Friday, June 19, 2015

in which the pond is forced to don the aluminium foil hat and sample the reptile kool aid...

(Above: creepy stuff with crypto-fascist imagery and bonus meaningless medal).

The pond finally got around to watching Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

For devotees of cults, and in particular the cult of scientology, there's not much that's news, as it travels the well hoed grounds, such as the stories which the Tampa Bay Times has been running since 2009, links here - scroll down especially to the bottom of the page and "the truth project".

And Russell Miller did the first decent hatchet job on L. Ron Hubbard in Bare-faced Messiah way back in 1987.

In typical Hollywood way, the documentary also spends an unseemly amount of time brooding about the celebrities who endorse scientology - John Travolta and his sexuality, Tom Cruise and his relationship to Nicole Kidman and Paul Haggis rediscovering his sanity, though it also spends some useful time with heavy hitting scientological heretics.

Now the pond has nothing against Haggis speaking his mind, albeit belatedly, even though the pond disliked intensely his film Crash, which for unknown reasons won the big Academy Award.

But even Haggis is now a little long in the scientological tooth, having parted ways with the cult publicly and spectacularly back in 2009.

What's more interesting to the pond is the way the cult manages to bait and switch ordinary punters, and how it manages to get funding from the federal government of Australia for its schools, including one just around the corner from the pond. That's better than a tax break, that's cash in paw for the cult.

But while watching the show, certain analogies began to dawn on the pond. The cult's three main weapons in its keeping of members close to the kool aid involve the cultivation of paranoia, fear and secrecy.

Then the film got to the business of disconnecting and disconnection, whereby cultists must say farewell to friends and family who decide to leave the church.

This is a feature of many cults - the shunning of the Amish, for example, or the bans invoked by the Exclusive Brethren and dozens of other enclosed groups clutching at each other to sustain their bizarre belief systems (and about the only thing more bizarre than Xenu is the cannibalistic transubstantiation endorsed and accepted by Tony Abbott).

That's when it dawned on the pond - always a slow mover and a slow thinker, thanks to years of exposure to the cultist commentariat at work in Murdoch la la land.

Australia is currently in the grip of a dangerous cult leader, right up there with David Miscavige.

Think about it - anyone with half an eye on politics this year can draw up a lengthy list of policies driven by fear, paranoia and secrecy. Operational on water matters anyone?

And the whole citizenship debate is just an elaborate exercise in disconnection, designed not so much to enhance security or act within the rule of law, but to make mischief and to wedge people not truly joined at the hip to the cult leader, be they Labor, greenies or Liberal wets or jibber jabbering constitutional lawyers.

How weird does it get? Is there any crypto-fascist symbolism at work?

With bonus foil hat, way better than a useless medal, since even the pond is in awe of the health benefits of a foil hat ...

Meanwhile, people like Peter Craven run around wringing their hands about constitutionality and Malcolm Turnbull makes protests within cabinet and this morning on the telly, but they still keep turning up to the water cooler to drink the kool aid, in much the same way as the Seaorgs turned up for their ritual humiliations ...

Of course there are many cults in the world - a classic example came this morning when a Charleston media man turned up on radio to berate Obama for being borderline offensive by daring to mention guns and race in relation to the latest gun slaughter ...

By golly, they know how to pick turkeys at RN to feed borderline offensive remarks to their long-suffering listeners (and will they ever do anything about their mind-numbing repetitions of worn-out stings?) ...

But enough fun. As usual, it's the pond's duty to look directly into the maw of darkness, into cult headquarters where the kool aid flows like sweet-smelling syrah ...

What sayeth the front page, reptiles?

Uh huh. Can we zoom in a close up to see what's happening with the cult dissidents?

Yep, it's all there, all the chatter about disconnection and apparently the neutering of Turnbull, if you believe the reptiles ...

But what's that? Bret Walker's been allocated prime time space ... on page twenty eight?

Oh roll the jaffas down the aisle and let's flick the channel to Fairfax, as they spare a moment from their relentless pursuit of hapless Bill:

Yes, it's all in Former terrorism law watchdog Bret Walker demands apology from Tony Abbott (what forced video, natch, and remember what they said on that subject on RN's Media Report last night here):

...Mr Walker couched his recommendation in the report as an extension of existing powers that require a person be convicted in a criminal trial first. 
He said on Thursday it was "absurd" and "ridiculous" to suggest he meant the existing power should require a conviction but the extension should not – as Mr Abbott has done. 
He did not specifically mention the need for conviction in the key recommendation because it went without saying, he said. 
"Surely the Prime Minister doesn't think that because I didn't mention it, it didn't apply," he said. "How ridiculous. His position is indefensible and he should apologise." 

How silly. The pond doesn't have much sympathy for Mr. Walker. If you consult with cultists and take their dime, you need to be very cautious and cross the t's and dot the i's. You can't say it went without saying, because when dealing with cultists everything needs to be spelled out, or the next thing you know the literalists and the luddites are talking about rolling red carpets ...

To quote someone on Twitter, what a bit of garbage the man is ...

Now Mr Walker is left to fulminate on the sidelines, having been a useful fool in his time, but discarded so the cultists can go about the business of talking about red carpets and the need to disconnect:

Mr Walker said neither the Prime Minister nor anyone from the government had even approached him to ask what he meant in his report. 
"There has still not been any contact from the Prime Minister, any minister, any departmental liaison officer, with me since March 2014 about any of the recommendations," he said. "Inquiry of me about what was intended … has been completely lacking." 
His furious remarks came after Mr Abbott told Parliament that "the former monitor is entitled to change his mind and obviously he has changed his mind" over the need for a conviction.

Uh huh. All the pond can suggest is that Mr Walker have a chat to Mark Rathburn or Mike Rinder and see how it rolls ... maybe it'll help him get clear.

Phew, no need to read any more by Mr Walker. He can head back to the skull cave and brood in the corner about the thuggees. Instead the pond realises some might be mortified at not having the thoughts of the bouffant one on the current brouhaha, so here it is:

Notice the message embedded in the bouffant one's text ...

The cult leader took too long to bring in the disconnection device!

There's no problem with the disconnections. It just took too long to implement and it left all those bloody lawyers to jibber jabber with their legalisms, ruining the clarity of the disconnection. Thank the long absent lord, big Mal is now right on side, and on ministerial whim, people can have their citizenship revoked without the legal eagles sticking their nosy beaks into the matter ...

You've got to love the reptiles and their kool aid ...

Finally, just to hammer the cult metaphor into the ground with a wooden stake, perhaps using one of the axes much loved by the pond's grandfather (get your racing axes here before heading off to the Tamworth show), we need to have an example of cult eccentricity.

In the film, licking the bathroom floor clean with the tongue or playing musical chairs to the tune of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody were all part of the fun.

The pond can easily top that, thanks to the Graudian, fundamentalist John Madigan and the federal government:

It's all in the Graudian here, and the pond rests its case.

Right at the moment that Pope Francis is trying to get people to pay attention to climate science, the federal government scales fresh heights of alarmist, paranoid, fear-mongering, right out of the scientological playbook.

Naturally the pond's favourite cartoonist had a field day (and as always search for more papal insights from David Pope here).

Thank the long absent lord we've got the aluminium foil hat ready (no, we don't spell it aluminum and we prefer not to talk of tin foil), and if you want a list of the research literature on wind farms, why not head off here to get a pdf on the matter.

What's that? You'd just prefer another dose of the kool aid? Well, why not subscribe to a Murdoch rag and if you've been feeling a little disconnected, you can reconnect for a most modest stipend...

But the pond can't let Pope get away with that without joining in the fun, so for anyone who can remember the glory days of sitcoms, here they are again. Yeehah Tamworth, can we have another chook courtesy of furriner slave labour, speaking of the benefits of cults ...


  1. DP, I thought Ma & Pa Kettle were better.

    1. I agree, Stan.

      The Kettles tower above Abbott and Hockey.

  2. Presumably, it was somewhat remiss of Dennis to be drawing attention to Dutton's initial bold announcement that the Attorney-General Department's ASIO was trawling through over 400 potential cases, in hopes of finding and discretionising a further 250 allegeds and their families, sans the clarity of the knives-and-guns-and-redcarpet treatment, and nominally still operating without clear redress in the astroturfed Australian community right now?

    1. Only if you assume that the Mutton man had the intelligence to think this might have gone against his playing the autocratic King of Siam in a bad modern version of the musical.

  3. A jolly good day to you, DP. I've savoured Michael Gordon's and like it! Now, I'm rolling the words "A Charleston tragedy in Oz could only happen under Labor!" around my forked tongue. Like it? Sure ticks all the boxes for me. Maybe I'd better run it past Peta, first.
    BTW, I read Gordon's
    He eschewed this path, but has allowed one of the government's more articulate defenders of the rule of law, Malcolm Turnbull, to be involved in the formulation of the legislation. This is some guarantee that what will emerge will survive legal challenge.
    and chortle with glee. Ol' Mal has muffled himself. It's too late! We are well on the way to gag orders to suppress comments from the likes of Bret Walker.


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