Thursday, December 27, 2012


I swear not within a week of writing about 'knowledge' and 'intelligence' being two different things, I got a facebook request to use 'goodreads' (I declined, being able to only imagine a few things worse) from a friend whom upon next seeing me asked me if I read 'sci-fi' which I do, or have but chose then to make it known to him that I don't really read. He responded, quite flatteringly with 'but you seem so intelligent' and tempted though I was to then verbally reiterate the difference between knowledge and intelligence, I didn't because in my job conversation is fleeting.

But yesterday I saw the Hobbit, having only learned the day before that somehow a book that takes less than 9 hours to read had been made into a trilogy. And as much as I applaud Peter Jackson for cutting a whole heap of bullshit out of the lord of the rings, I have to condemn him for adding a whole heap of bullshit into the Hobbit.

It's probably the worst film I have seen all year. Unforgivebly so, and the strangest thing is, I hate it most on behalf of the people that really love it that are being exploited by the disrespect of the producers.

But it reminded me of the existence of Tolkein, and subsequently another curious pairing of words that often are equivocated or confused like knowledge and intelligence are.

they are 'creativity' and 'originality'. And Tolkein is a fine example. He is a fine example because he is a shitty writer. But he is by most accounts the originator of the fantasy. He along with C.S. Lewis (a much better writer) basically kicked off what now fills vast sections of book stores.

Tolkein created a world, a language, peoples and cultures that do not exist and walked parties twice through these incredibly original and incredibly complex worlds giving the viewer a narrative experience of something vast and rich and unseen before.

Sure there was Lilith, and going further back you get into the tradition of fairy tales and folklore, The Arabian Nights, the Brothers Grimm, the Bible and other religious creation myths. But Tolkein basically created the first completely original world populated by races with original languages and cultures.

And he was the worst writer for the job. This is merely my opinion, but Tolkein lacked descriptive power, he had no precedents to follow, so the travellogues of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings are quite monotone, drab etc. They are boring compared to what followed.

Lothlorien for example has been spectacularly rendered by artistic fans of the books for decades coming up to centuries and brought to life on the big screen in Peter Jackson's adaptation - but Tolkein imparted upon it all the majesty of 'a big tree what people live in.'

For all the originality of his concepts, he was simply unable due to his lack of skill as a writer to convey it in words.

Which isn't to say that while Tolkein was 'original' he was not 'creative'. It is to say that the two words are not synonyms/synonymous, whatever.

The burden on the word 'creative' I feel plagues and hampers so many young and fledgling artists.

I am aware I dount have the authority nor influence to go about redefining words, I can only share my insight with the goodwill and presumption that you the reader may find it helpful:

Creativity occurs with the act of creation. It need not be original. Creativity pertains to the process of creating something, anything. Originality refers to a lack of/or conceptual distance from precedent.

I will concede that talking about 'creativity' and applying it to a shop worker pressing aluminium into camping cuttlery is a conversation nobody is interested in. Creativity as it pertains to the arts is what I am interested in and I presume what you are interested in too.

That said, creativity and originality often correlate strongly (as does knowledge and intelligence), it's just that thinking you can't be creative unless you are original places a huge unneccessary burdon on the creative.

If you study your heroes, chances are somewhere somewhen they committed to documentation their influences, and upon familiarising yourself with their influences you will discover that their celebrated works, celebrated for their originality are in part - derivative.

In my experience that is pretty common, more common yet, you find highly original creative people who started off being cheap imitations of other artists. In the field of comics, most of the big name artists started off through tracing and imitating the big name artists of their day, only to develop their own distinctive style down the track. George Orwell in 'Why I Write' discusses his start in writing as a clear plagurism of William Blake's 'The Tiger'. He was a child, and thus had not intellectualised an unhealthy need to be completely original.

And that is why the distinction is important. And Tolkein illustrates it so beautifully. Because it is tempting to say all those comic artists who started off as wannabe Kirbys, or wannabe Jim Lee's etc. didn't really hit the bigtime until they started being original.

There's a number of reasons such thinking is fallacious, but the only one that is truly relevant is this - craftsmanship - they learn their craft through imitation, all the transferrable skills that have nothing to do with original style. Tolkein was highly original and was lucky, because he hadn't learned much craftsmanship when it came to writing. His literrary descendents Robert Jordan and George RR Martin and everyone in between shit all over the grandaddy of fantasy when it comes to composing prose.

Comic artists learn page layout, composition, perspective... all the transferable skills to any style before their own unique style creeps up on them. The one that labor over uniqueness and originality sometimes succeed but more often I suspect develop styles that are simply non-functional for the purpose of sequential comic art.

I think if you want to be creative, you have to first and foremost create. And get better, more effecient and more competent at creating. You need to relegate 'originality' to the 'nice to have' pile, but not make it a necessity. I think this because I see a lot of the 'imitators' being the only ones that last long enough to do anything truly original. I think this because I've learned to not throw out an idea simply because I've realised where it came from.

I'm not advocating plagurism, I'm advocating derivation. We progress by taking what came before and doing what we can with it. If every scientist got caught up in needing to do shit a-priori and not get up to speed with the existing body of knowledge we would still be living on the plains of the sub-sahara, instead of writing blog content that can be read by somebody on the plains of the sub-sahara.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I'm grateful to have the courage of my convictions. I'm trying to break through into a profession where that helps a lot. Creativity is ultimately - the act of creation, and I see a lot of people around me struggling to determine what they should do, could do, how to be true to themselves, thus discover themselves, relate themselves to the world around them, figure out how to express that etc.

It's a worthwhile pursuit, and I found that from my own experience reaching the point of conviction was true to the old Ford Engineers adage 'the solution, once found, will be simple.' I enjoyed drawing. That was my huge reveal some 4 years ago now.

I'm also grateful to have so much support, and that's hard, I'm literally so grateful that when I BEGIN to comprehend it I'm moved to tears. It makes it hard to express gratitude when it makes you so emotional.

And I got space, what an unparallalled luxury, I have walls to pin my plans upon, two desks to draw at, lightbox, scanner, compootah etc. I am set up, I don't have to even sleep where I work.

And for all the attention lavished on me, I can see a psychologist for free, and have an attentive non-judgemental adult listen to me. I can actually do something to take control at the times when I feel least of it.

I have a lot of grattitude.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

May have overdone it

I literally can't physically bring myself to draw this morning. It's alright, I can switch it up to writing.
happy family, happy family...


I know I'm extremely bored, or have taken procrastination too far when I actually read any form of news - I stopped reading news long before I stopped reading books. Books because I honestly never find the time, news because it is unneccessary to hear.

And I have found it fundamentally true that any news that actually concerns you will find you, you never have to go looking for it.

And so it was with these two articles:

 Neighbour discord threatens venues

Noise offends Bourke St resident

One featuring the highly sympathetic and all around great guy - Joel Morrisson (whom hosted my first ever solo exhibition) and the other the highly unsympathetic nobody from nowhere.   Now these articles 'concern' me as a patron of the arts and now virtually dependent on Melbourne's live music scene. I have scene many an 11pm finishing gig where the headline act winds up with 20 minutes to perform and the music keeps cutting out because it exceeds whatever decibells.   Today I don't have any arguments or even any rationalisations. I speak from pure emotion.   If somebody calls up the police and says 'I'd like to complain about the noise.' 'where are you?' 'I'm in my apartment I just moved into high street/brunswick st/smith st/sydney rd/ackland st/fitzroy st/the cbd opposite this music venue and the music is really loud and it's running till 2am!' 'caveat emptor motherfucker.'   End of conversation. Western democracy is known if for nothing else than for bending over backwards to protect the livelihood of people in obsolete and unprofitable industries, so to me no argument is necessary to defend the rights of live music venues over newly minted residents, since live music makes money.   I can't envision how these 'culture clusters' could be win-win, to me it is only important that culture wins, people who walk down Brunswick St on a Sunday afternoon and say 'I just love it here! so bohemian!' and then buy up a converted warehouse apartment only to discover that the bohemian proximity brings with it a vibrant music scene that is also loud or maybe just persistent has simply not done their research.   Fuck off. You wanna crazy up your life go to a sex shop, don't buy an anthropological viewing platform and then get offended when the people you came to observe refuse to stop being the people you came to observe.

it's tricky

You know I remember when I drew this picture of Musashi, and I finally felt like the linework was all my own, my own style. I had finally developed it, and it just came lazily. But in all the drawings I have done for or since, I've never really resolved the way I draw faces, things like eyes, every picture I draw I just make up the 'rule' as I go for that picture.

Christmas gave me a brief respite from actual commitments to just sit at home and draw today, and boy I just went fucking crazy. But I figured it would be a good chance to work through studies of Dave Crosland aka King Gum and figure out how he does eyes, facial features etc. Only when I consciously looked for it, there was no real hard and fast rule.

I'm about to embark on my first major comic project in 2 years, and it's looking like the artwork will be hugely flexible, as in inconsistent. I don't know if it will work, here's hoping. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

There's a conceptual threshold of wealth called 'fuck-you-money' defined as the amount of money you need before you can say 'fuck you!' to somebody before, as opposed to after, hanging up the phone. But there's no hard or fast figure to say 'now is the time' you know, for some it might be $12 million, for other $120 million, and so on up into the billions...

Even harder to concieve is a point at which you have 'made it' to the extent that you have some sustainable success and can say take people for granted, or piss off your supporters, or act with impugnity towards your reputation.

Currently 'Pride comes before' plagues me, in the modest success I have enjoyed as an artist, I was caught off guard at how quickly and surprisingly it became a full time job that still does not sustain me financially. I am accutely conscious that there are people looking after me and that I need to look after them, and it has become onerous to not try and dissappoint them. At the same time there's a bunch of people I still need to win over, and expend effort to try and bring them to my cause.

Thus you know, I try. And it's exhausting, and it's not 'poor me' but as Bryce said 'we chose this' and I sought Bryce's advice because I'm only just beginning to understand that there ARE problems that come with having hundreds of supporters and am understanding just why he struggles with the problems of having THOUSANDS of supporters.

It's a balancing act. A few weeks ago I had 6 social engagements on one Saturday, fortunately they aligned in such a way that it was possible for me to appear at all of them, I got to 5 out of 6 before exhaustion hit and had to pyke on the last. But while it may seem understandable to just pick one thing to go to and that people have clashes and are busy and can't make shit... that's the job I've chosen, and when you have 5 or 6 things on in one day that's precisely when you have to make an effort to get to all of them. Otherwise how can I ask people to go to effort and expense to support me?

It may be exhausting, but I love going to the effort. It's like a marathon to me, I get off on it. But only a fortnight later I was triple booked - and I'm not 'guest of honor' in these situations, but I just remind myself that I'm not the guy who 'everyone goes to his exhibition' but that I need to be the guy who 'goes to everybodies exhibitions' and to be a superfan basically. That's the rep I need and want.

Subsequently I have my eye on a lot of people pursuing the same career holy grail as I am, different paths, different decisions, it's a really rich and valuable learning experience. While I look at world class artists to try and emulate in style and quality, local artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers have so much more immediately relevant stuff to teach me.

And you know, it's easy to criticise sometimes 'their promotion is terrible, they're selling themselves short. etc.' and it's also easy to praise 'man their work ethic puts me to shame.' and either way you can be critical and admiring of the same person in the same breath but nothing in the end changes the fundamental fact that I WANT THEM TO SUCCEED.

I go to watch people succeed. I vicariously experience their joy as they achieve personal mile stones. It is my favorite thing, the best thing.

Thats why its dissappointing to now feel like I am witnessing a promising career, somebody I have admired for years (relax I am 100% sure they do not read this blog) basically 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory' as my father puts it, and turn into a cautionary tale rather than a role model.

For one, while I currently labour over how to stave off 'pride comes before the fall' at that exact moment where it took over my thoughts, I saw the pride take over them and I thought nothing of it, I was just like 'they're a little over excited, their bubble will burst and they will chill the fuck out.'

But then I was watching this episode of breaking bad where a character said 'being poor is easy, that's why anybody can do it, no it's hard to be rich' and what I am witnessing I think is somebody being caught off guard, or blindsided by how hard it is to be successful - once you have succeeded, even modestly.

I'm not really in a position to say what is required when you are successful, but I can see how people fuck it up, like taking their supporters for granted, or assuming it's a permanant state, an unconditional one.

'Fuck you money' might be a nice thought, but I'd speculate that even if you have more money than you can spend stuffed into your mattress, it's probably safe to say that it's never a good idea to say 'fuck you' to anybody you are dealing with.

As I sit here writing this, I realise it would be poor form to actually divulge any details of the cautionary tale that you may sit in judgement and actually learn from it, because it is still in the process of playing out, and hopefully will resolve as a caution to them and me and nothing more. But at the same time, it's hard to write about something in purely abstract-arms length terms.

It just reminds me that I should write to Bryce and seek his advice, because I think Bryce is one of those people who not only has succeeded but can succeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I got the worst nights sleep last night

but I'd do it again.

Now to bed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Are white men overrepresented in heinous crimes?

Not in the prison population in general, we know minorities tend to be grossly overrepresented in prison populations. But seriously, I notice that most of the guys that have say walked into schools and shot people or abducted and murdered women on a friday night tend to look much more like me than say, my refugee student.

Yet public debate seems consumed with the prevention of people who don't look like me coming to Australia. Yet all the truly the horrific shit seems to be perpetrated by people who look like me.

I guess one reason is that when you racially resemble the perps, it's much easier to imagine that the heinous crime gene is not walking around hand in hand with the pasty skin gene.

Curious though as to whether the Wikipedia page on 'School Shootings' would mention the fact that it seems to be really white kids that go shoot innocent people. And I mean society is if anything 'friendliest' to white males. And furthermore, we have had two decades in a row now where the most celebrated individuals in the world have been straight white men who can't really dress themselves - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Throw in Zuckerberg and the google guys and white loner males occupy both the most celebrated and most despised ends of the spectrum.

But apparantly the FBI warn against sibscription to any profile. And I mean that's a really good point, but why doesn't this extend in our discourse to pointing out that the vast majority of Islamic men in this world are like Mormon's only more religiously observant. Which is to say, 'won't say shit for a shilling' and the most outrageous thing they can contemplate is wearing shorts.

Thus attending Mosque or reading the Koran is not a useful means to predict who is going to bomb a night club. So too, being a white male loner who is a victim of bullying or worse - home schooling, is only a slightly more effecient way of predicting who is going to inflict grevious harm on bystanders.

Like I'm not a news guy, shit trickles to me slowly, and frankly I am becoming desensitised to the whole shootings phenomena in the US, whether it is violating the sanctity of a cinema complex or a primary school, I had to go and make an effort to read through the wikipedia page on the latest to absorb the true horror and feel the deep offensiveness of the act.

But still, I find it hard, a bystander a world away to find any motivation to blame any systematic issues, or anything beyond the individual who murdered his own mother and took her gun cache on a killing spree of innocents.

So many social contracts were violated by one person and one person only that I don't feel the social contracts that were meant to be upheld - ie, you don't kill your own mother, you don't kill innocent people, you don't kill innocent children... I just don't believe anyway to make social contracts actual enforcable contracts is in the end not feasible nor desirable.

The gun debate is something else,I am a firm believer that once somebody decides that what they want to do is really hurt somebody and the consequences be damned, there is little anyone ever could do to stop them. But there IS a difference between this resulting in the abduction, rape and murder of an innocent woman and the slaying of staff and students at a school, the difference is not only in the sexual element of the crime but the number of people a person is capable of hurting. With guns, the damage wrought is greatly amplified.

Guns make hurting people extremely effecient.

Beyond that though, what?

Some observations:

1. The perpetrators when white are treated charitably, compared to other perpetrators. They are not 'psychotic' but 'troubled' or painted as victims themselves. With the exception of the schizophrenic that shot Dimebag Darryl at a Pantera concert, most of these shooters have no excuse, they do not suffer conditions that relieve them of the responsibility for the choices they have made. Their attempts and successes at committing suicide communicate that they understand that they know they are doing wrong, and the shooter profiles carried in the media do everybody a disservice by trying to apologise for their inability to function in society not for mental illness but for personality disorders.

2. These shootings are often extravagent forms of suicide, meticulously planned the plans are never devoid of the realisation that they are a 'spree' from which there is no hope of escape for the shooter and that ultimately they will end with the arrest or suicide of the killer. From Columbine to last week, I am not aware of any of the murderers attempting to take hostages and negotiate a plane to Cuba. They are suicides. They are almost always suicides. Dr Gordon Livingston wrote that there is an intrinsic element of criticism and rage in the act of suicide directed at loved ones for their failure to make life worth living or hear the cries for help. When you murder your own family and then innocents, proxy's for society at large, this criticism betrays a self-indulgence, a sense of entitlement that is lost in the discourse that society at large is responsible for their quality of life. Why do these largely white kids think they are entitled to inflict their problems on the community around them? Where does this notion arise? It is so arrogant, so presumptuous to place responsibility on society for caring about their concerns and their conditions over others.

Sure there may be no hard and fast psychological profile, but these are seldom the children of families devestated by drug abuse, or impoverished and dispossessed, they do not come from war torn regions, nor did they cross a border illegally in hopes of a better life. They have change in their pockets, roofs overhead, they attend schools and wear clothes that are purchased from the store. They are amonst the wealthiest people in the world with numerous opportunities to prepare for a brighter future on hand. Thus there is no excuse to go out in a blaze of infamy, the community is not worthy of thier criticism, they are worthy of criticism.

3. Extraordinary as the event of somebody shooting their way into a school and going on a killing spree is, it is absolutely no accident that at least 4 people there died in acts of extreme heroism defending the lives of the innocent. Because heroic people are extremely common, people are awesome, kind and decent, leading their lives in an imperfect and unpredictable world.

The principle and school psychologist could not have foreseen that a shooter would walk into their school that or any other day, they could have had no plans or strategy for dealing with the situation. Yet their reaction was instantaneous and unenviable in its reward. They went to confront the shooter, a role designated to them and a responsibility they assumed despite how terrifying and grossly unfair it was. Two unarmed professionals encountering an armed assailant. There was nothing that could be done in hindsight but they did what they must. This I would argue is the general mettle of humanity. Society is not falling apart, people are falling off the fringes.

4. I am a white male, that lives in the suburbs, and due to my chosen profession spend much time in isolation. Despite my choices, the ease with which people can disconnect and comfort themselves in unconstructive ways has never sat well with me. I can remember my highschool being on the technology-trap bandwagon and requiring students to have laptops (why???) when the library introduced LAN ports and a group of kids started playing LAN party games during lunchtime. I dissapproved strongly, yet my socially awkward friend argued that the socially awkward needed their refuge.

No they don't. They require intervention. You may never be able to get gun control in place in America, but you could get school uniforms in place that I feel reduce social stratification because cliques and tribes cannot so readily uniform themselves, plus remove stimulus for bullies. You could get rid of cheerleaders and trench-coat mafias in one motion. You also aleviate the economic burden to be cool. It may seem superficial to point to the clothes, but every socially awkward guy I have ever met has a strong behavioural profile of being dressed by their mother, and subsequently being ridiculed for it.

In so many ways, kids on the fringe tend to be relieved of the anxieties socialising puts on them rather than helped to overcome them. Japan operates a culture where a student being bullied upon confessing to their parents will be asked 'what are you doing wrong? why can't you fit in?' and that has myriad fucken problems but saying 'my kid is being bullied, I want them exempt from sports, clubs and any kid that so much as criticises them will be sued and so help ME GOD I will sue this fucking school too!' is perhaps fostering the sense of entitlement and rage that ones problems and demons are not their own responsibility to overcome but societies.

5. Twice in my life I have been sitting on a train and observed a father quiz his infant child on mathematical questions. One was an indian man and his daughter on the Tokyo Subway, another was a Caucasian male and his daughter on the New York subway. The Indian father's question was from memory more challenging, whereas NY daddy asked at 56th street how many more stops till we get there?

On both occassions I sniggered. Mathematics is a gateway to academic excellence, but the people who owe their success in life to prodigal-mathematic ability <1 144="144" a="a" ability="ability" and="and" are="are" be="be" calculate="calculate" dads="dads" dividends="dividends" exceed="exceed" firm="firm" from="from" handshake="handshake" hello="hello" is="is" kids="kids" logarithms="logarithms" man="man" manually="manually" much="much" must="must" not="not" of="of" or="or" owe="owe" paid="paid" people="people" pretty="pretty" rest.="rest." root="root" say="say" should="should" skills="skills" smile="smile" social="social" square="square" subway="subway" success="success" teaching="teaching" that="that" the="the" their="their" thousandfold.="thousandfold." to="to" what="what" who="who">

Social skills can be taught, what does not come naturally can come with effort. I have known (and possibly been, I don't have necessarily the most accurate self-image) kids on the fringe that go either way. Surprisingly, rap music never hurts from what I can observe.

But the fact that our social education falls mainly on observing our parents and peers, there is no risk spreading in society and perhaps insofar as that society is to blame for these tragedies. Home-schooling should certainly be a no-no, I cannot imagine any justification that isn't 'I want to indoctrinate my kid with my marginal views of how the world works.' beyond that though, not just these but much more banal (and damaging) social issues could be avoided if kids were taught that their parents are but one exception, rather than the rule.

Our quality of life is determined far more by questions of 'who' than 'what', the substances abused in substance abuse tend to simulate the chemical experience of emotions felt naturally by people who are happy and contented. Divorces are driven by poor choices of marriage partners, and careers tend to be more fulfulling the less they are based on the expectations of others and the more they are based on the aspirations of the individual. Through neglect and misdirection our schools teach us nothing of how to achieve quality of life. Nor do they teach us how to deal with our problems by avoiding them in the first place.

Education needs a quality revolution as badly as manufacturing did.

6. An effort to understand the minds and plights of these white boys on the fringes of society is in some way admirable and in some ways offensive. I wish we would extend the same charity though to understanding the brown people and yellow people whom impose no such tragedies on us, yet garner attention widely in the form of xenophobia and aggression.

Figure AND Ground

It's the latter I struggle with. I've resuscitated my old collaborative project 12 moments, although there's no new content yet, it seemed like a good thing to knock over while getting back into the old 'sequential art' mode. Having basically had an easy run of drawing individual pieces for a year. At the moment though I don't know whether the impression that I basically suck is reflective of growth in ability I have obtained or a sudden loss in confidence.

But right now I think you could throw the grand canyon into the chasm between where I think 'viable comic book artist' is and the other side of that chasm which is where I'm at.

Basically, I would say that I am pretty good for a kid in year 8 of highschool, drawing in ballpoint pen in a notebook. That's my standard.

But the thing is, I'm 29, and thus the path that makes most sense for me developmentally is to combine my development with my active publication. So hopefully my output reflects for those that think I'm pretty good right now, that I am in fact, still on the steep part of the learning curve.

And I am. And for me really the only viable option when doing 'deliberate practice' is to stylise away my actual technical limitations.

I think this is what agravated me about the VCA students' grad show, here you have people who have all these advantages over me - they are A) young, B) financially supported C) supervised and D) given time and space to practice. And most of them are choosing media, subject matter etc. that is highly conceptual and requires almost no technical ability/expertise whatsoever. And a lot of it I just don't understand, and I guess one can only conclude that I am not a fine artist. But I'm also inclined to conclude that the term 'fine arts' doesn't have any real currency anymore.

But yeah, had I done a design course at uni, specifically graphic design I would have picked up heaps of technical abilities I could now put to use. Or had I done architecture, I could have been on top of 1-point, 2-point and 3-point perspective drawing. Rendering and inking, or even if I got down regularly to life drawing... the thing is, I'd just be a different artist though, albeit a neater one.

I guess for me, I have more ideas, more inspiration than I have time and material to convert into end product. So it really doesn't matter to me that my figures will be leaps and bounds ahead of the backgrounds, but I just am sweating on my next major project because I just don't know what it is going to look like.

Part of that is for exciting reasons, I have a colourist who will contribute about as much to the look of this comic as I do through my linework, but part of it is because I haven't resolved in my mind what anything looks like beyond the characters. And there will be plenty of distortion when I transfer the image of characters from my minds eye to paper.

So I just don't know, but I'm not going to blow off 3 months to sit and do perspective drawing, and then try and reconcile it with the very 2d curvy linear figures I have come to draw and love.

Good is the enemy of done. I will just have to get it done. Then take a look at it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


An old housemate worked in a videostore and was approached by a customer whom somewhat unconventionally asked him 'what's your philosophy of life?' which is one of those questions you ask somebody to simply go through the mechanics that get you to 'what's yours?' so they can infact outlay their philosophy of life, which is why if you want to be a cunt, you should always have a lengthy dissertation ready for such questions in the hope that they will lose interest and walk away.

My sentences have been criticised recently.

Anyway, I can't recall if my former housemate actually asked him or whether he just said 'mine's "ain't nothin' to it but to do it."'

Anyway, that's the story.

wiw-wiw-wiw my friendly friend Bryce wrote about once, Bryce gets annoyed if I refer to him not by name but I forget the reason. Anyway wiw-wiw-wiw is shorthand for 'what-I-want-when-I-want-where-I-want' and describes our new consumption habits.

On the subway in New York, the people of the subway, the subway dwellers, if you will... if you would?... what am I trying to say?

IF YOU WERE SO INCLINED to ask one of 'the locals' one of the 'native-new-yorkers' what was the most interesting thing about the new york subway, what would they tell you?

They would tell you fucken lies.

But if you just observe, and it's fascinating to observe, New York is a fascinating place filled with all kinds of fascinating people. And nowdays all those fascinating people are fascinated by the internet.

The internet and aps, casual games. streaming movies. facebook.

At some point we have reached a point, this point where if we don't want to be productive, ever, and to just consume. We can. We can. Any fucking time of day.

And it makes being productive, just fucken dooin' it, so to speak. Quite hard.

And if you have boldly decided to identify as a 'creative' you kind of eventually need to be creating stuff, and continue to do so, to hold onto that mantle.

But the thing is that you can fucking rationalise away your overconsumption of entertainment, art, whatever.

You are just like 'I'm getting inspiration' or like 'i'm researching.' and even 'it's my education'.

And you know, you probably should be feeding yourself some education, learning by observing the best, and getting inspired. But you know, of all the slippery slopes, I find these activities the slipperiest(?)

Whatever, remember where if you wanted to see a movie, you had to go to a video store? A video store populated by philosophers.

And those philosophers, they were right. At the end of the day, so many of the artists and creators you admire, you admire because they didn't meticulously research or keep their thumb on the pulse or whatever, they just fucking did whatever was required to output the fucking work.

So guy in video store was right.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


My father once told my brother that "Success = Failure - A Good Excuse" and claimed it was a "mathematical truth". I forget the context, I guess the point was this was one of the earlier introductions to taking responsibility.

I recently forgot an important person's birthday. And an important birthday at that, a big round one. I mean I didn't forget it, so much as what day it was. I had excuses for doing so, but these were irrelevent. The fact I identify him as 'important' deny me the privelege of having excuses.

That is that.

I similarly believe if you want to do something, if you want to succeed at something, you have handed in the keys to the excuse closet. You can't use them anymore. There are no longer 'reasons' you failed, you simply fucked up. Learn. Correct. Mitigate where possible.

That is that.

patron of the arts part twix

So yesterday I was the first ever buyer of a Thao original artwork. And though it was for less money than my commissioned piece (it was in fact, a steal) it's the first time I've bought a local and fledgling artists piece from an actual gallery and hence qualifies for a notch on my system. It also represented around 30% of my current net worth, so it was in relative terms my most expensive purchase also.

It felt great, and it's a great piece and it will hang on my wall and I may have been part of the catylist that encourages a young artist to go on and create more.

past pays dividends

In an unlikely sequence of events, one of my sisters friends that attended the Black Exhibition was talking to my sister about her work in the state library and noticed that my debut work 'Fear of A White Planet' is preserved there for posterity, alongside such zine masterpieces as 'It'll Be Morning' I don't know if this means any old zine crap fits the state library's archiving criteria or whether I actually sold enough for it to be collected, but still it feels good to have some of my mind grapes bottled and stored in a place more secure than my or any of my friends abodes for shit printed on copy paper and bound with string and electrical tape.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

tohm gets narky

I'm in a rare reclusive creative mode at the moment. Actually sitting down to write, for long periods of time. Which is good, great, but indulgent given the commitments I have made for others of my time prior to now.

And I get narky, because I feel time poor. Part of my creative productivity at the moment is good because it involves being honest about how much I procrastinate, I have always been good at productive procrastination, whereas most people I feel pretend as if this time they won't procrastinate and they will sit down and get the job done, and this is the way to wind up playing video games for a whole day and just feel worse.

I know how I work, and it's a fine, delicate matter of allowing the time to contract to fit the work available, rather than the old work expands to fit the time available. But as I said it is delicate, and then and thereby any demands on my time that are new become hostile in my mind.

A certain level of self awareness prevails, and thus if people are asking me to go to their album launch, exhibition opening, gig, a friends exhibition opening I can usually knuckle down and do everything. These things become part of my productive procrastination.

But I have noticed, yet do not possess the self-awareness, that there are things that people quite innocently do that set me off. Right off, I lose my shit.

I am still trying to figure it out, so I can stop being so narky, but let's just say that it is a human failing akin to sitting in a hospital ward with a dislocated shoulder, and there's only so long you can endure such constant nagging pain before you will be less than courteous to a staff member that doesn't deserve it, that or have an emotional breakdown.

But it isn't purely random, I don't simply go a while where I feel pressed for time and that I am not achieving enough and snapping. There seem to be particular triggers that I can't see when they trigger me.

This is as far as I can discern:

1. An invitation to participate in some sort of intellectual past time - watching a documentary, discussing books, debating foreign policy. debating anything.
2. An invitation to a social event for its own sake - as in people standing around enjoying eachothers company. Nobody's birthday, nobody's milestone, just a mixer.

And usually the two combine into one thing, there is nothing that sets me off more than a social function populated by intellectuals.

At root, I guess I take offense, because it implies that I have been invited, not more reasonably simply because I am just another friend to invite, but because people think I would enjoy such things. I feel slighted that they don't know me well.

And even that, I understand is grossly unfair, for example I could totally understand how people could get the impression that I enjoy reading books, watching documentarys, debating foreign policy or the 'sport' of debating in general. I could also totally understand how people could think me an extravert, I have been impersonating one for decades.

But the fact is, that while I enjoy dabbling in reading from time to time, I am generally unenthusiastic about it, and especially unenthusiastic about discussing books. Why discuss books when there is explosive NBA action to talk about for 8 months of the year?! Or comics, why debate foreign policy? forget the clowns in congress lets talk about the clowns in DC and Marvel's head offices. And why socialise when you can spend 2 and 1/2 hours circumnavigating the Melbourne inner city running? thinking all the while.

Of course the tricky thing about being narky, is that it is simply an emotional state representing impermanent circumstances, the fact is I don't want to stop being invited to social mixers populated by intellectuals, nor is it 'unimportant' or 'uninteresting' to me what other people read and what other people think about the things they read (indeed this saves me from having to do a lot of actual reading) nor is it coma-inducing to debate foreign policy with another idiot that like me has no practical and immediate way of effecting the things we are debating. It can be quite stimulating.

The fact is that these just prompt a level of enthusiasm from me that cannot compete with the enthusiasm I feel for going to a friends place and eating hamburgers while watching Ru-Pauls Drag Race, Jersey Shore, or movies featuring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah fighting in a family restaurant. And some things for me are just not something I want to do in company - like watch a documentary, nor will I probably ever shake the feeling that documentaries are not something you pay to go and see at a cinema.

Having said that, one of the best things I've seen all year, and struggled to not cry through, was 'Being Elmo' a documentary I saw at a cinema and paid money to see, in company.

Which is why when I am narky, I feel remorse. Because ultimately, I value that people are enthusiastic about stuff that I can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about. Even 'The Black Exhibition' the greatest thing I have done thus far in my life to date, if you asked me how I felt about it in the preparation times - my answer was 'tired' thus I was very grateful to have my friend Sarah to be excited about it for me.

Against my judgement, I do enjoy things, the problem is I don't anticipate enjoying things. Sure I will never, ever, join a book club, or sit around watching TED talks with an open bottle of red in company, because I know when things cause me pain and my own participation will damage myself and everyone in the room, so too do I never wish to have an athiest vs. theological debate again if I can help it, although at some points you need to call believers out when they overextend themselves, just as athiests need to be called out when they are being particularly intolerent or intellectual bullies.

But I am enjoying writing, it's tricky. Comic writing is dead prose, but it comes alive in my head as I envision the artwork, the layouts. And I enjoy the problem solving of working in such a constrained medium. Exposition in comics is really fucking hard. Really hard.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I am writing a comic again

Writing comics forces me to be succinct.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Communications Breakdown

So I lost my phone, and after an initial 'how am I going to track it down and get it back?' flurry of thought reason once again took hold of my emotion and pointed out it simply wasn't worth the effort.

But it's curious, a decade ago this would probably have been more of a problem than it is now. Now I think the problem is that there is no universally socially accepted mandatory way of communicating.

I hosted a bbq thingy a couple of months back in which one of my friends remarked that they hadn't gotten much notice because I'd arranged it as a facebook event, and facebook events were not an acceptable way to arrange events anymore, but everyone else there was like 'facebook events are all I use' or some shit, and that doesn't really proove anything because all my guests would evidently use facebook events because I organised it through facebook.

I haven't been able to figure out what means of communication is effective with that friend, if you are reading this and hopefully you know who you are post a comment if my blogs are the best form of communication...

But I digress, gone is the neat dichotomy of people who prefer texts (my camp) and people who prefer calls (the mysterious other) to a plethora of people who are facebook dependent (I wouldn't say I am, I know all the important people's birthdays but if there's a facebook event I am 1000% more likely to attend) to facebook voyeurs (who look but don't publish) to passive facebook users (who read IT articles about facebook all the time on the interwebs but log into facebook once a year) to people waging a one-man personal war against facebook by deleting their account and refusing to use.

And then there's people like me who refuse to use twitter due to an inability to imagine it's appeal and a suspicion that anything that gets a column of content in the Mx daily can't be a good thing. But probably the people that are best at communicating use a combination of all the methods available to them and simply adjust to the preferences of others.

Like Drucker wrote real way early how your boss is either going to be 'a listener' who appreciates a meeting where you verbally brief them vs 'a reader' who want a written report on their desk, and you job to be effective is to figure out their preference and communicate to them according to their preference.

But I suspect our media usage and the explosion in options for how we communicate probably increasingly dictates our social life. The friends I spend the most time with are the ones that text or email, and this may seem arbitrary or may just be a quite reasonable demonstration of the principle of 'like attracts like'

I must confess I have friends that I am reluctant to text because they call me back. After years of annoyance, I eventually just adapted to call them instead of texting and it has worked out well because my phone credit tends to expire rather than run out, so it appeases my frugality, that is until I lost my phone friday night.

Even though the dissemination of the understanding that people are different, think different and have different behavioural preferences is increasing we are but in early days. I know the revelation of different 'management' preferences known by models such as DiSC were generally employed not as leading to adjustment by people but rather a forceful 'Well I'm a high I so you just have to accept me for what I am.'

It would be wrong of me to demand my friends only communicate with me in written form, just as it's lazy of me to only communicate with the friends that share my preference. But whether I win or lose the accepted universal platform, maybe having the choices we do now to indulge our personal preferences (broadcasting vs narrowcasting, verbal vs vocal, substantive vs insubstantive etc) maybe communication is something that just NEEDS a socially dictated standard like which side of the road to drive on and the interpretation of green vs red traffic signals.

I dunno man, I dunno, I dunno, I dunno...

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I am genuinely fascinated by the need for affilliation. So genuine, I probably shouldn't write about it, because I simply don't understand it.

I understand it in the universal sense, the Maslow-heirarchical(?) sense, that we all crave a sense of belonging, friends, family and partners. Although obviously there's a spectrum of desire even in the universal sense. But even the anti-social people that occupy our prison systems are punished with solitary confinement, everybody fears isolation.

But like, I went to a thing last night as I often do, and I knew people there but I turned up by myself. The plain fact of the matter is that if I only went to stuff if I could arrange a friend to do it with me, I would not go to anywhere near as much stuff or I would wind up doing the same stuff over and over.

But yes, if I see a facebook event that says 'you and 7 of your friends are going' it is a safe bet that me and two of my friends will be there. And this is because for the average gig, I am generally facebook friends with at least two band members. Why don't other people turn up? Is it because they need their hand held? Is it because they have better shit to do?

Then on the weekend I was introduced to the concept of 'FOMO' or 'Fear of Missing Out' the absence of which is apparantly an advantage of using twitter. Facebook apparantly comes with much anxiety built into it, and one of these is apparantly FOMO. Firstly fear is bad only if it is irrational, otherwise it can be quite useful. And FOMO sounds like a highly rational fear. I would count it to facebook's credit that it actually lets you know the social cost of spending a saturday evening in and online. But I think FOMO's roots are in that human need for affiliation, you see all your friends RSVP to some event, then worry that you are being excluded from the good times and more concerningly may be ostracised from the group.

But if you ever attended an event you were invited to on facebook you hopefully know facebook RSVPs are worth dick, or roughly 30% of the reported turnout. So while you certainly are missing out on good times, you probably aren't being ostracised from the group as most of the group won't show.

Then like fashion, the need for affiliation is expressed most obviously in fashion. We are a long way from Louise the Sun Kings court of Versaille, but the fear of being ostracized on account of our wardrobes still seems to hold sway. Just walking around the street yesterday I walked past a bunch of stores selling all-over-print garbs the most popular of which seems to be aztec, this is this seasons 'out of uniform, uniform'

Since I was a teenager I was always perplexed as to why the youth the moment they are offered the opportunity to not wear a school uniform all dressed alike in surf clothes (this dominated rural youth fashion in the 90's, I suspect increased internet access means the kids all dress like city kids nowadays). Being free of the constraints of a uniform is supposed to be our opportunity to express ourselves through the communication medium of clothing, and yet generally what is expressed is a desire to fit in, tow-the-line etc.

The question isn't answered but is asked more compellingly by exactitudes it goes further, why do people who expressedly set out to express themselves wind up dressing identically as if following a set of rules?

I don't even understand how the process works.

I suspect my attire reflects the rules adopted by African American youth in New Orleans whom have recently returned from a holiday in Taiwan, I am probably no exception to the rule except that I don't look like the other people in town who dress like me, being the Asian international students that play on the basketball courts on weekends. But even while a bunch of sub-tribes go about signalling their membership through attire, the vast majority of people adopt what approaches a monoculture of fashion.

My friends former housemate was a writer for Frankie magazine and thus a self-proclaimed expert on 'Hipsters' and described their defining trait as 'creativity'. And yet, I was at a party months ago and a particularly unpleasant to talk to girl asked the same friend and I to define a hipster and he immediately started describing the hipster uniform - brogues, brill-cream, glasses, ironic facial hair...

She objected to defining people simply by the way they dress and had some emotional investment in their being more to hipsters, but the rules work, Hipsters are after all a group, a tribe, hence we have a name for them and membership is denoted by wearing the uniform. But clearly this is not 'creative' in either the sense that such uniform attire is created by the people who wear them, nor is it an expression of individuality or original thought. To say hipsters are defined by their creativity is as valid a claim as Emo's were defined by their exceptional emotions, or grunge kids were defined by their apathy.

These movements are defined by their consolidation, their predictability, the more creative, the harder to label.

In marketing the mystery of the need for affiliation was in part answered for me. What perplexed me is 'why I don't feel it.' I never have, I doubt I ever will. I still can feel awkward not being dressed like everyone else in certain contexts, but for me this is a very overcomeable level of discomfort, self-consciousness is easy to repress and the rewards of doing so reinforce the practice of doing so.

But basically marketing said 'you have two kinds of people in this world...' and those two kinds of people are 'opinion leaders' and 'opinion seekers' or something. I only really remember the opinion leaders for sure. Now not to make a joke of a soft science, but two guys walk into a store to buy themselves some jeans, the assistant tells each upon handing them a pair of jeggings 'that's how they're wearing them these days.' the opinion seeker says 'oh cool!' the opinion leader says 'I don't care, I like my jeans loose and flaired at the bottom.'

Which isn't to say opinion leader is 70's Eric Clapton, but to say they are defined by their need or lack there-of to fit in with the group. This isn't an introvert/extrovert divide. It's like a group-esteem vs self-esteem thing. But the discussion was not comprehensive, we simply know these two types of people exist, or as my beloved ex-brother in law loved to say sardonically 'I'm a rebel, I don't care what society thinks.'

Anyway I don't know, I honestly don't know if it's a nature vs nurture thing, which is it? I don't know, was a born with a low need for affiliation compared to the norm, or is it the biproduct of being left handed and never being able to be the norm, or is it simply the result of my parents parenting raising me to big-note myself and look down upon others?

Then there's evolution, we are a society that is predisposed to follow leaders, put a group of people in a room they never emerge as a committee, I'm sure Dawkins or somebody could explain this phenomena in terms of some Evolutionary Stable Strategy about what proportion of people posess 'leader' genes and what possess 'follower' genes and this gene may or may not functionally impare or allow the chemical feedback mechanisms that drive our relative desire to fit in with a group.

I honestly, don't know. Isn't it fascinating?

Court of the Owls

So anticipating the long entertainmentless domestic flight from NY to LA, or the long entertainmentless stopover in LAX, I bought 'Nite of the Owls' my first collected comic book purchase for what must be like 5-6 years. It's Scott Snyder on writing duty for DC's main 'Batman' title and Greg Capullo on pencils (which in western comics is THE artist on a title).

For me, Capullo is the reason to get excited about Batman again after what I would describe as 'Grant Morrison's reign of terror' on the title. Grant Morrisson certainly shook things up with his signature chaotic style, but for me it produced 5-6 years of pure shite. I can imagine, because I am one, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back at the end of the line the number of artists and writers that have been waiting their whole careers to get a shot at working on DC's flagship title, one of the only two icons of the entire comic book industry, and inherited 'Batman Incorporated' and the years of Dick Grayson wearing the mantle of the Bat and fucking Damian Wayne as Robin. I imagine it's like buying tickets to a broadway show in advance and turning up and getting the understudies. I would have been fucked off.

Anyway, Bruce is back in the cape and cowl, and the DC universe got reset, clumsy yes, messy, yes but probably necessary. And DC have hired Scott Snyder to write and Greg Capullo to pencil.

Greg was the main penciller for 'Spawn' Image comics flagship title taking over from Todd MacFarlane himself who took up inking duties, and did pretty much every title until the conclusion of the original series. The man was prolific and while Spawn rode high at number 1 practically defined the overdrawing style that defined the 90's. I love Greg's style, he was one of the people that got me and so many kids fucking excited about comics.

And he's back (he has been back for a while, working on MacFarlanes haunt and the second iteration of the Spawn title) but he is doing Batman.

Now the last time Batman was really riding high was on the smoothly executed Loeb/Lee run. Jeph Loeb who wrote 'The Long Halloween' with artist Tim Sale and thus cemented his place in Batman history alongside (but in the shadows of) Frank Miller, and Jim Lee one of the founders of Image Comics and considered by many the best artist in comics (but not I).

And that's the first thing about Nite of the Owls. It feels very much like a board meeting was held where Snyder got called in and told 'we're giving you Capullo, we want "Hush 2.0"' the volume has no blurb like Loeb writes in his collections explaining how the projects came about. But I just would be surprised if that wasn't how it panned out. Because really that would explain all the weaknesses of the run, the restraints of working for the DC board.

I don't give a shit about spoilers, if you really cared you would have had ample opportunity to read 'Hush' and Court of the Owls before I did, but certain plot lines are straight out of Loeb's playbook, in chapter one you meet 'Lincoln Marsh' the superfluous character, the Chekov's gun, the mute brother from Mystic River, the character introduced as early as possible so he can be revealed as the culprit later on after you have forgotten he existed. Loeb though was better with Thomas Elliott/Hush because he served a purpose in the backstory, had the good sense to remove him as a suspect by killing him in the second chapter (faking his death) and then in the tenth/eleventh chapter revealing Jason Todd as Hush as a diversion being a suitable but dissappointing climax, then having Batman figure out the ruse based on this reveal.

Hush was also a 'romp' Loeb introduced a compelling new villain, but in a way that allowed Jim Lee to showcase his drawing on the entire rogues gallary.

What I liked about Snyder's writing was, he sidelined the rogues gallary. They feature, Capullo got to do his take on Penguin, Scarecrow, Two-Face and Joker, but this was part of the 'cold opening' of the run, from thence virtually every character is new provided they aren't on team-batman.

And just as I was glad Loeb had read the introduction to the collected volume 'a death in the family' where the guy responsible for making the call on killing Jason Todd as Robin stated that 'reviving him would be a betrayel' and thus didn't actually revive Jason Todd but used the deception as the centerpiece of the entire Hush run, I am glad Snyder shied away from having Lincoln Marsh actually be Bruce Wayne's brother. Though in much the same way that DC revived Jason Todd after hush as 'the red hood' in a move I shall condemn forever, I have a feeling it is not beyond DC to decide that Lincoln Marsh is Bruce Wayne's long lost brother creating a shitty fucking character out of what once was a compellingly tragic one.

I think the limitation of introducing a conspiracy as grand as the court of the owls, is you have to use what I imagine would be labelled as 'informed familiarity' if it was a trope. That's where Snyder's retconning necessary for his plotwork was glaringly inferior to Loeb's on Hush. Having a bunch of characters constantly reciting the rhyme about the mythical 'court of owls' that has never heretoforepreviouslyever been recited in the entire history of batman you can accept, and even being informed via flashback that Bruce investigated their existence when he was a child is okay, but it then becomes implausible that Bruce would have totally forgotten about his mothers pregnancy with his YOUNGER brother, nor never in all his great detective work and intervening years have gone through photo albums to see his mother pregnant, nor see any of the many paper records indicating she was pregnant nor have Alfred ever mention the fact to him.

So while the story indicates that Lincoln Marsh was infact the victim of a grand conspiracy that convinced him he was Bruce Wayne's brother, and thus is quite a tragic and disturbed individual to rival Batman's excellent stable of rogues, it was left ambiguous enough that he could be the resurrected infant brother of Bruce Wayne, which would make him shitty and boring, and completely implausible. Shitty boring characters like that are best grafted onto comics like Batman using crossover events where the reason is always a combination of parallal universes and magic. (like the eventual resurrection of Jason Todd) and I say that is the best way to do it, because that is the best way to do what I feel is a borderline reprehensible action in any comic let alone one as iconic as Batman.

I need more positives though, as I said earlier, I think much of the plot-flaws where probably the result of demands for 'Hush 2.0' and thus I think Snyder did really fucking great writing in those handcuffs, I'd also point out that DC should be commended for at the very least saying 'we want to relive something good' instead of the standard fair which is to create some crossover event, or try to recreate something good like Hush but not pay any money to do so, like the return of two-face and having it all masterminded by 'The Great White Shark'.

The 'Talons' that are the most prominent adversaries are the best fucking bad guys to go up against my least favorite incarnation of batman - gadget batman or 'bond' batman. And Capullo is the right man to draw gadget batman, he looked so good I enjoyed high tech batman cutting loose.

The labrynth torture sequence arrived so suddenly but was truly excellent. Mayhaps one of the best sequences in the last ten-twenty years of batman writing, also the selection of a predator of bats 'The Owls' as the metaphoric adversaries challenging batman for control of Gotham was excellent and provided for excellent imagary again by Capullo. All the stuff harking back to Alan Wayne and his mysterious dissappearance, I kind of just wish that Snyder had restrained the court of owls not to a persistent myth/fairytale that nobody had bother to mention at all until now, but as a long lost secret society that had been truly dormant and truly forgotten for a hundred years.

It's a tough call though because when Batman finds all their secret bases of operations, that is a really good bit.

Look it's a tough gig, you work on something as iconic and longstanding as Batman where there are so many obvious 'you can't do this' unspoken rules or at the least - issues where you have to go beg the editorial team for permission (Alan Moore called up DC to ask if they would mind him crippling Barbara Gordon in 'The Killing Joke' I suspect they let him because he is Alan Moore, anybody other than Grant Morrisson probably could never get away with that shit), but if you fix two-face's face they have to disfigure him again, if you kill any of the Joker, Penguin, Scarecrown, Ventiloquist, Two-Face, Catwoman, Killer Croc, Mr Freeze, Harlequin, Poison Ivy or Ra's Al Ghul they are going to have to resurrect them at some point in the future. And generally speaking they won't let you make these bold moves, with two robins dead and one resurrected, with two former robins now roaming the streets as Nightwing and Red Robin, they aren't going to let you kill off another Robin.

And compounding it all, the main rogues gallary's stories have now been told hundreds of times... each.

Given all these factors, even though the top talent in the world would leap at the opportunity to work on Batman, it's hard to do something good, let alone new & good. and most people do something bad, and you get stuck with the hangover of that badness.

What I wouldn't give to be in the meeting where they decide the movements of Gotham for the next year, 5 years, decade as they must. I'm sure it gets constantly reviewed, and also gets effected by the need to leverage other DC titles off of Batman's sales success and tie the comics in with the movie promotions so that you run Batman vs. Joker stories in the lead up to the Dark Knight, and Batman vs. Scarecrow stories in the leadup to Batman Begins etc.

Anyway, while Snyder and Capullo are the creative team, I'll keep reading Batman and just hope Morrisson doesn't get the reigns again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


You see there's the dumb kind of smart, and the smart kind of dumb. The dumb-kind-of-smart follows the old milatary addage 'if it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid' of which I am particularly fond. The dumb-kind-of-smart is your 'Forrest Gump' effect, somebody who you wouldn't bet on, but seems to negotiate their way through life successfully, because they possess uncanny common-sense and good judgement despite a lack of knowledge/education/opportunity.

The smart-kind-of-dumb though, they are your psuedo-intellectuals. Characterised by large vocabularies, name dropping, overkill studying and the general superficial trappings of intellectuals. They are nevertheless defined by the low quality of their opinions, a compulsion to express them and frustration that the world doesn't conform to oversimplified views of how it should work.

Have you ever met somebody who was well-read, well educated, quite knowledgeable and thought 'this guy's an idiot, if he was in charge it would be a disaster'? (I find this to be characteristic of 'conservatives' which interestingly published a story on a study linking low-IQs with tendency to vote conservative).

That is what I am talking about when I say 'psuedo-intellectualism', I had a friend in high-school, very early high-school whom for various reasons, highly valued intelligence as the most prized human quality. As a result he listened to jazz, and Phillip Adams show on the radio religiously, in fact he idolised Phillip Adams and sought to imitate his dress and what not. He thought I was intelligent, he was a good guy. But he wasn't 'intelligent' at least not as intelligent as he desired to be. In fact I don't think he knew what intelligence is.
The jury is in - intelligence is hard to define. But I feel if you follow the link and read through, intelligence is generally oriented on 'thought processes' that is that intelligence is a measure, hazy as it may be, of how efficiently, effectively - in other words - the quality, of an individuals thinking. Intelligence is an evaluation of our thinking, and thus there is an important distinction between 'intelligence' and 'knowledge' even though the two correlate.

And what happens when intelligence comes into vogue? becomes chic? When the general population wants to be percieved as intelligent, profound, creative, genius...?

I think this is the age we live in. There are probably a bunch of marketing and social anthropology PhD thesisi being written to explain the environmental factors that have driven us from a decade-and-a-half of people pursuing the trappings of affluence ineffectually (cosmetic surgery, luxury brands, ostentatious jewellery, german automobiles, bigger houses) to the current pursuit of the trappings of intellect ineffectually (reading Camus and Kierkegaard, Vegan Yoga, wearing glasses, occupying wall street).

What I see and what fascinates me about psuedo-intellectualism is that it produces the same results as the pursuit of the cosmetic.

Just as people who undergo expensive cosmetic surgery are frustrated that they still don't feel beautiful nor look convincingly like the youthful beauty celebrated and overrepresented on the newstands, people who have done the philosophy subjects and read the great russian novelists feel frustrated that they don't feel as intelligent, nor command the kind of influence and respect as the intellectuals they idolise.

What harm? Why complain about psuedo-intellectualism? Well because it is just another way for people to feel inadequate. Perhaps this is the human condition, it certainly is exploited as readily by marketers as any other desired state. Just at the top end of town the winners this decade won't be big business like Dolce & Gabbana, Coco Chanel etc. but the arts department of Melbourne University, RMIT, Monash and whatever your local tertiary equivalents are. At the bottom end those making knit-wear and horn-rimmed glasses are the new winners as compared to the oakleys and levi's of decades ago.

Will humanity ever wrench itself free of the marketers vice-like grip? If it can't do it while the nerd, the geek, the academic is held up as the ideal, when will it? If people can't empirically distinguish between knowledge and intelligence, while desiring the latter by pursuing the former, I feel it unlikely that in any great numbers people will realise that it is wrong to assume that products and services can bridge the gap between our actual and ideal.

Another reason to bemoan the trend of psuedo-intellectualism is that it results in frustrating and annoying oversubscription. Not just to philosophy majors but to all manner of niche interests that are of no general relevance to most people or the human condition.

Installation art for example has its place and like everything else, the good is good but rare the shit is really shit and abundant. The same is true walking through the Louvre's 'marble gardens' of mostly unrecognisable and non-descript marble sculptures of nudes. The Venus De Milo (or Di, or whatever) stands out as exceptional, the rest fades into white noise. Andy Warhol pieces are eye-catching, the rest of pop-art is often quite dull. That is not the point of oversubscription, the point is that for most people, having their concept of space and how they interact with it challenged is not the best use of their time nor likely to lead to the most growth and personal development compared to the other activities they could choose to do.

How for example would an intelligent person answer the question: would you benefit more from flying to Berlin to visit its galleries of contempary art or flying to New Zealand and experiencing a bungee jump?

I contend (but can't prove) that a psuedo-intellectual would pick the trip to Berlin everytime, but intellectuals wouldn't like the question because it is subjective and thus you couldn't know what an intelligent person would benefit most from. To avoid being evasive on my part, my educated guess would be more often than not the honest answer would be bungee jumping. The experience of art is more easily simulated via the internet than something that is pure experience (vertigo, adrenalin, accelleration, decellaration etc.) like bungee jumping. But you could 'cheat' the spirit of the question and choose Berlin just on the mathematical certainty that a big-city will have more shit to do than the relatively remote areas of New Zealand required for bungee jumping.

Laslty, I think a little intelligence is a dangerous thing. There's an episode of Qi that poses the question 'how do you know if you are incompetent?' to which the answer insofar as it can be called an answer is 'you can't' the example being a doctor who fails to diagnose a condition in a patient (incompetent) does so precisely because they can't detect their error. Another competent doctor can tell they are incompetent but that doctor can only do so based on the competence she possesses.

I again contend, but can't (and won't) prove that there is a threshold of intelligence or perhaps band between 'above average' but below 'highly intelligent' where life will reinforce to somebody the notion or impression they are intelligent, but they are not intelligent enough to determine how intelligent they aren't.

Say arbitrarily that they occupy the section between 110-120 on the bell-curve of IQ scores amongst the general population. They are capable of recognising that they are above average, but not capable of appreciating that their are still a large number of people much smarter than them, nor that life tends to cluster like amongst like, and that if you have an 'above average' IQ amongst the general population (so over 107 if you are Australian) you are unlikely to have an above average IQ amongst the people you wind up associating with.

With something as objective and easily defined as sprinting, it is relatively easy for the inter-house high school sprint champion to draw the humbling conclusion that good as they are compared to the average high school student, they can't even compete when it comes to inter-school, inter-state or international competitions. It is easy for me at 13 seconds for the 100m to realize without racing that I have no chance against Usain Bolt, or even my high school friend Nicholas who ran it in just under 11 seconds. When it comes to who should run the 100m for our school, it was easy to conclude Nick should.

Less so with intelligence, while it is easy to conclude that you are no Albert Einstein, we don't go around discussing our IQs or even ENTER scores (which don't measure intelligence anyway) but to rely on vague impressions, which brings us back to the question of trying to determine our own level of incompetence, and we can't. We may find an argument frustrates us, but attribute it to our sparring partners obstinance, rather than their superior reasoning. Or blame an inability to articulate what we really meant, rather than admit it became apparant we hadn't really thought through our own position.

For years recruiters have constantly been fucking up recruiting decisions, contracting decisions and even key-note speaker decisions because of their own incompetence to distinguish between polish and professionalisms. Recruiters whom are only human being just as confused in mistaking the trappings of success like fancy watches, nice silk ties and well cut suits, with the qualities that make one successful - conviction, risk taking, interpersonal skills, intelligence.

Now all the above gripes mean recruiters and scholarship panels and grant application reviewers have the opportunity to screw up decisions by confusing the psuedo-intellectual for the actual intellectual. If the decision maker is incompetent, they are as likely to be more impressed by the name-dropping of french philosophers and redundantly big words ("excuse me while I pandiculate.") and fail to notice a complete absence of clear thinking or good judgement. While somebody with an incisive mind, good judgement and the vocabulary of George Orwell may come across as too plain to be intelligent.

Just as a beach can become unpleasant if crowded, so can galleries, libraries and internet chat forums. It's not that reading shit is bad, but read shit that you enjoy. If reading Kant makes you feel stupid in the same way reading Cosmo makes you feel ugly, don't read it, read Harry Potter. They are good books. Don't stop going to gallaries and checking out art, but if you have to stand around a pile of nails for any stretch of time before you can supply a rationale as to what the artist is trying to say or watch a video of a guy eating a hard boiled egg in an open field three times before you 'get it' try buying a train ticket and admiring the graffiti that often makes no pretense of being meaningful beyond the aesthetic.

I am not a big subscriber to 'genetic destiny' and I honestly don't know if our IQs or any other measure of our intelligence, and our intelligence itself is fixed beyond the damage we can do to our brains, I just don't know. I generally have not seen great transformations happen. People mature yes, and adopt improved philosophies of life, I don't know and haven't seen anybody become more intelligent though.

A book says 'Since foolishness depends on context and represents deviance from the social norm, it is not necessarily a permanent affliction. We are all familiar with the person who is an outcast in highschool but a major success in later life. The deficits that define a fool - a lack of understanding, judgement or common sense - are also remediable by experience and learning. Nevertheless, an established inability, even as a teenager, to think clearly makes one a poor candidate for lasting relationships. People with unconventional beliefs, for example, UFO spotters or conspiracy theorists, tend to cluster together for mutual support. Membership to such groups is often a signal that one is in the presence of someone given to alternative and marginal views of how the world works.'

So simultaneously a message of hope and a warning from Doctor Gordon Livingston, M.D. context may change, experience and learning may help, but you also may be a member of a group that has clustered together for mutual support and have no idea how alternative and marginal your views are.

I don't think schools teach the distinction between intelligence and knowledge well enough, so maybe just knowing and appreciating the difference is the first step towards becoming more intelligent.

I don't know, it might be worth a try though.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NYC live

By far and away the best thing in NYC is my sister. Following her is the shit to do at night.

First though the bad news. For the foreigner unused to prices displayed not reflecting how much you will actually be required to pay, New York can be annoying. So you buy a ticket to see an internationally acclaimed artist at BB King's Steakhouse on 42nd street and think it a bargain at $28 where in Australia you would pay something like $80. You take a seat in the seated section (closest to the stage) and the table informs you the club policy is a minimum spend of $10 per set, plus you have tip 20% and your credit card charges you $3 for the transaction, so your bargain kiind of diminishes.  And even for smaller live venues, it's pretty common to have cover charge - per set eg. you don't just pay to enter the band room, but they kick you out between the support act and the headline and you have to pay to reenter, then have waiters that seek you out and inform you of $10 minimum spend rules again.

I mean if you aren't used to it, it just feels like the old scammola or false advertising. But it applies to any meal where you sit down and have a waiter, in the US's convoluted low minimum wage - social obligation to tip system. So that when you see a $16 meal on a menu, American's I'm sure read it as a $20 meal because that is what you end up paying. I find the American level of service annoying, but I have to admit, it is almost universally better than the fucking disgruntled people you are forced to deal with in Australia, it's just overbearing.

So! The NBA is just... it's just fucking incredible, and yes I may have a different impression if I had just returned from 3 weeks in Minnesotta or Cleveland or one of the small market teams, but I went to see the Nets host Celtics in Brooklyn, at a brand new stadium and it was fucking incredible, even though the Celtics lost, Rajon Rondo was out and Kevin Garnett played hardly any minutes. It is incredible. Just fucking amazing. This was 50,000 people packing out a stadium on a thursday night one month into the season. The flags were marched out, the American Idol runner up did the anthem, fireworks flew up towards the ceiling and then it was game on.

My sister and I were second row from the back, up in the nosebleeds and the only thing ubstructing our view were the tall guys incessently standing up in front of us. Which the tallest actually apologised for. Here is another downside to US live events - Americans are fucking annoying audiance members. An inability to stay in one spot, my sister and I paid $55 for our seats, which given dollar parity and wage rates in our respective countries, if I find it expensive Americans should too. But that didn't stop heaps of people from missing 3 quarters of the game and turning up after half time and often in the 4th quarter having watched the game from the refreshment stands elsewhere in the stadium. And it's always the people with seat in the fucking middle of a row that do this, so you are constantly standing up to let them pass.

But seriously, I know Melbourne hosts some 8 AFL teams, but they only play on weekends, and it's actually rare for the MCG to sell all 60,000 seats. The NBA has 30 or so teams, sells out stadiums (at 30,000 or so capacity) on the norm and plays an 80 game regular season, with best-of-seven 4 round finals series. The money, the attendees and the sheer availability of world class sport is mind blowing. And sport is fucking great, as improvisational as jazz, as emotional as a drama and community based, sport is fucking great and not the enemy of live music that say - facebook or itunes or youtube is. I would just about kill to have season tickets to an NBA team. I fucking love that game.

NOW! it was also NYC's equivalent of the comedy festival, and nobody gave a shit and you couldn't really tell it was on. Melbourne's comedy festival takes over this town when it is here, it is great, a great, great cultural event. But here's the thing. NYC doesn't need a comedy festival, unless it was a 'british comedy festival' because apart from Ricky Gervais, there's no brit-comedians really in New York. But yeah, as I just wrote, NYC doesn't need a comedy festival.

When the north-easterly hit, my sister and I braved the snow and went to the Comedy Cellar (as seen in Louise) on a wednesday night, we saw mostly Letterman-appearance comedians, but there were hosts of TV shows, SNL writers the works in the one and a bit sets we stayed for. I would compare it favorably to the comedy gala, instead of having 30 comedians though do 2-3 minutes of their safest material in what is really a promotion for their festival shows though, 8 comics did between 10 and 15 minute of material. And they were generally the Melbourne Comedy Gala standard or better, albeit all American. But it needs to be said, this was available to us during a snow storm, on a wednesday night, with no booking and a $14 cover charge plus two-item per head minimum order quanitity (plus tip for the waitress). So it's like a $25 per head night out. For a better night of comedy than the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala. The Comedy Cellar I presume is probably the best comedy club in NYC because Louise CK features it all the time in his HBO show, and Louise CK is the reigning best stand up comic in the world. The tables are all dotted with signs pointing out the two-item minimum purchase requirement, but also signs indicating that you do not fucking heckle the comedians. That is great, because hecklers are shit.

When my sister and I walked in, the host asked us if we wanted to sit up the front, to which I instantly replied 'I'd prefer not to' and it was a wise move, the only thing to be wary of, is that the MC that hosted between each comedian did the picking on the audience thing. And he was funny, but it would be embarassing. Still he pointed out much of what exactitudes studies - how remarkably good people are at putting on uniforms, the MC managed to pick 'Pat' who recieved most of the ridicule all night long from the MC and the comedians as a Romney voter, and my favorite was when he asked this guy 'did you enjoy vegan yoga in the village today?' and he got all pissed off and the MC said 'what you dressed that way.'

If I lived in NYC I would hit the comedy cellar like at least once a fortnight. It was fucking great, extrapolating on the quality of comedians would be approaching plaguarism, so just trust me, it is definitely one of the highlights of NYC.

As for live music, that's the tricky one, I went to jazz clubs, an 'after broadway' gay bar where the broadway actors come and sing showtunes and I guess Indie-clubs. I also went to see internationally acclaimed artists, though many of the big acts managed to time their performances around my visit, I saw Gran Wizard Theodore along with Black Sheep and ATCQ spin-off 'Evitan' at the Zulu Nation 39th anniversary concert, and that was a combo of local hip-hop show and international standard, but overwhelmingly depressing and dissappointing too. I saw Victor Wooten, who is a virtuoso Bass Player, and Ani Di Franco.

I only really have two things to say about NYC's access to big international acts. 1. It isn't much different to seeing the act in Melbourne, there is simply just far more opportunity to see said acts, in a 2 year period of living in NYC you could probably cross every 'to see before I die' performer off your list. 2. There's a 'localising effect' that is hard to describe, but the thing is that Dres is a hip-hop icon in Melbourne, but just another fucking MC in NY. Just as Q-tip suddenly has all the lustre of say Powderfinger when you are in Brooklyn, because he grew up here. Your gods become mere mortals in NYC, and I don't really know the truth of it, but the other thing is that you never quite know with an artist like Q-tip whether you are paying to see him do an actual solo performance or whether it will just be his dj-set.

Jazz though was fucking great, and it's so quintessential to the look and feel of New York, yet I suspect a fuckload of tourists (and residents) can go to NY and never here any other jazz than what a cafe plays for them. But there is certainly a lot more Jazz to be had than I suspect is in Melbourne. And here is the thing, just like I almost never go to the NGV yet will go to 2-3 museums and galleries a day in NYC, I have only been to Bennetts lane once. I have a bunch of friends who play jazz to varying degrees of avante-guardness, but I can only speculate that the $20 monday night lineup at smalls jazz club in the West Village is of a higher standard than the $30 Bennetts lane friday/saturday night line ups. But I don't know for sure because I never go to Bennetts lane or check out jazz really in my hometown.

The Stone, does avante garde jazz, and it is my kind of venue. Pitch black, $10 a set, it serves no drinks and you can just take a seat quietly in a row of fold up chairs. It would definitely be my 'go to' place for any weeknight where I faced the prospect of checking facebook at home or going out and doing something. As it turned out, I did so much this trip, I never needed to fall back on the stone. The East Village, I suspect if I had more time, would be where I spent most of my time in NY if I lived there. It has all the indie venues. And the stone, and it is dark and seedy still.

But the stone is avante garde jazz venue that has 2-sets a night every night of the year just about. And it's affordable, and has incredible musicians. I don't know what Melbourne's closest equivalent would be, but I suspect it is just something that genuinely doesn't exist, the closest perhaps is Bar-Open's Make It Up Club on tuesdays every week. But Make It Up Club stands a better than 0.5 chance that you will just see god awful noise generating crap.

The only Indie venue I got to was Arlene's Grocery, which is a very cool retrofitted Grocery store. The indie scene is the most similar to Melbourne's live music scene, the producer of the band who's album launch I stumbled into was in fact an Australian, but from the one set I saw, I really couldn't comment on NYC's indie scene, except that I don't think Indie, Alt-rock and Pop is NYC's strong point, I think the West Coast kind of owns white people music in America, with notable exceptions like the Ramones, the Drop Kick Murphy's and of course, country music, the California Bay Area up to Seattle was where America's kingdom of white rock stars where born and bread for their heyday in the 90's.

The only thing was that the band I saw played a 2 hour set. When I got to the place, there was a sign saying 'Men and Whales 9pm' and then the next act were on at 11 or something, and I thought 'well at least they are honest about their soundchecks' but the band got started at ten past 9 and played right up to 11pm. For a $10 gig in Melbourne that is unheard of, and I didn't really have the stamina to cope with it. But 'Men and Whales' I doubt will be setting the world on fire, though it was nice to fucking hear regular guitar solo's this decade and can only hope this is the next big thing to come out of the NY music scene - music where the skill is in composing and playing, rather than producing and mixing. The crowd too was annoying here.

But my rational deconstruction has to come in at some point. A couple of months ago I was walking with my friend Sarah along Smith st and she commented that 'in what other city in the world can you walk down a street and see bands playing in the window' I don't know, but Melbourne is one of the best gigging cities in the world, and for the amount of times I heard Gotye on the radio and stores and speaker systems, I suspect he is more popular there now than here, but here is the thing.

The basic human stock is the same where ever you are. I believe this. A person born in Shepparton is just as capable of being a shit hot world class jazz saxophinist, pianist, drummer etc. as one born in Buffalo New York. Greatness can come from anywhere, this too I believe. It is hard for me to knw though whether for a genre like Jazz that I don't really understand, you need a population hub as large as New York to actually support it. My same friend Sarah yesterday told me Texas has one of the world's leading Jazz schools though, so I suspect that it is also true that if you support something (as a community) it can succeed anywhere.

NY doesn't need to bread a lot of home grown talent, it's contentious yes, but not by much as to say that New York is where Hip-Hop began, I don't know where Jazz began, whether it was New Orleans, Chicago or New York, I don't know. But the vast majority of New York's great talent migrates there or is called there. There is nothing special in the water, there is simply a market.

The comedy scene is clearly robust and strong, numerous and popular enough that New York can produce world class comedians in sets of 8 three times a night in at least one club, every fucking night of the year.

But I hold that Melbourne is still an amazing city, and I resent people who claim to be bored in it. I suspect but only have the Lonely planet as my guide - that when it comes to Indie/Folk etc all the music that is similarly popular here, New York with it's population of 8 million plus has about the same number of music venues for this genre as Melbourne does with 4 million less. And the thing is, that every night in Melbourne some thousands of performers are performing, and they may not pack houses, but tens of thousands of people are out supporting them. That is fucking amazing.

Melbourne's two real drawbacks are this - most of our talent wants to be somewhere else, they aspire to hit the hubs of New York, London, Berlin etc. they want to be in the center of the action, feel unloved at home or more likely simply fetishise the offshore market, that sucks that we cant keep them here greedily and selfishly. The second being that Melbourne artists, if they don't want to move overseas, look to New York, London, Berlin etc for inspiration and to imitate, there is an inferiority complex, even though nobody is putting anything in the water that makes Grand Wizard Theodore develop scratiching techniques on the turntable, or African Americans to reinvent the way we approach english, they are simply doing it because they ARE creating rather than watching what New Yorkers will do and imitating them.

That's it. My father came out at some point with the mathematical truth that 'Success = Failure - A Good Excuse' and I think too many Melbourne artists don't appreciate this equation, the real advantage New Yorkers and Londeners have over Melbournians isn't a better scene, but the fact that they don't blame the fact that they don't live in a 'World City' for their lack of success/creativity/community support. They don't know they have an excuse to be anything less than world class (and probably a more realistic appraisal of how obtainable 'world class' is) and so they get on with the business of being world class.

The day I arrived back in Melbourne, I went to the VCA graduate show which was not up to the standard of previous years and previous exhibits I have seen there, but still any of those artists could have work purchased by the Guggenheim based on what I saw in NYC, and then that same night went to see the debut of Margeret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert, a new and frankly Broadway standard (but not broadway budget) musical developed here in Melbourne by people by and large under the age of 30.

NYC is an amazing fucking city, but so too is Melbourne, for different and perhaps less glamorous reasons, still you have no excuse to be bored, and no excuse not to succeed in this town. Could I live and work in New York?

For sure, but I think I am going to wait till New York calls me. That's what makes sense for me. It may be different for your chosen medium of creativity.


I am so over it. I am so tired of hearing about, and yet it never fails to make me angry.

Our nation, Australia is still talking about boat people. An issue, that is barely worthy of anybodies attention, let alone the nation. The average Australian should be outraged that our political leadership are devoting time to the issue. The issue is there, but in scope and impact it borders on a complete non-issue.

Unless of course, you are arriving in Australia as a refugee on a boat. Then it is an issue.

But otherwise in proportion to problems boat people cause for the average Australian, boat people is not worthy of our time and attention. Certainly not the time and attention it recieves. And the costs of paying it so much attention are far more consequential than addressing the problem at hand.

Firstly, the time spent debating boat people is time not spent debating far more pressing and important issues - like the economy, environment, civil rights ... the ordinary shit that has the most impact on peoples' quality of life.

Secondly, the solutions proposed such as offshore processing - simply increase the economic costs of the problem.

Also, since we are defiance of UN conventions that we are signatory too on the rights of asylum seekers, we lower our standing and diplomatic 'soft power' in the eyes of the world.

Furthermore, these people are refugees, they are fleeing HORRIBLE FUCKED UP SHIT, the capacity of a nation like Australia to create sufficient disincentive to travel here in the face of the HORRIBLE FUCKED UP SHIT is laughable. The best (and by that I mean worst) we can do is create the horrible psychological reality of isolating refugees from their families and leaving them in limbo. I find this unnacceptable action to take on the most vulnerable people on earth, but nevertheless most refugees will suffer through such psychological torture on the sniff of a hope that they will secure a better future for their children and grand children.

So why then, is such disastrous policy so popular, why do people who will for the most part never meet or even be effected by the intake of refugees, and particularly those that arrive by boat so passionate about stopping it?

Racism. Xenophobia.

Nothing more, it will never be anything more, because the facts or reality support no other excuses to care about the prevention of boat arrivals.

It is not illegal to seek assylum, the vast majority of assylum seekers arrive by plane, and hold visas that they simply overstay, of those that arrive by boat some 98% or something are found to be legitimate refugees (which shouldn't be surprising, because it costs some $15,000 ~ $30,000 to take the boat, the boats are overcrowded and dangerous, it would take probably a decade or more for an employable refugee with Australia's living expenses to replenish those savings, repay those loans.) Australia takes in proportionately far less refugees than most other contries, there is no real or effective queue in place that boat people can be said to be 'jumping', we are signatories to the UN convention on the rights of refugees.

We as a nation, a predominately white nation, with predominantly United Kingdom based ethnic roots and highest levels of migration coming from the UK, simply unwilling to share the great unearned bounties of Australia most of which we are simply born into. Furthermore we fear some decay in moral standards, or that people fleeing war, torture and rape will bring war torture and rape with them.

War is up to the discretion of our very white leadership, as for torture and rape, well my beloved melbourne has over the past few months become somewhat famous for abducting, raping and murdering women. I say that referring to two cases, with two victims in a city with a population greater than 3 million. In both cases there was evidently little our society could do to prevent the perps from committing their heinous crimes. But our law enforcement was effecient at identifying and capturing both perpetrators (although the guilt of both is as yet to be determined by the courts).

But in both cases the accussed, the accused both look like me. Young white males. They look like me because they look like most of the community of Australia. Their physical appearance and backgrounds are far more similar to the average australian's than they are to those seeking asylum who were born on foreign shores.

And yet, while there were calls for more security cameras in public places, there were far more calls for women not to go out at night or walk themselves home along busy public streets. But nobody suggested that ASIO start monitoring the facebook activities of caucasian men between 15-50. Nobody was suggesting that officers show up at my door (or any other caucasian male) whenever their Facebook relationship status changes from 'Married' or 'In a relationship' to 'single'.

Because the Australian community knows that most dissaffected young men don't cope with their troubles by abducting and murdering women, but instead by getting drunk with their mates, looking at porno on the internet, going to the races, hooking up with other women in bars, going to stripclubs and masturbating. Those are generally the worst things most men do. And many of them seek councilling, join a gym, join a club, go travelling and other quite positive responses to their problems.

And yet we fear somebody with brown skin, bad teeth (which is entirely due to a lack of access to healthcare), beards, whom have young children of their own and who wear trousers all the time and regularly attend religious services and other community based activities of somehow harming our way of life. And we treat them like enemies as if eager that they should become them.

Yet, the person who is most likely to kill you and/or your children actually is the person you agreed to marry in a ceromony that you both these days outlayed large wads of cash to undertake. Followed by them is your father or another close relative, or relative of your spouses. And even though we know most women killed by the actions of another human being are killed by their partners, most abductors of children are known to the family, and that swimming pools kill more children than guns, and if a child is killed by a gun or other weapon the most likely weilder of that weapon will again be their parent... the thought of somebody who looks different is what causes us outrage.

The same, by the way works in reverse, the most likely person to be the victim of a crime by a refugee is a member of the refugee's immediate family, followed by members of the refugee community. In fact, the track record of mandatory detention in Australia, shows the most likely person to be harmed by a refugee is himself, protesting the inhumane treatment of Australia's detention centers.

But even when refugees come from communities where practices like forced marriage, honour killings, domestic violence, marital rape are socially accepted and perhaps even legal, and as reprehensible as we should find these practices the least likely way to discontinue them is to encourage perpatrators to return to places where the practices are legal and advised by the community.

It is far more likely that the intake of refugees into Australian society would see them adopt our societal standards and norms than the reverse.

So I'm over it, I'm fucking sick of it. We worry about the wrong things, we shouldn't be divesting any of our mental energy worrying about the impacts of boat people upon our lifestyle. It costs you more economically to buy a wedding present for your friends that will divorce within a year of the ceremony than it costs you in tax to process and resettle a refugee family.