Film, News & Commentary, Screen

What Julian Assange and The Post’s Katherine Graham have in common

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Right. I’m in a mood. This is for several reasons, enumeration of which will not serve you, the reader, but will certainly make me feel better. So, bugger your needs, and away-we go with mine: It’s Monday; I am uncomfortably warm and fear the imminent nuisance of menopause; my other flower garden is certainly dead to a heat now hovering at 39C, or 102F if you’d rather the American money. Oh, and I write from the territory usually known as Australia, which will almost certainly burst into flames long before it is ever ceded by just treaty. My coerced association with this Hot’n’Racist franchisee has become fatally embarrassing.

As if this were not enough, Meryl Streep has another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, or Best Performance By An Empowering Lady In A Business, or whatever it is they call it these days. I don’t know, and, honestly, I wouldn’t care if (a) I were not now so sweaty and embarrassed (b) twits didn’t keep banging on about Meryl and the Freedom of the Press, as if such a thing could be meaningfully said to exist.

Steven Spielberg has long been in the business of stinking up the world with works that shriek USA to all doubters.

Yeah, you guessed right. I went to see The Post. I would say that our Daily Review film critic, one of a very few sane enough not to enjoy the imperialist hand-job, should receive some sort of statuette for his restraint. This moving story of an initial public offering (IPO)—that’s what it is, a film that celebrates US business acumen by one with inherited wealth—should be pelted with the most vulgar and the rottenest fruit. Or, better, with my rotten womb—which may as well be put to some practical use before it is lost to lady climate change. Seriously, what a stinker. Spielberg. Not my womb.

Of course, Steven Spielberg has long been in the business of stinking up the world with works that shriek USA to all doubters. We shouldn’t be shocked that he basically took the dude from American Sniper and gave him a newspaper and put him in a frock. And, no. I’m not saying that the Washington Post ever personally knocked off Iraqi civilians, however keen it has been on that US hobby in the recent past. I am not even particularly saying that Katharine Graham, the protagonist of The Post, was an heiress opposed to strike action by her workers and one eulogised by Henry Kissinger—you may remember him from hits including Millions of Dead Brown Bodies.

You could put a sign that says “feminist” on one of Slobodan’s turds these days, and all brutality, idiocy or complicity with extraordinary power is forgiven.

What I am saying, however, is pretty much the same thing I was saying last week, although in a hotter and snippier way. And that is: FFS, people. You could put a sign that says “feminist” on one of Slobodan’s turds these days, and all brutality, idiocy or complicity with extraordinary power is forgiven.

To the impulsive commenter: no. This is not an objection to feminism, and you are quite wrong to read it as such. It is an objection to that feminism—currently, most of it—pressed into the service of power. And, no, I don’t care if you believe that you or such-and-such independently arrived at the conclusion that Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness should be forgiven—just as Kissinger’s apparently has in Cambodia, Chile, East Timor, Vietnam—because She’s a Woman. You don’t get to do that. I mean, you can, of course, but you will look like a tool insisting that there are few acts of violence and/or idiocy that cannot be excused on the off-chance your daughter may be inspired by apparently feminist leadership.

If one experiences sexism, the logic seems to go, then your every move—even if against a sovereign leader—is retaliatory only toward the patriarchy. Girl power!

Clinton invaded Libya, supported a military coup on Honduras, starved Venezuela, shat on most middle-eastern nations not named Israel or Saudi Arabia and drove down the Haitian minimum wage. Pas de problème. If one experiences sexism, the logic seems to go, then your every move—even if against a sovereign leader—is retaliatory only toward the patriarchy. Girl power!

Yes, Kay Graham experienced sexism in the boardroom, and perhaps an entire social season of not speaking with friend and baby-killer, Secretary Kissinger. And, yes, her approval for the release of the Pentagon Papers in the newspaper she owned could be seen as laudable, even a little bit crazy in that crazy era where sickening US foreign policy could be seen for the first time on television. But, be honest, it doesn’t really matter in celebrating this sick-bag scored by John Williams, does it?

If we were a people currently enamoured of free press, we’d all be helping get the founder of WikiLeaks back to this place called Australia. Surely, Julian Assange is at least as half as brave as Kay Graham, what with the release of all those verified documents holding power to account, and the whole detainment deal, ruled twice by the UN as unlawful.

Yes, Assange seems like a bit of a tool—perhaps the product of nature, perhaps that of sunless detention. What does it matter if free press is what we are to celebrate? Have a bit of a gander at Graham’s life, or her memoirs, and see if you can’t really say that she wasn’t also a bit of a tool. A tool, moreover, with close DC connections, money, and attorneys on tap. None of which Assange, afflicted for years by toothache, can claim.

Assange’s public pronouncements about Girls Can’t Count etc. have lately become offensive. Quite the Richard Dawkins has been born in that embassy cupboard. This does not diminish the work that WikiLeaks does.

Yes, Assange’s public pronouncements about Girls Can’t Count etc. have lately become offensive. Quite the Richard Dawkins has been born in that embassy cupboard. This does not diminish the work that WikiLeaks does, yet, it is diminished by the fact that some of it is unfavourable to feminist role-model Clinton. Clinton’s indecent commitment to the finance sector, to intervention and even to promoting racist tension to help her win the presidency can be read, sans editorial, on WikiLeaks—along with much else. But this, apparently, is anti-feminist freedom, ergo not true freedom when the freedom that we seek is the Washington Post as personified by Meryl Streep and Tom fucking Hanks.

Look. Settle down. Have a bit of a think. See beyond #metoo Meryl-powerment and concede that Graham’s single act was precisely the sort for which Assange has been for more than a decade condemned. Let’s even leave aside that contempt for genuinely heroic whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning is rife among the same press gobshites who tell us all to go and see this inspiring tale of American exceptionalism, and get a hold of ourselves.

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Let’s agree that if we liked The Post, it was due to our urge to believe, just as any devout Trump supporter, that we can Make American Great Again. This film is a vision of the USA and its “free press” as it never was, and how successive administrations, notably Obama’s, has ensured it can never be in the future. The Pentagon Papers—about whose contents few seem to give a shit—were never the rule for the Post. This and the Mark Felt Watergate revelations were anomalous. They serve now as a branding statement for a newspaper owned by the richest man in the world that has long since resumed its complicity with power, and as a memory exhumed by Spielberg to make Americans, and her Australian employees, feel like “fake news” is only the work of sexists.

Press is failing the people. It has failed the people. I am embarrassed to tell strangers that I am a media worker, and I am certainly not going about admitting I’m a feminist these days. This is because the work of the mainstream journalist and the posture of the “feminist” have become almost identical: concealing the shape of power and discrediting any person who would seek to reveal it as anti-feminist and anti-press.

I’m sure you don’t care if this diminution of both truth and feminism hurts my feelings. Nor should you. Might want to have a think about the broader consequences, though. Or, you know. Just keep on rolling that genocidal turd in glitter and give it a feminist sign, maybe a column in the Post. Because there’s no more important fight than for the freedom of American elites.

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32 responses to “What Julian Assange and The Post’s Katherine Graham have in common

  1. I thought i was alone in this big world hallucinating perhaps when i saw turds talking dancing laughing and wearing extravagant bling bling. Its not unusual at all for a party to ride the wave of an aspiration and turn it into a clown show and a political show. “The bible is my favorite book!” i saw one saying on television. Couldnt tell you anything in the bible that was useful but it got many of the phony evangelist on board that milk the fear of jesus and carry the lord n master card. The old hee haw biddies popped open thier wallets n purses n cooky jars n unloaded a wad on keeping satan from crossing the border.
    Theyre taking up the race cause or the immigration cause or whatever will get them the voting numbers and when they show is over theyre dicing up the countries vitality to fill their constituents accounts. The causes are shrugged off. Bought off or shut down dismissed or dismantled until its useful again. The media tempers the tide as needed. If a major wave is required they feed the fodder and inflame the masses. Many causes may have established some sort of improvement in the country via reasonable understanding and balanced approach. When the political parties get their hands on them they ruin the causes and distort them so much so the cause is shoved aside and the politician becomes the cause. THey will even invite enemies who see opportunity to stir up distrust then distance themselves if someone see the rats eating commie cheese. Bottom line is money corruption is so out of control that pretty much if you have money to throw around your ok no matter how bloody yer hands are. Slowly we are ebbing towards justifiable criminals. The steps are criminals sponsor criminals who sponsor criminals who sponsor criminals and well..Do the math. Eventually the bad guys take over and start to work on watering down the system so other bad guys can get on board etc. Pretty much democracy disappears and is taken over by thugs. We become like every other country we claimed so loudly and blatantly to detest. Who then will carry the flame of freedom and decency?

    1. Wow have you been inside my head this is EXACTLY how I see it too so I can attest at least there are two of us. Lady Justice unfortunately is a fraud – she can be bought and will remove that blindfold.

    2. This apes a lot of what I think. The powers that be have co-opted very good causes and are using it for their political gains. They have many useful idiots in celebrities who will parrot their lines and lambast any who question. The DNC cares naught for minorities or even women. They only care for their own, and the way their supporters will turn blind eyes to minorities and women on their opposite side shows just how focussed they are on their own personal gain over those whom they purport to champion.

      Razer is right and mainstream civil activists and feminists need to realise that supporting women and minorities crosses partisan lines.

      1. Er, razors point was that you don’t need to support a woman because she’s a woman if she’s also the supporter of thugs.

        Use of the phrase “useful idiot” is a flag of intolleence for anybody else’s opinion and a hallmark of trolls.

  2. In 2012, Julian Assange is granted asylum. Also in 2012, here at our own ABC, Annabel Crabb (chief online political writer) begins hosting her own TV cooking program Kitchen Cabinet.

    I hear ya.

  3. Great stuff.
    I suspect Milosevic may be a convenient scapegoat for the US, which refused opportunities for a negotiated end to hostilities, as they have done and are doing elsewhere.
    Though I know little, just what Justin Raimondo has written.

    1. Peace was never the intention of the Rambouillet Agreement. Milosevic actually accepted the initial terms and the Albanians rejected it. The wording was then changed last minute so as to make it impossible for Milosevic to accept. The wording was amended to state that NATO would have complete control and access of Serbian territory and would be immune to the laws of that country. Essentially a military invasion. No sovereign nation would accept such terms. The media played its role by declaring that despite the best efforts of NATO to find a peaceful resolution, the Serbs refused the peace offering. And then then the bombing began

  4. Obviously out of step here but I think Julian Assange should be locked up for 30 years at least. He’s a fool, a danger to the security of many nations and a traitor to his own.

    1. Yes unfortunately you are sadly out of step and misinformed. Anyone who thinks that someone should be locked up for 30 years for exposing crimes committed by Goverments who cover them up is mentally dysfunctional. Sorry I hope you wise up. Assange saved the world from Clinton being elected to the White House by disclosing some historical truths that had been ignored by the mainstream media. Thankfully the majority of the US public knew the truth about Clinton (no thanks to the corrupted mainstream corporate media) but thanks to the thousands of social media warriors out there battling against the distortions of the mainstream media (ie fake news as Trump correctly names it).

      1. Jeez, Darcy. This is a cut-and-paste political analysis.
        The reason that most voted for a new President was not Brave Warriors of Twitter, which only those with a confirmation bias regularly use, nor of Facebook, which has an algorithm designed to give you the opinions you like. It was for the same bloody reason nearly all political allegiances switch: how crap the voter’s life has relatively become.
        Clinton promised a continuation of Obama policy. At the Convention, the falsehood was repeated: America is already great. People who had found it increasingly less great voted for a change, not continuity.
        For fun, look at the actual policies Trump has passed. They are a virtual continuation of Obama policy, with a few little tweaks. Did you know he has just announced a three quarter of a trillion dollar spend on combating Russia? That US troops continue to do as they had done under Obama and that surveillance laws have been passed (isn’t that an Obama thing?) and a mild bump in the economy is allowing the guy to claim he has created jobs? Which, he hasn’t. The economy is as financialised and corrupt as it ever was.
        Give me a break. Twitter is not where a majority of votes are swayed. That’s in life.
        You people who love a conspiracy, because it is such a simple answer to complex problems you can’t be bothered considering as you spend all day on social media “calling out” enemies. Dems. GDP. You’re both vile.

      2. Ermm, not sure about your arithmeti, but Assange claimed asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2011 (i.e., 7 years ago), to evade a European arrest warrant while on bail from the Supreme Court in London. AFAIK he has never been “locked up”.

        And even now, when the warrants have lapsed, he still refuses to leave the Embassy (though Ecuador seems to feel he has now outstayed his welcome) to answer the charge of skipping bail, which applies to anyone who has been released on bail but then does a runner.. and never mind the “friends” and supporters who were persuaded to put up his not-inconsiderable surety monies (a little over A$600,000), which they have since lost.

    2. And what of other journalists who agree to share leaks with the public?
      Should Robert Parry, just deceased, have been sent to prison for releasing details on Iran Contra? Should Edward Snowden be tried for treason for revealing the unconstitutional surveillance under which US citizens (and the rest of us) live? What about Meryl/Katharine?

  5. Quite so Helen. Just think, the New York Times was behind the Iraq Invasion which has been the most criminal and damaging foreign intervention in modern times. How does that compare with the release of the Pentagon paper?Do I need to mention that the Pentagon papers did nothing to shorten the Vietnam war while the consequences of the Iraq invasion are still being felt particularly in Europe and the Middle East, and will continue to do so with increasing force indefinitely. So much for a free press.

  6. You can always dry an old womb and turn it into a coin purse – or then again, fill it with marbles, tie a string around the cervix and clobber the enemy with it.

    1. ???

      On a side note, I absolutely agree that the treatment of Assange is appalling — I mean INEXPLICABLY appalling compared to the evils we’re willing to just forgive or turn a convenient blind eye to in others — but that isn’t the part I find most disheartening.

      It is the apparent refusal of those who believe his treatment is appalling to simply sit by and let it happen.

      Penning the odd outrage piece might be cathartic in a smash Meryl kinda way, but none of us are innocent in our inaction.

      Outrage isn’t enough. Where are the thousands of marchers forming a human shield to get the bloke out of that fucking embassy (or are the personal consequences of such an act just a bit rich for the blood)

      And that, my friends, is why the Republicans will win again in November and Trump will win again in three years !

      1. You go, Mr Fancy. “We are all complicit!”
        We’re all complicit in bloody everything, though. What have YOU done to end the racist intervention in the Territory today? Why are YOU not protesting for the textile workers of Bangladesh? Why do YOU not protest the power of financial institutions?
        And how DARE you write about such things if you’re not out on the streets?
        Give it a rest, love.

  7. I heard a neurosurgeon say on the radio the other day that anger is an unhealthy emotion. Your passionate anger is exactly what we need to be morally healthy and to see the world truthfully. (Sorry. I know that you might not like the bit about morality.)

    1. In this age, Rai, morality may be the only weapon we have remaining.
      Oh. I’ll bet the expert was a “neuroscientist” and not a person with genuine scientific trainings. This hybrid nonsense is the phrenology of our time.

  8. So on the nose as always. Helen have you ever considered writing for the alternative media as you seem to be the only journalist who sees through the crap.

    1. No, she’s the only journalist who can be read (via this website). Plenty of other journos see through the crap and view the world as it really is but do you think Rupert is going to publish them!?

  9. Helen, putting aside your (and Fox News’) continuing obsession with Hillary Clinton (a woman unelected to public office for eleven years, a former Secretary of State whose term ended six years ago, a candidate who lost the electoral college despite winning the election by normal democratic standards, and now retired), I agree with much of what you say. (But jeez, can’t you find another, much more relevant tool of capitalist imperialist oppression to call out? One who holds actual power in 2018? I can think of several women who might fit that bill).

    But I can’t possibly agree with your proclamation, in the comments section, that I should “look at the actual policies Trump has passed. They are a virtual continuation of Obama policy, with a few little tweaks.”

    Perhaps you are referring to foreign policies, but for those of us who live on the ground here in the United States, repealing environmental regulations is not a little tweak, especially if you want clean water to drink. And banning travelers from certain countries who are related to American citizens isn’t either. Nor is the gutting of Obamacare’s mandate, the only thing that made it somewhat financially functional. Or working with Congress to send us into an enormous deficit while giving even more tax cuts for the rich. And nor is the rush to repeal regulations governing the financial institutions that brought this country to its knees. And I couldn’t leave out the rush to privatise the public education system, or employing the oil industry to run the EPA. I could go on.

    You can legitimately argue that these are just making worse the other guy’s bad policies, although I disagree. Nevertheless, they are major changes, not tweaks.

    1. Refreshing words across the world from Helen, making me feel as if I have just found the end of the rainbow and then the self entitled liberal comes in and throws up all over everything. This is the problem with the US. The opportunity to see beyond the periscope flying over everyones head,

    2. Sam, come on now. Helen was responding to a comment about why a certain group people voted trump as opposed to Clinton. (And for a quick comment she nailed it, but missed out the pier-of-one-marketing automated SM campaiging used to subvert those spaces known as TW and FB and also race dog whistling). I’m sure Helen is aware of the switch and bait tactics used by trump to pretend he isn’t begging to be as much a part of the establishment as they’ll allow him to be.

      His appointments to a who’s who of (donors in) oil, coal and gas men to positions of power in what is supposed to be protection for the environment, and you know, life on planet Earth, is as obvious to Razor is it is to anybody who can see a turd wrapped in glitter.

      Ive rarely enjoyed a razor column more than this, even if t a few ignorant then menapause references went over much head. It’s what razor is good at, over the top rants about unreasonably horrid shit in public life which so many seem to pass off as normal.

      1. Alistair, I appreciate the reasoned response, but I disagree with you and Helen either way: that Clinton campaigned on a continuation of Obama’s policies, and that’s what we got under Trump. The latter part is simply untrue – those “tweaks” may not be bringing down the capitalist establishment, as Trump promised, but they are extremely significant domestic policies for those of us who live under them. I do understand the point that you both are trying to make; I just disagree.

        To that end, I would add that there are various assumptions that writers and pollsters make as to why people voted for Trump. I would argue that when you have a country as regionally complex and geographically diverse as the United States, with 60 million people voting for a particular candidate, it’s hard to make generalisations.

        I have met many Trump voters over the past year and I have yet to derive a simple common thread, other than that they hated the other candidate. Beyond that, the reasons diverge wildly, from purely economic (taxes, wages, NAFTA), to cultural reasons (abortion, religion), to the Supreme Court, and overt (proud) racism and sexism. I’m sure there are more.

    1. Meryl was once a great actress, I think. Notwithstanding her accents may or may not have been good. But to get any sort of a nomination for her work in The Post is laughable. She singularly put in the worst acting job of a cast that was otherwise not too bad. Apparently she gets a nod just for turning up while Amy Adams and Sally Hawkins continually go unnoticed.

  10. Sam, HRC lost. It doesn’t matter that she received more votes, just as in a Westminster style government it doesn’t matter which party gets more votes, it’s which party has the most elected MP’s. The two are often the same, but do not need to be. She knew the rules going in and no one denied her campaigning in Wisconsin, or revisiting Michigan. Several smart politicians begged her to do so. To repeat ‘the most votes’ is counter-productive. Much liberal progress would never happen if it was simply up to a direct vote.

    1. Michael, no argument here. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that Clinton still received more votes – which is, by most standards, a measure of popularity. So this idea that Trump won the election because he was more appealing is unfair. He won because the system is set up in such a way that being less popular doesn’t matter.

  11. “Girls can’t count”…sadly ironic coming from Mr Assange given that Ada Lovelace is generally regarded as the first computer programmer (and a fine mathematician).

    Thank you for your writing Helen.

    Simon

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