Friday, July 30, 2010

Thank the absent lord it's Friday, as the media behaves like a rabble and we all slouch towards Bethlehem or hell ...

(Above: a little William Blake kultur, evoking the whore of babylon, before we reach for the gun of Australian politics in a wretched media).

Here at the pond, we thought we'd round out the week - thank the dear long absent lord it's Friday - by advising all Australian voters that they're going to hell.

And since we were recently talking about classics, what better way to remind these damned cursed voters of the nature of hell, thanks to James Joyce in one of his more accessible works, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and don't forget Dubliners), of special delight to those who grew up in the antipodes experiencing heartfelt Irish Catholic attempts to recreate an Angela's Ashes experience for the youth of Australia:

What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, there mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.

Yes amazingly, I've sat through this exact nonsense, told seriously, and with grim intent, during a Dominican retreat, proving life is stranger than fiction.

But now you know where you're going, you Australian voter, you, and for how long - the twelfth of never is such a long long time - we thought we'd explore the logic, since we just love theological logic here at the pond, and since ugly sectarianism and secularism has infiltrated the election campaign.

If you're a decent evangelical, you'll know that voting for that papist Tony Abbott is a sure one way ticket to hell. After all, as we all know, the Pope is the anti-Christ, and the church the whore of Babylon, slouching towards Bethlehem, drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs, and definitely the counterfeit church put on earth in order to deceive even faithful Catholics, as enacted by the Second Vatican Council. Thanks be to Mel and his dad for this advice, and the guarantee that not even Mel's long suffering ex will make it to paradise ...

Of course it goes without saying that if instead you're an evangelical, or perhaps belong to ratbag militants like the Salvation Army, or bizarre outposts like Mormonism, or think Hillsong is going to get you eternal salvation rather than rifle through your purse in search of cash, you're full of doctrinal error, and outside the bosom of the mother church, the one true church founded on the rock, and the only path to salvation, and therefore off to hell forthwith. As for Islamics, Buddhists and atheists ... some of whom will inevitably vote for the atheist Gillard, say no more.

Still there is an upside. We're told by informed sources - we love informed sources here at the pond - that Santa Claus, and Ms Claus - a notorious radical feminist - put on extremely wild parties in hell, and you can always catch up with such nice folk as the easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

Yes, thanks to SBS news, the good old sectarian schismatic splitter snakes are out of the cupboard, with Concerns over Gillard's faith top of their video list this day, but thank the lord destined to drop down the charts and out of sight, as happens to prime bits of eggbeating on a regular basis. Sure you can reward them with a click and a view, but only at the certain risk of going to hell ...

Still now I'm reminded why SBS news is regularly rewarded with an asterisk in the ratings. Or maybe 1 or 3 ...

Is that the best eggbeater you've got?

Meanwhile, there's hell on earth, and that's reading Sophie Mirabella in The Punch, this day leading in a punch drunk way with Liberal diary: Would the real Julia Gillard please stand up. As tirades go, I couldn't imagine a drunk in the gutter delivering a better one ...

Second thoughts, there's always the hell on earth known as The Australian's political reporting. Here's that pompous loud tie-wearing prat Dennis Shanahan opening his piece Gillard got the cover but Abbott is looking better:

This week Julia Gillard appeared with a million-dollar makeover on the cover of The Australian Women's Weekly.

Our first female Prime Minister looked more like a supermodel than a cabinet minister.

Million dollar make over? Supermodel? Oh yes indeedy that rough beast of stupidity is slouching towards Bethlehem quick stix.

Meanwhile, Gillard is indeed in serious trouble, when Mark Latham dons the garb of the white knight, and rides off to rescue her from the black knight, former chairman Rudd, as told in 'Snake' Rudd behind cabinet leaks: Latham:

Former Labor leader Mark Latham insisted last night that Kevin Rudd was behind damaging leaks against Julia Gillard and condemned the behaviour as cowardly, "the snake's way", unmanly and "beneath an Aussie bloke".

Dear absent lord, what next? Graham Richardson denouncing Swiss bank accounts? Brian Bourke taking a firm view on the evils of stamp collecting? Mark Latham taking a firm view of snakes and dinkum Aussie blokes ... Dinkum ...

It goes without saying that you can find plenty of snakes carrying on in The Australian offering all kinds of advice, including such usual suspects as Henry Ergas (Julia's carbon jury is a cop-out), and Oliver Marc Hartwich (Scrap 'Cash for Clunkers, not old cars).

Henry spends much of his time rabbiting on about Plato in relation to climate change. Hartwich is outraged that garages should be deprived of the business of fixing old clunkers, while destroying the market for second hand vehicular junk. Hartwich managed to get through his entire piece without mentioning electric vehicles or alternatives to current modes of petrol ...

Well done, and that reminded me to go once again in search of any mention of the most recent NOAA study in The Australian. Oh sure, you can find it in the National Geographic: Global Warming "Undeniable," U.S. Government Report Says, and in dozens of other places on the full to overflowing intertubes, but damned if I can find it in The Oz. Curious that. The way a world view can somehow not see the nose on the face ...

Of course I can find news that ExxonMobil is funding the Walkely Media Conference, and Christopher Warren of the MEAA has demanded a bowl of water so he can do a Pontius Pilate routine, and no doubt all the journalists and spin doctors can gather to admire The Oz's ongoing ability to greenwash the news (Critics slam 'irresponsible' Walkley sponsorship). But then I never saw any harm or contradiction in tobacco firms sponsoring the truth about lung cancer ...

Throw in the nightmare of that slumbering beast Stephen Conroy being roused, and compelled to talk about the NBN, and you realise that hell isn't some abstract apocalyptic vision, but is in fact what we experience right here on earth during an Australian election campaign. It doesn't take long for the loons to come out and tell us that the NBN might cost $86 billion, at which point it's possible to have some sympathy for the hapless Conroy. Where does the ABC find the woodwork from which to drag these alarmist 'experts'?

Meanwhile, Swannie realises he needs to spread a little oil on the water, a kind of BP in reverse, as a way of offsetting Conroy, noted here in Swan hints at possible filter changes:

Talking to Triple J's Hack program, Mr Swan has publicly suggested for the first time that the filter could make some changes or "move in different directions" in response to concerns voiced by many who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship.

"Stephen Conroy... has announced some changes to the filter - he's talking to industry about those now," he said.

"We have responded to the legitimate concerns of many of your listeners in this area and Stephen Conroy is going through that process now.

"It's possible that we could move in slightly different directions."

Slightly different? Not good enough Swannie.

Yep, with all the media behaving badly, and the politicians behaving like politicians, I'm suddenly tormented by all these grains of sand swirling in my mind, for what feels like eternity. With a bit of luck it'll only be three more weeks ...

And now since I've referenced it often enough and it's been awhile since I ran it, and since I'm no more shameless than Joan Didion, who borrowed a phrase for one of her titles, here's W. B. Yeats with one of my favourite apocalyptic poems:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I still shiver a little each time I read it. So here's to Yeats and the republic of Ireland and bring me a nice Coonawarra red Ms Claus, and let's get down and party ...

(Below: click to enlarge).


  1. It's always a pleasure to read sanity amongst the smarminess of our politicians.

  2. Thank you Dorothy Parker! For letting me know through your daily posts that I am not alone in this cold universe.

    Is the behaviour of the media during this election campaign period the worst ever? The constant sneering scrutiny of the leader of the Labor Party - her hair, her skin, her religious beliefs, her childlessness - is beyond belief. I don't bother now to read the newspapers or watch tv news and even the 7.30 Report. We don't get 'News'- we don't get truth, we get Opinion columns written by - well,. ....(someone fill in the dots!)
    'Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world'.

  3. Yes, and what's worse, the bloody worst are full of passionate intensity ...

    But remember loon pond's motto, as borrowed from Mehitabel the cat.

    my youth i shall never forget
    but there s nothing i really regret
    wotthehell wotthehell
    there s a dance in the old dame yet
    toujours gai toujours gai

    the things that i had not ought to
    i do because i ve gotto
    wotthehell wotthehell
    and i end with my favorite motto
    toujours gai toujours gai


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