Sunday, February 28, 2010

Piers Akerman, Stephen Conroy, a little lonely hearts de Brito and doing the hard yards in Lent ...

(Above: call that a fitting substitute for Piers Akerman. You won't find a hot link in that screen cap, and for a good reason!)

Dedicated bird watchers will be alarmed to discover that there seems to be no Piers Akerman column this Sunday.

It's a rough equivalent to Easter without hot cross buns or a chocolate egg or a pagan bunny. Or a Christmas pudding without threepenny bits and a dash of rum.

Sure, there might be an Akerman in the hard copy tree killer editions available in local news agencies, but for dedicated digital digerati, half the fun is in reading Akker Dakker's frenzied followers joining in the chorus, like Mahler's thousand voices, and seeing the fat owl of the remove deliver mighty blows at the odd dissidents who dare bob up their heads for a game of 'whack the mole', as he thrashes those deluded lefties and Labor party stooges.

All that's left on the front page online at the moment is a splash for Kate de Brito's advice column, which is splendidly silly, in the style of advice columns since time began, but which is simply not Akker Dakker. About the only good reading that kind of column can do is to remind readers of the existence of Nathanael West's splendid Miss Lonelyhearts, and send them off to read, or re-read its cheerful cynicism (and luckily the always handy Project Gutenberg has a digital copy of the work here). Here's how it opens:

The Miss Lonelyhearts of The New York Post-Dispatch (Are-you-in-trouble? --Do-you-need-advice?--Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. On it a prayer had been printed by Shrike, the feature editor.

"Soul of Miss L, glorify me.
Body of Miss L, nourish me
Blood of Miss L, intoxicate me.
Tears of Miss L, wash me.
Oh good Miss L, excuse my plea,
And hide me in your heart,
And defend me from mine enemies.
Help me, Miss L, help me, help me.
In saecula saeculorum. Amen."

Although the deadline was less than a quarter of an hour away, he was still working on his leader. He had gone as far as: "Life is worth while, for it is full of dreams and peace, gentleness and ecstasy, and faith that burns like a clear white flame on a grim dark altar." But he found it impossible to continue. The letters were no longer funny. He could not go on finding the same joke funny thirty times a day for months on end. And on most days he received more than thirty letters, all of them alike, stamped from the dough of suffering with a heart-shaped cookie knife.

On his desk were piled those he had received this morning. He started through them again, searching for some clue to a sincere answer.

Perhaps you could flick between West's excoriating vision, and Kate de Brito's columns for added excruciating pleasure. This day she dispenses wisdom to a woman who is just so over helping her sister, and her three kids and husband, an 18 year old attached to an idiot boy friend, a woman eight weeks into a man with an ambivalent attitude to commitment, a hapless geek who's struck out with five girls, and a monogamous soul who gets dangerous flirty fisher text messages, and wonders if it's a kind of adultery of the heart.

By the time you've finished this exercise, you should be ready for West's The Day of the Locust, also available on Project Gutenberg here. Even Harold Bloom puts it in his list of canonical works! Say no more.

But sob, truth to tell this is all a facade, a distraction, because who am I kidding, Nathanael West simply isn't Akker Dakker.

There's nothing for it. Dedicated bird watchers will simply have to ignore West, and make do with Akker Dakker's greatest hits and memories, and what better starting point than Malicious bullets fired by the global warmists' guns, in which he explains how mis-quoting someone can in fact be accurate in an evocative 'sort of the same' way. Perhaps followed by the prescient Why Conroy, not Garrett, is the Rudd government's problem, in which he manages to explain why Stephen Conroy is a serious problem for Chairman Rudd without once mentioning Conroy's great big new internet filter.

Perhaps Akker Dakker has been sent off to boot camp to re-learn the basics in the art of quotation-making (if someone sort of said something like it, then that's certainly sort of good enough), or perhaps the merchandisers of the Sunday Telegraph have deemed him only fit for the hard copy tree killer edition, so that dedicated followers must fork out hard cash to read him. But that won't fly, that would be like heading off to Madame Lash's dungeon to pay for a flogging when you should be able to get a flogging at home for free.

One only needs so much newspaper to line the cocky cage, and put under the lino on the floor (what's that you say, no one's used lino since 1970? Oh dear, how the world turns).

Well, there's nothing for it, but to shuffle quietly on, past Akker Dakker, in a pond now mournful and grey, and perhaps contemplate Stephen Conroy, especially as Peter Garrett has now been reduced to playing in a smaller sand box, now simply given the job of ruining his arts portfolio.

Jack Campbell, in New Matilda, also asks, in Akker Dakker style, Why Wasn't Conroy In The Hot Seat?

In what can only be considered a mean spirited rebuttal of Akker Dakker, while attempting to imitate him and steal his thunder, Campbell manages to be more comprehensive in his condemnation:

To those scandalous decisions (Mike Kaiser's appointment to the NBN, skiing with Kerry Stokes) add $30 million wasted on the tender process for Labor’s $4.7 billion national broadband network; rising discontent both in the Labor Party and in the broader community over Conroy’s mandatory internet filter; a register of member’s interests that showed Conroy accepted gifts and invitations from all and sundry (signed Chelsea shirt, anyone? Grand Final tickets?); and a $43 billion national broadband network that has not been subject to so much as a cost-benefit analysis (and as the draft NBN legislation released this week shows, is designed to cripple Telstra).

The minister should be skating on thin ice

Indeed. And instead it's Garrett who's had some of his toys taken away.

Never mind, Conroy remains an object of derision and scorn for some, and quite recently there was a tremendous flapping and flurry of excitement as the geeks discovered that even the cloud searching functionality of Senator Conroy's very own website was censored:

In the script that generates the cloud, there is a line that says basically if the seach term is "ISP Filtering" to skip and go onto the next.

In the time I was on the site, there were about 16 instances of "ISP Filtering" in the cloud, and only about 5 instances of E-Health, though ISP Filtering did not show in the cloud....

Anyway just a funny, and some food for thought! :)

If you're interested in arcana, you can trot off to whirlpool, here, where the irony of a minister dedicated to nation wide filtering is not above the job of filtering his own little part of the pond is relished, with links to The Age's Opposition grows to internet filter, while self-dscribed Gen-Y geek Ben Grubb felt the urge to spread the irony further in Conroy censors own site?

Sadly these barbs will do nothing to penetrate the armour-plated hide of Conroy, though Campbell does get to the heart of Conroy's head kicker modus operandi:

The Victorian senator is the embodiment of that Labor caricature, the factional warlord. He is not close to Rudd, but he brings votes to any caucus leadership shootout. This perhaps explains his ability to dodge a bullet inside the party.

Campbell then wonders why Conroy hasn't been targeted by the Liberals. Could it have something to do with Tony Abbott's own preferences on the matter of intertubes filtering?

Never mind, none of it has much meaning or relish or pleasure without the frisson of reading Akker Dakker. Who else would call Conroy Passionfingers in print, and hint that he might be shovelling something like shit, and yet not once mention the great big filter? It's that kind of penetrating obfuscation that makes Akker Dakker essential reading.

Ah well, I'm reminded by my Catholic calendar that today is the second Sunday of Lent, and just like Tony Abbott, we have to go without sex. Even if it is one of the world's greatest pleasures, though never if done with contraception, unless you think dodging the bullet rhythm method style counts as contraception.

But do we have to go without Akker Dakker? Oh the lord, or the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, have mercy on our pitiful souls. Still, let's end on a cheerful note:

The more we have denied ourselves during the day, the nearer we are each evening to the heart of our Lord.

-- St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Amen, and to that we can only add West's apocalyptic vision:

Through the center, winding from left to right, was a long hill street and down it, spilling into the middle foreground, came the mob carrying baseball bats and torches. For the faces of its members, he was using the innumerable sketches he had made of the people who come to California to die; the cultists of all sorts, economic as well as religious, the wave, airplane, funeral and preview watchers--all those poor devils who can only be stirred by the promise of
miracles and then only to violence. A super "Dr. Know-All Pierce-All" had made the necessary promise and they were marching behind his banner in a great united front of screwballs and screw-boxes to purify the land. No longer bored, they sang and danced joyously in the red light of the flames.

And now perhaps it's time for savage women to display savage brutality to a man. Any man! Anywhere! Starve us of Akker Dakker, will they? Put us on a drip feed of hits and memories? Like hell ...

1 comment:

  1. Your taste in literature is exquisite too - Nathaniel West AND archy & mehitabel.

    If only you'd mentioned 'A Cool Million' I'd have been ecstatic.


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