Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I will not allege coincidence; I will just report the facts

1. Yesterday afternoon, I discovered that one of my supervisees had left a copy of Alex Jones' Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything in my pigeon hole.
2. I began reading Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything as I trambulated my way to the altogether brilliant (and lovely) Anna Clark's book launch. (N.B. Anna's book ostensibly unrelated to Helen Garner.)
3. I arrived at the altogether brilliant (and lovely) Anna Clark's book launch and one of the first people I saw was Helen Garner's progeny, Alice Garner, whom I persist in thinking of first and foremost as the character she played ten years ago on Sea Change.
4. I chatted to Anna Clark's brother, whose doctoral research (nothing to do with Helen Garner) was supervised by Alex Jones, who wrote (see above) Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything.
5. I observed that Helen Garner was also in the room, conversing (forgiveably) with her progeny.
6. I refrained from bowling up to Helen Garner and (a) gushing, (b) gushing and then querying her ethical relationship to those she writes about, (c) accusing her of giving me a disapproving look on Bourke St thirteen months ago. Likewise I refrained from bowling up to Alice Garner and asking her whether she still fancied Diver Dan from Sea Change. This restraint indicates radical maturation on my part.

UPDATE: Alice Garner appeared on the brain's trust panel for The Einstein Factor last night (Saturdee).

11 comments:

Dale Slamma said...

Hooray for Puncher & Wattman. I think they are publishing some fantastic things.

alexis said...

Hear, hear. This Helen Garner and the Meaning of Everything job is the brilliantest book I've read all month (despite stiff competition from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Harriet Jacobs, Helen Garner and Anthony Burgess). Anything containing the phrase, "flushed by the reckless consumption of gingerbread", gets my vote.

Ampersand Duck said...

Goodness me, what self-discipline you have! I would have rushed up, slobbering and gushing and made a COMPLETE arse of myself. I have been trying to work up the courage to write to HG for decades. It's on my 'to do before I die' list. Or maybe that should be 'to do before she dies' list.

Ampersand Duck said...

I also seem to see AG regularly at the Canberra airport and have the same urge. Luckily my luggage is always to heavy to allow me to rush over. Phew!

Ampersand Duck said...

GAH *too*

OK, I'll leave now. See you at the scrabble board, where letters know how to behave themselves.

alexis said...

Yep, noone can describe what it's like to be a six year old who needs to poo quite like Helen Garner can. Still not sure about The First Stone ... she suggests that a woman who's sexually harrassed should knee her harrasser in the groin rather than initiate grievance proceedings. This is stupid advice, and ignores the fact that if you've privately assaulted your overlord he can make your existence untenable in all sorts of sex-unrelated ways, but I wonder if it's just advice that's badly thought through rather than advice that's deliberately anti-feminist.

Martin Kingsley said...

The knee is certainly more immediately satisfying, I'm forced to agree, as I'd personally prefer the cash, and of course the public humiliation of mine enemy. I can always tie him to a kitchen chair and immolate 'em with a twenty's worth of high-octane petrol at a later stage. You've got to remember to look out for number one. Torture-murder for pleasure and profit just ain't simple like it used to be, back in the day.

Martin Kingsley said...

"but I'm forced", even.

eyrie said...

I don't think Garner's eventual conclusion was that a knee to the groin is the solution. She writes at length in the book about the kind of polite "passivity" which comes over women when they receive an unwelcome advance and how that passivity makes kneeing or slapping or anything of the sort inconceivable (I recognised what she meant from my own experience). Certainly she says something like that at the beginning, but the book's really an extended meditation that she's puzzling out as she goes along and it's much more conflicted and nuanced than it initially seems. Notwithstanding the fact that using a real case and the circumstances of real human beings as the basis for her meditation is problematic, her beef seems to be not with seeking grievance procedures per se, but with the particular route taken in this case (ie- going to the police and pursuing the matter through the courts, rather than through the mechanisms of the institution itself). The young women in the case do seem to have been very poorly advised and I do agree that the court was never going to come to a solution which would be satisfying and free of trauma for either party.

TimT said...

'Initiate grievance procedures' sounds like a sub-routine in the emotional centres of a robots brain: ie, ZORGAX IS DEAD: INITIATE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES!

Yes: I have nothing substantial to talk about (but I have an excuse! it's 7.30 in the morning!)

eyrie said...

No, you have a good point. It's interesting the way the customary language obviates the personal, with the suggestion that the appropriate outcome will be equally impersonal.