Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Bolter, Akker Dakker, and the grey cauliflower of matter that courses through the brains of the Team Australia coaches ...

(Above: well is it, and is that how the Abbott government will get through the year? More New Yorker cartoons here).

It being a meditative Sunday - and with Optus delivering the slowest broadband in what was once called Christendom - the pond decided to head back into the archives.

Here's a question for competitive souls.

Who wrote this?

Put me in a particularly fine service or particularly beautiful cathedral and I will get that sensation of the heart and the tears bursting free. I felt it, for instance, listening to a Mozart mass for Epiphany in Vienna’s magnificent Stephansdom cathedral. 
But other great acts of creation also suggest a mysteriously great force. Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel or the glorious Transfiguration of Raphael hanging outside likewise seem works which come from some other place than that grey cauliflower of matter between the artists’ ears.

Yes, it's the Bolter, at one with suggestions of a mysteriously great force, furiously scribbling in Christmas, artists and the celebration of creation.

With the Bolter concluding that, like himself, artists have grey cauliflower of matter between the ears, and so need a mysterious great force ...

Which puts him right on side with Eric Metaxas and his "something" or "somebody" celebrated in the lizard Oz and yesterday in the pond. Metaxas, it will be remembered, ended his advice to Oz business readers this way ...

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something — or Someone — beyond itself.

What it points to is the notion of humbug, of course, as celebrated by John Quiggin in his blog posting, The Oz melts down in the contest of ideas.

But what's the guarantee of humbug?

Well here's how the Bolter started his pitch:

I’m no Christian, but was admiring a painting of Christ in a Melbourne gallery when the artist popped in to see how it was all hanging.

Ah, it's the old I'm no Christian line, followed by exemplary piety ...

It's the sort of silliness which leads immediately to a Monty Python sketch:

I'm no tram conductor, but was admiring a painting of a Number 6 Malvern tram by Albert Tucker, or I'm no carpenter, but I was admiring Vincent van Gogh's portrait of a chair.

Of course the pond is no philosopher, but the Bolter's bit of humbug blather in a postprandial attempt to join in the Xmas spirit is as rich as an Aldi pudding, made in New Zealand and only a couple of bucks a few days after the season was over:

That’s the miracle of creation – and maybe part of what we celebrate at Christmas Day. 
Richard Crichton didn’t know how he’d been inspired as a teenager to create. 
But I’m guessing that he felt when painting it what I feel when I now see it on my wall – that, yes, there is something bigger than we can comprehend, which makes us feel part of something mysteriously larger than ourselves. 
For me, Christianity is just a powerful metaphor for this sensation – an attempt to explain it and summon it, as well as to comfort and to guide.

That's the miracle of stupidity, and maybe why we celebrate stupidity in the days after Christmas ...

What's truly astonishing is that any genuine Christian would sit still for a moment and listen to this humbug man blather on about Christ being a "powerful metaphor" and the religion a "powerful metaphor", as if somehow the Bolter is in sympathy and at one with Christians and Christianity.

As opposed to a mere humbug, seizing on art as a way of reaching out to the mysteriously large ...

It's not meant to be a bloody metaphor, you humbug mystical goose with your loose silly pantheism ...

Still, with this sort of sublime mystical thinking, it's easy to see why some acclaim the Bolter as one of the world's great climate scientists.

They'd swallow anything, even wafers and transubstantiation, and they'd also swallow a pathetic, risible attempt at a form of theism that shouldn't pass muster with anyone interested in the arts or religion ...

Infusing art with a mealy-mouthed, diffuse sort of spirituality is to defuse and defang it and its possibilities for protest, rage and many other forms of insight; while to blather on about something or someone or mysteriously large forces is merely to dodge and evade the challenges of Christianity and other religions.

It's a reminder of the middenklasse smaak that lurks in the mind of the Bolter, and how mediations on Christmas and creation and art and artists can be as shallow as the children's play area of the pond ...

And no doubt with that bit of mindlessness out of the way, the Bolter and his commenters can turn, refreshed, in the New Year to kicking the shit out of all sorts of people in the usual way ...

Like stablemate Akker Dakker ...

But what do you know, these days all the reptiles are attempting to be team coach for Team Australia ...

They've all got heaps of advice for Team Abbott, heaps and heaps of it:

Yep, it's Akker Dakker going into chicken little, full blown national emergency mode, even if the Chinese scholars don't have the first fucking clue about the meaning of the ideograms ...

Just embrace the sentiment ...

What follows is a classic example of tabloid Terror hysteria.

First Akker Dakker recounts all the many dangers, not least the depravity of Labor, and then he issues a clarion call to arms:

He must explain how his government fucked up its budget numbers in just one short year, having spent many years in opposition proposing that such fuckery is completely inexcusable?

And to do that he must turn into Ronnie Raygun or King George V, and without knighting himself?

After that sort of nonsense from the bloated, pompous fat owl of the remove, it's easy to see why Abbott is on a path to nowhere ... impossible role models for impossible dreams, while all the time, the conservative commentariat berate Abbott for being someone or something he can never become ...

And embedded in the Akker Dakker team play manual is an interesting line: without the presence of his staffers ...

Akker Dakker, and many others in the Murdoch commentariat, are gunning for Credlin. Only a few weeks ago, Akker Dakker himself penned a column proving that Credlin was, and will remain, an issue.

The question then, is how long can Abbott afford to hang on to Credlin? How long will she last? And if she falls, will Brian Loughnane go with her?

And what will that do for the great communicator doing a Ronnie Raygun?

Oh it's going to be a great year, what with the team coaches only up to being the fat owl of the remove (and surely the family resemblance is obvious to all):

Never mind,  the fat owl's desperate pleas remind the pond of some jokes doing the rounds late last year:

Which is why, in its wander through the archives, the pond offers the following tributes to 1930s thinking. 

Now they might be a bit advanced for the Abbott government, and the conservative commentariat, but it seems that washboards spring readily to mind for a government that routinely perspires rather than sweats ...


  1. Why, DP, when I see Abbott gathering "his senior colleagues around him in Canberra" do I get a vision of The Last Supper? Or, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killer of prophets, abuser of the messengers of God! How often I’ve longed to gather your children, gather your children like a hen, Her brood safe under her wings - but you refused and turned away!" Depends on the mood, I guess.

  2. We do need we a debate about Our Future. Piers Akermann, however, is lamenting the failure of the government to sell its slash and burn agenda and calls on Team Abbott to be better spruikers. That is not a debate.

    This is what I would like to hear our leaders discuss.

    How can we 'move forward' in a time of high youth unemployment and disappearing jobs?

    Where are those jobs going to come from when mining is in a big hole?

    How is it going to help business when people are unemployed, under-employed and now threatened with real wage loss with the removal of penalties. Purse string tightening does not help people trying to sell us things.

    It seems to me that we have lifted millions of people out of poverty in China and India by shifting manufacturing and service jobs off-shore but we rarely acknowledge the cost to our own workers.

    Our governments over past decades seem to have been captured by the 'trickle-down' theory but there must be a big blockage somewhere because the money seems to have dried up.

    Bring on the debate.

    Miss Pitty Pat

  3. Good heavens, DP - Piers and the literary creation of the great Frank Richards! How could I have never seen the resemblance, particularly given that I read many of the Billy Bunter books as a wee lad?

    Of course, the similarity may be merely physical - after all, Greg Hunt's favourite research tool describes Bunter as:

    "Bunter's defining characteristic is his greediness and dramatically overweight appearance. His character is, in many respects, a highly obnoxious anti-hero. As well as his gluttony, he is also obtuse, lazy, racist, inquisitive, deceitful, slothful, self-important and conceited. These defects, however, are not recognized by Bunter. In his own mind, he is an exemplary character: handsome, talented and aristocratic; and dismisses most of those around him as "beasts". "

    No, no familiar characteristics there.

  4. Andrew Bolt's theology has all the depth and none of the humour of George in the Seinfeld episode where he converts to Latvian Orthodox. When asked what he likes about about the religion he replies "the hats".

  5. That Billy Bunter descript' by 'Anonymous' above, just about covers it all in regards Akka and Bolter...But I have to wonder on just WHO chose those two examples as 'official' exemplars of wise advice?...It is sometimes truthfully remarked that the most intelligent thing spoken by some self-appointed commentators, is their introductory naming of in; "hello, I'm..."
    With Piers and Andrew...such a time has long since passed!

  6. I once asked a plasterer how he judges when the texture of the 'hard-finish" whiting was optimum...he deigned to look me in the eye when he answered in what can best be described as "sardonic instruction"..; "When it spreads like two-day old baby shit! "...
    I suspect both Piers and Andrew have heard and utilised that same advice in their writing.

    1. Never mind, Andrew.

      "The serene vista is one thing. More is that decades of worshippers, including popes, have prayed here and remembered one of the most beautiful sermons in the Old and New Testaments, excepts of which decorate the church walls."

    2. There is no such thing as "...the most beautiful sermon in the Old and New Testaments,..." there are sermons, yes, but as to who says they are "beautiful" must be a subjective conclusion...; "What is truth?"..; "What is beauty?" being told "fanta" is an "orange drink" certainly IS an orange coloured drink...but it also certainly isn't a orange-fruit drink.
      Perhaps you had another thought in mind?

    3. Heh. "Orange fruit drink" was actually one of the many and various other names coined during the post-modern 80s orange juice advertising wars (to get FDA approval for your product, and avoid claims of false advertising). You can guarantee anything with "drink" in the title isn't going to be the bonafide original "real thing".

  7. Tony Abbott has heaps of self-belief, however does he have the substance to justify it
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    Self-belief is a powerful tool in achieving success and there is no question that Tony Abbott has it in spades.

    He was only in the seconds for rugby, something that did not sit well with him or his father who both believed he should have been in the First XV.
    After average results at university and with the help of the Jesuit network, he headed to Oxford to take up his Rhodes Scholarship. A couple of games and he was dropped from the rugby team his prowess had been somewhat exaggerated.

    It seems that he forever trying to show us how good he really is.
    He was strong on physicality but short on speed or finesse, which has become blindingly obvious to us all.
    Politics at Sydney University saw a youth straight from a Catholic boys’ school, given a platform to preach loud and long in his opposition to homosexuality and feminism. He also denounced contraception, saying its part of the “me now” mentality.
    Apparently at the seminary, Tony was convinced that the Church was headed in the wrong direction and that he knew better, ain't that a surprise.
    His belief in his own judgement has seen him surround himself with advisers who tell him what he wants to hear.

    Experts are sacked, science is ignored, advisory panels disbanded and now we see oversight and freedom of information curtailed, journalists and the National Broadcaster threatened.
    He is willing but lacks the skills. He attacks and blames but resents oversight and has never accepted accountability. He is apparently blameless at all times.


    1. INFALLIBILITY it has long and by definition unimpeachable history in the Catholic Church


    2. It could simply be that Boxing Dayz is more Our Tone's bluing style. Although, so I read, there are strong arguments sometimes mustered and mounted on behalf of His intrinsic steadfastness.

  8. Hi Dorothy,

    The Bolter really is an execrable hack. Attempting to discuss the relationship between art and profound experience and the best he can come up with is this……

    "Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel or the glorious Transfiguration of Raphael hanging outside likewise seem works which come from some other place than that grey cauliflower of matter between the artists’ ears.”

    Now lets see what a true wordsmith can do…..

    “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

    That’s from William Blake’s poem “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. Although Blake may have been as mad as a hatter he certainly could bring illumination to the human condition without having to resort to fucking vegetables.

    Aldous Huxley took “The Doors of Perception” as the title for his book detailing his experiences whilst under the influence of mescalin (the active alkaloid in the psychedelic cactus peyote). In the book he also reflects on a number of painters and other artists and their ability to represent the mystery of pure being. In the end Huxley concludes of his experience with mescalin, that he did not gain enlightenment (in the Buddhist sense) but a “gratuitous grace”.

    Huxley wrote a companion piece a few years later called “Heaven and Hell” in which he discussed how altered mental states could be reached via meditation, fasting, vitamin deficiencies, self flagellation and even anoxia induced by Gregorian chanting. These conditions he attributed to causing the frequent “visions" of Heaven and Hell experienced by Medieval Christians.

    Both essays are fascinating and still well worth a perusal and in neither one is Huxley required to call upon the services of any member of the Brassica family in order to explain man’s spirituality.


    1. Top notch DW. Throw in Walt Whitman and we'd be dancing ...

  9. It doesn't matter how hard they sell it: they will never convince us shit is chocolate ice cream.

  10. Old George V, a great communicator... of our time?

    Well then, why not a post Xmas offering to the Pond's Godwin swear jar of a certain contemporary Vatican approved communication style that batshit crazy Tone's and his Lying Nasty Party already aspire to emulate?

  11. Hmmm - George V as a model in effective communication? From memory, a few of his wise statements included:

    "You've got to watch out for those Catholics, Lyons - they breed like rabbits!" ( Comment to visiting Aussie PM Joe Lyons - who was, of course, a Catholic with an extremely large brood);

    "I thought chaps like that shot themselves" (comment on a gay Peer of the Realm);

    "Bugger Bognor!" (reported response when dying and told that he'd doubtless recover and take a nice holiday at Bognor Regis).

    Also, the sensitive parenting style which he and Queen Mary displayed was supposedly a major contributor to second son George VI's insecurity and chronic stammer.

    Yep, apart from the comment on Catholics, there's plenty there for Tony to work with.

    1. Don't forget:

      I said to your predecessor: 'You know what they're all saying, no more coals to Newcastle, no more Hoares to Paris.' The fellow didn't even laugh.
      Said to Anthony Eden on 23 December 1935 following the furore that erupted over the Hoare-Laval Pact.

      Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance, and

      "What did you do about peeing?"
      Said to Charles Lindberg after he flew the Atlantic solo in an aeroplane.

  12. "..Abbott is on a path to nowhere ... impossible role models for impossible dreams," -- and with the dreams being interpreted for the punters by the batshit crazies.

  13. It's spirit-lifting to see Abbott & Andrews, in full military assault kit, taking the fight right up to the Death Cult, on behalf of Western values and the Bush Family.

  14. Righteous anger can bring out the best in us all, By Michael Jensen


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