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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Opinion

Pickering - The Islamophobe And Homophobe

Paul Zanetti Sunday 12 February 2017




We’re all quick to judge, aren’t we? It’s human nature. If we can condemn someone, without knowing their story, or truly understanding their life experiences we feel morally right, virtuous.

We point the finger, permitting ourselves to feel vindicated by condemning them.

Publicly vilifying someone is today’s social media blood sport. Those who name-call, abuse and accuse feel better about themselves, morally superior, patting themselves on the back, telling themselves how much better they are than others.

Virtue signalling is a real thing.

I’m probably guilty of it. I’ve labelled feminists ‘man haters’ without asking myself why a small percentage of women are consumed with rage against males. On the surface it seems irrational, unbalanced, and unnaturally obsessive.

Some feminist’s anger can be sourced to abusive experiences with their father or a horrific, violent relationship with a man. Being brutally raped is surely a reason to fear and hate men; justification for a phobia of men.  

Other feminists may have been fortunate to not have experienced violence, but influenced by their mum’s experience, or fall into a crowd, and form their view for empathetic or social reasons (acceptance amongst the echo chamber of other man haters). The latter don’t have an irrational fear of men, but an irrational desire to conform to a group. Professionals, far more qualified than me to assess the head space of man haters, probably have the answers, so who am I to judge?

The men I know, though, are lovingly protective of their wife and daughter(s). But there’s no doubt some men are utter bastards.

Most phobias are deeply rooted in the past.

Why do some people love dogs, while others have a seemingly irrational fear of man’s best friend (cynophobia)? Could it be that the fear of all dogs goes back to a childhood moment when the cynophobe was bitten or attacked by an angry canine?

Arachnophobia is a fear of spiders. I’ve never been bitten by a spider, so when I regularly find spiders taking shelter inside my home, I don’t jump up on a chair, screaming, “SPIDER!”. I get myself a small, clear plastic container with a lid, nudge the little critter into the container with the lid, scoop it up, then take it outside to release it. My kids occasionally find spiders, often nestled in a top corner of their room, and calmly let me know. “Dad, there’s a spider in my room. Could you come and get it?”

They don’t fear the spider, so they have no impulse to have it condemned to a squishy death. I explained to my kids long ago that spiders are looking for a warm spot to chill out. They don’t deserve to die for finding a place of protection which so happens to be their room, and anyway the spider is more scared of us than we could ever be of them. No arachnophobia in our place.

A phobia is a fear (rational or irrational), that could be considered so unreasonable, but so powerful in a person they become extremely anxious, defensive, even panic stricken if forced to confront it.

There’s aerophobia, a fear of flying.

Acrophobia, a fear of heights.

Astraphobia, a fear of thunder and lightning

Sociopohobia, a fear of people or social situations.

Thanatophobia, a fear of dying

Hoplophobia, a fear of firearms.

Selachophobia, a fear of sharks.

Trypanophobia, a fear of needles or injections.

At the seemingly weird end of the scale, there’s xanthophobia, a fear of the colour yellow, tetraphobia, a fear of the number 4, pupaphobia, a fear of puppets,  globophobia, a fear of balloons, and even phobophobia - a fear of phobias.

The two phobias being thrown around with wild abandon today are Islamophobia and homophobia, most often without justification, with some exceptions.

My good mate, Larry Pickering has been accused of both, and with good cause.

He made some comments at a fund raising dinner on Thursday night which were at face value extremely tasteless, and which he has since conceded were ‘stupid’.

Larry’s big regret is that he has caused so much trouble for the fund raiser hostess, Kirralie Smith, with his stupid comments.

I, too was a speaker at the dinner, and I admit I didn’t hear Larry’s comments or know of them until Kirralie called me the following day to ask if I’d read the smh.com.au website.

I hadn’t seen the story, as I’d just got off the plane from Sydney with Larry and dropped Larry off at at his home when Kirralie called.

Larry was the final speaker (before Kirralie’s closing speech) and we’d finished a double act, with drawings and other mementos auctioned off. By the time Larry got up to talk, the room was pretty raucous with a lot of moving around the room and photos being taken with various guests and hosts.

We’d all had a few, feeling relaxed, our guards were down, with two Fairfax reporters perched at the back of the room waiting for their headline moment. Larry didn’t disappoint them.

At this point I have to confirm Larry is both an Islamaphobe and a homophobe. In Larry’s case his fears are not irrational, but stem from personal experience.

The Islamophobia (fear of Islam) is due to his hatred of Islam and it’s inspired terrorism, as commanded by the prophet Mohammed on behalf of their Islamic god, Allah, who commands all Muslims to convert or kill unbelievers (kufars) to grow their desired caliphate to global domination.

Larry has been visited by national security agents advising him to move house. His name has come up on their surveillance of Islamic chat rooms, for sacrifice for Allah because of his courageous early warnings of the Islamic texts, which Muslim leaders and their sympathisers and supporters in the left media, would prefer we don’t know about. Then there are the hilariously penetrating cartoons.

My other very good mate, Bill Leak has moved house for the same reason.

The Islam inspired attacks at Charlie Hebdo, Texas cartoon exhibition and the Danish cartoon fatwahs showcase Islam's sense of humour.

There are well over a hundred verses in the Islamic ‘holy book’ the Quran commanding Muslims to engage in acts of terror against non-Muslims, or against Muslims who don’t strictly adhere to the Islamic teachings (apostates) to enact acts of terror. “Fighting (for Allah) is prescribed for you” is just one of the primary commands of Islam.

ISIS strictly adheres to the commands of the prophet which are the foundation of Islamic teachings (Quran, Hadith and Sunnah).

Islamic terrorists are rewarded with great pleasures in the afterlife. Non fighters are shunned by Allah.

Here's a quick scraping of samples of the teachings of Islamic teachings from the ‘religion of peace’:

Quran (2:191 - 193) ”And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone.”

Quran (2:216) "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

Quran (3:56)  "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

Quran (3:151)  "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

Quran (4:74) "Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him. We shall bestow a vast reward."

Quran (8:12) "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

Quran (8:39) "And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion is all for Allah"

Quran (9:14) "Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people."

Quran (9:123)  "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness."

There are dozens of similar verses commanding Muslims to kill for their god, and to die for Allah. The war cry “Allah Akbah” (god Is great) is to ingratiate themselves to their god should they die in their acts of killing innocent unbelievers. Committing the act of terror to their god ensures a top spot and untold rewards in the Islamic paradise.

At the fundraising dinner, Larry Pickering said,

"Let's be honest, I can't stand Muslims,"

"If they are in the same street as me, I start shaking."

That’s Larry the Islamophobe. I must confess I suffer a bit from Islamophobia myself. I do tend to value our freedoms and my head, which unfortunately are selective luxuries under Islam.

If I wasn’t aware of the Islamic texts commanding the killing of unbelievers, or of the online calls to kill him, I’d probably consider Larry's Islamophobia to be irrational. But in his case, I’m tipping to the side of ‘rational’.

But Larry went further, stating in his own outrageous style, “They are not all bad, they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings."

This was a crass, stupid thing to say anywhere, let alone in public. A poor attempt at humour. Larry admits it.

I’ve known Larry 40 years and I’ve not heard him say anything as shocking as that, and that takes some doing. Larry is a professional provocateur. You either love him or hate him.

As long as I’ve known him he has had a long held phobia of homosexuals.

Rational?

Irrational?

You be the judge.

Larry’s homophobia stems from his teenage years. I first learned about Larry’s experience, when I was a kid at school, reading an interview in the May 1979 edition of Australian Playboy, titled: Pickering, An Astounding Interview.

It’s a fascinating, lengthy interview, with some sobering revelations.

Larry delves into his past as a kid from the Melbourne suburbs raised by a domineering, strict Christian (Christadelphian sect) mother. By the time Larry was nine he was fed up with the whole church thing. At 14 he refused any part of the indoctrination, which made no sense to him. His mother kicked him out of home.

The following is an excerpt from the interview with Russell Deiley:

Playboy: Can you recall the scene that finally sent you from home?

Pickering: Yeah, it was a Sunday, and I jacked up and said, “I’m not going to Sunday school.” They asked why, and I said something ridiculous like, “God’s all bullshit”, or “bugger God”, or something rebellious, and I remember my mother saying to me verbatim, "You can’t live under the same roof.” And that was that. I had a sense of relief.

Playboy: But there were no tears or anger?

Pickering: No, no. No regrets. Nothing like that. No.

Playboy: What did you take with you?

Pickering: I can’t remember. Just some clothes, I think. The first two nights I stayed with an old bloke who turned out to be queer. And then I just went off on my own.

Playboy: You say that after leaving home you spent the first couple of days with a chap you suspected of having sexual kinks.

Pickering: Yes. A friend of the family, really (Uncle Bert). He’s still alive, I think. I don’t want to put him in; he’s not a bad old bloke. It’s just that he’s queer and tried on different things.

Playboy: Did he proposition you? Is this why you left?

Pickering: Oh, yeah. He didn’t proposition me as such. He sort of timed things and came in while you’re having a leak. Or if you were having a shower he would hide the towels and then turn up with one. Really way out.

Playboy: Where did you go next?

Pickering: South Melbourne.

Playboy: But I understand you lived in a telephone box for a couple of days.

Pickering: Yeah. After the telephone box I went to South Melbourne.

Playboy: Why did you choose a telephone box?

Pickering: If you go out there, and try to find, in a suburb, any other place to sleep, with protection - well, I don’t believe you can. It’s the only place in a suburb that has protection.

Playboy: How did you feel about sharing your telephone box with people who wanted to make a call?

Pickering: I think my whole philosophy of life was formed in those two or three days in a telephone box. I remember feeling that I was no more than a dog. You got out and waited until the person - a real proper person - finished phoning. He’d leave and go home to his nice, warm fireside and happy family and you’d crawl back into the box.

Playboy: Did you have any money?

Pickering: Yeah, I had a few bob, I think I bought lollies with it. Well, if you buy eggs, where are you going to cook them?

Playboy: You obviously had to get a job to support yourself. Did you have to lie about your age to get a job?

Pickering: Yeah I got a job as a trainee shunter by saying I was 21. I took the place of a guy who had both his legs cut off. He was running next to a coal truck and fell underneath. His legs went under the wheel and he was lying there with his legs on the other side of the line. I was just staring and a couple of guys fainted. He was a pretty intelligent bloke, and he asked one bloke who was still standing: “Will you go across the other side of the line and get my shoelace out of my shoe and tie my legs up before I bleed to death?” But the guy died anyway, and when I finished my training I got his spot. It was bloody good money in those days. It was about 40 pounds a week because of the danger. But you had to be aged between 21 and 30.

Playboy: And you were 14.

Pickering: Yes.

Playboy: And what was the attitude of your fellow workers?

Pickering: Well, they didn’t know I was 14. I sort of looked 21, but I refused to put in my birth certificate, which was part of Public Service regulation. After about six weeks they went to the trouble of finding out how old I was.

Playboy: So you got the shove?

Pickering: Yes, they gave me the sack.

Playboy: Where did you go from there?

Pickering: I went to South Melbourne goods yards in Spencer Street and that’s where I got attacked by those blokes, and after that I left and I…..

Playboy: Attacked?

Pickering: Well, I was just sort of naive, and when I got to Melbourne goods all  the blokes seemed pretty friendly. They were oldish sort of fellows. They would say, “Are you having a shower after work?” And I’d say, “Yeah, yeah, sweaty, I’ll be having a shower after work.” Then another bloke would come up and say: “That fellow there offered you five pounds to go and have a shower with him after work.” I still didn’t twig. I wondered why the bloody hell he would want to offer me money. This went on for about three or four days, and I thought, shit, something funny’s going on. What’s all this big thing about a shower? So I went and had a shower, which was at the back of the pay office, and that’s when they came and got me. I think there were 14 but there may have been only seven or eight.

Playboy: Did they rape you?

Pickering: Oh yeah. They did me over properly.

Playboy: What’s been your attitude to homosexuals ever since?

Pickering: Pretty violent. I think that if I had trouble with people like that today, I would kill them.

Playboy: Did you try to fight them?

Pickering: Yeah, except that I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know. I just didn’t know.

(end interview excerpt)
 
The interview goes into some more depth of more horrific sexual experiences the young Pickering was forced to witness by older men. It was a brutal world which hardened the exterior and interior of someone who was not much more than a kid.  How he found his sense of humour in later years to produce some of the most outrageously hilarious cartoons and calendars this country has ever witnessed is a testament to the character and strength of the man, and why he doesn’t give a stuff what people think of him.  

The following is an excerpt from his unpublished memoirs, written a decade or so ago, 30 years after the Playboy interview which covers the same traumatic memory :

We had our own showers and it was great to be able to wash the grime off before going home.

It had to be about 5pm one night when I had finished the trucks. I intended going to a friend’s place for dinner. The shower at home in South Melbourne was always filthy and those at work had good water pressure and were a lot cleaner. I always showered at work and always had a change of clothes.

I was under the hot water, madly scrubbing soap into my hair.

Someone turned the shower off, I looked around and tried to open my eyes… they were stinging from the soap.

There must have been 12 of them, I don’t know, it might have been 6. I don’t know why I didn’t know. I knew they were night-shift blokes I had never seen before. I didn’t have a chance. They had obviously watched me carefully. They knew I would be there in the showers, in between shifts. No-one around.

My first instinct was to fight. A million thoughts raced through my head… the tiles and concrete were hard… I had nothing on and my feet were sliding on the soapy tiles. Where was my hook? Did they have it? I could die in here and no-one would know until tomorrow. They would find me in the morning.

I didn’t fight… I figured the main thing was to stay alive. There seemed to be so many, I could feel the weight of them, the smell of fermented wine. I squeezed my eyes shut, I couldn’t move. My eyes were stinging but it didn’t seem to matter. They were talking normally. It was pointless yelling, or struggling. It lasted what seemed like an hour. It could only have been 10 or 12 minutes.

Then there was laughing, it was over, they left, just like that… they were gone. The harsh tiles of the shower floor had left me bruised and I was hurting everywhere as I struggled to my knees. I stood to reach for the water tap and fell over. I tried again. I could smell shit everywhere. It was mine and I struggled to decide whether to risk showering again. I took the risk.

My neck was hurting really bad. I didn’t stay long under the shower, just long enough until I was sure all the stuff was off me. There was stuff inside me too… I could feel it oozing. I sat on the toilet next door but I couldn’t shit. I returned to the shower for another wash and cleaned up everything I could with my towel. I got dressed to find the two quid, plus change, in my pocket was gone.

I chucked my shit covered towel away.

I didn’t go to my friend’s place for dinner that night, I walked to my room in South Melbourne. I lay on my bed but couldn’t sleep. The smell was still everywhere. I grabbed a fresh towel and went to the shower down the hallway. There was someone using it. I walked downstairs and outside, and for some reason, performed stretching exercises against a wrought iron fence. I don’t know why. My tongue played with a large cut on the inside of my mouth.

When the bathroom was free I showered until the water turned cold… I was shaking but didn’t feel cold. I dried myself and put on a pair of trousers and two jumpers but, although I wasn’t cold, I still couldn’t stop shaking. I went to bed. Everything was hurting but at least the smell had gone. I tried to guess how long it was before daybreak, when I would feel better.

I kept thinking of Uncle Bert. Could he be behind his? Maybe… but then, he was a loner, he had no friends. These blokes knew each other. No… I decided he couldn’t have been involved. But why me? These night shift blokes had come to work early with a plan! Would Uncle Bert even know anyone on the night shift? Maybe. He had worked there for 22 years! It all seemed too organised. Did Uncle Bert really like me? If he did, he wouldn’t have been involved in this! Maybe Uncle Bert was driven by something else. Maybe he hated me because I wouldn’t let him near me. Did he have a score to settle? Was that the settlement? No… it couldn’t have been Uncle Bert. Surely not… I didn’t really think so… did I?

I didn’t close my eyes that night… when I did, it seemed all wrong. It felt sort of accepting of what had happened. It was like, “Oh well… another hard day at the office and now for some sleep.”

My eyes were still wide open as I began to make out the faint shape of the table in the corner. Eventually the sun’s first rays lit up gyrating shards of dust fragments in the room. Daybreak had taken a month to arrive and I didn’t feel better. It was much worse. The bruises had turned a deep purple and my neck felt like solid rock.

It would be a full month before I could turn my head freely again.


(end excerpt)

I’m lucky. As a kid, I was never pack raped and bashed by a gang of homosexuals. So I've had no reason to fear them or make crude comments about them.

Larry has been publicly condemned as a homophobe for his crude public comments, which he admits in hindsight was a stupid thing to do, and a poor attempt at humour.

Judge him by all means. But be aware what happened to him - and where the phobias stem from.

Without the same life experiences are we in a position to judge him or the (poor) humour he uses to deal with it?

There but for the grace of God go I…and perhaps you.