Court Tussles

There are a handful of television shows I enjoy. Some of these are fun when I’m watching them with Tress. Some others I find enjoyable in themselves, and I would watch them even when I’m alone at home.

Other than some staple news, sports (and maybe food) shows, A US series titled “This is Us” is a current favourite. The other is “Have you been paying attention”. Both are on Channel 10 and perhaps not coincidentally, both follow the Master Chef shows. MC is Channel 10’s anchor and Tress and I are probably one of 1-2 million viewers on most nights. We typically prepare to go to bed as soon as MC is over but when I do stay up to watch some more TV, it is usually either of those two follow-on offerings.

MC finished relatively early last night and HYBPA came on after that, starting well before 9pm. I decided to watch a little bit before going to bed. I enjoyed what I saw but when a clip of Margaret Court came up, I found myself switching channels. I went to bed soon after.

Margaret Court recently made a statement about Alan Joyce and Qantas. She protested that both Alan Joyce and Qantas were pro same sex marriage, and said she would therefore, as much as possible, stop flying Qantas. Cue outcries galore. Calls for the famous tennis court in Melbourne Park to be stripped of her name (and call it Evonne Goolagong Arena?) came thick and fast. A popular local female player, openly gay, twitted “Enough is enough”, to wide support. This morning another leading local player suggested players may choose not to play in Margaret Court Arena, if the name remains.

I did not switch channel because I agreed with Margaret Court, (even though I kind of did) or because I disagreed with her (I kind of did too). I simply switched channel because I was tired of such protestations. I have a feeling many are starting to tire of such protestations, one way or the other. In as much as I yawn, stretch and get up to leave every time someone from an LGBTIQ quarter pipes up about marriage “equality”, I am also turning off voices going the other way, especially if they appear to be disproportionate and unnecessary. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the crusades at the turn of the millennium hurt Christianity – more than promoted its cause. Stridency and polemics can, easily, hurt the message the crier wanted to convey.

Alan Joyce is a private citizen who is a business leader of a very large company. He is a successful business leader. So he has a loud voice, even if he claims that voice is his own and not that of Qantas. Nary a report about his support however, neglects to mention his position as the CEO of Qantas. If he lends his voice in a political cause (any cause that involves changing a law is necessarily a political cause), it appears to be an unfair advantage in that invariably, his voice takes off and lands on the considerable wings of the business organisation he leads. That advantage is especially unfair where a corresponding voice goes in the opposite direction.

Take the Coopers’ brewing outfit. All they did was to allow their product to be consumed while two genteel gentlemen have a chat about same sex marriage and that conversation is filmed and posted on social media. Whereas Qantas and its CEO were free to speak up in a political discourse, Coopers’ and their owners were pushed into a corner – so much so that the owners practically caved in with an embarrassing mea culpa.

So anyone who speaks up against that sort of unfair advantage is to be applauded. Somehow though, Court’s voice was derided and in some ways, it feels disproportionate. I wondered if she simply needed to say she disagreed with Joyce. I wondered if it was necessary to adopt the boycott or buy as a last resort approach. Or maybe that was irrelevant anyway. I thought we could simply exchange ideas, with each side proffering its views, without tacking some commercially driven or based action. Sure, you want to connect with the hip pocket nerves but this issue – as in many issues – has boiled down so much that I really thought all we should push for at this point in time, is that both sides should be given time and space to air their views.

It is when you throw in commercial rewards or penalties, that you drag in components that shackle the process of idea exchange so that it becomes less free than it ought to be. Just as we don’t want livelihoods of bakers and florists to be adversely impacted by their beliefs, we really don’t want to penalize those who hold different beliefs – no matter how miniscule or ineffective that penalty is to the cause. In fact, because it is so miniscule and ineffective it is counterproductive in that we concede ground (by allowing the arguments to be infected with commercial drivers) which we don’t have any advantage anyway.

So maybe it was a bit like skipping highlights of a game where your team lost, but even where the other team appears to be losing, I have lost interest in following the “arguments”, with the stridency, polemics and poor or unfair attempts to introduce pecuniary consequences. After all, I simply want to enjoy my TV shows without those un-pleasantries or nastiness.