2011 retrospective – 11 — October

How did it end? See So October 2011 comes to an end….

What a month in the wider world as well as in Australia! Not much of it has been reflected here in this blog in this corner of Wollongong, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been noting. Increasingly, however, Facebook is the place I go to register (some of) the world’s greater doings, for good or ill – there and my Google Reader…

But that came to an end too a day later! At least the shareable version did. I now post some of it on Facebook and below the posts here are numerous feeds, most of them the sources of that Reader. On 29 October in Saturday miscellany I posted more indicators of my blog’s and my changing direction. You can trace back to 6 October’s Farewell to punditry and other changes here.

28 October: Congenial. See also Lovely afternoon in The Gong.

27 October:  Things I see around the neighbourhood…

I think it is becoming clear what my priorities now are!

Perhaps it all really followed from the previous three entries, all good ones: Funny isn’t always nice, is it?, First taste of summer and bitter taste of tabloid “journalism”, Really thought-provoking — Adam Curtis on SBS last night.

Last night Media Watch excelled itself unmasking yet another example of the strident, cynical, and utterly harmful vomit or two minute hate that passes for journalism whenever Today Tonight touches on a serious political issue. You think I overuse  the abusive terms there? Well go to TT’s false facts fuel fear and weep – or better yet flood Channel Seven with complaints as they were up to the same kind of hysterical shit AGAIN the very same night Media Watch went to air!

Today Tonight’s entire report was aimed at fuelling the myth that refugees are given extraordinary treatment.

Margaret Thomas: Well what have they contributed to our country? Nothing. And they’re giving them more money than we get.
— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 10th October, 2011

And where did Margaret Thomas get that idea? Well, she says, from Today Tonight. She told us that the reporter had …

…showed me on his phone the video of that bloke saying he got $400 a week. Now that just got me very angry. …
I didn’t know he was getting $400 a fortnight. I think that’s very sad and Channel 7 should not do that…I would have preferred to have been told the truth
— Margaret Thomas, 15th October, 2011

Gee, so would we.

Here’s the truth. Asylum-seekers in detention get no cash benefits. Once given visas, refugees, whether or not they arrived by boat, get the same Centrelink benefits as everyone else.
Is it surprising that so many people are concerned about boat people, when they’re fed inflammatory nonsense like this by one of the most popular programs in Australia?

Irresponsible of Today Tonight, wouldn’t you say? But it isn’t about TRUTH is it?

The changes I mention at Sirdan–changes coming are still in train. This will be our last Christmas get-together in Sydney. See earlier Sirdan–looking back.

The Royal Tour occupied me in It’s them again! on 22 October, and the Illawarra Mercury did a funny…

20 and 21 October led to a suspension of unmoderated comment here, though that is now relaxed again. But I also shared So many good reads! and tiredly and resignedly tried yet again to penetrate the fog surrounding that idiots’ playground Climate Change Denial: Reality check on climate change. See earlier Oh Lordie, Lordie! I am posting from Carbon Central NSW and the sky….

One of the best novels of 2011 and one of the best novels I have ever read not only failed to win The Booker this year but was not even listed. A novel by the same author has won The Booker (2004), but this one is actually better than that one.


I refer to The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst. smiley-happy005smiley-happy005[5]smiley-happy005[7]smiley-happy005[9]smiley-happy005[11]smiley-happy005[11]

There’s an axe-grinding review by Anglo/Kashmiri novelist Hari Kunzru in The Observer. Such reviews often strike me as chastising the author for not writing the book the reviewer would have written. Damn it, I totally wallowed in the nostalgia! Leave me alone! See also my post Nostalgia and the globalising world — from Thomas Hardy to 2010.

In fact considering that review further I just added another smiley! I must check young Mister Kunzru’s books to see if he can write even half as well as Hollinghurst. Check Alan Hollinghurst: The Stranger’s Child on the ABC Book Show.

I see David Leavitt, “The Indian Clerk” (Bloomsbury 2007) among my best reads of 2009.  Brilliant also. And while we’re at it you can check my best reads of 2010, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

Then there is Scandinavian Crime, Noir and Horror.  I note I was onto this in my 2008 best reads….

On 18 October in Facebook does it for me again… I recount an example of a phenomenon that continued in November as Facebook found more “lost” relatives and friends. See also Thoughts on Facebook and The relatives I didn’t know–thanks, Facebook!

Can you see the resemblances?


That’s me on the right, and on the left one grand-niece, one grand-nephew, and one great-grand-nephew twice! Two live in Queensland, one in London but comes from North Queensland. I have not actually met any of them, though the grand-niece and I have exchanged messages increasingly on Facebook.

Julia Gillard visited The Gong. I visited Sydney. See also Sunday–in the Trinity Bar with Sirdan.

Note my 15 October post: “Took a break from the internet for the past day and a half. Partly I was busy doing other things, partly I was reading. Reading went well, but there are future posts on that… Meantime the same jerks are in the news. Who cares? Really!”

I was quite engaged by the TV adaptation of The Slap and ideas in nostalgia and creativity: Suppose you lived in a golden age. Would you know it? and Footnote on “The Slap” and social change…. See earlier:  Idiot box? Only if you want it to be… Part 2 and Idiot box? Only if you want it to be… Part 1.

Nostalgia time on 9 October after I watched The High and the Mighty on ABC2: Meanwhile in Sutherland in 1954…. More nostalgia in 1973–in The Gong teaching:

I began the month talking about trackwork  and subjecting you to multiple images of myself.

The photo blog image of October: