Friday, November 25, 2011

Of cannibalism, climate change, Italian opera, and a cheeky shiraz ...

(Above: the Xmas spirit at work outside St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney).

According to the wiki on the subject of Catholicism in Australia, only 26% of the population toe the Catholic line (Roman Catholicism in Australia).

Put it another way. A whopping 74% of Australians have ignored the siren song of the church.

So what gives this minority church the right to blather on about anything and everything, and seek to impose their minority views on other minorities?

Well might you ask, especially if you can summon up the energy to read Chris Meney rabbiting on about gay marriage, conducting a rear guard action in Australia is not ready to say 'we do' to gay marriage.

Happily the majority of Australians aren't ready to say 'we do' to the doctrinal inflexibility of the church.

But here's how the bluster of the church works, courtesy of Meney:

Although fewer than one-third of Australians feel strongly about the issue, it does have the potential to change votes. If a major party advocates same-sex marriage, they could lose about 2.2 per cent of their total primary vote. Given the significant number of seats that are likely to be marginal in the next federal election it is unlikely that party strategists will fail to note the importance of this survey. Arguments on the basis of principle clearly matter.


That's boofhead lobbying, steel-capped boots applied to the electoral genitals, DLP style.

The funny thing is that Meney spends his entire column explaining how the majority of Australians aren't ready for gay marriage, without once mentioning how Australians aren't ready for the literal - not metaphorical or spiritual, but the actual, physical, incarnate - eating of human flesh and drinking of human blood.

How cheeky of a bunch of cannibals to lecture gays on the immorality of sundry forms of marriage.

Speaking of practitioners of and believers in cannibalism, the pond is most excited to report that Miranda the Devine now accepts climate science. Yes, climate change is happening, it's just that the effects are exaggerated, as you can read in Well fancy that? Climate alarmists exaggerate.

In her summary of the situation, the Devine quotes without any correction or refutation the following:

In the study ... the researchers found that while rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change, the most severe predictions - some of which were adopted by the UN’s peak climate body in its seminal 2007 report - had been significantly overstated.

So she's now on the slippery slope, having accepted the principle of climate change, and now left with only an argument about the impact. So it goes.

The Devine, at time of writing, had only got two comments, neither of them kindly, including this one:

So we are all agreed that ‘rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change’. Good - lets move on to the next question; how are we going to deal with it.

It's all part of the coverage we've come to expect from the minions of Murdoch, and you can of course find it in The Australian.

As the pond now languishes outside the paywall of the mothering bosom of the Murdochs, wailing in misery and despair, we recommend you trot off to Deltoid's The Australian's War on Science 74: Spinning the IPCC Extreme Weather report, which features this quote (from another source):

On climate change, The Australian is behaving like the media equivalent of a fog machine. Its unreliable reporting should be avoided by those with an interest in factual scientific information.

Pay to access a fog machine? Avoid its unreliable reporting? Say no more. Done and dusted.

Meanwhile, you might remember the righteous indignation relating to shock jock Kyle Sandilands being given space in the Murdoch media - which was immediately followed by righteous indignation about Sandilands acting like a dickhead.

And speaking of righteous indignation about shock jocks, the Daily Terror has found space as usual for shock jock Ray Hadley to maintain his ongoing war on Tim Flannery, in Crikey, it's time to set the record straight Tim.

The one bit of the record you won't find Hadley setting straight is that he took a cheap shot at Flannery for living close to water, thereby proving that Flannery didn't really believe in rising sea water levels, and never mind that Flannery dwelt at a point higher than the highest (no doubt alarmist and exaggerated) predictions of sea level rise.

It's an inconvenient starting point, and much more fun to rage about David said this and David said that ...

The most existentially absurd moment in Hadley's rant?

After the story was published, my motives and credibility were being questioned. I was angry and I was worried.

As a shock jock always venting his spleen, Hadley must be in a permanent state of anger, agitation and worry. Thank the absent lord 2GB only broadcasts on AM in Sydney, so people residing elsewhere in the world can feel a deep sense of relief at living in a Ray Hadley, Alan Jones, Chris Smith free zone .

What's that you say? People can rot their minds courtesy of the full to overflowing intertubes by listening live? The intertubes has a lot to answer for ...

And finally, as we near the end of November, it seems we're still in the final days of the Gillard government. You might recall that Murdoch minion Christian Kerr, given a podium on which to ponce and sneer, by Murdoch fellow traveller and expert in radio ennui and tedium Phillip Adams, announced that we were in the final days back on October 17th (and we invited people to listen here for the conclusive proof).

And thanks to Andrew Bolt, we can confirm it is still the final days, as he explains in Time to rewrite the script from fairytale to farce.

Now never mind that the header is bizarre and meaningless, because who on earth would consider Gillard's ascension to PM a fairytale, let's get down to the Boltian meat:

The media narrative of Gillard's recovery must be scrapped once more, with the Prime Minister ending the year right where she started - in deep trouble, with no recovery in sight.

It's a lonely business standing firm against the entire Murdoch empire cheering on the Gillard government (yes we all live in a yellow submarine in an alternative universe), and the pond was reminded once again that Bolt only manages to get through the day thanks to a love of Italian opera and refreshing sojourns in that vile pit of abject decadence, Europe ('I don't have to fear insulting people ...').

It turns out that the Bolt is an elitist of the most arty farty kind, something of a foodie and a wine buff. Does anyone in Sunshine know or care?

He turns up the volume on the CD player above the fridge to lift the mood. "This is one of the great albums," he says, closing his eyes and raising his hands momentarily to bask in the operatic splendour of the Greek singer Agnes Baltsa. "It's just great, just great." Then he pours the shiraz, takes a good sip, cocks his head, purses his lips and nods: not bad. There is no bitter aftertaste, at least not tonight.

Put it another way:

... his fans continue to regard him as one of theirs, valiantly railing against the "elites". By any stretch, it is quite extraordinary how a self-confessed loner, who resides in one of Melbourne's leafier suburbs and sends his three children to private schools, who finds solace in Italian opera and hankers for the high culture of Europe, who is adored by the mega-rich and courted by powerful politicians, has established himself as the frontline defender of common sense and the common man.

It turns out Australia almost lost the Bolt for good way back when, as he experienced the standard crisis of alienated antipodeans, which back in the nineteen seventies meant taking the boat to Britain/Europe and which led Tim Burstall to make an indulgent box office turkey, 2000 Weeks, with its hero anguished at the price of staying down under ...

He loved the seasons, the bustle, the history and found the sophistication he craved. He felt home. He packed flowers and dreamed of never going back. Even today, part of him rues heeding the call of his parents, and of university, to return after one year. "I just lacked that little bit of derring-do."

And so for a lack of derring-do, Australians continue to suffer.

But there is an upside. No doubt the Bolter will be tuning in - after a hard day's night excoriating the Gillard government, climate change, and dangerous shiraz sipping, coffee swilling, European disease worshipping elites - to ABC FM on Monday night at 7.30 pm to listen to Vladimir Ashkenazy conduct Mahler's Symphony No 2 in C minor (Resurrection), with Emma Matthews, soprano, and Michelle De Young, mezzo-soprano.

The Fairfax review was most kind (A rich and brooding farewell to majestic Mahler odyssey), and once again the pond salutes Vladimir Ashkenazy, for his energy and his attention to detail, and the way the SSO is cranking along on all cylinders. It was a great performance even if Emma Matthews was, as the review noted, a tad subdued in her opening moments ...

Yes, it's the sort of performance that makes everyone in Australia despair at the influence of Europe, and runaway Russians, and rail against dangerous elites, so at odds with the joy and delight of addicted gamblers shoving their year's wages down the throats of poker machines ...

.. in the past few months, he (Bolt) has come out swinging against proposed legislation to limit poker-machine losses for problem gamblers. Yet not so long ago, he thought pokies were "evil".
"We must ban them, as we banned them before, when we had moral gumption," he wrote in 2004. "Ban them. Help the weak. Ban them. Think of the children. Ban them. Protect the poor. Ban them. Show some heart. Some virtue. Just ban them."

Why has he changed his tune? "I still loathe pokies," he tells me. "But, ah, well, I suppose I support freedom of choice."

But seven years ago, I point out, he ridiculed this argument. "Banning pokies would indeed 'deny freedom of choice', " he wrote at the time. "That's the whole idea - to deny us all a mean pleasure for the sake of the weak and the poor it destroys."

Bolt smirks. "Let me guess, you're going to say [Channel Ten co-owner] James Packer put me up to it. Or [radio boss] John Singleton." (Both men profit greatly from pokies.)

Bah humbug. No wonder he resorts to opera. Perhaps some day he'll get to sing the role of Scarpia in some amateur outing.

Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,
non feci mai male ad anima viva!

Let Hoffnung have the final word on poncing poseurs:

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