Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Descending into a dark, dank, dystopian Wind In The Willows?

NB: For the first time ever, you can read along while streaming me ranting this shit, to a bloody good soundtrack. Production's a bit rough but it's early days folks, and this shit is free. Enjoy!!

I wouldn't be the first person to notice a distinct similarity between the physical appearance of our state premier and that of the one high-grade Colombian export that has managed to make it as far as Western Australia in recent years.

Jury is out as to which one is doing more environmental damage.
(sources above)

Ah, yes. Ruddy of cheek - wearing his constant, relentless, flustered expression - Colin Barnett totally looks like A Big Puffed-Up Cane Toad. This is - as I say - a well recognised, gloriously apt similarity.

There have been a number of signs up at the gas hub protests in the Kimberley. I have seen pictures of the signs. One in particular stood out to me: it read STOP THE TOAD and had a giganto pic of the Prem's head. Ribbit.

And then there's this elderly hippy, whom I happened to stumble across just now via Google. This hippy has not only reached the same conclusion as myself and many others re: the Premier's Resemblance, he has used the same two photos that I did above. Wow. Cosmic rays, man, or super-obvious search engine algorithms. I do not know...

But none of this is fucking news. This is a very important blog and I do not wish to waste your time with trivialities. We need to take it to the next level. This analysis really needs to be the kind of thing that you would repeat on the weekend at a party. It needs to be an engaging idea.

And so, here is my thesis. My parable. My parallel, if you will....

Descending into the dark...

(annotated photo of original artwork - credit to come)

As far as I am concerned, Colin has always been Toad of Toad Hall.

It is a natural characterisation even without extrapolation.

If he were working in a warehouse alongside ADHD dreamers of good working class stock, or if he were in the navy, or any other witty macho place of employment where good-natured men cruelly pull the piss out of each other with all the vigour of the disenfranchised, then Toad of Toad Hall is exactly the bollocks nickname that Colin Barnett would cop.

Especially considering that he is a total ponce.

It's also pretty obvious that if he were ever, by some genius trick of the universe, forced to actually have a job, he'd be the guy who talks shit with you over the course of the morning. He would encourage you to tell him bad-arsed stories of skulking off behind the pallets in the back warehouse.

You'd tell him about dragging surreptitiously on high-powered hydroponic jazz cigarettes that rendered you hungry, sleepy and self-conscious by mid-morning; and you'd spill about that one time you were asked to drive the forklift and it was pretty terrifying but you couldn't stop laughing - even though, of course, nothing actually went wrong.

Toad of Toad Hall would giggle along whimsically, but later you would discover that he was in the bosses' offices every lunch time, "networking" with them... and by "networking," I mean, he's relaying to them the very story you just told him!

And he's naming names, for godssake, to the boss who is keen on Jesus. He's doing it terribly, too; without any of the humour, or the irony, or the exaggeration, or any of the good-natured harmlessness of your original light-hearted anecdote.

Suddenly, because of him, you're fucked. That shark!!

It's a tough break, but then you, dear reader, are a Stoat from the Wild Wood, and word on the River is that Stoats from the Wild Wood cannot be trusted.

In fact, you have just demonstrated quite clearly that this is indeed the case. Untrustworthy.

You should be ashamed... and more to the point, you are about to be arrested.

"Sorry about that! LOL"
(image source)

This is not to say that Toad of Toad Hall does not theoretically like you.

Indeed, he would very much enjoy it if you voted him into office again. It's just that... well, being a gentleman with a thirst for luxurious motor transport is very expensive indeed, and being a middle man for miners, property developers and transnational corporate interests is massively, massively profitable.

Everybody has their price. Poop! Poop!

So, once upon a time, if you'll remember with me now, the Rat and the Mole and the Badger helped the Toad to flush the Common Stoats from Toad Hall and sent them back into the Wild Wood.

But now, by forces far beyond his control, the Badger is long discredited. He lives in exile, as do his 'wet,' classically liberal, pipe-smoking argyll-socked gentlemen friends. Rats and Moles though they were, the old River Dwellers proved a total pushover.

With The Stoats in disarray, banished to the Woods, Toad rose like Steven Bradbury to become the Emperor For Hire. He is now a very busy man. He is employed most directly by the Pigs, who moved to the River in the 1980s and slandered and exiled the old River Dwellers - which is to say, the Badger and the Rat and the Mole.

The Pigs moved in from Far Away. They saw the opportunity for unadulterated profit. They saw the opportunity to seize this profit. They built factories along the River - huge gas processing plants, coal mines. They imported impoverished Sheep from broken homes and civil war and squalor Far Away.

They filled the new factories with these Sheep. The Sheep were very happy.

The Pigs then seized and sold all the Stoats' farms to rich people that they knew had been rich for a very long time in other lands Far Away. They planted strange, highly profitable weeds that were no good to eat and filled the soil with poison. They made it so the Stoats could not keep any of the seeds to grow their own fresh food as they had done for generations.

Instead they had to buy poison food from the Pigs. It made them sick. They started spontaneously aborting their own children. It was disgusting. But they could not afford the expensive imported Pig or Sheep or Toad food.

After this, the Pigs had the Toad put all of the things that the River community owned up for sale. The Pigs all bought the things that everybody owned. More Pig friends from Far Away bought in, too, and they wanted healthy returns on their investments - not in four or six years, but quarterly. Immediately.

So Toad sold more and more. The water, the heating, the communications and the transport and even the healing centre and the prison cell - all were purchased by the Pigs, who became very plump in time.

The Stoats soon found that they could not afford to go to the healing centre and were often sick and had to hit up the Sheep for tuppences all the time, and they started smoking namari all the time as well, because it made things easier somehow. (Just to put this in perspective, the Pigs owned all the Far Away namari production factories too.)

Enter Lisa Scaffidi with a bit o' the old Blame The Victim mentality!
Anyway, The Sheep disliked the Stoats always asking them for tuppences and namari, and so the Pigs again spoke to the Toad (who now commanded $25,000 per consultation) and the Toad introduced the Dogs to deal with the disobedient Stoats.

The Toad and the Pigs created an industry they called Law & Order. They made a lot of money out of Law & Order. They fined the Stoats for everything they could, and they used the newly-imported Dogs to round them up. The gaol cell was made into a gigantic gulag. Together they filled the prisons!

And then the Toad had to do the Budget, which he was not very good at, so he sold the prisons to some Pigs from Far Away in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

The Pigs and the Sheep were very happy. The Toad was very relieved. The Stoats were very unhappy, and ill, and couldn't afford namari even, but nobody cared what the Stoats thought, because they were just Stoats and the word on the River was that Stoats could not be trusted.

By and by, The Toad rewarded the Pigs handsomely. The Pigs were given free reign to seize the assets of the arrested Stoats: their farms, their businesses, their high-performance sports cars - everything. And the hydrogen cell buses that the Rat and Mole had introduced were written out of history.

And the solar panel rebate established by the Badger was dismantled and discredited and destroyed. And the Pigs sold coal instead and they would throw luncheons for the Toad and they would all throw large wads of cash around Toad Hall in a playful, exuberant manner.

In the 21st Century, the Wild Wood has made way for the Pre-Fabricated Gyprock Abodes, populated almost entirely by the Sheep. The Sheep are happy: they work on the dystopian 21st Century River for a tuppence a day.

They are Sheep, after all, and they are told every single day by the Pigs that Sheep are the best kinds of animals in the world, and they have just enough tuppences to survive, and there is no room for anybody else. If the Sheep find that they do not have enough tuppences to survive, they have found it rewarding to channel their frustration violently.

Not towards themselves, of course. The violence must be directed at the Goats, the scape-Goats who live around and among the Sheep and look a little bit like the Sheep but are not accepted by Sheep and are much less numerous in number.

The Pigs heartily encourage this violence towards the Goats by the Sheep. They will often suggest that the Goats are similar-but-different to the Sheep, and this is the major threat to Sheep Society, and that Sheep should be indignantly aware of their own superiority and the threat to their tuppences that they face every day because of the Goats.

"Bloody poofters!"

In 2012, the Toad is secure in his mansion. He doesn't have to do much, other than to ensure that the system described above operates as fluidly as possible. It is not as easy as it sounds.

Occasionally a Sheep will remember the River, from back in the old days of the Badger or the Rat, before they left, and for a time after... before the River boiled with leaking gas and dripped with sump oil, before the water became toxic and inedible Monsanto weeds towered above.

They sometimes remember the way the River used to provide all the animals with food. For free. You could just eat and drink whatever you wanted, when the Sheep first moved away from their broken homes Far Away and into the River and the Wild Wood (back when there was still a Wild Wood.)

These thoughts are frowned upon by the majority of Sheep, who generally feel quite comfortable with their tuppences, and besides, there are rumours that Stoats and Goats are posing an imminent threat to members of the Sheep's immediate families... especially Young Sheep, and especially Old Sheep, and especially Ewes, and especially School-Aged Rams who attend churches.

They must all be kept inside the Pre-Fabricated Gyprock Abodes!

That worry is normally enough to quash the memory of the healthy River and the Wild Wood back when it was a Wood and not a Gated Estate full of Gyprock Abodes.

However, if the unwise Sheep should continue to push the subject, and it begins to threaten the profitability of the legitimate commerce of the Pigs, Toad of Toad Hall has a solution - one he has already used very effectively upon the heathen bodies of the Stoats: the Dogs.

In the 21st Century River & Wild Wood Precinct, the Dogs are the only people allowed to carry guns. They do so for your protection.

They also carry special high-tech devices, sealed about their collars, that will electrocute rogue Sheep, and the Goats, and especially the Stoats. The Dogs very much enjoy electrocuting the Stoats. More so than even the Goats with all their deviances.

Word on the River is that Stoats cannot be trusted, so sometimes the Dogs electrocute the Stoats just for something to do, and to warn them and teach them a lesson for being Stoats. (And also to make the Dogs feel better about themselves.)

It is very risky to be a Stoat. Many have died. Nobody is really sure where the Stoats are supposed to live, but the Pigs won't employ them, so they could not afford a Pre-Fabricated Gyprock Abode on the land where they used to live, where the Wild Wood used to be, even if the Sheep and the Goats would have them there.

In fact, the Stoats are the only people left who can really, clearly remember what the River and the Woods were like prior to the departure of the Badger and the wet liberal gentlemen, those River Dwellers, the Rat and Mole.

Back then the Stoats had hated them so, but they have a bigger problem now - much bigger. And the very strange thing about all of this is that the Toad, when he is running for election, actually refers to himself as a River Dweller. But he has never lived by the River at all.

(They have to describe him as a "big R" River Dweller to differentiate.)

"That's your sex face?!"

But pity not the Toad.

Sure, if in his current position he were accepted as a Pig he would be the lowest-ranked Pig in the sty.

But he is the Toad, and he still has Toad Hall, and he does as he is told, and he ensures the Dogs are primed and the Pigs are fed and that the Sheep are pacified and that all blame for any errors is passed to either the Goats or the Stoats, depending on which excuse sounds more plausible at the time.

And he has maintained Law & Order, and created wealth for the Pigs.

These last two things are the most important two things of all.


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