Portrait of the Artist as a Young Grant Snaffler

David Finnigan, who wrote the daintily-titled play Kill Climate Deniers, is adding more lustre to the arts scene with his self-styled “romantic comedy”, titled 44 Sex Acts in One Week. It involves “endurance stunt f***ing”.

His inspirational play made the short list of five for the national best-new-play award by Griffin Theatre in Sydney last month. In 2017 his Killing Climate Deniers won what he calls Griffin’s “incredibly generous” $10,000 first prize.[1] The prize is actually financed from royalties diverted from authors by the gigantic-salaried execs of the Copyright Agency.[2] Alas Finnigan missed out on the big one this year. The first prize was (surprise!) won by a First Nations descendant (Tasmania) for a play involving what the judges called his “huge originality”. It has four Aboriginal women “telling a big exhausting, heart-rending story, which details their resilience in the face of colonisation.”

So Finnigan only bagged a $1000 consolation prize, which he added to his paltry Australia Council Resilience Fund Grant in April of $2000. Still, his previous taxpayer and semi-taxpayer grants have totalled deep into six figures. The partial catalogue is footnoted below.[3]

Before I detail what 44 Sex Acts comprises, please note how thrilled the arts community is with Finnigan’s seminal or semen-al offering. A performance snippet can be viewed here, considerably sanitised, but with the actress’s script none-the-less extolling the benefits of BDSM, group sex and the “jungles of anal”. Judges including Griffin Theatre’s artistic director Declan Green short-listed it from more than 130 entries. Green saw the final five shortlist as “really remarkable … huge originality, innovation and humanity.”

The award itself, which Finnigan so narrowly missed, “celebrates an outstanding play or performance text that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice. The award has a rich history of recognising new talent and propelling forward the careers of emerging Australian writers.”

 “44 Sex Acts” was also nominated for the 2019 Patrick White Award, run by the Sydney Theatre Company ($7500 cash). It didn’t make the short list, sad to say. To digress a little, STC also gives an award of a year’s Patrick White Fellowship ($25,000) designed to “ look to the future of our art form and support the next generation of theatre makers”, as artistic director Kip Williams put it in lyrical prose last May.

The 2018 winner was Nakkiah Lui. Ms Lui was on the ABC (of course)  in the March 27 episode last year of  Get Crackin. Ms Lui shouts (from 27.00 minutes),

 OKAY! Fuck GUBBAS! FUCK WHITEY! Shit on your colonisation [she lowers her knickers to her ankles and mimes defecating]… Fuck it, fuck it. BURN THIS PLACE TO THE GROUND!”

I have mentioned this to reference the hypocritical promotion of leftist low culture and abuse by the arts world and ABC. The left pretends horror about, say, an Alan Jones semantic gaffe (“put a sock down her throat”) while fawning over Kill Climate Deniers. Who can forget that 2011-12 era of local climate scientists clutching their pearls over “death threats”? They ranged from catastrophist Will Steffen beclowning himself regarding overheard remarks about the culling of the ACT’s kangaroos, to Anna Maria-Arabia, later to become CEO of the Academy of Science, reporting a death threat to herself in June 2012.[4]  That was nothing more than a serial pest in Seattle spraying templated abuse worldwide. I anatomised the Academy’s hysteria over “death threats” here, concluding, “These brave climate warriors dissolve into puddles of jelly if a rude email hits their inbox.”

Finnigan himself is so far on the left that he ranks Malcolm Turnbull as a climate-denying shill, in thrall to the resources industries.Finnigan says, “These deniers may understand the science, they may be aware that they’re completely in the wrong, but they’ll willingly lie through their teeth in order to maintain the status quo. Their (sic) main tactic of this group is distraction — talk about anything but the science. ‘Baseload’, ‘energy security’, ‘struggling farmers’ — anything except the elephant in the room. Example: Malcolm Turnbull.”

Reluctantly I must now enlighten you on the 44 Sex Acts script, which Finnigan describes as “dope as hell”, “weirdly straight, as in heteronormative af [as f-k]” and the straightest (and best) play he’s ever written, with the collaboration of some beautiful humans .

Most Quadrant fans are no longer in need of Parental Guidance. All the same, some might find the following material distressing.

Precis: A romantic comedy about lifestyle blogger Celina Valderrama, giving the unenviable task of reviewing a new coffee table book entitled THE 44 SEX ACTS YOU MUST TRY BEFORE YOU DIE.

Celina has until Friday to try out all 44 acts – but the only partner available is her arch-nemesis, animal activist Alab Delusa. Now, it’s a race against time as Celina and Alab run the gamut of the human sexual experience. From vanilla to kinky, dress-ups to BDSM, pegging to orgies, the reluctant partners must pull off an Olympian feat of endurance stunt fucking.

In my innocence I looked up “pegging” in Urban Dictionary and now wish I hadn’t.

Over the course of one epic week, lines will be crossed, boundaries broken and raw edges exposed. Will the friction between these two sworn enemies turn into something more?

SCENE: Celina’s house. There are costume items and sex toys laid out all over the bed and furniture. Celina is dressing in stockings and heels / some other kind of sexy dress-up outfit.

 Celina:  Okay so this is my plan. I think if we’re smart, we can string them together, 1-2-3-4 and so on, for maximum speed and efficiency. We move from vulva licks to 69s to blindfolds to hair pulling to using the vibrator on my neck, bang bang bang bang. How much do you come?

 Alab:  What? Like how many spasms?

 Celina: There’s like four that vary on where you’re supposed to ejaculate, and I think we can do them all together…. Start by you coming on my stomach, then on my ass, then on your ass, then in your hair…

(Online editor’s note: That’s quite enough of this excerpt, Tony. Readers curious to know more of the couple’s to-do list can visit Pornhub, where such activities are staged and viewed without benefit of taxpayer assistance.)

The same lack of subtlety, shall we say, infuses Kill Climate Deniers. Female characters shoot each other in the face, stomach or repeatedly in the chest to a background soundtrack of the author’s favourite rock music.

Finnigan offered this in Kill Deniers script:

Catch (terrorist leader) to Beverly Ile (TV journalist): Take this [gun] and shoot someone in the audience now, or I’ll shoot you in the neck …

[Catch shoots Ile in the stomach. Ile drops to the ground screaming]…

[Catch shoots Remely Clark in the face.]

Catch: Oh my god, brains everywhere.

Remely Clark is CEO of a fictional mining company Goonyarra Station. In one apparent slip Finnigan refers to it as “Adani Goonyarra Station”.

Lest you think that Kill Climate Deniers was just a bubble in the woke brook, it did 45 performances at the 105-seat Griffin Theatre in 2018. “It’s Kill Bill meets Tim Flannery, and it’s all true. The science is real,” blurbed Griffin. It was scheduled for runs this year at Sydney University Dramatic Society (SUDS), Melbourne, Launceston, Prague and London. Mercy-killed by the COVID virus, it got up only for several SUDS performances, to critics’ hosannas.[5]

Finnigan makes no secret of his own philosophy, saying “deniers” are “completely right” in warning of climate conspiracies for “massive social change” beyond what most people have comprehended, writing:

They see it as a confected excuse for a massive program of state regulation … In some ways, they grasp what’s at stake in this debate more clearly than the rest of us.

Like kids at a pyjama party scaring each other with ghost stories, the arts/theatre crowd revels in apocalyptic nonsense. Finnigan says,

The 2020s are going to be a wild fucking ride. The anger of the climate movement is going to grow. Now there may be a point where the disasters become so frequent and extreme enough that we can no longer have a global conversation anymore – basically everyone just too desperate trying to survive in their own patch, with tens or hundreds of millions of people fleeing north and south from the equatorial regions.

On the other hand, a significant mass of people are growing increasingly angry about how our futures are being burned up to feed the profits of a few rich fuckwits. Extinction Rebellion and the Schools Strikes are an escalation from previous climate activist movements, but they are a precursor to the next phase. There are going to be some big clashes in this decade…

Between now and 2024, every country – particularly Australia – is going to suffer some major disasters, driven and exacerbated by climate change. People will die.

These deaths can be attributed to human action. If my parents die in a heatwave that could have been prevented, you can fucking bet I’m coming after the weak and corrupt politicians that facilitated that disaster.


Fact checks

# The IPCC 2018 special report once again found that there is little basis for claiming that drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes have increased, much less increased due to greenhouse gases.

# After 40 years of relatively strong global warming, world cereal grain is forecast by the UN’s FAO to hit record production for the second year in a row in 2020. That’s a crisis?


Finnigan has his non-solution to a non-problem: unselfish struggle against CO2 emissions. “By 2024, we’ll be fighting the real fight that will define the rest of our lives: mutualism or selfishness.” Still, there’s a problem. Finnigan is a consummate flyer, darkening the skies with his contrails. In 2017 for example he began with Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, then in March to Shanghai, followed by London, Sweden, London, and Manila.

He brushes this aside as a way for his detractors “to displace their own guilt about the fact that they’re doing nothing to address the crisis.” He continues, “It’s boring and inane. If that’s you, stop it. We could turn this around right now if it weren’t for the actions of a few thousand wealthy men who are happy to sacrifice our collective future for their personal profit … No matter what happens in our lifetime, our obligations are the same: to fight rich fuckwits, to bear witness to what’s happening without hiding from it, and to be kind to each other.”

And the author of Kill Climate Deniers has also said, “So, to the deniers, good luck. I hoped that you’d die. Not because I hate you, but just so the rest of us can get on with the work you’re delaying.” Predictably, in further proof that the frothing Left would have to invent Rupert Murdoch to round out its demonology of arch villains, Finnigan also wants to “Destroy News Corp.”

His own explicit contribution to global cooling is somewhat lacklustre: he tries to write a climate letter to politicians or CEOs fortnightly. He wants everyone to “swamp politicians’ mailboxes and they would have no choice but to take it seriously.” Meanwhile, it’s ‘Here’s your boarding pass Mr Finnigan’.

He’s now working on what he calls an “epic” eight-hour show about climate change to be performed in 2024 – “a huge spectacle, a wild experience: a novel, a journey, a battle, a prayer, a party.” Move over, Wagner, and take your trivial Ring Cycle with you.

See also: How to Make it in Luvvie Grantland

Finnigan operates in a pre-capitalist sort of way, seeking patronage from the contemporary equivalent of aristocrats, much as Mozart traipsed from court to court, flattering counts and princelings and reaping their largesse as a result. The modern-day aristocrats are those dispensing taxpayers’ or foundations’ money (invariably other people’s money) as grants, prizes, gigs and residential sojourns. The Australia Council and Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre are local examples. As Finnigan describes London (my emphasis)

There are many, many arts and cultural institutions here that create a full-blown arts ecology, crowded and dense, with many many places where a person can carve out a niche.

And, bluntly, there’s money.

It’s expensive to live here, but there’s money moving through this system, and people willing to try new things and ready to experiment.

Hence it’s easy for Finnigan and his fellow-supplicants to advocate capitalism’s destruction and replacement by their green taxpayer-funded nirvana. By the way, can anyone imagine for one second a Greens/Labor government funding its ideological opponents? Compare normal Left ruthlessness with Prime Minister Morrison’s special handout to the arts of $250m last month, and Boris Johnson’s £1.5b handout this week.

 Rounding off, I was puzzled at Finnigan’s statement that he works with Climate and Earth System scientists from the Australian Academy of Science and other august bodies.

 I emailed him (partly pranking),

Hi David, love your work! 

I note you have referenced some collaboration with the Australian Academy of Science. What was that all about? Thanks, Anthony Thomas.

Finnigan wasn’t born yesterday, and replied “LOL” (laugh out loud), to which I replied with his own preferred salutation, “Peace!”

I then sent this to the Academy of Science: “What has been the role of David Finnigan with the AAS? Were those roles involving payment from AAS or voluntary?”

The Academy, after a long search, came back with this:

David Finnigan attended a workshop at the Shine Dome [AAS headquarters] on a voluntary basis in 2013.

Mmm. Impressive!

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come to think of it – essays to tickle the brain, is available as book ($34.95) or e-book ($14.95) here.


[1] Griffin Theatre collected $1.85m from the Australia Council this year as a four year grant.

[2] The Copyright Agency’s CEO trousered $490,000 back in 2013. That’s the last public disclosure.

[3] 2012: A Churchill Fellowship worth well over $25,000 in today’s money.

2012-14: $36,700 for Boho, the arts think-tank he founded in 2006

2014: a $19,000 grant from the ACT government to write Kill Climate Deniers

2014: a $60,000 two-year grant from the Australia Council for a Creative Australia Fellowship

2015: AsiaLink (Melbourne University) Fellow for a Philippines residency (value unspecified).

2017: $10,000 Griffin Theatre Award for Kill Climate Deniers

[4] Steffen was convinced his ANU troupe was under threat from “a sniper”.

[5] Said Honi Soit’s critic Prudence Wilkins-Wheat: “Partial to the title and plot, I had a suspicion that I was going to like this play.” She loved an older gentleman in the front row being labelled a “possible right-wing stooge”, and the play’s “hilarious satire of mining company propaganda” and take-down of “evil climate deniers”. In my days at uni, students took pride in being rebels rather than conformists like Ms Wilkins-Wheat.

3 thoughts on “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Grant Snaffler

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Cheers Tony. Best laugh I’ve had all day. The very ‘white collar’ crime of intellectual and moral fraud is clearly at epidemic proportions. I think Mr Finnigan should forthwith make haste to the Antarctic ice sheet to bare witness to its current state of demise. Because as we all know, an Antarctic ice sheet that is at the median of satellite observational data set equals imminent catastrophe!

  • rh_au says:

    Well said Tony.

  • DG says:

    And I thought Porn Hub was Pawn Hub, a place where one would shop for a second hand oboe, much like Ebay, but for older folks.

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