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Satire & Comedy

Making News at Monash

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Rachael Welling brings you the news from the week that definitely, absolutely happened.

Student Walking Through Campus Centre During Election Week Just Really Had To Call Their Mum

A Monash Clayton Student has today apologised after urgently needing to make a phone call as they walked through the Campus Centre on the first day of the MSA Student Elections.

The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was seen hurriedly making a phone call at the exact moment they were approached by campaigners.

“I was actually looking forward to being swamped with flyers and questions as to whether or not I’ve voted,” the student has told Lot’s Wife. “But I also really wanted to know what Mum was making for dinner and had to make the call.”

The student lamented that they often struggled to engage with the campaigners, “I want to talk to them but, you know, sometimes I’ll just be listening to some really loud music and not hear them, or I just won’t even see them. Their shirts aren’t eye-catching enough!”

“They probably think I’m deliberately ignoring them or avoiding eye contact, but I’m not, and I’m sorry.”

Jaffy who didn’t get into UniMelb Adamant He Preferenced Monash First

Former Xavier Student and Equestrian Team Captain of 2016, Ben Westinghouse, 19, has spent much of his first year at university insisting he listed Monash as his first preference.

“The culture at Monash is just much more authentic,” he said after only a few months at the suburban university. “People here just don’t care about status, you know?”

Westinghouse received an ATAR of 71.5, and despite not gaining entry into a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne (the alumnus of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather), he has been heard loudly reporting that UniMelb isn’t as prestigious as it used to be.

“I definitely prefer Clayton to Carlton,” Westinghouse said as he tearfully tucked into a $12 chicken wrap. “None of that overpriced stuff here.”

Westinghouse is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce, and hopes to major in Management.

Student Recovering After Attempting To Drink Value of their Ball Ticket

First-year Engineering Student Byron ‘Bubbsy’ March, 18, is recovering from a misguided attempt to drink the value of his ticket at a recent faculty ball event.

March reportedly claimed to be ‘putting [his] Maths skills to use’ by calculating the number of alcoholic drinks he would need to consume at the event to make a profit on his ticket. Lot’s Wife also understands March’s friends informed him on the night that ‘pres (sic) don’t count’.

After an overnight stay in a local hospital, March is apparently unharmed, though he told reporters outside that he has a ‘banger of a headache’ but that he was glad he made the attempt.

“This is what Engineering is all about,” March said. “Real world applications of Maths and stuff.”

When asked what score he attained in Engineering Mathematics (ENG1005), March responded with “49N”

Ghost of Sir John Monash Glad to be Remembered Fondly but also Somewhat Confused By ‘Meme’ Status, Memes in General

The incorporeal ghost of Sir John Monash, namesake to Monash University, has expressed gratitude at being remembered by the Monash community, though he is admittedly ‘a trifle perplexed by it all’.

In an exclusive interview with Lot’s Wife this week, Sir John Monash was asked for his opinion on his status as a ‘meme’ on popular Facebook pages such as Ancaro Memeparo and Monash Stalkerspace.

“Pardon, what is a ‘meme’?” the ghost of Sir John Monash responded.

Sir John Monash has recently risen in popularity for his well-known and memorable mantra, ‘Equip yourself not for life, but for the whole community or something [need to fact check this]’ and the commandeering but not imposing commemorative statue of his likeness near Menzies Building.

“It’s all well and good that the younglings are remembering their forebears,” Sir John Monash said. “Though I think they are misunderstanding the meaning of the term. I am not literally their ‘daddy’, and am confused as to why I am being referred to as such.”

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Has Youth Culture Gone Too Far?

Gamer Culture (Hugh Brooks)

 

If you have attended university, you have probably run into some of the more “unpleasant” individuals roaming the campus. You can’t always tell at first, but as you get to know your fellow peers, it quickly becomes apparent that some of them have an agenda to push. It can start out as an innocent joke or remark, but the more you learn, the more you realise these people spend their days living in a fantasy, detached from reality. You soon understand that they spend their evenings sitting in a dark room lit solely by a computer screen, typing furious replies to anyone who dares to question or challenge their views. I am, of course, referring to ‘nerds’. Join us as we break down just how detrimental this group is on the good, wholesome experience that is Tertiary Education.

 

Bad for your health

Nerd culture blatantly glorifies anti-physical behaviour, as a common point of pride for a nerd is how little exercise they have done. In nerd culture, traditional sports (such as football or the American national treasure, Super Smash Bros. Melee) are flouted in favour of foreign e-sports such as League of Legends, Starcraft, and Viva Piñata, where contestants play entire tournaments without leaving their chair. This self-destructive behaviour is being normalised, stranding nerds in a vicious feedback loop of sedentism, poor health, and skinny legs.

A staple food of the ‘gamer’ nerd archetype during their depraved meetings known as ‘LAN parties’ is the consumption of disgusting amounts of snack food. Doritos, Skittles, and Bega Cheese Stringers washed down with a hedonistic mix of Pepsi, Monster and Strawberry Rekorderlig. During these parties, ‘gamers’ will often compare how many litres of Dr. Pepper they have consumed over the holidays, commonly referred to as ‘Drs Per Season’, or ‘DPS’ for short.

Nerd culture also actively discourages healthy eating, as the effort required to learn to cook may impact the time spent on other, prioritised pursuits such as ‘grinding’, ‘cosplaying’ or ‘binge watching’. Also called the ‘Netflix Binge’, this activity sees nerds spending upwards of twelve hours watching television shows on the capitalist propaganda platform known as ‘Netflix’. This nasty habit leads nerds into erratic sleeping regimes, rousing in the late afternoon, and only knowing when to retire by the judging gaze of the sunrise.

 

Bad for the species

As well as being physically detrimental, nerd culture also encourages anti-social tendencies. The standard for comedy among this group has devolved into a cancerous cesspool of derivative content known as ‘memes’. Comedy is a way for a group of people to come together and agree on fundamental values. When society is pressured to find humour where none exists, we undermine the basic morals in our community that comedy instils. Where comedy subverts expectations, memes take expectations and repeatedly bludgeons them until there are no expectations left – only disappointment.

Nerd culture stifles disagreement as diversity of thought is strongly frowned upon, and agreeing on approved nerd viewpoints is how most discussions unfold. Someone will express an entirely uncontroversial opinion, such as The Princess Bride is an underrated gem or Fallout 4 took the RP out of my G, and the whole group agrees. Not only does this make for ridiculously mind-numbing conversation, but it doesn’t allow new ideas to foster in the group, which is why you will find most of them have not progressed past a high school level of introspection.

Beyond this, nerds will also try to simulate human interaction through online profiles and chat rooms, where there is no need for them to take care of their personal appearance or hygiene. Obviously, this has immediate adverse effects on society as a whole. For the species to continue to exist, people must be attracted to each other, and nerds take little to no action in making themselves desirable. This in of itself is not the worrying issue, however, when they try to drag society down by advocating for platitudes like, beauty is on the inside, and everyone is beautiful to someone, and it becomes an issue that affects everyone.

 

Not even real

Aside from killing people and bringing about the end of the species, ‘nerd culture’ is largely a sham. There is no such thing as ‘nerd culture’. In the digital age, when everything is accessible to everyone, typically ‘nerdy’ media such as Doctor Who, Star Wars and League of Legends are actually quite mainstream. Since its rebirth, Doctor Who has become a British national treasure. Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed 2.02 billion dollars at the international box office. The season finale of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship had 36 million unique viewers, more than the record breaking viewership of the NBA finals of that same year. Nerd culture claims to offer exclusivity, such that its members can avoid being ‘normies’. But the numbers are proof; the ‘normies’ have become the nerds themselves, and the nerds are becoming the norm. And clearly this now a global phenomenon, and it must be stopped.

 

How to avoid

Once a nerd has been identified one can arrange their schedule to avoid possible meetings, however, sometimes they may be unavoidable. In these scenarios, it is best to lay low and not draw attention to oneself, lest you be barraged with an onslaught of meaningless drivel and poorly concealed depression.

 

One way to diffuse an encounter is to bring a group of friends. Due to their absolute lack of social prowess, the nerd will be unable to approach you or anyone else in the group. This is a handy method but can be difficult to pull off if your friends are unavailable or otherwise non-existent.  Another technique one can employ is the ‘fake phone call’, which can be applied at a moment’s notice with little to no counterplay from the nerd. Overuse of this tactic, however, may raise suspicion and resentment from the recipient, which would usually not be of any great concern except that chances are, they know three different ways to hack your social media.  So even though nerds are a steadily growing part of the university experience, don’t let them discourage you from being yourself. There will always be challenges in life, and when you get through your degree, you will find yourself a better person for overcoming them.

 

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A Sonnet for the Menzies Revolving Doors

Menzies Doors (Kim Tran)

 

You know of which I speak there are five doors
Stupid dumb and just a bit moronic
Through these doors do we pass each morn in scores
But for the pain it would be so comic

Stop start all day so that I have but flinched
Every time do they force your walk to halt
The man who chose these dumb doors must be pinched
We must find he who is so much at fault

How can it be for them to work so hard
Always at least one door out of order
In my morning walk does it leave me scarred
In my soul does this sow much disorder

These doors each morn do make me fall apart
The birth of your demise shall I kick start.

 

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Coffee: The Rise of Modernity: Book Review

Coffee Review (Joanne Fong)

 

‘Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc. …’

Frederich Engels, 1883

So begins Dmitri Gallo’s spirited and sometimes controversial history. Adopting the dusty Marxist thesis that ideas and social forces in history are ultimately at the mercy of economic and technological developments, Gallo suggests that the centre of world history is actually your morning brew. With characteristic energy (no doubt from indulging in his subject matter), Gallo puts forward the radical thesis that “for the past three centuries, coffee has had the power to make and unmake the modern world as we know it.”

Gallo’s story begins in 16th century Europe. I was somewhat disappointed that Gallo barely touches upon the coffee bean’s mythical origins, and its popularity in the Middle East he neglects some good stories but I suppose the book was already long enough at some 600 pages.

According to Gallo, it was the Venetian merchants that brought coffee from Turkey to the Continent. Originally a luxury commodity, it soon became more widely available across Europe, from 16th century England and the Netherlands’ roaring maritime trade, and the caffeinated military spoils from Turkey enjoyed by 17th century Austria.

Wherever he looks in the past few centuries, Gallo sees coffee everywhere. Before the onset of the 18th century, Europe was already overcome by the coffee-infused ‘public sphere’, from the Parisian café, the Austrian Kaffeehaus and the ubiquitous London coffeehouses. These public haunts allowed the middle classes to remain informed of daily affairs through spirited discussion, and as a result coffeehouses became a refuge for dangerous ideas to percolate. Political radicals would assemble and conspire together, and it was no surprise that Charles II had earlier attempted to shut down all the London coffeehouses in 1675. Gallo suggests that drinking alcohol and public discussions don’t mix well; coffeehouses provided people with greater energy to discuss new ideas at length, and with a newfound clarity. “I can only speak from experience,” says Gallo, “but when I drink cheap wine with my friends, I’m not up for discussions about restructuring the economy by the seventh glass… well, not a decent discussion, anyway.” Coffee allowed a portion of the London public to distance themselves from the ‘gin craze’ raging at the time, says Gallo, and talk soberly about modern affairs.

Gallo quite rightly points out that the spread of coffee didn’t just influence the anonymous social scene across Europe. It also had an enormous impact on the intellectual figureheads of the 18th century Enlightenment, from the urbane coffeehouse discussions of Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe, to the pathological coffee addiction of Voltaire. Much is made of the fact that Bach composed a libretto on coffee addiction, titled Be Still, Stop Chattering (yes, really). Gallo makes a strict connection between Voltaire’s penchant for caffeine and his enormous output of writing: “…The man’s writings could fill 200 volumes. You don’t achieve that by drinking water.” Immanuel Kant, another coffee enthusiast in his time, receives the same treatment: “…It is manifestly impossible to stay awake unaided and read The Critique of Pure Reason. Imagine writing the thing.”

Two-thirds into the book, and all these historical tidbits are finally cobbled together for Gallo’s grand thesis: “the development of the modern world would be inconceivable without the aid of caffeine. No coffee, no modernity.” Without coffee, intellectual chatter at coffeehouses and salons would have been cut short or entirely non-existent; without the widespread consumption of coffee, European bourgeois capitalism would have enjoyed less prosperity and power to undermine the older landed nobility; without coffee, the 18th century canonical writers would have written a quarter of their works; without coffee, seditious ideas that triggered the French and American revolutions would have perished at birth. “No revolution,” says Gallo, “means no Romantic reaction. Without coffee, we would have no Napoleon, and no conservative movement to inveigh against the destruction of the Bastille in France. Without coffee, our political landscape today would be unrecognisable. No socialism, no conservatism. No coffee.”

By this point in the book, Gallo’s contention that he develops becomes extremely overwhelming. To my disbelief, he suggests in a footnote that he wants to start a new research program based on ‘Caffeinated Historical Materialism’. Exhausted, I flip over a few pages. Now coffee has become one of the most popular commodities by the 19th century, as the mid-19th century moralist campaigners prescribe tea and coffee over alcoholic beverages for the masses. Later still, coffeehouses begin to allow women’s admittance later in that century he credits it as the dominant social force that puts women’s emancipation into motion.

I had to put the book down for a while, but it had already incurably distorted my view of the world. Every morning, all over the world, there are millions servings of coffee that are consumed; would everything be different if that wasn’t the case? I am seized by a fresh paranoia as I try not to look at the regiments of coffee jars in the supermarket aisles. I pointedly avoid the cafés that plague and determine the intricate workings of Melbourne life.

I pick up the book one last time. Gallo promised in the introduction that he would explore coffee’s role in contemporary world history what, then, does he say?

“It is clear that coffee has become the scaffolding that supports late capitalism. Without daily stimulation, entire workforces predicated on long, irregular and nightly hours would collapse. The workers, in their fatigue, would no longer sustain the hulking and swollen carcass of our technological age. We would have a revolution, but a slumberous one, where there is not a dictatorship of the proletariat, but a worldwide slumber. Industrial modernity would perish a quiet death.”

I do not recommend this book.

Published by Sidgewick University Press, Coffee: The Rise of Modernity is available at major booksellers at $39.99 in paperback (ISBN 0740700251).

 

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Burnt in Bali

unnamed copy

No moisturiser, no drink and certainly no lawyer.

On the afternoon following the Brexit vote I woke up in my suite on the bottom floor of the Komaneka Bisma- an expansive property on the edge of Ubud, a village in central Bali. As I woke up, I was greeted to a slow-burning pain all across my stomach and inner thighs, the previous day’s post-lunch lounge by the pool having left me with such severe sunburn that scores of empty Aloe Vera bottles lay sprawled around my bed. My journey to the shower proved difficult, pockets of green sludge unsteadied my footing and the burn had affected my quads so harshly that every step brought sharp and destabilising spasms.

There is no question that I was duped into an elaborate joke by the staff there. I was told the bottles of spray on each lounge chair side table was certified “Grade A” 50+ SPF sunscreen. In hindsight, the muck I was rubbing on my skin appears nothing more than the drained oil from bargain-bin tuna cans. Where my wintery and pasty Melbournian skin suffered dearly under such duplicity, the blonde wife of a Russian oligarch had profited greatly. On my balcony later that evening, over a quart of American Bourbon, she loudly revelled in the impending jealousy of her Moscovian sisters upon witnessing her tan. Playing the femme-fatale beautifully, she consoled me for falling into such an obvious ruse then suggested I sue the bastards for punitive damages. I sighed and explained I didn’t have access to a Balinese lawyer who specialised in these sorts of things.

As I was reeling from the shock of my egregious overconfidence in the power of hotel-provided sunscreen, the world too was recovering in a similar manner from United Kingdom’s vote to get out of the EU. None of the King’s Court soothsayers anticipated such a decisive victory for the Leave camp, over a million votes favoured a Fractured Kingdom over a United Europe. What was framed by the Brexiteers as an opportunity to precipitate a renaissance of the United Kingdom, has unsurprisingly yielded the exact opposite result. In the hours since the vote, all that’s clear is that the entire contemporary European and Global political narrative will have to be rewritten. British political elites have begun sharpening their knives for what is sure to be a grand feast at the political theatre. I imagine David Cameron, having lost the vote and ultimately his Prime Ministership, has wasted no time scouring his teledex for contacts in the Cobblestone Underbelly; naturally surveying his options for retribution.          

One hell of a sunburn.

A call was forwarded to my room straight from the Labor Party HQ on Collins Street. The receptionist explained that they had reversed the charges, asking for permission to put it on my room’s bill. Upon my loud and profane protestations, he put me on hold. The Australian Left believes they can get away with this sort of penny-pinching tomfoolery. The xylophonic holding music finally ceased, the receptionist stressed that the call was urgent and insisted that I accept the charges. I agreed and told him to connect me in 25 seconds, on the sole condition that my caller be subjected to the holding melody at its maximum while they waited.

I rushed over to the fridge and grabbed four dark miniatures to mix myself a drink; undoubtedly I was about to be swooned over by a secretarial hack and like shit I was going to allow it sober. The mystery caller turned out to be an old drinking buddy of mine from my brief stint at Melbourne University. He and I developed a habit of camping out at the Mahogany Room’s craps tables in Packer’s Casino. We’d spend our time there on our parents’ dollar, usually with the purpose to start revising for our politics exam scheduled for the forthcoming afternoon.  

 

‘Kim Carr, I should’ve guessed it! You fucking snake, where do you get the gall? No doubt  extracted from the testicles of fresh-faced Socialist-Left recruits?’
‘Jesus Charlie! You are in Bali aren’t you? I’m told this resort they’ve got you in is more luxurious than Bob Hawkes’ bayside manor. You’ve got no good reason to be so strung out.’
‘Kim, ol’ darling, I know your kind don’t care much for private credit but this is some serious cheek. Charge it to the party!’  
‘That’s why I’m calling.’
‘Ho ho! In a spot of trouble? Don’t tell me the next great Australian headline is going to read; Labor Heavyweight- in both figure and reported stature- uses campaign money to fund Bikie-run pooch nabbing scheme.
‘No, no, we gave up on that enterprise in 05’ Charlie! Calm down and listen to me! It’s much worse than Bikies. Our Accountant tells me Campaign Central’s run dry of funds, they mistakenly approved the printing of four million glossed pamphlets to be sent to each marginal household in Victoria. The order was irreversible and now we owe millions to some unregistered paper supplier in Ararat.’
‘Ararat? Jesus Christ. There’s no industry there Kim, only housing for paedophiles and tourists venturing into Western Victoria on poor intel. This sounds much worse indeed. Have you spoken to your attorney? By god man … speak to the Courts! Surely someone in your Shadow Government is shutting down their sham-fucking outfit. ’
‘For the last time Charlie we don’t need your legal advice, Dreyfus has already got his best lawyer on it. I have more immediate concerns. We’ve got about eight seats that are so close you could measure the margin on Danby’s dick – without any more money we won’t just lose them to the Libs but also the op shop combing north-side seats to the Greens.’
‘Give up on em’ Kim, the bookies are saying Batman will be more bruising than Howard’s loss in Bennelong. Fuck that gaff-prone fool Feeney anyway, he deserves to lose to an academic. Cut him loose, redirect the volunteers, save yourselves a few fundraisers.’
‘This is bigger than Batman, Charlie!’
‘Alright, time for the hard-ask. Hold the line Kim, lemme anaesthetise before you close the last stitch’. I ventured back over to the minibar to simultaneously refill my drink and deliver on my New Year’s resolution to never speak to a politician while sober. *
‘I’m back Kim, go for it.’
‘Alright, I’ve already hit the Krauts, the Lebs, the St. Kevin’s crowd and even the Church but it’s not enough. They’re telling me a Porcine Magnate known to you has boarded himself up in Potts Point with a Polish dancing troupe, word is they’ve got enough cocaine on call to keep the Bolivian monopoly going for another few years. This is the break we need Charlie, the Billionaire’s secretary isn’t taking calls and you correspond with him on Whatsapp for the love of Christ. His cash that you secured for us in the 04’ election kept the Victorian chapter alive, he seemed very-’
‘He’s turned his sails to the hard-right since then Kim. The prospects of a $50 billion tax cut bodes well in his circles. I doubt he’s willing to part with so much dirty cash in this political climate. We don’t know who’s going to win this marathon fucking election. Bill’s run and Bus across Australia only succeeded in revealing his Keynesian leanings and it’s done well to alienate the Reinhart lot. More budget deficits means less income tax cuts. He won’t give up the money Kim- no matter the ludicrous coke-to-blood ratio.’

 


‘Charlie, the Reds may be relegated to the campuses but the Greens are thriving in suburbs. If the ALP vote crashes through in this election we’ll lose all credibility and may never recover in Victoria’. ‘Credibility? Kim, what did credibility do for King of the Con-men; David Cameron? What happened in the UK this morning is a sign of things to come; the centrists are losing their shine. We’re entering an era of extreme promises and hard consequences. These new Millennials coming through are fucking the status quo. Electoral politics is going through a once in a generation shift and the Labor Party’s primary concern is guaranteeing Shorten manages to lose 10kg in 4 weeks.
‘Charlie, shut up for a second. You don’t understand the gravity of what I’m telling you. If you don’t get this injection for us the Greens will be the only one on the beat north of the Yarra. Once they get hooked in Labor will never be welcomed back, believe me, friend. ’
‘Every call I get from you Kim, only works to hammer in this perception that Australian politics is headed for crisis. The Dam is quickly reaching breaking point; it can only sustain so many gallons of blasted tripe before it bursts. I’ll give it some serious thought and get back to you this afternoon. Does Shorten known about this?’

‘This entire call is on his instruction.’

‘I’ll be in contact Kim.’

I put down the phone with rancorous haste. His reply had deeply unnerved me. The hurried lighting of a cigarette on my balcony calmed my angst, but in that mix of smoke and Indonesian humidity emerged rapid introspection. Bill Shorten had instructed the most senior left-wing Senator in Victoria to milk his contacts for an emergency slush-fund to save Labor’s vote from a fatal and awe-inspiring self-induced wound. The immediate parallel to that morning’s Brexit vote astounded me. Cameron had used Western democracy’s most powerful structure-shifting mechanism – referendum – as a quick fix to quell party room dissent, only to fall on his sword spectacularly. Then, in Australia, the Labor party had taken advantage of a natural friend of the left, the environment, to not only wastefully produce tonnes of useless paper fucking pamphlets but to also squeeze dry the last drop of cash in Baby’s College Fund.

A phone call such as this, then in that silence when the receiver touched its base revealed something that I had not known nor could escape. I am as pained by, but persist in the political apparat as I do my sunburn. A life-time membership to the Royal Australian Political Theatre grants the commentariat unparalleled privilege over other private citizens, a privilege that dooms me to watch empires collapse and see old friends turn dirty. Such a burden it is to trade secrets in this era of Murdochracy. But alas, it puts me by pools and sends me to the tropics.

That’s all for now,

Menthol Charlie.

I’ve divided my advance towards the next issue with the diligence of an accomplished jurist. Half for Mint Juleps and the other for Ibogaine. No other pharmaceutical interaction could mimic the extractive capacity of a ouija board so effectively. After all, the boorish editor of the Telegraph had the cajones to run a piece on Bill Shorten and a certain Gentleman’s club on King Street. This calls for serious reflection, especially because that motherfucking Labourist hasn’t squared our debt from that evening…

 

*A few weeks later in Melbourne I was subjected to another lecture by my editor on the impending collapse of print media. She warned the paper’s primary budgetary expense could no longer read; “Rum and Bourbon coolers for anonymous sources”.

 

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How To Be The Best ‘Modern Man’ You Can Be

How to be a Modern Man

 

Men. Lads. Fellas. Boys. Blokes. Mates. However you salute your fellow man.
It feels like the pressure on us to be gentleman with the women and down at the pub with our mates is ever increasing. But of course, we are up to the challenge.
After having mulled on what we have to do to conquer our critics, I wanted to help out blokes experiencing the same questions. This is how I wrote out this list, and reckon it’ll serve some of you well. Life is all about sticking up for your mates. Your mum, girlfriend, brothers and mates will thank you for sticking to these core principles.

  1. Shake hands with everybody
    Let’s be honest, there isn’t much better than a good handshake. Part and parcel of a good handshake is a firm, tight grip. The ‘shake’ shouldn’t be brief. I estimate that the optimal time is about 7.8 seconds, and nothing less. It is a display of power and initiative. It’s even better if you initiate the handshake.
    Now, there can never be too many handshakes per day. I advise you to shake the hand of cab drivers, past classmates you haven’t seen for 10 years, and especially your girlfriend’s dad. It’ll be sure to impress them, and it’ll show the world your a man of action.
  2. Always pay for everything
    Money is pretty sweet. It lets us buy Tommy Hilfiger clothes, grog and many other great male-orientated things. Money is power.
    That’s why when you go out on a date, you have to pay for everything, especially dinner and a movie (take ‘em to either Will Ferrell-esque comedies or Steven Seagal action movies). It sends a strong signal to your girl that you are that man able to take care of her. It doesn’t hurt to be kind, and maybe you’ll get something in return later.
    The same applies when you go out with your mates- always shout them for the first round. This shows them you’re an indispensable member of the group. Even better, you show them that you aren’t tight with money- a real show of power.
  3. Hang out in big groups of other men
    If you go out for a lads night, don’t go out with one or two of them.
    Go out with 8 or more of them. There’s no better sight down Swanston street on a Saturday night than a group of serious, ready-to-party blokes strutting down the street, taking up the whole path. The women won’t be able to resist- and that scrawny little guy walking home from playing ‘Pokemon Go’ will wish he was one of you.
    It is also imperative that you don’t waste your man-power. Make sure people know you’re in a group amongst your mates. Yell loudly, and talk over bystanders. Walk like you own the town.
  4. Don’t be afraid to be stylish
    One of the best things about the evolution of being a man is that there’s no shame to pay attention to style. Having said that, though, be careful of these ‘hipsters’ and never shop at Target.
    If you want to be a presence wherever you are, a good hairstyle is essential. Manbun, gelled-up hair, whatever suits you. A good Tommy or Ralphy shirt or polo is a must for any man serious about impressing his mates and the girls. Nice cologne (between $80 and $200) will only help your chances when your out there in the nightlife.
  5. When you go out: dance, but not too vigorously and don’t act like you like it
    In the past, it was weak to go out and dance at nightclubs, but times have now changed. Beware, though, modulating your dancing is a key. Doing this will impress your mates, and even better, catch the eye of many beautiful ladies.
    In my experiences, I have found the finger-wag and controlled head movement to be pretty sweet dance moves out on the floor. It allows you to still scout out the women and the competition without seeming to ‘into’ emotion and the music playing. In fact, playing it cool is essential. Only when you are able to latch onto a girl dancing alone is it acceptable to get more serious about things. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in this situation, quick, abrupt dance moves will serve you well. Get especially close to the girl, ideally from behind.
  6. Stare at girls when you are trying to attract them
    With girls confidence is key. You have to show them, and yourself, that you mean business. The most effective way of getting the attention of a girl is strong eye contact. Staring relentlessly and without blinking is the most pure way to do this. Deliberately staring at a girl with her friends from across the bar is a powerful way of channelling that you want her.
    Ideally, standing with your head slightly turned, staring, will give you a more handsome, manly profile that she won’t be able to resist.
  7. Stare at guys walking down the street to show them you mean business
    The staring ‘plan of attack’ also goes for other guys. Whether your by yourself or with mates, if you see another pack or a guy by himself a strong stare is a must. It shows your prey that you own the town, and lets them know not to mess with you. Even greater importance is attached to this if you are with your girl, as you need to send a clear message for them to back right off. Once at Rats I was there with my missus and this guy walked up to her and whispered in her ear, asking her if she’d seen some movie Raging Buck. I stared at him the whole time and he fucked off. That’s what that staring does- it scares blokes off. Even if the bloke is on the other side of the road, make sure you meet his eyes with strong eye contact. It’s a sign of your position on the top of the food chain. Walk like you own the town.
  8. Take your sporting life seriously
    The sporting field is a great place where you can prove yourself a man. For whatever sport you play: cricket, footy, rugby, baseball (not netball unless there is girls on your team), it is a great place to show your physical superiority. This is important for any man’s psychology, and equally important to put down any man who is not at your level. For cricket, this can be achieved by bowling bouncers at 15-year-old kids, abusing the umpire, and tensing your biceps powerfully when you take a wicket. On Saturday night, discussion of your physical feats with your mates and female suitors is a great way to impress.
  9. Be the funniest and the centre of attention
    The best way to stand out and be remembered is to be the life of the party. Wearing clothes that exhibit your best physical features (usually biceps and pecks) goes some way, but being a comedian is probably the most foolproof way. These two things combined are irresistible. Some jokes guarantee to kill: anything Harambe-related, jokes about Trump, and jokes about you bashing clowns. Always make sure to dab.
  10. If you feel insecure or threatened, either try to belittle the person causing those feelings, or passively-aggressively play-fight with them (especially if girls are around)
    If theres ever a bloke questioning you, or trying to make out that you’re not a real man, DO NOT TAKE IT. If this is done in a social setting, do either one of two things:
    a. Divert attention away from what was said about you by ruthlessly attacking the person making the allegation/attack the weakest bloke there. A hint of comedy in this is good to insert, but still make it clear you are ripping into their character. E.g. a good small-dick comment is reliable.
    b. Play fighting with whoever talks shit about your manliness is a good way to reassert your male power. Act like you have taken it well and just want to engage in some fun male bonding, but underneath that try your best to hurt and injure the bloke without showing that you wanted to. People will just think that you are naturally strong if you do that. It is also a good way to release the anger that is surely eating away at you. The most important thing here is to make sure you’re manliness is not questioned. And if you react well, then it will get you a bit of silent praise from your mates and the girls will think that your above your mates and the man for her.

 

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Somewhere in Australia

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Claire was bad at maths, Iffah at science and Kevin at social interactions. But none of that mattered, because together they were the ultimate team for the job. Tasked with saving the world from an impending alien attack, the trio sat in the abandoned Hargrave-Andrew library of Monash University, devising their next move.

The Earth had acted quickly in the face of its approaching doom. The alien ship appeared in the sky at 5:32pm Eastern standard time on Sunday the 26th of March and by Monday the 27th of August the following year, the world’s leaders had finally reached the consensus that they should probably do something. An eviction notice of sorts had already been sent via transmission from the alien ship. And while no one could translate the message, the mixture of aggressive static and grunts heard, were enough to finally convince the suit-wearers of the world that the situation was serious.

After rigorous standardised testing, three individuals world-wide were selected to save the human race. Coincidentally, all three happened to be Australian students enrolled at Monash University. The Clayton campus was shut indefinitely for the duration of the alien threats and the team was allowed to freely roam the campus, with unlimited access to all university resources. The world was watching, anxiously waiting for these bright young kids to save the world, or for the aliens to finally invade. The former was preferred.

Every five minutes Claire tapped at the keys on her Macbook, informing the world via twitter of their progress and her obsession with teacup Pomeranians. So far there hadn’t been much to report, but they were trending at number one with the hashtag #somewhereinaustralia, so that was progress. Sitting across from Claire was Iffah, the smart one of the group.

Iffah clicked out of the page she had just been reading and reached for the “physics for dummies” textbook on the table in front of her. So far all she’d found were numerous articles referencing Star Trek, Doctor Who and Stargate. She was starting to question the legitimacy of her resources, but the educational programmed Farscape seemed reliable, at least it wasn’t vaguely familiar like the others. She was going to follow up on it.

Kevin, sat on the front half of his seat next to Iffah, hunched over a small workbook, scribbling random equations and doodles (the penis kind). He’d been at it for the past 5 hours, over which he’d had to switch writing hands seven times. He couldn’t write with his left, but his hand writing hadn’t been the best before, so illegible was a slight improvement. “I’ve got it!” announced Kevin, rising from his chair so quickly the table wobbled and his chair fell back crushing a cockroach to death.

“I’ve got it! I’ve found a way to humanly get rid of the aliens!” Kevin’s face had never been so red and he no longer had full control of his hand gestures, yet he continued. “All we have to do is reverse the polarity and crank up the volume of every wind turbine in the world.” His arms flapped about here and there, making grand gestures at the wrong intervals. “Then, we turn on all the heaters we have and set fire to the forests. The aliens will see the planet as being too hot and leave us alone”. Kevin picked up his chair and sat back down, exhausted from both the physical and emotional strength it took for him to stand up and deliver his speech.

Claire liked the idea and sent out a tweet. Iffah on the other hand wasn’t too keen on the plan. ‘What if the aliens are unaffected by increased temperatures or they prefer warmer environments?” She asked and with that the team was back to square one. Kevin started to cry and Claire announced a team break.

The big idea came during the team break. Kevin was in the bathroom and had been for the past 30 minutes, Iffah was eating a banana and Claire was on YouTube. Claire was trying to find something to watch, something that didn’t involve aliens, when she came across ‘THE BEST OF FRIENDS – SEASON 1’. Claire had been a big Friends fan when she was 13 and to watch it again brought back so many memories, mainly of going through puberty and failing year 7 English, but also all the good stuff. And then the idea came.

“Guys! Guys! I have an idea!”

Kevin rushed out of the bathroom and Iffah swallowed her banana whole. “What is it?” They collectively asked.

And so Claire explained her idea, the group agreed and put it into action straight away. The team compiled a collection of Friends episodes, deemed to be the best, and then transmitted them up to the alien ship.

The response wasn’t immediate, the aliens had to first watch the 960 hours’ worth of video and then process the information. But eventually the desired outcome transpired. Through watching their social interactions and how they cared for each other, the aliens gained an appreciation for the human race and decided not to invade. The alien ship left in search of another planet, one a little less occupied, and the trio were celebrated as heroes and the world got back to normal.

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Bo[r]n-Apart(e) for Common Greatness

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If you are young and ambitious, whom can you idolise? Of course, Alexander the Great comes to mind. By his thirties he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Macedonians. Such military feats seem incompatible with mortality. Thus the titular protagonist in Shakespeare’s Hamlet incredulously asks, “Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ th’ earth?”

The privileged few — who are born into opulence, placed under the tutelage of the finest teachers and quietly succeed to the throne — may well be daunted by the thought of Alexander. Yet he cannot intimidate the underprivileged many. It is not as if he began as a lowly artillery officer, rose through the ranks during a bloody revolution, overthrew the government in a coup d’état and installed himself as First Consul.

Napoleon Bonaparte is the idol of every commoner who aspires to become uncommon. Classical literature is teeming with his fictional devotees. Julien Sorel in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black “was above all things ambitious” and always carried a portrait of Napoleon. Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment explains his atrocious deeds, “I wanted to make myself a Napoleon, and that is why I killed her …” In Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man we learn that “Stephen, who had read of Napoleon’s plain style of dress, chose to remain unadorned”. Et cetera.

Vautrin sourly asserts in Balzac’s Father Goriot, “… [T]o cut the Gordion Knot with a sword … you have to be Alexander, or else you go to jail.” No doubt this alludes to Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and subsequent confinement on the island of Saint Helena. Yet Napoleon’s downfall is precisely what makes him so relatable. In Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time, an exhausted Pechorin collapses into bed and sleeps “like Napoleon after Waterloo.” Who has not experienced such sleep?

The National Gallery of Victoria was home to Napoleon: Revolution to Empire from 2 June to 7 October. It showcased hundreds of objects from the 1770s to 1820s, including paintings, furniture and jewellery. But even if you missed the exhibition, don’t dismiss Bonaparte. As the brilliant English poet John Clare wrote in The Rural Muse: “The heroes of the present & the past Were puny vague & nothingness to thee Thou grasped a span almighty to the last & strained for glory when thy die was cast …”

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