So what did happen to David Rowe's cartoon for the AFR on the 14th March 2013?
Is the cartoon above anything like the one that ran?
It could hardly be construed as offensive. After all, Rowe is always even-handed when he has a go. This is the one tagged for the 12th March:
And this is the one tagged for the 15th March, and you can find a lot more Rowe at his gallery here:
This sort of cartoon could hardly be construed as offensive these days, ever since the Daily Terror abolished Godwin's Law as an offence, smashing and trampling on the pond's Godwin's Law swear jar.
Instead comparisons to paranoid psychopathic mass murderers must now be construed as a part of a vigorous discourse, or an enthusiastic discussion, or an insightful analysis, or whatever gibberish Kim Williams has come up with today to excuse a romp in the gutter.
After all, when you get down to the death toll produced by assorted psychopaths, does it really matter if you're comparing Hitler's efforts with those of Joe Stalin, or the twenty million or so often credited to Chairman Mao?
If you have a thing for numbers, the New York Review of Books tackles the question in Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Killed More?, (outside the paywall), with Stalin getting off to a solid start with 3.3 million or so (there's always an "or so") in the Ukraine in 1932 and 1933.
There must have been some sort of glitch in the AFR stable. After all, if the Daily Terror can compare Senator Conroy to Stalin or Mao, surely any cartoon comparing anybody to anybody is just part of an elevated discussion, an incisive sophisticated if sometimes Jesuitical repartee right up there with that intellectual giant Kim Williams himself as he bows low to his Don and kisses his ring (and let's not have any denigration of Jesuits now they've scored the big one and collared Il Papa).
The pond must simply pronounce it a mystery and move along, because it seems even the Daily Terror has settled down today:
Ah there's nothing like crime in the streets and lavish Sydney mansions to ease the stress.
Why Conroy's fiendish crimes now only involve the United Nations, with the Daily Terror seemingly unaware that if the UN sticks its nose in Australian business, it's another step in its relentless march towards world domination and world government (or so Janet Albrechtsen, acutely aware of black helicopters, has warned us).
Oh and they also exhume Ita Buttrose to provide a valiant defence of media moguls - they're so attractive, don't you know, don't you think, always good for a mini-series or a romp - though the rag is still so in love with its Fijian dictator "total Bula" routine that it's kept a link at the top of its digital edition.
All the same the psychopathic frenzy seems to have left the fevered brow, the hot sweats and the shouting seem to have settled, so we can leave the patient to recover. After the rag's recovered, if it's only lost its mind as a result of the fever, it won't have lost much, and it can get back to covering the greatest boofhead game of all ...
Which is just as well, because today is such an exciting day, it being the day that Christopher Pearson pronounces on the new pope!
Yes, we can leave aside Greg Sheridan:
Move along people, there's nothing to see with Sheridan explaining how the New World Pope wrong-footed the Western commentariat, and in particular that dunderheaded member of the Western commentariat Greg Sheridan.
The dunderhead foolishly dared to go into print on Pell's chances, faithfully reproduced in part over at Catholic News under the header Why Cardinal Pell has a realistic chance of being Pope. (Amazingly, The Australian has got the original Sheridan Why George Pell is a 20-to-1 deserved favourite tucked behind the paywall, as if anyone would pay to examine the scribbles of a prime dork. Even now that 20-1 deserved favourite header generates enough laughs to help the pond get through the day).
Why Sheridan expects anybody to give a toss or even a rat's arse about his latest pontifications must remain a deep mystery, right up there with the burning bush. Especially when we have the excitement of a Pearson pronouncement, which is as near as the pope it gets when it comes to questions of infallibility!
So what's getting Pearson into a frenzy? After all, there has to be more to life than writing week after week about the Labor leadership and how Australia is completely and utterly ruined, devastated and annihilated, and in urgent need of a Messiah! Oh Tony, Tony, you're such a big, handsome, strong Messiah ...
Sorry where were we?
Oh yes, it's crucial stuff. It's astonishing and alarming that this damned Argentinian (never mind the Italian heritage) should want to abandon the honourable order of the fine silk frock wearing establishment, with idle chatter about St Francis and his silly attempts to actually understand and follow the words of Christ.
Now surely this is as good a chance as any to remind the world how important, how theologically meaningful, how much in the tradition of the carpenter a fine frock is!
By golly that would look absolutely spiffing on a Saturday night sipping cocktails on the banks of the sea of Galilee (well that's what your average Republican thinks is a pious religious activity).
And it's important to remember that a splash of red always looks good up against autumnal colours.
Now the church and the commentariat have been having a fine old time explaining how the new pope likes to catch public transport and live a simple life and is just one of the lads, always ready to share a bus rather than hop into the personal chauffeured limo, and naturally Pearson, a pompous preening high Tory of the most vulgar and pretentious kind, isn't having any of that in Pope can't pick a poor model (behind the paywall so you aren't reminded that the Nazis always used to love a good leather jacket).
Naturally Pearson can't help sounding off at the start in Latin with a Habemus Papam!, before getting down to some really serious trivia, shouting after Habemus Papam that hes realiter realiter teribilis et horribilis.
But first there comes a mea culpa:
He is 76 years old and many commentators, including me, had written him off as too old this time.
So that's the other pigeon-toed wrong-footed member of the commentariat Sheridan was scribbling about. The Australian has two dunderheads! And we've only just started counting ...
Now to that warning about the dangers of abandoning a decent frock!
The first and most important responsibility of a pope is as a pastor. Pope Francis's choice of a namesake and his experience in an archdiocese that is large and poor should stand him in good stead. But he is also the Bishop of Rome, with all the ceremonial duties that attend the office, and there are obvious problems with modelling himself too literally on il Poverello.
To take an obvious example, insisting on wearing a wooden pectoral cross will look like an affectation to appease the church's enemies. Paradoxically, it is out of humility that he must learn to wear the finery the poor expect of their pope and - although no friend to tradition in his former post - he must preserve the solemnity of the papal liturgies.
It's gibberish of course, but what revealing gibberish it is, with the notion that wearing a wooden cross will seem like an appeasing affectation, and what is needed is a fine frock, so Pearson can enjoy his inflated high church rituals ...
You have to be a top notch ponce to be ever so 'umble ...
Oh there's dangers and heresies all around the man, especially if he dares to heed what Christ is reputed to have actually said:
No successor as pope could hope to rival Benedict in distinction as a theologian and no South American Jesuit could be expected to have such an inward understanding of the role of tradition in the life of the church. But as one who has struggled with the advance of evangelical Protestantism, Bergoglio should grasp the necessity of maintaining a distinctive Catholic formation and identity for his flock. There is no future in the universal church trying to adopt the theatrics and sacro-pop of the Pentecostalists.
Or even worse all that simple carpenter strutting and posing and getting out and about with the boys that Christ indulged in, along with the occasional miracle and a simple parable or three!
Although it's unlikely that a candidate who attracted so much support so quickly in the conclave will prove to be an outright disaster, the Rorate Caeli website published a report on Thursday by a Buenos Aires journalist, Marcelo Gonzalez of Panorama Catolico Internacional, that is far from encouraging. I'm inclined to discount the article to some extent because of the shrillness of its tone and the sense you sometimes have with traditionalist commentators that they're "more Catholic than the pope". Nor can I vouch for the accuracy of its account of the new Pope's attempts to fight against abortion, although it's worth noting that Rorate Caeli takes a more generous view of his opposition to gay marriage. Nonetheless I've decided to quote a dissident view and leave readers to judge for themselves.
Yes, although it's shrill and the pond is unable to verify that Pearson is unable to vouch for its accuracy, let's run with it all the same, because muck racking and alarmist gossiping is, well, it's the Murdoch way, and where's the harm in that?
Of course Pearson could have just provided a link to the piece - here it is at a place where conservative Catholics fester and conspire under the header The Horror! A Beunos Aires journalist describes Bergoglio. and said no more.
Hmm, that's a bit dull. How to fill up the rest of the column? Oh dammit, where's the harm in quoting Pearson quoting Marcelo González?
"Of all the unthinkable candidates, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perhaps the worst. Not because he openly professes doctrines against the faith and morals, but because, judging from his work as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, faith and morals seem to have been irrelevant to him. A sworn enemy of the traditional mass, he has only allowed imitations of it in the hands of declared enemies of the ancient liturgy. He has persecuted every single priest who made an effort to wear a cassock, preach with firmness, or that was simply interested in Summorum Pontificum (the document that authorises priests to use the old Latin rite at will).
Oh the fiend! Against the Latin rite, against cassocks, against the traditional mass, against the ancient liturgy and against frocks!
Could it get any worse? Oh it could, it could:
"Famous for his inconsistency (at times for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies), accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather nonexistent for how confusing it is.
"He has not missed any occasion for holding acts in which he lent his cathedral to Protestants, Muslims, Jews and even to partisan groups in the name of an impossible and unnecessary inter-religious dialogue. He is famous for his meetings with Protestants in the Luna Park arena where ... he was 'blessed' by Protestant ministers in a common act of worship in which he, in practice, accepted the validity of the 'powers' of the television pastors.
He wants to get along with people, and actually invites them into his temple? All sorts of scum and riff raff. Jews, Islamics, even Protestants and touchy feel good do gooders who just want to get along together.
Oh the inhumanity, oh the horror:
"This election is incomprehensible: he is not a polyglot, he has no curial experience, he does not shine for his sanctity, he is loose in doctrine and liturgy, he has not fought against abortion and only very weakly against homosexual 'marriage', he has no manners to honour the pontifical throne. He has never fought for anything else than to remain in positions of power. It really cannot be what Benedict wanted for the church. And he does not seem to have any of the conditions required to continue his work. "
May God help His church. One can never dismiss, as humanly hard as it may seem, the possibility of a conversion ... nonetheless, the future terrifies us."
Uh huh. It seems god has left Rome and left the church completely to its own devices. Which is odd, god appointing a person to a position where you score mega infallibility points (though not so many in health kits and energy packs). Has god lost Her touch?
Yep, it's that old "the future terrifies us" routine, full of fear and loathing, and so naturally right down Pearson's alley.
It almost makes the pond take a shine to the new pope, except of course, despite the shrill tone of the hysterical thoughts faithfully reproduced by the alarmist Pearson, is that the pope is already on record playing a straight bat on all the usual hot topics, from chastity in the priesthood through contraception, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage to the role of women in what is an unhealthy and unsightly male enclave of power.
Now the "man of the people" routine might come in handy in relation to the child abuse scandals still wrecking the church, but it's truly wondrous to see Pearson and the conservative putsch get their knickers in a knot over things like frocks, cassocks, and Latin.
Is that the best they've got? Or is it just another way to keep pushing the church to maintain its already extremist conservative views, and so keep losing the flock, at least those who don't want to go to hell for using a little sensible contraception ...
Lordy lordy Pearson's mob really don't have a clue what Christ was on about, not a clue, do they, as it's all ritual and ceremony and fine robes and prattling in Latin and incense in the gayest church of all ... (when will it come out and be gay and proud?)
Meanwhile, over at the AFR, where we started off the day, Tony Walker asks the question in Tony Abbott's Catholic conundrum (behind the paywall so you can have an active weekend):
After the vote in the Vatican, it is only natural to ask how Tony Abbott’s faith will affect his performance if he is voted in as prime minister.
Yes, will he wear a good frock!?
Walker casts his mind back to that other Abbott response to a new pope:
Even worse, Walker brooded about Abbott's claim that the influx of Catholics into the Liberal party had broadened its economic and social base, giving it a more democratic complexion, and increasing its concern for the unfortunate (though it would be hard to wring the phrase "social justice" from his lips):
These sentiments make his colleagues anxious since they leave an impression of a welfarist Abbott who might turn out to be a soft touch or, heaven forbid, an adherent of the economic interventionist views of his hero B. A. Santamaria - or even those of St Francis.
Eek, what to do, how to sort out all this touchy-feely lovey dovey Xian muck?
Well first of all, this budgie-smuggler, and bicycle-lycra clad lout, and yellow emergency rescue gear stuff has got to stop (Mamils, if you will, if you love the notion of middle aged men in lycra).
It's time to put an end to any pretence that everybody should get along, as we dwell firmly in the midst of the red tooth and claw world of capitalism, where the evolutionary survival of the fittest is all the go. There's simply no room for priests with wooden crosses or politicians who give a stuff about the average Joe or Josephine.
Please, no more nonsense about howAbbott is just a dinki di bloke who actually consorts with women and gays, within his very own family!
It's time for frock power ... Christopher Pearson has spoken, or at least he's quoted an hysterical Argentinian journalist, and that's good enough for the pond.
Our kingdom, our kingdom, for a jolly good frock ... and a lot of Latin humbug ...
(Below: no decent frocks leads to naughty cartoons).