Monday, February 11, 2013

My dear boy, why don't you just try writing a sensible column ...

(Above: the breaking news ... in March 2009. Yep, there it is in Queues, chaos: welcome to Sydney Airport)

There's nothing like arriving in Sydney late on a rainy night to be reminded that Sydney airport is comprehensively stuffed.

The federal government to lead the charge to develop the north, under crusader Tony Abbott? 

Only if we get that second Sydney airport in Cairns.

Because neither side of the federal aisle has managed to do anything about the airport since the days of Gough Whitlam ...

It turns out that the airport is an even handier place these days to find any newspaper you like, because they're strewn about like desperate confetti in search of a wedding.

That's how the pond came to read about Chris Short's excellent lunch with Lord Monckton at the Bambini Trust in Elizabeth Street Sydney (total cost a parsimonious $161.50, without alcohol that was deemed too expensive).

It's all there in Lunch with the AFR: Christopher Monckton, but sadly it's behind the paywall, which means you'd have to kill a few red backs in the purse to chow down with this pair. (Sadly the freebies handed out at Sydney airport are now lining the cockies' cages of the well-travelled).

Casual readers might have been expecting Short to raise the matter of Pastor Danny, as Mike Carlton did over the weekend when he celebrated the nutters of Europe being wont to flee the northern winter and blow into town down under:

First cab off the rank this month will be that loon, the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, who believes the science of climate change is a Marxist plot to gain control of the world. Monckton would like you to think he is a member of the British House of Lords, which he is not. This time around he is being carted about the place by none other than Pastor Danny Nalliah, of the Melbourne-based Catch the Fire Ministries. Danny, you might remember, claimed that Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, in which 173 people died, were God's punishment for the state's legalisation of abortion. He has also suggested that the Queensland floods of 2011 were ''God trying to get our attention'' after Kevin Rudd had delivered a speech critical of Israel. 
Enough said there. (Guards of dishonour march into court).

There we go, certified by Carlton himself that the Viscount is a certifiably appropriate subject for the pond.

Actually there's a lot more to be said about Pastor Danny, and the pond was expecting a brief mention of the issue in the piece by Short, if only to see it summarily despatched to the boundary by the mighty Monckton, but sad to say, there wasn't a squeak or a peep on the subject.

Instead there was the standard Godwin's Law routine in the matter of climate change, when it comes to experts and things being settled:

"I said, yes; there again, fascism is poking through or communism. I don't know which, they're all the same ... totalitarianism always says you have to defer to the authority of the experts. I can show you that in the statements of Mussolini, of Hitler in Mein Kampf.
"That cast of mind is still very active but it's not science..."

But not a mention of climate expert Pastor Danny, and his excellent insights into climate science, which seems entirely remiss.

Instead it just reminded the pond of that splendid insight offered by Adolf Hitler on the matter of propaganda:

Once understood how necessary it is for propaganda to be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results: It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance. 
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, and their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out. 
 Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound.

Ah so that explains how the highly contentious matter of climate science is absolute crap, and all the refinements of this limited understanding can be trotted out time after time without anyone saying boo to the goose (Tony Abbott denies climate change and advocates carbon tax in the same breath)

Not to worry, towards the end of the piece, Short does make a brave, valiant stand, having spent the first ninety per cent of the piece allowing Monckton to spout his propaganda without let or hindrance, but with the occasional invocation of the likes of St. Maggie:

"When you get the Margaret Thatchers or the Christopher Moncktons who would be much more willing to let the people decide provided the people were given proper information by the media - by proper, I don't mean information I would agree with, I mean information that gives both sides of each political story ... then I think democracy can be made to work."

Yep, science is a political story, and democracy can be made to work by giving out information supporting both sides, which is a very handy way to teach the controversy, which is presumably all Pastor Danny is doing by scientifically proposing humans started hanging around on the earth 6,000 years ago ... (Climate change debate and the churches)

But as to the brave Short making a stand for truth and justice?

Well it's not about Pastor Danny, or climate science, because of all the useless bloody things, it's about cricket!

More specifically, it involves a reference by Monckton to the digging up of a Headingly cricket pitch in August 1975:

"The one thing that's sacred in Yorkshire is cricket," Monckton says. He explains that the match was a re-enactment of cricket's Wars of the Roses - Lancashire versus Yorkshire.
Except that it wasn't. It was the third match in a four-test Ashes series that ended in a draw because the pitch was so badly damaged Australian retained the Ashes.
The error is unfortunate because part of Monckton's power as a proselytister is his almost overwhelming battery of knowledge backed with boundless conviction. And his insistence on his opponents getting the facts right.

Indeed. The pond knows little of cricket but understands that confusing and conflating the matter of Davis and the pitch  is a bit like not knowing about Trevor Chappell bowling underarm.

So it's an entirely amiable gotcha of a "proselytiser":

1. To induce someone to convert to one's own religious faith. 
2. To induce someone to join one's own political party or to espouse one's doctrine. To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.

Which brings us back to Pastor Danny.

And how it's completely inexplicable and perverse that there's not a single mention of Pastor Danny in the entire Short piece about Monckton. Ssssh, no one mention the Pastor.

Generally the Short piece - which is long enough and so has plenty of room to be better - is as penetrating and as probing as being hit in the face with a lump of blancmange.

It made the pond understand why the AFR was being handed out for free at the airport like a common or garden suburban newspaper.

Meanwhile, over at at another part of Fairfax, one time Monckton admirer (Ten anti-anti-commandments and Lord Monckton's verbal bombs) the generally grumpy except when it comes to magic water Paul Sheehan starts off proceedings this morning, in Fiscal civil war needs Honest Al, with a bout of film criticism:

If Lincoln does not win film's triple crown on Academy Awards night - best film, best actor, best director - I will be surprised, for it is a brilliant combination of a great subject in the hands of the best actor of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis, and one of the most successful filmmakers in history, Steven Spielberg, operating at their peak.

There you go. Sheehan is the sort of klutz who thinks the undiluted corn syrup routinely offered up by Spielberg, and the pompous, pretentious performance by Day-Lewis - method acting gone mad - is the stuff of Oscars, proving he doesn't have the first clue about film-making, let alone life.

But there's an explanation, and while the pond doesn't think much of Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, he nails Day-Lewis and staying in character for the entire production:

“Who the hell wants to be with some miserable grump because he wants to get his performance right, so you have to call him this or call him that? It’s so boring. I’ve been with actors like that and they’re a pain in the ass, they really are.”

Indeed, and who'd want to be in the company of a miserable grumpy pain in the ass columnist praising a miserable grump for making everybody miserable, when all they need to do is try Larry Olivier's famous advice to Dustin Hoffmann: "my dear boy, why don't you try acting?"

My dear boy, why don't you try writing a sensible column?

Lordy lordy, it's a measure of how desperate things are that the pond should have read Chris Berg's Lincoln sheds little light on some of history's dark deeds, and felt a measure of sympathy, because at least while chasing bunnies down rabbit holes, he managed to trot out the word "cloying."

As for Lincoln, the pond is firmly in the four snore and seven years ago camp, and the rest of Sheehan's piece of fluffery - an ecstatically hagiographic piece about a US politician dubbed Honest Al - is in the seven snore category.

Sheehan uses the piece to berate Washington and debt and the failure to compromise, but it left the pond without any way forward when it came to recommending a movie which would illuminate the drivel that Sheehan once wrote about Lord Monckton.

Maybe Inherit the Wind?

Yes that'll do because Spielberg has turned into this generation's Stanley Kramer ...

Meanwhile, the pond continues to await a counter-perspective from Sheehan and other members of the fatuous commentariat who were once all over Monckton like a rash and are now singularly silent in the matter of Monckton and creationist Pastor Danny.

Don't hold your breath, we'll have colonised Mars and the north of Australia and that second Sydney airport in Cairns will be working a treat long before it happens ...

(Below: found here).


  1. Today's Crikey:

    The Reverend was welcomed to the podium with rapturous applause and chants of "rise up Australia!" and "go Aussie!" Nalliah called for the end of a "multicultural Australia" -- instead, he advocated a "multiethnic Australia". He called on God in warning against the dangers of multiculturalism in Australia.

    "We aim for three Senate seats, so we can hold the balance of power, and we can say goodbye to the Greens," Nalliah told the crowd, to chants of "goodbye Greens, goodbye Greens".

    Monckton's lips were pursed during the national anthem, but once at the podium, he was all-Australian: "Do you love Australia?" he asked the crowd, to more cheers. "Do you want to keep Australia free?"

    Monckton declared he was a layman, a Christian, "practising but not perfect".

    "Ladies and gentlemen, I love Australia. How could you not? This vigorous, glorious land. This is a beautiful land, with a people diverse in their origins," he said. "They are people from all over the world, but when they come here, they come here to a culture that is distinctive -- come one, come all. Australia is inclusive, multi-ethnic, multi-point-of-view country. If you come here, follow Pastor Danny's example, and enjoy and celebrate it, and do not seek to destroy it.

    "There is one thing that sets us [the party] apart. We at least tell the truth. It may be an unattainable ambition. But it doesn't stop us trying.

    "God bless you Pastor Danny; God bless Rise Up Australia."

  2. “Only if we get that second Sydney airport in Cairns.”

    There is a far better location for a second Sydney airport, DP.
    Where else is Australia, at this time, displaying its warmth, charm and sociability to those arriving from overseas, but that island paradise Manus Island.

  3. Was Alan Jones at the Rise Up launch?


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