The miserable few who doubted my powers must now bow down before my genius

Tuesday 7 December 2004

Me, 7 December 2004:

The newspapers have already reverted to publishing blatant crap for the summer… I will now predict the summer’s top ‘news’ stories… A scientist will claim to have cloned the mountain lion in the Dandenongs, which will boost the revival of the local film industry.

The Age, 8 December 2004:

Melbourne Zoo’s public relations chief yesterday declared the silly season open as senior animal keepers were called in to analyse images of yet another mystery cat seen near the Grampians.

That’s one down.

Hokey Local News and the Two Minute Hate

Tuesday 7 December 2004

I must have slept in because the newspapers have already reverted to publishing blatant crap for the summer:
A residential island could be built in Port Phillip Bay, made of silt from the proposed dredging of the bay and the Yarra River.
In a related news story, a 500-room luxury palace could be built in my back yard, made of solid gold panned and smelted by my personal harem of nubile virgins.

Melbourne 2030 reference group member Rob Pradolin said Melbourne needed visionary projects such as this.

Thanks for your support, Rob.
The article even provides this challenging vision of the future below, with a provocative question. Mouse over the picture for the secret answer.
To save you the trouble of reading hacks scratching their balls in The Age for the next two months, I will now predict the summer’s top ‘news’ stories so you can put in more quality time falling asleep on the couch in front of the cricket on telly:
• A scientist will claim to have cloned the mountain lion in the Dandenongs, which will boost the revival of the local film industry.
• A environmentally-friendly world-class luxury hotel will be built on the CUB Brewery site, which developers predict will become an international tourist attraction.
• A (feature in the Good Weekend/column by Tony Parkinson) which explains why everyone in the world, yourself included (is obsessed with/will be grateful for) the (boundless talent and charismatic mystique/noble statesmanship) of (Casey Donovan/Donald Rumsfeld).
• An article by John Elder where he wanders the streets picking up other people’s litter. At first he has some difficulty find enough litter, but soon gets the hang of it. After a while tries to interview passersby about his litter-gathering, but finds everyone is strangely reluctant to talk to him.
• An opinion essay by a staff writer who has the epiphany that she prefers some cafes over others, but explains this phenomenon by tenuously blaming it on other people’s moral failings and interpreting it as a sign of modern society’s decline. Hang on, they’ve done that one already.

Filler by Proxy III: Voynich Manuscript Cracked! (again)

Thursday 9 September 2004

But probably for the last time. “It’s as if we’re all surfers, and the sea has dried up.”
Also: The Voynich Manuscript Online.

How to make your own 16th century forgery.

Some journos still haven’t gotten over seeing Zsa Zsa Gabor in Queen of Outer Space all those years ago

Sunday 5 September 2004

This just in: Male sex not yet reduntant [sic].

Besides, he has the worst porn star name ever

Sunday 5 September 2004

Further evidence of The Age drifting rudderless on Wednesday was its wasting of column space in its opinion pages on that perennial waste of space, Merlin Luck. He was one of the losers in the last Big Brother series, but then weren’t they all? For those who neither know nor care, Merlin was the one who tried to extend his fifteen minutes of fame by coming out with duct tape over his gob and a sign saying FREE TH [sic] REFUGEES when he got the arse from the show a few weeks into the competition. Since then he has made persistent efforts to outstay his welcome in the feeble public spotlight by being a media tart for the Greens and the Democrats, and generally attempted to pass off his sour grapes at losing on an obnoxious game show as the vacuous sermonising of a sanctimonious tool.

Politics used to be cool. From what I’ve heard there was actually a time where it was fashionable to be concerned with human rights issues…

The opening sentences are a spectacular hybrid of Columnist’s Defiant Bullshit Basic (“Everywhere you go these days the one thing everyone’s talking about is how to find the best PR agent for your toddler!”) and Clueless Twat Explains It All For You (“I’ve heard the Berlin Wall was, like, an actual wall? And it totally went across Berlin?”) He continues in the latter vein for the next few paragraphs:

There are 11 million children orphaned by AIDS. Landmines are still maiming and killing Cambodian kids. Two million little girls are at risk of female genital mutilation every year… Just look at the front page of our biggest-selling papers that so often feature footy. Has the lead story ever once been “33,000 kids died today”?

No, it’s usually a scorching exposé about magpies attacking cyclists. I was going to be callous and observe that, on the bright side, nothing bad happens to adults on Planet Merlin. Instead I’ll just speculate on whether Merlin was cloistered in the Big Brother hamster cage for just a few weeks, or in fact had spent his whole life in there and has to share his newly-discovered realities about the outside world with us. He wd no doubt be surprised to learn that a lot of us know this stuff already, and that we learned it from reading a paper. What’s more, he might have known it too, had he actually read a newspaper instead of just taking money from one to write drivel, and had he gotten his news from other sources besides that dreadlocked private-school loudmouth with all the petitions at the Resistance stall in town on Fridays.

We, as a society, have become desensitised to a point where information alone is no longer shocking or even newsworthy.

Hey, what’s with all this we business? Where does a Big Brother contestant get off lecturing me for being shallow?

These days we need it packaged up in controversy and hype, tied to really shocking images, and even then only delivered in bite-size chunks. Snippets of digestible reality that we can process and put to one side without actually thinking about what it all means.

Now it’s starting to make sense. We need large slabs of indigestible reality without controversy or shocking images and that leaves us wondering what the point was, just like Big Brother Up Late!
Is it too hard to think about 30 per cent of Australia’s Aboriginal people living under the poverty line? Is it easier to watch a reality TV contestant win $1 million?

That depends on whether or not you were one of the losing contestants, Merlin.

I’m 24 years old. I have a bachelor of commerce. I go out all the time…

Translation: I’m on the dole.

…I love watching the Swannies play over a beer with my mates, or going to the movies with a girl and having a nice evening out. I’m an ambitious and driven person. I’m happy, positive and energetic… an informed, compassionate person.

Why is The Age paying Merlin to place the world’s most long-winded personal ad?

You might think: “But how can I make a difference?”… Inform yourself so you can hold your own in debates and discussions. Raise awareness in your own circle and make an appointment with your federal member of Parliament to raise your concerns.

Uh, Merlin? You don’t have an MP, remember? Because, as you told your fellow hamsters on Big Brother, you’re a German citizen who’s been living in Australia for 20 years without applying for citizenship. If I think about how you can make a difference, it always ends up with you getting off your arse and onto the electoral roll, not with you playing media whore.

A Lutheran pastor and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp once said…

Translation: I can’t be bothered looking up Reverend Martin Niemoller.

Merlin Luck made a silent protest about Australia’s refugee policies when he was evicted from the most recent Big Brother series.

Actually, his ‘silent protest’ lasted all the way through his brief stint on the show, considering that he spent his weeks of exposure on national television sitting around scratching his balls, saying jack shit about refugees, and never engaging his fellow hamsters in a conversation on a topic loftier than pubic hair styles. What do you reckon, voice of conscience in the wilderness or hypocritical fame whore?
As for The Age, I’m not sure if giving this rubbish column space was an exercise in the blackest of cynicism, a misguided attempt to appear cool themselves, or the side-effect of a personal vendetta among the editorial staff.

Dog Bites Man: Editorial Page 12

Saturday 4 September 2004

It’s neither controversial nor original to observe what a limp, wishy-washy rag The Age has become in recent years, but something needs to be said about the story that took up most of the front page on Wednesday:
Swooping magpies have returned with the onset of the breeding season, and experts are warning walkers and cyclists to take care.
Either there’s nobody left working at the paper who gives a shit or they just cdn’t wait for the first really hot day to run that same bloody photo of people on St Kilda beach they print every year. After all, besides that and the one of snow on Mount Dandenong they’re left with 363 other days each year where they have to think of something to put on the front page. News is hard! If only someone wd call an election or something.
For a moment I thought this issue of the paper may have been printed up for schoolkids, but then I realised that if you’re old enough to read you’re old enough to know to stick a couple of fake eyes on the back of your bike helmet if you’re getting serious grief from magpies. Hey, maybe this story’s getting a run because the CSIRO has come up with a ingenious new clever-country way of repelling stroppy birds:

Putting a sticker of human eyes on the back of your bike helmet could keep the birds away, according to Ron Waters, flora and fauna compliance manager at the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Wow! Thanks Ron. Sadly there’s no picture of Ron Waters so we can’t see if he’s 9 years old or was wearing an ice cream container on his head while being interviewed. And remember kids, it has to be human eyes: birds aren’t scared of gorillas.