February 14, 2010

A half hour at the museum

It is curious--curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.- Mark Twain in Eruption

I went through the Queensland Museum today. It seemed that I should at least make some effort to view it before I start writing – as well as on the off chance that anything had changed. I was surprised to see a new, fully mounted exhibit just past the gift shop. I was disappointed to see that it was virtually another natural history display – a display about a man and his passion for moths and butterflies. The exhibit itself is not bad but I do not need to critique it.

The dinosaur casts of T-Rex and company have been returned. I remember my fascination with them as a child.

Everything else on this level remains unchanged, though there is a small photographic display of Queenslands flora.

Upstairs on level 3, Museum Zoo still has strong attendance. Today I saw primarily children and a large group of Asian tourists.

On the opposite end of the floor is a space I call now, the “curiosities pavilion”. It holds a range of things – from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material culture – to XXXX beer mugs – to Victorian crockery. Each item has a label to tell year of creation and acquisition but not every item has a detailed card regarding history. There is no explanation on most objects as to why they are important.

I find it ironic that this section was close for a period of refurbishment and yet it appears the only change made is to the positions of the cabinets themselves.

On level 4, there is evidence further of little change occurring. Dandirri Maiwar was empty. I would need to check the opening time of the museum to say further on this.

The open storage theme has been extended – now with what I can only call a “quasi” formal display. One area has hardly changed and the other new section really gives the impression of “oh crap – we need to do something” and this is the best that was created. For what is available to be seen in this new area, there really does appear to be little thought given as well as needed. I have seen University of Queensland undergrads create better displays. The added touch of Dell computer boxes is amusing. It really does show how many challenges the museum faces regarding storage, if they cannot keep these boxes backstage.

Also on level 4 is a display about the great rail journeys of Australia. There were two people here.

In all, I think I spent about a half hour in the museum. I did not feel the need to stay longer – I was surprised at how little the facility moved me.

QM at the moment really is moving towards being a natural history museum. I find this to be a really sad turn of events.

In my readings on inclusion and exclusion I’m coming to conclusions that I do not want to draw. I am finding myself leaning towards saying the museum is based solely on exclusionary principles. But at least by excluding all cultural groups the museum is excelling at being all-inclusive.

February 11, 2010

Polly's P's and Q's

There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce. Mark Twain

When I was a child I loved reading Enid Blyton. I’ve been trying to remember how one particular story goes and I’m failing miserably. The story I refer to is “Polly’s P’s and Q’s” and its basically about a naughty and rude little girl who refuses to use please and thank-you. The moral of the story is easy to guess – Polly learns her lesson and becomes a polite child.

Where am I going with this?

This is the kind of story that children, teenagers and even adults should be given to read. Lessons on how to be polite are vitally important for everyone to be socially aware and genrally accepted.

Reading is gentle learning if its not forced on a person and it is subversive enough that you’re learning without knowing it.

Where has this thought process come from?

The Caboolture train, every Monday to Friday afternoon during school term.
Walking along Adelaide St.
Doing the groceries at Coles.
Dealing with people at work.
Driving on any public access street.

It’s important to realise I’m not complaining overly much about the lack of social niceties and manners. At some point you come to realise the Agatha Christie world is non-existent. Words like excuse me, I’m sorry, thankyou etc are being consigned to a by-gone era. Unfortunately, this appears to be something I need to get used to.

February 06, 2010

Remember, remember the 5th of November

the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot...
I don't know what it is about the movie V for Vendetta but part of it really appeals to me. I think its the anarchy. Instead of boring you with a review, I will leave you with one of the best speeches I've heard in a movie.

VoilĂ ! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.

The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.

Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

There are of course many more fabulous speeches in this movie and I could bore you to death with them all. I won't. Instead, I will leave you with the same message. Think about your actions. Think about the actions of government - in your own country and in those around the world. Life won't be easy but it should not be terrifying.

There's no certainty - only opportunity.