Monday, November 27, 2006

Disquiet Down Under

Shocking news from Australia: a drunk driver dashes out of his car, kidnaps a snake minding its own business, and brandishes it menacingly at the policemen who stopped him. Having been collared against its will, the snake shows its displeasure by hissing and sticking out its tongue. The startled police officers make evasive manoeuvres, allowing the man to abscond until he is later arrested.

I have no particular interest in defending the rights of snakes. What concerns me is the sheer lunacy of snatching one of these creatures from the undergrowth in order to set it on a policeman. Snakes will not bite people simply because you ask them to. They’re very finicky about that sort of thing and generally prefer to keep a low profile. It’s true that we hairy apes have often found them to be a pain in the arse, sometimes figuratively and more often literally. But there is a world of difference between accidentally sitting on a serpent and trying to cop-opt it as a comrade-in-arms. Snakes are loners who do not fight in collective causes, whether from ideological conviction or as mercenaries.

Now I’m not going to fall for the tired old chestnut that the importation of convicts has made the human stock in Australia criminally inclined. The historical archives show that all the really serious offenders (and quite a few less serious ones) were hanged without compunction in the British Isles. Those sent to Australia were guilty of little more than stealing a turnip or insulting a gentleman. Their inheritable traits were those of the cheeky chappy rather than the incorrigible villain.

No, the problem is cultural. The rot set in when that blighter Ned Kelly arrived on the scene. The man was a scoundrel of the first water, and his elevation to folk-hero status dealt a crushing blow to the prospects of an orderly society. Things might have turned out differently if Mr Kelly had been counselled by a gorilla before proceeding in his ignoble schemes. Had one of my ancestors been in Victoria in 1878, he would have certainly invited the outlaw for a quiet chat over a game of croquet.

“Kelly,” he would have said, “shooting policemen simply isn’t done. If you want to lodge a complaint against the constabulary you must go through the proper channels. I’ll have a word with the State Governor myself if you think you’ve been dealt with unjustly. In the meantime, abandon all thoughts of putting an iron balaclava over your head. You’ll look like an ass and won’t be able to see where you’re going.”

Mr Kelly might have ignored these recommendations, of course, but I’ve often found that headstrong humans are more inclined to heed a plain-spoken gorilla than one of their own kind. Sometimes, the only way of getting disinterested advice is to look outside your own species.

There’s not much a gorilla could do in Australia now, though. As I see it, the only hope is for Australian expatriates to return home and instil a bit of rectitude in their countrymen. Germaine Greer, the feminist intellectual, is the kind of towering figure who might bitch-slap a few scruples into the snake-handlers and possum-eaters of her native land. But it might be asking too much of a woman of her refinement to put up with getting her bum pinched and being called a ‘Sheila’. Perhaps Rolf Harris would be a more plausible candidate for the job. The sight of that bearded sage blowing his didgeridoo and panting like a dog would surely remind Australians that there are finer things in their culture than getting pissed and braying like a bogan.

Shit, GB, you picked the worst possible day to talk about the Aussies given the test match result. They can dance with snakes for all I care.
Waving your snake at a policeman rarely ends well. Come to think of it, there's only two ways it can go, and neither prospect appeals.

A shapely policewoman on the other hand, well, that might be worth a shot...
"Sometimes, the only way of getting disinterested advice is to look outside your own species."

True, Mister Nanas, but care must be taken. Bush tried that with Cheney.
You find the most interesting sites by just clicking on links. I have no clue how I got here, but hello from the Hill Country of Texas.
Nice blog, BTW.
Very well put I must admit.
But the Brits can keep Germain as far as I'm concerned.
And Rolf as well. :)
I was just about to say, GB, when Zuba said it for me, that the Aussies wouldn't thank you for sending Rolf Harris back down under. They think he's a twat. I'm sure it's his way with animals that appeals to you, but I can never listen to "Two Little Boys" without wanting to vomit. Although to be fair, his version of "Stairway to Heaven" was, er, original.

Germaine was my heroine when I was 17.

Did you know Alan Freeman was an Australian? I mention him as he has just died. Was it Smashy or Nicey that was modelled on him?
Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Ms Hillcountry and Zuba. The best thing Rolf did was the panting song. I can't do it like him unless I'm being chased by a buffalo.

When did Germaine stop being your heroine, Daphne? Was it when you found a man who satisfied you? You don't have to answer that. I'm afraid I never knew Mr Freeman well. I think Tony Blackburn inspired one of the DJ caricatures.
"When did Germaine stop being your heroine, Daphne? Was it when you found a man who satisfied you?"
If you were a human I'd whack you with my large handbag for that, GB. But, like Borat, you don't know any better.
For your information, NO man has ever satisfied me. In every respect.

I've just received two copies of your book in the post. I must congratulate you on the quality of the paper. It's smooth and silky ... I can't stop stroking the pages ... and it smells nice too. I had to buy the book as I couldn't be arsed to go back and read all your old stuff online. When I've finished reading it I will use it as a sex toy.
Alan Freeman was ace! Alright pop-pickers? His weekend rock show Saturday or Sunday I can’t remember was a great highlight for me. “Kisses on the bottom” he used to say, referring to the x’s on listeners’ letters. He played all the giant dinosaurs and bands like bebop deluxe (before all your times).

Dah, dah, dah, dahdahda….dumdumtetum..
Keep tight.
Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

A total legend.
You can't beat a book, can you Daphne? You can read it in your hammock, take with you, put it down and pick it up... touch it, stroke it and undress it.

It made my hairy chest swell with pride to read your 5-star review of The Japing Ape alongside your 1-star review of The Da Vinci Code. I would kiss your feet with tender lips (after you'd washed them).

There are 3 posts in my book written for the festive season: The art of baby-sitting, A Christmas Carol and The morning after the night before. I think Dr Maroon liked the last one best.
In and around Darwin, they seem to be rather lax in their respect for snakes. If you've not seen it before (and can read the print) I recommend you read this article
Thanks for linking that, Kim. Even now, the man thinks his only mistake was to grab it with his left hand. I hope he doesn't have children.
They really should hurry up and make those final Harry Potter films because that Daniel Radcliffe is not going any younger, that's for sure.

Had I known your book doubled as a toy I would've pre-ordered one Mr Bananas. It's an ingenius gimmick, not half.
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