Monday, March 03, 2014

Not the demographic ...

First to a community service above and beyond the call.

Yep, they also serve who watch,  and in a remarkable feat of televisual endurance, way beyond eating 69 hot dogs in the Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest, Katharine Murphy sat down and watched the full hour of the Bolter, and then wrote about it in Bolt is back but he's missing the spark.

Murphy astutely noted that life might have strangely detained the pond on Sunday morning - staring at an ingrown toenail for a full hour will do that for you - and thus might have missed the entirety of the Bolter, but never mind, she was there to fill in the gaps and the memory loss.

Her report extinguished any curiosity about the contents - ye ancient cats and withered dogs, Gerard Henderson and Michael Costa and Peter Costello and Tony Abbott - and with a bit of luck, Sunday will continue to be a dead zone for the Ten network.

Meanwhile, the generally grumpy Paul Sheehan continues to be missing in action, and it occurred to the pond how little all the absence of all the hysteria and blather meant in the general order of things.

Did anybody miss the Bolter while he was on his extended, worse than the ABC style break? Maybe a few extremists who enjoy getting agitated and lathering up a hearty dose of bile and anger.

But does anyone really care that Sheehan has taken his grumpiness away on holidays?

The hapless Fairfaxians are left to run optimistic stories like Adam Spencer proposing we can switch from lucky to clever country, thereby ignoring the reality that the Bolter has returned - there goes 10 IQ points in a flash  and climate science with them - and the likelihood that Sheehan will return and that's another 10 and union bashing to add to climate science bashing...

Instead the Fairfaxians have had to drop in James Allan as pinch hitter for Sheehan, and right from the get go, Allan completely lost the pond by starting off with a header that says These elitist hate-speech laws erode democracy.

Could Allan have been so dumb, so dim-witted as to give the word "elitist" yet another tedious outing, yet another run around the block?

Was it just a mischievous sub making up a really dumb header to make the Canuck sound like Air Canada in search of a lost dog?

Nope, Allan actually lets the word out for a run, and even helps it chase the rabbit in this sentence:

If there was a polite way to express my disdain for that sort of elitist bull, I would use it. But there isn't. So I will just say it is wholly misconceived.

Aw, it must be terrible to scribble for an elitist middle brow rag where a spade lover can't call an elitist shovel out for bullshit ...

To get to that position of indignation about elitist bull(sssh), Allan has to erect several straw dogs in order to give them a good pummelling.

Instead of paying attention to the argument, the pond was left wondering when all these elitists - Allan is a professor of law at the University of Queensland - blathering about elitists and elitism will stop abusing a word which perhaps once upon a time long ago had some meaning ...

As piss follows too much drinking, sure enough the Weimar regime and the nuanced understanding that Australia wasn't the Weimar republic, and Nazi Germany and neo-Nazis and all the rest of it got an outing as well ...

Because you know, if you want a straw man, remember to remind readers that everyone else always points to Nazi Germany, and so it's only right for Allan to raise the spectre of everyone else talking about Nazi Germany ...

By the end of it, the pond was convinced that Allan would be much better, and the world much happier, if he'd stayed behind the paywall bashing the ABC in Aunty a poor judge of bias for the reptiles ...

Or Allan on Gillard's climate spin for Quadrant, where inter alia, Allan gets agitated about citizens' assemblies and re-education campaigns ...

Is it possible to get the pond offside by arguing for freedom of speech? Somehow, some elitists can manage it ...

Meanwhile, Troy Bramston manages a Herculean feat which is completely admirable.

Here's the splash:

Uh huh. Sneering condescension, as you'd expect from a reptile in full flight (yes reptiles can fly and the reptiles at the lizard Oz routinely impersonate Pterosaurs).

Yet bizarrely in a piece headed Paper won't make headlines - with a strong suggestion that the rag will be an irrelevant flop of no interest to a general readership - Bramston starts off with a glass half full view:

The launch of Morry Schwartz’s The Saturday Paper is a sign of the growing diversity of Australian media and a vote of confidence in the future of print journalism. 
The launch of a new weekly newspaper makes a mockery of the former Labor government’s attempt to regulate an industry that it believed was narrowing its sources of news, analysis and opinion. 
The reality is that the Australian media has never been more diverse. The mainstream media platforms of print, television and radio now compete with a variety of instant news and opinion, much of it free to consumers.

Uh huh. Yet according to Bramston's analysis, this diversity is a faux piece of useless nonsense. It's overpriced and it simply lacks the diversity of the reptiles on a Saturday.

That's right, now the reptiles are pitching diversity as a feature of their rag ...

It turns out that the rag simply doesn't have a decent audience and its coverage is entirely predictable:

Where The Saturday Paper fits into this growing diversity of media outlets was evident after a cursory flick through its slim 32 pages. This is a publication that caters to the narrow green-Left fringe audience clustered around the affluent inner-city suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 
 Its coverage was predictable: Australia’s bipartisan and “barbaric” asylum-seeker policy, mooted savage budget cuts that could force up the cost of medicines, another of David Marr’s tedious critiques of George Pell, an account of “embattled” Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, among other polemics. 

Which is of course completely unlike The Australian's running yet another of Gerard Henderson's tedious uxorious hagiographic pieces on the wonders of George Pell, the reptiles at the lizard Oz doing their best to ignore Fiona Nash, and Greg Sheridan and Dennis 'the bouffant one' Shanahan writing love poems to Tony Abbott on a daily basis.

It seems diversity is meaningless and the new rag won't appeal to anyone much at all:

The Saturday Paper is not a paper for Coalition voters. But nor will it find an audience among the vast swaths of Labor voters living in the outer suburbs of the major cities. They too will be alienated by its content.

So much for diversity.

Now is there any way to take a really cheap shot?

Of course. You criticise the rag for its advertisements and for its readership being aspirational:

The advertisers in the first issue provide a clue to the likely readers: they dream of wearing a Rolex watch, driving a Mercedes-Benz, owning a suit from Harrolds and living in a luxury home. There was even some in-house cross-promotion with Schwartz’s Black Inc book publishing company advertising James Brown’s Anzac’s Long Shadow opposite a favourable review of the book. 
The pitch to advertisers identified an audience of “lighthouse” readers. “They are 35-49,” the brochure said. “They are image-conscious and environmentally conscious, brand-aware and socially aware.” We are told they are creative and have money to spend. “(H)e has a Moleskine and a Netflix account” and “she subscribes to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker”.

Because, you know, aspirational and wanting to be a billionaire in a four storied apartment in New York is so naff.

This is a bit like the pond heading off to the marketing arm of the reptiles and reading this sort of tosh:

Can it reach fatuous levels of stupidity in its copy?

Of course it can. Here are the reptiles pitching for the 25-54 all people demographic:

They’re always in demand for the Monday night trivia team. On the weekends they’ll talk politics with their parents. Or the politics of parenting. 
 She firmly believes you can taste the difference with organic apples. And she’s willing to sort through 30 of them to find the perfect one. He says as long as it’s green, he’ll eat it. He believes in climate change but don’t call him a greenie. 
This is Mel and Ben. We have another 7,724,000 more Australians just like them nationally. And this is just one example of the power our people have.

So she's barking mad, and so is he. Yep that's about right for the reptiles.

If you want more, head off News Corp Australia's desperate, somewhat pathetic and tragic attempts to make their mastheads attractive to advertisers, here.

Meanwhile, Bramston is busy proving he's a smart-arse:

There were pages devoted to sport, business, fashion, interiors and recipes. And Mungo MacCallum provided a cryptic crossword. MacCallum is described as “one of Australia’s most influential and entertaining political journalists”. So there are jokes, too.

That's unlike the jokes they call Chris Kenny, Gerard Henderson, Greg Sheridan ... hang on, there's too many jokes to list ...

What's most bizarre is the way Bramston purports to welcome the new rag and see in it signs of hope:

Nevertheless, a new print media publication should be welcomed. The best journalism - those who break the most news and offer the most perceptive analysis - is still found in mainstream newspapers. There are reasons to hope there is plenty of life left in print. While digital subscribers to newspapers are growing, print advertising and sales still account for about 90 per cent of industry-wide revenue.

But once you get past the deluded dreaming, the yearning for 45s and LPs and Kodak Ektachrome and perhaps even Kodak Tri-X and printed newspapers, you begin to understand that Bramston has absolutely no interest in alternative opinions or views that differ in any way from the collective kool aid sipping hive mind alive and well in Murdoch la la land:

For most consumers, I suspect that after the underwhelming first issue of The Saturday Paper, it will be viewed as an add-on to other papers that are already thrown on to the front lawn, picked-up at the local newsagency or downloaded online. 
It is possible The Saturday Paper could hasten the decline of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald - which shrunk to tabloid size on Saturday - and are already seeing their Centre-Left audience decamp. But Fairfax should not fear too much. The Saturday Paper is likely to rival only one other weekly newspaper: Green Left Weekly. After all, they are chasing the same audience and offer the same ignorant, moralistic and simplistic worldview.

Would it be possible to find a better example of hubris and preening pride in what is after all a rag kept alive not by its audience, by its market, by its subscribers and readers but by a demented plutocrat in search of political influence and power?

Yep, the pond can't resist quoting an informed source, even though it's old news to pond correspondents:

After lavishing praise on The Saturday Paper’s founder Morry Schwartz and his contribution to Australia’s “intellectual life”, Turnbull quipped: “You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions.”

... in a blog posting on his website today Turnbull denied the line was intended for Murdoch, saying: “Given that earlier in my speech I had referred to William Randolph Hearst (immortalised by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane) I was surprised that some people have inferred I was referring to Rupert Murdoch.”  (and more at mUmBRELLA here)

Is there any irony or comedy to be derived from a journalist working for a loss-making rag with an ignorant, moralistic and simplistic worldview, in keeping with its demented plutocrat, berating others for the same crime?

Well yes, it's a reptile completely unable to see that things are changing in the digital world, a reality even big Mal managed to notice ...

At the end of Bramston's piece, the pond was reminded yet again that it's read and heard enough more than enough crap to last well beyond death's door ...


  1. With all the hoopla over the Oscars, people seemed to have forgotten or glossed over the death a day ago of the great French film director, Alain Resnais. Responsible for such classics as Night and Fog, Hiroshima mon amour, Last Year at Marienbad, and Muriel.

    DP - I am sure you can redress the imbalance.

    1. Ah, you must be one of those leets that they warn us true blue dinkum Aussie battlers about, watching foreign films.
      More of a Visconti man myself...Hadn't heard this bad news.
      I wish the Saturday Paper well, but it sounds like a hole to pour money down.

    2. Yes indeedy Anon, thanks for the note, and GlenH, and in another world and another life, the pond is working its way through a collection of exotic Criterion movies and if I had to pick a personal Resnais favourite, it would be Providence, and for Visconti it would be Ossessione (or maybe The Leopard), but sssh, we never want to sound interested in the arts, what would the reptiles say?

      All the same, we were pleased to see that The Great Beauty won the Oscar for best foreign. It's not that far from the spirit of Fellini, and for once the Oscars have drawn attention to a film worth watching.

      Better a life spent watching or making movies than fucking up the world ...

  2. Dot - I have laughed deeply.

    I do not go near the Oz without Dettol and a long pair of tongs so I did not see the ad.

    Well you would not want the wrong types reading the rag. Only people of substance will do.

  3. Hey, I actually saw a young 20 something woman buying a copy of the Oz this weekend! She had a cute puppy in tow, so I figured she needed something to put down on her rugs.
    You can't beat a broadsheet for full coverage of events.

  4. Dorothy, notice that the Bramston reptile you linked to
    time stamped 12:00AM is also in the comments of Turdbull's blog bleat you linked to today and yesterday

    Bramston's crud was pasted there today by a 'Mark May' (avatar=flag+FUCKOFF) remarkably at 1:14AM. AEST/AEDST, 14 min later? Was Krudd's former speechwriter and Hendo institute regular up on the newsnot wires any much earlier?

  5. The Brandi book$helf per

    1. Great set of books Anon. Now if only he'd acquired them by honest means ...

      As for the twittering tweets, too much twittery for the pond ...

  6. Deary me, Ms Parker - the thought of Mr G. Henderson getting uxorious over Cardinal Pell has made me all goose-fleshy ...


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