Monday, July 09, 2012

And as if to prove the atheists wrong, bow down to the Sherrin, your god of gods ...

(Above: up up and away to madness).

It was entirely by coincidence that the pond landed in Melbourne on the day that turmoil at the Herald Sun was gleefully reported in the Fairfax press, in Readers go and so does the editor.

Physical sales for the HUN are down, and subscriptions to access paywall-limited content had been "disappointing". (There's more at Herald Sun editor Simon Pristel resigns)

But the biggest problem was the news that unique visits during the football season had dropped from 200k to 150k, and that the AFL is intent on building up its own paywall/subscription site, a direct attack on the HUN's core business. (Editorial handball at Herald Sun).

That's the way it goes in these fragmented niche media days, and AFL Media amazingly already carries 105 staff and 22 journalists.

Only in Melbourne, where football is closer to god than Christianity. The indoctrination of the young verges on the North Korean when it comes to the game, and the pond has heard true stories of young, innocent girls choosing not to draw pictures of horses or cats, but of Sherrin footballs.

So young and so lost ...

The other problem as aggregation proceeds is that some of the content now lurking behind the HUN paywall is foreign, which is to say New South Wales originated. The Sunday HUN, for example, featured - amongst very few other opinion pieces - a column by Miranda the Devine (it's amazing what you can pick up in the Qantas lounge, along with an immensity of useless copies of The Weekend Australian, unless you have a need to wrap a year's fish and chips).

But the Devine's bit of nonsense about the Higgs boson particle could also be found online for free at the Sunday Telegraph under the header Miranda Devine: The beauty of the geek, which is just as well because no sensible person would be caught dead paying for the pleasure and the privilege of reading the Devine.

It started out as intent on celebrating the discovery, and imparting information:

This theory of particle physics corresponds with the theory of cosmology that the Big Bang created our universe, 13.7 billion years ago.
In that colossal explosion of energy, all the elementary particles emerged, including, momentarily, Higgs boson particles.

But in the usual Devine way, by superficial journey and column's end, it naturally veered off into the nonsensical:

To atheists, the more we understand the universe, the less there is a reason for God.
But to believers, the more we discover in cosmology the more it points to the existence of God, outside space and time.

Uh huh, and if we keep on talking about the start of the universe being around 13.7 billion years ago the more it points outside all the wisdom of the conventional, traditional bible, and its fables about miracles and burning bushes and Adam and Eve and yadda yadda.

But then Catholics never had much time for the bible, or for the old testament, preferring the mumbo jumbo be delivered in Latin.

These days the mumbo jumbo is even richer as it positions god outside space and time, which can only mean that She's going to turn out to be string theory.

But what was more revealing was the shameless pandering that came at the end of the piece:

And as if to prove the atheists wrong, on Friday night, the geeks from the Melbourne conference put the God particle aside to watch Carlton beat Collingwood - a miracle that ranks right up there with the Higgs boson.

So that's what happens to little girls who draw Sherrin footballs!

They go mad, and end up scribbling nonsense for the HUN and the Sunday Terror, about what can only be called a form of Melbourne mania which allows the conflation of the God particle, Carlton beating Collingwood, the Higgs boson, and a god lurking somewhere in the tenth dimension.

Truly, a visit to Melbourne is an ethnographer's dream.

The Age these days, in its physical form, is a sorry sight, much reduced in bulk and in meaningful content, but it's still large enough to set a hare running, as it did with the Therese Rein story, Australia, we need to talk about Kevin. He's still here to help, says Therese.

Thanks to Miranda the Devine, the pond can provide the punch line for this piece:

And as if to prove the atheists wrong, on Friday night, Therese Rein put talk of the resurrection of Jesus and Kevin Rudd aside to watch Carlton beat Collingwood - a miracle that ranks right up there with the redemption of the Ruddster.

Usually readers of The Age would be blessed with the thoughts of Paul Sheehan, but it seems this Monday morning that he's temporarily disappeared, which suggests there might be a kindly, thoughtful, considerate god after all.

Instead, we're left with fresh news of Tony - I'm reading Fifty Shades of Grey because I like to read what my daughters are reading - Abbott, and the Slipper Affair.

It seems Abbott did have an ear to the ground, and was aware of rumblings, a sudden prodding of memory right up there with Christopher 'Poodles' Pyne remembering he'd actually sent an email to James Ashby:

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has, for the first time, said he was aware rumours had circulated in Parliament about the conduct of the Speaker, Peter Slipper, before allegations against him surfaced. (Abbot admits he heard Slipper rumours)

But don't think it's any kind of confession, or admission. It's just a variant form of denialism:

Mr Abbott yesterday said he would not go into all the conversations he had on the matter.
''But I am satisfied none of my federal parliamentary colleagues had any specific knowledge of this until they saw it in the newspaper,'' he said.

Not even Poodles Pyne?

The opposition would have been in a better situation if they'd simply gone after Slipper for his expenses, which at best might be called rubbery, as revealed in a forensic analysis in the AFR (Slipper's unexplained taxi trips, sorry inside the paywall).

As it is, the Slipper affair keeps bubbling away, a right old mess, with legal action against alleged diary-leaking Ashby the next stage in the saga.

Not that the Labor party can have any peace, as Paul Howes and assorted other heavyweights (in the old days they used to be called pieces of two be four) go about the business of giving the Greens a good kicking, as a substitute for policy.

The Greens of course have attracted people willing to wear the silly term "progressive" because all the Labor party offers is a kind of Tony Abbott-lite view of the world.

The Labor party only had to implement a couple of "progressive" polices - like gay marriages, or even a la big Mal, gay civil unions - to convince followers that they still had an actual left side to the party, rather than a gormless jellyfish blob of hard right Abbott cultists ...

As usual, Miranda the Devine strikes the right note:

And as if to prove the progressives wrong and the apparatchiks right, on Friday night, Julia Gillard put talk of progressive policies aside to watch Carlton beat Collingwood - a miracle that ranks right up there with the notion that there's a left wing in the Labor party ...

It's a classic form of delusionalism on the part of the Labor party to imagine that the Greens are the problem, having so publicly sat down with them and signed the deal that delivered them minority government, and keeps them in power.

But then after a couple of days in Melbourne, it's easy to see how madness can grip and subvert a whole community.

Now if you'll excuse the pond, must rush off to the "Real Footy" section of The Age to read about the suffering, the joy and the agony and the ecstasy and the pain and the whole damn thing ...

And remember to do your bit for feminism. If your daughter reveals an interest in the y'arts, at least make sure she paints something interesting, like a Sherrin football.

(Below: bow down and worship, found here).


  1. Please do not knock free The Oz at Qantas, DP, our weekend entertainment is to drive over to the airport for the cocky-cage liner.
    As for digital news, I've decided I like the AFR sampler on iPad. The odd thing is there's no place to go to click on a 'subscribe' button.
    If they respond to my query, I may suggest they pitch AFR at students, teachers & nurses by way of discount options. There's plenty good content at AFR, but is it worth $58 per month? Could they give it away with, say, a Telstra $100 data plan?
    I guess the cyber-sleuths are able to report on who is reading what, and where, and dig out the details of the click trails. I'm pretty sure the newspapers are trying to link in our personal preferences via Facebook.

  2. That shows initiative Earl as a way to get hold of a paper they clearly need to give away for free to keep the numbers out of free-fall. And yes, they could do a lot more to get the AFR into the debate. Ever since they've started throwing the Saturday edition over the fence for free, the pond has begun to pay attention, and keeping access online to the opinion pages free has also helped. There's a business plan for anyone selling up to date accurate financial information and opinion, which is why News Ltd is trying to get in on the act ...

  3. Eeee-eeeew! The Saturday AFR? Is that the one with the glossy, heavy-weight insert chockers with ads for Range-Rovers & Lamborghini, and no Rowe? It's easy to see why a digital-only sub is $58, the digital + 5 days of print is only $7 more. Another way of looking at that is to price the weekday AFR from the Tatts agent at a tad over $1, which is about right weight for any daily. I don't know how financial types are able to read the tiny print on their pages.
    Yesterday's digital AFR had a piece on the Aussies running with the bulls at Pamplona. What a pity they couldn't have supplied a free link to a HD video of the most recent bull-run, with all the tossing & goring. Fashion plates? Absolutely useless as a static pic. We want the HD video of the show, what's the good of it without the action? Same for sports, like roller derby.
    Look, if ABC24 can get away with reading out tweets and call that News, the future of publishing is pretty exciting. But, exciting in the way of watching something ugly undergoing metamorphosis, not knowing whether the new beast will be more horrible than the old (not meaning you look old, Roop, just wrinkled) or brilliant & beautiful.
    I say the numbers are in, DP. Has revealed the count on the numbers of commuters reading print on trains? How are the freebies going?
    What are people looking for when they read newspapers, anyway?


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