KEVIN’S REQUIEM

Kevin’s Requiem

or

The quick red fox leapt over the lazy dog.

 

Lets get one thing straight from the start.

March 44 B.C.E.; Julius Caesar dies from 23 stab wounds, , murdered on the floor of the Roman senate by a conservative clique of his fellow senators. Now that was a political assassination. Australia, June, 2010; Kevin Rudd loses the confidence of his party and resigns, he is replaced by Julia Gillard, who is elected unopposed. There is little public rancour displayed and both pay tribute to their opponent. Now that is merely the modern democratic process in action, doing what its supposed to do. Yet from all the anguished squealing in the media, one would think poor Julia was another Lady Macbeth, sitting on a throne of blood. ( I counted a hundred and thirty three references to blood and knives & back stabbing in the media this week, though I think I might have missed a few. Journalists! Honestly they’re like a bunch of ruddy parrots.) The forums & blogs haven’t been much better.

Yes the fox is in the henhouse and all the dogs are barking. Accordingly, there’s been a tremendous amount of bullshit, hypocrisy and ignorance flying around this week and I predict there is much more to come.

 

Therefore, it would be good at this point to remember some basic facts about the Australian electoral system.

  1. In the main, with a handful of notable exceptions, Australian political journalists are a pack of shrill, self righteous, hysterical bitches.
  2. The average Australian voter is deeply ignorant and loud about it. 80% would have only the vaguest idea of how the political process works, pieced together mainly from tabloid headlines and “60 Minutes” style tele-journalism.
  3. The two major parties are pretty much Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and indistinguishable on most issues. Unfortunately the current electoral system is weighted to ensure their continued dominance at the expense of smaller parties and independents. The major parties greatest nightmare is in fact not the other major winning, but having to work with a coalition of small parties and independents. “It wouldn’t be workable!” they are forever warning the Australian Electorate, with the unspoken subtext here being , “coz we’ll make it our business to make sure it won’t be workable.”

    No, the Lib-Labs don’t play nice and they don’t like to share.

    Also blathering on about betrayal and backstabbing and factions is Tony Abbott,  unmindful of how he achieved his own position. But with all the media squealing about “the faceless men of the Labor factions” one could be forgiven for forgetting for a moment that every political party since the dawn of time has been made up of factions. Ask Brendan Nelson, for example, if the Liberal Party has factions.

    But no, the rabble rabbit on about the “undemocratic” execution, as though each one of the members of the Labor caucus weren’t publicly elected officials delegated to make decisions of that nature. Let me make it very clear. Rudd lost the confidence of his party. Therefore, he lost the confidence of parliament. Therefore there was no way he could remain as Prime Minister. He had no option but to resign. Julia Gillard has the unanimous support of her party, and hence, controls the parliamentary floor, and HENCE has every right to be Prime Minister. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.

  4. I was glad when Howard was toppled but I never liked Rudd, and I’ve hated him deeply ever since his arrogant pro-growth pontificating about believing in a “big Australia” and blithely wanting to pump 35 million people into the driest continent on the planet. (Personally I believe in an Australia with a small population that can sustain our current lifestyle). Julia seems more human but I’m sure she’ll prove to be deeply disappointing, like just about every other Prime Minister we’ve ever had. On the plus side she’s not Tony Abbott.
  5. But as I said before, Lib, Lab, whats the difference. Speaking as a member of the lumpen proletariat, both parties seem equally intent on punishing the poor and rewarding the rich. Julia’s supposed to be from the “Left” faction of the Labor party, but what does that mean exactly these days? Is there anything to distinguish the ALP Left from the Right, policy wise? All the Labor factions today are like cargo cult fetishists worshipping dead idols whose meaning they’ve forgotten long ago. Like those kids in Mad Max 3. 

    I wish I had more confidence in the Greens, but despite my respect for Bob Brown and a couple of his colleagues, from what I’ve seen of their operation in Queensland, the Green Party is amateur, deeply naïve, and in some ways surprisingly socially conservative. Better, I suppose, than the professionally predatory and socially reactionary attitudes of the Lib-Labs set. I’ve run for parliament myself before, and I’d run again this time, to give the voters someone worth voting for but, like Lindsay Tanner, I have family commitments. Julia at least, has no problems in this regard. And as a believer in Zero Population Growth, I support her decision not to breed entirely.

Tony Abbott on the other hand, as a good Catholic, would have all women breeding continuously, and would apparently pay them to do it. Well, get their employer to pay them to do it. Personally I think Abbott’s paid maternity leave plan is ridiculous. Why should someone pay an employee $75,000 to go off and have a kid, AND have to hire a replacement for six months as well? Well Abbott’s got to try and get the chick vote somehow. Meanwhile, on the parliamentary chessboard, he’ll be getting his Bishops, Julie & Bronwyn, the terrible two, to do his dirty fighting for him so he doesn’t look bad for beating up on a girl. Ah! I just love a good cat-fight, don’t you?

Stay tuned folks, the funs just beginning. And Julia? You go girl.

PS. My Astrologer has yet to present her report for the upcoming quarter. For the past week she has been locked in her tower, muttering darkly. We await her prognostications with bated breathe!

*****

 

Book of the Week;

20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill.(2007, William Morrow pub.,)

About a year ago I picked up on a whim Joe Hills first novel, Heart Shaped Box, at the library. To my morbid pleasure I discovered the most entertaining ghost story I’d read for many years. No doubt the genre of horror and dark fantasy has been moribund for some decades, but in that novel and this book of short stories, Joe Hill gives the genre a lightning bolt of New Life.

I recently heard that he is in fact the son of Stephen King and uses the alias Joe Hill because he wanted his writing to succeed on its own merits, rather than attracting attention for merely being the writing of the son of a Great Horror Writer.

With such a background though, it is perhaps not surprising that Joe is able to turn out classic horror tales such as Last Breath and The Cape, either one of which could have come from the master pen of Robert Bloch, and I mean that as a compliment. I personally think he is a better writer than his father.

Strangely, this collection of stories also reminds me of a writer one doesn’t usually associate with the Horror genre, and that is John Steinbeck. In particular I am thinking of Steinbecks collection of short stories entitled, “The Pastures of Heaven,” similarly dealing with an archetypal American landscape inhabited by the disembodied ghosts of shattered dreams and frustrated desires .

Cultural references abound. Most of the Horror Genre’s “Greats” get a name call, and George Romero gets a cameo in “Bobby Conrad comes back from the Dead.” Interestingly, while this story has all the classic horror mise-en-scene elements, being set on the set of the making of Night of the Living Dead, and its protagonists are all extras made up as zombies, it is not a horror story as such. Instead we have a story about failed relationships and lost direction in life, with the zombie costumes and makeup becoming a physical manifestation, a metaphor of their malaise.

This is what I liked about Joe Hills stories, they’re not just ghost or horror stories told to give you a delicious tremor of unease, though they often do that very well. He uses his mastery of the horror format to do other things, to make the horror story do things it doesn’t usually do.

Take the story “You Will hear the Locust Sing.” It starts out as an almost straight retelling of Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, with a boy waking up to discover he’s turned into an insect. Kafka tells us the tale as a disturbing enigma. Joe Hills updated retelling is far more graphic and gory, and implies that the change is a mutation the kid’s undergone as a result of the polluted environment he lives in. Indeed it is an environment polluted spiritually & morally, as well as from the fallout from nearbye nuclear tests. The kids toxic homelife for starters would be enough to make you feel like a cockroach.

The story seemingly progresses into classic fifties style, sci-fi B-grade horror territory, with the army battling it out with the giant insect and apocalyptic forebodings of more to come. It was only after I’d finished reading it that I realised it was also a subtle allegory on the Columbine massacre and similar high-school/gun related incidents. The point trying to be made here, I think, being that rather than just being freak, isolated psychopaths that just happen to exist, alien from the human herd as werewolves, they are really just the head on the boil as it were, where the pus collects from a poisoned and toxic system. Poisoned by ignorance, violence, selfishness and greed, the four horsemen of the cultural Apocalypse are set loose whenever one of Lifes “losers” finally cracks and runs amok.

Not all the stories here are straight horror tales, some, like Pop Art are actually rather sweet, and some, like My Fathers Mask, are very, very strange. But horror fans fear not, there are plenty of stories, like Best New Horror, that will creep you right out.

As the Lady said, “Unpleasant Dreams.”

***

The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.

******************************************************

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~ by reverendhellfire on June 27, 2010.

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