Friday, May 01, 2015

In which the pond's brain wilts and a couple of days away from the commentariat beckons ...

Poor old Doctor Karl.

Well, not literally, since the last time the pond checked he had a nice inner west shack, and Sydney real estate prices being what they are ...

But how he must regret having offered to be presenter for the Abbott government, even though like working actors, working presenters must present, and doing the intergenerational report probably seemed at the outset like a straight presenting gig.

For the government it also probably seemed like a lay down misere. Get some triple J mug patsy all day sucker to take it seriously, and things would be sweet with the in crowd.

But the pond has an adolescent reaction to all government advertising and suspects this might be the Australian way.

"What are you against?", runs the old line, and the answer's always "what have you got by way of government advertising this week?"

In the times the pond has been in this situation, the public servants have always acted like they were straight out of "Yes Minister". They knew the advertising campaign would be useless and counter-productive, but public servants have got to do what cardigan wearing public servants must do.

And politicians, of whatever stripe, are always ineffably stupid in thinking that at last they've discovered the perfect, value-free way to communicate their message.

Former Chairman Rudd, for example, called tax-payer funded political advertising a long-term cancer on our democracy, and then proceeded to indulge in some epic bouts of cancer-spreading. Rudd backflips on political advertising, ran the headlines.

Rudd could have been promoting Einstein and Darwin, and the pond would have been agin it.

Of course back in the day, all the chattering commentariat were lined up to heave stones at the resulting advertising.

Now you could hunt all day and not find a member of the commentariat lining up to hurl abuse at the Abbott government for pissing some $11 million dollars against the wall on the intergenerational report, after having set it up without Treasury following proper procedures, or so it said in yesterday's Fairfax exclusive, Abbott government bill for controversial Dr Karl ad campaign set to hit $11m.

Naturally Bill Shorten is outraged at the waste of money, and yet the one thing the pond can guarantee is that if Shorten ever gets to power, he too will piss money against the wall on some useless taxpayer funded, deeply political advertising campaign.

And the ineffably stupid Abbott government will smirk and think they've got away with it and that hapless Dr Karl will carry the can, while in reality it's just another stunning example of the hypocrisy of politicians ... and of the commentariat that will cluck in outraged fashion on cue, but only when it suits them.

The pond has a couple of takeaway messages. Complete disinterest in the intergenerational report, a complete disdain politicians and a sneaking sympathy for Dr. Karl, bright in some ways but dumb in others. Oh and a curiosity as to when clueless government might wake up and discover social media, instead of using a TV commercial done in the style of a totally naf Citizen Kane rip-off. Guys, you might be dropkicks and losers, but do you have to make it so obvious?

Meanwhile, the pond had been wondering when a little hoppy toad or two might hop out, and sure enough, there was Piers the toad hopping into full view:

Akker Dakker was, inter alia, outraged that school students might be allowed to think that drug smugglers being tied to a stake and shot was somehow draconian, when after all, it was just what they deserved ...

Bloody bleeding heart types with their puerile fantasies ... what's wrong with a decent public execution?

Of course it's a tad unsavoury, the sight of an unapologetic, self-admitted drug user railing this way - didn't someone tell News Corp that the nauseating canonisation of Akker Dakker might have an impact on sales? - but it reminded the pond of Victorian times, when a hanging was a source of public entertainment, and huge crowds flocked to the visual feast.

There's a tidy evocation of Victorian public hanging days here, which contains this satirical thrust:

Indeed. Perhaps Akker Dakker could now campaign for the great moral improvement sure to follow when state-sanctioned murder returns to Australia's shores.

The pond was pleased to be reminded that in Victorian England there were some 222 crimes that were punishable by death, including this collection assembled by the Daily Snail here:

Indeed. Being in the company of a News columnist for a week should be a good enough reason for a hanging.

One of the good things about the online age is the way that information about hanging Victorian England - and the notion that somehow a good hanging would produce general reform - is now freely available, and so what was once only available to students of arcane Victorian attitudes can now find publications like The Newgate Calendar easy to access, as here, or at Project Gutenberg here, and elsewhere on that site.

It helps explain how the murderous, bloody thirsty attitudes of an Akker Dakker were once common, until it gradually dawned on the British that perhaps killing people in public, or simply killing people in gruesome ways, didn't actually improve the body politic. It seems Akker Dakker and the conservatives on the United States Supreme Court are still stuck somewhere back in the nineteenth century,  as demonstrated by the matter of the arguments over the lethal injection case, recorded in the NY Times here. (There's a handy tag to coverage here).

But it's Friday, so it's time to lighten up, thanks to the Bill and Tanya show:

What wags,and there's more Rowe here, and more Pope here.

Of course all the usual Catholic conservatives in the Labor party have been most indignant - Joe de Bruyn being typical (forced video at end of link), though really Joe de Bruyn's as good a reason as any not to vote for the ALP. If the pond wanted that kind of social conservatism, why it could just join the NCC and vote for the DLP ...

And Liberals have seen it all as a devilish plot to take away their own freedom to vote according to their conscience, as if blaming the ALP was an excuse that let Tony Abbott's mandated instructions on how to vote off the hook.

But now a new threat to the sanctity of marriage has got the Terror in a tizz:

Ms Corbett is agitated by the latest exercise in Nine vulgarity, but if you spent even a nanosecond deploring free to air's incessant quest for the base, sordid and demeaning, you'd never have a moment's peace.

It seems that they've even mounted a petition to stop the show, as described in Petition to stop Nine's Married at First Sight, but this sort of publicity is just gravy to a TV publicist.

When you haven't got anything else, always print the controversy and get the chattering classes going.

It turns out the show is based on a lie, but a bigger question is why anyone would bother to watch commercial television at all ...

Of course every show needs its willing facilitators, and in this case "psychologist" Sabina Read, and "clinical neuro-psychotherapist" Dr Trisha Stratford - apparently she's a dab hand at "human synergistics" - and clinical psychologist John Aiken were the ones who aided and abetted the process, and thereby gave the pond a clue as to who not to call on when in need of a little spiritual insight.

How appalling did it get?

Well the pond will cherish this thought from the Nine network:

Nine's director of programming and production Andrew Backwell said while it is a "noisy show", the Australian public should view it as a documentary rather than a regular reality TV program. 
"The expectation is that its going to be trashy reality TV," he said during a media preview in March. "This is an observational documentary and it's 100 per cent real. There is no manipulation from production and I think that sets it apart." (here).

Oh go wash out your mouth with soap, you utterly silly and preposterous man ...

And with that the pond is taking a couple of days off. We've already endured a trip to Sydney airport in the rain, and are running late, and it's all getting too much, so it's time to take a weekend away from the commentariat ...

And so to a Tom Tomorrow. Somehow it seems to fit the Libs, the Labs and the Nine network:


  1. Well, I, amongst many others I'm sure, hope that you truly do enjoy your weekend R&R (Rack & Ruin).

    It is indeed well deserved.

    1. A hearty yes to this sentiment. In tribute to you, I shall go and ready the W/E lizard express, then dress swathed in it at cocktails tomorrow evening.
      Depending on what angle you look at me, you might see Gerard Henderson's opinion, or perhaps Christopher Pearson. Oh joy!

  2. I just bought a CD! First time in around 10 years. It's Sam Smith. He's bloody good.

    Try Lay Me Down.

  3. Well one thing is for certain. Not one of us will ever be nauseated by the canonisation of Piers Akerman.

    Miss pp

  4. True, Miss pp - we're just nauseated by Piers per se. What a hate-filled man.

    DP, enjoy your weekend :)


  5. I, for one, am continually amazed (so much so that I amaze myself!) at the effing naivety of the likes of Dr. Karl et; Fran Kelly, Michelle Grattan, that Harcher chap, Leonore Taylor many members of our scientific / business / medical fraternity , who seem to yield so easily and cheerfully at the first gratuitous offerings of this mendacious, scheming govt' (the same as which would double up the patrons of any front bar boozery in cynical eye-watering laughter!) and cheerfully go about promoing the most absurd crap with wide-eyed enthusiasm...until a polite "cough, cough" draws their attention to the obvious ponzi-scheme in the detail!...and only then does their elite, expensive education kick in and we get : "Oh!..Hang on..I say...wait a minute!"

    One has to ask of them : "Where were YOU 'Dapper Dan' , when the shit first hit the fan?"

  6. This weekend is not the same. I've developed the habit, bad as it may be, of reading ABC News, The Age, The Guardian then Loon Pond. Now, The Pond is empty and The Saturday Paper just does not fill the space. Enjoy your weekend, but I look forward to Monday.

  7. Anti-piracy warning from the IT crowd, featuring Tom Baker (Yes, that one!)

  8. Hi Dorothy,

    As it's spiritual Sunday I've made the effort to let you know I've recently discovered that I'm an Apatheist;



  9. Are there no depths?

    The Australian government would sell the right to immigrate to Australia - with migrants no longer accepted based on their skills or family connections - under radical proposals being examined by the government's independent think tank.

    The Productivity Commission is investigating a price-based immigration system that would use entry fees as the primary determinant for who gains entry to Australia.

    Such a scheme could help the government rein in the budget deficit by bringing in tens of billions of dollars in extra revenue and allow it to trim the number of public servants administering Australia's immigration system.

    1. I think it is actually the heights really. The economic rationalist ideal of globalization/corporatism is almost complete,baring the TPP and globalization of labor. The Neo-Con wet dream,you might say. Gently crushes the working class and before you know it you've got your $2 p/h mine workers.Gina is happy,shareholders are happy and much frabulous joy!
      I think last nights 4 Corners episode gave us all a glimpse.

  10. Hi Dorothy,

    I hope you are not unwell.

  11. From today’s Guardian:

    “The Italian coastguard has coordinated one of its largest rescue operations to date, saving 5,500 people on Saturday and Sunday as smugglers took advantage of calm seas to send migrants across the Mediterranean…

    The mild spring weather and the calm summer seas are expected to push total arrivals in Italy for 2015 to 200,000, up by 30,000 on last year, according to an interior ministry projection.”

    Our demonic governments (Labor and Coalition) will just shrug their shoulders of this.

  12. Mirabella and Morrison - a perfect storm.

    I think we should get out the shotguns.

  13. Tony Abbott: Jack of all trades, master of none

  14. In August 2013 when Hockey was Shadow Treasurer, the RBA cut official interest rates to 2.5 per cent. On the ABC’s 7.30 he said the following:

    "they're not cutting interest rates because the economy is doing well. Interest rates are being cut to 50 year lows because the economy is struggling."

    "if your argument is that the lower the interest rates the better the economy, go and ask the British or the Americans or the Europeans that have interest rates at zero how their economies are going because I tell you what, we are now beyond emergency levels."

    "if anyone thinks that the Reserve Bank acted today because the economy is doing really well, and Labor's doing a terrific job running the economy, they'd be deluding themselves."

    Today the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate from 2.25 per cent to a record low of 2 per cent and this is Hockey’s media release”

    “5 May 2015

    Low interest rates supporting families and jobs
    Today’s interest rate cut is good news for families and small businesses. Importantly, it will help further stimulate economic growth and create more jobs.

    Now is the time for Australian businesses and households to borrow and invest.”

    Just an itsy bitsy, oh so tiny, miniscule really, okay then, contradictory at the sub-atomic level.

    1. Contradictory at the sub-atomic level: I do like that!


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