Friday, December 21, 2007

I hate earthquakes

Why are there more earthquakes in summer? Or does it just feel as though there are.

A decent shake in NZ last night, on the eve of my holiday. "Nasty" is a word that keeps coming up to describe it. Amazing no real casualties despite buildings collapsing. Aussies keep in mind that Newcastle was a mere 5.6, this was 6.8 on an exponential scale.

Am still shuddering.

Ok - a morning at work, a mad run around to close up the business for a few weeks, do the banking and other such boring things, finish packing (the suitcase has already reached critical mass and there is more to get in there yet)....

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

spellchecker!



Am heading off across the ditch any day now - have a good one, whatever you do or don't celebrate.

Monday, December 17, 2007

welcome the pussy hunter!

Greetings to the person who stumbled on Other Rants Central today with the following search criteria:

"Maxine Bennelong Pussy"*

Is Maxine replacing Natasha as the parliamentary pin up gal?

* overseases readers: no doubt wanting a close up of this.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

seasons greeting

Did you know god has his own tube now? Thanks to Katie Schwartz I came across this delightful little video. Like her, I am caught between the utter absurdity of it and the oh-so-wrong message it gives. "A letter from Hell" takes god bothering to a whole new level. But kiddies, if you listen very carefully in the first few minutes you hear the word "fictional" spoken very fast. The characters, the 'letter', the story and the message are just that. But still, what sort of sick puppy thinks up a script like this?



My antidote?



...yes a merry one to you all

update: dyslexic athiests atheists unite!

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

last word on the election



Are we ever going to see your face again? Only at the war criminal trials I hope!

(note for the NB: perhaps don't send this to your favourite uncle :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

friday quickie

When the radio newsreader says "the Prime Minister" I keep thinking of the ex-member for Bennelong, which temporarily confuses me if the PM does something I agree with. It gets me everytime.

Christmas? I'm with Catherine Deveny (yet again) on this one.

Tonight I have a 'work' party, which is kind of odd when you are self-employed. I have an office on the same floor as lots of other people who work for themselves in an entirely different profession to me. My aim is to be in by 5pm and out by 6pm, a quick drink and a quiet exit down the back stairs. Wish me luck.

If I have a hangover tomorrow, please shoot me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

got a bone to pick with Pamela

I am a bit late to the party on this one (it is the silly season after all) and it has been discussed elsewhere. One of those feminist moments that has been chewed over and spat out with distaste by some. No. Not the fact this country has had a woman at the helm for the last 24 hours. I am very happy that “our Julia” is acting PM while Kev is playing with the big boys in Bali but being a kiwi all I can say is “it’s about time”.

I’m harking back to the days of innocence. When one intelligent, older stateswoman stood up at a conference about an obscure aspect of literature and dared to not answer an off-topic question from a journalist in a manner that the askee wanted. Wearing the hat of Dr Greer, she came to Melbourne to give her time to the dissection of Jane Austen. She was wearing the professorial hat, not the feminist champion of all causes one and it upset one dogged individual who pursued who to give an interview. When Pamela Bone, along with ACA and all manner of other media hounds who wanted some controversial quote from the good doctor, didn’t get her session with Germaine Greer she obtained a ticket to the public lecture and let it be known that she would ask her questions there instead.

So here we are a group of “school teachers, nearly all women” (of the 9 of my mates, 2 were school teachers, 1 had a degree in education never used, 1 was a university lecturer and 1 was male – not sure if we were representative of the audience but she didn’t poll it well), who had come out of curiosity/a love of Austen/a love of Greer/to be amused/to learn something new – and at the end of an otherwise pleasant evening the last question form the crowd was a journo with an agenda.

Bone’s piece in the Oz makes an attempt at her version of fairness by admitting this was a venue to discuss literature, not politics. However the inference is that once a figurehead, you can never have a day off. If you set yourself up 40 years ago to be the voice of a generation of women you must take on every cause of female oppression for the rest of your life or you are letting the side down. No matter what profession you follow in life, you will always be the author of a groundbreaking feminist tome and you are not allowed to deviate from that role ever again.

The journalist was like a crazed mother whose child had died and turns up at a kids party years later screaming, “How can you celebrate when some women have lost their children”. She was a being obsessed with a cause and no matter how inappropriate she was gong to follow it.

The consensus was Greer answered her questions well, with compassion, intelligence and grace. She made great points as to why this wasn’t her cause yet didn’t denigrate it. But what Bone failed to listen to and report accurately was the point that Greer (and no doubt Bone) carries no weight in Africa, had no cause for respect and is likely to do harm rather than good to wade in there – as an unmarried, immodest woman with ironically only one thing on her side, her age. Why would the powers that be in that country listen to an infidel/harlot/whore? Surely that would only confirm these women some how deserved to be raped?

While Bone reports that she felt safe heading out into the Melbourne twilight – women of all ages, colours and creeds continue to be sexually abused in this country. Only yesterday a judge failed to convict some young men over the gang rape of a 10 yo girl because it was considered she may have encouraged it, given some kind of consent. What century are we living in? Is a young Aboriginal girl any more advantaged than a woman in Dafur?

But more to the point if you are not active in one cause over another, does it make you racist or if you hassle a ‘sister’ – does it make you any different from all the other sexist individuals in the media who like to shoot down tall poppies?

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

like a Glasgow kiss, only crunchy?



at Melbourne Design Market at Fed Square car park last weekend

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Heffernan Lane, Melbourne





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Saturday, December 01, 2007

an evening with Germaine

Could I just say Germaine Greer has a brain the size of a planet. While I’ve always known it is of a larger than normal capacity, hearing her speak in an academic capacity last this week at the opening of the Jane Austen and Comedy conference was an absolute pleasure.

Dr Greer admitted it was unusual for her to deliver such a formal oration and it was a joy to soak up such a well-crafted lecture, full of insight, wit and in-depth analysis. With knowledge of Austen only slightly deeper than seeing Colin Firth in a wet shirt (high school English being a very long time ago now) even those of us with a sketchy repertoire gobbled up her every word. When I sighted the Complete Works of Jane Austen in a bookshop a few days later, I had to admit to being sorely tempted

A further treat was watching how Greer handled the Q&A afterwards – with issues from feminism to Dafur shot at her, she showed both wisdom and compassion. But my favourite was her segue to some dating advice for young women. Who would have imagined the bra burner from way back to counsel silence. Yes, the path to dignity sometimes is keeping your mouth shut and not pleading men for their affection. Jane Austen would have been pleased!

I came with a cheer squad, 9 of us in all, taking our place in a sell-out audience. I feared at one point that one of us would scream “We love you Germaine” reminiscent of a supporter at a recent political rally pledging his devotion for the outgoing PM.

Despite a couple of fusty blokes introducing her, it was a strongly female dominated event. A lot of grey hair and devotion to the cause, the type of people who are largely invisible in our society. Did the paucity of people under 40 relate to the topic or the presenter, I don’t know, I guess the Greer fan base is fixed very strongly in women who were at least born by the time she published her first book at the dawn of the ‘70’s. But will younger women adopt her belatedly as a role model? Greer is an outspoken woman, a poster girl for the sexual revolution, undeniably sexy at any age, well educated. Knowledgeable, funny and perceptive – even if generation Y and beyond haven’t quite noticed her yet.

Update:
Helen on the Cast Iron Balcony wrote a much more coherent post about the content of the lecture, including the term "Bildungsroman" that my entire cheer squad spent a lot of time afterwards going "what the?" about.

Pavlov's Cat who was I am told another charming speaker at the conference, adds a further slant to the evening.

Laura tells us what was going on behind the scenes with the nice people from ACA wanting to bring Greer to the masses

Larvatus Prodeo rounds up the highlights.

Even Bolt waged in with a twisted, second hand report on her reply to a question. No, he doesn't deserve a link the reactionary coot.

Last but not least, Greer is voted FHM Woman of the Year!

Update:: I've ranted more about the Bone episode here.

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