Saturday, August 15, 2015

In which the pond explores Escherism as the only explanation of why we wouldn't start off here to get to there ...

A kindly reader sent along this snap of a real world example of Escherism, as a way of evoking the Alice down the rabbit hole world of the last week.

Truth to tell, it does say something about the referendum v. plebiscite debate which has seen the government torn apart.

It was inevitable today that the reptiles, yearning for a distraction, any distraction would do, would go the fear and put jolly Joe front and centre:

Talk about feeding the frenzy of fear, and feeding the pious 'assured growth with jolly Joe' nonsense, but at least it keeps all the horrors of the past week off the front page. And for those spreading the rumour that the Chairman has dumped the oaf, there's scant evidence in the Murdochian press ...

There is however an absolutely delicious piece by Richard Ackland in the Graudian, The sometimes enjoyable mind of Dyson Heydon.

If there's one thing more pleasing to the pond than the sight of reptiles lazing on their hot rock, it's the exemplary exotic pedantry of the legal profession.

First Ackland disposes of Sir Garfield Barwick, the Peter Costello of his time, done over by Menzies and sent off to make mischief:

Why wouldn’t Heydon want to sing the praises of Barwick at a Liberal party event? Barwick, the man who, as chief justice of the high court, secretly advised Sir John Kerr on how to dismiss the Whitlam government and who steadfastly crafted the most artificial interpretations of the Tax Act for the benefit of the big end of town.  
This is no mere saint; Barwick is a deity, up there with Zeus.

Then Ackland went on to quote various opinions by the exotically named Dyson (Dennis' son) Heydon, a confirmation for the pond that people with an arcane name will carry a chip on their shoulder for life.

The pond was torn - so many choices, but settled for two:

Lord Scott’s proposition, notable for its cautious unwillingness to prejudge the French and Soviet dictators, was much more specific than Lord Hope’s. It is important to preserve a sense of proportion. Perhaps the present state of affairs in South Australia has its dolorous aspects. But life in the Athens of the South now is very different from life in the Athens of the North when delations were common while Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire. And it is very different from life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the days when ‘the wonderful Georgian’ was responsible for administering the bill of rights provisions contained in the 1936 Constitution, and Harold Laski was ‘lecturing about the beauties of the Russian system’.

And this:

The odour of human rights sanctity is sweet and addictive. It is a comforting drug stronger than poppy or mandragora or all the drowsy syrups of the world.

There's more to be found at Ackland, including the news that amongst the top ten reading list of the learned judge lurks Rudyard Kipling. No doubt as a youth the noble Dyson was moved to tears by Rudyard's exemplary poem:

Take up the White Man’s burden— 
Send forth the best ye breed— 
Go send your sons to exile 
To serve your captives' need 
To wait in heavy harness  
On fluttered folk and wild— 
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, 
Half devil and half child (and the rest here).

The only downer? Well at journey's end, Ackland said he could go on and on ... and stopped. Please, Mr Ackland, do go on ...

The pond was having so much fun rolling about on the floor in a laughing fit and throwing Jaffas down the aisle that we almost forgot the onerous duty of inspecting the reptile cage.

The pond had already warmed to this task by checking out Laura Tingle and David Crowe on Lateline.

Let out of his cage, the reptilian David Crowe tingled almost as much as the very tingly Laura: quite a problem, state of suspension, cloud over the entire exercise, under such a cloud, shemozzle (state of chaos and confusion, a muddle) of a week, quite a risky strategy, "After a week like this, it seems hopeless, right", unnecessary division on their own side, and then his feeble attempt at a defence - forlorn and pathetic and risible as it was: "You never know", which produced a wonderful smackdown from the Tingle:

LAURA TINGLE: Sorry, David, I've got to violently disagree there. The point here is not about who is going to win the next election, the point here is what I was writing about today reflects the view within the Coalition itself. Now, we've often had scrappy governments and obviously the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments were pretty ordinary most of the time, but there was some internal coherence or discipline which in some ways you could say was bad because none of them would take Kevin Rudd on from the Cabinet, but this is something entirely different. What I'm writing about is the breakdown of the way a government works. We're not talking about the economy, we're not talking about jobs, they've got no plan for those things and the relationships within the Government and the processes have got so bad that I really don't know, and I think people within the Coalition themselves don't know, how they are going to actually solve this. I don't know that - it's not just a question of changing leaders or anything else, they just don't know what they are going to do about it. 
DAVID CROWE: Well, there is no question, there is a lot of anxiety and despair in that party room at the moment, no doubt. 
EMMA ALBERICI: Unfortunately we're out of time, Laura Tingle, David Crowe, thank you so much.

But the pond wasn't out of time! We could have sat on for yonks, enraptured by the Tingle and the reptile.

Sadly, the tumult has left those studious old fogies, the Dysons of the reptiles, to futtock and fumble their way to a defence of the indefensible, as they each contended for the right to play Polonius in the latest revival, an adaptation by Sam Beckett of the tale of the blue-tie wearer driven mad in his remote kingdom:

Silly old fore-lock tugging hagiographical buggers, busy trying to fix up history.

The trouble of course, old fogies, is whether we're talking about a plebiscite and a national vote, or a referendum, and Sco Mo, the clap happy speaker in tongues, took the trouble to double down on the matter, as in Plebiscite vs referendum, gay marriage vote pits senior ministers against each other:

SIMON LAUDER: ...Last night the Attorney-General George Brandis criticised his Cabinet colleague Scott Morrison for advocating a constitutional referendum, saying no constitutional change is necessary to allow gay marriage. 
The Social Services Minister and gay marriage opponent Scott Morrison has laughed off a suggestion that George Brandis is trying to harm his credentials as an alternative leader. 
SCOTT MORRISON: No, that's a ridiculous question. Look, lawyers will always have lots of views on lots of things. We're used to lawyers going into the entrails of these sorts of things. I'm not interested as sort of a lawyers' picnic discussion on this issue. There is no legal impediment to the matter being considered in a referendum. 

And there's the real truth of "best option" and "reasonable compromise".

It's a total, half-arsed, confused, and confusing fuck-up, and the ongoing campaign for a formal referendum is part of the hard right, fundie campaign to destroy the very notion of gay marriage for all time.

It wouldn't have been beyond the wit of a functioning, even half way intelligent government to have come up with a sellable proposition - an inclusive debate, followed by a plebiscite, a popular expression of opinion.

But the fearless leader is himself a fundamentalist Catholic and inclined to the hard right, fundie wasy of thinking. So instead of a balanced approach, he seized on a thought bubble that came late in the epic meeting, and now the thought bubble has bounced in all directions, and the result is that the hare - how the pond loves to mix its metaphors - is out of the gate and racing all over the park, and will continue racing every which way to the next election.

What was needed was a leader who'd take the issue by the scruff of the neck, offer a sensible, rational, MOR approach, and defuse the controversy.

But Abbott is in fear of the clap happy speaking in tongues ScoMo, and just as dedicated as Cory Bernardi to preventing gay marriage, and so Abbott found it impossible to rise to the challenge, and the party will now pay the price through the next twelve months.

As a result, there was real torture - yes, lizards bleed - as the reptiles contemplated the difficult position and attempted to find a silver lining in the clouds. The bouffant one was on hand to do his best:

Uh huh. Greg Hunt as an example of a studious achiever!!? That's how desperate things are in reptile la la land, but please, do go on:

And there, as they used to say, is the rub. But please, do go on:

So where does that leave the ostentatiously entitled Liberal party, a disgraceful abuse, it has to be said, of the concept of "liberal"?

Let's look at the increasingly bizarre output of Bill Leak which graced the reptile pages this day:

As best the pond can decipher it, Leak seems to be saying that the Liberal party is now conforming to the wishes of sullen, bearded, resentful Islamic fundamentalists of the Taliban kind, the sort alleged to be "feeding the frenzy" at the top of the reptile front page.

And Tony Burke is a foolish fop for preaching tolerance, equality and gay rights to said sullen, bearded, resentful, Islamic fundamentalists ...

Because as Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells noted, never mind the alleged "liberal" in "Liberal", look at the fundie Catholics and fundie Islamics, and fear their votes ...

And there's liberalism for you ...

Is there any more bizarre example of the enormous stupidity in which the Liberal party now finds itself caught?

And worse still, that wretched millionaire advertising man has dared to emerge, to tug the forelock of the aspirational Polonius:

Well because, dear millionaire ad man, there's nothing wrong with fascism if it's suitably Catholic.

Never mind, a kindly correspondent sent along this tidy cartoon. We have no idea of its date - it seems to be a Rowe celebrated in November 2014 on The Insiders - but it just goes to show how a good idea never loses its currency.

The reference to the Wolfgang Petersen production was always going to curry favour with the pond - a long term favourite, until claustrophobia finally made the pond realise it was no longer watchable - but  how splendid to remember that the fearless crew have been stuck on the bottom of the Mediterranean with depth charges exploding all around them, leaks springing and rivets popping, for well over a year now:

That grin on the bow reminded the pond of one of its favourite snaps, in a rare red tie outing:

Never mind, the pond swears this is the last time it will ever  break Godwin's Law:


  1. Too much lead again, Dennis!

    I want a job as a proof reader for the lizards. I say led, you say lead, let's call the whole thing off.

  2. Reading this post, DP, and the Anon contribution about Fairfax having the knives out in your last, at least Hunt appears to have done some consultation and negotiation to reach the LNP's emissions target.

    1. Hunt hasn't yet got, so hasn't given a clue other than to waffle about how to reach COALition emissions moving 'targets'.

  3. Is Bill Leak being ironic in his cartoon? Doubly so? Unintentionally so? Why would a politician advocating same-sex marriage be appealing to, or ever get the support of, devout Muslims?

    1. The christian conservatives have not yet worked out that there are just as many LGBTI in muslim communities as in christian communities.

  4. David Flint @profdavidflint
    Are bias allegations against Dyson Heydon just a last ditch attempt to hide the way some unionists are being cheated by their leaders?

    9:51 PM - 13 Aug 2015 • Details

    Miranda Devine ‏@mirandadevine 20h20 hours ago
    Miranda Devine retweeted David Flint


    Flint and Devine forever harmoniously blinkered.

  5. Heydon the Pompous, likes to think of himself as a Prince of Prose and the Master of Allusion..

  6. Equal tie, Heydon and Callinan, for most useless benchwarmers in memory. At least Piddington had the sense to resign before sitting.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.