Monday, February 15, 2010

Piers Akerman, the Independent, the Orstrahyun, and everything is delicious ...

(Above: there's a lot to dislike about classical music on YouTube, not least the sound and the likelihood at some time that this link will drop out as a result of a takedown notice, and then there's the horrendous cut in the middle of the piece, which is a bit like doing a surgical procedure with a rusty axe, but what the heck, it's to admit Melbourne is a superior city and Vaughn Williams a master, and to thank the lord and Ashkenazy for bringing Janine Jansen to Sydney last year).

And after that little introduction, here's why Vaughan Williams provides such sweet music for a relaxing afternoon. Even on a Monday, when some would say Friday afternoon is the right time and place.

But that was before I read the most excellent news.

You see, this most excellent news concerns our very own Akker Dakker, that yaroop garooah banger on and beater of drums about climate change, known elsewhere, away from loon pond, as Piers Akerman, and his new highly esteemed mention in the pages of The Independent.

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist is the header, as the rag tries to track down a source for Sir John Houghton saying unless we announce disasters no one will listen.

Turns out it wasn't in Houghton's book(s), and the earliest record the paper could find came from November 2006 ...

... when it appeared in a newspaper column written by the journalist Piers Akerman in the Australian newspaper The Sunday Telegraph. Akerman, a controversial right-wing columnist and global warming sceptic, appears to be the first person to use the quote verbatim in an opinion piece criticising the Stern Review, which looked at the economic effects of global warming.

"This alarmist approach reeked of stupidity, snake oil, and misguided gospel preaching but was in line with a formula adopted by the first chairman of the IPCC, Sir John Houghton, who produced the IPCC's first three reports in 1990, 1995 and 2001 and wrote in his book Global Warming, The Complete Briefing, in 1994: 'Unless we announce disasters no one will listen'," Mr Akerman said.

Within three years of Akerman's piece being published, climate sceptics had jumped on the supposed quotation, citing the source as Houghton's 1994 book. Mr Akerman said that he could not remember where the quote came from but he will check his records.

Oh it's just too delicious. He's checking his records.

First to pick up on the story locally seems to have been The Orstrahyun, a blog famously prepared to quote JG Ballard (here), who lovingly quotes Rupert Murdoch on the way content kleptomaniacs will triumph, and who is cheerfully prepared to run with this bold header:

Oh it's too delicious, just too positively sweetly delicious.

Next thing you know it's all over the place. As in Piers precipitating preposterous porkies? Potentially.

Well when we last looked at old Akker Dakker doing his usual blowhard routines, he was speculating that Winds of change blow on Kevin Rudd.

Could it be that winds of change will blow on Akker Dakker, and force a few shekels, sheqels, sheqalim, whatever, from the redback spider-laden wallet of Chairman Rupert?

We can only hope and pray ... because Houghton is considering legal action:

Sir John, who was the former head of the Met Office but is now living in semi-active retirement in Wales, said he is considering taking legal action because he feels that the continued recycling of the misquotation is doing him and his science a huge disfavour.

"It doesn't do me any good because it suggests to everyone that I have hyped things up. I've been growing aware of it now for some time. The trouble is, if I just deny it then it cuts no ice with the people who want to believe it. I have to consider legal action," Sir John said.

Go him Sir John, go him ... and here's hoping you can do him like a blue heeler does a herd of sheep.

Update: and now featured on Media Watch.

And now back to regular programming.

It's just too delicious. The music, I mean:

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