Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis blues again ... and they call that the joy of free speech ...
It started with a throbbing and a pulsing hum.
Was it an avant-garde composition unfamiliar to the pond? A lesser Stockhausen?
No, it was just another early morning start on Radio National, and soon enough the intriguing sound turned into a repeat of the Law report, with nary a hint of an explanation. Perhaps the pond was just hallucinating, perhaps it was an acid flashback ...
Mark Scott should bottle this stuff and sell it at the school fair ...
Meanwhile, simply by a quirk of the browser, the pond came into touch with sanctimonious tosh of the first water.
But you already knew that you could cop a dose of preening self-satisfaction from David Brooks any day of the week, didn't you? Brooks, a remarkably self-satisfied and self-centred man, in the usual way of the commentariat, delivered what he no doubt considered an ennobling set of sentiments on happiness and suffering:
The right response to this sort of pain is not pleasure. It’s holiness. I don’t even mean that in a purely religious sense. It means seeing life as a moral drama, placing the hard experiences in a moral context and trying to redeem something bad by turning it into something sacred. Parents who’ve lost a child start foundations. Lincoln sacrificed himself for the Union. Prisoners in the concentration camp with psychologist Viktor Frankl rededicated themselves to living up to the hopes and expectations of their loved ones, even though those loved ones might themselves already be dead. (What Suffering Does)
Or you might be Primo Levi, and fall from a balcony and leave the world to argue whether it was suicide.
The pond has absolutely no explanation of why Brooks should, from his smug eerie, take on the unctuous hand-wringing superiority of a half-baked Anglican minister offering the holy and the sacred to suffering folk (perhaps you could also score a cheese and cucumber sandwich, though you should never drink American tea), but sure as shit, you can guarantee he won't be walking a mile in the shoes of the long suffering.
Next week, as with so many of the American commentariat, he'll be back to explaining how an increase in the minimum wage is a deeply moral question:
Low income is the outcome of these interrelated problems, but it is not the problem. To say it is the problem is to confuse cause and effect. To say it is the problem is to give yourself a pass from exploring the complex and morally fraught social and cultural roots of the problem. It is to give yourself permission to ignore the parts that are uncomfortable to talk about but that are really the inescapable core of the thing. (The Inequality Problem)
Yep, bugger an increase in the minimum wage, that's morally fraught, let's keep on with the noble and sacred and holy cause of suffering ...
What humbug and moral hypocrisy, what a comprehensive and gigantic goose.
Waiter, is there a hot poker in the house?
Well if this level of delusion and grandiose piety is what can be found in the alleged American paper of record, you can see why a chastened pond quickly headed back to native Murdochian turf for a dose of local grandiosity ...
Sure enough, there was Dame Slap blathering on about 18C, and this time enjoining a couple of Canadians in the cause to set the Bolter and his commenters free to be wild-eyed bigots.
Dame Slap concludes grandly:
So, has Canada become a haven for bigots without section 13? Of course not.
It is, of course, a haven for Mark Steyn ...
And this is the sort of historical perspective that Steyn offers:
While we wait for intellectually honest members of the Left to emerge, Steyn says we must also relentlessly push back against the jackboot bigotry claims. “You have to say ‘You’re insulting Australians’, just as we said: ‘You’re insulting Canadians saying that.’ We’re not people who have a dark, fascist totalitarian past — Canada and Australia are two of the oldest, settled, constitutional societies on earth. They haven’t gone through third empires and fourth republics, and all the other stuff. People can be trusted to decide for themselves.”
Now that's how you sweep memories of the White Australia policy under the rug, and dis-remember that Australia was a member of the British Empire, its power as an independent war monger in doubt right up to the ratification of the Statute of Westminister in 1942, and inter alia teaching pesky blacks, those damned Boers and those wretched Turks a damned good lesson, before lately dishing out the same medicine to those bloody Iraquis and Afghanis ...
And through it all this proud country has never shown the slightest inkling or awareness that there might be any hint of prejudice or jackbooted bigotry in its past. Waiter, is there a flag with a Union Jack on it in the house?
Anyway, if you can be bothered to get around the paywall, you can read Dame Slap going on endlessly about wonderful Canadians and the hapless blight of the Bolter in One voice on free speech but truth to tell, it's been scribbled so many times in such repetitious form by so many Murdochians you could write it yourself in your sleep ...
But being the pond, there must be irony, surely there's an irony to be found, and sure enough, it comes with the juxaposition of all the Murdochians rabbiting on about the plight of the Bolter - when, judging by the comments reprinted on the pond's pages, he and his commenters can indulge in the most outrageous free speech, enough to make a cesspit smell as sweet as a rose ...
... up against this effort from the Abbott government:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's department has taken the bizarre step of declaring that its advice on how staff should use Facebook and Twitter is a secret, even though it was reported across the country.
The department's leaked Social Media Policy attracted controversy because it urges public servants to dob on colleagues who use the internet to criticise politicians or policies, even if they do so anonymously.
You can read more in Public service's leaked guide to dobbing on colleagues is now 'secret', which concludes:
Ms Banerji wrote to Attorney-General George Brandis on Tuesday, saying the bureaucracy's policies on using Facebook and Twitter were "a 'trip-wire’ for public servants in that, while on the one hand the guidelines state that public servants are encouraged to enter into robust discussion, they are in fact, not permitted to criticise government as private citizens".
She asked him to declare "that all public servants, as a class of persons, enjoy the constitutionally implied freedom of political communication in their capacity as private citizens, whatever their platform of expression".
Posted by dorothy parker at 4/09/2014 08:01:00 AM