Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Titillation rather than substance

Lawyer Rob Moodie is back in the news, this time for alleging that the judiciary is dominated by a corrupt old boy network. But rather than focusing on his allegations, the good old Dominion Post instead went to town on the way he was protesting against it: by cross-dressing in court. It's a perfect case of titillation rather than substance - and somewhere, in the process, the actual story seems to have been lost.

Here's a hint to the Dom-Posts editors: guys sometimes cross-dress. It may not be common, it may be unintentionally funny, but in this day and age, I'd hardly think of it as "news"...

Update: Moodie's dress sense has now made the Washington Post - still with the same focus on titillation. I guess nothing gets the headlines like a guy in drag...


Be fair - Dr Moodie was doing this to protest in the hope of getting greater attention to his cause.

Should the DomPost or any (other?) credible news organisation ignore the fact that people rallied on Parliament grounds in opposition to the 90-day bill, and only focus on the arguments some of them were presenting?

Protest action is newsworthy, quirky protest action moreso (cf. cross-dressing female MPs protesting in the house about the chamber's dress standards, which is about the last time a protest was made through cross-dressing).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 7/25/2006 11:47:00 AM

Saying that Moodie's cross-dressing is a protest is one thing. But do they really have to get in to which bathroom he uses, what sort of underwear he is wearing, how many kids he has and whether or not this means he is gay?

Instead of going "it's a bit quirky, that's interesting, why are you doing this", the Dom-Post instead seems to be saying "It's a man! In women's clothing! Shock! Horror!" Which is the sort of thing I'd expect to see sometime last century - not in 2006.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/25/2006 12:09:00 PM

that's rubbish I/S. Moodie said a lot of those things himself. deliberately of course to make himself even more quirky and draw attention to him. the dom post is perfectly entitled to put things like that in the article for context. plus they're fucking funny.

you seem to ignore the point that the majority of the public will fid the sight of a old man who is a lawyer wearing a dress outside the high court funny and interesting. the dom post thus has a legitimate obligation in reporting it.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/25/2006 03:59:00 PM

I don't think the article's problem is reporting on the technicalities of a cross-dressing protest. This would be fine as supplementary material to the main point of the article: what Dr Moodie is protesting about. The problem with the article is that it's maddeningly vague on this point.

Paragraph one says it's the male-dominated justice system. Paragraph three says it's not a publicity stunt at all, from which I would understand that he was protesting for his own right to cross-dress. Paragraph six says it's about the "male ethos" and "old boys' network" pervading the judiciary, which suggests he's making a feminist point. Paragraph eight says that it was influenced by something to do with the Berryman bridge case, but neglects to explain why this would be connected with cross-dressing. Paragraph nineteen indicates that Dr Moodie believes that something about the case made him think about what it means to be a male in this country, but again fails to report on what it is.

It's not clear whether this is the fault of the reporter or of Dr Moodie himself.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/25/2006 04:16:00 PM

The same (non?) story is currently appearing on the international Yahoo "odd news" - and the motivation for the cross-dressing remains just as confused.

Posted by dc_red : 7/26/2006 08:18:00 AM

Isaac, going on the interview Mary Wilson tried to conduct with Moodie last night on Checkpoint, I'd say the problem is with Moodie. He went on and on about the Berryman case without actually indicating what it was about it that had led him to cross-dressing as a political statement.

He seemed to be trying to say that the judiciary and the army had looked after each other in the Berryman case, and this had led him to a conclusion that there was an "old boys network" in operation, and this was the point of his protest. But it was very unclear and I felt the link was very tenuous indeed. I came away with the impression that he was largely doing it for attention.

Posted by Span : 7/26/2006 09:03:00 AM