Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Janet Albrechtsen, and Bill Heffernan's soul buddy strikes again ...

(Above: oh my dear sweet lord, the stars above, and Gillard in the pink below, as noted in Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard Women's Weekly cover girl. And amazingly, she's avoided lining up for more of this kind of nonsense right now).

It's one of the paradoxes of the media that it's still possible to get sound advice.

... those who follow the political debate faithfully might be better off taking an overseas holiday for the next three weeks. It's clear they'd miss little but aggravation.

The paradoxical truth is that modern election campaigns are aimed at those who aren't much interested in the topic. Swinging voters are assumed to be completely self-interested and short-sighted, driven by emotion rather than intellect, ill-informed and easily conned by slogans and television ads.

Hence all the nonsense we're hearing from both sides.

Yep, that'd explain my desire to throw a shoe through the TV when some gherkin of a reporter twittered about whether there'd be a wedding the lodge. (Marriage questions get a little too much).

Sure enough if you want a follow up to this pathetic personal presidential monarchist policy free zone style of political reporting, you only have to head off to Chairman Rupert's tabloid empire for Prime Minister hasn't ruled out marriage.

Well that's tremendous policy news. She hasn't ruled out marriage, which means all those who are married can breath a sigh of relief, since it means she won't be banning the institution any time soon. What's that, it's only about whether she'll marry her hairdresser first bloke?

I suppose you can expect relentless cretinism and low brow coverage from the Murdoch tabloid press, so deep in the mud in the gutter they never notice the stars above. Not like Julia. That's why you can get the cretinist conversation called The Punch delivering homilies like Helen McCabe's Come on Julia, let's see some more of Tim. What scandal does she have to report?

Mrs Abbott and the couple’s three daughters – Louise, Bridget and Frances appeared in The Australian Women’s Weekly in February and they immediately helped change people’s perception of the Liberal Party leader. Yet our request to photograph Mr Mathieson with Ms Gillard for AWW’s August cover was politely declined.

No wonder this country is lurching from policy crisis to policy crisis, governed by a remote woman who doesn't understand the importance of helping the Women's Weekly go on its merry tree killing way.

But never mind, you expect cretinous conversations in The Punch, and the tabloids. It's in their nature. Put it this way. You have the choice of reading the likes of Tim Blair and Andrew the Dolt on climate change, or you could read Orville Schell's review The Message from the Glaciers in the New York Review of Books.

Oops, sorry, this election is meant to be a policy free, thought free, intelligence free zone, dedicated to cretinisim in all its forms, and we mean no harm to actual cretins, but those who adopt cretinist postures without the justification of actual cretinism.

And who better to wheel in as exhibit number one than Janet Albrechtsen, presenting with excruciating honesty her capacity for cretinism, or perhaps that should be bile and personal attack dressed up as some kind of policy principle, in Let's be honest about Julia's free gender leg-up.

Yep, if the attack hounds are inclined to be reticent in a masculine way, in the presence of ladies, kind wimmin, southern belles, and virgins, send in the bitches:

To coin Julia Gillard's phrase, let's have a more honest conversation. Free from the sisterhood's political correctness, let's admit that she has pocketed a large part of the female vote and it has plenty to do with gender.

Yes of course, because women are blonde, and therefore dumb, or redhead, and therefore spiteful as well as dumb, or brunette, and therefore vicious as well as dumb. The best policy understanding you can get from any woman is "oh I do so love her hair, but are her poils right for that dress." Once that's sorted, women are simply compelled to vote for Gillard .

Albrechtsen's claim of honesty is cretinously pitiful because it purports to be serious, but it's just one long elaborate whinge, driven by the behaviour of the Channel 7 worm during the great debate. And the way the gender bias is working against poor hapless Tony Abbott, as a conspiracy threatens to overwhelm him:

Plenty of women will vote for Gillard because she is a woman. She will hate to admit it. And certainly the emerging media orthodoxy, a handy echo of the Labor line, is that gender will not play a role in the coming election. In fact, to listen to many in the media these past few days, the only voting bias they want to talk about is Tony Abbott trying to play some apparently unfair "family" card by mentioning his family, and, get this, appearing at a Brisbane childcare centre on Monday with his wife, Margie.

Labor women and their media boosters can't have it both ways. They can't support a gender leg-up for women such as Gillard in the form of quotas that helped the Member for Lalor into parliament and then claim that gender is irrelevant in the Gillard equation. If you play the first round using the gender ace card, relying on affirmative action quotas and the like, then gender talk will tend to follow you around. That, Labor ladies, is the price you pay letting the gender genie out of the bottle.

Labour ladies? Oh I know, she only does it to annoy, because she knows it teases. Speak roughly to your commentariat columnist, and beat her when she sneezes, for she can thoroughly enjoy the pepper when she pleases.

Having established a totally ersatz divide on the basis of the female worm winding its way across the screen on Sunday, Albrechtsen then embarks on an analysis of Gillard's style, which naturally discovers Labor baaad, Liberal good.

And where you might ask has this Albrechtsen gone, as in Julia less red and Kevin cautious:

Have you noticed anything different about Julia Gillard these days?

When she fronted ABC1's Q&A on Thursday evening it dawned on me. She looks damn good. Don't get me wrong. She never looked bad. And, no, I haven't fallen under the spell she has apparently cast over some right-wing chaps. The Sydney Morning Herald's Annabel Crabb wrote recently that some conservative media and political types were experiencing "turbulent and unpredictable urges" towards the Deputy Prime Minister. No, nothing so primal here.

This is a purely political observation that other women in my circle also have noted with interest. Could it be that the more Gillard pays attention to the way she looks, applying a little more blush to her cheeks and a splash of colour to her lips, the more Kevin Rudd can becertain that his deputy is aiming her ambition one step higher sooner than he may have imagined?

Oh sorry, it's actually more of the same, isn't it, with all that talk of a blush on her cheeks and a splash of colour to her lips. Albrechtsen goes on to blather about blonde streaks as well, before contemplating a few policies, and then rounding it out with this warning:

It is possible that her transformation from radical union activist to the epitome of centrist sweet reasonableness is a complete con. Nonetheless, it is working, positioning her perfectly for leadership after the next election.

Rudd will be the only one who did not laugh at the hilarious animated comedy skit at the end of Gillard's polished performance on Q&A where a make-up-less, grey-suited Julia re-emerges, morphs into a snake and swallows up her tediously boring leader.

Back in March, Albrechtsen was scribbling Rudd's easier for Abbott to knock out than Gillard:

Abbott needs to find the right balance between his social conservatism, which favours policies supporting the family, and his economic rationalism. A gold-plated parental leave policy that exceeds legislated leave entitlements in other countries and allows Greens leader Bob Brown to declare he has "been out-greened by Tony Abbott" is way off-kilter. After all, Abbott must prove he can be trusted to continue Howard's legacy of prudent economic management.

If Abbott loses the next election, his party will probably do what it normally does after a loss: within months it will replace its leader. And even if the party sticks with Abbott, his next contest is likely to be a much tougher one: a Gillard v Abbott match. The Liberal Party pugilist who won two Oxford blues for boxing once told a local English newspaper reporting his victorious debut match that he just made believe that his opponent in the ring was Hawke. This year he should imagine that he is fighting Gillard.

We could spend all day trawling through the past scribbles of Albrechtsen, but there might be a better case for Jonah to spend his time inside the belly of a whale, examining its entrails. So here we go, deep breath, and back into the present lump of commentariat scribbling:

If women are attracted to the new Prime Minister as a role model for their daughters, they might want to rethink that too. When Gillard knifed Rudd to become PM, the female principals at both my daughters' schools recorded it as a great win for women and urged their teenage charges to aim for the same high office.

Yet, if you look closely at Gillard's career, it has been a conscious rejection of the milestones many young women want. In the past, Gillard has talked about "the things we [women] have in common, experiences, choices, fears and hopes that our male colleagues may sympathise with but will never share". Yet she cannot share most of these things either.

Uh huh. We can see where this is heading. Right back to Bill Heffernan, though perhaps in a rarefied way, where the word barren is not mentioned once, but it runs through the lines like a ghostly shadow with a sinister sneer and pursed lips. Ah remember good old Bill, back in the May of '07, and Heffernan's 'barren' comments appalling: Turnbull.

Uh huh. So how's it going to run now?

The sisterhood should stop reading right about now.

Oh what a tease. She knows how to tease, and by golly, I've got some pepper waiting, for when she sneezes.

Most young women want a career, they want to get married, they want a family life with children racing around their ankles and driving them nuts. As brilliant as Gillard's achievements are, she is no role model for girls who want more than a career.

Yes, you see, because she's barren! Why she's not even married, and she might move into the lodge in a de facto relationship, not having pissed a huge amount of money up against the wall on a wedding or posed for photos for the front cover of The Australian Women's Weekly.

She's not a woman, she's a bloody Australian nightmare.

It must be wonderful to be a soul buddy with Bill Heffernan, and once she's got the knife in the carcass, Albrechtsen is happy to twist and turn it in whatever spiteful, malicious way she can manage:

Gillard admits she never wanted children or marriage. She has showcased a bare home and an empty kitchen as badges of honour and commitment to her career. She has never had to make room for the frustrating demands and magnificent responsibilities of caring for little babies, picking up sick children from school, raising teenagers. Not to mention the needs of a husband or partner. Perhaps Gillard's very different choices explain why, according to sources leaking to Channel 9's Laurie Oakes last night, Gillard objected to the Rudd government's paternity leave scheme. It's taken a bloke -- Opposition Leader Tony Abbott -- to provide a very personal commitment to paternity leave. Gillard's opposition is a reminder that good policies do not depend on the gender.

Uh huh. Good policies not depending on gender! You've probably forgotten what Albrechtsen scribbled, just as Albrechtsen has, and even though it was only a few pars ago, let me present it again with heavy handed irony and a supercilious sneer:

Abbott needs to find the right balance between his social conservatism, which favours policies supporting the family, and his economic rationalism. A gold-plated parental leave policy that exceeds legislated leave entitlements in other countries and allows Greens leader Bob Brown to declare he has "been out-greened by Tony Abbott" is way off-kilter. After all, Abbott must prove he can be trusted to continue Howard's legacy of prudent economic management.

Yep, Albrechtsen swings in the breeze with naked contradiction and hapless cheerleading, and if we were of her ilk, we'd say blonde cheerleading:

By all means celebrate Gillard's choice to be different. But don't vote for her to prove to our daughters that girls can have it all. A real win for feminism will be recorded when a woman is elected prime minister thanks to sound policies rather than some free gender kick, no matter how well intentioned.

Would that be the sound policy that's way off-kilter and proves Abbott can't be trusted to continue Howard's legacy of prudent economic management.

Albrechtsen usually purports to be a personality free, intellectual, policy driven zone, careful to avoid ad hominem crap, but when it comes to the crunch, she's just another tabloid cheerleader member of the commentariat, and wreathed in contradictions.

If there were a Keith Olbermann down under award for worst person in the world, or perhaps worst scribbling member of the commentariat award, this week's effort would win hands down.

In the meantime, can we just award her a consolation prize, as the worst perpetrator of ad hominen drivel in the guise of policy analysis award.

Gherkin of the week, and in line for the much esteemed cretin of the month prize, no matter the stiff competition from other parts of Chairman Rupert's empire ...

(Below: and now a reminder of the good old days, and the way it should be, when a woman met a man, and they danced, and he was a good dancer, and they laughed, in a carefree way, and after a chaste courtship, he proposed on his knee, and they spent a shitload on the wedding, and had many happy children frolicking all around them, right under their feet, and then he was caught with the leader of a band in the local motel and they got divorced, but they always had that cover of the Australian Women's Weekly to remind them of the way things once had been. Memories, from the corner of our minds).


  1. Is this going to be a gender election people? That would be a grave mistake I believe. Issues and policies are the important things here, and not who has the sexiest ankles or the prettiest hair colouring!

    It’s not very long ago that the American People voted in their First African American President – on a platform of ‘change’. I would guess that non white Americans were delirious when Barack Obama was sworn in as their 44th President, praying for, pleading for and dreaming of great changes that would be of immense benefit to themselves.

  2. A question- is Prime Minister Gillard childless by choice? Many people simply cannot have children by nature, and this bitchiness must be starting to really grate...


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