Archives: June 2009

One of the scary things about getting older is watching other people, who used to be younger and groovier than yourself, age and settle into the sclerotic patterns of unexamined privilege and rightwing attitudes.

In the 90s, as a thirtysomething, I used to listen admiringly to Helen vocalising volubly on 3-RRR Triple J with Mikey Robins. You might have noticed I have a weakness for people who write hilarious, OTT rants full of subordinate clauses, tangents, abstruse words and the occasional runon sentence – Twisty and Tiger Beatdown, Elizabeth Farrelly sometimes. That’s a clumsy attempt to describe what I liked about Helen on the radio. As a thirtysomething in the 90s, I heard her as the voice of younger and hipper people, as well.

So who took away that Helen and replaced her with Christina Hoff Sommers?

I respect Helen’s childfree status – but she doesn’t, it seems, respect others. And all that boilerplate anti-Greens shit? “Hippies”/naive/”ancient-grains”/”patchouli” – it’s a wonder there’s no reference to hemp or volvos there, but you get the incredibly original and edgy jokey references that have never been made before, don’t you?

And the idea that she once voted Green because she was perimenopausal, and therefore unable to make a rational decision, is really special. Of course, that could be taken to mean that childfree women are equally unfit for Parliament because they’re all stark raving bonkers once they reach the median age for the MPs there. That just explains why no-one should employ a woman over forty to do anything, anywhere. Good one Helen! Seems there’s really no life stage in which we can expect to share in the democratic process!

Seems the spirit of backlash antifeminism has claimed another writing soul. And it seems in the MSM as it is today, that kind of writing is well rewarded. The punters love it – so maybe Razer has just made a rational decision, despite the dreaded perimenopause. It’s sad for us fans, though.

26 Jun 2009, Comments (2)

Friday Earworm: the Ute

Author: Helen

EJ Ute artwork via EJ and EH Club QLD

I should be putting up something of Jacko’s…but I can’t go past this.

First time I’ve ever been scolded for not being sweary enough in an internet discussion thread, I think. And here I was thinking that the standards at ALR would be so lofty.

I do bristle at the idea that asshat is a mere euphemism, though. Although mild, I love it for its evocation of the location of the subject’s head relative to his arse.

(More etymology of asshat here.)

A while ago I wrote a post on LP about SLAPP suits, the weapon of large corporations against ordinary people and non-government organisations who threaten their hegemony. Then, just after the long weekend, I had one of those “I heard the news today, oh boy” moments: Bob Brown had been SLAPPed down.

Score one for the woodchip industry, and against parliamentary democracy.

Sometimes I wonder why Bob Brown is the target of so much hate from Mr and Mrs Typical Australia, more so than other left-ish politicians. Has the steady drip of disinformation from the media and politicians, Labor and Liberal both, convinced so many “working families” that they’d be living the high life if only the logging companies could just remove the last vestiges of old-growth in South-Eastern Australia? It’s not just the environmental activism; the animus against Brown is so personal. He isn’t annoying, or trollish, in the way that other parliamentary “personalities” like Wilson Tuckey or Steve Fielding are trollish. He’s not from a rich or elite background. His NSW country drawl is real and unforced, and he looks as if he’s stepped out of a Russell Drysdale painting. Perhaps it’s because he’s a gay man in a homophobic culture that he incurs an extra dose of bile from the News commenters and talkback.

I was trudging through the rest of the week, filled with gloom, thinking that the Forces of Darkness had won again. Then, this.

Australian businessman Dick Smith has pledged to help Australian Greens leader Bob Brown pay a $240,000 legal bill which is threatening to force him into bankruptcy.
…Speaking from his helicopter over Lake Eyre today, Mr Smith said it was inappropriate for the industry to threaten someone’s political future.
“I’m very disturbed when I understand the legal letter which came in to Bob Brown threatened to make him a bankrupt, and of course, Forestry Tasmania would know that means he’d have to vacate his seat from Federal Parliament,” Mr Smith said.
“And I don’t really like that at all. I think that type of threat is quite uncalled for in Australia.”

…”I believe it’s just not acceptable and Forestry Tasmania will do themselves great damage if they think they can remove Bob Brown from Parliament because he doesn’t have much money,” he said.
“I know if need be, I’ll come in with some money and I’m sure others will too.”

Before the anti-Brown forces could work up a full head of steam about how terrible it was that Brown would take money from a businessman and how morally bankrupt that made him – never mind the steady stream of corporate money to the Liberal and Labor parties, not all of it above board – the story took another twist: Brown wouldn’t need Dick Smith’s offer after all, because the public had donated the money. All of it.

It was really wonderful to see the level of support for Brown, even in unlikely places and the condemnation of such antidemocratic SLAPP litigation tactics. Flicking around a few comment forums, I noticed many comments from people who said they disagreed with Brown and would never vote for him, but would still donate because Forestry Tasmania’s action was simply wrong. The animus against BB had abated somewhat (although I’m sure it’ll be back.) I think that middle Australia had been shocked out of its complacency, and Dick Smith had reminded them what human decency could do.

Score one for Bob Brown, and none for “Gunns, Forestry Tasmania and the [Forestry wing of the] CFMEU, which, at this stage of the game, are basically different arms of the same misshapen beast“.

6 Jun 2009, Comments (9)

Saturday Earworm

Author: Helen

Because Friday was too busy.

I think it was Anne O’Dyne, or perhaps Caroline, who first pointed me to this lovely YouTube of Mike Rudd in the Olden Days.

I remember listening to that song when it first came out and riding our grey mare for hours down just such country roads, alone with my thoughts (or my friend Nicky) and the sounds of the crows and magpie song and the creak of saddle leather. The coolest boys at my high school looked like Mike.

Some of the roads I rode down have kerbs and gutters now. You can never go back.

Words and chords here – the chords are all over the place, but they’ll allow you to work it out for yourself.