Sunday, January 25, 2015

A personal note ...

(Above: a year dedicated to sun, surf, exercise and good health, the photo and the Twitter source).

The pond has had near death experiences before, having been pronounced dead on the operating table at the tender age of eleven.

In those days, the pond's mother determined that it was her prayers, and direct intervention with the deity that secured a reprieve, though in later years, she began to brood about just why She had decided to afflict the pond with burst appendix in the first place, so provoking the need for prayers. What a tricky way to induce worshipful activity.

Anyhoo, as they say in Tamworth, that time it happened while the pond was under a general anaesthetic, so who knew what was going down, but thereafter each day tended to be a bonus.

This time around the pond was fully conscious, and what's more watching the first episode of Black Mirror, a largely ignored set of one-offs made by Charlie Brooker for Channel 4 in 2011.

The pond had been astonished to read - in The New Yorker's TV pages, by esteemed if slightly batty Emily Nussbaum - this introduction, with more here, currently outside the paywall:

An update on “The Twilight Zone” for the digital age, “Black Mirror,” a dystopian drama created by Charlie Brooker for Britain’s Channel 4, has a swagger to its strangeness, a swallow-the-red-pill, anything-can-happen audacity. For a full day after watching the first episode (which I obtained through occult means, before Netflix made the show available to U.S. viewers), I felt disoriented, dropped on a new planet.

Occult means? Even in The New Yorker they know the necromantic art of the Torrent?

And boldly dare to mention it, even if in vaguely encrypted VPN style?

Disoriented, dropped on a new planet?

Well yes, indeed, because half way through the first show - incidentally by far and away the best of the series, with the rest disappointingly fair average science fiction of a peculiar English kind - the pond was being whisked away to the Royal Prince Alfred, which luckily is only ten minutes away from home.

The pond has subsequently caught up on the full episode which is very funny, in a House of Cards way, if you can substitute an image of Tony Blair or Tony Abbott for the main character. 

To quote Nussbaum again:

There has been a divisive response to the show’s first episode, “The National Anthem,” which a few viewers called, to use the worst yet most appropriate word, “ham-handed.” The plot is simple. A beloved British princess is kidnapped. The Prime Minister is woken up in the middle of the night and shown a ransom video. “What do they want?” he asks, bleary, still in his bathrobe. “Money? Release a jihadi?” After some throat-clearing, his aides hit Play. “At 4 P.M. this afternoon, Prime Minister Michael Callow must appear on live British television, on all networks, terrestrial and satellites,” the princess says, weeping as she reads the statement. “And have full, unsimulated sexual intercourse with a pig.”

Indeed. Nothing like fucking a pig for a little fun.

And the punchline (spoiler alert) is that the caper is the work of a Turner prize winner, and the deed (which has wrinkles not revealed here) is pronounced the first great art work of the twenty first century, and there lurking in the background as part of the decor during the climax to the show is the Tate Modern ...

Meanwhile, the pond was enjoying the facilities of the RPA, which, if they hadn't been to hand, would have seen the pond shouting at She for being such a poor fucking designer of things ...

It goes without saying that the pond is deeply indebted to the staff of the RPA - pity those who suffer a different fate because they're caught a long way away from the southern hemisphere's greatest teaching hospital. Oh okay, the pond has never been in the emergency ward of hospitals in South America or Africa, or for that matter anywhere else in Australia - hey, call it Stockholm syndrome if you will - but that's the way the pond felt at the time ...

It makes the pond even more irritated by the Abbott government's determination to destroy Australia's health care system, or at least to make it unaffordable to riff raff like the pond ...

Well, the pond survived, thanks to the prompt attention of the good folk at the RPA, though whether the health system in particular or Australia in general will survive the Abbott government is a matter for ongoing speculation.

As a result of the trauma, there will be a change in the pond's activities, not so much because of a long term mystical considerations but mainly through short term practicalities.

After the trauma, comes the therapy and the adjustments, and accordingly there won't be daily morning postings at the pond for some time to come. Instead, things will be intermittent and done when time and life allows ...

Many thanks to all those who posted comments expressing sympathy and concern, and links advising of the ongoing follies the pond was missing out on ...

The pond has never tried to monetise the blog - think of the guilt at infringing David Pope's intellectual property rights for mere money - so the reward has always come from the comments and the shared links and the shared sense of fun at a Pythonish world ...

What else? Well one of the observations was just what an extraordinary multicultural activity hospitals now represent, from the operating staff to those mopping the floors.

The pond wondered whether it would ever find a use for the blatant racism in this little outburst by Geoffrey Blainey in the Sydney Morning Herald back on 4th October 1984:

Ethnics in flash cars, strange cooking smells and noodles on the backyard clothesline?

What a mean, overt racist he was, the Barry Spurr of his day ...

And yet while the pond was away, there was Pauline Hanson returned from the political graveyard to explain that Islam wasn't a peaceful religion.

This while living in a country which had participated in a couple of world wards, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Iraq and Afghan wars, and sundry other minor gigs in the last hundred years. This from a country which ostensibly practices a peaceful religion like Christianity, whose highest glory is celebrated in American Sniper, what with Oz being the deputy sheriff and designated spot hitter for the southern regions ...

And then knock the pond down, if the Islamics didn't take to the streets in Sydney to explain how the slaughter of French cartoonists showed a peaceful religion doing the right thing by its Prophet... and others should shut up about an absurd religion ...

By golly, when the pond eventually gets into the antechamber with She, a few cross words will be spoken ... and it won't just be about the maltreatment of pigs on British television.

Meanwhile, here we are on Australia Day, and the pond is determined to do it in style:


  1. OMG! So good that you are back, Dot. :) :) :)

  2. Congratulations, Dot'...and welcome back...we knew you had it in you !

  3. Welcome back DP! As for doing it in style, just when have you not?
    That T-shirt is priceless,by the way. I want one. Yours would read "write it like you own it" Welcome back and take care.Jeff.

  4. 1. Welcome back and congratulations on your recovery.
    2. Where in the hell would the poodle get to ride his pup's surfboard in Adelaide?
    3. Blainey's comments about 'anti-Britishness' are interesting, since they reveal the provenance of the current rhetoric of conservative culture warriors about 'western civilization', 'pioneers' and 'the Anzacs'.

    1. Don't forget, Anon, that Britain had joined the "Common Market" in 1973 and that to do so, the Brits had had to demonstrate quite a nasty amount of 'anti-Australianism'. In particular, despite having many ancestors in common (eg my dad was born in the UK in 1905) we were no longer considered 'family' and no longer had "privileged entry to the UK

      Surprise, surprise - at least to the likes of a Blainey, there was quite a lot of Aussie resentment because of that. So just a tiny tad of Aussie 'anti-Britishness' wasn't entirely unexpected

  5. Dorothy - delighted on your return and I will continue to look forward to your postings, whether they are to be morning, noon or night.

  6. So good to have you back, DP, and we trust, on the road to recovery.

    An immensely valuable service you have done in running that SMH piece on Geoffrey Blainey. My memory as I age is not so reliable because I'd had a kinder view. I'd put it down to parochialism, coupled with academic eccentricity. But there is little doubt, viewed from this distance, that it is racism, even embellished by paranoia concerning Immigration's Secret Section. How sad to occur among one of our leading historians.

    Nobody is immune. I still remember arguing with a few otherwise OK blokes about the Nancy Prasad case in the late 60s. They supported the hardline stance of the government and Immigration, as inhumane as it was. Their argument was that if we don't draw the line somewhere, "they" will soon outnumber "us". And this was pretty much Blainey's line 15 years later. I was in a minority in the 60s with my view on White Australia, but much less so by the time of Blainey's outburst. Times do change as information grows. I should also add that the MSM was more humane then, giving an empathetic coverage to the Prasad case, than it is today. It is appalling how asylum seekers have been demonised and how seamlessly it fitted in with the Abbott slogan agenda.

    By an interesting coincidence I happen to be viewing the old Inspector George Gently series, itself a retro on the 60s. (How does Martin Shaw wangle these more nuanced roles? I also watch another old digital one on Judge John Deed , now sadly suspended for the tennis.) Dealing with race politics issues in the slums of the north, it featured direct TV footage of some of Enoch Powell's more inflammatory moments.

    Alas, poor Enoch, once a professor of Classics and Ancient History at Sydney University. What tempted a fine scholar to go in that direction? Did he perhaps agree with Plato that demagogues would always win in a democracy, and thus seek to become one? Whatever, he ultimately failed after an initial flurry. How ironic that the far more blinkered John Howard should succeed with a similar ploy a generation later.

    Happy Australia Day.

    1. Oh it's good to read your post GD, and for reminding the pond of the long ago Nancy Prasad case, which made it into Immigration Nation and is elsewhere on the internet.
      As for poor old Enoch, say no more - it's as unnerving as watching Bill Leak veer off in the direction of Larry Pickering. What is it that induces this sort of weirdness?

    2. Two Wongs don't make a white ?

      But I don't get why 'racism' is transmogrified into some kind of moral issue moral morons like Blainey aside). Is there a defining moral objection to preferring your own kind ? By and large, everybody on the planet does, don't they ?

    3. It's only ever the moral morons like Blainey GB and it's hard to put them aside. Nobody who's been to China or Japan would pretend for a moment that they don't have a healthy dose of Blaineys lurking in them but it helps not to keep yelping about yiddle i pongs and noodles seeing as how Australia's cooking would have stayed Irish British stew sludge without some European and Asian infusions. (The likes of the Bolter are always moaning about the decline of Europe and they can't wait to holiday there ...). I mean, sheesh, noodles on the clothesline? True, the pond favours an old cut off broom stick in the kitchen, but that sort of yelping is beyond pathetic ...

    4. Now, now DP; even in my day, family meals were commonly meat (steak, lamb) and three veg (potatoes, peas or beans, cauliflower etc.). Quite tasty, though a tad boring, if not overdone. And English cooking had lots of good meals - roast beef and Yorkshire pud (who does that today), bangers and mash, mock pancakes and Cumberland rum butter. Not to mention, a lovely big serve of toast, sunnyside up fried eggs, a stack of bacon and fried spuds. Oh joy.

      But I do have to say, that since reading Ak Dak's rave I do have a question: is allowing a hate filled cretin to continue to live a moral issue ? On what basis, apart from similarity of body plan, could Ak Dak be declared human ?

  7. All the best Dorothy. I have missed you greatly and hope you recover quickly, I look forward to your posts daily and hope to for many a long year.

    1. Thanks Robin, and to those above, it's great to be back, especially considering the alternative ...

    2. You know, I did think that maybe you should recruit a 'deputy front-pager' (like Balloon Juice and League of Ordinary Gentlemen have. Of course they both actually have a lot of "front pagers").

      But then I realised that I didn't know of anybody who does quite what you do in quite the way you do it. So we're stuck with you, huh ? And here's hoping iit will be for a long time to come.

  8. "And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."

  9. So glad you're back, DP! All the best for your recovery.

  10. It's better to have only some of you than none of youJan 25, 2015, 10:25:00 PM

    Welcome back

  11. Very, very, very pleased to read of your return, DP.


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