Everyone Is Dragging A Conservative Commentator Who Reckons All Firefighters Are Men
"Cool. I'll tell the women that make up roughly half of my brigade that they don't deserve anyone's thanks."
There is something about natural disasters that brings out the worst possible takes from conservative commentators, so it’s unsurprising that there’s been a lot of nonsense blowing about the internet during the NSW fires.
Steve Price has tried to blame fuel reduction rather than climate change. Barnaby Joyce has messily tried to pin the Greens for the environmental destruction, making an insulting comment about the political affiliations of two of the people who tragically passed in the blaze.
And now conservative talking head Bettina Arndt has waded into the discussion, arguing that firefighters are only men, for some reason.
Arndt has been banging the ‘not all men’ drum for a long time now. And like, whatever, do what you wanna do — the Australian media landscape is overcrowded, and you’ve gotta have a niche in order to book talking head appearances. Arndt’s niche is being a woman who speaks somewhat eloquently about utter bullshit — namely that men are just as oppressed as women.
Like I say, do what ya gotta do.
But dragging the devastation caused by a natural disaster into it is particularly insulting. Which is exactly what Arndt did when she tweeted a photo of a firefighter, and used it to push her #notallmen angle.
“Our media is full of images of brave men fighting the ferocious fires,” the commentator wrote. “As always, it’s usually men who do the really dangerous, difficult work protecting everyone else. Give thanks for the good in men.”
Our media is full of images of brave men fighting the ferocious fires. As always, it's usually men who do the really dangerous, difficult work protecting everyone else. Give thanks for the good in men. pic.twitter.com/UamAuf6BMX
— Bettina Arndt (@thebettinaarndt) November 11, 2019
Which uh, is not true. Like, any part of it. It’s not “usually men” who do the really dangerous, difficult work — people from all walks of life are firefighters. And hell, even if we did live in some bizarro universe where only men were firefighters, that wouldn’t excuse crimes committed by men either. That is not how systems of value even work.
Anyway, because this is Twitter we’re talking about, users quickly jumped into Arndt’s mentions, and beautifully shut her down.
Hey Bettina, just the one question: what the fuck is wrong with you?
— Mitch Feltscheer (@mitchfel) November 12, 2019
And then there are the men who threaten to cut the funding to stop forest fires; placing these men in direct harm.
And as usual, it’s men.
And men voting against laws to protect women, the humans who gave birth to these fine brave men.
Wilful ignorance is a dreadful look.
— A Person’s Conscience (@lfisher314) November 11, 2019
Wow Bettina, i know many women in volunteer firies positions, hands on as well, fighting side by side with the men, get back in your box
— 🍰 Jaynie Squiggle (@jaynie44) November 12, 2019
I’ll tell the women that make up roughly half of my brigade that they don’t deserve anyone’s thanks.
Your heads full of rocks.#auspol
— Fair Australia (@AdvAusFair) November 12, 2019
Of course, making these kinds of ridiculous comments is Arndt’s whole deal — she specialises in saying something outrageous and then reaping the media attention that follows.
But still, there is something joyful about watching someone being rebutted by a lot of people, and with a lot of vigour.
And, there was a supreme irony that really rounds the whole thing out.
That’s a woman firefighter. https://t.co/Lldqa7pWBj
— Moira Rayner (@MoiraR) November 11, 2019