Porn & politics

The Queensland State election has descended into a downward spiral of muck-raking that does little to inspire confidence in either side.  The latest installment in the race to the bottom is the likely leaking of the salacious information that a candidate standing for the Liberal National Party, Mark Bootham, was involved in the running of a soft porn site for several years.

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Make tomorrow today

Oh well, in a week where I have been informed my last post was the “gibbering of a limp-wristed idealist” I figure I might as well continue in that vein.  I’m damned anyway. 

Here’s one of my favourite songs, Peter Gabriel’s sublime “Make tomorrow today”.

Put on the dress in which you were married
Pull down the veil till your eyes are hid
Can you remember where we both came from
Let us do as we did

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Aboriginal protestsBefore I was fourteen I spent nearly two years of my life in apartheid era South Africa, and more recently I spent eight years in Dubbo at around the time white authorities were bulldozing the primarily aboriginal suburb of Gordon Estate.  I guess I’ve witnessed some of the worst excesses of racism.

Born white in Africa has its own baggage and I know what it’s like to be surrounded by those convinced about the eminent superiority of everything about their culture and worldview.  I also had my own moment of epiphany when fifteen and reading the opening chapters of Alex Haley’s Roots and realising Black Africa had a lot to commend it that wasn’t always apparent in Western society.

Race relations in Australia have flared up again in the last week, inevitably connected to the inappropriateness of Australia Day as a National holiday, something I touched on last week before all hell broke loose.

In the wake of last week’s protests the aboriginal “father of reconciliation” Patrick Dodson had some interesting comments to make about white/black relations in Australia.  In particular he suggested that “If there was any parallel with Gandhi’s wish to ”get the Empire out of India”, it would be to displace the rule of the public service from Aboriginal people’s lives so they could express indigenous values that existed in Australia before the British arrived”.

At the same time I’m reading a book entitled “Tall Man” about the death in custody of aboriginal man Cameron Doomadgee and the inquests and court trials of the arresting officer Chris Hurley.  The book paints a grim picture of both white and black Australia.

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Australia Day?


Statements, photos and stickers like the one on the right seem to proliferate around Australia Day.  Surely the nation is better than this kind of cringe-worthy, narrow-minded bigotry?  I might be able to eat red meat, hold my liquor should I choose and speak and write English better than the vast majority of Anglo-Saxons in this nation.  But it doesn’t alter the fact that I’m an immigrant, fourteen of my formative years were spent under a different sun, listening to different birds and enjoying divergent aromas, hearing several languages spoken, amongst a people with significantly different customs, histories and world views.  I might look and sound as though I fit the ideal expressed in these offensive posters that seem to play so well to the white-bread proletariat.  But my story is more closely aligned to the true Australian reality.

It probably says a lot about modern-day Australia that there is an ongoing squeamishness about the place and appropriateness of Australia Day.  Perhaps a nation needs to appropriately and fully reconcile its past before it is able to take its place in the future.  And picking 26 January as the “National Day” immediately results in division.  Calling this day a ‘celebration’ immediately alienates our indigenous brothers and sisters whose history and connection to this continent stretches back thousands of years, making 240 years of European interaction a blip on the radar in comparison.
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Just do it!

An advert for a local retirement village has footage of a very frail, old man, proclaiming that he’s ‘always loved wood turning’ and now that he lives in the retirement village he ‘gets to do it for the first time’.

I really hope he’s lived a very full and happy life since it’s taken him this long to follow his dream and do something he’s always loved!


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