The Man With No Brain – Australian Politics

At the tender ago of six, Douglas Sidebottom was in a crippling car accident. His brain synapses were permanently fried, but he has lived on as a medical marvel. To this day Douglas has the appearance of a functional human being. Living in medical research centres, doctors continually probe him for ideas and opinions. Ideas from a man, with no brain…

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Lest We Forget Political Agendas and Consumer Products

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Photo courtesy of Eastside FM

By Kurt-Lee David

ANZAC Day is alarmingly following the same route as Christmas or Easter in becoming materialistic and agenda driven. What started as a day to remember the sacrifice Australian men and women made during military conflicts has turned into another excuse to sell products and glorify war.

ANZAC Day has always been a bit awkward for me. Coming from a German/Russian background, my ancestors have always been on the opposite sides. I remember cringing a bit when my school headmaster discussed how these Australian soldiers saved us from a force of tyrannical evil. This did allow me to learn that there are always two sides to every story however and as another ANZAC day rolls around, I am seeing both silenced.

Tired tropes get wheeled out every year such as ‘they died for our way of life’, ‘they will not grow old’, etc. This has always infuriated me, as coming from quite a strong militaristic family, I know that this is not the case. My ‘evil’ German family was flung into battle for the exact same reason the ANZACs were, and it was not for any strong belief in personal political ideologies. As Rear-Admiral Gene R. LaRocque said,

“I hate it when they say, ‘He gave his life for his country’. They don’t die for the honour and glory of their country. We kill them.”

Their innocent lives were cut short because they were either conscripted by a politician rugged up safe at home, or because they were brainwashed with the lies that they were in store for an easy holiday around the world, filled with comradery and loose, ‘exotic’ women.

Besides, I have always found ANZAC separates the country more than it unites it. Australia is a multi-cultural country and ANZAC day would be almost meaningless to the average person. According to the Australian Census 5% of the population (898,674 people) are German, 5% are Italian, 35,378 people are Japanese and 15,354 people are Russians. Hell, even 300,000 in Melbourne alone identify as being Turkish! In fact, Australia’s economy boomed because of immigrants after WWII. If it wasn’t, I would not be here and neither would the majority of the country. That is why I have always found it odd that we commemorate ANZAC day instead of the much more inclusive Remembrance Day, which gets swept under the rug in comparison.

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Ethnicity of NSW by parents birthplace (Photo courtesy of Legal Studies Green)

As this pie chart reveals, a very small percentage of people living in NSW are actually Australian. The fraction of people directly affected by the ANZAC corp within that must be even smaller. Yet, every group in this whole pie chart has been affected by warfare in some way or another throughout their existence. A lot of them would be considered the enemy in ANZAC stories, but all of us can unite over the needless loss of family and loved ones in war time on Remembrance Day.

To continually glorify these unnecessary, blood-soaked conflicts every year with unrealistic, dramatisations of the ANZAC spirit honestly makes me uncomfortable. The constant comparisons every sport code makes between their overpaid sports stars and the soldiers is even more gut wrenching. The most disgusting abuse of this public holiday however is the shameless excuse companies use it as to sell their products. In 2015, Woolworths (the fresh food people) was in the midst of a PR disaster after their ad about the ANZACs being ‘fresh in our memories’ received monumental backlash.

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Photo courtesy of the ABC

Or how about the Stonewall nightclub’s recent poster?

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Photo courtesy of The Daily Telegraph

This backlash is the exact attitude that needs to be supported. ANZAC day is in the midst of being hijacked by corporations and political agendas that want to use the idea of the ANZAC spirit to sell either shameless consumer products or political agendas. These men, my ancestors, did not die innocently for ‘our way of life’. They were shipped like cattle to the other side of the world to fight men who were equally as undeserving of death, all in the name of some privileged politician’s ego. As former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said,

“The first world war was a war devoid of any virtue. It arose from the quagmire of European tribalism – a complex interplay of nation-state destinies overlaid by notions of cultural security peppered with racism.”

We should not ‘envy’ these young men because they will not grow old. Our guilt over their innocent blood should not force us to lie to ourselves about the events, but should haunt us and teach us lessons. ANZAC day should be a time when we reflect on the absolute stupidity of global conflict, not bask in its glory.

Affected Empire Podcast #004 – Kurt-Lee David: A.E.M.

By Kurt-Lee David

Episode #004 of the Affected Empire Podcast is now live on our YouTube channel. 

The founder of A.E.M., Kurt-Lee David, goes rogue once again as he runs solo on his very own podcast.

Check it out on the video above and if you like what you see, make sure to support us by SUBSCRIBING to the YouTube channel.

Thank you all so much and our thoughts go out to everyone who is remembering their ancestors on this ANZAC day.

The Masterful Mo – Books Never Matched Biceps

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By Albino Aldo

As a gay man, it gets pretty tiring to see the same old depictions of gay culture in everything we look at. Things such as Mardi Gras have the reputation of being a gay pride rally, but is this ‘in your face’ homosexuality really the best way of supporting the LGBT community, let alone bridging the gap with straight people who may harbour hidden bias? Finding accurate representations of normal, young, gay people, in media, literature, journalism or at rallies is near impossible. With the suicide rates of gay men skyrocketing, it is time for the gay community to better ourselves in more intellectual ways.

This year I have taken it upon myself to read a little bit more and like all bookworms I love a good romance novel. I began looking up novels about or written by people who were gay or lesbian and it occurred to me that quite a few of our influential playwrights and authors are members of the queer community. We’ve got Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Gertrude Stein and even Virginia Woolf. It also got me thinking about the story of Alan Turing and the amazing work he did in his life (which was popularised by the movie The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch). There are a lot of unsung heroes who were gay, lesbian or bisexual that we don’t really talk about. I don’t hear about Harvey Milk anywhere near as much as I hear about the drag queens on RuPauls Drag Race.

Yet if you were to look through February’s DNA Magazine, a periodical aimed at gay men and Australia’s most popular magazine for gay men, it contained one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read and I cannot believe someone had this much patience to dedicate a spread to it!

The issue had several stories about George Michael and a large portion of the magazine was to commemorate his legacy as not just of course a music legend but one of the most well known gay musicians. One of the stories was as follows, Paul Mac, an Australian DJ, told a story of how one time, while staying over at George’s house, he woke up to a man masturbating over his face and then proceeded to fool around with him. To his surprise he noticed George himself watching the spectacle and the headline of this piece of “journalism” was called Paul Mac: “I was George Michael’s Fluffer”. Turn the page and there is a spread (yes a spread) called I Want Your Sex. The article is about how music industry lawyer Steve Pafford was courted by George Michael on Gaydar (there was no Grindr in 2004 as the article will remind you). The article discusses their conversations they shared but also a juicy story about how they together watched the Michael Jackson trial on television and how George was unhappy with the decision (didn’t know that myself). Naturally this article was accompanying a semi-nude photo. Other pieces spoke about his essential music and Michael’s sexuality eventually becoming public. It did also reference other highs and lows of Michael’s life such as Wham! and being the first western group to tour China.

While DNA can easily be ignored as just another trashy magazine, it is extremely hard for me not to get annoyed by it. Other articles include an interview with Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras, typical reviews of music and yes, books (one of the books was a nude book of Aussie men in the outback entitled Larrikin). There was a highlight in the issue that was a review of Moonlight, which seemed to be the only thing I could take seriously or another piece with the creator of the JLO vehicle Shades of Blue discussing LGBT representation. However there were also ridiculous promotions for Porn websites, dating/hook up apps and so much underwear it may as well be just one giant Calvin Klein issue. It had your usual mind numbingly boring article with an Instagram model talking about how they found fame by taking nude photos of themselves with their smartphone and how it got them a job as a model for Milk Beach towels. Even a recipe for baking a cake included in the magazine from chef Jordan Bruno (known as the gay chef. P.S recipe was actually pretty good) has a photo of the chef holding a cake naked behind an apron.

So as you can see I can go on and on about what was in the magazine but I strongly suggest you browse through content on their website and other gay blogs and magazines website such as Gay Times, The Advocate and OUT just to see the limited narratives that are being sent out into the gay community.

Take more “serious” magazines like The Advocate for example. The topics on their website include not just issues about sexuality but also issues of race and feminism. An article published recently was titled Rep Admonishes White Male Colleagues — Who Now Want Apology” or “Black Lives Matter Holds ‘Find Our Girls’ March in New York City”. I myself don’t consider Black Lives Matter a gay friendly organisation after they crashed not one, but two LGBT events in Canada. At one of those events (a march) they halted until they had a contract signed with one of the terms being that police could no longer be represented at pride in floats. Worst of all, that request was granted.

This is what I feel majority of gay writing is about, you either look at over sexualised nonsense where muscled up men are in your face non-stop (yes you get bored of it eventually), or you have overly PC garbage pumped out by the Advocate and Out Magazine (I un-followed both on Facebook as every second piece put out was about Trump).

Another thing I would like brought to a gay mans attention is the issue of events that are supposed to be our pride events. When I was young I thought that we would have the fun circuit parties, gay clubs and floats now and then but we would also have the cool slam poetry bars, coffee houses and bookstores depicted on shows like Ellen and Will and Grace. But, this is Brisbane and not San Francisco so you aren’t going to come across those enclaves as often. You will still find gay clubs, bars and saunas however I have just discovered that we even have gay book clubs in Brisbane and better yet there is an emerging scene of social clubs for more low key gay men who aren’t interested in nightclubs, but I have to say there just aren’t enough. We honestly could do with more chilled, hell even more, conservative spaces.

Transgender YouTuber Blaire White recently made a video saying why she doesn’t like being associated as a member of the LGBT community, and then proceeded in the video to ask questions of the community. What was the first one? Why are LGBT events so hypersexualised? I understand that being Gay is a sexual orientation but why is it that so many blogs, magazines and YouTube channels (DaveyWavey, honestly) for gay men are so hyper sexualised to the point of being below Neanderthal? Even ads for Gay travel depict nothing more than a hot gay couple in speedos on the beach (search Nomadic Boys on Instagram or the Out Adventures tour company). Events promoted to the gay male community are Mardi Gras or Circuit Parties with Drag Queens and still more Gym Junkies. Yet I still feel there needs to be more events such as the gay and lesbian film festival something that focuses more on story telling and promoting more intelligent and less confronting experiences for people to get involved and meet other Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender people.

To resolve a problem we must look at ourselves first. We have to think, do we contribute to the increased suicide of Gay Men? You have to admit Grindr, some gay clubs, Mardi Gras and Saunas are confronting things to deal with especially if you’re a young person who is still coping with your sexuality.

Even more low-key events/discussion groups still contain issues that don’t necessarily pertain to being gay, such as Feminism for example. Some feminists feel that being gay is automatically in their realm as they are quite often put together as left wing issues, however some gay men don’t want to identify as feminists and that is their choice. Again some gay men don’t want to take part in the in your face political realm. That too is confronting. Some don’t want their political beliefs to automatically have to be influenced by their sex life and vice versa.

I remember seeking out advice as a gay 17 year old about how I could meet other gay people and I attended an LGBT youth service (that’s where I ran into all the pronouns for the first time). At times I feel the best advice would have been, get on Grindr and get to the gym because sometimes it seems that the Muscle Queens and Bitchy Twinks created by RuPauls Drag Race will always outnumber the (in the words of Will and Grace’s Jack McFarland) Hot Gay Nerds that should have been created by the likes of the author’s, politician’s and pioneer’s works mentioned in the beginning of the article. But they for some reason won’t come out to replace the gym mirror glass with The Glass Menagerie.

United Airlines Fiasco – Principal of Earth

There have been many chilling news stories in the recent weeks. As the media froths into a frenzy, all we need is an authority figure to give us a rousing.

Like a school principal!

Enter Principal Droopkich, who is the principal of planet Earth. The entire globe has come together for an assembly and he has JUST heard of the recent United Airlines disaster.

God save us all…

If you would like to read our original article on the United Airlines disaster with David Dao, it can be found here:

United We Drag – The United Airlines Disaster by Kurt-Lee David

Cafe Etiquette – A.E.M Manifesto (Feat. Courtney Haze)

By Kurt-Lee David and Courtney Haze

Cafes are everyone today. With the expansion of coffee snobbery you have to have your wits about you when it comes to caffeine intake.

AEM contributors Kurt-Lee David and Courtney Haze ventured out last week to their favourite cafe to give you the lowdown on coffee etiquette.

Give it a watch above and if you like it, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

The link for it is below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsH-joEA5P7swKVcZGiYnOw

A.E.M Podcast Episode #003 – Scott Harding: SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES

By Kurt-Lee David and Scott Harding

The new episode of the Affected Empire Podcast is now live on our YouTube channel. This week’s episode features new AEM contributor, Scott Harding.

Scott’s recent article on the rise of women in Australian sport is AEM’s most viewed article and made waves all around the world.

Read it here: And Then Sleeping Beauty Woke Up – The Rise of Women in Australian Sport

Make sure to like the video, share it with your friends and subscribe to the YouTube channel!