Witches protest Comparison with Sophie Mirabella
02/10/13 20:25 Filed in: Moritz
After centuries of burning by catholics, hanging by puritans, denigration in fairy tales and being used to denigrate female politicians, the world's witches have had enough. The crunch came in Australia when, on her electoral defeat, denialist MP Sophie Mirabella found herself the target of the "Ditch the Witch" slogan that she and now-PM Tony Abbott had used against Australian PM Julia Gillard.
In fronting at "Ditch the Witch" rallies, Mr Abbott drew on the proud misogynist traditions of his church. Not only did the catholic church execute many thousands of women for witchcraft, but they also wrote the definitive book, Malleus Maleficarum, on the subject. This inspired later generations of protestants, although often, as in New England, protestants substituted hanging for burning. Execution of accused witches continues to this day in PNG, often using the traditional catholic method of burning to death.
It is a measure of the strength of Mr Abbott's dedication to the traditions of his church that, rather than be apologetic for his church's lethal misogyny (a rather unlikely event) or simply pass by in embarassed silence, Mr Abbott embraced the "witch" meme and referred to its proponents as "fine Australians".
Of course Ms. Gillard is not the first female politician to be described as a witch. Most notably Margaret Thatcher's death was marked by wide-spread downloading of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead". In a lapse from its normal high journalistic standards, even Friends of Gin and Tonic embraced the Ding Dong campaign.
The reality is that the death of baroness Thatcher should have been an occasion for mourning. Most obviously, it meant that the opportunity for her the hear the insults had been lost forever. Secondly, for those who believe that ex-PM Thatcher should be punished, the most appropriate punishment was to live on, old and frail, to contemplate the limitations of her ideology of the self-sufficient individual. Finally, the death of baroness Thatcher simplifies the hi-jacking of her legacy by people who are much nastier. Because if you think that Margaret Thatcher was the ultimate embodiment of conservative evil, then you simply haven't been paying attention over the last 20 years.
Mr Abbott has stated that, as PM, he won't be imposing his own religious views on national policy. [The greenhouse denial religion is emerging as an exception]. This means that the catholic tradition of witch burning is unlikely to be revived in Australia. Indeed the increasingly long fire seasons in Australia [which, under the new goverment, have absolutely nothing to do with climate change] would confine witch-burning to times that would be in unacceptable competition with the football season.
Prior to becoming the recipient of the "ditch the witch" derision, Ms Mirabella had already been described as the nastiest person in the Australian Parliament.
Ms Mirabella's wikipedia entry notes that In 1995, she began a live-in relationship with Colin Howard, then dean of law at Melbourne University, who was forty years her senior. The relationship ended in 2001, although they remained close until his death in 2011. Her relationship with Howard was later the subject of a bitter dispute between Mirabella and Howard's adult children. Mirabella was granted power of attorney over Howard's estate and made herself the sole beneficiary. In protesting against having witches compared to Ms Mirabella, a spokes-witch noted that there are plenty of words in the English language to describe such a person without dragging witches into the lexicon of insults.
Prof Dr Moritz Lorenz.
Sarah Palin School of Geography, Economics and Quantum Computing,
University of Narbethong,
West Island Campus, NZ