(Above: an ad in the Sydney Truth, 27th November 1932)
No doubt the ABC think that they're elevating Leigh Sales to the status of a distinguished and penetrating tele-journalist by starting off their ad for her, and her show, with a resolutely fierce question addressed to Tony Abbott: "Who are you?"
It's a profound irritation to the pond. It's the sort of callow question that parents and their adolescent boys used to ask, as in "Who are ya?" or "Who do you think ya are?", though in Tamworth, it also warped routinely into "What are ya?", with all sorts of self-contained answers provided, such as "A bloody galah?" And a corollary: "Do ya drink your bath water?"
It's an existentially meaningless, silly, unanswerable and profoundly stupid question. There's only one sensible answer, one riposte available to either sex when confronted with that sort of monstrosity.
Of course that was what the adolescent boys most wanted, to have some sordid, grappling, groping Wake in Fright sex in the red dust, but strangely most thought the invitation to be some kind of insult.
The pond's father had a more considered response.
When asked a silly question, or noting a silly comment, he'd always say 'horse feathers'.
It took years for the pond to work out what he meant, though these days whenever Abbott and his minions open their mouths, the pond's first inclination is to say 'horse feathers'. So that's the last time we'll express sympathy for him at the hands of Leigh Sales, even if the question arises, "Who is she?" Or maybe "what are ya?"
Yes, it's another pond Sunday meditation delving into the ineluctable mystery of life and reptiles, but first thanks to the correspondent who drew attention to Richard Ackland's lovely spray at a snippet by Sharri Markson, writer of News Corp press releases, stenographer to ed-in-chief Kransky Mitchell, involving Zaky Mallah and Chris Kenny - though not the sublime absurdity of the SBS beat-up that littered the rag yesterday, as the delusional Kransky once more pierced the heart of the nation (has anyone out there got that Manning Clark medal?):
Chris was a valet to Lord Downer, when Alexander was foreign minister, and later became an adviser to the Member for Goldman Sachs, Malcolm Turnbull, skilfully helping the then leader of the opposition turn Utegate and Godwin Grech into a political triumph.
The Daily’s scribe also won some monies from the ABC last year for not having sex with dogs. “To the extent that I am remembered for this,” he said at the time, “I’ll be remembered as the journalist called a dog fucker who stood up for his rights.”
These days Kenny Doesn’t Rogers performs as a one-trick pony at the Daily, telling his comatose readers the ABC is awful, the awful ABC is awfully awful and how much more awful the ABC can get, etc.
If I had known in advance there was to be a debate with someone of this calibre, my overwhelming concern would be that life is far too short.
The pond really must Ackland more often, and you can do it here, though he can also be found at the Graudian upsetting the dog botherer and the stenographer by scribbling opinions such as The hysteria over Zaky Mallah on QandA would make Joseph McCarthy proud.
To which we can now add the hysteria over SBS would have Uncle Joe tickled pink. Maybe even red.
But speaking of bloody galahs, horse feathers and "who is she?", today is Sunday Terrorist day and Miranda the Devine day.
But first, let's not forget the foaming, lip-flecked, addled, Akker Dakker, trailing steam and hints of kool aid, proffering a white powderish-fuelled roar of indignation:
Totally baseless attack?
By golly the pond wants a slice of what Akker Dakker's snorting.
Well here we must slip in another delicious Ackland, for those who missed it, The sometimes enjoyable mind of Dyson Heydon, as well as a link to Heydon hangs on as pressure builds and questions mount over political links (with forced video).
Let's see how totally baseless it is when the troops head off to court, and Abbott finds himself embroiled in another long running, interminable Bronnie style saga.
If nothing else, Heydon has become a priceless subject for cartoonists, though an eminently pricey Royal Commissioner:
And so to Miranda the Devine, and her deep understanding that people in the suburbs just hate teh gays:
Or is that just a gay hating Catholic fundamentalist columnist projecting her own fear and loathing out into the suburbs, where - gasp - some actual gay people live? No, Veronica, they're not all in Surry Hills.
Before proceeding, the pond always warns readers to use a prophylactic and a reputable brand of disinfectant. You never know, bigotry and homophobia might be catching.
And for those who can't be bothered, a quick summary. The Devine wants a referendum, in the Scott Morrison, speaking in tongues, clap happy, 'the rapture is near' style, so she can pile on in the weeks leading up to it with more bigotry and homophobia:
Now isn't that a wonderful demonstration of paranoia, feat and the loathing, and the argument's clearly a winner, because on a weekly, nay a daily basis, the pond is sickened by the sight of the Murdochian press providing a platform for gay activists screeching like a Miranda the Devine cockatoo in a field of maize.
As if. On with more of screeching for which the Sunday Terrorist is famous:
Yep, that was the line that had the pond rolling the Jaffas down the aisle:
All the defenders of traditional marriage are asking for is a respectful, fair hearing, in which their benign advertisements might continue to insult gay people. Like this:
Now the pond is old enough to decode that message... it's saying that it's wrong to put children in the hands of deviants and perverts.
And that's a benign, respectful message? Only in Helen Lovejoy land:
Of course lurking beneath the Devine Lovejoyian tirade is the optimistic hope that Australia will resoundingly reject gay marriage:
... if a majority of Australians and a majority of states don’t want the definition of marriage changed, what right does the political class have to override their wishes?
And she and all the other hate-mongers will be standing by to make sure their wish comes true, knowing that a referendum raises the bar, and that referenda never pass in Australia without full bipartisan support.
And that's why the fundamentalists are screeching for it. It's their last, desperate, despicable hope, all the while dressing up their bigotry with the sanctimonious guff and piety of talk of democracy.
Was it only a coincidence that in the very same Sunday Terror, Samantha Maiden provided a bit of a reality check to the Devine?
Maiden concluded with the obvious point:
All the Prime Minister’s men are playing games with the same-sex marriage debate so it’s obviously not simply about gay marriage.
And then she enumerated a delightful variety of games. There was Brandis v. Morrison, there was the poodle v. Abbott, there was Credlin and Kroger:
Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger this week to gently ask why Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy had blasted the PM on gay marriage, she probably didn’t expect news of the exchange to spread far and wide.
The conversation wasn’t terse. Credlin was simply asking why Guy had chosen to kick the issue into another day. Two-thirds of the party room had backed the PM’s decision not to offer a conscience vote. The debate was over — but Guy had accused the Abbott government of “poisoning the well of good will”. It was the political equivalent of a hand grenade.
Credlin texted Kroger to ask why.
His response? Kroger told her that Guy believed in a conscience vote and that was that. He added for good measure that Victoria didn’t always have a big voice. “Get used to it, Peta,” was the spin others put on it later. This is unfair. But Kroger is accused of showing his Credlin texts to others, including attendees at a Liberal Hawthorn branch event.
Such are the levels of twitchiness in the ranks that Abbott only had to enjoy an innocent nip of whisky on Thursday with rising star Scott Morrison to spark paranoia.
After the pair jointly crushed a conscience vote on gay marriage, news of their evening chat spread like wildfire. Turns out it was a humble 30-minute conversation with a modest side serve of liquor. Still, the open contempt for Credlin among the most senior Liberals is astounding.
“She can boss ministers and staffers around,’’ says one senior Liberal. “But she can’t boss around old hands like Kroger or Ron Walker.”
And then there was Textor v. the Liberals:
The story goes that when Credlin tried to join the secret messaging service Wickr, used by ministers to send messages that self-destruct, she discovered she had been blocked by ministers who didn’t want her to join their party. But when other colleagues got on the messaging service, a who’s who of cabinet ministers and their chiefs-of-staff popped up.
Add to that list of “People Peta Credlin Can’t Push Around” the Liberal pollster Mark Textor, who was busily using his Twitter account last week to lash the PM’s strategists over gay marriage.
Textor quoted a Washington Post article stating the re-election of British PM David Cameron proved same-sex marriage was not conservative kryptonite. “The Cameron victory is further proof of three things: marriage equality is not antithetical to conservatism, support for same-sex marriage is not a killer at the ballot box, and the electorate ultimately won’t care when they see that the sky hasn’t fallen because the nice gay couple next door can legally marry,” it said.
So many hand grenades.
Who knows about Textor, but you can read at WaPo, David Cameron victory also a win for gay marriage.
Who'd have thought anyone could have held up David Cameron as being intelligent? But in the context of Tony Abbott, he's an Einstein, and as a strategist a veritable Carl von Clausewitz.
And so on, and on ... as the hand grenades go off in the ants' nest and the blindly faithful and foolish fundamentalists to a grave disservice to Abbott's Prime Ministership, and his relentlessly stupid, tone deaf and fundamentalist mishandling of the issue ... and his colleagues ...
There's just time this meditative Sunday - remember this whole debacle has been driven by religious fundamentalism - to note the splendid opening to Lenore Taylor's Graudian piece, Coalition a victim of its own trickiness as colleagues lose faith in Tony Abbott:
Behind the Abbott government’s very bad week – a careening series of disasters that looked like the political version of an AAMI ad – is a common thread that could wreck it permanently. Tricky politics has driven Tony Abbott into yet another crisis.
The pond loathes AAMI's ads even more than it loathes Leigh Sales' ads, but what an apt comparison, and Mis Taylor was in fine form for the rest of her piece:
...now supporters of same-sex marriage see Abbott and other opponents of the idea taking the confused party-room non-decision about what should happen after the next election and crab walking it towards a process that will ensure nothing ever happens.
Abbott has the slogan all ready – he’s for a “people’s vote” and the Labor party is for a “politicians’ vote”. He just didn’t have a policy...
...The “people’s vote versus politician’s vote” slogan strategy was designed to “neutralise” the issue, but in fact has ensured it will continue to be an issue right through the next poll. Tricky has quickly turned into a political car crash.
And it being supported by fundamentalists like the Devine has ensured it will continue to be seen as a bigoted, homophobic car crash ...
Ms Taylor then went on to lash the cynicism of the climate policy, and the outrageousness of the unconstitutional and unworkable citizenship laws, and so on, building up to a couple of damning final pars:
... the government’s policy agenda is thin and confused, its days filled with ad hoc announceables, and protestations about jobs and growth and ill-defined stories about intentions to get even tougher on national security than its already extremely tough stance.
Voters had already lost trust in the prime minister, dating back to his first ill-considered budget. His colleagues’ faith got pretty shaky earlier this year as well. They are now once again expressing despair. As the divisions deepen and the polls get worse, the Coalition is again descending into a self-defeating cycle of instability, suspicions and second guessing of the leadership intentions of Turnbull or Morrison or Julie Bishop.
Some argue the government just needs a clear narrative to sell its policies. But that would require the trickiness to be set aside long enough to figure out what they are.
Oh okay, just who does he bloody think he is? A bloody galah!? Horse feathers!
And now, because it's Sunday, to give the cartoonists a break, the pond dug this one out of the vault to send its aged demographic off for a stroll down memory lane, because it's only a short step from the dog botherer to the drover's dog ... if you think about it for a nanosecond.
This was in the Sun-Herald, 27th November 1977:
Make that man a gee gee. Horse feathers!