Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Motherless movies

Watched another dead mother movie the other night. What was it? Toys. Oh, and Daredevil. And Electra, Spiderman, Hulk and Armageddon. Well, in Armageddon the mother had divorced the poor, hardworking single dad... But the effect was much the same.

Now women seem to not only be token stereotypes, but if they aren't young, pretty, skinny, heavily made up and single they're now not present at all. Worse, in movies where there are women telling their stories, they are centred around their relationships with men. Can't a woman have a life and an existence of her own?


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Addict dies in prison, media gets on moral high-horse.

As if the corporate media had any morals whatsoever. It doesn't, of course. It pretends such, in order to encourage hysteria, anger and outrage over the slightest things and thereby support the legislation of morality... By an equally immoral government mind you.

Carl Williams died yesterday. The man who inspired a character in a crappy fictional crime series. A convicted murderer and drug trafficker. Son of a convicted drug trafficker and an addict. Grew up surrounded by crime in a world which pretends that some forms of addiction are "success". What hope did he have?

In the scheme of things, workaholics are just as dysfunctional as heroin addicts. The outside shell looks okay, because our culture values money uber alles, but the dys-function, the basic psychological screw up, is the same. Likewise with religious excess. Likewise with enabling behaviour, martyrdom, alcoholism and gambling addiction. All the same stuff. Different facets of the same stone, or different colours in the same fucked up rainbow, but all the same underneath.

In this wonderful liberative, encouraging and supportive culture we have, those who work hard even at the expense of their family life, are the ones most often promoted. We have a Prime Minister who can't even sleep at night, and is also a religious fanatic, and he's supposed to be an image of the "success" in our culture. Psychologically it's just as screwed up as the late Carl Williams but we like it that way so we can keep sinking the boots in to those who fall short, make ourselves feel better. Measure ourselves against this dysfunctional, ridiculous construct of "success" and console ourselves if we don't look like a hollywood stereotype.

Media knee-jerk hysteria, advertising, overlearned stereotypes... It's all the big fuck up of Anglo culture. Media and government harrass, stress and traumatise people to the point where they self-medicate, like the teenage drinkers on the streets in the city. Then the abusers sink the boots in. They make a profit. Like maggots on the body of a victim crawling in deeper without even waiting for them to die.

Images of disaster crowd and overwhelm us on a daily basis. Advertising gets under the skin, past the defences and wrings out your emotional attachments. There's whole armies of people employed in advertising. MBA's, corporate professionals, psychologists, even doctors and neurologists doing MRI's of people's brains to show how effective ads are at altering the physical function of an adult brain, let alone that of a child. Whole flocks of vultures in suits conniving and conspiring to push your buttons, manipulate your will and trigger your impulses. Without you even realising. Consider the ads for the TAC, workplace safety and skin cancer. It has been demonstrated that advertising which triggers the trauma centres of the brain is likely to be memorable. Memorable? That's because it's traumatising.

Advertising is specifically designed to get past all your conscious thinking and push buttons. Yet individuals and parents, without degrees in psychology or an army of well educated assistants to filter the stuff in this sewer, are expected to make reasonable responses. As if a family home is invaded by a dozen heavily armed SAS troops and the police turn around and say "it's your own fault you should have had a stronger lock." Images of disaster, war, violence and yes advertising are kicking down doors and barging in unwanted, in the minds of exposed human beings, on a daily basis.

We've also learned from working with those poor bastards who were shipped to vietnam back when the Asian communists were threat du jour, that it's possible to be vicariously traumatised by exposure to someone else's experiences. Trauma is an overwhelming breach of a person's emotional boundaries. It results in loss of sleep, anxiety, anger, nightmares... also associated with anti-social and risk taking behaviour and (surprise, surprise) addiction.

There's no point putting the blame on the individual and expecting them to make their own constructive decisions without the support or resources to do so. Media psychology and manipulation is specifically designed to thwart and overwhelm individual decision making. It's purpose is to push buttons and train certain reactions, without a person's permission or even awareness. This is a fundamental and massive breach of those human personal boundaries that have evolved in us to keep us sane and enable us to co-operate successfully as a group animal.

Ever wondered why the western world has plagues of depression, suicide, addiction and domestic violence that won't respond to nagging from governments? We're doing it to ourselves. Every time we open a paper or turn on a tv or (gods forbid) listen to a politician.

So don't let's get all judgmental about poor Carl Williams. He never stood a chance. While the government and media are actively, consistently placing unreasonable stress on people without remission, there's always going to be some who will fall through the cracks and many, many who will self-medicate. While ever we are governed for an economy that requires thousands, even millions to remain unemployed, there will be those who are emotionally destroyed by the exclusion and abuse. You can't have government and corporate leadership by dysfunctional individuals and then get all surprised when the population is also dysfunctional. You can't govern with religious extremism and actively create addiction in people who are simply trying to get by, then act all shocked and outraged. Well, you can, but not legitimately.

The late Carl Williams is simply the most recent and most visible human sacrifice to the god of money and the economy. Until we wake up to what we're doing, he won't be the last.

RIP, Carl. I'm so sorry.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Another ANZAC day comes around...

and what have we learned?


This sticks in my neck every damned year. It's the anniversary of a time when "we" meaning Australian troops with the support of the Australian Government and apparently that of Australian citizens, attempted to invade a nation with which we were not at war, at the behest of our Imperial betters.

Not Vietnam. Not Iraq. Not Afghanistan. Not Korea... Turkey.

The Turkish are very good about allowing Australians to visit the site of the Gallipolli invasion, despite the twisted and inflamatory red-neck nationalism that has propagated here since John Howard took his turn at the helm and set us back a century. For the Turks it's an anniversary of them successfully seeing off an attempted invasion by stupid convicts who couldn't think for themselves.

But what have we learned? Bugger all, really. There's a whole bunch of flag waving, a flag mind you that didn't exist in the first two world wars, but we'll wave it anyway and get drunkenly patriotic in substitute for any real self-esteem. Or honesty. There's some marches and memorials, of people who did what they were ordered to do despite the illegality in these cases. And there's the mention of brave soldiers... Yes, many of them were. Certainly seeing off Hitler's axis was no mean feat. But is it really serving the memories of those who died defending their homeland and families from ruthless, greedy, lawless murderers by behaving in that manner ourselves? WTF does the flag stand for anyway, if that's the case?

Do us a favour. Be honest about who's worth remembering and for what.

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Token females

Was discussing with a friend the other day about filtering. No, not the retrograde nanny-state internet filter proposed by KRudd, rather self-imposed filtering of media that pisses you off or causes you to throw your hands in the air and want to bail. If you're trying to take a positive approach to life and live well in every moment, odds are you probably don't enjoy watching hysterical news reports about disasters, fabricated warfare or other things that are not your responsibility and definitely not encouraging.

There are days when one feels somewhat like a bit of a luddite. Of course it's common for "old fogies" not to recognise the latest music, cartoon characters or actors loved by the young, but when you find yourself admitting to not only not liking television, radio or print media but beginning to heartily dislike movies as well, then you're kinda getting into stick in the mud territory LOL.

But what's a woman to watch? When you know the scripts of Aliens, Predator and so forth by heart, there ain't much left. And even those are a hefty compromise because they're all about that "I'm tough" attitude the patriarchy is so enamoured of. Watching chick flicks is a possibility, if you like to see yourself as an ornamental breeding animal who defines herself purely in terms of her relationships to various men.

Just about every time you bung in a DVD and hope for some entertainment it's seven men and one token female... And she's a two dimensional stereotype at that. Don't you wonder what it would be like to watch a Guy Ritchie geezer movie in which half of the eight or nine main characters were female? What would be so bad about depicting the 51% of the population who aren't XY?

Not going to delve into all the psycho-social reasons for the subjugation of the female of the species... Just wishing there were some more entertaining movies out there. James Cameron can't do it all by himself. Or shouldn't have to, anyway.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Great Southern Free Paganism

Mainly because I like the numbers in today's date... but also because one must begin somewhere... Here's the introduction in my development of a new spirituality. It's based on years of study of psychology, sociology, theology and politics.

1. Humans are an animal species.

2. Given the desire, resources and opportunity humans can improve their experience of life.

3. We have nations so that we know where we come from. Not to wage wars over.

There's lots more to come, including clarification of these points but these are the introductory points.

Blessed be.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where did February come from?

That's a rhetorical question. Not so much a request for information about the Roman or Gregorian calendar as it is an observation that time flies when you're battling depression and Centrelink.

They've been harrassing my family for months now. On Friday I rang Julia Gillard's office, since she's the local MP... to recite the list of threats, letters, errors and unecessary penalties, and was asked by the staffer: "So what do you expect me to do about it?"

This is only the welfare and mental health system in a country with the highest per capita rate of suicides on the planet, in a low socio-economic area where more than the average one in five suffer from mental health issues.

But yeah. It's February and my analytical/synthetical/political typing fingers are beginning to itch.

Yesterday I was looking through the Parks Victoria site, perusing some of the forests, reserves and parks available within an hour or two of here... There are caves, bushwalks, bike trails and mountain biking. Most of the camp sites are free.

Hepburn regional park includes Mount Franklin and the mineral springs near Daylesford.

Langi Ghiran is a large area out the other side of Ballarat toward Ararat. There are caves as well as MTB and other trails. There's substantial Aboriginal art in this area. Looks like the separate parks aren't going to load by links here, so you'll need to use their java list to find them if you want more info.

Brisbane Ranges is near the You-Yangs and Anakie gorge, on the road between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong. That's a flatter but gorgeous area with some rock climbing.

Mount Alexander is a bit further north of Mount Franklin, with MTB, rock climbing and caving. The mountain is called Lanjanuc by the locals and is an important high point. A large area of former pine plantation and gold fields is being rehabilitated and added to the park.

Mount Buangor's a 2400 hectare park 60k west of Ballarat, so not as far as Langi Ghiran. There's a few aboriginal sites remaining. Walking trails extend into the national forest next door. There's caving and waterfall walks as well as rock climbing and MTB.

Lerderderg is just west of Bacchus Marsh, and also includes climbing and MTB with the added bonus of kayaking and rafting. Woohoo!

Mount Eccles and Mount Napier are further south and west of Melbourne on theHamilton-Port Fairy road, toward the coast. They're located on old lava flows so there's caves and aboriginal sites. Mount Napier is north east of Eccles and is an extinct volcano. This is an exception to the list as camping fees apply in the Summer season.

There's also Werribee Gorge, the Organ Pipes, and the You-Yangs, but you can't camp in any of those.

So with the exception of the volcanic sites at Mt's Eccles and Napier, these are all free to camp, have great opportunities for cycling and exploring and they're withing an hour or so drive from here! Mts Gambier and Arapiles are further away and are not free to camp, but they're very, very worth it if you're looking to rock climb. Mt Gambier would probably be fantastic for MTB too. Must revisit there sometime soon.

This comprises my "to do" list for the next few months.

I'll bring back stories and photos. Promise.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hey look, it's December already

At present I'm considering whether to continue this blog or simply revamp it again. I'm not following the cycling as much these days and with my hip playing up I don't get to ride much.

However... I took my brand new recycled walking stick out for some air yester-evening and it was wonderful. The walking stick is not for my hip, rather because of the growing number of uncontrolled dogs and untrained owners around here. It's one of the things that goes along with depression, the whole anxiety trip and avoiding things that you feel are going to piss you off or stress you out.

Anyways, I found this walking stick in an op shop and decided it would help deter dogs and idiot/dysfunctional dog owners. So now I'm Grumpy Granny Muahahaha!

One you-beaut thumping great cane. Check.
Horse shoe in the hand bag. Check.
What else? Hat pins! Yes, half a dozen stiletto sharp hat pins would be great.
And hobnail boots.

Look out you young whipper snappers, Grumpy Granny is on the loose!

As it happened, on my walk yester-evening the only people I encountered were two polite gentlemen, one with a couple of well-behaved dogs, both on leads.

So it works. Yay!

And the Summer break is coming up. This is generally a very relaxed time of year during which I cook lots of yummy stuff and spend time gardening and reading. All the salad greens and veggies are planted and doing well so far. There's some flowers beginning to appear on the tomatoes. There's still some deficiency with the soil in the second patch behind the garage, dunno what that is... Tried two or three types of fertiliser and sand but so far stuff is still wanting to bolt to seed... Might have to pick the brains of the horticulturalist next door.

And confest! Yes, confest is on again over new year and this time I really, really want to go. The Mister is getting things planned to come along so we should have a few days of pleasant hippie-dom up in the bush... and yes, there is some concern that we won't want to come back.

In the meantime, happy Litha!

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