DigitalFriend Blog

January 2023

So, Who's the Screamer?

Tue, 2 Jan 2023 18:11:30 +1000

By: gosh'at' (Steve Goschnick)

My goodness the ABC has such a fine line to walk these days!

I was talking popular post-Covid travel destinations with me teenager kids when Romania crossed our screens. "So what do you know about Romania?" one put a question my way. Not much. A long-ago work associate came from there and he had likened Romania to Australia! "How so?" I'd asked back then, perplexed, just as they asked me now. "Australia started out as a penal colony for the British Empire, and Romania started out as a penal colony for the Roman Empire. Same roots" he'd replied, a worryingly narrow assessment in both cases.

Apart from that relayed insider view, I'd consumed news in the time of Chychesque's demise, the communist Romanian dictator put up against a wall and shot on Christmas day 1989. He'd tried to escape the mob in his helicopter, just before Romania turned to democracy in 1990. The citizenry had their reasons. Under the dictator a quarter of the population were spying on the other three quarter's for the communist government. It could be a family member, or not. No one was ever sure who was reporting who, nor for what, or whether it was factual. At one stage Chychesque had ordered all gas heating to be turned off after 6pm, to conserve a diminishing resource in a diabolically cold winter in Bucharest, the capital. Then, to catch out and punish the rule-breakers he ordered an underling Administrator to turn off the main supply valve, well after the start of curfew time, and then had it turned back on some time later, gassing all of the sleeping rule-breakers in their own homes. News like that does stick in the mind for decades and probably forever, but more so for his citizens on the ground and their relatives in it.

Perhaps Chychesque's most enduring legacy which modern Romanians are surely happiest to show tourists, is the building he pretty much bankrupted the country on constructing it, now known as the Palace of the Parliament. Its dimensions are second only to the Pentagon in size (See Wikipedia, search Palace of the Parliament), but in new marble fashioned in old Romanesque style, harking back to those empire roots. A million cubic metres of marble, no less. 3,500 tonnes of crystal in the 480 chandeliers, and so on. . . Unsurprisingly, Rupert Murdoch tried to buy it for $1billion. It was valued at 4 times that, unsurprisingly.

But hey, lighten-up, it's New Years Day 01-01-2023 and now with the teenagers off on their New Year adventures with friends, time for more pleasant thoughts and memories. . . However, I'd just then turned on the 7 o'clock ABC News, out of habit.

The Newsreader announces that domestic violence peaks around New Years day, and she then relays a directive from further up the hierarchy. She advised that "All neighbours should be on the lookout for unusual signs, unusual noises, signs of different behaviour, anything out of the ordinary, please Call 000" . . . Neighbours can get a bit tetchy this time of year. Yes, there has been some horrendous cases of domestic violence, and those same cases are often repeated 3 and 4 times and more, heading the News more often than not - I hope these people (National News directors) are basing this repetition broadcasting on well-founded Science (as in, helping to reduce the problem, not adding to it - I have the same concern regarding relaying gun massacres, not even from our Country, never mind our State). And sure, the less serious outcome cases are many . . . however, this is a city (Melbourne) of 5 million people! Another 5 million in Sydney, another 2 million in Brisbane, and so on, serviced by this national broadcaster. There is always some level of crime with those numbers of people, no matter how good your society is. My family like most, don't have any experience of family violence, across the generations. For most people domestic violence is an alien concept. In that regard its like addiction to gambling - if you don't have it, its really hard to understand how people fall under its flawed thinking. Do we have to have all 20+ million neighbours at the phone ready, for any noise out-of-the-usual? . . .

It was 37 degrees this New Years Day and no air-conditioner here thank you - lets face it, there's only 5 or 6 days a year in Melbourne when you really need it. All the windows are open and the sounds in the dead of night go a looong way. And right then, this great big huntsman spider suddenly appears on the wall, enlivened by the heat. I'd usually swat him with a substantial thong as a fly-swatter would simply bounce off this brute. But I quickly abandon that idea given the neighbourly noise it would generate, and so the very little buddhist in me wins that one and now we will sleep uneasily tonight amongst the hairy spiders.

So, who's the screamer?

Figure 1: Hut! hut! hut! ...

Shortly after that the wife drops a frozen chicken onto the wooden floor as she opens the over-full freezer door. Bang! That sort of sound reverberates downhill over the road and across three or four neighbours on that side. Very out-of-the-ordinary! We both look at each other fearing the police being called and knocking on our door in the middle of the night. We better not thaw-out the chicken after all, it may well be needed as evidence.

How many noises out-of-the-ordinary can a person make? You wouldn't want to be a screamer because it would be bloody hard to achieve a good orgasm without the possibility of a tactical police squad rolling up, or a swat team coming down from a night-visioned overhead helicopter, beckoned by a mischievous neighbour driven by mirth, envy, or a need for mayhem. Half an acre just isn't enough space anymore, never mind quarter. Makes you wonder what people do for spontaneity in the flats and appartments of the inner city.

I can now see why a lot of people are feeling over governed and over observed, by technology, and now by the neighbours too. Any government in the next 5 years thats over zealous with a flurry of new post-Covid Rules, is going to get thrown out of office, regardless of any other policies. But hey, lets get back to some light entertainment. The TV guide has it that the 'Alien' movie is on Channel 9 later in the evening. At significant volume that will put any of those nosey ABC enlisted phone wielding neighbours into heightened alert across the city!

Before then though, without turning the dial, we watched Baz Lerman's 1992 vintage 'Strickly Ballroom'. This guy nailed the need for the Me Too movement, way back in 1992. Way ahead of his time was Baz - well worth a look at it, if you missed it tonight. Dated, but the dancing is still dazzling. I can see why Deb Balls have endured despite much effort to cancel them. Turns out that the young male star - Paul Mercurio - entered politics in the relatively recent VIC State Election. He won his seat amongst those of the returning party. It was a surprising election result in terms of the overall margin, but not to anyone that ignores the mainstream media which mostly comes out of Sydney these days, including the ABC. The Opposition's campaign was very 'mickey-mouse'. 'Mat' shortened from Matthew in the last month of the lead up, to match that of the 3-letter incumbent 'Dan', whom he'd hoped to replace, was clearly ill-advised. The Mat TV Ad I'd seen on a local station, which, to any media-savvy viewer, was foretelling of their landslide demise, again. It showed us local hero shots, where he'd gone to school, where he pulled petrol as a teenager and so on, before being so Famous - but was he famous yet!? It begged the question in the viewer's mind. No he wasn't. Then, more local hero shots, followed by "my wife is Ukrainian" - How many votes would that pull in suburban Australia with skyrocketing mortgage interest rates and food prices, without it looking desperate!? . . .

As in Aussie Rules Football we expect a closer result than that in our elections! Forget the 'young country' moniker, we are the 6th oldest Democracy in the world for godsake! As a mature Democracy, our elections have reached the elevated level of Sport. We expect a bit of excitement, a long evening of commentary from two sides who both realistically think they are going to win, right up until about midnight. In short, we expect a close, hard-fought campaign and finish!

By the end of the movie I was thinking 'Geez, if the ABC had show Strictly Ballroom before the election, there would have been even louder shouts of the left-wing bias out there.'

The poor old ABC really has to tread a fine and difficult line these days, between: community service, political correctness, bearer of moral certitude, entertainer, avoidance of construed political bias, and so on. . . Still, that holiday-shift young newsreader looked troubled by those odd things she had been the mouthpiece for, like a street-corner megaphone on a soap box. As I was drifting off to sleep I was thinking - 'Perhaps the young will come to our rescue. But then again, why do we senior citizens keep transferring more weight and expectations upon the shoulders of the young?' . . . But then I quickly did a contrary disturbing double-take! 'Maybe it was a relatively young news director/editor that set about putting ABC watchers on alert, mobile in hand, for unusual noises from them next door? Afterall, Mao's red guard were teenagers and they were severely badass woke when they cancelled the Four Olds during the Chinese Cultural Revolution - namely, the destruction of: old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas.' Perish the thought! . . . I really need some good sleep and its only 01-01-2023.

Steve Goschnick (gosh'at'



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