Four beers and a packet of fauxtrage, please.

4 01 2014

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

~ Edmund Burke

Young people getting drunk = end of civilisation as we know it:

“The community needs to send a very clear message that it is unacceptable to drink yourself silly, because whether in backyards or beaches, or whether at barbeques or at other parties, we need individuals, family and friends to get a message to try and change a culture.”

Barry O’Farrell, NSW Premier

PM, 16 December 2013

Octogenarian alcoholic smashes a beer in front of adoring crowd of young people = legend:

Shut up. Just shut up.

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On sport, and identity | Part I

31 12 2013

“… culture isn’t something that people exist and work within, but something that they are inextricably part of and contribute to, for better or for worse … You are the culture, so are you going to be a force for good or bad? “

Philip Darbyshire

The Australian, 25 June 2013.

“Kimberley, a bit of PATRIOTISM please.”

I received this admonishment via Twitter direct message for my vocal support of the English cricket team during the Brisbane Test.

It’s a question posed fairly regularly whenever cricket is played. You’re Australian. How can you cheer for the other side?

The answer is twofold.

I was a cricketing child of the late 1970s and 1980s and I loved watching the West Indies play. I loved the relentless pace attack, a production line stretching from Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Joel Garner through to Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. I loved the devastating panache of one I.V.A. Richards. I loved the immutability of the best opening partnership in Test cricket history: Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. I had a ‘C’mon Aussie C’mon’ World Series Cricket beach towel, but I always put my hand up as ‘Big Bird’ in the daily matches played in the wide, grassy areas at Moby Dick Caravan Park, Pacific Palms. I loved the game, and the Windies captivated my soul.

I shared the love among individual players from all nations. Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, David Gower. I loved the genuine contest between the cricketing nations of my youth. That seemed to disappear with the resurgence of Australian cricket under Allan Border. Border was the captain Australia needed after the DLP-style schisms of the Packer years and rebel tours of South Africa, but I just couldn’t warm to the ‘hard-edge’ mentality. As Border himself warned in 2005, Australia’s dominance became a negative. The brilliance of Lara disguised the Icarus-style plunge of cricket in the Caribbean. Post-apartheid South African sides including Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock under performed. New Zealand? I don’t remember anything about New Zealand cricket apart from Daniel Vettori and the change from brown to black one-day colours. For a shining hour, I cheered on Zimbabwe until the Mugabe regime’s fuckwittery made the country (never mind the cricket team) a horror show of hyper-inflation and internal displacement. I became more interested in the cricketing fault lines on the subcontinent, as the Pakistan of Wasim and Waqar gave way to the slumbering, lumbering Inzi and the crazily-gifted laziness of Shoaib Aktar. Sri Lanka, relatively new to Test cricket, delivered the doosra, Jayasuriya and Jayawardene; but the treatment of Murali Muralitharan in Australia was abject. A great of the game labelled a ‘chucker’ by our Prime Minister and viciously attacked by spectators who could not or would not entertain the thought that we were privileged to witness two very different masters of spin bowling. Wiser heads shook in disgust. Andrew Symonds was subjected to disgraceful racial vilification on tour in India. The Barmy Army booed Ricky Ponting in England. Bottles were thrown at Australian players on the pitch in Jamaica. For every event, there had to be a repulsive comeback. On field hostility and the sheer ugliness of cricketing crowds across the world were enabled by the dismissiveness of the cricket establishment. Perhaps naively, I never imagined I would witness it first hand, but I did in the summer of 2003/04. That’s when I fell completely away from Australian cricket. India’s batting line up was the first to rival the West Indian pacemen for a place in my heart. Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar. They were individually astonishing, but the Sydney Test was something special. Sehwag swashed and buckled. Laxman’s lyrical big ton. Ganguly’s refusal to declare until day three. Dravid’s elegant, unbeaten 2nd innings They weren’t just raining on Steve Waugh’s parade, they were dancing in the Australian captain’s place, on his home ground, in the match he had dictated would be his final Test.

And then there was Sachin.

I saw Sachin Tendulkar at the crease for hours, plowing his way to his highest Test score. Not so much a pretty innings, but character writ on his bat. It should have been everything anyone who loved cricket could hope to see, regardless of your allegiance. Sitting near me on the boundary in the Noble Stand, a group of Australian men sprayed racial abuse at Tendulkar, to the obvious distress of Indian families around them and the oblivion of the titan at the crease. An Australian fielder turned his back on play, and laughed with the men. ‘Little Master? He’s a fucking little curry muncher!’ A pantomime shake of the head. Roars from the drunks. The player resumed his attention to the game, too late to hear me stand and spit venom at ‘my fellow countrymen’. I copped an earful, of course and gave it back until a friend dragged me away. The behaviour of the spectators was appalling, and the player joining in took the biscuit. I didn’t go on Day 5. There was no joy in my heart for what had become the Steve Waugh Show.

I am reminded regularly that other teams and other crowds behave just as poorly, if not worse. I don’t yearn for a time when cricket spectators the world over sipped cups of tea and clapped politely regardless of the team they support. It never existed. Everyone sledges, ‘patriotic’ fans stick it to the enemy, and we’ll just paper over the cracks by serving mid-strength hops-flavoured water and ban beer snakes and beach balls. ‘Everyone else does it,’ is the excuse of squabbling siblings in the back seat of a car. Grow up. I’m not English, or South African or Indian. I have the privilege of an Australian birthplace and passport, but I choose not to be part of a culture which does not strive to lead on and off the field. I’ll congratulate Australian players on their milestones even if boorish, sulky English players don’t. That’s my code. I’m not asking your permission, or for you to join this club of one. I’ve watched plenty of cricket, from the NSW Country Cup, T20, one-days and Test matches and not seen anything else remotely like it, but the memory of that January day a decade ago feels like a tattoo of an ex-boyfriend’s name. From reports and images of crowd behaviour in Bays M1-M10 at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test, it’s not getting better. Not yet.

PS: I’m crazy for the Southern Stars, but you know, they’re just ‘ladies … looking good as always‘.





The majesty that shuts his burning eye

16 12 2013

These are the clouds about the fallen sun,

The majesty that shuts his burning eye:

The weak lay hand on what the strong has done,

Till that tumbled that was lifted high

And discord follow upon unison,

And all things at one common level lie.

And therefore, friend, if your great race were run

And these things came, so much the more thereby

Have you made greatness your companion,

Although it be for children that you sigh:

These are the clouds about the fallen sun,

The majesty that shuts his burning eye.

~ ‘These are the Clouds’

from The Green Helmet and Other Poems, W.B. Yeats (1910)

Another December day, another lion to mourn.

Peter O’Toole was an actor my Mother was absolutely determined I familiarised myself with some 30 or so years ago.

There was no choice or debate. I watched Lawrence of Arabia and read Seven Pillars of Wisdom later, as part of my education on World War I. Lawrence, Mother intoned, glossed over the man’s failings; & yet, O’Toole was ‘the most beautiful man alive’. The film striking in its maleness (no women have speaking roles), the violence – from the corralling of disparate Arab tribes & a massacre in which Lawrence seemed to relish, juxtaposed with the implication that Lawrence was homosexual, and endured a brutal rape at the hands of the Turks. The arbitrary lies of the Sykes-Picot Treaty drawing much of the modern map of the Middle East, and its enduring influence. All at the hands of men who neither understood nor respected those who had fought a war against oppression, not for an English King. Wars that rage today, still beyond understanding, astonishing in their brutality. The supporting cast one of cinema’s greatest – Guinness, Quinn, Sharif, Hawkins, Quayle, Ferrer – the making of the soaring scale of David Lean’s vision, yet all depended on O’Toole’s terrible, tortured, triumphal Lawrence. He didn’t falter, not once. Lawrence defined epic.

My Mother, not one to let up, insisted I watch The Lion in Winter, one of her favourite movies. For some reason, probably because she never shut up about it, I refused until I was in my thirties. In a way, I’m glad I held out. I’d read more Shakespeare; I knew the politics of marriage. From the opening frames, this is a clash of two giants. My god. O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn. Eleanor of Aquitaine locked in battle over the succession of the crown of the husband who has exiled her from her lands & sons. Henry II’s contempt for the three. Richard (Antony Hopkins in his first film appearance)  yes, the Lionheart. Lover of the duplicitous Phillip, who plots with the foolish Geoffrey & John to raise hell against Henry. Eleanor, the wiser politician, prefers the Lionheart; Henry wants John to take the throne. Both did, the Cœur de Lion dying after battle & without a legal heir. John continued the Plantagenet line, divided by war but rulers for more than 300 years. The Lion in Winter is pivotal to O’Toole & Hepburn’s careers. His sparring and spurning of Hepburn earned her another Best Actress Oscar. O’Toole had no such reward, but named Hepburn as the actor he most enjoyed working with. This film helped O’Toole survive the boyish beauty of Lawrence to the louche caricature he became after serious illness & alcoholism. The Lion in Winter is on ABC 2 on 21 December at the absurd time of 11.35am. I urge you to watch it. Like my Mother, I won’t shut up about it until I hear from you.

Venus is O’Toole as an old man, the last vestiges of Lawrence stretched across his face. It’s an impossible ‘love’ story between a not quite dirty old man & the young woman he desires & names Venus. It’s sadly sweet, especially as he recites Sonnet No. 18, a wistful goodbye in a way. Forty something years after the Academy passed him over for Best Actor in Lawrence, he earned a final nod, but no award, unsurprising given Forest Whitaker’s masterclass in The Last King of Scotland  and the ‘sympathy fuck’ honorary award he’d been given a few years before. I guess his peers thought he’d give the game away; they were wrong. O’Toole kept working. The roles might have been smaller, but he remained formidable. The twinkle-eyed old Casanova to David Tennant as his younger self. Old King Priam in Troy, stricken by the loss of his heir, Hector & staunch in his determination to claim the mutilated body of his son from the Greeks. The plotting Pope in The Tudors determined to punish Henry VIII for his heresy.

Go gentle, mischief-maker. Go join Burton & Harris in the special place reserved for the outrageously talented & perpetually pissed. Go gentle, great lion. Go joust the herculean Hepburn in the special place reserved for the impossibly gifted & single-minded stayers. Go gentle, old man. Go reconcile in the special place reserved for heedless husbands & rakish rogues.

Go gentle, O’Toole. Go to the special place reserved for you. Go flaxen-haired, faint echoed ‘El Awrens’, bewitching blue-eyed boy.





Welcome, stranger

8 12 2013

D,

I don’t know whether you’d die laughing or of embarrassment, but you’re trending on Twitter. ‘Trendy Den’. Not sure if you ever watched Eastenders, but one of the main characters years ago was ‘Dirty Den’. So, ‘Trendy Den’ it is.

Everyone is having a bevvy in your honour & reflecting on how much of yourself you gave. I only have flat champagne. A swell time was had by all last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say I thought it was a good idea to open another bottle of champagne at 4.30 am(ish). I look like the wreck of the Hesperus, as Dad used to say when I would surface from my bedroom after a night out, last night’s mascara still on. I like to think of you having a quiet chuckle about me using old phrases like that.

Of course I cried like the over-sized toddler I am when I found out. I don’t know what I thought would happen, but I sat here & sobbed, head in hands. That you were so loved we could stop you dying, not through prayer, but the force of the Twatters. Bollocks, the tears again. Taking glasses off. I can’t see the screen.

Twitter has been a bit awful of late. Our level engagement with each other, without care for the person at the end of our derision, anger & jokes. It’s never going to be sunshine & unicorns, you know that; but we’ve lost a bit of common fucking decency. I sent something the other day, that people who deride Twitter or scorn the idea of online friendships had never had the joy of a @deniswright tweet. There are few truly kind people; you’re no angel, mate, I know that but I never saw you delve into cheap nastiness for the sake of appearing smarter or smarmier than someone else. Perhaps that’s because you are better than us. Were.

I will miss your dry, wry wit. The tales from your childhood, so full of colour they carried me to Calliope. The posts about the disease, and its march. The stark detail. That staggering mind, taking me effortlessly back to parts of India, walking through Jain temples. I loved the architecture. You taught me abut the religion. My heart is swollen with with the exquisite pain of regret. There will never be another tweet, another DM waiting for me when I wake. Your handle slowly disappeared from my timeline, the brutal nature of the end of an online friendship. I didn’t email you often enough. I never heard your voice. You always said you would call before it was too late. I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to tell you how much I loved you. That I’ve been spending more time at home. That I have a beautiful new baby niece. That I got stuffed around again by that bloke & feel like a bloody idiot, but I met someone who intrigues the hell out of me this week. That I was published in The Age – on foreign policy! There seemed to be so much time. Things would get bad & you came back. I thought there would always be time. I was wrong.

I know you’ll hate me for being so maudlin, so I’ll sign off with the joy you brought into my life. To be told that you are valued, that you write well, that you are compassionate and good, & be able to return that love & respect without the fear of being ignored. In the darkness, at my most self-indulgent, you delivered wisdom and kindness & the occasional rebuke. There’s an old Irving Berlin song lyric I love:

Be careful, it’s my heart
It’s not my watch you’re holding, it’s my heart

My heart is swollen with the sweet pleasure knowing you brought. I will always remember you & the depth of our friendship. I’m publishing an email which I think says it better than I am now.

Go gentle, dear heart.

Love & smiles, always.

K.

14 May 2013

Hello my dear friend,
Sorry for the delay in writing back, this is just a quick note, I’m afraid, a few factoids without much narrative.
Firstly, a bit of a reality check with Dad. His skin is so bad (paper thin anyway & worse with prednisone) that he is now on more drugs to try & thicken it. Bit of a balancing act as they can’t stimulate cell growth too much.
His major problem is skin specialist says it will be difficult for him to get rid of skin cancers now, Dad’s skin won’t heal properly. Sigh.
Happier news: my sister & her partner are having a baby after trying for quite a while.
Prepare to suspend disbelief: I’ve met someone who seems to like me … Anyway, we went for a wander around Surry Hills & ended up kissing … The kind of kissing which makes you feel giddy just thinking about it.
Not sure what will happen. I like him a lot. We just sort of clicked really easily (that said I was so nervous yesterday).
Anyway, the Giro is on & I must away.
Love & smiles
Kimberley xxx
Sent from my iPhone
On 02/05/2013, at 11:52 PM, Denis Wright wrote:
Dear Kimberley,The birthday hoohah is over, more or less. It did feel somehow satisfying to make it to 66. I’m having a little period of grace I’m hoping will last a few more days at least while my daughters visit, for the last time So now I feel I can ask you without throwing in my selfish medical crap the thing that’s been going round and round in my mind. How is your Dad?And, is all OK with you?

I think of you so often, though we don’t say much on Twitter. Neither of us tends to make chitchat there just for the sake of it. You know that.

Much love, [the only person – with the occasional rare exception – I send public kisses to on Twitter, because I want people to know you’ve always, always been the special one to me! Just saying.]

Denis. xoxox





Not on our watch

27 11 2013

On Monday, as part of the Security Council, Australia was briefed by UN deputy secretary-general, Jan Eliasson on a complex emergency allowed to unfold on our watch in the Central African Republic (CAR). “Some call this a forgotten crisis,” Eliasson said. “The world is haunted by the horrors of crises spiralling into atrocities.” He presented the Security Council with five options, but made clear that there is only one choice: UN intervention.

Eliasson labeled the suffering as ‘beyond the imagination’, and referred to human rights violations including the escalating use of child soldiers (estimated by UNICEF to number 6,000), sexual violence and widespread reports of looting, illegal checkpoints, extortion, arbitrary arrests, torture and summary executions. Both the previous government of François Bozizé and the current regime of interim President Michel Djotodia (who overthrew Bozizé in a coup in March), are accused of serious human rights abuses by groups including Human Rights Watch.

France yesterday announced it would deploy further troops to the CAR, as well as circulating a draft Security Council resolution that would create a UN peacekeeping force to augment, and transform the 3,000-strong African Union-led International Support Mission to the CAR (MISCA). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has put the peacekeeping force required at 6,000, together with 1,700 police personnel and a contingency plan for 3,000 extra troops ready to enter the country if the situation further deteriorates.

The nightmare scenario is spiralling inter-communal violence between Muslims in the north, and the majority Christian population. Djotodia relies on the Séléka, an alliance of guerrillas from the CAR and surrounding countries, as his de facto security force. The rule of the gun takes precedence over the rule of law, with Christian armed groups known as the ‘anti-balaka’ (anti-machetes), responding in kind. The number of internally displaced is estimated at 400,000, however information flows from within the country of 4.6 million people are scant, with few non-government organisations on the ground. Religious tolerance, previously a hallmark of the country, is foundering. Reports emerging of mosques and churches straining to provide safe havens for civilians are a chilling echo of the Rwandan genocide.

The CAR government is delinquent, the country increasingly the preserve of groups such as the Séléka and anti-balaka. This is hardly surprising when the Small Arms Survey puts the number of illicit arms in the hands of civilians and non-state actors at approximately 50,000 with just over 8,500 small arms and light weapons in the control of the military and law enforcement agencies. Some 7,000 government troops (the Forces armées centrafricaines) have retreated to the capital, Bangui, and are no longer operational, their place largely assumed by the Séléka. Armed gangs are free to act ruthlessly in an environment where small arms are a source of advantage and children are easily manipulated in what security scholar William Hartung describes as ‘the business of war’. Sanctions and support for the African Union are on the table (supported by the US), but if Eliasson is to taken at his word, and he should, it won’t work.

Under the principles of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the international community has a collective duty to step in to prevent mass atrocities when a state lacks the ability or will to protect its population from harm. While R2P has largely fallen out of favour, its emphasis on prevention and support, with the underlying promise that there are situations where the use of force is right and necessary and a long-term commitment to restoring a secure, well-governed and just society is appropriate to the escalating crisis in the CAR.

Australia could sit by, war-weary and let other nations bear the burden, or it could live up to the promise that genocide, and mass atrocity crimes require more of us than humanitarian aid. The spectre of Rwanda hangs over those who watched as 800,000 people were slaughtered. Australia has international peacekeeping and policing experience and the people of the CAR need our help. We should support the French resolution with more than the words ‘never again’.





The self-preservation society

4 06 2013

It’s a very difficult job and the only way to get through it is we all work together as a team.

And that means you do everything I say.

‘Charlie Croker’ (Michael Caine)

The Italian Job (1969)

The news came through early this morning (4th June): Mauro Santambrogio of Vini Fantini Selle-Italia had returned a positive sample for EPO on the first day of the 2013 Giro d’Italia. The former BMC-teammate of Cadel Evans was the second rider on the Italian squad to be busted for doping, with Danilo Di Luca caught for an out-of-competition test returned during the race. Santambrogio is reportedly in ‘disbelief’ about his positive result, and wants a B sample analysed. Yeh. Denial is a river in Africa.

I’m not surprised; I don’t think anyone is ‘surprised’ that Santambrogio returned a positive sample. I was surprised on stage 14 of the Giro, when the glowworm emerged from the gloom to take line honours ahead of the maglia rosa, Vincenzo Nibali. ‘Where were these legs when he worked for Cadel!?!’, I tweeted. The win, & 20-second time bonus took Santambrogio to fourth overall, just one second from the podium. That was dashed three days’ later, with the Italian cracking on the road to Ivrea, eventually finishing ninth on general classification.

I’m not surprised, but I am angry. That Santambrogio was close to a podium place is one thing. That Nibali gifted him a Grand Tour stage win is another. It’s not uncommon – the magnanimous race leader handing out a sweet to a compatriot – but in the context of these tweets, it’s sick:

             David Millar on Santambrogio         Nibali's gift

I feel more let down by those who say they are in the know and do nothing than the dills who dope. Don’t get me wrong: I think Santambrogio and Di Luca are scumbags from the planets Ignorant and Stupid. Ignorant for daring to piss on their home country’s Grand Tour and stupid for … everything? EPO? Hello? 1993 called and it wants its latest advance in doping back. The Tweetfosi rumour mill is whirling about Nibali himself. For me, the problem is beyond doping. It’s culture. If Vini Fantini were the talk of the peloton, and no one in the peloton called the WADA/UCI hotline to report their suspicions (as Alex Oates says, that’s why it exists), then nothing has changed. ‘The past is the past’ … ‘truth & reconciliation’ … ‘we’re needle-free’ … ‘WHAT? SOMEONE I JUST RODE A GRAND TOUR WITH HAS BEEN BUSTED? SHOCKED I TELL YOU I AM SHOCKED!’ Bullshit. You are bullshit artists and oxygen thieves. The omertà remains strong, so strong that the athlete wearing the leader’s jersey will deliver you his imprimatur, boost your palmares, your profile and offer you a possible place next to him on the podium. All of science could be focused on developing newer, better tests, but unless the brothers of the chemically enhanced members of the pro peloton avail themselves of the whistleblower mechanism afforded them, they defile the sport, and dishonour good people like these …

Santambrogio celebration





A great fortnight for people who aren’t racist

29 05 2013

Disclaimer: I am a privileged white female who loves football, football and cycling.

Last week, Captain Kangaroo – the late, great Johnny Warren – would have turned 70. I couldn’t help of thinking, ‘WWJD’ if he’d heard GWS Giants coach Kevin Sheedy’s comments about immigration officers recruiting fans for his cross-code football rivals, Western Sydney Wanderers.

The paltry crowd that gathered at Skoda Stadium to witness the Mother’s Day clash between Essendon and the Giants may frustrate Sheedy. My feelpinion is he’s embarrassed. A man used to being feted or hated for his every utterance in Melbourne has come to Sydney to start a new club and no one really cares what he says, unless he’s starting faux hostilities with the Swans or needling Melbourne clubs.

It was never going to be an easy task – something the Sydney Swans’ retiring President, Richard Colless, had warned Sheedy. For every Johnny Come Lately AFL convert like me, the Swans have, at its core, a group of supporters who have stuck with the club through the razzle-dazzle of the Edelsten days and been there financially when the club almost folded. The Swans also had the head start of being a relocated Melbourne club with a rich history it refers to at every opportunity; but enough about my team.

What I found jarring was the number of people who came out to support Sheedy. He’s not a racist. He’s done more for multiculturalism than anyone else. He’s not a racist. He said the wrong thing but people who are objecting are really blowing it out of proportion. Yep, Sheedy said the wrong thing. On the scale of wrong things, it was a lazy throwback to the ‘sheilas, wogs and poofters’ view of football (at least):

“That’s what happens when you channel a lot of people into a country and put them into Western Sydney.”

Seriously? This from a fella who thought he could drag in the leaguies by recruiting Israel Folau? When that didn’t work (embarrassingly), turns his attention from competing with rugby league as the game of the Western Suburbs to whining about the success of the Wanderers in building a club – yep, pretty much overnight. I don’t think anyone could have predicted just how big an impact Wanderers would make on the A-League. I have a hometown bias towards the Newcastle Jets. Having paid to see A-League games in Sydney, I don’t go anymore. The reason? The worst racism from a crowd I’ve ever witnessed from the cheap seats in any sport. I’ve heard Australian cricket fans call the greatest player I’ve ever had the privilege of watching an, ‘Indian takeaway delivery boy’ – much to the mirth of an Australian player fielding on the boundary. I stood up, full of drink, and abused them in some florid and foul language. I think I got more daggers from the Indian fans around me for swearing in front of their children.

Back to the A-League, and why I won’t go again. A Brisbane Roar player, Kosovar-Albanian international Besart (Mark) Berisha, was taunted (if that’s what you can call, ‘die in a gas chamber, Gypsy’) by a group of low-life Sydney FC ‘supporters’ whose pea-brains use the worst excesses of 1970s terrace action as their template. Oh, the irony of their club’s owner being a Jew who escaped the Holocaust. This time, I said nothing. I’m ashamed to say I was scared of them. A few weeks ago, I had it ‘splained to me that I didn’t understand Berisha’s ‘history’ with Sydney FC. Whatever. I was intimidated, and saddened by what I heard. I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything, more ashamed that I stayed.

A few weeks ago, I tweeted this. The source was at the game and saw the incident first-hand. I had no reason to doubt his word. An AFL journalist retweeted me, and I am proud to say that the response was 95 per cent positive. Unfortunately and infuriatingly, I was accused of making things up. Interestingly, few of the people having a pop at me went for the person who said he saw the incident. Nothing came of it, unlike previous (and jaw-droppingly) continuing reports of racist abuse targeting North Melbourne’s Majak Daw. UPDATE: while Goodes may not have heard it, but as per the original tweets, it appears Swans staff did & the club reported it to the AFL. We await its response … or not.

The most infuriating thing is being seen as biased or overreacting if you object to racism. I’m biased because Goodes is ‘a protected species’. Well, that explains this, I guess. It is as ugly as the day when St Kilda’s Nicky Winmar pulled up his guernsey in front of a section of Collingwood supporters, defying their idiocy in a gesture which screamed, ‘yes, I am proud of the heart beating under my skin – and yet all you see is the colour of my skin.’ Fast forward to last Friday. Watching the Swans-Collingwood game on TV & live tweeting it, it was very evident late in the game that someone had said something that made Adam Goodes stop in his tracks. He didn’t ignore it. He stood tall, he stood proud, and he pointed out his abuser. That she was a 13 year-old girl makes the point that ‘casual racism’ breeds ‘overt racism’. This tweet sums it up for me.

Today, Adam Goodes woke up to the news that Collingwood President, Eddie McGuire, had tried to riff off last Friday’s incident in his morning radio show. Not funny, Ed. Not even remotely amusing. Harking back to ‘ye olde days’ when talking about King Kong subtly perpetuates the worst of the eugenics argument: that black people are somehow less evolved. As Richard Colless said today, the best thing that can be said is the whole thing is ‘bewildering’, particularly as McGuire had been widely praised for his fast and emphatic response on Friday night. The AFL is ‘dealing with McGuire under its racial vilification policy. Goodes’ message on Saturday – that the 13 year-old needed education, support and to take responsibility for her actions – was the mark of the man. Eddie McGuire would have been well served to take notes before his press conference.

I’m a privileged white woman. I don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racism, ‘casual’ or not. I’m over the ‘casual racism’ tag. It’s starting to sound like a cheap way out of for people who don’t think what they say or do is racist. Like Eddie McGuire or Kevin Sheedy. Is this racist if it’s preceded by this? Nah, totes casual. I saw this and felt uncomfortable, but I said nothing. It’s not enough. Twenty years’ ago, Nicky Winmar pointed to himself. Adam Goodes pointed at all of us and said enough. Watch the vision of AC Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng walking off the pitch after he was racially abused by fans of fourth division team, Pro Patria, during a friendly. Then watch as his teammates follow in support. Hear Adam Goodes’ pain trivialised by a radio host. Read Harry O’Brien’s response – to HIS club President. You can be sickened and heartened in a few minutes and reminded that all of us can be better – at a football match, on social media, when our Dad’s 1960s worldview deserves public challenging, on a bus. We are all capable of following these simple words, and standing up – not for people, but with them.

Racism. It stops with me.