Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Wading through weed and word

I like to keep parallel to mainstream media just because there's already saturation coverage; who needs one more voice to the mix. And there are so many others jumping to the tune of the newsmakers by taking seriously political appointments or diplomatic shuffling. But now and again there is something that captures the people's imagination and they lead the story rather than it leading them.
Such a case is a certain Queensland beautician who has found herself staying longer in Indonesia than she had hoped.

Whatever the merits of the case - and you can see these debated at length elsewhere - there is no doubt that there is some lively discussion taking place. It may be superficial to concentrate on the plight of one person caught up in the machination of government (now can you finally see why I was an anarchist)but I think it's less useful to berate the public for not taking on the interests of some dude caught with a block of hash, than it is to seize the opportunity as it presents itself.

It only really does work this well to highlight the dangers if we see someone seemingly innocent in a predicament. It makes us angry and passionate about things we didn't care about last week. It puts the authorities' backs to the wall when they find their policies criticised by the masses. It is, in many ways, fabulous and heady stuff.

Of course I feel for the individual at the eye of this storm and I'd not want anyone to be cast in The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas but I'm waiting to see what develops nonetheless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

No one's gay for Moleman

I come down firmly on the side of Matt Groenig and the producers of The Simpsons in saying that this show hasn't lost its stripes. To me it is, far and away, the best show on television and has been since its inception.
I guess it's trendy to say that it has 'jumped the shark', that it should get out before it loses its clout and blah blah. But I can't think of another show that so successfully brings it's satirical verve to social issues while being damn funny into the process. I know I will notice the gaping hole in programming as execs try to futiley convince me that Desperate Housewives or the O.C. is worthy of similar adoration.
It is the ONLY show that I'll reroute my social life for. Not that I really have one but that's beside the point.


Anyone for tennis? This is about the only sport I've been able to get the kids into although my son has asked me to buy a soccer ball so we can have a kick around this weekend. They get frustrated with hitting it out or lobbing it into the net so we usually just have a hit around.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What if they gave a..

At the risk of having the casual visitor thinking this is another boring political/social comment blog dimly echoing the shit you can be read in the paper, more comment on the war that shouldn't be.
This time I come to share a positive development: they're having trouble recruiting in America. Apparently young men and women are not so keen to get killed when there are other jobs available (as Clint Eastwood says in Outlaw Josey Wales "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy") and so, even with generous incentives, recruiters are having a hard time meeting their target. Support for the war is also waning, which is further cause to celebrate, though you have to wonder what part of 'No Weapons of Mass Destruction' people didn't get.

Speaking of Clint, he was my boyhood hero. You're allowed to have boyhood heroes who don't rescue people or cure world hunger. I suppose I was as much of a fool about it as previous generations who'd copped their cool from Marlon Brando or James Dean. I never much cared for any of the other western heroes, they talked too much, they were too obviously the 'good guy'. I've never seen the Rawhide TV series as we didn't have television until the seventies, and it wasn't featured on any set in our holiday cottages, but the Spaghetti Western character made quite the impression. It was only years later that I discovered that the Man With No Name was largely created out of necessity - because Clint couldn't communicate with the cast and director, who were speaking a different language, he fashioned a character who rarely spoke. Worked for me, being shy, although for some reason it wasn't as attractive to girls as I foolishly believed.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Fortunate son

I may be out of step. Henry Rollins is on a very succesful spoken word tour called "Shock and Awe - My Ass" but still visited the troops. His reasoning was that they get sent wherever the Brass tell them to go and are not ultimately accountable. System of a Down are not the first to ask "Why do we always send the poor?". The title of this entry refers to a Creedence song that points out the same thing was happening in the last unpopular conflict. Michael Moore may have had it playing on his headset when he got it in his head to confront members of the US Senate to see whether any of their sons and daughters would be signing up for a tour of duty.

Hey, maybe if we feel that this Holy War is not for us, we can feel quite guilt-free about our holidays, taken at a time when others are getting their asses shot.

And I don't feel personal outrage at Moslems being unkind to one another - at least not in a way that I believe my presence or my hostility or my hasty gunplay could broker meaningful change. No I'm not happy with terrorists grabbing any old westerner off the street and holding them hostage. When you look at the state of health of many of their victims, they must be gutless cretins if they think their actions will show in some positive light.
And if the average slob reading the tabloid can't see any merit in their action, what makes them think that God will see it differently? "Oh I see, you beheaded an aid worker and dragged the body of a civilian behind your truck before setting alight to the corpse. Well, of course, into Paradise with you then"
I know Christians do some outrageously contradictory and hypocritical things but they don't seem quite so clueless and sullenly barbaric.
Any Paradise built on such unpromising stuff would more resemble Hell.

None of which changes the fact that if it's such a shithole filled with fanatics, what are 'our boys' doing there?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ratzinger Burgher

One thing that correspondents seem to be forgetting in the appointment of Pope Benedict the Whatever is that every kid at the time would have been a member of Hitler Youth. It's like saying that my radical credentials can't be trusted because I used to salute the flag and sing God Save the Queen. Besides he did the wholly admirable thing of deserting his post.

I do wonder at the cardinals' appointment of someone nearly as old as the late Pontiff was when he died, given the prophecy that this would be the last Pope. Are they trying to aid those wacky American fundamentalists in bringing on the End Times?


The real reason I came here today is to share with you some thoughts on the soldiers in Iraq. I guess it's getting to them that most of the known free world thinks they're doing the wrong thing and should fuck off as soon as humanly possible but a comment by one of the servicemen will do nothing to persuade anyone of the rightness of their position: when asked about the protesters back home, he had this to say "Well I might think they were worth listening to if they were out here putting their life on the line for their country"

Consider the logic of this for a moment. Why the unholy fuck would someone who is vehemently opposed to the conflict be fighting in Iraq?!! It makes no sense whatsoever; it's double plus stupid. If he had said "Why aren't they putting their life on the line for [a cause they believe in]?" then that would be a credible comment. The obvious response to that, though, would be that activists regularly DO lie in front of bulldozers or venture overseas risking dysentry, kidnapping and so forth, often for the benefit of others not remotely connected to their own situation. People have died protecting animals and inanimate objects, for Gawd's sake.

And it is plain insulting to the aged, infirm, children etc etc. who are in no position to engage in active combat but who nevertheless are implacably opposed to the hostile invasion of Iraq.

Neither is the contention that these military meatheads are defending their country correct. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction and so one can only conclude that charging into the Middle East under those circumstances is likely to provoke attack rather than prevent it.