(Above: found here, and what a great pitch for a show)
The pond was forcefully reminded this morning that the best way to sound active, engaged and involved is to announce an inquiry, perhaps with a view to amending standards, or perhaps merely to produce a study, which might lead to further inquiries and a consideration of amending standards...
In recent times there has been no better effort than Anthony Albanese's inquiry into a second airport for Sydney, which required further study and further inquiry, there not having been enough of these since the Whitlam government first fudged the results of an inquiry by doing nothing ...
Fresh to this conga line of inquiries comes ACMA, and you could have knocked the pond down with a feather to hear ACMA's chairman and CEO Chris Chapman discuss a new inquiry into the media, community standards and yadda yadda ... on Saturday AM (the story will appear here in due course dated 1st June).
Well he could have announced it on the Goonoo Goonoo Herald Tribune, all the sheep droppings that are fit to print, for all that it mattered, but still, it's cheeky to become radio filler on the Saturday dead zone, when on the first day of winter, any sensible human bean apart from the pond, would be safely and snugly in a bat cave, sound asleep ...
No, the real point came when Chapman was asked about the Eddie Maguire matter, and how the new iinquiry might pertain to such matters, and Chapman immediately deferred and suggested a complaint might still come before ACMA and so he couldn't discuss it, couldn't even contemplate discussing it, not even in the abstract ...
And there you have, in a nutshell, the entire problem with ACMA. The issue isn't with community standards, which generally yabber on about accuracy and fairness and so on and so forth.
The problem is that if you want to complain, you have to go through an elaborate process that first of all requires dealing with the broadcaster, then trotting off to ACMA, and then waiting twelve months or more, while the bureaucrats twiddle their fingers and cultivate their files and ponder on whether they're denying anyone - especially powerful broadcasters - natural justice.
And then when it comes to the crunch, what might be the penalty? Well in the case of Eddie Maguire, should anybody at any time decide to raise the matter, the pond feels comfortable asserting that it might be a slap on the wrist, or perhaps a rub of the belly. The only other alternative is to withdraw the broadcaster's license, and how often has that happened in the world of Sydney or other city shock jockery, in the world of hate cultivated by the likes of Ray Hadley and Alan Jones?
Not once of course. Now if ACMA had announced an inquiry into why it had been so bloody useless and ineffective and completely bloody hopeless and irrelevant since Chris Chapman took up the gig in 2006, that might have been an interesting, if ultimately futile, inquiry.
Don't hold your breath, the point is merely to look engaged while doing nothing ... and so self-regulation will continue to fluctuate according to the amount of pressure that can be applied via mainstream and social media, while wallflower ACMA dances by itself in the corner ...
And so, with a deep sigh, the pond turns to the reptiles at the lizard Oz for the latest round of suppurating abuse, and sure enough, there's the man - who took tedium and ennui to new existential kool aid levels - on the case:
Yes, it's absolutely astonishing, mind-boogling, perhaps even astounding, that anyone would expect anything Tony Abbott put in a signed letter, agreeing to anything, would ever hold any water. Besides, it's all Labor's fault ...
Look, if you want to read any more, here's the link, Funding move trips up Labor, and remember to google, but why would anyone want to endure this sort of nonsense on a Saturday morning?
Speaking of hasty revisions, the man who helps manufacture the kool aid, has been busy at work finetuning and revising a new edition of Tony Abbott's Battlelines, which you can read about if you google Tony Abbott's revised battlelines reflect new realities ...
Oh dear. Well there's the usual bit of pompous Latin-loving Pearson channeling Abbott - no referendum to squash the states, a chance to tinker with superannuation yet again, but what's the highlight, the go to takeaway matter requiring further discussion?
Yep, it's Pearson brooding on the need for conservative governments to hop back into the bedroom and crack down on morals:
One of the suggestions most commented on in the first edition of Battlelines was covenant marriage, a proposal enacted in a number of American states. In essence, it allows for a more restrictive form of wedlock in which the participants freely enter an agreement to make dissolving the union more difficult and - for a partner who has broken the rules - more expensive than ending an ordinary marriage.
Yes, that'd figure, punishment and pain, it's the conservative way:
All the usual left-liberal suspects, led by David Marr, saw it as an attempt to subvert by stealth the notion of "no-fault divorce" introduced by Lionel Murphy. For them, the idea that any marriage be viewed through the prism of fault when it comes to the issue of sexual fidelity is not merely anachronistic but downright offensive. But this is a relatively recent development. I remember John Bray, as chief justice of South Australia, remarking in 1975 that he had never imagined that a contract as solemn as matrimony could be unilaterally, almost effortlessly, undone.
John Bray? Well those with long South Australian memories will remember Bray, Pearson, Kernot and the likes of Paddy McGuinness in a different context (Possum it here), which might make it unseemly to talk of a contract as solemn as matrimony and blather on about sexual fidelity and the prism of punitive fault, but do go on:
Abbott has decided he can no longer support experimenting with covenant marriage. Given the mores of Liberal branch activists, I don't suppose it's surprising. Still, when you consider how little social support the institution has and the constant undermining it's facing from the marriage-equality brigade, a more pluralistic and unapologetically conservative approach would have been welcome.
Yes, what to make of the unseemly way Liberals seem to get caught with their pants down, in Memphis motels, with sex workers, and while flashing the member for Parramatta, but what's really irritating is the reference to the constant undermining, as if Pearson's own lifestyle choices couldn't be said to be implicitly undermining the institution.
Which brings us to an even deeper question. How is it undermining the sacred institution of marriage to allow even more fools to join in the foolish institution? The more the merrier, the pond would have thought, and the more comprehensive the conservative embrace ...
Sadly Pearson is just one example of how Abbott is going to endure future haunting from past ideologues, but is there any better example than the Shanahans, and most particularly that egregious Catholic fundamentalist, Angela Shanahan?
Now if you've ever given the pond a passing glance, you'll realise that long ago the pond stopped wondering why the lizard Oz on a Saturday gave space to Shanahan's fatuities and turned itself a passable imitation of L'Osservatore Romano ...
If you've ever read Shanahan, you'd be too wise to expect her to offer anything other than Catholic hagiography and worship, or to have anything useful to say about the profound new level of superstition engulfing the church with its new frenzy to create saints - remember that musical Three Miracles in a Fountain?
Already there are some ten thousand of them, unless you count everyone in heaven, in which case there might be millions ... and never mind what a bizarre variant on the definition of sainthood the Catholic church provides (wiki it here).
The concept of saints - and saints' relics - is one of those ridiculous things that swings the church straight back to the middle ages, but once you get into the saint business, and get a taste of it - a bit like biting through the orange coating to hit the faux chocolate inside - it seems it's very hard to stop.
Oh yes, there's canonisations to the left and canonisations to the right, as boldly rides the Shanahan, who just loves a saint the way some love the idea of Prince Chuck ascending the throne after getting rid of that tyrannical mommie dearest ... (well the pond knows at least one and a half people and David Flint).
One thing's certain. So long as Shanahan keeps supporting the notion of celibacy, and the church's bizarre attitude to sex and contraception, the institution will remain irrelevant to many Australians, including its own alleged constituency.
What on earth to make of this sort of blather? Naturally even within the church there are deviant, perverted liberals and lefties:
John Paul's fast track to canonisation has exposed some divisions within the church. The so-called Left of the church, the liberalisers who were very vocal just after Vatican II and are still vocal on internet sites and in alternative Catholic media, are especially critical of the lack of action on sexual abuse during John Paul's papacy, although they tend to blame his successor, Benedict XVI, for his lack of decisive action when he was a cardinal. However, even John Paul's critics concede the Polish pope had no idea of the extent of the problem until late in his papacy, and was horrified when he became aware of it.
Yes yes waiter, but perhaps we'll need a couple of bowls of water this time for the washing of the hands, and m'lud we knew absolutely nothing about it, and we were horrified, horrified to learn that priests were kicked all over the place, even to Rome ...
But what really gets up the noses of John Paul's critics is that they found themselves in a strangely isolated position because their bete noir, the conservative Polish pope, was a hero among non-Catholics as well as Catholics. He was a great influence on the world stage as well as an exemplary human being. He had suffered under the Nazis and under communism, yet was unbowed in his staunch opposition to secular materialism - whether of the Left or the Right, which he saw as two sides of the same coin.
No plasma screens for the lucky country!
He was compassionate, yet no friend of the liberals who wanted changes to church doctrine on essential matters such as sexual morality. Nor did he want traditions, as of priestly celibacy, radically altered.
And so the profoundly distorted, weird world of the Catholic church will continue, and better still, it will continue by maintaining a rabid crusade against the Islamics by displaying a longer memory than the Irish still at war with Cromwell:
Francis's approach is a pre-emptive outgoing style, exemplified by his approach to sainthood, which is certainly unique and even more controversial than John Paul's. Francis has recently canonised the 800 Otranto martyrs. The inhabitants of this Italian village refused to convert to Islam and were murdered. By canonising such a large group of mostly unknown 15th-century Christians in the face of liberal secular squeamishness about multiculturalism, he has drawn obvious, shocking parallels to our own difficult times. He has underscored the vital ideological importance of Christianity to European culture.
Uh huh. And so on and so forth.
And so it was that the lizard Oz became L'Osservatore Romano and Tony Abbott came to power and made the world safe for fundamentalist Catholics and celibates and Christopher Pearson and the Shanahans ...
As to why, it passeth the pond's understanding, except to note that She certainly works in mysterious and deeply superstitious ways ... (Beatification of Pope John Paul II) ... santo subito and blather about miracles indeed ...
(Below: was Nicholson's cartoon about Chris Mitchell landing in heaven? Probably not, but there's more Nicholson here).