Monday, July 30, 2007

Uber Psychedelic

I spent a great deal of yesterday frittering away my time in the State Library looking through a couple of old issues of the Nation Review on microform (from the early 1970s, when it was still called the Sunday Review.) It was awesome - not only did they have an interesting archival example of pre-duck Leunig and a Barry Humphries versus Max Harris stoush, but they started off in a really cracking style by having an article entitled 'It's psychedelic, baby' on the front page. It was about large-style developments in Sydney, but it could have been about pretty much anything. There were cheerful appeals to both anti-nuclear activists and xenophobes with article titles like, "Uranium for Japan - Atom bombs next?".

Strange contradictions appeared throughout the magazine - you'd get an article about recent studies on marijuana use (bad) and the effects of cigarette on your health (bad), but then you'd get a cartoon showing kids playing with hoops, and one kid saying to another kid, who happens to be proferring him a hoop and stick - 'No thanks - I roll my own.' Even better was a short news-bite simply titled, "Nazis Again", noting: "It is hard these days to find anyone who was a Nazi under Hitler..." Then, two pages later, there was the brazenly titled "In defence of violence". I think it was an anarchist piece looking forward to the coming revolution, or something, but I have to admit I didn't read that far.

Best single title, though, had to go to "Notes from the trial of a notorious onanist" (about Philip Roth and the public reaction to Portnoy's Complaint); best article was by Barry Humphries (a review of Patrick White's The Vivisector in which Humphries spends the first half of the article rambling in a superb fashion about the opinions of a lady from Moonee Ponds he once met.)
Next week, I think I'll go back and have a look at old copies of The Argus.


So anyway, a while ago I was chatting to Bruce Gillespie at the pub and he told me a bit about the history of the Nation Review. Apparently the guy that ran it never made a profit out of it, but basically kept on churning copies out until he ran out of money, selling it in milk bars and corner stores throughout the nation.
They do that sort of thing lots in Melbourne. Prodos hangs out on street corners and gives out propaganda to anyone who cares for a copy. The writer and publisher of the St Kilda Bugle basically gets funded by a rich St Kilda philanthropist who gives him heaps of money and tells him to go nuts.

And look at me, man, I write a blog!


Caz said...

You don't write or distribute your blog on street corners, yet imply, on your own behalf, the beatific status of those who do.

Certainly I am being caviler, but your credentials in the metaverse can only be improved if you commence the appropriation of numerous or multitudes of street corners. Preferably for the purpose of distributing outrageously revolutionary and paradigm shifting literature and opinions.

TimT said...

I once had a vague idea of carrying a card or a small pamphlet on my person to shove into the hands of socialists or Christians or what nots when they shoved booklets into my hands. Never worked out what it should contain, but I had an egalitarian aim in mind - to piss off the street propagandists as much as they piss everyone else off. Didn't want to get into an argument with them, just annoy them, lots.

nailpolishblues said...

Does this mean that you'll soon be sending out more of your propaganda?

For your little card I have a little idea - two in fact, or one in two parts. For the religious types you have a little cartoon of the evolution of man and for the political types the reverse - politics has a way of devolving us all. I have no idea what you'd give the what nots though, used bus tickets, gum wrappers?

Yeah, I know, lame.

Caz said...

I think you need to run with that idea Timmy, on behalf of us all.

It would be like the exchange of business cards: devoid of meaning, gratuitous, empty and snivelling.

Instituting business practices in the realm of propaganda would be mildly subversive and mildly amusing.

It would be a bit like asking beggars if they can give you change for fifty cents when they ask if you can spare any change.

In that spirit, your booklet should always be the bigger, more cheaply made booklet (think smudged ink and carbon paper).

TimT said...

I know a guy who (reputedly) did that, ask for change from a beggar.

Good points all, I'll keep the idea in mind. Like Jon Safran going doorknocking for atheism in Salt Lake City, it could make for interesting reactions.

Maria said...

Being an onanist, let alone a notorious one, could be a trial, I cnceive. Kudos for him taking the ... hand to take the notes.

Maria said...

Mr Coffee has been pondering the idea of having some business cards made up for the very puropse of shoving into the hands of them's who attempt to shove into the hands of Christians, "Vote 1 for Pauline Hanson" types, etc.

Another solution is to carry about a bunch of cos lettuce, or other green, and when someone hands you a card, break off a bit and shove it to them and say "Here, have a leaflet!"

TimT said...

Just be-Cos?

They would end up getting more out of it than I would, since I find most political propaganda intellectually indigestible.

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