Otterday! And Open Thread

I had leftover turkey, and this is how I feel as I compose this post.

an otter is fast asleep with its head draped over a branch.

You, however, might be feeling like this as your weekend begins:

a very alert and pointy-nosed European otter peers across a creek.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

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21 replies

  1. I am currently feeling squicked by a question asked on ABC News 24 regarding the guilty verdict against Simon Gittany for the murder of Lisa Harnum, about whether the audience thought that a verdict reached by the judge was in any way less or more fair than a verdict reached by a jury would be.
    Surely Gittany would have made the choice to have his trial before a judge alone instead of before a jury and judge? He wasn’t actually denied a jury trial if he had wanted to have one? Presumably he chose the judge-alone trial (prejudicial though I know this will sound) because he had concluded that a jury would probably find against him in a New York second, and he was gambling that a judge’s impartiality would lead to a higher possibility of finding reasonable doubt?

  2. What a strange question. I had never given it any thought until I read an article last week which said that he was probably advised by legal counsel to go for judge only as you have a better chance of being found not guilty than you do with a jury trial. I guess you only have to convince one person rather than 12.

  3. I am (once again) trying to fill in the form to apply to register my eldest child as a British Citizen and am finding having to pay 673 quid to have him referred to repeatedly as “illegitimate” just as tear-jerkingly infuriating as ever. Why don’t they just call him a bastard and me a wanton, Colonial hussy? Because that’s how it feels as I throw my firstborn’s rights on the discretion of the Home Secretary.
    Surely the phrase “child whose parents aren’t married” is not too complicated for their already long and multi-faceted form?
    I really need to see it through this time because I don’t want to have to go through this again. Also, if we don’t do it before he’s ten, we also have to prove he is of Good Character (obviously unlikely given the loose morals of his parents)!

  4. Oh, Sunset, my sympathies – we’re in exactly the same situation, trying to “prove” that he’s his father’s son, despite the fact that he’s on the birth certificate, we’ve lived together as spouses before and for the eleven years since, and so on and so forth. How much more proof do they need? We can’t comply with their demands of proof that my government has “legitimised” him, because there’s not really any such thing as an “illegitimate” child here! Except we’ve already been denied, and he’s over ten now, and we’re gonna have to revisit the whole clusterflop at some point.

  5. I have a right hand in plaster and bandages*, the antibiotics I’m on have played havoc with my gut, my husband is going to Hawaii on Monday and one of the rabbits has just died** so Mr12, who rarely goes anywhere near the rabbits is sobbing his heart out. I am officially not coping.
    *I managed to sever a tendon in my little finger.
    **We don’t know why.

    • Mim, I just saw your FB update about poor bunny. I already knew about the hand, but Adam going away too? That’s one huge load of stress to be up against. Ugh.

  6. Re illegitimacy as a living concept: wow, I haven’t encountered that before, how frustrating and saddening for you all. I’m sorry. (To be clear: I’ve certainly come across various situations where involved parents — usually fathers — for various reasons are on precarious ground when it comes to establishing parental standing, just not known it was still referred to as illegitimacy in some context and viewed through that lens.)
    Re Gittany’s judge-only trial, before the verdict came out the SMH wrote about it. Two things: yes, he had to seek and be awarded such a trial, it was not imposed on him; and yes, judge only trials do have higher acquittal rates (and much higher rates of finding not guilty by reason of mental illness, but I don’t think Gittany’s defense sought such a verdict). However judge-only trials are probably qualitatively different in terms of the actual details of the case, so different rates of acquittal aren’t hugely surprising.

    A higher proportion of trials heard by a Supreme Court judge alone result in an acquittal than those heard by a jury, figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show.
    Between 1993 and 2011, defendants were acquitted of all charges in 55.4 per cent of judge-alone trials compared with 29 per cent of jury trials.
    However, more than nine times as many cases were heard by a jury than a judge alone…
    The NSW government changed the law in 2011 so that defendants could apply to the court for a judge-alone trial, removing the requirement for the prosecutor to consent.
    It is now up to the court to decide if it is ”in the interests of justice” for a defendant to be tried by a judge alone in cases where the prosecutor wants a jury.
    Justice McCallum ruled in October that it was in the interests of justice for Mr Gittany to be tried without a jury because he had been refused legal aid and a judge-alone trial would be two weeks shorter. This avoided the risk he would run out of funds and have to represent himself.

    I suppose his seeking it on financial grounds rather than on some variety of possible jury prejudice does make the question somewhat fair, though.

  7. Also, Mim, that’s an awful hellhole of a week for you. Sympathies.
    I am now at the “any time now, but also could be a while yet” stage of pregnancy. Still going along OK, except that napping in the afternoon with a three year old nose-to-nose with me and asking “Mama WHY YOU SLEEPING NOW IT ISN’T DARK?” is tough. I have managed it though!

  8. I’m developing a strong urge to stay in bed until it all goes away. But next week is full of end of year busy-ness which is why I wasn’t going to Hawaii as well so hibernating is not an option. *deep breath* I will survive. Somehow.

  9. @Mary – last time I was in that stage of pregnancy my three year old was wanting me to get up and down all the time to put DVDs on (he was in that ‘put it on, watch it for ten minutes, want to watch something else’ stage). Oh boy did he learn to use the DVD player quickly!
    My sympathies for the rabbit and the finger @Mimbles. I find eating yoghurt helps a lot with the side effects of antibiotics – just don’t eat it at the same time you take them!
    I took the last two days off work because it was my birthday, and spent most of them lazing around because I am still recovering from my lurgy.

  10. So grateful that most of our rights in Australia don’t depend on marriage of self or parents.
    Hope all of your weeks improve. Sounds like rough times.
    We are starting into party season, it seems. We have four social events on this weekend, which is frankly mind boggling.

  11. Urgh, my sympathies for you as well, Sunset. One of my best friends had to do the same thing a year ago.
    I was wondering if anyone here had seen Chris Lilley’s latest show Ja’mie: Private School Girl? I found myself watching it the other night because nothing better was on and can’t decide whether it’s bad satire or just bad full stop. Thoughts?

  12. Whoever you are dealing with at UKBA are being wankers. The law clearly says that legitimacy is determined by country of residence of the parents – so if your child is legitimate in Australia, then it is legitimate in the UK. Plus we no longer have legitimacy as a concept in Scotland, so it’s not like they can say the idea is foreign to us.

  13. When I left the UK they still had a rule that children of a British citizen and a non-British citizen could only apply for British citizenship if the British citizen was the male parent. They’ve changed that now at least.

  14. Jo: I almost threw up in my mouth when I saw the promos for Ja’mie, so I haven’t watched. It looked appalling bad, of the worst kind of “but I’m being ironic, so it’s okay for me as an adult male to make fun of teenage women.” If it wasn’t like that, it was very poorly served by its promos.
    (Yes, I’m experimenting to see how the male/women pairing works, as a contrast to the man/females pairing.)

  15. Aqua, that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about: who is laughing at who here. Ja’mie has no redeeming qualities, nothing that makes her sympathetic. She’s racist, homophobic, sexist, self-centered, abusive and all-round horrible. What I take away from it seems to be ‘hey, here is what I (a 39-year-old white man) think teenage private school girls are like, look how horrible they are, and how they need to be taken down and laughed at!’ There’s nothing that gives us an indication of why she is the way she is (other than that she’s steeped in privilege), so she just seems to be an object to be laughed at, but in the most horrible way possible.
    Also, as a side note, some reviews have said that the reason the show is uncomfortable is because it reflects reality a little too well. Granted, I went to a regional public high school, but I can see nothing of my experience of high school in that show. Absolutely nothing.

  16. I went to a very elite private girls’ school. A small clique of very privileged girls were snobby at times, but I saw nothing that reflected the sort of shit that goes down in Ja’mie. The racism was no worse than it is anywhere else, competition was largely friendly and in good spirits, and so on.
    The whole show is a giant exercise in revolting sexism.

    • I’ve long thought that Chris Lilley needs to get some other people to write his scripts, and and stick to just embellishing with bits here and there, instead of being the showrunner. He’s a wonderful performer but a very hit and miss writer. I get that he’s writing grotesques, but I think it works a lot better when he’s showing a range of grotesque people from multiple walks of life (We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High) than focussing on just one character. I couldn’t bring myself to even switch on for Angry Boys, for instance. Also, if he wants to slag off on the private school culture that he knows from his own school years on Sydney’s North Shore? Then why not do a show focussing on the boys’ school culture rather than pretend to understand what’s going on in the girls’ school culture 20 years after he was going to those schools?
      I’d really like to see Lilley be a character in something written by the team behind The Librarians, for instance – they could really do something with Mr G, don’t you think? Instead, he’s apparently been green-lighted for doing an ABC show next year that focusses on Jonah, so now we’ll get to see his take on teenage boys of colour. If we choose to tune in.

  17. My sympathies, Sunset. This government seems to pride itself on making its bureaucracy painful.

    Also my sympathies, mimbles.

  18. I think I watched an episode of Lilley’s first series – We Could Be Heroes, was that it? – and thought it woefully unfunny, so haven’t been tempted to watch any of his stuff since.
    The ads for Ja’mie just had me thinking “How old is this guy pretending to be a girl?” He doesn’t look like he’s satirising anything, he looks like a latter-day Dick Emery. It just came across as … I dunno, almost creepy.

  19. I did attend a Sydney Christian private girls’ school last decade, and a lot of what was on that show did reflect what I observed in that world (not just or necessarily in my school, but in that world in general): the nasty rivalry between day students and boarders, the fear of lesbians used to back up bullying behaviours, the social distancing of Asian students who are presumed to be on scholarships, the awkwardness around black people and their concerns unless one was selling chocolates to raise money for a school aid trip… in a lot of ways, the show was right on the money in terms of what I saw and remember. But the show wasn’t aimed at taking down those behaviours, which are existant beyond such environments, so much as it was twisting them to poke fun at teenage girls.

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