The continuing education of a young badger: Speech has consequences

In a recent post, I promised an update if I heard again from the young badger who goes by the moniker Lushington Dalrymple Brady.

I had cause recently to correspond with ‘Mr Brady’ about a blog post he wrote and published on A Devil’s Curmudgeon. The post was a critique of my views about free speech, the Andrew Bolt case and my resignation from Deakin earlier in 2016. I responded in an email, which caused the badger to reconsider and publish an update. I accepted that at face value and published my own post, including some of the correspondence.

I challenged ‘Mr Brady’ to come clean and tell me his real name, and to explain why he felt it necessary to hide behind a name so ludicrous, and such a confection, that even my spell-check has trouble not laughing. Well, I got a response, which I’ll get to shortly. But first, I wanted to get to the bottom of the pseudonym itself.

Will the real Lushington Dalrymple Brady please step forward?

Each to their own, I suppose and ‘Lushy’, as he likes to call himself (the character is male, if not the person behind it), has his reasons for choosing the triple-barrel, imposing imposter’s name.

[T]he name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the nme of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

If you want to know which ‘admirable’ qualities are animated by this pretentious avatar, you can do your own study of ‘Vandemonian’ [Tasmanian] history. Lushy himself appears to take pride in the following qualities, are they admirable? I’ll leave that to others to judge.

Lushy admires Tasmanian journalist William Lushington Goodwin (1798 – 1862) ‘for his vicious style and relentless attacks on the leading public figures of the colony’. But what the badger doesn’t dwell on is the nasty way in which Goodwin conducted himself. The Australian Dictionary of Biography is more forthcoming:

His violent abuse of private citizens brought many defamatory actions. In 1838 he accused the port officer, Matthew Friend, of official neglect, peculation and homosexuality, allegations thought to be responsible for the death of Friend’s wife in September 1838. Great public hostility was aroused, a protest was made by leading Launceston citizens, and Goodwin was forced to pay damages of £400. Unrepentant, he continued his malicious attacks on Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin, and his newspaper rivals, John Knight of the Launceston Advertiser and Henry Dowling, a Launceston printer, to whom he had to pay £100 for defamation. His treatment of Nathaniel Kentish was answered in Kentish’s pamphlet Atrocious Case of Infamously False and Malicious Libel Upon a Respectable and Honourable Man, by that Scurrilous and Oft-Convicted Libeller, William Lushington Goodwin (Hobart, 1846).

There’s more, but you get the picture. Goodwin was a scoundrel, a pig and probably a drunk. To model one’s behaviour on such a disreputable figure might seem like a big ‘fuck you’ to the ‘man’ to a libertarian blogger like Lushy; but to anyone who knows anything about the history of journalism, such figures, while interesting and of their time, are hardly role models for anyone with principles and ethics.

Dolly Dalrymple was a woman of mixed heritage; daughter of a British sealer, George Briggs and an Aboriginal woman called Woretemoeteyenner (also known as Pung or Margaret), who was the daughter of Mannarlargenna, a chieftain from the north-east of Van Diemen’s Land.

Lushy appears to admire her because she ‘single-handedly fought off a siege on a farm, in which her sister was speared, for six hours’ (grammar, dear badger, grammar) and ‘rose to become the respected matriarch of one of the wealthiest and largest land-holding families in Tasmania’s Meander Valley’. The pretend historian Keith Windschuttle would have a field day with Dolly’s story. This little extract from the Australian Dictionary of Biography provides some of the detail which Lushy appears to have overlooked in his eagerness to adopt the Dalrymple name.

Dalrymple had lived for a time with the notorious murderer Cubitt and had assisted him in the killing of Aborigines. On 22 May 1831, perhaps in response to earlier grievances, a group of Aborigines mounted an attack on the Johnsons’ hut while the mother was alone with her children. Armed with a musket, she held off the attack for six hours until help arrived.

The politics scream from the screen when you read this stuff. Here’s a bit more from another website.  I haven’t read anything that appears to contradict the idea that Dolly had turned her back on her Indigenous heritage. If you know more, I’m happy to correct the record here.

The Courage of Dolly Dalrymple

One day, during the infamous Black War campaign by the Government to round up Aboriginals, Dolly and her family rose early as usual. She gave Thomas his breakfast and soon after he rode away to do his chores. Dolly began to do hers and on hearing a noise outside, sent her elder daughter, Jane to see what it was. Dolly heard a scream and picking up a musket, went outside to investigate. She was horrified to see Jane on the ground, with a spear in her thigh.

Dolly tried to carry Jane to the safety of the hut, but had some difficulty because of the spear catching the door post. However she finally got Jane inside and hurriedly barricaded the door and windows.

She fired at the Aboriginals but with little effect, having nothing but duck shot, although she said later that she wounded one. She scanned the surrounding hills desperately hoping to see Thomas although she knew he would not return for several hours.

Then as suddenly as they appeared, the marauding Aboriginals fled — or so she thought. Soon they returned, this time with saplings and faggots which they kept lighting and throwing on to the roof, trying to burn Dolly out.

But again they underestimated the fighting spirit of this remarkable woman. She drove them off time and again and for six hours the battle was fought, and not until Johnson came back did the natives flee.

Alone, the brave aboriginal woman fought off the marauding natives and for six hours her fighting spirit never flagged, not even when they tried to burn her out of her shack.

Admittedly, the potted history given above comes from Ivan’s Page, which, judging by the design and CMS involved, hasn’t been updated since about 1999. If you’re not familiar with the ‘Black War’, you can read this piece at The Conversation by Nicholas Clements, it starts like this:

Tasmania’s Black War (1824-31) was the most intense frontier conflict in Australia’s history. It was a clash between the most culturally and technologically dissimilar humans to have ever come into contact. At stake was nothing less than control of the country, and the survival of a people.

Around 1000 lives were lost, but the loss of cultures and histories was far costlier. Had it happened elsewhere, the Black War would be common knowledge. Yet nearly two centuries on, most Australians know almost nothing about it. This Anzac Day it is worth reflecting on the price we pay for such ignorance.

Ignorance is no excuse Lushy. The celebration of Dolly Dalrymple’s achievements — she became quite wealthy and owned pubs among other assets — is one thing, but to ignore the brutality of the wholesale slaughter of a culture and to celebrate a woman who’s own conflicted history is a microcosm of the damage caused is pretty awful in my view.

Having come this far, I’m almost afraid to look at Matthew Brady, the ‘prince of bushrangers’ in Lushy’s eyes. The admirable qualities of Brady as distilled by Lushy amount to…not much really: ‘ a dashing, romantic figure’, ‘an insurrectionary terror to the authorities’, and someone whose ‘manners and conduct, especially his treatment of ladies, endeared him to the common folk’.

To my pleasant surprise, the brief entry in the Dictionary of Biography paints a surprisingly appealing portrait of the bushranger. 350 lashes would certainly turn one’s mind to thoughts of insurrection. It’s too bad I don’t believe in socialism on one island (not even Cuba), or I might be tempted into bushranging myself.

Brady was a man of principle and, one account, suggests that the gang he led was intent on ‘promoting a new moral code’.

On a personal level, Brady became known as a man that treated women with politeness and never let any of his gang harm them. According to legend, when his partner McCabe threatened a settler’s wife, Brady shot him through the hand, flogged him and threw him out of the gang. Brady also made a point of rewarding human decency when he saw it. On one occasion, Brady returned some stolen property to a surgeon after he discovered that the surgeon had once intervened on behalf of a Convict that was being brutally flogged.

On a social level, Brady wanted to symbolically state that the true criminals were the authorities. His gang “captured” the town of Sorell. They then released all the Convicts and subsequently captured the troopers who had been sent to capture the gang. The troopers were incarcerated and Brady led the town in a celebration.

After reading this, it seems to me that Brady would not be comfortable knowing that a conservative libertarian had borrowed his name.

Lushy presents himself through an avatar that is supposed to be a Tasmanian Devil and adopts the pose of a Curmudgeon, but he does not want to take responsibility for his writing or his opinions. He his happy to hide behind the concoction of a persona liberally borrowed from Tasmanian history, but without acknowledging the deep contradictions embedded in that history and without accepting the contradictions evident in his pseudonym.

I have challenged the badger on this in a series of emails. I have questioned his refusal to put his/her real name to the blog that he writes. The early correspondence is published here.

The second tranche, published in this post, starts with ‘Mr Brady’s response to my challenge and ends with my response. Once again, if there is further correspondence of interest, I will relay it to EM readers.

On 24 Oct 2016, at 12:01 AM, Lushington Brady wrote:

Hello again,

Sorry for the delay. With a fleeting gleam of spring briefly melting the Vandemonian ice, a chance to be out and doing Devilish things for a day couldn’t be missed. Anyhow …

Liberalist – unfortunately, the word “liberal” has just become too loaded, these days, both at home – where it is indelibly associated with the Liberal party – and abroad, especially the United States, where it is invariably lumped in with a particularly nasty breed of screeching, baby authoritarian. As for the libertarians, while I can enjoy talking with some of them – but then, I find discussion with many people, whether I share much of their viewpoints or not, enjoyable and fruitful; I’m an ecumenical type of person – I frankly find most of them too dogmatic, and too apt to bang on about that ghastly old bat, Rand, and her horrible books. No thanks, on all counts. So, liberalist, it is.

As for who I “really” am, I’m afraid I’m just going to have to disappoint you – which I suspect I would, either way. I’m really not that interesting, and I’m not a “secret agent” for anybody. At all accounts, this was something I actually thought long and hard about, from the very beginning. No-one is an island, as they say, and Van Diemen’s Land is a particularly small one. As the Habermasian public space increasingly blurs into the private, one must bear this in mind.

Besides, as [the Australian band] TISM showed, they were far more interesting as masked, anonymous performers than they ever would have been had their “true” identities been known. Similarly, John & Yoko’s “Bagism” espouses the theory that, when the normal signs of a person’s “identity” – name, species, age, gender, skin colour, dress – are masked, attention is focussed instead on their message.

I was and am fully aware that this decision is going to disappoint and annoy some people. If the price of that is being called a coward and a punkass dilettante, or a fascist (it’s rather entertaining being called a “fascist” really – it’s like being in an old “Young Ones” episode), then so be it. I’m prepared to live with that.

So anyway, thanks for the correspondence: it’s been interesting, and above all, fruitful. I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

Take care,

Lushy

My response, sent at 9.52am on Sunday 23 October

I take that in the spirit intended.

Did you see my post on Ethical Martini

You realise, I hope, that by remaining pseudonymous you are contradicting your own claim about non-consequential speech.

If there are no consequences, why be worried about what others think of you?

Would people think less of the real you if they knew you as the badger?

All speech has consequences.

Try saying “I hate you,” in a hurtful voice to a young child. Even if you then claim “I was only joking,” the tears are real and the child will learn to trust you less.

Stop believing the libertarian Utopians, they are fucked in the head and dangerous to the rest of us.

Their Utopias are a nightmare for the tribe.

Let them live as outcasts and if you truly believe, go join them.

They eat their own young and cast out the “different”.

Is that the world you want to live in, dear badger?

As for the “fascist with manners”, grow into it, or stop writing shite for white supremacist websites hiding behind “Cultural Liberalism”.

And, stop attacking Safe Schools in tones lifted directly from the Murdoch homophobes.

I warned you about them, time you listened to an old Marxist.

I’m a bit wiser than you, badger.

I have the scars to prove I’ve learned some hard lessons.

You ARE a dilettante, a dabbler in dangerous political alchemy.

Do you even know how to distinguish between enemies, friends and allies (the latter are not identical).

Back in the sett young badger, till you mature and get a tougher hide.

M

Shaken or stirred?

I realise now, having re-read the badger’s strapline on A Devil’s Curmudgeon — Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard — that ‘Lushy’ is probably male in real life, and maybe not so young.

I apologise to him if he finds my use of ‘young badger’ insulting under the circumstances, but I feel that the voice of the blog and the ideas behind it are somewhat naive and naivety is not restricted only to the young. As the badger says, the correspondence has been educational, and enjoyable, on both sides.

 

 

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