cameras

CRAZY TALK

THE HUNGER GOVERNMENT

Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason. —José Maria de Eça de Queiroz

Under our current system, politicians do not really change that frequently. The same ones hang around for decades. Hence, our political parties and their policies have stagnated, and they’re starting to smell pretty bad. It’s harder to find a party that is a good match for your values. Want small government but also gay marriage and a visionary communications system? Tough. Want workers’ rights AND a compassionate (not to mention cost-effective) approach to asylum seekers? Sorry, you’re out of luck. Even if there is internal dissent, in general party members must stick to party lines.

The burgeoning number of small, single-issue parties could be seen as a direct result of this dissatisfaction. But what good is a party with only one concern? They might get fishing rights or bullet trains back on the agenda (if elected), but what about all that other important governance biz? Also, our ballot papers surely can’t get much longer. No offence to the ancient Greeks and so forth, but there must be a better way of doing things.

What if we got rid of this stale, tired system and replaced it with something new and exciting? A system composed entirely of wild cards who have not been groomed and shaped by university politics, old boys’ networks and private schools? What if this system could also double as the opiate for the masses and replace all those stale, tired reality TV shows?

So here’s an idea.

  1. Overthrow the government (details TBA).
  2. Install a bunch of new cameras and microphones in Parliament House.
  3. Select a citizen at random from every electorate to be the MP for that region for the next three years. Pay their home expenses (school fees, pet insurance etc) so they and their family are not unduly inconvenienced for the duration. Sort of like jury duty, but longer.
  4. Chuck them all into Parliament House together. While there will be many public servants already in place to help see to things, each candidate may select a certain number of advisors of their own choosing (previous MPs are not eligible).
  5. Each day they are told what they have to debate and work towards, via the public announcement system and also email and text alerts. There may be presentations from experts (again, like jury duty). Votes are cast—and cast again, if necessary, until a majority consensus in reached. MPs may retreat at break time to the various gardens of Parliament House (miked up, of course), to bitch about other MPs, form unstable alliances, smoke cigars, or sob quietly into their handkerchiefs. Some may choose to go to the diary room to address the public at large.
  6. Lucky/unlucky dip draws, physical challenges, logic puzzles, timed croquembouche-bakings and perhaps even the occasional karaoke-based voter poll would be employed to choose Australia’s representatives at various international sporting events, the G20, or when someone needs to call Obama.
  7. MPs will receive regular poll reports from their electorate, on various issues, to help guide their decisions if needs be. Lobbyists (businesses, interest groups or individuals) may apply for afternoon tea with an MP and are selected by random ballot.
  8. The public can send messages of support or condemnation, bags of jellybeans, and small tokens the MP may have wistfully desired on camera (e.g. the latest season of Game of Thrones, or a bottle of nail polish, a jar of Seville orange marmalade, a visit from their dog etc).
  9. The media can go nuts with profiles and exposes and predictions and maybe even some journalism once in a while. It will be ACE.

All the old power and influence channels would be broken. The energy currently spent on proving the other side unfit to rule, undinkum, criminal etc would be more constructively (and entertainingly) directed. All our MPs would have to work together to get anything done. I can’t think of anything that could possibly go wrong.

 ALICE CANNON, MELBOURNE

The Hunger Government would in no way resemble this amusing Punch illustration (fewer beards and top hats).   Union is strength; the "new movement requisitionists," forming a party and arranging a policy   . Printed and published by Edgar Ray and Frederick Sinnett, Melbourne, 1856. Wood engraving. State Library of Victoria, MP03/07/56/173.

The Hunger Government would in no way resemble this amusing Punch illustration (fewer beards and top hats). Union is strength; the "new movement requisitionists," forming a party and arranging a policy. Printed and published by Edgar Ray and Frederick Sinnett, Melbourne, 1856. Wood engraving. State Library of Victoria, MP03/07/56/173.

CRAZY TALK

TELEPATHIC CAMERAS ARE RUINING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS

A red robin on a stump in the bush is an uplifting sight, enough to erase any thoughts of contributing to CRANK, and just begging “photograph me”. Grab camera, locate bird in viewfinder, zoom in 10-fold, activate auto-focus, and flit—the ungrateful wretch flies away. It hadn’t moved for five minutes! My hand twitches and reaches for pen and paper.

It’s not just robins that have this knack. Crows that have been casing your food bags for hours vanish at the appearance of a camera. Herons, egrets, honey-eaters, hawks, emus, you name it—all are in (or should that be not in) my collection of “this was where the <insert expletive-enhanced name of bird> was” photos.

It slowly dawned on me that my camera was controlling the birds’ minds. I should have realised sooner—there’s even an ESP mode for goodness’ sake. And once you are aware of this menace, you realise it’s rapidly spreading. Only the other day I saw an entire swamp cleared of hundreds of ducks: a fellow walker simply raised his iPhone and the whole bloody lot took off, leaving just a few cormorants. Yes, yes, I know that suggests a GM solution to the problem but it won’t work. Although no cormorant has ever flown off when being photographed, the pressing of the shutter induces a subtle turning of the head that destroys the bird’s profile and hence the picture.

Besides, this power is not limited to the avian world. Kangaroos and wallabies will watch inquisitively for hours—but camera out, off they hop. A baby wombat tries unsuccessfully to hide under its fleeing mother. Cats and dogs stop their captivating behaviour. All animals succumb to the camera’s power!

Even humans are affected. What else could be causing the exponential epidemic of “selfies”? How many times have previously sloth-like people materialised between you and your subject? Reflect on that shot of a fat bottom or a hand with a plate of food or even a bicycle rider. Those interlopers were not thoughtless dolts—they were controlled by the camera. This manipulation starts young too: kids smiles turn to frowns and tears at the sight of the camera. Maybe so-called primitive tribes were right in thinking that a camera takes one’s soul. That might explain those red-eyed snaps.

But worse, it’s not just animate objects that are affected. The lamp post growing out of a person’s head, the electricity wires passing through their ears, or the underpants on the clothes line, all of which moved into position just as the shutter was pressed. Water is a pushover for the camera: a spectacular double rainbow arching across the sky fades to nothing, a cloud passes over the sun, and a mist descends on a panorama—each in the time it takes to ready the camera. Even the sea’s horizon develops a slant.

And wind too. The Amazonian butterfly with its power to cause a cyclone in Asia has entered folklore. Just why is beyond me. No one mentions the hundreds of thousands of years needed for the said cyclone to start spinning. [1] Compare that to the instantaneous power of a camera. It’s a perfectly windless day and a colourful snapdragon calls out “snap me, snap me!” Off with the lens cap and whoosh, a gale starts blowing around the flower. Yet one more blurred photo—every time!

While “point and hope” is the mantra for viewfinderless cameras, the older claim of “point and shoot” is rubbish. The reality is “point and shit”, the last word uttered vehemently as another prize-winning shot is ruined by the camera’s malicious telepathic and telekinetic powers.  We must find a way to eliminate this scourge. We have more to lose than our souls.

SERENDIPITY, WARRNAMBOOL

  1. What scientists are starting to realise is that the current global warming has nothing to do with today’s carbon dioxide levels but results from the interaction of a tract of red-hot pokers (Kniphofia uvaria) and a Lepidopteral swarm millennia ago. 
A robin redbreast on the branches would have provided a ray of colour in this gloomy scene. It certainly would have but there was no red robin about to actually be scared away by the camera. Image by the author.

A robin redbreast on the branches would have provided a ray of colour in this gloomy scene. It certainly would have but there was no red robin about to actually be scared away by the camera. Image by the author.