When a friend asked me last week how I felt about the whole Julian Assange thing, the best I could come up with was 'conflicted'. Wikileaks good, treating women like sh*t bad. Worse, everything I'd seen or read suggested to me that a reckless disregard for consequences seemed to be one of the things that his political activism and his sexual behaviour had in common.
I spent an hour yesterday in the Rare Books room of the Adelaide University library (stay with me, this is germane) reading the journals of one of South Australia's unsung heroes, Robert Gouger. Gouger died at 44, after suffering what his contemporaries call 'a mental malady' for some years, with steady deterioration of his faculties. If, as they argue, it was a total mental breakdown brought on by the stresses of his life, then goodness knows the stresses of his life were more than enough to do it.
But as anyone who's read The Fortunes of Richard Mahony knows, when men in the 19th century went mad and then died, there was always a chance that the reason was undiagnosed, untreated tertiary syphilis, contracted years earlier. And when it comes to tertiary syphilis, going mad is one of the less unpleasant symptoms.
So if a man has unprotected sex with (at least) two different people inside a week, it seems to me reasonable to be concerned that he might be spreading something icky. When he dismisses that concern as just a couple of silly women 'getting into a tizzy' and then being stupid enough to be 'bamboozled' by police, it severely undermines whatever confidence I might previously have had in his judgment.
In which the pond turns to the Caterists and Dame Groan ... - The pond is never sure whether the reptiles are mocking the Donald, or mocking themselves for admitting that they're the Donalds of down under journalism...
4 minutes ago