Rebecca Weisser, The Australian's opinion editor, was obviously so impressed with the following Quadrant online piece (16/3/14) by Murray Walters that she included it in yesterday's Cut & Paste column at the foot of the letters page:
"How much should your sense of personal meaning impact on my right to question its authenticity... Section 18C is the muddled product of the inadequate scrutiny of these issues. Here are some examples:
"1) If I claim to have a particular affinity with Thailand on the basis that I have visited 10 times in the last five years, have married a ladyboy I fell in love with in a Bangkok brothel and now claim to identify as Thai for the purpose of the new government's National Rental Assistance Scheme for rich foreign students who want to live close to a university of their choice, should I be: a) given rent assistance because as long as I identify as Thai... that's good enough for the taxpayers of Australia... d) told to go away because my claim to an authentic Thai identity is just the pathetic delusion of a vulgar, fat, ugly, late middle-aged Australian totally oblivious to my narcissism and my inability to see that I am an addled, infatuated daddy cum meal-ticket...
"2) I have two grandparents who were born in Scotland and I come over all maudlin when I hear Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre. I now want everyone to recognise me as Scottish. I think I'll apply for cheap housing next to the University of Tasmania to further my studies into Scottish convicts on the First Fleet. They were treated particularly badly... (and) I bear the stain of their oppression to this very day. I should a) be given rental assistance because my sense of belonging and my James Bond impersonation makes me more of a Scot than Sean Connery... c) be told (very respectfully) that my claim will need to be adjudicated by a panel of Scottish elders. Further, I will have to dance the Highland Fling as proof of my ethnicity."
Most amusing. But while we're on the subject of spurious ethnic identities and the benefits accruing therefrom, I can easily top Walters' fictional examples with the actual case of a bloke who not only gets a $3 billion + annual subsidy from the US government, based solely on his particular brand of pathetic delusion, but also gets to parade it - true! - at international forums.
I'm not sure, however, that Ms Weisser would ever be inclined to give him the satirical attention he so richly deserves in her little collection of snippets.
Meet the pathetically (& dangerously) deluded Benjamin Mileikowsky:
"In my office in Jerusalem, there's a - there's an ancient seal. It's a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next door to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there's a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That's my last name. My first, Benjamin, dates back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin - Binyamin - the son of Jacob, who was also known as Israel. Jacob and his twelve sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Sumeria [sic] 4,000 years ago, and there's been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since." (Transcript of Netanyahu's 2011 UNGA speech*)
[*See my 24/9/11 post Benzion, My Father.]