Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Miranda Devine, the Bushfire Wars, Clint Eastwood, and hating tears and greenies

Ever since I discovered Miranda the Devine just luuuvved Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino, I've been trying to figure out what it all means.

The header for the column was silly enough - Go ahead, Granpa, make my grey day - but she really does jump the shark when she gets down to talking about the nitty gritty and her infinite love for elderly men. What the heck can you make of all this blather?

Perhaps women respond because Eastwood has evoked an era when men were manly, loyal, selfless, and quietly devoted to duty and sacrifice.

Okay, she's a female dumbo circa 1955 and no movie buff. Was she talking about the Clint I saw in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Please do go on Devine. 

Not that there aren't men like that today. But you can't really imagine a Roger Federer, 27, or a Rafeael Nadal, 22, telling a bad guy: "Go ahead, make my day." They'd just start blubbering - not that there's anything wrong with that. Ahem ...

... Women might like the concept of emotional men who burst into tears and hug each other like girls. But in the fibres of their DNA, they are not sure it's right for the man with whom they share a bed. Eastwood's generation would never have shed tears over a game, or anything much. Compassion might have been expressed by their actions, but never in overt public displays of emotion ...

Cliche city here we come. Ever since I've been wondering which of Clint's lines would most appeal to the Devine.

Penny: What's a hard-on, Daddy? I heard Amanda say it, but she won't tell me what it means.
Clint: Well, Darling ... it's ... it's a ... when a man is attracted to a woman ... he, uhh, ... likes her. Understand?
Penny: No.
Clint: Well, he likes her in a ... in a certain way.
Penny: Why?
Clint: Well, sweetheart, male bears like ... female bears, and male bees like ... female bees and occasionally they get together and ...
Amanda: Dad? Forget it ...

Or how about?

Beryl: What else were you wondering?
Clint: You really want to know?
Beryl: Yeah.
Clint: What it would be like to lick the sweat off your body.

Or mebbe:

Clint: That's right ... I've killed women and children. Killed just about everything that walks or crawls at one time or another ...

Gee Clint, I just love to hear you talk dirty about all that killing. So manly. Now lick the sweat off my body. 

Doesn't work for you? What about this killer pick up line?

Madam, I have dined with some of the ugliest god damn bitches in my time. And I have dined with some of the god damnest ugly bitches in this world. But you, my dear, are the ugliest bitch of them all.

Yeah, that should work. And when you're done with the bear and bee stuff, you can do my ironing bitch, just like women used to do in the good ol' days.

It's always hard to realise that Clint in the movies is actually an actor playing all sorts of characters reciting lines all kinds of lines about all kinds of things written by lots of different people. Sure there's a persona, but a diverse one refracted across many shows. There's more to Eastwood than Dirty Harry, and to assume Dirty Harry is some kind of dirty avenging angel is to ignore the ambiguities built into the character and the show. (The Devine approach reminds me of an old shearer who used to live next door, who was astonished one day when an actor he'd seen die in a soap turned up alive the next day in a different soap. Lordy lordy, and don't think I'm joking). 

Okay, enough of all that. Impenetrability, as Humpty Dumpty says.

Anyhoo, Miranda the Devine can have her dreams about old men, but in her latest column she reverts to banal, vicious predictability, jumping on the latest right wing loon bandwagon about the bushfires. 

Yep, with the fires still raging, and Victoria still in a state of shock,  surely the time is right and it's ever so timely for yet another rant about how Green ideas must take blame for deaths.

There's  no point attempting a rational discussion here. Devine is in full hysterical fury. Just repeat after her, greenies bad, greenies produce crime scenes, greenies cause infernos, greenies ideology leads to the end of the world.

Teary politicians might pepper their talking points with opportunistic intimations of "climate change" and "unprecedented" weather, but they are only diverting the blame. With yes-minister fudging and craven inclusion of green lobbyists in decision-making, they have greatly exacerbated this tragedy.

There is an opening now in Victorian for a predatory legal firm with a taste for David v Goliah class actions.

But why stop there? Why not hunt out the greenies who caused this, these ideological arsonists, and charge them with murder? Better still, why not hunt out everyone who belongs to green parties, round them up and put them in concentration camps? Sure, a few innocents might get rounded up as well, but better to be safe and sure, and get every greenie and every fellow traveller who moons over nature under lock and key. Then they can be put to work tearing down all the gum trees in Australia so that the country can be made safe. Vile greenies.

Second thoughts, why not just take these murderous greenies out at dawn and shoot them? Then in a controlled burn we can wipe out every tree in Australia. Which will be handy, since I hate the gum tree looming over our house, courtesy of the greenie council which has refused to either trim it or chop it down.

Do newspaper editors really think this kind of heat without light, this fiery rage without sensitivity or heart actually sells newspapers? Am I missing something here?

I never thought I'd be saying this, but contrast Greg Sheridan in The Australian, who is comparatively lucid and incisive in his column Crisis survived, we must quickly apply the lessons. If nothing else, it's nice to hear someone talk about the importance of empiricism in public culture.

Surely the first empirical lesson for newspaper readers is that a ranting Devine should be ignored, shunned, if we're to find way forward?

And what is it with Devine and her hostility to tears?

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