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Mysteries of anarchy in the US


Peter FitzSimons


<em>Illustration: Reg Lynch</em>

Illustration: Reg Lynch

Strange days indeed, most peculiar, Mama. TFF flew into Los Angeles last week, and my first contact with US soil for a couple of years saw me right in the middle of a protest. There were perhaps 150 workers, with drums and placards, outside LAX protesting over working conditions. But Seattle was much heavier. This time, there was a major anti-capitalist march and, just 50 yards from my downtown hotel, some hundred or so ''Black Bloc'' anarchists, whatever they are, broke away and went crazy with clubs, smashing the windows of banks and stores, particularly a Nike one, even as one bloke threw what was meant to be a fire bomb, which mercifully didn't go off. When I asked one of them afterwards, when all had calmed down, what exactly they were protesting against, he simply said, ''the way things are''.


The Voice of reason

Yes, yes, yes, I know that, you and me, babe, we're much better than (sniff) getting caught up in crap reality shows. But I dinkum think The Voice is different. Whereas shows like Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and the rest are about humiliation and making viewers feel, ''Hey, we may be a bit stuffed, but we're not THAT stuffed'', the thing about The Voice is that it is all so positive. The worst that happens is the contender singers get disappointed not anointed. And the other thing I want to say is, VOTE 1 Karise. A young woman from the Central Coast, I think only 19, she has the voice of a 45-year-old who has lived it hard and fast for decades and every song she touches sends a bolt through you. Thank you. We now resume our normal transmission, with its usual postmodern tone of slightly superior, ironical cynicism. (But still back Karise.)


It was ever thus

Is this the killer Sydney historical quote to beat them all? I came across it last week. The great English writer Anthony Trollope visited Sydney in 1871 and subsequently wrote: ''You are told constantly that colonial meat and colonial wine, colonial fruit and colonial flour, colonial horses and colonial sport, are better than any meat, wine, fruit, flour, horses or sport to be found elsewhere. And this habit springs from things national to things personal. In Sydney it is asked … with bated breath, and with something of an apology, 'Of course you have been bothered out of your life about our harbour - but it is pretty; don't you think so?''' I know, I know. I shifted a little uncomfortably in my seat, too. Anyone who comes up with a better historical Sydney quote, may take a pat on the back out of petty cash.


One rule for all

This week Caloundra Christian College sacked kindergarten teacher Jess Davidson because, despite being pregnant, she has not married her partner. ''As a Christian college,'' Principal Mark Hodges explained, ''we require all staff to have and demonstrate a faith and lifestyle consistent with the Christian beliefs taught here.'' I know, I feel like that, too. What century are we living in? In any other environment a dismissal because a woman had a child out of wedlock would contravene any number of anti-discrimination laws there for our common protection. Why should such laws stop at schools, of all places? And yes, there are nutters who believe certain communities should be able to withdraw into cultural cul-de-sacs and establish their own rules. But even if you get that argument up, and do so withdraw, should you still be able to put your hand out for taxpayer funds? If the rest of society is too polluted for you to be a part of, stop taking our money. Discuss.


Joke of the week

A big game hunter goes on a safari with his wife and mother-in-law.

One morning, while deep in the jungle, the hunter's wife awakens to find her mother gone. She wakes her husband and they set off in search of the older woman. In a clearing not far from the camp, they come upon a chilling sight. The mother-in-law is standing face to face with a ferocious lion. ''What are we going to do?'' his horrified wife asks.

''Nothing,'' the husband replies, ''The lion got himself into this mess, let him get himself out of it.''


They said ...

She is hopeless.
An uncharacteristically savage Laurie Oakes on Julia Gillard.

The Liberal Party ... is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr Palmer.
Treasurer Wayne Swan after Clive Palmer announced an intention to run against him.

Do you mind if I look at her tits?
After the 60 Minutes interview with Gordon Wood, featuring his tears at the recollection of holding Caroline Byrne's dead hand in the morgue, journalist Janet Fife-Yeomans recalled his documented words that day to a morgue attendant.

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