Sunday, October 31, 2004
First thought: oh my god, the culture of the Bush White House is just freaky. I mean, Bush doesn't see being informed as important. Also, he seems to actively discourage the idea that his staff are duty bound to keep him informed, or to challenge him, or to ask for his reasoning. But if that's the case, then, like, what are they for? It's weird. Bush credits himself with having the most diverse senior staff in terms of gender and race, which is all well and good. But, having a diverse representation of ‘advisers’ seems redundant when everyone takes their cues from one white guy, in a work culture where 'facts' are considered less important to decision-making than one man's 'instincts'. It’s strange, the most diverse administration has the most stifling culture and singular voice.
Suskind locates the “heart of the Bush presidency”, and he might be on to something.
“In mid 2002, after I had written an article that the White House didn't like, I had a meeting with a senior Bush adviser. He told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community", which he defined as those who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality". "We're an empire now and, when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."”
Doesn't it chill you to find out that they know that? We're an empire now and, when we act, we create our own reality. That awareness. Creeped me out. Like, my insides kinda dropped. And how they construct themselves in opposition to "what we call the reality-based community", and how they call it a distinct name, "the reality-based community", like it's a separate community to the one they inhabit, which maybe it is. And how they know that and accept it, untroubled. Creepy.
This next bit resonated with my wonderment about Bush becoming a leader at all, and how bizarre I think it is that he’s like, the president. I mean, he just strikes me as a guy who has never in his life been the best guy in the room. And yet he’s President.
“In 1990, Bush was still bumping along. David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group, a Washington investment firm that is one of the town's most powerful institutions, last year recalled that former Nixon aide Fred Malek approached him and said: "There is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job... Needs some board positions." Though Rubenstein didn't think Bush "added much value", he put him on a board. "Came to all the meetings," Rubenstein said. "Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And I kind of said to him, after about three years, 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else, because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board'... He said, 'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much, so I'm probably going to resign from the board'. And I said, 'Thanks'. Didn't think I'd ever see him again."
Around this time, Bush became the successful candidate for the Texas governorship. Six years later, he was elected leader of the free world.”
Just. Bizarre. I love that "after about three years" part. That's gold. But anyway, don't you think it's bizarre? I've never been able to get my head around it. The very idea that a George W. Bush presidency was even possible baffles me no end. He just seems like some random unimpressive dude, and yet... he's 'President'.
Moving on, Jason Mulgrew found this New Yorker editorial, and you just gotta read it. It's totally awesome and a forceful reminder of how unbelieveably badly the Bush administration has done its job. If Bush gets re-elected with his record, that's just, wow. Fucked up.
"...for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush’s curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery."
I mean, how is there even a contest?
Anyway, the second part of The Choice 2004 will screen on the SBS’s Cutting Edge on Tuesday night. If you missed it last week, it’s about the personal and public histories of Bush and Kerry. Let's hope the massive distinction between them in terms of substance and quality, and demonstrated capacity for being the best guy in the room, is reflected in the election result.
Man, I'm anxious. Just think how awesome things could be come Wednesday? They could be, like, gloom liftingly awesome. Or not. Hence the anxiety. Because you just don't know. Well, I don't. I mean, I think a guy has done an excessively bad job, like, way beyond the bounds of an acceptably bad job, like, an obviously and undeniably and repeatedly bad job, and yet a lot of people still decide to give him more power than, like, ever. Man we suck. Please don't suck like us, America. Because, seriously, that dude is not cool. And you know it. Sure, we knew it too, but we are LOSERS.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
But more on that later. First, the preliminaries. On the way to the HiFi bar I realised this was a venue we hadn't broken yet, underaged little brother wise. The first time always plays on me a little, and then, once it's over with, my brain takes the success to mean that there will never be a problem for him at that venue again, ever. Not sure how logical that is, but, whatever. So, since it was his first time attempting the HiFi, and since I have in the past observed the HiFi bouncers [one of whom looks very much like a skinny version of David Brent, don't you think? My sister and I call him David Brent, anyway] actually checking for ID, I got a little nervous on the train in, and was making a list of who to phone to offer the spare ticket to if bro was challenged. That's what we fear, the challenge. If he's challenged, he's got nothin. One little question and it's over [for him]. Anyway, as we approached the entrance, David Brent was there and he had stopped the two baby-faced yet rock-debauched girls in front of us and asked them to produce ID. I thought my brother was screwed. Curses. But when it was our turn, the strap of my handbag broke and the bag dropped to the ground and I went "Shit, my bag." And then I picked my bag up and David Brent held the barrier link open for us and we just walked in. I guess my little brother must look older than I think he does. He's never been stopped once. So, hurrah, got through the door with gig buddy intact. In my mind the HiFi is sorted forever now, so no wuckers for Pink Grease next month.
Anyway, once inside, we waited. While waiting, we watched Marcie Von Bondie walk around with The New Bass Player, I think her name is Yasmin. Something happened that made me think that it's a little bit harder for chicks in bands, maybe. Like, maybe they have to deal with some things that the guys don't. See, they walked in, gorgeously outfitted, toting little handbags, looking the way girls attending rock gigs do. What I mean is they weren't carrying tell-tale guitars around. And they went up to the major backstage entrance and said to the bouncer guy, "Um, we have these cards", or something, and the bouncer went "Yeah. You gotta go to the other entrance". So they walked to the other side of the stage and went into the mini backstage area. Of course, they came back out shortly, having found the rest of their peeps decidedly not there, and went back to the major backstage door, where [we imagined] they said something, in their hot Detroit accents, like, "Maybe we didn't make this clear before. We're in the band. Like, the band. Okay man?" It made me wonder how many times the bouncer has responded with sarcasm and dismissal by going, "Oh sure you are. Give me a break. Damn groupies."
So, the first support act were The Specimens. They are massive dags. And yet, they bring the rock. They don't bring the rock show, performance wise, but they do bring the rock music. The driving rock music. Even managed to blow their amp in the first song. Found myself immediately impressed by them when they started playing, largely because I had formed quite a low opinion of them as they set up, due to their extreme dagginess. Because truly, they are dags. This is not a criticism, just an observation. If you ever get a look at them, you'll see I'm right. I was quite dumbfounded by it, though, and delegated part of my brain to registering the many simple ways in which they are daggy in a particularly non-rock way. I mean, there is a broad range of styles, fashions, attitudes, individual flourishes and so forth that can be called 'rock', or even 'muso', yet, even despite the [you would think] all-encompassing breadth and diversity of this 'rock look' range, these boys bring nothing but dag. They break the simplest of 'rock look' rules. Like, dudes, they don't even wear rock jeans! I mean, gasp. What is up with that? Instead, they wear straight-legged K-Mart type jeans like my dad wears. Are we at a family barbecue with the daggy relos here, or what? Anyway, they compound the non-rock jeans problem by wearing their t-shirts loose. Also, they have hair, but no haircuts, with the exception of the drummer, who sports a fro in the manner of the Dandies' drummer. Basically, they all look like they are 30. And not in the way rock stars who are 30 look. I'm talking about the way normal people who are 30 look. It's just... unsettling. That's all I'm saying. But anyway, they bring the driving rock.
The second support act were The Cops. I like them a lot. Really, you will like them too. I have their album, but I had only paid scant attention to it, and not really been thorough in getting to know it. So I figured they would be good, but it was up in the air whether they would be necessary and beloved to me. But now I know that they are. I was just beaming fondness at them from the get-go. For a variety of reasons, namely for the interesting rock, but there are a few others that make it personal. Firstly, the lead singer is dead handsome. His flavour is 'uni tute hot guy with impeccable opinions', you know what I mean? [God I miss that guy-type. Stupid RMIT.] Anyway, his preferred microphone stance is also one of my favourites. It's the 'stick your butt out' stance. You know, the one where they hold the mic with at least one hand and come at it from below/sideways and arch their back and stick their butt out. Mick Jagger does it, if that helps the mental picture, but the Cops guy isn't doing it Mick Jagger style. He's doing it his own way. There's an ease there that's very charming. Anyway, it's a good stance. This band is cool, man. In that relaxed way. I defy you not to like them. I mean, the guitar player bears a slight resemblance to Garth Ploog, only thinner. I found that this put me off him until I couldn't resist the intense feelings of like any longer. See how powerful they are? And the tunes. They're great. Tonight, I particularly liked it when they played She Sleeps With Guns and Wallet/Puffer/Smokes/Keys, but there were a bunch of others that have gone hazy now. They give good backing vocal chime-ins. I'm a fan.
And then came the Von Bondies, who fucking RULED, if you know what I mean. New Bass Player gets a big tick. I mean, she's in this band, so how could she not rule? She doesn't do the aloof girl-in-a-band thing that Carrie ruled at, instead she kinda bops around. Still rules. Also, it felt like she was working my internal organs for me. Unless that was the drummer. Anyway, good lord I love Been Swank. And Jason. I could just watch him play for hours. They were having technical difficulties all through their set, which somehow made it rule more. Jason broke his guitar yesterday or something and was borrowing other people's ones, which mustn't have hooked up right with his amp or something. So there were all these loud, low, and sudden "bang" noises throughout, quite frequently. And Jason would get so mad each time he heard one happen, his eyes would flash and his head would snap. God he's hot when he's angry. And when he moves. HOT. My brother called him "charismatic", so you know what that means. HOT. Anyway, the Von Bondies, they rule. Their songs RULE, their playing RULES, their Von Bondie-ness, like... RULES. Like, A LOT.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Otherwise, I'm not really vibing this thing. Like, meh. I really tried to get excited about it, truly I did. But I can't find the frenzy in me. It just seems like an unfortunate - rather than a 'reveals true colours', oh let us heap scorn - moment. Being caught out and humiliated doing something out of the ordinary for you. Makes me wince. Poor girl. And just when we had all begun to believe in her chic new hair.
As a sidenote, that whole turning brunette thing is being invested with undue significance by starlets these days. I mean, the hair colour change has long been recognised as an unpsoken, however empty and superficial, signal towards 'credibility'. This has been fine, and we have allowed it, because they have had the good sense not to press it, knowing that such a flimsy notion won't stand up to scrutiny. But now starlets are actually making a point of articulating what I like to call neo-brunettism [although born-again brunettism is probably more accurate] in which the the very act of changing hair colour is presented as an end in itself, with all it signifies being a given. They treat the move from blonde to brunette as a seriously considered and meaningful symbolic change, as a decision which reflects well on them and makes them worthy of praise, and which requires no supporting behavioural evidence. The hair is the evidence. It's just whack. Also whack is when they treat the concepts of 'brunette' and 'blonde', without qualification, as widely accepted neat substitutes for 'serious' and 'superficial', 'smart' and 'stupid', 'mature' and 'naive'. Er, whack!
What baffles me is how unembarrassed they are in talking about their hair colour in these earnest, but highly questionable, terms. After reading Britney's letter to fans, I meant to post something about this. And then Mandy Moore also talked about it on Rove. So like, it's definitely solidifying as an ethos.
And, consequently, it's become a litmus test for me. You can add it to "Paris Hilton is a slut/whore", and "Ew, faggots are gross", and "Say what you will about John Howard, he's done a good job", as another one of the big-ass deal-breakers in my ability to associate with people on a respectful level. For real, it's stuff like this that reveals the quality of people's minds. So, if any blonde starlets among you make the decision to go brown and feel compelled to provide any reason at all, then it better be "I would sooo rock the brunette look. It would be hot" or else. Seriously, if you pull any of this stupid neo-brunette shit, then, you know, I will hate you.
Anyway, people seem to be being dicks about the Ashlee stuff up, in that particularly internet way. For some reason, the incident has been leapt upon as having provided undeniable proof of her inability to sing, which I don't think really stands up. However, the bizarre gems Popjustice found on Ashlee's messageboards are unhinged GOLD...
"Ashley caught having sex with her toilet plunger. Details are scattered at the moment but word is that she was on all fours with the plunger suction cupped to the floor."
Hmmmmmm, random, no? And then...
"Ugly Jew Chick. Whats the difference between a good lookin Jew and a ugly Jew?????? Nothin, burn'em all!"
Awwww, people are so psycho.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Ashlee Speaks Out
Ash has written a letter to her fans, Britney style, towing the party line about some kind of "acid reflux" induced lyp-synching. Ummm, that's full of shit. Acid reflux does not prevent you from singing. Take some Gavescon, yo. That is like the lamest lip-synching excuse I've heard yet. Not only does she push that bullshit excuse, but she then goes on to talk about how much she loves her band... who she slagged off after the incident on SNL. I don't wanna get all harsh, 'cause I don't necessarily have a problem with pop stars who mime - but acid reflux? That is a LAME excuse!
Here's the letter:
Ashlee Letter to Fans
10/26/2004 12:47:42 PM - by ashlee simpson
Hey guys! I'm sure you all have figured out how crazy its been the last few days,but I just wanted to personally write to y'all-my true fans-and thank you for your support and love. I have decided to speak openly and honestly about what happened on snl because I want you guys to know what really happened. My acid refux started acting up and I know my real fans know that music and performing is my true passion and you support me for that....I couldn't control what happened that day. People always say things that are hurtful,and I encourage my fans to do what I do and not read what people are saying on the internet...in a couple of days everyone's attention will be on someone else. As far as me and my band are concerned...we are all a family and love each other very much-they are the best guys in the world and I wouldn't want anyone else to be with me at this time. Keep up the support...its the love my fans have shown me that makes me want to go back out there and continue to prove all the negative press wrong! Look out for me to go on tour starting in January...its gonna be awesome! I love you guys!! Ash
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Monday, October 25, 2004
"Ohmygod. Um, like, whoah
Paris Hilton and the Poo?
Wow, that's so
Out of the Blue."
DUDE, WE ARE AWESOME!!
Why oh why do people do this? It shits me no end, this fucking stupid dichotomy. I mean, there are perfectly good feminist arguments to support both taking your clothes off and not taking them off, and it's not fair to associate non-wanky teen queens or teen queens in general with these kinds of silly opinions. Leave them alone! The whole slut/boring wanker thing is a media-led construction that people have adopted, and it's hurting the teen queens, so just STOP IT!
Speaking of someone who has been hurt by the 'girl next door' tag, could news outlets be more dicky about the Delta-Poo-Paris thing? I swear, it's verging on exploitation. Seriously. I mean, The Age website is taking a frickin poll about it! Way to generate a story, folks. This article is pretty hilarious, though. It seems to be devoted to showing [rather than telling, as is my style] how everyone who isn't involved is being fucking lame.
Best bit of the show was the slightly awkward moment when Dicko and Marcia are talking about how the gay market supports Anthony. Awkward all round.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
"so the band starts playing "Pieces Of Me" and she's doing this goofy "sexy" dance, and the vocals start, but they're pre-recorded she misses the cue completely and isn't mouthing the words or anything, and she's very visibly embarrassed and kind of dances around a little more, and the pre-recorded vocals fade out but she never starts singing, and the band just keeps playing on, and she sheepishly walks offstage and they cut to commercial in the middle of the first chorus."
Ha ha ha ha ha! I don't like lip-synching, but have less of a problem with, say, Holly Valance using some technical trickery than I do with Ashleeee who is seeking to gain some kind of "I have black hair artiste" cred. Speaking of Holly Valance, is it true that she turns up on Har Mar Superstar's latest album???
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Friday, October 22, 2004
"You can run, but you can't hide."
President George W. Bush, invoking boxer Joe Louis on the campaign trail, in a reference to John Kerry's voting record.
"George, is that all you've got?"
John Kerry, Democratic candidate, using a line from another boxer, Muhammad Ali, in response to Bush's attacks.
Aw bless. I seriously love you, man.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Anyway, I didn't realise Playing It Straight was still around. But it is. And the woman's fixation with 'dishonest gays' is even more pronounced than the last time I checked in with the show. She just can't seem to talk about anything else. The dates she goes on with the guys are the most painful things to watch. I don't know how the men stand it. Her personality is highly annoying, and she is a conversational bore. She never fails to turn the conversation to her favourite topic with subtle segues, like, "Oh, you went to primary school. How interesting. Are you gay?" She then devotes the rest of the date to talking at the men about gay gay gay gay gay and how very hard it is to be in her position. I mean, they've been over this and over this again and again on each of their previous dates, I'm sure. But still they're forced to go, "Oh, this must be so difficult for you. I'm very concerned for your well-being. You're just so great." Puke. She keeps saying she hopes whoever the gay guy is 'develops a conscience' and bows out of the game, because, like, what kind of a person could spend time getting to know her and yet be able to 'hurt' her like that, just for money? Well, ME for one. If I was forced to respectfully listen to her bullshit needling about morality and conscience, and about how her 'real feelings' are involved and how heartbreak and emotional devastation are real possibilities for her if it turns out she picks a gay guy, then you better believe that at the very least I would be smiling politely while thinking to myself, "Oh, I am SO taking you down." I sometimes imagine that I see these thoughts in the faces of the men as they listen to her. But then they say how much they like her and how 'fantastic' she is, which baffles me. I hope it's not genuine. Also, I don't understand why the men's "gayness" or "not gayness" is being measured by how they relate to this woman. If they're awkward about touching her or haven't kissed her, they're suspected of being gay. But isn't it possible that they just don't like her, despite their compatible sexualities?
Anyway, the show is on now, and I really really really, like really, want this episode to end thusly:
"Playing It Straight" BARN SCENE
...One of the guys stands up on his haystack before the eviction ceremony starts and says,
Gasps. Shock. Amazement. Reaction shots are required for all those present, set to thudding heartbeat music. Then, there will be an ad break. When we return, the mood is serious, and the cast waits with baited breath to hear what the guy who has 'something to say' has to, well, say.
What they EXPECT him to say is,
"I can't bear to lie to you anymore. You're such a great girl. I just can't do it to you. I'm pulling out of the show because.... I'M GAY! [starts sobbing, a la Saxon] Oh god, I'm so sorry. I hate myself so much for having done this to you. I'm so bad. How could I have ever betrayed the trust of a girl as nice and trusting as you? Oh god, I am scum!"
But what he ACTUALLY says is,
"Listen. I just can't take this anymore. I know it's a lot of money and everything. But, yeah, I'm done. I'm pulling out of this game because I just really really don't like you. God it feels so great to finally be able to admit that. Truly, I can't bear the thought of spending any more time with you. You suck. Oh, and by the way, I'm avaricious and STRAIGHT!"....
Tee hee hee. Subverting expectations is just delicious isn't it? And dramatic. And also serves as an important lesson for us all, don't ya think? Yes, quite the worthy ending. But, more importantly, it would ROCK. MY. WORLD.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Catherine has written a highly intelligent and thoughtful post about the episode, which I think you should all read. She has also provided a link to how Bob Larson himself perceived the episode.
In the paper today, they've quoted Bush doing it again, as he claims that "John Kerry's Iraq strategy would endanger the US and lead to a major defeat in the war on terrorism". You're already losing buddy! And then he backs up this assertion with more freedom waffle: "the dream of freedom is moving forward". AND get this, Bush has the nerve to accuse Kerry of alienating the world: "The senator insults our friends in the world and wants to please a few critics. I'm working with our friends for the sake of freedom and and security". AAAAGGHHH!
In other news the new Kylie single (and Scissor Sisters collaboration) I Believe in You is great - a predictable, yet welcome return to gay disco. I suspect though that she has no chance of singing it live...
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Also, and Elanor mentioned this briefly, it pisses me off the "outrage" about Kerry mentioning Cheney's gay daughter. Sure, it was a political move on Kerry's part, but I don't see how you can brand it as an "outrage" without suggesting that homosexuality is something that should remain hidden. They wouldn't suggest that would they?
Things that made me think the exorcist dude is a vile bully:
- "I John, on behalf of my ancestors, forgive Hitler."
- "At 5, you don't know that daddy loves you unless daddy says he loves you. And if daddy doesn't say he loves you, your interpretation is 'daddy doesn't love me'. So you DIDN'T have a good relationship with your parents."
- "God's people prostituted themselves. You're a spiritual whore."
- "I want every African-American person in this room to say, 'In the name of Jesus, we come, renouncing the sins of our ancestors, who turned to false gods. Stand together, as Africans. You leave this man alone. In the name of Jesus.'"
- "You go back to Australia and you're gonna kick the Devil's butt. And I'm gonna come over there, and you and I together, we're gonna preach the Gospel in Australia. Amen?"
Anyway, the level of my anger was extreme, and I don't know if the reasons why can really be transcribed. But I was like, seriously fucked off. I mean, I know I reject all gods and stuff, but like, treating everyone else's gods and rituals as false and evil and then cajoling people into rejecting them in favour of your own is just... unpleasant. What a JERKY way to be.
[UPDATE: I figured out the main cause of my anger. The exorcist abused his position as the leader of a ceremony. He exploited the fact that people wanted to fully participate in the process (which necessitated being led by him and doing what he told them to do) to make pointed detours into getting them to say things offensive to their 'ancestry'. He would just drop in these barbs without purpose except as an exhibition of his power to make them 'sell out'. The dude was a creep.]
Whatever. This is a night for rejoicing. Speaking of false Idols, hurrah! Marty is gone!
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Yay yay yay! WHOO-HOO! The White Stripes are releasing Jolene as a single! Yippee! Finally! Hee hee! Yay! Best. Cover. Ever.
Also, I forgot to mention how ACE the final episode of The Chaser Decides was. It was, like, really ace.
Meanwhile, Bill O'Reilly is such a tool. And he's not denying it, either.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Kylie's touring again, and by the looks of this pic, the odds seem stacked against a fantastic, modern, classy Fever-style gig, with some kind of capital K kitsch Light Years-style extravaganza looking much more likely. Interesting that K is once again embracing the idea of the showgirl - the hard-working, entertainer rather than soulful artist... empty signifier and so forth. I really think she sells herself short with some of this PoMo irony stuff.
Anyway, it struck me that there's something particularly horrific about overly smart personals, like the following:
"Only the good die young. And sea-monkeys. Providing you flush then. Re-claim those years of bitter disappointment, waiting for the turgid little insects of your life to blossom into webbed-toed critters, with good honest cephalopod. Underwater Kingdom and x-ray specs available...".
"Had an accident at work that wasn't your fault? My God I love you. Junior Lawyer seeks winnable case/easy sex..."
"Do you like Chekov, Don Giovanni, Gothic fiction, Burgundy, Venice, lobsters straight out of the Mediterranean? F academic still beautiful! seeks fun, laughter, joi de vivre"
I'm not saying these are particularly lame, but rather disconcerting 'cause, really, it kinda reminds me of blogging - the whole i'm sort of reaching out 'cause I'm writing this stuff, but I don't want it to seem that way, so I'll act all smart and detached and what not. Although I guess there is no other way to write a personal. Or a blog. It is actually scary reading of all these educated, professional (mostly academic) type people who are looking for someone to kill the hours with. A bit too close to home maybe? Not really, 'cause if I had to write a personal, it certainly wouldn't be in the London Review of Books.
Speaking of magazines, I've been reminded that one should perhaps feel shameful about reading car magazines by coming across (on two different occasions) the description "trouser-tent inducing" being applied to cars.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Please, he has to win.
Anyway, it seems that both candidates have been going after the female vote in this campaign, so maybe Colin Powell's decision not to push the issue of Saudi women being denied the right to vote could be a point of distiniction:
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saudi women should eventually have the vote, but stopped short of criticising Riyadh.
Kerry could be all "We have to be able to be tough with our friends on matters of principle", or something. Because, truly, yikes:
Election committee head Prince Mansur bin Muteb bin Abdul Aziz said on Tuesday that he expected women to take part in future polls, after studies were held "to assess whether it is useful or not".
Useful. I see. Wait... no I don't! What the hell does that even mean?
In other ghastly news, murderers suck.
UPDATE: Amy brought my attention to this article, about Israeli soldiers gunning down Palestinian children with lots and lots of bullets, and then pulling that, "it's not our fault. The baddies hide out in populated areas on purpose" thing. But, like, maybe they're not taking shelter there and endangering people on purpose, maybe they just live there.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Anyway, I really want to see these movies; Team America: World Police [yay! Trey Parker and Matt Stone and puppets!] and I Heart Huckabees.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
This one scares me a little, well, a lot. I thought that the 'doctrine of pre-emption' would be a one-off deal, you know, since reckless unaccountable piles of crap should never be repeated, yes? But it seems that during this campaign “Bush appears to have expanded the conditions for a pre-emptive military strike.” The article says that “Taken at face value, Mr. Bush appears to be saying that under his new standard, a country merely has to be thinking about developing illicit weapons at some time” to warrant a pre-emptive attack. So, what's gonna start a war? Vague intent.
This article disturbs me too. It talks about Catholics orgainsing against Kerry because “there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.” Damn! I always forget how creepy Catholicism is. I always forget that the Pope leads it. I've gotta stop thinking that its faithful people are much different to the Evangelical types I find it so easy to sneer at. I've just gotta get it through my head - Catholicism isn't the 'nice' Christianity. Jesuitical principles of social justice aren't what it's all about. Just because some of the people I love are Catholics doesn't make it okay. It's still hateful, and I should really foul up family barbecues by saying so. I'm not kidding. If they hit back with the Frank Brennan argument, I just gotta hit 'em with the Pope. Er... anyway, back to the article. It's about a section of the American Catholic leadership who are saying that “a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion.” A dude called Archbishop Chaput likens voting for Kerry to "cooperating in evil". It's all quite scary, and unprecedented. Whereas liberal Catholics say that the church has traditionally treated voting as a matter of indivdual conscience, “never before have so many bishops so explicitly warned Catholics so close to an election that to vote a certain way was to commit a sin.” And it's so fucking organised. A group called Priests for Life are going from church to church in swing states like Florida, giving fellow priests sample homilies for each Sunday in November, inserts for church bulletins and voter guides. The "non-negotiable" issues are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage. The death penalty and war are now, apparently, "negotiable". “In theological terms, these bishops and the voter guides argue that abortion and the destruction of embryos are categorically wrong under church doctrine. War and even the death penalty can in certain circumstances be justified.” So the guy who is vehement when he says "One can't hold public office and say it's O.K. to kill some of the public", is nonetheless getting behind pro-death penalty, war-aggressor Bush. This kind of thing isn't dodgy at all, because "We are not telling them how to vote. We are telling them how to take Communion in good conscience." Yes, I see. Hmmm, I ain't no Catholic, but that seems seriously screwy to me.
Anyway, finally, this article is about a film against Kerry that's gonna air a week before the election. The film is about how Kerry 'betrayed' Vietnam POWs when he testified before Congress, since part of his testimony was about atrocities committed by US troops. The film includes interviews with former POWs who say that Kerry's anti-war statements were then used against them by their captors. The experience of POWs here is horrible and sad, but I'm going to be callous and say, like, still, Kerry wasn't lying, was he? Atrocities were widespread in Vietnam, weren't they? Or do I place too much faith in the accuracy of Full Metal Jacket? I mean, I don't think an honest portrayal of what happened should be cast as a betrayal. We need to know that this stuff happens. Like, in Soundtrack To War, the troops talked openly about shooting anything that moved in Iraq. This kind of talk shouldn't be censured, is all I'm saying. The NewsHour has covered this story too.
Nothing's really happening with the cheating thing.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Apparently this debate was much closer than the first one, which William Safire claims means Bush won. Whatever. Dr Dave disagrees with that assessment, as do recent polls.
Anyway, expect to hear heaps about this cheating charge. I mean, what if Bush only performed passably in the debate because he was being fed lines? Ha ha! The implications! Helloo! Character issue! Hee hee hee! This should be fun! This charge could really have traction, I think. Like, people said that the Swiftboat thing stung Kerry so badly because it seemed to confirm notions about him that were already floating around in the public consciousness. I think the cheating charge might work in the same way with Bush. [I have to say that I only want it to work if it is true, but hey, I want it to be true.]
If Bush gets the 'cheater' tag, all this other stuff will be brought up and re-examined. The cheating charge could expand other notions, like that he is a brat who hasn't earned his position, doing the minumum possible and relying on privilege to secure the rest, that he is propped up by others, that he doesn't personally have a grasp of the issues, that receiving information uncritically is a habit that allows him to function every day, and which weakens his ability to make crucially important decisions informedly. I mean, people might just start thinking that, generally, Bush is not a straight-up kind of guy. Ah, I'm getting excited again!
Hmmm, I realise transference is a real problem after a massive trauma like the one I [and the rest of us in our much-smaller-than-we-thought bubble] experienced on Saturday, but whatever. I'm all revved up and will now put all my hopes for humanity and my perilous state of mental health into the outcome of the US election. A good plan, I think.
Anyway, this is a very good piece from the New York Times about the weirdness of the Bush spin on bad news. I liked this article, even though there was an apostrophe error. I mean, "1990's"? I've restrained myself for so long about this, but it's just EVERYWHERE! Just STOP it, people. PLEASE! It's wrong!
Sunday, October 10, 2004
I was at Chadstone this morning getting my pre-retail, perk-up coffee, only to be confronted by one nasty, nasty woman who obviously has a miserable life, and chooses to take this out on others, rather than internalising like all decent people. Someone was ordering, and myself and a friend were waiting in line next to her. The said miserable cow then walks up behind the person being served, choosing to ignore the obvious queue that had developed. The chick who was serving asked "who's next thanks?" (a classic tactic designed to make the customers fight amongst themselves), and I decided to be assertive, for once, and put in my order. Then the miserable cow was like "OH, were you queuing were you, because that was a pretty miserable queue wasn't it. If you'd queued properly, then I would have known wouldn't I?". What the fuck? When I make a mistake, I don't blame others, nor do I verbally attack them. Unfortunately I couldn't think of a comeback - all I could do is make that face that implies "ugghh... whatever!".
On brighter news, it's the most perfect day, and as I've worked 37 hours this week, and volunteered this morning, I feel perfectly entitled to luxuriate on the lawn with a car magazine and a cup of tea. For half an hour. Then I will continue to research my thesis proposal, although this may take place on the lawn.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
PS Why don't we have to show ID when we vote? It seems so old school that I can just rock up, say my name, and then they cross off some name in this big massive book. I know that punch-cards screwed up global politics and all, but surely we can do better?
"What are you still doing up anyway?"
Well, I got home from work and then I was blogging.
"Oh yeah? How does that work?"
Well, I just go to my Blogger account and write something and then publish it. See?
"Um, there's something I have to ask you. My friends are making me. They really want to know. Kelly said I had to ask you. And I don't know how to do it so I'm just gonna come out and say it."
"Er, are you... gay? Or maybe bi even? I mean, it's okay if you are."
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I mean, I just laughed and then, realising she was actually serious and awkwardly curious, shook my head quizzically.
"Really? Are you sure? Because Kelly is certain you are."
I see. But, um, still no.
"It's really okay, you know, if you are."
Yes, I know that.
"It's just, my friends are really sure about it."
Uh huh... Why?
"Well, the way you talk about women."
What, like feminism and stuff?
Oh, you mean when I say that I love Liv Tyler and think she is totally hot?
Um, but, like, she is totally hot. Gorgeous. And she's not the only one. Like, heaps of women are totally hot. But I don't get all gooey and thrilled over them. It's just cool that they're like that. Hot is like... cool. I mean, when I say they're hot, it's clear that I have no urge to, like, do them, sexually.
"It's not that clear."
Oh... But, I mean, it's clearly not the same as when I say Viggo is totally hot. Because I really want to do Viggo. Mmmmm, sexually. And Joaquin and Julian and Jack and Dolf, and Noel Fielding too. I mean, you know that. You've seen how I react when I see them.
"Yeah. So, you're sure you're not maybe bi or something?"
Yes, I'm sure.
When she went to bed, she didn't look convinced. And she kept saying "It's really okay, you know, if you are", as she backed away down the hall. Hmmmm. Weird.
* Mark Latham is our Prime Minister. Which means that John Howard is not our Prime Minister. Yippee!
[Just let yourself luxuriate in the above possibility. You will feel so good. Your heart will expand as realisation upon realisation hits you. Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee!]
* Richard Frankland is a Senator. How awesome is that?!
* The Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate. Hurrah!
* Not only is John Howard no longer PM, he's not even an MP after losing Bennelong thanks to Andrew Wilkie. Alriiight!
* Family First achieve nothing, except for causing voters to turn off the Liberal party in droves. Fuck yeah!
Just think about it. You'll feel so good. I'm crazy-happy at the moment. And I'm not gonna shake myself out of it until Kerry O'Brien tells me something different. Because it could happen... today! In a matter of hours, Australia could feel all party party party, and be immediately lifted out of a dark, stagnant mood, and go like "Man, I feel so great! What the hell were we thinking to deny ourselves a feeling as great as this? We should have done this years ago!" And, instead of people feeling a bit "oh well" or bitter and twisted tonight, they could feel "Whoo-hoo! Whoo-hoo! Whoo-hoo!" Anyway, this is my head space for the next thirty hours or so. I'm giddy like the best kind of drunk I've never been. Wheeeeeee!
Friday, October 08, 2004
Hmmm, I guess I'm like a lot of other Australians in that respect. It appears that none of us have budged. Which is fine for me to do, but Liberal/National voters doing it screws the whole thing up. They are supposed to budge! That's how things get nice. I mean, I have budged a little since the last election, but still, my mind was made up long before this campaign began. Last time around I voted Labor in the House of Reps and Greens in the Senate. I thought it was an honest vote, because I said to myself, "The government is formed in the House of Reps. Who do I want to form government? Labor." And then, "Who do I want to hold the balance of power in the Senate? Greens." And so that's what I did. I thought that I had reasoned it out nicely, but as soon as I had cast my vote, I felt tremendous guilt. I mean, I had just voted for a party who supported the detention of asylum seekers. Dang! So I resolved then and there to just go Green all the way this time round.
Nonetheless, I feel a little two-faced about it, because I really want a Labor government. On election night, most of my attention will be directed at "Are Labor gonna win? Please make Labor win!" How many seats the Greens get will only be a secondary concern. But I just cannot vote Labor. And when I start to feel bad about maybe putting Lindsay Tanner out of a job, I just steel myself with thoughts of gay marriage. Any party that argues against it just gets a "NO" from me. You can't argue that gay people shouldn't have the right to marry in a way that isn't homophobic and idiotic. And we should all care about this on principle. Or, if principle isn't enough for you and you require personal incentive, just think about how, if you were being discriminated against by the state, you would feel the injustice of it. It's wrong. And the arguments are bullshit. So I can't possibly vote for such stupidity and shittiness. Sorry Lindsay, it's a party thing.
Anyway, as always, I'm ignoring all the polls and predicitng a Labor victory, because how could that not happen? However, this is how I've felt before the last three elections, and still the Coalition has gotten in. What the hell is that about, people?
I feel I would be repeating myself if I said another thing about the Howard government being really shit and needing to go, so I've decided to republish, rather than repeat. I've mined the archives, and look look, I've called John Howard rude words:
a 'man of steel'
a transparent little weasel
a complete shit
a guy who badmouths people who have just escaped from a sinking boat
he is yucky and a dickhead make him go away ew ew ew!
I am so tough. Anyway, if you're a Liberal/National voter, you could care less about me telling you not to vote in another Howard government. [By the way, please don't!] But you might listen to Howard himself. He had some excellent advice for voters today, which I think we should all heed. He is our leader after all. This morning he said probably the best thing to ever come out of his mouth;
"if you kick hard enough and enough of you kick, I won't be in office."
Sounds like a plan. COME ON! Yeah! Let's do it! Yippee!
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Friday, October 01, 2004
Things don't look good, however. Guy has somehow been watching the actual thing on TV and keeps SMS-ing tragic updates like "Kerry's kinda tanking in this debate. He's not making bush look stupid" and "Aaaggh! Bush is a FUCKER... He just lies, and then smirks." Oh shit. I'm really quite concerned, because Guy never uses swear words, which makes his use of capital letters in this instance even more significant.
First level of wrongness; it is sooo not the fabulous thing to do. Hmph. Rather poo-ey and anti-fun, and Trump-like. And Nicole says "that's hot" too, so I think it's just rude to sideline her contribution.
Second level of wrongness; Paris' claim is just baseless. And I'm not just saying that. I have proof.
Actually, in a freakish coincidence, the proof was sitting right in my lap at the very moment that Dave said words to the effect of "Paris Hilton is trying to have the catchphrase 'That's hot' trademarked." As soon as I heard that, I went, "Nuh-uh!" Then I looked down at my lap and started flicking through pages until I found one and pointed at it and went, "A-ha!" You see, I had been doing some reading for uni that night which included a piece written by Edmund White in 1980, called The Political Vocabulary of Homosexuality. And to my delight, it was totally relevant to debunking Paris' alleged proposition. Hee! I am totally loving that I find myself in a position to use Edmund White to refute Paris Hilton. I don't know why, but it feels special. Anyway, the relevant bit is this:
"In the past one admired a 'boy' who was 'beautiful' or 'pretty' or 'cute'. Now one admires a man who is 'tough' or 'virile' or 'hot'. Perhaps no other word so aptly signals the new gay attitudes as hot; whereas beautiful in gay parlance characterizes the face first and the body only secondarily, hot describes the whole man, but especially his physique. One may have a lantern jaw or an asymmetrical nose or pockmarked skin and still be hot, whereas the signs of the beautiful face are regular features, smooth skin, suave coloring - and youth. The hot man may even fail to have an attractive body; his appeal may lie instead in his wardrobe, his manner, his style. In this way 'hotness' is roughly equivalent to 'presence' with an accent on the sexy rather than magisterial sense of that word. In addition, hot can, like the Italian simpatico, modify everything from people to discos, from cars to clothing. Gay-chartered cruises promise a hot vacation and designers strive after a hot look. If an attractive man strolls by, someone will murmur, 'That's hot'."
And that's from 1980, people. Paris wasn't even born until 1981. So like, yeah! Sorted. And if you don't think that's proof enough, I offer you a fantastic cheesy movie as further evidence of the pre-Simple Life use and and mass-exposure of "That's hot". Like, I have seen Honey, and hello-o, you sooo don't have the rights to that catchphrase, Paris. It's for everyone.
In other things that are hot, I just found out that Joaquin Phoenix will play Johnny Cash in a movie called Walk The Line. Joaquin as Johnny Cash! Oooh, I think I just had a little spasm. HOT!