Freud and Me

I wrote the dissertation for my PhD in the first half of 1993 while on OSP leave (sabbatical).

This was immediately after I had coordinated (taught) a unit called Language Culture and the Unconscious in 1991 and 1992. As a result of this, I enrolled for a PhD under the supervision of Bob Hodge, who had conceived the unit. The dissertation was based on the structure and thought of said unit, and took a positive view of the continuing usefulness of some of Freud’s ideas – in fact that was its thesis.

During those same years I was in contact with a close friend who happened to  be a liberal feminist psychiatrist, Lois Achimovich, and she was continually making me aware of Freud’s feet of clay, as exposed by writers like Jeffrey Masson and Frederick Crews. As a result of her influence the dissertation came to be richer and more complex.

In two lectures I gave in 1994, I took the opportunity to say as succinctly as I could what I thought about the ‘seduction hypothesis’ in a lecture on Freud given to unsuspecting students in their first university course, the Foundation unit Structure, Thought and Reality, in April 1994. The next month, I gave a related but more complex lecture to the more sophisticated students of Literary Theory 1, which examined the way in which the ‘structure’ required by Freud for his pseudo-science of psychoanalysis meant that what he ‘thought’ came into conflict with the ‘reality’ of what he was hearing in his consulting-room. With the result that … he denied his patients’ reality.

In a 2000 publication, ‘Mind and culture: Freud and Slovakia‘, which also drew directly on my dissertation, my critique of  Freud suggested that he relied to a great extent on analogy as a rhetorical strategy, rather than, say, logic – or demonstration.

Tennis Girl

The photograph known as ‘Tennis Girl’ is one of the best known images in the world. It has been sold millions of times, and copied millions more for free.  It has its own Wikipedia page.

I used it this weekend for a bit of fun.

I donate a website to the Fremantle Workers Club. I’ve paid for and supported it for many years. (I OWN THE SITE.)

I was recently asked (not officially – only in an email from the president’s partner) to put up a daily photo of the progress of the construction of the club’s new building. I was happy to do so.

I happened to notice that a tennis club was copying the progress photo to their website.  They were doing this without asking or informing me.

Just for fun, I changed the name of the relevant image so that the ‘tennis girl’ photo would be the one seen — instead of a building — by anyone who was downloading the photo on their site. …

To their credit, it only took them a day to notice, and their president rang ‘my’ president … and I’ve put everything back.

Everyone will be pleased to know that I shall ‘cease and desist’ (their president’s phrase) from providing this free website at the end of the year.

Update. I’ve now been told that that it was agreed between the clubs that the daily progress photo would be shared. No-one thought to tell me this.

Local Invasion Day

Only 2100 – and on a Sunday night – the cop chopper is noise-polluting the night. It used to be after 2200 on a Saturday. Nyoongar kids would steal a car – usually a Commodore – and play a game of chasy with the cops. I used to listen to the commentary when the cops were still using analog on their two-ways. The cops usually caught them, and I suppose they went inside to spend some time with lots of family.
Tonight is a  ‘long weekend’ (for ‘Foundation Day’, when James Stirling nearly arrived here) so I suppose Sunday = Saturday, and the cops get to play with their favourite toy, PolAir1.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

If it’s possible to do the best job, that’s a good thing, but it’s also true, as G.K Chesterton wrote (in What’s Wrong With the World, 1910 ) that ‘If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.’  Which I take to mean that even if you have to do something relatively badly, it may well still be worth doing anyway.

There’s a ramble about this on this Chestertonian  blog.


I watched almost all the live stream of the Sinny Mardi Gras from SBS tonight.  They shot everything that went past their broadcast station on the corner where the parade turned the corner from Oxford Street into Flinders Street (or maybe the other way around; I don’t live in Sinny).
I was struck by how many more fat people there were than a decade or two ago.  It occurred to me that we might have to add another letter to the long list of deviancies that we how have to accept as ‘politically correct’: LGBTQI … LGBTQIAGNC … LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA … … + F for Fat.

People Smugglers

Australia is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which obliges our country to accept people needing asylum. The present Australian government not only avoids its responsibility with regard to this convention, it goes further in criminalising the people who help refugees, as ‘people smugglers’. It should logically regard them rather as ‘humanitarian workers’.

To be consistent, the Australian government should withdraw its support for the 1951 Convention. If it does not, it should accept its responsibility.

Canine overpopulation

Because I live between a coffee shop and a park where people walk their dogs (in other words, take them to their toilet), I observe that the typical family these days has a man and a woman who either has two children or is pregnant with the first or second one – and … the dog – or two. And one of the humans is typically carrying a takeaway coffee cup – and often a phone.

From these observations, I conclude that from this (meaninglessly small sample) that human population growth is not a problem, but that dog population growth might be (because twenty years ago many fewer people had a dog) — and also that pollution from the needless use of non-reusable artefacts continues to increase.


A video about recycling says a couple of times, ‘Just throw it away’ (if it can’t be recycled).

I only have two bins. If it doesn’t go in the recycling bin, it goes into the landfill bin. Is that the message from this video?

In my ignorance of how to deal with this complexity, I put everything not biodegradable into the recycling bill (as the mayor told me to when he took up the job).

Is this wrong?

Sorry, that’s two questions. I should have kept it simple (which it’s not).

It’s Not Cricket

Until quite recently, and for centuries, ‘cricket’ was synonymous with ‘ethical’ – as in the phrase ‘it’s not cricket’ – meaning ‘it’s not the right thing to do’.

Then we had the ‘bodyline’ scandal. … It was only briefly a scandal, and is no longer seen as wrong, and it has become accepted practice to attempt to hurt, or at least intimidate, the batsman, as opposed to knocking down the wickets – which used to be the point of bowling.

Then we had match fixing. And now we have ball tampering – which has apparently been authorised by the Captain of Australia – a position which used to be seen as being as prestigious as that of the Ambassador for Australia in another country.

Cricket has become merely yet another human activity in which the point is to win at any cost. Ethically, it’s ‘not cricket’. And it’s a shame.