Monday, April 30, 2012

How hard is this job?

Bill Shorten looks broken. Forget what's going on with Julia Gillard's leadership, I felt at that moment for the guy who seemed to be saying to himself "what has she done now? Who cares, I can't afford to be seen to be disloyal". But I got over it quickly.



Because he could easily be playing the angles.

But to sit passively in the train, while the driver drives you into a train wreck and either pretends they're not or can't see it? That has to be a hard job.


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Memory of best wishes from the Mofos

Doing a minor tidy here at the office and found this little card. The Vinomofo guys were a high point for me during 2011.


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Peter Slipper's defence is a logical fallacy

The parliamentary speaker, Mr Slipper has stood aside. He's been accused of two things. Criminal misuse of an employer's financial tool (Cabcharges) and a civil transgression of sexual harassment.

I could talk about this for ages; onus of proof, morality versus legality, "form" versus trust. But I won't, time is a little short.

But I have a problem with Peter Slipper's defence. Because it seems that a student who's done a first year philosophy elective could see that it's weak.

Peter Slipper was accused of flicking blank Cabcharge (credit slips) to a driver. The imputation is that the driver flicks Mr Slipper a few hundred dollars in exchange, Mr Slipper has cash for the night and the driver can make up the money (plus a fee) at some other time. This is all alleged and I have no idea if it's likely to be true or not.

Mr Slipper has responded by releasing a whole set of Cabcharge dockets that he used in what appears to be an appropriate manner.

Isn't this what they call a non sequitur? That it doesn't matter how many correct uses there were of the Cabcharge dockets the argument is that there were inappropriate uses.

It's the problem of induction. If we say "all swans are white" then no amount of "white swan sightings" can confirm that contention. But a black swan sighting will disconfirm it.

Similarly the onus of proof is on the accusers in the Slipper case. But the political dimension has made it messy.

And don't start me on the civil claim because I think - according to law - this carries a "reverse onus of proof".

If I'm wrong with any of this, please correct me quickly.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Introduction Landing Page

Thanks for keying in my shrunk URL that I included in my follow up email.

I've embedded it in my blog on a date that had quite some significance to me some time ago.

I made a commitment to myself recently that - if I got a person's business card I would at least follow it up with an email that included the link to this landing page.

I am a recently emancipated academic, currently in an adjunct role with the University of Adelaide. I still teach quite a bit in marketing, and will do market research as required.

I wrote a PhD a few years ago that used probability theory to model consumer behaviour and create a functional form for Double Jeopardy in consumer behaviour. Quantitative method is what I love, but often there's no substitute for qual.

I tweet, a lot, from @cullenofadelaid, and invite you to - perhaps - ramble around the "Cullen of Adelaide" blog.

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If I unfriend you on Facebook


If I'm at a cocktail party that's not work related I'll probably gravitate towards people I have stuff in common with.

If I happen to be in a one-one-one conversation where all I get is contrary opinions I'll probably engage, if the person seems to have done some of their own thinking, rather than a bunch of slogans. But I might eventually lose interest.

If I am in a conversation group where everything you say to me is a rejection of what I have already said, and very public, then I will probably try to exit the situation.

Cullen's not in your stream any more?
If you find that I have unfriended you, there's probably a great chance that this is what has happened, at least from my perspective. It doesn't mean I don't like you, just that I don't need you in that particular space, behaving that way.


Facebook is where I play. Sure I link my blog content to there and if you're sick of seeing it then - I beg you - hide me or unfriend me. It's not personal; if you don't like what I'm saying then take me out. No biggie. It's happened plenty and I can handle it.

Or if you wish to engage the topic, then use the comments section in the blog. That's what it's there for.

And if you find we are not friends and hit the button again I'll be delighted. Easy.

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Truth is a casualty in the milk wars

This is bizarre. I had written a whole blog about permeate in milk. I'd even got a comment on it. Ask my mum. And I came back to it on July 12, and there was a blank screen. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, but wow. Anyhoo. The permeate scam is over. Here's a blog that an MBA student of mine just put up about it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The best partnership of my life

Somebody said that "the secret of life is to marry well".

I agree. I married well.



22 years ago. April 21, 1990.

By "marry well" I mean way more. I mean "choose your allegiances well". My cousin is in a long term relationship that has gone as long as mine and Sylvia's - and he can't call that "married". Yet. And his is an outstanding example of a similar great choice.

But if it's important to pick our battles, it's bloody important to pick our allies. I saw my parents divorce when I was 19, so I knew it only made sense to think of it as "one shot in the locker". For other reasons, Sylvia is equally as bloody minded.

And now there are three more Habels in the game, it's all the more serious.


But the old story goes "if you're thinking about marrying a girl look at her mother". Tick. But my take on it is "if you're thinking of locking into something serious with anyone, look at the family". And it has never failed me.


On the flip side I brought a pretty solid bunch of Habels/Crouts to the game. Her is mum (Catherine) and beloved (late) auntie Yvonne at a family function.


Yvonne showed me the lesson I still struggle to make any ground with. Insight does not have to mean cynicism

Recently my abject failures - in retrospect - were easily foreseen with the rule I mentioned - about looking to the family if you plan to get serious. My greatest successes, too.

So back to the "getting married" bit. We went of on a honeymoon


And eight years later started with little Habels. Just as we'd always wanted.

Blessed. With extended family, friends, health (so far) and a bloodyminded determination that this will work.

There is no cutaway handle on the marriage tandem harness. So let's make sure we're serious about doing the whole jump with this person before we strap up.

And my choice to get married to Sylvia at 23 is the smartest thing I've ever done. I found mine early. And I've hung on.

We all have our own paths. This has been mine so far.

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Hoping to have some bright power


I am exploring the idea of bright power, as opposed to dark power.

Bright power - to me - is where one has a life affirming effect on others. Some time ago I stood at a crossroads - I was invited down the path of dark power.

It culminated in the silliest utterance I've ever made:

"I'd rather be feared than loved"

I did not manage to stay on that path, and I see it very clearly now. Nothing is too high a price for me to be on the path of bright power. Luckily fifteen years of (more or less) trying to do the right thing had my goodwill account in credit.

And regardless of any censure I might get as I go about this ("Cullen you care too bloody much about these sorts of things") the consistent positive reports are hard to ignore. Sure, goodwill doesn't put food on the table, but I can take care of that myself, in some other way.


But I won't be working forever. I can't handle the idea that when a person hears my name in twenty years that they say "yeah I had him at Uni, what a prick".

So I'm hoping to have a little bright power.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vinomofo make you love their success

I simply can't get enough of these guys. I'm doing a post soon for the Diane Lee Show about power and I'll ruminate about dark power and bright power. And on the positive side, bright power is the type of power that attracts people and lifts their self esteem simply by being somewhere near you. And if you happen to succeed, then everybody wishes you well and talks about how they know you.

And I simply can't get enough of these guys:



So I did a lecture last week in a Brand Management course. The content was about brand authenticity - a great chapter in Mark Uncles' great text, written by prof Mike Beverland from the University of Bath. Mike talks about seven stories a brand might tell as it presents itself as authentic. And one of those stories is the story of the "Artisanal Amateur". I dwelt for some time on how the Qwoff Boys positioned themselves as the "scruffy wine lovers" in that class last week.

I've been to quite a few things at the Qwoff Boys' place, and the odd meeting with Andre. Last year I wanted Andre to come out and talk to my students about authentic branding and to my (pleasant) surprise got this:

Hi Cullen, love to help – not really our area of expertise though. 

We've done it okay ourselves, but it's a different matter representing the subject with authority.

Would be happy to offer some personal insights from our own experiences, as long as that's how it's pitched – would do that without powerpoint or anything, just maybe a 10-15 minute chat on the subject.

Thoughts?

Cheers!
A.

It didn't go any further, only because of my immense respect that the guys weren't really playing the "I've made it I can brag about it" game. I was just a little quietly embarrassed at asking.

The Qwoff Boys started up a group buying site a year ago. I was watching with interest.

Vinomojo
The entire leadup was about this great group buying site - at the time they were talking about "get your mojo on with vino". As the days ticked down I was ready for it, and then...

Vinomofo
The day before, somebody's legal department got in touch with the Qwoff Boys and told them "Mojo" was out of the question. With (I expect) the coding skills of Oli Young they changed some stuff and stuck it back to to "Mofos" that owned the "Mojo" trademark. No biggie.

Mike Beverland spoke about making the most of unexpected events, and this was one of those things.

Selling it
So recently catch of the day stumped up some money to become a big shareholder in the Mofo business. How does a bunch of scruffy wine lovers deal with such a challenge? Well, in Aussie style they take the piss out of themselves.



So that's how it goes with authentic brands and bright power. They draw you in, make you want to be close to them and make you love their success.

And I love their success. May there be a great deal more of it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The high ground in "Burn Notice"




Michael Westen had a bad guy pointing a gun at him as he plans to walk out the door:

"You're not gonna do it, Larry. Because if you shoot me, Sam'll kill you where you stand. And while I'd give my life for something I'd believe in, there's not a thing in this world that you'd die for. And you wanna know the difference between me and you? I really do know you, while you only think you know me."

It's a pretty cool "tough guy" line.


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AMSRS: Cool cover shot

My $400 membership of the Australian Market and Social Research Society is almost worth it for the cool cover on this year's handbook.




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Bob Brown's best days lie ahead of him, the Greens' best may be behind them



I think Bob Brown is getting out while the getting is good. Senator Brown has had amazing success - from just him, to finishing with about nine senators and a lower house seat.

But I feel a democrat denouement is due. I can recall the turning point where the democrats went from a valid protest vote towards an irrelevance. It coincided with the time they attained the electoral power to get anything done.

When Meg Lees did the deal to allow a GST she pleased nobody. The hardliners in her part felt she'd sold out the small person, the economic pragmatists felt she nobbled a good tax tool by quarantining fresh foods. And on reflection I think she made a good call. But nobody liked her for it.



The weight of electoral power is a heavy burden to bear. My mum has always said that extremists are useful - and I feel she's right - they can push the mainstream in a better direction. But winning electoral power forces one to play in the space of getting things done, at a pace the country is prepared to swallow - for more than one election in a row.

The 2pp vote of Labor 44 against Coalition 56 indicates that the country might not be swallowing it. I think Adam Bandt will be unceremoniously booted, and the greens will lose a couple of senators next election. When the Democrats stalled it was because they compromised. This time with the Greens it will be because they didn't, compromise. Ah, the plight of a party that gains some power on the back of the "none of the above" vote.

What I really liked to see was Bob, with his partner, speaking about the rich family life that awaits them in retirement. A dignified vote for common sense.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A nice day with good people

Yay Ervin and Rebecca with an honours graduation




Ervin the mace bearer and Rebecca the honours prize winner.

Tom Baconn



Lorraine Caruso, MBA.








Rebecca and Sarah Dolan




And great to see honours student Andrew Partington on drums and boss Barry Burgan on bass.




And I won a door prize.


Good things in threes. First Ervin, then Rebecca, then a door prize.
I'm delighted to be working with you guys.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Aussie Farmers Direct should aim for penetration to grow

I have a colleague who owns one of the Aussie Farmers Direct franchises. They do 100% Australian product, ordered online and delivered to home.




I tried them the other week. It was fine. None of the hi/low pricing you get from the supermarket, but comparable prices, more or less.

So the old point comes up. AFD can't expect to get 100% loyalty from their customers. There are dozens of brands I buy where there is no Australian version.
But to encourage a habit of a set of core products - milk, eggs, bread, and up to ten more - from a broad base of (slightly less price sensitive) customers. Sensible.




That's certainly how my buddy Jason is seeing it.

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The value of a "like"

So Telstra are paying $10 for people to click "like" on Facebook.


So we can estimate the price of a like. Ervin Sim and myself are starting to get an idea of he payback, too. The "like" gives permission to Telstra to put their content into your news feed.

Last year Ervin's honours thesis established that getting into the news feed has more effect than doubling the ad frequency in the side stream. This year in his PhD, we're looking at the psychological contract between the reader and the content provider.

"I'll consume your ads if you give me stuff for free"

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Erk. The green office was harsh today

Great fun, but I didn't play up to my card:


Still, golf is a game of honesty and nerves. And I get way more in life when I go out with these guys.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Content and advertising: have we lost the plot?

I have just spent the Easter weekend watching "Game of Thrones". In the old world it would have come onto TV, I would have watched it week by week and as I watched it I would also have consumed a whole bunch of ads.

But no. Somebody flicked me a pile of AVIs and I rolled through them. And it was great.

But one day it will come onto free to air TV. And they will be playing by the old rules, that I'd be dying to consume this content and in return I'll watch the ads, the advertisers will pay them and the world turns.

Bup Bowwwww!

I don't know what the answer is, but the commercial TV model - these days - is only a part of it. More so I think it's finding out what each person's content stream is, and trying to be a part of it. Or at least be somewhere around it.


So in my FB stream above, there's the sidestream ads, and the instream ads. My buddy Ervin Sim looked at that late last year and we might have something to say about it soon. And that's only one of my streams. I look at a twitter stream, about three blogs, email and TV.

I think advertisers have a big job on their hands. To be honest - as I was viewing that ten hours of HBO content I was truly saying to myself "I'll pay, with my eyeballs. The commercial model is fine. Find a way for me to view your ads in exchange for this excellent content I'm watching"

But I'm not sure they even understand the problem, let alone have an inkling of the solution.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Saddened by Kathy Lette

There's some furore in the Daily Mail at the moment. Samantha Brick in Britain has complained that her beauty is the reason that other women are treating her badly.



Predictably this has brought a howl of hatred down upon her.

This is dangerous territory for a male to enter, and it appears (from the replies to her blog) that men have tried to stay out of it. Perhaps. I'll try to avoid that particular discussion as best I can, too. There's also the possibility that some men are taking pleasure in women fighting with each other, and maybe there is a grand misogynist conspiracy.

That's certainly how author Kathy Lette has seen it. In an interview, just then on the ABC, Ms Lette managed to take what is (on the surface at least) an issue amongst women and run the entire list of crimes that men are perpetrating upon women.


That women are assessed first on their looks but that men are not, that men like to see women (metaphorically) mud wrestling, that if males could only think about personality the world would be a better place, that newspapers are basically a woman hating environment, and a few others I can't remember.

Many of Kathy Lette's points are important, but she drew a long bow to connect the Samantha Brick furore to all of her points. And the fact that she seemed so intent on making the problem one about men - well that just made me a little sad. And I need to resist that (predominantly male I think) urge to convert that sadness to anger.

There are plenty of women talking more sense than Kathy Lette, in my opinion. Not that they are any less challenging to males, just a little more - well - sensible.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

And Jules seizes the day again

I spoke about a skydiving friend Jules recently. She certainly seizes the day. She does canopy relative work. It's funky stuff because generally if you have a canopy out, you don't fuck with it.

But if you do it, the idea is that you break off at about 2000ft so that you can land without complications. But Jules and her team flew it all the way to the ground.


Kewl.

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A day amongst people I trust

I married into a Catholic extended family. Whilst I've got all cool with the idea that Jesus was a top guy, I still don't do mass much. Didn't this weekend.

But one of the traditions, now, is an Easter brunch at Auntie R's place. All people in the family, atheists, agnostics, lapseds and observant all come together.

I've had my moments with just about every one of them. Each one of the sixty people has had the chance to say "what a prick" about me too. I've been with them for twenty five or so years.

But I trust them. Each and every one of them. And it's because I can say that - whatever the "day to day" skirmishes, I don't think any one of them is a certified asshole.

I wrote a guest post for Di Lee on exactly that topic just a day or so ago.

I'm proud to be a member of this family, and it made for a good Easter day.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ferme over Easter

Good on them. As I wheel out to golf, this Easter Saturday morning, my little plan to buy a pie at the St George's Bakehouse was thwarted.

Closed all Easter. Ferme.

Good on them. Last year in France I noted that "le Dimanche is different" and that the French very seriously claim that day for lifestyle.

Working oneself into a business, career or life position where one can claim some time (knowing it might cost a few extra bucks), now that's a good objective.

If a business can make it work by only opening three hours a week, they deserve it.

So I'll get my pie elsewhere, and that's cool.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Being a half back flanker on a losing team

Recently I wrote about being a half back flanker in Aussie rules football, my vote for the best sport in the world. A little more on the nature of the position.

I'll say the words "man" here a lot, because I was a man when I played it. I hope that's cool. I've seen women play the game too and it's great footy but please, just indulge me. It makes the writing easier.



The ball gets bounced in the centre. Let's say the white ruckman taps off to a rover who handballs to a white wingman. The wingman runs for ten metres and spears the ball upwards to his half forward line. That's a textbook play out of the centre (if such a textbook existed).

So the wingman is running towards goal, but is way too far away to kick the distance. This is where the half forward / half back battle happens. The white (half forward) guy needs to get loose for the wingman to get a clean kick to him - called "a good strong lead".



So this is where the half back flank is important, and why the position suited me. It's not a glory position - your job is to stick on your man, like shit to a blanket. If he runs at full pelt for fifty metres to make a lead, you are running with him. If he runs fifty forward, then back, then belts forward again, etc ten times the you're with him. At full pace. Until your will to live almost dries up. But you do it. Because the price you pay to is that your guy gets a clean pass and a chance at goal - all because you got a little tired.

Aussie rules is a game of eighteen man-on-man battles, one-on-one battles. With a team all pulling in the one direction and all efforts shown in stark relief.

Playing on a losing team
In the mid 1990s I played two seasons. Started at the age of 29 because I wanted to play a bit before I got impossibly old. I'm glad I did it. The only teams I could get a game with were teams that were - at the time - getting thumped each week. I'm talking fifty goals.


Scores like this (87 points to 3 from a Norseman away game) were considered a good result. We were getting beaten by 300 points. On the half back line it was almost like standing by a river, watching the ball float through towards the goal line I was supposed to be defending. WTF could I do, to still feel like I was contributing?

A half back flanker - Dave Attiwell I think - from a very good club - Blackwood - let me in on it once when I played against him. "it's my job to make sure you don't get a kick all day". I think he might have also said something like "that's unfortunate for you, sorry about that".


So that was it. Find a job that you're good enough at that is tied to the objectives of the team, and succeed at that. And never leave any fuel in the tank at the end of the game. When I moved to the half back flank that helped me stay sane in those 50 goal drubbings.

A lesson for life
It has been a handy way for me to see the world. In my "who killed strategy" post I noted how soul destroying it was to be in operations for a company that had a crap strategy. And I've worked in places before where it was not good to be the boy who pointed out the emperor's nakedness.

A company called Titan Electronics in the early 90s was bloody mindedly still trying to sell French military spec electronics components into consumer goods manufacturing after the game changed around them. Try as I might, I could not convince the purchasing officers to buy my $2.00 D-connector instead of the 30 cent Chinese one. Go figure.

It can be like playing on the half back line for that losing football team. And then it's time to man up, concentrate on only the things I can control and revel in the little wins.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

And I remember what "Carpe Diem" is

I have a Facebook buddy. One day, ten years ago, she did some rigging for me on a parachute I had. It was the first real parachute I jumped and I was all excited about it. And Jules was cool, did it on a Saturday morning when she'd rather be in the sky.

And she stayed with the sport. But in the (rather more funky) canopy relative work (CReW) part of skydiving. Generally a skydiver will do freefall, and all sorts of cool stuff there, and when one has a canopy out, one rides it home. You don't fuck with a working canopy.


Unless you do CReW. Then you open high, fly next to each other, walk on each others parachute at 8000ft and build stacks and diamonds. Cool.


Pretty, huh? And peaceful, right? But remember you're doing this shit pretty high up, you're not on that backyard swing and if it goes wrong you're like a billiard ball in a sock. At 6,000 feet.

So that put me all the more in awe of Jules who got this photo up onto Facebook about a rugged skydive she did recently.


Kewl.

Jules is second from the left. Certainly seizing the day.

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Warning signs of a bad manager

Google Panda will kill me for this, because it's just the excellent list from these guys.

But if you're into doing "self checks" - and I drive myself crazy with them - then here's a list of warning signs:

1. You don’t do what you said you were going to do.

2. You overpromise and under deliver.

3. You’re unpredictable and inconsistent.

4. You always seem to have a hidden agenda.

5. You’ll agree just to avoid conflict.

6. You never share anything personal about yourself.

7. You never seem to finish anything you start.

8. You have a reputation that says you can’t be trusted.

9. You’re never willing to take a stand.

10. You won’t listen.

11. You don’t seem interested in what’s important to others.

12. You gossip about other people and disclose confidential information.

13. You make decisions but don’t explain how and why you made the decision.

14. You often change your plans or mind and don’t tell others about it or explain why.

15. You come across as uncompassionate and insensitive.

16. You won’t admit your mistakes or acknowledge your weaknesses.

17. You misrepresent other’s views.

18. You’ll say anything to achieve your objectives and results.

19. You sugarcoat the truth.

20. You see others as a threat when they are successful or come up with good ideas.

Anything to add to the list?

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Emma Jane well said!

Emma Jane made a great point about how real feminism should be about giving choice to women. To make it so that "who gives a rat's?" about the physical when there's a job to be done?


That was probably to most unhelpful thing about Germaine's sledge on Q&A.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The “half back flanker”

(Adapted from a letter of thanks to a boss, some years ago)

Every person has their own style. I believe individual styles can be well represented by the positions on a football (Aussie rules) ground. From my late start (at 29) I was tried in a number of positions – the classic square peg situation. Ruck; couldn’t jump, wing; too slow, full forward; no accuracy, half forward; no “ball getting” skill.

I finally found my place. A previous - great - boss who loved footy suggested it to me. He said "the negating, grinding, dogged role probably suits you, Cullen". (thanks boss. I know you say it with love). The position required stamina, aggression, team spirit, goal directedness and persistence. The half back flank suited me. In [this new career] [this particular boss] recognised those qualities in me and opened the door a crack. I appreciate being given the chance to play.

There is, of course the rhyming slang that reminds me of [colleague A]’s comment when she saw my fountain pen. “Using one of those makes you a certified wanker”.

Perhaps that’s what a person might mean when they call me a ‘half back flanker’.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Well played, Coles, on service recovery




Coles had the chance to manage a product failure. They passed with flying colours. I think it's called service recovery.


Yucky. Ham that I bought in the deli section on Wednesday, went discoloured by Sunday. If there's one thing I know, it's food safety. I had pulled it straight out of the car and into the fridge when I got home. I'd used a bit on Wednesday, but mostly it was $8 worth of ham.


OK I made some time on Monday to go back to the store. I probably wouldn't have done it if I didn't need blog content. But then again, dollars count a little more these days. Anyhoo.

They brought the deli manager over, she was interested and said she made a note. The particular line, they said they had started "specialling" on Wednesday, and it was handy information. I sort of believe them.

I got a credit, some respect and a couple of extra bucks. I'm pretty happy. Somebody got to eat the ham, however, given it was discoloured, not putrid.



And the circle of life has it that we end up getting a payback too


So, nicely played, Coles. You're getting a lot more of my weekly shops. And this stuff helps.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tony Abbott should know better and Germaine Greer doesn't care - or vice versa?

I've mentioned how we're all broadcasters now with the radio announcer who (semi) privately trashed Adelaide on Facebook and got howled down. Except FB isn't private.


There was nothing private in Germaine Greer's trashing of PM Julia Gillard on Q&A last week:

You've got a fat arse, Julia, just get on with it

At least Greer is what she is. I can have a measure of respect for that. As I do with Amanda Vanstone. And the comment - man, who cares? I've truly never thought about the cut of our PM's clothes (and certainly not their arse) since the days of Paul Keating. And that was only because everyone was talking about Keating's $2000 Zegna suits (and not his arse).


And, Tony, you could have approached it that way. But when the lady brought it up with you, you had to say "I know, I know, Germaine was right on that subject". A close reading of the event shows he was responding to a comment about JG's jackets, but he did skewer himself. Near enough is good enough in these things.

One interesting thing is the logical standoff. How, if Abbott is misogynistic then so, too must be Greer?

But what's on my mind is how much of a joke is Germaine? The modern, younger, successful women are right to shun the title of "feminist" if feminism's elder statesperson behaves this way.


And for any of us who are tempted to cut Professor Greer some slack, be it out of nostalgia or sisterhood I humbly recall that "all that is required for evil to prevail is for good [people] to do nothing". and surely, taking pot shots at anyone over physical attributes is just a little uncool?

It's all a bit bizarre to me. I'll leave it at "Tony, you could've left that one alone".

As I get older, my greater wins come from things I don't say rather than things I do. And that's a challenge, as often I'm paid - pretty well - to say stuff.

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