Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's not talk about the Logies, let's talk about national Living Treasures ...

(Above: National Treasures and Crayon Rocks On Sale Now!)

It takes the pond a long time to catch up with the news, perhaps because Woman's Day isn't the epicentre of the pond's world.

But the high farce of the appointment of the most recent crop of Australian Living Treasures surely deserves be mentioned high and wide, and in that journal of loonacy record, the pond itself.

For a start, the concept is a debased, ripped-off version of the Living National Treasures of Japan, stolen by an organisation desperate to give itself some relevancy in changing times. Back in the old days, such organisations might design a quest of some kind - asking sophisticated women about table settings and evening wear - without attracting the ire of feminists ...

The Japanese, back when they were defining the idea under the 1950 Law for Protection of Cultural properties, had the sensible idea of limiting the notion to intangible cultural properties, and providing three kinds of certification:
  • Individual Certification (各個認定 Kakko Nintei): this designation is for individuals who "have attained high mastery" of an art or craft.
  • Collective Certification (総合認定 Sōgō Nintei): this designation is for groups of 2 or more who as a group working in common have attained high mastery of an art or craft.
  • Preservation Group Certification (保持団体認定 Hoji Dantai Nintei): this designation is for large groups who have mastered an art or craft in which individual character is not emphasized.
So the national treasures are limited to the performing arts and the crafts, and the nomination process tends to be exemplary and the results uncontroversial.

So what does the National Trust of Australia (NSW) do to discover Australia's Living Treasures? Which is to say people who haven't carked it yet, and who have made a substantial and enduring contribution of something, which they might not be sure about it, but which is surely substantial and enduring ...

Why call in Woman's Day, and have a vote, which is a bit like the process for working out the winners of the Logies, and has about as much credibility and meaning. Actually the Logies might be a little more credible because at least TV Week stands for all that is vulgar and popular in commercial television, while it's hard to see how Woman's Day is at the heart of the nation, as opposed to certain demographics of the dullard kind.

Anyhoo, some 10,000 or so Women's Day readers voted, and Clive Palmer - he of the soccer war with Frank Lowy, and litigation is my favourite sport and let's dig up Australia and ship it to China - was amongst the winners, along with singers Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John.

Now a farce needs a ruckus, and the news that the National Trust was itself in dissent was the cream on the cake as Dr. Graeme Blackman of the Australian Council of National Trusts pinged NSW for the result:

Yesterday Dr Blackman said it was Mr Scarsbrick's NSW branch that should take responsibility for the inclusion of Mr Palmer and that the other seven branches of the National Trust had nothing to do with it. (here).

Naturally Clive was shocked and startled:

... he said he was ''disappointed'' Dr Blackman did not endorse the people's verdict. ''It's very incredible. Whether I'm a treasure or not a treasure, you can't have a vote by the people and try to [disendorse it] … The National Trust is a sacred trust for all Australians. There is no role for any partisanship in it.''

And so 10,000 or so Woman's Day votes become confused with the sacred trust for all Australians, and above partisanship or stupidity, and somehow the people's verdict ... "a vote by the people" ... taking sectional, fractured, broken, meaningless polling to new heights of surreal absurdity.

It's bad enough that we get lazy, sloppy journalism by polling, week in, week out, but living treasures ...

On any given day, the Japanese must look at Australia, and wonder ... while the National Trust (NSW) branch should surely now be up to the job of running the Logies, having squeezed all sense and style and meaning from the National Treasures notion ...

As for Clive? Well last Friday he was still pushing freedom of speech in relation to soccer by hiring a chopper with a banner (here):

What a living treasure.

And so from high farce to low tragedy, and a coda to the thoughts of one Peter Leahy, proposing that Stephen Smith should eat Humble pie after making a meal of it.

Leahy proposed that Smith turn his attention to developing a persuasive and informative narrative explaining what Australia has achieved in Afghanistan, and what Australia hopes to achieve in the future.

At the time, the pond noted that you could read all sorts of blather about remarkable achievements, emanating from the department of Defence in Canberra, like this press release on 29th February 2012:

Commanding Officer of SOTG, Lieutenant Colonel J, said the winter operations had seen remarkable successes.

“The operations conducted by the ANSF and SOTG have targeted the key insurgent leadership, their supplies and their drug trade, effectively reducing their ability to fund and implement their future operations,” Lieutenant Colonel J said.

“Removing five insurgent commanders from Uruzgan Province will not only degrade the insurgents’ capability, it will also improve security for the Afghan people as these IED makers and facilitators are no longer in operation.”

Oh yes, it's all going swimmingly, and if you want you can fill your head full of CT-U's and MNBC-TKs and HQCT-Us and MTF-3s and CTs and PRUs and WITs and SOTGs and CIED TFs and ISR TUs and AM TUs and CSUs and MEAO CAOCs ...

WTF? Yep, it's all there in Australia's Commitment in Afghanistan ...

Talk about an informative and persuasive narrative of acronyms ...

Or perhaps you could just read the latest news from the country, under the header Sixteen dead as 'rogue' US solider opens fire on Afghan villagers ... (forced video at other end of link).

Add that to the Qur'an burning, and you have the mother of unholy messes.

Perhaps now's the best time for Leahy to develop an informed and persuasive narrative about the the ongoing role of the Defence forces in the Skype scandal, since after his scattered round of grape shot, Hugh Riminton returned a volley in Secrecy over Skype scandal findings raises doubts.

It might be the easier road to follow, because there's bugger all chance of explaining exactly what Australia is currently doing in Afghanistan ...

And lastly, how low can a political campaign sink?

Well if it's Bob Katter, it's lower than the gutter, homophobic and horrible, and never mind the feelings of his half brother. You can read about it here, with link to hideous YouTube viewing, but pardon if the pond now retreats to a quiet corner for a retch ...

Sometimes there's just too much national treasure for a koala to bear ...

(Below: thanks to a reader, and better a late Rowe than never).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.