Tag Archives: snark


Length? Reach?


A greengrocer’s apostrophe has escaped and been seen at this block of flats in Victoria Road, Marrickville. Approach with caution, as it is believed to breed at a phenomenal  rate.

Pathetic blogger

Pathetic, that’s me. But just to keep some kind of action happening on these pages, here’s a snap from my local supermarket which is a bit of an object lesson in the importance of line breaks.

I really thought they were offering a new kind of schnitzel made of calves’ hearts (urk!) until I saw the similarly worded ad for beef schnitzel with the line break after ‘beef’.

That’s all for now.


Penny is reading Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century by Toby Clark and loving it. Every now and then she can’t contain herself and insists on reading bits out to me. This, for instance:

[Fascists] openly rejected rationalism as the arid and soulless outlook of bourgeois modernity, and described their movement as a cult of action and passion free of doctrinal rules. Thus the French fascist Robert Brasillach spoke of fascism not as a theory but a ‘poetry’ of faith and emotion, and Mussolini declared: ‘I am not a statesman, I am more like a mad poet.’ In the book Mein Kampf, … Adolf Hitler … stated that a leader could not gain followers by mere explanation or instruction; these have never moved the masses, he argued: ‘it is always a devotion which has inspired them, and often a kind of hysteria which has urged them to action.’

Now I’m not wanting to call anyone a Fascist, but it’s hard not to see some relevance to current Australian Federal politics. Doesn’t the Opposition spokesman on finance sometimes sound just a little like a mad (and not very good) poet? And how about Tony Abbott as fostering a cult of action and passion, and portraying the Government’s methodical approach to policy as arid and soulless: let’s be photographed in lycra and talk about a Great. Big. Tax. On. Everything rather than apply something approaching thought to the dominant issue of the day. Mind you, at the risk of agreeing with Hitler even a little bit, a little passion from the PM wouldn’t go astray. Even though I’m wearing my ‘Join the Kevolution’ t-shirt as I type this, the idea of devotion to Kevin Rudd seems more deeply ironic than ever. His habitual way of talking to us isn’t even as animated as ‘explanation or instruction’ – more like footnoting and indexing.

A cool invitation?

A tantalisingly misshapen envelope arrived in our mailbox today, and it turned out to contain an invitation to a party.

SYD NYEClick to see bigger.

In case you can’t read it, it’s to  a New Year’s Eve party on the Western Boardwalk of the Sydney Opera House, offering ‘a combination of the finest gastronomy and mixology, international entertainment, iconic venue and location’.

How fabulous, I thought. One of our really influential friends must have got us onto the guest list. As a non-drinker I’d even put up with all those expensively tipsy people for the sake of the sheer exclusivity of it.

But then I reached the bottom of the page.


Oh, it’s not an invitation at all. It’s trying to sell something. Let’s see, is this the way I want to spend $895? Before the obvious answer could settle in my mind, I saw the very tiny type at the bottom


Yes, not only would I have to give the Opera House $895 to accept this ‘invitation’, but I’d have to pay between $5 and $8.50 for the privilege

In that case, I thought, they can keep their mixologies.

St Barry – ora pro nobis

This is on the White House blog, with no apparent comic intention:

St Barry

NY Post geography

On page 14 of today’s New York Post, Jane Campion is quoted: ‘I have a two-room hut in a remote part of New Zealand, the south island, an hour’s drive outside Queensland.’ She clearly drives a very fast amphibian vehicle.
Right! No more painful pseudo tweets from my phone. I get my fixed computer back any hour now.

How not to reach the masses

Yesterday afternoon, in our customary sybaritic manner, Penny and I trotted off to a public lecture at the University of New South Wales: Deborah Cameron on the Myth of Mars and Venus. Since I blogged about the book on Thursday, and the lecture covered the same material, I won’t say much about the lecture here, except that I was fascinated to observe the way DC compressed the substance of the book to fit a one-hour time slot and reshaped it to fit her mainly academic audience. On the one hand (sadly) she left out most of the more colourful examples; on the other, with the help of a handout, she gave us a map of modernist and postmodernist takes on gender and language and of current challenges to the latter. One of the challenges she’s all in favour of, and in some ways amounted to the point of her book: it’s all very well to discuss linguistic diversity, but you have to include the concept of power as well. The other, which didn’t feature in the book, is the challenge from the recent renewal of arguments that differences between women and men are biologically based. ‘It’s no good,’ she said, ‘saying, “Oh not that old thing again. I thought we got rid of that in the 70s.” We have to engage with it. We may even learn something from it.’ In response to a question about the politics behind the resurgence of biological psychology, she was refreshingly blunt: “It’s the new academically respectable face of sexism.”

I was glad I’d read the book beforehand, because it equiped me to understand a lot of what got said during the Q& A at the end about gender as performance rather than something that simply exists in the real world. ‘I am completely free to decide how I speak, but I have no control over how I will be understood.’

There were 32 people there. I counted. About five men. Also sandwiches, red cordial, teabags and biscuits.

This morning, DC’s comments about the necessity of engaging seemed relevant to this spectacle:


It’s Saturday morning, when this locality comes alive because of the Orange Grove Markets across the street. A coffee shop is doing a roaring trade jus a couple of metres from where I was standing to take the photo. People are  everywhere, and in a buying mood. But even when the Feminist Bookshop opens at 10.30, two hours or so after serious activity starts, its shop front is hardly inviting. Even if the permanent bars on window aren’t as paranoid as they seem, surely the frosting can only be read as deliberate discouragement of casual shoppers. Of course, there’s no reason a feminist bookshop has to court customers. But wouldn’t an invitation to engagement be a better look?

Exemplary journalism (irony alert)

Did anyone else notice in the 7.30 Report’s segment on parallel import of books last night the bit where the commentator said that on the one hand, those who argued for the lifting of restrictions said that the music industry had suffered no ill effects from the lifting of similar restrictions on importing CDs, and on the other hand those who argued the opposite said that there had been massive loss of jobs as a result of the change, and missed out the fairly obvious next step of telling us which of those two assertions was borne out by the facts.

This was the ABC, where ‘balance’ is now apparently valued above finding out the facts.