Content Note: The following piece contains reference to mental illness and suicide
A fortnight ago, the Weekend Australian published a profile of Jeff Kennett so glowing you’d be forgiven for thinking he wrote it himself. The obsequious puff-piece gushed about the resigning chair of Beyondblue, citing the “indefatigable can-do spirit hard-wired in his soul” and painting him as a maverick saviour of the anguished and bereft.
The anguished and bereft might beg to differ. While there’s no doubt Beyondblue has done internationally groundbreaking work to destigmatise and alleviate mental illness in Australia, this is largely in spite, not because, of the organisation’s public face. As Kennett steps down after sixteen years with the charity, it’s only fair that we acknowledge his generous advocacy. But let’s also not forget the tireless work he’s done throughout his career to champion forces that contribute to and exacerbate mental illness on a mass scale.
As the sky cracks and the earth burns, our hearts are afroth with Pokémon Go. I hate the sneering dismissal of pop culture – it’s elitist, patronising and hypocritical. But with a world in crisis from Baton Rouge to the South China Sea, it is important prioritise where we invest our attention and energy. And as I look at the the levels of interest different topics receive on social media, I can’t help but think that that something is amiss.
To take an example completely at random, the other day I posted a status to Facebook about the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May. It was a three word joke – “Yes We May.” Hardly the funniest thing ever written, though at the time I thought it was pretty sharp and accessible. Twenty four hours later, it only had one like. Now obviously I don’t care about how many likes my statuses get on Facebook, but doesn’t that say something interesting about the trivialisation of our cultural discourse? Here was a well-crafted nugget of timely political satire, and people were too busy catching Jigglypuffs to notice. Continue reading “Autopsy of an Unappreciated Joke”
It is closing time in the gardens of the West.
– Cyril Connolly
Yesterday’s news from Britain has bought the world to its knees. Europe’s most powerful institution has lost a crucial pillar and the hopes and dreams of millions dangle on the brink. It’s difficult to guess what brought us to this place – the path behind is tangled and dim, the path ahead is subsumed in darkness. As we stumble, blind, into the thicket of history, the only thing that’s certain is the stark reality of this uncanny severance – Harry Styles is leaving One Direction.
Things simply cannot go on as they were. Who would want to see Louis, Liam, and Niall in concert, a hair-gelled triumvirate of pure dead weight? 1D is finished. And, to add insult to injury, the United Kingdom is leaving the EU.
Jaundiced schlockmonger Donald Trump could be the next Emperor of Freedomland and everyone is all in a tizzy. But has anyone noticed that this racist demagogue has qualities in common with the only other racist demagogue anyone can be bothered remembering? Amazingly, nobody has ever thought to compare Trump with Hitler. Until now! These quotes are from either the Moustachioed Menace or Orange Boy – see if you can guess which belongs to whom!
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Halifax Rameses Turnbull has struck out at claims that his policies unfairly disadvantage millennials, arguing that they unfairly disadvantage all generations other than his own.
“Of course our policies aren’t some kind of attack on young people,” the PM announced to a press conference held in his negatively-geared harbourside hedge maze, “We’re committed to reducing living standards for all non-key demographics.”
Continue reading “PM says policies don’t target millennials: also hurt elderly, children, the unborn”
There are questions that cleave nations, the junctures where the paths of history fork.
Who has the right to vote? Is this is our war to fight? Should above the line Senate voting change from a group ticket preference system to an optional preferential system wherein voters are instructed to number a non-mandatory minimum of six boxes above the line while the mandatory minimum of 90% numbered boxes below the line is replaced with a non-mandatory nominal minimum of twelve numbered boxes and an unwritten mandatory minimum of six numbered boxes which will act as a savings provision for those who confuse the below the line and above the line voting instructions as well as some changes to the mechanism of election night ballot counting for the sake of expediency and thrift, or not?
The only thing more interesting than state-level political history is state-level alternative political history. That’s why I’ve written the manuscripts for a series of eight gripping novels called The Winter on Spring Street Chronicles, an epic alt-history saga which dares to answer the “what if?” questions nobody has given enough of a shit about to answer before. Though the strongest manuscripts, in my humble opinion, are ‘Part V: Et Tu, Kennett?’ and ‘Part IV: Joan Kirner – Black Queen’, the following hypothesis is drawn from draft notes for Part VII, ‘Whither Napthine? – The Vet Who Never Was.’
Continue reading “A Crowd Pleaser”
In the three months since I wrote the first half of my musical profiles on the Crossbench Senators (which were pretty obsolete even at the time) a lot of crazy shit has gone down in Canberra. Australia’s Woodstock Floriade has come and gone, Australia’s Disneyland Cockington Green has done a roaring school holiday trade and Eric Abetz has learnt to control silver with his mind. So where the Corangamite have I been? Well, mostly stuck on a horrible writing procrasticoaster, riding in circles around the rickety well-worn tracks of my limbic system while a sneering coat-hanger of a carny refused to budge the breaks. But the other reason for the wormwood-bitter pang of my absence is that each of the dozen times I’ve sat down to patter out this post I’ve been so overwhelmed with tedium and despair at the state of our Parliament that I’ve shut down into a drooling Palmeralysis. So, after a not-insignificant amount of pulling with the aid of needle nosed pliars and fermented grape juice, I present to you – my teeth.
Jacqui Lambie (Palmer United Party)
We must stop at nothing to prevent death-cult jihadists murdering innocents on our own soil. That’s why anyone who isn’t a covert member of ISIS will support the Government’s new, recently announced anti-terror legislation: the distribution of mandatory “Freedom Collars” to protect Australians from beheadings.