Saturday, September 20, 2014

Watch out for that ladder, and as for the chairs ... be very afraid ...

(Above: and more Pope here).

The pond refuses to live in fear.

Not when there's Jed Perl's The Cult of Jeff Koons to be read in the NYRB. Quick, it's outside the paywall at the moment, and it triumphantly concludes with a reference to Kool-Aid:

That Koons will be Koons is his own business. That he has had his way with the art world is everybody’s business. No wonder the people in the galleries at the Whitney look a little dazed. The Koons cult has triumphed. For his next project Koons should consider manufacturing a ten-foot-high polychromed aluminum Kool-Aid container. It could come right after Play-Doh in the “Celebration” series.

Take that Koons.

And then there's Eugenia Williamson's PBS Self-Destructs And what it means for viewers like you (inside the Harper's paywall).

Williamson uses the fuss around David Koch as a starting point, but it's hard not to think of the ABC:

Why would a man like David Koch, who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in weakening the federal government, expend a nickel on behalf of PBS - an entity viewed by many in his party as synonymous with liberal propaganda and government waste? And why would a publicly funded institution let him in the door, let alone risk its reputation to defend him from his critics?
The answer: conservatives have refined their tactics ...

Remember that next time you see all the Murdoch kool-aid drinkers strutting their stuff on the ABC, an institution they purport to want abolished or privatised ...

And then there's the peculiar matter of Essendon and James Hird, which produced The Graudian's Essendon verdict: judge exposes the club's weak and frivolous case:

The club needs to do what it should have done weeks ago: stop dodging and answer the notices they’ve been issued. But looking at Essendon’s track record, Little will probably appeal to the International Criminal Court, Hird will have his contracted extended to 2034 while being crowned Prince of Moonee Ponds, and the playing group will chant in wide-eyed unison, “No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.” 
The board may have wasted everyone’s time, the public’s patience, the club’s money and the court’s resources, but accountability is a scant resource in this administration.

Indeed. There's a hint there of kool-aid in that Moonee Ponds chanting ...

Now the pond knows very little about the AFL and cares even less, but the how and the why of Essendon is a complete Melbourne mystery to the pond. So they cheated, so they got caught, and still they can't bring themselves to wonder where sport might have landed when it comes to injecting professionals with substances of uncertain provenance and effect, as if being a professional meant you were also a guinea pig? And then hie off to the courts to talk about illegality?

This is the sporting world that's supposed to be at the heart of the Ozstralian way of life? Is there a day pass or a ticket to another exhibition?

But okay, the pond will bite on the fear thing, which is currently doing the rounds. The hysteria in the slavering, slobbering pit bull Murdoch press is palpable:

Cage them?

It was of course the monstrous stupidity of Abu Ghraib that helped kick this can of worms along in the first place ...

So where does all this hysteria get us?

Well it brings out the bears with very little brain, like Cory Bernardi and Jacqui Lambie. Like bullies everywhere, they love the fear and a kick to the head ...

Now Bernardi's capacity for infinite dickheadedness is already well known, and Tony Abbott had once again to walk away from him and his fear mongering, but Lambie is doing well for a novice.

Lambie posted this image, at least if the ABC is to be believed in Ban the burka photo shared by PUP senator Jacqui Lambie:

Now the pond thought it must have been a spoof site, but there it was, here, and sure enough there's a link to Britain First's Facebook page, here, which defines itself as "a patriotic political party and street defence organisation" open to "patriots like you!", which is code for barking mad extreme far right party not too far from fascism. 

Go on, do a Greg Hunt at Britain First, and contemplate this bunch of feral ratbags ...

So now we know where Lambie goes in her spare time and it isn't to drink Kool Aid with Jeff Koons or the Koching up of PBS. She drinks her kool-aid with the far right ...

And this is the source photo:

Here's the text: Malalai Kakar, the first woman to graduate from the Kandahar Police Academy. She was a Lieutenant Colonel and head of the city's department for crimes against women. In September 2008, she was assassinated by the Taliban. When working in the field she was always armed with a gun beneath her burqa.

Is there any upside at all to Lambie's stupidity?

Well yes, because you can head off and catch the 34 pictures Canadian photographer Lana Slezic assembled for her exhibition, Forsaken: Afghan women

There's some tasty snaps in the show, and this morning the ABC's AM did the right thing and asked Slezic how she felt about her work being misrepresented in such a grotesque way  - since in anybody's world, you'd think someone assassinated by the Taliban would be held up as one of the good guys, rather than an image of fear ... (that interview will no doubt turn up on AM when the cardigan wearers get around to it, here).

Now the pond's no fan of the burqa, but then the pond is no lover of tattoos, nor does the pond care for the AFL, pies, kool-aid or Holdens ... (turns out you can still hear that sort of tripe talk on the ABC) ... but does have a soft spot for lamingtons and Vegemite.

The idea is that there's some degree of personal choice without fear, or the next thing you know, everybody is dressed in a Mao suit.

Which is why this kind of futtock hand-wringing column is so irritating:

The Murdoch press (most notably the tabloids) isn't interested in the multicultural compact. 

The Murdoch press is interested in fear (and the Fairfax tabloids, always destined to become tabloid when they adopted the format, are peddling the same kool-aid, with headlines like Terror raids: The rising fear in Sydney's suburbs).

That's why this sort of column is a good indicator of the real attitudes in Murdoch la la land:

Yes if you're well meaning, you must be some sort of soft-hearted lamington or sponge ...

How weird does it get? Pretty weird. Today the reptiles imported, at vast expense, Frank Furedi to opine on the problems facing Australia:

Yep there he is, at the bottom, with the gold bar of shame, but what do you get when you evade the paywall to read Youth rebellion that embraces authority?

Why you get blank incomprehension, or perhaps comedy. Take these pars:

In contrast to the rebellion of Western youth that of the jihadist subculture explicitly celebrates authority and laments its absence. It even exhibits powerful authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the jihadist critique of the West is that this is a society that lacks authoritative cultural values and institutions and therefore cannot give meaning to human experience.
In my conversations with young radical Muslims I have been struck by their caustic remarks regarding the absence of moral clarity and authority in their host society. From their perspective Western societies are typically immoral to the point that they cannot even uphold the institution of the family. As far as they are concerned Western societies lack an authority that can give its people direction and meaning.

Now let's give them a Murdochian makeover:

In contrast to the rebellion of slacker, hipster, greenie, dole-bludging, toke smoking surfie Western youth, that of the conservative Murdochian Young Liberal Roman subculture explicitly celebrates authority and laments its absence. It even exhibits powerful authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the Murdochian critique of the West is that this is a society that lacks authoritative cultural values and institutions and therefore cannot give meaning to human experience, at least until everybody gets on board with the reptiles at the lizard Oz.
In my conversations with young radical Anglican and Roman conservatives, I have been struck by their caustic remarks regarding the absence of moral clarity and authority in their host society. From their perspective Western societies are typically immoral to the point that they cannot even uphold the institution of the family, what with its welfare-bludging, matriarchy-celebrating ways and its love of gay marriage and teh gays and all that stuff. 

As far as they are concerned Western societies lack an authority that can give its people direction and meaning, and what's needed is decent Christian fundamentalism of the Faux noise kind, with a sprinkling of patricarchy and foreign wars to keep up the spirit of colonial adventure, while maintaining the home fires of fear ...

Or some such thing. You see, at no point does Furedi worry about the role fanatical fundamentalist religion might play in all this - instead it's idealism, and it's just sociological alienation and estrangement and rebellious youth and Marlon Brando on a jihad motorbike, and the solution is silly:

... unless Western society can actively engage in a battle for hearts and minds it will continue to provide a terrain for the flourishing of a zealous and destructive subculture.

But here's the thing Frank. Fuck Murdoch and all the other religious fundies, be they Pell or angry Sydney Anglicans, and buggered if the pond is going to do a Baden Powell and join the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides ...

What dumb fuck conservatives fail to understand is that 'live and let live' means ... 'live and let live'. Join with Cory Bernardi and Jacqui Lambie in a battle for hearts and minds? Oh just kill the pond now ...

What's that? You have some kool-aid handy?

Happily the reptiles provide another example today, as prattling Polonius aka Gerard "desiccated coconut" Henderson gives unto the world Commentators need terror guides for dummies (inside the paywall because apparently there are fools who pay for the pleasure of Hendo's company).

After the usual hair splitting display of awesome pedantry on sundry matters (well we know what happens when pedants go wrong), Hendo decides he'll take out Bernard Keane at Crikey, and never mind any collateral damage.

Keane's been on a bit of a streak of late, as in Terror raids a media spectacle, but it's war that puts us in danger, (inside the paywall), in which he dared to make the point that there had been much fuss, but few results, and that foreign adventures might actually pose a threat.

But then much further back on 4th September - pedants must scour the press for sinners - Keane dared to scribble The real threat of terrorism to Australians, by the numbers. (may be paywall affected).

Keane offered up this whimsical chart:

Yes and right at the moment, the pond is organising a campaign to give ASIO more money to deal with the dangerous threat of chairs, ladders and most especially beds.

But the one thing you can guarantee with Polonius, is a complete and thorough absence of any sign of a sense of humour:

Public terrorist attacks, such as the murder of Rigby or the alleged conspiracy to murder in Sydney, this week are designed to strike fear into democratic societies by disrupting the way of life of individuals, organisations and governments alike. 
No one spends much time worrying that they may be killed as a result of falling from a ladder. Such a scenario does not stop individuals going about their lives, nor does it interrupt normal business. A lone-wolf attack, however, is enough to close down a city. This was the case with last year’s Boston Marathon bombings engaged by the Tsarnaev brothers, which effectively closed down a major American city for days. If a terrorist were able to obtain access to a dirty nuclear device, they could close down a city for a long time. 
 Perhaps there is reason to write such a publication as Terrorist ­Attacks for Dummies and send a copy to Crikey.

Nobody worries about falling off a ladder? Give that man a ladder at once. Or maybe Greg Norman can give him a hand, explaining how to use a chain saw ..

Actually somebody should write a publication, Fear Mongering About Terrorist Attacks for Dummies and sent it to Hendo, and let's see how he copes the next time the entire Sydney CBD is shut down by a car accident. Or the rail network goes off the rails thanks to a platform jumper landing in front of a train ...

Yep, it's the business of the chattering elites to encourage the fear of the other and of the unknown and have everyone cowering and voting for the only ones who can help, and never mind that the said elites led the country into a war that has resonated for over a decade, on the basis of monstrous lies and bungling incompetence - but you won't discover Hendo tackling Keane on that point. So much easier to blather about ladders and the way that terror shuts down cities and it's fear, fear, fear for Australia ... which is good hearty healthy fear, completely unlike the fear mongering indulged in by climate scientists, which is mot unhealthy ...

If it's all the same to Hendo, the pond will maintain its fear of ladders, chairs and beds ...

What's that you say, you have some kool-aid and it will calm the pond down and we'll learn to love Jeff Koons and beds?

Oh and then came the bad news, which reminded the pond of this prescient bit in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped ...

This was the first time I heard the name of that Alex Salmond, who was afterwards so famous at the time of his referendum hanging.
But I took little heed at the moment, for all my mind was occupied with the generosity of these poor Highlanders.
"I call it noble," I cried. "I'm a Whig, or little better; but I call it noble." "Ay" said he, "ye're a Whig, but ye're a gentleman; and that's what does it. Now, if ye were one of the cursed race of Camerons, ye would gnash your teeth to hear tell of it. If ye were the Black Fox..."
And at that name, his teeth shut together, and he ceased speaking. I have seen many a grim face, but never a grimmer than Alan's when he had named the Black Fox.
"And who is the Black Fox?" I asked, daunted, but still curious. "Who is he?" cried Alan. "Well, and I'll tell you that. When the men of the clans were broken at Culloden, and the good cause went down, and the horses rode over the fetlocks in the best blood of the north, Salmond had to flee like a poor deer upon the mountains—he and his lady and his bairns.
A sair job we had of it before we got him shipped; and while he still lay in the heather, the English rogues, that couldnae come at his life, were striking at his rights. They stripped him of his powers; they stripped him of his lands; they stripped him of his leadership; they plucked the weapons from the hands of his clansmen, that had borne arms for thirty centuries; ay, and the very clothes off their backs—so that it's now a sin to wear a tartan plaid, and a man may be cast into a gaol if he has but a kilt about his legs.
One thing they couldnae kill. That was the love the clansmen bore their chief. These guineas are the proof of it. And now, in there steps a man, a Cameron, a black-hearted, black-headed David of Westminister——"
"Is that him you call the Black Fox?" said I. "Will ye bring me his brush?" cries Alan, fiercely. "Ay, that's the man. In he steps, and gets papers from Queen Elizabeth, to be so-called Queens's factor on the lands of Balmoral and Scotland...

Nair mind Robbie, there's always Samoa ... (and the real Kidnapped at Project Gutenberg here).

(Below: more Leunig and Moir here)


  1. Robert Baden-Powell has some useful advice in "Scouting for Boys".

    Scouting For Boys has this advice to offer on the following subjects:

    Suicide: 'When a man has gone so far as to attempt suicide, a scout should know what to do with him. In a case where the would-be suicide has taken poison, give milk and make him vomit, which is done by tickling the inside of the throat with a finger or a feather…In the case of hanging, cut down the body at once, taking care to support it with one arm while cutting the cord… A tenderfoot [novice] is sometimes inclined to be timid about handling an insensible man or a dead man, or even of seeing blood. Well, he won’t be much use till he gets over such nonsense.'

    Slaughtering cattle: 'If you are a beginner in slaughtering with the knife, it is sometimes useful to first drop the animal insensible by a heavy blow with a big hammer or the back of a felling-axe on top of the head.'

    Stopping a runaway horse: 'don’t run in front of it with your arms waving. Rather run alongside it, catch hold of it, seize the reins and bring it up against a wall or a house to compel it to stop.'

    Saving someone who has fallen in front of a train: 'if the train is very close, lie flat between the rails, [and] make the man do the same till the train passes over while everybody else will be running about screaming and excited and doing nothing.'

    1. You have made my morning Anon. We are wimps compared to the Boy Scouts of decades past who were Always Prepared for anything. I have an Edwardian cookbook with hideous recipes involving calves' heads and unsavory items from the wrong side of the skeleton. That book devotes an entire chapter to caring for an invalid. Never whisper in the sickroom! It is most enjoyable reading.

    2. I have a great old recipe for 'collied head', which is the pickled head of a cow or sheep braised slowly in stock and vegies. The brains are the best part.

    3. And I remember the great Jonathan Miller saying once on the BBC that mad cow disease was being spread by Margaret Thatcher, just after describing her as a 'perfumed fart.'

  2. "It was of course the monstrous stupidity of Abu Ghraib that helped kick this can of worms along in the first place ..."

    Au contraire, mud-wrestling at Camp Bucca was the cause.

  3. Dot hates tattoos. So do I. So do I. And I turn up my nose at all the other things listed. Holdens in human form are called Warren Trusszzzzzzzz. I make an except for the FJ. Did it come in any other colour apart from potato-whisk-handle-sage green ?

    But let me return to tattoos. These days you are more of an individual if you don't have one. I can't understand why anyone wants to scribble on themselves and take the risk of declaring undying derma love for people who they may end up hating. Poor Melanie Griffith is about to add a Fu declaration to her Antonio Forever tatt.

    The graffitied folk are going to be a pretty sight when the ink turns green and the tummies sag. That pretty papillon will turn into a hairy Bogong moth.

  4. Careful Anon. Tattoos maybe of great significance and beauty if you come from a traditional culture. I don't mean the fashionable stuff down the arms of thugby players, but the real stuff.

  5. Alas I can't open your link Anon but I take your point.

    1. Try this -

    2. In the Pacific you can see old people with tattoos from head to foot and all over their faces. One such old lady saved my life once, so don't take tattoos for granted.

    3. Thanks Anon again for additional link. I have some sort of incompatibility prob and can never open Pond links.

    4. Try copying the link, then open a new Google page and paste into search bar.

      Otherwise change to Firefox Anyway, here's part of the first story.

      Tapa & Tattoo Festival: A glimpse of the rich Oro culture

      AT nightfall, a silvery moon slithers its way across the starry sky casting its glow over the ocean like diamonds on a sheet of glass. That’s when the maidens come out to dance the kere.

      Dressed in tapa cloth, coconut shell armbands and scented leaves, their bodies glisten in the moonlight. The maidens have gathered on the beach to serenade young men.

      Their seductive melodies waft through the night air accompanied by the swish-swish of the tapa. The kere beckons the young men to leave their fishing canoes, lay down their hunting spears and join the maidens on the beach for a playful rendezvous.

      It is a dance I learnt as a school girl. It is a dance that was performed by the mothers and daughters of Killerton village at the inaugural Tapa & Tattoo Festival held in Popondetta, Oro Province in November last year.

      The people believe that their culture is a beacon of light that identifies who they are and denotes the character, manners, values and practices that should be followed in their daily lives and during rituals and ceremonies.

      It is their proud heritage. It defines where they come from, ancestry as well as province.

      These are the people who showcased their cultures at the inaugural Tapa & Tattoo festival. They are the people who are proud to welcome visitors to their home with cheers of ‘Oro, Oro’. The word Oro means welcome and is synonymous with tapa, tattoos, Tufi fjords, Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing (the largest butterfly in the world), and the Kokoda Track and fierce fighting during World War II. Such contrasts are what make Oro Province special.

      In the Oro culture, women are the custodians of the intellectual property that encompasses tapa and tattoo designs. Walking through the tapa wear and finery stalls at the festival, one couldn’t help but notice the arduous task involved in concealing modesty.

      Women showed how they beat the inner bark of paper mulberry with a baton-like stick until it is stretched to the shape they want. Large rectangular pieces are worn by women as wraparound skirts and cloaks, and smaller long pieces are worn as sihi (loincloth) by men.
      During the festival Orokaiva women were invited to cook food in clay pots which was served VIPs for lunch. Women play a pivotal role during feasts or bondo. The men may set the dates but it is the women who will tend the gardens, organise the harvest and feed the crowds. They advise the men on who should be invited and who will bring clout to the occasion. Throughout the generations, successful Oro chiefs have been propelled by strong women.

      Festivals such as the Tapa & Tattoo Festival provide an avenue for people especially the young
      I may be biased in thinking the tatao’on dance performed by the Yaudari people of Sangara, was not just exceptional but also awe-inspiring.

      Line dancing Oro-style came in the form of a large group of Kokoda dancers who performed to the Papas string band. Topless women clad in tapa cloth twerked their way into the hearts of the crowd while their male counterparts did not miss a beat. The line dancing was definitely something to behold and is sure to make a come-back at this year’s festival.

      Flamboyant headdresses and traditional heirloom jewellery topped off rhythmic dancing to the beat of kundu drums. As is customary for the Oro people, dramas, comedies and parodies were served as appetisers before serious dancing took place.

      Children and men led the way and women took centre stage. The dances conveyed creation stories, imitated birds and other animals and the songs and chants narrated stories of someone’s life or sent hidden messages to loved ones afar. It was poetry in motion!

    5. The pond isn't anti-tatt, which would in effect mean being anti-young. But the western tatts served up by the parlours run by bikie gangs absolutely lacks this mystique ...

  6. Public beheadings are all the go in downtown Riyadh. Nice to know who your allies are in the war on terror.

    1. Don't get the pond started on the Wahhabists, or their lick spittle fellow traveller, George Bush, or we could be here all year ...

    2. We will be here all year DP as you keep up your excellent work. And on beheadings and fear-mongering, I am reminded of The Man From Ironbark.

  7. Talking of Terrorists For Dummies, thought you might be interested in this from yesterday...


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