Yesterday's post (Will PM Gillard win the next election? And possibly why) drew a comment pointing to the latest poll showing an apparently stronger than expected result for the Newman Government in Queensland. This contrasted with my perception that it had been slipping in the polls, something that I would have expected at this stage in the life of any change government,
My interest lay in the impact that the new(ish) governments in the Eastern states were having on the Gillard Government's chances, but I hadn't seen the poll so I went investigating. In a piece on Pollytics (Qld State Polling and Bad Analysis) Possum Comitatus points to the methodological difference between this latest poll and alternative measures. The later suggest that the the position of the Newman Government has indeed weakened.
At his place, Don Aitkin wonders about the future of the Greens - Go the Greens! (But where?). I wonder, too. Meantime, marcellous has been in disagreement with Don (As I was saying) on Opera, more precisely what it is and is not. I am not an opera lover, although I have enjoyed those performances I have been too. I browse marcellous' descriptions of the various concerts he goes to in part for the writing, in part because it is another slice of local life.
In a somewhat loose segue, over on Club Troppo, Richard Tsukamasa Green's Australian Art : In the suburbs, and below them begins:
Last week I was reading Why Nations Fail. The topic is of close interest to me, but the book was an aggravating mix of the detailed and insightful ideas, and of furious handwaving substituting for a central framework[fn1]. The day was too pleasant for aggravation, and called for greater things. So I turned from the topic of institutions to another topic in which I have a deep, but decidedly niche interest in.
Dog walking in Newcastle drains, and what I like the most in Australian art.
Attracted by this introduction, I read on. Like Richard, I am interested in the variety and detail of local life. Like Richard, I think that literature and film is somewhat unrepresentative of the variety in Australian life. Like Richard, I think that children's books are probably the best portrayal of that variety. However, I have to part company with him on his typology.
Australian art (in the form of literature and film) is afflicted, Richard suggests, with three horrible Australias that substitute for the Australias we actually live in.
The first is the fake hinterland. The small country town, the drover, the bush. Australia has always been mainly urban, but this doesn’t rid us of the idea that the rural is an authentic part of a nation’s soul, and the city a false one – so we end up with a literary bush that represents neither Australia, nor even the bush that exists. We should be thankful I guess. This distrust of the urban led to pogroms elsewhere, here it just led to shitty literature.
The second is focus group suburbia. Apparently the same demographers that control political campaigns also write dramas for television. They’re understanding of the country is as strong, and as fruitful in both contexts. The resulting product is for an average Australia in suburban Sydney or Melbourne that doesn’t exist, and is resolutely (and carefully) boring.
The third is determined to address the chronic underrepresentation of middle class white people on TV. They’re there to remind you that the self conscious Fitzroy/Newtown monoculture is fascinatingly distinct, despite all evidence to the contrary. To remind you that all one needs to know about an entire society is found in a shallow pond of wealthy lawyers.
Looking at this typology and subsequent remarks left me with the feeling that Richard might actually be guilty of some of the same sins that he accuses others' of!