COOGEE GOES BIG!

The renovation of the COOGEE BAY HOTEL will see the entire suburb of COOGEE engorged and expanded in order to complement yet another Sydney developer’s great compensatory phallus.

As the COOGEE BAY HOTEL swells upwards and outwards, so will all of the buildings within a five-kilometre radius, creating a renovation boom that will attract more tradies than an anti-lockdown protest. The vainglory erection will usher in a host of other improvements sure to enhance the life of every resident and visitor in the coming years:

A giant shadow will stretch from the beach all the way to Wedding Cake Island as the sun heads west.

The red and yellow flags will be bigger than the national flag in Mexico City’s Zocalo, and will fly on poles which double as wind turbines.

The tranquil waters of COOGEE bay will become a terminal for cruise ships full of humongous Trump supporters carrying bleach and COVID-19. Subsequently, registered voters across the Eastern Suburbs will soon find themselves choosing between Clive Palmer, Craig Kelly or George Christensen.

The beach will become the exclusive backdrop of big, buffed, bronzed bodies. Don’t even think about stepping on to the sand unless you can bench 200kg, or boast 1 million Instagram followers.

Away from the golden sands, the colossal calamities continue.

Fish and Chip shops must replace hake and whiting with whale shark and beer-battered manta ray, with a side of wedges big enough to be towed behind a boat at Club Med. And if you swing by Maccas on the way to the beach, you’ll definitely be supersized.

COOGEE residents will be forced to phase out their small city cars for Monster Trucks, Chevrolet Suburbans and Dodge Rams, and can house them in the world’s biggest underground carpark.

Every resident will be obliged to own at least one St Bernard, English Mastiff and Great Dane, and to tell every passing jogger, “…They won’t hurt you, they’re just playing…”

Family homes will make way for apartment towers rivalling the residential structures of Hong Kong and Singapore, and the Burj Khalifa will lose its status as the world’s tallest building. The COOGEE Palace will be renamed Nurul Istana Iman II in honour of the Sultan of Brunei.

COOGEE Oval will be developed in the style of Rio’s Maracana, and will make the upgrade of the SFS look like a year 7 Design and Technology assignment. Galloping Greens fans will be cheering for a team whose scrumhalf dwarfs Will Skelton, and sporty juniors will represent the COOGEE Krakens Rugby League and Netball teams, or play football for COOGEE Inflated.

COOGEE will retain the title until a neighbouring developer feels compelled to overcompensate, and the only thing that won’t get any bigger is the surf.

First published in The Beast magazine, January 2022

Thousands of NSW residents to receive surprise Christmas gifts.

Unvaccinated residents of New South Wales will give Christmas presents to vaccinated locals this year to thank them for granting the anti-vaxxers new freedoms.

Citizens who chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are giving gifts to thank the vaccinated who created the freedoms which unvaccinated people are now enjoying. As of December 15, unvaccinated residents in NSW are allowed to access previously restricted premises such as pubs, cafes and restaurants, as well as entertainment venues, places of worship and other shared indoor spaces, because 90% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.

“Thanks to the 90% of residents who got the jab, we can now enjoy the same freedoms as them, even though we didn’t get the jab,” explained a spokesperson for the Society for Unvaccinated Patriotic Aussies (SUPA)

“And we’re so grateful to those people that we decided to give them all Christmas presents this year. Without the vaccinated, we would still be locked out of venues – then we’d really have something to claim about.”

A substantial number of residents in NSW chose not to get vaccinated against the deadly virus, for a host of reasons. Their reluctance slowed down the reopening of society and placed fellow residents at great risk, as unvaccinated people are more likely to spread the disease. Many people lost their jobs and were forced onto welfare, and suffered mental health issues due to extended lockdowns. People with vulnerable immune systems, such as babies and the elderly, as well as essential workers, were at heightened risk of illness as a result of unvaccinated people.

Gifts for the vaccinated will range from the usual socks, T-shirts and gift cards, to more tailored gifts such as membership of One Nation and the United Australia Party, Pete Evans cookbooks, and anything sporting a Byron Bay logo – all purchased by Clive Palmer.

Despite the risk they present to society in general, unvaccinated people were recently granted almost all of the freedoms available to vaccinated people in NSW, even as the new Omicron variant emerges and as case numbers surge across the state. Furthermore, case numbers are likely to increase yet again as Australians cut loose and celebrate the Christmas and summer break.

Sydneysider Jeremy was not so excited at the prospect of a gift from SUPA. He lost his grandfather, and has been prohibited from visiting his grandmother for months on end, due to COVID-19.

“I’d rather have healthy grandparents than a pair of socks this Christmas.”

Image: Jess Bailey

Unvaccinated Australians denied welfare.

Australian citizens who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be denied any form of welfare under a new law designed to protect the community and encourage vaccination.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, made the announcement in the final days of parliament for 2021, and said that the law will come into effect in the new year.

“Any Australian who chooses not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be ineligible for any form of government welfare,” Hunt declared.

“This new law applies to any Australian who chooses not to get vaccinated, without a legitimate reason such as a medical exemption. Australians who cannot provide official proof of vaccination when applying for welfare assistance will be denied that assistance until they agree to be vaccinated.”

The law was announced amid growing resistance to vaccination, vaccine mandates and pandemic-related laws throughout the country, including protests in Victoria which called for Premier Daniel Andrews to be hung. Many Australians have made the conscious decision not to get vaccinated, citing myriad reasons.

The law will take effect from January 1, 2022, and is bound to cause controversy among people who have lost their job because of their refusal to be vaccinated, and are thus forced to seek welfare such as Newstart.

“Unvaccinated Australians, who do not have a legitimate and proven exemption, have made the personal choice not to get jabbed. This not only puts their own health at risk, but endangers other members of the community at a time when the country is trying to get control over the pandemic and return to some degree of normality as soon as possible,” Hunt continued.

“Unvaccinated people delay the personal and economic recovery of the country and place an enormous burden on the public health system, and for that reason they will be denied any form of taxpayer-funded welfare.”

In addition to the withdrawal of payments, unvaccinated people will be denied entry to Centrelink offices and state-based service centres, such as Service NSW, unless they can show proof of vaccination.

Critics have attacked the government across all forms of media, arguing that it will leave many Australians without any form of income. They also argue that the law is unconstitutional, another form of coercive control, and is simply UnAustralian. Many argue that it is unlawful to place any conditions on the awarding of welfare payments. Hunt replied that welfare recipients already face conditions for payment:

“Newstart recipients must prove they have looked for work, and must accept any reasonable job offer. Furthermore, Indigenous Australians can have their welfare payments halted if their children do not attend school for enough days in the year, and many of them have been placed on the Indue card (or Cashless Debit Card), so there are already restrictions for people on welfare in Australia.”

The minister then explained that the government is already paying for the wellbeing of unvaccinated people because many of them have been treated in the public health system as a direct result of not taking the vaccine.

“Let’s not forget, Australians are not being refused vital medical treatment if they have chosen not to get vaccinated and they contract COVID-19. They are receiving treatment, often life-saving treatment, from qualified and dedicated front line medical staff. This treatment is paid for by the taxpayer.”

Minister Hunt then clarified that Australians will be offered medical treatment for COVID-19 related illnesses, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. He also reminded those refusing to comply with pandemic laws that they are creating the conditions for further possible restrictions, which is the very thing they are protesting against.

The new law is one of minster Hunt’s final actions before he leaves politics in 2022.

Image: Daniel Schludi

How to beat the Liberals and the Loonies.

The Liberal National Party could be removed from government at the next federal election if all Australians were required to be double vaccinated in order to enter a polling booth.

Currently this is not the case. At the recent local government elections, voters were allowed to enter polling booths without showing proof of vaccination. If voters were required to show proof of vaccination, or proof of legitimate exemption, this would prohibit many people from voting and cost the Liberal National Party (LNP) many votes.

Do loonies vote Liberal?

Not necessarily. But anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protestors are more likely to vote for the loonie parties upon which the LNP relies. The Coalition accepts preferences from many of the fringe parties and rely on these preferences in order to win elections at state and federal level.

Political analysts tell us that the Coalition won the unwinnable federal election in 2019 thanks largely to the preferences from Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) in Queensland. Palmer is one of the loonies challenging pandemic laws and has recruited Craig Kelly from the Coalition. Kelly is a famous opponent of vaccines, vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related rules, and is the most high profile candidate in the UAP. Ironically, if Kelly attracts many votes, he could help his former party to win the election.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has also sided with those opposing pandemic laws and some of her candidates direct their preferences to the LNP. Consequently, Scott Morrison has failed to publicly and unequivocally condemn anti-lockdown and anti-vaxxer protests because his operatives know that his party needs their vote.

At the recent local government elections, one voter was overheard commenting,

“You can’t get into a cafe without proof of vaccination, but you can get into a polling booth.”

Why is this?

If an unvaccinated person can spread COVID-19 in a cafe, surely they can spread COVID-19 in a polling booth. This presents a significant medical risk in a country in which voting is compulsory. Some voters could be immunocompromised and thus face the risk of contracting COVID-19, or being issued with a fine if they don’t vote.

They can vote online.

Yes, the loonies could vote online. Australians can register for ivote and the anti-vaxxers could still vote for the fringe parties via online voting. This, however, requires voters to take the initiative and complete this process well in advance of the upcoming election. If the loonies don’t vote at all, without a legitimate exemption, they would be issued with a fine in accordance with Australian law. Perhaps the threat of a significant fine would convince some people to get jabbed.

Is it lawful?

I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer or an expert in constitutional law. However, news from around the world suggest that other countries have prohibited unvaccinated people from entering certain places or enjoying certain rights that are available to vaccinated people. Thus, it should be possible to act according to the same principles in Australia. If loonies can vote online, they are not technically being denied the right to vote in a democratic country.

A dangerous precedent?

Have the local government elections established a dangerous precedent? When people find out that unvaccinated people were allowed into polling booths, will they demand access to other indoor spaces which currently require proof of vaccination? Many business owners publicly stated their intention to reject the ruling and to allow everyone to enter their premises whether vaccinated or not. If these owners cited the polling booth example, surely they would have a case…

Therefore, if people make a conscious choice not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, should they be prevented from entering a polling booth? And, if so, would this harm the LNP which relies heavily on the preferences of the fringe parties which are likely to attract the anti-vaxxer vote?

Will it happen?

Probably not. The people who would make this law are the very people who rely on the loonie vote for their political survival.

We could change the law, or we could allow double vaccinated people to vote twice.

Image: Darren England

Dob in a dog with the new Dog Dobber App.

Waverley, Randwick and Woolahra Councils have combined to develop the DogDobber App and rid the Eastern Suburbs of the scourge of irresponsible dog owners. The world-first initiative will allow residents to dob in a dog if its owner is breaking the rules, and to report their actions directly to council.

“Enough is enough,” read the joint statement from the three councils.

“Dogs and their owners have taken over every public space in the region and this App will return these spaces to the people.”

Compatible with any smart phone, the app enables users to upload photos of dogs. This information is electronically collated and reviewed for veracity, then used to issue a fine or relevant punishment to the registered owner of that animal. Users should attempt to photograph the collar of the dog, which should carry its details, in order for the dog’s owner to be notified.

Residents can photograph off-leash dogs in on-leash areas, dogs in areas that are off limits and owners who refuse to pick up after their dog.

“Residents can also provide photographic proof of dogs harassing kids while they’re kicking a footy at the park, playing on the swings, or building sand castles.”

Critics attacked the DogDobber App as an invasion of privacy which stigmatises dogs and their owners. Other claim it is completely unnecessary as council rangers are already employed to keep dogs where they should be, and that most dog owners are responsible.

In response, councils pointed out that if most dog owners were responsible, their pets would not be given free reign at Mackenzies Bay, the Clovelly rock pools and countless other public spaces. Councils also reminded owners that the best way to avoid being reported is to follow the rules.

Another area of the concern was the potential for children to be photographed. Council was quick to allay any fears that the technology could be used in this way.

“Any photograph of a minor, even if they are breaking the rules with a dog, will be reported immediately to police. If children are breaking the rules with their pet, this is less an example of irresponsible dog ownership and more an example of poor parenting.”

Councils called upon residents of the Eastern Suburbs to imagine public spaces free of marauding dogs and their droppings, where anyone can walk, play, enjoy a picnic, sunbake and enjoy living in paradise.

Randwick Council explained DogDobber operates separately from their Snap, Send, Solve App, and councils praised it as a triumph of inter-governmental collaboration and a successful fusion of state-of-the-art technology and community spirit. It will be live and fully operational at the beginning of next month.

First published in The Beast magazine, December 2021.

Tim Paine in high demand after sexting scandal.

Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer are locked in an epic battle to secure the services of Tim Paine after the cricketer was recently sacked for sexting. The prime minister and the leader of the United Australia Party are desperate for the former national captain to run as a candidate for their respective political parties at the next federal election.

“Tim is perfect for contemporary Australian politics,” announced Morrison as he pitched the Coalition to Paine.

“He is adept at scandalous sexting and mistreating women. Furthermore, he managed to keep it hidden for so many years and this is what impressed us the most. He epitomises the behaviour of the modern Liberal Party member, and he is a sporting hero, so Australians will support him no matter what he does.”

Paine was recently sacked as captain of the Australian test cricket team, which is a more important position than that of prime minister according to many Australians. He was caught sexting lewd, consensual messages to a female administrative colleague – before he was made national captain, but while he was married. Ironically, he was appointed captain due to his clean-cut public image, after the ‘sandpapergate’ scandal resulted in the sacking of the previous captain Steve Smith.

Palmer, the leader of the influential fringe party, believes Paine is better suited to his party.

“Tim’s a great Aussie. He’s a great cricketer, he’s a patriot, he wore the baggy green and he loves his country – and that’s what the UAP is all about. We’re making Australia great again and that’s what Tim did. He improved Australia’s international reputation. It was just a bit of harmless flirting on his phone, just like Warney did – and Warney’s a national hero as well.”

“People say my party’s just a bunch of crazy misfits – but Tim will fit right in here. Plus, if he’s caught mistreating women and sexting as a politician, he won’t be sacked, he’ll be promoted.”

Morrison went on to say that Paine should join the LNP because they can actually form government, before Palmer reminded Morrison that it was the UAP which greatly assisted Morrison to win the unwinnable election in 2019.

“Without me, ScoMo’s nothing,” Palmer declared.

Morrison then reminded Palmer that almost every member of the current LNP government has been involved in some form of corruption or scandalous behaviour, and not one of them has been dismissed, so Paine will be protected.

Paine has so far declined to comment on the offers as he has switched off his phone. Rumours also persist that he has received offers from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Bob Katter.

Image: Getty Images

Sunbaking to Debut at Brisbane 2032

Sunbaking will make its Olympic debut at Brisbane 2032 and residents of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are expected to scoop the medals. Sunbaking is the first new sport to be added to the program after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declared it an official sport.

“We are enormously excited to add this popular Australian tradition to the program for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games,” began a statement from the IOC. “The decision to classify sunbaking as a sport was made after reviewing images of thousands of people sunbaking without masks at Bondi, Coogee and Bronte during Sydney’s recent COVID-19 lockdown.”

Residents throughout Greater Sydney were required to wear a face mask every time they left the house during the extended lockdown, except when exercising or for religious reasons,

“…confirming that Australians are sun worshippers, which provides further reason to include the sport.”

The IOC sought advice from former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard, as well as Waverley and Randwick councils, all of whom allowed people to sunbake without masks, congregate in groups and flaunt the rules that applied to other areas of Greater Sydney. This helped greatly to sway the IOC.

Eastern Suburbs residents are already favoured to sweep the medals, even though the games are 11 years away.

“The eastern suburbs region is blessed with wonderful beaches which are the perfect training ground for elite international sunbakers,” explained Itan Allova, the newly-appointed high-performance director at Sunbaking Australia, which will be based at Bondi Beach.

“Local sunbakers also enjoy the support of regional authorities who allow them to train every time the mercury rises, even when residents of other parts of Greater Sydney are locked out of these specialised training facilities.”

The announcement is expected to attract even more people to local beaches in the coming months as Sydneysiders seize the opportunity to represent their nation at a home Olympics. Sunbaking is open to all ages, shapes and sizes, including children, meaning some sunbakers in Brisbane could be even younger than the skateboarders.

Sunbaking will take place alongside Surfing and Beach Volleyball, creating the historic opportunity for an athlete to win gold medals in separate sports at exactly the same time.

Competitors will be judged according to criteria such as consistency of tan, depth of tan and avoidance of tan lines. Sunbakers exhibiting signs of sunburn, or the British Tan, will be eliminated, and use of performance enhancing substances such as tanning oils is prohibited.

Critics argue the inclusion of Sunbaking discriminates against people from landlocked nations, and even residents of western Sydney or the Blue Mountains who live miles from the beach, to which the IOC replied:

“Well, we included Surfing.”

Image: Apostolos Vamvouras

First published in The Beast magazine, November 2021

Ruler of Waters

Pristine waters so tempting and forbidden.

Ominous black clouds wrapped Saiylie in a blanket of stifling tropical heat. She had been summoned, among hundreds of compliant subjects now shuffling reluctantly into the palace of King Manzi, Ruler of Waters.

Clad in black, as per custom.

Eyes downcast, as per custom. No witness to the magnificent waterfalls cascading down the façade of the palace, to the rooftop fountains and fantastical tributes to the Ruler of Waters. Eyes downcast, gazing into the moat below. Now devoid of deadly creatures. Now the world’s largest swimming pool. Inviting. Tempting. Forbidden to all but the 10-year-old Prince.

“My legacy,” screeched King Manzi, in a grating voice bereft of the gravitas of a great ruler.

“My legacy, my gift to you my people, is The Speaker,” and the ruling elite beamed in admiration as they gathered en-masse in the palace forecourt. The ailing and bumbling King had emerged from his private sanctum to deliver unto his people ‘The Speaker’.

The Speaker would be the voice of all future AI applications, into eternity. King Manzi was adamant the one single voice would emerge from his people. Thus, Saiylie was now shepherded between a sea of electronic cables belonging to the world’s pre-eminent AI experts tasked with measuring clarity, timbre and resonance before selecting the voice to rule all voices.

King Manzi gazed skywards, addressing the black clouds. Holding the clouds, holding his audience.

The recording began. Saiylie waited; for orders and relief from the heat. None came.

The ruling elite performed at their erudite best in the search for perfection and the hope of becoming The Speaker.

Eyes downcast, Saiylie saw the first drop, then the second. The clouds had begun to empty. An umbrella was thrust into Saiylie’s hands, and hundreds more soon snapped open to protect the elite and their precious recordings.

The rain grew heavier.

“Closer,” Saiylie was ordered.

“Closer,” and she shuffled closer to the surrounding umbrellas to form a compact canopy over the aristocracy. Massive drops of monsoonal rain then pounded defiantly on the King’s forecourt and sent the elite into a harried cacophony of raised voices.

“Continue,” commanded the King.

Louder and louder they spoke until they created their own cloud of steam underneath the canopy.

“Continue,” King Manzi yelled.

Temperature rose inside the canopy. Saiylie began rocking to and fro with uncontrollable giddiness. She felt increasingly lightheaded, and felt her feet leave the ground as the cacophony of voices created their own microclimate. Saiylie began to float, upwards and away from the voices.

Was she fainting?

Was she flying?

She rose higher and higher as the heat and humidity turned the interwoven umbrellas into a hot air balloon. Higher and higher they rose until above the palace walls.

Saiylie spotted the moat below. She released the umbrella and raised her arms skyward, slipping out of her black robes and into the blissful waters of the moat.

Geelong is the most dangerous footy team in Australia.

The Geelong Cats are the most destructive footy team in Australia ahead of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the ACT Brumbies.

The AFL stalwarts are known as the Cats, and cats are the single most destructive introduced species in Australia.

Cats are estimated to kill about 1.5 billion native animals per annum in Australia. This destruction is the work of domestic cats, stray cats and feral cats. All of these cats are derived from pet cats. Feline species have never been native to Australia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1994 only 26% of domestic cats were confined both during the day and night. This means 74% of cats where roaming happily, hunting and destroying native wildlife. In the same year, 42,126 cats were dumped on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Only 3% of the cats were reclaimed and 74% were put down.

Feral cats threaten at least 124 Australian species which are in danger of extinction, and cats are a major reason that Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world – not per capita – outright.

How do we solve this problem?

Ban cat breeding in Australia.

Ban the importation of any cat into Australia.

Introduce a cat curfew which keeps pet cats confined to their homes, or to a cat run, 24 hours a day.

Allocate more funds and resources to feral cat eradication programs.

The Rabbitohs trail Geelong in terms of destruction.

Rabbits cause about a billion dollars in lost agricultural production production every five years, and cause enormous damage to native flora and fauna. As few as one to two rabbits per hectare are able to stop native perennials sprouting, and rabbits contribute to drought conditions by removing native and other vegetation.

How do we solve this problem?

With science, and funding.

Viruses such as the calicivirus helped to reduce numbers, but rabbits soon built a resistance to this virus. Myxomatosis was later developed and was very successful in eradicating many rabbits. However, rabbits are likely to develop a resistance to this virus as well, so continued funding and research is required to keep rabbit numbers in check.

Eradicating feral and stray cats, and controlling pet cats, would help ensure the survival of more native animals. All Australians would see and hear more native birds, even in cities and suburbs, and native animals would continue to support the native ecosystem on which all Australians rely for our survival. We need native animals.

The ACT Super Rugby team meanwhile, plays under a mascot which is causing enormous damage to the Australian environment, especially in the NSW Snowy Mountains. Countless campaigns have been launched to eradicate the brumbies and protect the national park, but conservative forces in New South Wales resist their removal, claiming feral horses are part of Australia’s folklore, largely because someone wrote a poem about them as far back as 1890.

Eradicating, or at least controlling, cats and rabbits is an enormous challenge. Removing brumbies from national parks, however, is not as challenging. Various methods, including aerial culls, exist and are proven to work. The program could start tomorrow, and the national park could be saved. All that is needed is political will.

Images: Mike Bowers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Geelong Cats, Jae Park

The Guy Gets the Girl, the girl gets…

It’s the classic movie scenario. The guy gets the girl, and the girl gets the guy.

Or does she?

Not according to the movie Bumblebee.

Charlie Watson is the protagonist of Bumblebee but she doesn’t get the guy at the end of the movie, despite saving the world. In contrast, the male protagonist of the previous instalment in the Transformers franchise gets the girl after proving himself a hero.

Charlie Watson, played by Hailee Steinfeld, battles the same humanoid robots, overbearing parents and cynical government forces as Sam Witwicky, but she doesn’t finish the movie in the arms of her crush. It’s not clear if she even has a crush. Sam Witwicky, however, definitely gets the girl, and his movie-long crush is the character Mikaela Banes, played by none other than Megan Fox who was once declared the hottest woman alive.

Sam Witwicky fulfils the role of the hero. He overcomes self doubt and many other obstacles to defeat a seemingly impossible enemy and concludes the movie in a romantic scene with Mikaela. He gets the girl because he is the hero, and it could almost be said that he is the hero because he gets the girl. It’s what heroes do.

So why doesn’t Charlie get the guy?

A guy is within her reach. Her neighbour Memo is shown to have a very obvious crush on her from the moment he appears on screen and the two are drawn together during the battle against the Decepticons. Just as the music slows, peace is restored and the sun begins to set, their hands draw closer; but she pulls away. Charlie makes it very clear to Memo that nothing is going to happen. The girl doesn’t get the guy.

Why not?

Is she too young?

No. Charlie is 18. This is made abundantly clear at the beginning of the movie. In fact, her 18th birthday is the pretext for her being given the beat up old VW which later turns out to be Bumblebee. Thus, Charlie is clearly old enough to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship with Memo, but she doesn’t. Perhaps she was shown to be 18 so that she could legally drive a car, not so that she could pursue a romantic relationship. The character was also given a name more associated with males. Should we read anything into this?

Is a sequel planned?

Will they, won’t they? helps sustain the narrative during this movie and Charlie’s declaration at the end hints at a continuation of the budding romance in a future movie. Keeping viewers hooked could explain why Charlie doesn’t get the guy.

Is there a deeper reason?

Is a young female protagonist not allowed to get the guy, no matter how courageous, physically capable and badass she is?

Must she remain pure, chaste and virginal simply because she’s a young woman? Perhaps a heroine is tainted if she succumbs to any physical desires, even though Sam Witwicky certainly succumbs to his physical desires. Will one loving, extended embrace or one kiss on the lips reduce Charlie to a fallen angel, a tramp, a slut or a loose woman. Perhaps a young woman acknowledging her physical desires is simply too much for Hollywood – too progressive. No fast women, just fast cars.

If this is the case, we must ask why. The genre of the movie itself may tell us.

The Transformers franchise is clearly aimed at males. Fast cars, machines, action and explosions appeal to the stereotypical male – the same stereotypical male who believes every young woman should be chaste, except the ones who satisfy his cravings. The same males with underlying Christian notions of female chastity.

In addition, every male viewer must be led to believe that he has a chance with the good-looking Charlie (Hailee), just as they believe they have a chance with coupled Instagram models who never reveal their relationships. For this reason, Charlie must remain single.

The male viewer could also be said to control Charlie’s body and choices. Marketing-savvy Hollywood producers know what sells blockbusters like Bumblebee. They know the formula and they adhere to it religiously. They know that predominantly male viewers will reject a sexually liberated and free-thinking young woman unless she practices that liberation in their lounge chair, and not on screen. The collective attitude of men towards young women traps Charlie in the friend’s zone with Memo and denies her the opportunity to connect with Memo in the same way that Sam connected with Mikaela.

Is it positive?

This could be an empowering moment for Charlie and female protagonists. Charlie decides if the relationship is initiated, at the end of the movie and throughout the movie. Charlie is shown to be in control. The producers could also be making a statement that a heroine doesn’t need a male love interest in order to be a heroine. She is independent. Female protagonists and heroines could in this way be subverting the action movie genre. Or maybe we’re reading too much into this. After all, it’s a Transformers movie.

Charlie doesn’t get the guy…but at least she gets the car.

Actually, she doesn’t.

The movie ends when Bumblebee flies off to save the universe.

Images: Paramount Pictures