The Penultimate

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Best laid plans being worth the blank fields they're typed on, I was intending to do a last-ever post here the day after the election, then finally get started on my new blog.

That plan was predicated on the notion that we'd know who had actually won the damn thing by then.

So, I'm going to keep on keeping on here, and wrap up when this whole electoral mess does. May God have mercy on us all.

Time To Farewell?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dear readers. I've been running this blog for nearly seven years now. I never thought it would last this long, not in my worst nightmares. And in recent months, I've hardly been posting at all. This is because I think I've pretty much said everything I have to say. I've complained about politics and every day life as much as they can be complained about. The fact that there's a Federal election upon us and I can't bring myself to write about it is a clue. I've already covered two elections, you know? Makeovers aren't helping; this blog has been through nearly as many colours as my hair over the duration.

So, although it will hurt - a lot - I am thinking of letting the Xander and Nico Pod die a natural death. I want to focus on something else, like an idea for a local photography blog I have in mind. I've got nothing left to say and I can't force it anymore. I think some of what I've written over the years was actually pretty good, but whatever mojo I've had is gone now.

But I'm not certain at this stage. I'm not expecting to be begged to reconsider, but I'd be interested to know if anyone really thinks I should keep going. Doing a token post every now and then to make the ten-year mark is one idea. And if the Coalition win the election, I'm sure my anger will help fuel the sort of half-decent posts that came from my rage during the Howard years. But otherwise I'm not sure I can see the point in continuing, like a sad old pop star who could have retired and their peak, but is just embarrassing themselves now. Actually I'm past my peak. I don't want to become the INXS of blogs.

Once A Socialist

Sunday, 8 August 2010

"The man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart, but the man who is a socialist at 40 has no brain".

We've all heard that quote. I know I have many times, mainly from people who expect I will grow out of my politics, just as they hope I will grow out of being a Goth. I'm afraid that the latter hasn't happened yet, and I'm guessing the former won't either.

As I get older I'm shifting more to the left, and I'm not alone. Last week I went to see Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens, speak at Leichhardt Town Hall (one of the joys of community involvement is spending a lot of time in cold halls eating cake). I expected the audience to be full of dreadlocked student types, but instead the bulk of the crowd was aged between 40 and 60. It could be because students are a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings who didn't want to shell out $15 on a rainy winter night, but I rather think that the more decent people get to look at the world, the more leftist their views become.

The underlying philosophy behind left wing politics is the belief that what happens to other people is as important as what happens to you - the values that Barack Obama spoke of at the 2004 Democratic Convention. The ethos of the conservative, on the other hand, is "Screw you, I've got mine (and I want more)". We see this not just in big business, but in "average families" telling the Daily Telegraph that they will cheerfully switch allegiance to whoever keeps interest rates low, plies them with tax cuts whilst services suffer, and keeps those nasty boat people who are crowding the country away. It's a mindset we can thank John Howard for; part of the shameful legacy he left this country with. But there is another way, a better way. I won't be sopped to by the major parties.

And I don't think capitalism works. Oh, I know it "works" financially, a bit, sometimes. Kind of. But there's more to humanity than that. The idea that the market is the perfect arbiter of value is insane - as I declared to myself when, not long after having been laid off last year, my partner working double shifts as a nurse to support us, I saw a poster advertising that the Chk-chk-boom chick was making a guest appearance at Home nightclub and no doubt, getting more money for showing up than we would see in a month. But the market says that is all fair, right and good.

So yeah, I'm a socialist.


I'm always upset when I hear of acquaintances having their baby sons circumcised (not as upset as the baby, of course). My feelings about it are so strong that I never quite know what to say, fearing I'll go too far and be labelled a lunatic. But now, if I hear someone is considering the procedure I'll just ask them respectfully to read this, by far the best piece I have read for the case against circumcision. It's respectful, non-hysterical, compassionate and accurate. I'd encourage everyone to read it and pass on what you have learned. Please.
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