Tuesday, May 22, 2012

From rampant paranoia to rampant Catholicism ...

(Above: some fresh angles for The Australian?)

The pond woke up this morning determined not to write a single word about Craig Thomson - goshdarn it how did that name make it into the first sentence? - and happily there's a whole wide world out there that doesn't feature Craig Thomson.

Yesterday upon the mediar
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away (the poem here).

Okay, enough with that name, and all the instant coffee experts on the affairs of the HSU.

First up as an alternative, The Australian is maintaining its war on the world, climate science and sundry commentariat villains, and the world is happy to return fire in the stoush.

Yesterday Bernard Keane conducted a most peculiar argument behind the Crikey paywall in Australia's most successful paper lashes its critics. Using post-modernist irony, Keane determined that The Australian wasn't successful because of the size of its readership or its ongoing capacity to make a handsome loss, but because it had become its demographic:

This explains the toothless savaging of critics, and its assertion-based coverage of issues like climate change. Like the cranky old men on the Sunshine Coast that form its readership, The Australian is permanently angry, not so much about individual matters per se, but about the whole world, which infuriatingly refuses to stop changing. Like its readership, The Oz used to be powerful, unchallenged and secure in a socio-economic environment tailor-made for it. But now the world has changed, and like angry climate deniers or “Juliar” placard-waving protesters, it doesn’t like it one little bit.

From this Keane determined that there was no point in attacking the rag, because it was a great success. And this must count for something. Keane's post-modern irony was lost on Guy Rundle and others, with Rundle dubbing it a mildly irritating straw man argument. If that's success, what on earth is failure?

And then last night good old Media Watch stirred the possum yet again in Media coverage of death threats examined. Oh there were plenty of barbs, including:

Maybe The Australian will provide me with space to respond on its own pages. I don't want to take up your time with disputes about who are, and who aren't, in The Australian's bizarre words
....closed-minded thinkers and zealots impervious to fact — The Australian, 21st May, 2012

Naturally the stirred possum immediately responded, not by giving Jonathan Holmes space, but by sending out its attack dog, Chris Merritt, legal affairs editor, to scribble furiously ABC 'updates' story on threats, and thought so highly of the matter that it put the piece outside the paywall so that the entire world might read.

Don't you just love single inverted commas used on 'updates'? There's a whole world of defensive paranoia on view in that one typographical gesture. Advise us wiki:

Quotes indicating verbal irony, or other special use, are sometimes called scare, sneer, shock, distance, or horror quotes. (here)

To cut to the chase, the ABC is wrong, was wrong, will be wrong, while The Australian is right, was right and will be right. As you'd expect of any stout-hearted band of zealots impervious to facts ...

Happily the ruckus also sees Deltoid return, to dub Merritt's response truly pathetic. It could also be called truly risible, since The Australian has for years now been the antipodean equivalent of the Heartland Institute in terms of climate science reporting. There are seriously disturbed loons out there, and that disturbance can be tracked directly to the war on science conducted by News Ltd lackeys ...

But enough of the paranoids trapped in Murdoch castle (here's hoping their fireplace is as grand as the one in Hearst castle), because we really must find time to celebrate prattling Polonius's contribution to the pond's day of anti-Thomson doodles, with Time to put to rest claims of Abbott's DLP tendencies.

Our rolled trousers Prufrock - who sometimes passes as Gerard Henderson - is keen to deny that the DLP and B. A. Santamaria might in any way have influenced Tony Abbott, and his tendency towards populism or to handing out astonishingly generous parental leave schemes that would gladden the heart of any Catholic bishop anxious to generate more recruits for the Ponzi scheme of Catholicism.

As usual, it's mainly an excuse for Henderson to lollop through the past, valiantly establishing that the Abbott was just 16 when the DLP bowed out of federal politics, and that really B. A. Santamaria shouldn't be seen as having much to do with the D.L.P. And then of course there's the tortured, tortuous business of disassociating Tony Abbott from Santamaria, even though Abbott has wilfully and perversely insisted on honouring his debt to the man's thinking and its influence on him.

Oh dear, how to get around the evidence that Tony Abbott is the very best witness for the prosecution? How about a Labor party analogy?

Abbott has remained a public admirer of Santamaria. Just as Keating was impressed with the political verve of the populist NSW Labor premier Jack Lang, so Abbott appreciates the commitment of Santamaria.
Keating was no Langite in government.

Except perhaps for the capacity to throw political punches, and have more followers than friends, as celebrated by Maloney and Grosz in Paul Keating & Jack Lang.

But back to stout-hearted Gerard:

As a cabinet minister in the Howard government, Abbott did not attempt to implement Santamaria's agenda. To maintain that he did is mythology.

Oh dear. Mr. Abbott, if you might take the chair, can you please assist us in understanding the point Mr. Henderson is making?

Describing Mr Santamaria as "the most influential 'failure' in our political history", Mr Abbott claimed that the Howard Government's decisions "to overturn the Northern Territory's euthanasia law, ban gay marriage, stop the ACT heroin trial, provide additional financial support for one-income families, and try to reduce abortion numbers through pregnancy support counselling show that the tide of secular humanism was not as irreversible as he thought." (here)

Oh dammit, Mr. Abbott, are you some kind of mythologiser indulging in mythology? Are you claiming that you and the Howard government enacted the very things that B. A. Santamaria would have liked to enact, but for his defeatist thinking that secular humanism was irreversible? Are you calling Gerard Henderson a defender of the indefensible?

Well if you're a glutton for punishment, and you want to read more, you might like to tackle Paul Collins' Abbott and Santamaria's undemocratic Catholicism, written back in 2010, which prompted an indignant reply from our prattling Prufrock in Defending Abbott and Santamaria.

And if that cat o' nine tails isn't enough for you, you might then click on Henderson's The Sydney Institute favours neither side of politics, a letter to Eureka Street that reads:

I refer to Sarah Burnside's article 'The Liberals' hidden intellectual arsenal' which was published in Eureka Street on August 4. In her piece, Ms Burnside asserted that 'conservatives can draw on a plethora of high-profile think-tanks, including The Sydney Institute, to research and enunciate their ideas'.
This statement is false. The Sydney Institute is a forum for debate and discussion and does not do research for any organisation or political party.

And there's your LOL moment for the week (we mean of course laugh out loud, not loll over lollcats). But now at last you have an explanation why week after week you have to read Gerard Henderson publishing valiant pieces headed Time to put to rest talk of Gillard being a bad PM, and In defence of Julia Gillard and Aneurin "Nye' Bevan.

Week after week, this tireless worker for truth and balance is on the job, to the point that the pond almost wants to shriek enough already, and urge him to write a piece about Craig Thomson.

But we'll settle for his even-handed defence of Tony Abbott for the umpteenth time. Now if you'll excuse the pond, we must rush off for a meeting with Cardinal Pell, though it might well come to pass that we simply can't remember meeting him. ( as noted by The Chaser lads, and you can YouTube the moment again).

And speaking of The Chaser lads, can we just mention again the conspiracy that resulted in the lads' gate crashing of a Sydney Institute affair being canned?

Henderson, if you’re not aware, is a rather staunch Catholic and has written extensively on the religion, but – again betraying his anti-bias doctrine – doesn’t seem to take too kindly to anyone mocking it. This is perhaps why he’s been hammering away about The Chaser’s recent blimp stunt at the Vatican ever since it was first reported in May (before the stunt had aired and before anyone – including Henderson – knew of its contents). He blasted the team for it on his Media Watch Dog blog and offered helpful suggestions for how the team could attack other religions, going so far as to start a campaign – his idea of a running joke, presumably – to raise money from his readership to “send The Boys to Mecca to mock the Prophet.” (here)

Uh huh. It turns out that when it comes to sectarianism, Gerard Henderson can make your average B. A. Santamaria and Tony Abbott look like rank amateurs. Take it away Mike Carlton here:

…he [Henderson] has taken to sending me tetchy emails attacking my enthusiasm for The Chaser’s War on Everything.
“Perhaps this kind of adolescent humour appeals particularly to the likes of you and the so-called Chaser ‘boys’ who, as I understand it, were educated in the Sydney Protestant or non-denominational private school culture,” he barked last week.” I went to a Catholic school where we were encouraged not to kick down at those who are less educated or less well-off or recently departed.”
Nothing like a bit of sectarian gunfire in what the right so archly likes to think of as the culture wars. When I replied that Julian Morrow, the Chaser’s executive producer, had actually been educated by the Jesuits at St Aloysius, Gerard was unmoved.
“I doubt that there were many Jesuits teaching at St Aloysius when Julian Morrow went there,” he snapped back.

A Catholic without a sense of humour. Just the man to defend B. A. Santamaria and Tony Abbott and somehow imagine he isn't the slightest bit biased ...

Well we could spend all week having laughing along with anal retentiveness, but why not just sign off with clear visual evidence that Tony Abbott is in no way unbalanced or skewed in his loyalties:

1 comment:

  1. If you watched QandA last night, DP, you may have noticed another valiant defender of truthiness. Greg Sheridan, being a stout advocate for rugged interrogation, has such nice, soft hands. How do you reckon he'd like to mete out a good dose of near-drowning? Would the nation's foremost opinionista give up Roop's cell number under threat of the mallet over his fingers?


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