Thursday, April 26, 2012

And remember, fairy floss doesn't rot the teeth ...

(Above: the demented Steve Bell. Always worth a look, here).

What a bitter disappointment, what an existential crisis.

The pond has long harboured an ambition to inherit a modest fortune - a newspaper in Adelaide would do - and build it up into a media empire with far-ranging political influence and power. Politicians would tremble as the pond rumbled past, and running scurrilous, loss-making rags like The Australian would be more than an indulgence, they would be sharp-edged scythes of savagery capable of reducing PMs to quivering policy wrecks.

But after enduring the Leveson inquiry for yet another night - damn you Guardian, damn you ITN, with your beguiling live coverage of paint drying - it turns out that the life of a media mogul is just sweetness and light.

There's no power, there's no influence, there's no lobbying, there's absolutely nothing happening at lunches, politicians don't get enraged at your devious machinations, and if they do, like Gordon Brown, chances are they're simply "unbalanced".

Revelatory shock after revelatory shock reverberated around the pond's rapidly addled brain. There was simply no reason to be a media mogul, unless being an innocent harried and harassed by all and sundry is your idea of fun.

The only news to emerge from the Leveson inquiry? Tabloid newspapers are better than ever in Britain, and it's all thanks to News Corp. And by extension, if you think about it, things have never been better in the United States thanks to Fox News, and in Australia thanks to the noble band of myrmidon minions, the Daily Terror, the HUN, and dozens of other rags, things are simply awesome.

It seems a life of prayer might produce more of an impact on the world, so the pond is now forced to contemplate retiring to a monastery. What chance that Chairman Rupert will also head off to one after his life of impotent powerlessness?

Meanwhile, the Daily Terror shows how to elevate the discussion of climate science to astonishing levels of insight.

Yes, it's a Murdoch-funded story about a tax-payer funded TV program, and if you head off to the story, here, you can do your bit for climate science by joining in a poll. Well at least you can if you follow the link 'Alarmist' warnings all hot air.

Yep, that leads to a story about James Lovelock recanting, and a poll (spoiler alert):

A real threat? Yes, that's called framing a question in a neutral way to obtain an objective, considered, insightful and useful response.

The recommended coverage? Is it a link to an incisive insight into the state of climate science at the moment?

Don't be silly, it leads you to Miranda the Devine, expert climate scientist, back in March, here, starting off her piece by referring to climate scientists as wise monkeys, and explaining how a wet, cold summer has changed everything.

It's truly amazing, with the weight of evidence presented, that the poll managed to drum up some 18% delusional folk who thought climate science might be worth taking seriously.

It turns out, thanks to the Devine channeling Geoffrey Blainey, that we can now understand that science is an alternative religion:

Research into his new book, A Short History of Christianity, leads him to think our attitude towards science in an era of technological advances is akin to religious faith, with gods to worship, vehemence of belief, good and evil, heretics and saints. He says alternative religions have taken the place of Christianity, including communism, and nature worship.

Oh no, not the bloody pinko commie perverts, the wiccans and the pagans.

But wait, it gets worse because the scientists are now the high priests of the new religion of science, and worse, reason is a god:

The third alternative religion is "science, its cousin technology and its god, reason. Science has become incredibly powerful and influential which is understandable. So much of our increased standard of living in the last 150 years has come from science and technology and understandably science is worshipped by a large number of people."

Now why would that be? Could it be that when the pond turns on its electricity-powered plasma screen, it gets an image, whereas when the Devine trots off to mass on Sunday, she slurps actual blood and chomps into the actual body of Christ, New Guinea highlands cannibal-style? (sorry New Guinea cannibals)

Bow down before your plasma screens.

It is of course mere meaningless gibberish:

While stressing that he is a great champion of science, he believes it is now "given the benefit of the doubt which is given to all the dominant religions in their heyday".

Yes, it's the old on the one hand - great champion - and on the other hand - dominant religion - routine.


Actually if the plasma stops working, the pond doesn't give it any benefit of the doubt at all. you can treat it like a 2001-style black monolith if you like, but it's out in the street if it doesn't produce the pictures.

But there's good news. If you clicked on that particular path into the labyrinth, the chances of clicking on another piece by a simpering, sickening Tim Blair is much reduced, and so you might never get to read Will Nick Minchin and Anna Rose ever find true love?

Blair likes to think of himself as something of a humorist, but he's about as funny as a jab in the eye with a sharp stick:

Talk about carbon dating; these two have completely redefined the term.

Blair gets anxious about the amount of jet fuel burned in the making of the program, and yet confesses he'd cheerfully head off to New York with Christine Milne if someone would dish up the funds.

It seems if you take climate science seriously, you must never again catch an aeroplane, or use coal-fired power. You have to head off to a monastery, and make do with candle light, since that's the only way to green purity.

Likely enough, it's the only way you can avoid this sort of tabloid header - the one at the top of Holly Byrnes' relentlessly insightful story I Can Change Your Mind About Climate = 65,000km trip = 60 tonnes of carbon = 60 minutes of hot air.

Lordy, lordy, and there we were shocked to discover that Nationwide News employs over 1,500 and in 2007 its carbon footprint was 32,127 tonnes of CO2 eq.

2007? Ah yes those were the days, when you could read about News Limited - A Carbon Neutral Company, and all they were doing to help identify energy efficiency and cultivate savings. The latest entry on the site made mention of the Pride of Australia national medal 2011 ... in November 2011.

Well you have to admire News. The stench of hypocrisy is now lifted, and there's no need for any more pretence. No need to worry about the recycling bins, or the amount of carbon involved in the hot air that emanates from Holt street on a daily basis.

Punters will be relieved to know that in Holly's story, the rag put out an urgent call for scientific expertise, and the wording was astonishingly neutral, scientific and objective:

Do you believe climate change is mainly man made? Or are the climate doomsayers now discredited? Tell us below.

Put it another way.

Do you believe tabloid newspapers are mainly put together by doomsayser-denying fuckwits? Or do you think that intelligent people are involved? Don't bother to tell us below, unless you have the first clue as to what you might be yabbering about.

Put it another way.

Do you believe tabloid newspapers are mainly person made? Or are the yabbering simpletons now discredited? Don't bother to tell us below, we already know, we're just pretending to get your opinion because we really want to get our hands on your purse.

Oh okay, it's just another day romping through a tabloid, and really, The Australian is way worse because it purports to be serious as opposed to being merely yet another pandering form of mindless fairy floss.

Butof course the real culprit is the ABC, which is going further and further down the tabloid path, and will tonight air a program and follow it up with a Q&A which will likely produce some heat, but will also definitively produce no light or understanding.

And that's the heart of the problem, and why the Murdoch tabloids, and its stable of snarks, is so indignant, and yet obsessed and titillated and trading off, because a taxpayer-funded show and the ABC have stolen their thunder, and sunk below even their level. And that's saying something.

Well, tonight the pond has a clear choice, and yes it'll be back to the Guardian and ITN to watch Chairman Rupert wrap up his evidence.

It might be like watching paint dry, but the news that the pitiful Murdoch empire has no political influence is the sort of fairy story that appeals to the pond ... in much the same way as the news that the religious 'doomsayers' have got it all wrong ... in much the same way the pond once believed fairy floss didn't rot teeth.

If only ...

(Below: Steve Bell. Always worth a look, here).


  1. David Rowe is pretty good, also, on what it means to be absolutely & totally without power, or influence or even a faint aura of charisma. Just don't watch his hands. And keep a firm grip on your own wallet, watch & spectacles.
    In a word, banal, as are the very best crooks, liars & con-men. My very word, he's a case study for anyone else who happens to be in the dock for transgressions against global opinion right now.

  2. You're spot on about the Minchin v Rose televised stoush. I heard a selected highlight on The Science Show on Saturday. Minchin ambushed her with Morano, and she just flatly refused to debate with him because (to paraphrase slightly) he's a liar. (He managed to get out about 10 wrong claims in two minutes, which was impressive.)

  3. Morano did a textbook Gish Gallop. I switched off after it.


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