Friday, August 23, 2013

The pond explores various mouths of hell ...

There were a few cynics that proposed that News Corp couldn't get more childish than referencing an American sitcom that last aired on its first run in March 1971 (yes, if you remember Hogan's Heroes, in its first run, it's something to brood about ...)

But magically the Daily Terror today steps back into the world of the terrible twos with its cover art. Is it possible to imagine a more childish coverage than the one above?

Well the pond is always generous with its suggestions:

When the pond last looked, Mr. Men books first landed in the marketplace back in 1971, inspired by a six year old ... (Mr. Men enthusiasts, look here).

Now Mr Rude is late in the series, and not done by Roger Hargreaves, but the pond remains convinced that the old farts at the Daily Terror are really stuck back in the 1970s.

The pond proudly notes that Angry Birds first launched in 2009. How modernist are we?

Still, the Terror encapsulates the relentlessly childish nature of the debates that have been going down during the election campaign.

Once again the pond made the fatal mistake of watching 7.30 to see if either Greg Hunt or Mark Butler had anything sensible to say about climate science.

The introduction was the usual nonsense - doom-laden music over meaningless shots of grinding ice that revealed just how lamentable, predictable and stereotypical is the mind set of current affairs editors.

Then a wild-eyed Greg Hunt made all sorts of unsubstantiated claims, which neither Leigh Sales nor Mark Butler managed to bring to heel, and if you don't believe the pond, take a look at The toxic political debate of climate change, and then for your main course, endure The hot topic of climate change. There, that'll learn ya ...

Here's the point at which the pond baulked, and naturally it was at a Huntism:

Only 24 hours ago the Forest Products Association doubled the figure of abatement which we had in our 2010 policy from intensive forestry. What they said is we could get a lot more out of our trees.

We could get a lot more out of our trees?

The pond had visions of Tolkein tree huggers roaming the forests saying you can do better sweeties, you really can, we expect to get a lot more out of you ...

Or perhaps there's a tree Nazi roaming the forest with a whip, telling the trees that we need to get a lot more out of them, or who knows what sort of bushfire might turn up ...

Of course if you head off to the Australian Forest Productions Association for actual enlightenment, here's what you cop as the very first line in its climate change policy principles:

AFPA is supportive of putting a price on carbon via a market mechanism ...

Oh sure there are provisos and provisions and quibbles and qualifications, but meanwhile Hunt was allowed to blather on about magic soil solution which isn't a solution at all. Instead we copped this sort of airy rhetoric with a wave of the hand:

GREG HUNT: The full range of green carbon initiatives - mallee and mulga revegetation, reforestation, avoided deforestation, soil carbon. What we need is to use all, all of the available mechanisms and that's been our view. a

Mulga Greg!

Sadly Mark Butler tried to take it all seriously and make serious points, when these days the debate is conducted at the level of a Daily Terror drawing, and so what he should have said is, Greg, you're talking through your bum ... or backside ... or arse, depending how Daily Terror childish he was feeling on the night.

And then at the very end, Leigh Sales announced it wasn't a ten minute debate, it really needed to be an hour long debate, which left the pond wondering exactly why it had sat glowering at the screen, temperature rising, shouting every now and then, with the only laugh coming from the trees.

Now listen up tree dudes, we expect a lot more out of you!

Yes you, and tell your mulga friends to get on board ...

Meanwhile, thanks to the Fairfax policy of throwing its rags away in the inner city of Sydney - yes the pond bravely ventured out into the world on the day of the big electricity shutdown - the pond caught up with Paul Sheehan scribbling An uncivil war: father v daughter, Greens v greens.

In his usual way, Sheehan starts off with a defamatory slur:

Very few people in Western societies are communists or Marxists any more. So passe. So tainted by genocide, failure and crippling orthodoxy on a sweeping scale. Most people have also worked out that the largest and most powerful communist party in the world, the Communist Party of China, has evolved into a Chinese edition of the Republican Party. In Australia there is still a living remnant called the Communist Party of Australia, which describes itself on its website as ''a party of activists who work in trade unions, peace and environmental groups''.
Trade unions, peace groups, environmentalism. Obviously, if you are a doctrinaire anti-capitalist, and communism is a discredited brand, the logical destination is the Greens. 

Uh huh. Let's give that a pond tweak:

Very few people in Western societies are fascists or religious zealots any more. So passe. So tainted by genocide, failure and crippling orthodoxy on a sweeping scale. Most people have also worked out that the largest and most powerful party in Australia, the Liberal Party of Toorak, the north shore, Manly and the eastern suburbs, has evolved into an Australian edition of the Republican Party. In Australia this living remnant of old farts and fogies describes itself on its website as ''a party of activists who work to oppose trade unions, peace and environmental groups''. 
Trade unions, peace groups, environmentalism. Obviously, if you are a doctrinaire capitalist fascist, and fascism is a discredited brand, and you want to oppose peace and tear up the environment, the logical destination is the Liberal party.

Say hello to Paul Sheehan and his magic water and magic sourdough as you join, and remember to demand a spiffy uniform. The doctrinaire capitalist fascists always have the best uniforms ...

Yes, it's just bile, dressed up in a way to make it sound like it has some meaning, when the only meaning is prejudice and character assassination.

What gives the game away? Well for the rest of the piece, Sheehan trawls and trolls his way through the personal and ideological disagreements of a father and a daughter, the sort of dirty laundry that is best left within the family.

Even worse, Sheehan takes the side of the father in a way which is astonishing, especially when you read this sort of stuff:

Peter Hill has taken the unusual course of attacking his daughter's political activities in public, via Twitter. In one caustic message, he wrote: ''I am so sick of people with snouts in the public trough. I am at a loss on your [Felicity's] funded trips to the UK (Assange), Japan, USA, Burma. F---. Your carbon footprint must be an embarrassment.'' ''Shortly after this tweet,'' he told me, ''I got my account suspended by Twitter.'

Indeed. Talk about embarrassment.

Yet the main allegation that Hill makes - that there was more than meets the eye about the costs of certain trips - turns into a furphy, with Sheehan feeling obliged to make a phone call:

When I contacted Senator Ludlam's office this week to check if his trip to visit Assange had been made at his own expense, I was told it had been a private trip. I asked if there had been any effort to recruit Assange to the Greens and was told, via Ludlam's press secretary, ''no''.

All Sheehan can do after that is note that Ludlam's dance with Assange is "richly ironic", but the truly rich irony is that an ostensibly mainstream scribbler for a major rag should get down into the gutter of a family dispute, leeching off the anger of an unhappyfather, to make cheap ideological points which he can't take any further because he has no evidence ...

Not only is it lazy journalism, lazy writing, it's grubby and sordid, and the pond felt unclean reading it ...

Fortunately, immediately thereafter the pond attended the premiere performance of the world premiere of John Adams' saxophone concerto.

Now there's nothing wrong with sneaking off every so often from the coal mine, and Timothy McAllister is a whiz on the saxophone, but there was a serious programming error, because the first half featured Leila Josefowicz playing Adams' violin concerto, with remarkable attack and force. And because the saxophone concerto uses much the same form - animated, tranquil and then molto vivo - and explored many of the same ideas, it suffered by way of comparison.

And then there was the question of the concert being called Adams conducting Adams when it really should have been called Adams conducts some Adams, and a bit of Respighi and Beethoven too. Now there's no problem with the Respighi, which was in the usual way thrilling and evoked in the usual way all the biblical epics, sand and sandal, and toga pics that once filled the long forgotten Capitol Theatre in Tamworth, but the pond yearns for the day when we might have an all-Adams program, given the rareness of his visits down under ...

The pond could think of a dozen much-loved pieces by Adams that many would rather hear conducted by him than listening to him deliver up an old Beethoven warhorse, no matter how congenial it is.

I know, I know, they have to mix it up so the new doesn't sound too shocking, and maybe Adams enjoys conducting as a way of clearing his head and maybe Adams has moved on from his older works, but all the same ...

Never mind, while the race for the walkers afterwards was shockingly fierce, it cleansed the pond of Sheehan, while perversely reminding the pond of the Bolter, as classical music is wont to do:

As he travelled, he imagined himself as Peer Gynt – the hero of one of his favourite operas – addressing Wilson in his letters as Solveig, the woman who waited while Peer Gynt roamed the world. “I think that in some ways he probably saw himself on some romantic quest to achieve something,” Wilson said, “which I guess, depending on your criteria, he has.” The theatre writer Alison Croggon has described Peer Gynt, Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play on which the opera was based, as “a pitiless self-portrait of a man fleeing the most essential conflicts within himself, endlessly seduced by his own trolls”. (The Bolt Factor - Andrew Bolt and the Making of an Opportunist).

Yes, even the trolls can love classical music, as they weep into their red wine (only the best, please peasants) at playing the role of a newspaper Scarpia ...

But back to Adams - naturally his concertos were assaulted by coughers in the quiet passages, which makes reading his Hocking a Hooey at the Concert even more eerie, and if you want to take a listen and don't happen to be in Sydney tonight, the program will be broadcast on ABC FM. Do expect the hackers to hock a hooey ...

And the pond does like his illustration for his blog, even though postings are intermittent:

Better his hell mouth than the childishness of the hell-mouthed Murdochians:


  1. Unfortunately there is no cure for intelligent regression which some employees of Daily Terror are suffering. I await commencement of the next stage: uncontrollable thumb-sucking.

  2. The ABC is now as tabloid as the MSM. Ambulance and squirrel chasers,the lot of them.
    We truely are fucked.Like some national race to the bottom that Monty Python could never emulate.Now we are going to buy back the fucking boats! Really.You could not make this stuff up. Now we will have to listen to much sophisticated langauge and be plunged into the sophisticated minds of muppets for the next 48 hours.Off track rant!
    The only consolation of this election is that to a good degree,it has focused the public on how badly we are served by our media masters and with ever plummeting sales figures we can be assured that many of these tools will be flicked onto the scrap heap. So many,and so deserving.

  3. DP - rest assured, many hundreds of us read you every day, and laud you to the heavens as the divine Socrates, paragon of analysis; Conan, destroyer of hypocrisy and the Pallas Athena (or Zena) of honest commentary.

    It's just that sometimes we are too scared to comment, as you are so good.

    Don't hurt me!


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