M.E.N. Online Resource
[Shining the light on Men’s Health and Well-being – Articles]
~ Men’s Health Australia ~
[ Quote – “Any Bloke can Father a child, but it takes a special man to be Dad”! – B Bennett ]
[ Quote – “Whatever is True, Whatever is Noble, Whatever is Right, Whatever is Pure, Whatever is Lovely, Whatever is Admirable – if anything is excellent… think about such things”. ]
[ ANGER: (pocket oxford Dictionary) extreme or passionate displeasure, old Norse (Scandinavian meaning) angr – Grief ]…
Here is an add from the last Century…
“One of the best ways Men get to know each other… Lionel Trains”
IDENTITY POLITICS AT ODDS WITH LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
Author of this article is Stephen Chavura who teaches politics and history at Macquarie University, Campion College and the Lachlan Macquarie Institute.
Those who feel excluded from these norms based on their professed identity seek to change the prevailing culture and make it more “inclusive”. This is the essence of identity politics. And yet identity politics coexists uneasily with liberal democracy, and for good reason. Culture is to a great extent carried along by the words we use, “male and female”, “husband and wife”, “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Australia Day” and so on, and the texts, images, movies and songs we encounter. This is why identity politics must be at odds with liberal democracy, for if culture is to be made more inclusive then what we can think, say and see needs to be more tightly controlled.
In other words, freedom of speech and thought are part of the problem rather than the solution. The same-sex marriage debate in Australia confirmed this, for many citizens sincerely believed that Australians had no right to a public debate in the first place. Bill Shorten spoke for many when he castigated Malcolm Turnbull back in August as the person who ”licensed this debate”. Recall the boycott of Coopers beer by some pubs back in March. Same-sex marriage was the focal point of a “light-hearted” discussion over a Coopers beer organised by the Bible Society between MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie. Within minutes of the Bible Society uploading the debate, a storm of Twitter protests ensued, resulting in Coopers disassociating itself from the video and pledging its support for same-sex marriage.
The problem with Coopers, the Bible Society and advocates of a plebiscite was never that they criticised same-sex marriage. The crime was that they dared to suggest that anyone had the right to debate the issue in the first place. One of the most prominent activists of the Yes campaign, Michael Barnett, summed up a common attitude to the legitimacy of public debate in his tweets to Coopers Brewery: “So you’re saying it’s acceptable to debate the merit of supporting discrimination @coopersbrewery? Seriously?” Of course, the very issue in the debate was whether traditional marriage unjustly discriminates in the first place.
Barnett had the right to make his statements, but apparently he thought those with whom he disagreed had no similar right. He was not alone. The case made against Coopers and the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage debate was that inevitably things would be said that would be detrimental to the mental health of members of the LGBTQI community, which could lead to an increase in self-harm. But these sorts of catastrophic harm arguments are very dangerous for freedom of speech and, therefore, democracy.
Of course the state should be concerned about mental health and suicide, but its approach to these matters needs to be sensitive to other goods that are profoundly beneficial for societies, especially freedom of speech. Indeed, I invite LGBTQI rights advocates to name all the countries without a robust tradition of freedom of speech that have strong and effective LGBTQI rights movements. There is a democratic danger of linking what we can say publicly to mental health and other social maladies such as ethnic alienation from national culture.
Identity politics correctly assumes that for many of us part of our self-esteem comes from being integrated into a wider community or culture. However, if the wider cultural norms conflict with one’s own identity as transgender, or genderless, or gay, or Muslim, or indigenous, then one can feel alienated. If one also believes one has a right that the wider culture embrace their identity, then this exclusion has all the weight of an injustice, and the person either becomes increasingly alienated from mainstream culture or seeks to manipulate culture, and therefore control others’ speech and information.
Enter Safe Schools here in Australia, demands to widen 18C to include anti-Islamic speech, and demands to change the date of Australia Day. The conflict between identity politics and freedom of speech in a nutshell is that freedom of speech means unpredictable speech, and unpredictable speech means no guarantee against words that will emotionally wound, or the emergence of cultural norms that will exclude. Thus, to enjoy a life free from the anxiety of offence and cultural exclusion, speech and even thought needs to be controlled.
This is why movements to snuff out cultural oppression, unlike movements to snuff out political oppression, see freedom as the problem rather the solution. That is, they are deeply illiberal. Certainly this mood against liberal democracy is taking hold among sections of the youth in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia. One of the great challenges for developed societies going into 2018 and beyond is the extent to which they can accommodate millennials’ longing for inclusiveness while at the same time convincing them that the difficult task of balancing inclusiveness with freedom of speech and other liberal rights is worthy of their efforts. If this can be done then we would have achieved definite social progress.
But if not, then the future of liberal democracy becomes uncertain, for there is no shortage today of counter movements willing to take its place. Furthermore, recent debates in Australia over race, gender, sexuality and Islam have revealed no shortage of martinets who are willing to beat our brains and hearts into shape, always for the sake of love, diversity, and equality.
Source: Stephen Chavura
Suicide Row – An Anti Suicide Play for Men
Late last year playwright Michael Griffith put together a play about some of the stuff that push men over the edge, and it is hoped that it can be foundational in assisting men to do a bit a soul searching… initially launched in Melbourne (1-12th Nov 2017), it is hoped later to have the play tour Australia.We are aware of the gravity of Men’s issues. Therefore we had several men read it. We refused to proceed unless they thought it would help. The response was an overwhelming – “You must put this on!” A call for actors, again an overwhelmingly positive response.
About Suicide Row
After finding themselves stuck on the way to the after life, four Australian men discover that their individual suicide attempts have miraculously failed. But if this isn’t the end then why are they stuck? The Gods never reply. And as time slows and as hindsight drags in an inescapable tide of regret, these men come to wonder if in order to escape this frustrating nothingness and return home, does life expect them to do something first. If so, what?
The play, aimed at men, both young and older is powerful but not bleak, funny but not black and while it has a clear anti-suicide message, it does not preach.
Touched by Suicide…
If you have been touched by suicide and feel that as a community we need to bring the issue out of the silence then we urge you to help us stage this play. Despite the awful numbers as a rule we stay silent in the fear that talking about suicide encourages other attempts. But despite the silence, the rates are rising.
The beauty of this play is not only does it dive into the issue but it is remarkably entertaining and uplifting. You will like these characters and their disarming humour. And while there are poignant moments, it is the humour that makes the piece palatable. This is important. Too heavy and people won’t urge others to see it, too light and it’s pointless. The mix is essential and we believe this play has nailed it. At our first reading men were extremely moved and stayed to talk. This is exactly what we want. This is why after every performance an informal forum will be held where the audience will be free to stay and talk.
Any money raised will be spent on the following:
– Paying the actors
– Production team
– Rehearsal room hire
– The set
– Theatre venue hire
– Marketing and promotions
We believe this is a very special and important play and we hope that in this first season it will not only be seen as such, but will attract community interest and further funding to see it tour. Further reading here.
Testimony of Blue Wiggle Anthony field.
AS an entertainer he inspired thousands of children to sing and dance in the aisles but after the concert the Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, would retire to his dressing room and break down. Overweight, suffering from clinical depression, crippled by pain from infected teeth and swollen joints and deaf in one ear the children’s entertainer suffered in silence for eight years before finally seeking help.In Men’s Health Week the man behind the blue skivvy is appealing to other men who are depressed or in pain to speak up, tell a friend, talk to a doctor or ring a helpline to get assistance.“Ten years ago Murray helped me by saying – are you okay, are you well?” says Field.“The Australian thing is to keep it in, don’t talk about it, she’ll be right mate but that’s not good.“Talking to someone is the first step, talk to your friend, then someone professional.”
Field is promoting health fund Medibank Private’s 24/7 helpline and says the anonymity of a phone call is sometimes a good way for men to take the first step to get help. He says his father kept his health problems from the family. “My father had a stroke, we took him to the doctor and found out he had prostate cancer. We didn’t know about it,” he said. Men don’t talk about their health because they feel ashamed it makes them appear weak, that they are letting the team down, he says. And women can sometimes make it hard for them to speak up. Field’s wife used to joke that he had selective hearing. “Women love to say that,” he says.
It turned out Field did, in fact, have a hearing problem and he now wears a hearing aid. The Blue Wiggle suffered in pain and struggled with depression for eight years before he sought help in 2003. He saw a psychologist, started taking anti-depressants, lost 16 kilograms, had teeth removed and replaced with titanium implants and saw a naturopath. Ten years later he says he’s drug free, eating well, on the right track and in the middle of a punishing concert tour. “I’ve turned 50 and can do handstands and the splits. I’m enjoying it too much to give up,” he says. A Galaxy survey of over a thousand Australians has found only one in four men would tell their partner if they had a cold and only 9 per cent would tell their friends. Conducted for Medibank Private’s 24/7 helpline the survey disproves the myth that men exaggerate the symptoms of the common cold into man flu.
One in two women tell their partners when they are feeling ill and women are 10 per cent more likely to take a day off work if they get a cold, the survey found. More than four in ten men claim they are not badly affected by the sniffles and more than half of them won’t take medicine to relieve the symptoms. Dr Georgia Karabatsos says the common cold and ‘man flu’ are often joked about. “But for some men this can lead to them feeling unable to discuss their health,” she said. ‘It is really important, as a nation, we don’t let the Aussie male stereotype put pressure on the male population to stay silent about ill health or abnormalities.”“The Australian thing is to keep it in, don’t talk about it, she’ll be right mate but that’s not good”.
[ Article from the Daily Telegraph: written by Sue Dunlevy, News Corp Australia Network – ]
Suicide Prevention at Bluescope steel plate Mill…
[ News ABC ] – This year Lifeline is targeting men to become counsellors and “help-seekers”, and is visiting the industrial heart of Wollongong. Within the Bluescope steel Factory… “We’re concerned about it from the point of view of our workforce, but also from the perspective of the community as well,” he said. “We have a service we fund if someone wants some help, and we provide that service on a confidential basis. “It’s something we’re conscious of and have been doing so for a few years.” Mr Nowlan said he had noticed a gradual improvement in men feeling more comfortable opening up about mental health issues within the blue collar manufacturing workforce. Read more here…
TOOWOOMBA HOLDS A CITY FREE FROM PORN RALLY – Oct 11 2016.
We have prayed for this Rally at all our prayer meetings in the last few weeks, and this morning a few of us “older prayer warriors” that have been involved with City Women since it started, prayer walked the area from 6.15 till it started at 7 am. The wind was blowing a gale to start with and there were heavy clouds hanging over the city, but we prayed them away, and by 6.45 the sun came out and it was an absolutely beautiful morning. We were getting more and more excited as men started to arrive from 6.15am on, and they just kept coming and coming. A sausage breakfast was available put on by the ‘Men in the city’ so people gathered around the bar-b-que and talked. There was a lovely family atmosphere from the beginning, and it stayed all through the meeting. It was absolutely amazing!
We were especially excited to see a whole lot of grade 12 School Students there from different schools as well as men of all ages. We were a bit worried when we saw 5 motor bikes arrive, as we had heard rumours that there could be some opposition to the Rally and protesters had said they would come and create a disturbance. Fortunately they turned out to be from the GOD SQUAD, and there was no disturbance at all. One of our younger Pastors was the MC and the Mayor had called the meeting. He is a wonderful Christian man and has supported this move from the very beginning, so he opened the meeting with an excellent talk about the impact Porn has on our city and his desire to see that lessened. He pointed out that it was the first step of a long journey, but he was 100% behind it.
A very courageous woman then spoke about the effect her first partners porn addiction had on their marriage and her personally, and how she had struggled to regain her self-confidence since the breakup of that relationship. She has only just married a beautiful man 2years ago who respects and supports her, and he had encouraged her to be brave enough to speak about her previous experience in this gathering. A man also spoke openly about his pornography addiction which has started quite innocently by finding a porn magazine on the road. He spoke honestly about the effect it had on his marriage, and his consequent divorce. He had since had counselling and older stable men had been able to “walk beside him” in his recovery, so as he said there is a way out of this addiction.
The former CEO of the Heritage bank has brought together a group of concerned citizens to fight this as well as many other serious issues that are destroying our families to day. They call themselves Toowoomba Together and he was able to bring startling statistics that prove that the main cause of domestic violence is caused by porn addiction. Also that most kids by the age of 11 have viewed porn somewhere as it is so readily available on social media. It was clearly pointed out that there is help for anyone who is struggling with this addiction and the Mayor led the whole group of men in this pledge: “I acknowledge that viewing Pornography promotes exploitation of women and violence against women and it damages family life. I commit that I won’t view porn and I will help to create a city free from porn.
It was not possible to count the men attending this morning but there would have been at least 200 or more. Now we’re are praying for the after effect and over the people in the fore front of this battle. Please stand with us in this.