In reply to Jessica Wright

johnboy 4 December 2007 105

We here at RiotACT don’t read Jessica Wright’s stuff in the Canberra Times as regularly as she seems to read ours.

And after I promised Jack Waterford I wouldn’t make her burst into tears in the newsroom any more I thought we’d have written the last about her.

Even her mother hunting down the author of a piece mocking her writing (which we removed at the author’s request such was mumsy’s fury) didn’t tempt us to write more.

So we were a little surprised to learn, a few days after the event, that she’d devoted a column to slagging RiotACT and its readers. You can see the article here [PDF].

Some might think it odd for Jessica to devote a whole column to slagging a website without informing her readers of the website’s address. Others might wonder what on earth a “blogsite” is.

It was in response to last week’s story by Pandy which, with some trepidation, I had left with his headline on (I had been passing over the site and dropped in to clear the queue).

I could have gone either way with it, but the context made it clear that there was a jocular element to the headline which was going for shock value. On balance, coming from an established contributor, I let it pass. I have to say that given the past strong defences of the Gay and Lesbian communities on this site a contra view possibly deserved some air.

To some extent I let the language through not because I agreed with it, but because I didn’t. We’re great believers around here of letting bad ideas destroy themselves.

But let’s look more at the text of Jess’s story which I’d like to examine in detail.

“Poofta marriages back on the table”
I’ll allow a few moments for the incredulity of such a bigoted statement to sink in

Is her problem with one word? Or with the statement??

“Gay marriages back on the table” seems to hardly be incredulously bigoted does it? So really Jessica meant to write “word”, and ended up writing “statement”. Some readers have expressed a hope that a future in journalism might beckon for them too on the basis of these standards, but it’s not what you know, it’s who you know kids.

Moving on…

Bear in mind, this is a site that purports to moderate both readers’ comments and article matter and reaches a considerable audience.

Actually we moderate as a last resort and with some sorrow, but it’s nice to have Jessica confirm the considerable nature of our audience (tip for new players, a phrase like “considerable audience” is journalist for “I’m too lazy to do any research”)

It beggars belief to think that anyone in sound state of mind could possibly entertain the necessity of such words

Jessica’s belief is obviously easily beggared. I certainly wouldn’t argue that the words were necessary, in fact it’s hard to find anywhere where we claim that only the necessary will be found on this website.

But there you have it. Predictably bloggers’ comments veer from the inappropriate to the sleazy in tone, no doubt spurned on by the title entry

For someone incensed at the use of a single word she’s certainly plenty lax in her own language. I’m not sure how one can be “spurned on”, perhaps she meant “spurred”?

Anyway the comments had a varied number of views as you’d expect for an issue where there is far from a consensus in the wider community.

Jess is extremely selective in her quoting as she finds only the ones that suit her argument before accusing we moderators of neglect in failing to expunge all thought she does not find acceptable. Now there are words to describe selective quoting from an unattributed source aren’t there??

Should she ever compile a book of her wit and wisdom we shall, in future, be sure to consult it for a listing of which ideas of the little people must be eliminated.

Moving on…

… it is all too easy to be a bigot and remain safe behind a computer screen. Once it was pointed white canvas masks

I don’t know about you but my Klan outfit is made from linen and not canvas. (Note to witless opinion writers: this is a joke, I have never been a member of the Klan and do not own such a costume). But now we’re on the same moral plateau as a lynch mob? My belief also, is becoming beggared. I’m also disturbed that real life murder is now being made equivalent to a tiff about one word on a website.

Would such dialogue be condoned if, say, racial slurs were used in the headline… ?

Probably not. But it would, once again, depend on a number of factors.

“Yet gay bashing, by the consent of one public forum, is deemed acceptable”

I had no idea RiotACT wielded such awesome power. I assume Jess means metaphorical gay bashing given that real physical gay bashing is still a real menace to society. But why stop with the inflammatory language there?

Oddly enough a number of Gay and Lesbian readers participated in the comments on that story, seemingly unabashed. But Jess left them out as they’d have ruined the direction of her piece.

That same-sex unions remain an ongoing argument is damning enough of our society’s level of tolerance, but to openly encourage and take part in this sort of prejudice is appalling

What, you mean by splashing it over a page of the Sunday Paper while removing all the balance?? Yes, you may have guessed that I am appalled.

Leaving that aside Jessica again seems to think that anyone who disagrees with her should be silenced. A wildly totalitarian view, she should run for parliament on that.

[For the record I think the legal aspects of marriage should be totally removed from the churches, the law should recognise civil unions of any adults for the purposes of spouse’s rights and if people want to have some sort of party they can call it whatever the hell they want to. But just because it’s my opinion doesn’t make everyone who thinks anything different unworthy of being heard.]

Jess then launches a stirring defence of same sex civil unions, issues already well covered on this forum, before once more ascribing RiotACT with astonishing powers.

In this instance, by this website’s example, the issue has been cheapened on the whole, and not a bit of it has to do with homosexuality

This website with its 24,000 visitors a month cheapened the debate about same sex unions on the whole???

We find that to be about as believable as anything else of Jessica Wright’s we’ve ever read.

If Jess had bothered to check she might have discovered that allowing the language used was a line ball decision by one editor.

But hey, much more fun to slag away the whole community with poorly thought out and badly written drivel.

Now, having made it this far dear reader, an exercise for you.

I think we can only take three quotes out of here to go in the taglines at the top of the page, please nominate your best selective quotes and discuss their merits.

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105 Responses to In reply to Jessica Wright
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fnaah fnaah 12:30 pm 04 Dec 07

Nice riposte, johnboy.

My vote is for Predictably bloggers’ comments veer from the inappropriate to the sleazy in tone, no doubt spurned on by the title entry.

This statement quite nicely summarizes Jess’ ignorance on a number of levels, and it would be pleasing to have a tacit reminder of that every so often.

bonfire bonfire 12:30 pm 04 Dec 07

id say ra is read by more people than the ct.

wright is stuck in an old media mindset.

a close read of the thread would have made it clear the issues was ‘debated’ by holders of many views. she chooses to focus on making ra look amateurish.

slanted lazy journalism.

the views in a post on ra reflect the community. the views in a column in the ct reflect ONLY the CT.

which media is more representative of its community ?

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:33 pm 04 Dec 07

Either the ‘spurned on’ line, attributed to Jessica Wright (Canberra Times writer, December 2007), or “I don’t know about you but my Klan outfit is made from linen and not canvas. – johnboy, in response to Jessica Wright, December 2007”

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:34 pm 04 Dec 07

Good work, Jess, did you write all that yourself?

Before you know it the job offers will be rolling in from The Daily Telegraph, New Idea and Women’s Day.

Crikey Crikey 12:35 pm 04 Dec 07

Jessica Wright is the new breed of ‘wet behind the ears’ journalist at the Canberra Times.

No life experience, a cheap journalist course and they think they are in line for a Walkley.

It’s the reason the once-proud Canberra Times is now just a rag.

She didn’t even have the media-awareness to name the source of the story – the RiotACT.

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 12:39 pm 04 Dec 07

What a f-king idiot that woman is. No mention of those of us who were pushing FOR the legislation (though I’m sure I made a sleazy reference somewhere). She made it sound as if everyone was entirely anti-gay.
No don’t get me wrong. I think some of the people on this site are stupid. But I want them to post. There’s nothing worse than a debate with only one side. You need the extremists, you need the centre-wings and you need the crazies. It balances the whole thing out.

Jey Jey 12:43 pm 04 Dec 07

That’s the charm of this site.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 12:46 pm 04 Dec 07

I can’t wait for Jess’ next spray about the horrid way some people on here treat cyclists! 🙂

Impassive Impassive 12:48 pm 04 Dec 07

I think Jessica’s piece is in keeping with the standard of the Sunday Times journalism – there is definitely a clear trend to be seen..

Can we expect the ABC to do a similar piece?

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 12:54 pm 04 Dec 07

Strangely, this article showed up in our “National News Pressclippings” resource at work. Once I knew the headline twas easy to find.
Pity she can’t attribute quotes, spell, check her grammar, or write like she’s graduated high school.

If she can mention her sources and build the hitcount, I propose we treat Jess as a troll worth feeding. Who knows, johnboy may even score a lunch to explain himself.

RandomGit RandomGit 12:54 pm 04 Dec 07

Sing along with me…

Valley Girl, she’s a valley girl
Valley Girl, she’s a valley girl

RandomGit RandomGit 12:55 pm 04 Dec 07

Can someone reference for me, the original fracas with this person?

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 12:57 pm 04 Dec 07

Speaking of which, Impassive, she’s ripped this straight out of a bit Media Watch did on one of the major newspaper’s comments section. Except, what with the ABC actually being able to associate journalism with what they publish, Media watch did have a point, as the comments on those sites are screened beforehand and there was alot more crazy right-wing comments than moderate or left-wing.

Johnboy, in future, don’t yield to her silly connections if you can (I don’t know what the legal bullshit surrounding that was though). Let her have a cry. Maybe then she’ll realize that ‘journalism’ is not for her.

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 12:59 pm 04 Dec 07

I hope I’m not the only one who muttered “who the f- is Jessica Wright?”.

Dear Jess (is it ok if I call you Jess?),

Welcome to The Internet. It’s Serious Business.


The Internet

Seriously though, I chuckled at the “Poofta marriages back on the table” line, as traditional boganese should be hilarious to anyone who holds themselves above that lot. And while I’d love to get my name published in the paper- for nefarious reasons or not- I’ll have to mention I attended the first gay Quaker marriage in the country, and it still annoys me no end that it wasn’t considered “legal”.

Oh, and does mentioning the KKK count as invoking Goodwin’s Law? You lose, Jess…

johnboy johnboy 1:02 pm 04 Dec 07

RG it started with this and then a reader send in something quite brilliant but very brutal which he subsequently asked us to remove in the face of parental pressure (and some astonishing language if he is to be believed).

DMD, it came down at the author’s request, not much we can do in those situations.

There was no question of legal proceedings, rather retribution in other ways and places as far as I could tell.

johnboy johnboy 1:05 pm 04 Dec 07

Sadly I don’t think Godwin runs to the Klan.

I was tempted to invoke 1984 or possibly Nazi’s in response though, so it was certainly something I was mindful of.

Heavs Heavs 1:05 pm 04 Dec 07

Wouldn’t worry about it. When you’ve Cayla Dengate after you – that’s when you KNOW you’re in trouble.

grundy grundy 1:06 pm 04 Dec 07

In my opinion homosexuality is completely wrong, but you should never deny the right of two consenting adults to join in a civil ceremony!

oh wait… wrong forum…

*Puts on ‘Klan’ outfit and joins the RA mob* >.>

Thumper Thumper 1:06 pm 04 Dec 07

“You need the extremists, you need the centre-wings and you need the crazies. It balances the whole thing out”

Totally agree with you on that score DMD…

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 1:14 pm 04 Dec 07

As a rule, when one finds oneself at the bottom of a deep hole, it’s best to stop digging. Something poor Jessica has not yet grasped. Seriously out of her depth, she has tried to (puff) pump prime her light weight slot on Canberra’s Sunday edition of the cat tray liner into something more serious than she has the wit, nor wisdom to handle.

Her possibly legitimate views on same-sex relationships – likely formed during her cloistered youth in the bohemian leafy inner north of O’Connor and later inner south reflect a maturity that belies her conservative Girls Grammar School education – nevertheless, with a little more intellectual ‘mileage’ sweet Jessica might have been aware that there really are a diverse range of strongly held opinions on this subject. I would have assumed that anyone wishing to put the case for change would need to articulate the arguments in favour of that change and address the arguments against change. Simply berating those who oppose your view with pompous name-calling and derision just singles Jessica out as another annoying bleating element of the back-ground noise on same-sex relationships – she’s simply no better than the rest of us biased, opinionated, bigoted and poorly informed would-be hacks with the one exception: our daddy’s didn’t swing us job writing for a newspaper.

I actually don’t think that Jessica’s bog-paper missive has anything to do with same-sex relationships. It seems to be more about putting the boot into RA for whatever paranoid reason she may harbor. Perhaps she’s a ventriloquists dummy mouthing the death throws of an outdated rag with plummeting circulation (apologies to ventriloquists dummy’s for the analogy).

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