And yes, of course, on a scale of one to Seize the Means of Production, the government of 1972-75 scores only a very middling revolution. But if there was something truly and gloriously Marxist about Whitlam, it was his break from ideology. Which is to say, Whitlam shifted from the naïve thinking of the mid-century — “ They don’t know it, but they are doing it” as Marx put it — into a consciousness where, finally, we had a leader who was able to utter and so undo the unconscious political thinking that had for so long dominated the nation.
There was nothing naïve about the kind of thinking that saw and rebuilt, for example, the structural injustice that kept many Australians from an affordable education. The ideology of merit and striving that had denied tertiary qualifications to generations was, for a brief time, done.
But a new and cynical ideology (“The know they are doing it but they are doing it anyway”) is returned and we can see it, if we care to look, in the speeches of Joe Hockey and we can certainly see it in X-Factor.
Since the Idol franchise began almost 15 years ago, there has been a raft of opinion offered by my age-mates describing the contemporary music talent show as both a text that fed our burgeoning need for schadenfreude and as the assassin of “authentic” music. The former charge of a new cruelty is barely worth dispute as anyone who has seen King Lear will agree. As they happily poke out Gloucester’s eyes, Regan and Cornwall presage the Simon Cowell malice by several centuries and, honestly, this notion that music is somehow more “manufactured” than it has been in previous decades can only be held by an idiot who refuses to acknowledge that Bob Dylan’s masterwork Subterranean Homesick Blues charted in the same month as Herman’s Hermits’ I’m Henry the VIII I Am. You don’t need a weatherman to tell you that the wind was blowing the stink of hot pop confection back in 1965 as much as it is today."
Helen Razer: Gough Whitlam: Australia had talent | Daily Review
Outstanding eulogy for Whitlam by my brilliant mate Raze.
Maintain your rage
Finding all sorts of great stuff in my “archives”: baby My Brightest Diamond, baby me, and baby St Vincent, at RRR in early 2008.
Hi! It wasn’t especially difficult, but it was dreary: I hand cut, tooled, dyed, finished, weathered and sewed on EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF SCALE; I think in the end there were over 300 of them! I used a 2oz cowhide for the scales, and plain brown pigskin suede for the base of the whole thing (with some 1oz sheepskin as the binding around the neck and arms), all of which I got through Tandy Leather. If I can give you any advice, it’s to really go hard on the weathering - it should look WRECKED! I am always too scared to ‘hurt’ my costumes and I don’t get stuck into them enough; don’t be afraid of grease, dirt, Fuller’s earth and the wire brush! And good luck!
I am the dog and ‘Daniel’ is the unknowable quality of the future