Friday, January 9, 2009

Fiona Connolly, Weddings, Sadness and Female Stupidity

It seems, in that great Australian tradition, that columnists in Australia take January off. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket, liberals might be burrowing into all sorts of places to undermine security and sell out our heritage and way of life, but that's all right, things will be fixed with a column or two in February, after a month off lolling on the sand, bounding through the surf and sipping champagne.

It does however allow space for other kinds of eccentricity, nowhere more so than in an opinion piece by Fiona Connolly for the tabloid slush fund for Rupert Murdoch, known as The Daily Terror by some, and by its family members as The Daily Telegraph.

The sad corniness of the header Sadness of a premier event  (which somehow ended up as a lead opinion piece) permits the sweet flackette to waste a few hundred words suffering sadness and shedding tears over elopers who dare to leave the state to get married, as did premier of NSW Nathan Rees when he went to New York to get hitched.

Connolly, for reasons beyond vapidity, finds this kind of behaviour profoundly disturbing and chronicles some of the things the hapless premier and his bride miss out on by cavorting in the greatest city of the world: "No mums stuffing handkerchiefs down your bra, no girlfriends to tell you to suck your tummy in. No dads with sweaty palms to walk their daughters down the aisle."

Not sure why the palms are sweaty - surely not from groping the bridesmaid? And why the fuck would you stuff handkerchiefs down your bra? Trying to sell the bridesgroom damaged goods so you can get him to fund a boob job after the wedding?

Connolly assures us that online discussion has turned to the question "why". "Why not marry in NSW? Why not invite his parents? Why not ask friends? Why not have a reception? A honeymoon? Why no hotel on the wedding night?"

This for the Premier of NSW, no fresh young thing, nor for that matter with a virgin bride fresh out of school, but two mature adults capable of having a private moment of commitment (after 18 years hanging out together). Well the offensive social conservatism that spills from Connolly like scent from a dead skunk gives a simple answer as to why - so that Rees and his new mate are well clear of Connolly and her ilk at the Daily Terror. With her piece she does her petulant best to ruin the moment, so here's hoping Rees never gets to read or hear about it.

It seems the poor bastard only invited six guests, and pointedly omitted Connolly. Just as well because she finds it unutterably sad: "Sad for their parents who missed the momentous event. Sad for their close friends back home who no doubt would have loved to witness the ceremony. And sad for anyone with an interest in their happiness, in witnessing the couple's own spine-tingling moment and cheering them on in the flesh."

Her capper to the piece: "I just hope they have a good slide night when they get back".

Now this column doesn't approve of vulgarity, but confronted by Connolly and her impression of what is romantic and what is not, there's not much to be said except to deliver a spray in the general direction of a woman whose stupidity descends slightly lower than that of the general New Idea reader. 

Let's leave her getting hitched out at the Panthers Leagues club, stuffing tissues in her bra, being clutched by sweaty palms, surrounded by relatives she hates and freeloaders who don't really give a toss, and watching bridesmaids getting pissed as parrots as they hit the pokies after the main event, while she and her new hubbie hit the hotel room for a night on the sheets where she leaves a little spot of blood to indicate she has truly fulfilled her romantic vow of chastity until the big night. Odds are (statistics prove) she'll be divorced in the next few years, clutching at her tear stained mementoes of her 'one night of joy, years of pain' theory of marriage.

Let's also leave Nathan Rees alone, since he presumably had a great time in New York and will have to come back to the endless policy nightmare that is New South Wales. But what a mighty romantic gesture on his part - about the only other towns to do it in are Las Vegas and Paris, but his choice of New York, always a magic town, especially in winter with snow on the ground, is exemplary.

And let's leave Connolly with the thought that sometimes a life in a convent with a vow of silence is the most romantic gesture of all, and completely without sadness. There are many vacancies, don't hesitate to make the move. But if you can't, why not just shut the fuck up about the way people choose to get married and get on with their private lives?

And come back Michael Duffy, all is forgiven. After that kind of insidious social commentary, you sound like a rock of sanity.

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