Monday, July 14, 2014
Citizen Murdoch and the reptiles ...
(Above: Citizen Rupert. Cost to pond in a cash in the paw sense? Nil, zip, nada, not a brass razoo. Free, because hagiography should run wild and free. Emotional damage and cost to intellect? Inestimable, years of therapy to recover, no one to bill)
So what happened when the pond was away in Melbourne?
Well Rupert Murdoch finally delivered himself of all his tottering, senile, delusionary views, without benefit of having them contained in a very short, twittering tweet.
Instead if you had benefit of the Qantas lounge, you could find them refracted for free through the pompous, portentous Paul Kelly, in an interview in a golden-edged bonus celebratory offering, papered through the place like free chewing gum for the brain.
It's astonishing just how much the rag papers the airport these days - at a time when Fairfax has clearly worked out it's not worth the game, not worth the newsprint in the hope that the papering will keep the tree-killer habit alive. They seem to have worked it out, while meanwhile the reptiles unload their tosh on any innocent, unwary passerby eager to pick up this era's 78 or 45 or even an LP.
Here's the forelock clutching, bowing and scraping hagiographic Kelly refracting Murdoch on climate change:
On climate change, he debunks the alarmists, warns about the cost of renewable energy and believes intelligent scepticism is the sound approach. "Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here," he says. "Things are happening. But how much are we doing with emissions as far as Australia goes? Nothing in the overall picture." In short, if Australia is marginal in the problem, we must beware penalising itself in the solution.
He says the most alarming predictions are of a 3C rise in temperature over 100 years and only "one of those would be man-made". What it means is if the sea level rises it's a big deal, the Maldives might disappear, but we can't mitigate that, we can't stop it, we just have to stop building vast houses on seashores. The world has been changing for thousands of years, it's just a lot more complicated today because we are more advanced."
More advanced? Why this senile old goat shows ludditism is alive and well, and pretending it's still Australian - or using the royal "we" in a most irresponsible way - when in reality he sold away his citizenship for a mess of pottage years ago.
But hey, rather than reward the reptiles with a hit, why not head off to The Graudian, which yesterday published all the salient headland points yesterday in Rupert Murdoch: NBN a ridiculous idea and climate change overblown.
Yes, the bear with very little brain or consistency also slagged off the sort of broadband South Koreans, the Japanese and more advanced countries take for granted, though once in his less senile days he'd deplored the lack of speedy broadband as an outrage.
Asked whether he felt the paper under Chris Mitchell had been too tough on the Rudd-Gillard period, Murdoch says: "I think it was pretty right, absolutely right. The government had good intentions in some ways but it didn't know how to carry them out. The NBN was a ridiculous idea, still is. People think I'm talking from my pocket because of Foxtel.
"In fact the NBN would be great for Foxtel because it could take all those programs into every home."
Well if he isnt talking out of his pocket, then he's certainly talking out of his arse, because high speed broadband in every home would be a disaster for the old paywall, subscription model, walled garden approach to delivering content, and deep in their collectivist hearts, anyone in Foxtel with the first clue about the real world - most of them don't have a clue because they get Foxtel delivered free - would know it.
What was forlorn, pitiful, tragic, was that - even as Kelly was recycling the thoughts of the luddite - Kelly attempted this rousing end, and no doubt all the lizards, captivated, or is that captured, stood up and saluted:
The past half-century is a special age in industrial democracy. It saw mass circulating newspapers shape the actions and politics of political leaders in an extraordinary interaction between media and politics.
Note that Kelly doesn't celebrate the interaction of people and politicians.
No, instead, in a few lines most worthy of that glorious Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (to hell with Godwin's Law swear jar, the pond needs another trip to glorious Melbourne), it's all about a corrupt media informing and counselling a corrupt political caste. But do wrap it up:
Murdoch is one of the giants of that age that is now drawing to an end.
What, the era of a corrupt media influencing corrupt politicians? In your dreams:
In this country, The Australian was a unique product of that era. It is a masthead that intends making the transition to the next age.
Uh huh. Going to shift head office to the Maldives perhaps? Going to keep issuing tree killers to readers in the Qantas lounge?
Well as it so happens, both The Monthly and The Saturday Paper were also papering the lounge, and there, in The Monthly, was poor old Margaret Simons offering this alternative thought, The Decline of the 'Australian' Talking about the narcissistic national daily only encourages it.
Now everything that Simons says is arguable enough, but clearly she's emerged battered and bruised from her encounters with the reptiles, and she simply has no idea of the fun of watching reptiles frolic and forelock tug, while imagining that they've got a firm grasp on reality:
Increasingly the Australian is a niche media outlet. Its nationwide weekday circulation in print form is around 112,000 and falling. Figures compiled on behalf of the industry aimed at measuring total reach, both online and in print, place it near the bottom of the tree, well below the Sydney Morning Herald. Yet there is no doubt that the political class spends more time thinking about the Australian than its competitors, partly because it is so vehement but also because it articulates and enables much of the agenda of the right wing of politics (and the present government). Those who wish to critique the right end up dealing with the Australian, and as often as not they find themselves cast as its enemies. This has a flattening effect on the landscape of public life. Critics have their numerous differences and disagreements, but in the pages of the Australian they become one tribe: the enemy. “Left-wingers”. People should resist this. To the extent critics react to the Australian’s agenda, they dance to its tune. There are many other things we should be talking about. I am tired of the main conversation being a reaction to people whose true influence is waning, a fact that can be hidden by the fury of their excesses.
Indeed, indeed, and so forth and etc, and it would be great fun to see how many of that 112,000 actually involves the sort of comprehensive trashing of the Qantas lounge and the Qantas brand (yes The Australian even turns up like an offensive cockroach on the ticketing machine screen).
And Simons is in the grip of a serious delusion herself:
The Australian’s constant campaigns against the ABC seem to have had no impact, as repeated surveys and public opinion polls find most Australians surveyed trust the national broadcaster and regard it as value for money.
Yes, but in that corrupt dance of media and politicians, that infernal echo machine, the Abbott government can take heart in its attempts to brutalise the ABC - Simons should have stepped across the corridor and read Guy Rundle's most attentive and delightful Albrechtsen, the ABC and the Abbott's wrecking crew (though the pond preferred the pitch of the header on the front page, Janet and the Apes).
Because the wrecking crew is determined to widen the area of life that is subject to a relentless and cynical political struggle, the area that must be reclaimed becomes of greater breadth, and so does the political coalition dedicated to it. Tom Stoppard’s skewering of this process in Jumpers was aimed at the ’70s political left, to which he gave the fictional name the Radical Liberal Party. For entirely different reasons, the name fits the current squalid state of affairs pretty exactly.
Exactly. Imagine the howls if Margaret Simons had been appointed in Janet Albrechtsen's place.
But the reptiles see nothing wrong with a cultural warrior like Albrechtsen - a marginally less batty version of Ann Coulter, contends Rundle, though we could argue all day about the meaning of marginal - because it's part of that corrupt dance of media and politicians, pissing into each other's pockets (only rugby league sorts favour mouths), as celebrated by the wretched Paul Kelly. (Once he made a fair fist as an editor, how firmly rusted into the scabbard is his Fame is the Spur Peterloo blade).
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of Noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious dayes;
But the fair Guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with th'abhorrèd shears,
And slits the thin spun life... (and the rest if Milton here)
But before we leave the delusionary and refractory senile old man in his dotage, his thoughts faithfully recycled by a grovelling acolyte, let's catch himself as he unburdens himself of a few more insights:
“The car industry is leaving us,” Murdoch said. “All I can see from this distance is the prospect of a lot of unemployment unless we can get small people starting businesses and some bigger industries coming too. We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish.”
Ah the royal "we" again. Citizen Murdoch, and never mind that it's Citizen of the USA Murdoch, prescribing small businesses and some big industries too, and never mind the windmills or all that rubbish about a sustainable economy or future.
Murdoch said climate change should be approached with great scepticism. “Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here. And there will always be a little bit of it. At the moment the north pole is melting but the south pole is getting bigger. Things are happening. How much of it are we doing, with emissions and so on? As far as Australia goes? Nothing in the overall picture.”
Indeed. Indeed. Much like the hole in the ozone layer should have been approached with great scepticism.
But at least the denialism that's at the heart of the Murdoch empire and at the heart of The Australian and all the rest of the Murdoch papers, is now visible and naked, and strutting about in a flagrant, shameless, ostentatious style, and no matter how much the denialists like Chris Mitchell might deny their denialism and talk of market-based solutions, it's clear it's just fig leaves and tripe.
Murdoch will be dead soon enough, we'll all be dead soon enough, but embedded in this celebratory interview is a man, a newspaper, and an empire at a dead end, and soon enough, Hearst Empire style, it too will feel the winds of change.
Never mind, for once it's the comments in the Graudian that are the best part of the read.
A reference to Murdoch's Don Quixote windmill moment here, disdain for the royal "We", and so on, through the change of mind about the benefits of a fast broadband, and the climate change denialism at last in full-blown featherless flight ...
The piece, at time of writing, had generated 922 comments of frothing and foaming rage, guaranteeing The Graudian many cheerful hits and smiles.
It's at this moment that the pond always likes to revert to Citizen Kane, or more aptly to Ozymandias (well if it's good enough for Breaking Bad):
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the Maldives. Near them on the ever-rising sea,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Citizen Rupert, King of Reptiles:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal windmill, boundless and bare,
The lone and level seas stretch far away".
Oh well it's something like that, though if Shelley was around, the pond would be abjectly apologetic in a way beyond the ken of the average reptile doing their daily round of damage to the country and the planet.
Perhaps the reptiles exist so that the British can once more invade the colonies ...
Meanwhile, it's on with the circus of politicians and media this week, and to hell with the hapless punters who live under this corrupt reign of tummy rubbers and back scratchers ...
(Below: the pond is only now catching up with back reading. Here's one from Pope that wasn't in the Qantas lounge, and more Pope here)
Posted by dorothy parker at 7/14/2014 09:04:00 AM