I’m reading Woody Allen’s 2007 book ‘Mere Anarchy’. It’s mostly numb chuckles except page 42 where there is a tour de force of comedy writing. The set up is that the narrator Mealworm is contacted by a Hollywood type to write a ‘novelizaion’ (I leave that ‘z’ in there with all its Americanism). After much self rationalisation that it is a worthy task ,and that he could ennoble the genre, Mealworm embarks on a sample passage.
The style he parodies is ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote. The movie he is given, is ‘The Three Stooges’. The ensuing passage is priceless.
Oakville Kansas, lies on a particularly desolate stretch across the central plains. … What’s left of it the area where farms once dotted the landscape is arid space now. At one time corn and wheat provided thriving livelihoods before agricultural subsidies had the opposite effect of enhancing prosperity.
The dilapidated Ford pulled up before a deserted farm house and three men emerged. Calmly and for no apparent reason the dark haired man took the nose of the bald man in his right hand and slowly twisted in a long counterclockwise circle.
And so the passage goes for a full page of gut-busting funniness, describing a typical Three Stooges sequence with the kind of high-toned literariness usually pitched for the high-brow-ed.
Living The Irony, Feeling The Irony
The Sydney Swans won a very Victorian championship. The Melbourne Storm won a very Sydney championship. The feeling on the Sydney streets at least are pretty surreal.
Speaking of football codes and surreal, there’s good old Alan Jones!
Alan Jones, And Dying Of Shame
There’s probably a longer note to be written about Freedom of Speech, but Annabel Crabbe’s done a good job of it today in the SMH. Alan Jones apologised for his rather gauche remarks about the late father of the PM.
He said the same kind of “black-humoured comments'” were similar to those made in the trenches of Gallipoli.
The radio host said he had to “man up” and admit he “got it wrong” for adding to the hurt of a grieving daughter by making the comments during a 58-minute speech at a Sydney University Liberal Club President’s dinner at the Rocks.
“There are days when you just have to concede and man up and say ‘you got it wrong,'” Mr Jones told reporters at 2GB headquarters this morning.
“And on this instance these are remarks which I should not have repeated. It was wrong to offer any impression that I might seem to diminish the grief that a daughter would feel for her father. I was taught by my father that if you are going to eat crow you should eat it while it’s hot and therefore I felt this matter should be addressed today.”
Notice how he invokes Gallipoli. Good heavens Mr. Jones, certainly you know no shame, for truly those men did not die of shame, but bullets in another time in another war in another place in the middle east. To invoke them in an apology to the Prime Minster after having made the worst-of-taste remarks shamelessly seems a bit ironic given the original tasteless remark about shame and death.
It’s a good thing he “manned up” and apologised as he did. Mr. Jones even invoked his father, saying his father taught him to eat humble pie while it was still warm. The gag I would have expected was that it was his father who as spinning in his grave for shame that his son would insult the Prime Minster in a most tasteless manner.
He then went on to say the horrible on-line people had said they wished his cancer would return and kill him and so, even he is a victim in all of this. Like… how? I’m inclined to say he brought the trolls upon himself and really, the vitriol was largely in proportion to the vitriol he’s been spreading across the air waves from his Bully pulpit microphone.
Still, an apology is an apology, no matter how qualified and caveat-ed. He is fortunate the Prime Minster is not Chinese or Korean, for we know no apology is sincere enough for them 🙂
Which brings me to this next bit…
Senkaku Island Waterfight
You gotta laugh. No, really, you do. The trouble in Senkaku Islands stems from China’s loss of face and actually losing a war with japan in 1895. it’s trying to say Japan shouldn’t have those islands – but that is at least 3 dynastic regimes ago, dating back to the Dowager Empress and the last Emperor. The argument from the People’s Republic of China, the one that deposed the Republic of China and the KMT (who deposed the Ching/Qing Dynasty) is that it belongs to them because it used to be China a long time ago – and even these claims are pretty tenuous.
Well, a lot of things used to be Monoglia as well, but you don’t see politicians in Ulan Bator demand that borders be returned to the best days of Genghis Khan. And, as with all these things, who cries for the Carthage and the Phoenicians?
As far as the USA is concerned, the Senkakus are part of the Okinawan archipelago and they’ve told the Chinese government that this is their understanding; which means if the Chinese try to occupy them it will invoke the US Japan Security Treaty. China has argued vociferously that it shouldn’t but, it’s really not for them to decide.
The protests in the wake of Japan ‘nationalising’ the Senkakus has been both elaborate, orchestrated and very vocal. The ugly back story is that China is going to undergo one of its interesting Communist Party succession plans this month, and they’re trying to divert their population’s animosity to Japan (because let’s face it, it’s easy for them to keep lying). Japan for its part, nationalised it because if they didn’t, the chief right winger in residence and Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara was going to buy it for the City of Tokyo and administer it as Tokyo administers a whole bunch of small archipelagos in the Pacific. The subtext there is that Ishihara was going to build structures on the Senkakus like, a jetty and a lighthouse; and Prime Minster Noda forestalled those active plans by nationalising the islands with the full intent of doing nothing in particular with them.
Not that they understand these subtleties over in Beijing or … Taipei. Taiwan has it’s own election coming up; and it is helping the incumbent to look tough. So they sent a patrol boat out to the Senkakus and this led to a waterfight between Japanese and Taiwanese patrol boats. It’s laughable, really.