The world lost one of its great grumps this week, Robert Hughes, dead at 74. Hughes was the best writer Australia has ever produced.
He wrote prolifically and broadly. He also wrote with guts and emotion. His epic recreation of our convict history, The Fatal Shore, stands as a truly horrifying account of the brutal origins of modern Australia. In his works on the city of Barcelona and his many books on art Hughes wrote with joy about all the possibilities of human creativity. In one of his best but lesser-known books, The Culture of Complaint, he wrote with scorn and disgust about one of the most pressing issues of the modern day.
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Mayors are an integral and important part of our political process. Who else would bin the bin emptiers? Who else would wear the oversized ceremonial necklaces? Who else would weigh in ponderously on whether a significant tree is dead or just resting?
So despite the obvious fact that you can put just about anyone in the position, you can’t just put ANYONE in the position. Here is a short list of people who should be ruled out of ever being Mayor of Anywhere.
1. Kim Kardashian. She reportedly wants to run for Mayor of Glendale, California.
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Three moments in my life have prompted me to question humanity at its very core.
The first was when Jerry Seinfeld observed: “People, they’re the worst.” I thought about this for a moment, remembered I’d once carried my cat by its tail, and decided he was right. The second was when I woke up from a big night at a friend’s party, and discovered my mate’s pillow had been callously stolen. Who steals a pillow? Ugh, people. Right?
The third was when I learned #WhoisPaulMcCartney? was trending on Twitter during the Grammys.
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The interwebs was aghast at the news that there may or may not be a sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the near future.
A teaser trailer has been making the rounds featuring Matthew Broderick as Ferris all grown up reciting the classic line from the 1986 film “How can I handle work on a day like today?”. The nine second clip uploaded this weekend by user “chuckachucka2012” has managed to get the world’s attention.
It appears that the mysterious video clip was made as a Super Bowl commercial (the Super Bowl is next week) but what it’s meant to advertise nobody knows.
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Poor Stefani Germanotta. Not only does she have to clomp and totter around the globe in monstrosities masquerading as shoes and spend hours being squeezed and pummelled into her Lady Gaga outfits every day, but the poor darling has to deal with being constantly compared to Madonna.
Sure, Gaga and Madge (in her time) might both have a soft spot for a conical bra, a scruffy boyfriend and a penchant for a generous splattering of religious iconography, but make no mistake - Gaga’s no Madonna and Madonna’s never been a Gaga.
Because, when you peel away the wigs and the body glitter and the raw meat, there are massive differences between the two pop princesses when it comes to sex, religion and politics – you know, all the simple stuff.
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Remember when you first felt old? I do. It was Thursday night, watching pop star Rihanna playing at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
What’s old? ‘Old’ is being astonished that people pay up to $150 a ticket to stand up all night. ‘Old’ is when the doof-doof of insanely loud music plays havoc with the chicken schnitzel that can’t seem to settle in your stomach. ‘Old’ is wishing that you could go back in time ... exactly three nights earlier when the same stage was commanded by 70-year-old singer Neil Diamond.
It would be unfair for a reasonably conservative woman of 41 (a simple country lass, no less, whose teenage pin-up was Cliff Richard) to compare and contrast Neil Diamond and Rihanna. But I’m going to do it anyway.
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There’s a large contingent of Beatles devotees who firmly believe that the Fab Four replaced Sir Paul with a look-a-like after he secretly died in 1966.
Start googling “Paul McCartney” and you’ll find that the second most popular search term is “Paul McCartney dead”. Modern conspiracy aficionados say this is because Google killed the real Paul McCartney so a fake Paul McCartney could form a real band called “Wings”, which would make Google a small amount of money, allowing them to purchase part of The Beatles catalogue so the real Paul McCartney could buy shares in Google.
Confused? So is poor ol’ Paul who routinely has to fend off sandal-wearing fat blokes who shove Wikipedia printouts in his face as conclusive proof that he’s dead.
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More than 90 per cent of people who finish Snooki’s book A Shore Thing reportedly Google the phrase: “If I hold my breath for 45 seconds while repeatedly head-butting a wall, will I get amnesia?”
A more pressing question for many of you, however, is probably “who or what is a Snooki?”
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is the result of an innovative reality television show called Jersey Shore which places a bunch of potential sexual harassment lawsuits in a house in New Jersey and leaves them to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned ‘roid rage, borderline alcoholism and painful acronym-inventing (eg. DTF).
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Another day, another tape exposing Mel Gibson as a wretch. In the latest recording his ex-girlfriend asks him what kind of man hits a woman with a child in her hands, “breaking her teeth twice in the face”. Gibson shouts back: “Oh, you’re all angry now? You know what, you f—king deserved it.”
Troubled artists are hardly a modern phenomenon but the ways in which their darker sides get exposed certainly are. Their worst character traits are amplified by “Hollywood enablement”, the destructive modern culture of the Thirty Mile Zone that allows stars to believe they can behave as they wish, supported as they are by coteries of flunkies and yea-sayers instead of actual friends. By the time this behaviour takes hold - as in the case of Gibson but also arguably in that of the much younger Lindsay Lohan - they have no fear of failure any more because their success is already secure.
In the best piece I’ve read on the affair since the first tape emerged, Tina Brown at The Daily Beast outlines how it makes a devastatingly strong case for celebrity leaks. She calls it a “high watermark in celebrity outing”, arguing the most unsettling aspect is not his racism - of which much has been made over his use of a particular word - but his vile misogyny. Amen to that.
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The internet told me the date was February 10 1991. Which makes sense because I remember having just returned home from one of my first days of the fourth grade.
My knowing eldest brother had positioned himself in front of my mother’s tiny TV while the rest of my brothers and sisters stood around for a glimpse.
Standing silently transfixed in front of that first episode of The Simpsons we were like a group of peasants listening to the Emperor’s voice for the first time over the radio. From here it would all be different.
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Lily Allen made an appearance on Neighbour’s last night showcasing her song ‘22’ which is currently at number 13 in the Aria Top 50 Single Charts.
‘22’ is about a woman who had the world at her feet at 22 but now she’s almost 30 years old and doesn’t have a career or a boyfriend.
According to the song lyrics, “It’s sad but it’s true how society says her life is already over. There’s nothing to do and there’s nothing to say ‘til the man of her dreams comes along, picks her up and puts her over his shoulder.”
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