Thursday, October 8, 2009

Phillip Adams

Phillip Adams.

I have no idea who you are.

Well, now thanks to Lord Wiki....I know.

Adams is many things. He's a film producer, broadcaster, and social commenter.

Baby Phillip was born 12 July 1939 in Maryborough, Victoria. Is that near Melbourne? I shall go to Google Maps and see.

Well, it's about two hours north-west of Melbourne. It's about an hour away from Ballarat.

Wasn't P.L. Travers from a Maryborough...the Queensland version? I'm pretty sure it was Mary SOMETHING, but maybe not Maryborough.

Yep. I'm right. I just checked. P.L was born in Maryborough. You know what I never noticed....MARYborough and MARY poppins. I wonder if that's how she came up with the name. How the hell did I miss that before?

It sounds like Adams had a rough childhood. His parents separated. His mother got together with someone that Adams describes as being a rather sleazy businessman. He also says that the guy was a sociopath, and that he tried to kill Adams. Wow.

When Adams was sixteen he joined the Communist party. He left at the age of nineteen because he found it was as dogmatic as the Catholic Church. Yeah, I think any belief system can end up being too dogmatic.

Adam's career-life started with advertising. The first company he worked for was Foote, Cone and Belding. Later he became a partner in another company called Publicis Mojo. Their website is odd. It shows their work....videos of commercials. And they give the address and phone number of their various Australian offices. But they don't have much on their site outside of that. They're actually a bit MYSTERIOUS.....

Adams was responsible for developing some famous ads; ones I've never heard of before cause I'm an American.

Actually, one DOES sound familar. Slip Slop Slap. I don't know WHY it sounds familar. Maybe it was mentioned in a book I read; or someone talked about it on their blog.

Oh! It's the sunscreen thing. I heard of it because I SAW it when we were in Australia.

The stuff he's done that I've not heard of is...."Life-Be in it", "Break Down the Barriers", "Guess whose Mom has a Whirlpool" and "Watch the Men Fly for a Herbert Adams Pie".

Adams became very wealthy from working for Publicis Mojo.

Adams has done newspaper columns. He wrote for The Age and The Bulletin. These days he does a twice-weekly column for The Australian.
Lord Wiki says he's left-wing so it kind of surprises me that he wrote for The Bulletin. I thought of that as being more right-wing.

Adams does an ABC radio show called Late Night Live. He's somewhat controversial for being left-wing. Some people complain that ABC has a left bias, and they need someone on the right to balance out Adams.

Besides making famous ad slogans and annoying people with his left politics, Adams is also known for his contributions to the film industry. Lord Wiki says he played a big role in helping to revise Australian film in the 1970's. He was the producer of The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, and other films as well.
As for his personal life....

He has been married twice. He has three children with his first wife, and one child with his second. His wife is Patrice Newell. She sounds interesting in herself. Lord Wiki says she's a alternative lifestyle advocate. I wonder what that means exactly. She's really into something called biodynamic agriculture. It's organic farming with a spiritual bent. It comes from Rudolph Steiner and his Anthroposphy stuff. Well, THAT'S interesting.

Adams himself is an Atheist. He says he's been one since the age of five. Yet he has spiritual interests, according to Lord Wiki. He's interested in life after death. Is he interested in a skeptical fashion? Or is he spiritual like his wife might be?

I hesitate calling myself Atheist because I'm very spiritual. I just don't believe in a god...or gods. I equate Atheists as being Richard Dawkins types. I really don't fit in with that group. But if Adams calls himself an Atheist, and he's spiritual....maybe I count too.

All right. I'm all done with Lord Wiki.

Where can I go next?

Here is his biography on ABC.

They say Adams has a laid back approach. He's also known for his humour, curiosity, his ability to flesh out rare insights from his guests, and his amazing store of anecdotal knowledge.

He's written many books. One of them is an atheist thing called Adams vs. God-The Rematch. I think that's actually a sequel to another Adams. Vs. God book. It's atheist stuff.

The website says that Adams lives on a cattle farm that specializes in chemical-free beef. I'm guessing that's part of his wife's thing.

I think I'm going to quit with the biography stuff, and just read some of Adam's own writing. I'm curious about his viewpoints on stuff.

Wait though. First I want to read this interview on Talking Heads. It was done in 2007.

Adams left school when he was fifteen. It's yet another school-drop out success story.

He says something interesting. Well, at least I think it's interesting. He talks about how he's very busy, yet he's also a hermit. He says he spends nights in an empty radio station. Really? No one else is there when he does his show. Or are they just not in the studio room thing with him?

He says he hasn't been to a party in thirty years. Wow. I could be happy not going to a party for that many years. I'm not a party girl, although I don't mind them if they include lots of people that I know well and love. We had a family reunion party this summer. I liked that. But I hate going to parties where I don't know a lot of people. I'd MUCH rather stay at home.

Adam's dad was a minister. Adam's childhood was full of God stuff, but Adam says he was never able to believe. It didn't make sense to him. I say that means he was born to be an atheist.

He doesn't seem very fond of his mother. There seems to be some anger and resentment. His father went off to war as a chaplain. Adams went to live with his grandparents. He says he didn't see much of his mother because she was enjoying the war, working in the rationing and dolling up for the first time - released from the poverty of being a minister's wife in a country town to having, as many women did, the most liberating experience AND, I'm afraid, the odd love affair.
He went to several schools. He hated all of them. He was bullied, and he also didn't do well with any of the school subjects. Oh, and he was also bad at sports.

His mother married the psychopath. Adams tried to protect his mother. He says he thinks he tried to kill his stepfather once, and at times his stepfather tried to kill him. My goodness.

He pretty much hated his childhood. It doesn't sound like he has many happy memories.

Oh okay. He gives details on the attempted murders. His almost-crime occurred when his stepfather was shaving. Adams bumped his arm, hoping he'd decapitate himself. Adam's wicked plan failed to work.

As for his stepfather's attempts on his life....Adams says his stepfather tried to run him over with his car, and he hunted him with a rifle.

It's really great that Adams overcame all that and found success for himself.

He has some interesting things to say about the film industry. He's not too happy with Hollywood. He says:

Yes, well, what happened, basically, is that Hollywood started cannibalising us the way it always had in the past, and almost every film industry on earth, it came searching for the best and brightest and consumed them. And I still sit on Oscar nights feeling rather sad as this endless queue of Australians line up to get their Oscars, which I see as the golden nail in the coffin of the Australian industry, because most of our creative energy is now offshore, and I think that's an immense tragedy.
I'm not sure if I agree with that or not. I think the most annoying thing about Hollywood is they force all these Australians into using American accents in their films. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I mean I understand some characters are SUPPOSED to be American. It's part of the plot, or the rest of the family is American so it wouldn't make sense for the person to be Australian.

It wouldn't make sense for Ryan Kwanten to use an Australian accent in True Blood. His character was born and raised in the south. His sister is southern. His grandma was southern. But why couldn't Toni Collette use an Australian accent in The Sixth Sense? Why did her character need an American-accent? There's no reason why the character couldn't have been Australian-American.

I'm not sure if America is stealing Australians from the Australian film industry. I'm trying to think back to the people I've researched. I guess it's mixed, maybe? I think some people go back and forth between American and Australian film. Then I guess other people kind of stick more to American films.

Maybe I do agree with Adams. Although I think he goes overboard in saying most of Australia's creative energy is offshore. I'm sure there's TONS of talent in Australia. It just hasn't been discovered yet. Plus, most (or all) of the actors I've read about seem to prefer Australia over America. I think they'll still make Aussie films.

All right. Now I'm going to read some of his writing.

Here's a column about the pope. He published it in July 2008. He says he responded to the Pope's visit by running a campaign which involved half-naked men wearing a condom. Really? He did that? This happened? Or is he joking?

He does say his anti-Catholicism has mellowed. This comes from the fact that some of his fello left-wingers are Catholics. He says, There were times when the only left-wingers left in Australia seemed to be progressive priests, nuns and Jesuit intellectuals.

Adams talks about how was asked to participate in a debate at Notre Damn about atheists and morality. Adams says they failed to talk about certain moral topics....such as the Catholic Church and their stance on condoms. He says, Vast numbers have died, are dying and will die because of this insane and utterly reprehensible prohibition.
Adams believes the greatest threat to all of us is AIDS and overpopulation. And Helen Caldicott believes it's Nuclear stuff. We all have our fears. For right-wing Americans, it's Obama and his evil socialist agenda.

If I had to pick one fear above as being the one I see as being most detrimental, it would probably be overpopulation. The more people we have, the more resources we use. There will be more global warming stuff, more poverty, and that will lead to crime, war, terrorism, and other scary things.

Adams says, Climate change will continue to accelerate while we crowd the planet with ever-more climate changers. Six billion and counting. The church doesn’t want a cap on that figure, hence no caps for the penis.
Back when the Bible was written, the world didn't have many people. The goal was to POPULATE. I think that's why homosexuality would be such a HUGE sin. It was a waste of seed....same as masturbation.
These days, it's the opposite...or at least it SHOULD be. I think someone needs to write a new Bible in which homosexuality and masturbation is heavily marketed. I think instead of outlawing gay marriage, we should outlaw the heterosexual stuff.

We should really slow down on the procreation stuff. So I agree with Adams. Condoms are a good thing. I'm not sure I'd want to see a bunch of half-naked men wearing them though..... I really can't figure out if that was a joke or not.

It looks like Adams hasn't written for The Australian for about a year. The last entry they had for him was in August 2008.

Here's what he posted the day before Sorry Day in 2008. His stance is that ignorance is what kept some people from wanting to give an official apology to Indigenous Australians. There was a report calling Bringing them Home that came out in 1997. It was about the stolen (OR removed....if you prefer) children. Adams wonders about the people in Parliament who oppose the apology, how many of them bothered to read it.

Is it plain ignorance that gives us our viewpoints and opinions?

Would I become a Republican if I spent hours a day watching Fox News?

Would my Republican family members become Democrats if they read Al Gore's An Assault on Reason?

Would a doctor become more breastfeeding friendly if they read Milk Money and Madness?

Would I become an atheist skeptic if I bothered to read The God Delusion?

Sometimes I feel if I could just GET people to read certain books, they'd understand. But those people probably feel the same way about me reading their books.

I'm not sure if getting people to read the report on the stolen children would have changed that many people's minds. We have defense mechanisms in situations like that. If we don't believe in something, we question the validity of it.

Adams says he has personally talked to Indigenous Australians about their horrific tragic struggles. He's very passionate about it. I think personal experience guides our beliefs more than books. I think our real life situations help form our beliefs. Then we find the books that will confirm them.

I had weird dreams and coincidences that led me to believe strongly in a spiritual world. I then bought books that helped solidify these beliefs. Without my experiences, I would have been more skeptical.

It's like the Christians who try to push their beliefs on others. Have you heard the good news? It's like they feel they're going to hand me a little Bible, and I'm going to magically become a Christian. No, it's not going to work that way. I've already been exposed plenty to Jesus. No loud sermon or Bible will change my mind. To me, the Bible is simply a book written by a bunch of old-fashioned white men. It has nothing to do with divinity.

But let's say I start having recurring dreams featuring Jesus. Then stuff he tells me in the dream comes true. I also wake up with this intense feeling of love. I MIGHT then start opening my mind. I might become a believer. Then I might go out, get a Bible, and believe it all.

I'm going off in a tangent.

Let me get back on track.

Oh. Canada has a stolen-generation as well. I didn't know that.  I guess probably because I don't have a blog about Canada.

It seems the difference between Canada and Australia, is Canada did the compensation thing before the formal apology. Australia went the formal apology route. I'm not sure if Canada HAS apologized yet. But I think compensation probably counts as an apology anyway.

Well, the main thought in the column is that Australia should apologize. I agree with Adams there completely. So I'm glad it all finally happened. There's so much that has to happen beyond an apology, but an apology is usually a good start. I originally wrote always instead of usually. But some apologies are quite empty. It doesn't come from feelings of regret, sympathy, guilt, and promises. It's more a way of saying. Hey. Leave us alone. Put it in the past, and get on with it. Stop whining. I said I'm sorry. What else do you want from me? I think sometimes sorry is a synonym for shut up.

But I do think that most people who apologized on 13 February 2008 DID have their hearts in the right places.

Okay. I finally found Adam's more recent stuff in The Australian. I was looking in the wrong place before.

I'm going to read one recent thing, and then quit so I can cuddle my sick child. It's about skepticism. Adams is one of those people who doubts pretty much ANYTHING. So no. He's not some kind of spiritual atheist that I can relate to.

Adams doesn't believe in God, life after death, unicorns, astrology, reincarnation, etc. It's not just spiritual stuff he's skeptical about. He almost mentions Bush's war on terrorism, the Freudian interpretation of dreams, and the whole kids overboard thing.

He says he's gotten emails complaining that he should also be skeptical about the Holocaust, global warming, and the Stolen-Generations.

I actually don't fully understand the point of what he's saying. I'm sort of at a loss here.

He ends by saying, My advice is to be very sceptical about the sceptics.
That makes sense. I think.

I really feel it's like what I said before. We believe what we want to believe, and we find the evidence to support us. If we find scientific evidence that we don't agree with, we call it pseudo-science.

I read a great book several weeks ago. It's called The Conscious Universe. It's written by a parapsychologist who talks about the studies that have been done regarding psychic abilities. What happens is the studies are done, then they're criticized by the skeptics. They find holes in the study and insist that changes be made. The changes are made, and the skeptics STILL refuse to give the studies any credence. The scientists are labeled as being pseudo-scientists. They're ostracized from the mainstream science community. Studying parapsychology is seen as shameful. It's not "REAL" science.

The same ostracism was directed at Alfred Wegener when he tried to share his views about all the continents once being one big continent.

So yeah. I'm very skeptical about skepticism. I don't like it....especially when it involves name-calling, bullying, and other forms of alienation.

I believe in being open-minded as possible. Yeah. I will admit that it's very hard for me to be tolerant of Holocaust deniers and those who don't believe in global warming and the whole stolen-generation issue. I believe in all those things.

I don't want to be tolerant of those beliefs. They really bug me. I refuse to give them credibility in my mind. But I also have to face the fact that other people refuse to give credibility to things that I believe in.

I really don't know what to say.

I guess maybe we just have to face the fact that we all have different beliefs, and there's no magic way to convince other people that we're right, and they're wrong.

I can't prove to anyone that there was a Holocaust. I can throw all the evidence in their face. If they don't want to believe, they'll label the evidence as being fake. They'll say the witnesses are lying and/or delusional.

This was talked about in The Conscious Universe. When the evidence becomes overwhelming, and can no longer be denied....the skeptic can STILL save face. How does he do this? He can declare that the whole study was FAKED. It's all a lie. It was staged.

There are some ideas and beliefs that will NEVER be fully accepted. There will always be people who deny them.

The atheists will never succeed in proving to everyone that there's no God. No matter what they say, or what evidence they bring forth, people will still keep their faith in God.

And if Jesus himself came down, appeared to each human on earth, and made it rain vodka....there'd be atheists who would still manage to cling to their belief system.


  1. Oh dear, more near but not quite personal connections. His company, something like Monahan, Dayman and Adams employed my sister for work experience when she was at school. A quote I liked from Adams when he was asked how owning a Rolls Royce car sat with his belief in communism, he said that everyone should be able to own a Rolls Royce.

  2. All those advertising slogans killed me growing up. Strange that someone in advertising is left. But I guess that is the anomaly that is Australia.

    Strange that that is opinion on Australian actors. It's been great they've been able to go international and even use different accents, because it means a lot more films have been funded and backed here in Australia. Also a lot of these actors still live here and put a lot into the arts programs in Australia.

    I'm an apathetic agnostic. I watched John Safran Vs God and he told me I wasn't smart enough to be an atheist, and I had to agree with him. I'm just a fence sitter who hasn't felt god and has trouble joining the group because to me the groups are too crazy for my liking.

  3. Andrew: lol about the Rolls Royce thing. Cool about your sister. Hey, I've been watching more episodes of Mother and Son. I just realized that most of the scenes are done on that one set. I didn't even notice. It's almost like a play. I think that's neat.

    Amy Michelle: I never thought about the film thing that way. The actors get money from Hollywood. Then they can return to Australia with the money and fund films.

    I'm sure doing accents is fun for the actors. I just think it might be beneficial for Americans to hear a larger variety of accents. Maybe we'd stereotype less.

    Who is John Safran?? Is this someone you talked to, or a show? And if it's a show, how to he tell you anything? I'm so confused.

    I like the agnostic route. I think I'm a fence sitter too. I believe in stuff, but I'm not 100% on anything.

  4. John Safran - sort of like Louis Theroux but more in your face. (both people are on TV and go around the world doing strange stuff and interviewing people, the show making you think)

    John Safran Vs God is one guy looking into which religion he should be, I recommend it. One of my favourite scenes he did was in Utah where he knocked on peoples doors with a copy of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species - trying to spread the good word. His point about Atheism was that it takes a lot of research to disprove faith and most people who call themselves atheist haven't read much about it.

  5. Amy Michelle,

    I've never heard of Louis Theroux either. I'll have to look them up after I write this comment. Maybe I can find some of their stuff on YouTube.

    Did you hear about Kirk Cameron and his plan to pass out copies of Origin of Species. They were going to do it for Darwin's birthday (has that passed yet?). But the books had all these Christian notations inside. I think it's fine to pass out books like that as long as their honest to the people they give the books to.

    I wrote Cameron an email and asked how he'd feel if Atheists passed out a New Testament with Atheist dogma hiding inside.

  6. I hadn't heard that Kirk Cameron planned to do that. How strange. My old car had a Darwin fish with legs on it and I once found a note on my car written by a Christian lady who found it particularly offensive. I was so peeved because I have to put up with Jesus fish and slogans all around town and I never leave notes on their cars.

    PS Loving your blog, it's teaching me so much about these people around here! You're doing a better job than what school did! haha!And now I know why they have that Marry Poppins festival in Maryborough, I've wanted to go check it out but I thought it was just a bored knitting club! Not the birthplace of the author!

  7. Amy Michelle,

    Thank you : ) I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

    I watched a little bit of John Safran....the part you talked about with the knocking on the door.

    It's fun to see people getting a taste of their own medicine.

    I've actually never had anyone try to convert me at my least not that I can remember. Maybe I'm not worth saving???

    lol about the Mary Poppins Knitting festival. That totally cracked me up.

    That's very annoyed about the Darwin fish thing. I think with some Christians, there is often a double standard. They can parade their beliefs around, but other people are not supposed to.

    What did the woman say in her note?

    Here's the Kirk Cameron video.

  8. We must be related that we could both put up such religion related posts so close together.

    Oh, I love that movie John Safran vs God-- I only saw part of it-- but I really want to see the rest!

  9. Laura,

    Cool : )

    I'll go read your post!