Saturday, November 14, 2009

Charles Firth

Maybe Charles Firth is related to Colin Firth. I saw him (Colin) on Jay Leno last weekend. Jay Leno asked him to sing his favorite ABBA song...well, since he was in Mamma Mia. Colin Firth refused. I was disappointed about that. Michelle Obama was on that episode as well. I thought she was delightful. I like her sense of humor.

As for Mr. Charles Firth. Who could he be?

Well, I'm not going to learn about the former coach at Virginia Tech. Nor will I read about the British historian. Instead I'm going to read about the Australian comedian.

Oh! He's a Chaser! This should be fun.

Although he may not be related to Colin, he is related to Verity. Verity Firth is in government. She's the Minister for Education and Training, and she's the Minister for Women. So if I moved to Australia, she'd be MY minister. I'm a woman.

Verity and Charles are siblings. Cute!

Lord Wiki doesn't want to tell me when Charles Firth was born. Nor will he tell me when his sister was born. Why the secrecy? What are they trying to hide? I'm very suspicious.

Firth went to Sydney Grammar School. This is the same school that the McMahons went to, and also Bud Tingwell, Baz Luhrmann, Banjo Patterson, and other famous people. I guess it's a boy school. I see no female people on their celebrity list.

While at school, Firth helped run a satirical magazine called Tiger. He did this with Dominic Knight and Chas Licciardello. They became Chasers too. Lord Wiki gives me their years of birth. 1977. I'm going to assume that Firth was born around that time too. He could have been a few years older or younger, but I think we can get a general idea.

Firth went to the University of Sydney. He helped edit a student newspaper called Honi Soit.
The newspaper's website says the editors are elected by the student body. Is that how most school newspaper editors are chosen?

I think you can download the newspaper. I'm trying to do that now. I have so many downloads on my computer. I need to go through them someday and delete the ones I no longer need.

In 1997, Firth stepped through a glass window to protest university fees. I might be misreading something. Was his stepping through glass a form of protest? Or was he at a protest, and ACCIDENTALLY stepped through glass?

Also, while at school, Firth was featured in a documentary film called Uni. The Green Left website has an article about it. The article mentions a Charles. I guess this could be Charles Firth. They say he's a political science student, and member of the Labor Left on campus. It seems the program was mostly about university politics, but they threw in a little romance as well.

Honi Soit finally downloaded. This is so cool. I can read the whole thing. If I like it, I can download other issues.

In 2003 and 2004, Firth was on a program called CNNNN...obviously a parody of CNN. Although Lord Wiki says it was a parody of that, AND Fox News. It stood for Chasers Nonstop News Network. They're slogan was We report. You believe. This was a parody of Fox's slogan which is We report. You decide. I'd say the slogan of CNNNN is much more accurate! I'm reading about the show. It looks hilarious. I hope YouTube has some of it.

Firth's role in the show was a character like Bill O'Reilly. So I'm pretty sure I'd like it. Stephen Colbert parodies the same thing, and I love his show. I haven't watched it in a LONG time though. I don't know why.

Awesome! YouTube does have some CNNN stuff.

This video about the threat of refugees is great....very funny. It's scary in some ways though because it hits so close to the truth. I think the right-leaning folks actually believe these things.

This one has a great line. I'm not going to listen to you until you shut up.

Here's a segment about Iraq. I love the map scene.

This video is about executives. I liked it a little less...just because my YouTube kept freezing. That's a pain. Humor is lost a bit when things keep pausing.

In 2006, Firth moved to America. From there, he did a segment of The Chasers War on Everything called "Firth in America".

I'll watch some clips on that.

This one is great. Firth tries to prevent America from losing it's place as the most obese country. I guess this is before Australia went and beat us. Are they still number one, or is America back up on top?

I like this segment less. It's about why African Americans are cool. I'd retitle it "Why SOME African-Americans are NOT Cool". It's just my opinion. I just don't like that type of culture...whether it comes from white or black people. I'm totally fine though if it comes from blue people. I think it's lovely when blue people are materialistic and fashion-obsessed. It's just not attractive in white and black people.

Here's a segment about America and our love for freedom. Memo to those of you who are not blessed enough to be American. America is the ONLY free country out there. Yep. There you go. Sorry to break it to you.

Two things I hear from Republicans:

A) America is the best country in the world because we're free.
B) Everyone in the world wishes they were American.

When I try to talk to them about countries like Sweden, France, Australia, etc....they get a bit flustered.

This segment is about September 11. I'm having a hard time believing these interviewed people are being honest. If this is true....Well, I don't know WHAT to say.

Here's a continuation of the Freedom video. At the end of that video, Firth gave a towel/blanket to one of the people he interviewed. This guy turned it around and gave it to an old woman. He was trying to be nice...generous. He got a gift. He didn't want it. He passed it on. Then Firth tries to get the towel back. He tells the woman it was all just pretend, blah, blah, blah. She refuses to give it back.

I am TOTALLY on the women's side. Who was to know it was supposed to be pretend, and not a real gift? I think Firth acted like a total asshole here. Maybe he was joking...and it's all part of the show. I hope so. To me, he just looked cheap, rude, and greedy.

Now why this woman wants the ugly towel....I have no idea.

I've seen this video before, but I'm going to watch it again. It's about Outback Steakhouse.

Lord Wiki says at one point, Firth tormented the Westboro Baptist Church. Good. If anyone deserved tormenting, it's these people.

It looks like YouTube has that video as well. These Westboro people carry around signs that say things like Fags Doom Nations, and Thank God for Dead Soldiers. Yes. What a message of love. Their website URL is I can't believe that people like this actually exist. But I guess they do.

As for personal stuff.....Firth is married, and has a son.

That's about it for Lord Wiki.

Firth wrote a book. It's called American Hoax.

In the book, Firth pretends to be five different characters.

Here's a trailer of the book. I think it's funny when books have trailers. I watched the Duma Key one recently. The American Hoax one seems to be just clips from the Firth in America thing.

Don Romeo, a comedian blogger, went to Firth's wedding. His post about it is from April 2004. So I'm guessing that's about the time he got married. This is before he went to America. I wonder if the wife came with him.

From what I read, it sounds like a typical wedding...well, besides the signs that said No Paparazzi. The groom participated in jokes about preferring to be somewhere else. The bride was admired. The bride hugged her parents and cried. Stuff was read aloud. People said funny things.... Yeah. When it comes down to it, all weddings are pretty much alike.

Firth has some kind of thing called Manic Studios. They make videos. Okay. I guess that's why they call it a studio.

Their website confuses me. I can't tell what is serious and what's a joke. It's probably because I'm American. I've partaken in one too many Bloomin Onions. Why didn't someone tell me that wasn't authentic Australian food. But really. Should I take the word of a guy who tries to steal beach towels from old ladies?

I sadly agree with the majority of Australians who say bad things about America. But some of it goes too far though...borders on the ridiculous. Recently, I was informed that certain Australians were saying that Richard Heene is a typical representation of Americans. Yeah. Here's a deal. You stop saying we're all like Richard Heene, and I won't go around saying Australians are like Corey Worthington.

The typical American is NOT putting their children in danger just so they can have their fifteen minutes of fame. Well, okay. Tim and I had PLANNED to do it. We had the balloon ready and everything. Then the damn Heene family stole our thunder. Worst of all, their kids are half-Asian as well. That totally sucks. I mean if they were white or something, Tim and I could have been the first Asian-Caucasian family to cause such an ordeal. Ah, but we are out of luck.

Back to the website. I like their email address. It's I think most websites should use something like that!

They have a few videos on their site. Maybe I'll watch. Before that though....I'm trying to figure out whether Firth was involved with the whole terminally ill children fiasco. Lord Wiki says Firth is a FORMER member, so I'm guessing maybe not. Yeah, I think they did it without him.

My opinion of The Chasers? They're typical assholes. Sometimes they're hilarious, and sometimes they go too far and are offensive. The catch is what I find offensive might be hilarious to someone else, and vice versa.

And I do find it ridiculous that Firth spent all that time on a project regarding America. Why spend so much time and effort on a country that you don't even belong to? That's crazy. Only a complete loser would do that.

Oh yeah. Back to the videos.

The first one is FUNNY. It's making fun of my fellow Americans again. Rude rude rude. But I can't tell if the guy is really American. His accent is a bit off. He might be an Australian faking it. Although Australians are usually good at faking American accents. What's probably the truth is the guy IS American. I've just become so used of fake American accents. I can't recognize the real thing anymore.

The video is about beer. It reminds me of a story I haven't told you guys yet....probably. Maybe I did. Tim and I were watching Flash Forward. A German guy was talking to Joseph Fiennes (who fakes an American accent for the show). The German insulted America. I forgot what his first line was....something about the atrocities we've caused. Joseph Fiennes responded with a little joke. Tim and I couldn't tell what he said. We had to rewind it. But even then we couldn't agree. Tim thinks he described America as Also the home of Brittany Spears. I thought he said Also the home of weak beer. Tim is probably right, but I like my line better.

The next video is about private and public school funding. It's interesting, but I wasn't laughing much.

None of the other videos look that interesting to me. I'm going to see if I can find any more fun stuff on YouTube.

Here's one with Firth interviewing American tourists. American tourists in America, or American tourists in Australia? I'll watch and find out.

Holy shit. That is SCARY! I want to say I've never met an American that's so dumb, but maybe I just didn't ask the right questions.

Does Firth not find any intelligent Americans? Or does he find them, and edit them out?

Here's Firth explaining Aussie elections to Americans. After that, he should try to explain American elections to Americans.

This video is about Muslims in America. It's scary. Like most of the videos, it makes Americans look like horrible people. And I DO believe there are horrible Americans. I just see this as very manipulative film-making. Firth is making fun of bigotry in America, but what he's doing promotes bigotry as well. Now we could argue that it's just a joke. Ha ha. We shouldn't take it seriously. HOWEVER, I have encountered a few Australians who really do see Americans in a very negative light. How did they get that way? I don't know. Did they have bad personal experiences with Americans? Maybe. Did they read a lot of books about America to get an informed opinion? Did they visit America and have a horrible time? Did they watch an American sitcom and assume that's how we all truly are? Or did they watch stuff like David Firth in America and assume this was some kind of absolute truth? If latter is true, are these individuals any better than the ignorant Americans interviewed by Firth?

I'm going to watch one more video and quit. I'll just say I'd be more impressed with Firth if he balanced his stupid Americans with some smart ones. Now perhaps he never FOUND any smart ones. I'd say he didn't look hard enough. If he did look hard enough, and STILL didn't find any....well, shame on us.

Ah! I spoke too soon. That last video featured some people who didn't appear to be completely least they seemed clued in to the humor of the question.


  1. You found a bunch of classic Firth, there. Doing that in America was his schtick. It is funny how he can find such ignorant people but I agree the last one was a bit better (if a little less funny).

    Having said that, I'm truly not anti-American but I'm anti-hypocrisy and America has been hypocritical in spades since the US began. The idea of calling a country that executes people and locks up more per capita than any other state with the possible exception of China the land of the free and believing it is ridiculous. That's where Australians get their negative views of America. The things Firth shows do tend to confirm them, though. What have they done crazy lately? I read the decisions in Bush v Gore and they were a travesty however well argued they may have been. The arguments monumentally overlooked the forest for the trees. America's major saving grace was that it actually elected Gore and that at least initially Bush responded fairly well to 9/11 but American exceptionalism is what's most galling to people, I think, and what makes the hypocrisy harder to swallow. I don't think of the Heene's as typical Americans, though. Bad luck about them beating you to the punch as it were.

    By the way, you're NAHT a "complete loser" for obsessing about Australia (done in my best Schwarzenegger from Kindergarten Cop - think "it's NAHT a TOOmour"). You have Austria as a fall-back position. Maybe you could start doing a few Austrian biographies.

    I have to say I don't know what you mean by thinking "Bloomin' Onions" are such an iconic Australian food. I've only ever heard of them on your blog. There, I've said it! Mind you, that was a bit of an excessive rant from Firth (even if much of what he said may verge on being on the money). That said, Sydney Grammar is indeed a boys' school (the main campus is situated right next to the Australian Museum opposite Hyde Park).

    Yes student campus newspaper editors tend to be elected by the student body of the campus (where campus newspapers still exist).


  2. 'I won't go around saying Australians are like Corey Worthington.' Aren't we? I kinda look like him.

  3. Martin: I don't think Bush responded well to 9/11. Although I disagree with Michael Moore in that finishing the children's book was bad form. I don't think there was any harm in reading the goat book to the kids. I bet if it had been a Democrat, people would have said it was so nice that he tried not to panic the children.

    Besides that though...I think BUSH used 9/11 to push his evil agenda, manipulate us, and further his career.

    When ignorant Americans say "land of the free" I don't think they're referring to who is in jail or not. I think some of them really think the rest of the world is lacking freedom...freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to pursue happiness, etc.

    Is that hypocrisy? Probably. It's also stupid, ethnocentric, and just plain wrong.

    As much as I love Australia though, I think there's some hypocrisy there as well. Have you read "Dissent Events" by Sean Scalmer? It talks about protest movements in Australia. I found most of the book boring. But there were a few interesting parts. There was talk about how Australians became passionate about protesting for the civil rights in America. I guess during the 1950's and 1960's. They strongly supported the plight of African-Americans, pretty much ignored what has gone on in their own country.

    I'm guilty of this too in some ways. I spend so much time reading and thinking about Australia. I get incredibly sad and angry about what has been done to the Indigenous Australians. BUT I make sure to remind myself that America is no better in that regard.

    I think sometimes Americans AND Australians point accusing fingers towards the other country without pointing that same finger at themselves.

    I think America's biggest problem is we (well SOME of us) fail to look beyond our own shores. It's easy to think you're the most beautiful when you don't look at any other attractive people. America tends to notice only very oppressive and poverty-stricken countries. Then they compare themselves and say, "Look how great we are!"

    I think one of Australia's problems is they spend too much time obsessing over the stupidity of Americans. If you're too busy picking out the faults of someone else, then you don't have enough time to work on fixing your own faults.

    I think the lack of Bloomin Onions in your diet is what has made you so intelligent. Keep up with that. Although the last time we were in Sydney, we dragged our Australian friends to an Outback Steakhouse. Tim and I are so amused that they have these restaurants in Australia.

    I'm thinking you should be our next victim. Although maybe not. It was a long train ride.

    Andrew: Oh no! But I'll still love you.

  4. I'd like to think I'm a bit like Our Cory, too. You make very good points about all of our hypocrisies, Dina, although I think Bush was a less evil (and actually harmful) President than we may like to believe. I always thought he was a bad President but actually now don't think he handled the *immediate* aftermath of 9/11 too badly. It took too long for him to come out from under the influence of some of the people around him that were incompetent, however, though he may have been managing it in his last year in office.

    I also think that calling one's country the land of the free and not considering WHY so many of one's fellow-citizens aren't free (i.e. are incarcerated) is exactly the problem. It's a real blind spot for many although of course not all Americans in my limited experience and I think it's a racial one (not that many in Australia don't also have a similar one). The one African American I remember in the Firth skit was really quite eloquent along racial lines on roughly that very point. It's a pity Firth made such a fuss about getting his towel back, I agree on that. He might have been looking for something for his out-take (blooper) reel.

    I haven't read the book you mentioned but I remember hearing how shocked many Australians were during WWII when they saw how African American GIs were being treated by their white comrades (some considerable violence was involved besides the general unpleasantness perhaps including an actual killing at one point). It became a bit of an international 'sore point' at the governmental level at the time.

    No! Don't take me to the Outback Steak House! Unless your shouting, of course. I enjoy onions but I still can't imagine what that dish is. Now it's off to bloomin' bed for me.

    Oh wait. There's one more thing. Have you noticed figures of speak that Aussies and Septics (now I'm just going too far; you know, Septic Tanks - Yanks) use differently. Here are two examples. We usually say "preaching to the converted" and Americans usually say "preaching to the choir", I think, and we tend to say someone is holding their cards close to their chest whereas Americans say vest if I'm not mistaken. Can you think of any other differences?

  5. Martin,

    I don't mean to diminish the incarceration issue. I think it is serious and points to the fact that we're not as free as we imagine. I just think there are so many ways in which we're not so free.

    Does that make sense?

    I mean the Declaration of Independence was written by a guy who owned slaves. Women didn't get the right to vote until fairly recently. In most states, you can't get married if you're gay....

    We ARE blessed with certain freedoms. And as decades pass, more people are granted these freedoms. But I don't think America is any more free than other similar nations (like Australia...maybe Austria too???)

    I'd say America is a relatively free country. But it's far from perfect. And it's not unique in its freedom qualities. I think this is what many Americans fail to notice.

    You're probably right about Firth and the blooper reel. I think essentially he was just trying to be cute. I think it would have been cuter if had hugged the woman and let her have the ugly towel.

    I heard septic before, but I don't think I knew it was rhyming slang.

    Cute. Real cute.

    I'm with you on the preaching to the converted/choir thing.

    But with the close to vest thing....I thought we said "chest" as well. Maybe I've just been hearing it wrong all these years.

    Now I'm looking at the Nationmaster website to see the execution statistics. The United States is #20 on their list for executions per capita. The Bahamas and Singapore are up on top.

    We ARE #1 in terms of prisoners. Wow. Well, you've opened my mind up about something today. Australia is way down there at 73.

    I do agree in both countries, racism plays a huge part in this.

    Anyway though. You have to remember that Australia is really just one big prison all together. It's a prison-island. See? So I'd say every Australia is truly in gaol. So you guys really have the most imprisoned people per capita.

    Okay sorry. That's low. But you called me a septic tank.

    I won't share my Bloomin Onion with you even if you BEG. But if I'm in a good mood, I'll give you some of my fairy floss. I'm charitable towards convicts sometimes.

  6. P.S-And no I did not mean anything by FAIRY floss. When I wrote that I forgot that word had certain least it does in America. Is it the same in Australia?

    Maybe I should have just said cotton candy. Although that might have some kind of offensive quality I'm not aware of.

    How about Tim Tams? I shall share my Tim Tams with you. Maybe my Vegemite too. Actually, I'll let you have the whole jar of that.

  7. I think as a nation begun as a convict settlement (it had replaced the rebellious American colonies in that role as you probably know) we have a special cultural sensitivity to incarceration. Number 73 is still too high (probably as in the US around half of the prisoners are there for victimless crimes such as possession or supply of the aforementioned MDMA - even many of the property crimes that I don't count are committed because of the artificially high prices caused by government prohibition and resulting black markets in such surprisingly benign drugs).

    We were taught that being transported to Van Diemen's Land (or New Holland, New South Wales, Sydney or Australia) on an unhygienic sailing ship for stealing a pocket handkerchief or loaf of bread when they were starving was not a sign of our ancestors' criminality but of the unjust legal system and I guess that attitude of questioning laws has stuck with me. Personally, all my ancestors were free settlers in SA, though.

    I'll have a Tim Tam, thanks. Fairy is a derogatory term used here but I'll assume you didn't mean it. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me" as they say. I don't think you've mentioned at all "new" Vegemite but it's wimpy Vegemite. I actually like it but you go through it so much faster and I've always added cheese to vegemite anyway when I've wanted that taste so it's a bit of a waste of breath. And you must have heard of the naming fiasco. And Austrians are doing OK (now). I think I'd better stop at that.

  8. Martin,

    I was totally joking about the convict thing. I think people who have read my blog for awhile would know that. But you're kind of new, so I can see why you might have thought I was serious.

    One of my favorite things about Australia is that it partly came about from people who were unjustly accused of crimes and unfairly punished.

    As for the fairy thing, I didn't mean anything at all by it. I promise. But a few minutes after writing it, I realized how it might be read and I actually felt really bad about it. I've been fretting about it most of the evening.

    Anyway, I am truly sorry if I offended you in anyway. I did not mean to.

  9. I understood but our convict past was actually relevant to what I wanted to say (or did I misunderstand and you were joking about me not understanding)? I'll try to write with more clarity. And you didn't offend me at all. I'm sorry to hear you worried about offending me and I hope I haven't offended you, too.

  10. Martin,

    I'm sorry for misunderstanding you. I'm a little bit sick right now, and I'm feeling hypersensitive.

    Thank you for being understanding.