There's all sorts of fun going on at the moment with the ratbag right wing shock jock commentariat, but truth to tell, Who is Barbara, the talkback caller? is just Fairfax click bait with a forced video attached ...
All it does is confirm for the pond its scientific theory that when featuring the ugly thoughts of shock jocks, an ugly photograph is required, though in the case of Alan Jones that's too easy ...
Yep, that'll do. And now ladies and gentlemen, Oscar Wilde will unveil that portrait of Dorian Gray ...
But enough of Jones. The pond has never knowingly listened to the man, and never knowingly will - better to learn from secondary and tertiary sources, or even better, quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary sources (thanks Oxford).
Nope, the pond has been hungering for a rumble in the jungle, two men going into the cage, and only one emerging, and now that Abbott has given up on shirtfronting Putin, the next best bet seemed to be a cage fight between Mark Latham and the Bolter.
Now we all know what Latham can do to a Sydney taxi driver, but that was nothing up against what he did to the Bolter.
The Fairfaxians liked it so well, that they took it away from the AFR and ran it again in the Herald. In the AFR it ran under the header Critics dance on Gough Whitlam's Grave, and at Fairfax as Critics display meanness of spirit on Whitlam's death.
Whatever you called it, it was an Aunty Jack arm-ripping, arm-breaking ripper that opened:
That's what happened to the News Corp blogger Andrew Bolt when he started dancing on Gough Whitlam's grave within hours of the great man's death. His wife yelled at him. And with good reason.
Which immediately titillated the pond. How did Latham know the Bolter's wife shouted at him? Was he ferreting through the Bolter's garbage when he heard the domestic break out? Was someone feeding him the Bolter's metadata? Whatever, Latham was insistent that Ms Bolter had spoken:
Perhaps, in her anger, Mrs Bolt is an advocate of the timeless adage, passed down by generations of Australian mothers and grandmothers, that "if you can't say something good about someone who has just died, don't say anything at all".
It's not as if her husband is short of things to say – space fillers for this role in the media. He could have published his 539th condemnation of the ABC, for instance, or his 724th denial of climate change.
Now there's no need for the pond to reprint a blow by blow account of Latham's ring work. He took them all on, dancing and jabbing and hooking to the chin:
...that's the thing about fanaticism: it blurs one's judgment. It makes political nutters regurgitate their ideological obsessions, blind to the respectful norms of the rest of society.
While 99 per cent of people lead normal, reasonably balanced lives, in which the emotions of life and death are seen as vastly more important than party politics, inside Australia's media bubble there's a group of activists with a different mindset. They regard all aspects of life as inherently political.
Thus for Bolt, Whitlam's death had nothing to do with the passing of a father, a grandfather, a brother – the mournful sorrow of a grieving family. It was solely a political event, requiring a right-wing response.
But it wasn't just Bolt. If the sounds of fury in his household had been one-off, an aberrant domestic dispute between husband and wife, it might have been possible to ignore his vindictiveness. Regrettably, Bolt's response was typical of the right-wing hunting pack. Like a gang of skinheads kicking over tombstones, Gerard Henderson, Greg Sheridan, Miranda Devine and Rowan Dean also rushed into print, vilifying Whitlam within days of his death.
In a piercing commentary on his own values, Henderson said that praise of the former prime minister had made him unwell, forcing him to "lie on the floor with a wet towel on his forehead".
This is part of a pattern in our national life – an echo of Alan Jones' slur that Julia Gillard's father had "died of shame".
Australian conservatives don't do death well.
Rhetorically, they claim to respect the institutions of family and democracy, but in moments of loss and personal tragedy, their true nature surfaces: displaying a subhuman meanness of spirit.
Indeed. And so on, building inexorably to the knock-out blow:
In objecting to the media's praise of Whitlam, Bolt asked: "Will John Howard, a conservative who ruled four times longer and left the economy in wonderful shape, be given this massive and worshipful coverage?"
I hope so. Anyone who has served our country in its highest office deserves a reverential period of national mourning – similar in tone to Whitlam's memorial service on Wednesday.
Howard wasn't my cup of tea, but when the time comes, I won't be critical of his public record. It's not that hard to hold one's tongue out of consideration for a family feeling the loss of a well-loved patriarch.
For many years, in and outside Parliament, I gave Howard both barrels.
A repeat dose at the time of his passing would be a sign of OPD: obsessive political disorder.
Even worse, it would raise the spectre of that most horrible thought in life: being like Andrew Bolt.
Being like Andrew Bolt ...
Has ever a greater fear been expressed, has ever a greater curse and damnation of feeble hope and humanity been extinguished at such a demonic thought? Why it's better to be a zombie or a vampire or walk the earth like the living dead than to be like Andrew Bolt ...
But stay, it takes two to tango, two to fight, two to brawl, two to step into the ring and duke it out, mano a mano ... no room for commentariat girlies here, eh, Mathias?
So the pond has been checking the Bolter's blog in a frenzy of hope ...
Would he confirm or deny his wife had shouted at him? Would he kneecap Latham? Was the feud going to step up to the level of the McCoys and the Hatfields. After all, dragging a wife into the feud isn't normally considered the right sort of stuff. That makes it family, that makes it gutter brawling.
But so far the Bolter has been an epic disappointment. Sure he's on about his 730th denial of climate change:
And he could be caught approvingly quoting Graham Richardson, in support of Richo's story for the reptiles at the lizard Oz, which in an alternate universe might have given Richardson pause for thought, but which in this universe sees Richo focussing more on the usefulness of Swiss bank accounts ...
And there was a note about Jacqui Lambie getting agitated about making Australian soldiers a decent pay offer, which is fair enough, because every conservative knows that soldiers should be asked to die on the cheap, and preferable abroad in a military folly. It's the Australian conservative way ... then everyone in later life can travel to great memorial bashes at vast expense, like the ding dong bash heading their way next year ...
But at this moment, not a peep, not a murmur about Latham.
The Bolter's been putting up material since 7.22 am, a late start for him. Was he seething, was he so furious, he sulked and then refused to join the fight?
Or is he going to do Latham slowly? Is he going to rip out his heart and feed it to the cats?
We've been here before, and the Bolter has bitten before:
Yes, but did the Bolter's wife shout at him?
The pond has got to know ...
Scrub that. We're on to climate denialist reference 731:
So it isn't a conspiracy for climate scientists to feather their collective nests? Their delusion is costing them money?
Never mind, the pond is watching. It's now past nine, and the Bolter has kept his powder dry. Is it a scheme to bolster his pathetic TV ratings?
The good political messages? That it's better to be a zombie than to be like Andrew Bolt?
Aha, the pond will be watching. Well the pond won't actually be watching the TV show - it being better to pluck out the offending eye than watch that sort of dross - but the pond will be waiting for the feud to ignite, and for the two warriors to get down and dirty.
With any luck, a septenary source will spill the good oil ... and with a bit more luck, use a lighted taper ...