Why has a News Ltd website (AdelaideNow) published the name of the girl at the centre of #Dickileaks?

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

UPDATE:  AdelaideNow tried fixing their error at around 8.30am, but amazingly they still have the legally-suppressed name embedded within the image area. Someone with an ounce of tech-savvy could uncover her identity in a couple of clicks.  I wouldn’t be holding my breath for a Walkley down there at that particular newsroom.

I am not going to compound the breach by repeating their mistake, but why has the AdelaideNow website published the name of the girl at the centre of the Dickileaks not once, but three times?

My Dickileaks coverage in full can be found here.

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#Fevola plays rehab card #afl #dickileaks

January 2, 2011 1 comment

For a celebrity on the cusp of losing a lot of money and/or whatever remains of their wilting reputation, drug and/or alcohol and/or sex rehabilitation is the best hand by far in the crisis management deck. In our culture, you can’t criticize someone once they have gone into rehab because the act itself is seen as immensely courageous (a notion I will turn to in a moment).  In the moments following word of Brendan Fevola’s oh-so-predictable move, the response on Twitter shows why crisis communications consultants adore rehab so much.

Fevola reportedly in rehab: Brendan Fevola is understood to be dealing with his self-destructive demons…

This is bullshit for more than the obvious reason that the term, “self-destructive demon” , makes no sense since it means a demon that destroys itself and would, therefore, leave Fevola demon-free.  I assume they mean that the demons are destructive of Fevola and that, by demons, they are referring to his tendency to drink loads and loads of piss and get in trouble as a result.

Now I have a deep philosophical problem with the idea that alcoholism is something that attacks you, demon or disease-like, from outside oneself or as a kind of third-party, but I won’t go on at length about that here.  (I have posted on this subject before, based on my own experience as a chronic boozer and my eventual recovery which kicked off on October 2, 2006.)

Now let me get to this heroic act of courage storyline that will spread like a horseshit-fueled wildfire as the Fevola-rehab yarn plays out.

Let me get one thing straight: stopping drinking is not easy for someone who suffers from chronic alcohol dependency.  For such people,  going into detox (which usually precedes rehab) is somewhat courageous because the prospect of going even a couple of hours without alcohol can be incredibly scary, as it was for me.  But Fevola is almost certainly not in this camp.  Fev is a binge-drinker who is able to function quite normally (well…you know what I mean) without alcohol coursing through his veins.  In the DSM-IV that defines such things, Fevola abuses alcohol without dependency.  We all know plenty of people in this camp and, for some of them, the binge behaviour leads to shocking outcomes like drunk-driving, domestic violence, assault and many other crimes.  In most instances, people tend to move on from this kind of conduct as they settle down and tire of hangovers and or come under pressure from loved ones who tire of them.  A percentage of these boozehounds kick on and develop full blown dependency throughout their adult life, and such people either give up as things become untenable (often without rehab or any other medical intervention), or they don’t.  The latter group is what most people mean when they think of an “alcoholic”, as distinguishable from the ubiquitous, in Australia and NZ culture at least, pisshead.

For a pisshead like Fevola, rehab is far from scary or courageous.  It is — literally, for a portion of the day at least — a walk in the park.  He will almost certainly experience no physical withdrawal symptoms of note (after all, he plays football and trains at an elite level for half the year), and his personality strikes me as optimal for the purposes of avoiding too much in the way of emotional turmoil or shame.   This will be a very gentle few days for the man, possibly even a welcome respite.  If he likes yogurt, and is partial to a bit of yoga, the whole rehab experience will feel more like a meditation retreat than a daring act of self-intervention.

Good luck to him.  For someone in his position, the prospect of curbing his drinking behavior is no doubt daunting, if that is indeed his intention.  But rehab is the easy part.  And, if it saves his million-dollar contract, then the decision to check himself in today is a no-brainer worthy of a man with no brain.

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New Feature: Flushpoints

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

As part of the site revamp, I am introducing some new features at TheNewTasman, including this one: Flushpoints.

The self-evident political opportunity open to President Obama and the Democrats in the coming twelve months is to identify issues that will drive a wedge between 70 percent of the public and the 30 percent represented by the so-called Tea Party.  In this way, he can build coalitions around specific policy areas, but most importantly flush the right-wing of the Republican into the uncomfortable spotlight and thereby drive moderates and independents into the President’s camp, not to mention trigger spectacular internal rifts in the GOP.  I call these opportunities for the Democrats flushpoints, and I will keep tabs on them as they play out, starting today.  I will keep them archived under Flushpoints above.

This is part and parcel of our mission at TheNewTasman.com to tell stories about US politics from my regular perch in New York, and to do so  in a way that contributes to its understanding and enjoyment among Aussies and Kiwis in particular  (I also blog about media and politics in NZ and Australia and visit both places regularly, as I am doing now).

Anyway, today’s Flushpoint is Energy from the NY Times, from an article about how Tea Party are already shitty with the GOP leadership even before they have been sworn in.  There is plenty to chew over in the piece, but this reference to an op-ed penned by Tea Party organisers Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler stood out as a fine way to kick off the segment.

In an opinion article on Politico, the two also criticized Republican leaders for choosing Representative Fred Upton of Michigan to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee, saying the choice “indicated they are not serious about expanding the nation’s energy-producing capability” through expanded oil drilling and a relaxation of regulations on nuclear power and coal.

I also spotted this nugget from an earlier Politico piece about this so-called moderate Republican, Fred Upton:

Conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck both called [Upton] a socialist because of his co-authorship of legislation banning the incandescent light bulb.

So how much of a pinkie-commo is this Upton character?  Well, over to today’s Boston Globe:

Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, who is set to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he was not convinced greenhouse gases needed to be controlled or that the EPA had the authority to do so.

“This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs — unless Congress steps in,’’ Upton wrote last week in a Wall Street Journal opinion essay.

His coauthor was Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group financed by Koch Industries and other oil companies that has spread skepticism about global warming and supported many of the Tea Party movement candidates who will take seats in the new Congress.

So a man who coauthors climate denial opinion pieces in the Wall St Journal with a Koch Industries-funded Tea Party organiser and oil lobbyist is too left-wing for the most powerful and well organised bloc of modern Republican Party?

This will be delicious.

Late, drunk, abusive, sleazy and dishonest: #Fevola’s night out for charity

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

In response to my post yesterday detailing my own experiences with the disgraced Brendan Fevola (Me and Fev), I received from a a reader this illuminating anecdote:

I used to work for a Childrens Charity. About 4 years ago a supporter organised a golf day and dinner/auction to follow. They invited Mr Fevola and his wonderous orange wife to the dinner, providing free tickets in the hope that his attendence would create excitement etc.. I advised against (as a Carlton supporter I knew what he was capable of) but they insisted.

Brendan and Alex arrived two hours late. He was completely intoxicated and she was furious. He was loudly advising everyone that as the season had just finished he had beeen “off my face for a week”

The night progresses with these highlights

Bar staff refused to serve him, he screamed obscenities and said “I’m Brendan F^^^Ing Fevola”

A holiday package was live auctioned – Brendan was the winning bidder at $15k When it came time to pay he advised that he was only bidding for a laugh and would only pay $10k.. but didnt have his wallet with him… it took 3 calls to his manager and 4 calls to the club to get his payment

After being caught cracking on to some 19 year old girls, Alex threw a tantrum and demanded they leave…

He’s a spoiled, self absorbed, selfish idiot who deserves everything he gets.

I am more than happy to serve as a repository for more such stories, as long as people understand that I won’t use them as arguments why the Brisbane Lions should sack Fevola.

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Brisbane Lions should place whoever wrote the #Fevola statement on indefinite leave

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Generosity is called for when assessing the  work of a footy club employee or PR consultant who was dragged into the offices of the Brisbane Lions on New Year’s Day, a Saturday, in off-season.  But I’m afraid my compassion towards the composer of the club’s statement on the Fevola incident is mitigated by its rank awfulness and, as such, expired at the completion of the previous sentence.

The statement, in response to the arrest of star forward Brendan Fevola for his New Year’s Eve overexuberance, is both bad enough and short enough to warrant dissection line by line.

The Brisbane Lions AFC has this afternoon granted Brendan Fevola indefinite leave from the Club in order to receive professional assistance for a number of personal issues.

If the measure of a strong opening to this type of media release is the presentation of clear and credible information, this sentence works hard for its F.  It screams “we are covering shit up!” from the rhetorical rooftops in two distinct ways:  first, by framing its actions as an act of kindness — by granting leave to Fevola instead of suspending him — the Club  immediately signals that it is spinning the issue rather than confronting it.  Second, the phrase “professional assistance for a number of personal issues” is so vague and meaningless that it doubles as an insult to readers.  What issues?  From which kind of professional does he need assistance? Lawyer? Doctor? Speech therapist?  Saying nothing is far preferable to such nothingness.

The request for leave was made by Fevola following an incident in the early hours of this morning where he was arrested and charged with public nuisance and obstructing police in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

This is completely redudant because (a) the fact that Fevola made a “request” is implicit in the verb “granted” from the previous sentence (you only grant something that has been requested, right?) and (b) the repetition of the arrest details is hardly necessary.  These first two sentences could have replaced with: “The Brisbane Lions have suspended Brendan Fevola indefinitely after a widely-publicized incident involving police in the early hours of yesterday morning.”

Fevola was released from police custody at around 11am and immediately sought leave from the Lions to receive professional assistance.

This sentence never needed to see the light of day: the first half is an unnecessary detail and the second repeats a meaningless point already made.

As a result, Fevola will not be at training this Monday when the team resumes its preparations for the 2011 AFL Season.

Really?  Not at training?  While on indefinite leave?  Stop the presses.

While the Brisbane Lions AFC places the well being of all its staff as a primary focus, the Club will hold talks next week regarding what action may be required as a direct result of this morning’s incident.

This sentence does to crimes to language for which no punishment is too severe.  As anyone who speaks English knows, the word “while” operates a lot like “but” so any sentence that kicks off with the word sets us up to expect information in the second half that contrasts in some ways with the first, like, for example, “While Brendan Fevola is an adult male in strict chronological terms, he is a child in many profound ways.” But here we are presented with a sentence that uses “while” for no apparent reason:  the club’s concern for staff (blah blah) doesn’t appear to contrast in any way with its intention to “hold talks” as a “direct result” of the “incident”.  And that’s not all:  why is the comments about “staff” even remotely relevant?  Are players included in this? Is Fev? Why would you choose the grandiose term “hold talks” when all that can possibly do is escalate hype and create expectations?   And do we really attach the verb “place” to the overused “focus”?  The sentiment could have been far better expressed by saying, “the Club will discuss the matter further next week.”

The Club resumes its non-football operations this Tuesday January 4 2011 with all staff currently on annual leave.

This is the best sentence by far, although it could have been chopped after the word Tuesday.

In summary, then, the statement could have read:

“The Brisbane Lions have suspended Brendan Fevola indefinitely after a widely-publicized incident involving police in the early hours of yesterday morning. The Club will discuss the matter further next week, after it resumes non-football operations on Tuesday.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Mock, shame and pillory #Fevola, but don’t sack him

January 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Who can help piling on Brendan Fevola?  He is, after all, staggeringly obnoxious.  There is no amount of opprobrium too great.

Hold Fevola up to scorn and unrelenting mockery?  Absolutely — and you’ll find me near the front of the queue.

But there’s no way he should be fired.

Why not?

We need to wean off this nonsense that footy players like Fevola are role models.

Getting pissed, obnoxious and lippy to cops on New Year’s Eve  is not only consistent with Fev’s personality and past conduct, it is entirely run of the mill within the jock-culture from whence he comes (see Dickileaks).  We have two choices:  continue this chorus of outrage and disappointment, or stop expecting it to be anything different.

Without wanting to go all Pema Chödrön, changing one’s perspective — and lowering one’s sights — seems like an easier path than waiting for Fevola and his ilk to start acting like Mormon missionaries.

You can cover planet in leather, in other words, or put on a pair of sandals.

Discipline Fev, by all means, but ending his career reinforces the bullshit notion that these guys are deserving of expectations that they are incapable of meeting.

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Me and Fevola: the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Footy Flashers #Dickileaks

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

It is full to bursting with irony that, in the wake of the #dickileaks scandal, Brendan Fevola is in trouble for something entirely unrelated to exposing his penis. Fev, instead, was arrested and detained overnight (well at 4.30am, so the morning really) for being a public nuisance and obstructing police. This will no doubt trigger another round of feigned outrage and finger-wagging over how disappointed we all are by the behavior of these “role models”. Tish and pish. Fev is a manchild, a troublemaker and a person who literally cannot keep his genitals to himself. If he is not actively engaging them in vigorous sexual work-outs, he is displaying them for all to see. I wrote the following in the wake of a scandal back in September regarding Fev flashing a mother of young children in a carpark. My own experience seems worth retelling in light of his arrest, and its juxtaposition to Dickileaks.


(Sep 9,2010)

I provided media training for the Carlton Football Club in 2007 , soon after billionaire Richard Pratt had taken the struggling Australian Rules football club under his wing. My job was to offer the players a basic overview of how the media works and provide some simple tips on how to deal with press, radio and TV interviews. I ran “theory” sessions in two large groups, followed by practical run-throughs, complete with cameraman, in groups of 3-4 players at a time.

Brendan Fevola, who played for Carlton at the time, has made the news in Australia this week for allegedly indecently exposing himself to a “mother of four”. (Now, why does the fact that she is a “mother of four” make the sight of a penis more shocking, and not less?).

In the face of these allegations, Fevola is not receiving much benefit of the doubt from his current club, Brisbane, nor from anyone else. This is not surprising since Fevola has long been a problem-child – a boozer and a shagger, a public urinator and a shameless media whore. Waving his privates at a solitary woman in a carpark seems like a fairly standard day at the office for Fev.

Fevola refused to take part in the mock interviews because, I guess, he thought he was too experienced to need it. He did, however, sit through the “theory” sessions, making a series of “woe is me” statements about how football reporters that he “thought were me mates” wrote scathing stories about him. When he wasn’t whining, he was texting and giggling and showing off. To their credit, the other players were completely unimpressed, even the rookies who had worked out quickly that Fev, for all his footballing prowess and media profile, was about as good a choice for role model as Jeffrey Dahmer.

But Fev could not keep away from the one-on-one training sessions, even after refusing to take part himself. The presence of a camera was too much for him to resist.

Fevola arranged a physio session in the neighboring room that coincided with the on-camera interviews.

Periodically, Fev would emerge from the physio room and stand behind the cameraman and me and try to break the concentration of the whoever I was grilling at the time. This caused us to halt proceedings on a couple of occasions as the player in the chair lost his train of thought or broke into reluctant guffaws at Fev’s antics. The Carlton media guys just rolled their eyes, muttering “It’s Fev, what can you do?”.

Soon enough, the players learned to ignore to Fev’s disruptive presence. But Fevola is a child in a man’s body — an evil and stupid child, mind you — and he hates to be ignored. He needed to up the ante.

That was when Fev reached into his shorts and began to reveal the contents thereof. He was behind me, so I couldn’t see for myself — but I could feel the presence of an unwelcome intruder near at the point of my left shoulder, and perhaps even the gentlest of zephyrs as he gyrated his hips, drawing perfect imaginary circles with his now-exposed genitals.

The horror etched on my colleague’s face confirmed what was going on behind me, but the players themselves were unsurprised and unperturbed. This was clearly not the first time they had been subjected to the full Fevola package, nor was it likely the last. I am sure they count the day Fev packed his bags for Brisbane as among the happiest of their young lives.

What an irredeemable jerk.

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