Friday, January 17, 2014

Yesterday, when the culture and other wars began ...

(Above: a Cathy Wilcox blast from 2006, strum your way down memory lane here).

For a change of pace, there's a couple of decent articles on view this day in the world of Fairfaxians.

One's by a regular contributor, Richard Ackland, nicely knocking the aspirations of George Brandis in Meddling with act fraught with peril, and the other, by Ken Bolton, effectively demolishing the naked political intent of Christopher Pyne and his two stooges, in Christopher Pyne's review is just a diversion from Gonski reforms.

The Gonski vision of a fair go for all young Australians means that, in due course and over time, a hard-working talented young girl will come to have the same real prospect of winning a place in the university and course of her choice regardless of family circumstances and background, or whether she attends Tara Anglican College, Rooty Hill High School, Brigidine College Randwick, Auburn Girls High School, Queenwood, Abbotsleigh, Mary MacKillop College or Cabramatta High School. And our national performance will improve accordingly, regardless of any tinkering with the curriculum. 
Is Pyne up for that? A meritocracy? Devalue private schooling? Of course not. Hence his need for a diversion. What better than a provocative review of the national curriculum?

Don't forget Tamworth!

But enough of intelligent discourse and considered insights. It's Friday and the pond wants a real change of pace.

If you're already tired of the history and culture wars, and climate denialists coming out in the middle of a heat wave and not having the first clue what they're doing, today is of course the day that the country music festival opens in Tamworth, and it's quite possible city folk, busy with their own culture wars have completely missed the culture wars that have wracked and wrecked the opening.

It's old news now - it was all the go back in December, as reported in Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey out of Golden Guitar Awards over John Williamson row. Lordy, lordy, it even made it into The Graudian, in Is Troy Cassar-Daley's music un-Australian? And for once in its life, The Northern Daily Weeder was front and centre, with Stars collide: Debate rages over John Williamson music claims.

Oh it's all so 1940s, and probably none of the poor possums can remember the days when the invading hillbillies were berated for being too American (who, outside the very odd historian of culture can remember Tennessee-born Bob Dyer selling himself as the last of the hillbillies on the Tivoli circuit? Go on, wiki it here, there's no need to work, it's Friday).

Oh they take their culture wars seriously in the bush, but sadly the pond won't be making the festival this year. Sweltering in 38 degree heat while hunkering down on the oval and listening to heavily Americanised music? Why we'd rather read yet another climate denialist screed provided by the reptiles at the lizard Oz in air-conditioned comfort until the electricity turns up its toes...

Oh sure, you might have read Hot enough for you? (paywall affected):

This record-breaking heat is occurring in “neutral” El Nino conditions. A quick refresh: during a strong El Nino we typically see our worst droughts/heatwaves in south-east Australia, and during a strong La Nina we typically see above-average rainfall and cooler temperatures over eastern Australia. So breaking heat records for duration and intensity in these current neutral El Nino conditions is like a race car driver recording his fastest speed in rain with poor tyres. 

 So what’s to come? 
 The frequency, duration and intensity of both heatwaves and hot days have increased in the last 30-40 years, and record hot days are outweighing record cold days by three to one. Australia’s longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves are consistent with climate change predictions — and the trend is expected to continue. Of course, there will still be cold days and cold spells — that is just the weather — but the overall climate trend is one of warming.

The international conspiracy spreads to the Ten network! Quick, someone alert Gina and the Bolter...

But enough already, this is Friday, and the pond has been caught up in its own culture wars, and would like to step back to yesterday, when the war began ...

It started innocently enough. The pond's partner came back from the United States with a Blu-ray disc. It was legitimately - let's stress that, it was legally - acquired, and the pond has a region free Blu-ray disc player.

Insert the disc, and what do we see? A territorial warning, demands and menaces, and the ultimatum: this disc will not play.

Well this week has been screener week on the intertubes, which is to say, rips of discs sent out to voters in various awards, and the pond has been reclaiming its lost, wasted disc money by indulging in same.

Her is a most interesting Spike Jonze' near future science fiction show with solid performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson, who plays a beguiling operating system which works its way into Phoenix's heart. It's deeply sexist in the way it envisions a female computer - oh she's fickle and scheming and neurotic and so forth - but the same might be said of the way it envisions Phoenix's character as a moustached metro future nerd, writing painfully emotional letters for folks who want to offload this duty to a professional ...

And while it's far too long, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street is a bit of a return to form for Scorsese. Nothing exceeds like excess and while some of its garbled and rushed (like the early attempt to portray a drug-fuelled near helicopter crash), some of it evokes the events with a cocaine fuelled fervour and a narrative style which is a conscious reversion to the glory days of Goodfellas.

The pond has never had much time for Leonardo DiCaprio, but maybe his future career will be best served playing innocents who turn nasty. Any show which has drugs, sex and stock market players as shameless leeches has its charms ...

It'll be in cinemas next week, but that doesn't worry the pond, because that's how the game is played in the culture wars (please don't try this at home without a VPN and professional nerdy advice).

When it comes to the culture wars, the pond likes to play neocon style. Nuke them all and let the atheists sort out the results ...

The nerds will have their revenge, something that Malcolm Turnbull has recently discovered as well.

The junketing goose had his feathers fried, as you can read in Delimiter's Renai LeMay's Turnbull Facebook Q+A backfires with NBN rage.

Yep, the nerds are maintaining their rage, and there are plenty of links within the story to entertain and amuse.

Turnbull's blithe 'eastern suburbs top hat and cane and gloves' spirits is guaranteed to ensure a frenzy. Confronted by a barrage of angry questions, how did he respond?

In general, Turnbull responded to the questions by referring to the Coalition’s broadband policy or NBN Co’s Strategic Review, or by disagreeing with the assertion of the question, by making a joke or attacking Labor’s NBN policy. For example, the Minister said it was a “low blow” to refer to what a questioner said was a “generational” lack of understanding about IT on his part.

In short, in the most pathetic way imaginable, big Mal firmly establishing himself as the court jester and lickspittle technological clown of the coalition, using sneers and sniggers to deflect consideration of sundry policy failures, while adding a profound lack of imagination to that of his boss.

Others covered the event - in a staid way, Malcolm Turnbull's Facebook Q&A - the three key things you need to know, or in a way designed to ensure troll comment rage, as in Malcolm Turnbull's Facebook QandA: What He Said About The NBN, but here's the pond's tip for big Mal.

Stay clear of the nerds, you're on a hiding to nothing, and all that they want to do is wipe that supercilious smirk off your dial, and perhaps replace it with a rotating spiral of Mac doom ...

No doubt Abbott is pleased - consigning big Mal to modern technology seems like the old trick of consigning a rival to the crown to the graveyard portfolio of defence, and the more big Mal pretends he's down wit it, the more likely the more Jesuitical nerds will want to flay him alive.

These are grim days for the nerds, what with the recent US court decision setting the deal-making fat cats loose on the net neutrality pigeons.

Many have covered the result, which proves, if nothing else, how entirely and completely useless the FCC has been, as you can read in Rebuffing F.C.C. in 'Net Neutrality' Case, Court Allows Streaming Deals (NY Times, may be paywall affected).

And if you believe Internet Provides Say Net Neutrality Ruling Won't Change Service have we got a copper and HFC network to sell you to, and we'll throw in the Harbour Bridge for free ... and just to get a little balance, why not read Michael Winship's Door Closes to Open Internet, But All May Not Be Lost - heck, anyone who starts off referencing Howard Beale can't be all bad. And follow that with a dose of Verizon's Plan to Break the Internet and Net Neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords.

And so to a cartoon which covers both big Mal and the good ol' USA:

Not to worry. The pond is off to the movies ... and don't you go fretting about the box office.

Arnie will still be able to afford his handy maids and at least a dozen toilets (that's bathrooms to US folk, down under it's where we put our internet strategies) ...

1 comment:

  1. "When it comes to the culture wars,the pond likes to play neocon style.Nuke them all and let the atheists sort out the results."....Love it!


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