Archive | May 2006

It’s gay school all over again

Morris Iemma, you just don’t get it. So you don’t want two year olds drawn into a gender war? That’s fine, because the littlies at Tempe aren’t. As was pointed out in this article over at the SMH, if you had a think about where the centre was and who was using it you just might realise that there were kids there with two mums or two dads or one mum and two dads, or some other combination. And not all of these ‘strange’ combinations would arise through same-sex couplings, they would eventuate from divorce, from remarriage, from death.

These kids are seeing themselves reflected in books and other kids are learning about their mates.

It’s got nothing to do with SEX. Get it? They’re not explaining the mechanics of it. No one believes that all stories about a mummy and a daddy imply they have sex so why would you believe that all books about gays or lesbians do the same? Because when YOU think of gays and lesbians you only see sex. You don’t see the whole person. You don’t see love. Just debased and depraved sex. Kids don’t understand or know about sex so why would they suddenly wake up to it when given a picture of a different type of family? Because an adult feels uncomfortable and makes the issue about sex.

My son’s childcare centre is also in the middle of Sydney. There are a number of children with two mums and/or two dads. The carers have discussed with me their desire to discuss this with the children. Can you honestly think of an easier way than through a non-threatening, simple kids story book? No, neither can I.

If Iemma is going to ask how high every time the Daily Telecrap says jump then a whole lot more Labor voters are going to be looking for alternatives further to the left.

Update: Zoe has more at Crazybrave and from Susoz.

Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo.

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New lit blog in town

There’s a new group lit/culture/media blog in town. It’s called Sarsaparilla. And yes, I write on it. Don’t let that put you off though.

Why Sarsaparilla? Put it down to Patrick White.

Sacrificial laptop

Some of you may have already seen this but I just had to mention it. From The Onion: Heroic computer dies to save world from Masters thesis.

“This fearless little machine saved me from unspoken hours of exasperated head-scratching and eyestrain, as well as years of agonizing self-doubt over my decision to devote my life to teaching,” said professor John Rebson, who had already read through three drafts of Samoskevich’s sprawling, 38,000-word dissertation, titled A Hermeneutical Exploration Of Onomatopoeia In The Works Of William Carlos Williams As It May Or May Not Relate To Post-Agrarian Appalachia. “It was an incredible act of bravery. This laptop sacrificed itself in order to put an end to Jill’s senseless rambling.”

Link from various sources including Bookslut.

Ole, ole ole ole

I’ve picked my fantasy football team, I’ve got my wallchart, I’ve read the FourFourTwo guide to the World Cup and I’ve got my scarf. All I need to do now is wait.

It’s hard to share your excitement about sport with people who just don’t care. It’s also hard to keep telling people that there are some very interesting political and social aspects to football when they think you’re just trying to intellectualise a SPORT. But, for those who have a secret admiration for the game of real football and want something to read before the World Cup, I offer you a reader’s guide to football. (And this list is by no means exhaustive).

1. Football Against the Enemy – Simon Kuper
If you only read one football book, or so the saying goes, make it this one. The author travelled to 22 countries looking at the political and social effects of football. It’s well written, it’s entertaining, it’s flabbergasting. Read it.

2. Sheilas, wogs & poofters – Johnny Warren
If the ‘Socceroos’ need any inspiration they should read this book. Johnny Warren’s story of football in Australia. (Actually, I don’t imagine they will be reading much, but you know what I mean).

3. Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
Ok, it’s the cliché football book but it’s a good read and really does explain how and why some people just can’t live without football.

4. The Faber Book of Soccer – Ian Hamilton ed.
Contains the Camus essay that includes his famous quote:

All that I know most surely about morality and obligation, I owe to football.

Someone in the park told me that Camus couldn’t possibly have said that. I quickly corrected them. Also includes work by Nabakov, J.B. Priestley, Orwell, A. J. Ayer and Pinter.

5. A Season with Verona – Tim Parks
The Azzuri will no doubt feature heavily come this June. Their swarthy looks, their tight shirts, their melodramatic protestations and diving. Learn all about Serie A from Parks.

6. Gazza Italia – Ian Hamilton
Paul Gascoigne. Such a talent. Such a waste. Such a nutcase. Not many brains but a genius for football. Hamilton’s extended essay (first published in Granta) is a gem. If you ever wonder why people idolise dumb-as-a-box-of-hammers sportspeople, read this.

7. Out of his skin: the John Barnes Phenomenon – Dave Hill
John Barnes played for Liverpool. He was also black and had to suffer the indignity of having bananas thrown at him. In the 80s. And it still happens.

8. The Beautiful Team: In search of Pele and the 1970 Brazilians – Garry Jenkins
Considered by many to be the best Brazilian team of all time (and THAT’S a call), the 1970 team took the World Cup and in some style. Some are comparing the current team to the 1970 vintage. Personally, I’m hoping they’ll choke.

9. Barca: a people’s passion – Jimmy Burns

They won the Champions League last night and they are a club that means more than the football they play. And they are quite possibly the only top-flight team in the world that does not have a shirt sponsor. They don’t need to, they’re Barca.

10. Outfitters of choice for the football intelligentsia: Philosophy Football.

Cross-posted on Larvatus Prodeo.

Who at all the pies? Who cares?

So, Shane Warne’s been at it again. Yes, there’s texting. (Sidenote: I love the way that word has become part of our vocabulary). Yes, there are English tabloids. Yes, there are models. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit.

I have taken a beating in the past from a lot of people who think that a woman of my persuasion, of my thinking, should loathe Warney. And I know I should. I can hear it now: he’s a pig. He’s a womanising bastard.

But boy, can he bowl.

And this is where I suspect my feminist credentials start to become undone. I should hate Warney. I should despise his behaviour. I should feel sympathy for his wife (instead of laughing at her two left feet). But I don’t.

I can see the damage he causes. I can see that his personal life is a disaster and if he was my brother I would give him a piece of my mind. My love was cemented the day I was at the SCG and saw Warney clowning about with the crowd, while standing in the slips. One minute he’s clowing, the next ball bowled he takes a lightning-quick catch as if he’s eating he’s WeetBix. Regular as Christmas.

I saw Stuart McGill and his wife advertising kitchen renovations in the paper today and I thought: that McGill. He’s so cultured. He knows about wine, he knows about food, he doesn’t send text messages to drunken nurses he met in some dodgy nightclub in Leeds (or wherever). He can bowl, but he just doesn’t have IT. I know I should adore McGill. He is the thinking-woman’s cricketer. But that’s the problem. Cricketers don’t think. They drink and play. And in the rare case of those like Gilchrist, they play passionate homage to their families and set themselves impeccably high standards by walking.

But Warney…well, he’s just Warney. And he can send text messages until he’s 60 and I will still just tut-tut and say, ah Warney, you silly bugger. But I remember when he was in the slips at the SCG…

Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo

February baby = football star

My son was born in February, apparently a large proportion of professional footballers are born in the early months of the year, ergo…

The article is actually about the Expert Performance Movement:

a loose coalition of scholars trying to answer an important and seemingly primordial question: When someone is very good at a given thing, what is it that actually makes him good?

But I’m not going to let that spoil my nightmare sports-parent fantasies am I?