Chickengate reconsidered….

I noticed, in a paper on Affect, Culture and Morality this proposition:

“A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it. Is that wrong?”

It was used in research to do with morality….

Naturally I could not help wondering, where would North Melbourne footballers stand on this issue, or indeed, AFL footballers in general?!


Chickengate as reviewed on At The Movies.

When asked today if I was barracking for North Melbourne or Essendon I thought I’d better look into Chickengate first. For those that don’t know what that is, here is a link to the video and a typical analysis of it. In short two members of the NM team produced a video typically interpreted as abusive, violent and demeaning to women. Ie nothing particularly surprising for any football code that I know of.

At any rate, I also picked up on this link, which is a brilliant sendup of the whole affair, managing to satirise At the Movies with David and Margaret at the same time, a worthy exercise in itself. It begins thus:

Here is what David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz said on their TV show, At the Movies:

At the Movies Transcript:

David: Directors Adam Simpson and Daniel Pratt have perfectly captured the insecurities of the modern rooster in their critically acclaimed Adventures of Little Boris, a gritty drama that takes peer pressure to a whole new level.

The protagonist, Boris, a mid-20s rooster living in North Melbourne, is consumed by nasty masochistic thoughts which he feels are normal. Growing up within a certain male culture has taught him that chickens are dispensable objects only good for two things: sex and stir-fry.

In denial over his own perceived masculinity, Boris attempts to win the approval of his brethren by repeatedly raping the one chicken he truly loves. Unfortunately, Boris is a high-profile rooster incapable of articulating his feelings in words; he gives little thought to the harm he is inflicting on his chicken and too much thought to how his mates back at the rooster coop will react.

Bravo David Edwards – your post makes the entire episode worth while. The full transcript of Margaret and David can be found here.

Contrary Clarissa

One thing strikes me about Clarissa at the moment. I have no idea where her head’s at (so to speak). She’s just all over the place. One moment it’s fighting for Somalia, the next moment it’s crocheted bicycle covers. I’d say it was hormones if…you know….

We went to the Brunswick music festival the other week and now she’s asked me to knit her a pair of socks. I looked rather dubious but she said ‘Oh, they aren’t for me’ (that was not a great surprise since she doesn’t have any feet). ‘They’re for Greg’. She simpered. Honestly, simpered. There is no other word for it. We’d been to see Greg Champion, you see, and Clarissa has been giggling ever since.

I figured she needed a reality check. ‘Clarissa’ I said,

(a) Greg has a beautiful girlfriend, have you thought about that? You saw her that night.
(b) He is tall. You know what they say about tall men. Big feet. NOBODY knits socks for men with big feet, let along for men as a favour to somebody else.
(c) What about Fevola? You can’t be carrying a candle for Fevola one day and fancy Greg Champion the next. Get some consistency, girl.’

As usual she had an answer for everything.

(a) She may be a beautiful girlfriend, but can she write? I’m going to send Greg some songs for him to play on Sat morning. They’ll be the funniest, cleverest songs he has ever received. They will make him fall in love with me.
(b) His feet aren’t that big, really, he has quite refined feet for a man of his size. AND you are a fast knitter, are you not? She stared at me. Daring me to disagree, I suppose.

She muttered something about not liking how Fevola had played on Saturday. It’s all very well, she said, to get those goals at the end when they are desperately needed – she was talking about the game against Brisbane – but if he’d gotten them earlier on they wouldn’t have been desperately needed, would they? It was logic hard to argue with. But was it enough to make a girl turn from Fevola to Champion??? I feel like there is more going on here than I’ve been told about….I’ll let you know if I uncover what the real story is.

A retrospective slide-show. The Pash Papers launch Adelaide 1999

Pash was a Magarey Medallist in Adelaide in the late 1930s. In the 1950s life Murdoch gave him space in The News, then Adelaide’s afternoon tabloid, to talk about football. This was space for whatever took his fancy, not for the obligatory match reports. It was space in which to philosophise about the game of Australian Rules which he loved so much.

This is the sort of thing I mean:

The footballer is perhaps going up in the world. He is now protected more and more from the too-intimate intrusion of the public. There is more than a suggestion of a race apart in the tunnels of entrance now constructed for them at suburban ovals. Small boys may no longer come to gaze upon the grim three-quarter-time assembly. Spectators shivering in their draughty stands or rattling with cold on the mounds, may no longer rub shoulders with the great whom they have come to see – no longer mere quasi-amateur exponents of a popular art but highly paid entertainers. And entertainers are the new aristocracy.

That was written in 1955.

As it happened my father was taught by Pash at school and thoroughly admired his football writings. One thing led to another and finally the dream came true of collecting some of them into The Pash Papers. The launch was a splendid affair with footballers from the 1930s rubbing shoulders with more recent stars such as Graham Cornes.

Cornes, since his playing days, has taken on the roles of journalist and commentator. He is a staunch supporter of the notion that football history matters. That might seem self-evident, that history matters, but in fact the AFL administration has a disgraceful record in that regard. This is discussed here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is a charming excerpt from 1954 on the relationship between umpires and the crowd:

At Prospect on Saturday I fancied I heard somewhere in the crowd the despairing cry : ‘Alpin, you need glasses’. ….Since the target of this ill-meant advice was Umpire Dale, the effect was mildly comic, and if one examines the observation closely enough it seems to call forth all manner of interesting interpretation.

It seems to say, for one thing, that all umpires are alike, even to the extent of looking alike, as Umpires Aplin and Dale actually do – upon a quick glance at long range, as I can testify. It suggests that Ken Aplin, who has undoubtedly made an impact upon SA football in his time, is now almost the eternal umpire, whose spirit pervades any football ground even where he is not. It expresses further the popular view of the umpire as a panting myope with the tardy whistle. It might even serve as a starting point for an essay on barrackers – that boisterous ‘crew’ of football lovers whose occasional unkindness is largely redeemed by humour.

Pash died last year, but his writings live on and isn’t the culture of Australia Rules Football the richer for it?

Clarissa and I go to the football

Of course we went to the game last weekend – the Saints versus the Pies, that is. I had my bag checked by security. He didn’t look far and then waved me on with ‘Ah, Sudoku. Good girl’. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or nervous. Is it really true? That terrorists don’t do Sudoku?

When Collingwood kicked a goal in the first quarter the bloke next to Clarissa yelled ‘Goddard, you’re hopeless’ to the St Kilda defender. ‘How interesting’, Clarissa noted, ‘That it is more important to insult the opponents than to cheer your own team’. She loves to make superior sociological observations.

But in fact she was in there with the best of them. When St Kilda’s Delsanto missed a sitter early on, Pies’ supporters’ call of ‘Ya mug, Delsanto’ went up all around us. ‘Yes’, jeered Clarissa. ‘Deary me, Nick. One suspects that you couldn’t steer a small service rocket through a black hole without checking the lag coefficient of the Lagrangian coordinates first.’ Apparently, if you move in the right circles, that is a rather amusing insult. But I can’t say there were any astronauts around at the time.

Clarissa and the Carlton boy

‘I had a dream last night’. I was having a G&T, but Clarissa was on call – expecting some astronaut to ring up – so she was having a weaker-than-usual martini. It was the extra olive that made it weaker.

Clarissa stirred and then continued ‘I was with Brendon Fevola. We were playing a game of chess -‘. I had to break in there. ‘Clarissa. You aren’t seriously telling me that. Don’t tell me that was the best you could come up with for something to do with Fevola’. For those of you who might not know, Brendon is an ace footballer and well, girls like him.

Brendon Fevola warming up for a game of chess.
Brendon Fevola warming up for a game of chess.

‘I like chess. And he’s a good player’, said Clarissa, indignantly. ‘Not that he was ever winning. Until…’ – and did I see Clarissa smirk now? – ‘…I didn’t notice that he could mate me. I don’t know how I could have missed it…’ Well, Clarissa. I think I do.

Rugby player admits difficulty with sex

My attention was caught watching the news the other day when a rugby player said to an interviewer that ‘it’s hard to come from behind’. My first thought was ‘Why would he find that hard?’

Evidently the physical inadequacies of rugby players are not necessarily limited to their missing necks. I could start feeling sorry for them.

Recently a linguist said to me that ‘You are complicit in the factitious enshrinement of an ensemble of rules-for-their-own-sake’. It was because I wasn’t willing to write the word abientot without the circumflex it requires.

Yet the fact is that I find myself regularly confused by incorrect use of language. Proper usage – if I may use two words which will get me into no end of trouble – always (should that be in inverted commas?) avoids this happening.

I’m reading Annie Proulx at the moment and came upon the following sentence (Bad Dirt p. 21):

He adjusted his Stetson, which like a Texas sheriff, he always wore in the office.

The picture which spontaneously came to mind for me was a person wearing a Texas sheriff in the office. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what this sentence means? Replace ‘Texas sheriff’ with, for example, ‘scarf’.

I spend way too much time trying to understand badly constructed sentences which don’t actually say what the author intended.

It’s all very well to say that a squiggly bit on top of the word abientot is a rule for its own sake, but at which point is the line drawn?