Frictionless Pirelli Tits

Helen was born in Melbourne, here Australia to the descendents of Irish convicts. She proved a terrible Catholic and was quickly expelled from Roman Scripture class.
Helen joined Young Labor in her teens and was quickly expelled from her Unity faction.
Helen studied in Philosophy and English Literature at Sydney University and was not expelled. Rather, practitioner she received a job offer from a radio station on the day of her final Patrick White exam and elected to quit two credits shy of graduation; a decision she occasionally regrets.
Quite possibly the first female breakfast announcer on Australian FM radio and certainly the most annoying, pill Helen spent her twenties talking to other people in their twenties or teens. She has Done Time as an arts broadcaster on ABC Local Radio.
Currently, Helen works with Citysearch as Cultural Correspondent. She contributes to opinion pieces on technology to The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC’s The Drum. Her humour column has appeared in The Big Issue since 2002. She contributes to The Australian Literary Review, Rolling Stone GQ, FHM, Rolling Stone and other outlets as a writer of arts, travel and culture content.
She is 41. Fuck.

Choose her first name and add the title of her domain if you’d care to contact
Helen was born in Melbourne, gonorrhea
Australia to the descendents of Irish convicts. She proved a terrible Catholic and was quickly expelled from Roman Scripture class.
Helen joined Young Labor in her teens and was quickly expelled from her Unity faction.
Helen studied in Philosophy and English Literature at Sydney University and was not expelled. Rather, she received a job offer from a radio station on the day of her final Patrick White exam and elected to quit two credits shy of graduation; a decision she occasionally regrets.
Quite possibly the first female breakfast announcer on Australian FM radio and certainly the most annoying, Helen spent her twenties talking to other people in their twenties or teens. She has Done Time as an arts broadcaster on ABC Local Radio.
Currently, Helen works with Citysearch as Cultural Correspondent. She contributes to opinion pieces on technology to The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC’s The Drum. Her humour column has appeared in The Big Issue since 2002. She contributes to The Australian Literary Review, Rolling Stone GQ, FHM, Rolling Stone and other outlets as a writer of arts, travel and culture content.
She is 41. Fuck.

copilot-women-201411-1416317659585_miss-april

I would like to say these tits made a strong visual statement that buoys my earnest point. HA BUOY MY POINT WITH TITS

The era’s popular feminism has all of the revolutionary form and fibre of week-old custard. But, diagnosis
those tens of you drawn to my shitty opinions already know this and so let’s not pretend that today’s “feminist” approbation for the Pirelli calendar is any kind of surprise. And, let’s not spend unnecessary minutes in the service of the obvious and ask those news sites that call the Pirelli calendar “feminist”, “feminist” or, in the case of an actual feminist news service, “irrevocably feminist” to “get fucked”, “get fucked” or “get irrevocably fucked”.

I have given up the tedious work of trying to revoke the irrevocable and if ten bajillion tedious western liberal fuckers want to “celebrate” the fact that a fucking tyre manufacturer has printed pictures of women in modest dress after a half century of printing pictures of women in nothing but a cupful of jizz-moistened sand, let them.  Let these global village idiots believe that the marketplace of images can be civilised. Let these new sisters believe that the only way out of a maze of images is by complicating the maze with new images. Let “feminism” think that the register of its success is to swap the appearance of bikinis with the appearance of conspicuous success. Yes, yes. You’ve done well banishing those whores from the pages of a trade pub. Let’s celebrate a new kind of whoredom! Let’s hope that the privileged men who receive this high-end soft-porn will pull their puds to the rhythms of female empowerment. And maybe a Maya Angelou poetry recording.

Look. I can’t be arsed explaining again to a dozen people who already agree with me that changing the look of the commodity doesn’t change the terrible power of the commodity. Or how “diversity” in images is no more evidence of freedom than a diversity of supermarket choices. Or, that we in the west rationalise airstrikes on nations because they “cover their women up”, yet we see this same modesty in ourselves as cause for celebration. Have The Terrorists Won? No, the idiotic ideology of the west, which informs popular feminism, has won.

Shite. If you can’t see that this calendar is just more of the same paralysis, you can fuck right off to a more “empowering” place. A place where the lie that the gender pay gap can be cured by turning real porn into success porn. A place where the hearts appended to your #brave selfie are a currency of belonging. A place where Fashion Week is full of #makeupfree plus-size models whose mild divergence from a previous image of perfection will suddenly stop family violence, or whatever. I don’t know. I no longer care to follow the “argument” of contemporary feminism which seems chiefly concerned with horrible violence and tedious culture and how these two things are somehow intimately connected.  I think I stopped bothering at about the time a “piece” of “feminist” “writing” that concerned Miss Piggy appeared. Apparently, the way she hits Kermit is “problematic” and not sufficiently representative of the true nature of family violence.

I would say that moral guardianship is not the work of the Jim Henson Creature Shop, but those people who believe that this are “irrevocably” munted. Instead, I will say something that I have been saying to myself lately: moral guardianship is not the work of corporations.

So, this is no direct complaint about the Pirelli calendar, the positive “feminist” response to the Pirell calendar or even the cynicism of companies that know very well that acts of liberalism, such as honouring women or supporting same-sex marriage, is excellent marketing.

Actually, I suspect that many companies don’t even see their sale of empowerment as a market obligation anymore. I suspect that many companies, such as Apple which build extraordinary wealth on tax evasion and documented labour abuses, genuinely believe that they’re doing the Right Thing. And we believe that they’re doing the Right Thing.  Certainly, I have at times allowed myself to believe that the “frictionless” capitalist Bill Gates is doing the Right Thing by using his wealth to fund very practical immunology programs. But, this happy view of mine was only made possible by forgetting (a) the terms of trade which permitted Bill Gates to amass so much wealth are those that very directly produce poverty and, in many cases, disease and (b) it is not the responsibility of private individuals or corporations to decide who to save.

Bill Gates was not elected. Cutting the remaining shred of red tape that binds us to democracy is not so much a “frictionless” act as it is fascist. We did not appoint this leader of industry. He was elevated to his current social influence by the fact of his business influence. And this is not to say that he is not a man of good intentions and it is not to say that his programs are ineffective or that he is a cowboy inoculator jabbing the citizens of dependent economies with homeopathic fiction. He probably takes good medical advice. I’m sure Mr Pepsico takes good advice from dietitians in his nutritional philanthropy, even as he continues to piss subsidised sugar water into the mouths of a world that is becoming insulin resistant. Maybe Pirelli consulted with Important Feminists before deciding to celebrate the Beauty Within. Who knows? Corporations involved in this perverse moral exchange of cultural and financial philanthropy for profit can think whatever they want.

The point is what we think. And if we continue to think, as we do, without serious question. that Bill Gates can stand in for the state or the WHO or that Apple’s good intentions can stand in for the fact that it rarely pays tax and sources labour from the prisons of capital or that Pirelli can stand in for women’s achievement, then perhaps we deserve to be smeared in the jizz-moistened sand of our desert future.

Lately, I have been quite troubled by the language of “disruption”, of the dream of social order fisted by the frictionless invisible hand. Those who speak it freely from the back of an Uber—another company that has done away with the tiresome social business of paying tax—are absolutely convinced that the “sharing” economy, the frictionless and decentralised market which appears to connect people but actually builds big edifices of corporate wealth, is also a just economy.

I do understand that innovation is a good thing. I know our state institutions are far from ideal. But I don’t buy the idea that private enterprise can do the work of the state—or even, in many cases, the work of innovation— better. Of course, companies that extract profit from the bodies and minds and hours of labourers can often be more “efficient”, but only by very specific measures.  And, fuck me, even if they could produce good or better social outcomes—let’s imagine a world where Pirelli advances the lot of a gender it has hitherto showered in jizz–what fucking business is it of business to do state or moral business? I DID NOT APPOINT THESE PEOPLE.

We have no trouble telling the government to “get out of my vagina” etc, yet we seem to very easily afford Pirelli the privilege of governing tits; that they’ve elected this year to cover the tits up is neither here nor there.

The business term “disruption”, which often means flouting those bothersome rules of the state like paying icky tax, now extends, as business terms often do, to the culture. We look to companies to immunise the poor feed the hungry and, now, empower the women.

I have written these thoughts in great haste and I would like to have more deftly drawn a connection between the hidden greed of Silicon Valley—and an upvote to Julian Assange for calling this ideology as poison and as dangerous as that of extreme Islamism—and the hidden tits of Milan. But I will just say, as I so often do, that you are probably a prong. And so is anyone who believes that “innovative” or “empowering” private enterprise will save the world.

 

11 comments for “Frictionless Pirelli Tits

  1. Cheryl McGannon
    December 2, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Thankyou, that was an interesting, thought provoking article. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  2. Jodie O'Connor
    December 2, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Helen, Thank you. For yesterdays, todays and tomorrows writings. Wouldn’t it be great if people just remebered that this perelli calendar is just advertising and not art. Wouldn’t it be great if feminism had changed the need for women to want to go into modelling and women just said no thanks I’m happy being a doctor, accountant, arborist, painter, juggler, farmer, writer or whatever
    ? Please keep writing about this Helen, it needs to be said and it needs to be said everwhere.

    • December 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Being a difficult bastard, I would say that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to model. Nor is there something intrinsically “right” with being an architect. In fact, the entire idea that there are more honourable forms of labour is itself a problem.
      I really don’t care to judge soft porn and the people who produce and consume it. Not, at least, any more than I would judge any other form of labour, which we always like to pretend is a voluntary thing and not, whether one “chooses” to be a doctor or whatever, actually compulsory.
      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on my shitty little website and I am not meaning to devalue this by disagreeing. But I would say that the idea that the world would be okay only if we all had honourable professions and that everyone had equal access to these honourable professions partially misses my central point. Which is: we cannot allow private companies or private individuals to be the entities that govern us, at both the social and economic level, a la Zockerbeg not paying tax but doing good works, or at the cultural level where we have a tyre manufacturer saying “what needs to be said” about women.

      • December 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

        Would you say then, that this is less to do with feminism (on it’s own) and more to do with corporations getting their ugly mitts off of us (in general and crudely speaking)?

  3. m
    December 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Not only do we not elect the ‘Bill Gates’ etc who implement social policies that alter (often for the better) many situations, in Australia we allow them tax concessions for doing so. So if you don’t like, say, that a woman here may have access to abortions, you can donate money to a “charitable organisation” that actively lobbies against it, and not pay any tax on that donation.

  4. Kate
    December 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    A million thumbs up, Helen, for the whole piece but especially this bit: “I do understand that innovation is a good thing. I know our state institutions are far from ideal. But I don’t buy the idea that private enterprise can do the work of the state—or even, in many cases, the work of innovation— better.” It is so refreshing, as a committed, struggling, public servant, to have someone question the bromide that the market ‘does it better’.

  5. December 3, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Helen I always enjoy reading your writing, you’re a credit to your country.

    Even though I manage an enormous multinational corporation, I set aside time to get the perspective of real people because I get a consensus of agreement in my circles.

    Yes, Apple, like most multinationals, pay little to no tax in most countries it operates in. This is an entirely legal economic loophole our expensive lawyers found for us. I would be failing my shareholders if I chose to change this overnight. However, if governments closed those loopholes I would be happy to provide that as an excuse to give them dividends less often. In Australia I understand we sell you ‘second hand technology from Ireland’ which is a loophole silly enough for everyone to know shouldn’t exist. I suggest you elect a government who is less interested in the money of corporations or millionaires. I wish you the best of luck on that.

    Now the Chinese slave labour is also on my radar, it’s a difficult issue to discuss in the media and we are working to change it. By 2030 our entire manufacturing and supply chain will be automated. We are currently choosing key locations around the world to be distribution hubs. We need locations with good amounts of sunlight, access to shipping infrastructure, and favourable government incentives – but not perpetual loopholes.

    Lastly, I agree with your assessment of the Pirelli calendar. It’s never impressed me, it just doesn’t get a reaction out of me.

    I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future Helen.
    Best wishes,

    Tim

  6. Miranda
    December 4, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Delighted to find your blog Helen and agree about the calendar. Also Bill Gates and innovation. Innovation too often is about investors finding somewhere to park capital that they can then turn into more capital – irrespective of the needs of the workers or the project. And over the last 30-odd years, while Bill was busy developing other people’s ideas and making money out of them, many others have devoted their lives to keeping children alive in poor countries. So he is a bit of a Johnny come lately to the cause.

    However, I sometimes wonder if maybe he had the right approach. Who’s had the most impact/saved most lives – Bill with his billions or the academics/foreign aid specialists/doctors/etc plodding away over many years, struggling for funding. Even if Bill is having to save the grandchildren of other capitalists’ workers.

    With organised religion very much on the fringes of western society these days, interesting question of who decides what is moral/immoral and who we save. Neither Pirrelli nor Bill Gates speak for me. But Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull don’t either. I don’t want them telling me what to think so I don’t think moral guardianship is the work of the state either. We need to let govts know what we want – partly through voting in someone we think might at least have a stab at carrying out their platform.

    Maybe it’s the Rosie Battys, Elizabeth Brodericks, Tim Flannerys and Adam Goodes (Australians of the Year) that are our moral custodians. Or maybe not – as the idea of morality is far less absolute than in the past.

  7. December 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Is it wrong to admit I liked looking at the tits? She’s got great fucking tits.

    I don’t even underfuckingstand famanasm anymore. My brain is too stupid and doesn’t compute. Maybe true feminism has something to do with trying to help and implement programs for all of the African women in Niger who get married off to men at an early age, bear their children then mind said children while working full-time to afford food for the children and husband who does fuck all but take other young brides and fuck them and make more babies ad infinitum? Dunno.

    • December 7, 2015 at 1:28 am

      To say what feminism is, Missus R, is nearly impossible. And I do think to say that there are some women, or classes of people, who are in urgent need of the basic stuff of life is not really part of the feminist project. This is not, of course, to say that pursuing freedom from the crushing indignity of debt is not a good thing and it is not to say that feminism is not a good thing. I think we can just call solidarity with those who struggle for liberation and decent loos good. And not necessarily part of what we call feminism, although it has been, is and probably can be. (Personally, I feel a bit funny about privileging the lot of one brutalised, starving class over another within particular borders. I.e. we bang on a lot about the supposedly misogynist sins of Islam in particular states but are able to overlook the way men are brutalised in these same states. Dirty water and air strikes are gender blind. And, frankly, this “Muslims treat women badly” discourse helps us rationalise more air strikes and more dirty water. They don’t treat their women well. So let’s kill then all. GREAT SOLUTION!)
      Saying that “there’s always something more important going on” has a very limited use. For feminism and everyone. So I can’t agree that there’s no reason to discuss feminism in the west. But, this feminism is really not talking about anything but (a) violence and (b) empowerment. So the problem with feminism is not so much that it doesn’t look at Africa (that’s the problem with the entire western world) but that it has largely given up any way to explain anything other than yelling dumb and meaningless stuff like “rape culture” and writing endless, tedious articles about empowering representations of women in sitcoms.
      Feminism talks about women who are either a victim or an inspiration, and very often both. It doesn’t ask itself “what are we doing?” much these days or “How do we get there?” It just switches between snark, smarm and terror.
      Of course, there are real women doing real things to improve real feminine lives. Good on them. But, what we largely see, and this filters down from and up to the academic and policy levels, is bullshit. It’s a movement that thinks it has it all figured out and says achingly simple things like “the way to end violence is to have more respect for women”.
      Really? We think violence is such a simple thing to end and we simply afford social dignity to all the women of the land and there will be no more beating? The problem with this analysis is that it discounts so much, but particularly the idea that those who enact violence may be doing so precisely because they feel a lack of social dignity. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that contended people who broadly feel social dignity in their everyday lives tend toward less violence. To say that violence is simply the result of “toxic masculinity” ignores so much about our society that is toxic. Of course, masculinity plays a part. But it’s not the whole story.
      And for as long as feminism keeps telling itself it has the “whole story” and not just a tiny filament of it that requires no investigation and a whole heap of slogans, nothing will change.
      It’s a movement that tries to say “we’re a broad church” but is a desperately narrow view of the world.

  8. Mick
    January 16, 2016 at 10:40 am

    As much as I hate hijacking the Pirelli Calender discussion (what’s wrong with seeing and celebrating women’s protuberance’s?)

    That Gates man has visited upon the free world the most abominable and slavish way ahead that is stifling a shitload of innovation and hindering progress in a mega profitable but insidious way. In say a 100 years, they will just laugh and shake their heads at how gullible we were.

    The best thing Mr Gates could do for the world (including the turd world) is to confess that his mega corps of software engineers and marketeers (sounds just like to pirateers – don’t it!) have lead all of us down the garden path for the last 20 years purely for profit.

    A little philanthropy might be balm for his conscious…

    C’mon Bill…set things right!

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