A Modest Proposal for the Parents of Poor Children

I’ve been talking to people. I’ve been going to dinner parties and tutes and cafes and telling people about my idea. They hear my idea and it gets them excited. I’ve had a lot of ideas, but this one might be the most important.

I think we’re gonna have to eat the Boomers.

Can’t just execute them, you see, that’d be barbaric. If we turn them into steaks and mince and so on, that’s simply the reallocation of resources, Lifting our nations biggest Leaners up and onto our plate, where their protein can finally go to some use.

We’d do it properly, of course. We’d have a program and roll it out and advertise it to the populace in a nice little brochure so they understood exactly what was involved. Then we’d gather up an entire generation and stun them and slaughter them and eat their flesh. Couldn’t be simpler.

People have reservations, which is natural. “But it’d be a huge logistical challenge,” they say, and “what about the loss of all that intellectual capital?” or “they’re all gonna be too stringy.” And in reply, I say respectively “jobs,” or “we’ll just read a book about real estate investing” and “that’s why we gotta do it now.” If people still aren’t convinced I tell them how Operation Eat the Boomers will put the fear of fucking God into Generation X and we might finally see the end of those ‘What’s Wrong with Gen Y?’ columns. That gets the last of them on board.

I’m seeing a lot of excitement about this. I tell people my vision and their eyes light up as they imagine a country with a sane property market, and with growth in industries that aren’t aged care. I tell them to picture George ‘Voltaire’ Brandis as hamburgers and I swear to God, my friend, sometimes I see tears.

I was walking with my sister the other day when a friendly silver-haired couple struck up a chat about our Cavalier Cross. Within half a minute they’d sweetly concern-trolled us about our choice of leash, totally oblivious to their own condescension as they strolled away in their matching down vests. Fuckers probably thought they were being nice. “Chops, chops, chops,” I muttered to myself until the red haze receded. Imagine, my friends, a future without any of that.

Just imagine.

 

Come back next week for “Open Season on Charity Muggers: You Know it’s Right” and “The Ethical Necessity of Carpet Bombing South of the Yarra.”

Beta Commando – First Shot

Hola. Currently my e-novella Beta Commando is going for a dollar on Smashwords and Amazon, to celebrate the anniversary of a bunch of things that didn’t actually happen. What things? Things in the book itself! That’s right, it’s set fourteen years ago to this day, and you can read the first part right here:

1: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER
“Do you believe in destiny?” Alphonse asks me, as he slides rounds into one of his clips.
I’ve got a lot of bullets in me at this point, so I don’t answer. No, I don’t believe in destiny, not the way everyone talks about it, where life just fits together like a movie and you’re the star. That’s just stupid. But yes, I kind of do. I mean—
Three shots slap into the door-jamb next to Alphonse’s head. He slides his sunglasses down his nose, looks at the little stars in the grey painted wood and blinks once. That’s usually how Alphonse feels about people shooting at us. He pushes his sunglasses back up his nose and goes back to reloading.
I scoot my ass back against the skirting board. I’d be more comfortable if I crossed my legs, but that’s a bit beyond me right now.
Where was I? Destiny. Yes, I do think everything is… predestined, I guess. I mean, everything happens the way it was always going to, is what I’m trying to say. It’s just maths, you put X into Y, you get Z. Maybe that doesn’t help you…
“James?” Alphonse is talking to me as he slides the clip into one of his Desert Eagles. “James, try to concentrate.” He doesn’t sound concerned. I mean, he’s not, not the way you or I might be. But for him, casually asking me to concentrate is as close as it gets. I nod.
It hurts to nod.
“Did you hear what I said?” he asks, and holsters both pistols. You might think two Desert Eagles firing bullets half an inch in diameter is a bit much for a third option weapon, but Alphonse would disagree.
Anyway, destiny. Let me put it another way. Every effect is the sum of a whole lot of causes. Billions of billions. Infinite, almost. All those things in the future, that look like they’re not fixed, are tethered to a nearly infinite amount of things in the past, that are definitely fixed. Unless you want to get all quantum, in which case you can ask Mark. Or you could’ve, if they hadn’t shot him.
They shot Mark.
I’m sorry, I’m rambling. Anyway, everyone always says “well, what about free will?” And yeah, of course free will. Will’s a great guy, and I’m sure he’s got shit to do…
I’m sorry.
A metal cylinder bounces through the door and past me, hissing gas. Without looking, Alphonse hooks his foot around it and kicks it back the way it came. He finishes with the clip he’s loading, slides it into his first submachine gun, and starts on another. Not clip, clip’s not the word. Magazine, that’s what George says it’s called. I’d be helping, but I’m not feeling too good right now. I’m not planning any holidays, is what I’m saying.
Maybe it’s the morphine. I can’t concentrate on what’s important. I keep getting distracted. The point is, free will doesn’t change anything. We still do the things we do because of things that have already happened. I mean, you make the choices that you make because you’re you and you’re you because…
By now Alphonse is fairly set. He’s got that damn trenchcoat he picked up after he watched The Matrix, its pockets weighed down with magazines. There are three diagonal stripes of dried blood soaked through his black muscle shirt. Then there’s the two submachine guns, the second of which he’s just finished reloading, hanging by shoulder-straps. He kneels to scoop up an M60 light machine gun and an ammunition belt. It’s the same gun from the end of Rambo. He opens the breech, feeds the belt in, shuts it and flicks his wrist so the belt wraps itself around his arm.
“James,” he says, “this is destiny.”
I shouldn’t have let him watch The Matrix. Continue reading

Zine Does Not Rhyme With Sine

So today I finished reading Ganache is Not Spelt Ganash, the sequel zine to Macarons Are Not Macaroons. For those not involved in the Melbourne zine scene (and for a guy who until recently volunteered in Melbourne’s best zine store, I am very uninvolved in that scene) Macarons is what I call an evergreen. The vast majority of zines will sell ten or so copies at a speed that won’t justify a second run. That doesn’t lessen them, that’s not how zines work, but there it is. My own evergreen On Sale sold a hundred copies before I stopped counting and shortly thereafter stopped printing it. If you were wondering, I have not managed to recreate that particular fluke.

That is nothing compared to the success Macarons has seen. It was released in early 2010 and still sells around a copy a day. Beck, the author, will be the first to tell you that it owes a chunk of its success to being released just before macarons planted their delicate arses firmly in Melbourne’s zeitgeist. It owes the rest to quality design, stirring honesty and Beck’s irreplaceable voice, which evokes the curmudgeonly, sardonic and profoundly human spirit for which she is one of my dearest friends.

This is probably as good a place as any to disclose that this Beck is the same Beck with which I have watched such gems as Expendables 2 and Jack “It Wouldn’t Be Funny if His First Name Weren’t Jack” Reacharound. Every time we talk about a thing our opinions are 180 degrees away from each other, but that doesn’t stand in our way. So I’m far from an impartial observer, I want to be clear. However, if you read Ganache is Not Spelt Ganash and find yourself disagreeing with me, I will gladly refund the five dollars I believe it is being priced at. I will refund it in the currency of verbal assault, but hey, a refund is a refund.

Anyhow. With all of that out of the way, this is what I think about Ganache. Continue reading

On the Walk of Shame

So, we’re all sex-positive feminists here, yes? Good. We all know that the term ‘walk of shame’ is a puerile little artefact of the patriarchy and we reject slut-shaming because it reduces physical intimacy to a bargaining process that women can only ever lose, right? If you don’t, go sit in the corner for ten minutes and think about the fact that you’re a numpty. Then we’ll get started.
Picture the scene evoked by ‘walk of shame’. A guy with a beer on a couch out front of his house watches hungover women in party dresses carry their high heels home. He doesn’t have to say anything, they know to hang their heads. It is Understood.
But imagine he does. Let’s take the implicit and make it explicit. Let’s break this one down.
“Hey look at you. Way to have fun, loser!
“Looks like you’ve fulfilled your prime biological imperative. Good job there! Way to satisfy the one drive that animates our entire race! Mission achieved. Congrats on probably using modern contraceptives to choose when and if that satisfaction results in a tiny person coming out of your most sensitive parts. Way to exert your primacy over the most basic metric of your biology.
“And shit, as if that wasn’t enough, it looks like you’ve achieved it by being desirable. It looks like a varying combination of your looks, wit and/or balls-out-motherfucking-panache was enough to excite another human being into making the beast with two backs. Looks you’re definitely a failure, then.
“I mean, fuck. With or without the assistance of our society’s drug of choice, you and at least one other imperfect, scuffed and worn soul pushed through your mutual inherent fear of emotional pain, pushed through the social constructs telling you your body is a commodity, to take a crack at real actual intimacy together. It doesn’t matter a jot how fleeting and unsatisfactory that moment might have been. You and someone you know just a little or maybe a lot both rolled the dice and chased joy together. Together you let your guard down and breathed the pollen of life, and it didn’t matter that flying is so hard to tell from falling. Last night, you won.
“Better start feeling bad about that.”

The Hills Are Alive

This one goes back to 2007, which sure as fuck doesn’t feel like five years ago. I had just turned nineteen. High school was over and it felt good.
I was at a birthday party at a pub in Traralgon. This was the same party I discovered that it’s possible to enjoy metal if you listen to it live. Already I was learning valuable things that school won’t teach you.
I found myself talking to a venerable old chap of indeterminate relationship to the birthday boy. With all the class and tact of my nineteen years I was bemoaning the fact that I felt so old and I just hadn’t done anything yet.
The geezer nodded. “When I was your age,” he reflected, “I’d been an extra in two films, I’d fought in a world war, and I was partway through my apprenticeship as a boat-builder.”
I began to suspect he wasn’t that interested in reassuring me. What films had he been in?
Our conversation swung around to the fact that The Sound of Music had been shot in his home town.
“People in my village,” he said, “don’t watch that film.”
I nodded gravely. “Of course. I’m sure it brings back all sorts of bad stuff. What with the Nazis and all. Awful.” Continue reading