A question of identity

posted in: Life and things, Reviews | 0

I’ve had a hard time coming up with anything in particular to write about this week, but there are a few things I noticed.

Nicola Sturgeon has been forced to resign as the Scottish First Minister, not least because of the furore about a rapist who decided to transition to be a woman, who was therefore to be placed into a women’s prison. And because she was going to allow people to change their birth certificates to the sex of their choice.

Then there’s all the fuss about the new Harry Potter game which has been boycotted by a few people because of author JK Rowling’s stance on women. She supports the right of women to have their own safe places (change rooms, toilets etc) and for women NOT to be known as ‘chest feeders’ and ‘egg bearers’.

Like JK Rowling, I don’t have a problem with people born as male wanting to be women, or women wanting to be men. What they do with their lives is up to them. I do understand that their choice can make life very difficult for them because of people who will not tolerate somebody else’s decision. While most trans people pose no threat to anyone else, there are individuals who will take advantage of what they see as opportunities. There’s no easy answer to any of this. But re-casting the concept of Woman (as in a female of the human species) isn’t it. I find it interesting that these discussions are always about trans-women. Is a man a ‘dick-bearer’ to cater for trans-men? There’s never any fuss about trans-men competing in men’s sports and I’ve never heard any fuss about trans-men using male washrooms. Are trans-men sent to male prisons? I doubt that would be very safe for them.

Maybe it’s because (physically, at least) women are the weaker sex and need protection.

The other hot topic in Australia is, and will continue to be, the Aboriginal voice to parliament. The Aboriginal voice to parliament “refers to the proposal to establish a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous advisory body that would provide advice to the Australian Parliament on issues that affect Indigenous peoples.” (I got that definition from chatGPT)

I recently read an excellent article by Steven Tripp in the Spectator Australia in which he interviewed an Aboriginal Elder, Kerry White, giving an alternative Aboriginal view of what the Voice will mean. It’s well worth a read. Here’s a short excerpt.

“I say ‘Aboriginal’ because even during the pre-interview phone call I had with Kerry, I made the mistake of using the term ‘Indigenous’. With no hint of hesitation, Kerry quickly corrected my error and informed me that Aboriginal people prefer to be called Aborigines.

I asked her to expand on this during the interview.

Kerry explained that Indigenous were ‘…anyone native to Australia. Including flora and fauna. If you’re born in Australia, you’re Indigenous. The other term that they use for us is First Nations,’ Kerry went on to say. ‘First Nations – that’s Canadian. We are not Canadian. We are Aboriginal. We are from Australia and the Torres Strait.’”

So, there are more Aboriginal opinions out there than what you’ll hear from strident Big City activists like Lidia Thorpe.

I’ve started reading a few books lately, obtained on the cheap via Bookbub. I decided a long time ago that I have no obligation to finish every book I start. If I give up at 30% or less I rarely leave a review and there have been quite a few of those lately. What doesn’t float my boat might be a masterpiece to somebody else.

This is one I finished. It’s set on New Zealand’s South Island’s West Coast.

A simple missing person case rapidly spirals out of control when Dylan Harper realises someone in the small town he has been sent to, still holds a grudge.

Detective Dylan Harper has been dispatched to a small town to investigate the mystery of a missing newspaper journalist. Arriving late in the evening to interview the missing man’s wife, Samara Hayes, Harper instantly senses trouble. Someone is watching his every move. Seeking revenge for what Harper did years earlier.

With one eye looking over his shoulder, Harper starts digging and quickly exposes the torrid secrets of Samara’s strained relationship with her husband. But just when Harper thinks the case is solved, a strange, coded message appears on his office whiteboard. Cracking the code unlocks a covert web camera. What Harper witnesses next uncovers a tangled web of deceit that threatens to change his life forever.

Dead Ground is a fantastic, fast-paced international noir thriller, and a small-town murder mystery set on the beautiful West Coast of New Zealand. If you love dark and moody, traditional detective stories, or hard-boiled crime fiction in the vein of a Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, then you are in for a real treat. A fresh new police procedural that will have you hanging in suspense until the very last page.

It was an okay read, without being brilliant. The author managed to catch my interest and I read the whole book because I wanted to know who dunnit. I had some issues with the writing (it’s hard to take off the editor hat). For me, there were too many metaphors (the word ‘like’ became an eye worm) and I would have structured some of it a little differently. And I would not have used ‘hanging in suspense’ in the blurb. But the author did a great job with the setting. Westport is a real town on the West Coast, there’s lots of rain and the rain-forest-covered mountains nudge the Tasman Sea.

Here’s the Amazon link. Dead Ground

Speaking of New Zealand, my heart goes out to its citizens. The weather has been unkind, with several major storms destroying parts of the North Island. That was followed up with an earthquake. Keep safe, my Kiwi friends. But I must say, I’m so glad we visited late last year, not now.

Outback storm via Midjourney

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