Monday, June 20, 2011

It Ain't Me

I'm not the man who lets this beat him.

I'm not the man who bends his knee to the treachery of chemistry.

I'm not the man who lets you down because it's easier.

I'm not the man who will allow himself to live a life of misery out of a desire to avoid trouble.

I'm not the man who will allow himself to prove unworthy of anyone's love.

I'm not the man whose dreams get stymied by the obstacles he erects for himself.

I'm not the man who refuses to cry, but I'm not the man whose tears reduce him to rubble.

I'm not the man who will be stopped.

I'm the man who makes you laugh.

I'm the man who will amaze you with just what he's capable of.

I'm the man who will deserve your love.

I'm the man who will conquer the world with the power of the same mind that tries to trip him up.

I'm the man who stares nightmares in the face and tells them to go back to hell.

I'm the man who has seen poverty, despair, loneliness and rejection, and wrestled each one to the ground, and will again as many times as he has to.

I'm the man who shapes his own destiny.

I'm the man who lives life the way he wants to.

I'm the man who'll make you proud.

I'm the man who will climb this mountain and plant his flag on top.

I'm the man who is unstoppable.

I'm the man who knows what he wants.

I'm not the man who will let this beat him. I'm the man who will stick around to show you just what he's capable of. I'm going to win.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trust me I am a professional television viewer


I think we need to talk. It's about television.

You know that TV show you like?

Well, you see, you don't. Like it, that is. The fact is, I've been a bit embarrassed for you, seeing you go around saying you like it, when it's perfectly obvious to me, as a professional television watcher and opinion-monger, that in fact you don't like it at all.

How could you? After all, I have seen that show, and it's perfectly obvious that it's not funny/interesting/realistic/well-acted/well-written/morally acceptable to decent human beings. I knew it from the very first scene, and I had the honesty to admit it. I don't see why you can't show the same integrity. Why not just admit that you hate that show? Why do you persist with this charade that you like it?

I mean, you know it's not GOOD. You obviously know this, because it is objectively true, so why not admit it? Why keep watching it? It seems to me that watching a show, and raving about its quality, when in actual fact it's very bad, is kind of perverse. I cannot imagine why anyone would do it, but then non-professional people who are not professionals move in mysterious ways. As a critic it is often difficult to understand non-critics and their struggles to comprehend the obvious.

I mean, look: of course television is all a matter of taste. And that is exactly my point: now that I've told you what my taste is, why do you continue to fight it?

It's getting a little awkward to be around you, frankly, the way you keep pretending to like this show that you actually hate. I have to keep making excuses for you. It's almost a weird kind of insanity, really - a denial of reality, a lying to yourself.

Let's be frank - you've been tricked. It's all the slick marketing, the tabloid hype. It's the manipulative commercials and the hysterical PR that's conned you into acting like you enjoy this terrible show that in actual fact you can't stand. If only you could see how you've been deceived. I guess you do start with a handicap, in that unlike professional critics like me, you are essentially stupid. But that's not your fault. Well it is a bit, but not entirely. It's your parents' fault really.

All you need to do is be honest. Stop lying to yourself, have the courage to tell the truth about your likes and dislikes. That show you hate, admit you hate it, stop saying you love it. And stop pretending you like all that music in your CD collection, when you know full well it's awful and you can't stand it. And please, for the love of god, stop going to see films that you fervently do NOT wish to see. Why not see a film you WANT to see, for once? If you're unsure of which films you want to see, I can give you a list. But stop pretending those ones you DO go and see are films you want to go and see, when it's perfectly clear to everyone especially me that they're not. But look, it has to start with that awful show.

It's time to come clean about your tastes in entertainment, and finally admit that they're the right ones. Just open your mouth and set yourself free with those four simple, lovely little words: "I agree with you".

You'll be OK. I'm here to help.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

If You're Not Part of the Problem

What is the correct attitude to take in response to those shocking images on Four Corners which we all totally watched and didn’t shut our eyes and hum loudly during? As always, the issue is complicated and yet simple, as long as one pays attention to the subtle cues being given to us by our social, political and ethical superiors in the media and entertainment industries.

First of all, is it acceptable that we allow our cattle to be sent overseas to have their eyes gouged out and their tails broken and shins kicked and things? It certainly is NOT! These cows are AUSTRALIAN. They are OUR COWS. What sort of Australians would we be if we let Australian cows be tortured? It would be, and I realise this is a label not be thrown about lightly, “un-Australian”! Completely and utterly un-Australian. Not Australian at all. If anything, it would be, like, Mexican or Chinese maybe. Is that the country we want our cows to grow up in? Or in the case of veal, not grow up in?

No, we cannot let our cows be treated in this manner. Let the Indonesians source their beef from other, less egalitarian and matey places. Let them torture foreign cows, cows without a grounding in Judeo-Christian ethics.

On the other hand, what right do we have to complain about bad slaughtering practices given what goes on in our OWN abattoirs? No right at all, obviously. We happily butcher countless sentient beings for our own pleasure and then have the audacity to complain when confronted with the inevitable consequences of our desire to treat our fellow intelligent beings as commodities? What vicious scum we are.

So, one story, two sides: on the one hand, we have the moral high ground here, but on the other hand, we are inherently evil. It’s this duality that makes our lives so exciting, of course, but let’s delve deeper. What is the real issue here, as laid out by intelligent letter writers and tweets everywhere?

Asylum seekers.

That’s right: asylum seekers. As has been pointed out by good-hearted people and also journalists, it is fairly hypocritical of anyone to squeal about cattle being sent overseas to be mistreated when they remain silent about asylum seekers being shipped off to Malaysia where everyone gets caned and the toilets are disgusting. How can we possibly think our consciences are clear just because we ban live exports, while we are also willing to treat desperate human beings as “cattle”, apart from the killing and eating bit, although who knows with the way those Malaysians play up, am I right?

So we have two very pressing issues here, both involving sending things to other countries. The first issue: how can we make sure that decent Australian cows are not mistreated while still enjoying the rich, juicy flavour of a good burger without feeling guilty or getting paint thrown on us? The second: how can we make sure that grubby queue-jumpers are not denied their human rights to the extent that Sarah Hanson-Young notices and starts nagging us?

Well, there are a number of possible solutions, and no doubt Julia Gillard will be sitting down with industry and working through the issues in accordance with the government’s official Sitting Down and Working Through Things policy. This is because it is important to get the balance right, and as Agriculture Minister Joe “Rawhide” Ludwig has explained, the priority is to ensure supply chain assurances in order to safeguard animal welfare outcomes while maximising the potential for optimal paradigmatic visualisations leading to the enumeration of multiple recursive principles of axiomatic fulfilment which should guarantee the creation of multiple inherent redundancies in the cause of obviating the necessity of further peak discussions regarding the consideration of dis-endorsing our diplomatic self-actualisation. So that’s what we’ve got to get right before anything else.

The first possible solution is to end both live exports, and sending asylum seekers to Malaysia. This is a stupid solution not worthy of a moment’s consideration for reasons that are blindingly obvious to anyone but the most feeble-brained of imbeciles. Which I assume you are not, so I won’t insult you by explaining.

The second possible solution is to INCREASE both live exports and sending asylum seekers to Malaysia. I’m not quite sure exactly how this will solve the problem, but I suppose eventually we won’t have any cows or refugees left, which will give us a lot more space to stretch out in and grow a few vegetables which are healthier than both beef AND Afghans.

The third possible solution is to pre-torture our cows here at home, so the Indonesians won’t have to. We could get the asylum seekers to do it for you. Two birds, one stone.

Fourth, we could feed the cows TO the asylum seekers. Or the asylum seekers to the cows. Though this runs the risk of promulgating the dreaded “Mad Refugee Disease”. Possibly we could just put them all in a pen and let them fight it out.

But the fifth solution is the one that solves the problem elegantly and permanently while playing to the Gillard government’s strength: SYNTHESIS.

What we do is, we keep the cows here, and treat them well, with high-quality fodder, hygienic and spacious living quarters, and regular full-body massages. This way the cows will be happy and their meat will be especially tender. But we don’t actually eat them, instead we live with them as equals. Or possibly not exactly equals. We’d probably live with them like they’re our children, or really fat people from a third-world country. About that status.

Then, instead of sending COWS to Indonesia, we send the asylum seekers there, and film THEM being abused in abattoirs. Then we win a Logie for it. Then we bring them back here, and milk them. Then we make cheese. Which we feed to the cows, who by now will have evolved into highly intelligent beings able to address the crippling skills shortage in the mining industry. Then we send the asylum seekers back to Indonesia, and have a bit of a giggle. Then we take 4000 genuine refugees from Malaysia, and assign each one a number, which will correspond to the cow who will be their new master. Having dressed each refugee in a nice clean morning suit, we text the cows and ask them to drop round for drinks and…

OK, this is getting a little complex I admit. Perhaps we should all just calm down a bit and remember that, no matter what happens to the cows, or the asylum seekers, the important thing to remember is that we really, really CARE. And in the end, isn’t that the most important thing? They can punch our cows, and they can flout our immigration laws, but they can never take away our feeling of moral superiority.

And I guess feeling superior to the rest of the world is the most satisfying solution of all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's A Living

Alas it is true that from time to time I must use this blog not for higher purposes, but for grubby utilitarian self-promotion. And thus I'm just letting you know a few things I've been up to lately:

Firstly, please do not forget that my first book, Surveying The Wreckage, remains available for everyone to pay money for and laugh till their cheeks crack and bleed. Available at sophisticated bookshops, and also here.

Surveying the Wreckage of course is a collection of columns from New Matilda covering the years 2008-2010. For more recent satirical spewings, check out the site itself. In particular, my latest, about sluts and feminism and stuff. It made people angry!

Also my SECOND book (yes I know) is just about everywhere a book could want to be. This is just one place you could get it, but seriously there are HUNDREDS of places to buy it from. Also, I will soon elaborate on a competition I mentioned recently. A special Superchef competition for people who like Superchef, with a proper prize and everything! Stay tuned chefpions!

Also, if you like scholarly examinations of social mores and the role of comedy in our community, you probably didn't expect to find anything like that round here. But amazingly, I did one of those! For the latest edition of Meanjin magazine. You can subscribe online, or buy a hard copy from any of these fine establishments. I'm quite chuffed with this article, actually, it being unusual inasmuch as it is serious and makes me seem sort of clever and stuff.

Also! You can see me LIVE and UNCUT at The Bedroom Philosopher's High School Assembly at the Thornbury Theatre on June 24. I will be playing Principal to a motley assortment of juvenile delinquents including the BP himself, Tripod, Josh Earl, Damien Lawlor, Emilie Zoey Baker, the DC3, Anna Krien, and Sex On Toast. It will be HUGE! Get in quick, or you may MISS OUT probably.

Lastly, fans of Masterchef may or may not have noticed I've been writing the occasional recap of episodes. The first couple I did are below:


And here.

There'll be more of these, so watch out for them.

And that's all the plugging I'll be doing for today, I think. Lots going on, lots of fun! Thanks for reading, you're just wonderful. Here is a picture of a kitty.

UPDATE: The Meanjin article is now online for FREE here:

But still buy the magazine, it has other good stuff in it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

How To Carbon Tax, Or Else Not

Hello, how are you? I am here to talk to you about carbon taxes and other things of that sort which are good for saving the environment or possibly destroying the economy if that's what you're into.

What is a carbon tax? It is a tax on carbon, if that's not too complicated.

What is carbon? According to Wikipedia it is the chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. Scary? Perhaps or not. Not much is known about carbon except that it is necessary for life and also kills people. So what to do? We must put a price on it.

Why must we put a price on it? Because we have capitalism and if we do not put a price on it we will not have capitalism, and that is called kibbutzes. Do we want to live in kibbutzes? Probably, but on the other hand no. Consider the fact of glaciers. Not convinced? Go to Tuvalu. You can't, it's dead. See? Indeed.

But just because we accept that we are all going to die doesn't mean that we are agreed on the best way to go about it. Should we solve the problem by ignoring it? That usually works. But will it in this case? Probably. So let's do that. But no! We can't! Because of economics.

Economics demands we take action! ACTION! But should this action be direct or indirect? There are pros and cons to say the least.

DIRECT ACTION: This means action will be direct, which means Tony Abbott will give lots of money to lots of people who will promise to be good. It is like prostitution, except instead of sex people will sequester carbon. If you ask a prostitute to sequester carbon she will but it costs extra. But it won't cost extra to get business to sequester carbon it will just cost a lot. The advantage of direct action is that it will cost a lot. The disadvantage is that it will be so direct it might hurt, like being kicked in the neck. OUCH!

INDIRECT ACTION: This means action will be indirect, or "passive-aggressive". Under the government's plan, carbon will be persuaded to commit suicide through a system of rumour and innuendo. Is this the way to go? Certainly it will be cheaper, but also it will be more expensive, so what is the man in the street to think? We asked him:

Clearly emotions are running high. How are we to know who to trust? Should we trust the scientists who want us to stop climate change, or should we trust the scientists who want us to increase climate change until we all burst into flames? The answer of course is yes, but how? Perhaps Cate Blanchett has the answer.

But can we trust our future to such an unstable and luminous person? Shouldn't we trust our future to someone like this:

So in the end it comes down to whether we want our planet in the hands of a psychotic woodland monster, or a bionic man. It's a hard choice but one we must make unless we don't, in which case our children will have a horrible life unless everything is wrong in which case they won't, although they still might, since they may just be bad people. You should have raised them better.

But let's not quibble. One thing we can all agree on is that climate change, for better or for worse, is definitely possible if we accept the word of someone or other. If we don't then the opposite might be true though this seems unlikely doesn't it? No, not really.