Monday, December 29, 2003

No blogging for a while, but my planned summer of productivity is slowly morphing into a summer of lying on my bed in boxers listening to The Smiths, as it always does. Now that the house is free of Christmas family members, I can return to this natural state. I think I’m finally over Christmas, which is quite sad. Keep in mind that in my house Santa was delivering the goods until I was 18. Anyway, I was gonna draw up a G List for 2003, but I can’t remember if stuff was released this year or last year, and everything I’ve been listening to this year was released last year, so the whole exercise seems quite pointless really. I can't even remember what movies I've seen. I know I hated The Pianist but that's about it. Here, then, is a siplified list, broken into broad categories of good end evil:

Marcia Hines
Sugababes - Hole in the Head
Christina Aguilera
Radar magazine
Lord of the Rings
Kylie Minogue - Slow
Charlie's Angels - Full Throttle
Finding Nemo
Peaches (thanks Amy)
Chicks on Speed (thanks Amy)
Emmylou Harris - Stumble into Grace
The Bachelor

The Pianist
Adrien Brody (and dog)
Ben Affleck
Kylie's taste
Rise Up - The Final 12
Lenny Kravitz (bad for Nicole)
The Matrix 2 & 3 (although I haven't seen them)
The Sunrise "team"
Kylie Minogue - Body Language
Pointless TV presenters eg Toni Pieren and Antonia Kidman
Madonna (although I didn't mind American Life)
Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes
Ian Thorpe's underwear range
Mel Gibson's The Passion (in anticipation)

Sunday, December 28, 2003

On Boxing Day I went to see The Return of the King in Bendigo with my cousins and family. I had gone into it expecting it to be the best film ever, but it isn't. It's good though, and quite a feat when you think about how wrong the whole adaptation could have gone in a different time and in different hands without such a great commitment to the enterprise and the detail and the characters and stuff. Still, all during the screening I kept being assaulted by bad smells. The audience's bowels were percolating post-Christmas dinner/grog, or something. Phew. And the end was quite protracted, which is in itself true to the book, but you're like, "go away Frodo". It was very much like the book actually, and I kept thinking, "oh, I've seen this before", but only because it followed the story of the book quite correctly, which isn't a bad thing. Gollum was adorable as always, and I think he should get more credit than he is given for saving the world from darkness. Frodo wouldn't have got far without him, either. And Aragorn was so lovely [swoon] if a bit too clean by the end. And it was cool to see that Brett guy from the great NZ comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords [who were a highlight of the Melbourne Comedy Festival earlier this year], in a tiny one-line speaking role, all dolled up as an elf. God that guy is a genius. I'm pretty sure it was him. Man, I can't wait for the Comedy Festival to roll around. I think it should happen twice a year, at a minimum, though. That would be seriously sweet. So, thumbs up to the the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. You can't really be disappointed or critical about it when so much work went into it. And it is of a much higher quality than most other epic films. So, yeah. Good on it. And that Aragorn sure is a keeper. He just needs someone to rub some dirt into his hair. Mmmmm.
I don't know if anyone else read the 'scathing' critique delivered about Nip/Tuck in the most recent Green Guide, but I just did and it really shat me. The guy who wrote it, John C. Murray, showed himself up as an utter twat. He obviously doesn't like the show, which shows poor TV spirit but is allowable. However, what cannot be ingested without consternation is his belief that he has good and objectively principled reasons for disliking the show. I'm here to tell you; he so doesn't. Murray's article rehashes Nip/Tuck plot points, as if, by simply repeating the show's narratives its underlying ludicrousness will out. I will employ much the same tactic here. Because this fellow's gotta go down, and I really think his own words'll do it for him. You see, I love this freakin show. It's good. It packs some great thrills and some character-allegiance wars you can really get stuck into [I personally think other characters take their shit out on Julian McMahon's character way too much. Lay off him!]. Anyway, diss Nip/Tuck will you? Oh, baby, it is on!

While making it clear that he is not worried by the "bloody detail" of the surgical procedures shown on the show [you see, he's no kneejerk wowser], he is still "disturbed when they are displayed free of any justifying dramatic context". Apart from that gripe being a cliché, um, duuude! They are plastic surgeons! They perform plastic surgery! Hello context! He also thought the whole 'Matt walking in on his girlfriend with her girlfriend' story line was a silly and peurile male fantasy [porn industry staple] which signalled that the show was entering "the realm of utter farce". And you wanna know his reason for thinking this? It was because, "true to tawdry tradition, Vanessa and Ridley [the lesbians] are, for some reason [my italics], wearing skimpy cheerleading outfits". Er, John, that's because they're like, cheerleaders! So there! It was a dramatically consistent scene, mister, so let's just enjoy it, eh? But what annoyed me most about the article was that he wasn't prepared to give the show anything. He says, and I quote, "and why, we might ask, is a series that seeks to reveal and condemn the American obsession with good looks populated by a cast of such good-looking people?" Oh fuck off mate. Seriously. Am I supposed to say touché here? Cos I ain't gonna. Firstly, it's television, so good-looking people abound anyway, and you're a bit of a shit to beat the show down by holding it to a different standard than other entertainment pieces. Soooo not touché. Secondly, I don't think the show professes to be so clunkily preachy that it seeks to "reveal and condemn" anything. I mean, we are free to read this condemnation in the show if we so wish, and there have been some storylines which could support that case. But to go so far as to call it an aim. I don't know, you might be reaching there. Either way, you're a dick because you seek to back up this point by saying "even the grossly overweight Nanette Babcock has pretty features". Whoah... Whoah! There is just so much that's wrong with that! Which is fine by me, because you completely lose all the collateral you've tried to establish about not being a pig. Hah! But I don't care anymore. It's actually a waste of time writing about how much of a git he is [but this is a blog, and you're reading it, so you've got time and I won't spare you] when he actually reveals it himself at the end by talking about the 'real women' in the 'real drama' shows that he prefers to watch over the likes of Nip/Tuck and its "sex-drenched phoniness". [Yay, sex-drenched phoniness!] You see, after watching Nip/Tuck, he's gonna "turn in relief" to the likes of Tyne Daly from Judging Amy because "these women have lived-in faces, the mature countenances of interesting people leading solid, multi-dimensional, dramatic lives". Oh John C. Murray, I shudder in your general direction. But, whatever. The problem is, these multi-dimensional women you speak of also happen to be in shit shows. Judging Amy really is insufferable, especially Tyne Daly. Trounced!

So, John C. Murray, you're a dick, okay? Alright, maybe not, but you pissed me off. Nip/Tuck rules! Just go with it, okay? There's room for frothy fun. Spirit in which it is intended and all that. Anyway, it is so not the right show to fight your battles over, man. You just can't argue 'seriously' about Nip/Tuck without pratting yourself. I mean, I have probably pratted myself arguing about it here. But I am okay with that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas for me just provides an excuse for an end of year familial get together, which is fine and what not. I had never really thought too much on it previously, but I have now become relieved that Christmas means no more to me than that. Had I any serious belief or mood investment in the specialness of Christmas or any such crap, I would probably be a raving loon by now because of all the travesties visited upon us all in its name. I am a raving loon anyhow. Travesties just shit me. So, Christmas is completely fucking annoying, people. You see, for some reason, the "spirit of the season" brings a whole different set of rules into play concerning what is and what is not appropriate behaviour. The ground shifts, but not in a good way. Normal people can't do normal things without being berated about not being sufficiently "in the spirit", while crappy people can do extra crappy things, and, if the crap they do is linked in some indirect way to Christmas, they won't be called on it. For example, there's this weird guy at work who is always saying "God bless you" to the people leaving the restaurant, which makes everyone blanch and look at him a little askew. But for the last week, he's paired it with a "Merry Christmas", and somehow that makes it all doo-lally. Grrrrrr. And, stupid me, I just kept on saying "Have a good night" to the customers, because that is normal and unfreaky and all, but then my boss would immediately say "Merry Christmas" over my shoulder in an effort to compensate for my lack of holiday-appropriate farewell. Apparently, I was the one being weird. Why? Why? Why? So Christmas means the freaks rule, and for no great reason. It shits me.

Anyway, my thusly developed new feeling that the whole "being Christmas expressive" was a wanky exercise, ripe for abuse by charlatans and freaks, solidified earlier today. I caught this mid-afternoon newsbreak on Channel Seven and found it to be quite an horrid and odd and somehow offensive thing. Here are three of the news items that were considered urgent enough to get disseminated in a two-minute synopsis of the important news of the day; 1] "A helping hand from the Salvos and Seven News for battling single dad of three, Rob Allan, whose house was destroyed by fire", 2] "new Seven recruit Molly Meldrum gives his support to Melbourne's homeless", 3] "and Jennifer Keyte grants a little girl her longtime Christmas wish". Are they bonkers? For some reason, the fact of the date being Christmas Eve gave Channel Seven license to include blatant network promotion alongside its news delivery. I mean, that's pretty shitty right? And, usually, we could all agree on it, right? But now, because it is Christmas, somehow pulling that kind of shit is okay. In other crimes against humanity, [aside from Christmas t-shirts and earrings] people feel themselves terribly witty and completely within their rights if they refer to me, or to anyone else for that matter, as "the Grinch". Hilarious. Inspired. Meanwhile, I am an asshole because of piddly little things, like failing to incorporate a new phrase into my greeting repertoire, or being dismissive of the worth [aside from profit-making] of Christmas albums, or not wrapping my gifts months in advance, or not hysterically anticipating waking up on the morning of the actual day to see what 'Santa' has brought. Apparently, I deserve people's pity because I have 'lost' some of that youthful 'innocence' and 'exuberance' which is so keenly interwoven with Christmas. Somehow it's me whose not "in the spirit", whatever the hell that means. But Channel Seven is? You people are crazy. Leave me alone. I'm all humourless, and it's all Christmas' fault.

P.S. However, Channel Seven is not all bad. It does deserve great kudos for theming its summer programming as "brand spankin new", which, brilliantly, allows logo-positioning spots to remain theme-relevant and non-gratuitous even when featuring nothing more than close-ups of bather-swathed bums. Excellent.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Today is a day I look forward to every year. The Oprah's Favourite Things episode aired and it's a highlight of the year. I can't tell you how compelling hysteria is to watch. And this year, they brought it up a notch. There was profuse screaming and crying and hugging and god-praising dancing fits with arms raised to heaven. They were a seriously whacked out mob. Crazy. But the funniest moment came at the beginning, after Oprah lit the fire for hysterical gratitude under everyone's arses by saying "Are y'all the kind of people who have never won anything in your life? [audience screams] Well, this is your lucky day!" [audience screams] Then the Christmas set got rolled in by poor schmucks dressed as elves and people were losing their minds and Oprah's fraternising and grab-handing with the crowd, and then she pulls out a gasping and crying middle-aged woman who is like jelly in her arms, and ably directs her to the centre stage where she asks her "So, you were just telling me that you've never won anything in your life?" [audience screams] And the woman sobs, "Not a thang. Not a thang. Oh, thank you so much" [audience screams] and then she crumples into inarticulacy on Oprah's Ralph Lauren cashmere cable-knit sweater [which y'all will get to take home!] and it looks very unlikely that this woman will recover anytime soon. So, here's the funny. Oprah gees this woman up - "This is going to be a great day for you! [repeat last words of sentence, emphatically Oprah-style] For you!" - and drags her out purposefully to capture an emotional and grateful clip moment [audience screams] but then, when the moment is over for her, and the purpose of it has been fulfilled [though definitely not for the woman, who is still garbling something about how much she loves Oprah and some annoying details about the impact Oprah's had on her paltry little life, or something], it's done, and Oprah immediately switches toward the crowd and begins reading the autocue - "It's my Favourite Things episode" - because she's a consummate professional and the show must go on. But, because the woman is still hanging around, what Oprah actually says is "It's my [switch to stern warning tones] Go back to your seat! [unswitch] Favourite Things episode!" [audience screams] My god that show is prime.
For your consideration, I proffer Lost In Translation, which I enjoyed. It's Tokyo, it's two cool people who are bored, it's the fun that can be had in an uncomfortable place if you find a kindred spirit to be perplexed with. Aaaaah. Quizzical looks need to be shared. And if loving Bill Murray is wrong, I don't wanna be right. Speaking of love, had thought I was over the whole Viggo/Aragorn thing [in favour of a straight Aragorn thing], but had thought wrong. If a picture of Mr Mortensen pops up somewhere that I am not expecting, I almost gasp from the jolt of it. I spent $16.50 on an air-freight copy of Vanity Fair magazine with him on the cover. I felt obliged to buy it after doing that whole internal leap thing at the sight of it and then realising that my hand had already, and without a conscious directive, gone halfway towards caressing it. I rationalised the purchase anyway, what with there being important articles on Gitmo and the CIA operative that the Bush administration venally unmasked also contained therein. Excellent delusion, or not so much? Will anyone believe it? The cashier guy sure didn't. I could tell. Damn smirker. Listen buddy. I don't care what you're thinking. You don't know me. And anyway, this is perfectly reasonable behaviour. There is no shame. I was worried that reading it would leave me irrevocably disappointed, being so blindly invested in the glory without ever actually having been privy to Viggo as an interview subject, and all. But I needn't have paid any mind to any and all of the various traumas which led to my possession and consumption of this article. Viggo hovers ever so precariously over the 'pretentious wanker' line, but, to my mind at least, he manages to avoid any unforgiveable fits of horrid crapping by virtue of his apparently genuine honesty and relaxed non-arrogance, and, most especially, his swoon-worthy voice [I mentally added the sound of his voice when I was reading his spoken bits]. Swoon. In other 'news', Michael Jackson threw a garden party on the weekend. People are being interviewed about this. I never thought garden parties could warrant such extensive reporting.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I am in the process of catching up by watching the tapes of my TV shows from the last three days [I've been distracted] and I just came across something sick. It's the NBC Today show from Monday - you know, the day after the capture of Saddam. Anyway, as you can imagine, it's wall-to-wall coverage, which means that they cancelled any celebrity interviews they had scheduled in favour of the 'important' stuff. Now, I don't have such celeb-focussed tunnel-vision that I can't possibly handle a morning show without one. That is not my complaint. This is. You see, even while no celebs could possibly appear on such a day as this, because that would just be too improper and anyway they should all be cowering in shame at the frivolous nature of their pursuits, Bill O'Reilly was still welcomed and interviewed about his new book. I am seething. This cretin is only there to spruik his crap, yet he is treated like an esteemed authority whose opinion propriety dictates be sought, and whose appearance in no way jars with the overall tone of the program for that day. This is insupportable! I bet you they bumped Liv Tyler or something [insupportable!] because they just couldn't countenance talking about something so extraneous as a film. But that is just so lame and blind, people! Really, what is the difference between Liv Tyler and Bill O'Reilly? [Hearty apologies to Liv, but I'm talking in terms of relevance to the subject of Saddam]. I almost didn't notice how fucked up the thing was because the NBC people [shame, Matt Lauer, shame] didn't skip a beat or change their 'newsy' tone when they spoke to, or about, Bill. Instead, they talked about "getting Bill's perspective on the capture of Saddam" in the same way that they talked about an upcoming interview with the General in charge of the division who actually did the capturing. They might as well have said, "And later, we'll get Elmo's perspective on the capture of Saddam", but, you see, they didn't, because that would be weird. PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! And then, when Bill comes on, he is also afflicted with the madness. He doesn't seem to feel that his appearance is incongruous in the least, even though the first thing mentioned is his new book, before "but we'll get to that in just a moment". This exchange amazingly follows; "Bottom line, how much of an impact on the situation in Iraq does the capture of Saddam Hussein have?", to which Bill replies, "It's huge. It's an enormous victory for the USA. All Americans should be happy about it. [turns head like a hawk to look straight down the camera and speak directly to all the 'guilty' viewers at home] And those of you who aren't happy about it, you oughta look into yourselves". Who the fuck is this guy? He's there 'taking a stand' against some phantom element of America unhappy about Saddam being found, without a flicker of doubt in him about what the hell he is doing there in the first place using the success of 'our fighting men and women' as a platform to get the word out about one of his money-spinners. What a cunt. It's so fucked up. See, what I'm thinking is, why can they talk to Bill O'Reilly about Saddam, and not Liv Tyler? Both would pretty much have the same authority on the matter. So why get his perspective on any and all the possible implications of this news, but run screaming from the prospect of talking to Liv Tyler about it alongside a Lord of the Rings interview? I just hate it that anytime something 'real' happens, people in the arts have to disappear because what they do is too small and self-interested to be considered alongside such HUGE IMPORTANT matters. And yet pundits, who are simply unrefined views with a profile [and no less self-interested] only gain strength from HUGE IMPORTANT news. They get to take over when big shit goes down. They move to centre stage. I am sensing a major double standard here which goes against sense. I mean, both groups rely on their celebrity, but actors actually work for a living, so doesn't that make them more 'serious' than those who get by simply for being blowhards? Why is the more flimsy group treated as the more serious one? What is up with that? Crazy mad.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Madonna is seriously a dick. I'm watching Oprah and that's the only conclusion to which I can come. Only a dick can listen to Oprah talk about the change she's noticed in them and the 'softer vibrations' coming from them and actually take such talk seriously and accept it as an acknowledgement of the 'work' they've been doing on themselves. A non-dick would laugh at the lameness of it, or something, but Madonna doesn't seem to have her 'self-analysis' up when it comes to praise of herself... or of the positive effects of Kabbalah. I love it that when Oprah is sort of losing the flow of her point, she panics a little and then puts in the word 'spirituality' and Madonna immediately perks up. She talks about the HUGE lessons little Lola is learning at her spirituality classes, like how every action has a reaction. HUGE! Then she goes on to praise some weird schizophrenic mindset that these lessons have put her daughter in, which she calls 'wisdom'. Anyway, the kids learn about the duelling forces within themselves, the good and the bad, and then are provided with 'tools' to combat the bad part. You see, the bad part is 'not really them', but rather their 'opponent'. Slightly uncomfortable. Put me in mind of that scene in Donnie Darko where Jake gets all frustrated by the reduction of the vast potentiality of human emotion to two motivating forces; love and fear. Seems like a crock. Have noticed Oprah not a very challenging interviewer. Very annoying though.
With crisis and calamity all around, and after a few intital minutes attending to the details of the capture, I could take it no more. Too much 'pathetic' and 'dishevelled' and 'unkempt' for me to bear. So I had no choice other than to studiously peruse the latest NW. Life goes on, you know? But anyway, it was small comfort. Within it, I found a ghastly piece of information that shocked me with a flicker of sadness. You see, tucked in amongst all the general gossip at the back of the magazine was the news that Jonathan Brandis had killed himself, with quotes like "struggling to find work in film" and "he enjoyed a moderately successful career" making it all simple and pathetic. Sucks. I was just beginning to like the guy. He was really good in Ride With The Devil which, as I have mentioned quite a few times, is my favourite movie and is also totally underrated and underseen. Not happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Christ! The Saddam coverage is already pissing me off. I was all in a good English mood what with Love Actually and Sky News and Tony Blair conferences and shit, and then they switched to the american ABC News with that Charlie hack who does Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. Way to kill the buzz people. First words out of his mouth were a mistake. He said "And that was Ambassador Tony Blair speaking from...". Yeah I know Charlie's on the fly and his head was probably full of the word 'ambassador' because he was about to talk to one, but still, let me hate him for it anyway. Okay, hate is the wrong word. Let me look upon him with disdain. But, if I did hate him, I would have good reason to [besides the Good Morning America hackness, which is reason enough]. You see, when talking about how Saddam was captured and stuff, Charlie goes "He was found cowering in a mud-hole", so, like, I rest my case.
I just got back from seeing Love Actually and I loved it, but that is beside the point now. You see, on the way home I had made all these grand plans about how I would impress you all with my extensive knowledge of English actoring by listing every role and show and movie that I knew of in which had appeared each person who played a part [no matter how minor] in the film. The only one I couldn't pin down was the one who played Hugh Grant's girlfriend, although she did look familiar, but I wasn't going to even mention that. I was hoping you'd be so dazzled by the breadth and depth of my recollection of every appearance made on ABC TV that you'd forgive me that one. And then, as a final showstopper, I was going to link them all up six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon style just to prove that I had enough stuff on them to link them all up even if the movie Love Actually had never been made and had never achieved that point without me. It would have been terrible fun darlings. For me.

But then I got home and holy shit, Saddam's been and got git! Christiane Amanpour is talking behind me right now. It's all serious and big. So, no treats for me. Bum. I just hate it when personal moments of joy and potential glory are overshadowed and made to seem irrelevant and in poor taste by the monumental events [perhaps] of the world. Poor me.

Ooooh, I have spied a silver lining. Hee hee. Now I can't wait for the red carpet interviews where all the celebs are going to be commenting on the whole Saddam thing. It is going to be gold. GOLD!

Oh yeah. And I guess if it aids stability in Iraq or something, that might be nice too. Oh, and the no deaths thing was also way cool.
This is just a nonsense post to keep the thing ticking over and to give the impression that Symposiasts springs from such thoroughly interesting and agile minds and lives that regular blogging becomes necessary just to release the pressure of all the ideas and happenings. So, yeah. Um, things to recommend - reading Phillips Adam's page in the Australian magazine this weekend. He nails recent US foreign policy shift using quotes from previous US leaders, including Georgie's daddy. Liked it. I've got a lot of time for Phillip Adams, but the precarious personal digressions he sometimes enters into don't always pay off. None this week, though. Made my wall. [But, who am I to chide personal digressions anyway? It's just better when they're good is all]. Saw Japanese Story at the Moonlight Cinema on Thursday, and I liked most of it. I liked the beginning and the middle, but it really dragged near the end [my impatience being exacerbated by the cold and numbness of my behind and legs. I must remember to bring a pillow next time]. On Friday I went to see the Melbourne Symphony play Beethoven's 9th, which is always an exhilerating treat. A tip for anyone thinking of breaking into the whole symphony patronage scene; forget the fancy shmancy dress circle, that's just a crock. Go the choir seats at the sides of the stage all the way [we are seasoned goers and now request them when we subscribe. It's a cinch, because astonishingly the secret is not out... Oh shit.] Best and cheapest seats in the frickin house. Nice little drinkies after for Jedda's birthday and success. Yay. And last night went to Bridgie C's tops soiree where I was wonderfully sustained by a jug of Mojitos [is that how you spell it?], and apologies if anyone else wanted some. Delicious. Excellent folks, excellent catch-ups. Tops night. So my life's all good. But what is there to blog about?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It's a bit late in the telling, but last Sunday evening I went and saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. It was supreme quality baby. Totally excellent. He mixed up his personas nicely, alternating between the all crazy preacher-man, the Elaine-dancer and the heartfelt mournful pianist. Cool. The support acts were Neko Case and Calexico and I would urge you to give them some serious consideration.

In other stuff, I watched Terminator 3 the other day. I liked it. I was expecting to totally hate the distinct lack of Edward Furlong, but Nick Stahl was nice and understated which made me wincingly remember that Eddie's T2 perfomance was way overwrought, man. He still rules in Detroit Rock City though. I saw Nick Stahl in Bully where he played the jerk, and he was good, and is also good in this, the little runt. Claire Danes is also excellent. I also liked it that random truck drivers didn't get summarliy slaughtered by the bad terminator [I think I'm supposed to say 'terminatrix'] just for stopping at the site of an accident, which irked me in the second one. It might seem weird given that 3 billion people die in a nuclear holocaust and all, but I found this 'lighter' than the other Terminators, and more bearable for it. I like the first Terminator a lot, but I've grown to hate the second one [particularly the director's extended edition of it. Blurgh]. It annoys me how pumped they all get, you know? Yeah yeah, the end of the world is coming and only you can stop it, but did they have to be all annoying and earnest all the time? So, I think I like this latest one the best. Instead of being all grappling with the news that he is destined to be the saviour of the remnant of humanity in the aftermath of a nuclear war, this time John Connor is like, a little embarrassed to have to explain to an old school chum that, he's like, destined to be the saviour of the remnant of humanity in the aftermath of a nuclear war. I like it. Oh, and I just remembered something piss funny that's on the DVD. Try the commentary, if only to hear Arnold talk about how he thought it was a great idea to make the new bad terminator a girl, because it is "interesting" and a brilliant concept that keeps the formula fresh and how excited he was about casting a "beautiful face and physique" and stuff. And later, when there's a bit where the terminatrix inflates her boobs, Arnie really likes that. He thinks that all the women in the audience will be saying to themselves, "Wow. I really want my breasts to do that, because some men like them big, some like them small. If I could just change them whenever I needed to like that, wow, that would be great". I was laughing a lot. He has a quite lovely and indecipherable way of expressing himself [and no, I'm not talking about his accent. Jeez, it's just an accent. What's the big deal? I'm actually talking about it being really quite difficult to figure out what he intends when he says the ludicrous stuff. Is he 'naughty playful' or just straight-up arrogant? When he's talking about women, it's really hard to tell]. His DVD commentary was recorded before the whole gubernatorial brou-ha-ha and the groping and stuff, but's it's funnier for it. I can just add it to the growing bunch of hilarious Arnie scenes I am collecting which I am fond of, even if I'm not sure what to make of him through them. There was his appearance on Oprah when he was trying to explain that he was a different man when he was promoting body-building and he would say things like "Pumping iron is better than coming". But, you see, to explain that point he had to say "pumping iron is better than coming" [and hold his fist up from his lap], and so he said it, and shocked laughter gusted up around him for some reason. I thought it was a beautifully crass statement, and anyway, it's in the past, right? And there's all the Letterman clips of him groping exotic dancers and smoking weed and 'teaching English to a young lady' by holding a carrot to her mouth and getting her to bite it and saying "This is Bi-ting", and then just pushing and pulling the carrot in and out of her mouth and saying "and what is this?" or something. I'm really beginning to like the guy. He's a buffoon.

P.S. None of the above should be taken to mean that I think Arnold is a good actor or that his election campaign merited his election or anything. I am just glad that he has allowed so much of his general conversation to be recorded.

Friday, December 05, 2003

TV rules. At the moment I am loving The Weekly Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The OC. Utterly supreme. Oprah is also delivering big time. She has completely lost her footing on the planet Earth and it's great. She's doing shows about 'Entertaining' and being a good hostess and choosing the right 'party favors' to give to your guests to thank them for accepting your specially designed invitations and for sitting at your elegantly themed and scented-candle-laden table setting, wearing outfits that respect the dress code you specified on your invite to allay any confusion and complimenting one another on the 'hostess gifts' they brought you to thank you for inviting them. You see, the holidays don't have to be a chore. Look how easy it all can be! She's seriously peddling porn for the delectation of us simple aspirationals. And even though it's all a bunch of bullshit, it's all good. Today, she was speaking to her 'pioneering new friend Salma Hayek' [a title she kept repeating] and then Beyonce dropped her gorgeousness all over the joint. Bam! I am really looking forward to Monday's episode which is a look 'Inside the Lives of the Rich', and I am hoping desperately that the Hilton sisters will make their appearance then. Sweet. Y'all noddin. I see y'all noddin. I also enjoyed Nip/Tuck this week. I got quite drawn in to it. I will now give you an example of the extent to which my critical faculties were disarmed by it. You see, at the end of the show when the two surgeons were feeding that paedophile guy to a local crocodile, and they cannily masked the human flesh with pork, I didn't go, like, 'yawn'. My exact response was [and I am ashamed of this] to say "Oh wow. He really did listen to his son at the breakfast table. He's a good father after all", which is the response they had set me up for at the beginning of the show when the surgeon's son was haranguing him for never listening, before turning to talk to his little sister about crocodiles, whereupon the pork information was delivered to anyone who cared to listen. And daddy cared. Awwww. They totally nailed me. I should have been laughing at the show's trashiness and attempts at being 'grisly' and 'controversial', but I was more concerned with keeping the partnership together as it threatened to break apart. I kept urging the players to think about it. I would say "geez guys, it's so simple. All you need to do is make a deal with each other ensuring that part of your workload must be pro bono reconstructive stuff, and then you'll be able to keep the practice together without any lingering dissatisfaction", and then became all happy when they took my advice. I am such a sucker.

I have an idea for a show of my own, actually. I reckon a show that just gathered together all the funny and ridiculous news presentations of the week would rate its arse off. Jon Stewart and David Letterman both have popular little clip segments in their shows reserved for news stupidity, but I reckon there's enough material out there for a whole show, every week, or maybe even every day. And I'm not talking about a bloopers show. I'm talking about a highlights show, featuring some of the hilarious crap that passes off as accomplished news. It would of course heavily feature Fox and Today Tonight and 60 Minutes and A Current Affair and stuff, but not exclusively. It would be our policy to go wherever the absurd and dumbass might be found. Just last night on The 7:30 Report there was a report on the near air collision over Melbourne, and even though the story went on to make cogent and fairminded points about new air safety regulations which allow light aircraft to have unrestricted access to airspace also used by commercial jets, it actually began with ten seconds of slow-motion airport/control tower/airplanes footage accompanied by a doomy distorted monstrous engine hum soundscape, with no words breaking the mood until the plane landed, whereupon the reporter's voice-over began; "It's a pilot's worst nightmare..." Pew. Lame to the max. But entertaining and enlightening too, if lampooned. The funniest thing I heard today came not from a news parody, but it was funny because it mirrored a news parody. A 'serious' report on NBC Today [about the dangers of using non-bank ATMs because of the potential for crime-rings to insert devices in them that strip your details from your card and store it so that they can print 'bogus' cards and steal from your account] began with a montage of different ATMs being used and close-ups of the cash being dispensed, and then the voice-over stated, "An ATM is an ATM... Or is it?" Serious cacks . And then later, after talking about the 'nationwide' problem, he gets a byte from a guy who no longer trusts ATMs and will from now on only get his money straight from the bank, before finishing up with "But countless others, especially in the holiday shopping season, won't... All potential victims". These are only random examples, but there are serious possibilities here. If we had a team of employees monitoring all the stations and gathering material [I'd be up for it] then we could assemble some serious gems. Then we'd just need the right host and some comedy writers and the pisstaking and 'consciousness raising' could begin. It could be a really good show, and could be made on the cheap to boot. I am a genius. Alright alright, so it's just a Media Watch rehash, but I reckon it could rule. I would watch it. That's probably not a ringing endorsement of its potential worth, but whatever, it really really could be seriously good. Expanding on an already successful premise. Making a 'fusion' of two already existing and I think award-winning shows [Media Watch content, Jon Stewart slant]. It's got all the elements. It's sooo TV, baby. I'll get my people to call your people.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Regarding Elanor's excitement bout summer TV, I stumbled across Nip/Tuck the other night. There's no way I can explain its tantalizing crapness, so here's an example: "it's not your breasts you have to change. It's your life". I just don't understand what this show's trying to be. Part ER, part Melrose, part Extreme Makeovers, it's all over the place. In one episode they had ruptured breast implants, a marriage breakdown, the collapse of a surgical partnership, a guy with a mask, child abuse, cocaine, a gerbil called Frisky(!) and a mid-life crisis. Also amusing watching Julian McMahon play a sleazoid plastic surgeon - it somehow seems the perfect fit. Funny that his dad once ruled our fair land...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I am getting completely sick of those hair and beauty product ads that co-opt the whole "I am empowered woman" thing. It's just too irritating [actually, it might be the whole "I am empowered woman" thing that's just too irritating. The co-option maybe doesn't bother me so much as the thing. Just to be clear, though. Either way, I am severely irritated]. I just saw an ad that had words like "soft but strong", and "pure but sensual", floating across the faces of women with great hair who are forthright [prepared to look directly at the camera] and feminine [cue secret smiles all round] and fulfilled and content blah blah blah. Puke puke puke. The point was, I'm sure, to demonstrate how these 'seemingly contradictory' terms can now be understood as the great and complicated characteristics of modern womanhood. And don't we all just love that? It's so evolved and intelligent. Yay women. And hey, if these empowering words also happen to describe the kind of hair you can have if you use a particular woman-targeted shampoo then, isn't that all for the good? [short and emphatic] Fuck [disgusted pause] off. Another self-satisfied little piece of crap that has me contorting my body on the couch in an attempt to express 'interpretatively' my revulsion is an ad for some make-up remover towelette, or something. There's this chick taking off her make-up at the end of a long [and presumably terribly modern, with all the joys and pitfalls that that entails. Embrace it, girls] day, and with each wipe she says "Because I am not my mascara", and so on, as she does away with each corresponding type of make-up [mask, falsity, caricature of essential 'woman', whatever you want to call it]. I am biting my fist right now. But the ad becomes its most excruciating at the end when, having rid herself of all the accoutrements women are forced to hide behind on a daily basis, she looks directly into the mirror [she's a forthright one, sassy] and says, "Because I am me". But it's not some deadpan "because I am me". She sounds kind of indignant and shrill with a rising pitch on the "I" and the "me" so she sounds like a whiny school debater, you know, "Because I... am ME". Take that, boys, or whoever it is this 'consciousness-raising' piece of crap is directed at. Take it. Aaarggh! Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. It's just a fucking beauty product! Yeah yeah, power of advertising to shape people's conception of themselves blah blah signpost moments in pop culture revealing or reinforcing an attitudinal shift blah blah no fucking way. These ads are stupid, conceived probably as a cynical ploy that guises greed in 'enlightenment', and they most definitely reduce this 'complex woman' crap to its most unbearable parrot form, and then have it stand for what "the best and most content and adjusted and glossy haired of us" think about ourselves. Please make them go away. It's just too irritating.
Seriously, that $100K Summer Buzz chick on Channel 7 really really needs to go away. Unbearable.