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A Monday Morning

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages" (William Shakespeare)


On the Monday morning here in eastern Australia when a political challenge was being held in Canberra, the 84th Oscars ceremony was concurrently being held on the west coast of the USA in Tinsel town Hollywood.

Both events shared common themes of drama,expression and reaching out to the public as observers. Both events exuded emotion, use of media and had lead-ups to the actual function. One involved the complexity of politics and the other rode on the magic of movies. Both events involved individuals who took the most personal risks in career and self-belief, or had endured much in arriving at where they are today socially, financially and professionally.

There were many amongst people I know who could not have cared for the outcomes of either event, but I did spend some time watching, on the side, the reactions of individuals and their ensuing speeches.

The event in Canberra struck me as one of alienation, aggravation and allegation.
The clear aim was to break intent of the perceived opposition and utilised much of the proverbial hanging of dirty laundry in public.

The one in LA showed outcomes from persuasion, persistence and performance. This nurtured hearts, determination and personal growth.

On balance, I sensed more sincerity from the people in LA, who, ironically, may be seen to dabble more in make believe - and yet provided me the most satisfying impact in producing positive self-worth, hope and inner nourishment. Maybe the Oscars, once again this past week and consistently in the past, appealed to me better visually and conceptually, in graphics, through music and in engaging my senses.

In contrast, the Australian Labour Party in-fighting displayed instances and flashes of non-reliability, personal viciousness, negative articulation, changing tact and surprising intensity of emotional attacks. I am convinced once again that political animals of any colour never assure me where they actually stand, even if a few personalities, in the past week, have shown greater strengths and better character than most.

No politician that morning came across as fully sincere, compared to this year’s best actress winner Meryl Streep. Meryl had, in the course of her acceptance speech, highlighted and recognised that she will never be on that stage again; emphasised that with this opportunity, she wanted to first thank the most important two persons in her life; and said that many in America may not welcome her Oscar win for the third time, but who cares, whatever, anyway. Oscar ceremony host Billy Crystal held the crowd’s attention in ways better than parliamentarians - and the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences always knows how to elegantly farewell their best and most memorable in the segment on celebrating the past year’s departures in the movie industry. In LA, there was humour and wit, missing conspicuously in Canberra that morning.

The media in Australia had been overly obsessed with the workings of an internal political party caucus. Some may say that Hollywood is also too pre-occupied with themselves. The politicians that day made passing references to the interests and welfare of voters and the nation, but foremost one could instinctively understand where their passions and energies mostly lay. At the same time, there were no outward social or community causes espoused on stage for the underdogs in society at this year’s Oscars.

Yet, on balance, it is what politicians do or decide that has the most impact
on our everyday lives – although we do seek relief, in various degrees, in the refuge of movies. And there was this acknowledgement, that day at the Oscars, that the power of good movies can change the way, we, as individuals, voters, parents or community members, think, transform, are encouraged and can act to better our lives. What do you personally choose to do? It can be difficult to reconcile the realities of political impact on the everyday Joe or Jane with the promise of movie dreams. For me, words are mere language, unless converted into action and realised for the ultimate user - whatever you call them, voters or the audience.

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