Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Gerard Henderson rides the range with Woody and Jessie the yodeling cowgirl ...

hobbyhorse [ˈhɒbɪˌhɔːs]
1. a toy consisting of a stick with a figure of a horse's head at one end
2. another word for rocking horse
3. (Performing Arts / Theatre) a figure of a horse attached to a performer's waist in a pantomime, morris dance, etc.
4. a favourite topic or obsessive fixed idea (esp in the phrase on one's hobbyhorse)b. A topic that one frequently brings up or dwells on; a fixation.

Enough already with the arty wanker stuff. Let's just go with definition four.

After too long in the company of a member of the commentariat, hobbyhorses, fixations, obsessions, favourite topics, monomaniacal addictions, call them what you will, too easily become apparent.

Gerard Henderson, our very own prattling Polonius, is a particularly fine example of a hobby horse rider, to the point of droning boredom and tedium, and today's effort Threat from enemy within makes anti-terrorism laws indispensable.

In no particular order, Henderson takes these hobby horses out for a fine gallop:

Home-grown terrorism a threat to Australia
Lebanese-Australian Mulsims a threat to Australia
Malcolm Fraser a threat to Australia
Lebanese Maronite Christians not a threat to Australia
Malcolm Fraser's Lebanese concession a threat to Australia
Appalling implementation of Malcolm Fraser's policy a threat to Australia.
Cabinet papers reveal poor and poorly educated Lebanese Muslims a threat to Australia
Fraser's political memoirs are replete with errors and omissions, and a threat to Australia.
Lebanese Muslim south-west Sydney criminal gangs a threat to Australia
John Howard and counterterrorism legislation not a threat to Australia
ASIO not a threat to Australia
Leftists who sneer at ASIO quite possibly a threat to Australia
ASIO performed wonderfully well during the cold water, the years of apartheid and anti-Vietnam demonstrations, and so was never a threat to Australia.

There's more, but the pond never does spoilers.

All the same, you must be pumped and primed for the concluding par by now:

It is now widely recognised that the Soviet Union was involved in espionage in Australia during the Cold War. ASIO was right about that. It makes sense to accept that ASIO and police have identified a small number of Australians who are intent on violent jihad and respond appropriately - and honestly.

It's classic Henderson all right. Not a word about alternatives, about possible ways that the lot and place of Lebanese in Australia might be enhanced and improved. Just endless blather about threats and big sticks and ASIO, and responding appropriately by policing, and punishment, and persecution, and blaming and naming and shaming ...

It used to be that the Irish Catholics were the favourite citizens of Australia who deserved a good commentariat whipping, and playground abuse of that kind that still festers in the pond's memory bank.

Then the Vietnamese arrived - thanks not to Malcolm Fraser so much as to a recognition that if Gerard Henderson and the domino mob helped break the vase then it was up to the rest of the country to help repair it or buy it.

The Vietnamese were the poster children for a good whipping for a very long time, and you couldn't find space in the papers for anything else, so crammed were they with shocked and hushed stories lawlessness, drugs and violence in Cabramatta. (Insert your own Vietnamese-influenced suburb here). Never mind that it was always a top notch place for a pho soup ...

Now it seems like Lebanese Muslims have stayed at the top of the charts for a long time. How they must long for another minority to come along and displace them. What we need is another war to sort out a new hierarchical situation ...

The Henderson piece is of course at heart shameless pandering pompous fear-mongering, a shock jock piece dressed up with a few dandified references and academic footnotes, which fail to hide the real message: watch out children, if you don't love ASIO, and its fine, ferreting, spying ways, the Lebanese Muslim jihadists will come along and get you.

And in it all, Henderson, fine cold war, Vietnam war loving armchair warrior that he was and remains, still manages to get in a kick at the Communist can, sneering leftists, the Aarons family and Brian Fitzpatrick ...

Who holds a gruge more deadly and more steady and more elephant-like than your average workaday jihadist?

Why Gerard Henderson of course ...

That's the problem with just a few commentariat voices screeching and shouting in the void. They become ever so predictable. Where, for example, would Miranda the Devine be without bicycles, greenies, and vomit-strewn, blood-stained George street, the Champs-Élysées of Sydney (we only say that as a reminder that delusion goes hand in hand with obsession).

And sites become predictable too. It's hard to imagine that someone else at The Punch could trot out yet another piece of fluffery about anonymity on the intertubes, but James Heathers manages it in The science of Punching on.

It seems that anonymity leads to incivility and strange creatures who are completely "deinviduated".

It seems that being anonymous on the intertubes is like being part of a terrifying lynch mob bringing strange fruit to trees in the deep south, though in the pond's observation, a few hurtful or even hateful words don't quite match up to a rope around the neck, or perhaps a petrol-soaked tyre necklace.

What's worse, it seems communication on the tubes lacks a full dose of academic verbiage:

Online communication completely lacks the normative barriers in conversation, the normal structure which allows an intricate dance of turn-taking, mutual understanding and inter-communication.

Yes yes, the pond always feels that when reading a novel or a poem. Why they're so two dimensional, the paper is such a normative barrier to conversation. Henceforth unless the author is present to read the text and so to allow an intricate dance of intercommunication, no books of any kind shall enter the house.

Being a goose, writing on a site which has the opportunity every day to remove anonymity as a condition of posting and commenting, but which never does because it treasures the hits too much - with weird whacko Erick leading the way - Heathers then sets himself up nicely:

If you were walking down the street and asked someone where to get the 347 bus from, and they immediately barked at you “CLIMATE CHANGE IS FICTION!” it’s unlikely the conversation would continue, as this is far from normative behaviour and you still wouldn’t know where to get the bus.

Cue the natural response, by Fred in the third comment spot:


Well there's an end to that normative conversation, but at least it's funnier than reading Gerard Henderson, who has the comments function at the end of his column turned off today, presumably on the basis that the editors knew readers would deliver a torrent of anonymous abuse at their favourite Prufrockian prat.

Still, we've taken Heathers plea about normative disjunction, or is that comparative myopic communicative conjunction to heart, and so we turn to the Daily Terror to observe public standards of debate sustained at the highest intellectual level imaginable.

Take it away Daily Terror, show us how it's done, and with none of that dangerous anonymous hackerish V for Vendetta type behaviour, but with a clever, witty illustration ...

Relax folks, it's just normative communication at its finest ...

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