The Mainly Annual
EastWesterly Review/Postmodern Village
A Report on the 12th Annual Conference:
Cultural Inversions and Diversions
by Norma Perfect
the baking sunlight of cosmic accident, many previously hidden gems
of wisdom are revealed: Deep Throat, BTK, and the infamous Outside that
is Jigalong, Western Australia. In order to celebrate Otherness in an
age in which just about everything is simply anotherness - another war,
another white man in his White House, another Starbux in another strip
mall - we took this year’s conference as far out as in could get.
Jigalong is not merely a rural town in the most rural part of the “other”
side of the world; it’s an aboriginal town, known only for Rabbit
Proof Fence, a film named after an illusion created to fight a
problem The West brought on itself.
Jigalong is what “authentic” has become: origynal indwellers
as hystorical curiousity, the kitschy beauty of a roadside weed up against
the undifferentiated mass of a big-box Best Buy. We did have some trouble
getting there, of course, as mid-May is autumn here (and all reversals
“normal”), and the rains had turned the dirt track to mud.
But that made this reporter, at least, finally see the (limited) value
of the sport-ute. Penned in with the other Othered, our Subarus and
Land Cruisers coated in the menstrual mud, we were cut off physically
from our sister conference in Nullagine, but a few hundred kilometers
away, as they celebrated the death of Sartre. Our life in Jigalong became
more real as theirs to us became The Void: existentialism as Aussie
Had we gotten out of hand - and we were either too drunk or far, far
too sober for that - there was little in the way of law enforcement
to stop us. A district deputy came by once, shook his head, and then
headed back to Nullagine.
Food and Libation
Jigalong itself is dry. It is also alcohol free. But just as the rains
came to complicate our visit, the Northerners brought their own vices
along and jagged back a jigger or two from the jug, alienating even
the natives who had been alienated from their own strange land. Not
surprisingly, it was the aborigynals who developed the notion of the
Dreamtime, the time in which all earthly life is lived, from which we
pass into reality when we die. Much dreaming was done in the fitful
sleep rendered poetic by the shrimp and veggies and tofu dogs still
hot from the barby.
Page 2: The Pre-Conference