Because the world needs more overwrought candour.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I get to interview the director of a missionary organisation on Wednesday and already my mind is leaping ahead to the showdown. The scene: a too-quiet compound reminiscent of Waco in the outer burbs. Doug enters, a suave product of the post-enlightenment. The missionary is seated behind a desk, levitating slightly out of zeal. Our eyes lock. The battle is on! I launch many questions at him and the battle lurches to and from, despite my best intentions of producing a puff piece profile. Why does your website say your particular form of mission, bible translation, is the 'least colonialistic'? Does that mean you accept other forms are colonial? If Christianity was the first exclusivist religion with such successfully realised megalomania, why are there people still crying out for bibles in tiny dialect valley of Papua New Guinea? Why didn't God produce handy printed bibles for the heathens back then?

Sigh. As you can see, visualising this kind of showdown is quite satisfying. But I suspect this is just a misplaced fantasy with the director filling in for my caring and Catholic mother who still has hopes of me returning to the fold. Why is it strangers are so much less fearsome than family?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What youse up to?

Hating bogan-speak is one of the principal joys of the middle class, myself included, and for this reason I've always winced at 'youse'. But B and I were talking about it yesterday and I was surprised at the linguistics factoid that youse offers something new to the language - a helpful delineation between you plural and you singular. This was news to me, but remnant Indonesian from year ten sprang back and reminded me our neighbours use 'kami' and 'kita' to demarcate we (exclusive from the person being spoken to) from we inclusive. If Indonesian, a simplified lingua franca trading language can employ this method to boost clarity, perhaps 'youse' is a long-awaited necessity. The poor offering help to the snobbish rich, perhaps, by helping the language evolve. But B - a linguist - felt differently. She argued that even though the word offers a sharp delineation, added complexity is not necessarily better for a language, with more rules to memorise, and given all languages go through periods of complexity-growth and reductionism, rather than 'progressing'. Further, language changes generally occur from the top down, with the trend-savvy rich adopting new speech patterns and word usages (often in order to differentiate themselves from the poor), only to have the new changes filter down to the poor social climbers. So despite seemingly offering a leap forward - and a chance to embrace bogan culture - youse may be doomed, along with the usefully nuanced 'yeah-nah' which seems to be another bogan loan-word. Or perhaps in a time of populism and tabloids, bogan language will have the numbers to change the language - and at last give Australia the cultural certainty it longs for.

The Sydney Morning Herald fleshes it out here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I've been struggling to get out of a dire mood of late and wondering why, when I found this in a book of essays (penned by a La Trobe uni academic who heaps praise on Australia through the prism of sport, strangely):
...the strange mixture of taking the activity, whatever it might be, with ultimate seriousness, with devotion, striving to complete it with godlike perfection, while realising that it is of its nature arbitary.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Australia-only reference: Cigarettes and road kill

With the entry of cigarette-packet advertising into the hitherto closed market of government shock health tactics enjoyed for many years by the TAC, I foresee a raising of stakes and an escalation of said shock tactics. No doubt TAC strategic planners are grimly contemplating the new cigarette packets, replete with pornographically-tender images of smoking-caused toe rot/lung cancer/tooth explosions/syphilis. Furtive conferences and dark, slow-motion images of six year olds at the very moment of impact with a 4WD will be splayed across screens. Perhaps they'll even smoke, just for the wisps. And then, they'll come up with it. A new slogan. A trump card. Ahem. Out with the bloody idiots and in with:

"If you drink, and drive, you're a retardo-brain cunting fuck-knuckle who licks dogs balls for the flavour."

Variations might include: "Wipe off five, you cunting cunting cunt cunt" or "If you TXT and drive, then C U L8R you filthy creature desirous of animal pleasures", for the older audience.

I doubt the anti-smoking lobby will be able to top that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Failed puns
Despite my occasional dreams of being a lauded and much loved subeditor, whose divisive puns are loved and reviled worldwide, I don't think I'll get there. Two of my proudest moments didn't make the cut past my editor, much to my disappointment. Perhaps they were a little tasteless, but that doesn't make me less of a proud father. So, without further ado:

On a story about a kid who shaved off his locks to raise money for his sick mate, Doug's proud headline was:
"The bald and the bootyful"

Printed headline: "Sean shaves for his friend", or something equally banal.

On a story about a Great Dane attacking a child, Doug went for:

"In Great Dane-ger"

Printed headline: Something like "Dog attack threat".

Bah. My time will come. My time will come.
SuperChrist is back!

Ok, so I've missed the boat on this, what with living in Australia and all. But I saw Superman Returns last night (don't ask) and was astounded at the film's overt Christianity. Sample scenes:

When will I see you, pines Lois Lane. Answer: "I'm always around" (Nice Holy Spirit hat-tip)
- Lois has lost faith as Superman takes off for five years. The fickle woman! That's an order of magnitude shorter than the 1980-odd years Christians have been waiting (St Paul died a disappointed man). But while we're waiting for the real deal, we can at least make do with Superman returning to restore the faith of a benighted world, and Lois, particularly.
- The father-son relationship, where Supey's father tells him he was sent to Earth because we "lack the light to show the way" and it's for this reason that "I have sent them you, my only son". Later, Supey passes the torch onto his son with pseudo-mystical incantations over his bedside: The father becomes the son as the son becomes the father. I presume the Holy Spirit was only absent because the special effects budget was tied up elsewhere.
- The most revealing? Supey tells Lois that "the world needs a saviour". A saviour? Not a hero? Do the Christian Right really need any further shots in the arm?
Add to this several backlit shots of SuperChrist flying over Earth with arms extended in martyr-poses, and the resemblance is uncanny. It's Jesus Mark II! Returned at last in time for the noughties, a revamped saviour with cooler miracle capabilities installed during his time in heaven. Walking on water? Pshaw - stopping jumbos is what it takes to wow the faithless these days. But he still faces the Romans (Lex Luthor and cronies) who laugh at his lack of temporal power, kick him mercilessly out of Jerusalem along the stations of the cross as Supey wallows beneath the weight of our sins to finish with a Kryptonite stabbing reminiscent of a certain soldier's certain spear-wound to the side. Then after three days of death, shrunk down to a minute or two for moviegoers sakes, he returneth to vanquish death and sin forevermore! And because it's the age of Dan Brown, there's even a hat tip to the Da Vinci Code, with the sub-plot of the son-of-Superman conflating several biblical stories, complete with the virgin birth (the kisses Lois and Supey exchange are sibling-like), a patient Joseph figure nursing another man's child, and a hidden blood line that manifests itself like a US college teacher from the wilds of obscurity. Any publicity is good publicity, after all.

If there is any remaining doubt, The Age reports that the film studio originally wanted Jim Caviezel, (Mel Gibson's Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ) but had to make do with a relative nobody who succeeded only in bringing in appreciative murmurs from the gay community.


Can I also add the lamest Christian tie-in I've yet seen:
If they couldn't think of anything better to sustain the populist hype post-Da Vinci code, can I suggest

Monday, July 03, 2006

Quick! Follow the link! (If you're Australian)

If you go here very quickly, you'll see an amusingly muffed banner ad on behalf of Telstra "Big Bond" internet services. Big bond indeed - must have been a Freudian slip on behalf of a frazzled ad exec. "Ok, so our selling point is that we lock people in forever until they can't be bothered attempting to escape, all the while taking advantage of our dominance to push smaller players out of the game. Sound good? No? Ok, I'll water it down a bit."

Or perhaps it's all part of Sol Trujilo's refreshing honesty about the company he now manages. Who knows.