Other People

Other People Oct 31, 2011 5 Comments

Carrie Miller looks at the world through her television… Illustration by Bruce McMillan.

Like many elites, the Global Financial Crisis has hit me pretty hard. My financial advisor says I’m down to my last dozen Shaun Gladwell videos and a limited edition Banksy print.

At my lowest point I was sitting on the polished concrete floor of our kitchen, staring at a jar of semi-dried tomatoes, wondering how long it would take to choke myself to death. Then I realised that I had attended an undergraduate course in continental philosophy where someone had said that God was dead and that life was really what you made it. Actually, I may have mixed this up with the Flashdance film clip, but who cares. The question now was: should I join a hippy commune in Martin Place or the World Wide Church of Give Me All Your Fucking Money? In a postmodern world, the choice was mine.

It’s good to see the ABC is still doing its best to promote John Howard’s Australia long after the suburban solicitor left office. The public broadcaster’s flagship light entertainment program QandA appeared to be under the direction of Baz Luhrmann recently when it joined with the Festival of Mildly Irritating Paper Cuts live from the cul-de-sac of culture, Sydney’s Opera House. When a loudmouth ‘Marxist philosopher’ is given free rein to impersonate Ian Curtis alongside a ‘Middle East commentator’ whose main talent is swearing, you know the country is feeling seven kinds of relaxed and comfortable. And when arts administrators from Crows Nest, I mean the Habour City’s Inner West, need moist towlettes for their sweaty tweets, you know the middle-class has reached critical mass.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, class was finally revealed as the deepest category of difference on the political documentary, Australia’s Next Top Model. It looked like we might have realised our egalitarian dream when Simone from Wollongong turned up her nose at the idea of glamping on Cockatoo Island. But it turns out you can’t fake who owns the means of production (it’s a Murdoch). Former wog turned homosexual, Alex Perry, was right about the girl from the mining town from the beginning. She was too ‘commercial’, not ‘expensive’ enough. When her sex tape comes out, everyone will see her for the aspirational skank she always was.

On the topic of aspiration, Little Miss Perfect contestant Shelby won my hardened heart, trying her best to hold her head high among all the other midget prostitutes while her foul-mouthed mother didn’t even make the effort of putting her teeth in for the cameras. Something people with a fancy postgraduate qualification like Dr Phil will never tell you: the only thing worse than coming from a shame-based family is not coming from one.

Shelby’s mum had turned up in a top that exposed every single one of her tramp stamps, especially the stretched pair of cherries on her left titty which hasn’t seen a bra since Warhol predicted that one day we’d all know what a fat mole @kimkardashian is. Shelby’s who’s-your-daddy, who closely resembles every identikit picture of a child molester ever released by the FBI, had on shorts and a wife beater and, in one Nabokovian scene, beckoned little Shelby to join him on the motel bed which he had lovingly switched to vibrate. Even an overrated Polish film director would have been hard pressed to have found artistic merit in any of this.

Naturally, their own smash-and-grab behaviour didn’t prevent Shelby’s folks from expecting their little bada boom bada bing to conduct herself like a future Mrs Donald Trump. In the ‘interview’ part of the pageant, Shelby was asked by MC Fiddle Fingers where she would like to vacation if she could go anywhere in the whole wide world. Her soul destroying answer? “The park with my daddy.”

Shelby knows the original champions of the working class aren’t going to come and save her – she watches Fox News with grandma. Bill O’Reilly says the Left are too busy trying to force gay people into marriage.

When we next see Shelby on 16 and Pregnant, no doubt she will be wishing her mamma had recorded The Art of Bill Henson like I had. The surest way out of the trailer park for a loser like little Shelby won’t be some rinky dink title but to allow a world-renowned Australian artist to explore her ‘zone of ambiguity’.

Speaking of world-renowned Australian artists, are you one yet? If not, why not? Maybe you have bad skin? Dull, lifeless hair? You’re an abstract painter? I looked around for some advice for you losers and I think the words of a young woman featured on a discussion panel called Jerry Springer are ones that we can all learn from. She turned to the moderator and said of the other commentator:

“She’s stupid. She works in McDonalds. I’m a prostitute. I make more money in one day than she does in two weeks.”

Think about it.

Carrie Miller


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  3. ‘Zone of ambiguity’…perfect, horrible and hilarious. I’ve always wondered at the assuption that artists should get away with things ‘normal’ people can’t….or can in the case of poor little Shelby and an entirley different cultural paradigm. I have also often wondered if I’m stupid and in the wrong profession!

  4. Majella Barbe

    Hey Carrie,
    ouch that hurt – I have Rosacea, dull frizzy hair, I am an abstract painter, occasionally selling myself for a corporate portrait commission. I haven’t earnt any money for a year and in the past I have hung my head in shame as I sold none of my paintings but watched my 7 year old son hustle someone into buying a drawing he whipped up at one of my open studios week-ends.

  5. Pingback: Other People I | Carrie Miller

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