Wednesday, November 05, 2014

In which the pond remembers a few movies, including They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

(Above: David Pope continuing what some mistake as cartooning, but which the pond insists are dry neo-realist studies of the conservative mind at work, and more neo-realist studies here)

No, the pond didn't watch the race.

The pond has no interest in horse-racing or gambling. Not paying attention to an industry built on gambling and horseflesh seems the best way to deal with it, and all those indulging in hand-wringing this morning about the fate of a couple of high-profile horses might have been better off doing the same.

Sure it gets you labelled as a grump and a curmudgeon and you can't be a member of Team Australia, but so what?

Anyone with half an ear should already know what happens to failed horses, and if they don't they can head off to the 7.30's spring carnival report of 2012, What happens to failed racehorses?

There are some in the industry who can turn on a dime. So on one day you can read Patrick Smith scribbling furiously and comically about the mighty joy and the thrilling intrigue of horse racing in You've gotta have a plan, but it helps if you have the horse. This sort of tripe:

The course is still heaving by the ninth race. The crowd has stuck around to see Deep Field, the unbeaten Sydney sprinter trained by the Hawkes family. In four starts it has won by a collective 23 lengths. 
Dwayne Dunn has the horse running along the outside rail, punching a lonely path into the wind. He still wins by a length, beating group 1 winner Drie­fontein. Deep Field races like a child, distracted by the outside rail and not too keen to get close to it. He comes down the straight on an angle. 
He might be frighteningly good come the autumn. The Hawkes will put him away until then, like a treasure into a safe. Then they will plot his way back to the track. 
Waller — Junoob, Who Shot Thebarman and Opinion. And boy does he have plans for them. Big-race winners always do. (no link, google the text for all the rest of the wonderful horses).

And then next day comes the crocodile tears in Melbourne Cup 2014: Tragedy exposes panicked industry:

Racing could not calmly handle the sad situation because it does not have confidence in its claim that it is a sport that loves and cares for its horses. Its campaign to sell racing as a gentle and caring sport was washed away just after 3pm. The VRC panicked and Admire Rakti died in vain.Within hours, Araldo died in veterinary hospital. 
Good luck to the poor bastard who has to write Open letter No 3. (no link, google the text for the rest of the handwringing)

Enough already, but speaking of 7.30 and horse-racing, and the decline and fall of a once proud current affairs program, the pond did happen to catch Hardly Normal being given the space to indulge in xenophobia and parochialism.

Has the Melbourne Cup become the 'rest-of-the-world cup'? ran the header for this truly feeble and appalling attempt to lather up a little controversy about visitors that even Scott Morrison might have found a little extreme.

The main point of the exercise seemed to be a way of offering Hardly Normal a platform for mouthing off at damned furriners:

GERRY HARVEY: Well I think we should have the Melbourne Cup for Australian horses, with maybe some New Zealand horses and then I've got another cup which we should call the un-Australian cup, the foreigner's Cup, the Barbarians Cup, or the rest of the world Cup and let that race be run just after the Melbourne Cup.

Say what? The fucking un-Australian cup? So what car does Hardly Normal drive? The pond knows he once drove a Ford Thunderbird. (here) What's the bet he's still driving a furriner's car to the furriner's Cup?

On and on he ranted:

GERRY HARVEY, BUSINESSMAN AND HORSE OWNER: I'm devastated. This is the Melbourne Cup. It's been 100 years or more it's been a Melbourne Cup for Australian horses and some interlopers from New Zealand. Now, we've got the rest of the world. This is a joke. We should not tolerate this.

It reminded the pond of that old joke in the David Williamson/Simon Wincer celebration of Phar Lap about the horse's prospects racing at Agua Caliente, and a canny editor preparing two front pages to cover the outcomes:

Australian wonder horse beats the world 
New Zealand horse fails in Mexico

The pond came away thinking that if joining up to Team Australia meant sharing Hardly Normal's paranoid xenophobia, then bugger it, the pond would be joining Team International ...

And now the pond's been told they're putting down The Roast like a useless race horse after sending it around the track on a lentil budget...

The pond lurched away from the whole sorry business feeling like Horace McCoy or Jane Fonda on a bad day:

Speaking of paranoia, the 7.30 show had earlier established that, these days, it's a fully paid up member of the commercial tabloid television club.

These days the pond rarely watches the show, and so was caught completely by surprise by the fear-mongering and the hysteria whipped up in How long could Australia survive if fuel supplies dried up?

It was a bout of pure survivalism, of the kind - since the day seems right for movie references - the pond last saw in Ray Milland's 1962 survivalist fantasy, Panic in Year Zero!

There's nothing like eating under the open sky... even if it is radioactive.

The show dragged out a moth-eaten retired Air Vice Marshal to sound sundry alarums, along with an expert on international affairs from the NRMA, because, you know, the NRMA is just seething with experts on international affairs ...

Oh it was panic at year zero alright:

JOHN BLACKBURN: Sydney, for example, in one week alone there's about 45,000 truck trips just distributing food. You'd start to see the food run short in the shops probably in three to four days. You start to see the chemist run out of supplies after about three or four days and our services we take for granted; electricity supply, water supply, none of this can happen without fuel for the supporting elements for those functions. So you'd start to see society collapse.

Alarmist hysterical fear-mongering, and all because Al Qaeda had put out a map and suggested it would attack Australia's oil supplies, though this far none of its operatives have managed to demonstrate the nous that led to a few Somali pirates going Hollywood in Captain Phillips.

Along the way, the show dragged in Senator John Madigan, eager to share a moment in the paranoid sunlight, talking about what might happen when the proverbial hits the fan, before ending with another burst from Blackburn:

JOHN BLACKBURN: If the Government does nothing we will eventually end up with no refineries in this country, 100 per cent import dependency, the lowest stocks that make economic sense to the fuel companies and our risk level will be higher. 
One day we'll have a crisis, we'll suddenly wake up but unfortunately it will be too late.

Yes, because that mighty international army, Al Qaeda, will shut down international shipping ...

There was also a hearty injection of Hardly Normal's fear of damned pesky furriners:

MATT PEACOCK: By next year, half of Australia's oil refineries will have shut down within the decade, with closures in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Another closure in Melbourne is on the cards. The industry says Australian plants simply can't compete with the huge modern mega refineries overseas. 

NIC MOULIS, CONVENIENCE and PETROLEUM MARKETERS ASSN: They have changed the ball game for the Australian market. Their size and economies of scale have meant that they can refine fuel at a far more economic price than we can here in Australia. 
MATT PEACOCK: The result, say critics, is that if Australia's shipping lines were suddenly disrupted, the effect could be catastrophic.

Indeed, indeed, coulda shoulda woulda, as the pond's mum used to say, and then the pond checked in with Chicken Little, and the sky is indeed falling down, because Australia gave away its sky-manufacturing base, and Al Qaeda issued a map showing how it would bring down the sky ...

Somewhere along the way, the show decided, in the interest of balance, that it should issue a few disclaimers:

IAN MACFARLANE'S STATEMENT: At any given time Australia has crude oil and refined product on the way to Australia by diverse shipping routes... In the unlikely event that fuel supply is severely disrupted the Australian Government has powers to prioritise essential supply. 
ANDREW BREWER, GM SUPPLY, CALTEX AUSTRALIA: I look at how Australia has handled fuel supply interruptions in the past. We've seen multiple events internationally; Fukushima, GFC, local events such as Queensland cyclones, and in all those cases the industry has been able to provide fuel reliably and securely for customers.

But the weight, the bulk, of the show was given over to survivalism of the most paranoid and fearful kind.

Now in the normal course the pond's usual reaction would be just to swear at the ABC and swear off the 7.30 show.

After all, there's plenty of paranoid tripe on hand on 7 and 9's 'current affairs' shows if you want tripe and alarmism with your evening meal.

But now, in the usual way, the ABC's radio news services have picked up on the story and a featuring the yarn on their morning bulletins ...

Enough already.

And finally, a few anxious correspondents have been wondering about the whereabouts of Dame Slap, and the good news is that like E.T., she has phoned home.

Now the pond can't link to the Dame's slaps, because these days that only leads to letters of demand from the paupers of the press, but it's easy to google up Outing the in-crowd of the feminism club, in which Dame Slap lashes at feminists like a frenzied jockey intending to induce the death of a horse.

It starts with a splendid burst of comedy:

A few weeks ago I spoke at the University of Queensland annual law students’ dinner. Immediately afterwards, a young man told me a female student had walked out in response to my comments about Julia Gillard. What had I said? That I was as pleased as the next woman when she became Australia’s first female prime minister and added if you are going to talk about misogyny, do it for the right reasons, not base politics. 
It’s true; I opened my address by coining the old line that my job, as speaker, is to talk and yours, as audience, is to listen, but if you finish your job first, hey, let me know. That said, listening is underrated. It can challenge, provoke, change or confirm your views.

A few observations. Only at the University of Queensland could a wag think it was a good idea to listen to Dame Slap, and only a true believer in conspiracies - such as the UN being the source of climate science designed to covertly introduce world government - could celebrate the benefit of listening, and the possibility of changing views.

The one guaranteed thing you can say about Dame Slap is that she's blinkered and definitely not for changing.

And sure enough, the punters are given a dose of the usual abuse:

It’s too bad these women are so keen to rush to judgments that fit their stereotypes of women who won’t wear their “feminist” label. And it has become their label — one that reflects their whiny, shallow, often disingenuous version of feminism. 
This shrinking in-crowd of feminists has a cultural footprint as deep as the shrill clique of teenage girls called the Plastics in the cult movie Mean Girls. Like those mean girls, the feminist Plastics have never put out the welcome mat to those with different views. Their synthetic feminism is a narrow, carping one, more interested in labels than the sexual abuse of child brides and genital mutilation of young girls. Much better to sledge a successful woman than fight for these causes.

Yes, yes, it's a movie reference! Sure, it's a movie reference that makes no sense, but hey Dame Slap is a dead cert to play Regina. She's certainly no Cady:

Cady: [narrating] Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. Calling someone plastic doesn't make you clever. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you. (oh okay the pond tweaked that quote, and more quotes from the show here)

And most amazing of all, Dame Slap doesn't think she's a Mean Girl.and by the way, that wicked Julia Gillard was a witch, a bitch that deserved to be ditched. She's deliberately chosen to be barren, and she's an unproductive old cow, and all that, but none of this has anything to do with feminism and politics. After all:

During her appearance at the Press Club on Wednesday, the Foreign Minister also denied there was an element of gender in how former prime minister Julia Gillard was received by the public and the media.

Yes indeed.

Because in this equal opportunity world, men can be witches and bitches too ...

But hang on, hang on, what's this closing par?

Feminism should be big enough for all women. If my form of feminism is different from yours, and I choose not to wear a label on my sleeve, how about just saying that’s my choice. Remember choice? Feminism is not a chorus line. Then maybe we can move on to more important matters.

Yep, it's that pathetic, and it shows that Dame Slap, by pretending that Bishop is a feminist by another name, and it's all a matter of choice, what is it with choice?, wasn't really listening.

"It's not because I have some sort of pathological dislike of the term. I just don't use it ... It's not part of my lexicon."

That's not tucking away feminism below the sleeve line, that's not saying Bishop's feminism is different from other feminisms, that's tossing the term out of the fucking dictionary ...

There's just room for one last movie quote:

Thank the long absent lord there was at least one female student who made a choice and walked out on Dame Slap ... there's no point in listening to a tosser delivering tosh. It clearly stuck in Dame Slap's craw, and that's good. Remember choice. Being a law student doesn't mean you have to be in a chorus line listening to Dame Slap and other half-baked opinionistas of the right wing kind.... better to move on to more important matters ...

(Below: and that neo-realist David Rowe is also on song, and more neo-realist studies here).


  1. Well we all know what a LIAR
    " Asbestos Julie " is don't we .......
    and of course ' The Menu ' couldn't possibly have anything to do with GENDER ...... chortle ...chortle....

    1. Also that memorable day in question time when Gillard was on her feet speaking and a male LNP supporter in the gallery screamed at her that she was a MOLL , couldn't possibly be a gendered insult could it ???

    2. Ms Pond
      As Kim Lockwood wrote, of Julie Bishop, in the letters to the Editor in "The Age" this morning
      "She's a woman, unmarried, childless . . ."
      Apart from missing the "deliberately" from "childless" (or is that deliberately barren?) she/he also mised the "Lawyer with a murky past".

  2. I think choice is highly overrated myself. Conservatives use the term to further their narrow ideology ('That's my choice, and if you don't like it you can bugger off' - that is, I'm of this narrow view and will not entertain yours) and those of a more tolerant view see it as some sort of shibboleth denoting free will.

    Well as far as I can see, you only get the choices on offer. And these are routinely restricted by those with power. So the powerful offer choice, and think they are therefore being inclusive.

  3. Interesting. Who are the worst terrorist threats to the west?

    And you can add Anders Behring Breivik to this list.

    Reminds me of the Midwich Cuckoos which the likes of Bolt are happily feeding..


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