Only two days in, and fair dinkum, the pond is already doing it tough.
It came as a flash that the last time this caper went down, the pond dropped off the postal votes and scarpered OS, but this time the pond is in country for the duration, and only later, through mismanagement and myopia, will it be off to France (being careful to fly over Darwin ...)
Now you might quibble about the pond's use of 'fair dinkum', but the pond is true blue, ridgy-didge, dinky di, salt of the Tamworth earth, hailing from the home of country music and the centre of the known universe, and as everyone knows, there's nothing more authentically Australian than the sounds of Nashville ...
That means the pond is adept at spotting anyone who isn't fair dinkum.
Last night for example on the televisual apparatus in the kitchen, a politician was heard to say 'moving feast' rather than 'moveable feast'.
Fair dinkum, he (no names, no pack drill) did, and the pond knew immediately that asking for a fair dink from him would likely see the rascal steal a bicycle, or fair dibs would see the miscreant take all the marbles.
Fair dinkum, the only way you can spot a genuine Australian politician, as sharp as an axe carving its way through red gum, is to have a natter with a ponce from the north shore, or perhaps suck on a sauce bottle with a Queenslander, and the moment they drop a 'fair dinkum' tell 'em they're up themselves like a giant woolly Greyhound bus ...
So here's the pond test, but use it with care, because it's as potent as a Harry Potter spell. The next time someone says 'fair dinkum' to you, tell 'em they drink their bathwater, and their grandmother wears braces, and see if they can cope ...
There are other ways to tell you're in the grip of the pod people.
One sure way is to go into the cellar (preferably armed with a pitchfork) and see if you're in the grip of a body snatcher.
The other way is to read Nick Cater, delivering up Caterisms in Caterland, under the header Rudd poised to win media land (behind the paywall lest you have a desire to crater the cater)
Here's a classic Cater opening:
In the Labor-held electorate of Sydney there are seven journalists to every plumber. In the Liberal-held seat of McMillan in Victoria there are 17 plumbers to every journalist, which is why the good people of Paddington will probably have to wait until Thursday week to get a tap fixed, but the denizens of Pakenham may not.
Chiefly British: A foreigner who is granted rights of residence and sometimes of citizenship.
Oh we keed, we keed (the word has several meanings) but it's always fun to see Cater think he's one with the plumbers, a true blue dinky di Marxist at one with the workers, or even the lumpenproletariat ....
Naturally it gets worse, full of a most peculiar kind of self-loathing and really dumb metaphors, as Cater indulges in yet another bout of class warfare:
Journalists and plumbers both thrive on leaks, but beyond that they have little in common. They might have done once, when journalism was a craft, not a profession, and when its practitioners were called reporters, because that was what they did.
Nowadays it is largely a middle-class pursuit and some journalists have such a high opinion of their own worth that they think of themselves as insiders.
Yes, because once upon a time journos were just shit-carters, you know, like Kenny:
The hacks-v-dunny-diver ratio, otherwise known as the Kenny index, in honour of "the Dalai Lama of Waste Management" who stars in the film of the same name, is therefore as good a guide as any to Australia's geo-cultural divide, the tribal divisions reflected in where we reside.
And now they just peddle shit for Chairman Rupert, and what good shit-carters they make in their own Cater way.
Yes, at a time when the Murdoch press is in full cry, in full froth and foam lather, in a seething raging frenzy for fair dinkum Tony Abbott, Cater tries on the old class paranoia one more time, to see if it can still fit, as if somehow being middle class is deeply problematic, as if Cater himself is some kind of working class Kenny type hero. As if somehow he's not an insider scribbling an 'up himself' guide about the dangers of insiders:
In the limited number of seats where the insiders prevail, the issues that will drive votes at this election are a world away from the things that matter to the rest of the country. The insiders lack the numbers to have much influence at the ballot box, but since they are the gatekeepers in the national debate they speak with a loud voice.
Yes, he can, he can!
At a time when chairman Rupert, an American citizen, controls somewhere around two thirds of the print media, and cracking the whip with Col Pot to herd the sheep and the commentariat and keep them in line, and commercial television is a brain dead wasteland, Cater's going to run yet again with the Cater ploy, which he purloined, which is to say thieved, stole and misappropriated from our very own prattling Polonius, Gerard Henderson, and which is to say that somewhere out Penrith - or if you go north-west out Tamworth way - there's infinite truth and wisdom not to hand amongst inner city deviants and perverts:
About 10 per cent of Australia's 20,000 journalists live in central Sydney or its eastern and inner-western suburbs in the seats represented by Labor's Tanya Plibersek and the Liberals' Malcolm Turnbull. One in five journalists lives in just five seats: Sydney, Wentworth, Melbourne Ports, Melbourne and Grayndler. Three are held by Labor, one by the Coalition and one by the Greens. The divide, however, is not political but cultural.
Uh huh. What's worse some of them even work in the bunkers of the lizard Oz, which when last noted by the pond was based at number 2 Holt street, Surry Hills, quite close to Central Railway station.
It takes considerable chutzpah to write a 300-page book condemning Australia's elitist 'Knowledge Class' and then thank no fewer than 60 journalists, academics, economists, historians, think-tank staff and political insiders for assistance and friendship. But that's Nick Cater of The Australian for you: the anti-intellectual sociology graduate and broadsheet editor, the great admirer of the battlers in the outer suburbs and regions who nevertheless chooses to reside in inner Sydney.
But let's put hypocrisy side ... (well played Dominic Kelly, here)
But actually Dominic, if you don't mind, let's not put rank hypocrisy aside, because it's right up there with rank stupidity and rank idle chatter coming direct to us from the Cater Chatter Zone:
There are 13 federal electorates in what we might call the Chatter Zone: the seats where there are more journalists than plumbers. Here the Coalition has a clear majority, with nine seats; Labor and the Greens hold four between them.
A common cultural thread runs through them, however, that sets them apart from the rest of the county. One in five voters in the Chatter Zone casts their first vote for the Greens, almost twice the national average. A vote for the Greens is rarely cast in the expectation of changing the government. It is more a state of mind. The Chatter Zone is clearly a very progressive place.
Yes, all this dumb chatter in the chatter zone from a really dumb chatterer, who thinks that this sort of stuff is worth a column:
Other census statistics confirm this is the case and offer an insight into the media's agenda, helping to explain why the media treats some ideas as feral while others are kept as pets.
In the seat of Sydney there is one same-sex couple to every 10 mixed couples. In the Chatter Zone as a whole, one couple in 35 is a same-sex relationship. In the rest of the country it is one in 175.
It is a sobering, or perhaps exhilarating, fact that every fifth adult you meet in the Chatter Zone will have a degree in the arts and humanities, more than three times as many as in the general population.
Now it's probably about this point that you'll be shrieking enough already, do we have to read this self-satisfied chatter from the Chatter Zone, and demand extra reading, perhaps Nick Cater's The Lucky Culture book praised at News Ltd, or perhaps What Nick Cater's book gets wrong about Australia (basically everything).
But the pond's not done with the man from Woy Woy, who cycles in every day to drop in his copy by hand - yes, he does, he trooly rooly does, because there's no way he's going to be infiltrated or affected by inner urban elites, fair dinkum - and he's thinking about carrier pigeons just to avoid all the trendie cliques in Surry Hills ...
One in three residents declare that they have no religion; elsewhere it is one in five. Outside the Chatter Zone there is one de facto relationship for 10 registered marriages, inside it is closer to four in every 10. The prejudices of the Chatter Zone set the agenda on ABC1's QandA. Planetary warming? Check. Gay marriage? Check. The depravities of the Catholic Church? Check. Turnbull for Liberal leader? Check. It is an inner-city dinner where the only saving grace is the absence of couscous.
It was then that the penny dropped.
Now the pond is expert at multicultural relations. Who isn't aware of the pilots in that 1993 Charlie Sheen masterpiece Hot Shots!, and the pilots, called interalia, Toboule, Baklavah, Pita, Hummus, Kabab, Couscous and Babaganoush, who give brave Charlie such a hard time?
What's more, the pond lives only a stone's throw from Emma's on Liberty, and if you travel a little further, you can reach Saray Turkish Pizza and Kebabs
So what can you make of any person who scribbles a sentence like this?
It is an inner-city dinner where the only saving grace is the absence of couscous.
Yes, he's a dickhead. There's simply no way around it, no politer way of saying it. A fair dinkum dick head ...
Actually it's a pretty fair clue. Personally the pond has found that anyone who once worked for the BBC can be safely called a dick head ...
What's that? He's still going, and somehow manages to take himself seriously?
The danger, however, is that the media becomes captured by their interests and regulated by their peculiar foibles, and that is indeed a problem.
Yes, and never mind that the print media has in fact become captured by Rupert Murdoch and regulated by his peculiar foibles and that is indeed a problem.
It can distort the national debate and foster cultural bias in public broadcasting.
That's as opposed to the festering lickspittle cultural bias on view in the reptiles at the lizard Oz.
There are pitfalls too for a commercial media company if its staff members forget who they are supposed to be talking to, and instead of broadcasting far and wide start narrowcasting to themselves.
Yes, indeed, but can there by any more narrow a kind of narrowcasting than broadcasting to Chairman Rupert and his paid assassin Col Pot?
Politicians too need to watch their step, recognising that applause from the media gallery does not necessarily mean they are serving their constituents well.
Consider a hypothetical election in a country we will call Media Land, which consists of the 29 federal parliamentary seats where half of Australia's 75,000 media professionals lived in 2011.
The Coalition is in government in Media Land with 15 seats; Labor holds 13 and the Greens one.
Indeed. Now you could consider an alternative scenario which involves Wanker Cater Land in Murdoch la la land, but then you wouldn't be able to lather up a suitable case of the paranoias:
If Labor were to win Brisbane, however, one of the seats considered likely to go its way, the party would be able to form government with the support of the Greens. If the ALP defeats Adam Bandt in Melbourne, or if it were to retake Bennelong, another seat some believe is in play, it would govern in its own right.
In other words, Kevin Rudd may have a better chance of becoming the notional prime minister of Media Land than he does of winning a mandate from the other 121 seats.
It speaks volumes about Rudd's fascination with the media. It is an indication of the perils for the Labor Party of believing that the progressive liberal point of view should take precedence over the rest. It is a reminder of the folly of assuming that social conservatism would die out with Labor leader Arthur Calwell, who was replaced by Gough Whitlam back in 1967, and the arrogance of assuming that the tide of history was washing everything before it towards a progressive future.
Who would have thought it? The leader of the workers party may be more popular among the luvvies than the tradies. People with dirt under their fingernails may be less inclined to mark a Labor candidate's box than people with shiny pants. The bloke who reads the news on the telly may vote for Rudd, but the bloke who fixes the telly may not.
Actually the bloke who's met Rudd might have more than a half-way notion of the real Rudd; the bloke who fixes Cater's telly - what's the bet he doesn't have a single useful trade skill in his body? - might like to suck on the sauce bottle with Kev.
That's the trouble with complete inanity and really stupid generalisations. It says so much more about a Cater than it does about the real world ...
Meanwhile, back in the real world, away from the luvvie scribbling about the luvvies, and somehow imagining that digital ink under the fingernails is some kind of dirt, the real war continues:
Yes, in the real world, the journos dance to the tune of their dirty digger American citizen master, and craft their headlines to suit the cause, and all this blather about cous cous is just pathetic Caterist tosh.
Has he ever lived in a different part of Australia than Adelaide, and Sydney and blowing in to Woy Woy to launch his book?
Probably not. Is there any upside having sat through this mixture of bilge and tosh?
Well yes, it's saved the pond from a detailed reading of our usual Tuesday dose of prattling Polonius, another man who works in the heart of Sydney at the Sydney Institute in Phillip Street, and routinely extols the virtues of Penrith and Blacktown, without ever having shown any signs of actually living there ....
Rudd has taken a leaf out of the negativity book (warning, it'll cost you a Fairfax hit):
In 1951, the Robert Menzies-led Coalition government initiated the Commonwealth scholarship scheme, which provided free tertiary education plus a means-tested living allowance. A bright student, like Rudd, would almost certainly have benefited from the scheme. The idea that the poor were deprived of tertiary education before Whitlam is but a myth. And negative.
Now you might wonder what Polonius is on, especially if you head off to the adb and read its bio of Ben Chifley, here:
There was a modest expansion into tertiary education with the funding of Commonwealth scholarships, the establishment of the Commonwealth Education Office and the setting up of the Australian National University.
So where did prattling Polonius dig up the word "initiated" in relation to Ming the Merciless?
To set going, by taking the first step, if the dictionary isn't mistaken ...
Then the adb goes on:
Nevertheless, when Chifley was asked to involve the Commonwealth in financing primary and secondary schooling, he declared that education was tied up with state aid to religion and was a State function. Advised of Commonwealth subsidies for pre-school and university education, he retorted, 'That's different—they're for kids before they've got souls and after they've lost 'em'.
Yes actual history with a bonus joke, which is more than you get from prattling Polonius, because he is the joke ...
The best joke of all?
This was very much the theme of Whitlam: The Power and The Passion, written and directed by Paul Clarke, which aired on ABC 1 recently. Despite being advertised as the "definitive" documentary on Gough Whitlam's government, it contained numerous howlers. This is standard practice for ABC documentaries.
It's actually now the standard practice for Hendo columns, because he's now in the grip of his very own mythology, and he rarely revisits his very own given truths and the result is an ongoing set of howlers.
Truth to tell, it doesn't matter to the pond whether Chifley started the scheme and Ming the Merciless expanded it, what matters is that a man who routinely berates others for howlers should show such little regard or interest in his own ...
Oh yes, only day two, and fair dinkum, the pond is doing it tough, bloody tough...
(Below: more here)