giovedì, gennaio 05, 2012

What being stupid feels like

Okay, okay, I know I should get down to it and try to make it go in my head without whining, giving the challenges I face, but do you realize how fucking hard Chinese is? Fuck, shit, tittyfuck, cocksucking tough. I've got a few gray hairs and other signs of aging, in the past I've had panic attacks and calmer moments of what feels like absolute acceptance of my own mortality, but this fucking cunt of a cuntfaced language is the first thing that's really making me feel aged.

The fucking words won't get in my head. Or rather they'll go in, turn around a few times like a rich French asshole who's accidentally wandered into an open house for a place they wouldn't even keep their elderly mother in, and then disdainfully leave while murmuring some crushing bon mot about what wreckage it is in there. Like, right a-fucking-way. Bastard fucking evil fucking language won't stay in my fucking, fucking head. Fuck its mother back eight generations. Which, coincidentally, I forget how to fucking say in Chinese.

I'm not bad with languages, you know; or at any rate I speak more languages than most people who don't have an economic imperative to learn languages. But this fucking cunt - this unmitigated shithead of a language - it's bucking my learning style, which has been an efficient learning style, which is basically contextual bluffing - pretending I understand until I actually do. I mean, that's still been a pretty good way to get by and still, I think, is a necessary tool to get the job done with. Maybe even a primary tool, since so much of the Chinese language, particularly the oral language, is so extremely context dependent.

But when it comes to the Romance languages, or the Germanic languages that are related to English in vocab terms and Latin in grammar terms, it's been pretty much my only tool. Because I'm fucking lazy. And I like being lazy. I think being lazy is the fucking way to be. And you know how lazy I can be with Chinese? I can't. I have to be fucking proactive. I have to try really, really hard and put hours and hours and hours of work into it. Oh, what fucking bullshit.

On a lighter note, here's an internet song and video that did the rounds some years back about the Grass Mud Horse, which is supposed to make fun of the censors. It says something about both my poor vocabulary and reliance on cuss words that the only words I can understand are "cunt" and "fuck your mother".

mercoledì, gennaio 04, 2012

Cultural defensiveness

I was doing well here, after how awfully shitty India is threw my Western comforts into stark relief, but then we went to fucking Shepparton. I can't tell you how much I hate that town. It could be worse, I guess, because it's quite cosmopolitan and you can get a decent Indian or Thai feed there. But in a certain sense that makes it worse because all of the ethnic types give the older Australian population an opportunity to show what racist cunts they are.

Sometimes I feel like I've never been in a country - and this includes the European countries where I've lived - that was so defensive about the preservation of its culture in the face of immigration. Sometimes I think I'm a retard for feeling that way, since foreigners are such a huge political football in Europe, helping propel tonnes of far-right parties into power or at least into higher shares of seats.

But thinking about it more carefully, I think I'm actually right. Politically speaking the Australian parties putatively of left and right have both entered rabidly into anti-immigration dialogues, even as both quietly continue to allow mass immigration movements in law for those foriegners privileged and educated enough to qualify for visas, since this place is so strapped for labour and skills.

But you should see the fucking fuss over the boat people here, for example. You have the same quantity trying to get into Australia in a YEAR that goes to Italy in a NIGHT, and yet here it's this fucking political catastrophe that was resulted in all sorts of disgusting, inhuman measures like outsourcing refugees to Malaysia, which hasn't signed on to the refugee convention, and tragedies when these boats sink in the middle of nowhere and dozens of people die. And even with all the deaths, there is such a high proportion of people here, very ably represented by all the major political parties, bar the Greens, who are incapable of seeing refugees as actual refugees, and seeing the problem as something with a humanitarian dimension - they're all set on moving here and making us where burqas for the fun of it, I suppose. If you contrast this with the standard European dialogue on refugee processing, not only is the number of refugees causing the handwringing there exponentially higher, but commentators still worry about issues, like, oh, the FUCKING INCARCERATION OF CHILDREN.

Anyhoo. Possibly the general Anglo-Australian culturally defensive dislike of immigrants looms as disproportionately disgusting in my mind because I feel that generally European countries have some sort of culture to defend. I don't think Australians have a culture to defend. Not anymore. They might have once. But now the cultural references are so strongly American - even more strongly than they are in Canada. People dream of taking a roadtrip down Route 66, and they're apeshit for American cars, and the bad boys copy the biker lifestyle as faithfully as they know how . . . One of the games of "Actual Physical Brain Problem or Australian?" I played lately was on the train from fuckin' Shepparton to Melbourne, where the woman sitting next to me audibly spent 15 minutes wracking her brain, trying to remember a quote from Abraham Lincoln that she had stuck to her fridge at home.

They go in droves to the States for holidays, I guess partly because it's cheap, but the comments I keep hearing from them is that as soon as Americans figure out they're Australian, they just go crazy with hospitality. It is beyond them to understand, I suppose, that Americans have an actual culture of hospitality, and tend to be really nice to everyone, because mentally Australians seem to be 90% of the way to being Americans themselves (Islanders call them Pacific Americans because of a perceived shared arrogance), and yet they do NOT have a culture of hospitality. They don't have a fucking culture. It's a fucking vacuum that they're trying to defend from all the immigrants. Still, I suppose in its own way, that's worth defending; nature doesn't produce a perfect vacuum every day.

BTW, a fuckton of young Australians go to Whistler. The odds are good that when I'm talking to an older Australian and they find out I'm Canadian, they'll tell me their son/daughter/grandchild/niece/nephew has been or is there. At that point I make every effort to look mildly charmed, as one does when one's country is flattered by the presence of someone from another country, and I neglect to mention how much everyone in BC hates young Australians because of their disgusting drunken incontinence and tendency to trash everything, including apartments, they lay their fucking overentitled hands on. I also don't tell them that their incontinence is so epic that herpes is now known across the Rockies as "The Australian Cold".

Fucking immigrants.

martedì, gennaio 03, 2012

The great mystery of Australianness

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned, but there are a few - hmm - not racist - let's say, bigoted and nasty games I occasionally mentally play in my dealings with the foreigners.

Well, there used to just be two. One was "Gay or French?", which I played with French men, who will occasionally dress and comport themselves in ways that Anglo men would only engage in if unworried about keeping up the facade of being a big tough brute straight man. I mean, you see teenagers wearing fucking cravats there. That was a pretty good game to play because usually the answer was quick to appear, since French men are pretty quick to discuss their personal lives or make passes. Not much suspense.

Another game I've enjoyed is "Professional or Italian?", which I play with Italian women, many of whom will dress in a way that Anglo women would only dress in if they were a sex worker. This is also a pretty fun game to play with a quick resolution; they generally reveal by themselves pretty fast if they're a sex worker or just your average girl who happens to wear fuck-me boots and implants in her lips and tits because of all the strong cultural messaging in Italy that the only way a woman is going to make it is by fucking her way strategically to the top, or at least almost the top, since no matter how far she makes it there'll still be a man on top of her. Now that those bastards are ruled by Angela Merkel, maybe they'll re-evaluate.

And this Christmas, which fucking sucked BTW, or 80% of it did and 20% was great, I realized I've started playing a new game, called "Actual Physical Brain Problem or Australian?" It's a fun game, or at least a compelling one, but it has a serious flaw in that it's very hard to get a resolution. Usually I'll bring it to the F-word for adjudication. Here's a typical example:

In the grocery store

Dread Pirate Jessica: (brushes against a woman in the aisle): Excuse me.

Woman stares hard into her face for a moment with an indefinable look and keeps walking.

Dread Pirate Jessica: That woman just gave me the funniest look.

F-word: I don't think all her paddles were in the water.

Dread Pirate Jessica: Ah.

But sometimes no resolution is possible.

We were driving through the countryside, three days, from country Victoria, where the human spirit goes to die, back to L----. Some dumbshit in a white pickup turns onto the highway at low speed right in front of us, slowing us down from 110 to 90, which turned out to be lucky, because as they sped up a garbage can blew off their bed and headed straight for us down the road. The F-word slowed down more - thank goodness no one was behind us - so we hit it at speed, but luckily not enough to go through our fucking windshield or something; it went straight into the opposing lane, which was busy, and bounced off the grill of a truck there, and went to the side of the road. Luckily enough people had the presence of mind that day for no accidents to result.

Dumbshit in the white truck has pulled over and we drive up alongside them. Two monstrously fat women are in the cab.

F-word: Mate, what're you doing driving on the highway without your gear tied down?

Monstrously fat woman behind the wheel: It was tied down.

F-word: It wasn't tied down well, was it?

Monstrously fat woman behind the wheel: What was it, anyways?

At that point the F-word just drove off, leaving them to turn around and retrieve the mystery object that they'd tied down and which had still blown off their truck and nearly caused a pile-up. We debated as we drove away which side of the spectrum they were on. The arguments in favour of Australian were that Australians often have a hard time, apparently, for apologizing for things that are obviously their fault, because they think it makes them look weak or pommy, so they'll just say a bunch of retarded things instead. I also pointed out that they couldn't have been too far off the charts because they were still allowed to drive.

On the actual physical brain problem side, though, was the fact that it was around 40 degrees, a common enough occurrence in the Australian summer, and they were still monstrously fat. Don't get me wrong. I'm a libertarian about some things and one of those things is the human right to get fat, and I've been fat, and will be again, I have no doubt. But monstrously fat in a place where the weather gets to 40 degrees in the summer? Na-ah. Who the hell would do that to themselves if all their gas was in the tank?