Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Weird Wide Web

Paul McCartney at different agesConclusive proof (with lots of graphics) that Paul is Dead

And Smeagol Sings the Blues

That leads me to reporting a discussion Carmel and I had while watching snatches of "The Two Towers" in between tickle games with Andrew over the weekend.

On one side, you have the oppressive landed Aristocracy, on the other side the beginnings of an Industrial Revolution. One based on renewable energy resources, such as forests and water wheels. Some Hi-Tech genetic engineering. All Appropriate Technology. The "Powers That Be" want to keep the status quo, while there in Barad-Dur, all Sauron wants to do is recover Stolen Property.

Which reminds me of the Great Tolkein Society Putsch at Sydney University in the late 70's.

> They all sound like communists to me. But then again,
> I can't tell the difference between Trotskyites and
> Stalinists either.

Oh I can. Came in handy during my university politics days, when a bunch of us got fed up by the antics of the looney
and rather violent left who were running the local student union (and running it into the ground).
I won't go into the details - just that Tony Abbot's ultra-conservative but conventional Liberal party machine (the main opposition to them) was left out in the cold, and the Tolkein Society staged a putsch. Ah, the days of getting the Maoists to fight (sometimes literally) the Spartacists, while the Tolkein-George Formby-Formalin-Gay Lib secret alliance quietly gathered the numbers...
Truth is stranger even than SJ's Illuminati game when lots of otherwise apathetic people get prodded into action.
And the professional demonstrators and rent-a-thug political meeting disruptors hadn't got the Tolkein Society
on their scopes. Let alone the George Formby Appreciation Society.
I still can't believe that a nebbish like Tony Abbot could possibly become a senior Govt Minister BTW. But there he is.

The Two Follow-Ups are even more weird, But true.
We basically ignored student politics, until our (compulsory) union fees started being diverted to the PLO to buy guns. The Student's Union had a turnover of about $6 million at the time - big bucks in the mid 70s.
And who cared what they said, as long as the student facilities weren't allowed to fall into disrepair. But soon they were. The money was going elsewhere, in large amounts. Well, maybe OK, as long as it was to a good cause, like students welfare.
But when they proudly announced the proportion going to the PLO and No longer a joke. Time to act. It wasn't just the AJS (Australian Jewish Students) who were unimpressed.
The Goon Squad the Trots sent to "make sure the people's voice was heard" by the electoral returning officer were physically blocked by a much, much larger crowd of Gay Activists, Militant Ukelele-players singing "When I'm Cleaning Winders", and people wearing "University of Mordor" or "Crush Elvish Imperialism!" T-shirts. The ballot boxes remained unstuffed and un-tampered-with.
The incoming Student's Union president was vice-president of the TolSoc, and the new SU vice-president was the head of Gay Lib.

The president of the TolSoc? He was the electoral returning officer.(jeez, what did these people think we were, stupid?)


What are these groups? Dramatis Personae:

Gay Lib - In the middle 70s, prejudice against homosexuals was at least as common as racial prejudice in the 1920s. It was often expressed in bashings, or even jail sentences for private acts between consenting adults. Gay Lib was a group (ultimately successful) that campaigned for at least tolerance, if not full acceptance. It was thanks to their efforts that the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras came into being - one of the world's great annual parties. Gay Lib provided us with a solid power base - about 5% of the student body.

Tolkein Society (TolSoc)- Founded in the 60's, even before JRRT became popular with the hippies in the US, the Tolkein Society ran (and still does AFAIK) the annual "Tolkeinfest", a play performed in the University's Great Hall. Often "Farmer Giles of Ham" or one of JRRT's lesser known works.
With the release of the new movie LOTR, there'll be a blaze of T-shirts, caps, all the usual commercial hoohah. But the "University of Mordor" T-shirts showed the University's crest, subtly changed (the centre star replaced by a lidless eye), and were homemade silkscreen jobs. The "Crush Elvish Imperialism" ones were similar, showing a hord of Orcs protesting against Lawful Goodness. D&D was new then - it hit Australia in 1975 - and only a few knew about it, or played it. It sure confused the radical leftists, they weren't in on the joke.

The TolSoc was the "Illuminati" of the picture, controlling the putsch (did I say the head of Gay Lib was a senior member of the TolSoc?). People who played RPGs as Chaotics were really good at figuring out how to hornswaggle the radicals.

Formalin - "To preserve the University Union" - an extremely Conservative or rather Conservationist party, who just wanted student facilities to be preserved intact, not sold off to get money to send to radical causes overseas. This was both a cover for the others, being a recognised political party and thus able to propose candidates for election, and a honeypot to attract the attentions of the Trots, Maoists, Anarchists and others who had a habit of barging in and interrupting meetings. Often the hecklers, stooges and infiltrators were the only participants at the official meetings, as far as I can tell. Never attended any, myself.

George Formby Appreciation Society - I'll see if I can find a URL. GF was an entertainer of the late 30s and early 40's, who strummed a Ukelele and sang such classics as "Imagine Me in the Maginot Line, sitting in a mine in the Maginot Line", and "When I'm cleaning Winders", his signature tune. This was the second level of cover, between Formalin and the TolSoc.
Ah, the world of Student Politics. And now Carmel (who works in the Department of Health) has as her Minister... Tony Abbot. As my good mate Spider Robinson says, "God is an Iron".

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