Todays Blog: In which I am nice to Mimes.

I have never found Michael Leunig’s melancholy meanderings in print media particularly edifying. Partly because I believe that the job of newspaper cartoonist is only slightly above that of “Mime” partly because I have never found him funny or even that poignant. He’s just too lachrymose for me. I’ve read Schopenhauer, I’m aware life is pain, I’m living it. I don’t need to have the fact pointed out to me by a duck.

"Without Duck, life has no meaning" - Hildergard Landstom

“Without Duck, life has no meaning” – Hildergard Landstom


But for reasons that I can’t quite fathom Melbournians particularly rich Melbournians go nuts for him. Perhaps for the same reason that Melancholia was popular in England in the last 19th century or why it was popular to engage a hermit to live in your garden. It’s good to remember the little people who have it worse than you who have time to think about morality and all that deep stuff.
That’s how I think of Leunig, Melbourne’s dirty little garden Hermit.
"My year 9 guidance councillor would be proud"

“My year 9 guidance councillor would be proud”


But I have to admit there were some good cartoons that he did on the gulf war and during the reign of John Howard and I suspected that even if I didn’t like his work our political views at least were aligned.
Except it’s pretty damn clear now that our Hermit is Anti-Vax.
As you know I’m very pro-free speech. So I have no problem with The Age running the cartoon that was submitted on Tuesday this week. I feel that I can disagree with the substance of the cartoon without restricting the speech of the cartoonist.

What I can do however is exercise my right to free speech and say this:
Governments are complicated beasts. Not everything they do is good, not everything they do is bad. Sometimes they do the right thing for the wrong reasons and vice versa. But when a government actually turns fascist you will know it. Making vaccinating compulsory is not fascist. It is sensible. Those that advocate against vaccines are doing it against all evidence, against all advice from medical professionals and against the consensus of the scientific and medical community and against the evidence of history which shows the indisputable fact that children used to die in the thousands from diseases we now vaccinate from and now they don’t. And whether they realise it or not in doing so they are advocating for the death of children. If vaccines went away tomorrow children would die. The infant mortality rate would skyrocket. Diseased like whooping cough and polio would kill children and leave those that survived ravaged. There are not two sides to this issue and it’s kind of insane that the government has to tell parents “Do this or your child will die….wait. You’re still not going to do it? Well then we have to make it compulsory so your stupidity does not kill children whose parents were smarter than you”.
IF you are anti-vax, then you are pro-disease.
Pity
Freedom is the freedom to do whatever you want to yourself regardless of the consequences, when you endanger other people and we say no that’s not infringing on your freedom that’s making laws against criminality.
Now I have complicated views on how people arrive at an anti-vax stance, I believe that the media, not seeing the consequence of disease on everyday life and the pressure that parents face on a daily basis all contribute but that does not change the fact that they are just plain wrong. Vaccines are safe, safer than driving, safer than flying, safer than crossing the road or leaving your house (or not leaving your house…what are you going to do now huh?) . Vaccines do not and have never caused autism and they save lives.
Leunig is just plain wrong. And sure your entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts. But honestly if you are getting you’re “Science” or even your morality from a newspaper cartoonist then you’re in serious trouble and I can’t help you.

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That time I fell for the Curates Egg…again and again and again…..

curates_egg_large

We are strange and wonderfully complex creatures and despite being terribly risk adverse we have a proclivity and astounding ability to fall into a “comfortable rut”. Perhaps because we are so risk adverse. This rut can often be described as the “Curates Egg” a Curates egg is when we are in a bad situation…but it’s not entirely bad in fact parts of it might be quite good or even excellent and so we tell ourselves to focus on those parts and overlook the terrible parts of the situation. We might do this for many reasons we might be fearful of moving on because what we know is slightly less terrifying than what we do not, we might have come to rely on this thing that is not entirely comfortable and can see no way of living without it. We might just fear the moment of separation as we do not fear living without a band aid but we do fear the moment we have to rip it off.

I'm not accusing Bob Geldof of anything here...but those Ethiopians still look hungry to me

I’m not accusing Bob Geldof of anything here…but those Ethiopians still look hungry to me

“It’s amazing what people can get used to, I once ate a chipmunk”- Crow T Robot
The opposite of the Curates Egg might seem to be demanding perfection but I don’t believe this is true. I think that the Curates Egg demands things be of a standard commensurate with their importance. It might be nice to get a perfectly boiled egg just how you like it but almost anyone would settle for just getting an egg that’s not off.
I think we all recognise that moment when we have defended something that isn’t that great by talking up the good points.
You cannot demand perfection in everything. We live in an imperfect universe. We are always going to have to settle for some things due to circumstances. We are always fighting entropy. The Curate’s egg does not say “You must extract all from your life that is not perfect or not to your liking” but it is saying “You must regularly examine your life for signs that you are fooling yourself”.
You might know that your job, or your relationship or your house are in some ways not making you happy but continually make excuses for them anyway. And saying “Parts of it are great!” is a very, very good sign that you are in a comfortable rut. Rather than being where you want to be.

Although it's probably worth remembering that in his essay Albert Camus said

Although it’s probably worth remembering that in his essay Albert Camus said ” “The struggle itself […] is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus smiling.”

Does it matter if my job is not perfect? Well it might not if your job is just a stepping stone job and you are making tracks to somewhere better but it is also the place where you spend the majority of your time and the place where you gain the most social significance so having a job that does make you happy is very important.

“Life is what happens when your making other plans” – John Lennon
“I just asked if you wanted some toast, a simple yes or no would suffice” – Yoko Ono

Does it matter if my partner is not perfect? This is even more complicated. I don’t want to drop a bombshell here but nobody is perfect. The question becomes are they perfect for you, do all their little foibles fit together with yours in a complimentary way. In another bombshell it’s not who they are or what they do but how you think about them that makes them perfect for you and that often relates to how you think about you I don’t know what it’s like for you guys but it often seems that a great deal of my relationships play out in my head rather than in reality, if they are very lucky my partners get to hear about it later. Of course if you don’t like yourself or you are looking for something to replace or augment something you feel is missing within yourself then you will never be happy. But if you just like them for who they are. Then they can have all sorts of flaws and issues that won’t bother you. That said “unconditional” love is never that. It’s often predicated on that person being around, not betraying trusts, treating is with respect and loving us in return. But these are reasonable requests. Imperfect beings must engage in bargains, pacts and understandings before we get to strive towards happiness together.

“To see a thing uncolored by one’s own personal preferences and desires is to see it in its own pristine simplicity.”
― Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

I’ve had relationships that have been Curates eggs, friendships, and jobs…lots of jobs that have been so. We often have things about ourselves that are Curates eggs like our weight, or our physical condition or even a mental health.

But there is another philosophical stance that is important to state at this time that might seem contrary to the principal that I’ve just been extolling. “Just because something is broken, do we then throw it away or do we attempt to fix it? Obviously we cannot fix an egg but had the Curate agreed that the egg was bad he would have undoubtedly been furnished with another.

And this gets to the heart of the matter: When to stay and when to quest? Ruts are seductive, they always seem to be where you need to be at the time and the Curates egg is extra seductive, “It’s not that bad and look at what this gives me!?!”. In the end each person must decide that for themselves and on a case by case basis when to stay and when to quest but it is important to think about and know that you have a choice, you do not have to be the Curate.

MAN DOWN!!! MAN DOWN!!!

“Man down!!”

Fisty would cry before he jumped on the prone form of whoever that hapless individual happened to be and then…uh….well it wasn’t PG-13 material really.
But now our beloved deviant is either missing or loose (depending on what end of the fist you are on) and we need your help in finding him.

"Haters gonna hate, Fisty's gonna...."

“Haters gonna hate, Fisty’s gonna….”


Markey and Emma’s cherished friend, mascot, compatriot and er….moustachioed cherub has been missing for over 24 hours now.
In other circumstances we would of course call the police but um…look I’m sure it’s no secret that Fisty has done some time and no-one is completely sure exactly how he got into the UK and what Visa he was using and he often said to me “Look…if I’m ever in trouble, don’t call the Rozzers, raise an army and sort it out yourself, also take this giant tub of lube, may come in handy one day”
And that’s how I got my wall of lube in case anyone was wondering.
I have reached out to Liam Neeson and he has said that given their past he would be happy to take the call should anyone call in with ransom demands.
I’m sure that Fisty will turn up, like that time he went missing for 3 months in the 80’s and turned up in a club in north Melbourne earning a wage as uh….um…well earning a wage that’s for sure.
"Although the name of the club escapes me..."

“Although the name of the club escapes me…”


But we need your help before it comes to that.
If you have any information, and ideas or any way to track down our man let us know and please share this.
Missing!
Name: Fisty O’toole
Age: Late 40’s?
Height: 32cm
Sex: And how!
Occupation: Mascot?
Distinguishing features:
One eye, Bald, shaved (if you know what I mean), two speeds and reversible, wears only leather, Tattoos, Yellow see through rotating fist.
Catchphrase: “I think you dropped something”
Last seen: The Crown and Sugarloaf. United Kingdom. Earth. Universe E.
Answers to: Fisty, Fisty O’toole, Yo Fistman! The sound of a tube of lube being opened.
Quotes: “If fisting got is into this mess, why can’t it get us out of it?”

The Marriage alliance people are just as horrible as you think they might be.

So there’s this thing that people do that seems to really annoy people more than it annoys me. People ask difficult or leading questions and when it arcs other people up they back off and go “Hey man, I was just asking questions”.
I kind of feel that even though it’s often disingenuous that’s ok. Asking questions is at least a dialogue. I often have a lot of questions myself and I’d hate to be told “No, you can’t ask questions, you just have to know!” I also feel that there is usually an answer to those questions.
But then today I met a group of people who are “Just asking questions” and they really pissed me off.

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_Image(2)

The Marriage Alliance of Australia are a group of homophobes. There is no other way to say it. And the purpose of the Ad campaign that they are currently running on Foxtel and channel 9 is to spread fear and doubt. And it all hinges on “Think of the children, dear god won’t something please think of the children”

So in their Ad they ask three questions.
1. How will same sex marriage affect children?
2. How will it affect sex education in schools?
3. What rights could you lose because of same sex marriage?

These do seem to be very strange questions to ask because there seem to be easy answers for each of them.

1. Well there have been same sex couples raising children for a long time now and it seems to affect them either not at all or in a positive way because they have two loving parents to look after them. And that’s what marriage is all about for kids, redundancy. Should the first parent be unable to take care of the children second parent will take on the duties of the first.

2. Is “Not at all” an acceptable answer? Cause I think that that’s the answer….It’s not like we invented gay people last week…sex education in schools is probably a discussion we should be having but I don’t really see what one has to do with the other….??

3. Well….um….what?!? You won’t be losing your ability to be homophobic because there are laws against that and you still manage to run Ad’s on national TV and have a website.

Neil Gamimn recently said “Whenever I hear “It’s political correctness gone mad” change the words “Political correctness” to “treating people with respect” and see how far that gets you. “Oh my god, it’s treating people with respect gone mad!!”
But I like to be fair. So I went to their website to see what they had to say on these subjects.

http://www.marriagealliance.com.au/
And the answer is……

Nothing
They literally are just asking questions.
Some of those questions are REALLY weird. “Will same sex marriage accelerate the deterioration of everyone’s freedoms of speech, conscience, trade and privacy? In a radically changed society, why should mainstream values be inconsistent with our laws?”
Eh?
Applications for someone to work out what that sentence is trying to say are now being sought.
“The idea that a mother’s love is a crucial part of parenting has been a constant for our whole history. When the presence of a mother becomes optional within families, what effect will this have?”
Humm…well I don’t know why don’t you ask all the divorced Christian families? Also as a single dad who raises my daughter part time… Who knows a lot of single Dads: Fuck you.
“Why should a child be limited in their physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual development associated with fatherless or motherless social units (as in same sex marriage)?”
OK so there’s a concrete statement, care to back that up with some evidence? Research? Peer reviewed study? An anecdote? Anything?………….. No? Oh….so I guess you really are just asking questions. And because you don’t have the guts to come out and say “We hate gay people” some of those question are phrased fairly strangely.
One must conclude that since you only have questions and no answers or evidence or research (because there isn’t any that backs up your position) you are just hate mongering.
And so I turn to the late great Christopher Hitchens who said “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” with such clarity that it’s probable that he wasn’t completely drunk at the time.
So just go and crawl back under your rock, if you’re lucky Tony Abbot will be successful in his time travel project and he and you can go home to the 1950’s.

A slight stirring in my coal black heart

I, like almost everyone why age is immersed in Star Wars. We can’t help it I knew what Star Wars was before I knew that the USA was a different country.
But then the Prequels.
You can argue that they are great, you can argue that they are fantastic kids movies. You can argue all this but all it will earn you is arguing with an empty room after I leave and never speak to you again.
After the prequels I was still I sci-fi fan but I no longer considered myself a Star Wars fan. I was done. They couldn’t have dragged me to another film with the promise of huge cash prizes. But over the years my position has softened (not on the prequels, never on them, some things will always be).
Part of this has to do with the discovery of the “Despecailsied edition” of the original Star Wars which is about as close to seeing the original in 720P as we are going to get till Disney pulls their finger out and decides that they can’t do without the Millions upon Millions of dollars that releasing the originals would bring. Part of it is realising just how much of a pull Star Wars has on me. Even just seeing something that reminds me of the art or the feel of the universe that I fell in love with as a child fills me with a thrill and a glow. My brain has irrevocably linked Star Wars and endorphins. Which I suppose is why the Phantom Menace was so upsetting. It was like sugar free chocolate. “Wait I’m supposed to be happy watching this…THIS is my happy place…what the hell is going on?”
On a bigger level Star wars itself lost a lot of currency with the prequels. I don’t know if you remember those days but before the Prequels but back then Star Wars was holy. “So let me get this straight…you like Star Trek over Star Wars….and just how many times were you dropped on the head as a child?”
Of course it’s not all the prequels fault. The multiple and baffling changes that were made over the years to the original films for seemingly no reason other than it could be done can comfortably summed up by the phrase “No you must have seen it wrong, Han shot first”.
So I have mixed feelings about Star Wars.
But there is something growing in the back of my mind. Something racing up and down my spine. At first I ignored it. Then I tamped it down “Don’t get your hopes up” I told myself, “it’s just a movie, less than that it’s just a movie by the guy who bought you the Wrath of Kahn…not Kahn oh…wait it is Kahn.”
But then little things leaked out “Chewie, we’re home”. The film that showed us around the set and how practical it is. Not CG PRACTICAL!!

And so now I realise that this is going to happen this year. I am going to go to a cinema, and there’s a chance that this movie could recapture some of the feelings that I felt all those years ago and that would be a magical thing. I’m still not trying to get my hopes up. It is JJ Abrams after all. But maybe, just maybe there might be enough there to get me cheering at the screen. And goodness I love the new Stormtrooper designs.