The Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message. I’m not really sure what it means but it seems a suitably pretentious way to start a column about the condition of pretentiousness; that is, the state of being up one’s self, a show pony, a poseur.
The particular class of poseurs I would like to discuss today belong to a group called the Friends of the ABC. I used to live among their number while a resident of the People’s Republic of Leichhardt, in Sydney’s groovy and organic inner west. It’s a terrific part of Australia, marred only by the presence of an old Volvo on every street bearing bumper stickers saying “No Aircraft Noise”, “The Goddess is Dancing” and “Hands off our ABC.” So that people didn’t think less of me, at neighbourhood barbecues I would tell folks that I worked in a laboratory rubbing cheap cosmetics into the eyes of bunny rabbits, rather than admitting to editing The Daily Telegraph.
You can understand why people don’t like aircraft noise and support dancing goddesses but I am buggered if I can see why people will develop an impassioned lifelong commitment to an organisation which like any organisation does some things extremely well and some things really badly.
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There is a punchy two-word response to claims from the sporting community about the multi-million dollar losses they will sustain if the Federal Government presses ahead with measures to tackle gambling addiction. Sucked in.
For sheer intellectual laziness and candid self-interest, documents don’t get much worse than the formal submission by the South Australian National Football League to the parliamentary inquiry on gaming reform.
Summarised, the SANFL argues that the measures to reduce problem gambling will cost the State’s football clubs $7 million a year. The document is framed around inertia in that it argues for the status quo, rejecting all measures such as compelling gamblers to register with clubs before they spend money on poker machines, and to specify how much money they want to spend if they choose to do so.
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It’s about time I came clean. Some 31 years ago I masterminded an elaborate swindle involving the starving kiddies of Africa and some of my closest family and friends where I fraudulently solicited $17 by falsely claiming to have completed the World Vision 40-Hour Famine.
In truth I only completed some four hours of the famine which, from memory, started just after breakfast on a Saturday morning, and immediately fell apart shortly afterwards at the Unley Oval, home ground of Adelaide’s Sturt Football Club.
I wrongly told Dad and Uncle Bruce that I had to go to the merchandise caravan to buy another badge for my duffle coat (with Phil 16 Heinrich stitched on the back in blue letters) but snuck off instead to the rear of what is now the Jack Oatey Stand where they used to make the greatest steak sandwiches in recorded human history.
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