Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 26, 2011

Monday 23 May 2011 – roads, meetings and a mixed up panel!!

Beginning of  a very wintry week of cold winds, squally shows, and low temperatures.  And a day which saw me spend almost 4 hours on the roads with my trips to the city area and back – admittedly, I travelled the longer routes, but some of the traffic conditions really did frustrate this ‘old’ scribe, so much so about one section of the road local to the Sunbury district, that I voiced a little ‘whine’ to one of our councillors [a friend on Face Book]. I had to basically accept her response and explanation, because having past experience myself in the local government environment, I kind of knew the answers and the situation with respect to responsibilities for our roads, etc.  But sometimes, things become just so annoying, that you need ‘to get it off  your chest’!  So I did, and thank you Ann for tolerating my expression of complaint!!

This is a summary of that brief discussion, one of  three actual  talking points about which I became involved through Face Book tonight, the other two relating to tonight’s subject matter/panelists on Q & A [ABC TV] and,  a bit of a natter about presenters at our radio station, the details of which I won’t go into here!

Meanwhile, overnight, Australia’s F1 motor racing competitor, Mark Webber, began from the front of the grid in the Spanish Grand Prix, but unfortunately could only manage a 4th position – I think I saw a few minutes of the race but drifted off to sleep before it finished so can’t really put my finger on what went wrong in that race for Mark  But it was another win for reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has now  his fourth win in five races this season.   The 23-year-old German – winning his 13th Grand Prix – edged out 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren by less than a second, while Hamilton’s team-mate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button was third.  Australia’s Mark Webber finished fourth after starting on pole.  Vettel used his natural speed and clever strategy to steal the lead after starting second behind team-mate Webber, resisted all that 2008 champion Hamilton could throw at him in the closing stages of the 66-lap contest. This was Vettel 13th career win – and extended his lead in the drivers’ world championship.   It was also the first time that a driver, who did not start from pole, had won the Spanish Grand Prix in 11 years. After five races this year, the overall standings show – 1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 118;  2. Lewis Hamilton (ENG) 77;  3. Mark Webber (AUS) 67; 4. Jenson Button (ENG) 61and 5. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 51.

At the office front, it was Committee meeting day, so things were fairly hectic throughout the day as is normal on those occasions. These days, my roles are generally related to the external organisation, rather than  to the actual meeting. Gone are the days of sitting there as ‘Minute Secretary’ and gritting my teeth, unable to speak my mind, while the occasional member performs like an out of control school brat – I think those days, I would have been the only person present, were I a participating member [rather than having a purely  administrative role] to have told a few people to shut out, or get out!  Rare is the person who will say what everyone else is thinking, and actually act!!  Anyway, that kind of situation doesn’t generally arise these days with a much more cohesive committee of which all the membership works well together. Much like the current radio committee. I guess these things go in cycles!

Q and A tonight, on the ABC, had as panel to answer questions from the audience mostly representative of the Sydney Writers Festival [SWF], which I think was still happening.

Panellists: Gail Dines, author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality; Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Hours; Brendan Cowell, writer and actor; Leslie Cannold, ethicist and author of The Book of Rachael; and Howard Jacobson, winner of the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question.

‘Five of the best local and international authors from the SWF made this a feisty and enthralling Q&A episode, covering everything from pornography and sex to Israel and the power of words. Noted anti-pornography feminist Gail Dines was in a combative frame of mind from the beginning when Diana Taylor asked her about the likely outcome of freely-available mass porn. Gail outlined the potential harm and called for a movement of outraged women and men of goodwill to rise up and counter the porn industry, suggesting purveyors and manufacturers be sued for the harm done by their product. It was a point of view with which several other panellists and audience members took issue, and a vigorous debate erupted that encompassed technology, gayness and hair-free genitalia’ [ABC review].

That ‘area of topic’ tended to dominate the discussion to a large degree, but I thought an important point was made with the question as to what responsibility writers had to preserve and contribute to the health and moral fabric of society – a question which it was agreed, went to the heart of what being a writer was all about, what was it’s purpose. I gained the impression that not all present thought they had an obligation through their art to take on such responsibilities. As for the panel members, well I did not take to two of them –  Michael Cunningham, a self confessed gay, I felt overdid his insistence on making and projecting that fact, to the extent that it was often difficult at times to take his opinions seriously, he seemed determined to simply make fun of the topics being raised. As for Gail Dines, she was simply a ‘pain in the butt’, self-opinionated, constant talking over the others, but utterly determined that nobody else would speak while she was, and was also  totally dismissive of anyone else’s opinion. I didn’t take to that woman at all, , and I think the other woman on the panel, Leslie Canold, probably had a similar opinion of her fellow female feminist.

Not a good night out on the roads tonight, yet for a while this evening, I thought Susie was going to drive back from Bendigo, because when she had driven up there today, she left a bag of study books behind which she needed tomorrow. I offered to drive up there myself, but eventually she must have decided against the trip, could manage without the material – sent me a message [thankfully] at around 11pm to say she had changed her mind.  Quite obviously, had I not got that message, I would not have been sleeping until I’d heard from Susie!  Meanwhile, I was hoping this time she would stay up there for a few days, but  alas, I would be disappointed on that score by Tuesday!

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