Friday, February 6

Tim’s post about the return of racist fire bombings to Perth (see reminded me of my high school days back when the Australian Nationalist Movement first started up (circa 1988). They pasted up signs on practically every bus stop in the city. You couldn’t wait for a bus in Perth without having to stare at some horrendous caricature of an Asian or an Aboriginal. It was actually a pretty impressive publicity effort for a group that turned out to be only 10 or 20 sad acts. I wonder if any of them have suffered health effects from the glue fumes they must have inhaled.

Thinking about those posters reminded me of a classmate from back them. This guy, Robert, was even weedier and nerdier than me and he exclusively wore stretched out tracky-dacks. Although I was low enough in the social hierarchy to be friends with him, he was very hard to talk to and he always seemed to be 1000 miles away. His permanent state of distractedness even led the teachers to ostracize him. One of my science teachers once said to Robert:

“Solomon! If I was the wicked witch of the east, and I could turn you into anything I wanted, like a frog or a toad, you know what I’d do to you? I’d leave you as you are.”

Unsurprisingly, Robert didn’t come to school all that much. I heard that he used to get a daily bus ticket and ride around town defacing the racist ANM posters. The memory of this lonely battle against boredom and fascism still sticks in my mind as a perfect image of life in Perth.


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