The Cars That Ate Reason


Mitsubishi folded car manufacturing in Australia in 2008.  Last year, Ford closed. This October, Holden closed its plant at Elizabeth, with stacks of local workers shown the door and associated industries going to the wall.  It is not as if we made crap cars.  It wasn’t from lack of an enthusiastic local market for Holdens and Fords. And it’s not as if the good old Aussie taxpayer hadn’t stumped-up its fair share of subsidised cash to keep the embers glowing. Market forces are many and varied. But they tend to follow immutable, organic, rules.  When organised car-making started up in…

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Don’t Burn Kevin!

November 2, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, FILM, POLITICS, Ulalume |

It has come to The Varnished Culture‘s attention that some Hollywood types lack the virtues of the Saints.  Well, fancy!  Turns out that getting drunk and a little ‘forward’ in the 1980s means you go to hell in the 20-teens. Kevin Spacey is getting the Harvey Weinstein treatment, with trimmings, because he not only failed to remember an inappropriate pass from long ago (and thus he must have dunnit) but he formally ‘outed’ himself at the same time, thereby cheapening the sanctity of such a rite of passage (apparently). So forget all about his stage work, or Glengarry Glen Ross, Swimming…

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We Won a Battle – Are We Losing the War?

October 22, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS, Ulalume, Uncategorized |

“I have of late, lost all my mirth, Such that this goodly frame, the earth Seems to me a sterile promontory; Golden fire frets roof in glory Majestical, but foul and pestilent, Vapours gather, and are spent. What a piece of work is man! When he formulates a plan ‘Gainst nature, how very like a god! He presses boots so heavily shod Upon his fellow, so that he will learn That everyone must have their turn Or, dust and ashes, all will burn.” (with apologies to William Shakespeare) October 2017: One hundred years ago Lenin issued his famous call to arms and ‘the people’ (well,…

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Russian Futurism


(by Vladimir Markov) (1969) Markov quotes Nikolai Lossky: “Ideas are not thoughts, they are a special kind of reality.”  Isms we can sneer at, at least as soon as their individual shells are rent and the flesh within wastes. Futurism was an avant-garde conceit borne from impressionism, via the blind alley of ‘Ego-Futurism,’ and turned to something even vaguer by Marinetti, who came like a royal progress to Moscow and made something of a fool of himself. The ‘manifesto’ was nothing of the sort, really – a hatred of all things old, a desire for all things new, it represented stunning narrow-mindedness…

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The Peoples’ House

August 30, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, POLITICS |

Federal Parliament, 17 August 2017 Through the paint-stripping wind walked The Varnished Culture, shoulders collectively set and teeth gritted. Up the hill went we from the National Portrait Gallery, past the tent city (which looked uncomfortable, brother) and the old Parliament House, looking clean, white and reassuringly, democratically modest in size and scope. Now the old place is a museum displaying certain politicos as they were in their prime (no animatronics); one feels regret at losing the core use of the building, as the relatively small capacity would perforce limit the number of elected representatives and their retinues. We reached the…

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