Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In which the right to free speech turns out to be the Caterist right to bore the world senseless ...

(Above: so many landmarks to celebrate this day, and that's even before we get to 11am. The return of the black hole, and Scott Morrison explaining life to Germans, and more Pope here).

The pond spotted an exemplary example of free speech at Sydney Airport last night.

The TV monitors above the baggage carousel were running Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas - surely still his best movie - and even better the scene that was showing involved an airport hijacking.

It reminded the pond of the good old days (and more from that book here):

So kind of the airport to remind the world how systematic looting of an airport can make a great movie, and incidentally provide a "how to" manual.

Now if only airlines can be persuaded to run Air Crash Investigations on their entertainment systems, life will be complete.

Oh okay, that was only going to be an opener for the news that:

“The NSW government is steaming ahead with roads for a new Western Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek.” (here)

Yep another choo choo steamer steaming ahead - it isn't just Victorians who can steam - and it's roads, roads, roads for Sydney, and there'll be a great network of airport roads before a sod is turned on the airport - so that NIMBYs can drive to the new airport region, set up homes and businesses, and decry the new airport...

There's an irony there somewhere ...

But Goodfellas turning up at the airport could also have been a cue for the spectacle of Brendan O'Neill taking to the pulpit on ABC radio to proclaim the joy of free speech, and the virtues of hate speech, and the more virtuous hate speech the better,.

In the end, however, listening to O'Neill is like enduring a radio marathon, and all that can be done is to issue a pond challenge - if you can endure Defending free speech and Should hate speech be free speech, you're either clinically barking mad, or you're one of the Spartans that survived being flung into the snow as a babe. Treat yourself to a good oil massage ...

It led the pond to wonder why the preachers full of free speech have so little useful to say, and instead many dreary hours rabbiting on about the virtues of free speech. Wouldn't it have been better for O'Neill to spend his entire program celebrating neo-Nazis, doing some Jew-bashing, deploring blacks, sniggering at wogs, and laughing at colonials as he collars taxpayer funds and disappears over the horizon ...?

Just a suggestion for future programs. What's the point of having free hate speech, if all you can do is blather about the rights of others to indulge in hate speech? How about some hate speech about cardigan wearers pissing taxpayers' money against the wall on a Pommie dickhead?

But all that's just an entree for the main course, because today the pond came across some remarkably stimulating ideas. They really got the pond going:

One suspects that the good professors’s presumption that conservative ideas are ultimately more virtuous than liberal  thoughts is the real reason the dominant cultural class at The Australian appears indifferent to the lack of intellectual diversity within the institution.

It got better and better, more and more insightful:

When The Australian's staff look around them, for example, it surely would not escape their attention that liberals are somewhat thin on the ground. 
It must feel a little odd to work in a building where hardly anybody admits to voting for a filthy, vile greenie. 
They must realise, surely, that many of their readers and viewers (and an increasing number of ex-readers and ex-viewers) see the world in a different light, and that they cannot all be stupid. 
Why, some of them can write reasonably literate letters to the ABC or Fairfax to say so. 
Deep down, one suspects, it is just as the good professor implies, and they are working under the delusion that they are members of that fortunate group that sees the world in more sophisticated terms than those unreconstructed liberals do. 
 Maybe they do, or maybe don’t. What is clear, however, as any social psychologist will tell you, is that institutions like The Australian are diminished when the conventional wisdom becomes entrenched, groupthink takes hold and dissident voices are treated with contempt.

Waiter, another round of kool aid, and while you're at it, a generous serve to the Caterists ...

Yes, it's not just the end of the first world war day, it's also Nick Cater day, and it's a typical whinge and a moan about liberals dominating the academic world.

It seems that today the Caterists are all the rag can afford by way of regular opinionistas:

Now the pond has to admit that it fiddled with the above Caterist text. Shocking, and the pond is suitably mortified by the childish behaviour.

You know, this sort of cheap, easy fiddle: The commitment to diversity in Murdoch la la land and conservative think tanks does not extend to including liberal ideas.

Now the pond could keep on doing that sort of reversal until the cows come home, and if some dummy has put the cows up in the back paddock, that could take a considerable time:

Studies consistently have found that the proportion of Faux Noise and New York Post Murdoch journalists and commentariat writers prepared to out themselves as liberals is between 4 per cent and 8 per cent (0 per cent for greenies). 

It would be no surprise to anyone, inside or outside Faux Noise and the newspaper game, if a local study produced much the same result. Australian Murdochian forelock tuggers also fancy themselves as conservatives, or dittoheads or wingnuts in the American parlance. Murdoch's newspapers, and other cultural institutions such as Foxtel, are uncomfortable places for liberals. 
This is odd, really, since no ­newspaper these days would be complete without a solemn commitment to diversity, or a specious claim to being the heart of the nation, and not just the heart of climate denialism. 
The media section of the Oz, under Sharri Markson, for example, boasts of “a rich cultural and experiential diversity in the editorial room”. It embraces “the principles of equity, access and inclusion”, especially if that equity and access and inclusiveness can lead to an exclusive harassment of ABC employees trying to have fun at the horsies ...

But you've probably got the point by now. It must be strange to live in the world of group-think, to routinely divide the world on a daily basis into black and white, good and bad, liberal and conservative, four legs and two legs, and then to come out with this sort of line:

Thus the right to be an intellectual bigot is steadfastly upheld in almost every Murdochian institution in the country. The conventional wisdom on everything from climate change being a myth to the supposed wondrous integrity of the Catholic Church - praise be, Gerard Henderson - is enforced, often unconsciously, in multiple ways.

What set the Caterists off again?

It seems to arisen from yet more sullen brooding about the alleged sacking, possibly term expired, departure of Prof Carter, which was done and dusted back in July 2013, and which in this Crikey story here, there seems to be at least two sides to the story, though deaf as a post one-eyed Caterists will only hear and see the one side.

That's why it's so easy to reverse black and white blinkered Caterism.

Social commentators, of all journalists, should be particularly alert to the dangers of epistemological homogeneity, or groupthink as some prefer to call it. 
They would be aware of the errors that can pollute the group’s thinking if no one in the Oz's editorial room is prepared to disagree. Assumptions become embedded into theory and method, reporters concentrate on topics that support the prevailing narrative and the Chris Mitchell dream and avoid those that do not. Some like Sharri Markson go quite mad, along with signs of exhibitionism and a deep addiction to "look at moi, look at moi ..."
One explanation for Murdoch la la land and conservative think tank lopsidedness, the good professor suggests, is simply that conservatives find a career as a Murdoch or Koch serf more appealing than do liberals, particularly in a field such as mass mis-communication. 
But while self-selection is clearly part of the story, it would be ironic if the Murdoch newspaper community used such arguments “to celebrate the community of prejudice when that same community roundly rejects those same arguments when invoked by other institutions to explain the over-representation of women or ethnic minorities, there already being far too many women in the Abbott cabinet, while it's well known that by definition ethic minorities is just another term for trouble makers who tediously insist on being different”.

Or some such thing. It got a bit garbled by the end, but you catch the drift.

Now if you want, you can google up Nick Cater's Why the right is left right out, to find out what was originally said - unfortunately a link would only lead to a begging subscription from the paupers of the press.

You can then devise your own Why the right is so tedious, despite the exclusive right and access to the kool aid ...

And so to the rumble in the Beijing jungle:

According to journalists at the event, Putin walked away chatting with Chinese President Xi Jinping after the picture, leaving Mr Abbott in his wake. 

Sadly, there was no shirt-front, but there were a heck of a lot of Star Trek references. (here)

Oh the dear leader, he really can't help looking like a dork, can he ...

By golly that David Rowe called the fight early, and there's more Rowe here.


  1. I took up your challenge about Brendan O'Neill .. and failed. I owe you ..

    1. At least you tried and that's enough:

      So try:

      It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
      It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
      If you sneer at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
      But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
      And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
      So try:

  2. A true story...

    Some 10 years ago, my family ( including 2 small children ) was delayed for around 3 hours in Sydney.

    In the crowded gate lounges, every screen was showing an Air Crash Investigation marathon. As each episode finished, we expected to go to another program, but no.

    All the kids were glued to the screens, watching as flight attendants were sucked out the holes that had torn in the fuselage, as wings broke away and the plane spiralled into the ground, as screaming passengers grasped for oxygen masks....

    Mid way through the first episode I asked if they could change to a different channel. Maybe something vaguely suitable for kids. This was not possible, I was told. The control was in another, unmanned, area.

    All up we were shown all or part of 4 episodes.

    Very "Flying High" experience.

    1. Classic! A worthy story right up there with other harrowing tales from survivors of Sydney airport ...

  3. Treasurer for road building Joe Hockey says no instant budget fix planned for estimated $51b budgeted pot hole. And the Melbourne East West Link could cost almost $18b, not 6.8b Right up there with Brisbane's, and etc.

  4. Here's the REAL Abbott/Putin photo which the mejaa refused to publish.


  5. I see the convicted racist Bolt is Aborgine-bashing again today


    Condemning child savers as child stealers: the poison of the “stolen generations” myth

    No politician or education bureaucrat dares question the “stolen generations” myth, even though no one can name even 10 children stolen by the state simply because they were Aborigines.

    No jobs in the desert, so why keep the towns?...

    In the end, the only viable future - or “sustainable” future, in the Left’s jargon - for generations of Aboriginal children will be integration, not life as a museum exhibit.

    1. Thanks for this reminder of the dark side. Devil Neville lives, at least in the heart of the Bolter ...

    2. When Robert Manne "named 10", Bolt's response was: "yeah, well, name another 10". Facts have no place in Bolter's Narrative


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