Monday, October 20, 2014

Henry and his bucket ...


(Above: with poetry front and centre, a Horacek poem to get the juices flowing. More Horacek here)

The pond is shocked and outraged.

That girlie man Christopher Pyne has refused to stand up for Mathias Cormann:

Also on Sky News, Education Minister Christopher Pyne declined to defend the language of his cabinet colleague. 
 "I think Mathias Cormann used a colourful phrase and I have to say it is unusual for Mathias to use a colourful phrase". (here)

What a girlie man!

Caveat: it should be clearly understood this is in no way intended as a reflection on girls, it is entirely intended as a reflection on Christopher Pyne. Further, it is entirely clear that the pond is not talking about girls, but girlies, which is very different, and means the "not a sexist misogynist remark" clause immediately kicks in ...

There's nothing gender specific here people, and so we leave Christopher Pyne where we found him, and the pond refuses here and now, and for the foreseeable future, to enter into the shocking and outrageous controversy as to whether it's better to deploy the dictionary approved spelling of "girlie" or the remarkably non-sexist descriptions of "girly" in the Urban Dictionary here.

Both are accepted, and both are strictly non-sexist, as any girlie fool could see:

girl·ie also girl·y (gûrl) adj. 
Often Offensive 
1. Featuring minimally clothed or naked women, typically in pornography: girlie magazines. 
2. Weak, timid, or effeminate. Used of men.
girlie (ˈɡɜːlɪ) or girly n 
1. a little girl adj 
2. displaying or featuring nude or scantily dressed women: a girlie magazine. 
3. suited to or designed to appeal to young women: a girlie night out. 
girl•ie (ˈgɜr li) Slang. adj. 
1. featuring nude or scantily clad young women: a girlie show; girlie magazines. n. 
2. Offensive. a girl or woman (often used as a term of address).

Enough already, because that paragon of desiccated coconut Henry Ergas is also shocked today, scribbling in white heat and blind fury at the outrageous treatment of Sydney academic, Prof Spurr.

Now the pond must leave aside some awareness of rumours of behind the doors thinking at the University of Sydney - that Spurr's attitudes and opinions and behaviour was already known within the University and they were of some concern, and that the current public controversy was therefore seized upon as a useful trigger for a long running sore.

Instead we must contemplate Henry's vigorous defence of a man silly enough to put allegedly private thoughts and private banter into the University email system:

One more time, for the record. The information technology policy of the University of Sydney – of which all staff are explicitly warned – is that their university emails are not private. It is a public institution.

You'll find that in a follow up story at New Matilda, Professor Barry Spurr Is The Smoking Gun Of Institutional Racism - which interalia refutes the stupidities of a Sharri Markson story - now there's a nanosecond wasted - while also providing an exchange of emails, in relation to a sexual assault:

The email reads as follows (and some names and details have been redacted to protect the privacy of the victim of the assault). 
TO: Barry Spur 
FROM: (CLOSE FRIEND) Goodness, what different times. Today, (A COLLEAGUE) told me of a problem at (A COMPANY). Some harlot (A WOMAN) went back to a room party when her key would not work and waiting, went to sleep on the bed. Another (PERSON AT THAT COMPANY) put his penis in her mouth, as you do, and she called the police. I told (MY COLLEAGUE) she was a worthless slut who will now cause this poor chap, who certainly did not adhere to Debretts, years of imprisonment with big black chaps because she is a worthless slut who should not have been there. In Dubai, she would be locked up as well. The muzzies are not all wrong about this.” 
Professor Spurr replied to the email the following day.  
Reeling from that story. Ye Gods. I think she needs a lot put in her mouth, permanently, and then stitched up. 
Professor Spurr then casually discusses a proposed lunch date, before relating a story which mocks a transgender person.

New Matilda addressed the 'out of context' issue  by offering up The Transcripts: The Partial Works Of Professor Barry Spurr. Poet, Racist, Misogynist, and what a fine body of linguistic word games it is ...

Screen Australia must be exceptionally pleased too.

Their channel gets a plug with views of Perth (here it is so you can see the catalogue of old government documentaries back in the days when the socialist Ming the merciless financed docs!), with the Australian government doc producing this Spurr comment:

Barry Spurr replies: 
No Abos, Chinky-poos, Mussies, graffiti, piercings, jeans, tattoos. BCP in all Anglican chruches (sic, possibly a NM transcription error?); Latin Mass in all Roman ones. Not a woman to be seen in a sanctuary anywhere. And no obese fatsoes. All the kiddies slim and bright eyed. Now utterly gone with the wind. 
 A delight, until things turn sour around 4.00 with the emergence of the darkies.

Now in reading the material,  to any commonsense reader with any ancient memories of Tamworth, it immediately becomes clear that these are not linguistic word games, in the sense of an author exploring dark material and dark views of the world.

They read instead as the expression of common prejudices in a frequently common way, and undoubtedly worthy of Tamworth in the 1950s.

There are others, but the pond almost forgot that other prof's valiant defence of the prof:


So let's return to that game.

Now the pond can't offer a link - that only leads to begging letters of demand from the paupers of the press - but you can google this:

...it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.
To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial. 
Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a div­orced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).

Now there's someone living in an alternative universe when it comes to literary criticism.

It only takes a couple of minutes actually reading the missives to realise Ergas is spouting defensive nonsense like a gargoyle on one of the university buildings ...

Good old Henry realises there's a hole in that bucket, so he brings forth another bucket:

It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poet­ics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communic­ation. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) (but sic so and thus, clearly not good old Henry) was an anti-Semite. 

Indeed, indeed, and if the pond may be so bold, noting the provisions of Godwin's Law, provided his views do not intrude on the way he exercises his political responsibilities, Herr Hitler's views on the Semites are no more relevant than those of T. S. Eliot (sic, so and thus).

It seems we must take the views of the likes of Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Knut Hamsun, Paul de Man, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Filippo Marinetti, Martin Heidegger, Robert Brasillach, Gertrude Stein (a committed supporter of Philippe Pétain), and others as we find them (and more on Stein here). Teach the joys of fascism and celebrate it when it's found in the y'artz.

To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’. 
Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’. 
In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise. 

This is desperate, pathetic twaddle, relying on a a parade of philosophical names, which falls at the first hurdle.

It seems the wayward prof. broke a simple, obvious rule on emails, of the kind almost everyone who has ever worked for any kind of institution, private or public, academic or corporate knows applies.

Indeed one of the many pleasures of Patrick Radden Keefe's excellent piece for The New Yorker, The Empire of Edge How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got entangled in a vast financial scandal - quick, outside the paywall at the moment -  know that their phones and emails and other communications are open slather for investigators and regulators and do their level best to find ways to disguise their insider trading.

It's only in academic la la land that people seem to believe they're immune from scrutiny and they have a right to privacy.

Is there an irony in that Australia's federal government is right at the moment passing laws intending to heighten Australian inspection of private lives, while good old Henry blathers on about Adam Smith?

Of course there is, but you won't find Henry head-butting Tony Abbott.

Instead all you'll cop is blather about the authoritarian left, because apparently there is no authoritarian right.

At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack. 

Wondrous stuff.

Yes, if it's proving difficult to defend your man, attack others:

Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice. 
But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf. 

Even more wondrous, because New Matilda is subscriber supported.

But how wildly and wonderfully and in what a woolly way dear old desiccated Henry carries his bucket far from the well ...

Paranoid, hysterical, you name it, it's way out there ...

And now we come to the crunch, and the pond suspects it's the real reason the reptiles have reacted with such vigour and defensiveness, sending out their third rate hacks like Markson but also enlisting their frontline academic fortifications like Henry and his bucket.

You see, no matter how you cut it, the controversy reflects badly on Christopher Pyne and his education review.

It confirms what many suspected all along, that the fix was in, and some of the fix was particularly nasty. The culture wars was always part of the game.

So we cop this from Henry's bucket:

Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price. 

Which brings us back to what New Matilda said about the hows and whys of the correspondence becoming public (link above):

... Professor Spurr has expressed outrage that his privacy has been breached, and that it has been done so illegally. 
One more time, for the record. The information technology policy of the University of Sydney – of which all staff are explicitly warned – is that their university emails are not private. It is a public institution. 
Generally speaking, New Matilda does not comment on issues related to sources and leaked documents. 
However, Ms Markson’s story – and the allegations leveled within it - are demonstrably false, and the public record requires correction. 
The first error is a suggestion that Professor Spurr’s email account was ‘hacked’. This is false. It did not occur. Neither New Matilda nor the source in the story hacked Professor Spurr’s account. 
The second error relates to a suggestion in Ms Markson’s article that the source was motivated by “payback” for Professor Spurr’s involvement in the National School Curriculum review. This is also false. 
While the source was broadly aware of Professor Spurr’s involvement in the review, the source was unaware of the contents of Professor Spurr’s submissions. 
What motivated the source to come forward was two specific email exchanges.

Uh huh.

Cut it how you will, there's a discordant note there, between Henry's frothing and foaming, and the reasons offered by New Matilda.

Now one of those two specific email exchanges was reproduced above, and for all Henry's bucket of whimsical word games, they make for a problematic read, and at the end of the day, the desiccated coconut knows it:

None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. 

Uh huh:

But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace. 
Reversing it should be an oblig­ation, as well as a priority.

Which is as weird a bit of special pleading as the pond has read in many a long year, but no doubt racists, homophobes, sexists, fundamentalists and rabid ratbags of the extreme right and extreme left will be pleased to have old Henry and his bucket sitting in the corner ready to duke it out with the Bolter next time he attacks an academic for holding views different to those of the Bolter and the kool aid drinkers in the Murdoch empire ...

Especially if they happen to be lefties routinely savaged by the Bolter ...

In your dreams ...

Now the pond pre-emptively apologises for talking of desiccated Henry and his bucket. It seems that sort of informality can send some academics into a rage and off on their high horse:

DATE: April 5, 2013 
FROM: Barry Spurr 
TO: University colleague, Friend, University colleague, University colleague, University colleague, Friend, Friend 
SUBJECT: The latest indignity and my response below it. 
 Professor Spurr forwards on an email from a disability services administrative assistant to his friends and colleagues. The email is address to a student with disability needs, and is CCed to Professor Spurr. It includes the student’s name and identifying information, and reads: 
 Dear [Student], 
 Barry has been in contact with Disability Services regarding your assessment adjustment request; subsequently, Barry has approved a one week extension instead of the standard extension period [which new Matilda understands is two weeks]. Please find attached an updated copy of your asssement adjustment notice reflecting this. Kind regards [Name Redacted]. 
Professor Spurr then responds to the administrative assistant – this below and the email above is what he shares with colleagues and friends, under the subject heading ‘The latest indignity and my response below it’. 
 Dear [administrative assistant], 
 Thank you for this but would please note in future that when referring to me in correspondence with undergraduates my title and surname are to be used – Professor Spurr. I have not given permission for my first name to be used and I do not want wish it to be so used in official communications with students. 
Yours sincerely Barry Spurr

You go em Bazza. That's how to win friends and influence people and get your assistants on side ...

Meanwhile, with the two Davids absent, it seemed the right time to dive into the First Dog archives here, for cartoons that might help Henry fill his bucket. These are from 2009, a reminder that things change only so they can stay the same:





Sunday, October 19, 2014

An important message from a dickhead economic robot ...

An important message from a man the pond hopes will someday become a sponsor. 

Here he is on the left:


Now for a little whimsical word game of the kind loved by university professors:



(And plenty more here)

And now for an abject apology.

The pond and its potential sponsor meant absolutely no harm, none at all, and would like to issue a clarification about all this idle talk about girlies:

 "I am not talking about girls. I am talking about economic girlie men.
I don’t think there’s anything gender specific here. 
Not girls, girlies, it’s very different. 
I hope you are not going to say I am a sexist misogynist." (here)

Now it has come to the pond's attention that somehow, mysteriously and inexplicably, the word "dickhead" appeared in the pond's header above.

The pond is full of abject remorse, and in the manner of that wonderful example (hey Matthias, have you considered sponsoring blogs to get your message out), the pond would like to present an explanation. It might be tricky to follow, but here we go:

We weren't talking about dicks.  We were talking about economic macho robot dickheads.
It should be remembered that unless the rare and largely unknown Terminator T-800a with penal attachment is ordered, the average robot comes without a penis.
We don’t think there’s anything gender specific there. 
Not terminators with penises, or if you will penes, but dickhead terminators, it’s very different. 
The pond hopes no one is going to say its a sexist or a misanthrope or worst of all a misandrist ...

Now remember, girlies are weak, pathetic, snivelling, difficult creatures, cry babies and dobbers, spoilsports and losers, put on the planet to make life hard for men. Oh they like ribbons and lipstick and pink, and the funniest insult you can round up to insult a man is to call him a girlie. But it's not gender specific.

Just like the pond isn't making Terminator jokes about economic robots ...

Afterthought: now you might think it would just be simpler for the pond to admit to a cheap sexist jibe, and move on. But how would that work as a role model for a site dedicated to loons?

And they keep saying only blondes are clueless ...


Risk management? Would you like some coal with that?




It's about time that someone in the mainstream media called out Tony Abbott for his luddite blinkered approach to the future, and Tom Allard does a tidy job of it in Why Abbott's faith in coal could be wrong - very wrong.

Who knows if the futurist celebrated by Allard - the indefatigable Elon Musk - will pull it off, but one thing is guaranteed, if he does manage to cut the cost of batteries, the imitative forces at work in Asia will do their best to produce cheap knock offs.

And that's just one of the futurist games in play in the United States.

These days Musk is a human headline machine, whether solar power, here, or driverless cars there.

Now the pond maintains a healthy scepticism about futurists - for every one called, 99 get left behind. On the other hand, for every product that worked and swept the world by storm, you can rustle up a hundred neighsayers who now contemplate their ass's arse.

And there's no doubt that there's a mood for change, and not just at the divestment level of small investors making a point about banks. (Climate change activists take aim at Australia's banks)

There was also John Hewson pointing out the enormous stupidity of sundry Liberals in relation to the ANU, proposing to offer academic institutions more freedom, then upset when freedom meant that they didn't form a conga line of dancers with jolly Joe (John Hewson and Malcolm Fraser blast Liberals over ANU divestment backlash). If a university can't be prudent and manage its future risks as it sees fit, what's the point of freedom?

One thing does seem likely however, and that's the way Abbott's praise for coal will come back to haunt him.

There were others that shared his blinkered vision, his expectation of business as usual, summarised by the blinkered Mark Kenny announcing Nothing to see here (and you can see that fop scribbling nothing here).

That piece was a reminder what Fairfax lost when Lenore Taylor skipped over to the Graudian and now pens pieces such as Tony Abbott's 'coal is good' line is familiar, and troubling.

Taylor took the time to put Kenny back in his box while putting Abbott in his place, by making the point he didn't have to sound quite so effusive, so uxorious about coal, so infatuated by its future:

... he is in direct disagreement with Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, who warned this week that “the vast majority of reserves are unburnable” if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change. 
No, he seems to be arguing that no transition is necessary – on the grounds that coal is “vital” for the future energy needs of the world. “Let’s have no demonisation of coal. Coal is good for humanity,” he says. 
Some commentators have actually claimed there was nothing else the prime minister could have said at the opening of a coalmine. Well, he could have started by explaining how a coal trajectory going “up and up and up” for decades can possibly be compatible with domestic and international climate goals.

Taylor had a few other points to make which suggested that there was in fact something to see here, and that there was indeed something going on:

He is certainly not arguing, as the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, did recently, that inaction on climate change is “killing people”. The World Bank board has said it will no longer fund coal-fired power stations in developing countries, except in rare circumstances where there are no feasible alternatives.


Now a further twist in this tale is that like John Howard, Abbott himself has looked towards technological and scientific solutions. Howard provided exactly the sort of fuzzy logic that motivates Abbott:

Howard promised to introduce an emissions trading scheme if re-elected in 2007. Even so, he tells me he has never been convinced of the dangers of climate change. Oh, he knows the scientists' predictions are dire, but surely they can come up with a technological solution. "Technology has solved so many things," he says. 
Anyway, can we believe the scientists? "I have an instinctive feeling that some of the claims about the planet warming are exaggerated." (Unbidden, an image comes into my mind of Menzies dismissing the risks of smoking.) (here)

So scientists can fix things, except scientists don't know what they're talking about ...

That's about on a par with the Abbott government saying they accept the importance of science, and then refusing to appoint a science minister, and instead appointing a gravel-voiced minister stuck in a wading pool and even then out of his depth ...

Or saying they understand the importance of a wired and technologically advanced clever country, and then sending out Malcolm Turnbull undercover to destroy the NBN.

Well for what it's worth, here's Allard on Abbott, and it's not just the greenies that got agitated:

...the remarks also produced gasps of incredulity among financial analysts. Markets have already let their views be known on coal's prospects - driving down prices by 60 per cent since their highs of 2011. 
While the government has been dismantling climate-change mitigation policies, acting as boosters for the mining industry and wreaking havoc among renewable energy firms, investors worldwide have been flocking to clean energy companies. 
As one writer observed, the investment banks now "sound like green NGOs". 
Citigroup believes coal demand is in structural decline. 
HSBC says traditional power plants will never see profitability "anything near" that of the past decade. 
Deutsche Bank won't finance polluting industries. 
"Australians have been sold the myth that the world has an insatiable and everlasting desire to buy our coal," says Kobad Bhavnagri, head of the Australian operation of Bloomberg New Energy finance. 
"The reality is demand for coal in the developed world is declining, and the developing world is turning as fast as it can to other sources of power. 
"At some stage coal is destined to become a low-value commodity, probably at a faster pace than many appreciate or are willing to admit. 
"Meanwhile, Australia's policymakers are doubling down on tying the economy to a fuel source of the past." 

And so on.

The pond has always thought that one of the weaknesses in certain strands of conservatism is the inherent incapacity to imagine alternate futures - that's the business of entrepreneurs - and it's a particular weakness when it comes to government.

There was little reason to expect a medievalist more in touch with transubstantiation than science or the intertubes to have much a grasp of how the world might turn. Yet turn it does.


Who in the 1950s could have imagined the social changes in western societies in the 1960s, yet the beat generation foreshadowed it. It's just that conservatives didn't want to know about it ... and then the hippies thought they'd inherit the earth. So it goes.

And ditto many of the other changes, social, economic, political and cultural in just the last fifty years, yet there's Abbott - despite the many changes it's already created in any number of industries - dismissing the intertubes as just an enhanced entertainment system.

Abbott has of late taken to sounding more like a fundamentalist preacher - blathering on about evil in the world as if he's trying out for a role in Elmer Gantry - when the real question is how well he is able to divine future trends, and provide a buffer for Australia against the changes that will inevitably come ...

In that context he is likely to prove an epic failure, and Malcolm Turnbull with him,  with the latter's dreams of leading the party and the country evaporating like dry ice each day he helps degut the clever country ...

As Allard notes, when confronted by home truths, the best the coalition can do is resort to shameless, blatant, outrageous lies of the denialist Joe Hockey kind, which suggest Hockey would have been better off selling used cars.

News Corp did their best to resist pointing out the length of Pinocchio's nose in Joe Hockey gets confused about Australia's gas emissions on BBC's Hardtalk show.

Gets confused? Bungled?

He knowingly and willingly lied, as is clear enough in Joe Hockey denies Australia one of the the dirtiest emitters of greenhouse gases (Fairfax forced video at end of link) and if it wasn't knowing, then he's clearly such a misinformed and ignorant hater of wind power that he should have resigned on the spot.

In the end, this isn't about ideology, or it shouldn't be, nor should it be party political. Especially as Bill Shorten daily offers signs that he's as clueless as your average Liberal.

It should be about managerial abilities, and institutional foresight. It should be about positioning and buffering and managing risks and warding off shocks.

So how are things shaping up amongst the Hockey and Abbott-led denialists in the risk management department? Cue Allard:

According to Erwin Jackson from the Climate Institute, the government's policies are "exposing communities and industries to massive shocks in the future".
"We are seeing a myopic view of the energy system which is entirely inconsistent with that of financial markets and policy developments in our trading partners," he says. "Where is the risk management?" 

To be sure, there are uncertainties with technologies like Tesla's lithium-ion batteries. The transformative impact many predict may fail to eventuate, or take much longer to come to pass. 
At the moment though, global investors are placing their bets firmly on clean energy and the coming "revolution" in power storage, as UBS has dubbed it. 

Meanwhile, Abbott is backing roads and mines and cars of the old fashioned kind and copper wire and coal, and possibly also cabbages and sealing wax and tin cans with string ...

It could turn out to be a rough ride ...

Yet no one could say they're surprised. Nicholson noted likely trends years ago:



Nothing to see here, except for the usual fundamentalists ...


After reading George Pell: Catholic church is not going to change its views on sexuality, you might wonder what was the point of the huge chin wag conducted by elderly unmarried men and about to be concluded with sundry announcements and pronouncements (well you can't count marriage to Christ as anything but weird and let's not talk about men getting married to men for the moment, even if one man carked it a couple of thousand years ago).

But there is a point, and it's a good one, and that's to provide a reminder to anyone interested that the repressive fundamentalist conservative activists in charge of the Roman church aren't going to give an inch, or if they do give an inch, it'll only be after they're dragged, shrieking and howling, to the precipice.

And it is these conservatives, these fundamentalists, who still carry clout in Australian society, unlike the very very small bunch of Islamic fundies running around rabbiting on about a caliphate and contributing to the fucking up of the middle east.

Pell was, maybe still is, the spiritual mentor to Abbott, a duplicitous politician who would sneak in behind closed doors to get advice on who knows what from the Pellists and then lie about it - maybe he wanted to avoid admitting he was getting a goodly dose of the Pellists' world acclaimed climate science insights, which amazingly still haven't attracted a Nobel prize.

There's been a lot of glitz and glamour surrounding Francis, but Pell is a bovver boy, knuckleheaded in-fighter of the old school, and he's clearly leading the rear guard action against all this nonsense about a more liberal stance emanating from Francis or the church in general. Hence all the chatter to cut any talk of change off at the pass.

Pell won't allow modest reforms in relation to actual Catholics, lest any kind of moderate stance lead to a domino effect. It's the usual slippery slope routine argument:

Cardinal Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said that only three out of 10 small groups of synod members accepted Cardinal Kasper’s controversial proposals. 
“Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some – very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers – it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” he said. 
“The Church cannot go in that direction.” (here)

Ah yes, those wretched homosexual unions.

Which reminds the pond. Come on down Mia Freedman, why not compare love amongst consenting adult gay people to paedophiles? (forced video at end of link).

Must do better next time Mia. Have you thought of comparing gay love to the sort of love a rubber fetishist has for rain coats, or perhaps the love of a diaper fetishist for nappies? How about linking it to Szilvester Matuska, who derailed trains and managed an orgasm watching them crash?

Back with the Pellists, you can bet the same sort of argument applies to allowing priests to get married rather than to burn.

Allow priests to form an emotional and romantic attachment to a woman and learn that having an enjoyable fuck isn't a trip to hell, as opposed to fiddling with young boys and girls, which is some sort of weird, perverse trip to an alternate Catholic heaven?

Oh no, the church cannot go in that Henry VIII direction, it's going so spiffingly well right now ...

Remember the press getting all excited about the new liberalism?

Remember the likes of The World Today doing excited interviews like Australian couple address Vatican bishops on why sex is important?

Remember the likes of the Huff huffing about stories like Vatican Proposes Dramatic Shift In Attitude Towards Gays, Same Sex Couples?

All a nonsense. The conservatives and the Pellists aren't going to have a bar of the Kasperite heretics, as is clear in stories like Cardinal Pell: "We're not giving in to the secular agenda; we're not collapsing in a heap."

Cardinal George Pell said working-group reports from the Synod of Bishops on the family finally give a true picture of the assembly's views, counteracting what he characterized as a misleading midterm report. 
"We wanted the Catholic people around the world to know actually what was going on in talking about marriage and the family and, by and large, I think people will be immensely reassured," Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, told Catholic News Service Oct. 16, the day the reports were published. 
 "We're not giving in to the secular agenda; we're not collapsing in a heap. We've got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches, according to the Catholic churches in one or two countries, and going out of business," he said. ... 
 The midterm report was "tendentious, skewed; it didn't represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers," said Cardinal Pell. "In the immediate reaction to it, when there was an hour, an hour-and-a-half of discussion, three-quarters of those who spoke had some problems with the document."

By speaking out, before matters are finalised, Pell has knocked the wind out of the sails of Francis and all the ersatz liberals who've been running around pretending times are changing in the church.

The hard men, the head kickers, still get to speak out, and assure the world that the Catholic church is at one with rabid ratbags of the fundie Islamic kind ... at least when it comes to the status of women and the position of gays in the world (some Islamic societies tend to more relaxed about divorce, provided it's decently patriarchal in tone and outcome).

This shouldn't come as a surprise. The Pellists fired off a warning shot back in September, full of the rhetoric you'd expect from a jihadist cultural warrior, as he took arms against the Kasperites:

On the opposite side, Cardinal Pell, Prefect for the Economy of the Holy See (Vatican Treasurer) has penned a foreword to a book challenging Cardinal Kasper. In The Gospel of the Family, by American and Spanish theologians, Cardinal Pell argues “indissolubility of marriage is one of the rich truths of divine revelation’’. 
Two thousand years of teaching based on Christ’s words “what God has formed together let no man put asunder’’ was an “insurmountable barrier’’ against change. “Were the decisions which followed Henry VIII’s divorce totally unnecessary?’’ Every opponent of Christianity wanted the church to capitulate, Cardinal Pell said. In reality, “the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive Communion is very small indeed’’. 
The pressure for change was from Europe, where increasing numbers of divorcees were not remarrying. “The issue is seen by both friends and foes of the Catholic tradition as a symbol; a prize in the clash between what remains of Christendom in Europe and an aggressive neo-paganism,’’ he writes. 
He concedes hurt and wounding were “inevitable’’ and calls for action to avoid widespread protests like those that followed Pope Paul VI’s affirmation of the church’s ban on contraception in 1968. “We should speak clearly, ­because the sooner the wounded, the lukewarm and outsiders realise that substantial doctrinal and pastoral changes are impossible, the more the hostile disappointment (which must follow the reassertion of doctrine) will be anticipated and dissipated,’’ ­Cardinal Pell says. Mercy and forgiveness were important, but so were the “essential links between mercy and fidelity, between truth and grace’’. “Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman who was threatened with death by stoning, but he did not tell her to keep up her good work, to continue unchanged in her ways. He told her to sin no more.” (the reptiles reporting on their favourite Catholic jihadist - google the text because a link only leads to a frame filling begging letter from the paupers of the press)

Much of this is nonsense - the Church has never been a monolith of conservatism, and in reality when it has made profoundly stupid stands - like its attitude to contraception - it has simply lost its way with its flock, who note that individual conscience is paramount, and if they want to avoid a pregnancy, they will, and not in the stupid ways approved by a church which can be as fundamentalist and as patriarchal and as conservative as your average barking mad Islamic fundie ...

But the Pellists haven't left Francis with much room to move. It's likely the best he can do will be a little window dressing and fiddling at the edges, as the conservatives win the day. We'll know soon enough ...

It's the same sort of barking mad conservatism that infests the angry Sydney Anglicans. The pond is still marvelling at the Jensenists opening line for The view from the top, still featured on the front page of the angry Anglican site:

In an age of tolerance poisoned by relativism, inclusive multi-culturalism, and cultural sovereignty which is still coping with the guilt of colonialism, any exclusive claim to truth, salvation or God has to be challenged.

Poisoned by tolerance and inclusion.

Because intolerance and exclusion is the angry Anglican way ...

Now that's worthy of a barking mad mullah.

Speaking of the point of much of this jihadism - which is not just religious, so much as social, cultural, political and patriarchal in intent, and speaking of barking mad mullahs and speaking of the need to offend all the major religions in an even-handed way - the pond was reminded of a recent piece in The New Yorker about a garbage man in Cairo.

Inter alia, reading Peter Hessler's Tales of the Trash - hurry, it's outside the paywall right now - the pond learned more about garbage and ordinary lives in Cairo than was immediately relevant, but the story when it came to women was all too familiar:

Sayyid and most of his siblings were born in Cairo, but like many residents of the capital they maintain strong links to their ancestral village, which is the source of most ideas about family. In Sayyid’s extended family, most women wear the niqab, but the reason seems to be more cultural than strictly religious. It’s a point of pride and possession for the men—Sayyid says that his wife wears it because she’s beautiful, and if she shows her face in the street she’ll be coveted by strangers and harassed. And other traditions serve to control women in more explicit ways. One evening, Sayyid and I were watching my twin daughters play in the garden, and he asked casually if I planned to have them circumcised. I looked at the girls—they were all of three years old—and said no, this wasn’t something we intended to do. The majority of Egyptian women have undergone the surgery, which opponents describe as genital mutilation. Since 2008, it’s been illegal, but many people continue to have it performed on daughters, usually when they’re between the ages of nine and twelve. In Egypt, Islamists are the biggest supporters of the procedure, which, among other effects, makes intercourse less pleasurable for a woman. But in fact this tradition is not mentioned in the Koran, and Muslims in most parts of the world don’t practice it. Originally, it was a tribal custom native to many parts of Africa. 
 I asked Sayyid if he planned to have the surgery performed on his daughter, and he nodded. “Otherwise, women are crazy for dakar,” he said, using a word that means “male.” “They’ll be running around outside the house, chasing men.” 
 For traditionally minded Egyptians, this is a common view: desire should be limited to males, who do what they can to heighten it. All those sex drugs in the garbage of Zamalek aren’t an anomaly—in Egypt, I’ve had a number of casual conversations in which the topic turns to sex, and a man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pill, to show that he’s prepared. Usually, it’s some version of Viagra, but for Sayyid’s class the drug of choice is often tramadol, a prescription painkiller. Cheap versions are manufactured in China and India, and in 2012 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that there were five billion tramadol pills in Egypt, a staggering number in a country of eighty-four million.

Islamic, angry Anglican and Pellist fundamentalists - not so different under the skin.

Oh sure, these days it's only boys who cop genital mutilation in Australia, and there the Jews can take the credit, but the ritual downplaying, humiliation and exclusion of gays and women is still the work of church men as deeply disturbed and as fearful of certain kinds of sexuality as that Cairo garbage man ...

And you can throw in Liberal politicians as a bonus. Girly man? A man who fucked up California and his marriage is a role model for macho Mathias? (Mathias Cormann channels Arnie)

Yep, as deeply disturbed and as fearful as that Cairo garbage man, but no doubt grateful Julie Bishop keeps bailing out Abbott's flailing, failing government of he men ...

And so to a few cartoons.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

The things that you're liable to read, thanks to the bible, and thanks to Prof Spurr and the reptiles at the lizard Oz too ..

(Above: R. Crumb, click to enlarge)

Professor Spurr recommended a return to the Bible - which he believes is the foundational text of Western civilisation - with tales like Noah’s Ark to be a focus... (The Australian, here)

Because the pond can never get enough tales of a genocidal maniacal patriarchal god willing to wipe out all life on earth except for a chosen few ... 

And what better role model for interventionist big government wanting to pick winners?

And because the pond can never get enough incitement to violence, what with the way the bible explains exactly why western civilisation has been riddled by wars, racism, violence, imperialism and colonialism, all given a free pass by example:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:2-3, and more incitements to violence here).

Don't forget the goats!

Take that Islamic fundies, there's how to do fundamentalism.

Of course if you follow Rusty's interpretation of the text, Noah was a brooding drunk with mental health issues - as you'd expect of a conspirator in genocide with sexual issues in the family - who stumbles into Lord of the Rings, but that too might help explain why Christopher Pyne is Christopher Pyne ...

Will the poodle ever get suspended?

Nope, it's back to the future, and More bible study, less dreaming stories, less enjoyment, more memorising ...

Will his minions tease out the implications in the Noah story? 

The chosen people routine that still leads to tears, the nonsense of a 600 year old man, the essential stupidity of a creation myth designed to make the Aboriginal Dreaming seem not such a bad idea....

Nope, it will be nothing more than a blip, a road bump, on the road traversed by Pyne's crazed cultural warriors in a bid to bring back the 1950s...

With any luck, these brave jihadists, these cultural warriors, will reduce Australia to the fundamentalisms they deplore in Islam, peddling religious tales of ultimate violence and wickedness ...



So how are the brave Xian warriors hanging in for the weekend?



Oh dear, a woman has had to do all the work and pick up the pieces and once again restore some semblance of domestic sanity, after the foaming of the crazed bovver boy bully patriarch ...

Detailed and constructive talks? Gained assurances from Putin? Didn't bluster and froth and foam?

You know, it might just occur to someone in the Liberal party, just before the next election they might be better off  dumping the bully, and hiding behind a skirt, and nothing wrong with that ...

But what's this?

Has Abbott been shirt fronted on his doorstep?

Not really, not if you read Joko Widodo's blunt warning to Prime Minister Tony Abbott (forced video at end of link), but the chances of the blundering bull in the pottery shop doing some damage to bilateral relations remains high...

Where does this leave national security?

(and more Leunig here)

Which brings the pond to an honourable mention, a weekend tip of the hat, with Moir establishing the tone:



(and more Moir here)

You see over at the lizard Oz, there has been no more diligent, hard-working reptile beavering away at the coal face of climate science doubt, fear, scepticism and denialism than Graham Lloyd.

And hallelujah, he's at it again today:



It's a classic text, reminiscent of all those efforts of diligent journalists over the years explaining that all the talk of the harmfulness of tobacco was much exaggerated, or just plumb wrong.

In the end, only science was certain to be ruined for its unscientific attacks on poor harmless tobacco ...

Now the pond won't provide a link to A pause for this message: climate change numbers aren't adding up, because it would only lead to a tasteless begging letter from the paupers of the press, but you can google this:

Science, like climate, can take a long time to change direction. 

When Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri first acknowledged to this newspaper in February last year the existence of a pause in global surface temperatures of more than a decade, his comments were met with incredulity. 
But as the political and diplomatic world strives to deliver meaningful action on climate change, momentum is building behind the controversial view that the numbers don’t add up. 
A rising chorus of literature in the world’s best scientific journals and most prestigious opinion pages has argued the climate change math is flawed. Like a freight train that has left the station, questions about an 18-year “hiatus” in global average surface temperatures and the location of “missing” heat from the climate system are building a head of steam.

There, that's an excellent head of steam.

The point you see is to argue the controversy, teach the controversy, print the controversy, and in the process raise saucy doubts and fears.

Is science failing, is it in crisis, has it lost its way, is it losing its direction?

Is it all due to not being brought up on tales of Noah's Ark? Or is it because scientists were fed too many tales of Noah's Ark and became obsessed with rising seas in their infancy?

Are there doubts about science going - gasp - post-modernist?

It is a crucial time for science. 
Garth Paltridge, former chief research scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and chief executive of the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre, fears the rise of “postmodern” science. In the world of postmodern science, he says, results are valid only in the context of society’s beliefs, and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. 
 “Postmodern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately man­ipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the politics of the government of the day,” Paltridge says.

But why has that sort of defamatory twaddle been introduced into the discussion?

Well because it raises doubts, it raises concerns. There are dangerous signs that science is pretty post-modernist weird, and might even have left Noah's Ark behind.

The other techniques are equally familiar.

Do a tour of familiar deniers and sceptics, and pump up the volume on their scepticism and doubts.

But first, be careful. Establish a tone of balance:

Michael Asten, from the school of earth atmosphere and environment at Monash University, says there have been 15 articles commenting on and analysing the pause, or hiatus, published by the top journal group Nature in the past two years. 
 “While opinions on causes differ, existence of the pause is settled; only activists dare claim the pause in global temperature does not exist,” Asten says.

Ah activists, with their saucy doubts and fears. Come on down, Judith Curry. She agrees with Partridge that science has gone post-modern. She has a most impressive list of credentials. She raises saucy doubts and fears, and is given much space.

But remember, you too are only teaching the controversy, and so it's important to put up some balancing comments.

Come on down, Amanda Mckenzie from the Climate Council, come on down David Karoly from the school of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne...

And after all that, come on down Greg Hunt, and let us not talk of walri this day.

But what's that? It seems the minister might have been nobbled, it seems that all he can do is parrot instructions issued by his minders:

Responses from Australia’s key science organisations show they remain in lock-step with the IPCC and their advice is accepted by Environment Minister, Greg Hunt. 
Helen Cleugh, science director at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, says measurements do show that the rate at which global mean surface temperature has warmed in the past decade is less than the previous decade. However, while the rate of increase is lower, the temperatures are not lower, she says. Measurements across the oceans and Earth system as a whole show that warming has continued unabated. “A reduction in the rate of warming (not a pause) is a result of short-term natural variability, ocean absorption of heat from the atmosphere, volcanic eruptions, a downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle, and other impacts over a short time period,” Cleugh says. After taking advice from the Bureau of Meteorology, Hunt tells Inquirer the warming of the climate system is “unequivocal”. “The climate system, which ­includes the atmosphere, oceans, land and ice has continued to ­accumulate heat over the last 18 years,” Hunt says. Although there has been a slower rate of atmospheric warming during the past 18 years, this does not undermine the fundamental physics of global warming, the scientific basis of climate models or the estimates of climate sensitivity.

Yes, there you go, he's just recycling the propaganda that's been drilled into his brain. Note the key words ... he remains in "lock-step", and is forced to take advice, and once he's taken the advice, he's "unequivocal".

Put it another way, a pathetic, broken hack of a post-modernist who doesn't know squat about anything (sssh, please don't mention the walri).

But wait, in a valiant, bold move, he's broken free from his minders, he suspects that there might be another side to the story, he offers hopes that it can all be sorted with a green army here and there.

However, he says he is “exceptionally interested” in the latest reports that there may be even greater capacity for plants and soil to absorb carbon. “While this will be the subject of significant global research over coming years, it underscores the importance of protecting the great rainforests of the world and helping to revegetate our landscapes,” he says. 

Yes, direct action for a problem that might well not exist.

Why it might even be possible, even at this late stage, to re-investigate tobacco and discover its dangers have been much exaggerated ...

What else? Well you have to mention Christine Milne, even though or perhaps because everyone knows she's a rabid zealot and a post-modernist.

And it's wise to do a tour of the Brit Met and BoM, before returning to the nub, the heart of the saucy doubts and fears.

Dispute, disconnect, less credible, heat gone missing from the oceans, the missing heat was never there, yadda yadda ...

And here, by implication, you show where your heart really belongs, to the saucy doubts and fears.

Sure, you've done your best to teach the controversy, but you have to end on a high, you have to end strong, you have to note that postmodernist climate science is about to reduce centuries of hard-won tradition to rubble:

Whatever you've read in the preceding pars, you will be left with those final saucy doubts and fears.

Paltridge says that the prospect of “missing heat” being located in the oceans is a double-edged sword. 
 “We are being told that some internal oceanic fluctuation may have reduced the upward trend in global temperature,” he says. 
 “It is therefore more than a little strange that we are not hearing from the IPCC that some natural internal fluctuation of the system may have given rise to most of the earlier upward trend. 
 “In light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seri­ously overstating the climate problem in its effort to promote the cause. 
 “It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour.” 

Well the truth is, given the way Lloyd has structured and concluded his piece, we have to conclude that Lloyd risks destroying the reputation of himself and the reptiles of the lizard Oz ...

Oh wait, Lloyd and the lizard Oz already have sweet bugger all by way of reputation when it comes to climate science ...

And this outing shows why. It's superficial, shoddy, its intent so naked, so obvious, it's methodology so blatant, that it sheds neither heat nor light on the state of the science ...

You will note that not much science has crept into the pond's notes on Lloyd. But that's because there's bugger all in Lloyd ... just headlines and summaries all designed to lead to the notion that climate science is likely to destroy the reputation of science for centuries to come ...

Here's the thing. What's the point of ending with the defamatory suggestion that somehow all the current science is dishonest, and when it's exposed, its dishonesty will destroy the reputation of science for centuries to come ...

Because that's the tone, that's the taste in the mouth, that Lloyd wants to leave with his readers ...

Because, it seems, mug punters have a blind religious faith in science and scientists?

By golly, it's time for a series of incisive stories about postmodernist science and tobacco ... thanks be to Noah ...



... oh okay, that's only an excuse to provide a link to Fangate, and The Absolute Weirdest Thing Ever to Happen At A Political Debate... with bonus close up of fan, and video link that kills a minute or four ...

The pond has no excuse for the one below, except that Prof Spurr would surely approve:



(A note: Readers might see a difference in font and presentation in this post. It would seem that changes have been unilaterally introduced by Blogger. Some might like the larger size, some might not notice, and meanwhile the pond is off deep in HTML land).

Friday, October 17, 2014

In which the pond is entranced by whimsical word games sure to make it to someone's Xmas list ...



The pond is shattered.

Apparently "gutted" is the boofhead word of the day. Gutted a man would prefer to get concussion in America when there's plenty of concussion on hand in Australia ...

But forget the sporting cliches that give spiritual life and dimension to this country.

You see, every day without fail the Abbott government via its ministers has contributed a word of the day, whether bigot, walrus or shirtfront, but today we seem to be in something of a word shortage, a word crisis.

The head boofhead has been a real team leader, an inspiration to Team Australia, showing how to stick foot in mouth and produce a disease your average sheep would envy ... (Go on, Greg Hunt it, you know you're tempted ...)

But today? Silence ...

This is disturbing because soon enough we'll be seeing people compile their '20 most silliest things the Abbott government said or did in the year', and what's more, without any regard for the English language.

Now luckily the '20 most silly Murdoch journalists, headlines and stories' is well in hand, with the likes of Sharri Markson capable of filling the list on their investigative own, and the '20 dumbest members of the commentariat' is a no brainer. The only argument is how many Murdochians to exclude to keep the list down to a reasonable size ...

As for the word shortage, it turns out that Barry Spurr has raced to help out the Abbott government. And what do you know, it's New Matilda that discovered the cache:


Now you can read that story here, but the interesting thing to note is that it was written by Chris Graham and Wendy Bacon.

Oh lordy lordy, not Wendy 'bringing home the bacon and the scoop' Bacon.

Whatever will Sharri, who performed such an amazing piece of undercover investigation, say?


Oh miaow ...

You see at the bottom of the story comes this little payback:

A source within the University of Sydney, connected to the School of Letters, Art and Media (SLAM) - which includes the English Department - has confirmed that the emails were sent from Professor Spurr’s official university email address. 
Ironically, SLAM has been the subject of an ongoing attack in The Australian newspaper this week, with Media Editor Sharri Markson alleging the journalism department at the University of Sydney has been “brain-washing” students with biased, left-wing course material which attacks conservatism and rubbishes her employer, News Corporation.

Oh dear, payback's a bitch and karma's even worse.

But back to the good Prof, and the fact that the Fairfaxians didn't even have the decency to provide a working link to New Matilda in their rip off of the story, here, and the actual contents of the emails, which the pond has to say conform to all the requirements for a good "shirtfront, walrus bigoted" day ...

A University of Sydney Professor – employed by the federal government as a specialist consultant to review the national English curriculum – has described the Prime Minister as an “Abo lover” while at the same time advising the government to focus less on teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature in our nation’s schools, and place greater emphasis on western Judeo-Christian culture. 
In email correspondence that spans more than two years, Barry Spurr, the nation’s leading Professor of Poetry, describes Aboriginal people as ‘human rubbish tips’ and “Abos”, and rails against the prevalence of Aboriginal culture in school curriculums, and within politics. But the exchanges are not just limited to First Nations people. 
Professor Spurr also takes aim at “bogans” “fatsoes”, “Mussies” and “Chinky-Poos”, and laments the reality that Australia is less white than it was in the 1950s. 
He calls Nelson Mandela a “darkie” and Desmond Tutu a “witch doctor”; describes his University of Sydney chancellor Belinda Hutchinson as “an appalling minx”; likens Methodists to “serpents”; refers to women as “whores”; and in response to a comment about a female victim of a serious sexual assault being a “worthless slut”, he suggests that she needs more than just ‘penis’ put in her mouth, before it’s “stitched up”. 
In one email, Professor Spurr tells university colleagues and friends that 95 per cent of the students at Australian universities – including, presumably his own – should not be studying at tertiary institutions, and remarks that a colleague who publicly advanced that argument will be “derided as elitist, fascist, misogynist – the usual litany”. 
“[But] he’s completely right. One day the Western world will wake up, when the Mussies and the chinky-poos have taken over,” he adds. 
Even the “modern Brit” comes in for a serve, described by Professor Spurr as “the scum of the earth”.

Wow, and Sharri with nose out of joint and egg on her face, could it get any better?

Well yes, it could, because the good prof's explanations and excuses are way better than the language deployed:

Professor Spurr has this morning defended his email exchanges, telling New Matilda they were clearly intended to mock the “very extreme language” used. 
 “The comments that you refer to are largely to one recipient with whom I have had a whimsical linguistic game for many years of trying to outdo one another in extreme statements".

Sounding like a bogan in Tamworth in the 1950s is a whimsical linguistic game?

Whimsical?

Like Lewis Carroll?

Well stone the fucking crows, the pond can get on board with that one. Many a gay hour was spent laughing at the Chinks for offering us luck soup because they couldn't say their 'd's' and never mind that they were handing it out to the white trash for free ...

“What I say about the place of the study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and literature in the curriculum is my considered professional view and not in any way influenced by these email exchanges which are linguistic play, and the numerous students of different races and of colour with whom I have worked for many years will testify that I have treated them with the same equity and dignity that I treat all my students. 
“I find it astonishing that you would think that I would seriously hold those views and not realise, as a journalist, that these are emails of mock-shockng (sic) repartee, mocking, in fact, that very kind of extreme language.”

Oh dear, poor old prof. Is that all you've got? Linguistic play? Repartee? Mock-shocking?

Satirical fun?

The pond finds it astonishing you think that's going to get you out of jail ...

Could it have come at any worse time for the poodle?

In an email written in April 19 this year, sent to two friends outside the University of Sydney, Professor Spurr reveals that Education Minister Christopher Pyne – the man who appointed him to the review – wants him to compare Australian school curriculums with curriculums from other countries. 
“The Californian high school English curriculum has arrived (as Pyne wants me to compare ours with other countries). Another 300 pages of reading! 
 “And whereas the local curriculum has the phrase ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ on virtually every one of its 300 pages, the Californian curriculum does not ONCE mention native Americans and has only a very slight representation of African-American literature (which, unlike Abo literature, actually exists and has some distinguished productions).” 
 In response to that specific discrepancy, Professor Spurr explained this morning: “My considered view is that it is very small, perhaps not zero precisely, so I used the term 'slight' to be as positive as I could be.”

Oh dear, that's not just linguistic word games, that's aimed right at the heart of the Poodle's dearest wishes and desires.

Well about this time in proceedings, there's always a call for a bowl of water, and a ritual washing of paws, and if possible, it's always handy to have a cock standing by ready to crow three times ...

Come on down poodle, do your poodle thing:


No, not that one, the pond can find that sort of press release puffery any day of the week at the poodle's kennel here.

No, what we expected was this one:

"The minister utterly rejects and finds repugnant the denigration of any minority on the basis of their sex, race, sexual orientation or beliefs," a spokesman said. 
"The appointment was not made by the government. The minister and his office had no input into the selection of any subject expert. Professor Spurr's alleged private emails are a matter for him."

Actually poodle there's a fair bet that the alleged private emails will become a matter for you, especially if you read Wendy Bacon's background blog on the whole story under the header More bible study, less dreaming stories, less enjoyment, more memorising ...

It turns out tht the poodle has been spending a lot of time with the IPA indulging in warm ups and knees up for the culture wars, though a lot of it slipped under the radar, unless you happened to visit the poodle's kennel to read items like the poodle launching a monograph on western civilisation.

And he was maintaining the culture wars rage, as only a poodle can, a few days ago on Lateline here:

EMMA ALBERICI: You talk about an absence of ideology. The report says the curriculum lacks focus on our Judeo-Christian heritage. Should that really be a priority? 
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Sure. That's not ideological. That's simply a statement of fact about what kind of country we are and where we've come from. So, before 1788, our history was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history almost exclusively. Since that time, obviously since colonisation, Western civilisation, our Judeo-Christian heritage has been the basis of our development as a nation. So therefore, learning about where we've come from is not ideological, it's simply learning about where we've come from. 
 EMMA ALBERICI: So does the Government specifically want to see more Christian teaching in schools? 
 CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No. And that's not what that recommendation says. It's not about teaching more Christianity, it's teaching our heritage. The fact that we are basically European since 1788 and that we've struggled in the last couple of hundred years to reconcile colonisation with our Indigenous heritage, and more recently we've been getting better at that and we want to get even better at that into the future. But knowing about our Western heritage is not repudiating our Indigenous heritage and it's not Christianity, it's just history.

Of course you won't find Alberici shouting at and talking over a poodle - she only does that when she has an Islamic fundie on hand to whip up a tabloid storm - so there was no way she was going to challenge that sort of fatuous tripe about western civilisation ...

Or that line "teaching the heritage" which is right up there with "teaching the controversy" ...



Let's face it, if the pond may borrow from Spurr, when the wogs came here to help build the Snowy Mountains scheme, you wouldn't find too many dancing in the streets and talking of western civilisation at the sight of all the wogs invading the country ...

What's that? Can't you spot a little whimsical word play when you see it?

Oh okay, it just slipped out, like a Tamworth hoppy toad, but never mind, we're just teaching the heritage ...

In short, what a relief, what salvation is at hand in our Judeo-Christian hour of need ...

And so the pond can go out into the world today reassured that the Abbott government linguistic follies will continue, and there's absolutely no need today to read the reptiles at the lizard Oz, though it's looking like a mighty fine, classy, feisty filly broadsheet:



The horse's mouth! Gulley Jimson lives ...

But it should be noted that Kenneth Wiltshire has today contributed a very learned, very solemn, very serious piece for the reptiles with National curriculum review has come up with evidence-based advice (warning, you'll cop a begging letter from the paupers of the press)

You can use this text to google if you like:

The concept of values in a curriculum has generated much interest and once again it is significant that all the top performing countries have a curriculum founded on civic as well as personal values. The common expressions include being a good global citizen, respecting the environment, tolerance and consideration for others, learning to share, distinguishing right from wrong, taking pride in your work, and often a strong dash of patriotism, as in Singapore. Many of these values can be taught in the home but there is a definite place for them in schools as well. 
Many people seem to have been surprised at the mention of spirituality in the review report. Some people seem to think that the reviewers have made this up. However, spirituality appears in some form in the curriculum of many countries. In England the wording is that every state-funded school must offer a curriculum that is balanced and broadly based and that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school, and of society. The concept also has long been part of the values base in many Australian states and territories. 
However, the most important factor is that the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, which is the foundation for the current Australian curriculum, says quite explicitly that schools play a vital role in promoting the intellectual, physical, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development of young Australians. It states: “The curriculum will enable students to understand the spiritual, moral and aesthetic dimensions of life.”

Indeed, indeed, indeed, provided we can keep the abos and the wogs and the chinky poos in their place ...

Oh and there's a caveat:

And for the record, contrary to some assertions, there was no attempt by politicians to interfere with the review process.

Oh indeed, and who'd need a poodle when you could get a classy prof adept at linguistic word games ...

And now to further shattering news:

Damned furriners with their damned funny ways ... 

Sheesh, what's wrong with head butting Islamics in burqas, shirtfronting Vlad the impaler, and running the country like it's 1984?

It's the heritage you bloody furriners ...

Never mind, their loss is Australia's gain ...

(Below: and the original First Dog here).