Thursday, May 02, 2013

Exclusive. The pond maintains a two minute noodle diet of exclusives at the lizard Oz ...

French history is tricky, as the pond has discovered to its cost, and it turns out that there is no firm evidence that Marie Antoinette said Let them eat cake, or even Qu'ils mangent de la brioche or Let them eat pastry (as always Phrase Finder provides a clue here).

The pond is on much surer ground recording that Miranda the Devine said, in a stern, stentorian way Let them eat two minute noodles, in the course of proposing belt-tightening for all, even those who prefer braces.

But dammit, it's tough. Couldn't she have said Let them eat plenty of cereals, like Jerry Seinfeld, and get them from Aldi if they want to shave costs, or perhaps Let them eat boiled rice, with a soup├žon of flavouring. Or perhaps Let them buy cheap clothing from Bangladesh ...

Lordy, lordy, let them take lamb off the menu and let them eat two minute noodles? Won't someone think of the farmers? (here)

Anyhoo to afford a steady diet of two minute noodles, once more the pond has had to postpone subscribing to the lizard Oz to get a steady diet of protein-rich news exclusives.

Besides, there were only four exclusives on the digital page today, and one of them was a doozy:

Yes, it's amazing, seaside towns suffer a downturn in the winter, as you can read in Populations run hot and cold in havens hit by seasonal to-and-fro (behind the paywall so you can avoid an anxiety attack), thanks to those splendid and incisive investigative reporters Tess Bennett and Rick Morton.

In summer, their beaches and parks are swamped with holiday-makers and day-trippers keen to make the most of the glorious surrounds. Come winter, scores of Australian beach hamlets are rendered virtual ghost towns, with most properties remaining eerily empty until the cold subsides. 
Pearl Beach, on the NSW central coast, is one such town. Ringed by a long stretch of beach and a national park, it has a population that swells and contracts according to the demands of the seasons to such an extent that, in winter, 62 per cent of homes are empty.

That's as far as the pond got.

We already spend way too much time quoting Chance the gardener, and the temptation for the pond to note that there are four seasons, except when there are only two, wet and dry, and that in the winter it gets cold, and in the summer quite hot, except on a wind-blown beach in Victoria, when it's possible to experience ten seasons in one day ... why the temptation was almost irresistible ...

But resist we must, and so to another story, this time by splendid investigative reporter Antony Klan scribbling Gag order ensures silence at NBN nodes.

The biggest contractor handling the rollout of the $37.4 billion National Broadband Network has gagged its scores of subcontractors carrying out the work on the ground. 
Syntheo, a joint venture between major companies Lend Lease and Service Stream, has forced subcontractors seeking NBN work to sign strict gag orders preventing them from speaking publicly about any facet of their work.

That's as far as the pond got.

It turns out, like it or not, that commercial in confidence clauses, gag orders, egg beat them how you will, are like cockroaches when it comes to contracting.

Why it turned out that Fairfax had a gag order on its staff, and it only took a story by Fairfax journalist Paddy Manning for rival rag Crikey to discover that anyone breaching the gag order would cop the sack.

Come to think of it, the lizard Oz and the rest of the Murdochians have a gag order in relation to other media outlets. Try handing a genuine exclusive to a Fairfaxian and see how long you last, you gagged Murdochian ...

Yep, in its way, the story's as exclusive an insight as it gets cold in winter and so summer resorts suffer. The only art is on view in the header, which in its longer form manages to evoke Marxist thinking and worker oppression: Silence at the nodes as NBN contractor slaps gag order on workers.

Poor workers. And all they wanted to do was spill the beans and blow the whistle on the NBN to eager lizard Oz reporters, but were frustrated by gags.

How desperately do they beat the NBN fear-monger drums in Murdoch land? Desperately, desperately hard ...

But perhaps the most astonishing exclusive comes from that veritable Woodward and Bernstein, wrapped into one tight bundle of investigative energy, Christian Kerr, delivering up Protests lack link to Israel: BDS fan.

The basis for the exclusive?

Why, a video has been posted recently on YouTube by a graduate film-maker, thereby ensuring its complete anonymity and total invisibility, until Christian Kerr, rigorously exploring the vast full to overflowing intertubes discovered it.

A key supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has been caught on camera admitting "there isn't really any connection" between Australian Max Brenner chocolate shops and Israel. 
Palestine Action Group spokesman Patrick Harrison made the admission in a video of a BDS protest last November at the Max Brenner outlet in Parramatta, in Sydney's west, posted recently on YouTube by a graduate filmmaker.

Yes, someone posted a video to YouTube and Christian Kerr exclusively reviewed it.

That was almost as far as the pond got, but we just had to know more.

Sure enough, there at the head of the Kerr story was an embedded offering of the YouTube posting:

So that's what you get: an exclusive link to YouTube.

Shot at a 2012 protest and published 2nd March 2013, with a humble 264 views, and you can find it directly by heading off here (though it has to be said it's heavy handed and laboured and let's hope film-maker Jeremy Moses did the right thing with his intellectual property right clearances - wouldn't want to get the United States upset).

As for the rest, Kerr attempted to talk with Patrick Harrison, featured in the video, but he didn't respond to calls. So instead Kerr spoke to a Max Brenner spokeswoman, with entirely predictable results, and Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief Peter Wertheim, with entirely predictable results, and a more general quotation from Uni of New South Wales officials reacting to anti-semitic comments on a Facebook page which had promoted a rally against the planned opening of a Max Brenner shop at the University.

That was it. The only way it could have been a meaningful exclusive would have been if Kerr had actually managed to speak to Harrison, and got something out of him. And he didn't. Not a word, not a whisper ...

As it is, the pond continues to boycott Max Brenner, but it's not because of Israel, it's because of their vile chocolate concoctions, sweet and nasty, and where would that leave us faced with Miranda the Devine's stern injunction, Let them eat two minute chocolates.

In fact, it would seem that the "exclusive" really only serves some point by offering a link to Clive Kessler's mournful opinion piece, Islam becomes the new guilt (behind the paywall, so you don't have to feel guilty, you've saved enough money for your daily two minute noodle diet).

It takes a considerable feat of imagination to write about the situation of Israel, Jews and Palestinians in the middle east without mentioning Benjamin Netanyahu or his cynical policies and his dragging of Israel into a paranoid extreme right wing aggro posture, but Kessler achieves that feat by indulging in breast-beating and pious suffering, bizarrely claiming that Islam is the new guilt for ...

Well for who exactly? At no point does Kessler identify actual people. Instead it's "the world" and "the West" or "The world, or much of it ..."

When it comes to the actual situation, all Kessler can produce is piffle:

So, regardless and independent of the facts and merits of the case - the case itself is complex, and the facts eminently arguable - 

Uh huh, here's the chance to say something about the arguable Netanyahu - once again dragging the chain, as reported in Ntanyahu cool to Arab land-swap initiative, always cool, always disdainful, always hostile, always aggro - but do go on ...

... Palestine, the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians as embodiments of the new guilt that has to be acknowledged and expiated have become the beneficiaries of that deep shift of feelings of guilt. Of a major redirection of the expression of Western political sympathies.

Now there's no actual evidence of that. There's some evidence that Netanyahu can't stand Obama, and that Obama returns the dislike with interest, but there has been to date no major redirection of the expression of Western political sympathies in the United States, Britain, the lizard Oz, or the rest of the western Murdoch empire.

The result is incredibly simplistic analysis, all the more astonishing coming from an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of NSW, where a minor demonstration on a minor campus is suddenly taken as symbolising a huge shift over three or four decades in "the world":

In short, across the past 30 or 40 years, at first gradually, but inexorably, the world has simply "fallen out of love" - or at least out of its former if temporary sympathy and empathy - with those always difficult Jews. Among the bizarre forms that it can take is a campaign against a chocolate on an Australian university campus.

This sort of rhetorical nonsense is almost enough to send the pond out on the street. If only two minute noodles generated more energy ...

Here's the thing. If people want to indulge in campaigns, better they wage war by polite, civilised, placard-waving demonstrations than by dropping bombs in the street.

The citizens of Newtown successfully drove a Macdonalds out of King street. Some might think it represented the worst of American imperialism, others simply objected to the crappy burgers ...

Hang on, hang on, you can get a burger on special for the same price as a two minute noodle.

Oh please Miranda, please. Let them eat crappy burgers as well as two minute noodles ...

Hang on a tic. Did you read that story? Over consumption of two-minute noodles puts students at risk of chronic illness ...

"There seems to be an acceptance out there that getting by on less nutritious food is a typical part of being a uni student,'' she (Dr, Danielle Gallegos) said. "But a diet of baked beans and instant noodles is not good enough when health and academic results are at stake. 
 "This culture is counterproductive to Australia becoming a 'smart' country.'' 
...She said low income groups who found it difficult to eat a healthy, balanced diet were more likely to be either overweight or underweight, and were at a greater risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

But at least that'll keep them off the street, eh Ms Devine?


  1. i have noticed that more articles are now written by a team of two and in this time of media belt tightening i wonder why?. i have thought that the reason the radio industry needs two half wits to host an inane programme in the morning is because one half wit plus one half wit equals one whole wit but this doesn't work.maybe my maths are wrong and it is one half wit times one half wit equals one quarter wit.

    1. At least after reading you post I got a laugh but after listening to Jon Faine and Barry Cassidy I felt like crying as to have to listen to their analysis of the NDIS debate and how they lambasted the Prime Minister for not introducing the legislation in this sitting so it can be passed before the election.
      Julia Gillard did explain to Jon Faine that if we take Medicare as an example the Liberals changed that after it was introduced so it is better to get Abbott to state what his intentions are before the election so if there is a point of difference that can be decided by the people at the election.
      This pair also spoke as though they know what the voting intentions are of the independents and greens it was the same with Tony Jones on lateline he kept saying to Jenny Macklin that all they have to do is present the legislation to parliament.
      What if Abbott will not support the long term levy on medicare we will not get the changes through because there is only a short sitting period.
      Looking at the history of levies is interesting because it was certainly the preferred way for the Liberal party to raise funds so if Abbott bucks at this levy it should show him up as a hypocrite.

  2. The 'Wanker of the year award' must go to Andrew Bolt for posting on-line a pathetic fake attempt to apply for Media Watch host and then complaining bitterly that it wasn't taken seriously. They (Media Watch hosts) have all been 'of the left' in his opinion because some have dared to attack global warming skeptics like mad lord Monckton. This proves the ABC is a Marxist propaganda organ.

    I think he must have two minute noodles for a brain.

  3. Dear Loon Pond team,

    Jeremy Moses here - from the "Chocolate Wars" video.
    Just wanted to say thanks for the shout-out/linking. I hope, despite the heavy-handedness, you enjoyed the video.

    Keep up the good work. Thanks again,


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.