Friday, April 19, 2013

What, give up the chocolate soldier commentariat? No, never ...

The pond listened with amusement last night to Swiss writer Rolf Dobelli arguing on the Media Report on RN that news is irrelevant, toxic and misleading, and we should give it up.

Who could argue the point, or even the toss of a cat, but sadly Dobelli didn't consider the even more toxic nature of the commentariat, and naturally silly old host Richard Aedy immediately segued into a sombre discussion of news and obituaries, and a new business model proposing to crowd fund news.

Poor Dobelli was done like a dinner before he'd even had a chance to be served cold ...

The pond likes to think of the commentariat as forms of chocolate. Now your hysterical top notch ranter and hate monger - surely Piers "Akker Dakker" Akerman and Andrew "the Bolter" are the top of the current pack - is probably 85% pure chocolate. So severe as to be quite repulsive.

Others down the food chain are a more palatable 75%, some have the tang of pure eccentricity embedded in them like orange flavouring (Greg Sheridan), and some are such a coarse, low-grade form of compound chocolate (think Tim Blair) you wouldn't eat them even if they were dressed up as an easter egg or a treat at the bottom of an Xmas stocking.

Unlike Dobelli, the pond can't and wouldn't want to give them up. It's a kind of therapy, a special treat, a reminder that while loons stalk the pond, after you've indulged in a vicious bit of hate-mongering, you can have a nice cup of tea and go about your business comforted that at least you're not as woefully embittered and as deeply unhappy as Akker Dakker or the Bolter, even if they only pretend to be so embittered in the manner of professional right wing harlots just doing a job on their johns for the master pimp ...

It would be absolutely wrong to talk of banning them, in much the same way as banning 85% chocolate would be perverse and wrong, or stopping the likes of David Irving from mouthing stupidities, though it might occasionally cause pain to the sensible David Irvings in the world.

Which is how the pond in recent days has found itself in strange company, supporting the Dalai Lama's right to speak at Sydney University.

However you cut the story, it seems clear that the administration, deep in the grip of Chinese cash, decided to evict the Dalai Lama. The latest claim, published a mere six hours ago in the lizard Oz, was that the change of location was requested by the Dalai Lama's office and not the University of Sydney.

Which makes most peculiar the emails previously aired on the ABC on the 7.30 show:

...emails aired on the ABC’s 7.30 program suggested the university had taken a more active role in the “difficult decisions” to move the event off-campus and to ensure staff were not formally involved. 
An email attributed to vice-chancellor Michael Spence said this “negotiated solution” would be “in the best interests of researchers across the university”. (here, behind the paywall so you can relax about the news, and here at 7.30 so you can watch the story for free)

So now someone's faking Michael Spence's email address? What a scandal, or has there been so much fudging and equivocation the pond could use it all to open a candy store?

Now in the pond's view the Dalai Lama is a harmless eccentric and clever showman, who having been evicted from his own country, now tours the world with an engaging routine but not much else to offer except ancient superstitions.

On the other hand, it's wantonly perverse for Sydney University to kow tow to the Chinese and keep him off campus, thereby providing another reminder that the pond should keep asking for someone to explain exactly why the Chinese government thinks it had the right to invade and then rule Tibet ...

The result is that now the university is yammering in high flown - but actually more fly blown way -about lofty constructive ways of lifting itself out of the bogswamp it dug for itself:

While it’s not clear when and where this event would be conducted, Professor Garton said the Dalai Lama’s office had “indicated considerable interest in this proposal”.
“The university is of the view that there is a clear need for informed and impartial expert engagement in the issues currently being experienced in Tibet, embracing environment, governance, sustainability and social cohesion,” he said. 
 “There is expertise in Sydney and in Australia that can constructively be brought to focus on these issues.”

Yes, and there'll be pie and choccy in the sky by and by.

Poor old Prof Garton is the bunny, the acting vice chancellor forced to find a way out of the mess, a mess entirely of the University's own creation.

And if being forced to stick up for the Dalai Lama isn't bad enough, there's Tim "Dickus" Dick gloating in Fairfax about his native New Zealand:

New Zealand understands the majority is judged on whether the minorities are equal before the law. History shows it takes a little longer for Australia to work it out. (Who's feeling sheepish now?)

And it's true! Oh the humiliation, oh the shame, oh the taste of compound "the lady's not for turning, I don't believe in conscience votes" chocolate on the lips ...

Why even big Bazza, torn from contemplating his VFT to Sudnuy's secund eerpurt in Canberra is on side with the New Zelunders and ready to do the gay marriage thing if he can only work out a way ...

Meanwhile, the pond couldn't resist a treat, a bon bon, and though you might think it peculiar, even perverse to think of the scribblings of Nick Cater as a treat, that's the way the pond rolls.

Cater recently issued a book, The Lucky Culture and the rise of an Australian Ruling Class, which was naturally given a plug by his good mate the Bolter, here, as he would because Cater has been at the head of the lizard Oz class ranting about class warfare as if to the Faux Noise manor born (the Bolter liked some of the ranting so much he ran it here, in the way the Bolter does, because to be so prolific you really do have to know how to cut and paste vast swathes of text).

And as a bonus - think of it as a packet of Smarties or Jaffas or M and M - if follow that link, you can also get a classic piece of resentful, anger-filled fear and loathing for students who might be a little smarter than the average Bolter reader.

The sight of the Bolter sending up students is pathetic. It's childish, spiteful stuff - the sort of nonsense that sees the Republican Party seek out the company of creationists - and it comes with a feeble and pathetic protest about a Tharunka front page carrying the rather old and tame news that Church Fucks Women. Is it possible to sound senile, or like a major-general sipping a port in the Melbourne Club at the Bolter's age? Of course it is ...

Here's how he presented it:

 What kind of contemptuous and arrogant barbarians do our universities now produce to stock our “elite”? Judge by the cover of the latest magazine of the University of NSW students - and, caution, do not read on if bad language and graphic sexual imagery offend: 

What a preening tut tutting clucking fowl-yard scratching ponce. Of course he wanted to shock, and it's a measure of his feeble brain, and that of his feeble-minded readers that this cover might be construed as offensive rather than factual.

Truth to tell, the Bolter needs to stop listening to his operas and quaffing his charming beguiling reds and get out into a public bar occasionally but that might involve mingling with the barbarians ...

But enough of universities and the Bolter, and back to our bon bon Cater, because today it befalls to him to push along the Gina Rinehart barrow about the development of the deep north - they must be allotted turns in the lizard Oz - in Deep green campaign an enemy of progress (outside the paywall because Gina's puppets must be heard on a matter of national significance). You see, no gold bar:

It's Cater's duty to present a gleaming vision of Australia's north as Asia's food bowl, with agriculture taking over from the mining boom.

Now you might wonder what the deep green campaign is. Yep, Cater's banging on one more time about the live cattle trade to Indonesia and that video:

... the government's knee-jerk reaction in response to the footage brought home the widening gulf between city and country. The latte suburbs around the CBD seem particularly remote from the realities of farming, and it is there that opinion leaders congregate.

It's the pond's joyful duty to report that Nick Cater files all his copy from his fully wired shack at Oodnadatta, which is just as well, because it turns out according to Cater that the latte suburbs around the CBD are full of journalists:

Increasingly we recruit from the graduate class and journalists live by and large in the inner city and beach suburbs, in a bubble. They wear out the seats of their pants more quickly than they wear out their shoe leather. It's a tragedy. We have to wake up to ourselves before we lose touch with the rest of Australia altogether. (here, inside the paywall so you don't have to care)

Yep, it's another moaning refugee Pom, trained as a sociologist, a self-confessed former BBC man and reader of The Guardian, gone through some mystical transformation by working for chairman Rupert, a CBD man through and through, and how do we know? Why of all things he settled in newspapers because TV docs were too hard:

I was lugging a load of TV gear through Customs at Lisbon Airport with Leigh Hatcher when I worked at Channel Seven and he said: "TV is like working with a 10 tonne pencil.'' He was right.

Bugger the pond dead. A few bits of light-weight camera gear. Talk about living in a bubble. Try that attitude lifting a bale of hay on a farm. Oh I can't lift that, it's like feeding the cows 10 tonnes of grass ...

Anyhoo, it turns out that the 'leets run the superannuation industry:

Significantly, there was only one representative from the superannuation industry in attendance; the low returns simply do not excite domestic investors. Farmers can be their own worst enemies when it comes to enticing willing investors, Macquarie Agriculture Funds Management's co-head Tim Hornibrook told the forum.

Holy cow Batman, the latte sippers, the incompetent farmers and the super industry are joined together in one vast conspiracy.

Not to worry, everything is moving forward, and not just in one short step, but in one giant leap of the imagination:

One simple idea, however, seemed to catch imaginations. Vicki Meyer from Deniliquin Freighters suggested renaming the agriculture ministry the ministry of food. Andrew Robb, who in five months' time may well be a person of some influence, said the idea had merit.

Indeed. Just as the pond has always believed that the Ministry for Peace is so much better a name than the Ministry for War, and the Ministry of Information so much more fitting than the Ministry of Censorship (or the Ministry of dissembling disinformation outsourced to the private sector and the minions of Murdoch).

But yes the idea has merit. All the changes to the stationary and business cards and such like - government departments do still have them - and the changes to the website, and designing new logos and letter heads will keep the small business sector stimulated for months and months.

And Rolf Dobelli wants the pond to give up on this sort of thing?

No way Jose, keep that sweet Nick Cater milk chocolate flowing (warning no actual chocolate used in the making of this milk chocolate) ...

Which brings us to the last and sweetest bon bon of all: News Limited to move to a metered paywall from next month. How's that paywall working out for y'all ...? Remember the best bon bons and Nick Cater are free ...

(Below: the pond joins with Tom Tomorrow in making a modest development proposal for Nick Cater's consideration).

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