9 Aug 2013

Australian love story

It seems to me that a lot of Novocastrians have fallen for the same object of desire.

The mother, the father, the 80 year old grandfather who can hardly see, the 18 yr old guy who races up and down Hunter Street. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of Novocastrians and also a lot of other Australians love their cars. In some areas of Newcastle you may feel unwelcome if you’re on foot as many streets have no pavements, or have poor lighting.

On top of that, you’ll find quite a few cars parked on the pavement, despite having lots of proper parking space available. Along Tudor Street you can see the signs of the car dealerships are as prominent as the tower of the Catholic Cathedral. Different types of worship. I'm not going to go into the why of this love affair or the effect that a car-driven way of life has on us, I'm just going to talk about the love.

A while back Edward Albee, author of “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” wrote a play called “The Goat”, or “Who is Sylvia.” The play tells the story of a man who falls in love with a goat. It’s not a play about bestiality but about the extremes and blindness of love. In an interview, Jose Maria Pou, a Spanish actor who played the main role on stage, compared the story with the movie King Kong. If a mainstream movie could tell the love story between a gorilla and a woman why couldn't someone else tell the story of the love between a man and a goat? Certainly. I always liked poor King Kong and found the flimsy blonde in his hand quite irritating. We have this thing as humans about categorizing and setting hierarchies. Even when people talk about animal rights dogs get a much better deal than let’s say worms.

When it comes down to inanimate objects, I had heard of Japanese people marrying their pillows and of a woman who had married the Berlin Wall. I didn't know this has a name: Object Sexuality. According to Wikipedia, this is “a pronounced emotional and often romantic desire towards developing significant relationships with particular inanimate objects. Those individuals with this expressed preference may feel strong feelings of attraction, love, and commitment to certain items or structures of their fixation. Some object-sexual individuals also often believe in animism, and sense reciprocation based on the belief that objects have souls, intelligence, and feelings, and are able to communicate.”

Apparently there’s a woman in the USA who married a roller coaster and a man in Japan who married a video game character…How many Australians would be keen to marry their car? I imagine quite a few, only need to get the first one to propose and the ball will be rolling…. I'm not sure about the consent issue. Someone better start writing a proposal manual for this type of situation.