Utopia - scenery
*tim winton voice* surfing and and bloke men. fish and The LAnd. rural. white adolescent males white adolescent males. this is australia THis and nothing else
Ah this really bothers me. Since when is someone saying “this is an experience” the same as someone saying “this is the only experience”? That’s not what Winton does. His work is semi-autobiographical, canonical within his own writing and within Australian literature.
Not only that, I think Winton really sensitively deals with a number of Indigenous experiences in his work - without proselytising or pretending he knows more than he does.
Comedian and journalist Stella Young is tired of people telling her she’s an “inspiration” just for getting up in the morning. In a hilarious, hard-hitting, and thought-provoking talk at TEDxSydney, she explains why.
This criticism can also be applied to other “inspiration-porn” unrelated to disability but this is where it’s most relevant. Saw this talk a while ago, Stella knows what’s up.
Have you heard the one about Tony Abbott being a gremlin? So have I. Or the one where he’s an alien from a misogynistic dimension? Yeah, me too. In fact, I think I’ve heard about 247 jokes about all the things Tony Abbott actually isn’t. Not sure I’ve heard that many jokes about the cultural-political circumstances that might have shaped him as a person, or what voting for him says about us as a society. Nah, that’d take ages to write: better off focusing on his speedos.
It’s very hard to be funny and right, especially when being wrong opens you up to an infinite world of potential fictions, and so, to me, appears less impressive. There’s only one way to say “2+2=4”, but if you commit to getting it wrong, there are as many ways to say two plus two doesn’t equal four as there are numbers that aren’t “4”. I guess that’s why, creatively, it’s easier to play the fool, because suddenly the potential number of jokes you can tell on stage opens up to infinity.
Such statistically unfavourable skewing is what makes Bill Hicks so impressive. If you choose reality and logic, then there’s only one reality from which to draw jokes. Choose to be surreal or whacky then you are, in my mind, almost cheating. It’s why, while I love The Colbert Report, for me John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” is so much more impressive. If you want to criticise gun laws, Colbert could choose an infinite number of “wrong” ways to justify guns, whereas Oliver only has logic on his side, and then has the burden of making it funny.
Being right also takes time, which is why twitter is often the province of the dull and idiotic. If Palmer meets Al Gore for dinner, it’s far easier to point out that Palmer’s fat than to cram their ideological inconsistencies into 140 characters. It’s also why we keep hearing about Tony Abbott’s fucking speedos: easier to point those out than to engage in genuine criticism. But fuck it, at least you’ll get a hashtag out of it: #ReplaceOneWordInAMovieTitleWithSpeedos. Also, twittter is Latin for “Lobotomy”.
Comedy’s not the only victim of the numerical imbalance between reality and non-realities. In any public debate / news media, the person who’s right already has an uphill struggle. Take climate change for example. Anyone arguing its case has one reality with which to prove their point, but if you’re against accepting reality, then you have any number of arguments to prove your point. It creates the illusion that the person arguing against the facts of climate change actually has more arguments - again, there are an infinite number of ways to say that two plus two doesn’t equal four. Same goes with religion. The number of arguments in favour of God’s existence vastly outweighs the number against because the former isn’t anchored to the only reality we have.
I’m not saying that comedy that avoids telling the truth isn’t funny, but once you open the door to being crazy / whacky / silly, you’ve got so much to choose from that I demand you be nothing short of fucking hilarious. That’s another reason why twitter shits me. If you’ve given yourself over to weirdness then your tweet ought to be fucking gold: “Went into a restaurant and they wouldn’t serve me a UNICORN PIZZA? What the fuck?!” - just doesn’t cut it. You had infinity to choose from, and that’s what you decided on? It’s like having the powers of a God and using it to dry your washing a fraction faster than normal. What a waste.