I am desperately fond of Ms Miranda Airey-Branson for precisely two reasons.
The first is her delightful appellation. Few names so thoroughly run the gamut of syllabic expressionism. Say it out loud with me: Mee-raan-dar Eyr-ee Braan-sohnn. I could sing it to the stars above. Oh, what I would give for such a descriptive moniker! If I shared a podium with this woman, and if I was required to introduce her, I think all I would need say is that remarkable name. Ladies and gentlemen, Miranda! Airey! Branson! And they wouldn't know whether to laugh or to cry.
The second reason I'm so fond of this girl is that about a month ago, she sent me a quirky email about how she'd encountered this site after having done a vanity search, and subsequently failed the Gender Genie test I mentioned in "Sex and Politics".
A vanity search brought her here because this site has featured her charming sobriquet once before, when I was announcing the lucky beneficiaries of last year's Melbourne University student (let me generously refer to them as) "elections". Ms Airey-Branson is one of the four Media Officers for 2004. In practical terms, this means that she is an editor of the Melbourne University student paper, Farrago.
Today I came across a copy of the first edition of the 2004 Farrago. The best way I could possibly describe it is as Cosmo, if Cosmo were entirely written by Bronwyn Bishop, with editorial direction provided by her daughter and graphic design by the same bevy of artists responsible for Home Brand's public image.
But I do not want to excessively colour your perception of the paper (and neither do the editors, if we're still talking about graphic design, which we're not). So I will let this lass speak for herself.
2004 will see our university blessed with momentous changes at many levels. As we speak a new student organisation is being created in collaboration with the University. At a federal level, Nelson's long awaited reforms on higher education are finally receiving the attention they deserve. These are exciting times!
There are many things that might be selected from that paragraph for special mention, but I would like to draw your attention to the final unit of punctuation. It takes a unique mind to use the exclamation mark in such a formal setting with not the slightest hint of irony. Never mind that she's actually talking about the whole student body getting royally screwed: that's just for effect.
I'm itching, as I flip through the pages, to examine Julian Barendse's (another precious correspondent) extraordinary claim, addressed to first-year students, that "one of the most frequent catch-cries of left-wing academia decries the terrible situation of 'the increasing gap between rich and poor'"—and his wholly specious analysis of it. Plus I'm dying to dissect Jason Rapke's noxious brand of cautious Zionism. But I won't, because the subject at hand is my darling Miranda. Let's hear from her again.
Rohan D'Souza is not easily knocked down. At 6'2, with jet black hair and eyes, D'Souza is a dynamo of energy and quick thinking, elected (sic) to the position of MUSU General Secretary late last year and exactly the kind of new broom that the cooling remains of the Student Union so badly needs...
'I am going to clean up this mess,' says D'Souza, with the trademark glint in his eye...
And them's fightin' words!
Miranda, Miranda, forget that Rohan boy! I could kiss you with your foreign units of measurement and your emphatic punctuation!
Don't tell me you've all had enough of her; I'm only just getting started! And these exclamation marks are contagious! Okay, just one more. But before I do, can I draw your attention to the fact that the Melbourne University Women's Officer has been transformed, like a delicate butterfly from a hairy grub, into the role of Agony Aunt?
If I sleep with someone during O'Week, should I bother waiting for them to call me, or was it just an 'O'Week thing'? — Cindy
By the sounds of your question... [etc]
... But back to the topic at hand. Miranda. Miranda Airey-Branson. (Oh!)
Mel Gibson may have known What Women Want, but the average Joe (she's talking about me! -Ed.) would almost have to have Gibson's psychic powers to know how to satisfy the opposite sex. How is he supposed to act? Being a traditional Aussie Bloke is almost an indictable offence these days. Is he supposed to be a SNAG? But those sensitive guys in their cargo pants are so wussie. It was rumoured toward the end of 2003 that Metrosexual was the new SNAG. It is true that a certain rapport can be struck up between a guy and a girl discussing bikini lines. I will never forget the surge of respect I felt...
I can't go on. Miranda! Come to me, with your certain rapport and your perplexing dilemmas!
To be serious though: I am entranced by the line that hovers below Miranda's name on the page where the editors introduce themselves. It reads:
You never know how much you appreciate something until it is gone.
Miranda, my dear, you never said a truer word.
Joseph | 3 Mar 2004