Thursday, July 15, 2004

Filthy mood

I dare not look in a mirror at the moment – it would surely crack, but only after going all concave on me first. Out of the last two days’ worth of multiple shitful developments, probably the main one is that my computer has seized-up; barring access to some (key) documents and doing sundry other weird stuff besides, all on a seemingly random, doc-by-doc basis. Franz Kafka anticipated computers perfectly –alongside a secret-police ruled legal system, they are paranoia incarnate.

But it’s best not to dwell on my own troubles for now. (And especially so when the beast I’m criticising is digesting and noting every keystroke as soon as I type it).

On the bright side, then – There’s definitely something about Bryce Courtenay, when you look at this photo, that is.

Also on the bright side is that Clive Hamilton – whom I welcomed as the first resident of my perma-rotisserie almost two months ago, only to have nothing to bag him out about ever since – has finally now put his foot freshly in it:

[Y]oung people are spending much more money on having fun, in a hyper-consumerist society created by baby boomers . And having fun is more expensive these days. It's going to bars and coffee houses and communicating by mobile phone and travel - all of those things are very expensive.

Err Clive, while I could spend days addressing how and why you are so wrong here, I’ll confine myself to a few illustrative points. For starters, when you refer to young people and their “coffee houses” – you seem to be thinking of those places where a generation who wore desert boots and duffel coats used to go, c. 1970. If so, what with the price of backwards time travel, yes, I’m sure getting one of those new-fangled cups of coffee in glasses (!) is going to be very expensive for today’s yoof.

Apart from the cost of time travel, Clive is talking out of his arse, as far as the comparative cost of things today goes. Bars/clubs have roughly followed the CPI as far as drink prices go, but door charges have deflated big-time in real terms (about ten bucks fifteen years ago, the same today). Ditto travel, at least of the international variety; a basic airfare to Europe has been a headline $2,000 for the last two decades.

Most deflationary of all, though, has been the oft-cited-as-luxury-WE-didn’t-(and still don’t)-have – the mobile phone. The simple fact is, Clive, that a mobile phone used sparingly (i.e. mainly for incoming calls, and for outgoing calls only up to the monthly call credit) is just over half the monthly price of landline phone rental. So what does that make landline phones, Clive – especially considering that for thirty bucks line “rental” a month, you get nufff-ing; no included calls, and no outright-owned handset even after years of paying line “rental”? Well, here’s a suggested phrase for you, Clive: if a product costs 50% more than “very expensive” mobile phones, then it might be called a fucking almighty rip-off. So before you dare open your jaundiced trap again, Clive, go forth and bust-up Telstra to smithereens. After then – and only then – you have my permission to speak again.

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