His Benevolence Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message

Here it is. The full video of His Benevolence Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message, originally broadcast on Christmas Night as part of the Stilgherrian Live Christmas Special.

For some reason Ustream only recorded the first 70 minutes of that program, so the remaining 2+ hours is lost forever. Apart from this inaugural Christmas Message, which must be preserved for future generations! If the video player does not appear immediately below, try watching it directly on YouTube.

Warning: There is “strong language”. Well, not by my standards, but maybe by yours.

The full text is below, should you wish to read along. However my main aim in putting it there was to attract Teh Googles.

Also, the Message is riddled with continuity and other errors. Perhaps, if you’re bored, you can amuse yourself by listing them in the comments. I won’t mind.

My especial thanks to ’Pong for the massive amount of work on this silly project.

His Benevolence Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message 2008

Good evening, sheep. Sorry, “subjects”. We trust that you’ve had time today to partake in the traditions of Christmas.

The gluttony. The binge drinking. Bongs and backyard cricket. False affection for the relatives you hardly know. False enthusiasm for presents that you’d never have bought with your own money. A fight with your parents about something that’s so deeply repressed in your childhood memories that you can’t remember what it was about — neither of you can — but you know that you hate them you hate them you hate them!

Another drink. Another bong — though perhaps later. Furtive sex with a person you later discover is your actually a close niece or nephew. Another three drinks. Then the depressing realisation that you’ve paid for this. Your credit card is exhausted. And so are you.

By now your guests have departed. You’ve stumbled back inside, ignoring the cyclonic disaster hell that is your back yard and the rest of your house — the rest of your life. You slump on the couch, pour an even larger drink to wash down another year of complete misery. You turn on the TV. You realise that, like every other year before, all 40 channels are full of shit.

As I say, you pay for this.

And so here we are. Cheers!

As your Tsar, I’ve had a challenging year in 2008. And I suppose you have too, but in a simpler, proletarian kind of way.

The global economy has collapsed. Apparently you shouldn’t lend money to people who can’t afford to pay it back! Apparently credit default swaps are really just a kind of expensive game of musical chairs. But the music’s stopped.

The signs of global warming have become obvious, and all of those predictions — the Arctic ice packs melting, the most rapid variation of climate, of floods, hurricanes, of fire, drought — they’ve all happened just as was predicted three decades ago.

The pointless wars over oil continue. We respond not by decreasing oil production [sic], but by sinking billions of dollars into last century’s transport system.

But let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Let’s remember a young man — maybe around 30 years old — a man of Middle Eastern appearance, we’d call him today. He dedicated his life to helping people, to healing the sick. Though a humble man, he was mercilessly attacked. He was accused of the most heinous of crimes — accused of horrific crimes — a pawn in the vicious game played out by a militaristic empire.

I refer of course to Dr Mohamed Haneef.

Dr Haneef was the chosen scapegoat of a government led by that miserable toad John Winston Howard — the Man of Steel — supported by his evil Minister for Immigration Kevin Andrews.

A year ago we celebrated the end of Howard’s depressing anti-human regime. We hoped that Chairman Kevin Rudd’s Iced Vo-Vo Revolution would change everything. But only last week the enquiry into the whole Haneef debacle said that there’d been mistakes at the highest levels of government, at the Australian Federal Police. Nevertheless, the Rudd government said it still has full confidence in its police commissioner, Mick Keelty — a man who two years ago actually suggested forcibly “re-programming” people’s political beliefs. Need I point out that that is the most fundamental breach of people’s human rights?

Meanwhile Chairman Rudd has failed to address the fact that Australia is the largest per capita consumer of carbon fuels — more than any other nation on the entire planet — and his Minister for Being a Complete Prick, Stephen Conroy, is trying to implement the most comprehensive censorship of the Internet of any Western democracy.

Fuck this! Fuck this!

Fuck this!

Some famous historian once said that it always takes a few years for the world to notice how things will change.. Or was it that tanned young apprentice plumber that I had the other year. What was his name? Anyway, whoever it was, with hindsight we can see that the United States became the world’s global leader at the end of World War One, but it wasn’t until the end of the Second World War that everyone became aware of that.

Similarly, the Industrial Age is over, and with it the great industrial age empire of the United States of America and the corrupt, secretive military-industrial complex of the Neocons. Dick Cheney has been indicted. They’ve even voted in a blackfella for President!

But look, before we get carried away with the audacity and hope of President Obama‘s new regime, consider the words of Crikey‘s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane:

Politics is more or less based around people of high principles and good will discovering that the obtaining and exercising of power involves doing bad things, distasteful things, amoral things, [it] involves unpleasant trade-offs and not just the famous half-loaves of compromise but [the] stale, mouldy crusts. And it’s all the more that way because its symbiotic partner, its Siamese twin the media, dislikes complexity and nuance, in favour of the same simple narratives, repeated with an ever-changing cast of characters but the same plots and [the same] moral lessons over and over again.

Yet all this is changing. And the players are afraid.

The newly-hyperconnected world means that politics and the media is changing. Radically. Witness the reporting on the Mubmai terrorist attacks. Witness the reporting on Thailand’s People’s Alliance for a Not-Quite-Democracy. Witness the speed at which resistance to Senator Conroy’s Rabbit-Proof Firewall is organising itself. Haha!

The 21st Century has finally begun, and in the year 2009 we will see it unfold. Cheers!

Looking more locally, let us consider the achievements of the New South Wales state government.

(Long pause.)

Even more locally, I’m pleased to see that in my village of Enmore in Sydney, next to Newtown, it’s full of children. While it’s easy to complain about the pushers — what Americans would call “strollers” — which are bigger than Belgium, there is a joy in seeing the next generation coming into being. And not in that disturbed “we must protect the children” kind of way which imagines children are threatened by pretty much everything on the planet. But in that wondrous, joyous, happy way which I know every parent watching this tonight understands.

Children are our future. They’re growing up in a world where they’re always connected to the global grid, where they know themselves whether some person they’re talking to is one of their peers or some creep — and it’s only ignorant politicians with their own outdated agendas, with their own pervasive ignorance of information technology, who don’t understand.

Well fuck them! Fuck the lot of them!


Finally, let us remember the words of that great poet:

In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Scent and a sound, I’m lost and I’m found
And I’m hungry like the wolf
Strut on a line, it’s discord and rhyme
I howl and I whine I’m after you
Mouth is alive all running inside
And I’m hungry like the wolf.

Goodnight. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

You may now kiss my ring.

11 Replies to “His Benevolence Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message”

  1. There are few words one can use to describe this little piece of video. I have no idea where to even begin and I’m not going to try.

    Nice Fail Whale mug though 🙂

  2. Some notes on this production:

    • For those who enquired about the technicals, the camera is a JVC GZ-HD6, the only sub-$2k HD video camera with 3CCD sensors. 120GB HDD & micro-SD. Though there is a Sennheiser e815S microphone in shot, we suffered Microphone Cable Failageâ„¢ and so you’re listening through my MacBook Pro’s built-in mic. After that it was Final Cut Express for the full HD edit, then re-coding in Quicktime Pro and then whatever Viddler did with it after I’d uploaded. I may fix the interlacing problem — if I can be arsed.
    • The Christmas Message is now an annual tradition. Be warned.
    • A friend has emailed his contacts to promote the video, but called it “slightly self-indulgent”. WFT? Young Man, it is totally self-indulgent!
    • It would all have been much better if I’d finished the script earlier and not, um, an hour before we were due to shoot. On Christmas Eve. Next year will be better. Much better.
    • There will be a “Gname the Gnome” competition soon.
    • I am not President of Iran. Yet. Quite.

    That is all. Move along now.

  3. @Stephen Collins: Erm, yes. Beauty. For some value of “beauty”.

    @Bob Bain: Ah, but I have no need to suck up to the Prince of Wales. I haven’t sat on my throne for decades, thwarting his hopes to become King.

  4. on the internet censorship, do you think they did some deal with the religious groups before the election and need to be seen to come in with their side of the bargain?

  5. @yewenyi: Oh this is almost entirely driven by the religious conservatives. I’ve written about this in various ways, and posts tagged “censorship” have the full story. But there’s four main elements:

    • A couple of years back a petition to parliament was circulated, mostly in conservative churches, which gathered 11,000-odd signatures calling for something to be done about the Internet. Beazley put ISP-level filtering on Labor’s political agenda.
    • During the year-long undeclared election campaign in 2007, the Howard government matched Labor’s promise and created NetAlert. Senator Conroy has just continued that plan, more or less.
    • Conroy himself is a member of the conservative Catholic right wing of the Labor party, which sees the world as a bad place due to people’s moral slackness.
    • Family First is one of the elements currently holding the balance of power in the Senate, and Senator Steve Fielding’s vote is needed to pass any legislation which the Coalition opposes.

    Politics is a dirty business.

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