The trouble with a smell of an oily rag operation like Crikey is that all sorts of odd pieces can turn up like an oily rag, because any kind of content is ... well it's content, and never mind the quality, feel the width ...
So it goes with Bob Katter is a lot of things, but he's not a racist, a piece scribbled by one Anthony Galloway, "a reporter at The Northern Miner".
It turns out that Anthony is perplexed:
The perception that Bob is racist utterly confuses me. He is preoccupied with a range of issues — his anti-gay streak being his only inexcusable — but never has it occurred to me, and never has he given any indication, that he’s hung up on race in any way.
Indeed. Well the pond knows very little about the deep north - not since a friend warned that the fierce dragons that roamed the bush liked a snack of city-based elites before settling down for the night - but it took only a few moments googling to stumble across some farewell remarks by Malcolm Weatherup for the Townsville Bulletin:
Bob once famously went into bat for a then-National Party colleague who had described citizenship ceremonies as "de-wogging".
Bob couldn't see anything wrong with that, and proved it by describing his colleague's critics as "little slanty-eyed ideologues who persecute ordinary average Australians".
That was a while back, and if said today (outside the coward's castle of Parliament), could attract the attention of those familiar with the Racial Vilification Act. (here)
Now it seems most peculiar that Galloway, a reporter at The Northern Miner knew nothing of this, and had nothing to say about it in what is little more than an idolatry puff piece about Katter.
Galloway gets down to the breathless point of explaining how he can't keep up with Katter when the man starts talking about de Tocqueville or John Stuart Mill, or reciting a Henry Lawson poem ... why whole verses from the bard down under.
But, hey, that’s Bob. He’s a lot of things — and there’s lots of things to criticise him about — but being a racist isn’t one of them.
Hey Anthony did Bob ever recite Henry's splendid poem To Be Amused for you?
I see the brown and yellow rule
The southern lands and southern waves,
White children in the heathen school,
And black and white together slaves;
I see the colour-line so drawn
(I see it plain and speak I must),
That our brown masters of the dawn
Might, aye, have fair girls for their lusts!
And don't let him stop there Anthony. There's verse after verse in the poem about the dangers of the lepers (Chinese, Jap, the yellow peril, whatever), just as Lawson offers verse after verse in his other poems.
If you want a more extensive guide to the Lawson oeuvre, why not head off to the Australia First Party's offering Henry Lawson, "Nationalist writer"?
And sure enough down in the comments section for the piece, the first worshipful one led off with a reference to 'city-based elites'.
Let's hope Crikey didn't have to pay too much for the copy.
Meanwhile, over at The Punch, where payment for copy is some kind of socialist communist conspiracy - a breach of intellectual property rights of the Murdochian kind - there's a splendid oily rag offering from Matt Beard under the header The biggest bigots are the buggers who blame bigotry.
Now it would of course be ad hominem to point out that Beard received his tertiary education from the University of Notre Dame, and currently holds down a job as Research Associate with the Centre for Faith, Ethics and Society at Notre Dame, and he's Junior Editor for Solidarity: The Journal for Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics, but it's surprising how these qualifications inform his trolling ...
For starters, bugger me dead, it's really quite splendid to see a Notre Dame graduate sticking buggery in his header for a piece about bigotry.
Perhaps it's a way of getting people to head off to the Wiki (they'reeee baaaack) on Buggery, to note that the term was first used in English law in the Buggery Act of 1533, and it's been downhill since then ...
It turns out that in Beard's most peculiar world there's a whole series of outrageous ad hominem attacks on everyone, and it's shocking and shameful.
I know, I know, Catholic trolling is everywhere, but still this is most rich and juicy. You see poor Christopher Monckton is hapless and persecuted:
Take the controversy surround Christopher Monckton’s recent tour. In a widely signed open letter to the University of Notre Dame, Natalie Latter called for Monckton not to be given voice. The grounds for this claim being that letting Monckton speak undermined academic integrity.
Intellectual debate demands opposition - good and bad - and if the signatories to that letter are so confident of the scientific evidence, their time would have been better spent disproving Monckton than silencing him.
Indeed. Who would stand in the way of Notre Dame joining in the Monckton circus, but how strange that there seemed to be no plan for the University to invite robust debate and disputation with the Monckton circus ...
I guess it's better to propose that others spend their time disproving Monckton, but in discreet ways that would avoid any unseemly debate or a ruckus on campus, at least while the chief clown is front and centre in the big ring ...
And then there's the curious matter of the poker machine debate:
Recently, the usually well-respected Fr. Chris Riley spoke out against gambling reform. Rather than acknowledge his expertise as a man who has a wealth of experience in problem gambling, opposition called him a sellout who had traded his integrity for the ongoing support of a clubs Australia. Ad hominem.
By golly, that 'ad hominem' is handy, and covers all sorts of circumstances, even when a flock of Riley's fellow religionistas point out the bleeding obvious, including Tim Costello:
Costello told AAP this morning that Riley's support for the Clubs Australia campaign could be a conflict of interest, given the financial support Youth off the Streets receives from clubs. "The test is to find people who are independent, who are not getting any money," he said. (here)
Eeek, Tim, ad hominem, ad hominem, and just remember when a politician pockets some cash in the paw, it in no way influences their independent policy-making ...
And then, as if there wasn't already enough joy in the world, Beard jumps the shark and nukes the fridge in his passionate defence of Margaret Court:
Is Court unsupportive of gay marriage? Yes. Is she intolerant of homosexuality? No. She says just the opposite: “I actually love homosexual people.” But because she doesn’t agree with their agenda, Equal Love has made her a bigot.
Would that be the same Court who thinks gays engage in abominable sexual practices (as if gays somehow have reserved anal and oral sex for themselves), and believes gay relationships to be unhealthy, unnatural unions, as if heterosexuals have no claim on unhealthy, unnatural unions (don't get the pond started on its share of unhealthy, unnatural unions).
Would that be the same Court who told The Australian: "I help them overcome. We have people who have been homosexual who are now married."
Yes Court loves gays, provided they turn heterosexual. But the gospel according to Beard?
Court has offered particular reasons for her views: that man and woman, created by God, were intended for sexual union. Now, it’s one thing to take the bull by the horns and argue, say, that her theology is wrong, or that theology has nothing to offer this debate. It’s another to dismiss her as another homophobe, another Bible-basher; that’s bigoted.
Yep, it's bigoted to note the bleeding obvious.
Presumably the notion that Christian theology has also been bigoted these past few thousand years - in the matter of women, gays and evolution for starters - should also be stricken from the record.
And then in a fine flurry of foaming and frothing and inclusiveness as a closing argument, Beard shows the danger of too much trolling from an insecure historical base:
The empowered civil rights movements of the past may well have been inspired by Jean-Jaques Rousseau’s famous liberalist cry “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”.
Recently I was speaking with a state politician who informed me that he would refuse to deal with - or be in the same room as - those who were outspoken against his religion. Partisan politics has gone mad, and it will take a cultural revolution on the level of Rousseau to set things straight.
Actually it wasn't Rousseau, it was Voltaire. Actually it wasn't even Voltaire, it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall (feeling the need to write under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre, as women did in the days when Christians persecuted women for getting out of the house), attempting to capture the spirit of Voltaire and his response to a work by Claude Adrien Helvétius (yep, and the Christians gave him a hard time too).
Yep, it will take a cultural revolution on the level of persuading people to read Wikipedia if no decent history is to hand in the University of Notre Dame library before things will be set straight ...
Oh, and somebody stopping geese like Beard squawking and waddling about complaining of the injustice done to the likes of Monckton, Chris Riley and Margaret Court. If you lead with bigotry or silliness or special pleading, please expect a return serve every so often ...
And there's the price of reading smell of an oily rag offerings. No insight, but as Colbert might have said, a hell of a lot of geeseiness and truthiness ...
But there's an upside this day ... farewell Rick Perry, it was kinda good to know that goosiness has its own reward ...
Now how's that drought in Texas going? What's the drought monitor saying? Heard back yet from the Lord in relation to the Government Proclamation of a 6th August prayer day?
In times of trouble, even those who have been granted power by the people must turn to God in humility for wisdom, mercy and direction. In the spirit of the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, Verses 15-16, I urge a solemn gathering of prayer and fasting. As those verses admonish: "15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly... 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly..." As Jesus prayed publicly for the benefit of others in John 11:41-42, so should we express our faith in this way.
And he was in the running to be OPTUS! (Oh will that Rupert Murdoch gag ever run dry?)
(Below: by golly, it'll soon be Friday night, and time for a little six shooter action).