Abbott’s out, Ahmed’s in and Yeezy’s being divisive as always
By Max Dylan Lazarus
Much ado Abbott nothing
There used to be a time where our national hatred for Australia had a distinct whiff of jealousy to it; they had Crocodile Dundee and then Steve Irwin, Kylie and ACDC, Thorpedo and The Wallabies – how could an island of racists be so accomplished, it just makes no sense! That was then. These days they still churn out quality like Nick Cave, Sia and Tame Impala, but even their highest quality exports get eclipsed by an emerging era of ever-increasing bogan idiocy, ushered in by the wagging tongue of the now former prime minister Tony Abbott. The man has taken up so much column-space and TV-time with wonderful stories of his idiocy, that as a South African I must say I was a little disappointed when Malcolm Turnbull and The Liberal Party voted him out of office in a necessary and responsible move to restore the trust of the Australian people (not to mention the nation’s self-respect). In distilled Abbott fashion though, he showed just how out of touch with the times he is by faxing in his resignation, and as he left the premises he fell victim to one of the most Aussie pranks in the book: calling a person’s name and then telling them they’re a **** as they turn around. Classic stuff. Come on everyone, sing with me, “Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free…”
It is what it ISIS
I admit it’s a controversial call, but I reckon if there’s one thing more inherently evil than Australia, it’s probably ISIS. I mean on one hand ISIS is blazing its way through The Middle East with intense religious fervour fuelling a campaign of murder, terror, rape and torture, but on the other hand they seem like a pretty multi-racial band of brothers right? If they truly want to be Planet Earth’s supreme evil organisation they should try up their racism to Aussie-levels. Anyway I digress, In Denmark this week a 16-year-old girl called Lisa Borch was jailed for 9 years for the murder of her own mother, inspired by her Jihadist boyfriend and a long night in watching ISIS beheading videos. A very scary event indeed, I imagine this story would have been attributed to the girl’s clear mental instability as opposed to the apparent corrupting ability of Islamist fundamentalism, if only the refugee crisis wasn’t currently dominating European news. I mean, if this could happen in the quiet little village of Kvissel (great name), then who says it couldn’t happen IN YOUR OWN HOME! When a news story like this makes its way to South African shores, that’s when you know it’s been driven over powered by a V8 political agenda – turn off Twitter, get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Cool Moms rejoice! Facebook has a new feature!
As if social media wasn’t enough of a wet blanket already, Mark Zuckerberg announced this week that Facebook was working on a ‘dislike’ button to assist in making your online experience that much more miserable! I kid, I kid. It would appear that the rationale behind the idea is to allow users to empathise with posts where ‘liking’ feels inappropriate – like when announcing a death, divorce or the cancellation of your favourite series.
Kanye or nay?
I would have put a dislike button to real good use this week, such was social media’s oversaturated coverage of Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 2 fashion show at NYFW. Full disclosure, right off the bat, I’m no Kanye fan. I’m not a huge hater either, I just hate the fact that every time I question the validity of his self-appointed King-of-the-World status I get sent annotated binders filled with chronologically ordered song lyrics, arguments about the socio-economic racist evils of modern capitalism, countless fire emojis, and convoluted theories as to how he’s cerebrally playing the system like some modern Andy Kaufman. I don’t disagree with these things, I just don’t have the patience to engage – as far as I’m concerned, if it’s not immediately apparent, it’s simply not there. So as I sat looking at the pictures of Yeezy’s emaciated models nailing desert-prisoners-of-war chic, I couldn’t help but think that the masturbating masses had just been caught up with the clearest example of The Emperor’s New Clothes I have witnessed in a very, very long time. I hold myself to a higher standard than this though, dear readers (Weekly Web Boners is fast becoming a highly respected academic article, don’t you know), and considering how I don’t know how to appreciate modern art at the museum without the guidance of a learned expert, I enlisted Head Copywriter and legitimate card-carrying know-it-all Cayleigh Bright to break down why it is that Kanye’s show is anything other than the crap my layman eyes see before them. My first mistake, it turns out, is to view the show in isolation; Kanye’s new range ties into his overarching oeuvre, referring to subjects discussed in his songs, his videos, his previous forays into fashion, and of course his social commentaries in-between it all. Viewed as a performance, the pared-back designs clearly tie into his (apparent) recent anti-commercialist sentiments, while the racial distribution of his models parading in a military fashion has been beautifully described by Dazed as, “The blackest of black people enslaved. The whitest of white people following orders like minions. And in between, dissidents flouting the rules.” Learning and grappling with these points, arguing about whether people are over-attributing thoughts to a known obsessive ego, or wondering whether people would be more willing to treat this as a serious art statement if it were, say, Warhol; this is why Kanye takes up all this attention. The man’s ability to create conversation is absolutely unparalleled in contemporary culture – it’s quite fantastic. The clothes, just so we’re clear, are anything but. They’re total shit. I say this with utter confidence, free of any desire or motivation to see the man vindicated. Don’t get caught applauding the Emperor is his nude clothes, they’re crap. But once you dig underneath that initial layer, there’s gold to be got at.
Tick, tock – watch out for Ahmed’s clock
I remember my grade seven science project so fondly. My plan, inspired by a misguided understanding of what girls like (this hasn’t been resolved), was to create some homemade lava lamps. I could even do most of it by myself, which was so exciting – everyone would be really impressed. All I needed was some glass bottles, vegetable oils, food colouring and Citro-Soda. That’s it! I took it to school to show my teacher, and you know, even all these years later I remember feeling so relieved when she didn’t call the police to handcuff me, interrogate me and humiliate me over my name, my influences and my family history. This is what happened to Ahmed Mohamed this week in Irving, Texas. A science and engineering nut, Mohamed built his very own old-school digital clock and brought it to school to show it off to his teacher, a supposed role model. Fast-forward a few hours after the photo of the scared looking boy in the NASA T-shirt and handcuffs were circulated worldwide, and we had President Obama tweeting at Ahmed inviting him to bring the clock to The White House, along with thousands of others applauding the boy for his love of science, pleading with him to keep it up despite his horrible ordeal. Sadly, we live in a ridiculous day and age where teachers are asked to monitor children for terror threats, usually on the shallow basis of race and religion – thankfully we have kids like Ahmed who, just by being himself, is showing the crazy masses just how dangerously they’re behaving.
This is supposed to be a light-hearted humorous piece by the way, but so far we’ve covered politics, ISIS and the wrongful arrest of a child, along with our usual doses of fluff. Just goes to show we’re living in interesting times with a lot of serious discussions going on at any one time. Comic book writers have weighed in on this, and knowing that kids would rather watch TV, movies and internets, have changed their tune to rather discuss relevant social issues affecting young people today, in the hope that it will increase interest in the printed form. This is why DC Comics have announced that in the upcoming issue Batman will be addressing the serious issue of police brutality and racial profiling. On paper, this is a seriously ballsy move by DC, to take on such a sensitive topic, an important thing to do so long as it’s done earnestly and seriously. If in the comic Batman ends up pussyfooting around the issue, not taking a stand, being neither here nor there, then as far as I’m concerned this is quite a cynical move by DC to use an important issue to push sales. We wait and see.
I Wanna Be Like You
If we’re talking about pulling off an anticipatory campaign, DC can really take a page out of Disney’s book. This week they released the first trailer for the live-action remake of The Jungle Book, featuring the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. It looks absolutely fantastic, and we’re led to believe that Neel Sethi, the actor playing Mowgli, is a real talent to keep watch of. I’m 100% going to watch this movie regardless, but if they can fit Christopher Walken singing 'I Wanna Be Like You' during the credits, well then I can die a happy man.