Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fifty shades of smirk and silliness ...

(Above: an old connection but a goodie).

The pond is most comfortable on the edge, at the extremes.

When a skilled journalist like David Penberthy dismisses a group he doesn't like as "barking mad", the pond feels at home, on safe ground. This is the language of Peter Finch as Howard Beale in Network, mad as hell, irate, angry, out of control, irrationally exuberant and completely meaningless. That's the right stuff, worthy of a berth on a pond.

Contrast the quintessential dullness of today's effort by Peter "the smirk" Costello in Fairfax with G20 summit helps seal Queensland's place in political sun.

True, it does reveal something of the neurosis involved in Costello's current lack of professional stature and relevance, as he pronounces the landing in Brisbane of the G20 is certain to be a good thing, sure to be full of important and powerful people determining the fate of the world.

The smirk grandly sees this as showing Queensland is competitive and has ambition, and is a 'can-do' state, the sort of tosh Londoners were sold in their bid to win the Olympics. Can do? Oh dear ...

The Olympics has turned out swimmingly well for London, and it's grand to see Costello in the same camp as Bob Carr, explaining how wonderful it will be for Brisbane to have big bunches of bananas in town. The pond remembers how well it turned out for John Howard, thanks to the Chaser lads (oh how they irritate Gerard Henderson).

Of course if it were a summit to discuss climate science, it would be entirely another matter, wasteful and better done by Skype and teleconferencing.

Never mind, the real problem is that the smirk's piece is achingly dull, preposterously pompous. It makes ditchwater sparkle and shine with an egg-shell sheen ...

Nor is there any news in the usually reliable Bettina Arndt's latest foray into sexual politics in Don't let the prudes deprive us of the spice of sexual banter.

Indeed. Sexual banter is everything. "Want a fuck love", and "show us your tits" and "wanta see my huge horse-sized cock" is the sort of good humoured banter the pond can never get enough of ...

The pond is a proud supporter of the Bingle bump, and the mindless trivialisation of everything, and stands shoulder to shoulder with Arndt on the need to offend effortlessly by thrusting semi-naked images of yourself at an unsuspecting recipient.

Truth to tell, there's simply nothing wrong with flashing your tits or your dick at anyone in a public place. Go on, go down to Martin place, or perhaps the balls in the mall, or sit on the purse outside the old post office, and have a flash. Tell 'em the pond sent you ... (legal disclaimer: the pond is not liable).

If Australian television teaches us anything - is there anything Australian television can't teach us - abuse of prudes is the only way to warm up for a riotous night of fun in Kings Cross.

All the same, it has to be said that this Arndt outing is as dull as ditchwater and without a shiny egg-shell sheen.

Of course there's always a safe haven with Janet Albrechtsen, getting agitated in in Fifty shades of feminist sneering at mummy porn (behind the paywall at The Australian, but you know how to google):

In other big news, it turns out that plenty of women like kinky sex. At the end of a day's work, be it in a sleek city office, a factory or a hairdressing salon, when children have been bathed and are in bed, millions of women are fantasising about having their wrists tied together and having their bottoms slapped. Even whipped.

In other news, millions of men do too, and some do it with other men, and women might do it with women, but of course the point of Albrechtsen's piece isn't to praise the book, so much as to use it to slap the bottoms of naughty feminists, latter-day puritans and their naughty mocking ways.

For these angry feminists, the greatest sin of Fifty Shades of Grey is to make erotica, the polite word for porn, mainstream. Seriously mainstream.

Actually the greatest sin of the book is how badly it's written, a bit like erotica scribbled by a steamy steaming Peter Costello.

Dame Slap thinks that being a great commercial success solves this problem. Which must mean that the Pirates of the Caribbean series are what Shakespeare would be writing today ...

Of course the pond has noted in the past that Dame Slap shows signs of engagement via her dress sense, though it's been a long time since the pond has felt the need to read Paf Califia's What Color is Your Handkerchief before attending a party. Oh Pat/Patrick, what an inspiration you were, almost as useful as Victor/Victoria ...

But we digress, and head off the beaten track, as you're likely to do when you line up for a beating at the hands of Dame Slap, who has been in top form of late:

Anyhoo, it takes an unseemly amount of verbiage before she actually gets around to admitting that the book is virtually unreadable:

To be sure, James's prose can be worse than corny. But then this is porn, right?

Actually wrong. If you're going to read a novel-length exercise, it helps if it's readable. Try The Story of O sometime. Ah but it was written by a cheese-eating surrender monkey French woman.

But in that condescending note - "this is porn, right?" - Albrechtsen sounds exactly like the people she's criticising, incapable of thinking that porn can be anything other than corny bodice-ripping tripe, as opposed to being genuinely engaging and arousing.

Naturally she tries to claw back respect by bringing out the "S" word:

The snobbery of so many feminist critics may explain why the rest of us steer clear of the F-label. A few minutes a day fantasising about a little bottom spanking is harmless fun.

Indeed. And then in her usual way Dame Slap jumps the shark:

It is more than passing curious that a certain group of men is equally confounded by the astounding sales of the Fifty Shades books. If you listened to ABC radio these past few weeks, you would have heard a few prominent metrosexual-type male radio hosts sound genuinely perplexed, asking, "Do women really like this kind of stuff?" Like feminists, the more these metrosexual men try to understand women, the less they really do. Like feminists, these metrosexual types seem bewildered by the thought that women might like to fantasise about being bound so tight, the ties leave marks on her body.

Oh dear, that sounds a tad personal:

"It's sexy," says Anastasia as she stares at the woven indentation around her wrists.

Yes, yes:

There was another girl very young, a girl with bare shoulders and a choker of pearls around her neck, wearing one of those white dresses young girls wear to their first ball, two tea-scented roses at her waist and a pair of golden slippers on her feet, and a boy made her sit down next to O, on her right. Then he took her hand and made her caress O's breasts, which quivered to the touch of the cool, light fingers, and touch her belly, and the chain, and the hole through which it passed. The young girl silently did as she was bid, and when the boy said he planned to do the same thing to her, she did not seem shocked.

A choker of pearls? Well, whatever floats your boat, though let it be noted that piercings don't float the pond's boat.

Where Albrechtsen really nukes the fridge is her easy, cheap shots at the ABC and metrosexuals. Is there anything wrong with boys who want to be girls? Come to that, is there any problem with girls who want to be boys? Is there anything wrong with a little gender stretching and bending?

Even worse is her condescension towards people outside the realm of BDSM. If you don't get whips and chains and ropes, is there anything wrong with that? You might be missing out on things, but the pond knows for a fact that some people prefer a good vanilla ice cream to a decent chocolate one. What a strange world.

Naturally Albrechtsen saves her most savage sneers - in the manner of a good fem domme - for those weak-kneed metrosexuals who seem to deserve a good whipping.

In fact, the confusion among metrosexual types is no surprise given that the metrosexual male is best seen as a by-product of feminism. When enough women started to treat masculinity with disdain, it only made sense that many men who live and work with these women would adapt to the new surrounds.

Yep, from a book featuring bondage to denouncing pussy metrosexual men at the ABC, when as everyone knows grunting men from the caves or perhaps Swiftian Yahoos ready to whip out their cock and mount anyone within the vicinity is the only way to go.

Does Albrtechtsen have the first clue how silly she sounds when she writes this sort of tosh?

The more politically correct the place, the more metrosexual the men who work there. This species thrives at our very PC ABC radio, where the real ball-breakers have long been women.

No, she doesn't, she just keeps yammering on, in a way that would be silly for most columnists:

Alas, as iconoclast and author Camille Paglia has argued, when hectoring feminists neutered masculinity, they also wrecked sex. In the real world, sex is a very un-PC pursuit. Where raw masculinity still survives, you find the "the reality of sex", writes Paglia, "of male lust and women being aroused by male lust. It attracts women. It doesn't repel them."

Sex is wrecked? Well fuck the pond dead, who'd have thought it. Then why the fuck is all this fucking still happening ...

For the TV version of this inconvenient truth, try Girls, a new series about a group of winsome 20-something, post-Sex and the City girls in New York. One of the characters, Marnie, moans about her boyfriend Charlie, who is so busy respecting her, "he looks right past me and everything I need from him". It turns out she needs a sweaty session in bed, not clueless respect.

Uh huh. What Albrecthsen meant to write of course was, stupid woman, what she really needs is a good fuck. Or how about stupid woman, what she really needs is a cock in her mouth ...

But you won't find that sort of writing in The Australian. It would be too nakedly explicit, too revealing of what Albrecthsen is saying, and the mind-numbingly reductionist way that she routinely says it ...

Drawing on the same show, author Kate Roiphe wrote in Newsweek recently that the success of Fifty Shades might show that "equality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas; it may be that power and all of its imperatives can be boring".

Which of course completely, utterly misses the point ... of a power exchange and power sharing in a sexual context. It's power (and its sexual imperatives and how they can be played with) that is exciting. Kate Roiphe sounds as dumb as Albrechtsen.

If Albrechtsen truly believes that power and all of its imperatives can be boring, let's see how she goes in a session without a safe word to get her out of trouble.

The point of course is that there is equality in BDSM. Properly practised, it requires consent, and if the consent is withdrawn, it is at an end, or things have gone or will go badly wrong. Both the top and the bottom have power, and it is the exchange of power, the playing with power, that makes it interesting to some.

Naturally from not understanding BDSM, Albrechtsen proceeds on to not understanding anything much about anything:

As Roiphe writes, "It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics." In fact, it's not just our sexual fantasies that won't be tamed by feminism. The deliciously complicated, frustratingly messy truth about women's preferences -- be they about work, babies, men, sex or, for that matter, books -- has never conformed to feminist orthodoxy, whatever wave the feminists may have been riding. Long may that be so.

Which also misses the point entirely, since BDSM is a familiar part of sex play in mano-a-mano situations which might involve man on man or woman on woman, or a bunch of swingers, or whatever else floats your boat.

The notion that it is only about women's preferences, or female sexuality, or somehow reflects only on feminist orthodoxy is as limited and constrained as the stereotypical feminism berated by Albrechtsen.

She simply doesn't have a clue and needs to get out more. It'll only cost her twenty five bucks to head off to Hellfire ... and if she wants to take a walk on the wilder side, here's a few tips.

What a stupid woman, and long may it be so, since where would the pond be without stupid people?

But perhaps it was a mistake to spend so long with Dame Slap, because look, there's Cory Bernardi, and he's at it again, as explained by Dylan Welch in Liberal senator founded group campaigning for Rinehart influence.

It seems Cory is behind CANdo - yep it's Costello's can do in drag - which is campaigning to get Gina Rinehart a board seat, so she can do for Fairfax what she's done for network Ten, so we perhaps can expect serialised excerpts from Fifty Shades of Grey, along with transcripts of Being Lara Bingle and The Shire on the front page of Fairfax rags.

Where would television be without the CANdo Gina Rinehart bump? What might she do for Fairfax? Let's turn to their website, surely home to some of the most adolescent, childish rhetoric seen outside the tea baggers in recent years.

Stop the nanny state, Australians must decide who should come into their country, stop governments stealing your property, stop the government from gagging us (what, no bondage, no power exchange), make governments accountable 24/7, never again prosecute our brave soldiers for just doing their duty, stop electoral fraud, stop kicking our diggers in the guts, save the free press, no new federal taxes, stop the union bosses' rorts, and so on and on and on at interminable length ... explaining exactly how Australia will look in the new world of Gina and Cory ...

It's the pond's heartland! And then there's this:

''They've handed editorial control over to a journalist collective, who have turned these once great journals of record into mouthpieces for the vegan, bicycle-riding, inner-city elites who are completely out of touch with mainstream Australia.''

Yep, a Cory Bernardi inspired site whipping the elites, and sounding exactly like Janet Albrechtsen doing her bit for bondage and metrosexuals and the ABC.

Well soon enough in an Abbott government we'll find out about the kind of bondage Bernardi will impose on inner city elites ... Fairfax ... coffee sippers, vegans, bicycle riders, and anyone who dares to be different from the Gina/Janet norm.

And there won't be any safe word.

(Below: as featured in Private Eye).

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