Can you spot the difference?
Honestly, what is Priscilla thinking? It's not like she's had any acting work since the Naked Gun movies. ODing on the surgeon's knife and injections of chemical warfare into her forehead aren't going to rectify this.
After all, when was the last time you saw Barbara Hershey
...or Melanie "she looks a hundred bucks" Griffith
in anything lately? And they could all act (well, could until their last conceivable facial expression was permanently frozen). So what hope would Priscilla have?
Madre de Dios, she looks Oriental FFS! Not that there's anything wrong with that - providing that you're not, you know, Caucasian.
OK, so I'd never heard of this guy until a few days ago, but it's a shame Ted Baillieu is not challenging Robert Doyle for the Liberal leadership in Victoria. He's quite handsome, in a 11-years-past-my-cut-off, married-with-children, Melbourne Grammar-educated, state Liberal politician sort of way:
Maybe this photo doesn't give so much of that way, but check him out when he was younger:
A better haircut and less constipated facial expression, and the potential doability is definitely there.
Plus "he has no problem with gay couples entering into civil unions", and a CV of good politics for somebody from his particular party:
"Had he been a federal MP, he would have voted for the abortion pill RU486..."
"He's against capital punishment..."
"On law and order, he says it is important that politicians refrain from public criticism of judges and magistrates over particular rulings..."
"He believes Australia will one day be a republic..."
Certainly makes a pleasant change from the dropkick Liberal Opposition leader we've got up here...
Why Do The Following Persons Exist #2?
OK, so this is lazy posting. But I did have fun the first time. And for any non-Australian people who might read QP (one can but dream), I thought an international variation on this theme might be worth teaming with.
So: oxygen depletion, possible reason/function, blah blah.
Seriously - eww.
(Not international admittedly, just picking up a glaring omission that was kindly pointed out.)
Oh I'm sorry - did I include her twice? That was gratuitous of me.
Why Do The Following Persons Exist?
...In a world whose oxygen levels are dangerously depleted as more and more rainforest area is cleared, why exactly are these people permitted to continue enjoying the privilege of oxygen at the expense of everybody else?
(Gotta say I have some sympathy here though. The poor creature is looking more and more like its mother as it ages.)
And, of course,
Any further information as to these persons' purpose, function and/or reason for removing the precious planet of valuable oxygen will be appreciated.
What's up with Costello? I thought he was meant to be the Great White Progressive Hope for the Liberal Party and all those Liberal bridesmaids still deluded that John will still one day altruistically hand over the reigns of leadership as part of their dignified gentlemen's agreement?
You know - Peter Costello, the man who distances himself from condemning "confused, mushy, misguided multiculturalism" and doesn't resort to cheap populist attacks on Islamic Australians.
Oh, wait a minute
Well, Peter Costello then, the man whose federal seats is one of the queerest in Australia, he'd be aware of the discrimination at hand against same-sex couples and understands we've come a long, long way since homosexuality was decriminalised between 15-30 years ago. He certainly wouldn't be stupid enough to suggest, as his much more conservative superior might, that the Liberal Party is not homophobic merely because it doesn't believe in jailing queer people anymore, would he?
Oh, he would
Surely, then, Peter Costello, the man who wouldn't support an extreme, corrupt evangelical scam
just to score votes and fully recognises the importance of separation of Church and State in a truly liberal democracy?
Hrm, guess again
, you say? Wrong Treasurer
His Islamic and gay marriage comments should be kept in context - he was, after all, speaking at the Sydney Institute
, the most right-wing think tank ever to deny it's a right-wing think tank (its director Gerard Henderson was Howard's former Chief of Staff, no less), so ultimately he would have just been telling an interest group what they wanted to hear - but seriously, what's going on? Why start parroting Howard? That's what Kym Beazley's been doing as ALP Leader Mark 2 and look how well it's working out for him.
The Herald suggests that Costello's "criticism of Muslims who do not respect Australian values appears designed to present a conservative social image to repair his damaged leadership campaign" post-Robert Gerard.
But as Tina Turner once (sort of) said: "We don't need another Howard." One (two if you count Tony Abbott) is far too many.
Howard loyalists in the party aren't suddenly going to warm to Costello as a Howard Mini-Me when the original Dr Evil still wields so much power and electability - and in the meantime he'll shoot himself in the foot alienating the aforementioned bridesmaids.
Another fine example of the malevolent Howard magic at work: if you can't beat him - and let's face it, who can - out-do him. Howard must be loving every second of this.
A Decade of Despair
This will be published as an additional feature for SX
I have a draft post of an intensely personal contemplation of my life at the moment and the rather unsettling realisation that many of my current realities aren't in fact real - yes, Existential Crisis 101, but it's really fucking with my mind right now - but I'm hoping this might pass if I just post instead on nice, non-personal brow-beatings of the PM and other targets. I have after all pledged to keep whiny, introverted and self-indulgent postings away from QP.
Anyway, enjoy. Or don't.Those of us currently not living under rocks will know that the 4th of March will see the annual Oxford Street parade conclude Mardi Gras festival for 2006.
Some may also note that this will mark the 29th anniversary of the first ever Mardi Gras protest march.
But did you know that next week heralds another significant anniversary? I’m talking about 10 years of the Howard government. Yep, on March 2nd 1996 John Howard, truly the little engine that could, took the Coalition Party to a landslide victory and became Australia’s 25th Prime Minister.
Ten years later, and our country is a very different – and apparently better – place, as more and more Australians continue to Vote 1 Liberal/National at election time and polls regularly suggest we are neither ready nor willing for a change of government, or PM, anytime soon.
I’m one of those people unsatisfied with the Howard government. I wasn’t satisfied when he was elected during my precocious teen years, and I’m still not satisfied now I’m well into my terrible twenties. I’m what many government-friendly media outlets like to dismiss as a “Howard-hater”, despite the fact that, not knowing John Howard personally, I bear little animosity towards him personally, merely his style, leadership, and his government’s long history of lies, corruption and regressive policies.
Here are a few reasons why:1996-98:
After a fairly impressive debut during an unprecedented massacre, where Howard took on the pro-gun lobby and other assorted nuts to wind back access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons, he presented us with a noble Ministerial Code of Conduct that would ensure responsibility and accountability within his ministry. The only problem was that the Code, when actually enforced, worked a little too well, as seven of his ministers soon resigned in quick succession for breaching the Code through various travel rorts.
It would appear this Code of Conduct is now gathering dust somewhere, with ministers who have breached its high standard of ethics – Wilson Tuckey, Deanne Kelly and Amanda Vanstone to name but three – still happily employed at the tax-payer’s expense.1997:
The rise of fish-and-chip shop proprietress, Pauline Hanson, should have been a case of racial extremism cut off at the pass by a Prime Minister committed to tolerance and multiculturalism. Instead, Howard, by refusing to condemn outrightly Hanson’s views, tacitly endorsed the woman who feared “we are in danger of being swamped by Asians” and so, when her flame eventually burned out, One Nation voters returned to the Howard fold, assured they had every valid reason to hold their racist, “assimilationist” views.1998:
Although Howard won the 1996 election so comprehensively, less than only 3 years since this victory the majority of Australians decided all was forgiven with the Labor Party and voted to have them returned. This may have had something to do with Howard pledging, should he win, to introduce the Goods and Services Tax that he had assured us in 1995 would “never, ever” exist.
Unfortunately, winning the majority of the two-party preferred vote did not translate into Labor regaining enough seats to form government, and so it continued its long and tortuous journey through the Opposition wilderness.1999:
A perfect opportunity for Howard to cement his name in history as leader of a country that severed ties with a redundant monarchy and proudly voted for an Australian head of state. Instead Howard, a parochial monarchist, orchestrated a referendum, the outcome of which merely demonstrated Australians did not want a republic with an appointed, rather than directly-elected, President. He’s insisted ever since that the issue of a republic is therefore “dead” despite numerous successive polls showing the majority of Australians still wish to become a republic in some form.2001:
Perhaps never in the course of Australian history have two significant events, Tampa and September 11, occurring within 2 months of each other – and within three months of an election – worked so favourably for a government’s re-election prospects. There was no immediate interest in spinning lies about September 11, but it was a big vote-winner to demonise asylum-seekers as evil men and women who would willingly throw their children overboard in order to gain access to Australian shores, even when the evidence on which this statement was based was proved to be unsubstantiated.2002:
Howard’s “close personal friend”, Senator Bill Heffernan, abused his parliamentary privilege to level fabricated and utterly erroneous allegations of paedophila against the highly-respected – and openly gay – High Court justice Michael Kirby. Though Howard deigned to demote the bitterly homphobic senator for this travesty, Heffernan continues to operate as a heinous blight on our parliament – and maintains the trust and friendship of our Prime Minister.2003:
Howard committed our country to a war based on lies relating to non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.2004:
A Howard government-initiated ban on same-sex marriages opened the door to a raft of Rancid Religious Right people and organisations to legitimately spew their bilous hatred against queers within the Great Hall of Parliament. As with Hanson supporters, Howard was far too busy securing the votes of people who argued queer people are “shameful, vile, immoral terrorists”, to condemn their outrageous propaganda.2005 – Today:
It had been a little while between scandals, so along came the AWB, and along will come, no doubt, the Howard government once again scapegoating the public service as it abrogates its own responsibility.
Ten years later, and a recent survey indicates that half of Australian voters believe their country has become a “meaner place” since John Howard was first elected Prime Minister. However, so long as low interest rates and a healthy economy are maintained, it would appear the majority of voters are willing to turn a blind eye to the many ethical and moral transgressions of its government. Having a grossly incompetent Opposition party doesn’t help much, either.
Forget the Lucky Country; the Howard Mean Country, tragically, looks poised to enjoy a healthy and prosperous future instead.
Beginning of the End for Hill$ong?
Meh, probably not. Still, one can but hope
Will have to keep a very close eye on any future federal grants. Why the Attorney-General's department didn't properly verify the fraudulent second grant application is certainly worth asking.
A cynical person might casually point out that one of the Liberal Party's latest star recruits, Louise Markus - the woman who won the Blacktown-based, once-safe Labor seat of Greenway in 2004 - was a high-profile counsellor for the Hillsong church
and is still an active member.
Said cynical person might also note Treasurer Peter Costello's visit to Hillsong
in 2004, where he spoke "to Brian, to Bobbie
, to the wonderful people of Hillsong".
And a reallllllly cynical person might notice Markus, Costello and Liberal ministers Alexander Downer, Kevin Andrews and Peter Dutton all in the audience
at Hillsong's 2005 annual conference.
I'm not against faith, I'm not against spirituality. I'm not against young people walking proudly with God in their hearts. I'm even not against infusing JC's messages with the odd guitar riff or two.
But I am against people exploiting the abovementioned for financial profit. And I'm also against my government not doing its job properly for political expedience.
And if this means I'm a heathen bound for hell - well, I've always wanted to meet Janis Joplin.
column for the week. Ching-ching.Credit to opponents of the RU486 abortion drug – they’re getting more creative in their hysteria.
New South Wales MP Danna Vale – remember her, the former Veterans Affairs Minister who managed to send her sycophantic fax of support for Alan Jones to John Laws’ station by accident? – claims we are
“aborting ourselves out of existence” and, consequently, could be a “Muslim nation” within the next 50 years.
If this isn’t a strong case in point of why regulation of this sensitive drug should be taken from the control of bigoted, “pro-life” (read, anti-choice) parliamentarians like Vale and Health Minister Tony Abbott, and placed with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, I don’t know what is.
It is disappointing, though sadly inevitable, that a fairly straightforward Bill about transferring powers has instead become an emotive debate on abortion. It is also not surprising that some of the Bill’s strongest opponents, such as Bill Heffernan, Ron Boswell and Eric Abetz, are also the most homophobic parliamentarians we have. Men wishing to impose their religious dogma onto women’s bodies are often also the most vociferous decriers of homosexuality and the “promotion” of sexual minorities.
What makes this particular “debate” so frustrating is that is has wrongly focused on extraneous considerations. The settled legality of abortion (in limited circumstances) in Australia has existed for many years. Debating this might be necessary if the Bill before the House – most likely to be initiated by one of the abovementioned men – were seeking to outlaw abortion. But as only roughly 5-10% of the population supports such an outright ban, MPs realise such a Bill would never get up. Instead they instead find other outlets, such as debate on the RU486 Bill, in which to vent their anti-choice propaganda.
Make no mistake – contrary to conservative mythology, pro-choice advocates are no more pleased about the increasing abortion rate than anybody else. Amanda Vanstone, in one of the more intelligent statements
of her recent career, argued that she would “like the pro-life people to get another name because…that describes everybody in (parliament)…I do not know anybody who is against life…(and)…I do not know anybody who is pro-abortion”. But the solution to the growing abortion rate lies in better health and sexual education and encouraging personal responsibility, not in the imposition of impractical religious doctrines.
Similarly, regulation of RU486 should not be overseen by a proudly anti-choice Health Minister incapable of divorcing his personal beliefs from his ministerial duties, but rather by a statutory body of medical experts. The majority of the Senate has been intelligent and sensible enough to recognise this; we can now only hope the same will be true of the House of Representatives, and that Danna Vale is but a small blight of extremist rubbish who will ultimately be discarded.
Penguins Cannot Fake It - Can Actors?
OK, so this is a fairly lame attempt to link two completely unrelated issues I wish to blog about in the same post.
Long-time readers of QP will know
of the on-going
shenanigans with the queer Humboldt penguins
at Bremerhaven Zoo.
The latest development
(thanks to Mindless Munkey
for bringing this to my attention) :Shy Swedish female penguins sent to seduce "homosexual" male Humboldt penguins in a German zoo have failed to break up any of the male-male twosomes, officials said yesterday.
Now, while this is a victory for queer penguin solidarity, it's also unfortunately not doing the Humboldt species any favours in the longer-term:The zoo has far too many male penguins, while Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden has an oversupply of females.
The species is in danger of dying out.
But the moral of the story, once again, is that you can't teach a gay flightless bird straight tricks.
So - link, link, link - if penguins can't pretend to be something they're not, should actors be allowed to?
Check out this mass debate
on the topic of fake gays Jake and Heath in Brokeback.
Naturally, the bulk of people are getting very sniffy about this. "Of course straight actors can play gay roles. It's acting, DUH."
"Does this mean gay actors won't be able to play straight roles anymore?" - which then leads to snide speculation about the death of the careers of Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey etc.
But herein lies the point: if, for argument's sake, these actors are closeted, what is that telling you? That the world is still not ready for openly gay actors to take leading roles in major Hollywood movies?
Or, as Harley - I assume from such blog sites as Gayety
- asks amidst the sniffles:This issue has nothing to do with whether Heath or Jake were authentic playing gay. In an ideal world their off-screen sexuality would indeed be irrelevant. The issue, however, is that a gay man, no matter how good an actor, would never have been given the part because of commercial decisions. In the 21st Century, that is a tragedy.
Darn tootin'. I mean heavens, it's not like the world is wanting for gay actors. They're about in as short supply as gay hairdressers, PR consultants or lesbian TV camera operators.
So why aren't there more genuinely high-profile openly queer actors? Is it because despite how far we think we've come, staying in the closet is still a necessary evil to earn millions in Hollywood?
Sure, I'm not denying the existence of Sir Ian McKellan, Rupert Everett, Portia de Rossi etc, but ultimately they are still the exception(s) to the rule.
I personally do, on occasion, get a little tired of seeing what I know are horribly well-meaning, sincere and generally quite talent heterosexual actors playing gay. Gale Harold (Brian, QAF), Eric McCormack (Will, Will & Grace) and Jude Law (just about every role he was in before he hit it big) never fail to convince as homos, but they themselves are still not homos. Just like Dustin Hoffman the actor was not really a woman in Tootsie. Just like Gong Li is not really Japanese in Memoirs of a Geisha. Just like Meryl Streep, amazing actress though she is, might not be so ideal a choice to play Coretta Scott King
in a hypothetical movie bio as, say, Angela Bassett or Alfre Woodard.
Perhaps the line is drawn at physicality. Race and gender manifest much more explicitly than sexuality and so the comparison might ultimately not be so apt. But I still maintain it's disappointing that, for an industry comprised of a disproportionately high number of queers, we are disproportionately low in the high-profile, big-budget roles and movies. Many people will dismiss Joe.My.God
's frustration but I get where he's coming from. I understand him. And not just because I think he's a bit of a hot and sexy Pilf (pappa I'd like to...frolic...with).
Change the Freakin' Song Already, John
Yawn. Another day, another denial of same-sex relationships
by our PM.
And what's John's reasoned, well-informed and comprehensive argument today?
"Mate, I am sorry. I just disagree with you."
What exactly do you disagree with, John? "Civil marriage"? Well sweetcheeks, Warren Entsch et al are pushing for civil unions, not civil marriages - and yes, there are significant differences between the two. It's why so many same-sex marriage opponents can bite their tongues long enough to give civil unions a passing thought.
And by the way, how the hell are civil unions a "cop-out"? It would make sense, in a prejudiced, bigoted sort of way, if he argued civil unions went "too far", but a "cop-out"? A cop-out would be pretending inequality does not exist and avoiding taking any steps to rectify the situation - you know, what this government has essentially done for the last 10 years.
So it's lovely to see the party room deigning to "(vow) yesterday to tackle discrimination against gay couples in superannuation, veterans benefits and Medicare entitlements". Again, ten years overdue but it's a start. Whether this actually happens or not is, as with so many guarantees of this government, only a 50/50 bet.
And while we're there, how about getting around to the discrimination that also exists in welfare, taxation, family law and parenting? Or would this be a "cop-out", too?Sam
sent me this email which sums up perfectly the complete and total infuriation that is John Winston Howard:"Seriously though, it annoys me because JH is just "i disagree with you", as if equal rights/liberties/etc should all depend on his fucking opinion. GRRR. He's so hypocritical, in a few weeks from now he'll give a speech on how equal and tolerant australia is. AS IF. So frustrating."
Ahh - so this must be another fine example
of the sorts of good manners
John Howard is seeking.
Remind me again why Bill Heffernan is still employed
and his parliamentary existence financed at my expense?
Oh - he's one of Howard's best mates, you say? That would explain why he keeps getting No 1 spot on the NSW Senate ticket, I guess.
Far be it for me to come to the defence of a National, but I quite like Fiona Nash. Not just because she's one of the women
pushing for regulation of the abortion pill RU486 to be taken out of the hands of our parochially pro-life Health Minister and put with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, where it belongs - a stance that wouldn't win her many friends in the Coalition, I'd wager - but because she seems able to think outside the very, very small National square. In her maiden Senate speech
she identifies important and often overlooked (by her own party, at least) issues such as multiculturalism, child care, Indigenous health and mental illness, to name a few.
And no mention of God anywhere. My kind of woman.
Bill, on the other hand, should consider a new career. Window cleaning, tree felling, explosive engineering, snake handling or shark feeding
should all suffice...
Oh, almost forgot. To those who went to the Mardi Gras launch on the Opera House steps Friday night - drinking excessively will only numb the pain for a short while but it won't obliterate the memory. Believe me, I've tried.
And for those who didn't make it and might be wondering what they missed out on - think of it as missing out on "Golden Showers" night at a SOP venue. Not such a great loss.
(Not meaning to oppress any QP readers who might be into the Golden Showers of course, go for...umm...gold. Just thought it was an apt analogy.)
Again, it's probably best to let (24) others speak for me
on this one.
There'll be the usual recriminations, smug gloating about the death of MG and "if you didn't like so much, why don't you get off your arse and do something about it, huh?" All I'll say is that this was my third MG launch and the first where a fee ($10) was required. And last year's, with its long queues for alcohol being the main source of anguish for its detractors, still at its worse did not have people leaving in droves after the first hour, such that I believe the original crowd there was halved less than 2 hours into this year's.
At first I thought I was being sexist, that my objection to Sarah McLeod's five songs in a row and the crap spewing out of Sister She was indicative of my latent lesbophobia.
Nope - at least 4 women have complained about it on SSO too and none have yet piped in to defend it.
At least everybody was appalled and disappointed equally, I suppose.
Still, I plan to volunteer my time for MG and catch as many flicks and live performances as I can. I'm just thinking more and more that the MG party, even at the "discounted" price I'll get a ticket for (the bargain student price of $79), will be a heart-breaking flop like this one. I might just accept that Resistance is Futile and do what all the cool kids seem to do these days - make an appearance at the march, skip the MG party and go straight to Toy Box the next day.
It couldn't be any worse. Literally.
So I was going to blog on the burning of Danish and Norwegian embassies
following the publication of cartoons that depict the image of Muhammed - then I saw that Harley's pretty much written everything I was going to, and in a much clearer way than I likely would. So read him
It seems to me the RWDBs have been itching for a lefty blogger to try and defend the actions of the extremists, so that they can be torn to shreds. Ingeniously, the LWLBs - Left Wing Love Beasts (thanks to Zoe
for that gorgeous phrase) have not bothered to do this
- because this is not an issue about left and right, it's about free speech and the expectation that newspaper comics are humorous, satirical and often just plain silly. They are not necessarily statements of fact and they certainly should not be taken this seriously.
I will point out an issue that appears to be somewhat overlooked: My understanding is that Muslims object to any literal depection of the Prophet in any medium, positive or negative. Now, that may seem a little odd or even precious to many, but then for me, as a humanist, religious customs and rituals such as not eating meat on a Friday or Buddhists monks not being allowed to dance or handle money seem odd, too.
The point of difference, however, is the degree of reaction. If tomorrow, the Daily Terror published an anti-queer cartoon - not out of the question, given its usual editorial line - I'd be furious, I'd be outraged and I would demand a retraction, apology or assurance it would not happen again.
I wouldn't, however, burn down the News Ltd building.
We have to accept that free speech, while not absolute, is nonetheless a necessary precondition for a genuine democracy. Conversely, we can also expect that there are legislative safeguards in place, such as anti-vilification laws, that can to some extent curb people from, for example, inciting people to violence.
In fact, the litmus test for anti-vilification laws, as Harley writes, "rests solely on the reasonable likeliness of sticks and stones resulting from said words". And I don't think anybody who argues that burning down embassies is a fair enough reaction to the publication of a cartoon would be taken very seriously.
Extremists are responsible for the unnecessary destruction in this situation, not the Danish newspaper. It might suit the prejudices of RWDBs to automatically assume we do-gooder greenie pinko scum will come to the defence of these people but I'm certainly not about to.
Boys on (Tele) Film
So trying to second-guess, as I am, who's going to be the male star of a 2006 US TV import that all my homo male friends collectively climax over upon but a breath of his name, my money originally was on Wentworth Miller, of Prison Break:
Lately, however, jeans have been creamed in my household by the mere suggestion of the name Horace Calloway, one of Geena Davis' kids in Commander in Chief, played by Matt Lanter.
Not knowing who Matt Lanter is, and therefore confused by otherwise very level-minded and unemotional flatmate's descent into liquified, blubbery madness at the passing thought of Matt Lanter, I decided to consult the electric internet (which thankfully, they now have on computers).
I found this:
Face of a 5y.o on a hot 20 y.o's body. Gee - could that be any gayer?
The disappointing news is that, contrary to rumour, his character is not coming out. Doesn't mean Matt himself won't, though...
I think we have a winner.
...On the new wallpaper?