Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Real diversions downunder

While Australians do engage in debate over the major conflicts they are just as adamant over local theoretical wars.

Political debate often takes place against a backdrop of the ‘history wars’. The ‘black armband’ view of history, for example, is a pejorative aimed at those who would campaign for indigenous rights of any kind.

Those who throw the ‘black armband’ claim seek to dismiss the historical relevance and claims of Australian Aboriginals.

Another recent ‘history war’ erupted over the relevance of some major political crisis over the past half century. Generally these wars are sparked by ‘conservative’ historians angling to change the dominant view of history to suit their own agenda.

To be fair, they also claim that the left skews history in its own favour. If this sounds fairly esoteric to the rest of the world, you can probably relate to response of the majority of Australians.

The arts are another fertile ground for these intellectual wars, and I’m being careful to separate history and the arts here.

Given Australia is not exactly an ‘arty farty’ culture, as they like to put it, there are a remarkable number of arts related battles take place there.

The current ‘storm in a tea cup’ is the poetry war! Yes, some of us have been known to dabble in serious poetry, as opposed to the better know bush verse of the country.

This latest battle royal broke out over revelations in the poetic memoir of a leading poet John Kinsella. Kinsella’s tome, Fast Loose Beginnings: a memoir of intoxications apparently details some of the alleged recreational antics he shares with his fellow poets. Story: It's poets at arms

They on the other hand, vehemently deny Kinsella’s take on events, to the stage of taking him to the courts.

Now I wasn’t there, so I can’t really say what these blokes got up to, though the suggestions include drug taking, carousing and, in one case, watching pornography.

That sounds fairly normal for the arty set, but this is actually my ex wife’s milieu and the only reports I ever received from her were related to talking all night while sucking back cheap wine. But I guess I’d better go steady there in case I get sued for suggesting they drink cheap wine.

Come to think of it, I didn’t sue over a prize winning poem, Hard Lines at the Hard Time, which was a direct attack of a second rate poem I delivered in Launceston’s Hard Times CafĂ©, an old regular poetry scene. Perhaps I’m missing out on something.

Moral: Find a diversion! When the world is in turmoil and all looks black, generate a totally irrelevant diversion to get your collective minds of life’s realities.


Lew Scannon said...

Can't imagine them being good poets if they didn't carouse. Good poetry does not come from living in a vacuum. And what man hasn't watched pornography?

Cartledge said...

Hey, I agree. But I don't really want to get sued. Some of those parties were marriage breakers!

Praguetwin said...

I could really use a diversion. What ever happened to bird flu anyway?

Cartledge said...

I do miss the poetry open mikes. THere were some delightful ratbags and some strange antics.
But I'll try hard to find some other diversions. We've solved the middle East now, just no one will listen (sigh)