Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Andrew Bolt and other headless chooks ... so many and so little time ...

Above is the cartoon, which conflates Gina Rinehart and Julia Gillard in a tidily sexist way, accompanying this piece, Bolt: Who's afraid of Gina Rinehart? which valiantly defends Gina Rinehart, and begins thusly:

Vested interests scream Gina Rinehart is the main threat to a free media. What piffle, says Andrew Bolt.

Fortified by the thoughts of Gina's valiant poodle lap dog, we can continue.

After viewing Media Watch last night, the pond had a strange dream, verging on a nightmare.

It was like a scene out of Spartacus, the one where everybody stands up and says they're Kirk Douglas, which means Kirk Douglas doesn't have to admit he's Kirk Douglas, though who could mistake that dimple in his chin which must have made shaving so tricky (yes that's another movie in-joke reference. Do you know your stuff?)

Anyway, it was a room full of people, and every one of them followed Paul Barry's lead, explaining that while they might believe in free markets or freedom of the press or just freedom with a capital F, they were to the left of Andrew 'the Bolter' Bolt.

Even Jonathan Holmes had to acknowledge he was to the left of Andrew Bolt, though he'd fought hard for the Bolter, threatened as he was by evil activist judges, and sssh, no mention of journalistic errors.

It got so there were only a few people left at the Bolter's table. Gengis Khan stood up and announced while he and his forces had indulged in atrocities, he listened to his generals, looked to civil government to rule the Mongol empire, and was tolerant of a diversity of religions, including the religion of climate change, and so he was to the left of the Bolter.

Next it was Hitler's turn. He simply noted that he'd used the word 'socialism' in naming his party, and believed government had a role to play in building autobahns. He too was to the left of the Bolter.

Then Gina Rinehart stood up and made a general confession. She had once written a poem and had it inscribed on a rock. She couldn't imagine this as anything other than an example of concrete or rock poetry, much admired by inner urban elites. Consequently she too was to the left of Andrew Bolt.

That left the Bolter all alone at his table. Finally he too stood up, and announced that he wasn't the Andrew Bolt that everyone read in the papers. In the privacy of his own space, he liked to sip on cheeky red wines, and listen to opera. He was a humanist and a rationalist. He too was to the left of Andrew Bolt.

It was, as you'd expect, only a dream, and this morning, the pond checked out, in pdf form here, the correspondence arising from Media Watch's proposal that the Bolter take a more active role - conduct one of his feverish campaigns - in the matter of Gina Rinehart v. certain journalists and their sources.

The Bolter's opening salvo?

I’ve protested Gina Rinehart’s subpoena more often than have you? 
Are you in her pocket, then? 
Let’s not play cute. We both know exactly why you wanted to raise this (non) issue. And I’m supposed to just laugh it off?

Laugh it off? Require the Bolter to show a sense of humour? Discuss a (non) issue?

Never mind what's the (non) issue. Gina or the Bolter suddenly snapping and barking at the heels of Gina ...

Suddenly the absurdity of the whole thing was revealed.

Immediately after the opening salvo, the Bolter immediately embarked on a rant about Left and Right, and the vile ABC, only to throwaway this as an aside:

(Incidentally, I'm neither Left nor Right, but a conservative rationalist and humanist).

At which point, the pond appreciated the point of the entire episode. It was comedy, in the manner of Comedy Up Late.

There were other tremendous lines, including suggestions as to who would make a good host of Media Watch:

Henderson, Albrechtsen, Blair, Tom Switzer, Rowan Dean, me, take your pick

Tim Blair? Rowan Dean? Andrew Bolt? Janet Albrechtsen? Tom Switzer? Gerard Henderson?

That's the best there is? Let's overlook Tim Blair's tragic appearances on ABC radio when he actually had his own show.

Why would someone who has wanted to sell the ABC want to appear on this wretched example of government profligacy? As for that comedian Rowan Dean, the pond dares anyone to read one of his "comedic" pieces for the AFR and emerge intellectually unscathed. And as for Janet Albrechtsen, has the Bolter ever seen her on QandA? She just doesn't get television, and in her public appearances there's no hint she could be trained to get it ...

This isn't to talk ideology, it's to talk technique ... a technique, for example, that poor old desiccated coconut and prattling Polonius Gerard Henderson also clearly lacks. Six months of him droning away, and that'd be the end of Monday night for ABC ratings ...

But it gets better when you read the Bolter's full counter-attack on Holmes:

What Holmes got wrong: 
But there are some – like News Ltd columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt, for example – who reckon we stuff up every week 
False. I have never said - and do not believe - Media Watch stuffs up “every week”. This is Holmes not describing but caricaturing - the very thing he is accusing me of doing. (The many errors of Jonathan Holmes, who proves me right).

Note the preening, self-serving arrogance. You'd think a moment's reflection would suggest not heading the column "me right again, because me always right".

Note that Holmes was careful to use the general word "some" before getting into the particular and using Bolt as an example. The "some" could include all the hacks at the lizard Oz, Tim Blair, Mark Day, and many others who argue week after week that Media Watch got it wrong again.

But the Bolter personalises it immediately, harumphing "I have never said", and "I do not believe", because god-like the Bolter is front and centre of everything. He's the only one that counts, and that's all that matters.

He's the Sun king. And never mind that hus header says "the many errors" which prove me right. Ah dear, Media Watch stuffed up again, this week too, has it?

On and on the Bolter rants, personalising everything, dishing out abuse, left, right, and centre, and you have to stick right to the end to get this little note:

Again, Holmes misrepresented my argument in order to present a caricature of a hypocritical Right-winger, betraying his principles to please his proprietor. 
Except, of course, Rinehart is not my proprietor, and I did indeed criticise her actions, not once but three times. If Rinehart did indeed do as Holmes smirked and listened to me, she would have dropped that subpoena. 

Oh he's a veritable Peter, the cock has crowed not once but thrice, and thrice has the Bolter denied Gina. But will he go outside and weep bitterly?

You've got to be joking. He's not that sort of cock.

You see, Holmes knew how to prod the Bolter, how to tease and provoke, and the lumbering Bolter rose, as he always rises, to the challenge. In response to Holmes saying:

Come on Andrew. Where’s the moral outrage? You’re normally so good at that.

The Bolter responds with ... moral outrage ... an extended lengthy piece of hubris and moral outrage, of squawking and feathers and clucking and flapping culminating this way:

Come on, Jonathan. Where is the integrity? Where the honesty? You’re normally so ... No, strike that.

Pretty feeble. But a great set of distractions. Gina can go on her way, and so can the Bolter, and there'll be no moral outrage emanating from the Bolter at the HUN about her legal affairs. And lurking beneath it, will be the Bolter's amazing disingenuous belief that his ongoing show on network Ten owes nothing to Gina ...

Now the Bolter might think that climate scientists are delusional, but that's nothing compared to his Gina delusion.

Never mind, it brings us to the real order of the day. Hendo has gone missing from Fairfax. The pond scoured the pages with a rising sense of alarm, as if a child had just upped and disappeared without a trace, but couldn't find Hendo anywhere. Perhaps it was the blow of not getting the Media Watch gig that sent him into exile or a gigantic sulk ...

Now that leaves a large gap, an enormous hole in the pond for Tuesday. Oh sure, the pond could rush off to the lizard Oz, which produced this side-splitter:

Yes, you'll note that just below the headline about busting welfare mentality, there's a little story about a lavish maternity scheme designed to make sure any attempts to bust welfare mentality are, in Mythbusters' words, BUSTED.

And there was the usual line up of hate merchants in the rotating splash - Dennis Shanahan, Judith Sloane, Gary Johns, and ", aka Tim Harcourt, who surely must take the cake or the chocolate with this splash:

Yes boycott Max Brenner chocolate, and you'll undermine the campaign to end world hunger, and the poor and the sick and ... 

Which has confused the pond no end. There it was in the lizard Oz, extended explanations of how Max Brenner was a franchise and had nothing to do with Israel. Now suddenly it's at the heart of Israel and world hunger.

But enough already, because the pond wants a little time to marvel at the headless chooks some dumbclucks in the Liberal party think is some kind of viral YouTube marvel.

You can read about it here, in Advertising expert labels Liberal party chicken campaign 'immature' (forced video at end of link).

Immature? Is that what we use for under-statement these days?

Now as the story points out, there's a fair argument that all Tony Abbott has to do is sound statesmanlike, turn up for the election, and collect the PM gong - the pond will win at least one bet, and the real fun can begin.

But have you seen the chook ad? It's in the Fairfax story, but it's also available here via an entrepreneur who ripped it off air. And it's available on the official Liberal party YouTube channel here.

So it's officially endorsed, by one B. Loughnane:

What were they thinking?

Now it's true that the pond's memories are a little coloured by memories of the headless chooks that invariably escaped the grasp of my father, and raced around the back yard spreading blood, before collapsing in a heap ...

But even if you discount that, it's incredibly childish, beyond immature, wanting to be Monty Python but without Terry Gilliam's sense of style or nuance or black humour. 

It does dirt on the government, but in the manner of that chook in the backyard, spreading blood everywhere, there's also some blowback, because it does dirt on Abbott and the rest of the gang currently in opposition. Suddenly they look and sound just like another set of squawking chooks who will do and say and devise anything to ensure power, and never mind how low rent or pathetic the offering ...

But look around at the conservative commentariat, and see if you can find any of them clucking at the ad or the mindset that went into producing it, which isn't even ABC2 or ABC3, more SBS2 after midnight or perhaps a commercial digital multichannel before the infomercials kick in ...

Is this an indication of the standard of governance we can expect an Abbott-led government to introduce? Did anyone run it past Abbott and get a reaction before it went live? Did Abbott approve? Did any cabinet minister approve?

Just so we know that after September, the country will be in the hands of Monty Pythonists of a second rate cable kind determined to prove that Duckman was a masterpiece, and these headless chooks are completely, hopelessly, fucked in the head ...

Here's a sample of the style:

And here's a real cartoon:


  1. I'm still reeling after reading that attached pdf. Bolt is schizoid, it's the only way I can come close to understanding him and his classing of everyone into 'left' or 'right' is merely his projection of his complaint. To have sickness such as his on the national stage demonstrates to me the fracture lines within the nation's psyche. Bit of a concern really.

  2. So, Andrew Bolt considers himself neither left nor right? Mr Bolt doesn't seem to realise that we don't get a vote on "who" we are (regardless of our opinion).
    I won't invoke Godwin's Law but I'm sure that your run-of-the-mill Mafia godfather would describe himself as a "loving father and grandfather who has a firm, but fair, attitude with regard to business dealings".
    Others would no doubt see him differently.

  3. that poor old desiccated coconut and prattling Polonius Gerard Henderson also clearly lacks. Six months of him droning away, and that'd be the end of Monday night for ABC ratings ...
    I will remember these lines when I see this poor old clot with his bent neck on insiders


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