Thursday, January 19, 2012

Off-The-Wall Betty

ONE of modern motor transport’s great negatives is the fact that it is now impossible to escape stupidity for more than a remote day or so at a time.  Emerge from the trees, get off the dirt and it will not be long before the sound of bitumen under your bar treads announces the return of connectivity. It doesn’t even matter if your dongle is hooked up to Vodaf**k. Without a doubt you will be out of touch a quite a bit longer than Optus or Telstra customers, but sooner or later the signal-strength bars will register a tumescent swelling and, presto!,  all the world’s follies are flowing straight into your laptop. That was what happened this morning beneath a drooping tree by a riverbank, a place that just a few years ago would have been insulated by its remote location from vexation. These days, though, such arcadian  precincts are no guarantee against good humour being defiled by The Silly and the woman who exemplifies everything that is wrong with that newspaper,  Betty Farrelly. She really is a remarkable specimen.

Here is Betty lamenting the sad state of architectural affairs and urban planning near her Redfern home, where official efforts to placate teenage vandals armed with spray cans draw the columnist’s ire:
We jail teenage girls on their first offence, elect premiers who promise to toughen graffiti laws further still and sanitise the art so it's nice and safe to consume. Near me, in Redfern, are specially authorised graffiti walls, where specially authorised ''youth'' can come and spray their specially authorised stuff which, being specially authorised, is almost always third rate. We even have special shows where, in a cleaned-up, ex-industrial, faux-urban landscape, we applaud celebrity imports such as Banksy for precisely the kind of art (OK, better) for which we jail our own young.
Strong stuff from Betty, who indulges a virulent arrogance in assuming her neighbours are as favourably disposed to walls and fences covered with ugly, indecipherable scrawls as is she. Well that’s the Silly for you – a critical mass of smugness spiked with barely concealed contempt for people unlike those who produce that newspaper’s daily dose of condescension.

Nevertheless, as the Silly ceaselessly parades itself as an example of that “quality journalism” we hear so much about, readers must credit its sincerity, which Sydney’s graffiti daubers might enjoy putting to the test – perhaps by adding to the paintwork of this fashionable terrace in Chalmers Street.

As an admirer of outlaw muralists, the occupant would be a hypocrite to object. Indeed, the artists may well find themselves lionised in a future newspaper column.   


  1. Forget daubing the house, go for that evil carbon-pollution emitting piece of aluminium and plastic (the Mitsubishi 'Stigma') parked in front.

    I thought it was a requirement by the sandalista-shod intelligentsia who work for Fairfax that they "consider their carbon footprint in all parts of their daily lives, not just at work".

    Of course it could possibly belong to a neighbour, rather than Ms Farrelly... but in that case surely they wouldn't mind waking opne morning to find it 'artfully' redecorated by some local youths. After all, Ms Farrelly surely would prefer to see something far more colourful outside her front window each morning than the drab silver-grey of a badly-manufactured, slowly rusting piece of capitalist extravagance..

    (I used to own a Sigma, I know how bad they are...)

    1. Betty lives in Redfern? No doubt she applauded recent musings that 'the Aboriginal perspective' be included as part of the curriculum for all University degrees. I'd love to buy a ticket to watch a lecturer in say, 'feminist studies' ramble on about how the rights of women were upheld in traditional Aboriginal societies. Anyway, I'm sure Betty would have no problems with a few 'Aboriginal perspectives' on architecture and indeed dwelling/cave decoration being applied to the outside of her own home using a hand, some ochre and some sputum.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.January 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Other denizens of Redfern include those who, due to their problematic intellect or unfortunate circumstances, are confined to the disfunctional clutches of the public sector for their housing. They liven up the place no end, and the police are always there to help. Betty should invite a few of these neighbours round to discuss the finer aesthetics of their wall art. I'm sure they'd give her a few ideas for her place, and maybe move in for a while. Some of the more misguided of them like to Occupy and I can't think of a better place for them to do it.

  3. "We jail teenage girls on their first offence"

    Overturned on appeal.

  4. Teenage = 18 years old and old enough to be charged as an adult.


    On Wednesday, a NSW District Court judge came down on the side of the teenager, quashing her jail term and conviction and handing her a 12-month good behaviour bond instead.

    "It is unusual in the extreme for a woman as young as this, with no criminal convictions, to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for putting graffiti on a wall, as serious as that matter undoubtedly is," Judge Greg Hosking said.

    He said he was not condoning what Back had done, adding "people in Sydney are sick of graffiti, there is no doubt about it".

    But he concluded the sentencing magistrate had failed to take into account legislation that says offenders shouldn't be jailed unless all possible alternatives have been ruled out.

    1. Obviously the graffiti wasn't on the judge's wall.

  5. Prof,6 metre USB cable a bit of tape and an old fishing rod extend dongle range beautifully.

  6. Given the extraordinary difficulty in making any sense of Betty's dense and prolific prose, the question I ask is: Is the offending paragraph actually pro or anti graffitist? The professor seems to be of the opinion that's pro, I interpret the paragraph as being somewhat anti. Can we have a ruling?