Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wake up, Australia

It's been a little while since I mounted a crusade on this blog. In fact, I've only ever mounted one from memory and that seems to have either been very effective, or so unimportant that it dropped from view anyway.

This one, however, is an issue I have come to feel very strongly about. As all of you will know from her blog, Nai, of Legend of a Cowgirl fame, has recently completed a month of working in the Pitjantjara Lands in Central Australia and has written two of the most confronting and evocative blogs I have ever read. They are the thoughts and emotions of a young white woman working in an indigenous community in 2007. The two posts, entitled Welcome to the Hellmouth (Parts 1 & 2) show her journey from feeling the responsibility of a gentle, comfortable, white outsider to respect and work with the community

"I like to think (and man, I hope I'm right) that I am in a different category from the reactionary right because I can see the 'how's' and the 'whys' not just the mess that needs fixing, but I could be wrong." (Part 1)

to the shock, anger and despair for the current (almost?) irreversible situation that indigenous Australian communities are in:

"Here is another basic timeline: Stone-age hunter-gatherer culture, invasion and disempowerment, dehumanisation (not citizens until 1967!), indentured and forced workers, limited education possibilities for the majority of indigenous people and then; "Here, have a multi-million dollar corporation and welfare/guilt money- but don't fuck it up". (Part 2)

If you only read one blog post about the current state of indigenous Australia, read this one. It's in two parts, and I strongly urge you to read them both:

Welcome to the Hellmouth (Part 1)
Welcome to the Hellmouth (Part 2)

If you have a blog, an email, a large-readership print publication, whatever, please try to direct your readers to this fascinating and infuriating piece.


GTH The points go to River for getting in first and fastest in this week of multiple blog entries! They were ginger pork dumplings from Beijing and the most delicate things I've ever eaten.


  1. So did you go to Beijing for the dumplings or did you get them somewhere here in Adelaide? Because they sound delicious and I'd like to try them.
    clicking on the links to read Nai's posts now.

  2. Alas, these are Beijing dumplings.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on Nai's article!

  3. Left quite a long comment on Nai's article so if you don't mind hopping on over there.........

    That's a very dusty dry field in your header this time. Wish it would rain out there where they need it.

  4. Thanks for linking this article Franzy. I'll be working on editing it all into a neater format for other mediums as soon as I can.

  5. Wow..... I've printed off Nai's articles and need to read through them a few more times.

    Will post again soon. Good on Nai and you too for encouraging the rest of us to read it and spread the word - *I* certainly will be.

    Stay tuned for a better response about her articles.

    PS - it is amusing to see your little response picture (wearing clogs in Amsterdamn?) especially when responding such a serious issue!)

  6. Milly - I look forward to your thoughts!
    I believe one always needs a silly photo of themselves on the internet.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32