got me thinking in a somewhat different direction, because of some of the most frustrating contexts in which I’ve heard it.

There’s been a lot said about ‘passing’, about the benefits and the costs, and about how it’s tied up with privilege. Now, I’m an asian/white woman with a white father/asian mother, and, as I grew out of childhood, an appearance that generally means you have to squint, or know what you’re looking for, to know that I’m not white. And there’s a lot of stuff I’m still working through that ties into all of that. But it does mean that, in certain respects, my ability to pass in certain contexts changes how my ‘being an ally’ for other PoC is perceived.

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