Monday, June 25, 2012

And now to a portentous Prufrock, a peevish Pooter, a prattling Polonius without any influence whatsoever ...

(Above: the Albo calendar that turned up in the letter box yesterday. Cut and paste, add magnet, and you too can put it on your fridge. A calendar for 2012 in June? Just another service from Albo and the pond).

Before we get proceedings underway, I see that Jeeves has brought the pond's correspondence so it can be considered over tea and marmalade on toast. (Bertie and Jeeves away here at My Man Jeeves, The Aunt and the Sluggard and other stories).

First up was a note from Chairman Rupert inviting the pond to subscribe to the hand-delivered tree killer editions of the Daily and Sunday Terror, for a mere $23.80 each every four weeks, a reduction, the good Chairman assured the pond, of 35% over the daily rate. The pamphlet proposed a 41% reduction, but when you read the small print, the headline figure was misleading and deceptive. Who'd have thought?

One had already spoken sharply to Jeeves before about supporting a rag with a lifestyle section that kept on writing poncy inner city stories along the lines of Coffee drinking linked to a longer life or Nothing beats garlic to pack a pungent punch. If one wanted to read this sort of nonsense, why one would subscribe to a Fairfax rag.

Jeeves discreetly whisked away the pamphlet and apologised for soiling the pond's eyeballs with its bare-faced slogan "news that's important to you". Coffee and garlic are important to one? Only if inclined to sybaritic European lifestyles ...

Or perhaps if one wanted to read classic front page eggbeater stories about stealing lunch money, bottled water and fruit snacks from school children. Dammit, in the pond's day, students were invited to stick a stone in the mouth, Bear Grylls style, and enjoy the moisture ...

Next was a poignant note from Anthony Albanese advising the pond in breathless tones that the NBN was coming to the inner west .... Newtown, Camperdown, Enmore and outer suburbs like Sydenham ... in three years.

Three years! While friends and family enjoy being wired in Tamworth and Armidale and various other boondoggle seats around the country. Well I'm not sure that it will save Tony Windsor, even if he's turned in one of the most level-headed parliamentary performances amidst a bunch of tossers, and it's equally hard to see how it will save Albo's ministerial hide.

Damned if the pond could see why Albo was tub-thumping about the NBN turning up in three years! Three bloody years ... An impertinence, madam, Jeeves noted astutely, and I had to agree with him ...

No one will miss out, the letter says in heavier type, but truth to tell, with Tony Abbott the Pellist luddite from hell, there's a good chance a lot of people will miss out, and as usual, it's the seats that vote Labor that have been ignored in favour of propping up votes elsewhere. So Jeeves offered to decline politely Albo's invitation to discuss the arrival of the NBN in parts hereabouts. We'll take up the conversation in three bloody years ...

But while having fun with Jeeves, we almost overlooked Gerard Henderson, perhaps because Henderson is the most predictable and tedious member of the commentariat doing the rounds - Mark Latham makes him sound like a featherless chook howling at the loon - and by golly our prattling Pooter is predictable and tedious in Power of the press a lot less muscular than some imagine.

It turns out that the media and media proprietors have no power, and politicians are deluded, and Rupert Murdoch, who imagines he has some power, is also deluded. He's just a harmless pussy. Very few commentators understood anything about this, except of course Gerard Henderson, who has a couple of historical examples involving Gough Whitlam and Ming the merciless, who might be exceptions that prove the Henderson rule, which is that it's utterly useless for the media to attempt to influence politicians, the electorate, or anything really.

The corollary, of course, is that if the media is hapless, powerless and impotent, then it goes without saying that Henderson's columns are a futile waste of breath, tedious exercises without any hope of influencing anyone about anything.

Why does anyone bother to read this gnat, this gormless irrelevance, except to understand the existential hell we endure, as explained in Sartre's Huit Clos? If Murdoch is powerless, then Henderson is a mere cricket, his pompous stridulations coming from somewhere deep within his stridulatory organ. Or perhaps if he speaks in the media tongue, he's become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, vibrating without meaning or purpose. Since who listens or who cares, such is his lamentable lack of influence in a media without power or point or place in society?

Fortunately Henderson provides some excellent evidence that he - and genuine journalists - are delusional:

With some notable exceptions, journalists have led a cheer squad that urged Kevin Rudd and later Julia Gillard to introduce an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax. The opinion polls indicate a significant disparity on this issue between majority journalistic opinion and the majority view in the suburbs and regional areas.

Uh huh. That'd be the majority journalistic opinion exemplified in the relentless campaigning of the majority of newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch which happen to control some 60 to 70% of the market place.

In favour of the carbon tax ...

Or so Hendo says. Welcome to the rabbit hole, Gerard Henderson style.

Henderson's sage advice? Politicians shouldn't talk to the media, and thereby communicate with the public. It's completely unnecessary. John Howard did too much media, and so did Rudd and Gillard. There's simply no need to explain anything, which is why Tony Abbott is such an excellent politician ...

Want to go deeper into the rabbit hole? Well you knew this line was coming, surely:

This lack of self-awareness is perhaps greater within the ABC.

Self-awareness? We can now define that as the state people exist in when they're not the supremely self-aware Gerard Henderson. Hang on, does that mean he realises he sounds like a repetitive useless prat without any influence or point?

Never mind, note the use of 'perhaps'. That's because the only evidence that Henderson can offer for his personal prejudice and bias ... is his personal prejudice and bias, so he needs an 'out' word, a softening of the silliness ... as the pond shows in phrases like ...

... perhaps Gerard Henderson is an unaware dill, or perhaps Gerard Henderson scribbles undiluted wanker nonsense, or perhaps Gerard Henderson doesn't have a clue.

How else can you explain a situation where Henderson turns the current fuss about Rinehart and Fairfax into yet more abuse of the ABC?

Some ABC journalists express concern about the possibility of a lack of diversity within Fairfax Media under Rinehart's possible influence without recognising that the ABC does not have one conservative presenter for any of its significant programs.

In the scheme of things it's actually Fairfax journalists who've been carrying on and expressing concern the loudest of all, but how would that get you on to your weekly bout of ABC bashing?

It (the ABC) has one presenter who boasts about his support for the left and another on the left who declares that she is an activist. Yet no conservatives, activist or otherwise.

Did we mention a gong, did we mention a cymbal? But yes, it's solid evidence that Henderson is both delusional and inanely repetitive. There's Rinehart pretending to be a white knight - when to judge by the Four Corners program she's actually a member of an antipodean House of Borgia - and all Henderson can do is blather on about how he's not hosting any of the ABC's significant programs. Oh I know he's pretending to talk about conservative presenters in general but we all know what he means, in his own petulant, sulky and predictable way.

And then comes the equally predictable follow-up, which shows chairman Rupert does indeed have some influence, because Gerard Henderson manages to sound exactly like James Murdoch running down the BBC:

The ABC managing director, Mark Scott, talks about the commercial media's "market failure". However, for the ABC, market success amounts to going to Canberra and getting a bucket-load of taxpayers' money.
Meanwhile the ABC's uninhibited move into online news and opinion projects a market distortion into attempts by Fairfax Media and News Limited to move more of their products online.

Yes, because the ABC really should have stuck with 2BL and 3LO and 5CL and 5AN and so on around the analogue country, and avoided colour television, and as for FM and digital radio why that's a step too far, and sure right now you can catch up on the Four Corners program about Rinehart by clicking on the link above online, but how shamelessly modern and market distorting.

Go offline now Auntie, please. It's the only way forward. Revert to carrier pigeons and semaphore and morse code please ...

Does Henderson have any idea how clueless, luddite and silly he sounds?

Which suggests that the ABC is a much greater threat to the private sector media than Rinehart or any other potential investor.

No, he doesn't. He's just impotent, spluttering, powerless, hapless bait for Mark Latham on his next trolling expedition ...

Or perhaps he's just a parrot idly repeating the thoughts of Chairman Rupert in search of a cracker or two ...

Does News Ltd ever help out with Sydney Institute funding? Who knows, Henderson doesn't believe in transparency or disclosure, but he does believe that the Leveson inquiry is about nothing because the reaction to the NOTW scandal was "over the top" (troll him Mark Latham, troll him again).

What a digital doofus.

And now in closing, please allow the pond to give a big wrap to the breakfast team on Radio National. Running the sports news in tandem with the news program AM produced a wonderful mix of garbled sound for minutes on end, and showed that The Night Air has much to learn from the mixing skills shown this morning.

Pure magic, and clear evidence that you're a great threat to the private sector media, unlike those harmless pussies Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart.

What a pity that the Melbourne comedy festival is over, because someone would surely make a motza if they booked Mr. Henderson for a gig ...

(Below: come on Crikey, get your uninfluential act together, when one goes in search of First Dog taking breakfast with Gerard Henderson, one gets a 503. Not good enough, these classics deserve an ongoing place in the sun).


  1. So Albo belongs to the "the week starts on Sunday" crowd.
    I find the split weekend on this kind of calendar annoying.

  2. I know this is a few days late, but this issue has been bugging me all week, and I simply can't wait until next Tuesday. There really needs to be a word dedicated to Gerard's truly remarkable ability to weave attacks on the abc, the public service, sandals etc. into articles which are (ostensibly at least), about unrelated matters. I'd suggest Hendersonian, but I note this has been used to describe other uniquely Henderson traits. Any suggestions?


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.