Sunday, May 27, 2007

40 years on - J'accuse

Referendum baby (Source:National Museum of Australia)

I can't help but wonder what there is to celebrate about the fact that it was only 40 years ago that we decided to acknowledge that the First Australians were human beings. It was, after all, 22 years after the demise of Nazi Germany and the failure of our own 'final solution' (a phrase in common use in 1930's Australia) was due more to our inefficiency compared to Germany than any moral fibre we possessed. As I recall, the 90% vote was as much a repudiation of the more embarrassing vestiges of the White Australia Policy than out of any real concern for the status the First Australians.

At the time the Gurindji people had just begun their walk-off from Wave Hill to assert that, after 180 odd years, the colonists had not destroyed all resistance. In 1967 Bill Stanner called the Gurindji walkoff 'a little miracle' in his lectures describing the 'great Australian silence' about the absence of the First Australians in our Colonial histories.

The struggle to reclaim this land from the colonists continues to this day with little success. The misnamed Native Title Act has become nothing more than a way of legalising the continuing theft of land by the colonizers. As Marandoo Yanner put it the other day, "For every [square]kilometer we've gained we've lost 100 square kilometres".

Instead of Native Title being something worth valuing and respecting it has been universally seen as a problem by the comprador class led by John Howard, the traitor. I accuse him of high treason.

When this country is invaded by the next colonial empire they will turn around to us all and say your title only exists in the 'crown' of some old empire. How can you demand that we respect your backyards and your farms when you have shown no obligation to settle with your own people. This is the great travesty that has been wrought over the last 12 years by this cowardly little man beholden to no Australian cause. This man has betrayed us all irrespective of our antecedents. Sure he has had allies on both sides of politics but it has been his desire to live in the lotus land of the present, recognizing no past and no future, that has called the tune.

What sort of country are we that celebrates our soldiers acting as mercenaries ('lest we forget' indeed) and despises and forgets those people who have fought and died defending it's own shores over the last 200 years?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Dentist as Murderer

Hi my name is Rob, I’m a dentist I can’t show you my face because… well I’m a murderer, but I’m getting paid bucket loads to appear in this ad for a toothbrush. Not that it’s any different from any other toothbrush and not that I care one bit about your teeth really. After all they’re your responsibility and I’m just here to charge you an arm and leg if you can’t look after them. How do I get away with it? Well, while everybody concentrates on critiquing medical practice I can get away with murder and I’m laughing all the way to the bank and, no, I’m not going to show you my face.

You see it’s like Catch 22. I can get heaps of money from the aluminium companies because I’m a steadfast supporter of them making a profit out of their waste fluoride which I claim (with dubious support) to be absolutely necessary to improve dental health but when it comes to any individual set of teeth, I don’t have to take responsibility for my professional practice because I can blame it on the victim (sorry patient) who obviously hasn’t cared for their teeth probably. Good eh?

I can recommend that you have braces on your teeth and I don’t have take responsibility for any damage to the enamel caused by them. You see it’s your responsibility and by crikey can I make money from them.

Of course, if you’re poor and can’t afford my rates you can go to a government clinic where they will solve the problem of the pain caused by a hole in your tooth simply. We’ll just pull it out, like they did in the 19th Century. Not that we care that this is guaranteed to cause further damage down the line to your other teeth and result in you losing all your teeth prematurely with consequent damage to your overall health perhaps reducing your life expectancy by 5 or 10 years. You still can’t see my face, can you?

We dentists could of course make professional submissions to the government about the long term costs of these antiquated practices but we won’t because we make so much money charging those who can afford it for fillings and root canal work and so on. We could make submission to the government about the value of public education programs regarding prevention of gum disease and how to clean your teeth to prevent this as you get older but we don’t because… well you get my drift.

Of course if you have something really serious going on in your mouth such as cancer. We won’t bother to look to closely if you’re poor. There was a bloke in here the other day – he had a hole in the base of his wisdom tooth. We yanked that out and didn’t bother to wonder how a hole could occur that far down. When he came back and complained that there was still pain. We just tapped his gums and said ‘sensitive gums, go away’. Eventually he went to a private dentist to get an xray and that showed that a chip of the wisdom tooth had got left behind. Well whose fault was that! We’ll give him some antibiotics that will shut him up.

Silly bugger came back complaining that the antibiotics hadn’t worked. So we better have a hack around –can’t get it – let’s refer him up to the University clinic and get a student to practice on him that will shut him up. Let’s give him some more antibiotics as well.

Silly bugger complained when the student created a hole between his nose and his mouth and left him with no follow up or analgesia. Doesn’t he realize that it’s summer and we need a 6 week break. Let’s make him travel up from the country a few times at his own expense before we do anything and give him some more antibiotics for his non healing wound.

Silly bugger went to his doctor. But you know there is a demarcation line that the most left wing unionist would be proud of between dentists and doctors. Doctor won’t do anything until the dentist makes a referral back except give the silly bugger some more antibiotics.

Silly bugger’s been complaining now for 15 months about this – so we better have a good look. Hmm, the hole in the bone between his mouth and his nose has gotten bigger and that ulcer looks suspicious let’s get him back under a general anaesthetic and take a sample for histology in two weeks time. Wonder what’s eating that bone away.

OK he’s unconscious and can’t complain now - these public patients are such a waste of time. I can’t be buggered to fill out this pathology report properly and I’ve got to pick the kids up from their private school. Get him back in 2 weeks and we’ll see if our handiwork has made any difference.

“Nurse, ring up the pathology company and find out where that pathology report is” – turns to the silly bugger – “actually it’s healing quite nicely you know, I think we did a good job this time”(best professional smile). Hang on a tick here comes nurse with the path report – oh dear you’ve got a squamous cell cancer - better go back to the country and see your GP. It’s his problem now.

Silly bugger knew he had cancer 4 months ago but nobody could be fucked listening. Now he’s in the hands of a specialist who reckons his got a 60% chance of surviving the next 5 years because it’s stage IV and been eating the bone away for some time. Silly bugger needs to have all his teeth out now because of the radiotherapy – he won’t need a dentist anymore that’s for sure.

My name’s Rob I’m a dentist I can’t show you my face…

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Last Bus Zone

Actually, its not quite the last bus, but I am becoming a frequent traveller between Albany and Perth as my persistent dental problems turn tumorous, that's hardly very humourous, they could after all be numerous. Sigh.

So it's so cold and gloomy today on the south coast and there's one carriage on that interminably long wheat train pulling into the port where the grain has been caught and some of it's even sprouted. The pigeons have seen it and make a great to-do, keeping up with the trundling train.

I traveled on the bus with a bloke just out of the army, last six years overseas, travelling on the bus was a bit of test for him, he explained. He didn't expect civvies to understand that...

He was the best company though...

Its come to my attention that people have internalized Guantanamo Bay. Nobody seems to care any more about whether things actually work or not. Nobody bothers to fill in your form anymore. The Breshnevian paradox. The systems going through the motions but its not really for anyones benefit anymore. It's just to facilitate and secure profits. So we have to stand up and remind people just who they are.

'if you want to live close to the edge like that
if you want to lie near to the fire
you've got to accept there's a risk attached
don't look back if you want to go higher.'
Bungarra 1983

Everything fragments...

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