Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Gopher, Everett?

Just haven't felt sufficiently upset about anything to write lately. Disappointing, I know. I am now waiting eagerly for October 9/November 2 to pass so I can start asking people for odds on the bet I alluded to earlier: 'That President Kerry will invade Iran or Syria in his first term.' And the possible corollary: 'That Prime Minister Latham will provide troops.'

In the mind-numbingly dull minutiae department, I have started going to church again. I am two for three for the last three weekends...

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Isn't 'The Pike' a complete piss-take of Damien Broderick's 'The Spike'?


Why do you call Sydney 'Devil Bunny City'?

(1) Thomas Townshend, Earl of Sydney, was known to his friends as 'Devil Bunny'.

(2) Pandaemonium (the capital of Satan in Paradise Lost)has acquired a new connotation over the years, Babylon would be unfair since Little Baghdad is my favourite part of Sydney, and any of the Cities of the Plain would sound homophobic, when that isn't my intention at all.

Is Tony Blair really a genetically modified salamander?

As is well known, the urodeles have the largest genomes of all vertebrates. Until recently, the reasons for this peculiarity were unknown. However, Capek and Voss (Genetics, 164(2):735-746 (2003)) have demonstrated that the unexpressed portions of the salamander genome code for a completely different morphology, a morphology which bears startling similarities to Tony Blair! Under appropriate conditions, the 'normal' promoters which lead to the expression of the regular salamander genes could be turned off, and alternative promoters activated to express the 'Tony Blair' genes. While the true story of Tony Blair's origins remains classified, it is probable that the erratic genius Wolfgang Clam was aware of the potentialities of the salamander genome by the mid-1980s, and generated both Tony Blair and his human cover identity before his descent into madness and evil.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Mindnumbingly-Dull Minutiae, Part Two

Okay, I am going to stay trivial this time. One thing I have noticed these blogs are useful for is talking about what books the blogger has read, or what movies the blogger has seen, to demonstrate how intellectual and/or hip they are. So that seems like a good place to start.

I have been reading Umberto Eco's 'The Search for a Perfect Language'- well, skimming really, to undercut my intellectual pretensions at the outset- which is about historical attempts to either create a perfect language or recreate the one given by God to Adam. One of the things I didn't know is that there was a long mediaeval tradition that there was diversity in language before the Tower of Babel, based on Genesis 10, and apparently somewhere in the Paradiso Adam gives Dante a little lecture about how the language he originally spoke in the Garden of Eden was different from the language spoken just before the flood.
Anyway, reading this has reminded me of my own efforts to create a new language, broken off about a year ago. I am not organised enough, or quite cosmically arrogant enough, to attempt a perfectly rational invented language, but envision my creation as the decayed remnant of such a project. The key idea of my language is the existence of several hundred valid answers to what we would call yes/no questions; the continuum between 'defintiely yes' and 'definitely no' is split into seven levels, and separate words exist to specify on what grounds the speaker is basing their answer. In the mooted screenplay for The Pike, (of which a tiny tiny bit has been written) the Monks are going to speak in this language, with english subtitles. It is also the lingua franca in this story.

Saw 'Love Actually' last night. I wonder why I haven't felt an urge to write anything about Tony Blair. He's catholic, isn't he? And he presides over a country where abortion is legal to 25 weeks. When children have survived being born at 22 weeks. Yet I've never accused him of worshipping evil Carthaginian Gods. I guess it is just a case of my priorities being determined by the media- they don't report what Tony thinks about abortion, so I can continue to be entranced by his Hugh-Grant-like grin and his genetically-modified salamander mind-control powers.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Mindnumbingly-Dull Minutiae, Part One

...I have decided to postpone the first installment of the mindnumbingly-dull minutiae of my life, having not realised that Justice Breyer, who delivered the majority opinion in Wossname vs. Cathcart, is actually Jewish. So I feel obligated to dig into my archives and present my (unpublished) letters to the Devil Bunny City Morning Herald in defense of the Jewish state.

6/8/2001, 'Moir Cartoon August 6th'
[This showed a guy throwing rocks, labelled 'terrorist', facing a helicopter gunship, labelled 'hero'].
What Alan Moir's cartoon doesn't show is that the helicopter gunship is firing over the head of the stone thrower, over the head of the Molotov cocktail thrower behind the stone thrower, over the head of the sniper behind the Molotov cocktail thrower, at the men organising the bombing of public places to randomly kill civilians. I wish you accepted attachments so I could show the faces of some of the teenage girls killed in the bombing these men called "a legitimate act" and "a successful blow against the Zionist enemy".

3/4/2002, 'Freedom for Silesia'
In the late 1940s, twelve million Germans were driven off their ancestral lands by the brutal regime of Stalin. Today, their descendants continue to live in squalid refugee camps, while the Slav occupiers refuse to recognise the U.N. resolutions calling for immediate withdrawal from the occupied territories of Prussia, Silesia, East Pomerania, and the Sudetenland, and respond disproportionately with collective punishment when German freedom-fighters nobly blow up Slav buses and restaurants. Our family has not given up the dream of returning to my great-grandfather's house in Breslau, and our leaders assure us that apparent compromise with the Slavs is only a stepping stone to the liberation of all Greater Germany...

Oops, I think I may have us confused with the other lot who launched a genocidal war against the Jews. The ones who didn't quite pull it off. Sorry...

And a short uninteresting one:

3/10/2002, 'Please Bump Him Upstairs'Could you please give Doug Anderson a regular column for his anti-US and anti-ISrael diatribes and hand the TV guide over to someone less overtly political?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Reich Stuff

The Supreme Court of the Reich today overturned Reichzkanzler Bäumlein’s ban on the controversial ‘Einschuss’ method of social hygiene. ‘The best interests of the Party and the State are preserved when the broadest possible range of options is preserved for each community in the Fatherland to become Judenrein,’ pronounced Judge Breyer. ‘The ban is a gross infringement on the rights of the German people.’ The Einschuss technique, popular in occupied territories where ammunition is scarce, involves wiring Jews and other undesirables into a bundle, shooting the entire bundle with a single bullet, and throwing it into a body of water...

If the policies of the Republican and Democratic parties on abortion were reversed, I would be ‘all the way with JFK’, even if his Swift boat buddies swore black and blue that he used to get his jollies by napalming orphanages. I would support anyone running against Bush on a stronger anti-choice platform. I would support the Reverend Ian Paisley. I would support Moqtada al-Sadr. I would support Aleister Crowley, self-styled Beast of the Apocalypse (yes, he was pro-life too, even though he was also pro-human sacrifice). I guess I am that narrowly-based a single-issue voter.

Not that my purely nominal support is worth anything, as I am not registered to vote in the Old Country. I suppose I ought to shut up and write about the mind-numbingly dull minutiae of my life instead…

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Think Globally - Act Unilaterally

Yesterday I read something in the newspaper- on actual paper, so I can't put a link to it here, which is a freedom I forfeited for the freedom of reading during outside on a bench in the sun- different from anything I had read before. It was something I don't think would have been written before a few years ago by anyone except Barry Goldwater or one of the Barry Goldwater clones that Pinochet used to keep in that cave in the Andes. It wasn't written by anyone who I recognised as belonging to a neoconservative cabal. I had a vague impression they were actually some kind of career diplomat. The general tone of the article didn't seem to be particularly right wing. The piece was about the Darfur crisis, and what I read was something like this: "A government that cannot guarantee the human rights of its people forfeits its right to non-interference in its internal affairs." Amen.

It was just put in there, unapologetically, without any effort to justify the statement. "A government that cannot guarantee the human rights of its people forfeits its right to non-interference in its internal affairs."

That is, to me, the Bush doctrine. It is also the Clinton doctrine- Clinton ordered the military into action more times than any other peacetime US President, always for humanitarian sorts of things. But what this doctrine needs is a sense of proportion; you cannot let Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Moore determine your priorities. It needs a sense of what can realistically be done, and also what is worth doing. I am sure a multinational force along the Green Line in Israel/Palestine would do some good; I am sure a few hundred Scandinavian peacekeepers in Bourke and Walgett would do some good; but I am not sure that is the best way the world should be spending its resources. At the other end of the scale, this doctrine so innocently expressed by this fellow whose name I have forgotten runs into one enormous problem. Two words: Middle Kingdom.

But leaving that aside for now. World government may or not be a good thing, but there is only one entity in the world today that can be considered an embryonic world government, and that is the United States. It is far less corrupt and far, far more powerful than the United Nations; it has a powerful motivating and unifying ideology that is exportable and adaptable, unlike the European Union or China. The best chance for peace in our time is American hegemony.

(The next bit I wrote at the beginning of last year, and now I find that the final paragraph scares me, which must mean I am becoming more mellow. Ahem:)

This is what the United States is waking up to realise: For the first time in history, a democracy has a free hand to remake the world.

At Valmy, the revolutionary army of the French sent a shudder through all the crowned heads of Europe, and the long war against the people began. The spirit of the 18th Century Revolutions was stilled by two-hundred years of obscene but necessary realpolitik, cooperation with every kind of dictator and thug to fight greater evils, but can now rise again. It is the duty of every democracy to export revolution.

We do not understand, in the bloodless republics and pale constitutional monarchies that form the rest of the West, what the United States is: it is not a collection of people whose ancestors happened to live in a particular place, but a nation founded and sustained by a ideology more human than any product of the satanic 20th century. That ideology is not necessarily english-speaking, it is not necessarily Christian, it is not necessarily rich. The 22nd century United States may well be none of these things. This is the core of the ideology: “We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

If you believe that sentence, you will not stop at Kabul. You will not stop at Baghdad. You will not stop at Teheran or Ramallah or Damascus or Pyongyang. You will take advantage of this sweet-spot in history, this transient moment before we once again have ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’, to engineer a regime change in the renegade mainland provinces of China. You will fight until all government not “of the people, for the people, by the people” has vanished from the face of the Earth.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Test for Our Times

Here is something that encapsulates the dilemma outlined in the 'Bard Wars' introduction, written (I think) on New Year's Day, 2003.

It is a multiple choice test.

(a) The trains run, usually within ten minutes of the schedules. People sit and drink in the cafes, and you might hear them laugh, and there are books of poetry published, and columns written in the newspaper where the affairs of the nation are debated, and – of course – there are families picnicking in the parks. And the trains run, usually within ten minutes of the schedules, day and night, somewhere in the background. Out of sight the others are being killed. The subhumans, the class enemies, the race enemies, the poor, the inconvenient.

This is called peace.

(b) The cry of the oppressed reaches up to heaven, and the cities are made into lakes of fire, and those people you saw laughing in the cafes yesterday are roasted alive in shelters beneath the street, or crushed by falling buildings, or will not laugh again.

This is called justice.

(c) I am sorry to report that there is no (c). However, both (a) and (b) become cleaner and more efficient with each moment that passes.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

US Election 2004

Okay, so my paragraph on Kerry was a little over the top. But I have just discovered the most hyperbolic statement of the U.S. Presidential campaign thus far, embedded in a mainstream opinion article on the website of a paper with a normally blisteringly right-wing editorial policy, the Jerusalem Post. Here it is:

"Despite his frequent talk of eradicating "Evil," Bush's religious fundamentalism has helped trigger an explosion of "Evil" the likes of which the world has never known."

The likes of which the world has never known. Gosh. I suppose the inverted commas make it alright... But if 'Evil' isn't Evil, why should an explosion of it be bad? Most astonishingly, the writer, Eli Valley, is the "editor of Contact, the journal of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation and author of The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe." (my italics)

Athens 2004

And Bard Wars is complete! (I expect. I don't know yet. But I am pretty sure.) To celebrate this milestone- and the temporary period of global goodwill and reduced performance-enhancing-drug consumption I would expect to follow such a momentous event- I will not write anything that could be characterised as 'extremist ranting' for a little while. Instead, I will present an Introduction from the middle years of the present century, penned by an older and wiser Entrails X:

‘Bard Wars’ is not a pleasant book to read. It was never intended to be. David Versace’s dystopic fantasy has shocked and appalled readers since it was first written. With brutal clarity, Versace draws a gut-churning image of a society in the final liquefactious stages of moral decay, then grimly but without malice follows its ineluctable descent into madness and death. An early reviewer wrote, of one notorious passage: ‘I realised I could have accepted the description ‘sucks cock like a goat’ without a murmur, but the substitution of the one word ‘fellates’ had achieved a diabolic transfiguration: I was no longer reading pornography, the degradation of man to a mere beast, but had witnessed the civilised and deliberate corruption of man to devil.’
In Versace’s Fellport there are innumerable acts of perversion, in all their joyless and mechanical variety; there are innumerable acts of violence, perpetrated without anger and without ideological purpose. There are no acts of kindness; there are no children; there are no gods. There is not one character whose nature rises above the bestial. There is no beauty, no truth, no light in the darkness.
Fellport reflects the debút-de-siècle decadence of Versace’s own world, unflinchingly dissecting it to display the cancer within. To its first readers, it was like the fabulous mirror of the Ghul, throwing back at the one who gazes in it his own face as the face of a week-dead corpse. This is what you truly are, Versace says. This is what you will become. This is the path you walk, you and the multitudes who blindly follow one another into the quicksands of moral relativism. Long before the barbarian onslaught in Chapter 12, the modern reader is eagerly awaiting the purifying flames of jihad. And yet…
We do not like the lives of the inhabitants of Fellport, but we are shocked by their deaths. The graphic descriptions of the fate of Fellport at the hands of the barbarian horde stretch over many chapters of pillage, massacre, rape, and torture. In meticulous detail, the vengeance of these moral absolutists upon the city-dwellers is presented in all its horror. The modern reader will see himself reflected here, and he will not like what he sees. In the ruin of Fellport are echoes of the recent past of Versace’s world (the nineteen blood-bound captains of Hradakar, perhaps the least objectionable figures of the novel, call to mind the nineteen shahideen of the 23rd Jumaada al Thaany, peace be upon them), and eerie foreshadowings of his future, when the followers of the false Mahdi would lay waste to three continents. Is it any wonder no one can read the novel with comfort? Only one of the characters from the novel’s beginning is left at the end, the outsider Beyda Aldus Chur, fleeing the city penniless by land as he fled to it by sea in the novel’s opening scene. He has no answers. He has not been redeemed by his suffering. The godless world of ‘Bard Wars’ offers him no escape, no middle way between a demonic moral relativism and an insane moral absolutism.
It is good that ‘Bard Wars’ has been preserved from the turbulent years of the false Mahdi, and that it has now been released from the Index by the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue for the study of mullahs and married men of good character over the age of forty. It has much to teach us about the diseased and diabolic moral abyss of the world before Ard-al-Islam, and of the temptations it can engender in the faithful. Read it with fear and trembling, and thank the Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful, that you were not born in such a time.

- Muhammad abd-al-Rahman abd-al-Rahim X, 2nd Thuw al-Hijjah, 1479 A.H.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Smiles with Belial

"Thus Belial with words cloaked in reason's garb
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,"

- Paradise Lost, II, 226-227

John Kerry, the Democrat candidate for president of the United States, is a ‘pro choice’ Catholic. Can there be a more loathsome thing? Either he is a moral idiot, who has never understood one jot or tittle of the meaning behind the ritual, or he is a moral pygmy who would stifle any qualm that opposed his pursuit of power, or he is a moral coward, so paralysed by polls that he does not dare to vote his conscience, or he is a pure blackguard and devil worshipper, a perverted maniac prostrate before the altar of Moloch.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

A Sense of Proportion - Part Three

I told you that story as an introduction to the following stream-of-consciousness fragment, from the week after the 'Sorry' march across the Harbour Bridge in 2000, which was titled, in my scruffy notebook, 'In case I am asked what I think of Sunday's March':

We live is a society that has no sense of moral proportion.
There is not just good and evil; there is good, better, better still, better than that, and better than that again.
In the last year millions of people have suffered and died in Africa and Latin America because of the practice of usury; tens of thousands of my countrymen have been killed for no other reason but that they were inconvenient; tens of thousands of people have been killed in the senseless war between Eritrea and Ethiopia- my moral rule comes from the Prophets, and I can only think of what might have been if 250 000 people had marched for John Howard to tale a role in mediating the war in the Horn of Africa; for limits to abortion; for debt remediation.
We are like a man coming to take possession of our family house in Freetown. The windows are shot out, there are white ants in the walls, there are holes in the ceiling, excrement on the kitchen floor, and upstairs someone is being raped. We dust off an old family photo that has survived somehow and it on the dining room table; we have done a good thing. Maybe it is a neccessary first step. I don't know.
O Lord, am I such a cynic? Please give this world a SENSE OF PROPORTION!
We get our sense of proportion from the media. We are outraged at whatever Mr Murdoch wants us to be outraged at; we are sheep.

And, on the next page:

I was lying awake last night wandering what bothered me about this Reconciliation Movement, this quarter of a million people crossing the Sydney harbour Bridge. I cannot think of any part of it I am opposed to; Aden Ridgeway supports it, and I admire him tremendously. We white people did awful things.
I thought that in the last few years, probably as many children as the Stolen Generation have died in the country where my mother was born because it has to service its foreign debt. All those little Marias and Salvadors dying in little villages on the altiplano without any doctors. Each one somebody's baby, that somebody loves like I love my son. And I thought of my son growing up into a young man, growing up good and strong and clever and tall and going off to die in a ditch in the desert; and I thought of all the children who their parents never wanted to know, who were murdered by their parents right here in Sydney, because they were incovenient, and no one will prosecute them, and not one of my friends will say they were wrong, because we have no sense of moral proportion.
Lord, save us from this lunacy.
Why do religious people argue with other religious people?
Why do people who do good argue with other people who do good?
Because people who do good might be people who do better; they show promise; and the fertile field is where we must work, not the barren.

I do not have tears enough for all the world.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

A Sense of Proportion - Part Two

Now I will attempt to justify my peculiar assertion of the 30th of July, which might seem at first to put me offside with the Cardinal and the Australian Christian Lobby.

Historically and self-consistently, Christendom has sanctioned two valid paradigms of human sexual behaviour:
* a monogamous relationship open to the creation of new life, and
* chastity

All the usages of Sulva that we call 'birth control' Christian theologians historically and self-consistently have included with 'sodomy', as making barren that which is intended to be fruitful. These practices are still condemned unreservedly by the Orthodox right wing and Catholic centre of Christendom, notwithstanding their embrace by Christendom's 'lunatic left' in the last century.

After the two valid paradigms, a distant second best would logically be:
* a monogamous relationship not open to the creation of new life.

Historically and self-consistently, one kind of DINK has been considered the same as another. Indeed, there are two good arguments for preferring homosexual marriage over heterosexual marriage made fruitless by design.

Firstly, a homosexual orientation is a better excuse than most for not entering a fruitful monogamous relationship; certainly better than wanting more money to spend on DVDs and overseas holidays.

Secondly, and more importantly, a homosexual couple cannot fall into the sin of achieving fruitlessness by means that act through preventing implantation of a fertilised embryo (e.g., intrauterine devices and, to some extent, most forms of hormonal chemical contraception). Within the Christian and Muslim understandings of the nature of human life, more consistent with modern biology than the Talmudic view that the fertilised egg is a 'tissue of water' until forty days after conception, this sin explicitly violates the Noachian commandment against killing human beings.

A traditional and self consistent Christian (and Muslim) then, while having grounds to oppose homosexual marriage, ought to oppose the Pill much more. In fact, going on about homosexuality when there are so many other things more worthy of going on about shows an appalling lack of a sense of proportion.

Here are some things the Christian right should be worrying about more than the normalisation of same-sex marriage:

* Foreign debt
* Homeless vets
* Crack
* Bernie Goetz
* Hypodermics on the shore
* China's under martial law
* Rock and Roller Cola wars

Oops, that actually seems to be the last verse of Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire'. But it is still true. Except possibly for Bernie Goetz.

A Sense of Proportion - Part One

I got a bulk email the other day, originally from someone connected with the Cardinal's office, urging me to make a submission to the Senate regarding the proposed new legislation on marriage- the bulk of these submissions so far had been from homosexual lobby groups, the email said, and it was my duty to stand up for the traditional Catholic model of marriage. The link provided with the email led me to the website of a Christian action group which claimed this was a watershed moment, a great crisis, and that if I didn't act now I would regret it later. I thought about it, but didn't end up writing to my Senators (they ignored me on Stem Cells, after all; and I'm not sure if one is out of rehab yet). I guess I don't see that we have any right to meddle in the definition of civil marriage, just as we would be understandably miffed if any government tried to meddle with sacramental marriage. They are essentially two completely different things with the same name, like the republican movement (Australia) and the Republican party (U. S.).

Sunday, August 01, 2004

I love you like the stars above, I love you till I die

When I was growing up in the Old Country, nobody bothered too much about the rest of the world. But when people thought about Europe, France was the country they they thought about. And people liked France. They didn't particularly like Germany (Hitler) or England (a lot of us being Irish) or Portugal (where?) but nine out of ten people liked France. There was none of the ancient Francophobia that is part of British (and by extension, Australian) culture. Nobody had ever heard- and if they had, they didn't particularly care- about French nuclear testing in the Pacific. We had only heard about the French Resistance, nothing about collaborators or appeasement. We never thought much about Devil's Island- except, I realise now, some of us thought it might be cool to establish our own extrajudicial hellhole in the Carribean someday. When we thought about France, back in the Old Country, what did we think about?

* Snoopy and the Red Baron
* Pepe le Pew
* Lafayette coming to our aid in the War of Independence
* Liberty
* Fraternity
* Equality

You see, we thought the French were just like we thought we were, but with funny accents. We liked France. We thought they were fanatic republicans. We had a crush on France. So I guess the bitterness that you can read on right-wing American websites nowadays is because America feels jilted. It picked up the banner of revolution and mounted the barricades, and cried out 'Vive la revolution!' and France said (pace Mark Knopfler):

"Oh, Liberty, I used to have a thing with him..."

Stupid White Man

Q. Martin Matin, didn't the United Nations impose sanctions on Iraq for thirteen years?

A.Yeah,I guess so.

Q. Why did they do this?


Q. Didn't it have something to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction?

A.Bush lied.

Q. Pardon?

A. Bush lied, people died!

Q. Isn't it true that the UN imposed sanctions on Iraq for thirteen years because it hadn't demonstrated satisfactorily that it had dismantled its WMD programs?

A. But Bush lied.

Q.Isn't it true that under-five mortality in Iraq in 1991-2004 almost tripled, resulting in 1.5 million needless deaths?


Q.Wouldn't sanctions still be in place if Saddam was still in power?


Q. Didn't the French and Russian intelligence services agree with the American and British that Iraq hadn't demonstrated satisfactorily that it had dismantled its WMD programs?


Q. Thank you,Mr.Matin.

A. Bush lied.

Q. Thank you,Mr.Matin.