Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the real world, she'd be your older sister at best...

So in between Hunter Valley sojourns, InDesign training courses and catching up to 2006 by setting up a Facebook profile, I've been pondering actresses cast as blokes' mums, even when they're clearly not old enough to be so.

I reckon it all began with The Manchurian Candidate, when Angela Lansbury was cast as Laurence Harvey's Bitch Mother From Hell. Harvey at the time was 35; Angela was...37. As it happened, she was a good enough actress (this was pre-Jessica Fletcher times when Angela was essentially originating BMFH roles) to pull it off, but you wouldn't be surprised if the poor thing felt a little bit slighted by that.

The trend's continued in movies over time, but it seems to be at its worst in soap. 53-year-old Leslie-Anne Down is currently playing mum to 48-year-old Jack Wagner on B&B; and as an indication of how ridiculous this becomes when characters' children start having their own children, over at Days 54-year-old Lauren Koslow (Kate) is grandmother to 22-year-old Rachel Melvin (Georgia).

But the example that's got me most rattled is Jane Hall, a recent addition to Gaybores. Jane's character Rebecca has just been revealed to be Oliver's mum, and yet 36-year-old Jane is only eight years older than David Hoflin. It came as a relief to me that the woman I remember playing a teenager on 'All Together Now' like, not so long ago, was not in fact in her early-mid 40s, as the Gaybores writers seem to want us to believe her character is. (I'm still cutting myself over Kyles hitting 40 and Madge 50 next year, but anyway.)

So what gives casting directors and producers carte blanche to age actresses by a decade or two? How did Jackie Woodburne, for example, go from playing a teenager in Prisoner to a mum of three teenage children in Gaybores less than 10 years later? Have the femmos been right all along? Do women just become older 'quicker'? Does the patriarchal society perpetuate the myth that once a woman hits 30 all she's good for is motherhood, and that she ages five years for every equivalent-aged bloke's one?

Even the shiny yummy mummies on Housewives have children of a credible age. Is Australia really so short of actresses they can't fit the right vintage to the right character?

It makes me think Goldie Hawn was onto something in First Wives Club: 'There are only three ages for actresses in Hollywood: Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy.'

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It ain't easy being greenish

The usual suspects, led by Bob Brown and Australian Conservation Foundation, are pouncing on Krudd's overturning of Latham's 2004 Tasmanian old-growth forestry policy. But I really feel a reality check is needed here.

Not meaning to get stuck into Brown, a man I admire, or the ACF, but the fact is Latham's policy to boost protected areas cost Labor two seats in Tasmania. Before then, they had a clean sweep of the state's five federal seats. This new policy will win those seats back for them. It's smart politics on Krudd's part.

That's not to say I agree with the policy itself; as I've argued previously with regard to rice and cotton farming, there are certain industries that simply aren't practical or sustainable and should be gradually phased out of existence for the sake of preserving vital natural resources.

But Latham's original reasoning behind devising this policy was flawed. It was all about establishing Green cred on Labor's part and thereby appealing to Green voters - inner-city, skim latte gay homosexual types, mostly. You know, like me.

But the fact is, 3 in 4 Green voters preference Labor anyway, and they're not going to stop doing this based on this issue alone. Very few Green voters think, 'well I WAS going to preference Labor as I usually do, but since Krudd has announced this policy I think I'll preference the homophobic, climate change sceptical, anti-intellectual, anti-equal rights Bible-bashing wingnuts in the Coalition instead!'

Or, put simply, the typical Green voter is a much safer bet to preference (i.e. vote for) Labor than the capricious union bloke living in the seats of Bass or Braddon who'll completely piss on the party that actually believes in his organisation's continued existence, long enough to jump ship to Howard the moment he doesn't get exactly what he wants.

This is perhaps a smite harsh - we are talking about these people's livelihoods after all, even if they're centred on an industry I think should gradually be phased out (which I believe was what made up the $800m price tag of Latham's original policy, effectively buying them out of business). I guess you can understand why some of them went so far as to have their photo taken, beaming arm-in-arm with Howard, the man who is to blue-collar unions what termites are to Chippendale.

Still, Krudd has placated these voters; he's won support from the unions, forestry industry body and the Tasmanian Labor government and therefore has a show of solidarity where Latham had only fractured chaos. It's all part of Krudd's election strategy which, whether or not you agree with it, is working: take the left or left-leaning folk for granted and poach back swinging voters in marginal seats by focusing on the issues important to them. Labor's worst-case scenario is that they may lose a couple of inner-Melbourne or Sydney seats to the Greens - but that's a long-shot, and ultimately it's more important they win seats at a direct cost of the Coalition losing them (as they now will in Tasmania).

It's sad it's come to this, of course, but at crunch time you have to ask: Do you want to give Krudd and Labor a shot or do you really, really want to endure Howard for another three years (don't be under any delusions of a gracious handover to Costello, by the way) by sticking to pure principle? After nearly 12 years of Howard rule, the current political climate dictates that we cannot expect a Latham or a Whitlam-type to be our next Labor PM. The best we have to hope for is a centre-right leader to replace a right leader, hopefully drag the country back to some degree of middle ground in his first term and get swinging voters past the straw Labor boogiemen Howard and co are pitching in their desperate last-minute pitch to cling to power.

Then we can look at saving the trees.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

OK, fine, here it is

Completely random, unfounded prediction that will no doubt be disproved in a couple of days' time - but just wanted to get it out there so that in the miniscule chance I'm right, I've blogged it for proof and posterity:

Voledemort is Harry Potter's real father.

Very Vader/Skywalker I know, but worth a shot. JK keeps banging on about the great significance of Harry having his mother's eyes - by implication, then, not having any of James' features, because...? Also, the mysterious unspoken connection between the two?

*Shrugs* Just a thought.

Either way, I'm just glad it will (presumably) all finally come to an end. Last I heard, poor JK had run out of deserted Pacific islands on which to stockpile the wads of cash.

UPDATE: I know Rowling's personally and categorically denied this possibility, but that alone doesn't convince me otherwise. I think there will have to be some blood connection.


Monday, July 16, 2007

She'll be burning rubber, you'll be kissing Dame Shirley's ass

I still maintain that teh geyest song ever is the PET SHOP BOYS' DANCE rendition of SONDHEIM'S 'Losing My Mind', featuring the vocal stylings of MS LIZA MINNELLI.

But this will surely be in the Top 10.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Thompsons...

You've South Parked yourself, now Simpsonise yourself:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Go on. You know you wanna.

Cheers to comic for the link. As highlighted, this is incredibly distracting from work...which is never a bad thing.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Oz: Wonderful, fabulous news for that marvellous Mr Howard - Labor still miles ahead in the polls!

UPDATE: Methinks they doth protest too much?! First Den pops on his crusty pants, and now an entire editorial is devoted to, among other causes, slagging respected online psephologist Peter Brent for daring to question the objectvity of Shanahan's analysis?

Desperate, desperate stuff.

I won't dignify the trash by reproducing at length, but just a couple of choice cuts in this self-serving ode to delusion worth a laff:
Smug, self assured, delusional swagger is no substitute for getting it right.

I KNOW they had Janet Albrechtsen in mind when they wrote this. I just KNOW it.
As a newspaper we don't know who we will support at the federal election.

Hear it here first, an iron-clad, core-promise QP guarantee: I will shave my head if the Australian gives a Vote Labor editorial at this year's election. I'd even go so far as to say I'd shave my head if any Murdoch rag gives a Vote Labor editorial. And trust me, I don't look good with a shaved head - I have these creepy, bumpy sections in the back of my skull - but I am so completely 100% confident of what I'll read in the Oz's ed section on election day that I can make this pledge.

You only ever react so violently to criticism when consciously or otherwise you know there's a ring of truth to it; never before today has the Oz demonstrated so effectively how true this is.


You gotta love the Govt Gazette, you really do*. The latest Newspoll makes painfully clear that the Howard government has failed spectacularly to narrow the gaping lead Labor has over them, and how does the GG spin it?

News report: 'Howard checks Rudd's march.' Riiiiight.

Dennis Shanananananahan: Howard-friendly BBQ metaphors - with a particularly uncomfortable focus on sausages.

Edimatorial: 'Strong leadership has got voters' attention'. Everybody all together now: Julia Roberts at the polo in Pretty Woman. Wo! Wo! Wo! Wo!

You know what? And this probably only confirms absolutely what a complete nerd I am - but I woke up this morning and literally the first thing I thought of was how the GG was going to spin the latest Newspoll in the event that their Coalition buds were still trailing so badly. And sure enough, the case in point was waiting for me at my work desk interweb:

THE Government has successfully shifted the political dynamic, checking the personal appeal of Kevin Rudd and setting a series of future traps for Labor.
Ahh - this must be that liberal media bias I've heard so much about, right there.

The 56-44 2PP result with no increase in Coalition primary support is completely eclipsed, of course, by discussion of the high numbers of both Labor and Liberal supporters who support Howard's recent NT action. Which is lovely, but doesn't really correspond to the GG's key message that people are growing tired of the Kevin Rudd Novelty and finally coming back to kindly Uncle John, finally realising There's No Place Like Home after all - their unproven hypothesis for the last six months now.

The Iraq poll doesn't do much for Howard either - 31% of respondents wanting the troops to 'remain in Iraq for as long as the Iraqi government wants them to stay' versus 63% of respondents who want the troops to return by mid-2008, immediately or some other definite date. In Oz, though, the Wizard argues that Labor 'risks putting itself on the wrong side of the Iraq debate' through its policy of a fixed troop withdrawal date.

The fuck? You really wouldn't want the Oz doing your tax return right now, would you? They could probably turn a thousand-dollar refund into a two-thousand dollar debt if John Howard told them to.

I must admit, I'm ever so slightly less confident about Howard winning this election than I was 24 hours ago. Today's Newspoll only reinforces a steady, consistent trend and the perception that more and more voters have stopped listening or paying attention to Howard.

However, the smart money - literally - is still on Howard, with Portlandbet, who have opened a book on every one of the 150 federal seats to be contested, calling a close Coalition victory. I tend to think that 16 seats is just the tiniest too far of bridges for Rudd.

You'd have to think, though, that if Howard does lose this election, in the face of a strong economy, paranoid international climate and rusted-on Liberal hack monkeys banging away at the MSM's typewriters for him, history will regard him as one of our greatest - well, losers.

(*You don't really have to, don't worry.)

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Black card trumps gay card?

Homophobe Isaiah Washington plays the black card in response to his sacking from Grey's Anatomy. Speaking of his altercation with Patrick Dempsey in which he referred to TR Knight as a 'faggot', Washington wails: "It was a fight between two men that shouldn't have happened ... Someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me. I see that now, but I didn't then."

Actually, no - somebody heard the booming voice of a homophobic fuckwit. Homophobia can be colour blind, just as racism knows all gender and sexual identities.

It didn't help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn't a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn't speak like I'd just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime. I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that 'some people' were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I'm a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn't go around saying? Yessah, massa sir' and? No sir, massa' to everyone? It's nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family.

My mistake was thinking black people get second chances.

No - your mistake was being a homophobic tool in an industry where, actually, a lot of 'faggots' work. Being a homophobic actor is about as sensible as being a homophobic hairdresser - or a lesbophobic tennis player (although, that seemed to work for Margaret Court...)

Very little shits me more than members of oppressed or marginalised groups using their particular card to defend their own oppressive or marginalising behaviour. And in Washington's case, it makes him look even more of a drop-kick than he already is - or is he genuinely claiming GA's creator and executive producer Shonda Rimes is in on the Conspiracy Against the Black Man? Hmm. He may want to take a closer look at Ms Rimes before he gets too carried away with that particular theory.

Washington then goes on to play the class card, defending his homophobia in the context of his upbringing in the South - Texas, no less! - where there was "a lack of awareness of cultural sensitivities". No shit! I would've hoped a black man growing up in Texas would be the one person who fully appreciated the damage that ignorance and prejudice causes.

Something tells me Washington would be the first to cry racism if an argument had been reported on the GA set in which Dempsey, for example, called him 'buoy-ah' (think of it being said by Foghorn Leghorn) in front of the cast and crew. But he expects to get away with calling his castmates faggots, and if he's punished it's a racist conspiracy?

Piss off.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Vote - it's what the cool kids do

There're some reputable rumblings - Mumblings, even - that suggest an August election is not out of the realm. Given that Howard has until January next year for an election to be announced and held - and he probably wants it to be out of the way before APEC in September, when he might otherwise be obliged to keep smiling alongside his mate, the now single most despised US monkey leader in history - August cannot be dismissed.

My public service announcement in anticipation of this early election, then, is to implore everybody who is eligible to vote, or whose electoral address has changed since October 2004, to please, please make sure you are actually correctly enrolled to vote - right details, right address, etc.

You see, last year, under the radar and with very little fanfare - exactly the way he wanted it - Howard altered the deadlines to enrol to vote. You used to have a week from the date the PM announced the election - and the writs were issued - either to enrol to vote for the first time or notify the AEC of a change in address, if you hadn't yet done so.

Now, the deadline for the AEC to receive your correctly completed enrolment form is 8pm on the same day the writs for the election are issued.

At the time of this 'reform''s implementation, Howard (or at least, Nick Minchin) claimed it would assist with AEC's efficiency. But as always, reality dictates differently from the Howard government spin. The fact is that younger, first-time voters - and short-term renters moving around the cities - are still overwhelmingly Green and/or Labor voters. Howard simply implemented an unnecessary new impediment designed solely to block out a significant number of people who don't otherwise vote for him.

And I have a horrible feeling in me waters that given what will surely be a very close election, the number of people who plan to vote but find out too late they've missed the boat could just be enough to swing the victory Howard's way.

So I'm doing my little bit in my tiny corner of the blogiverse to make sure this doesn't happen, by reminding all good QP-reading folk to please make sure you don't fall victim of Howard's masterplan. Your best option to is to follow this link to the AEC website, where you can check your enrolment details, electorate, polling places and so on.

Of course, this would not be an issue if we had fixed election dates like the US and some Oz states. In a true democracy, it should not be left to the whim of the PM of the day to call the vote according to the date of the most favourable opinion poll. Every time I hear Howard coo that he has 'no idea' when the election will be I'd like to strip the smug look off his mug with undiluted sulfuric acid politely point out to him that his lack of knowledge could easily be resolved by providing himself - and we pleb voters - with certainty, so that in the event we miss out on being correctly enrolled to vote, we have nobody but ourselves to blame.

Nevertheless, this is not the case, so today I'm doing my blog bit (and will probably post subsequent reminders until the big day). Even if you're planning to send your vote-love J-Ho's way, I still want you to be enrolled. Unlike Howard, I want this election to be a genuine reflection of the majority will of all voters.

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