Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Busy times, my friends

Am reading the DT Max David Foster Wallace biography and it is brilliant and fascinating and I am learning a lot about writing and processes and things like realism and modernism and postmodernism in ways I never thought about them before. It's an inspiring book too in many ways, despite the known ending for this intelligent, struggling, unusual man.

And then I am doing one last go-through before sending my ms to the agent overseas. Trying to keep a lid on that. Plus fielding calls and emails for the business, Term 4 is traditionally the time when many schools realise 'ooops we haven't done sex ed yet, let's get to it'.

It's all happening at once but this is how I like it.

And THEN, in a situation that is part schadenfreude deliciousness mixed in a vitamiser with the ongoing sombre reality of sometimes depressing/other times uplifting gender and social political struggle, we have this:

One dickhead:

plus one PM who is letting the whole world know what she will and won't stand for.

I love it:


Anonymous said...

I was watching that video that Ramon linked to, and the dickhead looking like a scolded cat, and I was thinking "Yeah, eat that you prick."

And then I it hit me. He's probably still going to win the next election.

I wish I could have enjoyed the moment a little longer.

Melba said...

Do you think he will win Alex? Do you really? I think/hope the Coalition will get rid of him and insert someone who is decent and won't fuck around with reproductive rights and be a sexist idiot. Like Turnbull???

I think if Abbott runs for PM he will probably win, just hoping that he doesn't get that far.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Coalition are complete idiots. They've seen what leadership dispute has done to Labor and I think they'll stick with what they've got until after the election. Abbott says stupid shit all the time, but unless it's something that can generate sustained outrage, it doesn't matter. Look at Alan Jones suspending his sponsors. At the back of his mind he thinks, probably correctly, that it won't be too long before people's attention shifts to something else and he'll be back to business as usual. Same with Abbott.

I remember hearing a few years ago that Liberal senator Corey Bernardi was a big fan of the right wing of the American Republican party; especially the success they've had in creating their own "alternate reality" by controlling certain news media. To the best of my knowledge, that comment he made the other day about gay marriage being the gateway to legalised bestiality was an echo of something Republican presidential nomination contender and knob-end Rick Santorum has been pushing for years. This is something that worries me. The possibility that Turnbull & Co will be marginalised in the Libs and pricks like Bernardi will turn them into a party of fundamentalist lunatics. Like the Democrats, Labor will follow them to the right. And no, I don't have enough faith in the Australian voter to trust that they won't let it happen.

Anonymous said...

As a follow up to my last point, I just read an article mentioning that, while Gillard was upping Abbott about sexism, her government was pushing through legislation that cut benefits to single parents. Around 90% of which are (apparently) women. Who already have shittier employment opportunities. Thus ensuring that they are further disadvantaged.

'cause we gotta get back into surpluss somehow. An' no one's losin' sleep over dole bludging sluts who think their vag is some sort of taxpayer-funded ATM, am I right?

Fuck you, politics.

Melba said...

So you agree, it's a fucking waste of time to spend time on following it? This is my point. I am so jaded by the whole game-playing rigmarole, it's only momentary sparkish excitements, like Gillard telling Abbott he's a dick, that I take notice of. And I know, I know, it's hypocritical to think that's cool and ignore the single parent benefit kerfuffle. I'm a hypocrite, like everyone else. And anyone who's not, just give 'em time...

I just don't want Abbott PM. I just don't. Just don't. Just don't. It's the only thing I care about. Why? I don't know, but I just don't.

Melba said...

So you agree, it's a fucking waste of time to spend time on following it? This is my point. I am so jaded by the whole game-playing rigmarole, it's only momentary sparkish excitements, like Gillard telling Abbott he's a dick, that I take notice of. And I know, I know, it's hypocritical to think that's cool and ignore the single parent benefit kerfuffle. I'm a hypocrite, like everyone else. And anyone who's not, just give 'em time...

I just don't want Abbott PM. I just don't. Just don't. Just don't. It's the only thing I care about. Why? I don't know, but I just don't.

Anonymous said...

And anyone who's not, just give 'em time...

Maybe that's the problem. I only really became politically aware in the mid 2000s. Before that, I was one of those boorish louts who wear their ignorance like a badge of honour. Maybe I haven't had the time to get properly jaded. I still worry, I still care, and I can't yet bring myself to ignore it.

Like I said the other day, I don't think Swat was such a bad place 10 or 15 years ago. And look at what's going on in America. You've got Senators who sit on science committees saying women's bodies prevent pregnancy in cases of legitimate rape. Another one has said that the real problem is that some girls "rape too easy". I saw a video of yet another saying that he has scientific evidence that the world is less than ten thousand years old. One has said that blacks benefited tremendously from slavery. Another wants parents to be able to euthanize their children if they can't control them and people on welfare to be sterilised. These people have been elected to government in a progressive western democracy -- supposedly the greatest one on earth. These are people who want to take science and history out of schools and replace them with patriotic religious bollocks. Earlier in the year, they (and I'm not just talking Republicans) broadened the laws that allow them to detain people indefinitely without charge. Apparently in Greece now, Nazis (real ones with swastikas and everything) are taking a foothold in politics because they're one of the few organised groups fighting back against the oligarchy.

So yeah, I really don't want to see Abbott become PM either (even though it feels inevitable to me right now). It would legitimise his views and tactics, which would be terrible. But even if he doesn't, it feels like there's a much bigger fight that's being lost by inches. And maybe we're behind the rest of the world, but I still think we're going in that direction. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to get it out of my mind completely and just look away. But not yet.

Melba said...

I was politicised (we're talking awareness, right, not handing out leaflets, although I did march as a kid in the It's About Time Gough thing in 1972 with my dad) from as early as 1983 when Hawke won the election. My family was the family to sit around with other ALP hardcore types watching the elections on the TV. My childhood was like Don's Party but without the tits and wife swapping (not around us, anyway!) So I heard politics as a kid and teen and then talked politics as a young person in my 20s. Not hardcore, just aware and fervently anti-Coalition.

For me it started falling apart after Keating, when things started to morph and merge and everybody (ALP and Lib-Nats) started to become too close to each other, harder to pick them apart. You didn't have the Hawkes and Keatings, you had the blands and there was no one with a strong voice who seemed to be standing up for the normal person. Bob Brown was good but he seemed marginal. No strong leaders that you could admire, who seemed exceptional at what they did. Everyone playing the fucking game. That's when I stopped caring; when I stopped listening to the radio because all the social issues became too overwhelming, it was probably around 2001 too, with Sept 11, all the anti-muslim rhetoric, the pro-US, coalition of the willing shit - I just thought fuck it, enough. I'm going to pull in, tunnel my vision, or blur my focus, so that all I can see is the stuff right in front of my nose, MY stuff, and my friends' stuff, my family's stuff. My work stuff. Now I've narrowed it even more; shedded a lot of my friends' stuff and my family's stuff. Now it's just my stuff, the things that are important to me with no wasted energy/listening/thinking/viewing on anything that I don't want to. I avoid things that make me feel rage and while I am shallower for it, I am much happier. It's like I think 'other people can take care of it, and rant and rave, but it probably won't make any difference in the long run.'

The only exception to this, that i can see has engaged me in the last few years, was the 'St Kilda Schoolgirl' issue and recently the Jill Meagher thing, which obsessed me for days. And now the Destroy the Joint movement I am supportive of as well as Anne Summers' efforts to make people aware of the sexism and misogyny that are so rife. It's not even that it exists, because that'll never change, it's that it's so bloody overt these days, seems to be different. People are just so out there about being anti-women; this seems something new. I think it's because people have become attuned to operating as commenters - on blogs, on news articles, on chat sites, on facebook pages. We are a nation of commenters, strident and direct; people forget to adjust it for real life?

There's a story there. I am percolating something.

Sorry for the enormously long tedious comment. I think reading what I'm reading at the moment has infected me.

How's your arm?

Anonymous said...

I also love reading the long comments.

My folks were religious and political agnostics. I only remember getting implanted with two thoughts as a youngster. (1) People who align themselves to groups rather than principles are tools. (2) Menzies was the biggest arsehole in Australian history (you can probably relate to this one).

It's like I think 'other people can take care of it, and rant and rave, but it probably won't make any difference in the long run.'

See, I look at the Taliban in Pakistan, the Nazis in Greece, the right-wing Christians in the States and arseholes like Jones, Abbott and especialy Bernardi here, and I see what are basically different rungs on the same ladder. It reminds me of that other famous dead Yank who said that the only thing evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing. And that's what keeps me from looking away for too long. That thought that if I go back to being disengaged, I'm just adding to the problem.

The St Kilda Schoolgirl, was that the collar-bomb or the footy-player thing? I remember both being pretty revolting. When I heard about Jill Meagher going missing I felt absolutely certain in my gut that I knew what had happened. It was crushing. It was the same feeling I got after hearing about Malala Yousafzai the other day. I haven't followed the Destroy The Joint thing. I know I thought that presentation of Anne Summers' was pretty flawed, but I agreed with the premise. Maybe I should have a closer look into it.

The arm still makes a clicking noise sometimes when I rotate it, but everything feels and works like brand new. Or as good as the wing of an old bird can, ay?

Melba said...

About to go to bed but thought I'd pop back in. The St K Schoolgirl thing was the footy thing. Remember I went AWOL for a while, caught up in facebook with trolls? And I know you think the Summers thing is flawed but it's doing its job which essentially is to help get people talking, energised and activating.

I wonder whether, because none of us can sustain an active engagement, it's almost like tag-teaming. Of course there are the people who go hammer and tongs forever at certain things, and it's their life and love, but for me, selfishly?, there's oh so much more to spend my time on.

For example the Taliban, the current badboys. They have been around for a long time and no one's done anything. No one will do anything. If someone was going to do something, it would have happened by now. Sorry to be trite about it but if you get too caught up in the emotion of it, who loses? Not the Taliban, but you probably do. I figure that if I continued to feel the world's pain it was going to end badly for me. This sounds melodramatic but I had a very clear sense that I had to pull out of my full-scale empathising otherwise I would spiral.


Anonymous said...

I'm 90% certain you get my main concern and are making additional points, but just to be absolutely sure I'm cutting through my own ramblings ...

I know there's bugger all I can do about the Taliban, or Los Zetas in Mexico, or the Saudi government, or the clusterfuck in the Congo, unless I devote my whole life to it; and I don't think any similar situation is going to spring up here in the next couple of years. But look at how things have been drifting to the right here in Australia. Now there's a handful of people in the Coalition who want to create something similar to the American Republicans. If Abbott wins, that will probably get nudged along a little bit. If we get to where the Americans are, it's not a huge leap to get to where the Greeks are with a resurgent interest in fascism. If we get to there, a white Christian equivalent of the Taliban becomes not so ridiculous (an effective equivalent. It's not going to look or operate in exactly the same way). Look, I know I'm mixing elements from different situations that have come about for different reasons, and this might be such a long bow that it's akin to raving paranoia; but you said yourself you've noticed an increase in anti-woman and anti-muslim attitudes and the cynical, opportunistic politics. I don't expect any of it to happen suddenly. It'll be done by inches, and my big fear is that apathy and disengagement by those of us who would oppose it will allow it to happen.

But you're completely right in what you say. Getting emotionally invested in everything that happens in the world, or even in Australia, takes an unnecessary toll with little benefit. You have to be smart and you have to be coordinated.

What's been happening with the Destroy The Joint movement lately?

Melba said...

I get you Alex I do, and I think it's admirable to let yourself still react with fervour to these types of things.

Destroy the Joint thing, I'm doing an extra post to update cause there's a really cool montage. I gather you're not on facebook cause they are and that's where I get my updates from:

Anonymous said...

Not on facebook or Twitter. Maybe I need to seriously consider it at this point. Looking forward to your post.

Melba said...

Oh Alex I am not advocating twitter or facebook. Facebook I hate with a passion and stripped out all my 'friends' and made it a space where I would get notifications of writerly/readerly things only. An exclusive space. Twitter, I set up a work account to promote our new sex ed business and that's going really well. Then I set up a personal one, to do the readerly/writerly thing too. It's okay but it overwhelms me how many people are 'writers'. I swear, I'd be better off somewhere like Cuba with a typewriter and a garden full of cats. I'm joking but I have to be careful to not let the sheer number of voices (and everyone is very opinionated) drown out my creative impulses and intuitive processes.

It's interesting though.

Of the two, ie Fbook or twitter I'd suggest twitter. Less work to set up and you can quickly follow a heap of people/entities you are interested in. Plus it's the space where all the players are, whether pollies, activists, entrepreneurs, creatives (ie publishing), journos etc. Facebook is meh but it's better for longer comments. That's the only prob with twitter, you can't have more than 140 characters I think it is per tweet. Not good for puffed-up verbose people like me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I certainly don't want Facebook or Twitter; but if I want to follow what's going on with Destroy The Joint and so forth, it sounds like I don't have too much choice.

All that stuff you just said about everybody being a writing expert -- reminds me of all the bollocks I've been spouting off in the last few months about different books and movies and stuff. I can see how it'd be unbearable if you're surrounded by it, but it's one of those things that's almost too tempting not to do, I think.

Anonymous said...

After spending some time looking around at things that are out there, I think I might be able to manage without starting any new accounts. looks helpful.

Melba said...

Oh yes the website, I should have given you the link. Forgot about it.

The difference, Alex, between you spouting off, and me spouting off, is that we're having a conversation, it goes back and forth and we respond to each other. Twitter, people love to pontificate and make pronouncements. *That's* the difference.