Beware buzzwords bearing resilient, strong women



These days we are supposed to be agile, resilient, respectful, innovative, flexible, and if you are female, add a strong woman to the mix. I’ve heard the buzzword strong woman in recent years more often than I’ve had hairstyles and I’m still none the wiser. Of course, it’s never said, but implied that if you’re not resilient, strong and agile then somehow it’s your fault and you are a loser.

Of course, marketeers are very happy to have new buzzwords to play around with. The need for resilience can launch a thousand products. Anything really from deodorant to kale and linen to lipstick. Who doesn’t want resilient lipstick? It’s the lipstick of choice for strong women. Governments also love it. More mayhem, chaos, inconvenience plus a longer commute will just be absorbed by the population’s increased resilience. Hooray, win win. Governments can get away with cutting services, grinding down public transport, eroding parks and community facilities because the citizens are more resilient, agile and innovative. Never mind the extra 45 minutes standing up on the bus because the trains are out for ten months. Resilience people! Strong Women!

I wonder whether these words have crept into the zeitgeist because it’s the only way to get through the day let alone the year. Bombarded as we are with so much bad news, roadworks, austerity cuts during 27 years of economic growth that we are permanently just one stop away from a meltdown on a delayed train after a too-long day. Of course, these characteristics are useful personal qualities to have, but part of me thinks they sure as hell benefit the government as well. I wonder if public transport was upgraded, working hours reduced, community services restored and green spaces increased, if we would have a need for resilience and agility and empowerment. Something for a strong woman to ponder.


Can I have a rescue kitten with my beetroot latte?

kiven-zhao-536685-unsplashRescue animals are the latest must have accessory. As heard on James Valentine’s Afternoons show recently, he joked about ordering a turmeric latte and a rescue greyhound. The strange thing is that it isn’t so long ago that special breed dogs were de rigueur. Every man and his dog had an Alaskan Malamute crossed with a Portuguese Water Dog mixed with Bernedoodle or a Neapolitan Mastiff mixed with Whoodle. It was the epitome of everything to have a Scottish Fold Cat mixed with Sphinx. It signified individuality and care, as though you’d matched your lifestyle with a particular breed. In a way it was brandbuilding under the guise of thoughtfulness.

How things change. Now to hear someone say that they have got a breed dog would be the equivalent of saying you support child labour. To rescue a poor distressed poverty-stricken animal with no family, breeding or connections from a third-world suburb and offer them a “forever home” denotes depth and authenticity. The more tragic the tale – rescued from a flood, senior dog with broken leg, cat blinded in hit and run car accident even better. You are hot smoking woke.   

Once rescued, these animals have a pampered life. If you live In Melbourne you can even order a beer for your dog. Beerdog Bitter is a beef flavoured lightly carbonated drink that is on tap in a number of Melbourne ale houses. You can now take your dog out to lunch and a drink. How nice. Still in Melbourne, why not visit the café for dogs – dogachinos, pupcorn and grass-fed beef dog loaves. On the other hand, cats drink wine. You can order online a MosCATo or Pinot Meow, which substitutes alcohol for catnip. There are dog laughter workshops, pet reiki, behaviour therapy because – you know – rescue animals have … issues. And if your rescue pet is cute or quirky enough they can become Instagram stars and launch their own brand of merch. Life was never this good for designer pets of old.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I think it is much better to rescue an animal rather than pay an exorbitant fee on a specially bred family pet. If a nice middle-class couple doesn’t rescue these animals more than likely they will not have a happy life, or any life at all. I’m just wondering why having a rescue pet has suddenly got so popular. Are people hoping for extra love and loyalty from their new pet given they saved its life? (If you’re looking for love from a cat, good luck). Is it that they feel powerless about world events so are putting their energy into a rescue kitten? Instead of solving the entire refugee crisis are they just going to try to help one abandoned pug? Is it instead of volunteering because, you know, who wants to spend all day in a soup kitchen when you can play with your new rescue puppy! Or is a rescue pet a little something to casually brag about on Instagram? Maybe it is because relationships with actual humans are just too complex now and better to get a new family member that can’t speak English.

Whatever the reason, I just worry these rescue animals will be dropped at the next fad. When the pet rock makes a comeback.

Are the Sydney NYE fireworks a waste of money?

Public funds went up in smoke at the start of the year when Sydney saw in the New Year in its usual over-the-top way. It may seem un-Australian to say this out loud, but do you think Sydney’s NYE celebrations are over-the-top and in these variable economic times should be scaled down?

No politician will touch this debate, which probably means they are scared that people will hate them even more, but will they? I have conducted a thorough survey (asked three friends) and all of them thought that the fireworks were overly extravagant and a waste of public funds and that they were beginning to get, well, kind of boring. They have a point. Once you’ve seen the Harbour Bridge look like a massive electrical explosion half a dozen times you’ve seen enough fireworks. In fact, is it just me, or did this year’s lightbulb visual look like a penis? OK, just me.

My in-depth survey also revealed that the fireworks are aimed at pleasing international tourists and the uber-rich (it’s a night when opera tickets cost $400 and that doesn’t even include a $70 bottle of champagne) and anyone lucky enough to be invited to the Lord Mayor’s Party.

The official figure on the cost of the fireworks is $7.2m but what is the betting it is even higher than that. The taxpayer (apart from those taxpayers who are happy to wait around for 12 hours in a harbourside spot with no alcohol) are probably not getting $7.2m worth of value, especially when there are cutbacks to basic and not-so-basic services.

Pollies think we love our fireworks, that it defines Sydney and that it brings lots of tourists and makes us look special to the rest of the world.

All of this may be true, but I’d like to think we are grown up enough that if a politician was brave enough to explain to us the real cost of the fireworks and what that meant we had to forego (decent public transport, hospital beds, bins on Bondi Beach just for starters) then people might be inclined to accept a scaled-down version of this extravaganza. Surely we are grown up enough now that we don’t actually have to overcompensate to make the rest of the world love us.

Here’s some alternative ideas – fireworks that run for a shorter duration, a sound and light show, more emphasis on spreading out celebrations to Sydney’s major centres like Parramatta, Chatswood etc.

It’s time we put a lid on how much, as a society, we are prepared to pay for 15 minutes of fleeting fame, when public infrastructure and services are strained. I reckon it’s a cracker of an idea. What about you?


St Paula’s Letter to the Electorate

And so it came to pass that Julia soon after her assumption was queen of the land. Though there were some among them who mourned Kevin of Nambour and felt him greatly wronged, Julia wooed those from far and wide. Her hair they marvelled is the colour of the fire in its embers, her eyes like emeralds. She wore virginal white and sprinkled rose petals named hard-working Australians and Moving Forward wherever she went.

Antony of Waringah did squirm in his smugglers of many colours. Many scribes throughout the land did think the smugglers too tight. Then came the moment of great reckoning. A contest was held between Julia of Altona and Anthony of Waringah, for that is the tradition of our people. It is also the tradition of our people to hold a great feast, and many great platters of watermelon done three ways and pan seared confit of pork belly with truffle oil foam were prepared afterwards.

 Many of the people were preparing for the feast so they missed the great contest. But the scribes ascribed a nil all draw. Anthony of Waringah was fair relieved for his smugglers were way too tight that evening.

 And it came to pass that the time of great rejoicing on the assumption of Julia of Altona came to an end. Julia did speak of carbons that did emit and of a great people’s assembley of hard-working Australians moving forward to place a price upon the carbon’s head. But the people were tired after the great feast and they did not wish it so. This marked the beginning of the great downfall. Those formerly known as Green moved back to the leader called Brown to their tents in the valley shaking their heads and gnashing their teeth and speaking of their camomile gardens.

By darkness terrible news about Julia of Altona spread throughout the land. The scribes wrote that Julia did not like some of the hard-working Australians after all and had denied them three times their nuggets of gold. The people were angry, and the scribes were thoughtful, for that is the way with scribes. They wondered if Kevin from Nambour was really making all this up.

Kevin of Nambour denied them more than three times. But he was still mightily pissed off.  He was consumed with bile, bitterness and his tears flowed into the Brisbane River.

It galled him that Julia of Altona had taken his crown. So much so his gall began to ache and in the dark of night he was taken ill and had to have the bile cast out from his body. Therese of Nambour told the scribes Kevin had many friends throughout the land who sent him many buckets of flowers from the desert.

Julia from Altona denied she had cast on Kevin of Nambour and she sent her bodyguard to wish him well.

 She said she would fight Anthony of Waringah, on the beaches and in the shopping centres of the hard-working Australians throughout the land.  She alone was the rightful leader of the people of the desert land, and she would fight him to the death.

Real World Ethics

When you are young, you’re brought up to believe certain truisms. whether at school, sunday school or around the dinner party people bigger than you seem determined to instill certain facts on your subconscious. the trouble is they are all lies. From money doesn’t make you happy to that old chestnut it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, it’s all a lot of crock. Enter adulthood and armed with advice that is wrong, makes no sense and gives you a false sense of how to make it in this world. Let’s take them one by one:

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose it’s how you play the game – oh yeah,  tell that to the Dutch team. winning is everything. it means endorsements, national pride, fame, girls, guys, take your pick and kudos beyond anything that a silver medal can provide. Good sport silver with that inner glow of being a good sport and playing fair? I don’t think so.

Money doesn’t make you happy – not strictly true, but it certainly helps. A lot. Take a look at people dripping with wealth – there’s a self-confidence not seen in Macdonald’s of Wetherill Park. OK, so money may not make you absolutely happy but it makes you less desperate and means you can afford better pizza toppings.

Do what you love and the money will follow. Mmmm try telling that to all the artists, writers, dancers and ahem, bloggers out there. Come on lets bust this myth. If that really was right insurance companies wouldn’t be spilling over with BArts graduates. It’s the other way around – get the money and you will get to do what you love.

If women ran the world think how peaceful it would be – ok, I’m not going to go against the sisterhood here, and women are by no means running the world … yet. the G20 still buttoned down old fogies with bald spots. but they nearly are, and if Julia, Angela, Hillary and an extravagant swathe of estrogen gathering strength but planet earth’s still pretty much in the shit. Because here’s the thing – women are just people, and people in power are just politicians. Enough said.