Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Old Hendo's book of suburban cats and conservative inanities ...

(Above: if that's the editor's pick, it reminds the pond one more time why Fairfax publications are not the pond's pick).

The pond could write a column by Gerard "prattling Polonius" Henderson in its sleep.

First the invitation to contemplate the suburbs and the regional centres - strange places far removed from where Hendo works - coupled with obligatory abuse of the ABC, ravaging of other journalists who dare to think differently to Hendo - waiter, blinkers please -  a covert reference to Catholic thought and deeds - quoi, moi a conservative Catholic? - a deliberate misrepresentation of history, a sneer or two, usually with a puckered lip, and an angry embittered-looking face, and then a chasing of a fear-mongering hare down a rabbit hole or three ...

It takes quite a bit of doing to maintain the fear-mongering about gay marriage, and dig over the old tired soil of hostility and phobias, without mentioning the recent New Zealand decision on the matter, but Hendo does it, because you see, if he mentioned New Zealand, how could he maintain the Chicken Little, "the sky is falling on the suburbs" routine ...

But let's see how he does it in See what public thinks on same-sex marriage, which much like Tony Windsor is a call for dissembling and obfuscation and delay, and a heartfelt belief in the ongoing capacity of Australians to indulge in poofter-bashing.

The media in Australia is obsessed with same-sex marriage. It is far from clear, however, that this is a priority for many Australians living in the suburbs and regional centres - far away from the inner city where journalists tend to be domiciled.

There you have it, right from the get go.

Now there's sweet bugger all in the way of evidence that the media in Australia is obsessed with same-sex marriage, unless you count in people like our very own prattling Polonius, who every so often take to the podium to denounce the very concept and cluck and tut and do little pirouettes of anxiety.

And yep, how many times can a man blather on about journalists tending to be domiciled in the inner city while running the Sydney Institute at 41 Phillip Street in the heart of the city?

Does Hendo have a special suit which shields him from the thought rays of all the inner city dwellers around him, and guides him to the true understanding of life in the suburbs and the regional centres? Oh he talks about them all the time, but they must text him messages, because there's nary a mention of what a splendid time he had in Tamworth the other week ...

Then you get this sort of nonsense, which when you think about it, absent an actual survey, is meaningless twaddle:

It is doubtful that many Channel Ten viewers would regard same-sex marriage as a priority issue.

This because Clive Palmer dodged a question on the subject on Meet the Press. He dodged the same question on RN, and he dodged the same question in other forums.

It would have been simpler to say It is doubtful that Channel Ten has many viewers ...

On goes our prattling Polonius, berating Amanda Vanstone as the ABC's token conservative - when a mention of token radio techniques would have been more to the point - and then this clever bon mot in relation to journalist Steve Dow:

It was one of the many debates on the ABC where everyone agrees with everyone else.

Which is vastly different to the many debates in Hendo's columns where everybody is expected to agree with Hendo, and if you don't, watch out ... the dragons in the suburbs and regional centres will get you.

And now let's get to the important distorting of history lesson, how to 101:

A decade ago, certain words had clear meanings. A marriage was a union between a man and a woman. A married man had a wife. And a married woman had a husband. Moreover, children had certain expectations, whether or not their parents were married. A child had a father who was male and a mother who was female. 

Actually a decade ago, and centuries ago, and in all kinds of cultures and civilisations, certain words didn't have clear meanings or clear practices. It was after all Claudius who married his niece Agrippina, and adopted her son Domitius, who changed his name to Nero, and with the help of a little poison, ascended the throne. Nero happened to be cheerfully bisexual and apart from sundry other marriages, he got hitched to both Pythagoras and Sporus. (If that Daily Terror of his day, Suetonius, mentions it, it must be true).

Now Nero might not be the best advertisement for gay marriage, or stability of government, but the point, an obvious one, is that marriage has always had a slippery set of definitions and practices, especially amongst nobility, the ruling classes, and assorted religions, and you might just as well have started off prattling Polonius's bit of prejudice like this:

Over a century ago, certain words and revelations had clear meanings, if you happened to be a follower of Jospeh Smith. A marriage was a union between a man and as many Lamanite and Nephite wives as could be sustained. A child might have had a father, but who knows how many within the clan who might have considered themselves his mother, as opposed to his birth mother(Origin of Latter Day Saint polygamy).

And what do you know, all's forgiven with the Mittster running for the big one, and a big musical on Broadway.

Now some people get nervous when polygamy is mentioned, because that's what gay marriage is supposed to lead to, and thereby ruin conventional marriage, unless of course it's the tendency of people to want to get married to their pet rabbit, and live in peace with their frisky carrot-eating spouse.

But the point, and it's a simple one, is that talk that a decade ago certain words had clear meanings is twaddle. Twaddle of the purest, silliest kind.

And now for that sneer:

Not any more. On RN Breakfast earlier this month, former US Democratic Party politician Barney Frank told Fran Kelly about the views of his "husband". Then there is the matter of children.

No, let's not go to the matter of children just yet. Let's contemplate that sneer, that verbal snigger first, that a man dare talk of his husband. It's in the same school, but not in the same league as the immortal Samuel Johnson, courtesy of Boswell:

Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.

These days Johnson would be viewed as a hopelessly old-fashioned fuddy duddy of the standard sexist sort - well in most places, though perhaps not amongst Sydney Anglicans and at the Sydney Institute.

But you see what Henderson reveals with his snidery is that change is indeed upon us, and in that most Christian and conservative world, the United States.

Which is why earlier in his piece, our prattling Polonius tried on this piece of drollery and wit:

At the ABC, presenters and reporters tend to embrace same-sex marriage with much the same conviction as Southern Baptists in the United States believe in the Second Coming. It's a matter of faith.

Which is how you embark on a reductionist argument. It's not a matter of rights, or of equality, or giving a minority the very conservative capacity to enter into a stable relationship involving property, and pre-nups and divorce and the whole damn crazy thing, it's a matter of faith. And so a religious stance is invoked by a religious man anxious to troll about faith while making his usual cuckoo noises that are faith-based ...

Commentator Greg O'Mahoney said on Sky News recently that there was no "coherent convincing counterargument" to same-sex marriage. Those who hold a different view are incoherent, apparently.

Perhaps not all of them, but incoherence is your middle name these days Hendo, especially when it comes to matters of faith. And now for that promised bit of fear mongering:

According to reports, Elton John's partner, David Furnish, is cited as the mother on the birth certificate of their second child. This is a frequent demand by sections of the gay community. If it prevails, it is likely that in a decade or more the same problem will arise, as with adopted children in the past. 

What, you mean in the way they've been fucked over by Christian churches?

Namely, there will be a yearning by teenagers and adults alike to know who both their biological parents are. 

Actually it's not a big deal if handled in an adult way. The pond's married friend fathered a child reared by a couple of women. The child knows both biological parents. Move on, nothing to see here, and certainly not the coherent convincing counterargument you might use to rebut commentator Greg O'Mahony. Just pathetic fear-mongering and screeches about how the sky might fall down ...

So here we come to the crunch:

Same-sex marriage advocates see themselves railing against the old-fashioned views of some Christians, including many Catholics. 

Yes indeed, the very same cabal that spent centuries fighting equal rights for women. So how can we rustle up support for these reactionary ratbags and their Pellist and Jensenist oppressive ways?

This overlooks the fact that there is considerable opposition to same-sex marriage in the Muslim and Hindu communities as well as among socially conservative non-believers.

Uh huh. Suddenly we're all Muslim and Hindu at heart?

Is there the same considerable support in Hendo's heart for women - sisters - being separated out and sent to the back of the room? Is Hendo all in favour of the hijab? Does belonging to one reactionary tribe mean you're tremendously cheered when you find other reactionary tribes who agree with you? The enemy of women's rights is the enemy of gay rights is my reactionary friend ...

Could we write a line saying that as well as considerable opposition to same-sex marriage in the Muslim community there is considerable support for terrorism in fundamentalist Muslim communities?

Does that make it better? Muslims and Hendo together in jihad?

When the Marriage Amendment Bill was debated in the House of Representatives last year, it was opposed by three prominent Labor MPs from Western Sydney - Chris Bowen (an atheist), Tony Burke (a Catholic) and Ed Husic (a Muslim). 

Indeed. So let's see how these prominent Labor MPs go when they appeal to their base for their support come the next election. Let's hope their cultivation of the conservative Islamic and Xian vote stands them in good stead because they'll be getting sfa support from the pond ...

But it hardly seems enough does it, a unified band of righteous Muslims, Catholics and atheists standing against the gay hordes, so let's try a little more lime-laden mortar crammed amongst the bricks:

In the current issue of The Spectator, John Laughland documents the growing opposition to same-sex marriage in France, particularly in provincial areas. 

It's Canute and the waves all over again, but you see France has already had its first gay marriage fair in Paris, here. Oh yes, there's a downside, the pond takes a butch attitude to all this flim-flam, but forget it Hendo, Frenchtown is a lost cause ... and Britain will inevitably follow down the same path.

And so to the Tony Windsor solution, no doubt inspired on Windsor's behalf by a sense of guilt at his last vote - and the knowledge that New Zealand hasn't in fact fallen off a moral cliff, or even, last we checked had much feather-ruffling because pollies did what pollies should do, and vote to maintain equal rights for all ...

If significant social change is to be imposed on Australians at relatively short notice, it would make sense to test community attitudes. After all, in 1977 a plebiscite was conducted on what should be Australia's national song. Many Australians regard the concept of traditional marriage as important as the words of the national anthem. 

So what's behind this call? Well a plebiscite is just a giant opinion poll, and you could find out the current state of play by conducting a much less expensive opinion poll, and you'd get the answer that a majority of Australians favour gay marriage - as shown by many recent opinion polls.

Not out of some obsessive interest in the subject or a heated desire to get married in a gay way, but in the manner of it seems fair enough, and gays are people too and where's the harm and why all the conservative fuss and should gays be shoved back into the closet ...

All the usual fair go stuff, as opposed to reactionary tosh seeking to maintain the rage and the fear and loathing and deliver a curled lip sneer at Barney Frank ...
Of course getting a result with a referendum would be even trickier because the history is always, except on a few significant occasions, a no vote, complicated by the need for a majority of states as well as a majority vote (you can always rely on Queensland and WA to wreck the joint).

Which is what all this natter about plebiscites and referendums comes down to. Delay, delay, delay, obfuscate, filibuster ... drone on in the Hendo style until people collapse from boredom and the tedium of the argument.

You see, above all, what's lacking here, as you'd expect in a prattling Polonius piece, is a sense of humour, the kind of humour on display in Maurice Williamson's speech, which went viral (YouTube link and story at the NZ Herald here):

I have had a Reverend in my local electorate call and say that the gay onslaught will start the day after this bill is passed. We are really struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like. 

We do not know whether it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops, or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate and blocks us all in. 
I also had a Catholic priest tell me that I was supporting an unnatural act. I found that quite interesting coming from someone who has taken an oath of celibacy for his whole life. 
Hon Amy Adams: “Cell-i-bacy”. 
Hon Maurice Williamson: “Cell-i-bacy”. OK, we will go with “Cell-i-bacy”. OK. I have not done it, so I do not know what it is about. I also had a letter telling me that I would burn in the fires of hell for eternity. 
That was a bad mistake, because I have got a degree in physics. I used the thermodynamic laws of physics. I put in my body weight and my humidity and so on. I assumed the furnace to be at 5,000 degrees. I will last for just on 2.1 seconds. It is hardly eternity. What do you think? 
I also heard some more disgusting claims about adoption. Well, I have got three fantastic adopted kids. I know how good adoption is, and I have found some of the claims just disgraceful. I found some of the bullying tactics really evil. I gave up being scared of bullies when I was at primary school... 
...Can I finish—for all those who are concerned about this—with a quote from the Bible. It is Deuteronomy. I thought Deuteronomy was a cat out of the musical Cats, but never mind. The quote is Deuteronomy 1:29: “Be ye not afraid.” ... (and so on, rest of transcript here)

Yep, Hendo might keep on with his verbal bullying, but it's laughter that undoes him, that and his memory which saw him call Simon Breheny Stephen ... Mark Latham's relentless tracking of his many errors must be getting to him ...

The Rum Tum Tugger Hendo is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He's always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he's at home, then he'd like to get about.
He likes to lie in the Sydney Institute bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss if he can't get out to the suburbs
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger Hendo
is a Curious Cat
And there isn't any use for you to doubt it:
For he will do
As he do do
And as fundie Islamic and Hindu do do
And there's no doing anything about it! (the rest here, apologies to T. S. Eliot)

(Below: what a pity T. S. Eliot never got around to an Old Hendo's Book of Suburban Tosser Cats).

Monday, April 29, 2013

Never mind the odds of lives ruined, just have a bet ...

It's one of the pond's prouder boasts never to have attended a meeting of race horses, not even when a freebie was on offer to attend a Melbourne cup (passing on a freebie is tantamount to heresy, deserving a burning at the stake).

Truth to tell, taking an interest in the relative speed and fitness of horses has never done anything for the pond. Meetings where horses come together to discuss and assess and compare their finely honed skills is sometimes called a sport, but most often it seems like an opportunity for gambling.

Who knows what horses really think about their meetings and their passionate pursuit of fitness and speed?

The urge to gamble is as deeply embedded in the Australian psyche as anywhere else (before anyone gets to proclaiming the land of two up the top dog in this race, remember the Chinese).

Now Melbourne might have the premier race, but the emerald city of Sydney, glittering harbour heaven, has its very own tribe known as the Waterhouses, deeply embedded in the Sydney social whirl, so when things happen between the tribe and Singo, attention has to be paid. (The pond commends Gai's Blog for tales of lunch at Balmoral Boathouse and spending time with Gerry Harvey).

A very Sydney bust-up (forced video at end of link) is the way Tim Elliott's piece is titled, and it's true, because Singo and the Waterhouses are in the warp and weft of the town's fabric - yes, the pond knows someone who worked long and hard to keep Singo in horse flesh and an entitled lifestyle known only to the class warrior rich.

Now before the meeting of stewards this Friday very little can be said. Either Singo will come up with some names and evidence to justify his claims, or he won't, and until that time the gossip circuit - which can make Adelaide seem a place of rank gossip amateurs - will be in full cry.

One of the side issues is the matter of Tom Waterhouse, who in recent months has been plastered all over various television sporting programs, driving casual viewers into a frenzy. He's become a veritable cockroach of the airwaves.

This doesn't trouble the pond, which has never been inclined to gamble or watch the sort of shows on which Waterhouse appears, not even when there's a rich level of irony, as when sports caller Ray Warren pitches gambling with Tom on the Nine network, while elsewhere, in other forums, he's the subject of pieces like Rabs admits: gambling cost me a better life.

Yes, right at the moment, the Nine network is determined to ensure his legacy is passed on, and in due course, children will be able to provide life stories headed Watching the footie on Nine led me to gambling and cost me a better life. 

Warren's already been in that post-ironic place before by admitting that remarks made during an NRL final attacking anti-pokie laws were provided to him by Channel Nine management, which was often followed by the tag, Ray Warren, a recovered gambling addict ... (Attack on pokie reform came from 'up top', says Warren, forced video at end of link).

But we digress from the Waterhouse matter, and perhaps there's a reason for that, because Waterhouse is a very Sydney player, hence headlines like Bookmaker calls in the lawyers over comments made by Singleton.

But that hasn't stopped Peter FitzSimons, despite being sued for defamation by Tom Waterhouse, from going on endless rants, a typical one being Belly up? No, that's just the punters doing their dough (forced video at end of link), which contains within it one of the pond's favourite Alice in Wonderland quotations from trainer Gai Waterhouse:

''They should stop criticising,'' she thunders, ''[as that's] all they can ever do, the Greenies and all the rest of them. Bugger the criticism. They want to kill every industry in Australia and then they wonder why they are going belly up.''

Yep, gambling, and perhaps racing horses, is an industry, and it's all the fault of Greenies determined to do it down.

Now FitzSimons himself - always caught wearing a red bandana in public - is a controversial figure and Sydney tabloid phenomenon himself, always willing to tell completely lame jokes and jab an atheist finger at passing religious fundies.

It's another proud boast by the pond that in a long lifetime it has attended only one game of rugby union, a test match between Australia and New Zealand, and only then because it was a freebie and a work-place obligation. Naturally Australia lost, and the pond was forced to endure a New Zealander gloating in the next seat the entire time, and the Conradian nightmare still erupts sometimes in the witching hour ...

So the pond knows very little about Fitzie's prior rugger bugger life, but by golly he's been stirring the pot with Tom, letting fly the day before Anzac day in Waterhouse's submission is a joke that's not funny.

He got particularly upset by this talk of an "industry":

"This type of arrangement by our company, and others," you said, "in this and other industries is vital in keeping TV a viable and relevant medium to promote business". 
There's that word again. Bullshit! To begin with, TV has gone fine for 60 years without gambling advertising to speak of, and secondly, your "industry" has only one ultimate wide-ranging product: impoverished Australians. 
Seriously, think about it. What else do you produce in bulk, but impoverished Australians? Go on, write the angry letter, add to the writ, but I challenge you to give an answer to that question: What else do you produce in bulk, but impoverished Australians? 

Of course they could be producing in bulk seriously contented Waterhouses and network Nine executives, but you catch the drift, and in case you didn't:

In sum, your submission is a joke, your industry is a painfully poisonous parasite on Australia's arse, and I will, I daresay, see you in court.

What's even funnier is that the racing "industry" has delayed a consideration of the Singo matter before them because they're off busy celebrating racing ... thereby ensuring it'll stay a water cooler conversation topic the entire week, at least in Sydney town, where a racing scandal is up there with the Rum Corps ... (yes it's about this moment that the pond feels the need to draw your attention to the Fine Cotton scandal as covered in its very own wiki here).

Now the pond has no horse in this race, or even a greyhound, and it's always pleasing to find something in which it can take a dispassionate interest, and this looks like offering a "view hallooooo" for weeks to come... but which is the fox, and when will they make a sudden appearance?

Never mind, being able to say a pox on the lot of them is so much more pleasing than to have to single out a member of the commentariat, and this looks like providing the perfect holiday break away from the lizard Oz (won't someone think of the gambling children, you cry, but hey there have to be losers and winners in this cosmic horse race, and remember what's good for the Waterhouses and network Nine is always good for the country).

That said, we couldn't let the splash for Dennis Shanahan pass unnoticed:

Yes indeed and Dennis Shanahan and the lizard Oz run the risk of destabilising Gillard and her ministers by talking of the risk they run in destabilising themselves by encouraging talk about the talk about the talk about the destabilisation ...

Put it another way.

When you've got absolutely nothing to write about, absolutely nothing but empty meaningless speculation and gibberish to add to a debate, call on Dennis "the tie" Shanahan.

He's your well-dressed, mealy-mouthed, empty-headed, addle-brained vacuum, but be warned you run the risk of destabilising yourself mentally if you encourage him to indulge in scribbling columns about your mental destabilisation ...

... unless you happen to be a French existentialist in search of meta-discourse on the futility of Shanahan ...

In other news today, only six exclusives on the front page of the lizard Oz. The rag is clearly slipping ... the pond refuses to read anything unless it's a ten exclusives day ...

Perhaps they should label Mr. Shanahan an exclusive. After all he writes exclusively for them, and exclusive tripe remains, by any respectable accounting, still very much an exclusive ...

(Below: the cartoonist really should have found a place for Mr Shanahan somewhere between Lloyd George and Winston Churchill).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Devine turns gooey three minute egg ...

And another thing.

You can see in today's Sunday Terror the shock horror story Couples having girls 'demand abortions'.

Note the plural in the header. It's couples and girls with an 's' ...

Now let's travel south to read the HUN in action with the shock horror story Couple abort girl because they wanted a boy.

Suddenly it's singular and specific ... couple and girl ... and it's turned into an exclusive.

Now it's exactly the same story with the same illustration of Dr Mark Hobart, but at last the pond has worked out what makes an "exclusive" in Murdoch land ...

The use of the singular, or as Star Trekkies might have it, a capacity for singularity ...

Mystery solved. Delete an 's', or change a word, and suddenly you're in exclusive territory ...

And another thing, because the long absent lord help us, we just couldn't let this Sunday go by without noting Miranda the Devine's most excellent Loved or loathed, Gwynneth Paltrow is beautiful ...

It seems the Devine, who routinely hates greenies, loves Gwyneth, even if she doesn't know how to spell her name:

Now you might think it was just the subbie having fun with the header, but if you click on the image, you'll see the Devine started off with Gwynneth ...

Perhaps she subscribed to Goop, but then when she realised what an outrageous exercise it was, she flung it in her computer trash can without reading it ...

Is the pond being picky? Not really. Only a few days ago we heard an ABC newsreader on prime time ABC television news read a story with a line penned by an ABC journo referring to something as being very unique ...

It heralded the imminent collapse of civilisation as we know it ...

But back to the Devine. Okay, it's a soft story on a slow news day. Some in the commentariat resort to writing about their cats or their dogs (or exclusively about their cat or dog).

The Devine embarks on a kindly defence of "Gwynneth", dubbed by an attention-seeking rag the most beautiful woman in the world, which inter alia turns into a discussion of haters:

“Annoying” is the it word for haters who can’t be bothered to justify their nastiness. 
Under the anonymity of the internet they give full vent to schoolyard viciousness that turns much of the social media into a cesspit... 
...The People magazine crown will only enrage the haters, who will no doubt devote endless blog posts to why Paltrow is not the world’s most beautiful woman. 
But why the perverse need to hate strangers?

Yes, the woman who routinely hates, who routinely rolls out the hate across the full to overflowing intertubes has gone as soft as a three-minute boiled egg, as muddled as a muddle-headed wombat.

What is it about working for a cesspit like the Daily Terror that allows people to give themselves airs and graces and righteousness, up against social media?

After all, this is the woman who wrote:

If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies (Green ideas must take blame for deaths).

Oh dear, you know what's coming don't you?

Yes a link to Green Celebrities, as in Hollywood Goes Green: Gwyneth Paltrow:

"My mom has always been conscious of the environment and health issues. When I was growing up, we would go to farmers markets and even had wheatgrass in the kitchen. She started a curbside recycling program in Santa Monica, California, in the '70s, and each week I drove with her to the recycling center," Paltrow said to author Christopher Gavigan in his book Healthy Child, Healthy World ...
Having been raised eco-conscious, Paltrow is raising her own children to be eco-conscious. And the best kind of green living is actual green living!

Even had wheatgrass! Eco-conscious ...

Oh hang her, hang her high and hard, and from the nearest lamp-post please.

Oh wait, that's a little too naked, a little too obvious. Here's how you do a hate-fest that gets you out of jail with the geese at the Press Council:

If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not life style magazines who should be hanging from lamp-posts but that greenie Gwynneth Paltrow ...

There, that's how it's done. It's not the Devine that's the hater of greenie Gwynneth, it's the politicians ...

Who knows what hold Paltrow has over the Devine for her to turn so fickle and soft, like a teddy bear or a doll with a button you push that makes the toy say "I love you Gwynneth" ...

But it does produce a final flurry of foolishness, because the Devine feels the need to answer that question she asked about why she and all the other hacks in Murdoch la la land have the perverse need to hate strangers:

It may be hardwired into humans, according to a new book about the Amanda Knox case _ the 20-year-old American acquitted of murdering her British flatmate in Italy. “Experiments show that when some people punish others, the reward part of their brain lights up like a Christmas tree,” writes Douglas Preston, author of Trial By Jury. He says some people are born to be “punishers” and in our evolutionary hunter-gatherer past, they were needed to enforce social norms. 
Anthropologists call this witch-hunt “altruistic punishment”. 

Punishers! Enforce the social norms. Fight the nanny staters and the greenies.

And we're not talking about a Stan Lee comic hero, we're talking the Devine.

The Devine writes all this po-faced, yet she nestles cheek and jowl with that prime hater, fearer and loather, punishing Piers "Akker Dakker" Akerman, and not so far away from that Blairite deliverer of "bleaghs",  punitive Tim Blair, while her Melbourne stable-mate is the pugnacious punitive primitive punisher Andrew 'the Bolter' Bolt ... And that's before we get on to the squawking parrots in the allegedly up-market lizard Oz ...

Got a random stranger you need a random hate fest dumped on, preferably a greenie or a leftie or a pinko commie union pervert, but hey in a pinch anyone at all who disagrees in any way at all with the Bolter?

Call on the Bolter and he'll dump that hate fest all over the web ...

And let's not underestimate the hate power of the Devine, a consummate hater, and not just of greenies. Try riding a bicycle anywhere near her ...

And now, the noble hate-infested column she once had seems like it's been o'erthrown, and she thinks she can beguile the web with this sort of lovey-dovey group huggy nonsense:

So maybe we should just congratulate Paltrow for being pretty and move on.

What? We should congratulate the Devine for turning into a three minute boiled egg and move on?

That would make you the mug punter, a Tom Waterhouse mark, a bit like a John Singleton.

Stay tuned, because we'll soon be back to the hate fest.

The pond has a running bet with Tom that the Devine will erupt in a fury about new swimming pool regulations.

Oh how she hates swimming pool fencing regulations when she and every other Australian knows it's their god-given right to drown a child in their pool, and no bureaucrat should stand in their way with pettifogging restrictions ...

You think the pond is joking? Try festering foaming hatred and abuse of the nanny state and knee jerkers in Nanny state helps us to drown us in our own stupidity back in 2009 ...

Now it's true that the latest swimming pool regulations have been introduced by big Bazza's Liberal government, but the pond is betting the Devine won't be able to hold the nanny state hate in. Watch out big Bazza ...

Yep, Gwynneth has no idea how lucky she is. Buy a lottery ticket Gwynneth, you'll never have it or your name spelled this good again ...

(Below: is the Devine a one minute egg, top left, or three minutes, next to top left, or the egg on the bottom right, fifteen minutes of hard boiling and hating? Discuss, or head off to the Food Lab for a discussion of Perfect Boiled Eggs and tell 'em Gwynneth sent you).

Compliance? Now there's a concept for a Sunday meditation ... it must be a sign ...

(Above: you have to see it to laugh, or to cry, YouTube it here).

The pond copped a speeding ticket some time ago.

Not to worry, it was worth it. Get the Merc out on the highway, looking for adventure, Aryan blonde hair blown this way and that by the pure Victorian mountain air, the autobahn sturdy and made for speed, the tar receding behind like a George Miller dream ...

Oh shoot, did we lose a windscreen to that gravel rash? What, we lost the entire suspension on that pothole deeper than the road to hell? And all for 5k an hour over the limit?

Oh just scrub the whole wretched fantasy, but wait there's one redeeming point to the whole sordid, sorry affair.

You see, we sent off our payment Civic Compliance Centre in Victoria, and we just loved the notion. As always, wiki was standing by to let us know about all the CCC's in the world, but they still haven't woken up to the CCC Vic, which is sad for the bureaucrat who dreamed it up.

Imagine. He or she might have spent a week or a month dreaming it up, or it might have come to them in the witching hour in a cosmic flash of genius. Like an apple on the noggin! CCC! Compliance!

Compliance has such a lovely resonance and not just because it's so redolent of the hero in 1984 altering the records so that they could comply with the party's ongoing version of the past fashionable at any one moment:

Acquiescence. You will obey. The act of complying with a wish, request, or demand for money with menaces and threats.
A disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others, particularly to avoid a week in the clink.

It would have been completely inappropriate to call it the Revenue Centre, or the Hungry Pollie centre or Pay or Else centre.

Be mealy mouthed when collecting the cash.

And this being a Sunday, what with tithing and collection plates, it set the pond to contemplating other mealy mouthed verbiage ... and naturally the meditation immediately led to religion.

The New York Review of Books has just got around to reviewing Lawrence Wright's Going Clear (outside the paywall for the moment, here) and in it is a reminder that cults are always adept at generating a new set of terms for allegedly new concepts.

Hubbard loved to devise words like "enturbulate" and the cult's goobledegook is full of double speak. You can't be an initiate into ultimate mysteries if there's three fifths of fuck all that's mysterious about it. (And you can almost feel the fear in the reviewer at the thought of the ratbags in the "church" noting her various heretical thoughts about the church and its abuse of process to get itself tax-free. What a scandal it is, what a nonsense, how soon before every religion is tithed by the taxman fro the damage they cause).

Meanwhile, the Islamics have been at it again, this time at the University of Melbourne, as you can read in Academic calls for end to 'ritualised humiliation' (behind the paywall):

At the entrance to the lecture, attended by The Australian, signs directed "sisters" to the back of the theatre, and "brothers" to the front. Asked whether seating was segregated, a male attendee said: "It usually is here, yeah." 
During the event, which had a predominantly Muslim audience of about 250, a small number of men sat in the "women's" section and were not prevented from doing so. No women sat in the "men's" section.

Again compliance. Every where a sign, long-haired freaky people need not apply. It reminded the pond of another set of courses in another time and place:

Sheesh, they even colour-coordinated it. Blue for the bros and pink for the hos, or should we say uncovered cat meat (will someone explain to them sign-makers that pink, as a more decided and stronger colour, is much more suitable for boys, while blue, being delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl. Oh dear, stereotype switching, gender chaos, wiki it here).

The interesting word abuse here is the notion that calling men 'brothers' and women 'sisters' will get you off the hook.

But it doesn't bro, nor should it get the University of Melbourne off the hook. If you want to hire university facilities for lectures on jihad, they should conform to anti-discrimination rules; if you want to send the sisters to the back of the hall, do it where you won't be seen, in a private space where bigotry and prejudice can run wild and free.

Now the resulting furore only engaged the likes of the Bolter, who used it to berate leftists. What a pain the man is, and yet what a suck when it comes to the papists and the Xians.

The Australian, which had a couple of bites at the story, and Tony Abbott had a little trawl in Abbott condemns Melbourne University over sex segregation at Islamic events. (also behind the paywall).

You can understand why - Abbott's desperate to get rid of his 'ditch the witch' routine of the dark old days, and it's a measure of Islamic stupidity that they can make him sound like a statesman when he blathers on about supporting the fundamental principle of gender equality (except when doing anything and everything from the gutter to to the bog swamp to ditch said witch).

It also brought out a few academics as with Jennifer Oriel keeping the story alive in the lizard Oz with Melbourne's hypocrisy on gender naive (outside the paywall) and Sheila Jeffreys speaking to the Oz (that must be the first time this pair have agreed in awhile):

"There needs to be great outrage about this," Professor Jeffreys said. "It is a Rosa Parks moment . . . Making women sit at the back in lecture theatres is sexual apartheid. This is a new practice in Australia, whereas apartheid against black Americans was an old practice. But it should be challenged strongly so that it goes no further. 
 "Religious ideas that so blatantly make women into second-class citizens are not worthy of respect. They should not be allowed to undermine people's justified rejection of discrimination against women."

Naturally there was a resounding silence in many areas, most notably the Labor party. But it added to the woes of the big universities in recent weeks, what with the University of Sydney scrabbling to get out of the Dalai Lama email hole it dug for itself ...

Actually separating men and women isn't a new practice, not that being old practice should allow you to get away with anything.

In the old days, both Catholics and Protestants separated men and women for services, and even built matroneums as a way of housing the women.

The Lutherans in South Australia kept it going within the memory and experience of the pond, women on one side, men on the other, and apparently you can still see it in fundie protestant services in Europe.

Some like to defend it as no more than custom or tradition, a bit like women being made to wear a hat is the same as being asked to cover your face completely (oh the shame if you couldn't rustle up a hat and had to wear a hankie attending a Catholic service, but that shame never quite matched the shame invoked if called uncovered meat). Naturally men went hatless, perhaps so god could mess with their minds more easily.

In the past few decades this sort of nonsense has been beaten out of most Catholic and Anglican services, though no doubt some would love to bring it back, along with the Latin.

Which brings us, as it usually does, to the Sydney Anglicans, and this week to the thoughts of Phillip Jensen, waxing lyrical and sorrowful about The Man I Thought Was Dead, arising from the news that George Beverly Shea a Billy Graham singer who came out to Australia for the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade had died at the age of 104. Not a bad run, and in his day not a bad singer of sentimental religious stuff in a way that seems to have pinpointed the banality of Jensenist musical tastes (please, no opera here, here no opera).

Apart from the usual laugh - Jensen trots out the standard line of what kind of rock performance is it without sexualised aggression? in a way designed to make the pond aggressive, but not in a sexual way, not with a Sydney Anglican, no never - it reminded the pond that back in the day Billy Graham and his crusades also copped a few notes about religious separation, as late as the 1980s, as you can read in the Spokane Chronicle here. They used to hold prayer rallies for men ... and for women. In the Islamic way ...

It's easy to see where questions might arise about different treatment for men and women in the Billy Graham Crusade.
In April, the men's prayer rally was held in the Opera House and Tom Landry, the famous Dallas Cowboy coach, was the speaker. Tickets for the event, held in conjunction with the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, cost money. City leaders attended and the Pledge of Allegiance was said by an Air Force colonel.
The women's prayer rallies were held this week in two local churches. There was no attendance cost and the guest was Bonnie Barrows Thomas, whose main claim to fame is that she is her father's daughter ...

By golly did that produce a little hasty back-tracking and feminist flim flam ...

And yet here we are in the new millennium and the Sydney Anglicans are getting sentimental about an old Crusade singer while ensuring, with their very own peculiar form of sexualised aggression, that women are kept in their place beneath the glass ceiling.

Islamics and Sydney Anglicans unite ...

The pond could go on at great length about the Sydney Anglicans but was pleased that as a result of the site's makeover - more like a combover - the search function is stuffed, and various bits of data have fallen off the peg. Vengeance is mine, saith the long absent lord ...

So let's just settle for one joke arising from Michael Jensen's piece, Is God's justice primitive? (warning,  reading this tosh might make you violent).

... in Romans 13, Paul specifically tells Christians not to seek retribution, because that belongs to God. God himself has justice in mind – which is extraordinarily liberating for the imperfect business of human justice, and for the business of living with injustice. Any Christian who finds in the cross permission for violence – especially against the Jews, which has unfortunately occurred - is an unfaithful Christian.

Translation: you've seen how the long absent lord dealt with Her Son. Talk about the hanging judge, talk about the mean Matriarch, more like a Tarantino or Gibson splatter fest than a de Mille flick...

So you don't have to do anything about revenge and payback to the Jews for killing Christ, because She's got justice in mind ...

She's hired Samuel L. Jackson and she's going to kick the shit out of them ... or some such thing. Now you can feel liberated and hug a Jew, but remember justice deferred is just another way of saying justice is a'coming ...

In the interests of mercy, we've decided to ignore Cardinal George Pell, whose idea of relating to women is to dedicate his life to chastity, and who in his last published post in the Sunday Terror showed marked confusion about Margaret Thatcher, explaining in one breath how she went too far and shocked him, and in the other how Europe needs more Margaret Thatchers, perhaps because Pell likes to be shocked, and to go too far, or perhaps because it'd be a delight to have Maggie help him fit the old cilice ...

Oh yes, it's a mercy not to go there.

So who to blame? Well all this started because the CCC, well ahead of the KKK in the alphabet, got the pond thinking about compliance, and signs ...

Be compliant to this mob of assorted religious floozies and ratbags, and their outrageous attitude to women (and gays and innocent secularists)?

Why the pond would rather pay a substantial fine ...

And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray"
Sisters to the left and righteous blue brothers to the right,
 But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, 
I didn't have a penny to pay 
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign 
I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine." 
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind 
Do this, don't do that, make sure you comply ...
Can't you read the sign? 
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign 
Sign Sign, sign

Repeat ad nauseam until fatigue and a desire to sleep sets in ...

(Below: found here).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Saturday sob and clubbing of the exclusive commentariat ...

(Above: Kudelka illustration for Arthur Sinodinos story Envious class warrior a relic of past, praising Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart for their amazing contributions to the community - behind the paywall to save you reading the tired old rhetoric, now that times and billionaires have changed).

Day two of comrade Clive Palmer's campaign to become PM, and the pond can sense it's moving like wildfire across the placid waters of the pond.

Clive has spent a lot of time with the huge audience at Radio National, which sometimes moves beyond * to reach ** or even ***, and forms a key part of his demographic.

While others waste their time on football, booze or Tom Waterhouse on a Friday night in Sydney, Clive cut right to the heart by talking to the latte sippers, trend-shapers and shape-shifters.

There he was, tirelessly answering the concerned questions of Julian Morrow, spending a lavish amount of time with him explaining his policies and pointing out there wasn't one decent human bean in the entire federal Australian parliament. Take that inhuman Tony Abbott (yes you too can listen by going here for Clive Palmer for PM?).

But that wasn't the only Clive story on RN. It turns out that Clive has been all over RN like a rash, as in A Conflict of Interest? 

It was front page stuff when Clive came to talk and walk amongst the ** latte sippers, and the " cardigan-wearers. The pond knows, the pond was there for this historic moment.

There's just one question.

Why were the stories besmirched with question marks. Clive Palmer for PM? That shouldn't be a question, that should be an emphatic statement, Clive Palmer for PM! 

And A Conflict of Interest? Damn straight, a conflict of interest!

Give 'em time Clive, these latte sippers are always a little slow, they'll come to understand and that key * demographic of trend setters and ** shape shifters and *** Irish setters will be yours for the taking ...

Naturally the pond rushed off to the lizard Oz to see if due attention was being paid to the challenge, and instead copped the new rush of blood to the head on what seems to be the set subject for the day.

Class please write on The folly of Julia Gillard and her education schemes, and make sure to mention big Bazza selling out the entire Liberal party by reaching for the loot, grabbing the lolly in a most unseemly way.

Peter van Onselen delivers a wonderful insight:

By golly that's a compelling splash. No wonder he's such a stellar columnist for the lizard Oz. But the pond always struggles with the basics ...

Still, if there's one member of the commentariat rabbiting on, the law of lizard Oz starlings states there must be another.

Sure enough, what should hove into view but another baying home schooling hound:

Yes, yes, keep them at home reading Oscar Wilde in the original Latin, the pond says.

Choices, choices, but wait, what's this?

It might be a little hard to see, but click on it and you'll see every story on the lizard Oz is an exclusive, in right red. An exclusive here, an exclusive there, an exclusive every bloody where.

You'll be exclusively pleased to read that Siobhan McKenna is rolling out a revolution at NBN (exclusively behind the paywall for which you need exclusive access)

You see, once the NBN was a totally useless waste of money and the average lizard Oz reader's time, but the new chairwoman is showing her mettle and bossing around Conroy and big Mal.

Could this be the ice breaker, could this be the redemption at hand? Could the NBN yet become a revolutionary roll out?

Or could the story be ust be another egg beater, a standard bit of puffery dressed up as an exclusive? Could there be exclusive fatigue? Is the pond reporting on so many exclusives an exclusive in itself?

Sadly no, only yesterday Crikey intern Kyla Loussikian was exclusively reporting that the lizard Oz had run 13 branded "exclusives" over its 10 national and business news pages, while the AFR managed five exclusives on the front page alone, with Loussikian exclusively inviting this exclusive band of editorial brothers to take an exclusive - or should that be inclusive - cold shower ...

The pond wondered whether the number of "exclusives" was geometrically or perhaps mathematically related to the lizard Oz's exclusive campaign to get suckers to sign up for its "exclusive content" with "exclusive access" via its exclusive digital pass, yours for a singularly exclusive price ... which sees the pond routinely excluded ...

What to do? The pond needed a safe pair of hands, and is there anyone at all safer than Angela Shanahan?

Yes, despite their lack of religiosity, Gen X and Gen Y have gone war-monger and that's good news. After all, what did the baby boomers do? Get thrashed in Vietnam, the losers and the drop kicks ...

It turns out that Angela Shanahan's family was at one time a traitor, deserving of a white feather:

My generation rebelled against that received interpretation. Particularly if we belonged to an immigrant group that didn't fit the assumed ethnic stereotype let alone if, like me, you had a name and a parent from the "wrong" side. 

Oh dear. The wrong side.

Or perhaps even worse, she might have been a hippie:

The children of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll generation spurned what they interpreted as the values of Anzac Day. The peacenik generation certainly thought, in our very superior way, that young men who volunteered to fight abroad - whether in the Dardanelles or Vietnam - were a bunch of losers. 

There you go, told you, a bunch of losers. Strange, for an alleged historian, that Shanahan should forget that many who fought in Vietnam were actually conscripted, National Servicemen, Nashos to you, but hey let's not talk details.

Wrapped in flower power, we were insouciant about the threat of communism. 

So insouciant that we now trot off to China and to Vietnam for our holidays ...

By the 1980s, Australia's military history had gone out of fashion - along with the idea of concrete knowledge of history. Interpretation was all. 

Oh you relativist swine. Just give us the facts, all we want is them concrete facts.
Damn you Henry Ford, damn you to hell:

Ford frequently claimed that "history is more of less bunk." it is "being rewritten every year from a new point of view," he argued, "so how can anybody claim to know the truth about history?" (Jane Smiley, Harpers)

Damn you Henry. What else you got to say?

"When I went to our American history books to learn how our forefathers harrowed the land, I discovered that the historians knew nothing about harrows. Yet our country has depended more on harrows than on guns or speeches. I thought that a history which excluded harrows, and all the rest of daily life, was bunk. And I think so yet."

Damned anti-semitic handsomely above the minimum wage paying relativist swine (more Ford quotes here). Do go on, Ms Shanahan, after that rude relativist interruption:

The man who was most out of fashion was Australia's pioneer military historian Charles Bean, who landed at Gallipoli and stayed with the Australians all through WWI. After the war, Bean recognised it had been a disaster for everyone; but for Australia it provided a story about who we were after Federation. It was when we formed an army and sent them that we said for the first time, "We are Australians."

Uh huh. Now as an opening joke, Shanahan had cracked wise about a young man who didn't know about there being two world wars, and as a long suffering teacher of history, how little the young knew about the subject.

Yet here she is praising a mediocre historian, and saying that only when we sent off an army did we say for the first time we are Australians ...

So much for the Australian constitution, scribbled on the 9th July 1900, announcing the Commonwealth of Australia in these grand words:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established ... (you can read the rest here if your sleeping pills are lost under the pillow).

Orstralia, you bloody beaut. Oh okay it was an act at Westminister, but what's the difference between that and the Poms clicking their fingers and saying "oh chaps, how about a jolly lark fighting the infidel Turk."

The rest of Shanahan's piece turns into puffery for the Australian War Memorial and Brendan Nelson, who has wonderful plans to privatise and corporatise it, though rest assured everything will be done in the best of taste and with the utmost discretion, and no tasteless signs saying "This war brought to you by VB and Tom Waterhouse".

But at the end of it, she and Nelson combine to bowl up a doozie:

And as for the commemorative function of the AWM: "One of the reasons for the Last Post ceremony is to tell an individual story every day. These need to be told to young people especially. They like it because it gives them a sense of meaning, belonging and purpose, and emphasises values that they find attractive within military history. Not with any affinity for wars - on the contrary - more the values that come out of it ." 
Nelson reflects on his own generational history: "I am a product of the last generation that was given the pre-packaged framework: God, king, country. In the 70s and 80s that very much broke down, but now young people want the values embodied in military history: courage, endurance and innocence."

Innocence? A value embodied in military history is innocence?

Like innocent lambs to the slaughter.

The long absent god help anyone taught history, military or otherwise, by the likes of Shanahan and Nelson.

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? 
Only the monstrous anger of the guns. 
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle 
Can patter out their hasty orisons.  
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; 
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, 
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; 
And bugles calling for them from sad shires. 
What candles may be held to speed them all? 
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes 
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes. 
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; 
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, 
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

The pond once interviewed quite a number of world war one veterans about their experiences. They were reticent, they didn't like to talk, but they were old, and from them came the values, not of military history, but of military experience, suffering, a vale of tears, nightmares and a deep enduring loss of innocence ... with their fondest hope that others be saved from the horror they'd endured ...

You won't discern any of that in the glib superficiality of Shanahan ...

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs 
The convoys of dead sailors come; 
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under, 
But morning rolls them in the foam. 

Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire 
Someone, it seems, has time for this, 
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows 
And tread the sand upon their nakedness; 

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood, 
Bears the last signature of men, 
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity, 
The words choke as they begin - 

'Unknown seaman' - the ghostly pencil 
Wavers and fades, the purple drips, 
The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions 
As blue as drowned men's lips, 

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall, 
Whether as enemies they fought, 
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together, 
Enlisted on the other front.

Oh here's a grand idea for Mr Nelson ...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Clive launching, Katter still clowning, Richo Ancient Mariner glooming, and Tony Abbott growing ... what more could you want?

(Above: what fun the graphic artists had).

Well that's enough talk of sacrifice for the moment. Let the long weekend begin, let the cars snake out of the cities and get stuck in the traffic ...

Oh wait, that was Wednesday night. Never mind, at least that jibber jabber about sacrifice is done, all the weirder when it seems that the sacrifice seems to involve drinking beer to help out VB, and attend a football match to help out Tom Waterhouse ...

So let the comedy begin.

Come on down Clive Palmer and announce you're forming a political party, and show your tremendous ability at comedy stylings by reviving the name the United Australia Party, which even in its hey day in the 1930s, was full of splitters and ne'er do wells, what with Billy Hughes doing it his way, and Page refusing to serve under Menzies and poor old Artie Fadden being poor old Artie, and after limping through the second world war, it was buried in August 1945 (and happily you can wiki the sordid and sorry tales here).

And now Clive has disinterred the bones, dug up the corpse so to speak, and is intent on dressing the corpse in a new supply of political finery.

How lucky for him the Australian electorate has an extremely short political memory and seem to have - like Clive - completely forgotten the motley bunch who sailed on the original ship of fools.

All the same, Clive shows he has the consummate skills of the dissembling Australian politician in Palmer revives Menzies' party to contest fed poll:

As to whether formation of the party was part of a push to one day be prime minister, the billionaire businessman said: ''It's up to the people to decide. 
''As you know, the people of Australia elected me as a living national treasure, and that was their choice not mine,'' Mr Palmer said. '
'Whatever it goes, I think I'm prepared to do". 

Whatever it goes, I think I'm prepared to do?

What on earth does that mean? Is he trying to say however it hangs, or however it rolls or Clive gathers no moss or Richo-style, whatever it takes?

Anyhoo, as we know, it wasn't the people of Australia that elected Clive as a living national treasure. It wasn't their choice at all.

It was the choice of a bunch of clowns at the NSW branch of the National Trust, who in the same fell swoop nominated Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John and Dr. Karl, amongst others as celebrated in the currish Mail (Clive Palmer named a national living treasure along with Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John).

At the time it produced something of an internal ruckus in the National Trust, and a lot of infighting and a lot of disclaimers"

''This is not nationally endorsed at all, this is a NSW initiative,'' said Graeme Blackman, the chairman of the Australian Council of National Trusts, speaking from Singapore yesterday after learning of Mr Palmer's inclusion. 
''I am telling you, as the chairman, it is not auspiced by the National Trust nationally.'' 
Mr Palmer said he was unaware he had been named a National Living Treasure until The Sun-Herald contacted him yesterday. ''I'm quite surprised I got there,'' he said. ''I don't think I deserve it.'' 
But he said he was ''disappointed'' Dr Blackman did not endorse the people's verdict. ''It's very incredible. Whether I'm a treasure or not a treasure, you can't have a vote by the people and try to [disendorse it] … The National Trust is a sacred trust for all Australians. There is no role for any partisanship in it.'' (National living treasurer uproar)

Yes, even then Clive still thought it was the people's verdict, as opposed to a few NSW clowns intent on throwing the National Trust into disarray and disrepute.

You see, the whole thing was just a promotion for Women's Day, which organised the list and arranged for the vote using its website, and about the best that can be said for the whole affair was that it didn't involve New Idea or Cleo or Dolly.

Never mind, the pond is ecstatic. The next election is going to be a lively affair, what with Katter's Klowns up against Palmer's Pugilists, and Clive has already launched some hard-hitting blows:

''After all, it's really crazy to think that a person that's never run anything more than a tuckshop can run a trillion-dollar economy.''

Which is completely unfair. After all Joe Hockey ran the Sydney Uni SRC as president before becoming a banking and finance lawyer, and Tony Abbott ran ultramarathons and court actions against Pauline Hanson's party.

Mr Palmer dismissed comparisons with former Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's aborted ''Joh for Canberra'' campaign in 1987.

Indeed. How outrageous to suggest two madcap Queenslanders have anything in common. Why Sir Joh completely lacked the imagination to devise a second Titanic as an elegant symbol for the new UAP.

Yep, the news made the pond's day, and quite took its mind off the commentariat, which was a good thing because there's Graham "Gra Gra" "never mind the Swiss bank accounts" Richardson wringing his hands and moaning that Budget will make Labor's awful prospects look even worse (in the lizard oz, behind the paywall so you can avoid the whole wretched thing):

I am depressed. Having witnessed the elections in NSW, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, I dread what is going to happen to the Labor Party on September 14. The slow-motion train wreck that the party I have belonged to for 46 years has become is a permanent fixture in my thoughts. 
Labor supporters get no respite. The bad news just keeps on coming. 

Indeed. The poor buggers get no respite at all, because Richo never shuts up. What never? No, bloody never ...

And now it seems the hapless Labor supporters have to suffer the sight of Richo acting like the Ancient Mariner and stopping one of three on the way to a quite cheerful and jolly wedding party, and regaling them with tales of doom and thirst and death and albatrosses ...

The latest Newspoll confirms the reality that for Labor no improvement seems possible. Having squandered the opportunity to stop the rot and avoid a slaughter by resurrecting Kevin Rudd, the caucus must now sit and watch as the electoral inferno engulfs them.

Still keening and wailing at the loss of Kevin. Refused to resurrect the messiah, and never mind that he was a tedious naughty boy ...

You have to admire a man who so comprehensively helped to fuck over the party in recent months, helped play his public part to produce the engulfing inferno, still carrying on as if it had nothing to do with him or his big yammering mouth ...

Richo spends the rest of his piece explaining how the ruined Labor party can use the economy and the GST and the need for new taxes to nail Tony Abbott and return from the wilderness.

It's a breath-takingly cynical piece of public political strategising which reminded the pond once again what a relief it is that the man who was part of the old Labor party culture is now just an Ancient Mariner holding out his palm for a few coins from Chairman Rupert while regaling all with tales of disaster.

And there was another upside in the lizard Oz today. There was poor old Dennis Shanahan brooding about Abbott's bizarrely generous paid parental leave, in Abbott must let go of his baby (inside the paywall so you can avoid brooding with him), and as you'd expect of the lizard Oz, there can't be one swallow without a flock flying in unison, and so it is that Adam Creighton is also on hand to scribble Paid parental leave will be a burden on businesses and achieve little.

You can see which way the tide is flowing in Murdoch land, and yet thus far all Abbott has offered is weasel words, saying that the scheme will depend on the state of the budget.

In fact all Abbott has been offering of late is weasel words. He produced a weasel variation on the NBN, he produced weasel words on when the Liberal party might produce a budget surplus, he weaseled his way through NSW embracing the Gonski school package, he weaseled his way through turning back the boats and staying friends with Indonesia ..

He's sounding less and less by the say like Dr No, and more like Dr. in due course, which no doubt he imagines makes him sound statesmanlike but in fact makes him sound like a weird sort of hippie.

His promises are beginning to sound like spit on a griddle, hot air when a balloon would benefit from a little pure helium, and the pond can't wait to stand under a sign saying "Ditch the bastard ... this sign in no way reflects on Mr. Abbott's parentage".

Which is why the pond so loved Mr. Abbott's final burst talking with Leigh Sales a couple of days ago:

... I also think that Australians are pretty fair-minded and they accept that people can grow if they move into a new position. I'd like to think that I have grown as Opposition Leader and I am confident that I can grow as Prime Minister should the public give me that extraordinary honour.

He can grow. Said with a simper like a cat about to eat cream, not understanding the dangers of choking on said cream.

Clue. Grow is code for change mind and break promises, promises engraved in stone with blood, or all the other carry-on nonsense clowning endured these past few years.

It reminded the pond one more time of Chance the Gardener - strange how Peter Sellers keeps springing to mind when thinking of Tony Abbott and his more rabid supporters at the lizard Oz.

Tony Abbott: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Joe, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives? 
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden. 
Tony Abbott: In the garden. 
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter and paid parental leave. And then we get spring and summer again. 
Tony Abbott: Spring and summer and a slimmed down cheap NBN?
Chance the Gardener: Yes. 
Tony Abbott: Then fall and winter and a budget in surplus?
Chance the Gardener: Yes. 
Tony Abbott: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy and the lack of power which means we can't break our promises in turn, just as they broke theirs. 
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring! You must concentrate on growth, You must grow, just as you have grown. Growth!
Tony Abbott: Hmm! 
Chance the Gardener: Hmm! 
Tony Abbott: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. As refreshing and as optimistic as any I've read in The Australian in recent days.
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.
Tony Abbott: I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack in Canberra ...

Apologies to Jerzy Kosinski, but what fun, what a treat.

No need for a sacrifice, not when you have Clive Palmer, Bob Katter, Gra Gra and Tony Abbott doing the rounds ...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Arise, Sir Joe and Dame Blow, today the pond has promoted you ... to whatever you feel is a decent sort of promotion ...

You'll have to forgive the pond today, it's such a madcap social whirl.

Luckily we've already whipped up a tidy column for News Limited, dripping with pious sanctimonious humbug and hypocrisy - thank the long absent lord we acquired a very comfortable armchair last year, and it turned what has sometimes been a burden into a breeze.

We've also mastered the art of the sepulchral, sombre tone, all gloomy and dismal while strangely uplifting, for a few radio interviews. Dearie me, what an inspiration Fran Kelly is ...

And now it's time to bung on a do.

Get on the turps (we don't talk of the piss on the one day of the year), down to the school for a flip of the coins - we'll spend the arvo on the bandits - knock off a fly with lashings of dead horse, and take a little time to give a few problematic types a touch-up. Like the ball of strife - now there's a reliable disappointment - and those bloody wogs who still don't get it and refuse to show the proper respect, and never wrap themselves in the flag.

What's worse, a quick tour of duty confirmed the worst - there are swarms of ponces sitting around idly in coffee shops, sipping away, confirming that Nick Cater's nightmare vision of a dangerous elite has already come true.

What to do, apart from hand-wringing while slumped in an armchair?

Well happy are that band of brothers who took a four day long weekend, to participate in the invasion of New Zealand. That country has taken to showing absolutely the wrong values in recent weeks - come to think of it, it's always been the way what with all that rugger bugger bum sniffing - so here's hoping we can save the country from itself with a decent game of real footy.

Oh and if you happen to cop a blast from some bugger moaning about PTSD and the rigours of the battlefield, give them a clip over the ears and tell them to pull themselves together and send them on their way. Or otherwise dose 'em up with lashings of anti-psychotic medications ...

And now if you bow your head, let's find a little time to contemplate Johns Frydenberg's splendid suggestion, which is to give John Monash a promotion from general to field marshall, as proposed in Fitting time to honour Monsah (behind the paywall so it won't interfere with your pokie-playing pleasure).

It's a brilliant manoeuvre, of the kind we've come to expect from the Liberal member for Kooyong. It takes care of the Jewish demographic, and the militarists all in one fell swoop, and allows a short sweet burst of Monash hagiography as well.

Monash continues to be remembered in many ways: his name adorns a leading university, a state electorate, a freeway and his face pictured on our $100 note. 
 But there is one hill still to climb, namely to make our greatest soldier-citizen a field marshal, cementing his reputation for all time. 

Because, you see, if he doesn't have that promotion, that hill to climb from the grave, why there might be too much lime in the mortar mix, and the next thing you know his reputation won't be cemented, and it might well fall down, and he won't have any reputation at all, and we'll  have to take back that uni and electorate name, and put another gob on the big note ...

With the centenary of Anzac soon upon us this would be a fitting tribute to a great man and to all the men and women of the AIF who served with such bravery and distinction.

Indeed. Come to think of it, why don't we give all of them, all the ones with such bravery and distinction and are now dead and gone, a posthumous promotion. Say if you were only a staff sergeant, you get to make captain. If you were a private, well why not a sergeant ...

It's surely time we at last arranged for the clearing of 'Breaker' Morant - don't you worry if he murdered a few people - and his promotion to at least Captain, or perhaps Major (allowing him to die with the murky status of a lieutenant is a permanent stain on the British nation).

And how about a posthumous pardon for all those poor buggers who were shot for desertion? Oh wait they've already done that - World War 1 'deserters' to be pardoned - so it's probably best that we just move on to giving a promotion to all the larrikin rapists and spreaders of STDs (Portrait of the Anzacs: deserters more interested in booze, brawls and sex).

You know it's always stuck in the pond's craw that Robert Gordon Menzies never donned the uniform of a military man, so now's surely the time to give him an honorary promotion to field marshall for his splendid work in relation to the war in Vietnam.

And so on and so forth because Monash really will only rest easy if the Frydenberg solution is adopted for all the poor buggers who missed out on some kind of honour or award in their lifetime, and now can only make it up in death ...

Meanwhile, speaking of cement, the lizard Oz has come up with a fine exclusive:

Faithfully regurgitated by the Bolter, showing his usual editorial flair by adding a few words "Have they no shame".

Indeed. What a journalist he is. He uses that cut and paste key like a fiend to fill his blog full of content, always ready to step up to the plate to defend the innocent and the helpless. Like Grocon, poor hapless persecuted Grocon.

Let's face it. No one has the first clue what caused the wall to fall down and kill two students and an academic. Most likely it was just a perverse gust of wind, the kind of random cruelty we expect of an indifferent universe. Nothing to do with anyone except perhaps the creator of perverse winds.

Oh sure there's been all sorts of jibber jabber in the Fairfax press about what might have done it. There's been speculation that a sign affixed to the wall promoting the Grocon development acted like a sail, and that the brick wall was a disaster waiting to happen and that the hoarding seemed to have no planning approval and Grocon had just let it all slide and then compounded the problem by carelessly affixing said sail:

Mr Huggard has studied the photographs and concluded that the wall had been poorly constructed with a grossly inadequate number of metal ties holding the two courses of bricks together. He said there appeared to be little, if any, buttress or other supports. 
''It appears to contravene every rule in the book,'' he said. (The wall, and why it collapsed)

Have they no shame, you might ask, with three people dead?

No, you see it's just a militant building union politicising a wall which just collapsed, because well, walls just collapse, that's what they do, and all this chit chat about government regulation up against the wonderful free market is so much of an onerous overlay on the hard business of making a crust, and if a few people get killed along the way, a kind of collateral damage, well that's what this day is all about, fighting for the right of freedom and the right of walls to collapse all on their own ... and anyone who says different is against big honest business going about its daily big honest business, and might well be part of a cosmopolitan internationalist latte-sipping elite ... or a union politicising an event which was just random and casual and determinedly apolitical and completely unindustrial.

And if you'll excuse the pond, now it's time to get on with the rest of the day's celebrations and deep thoughts.

Perhaps we could promote John Howard to emperor when he carks it? How about Sir John Kerr as warden of the Cinque Ports? If it's good enough for Barry Humphries, why can't everyone be a Dame?

Should everyone be given the Medal of Life just for getting born? Perhaps with a bar and ribbon for each year lived?

Truly it's the one day of the year for incisive thinking ... lest we forget how to booze and gamble ...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The pond tackles the dangerous subversive world of academic latte-sippers, assisted by Miranda the Devine and Nick Cater ...

(Above: Australia facing one of its many crises, more details here. Now fair warning, if you're a filthy, perverted latte-sipper, stop reading right now and bugger off. We don't want your kind here, why don't you head off to New Zealand where your sort belong).

So many choices, so little time.

Only yesterday there was Gary Johns, no doubt in receipt of a handsome superannuation package from federal parliament, delivering up this logic in Many on the receiving end of middle-class welfare (inside the paywall so dole bludgers and welfare recipients are pointedly excluded from reading the deep thoughts of Mr Johns):

Pensioners always argue that they have made their contribution, but this is not so; taxpayers pay the pension and health costs of pensioners.

Indeed, and who were the taxpayers who paid their taxes in yesteryear? Bludgers!

Johns is outraged and indignant. These bloody working class yobbos are simply living too long and costing too much. In the good old days they had the decency to drop off the twig at a proper time and place:

The big one is access to the age pension and superannuation. In 1910 the age pension was paid to men from age 65 and to women at age 60. Pretty generous, hey? Yes, except for one small matter. Life expectancy at birth in 1910 was 55 for men and 59 for women. In other words, you were not meant to survive long enough to draw it.

Damn that was clever. Tax 'em dry and then watch them drop and keep the cash in paw for the pollies. But how things have taken an outrageous turn for the worst:

How times have changed. Life expectancy in 2011 was 80 for men and 84 for women. And the pension access age has barely shifted since 1910. If you were born before July 1, 1947, you have reached the qualifying age for the age pension.

Outrageous. The shameless bludgers. What a pity they didn't understand the way to a decent lurk, as you might discover if you care to wade through the fine print of Superannuation benefits for senators and members.

The pond looks forward to Mr Johns disavowing whatever little super treats the generous parliamentary scheme has set aside for him, and joining average pensioners on their lavish stipend. The bludgers!

Meanwhile, the lizard Oz offers up today more of the usual from Janet 'Dame Slap' Albrechtsen, getting terribly worried about the future facing the unborn. What? Climate change, pressure of population, pressure on resources, a world covered with humanity leeching it dry?

No, it's just the usual rant about governments living on credit cards, which makes the pond wonder when Dame Slap will publicly cut up all her credit cards and fling them in the faces of her wretched bankers. Fee fi fo, you usurers, take that for your private usury.

Never mind, Unborn are new forgotten ones  reads the header (behind the paywall so you can avoid a slapping), which is pretty much Johns in drag, since his column might well have been titled Old fart bludgers need to be the new forgotten ones. Put it another way: The Old Farts The (the pond assumes you know how to translate that into German).

Dame Slap wraps it up with a rip-snorter which would have done Maggie Thatcher proud:

There is no such thing as public money. There is only taxpayer money. And spending the money of future taxpayers to fund services for current taxpayers is exceptionally reckless.

Don't you just love it. There is no such thing as public money, presumably because there is no such thing as public ... just remember that next time you drive on mmmph roads or catch mmmmph transport to get to a mmmph beach where you might want to ...  piss in a mmmmph toilet ...

But while these are pleasant distractions, the pond would really like to draw your attention to a splendid piece by Miranda the Devine offering up a wondrous bit of puffery for Nick Cater's book.

News Ltd have been all agog about it, and gung ho in pushing and prodding it towards bestseller status. Why this lad is as stellar as Ian Plimer in his heyday. A new Lord Monckton, a kind of screaming Lord Cater ...

And truly it's thigh-slapping stuff. Let's start with this, in the same way that the Devine does:

Maybe it's because the author is a friend, but there is a buzz around a book by Nick Cater, The Lucky Culture, that feels like a defining moment in the Australian narrative. 

A defining moment in the Australian narrative. Oh that's good, that's rich, like the Xmas cakes we used to make in Tamworth ...

For instance, when Rupert Murdoch was in Sydney recently, Cater, a senior editor at The Australian, handed him a copy as he was leaving for the airport. By the time Murdoch got back to New York he was so taken with the book he asked for 10 copies to be sent over.

By golly chairman Rupert himself, the mogul's mogul, the insider's insider, the head of the ruling elite, the controller of the cliques, the owner of most of Australia's printed media, the head honcho, the ruling ratbag, the man in charge, the boss of bosses.

So what's Nick Cater's thesis?

Is he warning us how one man, via a family fiefdom, dominates Australia's media landscape?

Is he sounding the alarm about Australia's - and at one time the world's - richest woman wanting to get hold of Fairfax and the Ten network, and turn them into propaganda machines spouting her world view? Aided and abetted by little Sir Echos like the Bolter, ever ready to parrot the message to ensure a steady diet of presumptuous reds and operas ...

No, no, here's the punchline:

Cater's thesis, formed during the 2010 election, is that Australia has become increasingly polarised, not between right and left, but between people he calls the insiders and the outsiders.
A new ruling class of university-educated "progressives", "sophisticates", "elites" and "latte-sippers" have emerged as an un-Australian clique trying to lord it over everyone else. Controlling media, law, education and the political class, they threaten Australia's great egalitarian democratic project: "For the first time there were people who did not simply feel better off but were better than their fellow Australians. They were cosmopolitan and sophisticated, well read (or so they would have us believe) and politically aware. This was not the classless society I had signed up to join."

Now you might not think this high comedy, but truly it had the pond rolling the Jaffas down the aisles (actually we used to throw them off the balcony in the lounge at the plebs in the stalls down below).

That's a thesis?

You mean poor old Rupe is just one step away from being a hapless unpaid blogger like the pond because of the progressives, sophisticates, elites and latte-sippers who control everything and run everything?

I know, I know, it's so richly absurdist, so profoundly stupid - even when you have to allow that it's being refracted through the addle-brained Devine - that you might just think you've stepped into Alice in Wonderland, where nothing is but what is not.

But you do get a really tremendous idea of how stupid, dumb and ignorant of Australian history Cater must be, to think that he imagined that somehow he was signing up to a classless society, or that when he joined the ranks of the lizard Oz, he was signing up to an intrepid Godardian band of outsiders, repressed by dangerous latte-sippers ...

You have to wonder whether Cater, for example, ever read any Manning Clark:

"An obsession with the convict stain has obscured the colony's uplifting moral purpose as a place of rehabilitation. Until (historian) Manning Clark trussed colonial history in a Marxist straitjacket, Australia was considered the Enlightenment's most audacious experiment, an attempt to build a civilisation on a continent that had yet to be introduced to cultivation. It has succeeded beyond all expectation."

Marxist straitjacket? This is obscurantist stupidity of the first water. For its sins, the pond had to read a hell of a lot of Manning Clark, force fed by one of his worshipful students, and what becomes painfully clear is that Clark had a tragic, even religious bent, when it came to writing history.

Let's just take the quick way out by referring to his wiki, and the way Clark's father was an Anglican minister and his mother an old establishment family with roots back to the flogging parson, Samuel Marsden.

Let's note that for his big six volume history, Clark chose as models Carlyle, Gibbon and Macaulay - two conservatives and a Whig, as the wiki puts it, and had, in the process, abandoned the notion of progressive or Marxist historiography:

"I was beginning to see Australian history and indeed all history as a tragedy. Failure was the fate of the individual: success could be the fate of society. If that was a contradiction, I could only reply that it was but one of the many contradictions we must accept as soon as we can as part of the human condition."

In fact if the pond wanted to get up the nose of the Clark-lover, all that was required was to note some of the errors in his work, and then propose that he really wanted to be a tragic novelist, Dostoyevsky or Shakespeare...

The charge of Marxism is one of those easy, really pathetic and woefully ignorant notions usually led by someone who's never sat down and read the six volumes, which became more tragic and epic by the volume ...

But back to Cater and his thesis:

Cater's sees Australia as "an exceptional country, populated by exceptional people skilled at making their own luck. When fortune smiles, it is not by chance or benevolence, it is the dividend of an investment of human ingenuity, enterprise and energy. 
"Australians have been forging their own destiny for over 200 years; they subscribe to the idea of progress."

Uh huh. The idea of progress. Unlike Manning Clark, but very much like your average Marxist materialist dreaming of the millennium.

Yes, it's just another infatuated pommie bastard, as Bazza might say, eyes blinded by the sand and the sun and the waves pounding the beaches. And naturally there's a threat, though it isn't ten pound Poms, or the rabbit or sparrows or cane toads:

But Australian egalitarianism is threatened by the assumption that "some citizens, the educated ones, are smarter than the rest, and that therefore their opinions should carry more weight". 

Do tell. Do they write for chairman Rupert? Or is it a requirement these days for entry into the Murdoch factory that you reject coffee and carry no degrees, such things being surplus to requirement? Because Murdochian opinions carry more weight as the result of being carefree and ignorant, superficial and silly?

And if there's a threat, naturally there has to be villains, and it turns out that the villain is Robert Gordon Menzies, the man who in the 1950s decided it would be helpful if people got educated, some of them even at a tertiary institution. Damn you RG, damn you to hell ...

Who'd have thought such education would turn out to be more devastating and dangerous than Salvation Jane at producing bloat in stock?

He traces the rise of the new insider class to the extraordinary expansion of higher education from the late '50s, in which the number of universities doubled - and became "degree factories". 
 The unintended consequence was the creation of an "intelligentsia with a narrower, more homogenous" outlook, marked by a "progressive world view, snobbery and self righteousness".

This is of course completely different to the homogenous world view that infests the Devine, Cater, Albrechsten, and the entire pack of hacks who work away in the Terror, the HUN, the lizard Oz and the rest of the Murdoch rags.

The intellectual class has for almost half a century "misrepresented Australia's history, misread its present, misjudged its people and projected a miserable vision of the future", while maligning "patriotism as akin to racism". 

Oh steady on, the pond is as ready as anyone to drink a VB to celebrate war-mongering and to shout on buses at anyone with a slightly odd skin, who've somehow ended up in god's country though we thrashed them in the war.

But enough of Cater, let's now get a sweet distilled draught of pure Devine essence:

Australia is not a race or an ethnicity or a constitution. It is an idea, and thus exquisitely vulnerable to the narrative that is drawn for it. 
I spent a good deal of my youth in American schools, reading American children's books and absorbing American mythology. Every story, from George Washington to the Bobbsey Twins, reinforced the idea of America the Good. 

The Bobbsey Twins, instead of good old Enid Blyton and other solid British folk! At last it all becomes clear! She ended up in the magic faraway tree, but she never had the literary references to understand it ...

Australians have never bothered ourselves with American-style displays of overt patriotism. Our reticence is an admirable quality, up to a point. But in all our embarrassment about excessive pridefulness, we have vacated the ground where patriotism used to define who we are, and left it to the sneerers and the wreckers. 

Yes, the sneerers and the wreckers, always sneering at the sneerers and the wreckers ...

Cater's book is the spiritual sustenance our maligned nation needs. The Lucky Country should be on the curriculum of every high school history class, along with the complete works of Geoffrey Blainey.

Oh steady on, surely there should be room for a book by Chairman Rupert on the curriculum of every high school history class in the country. Bemoaning coffee drinking and elites and what they're doing to the country, and celebrating his humble status as a casual billionaire.

And what better title than a traditional one? The thoughts of Chairman Rupert ...

And if the clique and elitist hating freedom fighter is too busy, why surely the Devine and Cater and Albrechtsen and the whole gang at the lizard Oz can cobble something together.

Oh wait, they already do, on a daily basis, full of stupid superficialities, random abuse and material you wouldn't use to wipe a cat's bum in a history class, at least one where some sort of insight is required, as opposed to cliches, stereotypes and banality ... pure essence of distilled banality...

(Below: wouldn't you know it, if you google lucky country, all sorts of post-ironic post-modern things bubble to the surface. It's those bloody university folk ruining it for everybody with their smart-arse know it all airs and graces, completely unlike an average Murdochian, content simply to know it all, while never ever sipping a latte!)