Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paul Sheehan, and the art of being exceptionally insulting about insults ...

(Above: a recent artist's impression of Paul Sheehan).

Naturally the pond is at one with the 'wiferism' scandal that's currently enveloping Mitt Romney like a London fog.

As a devotee of birtherism, it seems only fair to have scandal upon scandal undermining western civilisation as we know it. And who said Mormonism would stay off the table when it came to comedy writing, as Bill Maher shows here?

But at least comedians can claim a certain kind of satirical freedom, and mingling 'birtherism' with 'wiferism' passes a satirical test.

What, however, can you do with an allegedly serious member of the commentariat, who it turns out is given to satirical comedy routines ... except that they are singularly unfunny and hugely biassed?

Come on down General Grumpy, Paul Sheehan, and hit us with a blast of ethnic stereotypes and idle insulting abuse in Brit trick is an insult to the system.

His theme for the day begins with the tweets of John McTernan, which you can find for your entertainment here.

McTernan is pugnacious, and inclined to be forthright, and while his wiki says he was born in London, there's more than a hint of the rampant Scot about him (not least as a columnist for The Scotsman and as Tony Blair's man in Scotland). Recent tweets have featured Scotland, NATO, and the soccer disease that must be expunged from the antipodes, with a tendency to humour, as in the tweet What a strange mixture of abuse and prissiness, and in his retweeting of Craig Emerson's tweet Lib heavyweights are onto subject of my hairstyle. For them that's highbrow. Bless their little cotton socks.

Now we have to start with the basics. With a name like McTernan, the man might well pass for a Celt, and as we know, Celts and their lazy ways send Sheehan into a frenzy, and into high dudgeon. (oh the temptation to write high dungeon).

The Celts have ruined Britain, according to Sheehan, in much the same way as the lazy Greeks have ruined Greece and Europe, though to be fair the British generally have ruined Britain, in Sheehan's jaundiced eyes ... so naturally McTernan, being British, is guilty of a vast number of crimes against humanity, as well as good and kindly speech in the antipodes.

The Liberal party, which is such a collection of saintly souls you'd swear they could be butlers in the Vatican, are gob-smacked at the crudity and coarseness of his haggis ways.

For a start, McTernan's indulged in a taste for insult. Sheehan, of course, and Liberals generally, never indulge in insult. Any talk of that would be beneath him and them, which is why he's outraged at McTernan's twittering sprays:

McTernan's scorn was directed at several people, all nonentities.

Nonentities? Yep, people of absolutely no importance or significance, pip-squeaks, small fry, squirts, jackanapes, whippersnappers, lightweights, and nobodies. Absolutely invisible bits of nothinginess.

'I see nobody on the road,' said Alice.

'I only wish I had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful tone. 'To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!'

You see, calling somebody a nobody isn't an insult. You can see Nobody on the road if you have sharp eyes like Alice.

Having established his very own uninsulting tone, Sheehan spends the rest of his column insulting everyone he can, directing his scorn at all and sundry. Gillard cops a blast for importing the British disease and British spin-doctoring, it's all just too unedifying for words, and the unctuous and danger-prone Peter Slipper cops a blast, and the aboriginal tent embassy riot cops a blast, and Anthony Albanese cops a blast, and Wayne Swan cops a blast for his attack on mining billionaires ...

It's like an extended baleful set of the most rampant, rage-filled McTernan tweets you could find and assemble in one column, and it builds to a mini-climax:

April saw a ramping up of the rhetoric of class warfare, a divisive tactic at the best of times, which appeared orchestrated from the Prime Minister's office.

Class warfare! Yes, Sheehan, being a generally grumpy, and always lazy columnist who loves to recycle the thoughts of others, has swallowed the News Ltd kool-aid, and is ready to indulge in idle rhetoric about the rhetoric of class warfare, and the tragic fate of the wealth creators. That'd be the wealth creators recently given a free kick to import skilled workers ...

Then the most appalling cut of all, one that must cut deep for anyone living in the eastern suburbs:

In keeping with this message, Gillard let fly with her sneer that Abbott should ''get off Sydney's north shore and go and talk to some real families and get himself in the real world''. Naked class politics.

Yes, Ju-liar - let's keep the discourse elevated before we put you in a chaff bag and take you out to sea to drown you - as anyone knows the north shore is full of poor people. If you want to tackle naked class politics in Sydney, it's the eastern suburbs where the ponces and the gits reside. (Now where does Paul Sheehan reside?)

But wait there's more. It's onwards and downwards, with insults directed at Craig Thomson for his breathtaking willingness to insult poor, hapless, harmless, deeply innocent Tony Abbott. Talk about grotesque irony.

And snarky narky Albanese also performed a breathtaking form of grotesque irony for his invocation of the Crimes Act.

In 20 years of covering politics, I've never seen anything like the conduct of Albanese and Thomson in the Parliament this year. They have made the gutter their permanent address.

That'd be the same address where Ju-liar, Bob Brown's bitch, lives. You know, that barren atheist hussy who won't need any nanny support but who needs to be kicked to death (oh you know the drill, remember the top ten bits of Gillard abuse at Hoopla).

And then, as you'd expect from a man expert in insults and vile bile, it's back to the British problem:

Similar tactics were used by another desperate Labour government, the government of Gordon Brown, now seen as a disaster for Britain. It departed in 2010 leaving behind a debilitating legacy of debt and deficit and an electoral map starkly divided by class.

Yes, Britan had never been divided by class until that lazy Celt Gordon Brown stormed on to the scene. And hasn't Britain done splendidly since that classless David Cameron stormed on to the scene. (Branson: Coalition failing on growth).

Which brings us back to Gillard's imported director of communications, McTernan, a ministerial adviser in the Brown government. Before that, he was an adviser to former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Yes, it's Sheehan as abuser of ethnic types in full flight, with talk of the British disease. Now you see where a few robust tweets can get you.

It is possible McTernan's arrival in the job seven months ago coincided with a period of toxic bumbling by the Prime Minister and her staff. At the other end of the spectrum of possibilities, there could be malign intent within Gillard's office to ramp up the class war and the personal insults, tactics which bear the mark of an imported British disease.

And there you have it. Talk of malignity by a man who only knows malignity, talk of class war by someone ready to indulge in ramping up the rhetoric of class warfare as a way of abusing an entire government, and talk of personal insults from a man ready to abuse an entire country of people by talking of an imported British disease.

An imported British disease? And the New Zelunders carry on about fire blight?

Is it possible to imagine any form of abuse that's more profoundly obnoxious and ignorant and ethnicist?

By a man classed as a key member of the Fairfax commentariat?

By a man who seems to exemplify what we might call a domestic Australian disease, once known as Hansonism?

And done without a shred of humour, or an awareness of the breath-taking irony of such splenetic hubris, or an attempt to balance the scales by mentioning some of the worst excesses of the likes of Tony Abbott and Sophie Mirabella, which might at least offer a kind of satirical Bill Maher redemption.

The man is such a righteous prune. Why if the pond was into twitter, what a burst of twittering would follow:

''You're happy to call me a revolting thug but so self-righteous when I call you a buffoon. Diddums.'' ''Ah, so now we're clear, you're just a graceless buffoon.'' ''What a surprise. Abuse from a moron.''

''Wow. Omniscient as well as obnoxious. Some combination.''

And so on. Because the insulting Paul Sheehan just calls for a round of insults. The shout is on the pond ...

(Below: could Sheehan be a gorgon in drag? Louvre c. 600-500BC attack black figure, Dinos shape)

1 comment:

  1. Careful, DP, you tread on sacred ground when you call "Lazy!". See, the Father of the Nation doth twittereth
    Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch Why should Germans have to pay Greeks for laziness and cheating? Now Spain in real pain, next comes shocks from France. More.
    Now, "cheating", eh? That's rich.


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