Friday, January 31, 2014

So many frogs willing to give the scorpions a free ride ...

In this time of click bait turnover, things get lost very quickly. 

Including The Guardian's astute comparison, by implication and association, of the Abbott government with an abrasive, censorial Egyptian military dictatorship in relation to its treatment of any section of the media that dares not to follow the official government line.

Hurling around words like treachery, treason, unpatriotic and un-Australian, such talk being the first refuge of the scoundrel.

There's a downside. Suddenly, in comparison, the Egyptian military dictatorship might appear a little more moderate, a little less rabid.

Uh huh. But, but, but, you say, in billy goat protest, or at least to serve as a straw dog, what about the balanced view of the Fairfaxians?

Well, again in the interest of recording click bait turnover, here's what Pravda by the Yarra yesterday thought was an appropriate and balanced response to the latest, wearying assault on the ABC:

By golly, with balanced friends like these, who needs enemies?

But why publish Paterson at all, a rabid attack dog well known for his views, as is his corporate master, the mysteriously financed IPA?

He has after all, his own platform, the IPA Review, and they have their own website. To quote Paterson:

Australians have at their fingertips access to more news from more varied sources than ever before. Online, ever niche interest and point of view is well covered.

You see? You can just click to enlarge and read what Paterson has to say:

Here's the naked rub, the blatant self-serving self-interest:

... as private media companies continue to struggle with profitability, the continued lavish funding of the ABC only serves to undermine their business model further.

Never mind that The Age, by offering Paterson as click bait, is undermining its business model and alienating its readership further, all presumably in the bizarre notion of balance and letting all forms of eccentricity be heard.

Meanwhile, the story that sparked the storm won't go away, and good on the ABC for going back to the well again and talking to an asylum seeker, and running the story this morning on AM, as you can hear here.

Who knows what goes on while Australian ships patrol the high seas, and Indonesian waters - it's wrapped in secrecy, and the only way forward is by denials.

Was a kind of spray used on the asylum seekers? We won't deny it, but we won't discuss operational matters ...

Why it's enough to form the basis for a Clark and Dawe skit (did you know you can watch Turning Back The News Where It Is Safe To Do So online?)

Meanwhile, what do we cop from the reptiles at the lizard Oz? Why the bouffant one is front and centre, reporting for orders, and ready to portray Scott Morrison as an heroic figure:

You can read Coalition begins boat policy offensive if you can be bothered circumventing the globe or the lizard paywall, but don't worry because it's a content and investigative journalist free zone.

But it is strong on comedy. Here's a portrait of a bold, brave, crusading Scott Morrison at his finest:

Mr Morrison said he would attend the Senate inquiry seeking information on the handling of information under Operation Sovereign Borders and public access to it, although he considered the committee to be a "political stunt". 
The Coalition has been accused of excessive secrecy over illegal boat arrivals. Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young has said the Senate inquiry was about the "power of the Senate versus the arrogance of a government that doesn't want to be held to account". 
Mr Morrison said he would not leave officials to be "subjected to this stunt without me being there beside them to take questions".

Oh yes, he's right up there with Don Quixote, ready to stand alongside his cardigan wearers.

Heroically he's ready to take actual questions, from the fiendishly tricky, deviant and perverted greenies.

What a cosmic marvel.

And he didn't have to be as brave as Pooh, he didn't need to be brave at all:

Previously, the minister had not committed to attend the Senate committee and it was expected his representative in the Senate, Michaelia Cash, would do so.

Now he's mad, Hulk is mad as hell ...

Meanwhile, please allow the pond a personal aside, arising from the news that prime flake and fellow travelling quisling Malcolm Turnbull has decided that this is exactly the right moment to announce a review of the ABC and SBS, and never mind that another review is already in train.

Over the years, the pond came into contact with a number of federal government departments - it was the only sign there was a god determined to sentence the pond to a life of hell on earth - and was surprised at the way they conformed to stereotype.

The ATO was indeed full of grinches, who fancied they were adept at garnering revenue, though this preening self-esteem frequently led to various forms of blindness and folly; Foreign Affairs was full of toffs and eccentrics, and deserved a minister who knew how to wear a stocking; while the ABS, then based in Belconnen, was full of bean counters and cardigan wearers of the most dispirited and dispiriting kind (why they're still there to this very day).

But of all the most woeful and tragic departments in Canberra that the pond came in contact with - the most inept, inconsequential, bumbling and lackadaisical - the now named Department of Communications won hands down.

Its usefulness can be measured just by contemplating the complete uselessness of one agency in its portfolio, ACMA, which is to say the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Now flake and prat Malcolm Turnbull has announced, in best Monty Python style, that he will unleash his very own department on the ABC and SBS to judge their efficiency.

The review, to be conducted by the Department of Communications, will focus on the “efficiency of the operations” of the ABC and SBS. It will be assisted by Peter Lewis, a former Seven West Media chief financial officer. (here)

It should be a fun time for Lewis, because no metaphor can conjure up the real implications - not even the notion of a turtle being sent to judge the speed of a turtle. Not even maths will help: inefficient + inefficient = efficiency simply doesn't work.

There is of course only one point to the review: inefficiencies will be found, and cuts will be made.

And silly old ABC management will clutch at straws:

Fairfax Media understands ABC management is hoping the review will ring-fence the broadcaster from the government's commission of audit. 
The efficiency study is scheduled to be completed by April, which makes it unlikely it will have much bearing on the budget. The minister is understood to have commissioned the study so the ABC could make the difficult decisions that have been forced upon commercial media organisations in recent years. There is a view within government that SBS is already running on an "oily rag", but that parts of the ABC's operations are less efficient.

Uh huh. Yep, SBS is truly fucked, an outpost of Al Jazeera and no meaningful new programming, and NITV is even more fucked, so let's really fuck the ABC.

Well there's a view outside government that the Department of Communications is moribund and might indeed already be a corpse, but never mind, the pond isn't taking bets on the ABC getting a slash and burn in the upcoming budget, because the odds are so short.

And if it turns out to be the quarter of a billion being rumoured in the press, it'll be more than a haircut.

In this context, the soft-gloved, smirking, smiling grovelling interview offered up by Leigh Sales to toff Turnbull verged on the obscene (check it out here and see if the pond is wrong).

The quisling Turnbull, with a smile and a smirk, will send the ABC down, though he might manage a crocodile tear or two along the way.

Remember this?

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has ruled out any cuts to ABC and SBS. Speaking on Election eve, he told SBS that public broadcasters will not see any cuts under an Abbott government. 
“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS,” he said. 
 The news was immediately welcomed. Glenys Stradijot, a spokesperson for Friends of the ABC (Vic) said, “Friends of the ABC was pleased to hear Tony Abbott’s election-eve promise that there will be no cuts to the ABC. 
“We are gratified that the Liberal-National Coalition has recognised the respect and admiration with which the ABC is held by the Australian community. 
“Australia’s independent national broadcaster plays a crucial role in the life and culture of the country. It’s the responsibility of politicians of all political persuasions to ensure that it thrives. “The announcement that a Coalition government would not cut the ABC is good news which we had been waiting for.”  (here)

So many frogs, just waiting to give so many scorpions a ride into the middle of the pond ...

That story ended with a joke:

But does he promise not to privatise, commercialise or merge them too….?

It should have ended but does he promise to keep his promises, or did he keep his fingers crossed behind his back, because he's a lying, cheating son a bitch whose promises mean diddly squat ...

Normally the pond doesn't have problems with sons of bitches, not even when they're bastards. But it's the only polite form of words for describing a prick.

It's always the way. Time after time, the frogs line up. If you want to save money, do you bring the military back home from their completely useless endeavours in Afghanistan? Nope, just cut their pay.

If you want to reward rural folk for voting the right way, do you help them keep their cannery? Nope, teach 'em a lesson in self-sufficiency ...

If you want an organisation that allows a little truth to filter up to power, do you keep your promises? Nope,  you shoot the messenger, or at least cut off their feet and then see how they stand. Everyone loves a Black Knight sketch ...

So if you make a promise, never ever keep it, because you want people to understand that you in particular - Tony Abbott - and in general politicians, are just a lying cheating dissembling mob of arseholes who'll do and say anything to get power, and when in power, do and say exactly the opposite of what they've promised, and mutter about changed circumstances and exigencies and efficiencies ...

By golly, after all that, how about a bit of kulture to do with vows and promises for light relief?

Under the stars the air was light 
But dark below the boughs, 
The still air of the speechless night, 
When lovers crown their vows. ..

... There, when hueless is the west 
And the darkness hushes wide, 
Where the lad lies down to rest 
Stands the troubled dream beside. 

There, on thoughts that once were mine, 
Day looks down the eastern steep, 
And the youth at morning shine 
Makes the vow he will not keep. (and here, for the rest of A. E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad)

Well he's no longer a lad, but he surely is a duplicitous fork-tongued MAMIL ...

(Below: but at least it's a golden time for the cartoonists, and the golden David Rowe. More Rowe here)

Put it another way, in case you've never done a Greg Hunt and looked up The Scorpion and the Frog:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Brutes walk amongst us, and they're not the cardigan wearers at the ABC ...

(Above: David Rowe sets the tone for the day, and as always more Rowe here. By golly he's fun).

It was remiss of the pond not to note what Janet 'Dame Slap' Albrechtsen wrote yesterday on her return to the feral pack of neocon commentators that infest the lizard Oz the way cockroaches infest the average Sydney home (don't get the pond started on the rats and the mice).

Never mind, yesterday Guy Rundle did a delicious smackdown in Crikey, Media briefs: Planet Janet speaks (behind the paywall).

Crikey is a fierce spammer when you drop off the twig as a subscriber, but if Rundle keeps ravaging the commentariat, the financially troubled rag might just find a niche in these desperate times.

Rundle's much more fun to read than going through the tedious business of visiting the faraway land above the faraway tree to read Dame Slap's words (behind the paywall), as Rundle ponders the perils of a hack drafting a speech to advise 'the great and the good on what to say to calm the ravening masses':

Witness Planet Janet Albrechtsen’s words of advice to President Barack Obama. Planet suggests that Obama should stay out of the Syrian civil war and let the Arabs sort their own problems out, rather than pursuing his current strategy of staying out of the Syrian civil war and letting the Arabs sort their own problems out. 

For sheer Australian Idol levels of cringe, you can’t go past a neocon hawk giving handy hints to someone who has steered the country clear of an Iraq-style disaster by ignoring everything the neocons thought and did. Add in an asinine misunderstanding of the conflict (Sunni-Shia rivalries ancient as the moon rising over the camel-trodden dunes sort of thing) and you have the perfect know-nothing op-ed. The purpose is, as always, a retrospective justification of the disaster of Iraq. Planet paints it as a triumph and a liberation and rolls Afghanistan and Libya in with it.

And so on. It almost tempted the pond to google around the paywall and read Dame Slap.


All causes shall give way: I am in blood and commentariat verbiage,
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

Never mind, as Macbeth then worked out:

... My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
We are yet but young in deed.

And so on we go.

Perhaps there were a few ABC types who thought that by delivering the coalition a few union heads, they might be given a get out of jail card by the coalition.

If so, they were wrong. Abbott is a good hater, and a demagogue most at home dog whistling to the far right in shock jock land, and as already noted on these pages by a correspondent, he's delivered Aunty an Aunty Jack.

Abbott is a forked-tongue mendacious person who doesn't in the least mind being contradictory while smacking down his foes, as you can contemplate while reading Tony Abbott blasts national broadcaster: ABC takes 'everyone's side but Australia's'.

Can an abusive bear hold these two thoughts in his noggin at the one time? Of course he can:

"I want the ABC to be a straight news-gathering and news-reporting organisation, and a lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everybody's side but Australia's,'' Mr Abbott said. (here, happily behind the paywall)

Straight? He wants it to be straight?

Of course he doesn't. He wants it to be a home-town cheerleader, on side with dinkum Aussies, the kind of mindless media that serves up dollops of Putin worship on a daily basis. The Australian and the Murdochians writ large.

Abbott: that was, that was a, a deep concern and I said so at the time, um, look, ahhhh, you know, if there’s credible evidence, ahh, the ABC like all other news organisations, is entitled to report it but you can’t leak to be critical, ahh, you shouldn’t leak to be critical of your own country, ahhh, and, and, ah, you certainly ought to be prepared, eh, to give, eh, the Australian navy and its hardworking personnel the benefit of the doubt You would like the national broadcaster, ah, to have a, ah, a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team, so to speak. (thanks to the pond's correspondent)

A rigorous commitment to truth that is immediately distorted by displaying a basic affection to the home team.

Abbott speaks out of a horse's arse, but he's also a cunning politician, and he knows the time is right to do some ABC bashing.

Here's what you cop at the moment in a Fairfax poll:

This from Fairfax readers, ostensibly part of the ABC-Fairfax media conspiracy!

Meanwhile that ponce from the Eastern Suburbs, Malcolm Turnbull, has stepped into the ring:

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has strongly defended the ABC's editorial independence in the face of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's attack on the national broadcaster, which he says ''instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's''. 

Mr Turnbull defended the Prime Minister's right to critique the ABC but, in comments that could be interpreted as resistance to Mr Abbott, he said the ABC was rightly accountable to its board of directors, not politicians. Prime Minister Tony Abbott Prime Minister Tony Abbott: said that the ABC ''instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's''. 
''What's the alternative … the editor-in-chief [of the ABC] becomes the prime minister?'' he said. ''Politicians, whether prime ministers or communications ministers, will often be unhappy with the ABC … but you can't tell them what to write.''  (Abbott, Turnbull clash over ABC)

It's pathetic, feeble stuff, and of course in coalition times there's nothing like a debate about the role of the ABC and fluff and navel-gazing to distract people from matters to hand.

It allows people to talk about the need for patriotism and balance, and the essential need to report on facts and to do so in a balanced way, and without bias and so on. Yep, that's it, just move a little to the right of Genghis Khan.

For all big Mal's weak tea response, the reptiles at the lizard Oz have a direct line to the White House and they know what President Abbott is building up to, which is funding cuts for the ABC:

Uh huh. There will be payback and there will be blood, and if this leak doesn't pay off, the coalition will find another way.

Meanwhile, after all the blather about the heroic and wonderful Navy and how the ABC has done the dirt on them, what do we find has slipped through to the keeper?

'Field allowance' cut: Diggers' pay to be trimmed in push to save budget millions of dollars.

The daily "field allowance", which is given to Defence personnel serving in arduous conditions and worth up to $56 per day, will no longer be paid to all troops in Afghanistan, but rather decided on a case by case basis. 
Other allowances, worth $200 per day for troops in Afghanistan and $125 per day for those deployed in the Gulf States and anti-piracy operations, are also in line to be scaled back.

Yep, while everyone's blathering about the ABC and its disloyalty to the navy, the coalition is delivering the armed forces a substantial haircut and paycut, and there's nary a boo from any goose, including Neil James, who has fallen into line like a lickspittle lackey.

This puts the pond in the awkward situation of having to agree with Stephen Conroy:

Labor's defence spokesman Stephen Conroy shares those concerns and has accused the Government of "penny-pinching". 
 "Mr Abbott is hiding behind the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan to cut the pay of people who are involved in anti-piracy, who are protecting the waterways," Senator Conroy told reporters in Perth. "(This will) punish and penalise serving ADF personnel by up to $19,000. 
"This is 1,000 personnel who are still serving there, who are still doing the same jobs that they were before."

See how it's done?

Accuse the ABC of disloyalty and a lack of patriotism and so on, and then shaft the actual workers in the field still doing the dirty work - who perforce just have to suck it up and follow orders.

Berate the ABC, while behind the arras, wield the knife.

The pond has always had a simple view on serving personnel. When they're doing tough work they should get paid a decent rate of pay.

Vietnam? Don't blame the military, blame the politicians. Ditto Afghanistan, Iraq, whatever.

Now comes the notion that turning up in Afghanistan is a doddle, with improved infrastructure and living conditions.

Say what? It's a bloody war zone where bombs still go off all the time, and personnel, kept there at their pleasure by the federal government, are always a target.

What gutless, duplicitous hypocritical wonders these politicians are.

While we're at it, the pond has the same attitude to decent pay for fire fighters, cops and others. Moan about a fire fighter being paid well because a couple of times a year they have to go into a burning building? Well you won't catch the pond going into a burning building any time of the year.

And if you pay cops poorly you'll be guaranteed to increase resentment, and the inclination to corruption, and not much else. Sure some NSW cops might be as wild and as woolly as the cops in Mad Max, but when the pond is confronted by crime, we know we'll be hollering for a marshall.

Here's the reality for the ABC.

Leigh Sales might fawn all over jolly Joe Hockey as she did last night - by golly it was a shocking sight to see, as they danced and they danced, and Sales had not a thought of laying a glove on the nice smiling man, as you can check out here.

And Fran Kelly might try to talk sense with Senator Ian Macdonald, as she did this very morning, and here it is,  but the chances are, all you're likely to get is an incoherent rant about being from the old school, quite possibly the school Raquel Welch attended in One Million BC.

Oh and a rant about climate change and what a wonderful chap Bob Carter is, and how climate science is all about the views of ABC journalists and not actually climate scientists, and please give us some balance, which is to say balance of the cloud cuckoo right wing ranting kind.

Whatever they put in the water in Queensland - the pond knows it isn't fluoride - it's powerful stuff, and it's truly terrifying that McDonald is a coalition voice, since in his own inimitable cane toad way, he's as far out as Cory Bernardi ...

Thick as two bricks and as dumb as two sticks ...

However the minions now try to play it - fawn or talk sense - the ABC is now back in the same situation as it's always been under a coalition government, as a straw dog:

Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines "Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs". 
Su Ch'e commentary on this verse explains: "Heaven and Earth are not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them." (here)

Yep, they're just like a good old piñata. Give it a good beating and out falls the lollies.

Remember the Richard Alston years, the crazy, crazy, rabid as a mad dog Richard Alston years? And the pale faced, haunted look, and the paranoid feral tendency to persecution, arising from a persecution complex?

Alston's complaints (seriously) ...

The Minister's complaint ... (actually 68 complaints in 2003)

And so on and tediously on.

This time the Murdoch press has a vested interest in degutting the ABC.

You can get an idea of how shameless Murdoch is in pursuing his interests by noting that, right at the moment that the News of the World trial is unfolding in the UK - and all it's revealing - rumours have begun to surface that Murdoch is interested in mounting another takeover bid for BSkyB (Is Murdoch poised to launch another BSkyB takeover bid?)

Shame? For a Murdoch it's a meaningless concept ...

Meanwhile, the Daily Terror, Australia's least trusted newspaper, is feeling its oats kick in:

And who is that former ABC chairman?

Why Maurice bloody Newman ... the PM's business advisor ... with a vested interest in proceedings ...

Sheesh, where's Guy Rundle when he's needed?

Meanwhile, the reptiles at the lizard Oz think they've hit another winner:

Don't you just love the lyrical picture, which serenely sets up the copy that follows?

Councils in NSW will be instructed to distinguish between "clear and present dangers" of coastal erosion and flooding and "doomsday" UN scenarios of global sea-level rises under a landmark policy on coastal planning and climate change to be unveiled today. NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard will release a draft circular aimed at stopping some coastal councils from imposing draconian planning restrictions based exclusively on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions of what could happen a century ahead. (the rest behind the paywall here)

Uh huh. That reminded the pond of a story by old favourite Nick Possum.

We have seen the future and it squelches

It had this tidy illustration, taken at the aptly named Bay street, Tempe in good old rum, sodomy and the lash Sydney town - and nothing wrong with any of that - on the 3rd January 2014, showing a king tide at work.

Sadly it's in black and white and isn't quite so lyrical, and so you'll never find it in the dissembling propaganda that passes for news at News Corp :

Where's Guy Rundle when he's needed?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time to raise a glass, and try not to smash it in someone's face ...

(Above: did anyone mention an alcohol-suffused culture and violence in the streets, or breweries wrapping themselves in war celebrations, the flag and patriotism, the first refuge of scoundrels?)

On the upside, the pond presumes it will now be some time before we'll be seeing Peter Cosgrove appearing in ersatz television commercials flogging beer as the spirit of choice for the spirit of ANZACS.

You know, this sort of thing, the kind you find at vbbeertv.

Yep, it was a classic, nauseating mix and match of jingoist patriotism with charity and flogging beer.

No wonder the pond daily wakes in fright, ready for the next six o'clock swill. And it turns out, the pond isn't the only one, judging by YouTube comments:

Tell you what Cosgrove, I'll spend the day sober and give the money I would have spent "raising a glass" straight to Legacy instead of Carlton United Breweries. Then, I'll do what I've done every year since I was a school boy and write a letter to the PM asking why our veterans have to rely on charity at all? Then, I'll visit Grandad's grave and tell the poor bastard, who lost his health, half his mind, and nearly all his mates, what a wonderful job you and VB are doing for the boys. Sound good? 

This ad is appalling. How dare someone use Anzac Day as a tool to make money. I'm never buying VB ever again.

Hear, hear. If only the pond bought VB in the first place ...

Of course the bouffant one is wildly excited:

But let's face it, the bouffant one is so uxorious, shortly after the news that the sun shines out of Abbott's arse, supportive Shanahan would be rushing into print with Abbott is already winning congratulations from astonished and supportive witnesses at the wonderful sight of the sun shining out of his arse.

Meanwhile, "bash a black" day continues amongst the commentariat reptiles in the Murdoch rags.

The Bolter was first out of the blocks, but now little madam echo, Miranda the Devine, joins in the chorus:

Now the pond has little knowledge of Goodes, because apparently he's a footballer, in an arcane game which involves some kind of aerial ping pong. But it seems he's never played for Carlton or Collingwood, so at least he's not eternally doomed to a life in hell amongst the Pellists and the angry Sydney Anglicans.

That said, the pond wonders if the Devine, the Bolter and the others making hay with Goodes bashing understand just how mean-spirited and downright racist they sound?

Juxtaposing their sobbing about a victimised powerless 13 year old girl from a disadvantaged background, with a nasty mean black footballer?

Seeing as how Goodes himself, according to his wiki here,  had a troubled and restless early family life.

Probably not.

You see, you can always chose to tell a story two ways.

It goes without saying that the nasty, mean-spirited types like the Bolter and Miranda the Devine will always tell it in the black-bashing way - yet even the reptiles at the lizard Oz saw a way to propose that at one point Goodes himself might have had difficulties early in life:

Horsham, 300km north-west of Melbourne, 1994. 
Lisa May was a single parent raising three sons, the Goodes boys, Adam, 14, Jake, 12, and Brett, 10. Lisa May had separated from the boys' father 10 years previously, and had recently chosen to escape from an abusive partner. She chose not to be a victim, not to wallow in a past that saw nine of her 10 siblings taken from their parents; saw her removed at the age of five from her parents at Point Pearce, an indigenous town on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, 70km from Wallaroo where Adam Goodes was born on January 8, 1980. She chose to devote her life to her sons. 
"I'm very grateful to have a mother who wanted something better for her children than what she had growing up," says Goodes. "There were sacrifices she made to make sure we went to school. To make sure we did our homework. To make sure we were well fed. I have no doubt she's proud of us, but we're forever indebted to her for those sacrifices she made for us." 
At 14, Goodes had a room filled with posters of the black US basketball star Michael Jordan. There was a time when he was climbing out his bedroom window to run to the local phone box to call the police to report domestic violence. But he could relax in his room, fantasise about "air", hang time, the wonder and grace of a Jordan slam dunk. 
On his first day of high school he passed a bus shelter where some kids offered him a puff on a joint; he politely declined.  (Adam Goodes and the 'matter of choice')

You know how the rest of the story goes. Instead of a toke, he picked up a football, thereby ensuring the pond would have absolutely no interest in his future career. But how to get to this?

Adam Goodes is a terrible choice as Australian of the Year. A respected sports celebrity, he is being rewarded for victimising a powerless 13-year-old girl from a disadvantaged background.

Luckily in its pre-Oscar celebrations, the pond watched Twelve Years a Slave and came to an understanding.

Surely Goodes is an uppity black, and we all know what that means ...

You see, it's all very good to improve yourself, and give yourself airs and graces and swan about as a free man, but a year of a black talking about racism?

Why it's simply too much to for a Miranda to bear ...

Happily the Devine piece is behind the paywall of the least trusted newspaper in Australia, so there's no need to reward the race-bating with a link.

Meanwhile, the reptiles thoughtfully balanced their talk of Goodes' difficult childhood with another rant from Maurice """ Newman, Abbott right on prosperity path (behind the paywall because research has determined that taking more than one Newman a month is bad for your health).

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is the new disclaimer added at the bottom:

Maurice Newman is chairman of the PM's Business Advisory Council. The views expressed here are his alone.

Yes, but he's the chairman of the PM's Business Advisory Council, so let's give his opinions the gravitas they deserve - right from the horse's mouth, so to speak, or the horse's arse, if you will, along with the sunshine.

But there's a difficulty. You see, Abbott was speaking at Davos, surrounded by celebrities and ... gasp ... Europeans.

Why the lad even went to France for his holiday. These are dangerous Europhile, Francophile tendencies. The next thing you know the lad might be tempted to have it off with an actress on the side.

You know how it is with those European degenerates (and speaking of same, in its pre-Oscar reverie, the pond also watched The Great Beauty, the best Fellini film since Fellini stopped making them, and full of nuns. There's a lot to be said for degenerate Italian films, even if Newman wouldn't have the first clue about them).

Never mind, how to correct these dangerous, degenerate tendencies?

Well wisely Maurice points out that the way forward is to embrace the treatment of workers doled out by Communist China, because there's nothing like a totalitarian one party state as an admirable model:

Migrants are attracted more by welfare than work, but job seekers find inflexible workplace laws restrict employment opportunities, forcing them on to welfare. These laws are creating social unrest in many British and European cities. An objective commentary on Europe's workplace rigidities was given during the GFC by Jin Liqun, head of China's state investment arm. He described European workers as "slothful" and "indolent" and blamed Europe's outdated labour laws and welfare systems. He was right. These laws encourage poor work practices, low productivity and, for employers, a preference for machines over humans.

Yes, those slothful and indolent Europeans. What they need is a one party state, and a Communist party and the Chinese military and complete censorship to produce a servile population willing to work like machines so the machines can get done out of a job ...

Because, you know, the whole world is determined to replace machines, and heck, if we can manage it, get back to the good old days before Henry Ford started building model-T Fords ...

Next thing you know, there'll be workers jumping out the higher levels of the Apple plant, and all will be well, with flexible workplace laws ensuring workers are treated like battery hens.

Is there anything else?

Well yet again we're treated to a member of the elite - he's chairman of the PM's Business Advisory Council, don't ya know - railing against elites:

Despite demonstrable policy failure, belief among elites that a handful of senior people in government, collaborating with business and labour leaders, can command faster growth and more socially equitable outcomes, endures.

Say what? So what's Newman doing and why the fuck does the Business Advisory Council exist, if not to provide perks and status to a handful of senior people in government collaborating with business leaders?

There's plenty more comedy, and as usual Newman's rant is full of diatribes about socialism and collectivist thinking and the WEF being a private UN with a lofty, feel-good agenda, balanced by even more uxorious talk of the wonders of a refreshing Tony Abbott, so lofty that the bubbly beaded Abbott quaffing ale ended up sounding higher than the Matterhorn:

...  in the five years since the GFC, rather than prepare the world for a sustainable future, policy responses have further concentrated risks, entrenched vested interests and all but exhausted fiscal and monetary ammunition. It is to be hoped that the G20 in Brisbane will be more Abbott and less WEF.

Yes, it's a Tony Abbott led world economic recovery, followed by a Tony Abbott led economic boom.

No doubt because Maurice's favourite sock puppet will soak up the wisdom of Maurice, embrace Chinese Marxist labor practices, with a Chinese tendency, and we'll all step forward into the light ...

Finally the pond got its news yesterday from mX, the Murdoch throwaway guaranteed to waste no more than one minute of your life before providing handy train litter, and was disturbed to learn, courtesy the front page of the rag that there were trained individuals who had headed off to war offshore, and on returning to Australia could pose a significant national security risk.

Apparently they'd be filling the hospitals with PTSD sufferers and thoughts of suicide and possibly they'd join bikie gangs and run wild and free and terrorise Campbell Newman and perhaps even join unions ...

Oh wait, it wasn't about the poor bastards returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, it was about "up to 120" aliens and warriors who might return from Syria and who might do something though no one seems to have done anything yet...

So it goes with fear-mongering. It's a never ending, thankless task, and how lucky we are to have the tireless George Brandis, always ready to take an hour away from his library and to step up to the plate.

Never mind, the only reason the pond mentions it at all is to note that Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen is back:

Yep, she's baaaack, and it turns out that Dame Slap adopts the same sort of hours and working conditions as the cardigan-wearers at the ABC, and has only turned up at the very end of January to sort out the world's problems.

Strangely, she wasn't missed at all, and it seems to be a safe bet to say that her squawkings for the rest of the year will do diddly squat for said problems of the world ...

But isn't that the way with the commentariat? Just spreading FUD, and instead of doing it in a blog, they get paid for the privilege by mug punters who pay for the pleasure ...

Yep, it's a strange world, no doubt about it. The pond feels the need for a beer and a bit of that ANZAC spirit coming on ...

(Below: the pond shares a drink with Cathy Wilcox, more Wilcox here)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Off we gaily go with the pixies and the Caterists ...

The other day, Mark Day was urging newspapers to provide solid, upright, upstanding intelligent coverage and commentary, in order to avoid losing readership.

It's therefore a complete mystery, right up there with transubstantiation, why the reptiles at the lizard Oz keep on publishing the wit and wisdom of Nick Cater.

No one sensible could be bothered to read Cater, and certainly they'd be mad to pay for the privilege. Only someone in desperate quest for blogger filler would waste five minutes with mindless Caterist stupidity.

He's at it again today, in Bitten by the dispiriting dogma of sustainability (behind the paywall so you can go on living a sustainable life).

That's apparently because Cater likes things to be unsustainable, and the more unsustainable they are the better.

But at least the source of what the pond thought was inherent stupidity is now clear.

Cater is a Randian, and quite unsustainably.

In his disquisition, Cater  concludes grandly, in a Randian way:

"Wealth does not exists as a fixed, static quantity," wrote Rand. "It is the creation of a dynamic, boundless mind. And it has no inherent limitation."

Oh dear. Of course there was an inherent limitation to the wealth produced by Rand's dynamic, boundless mind:

The Right should be commended politically for their ability to develop and stick to a unified message. But close inspection of this unified message reveals a disappointing secret identified by a student of the Godfather of Neo-conservatism, --- the University of Chicago's Leo Strauss. The student, Anne Norton ("Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire") identified what she called VIP-DIP meaning Venerated in Public, Disdained in Private. "Do as I say, not as I do." The list of vip-dipers on the Right runs from Harold Bloom to Newt Gingrich, but certainly not Ayn Rand. Right? 
Say it ain't so Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum. 
A heavy smoker who refused to believe that smoking causes cancer brings to mind those today who are equally certain there is no such thing as global warming. Unfortunately, Miss Rand was a fatal victim of lung cancer. 
 However, it was revealed in the recent "Oral History of Ayn Rand" by Scott McConnell (founder of the media department at the Ayn Rand Institute) that in the end Ayn was a vip-dipper as well. An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor). 
As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help." 
But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit. 
In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest. (here)

So there's you're inherent limitation to wealth. And what do you do? Why become a Queen of the welfare state and live high on the hog, in the same way as people on Newstart usually holiday in European ski resorts during the winter season ... Put it in another, graphic, way:

Now let's ignore the notion that Ayn Rand is one of those things a lot of us, when we're 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, would pick up and have a read, and then have a laugh, and then go on to a more mature understanding of the world.

That doesn't help us with Caterists - it's a fair guess that Cater is over the age of 17 or 18, though perhaps that's only physical, and perhaps it's a mental thing.

You see, Caterists keep going back to that Randian well:

"The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow," Ayn Rand wrote in 1972. "They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other until one day they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology."

Indeed. Unless you happen to be a fierce smoker, and then you discover you have lung cancer, in which case the uncontested absurdities of people supporting big tobacco turn out to the follies of tomorrow.

Or unless you happen to be a routine reader of The Australian, in which case the uncontested absurdities of today must become the unacceptable slogans of tomorrow, lest the Murdochian ratbaggery on view daily might suddenly be declared the country's official ideology.

Oh wait, their anointed warrior is now in power ... and Caterism is now the country's official ideology.

Which has its dangers. After all, you wouldn't want a Caterist making an effort to construct their own thoughts, or indulge in a little bit of satire:

What a splendid start to the year it has been for Australia. First the Ashes, then the one-day trophy and finally the corporate sustainability prize awarded to our own Westpac Banking Corporation in Davos. Sustainability is "a leading-edge issue", which means no one has a clue what it is, not even Wikipedia. The best it can manage is that sustainability is "a multi-faceted concept" and "a matter of ongoing argument". So much for the wisdom of crowds.

Uh huh. So Caterists love to do a Greg Hunt.

Of course if you actually went to Wikipedia, you'd find extensive coverage of the notion that sustainability can have different meanings in different circumstances to different people.

But when you're a shallow bear with a shallow brain intent on cheap point scoring, you just want an easy lead-in par, which can help confuse and conflate, and what better way than to wring hands and deplore a word being a matter of ongoing argument, debate and discussion.

With a Caterist, there can only be ongoing certainty, and never any question of ongoing questioning.

That's the way it is when you're a rabid ranting ideologue. Self-doubt can't ever be a part of the debate.

If you head off to a dictionary, you'll discover that sustainability is "the property of being sustainable" - go on, give yourself a hearty Caterist snigger - and that "sustain", the root of sustainable, cops some nine definitions, including:

9. To keep up a joke or assumed role, for example competently ... (here, where you'll also find other definitions which anyone other than a moronic Caterist would understand)

What do you know? The joke that is Caterism, and the assumed role of punditry, turns out to be sustainable ...

Caterism, it also turns out, is a most bizarre mix of random thoughts, of the kind that might see bears trapped while on a quest for honey.

Corporate speak gets a good spanking, with Westpac on the dunking stool, and so does the naughty size of the CEO's salary. And the notion of female chief executives is also given a sustainable comedy routine, because women in power are inherently funny.

And there are other typical sustainable and timely comedy routines, like a reference to the live coverage of the green-collar Oscars.

Then comes the bloody marvellous:

The fetish for paying taxes transfers money from the private to the public sector, and there is nothing remotely sustainable about that.

Absolutely. The very last thing we want is a sustainable health system, or sustainable public transport, or sustainable roads, or a sustainable justice or education system.

All these wretched things should be turned over to Chairman Rupert at once, or at least to the private sector. So that the next time you take a crap or run a shower, you'll be supporting a sustainable private sector.

But when you're on a sustainable roll, the Caterist rule is that you keep going, and let the devil take the hindmost:

As Adam Smith once noted, the baker, the butcher and the brewer used not to provide our dinner out of the goodness of their hearts "but from their regards to their own interest".

Actually Adam Smith once noted a helluva lot more, but you'd have to do a Greg Hunt or a Cater and head off to the wiki The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrows of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous or the humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility. The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.

Sadly Smith got it wrong. The greatest ruffians, the most hardened violators, the Caterists and the Murdochians and the reptiles at the lizard Oz, seem to be completely without it. Whatever it might be. Go on, have a Caterist snigger.

Is there an explanation?

As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected, but by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation. Though our brother is on the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations. Neither can that faculty help us to this any other way, than by representing to us what would be our own, if we were in his case. It is the impressions of our own senses only, not those of his, which our imaginations copy. By the imagination, we place ourselves in his situation.

Ah, there it is, the Caterists, besides having a lack of intelligence, have a complete lack of imagination.

By now you'll have guessed that the pond isn't really engaging in actual discussion, debate or argument with the Caterists.

That's because the argument is lazy, shoddy and incoherent, and relies on cheap easy caricatures and stereotypes:

Nowadays, however, we like our businesses to be socially responsible, environmentally aware, ethically orientated, big-hearted Arthurs. Thus the corporate sector has surrendered to the dispiriting dogma of sustainability, the heresy that took hold among the hippies in the late 1960s and mutated into a misanthropic, deep green movement in the 70s. Today it wears a pinstriped suit and sits in the boardroom signing off on the most egregious muddle-headed nonsense in the name of corporate responsibility. Sustainability may present itself as harmless mumbo-jumbo that helps build a brand, but its underlying philosophy is antithetical to freedom and to enterprise.

Uh huh. It turns out that there was a bit of the wiki that the Caterists missed, which was a history of sustainability. Yep, notions of sustainability precede the hippies by a few thousand years, which is why, for its sins, the pond was once made to study the three field system in medieval days.

Conclusion? Well it would seem that the Caterists yearn to return to the days of the great robber barons, presumably on the basis that they funded really good art galleries (like the Frick Collection, and don't you worry about how Frick actually made his fortune).

As for actual sustainability?

Well it turns out that Caterists are glass half full types. Here's how it's done:

Sustainability is Malthusianism for the 21st century: the fallacy that population is growing faster than the available resources and that ruination is just around the corner. 
The world viewed through the prism of sustainability is a deeply depressing place in which dreams are discouraged, imagination is restricted and the spirit of progress frowned upon. 
Sustainability means never having to say sorry. In 1990 the World Hunger Project calculated that the ecosystem could sustainably support six billion people, and then only if they lived on a vegetarian diet. More than two decades later, with 7.1 billion people living on the planet, global beef production has increased by 5 per cent per capita, pork by 17 per cent and chicken by 82 per cent, and that's not counting the eggs. 
The World Food Programme estimates that there are 170 million fewer malnourished people than there were in 1990.

Ah the Erich Segal of unsustainable behaviour, but hang on, hang on, what's that reference to the World Food Programme?

Oh sheesh, it's a United Nations programme, and before you know it we'll be hearing the sounds of the black helicopters and an international conspiracy, and it all happens because nations are being unfairly taxed to create useless statistics for dummies like Cater to deploy. But do go on:

The inconvenient prosperous truth is that the human beings have, since the dawn of time, created more than they used on average over the course of a lifetime. 
The happy by-product of an expanding population ever more interconnected is that the sum total of human knowledge grows exponentially. 
The energy crisis, the one that is supposed to lie just around the corner, has been creating anxiety since the 1600s when Britain began to run out of firewood. Scarcity spurred the development of coal. The great whale oil crisis of the 1840s stimulated the search for oil. Time after time the coming catastrophe is postponed through abundance, and the inherent dishonesty of sustainability is exposed. 
Human ingenuity is an infinitely renewable resource. Prosperity comes from seizing the elements of nature and rearranging their form.

Climate science? Acidification of oceans?

Hush now, humans will have a wonderful time seizing the waves of the oceans and seas and rearranging their form ...

And this naturally brings us back to the Randian notion that wealth has no inherent limitation. Except when you have to go on to welfare, and you have to hope that the Randians and the Caterists didn't get there first and abolish the whole scheme ...

What really can be said about this fatuous level of enormous stupidity?

What's that you say? Sovereign risk? Beware downsides? Risk management? Do some planning? Look before you leap? Have regard to consequences of actions?

What nonsense, what silly corporate blather.

Happily there's a cartoon that's been drawn up just for the Caterists in our midst:

You see, it goes down like this.

Go on, shit in your nest, shit as many times as you like. and then make yourself wealthy by seizing the elements and rearranging their form.

It's Caterist philosophy at its finest ...

And don't you go worrying about leading a modest lifestyle. Let's not have any of that Amish, fundamentalist Christian crap. The more conspicuous the consumption the better. Piss everything against the wall, and keep on pissing, and send it off to the dump and don't worry about any of this do-gooder recycling crap, or any nonsense about having regard to resources and the environment.

Tear up the Hunter Valley in search of coal. There's sure to be another Hunter Valley somewhere else. Bugger the Great Barrier Reef. We can build a new reef out of tyres,

Remember the lord and human ingenuity will provide ...

And if you face some catastrophe as a result, don't come whimpering to the pond. Get in the welfare queue with Ayn Rand ...

Monday, January 27, 2014

The growing irrelevance of angry old Murdochians ...

(Above: the Perth Mirror 15th July 1939, featuring a speech by Mr. Menzies, with bonus period advertisements. Click on to enlarge to read the text).

Here's a little history to contemplate this holiday Monday.

March 1938 - Hitler achieves Anschluss with Austria
September 1938 - the Munich crisis and the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia begins
October 1938 - Germany moves into the Sudeten land.
November 1938 - Hungarians take a slice of Czechoslovakia
9/10 November 1938, Kristallnacht, reported around the world
March 1939 - Czechoslovakia is no more the protectorates of Bohemia and Moravia are established by Germany
Lithuania gives the district around Memel to Germany
April 1939 - Hitler revokes the 1934 non-aggression pact with Poland and the 1935 Anglo-German Naval agreement, and makes demands on Poland in relation to a Polish Corridor to Danzig and East Prussia
Italy attacks Albania and in May 1939 signs a Pact of Steel with Germany.

July 1939 Robert Gordon Menzies, aka Bob, aka Ming the Merciless, aka pompous Warden of the Cinque Ports, advises a Perth audience:

 "History will label Hitler as one of the really great men of the century". "As far as the German people are concerned, Hitler has proved himself a great man and a tireless worker. He dragged his nation from bankruptcy and revolution, and I think he has too much intelligence lightly to cast them back into another war". "Let us judge Hitler soberly and fairly ..." Menzies began, before the audience drowned out the rest of his sentence ...

Shortly after in August 1939, Stalin notoriously and cynically concluded and signed in Moscow the Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.

On September 3rd 1939 Menzies would declare war on a country led by one of the really great men of the century.

So while leftists were profoundly deluded about Stalin, Menzies was profoundly deluded about Hitler. And we could chart exactly the same delusions - with Japan rampant in China and Manchuria - that saw Menzies ship pig iron to Japan shortly before Australia would be at war with that country, despite the objections of trade unionists ...

There are a number of speeches where Menzies revealed his deep delusions, and much later in 1965 he would lead Australia into a singularly useless and destructive war in Vietnam, a path that would involve the revival of conscription, but that's another story.

You'll never read any of this counter history in the Murdoch press. Instead, apparently to outrage any intelligent reader within cooee, the world cops this sort of crap:

Is there any deep irony in all of this?

Well yes, and it's thoughtfully provided by Mark Day, having a senior moment for the reptiles at the lizard Oz, under the header Dumb down at your peril (behind the paywall because this is a holiday and you should be out and about and enjoying the sheer joy of still being alive).

Yep, roll that one around on your tongue. A Murdochian telling fellow Murdochians that you dumb down at your peril ...

Does it get any fucking weirder? Presumably the hapless Day doesn't bother to read the Bolter, the HUN, the Daily Terror, the Crow-eater Daily, the Brisbane cane-toad blower, Akker Dakker, Miranda the Devine railing at bicycles while worshipping the country's First MAMIL, Hendo the Prattling Polonius, and Nick "meteor crater for a brain" Cater, let alone Greg "isn't Tony glorious" Sheridan competing with the bouffant Dennis "isn't Tony even more glorious" Shanahan  ...

Never mind, because what Day offers is a bleat that provides a genuine insight into the terrors and fears that presumably make hardened Murdochians wake sweating in the middle of the night.

As usual, it's all to do with the "youff" of today, and their wretched ways:

... I asked if they could explain what they were doing; what were the elements that made social media such a necessary part of living? The answers ran the gamut of "I don't know" to "nothing". Further interrogation revealed they were mostly keeping up with what their friends were doing ("At the mall", "Going to beach", "Just chillin" etc) or checking to see if Justin Bieber had egged any more neighbours. It was clear their engagement with their social media devices was intense, yet the content they were consuming had all the depth and meaning of a saucer. This generation of humanity has never been more connected, which I am sure is a wonderful thing. But why? For what purpose are they engaging so enthusiastically with this new technology? 
They are using the greatest educational tool ever devised to share banalities. There are no lessons to be learned, no conclusions to be reached nor any benefit to be taken from life's experiences. They are being consumed by their own noise. My efforts to have a discussion around this were doomed from the start. It was my fault of course - why did I ever think that the youngsters were capable of comparing and debating the merits or otherwise of life before social media when they knew nothing of it? It's like life before electricity, or television. If you didn't know of it, did it really exist?

The pond immediately felt an enormous wave of sympathy for any "youff" caught anywhere near this tedious Ancient Mariner, stopping them and waving his gnarled finger, when all they wanted to do was get to the bloody wedding party ...

It's pathetic really, and sad to watch it all unfold:

We older folk see social media as something new; a phenomenon that needs to be understood and dealt with. Kids see is as the way it is and they deal with it in their own ways. Dating, courting and romancing are rituals played out according to rules known only to the young ones. When I suggested to a teenage grandson that he might pick up the phone and invite a lass to the movies he was horrified, insisting "That's weird," and "You just don't understand." He's right. I don't. 
But I do understand that every generation seeks to differentiate itself from the previous and that their parents and grandparents will respond by being appalled, puzzled or confused.

Lass? Oh dear and d'oh ...

Truth to tell, while Australia still floats along in digital lotus land, thanks to big Mal and Monsieur le Lapin, there are many more things already in play than apparently dreamed of by Day.

For an example, look no further than Lauren Collins' The Love App (in The New Yorker's digitally orientated edition late last year), which is about dating and relating in the truly wired turf of Seoul. Unfortunately it's now inside the paywall, but if Day was feeling mildly alienated by the young 'uns around him, he'd be totally freaked out by young courting Koreans.

Come to think of it, he could also freak out by reading, in the same edition, Burkhard Bilger's Auto Correct, about Google's self-driving car (outside the paywall at time of writing), or Kim Tingley's The Body Electric, about computers under the skin (inside the paywall).

But we digress, which is always easy to do when keeping the company of Murdochians.  You knew it was coming, didn't you? The pond knows the feeling, and every so often succumbs.

In my day ...

Do go on Mr Day ...

In my early days of newspapering ...

Oh stop it, stop it, you'll go blind. Oh alright, do go on:

I learned that we must shape our products to appeal to young audiences because that is where our future lay. We tried every trick in the book to engage young readers knowing that as they grew up they would have families and join the mainstream they had so resolutely rejected in their youth. Our aim was to ensure they also had a newspaper reading habit. 
For media companies, that need to attract the attention of younger audiences is as strong today as ever. Technologies may change but not the imperative of constant renewal.

The imperative of constant renewal?

The lizard Oz itself is full of angry old white male farts, and so is the Daily Terror and most of the other Murdoch rags around the country. There's about as much constant renewal at work in these rags as there is in the rocks of the MacDonnell Ranges ...

And then we get to the real comedy:

Newspaper publishers face an uphill, perhaps impossible, task here. How do you proselytise the virtues of newspapers to people who never read them and consider those who do to be dinosaurs? Certainly, it can't be done through "down-ageing" your product to appeal to a demographic that's not paying attention - which in itself is a strong argument for editors to eschew elements that tend to dumb down their content. 

Uh huh. Here's a random example of the elevated fiercely intellectual content on hand at the HUN and the Daily Terror today:

Now the pond has no view on all these stories. Whatever floats your boat. It was Day wot got his knickers in a knot about Bieber.

If you want to head off to to read Ex-maid: 'Bieber's becoming a zombie', feel free, though you might cop a blast from Mark Day about the mindless youff of today and their interest in Justin Bieber, and never mind that the useless dingbat editor of that august News Corp site is after some clicks from the youff of today, and has laid out the click bait accordingly.

But do go on Mr. Day:

If today's newspaper audience is older, chances are it's also wiser and less tolerant of pre-digested nonsense masquerading as news.

Is that why we cop this sort of opinionated crap from the Murdochian commentariat, which gets weirder by the day and puts the Bolter in the company of Michael Mansell? (Mansell criticises Goodes' selection)

In fact, now he's back from holiday, instead of sounding a little chill and mellowed out, the Bolter is sounding weirder than ever, and more rabid and ratbag, to the point of unseemly hysteria.

There's been rants about Bernardi (Abetz defends Bernardi: what counts is the argument, not the offence), yet another totally predictable rant about climate science in the usual mis-representational style (Paltridge: this warming pause may destroy the reputation of science - because, you know, science is only about the climate, and not the computer or the internet the Bolter uses, or a million other things we have science to thank for), or most recently, right at this moment, a bizarre attack on Tony Abbott in Abbott insults conservatives on his racial "crusade",  because Der Führer isn't being Führer enough.

It even includes this immortal line:

...Abbott and his fellow travelers (sic, in the sense of so and bloody thus) on the Left are very, very wrong. 

Ah that dangerous, deviant radical lefty Tony Abbott. Tell us more, Bolter:

To criticise his opponents in this debate as simply lacking heart is just another form of the Left’s grim cry of “racist” to shut down debate. It is unworthy and suggests Abbott is not confident in the strength of his argument.

Here's the thing Mr. Day.

However you cut it, the Bolter is a very angry white man of Dutch descent with a bizarre set of bees in his bonnet, including a strange love for Cory Bernardi, a crusading denialist approach to climate science, and an astonishing position on racial matters, which occasionally leads him to conclude that Tony Abbott is a lefty.

It's really weird. Who on earth would want the "youff" of today to read this sort of simple-minded, dangerous commentariat crap?

They're much better off listening to Justin Beiber, though the pond knows some young people who listen to Shostakovich ...

But do go on Mr. Day:

The route to newspaper longevity in these challenged times is more likely to come through respect for your existing audience rather than hope that you'll attract a new audience through immature news presentation. 

You're joking right? News Corp is in the business of mature news presentation? Now pull the other one. We all need a laugh on a holiday Monday:

James Harding, a former editor of The Times, now head of news at the BBC, touched on these themes in a recent lecture in London. He said the era when newspapers had the power and aspiration to command public opinion and shape political agendas was over. In the past the power of the press had been put to good use, fighting injustice and inequality, but questions about whether it is possible to harness the power of the internet for the same purposes are left hanging. 

Ah, so that's it. It's just another case of relevance deprivation syndrome, which seems to torture Fairfaxians, as here.

But won't it be great when the evil empires of people like Rupert Murdoch do indeed become totally irrelevant?

The power of the press to do good was executed through individuals who directed their publishing empires.

What? The way Chairman Rupert directed the News of the World and still directs Fox News?

But no individuals exercise such power over the internet. Every individual now has the capacity to connect with multitudes and exert their influence. 

And thank the long absent lord for that. May a thousand voices bloom and may a thousand voices peacefully contend in virtual digital debate, way more sensible than getting out an AK 47, and vastly more sensible than pissing money against the wall helping sustain an evil empire. Why you could buy lots of Bieber music and not spend a cent to read the Murdochians, and what would be the harm? Brain death comes in many forms ...

We are constantly told education is the most important building block of modern life, both for individuals and societies, yet the capacity of the internet to deliver education is the least desired and exploited aspect of the relationship between us and our connecting devices.

But here's the thing. The Australian and the Murdoch tabloids are actively doing harm to the fabric of Australia. They're not using what power they have left to educate, they're using that fading power to mount ideological crusades and to terrorise anyone who disagrees with them. They toe a rigid corporate line like Bolter bees in a monolith ...

As Jon Stewart once sort of said about Crossfire, you're hurting not just America or Australia, you're hurting the world. Here's what I wanted to tell you guys. Stop ... you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

The more the youff of today ignores the Murdochian empire, and find other ways to acquire news and information and to relate to each other, the better.

There's just a few obstacles to this new digital future:

Never mind. Let's have a New Yorker internet joke from its digitally orientated edition. More New Yorker cartoons here.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Sunday meditation on how mainstream Anglicans live in Lively times ...

(“Infectious Germs.” From the Nazi propaganda organ Der Stürmer, April 15, 1943, p. 1. Triangles, representing homosexuals, hammer-and-sickle signs (communists), and even a dollar sign are strewn among the Stars of David. The poem: 
 With his poison, the Jew 
Drags Weaker peoples,
Burdened blood, 
So a disease-picture appears 
That speeds them downward. 
But our report resounds: 
The blood is clean. We’re healthy! - here)

A correspondent kindly introduced the pond to Scott Lively, the barking mad, fiercely homophobic writer of The Pink Swastika:

As they've lost battle after battle in the U.S., conservative activists have found responsive audiences abroad, eager partners, and a way to remake themselves. For some like Lively, whose views would be completely unacceptable in the United States—in his book, The Pink Swastika, he explains the Holocaust by alleging that most senior Nazis were gay—it's thrilling. "It was really bizarre," Lively says, reminiscing about the glowing reception he received on his first tour of Russia almost a decade ago.

Lively has been active in spreading homophobia in Africa and Russia, and there's more, way more, perhaps too much, here about him, and his perverted work ...

But wait, that Lively name rang a bell:

If you want an example of hate speech, why not have a read of Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, and her portrait of evangelicals in How Bryan Fischer is Making Mitt Romney More Conservative (sorry, inside the paywall):

In Idaho, Fischer attacked homosexuality with growing fervour. In 2007, he sponsored a summit where he hosted Scott Lively, the co-author of a widely criticized book, "The Pink Swastika," which argues that homosexuality was at the heart of Nazism. (In fact, the Nazi regime persecuted gays.) More recently, Lively has expressed support for anti-gay initiatives in Uganda. He has been a guest on Fischer's radio show, and Fischer often promotes Lively's theories. "Hitler himself was an active homosexual," Fisher has said. "Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Storm Troopers... Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough." On another occasion, Fischer declared that "homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews." (an old pond item from 2012, here)

Back then the pond asked the question:

...truth to tell is there any difference between a Jensenist blathering on about the human race, and the sort of nonsense spouted by fundies in the United States, given that the aim of the arguments is a shared desire to persecute gays? 

The answer is "actually not much", since all we're talking about is the degree of extremism, and since the angry Sydney Anglicans have notoriously sided with the forces of Christian darkness in Africa, where the persecution of gays has risen to a shocking level.

Oh come on, you say, that's just using the tar brush to give the old Anglican bollocks a good tarring.

But you don't have to look far for connections.

The angry Sydney Anglicans have always thought of the British Anglicans as being soft on gays, yet what can you find on Anglican Mainstream, Strengthening the Faith, an information resource for orthodox Anglicans?

Why you can find, without any form of rebuttal, refutation, denial or commentary, Berlin Monument Upholds Homosexuals as Nazi Victims - research suggests Nazi Party steeped in homosexuality, posted in May 2008.

And what does this tosh say?

Well in part, since we can only publish so much vile, false, abuse without a sense of nausea setting in:

In her 2006 study “The Pink Swastika as Holocaust Revisionist History,” renowned expert on sexuality Judith A. Reisman of the Institute for Media Education revealed that the 1995 “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party” by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams demonstrates that many key actively homosexual Nazi officials protected many homosexual individuals from harm. 
“Lively and Abrams… document the homosexual movement as the agents that ensconced National Socialism (the Nazi party) and Adolf Hitler, thus triggering a holocaust which engulfed all of Europe,” wrote Resiman. 
While Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” degraded Jews, Marxists, Negroes, Chinese, Arabs, women, and Eastern Europeans, the Fuhrer had no negative remarks for homosexuality. 
Instead, Hitler chose actively homosexual men as influential youth leaders. 
An actively homosexual teacher, Karl Fischer, founded the “Wandervogel” boys’ group that became the Hitler Youth in 1933 under renowned pederast, Hans Blueher. Similarly, convicted Nazi pederast Edmund Heines was given leadership over Schill Youth. 
“Other homosexual and bisexual leaders cited by these and other authors included Bladur von Schirach, Hitler Youth Leader; Hans Frank, Hitler’s Minister of Justice; Wilhelm Bruckner, Hitler’s adjutant; Walther Funk, Hitler’s Minister of Economics; friend and advisor Hermann Goering, Hitler’s second in command (who dressed “in drag and wore camp make-up”),” added Reisman. 

Uh huh. Of course on this basis, the Catholic church is run by paedophile Nazis and is full of pederast Nazis.

As for Lively?

“The Pink Swastika” convincingly undermined comparisons between the persecution of Jews and of homosexuals, contended Resiman. 
“Lively and Abrams report that basic mathematics refute the idea that homosexuals were killed for being homosexual. If homosexuals were treated like Jews, 2-3 million out of 2-3 million German homosexuals should have lost their businesses, their jobs, their property, their possessions and most should have lost their lives.”

And so on. It would be risible if it weren't obscene.

But let's move to modern times:

 Resiman also noted that the work of Lively and Abrams contains important lessons about the Nazi-like tactics of the contemporary “gay” agenda. 
“The Pink Swastika finds that serious ‘Judeo-Christians’ are the likely targets of this resurgent homosexual movement. In 1934, all German school children were receiving textual, verbal and cinematic classroom indoctrination into Fascism.” 
“The libraries purged anti Nazi books and teachers, just as our libraries are purging anti-homosexuality books and teachers. And, like our current status, by 1936, sexuality advocate, Wilheim Reich warned that the wide availability and juvenile use of pornography was creating heterophobic German children–boys and girls who feared and distrusted the opposite sex.” 
“The Pink Swastika should be studied in all our schools, primary to university,” concluded Resiman. “Historical research on Nazi homosexual power should be pouring out from our institutions of higher learning. That universities are captured by “politically correct” homosexual/feminism only proves how dangerous fraud in science has been and continues to be for our nation.”

So this is what orthodox Anglicans, part of the Anglican mainstream, read by way of an information resource to strengthen their faith?

Vile, rabidly wrong, ill-informed tosh, dressed up as history, but in reality gay bashing of the most sordid and offensive kind?

It is of course yet another classic example of blaming the victims for their persecution. It isn't about history, it's about flinging together gays, Nazis and paedophilia, in the certain knowledge that out of that Godwin's Law smearing a certain amount of mud will stick.

There are any number of healthy correctives, but that would require reading a little history - even if it means starting with the wiki, Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, which attempts a little factual evidence.

Of course there were homosexuals in the Nazi party, such as Röhm, but purging him was one of the reasons the Nazis began to take a much firmer attitude:

Himmler had initially been a supporter of Röhm, arguing that the charges of homosexuality against him were manufactured by Jews. But after the purge, Hitler elevated Himmler's status and he became very active in the suppression of homosexuality. He exclaimed, "We must exterminate these people root and branch... the homosexual must be eliminated."  
Shortly after the purge in 1934, a special division of the Gestapo was instituted to compile lists of gay individuals. In 1936, Himmler created the "Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion". 
Nazi Germany thought of German gay men as part of the "master race" and sought to force them into sexual and social conformity. Gay men who would not change or feign a change in their sexual orientation were sent to concentration camps under the "Extermination Through Work" campaign.

And so on.

What's startling is that the sort of vicious homophobia being spread by Lively can turn up on a purportedly orthodox mainstream British Anglican site without correction or reprimand, and now linger, like a stench, on the full to overflowing intertubes.

What to do, what to do?

Well the angry Sydney Anglicans could lead the way, by denouncing Lively and by denouncing "mainstream orthodox" British Anglicans for recycling his bigotry, and by renouncing their own support of the homophobic elements at work in assorted African churches ...

Don't hold your breath.

(Below: struck dead, hushed up)