Archive | June 2006

Harper Lee speaks

“Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cellphones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. Can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer?”

Harper Lee has broken her 40 year publishing silence, writing an article for Oprah’s O magzine. (And personally I think we can have laptops AND books).

[tags]harperlee, authors, books[/tags]


Harry Kewell’s hector protector

If you haven’t checked out 101 uses for a john howard yet then please do so. After Little Johnny’s staged Socceroos moment last week, use number 13 is quite timely.

Local librarian

In a very strange way (through an RSS feed for g*dsakes), I found out that one of the librarians at our local library passed away on Friday.

My son and I will miss her smiling face on our Wednesday visits to the library. My thoughts are with her family and colleagues.

Will you still love me tomorrow?

So, everyone else is doing a World Cup post of late, and after all my hoohaa before the Cup actually started, posting about the books I think everyone should read in the lead up, I have not really felt the need to post about the event. Until now.

I have a confession to make. I fell asleep during the Japan match. I didn’t see their goal. I woke up, fortuitously, with 15 minutes to go. Obviously, this was when it all happened. I didn’t sit through the previous 75 minutes of tension, however. I did manage to stay awake for the Brazil game. And of course, getting up at 5am when you have an early rising toddler is a doddle, so I watched the entire Croatia game, even fighting off calls for the Wiggles for most of the second half.

When our second goal went in I leapt from the lounge, screaming and pumping my fists into the air. My son looked extremely alarmed, his little eyes like pot lids as he jerked his head up from driving his fire engine around the floor. “Stop it Mum, you’re frightening me” he said. I grabbed him and explained that the yellow blokes had got the ball into the net, the aim of the game I had explained earlier. He watched the replay closely and agreed, yes Mum, the ball went in the net. Then he joined me in jumping on the lounge and singing. (Ok, so we were singing: Ring rang rong, that’s a pirate song! but I’m sure that matters nothing).

So I wore my Oz football scarf to work today. I didn’t care if I looked like a glory hunter, I know the truth (despite the sleep during Japan).

And here I get to the nub of my concerns. I’m REALLY REALLY pleased that the nation seems to have taken the Socceroos to their breast, nuzzling like newborns. My heart tells me that once we’re knocked out everything will go back to normal and the SMH will discontinue their ads proclaiming: We’re serious about football. Sure you are.

I know I’m getting a touch of the ‘old fan’ syndrome here. It strikes when people who have followed a team/code through the wilderness years claim a higher sense of authenticity than the johhny-come-latelys. I honestly would love it if this momentum was sustained. And who knows, maybe it will be. Australia likes winners, we assume that we should win everything we enter. Actually, that should be, we assume it is our RIGHT to win everything and if we don’t, then the ref’s a bloody idiot. Unfortunately it’s in sports that not much of the world actually plays. Or cares about.

That’s the problem with football. The opposition pool is so bloody deep that to get where we have has been a massive achievement. My fear is that should we exit against Italy those who have latched onto this excitement will go back to thinking that football is a crap game played by overpaid egomaniac primadonnas. Whereas, getting to where we have is worth more than that sackful of Commonwealth medals we won against third world former British colonies and a damn sight more than winning the rugby league ‘world’ cup, or even, whisper it, the rugby union ‘world’ cup. Just making it to the round of 16 is a feat that I fear the ordinary, fairweather fan may just not appreciate.

Sure, they enjoy the hedonistic, almost orgasmic way that football fans celebrate. Who wouldn’t be seduced by a tournament that makes people in cars on King St, Newtown, not exactly a hotbed of sport, toot and whistle at someone walking up the street in a gold and green scarf? They like the fact that you can legitimately go out and get pissed at 5am in the morning, all for a great cause, our Socceroos.

But will they still love them tomorrow?

Will they appreciate that although those ads tell us to ‘stuff’ history, the reality is that to create a place for yourself at the head of the table in football, and stay there, requires years of practice. It requires a dedication to technique. It takes passion. It requires that football seep into the pores of the nation. It requires the will and resources to seek out and lure the best coaches. Sure, we got Guus, but Guus prides himself on taking on underdogs and showing his expertise by taking them somewhere. And then he moves on. After Guus, who? And will we care? We have to.

A great number of our most influential players will not make it to the next World Cup. Whether they retire, or succumb to yet another groin injury, they’ll be gone and who is going to replace them? Who will coach them? Will the A League survive? (Will I ever care about the A League?). Will the public expect qualification every four years?

When we’ve just made it to the last 16 in our second World Cup I should be soaking it up, like everyone else. To be an Australian football fan though is to be the eternal pessimist. I can’t help but fret over tomorrow.

Update: Having had the above whinge, it is still wonderful to see the love being felt by some football beginners.

Blogging for MSF

Help someone else and feel good about yourself by ‘donating’ a comment to LP’s MSF fundraising post.

How much grief is too much?

How long do you listen to someone else’s grief? How long should we recognise their grief as placing them apart from the rest of us? Is some grief ‘better’ or ‘more worthy’ than others?

Why am I asking these weird-arsed questions?

I stumbled upon a mention of Anne Coulter’s new book and the claims she makes that September 11 widows have outstayed their welcome.

These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation, and acted as if the terrorist attack only happened to them…I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much. . . . And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy.

Aside from the WHOLE HEAP of problems I have about Anne Coulter, it did raise a few immediate questions.

Apparently there is a use-by date for some grief and there is some grief which pales in comparison to others. To any keen (or even intermittent) watcher of the media, such a grading of grief is not such big news. Some pain is bigger than others, depending on it’s newsworthiness. But if you are seen to be milking the media for the benefit of your own pain, then you may just overstep the line. Then again, some milking is ok, if you are the right person.

And what is the right person? Well, that just depends upon the media conditions of the time. Often there seems to be a correlation between the level of grief recognised and whether you are black or white, whether you inhabit a third or first-world country or whether their are ‘moral’ aspects to the grief. (What causes more grief to the victim’s family: the death of a grade-A student teenager or the death of a prostitute daughter? And which form of grief is more recognised?)

All grief is relative apparently. And according to Anne Coulter, you should never put yourself ahead of the collective good. (Smells like socialism to me…)

Cross-posted on Sarsaparilla.

Product placement reaches books

Well, it’s not the first but it’s still somewhat disturbing:

Running Press, publisher of a young-adult novel being released in September, has signed an unusual marketing deal with P&G’s makeup division Cover Girl; and although no money has exchanged hands, Cover Girl makeup is showcased in the book and, in return, the book will be promoted on, a website directed at adolescent girls.

Via Boing Boing.