Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I should have mentioned before the horror that is Tiffani (not Tiffany) Wood's new single "What r u Waiting 4". Lyrically a series of vague nothings about making a stand, taking a chance, reaching for that dream blah blah, the world-changing scope is undermined somewhat by the lame-to-the-max (in that classic Australian way) clip. Looking like it was filmed on the set of Changing Rooms, it features Tiffani swanning around in tight tank-tops (showing off her investments), making the appropriate "meaningful" hand-on-chest moves, suggesting deep thought and metaphysical yearning. It gets worse though. There are a few little "stories" thrown in, in which various people unable to reach their specific dream are inspired, after a whispered word from Tiff herself, to go for gold. But the scenarios are just so TRIVIAL it ends up in total farce. There's the tortured artist who doesn't know what brush-stroke comes next, some other guy renovating or something, and Tiff herself who rescues a stray cat and rings the RSPCA - what r u waiting 4? She should have made sure she had the goods herself before she went and slagged off fellow Popstar Sophie Monk in the Herald-Sun a few weeks back. Although I should know better by now, I'm actually looking forward to the 4th Bardot solo effort from Sally - she was always my favourite, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Went to Comedy Festival again tonight. Saw Chris Addison who was really good as usual. He manages to skewer right-wing 'logic' very nicely thankyou. AND he makes me laugh. Which couldn't really be said for Ross Noble tonight. He was utter crap. Soooo shit. And tedious, despite his exertions. It was extra bad because he used to be so good. I retract any and all recommendations I made regarding him. Not this year, folks. If it had been my first time seeing him, I would have thought him a crap comedian. Which he may well now be.
Fantastic piece by Steve Martin on The Passion of the Christ down at Maybe I'll Go Blind. Check it out.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

I spent this afternoon watching Gigli and Swept Away. OH MY GOD! GIGLI SUCKED ASS! Christopher Walken's scene was good, and I liked the retarded boy, but JESUS CHRIST that movie BLEW! About half way through I started screaming into the pillows on my couch. I don't understand how people managed to watch it in a cinema. You really NEED to groan [and thrash] during this film. NOTHING HAPPENS, but it happens SO ANNOYINGLY that it's UNBEARABLE. Oh man! They talk all this crap, but it's really lame old crap pretending to be saucy. Jeez. I can't remember the number of times I had to say "SHUT UP! Just shut up! You made your lousy frickin point five minutes ago. So STOP TALKING! Both of you, please have mercy... no! No please, no more theories, no more little facts about the world that you think make a wider point. Noooooooo! Please, just STOP TALKING!" Oh god, I'm never going near that thing again. Hideous. How on earth did it ever get made? Anyway, Swept Away was way better, and I didn't hate it except that it was quite frustrating at times. I don't think it deserved the pasting it received. But Gigli definitely did. Save yourselves! Curiosity is NOT enough of a reason to endure it. Oh, the horror...
Ooh, I think Mark Latham's gone and done a bad. This whole "lets get the troops out of Iraq" thing seems rather ill-thought out. How many? Was it 800? Or 400? And when? As soon as possible, or by Christmas, or what? Let's go ask Kevin Rudd. Oh, wait, we can't cause he's been gagged. OK. What the hell's going on? This is why it seems like a bad move for Latham, and the Labor party, and for that matter, Australia (we've has a lot riding on this election): Firstly, Howard is now gonna run around screaming that Latham has gone and done something "un-Australian" by betraying a "mate" in a time of dire need. This is perfect for Howard, as he loves being able to frame international politics in the terms of Australian tradition, and this is a grade-A opportunity to do so. Secondly, Latham shouldn't have pledged a withdrawal because it could actually, you know, like impact the Iraqi people. Whether or not he supported the troop deployment, they're there, and they helped to topple Saddam, and it is their (our) continued responsibility to help maintain order and peace until stability is ensured. Howard may mention this, but on the other hand, he may not see the relevance... Thirdly, this genuinely seems to be the kind of "policy on the run" that the government's been talking about - Latham didn't even run this one through shadow cabinet! Until the election, this is gonna be brought up as an example of sloppy Labor incompetence. The troops should come home, but not by any arbitrary deadline that's set for political rather than operational reasons. Kinda reminds me of the whole "let's get the hell out of here before the election" line coming from the White House. Hmmm. For a much more informed analysis, read Michelle Grattan's article in The Sunday Age.
Over a year ago, I had to write an essay for a history subject I was doing about contemporary American society. Funnily enough, the subject was called Contemporary American Society. Anyway, the question I chose to write my research essay on was “Explain why the American public school is and has always been a site of social, cultural and political contestation”. Hmmm. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Explain? How easy! Like, DER! It’s cos they’re fucking mental!” And yes, while that’s a sound argument, and well done on your articulation of it, just try stretching it to 2500 words and cloaking it in the guise of a ‘reasoned response’, okay? Stupid know-it-all. It takes skill, intellectual rigour, an open mind etc. So, obviously, I decided to tackle the question based on something I’d seen on NBC Today. A court decision had, back then, recently been handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District, in San Francisco, which basically said that having the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag - which is recited daily in US public schools - was unconstitutional. Der! But people went mental. Hellooo! Ca-ching! Did someone say “public schools”? Check. And, people are going mental [by which I of course mean taking part in “social, cultural and political contestation”] about them? Check. Oooh, I’m on a roll! This is all so contemporary. Okay, what else is there to this essay question? Ah yes. The “why?”….…. Oh fuck! That’s down to me! Sheeeit. But, phooey, who cares about that now? I’ll think about that later. Meanwhile, how good am I? Being all current and fresh, analysing history as it happens and stuff. I rock! So, needless to say, I wrote the essay, and focussed on the Pledge case to make my argument. And now, a bit over one-and-a-half years later, the US Supreme Court is finally hearing it [no, not a live recitation of my essay, you nongs. The case!] So I’ve decided to dust off my copy of the ONE essay I wrote about it, and designate myself an ‘expert’ on Newdow v. U.S. Congress [after all, if Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly can be sought out for comment about anything, based on their own ill-informed scratchings, then why not me? Not that you guys have strictly ‘sought me out’ per se, but… shut up!] Hah! I KNEW my Arts degree wouldn’t turn out to be a waste of time. Hmmm, actually, I went so freakin nuts over this ONE essay that I should probably amend that previous statement to “Hah! I KNEW my Arts degree [aborted] wouldn’t turn out to have been a waste of time.” Yeah. This post is gonna make it all worthwhile though.….….right?

Okay, let’s get my main point out of the way. The Supreme Court SHOULD uphold the decision made by the Ninth District court. They were right. “Under God” IS unconstitutional. Only read on if you want to hear me try to back that up [pretty much stealing every one of my supporting arguments from Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, who wrote the majority decision opinion of Newdow v. U.S. Congress]. Just letting you know, this bitch is gonna be long. But hey, YOU wanted an expert!

Ready class? Here we go. The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The first part, the “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” bit, is usually known as the ‘Establishment Clause’. The second part, the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” bit, is usually known as the ‘Free Exercise Clause’. All together, the First Amendment installs the ideal that government should neither advance nor inhibit religion, that Americans have a fundamental right to religious freedom, and that such freedom requires the separation of church and state. Thus, the First Amendment precludes government “from passing laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another”, and “from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person’s standing in the political community”. Which means they can’t endorse religion, cos “endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community”. In short, government must be completely neutral towards religion.

Now, to the Pledge. It’s an “oath of loyalty to the US national emblem and to the nation it symbolizes” which was formulated specifically for students so that children would “be daily impressed with a true understanding of [America’s] way of life and its origins”. It is believed to unite Americans in patriotism. In 1942, Congress officially recognised the Pledge, which established their authority over it and over its use [which means they’re liable]. At the time, it read, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Not too shabby, eh? But Congress amended it in 1954, adding the contested words “under God” as a way to defy communism. Take that, commie bastards! We just broke our own rules to show you… something. It might be just plain wrong, but we’ll never admit it! You godless heathens! So, since 1954, the Pledge has read, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. See how that clangs? One nation under god indivisible? Seems immediately contradictory, no? Anyway, there’s the rub.

The words “under God” are intrusive and unnecessary in a pledge of patriotism. They establish an identification of patriotism with religion, and permit the idea that participation in American politics and society is conditional, which presents an impediment to some from fully identifying as authentically patriotic. That’s how it makes Michael Newdow feel anyway. He’s the emergency room doctor who believes that being required to listen to the Pledge - in its current form - daily harms his daughter, and so he went to court to do something about it. See, the Elk Grove Unified School District, which has jurisdiction over his daughter’s school, has a policy that “each elementary school class [shall] recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag each day”, which is pretty standard, by the way. Newdow took exception to the practice, and the Ninth District court agreed with him. On June 26th, 2002, the court handed down its decision. The judges had concluded, 2-1, that “the 1954 Act adding the words ‘under God’ to the Pledge and the [school district’s] policy and practice of teacher-led recitation of the pledge, with the added words included, violate the Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment, and are therefore unconstitutional. And it wasn’t glib about it either.

There are three tests set forth by the Supreme Court for evaluating alleged Establishment Clause violations. They are (1) the Lemon test, (2) the endorsement test, and (3) the coercion test. A majority of the sitting judges on the Ninth District court found that “both the policy and the Act fail the Lemon test as well as the endorsement and coercion tests”. They applied all three to the case, see. The 1954 Act failed the Lemon test because “it had no secular purpose”. This is backed up by history. When Eisehower signed the addition of “under God” to the pledge into law, he actually crowed “From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim… the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty”. Which pretty much shows that the purpose of amending the Pledge to include the words “under God” had no secular purpose. FAIL! The Act also failed the endorsement test, by the judges’ reckoning. Government is meant to be neutral, but “under God” is an affirmation of a belief in god and a recognition of his guidance. If you’re not won over by that argument, then consider this nice bit of clarification from Judge Alfred T. Goodwin himself. He says, “if ‘under no god’ would entail a discouragement of religion and religious belief, then ‘under God’ must also be unconstitutional” because it is an ENDORSEMENT of religion or religious belief. So, FAIL! The coercion test is concerned with context, and the Ninth District court found that both the 1954 Act, and the school district’s policy of reciting the pledge in that form, failed the coercion test. They argued that in classroom situations, with a teacher leading, there was “impermissible pressure on students to participate in, or at least show respect during” the Pledge. In reference to the Act itself, they argued that “the phrase ‘one nation under God’ in the context of the Pledge is normative” rather than descriptive, putting pressure on students to either align themselves or be set apart on a religious basis. The mere fact of hearing “one nation under God” every day “has a coercive effect”. Which is not cool. FAIL!

Now, for the sake of even-handedness, here are some of the arguments opposing the Ninth District court’s take on things. The federal defendants in the case argued that the Pledge “must be considered as a whole when assessing whether it has a secular purpose”. They also argued that “under God” is a statement which, when “taken within its context in the pledge, is devoid of any significant religious content, and therefore constitutional”. Huh? The statement "under GOD" is devoid of significant religious content? I don’t get it. The court thought that was bull anyway, especially considering that the problematic words were SPECIFICALLY INSERTED long after the pledge ‘as a whole’ was formulated. Take that, suckers! The dissenting judge, Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez, argued that the Constitution’s religion clauses “were not designed to drive religious expression out of public thought”. But, dude, according to Barbara B. Gaddy, who wrote a book called School Wars, neither did the Free Exercise Clause ever mean “that a majority can use the machinery of the State to practice their belief”. And the Pledge is State machinery, baby. Other people cited the fact that the Supreme Court has made it clear in previous decisions that atheists cannot legally be compelled to recite those words, to argue that “there is no harm done because the student is not compelled to recite the Pledge”. They see it as perfectly constitutional as long as nonbelievers are allowed to remain silent during the “under God” bit. Cos, in abstaining from uttering the words “under god”, nonbelievers’ rights are not infringed upon, nor does their abstention limit the religious freedom of others who may wish to exercise their right to pledge allegiance to god every day. But this argument ignores the wider effect that a phrase such as “under God” being in a civic statement has. When the government enacts, endorses and encourages participation in a civic exercise that is religiously skewed, it establishes that certain religious perspectives form part of the normative character of proper citizenry, and that is a no-no.

The ruling could hardly have caused more outrage, sometimes described as “patriotic outrage”, and sometimes as “an astonishing onslaught of demagoguery as politicians rush to affirm the centrality of God and his wisdom in the affairs of our nation”. Hee hee, I like the second one better. But people really were being cunts, and saying all this shit about the decision. However, at no point did any of them explain in any detail where the decision errs. Which seems a little lax. Instead, stuff like the following happened. The Senate passed a resolution 99-0 expressing support for the Pledge of Allegiance [which I now realise implicates John Kerry. Dude, how could you be such a dumbass?] A statement was issued from the White House, saying “It is the view of the White House that this was the wrong decision, and the Department of Justice is now evaluating how to seek redress”. Aaaaagggh! How can you possibly say that? Newdow is the one seeking redress you gits! He’s just trying to restore the Pledge to its pre-1954 version. Other brilliant arguments were advanced, such as “the decision is poorly thought out” [which is just not true], or “obviously, the liberal court in San Francisco has gotten this one wrong. Of course we are one nation under God” [which is just as plainly NOT TRUE!]. There were appeals to “common sense” or to “the definitive character of the American way of life” [whatever that means], and sometimes, people said dumb shit that just proved the court’s point. Like, saying that mentioning God “should offend no one who is proud to be a citizen of the United States” does no more than confirm that an ideological norm connecting God with America has been ‘established’. Unnnn! Some said that a “ceremonial reference to God” doesn’t endanger the integrity of public institutions. Actually, I’m being too kind. What they actually did was list all the public institutions that have references to god in them and then got hysterical and said things like “What’s next? Are we going to remove ‘in God we trust’ from out money? From our MONEY!” Anyway, to discount a court ruling by saying “this decision will not sit well with the American people” is to claim only that the majority doesn’t recognise that a problem exists for a minority living under the same conditions, which is precisely why this frickin stuff is in the Constitution in the first place, and why ‘activist judges’ are the ones who make sure it gets adhered to. For fuck's sake, the Bill of Rights was designed precisely to protect freedom of conscience from officials or majorities of any kind! The Newdow v. U.S. Congress decision wasn’t an “assault on God”. Rather, it was the first time in a long while that the rights of those who do not accept the majority’s religious beliefs have been vindicated. Just read the frickin decision, you twats. It proves its point exhaustively.

In conclusion, the Pledge of Allegiance, in its current form, fails to pass every Establishment Clause test which has been used by the Supreme Court in recent years. So I don’t see how the Supreme Court could now do anything other than uphold the Ninth District court’s decision, thus requiring Congress to remove "under God" from the Pledge. But we shall see.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Just got accused of disliking Ian Thorpe because he is challenging the boundaries of what a male sports star can and can't do (e.g. he can't have a range of pearls), and by implication, challenging the boundaries of what a straight man can do. My instant response was "I hate Ian Thorpe because he's tacky, and that's it", but I've tried to give it some thought. Do I dislike him cause I don't trust his proclaimed straight-ness? I certainly wouldn't think any more of him if he were gay, that's for sure. He still shouldn't have a range of pearls (sorry Elanor and Mel, don't attack me...). One of the positives of the whole Thorpe thing though, which hadn't occured to me before, is that he is pushing the envelope in terms of what a popular male sports personality can do. It's good that a "bloke" can dabble in fasion and TV and other non-blokey things. It's good cause hopefully it'll have a "trickle-down" effect and make it easier for every other Australian male who doesn't fit the fabled "bloke" sterotype to do the things they're interested in. I hope I don't dislike him cause of his "metrosexuality". If I did, I would be very fucked up and self-hating. As far as I can tell, I dislike him cause he seems like a wanker (but maybe my subconscious is making me think he's a wanker?). Who knows. Anyway, as much as I have issue, thankyou Thorpie for making it acceptable for all of us to wear white suits, dabble in underwear ranges, and design pearl necklaces. In the long, long, long term, that is a good thing.
How am I supposed to study today? Evil Foxtel has scheduled Lantana, About a Boy and then The Bourne Identity. I forgot how much I love About a Boy. There are about fours scenes where, like clockwork, a tear comes to my eye and I feel all gooey in that manipulative-movie way. I think it's the music, but I also think that Toni Collette is absolutely brilliant. For a supporting role, she totally nails depression (and also music therapist) without any of the theatrics usually used to represent abnormal mental states. I also, strangely, don't hate Hugh Grant, or more like my hatred is by-passed (for this movie only). Ok, back to thesis.
It tried DIY Viva/Boost Juice this morning, with mixed results. First of all, and most importantly, I put on some fresh music, then tried to perk myself up to it. With that sorted, I got down to the details. Now last night while mildly tipsy, I had concocted this scheme, in one of those moments of drunken ambition, and I'd thrown a few bananas in the freezer so I could get an icy-delicious smoothie in the morning. Right. So this morning, I open up the fridge and find that for some reason the bananas have gone black, and of course with the skin frozen, you can't really peel them (should I have taken the skin off?). I then spend abount twenty minutes scraping off the skin, by which time the bananas have started to loose their schmooshiness, thereby reducing the chance of delicious smoothiness. After scavenging for some other dodgily old fruit, I sart up the juicer my parents bought on some health kick many years ago, and then throw the bananas in. Of course, while now somewhat schmooshier, they're still frozen, and seem to clash quite badly and noisily with the juicer. Thinking that metallic breaking noises was perhaps a bad sign when juicing, I decide to cut the banana into frozen pieces and just put it into the juice as an add-on, like ice which I could stir round with a swizzle stick. So I continue to keep juicing, get some apple/strawberry creation happening, and then throw in the aforementioned "banana cubes". I think, on paper, I now see how disgusting this really was, and it probably serves me right for doubting in the first place the gift that is the over-priced smoothie meal.
Coming up to Symposiasts' one year birthday. I think some kind of celebration is in order. A birthday edition perhaps? A week of blogging festivities? A retrospective? Any ideas?

Friday, March 26, 2004

Ohh, ooh, ooh the new Shannon Noll clip is bad, bad, bad. Featuring him in a different colour Bonds T-shirt (builder blue this time), they've got him driving around in a different kind of 70s car (some hotted up Falcon or something), in a slightly different rural area, rescuing some city girl from her evil capitalist pig boyfriend who for some reason's driving a semi-trailor.

I hadn't until this point realised the sheer scope of his svengalis' ambition. It seems they're trying to create a fantasy world, through the music, videos and artwork they produce, that is tied firmly to sometime around 1982. In this world, Noll is the Everyman - the cheeky battler with a heart of gold who stands up for the little man against Big Bad corporate Australia (eg his record label, and the producers and network behind Aus Idol). To get the authentic mood, they're even choosing early 80s lame-arsed, cock-rock air guitar music. It's just totally bizarre, and it's SELLING. There's a market for this. Why do we gonna go back to '82? What's it offer? I know I'm city scum, and my dislike of the early eighties may have something to do with the lack of outdoor cafes and latte (and also the fact that I was like one year old at the time), but seriously, would YOU want to go back?
Watching Angel this morning made me realise how fucking hilarious the title "Head Boy" is in English schools. Ha ha, head boy indeed!! What a perfectly juvenile taunt! It made me conjure up this scene, where the head boy is greeting visitors to the school [in a natty Brit accent], and he keeps getting perplexed by people's response to him, like, "Helloo helloo. Yes that's right. I AM the head boy here. Yes, people call me it all the time. It's my title, see. Yes, very proud... I'm sorry, what-what? Why sir, what on earth do you mean?" Dude, that is a fucking pisser by my reckoning.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival kicked off earlier tonight. Needless to say, I was there. And Daniel Kitson is still a FUCKING GOD! Seriously, if I could go and see him every night of the festival, I would. Too right. Fucking legend. And I would advise that all you good people do the same. What I wouldn't advise is that you go and see Dave Hughes, because, well, he's just not a very good stand-up. Sure, the poor dear wouldn't know it, as his every utterance is met by uproarious laughter and applause, and the end of his show seemed to be a signal to everyone around me to turn to their significant other and say "He was pretty funny, eh?" to the astonishment of moi, who, in my singleton isolation, was then forced to shout in my brain "No he fucking wasn't! Are you people mad?" See, while I completely agree that Dave is a funny man - his scurrilous wit remains the only saving grace of The Glass House, but even that's becoming patchy - I must nevertheless contend, dear people, that he does NOT do stand-up well. I've never seen him do a good show. I have given him plenty of chances to prove that he can, and tonight was his last. So I'm cutting him off. Not that he'd actually give a toss considering that his whole festival season is already sold out, but, there you are. Cancel your tickets while you still can is my advice, kids. Perhaps swap them for some Daniel Kitson tickets, or, failing that, some for Danny Bhoy's show, which I also saw tonight, and which I am not ashamed to recommend because I doubt that the recommendation will be thrown back in my face. He's not super-dooper, but he is better than he was last year, and he was already pretty good then. But he doesn't need my help either. Tell you who does, though? YOU.

So, TAKE HEED. In the spirit of community service, here are some other 'comedians' that, based on past experience, I would steer clear of like the plague, even if popular support would lead you to think otherwise; Wil Anderson, Adam Hills, Lano & Woodley. Believe me, they suck, and their continuing ability to receive support from the public [and often critics too] astounds me. I just don't get it. Of course, there are a heap of other shows that will also suck big time - Damien Clark and Yianni, I'm looking at you - but people will at least tell it to you straight, if they deign to mention such piddling shows at all. Also, if you are a Festival newcomer, just keep in mind that this year's is not what it ought to be, with HEAPS of no-shows - Mike Wilmot, Flight of the Conchords, Lawrence Mooney, Brian Munich and Friends, anything Boosh-related, Demetri Martin [who has never actually appeared here before, I was just hoping that his win at Edinburgh would automatically make him come] - so the crop is rather thin. My excitement is not what it was last year, when I was on a high for three weeks straight. But, nonetheless, I am looking forward to seeing Ross Noble, Chris Addison, The 4 Noels, Charlie Pickering, Sarah Kendall, maybe Gerard McCulloch, maybe Anthony Menchetti, maybe Brendon Burns, maybe Greg Fleet, maybe Tripod, and of course, DEFINITELY more Daniel Kitson. Really, he's the only thing that's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, and could probably keep you high for three weeks straight all by himself. I am not kidding.
Over the past few weeks I have been buying CDs but not finding time to listen to them. Anyway, I've given today over to the task and my initial response is that I have fucking excellent CD buying/follow-the-herd skills. Yay for me. The three CDs to which I have given a cursory hearing are the Franz Ferdinand debut, The Von Bondies' Pawn Shoppe Heart, and The Vines' Winning Days. All three are rollicking tops, mate. But, [plaintively pitched "aw MAN!"], I'm just remembering all the other CDs I've bought over the months that I don't really 'know' yet, and also all the 'necessary to existence' favourites that I haven't listened to in ages. Fuck, I READ about music more than I listen to it. What the hell is happening to me?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Read a brief article in MX on the train home that, while not really being 'funny', wasn't really 'not funny' either. The headline read "Man of God dies at film" and it went a little somthing like this;

"A Brazilian pastor has died during a screening of Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion of the Christ. Jose Geraldo Soares, a 43-year-old Presbyterian, had booked a whole cinema to view the film with his congregation. Halfway through, his wife noticed that he was no longer awake. A doctor in the audience confirmed he had suffered a heart attack. Friends denied that the film's violence had caused the death. 'He was calmly watching the movie next to his wife,' family friend Amauri Costa said.
A Kansas woman passed out and died after seeing the film early this month.

Also in MX today was a two page fashion spread with Oscar Humphries posing as model. Made me mock and giggle to my scornful glee. But it also made me realise that perhaps I should be more understanding of Guy's anti-Thorpie position. Cos, what Guy takes exception to in Thorpie is probably the same thing that I take exception to in Oscar, namely, that he's personally fucking annoying. You know?

Monday, March 22, 2004

OK, the season of great TV that I had prophesized has officially turned to shit. Maybe I was a bit over-eager in committing myself to what largely consisted of reality TV, but I nonetheless get pissed off when networks pull shows half-way through their run - great way to turn loyal viewers into bitter enemies. Why do you think Channel 7 is uniformly despised? In this case however, Channel 10 is the culprit. They’ve axed The Resort. Now, it was a pretty lame show, but there was enough bitchiness to keep me interested (come on, the Eva v. Tab situation was pretty prime), and I invested, damn it. I invested and now I’ll get no return, so I’m not at all happy. In other areas too, the abundance of fun I had imagined has dried up. Sex and the City’s kinda disappointing, Newlyweds seems to have vanished and Secret Life sucked and was rightly pulled. The Hothouse I never bothered with – I do have some taste and I’m not gonna waste my time watching concrete dry (literally). Plus, I’m still pissed off by that much-hyped “Kylie on Queer Eye” episode which turned out to be like 5 minutes in total. I don’t like people manipulating my vulnerabilities...
Spurred on by a debate raging in the comments section of A Wild Young Under-Whimsy, here are the reasons why I do not like Ian Thorpe (not that I've met him):

1: He has his own range of pearls. Self explanatory.
2: He wore an all-white suit to some awards gig.
3: He has his own underwear range. The name is "It", cause that's like his initials, but the logo kinda looks like a pool, cause he, like swims.
4: He has a suspiciously fake tan. Yes he's a swimmer, but I don't buy it.
5: He has blonde tips in his hair. Self explanatory.
6: I'm sure he refers to himself in the third-person in interview situations.
7: And finally, did I mention the pearls?
It's official: Frewrious Spew is back.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

The documentary, The President versus David Hicks, that screened on SBS on Saturday night had a lot of amazing stuff in it. For example, letter-writing is not as dead a form of communication as I had thought. Also, George W Bush is a brazen little hussy, my god. But, despite the horror induced by the various prejudicial statements, aired again during the doco, that he has made regarding the prisoners at Gitmo, the statement that shocked me the most came from Stephen Kenny, David Hicks' family lawyer and an upstanding, principled and reasonable guy all round. He managed to prove that, in times like these, 'logic will break your heart' [as the cd title goes]. The moment happened thus. He and Terry Hicks [go Terry] are in New York meeting with Michael Ratner of the Centre For Constitutional Rights, and they're all trying to figure out how long it has been since they began working together to gain access to, secure due process for, or at least establish whose laws had jurisdiction over and therefore needed to be applied to, the prisoners in Gitmo. They find that it's been a while; 19 months at that point in time. 19 months with no real progress. Which caused Stephen Kenny, in baffled bemusement, to comment,

"I thought it would be a short period of time, and suddenly, until now, I couldn't believe such a fundamental breach of law would continue for so long".

That's kinda bad. And heartbreaking.
Thankyou Leah for providing an example of why The Passion of the Christ is probably not going to "end war" (to use Mel Gibson's words).
Interesting update on the Belle de Jour mystery at Troubled Diva.
What WAS up with Parky? He was being a total fuck-wit. Meg simply did the best she could to handle him. Yes, she was a bit on edge (after a day of heated interviews), but she was never rude - she simply didn't bow down before Parky like every other celeb seems to do ("I can't believe I'm sitting next to you! etc etc"). When it got to the point that he was saying stuff like "maybe your marriage left you bruised, battered... do you think after you've recovered you'll go back to romantic comedy", I was livid - he was using her divorce to fight back at her. What a wanker. I've lost respect - not classy at all. Meg, however... I like her. Tough, but spot-on. Respect.
Watched that Parkinson interview with Meg Ryan. What was up with Parky? He was combative, reductive, kept telling people what they were, and kept getting it wrong. He called making a distinction between love and romance 'cynical', and he totally didn't get the movie Meg was there to talk about - In The Cut [which I personally loved]. But she was great. It's actually one of the best interviews I've seen her do. Really interesting. She's very with it and spot on and articulate and stuff. And Susannah and Trinny were also cool, and were able to handle his swipes well. Parky obviously bought into their press as 'mean girls', which showed that he hadn't actually seen their show, and was rather working from received opinion. Anyway, ending Meg's interview by saying he looks forward next time to seeing "the new Meg Ryan", ie, a better Meg Ryan than he saw this time, was a pretty insulting way to end an interview that he himself was responsible for fouling up. That's crap, Parky.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

There's a new fun song on the radio, Eamon's "Fuck It! I Don't Want You Back...". Basically it sounds like any other cheap sounding R&B, in the manner of Boyz 2 Men, but the lyrics are like "Fuck you bitch, I don't want you back, so fuck off, screw you etc etc". What's funny is that the delivery is totally earnest - he's emoting and feeling like a Backstreet Boy, but cause he's all potty-mouth, he's like, street.
Final of The Simple Life the other night. It says a lot that I sort of forgot the show existed after a few episodes. This does not bode well for Paris' recording career, although she does sort of defy the 15 minutes rule. A few funny moments. Funny/scary was when Nicole Richie, absolutely trashed, decided to through a bottle of bleach onto a pool table at the local pub (or American equivalent). It wasn't so much her CRAZED actions that were funny, but the way they edited it... they showed it in black and white, slow-mo with an echo effect so her scream sounded like the howl of a wild beast. Not subtle. Kind of upsetting was when everyone at the bar started chanting at Paris "Go Home Rich Bitch... Go Home Rich Bitch...". I mean, she objectively is kinda like that (although I still love her), but still hard to see her pained "they don't love me" reaction. Although she did seem to get over it pretty quick, and she kinda deserved it for the number of times she's insulted hick towns.
I hear movement over at Frewious Spew...

Friday, March 19, 2004

Courtney was just on Letterman, and it was a great thing. She didn't look her best but I still like her. She's kinda funny when she's not being an annoying poser. And Dave just went with her, which I think proves he's not an asshole. So loving him is okay.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

I know I'm a little late on this but, whatever. Yay! Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel are having a baby. That is so cool.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Mel is a cultural studies go-getter, played DJ at my 21st and has witnessed my obnoxious 9-13 "brat" phase. Now she has a blog, A Wild Young Under-Whimsy, which is a very good thing as her grasp of all things pop is mind-blowing. I am, however, worried about a possible positive evaluation of Kylie's Red Blooded Woman - does the presence of a song on the Head Tapes mean it is respected?

Monday, March 15, 2004

Forgot to mention before that I saw Camp the other night (you know, the one about musical theatre camp, that's like, camp) and it was the BEST film I have seen in ages, ages, ages, or at least since The Passion of the Christ. Anyway, I loved it. Got the right balance between parody and affection (kinda like A Mighty Wind). So good - go see it! Also saw 13 Days last night, and surprisingly for a Costner film, it didn't suck. Alright.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

It's Queer Film Festival time, and first cab off the rank was Beyond Vanilla, a candid expose of non-standard sexual practices featuring "100 Kinksters" and LOTS of graphic sex. Now, I didn't find any of this shocking, but a few times I was left thinking "wow - I can't believe they thought of this!". Considering the opening shot was of anal fisting (I cannot believe I saw this at Fed Square), you're not really gonna be shocked from then on. A few things I didn't know existed: 1)"Electricity", where they attach electrodes to the genitals to create painful/pleasurable electric shocks that "pulsate" through the body. 2) "Flaming", where the body is set alight for sexual pleasure, and 3) "Daddy/Boy" play, which is kinda self-explanatory. I walked out of the film thinking how industrious humanity really is - always looking for new ideas, new avenues for pleasure and new ways to use the human body. Following the path of progress. The quote of the night was this: "if an alien race visited Earth, and saw all these guys with their fists up other guys' arses, what the hell would they make of it?".
Now, I love NW magazine. It's got lots of pictures and gossip and it's amorally glib about everything. It's perfect trash. However, have just been going through it and found a headline that kinda made me go "Whoah, NW dudes, that's not cool". The headline referred to Rosie O'Donnell's recent marriage, but with the words "Rosie marries gal pal". It kinda made me suck air through my teeth and recoil. I mean, "gal pal"? Kinda a disrespectful usage of the term, if my NW-conditioning about its deployment is anything to go by. See, 'gal pal', in NW-land, has two observed uses; (1) it refers to women who are friends [and you know what they get up to, with their lacy panties and 'sleepovers', wink wink], and (2) it refers to short-lived girl-on-girl flings. Madonna and Sandra Bernhardt were 'gal pals' for instance, as, for that matter, were Madonna and Rosie. So you can see that the term doesn't exactly apply to a deal where you're having a big time relationship, and stuff. I just thought that the headline was kinda eeek. But maybe I'm being precious. I can't just applaud amoral glibness and then say that lesbians formalising a relationship are sacred cows, can I? Hmmm, I don't know. But I would have people consider the different treatment and respect that would usually be afforded to a heterosexual star's decision to marry. I just don't think it's fair to relegate Rosie's marriage to the 'joke marriage' level, and it frightened me how automatically that was done.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

The clip for The Strokes' Reptilia is fucking HOT!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Have just returned from seeing the lovely Camille play a gig [her second ever with this new band] at the Victoria Hotel in Brunswick. And despite my longtime fondness for the girl, I think that I can say with all objectivity that she is supremely talented and her music wonderful. The tempo is relaxed, her voice is rich, her style unpretentious, the harmonies play really well, as does the rhythm, and the songs she's written are really good. I really really liked them. It was all kinda beautiful and poignant and stuff. But not yick or labourious about it. Real nice. They are calling themselves Imogen now, and I think they're going to stick with that. So check them out, Melbournites [and then, of course, the rest of the world].
Have just read a review of The Passion of the Christ that manages to articulate my response to the film in a way that my garbled glibness never could. The review is by The Age's Tom Ryan [who I think I have quoted before to bring some clarity to my attempts at expressing an opinion about a film. I think his spot-on-ness also helped with The Crime of Father Amaro. Hmmmm, I think I might love this guy]. Anyway, of Mel's film, he writes,

"It's adventurous and uncompromising in various ways... But it's also content to ride along on the intensity of the violence and the audience's knowledge of what's to come without ever doing any more than sketching in a human context for Christ's sacrifice."
"Had Gibson spent time detailing [the human factors and political context] more precisely, the film might have worked much better as a drama".

Exactly baby. See, the film didn't work! Oh Tom, you do my thinking much better than me. Unsung hero of Australian film review, you are. Forget the Schembri/Martin debate [which Adrian Martin clearly wins, btw], Ryan is the go [but so is Martin]. Anyway, yay Tom Ryan.
Just had an envy spike. Belle de Jour got a book deal. Which is good. I think she's interesting and I read everything she writes, so... yeah it's fine. Her life, and the way she renders it, would make an excellent book. Check out her blog [see links] to see the future bestseller in its earliest form. And seriously, I don't actually think Symposiasts could be a book [well, not a good one], I just wish that enough people were reading it that publishers would consider giving us a deal simply to cash in on the popular support. And the words book deal, they give me shivers. I just irrationally want one because other people are getting them.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hmmm. From where is ET pulling all this 'never-before-seen' and 'long-lost' Martha footage, unprofessional outtakes, etc? Why wasn't this stuff ever screened before? But how good are they, that they managed to find it all in time to put to air the first opportunity they got after Martha's Friday conviction, when it would have greatest currency? Phew, those ET folks are pretty lucky... Wait. I'm getting suspicious. What if they didn't 'find' this stuff at all? What if they had it all along, and just decided not to screen it? I'm getting chills. Why would they do that? What would be behind such a decision? And what would be behind its reversal? Oh man! It just seems like they do whatever they can get away with, which is like, a kinda inexact way to run the 'most watched entertainment news program in the world'. And shitty. Like, maybe ET has been less than frank with me over the years? Giving me false impressions and stuff. Bastards. I'm rethinking our whole relationship as we speak. I mean, I put up with a lot of crap to be with you, ET. Mary Hart, for example. What's up with that? You owe me big time. So, baby, this crap don't fly, okay? It reveals way too much about you, and really I don't want to be faced with that, ever. Cool it.

Oh, and note to celebrities; THERE IS A VAULT. They collect everything. They'll protect you if they feel they have to, but, once you're convicted or out of favour, the vault is unlocked. As many awkward pauses and short angry snips as you ever mustered, they'll show. And then they'll do a feature on "Paris Hilton's mom; could she be the next Martha?" See, she's a contender for the position cos she's been like, and I quote, "throwing parties for friends for years". Way harsh, dudes. It's like you're saying everyone is replaceable, or something, when the body's barely cold.... But, why not? Could be a good idea actually....

Er, anyway, what I was trying to express today was my dissatisfaction about everything in this cycle being excessive. The fawning, the damning. Ergh. I mean, they don't push people at all, until they find they can push them face down in the mud. It's kinda extreme.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Has the blog changed colour again? I really don't mind at all... no, I'm fine. Anyway, the Period Romance page has now been updated so as to include Fermina's dramatic escape from her convent doom.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Everyone gots to watch State of Play which began on ABC TV last night. Totally good. Impeccable British cast, just totally involving. Check it out next Sunday night.

Oh man, am luxuriating in post-teen drama weepy emotional fuzzy brain. THANK YOU SO MUCH to Lauren and Amy [especially to Lauren] for being geniuses of TV taping. Have just been watching the final episodes of Dawson's Creek that I missed when I went to visit my sister in Darwin in January. So good. Also rewatched quite a few of the episodes preceding them that I had already seen, so bountiful is the beneficence of the great and wonderful Lauren. Hail to thee. Aaaah. So satisfied. Even though I knew what was going to happen, nothing really beats seeing it for yourself. Watching every great scene, and then every cringingly crap scene, and then another great one, and then another crap one, and so on etc. My god, I love that show. The entire final season rocked, cringe and all. And the final three episodes! Dudes, I've been bawling all afternoon. Oh man, that scene where Jen's like, getting angry about dying and stuff. Whoah. Totally slayed me. That girl can act. Hmmm. Think I might just go and watch it again. I mean, could there possibly be a better way to spend a public holiday than weeping on the couch and periodically saying "Amazing. Amazing"? Hnnn? I don't think so!

Period Romance

Alejandro was nervous. Although he had brushed against Fermina almost daily for most of his life while serving her meals, and had had her slim ankle and the small of her back regularly in his powerful grasp while boosting her into her riding saddle, nonetheless, their brief moments of physical contact or proximity had never lasted for anything like the extended period of time that was just commencing. In the carriage, the warmth of her adjacent body radiated into his thigh. Despite his pleasure, he was anxious, and all too aware that his time with her would soon be over. "Our time is running out", he silently mused, and the thought pained him. It would take a journey of a few days to reach the eastern port city of Valencia, from whence Fermina was due to depart. He dreaded their arrival there. It would be the last place he would ever see her dusky beauty, and, with every revolution of the carriage wheels, it was approaching. Alejandro willed Franz Ferdinand, the coachman, to drive too roughly over a rocky patch and damage a wheel or a hoof, granting more time for, for... Delay, delay. His immediate thoughts were of delay. Let us just be still, and alone! Oh, San Isidro, good saint, cannot you aid me by your divine graces while we remain in Madrid? Something needed to happen. They were approaching the Rio Manzanares already, and its dark waters filled him with foreboding. But it was not they that would take Fermina away from him. That honour resided in the deep well of the sea, with which, before long, his salty tears would mix without restraint. He would have to leave her there. And return in bitterness to Count Daza’s service. She would be lost to him forever. He dropped his head slightly under the growing weight of this realisation. Then he remembered himself, and moved his head almost imperceptibly to the left. His eye moved to its corner, and strained to fix upon her drowsy loveliness. His mind thundered with fractious arguments about what to do. The time was now, he knew, and it was slipping from him as each moment passed. He resisted the impulse to grab her and declare, “If you leave here, you’ll leave me broken!” For he did not wish to alter anything about the scene, or to stir her into shifting away from him. To feel the warmth of her body gave him the most profound joy he had yet experienced. His muscles were so tensed from maintaining his taut position beside her that he ached. He feared the loss of this contact, and was panicked by the thought, “If I move, this could die”. Yet how could he possibly hope to change any of what they were hurtling towards if he was too timid to fracture this new and long dreamt of intimacy? He had to break the silence while there was still time.

The carriage jolted. They had begun the chaotic task of negotiating Madrid’s unpaved lanes and alleys. The sudden jostling effected Fermina’s equilibrium, and she instinctively flung her arms out on each side, in blind search of something to steady her and keep her from toppling forward. When the violence had passed and she began to be accustomed to the carriage’s new rhythm, she looked down to find she had regained her balance by grabbing Alejandro’s knee, and that her hand had remained there for some duration. She flushed and looked at him wildly, withdrawing her hand quickly and delivering a breathy “I’m sorry”. As she cast her eyes down at the floor, she could feel his gaze upon her. Until this, he had seemed to her to be keenly focussed on some internal question. But now she felt as if something were about to happen, and didn’t know whether or not to be afraid.

The city walls would not be reached for a few minutes yet. Alejandro had made no plans, but only thought of how critical it was to intervene now, before it became too late. He tenderly reached out his hand and lifted Fermina’s chin, raising her gaze to meet his. He decided that to reveal his own feelings would only serve to shock her. Especially considering that she had just uttered the first direct words that they had ever exchanged. As the situation was urgent, he felt that now was not the time to declare everything he had ever felt and would forever feel for her. Though these were the feelings propelling him to act on her behalf, he felt their expression a hindrance to the task at hand. He loved her. He wanted her to stay. To be near her always was his life’s dream. But her life was slipping away from her. Her freedom was now paramount. “My Lady”, he whispered, “if you wish it and have courage, I won’t be leaving here with you”.

“Alejandro, what do you mean?”

“Please. There is little time. If you wish not to go where your father would have you put, if you wish to be free of his control but also of his protection, I would urge you to disappear into the city tonight. When we reach the gate, I will help you escape if you choose it”.


“Yes. When the wall guards stop us, you can run away. I will continue to Valencia. No one will be wise to it until it is too late for them to find you. Is this what you want?”

“Yes. But I would not put you in harm’s way, and set my father’s will against you. Your mother…”

“Please, this is your only chance. The wall is approaching.”

The carriage had begun to slow. Fermina looked intently into Alejandro’s eyes, clasped his hand, and nodded. She felt the rush of hope fill her chest. Her life would be completely new. Alejandro shot her a warning look. “It will not be easy. In Madrid, there is nothing except what you bring with you. And you will not have much more than yourself. When I return, you may rest assured that I will find you. But I worry about these early days…” Alejandro could not bear to think of the multitude of dangers she would face. What if he had forced a rash decision upon her? But her intent gaze told him of the strength and depth of her resolve. The carriage stopped. “I will get out, and shield you with my body. Fermina, be careful. Run into the shadows.” Alejandro moved across her and opened the door. With agility, he stepped out of the carriage, and stood leaning with affected nonchalance against the frame, his cloak masking Fermina’s movement behind him. The guards began sidling over to conduct their cursory papers check, and Alejandro hissed, “Go!” Fermina pressed herself to his muscular back for the briefest of moments, a silent farewell, then moved quietly around to the back of the carriage and rushed across the street into the darkness of a nearby lane. She couldn’t help thinking, “This is so stupid!” But neither could she help feeling exhilarated by the immediate enlargement of her prospects. In a moment, she was enveloped by the city. Alejandro finished with the guards, returned to the carriage, and, once the gates had been opened, choked out the order - “Take me out.”

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Happenings are timely, aren't they? See, it's my turn to write the next instalment of our piece of Romantic Fiction, and I've been fretting about how exactly to turn Fermina loose into a 15th century Madrid that actually resembles, well, 15th century Madrid. I had no idea of how to make it up. But, happily, mum is off to Europe soon and has her trusty Lonely Planet - Madrid on hand. So I'll get myself well-informed on the ins and outs of the place at that time, and then make sure to chuck all that useful information out of the running, in favour of the 'artistic licence' policy we have here at Symposiasts Romantic Press. I might even find Fermina a clean dorm room for 20 euro a night, who knows? Anyway, the next instalment will soon be forthcoming. And, psst, if I were you, I'd be expecting a more 19th century version of Madrid [which will be based on London, anyway, as slums and whores are gonna feature heavily]. Or perhaps not. Have just read that, around Fermina's time [but not exactly] Madrid was kinda perfect for our purposes, seeing as "amid the squalor in which the bulk of its people toiled, royalty and the aristocracy gave themselves over to sickening displays of wealth and cavorted happily in their make-believe world of royal splendour". Excellent random choice of location, Guy. Bring on Madrid! Not to spoil it for you or anything, but you didn't really expect we'd send her off to a nunnery isle, did you?
Oh dear. The opening "salvo" in the upcoming US election has taken the form of an ad recently released by the Republicans featuring September 11 footage, (American flag, survivors in rubble etc.), with superimposed images of Bush looking presidential, and then some tag line about how "in times of change you need leadership you can trust". Oh dear. Not surprisingly, this has proved contoversial among families of the victims of the trade centre attacks, but they're releasing it anyway, saying something about how people need a "reminder" of Bush's sterling post-S11 leadership. I can't believe he's running on a leadership platform - like if they say it enough, it'll come true.

Feeling a bit more confident about thesis, in that there are at least pieces of it now that seem kinda cool. Something, at least, is emerging from the murky crapness of early drafts. That said, I've now realised that for the next three months I'm pretty much gonna have to become some kind of hermit freak if I wanna do well. On the other hand, realistically I think there's a limit to how much I can work. Take today for example, by 5pm, I could think no more, so I poured a G&T, and decided not to think. This is perhaps a bad strategic move, but I can't help it. I'm weak. I don't understand those people who can pull all nighters. Where does that focus come from? I would just panic and pace around the room alot - I certainly couldn't churn out an essay. Seeing The Passion of the Christ tonight... Can't wait to have an opinion!
That was a joke outburst, btw (or the ultimate piece of passive aggression?). I quite like the new layout, although would like to be informed next time, if only so as am able to cut and paste various details. Anyway, am very excited about recent purchases. Firstly, just yesterday bought Natalie Merchant's The House Carpenter's Daughter. For those who don't know, this is a collection of traditional and contemporary folk music that Ms Merchant's collected from archives, churches and various other "folky" type places across the USA. And the result is BRILLIANT - I love this album! Particularly Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow ("well, tomorrow was to be my wedding day/ but oh, my god, where can he be?") and Weeping Pilgrim ("well I weep and I moan and I move slowly on/ I'm a poor mourning pilgrim bound for Canaan land"). It's such a relief to have a new Natalie Merchant album that isn't a total downer. While this is a sad album, you don't have to be catatonically depressed to listen to it (which you do have to be to listen to Ophelia, which I happen to think is one of the best albums ever. Pity I can't listen to it). So, yay for The House Carpenter's Daughter. Also, am reading James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, which is about a black preacher's son growing up in the 1930s, coming to terms with his rejection of God, homosexuality and bastard father. Possibly one of the best books I've read in a long time (probably since Patrick White's Riders in the Chariots, which gave me nightmares in which I saw evil), so yay for Baldwin too. Feeling very culturally stimulated this week.
Elanor, I think this blogging relationship is getting dangerously passive-aggressive. You change a font, I change a font. You remove quotation marks, I replace them. You change the entire site design. This is like bored-marriage sabotage going on here. Anyway, I’m OK with new colour scheme (although I did not choose it myself… but I’m fine). I’ve fixed up the commenting system, site meter and various other things that didn’t make the change-over. I shall now consider myself some kind of martyr for a few weeks, at least, but if you mention it, it’s no big deal…

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Cool. Bought tickets to the Von Bondies today. And the Comedy Festival program is coming out tomorrow. My weekend is gonna be so fun! Making up an itinerary, etc. I'm a genius of logistics when I wanna be. If anyone else is interested in seeing shows, let me know and I'll try to figure you into my "buy early and often" ticket calculations. Damn I need more money. The Comedy Festival usually costs me about $500. Crap.

Recently, I've been reading NME a lot [a convergence of the facts of actually having to leave the house for uni, and of uni being accessed 'via' a newsagency]. Now, NME is a bit of a fickle bitch. Seems to have turned against The Darkness big time, with catty asides and fresh talk accompanying any mention of them. Now, they're "corporate bell-end slurping novelty rockers", who are "deeply the NME heartland". You're the ones who told me to love them! And I do at the moment. So don't say they're past it when it's only been about 5 months! It is possible to love a band forever and still have room for every other brand-new "NME-championed Brit Pack band" that comes along. Take it easy. There's enough room for everybody [and enough especially for a guy with his own name tattooed on his bicep].

Anyway, inspired by Loneliness Electric, I have decided to also attempt a diary of my cultural consumption [even though that's pretty much what this blog has always been]. Now, I'm not Claud, so the focus will be less on German contemporary feminist literature, and more on TV. So, the 'culture' diary begins.

I gave Mondo Thingo another go tonight. Much improved. I think I might keep watching it. It was kinda good.

Watched Dateline the other night. Apparently the US just orchestrated a coup against the democratically elected president of Haiti and then kidnapped his arse all the way to the Central African Republic [according to his lawyer]. Why didn't I know this?

I still totally love Letterman.

Also, still totally love The Simpsons. Saw that cool Streetcar Named Desire as musical episode recently. Still so good. Particularly love the scene when Flanders is doing the "STELLAAAAAA!" bit, and then breaking into a rockin song that goes,

Can't you hear me yella?
I've been goin through hella,
[something something]... fella.
Oh Stella

And so forth. Also loved it when Marge delivers Blanche's famous poignant line, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers", and then the chorus immediately put on their happy hands and sings the rousing ditty "You can always depend on the kindness of strangers..." dee dee dee dee do, la la la la la.

Read an article in the Green Guide today about Friends and had to agree with the writer, who was quite perplexed at it being described as 'one of the greatest sitcoms of our times'. She found that "apparently, Friends gets high marks for merely being competent - not hilarious" which was a fair call. It is competent, but I rarely laugh. Hmmm. Maybe I should stop watching it or something? Same goes for Sex and the City. I'm really finding that show hella-annoying. Carrie's thoughts and questions as she formulates her column ideas are the most excruciating moments in television that I can find, other than when 60 Minutes does stories about the personal travails of its own reporters, with requiste close-ups of their 'human side', ie, teary episodes etc. Grrr. Anyway, back to Sex. The clothes still rule, but Carrie really needs to stop talking, and Samantha's vein of humour has been plumbed as far as it can be plumbed, and now her 'saucy' lines come across as a parody of their former selves. But I'm still watching of course. Even though I already know how it ends, with Carrie and Big and all. I really like Big. And if anyone starts telling me that the ending they went with was "a slap in the face for single women eveywhere", just don't, okay? Coz I'll slap you.

Anyway, that's my 'culture' diary for the moment. I'm going to the revamped National Gallery of Victoria tomorrow, but don't expect much of a response from me about that. I'm not very art literate. I might steal some of what Leah says about the works, and republish them here, but failing that, all I'll be able to offer you is "that's cool", and "that's, like, not cool". On the subject of art illiteracy, does anyone understand how to value poetry? I'd like to learn these things. Maybe I'll learn about art stuff at the gallery tomorrow, but exposure has never helped me before. I feel like a dick only knowing what I like. I want to know art, damnit!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Oooh, Elanor – now I fully understand your recent post about being a university “elder”. For some reason this year everyone just seems so young. Colourful, perky, carefree – the place looks like a cross between Temptation Island and Dawson’s. I just felt so alien going back (a sentiment shared by many). Maybe I’m finally reaching my expiration date? Even people in my Honours coursework subjects seem like babies. Cause I started mid-year 2003, I’m basically half a year ahead of everyone else. This allows me to sneak a wry smile as people talk about their proposed thesis topic. With an innocent, naïve glint in their eyes they talk about “making an intervention into the comparative blah blah relating to the poetics of blah blah, in a study informed by blah blah”. Just wait til you try and write the thing! Then you’ll stop reaching for the stars, give up the idea of making a critical “intervention”, realise that most things that are vaguely interesting have been said before, decide that the best option is a quiet nervous breakdown/existential crisis in lieu of actually doing any work, then eventually spurt out something passable as the panic finally hits. Enjoy the “journey” as your thesis changes from delightful baby to be lovingly nurtured and tended, to horrid parasite that simply needs to be expelled…

Monday, March 01, 2004

Okay, here's my Oscars round-up:

Lord of the Rings kicked arse and I am glad. But where the hell was Viggo?

LOVED Liv Tyler's glasses.

LOVED Liv Tyler's hair.

Among the Well Dressed were; Liv Tyler, Sofia Coppola, Susan Sarandon, Renee Zellweger, Scarlett Johannson, and Oprah "don't talk to me about rich, girlfriend" Winfrey.

Among the Poorly Dressed were; Diane Lane, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Sandra Bullock [who looked like a trashy beauty pageant contestant who equated feathers with glamour. Which might just be ironic].

Beating all-comers in the Horribly Dressed category was; Jennifer Garner. HORRIBLE!

John Travolta sported the Worst Hair of the night.

Tobey Maguire looks and talks real good. Yep. Was also sporting Best Hair (Male) of the night. [Liv of course won Best Hair (Female)].

Had to laugh when Sting and Phil Collins presented an award together, remembering Tom's comment about how Sting's post-Police career has been spent trying to be Peter Gabriel. Which became even funnier when I thought about how Phil's had been spent trying to beat Peter Gabriel in the post-Genesis stakes. I enjoyed that.

Robin Williams is so over.

I think that there were two Oscar Injustices. Firstly, I think that the song from A Mighty Wind should have won best original song, for no other reason than to make up for the unforgiveable slight that saw the Spinal Tap oeuvre ignored. Shame. Second injustice I can't be completely sure about, having seen neither of the performances, but I think the clip reel showed that Naomi Watts should have won the Best Actress award over Charlize.

To end on a high note, I would like to share with you what I consider to be the Best Call Of The Night. It occurred during Billy Crystal's opening medley. Billy talks about how Sofia shot Lost in Translation in just 27 days, and then quips,

"it took Francis that long to get Brando out of bed".

Haahaahhhaaaa! Sweet. Love that Apocalypse Now humour.