A Melbourne Uni quicky (or two)

A couple of things that have caught my eye in the hallowed halls of the University of Melbourne during the week...

The screening of The State of Union, a documentary made about the 2003 Melbourne Uni Student Union (MUSU (at the time not in liquidation)) took place at Union House during the week. For various reasons too boring to mention, I missed the first half-hour, but was engrossed by the remaining hour. It's a spectacular piece of drama that would capture the interest of a viewer even if they knew nothing of the individuals involved, but works on a whole different level with so many familiar faces featuring. The film is obviously partisan in supporting left-wing candidates at the expense of the ultimately-successful right-wingers, but this seems to be a product of the willingness of one side but not the other to participate in the film rather than a deliberate hatchet-job by the film maker.

The film beautifully exposes the dishonesty and crassness inherent in student politics, and leaves no doubt at all that most of the student pollies would flog their own grandmother on e-Bay if there was a preference deal up for grabs. Non-student-pollies will no doubt shake their heads in disdain and wonder why it happens at all. Perhaps the film will help the right after all - it does provide a perfect argument for Voluntary Student Unionism.

The second thing which caught my interest was a flyer promoting an upcoming event at the Clyde Hotel in Carlton:

I can hardly wait...

Yes, it's time to get the cobwebs off the too-and-fro debate over beauty contests. It does seem like a odd move given that around the world beauty contests are deeply out of fashion, even if Australians do occasionally find themselves the winner. The event is based on archaic representations of women and one that fails miserably to ring true for most people today. It's degrading for the hunks of meat who parade themselves on stage, but even more degrading for the tragics in the audience who are clearly used to enjoying their own company (euphemism alert, euphemism alert) and are at risk of choking on their own dribble. Shrill feminist arguments aside, beauty contests seem to appeal to our worst, most shallow and superficial instincts. Even if it were to be balanced with a Mr Melb Uni, it remains an infantile and lowest-common-denominator exercise. It's a tad strange that this event is pitched at university students, a group who on the most part are enlightened souls and can appreciate what a belittling experience it is.

On a purely personal level, I fail to see where the "fun part" is in a night where the major attractions are the battle for Miss Melb Uni and The Cougar Girls. Call me a metrosexual if you will, but surely the fun of having large breasted women in the general vicinity must wear off pretty darn quickly. What does the spectator do once they're sick of paying for overpriced drinks, realise that there's no one to talk to other than other undersexed desperates, and are too busy dribbling to have a crack at intelligent conversation? Moronic. But enough to keep me away from the Clyde Hotel, a (former) favourite of mine.


Hamish said…
An interesting documentary I must say. However I do not think the portrayal of me in the documentary was quite accurate. I'm not really that much of an evil bastard
Anonymous said…
Ari, you're a metrosexual. (You DID ask for that: "Call me a metrosexual if you will...")

I think the major issue here is that only unmarried women can enter the Miss Melbourne Uni contest. That's what is discriminatory about it in my books. There are plenty of women who are married, at Uni, and would be qualified for the title.

The good thing about these sort of events is that those in the audience are honest: they're there for a good perve. I'd prefer to have these sad bunch of individuals in our society rather than those sick, depraved individuals currently being accomodated at the remand centre for Child Porn allegations.

If these young ladies want to get in front of a crowd at Miss Melbourne Uni, that's up to them. It is a sad indictment on our society when people think solely of these events as promoting sex, rather than some small part promoting beauty.

And... I'm glad I'm not involved in student politics any more. It's funny, the people involved take it so much more seriously than State or Federal politics!

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