Posts tagged "Australia"

I don’t know about the punk rock, perhaps that’s ideologically neutral.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader of Australian, interviewed on University of New England campus radio in 1979.

He has some things to say about how political economy and women studies courses are Marxist and how women and “homosexuals” come to uni thinking they’re women or “homosexuals” first and students second, but here’s his views on a class analyzing the aesthetics of punk rock.


(h/t to Elizabeth, friend-of-Screw Rock ‘n’ Roll)

This is an advertisement for the Australian Greens that was not actually commissioned by the party. It was commissioned by The Gruen Nation, a program broadcast by the government-owned ABC. The Gruen Nation is the election-themed version of an odd but entertaining program called The Gruen Transfer, which I suppose is best described as a variety show about the advertising industry that isn’t quite as bizarre as such a description might suggest. 

I haven’t seen the Gruen Nation, but a recurring Gruen Transfer segment involved asking ad agencies to create fictitious campaigns for unpopular or difficult to promote products. This commercial apparently arises from a version of that; the show asked agencies to create alternate universe ads for political parties. It’s a typical ABC thing to do: pretend that no one is paying attention to them because usually people aren’t. (Because usually they’re just re-running old episodes of BBC comedies that were never funny in the first place.)

But it turned out people liked this commercial, and the Greens decided they did too. And so they asked if they could use the commercial that had been ostensibly created for them.

Except the ABC isn’t even meant to show commercials (another bit of stupidity that would require a new post to talk about) and, being taxpayer-funded, the broadcaster is meant to be For All Australians. So it decided it couldn’t go around commissioning ads for a political party that polls between 5 and 15 per cent of the primary vote. Except that, um, oops, it already had.

Well, I like* the ad. I want to vote for a party that is like the one being portrayed in this commercial. And the Greens apparently want to be a party like the one being portrayed in this commercial. They are linking it from their website and Twitter. So maybe it really is a real Greens commercial, even if it didn’t begin life as one. Does an advertisement for a political party count if the party can’t run it as an advertisement?

——

*I don’t think much of the “If you think, vote Greens” at the end, because it seems a bit smug. But let’s face it, most Greens voters probably think that anyways, right?


Another election ad, and a rather awful one.

This is from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, and critiques the policies of opposition leader Tony Abbott. I should be fairly receptive to such a commercial, considering my most firmly held conviction about the whole campaign is that Tony Abbott must not become leader of my country.

But this commercial features a dude on a yacht in Sydney Harbour, gorging himself on absolutely delicious-looking seafood and drinking champagne, while pretty girls attend to him. I want to be that guy. How can I be that guy, I want the ad to tell me. And then, as if answering me, it says TONY ABBOTT.

And that’s meant to dissuade me from voting for his party?


douglasmartini:

aarbearrawr:

for douglasmartini

There are no black people in this commercial. Just sayin’. MARTIN DOUGLAS TIRELESSLY PROMOTES EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MINORITY HIPSTERS.

Honda didn’t actually cast this commercial; they just rolled up on King St. and pulled aside the first couple dozen people who walked past. And everyone knows that the only black person in Newtown is the one on the MLK mural.


(via tiphereth, ringos-peaches, asunburntcountry, isay, ursulasteinberg, asecretworld)
The saga continues.

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the poet describes his journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven, and his descriptions of what he found there have provided the imagery of much of western conceptions of the Christian afterlife. We know it’s dark and hell is hot because DMX Dante told us.
The second part of the Divine Comedy is Purgatorio, and it is perhaps the most accurate part of the narrative. See, according to Dante, one accesses purgatory by tunneling through hell, in the depths of the earth, and emerging on the other side of the world. Purgatory, we are told, is a big island in the southern hemisphere where people were sent to redeem themselves for crimes they had committed in life (i.e. in the northern hemisphere).
Island? Southern Hemisphere? Convicts sent from Europe?
It seems pretty obvious that purgatory is actually Australia.
However, something else seems clear. Dante describes the inmates of purgatory as having to suffer punishment to redeem themselves of the sins they committed in life. A terrace of purgatory is set aside for each sin, and therein the proud carry gigantic stones on their backs to learn humility, the envious have their eyes sewn shut, and etc.
What I figure must have happened at some point in the history of purgatory is that the inhabitants overthrew their oppressors and remade the island as a place in which they were free to pursue their sinning in peace. So the gluttonous built Sydney and spend their days on the beach and their nights partying in Kings Cross (pictured). The envious built a city on their terrace and called it Melbourne, where they could spend their lives wishing their city was as naturally beautiful as Sydney. The wrathful made Canberra, and the inhabitants set themselves up as the government of Purgatory, where they spend their time shouting insults at one another in a chamber designed for the purpose, which they call Parliament.
And so on.
(photo by Flickr user matty_munson)

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the poet describes his journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven, and his descriptions of what he found there have provided the imagery of much of western conceptions of the Christian afterlife. We know it’s dark and hell is hot because DMX Dante told us.

The second part of the Divine Comedy is Purgatorio, and it is perhaps the most accurate part of the narrative. See, according to Dante, one accesses purgatory by tunneling through hell, in the depths of the earth, and emerging on the other side of the world. Purgatory, we are told, is a big island in the southern hemisphere where people were sent to redeem themselves for crimes they had committed in life (i.e. in the northern hemisphere).

Island? Southern Hemisphere? Convicts sent from Europe?

It seems pretty obvious that purgatory is actually Australia.

However, something else seems clear. Dante describes the inmates of purgatory as having to suffer punishment to redeem themselves of the sins they committed in life. A terrace of purgatory is set aside for each sin, and therein the proud carry gigantic stones on their backs to learn humility, the envious have their eyes sewn shut, and etc.

What I figure must have happened at some point in the history of purgatory is that the inhabitants overthrew their oppressors and remade the island as a place in which they were free to pursue their sinning in peace. So the gluttonous built Sydney and spend their days on the beach and their nights partying in Kings Cross (pictured). The envious built a city on their terrace and called it Melbourne, where they could spend their lives wishing their city was as naturally beautiful as Sydney. The wrathful made Canberra, and the inhabitants set themselves up as the government of Purgatory, where they spend their time shouting insults at one another in a chamber designed for the purpose, which they call Parliament.

And so on.

(photo by Flickr user matty_munson)


This chart is interesting only if you don’t try to read too much into its conclusions, as the sub at Foreign Policy did in titling the accompanying article “Soft Rock Power: Has American cultural dominance met its Waterloo?” Sweden, the UK, the US, and Japan all punch above their weight in terms of influence on worldwide pop music, but this doesn’t tell us much else. (Indeed, how many globally recognized Japanese or Finnish pop stars are there?)
Joshua E. Keating, who writes the accompanying article, gets closer to the truth, even if his lede proves no more than he’s heard of ABBA:

Not surprisingly, American hits dominated, accounting for 51 percent of music sold over the period. Adjusted for GDP, however, Sweden takes the top spot — followed closely by Britain. Despite fears of pernicious cultural Americanization, more people around the world are listening locally: Foreign artists now account for just 30 percent of each country’s pop hits, down from about 50 percent in the 1980s.

The emphasis I’ve added is the actual point of the study [PDF] and why the framing these figures as some kind of end to “American cultural domination” is false: as the study bears out, Americanization is a bogeyman, not an actual phenomenon.
It actually looks to be an interesting paper, though I’ve only read the introduction. The key takeaway seems to be the following:

Despite widespread fears about American dominance, we find that music trade is roughly proportional to countries’ GDPs and that several smaller countries, such as Sweden, have a larger proportional share of trade than the United States. Trade in music bears some similarities to the trade of physical goods: shorter distances and sharing a common language promote higher trade volumes between countries, and those relationships have been relatively stable over the last 50 years. We also find a large bias toward domestic consumption of music which has, perhaps surprisingly, increased in the past two decades: the share of consumption worldwide that originates from domestic artists increased from less than 50% during the 1980’s to almost 70% in 2007. This increased home bias is robust to a number of specifications, from descriptive analysis to gravity equations.

In the abstract, the authors say “National policies aimed at preventing the death of local culture, such as radio airplay quotas, may explain part of the increasing consumption of local music,” and though I haven’t reached the part of the paper discussing that, I’m highly skeptical. Firstly because it runs counter to the way I understand culture to work and also because it’s contrary to the way I hear non-American (and perhaps non-British?) people talk about their own country’s music.
In Australia, for instance, people tend to speak as if liking Australian music is a patriotic duty, which is something incredibly frustrating and tends to get in the way of having conversations about the music itself. One tends to be urged to “support” Australian music as often as one is urged to like it; this has a lot to do with what I was saying in this post. Hence, a bizarre situation is created in which Australian music (usually rock, but that’s a different complaint) is spoken of as something everyone agrees is uniquely valuable, but also unable to be sustained by market forces. There’s this imaginary sector of the population that would have no interest in Australian music unless they were forced to hear it, and so protectionist policies are necessary to keep the Americans at bay.
Anyway.
I wonder if the increasing demand for domestic music around the world is related to a phenomenon I read about in an Arjun Appadurai essay I read years ago (no citation sorry, I CBF hunting it out for a blog post) discussing the spread of, I think, satellite TV in India. When international television first became widely available in India, the generation that first encountered it watched large amounts of foreign programming; it was a novelty that seemed much more desirable than their own country’s shows. The next generation, however, who had grown up with both domestic and international programming, much preferred Indian television. Applying that to pop music (in its modern, post 1960 form), perhaps the farther we get from ground zero the more local audiences demand local content?
One last point, because this is long and I’m rambling:

A few caveats accompany these results. First, American music may indirectly affect the type or genre of music produced and consumed by other countries, i.e., French artists may produce rock & roll in France. We explore this issue with a limited analysis of genre data.
Second, smaller countries that have benefited the most from globalization, such as Sweden, may actually produce and export music in English – which is arguably not indigenously Swedish.


Both important points, but I’ll return to Appadurai, who talks about the way local cultures engage with imported products to produce local hybrids; French rock ‘n’ roll isn’t foreign because the French gallicize it when they import it. (This also happens with local versions of MTV, etc.)

This chart is interesting only if you don’t try to read too much into its conclusions, as the sub at Foreign Policy did in titling the accompanying article “Soft Rock Power: Has American cultural dominance met its Waterloo?” Sweden, the UK, the US, and Japan all punch above their weight in terms of influence on worldwide pop music, but this doesn’t tell us much else. (Indeed, how many globally recognized Japanese or Finnish pop stars are there?)

Joshua E. Keating, who writes the accompanying article, gets closer to the truth, even if his lede proves no more than he’s heard of ABBA:

Not surprisingly, American hits dominated, accounting for 51 percent of music sold over the period. Adjusted for GDP, however, Sweden takes the top spot — followed closely by Britain. Despite fears of pernicious cultural Americanization, more people around the world are listening locally: Foreign artists now account for just 30 percent of each country’s pop hits, down from about 50 percent in the 1980s.

The emphasis I’ve added is the actual point of the study [PDF] and why the framing these figures as some kind of end to “American cultural domination” is false: as the study bears out, Americanization is a bogeyman, not an actual phenomenon.

It actually looks to be an interesting paper, though I’ve only read the introduction. The key takeaway seems to be the following:

Despite widespread fears about American dominance, we find that music trade is roughly proportional to countries’ GDPs and that several smaller countries, such as Sweden, have a larger proportional share of trade than the United States. Trade in music bears some similarities to the trade of physical goods: shorter distances and sharing a common language promote higher trade volumes between countries, and those relationships have been relatively stable over the last 50 years. We also find a large bias toward domestic consumption of music which has, perhaps surprisingly, increased in the past two decades: the share of consumption worldwide that originates from domestic artists increased from less than 50% during the 1980’s to almost 70% in 2007. This increased home bias is robust to a number of specifications, from descriptive analysis to gravity equations.

In the abstract, the authors say “National policies aimed at preventing the death of local culture, such as radio airplay quotas, may explain part of the increasing consumption of local music,” and though I haven’t reached the part of the paper discussing that, I’m highly skeptical. Firstly because it runs counter to the way I understand culture to work and also because it’s contrary to the way I hear non-American (and perhaps non-British?) people talk about their own country’s music.

In Australia, for instance, people tend to speak as if liking Australian music is a patriotic duty, which is something incredibly frustrating and tends to get in the way of having conversations about the music itself. One tends to be urged to “support” Australian music as often as one is urged to like it; this has a lot to do with what I was saying in this post. Hence, a bizarre situation is created in which Australian music (usually rock, but that’s a different complaint) is spoken of as something everyone agrees is uniquely valuable, but also unable to be sustained by market forces. There’s this imaginary sector of the population that would have no interest in Australian music unless they were forced to hear it, and so protectionist policies are necessary to keep the Americans at bay.

Anyway.

I wonder if the increasing demand for domestic music around the world is related to a phenomenon I read about in an Arjun Appadurai essay I read years ago (no citation sorry, I CBF hunting it out for a blog post) discussing the spread of, I think, satellite TV in India. When international television first became widely available in India, the generation that first encountered it watched large amounts of foreign programming; it was a novelty that seemed much more desirable than their own country’s shows. The next generation, however, who had grown up with both domestic and international programming, much preferred Indian television. Applying that to pop music (in its modern, post 1960 form), perhaps the farther we get from ground zero the more local audiences demand local content?

One last point, because this is long and I’m rambling:

A few caveats accompany these results. First, American music may indirectly affect the type or genre of music produced and consumed by other countries, i.e., French artists may produce rock & roll in France. We explore this issue with a limited analysis of genre data.

Second, smaller countries that have benefited the most from globalization, such as Sweden, may actually produce and export music in English – which is arguably not indigenously Swedish.

Both important points, but I’ll return to Appadurai, who talks about the way local cultures engage with imported products to produce local hybrids; French rock ‘n’ roll isn’t foreign because the French gallicize it when they import it. (This also happens with local versions of MTV, etc.)


Kthxbai.

Kthxbai.


While many election analysts suggest the independents, all former Nationals MPs, are more likely to side with the Coalition, Bob Katter and Tony Windsor have derided Mr Joyce; with one calling him a fool and the other labelling him a “piece of incredible unfortunateness.”

Key Independents berate “fool” Barnaby Joyce,” AAP, 22 August, 2010

This is hilarious, even though where Bob Katter especially is concerned it’s a severe case of pots, kettles, and accusations of blackness.

(Proof? From the same article:

[Katter] told the ABC the trio got “on very well together, we work very closely together, we have similar backgrounds and we’ve simply agreed that we’ll walk in a room, close the door and not be taken advantage of by all you cunning media people”.

He’d be PM right now if it weren’t for a bunch of meddling kids.)

My primary concern in all this is ensuring that Tony Abbott not become Prime Minister, but handing more power to Rob Oakeshott, Windsor and Katter is a steep price to pay. You don’t need to be Bob Brown to be entirely unimpressed at the vast gap between the National Party’s representation in parliament and their meagre slice of the popular vote, and handing even more power to rural conservatives will only create more ill-advised policies directing disproportionate levels of taxpayer resources to a sliver of the population that neither needs nor deserves it.


Mining magnate and government critic Clive Palmer has questioned the role of Governor-General Quentin Bryce in determining whether Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott is allowed to form a government.

Ms Bryce’s daughter Chloe Bryce is married to ALP powerbroker Bill Shorten, who was instrumental in Ms Gillard toppling Kevin Rudd for the prime ministership.

”We need to make sure that the Governor-General is totally impartial,” Mr Palmer told The Age. ”If the Governor-General finds she can’t be impartial, she should stand down and they should get someone else to fulfil that role.”

Governor-General must be impartial,” Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August, 2010

After the debacle earlier this year in Tasmania, we are faced once again with a constitutional requirement that the delegate of a foreign monarch resolve an Australian political problem. The idea that the Governor General is a mere figurehead is fanciful; she is the direct intrusion of the British Crown into Australian self-government. Add this to the reasons why the system is broke and must be fixed.



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