piss and journalism
you're going down to see the vet, you'd better take the cat and have
him desexed -- he's been spraying in the flat again", Joadja said.
The stench of cat piss was so bad it made you forget the other problems
around the place.
beast in question was a very daggy tabby, an urban feral. Jo had given
him sanctuary and half-tamed him. He must have been a good-looking kitten,
but something had gone terribly wrong. He walked with a stiff arthritic
strut, like a mechanical toy, he had a prissy, plaintive voice, his
neck was permanently swollen, he dribbled, his muscles were tightly
bunched and he was always distracted and jumpy.
there wasn't much of a queue at the vet -- just a middle-aged bloke
with a handlebar moustache who looked at me without acknowledgement
and a white bull-terrier bitch with piggy little eyes. The dog ignored
the cat, but she growled at me. "Nice doggie", I said, "What's
the man muttered without a glance in my direction.
Gupta's silk sari rustled as she ushered me into the surgery. "I
enjoy your visits, Nick. I don't often have the luxury of talking to
my patients. What's the problem?"
afraid I'm having a relapse of Possum Creek fever. Terrible nightmares
again. I keep seeing ethnic massacres and a man ranting about the River
Tiber flowing with much blood".
this is not at all surprising, It is hardly a dream", Dr Gupta
said. "There are such horrible things now, they are giving me nightmares
spread out a pile of newspaper clippings about the Great Tampa Afghan-Lebo-Muslim
Bankstown Rape Crisis. At the top were some columns from the Sydney
Morning Herald by 'senior reporter' Paul Sheehan.
us put this problem in context", she said. "We have had a
spate of nasty rapes, committed by a a tiny group of very stupid young
men of Lebanese ancestry. These were not refugees, but people born or
raised here. They were not at all typical. In the past, most crimes
of this nature were committed by atypical men of Christian background.
Sheehan is pushing a lot of nasty buttons here. Just look at the subtext:
filthy Arabs defiling white women. What a demagogue!
course he asserts that the crimes were racially or ethnically motivated.
What dangerous inflammatory rot. Criminals usually try to 'justify'
their crime with some ideological gloss or excuse but the crime is motivated
by the desire to exercise violent power over women. Remember the rape
of Aboriginal women by European men. Remember 'gin jockeys'. They are
not exactly an unknown feature of European colonisation.
first Mr Sheehan is hiding as usual behind the claim that he is just
reporting what the majority believe, but then he begins to stir in some
new mischief of his own: Lebanese people are not cost-effective migrants,
he says. There are too many of them in jail, they are too poor. But
think of those who are even poorer and certainly over-represented in
jail: Aboriginal people. Today it is Arabs, tomorrow it will be Koories
and the day after? Vietnamese perhaps, some of whom deal drugs?
this I find the most dangerous: he says here a 'large Muslim population
has been brought into this country with barely a shred of consultation
or consent'. This can only be read one way: 'Christian' Australia should
be asked if it wants to accept Muslims as migrants or refugees. What
does Mr Sheehan want in this country? a Christian theocracy? that a
person's religion should be a basis for rejection?
understanding of our Constitution is that we are blind to religion.
That is a very fine thing, for the foundation of religious freedom --
as well as the freedom not to believe -- lies in the secularity of the
I can't disagree with a word of that", I said.
Possum, I think we may have found the problem", Dr Gupta said when
I went back to the surgery in the afternoon to pick up the cat.
scrotum was horribly twisted, and one testicle was up inside his body.
It must have caused him pain and irritation. It was leaking, and semen
was backing up under the skin. It may even have backed up into the brain.
I am thinking that this may have caused the hormones to run out of control,
inflamming all his glands. This would explain why his neck is so swollen.
The poor thing, we must keep an eye on his progress."
gave me some industrial-strength flea treatment plus a free cat collar
with little bells on it to warn the local wildlife, and started to fill
out his patient card. "By what name does he go?" she asked.
that ... Joadja calls him Paul Sheehan", I said.