Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The death of cricket

It's official, folks. Cricket is on it's deathbed. Or on death row, perhaps. Rather than choosing a young, innovative go-getter to breathe life back into all formats, John Winston Howard, whom I assume might appreciate some of the views declared by a certain member of the public in my last post, has been voted President of the ICC.

Yes, the man who couldn't get a ball to reach the batsman, who lost his seat and the election catastrophically (for him) in 2007, who brought us fabrications such as "Children Overboard" and the affirmation of WMDs in Iraq, IR laws and other measures against freedom and equality and claimed that apologising to the Stolen Generation was an act of navel-gazing (rather, it was a rather ugly bit of history that he'd rather not think about).

Still, the clock's ticking, John. 2012 is a long way away for an old chap like you.

Meanwhile, it's time to start investing in Akubra hats, as I'm sure his first action will be to make them part of a mandatory dress code at the cricket.


That's what I am after the racist rubbish spouted by 70s rock has-been and Channel 9 "social issues advocate" (ah, the irony!) Gary "Angry" Anderson, who claims that weapons culture is not an Australian thing and was introduced by Lebanese, Pacific Islander and "Indochinese" immigrants. Setting aside the mindbogglingly ignorant racial classification of "Indochinese", which would include over half the world's population and a huge variety of cultures, the disgusting whiff of bygone eras (think Cronulla riots) that it brings and the terrifying "justification" that it might give to further attacks on Indian students and other non-Anglo visitors and migrants, Angry seems to have no evidence except for a claim that 'there was practically no weapons culture 20 years ago'. That'd be around 1990, a time not only of demographic change but also music subculture change in Australia. Could it possibly be that this rise in weapons-related violence started with 70s foetuses being subjected to Rose Tattoo while in the womb?

Now, those of you who know me will know that I like research. They will also know that I get pissed off at unfounded claims, especially when those claims are directly or indirectly harmful to a person or group of people. Therefore I will be conducting my own research into the matter, correlating and comparing data across Australia and attempting to determine whether there is any significant causal evidence that these cultures are to blame for weapons-related violence in Australia. My hypothesis? No. However, it takes a good deal more time to do thorough research than it does to spout out unfounded claptrap, so it might be a little while before I can present my findings here. Hopefully I'll have it done before the end of March, though.

It's not the first time Angry has inflicted his small-minded views on public society, however. According to Wikipedia (who quote from that pinnacle of Australian written journalism, The Daily Telegraph*), Angry went on an anti-Muslim rant in 2007. What a lovely bloke. What a representative of Australia, and the values we hold dear.

*A Rupert Murdoch-owned Australian tabloid paper similar in views and quality to Channel 9. There are claims it censors any comments to its articles that criticise quality, conservative governments, the police and military. It features such columnists as Piers Akerman, who has had numerous workplace sexual harassment charges levelled against him, as well as an assault charge by the former editor of the Advertiser and is a climate change denier. My opinion is it is enough to turn the most balanced person to become a member of Socialist Alternative, sleep with a photo of Karl Marx under their pillow and spend every waking hour reading Thoreau's Walden. I refer to it as The Daily Terrorgraph.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coincidence? I think not...

A little non-cricket-related post.

One of my favourite books (and films) happens to be The Outsiders. For those who haven't heard about it, it is a story about a bunch of young disadvantaged kids in a town in Oklahoma, the "greasers", and their battle against the priveledged "soc's" (pronounced "soshes") as they struggle to accept the place they hold in society. That's a really rotten summary so I suggest you Google a better one.

Anyway, one of the key elements of the book is a Robert Frost poem that is quoted by one of the characters, Nothing Gold Can Stay. It goes:

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
As the plot of the book moves along, the poem gains meaning for the characters as they see it representing the humanity that they have to hold onto. The main character, Ponyboy, is told to "stay gold" in a posthumous letter from a friend. Anyway, the whole green/gold thing is rather symbolic of the story.

A few weeks ago, just after re-reading The Outsiders, I decided to hunt up some more songs from one of my favourite bands, an Irish-American folk/country group called Solas. While they've somewhat moved away from their Irish roots in their latest album, The Edge of Silence, they did feature a great cover of a song called Georgia Lee. Now, I must admit that I'd never heard of the song before and didn't know who it was by or what it was about. After a little bit of research, I found out it was written by Tom Waits and featured on his album Mule Variations. It's based on the true story about a twelve-year-old runaway African-America girl, Georgia Lee Moses, who was kidnapped and murdered in Petaluma, California in 1997. The case has never been solved. The final verse before the chorus runs:
There's a toad in the witch grass, there's a crow in the corn
Wild flowers on a cross by the road
And somewhere a baby is crying for her mom
As the hills turn from green back to gold
Anyway, that green and gold bit made me connect it to The Outsiders - innocence, disadvantaged kids, dead disadvantaged kids and all that - so I grabbed the Outsiders movie (made in 1983) and rewatched it. And what name should I see in the credits, playing a very minor character? Tom Waits.

Not only that, two days later I rewatch Shrek 2, to discover that the song A Little Drop Of Poison (that one sung by Captain Hook in the dodgy inn) is sung by Tom Waits. So, if my head seems a little bit weird it's because some alien force is trying to manipulate my mind to see connections everywhere.

Doing research on Georgia Moses was hard - there's barely any information on the murder outside the song and she doesn't even have a stub article on Wikipedia - and it's rather appalling to see the difference in the quantity of coverage of her murder in comparison to the murder of a twelve-year-old white girl in Petaluma, in 1993, of which Richard Allen Davis was convicted. Even more press was given to the unsolved murder of six-year-old beauty pageant JonBenet Ramsey, who was found strangled in her parents' basement just after the Christmas of 1996. They reopened the case last year. It's interesting reading. Do a bit of research on the foundation her parents set up as well - it might raise a few eyebrows.

So, I know you've probably not bothered reading this because it's not cricket and it probably doesn't make any sense at all, but I've enjoyed writing it. All this does is confirm that great Orwellian quote that "some are more equal than others". Which reminds me of a story hanging round the press recently, the arrest (finally) of Roman Polanski. But that's for another day, I've run out of rant.