Monday, December 19, 2011

And now to begin the run into the Xmas straight, a potpourri of paranoia ...

For the past week, the pond has been in the grip of a virus doing the Sydney rounds, providing firm evidence that grumpiness and aggro are directly and inversely related to a sense of well-being.

Conclusion? The commentariat are perpetually in the grip of a virus, roughly akin to the virus on view in Colin Wilson's The Mind Parasites.

Watching Limitless on the weekend didn't help, as the virus kept draining away energy and memory, while up on the screen Bradley Cooper was being exuberant. Where was the magic pill for the pond? Sadly, no magic pill could be found ....

Following that show up with the sight of Danes at work in Afghanistan in the documentary Armadillo didn't help improve things - though it provided a cogent explanation of why a bunch of Afghans might have fled the country and been amongst those who drowned in the most recent boat disaster.

Who'd have thought that the Danes could make a film that provided convincing evidence American soldiers were more sympathetic and understanding of the people they were ostensibly supposed to saving than a bunch of clod-hopping thrill-seeking Europeans? Pity the poor bloody civilians caught up in the madness ...

Whatever, it seems that it's the season to be surly. Take Henry Ergas's splash in The Australian this morning:
Uh huh. The pond gets the tone. Pious hypocrisy and snide nastiness.

Let's try it out.

Merry Xmas minions of Murdoch. Here's hoping your paywall is a total turkey, and the turkey is dry and tasteless on Xmas day ...

That hits the right note of cheery Xmas joy.

Naturally Paul Sheehan is also at one with the mood of the zeitgeist:

Uh huh. It might be the season of political peace, but forget all that blather about goodwill, and let's maintain the rage right through the holyday period.

You can read more in A Trojan Horse to empower unions, wherein Sheehan is outraged that anyone might want to do anything about health and safety in the workplace. No doubt Orica executives will be cheering on Sheehan, whose ability to put on a hard hat and carry on like Captain Grumpy knows no bounds.

We don't normally quote the illustrations accompanying commentariat columns, but this one by is most artful, revealing the power of paranoia:

Parents, please check the presents under the Xmas tree at once. Who knows what insidious leftist package might lurk there to ruin the young in your care.

The only other amusing thing in yet another example of Sheehan's tedious alarmist union bashing - as if occupational health and safety couldn't do with some continuing attention outside Sheehan's cozy world of the perfect bread - is an aside at the end where Sheehan is chivvied by big Mal for getting his wording wrong.

Clearly Sheehan is chuffed that big Mal takes the time to read his columns, so he obligingly deleted a line claiming that Malcolm Turnbull was a supporter of gay marriage, only to discover that big Mal disapproved of his re-wording, which suggested that Turnbull 'is advocating' a conscience vote.

Big Mal is going to fall into line behind fearless leader Tony Abbott, and so it should have been past tense - 'has advocated'.

If nothing else, it shows the level of inanity, fear and loathing loose in the world amongst the commentariat and politicians on the subject of gay marriage, fear and loathing that Sheehan has done his fair share to generate, whenever he can spare a moment from his ecstatic appreciation of the spiritual joys of the perfect sourdough.

Meanwhile, the Daily Terror confirms that it has perfected the fine art of the beat-up, always with Green in the headlines:
Note the key word in the splash - "could". It earns a place in the header: Household could be forced to find an extra $1400 for hot water under Labor green scheme expansion. (Please don't ask where the 's' went in Households)

And the opening line increases what we can now call the "could" factor:

Households could be forced to find an extra $1400 for hot water under a massive expansion of another federal Labor green scheme.

Indeed. Of course punters "could" be forced to find an extra $416-00 a year to access the accumulated wisdom of the minions of Murdoch at The Australian, and they "could" be forced to pay an extra $1,664 a year if they had a serious newspaper habit, and wished to access the Daily Terror, the HUN, a regional rag like AdelaideNow and the punch drunk Punch .... that's if each rag devised its own paywall, and there was no corporate discounting for tickets offering single entry to the House of News Corp.

And cabal TV punters "could" be forced to pay $5,564 a year to access a Gold package at Foxtel, but on the other hand they "could" be sensible and indulge in a little cable cutting.

Of course we "could" have got all this wrong, and by reading down a little further discovered that it relates to the installation of electric water heaters in brand new detached terrace or town houses, and extending the ban to existing homes is somewhere off in the distance, perhaps over the hill and faraway in the land of Oz.

Of course this "could" all be wrong, and the newspaper "could" merely be quoting the state government, which has a jaundiced view of the Federal government, and would do anything to distract from its grinch posturing at Xmas to cut foster payments for teenagers. (Foster carers slam NSW payment cuts).

Around the same time as the grinch routine, the media has been full of the usual shock horror stories about drunken teenagers roaming the streets generating violence. And all the state government is trying to do, in its very best imitation of a Dickens figure, is get a few more kids out in the streets so they can enjoy a healthy outdoor lifestyle ...

Thanks to its exemplary cost-cutting, caring minister Pru Goward will be able to purse her lips about drunken youths for years into the future ...

Naturally we immediately turned to Miranda the Devine for advice on how to deal with fractious, difficult youth, as she gets most excited in A generation of dopes:

The Gillard government is quite happy to intervene and regulate to a ridiculous extent practices that are legal and less harmful such as smoking, drinking and gambling.

Yet when it comes to illicit drugs, they’re all softly softly, turn a blind eye and get the law out of it.

Uh huh. Well there's the answer to all those stories about drunken kids running rampant in the streets. Drinking's not a problem at all. Nor for that matter is pissing your entire weekly income down the throats of poker machines, or dying of lung cancer.

You have to admit, it's remarkable how Mother Grundies of the Murdoch world can be capable of this kind of risk assessment. Forget the demon drink, pokies and ciggies. They're harmless pleasures, at least until they kill you.

You see it's the evil weed that is entirely responsible for the ruination of youth and what they need is a good shaking up:

Now anyone who disapproves of illicit drug use is accused of “Moral panic”. Well, panic away. It’s time for a new scare campaign.

Indeed. And luckily the pond has a newly freshened up campaign standing by, ready to deliver just what the Devine wants, as you can see below.

And some wags call this the silly season as we enter the straight for the final week.

Bah humbug it's a time for splendid insights into the viral madness that drives the commentariat forward when others might be thinking of relaxing, and taking it a little easier over the break ...

(Below: a scare campaign guaranteed to work, because it's so true. We're standing by, anticipating a call from the state government which could see the pond profitably employed for the next year).

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