Dalai Lama Drama

20 05 2007

Yes, the lame title of this post is blatantly stolen from the headline of the Age’s article of a couple of days ago.

This is the latest news from the Dalai Lama’s website.

An interesting release as we (Australia) prepare to play host to His Holiness in the coming months.

Also of interest is the whole debacle about which (if any) major Australian political leaders will meet with the Dalai Lama during his Antipodean visit reported here. Frankly a bit of a sad, and indeed embarrassing episode for Australia. Yet again we see PM Howard bowing to powerful world leaders above his own morals and Rudd simply riding on the wave of public opinion, forgetting that he actually possesses a brain of his own.


Jerry Falwell dead at 73 – alas

16 05 2007

Breaking News!!! Jerry Falwell, right-wing evangelist extraordinaire has died at 73. Link to story here. More on this later

Memorable Quotes:

“I had a student ask me, “Could the savior you believe in save Osama bin Laden?” Of course, we know the blood of Jesus Christ can save him, and then he must be executed”

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”

“It appears that America’s anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men’s movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening”

“[homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

“Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America”

Not to mention the famous Tinky-Winky controversy

Ah, what a sad loss for the world…

to dance or not to dance? it’s not a question.

11 05 2007

This was an interesting article I came across while looking in TIME online. It deals with the separation of church and state in the USA from the angle of how a candidate’s religion affects their chances of election, particularly referring to Mitt Romney’s campaign for Republican candidacy for the presidential election next year.

Romney was, until recently Governor of Massachusetts and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints having previously served as a LDS missionary in France for two and a half years.

The article can be found by clicking here.

The main news values for this story are:

* Currency – The upcoming US presidential election in 2008 and the selection of candidates for the parties. Also the question of whether America will vote in another Republican president

* Impact – Whoever is elected as the next president of the USA is going to have great impact on the entire world (and indeed much of the universe through their space program) and as such, what the possible candidates believe in is fairly important information to consider

* Prominence – US presidential candidates are generally prominent people already, or soon become so. As Governor of Massachusetts, amongst other high-rating achievements, Romney is quite well-known, particularly in the USA

* Human Interest – Gives the audience a bit of an inside look into the life of the man, creating interest in his beliefs and his ‘human side’

Abtastic Britters and the Hair Oracle

9 05 2007

Not entirely relevant to my topic but hilarious none the less.

from SMH May 3, 2007

Family feud can’t bruise the new, abtastic Britney
Jacqueline Maley
May 3 2007

BRITNEY’S SPEARS’S “people” must be among the busiest “people” in the world.

They put out more public relations grassfires than the Rural Fire Service in January and they are constantly confiscating her drinks and children (often she has one in each hand). Now they are forced to manage the fallout of an ugly intra-family war that makes Joan Crawford’s brood look like the Waltons.

According to this week’s gossip mags, the pop star has been disowned by her family, although Britney herself would only be aware of this if she reads the New York Post, to whom her mother and father released a statement admonishing their daughter. They say she is out of control, a bad mother to her two young sons.

To be sure, such Britney slander is hard to countenance, and would be impossible to believe were it not for Woman’s Day, which gives us a sort of Britney timeline in pictures. It confirms she has not been seen with her children since February 13, and that Britney’s dress sense has not been improved since her stint in rehab. (Mind you, who says you need trousers to stay sober?)

Britney’s riposte comes, rightfully, in OK!, which seems to have entirely reprinted a press release supplied by her “people”. The mag says that “Britney is back to her fighting weight” and is “taking control” after months of uncertainty. The mag even alleges Britters is looking “abtastic”, which is an adjective that could probably have gone without being invented.

OK!‘s services to journalism do not end there. Next comes an interview and photo shoot with David Beckham. Becks has been the subject of a stream of negative articles since he announced he was leaving Europe to play for a Los Angeles football team.

The knockers say that going to the US to play soccer is rather like going to Germany to salsa dance, and that Becks is only doing it for the outlandishly huge amounts of money. That is not all.

There have also been stories about the fragility of his marriage to dear Victoria, who fears calories the way the most of us fear death or dark cellars. It has even been whispered that they sleep in separate beds.

Enter OK! to counter the bad press in a long and saliva-soaked article that hails David as “everything we want in a hero – he’s one of the world’s greatest sportsmen, has looks, style and charisma in spades, and he’s a doting husband and dad”. He is also labelled a “hair oracle”, which is presumably meant as a compliment.

The magazine talks mostly about his hair, but does find time to devote a few sentences to his football career – assuring readers that “although [Beckham’s Los Angeles move] is probably the biggest deal a footballer has ever signed, David is at pains to stress cash isn’t his motivation”.

The hair oracle just wants to make a difference, to spread the gift of soccer to the hitherto soccer-deprived population of Los Angeles. He is like the Angelina Jolie of ball sports. But with better hair.

Also in the mag is an interview with Mel B, aka Scary Spice, who had been largely ignored by the world until she was impregnated by the comedian Eddie Murphy. He then dumped her during a television interview and expressed scepticism over the paternity of the baby. It’s basically your Liz Hurley/Steve Bing plotline redux.

Scary Spice has now had the baby, a girl, and the obligatory gushing photo shoot has been duly shot, although this time with a “Dear God, I hope the father of my poor bastard-child sees this and gives me a chunk of his sizeable fortune”-twist.

As a form of passive-aggressive gossip-mag communication, it is both bold and beautiful. Britney’s people should take note.

“If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam” – George Bernard Shaw

1 05 2007

I came across this quote whilst trying to find a witty line for the title of this post and was quite astounded at its prophetic nature. Very interesting.

Anyway, the article I’m writing about here was done as a “SPECIAL HERALD REPORT”: i.e. a series of a couple of features and an online forum. These were all really interesting, especially as there’s such a prevalence of negative stories about Islam in the media. It was refreshing and really informative to see inside the ordinary lives of modern day moderate Muslims and how life is for them.

When I was looking up the online versions of these stories, I came across a page on their series of stories, The Face of Islam.

The specific front-page article which drew me to write about this, Islam in Australia: a diverse society finds a new voice is listed on this page, along with many other reports.

Across all of these stories run a few main news values:

* Currency – the issue of Islam in Australia has been pretty constant and huge in the media, especially since 9/11. With the 2005 Cronulla riots bringing tensions between Islamic Australians and racist bogan Australians to the forefront of media attention, thus these moderate (OK, left, if you insist) articles bring a very different attitude to the public

* Human Interest – investigating the human side of publicly Islamic figures such as Sheikh Taj El Din Al-Hilaly

* Conflict – not so much in the reporting, although this is inevitably a part of some stories, but I think for many readers Islam immediately connotes WARNING: FUNDAMENTALIST TERRORISTS ON THE LOOSE!!!  therefore, articles which dispute this notion of the Islamic faith are immediately controversial

How do you catch a unique bunny? Unique up on it!

11 04 2007

For more *hilarious* Easter jokes where this one came from, visit easterhumor.com. WARNING: Among other exceedingly lame jokes are the completely random. For instance, Q. “What do you call a duck that just doesn’t fit in?” A. “Mallardjusted.” Can’t breathe for laughing.

Jesus roadsign courtesy of newscom.com

Check out this one while you’re at it – a great article from PR Newswire

Unlikely Places Americans Find God this Easter

Jesus walks into a bar…

8 04 2007

If you were after a lively/entertaining read, please go to my earlier posts. The Sacrilicious one is my personal favourite. This post and the previous one were done in a hurry and are not particularly in depth or astute on my part. Interesting articles though…

This was an interesting article appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, cashing in on the timeliness of Easter and current interest in Christianity due to the widespread celebration of this Christian festival. In the print edition of the paper, it appeared as a huge feature, headlining the News Review section for those familiar with the format of the weekend herald.

Highlights of the article below. For full text, follow this link.

‘JESUS asked his mates to stay with him, but they got pissed and fell asleep, the bloody bastards.” As an account of the disciples’ failure in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified, it may lack the poetry and majesty of the King James Bible. But the 22 street people in a dingy city basement get the point powerfully.

This rather loose Bible reading from Matthew 26 by a young church worker, Virginia Moebus, is part of a weekly gathering in Credo Cafe, run by Urban Seed in Melbourne, a Baptist Church outreach to homeless and drug-addicted city dwellers.

Most of these people would never set foot in church, but they come faithfully to the gathering, followed by the free lunch served every day. “People see it like their living room, especially if they are on the street. It’s somewhere they can come and sit down and be warm and safe,” Moebus says.

But it’s more than that.

It is solace, spiritual comfort, connection. They sing confidently during the service, accompanied by an extremely competent bongo drummer, and talk freely about the Bible reading.

They are part of an extraordinarily diverse and fast-growing Christian movement catering to the multitudes who reject the institutional church but want to follow its founder, Jesus Christ.

So far, so good. But wait and see what the venerable King Jensenite has to say on the matter…

At the 2004 Anglican general assembly, the Sydney Archbishop, Peter Jensen, spoke about reaching niche groups reluctant to go to church. “There’s a group of lawyers who meet every Tuesday evening in a Sydney cafe for Bible study,” he said. “They don’t know they’re Anglicans yet – we’ll tell them when the time comes.”

Before reading this article, I may have strongly disagreed with some of Jensen’s proclamations, but respected his considerable intellect and passion. Now I have been forced to have second thoughts…

OK, news values, here we come:

* Timeliness – Um, Easter

* Novelty – Whilst not an entirely novel idea (The early Christian church was started with small meetings around meals in people’s homes) this would still be considered by most as a pretty unusual way of worshipping

* Proximity – it’s from the Sydney Morning Herald and about what’s going on in Sydney. Voila.