Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful...

Reasons to be cheerful, part-free: somehow it feels like there's at least some chinks appearing in the foundations after our initial Summer of Love here in Australia. The period where we knew we'd be able to look back and say It Was a Time Before Kev'n Co Fucked It Up. Now we find ourselves wandering into what's feeling like a period of intense change. Of suddenly considering what if the Big Lie of International Finance could actually come a gutser? What if China asks for the money back? Even better - what if Rupert Murdoch is losing his cool?

Of course, it's not all peace, love and no more Howard; there's the imminent sign on the horizon of how we'll see the next commercial virus attack on the ABC - the dear old Beeb have just announced their first international advertising team. We'll see that here in a couple of years, folks, according to the Principle of the 5 Year Lag for South Pacific Peasants...

No reasons to be cheerful come more plenty than that. The ongoing developing of a new world sport right under our noses - a sport I've wanted a television show dedicated to for years.

I'm talking about World Series Protest, folks, and its time has come.

For now we are embarked on our very first series of globally televised Olympic Quality protests as the torch makes its way around the world, and I for one, welcome it.

From the get-go I want pay my respects to some of the quality protests that have come before this year - of course thre's been some awesome protests go on throughout the world over the decades, but I want to pay my respects to the people at the S11 protest back in 2000 in Melbourne, who via the most superior use of non-violent Tetris-based logic, managed quickly self-organise into a chain and re-arrange those big arse lego-brick plastic wall bollards and boxed the rough-tough Special Squad detachment of leeather gloved bruisers in fair and square.

The leatherboys were forced to admit defeat, and in a most Australian demonstration of sportsmanship, were kindly thanked for coming as they filed back out from the gateway of Crown to the back of the fray. Upon the world stage of protests involving all sorts of thrown, belted, stomped aggression, it made me feel proud to be an Aussie watching a crowd tell a loudmouthed yob to shut the fuck up and give the coppers a nice round of golf-clap applause as they walked back to the vans.

But ye cannae deny the sheer simple genius of the mad bastard who ran at the Olympic torch with a fire extinguisher...

Of course, the French can bring the noise when it comes to community turnout for a protest - and I only managed to catch my initial impressions of how the Olympic Torch Protest series went in gay Paree via the glory of the AM radio show,

(Sound of protesters jeering)RAFAEL EPSTEIN: With protesters visible ahead of the convoy on a bridge, a very concerned torch-bearer in a wheelchair was
suddenly stopped by the torch organisers, and the flame was extinguished on the
orders of shouting Chinese officials.

It was with complete surprise that I happened upon this French video showing the Chinese security team stopping the torch and really pissing off the big burly French judo champion who was trying to jog with it. A far cry from what the dear old ABC showed us on Lateline...

Today, the Torch arrives in Islamabad. And with it, the hopes and dreams of a nation raised on the idea of protest. Local communities with a long association of taking to the streets and throwing shit at the blokes with the big sticks and the mean looks. Of course, it's going well so far:

"Plans originally called for athletes to relay the torch along a nearly
two-mile route from the white marble parliament building to Jinnah Stadium,
but that was changed to just a run around the sports complex itself."

What could possibly go wrong? It's due in India next week - New Delhi to be accurate - we shall see how the local teams there take to it. And still very little word on how the Aussies are going about preparations, though. We've got a lot of tryhards amongst the diehards - do the creative and the funny still outnumber the surly and vicious? What creative heights do you imagine our national commercial news networks will rise to?

Will Kochie be the one to extinguish the flame - on the kerosene soaked robes of Stan Grant?

Just don't forget that we could be doing this again in four years time - albeit on a bigger, more international scale. A worldwide invitation to the meek, to the downtrodden, to the forever fucked over, to the folk who've been cut off from the riches of the 21st century - come and see if you can put the torch out. Stand up for your people and bring your mates - we're going to have a world -representative goon team, with thanks to our sponsors Blackwater Inc.

I want to see a return to that protest I saw years ago from Italy - it was not long after the movie Gladiator came out - when the locals invoked their own forebears and formed the perfect Roman infantry shield wall and roof,and advanced upon the poor old team with the water-cannon trucks and tear gas guns.

And I want to see our friends from Indonesia allowed to bring those fuckoff big bamboo poles withe flags on 'em to the party. There is classic news vision of which I can't quite find yet... so I can't quite exactly show those 18 foot poles getting deployed upon the hapless uniforms about 20 people behind the frontlines. Tt's hysterical... And I wanna see it - much more - on the telly...

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