Living in the fragile glasshouse of gay publishing that I do, I’m not one to throw stones. We’ve had some outrageous typos in the SSO over the years, and we’ve made some incredible mistakes.
I once wrote that 5,000 people went to Fair Day, for example. The Mardi Gras publicist rang me the morning that article came out and yelled, and I quote; It was 50,000, you dickhead!
Another time, as a cadet journo on a suburban rag, I typed in a contact number for a swinger’s organisation. At least I thought I did. The number I typed in belonged to a very cross, very non-swinging older lady.
Anyway, I don’t take delight in other newspapers’ mistakes because we’ve all screwed up badly before. Occasionally, though, I get so enraged by something I can’t stop myself. My inability to stay silent about Monday’s School Sex Furore front-page story in The Daily Telegraph is an example.
Not that the Tele‘s article was an unintentional mistake. SSF was a deliberate tirade about a Year Nine health class that was asked to consider being heterosexual in an all-gay world, to try and understand what it might be like to be gay.
Like John Howard in the middle of the RHI on Mardi Gras night! Students as young as 14! Imagining gay people! An outrage!
The Tele suggests education experts have called such lessons, held once, in one school, social engineering. The federal Education minister Brendan Nelson says parents wouldn’t be happy.
The Tele says an outraged unnamed community member sent a letter of complaint to Nelson who obviously thought the best way to deal with it was contact the media.
Splashed across the front page, it was a conscious decision to turn something small (one person’s alleged complaint) into something scandalous.
They chose to illustrate the story with the cover of Brian McNaught’s Sex Camp, even though the lesson was taken from a text called A Guided Journey.
A subsequent story, headlined Backflip on class’s brainwash lesson has the school’s Parents and Citizens association saying no parent, student or teacher had raised any concerns.
Of course they hadn’t. They probably didn’t give two shits about it before the Tele told them they should.
But those poor, damaged children. Imagine learning that there are gay people in the world. I’m sure they’d never even thought of it before.
Especially those two or three kids in each class currently agonising over their sexuality. I bet they’re feeling just great now The Tele‘s ripped into them again.