Saturday, September 04, 2010

Christopher Pearson, Club Sensible, future historians, and Miranda the Devine MIA ...

(Above: how to deal with commentariat commentators. An example from history).

Like a soldier putting a helmet on top of a rifle butt and hoisting it above the trench, then waiting for the sniper fire to put a hole through it, visiting the Herald these days is a fraught exercise.

Saturday's the day that Miranda the Devine used to roam wild and free taking pot shots at all and sundry.

Today there's not even a peep. Nervously peeping above the parapet, there's an anxious breathless silence. Is this the first day of the new thousand year reich when the Devine will strut for Murdoch. Or another day when the faint whine, the zip and whizz of a bullet, followed by the sound catching up, announces the presence of the Devine and the dull lead of right wing rhetoric and ranting delivering another blow to the brain ...

Phew, minutes have passed, and all we've got is Mike Carlton delivering It's dark, I've upset my bagman and I'm down to my undies, making jokes about the NSW government, celebrating independent Peter Andren, and wondering WTF the point of the Iraq war might have been, notwithstanding Tony Blair's mind numbing insistence on maintaining a religious crusade.

Oh sure, there's Chris Berg crying a river over Paul Hogan's civil liberties in Snapping at heels of civil liberty. Yes indoody Berg scribbles, Hogan might owe the government a little money - there's talk that it might be up to $150 million ... but what's a little loose change between chums?

As for the use of overseas tax havens, or a little tax avoidance - steady, let's not use that ugly word evasion - where's the harm between chums? After all, what's good enough for Kerry Packer is good enough for all of us.

Yes, bring back 10BA, I say, so we can have a decent form of tax avoidance along with a flood of terrible Australian films. And we can once again form decent fish shelters and paper reefs as we fill the bottom of the harbour with filing cabinets.

Still at least Berg is a consistent civil libertarian, anxious about rights for polluters, unions, corporate wrongdoers, wealthy taxpayers, and any other unfortunate caught out being a tad naughty. Yes, the right to dump chemicals in the harbour has been most unfortunately restricted, and it seems that stopping concrete pours is no longer the favourite negotiating tactic of the month, and silly people seem to get upset about corporate wrongdoers rorting people and getting away with it scot free, so it seems to me that we need to re-balance the scales so that civil liberties are preserved, and these splendid Australian sports are allowed to continue ...

But let's face it, Berg is - sob - no Miranda the Devine. All that's left to us is Christopher Pearson, and as usual, Club Sensible is in rampantly good form, because just as we wait with bated breath - unless you prefer 1080 baited breath - to learn whether the independents will back the coalition, Pearson scribbles Historians will back coalition.

Well it seems according to Pearson that future historians will certainly back the coalition, but that, in the diddly squat way of things, will mean three fifths of fuck all if the independents don't.

It's hard writing columns - here at the pond all we have to do is look at the absurd resulting scribbles - but Pearson seems to have nuked the fridge with his latest effort:

While the situation is still fluid, it seems to me the most interesting question to pose is what historians in 20 years are likely to make of the narrative leading up to next week's decision. What elements of the proverbial pattern in the carpet are going to emerge most clearly?

Indeed. What a compelling question. How interesting. The pattern in the carpet. T. S. Eliot, Margaret Drabble, Virginia Woolf, Henry James and all that ...

Memo to self. Must go into lounge and stare at interesting pattern in Afghan rug and pose interesting questions to it. Perhaps after a day's staring answers or hallucinations will arise ...

Well I guess it will amuse some and strike others as fantastical and a complete waste of time for Club Sensible to pontificate about what future historians twenty years hence might think about matters of passing interest at the moment. What, for example, would a scribbler scribbling furiously about the views of historians in 1945 make of the world from their 1925 perspective?

Naturally it's just a desperate bit of obfuscatory nonsense from Club Sensible, just another way to approach former chairperson Rudd's reign, and deliver a heap of ordure upon it.

Cargo cult mentality, squandered opportunities, process driven bureaucrat, micro-manager who couldn't delegate, ceremonial gestures, populist cash splash (in complete contrast to Howard's middle class welfarism), the GFC a mere 6 to 8 week so called global financial crisis, no triumph there, pork barrelling, gesture politics, cabinet of four, young inexperienced collaborators, concentration of power like Churchill ... only not like Churchill ... failure to cut the mustard ... ... dysfunctional ... evanescent ...substantial risk to good government ...

Yadda yadda. It turns out that prescient future historians somehow manage to sound just like an ideological posturing pitiful Christopher Pearson, so that we can only think, god save future history, future historians and the future in general.

Still, it's an astonishing indictment of former chairman Rudd, and surely he must shoulder the blame for his shocking performance! Clearly you understand nothing of the ways of Club Sensible historians. You see, chairman Rudd's performance, as outlined in depth and detail, is actually all Julia Gillard's fault:

The lion's share of the blame belongs to his deputy, Julia Gillard.

The lion's share! Not the mouse's share, or the rat trap's share, but the leonine proportion! Oh dear, how to nuke this logic fridge?

Apart, perhaps, from the Treasurer, she was the only minister he couldn't sack or silence. She had obligations to the partyroom -- not to mention a duty to the nation -- to warn him when, in her phrase, "the government had lost its way". This she failed to do until the day the factions told her she had the numbers to replace him.

Ah at last, the sweet soothing sounds of squawking on the pond. No Devine, but the Pearson will surely do, as he then goes on to explain how future historians, stern judges all, will work out that chairman Rudd was just a hapless pawn, as Gillard either acted, or refused to act, and so created the Frankenstein monster that was Rudd.

Everything is utterly her fault, her refusal to chance her arm, her inaction, her failure to understand ramifications, the total abject collapse of Australia, and then a rousing call to arms:

I've no doubt what the consensus of historians down the track will be over the decision the rural independents are about to make. If they rise above past grievances and call it for Australia, they'll back the Coalition.

Indeed. And here at the pond we've no doubt that a consensus of historians down the track will read Pearson's musings and have a jolly good laugh. Which is a relief, because future historians without a sense of humour and fun would get us seriously alarmed about the future.

But for so misconstruing the role of historians, and the point of writing history, and imagining history is only what the victors get to write, and that cheerleading is the whole and total point of history, Pearson in his club sensible befuddlement has quite lifted the mood on the pond.

And thank the lord for that, because otherwise reading him could be construed as masochism rather than a delightful comical kind of therapy ...

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

Indeed. And now a little bit of Shelley from 1818, as once used to torture schoolchildren with intimations of mortality:

I met a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings."
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!
No thing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

(Below: memo to Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck. Take your stinking paws off me you damned dirty apes, you maniacs, you blew it up, western civilisation, ah damn you, god damn you all to Mormon hell).

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