Liz liveblogs Joe Cinque’s Consolation

Or, Old White Lady Goes To Court For The Very First Time. Being a record of thoughts, quotes,  headdesk moments and more as I read Helen Garner’s book.

Previously: Liz goes to the movies: Joe Cinque’s Consolation.

Content warnings: abuse, murder, eating disorders, ableism, sexism, racism.

Continue reading “Liz liveblogs Joe Cinque’s Consolation”

Things I have learned since breaking my foot

Six weeks ago yesterday, I broke my foot. Suffice to say, it was a learning experience, and the main lesson was, breaking your foot is terrible, don’t do it.

Here are some other things I’ve learned.

(Note: post contains X-rays of feet — I don’t know if anyone else out there has lifelong Issues with foot bones, but we thought we should give a heads-up just in case.)

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should have known better

Sometimes it is super fucked dealing with ableism in the world. This is specifically a post with links about ableism, inspiration porn, appropriation, and maybe not being an ableist poop. It is mostly links to the voices of disabled peeps with the occasional detour into news articles. Okay that sounds wanky. THIS IS AN INTRODUCTION I AM AT WORK OKAY.

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are you from linkspam or Mars?

We’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks, so some of these links are, uhhh, vintage!

Liz is a candidate for the 2016 NAFF race, which sends the successful candidate to Contact 2016, the one-off Brisbane con running over Easter.

I’ll talk about this in more detail in the near future, but if you’re already convinced, voting costs $5 and you can do so at this link.

Stephanie adores Clueless, and just watched it last weekend, and loved this: ‘Clueless’ style: a fashion analysis of the best teen movie of all time

Steph cried with laughter at this: 46 Things That Would Be Different If “Love Actually” Were Set In Australia

Uncovering Australia’s Indigenous past: Forgotten 1920s photos reveal insight into coastal Aboriginal people

When there’s no room at the inn for victims of domestic violence (Don’t read the comments – sadly the ‘most liked’ comments are on the right-hand sidebar, putting them directly in view.)

Does YA fiction need to check its privilege?  On class, and the lack of working class YA protagonists who aren’t leading a revolution.  (Liz agrees strongly with this article, and sadly notes that some of the worst depictions of class are from OzYA.)

An Open Letter to JJ Abrams  – Did you know that girls can be Star Wars fans? Apparently JJ didn’t.  But what made this blog post particularly enjoyable was the author’s account of becoming a science fiction fan in Hong Kong.

Stephen Nothling, vision-impaired artist, brings unique perspective to Brisbane suburban streetscapes

Great piece at Overland on the shit going on against the CFMEU and Australia’s Unions: Black bans and blackmail, and why it’s important.

That’s why having workers’ representatives monitoring safety matters. Last month, when a concrete slab crushed two men to death on an East Perth worksite, it transpired that the CFMEU had been refused entry to the site sixteen times.

No Award reminds everyone that the voices of women (and genderqueer people) are frequently silenced by the medical fraternity and endometriosis is a real thing suffered by Friends of No Award: My Doctors Said My Crippling Menstrual Pain Was “Fine”.

Melbourne history business: The little blue building

Here’s What It’s Like To Go Through Gay Conversion Therapy In Australia

Peter S Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, screenwriter for the TNG episode “Sarek”, is suing his business partner.  Jim C Hines breaks down the issues as we know them. 

Writing Business

Great point at The Wheeler Centre’s notes: It’s Not Easy Being Green: when young writers meet opportunistic editors.

As Parkhill noted in a response to Kilbride’s piece on Facebook, the core issue was not simply that the piece was ‘garbage’, but that it passed the editorial process at all. ‘Perhaps worse than the article’s content is the fact that [New Matilda] have exposed a very young and inexperienced writer’s ill-formed thoughts to a large audience,’ Parkhill said. ‘This article was by no means ready to go live, and I’m sure in the fullness of time its author won’t thank [New Matilda] for the opportunity or “exposure” but will regret the fact that [they] were willing to publish such asinine crap to which his name will be forever attached.’

Right Place, Right Time: How the Melbourne Voice shuts writers out (as in being in Melbourne, not some publication called Melbourne Voice, as Steph first was confused by)

Steph nearly called this section Gross White People Business

NOPE: No criminal charges over pig head dumping at University of WA Muslim prayer room. GET IN THE BIN.

Seven News reported on Wednesday that police know the man, believed to be a former university student, responsible and found a second pig’s head in his home.

But he reportedly won’t be charged because technically no laws had been broken.


Inadequate white man gets appointed to important political role; admits he loves revenge: Joe Hockey gets job as ambassador to US, admits staying in parliament would have been about payback. Fucking get it together, come on.

Australians head to Colombian village for cocaine ‘special tour’. ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME RIGHT NOW.

“When I came on this trip, there were a lot of things I hadn’t done at home,” said Rose, 32, from Western Australia.

“There was a bucket list and I always said that if I came to Colombia I would try cocaine.

“In Australia, it is a rich man’s drug and sells for about $300 a gram. Here we have had it for as cheap as $US5. People give it away because it is so accessible.”




Destroy the Joint versus women with disabilities

Destroy the Joint is an Australian feminist … movement?  Hashtag?  Group? that took its name from Alan Jones’s complaint that women were “destroying the joint” by turning up to things and doing their jobs and having opinions, and also, at the time, being Prime Minister.

We at No Award have long had a bit of side-eye for DtJ, because while it does many good things, it’s also super white feministical, for example, spearheading movements to make the government provide tampons to refugees in detention.  (We’ve already talked about the reasons why this is not always culturally appropriate.)

(White feminism: shorthand for feminism that isn’t intersectional, so-called because it usually ignores or outright erases the needs and experiences of women of colour.  It’s essentially feminism that’s applicable only to white, middle-class, able-bodied, cis women.)

Destroy the Joint have a history of excluding women of disabilities, as the late, magnificent Stella Young discussed in 2013.

Destroy the joint? Shit, I’d be happy just to be allowed in the joint.

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R U OK? No, because turning mental health into a brand triggers my anxiety issues!


So here’s how it works. No Award has mental health issues. We admit that. There have been doctors involved, medication, all sorts of stuff.

An older person in Steph’s life was recently told by their GP they should consider seeing a psychiatrist. They went so ashen, so still. “Will I still be able to work?” They asked. We had to have a whole conversation about how a) there’s nothing wrong with seeing a psychiatrist, and b) their work doesn’t have to know, also.

There’s still a stigma around having a mental illness. And there’s a real danger in assuming that someone who looks sad or who is quiet might be the one who needs to be asked how they’re doing. The insidious thing about depression and suicide is that often the people you don’t suspect are the ones suffering; because depression helps you get very good at putting up a front.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what happens to Liz when she doesn’t take her Lexapro. I have sulked in MANY corners of MANY coffee shops while my brain chemistry does something unpleasant. (Art by Allie Brosh.)

There’s a feeling you get in your gut when someone who doesn’t care about your mental health enough to ask any other day of the year asks, because a campaign told them to, RUOK?

Mate, if I wanted you to know, I wouldn’t want you to ask me today.

Steph is going to quote from an Anonymous Friend of No Award here:

A lot of the people who get behind the day are the exact kind of people who would have ignored me at my worst.

Steph continues, this day is perfect for people who want to ignore the sorts of attention, friendship and actions that would actually help a person who isn’t okay.

It totally supports the Western idea that if you do one good public thing as an individual you’ve discharged your duty.

The branding and corporatisation of diseases is complicated: it’s one thing for there to be Parkinson’s Australia and the Walk in the Park (GET IT); it’s another for Steph’s workplace to have had a casual dress and barbecue day for RUOK Day.

RUOK Day doesn’t promote long term support after today, it doesn’t address societal and cultural causes of depression, and it encourages people with no experience with depression to meddle with sufferers in a way that could actually worsen their lives in all kinds of ways.

This is not to say that no good can come out of it, but, judging by the results of Liz’s informal Twitter poll, positive outcomes from RUOK day come from engagement with wider issues, rather than reducing it to one single question on one single day of the year.

For example, Another Anonymous Friend of No Award said:

At my old work, we had a nice morning tea, and the boss talked generally about mental health issues and contacting Beyond Blue etc.

It was pretty chill, and as far as I can remember, no one actually asked anyone if they were OK. 

Another Anonymous Friend talked about people making her aware for the first time that there is (limited) Medicare coverage for therapy, and that made her feel more supported.

What these experiences have in common is that (a) they involved people going to the trouble of finding better resources than a random acquaintance with a four-letter question, and (b) they didn’t put the onus on people with mental illness to answer a four-letter question.

Because that’s the part that sets Liz’s anxiety off, and judging by the Twitter results, a lot of people feel the same way: living with a mental illness — even a minor anxiety disorder — there is a lot of pressure to be normal.  Whatever normal is, and it’s a concept that can change with the setting.

If I’m having an anxious day, I don’t want to dump all my feelings in a colleague’s lap — and it’s not fair to them to make them deal with that either.  I don’t know what their other problems are!  It’s none of my business!

But I also don’t want to feel the pressure to say, “Yes!  I am okay!  100% okay!  Please hold while I grin nervously and sidle away!”

I don’t want to dump an entire Hyperbole and a Half post in here, but Allie Brosh writes and draws about depression with extraordinary insight, and here she talks about the pressure she felt to comfort people after she had been honest with them about their feelings.  RUOK Day has bunting and cookie cutters.  It doesn’t have strategies for what to do when someone says, “Actually, no, I am not okay.”

It’s all very well meaning but No Award does not endorse this day.

We also do not endorse advertisements … shaming you for exacerbating someone’s mental illness by not calling them? Is that what it’s doing? Come on, Virgin.

Having a yarn(bomb)

No Award says no to yarn bombing.  It’s a waste of yarn, potentially damaging to trees (we keep hearing different things on this, so it may depend on the tree), interferes with things that live in trees, renders mobility and accessibility aids useless or difficult to use, and if it’s not hideously ugly to start with, it will be by the time the yarn goes mouldy.

Literally the only yarnbomb I’ve ever seen that I didn’t detest was small and subtle — tiny red crocheted flowers loosely tied around the branches of a naked tree in winter.

“But it’s so clever and subversive!”

No, it’s just a mould that accompanies gentrification.  It’s about as subversive as Banksy or Julian Assange.  Yarnbombing is to underground art as manic pixie dream girls are to well-written female characters.

Luckily, the argument that yarnbombing is in any way underground, clever or subversive has just gone out the window.

A guy in a hi-vis vest attaches some yarn to a trailing at a tram stop.
Thanks to Official Photographer Zoe for catching this!

Is that a guy in a hi-vis vest applying machine-made crochet* to a tram stop?

I was going to put on my Intrepid Journalist hat and investigate the tram stops in person on my lunch break, before conducting an in-depth interview with a sweet potato with cheese bacon and onion for Liz’s Lunch Magazine.  But I had a lot of errands to run, so I just stayed at my desk and used Twitter.

Twitter exchange between Liz and Yarra Trams, confirming that it is real yarnbombing.

Corporate fake yarnbombing.  Stop the bus tram, everyone go home, it’s over.  We’re done.

* We assume it’s machine-crochet.  Though Official Potato Moya notes, “the idea of Yarra Trams having, like, a back room full of bearded hipsters knitting quietly away at their yarnbombing, being paid in lattes, that’s kind of delightful”.

In conclusion, use your knitting powers for good instead of gross wet wool evil and find out which charities accept donations of blankets.

When helping isn’t helpful

Unwanted help has been on my mind the last couple of years.  It started with The Day of the Doctor, which introduced the marvelous Osgood, a young UNIT science officer with a wardrobe full of Doctor-inspired outfits and chronic asthma.  I love Osgood.  She delights my heart.

Osgood is also a gift to cosplayers.

I did not love the recurring thing where Kate Stewart, Osgood’s boss, has to continually remind her to take her Ventolin.  Osgood is a grown woman, who has presumably been living with asthma her entire life.  No matter how many absent-minded scientist tropes she fills, she doesn’t need her boss to remind her to take her medication.

The idea that a person with a chronic illness or disability needs looking after — needs protecting, even from themselves — is pervasive.  It’s big in Marvel Movieverse fandom, where it’s hard to escape the Tumblr posts about Big Brave Masculine Bucky protecting Tiny Weak Delicate Pre-Serum Steve from bullies and diseases alike.  Or the posts about wrapping Tiny Weak Delicate Pre-Serum Steve in a blanket and never letting him leave for his own good.

(For some reason, no one ever frets over Nick Fury’s lack of depth perception, or headcanons Bucky and Steve helping Sam through his PTSD.  So strange.  I can’t imagine a single reason why that would be…)

Continue reading “When helping isn’t helpful”