Tuesday, August 30, 2005

unlocking the chador

I see there's a much deeper look at the whole thorny subject over at Surfdom today. A really interesting post that goes beyond my rather superficial reaction of yesterday's post.

Monday, August 29, 2005

atheists do it better on their own

What to think about Bronwyn Bishop's attempt to ban the hijab in state schools? (Anyone know what the consequences have been in France so far after they implemented the no-hijab policy?) To me, it just raises more questions. Is there such a radical increase in hijab-wearing amongst students in state schools that it's such a huge cause for concern? When Bishop says,

"This has really been forced on us because what we're really seeing in our country is a clash of cultures and indeed, the headscarf is being used as a sort of iconic item of defiance,"

does she really think that making a martyr of and/or criminalising the hijab will somehow reduce the sense of defiance itself? Surely, if anything, it will only increase it. And isn't Bronwyn Bishop making a connection between terrorism and ordinary, common-or-garden moderate Islam (kids in hijabs) by suggesting that hijab-wearing at school is dangerous, essentially by virtue of being an open declaration of the embracing of their religion? Hell, I'd like to see less religion in public schools too (or, at least, more formal emphasis on comparative religion than any one in particular). But at the same time I'd still like to be able to see Harley off to school one day in his "I'm an atheist!" teeshirt. If they ban the hijab, wouldn't they have to ban that too? (that's your cue, Geoffrey Robertson...)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

sweeping statements

Pru Goward's surely fighting a losing battle trying to sell housework to men, when women are still being told to shut up and love it:

"Blame Teri Hatcher and the rest of television's Desperate Housewives--domesticity is making a comeback! Don your plastic gloves and apron and take a break from the personal trainer, because sweeping floors and scrubbing bathrooms are great for muscle tone, and make your home sparkle as brightly as your personality."
- InStyle magazine, August 2005

Maybe feminism is dead.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

another raincheck (yawn)

The joy! I have a spot at our local childcare centre for Harley: Fridays, starting next week. Wow. A chance to do something other than parent for a change. I'm sure it'll be weird at first, but I'm getting quite excited about having some time to myself soon. I could study, get a day's work...hey, I could even get to do some blogging! (And thanks again to my inexplicably loyal readership. Hope to see more of you soon.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

cinema not so paradiso

It's bad enough that the Valhalla is dead, but the Chauvel, too? I read that the Chauvel needs only an injection of $250,000 a year to survive. Doesn't seem like a lot.
People often argue that it's not the taxpayer's job to fund unpopular art institutions. Some, like the Prime Minister, go on and on about how, in the Howardian utopia, business and industry have a sense of mutual obligation and come to the party instead of taxpayers (especially on useless, uneconomical things like the Arts). Would that it were so. It'd be great to see the huge successes of Australia's film industry--the Mels, the Cates, the Nicoles, but not just the actors of course--pitch in to save the Chauvel and similar institutions. To form their own fighting funds for dying icons of their own. Or perhaps they could even raise some money some other way, with their starpower.
I mean, I'm biased because I grew up going to the Chauvel about once a week (I think my parents, as migrants, craved European stories, and as we didn't have a TV we couldn't watch SBS). But it's part of Sydney's character that we always had a lot of art-house cinemas. It's part of what always gave the city its filmic character, and its strong spirit of indie filmmaking would've arisen partly from that. And it's a film city whose culture has nurtured a helluva lot of international careers and millionaires. How much of that identity will be lost as the icons of serious film go, leaving us with only mass-movies on offer? Maybe these places don't make a lot of money and you don't get stampedes of people queueing for the films. That's not their point, though, is it? They should never be seen as being in competition with the mainstream.
I know they're only little cinemas. But they're important. They give voice to a lot of voices that don't otherwise get heard.
Anyway, the market is dynamic and trends can change. Hey, art-house cinema could even get its renaissance. But close the cinemas and there's no hope of it happening at all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

the suspense isn't killing me

I've been disappointed by Big Brother this year too. It always starts with such potential, but never lives up to my expectations. They really need to do a Big Brother- The Director's Cut, with a director voting out the Housemates. That'd be much more interesting. Let's face it, teenage viewers with itchy SMS fingers might not be the best casting directors in the world.
The only storyline of interest to me this year was the Glenn & Michelle subplot. For the blissfully unaware, Glenn was publicly shamed for his treatment of Michelle in the House. It all went a little like this.*
Late evening; a sauna.
GLENN and GENEVA go to (ahem) 'third base'.
A few hours later; the living room.
GLENN and MICHELLE smooch on the floor.
MICHELLE: I've heard that you've been with Geneva tonight.
GLENN: I haven't been with Geneva!
MICHELLE: I don't care if you have anyway, because you're like my best, best friend in here!
They smooch.
Some days later. GLENN invites MICHELLE into the Rewards Room and they have sex.
MICHELLE is promptly evicted. At her eviction party:
MICHELLE: "Me and Glenn are just friends...with benefits *wink*".
GRETEL KILLEEN screens some of the day's footage.
BLOKE: Whatcha gunna do if Michelle goes tonight?
GLENN: I dunno. I should probably crack onto Kate, shouldn't I? Give it a week and then crack onto Kate, yeah.
GLENN is promptly evicted. At his eviction party, GRETEL KILLEEN invites MICHELLE up to give him a piece of her mind. GLENN cringes and squirms.
So Glenn might've erred in delivering the wonderfully Clintonesque, "I haven't been with Geneva!". But I believe Michelle gave him his get-out-of-jail-free card when she said she didn't even care if he had. Of course, women sometimes say these kinds of things and don't mean them. It's meant to sound lofty, carefree, secure. But it's a dangerous pretence, because a man like Glenn can always choose to interpret such comments at face value and rationalise to his mates and himself--and in this case, to Australia--"But she said she didn't care. I thought she knew it was just a bit of fun."
And it's interesting that Michelle continued the charade of 'not caring' when she sat on the eviction stage and said she and Glenn were "friends with benefits". That's a bit different to the image she ended up portraying of a woman scorned, of someone who really thought she and Glenn were an item and that their relationship would continue outside the House.
Well, that's my last post on BB as I stopped watching when there were only five people left and the group dynamic died and I had to put it out of its misery early.
Good timing too, as the baby's just woken and I'm off to start my second shift. (I can't believe the baby finally has a daytime nap and I blog about Big Brother. Good grief.)

(*from memory--and yes, i know that is sad).

Sunday, August 07, 2005

drive-by blogging

There's been so much I've wanted to blog lately but life has intervened. My boy had a bad flu, and hasn't been sleeping well, so I've been a bit exhausted. However, his dad has him this weekend, so I hope to get to do some blogging some time later today. Anyway, just wanted to reassure readers that I haven't abandoned my blog; if anything, I'm more keen now than ever. So til later then.

Monday, August 01, 2005

facts, good stories, etc

Did anyone else read this article in the Herald and think "the irony"? Well, I certainly did. It opens, "Newspapers offer facts as their defining characteristic...".
Ho. Ho. Ho.

not sticking to the scripture

"Offer non-believers ethics, schools told" says the headline in the weekend Herald*.

"Ethics should be taught in public schools for students who do not attend scripture lessons to save them wasting time "colouring in", the state parents' group says.
Scripture has been part of secular public education for more than a century, but in many schools non-believers go to the library or playground, or watch videos during the weekly classes."

Well, there's much to be said for coloring in, so we shouldn't sniff at that in any case. But listen, here's an idea. Since we're talking about secular schools in the first place, how about we teach 'em all something like, say, "Comparative religion and ethics"? Why are we having Bible study as part of a secular curriculum anyway?
My parents were staunch atheists and didn't want me to attend, but due to the particular charisma of our scripture teacher, a ninety year old called Mrs Nixon, I used to sneak out of the library to attend Scripture classes. I was quite mesmerised by her. I think I got quite brainwashed in the end and had even built a little altar in my room before my parents got wind of it all and had me taken out of the class again. Phew.
But my point is this: why don't they all just learn ethics?

(*Humph. As much as you can trust what the Herald says these days, anyway.)