More from the newly rediscovered archive. Truth is I have a rotten cold, but not, I believe, swine flu. Am off to Dr C today anyway.
Entry 193: Do you pine for the fifties?
Late again today after some intensive work upgrading the Salt Mine site, particularly the pages for teachers and a bit of calculated kite-flying on my Informer page (and also in this week’s issue of the school newsletter.)
Speaking of the Mine I was quite moved by aspects of the Enough Rope interview with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. There was this sad evocation of John Howard’s Golden Age:
ANDREW DENTON: Mmm, I’m guessing that that wasn’t an easy name to grow up with in the ’50s in Australia.
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: Um, no, because I grew up as a wog, having come from the place called Wogonia with parents who spoke Wogonese. And going into a white, middle-class Irish Catholic background, I was sort of picked on a bit and having a big, long name like that made me even more pick-on-able.
ANDREW DENTON: Was there a serious level of social exclusion or was it more that sort of schoolboy stuff?
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: No, this is one thing that really affected me and really still chokes me up sometimes. Until I was about seven or eight, I used to speak all the languages my parents spoke – and my father could speak 12 languages and my mother could speak about six – and we’d jabber away happily in English and Polish and Swedish and Danish and German. And I remember going to a cobbler’s shop to get some shoes picked up – they were being repaired. And we were jabbering away happily. And into the shop, while we were waiting in the queue, the parents and another child came into the school – this was a kid I went to school with. And then the parents pushed the kid forward and he came forward up to us and he said, "Stop…" To all of us – this is an eight-year-old kid – said to my parents and me, he said, "Stop speaking those other languages, you wogs." And from that moment I never spoke anything except English.
And even though I didn’t get actually beaten up at primary school, that affected me, that sort of…the intolerance has affected me all my life. And that’s something I want to sort of try and get out to people – that you don’t have to be intolerant.
ANDREW DENTON: Tell me about your parents.
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: They didn’t talk to me much because they’d been through the war and they’d been through the concentration camps and they’d been heavily traumatised. And so I only discovered just before she died that my mother had been in the concentration camps and in fact was Jewish. I didn’t know that at all…
Young Karl goes to the Mine right now:
ANDREW DENTON: …Your kids have the same surname as you -Kruszelnicki. Is it less of a burden for them than for you?
DR KARL KRUSZELNICKI: It’s a different world that we grow up in now. At the schools they go to, kids come from anywhere. They don’t care. They’re very understanding of other kids and if I want to teach them anything, it’s just to be understanding and tolerant and kind.
Glad to hear it…
Especially in a state school. Meanwhile John Howard is employing every schoolboy debater’s trick in the book to get around the problem of his reasons for invading Iraq last year (go to that site and cross out all the ones that are now demonstrably bullshit) and to belittle the recent contribution of forty-three of the most experienced and best informed people in the country who would like just a little "truth in government." His minions are stooping even lower, as the alliterative DE-ANNE KELLY demonstrated on Lateline last night:
…The PM’s also been fending off an attack on a second front, this time over the war in Iraq.
MARK LATHAM: Doesn’t the Government now face an unprecedented crisis of credibility as a result of its repeated dishonesty?
KIM LANDERS: The debate over whether the Government misled the Australian public about the case for war has been reignited by stinging criticism from a group of 43 former military leaders and diplomats, headed by two former Defence Force chiefs, two Navy and one Air Force chief.
JOHN HOWARD: May I say to the 43 who penned that letter, in order to establish a charge of deception you have to prove that the Government deliberately set out to mislead the Australian people and they have not done that, Mr Speaker.
KIM LANDERS: And John Howard’s questioned the impact of their intervention, saying all but one had left their posts before September 11.
JOHN HOWARD: I’m not going to cop a charge of dishonesty against myself or against my Government.
The argument that I took this country to war on a lie, is itself a lie, Mr Speaker.
KIM LANDERS: The PM also emphatically denies the involvement in Iraq has made Australia more of a terrorist target, while one of his Coalition back benchers has launched a counter attack of her own.
DE-ANNE KELLY, NATIONAL PARTY MP: These doddering daquiri diplomats – would they have done any different?
KIM LANDERS: As for John Howard, he’s prepared to stand on his record…
And fall by it too, I hope.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Another Olympics almost upon us. So I thought I’d reprise this:
Tuesday September 12 2000–3 days to go
The Torch is in Sydney and has been spotted by R; in fact it passes through his area again today. It passes by here on Thursday at about 9.30 am. Just as well it wasn’t today! Around 9 am a police car (on a high speed pursuit?) crashed into a power pole on the corner of Elizabeth and Cleveland Streets, just where the Torch turns. Pretty spectacular; the pole somehow must have broken the water mains, so there was a fountain about four storeys tall as well. Police cars everywhere, disrupted traffic, Channel 7 crew!
Moore Park is almost finished! Quite amazingly, all the mountains of earth have gone, the turf almost covers the park, trees have appeared, and the footbridge across the Eastern Distributor seems almost ready for business!
Thursday September 14 2000: the Torch goes through my neighbourhood
8 am: Yes, in one and a half hours the Torch goes by!
9.50 am: Well, I saw it at last! The torchbearer had very nice legs 😉
It was amazing how a crowd materialised so quickly. Half an hour back hardly any unusual activity could be seen, but then suddenly people appeared everywhere. On the balcony of the Surry Club Hotel there was a champagne breakfast. And yes, the torch was accompanied by lots of fine specimens of manhood on Harleys! Not sure I saw the one R mentions though 😉
A nice sight was the Mother Theresa nuns (various nationalities, but mostly Indian–there is a convent of them near here) all waving their Australian flags…
It really only seems like yesterday! And I am still using the same computer too.