Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let Nothing You Dismay

Hello everyone from my holidays! I'm desperately trying to get some actual holidaying in this festive season, but it's always shameful to neglect one's blog for too long, and so I thought I would update with something that, in the spirit of the season, is both Christmassy and lazy.

Those of you read my Age column last weekend will be aware that it was on the subject of Christmas TV (no, it's not online yet and no I don't know when it will be). I contend that television is one of the essential parts of the Christmas season, lending a flavour and a mood to the holidays that really bring them alive. If you're anything like me you'll have many fond memories of sitting down in front of the Christmas favourites - specials, movies, whatever - in the lead-up to the big day. It's not Christmas without Christmas TV, and I therefore here present you with my Christmas message, in the form of my...



In this reporter's opinion the king of Christmas movies - yes, even better than Die Hard. Beautifully capturing the insanity both of Christmas and childhood, and the innocent materialism of youth.


A close contender for the title claimed by A Christmas Story, probably only losing because it falls into the classic "adults don't believe in Santa Claus even though he's real" trap of complete illogic that most Santa movies do. But still the best Sante/Elf movie ever, one of the best fish-out-of-water movies ever, a prime showcase for Will Ferrell's demented man-child bit, and it has Zooey Deschanel. ZOOEY DESCHANEL.


One of my fondest of childhood memories, and sadly one they don't seem to play anymore these days. The old Rankin Bass stop-motion classics were a staple of Christmas viewing in my youth - thank God for DVDs allowing me to keep the memory alive. This is the one with the Snow Miser and Heat Miser songs, and - wondrously - one of the very, very few movies or specials NOT to fall into the illogical trap mentioned above with Elf - in this one the grown-ups believe in Santa Claus, as well they should - because if Santa was real, parents would have to wonder where the presents were coming from...


Yes, another from Rankin Bass, and another from the days when childhood dreams were narrated by Fred Astaire. In this one, Mickey Rooney stars in the origin story of Santa Claus. As a kid I was absoutely enchanted by the idea of learning Santa's secret history. It humanised him somehow. I'll stop with the Rankin Bass now, but it's also worth checking out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.


There have been approximately 7 billion versions of A Christmas Carol produced over the years, but as is true with pretty much everything in life, the best version is with the Muppets. Another indisputable fact about life is that everything is better with Michael Caine, so this is kind of like the perfect storm.


Frank Spencer's Christmas holds a very special place in my heart for a particular reason: when I was a kid we used to have Psycho on VHS, taped off the TV, and at the end of it a Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Christmas special was recorded. So if you watched Psycho, it would cut directly from the terrifying psychotic smirk of Norman Bates in his cell, to Frank Spencer in green tights playing the chief pixie in a department store. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that particular scene - which was from the 1975 special (there were three specials in 74, 75 and 78). But I found a really funny one from a different special - the Some Mothers specials were classics of the Britcom Christmas genre.


Futurama has had two marvellous Christmas specials too, revolving around Evil Robot Santa, which is, I think you'll agree, an unbelievably perfect conceptual confluence, and also he's voiced by John Goodman.


Of course I am in desperate, near-sexual love with just about everything the Simpsons has done, and although their Halloween eps overshadow their Christmas ones, they still do a good Christmas. Take your pick of the Christmas specials, but Christmas is a time for nostalgia, and Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire is not only 21 years old (!), and the first Simpsons Christmas ep, it's also the very first full-length Simpsons episode of all!


Oh this is so bad. I mean, really, it's so incredibly bad. Did you watch this as a kid? Wasn't it bad? It's so great how bad it is.

And of course...


Blackadder reigns supreme. That is all.

What are your old Christmas favourites?

Merry Christmas best beloveds.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Oprah: A Plea For Assistance

Dear Oprah,

How are you? I am fine. Welcome to Australia, I hope you will enjoy your stay here. I'm sure you will, especially with all the McDonald's we have.

I am writing to you with a simple, humble, simple request. I realise we have had little to do with each other in the past, and I admit I have not been a steadfast viewer of your television programmes, but I am sure you will overlook that just as I am willing to overlook the fact that you do not know who I am. We are both gracious people in that way.

I am writing to you on behalf of New Matilda, a website that is in urgent need of your help. Essentially, NM needs about $70,000 more in the next week or it will have to fold, and I know you don't want that to happen.

Because New Matilda is, essentially, just like you, Oprah. A poor kid with a dream. A dream of serving the world. You've achieved your dream; won't you help New Matilda achieve theirs? I know that a crusader for the underdog like yourself will want to help this little site keep on standing up for the little guy, exposing dishonesty and corruption, and campaigning for the side of the angels, just as you always have. In the absence of our own Oprah, New Matilda may be all Australia has to perform these vital functions!

Also, I don't want to delve too deeply into your personal affairs, Oprah, but what I've read seems to indicate that $70,000 would be, well, not exactly the biggest dent in your personal budget. What I'm saying is, I am fairly sure you can afford it.

So won't you help us, Oprah? While you're visiting our fair country, enjoying our venomous snakes and our delicious coffee, why not also help ensure our democracy remains strong even after you've left, by contributing to the continuing robustness of media diversity.

As a long-time New Matilda contributor, and one who owes his very career to this plucky little site, I promise that if you keep us alive, I will personally:

1. Teach you the rules of cricket, rugby and two-up

2. Write a week-long series of humorous-yet-reverential articles about how great you are, and

3. Give you a nice big hug, with your explicit consent.

Please, Oprah. Keep New Matilda alive. Help Australian online media thrive. Give we itinerant opinionists a place to go. It won't take much. You have the power. It's like the Secret. We wished for a white knight for New Matilda, and you, like magic, appeared in Australia. It is meant to be! Help us out, Oprah! Make this world a better place!

I believe in you.

PS the official Twitter hashtag is #OprahsavesNM - pass it on!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Break out the Raspberry Cordial!!!!

UPDATE!!!!! It'll be on at 8.30, NOT 7.30. Outrageous!

When engaging in our beautiful and exciting Anne Party (see last post) tomorrow night, why not add a bit of pep to proceedings by playing:


You can play this game with whatever beverage you like, although obviously it will lend the occasion a particularly delicious piquancy if you can get hold of some raspberry cordial or currant wine. Or, even better, if you can get your friend to drink some currant wine which they THINK is raspberry cordial. Or just spike the Pepsi with vodka, it'll have the same effect.

Anyway, here are the rules of the game:

- Every time Marilla says "hold your tongue", DRINK!

- Every time Rachel Lynde judges someone, DRINK!

- Every time Anne says, "bosom friend", DRINK!

- Every time Anne makes reference to her imagination, DRINK!

- Every time Matthew interferes in Marilla's parenting, DRINK!

- Every time Diana says, "Oh, Anne!" DRINK!

- Every time someone refers to the negative side of having red hair, DRINK!

- Every time Miss Stacy grins annoyingly, DRINK!

- Every time Gilbert gives Anne a cheekily flirtatious smile, DRINK!

- Every time Anne gives Gilbert a haughtily nasty look, DRINK!

- Every time Anne's temper gets the better of her, DRINK!

- Every time anyone says "Anne with an E", DRINK!

- Every time Matthew awkwardly struggles to find the right words, DRINK!

- Every time Marilla mentions God, DRINK!

- Every time Josie Pye brings everyone down, DRINK!

- Every time Anne reaches a new level of academic achievement, DRINK!

- Every time Anne wastes a chance to score with Gilbert, DRINK!

- Every time you wonder what Anne sees in Diana, DRINK!

And of course,

- Every time someone has a heart attack and dies, DRINK!

Happy drinking, Annelites!

"That West Coast Cooler should kick in any second now..."

Let's Get Organised, Avonleaps!

UPDATE!!!!! It'll be on at 8.30, NOT 7.30. Outrageous!

It has come to my attention that this Saturday, 4th December (TOMORROW! EEK! Do we have time????) at 7.30pm, Channel Seven will be screening seminal 1985 Canadian telemovie "Anne of Green Gables", also known as The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In celebration of this fact, I call on all men and women of goodwill to join together, cancel any frivolous, futile plans you might have had for that night, and sit yourselves down to watch this masterpiece in a spirit of community and togetherness. If you like, you can gather your friends around in a literal "Anne Party", but even if you're watching alone, you shan't be, for we shall be holding a VIRTUAL Anne Party, all of us, around the nation, watching together, feeling the spirit and the message of Anne, bound together by the bonds of bosom friendship and period romance just as surely as if we were in the same room. On that night we shall all be brothers and sisters in Anne. It will bring us closer together, and by Sunday morning we will all be better, kinder, gentler people for having watched it together.

Why not join the anticipation on Twitter? The Anne Party hashtag, it has been decreed, is #anneparty. Use it to engage in discussion before, during and after the broadcast, to inform about preparations for the Anne Party, and just to commune with like-minded souls.

See you there, Annelites!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Sadder, Gentler Note

It has come to my attention that some of you in the media are spreading a rumour that Leslie Nielsen has died. This could not be further from the truth.

Now it is true that he's ill. Slightly ill. But he's just fine, he's out there acting, free to lead a life of religious fulfilment.

Bye, Detective Drebin.

Intemperate Overblown Rant No. 2

In which Miss Josephine Asher expresses her wish for a simpler time.

I am going to come right out and say it: Josephine Asher is RIGHT.

Yes, the pursuit for gender equality IS sucking the life out of relationships.

Just the other day, I was about to go out hunting, when my wife said, "Don't forget to vacuum", and I was reduced to a blubbering wreck. "Stop sucking the life out of our relationship!" I screamed, putting down my crossbow and going for a good lie-down.

It seems these days that all I ever do is wear aprons, push trolleys, do my own ironing. It's so humiliating for a man like me, who has such masculine potential if only he were allowed to express it instead of being constantly forced to do the washing up and arrange flowers attractively in vases. Like Josephine's friend "Dave", I feel like I have surrendered my balls. Surrendered them to a vast and evil army, made up of feminism allied with housework and armed with sharp, pointy equality-spears that are stabbing me right in the balls, except they're not because I surrendered them, so they are stabbing me right in my smooth, sexless groin.

Are you happy, feminism? Happy you have reduced me to a Ken Doll with an open wound? Me and "Dave" both?

To be blunt, feminisn:

Thanks to feminism I have failed to master basic masculine skills, which has caused a catastrophic decline in my self-esteem. Thank God I found out. For years I felt bad because I couldn't change a tyre or put up a shelf or kill a jaguar with my bare hands. I thought it was a failing in myself. Only now do I see: it was FEMINISM all along. Those accursed harpies insisting on equal status just drove the usefulness right out of me, and now I am good for nothing save baking scones and braiding hair.

Why, Feminism? Why do you insist on making me less of a man? Why can't it be like it was in the old days, when men were men and women were women and everyone was happy with that, and if they weren't they took powerful anti-depressants and repressed their feelings in a healthy and socially lubricative way, and there were never any arguments over who was going to go out and earn a living at the steelworks or merchant bank and who was going to stay home tending to the children and honey-glazing a ham? Don't we all yearn for those days? I know I do.

Just think of how it makes us feel, when we see a woman, say, build a house, or fire a gun, or drive a car or wear long pants. It makes us feel small. It makes us feel insignificant. It make us feel weak and effeminate. Let's not beat around the bush here: every time a woman picks up a briefcase, a man's penis turns to dust.

I yearn for a time when I wasn't surrounded by independent women. When the females in my circle were not constantly giving me migraines with their carping insistences on having "lives". When relationships were based, as David Deida points out, on "sexual polarity" and we weren't all mixed up and confused by all this sexual equality. Why can't I have a "ravishee", dammit? It's been so long since I felt like a ravisher, like a powerful, confident man making love to a reluctant woman who wasn't really into it. And isn't that what every man wants, in the end?

I'm so grateful to Miss Asher for saying what we were all thinking: independent women abandon their femininity. And what we want are truly feminine women. There is no greater turn-off than a woman who, instead of making herself pretty for you, spends all her time having opinions. What's feminine about that? What's the point of a woman who you can have an intelligent conversation with, if her demented pursuit of equality has caused her to get all mannish on you? What's sexy about a woman who challenges you, who engages you, whose company you enjoy? Why would any man want a woman whose personality delights him? Why would any man want a woman with a personality at all? When did "personality" become so important?

And yet feminism has conned us into thinking we could be happy with this arrangement; that we could be happy with women gadding about the place "independently".

Today it seems the only way you can form a relationship with a woman is by treating her as an actual human being, and frankly, we're not wired for that, ladies. Men are not designed for equal partnerships. We are not predisposed towards mutual respect. We are not genetically structured so as to be capable of acting in a remotely decent manner towards fellow human beings of the opposite sex. When you try to force us to do it, society breaks down, as it is doing right now. Men are reduced to poor, ghostly imitations, hollowly doing household chores and contributing towards the maintenance of the home and family until eventually, they grow vaginas. And all because feminism objected to the ways of life that had served us for so many years, where the man earned the money and protected the family, and the woman took care of home life and didn't get too lippy unless she wanted a black eye.

Not that I advocating violence towards women, obviously. It's just that back in humanity's halcyon days, women were much happier because they didn't have all the pressure of careers and thinking and stuff, and so they were able to take the occasional backhander in good humour. After all, we want men to be manly, don't we? I mean, hitting people is part of what makes a man a man. When did we lose sight of this? Thanks to feminism, I hardly ever get to hit people these days. It's no wonder I've started lactating.

The point is this: we had a good thing going, men and women. Men made the money, fought the wars, ran the governments, owned the businesses, wrote the books, participated in the sporting events, taught the university courses, cured the diseases, built the buildings, explored the world, planned the cities, and massacred the natives; and women baked cakes and provided sexual release. And that worked VERY well. Look at the pyramids. Could they have been built in a world with maternity leave? Don't make me laugh.

So please, let's all take a leaf out of Josephine Asher's book. Men, reassert your dominance. Women, reassert your submissiveness. If we all work together in a spirit of togetherness I am sure we can build a world where nobody will ever have to work together in a spirit of togetherness again.

Then, maybe, we can get that uppity bint Asher to stop writing and get back in the goddamn kitchen where she belongs.

Intemperate Overblown Rant No. 1

OK, Twitter. You know I have always been a friend to you. I have always stood by your side, championed your cause, defended you when others put you down.

But there are some things, Twitter, that are indefensible, and today you hit a new low.

For today was the day when Twitter reached such terrifying subterranean depths of stupid that we may never get out again. So, so stupid did Twitter become that it sucked the real world into its maelstrom of idiocy and suddenly everything was inside out, black was white, up was down, and Denise Drysdale was a small Welsh village.

Here is the story. You may have heard it.

Chapter One: A young woman in America started a Twitter account with the username "@theashes". Apparently this was a nickname bestowed on her by her boyfriend. Who knows why? Perhaps he is a cricket fan. Perhaps he is a pyromaniac. We shall never know; or rather, we probably shall know, and then wish we didn't because it is so boring and stupid.

Chapter Two: Some people start putting @theashes in their tweets about The Ashes, as in the cricketing series. This is presumably because they were too dumb to know the difference between a hashtag (#) and a reply (@). So the first REALLY stupid part of the story comes here, where not only are those people stupid, but for some reason the dominant meme does not become "these people are stupid".

Chapter Three: Awash in cricketing tweets, the young woman quite reasonably asks that people stop tweeting her about cricket, because she is not a cricket match. People do not stop. Getting annoyed, she repeats her request in more robust language.

Chapter Four: Large numbers of people then decide that what would be REALLY funny, would be if they all bombarded the woman with tweets, just to annoy her, because harassing strangers who've done nothing wrong is the real reason for Twitter's existence. Stupidity quotient then increases, as once again, the dominant meme fails to be "This is REALLY freaking stupid".

Chapter Five: It being decided people were really being quite mean, some Twitter users then decided that, just as the solution to a small peper-cut is to cover your entire body in bandages and dive into an Olympic swimming pool filled with antiseptic, the way to redress the situation would be to start a campaign to #gettheashestotheashes. Or, if we look at it another way, it's possible the intention was to redress the situation by making fun of it. Which wouldn't be so bad, BUT...

Chapter Six: The campaign took off, and QANTAS ("getting you to your destination with less than 25% of the plane exploding and/or falling off or your money back") decided oh wouldn't it be a delightful lark if we...if we...





She named herself @theashes - and therefore she gets a free flight to Australia!!!


Now, it's not that I wish this girl any ill. Good luck to her, she's a winner out of this.

But the BURNS.

It may be the stupidest reason anybody has received free air travel in the history of the world - way stupider than when Virgin Blue flew a flock of sheep to Tahiti as a sacrifice to Ra.

It's like a mighty Stupid Auction - having put in an impressive opening bid by harassing a woman because of her username, Twitter then outbid ITSELF by getting a woman to travel to Australia because of her username.

WHAT MADNESS IS THIS? AM I to be the last sane man left on earth? Shall I wander the land lonely and terrified lest the maniacal idiots surrounding me engage in conversation?

Note: this "Twitter celebrity" is not a celebrity because of anything she's done. Or anything she's said. Or anything she's tweeted. Or anything she IS. Purely and simply because of her username.

"Oh, you're @theashes? Better get you to The Ashes then, right? Logical next step."



This is so stupid. It's like a great ocean of stupid, teeming with stupid fish which are caught in stupid nets hung from the sides of stupid trawlers manned by stupid fishermen.

It's a vast galaxy of stupid, full of enormous stupid stars around which rotate beautiful and mysterious stupid planets, yet to be explored by intrepid stupidnauts who have gone into suspended stupid animation for the long stupid flight to uncharted space.

It's a mountain of stupid, unclimbable apart from the very stupidest mountaineers, who will plant their stupid flags on its stupid peak and proclaim they claim this stupid mountain in the name of Stupid, thus allowing stupid miners to later come and mine the rich seams of stupid running through the mighty stupid mountain, until they run foul of the stupid orcs who live beneath the mountain and prey on the hapless stupid miners, who are forced to arm themselves with stupid weapons and drive the orcs stupidly back into their stupid caves so they can mine in stupid peace, until one stupid day they delve too stupidly and awakwen a stupid Balrog, who kills them all stupidly.

It is...pretty...stupid.

Please, please, Twitter, don't be so stupid again. Or I am going to have to leave you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stay Tuned

Things continue to happen, don't they?

Check out a new one by me at Crikey, where I have been standing up for the traditions that make this country great.

And guess what? You can still donate to Movember! You could donate there, or anywhere really. Donate to whatever facial hair you choose, it all goes to the right place.

Also, wheels are turning in regard to my show in next year's Comedy Festival.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Baffling Joke of the Day

A new segment on BPWWOO: The Baffling Joke Of The Day.

Today's Baffling Joke comes from the "Blowflies and Bulldust" section of the Stock and Land, and runs thus:

AHMED goes to Jakob to buy black bras, size 38.

Jakob, known for his skills as businessman, says black bras are rare and that he is finding it very difficult to buy them from his suppliers. Therefore he has to charge $50 for them.

Ahmed buys 25 pairs.

He returns a few days later and this time orders 50. Jacob tells him they have become even harder to get and charges him $60 each.

Ahmed returns a month later and buys Jakob's remaining stock of 50, this time for $75 each.

Jakob is somewhat puzzled by the large demand for black bras and asks Ahmed, what he does with all these black bras.

The Arab answers: "I cut them in half and sell them as skull caps to the Jewish community for $100 each."

I can't help feeling that the composer of this joke got lost somewhere along the way. At some point he almost certainly felt he had the makings of a pretty good joke, but then realised he didn't know where he was going, and panicked.

What is it? Is it a joke about Jakob's skills as a businessman? Is it a joke about Ahmed's skills as a businessman? Is it an anti-semitic joke? Is it an anti-Muslim joke? Is it a joke about how funny bras are?

I think we can definitely say, to all these questions, yes. It is, essentially, a shy, unassuming sort of a joke, that is happy to drop subtle hints as to what it's about, without ever quite finding the courage to make this explicit.

Well done, "Blowflies and Bulldust". Your contribution to national humour is noted.

Please Note

This was on PAGE 1 - that is, the FRONT PAGE - of the Toowoomba Chronicle of the 18th November.


Our Kate finds her prince charming
TOOWOOMBA'S own Kate Middleton is set to play the part of princess and thinks she just may have missed her calling in life.

And she may have found her own Prince Charming.

Being secretary of Toowoomba Turf Club comes with the occasional glamour moment, but it just doesn't seem to come with an 18 carat engagement ring crafted from sapphire and diamonds.

Ms Middleton said there had been quite a buzz surrounding her name, with some of Toowoomba's finest young ladies marvelling over her name tag at the Weetwood Handicap race day

(Full story here)


She has the same name?

That's the story? THe biggest one they could find? A woman in Toowoomba has the same name as another woman in England?


"There has been quite a buzz about my name"? Are you serious, Kate Middleton? You can actually say something like that without shame burning the inside of your skull?

Who the hell is emailing and calling this woman? What do they say when they call her? "Congratulations"? "Nice work"? "Oh I saw in the paper how a woman called Kate Middleton is about to marry Prince William - is that you?"

I mean, seriously, do people think it might be? Do they think the Kate Middleton they've been reading about in New Idea might be their pal Kate from Toowoomba, who just forgot to mention she's been dating Prince William since 2001? "Kept that very quiet, didn't she? Mmm makes you think."

Or alternatively, do they actually think having the same name as someone else is an achievement? Are they "emailing and calling" to tell Kate they're so happy for her that, after all her years of hard work, she's finally made it? "Sharing a name with a celebrity - it all paid off in the end, huh Kate?"

Let us not dwell on the fact that Ms Middleton is pictured on the front page (!!!) wearing a CROWN and adopting the sort of facial expression you would pretty much expect from someone who thinks she's special because her name is the same as somebody else's.

Let us instead dwell on the fact that apparently other women were "marvelling" over her nametag at the Weetwood Handicap Race Day, which, it has to be said, seems to be very aptly named.


"OMG look at that nametag! It features a combination of letters I find familiar! Can I have a photo with you famous lady?"

What a bunch of race-going dickheads.

And as for:

Being secretary of Toowoomba Turf Club comes with the occasional glamour moment

Well that is just a blatant and shameless lie.

And COULD there be another Kate Middleton wedding on the cards? Well, let's examine two relevant points:

1. Probably not, because she has a partner who gives her friendship rings. So don't hold your breath, "Princess".

2. If you care about the REAL Royal Wedding, you're a bit of a twit. If you care about the potential wedding of Kate Middleton, secretary of the Toowoomba Turf Club...well you are just the worst kind of person.

I can think of a hundred ways in which the royal family has made life on earth less pleasant. But the existence of a front page story in a daily newspaper about a random woman who happens to share the not-particularly-unusual name of a foreign celebrity who isn't very interesting or significant at the VERY TOP OF THE LIST.

I mean...Jesus.

Kate Middleton - History's Greatest Monster?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Time Has Come To Speak Of Important Matters

We have to talk about Junior Masterchef.

Why has it taken me so long to discuss this? Because I have only just awoken from the torpor into which I slumped upon the end of the finale, having collapsed to the floor in a great puddle of disgust, disappointment and pastry.

Because let me just say this:


Let me repeat it:


And again?


Let me explain something to everyone involved with that travesty.


I know this, because back in kindergarten we did a maths problem that went, how many numbers are there in ten? The answer was...TEN.

Then in first grade we learned another maths problem that went, what is one more than ten? The answer was...ELEVEN.

Get that, Junior Masterchef? ELEVEN is MORE than TEN.




In other words, "11/10" is not a score - it is a FREAKING DISGRACE.

Is this how it had to end, Junior Masterchef? After wowing us with how great these kids were at making wonderful dishes, after impressing us with their poise and skill, after dazzling us with their adorable enthusiasm and sincerity, this is what you serve up?

You tell us these kids are real talented chefs, you set us up to believe there is an actual competition going on, and then...

And then you bring it all crashing down around our ears with your 11/10s, with your 53/50 versus 50/50, making real all our worst fears: that it was all a sham, that it was never a real contest at all. You would go to any lengths necessary to manufacture false tension for that final challenge.

What I can't believe is how some people think that pressures of Junior Masterchef were too cruel for the kids. Good Lord, the show wasn't cruel enough! We managed to swallow our qualms about the ridiculously generous scores all series, but when you stoop to the depths of 11/10, we cannot stand any more.

There is NO SUCH THING as 11/10! It's a cheat, it's a fraud, it's a gold-plated five-star supernova of Go To Hell What Do You Take Us For?

Perhaps I can let Kate Miller-Heidke sum up my feelings at the Junior Masterchef finale:

My faith is shaken, Masterchef. You will need to work to restore it. You will need to reassure me that everything I see is not a cruel hoax, an attempt to play on my emotions and my love of vigorous competition in order to sell paper towels, while secretly all of you are laughing behind my back and punching numbers into a supercomputer to determine what mathematically impossible fraction is best-suited to creating a false impression of drama.

I guess what I'm saying, in essence, is: This would never have happened if you hadn't got rid of Zoe.



Monday, November 15, 2010


DAY 15!

Oh, what's that you say? Movember's not about beards? Well screw your RULES, man! There's hair on my face, I'm staying right here!

If you're a rebel like me, go here to donate to the cause of men's health, physical and mental.

If you'd like to support a cause that is neither worthy nor demanding of monetary donations, why not go to The Wonkleys?

You can vote for me in the category of "Best Political Journalist". Note my careful use of words: I said you CAN. Not you "should", or you "might want to", or "it won't make you feel dirty to". But you CAN, if that's the way your urges swing.

No I don't know when I became a political journalist. I think it's because I got paid too much to be an amateur blogger, and I spent too many nights not being on Q and A to be a Q and A panellist.

Oh, you can also vote for "almost everything I have said" in the category of "Best Political Comment of the Year", which let's face it would be a pretty accurate award for me to win given all those great things I say sometimes. Remember them? There were some. Google it.

Anyway, there you go. You can donate money to my hairy face, or you can donate a vote to my hairy punditry. It's up to you really. If you genuinely want to, you could even just ignore me and do nothing.

You rude bastards.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


As an atheist myself, I often find myself licking the blood from my fingers and thinking, Gee, wouldn't it be nice if there was more understanding in the world for those with alternative faith choices? Every day in the media I see another misconception about atheism being perpetuated by heartless believers who see fit to pass judgment on us without even going to the trouble of attending a Baby-Que to see for themselves what we're all about.

So I think it behooves me to here explode a few of the myths about atheists floating around out there.

1. ATHEISTS ARE JUST ANGRY AT THE CHURCH: This is simply NOT true. We are not JUST angry at the church; we are angry at all KINDS of people. Like our parents, the government, people who are happy and secure in our relationships. I am so SICK of atheists being painted as one-dimensional, as if it's just ONE thing that causes us to reject all sense of decency and social propriety. We have LOTS of motivations for our blind hatred, OK?

2. ATHEISTS WANT EVERYONE TO AGREE WITH THEM: No, we do NOT. We want SOME people to agree with us, sure. But MOST people we actually want killed. It's so unfair when people say things like, "Oh atheists, they're just trying to force their message down our throats". Not true: we're actually HAPPY if you disagree with us, because we're planning to exterminate you at our monthly Atheism Plot Meetings.

3. ATHEISM IS A RELIGION: Not at all - atheism is not the sort of structured belief system usually designated as "a religion" - it is in fact a very narrow set of beliefs more properly dubbed a "death cult". It really ticks us off when we get lumped in with the religious, when our soulles blend of nihilism and masochism is really very distinct.

4. ATHEISTS BELIEVE THERE IS NO GOD: I can hardly believe anyone actually thinks this anymore, but there you go. Suffice to say, atheists do NOT believe there is no God: we KNOW there is a God, but we reject Him because we want to smoke drugs and have anal sex all the time.

5. ATHEISTS ARE SENT BY SATAN TO TEMPT GOOD PEOPLE FROM THE RIGHT PATH: No, we tempt people from the right path purely for kicks.

6. ATHEISTS ARE ALL HOMOSEXUAL: Actually, many of us are heterosexual. of course, we indulge frequently in homosexual ACTS, because we live only to gratuitously offend people's sensibilities, but we don't ENJOY them. We don'y enjoy any sexual acts, since sex is only enjoyable with a person whom you love, and atheists are incapable of love.


8. ATHEISTS WORSHIP SCIENCE: None of us worship science; we all know science is rubbish, it's just something we came up with one night when we were trying to think of a way to corrupt the morals of young people. We do, however, worship Richard Dawkins, because of the mind-controlling injections he gave us.

9. ATHEISTS ARE UNHAPPY: As atheists we are incapable of ANY emotions, good or bad.


I hope that's clear now.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Some of you might remember a handy guide to avoiding being a rapist that I posted a little while ago.

Many people found this extremely helpful in their own lives as they struggled to find a way to not rape people. However, unfortunately it has come to my notice that the original guide was far too narrow in its scope. Recent events have shown that certain segments of the wider community need the Guide to be adapted to their special needs. With that in mind,

I therefore here present:


1. When you meet a dog who doesn't want to have sex with you, don't have sex with it.

2. When you meet a dog who wants to have sex with one of your friends, remember the golden rule: You Are A Different Person To Your Friends. Maybe this handy mnemonic can help: Yentl Acted As Ducks Probed Three Yucky Frenchmen. This will help you remember that a dog who wants to have sex with one person does not necessarily want to have sex with every person it meets. Confusing, I know; what can I say - political correctness, etc. Also, you should probably tell your friend not have sex with the dog, because it is a dog.

3. If you meet a dog who DOES want to have sex with you, but then a bit later it says it'd rather not, don't have sex with it. Again, pretty confusing, I know, but it's due to a special Scientific Fact: sometimes dogs change their minds. Like, remember the time you wanted a kebab, but then you thought no, I'll have a hamburger instead? It's a bit like that, only with sex. Also, there is another Scientific Fact: dogs can't talk, so if a dog tells you it wants to have sex with you, you're probably hallucinating. It's best not to have sex with anything while hallucinating.

4. When you meet a dog who is unconscious, don't have sex with it. This is true even if it was drinking before. I may be delving into some fairly arcane theory here, but scientists have discovered there is actually technically a difference between "drinking a lot of alcohol" and "saying yes I want to have sex with you". This difference is especially pronounced when dealing with dogs. In fact, even when dogs are conscious, don't have sex with them.

5. When you go home with a dog, try not to have sex with it until after it says it'd like to. Which it won't, because it's a dog. Even if the dog followed you home of its own volition, follow this role.

6. Practise not having sex with dogs. I know it's hard - sometimes you just look down and it's like, whoops, I'm having sex with this dog, how did that happen? But I bet with a bit of concentration and discipline, you can actually manage to avoid having sex with someone, even when they're in the same room as you and they have four legs and a tail and fur. It's true! Anyone can do it! Why, last week I met at least five dogs who I actually didn't have sex with, without causing myself any particularly severe internal injuries.

7. When you meet a dog who doesn't want to have sex with you, don't have sex with it. I realise I already said this one, but that was five steps ago, and I have a feeling some of you guys might have slightly short attention spans.

Phew! All bases covered! I feel we probably avoided a pretty bad crisis here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Good Cause, Right?

I'm now on Day 3 of Movember! It's...kind of weird.

But it's for the benefit of men's health, in particular the fights against prostate cancer and depresseion, so if you can spare anything at all, donate here. I, and many others, will appreciate it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dispensable Musings

The story of Mr Stephen Fry, who said some silly things and was upset.

It is a shame. You will be unsurprised to know that I am an enormous admirer of Stephen Fry. His writing, his acting, his comedy, his QI-hosting, his documentaries, and even his Twitter feed. I yield to no one in my admiration for the man. And it is very easy in such circumstances to forgive your role model the sins you condemn in others. And it's almost as easy to overcompensate and savage your role model for sins you would shrug off in others. So it's important to note, just at the start, that I am hopelessly morally compromised and my opinions on this matter, as in all others, are worthless. However, here goes.

The fact is that, on face value, these comments are fairly stupid. They are fairly ridiculous generalisations that are untrue and no doubt offend a lot of women, and gay men. And to say, "oh but there's a grain of truth there" is of course what is said about all ridiculous generalisations; maybe there IS a grain of truth, but a good rule of thumb is, if there's a grain of truth you wish to express, then express a grain of truth, not a wheatfield of wild exaggeration.

But Fry says he was misquoted, having given a "humorous interview". OK. I am willing to hear him out here. Maybe with others I wouldn't be so forgiving, and maybe that's the bias referred to above. But Fry has, I think, earned a certain level of esteem from me, so I'm willing to listen to any explanation and accept it if it's, well, acceptable. Some will not grant him the same indulgence - such as Germaine Greer, who replied to his stupid generalisations with some of her own; but that's Germaine for you, lovably ballistic as always. I don't blame them at all, for we each must make up our own minds as to what we accept and what we rail against. But I'll hear him out. Hell, I'll hear anyone out, really. It's only fair.

Because after all, I think I'm right in saying that Stephen Fry has not, in the past, established himself as an inveterate misogynist. Of course, he has established himself as a comedian, so if it was humour, it wouldn't be out of character. Even if you might not think it was very funny.

(as an aside, here is a video from some time ago, in which he speaks along the same themes, and does seem to be having a bit of fun more than anything; the old "differences between men and women" schtick, with a bit of "aren't men ridiculous creatures" thrown in. So if the interview he gave was a reprise of that routine...he would seem to have a case for grievance here. In my own, as we have established, worthless opinion.

But maybe it wasn't really a joke. If not, it did come across as the musing of a man who is somewhat baffled by matters sexual, which is pretty much the way Stephen Fry has come across for many years now. So maybe he needs some education.

And maybe, humorous or not, he was, as he says, seriously misquoted. But if so, I would like to know what he really said. I hope I get to find out. Unfortunately, everyone who says something idiotic always cries "misquote" or "out of context", so one craves something more if one is to have one's fears assuaged. This is terribly unfair for the genuinely misquoted, of course - to have done nothing wrong, and then have people demand you justify yourself for a non-existent act or sommen, is extremely frustrating. But still, these are disturbing comments, and it would benefit us all, including Mr Fry, to know his response in full.

So I hope he doesn't stay quiet. I hope he comes out and engages. I hope this even if he just puts this affair behind him and never mentions it again. Because even idiotic comments, while they may tarnish someone's sheen, don't destroy it. Stephen Fry, even with a blemish or two, will remain Stephen Fry. Much worse has been said by people who carried on blithely and without a care in the world. Basically, one stupid opinion does not a monster make. Even Spida Everitt has his good points. Even Kyle Sandilands...well, no, not really.

I think Fry is fragile and easily wounded, and retreats quickly in the face of attack. And to be fair, when you have 2 million Twitter followers, it must be somewhat overwhelming when the world comes down on you.

But I hope he comes back. And I hope, if he is able to set the record straight. And if the record we have is already straight, I hope he does learn the error of his ways.

And those are my thoughts, presented for your disposal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bye Bye Sort Of

A somewhat sad blog post today, just a kind of public service announcement.

I urge you to go and read my latest weekly wrap for ABC's The Drum. Of course, I always like you to read my pieces, but this one is particularly special because it's my last weekly wrap; the Drum and I are parting ways.

No, this is not of my choosing. I loved writing for The Drum, and I will be forever grateful to my editor Jonathan Green for letting me ramble on the site, and likewise grateful to everyone who read my little jokings. I've enjoyed doing it for the past almost-a-year.

Sadly, though, the realities of tight budgets, tough decisions and the glorious uncertainty of being a freelance writer means I've been let go. That's life.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll still frequent The Drum, as it's a high-class site that deserves your eyeballs.

Of course I am not disappearing by any means. I'm still in the Age's A2 section writing about TV every Saturday, and of course the return of has seen me stomp that old ground again. Check out my first for the new newmatilda.

And if you want to see newmatilda survive past the end of 2010, do throw some money their way - you'll be rewarded by continuing fine articles, including mine! Go here to find out how.

And I'm sure I'll be popping up elsewhere too - it's in my nature!

The weekly wrap's gone, but the caravan moves on.

Monday, October 25, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Red-hot Excerpt from John Howard's memoir, "Lazarus Rising"

I sat in my armchair long into the night, knocking back brandy after brandy, smoking endless cigarettes, wondering just how I got into this mess. Back when I first decided to try the Prime Minister game, it had all seemed so simple: the money, the power, the dames. It was only lately that I'd realised what a dirty game this "politics" was. It was full of lies and cheating and double-crosses, and it seemed damn unfair that someone was pointing that out at this late stage.

Maybe...I sighed, brushing ash from my Wallabies dressing gown. Maybe it was time to be a man. To stick to my principles, or at least to remember what they were. Peter had been good to me all these years, what with the budgets and the Guylians every Christmas...maybe it WAS time to give him a go, and devote more time to my true love: walking.

And that's when I saw her. Silhouetted in the doorway like some irresistible plum pudding. "Up late?" she purred, and I suddenly all the reason in me drained away like left-over pasta down a plughole.

She sashayed over to the armchair, her body swaying and slinking like a hydraulic cauliflower. That vegetable shimmy that had always gone to my head faster than a tabasco screwdriver and made me giddier than a cockchafer in an opium den. Whatever that means.

"Can I help you, Janette?" I asked, fighting to keep my voice steady and deep, as I had the first time I met George. He'd sure seen through me; I knew she would too. I knew that she knew that deep down inside, I was nothing but a scared little boy, playing at immigration policy to disguise the inadequacies that would see me laughed out of caucus the minute I let my guard down enough to allow Helen Coonan to pants me. The day was coming, I knew it, and I felt that certainty like an icy set of eyelashes butterfly kissing my heart.

"I don't know, John," she smiled sardonically. "Can you?"

I cleared my throat, trying to get rid of that damn greasy toad that squatted in my trachea every time this broad walked into the room. She put her hands on my shoulders, and my dog whistle went right off. "I've been thinking," I croaked. "I think I might hand over the leadership. To Peter."

Just for a second I felt her hands tighten on my shoulders, like a vulture with an ice-cream headache. Then she relaxed, and I felt her hot, spicy, parmigiana-tinged breath tickling my earhole.

"Peter?" she purred. "He hasn't got what it takes to be prime minister. He's not a," she drew in her breath with a shudder, "real man..."

She had me. I knew she had me. I had never been able to resist her incendiary rhetoric, since that first day when a young, dumpling-shaped ne'er-do-well had sidled up to my petrol pump, lollipop hanging from her lips, and fluttered her eyelids at me while she asked whether I knew anyone who could help her with a proposal for fundamental tax reform. That day my knees had gone from under me and I'd collapsed in a pool of lust and petrol, and I'd never really recovered. I'd always done her will, and always would.

She walked round in front of and, leaned over me, so close I could smell the Pantene in her irresistibly sensible hair. I could see the blazing, maternal fire in her eyes, and my fingers twitched with longing to reach out for the intoxicating flesh I knew was lurking just beneath that sturdy beige twin-set. She had curves in all the right places, and also quite a few extra ones, and all of my political career had been blessed and cursed in equal measure by my all-encompassing need to access that mesmeric acreage of womanhood and dance hungrily among those dimpled hillocks.

She was still talking, still murmuring into my quivering shell-likes. "I don't know if I could be with a man who...just gave up the prime ministership, John. I don't know if I could respect a man who did that. I don't know if I could...give myself...fully to him." I was beginning to shake, as she circled the armchair, one finger twirling playfully on top of my recently-varnished head.

"You see, John," she whispered hoarsely, "I'm a woman with particular tastes. I like a man who takes control, who seizes power...and KEEPS it. Like Menzies...he used to get me so hot..." It was true. In the early years of our marriage she wouldn't make love at all unless I pretended to check the bedroom for communists first.

"I need a prime minister, John. Nothing else will do for me. I need a man like Menzies. A man who can last. Can you last, John? Can you last longer than Menzies? I could really go for that..."

I was almost done. My resolve was jellied and in a jar on the shelf. "I just thought...Peter had done such a good job," I faltered.

She laughed, a hard, sharp laugh, like the laugh of an economically rationalist hawk. "Too bad, John," she hissed. "That's a real shame. But maybe I'll go round to Peter's place, see what he's got to offer. Or if not him..." she paused dramatically, "maybe...Tony."

That was it. I couldn't take any more. "No!" I cried, leaping from my seat. "I'll stay! I'll be prime minister as long as you want. I promise!"

She smiled, cruelly, triumphantly. She had won, and was revelling in victory like an alligator gloating over a pot-bellied pig. "Good," she purred, and stroked my cheek. "Then maybe we can get down to discussing...workplace reform?"

I gasped. As those words puffed from those perfect, fig-shaped lips, and we melted into each other's arms, I felt the margins suddenly tighten in my southern electorates.

Lazarus was rising. In fact, Lazarus was positively throbbing. And there was only one woman who could truly satisfy him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Read This. Now

You know the government's insulation scheme? How it was an absolute disaster and caused all those terrible fires and killed literally millions of people and there was blood on Peter Garrett's hands?

Yeah, remember that?

There is, unbelievably, somebody alive in this world still willing to look at facts. This somebody is Possum from Crikey. Read what he writes here. NOW.

Pay particular attention to this bit:

That makes the insulation program around 8 times safer in terms of fire incidents compared to the state of the industry before the program. Even if we take the best absolute possible estimates of what went on before the program – say, 80 fires per year off 75 thousand installs – the program is still 7 times safer in terms of fire incidents than what occurred before the program.

Got that? Good.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the Name of Balance

It has come to my attention that my latest piece on The Drum has attracted some criticism, along the lines of the assertion that while happy to bash innocent Catholics, I would never have the intestinal fortitude to bash people of alternative faiths.

Or as my most eloquent critic, "maz", writes, "It is not my opion but a fact that you have absolutely no legs to stand on"

To sum up, "You'd never have the guts to make fun of Muslims" is the prevailing attitude.

Now, I realise that the response of some of you readers will be, "What? Are they serious? What kind of fat-brained, worm-faced imbecile would actually possess the dunder-witted gall to voice this argument, given that it's not only factually inaccurate, but an intellectually bankrupt slab of nonsense that rests upon the premise that criticism of the flaws of an ideology or institution is invalid unless accompanied by criticism of the flaws of all other possible ideologies and institutions, as well as the assumption that a commentator or satirist should spend equal time on every potential target for insults or mockery no matter how obscure, inconsequential, anonymous, or devoid of impact upon broader society they are compared to others which exert massive influence over life in this country, are constantly in the public eye, and have recently received blanket coverage in print and electronic media across the country - in other words, commenting on things that matter to one's audience is invalid unless it comes with comment on things that don't? I mean, who are the morons trying to make this thrice-cursed abortion of an argument?"

Pretty harsh there, readers. Rude, almost. You should probably exercise a bit more tolerance before opening your mouth, if the above is all you can say.

Because for my part, I accept my critics' point, apologise for the hurt caused, and have decided to mend my ways. I therefore include below a quick compendium of religious attacks, which can be assumed to be appended to every future article I write on the subject of faith or gods. Ahem:

MUSLIMS! Geez, aren't Muslims crap? Praying five times a day? Geez, get off your knees and do some work. And covering up your women? What are you, gay?

JEWS! Man, do they ever shut up? Seriously, we GET it, Jews; life is hard. Change the record. And stop thinking you're so funny; nobody likes a smart-arse.

PROTESTANTS! Wow, don't get me started on protestants! What's wrong, too gutless to go full-Catholic? Pussies. You're just Catholics with bad taste in music, wankers.

MORMONS! Just piss off, Mormons. Get away from my house, get some better haircuts, and stop believing in idiotic stories about magic glasses. Everyone's laughing at you, dickheads.

HINDUS! What the hell is wrong with you, Hindus? At least Christians have the decency to only have ONE god to act stupid over. You've got like eighty thousand. Pick one, you indecisive sods! Stop trying to confuse us.

BUDDHISTS! What are they up to? Smiling and meditating all the time. They're planning something, crafty little bastards. And what's with the Dalai Lama? Get a new outfit!

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS! What the hell are you TALKING about? Crap!


BA'HAI! Oh like you're even a real religion. Look at that stupid apostrophe. You're stupid.

SIKHS! Get a haircut.

SCIENTOLOGISTS! Seriously? I mean, really? You're sticking with that? Really? Jesus Christ.

RAELIANS! Aliens? What sort of moron goes around babbling about aliens? People like you need to be restrained with leather straps. PSYCHOS! Don't come near my kids!

KABBALISTS! Look, we know why you picked Kabbalah, and we think it's PATHETIC.

ATHEISTS! Oh, you think you're so frigging clever, don't you? Well, know what? You're BORING. You just BORE us all, all the time. We LIKE church - if you don't like it, stick it up your arse. Go read one of your precious "books" and leave the decent people alone.

AGNOSTICS! Stop being such a bunch of old women. "Ooh, I don't really think we can tell either way, because we -" Oh just PICK ONE! Jesus you people get on my goddamn wick.

SHINTO! I don't even know what shinto is! It sounds bloody stupid though! I bet you're really stupid!

PAGANS! Oh come ON! We all liked fairytales when we were little - why don't you grow up, losers? Liking ugly clothes is not a religion!

WICCANS! Stop calling yourself Wiccans! We all know what you are, and we have the matches ready, Devil-whores!

ANIMISTS! You disgust me.

OK, I think we've covered most of the bases there. Please copy and paste this at the end of all my articles, and we should all be sweet.

And once again, I do apologise for any offence I may have given previously. Thank God the days of bias are over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Think Piece

In today's Herald Sun, star columnist/pensioner Alan Howe, having just been informed that World War One is over, turns his attention to Australia's most recent military engagement, declaring that the Director of Military Prosecutions, Lyn McDade, who has charegd three soldiers in Afghanistan with manslaughter, "may well be the most dangerous woman in Australia."

Howe does note that the campaign against Brigadier McDade "is driven mostly by the puerile, angry and uneducated"; but on the other hand, much of the abuse "comes from big hearts". So that's all right then. When it comes to abuse and threats, it's the thought that counts. You see:

Brigadier McDade, 52, has spent her life in the law, which she knows very well. She has been a police prosecutor, deputy Northern Territory coroner and served as an army lawyer for many years.

But she has never been in a firefight with enemy determined to kill her, has never dragged back to camp a zipped-up body bag with a mate's limp, lifeless but still warm remains - and has never knocked on a suburban door to tell the occupants their son has been killed serving their country in some overseas hellhole. Like Afghanistan.

So we can all agree that her legal opinions are, essentially, worthless.

So anyway Howe goes on a bit about how disgraceful it is for Australian soldiers to be charged with anything and about how the Taliban are really, really bad people, so there's no way anyone fighting against them could ever do anything wrong, etc etc.

And then he identifies the crucial point:

So what is manslaughter? Well, the most recent convictions - for which you can be jailed 20 years - involved lowlife dog-catcher Mario Schembri and his slutty accomplice, Bernadette Denny, who killed businessman Herman Rockefeller in January.

They bashed Rockefeller to death. Schembri said he fought "like Muhammad Ali" as his uncountable blows hit Rockefeller "harder than he had hit anyone before".

Then they went to Bunnings and bought a chainsaw, disposable overalls, facemasks and a shovel, dismembered Rockefeller's body, cutting off the arms and legs and burning it all in a 44-gallon drum in a mate's backyard.

That's manslaughter.

Are any of our soldiers in Afghanistan guilty of that?

Well, Not really. So Howe makes a very good point. NONE of our soldiers in Afghanistan are guilty of that, so Brigadier McDade's logic starts to look a bit ropey, doesn't it now?

On the other hand, should the military justice system be amended so that soldiers cannnot be prosecuted unless they beat to death a millionaire who has disappointed them by failing to bring his wife on an unannounced wife-swapping visit before dismembering him with a new chainsaw from Bunnings, it may just narrow the terms of reference for military courts to a rather extreme extent.

"And when the private threw the grenade into the maternity ward, did he at any time claim to have 'fought like Muhammad Ali' before burning the evidence in a 44-gallon drum?"

"No, your honour"

"Case dismissed!"

So as much as we don't want to see these three soldiers convicted, perhaps we should at least allow for the possibility of prosecuting soldiers for crimes committed in battle, as opposed to prosecuting them only for crimes committed in working-class suburban homes and backyards against millionaires with secret lives?



Incidentally, and so it is clear, these guys might NOT have done anything wrong, and hopefully when they're tried it turns out that they didn't - it sounds as if they may have a pretty good defence. I guess we'll see. But if they were just doing their jobs, so is Brigadier McDade, and despite her lack of combat experience, when it comes to decisions to prosecute I'll take the opinion of a military legal expert over that of an opinion columnist. Although perhaps Alan Howe can sway me by telling me how many firefights he's been in and how many doors he's knocked on, since that seems to be the way we determine whether someone's legal opinions are valid or not.

Alan Howe: Strongman of the Editorial Page


Big news, friends and lovers!

Newmatilda is coming back!


For those of you who came in late, having been attracted to this blog by my work at The Age, the Drum, or that post below on a delicate subject which seems to have attracted a certain amount of attention, Newmatilda was the birthplace of my career in professional sarcasm, as illustrated here or here or even here.

What's more, it featured lots of brilliant stuff written by people who aren't even me! And then it passed away. But thanks to the tireless efforts of those magnificent newmatilda-ites, it's back! And as you'll see in the first link, it needs support. So if the site tickles your fancy, do sign up to the email list and, should it be within your power, subscribe. Your life will be richer and better-informed for it.

Of course I am newmatilda for life, and I'll be contributing in some capacity to the new Newmatilda. So there's that to look forward to - as "ravenm" says:

"We want Ben!"

On the other hand, as "Self-righteous git" says:

"Pobje and Eltham were boring, don’t bring them back."

So, opinions on both sides there.

Welcome back NM!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How Not To Rape People: A Handy Guide For Modern Men And Footballers

In my perusings of the modern media landscape, a worrying trend has come to my attention: young men who apparently just can't stop having non-consensual sex with others. It's a tricky problem, and one to which there are, clearly, no easy solutions. I mean, it's all very well to say "No means no", but as popular ex-footballer/arachnid Peter "Spida" Everitt says, when a girl goes home with a guy at 3am, it's not for a cup of Milo. So we can see there are two sides to every story: on the one hand, a young lady might feel violated, but on the other hand, why do these women keep going round to strangers' houses in the hopes of having some Milo? Why don't they buy their OWN Milo? Young people today, I ask you.

The point is, as a man myself, I know how hard it can sometimes be to not be a rapist. Masculine identity is so ill-defined these days, what with the sexual revolution, feminism, meggings and so on: it's so difficult to know what women want: do they want us to hold the door open and pay for dinner, or do they want us to wait until they're blind drunk and have sex with them against their will? How can we tell? After all, as ABC The Drum commenter "James" says in response to an article by Lauren Rosewarne, "Why are young women so strange?"

Indeed, why? When young women are free to go around being strange all over the place, how can men be expected to know how to behave? This is why we see so many comments around the internet along the lines of "Why do these women put themselves in this situation what do they expect they are just after bragging rights they can't change their minds after the fact I agree with Kerri-Anne Kennerly"?

When people start agreeing with Kerri-Anne Kennerly, society has gone too far, and this is why I have prepared, for the benefit of my fellow man and also people who play football, a Handy Guide To Not Raping People. Feel free to print it out and keep it in your shirt pocket, men, so next time you find yourself in an awkward situation where it seems you have no choice but to rape someone, you can check the guide and gracefully extricate yourself from the sticky predicament.


1. When you meet a girl who doesn't want to have sex with you, don't have sex with her.

2. When you meet a girl who wants to have sex with one of your friends, remember the golden rule: You Are A Different Person To Your Friends. Maybe this handy mnemonic can help: Yentl Acted As Ducks Probed Three Yucky Frenchmen. This will help you remember that a girl who wants to have sex with one person does not necessarily want to have sex with every person she meets. Confusing, I know; what can I say - political correctness, etc.

3. If you meet a girl who DOES want to have sex with you, but then a bit later she says she'd rather not, don't have sex with her. Again, pretty confusing, I know, but it's due to a special Scientific Fact: sometimes girls change their minds. Like, remember the time you wanted a kebab, but then you thought no, I'll have a hamburger instead? It's a bit like that, only with sex.

4. When you meet a girl who is unconscious, don't have sex with her. This is true even if she was drinking before. I may be delving into some fairly arcane theory here, but scientists have discovered there is actually technically a difference between "drinking a lot of alcohol" and "saying yes I want to have sex with you". I realise this difference is probably hard to spot for a lot of you guys; you might have to squint a bit.

5. When you go home with a girl, try not to have sex with her until after she says she'd like to.

6. Practise not having sex with people. I know it's hard - sometimes you just look down and it's like, whoops, I'm having sex with this girl, how did that happen? But I bet with a bit of concentration and discipline, you can actually manage to avoid having sex with someone, even when they're in the same room as you. It's true! Anyone can do it! Why, last week I met at least five women who I actually didn't have sex with, without causing myself any particularly severe internal injuries.

7. When you meet a girl who doesn't want to have sex with you, don't have sex with her. I realise I already said this one, but that was five steps ago, and I have a feeling some of you guys might have slightly short attention spans.

So there you go: seven easy steps to becoming a non-rapist. I bet you didn't think it was that simple, did you? You probably thought you'd need electrodes attached to something. But no, you can do it in your own living room! It's just a matter of staying "on the ball" and learning the difference between a girl who wants to have sex with you, and a girl who doesn't. One way is by listening to what she says: a girl who says "Let's have sex" probably wants to have sex; a girl who says "let's not have sex" probably doesn't. I realise listening to what women say will be a new experience for a lot of you, but I'm confident you can manage it. Practise at home first if you like, with a mirror and a wig.

Anyway, good luck with it all, guys! I know you probably think you could never not rape people, but I believe in you, guys! With a little bit of hard work and determination, anyone can not have sex, any time they want! Amazing but true!

Happy Not-raping!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coming Soon

Hey read this! It's by me and stuff, from the weekend's Age.

But having thought so much about the shows we miss, I began thinking about the future of TV, and the part I have to play in it. I happen to know that most of this country's television executives read this blog religiously (on their knees, hands clasped, etc), and so I thought I would pitch:


1. Gene Pool - the zany shenanigans of three single men called Gene living in the same apartment, as they compete for the affections of the sexy female lion-tamer across the hall.

2. Easter - Over the course of one fateful Easter weekend, seventy-three very different people meet, fall in love, fight and kill each other a bit. Also it is set on a space station.

3. Hangdog - Can a dog in the big city make it as a professional hangman? Find out as we follow the wacky escapades of Lester the Executioner Dog, who's trying to juggle a demanding career, the strange ways of the city, and a turbulent romantic life. Lester is not a talking dog and possesses no particularly high level of intelligence. This only makes it harder.

4. Apples and Oranges - What happens when a racist greengrocer is ordered by a mentally-ill magistrate to share a mansion for a year with a Vietnamese confectioner? Well let's find out!

5. The Slippery Slope - This year's reality smash hit, in which fifteen hopeful contestants are placed on top of a mountain without food, clothing or shelter. Each week the contestants vote out their least favourite mountain-mate, who is then hurled down the mountain. It's a battle of wits/hypothermia!

6. Buried - The Series - If you enjoyed the new Ryan Reynolds film "Buried", you'll love this small-screen spin-off, starring Saved By The Bell heart-throb Mario Lopez in the role of Paul Conroy, a bumbling contractor who can't seem to stop getting buried alive every week! Also starring Dirk Benedict as the mysterious "Mr Elf".

7. Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Another reality crowd-pleaser, in which 12 teams of eight find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. The twist? The hard place is actually another rock!

8. Every Cloud - The hilarious adventures of a family of eight, indulging in wacky zaniness on an 1840s wagon train, where mom and dad find themselves completely out of touch with the younger generation and have to rely on Apax the robot butler to keep everything together!

9. Little Red Riding Hood - A cracking TV adaptation of the classic children's tale, with Red Riding Hood reimagined as a Mossad assassin, the wolf reimagined as a Somalian pirate lord, and Grandma reimagined as the United Nations Security Council. Throw in an alternative timeline in which the Boer War never happened and Nelson Mandela was born in Krakow, and you have a recipe for the wackiest five-minute stop-motion claymation show in years!

10. A Bird in the Hand - A harrowing in-depth look at the depraved world of professional ornithologists. Follow the lives, loves, lusts and hate-crimes of this twisted set of feather-fanciers as they wreak havoc on the mean streets of Hobart.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Bad Is Too Bad?

And what I mean is, where is your threshold?

We all have breaking points in various areas. Friendship, for example. Most people are willing to maintain friendships with people with differing opinions, but there's always a point at which the friendship just has to end. This might be the point at which you discover your friend owns a Tony Abbott for PM t-shirt, for example; or the point at which you discover your friend is sexually aroused by Fran Drescher. But there's always a deal-breaker.

It's the same with TV. Anyone who loves TV loves at least one terrible show. And by the same token, there's always a show that is a bridge too far.

This occurred to me when watching a little show called Four Weddings. Perhaps you have seen it. If so, my condolences. I had been pretty sure it was going to be my deal-breaker before I even saw it, but out of a sense of duty to my loyal reader (hey that's you!) I sacrificed myself.

Oh my goodness, what a show it is. Here is how an episode of Four Weddings goes:

We open with Fifi Box, making a gallant bid for the world record for Most Unnecessary Host of a Television Programme, standing in the doorway of a church, quivering in that nervous way she always has due to her deep instinctual knowledge that she is in the wrong place, telling us the premise of the show in a manner that obviously an anonymous voice-over person could never do because the task is such a skilled one it requires a famous radio giggle-jockey and weathergirl with a solid record of garnering big votes in FHM's Sexiest Lists from men with peculiar fetishes and poor TV reception.

We then move on to the four brides, who take it in turns to tell us about their lives, and how they will be meaningless without a massive wedding and a free trip to Fiji. Fifi will then explain how each bride is spending between a year's salary and the budget of a small but prosperous Arab state on her wedding, and we meet the ladies' fiances, who are mostly mild, balding men who float about the place wearing a slightly dazed expression, as if they do not quite know how they got into this situation, but have no idea how to get out of it.

Then we move on to the weddings themselves. The weddings fall into four basic categories: Extravagant and Tacky; Cheap and Ugly; Weird and Embarrassing; and Not-Really-Exotic.

For example, on the first episode I watched, an Indian lady had a Not-Really Exotic Wedding, which was promised to us as a "Bollywood Spectacular", but turned out to be a woman in a white dress exchanging vows with a man in a tuxedo, before proceeding to a reception hall where non-Indian food was eatan and an African drummer entered the room for no apparent reason to bang on his drum for about three weeks.

For each wedding, the other three brides come along to judge the event in four categories: Dress, Ceremony, Reception and Food, or something. Each one will in turn tell the camera how disappointing all the others' weddings were and how much better their wedding was/will be. Having given their views on how bland and disgusting the food was, how dull and lifeless the reception was, how weird the ceremony was, and how the dress was ugly and made the bride look like a dumpy toilet doll, they then give scores in each category. The scores will reflect both the brides' desire to make it clear just how much better they are than everyone else, and their essential failure as human beings

During all this, Fifi Box's voice-over, which costs about eighteen times as much as a voice-over from someone who could not possibly be worse, breaks periodically in to make observations that I think are supposed to be wry and witty but are actually just meaningless strings of words shoehorned into the show to assuage the typical TV producer's terror of putting anything on air that doesn't have at least five minutes of complete vapidness from a minor celebrity.

After the scores are tallied, the brides wait outside a house for a limousine, which pulls up and disgorges one of the grooms, the other three having been taken into the woods and shot. Whoever's husband emerges is the winner, and the happy couple are jetting off to Fiji, the Pacific's partyingest military dictatorship, for a dream honeymoon that only a fairly small amount of money can buy. The happy winners will then express their euphoria, given they could never have afforded such a wonderful honeymoon themselves.

Yes! They really say this! One couple said this, right after SPENDING FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ON THEIR WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right, Four Weddings is a show about people who will happily spend enough money to rent a Tuscan villa for a month or sail down the Nile, in order to win the prize of a trip to Fiji which they could have bought themselves just by getting a slightly cheaper brand of napkin for their reception.

In other words, it is an insane show about horrible women for whom no price is too high to get their faces on TV, for whom the rest of humanity exists only to service their desire to demonstrate the extent of their vulgarity to the world, and who are filled with such a loathing for their fellow women that one assumes the reason Fifi Box never actually appears in the same place as the contestants is that they'd probably strangle her for wearing nicer shoes than them's pretty bad. I may watch it again due to my basic masochism, but it's pretty close to my deal-breaker.

What's yours? Is it Four Weddings? Is it Australia's Next Top Model which, the hilarity of Murdochgate notwithstanding, forces you to hurl rocks at the screen in anger every time Alex Perry squints his beady little eyes at a lovely young girl as she towers above him in mentally-deranged shoes and tells her she's too short and fat for his liking?

Or are you one of those who will watch pretty much anything, even Random Breath Testing, and whose pressure point has only ever been triggered four hours into Hot Dogs' Up Late Game Show (clip below, for those of you who've forgotten how much you loved it)?

Or are you at the other end of the spectrum, who has taken a strict monastic vow to watch absolutely nothing except shows rated "Mad Men or Higher"?

How bad is too bad? Let me know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The More You Learn

So my first A2 column was up on Saturday. If you're in Melbourne or near a cosmopolitan newsagent, or even managed to find it online, hope you read it, and hope even more you enjoyed it.

Writing the column has, quite naturally, led to much thinking on the topic of TV. It's often said that TV is somehow a "deadening" medium, that watching it turns one into a zombie, staring blankly at the screen.

I defy this assertion. Nothing rouses the passions like TV. Nothing stirs the emotions like one's favourite show. No medium is its master in terms of provoking furious debates, declarations and defences. Standing up for the show you love, and lambasting the show you hate, put the lie to the "TV as neural deadener" interpretation.

I myself am passionate not only about the undeniable quality of the shows I like, and by extension the undeniable quality of my good taste, and not only about the undeniable awfulness of the shows I won't watch, and by extension the etc etc, but also about avoiding a certain kind of like-minded fan.

Because possibly the worst thing about being a TV fan is the other fans who claim to love the same show you do, but who are so bafflingly wrongheaded about them, so ignorant of basic facts, and so mind-bogglingly misguided about the motivations of characters and meanings of plotlines, that they drive you into a rope-chewing frenzy every time you log into their forum. A fellow fan with different views is far worse than a hater. Sometimes.

But really, the point is, television is an artform with just as much potential for provoking intense love, hatred and all emotions in between as any other. Although it is important to remember that when you and I disagree about the quality of a show, it is all just a matter of purely subjective opinion.

And your subjective opinion is wrong.

That said, here's a slice of my new possibly-regular blog segment, Thursday Classics:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Power!

In the latest development in my efforts to a) take over the world, and b) make sarcastic comments about Rebecca Gibney, I am pleased to inform you I have taken on a new job. As of this Saturday, 18th September, I am the new television writer for the A2 section of Melbourne's Age.

This means that every Saturday from now on I will be writing poignant and heartwarming treatises on issues of import to lovers of the medium, and probably some stuff about Kim Kardashian too. I do hope you will grace my column with your eyeballs. I'll do my best to make it worth your while.

It is a shame though, that just as I receive such wonderful TV-related news, I also hear some equally distressing news in the same area. A moment's silence please, for beloved Golden Girls boyfriend and Mel Brooks villain Harold Gould, and for beloved bumbling Gestapo henchman and occasional Ripping Yarns South American John Louis Mansi. Goodbye Miles, von Smallhausen; well done, good and faithful servants.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Terrifying news has reached me: British travel firm Miles Morgan Travel are planning a cruise to commemorate the voyage of the Titanic, on the 100th anniversary of the original trip and following the same route.

Let me repeat: on the 100th anniversary of the infamous trip that claimed over 1000 lives, following the same route that led to utter catastrophe, Miles Morgan Travel will be sending out their ship the MS Balmoral. There is only one way ro respond to this news:

OH MY GOD SHANE VAN DYKE WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You MANIACS! Why didn't you LISTEN????

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oh yeah, and another thing

What's with the Australian National Retailers Association being worried about the "uncertainty" of the election, because it might affect people's shopping?

Are there people out there going, "Oh dear, we don't know who the prime minister will be next week - better hold off on buying those sneakers just in case"?

Musings on a Sort-of Election

So, election day having passed, as we wait out the six or seven months it will apparently take to decide who is the not-very-legitimate prime minister of our country, allow me to let you in on a few thoughts and observations.

Firstly, anyone who says things like "the Australian people have spoken, and said they don't want either party" or "the people have said a pox on all their houses" and variations thereof, should really, really, really STOP.

No, the Australian people did not "decide" to have a hung parliament. Apart from the informals, every single person actually voted for someone. WE all decided we DID want someone to be in government. I guarantee you there were no votes counted for "I want both parties to almost get a majority but not quite so they have to negotiate with independents". Trust me on this: people who voted Labor wanted Labor. People who voted Liberal wanted Liberal. People who voted Green wanted Green. People who voted Family First wanted a lobotomy.

The media commentary on this election seems to be suggesting some weird conspiracy where all the voters got together and divided up their votes - "You all vote Labor, you all vote Liberal, you guys in the middle vote Green, let's screw 'em right up!" This did not, in fact, happen. Those who voted for a particular party did not do it in the hope that enough people would vote for ANOTHER party so as to ensure the party they chose did not achieve a majority. Everyone just voted for who they wanted, and not enough people wanted either side. It's just MATHS, people.

Do you think we WANTED this, mainstream media? Bitch, please.

Secondly, an informal vote is NOT a donkey vote. An informal vote is one where the ballot paper is filled out incorrectly, or not filled out at all, or where the voter drew little caricatures of 18th-century English playwrights in each box. Informal votes are not counted.

A donkey vote is one where the voter, rather than numbering the boxes in order of their own preference, simply writes "1" in the top box and numbers them in the order they appear on the paper. Donkey votes ARE counted, because they are legitimate votes i.e. NOT INFORMAL.

Therefore, anyone claiming this election had "an unprecedented number of donkey votes" or "Mark Latham urged everyone to cast donkey votes" needs to be informed of their own ignorance, and possibly lightly slapped, particularly if they're a political journalist and should fricking well know better.

Thirdly, it has been brought to my attention that Bob Katter is a significant figure in the determination of the next government of Australia. Bob Katter:

"I mean, if you could imagine 20 or 30 crocodiles up there on the roof, and if all that roof was illumination, and saying that we wouldn't see anything in this room because of a few croco-roaches up there," he said.

"Are you telling me seriously that the world is going to warm because there's 400 parts per million of CO2 up there?"


No, seriously, what?