Sunday, May 04, 2014

Andrew Bolt embraces the thinking of Nick Cohen, a man much given to denouncing climate science denialists ...

(Above: more xkcd here)

With the Catholics still hung over from their saint business, and the Sydney Anglicans routinely hung up, in the usual angry Sydney Anglican way, the pond thought this meditative Sunday would be a good time to brood about Irony.

It was the Bolter that got the pond going:

There you go, there's as bold as brass a set of ironies as you could want.

First of all there's the Bolter quoting the Graudian to berate the left for its silence.

Yet what do we know about the Graudian?

Let us consult the runes and the twittering tweets of the master:

Yes, if you follow the tweet here, you understand that the Graudian is a filthy, perverted leftist rag.

It then becomes impossible to construct a sensible header for the Bolter.

How about:

The Left breaks the silence the Left has imposed on the evil that is Boko Haram so that the Bolter can break the leftist silence by quoting a leftist rag?

Now the news that the Graudian is leftist isn't news to the Bolter:

Yes, if you read that piece, here, it's clear that the Graudian is a filthy, deviant rag, appealing to filthy deviate Left-wing readers. (Remember the capital letter, they're not just left, they're Left).

So are there any more ironies to be found?

Well if you bother to read the Bolter's effort - a bit of stocking filler called The Left's silence on the evil that is Boko Haram - it's some ten hearty paragraphs taken from the original leftist newspaper source, interspersed with a couple of measly, tongue-clucking lines from the Bolter.

It's what is commonly dressed up as appropriation. There's a link to the original, but the bulk of the content is cut and pasted into the Bolter's blog, and a few lines of commentary are deemed sufficient to deny the charge of theft or copyright infringement.

It's not so much a short soup as a soup with all the chunks, noodles and wantons in the one borrowed combination bowl ...

It's lazy, and it's a form of piracy of the kind which so exercises George Brandis when it comes to Hollywood and movies.

And when you borrow from a leftist newspaper so extensively, while accusing leftists of being silent, it's downright stupid, beyond the valley of the ironist.

But there's even more ironies to be discovered.

If you follow the supplied link to Nick Cohen's piece 220 schoolgirls haven't been 'abducted' by Boko Haram, they have been enslaved, you will discover a piece that's a 'pox on both their houses', on both conservatives and their follies, and fundamentalist leftists who try to find excuses for the fundamental evils of fundamentalist Islamic behaviour. And who can argue with that?

Posing Cohen's piece as being only about the left is to entirely misread, and mislead, about its intent.

In fact at the end of the piece, Cohen takes time out to quote Peter Singer, but that's the point at which the Bolter ends his slavish cut and paste, leaving out the juicy bit.

Singer is of course a figure of fun for the Bolter, as in pieces like Weirdness unbound: Marr's taxing ego, and singer's sexy dogs.

Yes, that's a piece where the Bolter pads it out with a transcript supplied by the ABC, links to a video on YouTube and fills up the last of the space with a par from a reader.

It's not so much a form of journalism, as wide-ranging borrowing and lazy intellectual theft.

But then there's a further irony.

Click on Nick Cohen's profile, and you'll immediately discover a man most unlikely to share many views with the Bolter.

There's an attack on the UKIP leader: Nigel Farage is a phoney. Scrutinise him and he'll crumble (the Graudian's refusal to capitalise acronyms is designed to send the world into a frenzy).

And the Tories and the UKIP: Beware the fake patriots' anger on immigration.

Or a kind of folly you'd expect to emanate from Clover Moore and the Sydney City Council: Why is Britain such a dangeorus place for walkers?

But it was the piece on climate change that was the capper: The climate change deniers have won.

In that piece, Cohen evokes the enormous malignant stupidity of people like the Bolter.

Hey, what do you know, the pond feels an irony-laden Bolter moment of slavish intellectual borrowing coming on:

David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary. George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be "at the heart of this historic fight against climate change", now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend.
All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can't call us "global warming deniers " because "denier" makes us sound like "Holocaust deniers", and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do. 
Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards? Rightwing billionaires in the United States and the oil companies have spent fortunes on blocking action on climate change. A part of the answer may therefore be that conservative politicians in London, Washington and Canberra are doing their richest supporters' bidding. There's truth in the bribery hypothesis. In my own little world of journalism, I have seen rightwing hacks realise the financial potential of denial and turn from reasonable men and women into beetle-browed conspiracy theorists. 
But the right is also going along with an eruption of know-nothing populism. Just as there are leftish greens, who will never accept that GM foods are safe, so an ever-growing element on the right becomes more militant as the temperature rises. 
Clive Hamilton, the Australian author of Requiem for a Species, made the essential point a few years ago that climate change denial was no longer just a corporate lobbying campaign. The opponents of science would say what they said unbribed. The movement was in the grip of "cognitive dissonance", a condition first defined by Leon Festinger and his colleagues in the 1950s . They examined a cult that had attached itself to a Chicago housewife called Dorothy Martin. She convinced her followers to resign from their jobs and sell their possessions because a great flood was to engulf the earth on 21 December 1954. They would be the only survivors. Aliens in a flying saucer would swoop down and save the chosen few. 
When 21 December came and went, and the Earth carried on as before, the group did not despair. Martin announced that the aliens had sent her a message saying that they had decided at the last minute not to flood the planet after all. Her followers believed her. They had given up so much for their faith that they would believe anything rather than admit their sacrifices had been pointless. Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.

There's more of course, and that's why the pond has provided a link to salve the conscience.

Oh the piquant ironies. Oh the comparison of the Bolter's followers to those of Dorothy Martin ...

And that's how easy it is to be a blogger Bolter style.

Just selectively steal the thoughts of others and quote them in bulk, and stick a misleading header on top, and there you go, a Sunday meditation as fresh as the heart- and soul-destroying popcorn at a twenty buck ticket movie theatre ...

Can it get any more stupid and offensive?

Of course it could.

Why do you ask?

It's the Bolter, and he's an irony-free zone:

Because, you see, GetUp can't get enough of Landline - they're your biggest fans, aren't they Pip - and if you think that show is for farmers, just remember that they're agrarian socialists and so de facto leftists and GetUp members, and it's all a gigantic conspiracy to do harm to the Bolter, and why oh why does his show always out-rated by the Insiders?

Does it mean that people prefer to watch prattling Polonius duelling with David Marr? Why that's an almost unimaginable irony.

That's enough Sunday meditation. Irony produces too many headaches ...

(Below: and another xkcd because that's the Bolter way)

1 comment:

  1. Ah, yes the conservatives will pay for it! Because no one one the left pays GST or stamp duties or excises or income tax. Just sick of these pricks carrying on like they are the only ones who ever pay for anything.


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