So this last Saturday before Xmas the pond came up with a brand new header - Climate lunacy rules at The Australian - in honour of the assorted lunatics who scribble for the rag, and most particularly and notably Christopher Pearson, friend of Tony Abbott, for his spectacular end of year effort, Climate lunacy rules at Aunty (behind the paywall because Rupert thinks you're stupid enough to pay for the thoughts of Pearson).
There's no point in being nuanced responding to Pearson - a fool's a fool in any language and a deluded one is especially dangerous. Here's how he starts his talking points, with fatuous irrelevance:
G. K. Chesterton famously remarked (and Person infamously imitated him) "Once people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing - they believe in anything."
Uh huh. You can see where this is heading - how you need a deep understanding of transubstantiation and the Latin mass to understand climate science. So what other relevant insights can we drag into the discussion?
Marxism and Nazism, the two totalitarian systems that wrought so much devastation in the last century, are compelling evidence of the truth of Chesterton's observation and they also call to mind George Orwell's line about ideas so stupid that only an intellectual could subscribe to them.
Uh huh. Well Orwell might actually be apt, seeing as how Pearson is that peculiar breed, an intellectual commentariat scribbler, who subscribes to the concept of transubstantiation, the virgin birth, the Latin mass, miracles, the burning bush, walking on water, rising from the dead, purgatory, limbo and assorted other idiocies which possibly only stop short at a young earth (but then who knows, since really evolutionary theory is only a theory, and climate science only a UN world government black helicopter conspiracy).
Okay, the punters have been warmed up, now it's time for the boom tish:
These days it is the green movement and the apocalyptic anxiety about man-made global warming that have become the cults du jour, "the opiate of the masses".
Yep, science is a cult, just like Catholicism, except if we'd relied on the theology of the Catholic church, we'd have been a long time getting into space.
Never mind, let's have a few unsubstantiated pieces of blather to move the argument forward:
However, Australians are generally rather pragmatic and, as the climate has failed to conform to most of the doomsayers' computer modelling, popular support for measures supposed to combat global warming has waned.
Okay, that's all the nay-saying Pearson you get for free. Now you either pay up, or you do the old google and pay nothing.
By golly, those who paid must be feeling pissed off right now.
You see, Pearson isn't a scientist and is incapable of rational, scientific discourse, which is why he's reduced to talk of doomsayers and the apocalypse and such like.
At heart he's a medieval Latin-mass loving mystic of the Catholic kind, and so when he gets to talking about climate science, he adopts the tone, assumes the posture, and uses the language he knows best.
Cults! That's right, he's a cultist who likes to frame science in the context of cults, and his target is true believers, who are completely unlike Pearson's own true believer mode of thinking:
These are people who are true believers. They have surrendered themselves to a cult and, in the process of turning into its public defenders, come to see themselves as prophets. Sociologically speaking, it's a safe bet that most of the significant others in their lives and their workmates share their convictions. Vain and ridiculous as it sounds, they really think that they're engaged in a battle to the death to save the planet and they tend to see sceptics of almost any hue as evil incarnate. Failing that, we are either dupes or paid stooges of Big Carbon.
There could be another option of course, which is to say that the likes of Pearson are scientifically illiterate and so always take refuge in rhetoric involving notions like cults and true believers and public defenders and so on and so forth.
But enough already, let's cut to the chase. Yep, the fatuous Pearson is intent on defending the fatuous James Delingpole and the fatuous rag The Australian for publishing a fatuous piece by Delingpole, in which he quoted a sheep farmer linking a wind farm business to pedophilia. And copped a spanking from the Press Council for his pains and his stupidity.
As part of the defence offered, Pearson proposes an assault on Robin Williams for mentioning on the ABC Science Show that Maurice Newman is in the same clueless camp as Pearson, and in particular for mentioning paedophilia, asbestos and smoking crack in the same sentence as Newman smoking anti-science crack.
Pearson promptly explains how he would have had Williams censured, dismissed, censored, and forced to offer an immediate, grovelling apology.
Which might help explain why SBS is so comprehensively fucked, thanks to Pearson's sinecure and others like him.
Anyhoo, back to Pearson, who you'd think might find better people to defend than Delingpole, and he comes up with a corker:
It's important to note that unlike Williams, Delingpole wasn't the person making the objectionable comparison. He simply reported it.
Which is of course to gild a most unsavoury lily, and to suggest that Pearson hasn't yet caught up with Delingpole's most important contribution to wind farms and climate science, in Australia you are so totally gay:
... I stand by every word of the piece – especially the bit about paedophiles. I would concede that the analogy may be somewhat offensive to the paedophile community. Nevertheless, like the anonymous sheep farmer I quoted, I feel that the "level of offensiveness" is entirely justified when applied in the context of perhaps the vilest, greediest, most corrupt, mendacious and wantonly destructive industries currently operating anywhere in the world. If Jimmy Savile were alive today he would definitely be heavily into wind farming.
Roll that one around in your mouth, Mr Pearson, and assess it for flavour and Robin Williams style texture:
If Jimmy Savile were alive today he would definitely be heavily into wind farming.
Yep, we look forward to Pearson indignantly demanding Delingpole be forthwith censured, dismissed, censored and forced offer an immediate, grovelling apology.
But don't expect anything until the next expiration of the Mayan calendar.
Meanwhile, how do we end up? Is there talk of actual science and its most recent observations and conclusions?
Of course not, there's talk of conspiracy and corporation capture, since that's the only language Pearson can understand, especially as he participated in the capture and demolition of SBS, reducing it to a shadow of its former feisty self, with SBS independent and any interesting views on almost anything despatched to the wilderness. Which is truly why he knows whereof he speaks:
Newman noted that, with the ABC, "like the BBC, there are signs that a small but powerful group has captured the corporation, at least on climate change. It is up to the board and management to rectify this."
In this column I've often talked about the issue of staff capture in the ABC, spurred on by personal experience serving on the board of SBS.
Yes, board power is limited, which is why they've only managed to reduce SBS to a husk you wouldn't use for puffed wheat.
Climate change is by no means the only contentious area where there are problems in both broadcasters. Boards are quite limited in the extent to which they can intervene to change an unaccountable public broadcasting culture set on having its own way. The chairmen have a broader brief and more power, especially under a supportive minister, but it is senior management who set the tone and decide what is acceptable. In this case, the ABC may find to its discomfort it's gone a bit too far.
Hang on, hang on, it was the Press Council that made the ruling in relation to Delingpole, yet somehow Pearson manages to claim that it's the ABC's response which is disingenuous and self-serving, and it's all the fault of Robin Williams calling Maurice Newman a goose, when self-evidently it is the case that he is a goose, and a member of the delusionary cabal and conspiracy and unaccountable culture which festers in the Murdoch private corporation in the matter of climate science.
Or some such thing, because when in the company of a cultist, it's surprising how the conversation turns easily to cults.
Do you think that in this case Pearson and The Australian find to their discomfort that they've gone a bit too far, by supporting a man willing to propose that Jimmy Savile, if alive today, would be heavily into wind farming, even if it's offensive to the padeophile community?
Of course not. Cultists just take another hit of the kool aid, and keep moving, but remember if you paid to read this especially juicy and rich bit of blather from Pearson, you're part of the problem, not part of the solution ...
But wait, trouble always comes at the lizard Oz in pairs, or in an orgy of righteous sanctimonious crusaders all yammering away, harping on about the same thing.
See who's above the Pearson? Why it's Nick Cater, and he too is blathering on about the ABC too.
Our cash pays for the ABC's comment, (behind the paywall because Chairman Rupert loves his cash), Cater - who styles himself as the Chief Opinion Editor at The Australian, which is actually true, because he's full of bloviating opinion - Cater is demanding your cash to read him rant and rail about the ABC.
And it's not just the ABC program The Insiders that gets his goat, though since Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen declared war on the show, poor old Barry Cassidy and his format has been copping a relentless pounding from Fortress Murdoch.
No, Cater goes back to the days of the 1971 rugby union tour and the ABC's outrageous regime changing ways, when we all know that apartheid was a jolly fine system and Nelson Mandela a totalitarian and Billy McMahon one of the country's top PMs (well at least his wife knew how to wear a nice split above the knee dress).
This is arcane stuff of course, right up there with the pond mourning the long lost Australian of the Adrian Deamer days.
Deamer ould have reprimanded Cater for writing gibberish and he wouldn't have allowed Christopher Pearson in the door, and he certainly wouldn't have allowed the anti-scientific medievalism and crusading hypocrisy that now runs rampant through the broadsheet turned spiritual tabloid's pages.
But that was before Rupert Murdoch crossed the Rubicon and became rampantly conservative ...
You see, in 1971 Murdoch sacked Deamer for writing an editorial which criticised the Springbok tour of Australia ...
Talk about a conspiracy! Why back in those days The Australian shared the ABC's hideous liberal agenda.
Naturally Cater is also fully onside with the Vietnam war, and offside with the reprehensible ABC, and the way it covered the thing. It seems the war could have turned into a glorious victory, but for the white-anting of the cardigan wearers, who by reporting on all the negative things happening, turned a win into a palpable loss.
Thereafter, Cater rabbits on endlessly, in his bloviating way, about the ABC and opinion and the ABC's role, and Reithian ideals, and the ABC's Mark Scott daring to speak back to the goose-steppers at The Australian and defend the Corporation - how dare he be presumptuous and defend the indefensible - but perhaps the most ominous insight comes right at the end, when Cater celebrates John Howard's "comfortable and relaxed" lines to Liz Jackson in 1996 on Four Corners.
He also throws in Paul Keating, without seeming to understand that if the ABC manages to offend the Labor party, the Liberals, The Australian and Rupert Murdoch, it must be doing something right.
The Australian and the Murdoch empire are salivating at the prospect of a Tony Abbott victory, and the chance to degut the ABC, reduce its funding, and keep it to a bland level of 'kool aid' comfortable and relaxed reporting. This is just another salvo in an ongoing campaign to reduce the ABC to the pathetic gormless level of a Pearson-preferred SBS ...
Somehow the rag and its kool-aid imbibing denizens see this as an essential survival strategy, a way out of their current fiscal wilderness.
A better strategy might be to terminate Pearson and Cater, and end up with a wider audience than crazed conservative letter writers who seem to spend their days in Gosford scribbling furious letters that send the likes of Cater into a righteous, indignant frenzy ...
But the moment you read that, you knew that the snake had slipped the pond a little kool-aid, and so the pond was expelled from the garden of eden ... and forced to roam the wilds of the intertubes ...
Thank god for the intertubes, currently outside the paw of the Murdoch apparatchiks ... each day the pond dances with delight on the grave of The Daily ...
(Below: from Murdoch taking over the Daily Mirror in 1960 to Murdoch taking over the intertubes in current times. Once a tabloid mind, always a tabloid mind and heart).