Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tony Abbott: The Finer Points of Idiocy in Public

With the approach of yet another Australian Federal election it becomes the right and privilege of bloggers around the country to bag out the candidates. In accordance, here is the sordid little history of Tony Abbott, and some of the highlights of the two decades he has spent ritualistically assassinating his own public credibility - seemingly without political repercussions bar being nominated as the Coalition candidate for (gulp) our next Prime Minister.

You're laughing already, aren't you, bitch?

Here is a collection of some of Tony's most memorable public statements, foibles, and episodes of apparently total public idiocy.

Back to your Ironing, Woman! (2010)

Tony was having a good old chin-wag with a country local dry-cleaner earlier this year about the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme. Being the sort of guy that he is, Tony thought he'd put in the terms of an ordinary person. This comment was taped:

What the housewives of Australia need to understand, when they're doing the ironing is if they get it done commercially it's going to go up in price, and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.

When his comments were criticised for being old-fashioned and sexist, Tony did little to reassure angry women, standing by his comment and claiming that his wife did all the ironing in house. When the predictable backlash occurred, Tony organised a film crew to follow him to a laundromat, where he learned to use an iron for the first time in his life, at the tender age of 52.

The Dying Man is Pulling a Stunt (2007)

Specifically, this guy:

His name was Bernie Banton, and he was dying from advanced asbestosis and mesothelioma. Here's a visual aid to put that into perspective:

Banton was a social justice campaigner representing thousands of workers who had been exposed to asbestos and other dangerous building materials in previous decades. During the lead-up to the 2007 Federal Election, Banton had been compiling an enormous community petition to try to have a new mesothelioma medication added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - in other words, so that those who needed the drug could afford to get it.

Understanding the delicacy of the situation, Tony accepted to meet Banton at his electoral office and receive the petition - and then basically blew the meeting off cause he was interstate. Rather than apologise, Tony labelled the event as a stunt, and stated;

I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn't mean that he is necessarily pure of heart in all things.

For the record, Bernie died three days after the election.

Gay People Are Threatening (2010)

Tony has never made it a secret that he feels this way, repeatedly opposing gay marriage, access to IVF for gay couples, and generally any extension of social recognition to homosexual relationships. To this day he remains unashamed of his standpoint, as recently evidenced by the failure of his tongue to communicate with his brain in a 60 Minutes interview. Upon being asked how he felt about homosexuality, Tony replied;

I probably feel a bit threatened... as so many people do.

He "clarified" this comment the following day, stating that:

There is no doubt that (homosexuality) challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things.

I suppose the one thing that the guy has going for him here is that he can actually admit he's a bigot. Unfortunately, he seems to think that everyone else is, too.

And it's a shame, cause he would fit in perfectly at Mardi Gras.

Tony Wins! (2002-present)

The Ernie Awards are to a political honour what the Razzies are to the Oscars. M0re specifically, the Ernies are annual awards for Australian men who make the most sexist, misogynistic, or otherwise unhelpful remarks about women. They've even compiled a book of this crap.

Tony, who seems to have a peculiar dislike for women's policy issues, was "honoured" with the 2002 Silver Ernie for Politics, for stating that a paid maternity leave scheme would happen "over this government's dead body!". He has been awarded four "Repeat Offender" Ernies in 2002 and 2005-7, and was also nominated for the Gold Ernie for his 2004 comment that "abortion in Australia has been reduced to a question of the mother's convenience."

There's a hot tip out there that he might well be re-nominated this year. If not for the ironing board remark, then for his bafflingly hypocritical statement to the Australian Women's Weekly that young women should consider their virginity to be a "precious gift" they should not give away lightly. Hypocritical? Well, yes, in light of...

The Phantom Love-Child (2004)

In 2004, a young man who had been adopted as a baby went in search of his biological parents. He found his mother, who directed him to the man she thought was the father - Tony Abbott, who it seemed had fathered a baby boy at the age of 19. Tony found himself in a peculiar and delicate situation - a son he had never met, a media pack swarming around his every door, and the need to reconcile the current scandal with his heavily self-promoted image as a Christian family man.

He ended up using his reconciliation with his son to promote his anti-abortion, pro-adoption stance - conveniently, in the run-up to the parliamentary vote on RU486. He published several mushy interviews expressing his delight in finally meeting his "long-lost son", and condemning how "callow" he was to put the child up for adoption in the first place.

In all the excitement, nobody bothered to wait for the results of the DNA test. By early 2005 it had become apparent that Tony bore no biological relationship to his widely publicised "son". Tony was left with a soiled reputation and no long-lost family members to show for it.

Don't Believe Me (2010)

As though in an attempt not to merely piss all over his credibility but actually stomp it into the ground and bulldoze it into submission, Tony came out with this purler on the ABC's 7:30 Report. Inexplicable failures of grammar and thought processing do little to mask the brilliance of this half-hearted admission to lying during interviews;

Politicians are going to be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you do go a bit further than you would if it was an absolutely, ah, calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark.

Which is one of the reasons why the, the the statements that need to be taken absolutely as, as gospel truth is those carefully prepared, scripted remarks.

You have it from the horse's mouth.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

2010: A Vampire Odyssey Comes Full Circle

For a genre that may have seemed to have had the blood sucked out of it a long time ago, vampire films have proved a remarkable ability to evolve with the times. It's taken a few subtle and not-so-subtle turns before arriving at the present-day sorry state of affairs. (Seriously, fucking sparkling vampires?

Clearly, the best place to start would be...

Stage 1: The Monster
Nosferatu, 1922

Film was new, horror was new, there wasn't a great deal of subtlety in the industry - and yet this is one of the best vampire films ever made. (Note to Stephanie Meyer: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)

Moving right along to...

Stage 2: The Creepy Foreigner
Dracula, 1931
Despite the fact that he seems to have a girl's name (and even though you used something close to it in Twilight, Meyer, you bitch), Bela Lugosi makes a formidable Dracula. And, let's not kid ourselves here, it plays nicely into the deep post-WWI suspicion of all things Eastern European.
Which brings us nicely along to...

Stage 3: The Even Creepier Foreigner
Dracula, 1958
In the early Cold War years, it was time to up the ante on just how creepy and threatening those Russians could be. Christopher Lee proved just the man for the job, despite being, a) British, and b) camper than a row of tents. Also, he seems to have pinkeye.
Things move along in a similar vein for while, until the world is stunned by...

Stage 4: Blacula
Blacula, 1972

By the 1970s, vampires had visited genres ranging from traditional horror to Westerns (Billy the Kid vs. Dracula - seriously), t0 pornography, and finally blaxploitation. This defies description except for the curious fact that it is the first known film to include a subplot about gay vampires.
Which sets the scene for the next incarnation...

Stage 5: The Cute Bad Boy
The Lost Boys, 1987
Problem: the genre had been flogged for decades, then finally pissed upon by the advent of far scarier movie monsters such as Alien and Freddy Krueger.
Solution: Shaggable vampires on motorbikes.
And speaking of shaggable:

Stage 6: The Sexy Super-Freak
Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1993
It's probably a good thing that this film wasn't released in the current climate, as it probably would have resulted in a barrage of horny Emo teenagers storming Gary Oldman's house and crushing him before he had a chance to make The Fifth Element. Even though in this film he tends to spontaneously fluctuate between human form and that of various monsters and demons, a new tone was set for sexy vampires. (Again, Meyer: YOU ARE NOT NEEDED HERE.)

Stage 7: The Sensitive New Age Guy
Buffy, 1997- 2003
... they went and ballsed it up. Vampires were just getting good again when someone decided to unleash a great new concept - the non-threatening vampire.
If you're not familiar with the series, the above photo depicts the vampire Angel (David Boreanaz) - who not only has a girl's name but has an awesome history of murderous and sexual mayhem. Unfortunately for the audience, he was cursed with remorse for his crimes, and resolves to be a soft-cock for the entire damned series. That is, until he finally does something vampire-like and Buffy kicks him into Hell's mouth.

However, he is nowhere near as bad as...

Terminal Stage: The Boy Band Member
Twilight series, (2008-10)
There are so many things wrong here that I don't know where to start. Suffice to say: I hate you, Stephanie Meyer.