Archive for May, 2009

Seriously ACA*. As if The Chaser didn’t have enough reason to make fun of you.

I just caught the tail-end of a story ACA was running about The Chaser’s hilarious attempt last night to get a woman into the prestigious ‘Melbourne Club’, one of the country’s oldest gentlemen’s clubs that enjoys the patronage of some of Australia’s most wealthy and influential elite – none of whom happen to be female.

If you didn’t see the segment on The Chaser last night, it went like this: The Chaser team’s Julian Morrow showed up at the club with a mannequin dressed as female governor general Quentin Bryce and wanted to know why she couldn’t join (like her male predecessors, who were all honorary members of the prestigious club). When the club threw him out, he grabbed the mannequin, mounted it on a pole and threw it over their back fence, before proclaiming ‘finally, a woman into the Melbourne Club! This is for women everywhere!’

Tonight, ACA asked the question, have the Chaser boys gone too far?

They then interviewed a female ‘families and equality advocate’ (is that a real job description or a made up one?) about The Chaser’s newest prank and she, unsurprisingly, took ACA’s side and denounced the behaviour as sexist and in bad taste. ‘It’s uncalled for,’ she said. ‘An uncalled for depiction of how women should be treated.’ Later on, she went on to say, ‘I thought the skit bordered on treason.’

Hmmm. So what you’re saying is the feds should be concentrating on the real terrorists – forget Al Qaeda, it’s The Chaser who represent the most dangerous threat to our national security. Throwing mannequins over brick walls – what’s next? An underground nuclear test?

No wait, that was Pyongyang.

Later in the show they revealed The Chaser’s response to the ACA story: ‘The point of the exercise was to show as much disrespect as possible to the Melbourne Club for excluding women. This is what happens when a bunch of guys try to make a feminist point.’

Now fair enough, I don’t agree with everything The Chaser does, and quite often they overstep the mark. But honestly ACA, how can anyone take you seriously anymore?** After all, ACA is not known for its journalistic integrity or relevance – in fact, it’s fairly notorious for blatant sensationalism and tackiness. It’s home to what I like to call the ‘Bart’s People’ story*** – shallow stories that have no real impact or insight, but instead appeal to the petty predjudices of the masses and play on their emotions for cheap ratings.

Keags and I will sometimes play a game when watching ACA**** called ‘Spot the Villain’, wherein we try to identify the story villain by looking at the visuals and listening to the music. Most of the time it’s fairly easy, with quaint little story titles such as ‘Bogan Bystander Backlash’ and ‘The Secret Exposed’. The opening sequence usually consists of an ominous-looking, grainy image of the said villain(s) walking in slow motion to a menacing tune. This is followed by an idyllic picture of the pensioner, disgruntled investor or anyone without his front teeth (usually on his front porch, perhaps with a mug of tea, or an old photo album for a touch of nostalgia) who was shamefully wronged by the villain in the previous scene. What follows is a rich tapestry of slander, lies and half-truths, constructed so persuasively as to ensure the public form the correct opinion about the issues raised by the end of the show.

Because clearly, we are incapable of making up our minds for ourselves.

*A Current Affair. Get with the times, people.

**Not that anyone took you seriously in the first place

***Remember the episode where Bart had his own show? That’s what I’m referring to.

****On the odd occasion we watch the show simply to make fun of it. Come on, we’re only human.


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Bashing the Bible

Yawn. Yet another misinformed agnostic making ill-advised, grandiose claims about religion to earn himself 15 minutes of notoriety.

I’m talking about Justin Sisley, the filmmaker who hosted a competition a few months back calling for ‘virgins’ to let him document their first sexual experience. This time around, he’s drawing male genitalia on the forehead of a picture of Mary, apparently because ‘religion constitutes fiction’ and ‘believing in God is like believing in James Bond.’ He then goes on to say that ‘anyone can make fiction, but when you’re filming documentaries you’re changing people’s lives’.

Hmmm. So basically you’re purporting that your low budget, amateur films are going to make a bigger difference to people’s lives than the salvation of mankind and the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Good luck with that.

I can’t help but laugh at the sheer ludicrousness of this fellow’s claims. I mean, even the most avowed, hardcore atheist is forced to concede the undeniable *existence* of Jesus and the authenticity of the gospels from historical evidence alone. [Any atheist that refutes this isn’t a well-informed atheist and probably has his head in the sand]. There were tens of thousands of manuscripts of the new testament written over a 60 or so year time span – compare that with the writings of Homer (Greek poet, not Simpson), which were written over a 500 year time span and had only 643 manuscripts, or Caesar, which have a 1000 year time span with only 10 manuscripts. Furthermore, all 24 000 or so new testament manuscripts agree in 99.5% of the text, with most of the discrepancies being in word order and spelling, and none in doctrine.

The problem with Jesus and the gospels isn’t its historical or intellectual credibility, but rather its call for us to bring our lives and hearts in submission to God. And we, as sinful humans who, like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) don’t particularly like this idea, so we come up with all kinds of clever ways to justify our position as rulers over our own lives.

What a pertinent reminder to keep praying for workers for the harvest and to do our part in bringing the lost sheep back to their shepherd.

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My grandfather, Gordy, turns 80 this month. He’s a member of that wonderful, albeit dwindling generation of gentlemen who wore hats out in the street and always opened doors for ladies when they were passing through. [Gordy continues with the hat tradition to this day, although these days it’s more a way of covering a diminishing crop of white hair than anything to do with fashion.] They were hardworking, loyal and humble – so much so that even now Gordy (who is without a doubt a gifted wood turner) shrugs off any hint of praise when people compliment him on his work. My grandmother is a lucky woman indeed.

One of the interesting quirks of that generation is their unique sense of humour. It’s that really dry, matter-of-fact, straight-shooting type of wit that most of us are familiar with – immortalized in the comedy stylings of the beloved British sitcom, the kind that TimeLife advertises during daytime TV. And, one of the benefits of having a granddad with this sort of humour is the hilarious one-liners he often comes out with, which usually leave the family in stitches – not unlike the one I’ll describe shortly.

Now, in order to understand the hilarity of this situation, you have to understand the other characters that come into play. There’s my grandma, Dawnie. Dawnie and Gordy have been married for 54 years. And, as you would expect for a couple who have spent the majority of their lives together, they have their fair share of ‘old married couple’ moments. Dawnie is the undisputed family matriarch, famous for her chicken (and sometimes veal) bread rolls – known in our family as the ‘Dawnieburger’. She lovingly dotes on her husband, children and grandchildren, making sure we are always wearing long sleeve shirts and sunscreen an inch thick before even thinking about venturing into the sun (and gives us a stern but loving frowning if she sees any patches of sun-induced erythema on our pale bodies). She enjoys a close relationship with her doctor, and always has a story about the latest problem that Dr Phil managed to solve. She would like Gordy (and my dad) to attend their doctors more often, but being stoic, invincible males, they generally find the GP experience quite unnecessary.

Which brings us to the next person in the story, my mum, Jenny. My mum is very much like Dawnie, doting on her family and my dad. Now, in recent years Dawnie and mum have discovered they can join forces to great effect, rallying together to persuade the men in the family to make ‘healthier’ decisions – whether it’s going to the Dr for a check-up, keeping tabs on the number of moles they have or making sure they have helmets on when riding the 4-wheeler (which, in all honesty, are fairly positive steps, particularly for my dad who has rolled the bike countless times, has a pin in his hip, half a colon and famously walked around with a broken foot for 10 years).

Anyway, it was 3 in the afternoon, which in dairy speak is known as ‘cuppa before cowtime’. Dawnie and Gordy were at our place for their regular Saturday afternoon visit. The family was around the table, and everyone was discussing Gordy’s upcoming GP visit for his driver’s license medical (fairly unnecessary in my opinion, given that Gordy never exceeds speeds on the road capable of doing any real harm to anyone). Anyway, mum (thinking it would be a good idea to take advantage of any contact Gordy has with doctors) remarked that he should get his ‘prostrate’* checked while at the doctors. To which Gordy, looking suitably horrified, replied, ‘You don’t need a prostrate to drive!’

Needless to say, everyone was in stitches.

*I’m not sure why people confuse ‘prostate’ with ‘prostrate’, but I’m yet to come across a patient who uses the correct term.

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What a loathsome testament to the utter depravity of our society and the tragic breakdown of relationships.

I’m talking about a website, ashleymadison.com, that offers disgruntled marrieds the chance to ‘sleep with someone else’s husband tonight’ (for a sizeable fee, of course). The company is based on a brazen philosophy that, given the high rate of infidelity in western society, husbands and wives wishing to have an affair may as well do it in style, and offers such individuals a chance to select their adulterer (or adulteress) of choice from a database of 3.6 million users. It’s the web’s most famous online adultery agency, making (more conservative) online dating competitors such as match.com look more like Tellytubbyland online.

The founder and CEO, Noel Biderman – a man who is, ironically, married (with children!) to an apparently enthusiastic spouse who doesn’t have the same trepidation about marital unfaithfulness as the rest of us – believes that his website can provide a ‘service for women who are stuck in unhappy marriages’ for whom ‘divorce isn’t an option’. Apparently monogamy just ‘isn’t in our DNA’ – so why fight it? Noel even goes on to say that he has ‘saved more marriages than he’s destroyed’ and gets thank-you mail ‘every day.’

We see the devastating effects of Godlessness and human sin in our society everyday – but rarely in such a bold, unashamed and rather sophisticated way. Not only does this grossly undermine the sanctity of marriage, as a gift created by God, it takes callous advantage of those who are suffering. The idea that infidelity could actually *improve* one’s marriage is not unlike the idea that a broken leg could be healed with repeat applications of a sledgehammer.

I can imagine the prescription now:
Joe Bloggs. Topical sledgehammer, 8 000 000mg*, PRN.
Directions: Apply to the affected area as needed. Side effects may include local discomfort, exanguination, and syncope. If death occurs, discontinue use.

The problem with this philosophy, is that at its heart, it fails to acknowledge the purpose of marriage, as set by its creator:
Consider Genesis 1: 26-28:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

And Genesis 2:19-25:
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh
She shall be called ‘woman’
For she was taken out of man’
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

There are several points we can make from these passages:
– God created man in his image to rule the earth under him
– God created Eve and Adam for intimate relationship with each other
– Husbands and wives are united in an exclusive, permanent relationship
– This relationship has emotional, spiritual and physical components – ‘one flesh’.

Indeed, throughout scripture we see this sanctity and exclusivity of marriage exhorted:
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4

Marriage was created by God. He has given us everything we have and every good and perfect gift (like marriage) comes from him (James 1:17). Therefore we are to use this gift (and indeed all things) for his glory. The problem arises when we, in our arrogance as sinful humans, attempt to distort the gifts that God has given us, and redefine our morality to suit ourselves. Marriage is the exclusive, lifelong union of man and woman in the service of God – and anything short of this is not marriage, but a human-devised sham that will ultimately lead to failure and discontentment.

Life is short. Eternal life is forever.

* I am indebted to Chris who rightfully points out that a sledgehammer probably weighs more than 800 grams. Let’s hope I get my conversion factors right when dosing patients.

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