We’re all familiar with the role of the Daily Telegraph (and its interstate tabloid equivalents) as power-brokers creating regime change in Australia.
And so, on the day after Senator Cory Berndardi makes headlines for ‘defecting from’ (leaving) the Liberal Party to found his own, all-new ultra-conservative party, you wouldn’t be the only one to find the timing and nature of the following news story suspicious:
Yowies are being re-introduced to the market in Australia. This is real news. Hard news. For, surely, most of us didn’t even realise Yowies had ever been off the market. Where was Tim the Yowie Man when yowies needed their profile raised?!
One of the quirky news stories that came up in the Twitter feeds throughout the day was Cory’s insistence on handing out Easter eggs to the press corps last year.
You know what this means, don’t you: nationalism, bread and circuses – this is the first phase of bread and circuses from Bernardi’s yet-to-be-formed new party. Heck, at this stage, I wouldn’t even be surprised if it were the ‘Wowie Wow Zowie Yowie Party’.
Did you know that NSW has an official “graffiti removal day”?
Well it does. And it’s today.
That’s the message the Premier, the Hon Michael Bruce Baird, MP posted to accompany a photographic portrait of himself standing next to a satirical painted portrait of him as ‘Casino Mike’.
It came to my attention via Christopher Moriarty, who’s Facebook page is one of the handful you need to stay atop what’s going on in the world at any time.
Did you know that NSW has an official "Premier removal day"?
Well, it does. And it's the next election.
I couldn’t help but point out that, come next state election, I’d be voting for Christopher Moriarty. Just saying.
I also feel I should add, for the edification of the Premiere and for anyone else: the painting is definitely [street] art rather than graffiti. The difference is the care taken with the artwork, the fact that it's making a statement, offering social commentary that speaks of the milieu (temporal, political, social) in which it was created, rather than merely the ego of the artist. But, you know, removing it, ‘disappearing’ the artist etc also speaks volumes.
By now, lots of people are passing judgement (thanks Katie and Simeon for pointing this out) and of course überblog Junkee has written it up, the site going on to note some of the cleverer comments such as ‘will you replace it with a mural of apartments?’
The most important points to be made at this point are these: the brilliant artist is Scott Marsh; and if the Premier could have just handled the political commentary, spectacular and larger than life though it is, he would have likewise been ‘embiggened’ by it.
Unfortunately, this supposedly ‘humorous’, light-hearted approach to creative political commentary has backfired – as the contributions under the picture on the Premier’s Facebook page attest.
One of my several buddies who’s a comic, bemoans the collective reaction to the Premier’s post.
“Mike Baird takes playful, ironic dig at himself on social media. Irony zooms miles overhead of the usual suspects and Facebook goes into meltdown,” he says. “Bloody hell Sydney, you deserve everything you get.”
Look, I’d like to agree, or feel guilty that I’ve over-reacted, or go easy on that good bloke the Premier (after all, I’ve seen him dressed as a civilian, chowing down on the best restaurant-bought pizza you’ll ever have, at Mimmo’s Pizzeria in Brookvale). And maybe I could. The day after NSW Graffiti Removal Day, if it turns out the mural’s still up then we clearly over-reacted at playful ironic self reflective Premier with a sense of humour. If, however, it's gone the way of live music venues, century-old houses and trees, affordable public transport etc, then I stand by my disdain and that of every detractor.
Only, it seems the mural was painted over; “months ago,” according to one Facebook commentator, “reportedly… one hour after Mr Baird finished the Facebook post,” according to an ABC report.
So as far as interacting humorously with the media, the Premier, that supreme wag, isn’t quite as much of a cool dude as, say, former PM Sir John Gorton, who in 1975 told journos trying to doorstop him that he couldn’t stop to talk, he had to “get home to watch Countdown!”
Not very Gorton at all, our Casino Mike. In fact, if he were to be compared to a former PM, some may go as far as to consider his manner less swimmingly, and his behaviour, more ‘bottom-of-the-harbour’, than Harold Holt.
Of course he's a religious crackpot, seeking to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments. But to help do so, he's abducted some 60,000-odd children over the last 30 years that he has turned into sex slaves and murderers. (Yeah, for Commandment 6, 'Thou Shall Not Kill', read, 'Thou Shall Not Kill When I've Got These Boy Kids To Do It'; and for Commandment 7, 'Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery', there's the addendum 'But Childery's Fine, That's Why I Also Abducted These Girl Kids'.) Kony's been at it for years. Kony 2012 is the campaign to rid the world of him once and for all. This is the year.
There's a short film about it doing the rounds:
As one of my favourite political comics, Scott Abbot, suggested: "Bob Carr, this is your first mission as Foreign Minister…". Heck, it's the one that'll get him UN Secretary General, if not PM. If he handles it the right way and gets to the bottom of it.
If you feel you should do more, you can donate and buy stuff but don't do so blindly: be informed.
Even efore you attach this clip to all your social media stuff, be informed: a lot of the groundswell that has sprung up literally overnight targets Uganda as the centre of Kony's operations; he hasn't been there for some 6 years, and there is a peace process underway there. Furthermore, the LRA much smaller than it once was.
So this campaign, seeking to send US 'Military Advisers' into Africa, has the right inentions. But I can think of past conflicts in other parts of the world to which the United States provided soldiers 'Military Advisers'. Heaps of them. It didn't end so good, for those parts of the world, the locals, or a heap of the soldiers 'Military Advisers' (Psst: it was in Vietnam.) It's worth having a bit more information when contributing to viral memes, is all I'm saying. Cos there's always another side to the story, as the 'Visible Children' Tumblr points out.
I'll get back to the entertainment stories and interviews shortly.
If you’re going to go to all the trouble of making a poster to take with you to a rally, try at least to display it in a manner that will convey the message you actually wish to get across, rather than its opposite.
Not like this guy at the recent Julian Assange protests in Australia.
I didn’t realise this image would be so prescient when I first blogged about it, but there you go: with Kristina Keneally tipped to be in with a good chance to be our next premier in New South Wales, as well as our first female and first American one, all I can say is, “perfect!” It’s pretty much always been the case that there should be only a couple of degrees of separation – if that – between our state leader and allegations of corruption. At least we know she gives excellent interview.
Addendum: Less than an hour after writing this blog, early results on Twitter suggest Keneally’s ahead by two votes.
And, half an hour later, expected to be installed as fourth premier in as many years, at a meeting this evening.
It took me a while to work out just who Kristina Keneally reminded me of. It wasn’t until the ‘Minister’s Unlawful Act’Sydney Morning Herald headline on Monday Oct 19, with the photo that accompanied it.
I know there’s a big difference between acting unlawfully and being corrupt – isn’t there? – and I’m not suggesting anyone in the party is corrupt. But I do remember a certain premier whose mention in the media, in nebulous or dubious contexts, always seemed to coincide with ‘Aboriginal unrest’ in Redfern so that the ‘race riots’ would always be the leading item on that night’s evening news. (How did the citizens of that Sydney ghetto know when to ‘riot’? Did increased police presence result in arrests for activities to which said police normally turn a blind eye, or which that self-same presence incited?) Then, as now, as any time since the Rum Rebellion, it’s best to fall back on that classic escape clause: “it’s the whole system that’s corrupt; has been from the beginning – ever since the Rum Rebellion!”
But I’m in no position to suggest there could be a better way to govern the state of New South Wales, with – say – better transport and healthcare. The reason I’m blogging about this is because Keneally can sound chirpy and enthusiastic in radio interviews. And she looks anything but, in the photo that accompanies the article, declaring that her ‘unlawful act’ happened to “scupper” some “7200” homes that were to be built in the Hunter Valley. Is she sad because she couldn’t build the homes? Shouldn’t she be sad that she couldn’t also provide the infrastructure to those homes? Lack of infrastructure is a major problem in New South Wales.
I know people my age who grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney who have lost significant numbers of friends in their teens and 20s, mostly to drink driving. Not me. I’m from the Northern Beaches, the insular peninsular. Most of the people in my graduating year of high school survived – because when we did young people things, we had public transport to bring us home in the early hours. We were also closer to better equipped hospitals. While the degradation of the healthcare system has levelled the playing field, mediocrity should never be the equaliser to strive for. Nor should 7200 new homes full of motorists – particularly in a time when wars are fought for oil. Wasn’t it interesting that Australia finally went in to bat for East Timor when the other option was allowing a Muslim country to control that nation’s oil. Admittedly, we don’t seem to care that we’re spilling into the ocean and causing untold damage to vital resources. (Our oceans are over fished, often illegally; in some poorer countries, precious fresh water sources are artificially salinated in order to farm prawns for western consumption.)
What I find interesting about the photo of Kristina Keneally is that she looks as glum for the houses she couldn’t build, as Morris Iemma often did for any number of reasons – mostly because he was given the reins of a party that was expected to lose the next electiion, so nobody really needed to follow this particular leader. Iemma resigned from office when his party wouldn’t allow him to sell off the state’s electricity in order to fund transport infrastructure to all those houses that were never scuppered – lawfulness of the action of having development passed, notwithstanding.
Will Kristina still sound chipper on air? Eyes glazed like a 9-to-5 drone who has to spend two hours either end of the work day commuting, smile banished like unwanted children who can’t bear to admit to unloving parents that they don’t want to be babysat by creepy Uncle Touchy…
If she doesn’t quite look dead inside yet, she’s certainly well on the way there – as though she’s realised her idealism and optimism have not only already begun their inevitable deterioration, but that significant and irreparable erosion has already taken place. Like it has in the souls of the people who have to live in the homes that weren’t scuppered. Like it has in the state’s transport and healthcare that continue to fail not only the underserviced inhabitants of unscuppered house, but most of the citizens of New South Wales.
I’m not proud, and I wouldn’t normally admit to it, but I recently
partook of a meal of KFC – or what used to be called ‘Kentucky Fried
Chicken’ until it was re-branded either to avoid the negative
connotations of fried food amongst health conscious fast food consumers
(you sickos know who you are), or because the chicken is no longer
fried, thus constituting a breach under the Trade Descriptions Act (a
section of the Fair Trading Act, apparently).
Either way, said chicken was consumed, no different to any other time the family has chosen to indulge in this sort of meal. But the previous time, for me, was quite a while ago. Years, I’m thinking. So long ago that I was unfamiliar with the current incarnation of the Colonel Sanders caricature that adorns the packaging and related paraphernalia.
“He looks like Kevin Rudd with a goatee and moustache,” my sister pointed out. Pretty funny. But get a load of what moustachioed-and-goatee’d Kevin Rudd was appearing on – it had been so long since I’d dined on KFC that I was unfamiliar with this particular item:
Oh, I assume it’s the refreshing, lemon-scented moist towelette™. But the last time I encountered one of these, it came in a rectangular white package rather than this square red one. And it had directions on the back. No longer offering directions (as if they were ever needed!) it looks like the Colonel has branched out into prophylactics – as if KFC is the meal you’d treat a date to, en route to the boudoir. And they’re doing it deliberately, since the package bears the legend “GET… fresh” – itself a ‘fresh’ (as in ‘improperly bold or forward’) play on the other f-word you could be getting, had you that other, similar-looking packet. Although, what other options did they have for a catch phrase, motto or statement? “It’s finger-licking good” and “I like it like that!” would be just too cheeky.
The irony is, past experience has proven that the refreshing, lemon-scented moist towelette™ wipes up diddly squat. Open it up, and you have two more bits of rubbish to discard instead of one. Better off heading straight to the bathroom and washing your hands properly. But since we chucked our little packets without opening them, I’ll never really know if indeed it was one of those towelettes, and not some other device with which to ‘GET… fresh’. Who knows? Maybe KFC stands for the “‘Kev’s Franger’ Condom”.