Friday, February 12, 2010

Malcolm Farr, and My School for dipsticks ...

(Above: screen cap of the Daily Terror splash. While it's just a cap, never fear, the links to the stories are down below. We know loons must get their fish, or the squawking on the pond will never stop).

Gratuitous stupidity is everywhere in the media, always has been and always be.

Devotees can always rely on the Daily Terror to provide splendid examples.

Why not catch up on the perils of Tony Abbott, as he finally learns how to do the ironing? (Abbott: I learnt to iron this week).

But if you do - after all, ironing is a crucial skill for women, and fellow travellers seeking their vote - make sure you also take a gander at Malcolm Farr's Battle of fibros vs silvertails at the next election.

In a silly year destined to see much silliness trotted out for the election silly season, surely Farr has fired off an early cannon in a bid to be dubbed 'prime goose of the year'.

The Terror dubs Farr "one of the nation's most influential (and interesting) political commentators", and advises us if we "Want to understand what's going on in Canberra?" then we should ask Mal.

Well on a slow news day, with clearly nothing to scribble about, and clearly nothing on an empty mind, Farr does what will now become a relentless kind of ersatz factoid tabloid insight.

Yep, he drags My School data from the website, and uses it to beat up a story about the educational backgrounds of Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd:

The choice for Australia is now clear: it is Nambour High or Riverview College.

Old boys from one of the two schools will be running the nation's economy after the next election because of an unprecedented education coincidence.

Oh dear, I see once again we're back in the land of Thomas Carlyle, writing about heroes and hero worship. Never mind the political process, let's just reduce it to the product of two schools. Because you see, there's the remarkable, amazing educational coincidence at work.

Unprecedented, and even decidedly uncommon. Perhaps even a bit of a rum do.

Yep, what an extraordinary coincidence that we have two sets of heavyweights from two different campuses contending for the control of the nation's finances. I feel faint, dizzy, with the profound implications.

Thanks to Malcolm, I'm amazingly certain that the two schools in question, and their mottos, will explain so much about these men and their world views.

Bring it on Malcolm:

PM Kevin Rudd, 52, and Treasurer Wayne Swan, 55, went to Queensland's Nambour State High School (motto: Distinction by Merit). Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, 52, attended St Ignatius' College Riverview (As much as you can do, so much dare to do) in Lane Cove, as did finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce, 43.

Why, what an extraordinary insight. But somehow it feels lacking in gravitas, substance. How can we crank this up into a truly meaningful study of class and the education system as it operated in Australia when Chairman Rudd and the others went to school?

Easy, just head off to the My School site for a few factoids:

It is a classic case of MPs from silvertail and fibro backgrounds claiming to be better able to represent ordinary workers as well as top executives.

Yes, amazing, they claim, in a classic way, to represent all Australians, from ordinary workers to top executives. Perhaps even bankers! Possibly lawyers. Certainly hookers. Or at least ordinary sex workers. And women who do the ironing!

The contrasts probably were sharp when the MPs were students, and certainly are today, according to data on the My School website.

No really. The past is different to the present! Revelation upon revelation.

Pray, go on, tell us what the Delphic oracular My School site tells us:

Nambour High has 1341 full-time boys and girls and 121 teachers, about one teacher for every 11 pupils. Riverview, a private school, has 1560 boys and 221 teachers - or one teacher for every seven students.

Why that's astonishing news, and utterly compelling when it comes to considering the education Chairman Rudd received in the nineteen sixties and seventies (not to mention his education at Eumundi Primary School, and the Marist College Ashgrove). As for Wayne Swan, who came a long a little later, it's simply revelatory.

Now what else can we learn about Riverview, when juxtaposed against Nambour?

At Riverview, 89 per cent of pupils came from families in the top 25 per cent of the population on income. Just 1 per cent were in the bottom 25 per cent. At Nambour High, just 9 per cent of pupils were in the top 25 per cent socio-economic group, and 26 per cent were in the lowest quarter.

Well I'm gobsmacked. I would never have guessed that Riverview, a school charging 18 clicks a year for a year 12 education (you can get the tuition fees, and the 14k a year you need to shell out for boarding, by heading off here), had a slightly different ambience to Nambour State High School.

But what's this? Chairman Rudd, that humble fibro shack dweller, is hitched to a multi-millionaire? And yet he remains a friend of the workers?

While Tony Abbott wears lycra clad lout gear while pedalling to work like a pretentious cafe latte sipping greenie? Yet he remains a friend of top bankers?

So let me get this right. Millionaires can be fibro fiends, which explains why Peter Holmes a Court and Rusy once dabbled with the rabbitohs, and still linger as owners, while north shore types are Manly supporting ponces. Except when they learn to do the ironing? Like a common or garden housefrau?

Oh dear, I wonder what school Malcolm Farr attended, and will My School reveal all the details about how he became a dipstick? Is he a fibro dipstick? Or a silvertail dipstick?

Yet another in the many My School stories that should never have been written, and having been written, should never be read. Unless of course you love meaningless nonsense dressed up as political commentary.

Oh it's going to be a busy year for the loons this fibros versus the silvertails election year ... to say nothing of the thugby league ...

(Below: and to match the banality of Farr's story, how about this splash to illustrate it? Can Tony Abbott's budgie smugglers ever be hidden from view, now that the genie is out of the bottle? I know it's a Friday, but do all minds leave the building before Friday is finished and done with?)


  1. Well, at least I tried, but the siren song of the loon was too strong.

    How about this for good news, or is it only a Friday furphy?

    Red wine and chocolate are super-foods. (and if you believe that I guess you believe in AGW too)

  2. Malcolm Farr attended Trinity Grammar School at Summer Hill from 1967 to 1972. During his time there his father Gordon was senior master there.


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