Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The pond tackles the dangerous subversive world of academic latte-sippers, assisted by Miranda the Devine and Nick Cater ...

(Above: Australia facing one of its many crises, more details here. Now fair warning, if you're a filthy, perverted latte-sipper, stop reading right now and bugger off. We don't want your kind here, why don't you head off to New Zealand where your sort belong).

So many choices, so little time.

Only yesterday there was Gary Johns, no doubt in receipt of a handsome superannuation package from federal parliament, delivering up this logic in Many on the receiving end of middle-class welfare (inside the paywall so dole bludgers and welfare recipients are pointedly excluded from reading the deep thoughts of Mr Johns):

Pensioners always argue that they have made their contribution, but this is not so; taxpayers pay the pension and health costs of pensioners.

Indeed, and who were the taxpayers who paid their taxes in yesteryear? Bludgers!

Johns is outraged and indignant. These bloody working class yobbos are simply living too long and costing too much. In the good old days they had the decency to drop off the twig at a proper time and place:

The big one is access to the age pension and superannuation. In 1910 the age pension was paid to men from age 65 and to women at age 60. Pretty generous, hey? Yes, except for one small matter. Life expectancy at birth in 1910 was 55 for men and 59 for women. In other words, you were not meant to survive long enough to draw it.

Damn that was clever. Tax 'em dry and then watch them drop and keep the cash in paw for the pollies. But how things have taken an outrageous turn for the worst:

How times have changed. Life expectancy in 2011 was 80 for men and 84 for women. And the pension access age has barely shifted since 1910. If you were born before July 1, 1947, you have reached the qualifying age for the age pension.

Outrageous. The shameless bludgers. What a pity they didn't understand the way to a decent lurk, as you might discover if you care to wade through the fine print of Superannuation benefits for senators and members.

The pond looks forward to Mr Johns disavowing whatever little super treats the generous parliamentary scheme has set aside for him, and joining average pensioners on their lavish stipend. The bludgers!

Meanwhile, the lizard Oz offers up today more of the usual from Janet 'Dame Slap' Albrechtsen, getting terribly worried about the future facing the unborn. What? Climate change, pressure of population, pressure on resources, a world covered with humanity leeching it dry?

No, it's just the usual rant about governments living on credit cards, which makes the pond wonder when Dame Slap will publicly cut up all her credit cards and fling them in the faces of her wretched bankers. Fee fi fo, you usurers, take that for your private usury.

Never mind, Unborn are new forgotten ones  reads the header (behind the paywall so you can avoid a slapping), which is pretty much Johns in drag, since his column might well have been titled Old fart bludgers need to be the new forgotten ones. Put it another way: The Old Farts The (the pond assumes you know how to translate that into German).

Dame Slap wraps it up with a rip-snorter which would have done Maggie Thatcher proud:

There is no such thing as public money. There is only taxpayer money. And spending the money of future taxpayers to fund services for current taxpayers is exceptionally reckless.

Don't you just love it. There is no such thing as public money, presumably because there is no such thing as public ... just remember that next time you drive on mmmph roads or catch mmmmph transport to get to a mmmph beach where you might want to ...  piss in a mmmmph toilet ...

But while these are pleasant distractions, the pond would really like to draw your attention to a splendid piece by Miranda the Devine offering up a wondrous bit of puffery for Nick Cater's book.

News Ltd have been all agog about it, and gung ho in pushing and prodding it towards bestseller status. Why this lad is as stellar as Ian Plimer in his heyday. A new Lord Monckton, a kind of screaming Lord Cater ...

And truly it's thigh-slapping stuff. Let's start with this, in the same way that the Devine does:

Maybe it's because the author is a friend, but there is a buzz around a book by Nick Cater, The Lucky Culture, that feels like a defining moment in the Australian narrative. 

A defining moment in the Australian narrative. Oh that's good, that's rich, like the Xmas cakes we used to make in Tamworth ...

For instance, when Rupert Murdoch was in Sydney recently, Cater, a senior editor at The Australian, handed him a copy as he was leaving for the airport. By the time Murdoch got back to New York he was so taken with the book he asked for 10 copies to be sent over.

By golly chairman Rupert himself, the mogul's mogul, the insider's insider, the head of the ruling elite, the controller of the cliques, the owner of most of Australia's printed media, the head honcho, the ruling ratbag, the man in charge, the boss of bosses.

So what's Nick Cater's thesis?

Is he warning us how one man, via a family fiefdom, dominates Australia's media landscape?

Is he sounding the alarm about Australia's - and at one time the world's - richest woman wanting to get hold of Fairfax and the Ten network, and turn them into propaganda machines spouting her world view? Aided and abetted by little Sir Echos like the Bolter, ever ready to parrot the message to ensure a steady diet of presumptuous reds and operas ...

No, no, here's the punchline:

Cater's thesis, formed during the 2010 election, is that Australia has become increasingly polarised, not between right and left, but between people he calls the insiders and the outsiders.
A new ruling class of university-educated "progressives", "sophisticates", "elites" and "latte-sippers" have emerged as an un-Australian clique trying to lord it over everyone else. Controlling media, law, education and the political class, they threaten Australia's great egalitarian democratic project: "For the first time there were people who did not simply feel better off but were better than their fellow Australians. They were cosmopolitan and sophisticated, well read (or so they would have us believe) and politically aware. This was not the classless society I had signed up to join."

Now you might not think this high comedy, but truly it had the pond rolling the Jaffas down the aisles (actually we used to throw them off the balcony in the lounge at the plebs in the stalls down below).

That's a thesis?

You mean poor old Rupe is just one step away from being a hapless unpaid blogger like the pond because of the progressives, sophisticates, elites and latte-sippers who control everything and run everything?

I know, I know, it's so richly absurdist, so profoundly stupid - even when you have to allow that it's being refracted through the addle-brained Devine - that you might just think you've stepped into Alice in Wonderland, where nothing is but what is not.

But you do get a really tremendous idea of how stupid, dumb and ignorant of Australian history Cater must be, to think that he imagined that somehow he was signing up to a classless society, or that when he joined the ranks of the lizard Oz, he was signing up to an intrepid Godardian band of outsiders, repressed by dangerous latte-sippers ...

You have to wonder whether Cater, for example, ever read any Manning Clark:

"An obsession with the convict stain has obscured the colony's uplifting moral purpose as a place of rehabilitation. Until (historian) Manning Clark trussed colonial history in a Marxist straitjacket, Australia was considered the Enlightenment's most audacious experiment, an attempt to build a civilisation on a continent that had yet to be introduced to cultivation. It has succeeded beyond all expectation."

Marxist straitjacket? This is obscurantist stupidity of the first water. For its sins, the pond had to read a hell of a lot of Manning Clark, force fed by one of his worshipful students, and what becomes painfully clear is that Clark had a tragic, even religious bent, when it came to writing history.

Let's just take the quick way out by referring to his wiki, and the way Clark's father was an Anglican minister and his mother an old establishment family with roots back to the flogging parson, Samuel Marsden.

Let's note that for his big six volume history, Clark chose as models Carlyle, Gibbon and Macaulay - two conservatives and a Whig, as the wiki puts it, and had, in the process, abandoned the notion of progressive or Marxist historiography:

"I was beginning to see Australian history and indeed all history as a tragedy. Failure was the fate of the individual: success could be the fate of society. If that was a contradiction, I could only reply that it was but one of the many contradictions we must accept as soon as we can as part of the human condition."

In fact if the pond wanted to get up the nose of the Clark-lover, all that was required was to note some of the errors in his work, and then propose that he really wanted to be a tragic novelist, Dostoyevsky or Shakespeare...

The charge of Marxism is one of those easy, really pathetic and woefully ignorant notions usually led by someone who's never sat down and read the six volumes, which became more tragic and epic by the volume ...

But back to Cater and his thesis:

Cater's sees Australia as "an exceptional country, populated by exceptional people skilled at making their own luck. When fortune smiles, it is not by chance or benevolence, it is the dividend of an investment of human ingenuity, enterprise and energy. 
"Australians have been forging their own destiny for over 200 years; they subscribe to the idea of progress."

Uh huh. The idea of progress. Unlike Manning Clark, but very much like your average Marxist materialist dreaming of the millennium.

Yes, it's just another infatuated pommie bastard, as Bazza might say, eyes blinded by the sand and the sun and the waves pounding the beaches. And naturally there's a threat, though it isn't ten pound Poms, or the rabbit or sparrows or cane toads:

But Australian egalitarianism is threatened by the assumption that "some citizens, the educated ones, are smarter than the rest, and that therefore their opinions should carry more weight". 

Do tell. Do they write for chairman Rupert? Or is it a requirement these days for entry into the Murdoch factory that you reject coffee and carry no degrees, such things being surplus to requirement? Because Murdochian opinions carry more weight as the result of being carefree and ignorant, superficial and silly?

And if there's a threat, naturally there has to be villains, and it turns out that the villain is Robert Gordon Menzies, the man who in the 1950s decided it would be helpful if people got educated, some of them even at a tertiary institution. Damn you RG, damn you to hell ...

Who'd have thought such education would turn out to be more devastating and dangerous than Salvation Jane at producing bloat in stock?

He traces the rise of the new insider class to the extraordinary expansion of higher education from the late '50s, in which the number of universities doubled - and became "degree factories". 
 The unintended consequence was the creation of an "intelligentsia with a narrower, more homogenous" outlook, marked by a "progressive world view, snobbery and self righteousness".

This is of course completely different to the homogenous world view that infests the Devine, Cater, Albrechsten, and the entire pack of hacks who work away in the Terror, the HUN, the lizard Oz and the rest of the Murdoch rags.

The intellectual class has for almost half a century "misrepresented Australia's history, misread its present, misjudged its people and projected a miserable vision of the future", while maligning "patriotism as akin to racism". 

Oh steady on, the pond is as ready as anyone to drink a VB to celebrate war-mongering and to shout on buses at anyone with a slightly odd skin, who've somehow ended up in god's country though we thrashed them in the war.

But enough of Cater, let's now get a sweet distilled draught of pure Devine essence:

Australia is not a race or an ethnicity or a constitution. It is an idea, and thus exquisitely vulnerable to the narrative that is drawn for it. 
I spent a good deal of my youth in American schools, reading American children's books and absorbing American mythology. Every story, from George Washington to the Bobbsey Twins, reinforced the idea of America the Good. 

The Bobbsey Twins, instead of good old Enid Blyton and other solid British folk! At last it all becomes clear! She ended up in the magic faraway tree, but she never had the literary references to understand it ...

Australians have never bothered ourselves with American-style displays of overt patriotism. Our reticence is an admirable quality, up to a point. But in all our embarrassment about excessive pridefulness, we have vacated the ground where patriotism used to define who we are, and left it to the sneerers and the wreckers. 

Yes, the sneerers and the wreckers, always sneering at the sneerers and the wreckers ...

Cater's book is the spiritual sustenance our maligned nation needs. The Lucky Country should be on the curriculum of every high school history class, along with the complete works of Geoffrey Blainey.

Oh steady on, surely there should be room for a book by Chairman Rupert on the curriculum of every high school history class in the country. Bemoaning coffee drinking and elites and what they're doing to the country, and celebrating his humble status as a casual billionaire.

And what better title than a traditional one? The thoughts of Chairman Rupert ...

And if the clique and elitist hating freedom fighter is too busy, why surely the Devine and Cater and Albrechtsen and the whole gang at the lizard Oz can cobble something together.

Oh wait, they already do, on a daily basis, full of stupid superficialities, random abuse and material you wouldn't use to wipe a cat's bum in a history class, at least one where some sort of insight is required, as opposed to cliches, stereotypes and banality ... pure essence of distilled banality...

(Below: wouldn't you know it, if you google lucky country, all sorts of post-ironic post-modern things bubble to the surface. It's those bloody university folk ruining it for everybody with their smart-arse know it all airs and graces, completely unlike an average Murdochian, content simply to know it all, while never ever sipping a latte!)


  1. Re: Cater, Albrechtsen, Devine, Murdoch et al

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

  2. vicious attacks on cosmopolitan elites controlling the media/academia/government. I'm glad News Ltd have moved on from the 1930s......

  3. Now now Knifey Spoony, refute this at your peril:

    The so-called 'intelligentsia 9 at any rate looks down with
    really infinite condescension on everyone who has not been
    pulled through the obligatory schools in order to have the
    necessary knowledge pumped into his brains. Actually, the
    question is never, What can this man do, but what has he
    learned? To these 'educated' ones the greatest empty-
    head, provided he is only wrapped in a sufficient number of
    certificates, is worth more than even the most clever boy
    who does not possess these priceless paper bags. I was able
    to imagine in what way this 'educated' world would con-
    front me, and in that I was wrong only in so far as in those
    days I still believed people to be better than they unfor-
    tunately are, for the greater part, in sober reality. This, of
    course, as everywhere else, lights up the exceptions much
    more brightly. Thus I learned to distinguish all the more
    between the eternal ' pupils ' and the really competent.

    Nick Cater and another great mind thinking as one. We might get around some other time to quoting that other great mind on the effete intelligentsia and feeble decadent cosmopolitans, not to mention the fantastic babble of windy Babbitty coffee-house inner city elitists. And he was a damn fine patriot, who couldn't stand the sneerers and the wreckers ...

  4. i can't believe i'd never made the connection to old-school anti-semitism before. I guess the populist catholic right only has so many tricks in the book


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