A Slice of Life
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commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology
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19 Apr 16 I don’t want to appear to be a misogynist but…

julia_gillard_cleavage Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Parliament wearing a low cut blouse. Quite conservative as low cut blouses go and pretty much standard attire for many women in government and corporate roles, and in general. Despite this, Australian columnist Grace Collier sparked the a controversy after telling a panel on Australia’s ABC Radio National that Gillard should show less skin in the workplace.

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02 Jun 12 Lingerie football: Y-front football would provide balance

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Li...

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Lingerie Football league game, 11Sep09. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Widespread protests have greeted an exhibition match to be played by 32 women from the US Lingerie Football League at Allphones Arena today.  Names like ‘Allphones Arena’  and other venues such as ‘Centrebet Stadium‘ might give you a clue that the single minded pursuit of profit motivates football leagues with little consideration for anything else.  Sporting ideals of fair play and playing for the love of the game have taken a back seat to the rabid hunt for $$$ for some time.  Should we really be surprised that a cynical exercise in promotion such as ‘lingerie football’ is about to take hold in Australia?  Feminists in the 60s and 70s may have burned their bras; women in this century happily wear little else to provide a spectacle for television cameras and provide a boost in ratings.  Germaine Greer would be turning in her grave if she was dead. (more…)

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17 Apr 12 Dawkins vs Pell on #QandA: Dopey Questions from a Dopey Audience

Richard Dawkins has commented since this debate that he was disappointed in his performance, blaming partly his jet lag, but also “… the astonishing bias of the audience and, second, the interfering chairman.”

During the debate, Dawkins repeatedly asked some members of the audience with credulity: why is that funny?  He really ought to have been able to answer his own question without thinking about it too much.

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06 Oct 11 Andrew Bolt: more offensive than sex with a horse?

andrew boltRecently, the well known columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.  Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”, reported the Herald Sun.

Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said there was no attempt by  members of the group to shut down freedom of speech or debate about racial identity issues.  Mr Merkel said Bolt was free to express his views on the subject but should not have chosen to attack the nine individuals he named in his columns and blog.

Many of us, including myself, may not agree with Andrew Bolt’s views on this issue and many others.  Whatever happened to the famous saying, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Voltaire which many in the legal profession are fond of quoting: ” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ”

Yes, there are a number of errors in Bolt’ articles on this topic.  Is Bolt being prosecuted for publishing errors?  It is true that had the facts been presented accurately Bolt’s arguments would not hold much water.  For example, he questioned indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt‘s Aboriginality, incorrectly stating that her father was German and that she is somehow claiming benefits that should be the right of indigenous people of ‘purer blood’. In the sometimes heated court exchanges, Bolt took exception to the prosecution’s comparison of the debate and Bolt’s views to Nazi race laws, the Holocaust and eugenics.  Bolt argued those who chose to identify with only one part of their background over another were contributing to racism and came at the cost of less focus on the important issues of education, housing, health and poverty.

It is interesting to note that earlier in the year, Larissa Berendt attracted criticism after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as “less offensive than Bess Price“, an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention. “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.” (more…)

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12 Jul 11 OMG I’m a GPS: 6 degrees of separation

Gillard's stepdaughter poses for 'Zoo Weekly'Some time ago (26th December 2008 to be precise) I published an article entitled “OMG I’m a gay porn star” The article was about the unforeseen consequences of Googling oneself. My search discovered that I share my name with another ‘Liam Alexander’ who is a model on a site called ‘originaleuroboys’; a gay porn service. In the article I wondered if “this Liam is a real person…; quite likely he was dreamed up by two guys fantasizing on the phone”. However, I learned that this Liam is a real person after receiving this comment:

“Liam Alexander the porn star is for real. I was the photographer that did the originaleuroboys.com photoshoot with Liam that is now on originaleuroboys.com. To add the the interest in Liam take a look at our studio website http://www.7bluestudio.com because Liam features on the homepage larger than ever! Ben Willis, Director”

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23 Jul 10 Chasing Mummies: Archeology as Reality TV

Dr. Zahi Hawass at the British Museum - Speech
Image by vintagedept via Flickr

Dr Zahi Hawass the Egyptian archaeologist is well known to those who enjoy historical documentaries.  He is highly respected in his field and is the current Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.  I have always found his manner rather abrasive and have tended to avoid his offerings.  However, his new TV show program on the History Channel: ‘Chasing Mummies‘ is quite a different affair; this is actually riveting and addictive television.  The producers of ‘Chasing Mummies’ seem to have recognised the potential of Dr Hawass’ explosive temper and have harnessed it to great effect.

In one incident, Dr Hawass’ assistant Casey Fitchner gets completely blasted by the good doctor for being late to work.  Later, while exploring inside the Stepped Pyramid, Fitchner asks if there is somewhere she can go to the bathroom.  Dr Hawass informs her in no uncertain terms that the pyramid is a holy place and of course she can’t go.  Later, she can no longer resist the call of nature and wets herself on camera.  Dr Hawass’ outbursts make Gordon Ramsey look kindly and avuncular.

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09 Apr 10 Heckler exposes ‘celebrities’ thin skins

w:George Lucas

Image via Wikipedia

I recently watched a documentary on SBS TV called “Heckler”.  In this program, a series of well known entertainers and comedians recount their reactions to hecklers and also, that most loathsome of all television denizons: critics.  Celebrities such as George Lucas, Bill Maher, Mike Ditka, Rob Zombie, Howie Mandel are interviewed.

Heckler is initially interesting as an account of how entertainers deal with the disruptions of hard core hecklers.   Some deal with audience antagonists with skill, firing back one liners and making the disruption an amusing part of the act.  Others become overwhelmed with rage and descend to exchanging obscenities; allowing the heckler to win in doing so.  As the program progresses the focus is more and more on critics and how they are the lowest form of life.

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14 Feb 10 Shoes on a Wire: Love is the Drug?

shoe on a wireIn a previous post entitled ‘The postmodern dilema‘ I posted a similar photo of some high heel shoes hanging from power lines.  In the article I posed the question (rather naively as it turns out) “do people create such spectacles out of an innate need to produce art?”.  A reader subsequently informed me that shoes hanging from a wire is a clandestine indication that drugs are available nearby.  I have never been able to look at a pair of shoes hanging from the wires again in the same way; you can’t help but wonder, okay, where are the drug dealers hanging out?  Usually, of course, the shoes are a grubby old pair of trainers.

More than a year later, who ever strung up the stylish ladies shoe (featured left) continues to maintain this piece of post modern installation art.  What then is the cryptic significance of ladies heels hanging from the wires?  Is a better class of drug available in this location, or is something quite different available, ‘love for sale’ perhaps?

Since reaching the dreaded ‘middle aged’ milestone, I seem to have developed something of an obsession with shoes.  Scuffed old trainers will no longer do; shoes need to be carefully chosen and colour coordinated with a range of different styles of outfit.  The usual stereotype is women being shoe obsessed while men pay very little attention to this all important detail of any outfit.  Perhaps this is less the case with older men, or perhaps it’s just me.  Either way, I’m starting to develop such a shoe collection my friends are starting to call me ‘Imelda’.  It certainly seems a shame to me that otherwise well dressed men often resort to wearing an ugly pair of modern trainers as some kind of misguided concession to looking casual.  Modern trainers have all the style of a rocket launcher and don’t look good with anything, despite the delusion that many labour under.  Look down; you really never have seen anything more incongruous and UGLY!

Perhaps I would prefer not to be enlightened on the significance of ladies shoes hanging from wires.  I really would rather hold on to the delicious mysteries they conjure up.  Perhaps if more dealers advertised with a better class of shoes, they might increase their sales while setting an excellent example and performing a much needed public service:  grubby old trainers should never be seen, not even hanging from the power lines!

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26 Jul 09 Foul play; first Brian Jones, now Hendrix?

Hendrix live at the Royal Albert Hall, Februar...

Image via Wikipedia

In 2005 it was revealed that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones did not commit suicide but may well have been murdered. Now it emerges that Jimi Hendrix, arguably the greatest guitarist ever also met with foul play.

Jimi Hendrix’s former road manager has claimed that Hendrix was murdered and did not die an accidental death, as has been commonly believed. In the book ‘Rock Roadie’ by James “Tappy” Wright, (a former road manager who worked for Jimi Hendrix’s manager, Mike Jeffery) Wright rejects the widely held notion that the guitarist died accidentally, choking on his own vomit after a drug overdose. He claims Hendrix was murdered by a gang who broke into his girlfriend’s Notting Hill flat in the early hours of September 18, forcing enough sleeping pills and wine down his throat to kill him. The gang, Wright alleges, was organised by Jeffery, a shady character who was heavily in debt and feared that Hendrix wanted to end his management contract.

The Australian doctor who attempted to revive Hendrix, John Bannister, the theory the guitar legend was murdered is “plausible from a medical perspective at least”. At the time of his death, says Bannister, Hendrix was saturated with wine.

“He drowned, no question. His hair and his clothes were full of red wine, his lungs and his stomach were full of red wine. You couldn’t think about mouth-to-mouth because there was so much wine coming out of him.” smh July 25 2009

I personally had no idea that Hendrix was completely soaked in red wine when he died. I’d read he had choked on his own vomit and had always understood that he was so far gone on drugs that he basically forgot to breathe. Tragic, yes, but it fitted Jimmi’s live fast, die young, wild man image like a glove. The current revelations are suspicious on more than one level.

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