Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The pond proudly presents a classic commentariat rant ...

(Above: please spend wisely and check the 1912 fine print here)

The pond is always on the quest for the perfect commentariat rant, and truth to tell, it's been slim pickings of late.

Your classic commentariat rant should always purport to be a rational, sane contribution to policy debates and discussions, but just simmering beneath the surface, there should be a stew of completely irrational hysteria and hate, decorated with lashings of abuse, over-heated rage, fear, loathing, froth and foam, preferably with a dash of paranoia.

One of the classic ways of achieving this is to lump together all sorts of disparate issues, unlinked except in the ranter's mind, as the ranger proceeds to link them together and blame them on "the other",  the different, and anyone who dares to see things slightly differently.

A sure guide to a classic rant is the header.

Now if it's a desiccated Henry Ergas header, or a pompous fly-blown Paul Kelly header - today's example is High-stakes test for the nation - you're entitled to immediately nod off and indulge in a quick cat nap.

No, what's needed for a classic spray is something feisty, like You're all a bunch of fucking idiots. Yes, you!

Of course for the MSM, the fucking is a tad tricky, so Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen settles for next best with Leftist jargon is village idiocy (behind the paywall to keep you on an even keel), and never mind if that offends your average village idiot, because everyone knows there's no problem offending retards, losers, dropkicks and the handicapped if it's all in a good cause. Anything else would be terribly PC, and as we all know, all youse PC types can just get fucked ...

Anyhoo, it turns out that there's nothing more certain to irritate an Eastern suburbs type than people standing in the way of progress, and lordy lordy, is Dame Slap mad as hell:

Around where I live, there has been a recent campaign to "Save Bronte Village." I've lived here for more than 20 years and I've never heard the old set of shops up the road from me be referred to as a village. It's just your regular strip of shops. 

Now stop right there.

In its day, back in the twentieth century, when the pond was more high-falutin' and up market, a regular swish and a swell, it had several friends who lived in Bronte, and they referred to it as a village. Most areas the pond has lived in Sydney considers itself a village, though there's really no more pitiful village than Kirribilli.

In fact, Sydney has long thought of itself as an aggregation of villages, partly because of the difficulties of getting around, which sees people stick to their own tribal villages. A bit like those hapless Melburnians who get the fear of dragons when they cross the Yarra.

The pond knows of eastern suburbs types who get the shakes if they head further west than Surry Hills, and frankly the pond can get nose bleed shifting from Newtown to Erko village, and their valiant campaign to cut a supermarket down to size.

But if you're determined on a rant, talk of ethnography or geography or sociology isn't the main game. It's the rant:

...a small group of locals started calling it "Bronte Village" as a ploy to stop a large fruit and vegetable shop opening. We might call it progress. Nothing radical, just a new, bigger shop that sells stuff we need, like fresh fruit and vegetables. The activists call it destroying a village. 
You have to hand it to this group of malcontents. They know how to steal a word, make it their own, and then flog it to stop progress. The other day a woman from outside the suburb asked me for directions to "Bronte Village." I told her there is no village here, just a set of shops up the road. Nonplussed she walked on in search of a village.

Now who are these malcontent, ne'er do well, activist ratbag leftist idiots?

Well it turns out that they include the hyphenated Bruce Notley-Smith, the Liberal party member for Coogee, who dared to attend a "Save Bronte Village" Rally:

...I joined in the rally to protect this special part of Bronte from becoming a victim of overdevelopment and ensure that local residents have their voice heard by the developers and Waverley Council. 
It was great to see so many turn out on Saturday in support of their community. I look forward to closely following the steps in this process to ensure the future of Bronte Village remains in the hands of the community.

It confirmed everything the pond feared about lickspittle village idiot Liberal party stooges, always ready to pretend they cared abut the community.

Oh for Dame Slap to bite off his head with a sharp snap, nonplussing this wretch by reminding him there's no such thing as society, just a bunch of buildings ...

Never mind, back to the rant, because you see once you've lumped everybody into the wash - no you shouldn't mix socks and shirts and hyphenated Liberals with radicals - you're ready to embark on the full-blooded part of the rant, but first you need a name to outrage you, one that is as shocking as the concept of villages:

This is what the Left does best. Find some sweet-sounding words, repackage them as a beguiling catch-cry for a campaign, and you're on your way. Soon enough careers and industries are built around a few words - words like "social inclusion" - even though no one knows what the words mean. But when your currency is emotion, logic takes a back seat. That's why words matter more for those on the Left. By contrast, those on the other side of politics focus more on tedious matters such as outcomes and empirical evidence.

Yes, damn you, state leftist progressive village idiot state Liberal MPs, where's your tedious focus on outcomes and empirical evidence. But what to call you and your lickspittle talk of community? (You dangerous radical ratbag, how dare you talk of amenity and village character, wash out your mouth)

Think I'm being too tough on so-called progressives? Start with the misappropriation of that word. Progressive. For decades, so-called progressives championed symbolic, feel-good politics for indigenous people. They talked of treaties and cultural identity, collective land ownership, "rights" agendas, the need for more hand-outs. This was the "progressive" agenda, they told us. And don't dare mention other words like "assimilation". That's the other tactic. Find a word and demonise it, to demonise your opponents. 
Assimilation became a dirty word and along with it the notion that indigenous people aspire to what non-indigenous people want - a home, a job, a life based on individual desires rather than collective agendas. After 30 years, there was nothing remotely progressive about the outcomes; the so-called progressive agenda entrenched misery in indigenous communities.

There you go, that's how it's done. You've moved from a state Liberal MP chatting about Bronte village to progressives to indigenous issues, and next thing you know Dame Slap is lining up beside the rough Brough to arrange an invasion of the Northern Territory, with bonus control of indigenous spending by government. And the way these assorted policies flamed out in a spectacular way is all the fault of  progressives ....

By now surely you're catching the art of the rant.

Don't hold back, don't consider subtleties and nuance, lump all you hate into a basket and bash away, casting sweeping nasturtiums:

Facing the facts, many on the Left now accept that welfare dependency and rights agendas won't deliver a better life, but it's easy to forget how long unorthodox ideas - such as getting people off welfare - were treated with contempt.

Yes, because progressives everywhere know that living on cat food to eke out your welfare payment to the end of the week, is a life of unadulterated luxury, and working on the check outs so you can afford to buy a better brand of cat food shouldn't be treated with contempt, not as you ponce around Bronte village, telling the natives they've never had it so good, thanks to a mall coming into a retail wilderness to give them the very best competitive range of cat foods to choose from. Because we all need choice ...

Oops, you can see how meaningless ranting is so appealing and catching.

And naturally, once you're on a roll, the foam-flecked spittle is spraying into the air, you're ready to move on to other issues, and naturally that's how the ABC is ruining the nation, and how awful it is to talk about compassion:

As for the Left's lingua franca about asylum-seekers, the trick is to claim sole moral ownership of the word "compassion." If you reject their policies of open borders, onshore processing and no detention centres, then, ergo, you lack compassion. You are not entitled to use that word. Worse, you are nasty, fearful, intolerant and, of course, xenophobic. The Greens and many within the Labor Party are members of this compassion con. And so are many within our national broadcaster. Just a few recent examples: earlier this month, after yet more asylum-seekers - including a baby - died at sea, ABC News Radio ran an online survey asking listeners whether they supported (a) a tougher line (b) a more compassionate approach; or (c) the existing policy. More akin to push polling, note the sly use of "compassion" as if only an easing of border policy can deliver compassionate outcomes. The results surely disappointed the ABC compassionistas: 70 per cent of respondents wanted tougher measures. 

Ah, the wretched ABC. But note the sly use of the word "compassionistas", which it has to be said, is right up there with fashionistas and warmistas ... so clever, this tasty reductionist sauce ...

So now you've reduced your enemy to a word, a nasty, fearful, intolerant and of course xenophobic word, you can maintain the heat on the ABC:

The compassion con has been one of the greatest frauds perpetuated on this nation. When Barrie Cassidy - host of ABC1's Insiders - recently interviewed Immigration Minister Tony Burke about the so-called "PNG Solution," he said "Where is the compassion in the new policy?" 

Yes indeed. Likely after this you'll want a test to root out, weed out, these useless sentimental folk and their pathetic addiction to compassion. Here's the go. Challenge anyone carrying on like a bleeding heart to leave their youngest child out in the snow overnight. If finding snow is an issue, challenge them to put the child in a chaff bag and throw it out to sea, in approved Alan Jones style. Set the example yourself, just to show how it's done ...

The next step of course is to celebrate John Howard's tough policies and excoriate the Labour party. But the pond doesn't do spoilers - well not too many - so let's cut to the chase and the righteous triumphalism:

Once again, so-called progressives have been forced to face the facts, but for too long they relied on the "compassion" word to win arguments. If the Left's use of sweet sounding words was harmless, we might forgive them as irrelevant Utopian dreamers. Sadly, the Left's emotional catch-phrases have led to disastrous consequences - and that's why exposing their hypocrisy is critical.

Uh huh. Now remember, you've got to here by starting off with talk of a Bronte village, featuring a state Liberal MP. It takes a particular skill to berate anyone interested in a "fair go" as rabid ratbag delusionistas. But that's Dame Slap at her finest:

There are plenty of other examples. Words like "social inclusion," "social justice", "human rights" are used to claim the high moral ground, often delivering nothing very moral at all. The Left will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required. 

Yes fuck all this talk about a fair go, or human rights or other nebulous airy fairy chatter.

Okay, if you've hung in this far,  you'll realise that trading in emotion is entirely the point, and reason and philosophical consistency aren't required, at least not in Dame Slap's world.

If they were, she might have instead spent her column bemoaning the fate of whistleblower Bradley Manning, or hailing Edward Snowden for revealing the extent of government spying, or urging a vote for Julian Assange as a way of sticking it to people who attack Wikileaks libertarian activities ... but naturally she's not really interested in free speech, not when it comes to maintaining a decent security apparatus. In that context, defending the basic human right to free speech, and the right of whistleblowers to bring information to the attention of the world at large would be a bridge too far ...

By this point, you'll possibly also realise you're actually listening to the empty braying of a rabid ideologue, doing a pot and kettle routine, and with a deft change of a few words, the rhetoric is interchangeable:

The Right will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable right-wing agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required

Okay, if you've hung in this far, you'll be demanding a light tough, a comedy moment, to wrap it all up. So you've done indigenous and you've done refugees and you've done progressives and you've done Bronte village and state Liberal MPs. What else?

Why Queen Liz and the monarchy natch.

Take the focus on the royal family. Last week, following the birth of a new prince to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the usual smug, mocking overtures emerged from people like Jon Faine - host of local ABC radio in Melbourne - about the antiquated monarchy. Yet, I'm willing to bet the same people who would happily mow down that bit of our heritage would be keen members of the "Save Bronte Village" campaign. Save a village that doesn't exist but scrap the centuries-old monarchy, in the name of, well, progress. Go figure.

What a perfect conflation. Bronte village and the centuries-old monarchy.

Truly you couldn't invent this sort of splenetic caper - oh okay maybe David Flint could - but at least you can understand why there are so many servile confused lickspittle Australian monarchists out there.

It seems that Prince Chuck is part of our cultural heritage.

Ah well, it's going to be a hard rain that'll fall when Dame Slap gets around to discovering the environmental, greenie, progressive bees buzzing around in Chuckie's bonnet ...

Meanwhile, please allow the pond to award Dame Slap the prize for the rant of the week, high in the competition for rant of the month, and possibly rant of the year ... and all thanks to a state Liberal MP  prattling about Bronte village ...

(Below: now remember, be firm, be very, very firm. And remember, if any innocent approaches you asking for directions, bite their bloody heads off, and leave them confused and non-plussed. It's a way of showing your very own brand of compassion and care).

(Below: by request)


  1. DP - can we have an Angry Pixie too? (who lives in a house with a tiny window and has a habit of throwing cold water or any liquid at hand over people who dare to peep inside.)

  2. Rough Brough? Up there by the big pineapple (proposed site for a music festival):

    Brough living the 'Gold' life as we pay for his air travel, Sunshine Coast Daily, 03/07/13
    Mr Brough said at the time that he didn't "think this form of entitlement should be there" and "he would be happy to see the end of it"... Mr Brough told the Daily yesterday his "view on entitlements has not changed or even softened". He said he would "permanently relinquish the Life Gold Pass" if elected at the next federal election". He would also, if elected, lose his pension until retirement age.
    However, this is a requirement under the new law and not because Mr Brough has decided to give it away.

    Mal Brough v Peter Slipper ... why LNP voters should care, Northern Star, 19/07/13

    Bob-Bates from Birtinya 12 days ago with 1 reply:
    1. Brough conspired unlawfully.
    2. Brough was party to the theft of the contents of another person's diary.
    3. Brough lied about his involvement in this Ashby matter.
    All indisputable facts.
    1+2+3 = a person who acts outside the expected decent, honest and honourable conduct and behaviour of a Member of the House of Representatives.

    Mal Brough on James Ashby sex case: I’d do it all again, Sunshine Coast Daily, 20/07/13

  3. Albrechtsen may well be up for rant of the year on that one, but DP is definately up there for best slap-down of a real slapper.
    Beautifully written piece.Why I make the Pond part of my morning read every day.
    "Casting sweeping nasturtiums" is going straight into my best ever book.Love it.

  4. The Angry Pixie looks uncannily like Gerard Henderson.

  5. That has to be the perfect image for me of Dame Janet Slap. A crazy bag lady screaming "there's no Bronte Village here, there's no Bronte Village here!" Whilst people cautiously cross to the other side of the road.

    Many thanks Dorothy for your intestinal fortitude in wading through this cess pit every day, so that we don't have to. Many a lesser person would have succumbed by now.

  6. Laughed out loud about Janet discovering Prince Charles' environmental leanings. Kiss a prince and discover he is really as green as Kermit.

    In Victoria, the shopping precincts called villages are mostly named so by the traders' associations in order to get the residents to shop locally and the municipal councils erect signs naming the villages to support the local businesses. One of the reasons the Liberal for Coogee is having to lend his support to the retention of the village - at least in theory - is that the small business traders (who the Coalition claim to support) probably do not want the shopping precinct developed into a big business conglomerate, because it will take business away from them. Unfortunately, for Janet, it is the “progressive” traders who are pushing the idea of villages and who she labels as “idiots” and “lefties”. But Janet, not being a “fashionista” , probably prefers not to buy at a boutique run by a small business person.

    As for emotion being introduced into argument, this does not make an argument invalid, provided that the emotional appeal is recognised as distinct from the logic or reasoning of the argument. Clearly Albrechtsen did not pass clear thinking and knows nothing of philosophical thought. But I'm sure she will slap down any child who cries over the death of the family dog dying - be reasonable, it is not a person, dogs die every day, etc. etc. etc.. Let's not have emotion in our lives; let us be ruled by the lack of it.

    Stalin made the right look appealing and Janet must be making everyone run for the left exit.

  7. D.P. I think that Janet’s problem is ‘ressentiment’.

    Ressentiment is ”a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one's frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one's frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the "cause" generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one's frustration.”

    Dame Slap’s ‘cause’ is her need for the collectivists that she says she despises, to acknowledge that she is more original and interesting than they are. She sees herself as a very interesting person – the female equivalent of a wonderful wealthy white male genius – who has something ‘original’ to say and is frustrated by the failure of the latte sipping elites to recognize that she is more interesting than them.

    I based this deep and meaningful insight on a couple of sentences in an interview I heard on Counterpoint way back, in which she voiced some ‘disappointment’ at the conversation at dinner parties she has attended. I found a transcript of this interview on the Counterpoint site but it appears to have been edited and what I thought I heard is ‘summarised’ as this:

    Michael Duffy: In your experience can it be socially difficult to be a conservative in Sydney?
    Janet Albrechtsen: Ah, yep.

    There was another interesting comment in this interview from the lovely Dame Slap that Freud would have found interesting. It revealed to me how very ordinary she is and how lacking in any ability to think interesting thoughts.

    Janet Albrechtsen: [unclear]...enjoy David Marr's point in that speech that he gave recently where he said that he thought that there was this great problem, that Howard had the media, including the left-wing media on a tight leash. I thought, 'Gosh, if that's a leash I want one of those because they seem to get an inordinate amount of pleasure out of being on Howard's leash.' It must be one of those leashes that you buy in one of those adult stores where the windows are all blocked out...

  8. "Chuck part of our cultural heritage..." Love it Dorothy.


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