A Squiz At Australia'sMelbourne, Australia


23 April 1999
Editor: Harold HarkVolume 1 Number 10

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HARK'S BARKS by Harold Hark

The Age Of Nihilism Comes To Littleton

The trauma of the survivors at Columbine High will last them for the rest of their lives; they may be damaged beyond repair. Unlike victims of war, who at least have an enemy with stated hatreds to help define the madness they are being subjected to, the survivors of random violence are left in an existential void whose horror far exceeds the wildest nightmares ever endured. For them, life--which once included cheerful or grumpy Saturday morning breakfasts of bacon, eggs, the aroma of coffee, and of goals, modest or great--must truly be meaningless now, a sentence to be served with numb disbelief and disillusion.

It is in America that the concept of random violence was born. Random slaughters to alleviate boredom or to avenge petty misunderstandings have been occurring there for decades. When Ronald Reagan announced that it was every American's constitutional right to bear arms, he was effectively pronouncing the death sentence on thousands of America's innocents. The proliferation of America's gun culture is acting like a cancer on the national psyche. Michael Ignatieff describes the centuries of Serbian resentment at the pain inflicted on them by outsiders as having made that nation ill. The same could be said of Americans. They have been made sick from the psychological fragmentation that allows the trumpeting of hard core Christian values while stripping those same values of meaning with the right to take lives.

Guns are manufactured for one reason only, to destroy life. Aside from the military, the police, and farmers requiring weapons for culls (hunters are little more than embarrassing throw backs ), anyone who wants to own a gun should understand that their ultimate intent is to destroy someone's life if it becomes necessary. And with ownership, that possibility becomes reality with just a pull of the trigger, whether in self defence or because of a neighbourhood quarrel.

We are not living in interesting times, as the Chinese curse goes, we are living in a world that is going insane. No one is safe: the veneer of security is cracking from pressures emanating from everywhere. Tribal wars all over the world; governments whose anti-social policies are fomenting a violent rise in crime on the way to revolution; catastrophic weather patterns (cyclones and tornadoes are on the increase, but the recent hailstorm in Sydney is a more worrisome indication), and viral plagues (there is a new outbreak of Ebola in the Congo) are all contributing to a global summing up: What have we done to deserve this? HH


by Gort Slypesunder

Censorship On The Move

LIBERAL PARTY HEAVYWEIGHT TONY ABBOT wrote in The Australian, "The role of government is not to lead an industry [the Internet] that is hyper-democratic and inherently uncontrollable … but to make intelligent use of information technology so that it becomes part of the ordinary experience of ordinary people." Then why is fellow Liberal Richard Alston pressing ahead with legislation to control it? In 1998 the CSIRO reported that Internet censorship would be impossible to carry out and that any attempt to do so would give Australia the reputation of being an unreliable supplier of e-commerce. It is now known that Richard Alston read this report well in advance of his current fast-track crusade to censor the Net. In spite of the fact that he knows it is impossible, he is going on with his lamebrained attempt to make his bill law by 30 June. Who is he appealing to? Brian Harridine and John Howard's beloved goose-stepping Mainstream is who. It is safe to say that this demographic are still largely computer illiterate but, like the missionary in Sadie Thompson, once they have access to the Net you can bet the first thing they'll do is go for Sadie and the porn sites. And won't they be pissed off then! Richard Alston and the Liberals are hurling Australia back to the dark ages in order to satisfy their obsession with the GST. But hey, the Enlightenment didn't spring from centuries of peace and love, man.

ALLAN GRAY'S BOOK, Forest-Friendly Building Timbers, was recently forced off the shelves of the BBC Hardware chain under threat of legal action by The National Association of Forest Industries. NAFI claims the book contravenes sections of the Trade Practices Act because it encourages builders to substitute native forest timber with material from pine plantations, forest waste and other sources. NAFI interprets this as misleading information about a competitor. We suspect NAFI is full of that well known substance the Pope's mentor requires us to excrete on a daily basis, and our instant solidarity is with Allan Gray, mainly because the evidence shows that old-growth forests are being decimated. What is ultimately at stake here is free speech, the freedom of Allan Gray to state the obvious, and who better to quote from on the subject than Terry Lane. "Those who cherish and defend free speech do not require that the speech they are defending be true or even polite or nice. Freedom abused is certainly shocking, but the alternative is more appalling. We either permit people to say what they 'believe' to be true or we appoint a Grand Censor to license everything that is permitted to be said and to ban that which is not." Let's hope that Alan Fells and the ACCC get it right this time.

BRIAN "SUPERWOWSER" HARRIDINE, heading a coalition of Bulldogs on the Bite For Christ, has insured that adults throughout the land can now pretend they are toddlers. Yes, even the sanitised bits of the naughty bits are being removed from our TV screens, along with the "F" word, which flourished, like most freedoms, for a short time indeed. In yet another bribe to obtain the Tasmanian Weevil's vote on the GST, the Howard Government has cut short three years of waffling on a proposed code for self-regulation in the television industry. Presto! its law. But, what the hell, the Anglo-Saxon world has never been one to regard sex as, God help us, fun. You've got to go to swarthy climes like Italy to view on tele what adults have been doing day after day, year after year, decade after decade, century after … and so forth. Or the Internet. But Brian is working on that one too, with the aid of Mr See Above. What a lovely little joke it would be on Brian, if someone posing as a Liberal Party representative sent him a call girl in gratitude.

THE LATEST OF INNUMERABLE ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE DISSENT in Victoria comes from the Deputy Premier, Pat McNamara, the country bumpkin who takes over when Jeff is off selling himself to fellow hucksters around the world. It turns out Pat (who recently claimed, on behalf of his wowie-zowie expertise on the subject, that the world needs genetic food to prevent starvation) told the Glenelg Region Water Authority to sack senior manager Patrick Kempton for criticising the Government's plan to privatise water. Pat's denial of interference will be tested in court, as Mr Kempton is planning to sue him for inducing the authority to breach his contract.

PROFESSOR ALLAN PATIENCE has had his e-mail account disconnected by Victoria University of Technology because he criticised VUT's decision to take a $100,000 corporate box at Docklands Stadium at a time when the university has contracted out mailroom operations to save money. In an e-mail to staff, Patience cited the university's "detached management structure" in making decisions. He went on to say, "This [box] will enable us to entertain 'clients' (it would be unwise to read 'students' here)." His e-mail was cut off shortly thereafter. Reasons given included harassment, intimidation, denigration and defamation of the university community. GS

Serb Nationalists and Coalition Supporters Are Equally Blind


After a Hard Day of
Crimes Against Democracy:


Australia's answer to Neville Chamberlain has a whee of a time playing in the Scully Arcade of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Department. There, with electronically rotating suns to elicit his squeals of delight, and lots of clocks showing him the time in all sorts of places like Belgrade and Paris, where he knows a posh resto no one else has heard of, and banks of telephones to say nice but stern things to naughty tyrants, and whiteboards to keep Play Station scores on, and recently rehabilitated public servants to advise him on what on earth to do next, Little Lord Downer claps his hands with a glee over the power he thought he would never have again after his stint as gormless leader, DIFF, and those fishnet stockings. (Apologies to Tony Wright.) GS


The Stig Helmer Award For Unscrupulous Slavering Spite:

PETER "The Gunsel" REITH

In Conversation with offsider HENCH HOLLOGRASP

"Duhh, hey, Peytuh, who'll we kick th'shit outa t'day?"
"The unions, of course. Don't be a knob."
"But-uh, Peytuh, we already done that."
"Not by a long shot. Get out the phone book, look 'em up."
"Duhh, y'right Peytuh. Here's one called 'Union Dry Cleaners.'"
"Socialist scum! Call a press conference."


Graffito Extraordinaire:

"Shoot a shareholder today"

(Ed Note: Seen off Johnston St, Collingwood. The PPF does not endorse violence of any kind.)

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