Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Of the bishop's gambit, and the smirk, and why big Mal wants non-profit rags to disseminate their thoughts ...

(Above: if only).

As the year draws to a close, the cliche that change is the only constant keeps coming home to roost at the pond.

Once upon a time on a Wednesday, Janet Albrechtsen would have been the go to commentariat member to lighten the day:

But now there's no need to be reminded that Janet Albrechtsen is proof women can be just as ruthless, rude, reactionary, irascible, disagreeable and ambitious as any man, at least not when the ominous gold bar of greed, as dangerous as the fickle finger of fate, hovers over the splash.

Meanwhile, the siren song of printarian socialism has struck a chord in big Mal. You see without a vigilant media bitching on about Julia Gillard, there'd be no one home in the opposition:

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition does its best with very limited resources, but more often than not the most effective means of holding a government to account is through a vigorous and independent media. During the last, appalling, term of the NSW Labor Government the most rigorous and consistent criticism came from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph. This is not to take anything away from Barry O’Farrell’s opposition, but any critique offered by an Opposition is always viewed with skepticism by the public – “they would say that wouldn’t they.”

Yes, yes, there's little doubt that big Mal would say Gillard shows the worst in women, but he can't, can he, and so what's needed is a vigorous and independent media, like Dame Slap herself, and there's no better way to sustain an independent media than slip them a little on the sly:

... there would be some merit in considering whether some level of support could be given, in terms of deductible gift recipient status, for not for profit newspapers, online or hard copy or both, which committed to a code of conduct analogous perhaps to that subscribed to by the ABC.

Yes, that's what's needed, yet another ABC. Better still dozens of little mini-ABCs.

Well if you want to read more of the thoughts of big Mal on The future of newspapers - is it the end of journalism?, you can rush off to his web site - the piece even has footnotes. No doubt he means well, but if his solution to print media's woes is not for profit newspapers, subsidised by government and run along the lines of the ABC, he's showing dangerous socialist tendencies.

And what would they publish?

Well there's always Julie Bishop, ever ready to hold down a spot - call it the Bishop's Gambit if you will - and then scribble It was a year in which we hardly caught our breath, a piece of unremitting banality, with this surpassing conceit:

... it is the actions of people during 2011 that will arguably have the biggest impact on world history.

Yes it's the actions of people that will have the biggest impact on the record of the actions of people, sometimes called history.

What follows is a survey of the year's events, full of bubbling, sparking insights:

The short, medium and long-term implications of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are far from clear.

Indeed. It has to be noted that the vertical and horizontal implications are also unclear, but will become clearer as the verbiage settles to the bottom, and we can sort through the mud.

And it wouldn't be a complete year without some unctuous political forelock-tugging:

As we look back at the events of 2011 and then head into the flamboyant and tempestuous Year of the Dragon it is timely for us to remember those in our armed forces who are serving overseas in support of the enduring ideals that underpin our society.

The flamboyant and tempestuous year of the dragon? Would that be the same as leaving the scuttling, scampering, burrowing, grass-eating year of the rabbit?

And as for the enduring ideals ... would those be the same as heading off to the Boer war and killing the odd missionary? Or heading off to Vietnam, to make sure even to this day that Agent Orange continues to ruin people's lives?

Or is it the enduring ideals of heading off to Iraq and then scarpering, just as Iraq's sectarian divide threatens to split country as anger at Maliki grows?

Perhaps, as Sigmund Freud once said, "One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful"

Would the years of struggle be when Freud was in the grip of cocaine?

As for Australia in the years of struggle ... do you mean like the grandparents in the great depression, or are we only talking about the parents in the second world war? Is Australia in 2011 on struggle street? Some street, some struggle ...

But at least we know who'll be given the important job of opening school fetes with cliche-laden mind-numbing speeches once the opposition gets hold of the reins of power ...

Speaking of mind-numbing, the thought of Peter 'the smirk' Costello having a thought bubble was irresistible, but here it is:
It's the pond's belief that the resemblance of Costello to Humpty Dumpty is getting uncanny, even to the point of eery:

The claim of a Cheshire cat resemblance is still striking, but not as sound as it used to be:

Anyhoo, the themes in Costello's piece are easily summarised.

Europe and Labor bad, China good.

Naturally the Chinese have the right attitude to welfare, with Costello graciously quoting CIC chairman Jin Liqun:

"If you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of the worn out welfare society. I think the labour laws are outdated. The labour laws induce sloth, indolence, rather than hard-working. The incentive system is totally out of whack."

Indeed. There are simply not enough Europeans suicidally jumping out of factory windows while making trinkets for America, nor enough suffering in old age the Chinese way.

Of course China only really got into its own welfare system three years ago - when they suddenly realised there was no safety net for the ageing or the sick or the suffering workers - but ain't it grand to see the smirk applauding the merciless treatment of workers in the land of Orwellian dreams.

And he's gone so orientalist, he wants the Chinese to kick Europe's butt:

Once upon a time the Chinese government would have had nothing to teach us about economic growth. But its track record is not looking so bad these days - not as bad as Europe, that's for sure.

Yes indeed. Once upon a time the Chinese government would have had nothing to teach us about the dignity of the individual, and freedom of expression, and its record is looking just as bad these days, but go with the material goods solution to everything, and y0u'll be at one with the smirk.

Borrowers can't be choosers. If Europe wants a loan from China it will get an earful of advice with it.

Insufferable righteousness? Sure thing.

So there it is, big Mal. What need of a government bail out for a print media always willing to regale the populace with the thoughts of current and former politicians for free?

What need to pay for Janet Albrechtsen when you can get thought bubbles from Julie Bishop and Peter Costello?

And what need to chatter on about anything other than hooking workers up to the grindstone and making them suffer, with a lashing or three, and never mind the role financiers or the banking system might have played in Europe's woes ... when you're the smirk?

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