Monday, 28 June 2010

A Crippled Prime Minister? Forget it!

People are asking me whether I am over Kevin Rudd’s resignation yet? The answer I give is no. It seems that the rest of the nation has moved on in this media age of instant gratification and frenzied media cycles. Not just because the polls and the policies have remained unchanged since Rudd was deposed, but more simply because the media’s coverage of Gillard this week has been downright farcical. Why? Because she’s a woman.

I am aware such a claim could potentially alienate half my audience so I want to use another example here to illustrate my point. Let’s imagine for one second that I secured the office of Prime Minister in a generation’s time, as it would surely be the first time to have someone with a physical disability developed from birth achieve the office as head of a national government not only in Australia, but in the world. (US President Franklin Roosevelt became wheelchair bound in later life, but hid it from the public, and did not live in the age of television or the Internet where image is everything in politics).

Although I held that dream between the ages of 12 and 21, I now believe that such a goal would be almost impossible. Why? Because being in an electric wheelchair doesn’t promote the qualities of strong leadership that the electorate take for granted. The image of an electric wheelchair doesn’t promote strength, it promotes weakness. The electorate also likes a leader who is intelligent. Being in a wheelchair elicits the stereotypical assumption of intellectual impairment. I know this for a fact because I have to break this stereotype every single day of my life. Being physically disabled would automatically wipe off between 5% to 10% of my vote. Of course if you were pragmatic and honest enough to state this to anyone it would get dismissed out of hand, but secretly most I dare say would agree with this assessment.

But do I have the potential to be a good Prime Minister? You bet I do. With a little more experience I could one day secure the political knowledge to assume the position. I am widely acknowledged to have astute political and policy skills. I have proven to be more than capable of the tasks I have completed in my life so far that would prepare me for such a position. But should I even get anywhere remotely close, the media would fail to asses these political characteristics, and instead question me about what it is like to be a member of a minority, or ask about why other people have to clean up my own shit, literally. Then when the time would come for my inevitable fall from grace they would draw those literal comparisons, then make them metaphorical ones. ‘WINTHER’S LEADERSHIP CRIPPLED’ I can just imagine it now, can’t you?

And yet for all this imaginary posturing. I have the opposite attitude. Gillard is a suitable candidate as Prime Minister, not because she is a woman, but rather because her parliamentary colleagues in the Labor Party deemed her to be strong, tough, a skilled communicator and was seen to have an even temperament: all the things the Labor Party didn’t believe Rudd had. Yet all this talk about Gillard breaking the 'glass ceiling' just because she has to sit down to go to the toilet is down right farcical. The political commentators who seem to be obsessed with this meaningless coverage should be asking a more important question. Can she do the job? It’s the media driving this gender argument and one voters should ignore, but obviously won’t given the simple assessments made my colleagues and friends this week, 90% of which are about Gillard’s sex.

To draw another parallel with disability, I recently wrote a post criticising Kelly Vincent, the first person with a physical disability to win a seat in an Australian Parliament. People were often asking me what I thought of this so called ‘historic occasion’ due to my political obsession. I declared it to be a complete waste of time because her agenda for disability sector reform was second rate and ill advised. When I stated this people would retort, ‘Well isn’t enough that she’s in there, breaking down barriers, getting the issue publicity?’ Well no it isn’t, because her agenda is a giant step backwards for the Disability Sector. To me it would not matter if she had Cerebral Palsy (like me) or whether she could walk comfortably, I find her approach utterly reprehensible.

And so it is with Julia Gillard. Forget the talk of crossing the gender barrier. Does she deserve to be Prime Minister? Absolutely not. Will she do a good job? I think she will. Should it matter if she’s a woman or not? It will to the media, but it shouldn’t, and it certainly won’t to me. It’s one thing to break a glass ceiling, quite another to avoid leaving a bloody trail when you land with the inevitable thump.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Divorce?

Being a member of a political party is a lot like I imagine a marriage would be. Your love should be unquestioning, unwavering, unfaltering despite what life throws at you. But then there are times where your partner pisses you off so much that you question the purpose of your union in the heat of argument, only to hopefully realise that such an argument is a brief detour in your long and happy partnership. Make no mistake readers, I am disgusted by my party’s actions today, while I pledge to love my party dearly and continue to do so. I am enraged, and for the first time in my eight years of membership, it does not deserve my loyalty. Those words may well come back to haunt me, but the fault of this horrible 24 hours lies not with Kevin Rudd, nor with Julia Gillard, but with the organizational wing of the party, part of which I aspire to one day control.

June 23rd 2010 will go down as a day that will forever change Australian political history. This is our generational equivalent to the Whitlam Government Dismissal, with one major caveat. We are not the martyrs this time around: we are the enemy. I’m struggling to maintain my rage. This change in leadership was not instigated by the electorate, but rather by seven or eight factional heavyweights whom Kevin Rudd has pissed off. By no means am I arguing that Rudd was the perfect leader, far from it. But it is important to remember that we as the Australian nation voted Kevin Rudd in to power just 2.5 years ago. We have not voted for Julia Gillard (yet).

I remember when Bob Hawke resigned in 1991. I had just turned eight, and the Prime Minister whose only identifiable feature to me then was his thick layer of white hair was crying. He was not leading Australia anymore. The only Prime Minister I had known (he was elected eight months before I was born) was gone and he was in tears. Several vital differences between 1991 and today exist. Hawke had successfully won three elections. Rudd will be the only elected Prime Minister not to contest the following election as the country’s leader. There was also significant build up to Keating’s coup of Hawke. Keating had challenged for the leadership six months prior, lost, then challenged again, finally securing the numbers on that warm December night, and had never hidden the fact that he aspired to oust his predecessor.

In this current situation the thing to remember for the non political types reading this is the factions solidify the power for the ALP leader, and not the other way around. The unique thing about Kevin Rudd as a modern (post 1983) Labor Leader was that he did not have solid factional backing, as he is a member of (my own) Queensland Labor Unity faction, which in strategic terms is small in the scheme of things. When he won the leadership in 2006, his factional alliances with the powerful NSW Right faction was a partnership contingent upon his popularity. As soon as this dissipated the partnership was always on unstable ground. Gillard did not seek to challenge Rudd as Prime Minister, the job was offered to her by members of the Parliamentary Labor Party (known as The Caucus) who control the various factions. Once the Victorian Right went from Rudd to Gillard, their South Australian counterparts followed, and then the NSW right, meaning that the rest of the ALP Right Wing across the country moved with them and the game was up. Ironically Gillard is a member of the Victorian ‘Soft’ Left and all the other left factions beside her own were backing Rudd. So essentially the Left were backing the Right Wing Leader, and The Right were backing the Left Wing leader. That’s kind of like all Queenslanders supporting the NSW rugby league team in the State of Origin: wildly implausible and almost unthinkable.

So what to expect from the election? I’ve lost my confidence. Rudd to me was always a better match for Abbott then Gillard despite his failings. An election win under Rudd, which I considered to be a mere certainty yesterday has gone to a toss of a coin under Gillard. The reason: if you can’t govern your party, how can you expect to govern the nation? It’s not enough to be the First Australian Woman Prime Minister; that novelty will wear off quickly. With no Resource Super Profit Tax as Gillard promised in her first Press Conference as Prime Minister, so to goes the budget bottom line that was forever linked with the ability to put the nation’s budget back into surplus, and then goes the ALP’s economic credibility. The one man who will be overjoyed with these developments is Tony Abbott, and this is not good at all.

As for me, my PhD thesis on the ALP’s relationship with its parliamentary leaders just got a lot more interesting. This could very well be the making of my professional career. But in a strange twist of fete it also means that the rose coloured glasses that I once viewed my party in have not just been broken, but smashed.

If Kevin Rudd managed to defeat the Liberal Party’s second longest serving leader (John Howard), and the opinion polls still had him winning the upcoming election by a reasonably comfortable margin, then where to for Gillard when she reaches inevitable crisis? And where to for future Prime Ministers who piss the wrong people off? That is something both Labor and Liberal members should fear. Maybe Malcolm Turnbull wasn’t so crazy after all?

I remember when the ALP won the 2007 Federal Election. The possibilities seemed limitless, the future looked bright. For once I had a leader I respected who had a vision. He wasn’t exciting, he wasn’t extraordinary, but he was smart and he was tough and I knew he was going to be a great Prime Minister. And now the hope has gone, the dream has died, and I am left teetering on the edge. I love my party and yet I cannot stand it right now.

I am a shattered man.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Linkage: Volume I

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do on this blog for a long time is to provide access to my favourite articles/websites. I can do this now because the technological luddite in me has finally worked out how to link to things. So, I’m starting a new series of blogs called The Linkage, which will be updated periodically. Sure the Knowledge Is Power section on the right hand column gives you some vague notion of my interests, but here’s some links you must check out.



Tuesday, 22 June 2010

An Emotional Journey With Tegan

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my mother about Tegan and Sara. Because of my obsession with all things Quin related, she knows the music well, as it gets played in the house at least once a day. And so when I described Tegan and Sara’s music as ‘dark and twisty’ (to use a phrase borrowed from Meredith Grey) she immediately questioned this. I’m not surprised quite frankly, because to the casual observer those catchy pop hooks leave the impression that everything is bright and sunny, but beneath the surface lies an emotional fragility, particularly in Tegan’s songwriting that cuts to the core of my soul.

Take yesterday for example. I decided to put my Best of T&S Mix on my IPOD while I made the quick trip to uni to pick up some books. A round trip to the uni perfectly fits the confines of this 17 song, 59 minute mix, which starts as I close my garage door and concludes when it reopens. Emotionally I have been fine of late, things have sorted themselves out, but yesterday I put this mix of songs on, and it was like I had been put through an emotional washing machine.

The trip to the uni went along fine, I take the journey singing at the top of my lungs to I Hear Noises, Hop a Plane, On Directing, Take Me Anywhere, The Con, Red Belt, Walking With a Ghost, Northshore, Divided, and Someday. The whole time as I drove down the footpath I’m aware that people were looking at me, as they could probably hear both my terrible singing and the backing track through my headphones, as I had the music up at maximum volume. I didn’t care, I really and truly didn’t. I passed school kids trying to look cool on skateboards (and failing), people jogging or taking their dogs for a walk, and a father trying to teach their daughter how to ride a bike. Each gave me quizzical looks as I glided by. The skater kids laughed at me and probably thought I was trying to look what they considered to be cool. I know I’m anything but. I made way to the top of the uni’s Innovation Centre just as the incredibly awesome bit of Northshore comes in at 1:42 where Sara’s backing vocals start, during what can only be described as an aural orgasm. Two semi professional guys in a suit and tie were having their smoke break, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. In a rush of energy there I was harmonising with Sara as she sang ‘Something so sick about this, I am so addicted’ I knew I looked like a wanker, but harmonising with Sara, trumps my own self consciousness every single time. That half an hour trip was the happiest I had been in 6 weeks.

On the way back I reached the mid point of my journey. I was crossing the bridge on Stringybark Road and The Cure comes on. Of course I’ve paid attention to the lyrics before, but suddenly I reach a moment of complete clarity, and relate it to an awkward trip down memory lane a fortnight ago. ‘All I said to you, all I did for you, seems silly to me now’ Suddenly a light bulb flashes. I get it. Tegan is talking about that. If only I had said that a fortnight ago. Then Nineteen envelops me, possibly the most emotionally arresting song to ever exist. Take every teen drama, every failed romance, multiply it by 100 and you have Nineteen. So there I am crossing an intersection singing ‘I was Nineteeeeeen callllll meeeeeee’ tears flowing down my cheeks, just swept up in the emotion of it all. I'm not only thinking about those moments which Tegan describes and how they pertain to me, but also what they represent. I am not young and naive anymore. It’s not enough just to feel the pangs of love as the percussion filled crescendo towers over me. That time is over. But then Dark Come Soon starts and as I’m immersed in the lyrics, another line hits me right between the eyes: “So what, I lie? I lie to me too.’ And then all these other layers open up…. The garage door opens up and I’m home.

Sure the BFF and I say that Tegan is the hottest woman on two legs, and she is undoubtedly so. But I connect with Tegan particularly in an emotional way, not just through fan boy adulation, but through experience. I regard myself as emotionally fucked up in all the worst ways, unable to communicate my feelings properly unless shielded in a protective cocoon. But you know what? Tegan is emotionally fucked up too, and that comes through in almost all of her songs. She is strong enough to communicate that to the rest of the world.

I wish I was that brave, and strong, and fearless. That is why I love her

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A Call to Arms for Every Tegan and Sara Fan.

You know how much I love Tegan and Sara, right? They're my heroes, my creative muses, not to mention the two best musicians ever. They're twin sisters, and they're both lesbians.

However, some sick 'fans' thought it would be cool to make a website to post fan fiction of Tegan and Sara having sex. This is disgusting and offensive. So me and my T&S loving pal Sarah are kicking arse and taking names. We're asking you to report said group whose full web address is below

http://community.livejournal.com/tnsquincest

Report this website for abuse and shut down it by going here

Tegan, Sara, their family (who are included in some posts) deserve better, so even if you're not a fan or haven't heard of them, please do your bit to help them get the treatment they deserve!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Political Animal

Last night I travelled an hour south to Queensland Parliament House for a forum put on by the Queensland Fabian Society entitled The British Election and the Future of Progressive Politics, by Senior Lecturer in Political Science Dr Andrew Hindmoor. It was a fantastic and engrossing talk that I got a lot out of mainly because at this exact point in my PhD I’m doing a comparative study between the ALP and British New Labour. I came home, scribbled down copious amounts of notes, and really felt as if despite the two hour round trip I really got something out of it. To me, going to these types of political forums runs a close second to going a gig. As Hindmoor told the story of witnessing one of Blair’s landmark speeches some 15 years before, one thought raced across my brain ‘Fuck, I wish I was there, that would have been awesome!’

So on the long journey home I had plenty of time to think about what it means for me to be involved in politics. No, I am not talking about the biographical reason why, I could recite in my sleep. More important than that, how has my involvement in politics become such a part of who I am? Why do I choose a passion that is so detested by the general public?

It’s one thing to be a cripple, or a young political operative, but to be both I would assume is entirely unique. When I first joined the ALP at the age of 19, I walked into my local branch meeting, and I am quite certain there was not anyone born after 1960. And yet I knew this was a step I had to take, so despite my trepidation I dove in head first attended all the meetings I could, and soaked in all the knowledge I could like a sponge. I knew that the ALP with my holy place, a place of comradeship, a place to practice the marvellous activity known as politics, and although sometimes I question the direction of the party, or the decisions it makes, my undying love for the party, or the art of politics will never be questioned.

I can pinpoint the exact moment I made that choice. I was on Year 11 camp, and although I loved the academic side of high school, I absolutely hated the social side with a passion. Everyone’s favourite time of camp was the time that they got to choose their own activity (ie. Crack on to their object of affection, continuing to act like a dickhead that they always were, or socialising within their various cliques) I struggled to find things to do because I was unwilling and unable to pursue these activities. However, I had a crush on a girl from the moment I had laid eyes on her 18 months before. Camp would be my chance to get to know her socially. Free time on the last night had arrived, she sees me, smiles my way, eyes gleaming in her typical fashion ‘Hey, why don’t you come hang with us?’ I, stop, pause, mind ticking over and then say ‘Gee thanks, but this is the only chance I’ve had to read my book all week’. I turned and walked away, my fate, as I knew it defined by that tiny moment.

Hardly anyone understands what living a life that involves eating, sleeping and breathing politics actually means. Further, it seems to most that the fact I chose this life voluntarily is equally baffling. I don’t go to parties and I don’t get drunk, As one person described it: ‘You’ve got a mind of a fifty year old, trapped in the body of someone half his age.’ Others are less kind, a long lasting friendship ended when a person I regarded as a close confidant told me my ‘life was boring’ because I was working on my Honours thesis and helping out on a State Campaign. My response: ‘One day I will change the world and when that day comes years from now, you’ll still be a bitter and twisted cow.’ The friends I have had since may not understand my passion for all things political, but they get that I love it, and they respect me because of it.

My mentor in the ALP has often theorised that in order for me to have a successful romantic relationship that person must share my undying passion for politics. I certainly see his point as he and his wife both share my obsession for politics and also share a love for one another that I have not seen in any couple, besides my own parents. It is also true that politics is brutal on relationships. Yet if my romantic entanglements and politics collide I think I will regard it as some sort of happy accident. It seems there will be two true tests that any potential partner has to overcome. Can you cope with the crippleness? Do you believe in ‘Solidarity Forever’? Only time will tell.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Kevin Rudd: The Incredible Sulk?

David Marr’s Quarterly Essay has received lots of attention this past week. Justifiably so it would seem. After watching a fantastic interview on The 7:30 Report on Monday, I was excited that we would finally get a substantive biographical account of this country’s Prime Minister. It was not so unfortunately. Instead what was uncovered was a standard by the numbers retelling of Rudd’s life, with a bit of pop psychology thrown in for good measure, and dominated largely by journalistic groupthink.

Naturally, much of the publicity surrounding this essay is left to the last page. Marr details an …‘off the record’ conversation with Rudd where the Prime Minister asks the author what the central thesis of his essay was about. Marr describes this, and Rudd flies into a ‘rage’. Marr details this in his 7:30 Report interview:

He very carefully disguises that real person and the real person is a very angry person. Now, anger doesn't disqualify himself from high public office, but I think he's driven by very old angers…. You see the real thing. Don't you feel that there, when the anger starts, you feel in the presence of the real person, and I certainly did when it happened to me.

I can't tell you what he actually said, except to say that he was vivid and eloquent; he was the most himself that I saw him at any time. And I, curiously, enjoyed that experience very much, about 20 minutes of being ticked off by him. No swearing, no stamping, none of that. I put it at about 3.8 on the Richter scale.

Wow, I thought, this essay might finally provide a fascinating insight into what makes him tick as a leader. Political academics notoriously hate to provide psychological profiles of leaders. But I find them eternally fascinating, and it was one of the reasons that I was drawn to studying political leadership in the first place. To understand how the political process works, you must understand how leaders make their decisions. Mark Bahnisch from Larvatus Prodeo criticises this particular example of political psychology arguing that Marr’s hypothesis was ‘tortuously argued’ He goes on:

And it’s one I suspect that informed Marr’s conversations with others, rather than emerged from the evidence he examined. Marr himself highlights the notorious belief in Canberra circles that Rudd’s squeaky clean image was dissonant with the face he presented privately.

Marr contends that Rudd revealed himself as “most human” when he was angry at the conclusion of a dinner he’d had with the writer, and after Marr had told him that his argument in the essay was that Rudd’s “contradictions” were borne of rage. This seems to me to be absurd. I can’t imagine anyone under the same circumstances not being angry at such an insulting, wounding and trivialising line of argument.

In many ways I agree with this, but I think the problem lies not with the argument itself, but with its structure. It strikes me as a wonderful editorial decision to leave the ‘sexy bit’ to the end. However, it was the wrong decision to have Marr’s central thesis characterise Rudd as the ‘choke point in the government’, or as the endless micromanager, which so many journalists claim him to be (in the height of stating the bleeding obvious). I would have thought it would have been better to start the essay with their infamous encounter and seek to characterise Rudd through the prism of his anger, much as Marr attempted to during his 7:30 Report interview.

This in turn explains so much, including the micromanaging, the almost insincere repour with the public, the need to obsessively claim all the power and all the responsibility within his own government. Marr does a good job of painting a biographical account of Rudd in the early portions of the essay, and it has potential to take this route, but for what? To explain that he’s a control freak, well again Marr plays the part of Captain Obvious here. All Prime Ministers need to be control freaks. Far from brilliant, the essay despite its potential is in fact the opposite of what the commentators are suggesting, Marr is not brave enough and should have gone even further, if he did want to explore Rudd’s Power Trip in its fullest context.

As I have previously argued there has yet to be a lot of substance behind Rudd’s rhetorical arsenal. Marr had the makings of what could have been an insightful essay, but instead chose to contribute to the already benign commentary of Rudd’s leadership failures. Marr endeavoured to explore Rudd’s changing relationship with the Australian voting public through an examination of Rudd’s character, but he only really scratched the surface. To me that is more disappointing than if he failed to try in the first place.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Glee: The Most Frustrating Show on Television?



Glee it seems is the TV show of the moment, burning as brightly in the pop cultural landscape of 2010 as The OC did in 2004. Unlike the millions throughout the world who think Glee is the greatest show since… well the last popular TV show, I find it ever so infuriating. Its highs are downright fantastic, its lows so cringe worthy, they induce vomit in the back in my throat. About half through its first season I was ready to give up, but somehow I managed to hang on in there. After viewing yesterday’s finale, I realise this unevenness is what makes the show watchable.

The Glee soundtrack acts as a microcosm for the show. I’m a musical theatre fan from way back and count Rent as probably my favourite theatrical production of all time. However with Glee, the music acts as more of a marketing arm of the entire craze. Autotuned to high heaven, the songs are always produced within an inch of themselves. Sometimes this can work (See in order of musical greatness: here, here, here, and here), but more often than not the songs turn into utter disasters. For every Total Eclipse of the Heart, there is an Ice, Ice Baby. These songs are then placed outside the show’s context and on to ITunes to compete with the latest idiotic Katy Perry single for pop chart supremacy. Without context these songs lose all their pleasing qualities, as musical numbers are only supposed to service the plot to peek inside a character’s emotional state and extend it out into the audience.

The same dilemma occurs with the show itself. Sure it aims to be an inspiring musical about the trials and tribulations of a high school glee club, but beyond that the show remains confused about what type of show it wants to be. Is it a dark comedy? Or a teenaged moralistic fable, ala Degrassi with a choir? The show isn’t quite sure and neither is the viewer. It is here that the most enjoyable part of the show takes place, not within the show itself, but in the wider discussions of the episodes within a critical context. Television Critic for The A.V. Club Todd VanDerWerff even put forward his own theory midway through the first season to suggest that Glee is in fact three shows in one to explain his own frustrations:

Glee is unusual in two regards. It seems to be written entirely by its three creators – Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan – but all three of those creators also seem to have wildly different ideas of what the show is. Murphy, responsible for “Acafellas” and … “Vitamin D,” is most interested in making the show a funhouse mirror version of an afterschool special. Brennan, responsible for “The Rhodes Not Taken,” is most interested in the sadness buried down at the core of the show’s concept. And Falchuk, responsible for [Throwdown] and “Preggers,” still probably the best post-pilot episode, is most interested in pulling the two approaches together in a hybridized fashion while deepening the teenage characters on the show. (For the record, the three wrote the pilot and “Showmance” together.) I don’t doubt that the three creators all plot out where the show is going generally, as well as what’s happening in each episode, but where Brennan (on the scant evidence of one episode) mostly tries to avoid the soap opera plotting of Murphy’s show as much as he can, Falchuk tries to incorporate those verifiably insane moments while sticking with Brennan’s more emotionally realistic tone. I don’t imagine this is going to be a way the show can work going forward, but the three writers are somehow making all three of their different visions seem like they take place in the same universe, which means the show is still working. But just barely.

As the first season progressed, I become more and more convinced of this theory, and of the show’s bipolar nature, particularly with regards to its supporting characters. Naturally, I took an interest in Artie, the paralysed, wheelchair bound geek who finds a sense of purpose in joining the glee club. His character was superbly handled in the episode Wheels where he got his own storyline that was empowering, positive and encouraging for someone who doesn’t see a lot of physically disabled characters acting as positive role models on television. But by the time Artie’s storyline was revisited in Dream On, he had turned into a stereotypical pitiful, pathetic, cripple who longs to be able bodied. Where I was overjoyed in Wheels that my story was being told to a mainstream audience, I was downright outraged in Dream On that the same viewers were being told that my life was meaningless unless I could get up in a mall and do The Safety Dance

So what to make of Glee? It’s a middling show that doesn’t deserve the over hype its getting. Favourite TV critics of mine Myles McNutt and VanDerWerff give excellent overviews of the season in their reviews of the finale. The show may be groundbreaking and edgy, but the challenge for the writers next season is to find some solid New Directions for Season Two. Otherwise Glee may well be headed in the same place as Seth Cohen.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Proust Questionnaire

So I finished reading Hitch 22 today. During the final third of the book Hitchens republishes the Proust questionnaire that was also published on the Vanity Fair website recently. Thought I may give it a go too. Feel free to post yours on whatever forums you use if you feel inclined

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?_
A life without my passions: politics & music. Also a life without the G6 would be unbearable

Where would you like to live?
In a place where I am challenged intellectually, constantly surprised and enlivened.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
A world where there is a Labor Government in Australia indefinitely, quality TV shows are plentiful and everyone loves the Quin Twins as much as I do

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Arrogance, distance, emotional hyperactivity

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Joshua Lyman & Malcolm Tucker

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Paul Keating, Denis Murphy, Don Dunston, Gough Whitlam

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Oh most definitely the BFF, and the girl who must not be named, but knows who she is.

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Rory Gilmore, Emily Fitch, Peyton Sawyer, Amy Gardner

Your favorite painter?
NA

Your favorite musician?
Well, duh its Tegan Quin

The quality you most admire in a man?
The ability to think like a woman, courage, intelligence

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Courage, Intelligence, conversationalist

Your favorite virtue?
Honesty

Your least favorite virtue, or nominee for the most overrated one?
Faith. It’s all bullshit

Your proudest achievement?
Surviving intellectually when so many told I could not

Your favorite occupation?
Satisfying my never ending quest for knowledge.

Who would you have liked to be?
Kevin Rudd (Not for the obvious reason either)

Your most marked characteristic?
Determination.

What do you most value in your friends?
Their continued existence and their loyalty.

What is your principal defect?
The obvious one.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Nothing, already had it and overcame it

What would you like to be?
A writer of non fiction professionally

What is your favorite color?
Scarlet.

What is your favorite flower?
None.

What is your favorite bird?
Chicken (When it is cooked)

What word or expression do you most overuse?
'Why?'

Who are your favorite poets?

None, much prefer prose.

What are your favorite names?
Tegan, Sara, Vanessa, Katie (why are these all girls names?)

What is it you most dislike?

Stupidity!

Which historical figures do you most despise?
John Howard!

Which contemporary figures do you most despise?
Tony Abbott, Nick Minchin, (lets just make it the entire dry faction of the Libs)

Which events in military history do you most admire?

I am a pacifist!

Which natural gift would you most like to possess?
Athleticism, Warren Tredrea style

How would you like to die?
Quickly

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Everything!

What is your motto?
Knowledge is Power!