Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caroline Overington, Barnaby Joyce, debt and a poetic paean of praise to the joys of debt and love ...

(Above: Caroline Overington).

It being a quiet day on the pond - a sex-free Sunday in Lent, Tony Abbott style - it seemed worthwhile taking a look back over the hits and meaningless memories of the past week.

How about Barnaby Joyce in The Australian offering up Labor has partied hard but now we face the debt hangover?

With his talk of net debt gross, public and private, and colourful apocalyptic warnings about grasping the nettle, stating the bleeding obvious, five beers at breakfast, a bottle of scotch with your wheaties, eclectic economic trinkets, cars doing hot laps on a Friday night in downtown Dubbo, the biggest flop since the Leyland P76, putting ceiling insulation under R for res ipsa loquitur, fiscal bouquets, sticking things to the wall with a piece of Blu-Tack, and other rural homilies and insights, the lad from Danglemah, out Tamworth way, was in fine fettle. Frisky as a foal in the top paddock, and after the canter, his coat flecked with honest rural sweat, snorting and making as much sense as a paid up member of the Lyndon LaRouche gang on the subject of debt.

And doesn't once again remind you of how much we've lost since they stopped teaching Latin! Discover more about Res ipsa loquitur here, and become a Latin legal egg head like Barnaby.

It was so incoherent that Michael Stutchbury, economics editor for The Australian, felt the need to offer a commentary in Chinese can fund our boom, in which Stutchbury dissed Barnabynomics, but then held it up as a shining example of how talking blather is a sure way to cut through in the regions. I guess talk of a day of reckoning is no more than we regularly get on a Sunday, with talk of the impending rapture, and it surely makes economics more fun than a dismal science.

Stutchbury does his best to shore up Barnabynomics, despite the Reserve Bank trying to pour oil on the troubled waters, even calling on Ross Garnaut to help out, but there's no way around it. If you've lost a few sheep in the back paddock, there's no way you're going to end up the sharpest knife in the drawer.

And then there's Tony Abbott talking of the worst administrative disaster in recent federal history, as if the amazing follies of the Australian Wheat Board shovelling money down the throat of Saddam Hussein's regime can now be quietly forgotten. What a hoot. Well I guess the $39.5 million settlement of the class action is a hell of a lot less than the alleged $290 million plus the AWB handed over to Saddam between 1999 and 2003 (here).

I'm sure we all fondly remember all the mortified, unhappy, apologetic Howard government ministers resigning, falling on their sword, accepting responsibility, and bending over backwards to apologise for a government instrumentality providing such haven and comfort to such a well known deviser of weapons of mass destruction and supporter of terrorists, so brazen and hideous it took a righteous war to stop him.

Indeed, it revives fond memories of Caroline Overington's Kickback: Inside the Australian Wheat Board Scandal.

Which sadly brings us to the real business of the day. Overington has already won a Crikey Wankley for her epic work, but it surely deserves to be celebrated and sung across the Pacific, as Homer's tales of Achilles and Agamemnon and Odysseus and Penelope and Telemachus once echoed around the Mediterranean.

Overington is Greg's poet laureate is the Crikey citation for honourable scribbling, but for the real juice of the goose, for the fully resplendent weirdness, you have to head off to On the hunt for a Liberal dose of love.

Using the excuse that Imre Salusinszky penned passionate words and a poem about Penny Wong - a Google search for the exact words by Salusinszky quoted by Overington draws a blank - Overington proceeds to deliver up a poem to Greg Hunt. Perhaps Salusinsky had a change of heart? Never mind, Overington's opus is freely available:

I've lost my heart to Greg Hunt
You know him, he's the Liberals' runt
I mean that in the nicest way
He's the little one (no, not him; he's gay)
You know Greg Hunt, he rides a bike
But will he let me feel his Newspoll spike?
Here he comes now, cycling free
(Let's speak not of his brother, Mike.)
Here he comes now, cycling free
Did you know he had a dicky knee?

Greg Hunt, won't you take a punt?
Don't foil-insulate yourself from me
Greg Hunt, won't you take a punt?
Forgive me, yes, I know I'm blunt
With your little hands and your pretty voice
Don't resist -- it's a cupid stunt.
With your little hands and your pretty voice
It makes me think of words like hoist
It's true, your leader won't
(But Tony never was pro-choice.)
It's true, your leader won't
(Those Catholic rules, they just won't move)
But it's his hair shirt, and his cilice
(Greg, best we avoid the Louvre.)

After basking in that of skittish clever word play, full of high conceits and clever rhymes, words utterly fail me.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night
... (here if you want to Howl).

You know, there are moments in life which we all dread. Getting pissed at the office Xmas party and doing silly things must surely score a mention in many lists. Sniffing seats would rate strongly for WA politicians.

Writing love letters to people who turn into ex-girl or boyfriends, who then hoist them on a petard for all to see, is also social death, though at least it's the ex being the prick, rather than the wide eyed innocent who penned the words of yearning and love.

But what prompted Overington to be such a right royal git and fool, doing the sort of thing you might do as a fifteen year old in a bid to attract the attention of a boy in class, only to blush bright red when he does actually pay attention?

Did she think no one would notice? It's true there are no comments - perhaps they had to moderate all the abusive ones out, leaving nil to go up, or perhaps they just disabled the comment button - but this wretched folly is now cached, and available in digital form forever on the full to overflowing intertubes.

Why am I reminded of C. J. Dennis's The Sentimental Bloke, available in full here?

The world 'as got me snouted jist a treat;
Crool Forchin's dirty left 'as smote me soul;
An' all them joys o' life I 'eld so sweet
Is up the pole.
Fer, as the poit sez, me 'eart 'as got
The pip wiv yearnin' fer -- I dunno wot.

I'm crook; me name is Mud; I've done me dash;
Me flamin' spirit's got the flamin' 'ump!
I'm longin' to let loose on somethin' rash....
Aw, I'm a chump!
I know it; but this blimed ole Springtime craze
Fair outs me, on these dilly, silly days.

The young green leaves is shootin' on the trees,
The air is like a long, cool swig o' beer,
The bonzer smell o' flow'rs is on the breeze
An 'ere's me, 'ere,
Jist mooching around like some pore, barmy coot,
Of 'ope, an' joy, an' forchin destichoot.

Of course, of course. I'm reminded just how much alike Overington's and Dennis's skills as poets are as one, the pore, barmy coots.

Poor Greg Hunt, and him married, and with a daughter and a son, and now a subject of Overington's poetical skills. As a result, poor Barnaby Joyce is left trailing in the dust, as we must agree that Overington can now be dubbed, Keith Olbermann style, the worst poet in the world, nee hall of shamer.

At least until tomorrow, and someone else seeks to establish The Australian as the home of a Homeric pantheon of poets ...

Or you Think. Again.

(Below: and let's not hope there's a ding dong row as the course of love hits troubled waters).

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