Eurovision party 2014

Held a Eurovision party at my place. We’ve all been die-hard Eurovision watchers since the 1990s, when it was first shown in Australia. Preparation: read the Des Mangan “This Is Sweden Calling” book and Terry Wogan’s “Is It Me?” and watched the two semi-finals.

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Amish transcendentalism

Went to an inner-west party recently where late-night discussion turned to Thoreau and Emerson, rebellious utopian 19th-century communes, and Amish transcendentalism.

J wearing an authentic bonnet made by an Amish lady.

What keeps Amish society together? (from here)

Transcendence: making the individual feel like an integral part of the larger organisation.

Persecution strengthens bonds. Hostility from outside world increases unity.

“Worldy” people are thrown out.

Different language and dress increase isolation and separation.

Living in rural areas to be separate. Encouraged to feel fearful of the “evil world outside”.

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Socialist Alliance conference

Went to the four-day Socialist Alliance conference held at the University of Sydney. I hadn’t been to an SA event before. Quote: “One day everyone will embrace socialism. Solidarity comrades!”

The book stall.

My impressions:
* They view themselves as a “say what we really think” group. “We get to say what we like.” Members of Parliament often say to them: “You say all the things I want to say but can’t.” They strive for influence, rather than political seats. But they stand candidates for elections because it gets the public talking and thinking about them.
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