02 | 01
2013

Pourquoi les coiffeurs or Wingnut v The Ranger

Categories: Australian Federal Police, Australian Labor Party, Commonwealth Government, Government, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Rule of Law, Terrorism

by: Bakchos
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We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

Excerpt from Charlie Chaplin’s speech in The Great Dictator October 1940,

Pourquoi les coiffeurs (Why the hairdressers) … most readers of Blak and Black will recognise Pourquoi les coiffeurs as the title of French critic Jean Narboni’s 2010 book on film as well as being an old joke that gained enduring currency as a result of its ironic use in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 film A Married Woman. In Godard’s film the joke goes:

One Jew tells another Jew that, that very morning, he asked a passer-by what he’d think if, the next day as was rumoured, all the Jews and all the hairdressers were to be killed, and the passer-by asked “why the hairdressers?”.

I’ve heard many variants of this joke over the years, but cheap quips about 30s and 40s dictators and anti-Semitic ‘humour’ aren’t the points of this post. The post as you may have guessed is about the upcoming (September, 2013) Australian Federal Election, and accountability, maturity and honesty.

Within days of Prime Minister Ranger announcing that Australia’s next Federal Election is going to be held in eight months’ time, leader of the opposition Wingnut witnessed the arrest of one of his cynical and opportunistic political targets, Craig Thompson. So much for Australia’s political ‘leaders’ putting leadership and community before cynicism and opportunism! While Australia’s Murdoch dominated press has spilt vast quantities of ink over Mr Thompson’s alleged peccadillos, it has remained silent about the festering sores of Australia’s democracy – racism, corruption and cynical opportunism.

Hannah Arendt in The Jew as Pariah: The Hidden Tradition noted that:

When at the end of [The Great Dictator], [Chaplin] stepped out of character and sought, in his own name, to reaffirm and vindicate the simple wisdom and philosophy of the ‘little man’, his moving and impassioned plea fell, for the most part, on unresponsive audiences. This was not the idol of the thirties.

While the attacks on Chaplin may have revolved around what was considered at the time, and perhaps still today as a severe artistic failure, the point remains that as in The Great Dictator, the ‘little man’ is powerless, or seemingly so in the face of political power. But if we take the time to revisit what Chaplin actually said all those years ago, the reality could be very different. Let’s consider Chaplin’s words in a little more detail:

We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

M0JsYnlBLTdwV1Ux_o_motion-typography---the-great-dictators-speech

That’s exactly where The Ranger, Wingnut and their predecessors have placed Australia. Not only are we as a nation of only about twenty-three million souls involved in just about every war going, we take pride in attacking and further marginalising some of the most venerable members of our society – Aborigines, refugees, the unemployed and otherwise disadvantaged – all the while praising ‘God’ and passing legislation to ‘protect’ us from a non-existent ‘Islamic’ terrorist threat. For my money we should be more concerned with the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (“WASP”) terrorists who dress in Seville Row, Armani or even Prada suits and plunder the wealth of the rest of the community all in the name of Christian greed and self-interest. Where is the humanity in that? For clarity’s sake, I see Anglo-Saxon as being more a state of mind than an ethnic group.

Let’s take a look at our own home grown Seville Row and Armani attired terrorists. Every terrorist has their weapons of choice. In the 60s and 70s organisations such as the Irish Republican Army (“IRA”), the Red Army Faction (“RAF”) or Italy’s Communist Red Brigade tended to choose as their weapons of choice those made in their ideological heartlands such as Mr Kalashnikov’s creation of mayhem and death or for the more feminine radical the tools of choice might extend to kiss of death or lipstick pistol. With the fall of the Soviet Union hijackings and targeted assassinations tended to give way to suicide bomber belts and Seville Row and Armani suits. Not to mention being more honest, while instantaneously more destructive than the Seville Row and Armani clad terrorist who rely on corruption, fraud and the ‘rule of law’ as their weapons of choice, the suicide belt has far less long term consequences, all we need do is look towards Western Europe or the United States for proof.

imagesCAW1NY79The Great Dictator

I started off with a quote from The Great Dictator, one of my all-time favourite movies. Let’s consider the message Chaplin is trying to impart in this film. In The Great Dictator Chaplin chose both to repeat his old act, the tramp, and to repeal it. The reality (after all, his speech was what is known as really speaking) is that Chaplin’s anti-fascist argument pursues the fascist in all of us. The implication of his equation of the victim with the dictator is not only that the comic could have been the madman, but that even the good guys and the persecuted, represented by the world’s best loved clown who plays both Adenoid Hynkel dictator of Tomainia and a Jewish barber who is a denizen of the ghetto, are not to be trusted with absolute power. Chaplin’s finest further touch, having made the dictator ridiculous, is to remind us of how much harm even ridiculous people can do.

Let’s consider for a moment how ridiculous dictator Gillard, oops I meant to say Abbott, no I’ve had too much Absinthe, its dictator Hynkel I’m talking about. Anyway back to my point, let’s consider how ridiculous Hynkel really is. At one point in the movie we see Hynkel dictating in typical office bound bureaucratic style. This could be a scene straight from a contemporary Prime Minister and Cabinet (“PM&C”) meeting, but no, it’s the 1930s. He is speaking aloud, and the typist is taking down his words, or is she? He engages in a lengthy monolog and she types a few letters. He offers a monosyllabic ‘wingnutesque’ exclamation, and she types for several lines, clanging the carriage return as she goes. There is certainly more than meets the eye and ear in this scene.

The dictator is speaking a mock German that Chaplin has made up for the movie involving a number of fits and starts interspersed with the occasional identifiable words such as sauerkraut and Wiener schnitzel – words more like diseases than language. When the pen on his desk won’t leave his holder, the dictator loses patience with the whole enterprise and reverts to alternative, offensive English, saying he is “surrounded by nothing but incompetent, stupid, sterile stenographers.” – sounds like the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”), really! The joke, obviously, involves the Great Dictator not being such a great dictator, but it also makes sound itself helpless, a form of impotent fury. Just like the AFP, it all sounds rather ridiculous!

Harmful ridiculous people

Harmful ridiculous people

Nothing in the film is quite as frightening; possibly because it reminds one of both The Ranger and Wingnut’s workplace legislation, as the sight and sound of a ludicrous Hynkel casually ordering the execution of three thousand striking workers. We should know better, we really should, but we easily forget how lethal the ludicrous can be.

Humanity is the best antidote for the ludicrous would-be dictator in all of us, as importantly, humanity is the best antidote to Australia’s bureaucratic dictatorship with its ridiculous figureheads we euphemistically refer to as Prime Minister or just plain old minister. Remember, even a ludicrous bureaucrat can be lethal in an environment where truth, justice and the ‘rule of law’ gives way to cronyism and corruption.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

Viva La Revolucion!

Viva La Revolucion!

10 Comments

  1. Mahmud Ahsan via Facebook says:

    Bakchos the title of this post should have been the racist versus the lying bitch. More accurate if not less insulting.

  2. Or the liar and the red neck!!!

  3. The corrupt versus the racist, what a f&%$ing choice!

  4. Racism and corruption, what a glowing future Oz has to look foward to!!!

  5. As others have said, it should be the racist versus the liar – what a choice.

  6. The racist the the blood nut liar versus Australia would perhaps be a better heading.

  7. As thers have said, the liar and the racist says it all!

  8. Ah yes the xenaphobe and the liar, now we really do have two peas in a pod.

  9. A plague on both of their parties:)

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