Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cartoon members of the commentariat call for a cartoon response ...

Okay, so that's the media commentary out of the way for the day, the week, the month and almost certainly the year.

How about time out for a little political commentary?

Hateboner for the poor? Yep, that about sums it up (and for the rest of that First Dog cartoon, go here).

Does it get any more peculiar?

Well yes, there was the bizarre, seemingly lyrical sight of jolly Joe Hockey and Mathias Cormann taking a walk. Lots of images of this sort of thing:

Oh sure they were harassed by the usual pack of hounds, but jolly Joe was even caught pounding up the side of a garden, no doubt to the distress of any watching gardener. 

Only to be followed by footage of this.

Yes, the childish adolescent fifth formers took time out to smoke a cigar, thereby undoing absolutely any health benefits they might have received from their ostentatious, lavishly photographed walk.

In short, they cheerfully fucked themselves, and all the pond could think was that it explained in a few precise images why they'd cheerfully fuck the country.

You have to hand it to John Howard. On his walks he was never that dumb ...

Now it's already all over Twitter and Saffron Howden made the obvious connection to the cigar-smoking lawyers in Boston Legal, here (forced video attached):

"Say what you will about Republicans," Denny Crane, the increasingly senile, blame-shifting lawyer in television series Boston Legal, muses to his best friend. 
"We stick to our convictions, even when we know we're dead wrong." 
Alan Shore, his on-air buddy, agrees: "Some might say especially then."

Indeed. Of course smoking cigars while screwing people - politically, financially, in the big end of town, in Washington and on Wall Street is an honourable American tradition.

You can immediately spot a prat of the P. J. O'Rourke kind by the way they'll shove a cigar in their mouths:

Yep, there's a full blown prat. Put it another way:

Into the valley of the prats rode the five hundred.

It's right up there with other great American entrepreneurial business practices:

Of course if you do a flashback in your portable time machine, it does make jolly Joe's speechifying sound downright weird:

Opposition Treasury spokesperson Joe Hockey has attacked the Federal Government's newly announced cigarettes tax increase, calling it 'hypocritical' and 'policy on the run'. 
Joe Hockey told Jon Faine that the tax would adversely impact lower income people. "Everything has a consequence," says Joe Hockey. 
"For pensioners, for low income people, this tax increase is going to have a far bigger impact on their everyday budget that it will for someone on $200,000 a year smoking cigars," he says. (you can hear him here)

Indeed. But that was back in August last year, and now the lying, deviant, fraudulent, unhealthy and hypocritical cigar smoker is in power. But at least it helped explain why jolly Joe was huffing and puffing when he talked to the media during his power walk.

You don't get fit by ruining your lungs, and the days that Boy Charlton could puff on fags before going out to win at swimming are long gone.

Oh sorry, we'd already done all the political commentary necessary this fine Saturday morning courtesy of First Dog.

As for that media commentary?

Same as it ever was. The same forelock tugging, and bowing and scraping, the only difference today being that class warfare has shifted to business welfare warfare.

Will anybody believe all this 'sharing the pain' crap?

Perhaps only the reptiles and anyone who can afford a nicely shaped Cuban cigar, and never mind any trade bans the United States might want to impose.

Is there anything new to see?

No, there's just Greg Sheridan being a fop and a fool, and waving Europe around in the air like a spectre and a horror story.

Is there any benefit, aside from the pond being reminded to link yet again to How I learnt to love Tony Abbott A bromance for the Ages?

Well yes, connoisseurs of puffery and hysteria - who love a finely rolled cigar - will find much to enjoy in The dangers of becoming a little Europe in Asia (inside the paywall because even a cheap trick cigar costs money) - as opposed to reading say The dangers of becoming a little Asia in Asia (that's being saved up for next week's column).

Strangely each time the pond visits Europe - Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin - even hapless Spanish towns - the thing that impresses is the way a lot of people seem to value things that matter, like decent food (compare and contrast with the United States, and try to keep the bollocking of food in the US to less than 100,000 words).

But there's nothing like an hysteric with a cigar firmly shoved up his bum:

The Greens, not seeking government, are utterly irresponsible in policy terms. 
Perhaps even more important, their rhetoric is extremist, absolutist and highly emotional. They don’t paint their opponents as merely wrong but as wicked planet destroyers, racist persecutors of refugees, closet homophobes and sexists.

Uh huh. That'd be as opposed to this centrist, balanced, modest, relativist and highly rational form of politics we see here:

Oh dear, those were the glory days, berating wicked destroyers of Australia, people who didn't try hard enough at persecuting refugees, celebrating homophobia and good old ditch the witch sexism.

Sometimes, reading Sheridan, the pond can fall into an existential crisis. Can a planet that produced Shakespeare also produce Sheridan?

Of course Sheridan pretends to be balanced by noting other forms of eccentricity in the Liberal sphere - the NSW Liberals, and the Victorian Liberals clinging to power courtesy of Mr. Geoff "tummy eggs" Shaw.

But it's all forelock tugging, and scraping and bowing, as the concluding tosh proves conclusively:

Has Australia passed the tipping point? Is the European political and budgetary syndrome now irretrievably implanted in our political culture? 
Put it another way. It seemed that the dysfunction and policy chaos of the Rudd-Gillard years was mostly a consequence of internal Labor politics. But could it be that much deeper structural factors were at work? Were those years not an aberration but the new paradigm? 
The Abbott government’s ability to sell its budget, which asks for a little sacrifice from all sectors of the community and makes an effort to repair the debt and deficit trajectory, will tell us much of the answer.

Put it another way. How can a man sound so superficial and stupid, and unctuous and uxorious towards his beloved, and still get called a Foreign Editor and get paid for it?

Does Sheridan and the rest of the cigar-smoking gang expect everyone to forget the relentless negativity and hostility dished out for years, and now expect everyone to come together singing Kumbaya like a flock of forgiving lentil-eating hippies, all joined together in one cosmic moment of "a little sacrifice" and universal giving and tithing and bliss, oh poop?

Well the pond knows where that leads ...

What else?

Well there was the tragic sight of the irrelevant Peter van Onselen wondering yet again why he'd got down and dirty with the kool aid drinking cigar smokers:

Here Petey boy, have another one:

And there was the dullard plodding Chris Kenny finally getting up to speed:

Unspeakable horrors meet ongoing security threats, yet the common motivating thread in these and other episodes is something many of us try to ignore. 
Despite more than a decade of sickening violence and massacres in Nigeria claiming more than 4000 lives, only now are many starting to mention the I-word. 
Islamic extremism has become the hate whose name we dare not speak.

It's a nonsense of course, but Kenny uses it to club diverse people from Barack Obama to Waleed Aly.

Now Aly can defend himself as he likes from Kenny (who is merely parroting the Bolter), but here's the thing - the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists has got as much to do with conventional middle of the road Islam as the Westboro Baptist Church has got to do with Christianity.

All Kenny wants to do is crank up the fear to twelve about the foreign devils, when in reality there's a lot to fear from all sorts of craziness inspired by assorted religions. You know, like Putin, getting on side with the Russian Orthodox church, banning swear words and making life miserable for Ukraine.

But hey the pond is all for it. As soon as we can start talking about Geoff Shaw as a Christian terrorist waging war on women's rights, and the Catholic church as a Christian terrorist organisation waging war on hapless children, and the angry Sydney Anglicans as Christian fundamentalists waging war on homosexuals, and Scientologists as a bunch of mercenary ratbag terrorists waging war on the purses and wallets of anyone who falls prey to their Xenu gibberish.

The funniest thing, as Kenny rants and rails against the Islamics for their scorn and contempt for traditional western values?

Yes it comes in the very same week that Geoff Shaw blathered on about tummy eggs, sounding as much like a member of a fundamentalist Islamic sect as a fundamentalist Christian.

So what about standing up to this sort of fundamentalism? Say gay marriage? How speaks Mr. Kenny then? Why with courtesy and care for the crazy fundamentalists:

...there are of course those who take a strong, conservative view against it. Many opponents are deeply religious, perhaps Christian or Islamic, and/or are older Australians who are troubled by the change to tradition and accepted norms.

Now the pond would say fuck them, but Kenny's solution?

A civil union between gay people would be the same as my civil marriage, in everything except name. (here)

Yes, a quisling compromise sell out ...

So let's bring it on. Let's berate fundamentalist Islamics, but let's not forget to berate fundamentalist Christians, of the Geoff Shaw kind, and the fundamentalist Catholics and Anglicans and evangelicals - you  know the ones that speak in tongues like Scott Morrison - and the Hillsong racket (with its outposts of abuse) and the fundamentalist Hindus and the fundamentalist Jews who have behaved in the most shameful and shocking ways (try David Shulman's Occupation: 'The Finest Israeli Documentary, inside the NYRB paywall for the moment), and the crazy Scientologists and any other passing fundamentalist ratbag Calalthumpian who comes our way ...

What's that? The pond is sounding like one of those tedious, boring, angry atheists?

Ah yes there's good fundamentalists and bad fundamentalists, depending which form of crazy fundamentalism is your personal cup of tea.

And speaking of speaking in tongues hypocrisy and hubris, as usual David Pope is to hand (more Pope here). 

Reza Berati on the cape? Whatever could it mean Chris Kenny? Speaking of the killing fields and cruelty to others ...


  1. Introductory Fundies 101, continued... "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)


    Statement by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on Asylum Seekers Media Release 8 May 2014

    Worth reading.


  3. Talking of Glossolalia as we were, here's a very disturbing example, from Morrison and Shaw's tradition.

    These are the people we elect?

  4. Hi Dorothy,

    As we all know given an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters it would be possible to create the works of Shakespeare. Unfortunately it would also be possible to create the works of Greg Sheridan too, although you would need a far fewer number of monkeys.

    In fact one would probably suffice.



Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.