"Humor is a funny way of being serious"
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Copyright© 2001-2010, Renato Obeid
"Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.”
-Jane Perrone, The Guardian
Tuesday, May 01, 2001
MOY DAY, MOY DAY!
May Day anti-globalization demonstrations held around the world.
On the television news this evening, I saw images of the Australian protests ? Australian kids quibbling with police over demarcation lines "your permit says you can protest here but not there ? listen to moy, look at moy!"
And then I saw some of the protests in Europe ? Molotov cocktail throwing rioters battling against armed police, tanks and teargas.
Now that's a protest/riot!
Unlike our version where you get a permit beforehand ? "excuse me Mr. "The Man", may I protest on such and such a day between such and such a time?"
Whoever heard of permit applying revolutionaries?
Can you imagine a Mr.V.I. Lenin sending in an application to Czar Nicholas II for a revolution permit - "dear Mr.II, may I please have a revolution permit to overthrow your regime?"
Just as "the revolution will not be televised"*, it also won't be permitted! (actually, it will be strictly forbidden!)
If Australia wants to compete on the world stage, as it always says it does, it's going to have to do a lot better than that!
How can we ever look a Northern Irishman or South Korean** in the face again?
But nearly all of the protesters have one thing in common ? they're part-time revolutionaries and fulltime hypocrites.
They'll protest against globalization and then they'll go off to McDonalds and have a Big Mac for lunch and go home and watch Foxtel and worry about their taxes.
A friend of mine took the day off from his $150,000 a year job at a multinational bank to protest against er?um?$150,000 a year paying multinational banks in the 2000 Melbourne S11 protests!
(in his defense, he's since quit that job)
*How will we know about it then? ? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody televises it, did it still fall?
**Asians are pretty adept at rioting too, particularly the South Koreans and Taiwanese.
Although the Taiwanese are not as good at street riots as the South Koreans are, preferring instead to specialize in parliament riots.
Sometimes I think that Taiwanese parliamentarians and Channel Nine are in collusion so that the Channel Nine Evening News can close their bulletin with footage of rioting Taiwanese parliamentarians ? the classic news-ending footage (when images of cars crashing and bursting into flames at Grand Prix races or cute newborn animals frolicking at the zoo aren?t available).
I was talking to a friend of mine today and she was saying how my aunty here spoils me, home cooked Lebanese meals etc, as does my mother back in Lebanon and that I can go anywhere in the world and get that sort of treatment.
"Hey, that?s globalization, the New World Order" was my response.
I telephoned Guy today to wish him a happy May Day.
It's not as inappropriate as it sounds ? Guy isn?t the workers enemy, as this anecdote, straight out of a happy version of "Bonfire of the Vanities", will verify.
When I was in Melbourne, Guy and I went on one of our drives back to the '"hood".
It was about 10.30 PM on a Thursday night, driving through Williamstown and past the dockyards, we saw a group of striking workers from the dockyards, camping out around a campfire, on a picket at the gates.
So Guy, the confident well-dressed businessman in his multi-thousand dollar Mercedes, pulls over and asks them what the story is.
He then asked them whether they wanted any beers and, surprisingly enough just as the Pope is Catholic and children piss in the swimming pool, they said yes.
So we drove off on an emergency dash to the nearby bottle shop and got them two slabs* of VB ? the workers beer, go back to the dockyards and distribute the beer to the picketers who mill around shaking our hands, asking us questions (who we are, what we do?) and explaining their version of the affair.
Suffice to say, we made some friends that night ? they'll probably be telling their grandchildren this story which will become the stuff of union legend.
There's probably a law against that somewhere ? inebriating strikers or something or other (laws concerning alcohol and motorists are the only laws Australian parliaments seem to make).
*A "slab" is Australian for a carton containing twenty-four bottles or cans.
Anthony and I were sitting around at 4.00am one morning watching TV when Anthony turned to me and said "do you realize that we've got another fifty years to kill?"
That is the most accurate summation of both of our lives and our attitudes and Weltanschauungs that I've ever heard or thought of and probably that he's ever heard or thought of too.
It's no secret that comedians like Anthony and wannabe satirists like me are a pretty miserable depressive bunch – life is often so stupid, miserable, boring, banal and pointless that the best way to cope with it is to make fun of it, the only thing we can do is make fun of it.
I think that such people often have the truest and most accurate insight into life – life is so often just a bad joke, so let's just show it for what it is!
‘’The best way to defeat the devil is to mock him’’ as C.S. Lewis observed.
Comedy is a very unfunny business!
I learnt that on my last visit here, the "comedy tour" in 1998, when I spent a lot of time on tour with Anthony and the "crew".
This visit has been the "dance tour" - I've been spending a lot of time with Matt and his inthemix (dance music website) colleagues and their retinue of DJ's etc.
Whilst I enjoy that and other ventures into town, I also like being on the last train out of Sydney – heading back to my Campbelltown redoubt (just as in Lebanon I like to go back to my mountain redoubt in Harisa).
The last train out of Sydney's almost gone.
My verdict on dance music – it's nothing to sing and dance about.
And if you must sing and dance, then just play the record and shut up! – playing records is essentially what these DJ's are doing when you take away all the carrying-on and hype.
Jeff Mills (who I met during my adventures in danceland!) whacks a soundtrack onto a 1920's black and white movie, "Metropolis" (I attended the Sydney premiere! – "Dude, Where's My Car?" wins hands down) and then goes on a world tour to tell everyone about it!
I'm not a huge fan of "Seinfeld" – if I want to watch whining Jews I can just watch CNN.
Just one of several examples of CNN's pro-Israeli bias – they recently reported on some sort of Islamic conference held in Tehran which heard "controversial remarks" about the true extent of the Holocaust from Ayatollah Khamenei.
Now news must be looked at within its context - within the context of an Islamic meeting in Tehran, those comments surely weren't controversial.
In fact, in that context, not making remarks like that would be controversial.
Australians will never want for furniture.
There is so much furniture in this country and so many furniture purveyors.
And the proprietors of such establishments are always going crazy!
Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your relatives but don't tell the police!
They've gone completely mad! Bananas! They're giving it way! How long can they keep this up for!?!
Something must be done, this can't be good for the economy, no society ever got anywhere by giving furniture away* (look at what happened to the Ottoman Empire), and it's bound to damage us internationally – surely it must be against the World Trade Organization convention to give away furniture.
Fuzzy furniture – it must be the furniture equivalent of fuzzy economics.
*With a personal fortune of $53 billion, Ikea Furniture founder Ingvar Kamprad is the richest man in the world (Forbes 500 2004 – when I actually got around to transcribing this).
To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t get there by giving away! furniture.
Whenever I miss Melbourne and it's pretentious vain superficial formal and stuffy nightlife, I go to the Establishment bar here in Sydney.
I thought that that type of place was banned here in Sydney – as is any place where you can't wear a t-shirt, shorts and thongs and pretend you live in Miami or any place that doesn’t play Cold Chisel's "Khe San" and Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" (practically the state anthems here).
The Establishment is the closest thing we have to a Victorian Embassy here in New South Wales.
Another candidate for a possible Victorian Embassy is Country Road – purveyors of the Melbourne uniform (as Anthony used to call their wares – "lets go to Country Road and get a Melbourne uniform" he used to say as we trudged through the Bourke Street Mall).
Various possible methods of curtailing the rioting, vandalism and other raucous behavior of mainly Australian/Lebanese Muslim Canterbury Bankstown supporters are being entertained – including having local Muslim sheiks attend the games in the hope that they may set an example and shame their wayward flock into submission.
That could also go horribly wrong – what if the sheiks themselves get caught up in the game and issue a fatwa or declare a holy war against the infidel opponents?
There's no fear of the Islamic green flag or any other flag flying at rugby league games though – in a move apparently aimed at Australian/Lebanese fans who used to wave their Lebanese flags , "national flags not permitted" signs were on display at the recent Canterbury vs. Parramatta game I recently attended at Parramatta Stadium.
That can't be legal – whatever happened to freedom of expression or freedom of irrelevancy?
Don't people have the right to take an irrelevant (in this context) national flag to a domestic rugby game?
I used to have an Australian flag out on my balcony in Lebanon and no Lebanese ever asked me to take it down or banned it.
Should that be banned?
Should Australians be banned from waving Australian flags in support of Australian teams or nationals at overseas sporting events?
Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think that there have ever been any ‘’national flags not permitted’’ signs at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, home of the Wimbledon tennis tournament for example.