This bleak Sydney morning provides yet another example of a newspaper intent on deeply drinking of the kool-aid and acting as a supine cheerleader for government policy.
It's the very same kool-aid that this man seems to have drunk:
George Brandis rolled on changes to Racial Discrimination Act, an EXCLUSIVE (the Fairfaxians don't use vulgar red for their 'exclusives') and you'll discover leaks and abuse of the book library man, and alarm at his stand for bigotry:
The outcome represented what one minister described as a compromise between the conservative and moderate factions.
One minister said: ''George has really drunk the right-wing Kool-Aid.''
Another minister said Mr Brandis' original proposal was ''much worse'' than the agreed text and he had been forced to back down. A third minister present at the meeting said the original bill had been ''terrible''.
Asked if the cabinet had forced the change from a bill to an exposure draft, that minister said ''things are evolving all the time'' and that the exposure draft still ''needs to be changed quite substantially''.
The rats are arguing amongst themselves, but for understandable reasons.
Brandis, an arrogant chap whose arrogance frequently leads to terminal folly, caught an admiring glance from the pond when he wondered if anyone could drive a truck through his new wording:
The changes remove the words ''offend, insult and humiliate'', leave in ''intimidate'' and adds the word ''vilify'' for the first time.
But a passage in the exposure draft that exempts words and images "in public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter", has attracted a storm of criticism for being too broad and weakening current protections.
And indeed truck is the wrong metaphor.
Truth to tell, you could fly a 777 through that wording or the Bermuda Triangle.
Why if it's allowed, this blog could, in public discussion of a political matter (and never mind the art, the science and the academic rigour), call Brandis a fuckwit of the first water ...
And not even have to plead truth as a defence.
Meanwhile, the Oz is busy showing how to go about the work of a propaganda sheet, perhaps a little like Der Stürmer in its glory days:
Yep, the reptiles have their very own EXCLUSIVE (remember the vulgar red), and never mind that because of ideological blindness, it entirely misses the interesting tensions within the federal cabinet:
And just who is Sue Gordon?
Well with the greatest respect, her major virtue is that she's not Warren Mundine. Instead she once spent time fellow travelling with John Howard, and she's never lost the art:
The former head of John Howard’s indigenous council has taken a very different view from Warren Mundine, the head of Tony Abbott’s indigenous council, who yesterday told The Australian the race changes were outrageous and retrograde.
Dr Gordon said the repression of free speech was damaging to race relations and she agreed with Attorney-General George Brandis that people had the right to be bigots. “I think sometimes there is too much emotion in this topic and people need to just look at it calmly,” she said. “I agree with what Brandis said. People do have a right in this country, you can’t suppress everything.”
Indeed, indeed. You can't suppress everything, and it's surely the aim of those outside the cult of the kool aid. They want to suppress anything, which is completely unlike mounting an invasion of the Northern Territory.
But is there any deeper irony?
Dr Gordon was backed by Anthony Dillon, a researcher at the Australian Catholic University who identifies as a part-Aboriginal Australian. In an article in The Australian today, he writes that political correctness has gone overboard.
“Political correctness, with regard to people who identify as Aboriginal Australians, has reached the ridiculous stage where one can be accused of being racist simply by questioning the motives of some people who identify as being Aboriginal,” Mr Dillon says.
Hmm, it seems Mr Dillon is right on side with the Bolter.
It would be shockingly remiss of the pond to question his motives simply on the basis that he says he identifies as a part-Aboriginal Australian ... but really he should reach for a deeper understanding of what the Bolter is saying. We're all one "race", that's if there's any "race" at all, so what point or relevance is Mr Dillon's identification with an ethnic grouping?
You can read about Sue Gordon here if you like to do a Greg Hunt, but the point about her not being silly old Warren Mundine is that Mundine's now going around telling anyone who will listen Mundine: don't let bigots off chain.
Oh look, there he is, back in his days inside Valhalla, right next to hoary old Tory Zeus himself.
But having switched sides and sold his independence to both sides for a mess of potash, who's listening to Mundine?
It's not that the arguments he presents aren't interesting:
The head of the prime minister's Indigenous advisory council, Warren Mundine, has suggested the government’s proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act will “let people off the chain in regard to bigotry”.
Defending the changes, Tony Abbott has mounted a freedom of speech argument but Mundine said many freedoms are already curtailed for the protection of others.
“You're not allowed to walk down the street and swear because it's offensive,” said Mundine. “We have a number of laws already. We have libel laws. We have a whole wide range of laws.
“I just find it … funny, that we are quite accepting that no one should swear in public, but it's OK for people to be bigots and I find that a bizarre situation. I can assure people, more people died from bigotry than people died from being swore at.”
But he's not the flavour of the month.
He's more like the chewing gum left on the bedpost overnight to the reptiles at the lizard Oz, who now need a new indigenous spokesperson, one more willing to bend and bow to the kool aid cult.
So Mundine now turns up in The Graudian! So thanks for the help in getting Abbott's government elected, Mr Mundine, and now off you go ...
Meanwhile, the king of the trolls has taken time out to congratulate himself on the success of his trolling:
You see, trolls just do what trolls do, and the header for Sheehan swept the pond back to schoolday sin Tamworth.
Nah, nah, you dill, you daggy, deadhead, dropkick, dipstick, der brain drongo, you're a loser, you're so slow you couldn't catch a cold, and so on and so forth, you're fucked in the head, you bludging bogan boofhead blobhead... (do a Greg Hunt and you can find a handy list of abusive terms here).
So after calling everyone losers, let the rational discussion commence:
Yet there is incessant noise that the major media is being pushed to the sidelines. What may be happening is that people are increasingly existing in their own info-bubbles, having set filters for news and views with which they are in furious agreement.
Here, too, the tenor of politics is going backwards. The street-marchers on the left complained last week that the mainstream media basically ignored their ''march in March'', but the major media have never been interested in student politics or the collective personality disorders of the permanently enraged political fringe.
Some politicians play to this fringe, now that it is so easy to do via Facebook and Twitter. On Monday, my column ran under the headline ''King of the trolls'', referring to the Greens Senator from Western Australia, Scott Ludlam.
The great thing about trolls is they have no sense of irony. They can never, ever see the bigotry in their own shrillness. Occasionally I like to remind the trolls they are cowardly anonymous scum or tell the angry ants they have anger-management issues.
Monday's column attracted several thousand responses in our comments section, on Facebook and on Twitter. About 200 comments sent to the Herald were too personally abusive to publish, a policy that applies to comments about any of our journalists. I have asked for a copy of the rejected comments so that I could enjoy the spluttering lack of irony of being trolled because I called them trolls.
Regular readers would know that I hate to waste a good insult. This, however, is also self-indulgent if done too often. I can say that this week I was called a whore and a leech in the same sentence, which I enjoyed. I will select the best/worst to share, so we can consider the quality of political debate on the fringes. And why losers keep losing.
So the troll takes pleasure in his trolling, and the way he can provoke anger and outrage, and most marvellously of all berates others, for lacking sense of irony, and marvelling at how others can never ever see the bigotry in their shrillness.
This from a magic water man who routinely imitates a headless chicken, or Chicken Little, announcing that the sky is falling (the Chinese have invaded Sydney, the Lebanese run the outer west, the left is ruining the country, you can achieve nirvana by sipping on magic water).
What's astonishing is that this fluff gathering and navel gazing is considered an interesting, amusing part of the world of Fairfaxians ...
Second thoughts, what's really astonishing is that Sheehan intends to mine the results of his trolling for another column about trolling. So we can consider the quality of the political debate ...
The man is now so bereft of ideas he thinks running the fruits of trolling will contribute to the quality of political debate.
The dear boy seems to have absolutely no understanding that he's down in the gutter with the boofheads, flinging the mud and the excrement, or on a jolly up-market day, engaging in a food fight ...
Food fight, food fight ...
The pond pleads a social anthropology and therapeutic interest in all this. There aren't many other reasons for looking at the supine, arse-licking, brown nosing ways of the right wing commentariat except to marvel at the way Sheehan, and presumably the rest of the Fairfaxians, think Sheehan is contributing to an elevated public debate.
He's a troll who'd be right at home in the UK's Daily Mail or Telegraph, dishing out click bait, stirring up anger ...
And remember if you leave a comment, you're only encouraging the loser to keep on being a loser.
No matter how much he irritates, have you thought about not reading him? Not giving him a click? Not buying a Fairfax rag with Sheehan in it? Just walking on by ...
The pond has turned over a new leaf by not bothering to provide a link.
And there's an upside. Boycott Sheehan and you wouldn't even miss out on David Rowe, who at least appears in another branch here:
And so to the final irony of the day.
What do you call a publicly listed company?
Why it's a family firm ...
And what do you say about nepotism? Emperors passing on their empire, in much the same way as Vlad 'the impaler' Putin hands out treasures ...
Why it's an excellent form of business practice.
And what do you do with a man who's helped drive the Ten network into the ground?
Why you give him a hand up.
Let's hope he does for the family firm what he did for Ten.
Oh they were all over it, the kool aid drinkers:
Rises to the top?
Now that brings an old Tamworth saying to mind, but we can't quite remember whether it involved cream or shit ...
Ah to be alive in the wonderful new world of Brandis-approved bigotry ...