Saturday, July 20, 2013

Swimming with the goldfish ...

There's nothing like Chris Kenny analysing Chris Kenny as a way of starting a Saturday read:

Goldfish, so they say, have a three-second memory span. So if you put a toy castle in your goldfish bowl the fish will swim by and think to itself, "Oh, look, that's a lovely castle", before swimming another lap, passing the toy and exclaiming to itself, "Oh, look, that's a lovely castle." 
Singularly Chris Kenny is a goldfish. He lives in the present.

Oh sheesh, those bloody New Zealand subbies have been at work again, and totally got it wrong. It seems it should have read:

 Collectively, the media is a goldfish. It lives in the present.

Actually the rather lengthy header tells the reader Kenny's real point, and perhaps makes the exercise of reading his goldfish insights rather redundant - Splashing goldfish of the media overexcited by the resurrection of Rudd. (behind the paywall so you never have to bother).

But hey the pond wanted to read it anyway, because the pond always loves it when one of the media, (or should that be, when one of the mediums?), turns on its own, a bit like those notorious stories of cannibal goldfish that litter the intertubes.

But there was another reason the pond was intrigued, and that's because of the hook on the digital carousel of doom on the lizard Oz's front page:

Hmm, was goldfish Kenny turning into a whale-lover and a whale-hugger, and criticising the current Chairman Ruddster for going more right than Genghis Khan?

You can imagine the disappointment when the pond actually read Kenny's piece and could find no mention of whales at all, except in the splash. Zip, nil, nada. 

Did the goldfish eat his homework?

Perhaps there was some problem with the digital finger of doom:

Anyhoo, that's about as exciting as it got, as Kenny turned on and ate his own:

Since Kevin Rudd has returned to the leadership, the self-perpetuating and self-fascinated media reaction has revelled in what was always going to be. 
Cameras create a crush around the resurrected Prime Minister so they can report the crush around the resurrected Prime Minister. Oh, look, that's a lovely Prime Minister.

But should he have been so cruel? After all the front page of the lizard Oz is littered with the work of reptiles rushing to report and comment on the work of the Ruddster. Et tu lizards?

Look at them all, all hyperventilating - goldfish Shanahan, goldfish Kelly, goldfish Sheridan - quick check the oxygen pump and the filter.

And worst of all, poor old Kenny has to deal with the goldfish who wrote the lizard Oz's editorial, After years of failure, a refugee policy with merit (not behind the paywall, but why would you bother?)

Yes, now that the Ruddster has gone Gengis Khan, the rag is almost sort of kinda on side, or at least on side with the Khan routine.

Never mind, the rest of Kenny's piece is really just an attack on Rudd, dressed up with a sideways assault on the rabble that make up the lizard Oz. 

But then, just when you think the whales are completely forgotten, he concludes the assault with a bleeding heart:

With the stroke of a pen, Rudd could have reinstated temporary protection visas and ordered our navy to turn back boats. Yet he won't. Instead, the man who dismantled the Pacific Solution has created an ad hoc PNG solution: sending refugees to a country bedevilled by corruption, violent crime and serious health and economic issues. 
Whether for good or for ill, this moment will be remembered.

Ah, at last, an attack from the left! And never mind what might happen when the navy turned back boats and they sank ...

And at that point you realise why the goldfish are floundering, now that Rudd has turned Khan. Even Abbott hasn't been able to summon up the nerve to attack near neighbour PNG ...

Is it possible to think that Kenny really cares about refugee seekers and their fate in PNG? Only if you're a goldfish ...

You have to go to another Kenny piece, published this same day, to get the real measure of the man, which is to be found in the lizard Oz under the header Conservative campaign HQ cranks up (behind the paywall so you never need to know).

It's a gushing, to the point of nausea, bit of cheer-leading, and this sort of private dick - or is it war cabinet, Churchill style - opener evokes the tone perfectly:

In a non-descript office block at the parliament end of the Melbourne CBD, some of the nation's most important political operatives have been quietly coming and going for a number of weeks. 
One full floor and part of another have been set up as national campaign headquarters for the culmination of Tony Abbott's 3 1/2-year assault on the prime ministership. 
Some campaigning has already been directed from this nerve centre in recent weeks, with the Opposition Leader using it on Victorian visits. 
The moment the election is called, 100 staff will descend and turn it into a hive of responsive and hyper-focused activity, 24 hours a day for the 33 days or more.


And so on and so forth as Kenny adores the campaign team - yes Loughnane handled the wonderful 2007 election success and yes the team is ready for the return of the diabolical Rudd, and everything thus far has turned out wonderfully well, and the team has made some specific calls which have been spiffing and top notch:

One of the Liberals' first tactical challenges after Rudd's return was whether to accept the Prime Minister's challenge for a debate. The strategists knew it was a risk to let that opportunity pass -- Abbott could look weak -- but considered it more important not to jump to Labor's tune. This stand-off frayed some nerves among members of the Abbott camp. 
Yet when Rudd was left speaking on his own at the National Press Club, struggling to offer policy detail, they believed their call was vindicated. 


Especially as that call seemed to result in an overwhelming majority in a national survey preferring big Mal as a leader.

Never mind, in the old days this sort of admiring tosh, served up luke warm, would have been called a colour piece.

It's the sort of stuff you write when you're given a star-fucker assignment (oh Mr Beiber tell me why you're a genius all over again, please, just one more time).

All we need to do is measure the strength of the kool-aid Kenny has imbibed.

By golly it turns out it's pretty potent stuff, and it really is Churchillian in tone:

When the campaign headquarters swings into action it will be filled with opposition staffers, Liberal Party employees and former staffers now working in the private sector who rejoin the battle, like army reservists, whenever the campaign call-up comes. 

Army reservists ready for battle! And what a team?

The political experience and corporate experience already being assembled is impressive. John Howard's former chief of staff Tony Nutt , who resigned as former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu's chief of staff over the police tapes controversy in March, is already among them. 

Tony Nutt? What was that about the goldfish and their memories?

Let's hope he does for Abbott what he did for Baillieu (Tony Nutt the latest victim in secret police tapes crisis).

But do go on with all this rally round the flag talk from the bunker:

Staff will be assigned specific roles, often something below their capabilities - because even the most tedious jobs must be done with diligence and an astute eye for political disaster or opportunity. Seemingly menial tasks such as scanning local media for candidate mistakes, cross-checking opponents' policy announcements, or scouring transcripts for misstatements can produce nuggets of campaign gold. An experienced operative on such a task may swing the campaign by spotting a single error.

Oh valiant warriors, they will sing your song for all eternity, the way Homer sang the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey

And now for a little comedy:

Even Liberal critics would agree the party has picked up some impressive recruits, with Howard government minister Mal Brough returning ...

Say what? The rough perfidious Brough is an impressive recruit.

By golly, what they feed the goldfish these days ... and so to a last rhetorical flourish:

The Rudd campaign is Plan B and must be more difficult. 
It has delivered one undeniable campaigning boost; removing complacency as a looming danger for Liberal candidates around the nation.

So what ultimately have we learned from the thoughts of a goldfish?

Nothing much, except his opinion pieces are cheerleading and his colour pieces are cheerleading, and not for a nanosecond would you expect a balanced insight into proceedings, but he surely is a dab hand at writing a sponsored documentary for the operatives working so terribly hard behind the scenes ...

The real question is why the editor of the lizard Oz wastes space on the cheer-leading, since it's as naked and as obvious as a killer goldfish ...


  1. Chris Kenny, just like Abbott is becoming more batshit crazy and unhinged by the day. Great to watch and great entertainment though.

  2. Goldfish actually have memories that last as long as they live and the ones endlessly circling their glass bowls have gone insane like a bear in a small cage, rocking back and forth. On a side note, last year I toured the Courier-Mail news room. The local Australian corespondents are kept in a small glass box of a room, about five metres square, separate from the rest of the staff. Make what you like of that.....Glen H

  3. Interesting that Kenny should mention memory. Does he remember the figures he took as golden charger to his glorious career; as Liberal Party errand boy and lickspittle, and then Media adviser to "Weapons of Mass Destruction" Downer? The "dissident women" of the Ngarrindjeri have not had cards for ages and ages.
    Kenny is the publicly avowed love-for-life of the equally sagacious Matthew Abraham, of the Local ABC.

  4. Kenny, Shanahan, Kelly and Sheridan goldfish? There’s no precious metal in these cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates. How about iron or even better – pig iron.

  5. Here in the Liberal trenches of Goldstein, where Field-Marshal Robb leads his men against the forces of sovereign risk, our counter offensive is still maintaining our impenetrable lines. We are no longer inundated with leaflet drops which tell us how to make ANZAC biscuits and we have not received “The Robb Report” for months. The phoney war has ended and the real action on the ground is about to begin. The battleground has clearly shifted from Western Sydney to Melbourne - a surprise move, but perhaps a tactical error by our opponents? But we are prepared!

    “But when the blast of war blows in our ears, / Then imitate the action of the tiger: / Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,/ Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.”

    We remain hopeful in the ultimate battle, having already outmanoeuvred General Baillieu before the completion of his first engagement in the field of battle.


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