What's the most revealing thing about the relentless grinding and desperate ideological machine the lizard Oz has become?
The casual alienated reader might notice on the front page yet another assault on 18C.
This doesn't constitute news, this is the Murdochians pursuing, and so they say, setting the agenda.
But what's risible to the pond, what lightens the day, is the use of EXCLUSIVE.
Today even the most lightweight bit of filler - look, down there at the bottom right of the page - cops a burst of EXCLUSIVE red.
But, but, but billy goat, Patricia Karvelas lathered this story into a foaming frenzy on March 29th under the header Plan for over-55s to meet new dole test (behind the paywall because you have to pay for stories as aged as Miss Havisham's wedding cake).
Is the digital date stamp wrong or do the reptiles get out the EXCLUSIVE eggbeater for the weekend rag? Is it possible to put an EXCLUSIVE on endless rotation like a DJ in the 1950s in the grip of a payola scandal?
At the nub of it, the dole idea is a revival of a proposal first considered and rejected by the Rudd government in 2008.
Sad to say, the same preening desperation, the same pretence at EXCLUSIVITY litters the digital front page:
So many EXCLUSIVES, so little TIME.
Especially when it's patently absurd. For example, the story labelled EXCLUSIVE, at the top of the digital list, the Bullock, matter, was old news at least if you accept Google's timings:
You see, the story was off and running before the Oz's latest iteration of it - the Joe Bullock hare was well out of the gate and the hounds racing before the weekend print edition got to rolling ...
For starters, while The Australian might have discovered Bullock's speech on Friday, the Christians at the "Philosophy and Culture" Dawson Society had the real scoop on Bullock's 6th November 2013 when they put it up on the full to overflowing intertubes on the 22nd January 2014.
Now that's a knockdown EXCLUSIVE for you. And anybody with an inkling of Bullock and the shop union would know that it's not that much of an EXCLUSIVE, because it's long been known the shoppies' union has been a front for conservatives who make Tony Abbott sound on occasions like a liberal.
Which is way all this EXCLUSIVE nonsense is so offensive, and nonsensical.
In older days and climes - in the times of Ming the merciless - this kind of ostentatious shrieking, posturing and boasting would have offended the conservative palate.
Why in those days, the size of the print used on the front page determined if a rag was a vulgar tabloid or a serious and conservative rag which frowned on pathetic attention-seeking.
These days it seems angry old men need stimulation.
Oh dear, the pond has trodden on a corn.
Old white rich men having too much power = backdoor attempt at censorship?
That sounds like a remarkably stupid assertion, a truly ridiculous formula.
Would you like to know more?
Yes, it's just as risible when you get to read the actual content of Tim Wilson's Insidious threats to free speech (inside the premium paywall because there's always a high price on free speech by government bureaucrats).
It starts with one of the pond's favourite words: insidious.
Of course INSIDIOUS features in that Orwellian tract, 1984:
'Are you guilty?’ said Winston.
‘Of course I'm guilty!’ cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. ‘You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?’ His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. ‘Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,’ he said sententiously. ‘It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit — never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?’
He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity.
‘“Down with Big Brother!” Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? “Thank you,” I'm going to say, “thank you for saving me before it was too late.”’
‘Who denounced you?’ said Winston.
‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don't bear her any grudge for it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’
He made a few more jerky movements up and down, several times, casting a longing glance at the lavatory pan. Then he suddenly ripped down his shorts.
‘Excuse me, old man,’ he said. ‘I can't help it. It's the waiting.’
He plumped his large posterior into the lavatory pan. Winston covered his face with his hands. ‘Smith!’ yelled the voice from the telescreen.
‘6079 Smith W! Uncover your face. No faces covered in the cells.’
Winston uncovered his face. Parsons used the lavatory, loudly and abundantly. It then turned out that the plug was defective and the cell stank abominably for hours afterwards.
Oh dear, sorry, the pond got more interested in the toiletry affairs of Parsons than the scribbles of Tim Wilson ...
But what's the point of Wilson's exercise? Well you see the dear possum was on QandA, and evidently he felt like he got rolled, and now he wants to resume the fight, and of course, being a favourite of angry old white men, he gets the chance in the lizard Oz to roll out his arguments and attack the arguments of his fellow panellists, and none of them gets a chance to reply ... because none of them are in thick with angry old white men.
And of course Wilson just loves it, because some animals should be able to sleep in sheets and sit and dine with the farmer, and any power imbalance is self-correcting, which is of course why Chairman Rupert is just a twittering voice in the crowd ...
Now there's a knock down irony, as ironic as these lines:
Identity group-based arguments for restricting free speech are just a backdoor, sociological argument for censorship...
...Getting past the obvious hypocrisy of using race and gender-based abuse to defend a law that seeks to outlaw unjust prejudice, the intention of the argument is that “old white rich men” have both money and power to communicate their views and therefore restrictions on their speech are justified to make things fairer for those who are weaker.
And why is this so funny?
Well the pond points to the header on the front page of The Australian damning 18C: Act failing to stop black-on-black racism.
Which is to say, identity group-based arguments for attacking 18C ...
Getting past the obvious hypocrisy of using race-on-race and gender-based abuse to attack a law ...
As for the rest, it's just more of the usual Tim Wilson blather, which inevitably in the third last par comes to the real reason for the hysteria: the Bolt matter.
Anyone who scribbles for the Murdochians inevitably ends up down that squirrel hole.
But Wilson says one memorable thing:
We all rightly develop filters of trust, or the opposite, for those in public life based on whether we believe their views are trustworthy and have integrity.
Indeed. Now how should the pond filter the views of someone who joined an organisation having belonged to an organisation that called for the abolition of said organisation? And now pockets a large stipend for the pleasure, and routinely given a megaphone and a place in the lizard Oz's EXCLUSIVE grandstand reserved for angry men?
Would you like to know more?
Not really, but what a gosh golly gee whizz display of rocket science the Western Australian senate election re-run has turned out to be.
Why it was worth the Electoral Commission stuffing up just so the world could be regaled with the thoughts of Joe Bullock.
You have to feel sorry for Louise Pratt, forced to defend a dinosaur, and you have to feel sorry for Albo, who must have the sinking feeling of being a dinosaur amongst dinosaurs, and you even have to feel sorry for Tony Abbott, when you learn that Abbott was a close political ally in student days of a rabid right wing ratbag who persuaded Abbott, so the dinosaur claims, to join the Liberal party rather than stick with his preference for Labor ...
It turns out that Bullock's talk remains available online here, at time of writing.
What's the bet that someone in the Labor party would have loved to have been able to silence this angry old white man?
It turns out that Bullock has the same weird notion of freedom as Tim Wilson:
“The time is coming where faith needs to be protected from politics … the anti-discrimination movement is forcing religious belief into the four walls of a church. I am conscious of the movement for homosexual marriage and what that could mean for Catholic schools, where homosexuality could be required to be advocated as a moral equivalent to heterosexual marriage, I am concerned Catholic hospitals could be forced to recommend abortions … this is politics invading freedom of religion … freedom of religions is the freedom to practice your religion and that means taking your beliefs out of your church and living them in your life.”
Yes, freedom is the freedom to indulge in gay bashing.
What's amusing is the craven way this "freedom fighter" went to water as soon as the fuss erupted:
Labor's lead Senate candidate in the rerun West Australian Senate ballot has been forced to write to all Labor members in the state on the eve of the election, apologising for suggesting many of them were "mad".
"I am writing to apologise for the offensive remarks I made last year which have been widely reported in the media today. My comments were ill-considered, and I apologise unreservedly," he said in the emailed apology.
"I have the utmost respect for Labor members and our supporters and share your concern for the interests of working people in this state and this country.” He also apologised to his running mate, Louise Pratt, after questioning whether she really was a lesbian since her partner had had a sex change. "I have enormous respect for Louise, she has served the party and this state magnificently for over a decade and I'm confident that with the support of us all she'll be returned to the Senate tomorrow. Both Louise and I need your support on booths tomorrow and I know we can count on you," he said.
The pond long ago lost interest in the Labor party, and the likes of Joe Bullock in the public space is as good a reason as any.
And if the pond wants to read about the farce, why right at this moment, there's no need to read an EXCLUSIVE in the Oz, and pay for the pleasure, or have the pleasure of evading the paywall.
Lenore Taylor provides a solid report for The Graudian in Labor WA Senate candidate Joe Bullock apologies for calling members 'mad', and that's where we found the link and the quotes above.
It is of course tempting for the pond to laugh at the sand gropers, caught up in this circus.
Just as it's easy to laugh at cane toaders suffering under the gauleiter Campbell Newman strutting his stuff and bunging on a war with the doctors ... an argument that has yet to play out, but which could see the Newman government look as strange as the average day of a Northern Territory politician ...
Ah yes, it's tempting to laugh and chortle and cackle with glee - what great fun it would be - but the the pond learnt at an early age that it's unwise to carry stones while living in a glass house. Let alone throw them ... (and did you know you could trace that cornball phrase back to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde here. See, the pond's circus is all Chaucerian class).
If you live in the town of the Rum rebellion, all you can do is laugh, and relish the rum and the lash, and enjoy a David Rowe cartoon, which strangely enough evokes George Orwell yet again (and as always there's more Rowe here).