Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Painted ladies

For about a year I've been conscientiously ignoring the raw timber window frames I had installed - about a year ago. I've been trying not to think about their gradual disintegration, the westerly sunshine, the westerly frosts, the westerly winds bearing the westerly rains, or the fact that I installed them to replace window frames so rotten they'd sprouted fungus. My timber window frames stand six metres above the ground in their stockinged feet, and as I lead a ladder-free existence, I knew that the only way I could do the right thing by 'em was to recruit the services of a professional painter with a ladder. Thus the year long delay. Professional painters with ladders do not grow on trees.

Happening upon a painting consortium run by teh ladeez last month, I figured that this was the painting consortium for me. Their "98.5% testosterone free" slogan sounded a bit second-wavey for my tastes, but as I discussed self-priming acrylics with a deep-voiced lass called Jay on the telephone, I decided that maybe they weren't as biologically determinist as all that.

Jay turned up this morning at 7.15am and it was clear that on all salient criteria, Jay was not a lass. I have nothing against gentleman tradespersons - indeed, a wiser person than myself would befriend as many as possible - but Jay's undoubted mandom kinda undermined my attempts at affirmatively-actionizing the world of outdoor painting.

As it happens, Jay did a super job, and as he was leaving, his eye fell upon the half a page it had taken me six hours to write. We discussed what kind of work it is I do, and the fact that I'm from Sydvillea, and then Jay apologised for the Bourne. It used to be beautiful, he said, and safe, but that was before all these multinationals came. They’re the ones causing all the trouble. The Indians have been fighting the Mormons for thousands of years, and then they bring their fights over here. He doesn’t mind the ones that work hard, but these ones who come over and think they can just be like anybody else, they've really stuffed things up for Melbourne.

These remarks caused some consternation in feline quarters.

Beatrice closed her eyes and gathered her thoughts. "It's wrong for the Indians to fight the Mormons," she said. "They should just learn to get along. But don't you see, Jay? You are succumbing to the same impulses as those Indian-hating Mormons. You are making generalisations about the moral status of an entire people, and your empirical claims are slightly dubious."

Harriet was a tight knot of disapproval. "Jay," she said. "Jay, you should try to cultivate empathy. Race is discursively constructed, and if you reframe your discursive practices, your analysis of modern-day Melbourne will be quite different. Take it from me, Jay. Beatrice and I are living proof of these principles."


vague said...

Your cats are so enlightened and so cute! Anyway, Jay should really know better as a man working in a 98.5% female company.

Ampersand Duck said...

You see? Cat pictures. They enlighten EVERYONE. Well done. I wish my cats were so photogenic. The only time I think of snapping them is at night, and they melt into the shadows too well...

And your girls are so wise. Must be a girl thing.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

They're pretty special, these gels. Well raised, and very handsome, yes. Harriet often doesn't photograph well, 'cause she's a bit of a light-swallower too. I used to live with a black cat called Max. My photographer housemate called him the Dark Lord, such were his photograph-defying properties.

Jayne said...

Odd how the Indians and Chinese and Dutch and English and Canadians and what not all managed to (eventually) get along in dear old Victorian-era Melbourne without taking their generalisations out on each other too much.

WV= caturant. Of course!

Maria said...

I am very much a fan of Mr Padge and Mr Pooter pix Duckie :)

JahTeh said...

Jay might be a good window painter but I am worried about that single brain cell he posseses. Rattling round in that man-sized cranium can't be good for it.

It's school holidays and I'll take kittehs over kids any day.

doorbitch says 'swomoses', an each way bet, methinks.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Thing is, Jay wasn't stupid (if a big iggorant), and he wasn't even mean. He seemed mostly like a nice fella. So how does someone who isn't stupid, and isn't mean, come to a view that's so completely unfair (i.e., the view that says because you weren't born here, or because you don't look the way I imagine people who are born here look, you don't deserve the same consideration as I and my friends do)? The whole system of citizenship is pretty morally dubious, in my 'pinion. Why should some people, and not others, have the right to live in a particular place, and why would something over which we have as little control as where we are born, and to whom we are born, be the central determinant?

What I actually said to Jay: "I reckon there are different kinds of people in every society, some that you'll get on with and some you won't, and I like to take each person as I find them." Which kinda made sense to him, I think.

TimT said...

'Tis just a view. People are naturally tribal, stick to their own, and regard newcomers with suspicion; and I imagine if you went to live over in India or Africa or Japan you'd find similar views over there.

I heard the argument some time ago that the folks who benefit most from immigration tended to be those in the middle and upper economic brackets, because of the competition for services, and the effect on product prices. Those who tended not to benefit were people in lower economic brackets, because it's their wages being affected.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

But who is "their own"? I like to be with some people more than others, but my criteria are probably quite different from Jay's.

That's interesting, what you say about wealth and resentment of new people. But why doesn't it extend to babies? Why don't the economically marginal go round exhorting babies to go back where they came from, since they present potential competition for jobs? (I guess they do a bit - the prejudice against adolescents in our society is staggering.)

Martin Kingsley said...

In a roundabout way, people do. One of the principal reasons for opposing multiculturalism as a whole is that said owners of such denial often tend to suggest that the darkies, chinks and hook-nosed Islamofascists should all fuck off back where they came from on account of the fact they're all on the dole and all have/are in the process of creating eighteen children and who'll look out for whitey in twenty years when all these niggers and slopes are out there stealing our jobs, that's what I want to know.

Don't get us wrong, we love all the little black babies, we just wish they'd have them somewhere else. Somewhere far away. Where we don't have to see them, or think about them, or even admit they exist, and having booted them swiftly in the arse and gone back to generalising wildly and beating our wives, we can then turn our attention to more important matters worthy of an erudite, sophisticated population. Like, say, kicking the living shit out of passing Aborigines and laughing uproariously as we do so.

When espousing such views in public, more often than not, these people tend to wrap the whole package up in some very nicely-patterned diplomatic terminology but are, as a rule, at any moment only about three sentences away from instigating a hate crime.

So yes. Babies, by proxy, happily discriminated against.

Sometimes. Just sometimes. I hate this fucking country, and everyone in it.