crazyjane: (moondark)
Occasionally I enter these fits of intro/retrospection ... not quite active self-evaluation, but more a sudden flood of memories that throws who/what I am now into sharp and sometimes ironic relief.

Lately it's been circling around the idea of my blog, and me becoming someone who almost reflexively self-defines as a citizen journalist, or at least a commentator.

My stepfather was a journalist, one of the old school. He started as a cadet when he was 15, learned on the job and ended up running newspapers before cancer forced him to scale back to part-time subediting work. Right up until he died, he thought and acted like a journo. I remember him sub-editing my high school assignments, and engaging in scornful critique of something in the Gold Coast Bulletin even as chemotherapy was destroying his system.

My mother was also a journalist until she became chronically ill. She mostly wrote feature articles on travel - although she did have a brief stint as an investigative reporter that included an expose of dodgy tactics and drugging in a private psychiatric hospital, which she attended as an inpatient to get the story.

Both of them pretty much assumed that at least one of the kids would end up working for the media. Since I showed interest in writing, wanting to learn to type before I was 12 and mastering basic proof-reading marks for fun (yes, sad, I know), I was the one my mother decided would follow in their footsteps. She used to tell friends that when they commented that I seemed to love reading, and was always scribbling in a notebook.

It wasn't out of any sense of pride in my achievements, though. It was always, 'Oh, she's just like me'. That's something I've heard far too often from my mother. Whether she's talking about my medical history, my reading preferences, my relationship with [profile] fire_wuff, my kids, or whatever, it's never about me as a person, on my own terms. I used to think she saw me as a smaller reflection, or maybe was trying to live vicariously through me.

Now I think she simply doesn't see me at all.

At any rate, the main effect her attitude had was to harden my opposition to whatever she said. If I was 'just like her' in some way, I'd find a way to be as different as I could possibly be. And every time something happened in my life that did parallel hers, I'd kick myself. Never mind if it was completely out of my control - such as my suffering from gallstones, or the break-up of my first marriage - I saw it as some stupid kind of victory for her. And I'd redouble my efforts to be my own person.

So it was with the idea that I'd follow in the footsteps of my parents to be a journalist, or writer, or be in some way involved with making the media. Even though I loved to read and to write, I became determined not to prove them 'right'. I channelled my energy into academic research, literary analysis, poetry - anything but 'journalism'. I suppose, in some perverse way, I thought I was 'winning' against them.

And yet, as the man says in the joke, 'now I are one'. I write articles of political analysis and commentary. I make media. I've been published by a major news organisation; have a blog that's becoming well-regarded to the point where 'regular' journos and politicians take the trouble to find out what I'm writing and respond; write media releases for everyone from the La Trobe SRC to pagan organisations to political parties; and think nothing of bashing out an average of 1000 words at a time.

I'm not writing poetry or fiction. I'm back doing some academic work, but it's almost like dabbling.

In short, I'm doing what my parents always said I would. Quelle ironique, huh?

I can appreciate the idiocy of how I feel, and I am proud of what I'm achieving (if a little flabbergasted). It just rankles, somehow.

Sooner or later, I figure I'm going to finally put my parents behind me, where they belong. It just hasn't happened so far.
crazyjane: (Default)
That time again - the weather is getting biblical out there, and, in lieu of Question Time, I'm watching APAC, which is broadcasting the sessions of the Human Rights Consultation Committee.

Rights? We don't need no stinking rights! )
crazyjane: (Default)
Watching Newsfront tonight ... for them as don't know, it's a movie looking at a particularly turbulent period in Australian social politics through the eyes of a newsreel crew. In the 1950s, the Red Scare hit here with only slightly less hysteria than in the USA. We didn't have a committee, or outlaw communism (although we tried - the legislation was thrown out for being unconstitutional, then the constitutional referendum failed), but we had the Catholic Church exhorting us from the pulpit to ban the Stalinist menace.

The Australian Labor Party suffered pretty badly during this time. Catholics, dismayed by what they saw as creeping socialism in 'their' party, split to form the Democratic Labor Party - a socially conservative lot who dissolved after 1978, and re-invented themselves with a little more distance from the Church. In the early days, though, people were put under incredible pressure to support the DLP - their salvation was said to depend on it.

All of which led me to look up the man who is often said to have been the 'most socialist' of any Labor Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. Along the way, I found this quote from him. Given the current situation of the world's financial sector, it seems both ironic and prophetic :

'In my electorate, I witnessed the freedom that was enjoyed by 2,000 men outside a factory in an attempt to secure the one job that was offering . . . the freedom to starve and to live on the dole of 8s. 9d. a week—a single man on 5s. 6d. . . . [This is] the freedom of the economic individualists whose only God was Mammon and profit . . . I would prefer regimentation to economic individualism'.

August 2017

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