Friday, July 19, 2013

The pond remains in the grip of sundry National Emergencies ...

(Above: friends of Dr. Seuss might not realise or remember that Theodor Geisel was a political cartoonist during the second world war. There are a few more examples here, and what better way to start off this solemn Friday for a nation in the grip of a National Emergency).

Day two of the National Emergency continues, and the nation seems to be coping as best it can with the shocking news of the streaker at the footy, the uncertain position of the test at Lords, the terrible trials of Cadell Evans in the Tour de France, and the work Adam Scott still needs to do to bring home the bacon.

Fearless leader Tony Abbott issued a reminder that the National Emergency would continue until he became chief poo bah, and then all would be well, transformed miraculously by magic, and Australia might even manage to defeat the English at cricket.

Meanwhile Melburnians are undergoing a National Emergency of their own:

Sssh, please don't mention climate science, it only gets the Bolter into a deep, agitated funk, what with him being the world's leading climate scientist, and all ... and besides storms put an end to the heat, so all's well that ends well.

And speaking of the Bolter, he's in top notch form today doing what he surely does best, which is lay into the blacks, especially the urban elitist ones, and especially any of them who have a different opinion to Bolter, because after climate science, surely he's the top notch expert on what's best for the blacks ... you know, a little tea, sugar, flour and sitting silently in the corner, as he forcefully explains in Real Aborigines vote Labor, or so urban ones say.

Ah yes, those shifty urban blacks, you can't trust them can you, especially if they lurk on SBS, and especially if they disagree with the Bolter's politics, and the most profound tragedy of all?

Further opinions I have on this topic cannot be expressed under the Racial Discrimination Act, which severely limits discussion on Aboriginal identity and “race”.

Oh the poor man, hampered and hamstrung, and severely limited in his capacity to assault and outrage those pesky blacks, or near blacks, or pretend blacks fellow travelling for their own personal advantage because to be black in Australia is to live in the lap of luxury, making out on grants like there's no tomorrow, and way more than anyone would pay for a bigoted elitist scribbling furiously for the HUN ...

It's an outrage ... think of what might have happened if they'd managed to stop Adolf Hitler pointing the fickle finger of infamy at Jews ...

Oh okay. here's a dollar in the Godwin's Law swear jar, but truly it was worth it, spare no expense the pond says, if you want to compare the Bolter to the likes of Father Charles Coughlin ...

In the end Roosevelt shut Coughlin down, and who can worry about that.

Meanwhile, Gra Gra has sorted out the best way to deal with the Indonesians.

Bribe them! That's what you do with camel thieves, cattle rustlers and horse dealers:

Yes it's the Gra Gra way, it's Gra Gra diplomacy at its finest, it's what made the NSW Labor party celebrated throughout the land, so there you go, current Chairman Rudd, head off to your Swiss bank accounts, and tickle the till, and all will be well, and if you don't know about Swiss bank accounts, no doubt Richo will be there to show you the way ...  because the best way out of any problem is to carry a brown paper bag with you ...

And now to another National Emergency, courtesy Samantha Balaton-Chrimes and Should MasterChef have asked a Muslim to cook pork?

The conundrum?

Many Australians would have watched Muslim MasterChef contestant Samira get kicked off the show on Wednesday night for cooking the worst pork hot dog. To be fair, putting it that way distorts the decision - it was her brioche bun that undid her. But in my mind there were bigger questions raised than whether or not her brioche was a disaster. Should MasterChef have asked a Muslim contestant to cook pork?

Now here right up front, the pond has to make a personal confession, an admission of guilt. Not once, never ever, has the pond actually watched an episode of MasterChef ... so to be fair, considering this question in such a state of profound ignorance allows for a somewhat distorted outcome ...

But all the same the nostrils flare when you immediately stumble on a burst of academic language and nattering negativity:

In my view, the answer is no. Pork, ham and bacon are well known to be haram, or prohibited under Islamic custom. How one of Australia's most popular television shows makes a call between toleration and accommodation of the customs of religious minorities is something that demands interrogation. 

Demand interrogation? Oh okay, interrogate away:

I do not doubt that it will make some qualitative difference to the show, and certain dishes or cuisines that many would find delicious may be off the menu. There is a cost, in that sense, of this kind of accommodation. But, it is not a cost that fundamentally threatens the fabric of our society, or which offends our sense of justice. It is when the costs of accommodation fall in this category that the decisions are difficult. Lamb instead of pork sausage hardly does. 

Well put it how you will Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, but just try snatching, prising that cold pork sausage from the cold dead hands of the pond ... but do go on:

Some will object to this argument on the grounds that Samira knew what she was getting herself into when she went on the show, and the hosts discussed it with her on air. They asked if she was OK about cooking pork, and she said yes. Problem solved?

Yep, they asked and she agreed, and if she hadn't wanted to agree, she could have stormed off or kicked up a stink or said how unfair it was, or behaved in a rabidly fundamentalist way, but instead went with the flow, and still, so you tell the pond, got the chop, but not the pork or lamb chop, a kind of karate judge chop to the brioche.

Undoubtedly you will have a much firmer view than she took, and so you will expose her as a lickspittle fellow traveller and accommodationist, who just needs to straighten the fuck up or be shipped out. Was she right to be a soft cop?

No. The question of whether or not she consented to cook it (which she did on the proviso that she wouldn't have to taste it) is beside the point. That is Samira's personal decision, and it is not my intention to judge her on it. My point is that it is unfair and anti-inclusive to ask her to make such a decision when there are no serious consequences for anyone else of choosing a different meat. 

Well you might think this, but at this point the pond's German heritage kicks in.

Anyone of culinary note knows that the hot dog started off as a variation on the wiener and the frankfurter, and an essential part of both was pork (the wiener added beef to the original all pork Frankfurt mix).

Now since that day the concept has been diluted, as everything in the United States is, with the addition of all sorts of flavourings, preservatives, meat trimmings, and possibly a dash of saw dust ... (naturally the hot dog has a wiki here).

But all the same to suggest there are no serious consequences to cooking a hot dog without pork is like killing off the entire concept of a serious dog. If you're such a philistine anti-foodie, what on earth were you doing watching the show?

Many will object to this argument on the grounds that it is impossible to draw a clear line where the costs or sacrifices meet the criteria I suggested above, of threatening the fabric of our society, or offending our sense of justice. These are contested concepts. What counts as enough consensus to warrant subjecting minorities, religious or other kinds, to participation in practices they object to? Certainly that line is far from clear.

Well only because you introduced obfuscation when the contestant had a choice and made it, with or without your approval, consent, or instruction.

She was only asked to cook it, not to eat it, and frankly one way or another, the pond does that each time it decides to cook kidneys or lambs fry and bacon ...

Okay, next week, time to sort out all kinds of National Emergencies:

Should Catholics be asked to cook a nice New York steak on a Friday?
How to explain to the organisers of MasterChef that they really should ban all meat products?
How to explain to the organisers of MasterChef that they really ban all vegetable products? Out of the pond's sight, vile choko (unless laden with garlic and chili pepper)
How to explain to a vegetarian that they can only agree to appear on the show if they cook meat (and eat some fish eggs and kill off a baby chook by boiling an egg)?
How to feed peanuts to someone claiming an allergy, while proposing that the allergy is likely all in the mind? (Be prepared, and get a waiver signed).
How to explain to a Japanese person that eating 'roo is jolly tasty but eating whale is unseemly?
What to do if MasterChef asks you to display your very best Asian dog recipe?
Can you chop off the hand of someone who refuses to eat sea slug?
How to handle it when Greenpeace says you cooked that last rare turtle to make your turtle soup?
What to do with a fundie Xian who turns up ranting about Leviticus?
...these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

Sigh, no camel curry. And that's just the start of the abominations listed in Leviticus here.

Why there's coneys and hares and swine and those that have not fins and scales in the seas and the waters, all abominations, and the eagle and the ossifrage and the ospray and the vulture, and the kite and the raven and the owl and the swan and the pelican and all fowls that creep upon all fours, and flying creeping things are also a problem, especially the weasel and the mouse and the tortoise and the snail (sorry France) and the lizards (sorry Centralians) and so on and bizarrely on, sounding even worse than Samantha Balaton-Chrimes

And lastly, but not least, how to tell your Jewish friends that you find unseemly the sight of them sneaking a snack of bacon while they're out of the parental home ...

Oh there's no doubt plenty more and there's no doubt the country is in the grip of a National Emergency, no doubt at all ...

But it's Friday so kick up your heels and be ready for the next National Emergency ... what to do on the weekend ...

(Below: naturally The New Yorker runs an endless stream of hot dog gags, as you can read here)

1 comment:

  1. There are three versions of the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). They are at:

    Exodus 20:2-17 (the most commonly used set of Commandments. In the King James' Version. Conservative Jews and Christians generally believe that the text was written by God on stone tablets and given to Moses during the Exodus, circa 1450 BCE. Liberals typically follow the Documentary Hypothesis, and attribute the writing to an anonymous author generally referred to as "E" who lived sometime between 922 and 722 BCE);

    Exodus 34:12-26 (written by an anonymous author generally referred to as "J" sometime between 848 and 722 BCE); and

    Deuteronomy 5:6-21 (written by "D" circa 622 BCE during the time of the exile to Babylon).

    The second listed recipe, Exodus 34, is biggest of the cook-up on what ya gunna eat:

    18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.

    22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.

    26 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe (boil) a kid in his mother's milk.

    That there is nothing in this foodie version either about basic washing of hands with soap or any other almighty HACCP "is something that demands interrogation" as does, for example, the glossed over sadistic Jewish treatment of Oz livestock additional to that of any particular Muslim meme so often fixated on with, no kidding, seething indignation pro or con.


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