Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Rue McClanahan Hour

The first Rue McClanahan Hour on Triple R, hosted by myself and Cam Smith, went off without a hitch, unless you count Cam's awful taste in music and his ignorance of Brittany Murphy's career trajectory.

You DO NOT want to miss the next episode, as it will be the one in which we:

a) reveal our secret identities, and

b) party with hot chicks

It's laughter, it's banter, it's wondrous tales of magic and incredibleness, it's occasional swearing and a burgeoning bromance that warms the cockles of the heart and vice versa.

You can listen to it on 102.7FM in Melbourne, and worldwide you can listen to it at http://www.rrr.org.au.

Or go to http://gatheraroundme.libsyn.com, which is where the podcast of the first show (sans music) is right NOW, and where future episodes will be posted as they arrive. That's also, of course, where you can download all previous Gather Around Me podcasts, and bonus tracks. Keep up to date on GAM and RMH news by checking out Cam's and my joint blog, http://gatheraround.me. But of course you're all devoted enough to know this already.

Don't forget, The Rue McClanahan Hour, Mondays in January, 7pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time and so forth. Go listen, sweetcakes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Children: ruining it for the rest of us

As a father of three who is very concerned about the welfare of my young, vulnerable, children, I would like to tell Senator Stephen Conroy to jam his internet filter right up his mangina.

I'll protect my kids myself, thank you very much, Senator Khomeini.

Fuck internet censorship in the ear. And to put it more eloquently, a completely awesome article by Helen Razer.

And just to piss off anyone who disagrees:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Commenting on comments

You may have noticed on my latest ABC article that there are quite a few comments. Do take the time to trawl through them - diamonds they are. Anyway, having (belatedly) become smart enough to avoid arguing with stupid people who hate me, I'm going to muse on some of the comments here.

For example, "shane" writes:

"Anybody who follows Jesus as Lord & savoir according to the bible are saints"

Kind of a low standard, isn't it?

"If you pray to dead people this is called necromancy"

You mean like...Jesus?

"fed up" writes:

"Well i dont find this funny at all"

Damn...I've failed with a key demographic here.

"how sarcastic.
mr. Rudd has been going to Marys Chapel for some time
WHY O WHY ARE THE ABC PICKING ON OUR P.M.
SO MUCH ARE YOU ALL SERIOUS

CAN YOU DO BETTER AT COPENHAGEN I SUGGEST YOU CATCH THE NEXT PLANE
mary has anwered many a prayer for me you may laugh but i hope you dont need to prayer her soon for something that comes in your life.
i am fed up of the abc taking the mickey out of every one that does good in this country in couding out p.m TALL POPPY SYNDROM ITS ABOUT TIME THIS COUNTRY GREW UP
of course you all write this rubbish but then do you move on to the next thing without reading what we saY.
I WOULD SUGGEST TO OTHERS AND MYSELF NOT TO BOTHER BECAUSE I DOUBT YOU READ WHAT WE SAY.
AND IF WE DID NOT MAKE COMMENTS THEN THERE WOULD BE NO DRUM SO FROM NOW ON I AM NOT COMMENTING"

Now that my career has been destroyed by the mass grassroots "no commenting" movement, I guess I have some free time. So yeah, I WILL get on the next plane. And I will give those pollies a talking to, "in couding out p.m."

Hopefully the plane doesn't run into trouble, or I might have to prayer Mary MacKillop for something that comes in my life.

And then there's "Dazza":

"First of all God does not make mistakes, it is our fallen world that has caused all of this."

I wonder, when I hear someone express this sentiment, if you put the person in a nice quiet room and just left them there, without interruptions, for an indefinite length of time...would they eventually figure out what's wrong with their picture?

"ElijahThomas" chips in:

"like all anti-religion arguments yours demonstrates a woefully inadequate (even theoretical) understanding of God.

look at your own language...

"A God who knows the future is powerless to change it."

what of an author who has planned the end of his book? are they powerless to change it?"

Powerful, powerful analogy, Elijah. Now if you'd just step into this nice quiet room...

"DocMercury" changes the subject:

"One of the cures for cancer is known to be preventive rather than responsive, such as making it a habit to ingest or inhale zero dosage in toxins, avoiding aldehyde in the liver and benzene in the air.

So we're told, now that gambling excise more than makes up for lost nicotine excise, and the ethanol consumption remains constant."

Good point, Doc. You've really, er, cut to the heart of the article...um, there...

Last word goes to "John":

"Abbott will make a fine prime minister and I will be first in the queue to vote for him. Thumbs up!"

And you can NOT argue with that!

A Brave New World?

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, this is the first of what will, it would seem, be a series of weekly articles for the ABC's new site, The Drum (or The Drum Unleashed, or...something). Go check it out! I deal with Copenhagen, Rudd, Obama, Abbott, Joyce, and of course Mother Mary MacKillop

This does NOT mean I am leaving newmatilda - I remain the resident satirist at NM, long may their hit-count multiply. In that spirit, also go check out my end-of-year column for newmatilda, in which I look back at 2009 and make some bold predictions for 2010.

Also, keep looking out on newmatilda for another piece by me, part of the site's summer series. Maybe you should subscribe (for free!) so you NEVER miss a piece I write? Just a thought.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Fill in the blanks: Oh My Sainted _unt

So anyway, Mary MacKillop is set to become a saint, AUSTRALIA'S FIRST!

Now, far be it from me to distract from the orgy of patriotic pride that will undoubtedly spew forth like a great burst abscess at the canonisation of the dear lady,; I enjoy the assigning of nationalistic value to arbitrary decisions of the religiously insane as much as the next man.

HOWEVER

Given that the qualification for MacKillop's sainthood is the performance of two miracles...

And given that these two miracles were performed by Sister Mary many, many years AFTER her death...

And given PM Rudd's enthusiastic support for the canonisation and the fact he is sure to pontificate on the significance of the event when it comes...

Will ANY journalist have the guts to ask the obvious question, which is:

"Prime Minister, do you actually believe that the ghosts of dead nuns heal the sick, and if your answer is yes, do you think you are of sound mind to be in charge of a sharp kitchen utensil, let alone a country?"

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Quick Quiz

My latest newmatilda article...and comments.

Now, having read said article and said comments, a quick quiz for readers to take, to win big!

1. In what sense can "motherlode" (however you spell it) be construed as a religious reference?

2. What is the average IQ required to grasp the difference between ridiculing someone who IS a Catholic, and ridiculing someone for BEING Catholic, with no other reason?

3. Is there any particular reason anyone's religion should be immune from ridicule?

Highest scores win a specially autographed essay on the links between anonymous abusive internet warriors and virulent anti-Semitism.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Glossary

Here is a list of South Australian political puns that you can drop into conversation to make your next social event go with a zing:

Nick Xenuphon

Mike Ranndy

Sandra Skanck

Penny Wrong

Natasha's Hot - Despoil Her

Alexander Downer

Submit your own South Australian Political Puns and win BIG PRIZES!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes, WHY?

I have made my debut on The Punch, with my Twitter piece.

The commenters are already out in force, with the usual nice mix of applause and duhhhhh.

My favourite example, from "Colin Campbell"

"why did you spend seven hours on something you hate?"

Colin is SO onto me. Why DID I do that? It's a completely absurd thing to do! It's just stupid! It's like some ridiculous JOKE!

Hee.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hitler: the lighter side

Most of us are aware that Hitler is a pretty common go-to guy for politicians, writers and public figures looking to score debating points against their enemies. You know how it goes: "What M X is proposing is disturbingly similar to the policies enacted in 1930s Germany"; "The honourable member brings to mind frightening echoes of the excesses of the Nazi Party"; "The government's policies carry more than a whiff of the Third Reich"; "You're a fucking Nazi, pal" and so forth. Many a reputation has been effectively smeared in this manner, not least that of Mr X.

However, all of these smears have, until now, had one notable thing in common: in all cases, the Nazi parallels were brought up to show the person, party or policy being compared in a bad light. That is, the rule has hitherto been, if you say that something is a lot like what Hitler would do, you are saying it is not a good thing.

NOT ANY MORE, BABY!

West Australian state MP Peter Abetz has changed the game for everyone with a breathtakingly original move: citing the Nazis as a positive example to demonstrate the soundness of his proposal.

That's right: Abetz, pushing the WA Liberal government's legislation that would grant police powers to search people in public without needing to show reasonable cause, chose to illustrate the good sense and practicality of the policy by pointing out how well it worked for Hitler.

"When it comes to the crunch, people prefer to be safe than to have freedom," said the good member, cannily putting his finger on just why the Liberals are known far and wide as "The Cuddly Party".

Bravo, The Hon. Mr Abetz. We thought we had seen every political trick, every cunning tactic, every sly manoeuvre, every cheap rhetorical trick, every piece of clever spin under the sun. We had, I confess, yet to consider the possibility that a politician who to all outward appearances is a fully-functioning adult human being might at some point try to put into play that rarest of political gambits, the old "A vote for me is a vote for a police force modelled on the SS" ploy. Kudos to you, sir!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books - a Spotter's Guide

How to recognise a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book:

Here is one:





And here's another:





This is another one:





This one too:





And goodness gracious me, even this one:






But here is what a Hitchhiker' Guide to the Galaxy book does NOT look like:




So fuck YOU, Eoin Colfer, you smug Irish bastard.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Asylum Seekers: A User's Guide

Written by me.

Brown people - providing comedy fodder through their misery for over five hundred years!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I have been saying this for YEARS

Look! Here it is people. From snopes.com. Read carefully and live the rest of your life free from ignorance.

You don't figure out dog years by multiplying the dog's age by seven

And I already knew this, because sometimes dogs live to, like 20, which would mean they were "really" 140. And since no human lives to be 140, and the whole "dog years" formula is supposed to give us a point of comparison between human and dog ages, that would be...

FRIGGING STUPID.

Thank God for Snopes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who's Gonna Drive You Home...Tonight?

There but for the grace of Cthulhu...

I used to LIVE in this house.




That was 10 years ago, but my mother and sister lived there up until June this year.

Of course, THEY knew how to keep the place in good order. Unlike these new owners, who seem to think they can leave their trash lying about any old place, park wherever they please etc.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Regrets

What is my number one regret? The lies I've told, the friends I've hurt, the manslaughter of the childhood friend I covered up?

NO

My number one regret is that I have been neglecting my faithful blog readers. Both of you. Ha ha ha self-deprecation!

Anyway, I was away for a little bit decompressing from a rather frantic personal and professional period, visiting family and lying down etc. I'm back now, blogging for your delectation.

What's been happening since the last update?

Well, there have been more writings, obviously. Check them out:

At newmatilda.com:

Thoughts on rugby league and great 20th-century statesmen

Thoughts on the Victorian government's affaire grande with the religious right

My thoughts on silly immigrants and why the athletic ones are better

At Crikey:

My first stab at investigate journalism; I managed to smuggle out the minutes from Hey Hey It's Saturday's production meeting prior to their second reunion special.

Please note: not only did John Blackman comment on that last one, he almost knows my name! I am pretty special I think you will agree.

So in other news...a new project! Gather Around Me, with Australia's hippest young pop culture vivisectionists Ben Pobjie and Cam Smith bringing you their thoughts through the magic of Montenegran internet.

GAM will feature random musings by Cam and myself throughout your long, otherwise-stultifying days, but the main meat of the site is in our regular podcasts. There are two up so far, check 'em out. You can also subscribe through iTunes.

Also, following my gig way back at the Emerging Writers' Festival, I have a piece in the EWF Reader, a collection of writers writing about writing. To quote the EWF:

"The Reader is a new collection that combines highlights of the 2009 festival with general writing information and new creative works across various writing forms.


The Reader is about the craft, the approaches, the techniques and processes; the discipline(s), the forms, the experiments; the inner life, the social life, the lifestyle; the ups and downs, the tricks and the tribulations, the fun and the failure…

The Reader is Artworks, Illustrations, Flash Fiction, Fragments, Interviews, Short Stories, Sketches, Songs, Sonnets, Haiku, Poetry, Plays, Photos, Comics, Couplets, Verse, Recipes, Rants, and Memoirs.



The Reader is Steven Amsterdam on writers’ workshops, Clem Bastow on freelancing, Jen Breach on writing comics, Mel Campbell on pitching to editors, Kathy Charles on shameless self-promotion, Stephanie Convery on writing Black Saturday, Olivia Davis on fear and writing practices, Lisa Dempster on how much writers earn, Koraly Dimitriadis talks to Christos Tsoilkas, Caroline Hamilton compares writers’ festivals and music festivals, Stu Hatton on his mentorship with Dorothy Porter, Jane Hawtin discusses publishing academic research for a general audience, Andrew Hutchinson recalls the Emerging Writers’ Festival, Tiggy Johnson on parenthood and writing, Krissy Kneen on not writing about sex, Benjamin Law on failure, Angela Meyer reviews books for writers, Jennifer Mills on the politics of publishing and engaging with readers, Anthony Noack on good grammar, John Pace on re-drafting your screenplay, Ryan Paine on the role of the critic, Ben Pobjie on writing comedy, Robert Reid on the role of the contemporary playwright, Aden Rolfe on the emergentsia, Jenny Sinclair on the landscape of her book research, Chris Summers talks to Lally Katz about theatre writing, Mia Timpano on how to cultivate the ultimate author profile photo, Estelle Tang on Christopher Currie and blogging fiction, Simmone Michelle-Wells pens a letter to her younger self, Cameron White reviews alternatives to Microsoft Word.

And new creative works by Maxine Clark, Chris Currie, Chris Downes, Claire Henderson, Kirk Marshall, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Alice Mrongovius, Meg Mundell, Warwick Sprawson and Cameron T"

Nota Bene: "Ben Pobjie on writing comedy". Yes! After reading the Reader, you will know how to be funny, like me! I'm not even joking, y'all! In bookstores now!

More soon, you sexy readers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Deep in the Enchanted Woods...(cross-posted in Gather Around Me)

Some news has recently come to light that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I am serious. I know you thought the moon landing would change your life. I know you thought September 11 would change your life. I know you thought a long-term relationship or a fulfilling career would change your life. You were WRONG.

Because - and I hope you're sitting down - it has been revealed that there is a city in Sweden inhabited entirely by 25,000 lesbians.

I would like to point out at this point that this story was carried by both the Xinhua AND Harbin news agencies of China, so you can be sure of its veracity.

Founded in 1820 by a man-hating widow, who decided for some reason to build a medieval castle while she was at it, Chako Paul City is apparently a great tourist attraction. Only for women, though, because if you are a man, you will be beaten to death (or, depending on who you're talking to, "half to death") by gender police as soon as you arrive. It is also guarded at the entrance by two large blonde women, so it sounds devilishly hard to sneak into.

The men of China have cottoned on to the enormous potential of this place, since the women are apparently only lesbians because of their desperation at the lack of men - which makes the "kill every man who comes here" policy somewhat odd, but anyway - and Sweden has been besieged by inquiries from lonely Chinese men asking how they can visit Chako Paul.

That's the Chinese for you. Crazy-brave, and true romantics at heart, willing to travel halfway around the world and risk a fatal beating for the chance to get it on with a Swedish lesbian. I salute you, men of China.

I think the most exciting part of this is the realisation that the castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail REALLY EXISTS. And in fact, I sense a chance for a really great blockbuster movie, combining elements of Some Like It Hot, Sorority Boys, Alvin Purple, and Lost Horizon.

Snap to it, titans of Hollywood!

Perhaps we should leave the last word to Claes Bertilson, a spokesperson for Sweden’s Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), who says, " I find it hard to believe that you could keep something like that a secret for more than 150 years".

Hard to believe, Claes? Perhaps for YOU.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Audiences, or I am the King In Black

After performing at Dante's as part of "Takin' It To The Streets" at the Overload Poetry Festival Launch, a poet approached me with the most surprising compliment I have ever received.

"You're like a cross between Elvis and Johnny Cash," she exclaimed.

I honestly did not see that coming. I could understand using one or the other in a "cross between" comparison - as long as the other half of the equation was something like "Peewee Herman" or "Ted Bundy". But the two combined? Astounding.

And reassuring, because to be honest I wasn't quite sure how I'd gone over at that gig. Oh yes, there were laughs, but there also...not-laughs, if you get my drift. Audience pockets of quietude that made the insecure part of me suspect they were sitting stony-faced and not amused in the least, and the slightly less insecure part of me suspecting they were just confused - a state, I admit, which is not unnatural for anyone listening to my work, especially for the first time. There could, of course, be a horrid mixture of the two - confusion and non-amusedness both stemming from a deep sense of disgust. In any event, it makes one a little uneasy. The laughs I did get salved the unease, obviously, but the feeling I was alienating half the audience persisted.

This is where a comedian has it hard compared to a dramatic performer or "serious" poet. Because when you're not supposed to get an audible reaction, you can convince yourself that they're loving it. The more silent they are, the more engrossed they are, the line will run. But when you're doing comedy, the judgment is instant and brutal. Either they will laugh or they won't, and if they're not laughing, there is no way to kid yourself that you're winning them over. Instant feedback. Instant euphoria, or instant devastation. It's the great attraction and the great horror of comedy at once.

Which got me thinking, what kind of audience do I really want? Comedic spoken word of my type is tricky - the great appeal of the poetry scene is that audiences are mostly up for anything and pretty welcoming of weirdness, but that doesn't mean they're going to like everything, or necessarily get on board with strangeness, even if they're terribly polite about it.

And the trouble with a real poetry audience such as I had the other night is that they really are expecting poetry. They're not expecting bizarre rambling monologues full of rape jokes and 1980s sitcom non sequiturs. They may well say, "what the hell? This isn't poetry", and they'd probably be right; most of what I do isn't. But luckily a great number of them usually end up disregarding such questions and simply reacting based on whether it's funny or not. As I said, the appeal of the poetry scene is that you don't feel locked in to formats or structures of performance.

BUT there are definitely many poetry folk who feel that it's not quite...correct to do something that has no purpose beyond entertainment.

Although the funny thing is that if you get a bunch of people along to a poetry gig, it's often the non-poets who have the most preconceived ideas. I've noticed this at slams; if a non-poet is made a judge, they seem to be more likely than a poet to mark someone down for not conforming to a narrow definition of poetry.

So I want an open-minded audience. I don't want an audience who's thinking "poetry or bust". I don't really want an audience who's thinking "stand-up", though - a stand-up audience is usually the most narrow-minded of all. Do a tight five in a stand-up venue and it'll be three minutes before they even start listening to the jokes, so confused will they be that you're doing the observation-conversation-Dave Hughes thing they've been expecting. Not that they can't be won over, but it's an effort to get them to go along with something a bit different from what they usually see.

So what we're looking for is an audience of some intelligence, without preconceived notions, and a willingness to laugh. The last is pretty important - get an viewer without a sense of humour and you get the girl last year who made an official complaint about me after I said that reverse racism was the practice of backing your car over Aborigines.

That was fairly typical though - go near any even remotely touchy subject and you can guarantee there will be someone uniquely sensitive to the topic in the audience. When I first did my quadriplegia joke, there was a guy in a wheelchair. At the Overload launch I did a pretty new piece that featured the line "Hating Dutch people, that's human nature". Naturally afterwards I was told there were about six Dutch people in the audience. At last night's gig I did a piece with a line about killing Germans - I fully expected a battalion of lederhosen to march up to me at the end. It's the way it is.

Last night's gig - See What I'm Talking About with Sean Whelan, Briohny Doyle, Angela Meyer and Barry Dickins - demonstrated something else curious about "my" audience. It seems that I am always a big hit with women of a certain age, to put it delicately. "The best belly laugh I've had in years," said one lovely lady after my set, which was very gratifying, but it can sometimes seem a tad counter-intuitive that, given my (inadvertent) reputation for bad taste and offensiveness, it's the over-50 set that shows such enthusiasm...and it's often the Generation Yers who are po-faced and earnest and...well, eager to complain about my Aborigine jokes.

I suppose that's why I'm a cross between Elvis and Johnny Cash - I'm the poet who appeals to anyone who remembers the 1950s. Although the whole Jesus-necrophilia thing probably would have been ahead of its time back then.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Return of the Fans

You probably think I'm a bit above readin my fan mail, but you're wrong. I read it all, because I think if someone takes the trouble to write, it's the least I can do. And it's stuff like this that warms my cockles:

On the subject of Port Phillip Council and my love of committing atrocities:

The article on the alleged witch at Port Phillip betrayed the very fabric of this online journal. This woman has been the subject of repeated bullying by The Age. There isnot a week goes by without another bash. The basis is the allegation thatshe claimed to be a witch. She never seriously did make that claimalthough she conceded that she, like many older women with striking greyhair are the butt of this misogynist term. The misleading witch label hasbeen used time and again to justify the recycling of this bullyingnonsense. You are guilty of the same sexist crime. Does it console youthat you are in the same cheap news company as Andrew Bolt? New Matilda is supposed to be lifting the lid on media abuse not joiningthe conga line. This woman was not without her faults. She made mistakes.But she has been hounded out of the country by mainstream media bullies and you are guilty of the same misogynist attrocities.

On my outrageous spreading of scurrilous and untrue rumours:

Does Ben Pobjie have proof that Kerry O'Brien was 'briefly married to
Cheryl Kernot' or is he making it up?


And just so you know tht some people in this world DO have taste:

would you allow me to have one
comment to Ben Bobjie re his magnificent article on the late Senator
Kennedy
. If not possible, please tell him he's a genius IMHO, of course.



NOTE: all of these comments are genuine messages from genuine "humans". Names have not been mentioned in order to protect members of my immediate family.

SEX!

Now that I've got your attention, an article about sex.

And politics.

And how Melbourne sucks.

Another reason Melbourne sucks is like, it just rains and rains ALL THE TIME, but we keep coming in from the rain and reading the newspaper and finding out how we've got no water. What the hell is going on?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Comin' Atcha

Friday night the Overload Poetry Festival launches with "Takin' It To The Streets", a poetry pub crawl that will wend its way through Melbourne and feature numerous talented performers and much frivolity and fun.

Most importantly, if you are at Dante's on Gertrude Street from 8:30pm, you'll see me doing and saying certain things the nature of which will remain unclear until well after the event.

See you there!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Join Our Tea Party

Australian military justice system thrown into disarray.

I want you to attend most carefully to this section:

"The charges relate to incidents in August 2005 when he was alleged to have been photographed placing his genitals on an army sergeant's forehead - a practice known as "teabagging" - while the sergeant was asleep."

Just sit for a moment and drink in the lovely knowledge that the military justice system can be paralysed by a constitutional crisis caused by a sailor teabagging a superior officer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

OK

So climate change denialists aren't the only stunningly stupid people out there. There are also those who read humour columns. I mean, not all of them, but some.

Check out my latest, here. It's not the worst example of the "I don't get it, and I shall now prove it beyond doubt" genre, but there are a couple of prize pigs in there.

"mocking of women taking non-traditional roles". Sigh. Yes, yes, of course.

An Awful Realisation

I've been reading newspapers, listening to radio, watching TV, scanning the internet etc., particularly following the climate change "debate", and something has slowly been starting to dawn on me.

You know those people, those climate change denialists? The ones who say it's not really happening, and if it is we didn't cause it, and if we did we can't stop it anyway, and if we can, it's a good thing because it's nice to be warm?

I've just realised...they're really stupid.

I don't mean they're wrong. Anyone can be wrong, even about climate change. Hell, maybe I'm wrong about climate change.

I don't mean they're misinformed.

I don't mean they're misguided.

I don't mean they're ignorant and naive.

I mean they're really dumb.

Because they say things like, "look, it's really cold outside", and "the earth's been cooling since 1998", and "carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant", and "I just read Ian Plimer's book".

It's like climate change is a sort of stupidity litmus test. You dip it into the population, and it comes out idiot-coloured.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Handy Hints for Non-Terrorist Muslims

In the latest development in my lifelong struggle to get humourless people to send me death threats, I give you:

Tasteless jokes about Muslims!

Taken too soon

Sam the koala is dead. Now, I'm not saying this is a GOOD thing, by any means. What I am saying, to people leaving comments on the HS website, such as Betty Grinter of Preston ("A part of me died today..such a sad ending to a story of hope. I'll miss you Sam"), is:

1. She was a koala. That is, a small forest-dwelling marsupial. She was not, for example, a cheeky young schoolgirl, or a nun.

2. Furthermore, she was not a koala that you, personally, knew. She was not your pet koala, or a koala that had been passed down through the generations, or a koala which contained the trapped soul of your wife.

3. There is in fact no evidence to support the hypothesis that she was an especially brave koala. Unless your definition of courage is "fortunate enough to be stumbled upon by a firefighter with a water bottle".

4. Leaving a "tribute" to Sam on a website is possibly one of the most useless things one could ever dream of doing in their entire lives. Not only can she not read it because she's dead, she couldn't read it when she was alive. She was a koala. Do you think her family's going to log on and draw strength from the community support?

5. Given that she died of chlamydia, the fawning over her by the Herald Sun would seem to represent a dangerous endorsement of promiscuous behaviour, setting a poor example to our own on-the-brink-of-sluttishness youth.

6. She was a frigging koala.

Cheers.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Y Bother?

Generation Y: shiftless layabouts or worthless nonentities? A vexed issue, indeed. Perhaps some light can be shed by Sarah Ayoub, who writes an insightful piece on Generation Y, in which she lambasts Employment Minister Mark Arbib for his comments on today's youth, which she then goes on to completely agree with. Canny, Ayoub, very canny. "Disgusting, the way these arrogant politicians are in total accord with my own views".

Or, for an even more irresponsible and bizarre response to Arbib, why not check out my own latest at New Matilda?

Seriously, why NOT?

Simple Radio Folk

What did you think of Kyle and Jackie O's whimsical teen-sex prank? Pretty funny? Not very funny? Gripping? Moving? Full of vibrant hooks and witty lyrics?

If you go here, you will find an article by me that adds absolutely nothing to the debate.

Just in case you might be thinking it's not worthwhile clicking on that link, let me show you some of the reader comments that will illustrate just how great the article is.

From "David1": Ben stick to being an idiot, satirical composition is not your forte.

From "Juzzy": Lame

From "Simon": there’s satire… then there’s trollish shit stirring

From "Yvonne Lynton Reid": nauseatingly self-righteous crap

From "Liz45": Pardon me if I don’t laugh! I don’t find it funny or even smart one bit. Ben, obviously you don’t understand, that even consensual sex would’ve been ILLEGAL! If you’re so desperate for some entertainment, why don’t you go and read or take up knitting or ???

When will some blokes get it through their thick heads - that women are fed up with blokes who think, that you have a right to scrutinize and belittle our lives, sexual or otherwise. If Rachel was an adult it wouldn’t have been funny - she’s still legally a child who had a vicious and revolting assault inflicted upon her. I think you need to take a look at yourself. I’m sure you don’t have too many young women seeking you out to confide in because of your kind and sensitive nature!






Of course, some people didn't care for it. But I know YOU will, right? After all...






WOULD KYLE LIE?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sleeve-length: A Pressing Issue

The Queensland Rugby League, responding swiftly and decisively to reports that Queensland State of Origin players had been mixing Stilnox and Red Bull to create a home-made party drug while in training camp for the third game of this year's series, initiated a thorough and hard-hitting investigation, in which the players were asked whether they had been mixing Stilnox and Red Bull to create a home-made party drug while in training camp for the third game of this year's series, and the players said "no".

The Australian reports, though, that the far-reaching probe did not end there. Not content with this vigorous interrogation, QRL managing director Ross Livermore then called a meeting with coach Mal Meninga and team manager Steve Walters, in which captain Darren Lockyer was brought in...

...and asked for his opinion on the team's uniforms.

Never underestimate the Queensland Rugby League's passion for truth and accountability. Let even the barest whiff of poor off-field behaviour be sensed, and they will waste no time, spare no expense, and leave no stone unturned in their efforts to take a tough, unflinching look at what the players think of their jumpers.

Kudos, Ross Livermore. Kudos.

The Blind Leading the Flamboyantly Drug-addled

In a stunning development, Australian television viewers have been forced to process the disturbing revelation that apparently blind people are not naturally suited to ballroom dancing.

After Dancing With The Stars judge and well-known pants-removal enthusiast Todd McKenney cruelly pointed this out, blind Paralympian and adventurer Gerrard Gosens protested, enlisting the Herald Sun in his public campaign to have people with disabilities treated differently to everyone else. A fighting fund has now been set up to provide support for Gosens in his efforts to be judged by lower standards and be rewarded for inferior performance at every opportunity.

McKenney's "tactless attack" (sic) was one of the most flagrant examples of an arrogant celebrity shamelessly telling the obvious truth that has been seen in this country since Paul Keating famously told John Hewson that he looked "a bit like a sad horse".

Fans of the show have reacted angrily to McKenney's outburst, questioning the judgment of a man who, hired for the purpose of assessing the dancing talent of others, has the temerity to tell someone he's a bad dancer for no other reason than the fact he is very very bad at dancing. The fans have complained that Gosens was "humiliated", an outcome that surely nobody could have seen coming when a commercial television network put a blind man on a celebrity dancing show.

"Oops!" cried Channel Seven executives. "The blind man has been humiliated and made into a sort of horribly compelling freak show! How tragically removed from our original intentions this development is! Woe is us!"

In The Punch, Tory Maguire, taking a break from her usual occupation of informing us on how Telstra is improving all our lives, one completely unjustified fee at a time, has written what I thought was a reasonably sensical piece on this burning issue.

So, what have we learnt?

1. Gerard Gosens cannot dance

2. There is no need to publicly point this out just because he chose to enter a nationally broadcast dancing competition

3. Todd McKenney is a complete bastard

4. Tory Maguire is a more palatable read as a defender of brutally honest reality TV judges than as a morally repellent corporate apologist.

5. Dancing With The Stars is a microcosm of society in ways that we cannot even imagine and are unlikely to try.

Monday, July 27, 2009

In the Adelaide Advertiser...

K.M. Gunn of Lower Mitcham writes:

"REPORTS about the possibility of raising the age at which a driving licence can be obtained are at odds with other reports which indicate Labor is looking at lowering the voting age to 16 years (The Advertiser, yesterday).

Sixteen-year-olds are not adults, not even if they are in the workforce and paying taxes.

They are physically, emotionally and intellectually too young to drive.

They are also emotionally and intellectually too young to vote, especially under a system which compels people to attend at the ballot box. Any suggestion that voting should be "voluntary" in this age group would be a further erosion of democracy.

There will be howls of outrage from some young people, who will claim they are mature enough and responsible enough. The very fact they believe they can take on adult responsibilities is an excellent indication that they are not sufficiently mature to actually do so.

Young people are more inclined to vote Labor. Under our system it is not uncommon for people to vote the way they first voted for the rest of their lives. This is because they are compelled to attend the ballot box and believe that they must vote as a consequence.

Moves to lower the voting age should be seen for what they are. If introduced and we retain the system of compulsion, then we may as well forget about having an effective Opposition. Why would we want to erode democracy still further?"

Yeah! Damn straight, K.M.! How can we let people who are physically too young to drive behind the wheel, with their stunted arms and not-yet-open eyes?

And of all the harebrained schemes, allowing people who are more inclined to vote Labor to vote! NOBODY who is more inclined to vote Labor should be allowed to vote! Isn't denying the vote to those who are more likely to support a certain party one of the cornerstones of our democracy?

I especially like K.M.'s "The very fact they believe they can take on adult responsibilities is an excellent indication that they are not sufficiently mature to actually do so".

So true. I propose that from now on, only those who believe they are incapable of driving and voting should be allowed to do so.

THAT will fix our society.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And while the flames are licking about my ankles...

And another thing...

Occasionally my writing does branch out in strange new directions, and so a little curio, a novelty, a gift-shop fishing-troll, a pewter cameo brooch, for you.

At the risk of alienating my vast fundamentalist Christian audience, I hereby link to the back cover of the journal of the Rationalist Society of Australia, which in its current incarnation features a humourist of ill-repute.

An excellent society, the RSA, and one whose existence continues to be justified and urgently required due to obscenities such as the Exclusive Brethren, who continue to fight the good fight in the cause of destroying families, ruining lives, and child abuse.

Hey, the kids hate their dad! Well done, thou good and faithful servants.

Not Dead

No, I'm not, though I have had a brush with swine flu, which is the main reason I have been absent from this blog for so long. Shivering and moaning, I wanted to blog, but I simply did not have the wherewithal. Or the subject matter. Current events for some time were restricted to "Head hurts" and "More panadeine".

But I'm back! And if not better than ever, I am at least pretty much the same.

"But Ben," you whisper in your timorous, apologetic voices, "tell us: what is this thing called swine flu, for we live in hermetically-sealed bubbles and have no knowledge of disease?"

Swine flu, in fact, is something like this.

I'm not kidding. My HAIR. Benevolent god? Sod off.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Words hurt, you know

In response to my Crikey piece, "NBC" writes:

"Re: Michael Jackson -- these are the jokes. (Yesterday Item
19) Please tell Ben Pobjie he is not funny. "As a professional writer" he
reminds us - as opposed to a non-professional I guess, he strings together a
limp collection of M.J 'jokes' and tells us how important he is by thinking
anyone is remotely interested in his last will & testament. Never heard of Mr
Pobjie before - and I now understand why. Are all your usual
correspondents on leave? Fair suck of the sauce lads - Crikey is better than
that."


Now, that I am not funny I have no doubt. Jacqueline Reidpath set me straight on that. But in my defence, since the article was about how bad Michael Jackson jokes tend to be, I don't know how strong a criticism it is to say that the Michael Jackson jokes in it weren't any good.

However, I take the point that nobody is interested in my last will and testament. I will in future refrain from including such serious legal documents in online humour pieces.

BUT! I am glad at least that "NBC" now knows why he has never heard of me - it must have been annoying for him to have gone all these years not having heard of me and wondering why. Must have gnawed at him something chronic.

The most intriguing thing about all this, though, is the confluence of three notable facts:

1. Crikey misspelled my name as "Pobje" on the article.

2. "NBC" claims to have never heard of me.

3. Yet "NBC" somehow knows the correct spelling of my name, and does not use the Crikey spelling.

This plot is as thick as ostrich gumbo, my friends.

Fess up, "NBC" - who are you REALLY?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Expression of Astonishment!

For today's dose of (misspelled) Pobjie, why not check out the esteemed Crikey?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why? God, why?

From the Herald Sun:

Tom Cappola ’s devotion to Michael Jackson goes beyond his love of the music the King of Pop is his life.

Cappola, a Jackson impersonator, had front-row tickets to Jackson ’s first London concert on July 13.

He is shattered that he will never see his hero in the flesh.

"My dream came true to personally see him, and then all this has happened," he said.


Oh God, why does everything have to happen to YOU, Tom? What did you do to deserve this?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Man in the Mirror

Let us think about why I am not particularly sad about Michael Jackson's death, beyond a vague, oh isn't that a shame feeling that has not impacted significantly on my mood at all.

Well, firstly, I tend not to get that upset about celebrities' deaths anyway. Farrah Fawcett I barely care about...but then, we knew she was going for ages. Although news of her last days was very poignant. Steve Irwin I was shocked by, but not very upset about. But then I never liked Steve Irwin and loathed watching him on TV - given that I am a great fan of Jackson's music, one might have expected me to be more cut-up, as I WAS about Heath Ledger's death - that one got to me.

But then the fact that Ledger was my age, and Australian, someone I knew about "before he was famous", made it a little closer to home. Also, there was no doubt that he seemed to have great things ahead of him, a lot of unfulfilled potential.

Let's be honest, Michael Jackson was probably tapped out. We may have had great hopes for his comeback tour, but he said that would be the end of it, and I don't think anyone was expecting any more classic albums. Or any albums at all really. So there's no great artistic mourning here.

Also, unlike some other artists whose work I like, I feel no particular connection to him as a person. He was always too alien to relate to.

Finally, what DID make me sad, for years, was what happened to him. He seemed to have such an unhappy life, and to warp himself so in apparently desperate attempts to be happy, that his life seemed to me to be the real tragedy.

And I suppose ultimately, his life made me a lot sadder than his death could have.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the Sunday Tasmanian

Jack Sonnemann of Tunbridge writes:

"Rhode Island is the only state in the US to decriminalise prostitution (in Nevada it ’s only legal in a few counties).

Their legislature, like Tasmania ’s, is currently debating the prostitution issue but with the intent to abolish it, not legitimise it.

State Representative Joanne Giannini says, "If we really care about the women who are the victims of prostitution and human trafficking, we need to shut down the industry." Turning their women into whores seems to be a bad idea in Rhode Island. Is it a good idea for Tasmanian women?"

Well, is it?

Ben Pobjie's Wonderful World of Objects says YES!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Check It

A new article by me on newmatilda, exploring the fall of Peter Costello and why it's so unimportant to everyone.

Also, done some refreshing of the links at the side, updating the visible articles and upcoming performances etc.

And on that note, do mark down July 23 in your diaries, because that's when I'll be on for ONE NIGHT ONLY at Blue Velvet in Collingwood.

It's true, we don't.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm Mad As Hell And Will Only Take It For A Little While Longer

OK, so The Chaser. Everyone knows about it. They'll be back next week, and hopefully the experience will not turn them tame and insipid in any way, but drive them on to more inspired feats of comedy.

Below is something I wrote in the aftermath of the infamous sketch, because every bit of commentary I saw seemed to miss the point by some distance. Some pieces made some good points - I agree with those sticking up for the Chaser's right to make bad-taste jokes, I agree with those who said it's the show's job to push boundaries and test the limits and so forth - but even those mostly missed the point of what the sketch was actually about. And as for those blasting the show for crossing lines, destroying lives, spitting in faces etc, I found it unbearable. Those who claimed the problem is that the show was no longer funny may or may not be right, but it was irrelevant to the issue at hand - which was the only good point contained in what I thought was one of the most ridiculously wrongheaded articles, by Shaun Carney and I'm not in the slightest bit interested in debating whether something's funny or not). And even now, two weeks later, all commentary continues to miss the point, to my mind.

Everyone must make up their own minds, but I honestly think the media hysteria has blinded people to what the sketch actually was, and I also think I'm at least as well-qualified to comment on it as the political analysts and shock jocks that have dominated the debate. And since the piece below was not wanted by a variety of media outlets, I'm having my say here. If you hate The Chaser and all it stands for and always will, you probably won't get much out of it. If not, do read on:



ON THE CHASER

Making fun of sick children? Disgusting. Outrageous. Disgraceful. Unacceptable. For doing such a revolting thing, those terrible Chaser boys should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. For mocking those poor kids, they should be sacked. Blackballed. The ABC should lose its funding. How could they do such a thing?

The only trouble, of course, is that they did no such thing. They never made fun of sick kids. Not in the slightest. And no reasonable person making up their mind based on the actual sketch – as opposed to having their mind made up for them by squawking tabloid headlines – would come to the conclusion that they had.

Now, I admit I do not know any Chaser members personally – as the 800 pound gorillas of Australian comedy to my pygmy shrew, we move in different circles – and so it is, I concede, possible that they sat down and thought, “Bloody sick kids, let’s take them down a peg or two”. However, I consider it susbtantially more likely they sat down and thought, “You know the Make A Wish Foundation? Wouldn’t it be funny if there was an organisation like that, but one that was really, really bad at its job?” I think this is more likey for the simple reason that that is precisely what they did in the sketch.

Contrary to those who saw it as a vicious attack on sick kids, or on the real Make A Wish Foundation, it wasn’t an attack on anyone. It was actually a conventional piece of sketch comedy based on the classic premise of taking a well-known character, situation or institution, and coming up with an absurd, grotesque or incompetent version. The Make A Realistic Wish Foundation is, in fact, nothing more than The Chaser’s version of Monty Python’s Silly Olympics, Saturday Night Live’s male, talentless synchronised swimmers, or even bumbling Maxwell Smart. The humour lies not in laughing at sick kids, but in the very fact that we know how appalling the “Make A Realistic Wish Foundation” is. The fictitious foundation itself is the butt of the joke – in essence, the point is not to mock the sick kids, but to side with them against the dreadful fools at their bedsides. To suggest that the fact that terrible fictional characters do terrible things to others means the creators are mocking the victims is just silly. The Chaser was no more mocking sick kids than John Cleese mocked Germans by making Basil fawlty a racist, or that Ricky Gervais mocked the disabled when his David Brent showed his utter insensivity to a wheelchair-bound colleague. Comedic characters are often terrible people – this is what makes them comedic. We’re laughing at them, not the innocent folk who have to suffer their obnoxiousness.

Please note, this is not in any way attempt to convince those who didn’t find the sketch funny that it was; comedy is utterly subjective, and to try to claim that one’s own opinion on what’s funny is in any way objective or definitive is ridiculous. That, of course, does not stop people trying, and a hundred comedic experts have sprung up since The Chaser aired to claimed that the “real problem” is that the sketch just wasn’t funny. Patently untrue – people don’t call for sackings and funding cuts just because things aren’t funny. Thousands of hours of unfunny material is broadcast every year without a furore. Commentators like to claim that unfunniness is the problem in order to dodge the quite accurate accusation that they are joining a herd of confected moral outrage and self-righteousness. The fact is, whether it was funny or not is completely irrelevant to the question of whether The Chaser was mocking sick kids. If they were, making every last person on earth bust a gut wouldn’t change the fact, and if they’re not, stony silence from every viewer does not give reason for moral condemnation.

I don’t doubt that some were upset by the sketch. That’s unfortunate, but as any comedian or comedy writer knows, if you want any hope of amusing people, you have to risk giving offence. I’ve seen comedy deal with subjects including racism, Nazism, incest, bestiality, sexual assault, domestic violence, murder, war, disease and famine. Any of these and a hundred other apparently tamer topics could cause distress – there’s practically no subject that has no chance of offending anyone. That’s the nature of comedy, and any comedian worth their salt takes that chance all the time. But the fact that a piece of work can strike a nerve with you doesn’t mean it was targeted at you, and the fact a TV show upset someone – however worthy and genuinely long-suffering that someone is – doesn’t mean that they are right and the makers of the show deserve to be cast into the outer darkness. Especially when, one suspects, much of the outrage and offence being expressed comes less from genuine spontaneous reaction and more from the efforts of media hypocrites desperate to whip up a new moral panic to reinforce their self-assumed position as guardians of the public good. After all, sketch show The Mansion did a similar gag last year. America’s The Onion and Australia’s Shaun Micallef have both in the past given their own spin to “make-a-wish comedy”. No howls of outrage there, because they weren’t The Chaser, the enemy that Murdoch papers and “current affairs” programmes alike are just itching to snipe at. The Chaser could act out verbatim re-enactments of Mother and Son, and the Herald Sun would scream about their tasteless assault on Alzheimer’s sufferers.

So it’s a shame if you were offended, especially if you have suffered the trauma of ill children. But be assured, The Chaser wasn’t having a go at you, or your kids, or anyone. And if you are the sensitive type, perhaps you shouldn’t be watching the show (and nor should children, sick or otherwise). Personally, I’m going to go on watching. Because even if it’s not perfect, I know that it’s comedy. If you don’t understand that, maybe you should go look for the remote.



Friday, June 12, 2009

The world needs to shut its stupid face

Quit calls on Australians to change the name of a smoko to "quito".

Five points for Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie to mull over while she's putting her feet up in Quit's impenetrable Fortress of Wank, getting a well-deserved rest after a hard day's burbling:

1. You are an idiot.

2. To make a public call for the entire population to change a colloquial term shows a misunderstanding of the word "colloquial".

3. Using the word "quito" is as likely to encourage people to quit smoking as telling teenagers smoking isn't cool.

4. "Quito" is a moronic word that doesn't even make sense. It's called a smoko because people tend to smoke on the break. What does "quito" mean? People will duck outside to spend five minutes quitting things?

5. You are an idiot.

Seriously, Fiona Sharkie. I am going to take up smoking for the first time just to spite you because of this.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If that's what turns you on

Apart from the explicit racism and violent pornography, the worst thing about reading this blog is that you can only read it with your eyes, not your ears.

To read me with your ears, go here, where you can hear me podcasting away with Cam Smith, well-known scruffy disreputable communist.

It's audio-tastic!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Misogyny like Mother used to make

Lincoln Lewis's mother speaks out about her darling boy's charming behaviour.

"I don't want that as a daughter-in -law," she said.

And who would want "that" in their family?

It's good to see that even in these days of extreme feminism and fuzzy-headed political correctness, there are still some mothers willing to parent the old-fashioned way - by excusing their children's actions and teaching them women are things.

Bravo, Mrs Lewis. We could all learn a lot

And here...

From the Herald Sun itself, the very crux of the issue. As the paper says:

"The segment, titled "Making A Realistic Wish Foundation", ended with actor Chris Taylor saying there was no point in making expensive wishes come true as "they're going to die anyway"."

The entire hysterical reaction from papers and parents and moral guardians has been predicated on the assumption that when Chris Taylor said that, he meant it.

In other words, the controversy is based 100% on the outrage of people who don't know the meanings of the words "Fiction", "comedy" or indeed "actor".

Chris Taylor said it. HE WAS PLAYING A PART. IT WAS COMEDY. A CHARACTER IN A COMEDY SKETCH IS NOT A REAL PERSON. CHRIS TAYLOR WAS NOT PUTTING FORTH HIS OWN VIEWS.

In short, everyone stop being so freaking stupid.

Eye-roll

Now, Georgette Fishlock is clearly a very courageous woman who has been through a lot, and deserves much credit, but sadly, suffering does not make one infallible, and the little piece she wrote for the Herald Sun about the Chaser skit seems to me to way, way off-base.

'Their "Making A Realistic Wish Foundation" skit shows they have absolutely no value for children's lives.'

Really, Georgette? It shows that? Seriously? They wrote a sketch featuring an imaginary foundation that acted terribly toward imaginary children, and they therefore "have absolutely no value for children's live"? Please.

"Help from Make A Wish and other charities is more than a free holiday."

Who said it wasn't? The sketch is about the "Making A Realistic Wish Foundation", which does not in fact exist, Georgette. I don't know what relevance the above sentence has to it.

"But The Chaser has made a mockery of that."

What nonsense. You think your son's experience is devalued because of a comedy skit? Again, please. Moreover, The Chaser didn't mock you, or Tyler, or the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They invented a fictional foundation based on the quite common comedic concept of a ridiculous version of a real-life situation.

The joke, in fact, is that the "Make A Realistic Wish Foundation" is TERRIBLE at their jobs. It's quite bizarre that Georgette, and seemingly many, many other people, think that the creators of a comedic skit would actually be trying to promote the message they have put in the mouths of fictional comedy characters. The entire point is that the fictional foundation is dreadful. So how can you criticise the sketch on the grounds that the Chaser crew approve of the foundation's attitude?

'What would these people say about Tyler? "He is blind so he doesn't need to do anything in life?"'

No, they wouldn't. The FICTIONAL "Make A Realistic Wish Foundation" might, because they are terrible people, which is the WHOLE POINT. It's not "laugh at these poor kids", it's "laugh at these appalling people treating these poor kids so badly". The sketch is on the CHILDREN's side. The Chaser boys, if you want to analyse it more than it's worth, are pretty much saying exactly the opposite of what they're being accused of.

"Despite Tyler being brave enough to overcome losing both eyes to beat cancer, his mother GEORGETTE, writing here, has kept news of the Chaser furore a secret because he would find it too distressing."

This is, I have to say, pretty ridiculous. Tyler's a little boy. Does his mother usually fill him in on The Chaser's weekly doings? Is it a huge effort to keep this from him? Is Tyler sitting around wondering why his mum isn't reading the papers aloud to him like she usually does? "Kept it a secret", give me a freaking break.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little late

But still, here's an article that is in small part about me.

The evening went very well in the end.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are you bored?

Make sure you go to New Matilda right now to read what is almost certainly the most interesting thing anyone has ever written about Australian politics.

Then come over for some drunk Twister.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cave of Wonders

Tonight, at BMW Edge, Federation Square, 7:30pm:

WORDSTOCK - Reinterpreting the songs of Nick Cave. Tickets $20/$15

Besides me, it will feature such talents as Sean M. Whelan, Emilie Zoey Baker, Clem Bastow, Daid Quirk, Damien Lawlor et al.

If you're in Melbourne, you may well regret it forever if you miss it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Thank God that someone finally understands. It’s so hard being a young man in today’s society, beset on all sides with pressures and temptations, that it comes as a relief when someone shows their comprehension of the modern man’s struggles the way Miranda Devine did in last week’s Herald.

Miranda, with unerring perspicacity, has pointed out the real root of the issues surrounding footballers and their sexual misadventures. It’s all about society’s failure to teach women how to behave properly. And isn’t that the truth? Oh, it may not be fashionable to say so in today’s anything-goes, teenage-sexting, pass-the-crackpipe dole-bludging tree-humping society, but the fact is it is just plain unreasonable to expect men to know how to treat women when women insist on waving their sexuality in our faces like a red rag to a five-eighth.

As Miranda explains, far better than I ever could, without any “expectation of women to modify their behaviour”, it is “putting unsustainable pressure” on these poor befuddled footballers to expect them to know how to act. After all, they may be “drunk, insensitive or carried away by group dynamics”. Hey, we’ve all been there, right? If I had a dollar for every time group dynamics had forced me against my better judgment to jump on top of a reluctant teenager in a hotel room, I would have enough money to put a whole battalion of young girls in cabs after thanking them politely.

The point is, why don’t women modify their behaviour? Why is it always incumbent on we men to restrain ourselves from groping or assaulting or watching a dozen of our friends copulate with, yet nobody ever calls out women for their deliberate and persistent sexual attractiveness? It seems that our moral compass has spun out of control to the extent where we suddenly laud the sexually active woman, but condemn the innocent drunk insensitive footballer. Has the world gone topsy-turvy? When did the balance of power between the sexes shift to such an extent? When did we decide that avoiding sexual assault was the sole responsibility of the assaulter, with no corresponding responsibility on the assaultee? Aren’t relationships these days supposed to be an equal partnership? Not in the case of the relationships between young girls and entire football teams, apparently. No, in those situations, suddenly everything changes and the footballers have to do all the work. They’re expected to read all the subtle signals, pay attention to all the complex issues of consent, say all the thank-yous, make all the police statements. How about a bit of give-and-take, girls?

After all, as Miranda says, with typical warm, knowing wisdom, today “it is men, alone…who must restraint themselves”, despite the very pertinent fact that “young women are told they can act and dress any way they please”; and if that ain’t nail on the head, finger on the pulse, rolled-gold truth. What mad Marxist social engineer hit upon the idea of women acting and dressing any way they please? Have you seen the way they dress these days? It’s like, ladies, I know you have breasts. You don’t have to draw such obvious attention to them. You don’t have to strut around displaying your bodies, as if they were something to be proud of. But there they go, running about in next to nothing, frequenting nightclubs, drinking and dancing and rubbing our noses in their shameless femininity, and here we are, expected to restrain ourselves. We’re expected to just ignore this wanton behaviour, act as if they’re not shattering all our long-cherished moral codes.

We once had a social contract in this country: women covered up and stayed home; and men agreed not to force them into sex except under extreme provocation. As far as I’m concerned, they broke the contract first. Now we have the absurd situation where women get away scot-free with doing whatever they feel like, while somehow a bunch of fit young men are pilloried for no greater crime than giving expression to the perfectly natural, healthy urge that every man has, the urge to climb through a window and stand around naked with some other fit young men, observing each other’s sexual technique. The fact that these men are highly paid elite athletes, for whom any kind of distraction or media brouhaha could seriously affect their match-day performance, just makes the injustice all the more tragic.

Not that men are the only victims here. As Miranda observes, “our era’s turning point in sexual politics confuses women as much as men”. In all likelihood, that lass from New Zealand was quite confused when she went on Four Corners. So you see, women are suffering too. The sheer confusion must be so overwhelming; that’s probably why they act out by seducing all those footballers, or by reading Twilight, or exposing their midriffs, or any of the other bizarre ways in which modern women demonstrate their irretrievable descent into an inescapable moral vortex.

But there’s a way out, ladies. You can turn things around. You can return to your “natural modesty”. You can stop ruining men’s lives with your thoughtless expressions of sexual identity. You can stop blaming the victim – footballers – and start taking responsibility for your own feminist-warped minds.

Just thank God that Miranda came along to save us all, before it was too late.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Earth Shall Tremble At Our Approach

Last Call: I shall be performing at quite a momentous Wordplay tonight at the Dan O'Connell - details in the sidebar. Momentous because it's the last Wordplay before its great convenor Geoff Lemon heads overseas, and also because sharing the bill with me will be hip-hop luminaries Solo of Horrorshow and 1/6 from Illzilla (I don't know either, but people who do say they're very good) and spoken wordy star Briohny Doyle.

I'll be on first, so get in early.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Head Scratcher

I'm not sure I quite understand the complaints about stay-at-home mothers not getting maternity leave. To take "leave", I believe you actually have to have a job to take leave from. I think maternity leave is meant to be a payment to tide a new mother over while she's not working. I THINK so. I'm pretty sure that if you don't go to work before you have a baby, continuing not to go to work is not actually "taking leave". But some are complaining that stay-at-home mums are not going to get any maternity leave from the jobs they don't have.

It seems a bit like complaining that you're being discriminated against by being denied workers' compensation payments from a company you don't work for as a result of an injury suffered on a snorkelling holiday.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Are You Interested In Climate Change?

If so, why? It's boring as hell. In fact, until NOW, nobody had ever said anything interesting about climate change ever! So go read for a thrilling experience.

I do acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Kevin Rudd and his emissions trading scheme for allowing my dreams to take wing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Conservative Columnists Everywhere

I mean you, Robyn Riley, Paul Sheehan and Andrew Bolt, among others:

Please stop whining like little bitches about how mean Perez Hilton was to Miss California. He was not in any way denying her right to free speech. This is what free speech is:

Free speech is when you have the right to say any bubbleheaded, fundamentalist Christian idiocy that pops into your spacious little skull, and when you do, anyone else has the right to call you the homophobic retard you are.

That's free speech. Giving your opinion of someone else's opinion isn't anti-free speech, it's the very definition of free speech. Get over it.

Oh, and also, the bimbo posed topless. It was against the rules. Nobody made that up to bring her down; the pictures are on the internet. Get over that too.

Oh, and also: I KNOW Perez Hilton is an insufferable dick. That doesn't mean he's not right about this little twit.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Musing...

The thing about the issue raised in the last post is...

Andrew Bolt rails against the tragedy of allowing this poor girl to change her sex, on the basis that she was not born a "boy in a girl's body", but was somehow "twisted" into this state of mind by the abusive behaviour of parents.

And this line seems to assume that if someone is not born into a certain state, that state is not actually genuine.

Let us suppose that Bolt is right (God forbid), and that yes, "Alex" was not born with gender dysphoria, but instead developed the condition later in life. Does that mean her condition is not genuine? If she was not born this way, does that make it any easier for her to keep living as a girl? Does it make her need to be a boy any less urgent? Does a desire lose its legitimacy because it arose in the world and not in the womb?

The whole nature versus nurture debate is inherently flawed. Take the issue of homosexuality. Sure, if you can convince a fundamentalist that gays are born, not made, you might get them to stop trying to convert them back, but in reality it doesn't matter. If a gay person isn't born gay, but becomes gay as a child, as a teenager, as an adult, it doesn't make it wrong to be gay. If scientific evidence came to light tomorrow, proving beyond doubt that homosexuality is definitely a matter of upbringing or environment, it wouldn't change one bit the acceptability of homosexuality, or the importance of gay rights. It wouldn't make homophobes right.

So sure Andy, maybe "Alex" was made into who she is, not born that way. But that doesn't make her any less miserable now, and it doesn't make her any less entitled to try to be happy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is there anything the man can't do?

Andrew Bolt this week writes about the case of "Alex", a 17-year-old girl who wants to be a boy, and who was given permission by Chief Justice Diana Bryant to undergo a double mastectomy to allow her to do so.

Bolt says:

"I have not spoken to Alex. Bryant has. I am not a psychiatrist. Bryant, I presume, has consulted those who are."

And yet, it is a measure of the man's perspicacity, wordly knowledge and polymathic expertise that despite this, he knows the decision is wrong, why it's wrong, and what everyone should have done instead.

Bravo, Andrew, your mighty brain leaves us stuttering in awe

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Live!

Short notice, but you can catch me on "Lime Champions" on Triple R tonight, around 7:40pm. That's 102.7 FM, or http://www.rrr.org.au/ to listen.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu?

It is, hopefully, a laughing matter.

The Definition Of Irony?

It might be Andrew Bolt, a columnist for the HERALD SUN, writing a column complaining about the whipping up of unnecessary panic.

It's like Kyle Sandilands complaining about declining standards in entertainment.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Wise Man Once Said...

"Boat people scare easily, but they'll be back - and in greater numbers."

The Rudd government's failure to sustain the Obi Wan theory of border protection has cost us dearly - as I explain in my latest piece on newmatilda.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Andrew Bolt: Traitor?

Andrew Bolt demonstrates his loyalty to a foreign power.

Mick Keelty, get your surveillance team onto this man straight away. Soon or later, he must make contact with his European masters

The Moral Bankruptcy Of Crimefighters

And in other news...

Police and crime victims' advocates speak out against bushfire fundraising, expressing their outrage at attempts to assist the victims of Black Saturday.

So, the message from the police and crime victim community can be summed up as: "We enjoy seeing people suffer in bushfires." Noel McNamara, how do you sleep at night?

What are the odds?

So the second Australian in a week has died while walking the Kokoda Track.
I never would have imagined that the Kokoda Track was so hard to walk. All the records from the war indicate that it was, to quote the War Office, "A pleasant enough afternoon's stroll, perfect for tourists".

It must have come as quite a shock to those people when they died.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Children's Television Comes Of Age




You lose your heart,
I'll lose mine,
Show me your love and I'll feel fine.
We'll stay close and never part,
I'll always love you, cross my heart.
Show me an L.
Show me an O.
Show me a V,
And finish with an E.
L.O.V.E. I love you and you love me.
L.O.V.E. that's the way it's meant to be.


Hear that, family groups? Meant to be. Leave us alone.

Happy 100th Post!

It's been a long, hard struggle, full of heartache, tears, and forgetting of passwords, but today we celebrate the World of Objects' 100th post. Milestones like this don't come along every day - well, they do, but not on this particular blog - and it makes me feel that it's all been worthwhile to know that after just 100 posts, I have amassed a readership that, assuming nobody is trying to spare my feelings, numbers in the mid-to-high single digits.

So now is a time to think back on the good times, mull over our favourite memories on the blog, and, I don't know, eat some cheese or something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

People Who Deserve To Be Robbed, Part 1

From the Hobart Mercury:

"A missing sheep has St Marys residents baffled.

The fibreglass animal was in the front yard of its owner ’s home on Good Friday when it went missing.

"Whoever took it must have been watching me," said Diana Foster. "I was gardening. I went inside for lunch and they grabbed it." The sheep was wearing pink rabbit ears and a pink skirt at the time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

With Eggs!

Sometimes, Easter can be a confusing time for those not steeped in solemn religious tradition. So for those of you who count among that number, here is a quick explanation of the Easter story, couched in modern terms for easy understanding.

THE STORY OF EASTER FOR THE MODERN "KIDS"

Imagine that you are driving, and in front of you is a big fancy car. Suddenly it slams on the brakes. You do likewise, but cannot stop in time. You slam into the back of the car.

The driver gets out of the car and confronts you.

DRIVER: You hit my car!

YOU: I'm so sorry, I don't know what happened.

DRIVER: It's not surprising really. I cut your brakes.

YOU: What?

DRIVER: Yes. Last night I came to your house and cut your brakes. Then I deliberately braked hard so you would hit me. I set it up so this would happen. I planned it all along.

YOU: So it's your fault?

DRIVER: Oh no, even though I planned it, it's still your fault. So now I have to punish you (takes out a gun).

YOU: You're going to shoot me.

DRIVER: Yes. In the head.

YOU: Isn't that a bit extreme?

DRIVER: Hey, YOU crashed into MY car! You need to be punished.

YOU: But...

DRIVER: OK, look, I am a kind and loving guy. I forgive you. I won't shoot you.

YOU: Oh good.

DRIVER: But I will have to shoot someone. Hey Junior, come out here! (his son gets out of the car, he shoots him in the head)

YOU: Dear God. Why did you do that?

DRIVER: Well, I wanted to forgive you, so I had to kill someone. Say thank you.

YOU: What?

DRIVER: I just saved you from being shot to death. Thank me!

YOU:...Thank you?

DRIVER: OK. Now here's my phone number. Ring me up every day for the rest of your life to say thank you again, and I won't shoot you in the head.

YOU: I thought you didn't have to shoot me, because you shot your son.

DRIVER: Oh yeah, but if you're going to be ungrateful, I'll have to shoot you anyway.

YOU: I'm very confused.

DRIVER: Here, have a chocolate bunny.

And that's Easter.

For a more inspirational take on the holiest holiday, see newmatilda.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are You Looking For A Way To Look Less Slovenly?

Look no more! For here to save you from your own cripplingly ugly appearance is newmatilda's Brand-New Range Of T-shirts And Assorted Other Things!

Click on that link to enter the world of current affairs-analysis-themed merchandise.

In particular, check out the range of t-shirts, many of which feature hilarious and nether-moistening quotes by the man whose blog you are even now unable to tear your eyes away from.

...which is me. You can actually wear quotes by ME, on a T-SHIRT. This is AWESOME. Now you won't even have to talk to people to let them know how much you love me. That's got to save all sorts of time in your day-to-day routine. Go order some now!






Isn't that SEXY????

Update

You may have noticed a new segment on the side of this blog, under the heading Live!

This is to let you know where I'll be performing or making appearances in the near future. So if you were sitting at home saying, "I really really want to go see Ben in all his fleshy, ill-fitting-jacketed glory, but I have NO IDEA where to go!" you could simply log on, check the blog, and be informed of my every movement.

Seriously. Apart from those gigs, I don't move at all.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Latest

I expose Australia's petty, insular insistence on not being a suburb of China in newatilda here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And while we're on the subject...

OK, so Kevin Rudd is on a flight. He asks for a meal. They tell him he can't have it. He gets annoyed. And then the flight attendant breaks down in tears.

Sorry? This is a member of the RAAF! A member of our armed forces CRYING because someone was mean to her!

What the hell kind of hiring practices does the air force have?

Is this the kind of defence we're putting up against our enemies? In the event of an invasion, our men and women in uniform will put their shoulders to the wheel and strain every sinew in the defence of our way of life...unless the invaders get a little snappy, in which case our men and women in uniform will run to the toilet and have a bit of a cry.

Hey, unnamed RAAF attendant...HARDEN THE FUCK UP!


Sally Morrell of the Herald Sun, of course, provides an alternative view, but given this is a woman who willingly engages in sexual intercourse with Andrew Bolt, I think we can disregard her judgment in any matter. I think her opinion is borne mostly of the fact that whenever SHE says "Don't you know who I am?" she just gets furrowed brows and an uncertain, "Kathy Bates?"

Great point, Sally - Rudd probably wouldn't tell the Queen off if he got the wrong meal at Buckingham Palace - and if you're not willing to hurl obscenities at the Queen, what right has anyone to get pissed off at anyone ever for any reason?

Laurie Oakes's article here actually reveals that RAAF personnel have enormous difficulty doing the job they're paid to do - in fact, flying on an air force plane is apparently akin to a sort of crash diet.

Not that we can blame the defence force for letting catering slip its mind - its preoccupied with weightier matters, like spying on the Defence Minister and fighting for the right to employ butlers.

National Security In Jeopardy: Lodge Infiltrated By Authorised Tradesmen

Let us take a hard, unflinching look at the latest scandal to come out of Canberra, as reported by the Herald Sun.

The sequence of events:

1. A group of men came to the Lodge, claiming to be maintenance workers.
2. They showed documentation indicating they had been cleared by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
3. Police checked their documentation and found it to be in order.
4. They spent some time in the Lodge.
5. They went home.

But there is more to the story: the men looked like bikies. Is something afoot, newsies? You bet your bloodstained bollards it is!

Given that these men, who suspiciously showed up with correct documentation and spent mostly unsupervised time in the Prime Minister's residence, were dressed in leather and had tattoos, it can be seen that what has actually occurred is an ATTACK ON THE LODGE BY BIKIE GANGS!

What they were doing in there, who knows? But certainly their tattoos represent a serious threat to security? What if they took showers? What if they washed their underpants in the Lodge's sink? What if a visiting foreign dignitary should stay at the Lodge and discover a copy of Live To Ride under the bed?

Terrifying thoughts, indeed. It's a disturbing thought that bikies might be able to gain access to the Lodge in order to...walk around. And do stuff. Like, maybe they were laying bikie eggs, using the PM's house as an incubator for the coming bikie army. Maybe they were there to sell amphetamines to Kevin Rudd. Maybe the reason Rudd was so cranky on that flight was because he had insufficient amphetamines. That can really stress a man out, I hear.

In any case, it's unacceptable. We need to get to the bottom of this. A Royal Commission into people with tattoos entering the Lodge must be announced immediately, for the sake of all our freedom.

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Stuff

Well, hello there. I think it's time to plug meself; what else are blogs for?

Apart from my latest article, previously mentioned, on the simple joys of hot president-on-prime minster action, I also have NEW STUFF!

At Babble, a new and rather spiffing parenting website, you will find this piece by me, about the recent additions to my family. Hope you like it.

In other, more distant news, mark down May 23 and 24 in your diaries; these are the days I will be appearing at the Sydney Writers' Festival. I'll write more on this as we further approach the festival, but I'd love to see you there.

A Momentous Day...

As for the first time in my life, I start cheering for Bec Hewitt.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Monarchy: moving with the times

So Robyn Riley - fearless campaigner for truth, justice and the duty of the mainstream media to publish unsubstantiated nude photos of prominent public figures performing legal and consensual acts in a private place thirty years ago in order that the public know the sort of person that the person they are voting for looks a bit like - this week tackles the monarchy.

Apparently there is a bill under consideration in Britain that would remove the gender bias from royal succession rights.

And as Robyn says, "about time too. It is ridiculous that gender is still relevant".

Yes, indeed, what a ludicrous way of organising one's monarchy. Maybe now, finally, we can bring our undemocratic medieval system of hereditary privilege into the 21st century. It seems absurd that in this day of age, the selection of our head of state should be dependent on their sex. It's about time we took that giant leap forward and selected them based purely and simply on who gets born first to the descendant of whatever family managed to wrest power from another several centuries ago.

After all, it would be terrible if the monarchy were to seem in any way outdated. It must move with the times, lest it be seen as obsolete and pointless and wasteful and generally stupid.

Hate for that to happen.

Brokebarack Mountain

World leaders: how graphic should descriptions of their homosexual liaisons really be?

You decide, after reading my latest piece for newmatilda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Empire Grows...

I'm on Wikipedia! Now it can truly be said, I actually exist.

It looks a little threadbare, though. Maybe you should go spice it up.

Edits that make me appear more interesting than I actually am will be much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On ninemsn.com...

The headline read, "Brand promises laughs, not orgasms".

I did not click on the link, preferring to retain the belief that the story is about KR Darling Downs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Have you heard of the environment?

Apparently it's quite important. This shocking realisation galvanised me to write my latest newmatilda piece, a rousing wake-up call to those whose criminal apathy has caused them to read an insufficient number of satirical online articles lately.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Where did THAT come from?

Andrew Bolt is angry about sharks. So are his commenters. So angry about sharks are they that they express it in the time-honoured way - by calling me a mental retard. It's tight down the bottom of the first page, which is convenient.

I suppose it's kind of a privilege that out of all the leftist scum he could have name-checked, he chose ME!

Absence makes...

Sorry for a little inactivity recently. There have been several deaths in my and my wife's family of late, the last of which was extremely sudden and shocking, and I've had not much time or inclination for blogging.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Possibly...

Miranda Devine's most ironic headline ever.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to read the Herald...

The Sydney Morning Herald continues its outreach programme for developmentally delayed opinion writers as Miranda Devine, bless her, puts forth her firm and well-researched views on sharks.

Miranda is furious at the attitude taken by so many hippie green homosexualists these days, that sharks have more right to be in the water than humans, and that people, perhaps, know the risk they're taking if they enter the ocean, which is where sharks traditionally live.

Now, personally, I have always found the threat of shark attack to be one of the more easily avoidable in our world. Unlike nuclear war, sharks are relatively limited in their scope, and unlike serial killers, they almost never break into private homes in order to attack. "Stay out of the water" is pretty much the golden, and only, rule, re: avoiding sharks, I thought. Miranda puts us straight.

She begins by waxing lyrical about a "tall, blond, 15-year-old Adonis" of her acquaintance, but let's not delve too deeply into Ms Devine's reverse-Lolita fantasies, and move on to the crux. Apparently the debate has "taken a surreal turn", as people stand up for the rights of those damn sharks.

"'Dirty, stinking humans … scum of the planet and hopefully sharks will be here for millions more years after we're extinct" was typical of one misanthropic comment on a surf website this week.'" she writes. Well, yes, it would be typical. If you're restricting yourself to describing one comment, then quoting that comment will, in general, tend to be quite representative. In a similar way, "I have a dream" was typical of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. Well done, Miranda, you have certainly nailed the rampant anti-human feeling spreading like wildfire through that single person.

Miranda then says that Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald's warning for swimmers to avoid going in the water at times when sharks are most active is "blaming the victim." Indeed. It's a lot like when people say that if a woman goes nightclubbing in a short skirt or low-cut top, it's her own fault if a shark eats her. When will we stop blaming the victim and start blaming the SHARKS? Why don't the sharks take some responsibility for their actions? No means no, sharks! If we say we don't want to be eaten, back off!

"We have been designed to swim and are at home in the water," says Miranda in her defence of humans' rights to swim in shark-infested waters. I'm not quite sure she's on such solid ground here, actually. I mean, a lot of humans LIKE it in the water, but to say we've "been designed" for it may be a stretch, mayn't it? We don't seem to be quite as well-designed to swim as, say, every water-dwelling animal on earth. We're not even as well-designed to swim as dogs. And we're probably more at home on land, really. Where our homes are. Especially when compared to sharks, who are "at home in the water" to quite a drastic extent, relatively speaking. I don't think we're really at the top of the league table in terms of at-home-in-the-waterness.

Still, it's a worthwhile point to make. These sharks have gotten away with the unthinking following of their primal instincts for far too long. It's time to get tough on these vicious bastards. As Miranda says, "if it comes to a choice between a shark life and a human life there just should be no contest".

And if it comes to a choice between a shark life and a human finding somewhere else to swim...ah, but that's greenie thinkin'.