Talk to the Hand!

I could more appropriately title this blog ‘Idiots 101’ or ‘Assholes Inc.’, but I’ve decided against it. Basically it’s another rant by me (Amanda) about life as the NT Parks & Wildlife Service’s only anthropologist.

Sometimes –a lot of the time- my job becomes very political, positional and constrained by an ideology for which it is still 1976. This week is one of those weeks.

It began with a disagreement late last week. I fumed. I ranted. Both parties negotiated a deal after five days of me stewing about it. But personally, I feel it’s the 1976 thing happening again. Of course, we at Parks want to share our secrets with tour guides (NOT).

And then there’s those people with whom I deal –those who still have the 1976 calendar on their desks- that choose to take a legal eye to white board dot points compiled by more than a dozen people a meeting … only ever intended to be a summary of topics discussed … but by metamorphosis, the dot points are suddenly interpreted an all-defining organisational statement of position.


Is it just me, or are these people from another dimension? Or are these people dreadful alien abductees with experimental lobotomies gone wrong?

To cope with this dilemma, I have come up with a strategy.

Tactical Advice to Others who Encounter Similar Life Forms:

1. Hang out with the rangers from the West Macs on a Friday night at Owen Springs.
This reassures me that there are nice people working in my organisation. Real people who care about what they do and operate in the real, physical world (not the imaginary 1976 that never was).

2. Identify a suitable location to send these Life Forms to.
Ashmore Reef (excised from our migration zone) is a remote and suitably barren location.

3. Find friendly and supportive archaeologist to whinge to.
Pay me money and I will reveal my friendly and supportive archaeologist’s identity. Also note, you can swap case studies of Life Forms with the archaeologist as they too have these regressives inhabiting their office space.

4. Make it obvious that you’re looking for another job.
Your supervisor will get worried. In the NT, human resources are worth almost as much as mining resources.

5. Ignore Life Forms and their incomprehensible jabbering.
My supervisor and his supervisor do this all the time. There’s merit in this approach. (I think). I’ve noticed that the Prime Minister does this, too. Ignore it, trivialise it, and it will go away, or become labelled as ‘too politically correct’, or ‘the chatter of the intellectual elite’ and you can then (apparently) pooh-pooh the idea and disempower it altogether.

6. (Most preferred option). Go trekking in the Himalayas.
Stuff em!

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