According to the angriest keyboard pounders in the Twitterverse, Catherine Deveny rudely interrupted & talked loudly over the top of everybody else on Q&A on Monday night, and was especially disrespectful to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen.
What a frightfully boorish display that would be if it were true. However, according to a forensic examination by Chrys Stevenson at Gladly, The Cross-Eyed Bear (focussing on word counts, interruption & interjection counts, sound levels) it appears that some people’s perceptions of Deveny’s contributions are wildly askew:
- She is accused of rudely dominating Q&A on Monday night, yet she spoke only half as much as Jensen.
- She was invited to speak fewer times than all the guests except Evans, and only half as many times as Jensen.
- In addition, she interrupted no more than Jensen did and interrupted the host considerably less.
So, did Deveny yell, shout or raise her voice on Q&A? Certainly not so as any armchair critic could notice. If they thought she was ‘shouting’ it was because of their own biases, not because the volume increased when Deveny spoke.
Stevenson also demonstrates that despite this edition of Q&A being a rare example of more women on the panel than men, the men still got to speak much more than the women did.
Here’s the word count score card:
Peter Jensen: 2,592 words
Tony Jones (host): 1877 words
Chris Evans: 1,397 words
Catherine Deveny: 1,259 words
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells: 1,242 words
Anna Krien: 775 words
Peter Jensen, in his soft and genteel way, spoke far more often and for longer than anybody else on the program, and used his soft and genteel (a fan described his manner as winsome) speech to propagate falsehoods about homosexuality and advocate sexist marital roles where the wife submits to the husband. Towards the end of the program he launched into what was essentially a sermon, yet did anybody complain?
Deveny spoke about social justice for asylum seekers and her support for marriage equality (while supporting Jensen’s right to discriminate within his religion). She responded to Jensen’s views on wifely submission with the obvious observation that this stance was unlikely to do anything to halt the accelerating decline in church attendance, and rebutted his claims about homosexuality by pointing out that it is homophobia that kills. She also laid out, in response to a question from the audience, her views on the Bible as “… basically social engineering embedded in fairytales and horror stories which is just chock full of homophobia, misogyny, discrimination and division.”
According to the keyboard-pounders, this was the point where, just because she was sitting next to an Archbishop, Deveny apparently should have “known better” than to honestly state her opinion.
Any way you approach it, the outrageous criticism of Deveny only make sense if we understand that her performance was viewed through the filters of cultural, gender and religious bias.
Deveny’s sin is to be an outspoken woman, fearlessly breaking the taboo that says the religious beliefs of others are sacred and should not be publicly attacked. This is a taboo which has kept the religious perpetuation of domestic violence, child rape, child stealing, third-world poverty and the evasion of taxes under the radar for centuries. I think it’s a taboo that has done way more harm than good.
Catherine Deveny did nothing wrong.
She did nothing more than stand up to a passive-aggressive religious bully who consistently abuses his elevated position in society to impose his religious views on others, argue against equal rights for his fellow Australians, support the status quo and disseminate shameful propaganda which does real harm to real people.
SotBO: I’m not a fan of everything Deveny says e.g. she tweeted some fat-shaming snark recently which I didn’t find time to blog about, so I don’t view her as an ally unreservedly. However, on Q&A on Monday, Catherine Deveny did nothing at all wrong.