You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.
I don’t know where all the time goes. It’s here, I’m fairly certain of that, but I’m just not seeing it. I imagine it would need to be around here somewhere, but the alarmist in me now suspects extremists of some sort have detonated some kind of time vortex under my orbital platform.
Nothing really interesting to report, otherwise. The western front is quiet, but busy, you grok?
Here are some tunes I’ve managed to listen to (and enjoy) lately, courtesy of me entering this millennium and finally setting up a media extender in the living room. Some of the tunes are newer; some of it’s older stuff I’m digging all over again. Given the presence of some ‘8-bit nerdcore dubstep’, I guarantee that the following is at least a touch eclectic if nothing else.
DJ Food – The Crow
The Darkness – I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Neon Neon – Belfast
YTCracker – The Link
Party Ben – Another One Bites Da Funk (Daft Punk vs Queen)
IAM – L’Empire du Côté Obscur
One of the coolest things about Australian elections is that you don’t throw your vote away pitching your lot in with a minor party. You order the candidates as you prefer; once the votes are tallied, if no candidate has 50% of the vote then everyone who voted for the least-voted-for candidate has all of their second preference votes cast, and so on until the magic 50% mark is hit.
One of the lamest things about Australian elections is having to number all of the senate candidates for your state in order of preference. Last time out I had sixty-odd names to order and boned my ballot paper twice because I was being very clever about putting the nutjobs at the bottom, the anti-bozos at the top and was working my way from both sides towards the middle when I hit numeric snags in the shape of duplicates. You can, of course, just pick one party and use their preferences (known as ‘voting above the line’) but then you’re kind of throwing your democratic rights out the window.
This time around, I’m prepared! There are two websites which let you use a web interface to order the candidates at your leisure and print out a guide to take to the polling booth with you.
Now there’s no reason to not do things the hard way. Use these tools to lodge a proper protest vote and tell the big parties they all stink! Or don’t – that’s the beauty of democracy.
Oh, speaking of elections:
Arcadia (AKA Duran Duran) – Election Day
With the Australian federal elections coming up, everyone might have to endure a bit of tunnelvision on my behalf until the whole thing is over (apologies to those of you elsewhere). Fellow Australians who value my company, you’d better hope that the crypto-fascist otherwise known as Tony Abbott doesn’t get in, otherwise I’m moving to Sweden.
I think the Internet is starting to shape the election landscape in Australia. I’m going to use that clever little revelation of mine to kick off a discussion of the technology, then selfishly segué into an assassination of a party I despise.
Enough people now see the internet as a valid broadcast medium; it’s a cheap and massively accessible medium at that. This is helping some of the fringe parties flourish as disillusioned voters gain access to information about options other than the big two (or the Greens). As far as I can tell, the big parties have ceased working to advance society and improve our standard of living – they are essentially massive self-serving corporate entities whose job it is is to see themselves re-elected again and again.
On Monday two of the smaller parties, riding this new wave of voter enlightenment, were offered a chance to participate in an informal debate on Channel 7’s morning show, Sunrise. The Australian Sex Party, a civil liberties party, and Family First, an uber-conservative religious party, went head-to-head in a debate that was a gazillion times more interesting than the ‘proper’ debate between Labor and the Liberals. Fiona Patten, leader of the Sex Party, embarrassed the pants off Family First’s Queensland senate hopeful Wendy Francis. During the debate, Fiona was level-headed, well spoken, brought real facts to the table and explained her party’s well thought-out platform; Wendy francis, on the other hand, had little more than schoolyard insults, poor manners and an amazingly large bag of ignorance at her side.
This is the point at which I shift gears from mostly level-headed discourse to spout vulgarities as I dissect some of the finer moments of the debate. I’m probably going to offend someone, but as they say: you gotta break a few eggs to make a Rigellian star-condor omelette.
Warning: I’m not going to be kind, now. I am going to drop some poingant science at the end of this post, though, so read on.
Viper Pilot’s Sex Party vs Family First debate notes and highlights:
The debate begins with Wendy Francis bangs on about taking ‘sex’ off certain billboards (to those of you outside Oz, this relates specifically to a company providing erectile disfunction treatment which was told to take down billboards that had the words ‘Want longer lasting sex?’ and nothing else other than contact details on them), because she’s embarrassed about having to have serious conversations with her children.
I can just see Wendy now, in the passenger seat of the minivan (because husband won’t let her drive if he’s in the car, I presume), cowed into catatonic fright when her darling children ask what ‘sex’ means. Either that or she’s got secret Tourette’s, and she worries constantly that she’ll yell “DADDY RAMS COCK INTO MOMMY’S VAJAYJAY.” to her children some day. Seriously, there are ways to handle that conversation without anyone being sexualized, tormented or grossed out.
Dear Wendy: Just because you’re too much of a simple-minded cow to field the answer like a good parent would does not make censorship okay.
Fiona, on the same issue: “That’s part of a free society: we all don’t have to agree with everything that’s out there.” She’s awesome.
Wendy then, completely off-topic, hijacks the proceedings and accuses The Sex Party of being an arm of the adult entertainment industry. First up, Wendy shows a lack of politeness and respect in the interruption, but she also displays how reactionary her and her kind are that she’d made her mind up about the party based solely on one word. Dear Wendy: ‘civil liberties party’ does not equal ‘dirty nasty sex tape lobby’, you stupid bowl of dick.
The next topic they hit is a royal commission into child abuse in the church. Not surprisingly, Wendy stumbles at a response to that. Grabbing at straws, she agrees that it’s a good idea on the grounds that the inquiry be extended to the sex industry as well. Fiona, calm in the face of the complete loon she’s facing, brings out statistics (something that Wendy, no doubt, has trouble understanding because of all the numbers): 1000 cases of child abuse in the church, while not one in the sex industry. Dear Wendy: do some research before appearing on national TV. Seriously, you should have learned how to look shit up in grade school, assuming whatever Church-run institution you attended valued the ability of girls to learn things other than cooking and sewing.
The next highlight for me is Fiona laying down her patronising voice on the mental midget she’s facing off against: “Child pornography is already illegal, Wendy.” Fiona scores points for resisting the urge to tack a bit of ‘Duuuuuuh’ in there.
Okay, more explanation for the out of towners, this time on the internet filter. The current Australian government is planning on creating a secret blacklist of sites that will be filtered out at the ISP level, and the government plans on keeping the blacklist’s contents secret. Wendy, again, shows how poorly equipped she is to contest an election or drive policy (let alone drive the microbus ferrying the corpses that vote for her party from the retirement village to the polling station), by requiring that Fiona explain to her the government’s proposed policy ON FUCKING AIR. Holy shit!
It was a pretty simple plan, but Channel 7 did well in both choosing two parties so diametrically opposed and then delivering them topics guaranteed to start a fight. Next up: gay marriage!
“Why would we change something that’s been around forever?” asks Wendy, bleating out once again some words likely placed in her brain by her handlers. Sweet motherfucking monkeys, I wonder what Wendy thinks about abolishing slavery? If you ask Wikipedia, both marriage and slavery predate written history. That’s a metric assload of years ago. Then, one day, someone had a think about it and decided that it maybe wasn’t quite so hot for some humans to not have the same basic rights as the rest of us. And then, shock horror, we changed something that had been around forever.
The more I think about it, I think this means that Wendy actually may be pro-slavery, since ‘keeping things they way they were’ is as far as I can tell a very core (some would say obsessively so) value for her.
Fiona again kicks some ass, deflecting yet another attack at the ‘clandestine high council of pornographers’ that are secretly running her party: <speaking to a child voice> ‘Wendy, the adult industry has no interest in marriage.” </speaking to a child>
I can’t even begin to describe how befuddled Wendy was at the idea of separating, for the purposes of taxation, charitable work done by churches and non-charitable work done by churches. Either she couldn’t figure out a way to come up with an intelligent response and so turtled, or she was genuinely too dim to understand the concept despite several attempts by Fiona to describe the process in small and easy to understand words.
Wendy, proudly: “I think it’s a free society”. Erk, do you? What? You’ve failed to advertise any notion that you value individual freedom so far, and don’t look like you’re going to do so anytime soon. Are you paying attention to what you’re saying? I suspect you’re not. Just a guess, but I suspect you haven’t the CPU cycles to multitask both saying things and thinking about the things you’re saying. Just a guess, though.
Last comment, this time on preferences (Outside Australia? You’re on your own to go Google how elections here work here because it’s a lot to absorb): Family First put the ultra-racist One Nation party and the imaginatively named The Climate Skeptics above Labor and the Greens as well as the Sex Party. Fucked up.
I hardly suspect that many, if any, of the people who stumble upon this blog are would-be Family First voters. In case, somehow, you are, or you’re considering it, and you somehow also made it to the bottom of this dispatch, consider these closing thoughts:
If Wendy Patton is the best that family First can muster to represent them, you ought really be afraid of that pack of medieval fuckwads. On national TV, she had no qualms about fabricating claims, she brazenly lied on multiple occasions, she was rude throughout the debate and more than once displayed a complete ignorance of topics she needs to be aware of to represent her electorate. It’s not like Channel 7 blindsided her with the questions: they’re all big ticket items that have been in the news leading up to the election or, even worse, are priorities in her own party’s platform!
The question is, does anyone really want someone who is going to lie, concoct statements based on conjecture, wallow in ignorance on important issues and who demonstrates a lack of decency and social graces by yelling and interrupting – all on national TV no less – to be the person elected as their mouthpiece, their representative, their stand-in to direct the government on their behalf? If she’s like this with the cameras running, what’s she like in private?
The fact that she was selected by her party to be their face to so many people, and must therefore be vaguely something like an examplar for them, displays what a truly horrible sample of humanity she and her friends are.