The false spring, the red dawn of Paul Sheehan belatedly discovering and acknowledging that "The world's scientific community has presented a compelling case that the acceleration of global consumption is in turn accelerating the much deeper natural pattern of climate change" (here) is now but a week old dream.
That's how long it took for the zebra to regain its stripes, the leopard to don its spots, and generally grumpy Paul Sheehan to go grumpy and snarky in his usual way. (All the same, the pond will eat out on it for months).
Naturally, Sheehan does this in Meanwhile, life goes on but mind the speed bumps by accusing others of being snarky and narky, in his generally grumpy and snarky way.
First up, he cites some advice by a legal firm in relation to legal considerations during the Xmas and holyday season, as if somehow discovering that "first kill all the lawyers" is a novel or new past time.
And in the usual way, Sheehan neglects to mention that the piece he snides and snarks about can be found on the full to overflowing intertubes under the header Australia: Christmas: 'tis the season (for employers and employees) to be jolly cautious!, having been prepared by one David Thompson and Sarah Sealy. (Well they wrote the piece as a way of promoting the services they offer, so hey, there's a link to them and their services).
It turns out that the advice is pretty unexceptional and sensible:
The rules that apply in the workplace generally also apply to work functions, including Christmas parties, even if the function takes place outside work hours and away from the office.
This means that policies relating to (for example) discrimination, sexual harassment and work health and safety still apply, because of the connection between the workplace and the event.
Yep, if one of your employees goes the grope during a drunken party, or some drive home pissed as parrots and prang their car, you might well, because of duty of care considerations, be liable.
Naturally Sheehan considers this unnecessary, passive-aggressive and constricting, suggesting that he's outraged he can no longer go the grope at Xmas parties, or get as pissed as a parrot and prang his car and perhaps kill a few innocent bystanders.
Such a constriction on natural behaviour!
But Mr. Sheehan shouldn't let advice from a lawyer stop him.
It doesn't stop many interested in flouting the law.
And it doesn't stop Sheehan scribbling like a ponce. So he draws himself up to his full galumphing height and delivers this pompous rhetorical piety:
Multiply this message by 100,000 similar emails, management memos, regulations and public service advertisements and you get the accretion of the cultural and creative asphyxiation by red tape, the accumulating intrusions by a society increasingly obsessed with regulation.
Driving this process is a self-perpetuating political class which seeks relevance through regulation, of which there is always more, while nothing is ever repealed, so that regulations, the tools of legalism and control, simply multiply and grow.
Which is the usual claptrap and nonsense about the burdens of society. How soon before we get to a mention of George Orwell and the nanny state?
We are never going to be able to legislate recklessness or distractedness from the human condition, no matter how much legislation is passed, regulations imposed, regulators deployed, laws enforced, Orwellian cameras installed, or speed bumps inflicted.
Motorists are going to make mistakes, all manner of domestic accidents are going to take their toll, young women are going to get pregnant, young men are going to injure themselves, many people are going to binge or smoke or take drugs, and some children are going to be neglected. Crap happens.
Shit happens - the pond prefers the proper use of the word to the crappy granny use of 'crap' typical of passive aggressive journalists incapable of embracing the argot of the common person.
Crap is what you do in polite company; shit is what happens in the streets.
As a philosophy of course it stinks, as do most forms of fatalism and stupidity.
It is of course the very same philosophy that led people to get as pissed as parrots in the twentieth century and slide behind the wheel of a car and kill themselves or others, often without benefit of seat belts or decent disc brakes or any of the other safety modifications to be found on modern cars.
Aereoplanes fall out of the sky? Nothing you can do about it. Remember shit happens, pilots and mechanics and airlines and aircraft manufacturers do shit, and there's shit all you can do about it.
Someone sets up a crack manufacturing lab next door to you? Sorry, shit happens, and it'd be outrageous to take any Orwellian steps to stop it.
Want to use a camera to ascertain evidence of a particularly brutal rape and murder of an innocent woman on the streets of Brunswick?
ABC Melbourne journalist Hamish Fitzsimmons told ABC's Lateline that CCTV vision made public on Wednesday played a major role in the arrest. (here)
Sorry. Let's re-write that into Sheehan speak:
Herald journalist Paul Sheehan advised the world that an Orwellian camera installed in the street was used in the capture and persecution of a man who suddenly realised he was living in 1984. Can't women just accept that shit happens?
But okay, let's not actually consider major issues.
Instead let's make a really stupid, dumb, trivial joke about speed bumps:
It would, for example, be useful if local government were required to maintain an index of speed bumps, because their proliferation has reached the point of a mania. A speed bump index would measure the growth of local nanny state aggression.
Ah yes, there you go, a full house. Orwell and the nanny state and its nanny state aggressive ways.
There's one thing you can say about people who ponderously scribble about the nanny state. Once they use the term, the argument is lost. And they should be made to drive down the wrong side of the freeway, repeating endlessly "road rules are a result of the nanny state and the mania for regulation", and if they get into a prang, why naturally "shit happens".
Now by this point you must be wondering where all this Sheehan rhetoric is building, and naturally it leads - without any rhyme or reason - to the recent fuss about mandatory voting.
Sheehan takes umbrage, high indignant foaming froth, at Julia Gillard's suggestion that it was the Queensland Liberal party that floated that particular balloon, and dared to mention in the very same tweet that it would benefit cashed-up interest groups, thereby ignoring the way the Queensland Liberal party floated that balloon, a balloon which would indeed benefit cashed-up interest groups.
And why is he outraged? Why because unions are also a cashed-up interest group and presumably the likes of Gina Rinehart live in a cashless society.
Anyhoo, it immediately plunged Sheehan into depression and ambivalence and equivalence, because it seems, much like climate change, that Sheehan has walked on both sides of this argument, and seen conflicting merits, and it's all doom and gloom for the rest of the year:
Her comment also served as an early signal of what is to come. More class war. More narky politics. The Gillard survival campaign is clearly going to emulate the playbook used so successfully by President Barack Obama, in winning re-election in November. He had one major policy, healthcare, and one major tactic, a relentless attack on his opponent's wealth and corporate background. He also played the race card. He created a massive transference of wealth, via Obamacare, then urged voters to act in their self-interest.
So there you are, how to be amazing and offensive all in the one go.
Obama played the race card! And Americans dared to vote him back into office because the shameless folks were driven by self-interest and a love of the race card.
It's always interesting to watch a loser go into meltdown and Sheehan manages to sound just like a Republican crybaby. They find it simply unimaginable that they lost the election, but lose it they did, and Sheehan, by turning a Queensland Liberal party stupidity into a monumental talk fest about Orwell and the nanny state, shows he's a bit nervous about Tony Abbott, and more class war and more narky politics, as if Dr. No, the master of nattering negativity, had nothing to do with narky politics.
As if somehow it was Julia Gillard who started the discussion on mandatory voting.
So how to set the tone and the bar really low? How about this one?
As for the race card, the gender card will more than suffice.
And as to lowering the tone, how about this one:
Political cynicism begets voter cynicism. In Australia, this was captured over the weekend by my comrade Tim Blair, blogging in The Daily Telegraph, who offered readers various options as to who was responsible for eight traffic infringements incurred by the Prime Minister's private vehicle.
They voted: Julia Gillard 3 per cent; The Real Julia Gillard 5 per cent; Tim Mathieson 5 per cent; Misogyny 9 per cent; Big polluters 2 per cent; Youth and Naivety 4 per cent; Tony Abbott 72 per cent.
Bugger the pond dead. Shit happens, and now Sheehan is off slumming with his "comrade" Tim Blair - is this some kind of communist conspiracy of comrades?
And it's a typically pathetic, juvenile, snide, snarky, narky, snicker snack Blair joke - of the kind the gadfly performs to play to his base, because actual thinking is too hard, and sending up Tim Mathieson is so easy.
The ultimate irony? Why it's about traffic infringements and presumably the mania for regulation on the roads, when we really should be getting back to the good old days when the roads were great fun ... and a dandy killing field ...
So this is where the nattering, negative, generally grumpy Sheehan ends, after talking of speed bumps and crap happening, and taking cheap shots at lawyers, and burbling on for the nth inane time about the nanny state, and Orwell, and Obama playing the race card and Gillard playing the gender card, as if Abbott had never stood under a sign saying 'ditch the witch' or 'Bob Brown's bitch', or his good friend Alan Jones hadn't urged that she be drowned in a chaff bag way out at sea ...
Oh yes, it's a bad start to the year, and Sheehan is always on hand to make it a really bad start.
What a pathetic, tragic rag the Herald is, to feature this rage-filled racist tosh (and yes saying Obama played the race card is pathetic racist tosh).
Suddenly - and quite strangely - the pond feels an affinity for lawyers, who no doubt would offer sage advice about turning the other cheek rather than seizing a bundle of the offending publication and burning it in Newtown square ...
Did Sheehan get a bonus this Xmas? Here's some advice for Herald management courtesy Hunt and Hunt:
It is important to deal early and sensitively with employee expectations of bonus payments. Managing expectations early and in a straightforward and unembellished way will be an important step in successfully concluding the year.
If there is an expectation that a bonus will be paid, an employer should determine whether the payment (or a reduced payment) is required or discretionary. A discretionary bonus can be refused, but it will be important that the decision is able to be explained to employees consistently with the business' objectives and performance, and not be seen as being a capricious or arbitrary (or "scrooge"-like decision).
There you go, play the scrooge! Be discreet but play the scrooge. Remember it just needs a consistent explanation to the employee. Oh and you can use a throwaway line too. Shit happens.
And now, just because the hate and envy and the unwillingness to accept that Republicans weren't just brinkmanship tossers, they were losers, here's a little hate, fresh from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice:
SHYLOCK I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a comrade
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping camera;
Some, that are mad if they behold a lawyer;
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping camera;
Why he, a harmless necessary speed bump;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Julia Gillard's traffic infringements, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?
Indeed. Well we know that Sheehan can't contain his urine when it comes to lawyers and cameras and speed bumps. How does he go with bagpipes?
And now a bonus shit happens: