Thursday, January 10, 2013

All the exclusive news that might or might not be fit to print ...

(Above: click to enlarge if you want an exclusive record of the exclusives on view this day in the lizard Oz).

Okay, it makes the pond sound like an old 78 rpm record hand-cranked on an old phonogram, but isn't the number of front digital page exclusives, boldly highlighted in red, in The Australian, an on-going marvel?

An astonishing indication of desperation, an exclusive insight into the pathetic remnants of a once proud rag ...

It really is a pitiful spectacle - there's not one "exclusive" that would make the pond seek out a digital pass - but it does evoke how journalism, at least in Murdoch la la hard-sell land, has become the rough equivalent of late night infomercials.

Moving right along, what's troubling the commentariat today?

Well Thursday is 'soft' day for generally grumpy Paul Sheehan, who rarely understands he's always soft, and addled, and so he settles for regurgitating all he's recently read about American college football in Punt for power: why college football generates millions.

It's old news to anyone who reads actual American publications, such as this piece in the New Yorker by Reeves Wiedeman, King of the South, published back in December 2012 (but alas, behind the paywall). Wiedeman took an ethnographic approach, via a sports talk-radio host who sounds positively weird, and indeed you can confirm that weirdness via an interactive feature that Wiedeman posted at the same time in "Bama Won't Always Win!!!"

Speaking of old news, a few days ago, gadfly Tim Blair took predictable aim at predictable targets in Travel's no issue for rich, high-flying carbon kings.

It exudes the sort of rage, envy and resentment for the rich which in other circles would see Blair tagged as a raving, foaming Marxist revolutionary (well he is Paul Sheehan's comrade).

The pond prefers to think of Blair as a latter-day Sans-culottes, preparing to storm the Bastille, at least insofar as culottes contains a reference to arse ("cul"), and shouldn't just be thought of as the way that Blair refuses to wear knee breeches in favour of pantaloons or trousers (pantaloon, now there's an evocative word for the pond).

Here's the curious thing. While Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Tim Flannery, the Ruddster and Peter FitzSimons cop a bucketing, along with Satan himself Al Gore, who dares to do a commercial deal with Al Jazeera, there is one major sin of omission in Blair's righteous damnation of rich folk who fly in planes at the pointy end without regard for climate change, which in any case Blair contends isn't happening, so why should he care that delusionary rich folk continue to catch planes ...

Yes, Blair left out bonnie Prince Charlie, chief climate and environmentalist kook for the royal family, and fondly known in these pages as the talking tampon.

Prince Charlie's touring for environmental causes puts poor old Leonardo DiCaprio deep in the shade.

Who can forget the Daily Mail doing a Blair back in 2009 - that's how old and stale the routine is - in The Prince of hypocrites: Charles embarks on 16,000 mile 'green' crusade ... aboard a private jet.

So why was Charlie left off the Blairite list of conspicuous deviants, satanists and environmental perverts?

Could it be because Blair is a monarchist, who stood firm against those wretched republicans, and so Charlie remains his darling?

The pond loves to remember Blair's explanation of how he saved the British monarchy and preserved the right of bonnie Prince Charlie to ascend the Australian throne, as cynical monarchists used every trick in the book to defeat the republicans:

I was one of those cynical monarchists. For some reason the deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph, where I worked at the time, appointed me to run a kind of daily update on the upcoming referendum; a strange decision, because I was about the only anti-republican at a paper that was furiously pro-republic. 
 Perhaps she didn't know about my prejudices. Anyway, while most newspapers in Australia ran tons of "Hooray for the Great New Australian Republic!" items, the Telegraph suddenly became loaded with angry folk denouncing the proposed change. At one point I wrote a Republican Crossword, with clues like: "Bitter New York arts critic, back in Australia to boss us around." 
 I'd like to think, given the closeness of the result, that my little campaign may have been significant. On "mystic chords" … Joanne Jacobs’s daughter, in the UK to study at Oxford, explains them well in this email home after the Jubilee celebrations: 
 "I couldn't believe how little security [Prince Charles] had, or that the queen had. When I asked a Brit about it, she said, 'Well, who would want to hurt the royal family? We love the royal family' … after the queen came out to light the final ceremonial flare, and we all gave her three cheers, fireworks lit up the sky. I'm telling you, I finally get the reason for the monarchy. Nothing in America inspires this much devotion." 
 Hear, hear! (here)

Hear, hear!

Or hah hah if you follow The Simpsons, and suddenly it's not sans culottes Blair, it's up to bonnie Prince Charlie to wave a sword and dub him Sir Tim Tory Blair, environmentalist extaordinaire.

Meanwhile, take note, if you're rich and you fly, you're a figure of hatred and contempt in Tim Tory Blair's world, unless you have some redeeming blue blood. Come on down Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer.

Anyhoo, all this talk of flying just leaves the pond a little time to note the news Airport will reach capacity 20 years early, study says.

Of course anyone flying in to Sydney and spending half an hour in the air winding down the fuel and waiting for a slot or a bay will know the airport has already reached capacity in terms of the efficient management of peak hour travel. (And if you find a working air bridge, it's a bloody miracle).

But inspired by the thoughts of  Tim Tory Blair, the pond has come up with a solution.

Anyone worth more than a million is simply banned from flying into Sydney. Problem solved, planet saved, and Sir Tim Tory Blair can be credited with it all. (Blue bloods exempt of course).

Now since we started with an exclusive, let's end with one, courtesy of the Daily Terror:

Yes, the pond can exclusively reveal the Daily Terror's exclusive revelation that the light rail plan for Sydney, announced back in 2012 (Does Sydney's new light rail plan make sense?) will result in Sydney's streets being dug up, including, no less the very street, George street, in which the light rail will run.

This extraordinary, shocking, outrageous, heavy news of such a heavy price to pay will shock some punters, who perhaps imagined that the light rails on which the light rail will run would be levitated into place by the wave of a magic wand.

The pond reminds readers that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus have other duties and simply aren't available to help the Tooth Fairy put the rails in place in an overnight operation which would only disturb motorists from midnight to 6 am on the 1st April.

Yes, streets will have to be dug up, which is indeed a heavy price to pay, and an exclusive reminder that you can't get scrambled eggs without breaking eggs.

You can read this stunning exclusive by Andrew Clennell, A heavy price for the light rail revolution, in good if heavy heart ... because it's exclusively free, which is about the sort of heavy price you should pay for this sort of tosh.

And remember, any mind rot is also exclusively free ... as it is any day you read the commentariat down under ...


  1. I don't know why you call Tim Blair a gadfly - Wikipedia says that's a person who upsets the status quo. I reckon a march fly is more like it - a common pest insect. Also the juvenile form (which he is) is a maggot.

  2. Now now Nimbin Hippy the pond stands behind the dictionary:

    1. any of various flies (as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock;
    2. a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism
    a loud sports commentator (or Murdochian blogger) who was a tactless gadfly during post-game interviews with the losing team (or with any sensible discussion of anything from climate science to republics).

    Perhaps we could compromise and think of him as a horse fly, with all that implies regarding life cycles, since in this case the pond considers even a humble bovine or ruminant as showing more signs of natural intelligence.


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