Another article by Dan Byrnes
Articles old and new... This page updated 30 April 2019 (from 2004, that long ago)
Recently, after Christmas 2003, we heard from our Australian poetry activist who now lives in the US - Thom the World Poet.
For some reason, Thom has compiled a list of topics which he feels need discussion in Australia, about Australia, for Australians, by Australians - especially by writers.
One of our friends (remaining nameless in his metropolitan hideaway as he is) found this list is a virtual essay - an entertaining essay in itself - and a part-compendium of national woes.
So see the list below - there were almost 150 topics noted in the original list.
Some of the topics in the original list Thom sent have been deleted - since we don't want to be sued! Yes, it might just be that serious.
Meanwhile, other polemical items will be placed on this page when time permits - why not?
(I've left the topics below in varied typeface styles so they are easier to scan -Ed)
1. Tall Poppy Syndrome
2. The Convict Shadow
3. Myths of the Outback
4. Tall Tales of Oz
5. Police Brutalities
6. Invisible Blacks
7. Hidden Horrors
8. Violence to Women - since inception (ie, since 1788)
9. Rightwing Oz Traditions
10. The Patriachy And The Pub
11. Sport As Brain Injuries
12. Drinking as Avoidance
13. Barbarism as Personal Defence
14. Crime as Heritage
15. Environmental Rape
16. Oz Crusaders - from Wainer to Wright
17. Hidden Heroes
18. Oz Solutions - From Permaculture to Poets
19. Expat Oz - Who, How and Why
20. The Myth Of Manhood
21. Germaine Greer And Patrick White
22. Poets You Will Never Hear Of
23. Why Australians Love Poetry - But Do Not Buy It!
24. Lawson, Patterson, Blaxland, Wentworth
25. Irish Australia
26. Greeks Down Under
27. Italian Food, Drugs, Mafia
28. Australia and the Internet
29. Recent Public Massacres - and why
30. Australian Prisons
31. The British Hangover - The Anglophiles
32. American Fast Food Rap Culture in Oz
33. Why Aborigines Like Country Music
34. Indigenous Culture Package Tours 35. Selling Oz by the Boomerang
36. Oz Souvenirs - Made in China
37. Japanese Signs On The Gold Coast 38. The Demise Of The RSL
39. Death Of The Anzacs
40. Oz History As Myth
41. Marketing Culture - The Culture of Markets
42. Backpacking Australia
43. The Urbanisation/Suburbanisation of Oz
44. The End Of The Working Classes
46. Why Governor-General?
47. Jobs For The Boys
48. Sex Workers Collective
49. Underground Grass - Heroin Harvest
50. Esctasy Rave Children
51. Punk As Nostalgia For Anger
52. Deserted Children Of Single Mothers
53. Shrews, Harridans, Harlots, Nags, Sheilas
54. Cockney Oz Dialectical Chauvinism
55. Sydney As A Symbol Of Shambles
56. Redfern City Blacks
57. The Failure Of Politics In Oz 58. Why Activism Fails
59. Clearcut: Woodchip, Logging
60. Cities As Unhealthy Feng Shui
61. What Is To Be Done? (V.I.LENIN)
62. Too Late For A Revolution?
63. Escapism - How to do it
64. Tasmania as an Asylum
65. Corrupt crony capitalists
66.The Money Trail
67. Poverty Con -sciousness
68. Down To Earth - Up in the Air
69. Children of the World
70. Oz Artists (ignored)
71. Adelaide - Homosexuality And The Churches
72. Australian Diseases
73. There Goes The Neighborhood!
74.Why Oz turned into the USA
75. Black Mass Media
76. Alternative Australia
77. What Tourists See - What They Miss
78. Famous Oz Scandals
80. The Jerilderie Republic lives!
81. The Police And Ned Kelly - The Ongoing Saga
82. Why Eureka Failed
83. Labour And Timor/Liberals And Iraq
84. Australian versus Yank - From WW2 - From Stockings To The Brisbane Riots
85.Australian Rules - Who Can Break Them?
86. The Road To Darwin
87. Runaway Children (FERALS)
88. Squats and Anarchist Busts
89. Kuranda and the Cops
90. Famous Australian Fascists
91. Croatian Secret Armies
92. Menzies' Failures
93. Where is Harold Holt?
94.Who Was in Bed with Sneddon?
96. Famous Australian Failures
97. Forgotten Women
99. Shearers and Shitmen, Wharfies and Rabbitoos!
100. 200 Years versus 40,000 Years - Who Wins?
101. Australian Victims And Scapegoats (Dawn Fraser, Burke and Wills, Jim Cairns)
102. AGRICULTURE AND ABUSE
103. RACISM AND THE LABOUR PARTY
104. SHIPS AND OZ
105. FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN DISASTERS
106. DROUGHT AND FLOOD- The Oz Economy
107. Prophets and Losses
108. FAMOUS AUSTRALIAN ECCENTRICS
110. What The News Does Not Tell You
112. AUSTRALIA FOR AMERICANS
113. Pavlova, Lamingtons - Unique Oz Food Items
114. THE NEW BUSH - Settlement By Hippies
115. CHANGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
116. Oz Cinema: Pride, Passion, Distribution
117. FILM 2 T V 2 NET - technozzies
118. Re-rememebering Dreamtime Stories
119. WHITE SUGAR/FLOUR/TEA/MILK/MEN
120. SKIN CANCER FOR ALL!
121. FUZZY-WUZZIES AND TIMOR
122. DRINK, DRUGS, BEACH - The Great Oz Stupor
123. The Influence Of Indigenous Cultures
124. FORGOTTEN SONGS AND POEMS OF OZ
125. Banjos, Pianolas, Singalongs - 1930's Oz
126. Plastic Money, Cards, People
127. Ignoring Our Neighbours - Australia As Ostrich
128. The Irrelevance of Politics
129. Corporate Killing Cultures
130. YOU BET! Gambling Addictions in Oz
131. Suicide By Numbers
132. Street Kids And Police
133. And poverty for all...
134. Australia - The Museum
135. Gossip, Libel, Slander, Defamation
136. Nimbin and Heroin
138. Darwin Drunks
139. Men At Work - The End of Physical Labor in Australia
140. THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNIST PARTY
141. The Petrov Papers
142. Hitching in Australia
143. THE HIPPY TRAIL
Other writings: For an article of 2002 by Dan Byrnes on "What's Wrong With The Internet In Australia", click now to: http://www.pgts.com.au/pgtsj/pgtsj0207b.html
Subject: Happy Australia Day (26 Jan.) ---------------------- Forwarded by Glenda (Defence Dept.) and evidently written by none other than ANON.
WE ARE ONE
We are the people of a free nation of blokes, sheilas and the occasional wanker. We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand), and although we live in the best country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like. We are One Nation but divided into many States.
First, there's Victoria, named after a queen who didn't believe in lesbians. Victoria is the realm of Mossimo turtlenecks, cafe latte, grand final day and big horse races. Its capital is Melbourne, whose chief marketing pitch is that "it's liveable". At least that's what they think. The rest of us think it is too bloody cold and wet.
Next, there's NSW, the realm of pastel shorts, macchiato with sugar, thin books read quickly and millions of dancing queens. Its capital ,Sydney, has more queens than any other city in the world and is proud of it. Its mascots are Bondi lifesavers who pull their Speedos up their cracks to keep the left and right sides of their brains separate.
Down south we have Tasmania, a State based on the notion that the family that bonks together stays together. In Tassie, everyone gets an extra chromosome at conception. Maps of the State bring smiles to the sternest faces. It holds the world record for a single mass shooting, which the Yanks can't seem to beat no matter how often they try.
South Australia is the province of half-decent reds, a festival of foreigners and bizarre axe murders. SA is the state of innovation. Where else can you so effectively reuse country bank vaults and barrels as in Snowtown, just out of Adelaide (also named after a queen). They had the Grand Prix, but lost it when the views of Adelaide sent the Formula One drivers to sleep at the wheel.
Western Australia is too far from anywhere to be relevant. It's main claim to fame is that it doesn't have daylight saving because if it did, all the men would get erections on the bus on the way to work. WA (wait awhile) was the last state to stop importing convicts and many of them still work there in the government and business.
The Northern Territory is the red heart of our land. Outback plains, sheep stations the size of Europe, kangaroos, jackaroos, emus, Uluru, and dusty kids with big smiles. It also has the highest beer consumption of anywhere on the planet and its creek beds have the highest aluminium content of anywhere too. Although the Territory is the centrepiece of our national culture, few of us live there and the rest prefer to fly over it on our way to Bali.
And there's Queensland (God's waiting room). While any mention of God seems silly in a document defining a nation of half-arsed sceptics, it is worth noting that God probably made Queensland, as its beautiful one day and perfect the next. Why he filled it with dickheads remains a mystery.
Oh yes and there's Canberra. The less said the better.
We, the citizens of Oz, are united by highways, whose treacherous twists and turns kill more of us each year than murderers. We are united in our lust for international recognition, so desperate for praise we leap in joy when a rag-tag gaggle of IOC officials tells us Sydney is better than Beijing. We are united by a democracy so flawed that a political party albeit a red-neck, gun-toting one, can get a million votes and still not win one seat in Federal Parliament. Not that we're whingeing, we leave that to our Pommy immigrants. We want to make "no worries mate" our national phrase, "she'll be right mate" our national attitude and "Waltzing Matilda" our national anthem (so what if it's about a sheep-stealing crim who commits suicide).
We love sport so much our newsreaders can read the death toll from a sailing race and still tell us who's winning. And we're the best in the world at all the sports that count, like cricket, netball, rugby league and union, AFL, roo-shooting, two-up and horse racing.
We also have the world's biggest single rock, the tastiest pies, and the worst-dressed Olympians in the known universe. Only in Australia can a pizza delivery get to your house faster than an ambulance. Only in Australia do we have bank doors wide open, no security guards, or cameras, but where the pens are chained to the desk.
Stand proud, Aussies! We shoot, we
root, we vote. We are girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime. Even
though we might seem a racist, closed-minded, sports-obsessed little
people, at least we feel better for it. I am, you are, we are
PS: We also shoot and eat the two animals that are on our national crest!!!! No other country has this distinction!
HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY
Date: 19 January 2004:
Subject: Extremely poor software from Mozilla
Ok folks, it's time here to get seriously angry with Mozilla and its ratty excuse for a web browser and e-mailer - V1.5. Angry because frustrated beyond endurance, yes!
Let's not just e-mail their bugzilla section, let's make this a little more public! Let's ask just why the computer programming industry in the US has lately contradicted about 120 years of US marketing wisdom, and decided that the customer is not always right. All that follows here is from a customer who is right and who wants to be listened to! And is quite prepared to keep talking till he is listened to.
Follows a few bitter complaints about Mozilla...
(1) Some time ago for various reasons, especially fear of viruses, I stopped using Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. I started using Netscape, which only led to fresh problems. Unware of risks being involved, when I downloaded Netscape I found that some old arrangement between Netscape and AOL meant that unless I registered with AOL for some messenging scheme they want to foist on the world, the Netscape e-mailer will not work properly or with full functionality.
(2) I put up with this awhile, and also found a weird oversight with Netscape which seems to be partly due to the fact that I use a small and rather old monitor, which does not have a screen-size setting I find convienient for using Netscape as well as most of my other software. The size of the address book card (re-editable?) is too big. I cannot edit an e-mail adress card if a friend changes their e-mail address, because the card is so big, the button for the replace-the-card (ok) function is not visible. It's inaccessible. I also can't indicate if e-mail to that friend should be in plain text or in HTML, for the same reason. Let's be clear here: I have had a problem with a somewhat old monitor, but Mozilla has the bigger problem of being unable to help me. By the way, no one actually needs to send e-mail as HTML, why is the topic given attention? It only encourages spammers!
(3) This problem is stupid enough, and let's not go here into the computer industry idiocies which arose when AOL acquired Netscape and Mozilla headed for the escape hatches. Things get regressively worse.
As when the Mozilla emailer in the browser can crash so unexpectedly, meaning we have to go offline and reboot the computer to be able to use Mozilla again - really brilliant that is! How long did it take to program this little no-brainer function? (I mean, the emailer with the browser, not any of the stand-alone Mozilla emailers.)
(6) Basically, the non-programmer trying to fix all this only makes things worse. Much time is wasted. I fiddle with Mozilla, and end up with what feels like an unintended reinstall (I still don't know what happened there), so I have to reapply all my server settings once again. I'm still not sure if my old e-mail ALL disappeared! I've had to re-import old address lists I happened to export with a suspicious mind from Netscape to floppies before I was idiot enough to try Mozilla.
(7) So who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters? Who said Mozilla provides good software? Who said the Open Source Movement is good because software bugs get fixed? But it's a pretence, the bugs don't get fixed. So the following questions arise for serious comment about fritterware... software which needs so much tweaking and readjustment, it eats away entire half-days of normal working time. Fritter fritter fritter, like fried bananas and about as robust. Fritterware is even worse than vapourware (software which never gets to be used), because when you do use fritterware, it simply wastes time. What happens is that when you use it, you lose part of your life! So who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters?
(8) Why do computer programmers, mostly in the US, keep using the Internet to distribute software which works badly? Who gives them permission to waste our time? Do they live in some fantasy land where software users are not real people? Who do not resent their time being wasted? Mozilla pretends to be a corporation? Who runs this corporation? What responsibility do they take? Why can't I e-mail the managing director, and the board, if I want to complain?
(7) No one cares about Netscape anymore, this seems clear. When are these problems with Mozilla going to be solved? Why can't I resize an individual address-book card? It seems, the answer to this problem is quite technical, and might involve exporting and reimporting address lists from Netscape (or Mozilla, I'm not sure yet).
(8) When is Mozilla going to e-mail me and apologise for being timewasters? When are they going to e-mail you to apologise for being timewasters? The mozilla.org bugzilla thing, it's website complaint bureau (or bug-discussion situation, a hi-falutin', overly-crowded, totally useless form) is so complex, you need to be a programmer and an expert in Boolean logic to be able to begin to use it! What is the point? These are people who do not wish to communicate about problems with their communication software. Is the Open Source Movement just another way for programmers to avoid discussions with computer users who do not find particular software to be user-friendly?
(9) The computer industry has been fantasizing for a long time now about producing user-friendly software. Also, programmers have been blaming a lot of problems on Microsoft, sometimes with justice. But none of this is good enough. A lot of software simply doesn't work well enough. When is the computer industry going to start to try to get it right, instead of plummetting the world's computer users into bottomless pits of new versions that are incompatible with previous versions, planned obsolescence, pretentiousness made worse by blame-avoidance. In terms of professional integrity, when is the computer industry going to start to get it right? To get a life?
Or as the fellow was driven to say as I found just yesterday on his Net posting, who has the same problem I have with resizing the Mozilla e-mail address card, "I'll listen to logic and reason when it comes out on CD! How do you fix the problem?"