There are Renaissance Australians who are so moved by sports as they are by the literary arts. There are those universal persons right here on this soil. A morning in gratitude to high art, an afternoon in awe of a half-forward flank. Oh. It’s a magnificent agenda.
It’s also a bullshit “classless Aussie” myth, if you ask me. But, you didn’t, and what do I know, anyhow? Nothing. Not even if “half-forward flank” is an actual existing sports term. Could be a plumbing fixture. Wouldn’t know. Could be a piece by Marina Abramović, or related conceptual moose. Wouldn’t know.
…the hitherto unsullied reputation of white men who wear white and are most generally called Craig, when they are not called Steve or Shane.
All I truly know is (a) what’s not too shit on Netflix and (b) that sport, like art, can devour both money and time.
I cannot know, but do suspect that the Equally Struck By Poetry and Badminton thing is just not possible within a single human. Maybe there are a few great enough in assets and leisure to appreciate two things deeply. Good on ‘em.
They’re not crapped off by last three days of cricket. But, we are.
Come on, Arty. You would not know the name Steve Smith had it not been freshly applied to an image of trousers.
Steve, I have been compelled to learn, is the captain of “our” cricket team and, it is alleged, he shoved a big wad of stationery supplies into his flannels. (By his own hand, mind. Not by that of Marina Abramović. Although, I wouldn’t put it past her.)
I wish I had sporting passions. Other than the unyielding desire to smash capitalism/conceptual art memoir by strategically emotional women.
I don’t know. Something. Sticky tape. Balls. Tampering. National pride. The hitherto unsullied reputation of white men who wear white and are most generally called Craig, when they are not called Steve or Shane. I’m certain that this cricket can provoke good passions in persons and as a very low sort of lady, I can’t say I am able to look down on any type passion at all. I wish I had sporting passions. Other than the unyielding desire to smash capitalism/conceptual art memoir by strategically emotional women.
No point in just whining, though. We’ve really got to plan. We’ve got to get into the habit of creating controversy out of nothing sturdier than sticky tape and hope. Hope for a day when we too can bang on forever before a suffering audience about unsatisfying cinema, plagiarising librettists or the diminishing quality of critique from Radio National’s Books and Arts.
Let’s not let this cricket crap fill the pants of all Australian media again. Let’s imagine an entire nation disappointed not by bad cricket, but bad art.
Clearly, it’s too late today. I imagine there’s already been a backlash to the “fuck off with the cricket” backlash. This virus has mutated and we can’t fix it now. We can fix our gaze on a better tomorrow when all must pretend to be interested in the things that interest us.
Needed most of all is your intolerance, your petty irritation and your misery. These qualities, above all others, will swell a national interest in the arts.
Examples of arts and culture controversy that have proved many times to fail, include:
- The diminishing quality of critique from Radio National’s Books and Arts.
- Political correctness stifling Australian cinema
These are not, by any means, unjustified complaints. We’ve just been making these complaints for so long, they are now entirely inaudible. See also:
- Damien Hirst is a tedious charlatan and probably attended Eton, or
- The diminishing quality of critique from ABC TV arts.
Speaking as an under-informed critic without much of a clue, I will say that I have enjoyed some completely unintentional success in stirring arts and culture-based controversy. You just never know what will get up people. But, the Daily Review lab and I have produced some minor flares which, with mass collaboration, might truly detonate. These have included:
- Making the claim that young adult literature and screen is best enjoyed by young adults
- Suggesting that Louis Theroux is a bit paternalistic
I mean, sure, a girl must be ready for the odd conniption when she proposes that a West that wages war on the culture of others might find war waged on its own. But, generally speaking, one can never be too careless. The good news for us is that even the merest critique of the merest form can turn out to arouse great passion.
I value your suggestions, of course. While it is true that some of us, ahem, have a natural flair for finding potential offence in cultural works and practices that have for so long seemed benign, I believe that the skill can be acquired. If what we yearn for is a broader coverage of the arts, we must seek controversy in the most unexpected statements.
Let’s try a few out to see if they incite any anger:
- The “punk-rocker” Henry Rollins has never been much good and certainly never rebellious, but became an adorable plush toy as soon as he (a) began to support every apolitical soft liberal cause they talk about on The Project (note: everyone already agrees that The Project is shit, so don’t bother) and (b) accepted sponsorship by manufacturers of the elite and comfortable Mercedes Benz vehicle to produce an Australian podcast called Tough Conversations. Which, we presume, is to be recorded in a spacious Mercedes.
- No one has ever stayed awake for all episodes of acclaimed television program The Wire.
Anything? Keep trying?
- David Lynch is a fucking genius. I don’t even care that he meditates. I even liked Fire Walk With Me.
- Biennale is basically a Food and Wine Frolic for knowledge class idiots who are watching their weight.
Look. I don’t feel I can crack this cricket thing alone. Your support, and your donations, are needed. But needed most of all is your intolerance, your petty irritation and your misery. These qualities, above all others, will swell a national interest in the arts.