Wednesday, May 13, 2009
i should know better
(let's label him tool #2 for this week, shall we?)
sorry to start with a pic of him, i know that some people might be picking up a fork to stab into their eyes right now, such is his power. but i thought we'd just get it out of the way, you can scroll soon, and get rid of him.
let's do it now.
when i am trying to focus on something important, ie writing, i should know better than to read the newspaper in the morning. it would be better to leave it until later in the day, when all my words are out. it's like avoiding people with colds, not sitting near coughing and spluttering people at the doctor's surgery, or on trams. likewise, i try to avoid the viral rage that peter costello seems to make me feel by just not reading him.
i'd finished my eggs (scrambled on toast, with diced tomato, fetta cheese - danish, smooth, yum - and olives.) i'd had one coffee (steel plunger, freshly ground, milk in a little green earthenware jug with no handle.)
i read a bit about the budget, about the controversy to do with miriam margoyles and that play, about horses dying in jumps races, skipped all black sat. stuff, was doing well until i got to p17 and this. i got about half way through and then reached for the laptop. he just pisses me off so much, and here i was getting steamed, and i wasn't even up to catherine deveny yet. (i don't read her, i just don't, but sometimes the words jump out and assail my eyes and brain. she's a virus to avoid as well.)
the headline is the only good thing about this article. it's quite clever, but HE DIDN'T WRITE IT. that's usually the sub-editor's job. i may be wrong though. peter might have been working on that headline for a week before? who knows.
what really bugs me about this man is he has to make everything about himself. you know those people, sometimes they are friends, and when you are talking, everything, EVERYTHING that you talk about, they relate to themselves. peter costello is one of those people. this is what some of our conversations might go like.
pete: so, what'cha been doing?
me: oh, running around, took princess to the dentist. to get her braces.
pete: hey, i went to the dentist last week. had to get a filling. it hurt!
pete: do you wanna come out for a drink?
me: no, thanks. i don't think so. i'm working on something, i gotta keep the momentum. you know how it is.
pete: yeah! i'm working on something too. it's taking alot of my time, i'm working on an ace headline. wait 'til you see it!
this is what they're like. when i used to teach in japan, i would get up in front of the class and map out on the board what a conversation looks like in english. i would talk about the "answer+" and the "follow-up question." follow-up question in the above two exchanges would look like this:
me: took princess to the dentist. to get her braces.
pete: yow! how's she going? are her teeth tender? i guess you're having to mash all her food. that must be tough for her. give her a hug from me.
me: i gotta keep the momentum. you know how it is.
pete: hey, watcha working on? sounds interesting, tell me about it.
answer+ doesn't really apply. he's doing ok with his own guff. answer+ is for inhibited and painfully polite japanese students who give one word answers. you know, "how are you? good" type speakers, instead of "how are you? good, great in fact. last night i did a bunch of homework and now i really get it about past participles as well as present and past perfect usage!"
but back to pete.
in a nutshell, he's managed to place himself at the centre of the monthly/sally warhaft controversy. he's tried to be contemporary and used eddie mc dick's term "boned" in relation to warhaft, then goes on to express his personal opinion about morry schwartz as a person and a publisher in a most undignified manner. everything about peter costello is undignified. why doesn't he just get it? is no one telling him, or he's just not listening? this is a man who just doesn't know when enough is enough. he's like the person at teh dinner party who when it's 1am wants to have another coffee, or glass of wine, and tell another "funny" story, and everyone else has gone, his wife is nodding off, you are so fucking tired and sick of him, you know there's the dishes to do, and there he is, opening another bottle of wine!
the point at which i stopped reading the article and grabbed the computer to write this was when he said:
"i have plenty of other opportunities to publish, so it's no skin off my nose to be blackballed by schwartz and editorial board chairman robert manne."
again, it's all about him.
so it's a whingy piece, about feeling sorry for warhaft, about how manne has flip-flopped to right, left and right and left and who really cares? i don't. i don't care if the monthly is left-leaning. don't the conservatives have their own publications? the monthly is not a newspaper, from what i gather isn't supposed to pretend to be unbiased. i don't know what the monthly's editorial policy is; if it's meant to present more than one side, then costello's comments are fair enough. but it's just the way he makes those comments that makes me wish the age would stop publishing his articles. i'm sure he's submitting them, i'm sure the age isn't chasing them, but maybe i'm wrong.
now i've gotten that off my chest, i can settle down and do some work.