Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Business Of Cruelty

"Since off shore processing began in August last year, 15,543 people have arrived in 259 boats. Seven hundred are on Manus or Nauru and the cost is heading into the billions."

"I want to die. I don't want to live more, because we don't have anything to do here. Your questions doesn't have answer, your fate is not clear, what will happen to you?"

"You see many guys here do suicide or hurt themselves, just because they don't want to harm the others. They just harm themselves because of bad situation, or because they show - they want to show their feelings"

"By last November there'd been reports of mass hunger strikes and at least eight attempted suicides. And a 35 year old Iranian man, near death after a 50 day hunger strike, had to be evacuated to Australia"

"There are temperatures in the 40s and humidity around 100 per cent. Heavy rain, no air conditioning and ah, insufferably hot. Um muddy tracks, um and when it rained a faecal smell of inadequately you know drained sewage effluent."

"There are now thirty children in the Manus camp. Most have been there more than four months"

"Journalists, cameras, and even photos are banned from the Manus camp"

"the minister's refusal to front up for an interview for this story with no reason given, other than we could turn up for one of his doorstops if we liked"

None of this is news, not really. Four Corners this week was really letting us in on the secret we all knew - that Australia's government is now in the business of cruelty. And this isn't a partisan thing. It's not Labor versus Liberal. The business of cruelty is a thriving joint venture in which both major parties are enthusiastically involved.

This business is allowed because these brave servants of the public interest which we elect have successfully entrenched the Big Lie that the government's responsibility lies with preventing desperate people in other countries from deciding how best to improve their lives, rather than with taking care of the desperate people that find themselves in this country. The government has decided its jurisdiction extends all around the world when it comes to deterrence, but doesn't even include its own territory when it comes to caring.

We've accepted that and other Big Lies, such as the one that tells us that our leaders are striving to represent the acme of compassion, with these policies designed to ensure that when refugees die, they have the decency to do it far away from us, in foreign camps, or on boats heading anywhere but here. Designed to ensure that the world is in no doubt that if, when you've got nowhere else to turn, you turn to Australia, you will be imprisoned, and isolated, and brutalised, and driven right over the brink of madness by a government determined, at any cost, to make itself monstrous enough that people stuck in the worst places on earth would rather stay put than risk coming here.

The hellholes created by our fearless leaders are not unfortunate unintended consequences of sensible policy: they are the entire point of the policy. They are not locking up children by accident. They are not causing people to hurt themselves, starve themselves, and kill themselves in spite of their best intentions. This is exactly what the policy is supposed to achieve. The government is deliberately causing suffering, because they have decided that causing suffering is the best way to achieve their aims.

Because their aims are to avoid criticism, to avoid protest, to avoid electoral punishment, from that great mass of Australians who become outraged whenever they sense that the government is being too kind to people who didn't have the good sense to be born into first-world privilege. Their aims are to neutralise "excessive humanity" as an electoral negative.

So please, when we discuss politics; when we thrash out the respective merits of the different parties; when we laud the prime minister's unwillingness to be lectured on misogyny by that man; when we proclaim one side's virtue over the other's:

Never forget that no matter how much better one side is than the other, both sides are in the business of cruelty. The lesser of two evils remains evil, and its evil is deliberate, ongoing, and vicious.

This government, this prime minister, this Labor Party is engaged in wilful and knowing savagery against its fellow human beings. This Opposition protests this savagery only inasmuch as it is insufficiently savage.

In the unlikely event that any members of either government or opposition end up reading this, please know, you are reprehensible. If you sleep at night, it speaks only to the humanity that you jettisoned long ago. If you can look at your own deeds without being blinded by burning tears of shame, you are lost, and so are we who have somehow allowed you putrid beasts to rule over us.

May you all go to Hell.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What's YOUR Political Personality?

Take this easy quiz to find out!

1. I vote:

a) Labor
b) Liberal
c) Green
d) With difficulty

2. A strong economy is:

a) The most important part of the government's job
b) Much less important that saving trees and greenie bullshit like that
c) A myth perpetuated by Big Pharma
d) A kind of fish

3. The perfect Prime Minister:

a) Has a high sperm count
b) Was elected by the members of parliament belonging to the majority party in the House of Representatives according to Westminster procedure
c) Is a roguish outlaw with a heart of gold
d) Cannot be killed

4. Carbon tax is:

a) Terrible
b) Awful
c) Dreadful
d) Abhorrent

5. Billionaire mining magnates should:

a) Pay their fair share
b) Pay someone else's fair share
c) Build enormous statues of cats out of solid gold
d) Take off all their clothes and dance for our amusement

6. A two-party system:

a) Impoverishes democracy
b) Makes everything easier
c) Killed my father
d) Causes AIDS

7. Refugees:

a) Deserve our sympathy and assistance
b) Are terrorists
c) Are terrorists who deserve our sympathy and assistance
d) Smell funny

8. Julia Gillard:

a) Has ruined this country
b) Gives me a raging case of the perpendicular trouser-dachsund
c) Killed my father
d) Once ate an entire bus

9. Tony Abbott

a) Probably masturbates over seven times a day on average
b) Is just what this country needs for some reason or other
c) Sometimes talks to trees
d) Can remove his bra without taking off his shirt

10. Superannuation reform:

a) Bores the tits off me
b) Is very very dull
c) Isn't even a thing
d) Should not be held near a naked flame

11. Same-sex marriage:

a) Would bring a massive boost to the economy via the powerful "pink dollar"
b) Causes earthquakes
c) Is fine, if the gays really want to make themselves miserable, ha ha ha
d) Brings with a very real danger that people might wish to marry more than one koala at once

12. The Gonski education reforms:

a) Will never happen
b) Will always happen
c) Are part of a conspiracy to turn all our children into blacks
d) Are none of your fucking business

13. Religion and politics should:

a) Be kept strictly separate
b) Just marry each other if they think they're so great
c) Be banned
d) Be compulsory

14. The Canberra Press Gallery needs to:

a) Hold our elected representatives to account more effectively
b) Stop putting its rubbish in next-door's bins
c) Write more stories about whether frontbenchers are cat people or dog people
d) Take off all its clothes and dance for our amusement

15. Politics is:

a) The art of the possible
b) A sick experiment devised by a diseased mind
c) Where hope goes to die
d) A good front for a drug-manufacturing operation


Mostly As: You are a dangerous sociopath who should not even be allowed to vote. Your professed concern for the direction of the nation is a sham and your friends and family will one day regret letting their guard down.

Mostly Bs: You are a gibbering lunatic malcontent who will soon carry out a catastrophic assassination attempt on a leading member of government. The politician in question will escape with minor injuries but you will murder several dozen innocent bystanders.

Mostly Cs: Your smug self-righteousness makes me sick. You will not feel so cocky after the photos of you and you-know-who putting the thing in the you-know-where are released to the media.

Mostly Ds: You are a member of Peter Garrett's immediate family, and suffer from shingles.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Platonic Break-Up

If you are to undergo a painful separation from a romantic or sexual partner, you will find yourself in no shortage of advice on how to deal with it. Much of this advice will be completely useless to you, but you'll certainly be able to find it. Friends will offer it, TV and movies will offer it, songs will offer it, lifestyle magazines will offer it by the ton. Getting over a break-up is hell, but you've always got options available as to how you go about it.

More importantly, it's accepted that you will go about it. When you break up, it's expected you'll undergo a period of sadness and misery and mood swings and over-eating. A mourning period is exactly what you're supposed to go through, and society will smile upon your emotional turmoil.

But there is no such formula when it comes to the platonic break-up: the break-up of a platonic relationship. What do you do to get over it when your friends dump you?

I seem to have become quite adept at shedding friends, much the same way as a snake sheds its skin, except snakes don't cry. Like, ever. They're really repressed.

Anyway, the point is in the past year or so I have lost a few friends. Not in the genuinely sad way, in the lame petty sense that they're not my friends anymore. I don't really know why they're not my friends anymore, because they didn't tell me.

And that's one of the issues. When you're sleeping with someone and they tell you that you can't sleep with them anymore, it's perfectly acceptable to demand an explanation. And they'll say "It's not you, it's me", or "We're just two very different people", or "Sex with my sister is one thing, but with my budgie?" You'll probably end up feeling like a total prick, but at least you'll know what it was that's driven them away.

Whereas in this case I feel like a total prick but remain unaware of just what variety of total prick I am. Look, I'm sure it was my fault. Believe me, I have no trouble imagining why someone might not want to be my friend - it's people who still do want to be my friend who persistently baffle me. But it's just that I wished I knew what it was that had caused the state of friendship to morph into the state of non-friendship. I might have suspicions, but it's impossible to know - I'm so obnoxious in so many different ways that it's difficult to determine which one they picked.

And the problem with being dumped by a friend is that you can't just ask them what went wrong. I mean, you can, but then you're kind of being a dick, right? I firmly believe nobody has an inherent right to friendship from anybody else, and if someone decides they'd rather not associate with someone, they're perfectly entitled to stop associating with that person, and they don't owe anyone any explanation.

So yeah, these friends of mine who aren't friends of mine anymore, they're well within their rights. There's no reason for them to tell me why, or let me beg them to take me back. Which I would never do, even though I want to.

All this is because breaking up with a friend isn't really "breaking up", is it? It's not really a thing. It's not a phenomenon that merits cultural recognition and respect. It's childish to even speak about it, really. When a friend stops being your friend, you're supposed to just dismiss it with a wave and cry, "Good riddance!" If you've lost a friend, they were never really your friend. You're better off without them. You'll be happier this way. And certainly, it's nothing at all like the agony of breaking up an actual relationship.

But oh lord.

It still hurts.

It shouldn't hurt, it's pathetic for it to hurt. But it does. Friendships are precious to me. I treasure them, even if by doing so I am deluding myself into believing the friendship is as important to the other party as it is to me. Friendships boost me, and sustain my self-esteem. Every friend I have I count myself fortunate for, and flatter myself over - if another human being likes me, I might be sort-of OK? This is what I tell myself.

And so, eventually they become fed up or bored or annoyed or whatever, and they ditch me, and fair enough. But that really bites deep - that flattering I mentioned gets turned on its head: if having someone desire friendship from me is evidence of my excellence, having someone cease their desire for that friendship is evidence of my failure as a human being. And obsessing over just what I did to put myself beyond the pale does not improve this state of mind.

So, I hurt, and I mourn, and I turn into a big fat sook. Well I turn into a sook, anyway: the big fat bit was already there am I right? High five!

But there's no routine, there's no procedure. There's no correct way to mourn over a broken friendship. You're not really supposed to mourn at all. It's a secret activity. I don't even know whether other people do it. But I do.

Every friendship I've screwed up, in whatever way, I mourn, Every friend I no longer have, I miss. And I apologise to the thin air they've left behind for the ways I wronged them.

And I just wish there was a way to do this properly. But then that's what blogs are for, right?

All Yay

Apparently I am a finalist in the Australian Writers' Centre Best Blogs 2013 Competition.

I know, right? How do these things happen?

Anyway this means I get a thing for my blog that looks like this:

Which is nice, yeah?

I think this means that some people think my blog is quite good. Good on you, some people, you are good eggs.

Also there's a People's Choice category in this competition, so you could go there and vote for me, if you really really wanted to.

Yay me! And yay you! We are all yay!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

It's Over!

Yes, today is the last day of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. My own show, Let's Put On A Show, finished last weekend and won several major awards only for these results to be suppressed and hidden from the public due to certain dark government conspiracies. However, a good time was had by all, and some of the action from the run will be up on YouTube for you to watch soon, if you missed it live. The six shows which my audiences and I managed to put on were :

Vegemite in Your Ladyparts
How Seal Ate His Own Children (Featuring Colleen)
The Drunken Elephant's Triple Word Score
Captain Roderick van der Camp and the Domestic Violence Cat
The Despair of the Onion and the Happy Terrorist
Zombie Greg Ritchie Learns The Essential Futility Of The Modern Romantic Construct And Gets Shot

It was lots of fun and laughter was heard in Fitzroy. Read some reviews of the show if you'd like to know how it went:

What's On Comedy

Australian Stage

Five Frogs Blog

Herald Sun

That's done and dusted, then. Eyes peeled for my next show yeah?

Monday, April 8, 2013

C'mon...you guys.


Look, tonight my show, Let's Put On A Show, begins at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, first night of a six-night run at Gertrude's Brown Couch in Fitzroy. You should come along, honestly. Tickets are here, but you can also just rock up and buy them at the door. And tonight is half-price! Only ten bucks! But even on the other nights it's pretty cheap, considering that going to see Stephen K. Amos will set you back over a thousand dollars, I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere.

And this is a show tried and tested at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival, where with the help of my audience, I crafted seven different shows on seven different nights, those shows being:

Alan Jones Presents Comedy Dinosaur Gladiators
Sushi Lemonade Solar System Warriors
Mermaid To Order (a tail of the sea and collective bargaining)
Baby's Shitty Christmas Dinner
Moose Politics
So Much Penis In My Face
Barbarella and the Slit-Faced Woman Go Camping

Yes, every night of LPOAS is a DIFFERENT show! So you could come EVERY night and not get bored due to my clever improvisations and unpredictable temper.

I hope to see you there, we'll have a lot of fun. Don't believe me? Ask Mr WIL ANDERSON:

Don't believe HIM? Ask ME...and my KIDS!

Or perhaps STUTTER RAP can convince you!

I know right? Come to my show!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Bit of a Chat

One of the best things about this business is the people you meet. I recently got to have a nice friendly relaxed totally natural conversation with famous comedian Wil Anderson, just two guys chatting as equals about our art. And Wil was even nice enough to say some complimentary things about my upcoming Comedy Festival show, even though he was under no coercion or threats of physical violence or harassment whatsoever!