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Thursday



MILD REBUKE

THE DALLAS OBSERVER carries a review of the latest Harry Potter movie by one Gregory Weinkauf. It's a pretty pedestrian effort until the author decides to outro with a political comment:

Chamber of Secrets is a welcome delivery of childlike wonder for a planet of ever-increasing ugliness. We've accidentally allowed a retarded monkey to rule America, but otherwise it's not such a whimsical place.
MIKE at Cold Fury is not all that pleased at this turn of events and vents sensationally:

A retarded monkey? Our President is a retarded monkey?!? Well, at least he isn't an America-hating lying whore-mongering communist rapist, you pencil-dicked numb-nutted piece of jellied eel. Did your mother have any children that lived, you shit-sucking left-wing gasbag of an oxygen-thieving cockdrip? How's that for polite, nonpartisan political discourse, you goddamned waste of a name? I'm surprised that nobody in Texas has come around yet and thumped your empty head like a big bass drum, you stinking sack of weasel shit. And, as Sully said, how does it feel to have been trounced last election by a retarded monkey, you dimwitted bottom-feeding asswart? And you can shove that "whimsical" right up your well-reamed asspipe, with razor blades attached, you cloven-hoofed cud-chewing fuckstick.


Wednesday



CHASING THE VIAGRA VOTE

Who said the Victorian election was boring? It may have been, then along came Maxine Fensom.

We're running this tomorrow:

THE Victorian Liberals have urged voters in the Melbourne electorate to give their first
preference to independent Maxine Fensom, a sex industry campaigner with the slogan ``Put 1 in
Maxine's box''.
Ms Fensom, a former Playboy pin-up who has been involved in the sex industry for 15 years, has
two stripping agencies.
She is campaigning at the Sexpo adult industry exhibition today, where she hopes to get an
endorsement from Californian porn star Ron Jeremy.
Ms Fensom said she sent every state parliamentarian a cover from a porn video as part of her push
for the legalisation of non-violent adult erotica.
``You can see blood and guts while you can't watch people having sex, it's hypocritical,'' said Ms
Fensom.
The Liberal Party usually takes a conservative line on liberalising Victoria's sex laws and opposed
Labor's proposal to establish sex tolerance zones and a street worker centre in St Kilda.
In newspapers today the Liberal Party ran ads saying ``How to vote Liberal on November 30'',
listing its candidates for each seat and how to rank them.
In Melbourne, which has eight candidates standing, the party recommended its candidate Sue
Bourke be listed 1, Maxine Fensom 2, and Housing and Community Services Minister Bronwyn
Pike be listed 7th.
Questioned about the recommendation today, leader Robert Doyle said the party's administrative
committee was responsible for ranking candidates on the how-to-vote card, not the leader.
Ms Fensom said the Liberal Party was aware of her policies because officials contacted her about
their preferences.
She said she asked them to agree to legalise non-violent adult erotica but they refused.



A GOOD LIE DOWN FOR A START

Poor mad MARGO.
BLAIR'S got her in a chopper spin high above the ropes and is about to execute the fatal body slam.
Whatever Kingstonakhan had in her baccy pouch when she scribed her post-Bali bomb "we brought it on ourselves'' missive from Byron Bay last month, it's done serious damage to her memory bank.
She blued seriously with Bob Carr yesterday who accurately accused her of blaming the Aussie victims (her words) "who were guilty because they were celebrating in a 3rd world country''.

Margo whines today:
Mr Carr's allegation is not true. Truth doesn't seem to matter to the man who wants us to trust his administration with sweeping new police powers over citizens. I am a relatively well known journalist who the Premier of NSW trashed in public. I fear for the fate of the powerless in private. ... I've read through everything I've written about the Bali bombing, and I can't find anything in which I blame the Bali victims for the bombing. The very idea makes me feel sick.


Blair counter-punches: Oh, really? Better grab a bucket, Margo. Here's what you wrote on October 14, three days after the Bali attack:
I know little about Bali, and whether we've respected and nurtured the place we love to visit or colonised it with our wants. A friend in Byron Bay said Australians had taken Bali over, business wise, and that acquaintances with businesses in Bali were considering coming home before this horror. They sensed resentment, and felt a growing unease.
Maybe part of it is the lack of services for locals. A completely inadequate hospital, for instance, so graphically exposed in the aftermath of the horror. Some people - foreigners like us, elite big-city Indonesians - make their fortunes. Have residents lost their place, their power to define it? Did the big money fail to give enough back to the people who belong there, whose home it is?

Blair interprets:
Read that again, between heaves. Have we "respected" Bali or "colonised it with our wants"? Have we "foreigners" – that is, Australian tourists – caused locals to "lose their place, their power"? Have we failed "to give enough back to the people who belong there"?

This is too cruel. Someone ask the Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief to end it all.



Tuesday



HAIR OF THE ...?

Western Victorian shaggy dog trainer Duncan McKenzie has been visiting Groansville again.
Dunc's latest yuk, yuk offering:

On the Hume Highway north of Craigieburn just south of Wallan is a small
hamlet which in its early years was originally called "Mercy". It is
nowadays called "Beveridge" although that is a misspelling of its popular
name "Beverage" which it gained many years ago after a particular drink
once served there.

The story continues. . . .

Two blokes were almost collapsing from heat exhaustion in the
middle of an extraordinarily hot summer.
They had almost given up hope of finding something to drink when they
staggered around a bend to see the roadsign "Mercy" and just beyond it was a
single building that appeared to be an old roadhouse.
As they approached they remarked to each other how good it was going to be
to get a cold drink. A large cold beer maybe - one where you could draw in
the frost on the side of the glass.
They almost crawled in the front door and gasped out to the old lady behind
the counter "Could we have some cold drinks please? A beer maybe?"
The woman said "I'm sorry, but I don't serve cold drinks - but I can get you
a nice hot cup of our famous billy tea".
"Anything!" they gasped.
Shortly she produced a steaming billy and set it before them. Just as they
were about to drink hungrily from it, they noticed it had gum leaves in it
and, horror of horrors what appeared to be a koala immersed in it. It's
pathetic little paws gripping the sides of the top of the billy.
"Oh! My God!" they cried "Look what's in there!. Can't we strain it?"
"I'm sorry" the woman explained . . . .

[scroll down]






"The koala tea of Mercy is not strained!"




LEARNING THE WRITE WAY

With imagination, a will to succeed and modern technology all sorts of dreams can be realised. This delightful piece from THE DENVER POST tells how an enterprising migrant has turned to authorship to not just teach herself English but to nurture her child's literacy development.
It's so simple really -- software and imaginative educators enabling people to help themselves.


Monday



BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD EXPLAINED

Brave bloke, Alan Barron. A resident of my home town, he has for the past decade waged a lonely war against the forces of extreme feminism. That is a guaranteed invitation to much abuse, sneering and defamation. It rarely attracts any lucid opposing point of view. In this piece circulated at the weekend Alan links the emergence of an ignorant, violent, slothful class of young man to the absence of effective father figures. He's on the money.

Women, the media, and the feminisation of popular culture

By Alan Barron,
Convenor, The Institute of Men's Studies, Australia.

15 November, 2002 (words 1,500)

The impact of feminism is having a dramatic impact on popular culture. One there was hardly a female face on television as journalist, news reader/anchor or as compare. Times have changed.
In the past 30 years females have slowly but surely increase their numbers. Today we have female presenters, compares in abundance. Location, Location Location, Funniest Home Video's. Perfect Match all have female presenters, not even a male co-host!

Today females completely dominate journalist places at our universities. In nearly every tertiary institution, females are in the majority, in many cases they number 70% of students! Men are being squeezed out. Females since the 70s, due to affirmative action programs at secondary schools and universities, have slowly but surely increased their numbers. This has translated to more professional jobs for women as the statistics clear show. As females increased their numbers in law, medicine and arts-journalism faculties, so to did female numbers begin to rise in these traditional male areas of employment. Too bad that traditional male ares of employment were rapidly contracting thanks to structural changes in the economy due to economic rationalism.

So the bottom line is women get more than a fair go. It is men who are being marginalised both in society and in the media. In addition political correctness has savaged male status and dignity.

All major drama's, soapies, and most news bulletins today have a strong female presence. Females now dominate the lead roles in many television series, especially in crime and law series. The list is endless and includes, Blue Heelers, Stingers, White Collar Blue, Water Rates, Halifax MP, Marshall Law and overseas series such as Law and Order, CSI and The Bill to name a few. Now there is a live broadcast of actual court room cases featuring Judge Judy.

Twenty five years ago men played all the lead roles in the cops and law/legal series in popular productions such as Petrocelli, Starky and Hutch, and in local productions such as Homicide, Division 4, and Cop Shop. But then came two female cops - Cagney and Lacey. Today, it is not uncommon for women to star in a series without a male lead, such as Halifax MP. In other law/cop dramas, L.A. Law set the pace in the 80's and today's series such as Water Rats and Blue Heelers, Prime Suspects, Profiler, The Bill and Murder Calls, women share the lead and play it just as tough as the men.

On X -Files, the twist is that the male partner Mulder (David Duchovny) is intuitive and empathetic while the woman, Scully, is coolly scientific. Maybe that's why Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) has become a cult figure, with their Internet Web site being one of the most visited.

In medical dramas' once there was Doctor (Ben) Casey and Doctor Kildare, now its Christine Lahti in Chicago Hope and a host of female leads in E.R. All the chat shows were male (Phil Donahue), now its Sally-Jessy Raphael, Ricki Lake and Ophrah Winfrey. Most shows have female script writers although most are produced by men. The rationale for having so many women is that apart from sport, women dominate television viewing, and even the full-time housewife likes to identify with strong female leads claims Lee Burton, a media lecturer from the Victorian College of the Arts.

The feminisation of the media is, I believe having a deleterious effect on our youth. Today our young men are restless, unmotivated and apathetic. And no wonder. There are no longer the positive role models for them anymore in popular culture. Once there were "My Three Sons", "The Brady Bunch", "Leave it to Beaver", and "Happy Days" to provide positive male, family friendly role models. But not any more. Sit coms now depict friends flatting together and the focus is on work and/or having a good time. It has now become unthinkable to have a family based sit com today, because it is argued society is much more pluralistic and diverse, besides, the nuclear family is only 43 per cent of the population it is fallaciously claimed.

No wonder men and women too - lets not kid ourselves - are confused as to what is the appropriate sex role. Many people have trouble distinguishing between fiction and reality - despite our increased sophistication. With males making up the bulk of the unemployed and with males comprising four out of every five suicides, is this because boys/men no longer feel valued, or that they have no proper role to play any more?, and that there is no longer something unique which defines them as males (as distinct from females)?

In an era which has witnessed the breakdown in traditional sex roles and the widespread family breakdown and divorce - when a father's example may be in precious short supply or absent altogether - who is a boy/young teenager to look up to as a male guide to his rites of passage, now that positive role models are no longer available in our popular culture? Research shows that our young men, especially boys raised without fathers, are turning to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator character -and others in his mould - as role models, according to Dr Peter West, a Sydney academic. He said that sons often sought aggressive masculine role models when their fathers were absent. He said that the "search for acceptable masculinity becomes an aggressive masculinity if there is no warm body (of a human role model) tempering the hardness." Dr West said many researchers found fathers were the ghosts of families today. Fathers were largely ignored in research on parenting and neglected by academic centres in preference for women's studies.

9.1 per cent of Australian 4.9 million families are headed by women alone, up from 7 per cent in 1988. This means that for many boys growing up today there are no positive role models at home or in the popular culture. The question of appropriate male influences became more of a problem when a father's contact with his children was limited or ended through family breakdown. From the age of five and three-quarters, while boys are still holding the (psychological) hand of their mothers, they are also scanning their environment and studying for the part of what it is to be masculine.

The problem, say sociologists and relationship experts, is that masculine images today are all too often one dimensional and contradictory, with each one emphasising certain qualities without being the full package necessary for boys to grow into well adjusted, whole men. Modern society is not short of alternative role models, especially in the media: sportsmen, rock stars, even action heroes in the Arnold Schwarzenegger mould all project influential images of masculinity.

The head of psychiatry at Melbourne University, Professor Bruce Singh, said boys needed a consistent father figure to learn that men have weaknesses as well as strengths, and that these are integrated parts of the whole person. But the "constellation of normal emotional life" was being distorted by the double hit of the breakdown in the nuclear family ideal and the erosion of the extended family.

The uncles and grandfathers who once filled the gap by an absent or inadequate father had been replaced by "larger-than-life" figures created by the media and society that emphasised one aspect of masculinity, Professor Singh said. The result was a group of boys ripe for despair and disillusionment as they grow up and discover that such role models may not only fail them as heroes, but leave them ill-equipped to be husbands and fathers. In the short term, society was feeling the effects in an epidemic of youth depression and suicide. In the long term, society faced the consequences of these behavioural inadequacies being passed from this generation to the next.

A senior lecturer in sociology at Monash University, Dr Neville Knight, said the question of masculine role models was further complicated by profound changes in society's expectations of men and women, family life and employment. Economic globalisation and the feminist movement had rapidly broken down traditional male roles as family breadwinner and protector, while at the same time the authority of potential substitutes, such as the church, had been diminished. The result was a lot of men uncertain of their own place in the new order, much less where their sons might fit in.

No one to date, has researched the negative impact of the feminisation of popular culture on boys/men, and while some may rejoice in the feminisation of popular culture, the truth is that the negative impact on boys/men has not been measured, and worse still, even considered as an appropriate issue for discussion. It's time producers/script writers stopped their male bashing and returned to more traditional sex role depiction. As anthropologist Margaret Mead well said, "finding roles for women isn't the problem - finding one for men is."






CRIKEY, IT'S NOT HALF BAD

Steve Mayne at Crikey has excelled in his sealed section today. (I thoroughly recommend taking out a subscription, even though some of Mayne's correspondents, like Hillary Bray and Hugo Kelly, are fully paid-up, undeconstructed wankers).
The Mayne man has spent the weekend doing his sums to conclude that the Bracks Government has been bleeding the coffers filled by Kennett and not surprisingly this has been ignored by the Victorian media. Hopefully, his expose will result in some serious arse-kicking in editorial executive offices.


Sunday



SOURED CREAN

ALAN RAMSEY in the Sydney Morning Herald has given the kiss of death to Australian Labor Party leader Simon Crean:

Crean will lose the leadership. He has already lost his caucus's confidence. That is now a given with a clear majority of his parliamentary colleagues.


So who does Ramsey believe will succeed Crean as Opposition Leader?
He dangles Kim Beazley doing a Lazarus, pointing to some grilling of the big fella by ABC reporters, who no doubt would love to have the big old cuddly darling of the Left back at the Labor helm.
But Ramsey doesn't think Labor would have Kimbo back.

But the leadership will not go back to Beazley. That, too, is a given among the people in Labor who, ultimately, will decide the issue. There are only three contenders: NSW's Mark Latham and Queensland's Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd.


And the winner is (according to Ramsey):

Brisbane's Swan is clearly best placed, at this time, of the three viable contenders. His main rival is Sydney's Latham, with Rudd only an outside chance. Latham has the political courage and the fire. He does not have the votes. Swan has the votes. Or the best chance of getting them. Certainly Swan will press a strong coalition of support from right, left and centre among caucus's 92 votes (41 right, 40 left, 11 centre).

So there you go. Looks like a pretty bleak Christmas for my old Spencer Street housemate.



YOU CAN GET IT ROBBING A BANK

Hope he tipped the barman, this suspected armed robber who was caught after stopping for a beer at his local bar.
Police in the US say Joaquim Grace went for a drink at an American Legion two blocks from the scene of the crime in Taunton, Massachusetts.
The bar manager told police that Grace, a regular customer, had stopped in for a beer and that he appeared to be sweating. The bar manager said Grace called a cab and left.





PYRRHIC PROMOTION

Monash University political analyst Nick Economou had some thrilling news today in the Sunday Age for our local MP Ian 'Young Nipper' Trezise.
After winning three of the four lower house divisions and the upper house province in the 1996 Kennett-slide, the Liberals have been losing their grip on Geelong, albeit gradually. In 1999 Labor's Ian Trezise won Geelong by a mere 16 two-party votes. Now a minister, Mr Trezise is being challenged by former mayor Stretch Kontelj who, as a result of the recent redistribution, is actually defending a notionally Liberal seat.

Last we checked at Young Nipper's office, just down the wallaby from the Slatts hacienda, he was handling his constituency effectively enough, but no-one, including the Nipster himself, was suggesting he was yet ready for the Ministry.
Every time these urban pundits cast their view beyond the city limits, they seem to stuff up gloriously.



THE SMOULDERING OPPRESSED

Enjoyable Wall Street Journal piece today by PEGGY NOONAN takes up the cudgels for the one significant minority that bleeding hearts don't get in a tizz over: smokers.
The Pegster fumes stylishly:
In bars, where the people we force out of our business offices seek refuge! In bars, where half of us plan to spend our last hours after Osama tries to take out Times Square. In bars, the last public place you can go to be a dropout, a nonconformist, refusenik, a time waster, a bohemian, a hider from reality, a bum, a rebel, a bore, a heathen. The last public place in which you can really wallow in your own and others' human messiness. The last place where you can still take part in that great American tradition, leaving the teeming marching soldiers of capitalism outside to go inside, quit the race, retreat and have a drink and fire up a Marlboro and . . . think, fantasize, daydream, listen to Steely Dan or Sinatra, revel in your loser-tude, play the Drunken Misery Scene in the movie of your life, meet a girl, meet a guy, meet a girl who's a guy. The last public place you could go to turn on, tune in, drop out and light up.
No more, says our mayor. Unclean! In this Bloomberg exhibits for the first time a bad case of mayoral mental illness. Something about being mayor of New York makes you, ultimately, nuts. In David Dinkins it manifested itself this way: Facing deep recession, rising crime and union strife he would contemplate our problems and then call an emergency press conference to announce his answer. The city of New York, he would say, will no longer do business with the racist government of South Africa. In Rudy Giuliani's case it was government by non sequitur--government by someone who needed an event as dramatic as 9/11 to provide a foe as big as his aggression.
For Mr. Bloomberg now, it is Bloomberg Has Decreed. Mr. Bloomberg doesn't allow smoking in his east side townhouse, Mr. Bloomberg will not allow it anywhere in New York. Those nasty working-class folk who still suck on cancer sticks while swilling Buds will be put down. Bloomberg Decrees.
What an idiot. What a billionaire snob bullyboy.


PAUL KELLY in The Australian has penned a deft explanation of where Howard and Crean differ on the terror threat. It would seem Crean is sunk unless he realises a think globally, act globally, no-compromise strategy's the only course we can afford to take. And he's going to find that hitching your wagon to the UN will not exactly impress the average Australian voter come March when Colonel Gadaffi takes over the UN Human Rights Commission.

Here's a variation on copping an earful for getting home late from the pub.
An Iranian woman cut off her husband's ear after he asked her why she was late coming home.
A court in southern Tehran, heard that the woman took out a knife, sliced off one of his ears and put it in the palm of his hand.


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