Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Some weeks ago I wrote a piece about attending a literary speed-dating event at the State Library …
On the night I was instructed by my editor not to tell anyone I was there to write a piece for the Age lest they clam up and somehow be less ‘real’, which had the odd effect of making me feel like an undercover spy as well as a bald-faced liar …
Hardy and her Age editor appear to have violated the media union’s code of ethics:
Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
Over to you, Age. Meanwhile, Instapundit has more on journalists who reveal more than they perhaps intend when writing online …
RISE UP, WERIB STREET!
Don’t know if you’ve seen Leunig’s cartoon today. He’s dissing your old hood! Only he can’t spell “Werribee”. It only has one “r” in it now:
Typical of Leunig; he’s all about the plight of the common man, but don’t expect him to actually be familiar with where they live.
Leunig survived his angering of the Arab street. The Werib street’s fury, however, is a whole other deal.
QUESTIONS ON MIND
The Margo Kingston Revival rolls on:
Hello. What does the Australian flag represent? Would you wear it on your face or around your neck? Why or why not?
These questions are in my mind this Australia Day because Today Tonight just rang again to see if I’d be, again, the sole person they could find with ambivalent feelilngs about the matter ...
And ambivalent spelling, which is your guarantee this is 100% genuine Margo and not some cheap spellcheck-aware imposter. As it happens, Margo isn’t ambivalent about the flag at all:
Because of my angle of vision, I see the flag as symbolising the war on Iraq, the war on refugees and Howard’s war on the rule of law, once fundamental to our British Heritage, and on human rights for all Australians.
“The war on Iraq”, Margo? The war in which Iraqi and coalition troops are fighting on the same side? Is Iraq’s government fighting ... Iraq?
But that’s just me.
And it’s wonderful to have you back. One thing, though; how come you’ve ditched “G’day” as a greeting? Is it too Australian, and thus symbolic of “the war on Iraq, the war on refugees and Howard’s war on the rule of law”? As in her earlier era, Margo’s people provide a wealth of insightful commentary:
• Martin Gifford: “Personally, I do not consider myself to be an Australian - I’m a human being, an Earthling, and a Universian.”
• Bryan Law: "What’s a Humvee?"
• Solomon Wakeling: “I am boiling some chamomile. I have not been up this late in weeks.”
And from Margo herself ...
• Margo: "I wish I had had some (any) commercial savvy, because then I wouldn’t have bankrupted myself in a deluded rush to maintain momentum post-independence before funding came through."
Weirdly, Today Tonight’s go-to gal for flag-ragging also offered a tennis tip:
• Margo: “I reckon Gonzalez can win it. He’s hot as - can he stay there?”
Naturally, Gonzalez lost in straight sets.
(Via Rod F.)
MOVING BACK SUGGESTED
“Does President Bush have it in for the press corps?” asks Newsweek’s Holly Bailey:
Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses - at least more stylish than most safety glasses - Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. “I would suggest moving back,” Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. “I’m about to crank this sucker up.” As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but ...
Click for the tragic outcome, which may be guessed at by these chilling extracts:
• “Get out of the way!” a news photographer yelled.
• “I think he might run us over!” said another.
• Bush looked out the tractor’s window and laughed ...
"JUST LIKE A MINI MALL"
It isn’t the guy’s name, and he isn’t a blues singer, but Flea Market Montgomery would be the finest handle for a blues musician ever.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
WOMAN ABUSES YOUNGSTER
Marieke Hardy encounters flag-bearing youths at an outdoor concert:
Boy oh boy, the amount of idiotic sunburned children draping themselves in flags with no real reason as to why they were making such a provocative statement.
Note: they weren’t burning flags. They were merely wearing them. This, to the Left, is “provocative”.
I grew increasingly cross, even without alcohol coursing through my veins and turning me into the kind of screeching harpy best left alone in the corner of a pub dry-humping the pinball machine.
Me: Nice flag, fuckhead.
Moron child: Whatever.
Me: Why are you even wearing that? Do you have any idea what you’re doing?
Moron child: Aussie pride, man.
Me: Go and die.
Traceeee Hutchison should address this matter of flag rage in her next column.
UPDATE. Tolerant Marieke, who wishes young flag-wearers would “go and die”, regularly appears in the Age and on the ABC.
UPDATE II. Nic wonders how Marieke would react to similar abuse of someone wearing an Aboriginal flag. Consider, too, how she’d judge a clothing-related exchange beginning with the line: “Nice burka, fuckhead”.
LET THE CLEANERS BE FREE
A question that would only occur to an Age writer:
Is hiring someone else to clean up after you ethical?
The Age’s Alex May continues:
Danielle Robertson, CEO of DIAL-AN-ANGEL, says clients hiring the $25-an-hour cleaners from her agency are typically time-poor. “People don’t want to spend four hours on a Saturday cleaning - they would rather be sunning themselves or taking a walk or spending time with their family,” she says.
But maybe those cleaners would rather be sunning themselves or taking a walk or spending time with their family, too?
If they would rather be sunning themselves, there’s nothing stopping them. Poor but happy, they’d be, without jobs and income. Of course, Alex herself might be able to spend more time with her family if she weren’t required to write appalling nonsense for the Age. Where’s the justice?
GREAT TILTERS OF CINEMA
Compassionate head-tilting has a rich cinematic history:
Head-tilting was a signature cue of method actor, James Dean. Dean’s head-tilts seemed to say, as East of Eden director Elia Kazan put it, “Pity me, I’m too sensitive for the world”.
Tiltiness remains popular among leftist politicians in cinema-crazed France.
(Via Andrew R.)
Accused terrorist David Hicks has told his lawyers that conditions at Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held for five years, are “like a Nazi concentration camp”.
Why, poor Dave is living out Vic Morrow’s role in Twilight Zone: The Movie.
FLAG NOT LIKED
The Age’s Traceeee Hutchison is concerned about Australia’s flag:
Sydney’s Big Day Out passed without incident despite huge numbers of patrons defying the leave-the-flags-at-home urgings of organisers, but imagine the outcry had a bunch of flag-clad idiots done some real damage? Imagine if someone was badly injured in a flag-induced frenzy?
Imagine if someone was badly injured in a Traceeee-induced frenzy. Imagine the outcry had a bunch of Indymedia-reading idiots done some real damage. Imagine anything you like, because nothing bad happened at Sydney’s Big Day Out concert. Despite that ...
Perhaps the time has finally arrived to come up with a flag that unites, not divides, us. To be reminded of a country that welcomes not rejects. A country that makes peace with its past and looks to its future with self-determined optimism and hope. A country we can all feel proud to be part of.
Go ahead, Hutchison, and design that flag. The flag of unity. We’d love to see it. Over at the Bulletin, Adam Shand was of similar anti-flag mind prior to last week’s concert:
There is no doubt the Australian flag has been used to divide our people ... There is no deep love here for our flag.
If there’s no deep love for the flag, how does it generate the passion to “divide us”? Are we being ripped apart by something we don’t care about?
Monday, January 29, 2007
An Englishman is worried about hard-working Australians:
Sydney’s culture of the relentless pursuit of property, perfect bodies and status has British psychologist and author Oliver James worried. As part of research for his recently released book, Affluenza, he travelled to seven countries to research the effect of consumerism on happiness.
Seven countries? The effect of all those flights on George Monbiot’s happiness should provide a thrilling sequel.
He found the obsessive pursuit of money and possessions was not buying happiness.
These money-can’t-buy-happiness theorists should perform an experiment. Find two people of equal wealth; take all the money off one; give it to the other. Then ask who is happier.
The affluenza virus was worst in Sydney, where he found interviewing locals a depressing experience. It was, he said, “the most vacuous of cities. The Dolly Parton of cities in Australia."
Dolly seems a happy enough person, despite her wealth; cruelly, however, she awards scholarships to poor students, thereby exposing them to the ambition/misery vortex Oliver James frets over.
He had not been to Sydney before and expected a “philistine nation” of “jolly, uncomplicated fun-seekers”. Instead, he found a city in thrall to American values and a puritan work ethic that robbed life of joy and meaning. Middle-class Sydney, he writes, is “packed with career- obsessed workaholics”. When they are not working the longest hours in the developed world, they pursue perfect bodies through joyless fitness regimes, or obsess about property prices. Always, they are looking around anxiously, in the hope that others aren’t doing better than them.It would have been reassuring for these people to lay eyes on James.
While Britain has “its Posh and Becks”, — obvious examples of conspicuous consumption — cultural differences, including a more entrenched class system, has put the brakes on the spread of consumerism in Britain.
"The British, compared to the US or Aussies, are less easily convinced that money will get you further. The British elite have been around for an awfully long time and there is not the crassness of the Australian rich."
If the Parton remark didn’t already confirm it, now we have proof: we’re dealing here with a standard-issue English snob. A remarkably stupid standard-issue English snob.
His advice to Sydneysiders? “Start reading.” Starting with his book, perhaps?
Why bother? We’ve already flicked through and tossed aside Clive Hamilton’s Affluenza: When too much is never enough, which covers much the same ground ("Affluenza has been more intense in Sydney than anywhere else in Australia. Sydney has always had a love affair with money"). Question: what do these idiots do with all the money from their anti-money books? Further about James from Scott Burgess; meanwhile, on related wealth issues, Mark E. emails:
A quick check of Professor Flannery’s bio shows he has trousered $US150,000 from the Lannan Foundation, an outfit that recently honoured Robert Fisk with its cultural freedom prize.Which was worth $US350,000. Let’s hope Fisk has had his affluenza shot.
IMMY, PANTS, SOOBIE, MOZ, CHUCKLES, HERBIE, THE GOZ
These are some of the people I work with. They are rarely - in some cases never - addressed or mentioned other than by nickname. Tell your own workplace nickname stories in comments.
COALITION OF THE WATCHING
Dylan Kissane describes an international pro-am media process:
A British journalist in Lebanon was on a television show hosted in Qatar debating an American and a Palestinian. An Australian in France heard what he said, passed the information to a blogger more than 13,000 kilometres away who - with aid from a worldwide readership - led to further uncovering of Fiskian untruths. Finally, a newspaper in Sydney published an article with further background questioning a fellow journalist in public in a way that a blogger can only do to their obviously more limited audience.
And all of this is entirely normal in a networked, globalised world.
CLIMATE VOTERS SPURNED, BURNED
A plane chartered by Google either never made it over some of the designated areas or arrived hours after it was scheduled to pass overhead - by which time, many of those who had been waiting below had packed up and moved on ...
On Bondi Beach, where Google informed people to be ready between 9am and 9.30am, Mithra Cox from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW was with a group of about 200 supporters of the environmental organisation, who had lain down in the sand to form the words: “Vote Climate”.
The group started assembling at the southern end of Bondi Beach from 8am and at one stage saw the plane “fly peripherally” past the beach.
Then Gaia turned on them:
"We ended up disbanding at about 10.15am,” said Ms Cox, “because some of us were getting really sunburnt."
(Via Cuckoo and several other giggling readers)
Worth checking out Mason’s work ... In partix, check out Mason’s sample pages on the Big Brother Aphid scene. Uniquely bizarre. I read in an Australian newspaper that Mason got arrested last year for being in possession of adrenachrome, as in what Depp freaks on in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Although adrenachrome can only be extracted from the adrenal glands of living human beings, it’s not illegal to be in possession of it!
Darryl Mason is supposed to be writing a screenplay about his ‘chrome experiences. Now that would be tripping to see.
It’d be tripping to see Darryl limit himself to a single online identity, or to draw praise from someone other than himself.