Friday, October 31, 2008

Over Obama

Fundy Post: over Obama

1. The purpose of these note is to explain to readers why these notes have been written. The post-literate will not need these notes. All they need is the slogan: Fundy Post: over Obama.

2. Readers of this blog may have become accustomed to reading sentences here, which make arguments (admittedly, often rather flippant ones) and come to conclusions (admittedly, often rather perverse ones). Clearly, in the present political climate, this will not do. We need to reach out to the undecided voters, people who are too stupid to make up their minds or to comprehend a sentence, let alone a paragraph. Fortunately, these people are too stupid to know that we know how stupid they are. However, for their benefit, we must talk in slogans. And we must repeat them, often. Fundy Post: over Obama.

3. To explain, this blogeur has become disillusioned with Mr Obama. This blogeur appreciates that this disillusionment comes long in advance of the normal disillusionment season, which begins six months after the landfall victory. This blogeur is ahead of the curve in this respect. Fundy Post: over Obama.

4. To put it another way, this blogeur is heartily fed up with the whole thing. American sporting contests are all of them long and tedious, but this one especially so. It has been going on months on end. Granted, it will end soon, but that is no compensation for the time wasted. Fundy Post: over Obama.

5. This blogeur is also somewhat tired of all the talk of Mr Obama's Vision. Somehow, nobody seems to have noticed that he does not seem to have any Policies. Fundy Post: over Obama.

6. This blogeur is underwhelmed by the thirty-minute infommercial produced by Mr Obama's campaign. Naturally, this blogeur has not troubled himself to see it, but then he is not of the target demographic: stupid Americans. Fundy Post: over Obama.

7. This blogeur is not alone in this respect. Most of the inhabitants of New Zealand do not have a vote in the forthcoming Presidential Election. Yet, we seem to talk about little else. Fundy Post: over Obama.

8. Most of the inhabitants of New Zealand do have a vote in the forthcoming New Zealand General Election. Yet we seem to be so enthralled with events in America and so besotted with Obama, that we have little interest in our own political future. Fundy Post: over Obama.

9. To conclude, Fundy Post: over Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sex and the city

"I think a lot of ads are so sexualised now and completely over the top - not that I am a prude or anything."

This leads to an inevitable question - does he like sex?

"Arr ... err ... hello, that guy took interest in what you just said," says Davis, referring to another pedestrian.

Well, do you like sex? He mumbles for a moment. "Well that is a personal part of my life ... and I don't want to talk about that."
Is it just me, or is Carolyne Meng-Yee's interrogration of Peter Davis in the Herald on Sunday creepy and weird? Let me check that. BRB.

No, it is not just me. The interview is creepy and weird. Ms Meng-Yee is fixated on the sex life of Professor Davis and the Prime Minister. Amongst normal people, a remark about the sexualisation of advertising does not lead inevitably to a question about the speaker's sex life. Normal people can discuss grown-up issues without such prurience. Normal journalists do not ask the Prime Minister's husband whether he shares the shower with her. But this is not normal journalism. This is the Herald on Sunday. And this is Auckland: when she is not hung up on sex, Ms Meng-Lee is gagging for property valuations.

I am lost for words. Fortunately, Homepaddock also comments, as does Fairfacts Media.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A different kind of tension

This blogeur today is too hungover to post anything new. So here is my review, from Craccum, of the new book by Peter Peryer.

Peter Peryer is a New Zealand photographer who photographs things. Here, for example is a sequence of photographs about a third of the way through the book:
26. Donkey, Legoland, 1997
27. Bulls, 2006
28. Punakaiki, 1997
29. Owl, 2003
30. Sand Shark, 1991
To explain, the donkey is life-size and made from Lego bricks. The bulls are of indeterminate size; they are six plastic toys. Punakaiki is represented by a rock formation of dense horizontal layers; again its size is indeterminate. The owl on the facing page appears to be real; the pattern of its feathers is similar to the rock formation. Although in nature there is a fish called a sand shark, this one is a shark made of sand, on a beach.

There are many more photographs of things in this book. Some are named directly: 8. Apple Tree, 2004; 9. Aerial, 2005. Others are named obliquely: 51. Trinity, 2007 shows three single-engined aircraft flying in line, against the sky; 72. MOTAT, 2005, shows a display of models of seven World War II single-engined aircraft, against a painted sky; the nylon cords which hold them up are visible, as is the painterliness of the cloudscape.

Some of these things are not like the others. Some are very large, others very small, but others still are difficult to judge, size-wise. Such are the facing pictures of 32. Yellow Eyed Penquin (Enderby Island) 1989 and 33. Macraes Flat 2007. Penguins are perfect for this kind of ambiguity of scale: they all look alike but come in a variety of sizes. Peryer's Yellow Eyed Penguin might be very small or very large or somewhere in between; it is difficult to tell and Peryer does not give us any other objects to help us. Macraes Flat is similar. It shows two dumper trucks climbing up a road on what seems to be the wall of a quarry. But it is difficult to decide whether the quarry is real or not. Those could be monster trucks or they could be a child's toys.The last plate in the book 80. Home, 1991 is at first sight a house but, at second, a model village house.

Things are difficult. Not in themselves; these are mostly commonplace objects, both man-made and biological. They become difficult when a photographer photographs them and puts them in a book such as this one. One cannot help but look for clues. Some of these photographs of things seem to have been put next to one another because of some resemblance, or at least some sort of visual assonance, such as 52. Roots, 2005 and 53. Headless Chicken, 1995, where the exposed roots of tree stumps and the scrawny flesh of a plucked chicken seem to suggest each other. Others things seem to have no relation to anything else. 44. Porcupine Fish, 2007 is what it says on the label. Facing it is 45. Major, Minor, 2006, which could be any one of a number of things: a form of seaweed, some kind of vegetable, a decorative something-or-other.

Then there are other things, only a few of them scattered throughout the book, which are quite straightforward, literal even, such as 48. Waterfall, 2002. These are puzzling, more so than the peculiar things. They are the the stock images of art photography, which is a business that Peryer otherwise seems to want to avoid. One finds oneself trying to decode these images, to find some reason they might be here in this book. Some of his photographs do not look like his photographs, or even the work of a professional photographer: 18. Stairs Oamaru, 2007 shows a staircase with a livid floral carpet and ceiling of inexplicable shape with a violent floral wallpaper. Several of the images like 19.Conus, 2007 are out-of-focus; or rather, they are not focused precisely; others like 55 Barbed Wire, Kansas USA, 2000 are patterns as much as they are representations.

Clearly, Peryer is not an everyday photographer. He is not of the Craig Potten school of enhanced tourist pictures, nor is he a nature photographer of the introspective gnarled-tree-stump-on-a-beach variety (although 58. Inlet, 2003 does show a tree-stump on a beach). He is not a photographer of Kiwiana, either, although many of the things he photographs are unique to New Zealand. More importantly, he is also unlike the photographers who defined New Zealandness in their work, the likes of Ans Westra and Robin Morrison. They photographed place and people to show the peculiarity and particularity of New Zealand. Peryer hardly photographs people at all, although many of his images suggest human forms and many of his forms are the work of humans.

The absence of people in this book does strange things to the viewer. Looking at 5. Kereru, 2006, one cannot help but think that the bird on the telephone wire is looking back. Over the page, 6. Skull, 2001 shows a skull of some mammal which looks very human, until one realises that humans do not have teeth like that.Peryer is a bit like Charles Fearnley, who is largely forgotten but who photographed details and patterns with intensity.

So what is it all about? I think it is about the substance of things, their being, their thingyness. There is in these photographs a lot of texture, a lot that is tactile. They are flat multiple reproductions contained in a book but still most of them give a sense of how the objects they depict might feel.

To help reveal the puzzle of these pictures (if any puzzle has been intended, which is by no means certain) Peryer has written a memoir and Peter Simpson, who teaches English at Auckland University but has appropriated for himself the role of Art Historian, provides an essay, with footnotes. I have not read either, but will do so at some time. For the time being, the pictures seem to be enough, without words to help.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Too late to recycle

So, it was like this: I was in the audience at a candidates debate, one organised for the Auckland University Debating Society by the estimable Mr Max Harris (who, incidentally, shares his name with an Angry Penguin and the first tune on the first Dead C recording, from their early "cohesive" period). And the man sitting next to me asks me something about my position on sustainable development or something like that. And I reply that it is too late, that we are all doomed anyway. And he replies that my stance is a "let out."

Well, I never. No, really, I never. A let out? I have spent years cultivating my environmental pessimism and I am not letting anyone claim that it is just a means of avoiding meetings on sustainable transport strategies (although it does help). No, seriously, I think we are doomed. It is not just the methane escaping from under the frost formerly known as perma (it was in a more confident age that they named it permafrost). It is not just that James Lovelock thinks we are nearing the end of the golden weather. It is that we are human. Even if we had a really good idea to save the planet, we would stuff it up. And we would do so because we would rather carry on doing things as we have always done them.

I am trying to think of times in human history when people put aside their differences, disregarded their petty concerns and worked for the common good:
  • Good Old Blighty during Hitler's War - nah, mate; there was a thriving black market throughout the war and a high rate of industrial action: even on the last day of the war, the London Underground drivers were on strike.
  • Before the War, in March 1939, when Hitler began expelling the Jews of Bohemia to any country which would have them. And who would have them? Nobody. Poland and Rumania took the opportunity to announce that they wanted to get rid of their Jews as well.
  • Live Aid, when everybody got together to feed the World and watch Status Quo rockin' all over it - I think not; It was just a big gig which did not quite end poverty
I could go on but it is all rather depressing. When have we ever made a genuine sacrifice for the benefit of others or humanity as a whole? And what must we do to save the planet from the effects of climate change? Now you see why I am a pessimist.

Really, the only way we are going to get off this train is if the oil runs out. Even with the price going up, we keep on buying the stuff. We still use it to make lots of plastic crud which we don't need. We give ourselves a warm glow when we drop the plastic containers into the recycling bin, but we don't ask ourselves why we bought the plastic in the first place. And then we worry about Peak Oil. But it is the only hope we have.

One more thing. The plastic crud that does not make it to the recycling bins makes it to the sea, where it circulates in huge gyres. The sea of plastic would destroy the fish population, had we not fished it out of existence.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The shopping news

We are lucky that nothing interesting is happening in the news right now, that the General Election and the global financial catastrophe are such trivial matters. Otherwise, the Herald would not have been able to find space on its front page to tell us that Dan Carter has got a brand new shop. Mr Carter, who played Rugby Union for Canterbury, is now in the rag trade. He also has a new Rugby team, in France and a luxury seaside home, chosen by his team's management. He is a busy man.

Meanwhile, another bit of retail news, of lesser importance and therefore on an inside page: Real Groovy has gone bust.

Mama's got a brand new bag:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

These are the things we could do without

What is it about the coming global recession that is so appealing? Of course it will cause untold misery to countless numbers of people but, even so, everybody seems to be looking forward to it. Let's look deep into our black hearts and ask ourselves why; and let's answer that question with a list, because everybody loves a list: it beats thinking.

  • Bush will be buried
    For eight years, that bastard wanted a legacy, and look at what he is getting. Even Hoover was remembered for his dam.

  • America, the not so beautiful
    We know that they are good people but we also know they are weird. Their Liberal equates to our Conservative, only with better teeth. All we want them to do is realise that perhaps Woody Guthrie had a point, that's all.

  • Fuck the golden youth
    With their trust funds, their perma-tans and their boundless self-confidence, rich kids make us all feel a bit passive-aggressive-Marxist-Leninist. But never mind, because soon they won't have the trust funds. So, get a job, Remuera Boy; that's if you can find one.

  • Schadenfreude seems to be the hardest word
    But so much fun when you can pronounce it. We may be suffering ourselves, but so will lots of other people, many of whom we do not like: those scissors-thin women with their annoying little dogs; personal trainers; brand managers; those men who are always talking loudly on their phones; pilates consultants; life coaches; interior design consultants; girls with really big handbags; anybody who drinks at Sponge; the list goes on.

  • The bullet point stops here
    Because its all about lists. Once we had newspapers full of news, which was written in sentences. Now we have frippery, written in lists; and we only have that because it keeps the advertisements apart. Once we had jobs where our managers treated us as adults; now we have Team Leaders, who patronise us with PowerPoint and bullet points. Everything has been reduced to one-line idiocy. Let's hope that it all evaporates with the money supply; perhaps in the ruins of the global economy we will find some books to read and so rediscover the Joy of Thought.

Tears for Fears:

Will this do?

For Giovanni, seeing as he asked.

Don't lets be beastly to the Greens

While other blogs, such as that of Mr Slack, mock the Tories for their posters, only the Fundy Post is prepared to risk disapproving looks and muttered comments from our peer group by taking on the Greens.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Turned out nice again

They are publishing our idiots, here. Yes, it's crazy but it's true: Muriel Newman is being cut and pasted by the Heartland Institute. And it's all about the Royal Society of New Zealand, which "beggars the imagination" (this must be the poverty of desire, one supposes) of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. As you will read, the coalition of the unwilling has identified a clear conflict of interest among most of the scientists who sit on the Royal Society's climate change committee - they work for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. That is to say, they are experts who are employed because of their expertise by a body which does atmospheric research; thus they are tainted.

If you can be bothered to read to the end of Muriel's piece, you will find that the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition describes those scientists who agree with it as 'Rationalists.' Call me old-fashioned, but I thought scientists were meant to be Empiricists.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Almost grown up

I know that a recent survey revealed that 45% of so-called adults play computer games daily, but that still leaves a slim majority of us who choose to make some effort at being grown-ups, who do not demand constant entertaining and who strive to see the world as it is rather than dwelling in a fantasy land of computer-generated bloodbaths or Disney fibs or lifestyle choices or Oprah Bloody Winfrey or low-fat gyms or positive thinking or fundamentalist religion or five-plus- a-day or Lotto or advertising lala-land or any of the other infantilising tosh that is spewed out to generate money by encouraging us to remain in nappies.
Joe Bennett gripes and mistakes Iceland for comic-book Greenland.

To Sir with love

It is harder to undermine Western cultural values when doing so entails promoting illegal acts, e.g. promoting homosexuality when homosexuality is illegal. It is much easier to promote things that are legal, e.g. when homosexuality was legalised in 1986 it enabled homosexuals to go into schools and and lecture students on all the practical details of homosexuality, thus affecting the values of future generations.
Kiwi Polemicist recalls the good old days of the '80s, when school children were give a bottle of milk every day and a thorough grounding in Practical Homosexuality.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Night of the plastic knives

Sorry, chaps and chapesses, for the lack of blogging recently. I have an excuse: I have been mad. I will explain sooner or later.

Meanwhile, kudos to Dave Crampton for breaking news about Bob McCoskrie, who suffered a garden makeover: four women dressed in black stuck around 1000 knives in his front lawn. Further investigation by the MSM reveals that the knives were plastic, while Dave followed his scoop with an apology from the women in black.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the garden wall when the McCroskies returned from their trip. How did they react? "Oh my gosh, darling, we've had conceptual artists," perhaps. But notice how quickly McCroskie takes advantage of the situation, blaming the EFA for revealing his address (welcome to New Zealand, Bob, where everyone knows where everyone else lives). And what of the neighbours, who "said they had seen four women dressed in black on his lawn, but thought they were putting candles out?" Does that sort of thing happen so often as to be unremarkable, du côté de chez McCroskie?

And what sort of woman dresses in black and sticks plastic knives in a lawn? And where can I meet one? Do these people have funding from Creative New Zealand? Does Et Al have anything to do with this? Is this the work of passive-aggressive ninja assassins? Or are they just too politically correct to use real knives?

I think we should be told.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Early Days of Channel Fuhrer

As noted by an anonymous commentator to my earlier post, Reading the Maps describes an astonishing night of talkback mayhem. Astonishing not just because the callers were spluttering about the Jewish Conspiracy but also because the hosts were Karen Hay and Andrew Fagan. And if you wade through the comments on Maps' post (how is it that that these nutters have no shame about posting thousands of previously published words written by a more respectable nutter, as if it proved their argument? No, don't bother telling me) you will find a comment by Andrew and Karen's producer (incidentally, I despise the affectation of calling celebrities one does not know by their first names) who says:
That's what talkback is. Not the right, wrong, black or white. It's an open forum for learning, expanding & entertaining the mind.
Oh yes, that is what it would be. Horansome could put it a lot better than I, but I think it fair to say that conspiracy theories do not add to knowledge. And conspiracy theories about Jews lead to Jew-bashing.

It is a shame that none of the callers seemed to have commented on Mr Fagan's surname. There was a poster to Ian Wishart's old site who spotted undercover Jews everywhere, usually by their craftily-adapted surnames. Those, like Dr Michael Cullen, who did not appear to be Jewish he called "cryptos:" Jews so cunning and devious that they convince others they are Christian Gentlemen. This commentator once travelled to Twizel, where he found every shop was owned by cryptos. I forget his name.

And whilst we are on the subject, I note in passing an old post by Ryan Sproull, in which he cheerfully admits his ignorance of why Israelis support their government's treatment of the Palestinians, but carries on to give his unqualified opiion: "I suspect it's a combination of compulsory military service and parental conditioning." It's those Jewish mothers with their chicken soup, that's what it is; not those Palestinian mothers who strap bombs around their sons' bodies and send them off to the bus stop. Not, of course, that Ryan is racist: he couldn't possibly be - Israeli chicks give him a stiffy.

I am not sure which I find more appalling: the traditional Jewish-conspiracy nutjob or the armchair anarchist combination bigot-and-sleaze.

Ceci n'est pas un promo:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008