January 31, 2007
Reflections on the inanity of existence
Despair at the invincibility of John Howard has got me rereading Michel Houellebecq's The Possibility of an Island. Here is the book for anyone fed up with the wilful ignorance, if not outright stupidity, of the human race.
"What you must do … is have the rabble on your side. With the rabble on your side, no one can get at you." p.29
John Howard has the rabble on his side. Or at least they aren't on anyone else's side. Having him as a vague "leader" is enough to allow them to retreat into apathetic disengagement. A tautology? I think not. It's one thing to be disengaged from something, but to be apathetically so describes the greater Australian electorate.
Discussing the book Underground with a friend, we were nonplussed at the silence surrounding it among people whom we thought should be discussing it everywhere. The author, Andrew McGahan, is something of an Aussie Solzhenitsyn. Yet, no one is discussing his book. The reason, it would seem, is that even the Howard haters are disengaged. The little twat has disabled the entire nation.
We are all of us simply too content with our economic situation to want to know why we are so or what will happen when it goes. Contentment is the enemy of evolution. Which is fine with John Howard, for whom evolution represents the bogeyman at the back of his largely unused mind.
That John Howard's smallness is resonant with so many is perhaps why there is a nationwide shutdown regarding ethics or a sense of justice. Houellebecq talks of "an authentic horror at the unending calvary that is man's existence."
To any impartial observer it appears that the human individual cannot be happy, and is in no way conceived for happiness, and his only possible destiny is to spread unhappiness around him by making other people's existence as intolerable as his own…" p. 43
Houellebecq quotes Schopenhauer:
"No one can see above himself," writes Schopenhauer to make us understand the impossibility of an exchange of ideas between two individuals of too different an intellectual level. P. 58
This is a sad realisation we all come to at some point in life. Once realised, conversation is generally reduced to triviality. I am unable to comprehend the vast consciousness of a Tibetan Rinpoche I once encountered. Similarly, what I have experienced and learned in this miserable life makes John Howard and his henchmen appear to be men and women of astounding ignorance. We are all above some, below others.
Speech, which was basically designed for controversy and disagreement, [is] still scarred by its warlike origins. Speech destroys, separates… p. 60
And that is why most communication is reduced to sport and other trivia. Ideas can rarely be investigated between individuals whose minds have been nurtured on the one hand, or left to desiccate, on the other. Such attempts at communication inevitably frighten and enrage. And then there is the question of the ultimate isolation, the cut-off between us and everyone else.
To be continued …
-- Olney Garkle
January 30, 2007
Big Day Out: a tale of two newspapers
Sunday's Big Day Out in Melbourne was a huge success, with some 45,000 music fans in attendance. However, if you didn't go, but read about it in Melbourne's newspapers, the question of the number of flag wavers and flag wearers was wildly different.
Here is what the left-leaning newspaper, The Age, reported:
After all the commotion over flags at the Sydney BDO, just a few Australian flags, hats and bandannas were seen scattered among the Melbourne crowd, and there were just as many football jumpers representing allegiances.
But readers of the John Howard supporting Herald Sun would have struck this:
The Australian flag was the accessory of choice as more than 40,000 flocked to Melbourne's Big Day Out yesterday.
Thousands of revellers at the annual music festival proudly wore flag bandanas, capes, hats and T-shirts after controversy over the national symbol last week.
I checked with someone who went. She said The Age reported the accurate picture. I hope Media Watch picks this up.
-- Olney Garkle
Posted by Olney Garkle at 10:56 AM
January 29, 2007
Howard Youth convene in Melbourne
Copyright © 2007, Maurie Gee
US Ambassador to Australia Robert McCallum found himself addressing 100 future leaders of the Howardland at the Young Liberal Convention in Melbourne. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, who found no problem in directly interfering in Australia's politics, McCallum also saw nothing unusual in speaking to the right wing extremist Young Liberals. He told the golden-haired youths that "any move by a Labor government to withdraw troops from Iraq would create tension between the two allies."
Ain't democracy grand.
But get a load of what the Young Liberals had to say when it was their chance: Quoted here from Reid Sexton and Jason Dowling in The Age:
Meanwhile, the Young Liberals likened Aboriginal culture to rubbish and said 40,000 years of Aboriginal history could be "taught in one lesson".
The comments were made in opposition to a motion from Tasmanian Young Liberals that called for a special Aboriginal studies unit at the secondary school level.
The motion was carried, although several Victorian Young Liberals, including president Alexander Lew, vigorously opposed it.
Mr Lew said it was one of the most "politically correct motions" to come out of a Liberal convention.
"Aboriginal history is important and should be taught at our schools, but you can squeeze 40,000 years into one lesson," he said.
Another Victorian Young Liberal, Miranda Airey-Branson, asked why it was necessary to learn more about Aboriginal history and culture, saying some Aboriginal historical sites were little more than refuse disposed of years ago.
"You go to Rome you see the Colosseum . . . if you come to Australia, we have got really old rubbish," she said.
The convention unanimously supported a "no school - no welfare" motion to withhold welfare payments from parents whose children were not regularly attending school.
A motion rejecting the teaching of intelligent design in science classes was also passed.
Other motions called for an "end to government legislation prohibiting tobacco advertising" and for the Young Liberal Movement to recognise "the lack of scientific consensus regarding both the existence and impact of man-made global warming".
The Young Liberal Movement of Australia is considered the breeding ground for future leaders. Its alumni include Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, former defence minister Peter Reith, one-time Liberal leader Andrew Peacock and the deputy Liberal leader in Victoria, Louise Asher.
At least they rejected teaching Intelligent Design, but hell, their predecessors in the Hitler Youth might have thrown that one out too.
-- Olney Garkle
Posted by Olney Garkle at 1:20 PM
January 27, 2007
The decline of Australia and rise of the Howardland
"Why the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age should be sold" headlines not one but two articles in today's Australian. One is an extract from former Fairfax CEO Fred Hilmer's book, The Fairfax Experience: What the Management Texts Didn't Teach Me, and the other an interview with Hilmer.
If memory serves, Hilmer was a "management" type who knew nothing about newspapers and his appointment was seen at the time as a threat to content.
Whatever his "contribution" to Fairfax, the fact remains that today The Age is the best newspaper in Australia, while The Australian is little more than militant PR for the John Howard Party.
Three articles in The Age are worth mentioning. The first, A nation of barrackers … by Jim Davidson, laments our obsession with sport to the detriment of all else. Worse, this obsession has taken root in an "us against them" mentality in every aspect of society.
… as the barracking mood has spread across the country, there has been an exponential growth of the idea of something or someone being "un-Australian". Not part of the team. This idea has become so entrenched that people have been deported who have spent virtually their whole lives here but were infants elsewhere. Undesirable, not ours — although they may have been almost entirely shaped by an Australian upbringing.
The notion of being "un-Australian" is a silly one and should be sent back to the America of the Cold War, where it belongs.
Worse still is the militarisation of all things Australian under John Howard:
A military presence has become part of the scene at major football matches. Four days before last Anzac Day, a Hawthorn-Carlton match began with the two teams lined up before an enormous Australian flag, the crowd being asked to stand while two buglers played the Last Post. Then there is the special Anzac Day match: although only 13 years old, it is presented as being as traditional as Waltzing Matilda. War planes flew overhead, veterans were whisked around the ground in a lap of honour, while on television the army logo appeared throughout — along with an advertisement for recruitment. The risk is that sport and militarism are becoming increasingly aligned to produce a blunt equation: sport + patriotism = the military.
Tracee Hutchinson's Face it. Our flag is a divisive symbol is cause for even more worry.
What happened to that glorious moment when Cathy Freeman draped herself in our colours and boldly told the world who we are? What happened to the pride we all felt as each of her long, graceful strides carried the hearts and minds of a nation's aspirations for all we could be along with her?
What happened to that momentum? That feeling of belonging and inclusion that allowed even the staunchest of republicans to feel united under our flag? That brave vision of Australia as a self-assured, independent, cultural and political sophisticate making its own way in the world?
[These days] our flag has become a participant in something that could easily be mistaken for a white supremacist movement.
Hutchinson takes issue with the lambasting the media hurled at the Big Day Out promoters who attempted to ban the flag for the very reason that those who wave it in public are the least tolerant among us.
Our identity is so weak, she says, that we have to hide behind a flag.
Me, I've taken to raising my right arm while voicing a hearty "Heil Howard" to anyone sporting flag apparel, as well as to the proprietors of shops who display them.
For sheer terrifying reading, Shaun Carney's The message makers analyses how the media (and voters) have been duped by the wiliest politician who ever lived. Mixing philistine, xenophobic values with wedge politics is John Howard's greatest gift to the decline of Australia as a modern nation.
As John Howard announced his ministerial reshuffle on Tuesday in the parliamentary courtyard, it was impossible not to be impressed by his political deftness, by the way he uses the manners he learnt in the vanished Australia of the 1940s to mask his primal desire to hang on to that sand.
As he listed the frontbench changes — who's in, who's out — there was something else going on, the emission of what you might call his meta-message. This overarching message possessed four strands, four things he wanted to tell voters at the outset of this election year. These strands were:
• I want to get tougher on immigration and border security (that's why I've put one of my robo-men, Kevin Andrews, in charge of it).
• Like you, I'm sick of outsiders coming here and not becoming Australians (that's why I've dispensed with "multiculturalism" from the Immigration Department's formal name and replaced it with "citizenship". No more messing around.).
• The workplace laws are really friendly laws (that's why I've put the affable Joe Hockey, from TV's Sunrise, in charge).
• Again, like you, I'm very concerned about climate change and water and the environment (that's why I've now got one of my stars, Malcolm Turnbull, looking after them, to show you how serious my concerns are).
Howard and his henchmen will be going all out to destroy Kevin Rudd. (They've already started: Abbott attacks Rudd on religion in politics.) The true horror of what John Howard has done to Australia is that after eleven years of relentlessly unethical behaviour, many voters may believe that is the norm. That is, the dirtiest player becomes the winner, and by doing so gains their admiration and their vote.
A Howard victory in the next election may well reduce Australia to a nation of racist hoons on the one hand and on the other an intellectually bereft, spiritually empty demographic whose pursuit of property, perfect bodies and status is all that matters -- "heads together but whispering nothing except deadening conversations about the latest movement of the property market or fad diet".
-- Olney Garkle
Posted by Olney Garkle at 4:29 PM
January 26, 2007
Australia Day hijacked by nationalist flag-waver
Rising to the occasion to wedge Labor, John Howard announced his $10bn plan to take over water powers from the Labor states for the sole purpose of selling it all off to privateers in his next term.
What, he didn't mention that? Perhaps he was too busy trying to control his quivering lower lip as he presented Tim Flannery with the Australian of the Year award. Instead of taking the opportunity to punch Howard in the face, Gentleman Tim merely said it was one of the "ironies of life" to be receiving the award from Howard, who now fancies himself not only a "nationalist" but a "climate-change realist".
Meanwhile, let us all hoist our flags or drape ourselves with them or show off our all-Aussie tatts or whatever it is we're supposed to do on this holy day of patriotism as we celebrate the birth of a once proud nation called Australia but which in recent years has become a caricature better known as The Howardland.
Can anybody beat him? Oops, that's a headline on the front page of today's Australian, referring to Roger Federer. The answer, as it relates to Howard, is not going to be just Kevin Rudd but the Australian people. Unless they do something about this political robot, this Golem, this Frankenstein they have created, the opening line of Mad Mel Gibson's excellent film Apocalypto may apply in spades:
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. -- Ariel Durant
Too late. We're already conquered. After the slow invasion of our minds over the decades by their media, eleven years of subservient Howardism has clinched the deal. America well and truly owns us, from our wallets to our gray matter.
So, despite what he says, remember that the man who stands at the top of the self-aggrandising pyramid of patriotism is John "I'm All-Australian, except for the 99 per cent of me that's American" Howard.
The shame of it all is that Australia was done in by an ungainly, uncharismatic, unlikeable twit of a traitor.
-- Olney Garkle
Afterthought: Some big time journos are urging the states to agree to Howard's power play, "for the good of the nation". But they are foolishly assuming he has any credibility left. Nothing John Howard does is for the good of the nation, but only on behalf of his lust for power. OG
January 24, 2007
Howard following McGahan's script?
The very day of our posting about Andrew McGahan's book Underground (admittedly several months late), John Howard took an idea from its pages. Or was McGahan merely being obviously prescient?
Here is a paragraph from page 89:
He was in a suit, not a uniform, and his two colleagues were the same. Of course, under current law, no official is required to identify himself, so it was impossible to know which body these men represented precisely. But they had the look of Department of Citzenship to me -- and that was scary. The AFP might spy on our every move, and the military might have taken over our streets, but Citizenship (or Immigration, as they used to be called) are the ones who, ever since September 11 and its aftermath, have been making people disappear.
In his bid to drape every Australian in a nationalist-cum-racist flag by dropping the idea of multiculturalism -- the natural state for people from other countries who choose to live in a second country -- for the unnatural state of assimlationist homogeneity, John Howard has renamed the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) the Department of Immigration and Citzenship (DIC).
How long before "Immigration" is dropped?
-- Benoît Balz
Posted by Benoît Balz at 3:09 PM
January 23, 2007
Underground: Howard's Australia projected to a nightmarish future
Underground was written very much out of disgust with the Howard government, and out of anger about the direction in which Australia is being taken both politically and culturally, from the war on terror to the war on history. Of course, there’s nothing all that interesting or unique in being disgusted with the Howard government and its agenda - close to half the country feels the same way, if the past few election results mean anything. But on a purely personal level it seems a better thing, for the sake of my own sanity, to vent some of my outrage in a book, rather than continuing to rant at my friends over beers down at the pub, or to keep swearing at the TV screen every time Howard’s face appears, hoping against hope that his head will explode one day from all the bullshit, spin and sanctimony that he has crammed inside it. -- extract from Why I wrote Underground by Andrew McGahan.
Yep, here is the book half of Australia has been waiting for. While the staff here at Bilegrip have been ranting away for what seems like centuries about our über-Machiavellian Prime Minister, Andrew McGahan sat down and wrote a plausibly way-over-the-top extrapolation on the mindset of the Coalition of the willing and where that mindset might take it and the world. Underground takes place right here in Australia, a few years in the future, under the second prime minister after John Howard, a PM strikingly similar in every way, who takes Howard's election-winning ploys -- children overboard, 9/11 -- to a vastly more apocalyptic dimension.
This is no literary masterpiece. In his urgency to get the book written and published, McGahan must have decided to opt for a page-turner with two-dimensional characters and occasionally pedestrian writing. But that said, it is still the most important Australian book of the Howard era.
As Virginia Woolf said, "I prefer, where truth is important, to write fiction." This is a work of fiction which incorporates history, the essence-dwarfing history we have lived through under Howard's barren worldview and are still living through. As such, it is reminiscent of the samizdat, but one that got properly published instead of circulated clandestinely.
Underground doesn't require the reader to pause to make furious notes. Instead, it releases years of pent-up anger by blending what the reader already knows -- the detention centres (Woomera in particular), the Bush visit to Canberra, the increasing security brought on by the wars on terror and culture, etc. -- with the lengths to which the John Howard Party might go to retain power. With, of course, the help of and America terminally corrupted by George W. Bush.
The very existence of Underground -- written while the villains are still in Canberra -- is both a breath of fresh air for those who have despaired for this country during the Howard reign, and a warning of the possibility that we ain't seen nothin' yet.
Conspiracy enthusiasts will love the ingenious twist near the end of this book. I know I did. But the critics haven't been so kind. One critic said "the ending, when it mercifully came, was just plain silly". Another review and links to reviews can be found here.
Get thee to thy nearest bookseller and buy Underground. And be thankful that someone in this country rose to the occasion. Bravo Andrew McGahan.
Underground web site
-- Benoît Balz
Posted by Benoît Balz at 3:48 PM
January 20, 2007
Australian of the Year could be an American
It's instructive every once in awhile to take a squiz at the national newspaper, The Australian. Always right wing, it has become, in John Howard's shameful reign, his militaristic mouthpiece. Today's editorial is headlined:
OUR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR -- THE DIGGER
We salute our forces serving in democracy's cause
Democracy's cause? Who but the brain-dead still thinks the invasion of Iraq had anything to do with democracy? And why are these brain-dead still ruling our lives?
I mean no offence to our diggers, or any other country's diggers -- I used to be one -- but they are now, always have been, and will continue to be … gun fodder. Or should I say Hun fodder. With few exceptions -- WWII for one -- they are ordered into battle by some presidential or prime ministerial Hun to secure the property and resources of weaker nations. Iraq is but the most recent example. In John Howard's case, they are there to preserve his psychopathic relationship with George W. Bush and to show unquestioning Australians that he is not just a weasel with a sickly face.
The editorial states: "Some will be surprised by our selection. The Digger is respected but the job our armed forces do is not widely understood. Nor is ours an especially martial culture." It then goes on to describe just such a culture and salivates at the prospect of "new warships and fighter aircraft coming, the army's acquisition of US armour, and the continuing achievement of the world-beating SAS…"
Read the editorial and see for yourself.
Bilegrip's candidate for Australian of the Year would be Major Michael Mori if he weren't American. There is something of the archetypal hero about him. Often in the news with his big face and commanding voice, Mori's stature grows with every word in defence of David Hicks. Unless there is a massive change of ideology in the United States, his career will be ruined once Hicks is dealt with. Yet he battles on without fear or favour, speaking for justice while those who belittle or destroy it by blithely condoning a military tribunal that accepts hearsay evidence and confessions under torture sneer at him from the comfort of their sleazy bunkers of immoral rectitude.
The right wing loves its objectivity, as if such a thing were possible. Well, something like an objective view can be applied to the increasing divide between heroes like Mori and cowards like Philip Ruddock, Alexander Downer, John Howard, and the treasonous cast of millions they represent.
-- Olney Garkle
January 19, 2007
John Howard Catches the Fire of religious bigotry
Copyright © 2007, Maurie Gee
Ever the wedge-inserting anti-diplomat, John Howard has sent a message of goodwill to extremist Christian fundamentalist group Catch the Fire on the occasion of their so-called "multi-denomination" rally on Australia Day. Clearly the opening salvo for the upcoming anti-Muslim election, Howard knows exactly what he is doing. And that is to whip up a new "Children Overboard" -- this time "Muslims are Aliens" -- to get the genetic garbage who keep electing him to rise from their between-election comas and do it all over again.
The story: PM moves to defuse hate row. Nice title, but he won't be moving to defuse anything.
As he's holidaying in Broome, would it be too much to ask if he drove over to the Wolf Creek Meteor Crater? I hear there's a dinky-di Aussie bloke waiting there to greet him.
-- Olney Garkle
Posted by Olney Garkle at 3:45 PM
January 14, 2007
The America politicians mindlessly adore
Terry Lane, Age columnist and ABC radio talking head, may be a fuddy duddy of an old fogey in many respects, but when it comes to justice or cutting through the political bullshit he is mostly spot on. Here is his astute summation of the America Kevin Rudd called "a noble force for good since World War II."
Think beyond force of habit, Mr Rudd
by Terry Lane, The Sunday Age, 14 January 2007
George the Smaller and his little Man of Steel don't seem to have got the hang of this liberation business. Sending in another 20,000 soldiers to search and destroy is not the way to do it.
Liberation goes like this. You see a country under occupation or ruled by a tyrant; you send in the army to drive the occupiers out or to depose the tyrant; then you bow to the natives' grateful applause and go home. Simple.
It worked in Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France and other places. It went down well in the countries formerly occupied by the Japanese. So why didn't it work in Iraq?
We know the answer to that. Because President George Bush had no intention of leaving Iraq until it had been colonised. This is not a war of liberation. It is a war of occupation.
To state the obvious: "If the chief export of Iraq had been broccoli rather than oil, the US would never have invaded." I don't know who said that, but it sums up the tragedy in a single aphorism.
And the most worrying reaction to the President's decision to send more people to their deaths is that our Opposition Leader, Mr Kevin Rudd, can still say he has always been a strong supporter of the US alliance because America has been a noble force for good in the world since World War II. ( AM, ABC Radio January 12.)
Really? In Vietnam? In Nicaragua? Punishing Cubans for having the temerity to kick out their Mafia landlords? Overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran and installing the megalomaniacal Shah? Backing the mujahideen in Afghanistan on the "enemy of mine enemy is my friend" principle? Arming the death squads in El Salvador? The murderous Pinochet in Chile? Uncritically backing Israel in its colonial expansion and thereby exacerbating the single greatest cause of anti-Western hostility in the Middle East? Backing right-wing thugs and tyrants wherever their rule is congenial to Coca-Cola and Halliburton?
That American force for good? The same America that forces unequal treaties on nations in no position to resist or on nations, such as this, that are too stupid to see they are being dudded with one-sided defence and trade treaties?
Does Mr Rudd mean the American force for good that holds an Australian citizen in captivity and tortures him for five years without charges?
Where was Mr Rudd when American ambassadors and under-deputy secretaries of state were presuming to instruct the Labor opposition in what it is permitted to say or do?
There is a good America. A great America. But it is not Bush's America. Or his father's. Or the America of Reagan, Nixon and Kissinger.
Here's an amusing example of the divide between good and bad America. A recent press release from the organisation Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility draws attention to the fact that rangers in the Grand Canyon National Park are forbidden to answer visitors' questions about the age of the canyon because the truth will upset Bush's fundamentalist supporters. However, Bush's National Parks Service refuses to withdraw from sale in the park bookshop a book that explains how the canyon was formed by Noah's flood.
Mr Rudd might care to explain how it is in our national interest to have an alliance with a government that is a self-evident force for stupidity as well as cruelty.
As Lane says, "There is a good America. A great America. But it is not Bush's America." Most worldwide anti-American sentiment is directed at Bush's desecration, not Americans themselves. In the end, they are no wiser or dumber than the people of any country. Australia included.
-- Tara R. Bümdier
January 10, 2007
Dying American Empire wants to fingerprint the world
In Iraq, we may well be witnessing the eclipse of the US as the world's leading power. Lose, draw, stalemate in Iraq - especially lose, the most likely outcome - and the US will never be the same. Once beaten, its spirit will not recover, and it will go the way of Egypt, Athens, Rome, the Ottomans and Britons. It is finished on the battlefield, finished in the retail stores, even finished on the tennis court, the basketball court for god's sake. -- Larry Buttrose, On the rise of China and the decline of America
Been to the States lately? You would have had indexes and thumbs printed in the name of keeping the Middle West Christian Hordes safe from Dubya's war on everything but terror. That's the US-VISIT program, meant to beef up border security by humiliating what Americans call "aliens," or people from other countries.
It appears this is no longer enough to satisfy the most frightened people on earth. Beginning in 2008, they want to print all ten digits of anyone who wishes to enter the Greatest Nation ever to be favoured by Christianity's cover of the gaseous windbag on high. (The Judaic gasbag begs to differ, of course. Not to mention the Islamic version.)
The FBI, that organization notorious for catching crooks when someone finally turns 'em in, will then store your prints on a database, which will then be available to coppers in other countries (but not the French!) so they can join forces to enable a global police state. Naturally, this data will never get into the hands of unscrupulous criminals. And even when it does, they won't be the criminals, you will. They'll see to it that their prints aren't available worldwide, but yours will be out there for all to see, just like folks charged with misdemeanours and felonies used to be. A handy reversal of roles to insure total domination of us proles, rich and poor, by a neo-medieval Kakistocracy, that is, a world ruled by the very worst people.
All this for the privilege of entering the rotting corpse of the United States of America.
See the film Babel and you will have a glimpse of what to expect when the full criminal fingerprinting begins. The sequence of the border crossing from Mexico to the US provides us with the archetypal customs official. These arseholes are more effective than the Catholic Church in twisting innocence into guilt.
On the other hand, fingerprinting is archaic compared to the next big thing, iris scanning. So all this might just be Dubya's sop to keep folks thinking he's still on terrorism's case. The end result, of course, will be the same.
-- Tara R. Bümdier
January 8, 2007
Wolf Creek: Misogynist fantasy for serial killer wannabes
Silly season heat brings out those sweaty trips to the video shop for recent additions to the new weeklies section. The local shop lets you have seven DVDs for $7.95, a genuine bargain. Making up the seventh item this trip was Wolf Creek. What the hell, I thought, let's see what all the fuss was about. Besides, too much holiday fun with the rellies requires a severe antidote.
But, Jesus jumped up Jehosophat and copped a feel from Mary astride Herod at the Bethlehem annual Prophets on Kings Parade; this was the antidote from hell.
Wolf Creek separates the misogynists from the men, that's for sure. At what stage of evolution is the director, Greg McLean, stuck? The Y chromosome as tadpole, John Howard-cum-Pauline Hanson supporting, mummy was a bitch but this pecker o' mine wants her anyway, but oh shit that's too weird so I'll have to kill her, hey why not mince her while I'm at it, wow sounds like fun stage, is where.
Then again, maybe he's just a cynical cinematic entrepreneur who thought he'd make a fortune pandering to all the bubba's out there who are stuck at that level.
I made it to the garage scene, where John Jarratt is torturing one of the girls. I held on for about minute, stunned into incomprehension by the girl's fear, her screams and her bloodied face and body, before grabbing the remote. Up to then it was a competent shoot, McLean lulling viewers into almost forgetting why they were watching the film in the first place.
Some reviewers call Wolf Creek horror and warn those who don't like the genre to stay away. But this is not horror; it's what used to be called a slasher flick. And slasher flicks have always operated primarily on pretty girls. (As we've said before, sometimes the boyfriends get hacked up too, but you never see much of them. And the conservative censorship boards are satisfied that the film is not totally sexist.)
No, real horror is The Haunting, The Exorcist, films meant to scare the bejesus out of viewers by invasions of the unseen or diabolical distortions of normal human physiognomy. Slasher flicks are inevitably confined to innocent young girls wandering into creepy habitats where smelly male inbreeds lurch out and grab them for a grand old time of ritual slaughtering, being sure not to offend sensitive conservative folk by including any sexual references.
So, what is it about men that they not only like the idea of torturing and killing women, but also can even contemplate it? Sure, lots of us blokes have fantasies of capturing luscious babes, slipping fur-lined handcuffs around their thin wrists, cuffing them to a big brass bed and ravishing them for hours on end. Don't forget the real story of Sleeping Beauty. Our Prince didn't just discover, kiss and waken Her Nibs. He enjoyed her warm, unconscious body for days, weeks, maybe even months. Wouldn't you? All right, maybe you wouldn’t, but that just means you're not a European, like me.
By the same token, women are known to have rape fantasies, but the object of these fantasies is to be manipulated into monumental orgasms by a composite über-figure representing the perfect union of lust and love. Torture is not included.
Point is, how could anyone hurt a being so exquisite as even the plainest female? OK, even the ugliest female.
Lots, evidently. The torture and murder of women has been regular sport for the Y chromosome since the patriarchal paradigm crawled out of the swamp. And you know what? I'll bet the torturers always vote for fascist straiteners and punishers. And they work, or would love to work, for cold-blooded organizations like the SS, the Stasi, the CIA, ASIO and so forth. That way they can torture and kill and collect a paycheque.
Which reminds me. One of the main differences between the Mafia and legalised crime, as practiced by the corporate sector, is that the Mafia used to have a code of honour wherein women and children were spared from contract killings over non-payment of debt and other transgressions. This no longer applies: if they're in the way, they get it too. Reason being, the bad influence of the corporates, who wouldn't know a code of honour from a bucket of shit. To them, human life is merely a generator of profit.
So here in its home country Australia, Wolf Creek, a film about no-holds-barred violence against women, gets an R rating, while Ken Park, a movie dealing with sexually explicit scenes of teenagers grappling with small town boredom gets banned outright.
We know why, of course. Conservatives are scared shitless of sex. The right-wing governments they form compensate for this fear by censoring, repressing and banning. After accomplishing the neutering of their citizens, there is nothing left for them to do but make war, that is, to kill people, the only thing they have any imagination for and their only legacy to mankind.
Poor John Jarratt. Australia's beloved character actor must have really needed the money. Things are looking up, though. Quentin Tarantino is now his biggest fan.
We're living in a truly fucked up world, folks. And Wolf Creek is A-grade proof. Or B-grade, actually.
-- Benoît Balz
January 5, 2007
Janet Albrechtsen's dilemma
Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian's answer to Andrew Bolt, wonders, "Why our leading cartoonists favour a left-wing point of view? Is there no such thing as a conservative Australian humorist?" In conclusion, she offers this summation:
"Left-wing politics is essentially an emotional, instinctive utopian kind of world peopled by romantics and dreamers. Conservatism is, on the other hand, more rational, analytical and pragmatic. That is why creative types tend to come from the Left. Right-wingers, by contrast, have real jobs."
Bilegrip's panel of experts gathered to earnestly discuss The Harridan's dilemma:
Tommy Pendejo: Why is this unevolved ratbag allowed to write in the national newspaper?
Benoît Balz: Because she's a lawyer who's married to a lawyer who's a millionaire who moonlights for the Howard Government. Big money protects her big mouth. A great example of someone with a "real job".
Olney Garkle: Hold on, boys, we're supposed to be discussing Janet's dilemma, which basically is this: Why are conservatives mostly devoid of a sense of humour?
BB: Well, she mentions Tim Blair and Imre Salusinszky.
TP: Yeah, and they're about as funny as a couple of stand-up comedians in a beer hall frequented by brown shirts, black shirts and whatever they call ASIO operatives.
BB: … The Howard Government's versions of Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose.
TP: According to Harold Hark Albrechtsen is their Axis Sally surrogate, while Blair gets to be Tokyo Rose. Hark says he even looks like her.
BB: I hear Rose died recently. Mourned, no doubt, by every spin doctor in the government's employ.
OG: Anyway, the point I'd like to make -- gak, my tea's gone cold. Why doesn't someone invent a portable, battery-operated microwave just big enough to warm up a cup of tea …
BB: … bonzer idea, mate, mine's as tepid as a passionate embrace 'twixt John and Janette.
TP: Sissies. Tea is for sissies. But hey, my cowboy coffee's colder'n shit.
BB: Sissies, eh? At least you can drink cold tea -- as long as you put milk and sugar in it -- but cold coffee?
TP: George Orwell woulda scoffed at a sissy brew like that.
BB: By the bloody way, where the hell are the scones?
OG: Shit, I forgot 'em.
BB: I'm starving!
OG: Can we just focus here?
TP: Forgetful arsehole.
OG: Since the Right has nothing on its plate but power and filthy lucre, a basically insectoid, grasping worldview, there is no possibility for humour. What's funny about starting wars for profit or repressing people who look and think different? What's funny about intentionally making life hard for people you don't like?
TP: Maybe conservative types are really aliens.
BB: Or the ancestors of Neanderthals.
TP: You ever see The Arrival with Charlie Sheen? The aliens were pushing global warming because they could only thrive in hot conditions. Meanwhile they were killing off the humans or turning them into their own kind. Which made sense -- human beings were not only a different species, but also a threat to the aliens' existence. Conservatives and reactionaries, on the other hand, actually get off destroying their own species. Weird.
BB: As Michael Veitch's bathing priest used to say, "I think there's something in that for all of us".
OG: Yep, life is cheap to the weird folk -- alien, Neanderthal or conservative -- who run the world. To them people are Hun fodder or consumers to be sacrificed for property grabs and profit.
BB: Sometimes I think Janet Albrechtsen is a lefty plant who writes outrageous crap just to see if the larvae will eat it up. Otherwise she can't be taken seriously.
TP: The funniest bitch in the alien camp.
OG: Well, that about sums it up. Janet's right about the Left when she says they're "romantics and dreamers". Let's face it, boys, the planet would still be on all fours without Lefties like us.
ALL: You can say that again, right on, bro, hip! hip! hoo-bloody-bleedin'-ray, etc.