Category Archives: Life

“True Love”

Here’s a philosophical question for you. Which of the following would you rather hear your partner say about you:

  • if you changed your views completely, stood for the opposite of what you do now, or your personality changed significantly, I’d still love you above all others.
  • if you changed your views completely, stood for the opposite of what you do now, or your personality changed significantly, I might not still love you above all others.

On first glance, the former sounds more romantic, more indicative of “true love”. But I reckon actually the second is deeper and more touching. Because the first is that the person basically loves, what, your name? What you look like? If they still love you above all others even if you become, essentially, a completely different person, does that not mean that their love now isn’t really for who you actually are?

Option 1: you can rely on this partner to be there for you regardless, because there’s nothing you could do that would cause her to stop “loving” you.

Option 2: you know that your partner actually loves you, not other stuff about you.

I think I’d prefer to hear the second one. I’d prefer my partner loved me for who I am, and if I abandoned that, if I became someone else, it would cause her to reassess.

I can condemn the Italian captain’s “cowardice” because of all the sinking ships I’ve bravely reboarded

I have been thoroughly cheered by the vigorous denunciation around the world of Captain Schettino abandoning the sinking Costa Concordia cruise liner whilst passengers were still aboard. Allegedly he refused to get back on the ship until either all the passengers were safely off, or until it sank and he could drown with those left behind. So now he’s both still alive and the target of global contempt and condemnation for his failure.

Cheered because I’m assuming that all those mocking Schettino for his “cowardice” have, of course, done similarly brave things in the past themselves. A majority have probably got back on a sinking ship so they can speak from experience, and those who haven’t definitely would have in other circumstances had the courage to stand up, when their body and mind were telling them to panic, and literally taken on board (so to speak) the serious and imminent likelihood of a painful, horrible death, in order to save others.

That so many people have apparently already done this is immensely reassuring. (It’s also reassuring to see how many have, apparently, survived their self-sacrifice so they can now commentate on others’.)

I refuse to countenance the other possibility – that most of the commentary is by self-righteous hypocrites savagely pontificating from the safety of their keyboards about how others they’ve never met, but who hold jobs they’ve apparently romanticised as requiring a willingness to stay aboard a sinking vessel to drown, should be held to a standard of self-sacrifice that they’ve ever managed themselves. That they’ve convinced themselves that somehow tearing down someone else for “cowardice” makes them implicitly more brave themselves – that the more vindictive and nasty they are about this man’s failure, the more it makes them appear to be the sort of heroic people who we should admire. The more they differentiate themselves from this person’s failure, the further from such a failure they must be themselves, even though that doesn’t actually make any sense.

I really hope that’s not the case. Because that would be horrible:

The captain of the Costa Concordia is being pilloried for abandoning his ship and passengers, but would we have shown more courage?

COURAGE is a virtue and heroism is admirable, but do we have a right to demand them? Which of us cannot look back on his or her own life and remember decisions or compromises made, or silences kept because of cowardice, even when the penalties for courage were negligible?

If we are cowardly in small things, shall we be brave in large? Have we the right to point the finger until we have been tested ourselves? When we read of the seemingly lamentable conduct of the captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, who left his passengers to their fate, do we say, ”There but for the grace of God go I?”

No, we’re all heroes. All of us condemning the Italian captain have proven ourselves in the same or a very similar situation. We’re not shameless hypocrites!

Meanwhile, apparently the Coast Guard official who bravely climbed aboard the stricken vessel putting his life at risk to save others berated the distressed captain over the phone has become an “overnight star” in Italy.

The rest of us ordinary mortals are left to hope that one day we might have the guts to order, from a safe distance, someone else to sacrifice their life – whilst shouting at them and calling them a cock.

It’s a wonder any of us were ever born

How to antagonise a certain older relative, suggestion #47: mock people of the past for nasty attitudes about certain other of their contemporaries, attitudes we should apparently forgive and treat with respect because back then everybody (except for the marginalised group itself, and sometimes even they) did it.

Today’s examples, courtesy of Retronaut: Vintage ad sexism and Tips for Single Women, 1938. (Follow the links for the images.)

“Don’t be familiar with your escort by caressing him in public. Any open show of affection is in bad taste, usually embarrasses or humiliates him.”

EWWW! Affection from a woman! How HUMILIATING!

Merry annual gift-giving family celebration!

And a happy arbitrary calendar change holiday, too.

PS Have you ever got a bit stroppy on your birthday thinking about your advancing years and chucked a temper tantrum involving hurling hailstones at an entire city? No?

I told you it wasn’t okay, Jebus.

Once upon a time there was a lovely little sausage called Charlotte

Seriously? That’s a Charlotte Bronte manuscript?

It looks like Baldrick’s novel.

Sanctimony Central

No, not this leftist blog (we’re Sanctimony Junction) – this thread at on extra-marital “affairs” and what to do about them.

You could spend a weekend unpacking the assumptions and prejudices and self-righteousness packed into those comments.

PS Is it surprising that someone would’ve been sad to see the end of Boreanaz? His leaving certainly improved Buffy.

Ticket to what?

Oh, look. The Age has discovered modern board games.

Although I presume it’s buried in the print edition where no-one will see it.

An easy choice

Okay, so the team of footballers I arbitrarily “support” (Melbourne) is of course nowhere near the Grand Final, again, but that doesn’t mean the meaningless choice of for which team to “barrack” today is a difficult one.

Perhaps this illustration of the two teams will illustrate the reason.

The Geelong team:

The Collingwood team:

It’ll be a tough match, but I think the human beings who play for Geelong will have the edge in terms of ball skills and possessions, not just because their players are mobile and have two arms each compared with the Collingwood players’ one. Not just because they have hearts, and have never worked to relentlessly break their supporters’. But because the relationship of Collingwood’s supporters in the crowd, its paying customers, with those players is such a love-hate one, so damaged, so fraught with regret and anger. By the end of the game, many of the Collingwood punters will be wishing they’d been strong, that they’d resisted the flashing lights, that they’d stayed home and saved their money.

I don’t even want to know what’ll happen to Collingwood’s precious pokies if they lose the club the premiership tomorrow. No matter how many coins Eddie pops into them, the game will still be lost, all that money down the drain. How he’s going to explain that to his family when he gets home?

Tip for next time, Collingwood: try focusing on players, not machines to rob your supporters.

PS: It’s not clear from the internet – just what is the Melbourne Football Club’s view on the pokie reforms? If it’s opposed, then I’m not barracking for it any more.

UPDATE: Could Tony Abbott’s Grand Final address have been any more petty?

Government to enforce AFL monopoly on scalping?

A nasty consequence of the pro-AFL “anti-scalping” laws passed by the previous government:

About eight weeks ago Michael… thought he had done well getting a premium ticket package which included pre and post match entertainment for $2170…. After he managed to to get a ticket as an AFL member for $138, he tried to sell his package ticket on eBay for $20 less than he had paid.

Yesterday he received a curt message from the AFL’s legal department cancelling his ticket with no compensation. He also discovered he faces possible charges for suspected scalping, an offence outlawed by the state government in 2006.

Net profit for the AFL: $2170. Net loss to Michael: $2170. Justification for this transfer of money from an ordinary (if apparently obscenely wealthy) citizen to the (much more obscenely wealthy) AFL? None that makes any sense.

If the anti-scalping laws were supposed to stop profiteering off Grand Final tickets, clearly the AFL’s $2170 tickets demonstrate how poorly they’re working. If they were supposed to further entrench corporate privilege at the expense of ordinary people… well, then mission accomplished. It’s the nasty way non-physical property is going these days. You don’t own the software you’ve paid for – just a “licence”. You don’t own the full game you’ve paid for – just the portion of content that isn’t locked away with a single-use code. You don’t own the tickets you’ve paid for – they can be cancelled.

Choice nails the real substance of the “anti-scalping” laws, in which Parliament enforces the privileges of a monopoly in screwing over its citizens:

Choice’s director of campaigns, Christopher Zinn, said he believed the problem of scalping was overblown by sports bodies like the AFL who wanted to monopolise ticket sales… ”We think there should be a legal secondary market so people can sell their tickets if they are ill or can’t attend for some other reason.”

If someone’s sick, why exactly should the AFL just get to keep their money and resell the seat? How is that just?

Here’s hoping the current government reviews the anti-scalping laws urgently. Here’s betting they won’t.

ELSEWHERE: Geelong’s principled support for the pokie reforms makes it the easy team to back on Saturday.

It’s not like sport existed before pokies

The AFL and NRL are courageously pointing out that sport will cease to exist if poker machine operators are required to give gamblers the ability to limit their losses with pre-commitment limits the gamblers themselves set.

Well, quite. Who doesn’t remember how the invention of sport followed the invention of pokies? Who doesn’t know a footballer who’ll abandon the game the moment that money isn’t coming from the pockets of the poor? Who doesn’t know, deep inside, that the activity of playing physical games of skill and competition will cease the minute that pokies have, shudder, pre-commitment facilities?

A highlight of the 2010 AFL Grand Final

And congratulations on the industry that profiteers on the misery of the poor for having the courage to run the same contradictory argument that the defenders of polluters are running against the carbon price – the “it will be completely ineffective but will simultaneously be devastating” line. They’re claiming the money they’ll lose – money that comes, by definition, from problem gamblers who as a result of the reforms manage to limit their losses – will be enormous; but that it will also make no difference whatsoever to the gamblers. That’s right – money only counts when it’s them losing it, not when problem gamblers do.

It must be difficult for that nation’s media to report such rubbish without actually laughing at it. It’s not possible that they don’t see the obvious contradiction. Which makes their discipline, sitting through press conferences by the pokie lobby without calling them on the absurdity, so impressive.

Hopefully the pokie industry can thank them properly when the time comes to splash huge sums of money on a shamelessly dishonest advertising campaign.

PS: Thank you to the Australian Christian Lobby for having the decency of going much harder on gay marriage than problem gambling. We were worried that you might be more concerned with the thing that actually hurts people.

UPDATE: Um, don’t do a google image search for “pokies”. It’s not what you think.

UPDATE #2: Leigh Sales actually did ask that question on tonight’s 7.30 on ABC. The Clubs Australia guy refused to answer it, and Leigh didn’t push him, but credit where it’s due. It’s a step towards journalism in Australia.