Thursday, 29 March 2007

Beat the wife, tick, dog, tick, children, tick

I'm on the verge of writing something very unflattering about my employer, but I'm trying to ween myself off that well-worn and unproductive track, so I'll have to write about the first other thing that comes to mind...

...Fuck it, not much inspiration today. How about casting some unflattering light on New Zealand's dweedle-dee politics instead? What gets the masses out onto the streets in Prague, huh? Public disgust with the first post-communist generation of politicians, uproar over right-wing political interference at the state broadcaster and a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol between 3-3.10am, right? And what gets Kiwis steamed up, frothing at the corners of their mouths and out onto the streets at the start of the next revolution? A repealing of archaic legislation prohibiting the free exchange of body fluids between consenting adults of the same gender, a law permitting the civil union between a couple of the same sex, and now an outrageous law aimed at the curbing violence toward children, i.e. banning over-enthusiastic smacking and kicks up the jacksie. Just imagine the indignity of it all, not being able to give your kids a good healthy bludgeoning to teach them good manners! Okay, I'm simplifying the arguments a bit here, but it's a classic example of the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world's importation of America's numpty culture wars. And you guys wonder why I want to escape back to the land of ambivalent and brawl-free (except when I'm involved) beer-guzzling. Where else on this planet could you possibly enjoy a day out at a beer festival without security guards getting totally hammered, making dozens of mates and then shouting expletives and obscenities at each other in a fit of peak after the 15th pullitr and walk away with only a wounded sense of dignity as a result?

But like Rotten, I digress. Politics in this country is often excrutiatingly provincial and anodyne, but at least some of our media recognise it for what it is. Check out this article from Scoop on yesterday's protest against the anti-smacking legislation at parliament. I like the placard that ticks off beating the wife, dog and kids, hence the title of this blog.

And since I was doing more than my alloted amount of surfing this morning, I scanned the well-respected No Right Turn homegrown blog to see what trouble I could cause there. I came across a post on celebrating the birthday of the EU, which asked how to say Happy Birthday in 23 different languages. With nothing better to do with my time, I thought I would usefully tell the blogger how to say Happy Birthday in Czech. Instead I came across a comment from some twat asking if the blogger would support a WTO world free trade agreement as a means of preventing war, as the EU had clearly been so successful in doing...So I wrote this:

"Hmmm, somebody Anonymous asks: 'Now are you ready to post that when the world achieves free trade through the WTO negotiations, war will be ended globally? If not, why not?'

"Well, I'd assume that Idiot/Savant would hold back from endorsing a WTO-sponsored worldwide free trade agreement for one very salient reason: it would be mostly a cover for those huge state-like companies to rachet up the depletion of the world's fast dwindling natural resources and push the planet well beyond its carrying capacity, as is most probably already the case. Once the tipping point is inevitably reached and the earth's eco-system goes into a permanent nose-dive then Anonymous can't expect a sudden outbreak of peace and love around the world as peoples and nations struggle to grab the very last pieces of the planet's pie. The earth will regenerate, of course, but just not with us. Anybody seen Children of Men yet? Great scene when the main protagonist visits his cousin, a government minister surrounded by incredible wealth and luxury while the planet around him is in freefall. He's asked why he bothers to hoard such wealth when humanity will die out within a hundred years, and he answers: "I just don't think about it". Sums up mankind today.

"By the way, Happy Birthday in Czech is 'Vsechno narozeninam' ;)"

Erm, so the point is, has anyone seen the film Children of Men? I thought it was rather good. Didn't see you in it, Rotten. You'd weren't one of the dark-helmeted fascist henchmen, were you?


Rotten said...

Anti-sodomite laws coupled (no pun intended) with a nanny state resolution to limit public spankings. Kivak your post reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

Little Jimmy comes home from junior high one afternoon and his mom asks him, "So, what did you do at school today?"

And little Jimmy replies, "I had sex with one of my teachers."

Mom freaks. "My god! That's horrendous! You're in so much trouble, little man! Just wait till your father gets home!"

Little Jimmy is sent to his room, which is where his father finds him after returning from work and vainly attempting to console his wife.

"Mom told me you have something to tell me, Jim," the Old Man says from the doorway in his gravest authoritarian tone.

"Yes dad. I had sex with one of my teachers at school today."

"Why, you little ripper! You're definitely daddy's boy! Or daddy's man, I should say. I'm so proud of you I want to go out and get you that new bike you've had your eye on and we'll go for a long ride, just the fellas, just us two men. What do you say?"

"Sounds great, Dad, but could we wait for a few days? My ass is still pretty sore."

BAHHHH! Good one, eh?

And I saw Children of Men. Not a bad joint. "Didn't see you in it, Rotten. You'd weren't one of the dark-helmeted fascist henchmen, were you?" Wasn't a documentary, Kivak.

But seriously folks, I kind of had a little issue with the film and maybe you can help me out, seeing as I'm working on my own little bit of post-apocalyptic doggerel (haven't yet decided how to best label the narrative style...'Gonzo Noir' might do it, although 'Cyberdrunk' may be the ultimate winner...) and fear that my progress will soon be blocked by a massive plotty pavement pizza which I would like to avoid stepping into.

One of the main points of Children of Men, environmentalism, global consciousness, etc. is the fact that, as Gertrude Stein pointed out, there is no 'there' there. Once we exceed the Earth's carrying capacity, everyone on the whole planet, regardless of where exactly, is in the same leaky boat. There's no 'there' there. It's as bad everywhere as it is here. (Spoilers ahead; anyone who hasn't seen the movie might want to stop here.) If memory serves (and it doesn't always, at least not mine) Children of Men ends with the Good Ship Lollipop coming out of the fog to rescue the pregnant girl while the protagonist conveniently dies. The ship is supposed to be run by some kind of eco-elite guerrilla organization. So my question(s): where will they take the girl? Where did they get the diesel to run the boat, the food to feed the crew?

Some dirty old bark emerging from the fog to save the day just didn't do it for me...the piece a shit didn't look exactly ship-shape to me...probably leaking more pollutants than the Exxon Valdez...if you're an environmentally conscious vessel, 'Rainbow Warrior' isn't supposed to refer to the color of your wake...

But balls to all that. What I want to know: What am I missing here? Were you satisfied with the ending? Or should viewers take a cue from the film: "just don't think about it?"

Any assistance you can render in resolving these issues will be greatly appreciated, dear Liberazzi.

Thank you in advance,


Kivak said...

Okay, I'll be first up to answer this question - have to get in quick before the stampede to comment begins...Actually, perhaps we should rename this blog the Rotten and Kivak Show.

So, anyhow, next you'll be asking how that house just miraculously manage to land on and kill the Witch of the East, or how exactly did that piece of jism manage to attach itself to Ben Stiller's ear in Something About Mary (I've tried it and I just can't get it to reach that far)? Yes, indeed, suspension of one's sense of disbelief is a vital tool when visiting any cinema. If you really want to be teased/irritated by the ending of a film, see The Prestige. I had to spend hours explaining to my parents what it meant. Probably the best film I've seen so far this year. But getting back to Children of Men. I haven't read the book, but allegedly the Lollipop doesn't take the woman and child anywhere because it's more like a floating laboratory. And given that the guerillas in England and everyone else seemd to well fed, I presume that it wouldn't be too hard to get supplies from time to time. Afterall, the world was in decline because of a zero birth rate, rather than any overt eco-meltdown, although admittedly that was also one of the messages emanating from the film. Had a great apocolyptic feeling to it, doncha think?

You could have turned the comment into a whole post of its own. Time for the next in line to say something more enlightening than me. I've got a government climate change meeting to attend at the Duxton Hotel just down the road.

Kivak said...

Just back from my climate change meeting. Not only am I now thinking about the merits of carbon credits versus Pigovian taxes, but I'm thinking that what I wrote in my last comment was a load of tosh. Of course it was about eco-meltdown and not just zero birth rate and the inevitable farewell of humanity. Why else was everybody so eager to get into Britain; you'd have to be really fucking desperate to want to live there afterall. So where did the Lollipop get its food supplies from? I think the crew were about to pick up some baby food for themselves.

Anybody going to see Zack Synder's democrats-sock-it-to-nasty-Iranians/Persians film '300 men take dietary supplements and wear leather underpants'? His remake of Dawn of the Dead was excellent, although the shopping therapy allegory was too downplayed, but somehow I think the message in his new film may be quite the opposite.

Rotten said...

I actually kind of liked Children of Men, a point that may have been lost in my criticism of the ending. And I was a little too specific with my "where do they get the diesel and food" comment. What I was really trying to get at was, what's the point of making a cool apocalyptic movie about resource exhaustion (did you note all the bikes zipping around the streets of London) only to hold out a 'somewhere over the rainbow' ending that implies that maybe resources aren't going to run out for everybody. In this case, the merry crew of the good ship lollipop gets to sit out the End of the World.

"So, anyhow, next you'll be asking how that house just miraculously manage to land on and kill the Witch of the East, or how exactly did that piece of jism manage to attach itself to Ben Stiller's ear in Something About Mary (I've tried it and I just can't get it to reach that far)?"

Here's the difference: As improbable as Dorothy's house landing on the wicked witch is, I'm satisfied when it nails that bitch. As improbable as it is that Ben Stiller can train a blot of muck to roost perfectly on his ear, I'm satisfied when it does (the secret to getting it all the way up there lies in the can't just whip it up there using wrist motion...I'll show you sometime.) Improbable shit happens all the time. But the end of Children wasn't just improbable, it was improbable in a way that seemed to negate all that the movie had shown us before. Or at least what I thought the movie was showing us; was it just me or did all the immigration play in there reinforce the idea that we're all in this global meltdown together? All of us except, as we learn at the end, the crew of the good ship lollipop and their living cargo of magical diesel pissing energy dwarves...

All I wanted to know was, were you satisfied by the ending of Children of Men?


Kivak said...

Second time around. The missus called me to dinner just as I was gettin' fired up on another comment, but now I find I've been usurped in my place in line. This was my inconsequential little blurb before I was called to my broccoli and frankfurther pie:

Just me again, so don't get too excited. I've been thinking - a rare occurence I know - but I have been thinking about Rotten's Gertrude Stein line about 'there'. Yes, I have. That's about it. Thanks.

And so.............ummm, what was I going to say? Oh yeah, like, I agree, man. There's no 'there'. There's no doubt that by the time we've comprehensively raped, sodomised, rimmed and fisted our way through the earth's limited and wholly unrenewable resources that we'll up be up diahorrea creek without nose pegs and a clean change of underwear. We won't be able to pretend it's not our problem anymore once the water sea levels start rising above the spa pool on the deck of our seaside villa. We would have externalised the costs of our pampered lifestyles to the furtherest extent we can when there'll be no more felling Indonesian rain forest to provide the pulp for our chlorine-bleached office paper and no more pristine Malaysian hinterland that we can mow down to create more space for palm oil plantations to supply us with biofuel for those ever-so-efficient hybrid cars of ours. Yep, by that stage the ice caps will have melted leaving the planet with no more reflective surface area to send that pesky heat back into space and hence the planet will heat up ever more. Damn right there'll be no more 'there'. 'There' will be everywhere.

And back to the present. Yep, the ending was dissatisfying, but we've become so innured to that sort of pap from the mainstream industry that even good films with dodgey endings still seem like good films all the same because they're so far and few between. I was simply grateful that I saw something that caught my imagination for at least nine-tenths of the film and kept me thinking long afterwards. What other movies have done that in recent times apart from Something About Mary (thanks for the waist tip) and Casino Royale (how can a bloke have his nuts repeated flagellated (with gusto) with a knotted rope and then be up for some sweet lovin' almost immediately afterwards, huh? Such are modern cinematic conundrums).