The Art of the Australian Insult

A masterpiece of fiction
March 23, 2009, 1:01 am
Filed under: Culture, Transport | Tags: ,

A wry comment on the state of public transport in Sydney, one that’s worth quoting in full:

“I see that the shortlist for the Premier’s Literary awards will be announced tomorrow (Spectrum, March 21-22). I trust that among these will be the Sydney Bus Timetable. Recognition is long overdue. It is written by a person with boundless imagination; it excites in its readers the whole range of emotions, from relief, anticipation, excitement, puzzlement, anger and frustration to anti-climax. So obviously is it a masterpiece of fiction that no disclaimer is necessary.”

Michael Creswell Waterloo, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A geometrical haemorrhage
November 21, 2008, 5:34 am
Filed under: Culture, Politicians | Tags: ,

“The girls’ odd outfits were clearly chosen as foils to their mother’s dress, which was all black with an eye-burning red panel that splattered itself down the front like The girls’ odd outfits were clearly chosen as foils to their mother’s dress, which was all black with an eye-burning red panel that splattered itself down the front like a geometrical haemorrhage,…”

Germaine Greer on Michelle Obama’s election night dress.

Public standards
October 9, 2008, 2:53 am
Filed under: Culture | Tags:

“Kathy Keele, the Australia Council’s chief executive, says that in Australia “artists must abide by the same laws and community standards that apply to every other citizen” (“Novelist throws the book over Henson photos”, October 8). More statues of footy players adorning our public spaces? Theatre pieces about our Olympic heroes’ incomparable achievements? A musical about the Australian cricket team’s agonising decision to tour India? Maybe an arts workshop on how to depict the drinking binges that inevitably follow a favourite footy team’s win? Are these the community standards Ms Keele thinks we should abide?
If artists merely comply with whatever “community standards” are, how do we ever break free of the crass, profit-driven, mind-numbing propaganda that complies with those standards and calls itself public media?”

Peter Kenyon South Turramurra, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Bugger Bill Bloody Henson
October 8, 2008, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Culture, Sex | Tags:

“HERE we go again. Bill Bloody Henson and his “art”. I am damn sick of it and I am damn sick of the people who will always defend his photos and consider any negative reaction as being from uneducated, ignorant, non-art loving philistines.

Well, I have had enough. I have had enough of this so-called art and the art world’s you-just-don’t-understand response after the original outpouring of disgust.”

SMH reader Helen Brien has a rant about Bill Henson and children wearing Tshirts with slogans like “Daddy only wanted a blow job”.

Double standards?
October 7, 2008, 3:22 am
Filed under: Culture, Politicians | Tags:

“Politicians have expressed disgust at Bill Henson looking for models for his art in school playgrounds but are quite happy to look for babies to pat in shopping centres at election time. A case of double standards?”

Robbie Roach Randwick, one of a number of letters on the subject to the Sydney Morning Herald. A reader of The Australian has a quite different view:

“WHEN the Bill Henson controversy first erupted earlier this year, I suspected elements of the self-styled progressive Left were sneering at the rest of us plebs for failing to recognise that child pornography constitutes art if the purveyor is wearing an artist’s smock or hosts exhibitions of his work. David Marr has confirmed those suspicions in his book. The problem for Henson and his apologists is that for the majority of us, when something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we’re fairly sure we know what we’re looking at.”
John McLeod
Sunshine Coast, Qld

Germane to the argument
August 21, 2008, 2:41 am
Filed under: Culture, Intellectuals and expats | Tags: ,

“Greer, while fun at a dinner party or on a chat show, ultimately offers nothing. She is a true sophist – constructing fine arguments for a specious premise. They are of no use, like infertile seed thrown on fallow ground. Everyone is expectant, delighted that such fine seed has arrived, only to be disappointed when it turns to nought.”

Miranda Devine on Germaine Greer. She argues:

“Never having had children, or lived an extended period of domestic bliss with a man, she has rejected the experience and choice of most women. Her 2003 picture book The Beautiful Boy, which lusted after teenage boys whose “sperm runs like tap water”, indicates her emotional development never progressed much past 12, leaving her suspended in a mindset of doing or saying anything to get a boy’s attention.”


Lost in suburbia
August 15, 2008, 5:51 am
Filed under: Cultural Cringe, Culture, Lifestyles, Social class | Tags: ,

“Life in Australia is neither urban nor rural but suburban. If your ambition is to live on Ramsay Street, where nobody has ever been heard to discuss a book or a movie, let alone an international event, then Australia may be the place for you.”

Germaine Greer, 2004, quoted in today’s Australian. Earlier this month, Catherine Deveny, writing in The Age, declared:

“I can’t tell you how often I were living in some outer suburb, content with signed and framed football jumpers on the wall, no bookshelves amd a coffee table covered in remote controls, happy to read romance novels over my Cup-a-Soup. At least I’ve have some peace. In the immortal words of Radiohead; no alarms and no surprises.”