Guardian Australia not the droid you’re looking for

The Guardian masthead: click for media releaseThere’s something weird and creepy about the way journalists and other media tragics have been fawning gape-jawed over this morning’s official announcement that The Guardian is launching an Australian edition. Mummy England will save us from the evil Mr Murdoch!

What, like some weird hybrid lefty combat nanny droid, constructed in the UK’s finest media laboratories out of the Queen, Sigourney Weaver (as Ripley) and Brooke Vandenberg, strapping itself into the drop ship to bring quality journalism back to the colony planet?

I even saw one highly-experienced media professional say it was great to see people trying new things. “New”? Which bit about this is “new”, exactly? Words and a few pictures on a website, written by the same kinds of people that have always written them?

It’s all being spun as a positive thing, of course, and the reporting so far seems to be swallowing the party line. The Guardian expands, challenges existing operators, media diversity quality journalism democracy commitment innovation groundbreaking unique take blah blah effing blah fuck it kill me now.

Knowing nothing more than what’s in the media release, let’s do a bit of old-fashioned follow-the-money…

Continue reading “Guardian Australia not the droid you’re looking for”

The 9pm Edict #16

The 9pm EdictPrime Minister Julia Gillard delivers the world’s most tedious Christmas Message. A motorists organisation wants the world to be more predictable, just like it used to be. And Twitter wins the hearts and minds of the world’s media, the puppets.

In this episode you’ll hear what I think about the Prime Minister’s Christmas Message, which doesn’t hold a candle to my own Christmas Message from 2008, let alone the Queen’s Christmas Messages, such as Her Majesty’s 50th such message in 2007; the NRMA’s claim that petrol pricing is too hard to predict and their call for an inquiry; the fact, or supposed fact, that Twitter gets more news mentions than Facebook, even though the latter is much, much bigger; and a really, really stupid tweet from Shahira Abouellail, whose blog is called fazerofzanight.

You can listen below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.


If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. Mark Zuckerberg news item from NewsyTech.]

When should I deliver my Christmas Message?

Photograph of Stilgherrian for Christmas

OK, the photo is from last year, but I couldn’t be bothered doing another one just yet. However, I have an important question for you!

Next Thursday is Christmas Day, and I’ve decided to do a special edition of Stilgherrian Live called His Excellency Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message His Benevolence Stilgherrian’s Christmas Message [see comments]. Something along the lines of Her Majesty’s little efforts from 2007 or 1957.

The question is: What time on Christmas Day should it be broadcast. In the afternoon at 3pm? Certainly not the usual 9.30pm, as everyone will have collapsed by then. But when? And what else should the program contain?

Her Majesty’s Disco Stick

Photograph of Commonwealth Games Baton

According to an unknown retired Major-General, the Queen’s Baton (pictured right) has become the beacon, a shining symbol of unity, of hope and the shared aspirations of a world sorely in need of such healing and inspiration.”

Get me a bucket.

The Queen’s Baton for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games is a subtle and dangerous trap. It is sucking out our brains and it has already formed a parasitic relationship with the Prime Minister.

The Baton grasps John Howard

I urge the People of the Commonwealth to re-name this crass object “Her Majesty’s Disco Stick”.

HM’s Disco Stick is inspiring such pretentious drivel that we’re in danger of forgetting how to think.

“We should applaud Her Majesty’s foresight and wisdom in sending this remarkable baton on its wonderful journey throughout the commonwealth nations she loves so much,” gushes the Major-General. Oh, apparently he’s the Governor-General, I’ve just been told.

Behold the Disco Stick!

Behold the triumph of feature-list over taste!

  • Disco Stick is jam-packed with cutting edge technologies never before utilised in a Games baton, including front and rear view Baton Cam.
  • Disco Stick has Global Positioning System (GPS), so we can track its every move — at least when the website’s not overloaded and the satellite link’s working.
  • Disco Stick’s front slots glow with a green light, like a hotted-up computer case from Chinatown.
  • Disco Stick’s green lights flash in a chaser pattern! The green light moves up and down its length like an athlete’s self-love!

Behold the subtlety of Melbourne’s self-promotion!

The gold tip reflects Melbourne’s elegance and grandeur and the important role the metal has played in the city’s history and prosperity. Melbourne thrived during Victoria’s 1850s gold rush, which drew many people from diverse nations to the great city to seek their success; not unlike the athletes that will flock to Melbourne for the Games in 2006.

Magnesium, often referred to as the “metal of the future”, is used in the front panel of the baton. Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of magnesium and the metal has special significance to Australia’s prosperity and economic future. The green colour used on the back of the baton reflects Melbourne’s park surrounds and Victoria’s place as “The Garden State.”

And behold the People’s Praise!

Geoff Strong scored a free trip on The Ghan and used his journey well:

The Queen’s Commonwealth Games baton rests in its case like a sculptural tribute to the underground nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. When its batteries are activated the thing radiates a rippling phosphorescent green, its Melbourne-based designers perhaps inspired by a Doctor Who episode or a Star Wars movie.

But what I love is that amid all this mucilaginous praise, this Baton is still an Australian baton: the night before its Big Day, the Baton is going to a party.

Assigning Blame

Charlwood Design's wireless EFTPOS terminal

Her Majesty’s Disco Stick was designed by Charlwood Design in Melbourne. They’re also responsible for empire-inspiring wireless EFTPOS terminals (pictured right), hotel door locks, ventolin inhalers and a thing for bashing down asphalt on the roads.

I don’t blame Charlwood’s designers, though. They had a hard act to follow.

In 2002, Manchester gave us the magnificent Jubilee Baton — fashioned from sterling silver and engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists’ families and cultures, including a wolf, a raven and “an eagle with a frog in its mouth”.

Jubilee Baton from the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games

A Final Plea

Once again, I urge the People of the Commonwealth to re-name this crass object “Her Majesty’s Disco Stick”.

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends.