Tuesday, August 29, 2006

F&*k You, AAPT

OK AAPT, I AM going to tell it like it is - so listen up.

You SUCK. Your whole operation SUCKS, and I QUIT.

On the train to work this morning, and one of the singular most magnificent pieces of music in known history, Elgar's Nimrod, from his Enigma Variations, drifted sweetly onto my iPod - and all I could think about were those stupid, monstrously ugly people in those nauseating AAPT commercials grinning like the stupid f$%kturds they are and pointing to their stupid oversized blue AAPT shirts.


This particular piece of music, you see, is the background fodder for those ads.

So thanks a bunch, AAPT. You've violated what was once a pure, virginal and magical composition to me. I hope you're pleased with yourself.

Whoever currently holds the copyright to Elgar's music should be shot repeatedly in non-essential parts of their anatomy so they can watch themselves die slowly from bleeding, for thinking "hey, Edward would've wanted his haunting meditation on nobility to be used for telecommunications commercials. Here AAPT, take his soul, his majesty, and corrupt it as though it were a Queensland police officer in the 1980s. My treat."

Goddammit, what is it about non-actor people volunteering themselves for 'reality' ads? News flash to all the Tiffany Homewares and Daryl Merchandisings in the Bunnings commercials: Nobody gives a shit! To all the dancing, singing nannas and brats in the Soul ads: You're neither cute nor funny! Oh, and ESPECIALLY to you deluded shits telling us about your lives as they relate to your Vodafone - if I ever see any of you in the street, I'm going to hack off your leg from the knee slowly with a spoon. Companies only use you to save money on hiring actors to simulate the level of obnoxiousness that comes to you so naturally. You're not interesting and people won't want to be your friend after seeing you on television. That only works if you're hot - Jake Wall, for instance.

So my warning goes double for you tools in the AAPT ads. If I see any of you, I'm going to tell it like it is, by burning your eyelids and hammering rusty nails into your scrota*.

I must avenge Elgar. The time of purification is at hand.

(*Speculated plural of scrotum.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tagged + Australian Television in Good Production Shock

As per my policy on tagging - I reply to them to be polite but don't tag others, since a/ I'm lazy and b/ this website is all about me and how phenomenal I am, and nobody else - I accept the challenge from Richard.

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences along with these instructions.

5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

Since I'm at work, the only book on hand is "Essentials of Corporate Finance" (ooooh, note for stalkers*, hint about where I work!). So umm, here goes:

"The cash flows here have the form of a four-year, $1,000 annuity. The present value is $3,000. We need to find the discount rate, r. Our goal in doing so is primarily to give you a feel for the relationship between annuity values and discount rates."

Yeah, you're right. I should get another job.

(*I hope I have stalkers. Only pretty and popular people have stalkers.)


Fireflies. Headland. X-Factor. Yasmin's Getting Married. The Surgeon. The Master. The Hot House. The Resort. Let Loose Live. Greeks on the Roof. Hamish and Andy.

The list of intelligent and successful Australian television productions in the last 3 years goes on and on.

So it's actually quite a pleasant surprise to discover an Oz TV show that a/ is not "reality" crap, b/ has good production values, c/ is well-acted, d/ dares to assume viewers have some modicum of intelligence, and e/ supports local talent.

Yep, it's Bryan Brown's Two Twisted.

If memory serves, there was a general invite to all emerging or unfilmed screenwriters to submit Twilight Zone-like scripts, the best of which would form this series. That in itself is such a better idea for a show seed than, say, "oooh, what should we at Channel 10 make next? I know! A rip-off of a UK show which is actually a rip-off of another UK show!" (The seed of X-Factor)

Anyway, the four stories I've seen thus far are tops. OK, maybe they're a little obvious, but this is a brave attempt of Oz TV to not completely suck, as it usually does. Let it crawl before insisting it walk. And one of last night's effort, featuring the excellent Greta Scacchi as an apparently grieving wife who ends up cheerily feeding her husband's heart to a dog, was just delicious (not literally, obviously).

In offering the tagline of "Australia's best", maybe I wouldn't lump Scacchi, Sam Neill or Wendy Hughes in the same category as Lisa McCune (all of whom star at some point), but that's just splitting hairs. This is good, old-school televisual entertainment - tense, spooky, stylish and not afraid to be adult. I guess this is how it found at home at Channel Nana.

Initial ratings would suggests it's not doing phenomenally well but I really hope it's given the chance it deserves, or at least a DVD box set release further down the track. If we don't support this sort of stuff, it'll just be more of Yasmin Honey, We're the Biggest Australian Celebrity Dancing Brother on Ice from our good friends at the local studios.

Does that sound appealing to you?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hearting Emma Tom + Wedge Politics Karma

Too damn busy to offer the spontaneous blog love today, so here's one I prepared earlier. As always, you can find the penguin prOn here.

Also, read Emma Tom today. High-larious.


Even the strongest John Howard detractors can openly acknowledge his consummate political skill and strategising. A person does not remain Prime Minister for over 10 years by accident, and one of the many tricks he has mastered is to facilitate outstanding wedge politics.

This term is bandied about so often nowadays that its significance is somewhat diminished, but it has been a key component of the longevity of the Howard government to focus on issues in which ostensibly it can appear united while the Labor opposition fractures in its position, thus suggesting weak leadership and indeterminate policy. The Marriage Act amendment in 2004 was a classic example of Howard wedge politics working to perfection. Although Labor officially supported the same-sex marriage ban, many of its MPs, particularly those from the Left representing seats with a high percentage of queer voters, were angered at the move and implicitly opposed their party going along with the government purely for the pretense of unity.

Currently, it is the debate on uranium mining that is “wedging” the Labor opposition, with its environment spokesperson announcing his and his faction’s opposition to Labor’s planned policy amendment lifting its ban on the development of new mines.

The problem with the Howard government wedge politics, however, is that in working so efficiently is in fact turning in on itself. Howard’s recent attempt to legislate for all asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat to be processed offshore has failed spectacularly. Even with a Senate majority, he has been unable to pursue this particular agenda, with several of his party’s senators prepared either to abstain from, or cross the floor to vote against what Liberal lower house MP Petro Georgiou labelled “the most profoundly disturbing piece of legislation I have encountered since becoming a member of Parliament”.

Naturally, Howard is attempting to positively spin this failure, arguing the Liberal Party is a “broad church” that does not censure or expel dissenters in the same way the Labor Party apparently does. Certainly, the Coalition historically has a better record of individuals crossing the floor to vote against its own legislation. However, such democratic representations had not occurred in the Howard government until this year, 10 years after it was first elected to power. First it was Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, soon followed by ACT senator Gary Humphries opposing the Howard’s government trampling of the Territory’s autonomy in its continuing quest to denigrate and deny same-sex relationships.

In light of a neutered opposition, the role of moderates in the Liberal party to take a stand against some of the extremities of a government somewhat drunk on its own power has become crucial.

Perhaps if the Howard government stopped continually presenting such unjust and mean-spirited legislation, however, it wouldn’t run the risk of wedging itself.

Friday, August 11, 2006

QueerPenguin Demands Hot Male RWDBs NOW

It's not fair. My good friend and serial Smuh letter-writing whorist, Claudia Marckx, and I have noticed that, in the terrifying death matches between commentators to see who can out-bigot the other, the battle of the sexes is grossly uneven.

By which I mean, it's a virtual smorgasbord of girlie hotties when a bit of pseudo neo-naziism's involved, but not so much the boys.

Exhibit #1: Ann Coulter.

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The lady's a fruitcake - in fact, I think half the time she spews shit just to get a rise and is really taking the piss - but ring-a-ding-ding, yes? (*opens the forum to straight male and dykey QP readers*)

Exhibit # 2: Michelle Malkin.

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Fractionally less deranged than Ann, but I still wouldn't to run into her in a bar after a few tequila shots. But such lustrous hair! Such shiny white teeth!

Closer to home, exhibit #3: Tell-Us-About-It Janet (no link required if you've ever read QP before).

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Actually, this particularly severe-looking woman does very little for me, but I have read at least two right-wingers idolise TUAI Janet as the "Australian Ann Coulter", so hey - let's run with her.

And of course, that saucy bombsell Miranda:

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...the glint in whose eyes still hints at some humanity, some glimmer of the innocent she once was before tempted to the Dark Side. Miranda is the Faith of media RWDBs - and like Faith, I still believe eventually she'll find the light after her time in the darkness.

But the men? FFS. Exhibit #1: Bill O'Reilly.

Mmmm, facial liver spots.

Again, back in Oz: Piers?

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Excuse me while I'm violently ill...

Just doesn't seem balanced, does it?

In fact, the Left doesn't offer us much in the way of media boy candy either.

I might go a round with Peter Hartcher -

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...but several of the said tequila shots would again have to be in play. (And I prefer to think of Peter as neutral than left anyways.)

Dammit! I want a media commentator pin-up boy! It's not fair that only male heterosexual RWDBs get all the talent.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Political Incorrectness

Pinky, have you been pondering what I've been pondering?

I've been pondering about the modern context of political correctness, in case you were curious. The term "political correctness" has almost always been used disparagingly; opponents of the human and civil rights movements of the 1960s and '70s would and still argue that PC is of itself oppressive and restrictive of free speech. You "can't" espouse sexist, racist and/or homophobic views because they'll offend the minority du jour, etc.

There's been much theorising (I couldn't be arsed linking stuff today as I'm writing this in about 20 mins prior to my first Monday morning meeting - just trust me) that Howard won the 1996 election as a counter-offensive to the politically-correct Keating government; middle Australians (whoever the hell they are) felt left behind by the PC thugs who'd hijacked Labor for their own elitest and ultimately irrelevant causes, such as reconciliation, becoming a republic, multiculturalism and so on.

But am I the only one who reckons the PC pendulum has swung massively in the other direction? That these days the modern mainstream discourse is strongly grounded in the Right's court? Between the ruling federal government (and, dare I say, several state ones too), highest profile media commentators and, increasingly, bloggers, there seem to be a whole new set of rules for dictating thought and opinion - what are the "right" things to think and feel and what are "wrong".

So where 10 years ago anti-PCers were complaining that, for examples, you "can't" say Indigenous people are responsible for their own poverty and tragic lives, or you "can't" say that Australia's multiculturalism policy is far too generous and allowing in particular too many Asian immigrants, or you "can't" say that feminism has led to the emasculation of men and general breakdown of the family unit, it seems to me that these days, such beliefs are not only mainstream and promoted, but to think otherwise is the "wrong" way to think - you "can't" think or say otherwise lest you suffer the wrath of indignant, indeed offended, right-wing thought police.

Sound a bit melodramatic? Stay with me. What about these:

1. You can't say that gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married.

2. You can't say that the US shouldn't have an inalienable, unregulated right to take whichever steps it feels necessary to "spread democracy" across the planet.

3. You can't say that Biblical evangelicalism - sorry, "Christian values" - should not be allowed to influence law-making.

4. You can't say that it's not too many women who are having terminations.

5. You can't say that Israel appears at times to act in a markedly similar manner to a Palestinean terrorist organisation.

6. You can't say that an ideal family unit should be determined by the quality of the family's love and not its components - ie that families don't always have to consist of a mother AND a father.

7. You can't say that, even though it's probably quite likely he is guilty of some fairly appalling crimes, David Hicks, like all other Australians, deserves the right of a fair and speedy trial at which his guilt can actually be ascertained by a court of law and not just Gerard Henderson.

8. You can't say sorry - full stop.

9. You can't say that the ABC is not a biased, left-wing conspiracy, merely a public broadcaster keeping governments accountable.

10. You can't say that people should exercise some degree of fiduciary self-restraint, not live beyond their means and not get themselves into thousands of dollars of unrepayable credit debt, just so they can have a McMansion, 10-metre plasma and gas-guzzling SUV, like their neighbours.

11. You can't say that promotion of environmental issues is less to do with a "Green industry" and more to do with long-term sustainability of the planet. Furthermore, you can't criticise fossil fuel or nuclear power development and you can't suggest alternative power sources, especially in a country in which they're in abundance, such as solar and wind.

12. You can't say that Australia becoming a republic is an issue that a lot of Australians still care about and should be put back on the political map sooner rather than later.

13. You can't say that drug addiction should generally be treated as a medical and not criminal issue. You definitely can't say that there should be more legalised injection rooms or that, subject to strong government regulation, certain drugs should be decriminalised.

Maybe it's just the nature of these sorts of things to swing back and forward over the life of a government. But the next time I hear about "political correctness gone mad", I dare say I'll have a very different idea of what this constitutes to the person using that term.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

David: New Hope for the Nationals Or Just a Silly Fag?

UPDATE: You reckon I'm harsh, check out Dave's thoughts on the subject of...Dave. Man, that boy gives good bitch.


My last SX column on Big Brother's David generated the greatest letter-writing response I've ever received since I started writing for them: a whopping two - TWO! - letters, both pretty stroppy with me. One described it as "a big hissy fit". I cried for months.

OK, I didn't really. I was just gratified to know people actually read me.

Anyway, I'm guessing this week's column may again do likewise. Maybe I'm picking too much on the guy, but damned if I just didn't want to give him a big-arse bitch slap across that whiney face of his every time I saw it. For his own good, of course.

And now - what the fuck? The next Nationals candidate? Because the Nats are so strongly pro-queer and big on diversity.

Quote Ron Boswell, the party's national Senate leader:

If we pass this motion (of Anthony Albanese's to remove federal discriminatory laws against same-sex couples, a few years ago) today, it will send a message to all Australians young and old that mainstream society sees no essential difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual lifestyle, that society not only condones it but is indifferent to the bonds which make the typical family the fundamental unit of our society. While we in the National Party do not persecute those who freely enter into a minority lifestyle, we do not want to promote it to our children as an equally valid or acceptable way of life.

Forgive me if I sound a wee bit cynical. But you can see why.


Following an earlier article I wrote on gay Big Brother housemate David Graham, I copped some flak for criticising what I identified as hypocrisy, that for a man making a lot of noise about discrimination against queer people and gay men especially, his membership with the National Party somewhat undermined his political position.

Maybe it is a little unfair to imply David cannot bring about change “from the inside”. After all, how else can we ever expect the homophobes in the Nationals to change their tune on fags unless they actually know a few personally and see we’re not all the hedonistic, promiscuous anti-family stereotypes they may have conjured in their minds?

In 2003 Russell Turner spoke lovingly and proudly of his gay son when he became the only National to vote in favour of equalising the homosexual age of consent in New South Wales. Leading by example can sometimes be the most effective political activism there is.

Did David, however, really smash stereotypes? Sure, he came across as an honest farm boy, unpretentious and far less bitchy than the more stereotypically faggy housemate Rob. But who else cannot recall David’s time in the house without seeing that pained face, close to tears, as he would begin yet another whinge about somebody in the house, or how hard it is to be gay, or how he seemed to consider himself to be so much smarter or more sensitive than the other housemates (which, admittedly, was probably true)? Didn’t this merely reinforce the stereotype of gay men being self-absorbed drama queens incapable of dealing maturely with difficult situations?

And then there was David’s appearance on stage after his eviction, in which he told a huge live national audience that he “loved” his boyfriend Sharif, despite the fact that he’d only met this man three weeks before going onto the show. Again, didn’t this reinforce the stereotype of gay men as hopelessly capricious, falling in love at the drop of a cowboy hat without actually taking the time to get to know one another or keep three weeks in perspective?

In David’s defence, Channel Ten’s panning away from his kiss with Sharif during the live event certainly vindicated his complaint throughout his time in the house that many Australians are still intolerant of homosexuality. But for a man who seemed determined to prove his sensitivity cred, it struck me as grossly insensitive to come out to his hitherto unaware father on national television. Did he do so because he sought his dad’s acceptance? Or was he seeking the biggest audience possible from which to garner sympathy and heighten the drama of his coming out speech?

I’m just not ready to accept David as the “pioneer” that so many others seem to want to herald him as.