29 April 2008


The opening of Liz Maw's show Cerberus, Solar Messiah and The Untitled is at the Peter McLeavey Gallery tomorrow, 30 March, at 5.30pm.

There are also openings at Hamish McKay and Mary Newton tonight, but I will be watching Doctor Who instead.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Who?! No shit, I was reading up about Dr. Who today on Wikipedia. I can think of few shows I hate more that have stuck with me. When I was a kid my best friend's parents were strict about letting him watch tv- so he would come down to my house and watch that show. Even as a kid I thought it was cheesy- the production values were abysmal. That guy with the scarf, Tom Baker.....and those Daleks going around saying "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" But I don't know, something about the show sticks with me- shows like that that inspire extreme fandom, I find them fascinating. And it's certainly way more interesting than Star Trek.

David Cauchi said...

Well, each to their own. Everyone hassles the production values of the old show, but they're beside the point.

And Star Trek is no competition at all.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see it again to see what I would think of it. I know there is a updated one out now that is much more polished. But my tv broke a couple years ago and I never felt like getting it replaced. As the late, great Terence McKenna once said in a interview, "Imagine if the Japanese had won World War II and had introduced into American life a drug so insidious that thirty years later the average American was spending five hours a day 'loaded' on this drug. People would just view it as an outrageous atrocity. And yet, we in America do this to ourselves. And the horrifying thing about the 'trip' that television gives you is that it's not your trip. It is a trip that comes down through the values system of a society whose greatest god is the almighty dollar. So television is the opiate of the people."

David Cauchi said...

I'm sorry, but that McKenna quote is silly. If you took it seriously, you'd have to reject all cultural products you haven't produced yourself.

I prefer to assess paintings, books, music, films, and TV programmes on their individual merits, regardless of who produced them.

Nor do I think it sensible or healthy to restrict yourself to things that just tell you what you already think.

What's more interesting? A conversation in which everyone agrees and that covers only one point of view or one that debates a diversity of opinion?

Anonymous said...

Silly? As you said above, "to each their own." And McKenna isn't saying "you'd have to reject all cultural products you haven't produced yourself." But he is saying it would be prudent to consider what is behind said products. "It is a trip that comes down through the values system of a society whose greatest god is the almighty dollar." I think McKenna is spot on. 99% of what is on tv is without merit- complete corporate crap. But it goes beyond that- because we have a corporate news media that has been extremely successful in generating support amongst people for things that are not in their interest- like war.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I just looked at the index of one of his books I have. There's mention of Borges, Phillip K. Dick, the Voynich Manuscript, Lovecraft, and on and on.....McKenna did not reject all cultural products not made by oneself. He was extremely well read- a bookworm. But if you're going to defend the bullshit that is American tv (Fear Factor, Survivor, American Idol, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader....the stupidity goes on and on) well, like you said, to each his own. But I stand by my assertion that there is very little of value on television, the news is nothing more than propaganda, and the nation would be much better off if every citizen killed their television- it is an instrument used to breed ignorance. And we've got enough of that in America.

David Cauchi said...

For a start, there is more to the world than the US. I have said nothing about American TV. Your US-centric cultural imperialism is offensive.

I live in New Zealand, which contrary to the opinions of some Americans is not a colony of the US. We are not controlled by your corporate news media. The main news channel here is publicly owned.

Second, you have cherry-picked bad American TV programmes and conflated them with all American TV programmes. I could similarly cherry-pick romance novels, get rich quick books, and new age self-help manuals and then claim that all books were crap. It's nonsense.

Restricting myself to American TV programmes, I would point to the likes of The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Six Feet Under to counter your examples. Please note that all these shows were broadcast here free to air by our public broadcaster.

Third, who do you think publishes books? Book publishers are large profit-making corporations in virtually all cases, including the publishers of the examples you've given. However, it would be absurd to claim that, because these corporations publish Philip K Dick, his books reflect 'the values system of a society whose greatest god is the almighty dollar' (well, actually, quite a good case for that could be made) and so reject them. And yet you are making exactly that claim for TV programmes.

Do you solely read books published by small loss-making co-operatives? If so, do you reject those books if they're subsequently republished by a large corporation?

The merit of a book is not determined by who publishes it. Likewise, the merit of a TV programme is not determined by who broadcasts it.

Finally, as most propagandists have discovered to their cost, they can control how information is sent, but they can't control how it is received. If most Americans bought into the regime's propaganda, they have no-one but themselves to blame. It's up to us to be critical. People aren't robots. Other people control us only if we let them.

Anonymous said...

First, Deadwood, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under are all HBO programs, ie, pay per view programming. While I haven't seen them I think Deadwood and Six Feet Under (from what I've heard) are good programs. But of course what I said was "there is very little of value on television". Not that there was NOTHING of value. What I did was not cherry picking. If I took the time to get a tv schedule and post what is going to be on.......I guarantee you it would be CRAP, CRAP, and more CRAP. As far as being "offended" by my "US-Centric cultural imperialism" (?!)- nice sloganeering but I'm the one saying to ditch your tv and all that shitty American programming that comes with it.
If you are seriously going to claim that the quality of television is generally on par with the quality of literature available to people- I say nonsense. Let's see, I wanna read Kafka tonight. Wonder if there is a equivalent on tv? I'm sure there must be a Brothers Quay special on somewhere. Uh, that would be a no. But there is a top rated program where adults test their wits against five year olds.
And people are in fact quite similar to robots. They are rather easy to control as a matter of fact. Just look at the research of Stanley Milgram and others.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I feel it is pointless and absurd for me to continue arguing the merits (or lack thereof) of tv with a easily offended Aussie. The futility of it all is too much so I shall bid you ado.
ps- thanks for adding a link to our discussion. I'm flattered. Okay, I look forward to being lectured to about how you're not a aussie. Peace.

Anonymous said...

By the way one last time, if you have to ask who Stanley Milgram is you watch too much tv.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

Anonymous said...

Peter Jackson sucks (though I did like Dead Alive).
Love The Chills though. Okay, fare thee well. Sorry if I have distressed you in any way. I quite enjoyed the blog and you're a smart and talented dude- despite your apparently love for the boob tube. Peace out, best of luck, and keep up the great work..............arrrrrggggghhhh, aahhhhhhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhhhh. Have a vegemite sandwich on me. AHHHHHHHHH!

Anonymous said...

You can choose what book you want to read- from probably millions. If you wanna be a lazy couch potato and turn off your brain you can choose from three or four basic channels of crap or if you really like to be brainwashed and dumbed down (most people do) you can spend the dough on cable and get plenty more channels of crap. So let's see- millions of books to choose from. Maybe I'll read Nietzsche or Bertrand Russell or maybe a book of Henri Michaux poems tonight. Nah, I'd rather watch tv- I have 60 channels, certainly there will be a wide variety of equally enlightening programming at my fingertips. ARRRRRGGGGGHGHGHGHGHGHHGHGHGAHadflgjasoifgiouaj oaw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (choking on the inanity of it all)

Anonymous said...

Okay, I REALLY am going to leave you alone because for one thing, I'm afraid I might have slightly bummed you out or upset and for another, I think it really is kinda dumb wasting time arguing the merits of tv.
So I will leave you with this compliment- you're quite handsome in a George Orwell kind of way. And that's often what it takes to make it in the highly superficial art world- even more than talent. Good, unique looks. (at least according to Louise Bourgeois and she should know.) And you've got them. So best of luck.

David Cauchi said...

Cheers (I think).

The Aussie comments are a good attempt at a wind-up, and I can understand why you would think that all New Zealanders love Peter Jackson (but we don't, not this one anyway). Meet the Feebles was pretty good though.

I've no idea what you're referring to by Dead Alive. Was that what some film of Jackson's was called in the US? Got to watch those imperialist assumptions! Speaking of which, you did see the bit where I mentioned that those HBO shows were free to air here, eh? We don't have your weird Puritan values.

Yes, I am aware of the Milgram experiments. There was a TV programme about them (ha ha ha).

Mentioning Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell together is pretty funny. Russell was pretty rude about Nietzsche in his History of Western Philosophy and badly misrepresented his philosophy.

But then Russell was quite the hypocrite. He was a shining example of the human propensity to come up with ideals and then comprehensively fail to live up to them.

Speaking of hypocrisy, my partner Rose thought it was pretty rich me arguing for TV here. I can be pretty rude about it myself. But I stand by the comment that individual programmes should be assessed on their merits. The vast majority of most things are crap, including books. It's a metter of choosing the good stuff. No reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Oh, and I much prefer Marmite to Vegemite.

Anyway, cheers again. It's been fun. And Doctor Who was pretty bloody good tonight.

Anonymous said...

Glad you took no offense- none was meant. I just wanna clear a few things up. One, when I said your handsome in a Orwell kind of way- I don't mean you look like Orwell. Though you do remind me a little bit of John Hurt as Winston in 1984 and you do remind me ever so slightly of Orwell. But you've got a unusual sort of attractiveness that should serve you well in the art world.
I believe Dead Alive was called Undead in the rest of the world. Something like that. Guy's "mum" gets bitten at the zoo and things take off from there. Extremely violent in a cartoony way.
The three programs you mentioned are no longer on the air. Deadwood and Six Feet were cancelled and The Sopranos ended. The point is, if you are willing to pay extra in the US you can have access to a handful of relatively decent programs. But most of it is still going to be garbage.
Finally (and I can't believe I am returning to this tv argument!) there is a universe of knowledge and entertainment to be had at the typical library (especially if you live near a college or university)- while the pickings are rather sparse when it comes to tv. In fact, on most nights I would say it is nil. Which is why I haven't missed tv one bit. Also, I noticed some typos in my rants above- ado should have been adieu and there was another. Might've been more. But sometimes it's best just to keep it rollin'. Okay, keep on keepin'.

stephen said...


visitors since 29 March 2004.