Thursday, July 24, 2014

How is this columnist still a columnist and this thing still a thing?

Once again Paul "magic water man" Sheehan demonstrates himself to be a thoroughly stupid man, incapable of holding together a coherent approach over more than a couple of days.

Was it only on Monday that he was scribbling Time for Ukraine to divide?

Yes, it was, and here was Sheehan's epic conclusion:

The deeper reality is that Ukraine is now two nations in everything but law. It can be split via plebiscite. On the western side is a de facto sovereign state, Ukraine, which is aligned with the European Community and could quickly be invited to membership. On the eastern side is the autonomous region of Donetsk, which could become sovereign or be absorbed into Russia as an autonomous department. Ukraine’s river system even provides natural borders. 
As for the detail of where a new border between Ukraine and Donetsk would run, that should be decided by the people, by plebiscite. Better a formal division than more blood, blackmail and disaster.

The deeper reality of this bout of Neville Chamberlain fever was that it was already a deal done:

The people have already spoken. The splintering of Ukraine began to take a formal shape in the presidential election of 2010 when Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian-speaking former governor of the Donetsk Oblast province, defeated Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She is a Ukraine nationalist who became internationally famous for her distinctive golden braids and for her advocacy of Ukraine joining the European Community and ending Russia’s control over the country. 
The 2010 vote divided almost perfectly along ethnic lines. The greatest support for Yanukovych came from the regions in the east with Russian-speaking majorities, and the greatest support for Tymoshenko came from the Ukrainian-speaking west.

Uh huh. So let's do a fast forward to yesterday's epic follow-up, MH17: Vladimir Putin will lose Ukraine through stupidity.

It turns out that the plebiscite was just a cunning ploy, a calling of the bluff, a high stakes poker game with Putin the certain loser:

On Monday I suggested Ukraine should hold a plebiscite on separation, to allow the country to shed Russian influence by allowing any region contiguous with Russia to vote to return to Russia if it wished. A plebiscite would be an aggressive form of democracy. It would call Putin’s bluff. 
Based on the events of the past week, Russia would be fortunate to harvest a small rump of Ukraine. The rest of the country, most of it, would reject Russia. And Putin would have lost Ukraine.

No need now to talk of a sovereign autonomous region of Donetsk. Thanks to Sheehan's cleverness, all Putin would score was a rump steak.

There are any number of things to be said about this peculiar form of stupidity, but the first should surely be a sigh of relief that Sheehan is simply a hapless member of the commentariat, and has absolutely no capacity to implement a plebiscite or influence others in this direction.

Having thrown up his hands in quisling/Chamberlain despair on Monday, suddenly on a Wednesday he's triumphant and imagining all sorts of defeats for Putin:

The mind-boggling stupidity of the armed masked men at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane, and their blatantly lying superiors, has changed the equation in Ukraine and Europe. The murder of 298 civilians by Russian-backed criminals is creating positives out of a disastrous negative. 
Those positives can prove significant. So significant that, after the criminal investigation of the destruction of flight MH17 is completed, Russia can lose its right to host the 2018 football World Cup. Not all sanctions involve trade. Shunning has its place. During the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat next to the President of Brazil and the president of FIFA. If Russia is found to have sponsored terrorism, then sought to cover up a mass murder, many nations will not want to see Russia and Putin rewarded with the world’s most-watched sporting event. 
The imperial meddling of Putin will be tainted for years to come by this incident. Ukrainians have been galvanised. They have witnessed the murder of innocents, the appalling conduct of separatists at the crash scene and the implausible denials by Russian puppets, notably Alexander Borodai, the self-styled prime minister of the Donetsk people's republic. Faced with overwhelming evidence of self-incrimination, Borodai said: “It is very simple to disprove it. All of the information that comes through the internet is practically all lies.” 
This tactic of brazen blanket denial actually works in Russia, where the state media has been whitewashing reality and shunting blame onto the Ukrainian government. Putin remains popular as a Russian nationalist standing up to the West.

Yes, and he was so successful in Sheehan's eyes that on the Monday the benighted one was prepared to hand over a large slab of the Ukraine, using rivers as borders and whatever other fiddle faddle was necessary to determine the two new states.

There was no talk then of rumps. Now the arising rump is presumably so small it would have to be swallowed back into Russia since it wouldn't have sufficient size to warrant a separate existence.

This is the sort of mindless divvying up of countries that the British once indulged in when they held the reins of empire, and lordy, lordy, didn't they fuck up huge rumps of the world in the process. Want to sort out India and Pakistan? Would you like squillions of murders with that?

The end result? After reeling away from these two efforts, the impression is that Sheehan re-read his first column and started back, saying 'Holy shit, did I write that gibberish?' and so felt the need to write new gibberish to set the first one right.

There seems to be only one final question.

No, it's not why does Sheehan exist, since he's perfectly entitled to go on wasting oxygen as he pleases.

More to the point, why does he bother to produce two columns in such quick succession which show him to be inordinately stupid? And perhaps there are a couple of minor sub-set questions that flow from that one.

Why does Fairfax continue to publish him? And even more mysterious, why do readers bother to read him?

Aha you say, but the pond read him. What's the answer then?

Well the pond has a simple explanation. Reading Sheehan has all the charm and fascination of watching an intellectual train wreck done in slow motion, with elaborate CGIs and handsome special effects and useless words that flow to the sea like heavy metals and mercury.

Like many movies, the verbal action is completely unrelated to the real world or to practical solutions, and therefore has all the magical qualities of a Disney fairy tale ...

When the pond wants a serious discussion of Ukraine, Europe, the EU and the whole damn thing, there are a thousand intelligent and informed commentators out there to help.

When the pond wants to meet a toffee apple having a discussion with some fairy floss about the nature of waffles and waffling, whey then Sheehan is the Man ...

And now the pond realises that the pond has completely failed to acknowledge a hugely important event unfolding in Scotland.

What that country needs is a plebiscite, organised by Paul Sheehan, so it needn't experience the odium of belonging to the Commonwealth.

And so suffer John Oliver poking fun at the thistle and the long suffering Queen and the medal count and other things, as he does on YouTube here.

The pond was shattered to discover that cricket had declined to be a part of the next earth shattering event, thereby allowing a sport the pond doesn't watch to join in a sporting spectacle the pond doesn't watch.

But at least the spectacle provides another conundrum, up there with why a columnist like Paul Sheehan is a columnist and that is, why is this thing still a thing:

1 comment:

  1. Obviously DP, once Sheehan had advocated the division of Ukraine, he had a moment. Then decided a bit of backtracking was best, seeing that Putin might take up his suggestion (I find this a common delusion amongst the right wing commentariat).

    So in true Sheehan fashion, he blames it on the meeja, and ends up with rump steak.


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