Writing this, my 100th blog post, has set me a-thinkin’ about why. Why I’m writing a blog, yes, but also why I’m doing lots of things. Why I’m frustrated by the work I’m doing. Why I love Sydney (and Melbourne, don’t feel left out, folks). Why I get passionate about certain issues in the media.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about these things for some time, but writing this post focussed my thoughts. And while doing so, the word “values” turned up — twice. Once for the current public debate about “Australian values”. And again when my friend and colleague Zern Liew asked me to list my own “personal values”.
Continue reading “Post 100: Thinking about Values”
No, this isn’t an apologia for Nazis, far from it. It’s a plea to reserve “fascist” for situations which actually warrant the term.
There may (may the gods forbid!) come a time when we need to label a government fascist and be taken seriously. So please, don’t devalue it by calling every little disruption of personal choice “fascist”. It’s a very poor media strategy.
Continue reading “Reclaiming Fascism: perspective please, people!”
Until now I’ve avoided adding to the 11 September outpourings. It’s important, yes, but it takes time to reflect. And I don’t really remember it anyway. Garth Kidd‘s phone call woke me. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre, he said. I told him it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t do anything about it — and went back to sleep.
Five years on, I’m not mourning. I didn’t know anyone there. There’s only subdued anger. I’m angry that the deaths of 2749 human beings (plus 19 terrorists) have since been used for questionable political ends. Angry that Australia seems to have gone along with everything that’s come out of it, like a faithful little lap-dog. (However even the most cowardly little lap-dog will bark when he’s asked to do something wrong.) And angry that America’s worst ever terrorist attack has such a stupid name.
Continue reading “The Compulsory 9/11 Post”
Thanks for joining us. In the centre of the screen, wearing the white spacesuit — sorry, white Extra-Vehicular Mobility Unit — is Heidi Piper. This is her first Extra-Vehicular Activity in her brand new Extra-Vehicular Mobility Unit. Heidi’s current task is “remove aft solar array blanket box restraints”.
Judging by the loud clanging noises, followed by something falling off, Heidi’s task involves bashing something until it falls off.
No-one else seems bothered. I assume it’s OK to bash your space station until bits fall off.
You can’t quite see him, but up on the left is Joe Tanner. This is his sixth Extra-Vehicular Activity — oh, “spacewalk”, dammit! — so he gets to “mate the T5 to the J5” on the P4 truss segment.
That’s is, Joe plugs in a data cable.
Continue reading “Why the US space program is shite”
“Oh, no mate, I wasn’t Stilgherrian until after that was taken. For my student card, so that’d be… March, maybe February. Stilgherrian wasn’t until Winter Solstice…”
25 years ago today!
Daggy photo, eh? Am I scared or was I trying for cool and moody, somehow? Scared, I reckon. I was too nerdy to even know how to look moody, let alone actually achieve a significant level of floppy-haired angst. Now Stephen… now he pulls that off so well. But then he lives in Melbourne, it’s “of the place”.
Sydney doesn’t have the sandstone Victorian for a fully grey, Londonesque, Londonangstridden pout, 30% eye shadow and 70% the precisely-edited slow-motion curl of a designer black trench coat. Not with any genuine sense of ennui, anyway.
Continue reading “Winter Solstice Name Day 25”
You probably missed it, but last week Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty actually proposed forcibly “reprogramming” people’s political beliefs.
Speaking on ABC TV’s Lateline on 8 March, Keelty says we should look at techniques which have been used “successfully” in such bastions of human rights as Indonesia, Singapore and Pakistan — even referring to it as “best practice”.
Keelty equates reprogramming people to convincing an informer to give evidence, and says this is the next step… to re-program somebody who has a belief or holds a belief. It has already been discussed with the government in the context of anti-terrorism control orders.
Commissioner Keelty, just in case you’ve forgotten Articles 18 and 19 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, here’s a refresher…
Continue reading “Fed Police chief proposes “Reprogramming””