About Ritualised Forms
Gunnamatta, or Not.Gunnamatta, or even just Gunna, has had an extensive career in two fields after having completed university in Australia in the 1980s, and spending a few years after this drinking his way around Europe in between working as a lackey for an investment bank in London.
The first is Industrial Relations and Human Resources, where he has been a very senior IR official within both private and public sector organisations, including two of Australia’s largest employers, as well as responsible for the overhaul and complete rewrite of all HR/IR policies and processes in a batch of smaller organisations. In this role he undertook countless negotiations between management and union officials, oversaw large amounts of Award stripping and Agreement negotiations , and dealt with more ‘complex’ interpersonal issues than he would ever care to think about – ranging from sexual harassment, workplace bullying, managerial victimisation, and managerial cannibalism (yes they eat each other), through to performance management, recruitment, all sorts of weird and wonderful grievances, all against a backdrop of organisations undergoing significant cultural and structural change; market testing and outsourcing, relocation, and change of government.
One day he decided he wanted to do something different, and walked out on that career (well actually he negotiated his own Redundancy – and the organisation concerned, keen to keep some of the things he knew under a lid, gave him one when he said he was sure he wanted out).
He went overseas and found himself becoming a Journalist (TV and Print) in Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, focussed mainly on business and economics. In this role he also did large amounts of corporate, banking and legal communications work, and found himself regularly advising corporate identities on their interactions with the press and media of the English speaking world. He has covered stories ranging from the climb of Russia from major debtor to the high point of crude at $147/bbl, to the attempts of corporate Russia to list in London and New York, and the myriad of attempts by international (mainly European) companies to break into the Russian market, and the types of issues they encounter. In between he has spent time with smugglers bringing goods from China to Central Asia and the Middle East, property developers in the Mediterranean, crazed Westerners thinking they could transform Russians or Turks, the successfully corrupt, the insanely honest, and the weird and wonderful in between. He came to the conclusion that there is lots of Bullshido in Russia, the Levant, and Eastern Europe, but that its also true the media of the English speaking world likes to ladle in a whole heap more when it comes to its coverage of those regions.
He has seen vast amounts of Bullshido, and is often sensitive to the presence of Bullshido, its propagation by public figures and media commentators. and its wholesale take up by the public at large.
The expression ‘Ritualised Forms’ comes from the book ‘The Making of the English Working Class’ by E.P. Thompson (1963) in reference to the role of Methodism in quelling the revolutionary urge of early English unionists and social reformers. In contemporary Australia it applies equally as well to the media, both sides of mainstream Australian politics, corporate Australia, and large sections of society to work against discussion or consideration, much less the address of, major socio-economic reform.
In 2012 he returned to Australia with a child ready for school (and had another within 8 months of being back) and quietly slipped back into the Australia workforce in neither the IR/HR or Journalism fields in Geelong. On returning to Australia he has found a nation in some ways changed from that he left. It worships and lives Bullshido as a code, like no other nation he has ever experienced. This blog is his feeble attempt to reconcile social justice, veracity, economic logic and Australia’s contemporary media, social attitudes, and elites, and to occasionally make observations about the global economic world, and the coverage of parts afar (and in particular Russia) which the media rarely even tries to get right.