Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Satire and Suicide.

I really hope that satire isn't the same as personal mockery. I use one, and don't like the other.

If you're smart (unlike me) you'll try and remain voluntarily ignorant about politics, but try to avoid, at least, thinking that all political bents are the same. Take the 1970's socialist revolutionary Saul Alinsky for example. His book Rules For Radicals, a step-by-step handbook on how to rise to power, has been used frequently by various US Democrats.

This useful instructional tome reads like it's a workshop manual for VW Beetles, but with bigger words. It has some marvelous pointers on stuff like; how to discredit and personally destroy your opponents, how to deflect criticism, how to create job vacancies (i.e. "push" people out of your way) and such like. It even contained an "over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: Lucifer". Quite the magnanimous hat-tip coming from a militant atheist.

Here's one of Alinsky's famous methods, paraphrased somewhat: Force your opponents to live up to their own standards. When they don't, attack them.

Matthew Littman was a Democrat strategist and a speech writer for now-VP Joe Biden (which may explain why Biden so often strays from his script. Tragically, he's even worse at ad-libbing). In an article in the factually-challenged news portal Huffington Post, Littman wrote of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 US presidential race...

I am offended by the attacks on Senator Clinton because there is no question that the slams against her are hypocritical and come because she’s a woman...

Such a nice thing to say albeit where his grammar is slightly awkward because also the lack of punctuation makes the sentence look a little strange and because he can't write quite right.

Yes, as speechwriter for one of Clinton's opponents, it's really quite sweet of him to be worried about Hillary mainly due to her scary woman-parts (that's a feminist term so don't get snarky). I totally agree with him.

But wait. The same Littman, in a recent interview, made comments about resigned Alaskan governor Sarah Palin which were, by his own logic, misogynistic and sexist. And, of all the media-driven twisted, sick and depraved mockery of Palin, Littman excused it, and joined in. The bi-partisan feminist website New Agenda has the story. He even talks down to a female co-interviewee in the most hideously patronising manner, clapping at her like a dog.

Okay, so the guy is a low-brow, bigoted hypocrite who enjoys being nasty. Check. But isn't he running contrary to the much-heralded, Democrat-practised Alinsky method?

Not at all. He's adhering to it fastidiously, actually. Because, like many of his political allies, he has no moral standards at all. So there's nothing to hold him to.

As opposed to Republicans, who often can't hang on to their own standards. They still haven't worked out that to make the party platform "bugger marriages, bugger families and exterminate inconvenient pregnancies en masse" gives them licence to stuff up almost anything.

In that light, I would almost have to disagree with the Sarah Palin response to "comedian" David Letterman's jibe about her daughter, were it not for the fact that the media incited Palin into responding. You see, Letterman had nothing to apologise for. He has no standards to adhere to. So, building a "joke" around statutory rape of a 14 year-old girl is just another day at the office for Dirty Old Dave.

Likewise, when the leftist gossip site made fun of republican nominee John McCain's daughter recently. Megan McCain was desperately trying to help an unknown person who sent her a twitter message saying that he wanted to kill himself. She contacted Twitter, and even the Seattle Police, such was her concern. mocked her for it, calling her "hyper-emotional" and saying she was going "progressively nuts" for attempting to help some guy who was just "writing some sadsack stuff about wanting to die".

Nope., a gossip site who want you to believe their personal, insidious mockery is actually savvy political satire, have not done anything wrong. To call anything "wrong" is so yesterday.

That last example resonates somewhat more than usual. You see, down here in Victoria, a 14-year-old girl and former classmate of my daughter's best friend, committed suicide after repeatedly receiving demeaning comments on the internet.

Any suicide is a tragedy. That it was someone so young is exceedingly heartbreaking.

But then, a broken heart would be my own fault. If only I didn't have standards....

Chanelle Rae.


Monday, July 27, 2009

You Tube innit

At last some relevant Atherton family stuff on You Tube. Technology rocks.


And Sammy Boy


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Senna Massa Surtees

Bear with me I'm a little freaked and am having a weird, join-the-dots moment.

I was watching my beloved F1 at Hungary on Saturday pm. For my past ponderings on F1, go here.

I suspected that the crash involving Brazilian Felipe Massa, where the car seemed to just drive off into the wall with little or no input from the driver, was not actually a car problem, but a driver problem. It was almost as if he just lost consciousness.

Of course, I had no-one to explain this theory to as I was all alone, which I mostly am when I watch F1. Funny about that. Well, Sharon was away for the weekend at a scrapbooking boot camp, where hopefully she will finish the wedding photo album.

Anyhoo, my theory was proven correct when replays showed a suspension spring bouncing down the track and hitting poor Felipe (who I affectionately call "FES", for fans of That 70's Show) in the face. As good as carbon fibre helmets are, they can't stop a metal spring from penetrating and lacerating one's face.

As a diversion from the hard reality of it all, commentators waxed bafflingly over how the spring had bounced into Fes's path when there were no cars immediately ahead to kick it up. Well, I thought. It's a spring. It bounced. That's what they do. It could have been bouncing around for hours before poor Fes came along. But again of course, no-one was there to hear my brilliance.

Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello, a fellow Brazilian, had visited Fes at his bedside.

The next morning at little league footy, where, incidentally, Sammy's team won, I met a Pommy guy who had raced formula Ford in the UK and once worked on the car of Roland Ratzenberger.

For the uninitiated, Ratzenberger was the Austrian who was tragically killed on the Saturday practice at the Imola Grand Prix of May 1st, 1994. The Sunday race was then made infamous by the death of Brazilian Ayrton Senna, where a piece of suspension had peirced Senna's helmet. Besides visiting Ratzenberger's crash, Senna had also been to the hospital bedside of his Brazlian friend, the young hotshoe Rubens Barrichello, who had survived a horror crash two days earlier. It had all happened, one big ugly mass of incidents, in the one weekend. They say things happen in threes.

Back at the footy; we also discussed the timing of it all. A week ago, Henry Surtees, son of the great world champion of both motorbikes and cars, John Surtees, died in a Formula 2 race. 18 year-old Henry Surtees, driving a Renault, was hit in the head by a loose wheel. The race contained other second-generation F1 drivers Jolyone Palmer and Alex Brundle.

So that night I watched the Hungarian GP. Early in the race, a pitstop error by the Renault team lead to a wheel coming loose and bouncing, as wheels do, down the track for quite a distance. I haven't seen a loose wheel in F1 for a long time. This season is particularly interesting for my age group of F1 tragics, as there are three second-generation F1 drivers in Piquet, Nakajima and Rosberg. All of whose dads drove in my era.

I love F1, but learning to put it into it's proper place has been quite a journey for me. I pray that Fes will be okay. I also pray that the delightful Rubens Barrichello will quit at the end of this year. Sharon and I both love him as an F1 driver, but wife Silvania and his new munchkins Fernando and Eduardo love him even more as a hubby and dad.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dramatic Chipmunk

The title is inaccurate. It's actually a prarie dog.

AND tragically I missed the fact that the previous post was momentously #100 on the athertonblab blog!! Had I noticed, there would have been carnivals and prize-giveaways.

Oh well.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Funny Billboard dept.

Billboard I saw just outside Geelong. Spot the ideologically accurate piece of defacement.

Beyond that I'm saying nothing.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back to whatever is considered normal for us...

Family news. Omi and Opes did their first bit of Pony Club together and I'm pleased to say that they jumped some stuff without breaking anything except the bank. I have some video footage, complete with sexy camera angles I learned from One Digital's sports coverage, and some unwitting background commentary from Sam, although it had nothing to do with equestrianism.

There's also a cameo appearance from Mum and Dad, who were over for the weekend to enjoy our sub-arctic temperatures, no doubt due to global warming.

I would post them on You Tube. But a) I can't find the cable that sends the pictures from the camera to the papooter, and b) Mum worries that everytime I put something about our family on the interweb we increase our risk of being kidnapped by jihadis. I do wish she wouldn't flatter me so.

It's not like I haven't uploaded stuff to YT before, which should scare anyone who rightly thinks I already have way too much publishing space on the interweb. The stuff I've experimented with thus far is not quite as cerebral as you'd expect from me:

That's me channeling Steve McQueen in the blue car. I'll let you know as soon as I upload something involving reality.


Obama channels Clinton

And not in a good way...

UPDATE: According to ABC's Insiders, a different camera angle exonerates The One from any carnal intent so I should not be so unfair. Sarkozy, however, is still guilty-as-charged. Oh well, he's French. (We know he is French from his outrageous accent).

And now, for the crime of attempting to criticise Bams, I am off to the gulag with my shovel, for re-education...