Tuesday, June 03, 2014

What astonishing sights ...

What an astonishing sight!

A United States TV host and program mocking and ridiculing Australia's glorious Prime Minister.

What's worse, it went feral on social media. When the pond checked it out, it had around 6,000 views, this morning it was heading towards 350,000.

You've probably already seen it by now - it's even been picked up by sordid types like the Fairfaxians - but you can always catch it here, for as long as the link stays up.

Oh okay, it's not that astonishing.

Everyone knows Tony Abbott is a prime doofus, and John Oliver is just catching up, and hey, Australia deserves everything it gets for having a prize doofus as PM - though it is a little startling to see such a compendium of Abbott's greatest hits prepared by an HBO show.

Is it that naked, is it that obvious, that even Americans can be startled into mildly astonished laughter?

What an astonishing sight!

There was poor old hapless Ken Cowley allegedly delivering a few home truths - Lachlan might not the sharpest sheep in the top paddock, and The Australian in its current guise might be "pathetic", and the pond had completely missed the fuss, until Media Watch here, provided the details and a very handy pdf of the offending story ...

Oh okay, it wasn't that astonishing, more entrancing, or compelling, or curious.

Like watching Jonestown or Waco Texas unfold, as the kool aid drinkers rushed to fence Cowley off and deal with his heretical thoughts, and put him back in a scientological clear state.

Naturally after a decent round of exorcisms, the heretic fell into line, and all was well ... the tremor in the force had been expunged, and the sheep could stay in the top paddock, and the reptiles at the lizard Oz could go back to being pathetic. Yes, it's Caterist day, with bonus Dame Groan, and bilious Gary Johns, but oh dear, a failure in the Newspoll ...

What an astonishing sight!

There was the gormless Rowan Dean, a twit of the first water, po-faced as he assured Tony Jones that the most important thing was to leave a debt-free generation of young Australians, right at the moment that the Federal Government is proposing to extend the burden of personal debt for what might be decades of a young person's life - to the point where some wags in the government even proposed a little grave robbing to ensure that estates re-paid the debt no matter what, because it was just like a house mortgage, and just as an estate could make use of the house, so they could dig the corpse out of the grave, and make ongoing use of the education paid for by the generous Australian taxpayers, attempting an imitation of a usurious pawnbroker ...

Oh okay, it wasn't that astonishing, it was more astonishing that the pond happened to alight for a fleeting moment on QandA, before racing off to watch the men's hockey, or an infomercial, or almost anything other than watching the braying ... but you can if you like catch up with the show here.

Anyway, everyone knows Rowan Dean is a prat. He makes the puddle in the pothole out the front of the pond's house look deep.

Is it something in the water coolers in the advertising game? Not even the Coen Brothers or Arthur Miller can deal with this sort of nonsense, as Dean goes about the business of foisting Tru Coat on the world (with ad and crook sound). How soon before Dean wanders off into the garden to plant carrots and demand that attention be paid?

What an astonishing sight!

There was Cory Bernardi making a prime goose of himself at almost any moment he spoke on QandA (no, Blogger doesn't deal with the ampersand that well).

Oh okay, it wasn't that astonishing. Everyone knows Bernardi is a goose, the only astonishing thing was that he would parade his goosiness in public.

Seeing Bernardi talk about matters scientific is like spending a nostalgic moment with a medievalist ... yes, yes, what's astonishing is that the pond kept sneaking back for a glimpse of the barking mad. Well the alternative was men's hockey or infomercials...

What an astonishing sight!

There was poor old Prof Ian Chubb, ostensibly the government's chief scientist, on Lateline, here, pleading for the government pay attention to science.

Oh okay, it wasn't that astonishing, more desperate and pathetic, as it became clear that Chubb didn't have a clue about the proposed $20 billion investment fund for medical research:

... I guess the issue for science as a whole is that science as a whole impacts on medical research. So what we're really waiting for is to see what the main purposes of the fund will be and how it can be used to ensure that we have enough physics and enough chemistry and enough mathematics and microbiology and biology and genetics and all of the other disciplines to make sure that we can conduct medical research of the quality that's anticipated.

So where did the government get its advice for its thought bubble, whose intent and functions and operations even now seem opaque to its chief scientist? What about a cost benefit analysis and a rigorous, detailed understanding of its purpose? Hard to find in When deep cuts are not healthy.

Well you can always justify the thought bubble by suggesting that the NBN was also a thought bubble ... which begs the question of how fully wired countries like South Korea got hold of that thought bubble a damn sight earlier and then delivered the goods.

Sorry, sweet Prof, do go on, who did brief the luddites on this most excellent idea?

 IAN CHUBB: Oh, well I don't know. I presume that it sought it from the Department of Health, from the National Health and Medical Research Council. I presume that it talked to people within the research sector and perhaps outside the research sector with an interest in the outcomes of medical research. But I didn't talk to them. 
EMMA ALBERICI: Would you have liked to have had some input? 
IAN CHUBB: Oh, well, I mean, I like having input into as many things as I can have input into. I think my advice is extraordinarily wise and useful.

Sorry sweet Prof, while it's good to be ironic and witty, you're dealing with a prize collection of luddites. How dare you talk this sort of talk?

...I use agriculture as an example. If the present public contribution scheme goes through - and it's under review, so it may not - but if it were to go through, then the cost of an Agricultural Science degree to the student would go up something like 37 per cent if the university offering that degree was simply to keep the same number of dollars in per student. And yet this is at the same time when the number of Agricultural Science students has dropped over the last couple of decades to a fairly low level now and it's flatlined, essentially. And at the same time, the Government in other parts of government at least are going out there and developing trade agreements which require us to increase agricultural exports. So you've got - you've put on top of the fact that rainfall patterns in the country are changing, according to Bureau of Meteorology charts over 40, 50 years. So will the agriculture we do today, will the products we produce today be produced in the - in greater quantities given those variables? I think we need research, we need agricultural science, we need to think through what we can do as the country shifts and as the environment within which the - the environment of the country shifts. So, we need them, so why would you charge them more to do a degree that's so critically important to our international relations, to our own capacity to produce food for ourselves and to export it as well?

Enough of that, dear Prof, the pond is after the astonishing, not the perplexing.

Oh okay, by popular consensus, it seems that the truly astonishing sight was the rumble in the jungle between big Mal and the Bolter.

Sure enough the Fairfaxians and the ABC have been running hot with the rumble, because Cory Bernardi turned it into a tag match, and tagged big Mal on QandA (oh just forget the ampersand will you).

Bernardi deploys a demented, unhinged feather!

But really, the pond takes the view that if you pay attention to squabbling children, it only encourages them, and you don't have to do much to encourage the Bolter in preening displays of narcissism that make the Ruddster look like a balanced person.

The funniest line the Bolter came out with yesterday was that it was all Turnbull's fault - he could have just ignored the Bolter on his Sunday program, and then ignored the Bolter's column yesterday, and so big Mal must have a vested interest in keeping the controversy going.

Perhaps the only funnier aspect was the way the HUN tried to pretend Turnbull wasn't mounting a personal attack on their demented scribbler. Look at this for a really silly header:

Actually HUNsters, the pond is pretty sure that big Mal wasn't just saying that the rumours were unhinged and demented. It seems pretty clear that big Mal was proposing that the spreader of the rumours was unhinged and demented and who can argue with that? Yes the Bolter is the misused "It".

What a surprise.

Of course it's the Bolter that's interested in keeping himself in the spotlight, which is why you can find the dog back at the bone, worrying away this morning in a state of high agitation:

Notice a pattern? It's all very Murdochian.

Ken Cowley was disloyal before the heresy was expunged, now big Mal is expected to be a mindless automaton conforming to the unhinged, demented demands of the Bolter ...

Really they should have found the space for "either way he's disloyal and unAustralian".

The pond long ago wiped big Mal off its personal radar, as he willingly set about the business of ruining the NBN, and yet now he's being abused for not being enough of a lickspittle lackey. Now there's a knock down irony for you ...

And look at that smirk on the Bolter's mug. Notice a similarity to the smirk of the Abbott? The smirk of a narcissist?

Yes that self-satisfied smirk says at all. Once again he's the centre of attention, a reward for being a bovver boy. Make no mistake, the Bolter started it, it was all his doing, he set it in motion, and all that big Mal did was stand up to a bully, and like a bully, the Bolter looked very startled to be challenged in this presumptuous way.

So what was the net result? So what did the Bolter accomplish with his intervention?

Well there's Tony Abbott wanting to pose as a statesman and a Prime Minister as he heads off overseas, and here's the Bolter involved in a dog fight in the street, and so Abbott is now forced to answer questions about big Mal and the Bolter.

Oh Abbott yammers on about how the government is absolutely focussed on its budget, but everyone knows the government is absolutely distracted, and right now, we learn courtesy John Oliver, that Abbott is comic material for comedians around the world.

Right now his office can't even separate out a tribute to World War II veterans from shameless political trawling, as if somehow YouTube couldn't find the space for two separate videos ...

What else did the Bolter accomplish?

Well, spoiler alert ...

... you see, the Fairfaxians decided to conduct one of their random unscientific polls, but what's wrong, sweet Prof Chubb, with being unscientific, in this age of luddite medievalism?

Uh huh. Head off here to add your vote, and have fun reading Tony Wright having fun with Andrew Bolt is undermining Malcolm Turnbull undermining Tony Abbott. Got it? (forced video at end of link)

Yes, the Bolter has kept the issue of leadership alive right at the moment that Abbott was hoping it would go away, and turned everyone to thinking about big Mal as leader - in a remarkably favourable way.

Just when Abbot was hoping he might be able to patch things up with the Indonesians and return in glory waving a piece of paper announcing peace in our time.

With friends like that, the pond hopes that Abbott keeps on cultivating more media friends like that ... especially the really paranoid conspiratorial ones ... demented, unhinged ...

Naturally you only need to see David Rowe's cartoon to realise the sublime folly of the affair.

But let's be fair. It's not really that astonishing, it's just very silly, and the demented Bolter the silliest of all.

Yes even sillier than Tony Abbott, and as John Oliver would note with a raised eyebrow, that's beyond dickhead silly ...

(Below: as always, more Rowe here - please reward him with a click for his portrait of Tony Abbott as roast Beijing duck and for showing big Mal munching on the noodles he uses to improve NBN connectivity)

Meanwhile, David Pope picked up on that other indiscretion by the posturing Abbott (and as always more Pope here)

What a great time it is to be alive. And  what luck, in this Reader's Digest world that laughter is truly the best medicine, because what else is left, except tears ...


  1. I shifted to Chrome to view your enclosures kitten-free. I fear John Oliver missed a minor opportunity by not running a picture (often posted by The Finnigans on Twitter) of Abbott leering through the rear end of a beef carcass. Then again almost any picture probably serves the purpose just as any recording of his speaking does.

    Your reference to the Coen Brothers sent me on an entirely false trail, looking for information (and failing to find it) on the Cohen brothers, who were legendary Hollywood tycoons in the 30s when gangster and big capital money intermingled freely. So much so that live bullets were once used in a shoot-out scene. When actor Edward G Robinson complained, the response was, "I thought you were supposed to be a tough guy."

    At the funeral of one of the Cohens in the 50s, a minister renowned for obsequious obituaries was hired at great expense to give him a flattering sendoff.

    One person in the congregation, having been ruined by the Cohens some years earlier, had waited long for this moment. He suddenly jumped up and shouted at the minister as he prepared for the oration. "I dare you! I challenge you! Say one good thing about Morton Cohen!"

    Startled, the minister looked up and said, "He's dead."

  2. Palmer's giving more value every day, God bless him. Now he's got stuck into Peta (that's Abbott's chief, not the animal rights loonies)


  3. :) The corollary to that joke was (allegedly) Red Skelton's send off:
    In February 1958 when he died, the classic comment (usually attributed to Red Skelton) upon seeing the large number of people showing up for Cohn's funeral: "Give the people what they want, and they'll turn out for it!"
    But my favourite Cohn joke runs like this and involved the writer of Citizen Kane, a drunk down on his luck who accepted a job working on the poverty row studio:
    Columbia producer William Perlberg, knowing Mankiewicz was an alcoholic with a sharp tongue who enjoyed baiting his bosses, banned him from the executive dining room in an effort to head off trouble. However, one day Mankiewicz defied the ban and wound up sitting at a table with Cohn and other executives. Cohn started the conversation with: "Last night I saw the lousiest picture I've seen in years." After mentioning the title, one producer reported that he had seen it with an audience and they had loved it. He suggested that maybe Cohn would have had a different reaction if he had seen it with an audience. Cohn replied, "That doesn't make any difference. When I'm alone in a projection room, I have a foolproof device for judging whether a picture is good or bad. If my fanny squirms, it's bad. If my fanny doesn't squirm, it's good. It's as simple as that." There was a momentary silence, which was broken by Mankiewicz. "Imagine," he said to the other members of the table. "The whole world wired to Harry Cohn's ass!" Mankiewicz was once again out of a job and eventually wound up writing scripts for Welles' Mercury Theater on the radio.

    1. Thanks for those stories, Dorothy, and for the correction on the Cohn's name. No wonder my search failed so badly. As Mr Hunt has found, even Wiki has its limits. And Harry was indeed the first name of the subject at the funeral. But it sounds as if you're at least as familiar with it as I am, where age lets me down.

      Great story on Mankiewicz. Was he an ancestor or relative of the actor John Mankiewicz? Such an unusual name enough to speculate.

    2. John Mankiewicz is the grandson of Herman, the great nephew of Joseph. I'm not sure which of the brothers (there were more) is referred to above.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mankiewicz_family

    3. Thanks for that Ian. Sadly my senility is creeping in. The actor I was thinking of was John Malcovich. #$*%!
      Cohen for Cohn was bad enough. I might try hibernation.

  4. Thank you Tony Abbott and Co. I been in need of a laugh. Life has been pretty boring since Peter Jensen retired as Sydney Anglican Archbishop. Lucky Tony is there to continue to promote female submission and and homophobia in the "free world"! What is even more enigmatic is watching the likes of Alan Jones seeking to run the country by proxy.


  5. Your closing lines says it all Dorothy. Rowan Dean just makes you want to cry, that's for sure. I'm convinced there's some secret slush fund paying these neo-idiots to attempt to drive us all nuts. Become unhinged and the people will become unhinged with you or some such.
    I think it may be working, if Greg Sheridan is any guide. He and Jon Faine apparently went the whole 9 yards in their Tuesday "world is fukt" chat. I missed the bulk of it, but it appears Sheridan attacked Faine,the ABC and most of the known universe of ganging up in a conspiratorial hate campaign against his true love, the Prime Duck.Was a rather terse exchange,that's for sure,with Sheridan sounding somewhat unhinged in the end.
    A condensed version of policy as it stands maybe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV17vaxm1Vg

    1. Dean's persistent jabbering on about the budget deficit being the thing that needed to be fixed before we can do ANYTHING else was a sickening performance last night. It made me turn the TV off.

      As if a surplus is more important to people than health and education.

    2. ".. I'm convinced there's some secret slush fund paying these neo-idiots to attempt to drive us all nuts ."

      I think I may have found something ??


    3. Krauss though compelling was outweighed by the rest of it shortly repelling. I left the room, as usual.

      I see Q&A styles themselves as "Adventures in democracy". Really? What prats they have become.


      Nah, little in there amongst the twitter clicker adventurers either.

      Adventure is much better done here:

    4. That person with the curls was very boring. It has all been said before and will be said again. Hearing those ideologues hold forth is like listening to a kindergarten rendition of There were 10 green bottles or a drum solo, or a rollicking Whiskey in the Jar. Interminable and always the same. I thought the American was the only lively participant. I never look at that show. I checked it out on I view to see what Lucy Turnbull had to say. The American brought a bit of crackle to that tired format.

    5. Your irony appears to be as obscure as your grammar, Anonymous OP. Your link takes us to a Latino band song - perhaps one that we're meant to interpret as an example of your clever wit.
      As far as syntax goes, is that - maybe, may be, or ', maybe'?
      And like most things in this life, your reference to ideologues works both ways, or are we meant to pre-suppose what slant the ideology here leans in to by considering the part of the URL (above) that says 'loonpond'? Prolly.
      Such language: makes you want to cry, secret slush fund (plagiarised from the distasteful Wilson/Gillard affair), persistent jabbering, sickening performance, prats, boring, interminable, tired.
      Mind the wind, sippers; your underpinnings are showing. Lifters or leaners in residence?


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