Monday, December 06, 2004

Australians pick Lord of the Rings as top book

Australians pick Lord of the Rings as top book

The fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings has been named as Australia's favourite book.

ABC Television began asking Australians to nominate their favourite book in September.

Tens of thousands of people voted and the results were revealed last night during the program called My Favourite Book.

Topping the list was the The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

Second was Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and the Bible was named as the country's third most popular book.

Two Australian books made the Top 10 - Tim Winton's Cloudstreet and A B Facey's autobiographical novel, A Fortunate Life.

Pfft. OK, first of all, Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, not a book. Minor nitpicking. Second, I would estimate that about 80% of the people who voted for it did so purely because a highly popular movie franchise was still at the forefront of their minds. In fact, I'd say that in at least half of cases, the word "Tolkein" would have been preempted by the words "Orlando Bloom" in their vocabularies by at least a matter of weeks. Now that I think about it, I reckon an appreciable percentage would be far too daunted by the page number to read any of it to this day, believing that sitting in a movie theatre full of screaming brats with a bucket of popcorn would be the equivalent, or at least enough to get them through potentially embarassing social situations featuring equally ignorant and insipid chuckleheads with flying colours. Third, a fucking kids' fantasy book?? Are we so adolescent? Yeah, it's a pretty cool and well-written piece of work. But you know who it's even cooler and more well-written for? Eight year olds. Where are our Leopold Blooms? Our Karamazovs? Our Kareninas? Our Queegs? Our Atticus Finches? Our McMurphys? Our Batemans?? Is a little complexity and sophistication too much to ask? Oh right, we're talking about people here.

Oh, and the movie adaptations sucked anyway, which undermines the popular vote even more. The third one was alright, but that's due to a radical notion Jackson suddenly developed of STICKING TO THE STORY. Plus the acting was kept to a bare minimum by relentless violence. Mind you, I'm pleasantly surprised that that obtuse, perennial intellectual rock-in-the-shoe has been banished to third place. I'd rather not see it at all, but baby steps, baby steps. I'm done.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Australian Idol fans and adult websites

Meanwhile, telecommunications company Telstra is in trouble for purchasing full-page advertising in several leading News Corp. newspapers directing excited young Australian Idol fans to the official website of the newest winner Casey Donovan to download her first single.

The first problem?

They left out the .au at the end of the url.

The second problem?

Casey Donovan shares names with a rather popular gay pornstar. Put the two problems together and you get a fairly large "Oops!" And they say kids receive no cultural exposure these days.