Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Roaming the wilderness with brainless bears and Murdochian psychopaths ...

(Above: here no light, no light here)

Nick Cater really is a prejudiced bear with very little brain, and the brainlessness was out and about, strutting and promenading for all to see in Labor resists western values.

Now the actual header for the piece makes no actual sense, since it's Cater who resists western values and celebrates non-western values in the west of Sydney and shows enormous sensitivity to Indian culture and perhaps fundamentalist Islamic values.

So perhaps the header is good, because it evokes the way the piece itself makes no sense, what with petulant talk of mummy bloggers (no, they don't lurk in a crypt) and chardonnay mums and Rooty Hill and the usual mangling of statistical data to serve an ideological point.

This sort of blather:

Westies pay their own way in life. Private-sector employees outnumber public servants by almost seven to one; nationally it is six to one. Fewer people are on an age pension (12.5 per cent compared with 14.3 per cent nationally), disability support (4.7 per cent with 5.2 per cent) or Newstart (4.4 per cent with 8.5 per cent).

But what are these "western values"?

Well as always it comes down to a few risible notions:

Westies are not just a little bit socially conservative, but a lot. In the western suburbs, there is one de-facto relationship for every 10 registered marriages. In the rest of the country it is one to every five. Less than 13 per cent of Westies disavow religion; in the rest of the country 23 per cent do so. 

Yes, they're so religious, they pray as they shoot it out in their drive bys. Oh yes, the pond can sound as dumb as Cater.

On and on he rants using dodgy data:

At the 2010 election, the Greens' primary vote was 8.1 per cent across the 14 seats; in the rest of the country it was 12.2 per cent. 
Non-Western migrants are the cultural backbone of working-class social conservatives. 
The progressive narrative paints them as victims, as a friendless, non-white underclass battling discrimination at every turn, reliant on the handouts and tribunal judgments only the compassionate Left provides.

It might well be self-satire, especially on this day, when as well as a tax on big business, Tony Abbott and Co. have announced a tax - a tithe if you happen to be a religious Westie - on shareholders, via franked dividends, all the in name of providing a handout which only the compassionate Right can provide.

And then the hapless Cater tangles himself in a knot. You see, westies might pay their own way in life, but westies aren't individualist ... because they're Asian (come on down Pauline Hanson, we need some stereotypes):

The rights-based individualism of the Western world, however, sits awkwardly with most non-Western cultures, particularly in Asia, where loyalty and respect for family and tradition are paramount. The family unit, not the benevolent state, remains the dominant community support mechanism and the thread that binds the social fabric. 
 In western Sydney, a third of residents speak an Asian language at home; in the rest of the country it is less than a tenth. 
 Non-Western migrants are predominantly social conservatives, a point of difference to which the progressives remain culturally insensitive.

Uh huh. So it's Asian. But wait, let's be culturally sensitive, and conflate Asians with Indians, because, well you know, because they're foreign and different and conservative, oh so conservative:

A cross-cultural study by Richard Shweder at Chicago University in 1987 showed that Indians and Americans agreed that kicking a sleeping dog was wrong, but beyond that, notions of virtue diverged. Americans thought it was OK for a 25-year-old son to address his father by his first name, but the Indians had a problem with it. The Indians thought it was OK for a husband to punish his wife if she went to the cinema without permission, while the Americans did not. 
Shweder found these were more than differences of opinion, they touched on matters that cultural traditions determined but which individuals thought were universally and irredeemably wrong. 

Uh huh. Now Nick - you don't mind me addressing you by your first name, do you Nick? - the next time you want to go to the cinema by yourself, remember to seek permission from your wife and the pond, because if you don't the punishment is going to be something shocking and fierce.

Now you might wonder why Nick is getting so agitated about an Indian population that amounts to 2.5% of the Greater Sydney area, but it turns out that in all this huffing and puffing, Nick has only one axe to grind. You guessed it:

 The Indians' socio-centric rules of etiquette, with their strong attachment to authority and hierarchy within the family, carried the same moral force, in other words, as the cause of same-sex marriage does for most Western progressives. Yet same-sex marriage is a difficult concept for many non-Westerners to get their heads around, not least in western Sydney, where nine out of 10 Labor MPs opposed a bill on the subject last year.

See how the switcheroo works? Jump from Indians in one sentence to a more general notion of non-Westerners, but now they're all carrying the baggage of Indian social conservatism.

On Sunday's Insiders on ABC TV, the panellists bemoaned the fact that a just cause, as they see it, could be vetoed by a block vote in western Sydney. Some might argue that they have overestimated the enthusiasm for altering the Marriage Act elsewhere in the country. The lesson remains. Cultural sensitivity cuts both ways.

Uh huh. Well Nick can go on being culturally sensitive to fundamentalist Islamics, and the representation of sex in Bollywood movies, and all the other Caterist twaddle, but buggered if the pond will maintain any cultural sensitivity at all to a bear with very little brain, and a lot of mindless prejudices, and the relentless misappropriation and distortion of statistics to bash chardonnay swillers.

What's the bet that after a hard scribble, Cater settles down to a nice little drop himself? Perhaps with a pork chaser? Without a single thought for cultural sensitivities ...

If Nick wants to embrace conservative non-western western values, off he goes, but damn sure he's got to leave the coffee and the grog and the pork behind ...

So what else is happening in Murdoch la la land as the reptiles bunker down in their lizard fortress for the final stretch of the campaign?

Well readers who can be bothered to wade into the mud and the slush and the gore will remember that some time ago Andrew Carswell penned an heroic piece, Kevin Rudd - hero or psychopath? - behind the paywall, but you only need to pay if you enjoy pissing your money on tripe - which reminded the pond of its own urgent question, Andrew Carswell - prostitute for Murdoch or sociopathic journalist or wannabe Freudian? Only questions of course, only questions ...

It won a Crikey award for Carswell as being hard to beat as the biggest and most disgraceful beat-up of the campaign, pop psychology at its worst, a pathetic attempt to smear the Ruddster (here, may be paywall affected).

Hold the horses, stop the awards ceremony, we have a new contender, and who else than Dame Slap, flapping the word in the breeze:

What's that you say? It's a first person confessional piece, the start of Dame Slap's autobiography?

Now, now, it turns out it's just a standard Dame Slap routine ...

After spending the first half of her column sinking the steel boot into the Ruddster - you'd have thought her suffering at having her franked dividends tithed might have been worth a mention - she seizes on Labor MP Steve Gibbons calling Rudd a psychopath to let loose in the final pars of the piece:

To many, the label is better suited to Hannibal Lecter types. Except that experts tell us there are plenty of psychopaths in the workplace. Often highly successful, highly functioning people, they ooze ersatz charisma to those who don't know them while causing enormous damage to an organisation. So common are these psychopaths, experts have written books distinguishing leadership traits from psychopathic traits. 
A leader is charismatic, self-confident, able to influence, persuasive, visionary, able to take risks, action oriented and able to take hard decisions. A psychopath relies on superficial charm, makes great first impressions, is glib and grandiose, callous and manipulative, adept at conning people, refuses to accept responsibility for mistakes, is armed with an impressive supply of excuses, hates monotony preferring constant stimulation, and - most critically - has no empathy. 
They never feel bad about anything they do. They are shameless. That's what psychologists Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare set out in their book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. 
And this: a person with psychopathic traits often will use language "larded with jargon, cliches and flowery phrases" to make up for their lack of sincerity, becoming social chameleons to hide who they really are. Hmmm. It may be best if Rudd stopped the personality politics forthwith.

Now you might think that Dame Slap is being shameless, and doesn't feel bad about what she scribbles, especially her willingness to use flowery phrases like 'social chameleons', and you might think it is her business to do enormous damage to the fabric of sensible political debate in Australia by lightly tossing around a salad of pyschopaths.

You might also wonder why she feels the need to step into the gutter of abuse with Carswell.

She really only demeans herself, she doesn't really land a blow on the Ruddster, because, well, because it's just so childish ...

Taken to its childish extreme, all politicians are psychopaths, and none more psychopathic and narcissist than the boxing, budgie wearing, lycra-clad, nattering negativity of Tony Abbott ...

But once you start talking like that, you're really indulging in the sort of personality politics discussion that Dame Slap purports to deplore ...

There are many that think this sort of childishness begins in childhood, and that Dame Slap might well be suffering from an Antisocial (Dissocial) Personality Disorder, but the pond thinks there's a much simpler explanation ...

It's the kool aid they put in the water coolers at News Corp, such that Andrew Carswell and Janet Albrechtsen can show exactly the same level of stupidity by scribbling about psychopaths ... perhaps because scribbling about the tithing of franked dividends to fund a middle class entitlement is too much for them to bear...

Is there anything funnier to contemplate this mid-week Wednesday?

Perhaps it's all this chatter from the chattering classes about the Labor campaign going negative ...

Can it get any more negative than calling out a man as a psychopath?

Why it almost generates sympathy in the pond for current chairman Rudd ... almost ... but we're too busy getting agitated about our franked dividends being turned to a bottomless pit of middle class welfarism from a mob who declared the budget and the nation were in a state of dire economic crisis ... a national emergency ...

Turns out the only real emergency is how to get their comfortable bums into the comfortable seats of power so they can pork barrel to their hearts' content ...

(Below: and how can chairman Rupert afford the kool aid?)


  1. Hi Dorothy.
    Whenever I see Nick Cater attempting to shoehorn the census data into one of his preselected prejudices, I am reminded of this wonderful piece of fictional literary criticism;

    "Ponderously the great machine ingests its bales of lore; grinding, groaning, shuddering, it brings forth its product: small puffs of acrid vary-coloured vapour"


  2. Wishing to be outdone, there is always Gérard de Nerval's lobtser.

    Nerval had a pet lobster named Thibault which he took for walks in the Palais Royal gardens in Paris on the end of a blue silk ribbon.

    "Nerval is quoted as having said "Why should a lobster be any more ridiculous than a dog? ...or a cat, or a gazelle, or a lion, or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I have a liking for lobsters. They are peaceful, serious creatures. They know the secrets of the sea, they don't bark, and they don't gnaw upon one's monadic privacy like dogs do. And Goethe had an aversion to dogs, and he wasn't mad."

  3. The lobster is hard to outdo, but let it be done.

    During this terrible time we need more lobstersérard_de_Nerval#Pet_lobster

    Let cigar-eating wombats be just the beginning ...


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