Sunday, April 17, 2011

The 'f' Word

Yesterday, we went to a play called Popcorn. The lead role (played by a friend) was this crazy talking southern guy, who, along with his girlfriend, was going around LA killing people. It was sort of like Natural Born Killers meets Neil Simon. The theatre where we went to is located in an area of Sydney called Kings Cross, which reminds me of the Tenderloin in San Francisco - not as bad, but it is similar with its titty bars and junkies. When we first moved to Sydney, there was a series of ‘glassings’ in some of the pubs around Kings Cross - total jerk off straight guys, who once they got drunk would get into fights and shove a schooner glass into someone’s face. Lovely. 

After the play, a group of us wandered down to a pub located on the main strip. One thing I still can’t get used to here is that the majority of the pubs are these giant corporate monstrosities. It’s like those hideous corporate food chains found all over the US. We were there for a bit when one of the guys we were with noticed that the group of mates across from us where doing poppers. There was probably 4 or 5 lads (all straight) passing it around. A couple of them noticed us watching and they fell out laughing. When I started going to bars, I used to do poppers on the dance floor. It wasn’t until many years later that I discovered that people also used them during sex…silly me. So, anyway, there was something (ironic?) funny about a group of gay guys watching a group of straight guys passing around amyl nitrite in a pub that looked liked T.G.I. Fridays! To add to the bizarreness, David had stepped out for a smoke and when he came back in he said that he had been called a faggot by two different guys while he was outside. This is funny because of all of the faggots I know, he is the least faggy.

Many hours later, as I walked down Oxford Street towards home, I passed a group of silly young queens. One of them said something like – I wouldn’t touch that faggot – he was looking at me. I burst out laughing and kept walking.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Take-Aways from Ayn Rand

Oh dear gawd, Ayn Rand is all up in pop culture again with the Atlas Shrugged movie opening in the US on tax day, which has sparked articles like this hence discussions like this. For me, Atlas Shrugged was a painful read. Pedantic didacticism can only entertain for so long. I found the The Fountainhead to be brilliant (I read it first). Brilliant in that I think Howard Roark's court speech to be much better than John Galt's radio address. Meanwhile, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul uses his time at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to discuss the plot of another Ayn Rand novel, Anthem (funny, he's a big fan of hers and apparently was named after her, but he can't seem to pronounce her name correctly...hint, it rhymes with the word mine). I tried to read Anthem a few years after my obsession with AR had worn off....I made it through 40 odd pages and tossed it. There comes a point in your life when you realise you have to let go of mommy. In the end, all rationalist systems become totalitarian, every last bloody one of 'em, including hers.

My take-aways from Ayn Rand: moral systems CAN exist without god (many of her new fans seem to keep glossing over the fact that she was an atheist); everyone has the right to self determination, everyone; capitalism isn't the scariest thing on the planet (though a number capitalists are complete jackasses and/or criminals); humans are not rational beings, yes, not is the key word - I know, the irony.

Ayn Rand would find me despicable....what I wouldn't give to have a night out with that women...I'd certainly show her a thing or two.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mondays, Holidays, Politics, and Homophobic PMs

This Monday is painful. Could the hours go by any slower? It occurred to me earlier that it has been a while since I’m written anything of substance. I think the only thing I can think of these days is the upcoming holidays. I’m definitely ready for the time off, and I’m ready for my yearly dose of America. I’ve finally accepted that none of my friends or family is going to visit while we are here. And that’s okay. My best friend has lived in Germany for 10 years and I have never managed to go see her. We have promised once we return to the US, we will put the trip at the top of the ‘to do’ list. Travelling to Europe from Australia is about a 30 hour ordeal, which doesn’t sound like the most appealing of activities. I’m so ready to move back to San Francisco, but I try not to discuss it that much...especially, with my friends here in Sydney. I think there’s nothing worse than someone trashing ‘your town’ so I don’t want my eagerness to move back to be considered an indictment against Sydney or Australia in general. I’m sure most people don’t give a shit one way or the other, but it is something I’m sensitive to...perhaps it’s part of expat angst..? Honestly, if it wasn’t for my deep attachments to the Bay Area I wouldn’t want to leave here (something I dare not tell my family...oops, I guess I just did!). The US in general creeps me out now. The extreme rhetoric on the right coupled with the spinelessness on the left leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I’m at that point in my life where I want to give up politics again (when Clinton signed the Defence of Marriage Act, I said I would never vote again in a Presidential election; when W ran for his second term, I broke that promise). Obama getting us involved in another war has been the last straw for me...very disappointing, certainly not the change I thought I was voting for. Speaking of being disappointed in leaders, Julia Gillard (PM of Australia) is an atheist. Interestingly, she has come out against same sex marriage as un-Australian:
 I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status … I know that people might look at me and think that’s something that they wouldn’t necessarily expect me to say but that is what I believe.
I’m on the record as saying things like I think it’s important that people understand their Bible stories. Not because I’m an advocate of religion — clearly I’m not — but once again, what comes from the Bible has formed such an important part of our culture.
This is truly a WTF moment. More info can be read here. Honestly, the arrogance of her statements is astounding to me. I mean I expect such bullshit from religious folks, but from a fellow atheist?

Can you say homophobe?