Chewing my keyboard

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ladies, ladies...

Title alludes to my spending much of the afternoon at GBTF (Gender Balance Task Force training). It also has a certain, well, Victorian seaside town air to it does it not...

I started my morning with a fervent discussion of ethics which plain horrified certain hungover members of LDYS staying at Crash. I discovered the ethical difficulty of consent and keeping public and private separate.

This being that if we suspected a friend was experiencing domestic violence (bruises on the arms, say) but refused to admit to this, is it our duty to intervene through the state given that it is possible to have a consensual relationship involving physical assault which I would argue is no business of the state?

Problem issues: domestic violence is both emotional and physical meaning someone can be reduced to a state where they accept this behaviour. However, a lack of self-esteem exists to some extent in all of us should not be a reason to assume someone cannot make a responsible decision about their own life.

Where did this come from? Well, the conversation roved over suicide in prison, suicide not in prison and fox hunting. The fox hunting issue being that my companion at breakfast said that he felt that allowing people the freedom to be cruel denigated the human condition. This, of course, led to the obvious response that if someone is a sadist then provided they can find a consenting partner, does this constitute cruelty? Does this denigate the human condition? Thus, should we make it illegal? (I would say no, patently). Of course, the fox cannot consent whereas a partner can... And thus the domestic violence conversation started - how do we allow privacy but ensure consent? Can someone be reduced to a condition where they will consent something they don't want? But if we believe this to be the case, surely this is rather like Marxist false consciousness...
The solution could be to try to work on the self-esteem of the abused. Once they gain the confidence to belieev this is not what they deserve, they will leave the relationship on their own... But what if they are beaten to death before then? Problem...

Could you follow that paragraph? If not, you may be a serial thinker. Many men are serial thinkers, proceeding from one idea to the next. Women are more likely to be parallel thinkers who can multi-task between ideas. Neither method is better, both are different... I am apparently an intense parallel thinker. I'm also a strong verbal processor (although I actually think pictorially). This means I think through often by talking to people or rather, at people. Strong male-style communicators appreciate facts, strong female-style - anecdotes. To communicate successfully with both groups you must not overstate either...

And so says the GBTF 'Gender differences in communication styles' training. Very interesting if just so I can irritate my supervisor by doing training-speak at him (he is an intense serial thinker - communication is virtually impossible with him. Oh, and he doesn't appreciate my habit of using him as a medium for verbal processing... He feels the need to provide a solution rather than listen to my drivel).

Before I went to this training I was at the Markets and the Environment debate. The agenda is generally devoid of controversy, unlike the rollocking Southport Spring Conference one. Thus, the debate was confined to people standing up in a 'This motion on transport completely neglects any mention of local cinemas, thus despite agreeing with all of it, please reject this motion' vein... and the 'I'd like to speak to fervently agree with line 16'. Thus, interesting content, not interesting debate-wise.

I attended the Porpoise/dolphin fringe.... This was due to the fact I had submitted a motion on Sustainable Marine Management to the conference. It wasn't accepted but it's in redrafting (Federal Party policy are looking at it) and I will try to resubmit next year.

After that, I was in GBTF training all afternoon. Annoyingly the early evening fringe on the Orange Book launch was cancelled (apparently due to a 'lack of interest'... hmmmm...) so I had some free time before ducking in and out the LDYS fringe on single issue organisations (with Amnesty) and going to the Liberal Revue. There was too much singing, it was predominantly trying to have a go at a division in the party I don't think exists except in the mind of a small minority of which a fair few write Liberator... and I'm the eternal critic given I have a shot at political satire every now and again... thus, I sit through deciding that I could do better. As you do.... :D One day I will have to write and stage a sketch to see if anyone but me finds my humour funny.


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