Friday, July 31, 2009

Y Bother?

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

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

Seriously, why NOT?

Simple Radio Folk

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

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

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

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

From "Juzzy": Lame

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sleeve-length: A Pressing Issue

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

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

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

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

Kudos, Ross Livermore. Kudos.

The Blind Leading the Flamboyantly Drug-addled

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what have we learnt?

1. Gerard Gosens cannot dance

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

3. Todd McKenney is a complete bastard

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2009

In the Adelaide Advertiser...

K.M. Gunn of Lower Mitcham writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT will fix our society.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

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

And another thing...

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

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

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

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

Not Dead

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

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

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

Swine flu, in fact, is something like this.

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

Friday, July 3, 2009

Words hurt, you know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Expression of Astonishment!

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