(Above: Moir sets the tone, and more Moir here)
Purely by chance the pond yesterday came across an actual hard copy of the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia.
It felt like years since the pond held an actual tabloid rag in hand, and it induced a wave of nostalgia for a time when Sydney had a couple of afternoon tabloids - with The Sun considered right leaning, and the Daily Mirror the working man's rag, and the pond's father bringing home a copy gathered at the pub, and rolled and tucked into the trouser back pocket.
The Terror was a morning paper, alongside the Fairfaxians, with editions rolled out and rushed around the city to pretend the rags had currency and freshness all day long. There was even a box for breaking news, often done in red ink.
What caught the eye in the current Terror was a lavish two page spread designed to trap subscribers in the Terror honey pot.
There was a $25 Wish ® Gift Card, and 23% off for an $8 a week home delivery, or $32 billed every four weeks. The trusty calculator tells the pond that's $384 a year. Where's your wish gift then?
And for what? There was shock jock Ray Hadley ranting about the ABC and unions, and Piers Akerman ranting about unions and greenies and Andrew Clennell ranting about Greg Smith and the "left-leaning Attorney-General's department" in NSW and the editorialist ranting about Labor and unions and the ABC and Barry O'Farrell and no doubt in the equivalent HUN you could find the Bolter ranting about blacks and claiming he was happy to be an indigenous person, and the sooner he has an attack of diabetes the better ...
And so on and endlessly forth, and the pond realised that you could buy, much more cheaply, a baseball bat, a cricket bat, or a hammer, and achieve much the same mental state at a zillionth of the price of a subscription to a hard copy of any Murdoch tabloid home delivered.
It's like watching dinosaurs stroll about, still unaware of the asteroid bearing down on them.
There might be tougher jobs - devising a business plan for an Australian feature film for example, or explaining to young people why piracy is wrong - but not many, and the pond felt a wave of pity for the marketing department. Talk about a thankless, pitiless task ...
But enough of ugly reality and tree killing, because the siren song of the digital world calls, and speaking of failed, flailing business plans, what a wealth, what a cornucopia the reptiles at the lizard Oz offer on a daily basis.
Today the digital splash at the top of the digital page is like entering a cornucopia of craziness, up there with the magical lands routinely rotating at the top of the faraway tree.
Talk about being spoiled for choice!
It's impossible to know where to begin, like trying to pick the cherry out of the fruit salad. Or the sixpence out of the Xmas cake. Or walking a crooked mile with a crooked man.
Of course the astute observer of anal gazers and fluff gatherers will immediately discern that the business plan of the reptiles is a tad flawed. Do they really plan to beguile readers and garner subscriptions by offering a monotonous parade of tiresome, wearying thoughts about the ABC?
Now some of the rants are so predictable as to be surreal, and up there with Samuel Beckett. This, for example, is the opener for Gerard "prattling Polonius" Henderson:
An ongoing consequence of the challenge of the traditional print media has seen the move of some leftist journalists from newspapers to the public broadcaster and social media. Sure, the likes of Mike Carlton, Richard Ackland, Peter FitzSimons and Michael Leunig remain in place at Fairfax Media in Sydney or Melbourne. But many of this set have taken their leave (often with generous redundancies) and headed to such horizons as the ABC and Guardian Australia. Most notably Jonathan Green (now with the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster) and David Marr (now with the loss-making Guardian Australia).
This from a man who's just joined the loss-making The Australian?
You can of course read It's easy being Green when you can sneer while on the public purse if you can be bothered getting around the paywall to read a simple-minded conflation of an English company trading down under, with the ABC.
The pond couldn't get beyond that first par. I mean, when you're so fuck-witted as to confuse The Graudian with taxpayer-funded social media, what possible further insanities might be contained within?
Whenever the pond cops Hendo going on about the implications of the ABC - him that devours every broadcast and somehow manages to listen to 702 - and the full to overflowing intertubes, Bob Dylan and Ballad of a Thin Man always springs to mind:
You walk into the room
With your pencil (or your pen) in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, "Who is that man ?"
You try so hard
But you don't understand
Just what you'll say
When you get to the Sydney Institute.
Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Hendo?
As for hapless Peter van Onselen, what on earth did his splash mean - the Australia Network void will quickly be filled by others - when you cut to the chase of his opening par under the actual header Scuttling our voice in the region is a step too far? (behind the paywall because van Onselen shows dangerous signs of being to the left of Genghis Khan):
The federal government's decision to axe the Australia Network - yet to be announced publicly but revealed exclusively in this newspaper on Thursday - is a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Reform it, cut costs, limit the scope of the network's reach, put a contract to operate it back out to tender, beef up the soft diplomacy edict of the network's operations or recalibrate programming decisions as to what it airs.
Black is white and fish is fowl?
As for the bouffant one, you get the whiff of where he's heading in the opening par of Aunty's tactical mistakes haunt it with a vengeance (behind the paywall because someone has to pay for the bouffant look, and the suit and the tie and the nicely pressed white shirt, oh please, won't someone):
The ABC is currently in a war with the Abbott Coalition government that goes beyond the traditional antipathy towards the national broadcaster from a Liberal government. The politics of the current furore are undoubtedly fuelled by the Coalition, particularly Liberal MPs and ministers, wanting to embark on cultural retribution against the ABC; but also by the government's intent to lay the groundwork for justifying cuts to the ABC through either an efficiency drive or dividend, or by permanently axing the ABC's $223 million Australia Network broadcasting service into Asia.
And never mind that The Australian is at war with the ABC because it's the only business plan they've got, and all they know to write about, because the days of having foreign correspondents are long gone.
As for Nick Cater, could you get anything more insufferable than Aunty, stick to the facts, when scribbling for an organisation where facts have always been secondary (cue climate science) and ideology of the most right wing kind rampant:
The art of good reporting is to let the facts speak for themselves. First, however, the facts must be discovered. It is the ABC's inability to accomplish this most basic task that is compromising the integrity of its news service. Recent reports that Australian naval officers tortured asylum-seekers demonstrate how far news reporting has strayed from the fundamental principle that, in the reporter's reasonable judgment, the facts presented are true.
You'll have to google around the paywall to read the Caterist in full flight and flower, but by now surely you're thinking of rushing out to buy that baseball bat?
As for Chris Kenny, the omens weren't good from the get go in Unions a diabolical dilemma that will draw Labor blood for years (inside the paywall because you need to belong to the Murdoch union to read this stuff):
Particularly in this age of media ADHD, there is a lot of flim-flam and white noise in politics.
Who begins a sentence with Particularly? Or blathers on about media ADHD in a rag which is constantly twitching about the ABC?
Particularly in this day and age where the intertubes is full of anxiety about the use of particularly, and forums are full of concerned users of the English language (particularly here and here).
It's a sign of how much interest in Kenny the pond has when it's more interested in the ways of gregarious adverbs in search of verbs and adjectives to modify than in what the blatherer has to say.
It turns out, of course, that Kenny has nothing to say except to assure everyone that the structural foundations of the Abbott government are very strong and sound, and everything is for the best in the best of all worlds, and please, please just ignore all the white noise and the flim-flam of the moment.
Happily, ignoring the flim-flam means ignoring the predominantly angry white males who sing for their supper by scribbling for The Australian.
Now the pond grants this is a superficial, shallow survey of said supper singers, but when the going gets superficial the superficial get tough ... or some such thing.
Talk about a difficult business plan. In another universe, the pond might have felt a smidge of sympathy for the marketing department, given the job of selling this brew as a way to waste a weekend, clutching the tree killer in hand while downing a mint julep or three ...
Here's the problem with this introspective anally obsessed bunch.
Take a look at their two top of the page for the start of the weekend EXCLUSIVES:
ABC bashing is now an EXCLUSIVE?
Indigenous communities should consider kids getting a good night's sleep is an EXCLUSIVE?
Even when it's dressed up in punitive war dress, as a wartime curfew to battle the wartime issue of truancy?
As it turns out, there's a whole other world out there, with real decisions affecting the real world, but inside the insular bubble that's the world of the reptiles, you wouldn't know anything about it.
Here's one interesting item:
Oops, the pond has left the loss-making Australian and strayed into the loss-making Graudian - Hendo will be outraged.
You can of course read the story, Great Barrier Reef authority approves dredging and dumping to expand port, and at the same time marvel at the tone deaf insularity of a newspaper that would dump this story down the page, while maintaining the rage about the ABC and "curfews".
Is this the white noise and flim-flam that bedevils Chris Kenny.
Some flim. Some flam ...
(Below: fortunately the pond has to hand examples of the kind of paperwork that will now come in handy in certain parts of Australia. Remember it's war time, there's a war on the reef, a war on the ABC, a war on boat people, a war on greenies, a war on blacks by indigenous Bolters, and a war on anything else you can think of).
Oh okay, shooting's a tad extreme, at least in the beginning. How about a fine?