Joyce, Katter, Devine: Last bastion against the Gaypocalypse

If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering with trepidation what will happen when the Gaypocalypse finally strikes. Are fudge-packers, nancy-boys, and pillow-biters all names for the same thing, or do they signify a hierarchy of types and sizes, like orcs? Which are most dangerous? Do bull dykes breed with bull queers? That seems anti-intuitive. And where do the Poohole Pirates come in? Are they like the Men of Harad? What about elephants? Will there be elephants? Will they be pink? Will we be forced to toil in underground sequin mines while Freddy Mercury lashes us with moustachioed falsetto arpeggios? And dear God, why didn’t we listen to Fred Nile?

Thank the Lord we’ve got an unlikely band of warrior heroes placing themselves between us and gaystruction. The Elven Queen Miranda Devine will brew arcane potions, able to fuse completely unrelated concepts with the power of saying she’s a Catholic. Barnaby Joyce will club any stray bits of logic that escape, while Action Bob Katter will ride in on the white bull Shadowhats, wielding the Black Rubber Fist-Pump of Infinite Justice.

And weren’t they active last week? Laying down the early markers in the fight to preserve our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s right to feel guilty and ashamed. Katter and Joyce got busy at an anti-gay-marriage rally in Canberra organised by that font of Messianic compassion, the Australian Christian Lobby. Devine got busy in the confines of her print column. We’ll put up with your weird ways, went the Trio’s message, as long as you remember that your relationships will never quite measure up to ours.

Now, saying that Katter is crazy is like saying the ocean is sizeable: he doesn’t care as long as you’re not a poof. Not that he knows what they look like, because there aren’t any in Queensland. Five-star rating site The Spontaneity Review summed up Katter well: “There’s a big part of me that really enjoys the sheer batshit insanity that his presence entails. However the most absurd part of the Katter phenomenon is that I trust him… he’s the kind of crazy where you can predict to an extent what he is going to be crazy about.”

"Give me two live badgers, covered in Valvoline." (Photo: Megan Slade, Courier-Mail.)

His wingman is of a different stripe. If you dug to the bottom of Patrick Bateman’s subconscious, you’d find Barnaby Joyce, trapped in amber, face locked in an eternal Munchian scream. He has an uncanny ability to take a piece of information, and then extrapolate a random conclusion from it, in such a swift and absent arc of reasoning that the universe’s wormholes tremble in the void.

“My mother and father were married. Mum and Dad. I know what a marriage is,” he told the assembled throng. I know what childbirth was in nineteen-fifty-blot, too, Barney: get a basin of hot water and some towels and hope she lived. That may not entirely imply that it’s the way forward.

He pressed on with a reference to his daughters. “We know that the best protection for those girls is that they get themselves into a secure relationship with a loving husband and I want that to happen for them. I don’t want any legislator to take that right away from me.”

Here you get the full glory of the Joyce mind-turbine in motion. One, letting gay people get married will automatically remove that right from straight people. It’s in the small print, trust us. Two, gayness naturally corrodes secure hetero relationships. It does this by emitting an unusually high concentration of fabulon, a not-so-Noble gas. Three, a woman’s primary need in life is protection by a strong man, because God knows those Mongols have been stirring of late.

And four? The love lives of his adult children are something over which Barnaby personally has rights. They’re only women, for Christ’s sake, you can’t have them running around untethered…

Katter, never afraid to be late to any party, demanded that we take the word ‘gay’ back. “Nobody has the right to take that word off us!” he said, thankfully reinforcing the neglected notion of an us-and-them divide.

Katter will also agitate for the return to hetero culture of the words ‘divine’, ‘caramel’, and ‘docking’, as well as leather chaps, jaunty scarves, the rainbow, decorative butt plugs, sack-waxes, and the nothin’-suss man-on-man wristy (sometimes after a few weeks out bush you just need a quick swag-rustler, y’know? It’s not poofter unless you say the bloke’s name.)

Devine, meanwhile, was writing a two-pronged piece lamenting the rise of a “fatherless society” as the cause of the London riots, and discussing Penny Wong’s prospective baby. She then put on her bright yellow Outrage hat when people suggested she was linking the two. (For reference, apparently disagreeing with Miranda Devine is the definition of “left-wing”.)

Devine didn’t pin the riots on lesbians, as some (mostly satirical) readings implied, but she did use the concept of fatherlessness to equate a struggling, poverty-stricken, single-parent, housing commission existence with a loving, stable, and wealthy upbringing by two women.

Good parenting relies on good parents. No-one could care less about the categories you sort them into than their own children.

Even Devine was falling over her contradictions. “Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, will no doubt be fine mothers, with the financial and personal competence to provide their child a stable, loving upbringing,” she wrote as she concluded, leading one to ponder the purpose of the preceding 872 words.

A good number of those words were spent talking down gay marriage. After careful study, at least five of them proved to be accurate. “The issue is largely symbolic,” said Devine. Yes, it is. It symbolises acceptance of people who have historically been persecuted. And it costs nothing of anyone else.

Which brings us to the crux of the whole issue – the perplexing question of why anyone would need to oppose it in the first place.

It’s frustrating. Argue against that opposition, and you’re tagged as an ‘advocate’. I don’t advocate gay marriage any more than I advocate eating potato salad for breakfast. I just think it makes zero sense for other people to campaign against it. What the fuck do you care? Eat your cornflakes and shut your stupid-hole.

The argument, it seems, is that by eating something else, other people compromise Barnaby Joyce’s fundamental concept of breakfast. Joyce & Co. have an idea of what breakfast is – toast, cereal, glass of orange juice, perhaps – and different configurations, however remote, threaten its very breakfastness.

Well, guess what? In France they have a bowl of hot chocolate for breakfast. In Argentina they have a tiny croissant and a tiny coffee and wonder why everyone is angry until lunchtime. In Brazil they have ham and cheese rolls and blended açai berries. In Yorkshire they have blood sausage. None of which make your breakfast back in Queensland any less your breakfast.

Bit of capsicum?

Arguments that “the definition of marriage is between a man and blahcetera” are facile. Words do not dictate the form of what they describe, they shift meaning as their subject does. Language has always been fluid – ‘Brazilian’ gets co-opted by beauticians, ‘facial’ gets taken away from them. The fact that you understand a word to mean a certain thing does not oblige it to do so in perpetuity.

Or if you insist on playing dictionary, try the Complete Oxford: “To unite intimately, join closely or permanently.” Ideas can be married. Ropes can be married. Couples can be married. Gender doesn’t come into it.

Not to mention that half of Australia’s hetero marriages end in divorce, and given domestic abuse, emotional cruelty, infidelity, and stagnant dissatisfaction, a stack of the other half really should. Good, functional, long-running marriages are like late-round Survivor contestants. Calling that institution the solid foundation of anything is wishful thinking.

Then there are sidetrack arguments, like the behaviour of lobbyists. Sure, various things about the gay lobby are irritating. GLBTI sounds like a toasted sandwich. Discussing Bert and Ernie’s marital status is mind-bendingly trivial. Like any activists, some are shrill and self-righteous and annoying. Some people associated with a cause don’t actually help it. Hello, Miranda.

But here’s the great shock for the likes of Joyce, Katter, and Devine. The gay lobby does not equal gay people. Those people are many and varied. (And no, a toasted sandwich is not when three wasted guys get it on.)

Gay people are also… people. Try it without the adjective. And the way they live, love, and define their relationships is, I’m sorry to say, not the slightest shred of your business.

But the things you say and do still affect them, which is the real reason this is worth talking about. Gay teenagers attempt suicide at an estimated ten times the rate of straight kids. Katter has campaigned extensively on high suicide rates in regional areas, as evidence of city politicians letting country people down. This should be an issue close to his heart.

As Tom Ballard’s video response to Devine suggested, every column like hers, every soundbite like Katter’s, is saying to those kids (and the peers who make their lives miserable) that no matter how hard they try, or how far they go, they will never quite be as good as ‘normal’ people. Their parenting, their relationships, their love, will always have a caveat attached. NQR. Slightly shop-soiled. 

Like the wheelbarrow-load that greets Biff in Back to the Future III, it’s horseshit. The entire set of ACL-sponsored objections is. Strip back the self-justification, and boil it down to simple truths. What other people do in their own lives does not affect you. Other people getting married does not make you any more or less married. Your marriage is between you and one other person. That’s a wrap.

Or maybe not. Maybe the rainbow storm is brewing. Maybe the Four Hairstylists are about to saddle up their Vespas and mince across the sky. Maybe the demon-lord Xanadu is about to engulf us in streams of burning Swiss Navy lube. If so, then Joyce, Katter, and Devine will need to keep their strength up. Maybe some Weet Bix. A bowl of Bircher muesli with yoghurt. Bacon and eggs. Whatever you like. It’s breakfast. Make a choice and eat your own.






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141 Responses to Joyce, Katter, Devine: Last bastion against the Gaypocalypse

  1. Great read as always, Geoff. I especially liked the photo of Barnaby with his best “bat shit crazy” expression.

  2. McPop says:

    You forgot to mention that these perversions of nature are the exclusive by-product of hetero relationships. The only sure way to stop gay marriage is to treat the cause and not the symptoms. BAN STRAIGHT MARRIAGE!

    Take some responsiblity hetero Australia.

  3. kninja says:

    I could hardly believe that joyce quote about his daughters when I read it… how the fuck can someone with such antiquated ideas even be allowed in parliament, the guy is basically promoting gender discrimination

    • Anfalicious says:

      He represents a large segment of society. It’s a different world north of the tram tracks, by the time you reach Joyceville and Katterland it’s 1974.

    • Skeet says:

      “I could hardly believe that joyce quote about his daughters when I read it…”

      It gets better. A few years back, when the Gardasil vaccine against the cancer causing HPV was being introduced, Joyce was in full frothing-at-the-mouth mode ranting wildly that his daughters would never get the vaccine because it would turn them into sluts. (The cancers it prevents are mostly of the female reproductive organs.)

      I wish I was kidding.

      A truly bizarre and disturbing man. Yet he is in a position of serious influence.

      • Pen says:

        @Skeet I’m not sure but I believe that was actually Tony Abbot claiming that Gardasil encouraged promiscuity. He then went on to have happy families shots on himslef and his daughters swimming in barely there bikinis (the daughters, not Abbot… that’s something that doesn’t bare thinking about.)

    • Ruth Lovett says:

      more to the point.. how can someone with such antiquated ideas be allowed to be a parent?

  4. edfromballarat says:

    nice one g-man… on the spot, as usual. It sounds like you’re advocating live and let live, and you won’t find any arguments here.

  5. dudesvanyacouldtake says:

    Excellent piece sir

  6. Nice one, Geoff. Your breakfast analogy is telling – picking what you eat is about as life-affecting on my straight, longish, marriage as any two of my gay friends getting married is.

    The entire argument from the anti lobby is facile in the extreme.

    Oh, I vary what I have for breakfast on the weekends, rather liking a big slice of buttered raisin toast. Perhaps you ought to send those badgers my way.

  7. Puck says:

    Terrific post as always mate. Keep it up 😀

  8. Neil Ryan says:

    Scumbags ,bitches,evil little shits and quite ordinary normal people these are some of the gay people I have met over the years ,in other words just like the rest of us.They have the same likes and dislikes as the rest of us and live and love in the same world,obviously not Bob and Miranda’s world but who cares about these extremly queer and strange people.Neil Ryan.PS.bloody potatoe salad for breakfast now that is a little strange

  9. Jacob says:

    “I don’t advocate gay marriage any more than I advocate eating potato salad for breakfast. I just think it makes zero sense for other people to campaign against it. What the fuck do you care? Eat your cornflakes and shut your stupid-hole.”

    I love you.

  10. I can’t understand marriage; if I’m going to spend years of my life writing an intricate fiction I’ll do it on paper and exchange it for cash, thanks. The reason is, I feel that somehow too much of the old romantic ideal is sure to have lingered. I know that these days, the white dress is more about spending $4000 on looking like a vile dessert than it is about virginity, and having Dad give you away is “tradition”, but how many other “traditional” notions manage to sneak into the modern marriage, like dominance and submission, ownership, duty? It is an institution we act out almost subconsciously, “becoming our parents”, and it feeds huge industries like advertising which rely on the comfort and pleasure of socially endorsed family structure to sell shit. I welcome gay marriage because for me, it will once and for all smash some of these concepts as they pertain to gender specifically, and make marriage seem more meaningful – finally actually about private love in whatever form that takes rather than acting out typical roles in society. Who knows, it might break up some of the ‘routine’ that marriages say they fall into, if any of this is about codified behaviour. I am not stupid enough to believe there will be no bad gay marriages, but I suppose I think marriage will mean more for everybody if it’s about people, instead of being complicit in defining what it is to be “a man and a woman” as we keep hearing. It is because of this that I know that there are people who will hate this change for the same reasons that I love it. They feel marriage will be destroyed because they way they understand it will change. I have no more sophisticated argument at this hour other than to say that they are sado-masochistic pond scum who hopefully will die soon, and leave the rest of us to squeeze as much enjoyment and meaning out of this ridiculous story as we possibly can.

    • Spines says:

      For what it’s worth, the white dress thing originated with Queen Victoria, and was either rich people showing off how clean they could keep white fabric, or symbolising joy, apparently the colour representing purity is actually blue! But totally agree about gay marriage hopefully undoing some of those gender roles

    • JThereseBass says:

      ” – finally actually about private love in whatever form that takes rather than acting out typical roles in society.”
      I hadn’t thought about that angle re legalising gay marriage. As a happily divorced baby boomer I’ve realised how many of us got married because it was ‘the done thing’ and expected of us. If you weren’t married and ‘settled down’ by your mid-twenties you were considered a failure and to be pitied and some sort of embarrassment to your parents. And thus began many miserable stereotypical years……..
      A change to the definition of marriage may well be a very good thing for the hetero community as well

    • Lucy says:

      Great point, well expressed – thanks!

  11. Sum says:

    you’re alright

  12. jeremydylan says:

    I’m outraged! This completely inaccurate! What sloppy journalism!

    It was Buford Tannen who got hit with the manure in BTTF 3, not Biff, who was hit by it in BTTF 1.

    Otherwise, a very lovely article.

  13. Thanks for the great commentary on this crap.
    Special thanks for only mentioning the offenders and not bashing Christians in this. I’m a Christian, I don’t oppose gay marriage. Those people who do are small-minded. I’m not about to give my whole philosophy on this, because it’s complicated, but I do love the point you’re making “What other people do in their own lives does not affect you.”

    I hope that people who oppose those who oppose gay marriage stop blaming Christianity as a whole and take up this mantra as well.

    • mik says:

      hear! Hear! Laura! Excellent reply

      I too am a christian and am appalled by the narrow-minded pettiness in some of my fellow believers.

      marriage is about two people making a promise in public witness to their union. If it’s also before God, according to their faith, then THAT’s who they answer to: not some moral code investiture of the church.

    • Agree!!
      Just like the Gay Lobby doesn’t represent all gay people, the ACL does not represent Christians.
      I hate being lumped in with those weirdos.

  14. Brilliant! 100% for marriage equality. The idea of marriage itself? The jury’s still out on that one…

  15. Jess says:

    Thank you so, so much. I have been trying to articulate this all week.

  16. Barnaby Joyce makes me so glad to have a father who wouldn’t give me away at my wedding as I wasn’t his to give. Thank goodness for parents who allow their children to grow up to be the people that they want to be.

  17. Mackenzie says:

    Great piece. You totally have this right. And although these homophobic agitaters aren’t representative of all Christians, unfortunately, much of their self-justification for their position is based very much in the Christian bible. But to be honest, I don’t thin it would make much difference if you told them the bible said nothing of the sort. They need to feel superior, and this is the way they do it. Marriage just happens to be the battleground.

    I’m all for marriage equality – but as a divorced person myself, I’ve never been able to work out why the LGBTI community would WANT to get married.

    • geoff lemon says:

      Me neither – I don’t much see the point in getting married when divorce is so common, and marriage just makes that process harder. I just think that by insisting that some people can and some can’t, we continue to ostracise.

      • Jim says:

        Well its a bloody good excuse for a party, brings far flung friends and rellies together, and in a culture berift of meaningful ceremony – you can make it meaniful and special and BTW even if your not into getting married, the law pretty much affords defacto couples the same hassle generating rights when it comes to splitting if indeed you do – I’m into the 20th year with my partner and can vouch for it being good shit (but not without character building episodes – like the rest of life!).

    • I’m all for marriage equality – but as a divorced person myself, I’ve never been able to work out why the LGBTI community would WANT to get married.

      hahaha…totally agree and relate! I say spread the misery – gay people need to be just as miserable as straight people in a marriage!

    • Anna schepis says:

      Thats the point I get stuck on too…. but then I guess people want the RIGHT to get married if thats what they choose to do, And I take Geoff’s point about breaking down the ‘otherness’ barriers and all that that implies.

  18. chrysanthemummum says:

    Great post. I’m off to read more…

  19. Spines says:

    Awesome article! There are two letters on the letters page in today’s Australian (yes, I don’t know why I still read it) saying that we cannot possibly have gay marriage because “gay marriage” doesn’t conform to the dictionary definition of marriage! As if they’ve never in their whole lives heard of something so ridiculous as a word changing its meaning over time, like that would ever happen! I assume it’s deliberate stubborness and not actual stupidity that’s behind those kinds of letters, but who knows….

    • Minz says:

      I love it! If you go by the original definition of “gay” as they are going by their original definition of “marriage”, they’re insisting that one cannot have happy marriage because marriage is defined as between a man and a woman… which is just funny 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Perhaps someone could advise them that the words to make it into the dicitionary most recently are “mankini:, “sexting” and “woot” (as in the noise you make when you pump your fist in the air when your team kicks a goal) Clearly an intelligent being wouldn’t be relying on the dictionary as some form of higher enlightenment!

  20. radiocat says:

    Yessssir it is amazing what how meaningful and desirable something becomes when you are told that eveyone else but you can have it. I look forward to the day when it is my legal right to CHOOSE not to get married.

    I appreciate your sentiments around suicide prevention. It has always bothered me that boosting mental health and acting on suicide prevention has been targeted as priorities in state and federal strategic plans, and yet legitimising homosexual relationships would go such a long way towards a young person’s well-being. By all means provide drop-in centers, fund programs, and set up help-lines, but a little piece of legislation would be a pretty cost-effective measure as a complementary strategy.

  21. Marc says:

    You’ve actually changed my mind, Lemon. Not that I actively ‘opposed’ gay marriage at all… I always thought that homesexual people ought to have equal legal rights. I just didn’t ‘believe in’ gay marriage. But your point about definitions of words and perpetuity has won me over… I now support gay marriage. Well done with your rhetoric. Seriously. No mean feat! 🙂

  22. Voice of reason, as per usual. Thank you.

  23. Gav says:

    If you don’t like gay marriage… don’t get married to someone of the same sex. Simples.

  24. Richard says:

    Miranda’s “Logic” must be contagious … Principal’s comment in my kids newsletter, flowing on from comments about London was …”In Australia, we too have lost ground morally and spiritually with the majority allowing the liberal minority to change legislation that in effect is destroying the family unit as fundamental to our society. If you are not sure about the liberal agenda, research the Greens’ policies as they are deliberately designed to restructure our society and to fundamentally change our way of life.” … he left out “..for the better.”
    I can only assume he is referring to the green’s policy on Sexuality and Gender Identity, which to my mind is more in line with the true concept of Christianity … but I’m a left wing heathen, so what would I know 😉

    Luckily I have more influence over my kids than he does.

    • Time to change schools?

    • anthony says:

      I *assume* that’s a private school, not a public school, right?

      • Anfalicious says:

        I hope so, if not I’d really appreciate Richard to scan and post the newsletter.

        • Richard says:

          Sorry guys, wordpress didn’t notify of the comments :/ It is a private school, yes. I couldn’t imagine a State school politicising/sermanising to that extent.

    • JThereseBass says:

      I’m absolutely stunned that a school principal would write something like that in a newsletter. My children went to a Jewish school and if someone attempted to sermonize like that in our newsletter all hell would have broken loose. Is that sort of thing usual other private schools?

      • Gerard says:

        Any principal who sermonises like that in any school that is not specifically faith based and explicitly committed to the inculcation of those values through the curriculum should have to stand down. If you signed up for it, fine. If you didn’t then either you’re in the wrong school or the principal doesn’t understand his role and the concept of boundaries.

      • Tallulah says:

        I agree. I went to a Presbyterian school. All the principals etc very religious. Never had anything like that in any newsletter or communication ever.

  25. David Lowery says:

    I’m getting married soon, met with the celebrant just the other day. I’m really looking forwards to it, not so much to be married, but to make a public declaration of the fact my partner and I are committed to each other and committed to making it work, even through the shit. There is one thing which is bugging the hell out of me though, and its that bit tacked on the end of what the celebrant has to say by law at the very beginning…‘…the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’

    I’m pissed at that, that little oh so powerful oh so discriminatory phrase of legislation. That subsection 5(1) that basically says if you’re not straight you can’t join our club. you can call it a commitment ceremony (in sarcastic condescending you’ll never be as good as us tones) but you just can’t get married, that would be against the law now wouldn’t it. Well fuck that, change the god damn act so it says ‘..the union of two people to the exclusion of all others…’ because despite the fact I love this girl and she me, despite the fact we both looked at our amazing lives and said to each other, throwing it away and stepping into the unknown with you is what I want more than this, that little phrase, tacked onto the beginning of our wedding and the beginning of the rest of our lives, is making me think twice.

    How can I say I support marriage equality and yet condone such vile vilification by being part of it?

    • lizzyish says:

      I went to a wedding recently where the couple asked the celebrant to tack on a bit about their own views on that particular phrase and the legislation it represents. It was just a little thing, something like, “Matt and Louise would like me to add that they believe marriage should represent the love of any two people, regardless of gender”. Everyone clapped.

    • Anfalicious says:

      My partner and I have decided we won’t get anything more than what is available to gay people.

    • Lexy says:

      In in the same boat, my Celebrant is going to do a little “x and y think marriage is for all regardless if sexuality, however according to australian law marriage is between a nan and a woman etc etc”. Or words to that affect, he had to be v careful that he speaks our views not show his own opinion or he’ll get in trouble.

  26. yerknickers says:

    Quality, Lemon.

  27. Why would you let your kids go to a school where the headmaster published remarks like that, unless it’s the only State one in your vicinity (and which case, suggest you complaint to the Department of Education about the bias)?

    • Richard says:

      There are several reasons … I was ripped from school to school and I want them to have consistency in their education. I know a lot of their peers and they don’t reflect the principal’s views. The school has a very good academic structure and I regularly interact with them about social and spiritual matters to ensure that they are recieving a balanced view of society. I believe that they are strong enough and intelligent enough to be able to analyse opposing viewpoints and make sound decisions based on the moral values they have been raised with. I think hiding them from opposing opinions would do them a disservice in the long run. By regularly declaring his hand the principal makes it a lot easier to deal with whatever sanctimonious hypocracy is the flavour of the month.

      • Ric says:

        For a number of reasons (crappy state school locally, etc) we sent or kids to a faith-based school (Catholic), although neither of us is religious ourselves. We liked the pastoral care aspect, the nuns had all gone and the teachers were accountable to parents. Obviously, there was some “Catholic” content, but the religious education offered was quite “catholic” – they learnt about religions (note the plural) … so their choice to be atheists is an informed one 🙂
        I HAD a religious upbringing too, so was able to answer a number of questions about (particularly) Christian beliefs, and why I no longer believed that membership of some organisation was relevant to your spirituality.

  28. Martin says:

    Very good read Geoff!
    Although you don’t touch on that this is only perpetuating a legal divide between those married and those not married. Equality should be about all people, not about letting more people into the more legal rights club.
    Here is one solution I have made and have been advocating on several sites:

    Remove all traces of marriages from our law. “Marriage” could then become a spiritual and private matter and if people wish to get married that becomes their personal choice and does not elevate their relationship to one with more rights. All people would have a right to get married if this were the case as there would be no discrimination in who can or cannot get married. This also allows people define breakfast, I mean marriage how they wish.

    This would have the benefit of being equal to all groups that are currently discriminated against by not being able to marry. In addition this removes the discrimination (legal rights etc.) against those who choose not to get married for a variety of reasons.

    • Martin says:

      Also not to let an innuendo opportunity to go by with your new metaphor:

      Hey ladies, I am a good chef 😉

    • Guzica says:

      I agree with this. I actually have a similar opinion on the subject, with some ideas of what could replace marriage:

      I think marriage as it currently exists should be abolished and replaced with a kind of universal registered relationship framework, which would be totally inclusive of any kind of life people want to organise for themselves (ie Other than a 1-on-1 romantic/sexual relationships). So, for example: if a group of asexuals who are close lifelong friends and roommates want to officially register their household so they get typical marriage-like rights (eg. next of kin, etc) as they grow older and don’t have anyone else around, they should have that security.

      Marriage as it currently exists is broken. Here’s just one example: Marriage for PR/citizenship. Soooo many marriages between a First World citizen and Third World citizen are straight up immigration scams. I can’t remember the combination of countries (I think maybe US males + China females), but I read a study once that something like over 90% of that combination turned out not to be “genuine” relationships. This sort of thing makes a mockery out of the institution, far more than giving it to some as-yet untraditional combination of people. At any rate, I don’t think tweaking can help anymore. Outright abolition and replacement with something more modern and common sense is what I’d advocate.

      • Martin says:

        Another reason that marriage needs to be reformed is our changing perception of what makes up a family unit. For a growing number of people the core of a family is no longer a husband and wife, but has become more about the children. E.g. Think to yourself whether you consider a single parent with children to be a family?.

        Additionally what we see marriage as may be changing as well, perhaps back to its roots as joining in kinship and the joining between families/tribes/political groups. Would someone with more knowledge and stats like to weigh in on changes in the perception in our society to marriage?

        • Anna schepis says:

          My understanding of marriage has been that historically (and I mean relatively recent history), it in fact protects women ecomomically, in the sense that it creates a partnership between the couple involved where the wealth and welfare of the family unit is shared. This in the context of it being necessary for the woman to forgo all or some paid work and opportunities in order to raise children and maintain a household. In this way, the woman contributed an equal share to the wealth of the family and was/ is entitled to half that wealth should the partnership disolve. This includes partners who are unable or choose not to have children, as the intent is to cater for the possibility of children. It also includes partners where the father wishes to provide child care and home maintainance as this would involve him forgoing all, or some paid work. The focus of marriage is therefore on proctecting the welfare of the members of that family unit, with financial consideration given by government on the social value of ‘producing new people’ and the cost to the individuals for this social benefit. For me, this does not raise any contradiction were the partners to be of the same sex. In fact, I think its important when entering into a partnership, to be fully aware of the financial commitment and obligations involved in that partnership. Making an active decision to get married (ie enter into a partnership) is one way of ensuring people are doing it with awareness and not inadvertantly entering into de facto relationships where you never intended to be in a financial partnership but then discover that that person who’s been living in your house rent free and with benefits actually now owns part of your house.

      • stacy says:

        The marriage immigration system is very different in Australia when compared to the USA. Having known a number of people attempting to bring their fiancee/spouse to Australia to live I can attest that it is not an easy thing to do, especially when the non-Australian partner is from a developing country.

        While in the USA a non-American spouse is granted permanent residency immediately after signing the marriage contract, in Australia the spouse is required to reside in Australia for at least 2 years before obtaining a permanent residency visa. If you want your fiancee to come here to get married it will take you at least 6 months for the visa to be approved. They’re pretty serious about ensuring that the relationship is genuine before you are allowed to stay.

        That said, it should be noted that Australia do offer a partner visa for same-sex couples to live in Australia with full rights according to the law. That’s pretty significant because only a few countries allow this right (and not the USA as has been highlighted in recent news).

        • geoff lemon says:

          True. I have several friends who’ve done the visa thing and it’s a massive, multi-year, highly scrutinised pain in the arse. Not to mention very expensive. You have to been together for at least a year before you apply, with documentary evidence, then it can take a year or two to get the application approved, then you start a two year probation period on a temp visa.

          • Guzica says:


            I have the opposite experience. I know of quite a few people (from developing countries just north of here which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty ;)) who got members of their families (eg. Cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) over by marrying them. The impression I got was that it was relatively easy to pull off, especially when coming from corrupt developing countries where documents can easily be bought (ie It was easy to obscure the fact that they were actually quite closely related – they presented themselves as unrelated).

            The caveat obviously was that they were reasonably close family – so they didn’t mind living together in an extended household (shared extended family households are normal in their culture anyway). So I suppose this takes care of a lot of the “documented togetherness” scrutiny.

          • moz says:

            The UK has a very special clause requiring non-married partners to “prove an ongoing intimate relationship”. I kid you not. When my sister complained about that I was more interested in the means of proof. The mind boggles!

            So no, it’s not just Australia that makes it hard. But since my sister qualified for some sort of residency there it was relatively easy for her to show that they’d been together for a while and so on. The citizenship was more about making sure their kids didn’t get shafted if the other mother died. They did whatever non-gay-marriage thing the UK has for much the same reason.

  29. Rod says:

    You are my God. That’s all.

  30. REBTOZ says:

    These people’s ideas are beyond contempt. Your article exposes their lack of logic well. Alas their irrational, absolutistic black and white thinking won’t allow them to consider other relevant points of view. Self-righteous buffoons.

  31. URT says:

    fuck I would love to eat potato salad for breakfast.

  32. Catherine says:

    “Sure, various things about the gay lobby are irritating. GLBTI sounds like a toasted sandwich.”

    So true. I’m in a same sex relationship and have known i was a lesbian since I was 15 (so been around for a while) – and I don’t know what the hell all the labels are in GLBTI! What does Intersex mean anyway? And why do I have to accept them under my umbrella? Find your own space and stop making my identity (‘sexuality’) look like a circus. And while I’m at it – I’ll take a dig at those bloody protests and rallies organised by the Socialist party/group and Resistance in defence of MY rights. They’re not defending my rights and opportunities, They’re ruining them. Giving me and my partner a bad image. I’m not one of ‘those’ lesbians, and I don’t agree with Mardi Gras.
    No wonder it’s so hard for people to understand.

    Great article. I’m glad I found your blog – it gives me a good laugh, and also reminds me to think outside the square and not fall for the media hype… not that I always agree with you, but it is still nice to understand the opinions and ideas of others.

    • seriously? seriously says:

      Intersex means exactly what it says: someone who is not immediately identifiable as either male or female (their gender may be male, female, or anything else). About 1 in 100 people are intersex, and many don’t ever know, as it’s an umbrella term. Intersex conditions range from unusual chromosomes and average-seeming bodies (like XXY or XO) to ambiguous genitalia to disorders of the hormonal system like congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Presumably you can work the internet and learn to google? You have to accept them so as not to be an asshole, which is your current and stated position.

      (GLBTI isn’t even a long acronym, for fuck’s sake. It’s just gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and intersex, though GSM–gender and sexual minorities–is significantly more inclusive.)

      • Lisa says:

        I thought Catharines point was she wants to be treated as human before she’s categorized as a toasted sandwich, nothing to get too worked up over

        • moz says:

          Catherine’s point is unfortunately just another case of policing for many of us though. If you’re not a monogamous, monosexual queer that sort of attack is much too common. I’ve seen way too much vicious transphobia in the lesbian community to be comfortable hearing that “real lesbians” should get to define who is queer/female/whatever and kick anyone they deem undeserving. Just as one example.

          There’s also an understandable element of “I’ve finally got a tiny bit of privilege and I’m going to fight to defend it” going on in her comments. I don’t buy that as reasonable, not least because it’s an excellent divide-and-conquer tactic for our enemies.

          Which is one problem some people have with gay marriage – it’s just slipping the boundaries of “normal” out a tiny bit further, it’s not re-examining why we have the boundaries in the first place. I support the “ban marriage” argument mostly for that reason. I’d like to see marriage expanded, and I think some sort of “registered partnership” is likely to work better for that than continuing to fight entrenched nonsense like the conflation of religious and civil marriage.

    • McKenzie says:

      And WHY should I accept YOU under my ‘umbrella’?

      Cause given the choice, well…

  33. Obese Andy says:

    I’m pretty sure that Barnaby was enjoying some hardcore man-on-man porn when that photo was taken.

  34. Klown Karpet says:

    I’m not trying to invalidate your love for your partner but… for me, the struggle for the legalisation of Gay marriage is like the struggle African-Americans might endure to win their right to join the Ku Klux Klan.

    Personally I don’t care if a ‘non-gender-specific individual’ wants to marry her/his bff, his/her motorcycle, or even his/her iPhone if the fancy takes her/him or it. I believe the Politicians only oppose it because it distracts both the left and the right from the real issues. If they legalise gay marriage what will they do when the boats arrive or the member for Dobell uses my union funds to procure prostitutes?

    When gay marriage is legalised won’t that just give more married people the moral platform to look down on those pesky single people and de facto relationship wannabes. Is that the ‘club’ they’re really joining?

    • Ren says:

      It sounds like your definition of marriage might differ from what others mean here. Here it is about public recognition of love, and Equality (yep, capital E on that puppy). Comparing marriage to the KKK is off track. I’m a long running lesbian (knew it at age 5), and I don’t want to get married, but it is so important to vocalise and actively support those who do want it, it is important that our governing system is made fair. It is, after all, discrimination at a basic level. And, shit, if an African-American wants to join the KKK, I may not agree with it but it is their (crazy) prerogative! (In fact, if the effing KKK can even EXIST, there should be no question that gay’s can join the marital institution. It’s like saying it’s fine to eat razor blades for breakfast, but soft-poached eggs are a no-no.)

      • Klown Karpet says:

        It sounds like your definition of “here” may differ from mine. I’m a guy, married to a woman and we have kids that we made the old fashioned way. Here’s the thing. I don’t care if you get married or not. I have no idea why anyone would oppose it nor do I have any idea why you would want the church and state to validate your relationship. I’m not sure why I had to get married other than it is the cultural norm and I and my children would be the subject of discrimination if I didn’t do it. I don’t think I needed the church and state to validate my relationship either, but that’s the discrimination part. The obligation to marry is a burden and it discriminates against those who choose not to do it, so I caved.

        I don’t ask why can’t gay people marry, I ask why does anyone have to get married? How did this happen? Why do we have to ‘proclaim’ before others that we’ll love, honour, cherish or whatever and be awarded a certificate from the Government to be considered a valid union?

        Yes the KKK is an abomination and its very existence is abhorrent but, the ritual of marriage is also bizarre. The desire for those people who have been excluded from marriage by the institutions who create and foster the concept of marriage is, in my view, equally bizarre. Save yourselves, run, you don’t have to get married, you don’t need church and state validation of your relationship. Maybe if we see more and more successful gay marriages we might revisit the concept of Government approved unions to tell the Gov’t we don’t need their approval or their stinkin’ certificates.

  35. There’s a fundamental difference between gay marriage and potato salad for breakfast. Potato salad is not particularly healthy.

    • Martin says:

      Perhaps the metaphor is actually damaging to the argument. Because then I could say my breakfast is healthier than thou’s, i.e my relationship is healthy and yours is not. It would fit with the metaphor as eating porridge is much healthier than deep fried mars bars.

  36. Jarrah says:

    Amen sista AMEN!!!!

  37. Pingback: In which Australian politicians continue to be batshit, and other people say it better than me. « Seriously Whimsical

  38. Quite possibly the funniest and most coherent article I’ve read on the subject. Brilliant stuff.

  39. Jac says:

    The sexual preferences and even the gender of a person is no business of anyone else unless or until one of the parties involved wants to pursue a sexual / romantic relationship. As a gay person will (one presumes) only want to pursue someone who can reciprocate their affection and desire, the sexuality of a gay person is not even potentially relevant to a straight person.

    To me it is obvious that Katter, Barnaby and Divine must come out as gay, or should be forced to eat gay potato salad for breakfast until their unnatural interest in everyone’s sexual preferences goes away.

  40. JThereseBass says:

    As always beautifully and brilliantly done.
    “Argue against that opposition, and you’re tagged as an ‘advocate’.” In my first tentative few weeks commenting on blogs I’ve found that sort of illogic in LOTS of places. Was frankly beginning to wonder if I’M the crazy one.
    One thing, you didn’t mention the Hagelin woman. Her “evil” comment literally made me feel ill.
    And thanks for the link to Tom Ballard’s video. He put words to my utter confusion regarding her article. You guys make a great ‘team’ 🙂

  41. Saratoga says:

    I have only read a couple of your articles, but I have completely agreed with them all…you truly understand what I believe is the silent majority in this country.

    I work for the government within Human Services, and as it stands now gay people/couples have the same advantages (and disadvantages) of straight people/couples in the eyes of the law – as was passed a few years ago. Marriage is, as it says in the article, a largely symbolic ritual, so that means it has nothing to do with anyone not directly involved in the symbolic action. Therefore, who am I as a straight person- or your neighbour, or your big hat-wearing local member, or your government – to deny you the right to perform that ritual. It’s denying someone a basic human right. Sure it goes without saying, sadly, that the Catholic Church – and others – will not allow it under their collective roof (and, being a baptised Catholic, I’m appaulled at the Church’s stance), but that’s not stopping the rest of society accepting and embracing it. If the Church wants to catch up, then they’re more than welcome, but as long as they have their stance – and the rest of society moves on – then it’s their fault they have declining attendance rates and numbers of nuns/monks/priests signing up…it’s not the fault of society ignoring them, it’s the fault of them ignoring society.

    I’m sad to say that, until I read about these comments by Katter and Joyce (I hadn’t heard about Miranda’s until I read this commentary, as I’m overseas until Saturday), I had actually been a minor-league fan of their style of politics – straight-shooting, to the point, screw the suck-ups – but this just sends them back to the stone age. I was actually confused when I first read about it, because on the rally was listed as ‘pro-marriage’, but as I read it I thought it was as anti-marriage as you can get…they forgot to replace the hyphen with the word ‘straight’ (as many commentors on that site pointed out).

    It is issues like this that show that there is a third side of politics in this country that has for too long been missing – a side that has the stones to say what the silent majority believe, without worrying if they offend a handful of wannabe do-gooders, soundbite-chasers and nay-sayers. Humanity, equality and the freedom to love without discrimination are the rights of all Australians (as well as all humanity). All I can say is look out for the acronym APP in the future.

    • geoff lemon says:

      Thanks Saratoga, interesting comments. I’ll say though that I find the concept and phrase of the “silent majority” to be a dangerous one – it’s an unquantifiable concept, that can be invoked by anyone who wants to legitimise their agenda. The handful of truckies zooming around Canberra recently claimed to represent a silent majority too.

    • Anfalicious says:

      Lemon is the one speaking for the “silent majority”:

      I see this a lot, people think they are part of some “silent majority” because there is a noisy minority with whom they disagree, so they then extrapolate from that anyone who isn’t part of the noisy minority agree with them. It’s fallacious reasoning and as inaccurate as they are, opinion polls are really the best method to see what the zeitgeist thinks. For those not wanting to chase the link, we’re now up to over two thirds supporting gay marriage (throw in the undecideds and those who are against it aren’t even one third of Christians anymore, those against gay marriage can now be regarded as “fringe”).

    • Martin says:

      Of course not all people are going to agree with every policy a party or figure proposes, I think with causes like marriage equality it is likely not a deal breaker for this silent majority (actually how do you justify the assumption that those that agree with this article are the silent majority). IMO the majority people are pretty nonplussed about the cause* and are more likely to vote on areas such as spending or efficiency or .

      *I have already had my speak about what I think above, perpetuating separate rights for those that are married is discriminatory in itself.

      • Saratoga says:

        Valid points from all three of you, if I could think of a better term, then I’d replace “silent majority” with it. I do think that we’re all on the same page though; those figures presented by Anfalicious (thanks for the link, btw) show that – based on opinion polls – the majority of Australians actively support same-sex marriage. As you say, throw in those that aren’t actively supporting it, but aren’t actively against it (ie. don’t care and think the issue itself is an over-inflated debate about something miniscule, as it won’t affect them in any way), and it’s hard to argue against the fact that the majority of people in Australia seem to ‘not be against’ same-sex marriage. But unfortunately you rarely hear these voices.

  42. Anfalicious says:

    Speaking of taking words back, I’m sure Rick Santorum would like his name back. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go google “Santorum”. It is truly delightful.

  43. Bare and Phalanxed says:

    I thought the News Corp breed of conservatives had monopolised the concept of the righteous “silent majority” yonks ago, along with “commonsense journalism” and “Page Three girl”… They’re working feverishly on “voice of reason” too…

    Now “As a Catholic…” as well?

    Devine and Abbott? Both using Catholicism as pissweak political currency? Well, dammit, that’s enough fer me. I’m out. Get your rosaries off my erect, butt-loving penis. Hmm… Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as…

    Oh dear, puntasm. Must clean up now.

    Seriously though Geoff, great stuff once again. And to all who think the Bananaby (sorry, breakfast analogy makes me hungry) Joyce picture is a bit of snide photo selection on Mr Lemon’s part, let me say No Sir. That’s comfortably amongst the top 5% most flattering images of the man available. It’s also his byline pic when he writes opinion pieces for News Ltd.

  44. Richard says:

    Another sparkling gem of unrivalled clarity in another frustratingly stupid perpetual ‘debate’. I wish I were able to present my beliefs this clearly and entertainingly.

  45. Skeet says:

    One of your best, Geoff. And funniest.

  46. pneumoniahawk says:

    It fascinates me to no end that Katter’s own brother is gay. Not an inspired comment, but just a bit of knowledge that makes you wonder..

  47. janerella says:

    Well well well Mr Katter – looks like the only gay in the village… your half brother.

  48. Lisa says:

    “I just think it makes zero sense for other people to campaign against it. What the fuck do you care? Eat your cornflakes and shut your stupid-hole.” beautiful! When Howard legislated to outlaw gay marriage in the early 2000s I remember thinking how much that action showed his absolute ignorance, bigotry & plain mean-ness. It wasn’t a political issue at the time (with refugees his action sucked but unfortunately was supported by most of the fearful ill-informed population) he just did it because he had the power to marginalise a group he was scared of and prejudice against. I wonder if he will ever realize what a heartless prick that made him

    • John Jacobs says:

      “he just did it because he had the power to marginalise a group he was scared of and prejudice against”. Really… is that why he did it? Why didn’t Rudd or Gillard change it? Are they scared and mean too? Crikey, Penny Wong has publicly supported the anti-gay marriage Labor policy herself. Maybe the gay community should look for the REAL reason the pollies oppose gay marriage so a campaign can be properly focussed and address the REAL opposition. I’d sure like to know why if, for no other reason, than to put the matter to rest.

  49. genevieve lemon says:

    Great stuff, once again.

    I would propose marriage but what a waste of a good name change.

  50. Rabbi says:

    Congratulations Geoff – with the Bob Katter photo, you have finally topped your previous best caption “No Headguin”.

  51. Married to Christ says:

    Unfortunately the Breakfast analogy is flawed.
    Breakfast is not sacred.
    A set Breakfast menu is not Biblical.
    Jesus never said potatoes are an abomination.

    • geoff lemon says:

      This argument is pretty hilarious. Essentially you’re saying that no-one ever got married before the Christian church became an organised entity about 1900 years ago, and that no Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other non-Jesus fan has or can be married, due to the absence of Christ in their reasoning.

      We’re not talking about marriage within whatever church you follow, we’re talking about marriage as defined by secular legislation. Most of the people in our country who traipse down the aisle aren’t practicing Christians anymore.

      • stacy says:

        You make a really good point there. Even though I would probably guess that the guidelines of all those other religions also exclude same-sex relations (is there a world religion that is okay with homosexuality? I really don’t know) it is rather wrong to consider marriage as an exclusively Christian union. No one really talks about that though do they? Though I guess that probably comes down in part to the lack of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus in Australian politics.

      • Teedge says:

        Hi Geoff,
        I think you’d have really enjoyed Justice Michael Kirby’s comments on this topic as part of the John Button Oration at the Melb Writers Fest on Saturday night. He was also particularly strong on the fact that marriage is, in a country like Australia, first and foremost a secular institution enshrined in legislation created by a secular state. It is only via the outsourcing of the right to marry people to churches that this conflation of marriage and church has come about. (I think the MWF folk said the speeches might be up on their website sometime soon, in case you want to check it out.)

        Fabulous piece, as always. I am in awe of your capacity skewer their fools purveying this muck. Keep up the great work.

    • Oxspit says:

      You want to be at least a little careful there, though.

      I mean, eating shellfish for breakfast would obviously be evil.

      • David Lowery says:

        unless its wrapped in garlic crumbed bacon.

        • Gerard says:

          Dear “god” that could only be something you would find in the US.

        • Oxspit says:

          Hmmm. You do raise some thorny theological issues there, David.

          It really is high time various Christian denominations made clear exactly how they feel the bible should be interpreted on the matter of shellfish wrapped in garlic crumbed bacon, when consumed for breakfast.

          Souls may well depend upon it.

      • moz says:

        You bring up an interesting cultural clash. Of course throwing a shrimp on the barbie is a core part of the Australian culture while it’s anathema to Christians. This is something I think Katter should look into, perhaps with the help of Fred Nile?

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  53. natsupower says:

    This article makes me wonder where I draw the line on lots of things that other people do. I struggle constantly with being indirectly affected by people’s bad habits towards the environment, especially cigarette butt littering and toxic exhausts. So, when is it okay to speak one’s mind if it does not directly affect me? I concur it’s not with gay marriage. I couldn’t give a shit either way what people do in their bedrooms and I’m akin to swinging my way through life.

  54. Bare and Phalanxed says:

    A decade ago… in a different country… but hell, we’ll go with it…

    A bit like what we’re seeing here… Gillard… The only christian atheist in the village.

    Well, a bit harsh…

    Perhaps she’s just a coward and a hypocrite.

  55. Greg says:

    This claim they have that marriage is traditionally between a man and woman is pretty naff. Modern marriage has nothing to do with traditional marriage.

    Marriage originally was just a method of enabling property inheritance to be patrilineal by making it far more likely that a woman’s children would also be her husbands. As such it’s a fairly irrelevant in modern society.

    Most of the fairy stories about marriage are rubbish. Like the people claiming marriage was a form of protection for women…. really? Up until a few hundred years ago, not having children was grounds for divorce. In some cases only having female children was grounds for divorce. And I’m talking places like England here.

    Women divorced for failing to produce heirs were typically disinherited and would be unlikely to find a new husband. As an example Sophia Dorothea of Celle was imprisoned for 33 years after allegedly having an affair despite the fact her husband openly had a mistress and she had already provided two children for her husband (King George 1 of England) already.

    If that’s the form of marriage they want (being traditionalists) I am actually opposed to the concept.

    A small perverse part of me also wonders why these Luddites – if they do want to keep women in their “place”(TM) by not allowing them property ownership – don’t realise we have paternity testing now which would be far more effective?

    That said I realise in recent years the concept of marriage has been revamped to being all about finding eternal love (I just threw up in my mouth a little). If you don’t actually favour traditional marriage then I don’t think it should matter who you want to marry.

  56. I think you’ve captured the essence of what swirls in the minds of people like Devine and Bolt when they write their columns and blog posts. They tend to imagine themselves as heroic forces for ‘bravely honest’ debate, proffering unpalatable or controversial points of view that ‘the Left’ are too gutless to consider, railing against political correctness. When really they’re just little white middle class opinion-makers comfortably rationalizing discrimination from behind their computer screens.

  57. Tallulah says:

    Completely brilliant. You articulate things so well. Makes me wanna put one of those lame tumblr gifs underneath with THIS THIS THIS flashing over and over.

    People seem to have strange definitions of marriage, and twist it to hide their homophobia. I despise the argument: marriage is solely between a man and a woman, so they can come together for the sole purpose of creating children.’

    Um, no. Marriage is, as the damn dictionary says, a joining of two people, who love each other, who are dedicated to each other and who, at that moment in time, plan to spend the rest of their lives together. Children may be in their plans, they may not. Are marriages of couples who do not want/cannot have children less legitimate? What about those who already have children??

    Anyway, I’m sure you understand the pathetic lack of logic in everything here.

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  59. Pingback: Joyce, Katter, Devine: Last bastion against the Gaypocalypse (via Heathen Scripture) « Yonge & Eligible

  60. Pingback: Joyce, Katter, Devine: Last bastion against the Gaypocalypse | Heathen Scripture [ VOID-STAR.NET ]

  61. Chris Gatfield says:

    That is hands down one of the funniest fucking things that I’ve ever read.

  62. Mel says:

    Like everyone else, I love your work! 😀

    It’s great to see people articulating truly rational opinions, rather than just hearing the talking-heads in our “last bastion” carrying on as if the end-is-nigh for “normal” relationships…

    In the end, just live & let live – the preaching & screeching won’t stop things changing over time!

  63. Margaret says:

    Hello Geoff,

    Just writing to let you know that I’ve nominated this blog post for the 3 Quarks Daily Politics and Social Science Prize (first prize is $US1000!). Last year, I won its science blogging prize, and can vouch for its worthiness!

    Details here:

    If your post gets short-listed, the next phase will be public voting.

    Of course, you can nominate yourself, with any post you like, providing it was written after November 20 2010, as can your other readers.

    Good luck!



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