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69 responses to “Christmas Salon”

  1. Casey

    FIRST FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

    Ho ho ho.

    For Christmas I asked Santa for some of GregM’s blood, so I can finish my work on the man.

    Well. Santa’s not real but then again, neither am I. Here is hoping.

  2. Casey

    Looks like two blog gods set up two Salons.

    If you don’t want no trouble – mine where I got to say ‘frist’ stays.

    okay then.

  3. paul burns
  4. Casey

    Yes, I always found Santa rather creepy, Paul and that lovely photo series proves my point.

  5. philip travers

    I use to like the whole Santa Claus reality,after all if one is burdened by some philosophical problem of what life is,then myths are just great.Unfortunately apart from playing Santa Claus there isn’t much in it for adults.Not seeking porn or play,but a sense of getting in and out of the chimney and off with Rudolf.Where the family cat or dog one step away from the RSPCA in being loved could just be named Rudolf or its female equivalent. Rudolfess!

  6. Val

    Well can anyone explain this to me – it’s not just confined to Xmas but it’s worse at Xmas. I invite people round, thinking of all the lovely food I’m going to give them etc, and thinking this time I will do prep the day before etc.

    Then part way through the day before I get fed up and start resenting people for having accepted my invitation, and do all sorts of procrastinating. Then I get up early in the morning and rush around madly and it works out fine, even if not quite how I planned it.

    Is this just me? Is it ambivalence about the female role or do men experience this too? I would love to know if any one else does this sort of thing.

  7. peter

    I would love to know whether the Chinese economy experiences a noticeable production surge around Xmas and what the bean counters in the various PRC banks make of it. The irony of an atheistic regime raking in the capitalist/materialist/christian dollar still has me shaking my head. Or is it the western entrepreneurs under that banner who are cleaning up?
    Note also that the big department stores are reportedly moving their post-xmas sales to pre-xmas.

  8. mindy

    Sounds like a perfectly normal stress reaction to me Val. I don’t save procrastination just for Christmas though. ‘All the work while crying’ can be enjoyed throughout the year.

  9. Val

    Mindy @ 8
    I googled ‘all the work while crying’ – I’d never heard of it before – brilliant.

    I do remember that my two older daughters – who sat the VCE in its early stages, when it was supposed to be better than exams, but was in fact just a ridiculous stress exercise of assignment after assignment after assignment – had a fair bit of that. My second daughter finished several physics assignments at three in the morning in tears, I believe. (She was beyond my level by then, I could only give moral support – but she did well).

    Fortunately they revised it later so that it was – somewhat – less stressful.

    Anyway I have done the planned piece de resistance for tomorrow and got it in the fridge, so if that works out, all else is minor.

  10. Val

    Re my comment @ 9

    My comparison with my kids’ is a bit wrong, because it wasn’t due to procrastination (well not much) but more the unrelenting pressure the course put on them. It was more “finished while crying”.

  11. Val

    Kids’ VCE

  12. Paul Norton

    I predict that several of the performers at Carols by Candlelight will be unable to resist the temptation to preface their songs with twee and fatuous dabblings in theology.

  13. Fran Barlow
  14. Paul Norton

    Casey @1, if you need some of my blood I left a lot of it on the snake mesh that I installed on the chicken coop on Thursday.

  15. Graham Bell

    I have nothing whatsoever against a jolly folk-figure bringing joy to little children – and to adults too – with a bit of harmless pretence in a family or in a local community. It’s all good fun and it doesn’t, of itself, detract from the significance of Christmas at all.

    That said, I do loath the Red Bandit: that exploiter of children and their families, that enforcer of Pester Power, that stormtrooper of greed, that false god of commercialism, that fat-gutted blasphemy …. Wonder how Coca-Cola would react to class-action litigation against them as the inventors of the modern-day version of $anta Clau$? Wonder what their defence would be?

  16. paul burns

    Fran @ 13,
    Love it!

  17. Val

    Haha Fran @ 13 very funny

  18. Casey

    My dear Paul Norton, you are already somewhat hot if not a little bent so you don’t need any help whatsoever, no, keep your blood to yourself. As those of you who have long been subjected to my efforts make GregM hot know, back in 1824 on this very blog I told him he was being particularly painful and totally sounded like this. I took pity on him and offered to make him sound like this. Since then he has completely ignored my offer I don’t know why. If some weird random from the internet who claims to do magic offered to show up at my doorstep and drain me of blood, I say yes in a heartbeat, in a snap, I have no idea what’s wrong with him. Live a little, I say.

  19. Casey

    I would like one of those chickens however.

    I like chickens – not for spells, mind, just to talk to. They are rather cute.

  20. Fran Barlow

    Just down the road from me, there has been a collision. A taxidriver apprently went into a telegraph poll after two inebriated folk stepped out in front of him and he swerved and lost control of the car.

    It’s a dreadful thing, reckless conduct. One sees it on a grand policy scale, but of course, here too at the micro level. The elite of the world is recklessly indifferent to action on climate change — on the one planet known to support life — us. It doesn’t get any more reckless than that, unless you want to throw in war, resource depletion, and a shrug of the shoulders at local community level at cultural practices that are utterly corrosive.

    I’d say “get pissed at Christmas” comes not far behind the more general “get pissed” anytime and anyplace ethos that is quietly encouraged. Now I’m no prude, but it does seem to me that if getting pissed is a lifestyle that appeals, your first duty is not to allow your lifestyle to harm others. If you can’t be confident of achieving that, then maybe you really ought to eschew the lifestyle.

    That said, I do feel rather sorry for anyone who feels that getting pissed really is a way of salving the pain of the compromises one makes in staying alive. It’s quite one thing to self-medicate in a deluded effort to self-enlighten, but to be merely salving the pain by dulling the senses seems tragic. Yet there’s still, in my experience, a lot of boasting about how pissed one was the night before — rather more than one would think when one is conversing with them in a professional capacity.

    I wondered about the cab driver now hospitalised, who became a casualty of the apparent pain of two people he’d never met, and may never meet, since the two people apparently scarpered away in guilt. They weren’t that drunk, apparently.

    We’ve also heard a bit about drunk folk taking up space in casualty and becoming abusive to people who are being paid modestly to dispense humanity and are giving up their free time in the process. It is an ugly thing. I’m not for prohibition, but I do wonder what we must do at “the festive season” to ensure that fewer of the festivities impose unbearable costs on those being “festive” intentionally, those, festive or not, who happen to be within social range.

    I thought also about that the child killed and the child injured in that driveway in front of Carlingford P.S. by someone apparently unfit to be in charge of a car. Nobody comes out uninjured from that. How could one live with oneself after doing something like that? Not easily I imagine. People need to think through what they are doing. It’s easy to make mistakes, but some stuff is just too obvious to miss.

    I thought too about asylum seekers in mandatory detention in places like Manus and Nauru and again, from beginning to end, that is a massive failure of human system. At one end there is poverty and expressly homicidal malice and at the other, bigotry, fear and incipiently homicidal malice, for the moment expressed as deliberately punitive detention. The recklessness and dissonance needed to implement that policy put in the shade the dissonance of people drinking away the pain or prioritise getting the nose of your Nissan Dualis into the driveway of a childcare centre before the safety of children. I wish people would think more about that and what it says about us as a whole that enough of our community are OK with that to make it saleable policy.

    In this season, I hope people set their minds to thinking through who they are, why they do what they do, and the risks to others involved. Let them consider the phrase “playing nicely with others” and decide what that means, and which obligations fall upon them.

  21. jules

    Fran for someone who thinks metaphysics is a little odd you’ve just summed up the concept of karma very nicely in that last paragraph.

  22. Fran Barlow

    Speaking as someone who regularly stands charged by peers of speaking too much I had an interesting experience on Friday.

    It was the last day of term, and there was the inevitable teachers christmas do. By tradition, on such occasions, food is laid on and a kris kringle happens. A raffle is drawn and someone gets a microwave or free accommodation at the Sheraton. (This part is rigged because I suspect that the Principal rigs the ticket pool to ensure that someone who would never make it to the Sheraton gets there. I have no proof of course).

    The Principal thanks the staff for our efforts, and waves goodbye to those moving on, sometimes dispensing a gift from the colleagues and the school mug/spoon. Generally speaking, the HT presents the gift, says some nice things, there’s a smile and a teary wave from the departer that looks a little “Miss Universe” and we all move on.

    On this occasion, a departing staff member was retiring after 41 years in teaching, 28 of them at our school. That buys you the floor, even on a really hot day in the cafeteria where the aircon is stuffed and the fans are rather moot.

    The woman got up and started strongly. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand. We all (well mostly) liked her. She’d had a radical past. She was strongly in favour of the union and public schools and got genuinely teary as she spoke of her mother, who had wanted to be a teacher, but became a secretary and had told her that “when you teach you plant a seed that grows forever”. Major kudos.

    And there was more. She was openly gay and spoke of the now universal policy in schools that actively rejects homophobia. She noted that this was especially enthusiastically supported at our school and that the kids knew why. I noticed that our other gay members of staff smiled broadly. So again, I’d say everyone felt uplifted.

    She told a funny story about her playing a song on an old record player in the playground at Christmas and then being upbraided in front of dancing children and kicked out of teaching for a year after the kids went on strike then and there and declined to go to class out of solidarity. Again, we were all impressed.

    She’d got 9 minutes out of us and we’d thought we were ahead on the deal, despite the heat. Sadly, it was all down hill from there. It turns out that she really did like having the floor. On and on she pressed, thanking people individually and telling stories about them that, fairly obviously, involved her, interlaced with her reflections on teaching practice good and bad which she seemed to be implying that she alone had deduced. It was starting to sound a little bit preachy. The crowd shifted from with her to tolerating her. Suddenly, it seemed a lot warmer.

    She said “finally” or “lastly” several times at 45 minutes, but on each occasion went on to add another point. People were looking around to see how others were reacting, as children do when you’ve lost them. If half a dozen walk out, then you can too and there’s a rush for the door as everyone’s threshold is passed. Nobody wants to be amongst the half dozen still left to witness how sad our retiree will look whn that happens. A few are surreptitious and can be because they are light-loaded and near the exit. The rest of us have stuff to pack away and don’t want to leave without are areas being tidy.

    When she gets onto the things she won’t miss and speaks about long pointless staff meetings, people shift audibly in their seats. Some pull out mobile phones. She says “this is my revenge because you’re all stuck here now listening to me” she does it as a self-deprecating joke, and we laugh because we’re hoping that she finishes on that note and cuts her losses. She doesn’t.

    People start cheeing at inappropriate moments. The more polite look broodily at the floor as if we were in church. I lean across to two faculty members and remark that this joke would be a lot funnier if I weren’t in it. We snicker. One of them says “I’m never accusing you of talking too long again”.

    The bizarre and ironic thing was that her inability to enagage properly with her audience — in this case her peers — struck directly at the standing of her advice on good teaching practice. Those she praised started to feel embarrassed that been singled out because they were part of adding to the farce. I am no supporter of metaphysics as people know, but right then I’d have liked the magical power to stop her from mentioning me. Luckily, I was up the back and she forgot.

    Her monolog stopped at 72 minutes — once my entire travel time from Epping out into the South West to teach. The Principal couldn’t get onto the floor quickly enough but like the rest of us, he hadn’t felt he could wind her up sooner. Nobody knew for sure whether he should have. I’m still not sure, but I felt sorry for her. In slightly more than one crazy hour, a popular teacher ensured that the last thing we collectively recall about her was that she was self-indulgent and inconsiderate and preachy. I wish I had been close enough to her to step in and stop her doing that, because she was an excellent teacher and I’d liked her. But I wasn’t close enough and apparently nobody else was either. So sad.

  23. Fran Barlow

    Jules

    Fran for someone who thinks metaphysics is a little odd you’ve just summed up the concept of karma very nicely in that last paragraph.

    Thanks so much. It is a fine thing that my karma whispers incessantly into the ear of my dogma.

    ;-)

  24. jules

    Fran @ 22 – in ten years time you’ll still remember she was an excellent teacher who you liked and if you have a little laugh at her last speech it’ll probably be a fond one.

  25. Graham Bell

    Fran @ 20:

    “get pissed at Christmas” comes not far behind the more general “get pissed” anytime and anyplace ethos that is quietly encouraged.

    Heck, that’s stock-standard social control in Australia and has been since the Rum Corps and since the squatters started robbing their workers through the shanty pubs they owned or controlled. If they didn’t keep the populace boozed to the eyeballs, those confounded Fenians “lower orders” would be demanding real wages and challenging their divine-given authority.

    That the scoundrels make a fortune out of causing death, injury, illness, damage – and a massive loss of productivity – is simply the icing on the cake …. their cake. And yes, it is a zero-sum game.

    I’m no wowser; I do like having an occasional drink in good company …. but nothing can force me to like my taxes being wasted subsidizing the booze industry and leaving me and other taxpayers to pick up the bill for the real cost of their “profits”.

    and @ 22:
    Oh come on Fran. She was probably getting decades of pent-up feelings off her chest it what she realized was the last time she would ever have a chance to do so. She might have been a right-royal bain in the pum on that one occasion but if she was pretty good before that, please think kindly of her despite that one lapse.

    Meeting Tactics 1.01. You mentioned people starting to cheer at inappropriate moments: that’s the signal for everybody to start cheering very loudly and continually whilst clapping loudly at chest or chin level as they moved in slowly on the target. Once within reach, some will pat the target softly but enthusiastically on the back (forget what you were told about the definition of assault), others will shake the target’s hands (both hands) vigorously, while yet others will get behind the target and the first wave of attacker and gently but firmly push the throng off the stage and out the door whilst shouting congratulatory slogans.

    Goodness Fran, haven’t you ever broken up a well-staged, highly-orchestrated political meeting in the presence of Police, security wallahs and party officials before? :-)

  26. drsusancalvin

    @22 Fran that was hysterical and heroic, (how does anyone speak extemporaneously for that length of time?) and I would have chewed my leg off to get out of that trap. Where is the fire alarm when you need it?

    Merry Christmas to the LPers out there, lurkers and all, and a happy and safe New Year.

  27. Linda

    Paul Burns @3

    Nothing like grooming the kiddies up early to ignore their gut and learn to be ok with sitting on the creepy man’s lap.

  28. paul burns

    I would have thought Santa was an adult control mechanism to make children behave well. (I think he’s only been around c. 1920s – invented as a sales gimmick by Coca-Cola.)
    As for your interpretation, I suppose that depends on how dirty your mind is. Its not how normal people see Santa Claus.
    Though I’ve always thought he was a bit creepy as in a horror movie.

  29. tigtog

    Paul Burns, the child behavioural modification myth known as Santa Claus/Sinter Klaus/St Nicholas has a much older tradition than the 1920s – it’s just that then was when Cocal Cola made him canonically dressed in red and white – before then his robes were portrayed in many rich jewel colours.

  30. paul burns

    Thanks, tigtog.
    I think the St. Nicholas tradition also had to do with him turning up on Xmas Eve tossing gold coins into the houses of good children and blocks of coal into the houses of bad children. And he certainly didn’t have kids sitting on his knee.
    My memory might be faulty but I think in the early middle ages there was a huge scandal about an italian city state stealing the bones of St. Nicholas from a Greek mainland city state, (Now Turkey) written up in highly entertaining form by the biographer of Charlemagne, (whose name for the moment, escapes me. Its early in the morning and my brain has just begun to work.)

  31. paul burns

    Oops. I have a bit of 30 wrong. The guy concerned was Charlemagne’s biographer, Einhard, but the saint concerned was not Nicholas, but two earlier saints,Marcellinus and Peter. The, to me, rollicking yarn can be found in Charlemagne’s Courtier. The Complete Einhard.

    Have just had a look through my book of Medieval Saints (ed. Mary-Ann Stouck) Unfortunately it doesn’t have a bio of Nicholas, though their are a couple of references to his pilgrim site and one account of an apparition where he encourages people to sing hymns.

    If anybody’s interested in this sort of thing, both books mentioned are fun reads.

  32. Fran Barlow

    Jules

    in ten years time you’ll still remember she was an excellent teacher whom you liked and if you have a little laugh at her last speech it’ll probably be a fond one.

    Very probably. At worst, she has given me this story to remind me that being a worthy human being is no warranty against very poor judgement and self-indulgence. I began fantasising about how she’d respond if she could have watched herself from amongst the audience.

    Cautionary tales can become funny with the effluxion of time.

    Graham Bell:

    She was probably getting decades of pent-up feelings off her chest it what she realized was the last time she would ever have a chance to do so.

    I’d guess that myself, but really, she ought not to have bottled it up for so long. That’s not healthy.

    You mentioned people starting to cheer at inappropriate moments

    People were cheering every time she said “finally” or similar. Someone chipped in with “drink” and ostentatiously began taking a swig from a cup. When she said “I won’t miss that blind that won’t stay down or go up when you want” there was loud cheering and stamping of feet. When she remarked that she must have heard 900,000 bells, someone suggested she go for the million. I thought about starting up a chant — one million bells!.

    Realistically though, we were never going to seize the floor from her, because that would have crossed the line from irritation to open revolt. Five more minutes though and people would have voted with their feet and left.

  33. tigtog

    BTW, although I don’t think Santa is a major part of it, I do think Linda has a point regarding the general societal habit of training kids to ignore their gut in order to be “well-behaved” by submitting to kisses/cuddles from relatives and old family friends etc when the kids don’t want to, and in particular being shamed if they don’t kiss Auntie or Uncle or Grandma. Is forcing intimacy on kids in this way a good way to teach them that they have a right to bodily integrity and having their boundaries respected?

    How can we expect kids to know how to say “no” and that people who ignore their “no” are people who need to be avoided/reported, if their parents and other relatives haven’t given them an effective model for saying no alongside the expectation of being backed up by others when they do? How can kids learn even the concept of bystander intervention against a boundary-pusher, let alone how to do it effectively, if nobody ever intervenes on behalf of them/siblings/cousins/classmates when they express reluctance about being touched and held by adults they only see once or twice a year? Doesn’t forcing kids to kiss/cuddle family members and family friends actually teach them that they are expected to smooth the social fabric for others by second-guessing themselves regarding people whom other people hold in esteem?

    Too many people seem to think that showing others that one’s kids are socially compliant is more important than helping their kids establish self-preserving boundaries, and that’s problematic, surely.

  34. Terangeree

    Paul Burns @ 30:

    According to the Minister for the Environment’s favourite reference work, St. Nicholas was buried in the year 343AD in a city that’s now known as Demre.

    Half of him was exhumed and pinched by Barian sailors in 1087AD, and taken to be re-interred at Bari (in SE Italy).

    The rest of him was souvenired by crusading Venetian sailors in 1100, and taken back to Venice, where they were interred in a specially-built church on the Lido, next-door to Venice’s art-deco General Aviation airport terminal.

  35. Casey

    There be older traditions than the patriarchal Father Christmas. Take my ole drinking buddy “La Befana”, for instance. No one need sit on her lap either.

  36. paul burns

    Apparently there is an elf on the kitchen shelf that scarpers in this vid. I didn’t see it on the shelf but I think I did catch one running under the chair to the viewer’s left.
    I’ve watched this about 10 times by the way and I’m still not sure if I saw anything.

  37. desipis

    paul@28:

    I would have thought Santa was an adult control mechanism to make children behave well. (I think he’s only been around c. 1920s – invented as a sales gimmick by Coca-Cola.)

    Graham@15:

    That said, I do loath the Red Bandit: that exploiter of children and their families, that enforcer of Pester Power, that stormtrooper of greed, that false god of commercialism, that fat-gutted blasphemy ….

    So basically Santa Claus grew up from being a mechanism to control children, to being a mechanism to control adults (“consumers”). I’m not sure about the blasphemy part though, because he sounds just like something supply side jesus would approve of.

  38. Tim Macknay

    You reckon Santa is creepy? You should see his friends.

  39. Casey

    Anyway, my two older witchez came over and made this magic stuff. I’ve eaten seven of them so far. It is a family tradition to make yourself sick on these a few days before Christmas. You are meant to eat them straight off the stove with an alcoholic brew in one hand. It’s a mystery really, but it always makes you feel good.

  40. paul burns

    Casey,
    My mother made those for me when I was a kid. She got the recipe from the Italian fruit shop guy down the road.

  41. Val

    Well reading through some of these, I think Australia must be the naughty child of the world, judging by all the coal we’ve got.

    Take heed of the old tales, Australia, leave it in the ground

  42. Casey

    Really Paul? Were they the sardine combo or a sweet variety?

  43. paul burns

    Casey,
    My memory is that they were savoury.

  44. paul burns

    And they looked exactly like the ones in the picture. It was a shock of recognition thing after so many years.

  45. Fran Barlow

    How interesting!

    Federal judge allows same-sex weddings in Utah to continue

    The federal judge who threw out Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages has refused a state request to block gay weddings while the matter is taken to a high court.

    U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby on Monday denied a request by the state that sought to bar gay weddings until the appeals process is completed.

    State officials are expected to seek action by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court had refused to issue a stay Sunday, saying it would wait until Shelby ruled.

    Shelby last week held that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, setting off a flurry of matrimonial activity as marriage licenses were sought and some weddings took place.

    After the judge’s ruling Monday, officials in some parts of the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who began lining up as early as 6 a.m., according to local media reports.

    {…}

    In a 53-page ruling, Judge Shelby held that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, passed by voters in 2004, violated the right of gay and lesbian couples to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” Shelby wrote. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

    So there you go. In Australia, the citizenry have no constitionally-protected rights of course, but I suspect most people here, if asked, would say that the principles of “due process” and “equal protection before the law” ought to be respected.

    Now it’s clear that in a place where this requirement constrains the law, a properly constituted court has found that barring same sex marriage violates this principle.

    This makes Utah the 18th state to approve gay marriage, following New Mexico just the other day. More than one third of states in the US now have same sex marriage provision.

  46. Val

    Happy season of the summer solstice, all LPerz

  47. jungney

    Fran, I wouldn’t count that decision in Utah as a victory for rationality. Utah is different in very special ways such as the Mormons and the prohibitionist culture (totally dry) both of which factors combine to create a culture in which there is nothing much to do except play basketball and root yourself senseless. The decision you note merely increases the legitimacy of rooting anyone you meet which the Mormons will like a lot.

    My favourite fraction of USA civil war history concerns a Californian contingent who set out for the East coast (to fight on I forget which side) but who never got there because they blundered into Utah which, to their horror, was populated by weirdo polygamist Mormons. They set about teaching them the error of their ways in the usual North American fashion, by waging terrorist war against them.

    You cannot understand Mormonism until you’ve actually seen a Mormon temple. These people are seriously strange. The temple I saw in California was like a hybrid of the Taj Mahal and a crematorium designed by Evelyn Waugh.

  48. Marina Prior

    GLAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRR
    AWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRRAWWWRRR
    AWWWRRRAWWWRRRREEYAHHHIN-EK-SEL-SISS-DAY-AYY-
    YOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Katz

    That was a Federal Court decision. As such, the judge was as immune as it is possible for a judge to be from the pressures of Utah and Mormon politics.

    The 10th Circuit encompasses several western states.

  50. JohnI

    Jungney @46

    Utah isn’t dry. In fact, its liquor stores are operated by the state.

  51. Linda

    Paul Burns@28
    “As for your interpretation, I suppose that depends on how dirty your mind is. Its not how normal people see Santa Claus.
    Though I’ve always thought he was a bit creepy as in a horror movie.”

    I think you misunderstood Paul, because I wasn’t clear enough. When I spoke about grooming children to tolerate the creepy man, I did not actually mean Santa, although I do think santas are creepy, I meant paedophiles. The cultural grooming we impose on children makes a pedo’s life so much easier. Santa is a part of that, as is the other grooming that tig tog mentioned. Sorry if this is not how “normal people” whoever they are when they’re are home, think about Santa. Maybe it should be? Hello royal commission!

    What exactly is a “dirty mind”?

  52. Paul Norton
  53. Graham Bell

    Fran Barlow @ 32:

    we were never going to seize the floor from her, because that would have crossed the line from irritation to open revolt.

    Ha-ha-ha. :-) No, I’m afraid you’ve missed the point of the tactic I mentioned – the audience are so overcome with “joy and enthusiasm” that they “spontaneously” surround the speaker and waft them off the stage. Not only does it bring the speech (and maybe the whole meeting) to an inoffensive if rather noisy end – but even if there are authorities there in force to protect the speaker and maintain order, there is not much they can do other than crowd-control. (Don’t try this tactic in regime run by a brutal dictator though – in could be injurious to your health).

  54. Graham Bell

    Thanks for the links, desipis @ 37 and Tim Macknay @ 38. It wasn’t in the papers or on TV so just when did Krampus get promoted from backbencher to parliamentary secretary?

    Gentlefolk:
    It’s getting late; I need my beauty sleep and the Cat Herding Cabal probably want to sleep in tomorrow morning so I bid all if you good night and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  55. jungney

    Katz @ 49: it may well have been such a decision as you describe however I would maintain that the decision is specific to Utah for the reasons I stated.

    John I: my time in Utah, during which I bought alcohol from guvmint holes in the wall dispensaries, was sufficient to convince me that Utah was a genuine prohibitionist state; that is a dry state. Real freak country, at least to an Aussie.

  56. paul burns

    Linda @ 51,
    Have you ever come across people who always see sexual undertones in something where no sexual undertones exist?

  57. eilish

    paul burns: thinking about stuff you haven’t thought about makes you very uncomfortable. But thinking about it is still a good idea.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  58. Chris

    John I: my time in Utah, during which I bought alcohol from guvmint holes in the wall dispensaries, was sufficient to convince me that Utah was a genuine prohibitionist state; that is a dry state. Real freak country, at least to an Aussie.

    Restaurants are also able to serve alcohol in Utah if they have liquor licence.

    I wonder if anyone has done any studies comparing night street violence in Utah versus other states that have more permissive alcohol laws? I don’t think Australia’s culture of alcohol as a central part of celebrations and every day life is something to be particularly proud of .

    The cultural grooming we impose on children makes a pedo’s life so much easier.

    Is the hugging/Santa thing any much different (just a specific case I think) to the cultural training we impose of a certain level of deference to authority? Telling our children they have to brush their teeth, or have a shower, or go to sleep, even if they really don’t want to at the time. But these still have some have fundamental implications around someone’s control of their own body or what they do with it.

    I think most of us encourage our children to conform to society and defer to authority in some ways (eg. yes you really must go to school today, and no you can’t just wander out of class if you think there is something more interesting to do). And there are downsides where authority is misused. But that doesn’t mean there is an overall loss to society and individuals to taking this approach.

  59. Paul Norton

    Paul Burns @56:

    Linda @ 51,
    Have you ever come across people who always see sexual undertones in something where no sexual undertones exist?

    This in turn raises the question of whether there is anything in which not a single person will ever see sexual undertones.

    In relation to something like the Bill Henson photography brouhaha of a few years back, that was being driven by people who only saw sexual undertones in the photos and could not imagine that other people could see the photographs without seeing sexual undertones and without only/mainly seeing sexual undertones.

  60. paul burns

    Yes. It does become a very interesting exercise in how one perceives the world.

  61. jungney

    Chris @ 58 – straw man! In saying that my own experiences of Utah (yeah, been there, it is weird) as a dry state were unusual for an Aussie I wasn’t by any degree imaginable advocating irresponsible use of alcohol and nor was I accepting of our culture of street violence which, as an RN of more than thirty years standing, I abhor.

    Anyhoo…

  62. Chris

    jugney @ 61 – I wasn’t suggesting that you were advocating the irresponsible use of alcohol. I was thinking out loud that Utah could provide an interesting comparison against similar states where alcohol is more easily available as it may give some indication to the influence that alcohol has. Does the easy availability of alcohol increase the occurence of certain types of crime, or is it just as an excuse used by offenders and the crimes were going to occur anyway?

    I think think its likely that irresponsible use of alcohol is an unavoidable side effect whenever alcohol is accessible (whether it be legal or not). But there is a very large of regulatory options between total prohibition and the almost 24/7 availability like we have in Australia.

    I’m yet to be convinced that Australia’s approach is the optimal, but more troubling to me is the culture of alcohol being a requirement to everyday life. It’s become an integral part of sport and celebrations – eg alcohol made available for adults at kids birthday parties. At times it’s almost like the consumption of alcohol is seen as something that an adult should do, rather than something an adult can choose to do.

    Anyway probably enough ranting from me for today :-)

    I’ve travelled through Utah myself as well. More unusual to me than the lack of alcohol on menus was that most restaurants seemed to list plain glasses of milk on the menu. Oh and the biggest chicken fried steak I have ever had!

  63. jungney

    ok Chris, we’re on the same page :) Today’s street violence is scary. There was nothing like it when I was a teen. Moreover the alcoholisation of sport, just the nastiest side of the commodification of sport, simply turns me off sport.

    Paul Norton @ 59, comrade, I’m pleased you’ve raised the Henson matter as for some time I’ve wanted the opportunity to address why, as a vic of child sex abuse, I was alert to his photography and why I think prosecuting him was the correct thing to do.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate here so I’ll post on the open thread. I won’t defend what I say. I’ll just make a statement to broaden the discussion around Henson.

  64. Casey

    that was being driven by people who only saw sexual undertones in the photos and could not imagine that other people could see the photographs without seeing sexual undertones and without only/mainly seeing sexual undertones.

    That’s cause there were sexual undertones in the liminality of adolescence which Henson portrayed, and he portrayed the (sexual) menace of the unruly wild Australian landscape (far far away from the order of Europe – a regular motif in Aust lit) ! That’s why it made people cray cray!!! The point that should be looked at is this: was it wrong to point it out? And what was he pointing out exactly? Some of those images were dark and spoke of menace, lifeless girls being carried by boys into the dark of the bush. But they were beautiful too, in a Picnic at Hanging Rock kind of way. At any rate, Henson spoke a deeply uncomfortable truth if you ask me – that childhood is rife with sexuality.

    Geeeez. Eros people!! Eros and Thanatos is everywhere.

  65. jungney

    Ah, it’s on the current overflow thread.

  66. Graham Bell

    Jungney @ 63, Chris and all:

    Today’s street violence is scary. There was nothing like it when I was a teen.

    My oath!

    There used to be real knuckle-ons and knock-down-drag-out punch-ups, of course, but nothing like what happens today (and no, I’m not reminiscing about a wonderful time that never existed).

    A lot of today’s violence is completely unprovoked, purposeless and it erupts so abruptly that you can’t take evasive or defensive action – and it is a hell of a lot more vicious.

    Everyone seems to blame street drugs and the malevolent examples set by violent movies – no doubt they do play an important part in the randomness and sheer viciousness of today’s violence – but they are far from being the whole answer, so then, what other causes are there?

  67. Graham Bell

    Oh heck. My previous comment here was way off topic …. I do hope everyone is having a nice Christmas and that tomorrow’s family occasions – whether the family is intact or broken – go well …. and I hope those who are not having a family occasion are filled with delights of another sort and have a thoroughly enjoyable day.

  68. paul burns

    GB @ 66,
    I’ve responded to you and anybody else who might want to join in in a discussion re violence on our streets on the Humbug Xmas thread.

  69. jules

    Its a bit late but Merry Christmas to everyone that cares, Have a Great Solstice to everyone that cares about that and Happy Holidays or Whatever Else to everyone else.