Thursday, March 13, 2014

What the Murdochians need is a new Sarah Bernhardt ... what's that? They've got one?

Oh harden the fuck up NT. What's a little darkness when James Packer's vision produces the traffic jam from hell?

That's the trouble with you navel gazers, always bleating about your suffering, moaning and groaning and wallowing in self-indulgent pity when there's real people caught in real traffic:

Oh wait, that sounds a tad like fluff-gathering navel gazing of a Sydney kind.

Is there a professional fluff-gathering navel gazer in the house who can show us how it should be done.

Someone who can wallow in self-pity, and proclaim to the skies that it's all about me, me, me, and perhaps strike a pose or two worthy of the Victorian theatre doing Shakespeare?

Yes, thank you Sarah Bernhardt,  just like that. 

Intense, brooding, introspective, with more than a hint of narcissist self-regard.

Oh surely there must be someone in the house who can do a Sarah?

Thank the long absent lord, there is, there is ...

Oh there have been happier, smiling times, now long gone, vanished memories, dreams of glory tattered and blowing empty in the wind.

Look, look, how he laughed, how he smiled, read by all, admired by many:

Now, he's just a tattered, bruised, shattered, pitiful thing.

My wife now wants me to play safe and stop fighting this new racism, and this time I'm listening. This time I was so bruised by QandA that I didn't go into work on Tuesday. I couldn't stand any sympathy - which you get only when you're meant to feel hurt.

Oh the poor, sweet, sensitive little flower. Once strutting the stage, ravaging climate scientists and whites passing as blacks and any other hapless creature to the left of Genghis Khan, but now reduced to a quivering, blubbering wreck.

Now you can read It feels like I have lost; do I run or resist? if you like, but the pond suggests you wear the sort of protective glasses you need before looking at the sun.

The yowling, the sobbing, the scarifying mortification, the beating of breast, the emoting, the sackcloth and ashes is pitiful to behold.

Who knew that a few words by Marcia Langton on Q and A - you can read and see them here - would so reduce the Bolter to a tattered coat upon a stick?

Strangely - or is it predictably - he focusses on Langton, while completely overlooking what another comrade in arms had to say:

SHARRI MARKSON: Look, the newspaper I work for, The Australian, supports freedom of speech very strongly and they do support the repeal of 18C. But I personally have a different view. I agree with you, Lisa. I think that the Jewish communities, the Muslim, the Korean, the Vietnamese, the Chinese communities are quite strong on this and they deserve to be protected from humiliation based on their race and I know that last year a whole number of very anti-Semitic Facebook sites emerged. This hasn't been publicly reported before and the Jewish Board of Deputies had absolutely no way of having them pulled down. Facebook flat out refused to pull them down and it wasn't until they took it to the Human Rights Commission and invoked 18C that they finally got this hugely offensive material pulled down. So I personally would err on the side of caution and I think even though it will impact on freedom of speech, it does more good than harm to keep the Act as it is.

Et tu Sharri?

Back to the sobbing:

It was scarifying, even worse than when a Jewish human rights lawyer told a Jewish Federal Court judge that my kind of thinking was "exactly the kind of thing that led to the Nuremberg race laws" and the Holocaust - a ghastly smear published in most leading newspapers. That time, at least, half a dozen Jewish and Israeli community leaders and officials, who knew my strong support for their community, privately assured me such comments were outrageous and the attempt by a group of Aboriginal academics, artists and activists to silence me wrong. 
True, none said so publicly for the next two years for fear of discrediting the RDA, which they hope protects them, yet it was some consolation. 
But this?

If you read the rest of the piece - it does require a strong stomach - you are likely to conclude that the Bolter has listened to too many operas.

And in the end, it's all a performance, an appeal for sympathy, with the kool aid drinkers flocking to the comments section to offer adulation to their wounded, battered hero:

Yet I am not asking for your sympathy. My critics will say I'm getting no more than what I gave out - except, of course, this is more vile and there's no law against abusing me, or none I'd use. 
No, what's made me saddest is the fear I'm losing and our country will be muzzled and divided on the bloody lines of race.

Decode: our country = the Bolter.

As for the rest, it's more of the Bolter carrying on about how we should all just forget race and just become one giant happy community, and here's how it's done:

"Page four has a feature on Dr Misty Jenkins, a blonde and pale science PhD who calls herself Aboriginal and enthuses: 'I was able to watch the coverage of Kevin Rudd's (sorry) speech with tears rolling down my cheeks ... Recognition of the atrocities caused by Australian government policies was well overdue' ... 
"Pages six and seven boast that the university hosted Rudd's 'first major policy conference' ... You get the message." Where's the "foul abuse", Marcia? Where have I "argued that [Jenkins] had no right to claim that she was Aboriginal" - something I have never believed and never said of anyone? 
But that's our retribalised Australia. Criticise the opinions of someone of an ethnic minority and you're ripe for sliming as a racist. 
How dangerous this retreat to ethnic identities and what an insult to our individuality. And how blind are its prophets.

Now scientifically the notion of race is fraught with peril. You only have to do a Greg Hunt and plunge into a history of the differing concepts of race to be reminded.

But on a conversational level, the concept of race is clear enough, at least when it comes to understanding that in Australia Aborigines are not of the same type as Europeans.

And that's where the sting, the irresistible insult, lurks in every word the Bolter utters. Jenkins, and Marcia Langton, are reduced to being members of an "ethnic minority", a part of a retribalised Australia ... as if somehow in some magical lost Australia, Aborigines were just another part of the great Australian tribe ...

So there you go. After centuries of being called a useless race - the whole black bastard routine still much loved in certain parts of the country - the Aboriginal people are reduced to being a rump, a retribalised ethnic minority ...

And even as he moans and whimpers, the Bolter is so tone deaf, he persists with his usual insults:

She accused warming alarmist Tim Flannery of making a "racist assumption"...

You see talk of racism is wrong, but talk of warming alarmists?

Why that's merely being scientific, and deploying rigorous scientific language in the aid of good science ...

In the end, what does all the breast-beating amount to? Apart from the rhetoric of a self-indulgent martyr wallowing in his bile?

In the usual Bolter way, not much, because the howl of pain is actually all about the way the Abbott government is tip toeing away from the Bolter:

And when Attorney-General George Brandis hotly insisted I was not racist, the ABC audience laughed in derision. Not one other panellist protested against this lynching. In fact, host Tony Jones asked Brandis to defend "those sort of facts" and Channel 9 host Lisa Wilkinson accused me of "bullying". And all panellists agreed Brandis should drop the government's plan to loosen the Racial Discrimination Act's restrictions on free speech, which the RDA used to ban two of my articles. Can the Abbott Government resist the pressure from ethnic and religious groups to back off? 
So it feels I've lost, and not just this argument. I feel now the pressure to stop resisting the Government's plan to change the Constitution to recognise Aborigines as the first people here - a dangerous change, which divides us according to the "race" of some of our ancestors.

Yep, the Bolter is still agitated about recognising the first people to land in Australia, as the first people to land in Australia. This is extraordinarily dangerous. The last thing the constitution should do is acknowledge the reality of actual historical events.

But it's in that last clause that the Bolter really reveals his ongoing delusion.

Go on, roll around on your tongue  divides us according to the "race" of some of our ancestors, and try to work out what it means.

There's the inverted commas around "race" and then the inclusionary use of "our" in "some of our ancestors".

By golly, you'd think reading it that the Bolter, a Dutch immigrant, had a direct line to his ancestors who turned up over 40,000 years ago, and was hot wired into their Dreaming ...

When it came to the rhetorical question that flourished, Hamlet-style at the end, Do I resist or run?, the pond felt the urge to encourage the Bolter to go on the run.

Run fast, run hard, run long, run silent, run deep, run far away, run to where the sun doesn't shine and no one has to contemplate the sight of the Bolter scribbling for the Murdochians ever again ...

But alas it's just another prima donna outburst, a fit of pique, and the Bolter will be back demanding again and again that attention should be paid, and the comments should be worshipful and pesky blacks should be given a serve for daring to disagree with the Bolter's grand vision.

And the trouble is, if you pay attention, you only encourage him ...

That's the predicament writing about narcissists ... but the pond immediately felt like recycling an old First Dog, which captured the essence of the narcissism at work in the Bolter. Click to enlarge and more First Dog here (paywall affected):

After that, the pond felt the need for a sorbet to refresh the mouth.

How better to do this than to read Adam Brereton sobbing about gentrification in the near to the pond suburb of Petersham, for The Graudian, in My local 'atheist church' is part of the long, inglorious march of gentrification.

Now the pond doesn't have any problem with Brereton carrying on about the folly of an 'atheist church' - the concept is completely risible to the pond's narrow mind - bu inter alia, Brereton also gets himself lathered up about the transformation of the Oxford Tavern from "iconic strip club" to strip yuppie gastropub ...

A sleazy joint full of strippers, jelly wrestling, and barmaids wearing see through blouses so the beer swillers can cop an eyeful of firm young tits is "iconic"?

Seems so:

Punters who attended the Oxford Tavern before it was retrofitted told the Telegraph that the pub had a real “community spirit”. Tamara, one of the strippers, said “it’s like the loss of my second home”. Two demolition workers would come from across Sydney to have lunch there every Thursday. “There goes my social life,” a third bloke joked of the takeover. This was in some sense a religious place, and now it’s gone, without even having been paid the complement of a bit of violent iconoclasm. No, the sketchy places, the sacred places, are slowly being ground out of the world by a force that sees them as neither holy nor profane, but as novelties to spice up the next round of drinks or the next sing-along.

Fuck the pond dead. A sleazy strip joint is in some sense a religious place? Might even be a sacred space?

Sheesh, the pond can't wait to cop a gobful of Brereton getting mystical about the good old days of Abe "Mr. Sin" Saffron in the Cross. Forget Juanita Nielsen, it seems that Abe was just conducting a distinctive kind of religious service in a sacred place ...

The upside? The next time a brothel shuts down in the inner west - the area is littered with them - the pond knows who to call on ...

Should King's Court ever close down, the pond will know what to say:

This was in some sense a religious place, and now it’s gone, without even having been paid the complement of a bit of violent iconoclasm ...

Of course there will be fops and do gooders who will take a different view:

King’s Court is a massage parlour masquerading as a euphemistic front for prostitution. It would not require a vast leap of the imagination to see the parlour as operating on an axis of quasi-legality; in plain and simple terms, King’s Court is a brothel, but it does not exist in a vacuum. 
Sex work is the only gainful employment available to women, especially young women, without the aid of a CV, qualifications, references or experience. All that is required is a body and hopefully, consent. 
Women are consistently exploited, as they are at King’s Court, in an environment devoid of the appropriate infrastructure in place to ensure their industrial rights are upheld. They are hired under the guise of being independent contractors, paid in an illegal manner, expected to work in conditions where no established emergency protocol exists, have little choice in seeking recourse to rights violations, or are otherwise subject to the dominion of a pimp. It is not enough to generalise that the majority of sex workers come to no harm. Every sex worker should be free to enjoy the rights and freedoms of those in mainstream professions. (Good old Honi Soit, here)

Damn you gentrification, damn you to hell.

Who let these hoity toity students into the area, with their turned up noses?

Offered a chance to work in a religious place, a sacred place dedicated to men perving and coming, and all they can do is smear the holy wafer and piss in the chalice ...

Roll up those sleeves Mr. Brereton, there's more work to be done, more gentrification to be fought, more sacred religious places of the old kind to be saved ...

And now having started with Darwin in the dark - who knew it was news, isn't the deep north always in the dark? - it's time to wrap up the pond's regional survey with the help of David Pope, and more Pope here:


  1. A song for Andrew.

    Well there's a little boy waiting at the counter of a corner shop
    He's been waiting down there, waiting half the day
    They never ever see him from the top
    He gets pushed around, knocked to the ground
    He gets to his feet and he says

    What about me, it isn't fair
    I've had enough now i want my share
    Can't you see i wanna live
    But you just take more than you give

    And now i'm standing on the corner all the world's gone home
    Nobody's changed, nobody's been saved
    And i'm feeling cold and alone
    I guess i'm lucky, i smile a lot
    But sometimes i wish for more than i've got

    1. You've won the pond's heart with that Anon. If only Blogger supported emoticons - at least without more HTML than is humanly useful - there'd be a flood of happy Smileys coming your way. So apt, so right, so just, so true. Now here's the original:


    "FEDERAL Arts Minister George Brandis has signalled a significant shake-up of arts funding to avoid political "blackballing", in the wake of what he describes as the "shameful" decision by the Biennale of Sydney to reject private sponsorship from Transfield.

    In a muscular, culture-wars intervention, Senator Brandis has issued an indirect threat against ongoing funding for the Biennale and other arts funding recipients that reject private sponsorship because of political pressure."


  3. This is part of what Paul Sheehan had to say in today’s SMH re the Biennale imbroglio:

    “the Biennale board delivered an almighty, ungracious, short-sighted and ultimately gutless humiliation and rejection of the Belgiorno-Nettis family”, and, “the long-term chairman, Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, placed in an untenable position, and fury and disgrace, on both sides, embroil the Biennale.”

    Also in today’s SMH is a letter to the editor from Luca Belgiorno-Nettis who expresses a dissenting view to that of Sheehan.

    “I must correct a misunderstanding about the role of the Biennale board in my departure. Contrary to your suggestion that I was ''sacked'', in fact I received both support and loyalty from the board. It was my decision to resign. I wanted to protect this year's event and the future of the institution. I also wanted to protect the staff and the artists from the harassment and vilification we were all experiencing.

    What say you now, Sheehan?

    1. HB,
      I read that and thought, "pity aabout the harassment and vilification that the asylum seekers are experiencing"

  4. As a diversion, how about nominating your best film soundtracks?

    In the pop category it's hard to go past Happy Feet or Flash Gordon.

    In the more serious class, Hans Zimmer's music for The Thin Red Line, or the Anton Karas' music for The Third Man.

    For classics - Amadeus or the Fifth Element, or (perhaps cheating) Visconti's Death in Venice..

    Any more bids?

  5. Ooo - I forget the best crappy movie. I recommend Mama Mia.

    1. Any list that doesn't include Bernard Hermann is no list at all.
      But if you want seriously exotic, have a listen to David Shire's perfect period jazz funk inflected score for the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, now so quaint it's as authentic as oxidised copper. It's even better than Lalo Schifrin's work for the vigilante Dirty Harry.
      The trouble here is that you need to separate out Sontagian camp of Giorgio Moroder from genuine masters of music, like Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone, and work out how to deal with an Alexandre Desplat, who did good scores in Europe but is happy to make a good living in Hollywood.

    2. I still vote for Hans Zimmer.

    3. I'll see your Zimmer and raise you Miklos Rozsa

  6. The Guardian has a go at Bolt.

    "But let’s not overstate his influence, either. He speaks to the converted. He exists in an infinite loop of rage and victimisation among a shrinking audience. Conservative politicians love him because he keeps their most loyal voters in a constant state of agitation, but those people are not influential. Tabloid editors love him, presumably because he gets everyone wound up, writing letters to the editor, clicking on articles and basically propping up a struggling industry."

    I suspect they over-estimate his importance. He has a few thousand regular acolytes, but so probably does Screaming Lord Sutch.

    1. Moist loyal supporters?

  7. I remember once hearing a musical historian saying that the Victorian-era composers had the misfortune of writing film music before films were invented (Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Mahler, Tchaikovsky etc.)

    I think we've more than made up for that unfortunate oversight.

  8. Why do we group those of the Jewish or Muslim faith, with Chinese, Korean or Aboriginal race? In the same way we don't use Catholic or Protestant to describe someone's race. It doesn't make sense.

  9. In this age of 'freedoms of speech' I find it odd that whilst religion is speech, that we can't criticise it for fear of 18C. I understand invoking 18C for race: discriminating because of their genetic make up is absurd. But why can't we be critical of religions: they're just thoughts, aren't they? Are we so sensitive these days? They're just ideas that people choose to believe...

  10. Why are 'Jews' so special as to be included in 'race hate' laws? They're not a race. Anymore than 'Catholics' or 'Muslims' are a race.
    Why? I don't see how being 'Jewish' can be held to the same level as being 'Chinese' when being 'Catholic' is not.

    1. It's always good to have someone so profoundly ignorant of twentieth century history join the pond for a discussion. And at the same time be so profoundly ignorant of the implications of 18C in relation to criticising religion for being the dreaming of people who might also believe in the Easter bunny, Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

      But a nice trolling, and you might well feel pleased with yourself, and at some point, you might even discover what really goes on in the world ... though that might take some time because you're clearly not a kike or a towelhead or a sand nigger or a camel jockey ...

  11. No, Dorothy, I was born to Catholic parents, in Australia. Italian/Irish heritage. Your sarcasm certainly defines itself as the lowest form of wit.

    I am well aware of what you are trying to prove by stating I am ignorant of twentieth century history. Jewish people were 'persecuted' for their perceived influence on German society in the '30's. Try as they have since, there is no genetic commonality linking Jews from Eastern Europe to those in Western Europe: unlike common genes amongst Chinese or African populations. Your take on mid-twentieth century history appears to have been skewed by the popular press since then. Read a little more Dorothy: you might learn something.

    Again I ask: I realise how silly it is to question someone for where they were born, but why must I step on egg shells for fear of offending someone should I question which bearded man they believe to inhabit the clouds? It's patently absurd to not be allowed to question ideas.

    Having someone for those ideas, is blatantly wrong. The Catholic Church did it. Muslims have done it. We're talking about two different levels. I don't believe anyone should not be allowed to criticise thoughts or ideas. It's basic, Dorothy.
    I'm not trolling. I'm asking a pertinent question, one that you answer by using labels and derogotory language.

    Mature form of argument, Ms Parker.


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