Monday, February 13, 2012

In one corner Gina Rinehart, in another Gerard Henderson, and in a third ... Humpty Dumpty ...

(Above: a rock with more meaning than the monolith in 2001, found here).

It had to be a con, or perhaps April Fool's day came early.

Whatever, the pond discounted early reports. Just didn't believe 'em. A razz, a leg pull.

Surely this was the work of Ken Kesey's merry pranksters or bilious lefties, or clever dicks, or Crikey style poseurs and ponces.

Surely opera-loving Andrew Bolt would be out in force, railing at the feeble lyrics, concerned the stuff could never be set to a decent tune, in the same way he rails at the fury of hypocrites, gibberers and self-serving Greens. Surely gadfly Tim Blair would mount a satirical column, and Miranda the Devine would send it all up shitless, as the work of a discontented bicyclist.

That'd be the true test, when the right railed at the sheer errant silliness ... or at least the inept use of language which is a reminder of how sadly educational standards amongst the rich have slipped in recent years ... let alone the insolent hubris and delusional pride of setting it on a stone.

But no, it was certified by Chairman Murdoch as real and true, and all Perth was agog with excitement, and finally it turned up on the revived Q&A - where is a stake when you need it - and given a bad reading - where is William Shatner when he's needed?

Only then did the pond truly believe - in a tremulous way, oh stay beating heart that the thought a new Shakespeare walks amongst us. Why it could become more viral and more prone to riffing than shooting a computer ...

Don't have any idea what the pond's been taking? Think it took a tab of poetic acid? Lucky you ...

Not to worry, it'll take the very best effort of our resident prattling Polonius to top that one, and by golly does he make a grand effort in PM's steadily declining authority is all of her own making ...

Polonious - that'll be Dr. Henderson to you wastrels and idlers - is a first class pedant, and the pond was enraptured by the subtle keenness of wit and mind in his word play - beware Sherlock Holmes, razor sharpness at work:

Ensler said the media throws the switch to superficial when "powerful" women are in leadership roles. There tends to be an obsession in the Western media with power. In recent years the Australian Financial Review Magazine has published an annual "Power Issue". And now the publishers of the Crikey newsletter have set up "The Power Index". There is a problem with word usage here. Power is most appropriately associated with authoritarian regimes and is retained by force.

Yes, it was as grand an enunciation of the pond's fervent belief in Humpty Dumpty as has been seen in recent times:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them - particularly verbs, they're the proudest - adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs - however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

Clearly we've all be paying 'power' far too much - two shillings and overtime - and it's been showing a temper.

It's got far too many uses, way too many dictionary definitions, a kind of Gina Rinehart way with itself. Here's just the first four you can find online in the free dictionary:

1. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.
2. A specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude. Often used in the plural: her powers of concentration.
3. Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might. See Synonyms at strength.
4. The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority. (here).

The very stuff and heartbeat of authoritarian regimes, but hang on, hang on, where does that leave our pontificating Polonius?

In democratic societies, elected leaders possess authority, legitimised by the ballot box. Successful prime ministers or presidents exert their authority after taking account of the checks and balances on absolute rule.

It's not power, but authority, yet authority allows the exercise of power?

Or some such thing. Really such a blizzard of useless notions, when all Gerard Henderson needed to say is Julia Gillard is useless, hopeless - you can't leave her alone with a kitchen cabinet for a minute without the scones being burned - and everything is her fault.

Now let's get down to the detail and there's one fine example of snobbery and preening pretension that will appeal to those who search for clues that Gerard Henderson is a pompous inner city elitist prat.

For how did Julia Gillard so quickly begin to lose her authority (and therefore her power and perhaps also her precious bodily fluids?)

Well firstly, she sent Wayne Swan to the G20 Summit in Toronto in June 2010, and secondly?

Second, Gillard could have moved immediately into the Lodge but stayed in suburban Melbourne until the election.

Suburban Melbourne!

Said with the withering tone and the pursed lips of Dame Edna dissing Moonee Ponds (close kissing cousin of loon ponds everywhere).

No wonder she lost authority. Or even a little power ...

And then there's the compelling issue of how to talk about her:

On Q&A last year, Graham Richardson said it was "appalling" that the Prime Minister was often referred to as "Julia". On the same program last week, Senator Penny Wong used the term "Julia" on no fewer than four occasions. Wong is a Gillard supporter.

Four occasions. The eternal pedant, now in possession of a word search.

It is disgraceful that some protesters have called the Prime Minister "a bitch". But no more so than when John Howard was depicted as Adolf Hitler in demonstrations. Successful politicians can prevail over abuse.
Gillard's problems turn on the fact that she is de-authorised. It's always possible to restore authority. However, it takes time.

De-authorised? What, now she's an errant mobile phone, or perhaps a recalcitrant computer program?

Will it be as simple as trouble-shooting a few bugs, update the firmware, re-boot, and then re-authorise?

Never mind, in all it was as satisfying a display of the power of words as could be imagined, and once again the master showed he was up to matching anything Gina Rinehart might offer.

And by the way Gina - you don't mind if we call you Gina in the way we call Julia Juliar do you? - why she even has a tag at The Punch as Juliar - the Sydney Institute is standing by, waiting for any expression of support, so it can maintain the rage about suburban Melbourne, and the subtle distinction between power - that comes in sockets - and authority - that's only bestowed by members of the commentariat ...

(Below: but they set Dame Edna up in the Docklands. Shame Peter Corbett and Melbourne, shame).

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