Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Look,  there are a lot of problems in the world, and I recognise that some of them are pretty big, but are any of the world's problems really as big as the problem of annoying details in movies? Really?


See, that second "REALLY" got you, didn't it? You were all ready to rebut me until I cracked open a can of all caps on you mothers.

Anyway I was watching a movie, and I noticed some stuff that bugged me, and I thought it worthwhile to document the bits in movies that are really annoying.

This is not a list of BAD movies - it's a list of GOOD movies, or at least enjoyable movies, that have little bits that grate on you and make the good movie less good than it should be. I'm sure you have your own - let me know.


- At one point, sexy long-haired rebel John Bender says to wealthy prom queen Claire "Bein' bad feels pretty good, doesn't it?" This is a problem, because not only would John Bender not say this, nobody on earth would say it. It's an irredeemably stupid thing to say. To say this sentence you would have to be lame beyond all reckoning. And Bender IS NOT LAME. Apart from this line, he's not, really he's not. So we're watching a badass rebel, and then we're watching a 50s greaser in a Roger Corman film about motorcycling nogoodniks, and then it's a badass rebel again for the rest of the movie. BUT we can't erase the memory. When someone says "Bein' bad feels pretty good" it CANNOT BE UNSAID.

- Also, Ally Sheedy is totally hot, but then Molly Ringwald gives her a makeover and makes her totally not hot, and for some reason Emilio Estevez is all like "whoa you're hot!" even though she looks like a four-year-old halfway through getting ready for Sunday School. It is a major plothole that this character does not find Ally Sheedy hot when she actually IS hot, but only finds her hot after the world's worst makeover, which causes her to become attractive only to men who like humping Rainbow Brite dolls. It's a lot like The Truth About Cats and Dogs, where they based the whole movie around the premise that Janeane Garofalo is ugly, which is like basing a movie around the premise that the Incredible Hulk is an English professor.


- I didn't see The Goonies until last year, so maybe I'd feel differently if I were a wide-eyed child, but even though there were lots of wacky fun times in this movie, there is also a lot of children shouting incoherently at each other. Basically, every page of the script must have read, "The Goonies all shout their lines at once". Couldn't ONE person, just ONCE, say, "Hey, how about we all take it in turns to speak?"

- They're called the Goonies and really that seems a bit weird.


- I really think that John Candy shouldn't have tried to comfort Catherine O'Hara. He'd have been pretty well within his rights to call her a monster and make her sit well away from the polka band. Because I mean, she is a terrible mother. A very very terrible mother. What's most annoying is that when the sequel came around, she and her husband had not been jailed or had their children removed, even though clearly they are incapable of caring for minors, because they lose their kid AGAIN. Which brings me to...


- In Home Alone, Kevin is a scared little boy who's left home alone and doesn't know what to do, and finds the courage to stick it to the evil burglars. In Home Alone 2 he is a sadistic sociopath who finds himself alone once again, but instead of trying to contact his family, lies to hotel staff, steals from his father to fund his lavish lifestyle, and then embarks on a campaign of completely unnecessary ultra-violence against the burglars from the first film, just because he enjoys hurting them. When he learns of their plan, the simplest thing would've been to go to the police, but Kevin doesn't do this, because he gets off on inflicting life-threatening injuries. The only proper response to the events of the first two Home Alone films is to imprison the parents and put Kevin into intensive psychiatric care.


- Charlie DID steal Fizzy Lifting Drink! He DID disobey Wonka's explicit instructions! HE IS JUST AS BAD AS THE OTHER KIDS! Actually he's worse, because he's just a flat-out thief. Mike Teevee is punished just for being curious about science, but Charlie wins the jackpot after STEALING FROM WILLY WONKA AND RISKING SEVERE DAMAGE TO PLANT AND EQUIPMENT!

- Grandpa Joe is bed-ridden for twenty years and "miraculously" can walk, when he finds out he gets to go to a chocolate factory? How does Mrs Bucket not punch him in the mouth here?

- Why does Charlie ask Joe anyway? How about your mother who works late into the night providing for you at the clothes-stirring factory? You ungrateful little prick.


- Peter Parker's Uncle Ben gives him a lengthy speech on the theme "With great power comes great responsibility", berating him for the awful sin of DEFENDING HIMSELF. A guy tries to beat the shit out of his nephew, and all Ben can do is scold the kid for not just standing there and letting himself be hospitalised. Peter's not even allowed to defend himself from bullies? You'd rather he'd get bashed than have him teach a bully a lesson? Jesus Christ Uncle Ben, you're such a bastard.

- When the Green Goblin asks Spider-Man "Are you in, or are you out?" Spider-Man responds, "You're the one who's out - out of your MIND!" This is one of the worst things to happen in Western civilisation. I can only assume everyone involved in making this movie had enormous tumours pressing on vital parts of their brains, causing them to allow this line to stay in the movie. The fact that Tobey Maguire said this line without vomiting blood does not speak well of him.


- Why do people go to this place for their holidays when it is clearly the most boring place on earth? Jerry Orbach is smart enough to get a medical degree but not smart enough to see what a shithole his family is staying at?

- Isn't Patrick Swayze a statutory rapist? Didn't they have police in 1962?

- When all the resort staff are singing that song at the end, why isn't anyone in the audience killing themselves?

- Shouldn't people have been a bit more weirded out by the bizarre music that plays during the final dance? Aren't they startled by the fact they're listening to instruments that haven't been invented yet?

- Why doesn't Baby ever tell Patrick Swayze to stop being such a whiny little bitch?

- Why does hardly anything happen in this movie?

Below: Jennifer Grey with her "co-star", a watermelon that stood in for the character of "Johnny Castle", who was added via CGI in post-production

Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Educational Resource

book cover

What is the Book of Bloke?

Simply, the Book of Bloke is the most comprehensive and painstaking survey of Australian manhood ever undertaken. This socio-anthropological epic examines the vast variety of Blokes in our great country, their origins, characteristics, lifestyles, markings and hobbies. 

How often have you seen a Bloke in the street, and thought to yourself, "If only I knew what KIND of bloke that was, I would know whether to approach and make friends, or keep my distance, or hit him with a stick"? 

The Book of Bloke has made such concerns a thing of the past! As well as an essential reference work for all aspiring and experienced Blokeologists, the BoB acts as a useful spotter's guide for anyone wishing to observe Blokes in their natural habitat. If you wish to be able to tell, at a glance, the difference between a Bogan and a Snag, a Leftite and a Rightoid, a Reticulated Drainpipe and a Crested Kerrang, this is the must-have book for you!

The Book of Bloke is published by Momentum Books, and is delivered in convenient eBook format, thus doing away with the tedious hassle of paper. There are several ways to read the ever-versatile Book of Bloke:

1. On your Kindle, purchased through Amazon.

2. On your iPad, iPod, iPhone, or any other iDevice you might possess What's next - iGlasses? Haha, we have fun.

3. Through something called Book.ish, which is, I guess, some kind of place you get bookishness at.

4. On a Kobo, whatever that is.

5. On your computer screen, if that's the sort of thing you like to do.

6. Print the whole book out, bind it with string and/or glue, and read it as an analogue book.

7. Copy it out longhand with a biro in an exercise book and then read the exercise book. Remember to print clearly and legibly!

The options are, literally, endless, and what's more, it's only THREE DOLLARS! For the entire book! That's no more than the price of a cup of coffee, or of assuaging your guilt when confronted by a homeless person! And the BoB will give you HOURS more entertainment than either of those things!

Basically, what we have here is a brave new world in ebooks, in gender studies, and in jokes about mullets. YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS OUT!

Buy The Book of Bloke TODAY!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Campese: jabbing at a legend

Let's get things straight right away here: David Campese is the greatest rugby player I ever saw. He may be the greatest footballer of any code I ever saw.
He seemed to be in possession of secrets that human beings were not privy to when on the rugby field.
Once I saw him scoop up a bouncing kick to dive over for a try, and I swear to god that when I watched the replay, his fingers weren't even touching the ball as he picked it up - it looked like he'd just drawn the ball to himself with magnets.
I remember his legendary no-look pass to Tim Horan in the 1991 World Cup semi, but I also remember, in the same match, Campo dancing merrily across the field before the fearsome line of All Blacks, mesmerising them like a magician keeping a child's eyes fixed on his right hand while his left plucks a coin from behind their ear, until he found the gap and zipped through the baffled kiwis for the try.
I remember him belting drop goals from the sideline fifty metres out, and scything through the defensive line in a Barbarians match so exquisitely that the beaten defenders stood and clapped as he touched down between the posts.
Alan Jones once called him the Bradman of rugby, and for once Jones may have been right.
Campese didn't have Bradman's remorseless perfectionism, but he did have the magic; the air that he was simply existing on a different plane to other players. He was magnificent, and nothing can ever change that.
But all that does not inoculate him against saying, on the odd occasion, pretty dumb things, and the tweet he tapped out expressing his outrage that the Sydney Morning Herald was letting a "girl" cover rugby fits into the "pretty dumb" category so snugly it might have been made for the purpose.
It was dumb not just because the "girl" in question, Georgina Robinson, is a well-qualified, accomplished and respected journalist (although she is, and that IS dumb): it's dumb because formulating a thought like "girls can't understand rugby like men" is just a dumb thing to do.
I'm pretty sure we've passed the stage in Western civilisation where we all assume that women's brains are defective, so I have no idea what mechanism someone like Campo thinks would prevent a female from reporting effectively on rugby.
Does oestrogen block the brain's ruck receptors? Do women miss vital scrum penalties because they get distracted by their own breasts? Who knows?
So that was dumb. And to his credit, Campese has written on The Roar that he regrets his wording.
He shouldn't have included the "girl" schtick, he says, which is all good. But that article there reveals a deeper issue, and a broader problem with Campo's attitude.
It's clear that the reason he objects to Robinson's work, and wants Greg Growden back, is that Robinson has not been getting "stuck into the real issues" - and for Campese, the "real issues" are that Robbie Deans is a hopeless failure and needs to be sacked, if not actually horse-whipped, with all possible speed.
What he is saying is, if Robinson does not spend her time slamming the Wallabies coach, she's not doing her job. And therein lies the problem.
Because Mr Campese, with all due respect, a rugby journalist's job is to report on rugby. Perhaps it may involve some analysis, and on occasion, even opinion. But one thing a rugby journalist's job does NOT entail is "agreeing with everything David Campese says".
Georgina Robinson may agree with you about Deans, or she may disagree, or she may think it's not the most pressing issue right now. But the main thing to note here is: she is not there to help you pursue your anti-Robbie campaign.
Campo, take this to heart: yours is not the only opinion worth listening to, and other members of the media bear no responsibility to form a chorus to back you up.
This is the problem with sports punditry: there is an assumption that the greater the player, the wiser the head and more worthwhile the opinion.
That's why Channel Nine stacks its commentary team with legends of the game, and keeps them on for decades no matter how stale they're getting.
But you're unlikely to find many viewers who believe Mark Nicholas to be a much worse commentator than Ian Healy, despite the latter's possession of 395 more Test dismissals than the former.
I'd rather read Greg Baum's opinion on cricket than Rodney Hogg's, and I get more enlightened listening to Harsha Bhogle than Sunil Gavaskar.
The point is, great players MAY make great thinkers, but not necessarily. Someone lacking great talent may be brilliant when analysing a sport, and someone with enormous ability can be a complete twit.
In fact, often genius sportspeople end up making fools of themselves when commenting on the game because of their genius: the ease with which the game came to them makes it impossible for them to understand how it can look so difficult for less gifted individuals. That's why the link between footballing ability and AFL coaching credentials is, at best, tenuous.
The point is not that Campese is right or wrong about Deans: the point is that being Campese doesn't make him right, and Georgina Robinson's not toeing his line doesn't make her incompetent.
As you yourself wrote, Mr Campese, "she’s doing her job", and while you may not like the way she's doing it, you don't get to define "being a journalist" as "writing stuff that David Campese wants you to write" or "attacking people who David Campese doesn't like" or "bowing to Campo's vast reservoir of rugby wisdom".
If you disagree with what anyone writes - Georgina Robinson, Ben Pobjie, or Ernest Hemingway - go ahead and make your case.
With any luck the strongest argument will prevail. But don't go around claiming that someone is completely unqualified to comment on the game because their opinions don't align with yours - or worse, because they're a "girl". I think we're better than that, aren't we?
The pinnacle of my rugby career remains playing for the Parramatta Under-17s. And I still recall the thrill of meeting David Campese that same year, and getting his autograph on my copy of his autobiography.
I'm pretty sure that even now he could still outrun me in a 50-metre dash to the tryline.
But being a legend doesn't stop you being wrong, and it doesn't mean you should go around ripping into all us little non-legends who might see things differently to you.
That just isn't how it works, off the rugby field. Out here, our brains count more than our feet, and it can benefit us all to remember to switch them on before addressing the world.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Leave it to the Experts, ladies

I was interested to read the article by well-known alleged woman Clementine Ford in Daily Life today, entitled How To Be A Woman. Interested, and dismayed, and slightly aroused.

I don't doubt Miss Ford's good intentions: like most women, she means well. But, like even more women, she falls down on execution. This is not her fault, necessarily: evolution has designed us for different roles. Men are designed for writing opinion articles, and women are designed for writing articles about leggings. It's science, you can't fight it. Don't get me wrong, I think it's adorable when woman say things about issues, but it's hard to take seriously, what with all the bras and things that they wear.

So I decided, in a spirit of brotherliness and educationalism, to write a gentle riposte to Clementine's article, as a genuine expert who actually KNOWS something about the subject. I mean, no offence, Clementine, but I think I know a little bit more than you about how to be a woman.

"Oh, but how can you?" I hear the chatterers chatter. "For you are a MAN!" Well, gee, thanks for that outburst, Lieutenant Misandry. What's your next trick: castrating stay-at-home dads? Let's leave our bigotry at home, JUST FOR ONCE.

Here, in a simple, easy-to-read, female-friendly format, is where Clementine went wrong in her "article".

First, she used "humour". The article is riddled with "jokes" and "satire" and "sarcasm". This is unbecoming, Clementine. There is nothing ladylike about a woman who fancies herself as some kind of cigar-chewing, wisecrack-flinging, crotch-scratching Bill Cosby-type. Obviously it is a free country, and if you women want to go around giving the impression you have hairy stomachs and secret penises, go ahead and make your "gags". But rest assured, every time you make a testosteroney jape like "women be cray", a little bit of your femininity dies. Painfully. Like, in a fire or something.

Second, she was vulgar. Was it really necessary to use such crude terminology as "bitches" or "periods" or "wombs"? Such a foul mouth on a woman is a real turn-off, and it really does make you wonder what Clementine thought she was doing. I mean, she pursues a career as a writer, in order to attract men, the same reason all women do anything, and yet she then goes and sabotages herself with this profanity that will doubtless send any man of refinement and virility running for the hills. Keep it clean, Clementine - boys don't make passes at girls who say asses.

Third, she made it all about sex. Yes, I know it IS all about sex with today's modern, professional, gin-addled young woman, but do you have to be so blatant about it?

Fourth, she lectured us. To presume to dictate to decent, respectable, hard-working men like myself and others is rude and arrogant. Perhaps Clementine's "opinions" would have carried more weight had she taken a more conciliatory tone, eg. "Dear Men: I love you. Care for a chat?" You catch more flies with honey than with argumentativeness, Clementine. How are we expected to listen to what you have to say when you insist on saying it in such a wilfully patronising and audible manner? Wouldn't it have been a greater contribution to mutual understanding between the sexes if you had first listened to what WE wanted to tell you, and then nodded, and then gone home and written all this stuff in your diary, and locked it, and gone to bed? I think it would have. Women's opinions will never be taken seriously until they take a more mature attitude to keeping quiet about them.

Fifth, in her author photo, she quite clearly has breasts just out of shot. This is distracting.

So there you go: If you want to be a proper woman, take heed, Clementine, or you may never find a husband at all!

Women: Dangerously Insane

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How To Do Telephoning

This is a Public Service Announcement.

This is how a phone call proceeds:

Person A dials number of Person B.

Person B answers phone.

Person B: Hello, this is Person B.

Person A: Hello Person B, this is Person A. I am calling you for Reason C, which I shall now elucidate.

Person B: Excellent I am all ears.

You may have noticed something quite significant about the above, namely that Person A is a person, and when Person B answers the phone, Person A speaks to Person B, and tells Person B why they're calling.

This is NOT how a phone call proceeds:

Person A sets computer to automatically dial number of Person B.

Person B answers phone.

Person B: Hell, this is -

Person A's Computer: Hello, this is an important call from Person A. Please hold the line while we play you some music, and wait until Person A is ready to deal with you.

Because you see, if Person A calls Person B, Person A should ALREADY BE READY to talk to Person B. If Person A is NOT ready to talk to Person B, Person A should WAIT until Person A IS ready, before making that call. As opposed to programming a recording to tell Person B to waste Person' B's time listening to hold music UNTIL Person A is ready.

Or in other words, if YOU are calling ME, you better TALK to me as soon as I answer.

Or more pertinently, if YOU are a company, and for the sake of argument let's call this company "GE", because that is its name, and YOU are trying to waste my time by calling me with a recording that tells me to hang on until you have a real person available, then FUCK YOU GE, I am HANGING UP STRAIGHT AWAY.

Do you understand, Person A and/or GE and/or anyone else who does this? I'm NOT listening to your recording. I'm NOT holding the line. You have something to say, call me up and SAY it. Don't call me up and tell me to wait until your saying-things ducks are all in a row.

Because we live in a CIVILISED SOCIETY, and this is how we DO THINGS, and I refuse to participate in your UNCIVILISED telephony practices.



Who's with me?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


And so another Halloween has passed by, with all the revelry and/or non-revelry that involves, and we move onto the next holiday, St Arthur's Day, which takes place on November 8th, and commemorates the patron saint of marbles, who died on that date in 1129 when a sack of weasels was accidentally dropped out of a third-storey window onto his head.

So here are some things about Halloween:

1. It's the name of a popular series of movies. This is fair enough.

2. Some people don't like it because it's American. So those people should shut up and be ashamed of being stupid. Firstly because it's not American, and secondly because if it is American, why do you give a fuck? Christmas didn't start in the Dreamtime either, get over yourself. Stop thinking American things should be shunned as if America is a colony for Nazi lepers. The Simpsons comes from America and so does Aerosmith, so shut up.

3. That is only for people who don't like it because it's American. People who don't like it for other reasons are fine.

4. Unless you don't like it because it's evil or something, then you're an idiot.

5. Halloween parties are great. Go nuts.

6. The ACTUAL bad thing about Halloween is trick-or-treating. Take that away and there is nothing wrong with Halloween. Take that away and Halloween is really rather lovely. But with it, Halloween sucks. Firstly, I'm in my house. I am in my house because I want to be in my house, with my family. If I wanted to be with other people, I'd be outside my house, or I'd invite other people into my house. If you go around banging on the doors of people's houses, you are a serial pest on a par with a Jehovah's Witness. If you bang on the doors of people's houses and then demand candy, you are worse than a Jehovah's Witness, because at least Jehovah's Witnesses don't irritate you and then expect you to feed them.

Guess what? If you want your kids to eat chocolate, YOU buy it for them. Am I the freaking Candyman? What gave you the impression it was my job to purchase sweets for your family? What sort of sick holiday is this, that places an expectation on us to spend our time and money providing lollies for the children of people we've never met? So, no, you will not receive a treat from me, because I don't know you, I don't want to know you, I have no desire to give you presents, and I do not wish to reward your offensive behaviour in harassing me in my home. And if you then decide to subject me to a "trick", I will call the police, because we live in a society of laws.

7. Oh, also, we don't get a day off work, so fuck that.

This is what happens when you let your children knock on strangers' doors.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Feminism, right? Sometimes, I think, we can get sick of talking about feminism, and hearing about feminism. Sometimes it's just exhausting, isn't it? Boring. We wish sexism and misogyny and patriarchy didn't keep getting raised. We'd like a break.

I feel this, I really do. I bet a lot of the people who spend a lot of time talking about feminism get sick of it sometimes too. Unfortunately, as much as we'd all like a break, it is difficult for feminists to take a break when every day some idiot goes and illustrates perfectly why they have to keep hammering away, because there is just so many more concrete-thick skulls to penetrate.

I was watching Q&A last night, and this really hit me with monstrous force, as I watched Kate Ellis MP attempt to answer questions and address issues in the face of some truly mind-boggling rudeness and disrespect from a sniggering bipartisan triumvirate of Lindsay Tanner, Christopher Pyne and Piers Akerman.

Now, in my opinion, in the area of feminism and gender relations, there are very many areas on which room for disagreement exists. I think reasonable people can differ on many issues without anyone being assumed to be stupid or bigoted. And you can disagree on all sorts of things. You can disagree with me, or anyone else, on women's portrayal in the media, or on women's dress, on affirmative action, on pornography or sexual freedom or sexism in the workplace. I would not necessarily think you a fool for taking a different position to mine on any of these issues.

But if you try to tell me that feminism's job is done here, that we are not still living in a society that is positively drenched in sexism, then I will laugh you right out of that cosy little cocoon you're snuggling up inside. Because if you're living in this world, and you think everything is cool, men-and-women-wise, you're pushing a line so obviously and directly at odds with the evidence in front of your face that you might as well be telling me that you just rode into town on a flying sheep.

Q&A seems such a minor, petty thing to focus on - and it is. It's a tiny drop in the sexism ocean, and there are sure bigger problems out there. But last night's episode crystallised so exquisitely for anyone watching the heart of the matter - the disrespect, the sneering condescension, and the hostility towards women from which so much inequality and injustice springs.

This wasn't a rowdy debate where everyone was talking over one another. This wasn't someone feeling so passionately about a subject he just had to break in to be heard. And this was not a case of one or two interruptions. This was interrupting, cutting off, and shouting down Kate Ellis pretty much every time she dared open her mouth, in a manner that couldn't have been more efficient and systematic if Tanner, Pyne and Akerman had got together beforehand and plotted the course of the evening out on a spreadsheet. This was Akerman preventing Ellis getting her point out simply by repeating the word "shadecloths" four or five times, as if that was a counter-argument that would shoot her down; or later on, breaking in to an answer she was giving on education in order to kindly tell her to go and talk to Margie Abbott. This was Ellis attempting to answer an audience member's question but being drowned out by Pyne and Tanner starting up a conversation about Downton Abbey as if she wasn't even there. And this was Pyne in particular (and this is pretty much his lifelong form line) talking over the top of the minister every single time she looked like getting near speaking her piece. It was a horrible display by three men who, according to all reports, claim to be grown adults of fully-functioning intellectual faculties. But in the presence of a federal minister whose views on a range of issues are actually quite important to the country, but who happened to be a woman, they could not find it within themselves to grow the hell up and act like decent human beings. And, what's more, host Tony Jones seemed quite happy to let them stomp all over the discussion like a pack of St Bernards tracking mud over a carpet.

Of course the other guest, US playwright Nilaja Sun, barely got to talk at all, although some of that could be put down to  most of the discussion being very Aus-centric: but when you have five guests, two of whom are women, of which one is barely allowed to talk, and the other has every statement swamped by the bellows of the swaggering Ox Chorus surrounding her, it paints a stark picture of how women are treated 'round these parts.

Bear in mind, again, this is a minister. Not just a woman who wandered in off the streets, but an accomplished, elected representative, in a position of considerable responsibility with significant influence on our government. Patronised and shut down like a schoolgirl answering back to the principal. It was, to put quite mildly, revolting.

And why did they do this? Because they knew they could. They knew that if you shout down a woman, you get away with it. Let's not pretend they would have acted that way if Bill Shorten had been in that seat - nobody's default setting is "disrupt" when a man is talking. What's more, they knew that Shorten would have fired back, and they knew that Kate Ellis couldn't without being painted as shrill and hysterical. Ellis knew that too - she knew the minute she rose to the bait, told someone to shut up, demanded to be given due respect, she'd be tagged a harridan, which is why she put in a performance of superhuman restraint and class, and emerged looking a more worthy person than those three men put together.

And this is not a Labor vs Liberal thing - Akerman and Pyne were repellent, but Tanner joined in the shut-up-girlie game with gusto. The Liberal Party seems to be captive at the moment to a particularly nauseating cabal of misogynists, but this cuts across the left-right divide. It's not even man vs woman - rest assured there are women who would have watched that show urging the men on to shut the mouthy bitch up.

I've said it before: the battle is between pricks and non-pricks. You're sick of hearing about feminism? Fine: let's not mention feminism. Let's drop the battle of the sexes schtick. How about we just talk about human decency? How about we talk about the ability to treat another person like a person, that ability that is sorely lacking in men like Akerman, Tanner, Pyne, Alan Jones, Tony Abbott...and on, and on, and on. How about we talk about looking at someone and not deciding, based on what they've got in their pants, that you're perfectly justified in treating them like a cross between an irritating insect and a disobedient toddler? How about we talk about, if this isn't too much of a stretch, a public discussion where how seriously you get taken doesn't depend on whether you're packing a penis?

Last night, we saw that the men who believe they have a right to power over all of us have zero tolerance for any woman trying to muscle in on their turf. We saw the clear, shining face of sexism. And those of us with a scrap of decency should be under no illusions: we're in a war here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Time to put on our big-boy pants

This is just a short explanatory note for the benefit of any radio station executives or deputy opposition leaders out there who might be struggling in their understanding of the world.

Let us imagine you run a business, say, a cake shop. A lot of people buy cakes from your cake shop, but at some point they start to go off your cake shop a bit. You might wonder why, but then the customers who don't want to buy cakes from your cake shop tell you why - it is because the plumbing in your cake shop has gone wrong and as a consequence your cake shop is constantly permeated by the foul smell of sewage.

Now you of course employ a plumber to look after your plumbing, but the service which your plumber has been providing is now of a very poor standard - in fact, the service he is providing is causing you to - take careful note here - lose customers. And your customers are telling you that this is the case, which is actually quite nice of them, because otherwise you might be losing them without knowing why, which would be unfortunate.

And so you call your plumber and you say, "Sorry, your plumbing service is not achieving what we want it to achieve, and it's damaging our business - we will not be requiring your plumbing service anymore, we're getting a different plumber."

OR perhaps you think, to hell with customers who can't stand a little stench - they're not our customer base anyway, we're going to stick with our plumber because we like him, and the really loyal, valuable customers will stick with us and keep buying our cakes.

Either way, that's your decision to make - you are in full possession of all the facts. Your plumber is causing people to avoid your cake shop, and you have to decide whether keeping your plumber or dismissing your plumber is best for your business. So this is what you do.


Imagine that your plumber is actually a radio station, and instead of providing plumbing services, it is providing advertising, and instead of the smell in your shop, what your customers are complaining about is the content broadcast on that radio station, which is causing them to avoid your shop. Meaning - again, follow this very very closely - the service which is being provided to your business is losing you customers.

You have a decision to make, again - but again, isn't it nice that your customers kept you informed so you could make business decisions in possession of all the facts? Now YOU, as a business owner, are able to make an educated choice about whether the business lost due to the service being provided to you is worth the benefits of that service. All is in order.

Now, please...imagine that VERY hard, and then take a bit of a look in the mirror.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Generosity Please

I am not telling you anything you don't know, but the media is a strange and shifting place. Being a freelancer in the middle of it is an uncertain and slightly terrifying existence. I keep on writing because I happen to think I'm pretty good at it, and that it's a worthwhile career to pursue, but I can't say whether I'll still be doing this in a year, two years, five years. As much as you might do it for the love, money is, sadly, a necessity round these parts, and if there's no money to be made writing, a lot less writing is going to happen.

As a writer, my past, present and future are all bound up heavily in brave, supercool independent media, that have given me a break, given me an outlet, given me an audience and given me a little bit of cash to reward my efforts too. They've been bold to do this, and I'm eternally grateful to anyone who's published me.

But these outlets are just like the mainstream behemoths: they need people to be willing to pay for good content. There's free stuff all over the internet of course, but if we want a world where there are talented people with the time and inclination to really throw themselves into their work, we need to stump up some dollars to give them that chance, and make sure a thousand flowers can bloom in the media desert.

So. With that in mind, here are a few places you could sling a few bucks to - if you're not already - to help them stay afloat and make a go of things. All of these are great organisations that I've written for, will write for in future, and recommend highly.

First New Matilda. This was the first place to publish me at all, when I was, in the most literal and extreme sense, an unknown. They took a chance and I owe them forever for that. They brought my political writing into the world. But beyond me, they have loads of brilliant content, like Ben Eltham's work, stuff about Israel, asylum seekers, the environment and much much more, from an array of talented writers who provide genuinely alternative viewpoints to the mainstream. They run on a shoestring and do it with style and substance, and without paywalling. They rely on the generosity of their readers - why not be generous?

The King's Tribune. Subscribing to the KT not only gets you access to the full extent of their spectacular line-up - and it is spectacular, featuring not just me, but geniuses like Helen Razer, Jo Thornely, Greg Jericho, Tim Dunlop, John Birmingham and many more, plus awesome interviews and features - but also it gets you an actual paper magazine. Can you believe that? In these days of digital chicanery, MySpace etc, the Tribune has shown faith in the beauty of the printed word, while also spawning a snazzy-as website. It takes some balls to push that boat out, and it's resulted in a real high class mag that entertains and enlightens AT THE SAME TIME. Subscribing to the Tribune will be money well-spent, but what will also be money well-spent will be donations to the magazine's indiegogo. After an incredible amount of hard work, the KT is on the verge of making it as a real going concern - it can keep operating. But the proprietor has accumulated debts that need to be repaid if that's to happen, so the fundraising is on, and anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated to help keep alive the brilliant magazine that you'll be subscribing to! The indiegogo site goes into more depth about just what the funds are being raised for, and includes a video which features Helen Razer, played by me.

Lastly, Bide magazine, a brand-new quarterly digital magazine of society, culture, politics, and basically the entire scope of human existence. It is a sophisticated little corner of the web for lovers of reading to lose themselves in, and it's run by my friend and well-known genius Anna Spargo-Ryan. For an annual subscription you pay $10 which is OBSCENELY cheap, and if you help it thrive, I shall be privileged to keep contributing certain whimsies to it.

Of course there are heaps more than these, worthy of support, but these are three that I'm involved in that, if you like what I do, I think you'll find are worth keeping afloat. Sometimes it can seem that the media is asking a lot, when you can get so much content without paying, but really, subscribing to any of these outlets is actually pretty damn cheap - it's just a different payment model than slapping a few bucks down at the newsagent. And all of them will provide entertainment, information, discussion, debate and perspectives you might not have seen before. If you want smart people to keep giving you the benefit of their smartness, you have to play your part. I, and my colleagues, depend on you. Do give it some thought.

(oh and buy tickets to my show too)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alan Jones - A Male Life

Alan Jones was born a male man in Queensland sometime in the early twentieth century, and enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the sunny Australian outback, where he learnt all about life from observing animals on the Jones family farm. In particular, he noticed that there were some differences between male chickens, horses and pigs and female ones, in that the female ones tended to be incompetent, lazy, and funny-smelling. It was these early, formative agricultural experiences - along with the time a shelf full of feminine hygiene products collapsed onto his head at the chemist - that forged within him a steely desire to change the world for the better by standing up against injustice/womanhood wherever he might find it.

Alan rescuing a friend from feminist dog-eaters

It was this zeal that led him first to a career teaching things to young men. A student of his from this period remembers:

Alan was always teaching us things, as young men. He instilled in us the values of youth, and of manliness, and of being youthful and manly. "Never be an old woman," he used to say every day, and it frankly got a bit repetitive. But there's no doubt he taught us things, and without him those things may have gone un-taught. I never observed an inappropriate behaviour on his part, unless you consider wandering the school grounds at night in his pyjamas, firing a shotgun into the air and daring the feminists to "stop hiding like rats and come out and fight him face to face" to be inappropriate.

However, school life became stale and uninspiring for Alan, and a traumatic experience at an Easter Parade, when he was run over by a clitoris-shaped float, sealed his decision to enter the world of sport and become a rugby coach, where he could thrive in an especially manly environment.

Alan being attacked by a vagina

It was in rugby where he really thrived, leading the Wallabies to a Grand Slam on the 1984 tour of Britain, a success which more than one player attributed to Jones's revolutionary "don't talk to girls" strategy. A 1986 Bledisloe Cup victory, built on the back of manly bonding and hissing loudly at women in the street, was further vindication, but Jones cruelly lost the job after the 1987 World Cup, which was lost following a disastrous dip in morale which was later traced to several members of the tight five having disobeyed team rules and kissed ladies while in camp. Although Jones knew the debilitating effect that girl germs have on sportsmen, he nobly took the fall, refusing to let his handsome players get blamed even though they actually were to blame, and instead hurled himself into his media career.

Alan fighting misandry

On radio, television and print media, Alan has for the best part of three decades been fighting the good fight against the growing womanisation of our society. His scholarly background has provided him with the research muscle to back up his arguments with cold hard facts:

Every society that has ever collapsed has contained women. That's not polemic, that's simple historical reality. I don't make history, I report it, and I'm telling you that where you find civilisations in ruins, there are breasts just around the corner. Make of that what you will, I'm just the messenger.
                                                                         -Alan Jones, 1997

Many of course have tried to destroy him with feminine tricks, but Jones has always stood fast for his principles. Firmly believing that we do not own this world, we merely borrow it from our penises, he is determined to leave Australia a better place than he found it, by breaking down the walls of matriarchy that keep us enslaved to feminist ideology. "Australia has been swallowed by a cervix of shame," he famously declared at 2003's Convoy Of No Oestrogen, at which thousands of Cosmopolitan magazines and lipsticks were burnt to symbolise the casting off of the distaff shackles that bind Australians.

Whence comes his enormous inner strength, the stamina and drive to keep going in the face of insults and smears and those gross curves that women have? Partly it is simple patriotism: he knows that Australia was a great country before women arrived in it, and can be again as long as they are kept quiet or given regular electric shocks. Part of it is personal integrity: Alan's father always told him never to give in to bullies, and ever since a ringleted young girl savagely beat Alan to a pulp in the early 90s, he has been steadfast in his defiance of the elites and vested interests who wish to impose perfumed servitude on decent hard-working testicular Aussies. He stands up for "Struggle St" and makes no apologies, or at least not very convincing ones.

But part of it is just good ol' Queensland country scrappiness. Like all good men, Alan relishes a fight, and if it's a fight for right, all the better. That's why the so-called "women" of Australia will never beat him down, because he's got enough fight in him to last a lifetime, and it doesn't matter how many bears your periods attract, ladies, this is one testosterone milkshake you'll have a hard time drinking.

Alan casting a paralysis spell on Emily's List

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


(To celebrate my debut solo Melbourne Fringe Festival show, tickets for which can be bought here for Christ's sake, I present an essay I wrote several years ago detailing the process by which I became hilarious)

I remember my first encounter with the world of comedy. I was four years old, and a clown came to the door of our house offering to wash our dog for food. I laughed at his funny red nose and bright purple wig, and then my father shot him, and that too was funny in its way. It was then I thought seriously about going into comedy myself, and by the age of five had written an eight-hour one-man show, entitled, "Laughter: The Harbinger of Death".

I performed this show daily in front of my parents for the next six years, and it was, I admit, a source of tension, argument and self-mutilation at the time. Nowadays we laugh about it, but at the time, the comedy was so bitingly real that my mother was at times moved to tears, and at other times moved to Calgary.

I gave up the one-man show at eleven, and began work on my sitcom. Amusingly, my dictionary was missing some pages, and so I gained a false impression of what a "sitcom" was. In fact, rather than working on a sitcom, I began working on a stegosaurus, which was a far more thankless task, and less funny than I had anticipated. It got even worse when the stegosaurus ate our gardener. I had thought stegosauruses were herbivorous, but then I found I had read the instructions wrong. It seemed that every book in the house was missing pages, and later on we found out my father had been eating them. I asked him why and he said he was trying to stop the cravings he had to eat the gardener. I suppose that in the end, my sitcom DID end up being quite successful, though not commercially.

In my teenage years, my love of comedy did not wane, but it did go in exciting new directions. I explored the possibilities of physical comedy, experimenting with comedic sexual intercourse and slapstick ethnic cleansing. But I soon grew tired of the cheap and easy laughs to be had by setting Koreans on fire, and by my graduation year was ready for fresh challenges and strange new worlds of humour.

It was at university that I began devising a surrealist, avant garde brand of comedy, beginning with jokes such as:

Q. What do you call a man with an octopus on his face?
A: Glenn

Q: How many lightbulbs does it take?
A: Twenty-eight (laugh malevolently)

These jokes found great success among the cafeteria ladies, and emboldened, I set out to expand the themes I was working with, thus:

An Englishman, an Irishman and a rabbi walk into a bar. The Englishman says, I can't fall out of this plane, my goldfish are dead. How did the Welshman know?
A: The surgeon was his mother.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson are out camping, and Watson says, Why the long face, to which Holmes replies, I am a cocaine addict. He then makes Watson lick yoghurt off his violin until dawn. What does this tell you, Watson, he asks. Watson replies, Now comes the viola solo. (laugh malevolently)

Many people loved my new brand of comedy, and I found great acclaim among the Beat Generation, who were by then terribly old and mostly demented. However, the cultural elite did not, and there were calls in several thousand newspapers for me to be banned for life from all sporting events and chemically castrated. Years later I found out all of these newspapers were fakes printed on a home press by my mischievous prankster college roommate Fuzzy. How we laughed. But at the time I was most distressed and went into exile in Tibet, where I learned how to love again.

Upon my return, I set to work rehearsing for my most ambitious show yet, "Breasts: The Musical". The show consisted entirely of me standing on stage in a rubber catsuit showing slides of dead strippers and groaning rhythmically.

The show was a commercial and critical success, described by one eminent critic as "the funniest thing I have ever seen", and by another as "mmmmm". Although box office receipts were huge, I suffered from my poor judgment in signing a contract which guaranteed 80% of ticket sales would go to Richard Branson's Virgin Corporation, in return for which I would have a long needle inserted into my brain. Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking.

And so we come to today. I am not resting on my laurels, by any means. In fact, I just published my book, "Not Resting On My Laurels", which is a collection of humorous essays and line drawings of rabbit ovaries. I am about to release "Not Resting On My Laurels Too", a collection of the same humorous essays, but with a foreword by Kirstie Alley.

All in all, I have learnt a lot about comedy in my seven or eight years on this planet. What you need to remember is, it's all about the audience. You're not up there for your own glorification, you are up there to make the audience laugh, and if they don't laugh, to be honest, you deserve all the poisonous gases you get. So the lesson is: make them laugh at all costs. If that means that you have to take off your pants, or eat a small boat, or hang yourself from a tree, so be it.

Laughter is everything, and I assure you, when you hear a roomful of people laughing and clapping and gently tongueing your thighs, you'll know that it was worth it.

Worth it

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Battle

There is no battle between men and women.

There is no battle between black and white.

There is no battle between gays and straights.

There is no battle between Christians and Muslims.

There is no battle between believers and non-believers.

There is no battle between right-wing and left-wing.

There is no battle between young and old.

There is only one battle, and there will only ever be one battle.

The battle is between pricks, and people who aren't pricks.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Time!


Yes it is Slutwalk time again in jolly old Melbourne town! Follow that link to find out all about it. You can also read a bit I wrote for my Slutwalk pals on Slutwalk etiquette for newbies.

Another thing you could read is this blast from the past I wrote in honour of last year's event.

Essentially I am a fan of Slutwalk, and not just because all the women there are total babes. I am not going to presume to speak for all Slutwalkers by any means, but to me it seems like this:

People have varying views on the word "slut". Some want to reclaim it, some want to eliminate it entirely, and some, I'm sure, don't see the harm in the word, per se. But whatever your views on the word itself, I don't think you can deny that it is a word used terribly often to shame women for their choices, and to lay the blame on them for things that have happened to them that were not their fault.

In that earlier blog post I referred to Labyrinth and that powerful phrase, "You have no power over me". And while Slutwalk covers a wide variety of issues and points of view, and will mean different things to different people, I think it all comes under that phrase. Women have for too long had to put up with people using words like "slut" to diminish them and make them feel ashamed unjustly. I like to think Slutwalk is a chance for people of goodwill everywhere to stand up and say, "You have no power over me - you do not control me, and I am not going to let you make me feel ashamed." 

Whether it's calling a woman a slut because she likes sex, telling a woman she's indecent because she dresses differently to how you want her to, or, horribly and heinously, telling women they need to "take some responsibility" for being assaulted, Slutwalkers are saying we're not going to let you tell us that anymore - you have no power. We win. You lose. We're going to march with our heads high and there's not a damn thing you can do to make us lower them.

And Slutwalk is for both sexes - because we must also remember, there is no battle between the sexes: only a battle between good people and bad ones.

All power to the Slutwalk!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How Politics Works

The politics of fear is, in fact, the only politics there is. Fear is the politician's prime motivation, greatest priority and defining characteristic. The only way to understand the progression of political life is to understand that the people we elect to govern us live their lives consumed by terror, and their every decision is informed, coloured and driven by their fear of losing the fragile grip they have on whatever amount of power and status they've managed to accrue up to now.

So this is how a politician's life goes:

1. They enter politics, full of enthusiasm and ambition, with big plans for what they can do to make things better and leave their mark on public life.

2. They discover that there are certain rules to the political game, and if you don't abide by the rules, you don't get to play. Realising that unless they are in the game, they will never get to implement any of their grand ideas, they bend a little, play by the rules, and get in the game.

3. They gain a little bit of power, and are all ready to start doing good, when they discover that if they try to start doing good right now, the power they gained will be threatened. Realising that unless they retain the power they've gained, they'll never be able to start doing good, they put the good stuff on the backburner, and keep playing the game, ready to really make a difference as soon as their position is consolidated.

4. They rise even higher, and are now in a position to put forward their grand ideas.

5. They find that nobody else wants their grand ideas, and if they push ahead with their grand ideas, they'll never rise higher, and someone else with less grand ideas will come forward to take their place. Offered the chance to pursue slightly less grand ideas, they take it, because they realise that unless they keep their position, there'll be no grand ideas at all, and what's the use of having grand ideas if you have no power to do anything about it?

6. Nobody wants the slightly less grand ideas after all - would they like to pursue something a bit less grand again?

7. And again?

8. And again?

9. Their grand ideas obliterated completely, they manage to take a tiny, almost imperceptible bit of action on something of little importance, and feel a warm glow of achievement. They have played the game and Made A Difference. For this they are rewarded with more power.

10. In a position of genuine, lofty power, they look back at all the plans they had to shake the country up and usher in a new age. But if they do that, they might lose that position of genuine, lofty power, and how can you shake the country up unless you're in a position of genuine, lofty power?

11. They take a look at their options, and discover that absolutely nothing can be done without threatening their position of genuine, lofty power.

12. Given that nothing can be achieved without being in power, they swiftly decide to do nothing, because only by doing nothing can they keep power, and only by being in power can anything be done.

13. And so, with a restful conscience, to bed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You Wouldn't Read About It

It's hard to believe, but we did it! My valet Cam Smith and I hit our target, and we can now upgrade our podcast set-up AND get cracking on our revolutionary web video series!

Isn't this great?


Before that of course we shall get to work on providing the promised perks to all who donated.

But before THAT, I would just like to use the power of blogging to thank everyone who donated. From both Cam and myself, enormous, passionate, wet, thrusting gratitude to:

Jason Wilson
Amanda Simpson
Joseph Briggs
Joey Kleptomania
Andrew Dittmer
Alexina Psaros-Clarke
Kathleen McLeod
Tabitha Tate
Griffin Rhyne
Lucinda Horrocks
Flares Sportsman
Claire Connelly
Janelle Moran
Marieke Hardy
Alison Goward
Julie Lenten
Shelley Stocken
Mike Stuchbery
Paula Johnson
Susan Carland
Anonymous again
Marni Cordell
Catriona Menzies-Pike
Umlol idunno
Nick Porter
Helen Razer
Jake DiLucia
Michelle Edwards
Stephen Davies
Jo Thornely
Cameron Cairns
Paul Everett
Another Anonymous
Marcus Liddle
Stephen Downes
Keir Paterson
Emily Maguire
Evie Pereira
Dave Gaukroger
Bill Dennis
Rebecca Dickson
Alice L Pobjie
Anna Spargo-Ryan
Stair Keith
Elyce Phillips
Anonymous (!)
Elizabeth Aitken
Sarah Heald


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

EIGHT DAYS, my brain hurts a lot! EIGHT DAYS, that's all we've got!

That's all we've got until our Indiegogo Gather Around Me fundraiser comes to an end! Eight Days! Can we raise the remaining $742 (at time of blogging) in no more time than it takes to have a Cuban missile crisis?

With your HELP we can! And don't you enjoy HELPing people? People like me and my carer Cam Smith (pictured below)?

How can you say no to that face? You can't is what I am saying.

And don't you like the internet and seeing things on it? Imaging if you could turn on your internet of an evening and watch me conducting an interview with Tara Moss entirely in rhyming couplets! Or watch me and David Marr assign scores out of ten to pillowcases at Kmart!

ANYTHING is possible with a high-quality vodcast! And that is what co-pilot Cam and I will be delivering if we can reach our target! Our fans' generosity let us upgrade our PODcasting capabilities, but if you want us in vision AS WELL AS sound, we need just a little bit more. All donations are appreciated - after all, if 200 people give $5 each we're there and then some. And aren't there 200 more of you out there who love us?

Who love ME?

Who want to see me HAPPY?

Who want to see me SPREAD happiness to the world?

Don't take my word for it - ask Toowoomba's Kate Middleton how Gather Around Me makes her feel:

"I feel like a weird drunk princess!"
And we can make EVERYONE feel like that. Not just me and my step-aunt Cam, but ALL OF US together, because if you donate to the Indiegogo, YOU will share in our life's work and we will be a TEAM which will be just so lovely for everyone. O please won't you be on my team o please?

Together, you and me, our future's so bright we need radiation suits!

Dance, puppets, dance!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Remember our Gather Around me podcast fundraiser, to raise funds for making our podcast bigger and better?

Well if you follow that link you'll see that Cam and I MADE OUR TARGET! Hooray! Thanks to the generosity of the early adopter GAM fans (thanks guys!) we hit $750 in the blink of an eye, and will now be able to upgrade our mobile studio to enhance the podcast experience.

BUT, you'll also see from that link that having hit the first target in about a week or so, we were left with three weeks of the campaign to fill, so we're shooting for the moon - our new target is $2222. Let's let my fellow GAMer Cam Smith explain what for:

The remaining money will be spent on video equipment to film a series of long form interviews with people both famous, infamous, and also not famous or infamous. But always interesting.

If you're anything like anybody, you probably long to see Ben Pobjie on the small screen, cracking wise with Tony Jones or passionately tongue-kissing Matt Preston. This will be the next best thing. You could even stickytape your computer to the television for the full effect. The magic of the movies.

Now, this won't be your run-of-the-mill, everyday, garden variety, Grandpa's Werther's Originals-type web series - this will be fascinating interviews, with fascinating people, and it will look like NOTHING YOU'VE EVER SEEN BEFORE.

"Wow, Ben," you're saying, "Does that mean we'll finally get to see you riding Shane Bourne like a mule, while firing a pistol into a flock of pelicans?"

Well like my idol Wayne Swan, I'm not going to play the rule-in rule-out game. But if it DOESN'T include that, it'll include EVEN BETTER THINGS. Laughter, tears, a little bit of inappropriate touching. The point is, you'll be seeing me entertaining you not just through your ears, but through your eyes - and in fact, through both at once!

Basically we're looking to create something super-special and original and fancy, to shake up this dead-end town we call "the internet". If you love me - you love me right? - you'll want to see this.

But we need your help. In the next 20 days, we need you, if you're behind us, to just chuck a few bucks - not a lot, just a LITTLE BIT - into our indiegogo kitty, as shown in the link above, and if we can hit the target we can get this beauty off the ground.

I'm excited. Are YOU excited? Let's be excited together! Remember, just like Andrew...

Monday, July 16, 2012

We work hard for the money

Since you read this blog you are no doubt avid listeners to Gather Around Me, the podcast I host with my associate/life partner Cam Smith, in which we discuss issues of importance to all generations in a humorous yet poignant manner. If you are NOT avid listeners, I am incredibly disappointed in you.

Probably as you have listened you have thought to yourself, "Gee I wish I could show my support of these wonderful men in a more tangible way".

Guess what?

Go on, guess!


OK, the point is, NOW YOU CAN!

Find the details here of Gather Around Me's special fundraising efforts to enhance the podcasting experience for YOU. And for us, a bit, but mainly for YOU! Basically we are looking for a bit of cash to upgrade our recording equipment and cover hosting fees, so that we can not only continue the podcast, but make it better, allowing us to go anywhere and bring in more special guests of the kind you love so well. Like, maybe one week we could interview Jason Donovan. Maybe the next week we'd have a chat with Senator Judith Troeth. The possibilities are limitless, if you support us through your generous donations!

And you'll be getting something out of it too. As the page linked to above explains, all donors of $5 and upward will get access to a SPECIAL DONORS-ONLY PODCAST! Only those who have donated will be able to listen to this podcast, which will undoubtedly be of a strange and juicy nature.

Also, donors of $15 or more have the opportunity to get a personalised poem written for them.

Donors of $25 or more can receive a personalised erotic fan fiction story OR personalised prayer just for them.

Also, donors of $50 or more can have a product of their choice plugged shamelessly on the podcast - we will shill for you, and we'll do it with a smile!

Not only that, but for the duration of the indiegogo campaign, we will be recording a short podcast EVERY DAY, to help promote our efforts. The subject of the podcast will be chosen by the Twitter follower who responds the quickest to our daily request for a topic suggestion. Thirty-one daily podcasts for the delectation of our listeners! You can't say we don't put in the hard yards right? The first daily cast is here and is on the subject of crocodiles. Mm, topical.

So there you go - we love our little podcast and we'd like to keep making it bigger and better. If you can sling some spare change our way that'd be lovely. If you can help promote the cause via social media, legacy media, telegrams, hand-written letters or shouting at people, that'd be lovely too. Thanks for your support!

Friday, July 13, 2012

How To Be Good

It is very, very easy to not be good. It's easy to slip up and let yourself be nasty, or rude, or selfish, or arrogant, or self-righteous, or mean, or unfair. It's easy to let yourself say the wrong thing, make the wrong decision, to carelessly upset someone you have no cause to upset. It's easy to forget, sometimes, that you're not supposed to be a dickhead.

And there'll always be people around to tell you when you slip up and stop being good, even for a moment. And there'll always be people who challenge your concept of what "good" even is, because I've found almost everyone has a slightly different idea of what it is to be good, and even when you think you're being good, there might be someone hanging around who thinks you're wrong. And whether they're wrong or you're wrong can be impossible to tell.

And maybe there's no such thing as "good" anyway. Maybe when we argue about it, we're not just looking from different perspectives, we're actually arguing about something that doesn't exist - an objective standard.

And I know there are people who don't even care if they're not good - who have other preoccupations and other goals and put "being good" way at the bottom of their priorities. And I kind of envy them, because it seems like I'd spend a lot less time worrying and looking at myself if I didn't think that being good was particularly important.

And I'd spend a lot less time worrying and looking at myself if I was absolutely certain what good is in the first place.

I have other goals too. I want to be rich and famous and admired and beloved and acclaimed and a great roaring success.

But those things would seem hollow if I didn't think I was good. To be a good person, to feel that you are doing good things, and that you're someone worth loving - without those things anything else I do is insignificant.

I want to be good. I think the vast majority of people walking on this earth want to be good too. It's easy to not be good. And it's hard to know exactly what being good means. But it's something we all have to keep trying at, no matter how many times we fail. And I think a good start is remembering that we're all together, tripping and stumbling through our lives, and we're all trying to be good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Unlikely Sequence of Events

Here is episode 103 of Gather Around Me, the podcast in which my associate Cam "the thinking woman's Nick Littlemore" and myself discuss matters of import and solve burning social issues of the day and yesteryear.

Why should you listen to this podcast?

Well just consider the ludicrous series of coincidences that led up to this episode:

1. I was born. Think about that. One precise sperm and one precise egg meeting each other at the precise time which would produce me, and not anyone else. Slightly different cells, at a slightly different moment, could have resulted in a completely different person being born. I might have even been...A GIRL! Ew, right? Vaginas and stuff.

2. I didn't die. Yes, I escaped SIDS, meningitis, measles, mumps, wayward drivers, carelessly-placed pillows, falling pianos, acid rainfalls, masked banditos, and dingo maulings, and survived.

3. I grew up. This means I was not only lucky enough to get bigger, and intelligent enough to complete a moderate education, but I gained the maturity to deal with other people in a calm and reasonable way without spitting at them. Hardly anyone does this - purest chance. What's more, as I grew up I was exposed to that unique combination of social isolation and sporadic bullying well-calculated to instil a desire to be a comedian and the concomitant sense of self-loathing.

4. I moved to Melbourne. Without moving to Melbourne I would never have become a GAMer. And I never would have moved to Melbourne if it weren't for my wife. And I never would have met my wife if she hadn't named herself Ausgirl_18 on Yahoo Chat, thus making me think, "Hello, she's in my country, here's a window of opportunity!" And I never would have been on Yahoo Chat if I hadn't become restless in my usual MSN chatroom, what with the guy who sent women wav. files of John Farnham claiming it was him singing and everything.

5. I met Cam Smith. I am not at liberty to divulge all the details, but suffice to say it involved poverty and desperation and hunger and sleep deprivation and multi-million dollar mergers and a wall of autographed cricket bats.

6. Cam didn't hate me to the point of physical violence. I don't need to elaborate how necessary/unlikely this was.

7. I began recording a podcast with Cam.

8. I kept recording a podcast with Cam.

9. Neither Cam nor I at any point during the podcast recording screamed "I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE YOU ARE SMOTHERING ME I NEED SOME SPACE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD" and rushed out sobbing into the night.

10. We kept this up for 102 episodes.

11. Neither of us fell onto train tracks before recording the 103rd.

12. We recorded the 103rd.

An amazing sequence, no? And now you realise how infinitesimally unlikely it is that we have reached this point, now you see the incredible nature of random chance and how it leads us to outcomes unexpected and delightful, now that you have been humbled by the tininess of all we cogs in the great cosmic machine...

Don't you think maybe you should listen?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Carbon: The Weightless Killer

A lot of people ask me, "Ben what is to be done about the carbon tax?" I often express surprise that they are asking me this, since I never told them my name and they were supposedly at the door just to deliver a package. But I recognise my civic duties and thus I do my best to answer.

The short answer of course is: nothing is to be done. It is a fait accompli: Juliar "Julia" Gillard and her mob of baying leftist tree-kangaroos have put the tax in place and we will just have to deal with it until such time as Tony Abbott, limbs flailing, double dissolutions us all to a better place, which may be in 2014 or 2015 depending on El Nino.

And obviously it is a problem, as already reports are filtering through that prices are skyrocketing like directionless petrels on the back of the carbon price. In some places bread is up 36 percent, and it also tastes worse because to cut costs bakers have had to put ground-up pine cones in the dough. Are you happy now, Steve Gibbons MP?

A short list of things that are now unaffordable:

- bread
- milk
- eggs
- some more eggs
- cars
- gondola rides
- rubber gloves
- petrol
- cans to carry petrol in
- diamond rings
- heroin
- legwarmers
- love

Life as we know it is over and so we must live a life as we did not know it but know it now unlike before. Confused? Not nearly confused enough, as Aragorn might say. But the carbon tax is not all fantasy novels and wordplay. It has real-life consequences for real-life Australians.

Take the case of Terrigal's Jean-Marie Hofspeck, who came home from work last Tuesday to find her prize-winning Pomeranians had been slaughtered and her eldest son was now a rabbi. The shock was enough to cause her to immediately build an in-ground swimming pool in her backyard. Perhaps the Australian Labor "Party" sees fit to wash its hands of responsibility for this, but we battlers know better. Do we not? Or is it?

What is a carbon tax anyway? Many people think it is a tax on carbon. But actually it is a tax on carbon dioxide, a colourless odourless weightless childless jobless gas which makes all life on earth possible. Fifty-eight percent of the human body is made up of carbon dioxide, and birds use it to grow wings. Scientists standing near the CSIRO estimate that a 20% reduction in global carbon dioxide levels will kill us all instantly. A dire warning indeed, and yet Julia "Vaginoplasty" Gillard sees fit to take this risk, simply to satisfy those to whom left-wing principles and Aboriginal land rights are more important than the air we breathe and steel refineries.

But what can you do to survive the carbon tax? First of all, hold your breath. Hold it...hold it...only let it out when you feel you're about to die. If you make sure every breath you take lasts this long you can cut your oxygen bills by 67% and have more money to buy solar panels, which will cut your electricity bills by 45% so you have more money to pay off your gambling debts which Labor wants to deny you the right to amass because of its nanny state agenda.

How will the carbon tax affect your everyday life? It will of course destroy it. In fact the legislation specifically mandates that life is no longer worth living. Political correctness gone mad? It seems so.

But still we must do our best. Carbon tax may crush us beneath its fragrant hoof, but that is no reason to give up hope. A far better reason to give up hope is this:

Thank you for your time.

It's been a while

I have not written a blog post for a while, which has probably caused you to get all in a lather, getting all judgmental and stuff. Typical.

But the reason I haven't is that I was on HOLIDAY. And on my holiday I learned these things:

1. If you drive for long enough, your foot literally falls off.

2. Luna Park in Sydney is overpriced and contains terrifying demons wandering around on stilts.

3. On the Gold Coast it rains all the time. Constantly. Any brochures to the contrary are a sick joke.

Oh right, I had a blog post to write. Um, I'll get back to you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Go to Hell, Australia

Go to Hell, you preening dandies, congratulating yourself on your superior civilisation, your higher levels of enlightenment, your more advanced phase of humanity, constantly patting your own head with such single-minded enthusiasm it never occurs to you to ask yourself what you're contributing to this world.

Go to Hell, you superior preachers, lecturing away at the lower orders for their failure to think the right thoughts, read the right books, watch the right movies or know the right quotes. Go to Hell you pontificating sacks of air who'd rather spend a week scrutinising a sentence with a magnifying glass for traces of incorrect word usage than spend a minute improving someone's life. Go to Hell you sour, withered bags of bones who know nothing of life but how to suck the joy from it, and who know nothing of humanity but how to take offence from it, and who feed on moral superiority and outrage, and who measure life's wonders only in exuberance crushed, difference homogenised, and spirit extinguished.

Go to Hell you snarling halfwits who can find no relief from the sorrows of life except that comes from identifying someone to blame, whose only reaction to being spat on from above is to look downward to see who they can spit on in turn. Go to Hell you grasping trolls with your windy shrieking greed and your drooling envy and your demands that not a raindrop should fall upon the earth without a slice of it being deposited upon your doorstep, and go to Hell you hollow kleptocrats who build your own power on the sale of warning beacons to be lit whenever someone is getting something that someone else doesn't have.

Go to Hell you hidebound bubbles of self-righteous nothing, with your wailing laments for better times, times when life was simpler and folks were friendlier and the air was sweeter and your days were unperturbed by the anxiety of someone who looked different to you walking the streets without fear.

Go to Hell you savage-brained zealots whose lives are so devoid of pleasure and empty of purpose that your atrophied minds can find occupation only in the pursuit and degradation of those with the audacity to seek happiness in ways that you will decry as unnatural, out of nothing but your own tradition-gnarled loathing for anything that disturbs the slimy stagnation you've grown accustomed to. Go to Hell you slobbering apes, with your perverted sense of satisfaction at the violence you wreak on those whose species you are not worthy to inhabit.

Go to Hell you primeval thugs, who deny agency and pride to members of the opposite sex, lest they be given the unnerving impression that they might be human beings. Go to Hell you snivelling apologists for atrocity, you sniggering dogs of oppression, you sleek, grinning, gloating, hearty, human livestock, who bleat and bellow of equality and fairness up until the point at which your fellow citizen asks if you might be persuaded to share. And go to Hell you vomitous frauds who would throw a veil of dewy-eyed concern over your efforts to keep those you claim to protect in a permanent state of fear and inferiority.

And you too, can go to Hell, you hand-wringing hypocrites, who hide your cowardice and selfishness behind that weeping wall of self-righteousness, who feel the prickles of guilt upon your flesh and will not rest until the source of that guilt is nudged neatly out of your line of sight. Go to Hell, you who wail and beat your breast and dab prettily at your eyes over the tragic plight of those less fortunate, and propose as a solution that those less fortunate be made to stay less fortunate, lest they bother us any further. Go to Hell you self-sainted reptilian liars, who demand that we prevent the poor and the desperate from risking their lives on our seas, and insist that instead they risk their lives in their own countries, where we won't have to worry about them, who cry Compassion as your only watchword when proclaiming your schemes to save people's lives by denying them a life worth living, when lecturing us all on the necessity of cruelty in the service of kindness, and kindness in the service of indifference. Go to Hell you leering goblins of misery, and dig yourselves deeper with every oily, disingenuous word, with every fork-tongued proposal to build better fences to obviate the need to concern ourselves with how we treat our neighbours.

And go to Hell, too, you damnable bigots who cling gleefully to that map of the world that floats before your eyes, a world populated by brown puppets with strings to be pulled, and kindly white puppeteers with plans that are all for the best.

But most of all, go to Hell you lordly chiefs, who seat yourselves on high, atop hills of broken bodies and treasure piles of worldly pain, who draw power and wealth from all those mentioned above. Go to Hell you warlords who owe your position to the dissemination of fear and the force-feeding of hatred, to the fuelling of anger and the widening of divisions. Go to Hell you vampiric stormcrows, spewing darkness and terror onto the quivering masses below, because you know that without darkness and terror someone may catch a glimpse of the vacuuous toads you really are. Go to Hell you avaricious bottom-feeding insects who amass more and more at the expense of those who have nothing, who build your castles from the disappointments of those with not a hundredth your fortune, and a hundred times your worth.

Go to Hell, all of you, for your breeding of inhumanity and profiting from cruelty, your celebration of ignorance and destruction of knowledge, your contempt for the world and vendetta against those you share it with, and your lying, hateful, blustering, selfish, imbecilic rampage through life.

And go to Hell, all of us, who won't lift a finger to change a thing, safe in the knowledge that as long as we can find somewhere that's worse, there's no reason to try to make here any better.

We can all, safely and soundly, go to Hell.