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One day, I was standing in a street in Singapore. It was a warm winter’s day, apparently, the humidity hanging in the air like a teenager at a mall with bad skin. The teenager that is, not the mall. Barely a soul could be seen on the streets even though it was after nine in the morning. Whether the inhabitants had been out all night at a party, or whether it was just the way of Singapore to sleep in, I don’t know. What I do know is that it was quiet on the streets of Singapore that day.

Which made it strange that I didn’t notice the wizened, bent over, crinkle cut old woman (actually that’s unfair, because she was probably only middle aged) that came rambling towards me, pushing her cleaning cart, until she was uncomfortably close. She looked up at me (because I was taller than her, obviously), squinting from the harsh rays of the mid morning sun. Her mouth was open, her teeth jagged, like tiny little mountain peaks, a haven for sub atomic mountain goats and under achieving rock climbers.

“Excuse me” she said, in a way that suggested she was apologising for ruining my day by talking to me, which was to her credit. I ignored her, suspecting that she wanted something from me that I was not willing to give. “Excuse me” she repeated herself, somewhat unecessarily, because I’d heard her the first time, though the fact I had ignored her may have had something to do with her decision to restate the words. “Excuse me” she insisted, which really was beyond the pale, as my silence so far really should have been an indication to her that I was either (a) deaf, (b) mute, or (c) rude. “Yes” I snapped, annoyed that this small mound of a person should deign to interrupt my thoughts with her incessant requests for permission to interrupt. “Are you Eric Stoltz?” she said.

My heart melted. This sweet, compact, bundle of a woman had mistaken me for one of nature’s greatest actors. ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Mask’. Well, not ‘Mask’. Who’d want to look like that? ‘Chicago Hope’, ‘Anaconda’, and many more. Not that I can think of any more. I’m sure there were others, though apparently none were that memorable.

But that didn’t detract from the sheer joy of being compared with a man who may or may not have been voted sexiest man alive 17 years straight. That didn’t take any pleasure away from being compared to the actor who Laurence Olivier may or may not have referred to as a red headed wunderkind of the acting world. And that didn’t reduce the electric thrill I got from someone recognising my richly deserved celebrity, even if they really didn’t and it wasn’t really mine.

However, like the Romans nailing Jesus Christ to a whopping great cross, all good things must come to an end. “No”, I replied. Her face fell, an indication that plastic surgeons in Singapore were performing sub standard work at the time. She picked it up and put it back in place, which was a measure of her stoicism, as well as a little bit disgusting.

She turned to leave, the disappointment weighing her down. I opened my mouth to call to her, to offer her solice. But I realised that there was nothing I could say, save that, yes, I really was Eric Stoltz. But of course, that would have been a lie. And “Charlie don’t surf damnit!” Though they probably do lie.

As she limped off, I barely noticed her slip the hand cuffs and taser back into her cleaning cart.

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Yes, I keep writing these recaps. Here’s the latest.

Week 6

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When I was a boy…

Fear is a funny thing. When I was a boy, I had a fear.

I was about 10. My grandmother and grandfather, hereinafter referred to as Nanna and Pa, lived nearby and would often come over for lunch and dinner on weekends. We were very close. Occasionally, we would sit in the lounge room and watch TV, or listen to music. And this is where the fear came to life.

I imagined the following scenario:

Nanna and Pa would be sitting there in the lounge room, supping their tea. I would take it upon myself to put on a record for us all to listen to. The record I would choose would be one of the excellent albums produced by Kiss, who were far and away my favourite band of the time. I had moved on from My Abba phase. The album of choice was the 1976 classic, ‘Rock and Roll Over’.

I would put the record on the record player. I would place the stylus in the groove. The familiar scratchy sound of a 33 would precede the contents of the vinyl disc, but within seconds Paul Stanley would be belting out the tune to ‘I Want You’ in his unmistakably soothing voice. Ace Freheley’s guitar would scale unheard heights. Gene Simmons base would thump in time with his tongue hitting the floor. Peter Criss would drum like a man born never to sing. We would all sit there, me, Nanna and Pa, and whoever else was present, listening quietly, contemplating the music, the lyrics, or whatever else had struck us as contemplatable in those halceon days.

I would sit there, studying the album cover, my face obscured from their view. They would sit there, enjoying their tea, presumably. The album would play through, from ‘Ladies Room’ to ‘Mr Speed’ to ‘Hard Luck Woman’. Finally, the tenth and last song would begin. This song was called, ”Making Love’. The music would play, and at some point in the middle, Nanna would lower her tea cup, look over at me and ask:

“What’s this song called, Chris?”

Shit! This was the question that caused me untold fear. How could I answer? How should I answer? I could imagine myself, peering over the album cover, with only my eyes visible to my maternal grandmother, guilty slits, darting nervously back and forth. I would reply:

“Making Love, Nanna.”

Of course, I would say it more like

“Makin luuuuurve, Nanna!”

because I felt dirty saying it, and so I had to say it in a dirty voice.

The thought of this happening caused great knots to form and tighten in my bowel. For weeks, nay, months, I would torment myself by playing the scene over and over in my head. I knew that no matter what I did, it was unavoidable. How could I face such a question, a question that would make me squirm in my chair and inside my skin? But how could I stop her from asking that question, that probing, soul destroying, inevitable question?

“What’s this song called, Chris?”

Should I poison the tea? Not anything lethal, but maybe a laxative that would cause her to rush to the toilet just as the song started? Yet I knew that my knowledge of the workings of the digestive system was not sufficiently advanced to make that particular scenario work with any degree of success. And anyway, I didn’t want to hurt her.

Perhaps I should jump at her as the song starts, startling and confusing her before she has the chance to become curious about the name of the song being played. But then I would have to face the inevitable questioning about why I had behaved in such a manner. Being the slow thinker that I was, and am, I was bound to come clean and have to explain why I was afraid of naming the song, with such explanation by its very nature requiring me to name the song, and thus my problem would be compounded, not solved.

Could I start a small fire beneath my chair, and thus cause a diversion distracting focus away from the music? Alas, as a result of some foolish play with matches some years earlier, my access to all things incendiary was limited in the extreme. Besides which, the chair was a lounge chair, and there was barely sufficient room underneath to breath, let alone recreate the scenes in Pudding Lane around 1666.

“What’s this song called, Chris?”

It was no good. Like a man who has seen his own death, I knew that nothing I did would alter the course of fate. It may delay the inevitable, but only for so long. My fate was sealed. I was doomed. I walked around in a haze so thick I could barely see my feet. The pending embarrassment was palpable. The forthcoming humiliation descended upon me like the worst pea souper to ever descend on London.

I awaited that terrible day.

Then, one bright spring morning, a thought occurred to me. There was a way out. It was a slim chance, but it was a chance nonetheless. Its simplicity was breathtaking, yet the devil was in the detail. I would have to be careful. One false move, one misjudged step, and I was toast. But it could be done. By God it could be done. And I was the man/boy for the doing.

The thing I had to do, the move I had to make, was this: when the time came to put on a record, what I had to do was…

….not put on ‘Rock and Roll Over’.

Owens, you fucking genius!

A great weight lifted off my shoulders and I bounded with joy through the streets of Dunedoo. No more the nightmares. No more the panic attacks. No more the bed wetting. I managed to avoid putting on that record for the rest of my life. I managed to go through my existence without ever having to utter those dreadful words:

“Making Love, Nanna.”

Thus far.

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We really don’t like our banks do we. We complain about the big four banks raising interest rates, not for once considering that banks are a privately run business whose sole function is to make money, even though small business owners complain when governments make laws and regulations which don’t allow them to sack anyone for any reason at any time, even though those same small business owners complain about the big banks usurious practices and want the government to make rules and regulations about how banks run their businesses, at the same time as complaining about how government passes laws and regulations that forces them to do more paperwork so that their employees are protected should some horrific accident befall them, while concurrently complaining about the anti-competitive nature of service stations and price-fixing, all the while complaining about the prohibitive costs of insurance and if you don’t like it why don’t you go to the USA where you can guarantee that soon enough you won’t have a functioning government at all and see how you like that you MORON!

Sorry about that. Back to the issue at hand.

The big banks usurious practices have been in the news this week. Notwithstanding that they make record profits, they claim that the costs of financing their lending are ever rising and they have to put interest rates up by more than the amount that the RBA has raised the cash rate. On top of that, they engage in a form of price signaling by offering warnings that their costs of funding are rising and they are operating on a super tight margin. I guess the billion dollar profits must come as a surprise then.

This bank bashing has led to some arguing that what Australia needs is a Peoples Bank. Now, before you get excited about the prospect of a bank where you can deposit your excess people, or borrow some extra people for, I don’t know, the purpose of filling out those spare seats at your spotty son’s 21st birthday party, let me explain what a People’s Bank is. It is a bank owned by the people, for the people, which, supposedly in this situation, would offer basic deposit and lending needs to those who are sick of walking into one of the four big banks, bending over and saying “Here is my bottom, please insert yourself inside!”

Now, I am not going to preach to you about the evil deed of the greedy, blood sucking, corpse rogering, big four banks, nor the merits of breaking the monopoly and creating a real and viable alternative that would lend money based on fair and reasonable trading practices as well as offer a short-term layover option for Santa Claus during Christmas. No sir. I’m impartial.

What I do want to talk about is taking the idea of a People’s Bank to the next level. We all want a place to store money, and a place from where we can borrow money that is trustworthy and fair. We also want a place where we can store ideas and borrow inspiration, a place that is easily accessible by all, and open and free. A place where we can let the world see our inspirations and a place where we can borrow the fantasies of others, to see what “turns them on” so to speak.

Now I’m not talking about art. I’m not talking about music, poetry, dancing, or your little “stories”. I’m not talking about designs and inventions. We already have depositories for those things. What I am talking about is sharing our deepest and darkest desires. A place to store our fantasies and share them with the world. A place where, bereft of inspiration, we can see what’s on offer, and maybe learn a thing or two about ourselves.

You know that phrase, when someone sees an image that they believe might be sufficient in the pursuit of some pleasurable self-gratification, but their current situation means that they can’t reach down and lend a hand, so to speak, for fear of being ridiculed and/or arrested? “I’ll put it in the wank bank!” they say. Yet how many of us have rocked up to the nearest branch of our own wank banks, or to the nearest wank bank ATM and discovered that we have insufficient funds, are overdrawn, or that our accounts have been closed because the Russian Mafia has hacked our passwords. In other words, when the opportunity arises, we have no material.

The People’s Wank Bank could change all that. Imagine a teenage boy (let’s make him 18 to avoid any accusations of child pornography) comes home, and finds that mum, dad and a number of unspecified siblings are all out. Opportunity! But, alas, he tries to tap into his wank bank and guess what? Because he has been continually withdrawing funds from the wank bank leading up to this moment, the administrative charges for each withdrawal have led to his account being overdrawn! But if he were a member of the People’s Wank Bank, he could tap into the collective “dirty” consciousness of ten thousand other 18-year-old boys and, PRESTO, plenty of material for the 20 second interlude. FTW!

I understand there are risks. What, I hear you ask, would happen if an innocent and unsuspecting individual should come across a deposit made by Justin Bieber? How, I hear you plead, could you justify someone stumbling across the image of a naked Margaret Thatcher? Why, I hear you moan, won’t you use your time productively? These are all valid questions, and I understand your concerns. But we can minimise the risks. When you apply for a loan, you can specify your needs. The more detailed the application, the better. So if you want a blond on all fours, make sure you specify human, because if you don’t you could end up with a Joel Monaghan deposit.

This is an idea with merit, but it can’t work without your input. The People’s Wank Bank must be run by the people. We can’t get out funding from the RBA. Can you imagine what Glen Stevens would give us? We can’t get our funding from overseas, lest we get Glenn Beck’s imaginings of a chained and gagged Rush Limbaugh. The People’s Wank Bank relies on YOU!

Give generously.

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Like any decent television program, Masterchef is successful on more than one level. First, you have the cooking. Both series one and two have presented the viewer with a veritable alacarte menu of dishes ranging from the simple and childlike to the outrageous and impossible. In series two, for example, the contestants had to cook lamingtons (and failed) and then had to make some ridiculous contraption with a cone (which no one, I repeat no one, had the benefit of smoking beforehand) covered in purple and red macaroons.

On another level, you have the contestants. They are as wide ranging as the food. At one end of the spectrum you have the lawyer, who is looking for a career change, and is female. Yet at the other end of the spectrum you have the lawyer, who is looking for a career change, and is male! Could they be any more different? It’s like chalk and cheese! Where the cheese looks and taste remarkably like chalk.

Yet there is a third level which makes Masterchef so successful, and that is the willingness of viewers to engage in a conversation about the contestants, judges, guests and food via social media tools such as facebook and twitter. Perhaps this is a consequence of the show being popular. Or perhaps the ease in which comments about the show can be made in these forums has increased its popularity. It is the old chicken and egg debate isn’t it. You know, the “Daylight savings drives chickens mad and makes them eat their own eggs!” debate.

It is on this third level that I have really engaged with Masterchef this year. During the first series I was a twitter virgin and all I did was watch the show. I learnt about ingredients and how to cook simple and complicated dishes. I learnt about techniques that could make me a better cook. Pfft! What a loser! This time, however, I engaged in the name calling and belittling of certain contestants (all in the name of good clean fun of course). Now, let me add a caveat here. I was not one of those who wrote venomous and derogatory tweets about Joanne, the existence of which was written about in various articles published in a number of national dailies. No sirree! I saved my spite for Aaron!

But seriously, the best tweets were the one’s that were not spiteful and hateful, but were insightful and humorous. Now in saying that, in order to produce such tweets, one has to engage in some form of criticism of the contestants, whether it’s the way the look, speak, dress, cook, or walk. Although it was relatively good natured, there was a hint of nastiness there.

Which brings me to my problem: I want to have the same experience with Junior Masterchef as I had with Masterchef. But how, exactly, can I make pithy, ironic, caustic, and other words whose meaning escapes me, comments, about children? Don’t get me wrong. I really do want to. I mean, Isabella and Anthony anyone? But the fact is, I feel bound by societal constraints to exercise a modicum of decorum and not take the piss out of children. If they were over thirteen and under eighteen it would be easier, because, well, teenagers. Enough said? But the clever dicks at Junior Masterchef have cast nine to twelve year olds (apart from that old timer Jack) and have thus, in a word, neutered the twitter personality of Masterchef.

Now the twitter stream of Masterchef is full of “Ooh, isn’t she cute!” and “Wow! I wish I could cook like these kids!” and “OMG! LOL! ROFL! etc. etc.” You get the picture, yes? It’s all sweetness and light in there, when in fact I am looking for something a little more realistic. Not quite #qanda whenever Barnaby Joyce or Cory Bernardi is on, but something in between.

On some level you need to be allowed to make fun of these people. Anyone who puts themselves in the public eye should expect a little flack when they talk about their “journey”, even though their journey consists of traveling from one end of the Masterchef kitchen to the other. They should expect to be openly criticised when they struggle with basic language skills and used the word “literally” whenever the experience a single element of surprise, shock, trepidation or fear. They must accept the repercussions when they appear arrogant.

The Junior Masterchef contestants are no different then there senior counterparts. They say the same things and they act the same way. They are a (slightly distorted) mirror of the other. Yet when it comes to twitter, we hesitate. We don’t treat them the same way. Why not? What stops us? Is it because we look back at our own childhoods and remember the innocence, the long summer days, the camping trip with our friends when we went to see that dead body by the railway tracks? Is it because we know that youth is fragile and we don’t want to do anything that could damage someone in later life?

I don’t think it is any of these things. I think we are all scared that these children will have some sort of telepathetic powers and lighty up eyes, Village of the Damned style, wreaking vengeance of a kind unlike anything seen on Australian television before.

That’s what I think.

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It seems these days that you only need glance at the newspapers or flick on the TV news to see another story about some sportsman or another being accused of sexual assault. The veracity of these allegations have or may be tested in court and I know enough about the law to keep my mouth shut regarding the relevant guilt or innocence of the alleged offenders. But what I do want to write about are the comments coming from many in the media criticising the women (or in some cases, girls) involved, and defending the men.

Frankly, I think most of these commentators show a distinct lack of empathy, decency, common sense, and general knowledge of some fairly fundamental and basic legal concepts. They lack empathy because they fail reflect on the difficult circumstances that the women are placed in and assume that these women must be loose or sluts. The lack decency because they fail to do the right thing, which is to shut their mouths and wait for the legal system to sort it out. They lack common sense because they fail to realise that their comments will be taken in context (as opposed to out of context as they invariably complain) and be controversial (unless you want to be controversial, as per Miranda Devine). They lack a general knowledge of basic legal concepts, or purposely ignore them, because we should all know, by now, that consent is not simply a yes or no proposition. If you listen to some of these unqualified commentators, you would assume that if a women dresses in a certain way, or travels to a certain destination with a man, they are giving that man consent to have sex with them. But sex isn’t contract law.

It is this last point about consent that I have a problem with. Let’s go through some of the comments that have attracted media attention. First there is Peter “Spida” Everitt. Everitt tweeted:

Yet another alleged girl, making alleged allegations, after she awoke with an alleged hangover and I take it an alleged guilty conscience

and

Girls!! When will you learn! At 3am when you are blind drunk & you decide to go home with a guy ITS NOT FOR A CUP OF MILO! Allegedly……

Everitt appears to assume that the woman in question, and women who accuse footballers, do so because they regret sleeping with them, not because they believe they have been sexually assaulted. If Everitt bothered to educate himself before shooting his mouth off, he would come to realise that cases of sexual assault are underreported and that convictions are difficult to come by. So would a woman put herself through the pain and humiliation of an investigation and hearing because she was embarrassed about sleeping with someone? To me it seems unlikely, and I have to wonder why anyone would think otherwise.

But the worse thing that Everitt does is to place the responsibility all in the hands of women. He is saying that women who go home with men at 3am when they are intoxicated are responsible for what happens next, not the men themselves. In other words, men are entitled to be completely abrogated from the consequences of their actions if they are able to get a drunk woman in their bed in the early hours of the morning. Of course, what he is really saying is, they asked for it. His comments are no better than the raw meat comments of Sheik Hilali, but with less condemnation.

Then there was Kerri Anne Kennerly (or KAK: a fitting acronym). Interviewing Everitt, she said that footballers, “put themselves in harm’s way by picking up strays”. This is a pretty judgmental comment from KAK. It is also completely the wrong way around. Footballers are not in harm’s way. There is always this talk about damage to reputations when allegations are made, but can we just put this myth to bed? What damage, exactly, has Matthew Johns suffered, for example? I can’t think of any sportsman who has been accused of sexual assault or rape, but not found guilty by a court, who to this day suffers as a result. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

The people in harm’s way are the women, and, yes, they may be putting themselves in harm’s way when they drink to excess and go home with a footballer. But that doesn’t mean that the man is any less responsible for what he does next. Nor does the fact that the man was intoxicated reduce his culpability in these situations. In NSW, the Crimes Act 1900 specifically precludes a defence of intoxication where the person self-administered the alcohol. I believe the situation in Victoria may be similar (again, feel free to correct me if I am wrong). However, both Everitt and KAK have decided that, notwithstanding the law, men should not be responsible for the actions when they are drunk.

KAK’s comments were clarified by her network, which released a statement saying, “The responsibility lies with the girls as well as with the guys when you’re talking about alcohol-fuelled situations at three o’clock in the morning.”
This should be a salutary warning to all of us. If you drink, not only does that diminish the culpability of anyone that subsequently rapes or sexually assaults you, but it also means that if you are mugged, assaulted, run over or murdered, the perpetrator can use the well know defence of, “”Well I may have killed him your Honour, but HE was drunk”. It’s all bull shit of course.

Over on his blog Ben Pobjie’s Wonderful World of Objects Ben Pobjie provided an easy to follow guide for not raping. I urge you to read it, not only because Ben Pobjie is extremely funny, but because it contains an important, and commonly missed, message: not raping is not that hard. Even more to the point of this post, you should read some of the comments, particularly made by those who choose an “anonymous” title. It is apparent from some that the whole media focus of blaming women for being drunk when they are raped or sexually assaulted is having an impact on the general public. For example,

How does it work if the dude is also drunk? Surely if she is absolved of having given consent because she is drunk then he is likewise absolved of taking advantage of the situation.

The problem with this comment is that the maker doesn’t recognise that not giving consent can be a passive act, whereby having sex, no matter how out of it you are, is an active act. Why doesn’t the commenter recognise this fact? I would have thought it was pretty simple.

From the same commenter:

What would happen if a guy woke up the next morning and was like “I didn’t really want to do that, she raped me.” and he went to the cops, he’d be laughed out of the station.

Unfortunately, that might happen. However, that doesn’t make it right, and in fact the man would have just as much right to claim he was sexually assaulted, or at least indecently assaulted. The fact that the implementing and the policing of the law can discriminate based on gender, does not mean that the law itself discriminates.

How about this:

But are we seriously saying that a drunk woman is incapable of making a decision about consent, but an equally drunk man is capable of making a decision for both people?

Nope. We are not saying that a drunk woman is incapable of making a decision about consent. What we are saying is that a woman who is intoxicated may not be in a position to give consent. It really isn’t that hard. If a woman is slurring her words, her eyes are half open, if she’s stumbling around and struggling to stay upright, chances are she is in no fit state to consent. If a man can’t see that then he is clearly brain damaged. Nor are we saying an equally drunk man is capable of making a decision for both people. He is only capable of making a decision for himself. But he has two decisions to make. Decision one is, “Should I drink so much that I might do something wrong and illegal?” And decision two is, “Should I have sex with this woman/man?”

Q and A on Monday had a predominately sport themed panel and of course this issue was raised. Some of the opinions aired leave a lot to be desired, which in a way is good, because the more often we hear these outdated ideas of diminished responsibility, the more opportunities we get to tear it to shreds (Twitter is a remarkably useful tool in that regard). I can’t remember exactly what each member of the panel (consisting of Roy Masters, Lisa Forrest, Kelly O’Dwyer, Mark Arbib and Geoff Lawson) said specifically, but if I show you some of my tweets, you may get an idea:

Yes, women. Listen to the panel. You must never, ever, drink. That is for men. So saith the panel #qanda

Alcohol is not the problem. Cock heads are the problem #qanda

If sex is a way sportsmen bond, why can’t they just have sex with each other? #qanda

Let’s blame the bad behaviour on the arseholes behaving badly #qanda

I hate to be repetitive, but isn’t it up to the arseholes to stop being arseholes? #qanda

Obviously, then, some on the panel were under the impression that sportsmen, when alcohol is involved, apparently have no control over themselves and we, as society, should recognise that. Women, they seem to be saying, should not put themselves in these situations. And the relevant sporting bodies, they also seem to be saying, should assert some control over their players’ behaviours.

This is all bad enough, and sportsmen and women, and media personalities alike, really should know and do know better. But I think that some of the statements that have come from the commentators and commenters I’ve referred to above stem from ignorance and laziness. The same cannot be said of the next one.

Today, Miranda Devine’s blog refers to an incident from a Sydney Catholic school. Three schoolboys were expelled from said school because of a complaint made by a thirteen year old fellow female student that they touched her breast. Another girl made a similar allegation. The boys, says Devine, claim it was consensual.

This raises an interesting question of consent. Consent to sexual intercourse cannot be given by a 13 or 14 year old. But touching someone’s breast is not sexual intercourse. If the person performing that act was to be charged with anything, it would most likely be indecent assault, or an act of indecency. Consent of a person under 16 years of age is not a defence to indecent assault, but it can be a defence to an act of indecency. Of course, in this case we are talking about boys aged 14 years or less, and charging anyone of that age is difficult. Not only would a prosecutor have to prove they had the intention to commit the act and that they committed the act, but also that they had the knowledge that what they are doing is wrong (criminal lawyers can correct me if I have stated this incorrectly).

But the criminality or otherwise of these acts should not be the topic of conjecture. Let the police deal with that. What has happened is that the three boys have been expelled, and that is a choice open to the relevant school. Expulsion is neither indicative of, nor should be taken as an admission of, an offence having been committed.

What I have a problem with is the tone of Devine’s article. She can write, if she wishes, that she thinks the boys have been treated unfairly. But that’s not what she does. Rather, she victimises the girls. She places the boys on a pedestal, pointing out that they are handsome, and excellent rugby league players. As if these are qualities of innocence. In doing this she demeans the alleged victims and calls into question their character. By describing the boys as she has done, she is saying to us that they are popular, and it is not surprising that these girls want their attention. It’s only when the boys give them that attention, then cast them aside, that they scream for justice.

Devine’s article is based mostly on the statements of the parent of at least one of the boys. We never get to hear the girl’s side of the story. But there is a familiar theme here. A young girl, in the presence of handsome, athletic, young men, is coerced into performing an act, or allowing something to be done to her. It sounds all too familiar.

Devine should know better. Unlike Everitt, KAK and some on the Q and A panel, I suspect Devine know what she is writing is bullshit. But she is a hired gun, brought back to News Ltd to be controversial. She is neither misguided, nor ignorant, nor lazy. She is purposeful in her unfair attack on girls who are barely teenagers. Does she know what impact the event will have on those girls? Does she care? She really should be ashamed of herself.

Too often these days, sportsmen, and  other celebrities, behave badly, even commit crimes, and shrug it off as the normal actions of one of the lads. They cry poor me, saying they have a problem with alcohol, or they had a troubled childhood, or the woman was throwing herself at me. What’s wrong with taking responsibility for your own actions. Why can’t just one of them, rather than saying “I have a problem with alcohol”, instead say, “I am a dickhead. Treat me as such.” Of course, it won’t happen while the media offers them support and attacks the real victims.

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As I watched the final Masterclass on Masterchef (or as I like to call it, masterhchef*) last night, as I sat there chowing down on KFC Hot and Spicy and guzzling beer in my tracky dacks and ugg boots, tweeting away, it suddenly occurred to me that my days of being relatively popular are numbered. The days when people like what I say and find it funny, funny enough to repeat it to their friends are fast dwindling. In fact, there is only one more day left!

Having real friends just isn’t the same as twitter. For example, if I were at the pub and said something really witty about Masterchef, which I am bound to do, it isn’t likely that someone at the next table is going to disengage themselves from the conversation that they are having with their friends, pick up their chair and place it at my table with my friends, suddenly declare themselves to be my friend, and then start repeating things I say to their friends, which in turn leads their friends to pick up their chairs and join my table and start repeating things I say to their friends, and so on. That situation seems utterly unrealistic.

What is even more unlikely is if I am sitting at home in my tracky dacks, eating Hot and Spicy KFC and guzzling beer, making witty comments about Masterchef to no one in particular, with my wife next to me rolling her eyes, when all of a sudden a horde of people come banging on the door, declaring that they just “happened” to be passing by and heard my incredibly funny and sexy remarks, wanted to befriend me in a totally non creepy way, and just wanted to sit and listen to my amazingly inciteful commentary while they phone their friends and repeat everything I say.

I mean, neither scenario seems realistic does it? Would any of my followers reading this be willing to set themselves up outside my door on a semi-permanent basis just to hear what I have to say? I hear 2 yeses and multitudes of “no way creep”.

So what am I going to tweet about once Masterchef finishes? Neighbours? “Hey Stef, way to lose a friend to cancer”. Don’t think so. Home and Away? “Flamin heck Alf, it IS suspicious how many under 18s you hang around with”. Nope. The 7pm Project? Only if Andrew Bolt is on. What about Idol? Is that even on this year? If it is, it’s not something I want to watch and frankly I really don’t want to provide any succour to the Hillsong community.

Look, don’t get me wrong. The end of Masterchef does not mean the end of tweeting for me. I still have QandA. I still have Insiders. I still have 7.30 Reportland on occasion. But these tweets are political. I need something a little less important to fill the Masterchef void.

Now, I have a few ideas. Some may seem a little strange, but please bear with me to the end.

My first idea would provide both entertainment to my followers and allow me to learn something new everyday. What I propose is to begin learning a language and to re-tweet my witty Masterchef remarks in this new language. For example, if I were learning German, I could say, “Fisch und Gemüse. Was ist interessant daran?” which is a translation of my tweet of last night, “Fish and vegetables. What’s interesting about that?” Or how about “Sesamöl ist das, was Bert an haarlosen Körper Ernie’s reibt nächtlichen” which translates to “Sesame oil is what Bert rubs on Ernie’s hairless body nightly”. What does everyone think? Hmm. Your silence is deafening.

Another idea is that you could hire me to live tweet your parties and functions. When I say live tweet, I don’t mean actually use a computer and write things about your event on twitter. I mean actually standing in the middle of everyone and just yelling out random things of 140 characters or less about the people around me. For example, at a wedding, I could yell, “Why is she marrying him, he’s two inches shorter. #marriagesmadeinhell”. Or, at a bamitzvah, I could scream, “Did you keep the foreskin? #thingstoreplaceyourfanbeltwith”. Your guests would love it wouldn’t they? No? Oh well.

But I think my best idea is to produce a book and accompanying recording of me reading some of my best Masterchef tweets. Can you imagine it? You sit down in your comfy lounge chair, by the roaring open fire. You slip on the headphones, press play on your i-pod, and lose yourself as my dulcet tones constantly criticise Jimmy for being unable to cook anything that doesn’t start with “c” and end in “urry”, bring into question George’s realtionship with the human race as he displays his eating skills, or once again wonder why Aaron chose that particularly over the top fashion ensemble for that day. The bonus, of course, will be that you will be able to underline some of your favourite bits, as well as some of my tweets. Ha ha ha ha ha ha, bits.

Well there you have it Australia. The end of Masterchef does not have to mean the end of me. My relationship with you, my followers, can take us down new and interesting avenues, never before traversed in the annals of twitter. We can still meet up on a regular basis and share my wit. If you don’t like any of my suggestions, please feel free to leave your own. I am sure to discard them as nothing more than a used tissue, but don’t let that stop you.

*To understand what this means, you need to read my Masterchef of tweets of Friday, 23 July 2010.

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