Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who needs Harry Lime when you've got the reptiles at The Australian?

The pond, it has to be said, to its shame, used to stick a stick into the ants' nests that used to litter the streets of Tamworth, and watch the ants go into a frenzy.

(No doubt if the pond gets to Buddha heaven, it will be properly punished - quick, someone, anyone, fling some money at a chaplaincy program so students can learn that the pond is heading to Buddha hell and being gay is wrong ...)

Or perhaps the ant-baiting was just preparation for the memorable remarks made by Orson Welles, as Harry Lime, in The Third Man:

HARRY:  Would you feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? .
HARRY:  If I offered you £20,000 for every dot that stopped - would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?...Free of Income Tax, old man... 
HARRY: of Income Tax.

Ah yes, those hapless, helpless damn dots, spread out below the ferris wheel, indifferent meaningless ants, and all Harry wanted to do was steal a drug, dilute it and sell it back to the ants at a great profit.

Now where's the harm in that? Oh sure, a few children, a few adults might die, but they're just dots old chum.

A little later Harry expanded on the free market:

HARRY: ...Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't, so why should we? They talk about the people, and the Proletariat... I talk about the suckers and the mugs... It's the same thing. They have their five-year plan, and so have I. 
MARTINS: You used to believe in God.  
HARRY:  I still do believe in God, old man... I believe in God and Mercy and all that... The dead are happier dead. They don't miss much here...

A great solace to cigarette smokers, pure Graham Green of course, as was the more famous speech:

HARRY:  I wish I had asked you to bring me some of these tablets from home... Holly, I would like to cut you in, old man. Nobody left in Vienna I can really trust - and we have always done everything together. When you make up your mind, send me a message... I'll meet you any place, any time. And when we do meet, old man, it is you I want to see, not the police. Remember that, won't you?... Don't be so gloomy... After all, it's not that awful. Remember what the fellow said...  in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michaelangelo - Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance... In Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce?...The cuckoo clock. So long, Holly.

Now where were we? Oh that's right, we were supposed to be off in la la Chris Mitchell land, but let the metaphor stand. That last speech by Harry Lime is pure Chris Mitchell and Rupert Murdoch ...

You see,  Mitchell ran a front page story with what looks clearly like it had only one intent and purpose in mind, which was to defame and destroy plain paper packaging for cigarettes, claiming it didn't work, was a waste of time, and the work of the devil or at least the nanny state.

The reptiles  thereby did their level best to serve the agenda of big tobacco and the IPA, and it happened to be even more piquant that the man who wrote the story, Christian Kerr, is well know at the IPA - you can see his contributions to that august institution listed here.

This morning the reptiles have put on frowns and yelped howls of pain at the indignity that someone might point these salient matters out.

The first response is a bizarre and arcane piece by Adam Creighton, who calls himself the Sydney Economics Correspondent for the rag, though kool aid drinker would do nicely, furiously scribbling ABS not the final word on smoking (behind the paywall because you've got to pay for fags and to puff on devious reptile distortions and misinformation).

Yes, why rely on the ABS for data, why not rely on the tobacco industry, because you know, the tobacco industry has no hidden agenda at all ...

Anyway, Creighton starts off with this doozy, in a way designed to befuddle the pond:

They tell us that between December 2012, when the plain-packaging legislation was introduced, and December last year consumption of cigarettes and tobacco rose 2.5 per cent. This was the first rise since 2007. 
They tell us that, over the four quarters of last year, total consumption was 0.9 per cent below 2012. This was the slowest ­decline since 2009.

Harry Lime couldn't have put it better.

And then Creighton provides all sorts of arguments suggesting that total consumption might have increased and big tobacco might be right, until we come to the very end:

Despite evidence from both the tobacco industry and the ABS, the impact of plain packaging is yet to be determined after just 18 months. The measure may ultimately contribute to a real decline in smoking rates and cigarette sales.

Say what?

That wasn't the point of Christian Kerr's piece. The real point was unseemly gloating and finger pointing at the nanny state and the complete uselessness of the legislation:

And it was splashed all over the front page with that intent:

Fails, fails, fails. Nanny state.

Which makes Creighton's specious bit of back-tracking so much nonsense.

But as always, the real comedy comes with The Australian's editorial, which attempts to defend it's pumping up of the IPA agenda, its support for big tobacco, and Christian Kerr.

You can read it under the heading Big public broadcasting smokes out same targets - what a wealth of paranoia there is just in the header - with the pond loving this bit best of all:

... why would it (Media Watch) seek to attack the integrity of our journalist Christian Kerr by linking his perfectly reasonable report to his occasional writings for the Institute of Public Affairs and then, by extension, to the tobacco industry because it, apparently, is one of many donors to the IPA. This is a classic case of playing the man rather than the ball, especially given Kerr would be much better known to ABC audiences as a longstanding regular contributor to Philip Adams’ Late Night Live program on Radio National. We stand by our reporter and his original story.

Get that? Kerr's okay because he occasionally turns up to chat with Phillip Adams ...

Of all the peculiar attempts at a defence of a claim of an ad hominem attack, that surely must take the cake, and all the more comical because of the way that Adams has been a long term contributor to The Australian. Why on that basis, every reptile on the rag is a certified left winger, sanctified by the presence of Adams ...

Then comes this bit of specious disingenuousness:

Neither The Australian nor Kerr has any interest in spruiking the interests of the tobacco industry. And we certainly do not advocate smoking, knowing that for many users it is a fatal habit. We are, however, always concerned about the effectiveness of public policy and assessing whether new laws produce the intended results. Especially when those measures — in this case the packaging laws — have controversially deprived private companies of the use of their own intellectual property (retail brands) in the marketing of legal products.

Which is code of a hilarious kind.  Disingenuous hand wringing. We don't advocate people take poison, but we are totally onside with the right of big tobacco to peddle their poison in the best ways possible.

Big tobacco should be allowed to go back to flogging their brands in bid to gain new addicts and entice the young to their certain doom, but don't blame us, we don't approve of addicted junkies adopting a fatal habit.

Harry Lime couldn't have put it better. Or maybe he did, because he had the honesty to talk about the suckers and the mugs and the dots that are invisible to the people writing at The Australian high in their crackpot libertarian ferris wheel with their idle chatter about the nanny state...

Are there any other comedy items?

Well too many to count, actually, and a great time can be had by all. Lines like this are sure to get the Jaffas rolling down the aisles:

...when discussing these measures and their impacts we must hold the policies accountable to their stated aims and examine unintended consequences. This, surely, is a worthy activity for serious, open-minded media.

That'd be a serious open-minded media that flings around a loaded term like "nanny state" like some crazed Tea Party ratbag from deep in the open carry south ...

And how about the wrap up?

As we have seen in the recent case brought by The Australian’s Chris Kenny, the ABC is loath to apologise even when the transgression is defamatory and clearly outside the bounds of public expectations. So we won’t hold our breath for an apology or correction from the ABC without legal action. We will begin by taking this latest piece of tendentious campaigning to the ABC and ACMA complaints processes. Sadly, the public broadcaster seems to place a higher value on its collective hubris than it does on the public responsibility of providing objective and transparent reporting rather than taxpayer-funded activism. It is as though no one is in charge. Collective hubris? Well they always say that, but to the pond it's a kind of transference, because it's a perfect description of the hubris, paranoia and ideological zeal that infests the Murdoch rags, but most particularly the lizard Oz and the Daily Terror ...

Surely those last few lines are wondrous and with a little editing could be tidied up:

 Sadly, The Australian seems to place a higher value on its collective hubris than it does on the public responsibility of providing objective and transparent reporting rather than privately-funded activism, blind IPA worship and blind support for big tobacco. It is as though a ratbag zealot is in charge.

And you know what's even funnier? Every time the reptiles get agitated about the ABC, the cry babies, the sooks, head off to a government body to complain about a government body. Now there's a guaranteed libertarian laugh, with ACMA lettuce for dessert ...

Every time the pond reads the Oz these days, it's not just Harry Lime that rings in the ears. It's also Jon Stewart:

STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say... 
Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys. 
STEWART: Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting Australia. 
STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people... 
MITCHELL: How do you pay? 
STEWART: The people -- not well. 
MITCHELL: Better than the ABC, I'm sure. 
STEWART: But you can sleep at night. [LAUGHTER] 
STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations and the IPA and big tobacco. And we're left out there to mow our lawns and die painful deaths as addicts. 
MITCHELL : By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes. 
STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks... (the rest, unaltered, is available as a transcript here)

Well it's just a dream of course. Australia doesn't have  a Stewart, it only has Media Watch for fifteen minutes once a week, and even with that level of scrutiny and alternative viewpoints, the paranoids at the lizard Oz can't stand it, and can't take it, and they run off screaming to the nanny state about how the nanny staters at the ABC have just been so mean ...

Oh harden the fuck up you pathetic pawns of the IPA ...

So what else?

Well Tim Bleagh got exactly the response he was trolling for ...

It turns out that the fuckwit thought he was being witty and funny and satirical, as you can read in Frightbattery Fury, but really, it just goes to show, once a fuckwit, always a fuckwit ... and remember, if you click on that link, it only encourages the troll to produce more click-bait trolling...

The numbers must really have dropped off in Bleagh land as a result of the Daily Terror trying to turn itself into the Daily Trail of Crap down under ... he really is doing his best to be offensive and get up people's noses, but it's hard to do a race to the gutter when you've been in the gutter for such a long time ...

Meanwhile, there seems to be no news from the Bolter, gloating about the Dutch defeat of the brave, defiant Australians.

The pond understands that the brave lads were devastated when they heard that this Benedict Arnold, this treacherous traitor, was barracking for the other team, and it led to such a devastating loss of morale that defeat was inevitable.

"It was a bit like landing at Gallipoli and discovering the Bolter was cheering on the Turks", one brave lad said. "In the old days we could have just tarred and feathered him, but it seems now all we can ask is that he be deported to the Nederlands before his quisling ways undermine not just a soccer team, but the entire country".

The Bolter's response? No one likes greens with their dinner, thereby defaming all the green vegetables on the planet and making life hard for parents everywhere...

And finally will all the dingbats and deadbeat journalists who rabbited on about Tony Abbott racing off to a double dissolution the moment he had a trigger now please hand in their keyboards and stand in the hall of shame until an election is finally called?

Do you now realise how many lives you wasted, how much time was lost, and why the intertubes are now full to overflowing with gibberish and detritus?

The only purpose you served is to allow Rowe to produce this portrait of Tony Abbott ... what a wonderful smoke stack the man wears ... and more Rowe here.


  1. "Especially when those measures — in this case the packaging laws — have controversially deprived private companies of the use of their own intellectual property (retail brands)"

    What about the deprivation of life to all those who succumbed to the evil weed? Truly evil!

  2. It's all smoke. Wilful false claims, a murdochian beat up plainly packaged to sell big tobacco's interests to the Tory noelib crazies in the UK by pointing at a phoney depiction of events in Australia this last year or so. End of story, other than to describe how fukt it is, as Dorothy has done so well. Onya Dot.

  3. Hi Dorothy,

    Actually the Swiss Cuckoo Clock speech wasn't written by Greene but was added by Orson Welles to pad out the scene. Welles himself didn't claim it as his own either making out he had heard somewhere else.

    As always more can be found at Greg Hunt's favourite research site;


    1. Thanks Diddy, deep down the pond should have known and remembered that from the days when the pond watched at least one Orson Welles show a week ...

  4. Mum bought me a Keffiyeh in Aden and dressed me up for the crossing the line ceremony. (This was when you crossed the equator for the first time - a custom observed by P&O well into the '60's.)

    She put a cardboard poster around my neck with that well-known Milk Marketing Board slogan Drinka Pinta Milka Day.

    I was the milk sheik.

    Back then the Beatles were crap and the ship stank of smoke.

  5. Despite Orson, the cuckoo clock was actually a German invention

    In 1629, many decades before clockmaking was established in the Black Forest, an Augsburg nobleman by the name of Philipp Hainhofer (1578–1647) penned the first known description of a modern cuckoo clock. The clock belonged to Prince Elector August von Sachsen..

    Where else?

    1. By golly the world is full of Greg Hunts.

  6. Yes, I used to listen to Christian Kerr on Late Night Live. He'd do alternate weeks with Laura Tingle. Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous. He was a slimely piece of work even then, although masking his more Murdochian sympathies since Philip is a fairly serious and informed person. I couldn't stand his winey tones then. the Oz is his natural home.

    1. You're right, there's a certain tone, a certain manner to Kerr, which sends a shiver down the pond's spine. Creepy.


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