Sunday, July 22, 2012

So many questions, so few answers ...

(Above: philistines everywhere, including here. Where's Prince Charles when he's needed?)

Why are the most interesting questions never asked, nor answered on the pond?

Why, for example, did the band the Bamboos choose such a dull mix of new romantic music for this weekend's edition of rage? Why are people fascinated with the eighties and the sounds of synth? Did they miss the agony the first time? Is it still okay for young men to wear non-iron polyester shirts, and stink in the summer and wrinkle the nostrils of women?

Why didn't the BBC arrange for a simultaneous world-wide release of the trilogy The Hollow Crown (Richard II, the two Henry IV's)? Didn't they realise pirates these days are sophisticated Shakespeareans? Why are attempts to do semi-realistic Shakespeare so silly, with fake-looking period extras, despite the presence of Jeremy Irons? Why doesn't Jeremy realise there's still time to flee to the south of France with the pond, so that we could frolic and gambol together, and he could ooze languid vowels and firm consonants over the pond in a riot of sensuality?

Why isn't John Gray's demolition of Slavoj Žižek's book Less than Nothing for the NYRB in The Violent Visions of Slavoj Žižek (currently outside the paywall) on everyone's lips? The pond barely understood the final par, but what a sizzler it is:

In a stupendous feat of intellectual overproduction Žižek has created a fantasmatic critique of the present order, a critique that claims to repudiate practically everything that currently exists and in some sense actually does, but that at the same time reproduces the compulsive, purposeless dynamism that he perceives in the operations of capitalism. Achieving a deceptive substance by endlessly reiterating an essentially empty vision, Žižek’s work—nicely illustrating the principles of paraconsistent logic—amounts in the end to less than nothing.

What to make of Žižek's incoherent response in Slavoj Žižek Responds to His Critics?

Will Zadie Smith's desperately nostalgic plea for libraries and books in The North West London Blues bear any fruit? Is the future of the New York Public library assured in these desperate times?

Why on earth would Christopher Nolan say that the cinema is such an innocent and hopeful place? (here, and many other places). Does he ever watch the movies he makes?

Why did the pond watch Safe House last night, a feeble attempt by Universal to imitate the Bourne trilogy in a Cape Town setting? That's an hour and forty lost forever in a violent miasma of meaningless action ...

How can anyone order 6,000 rounds of .223 and Glock ammo over the intertubes and not a question asked? Why is the United States the most violent and armed society on the planet, making even Afghanistan seem like a kindergarten? Is this the exceptional society that Tony Abbott sucks up to? Why does it make the pond's ancient wartime .303 souvenir seem like driving a Model T Ford?

There are millions of interesting questions, and yet week in, week out, the pond spends time with commentariat gnats who couldn't answer an interesting question, let alone swat a fly with a fly swatter ...

Who could possibly think Miranda the Devine, Piers "Acker Dacker" Ackerman and Christopher Pearson have a single useful insight into the way the world works, let alone the cosmos? They'd be lucky to have a particle accelerator that stretched a metre ...

It took a supreme act of stupidity on the part of the Devine to blame the ructions in the Cross on a drug injection centre, while downplaying the role of alcohol and people being bussed in to get as pissed as parrots. Why is News Ltd a vortex for stupidity?

And on the weekends why does the pond choose to spend its time with Sydney Anglicans, homophobic and misogynist men who make the world a worse rather than a better place?

Why, oh long absent lord, why the forty days and nights in the desert of arid thinkers, why did you abandon the pond?

Oh never mind, the pond sees that by asking salient questions, it's almost possible to filibuster the Sydney Anglicans out of existence. Still, it has to be noted that Russell Powell continues at his most adolescent and spiteful best, by berating the "ultra-liberal Episcopal Church", and repeating Elton John's admission his son would be heart-broken not to have a mummy, before unleashing this (here):

Yes. Obviously. Even the Sydney Morning Herald said this week Marriage leads to children - gay marriage leads to surrogacy.

Even the most cretinous reader would realise that it was actually an opinion piece, written by Michael Cook, the biased editor of a "bioethics newsletter BioEdge" which cloaks its conservative credentials under grand-sounding titles, including being a "columnist for Australasian Science".

For the Sydney Morning Herald to have said it, it would have had to have been an editorial. Such petty distortions fill the Sydney Anglican site, full as it is with self-pity, paranoia and the desire to persecute gays.

There's a fundamentalist evangelical old testament aura that festers in Sydney Anglicans, exemplified by banner-headlining Michael Kellahan harking back to eighth century BC prophet Isaiah romping through the kingdom of Judah:

I’m preaching through Isaiah at the moment and have been struck afresh by the failure of God’s people to trust him. Instead, as passages like Isaiah 2:6-22 show, they seek to make themselves great without God. They bring in superstitions from the east, and pagan divination like the Philistines. They boast in their treasuries and chariots and go the way of idolatry.

Which naturally leads to a typical paranoid Sydney Anglican conclusion:

Before we are too quick to condemn God’s people of old, it is worth meditating on how often we make precisely the same moves. There is a terrible temptation for churches to find their confidence and strength in things which the world around also values and find appealing. So we’ll boast in our architecture, our strategic plans, and our technology. Or we’ll find confidence in positive press, or the numbers who come along, or an impressive leader.

Yes, it's so much more to the point to blather on about what an eighth century BC prophet thought about his imaginary friend than have a Sydney Anglican website on the intertubes beaming its primitivism to the world ...

And what do the Sydney Anglicans use to illustrate this very short column highlighting an ancient and irrelevant text?

Which reminds the pond of our greatest threat.

The danger of paying attention to the Sydney Anglicans.

The other stories in the banner feature the attempts by Sydney Anglicans to stir up mischief in Mozambique and Fiji, and you can read them here and here, but only if you sign a full acknowledgment that you have been warned before you follow the links.

Why is it that the Sydney Anglicans hare off overseas when their message is being ignored at home, and their domestic membership falling despite their missionary endeavours? Or perhaps, when you look at the way they approach sex, is it because of their missionary endeavours?

Questions, questions, but you have to admit the illustration perfectly captures the essence of head in sand thinking, ostrich posing of the kind favoured by Sydney Anglicans ...

There are other questions of course, which have no immediate answer. Is the stench of corruption in Rome so vile and all-encompassing that we might never ever receive another homily from Cardinal Pell in the Sunday Terror? His last was a letter from Assisi in May ...

And why has Michael Jensen emerged on The Blogging Parson only a few days ago to write On word studies when his masterpiece for the Sydney Anglicans, the 7 Sins of Sydney, remains stalled at sin 4, silent since April, a silence which seems almost Pellist?

Could his piece on word studies be a side-swipe at Alan Austin's amusing piece for The Drum, 'One in spirit': same-sex unions in the Bible, wherein cleaving, oathing and disrobing are put to excellent use, as is the Greek word "pais"?

But the biggest question of all remains. How is it possible to take the Sydney Anglicans seriously?

And that's enough questions to mediate on this Sunday ...

We'll have to leave the question as to whether the London Olympics is going to be a whining, whingeing grey London security and strike-bound disaster for another day, but if it is, the pond will be forced to pay reluctant attention, and what a disaster that will be.

Could it all go well so that sensible people can ignore it completely?

(Below: but at least that final question allows the pond to run a Steve Bell cartoon, found here).


  1. Any Žižek text is, of course, paraconsistent, unless it is accompanied by, preferably read by, Žižek himself. I mean, it needs to be punctuated by Žižek's panoply of tics, jabs & wild gestures.
    But that's real freedom, in contrast to the frozen grimaces & botoxed visages of the Romney ("you people") clan. That clown in the Bell may as well be Mitt. Which begs the question, "Does Mitt fart?"

  2. Talking of Žižek and the delay of promised homilies, Scott Stephens, a Žižek acolyte and editor of the ABCs Religion and Ethics site, has also gone missing - just like Jensen the younger. He hasn't posted in more than three months and has failed to finish a series of posts where he was going to demolish atheism.

    What's going on here!

  3. Michael Cook is a propaganda hack for opus dei. He also runs the opus dei propaganda website Mercator, which pretends to promote tools for navigating the complexities of the modern world.

  4. Yes indeed Anon:

    The same thing appealed 30 years ago to bioethics writer Michael Cook, 55, who heads an Opus Dei residence in Carlton. "As a young person, I found the idea of living out Christianity very attractive. I also wanted to be a professional person. I didn't see how the two were compatible, but Opus Dei had a take on it which showed me it was possible."

    Cook is a celibate numerary. Asked whether that isn't a huge commitment, he says: "Most people would say exactly the same about marriage and raising a family." What about donating all his money? "I regard Opus Dei as my family. Most of my friends put all their money to the service of their family; I do the same."

    He says mortification is both proper and traditional, though less common in the Catholic Church now. "Sacrifice is supposed to be part of every Christian's life. And it's nothing compared to football training."

    Why can't the Jensenists (and the SMH for that matter) be honest about this sort of nonsense? Does Christianity mean dissembling and disingenuous trading off and dishonest passing off?

    As for Scott Stephens Brian thank the lord for silence. Now if only the same can happen to Andrew West, what a blessing the absence of noise would be ...


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