Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In which the pond spends some quality time in the herpetarium with its newest member, the honourable reptile for Warringah, as the old reptile in chief plans to step down, but not before leaving the herpetarium in ruins ...

As always, the pond is indebted to readers wanting to share their crocodile tears over devastating news, and does it get any more devastating than Chris Mitchell standing down as editor-in-chief of the Australian?

But fear not reptile lovers, because having driven the business plan for the herpetarium into the ground - that story tells us the lizard Oz hasn't made a profitable dime since 2008 - the reptile in chief promises to hang around in Murdochian la la land, and Paul Whittaker, celebrated Daily Terrorist, is rumoured to be a likely replacement, so that all the quality features of the Daily Terror - think Miranda the Devine, fat owl of the remove Akker Dakker - can drive more nails into the coffin of the rag.

And another helpful reader provided a Fergo quote, which the unwary might use to stumble on a Reddit conversation about the decline and fall of Rome here, but which the wary can use to google up Nelly Niall, and you may, if you want gibberish about Gibbon, do so too:

It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilisation within these avowedly peace-loving ­communities. 
I do not know enough about the 5th century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprece­dented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together meant falling together; or who issued empty threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic ­posture.

Yes, this morning the pond - having deliberately forsaken the long-proven stupidities of Fergo - woke to his talk of "novel notions" of tolerance of "sexual proclivities" - and so to a moment of sublime comic relief ...

Now won't someone shove a pineapple up his bum? Purely so we may tolerate the novelty of that sexual proclivity just for a moment or two ...

Be assured there is plenty more comedy for those who google, but the pond - to jump to another metaphor - has other fish to fry when it comes to the chattering commentariat, chief amongst them the desire to avoid contributing to the ongoing hysteria and alarm.

This is no easy task. Look at the reptiles today. Every reptile has been prodded off their hot rock and given an urgent call to do their duty:

Dear sweet long absent lord. Logic lacking in medieval mindset! And he wasn't speaking about the reptile stance on climate science ... or sexual proclivities ...

Even Dame Groan is talking about the economic downside of terror, but where was she when it came to talking about the economics of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts?

Frankly, the pond reeled away from the challenge of all this reptiliana in the herpetarium feeling a little faint.

Even Chris Mitchell's department was busy. Retirement might be looming, but when duty calls, the reptile in chief still heads into the kitchen.

Now the pond might have got out of the dilemma by quoting Tom Switzer.

Yes, it's come to a pretty pass when the pond has to agree with an isolationist conservative, though perhaps his time at the ABC has turned him into one of those puffy bits of fairy floss the reptiles love to hate:

Take, for instance, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a secular regime that had no links to al-Qaeda terrorists. The toppling of Saddam Hussein was hailed as a victory for democracy, but the demise of that tyrant attracted jihadists like flies to a dying animal. How so? First, toppling the minority Sunnis from power in Baghdad and replacing them with the majority Shiite upended the sectarian imbalance that had been in place for generations. The latter were bent on revenge against their tormenters, while the former felt their only recourse was to tolerate, even support the Sunni insurgency that has morphed into a plethora of Sunni jihadist groups, which includes IS. Of course, that simmering cauldron of sectarian malevolence has now spread into Syria.

Well yes, indeed, yes ...

The US occupation is the second reason for the rise of the jihadists in Iraq. Many Iraqis resented the presence of US troops in their homeland and were determined to drive them out. Terrorism was the only weapon in their arsenal.

The pond believes the technical term is blowback.

Even worse, Switzer dared to point out the obvious when it came to nattering Niall's hysterical evocation of Rome:

IS, however, is not an existential threat. It controls mainly desert in north-west Iraq and south-east Syria. Its gross domestic product is roughly the equivalent of Barbados or Eritrea. It has no navy, air force or ballistic missiles. Its army amounts to about 40,000 soldiers. It is not, contrary to what Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said, more menacing than Soviet communism during the Cold War. Underestimating terrorism is a mistake, but so too is endowing jihadists with far more capability than they have. 
The question facing world leaders is not whether to react to the terror threat. It is how to react. Fighting endless wars in a vast region deeply hostile to western military interventions is surely the wrong way to proceed. The smart strategy is for the West to slowly but steadily disengage militarily from the Middle East and allow the people in that region to settle their own differences. 

Well yes, indeed, yes, and there's more here, but canny readers will have noticed that the little monarchist was at the top of the page, and that the little monarchist has now embedded himself in the safe haven of the Oz commentariat, and so the pond's thoughts turned to memories of le petit soldat.

The pond's ongoing fascination with the man has even led it to reading Joe Aston:

Compelling stuff, down there with spotting Jim Cairns flogging books outside the Prahan markets, long after the Jim and Junie caravan had moved on ...

But back to the war monger le petit soldat strutting the reptile pages.

The pond feels indignant that the thoughts of the member for Warringah should be stuffed behind a paywall to prop up a failing, flailing business model.

Haven't the good citizens of Warringah the right to see how their honourable member represents them, with his literary proclivities currently only on display for those who support the Murdochian empire?

Surely this is one of the key reasons why Rome fell?

Let us delve into the way the honourable member works diligently for his constituents:

Forget it Tom. The war mongers are still on the warpath.

Now is there a tragic reference to "my prime monstership" embedded in the text, and a reminder of how the prime monster was a ready and willing war monger? 

Without a nano second's reflection on how, per Switzer, the original Iraq war did more to generate terrorism than anything the terrorists have managed to date?

Make it so ...

And so Abbott bids fair to become the Enoch Powell of the land down under ... a Murdochian warrior ... and if there was any justice, chairman Rupert would put him in the chair in place of Mitchell.

But now the pond has done its duty ... and if anyone comes across something amusing, rather than the abysmally pathetic contents of this post, feel free to send it along.

The pond needs a lift, like a nattering Niall or thinking about the planning for that stepping party for the reptile in chief. Oh what a gathering that will be. How many marble tables will be smashed that day, and the bill sent to the chairman?

Sad to say, too much time in the company of the effusions of the member for Warringah leaves a grotty taste in the mouth, like an over-chewed toe nail or a bit of tummy fluff ...

And so to a cartoon discovered on twitter, because it irritates the reptiles so ...


  1. I see that La Vitriole is determined to cement her reputation. Not content with mistaking a sewer vent for a war memorial, and confusing channel 7's identifier for viewer figures, she now accuses a Sikh of being a Muslim.

    IQ tests for 'journalists'? No that would see the closure of the Herpetarium, and where would we be for entertainment then?

  2. Indeed Joe. And who is funding them?




  3. From Sheridan's witter on 774 this am, there's a lightness of step among those who whisper to PMs various and past. Not a hint of the despair that sane people get on staring into the abyss. No, none of that. The strut is on, but the words haven't escaped the lips, yet. Who will go first? That whispering in the heart, desperate to come out in a blood-curdling shriek. It's "Go nucelar, GO NUKE! Yeeeee-harrrr!".
    That's the only answer to the question "How, then?" from Policeman Solverson.

  4. Alrighty, a bumpy starter for the new Reptilian columnist as the Foreign Minister puts him in his place. Not quite the start that he was looking for one assumes:


    Perhaps his next column won't need to be corrected by the grown ups.

  5. Hi Dorothy,

    “Don’t talk to me of God. We killed God at Magdeburg”
    The Captain - “The Last Valley”

    Invoking “the barbarians at the gates” shows just how far a once serious historian like Ferguson has fallen since accepting the big bucks from right wing think tanks like the Hoover Institution. If you are looking for a good analogy to the chaos, disruption,violence and religious intolerance that is convulsing Syria and much of the Middle East you don’t need to go as far back as 5th century Rome or indeed to invoke medieval attitudes - why not try The Thirty Year War (1618-1648).

    A fragmented collection of states that had once been part of a mighty empire (The Holy Roman Empire then, The unresolved remnants of the Ottoman Empire now). A population divided along religious lines (Protestants/Catholics then as opposed to Sunni/Shia now). Authoritarian rulers stamping down on civil and religious liberties (cuius religio, eius religio then, Assad’s Alawite minority control of government now). Superpowers being dragged into the building conflict (France and the Habsburgs then, Russia and the US now). A myriad of other players being inexorably drawn into the ever widening war, the Danes, the Swedes, Spain and the Dutch then, the coalition of the willing now, along with the Iranians and the Saudis). Devastation of entire regions and brutal atrocities committed by both sides. Massive loss of life and serious population dislocations.

    In the Thirty Year War the populations of the German States and the Czech lands were reduced by at least a third and in some territories the losses were as high as two-thirds. There was also an outbreak of witch hunts and thousands were burnt at the stake (so no novelty from ISIS then).

    The Sack of Magdeburg in 1630 was just one of the innumerable atrocities carried out during the Thirty Years War and is notable mainly for the sheer scale of the massacre. Of the 30,000 citizens who had risen up against the Holy Roman Emperor, only 5,000 survived that day when the Imperial soldiers ran amok. By the end of the war in 1648 only 450 people were still living in the city. That is surely a much better example of barbarism and an assault on civilisation than some hazy link to the fall of Rome but maybe the fact that the atrocity was carried out by christians against other christians makes it difficult to swallow.


  6. Hey - our host DP asked for something amusing.

    I recommend The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman. Said to be the funniest book in the English language, it is a masterpiece, and inspired Milligan, Monty Python and a few others. Check it out!

    1. Well a few references are due to consolidate my bona fides. The Mountain climbing leader of their expedition Binder) manages to get them all to Yogistan (despite the navigator being lost on a bus in London and having to find his way by the North Star), where they attempt to hire local porters.

      Unfortunately due to a mistranslation they find they have hired 30,000 instead of 30. Chaos is guaranteed.

      Then they all fall down a crevasse, drink their sole supply of champagne, and are rescued by the Geologist with his 'two-ton pneumatic geological hammer' which unfortunately causes a few earthquakes..

      It is a marvellous excursion into British satirical absurdism. And written in 1955.


  7. That beautiful LeLivere cartoon reminded me to ask; Did our Tones actually get to meet Charlie?

    He would've been cut to the quick if he didn't. I bet he at least asked if he could give him a knighthood before he was so cruelly taken down.


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