Friday, January 08, 2016

Thanks Sabra, for that unusual, some might say most uniquely unusual, silly season report ... on the tragedy of irrelevance ...

It's a dull day down at the herpetarium, it's the end of the week, it's the holyday silly season, and so of course the pond was going to be drawn, in its fatigued state, to last night's 7.30 report ...

How could so much good stuff be packed into a short amount of time?

The subject was ostensibly the Churchill painting hanging on the wall of Abbott's office ...

Now Churchill wasn't much of a painter, and even the hagiographers at Churchill's eponymous site here had to let in a few carpers and complainers ...

A critical biographer, Robert Payne claimed that Churchill was not a very good painter or even a very remarkable one: 
He could never paint a portrait; when he placed people in his landscapes they had neither bones nor flesh; but he could paint flowers and landscapes with conviction .... He could dominate vast spaces; but little spaces disturbed and annoyed him. Humanity had little place in the painter's imagination.

He might have been better than Hitler, but that's not saying much.

Come to think of it, Churchill also wasn't much of a novelist - yes, at one time in life, the pond ploughed through Savrola, but the best thing that can be said about Churchill's literary career is the fun it provoked with an American novelist of the same name, which you can Greg Hunt here ...

Come to think of it, he also wasn't much of an historian - yes, the pond also ploughed through his history of the second world war, which was certainly epic in subject matter, but also epic in its self-serving self-regard. He also wasn't much of a military strategist - pace Gallipoli - and even his finest hour, the defeat of Hitler and associates, suffered from his flaws (pace It's Time to Debunk the Churchill Myth).

Now the pond's man on the spot is dimly aware there might be some issues:

The water, I think, is particularly good. I'm not sure that all of the perspective is right, but the water is magnificent …

Yes, when in doubt, praise the water.

Of course the pond - when wanting to rile the partner - peers at the daubing, and always praises the sky and the clouds ... why sweetie, the sky is magnificent ...

Indeed, a Freudian would have a fine old time with the rest of Mr Abbott's brief foray in front of the camera to talk about his art and to repent of his use of the word 'crap', because it seems he didn't just call climate science crap ...

Churchill himself regarded painting as one of the truly high arts, and he said that when he went to heaven he wanted to spend most of his first million years painting because then he would finally be able to get close to the bottom of it … 

 Actually Churchill is alleged to have said …

"When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject..."  (here)

It's a fine point, but a necessary one. "It" implies a desire to get to the bottom of "It" - life, love, pain, meaning, the whole damn thing, whereas Churchill just wanted to get to the bottom of the "subject". Which is why he would never be a van Gogh, never be within cooee of a real artist who'd spent a lifetime battling the oils ...

As for the rest, there were exceptionally penetrating questions, and remarkably incisive and insightful responses ...

Sabra Lane: It's nice that you've also got a sketch here of Sir Robert Menzies overlooking it, a nice companion piece. 
Tony Abbott: Yes, and we've got er both of John Howard's er books, his post-political books, on the bookcases here. Look, they're all good pieces and I guess er you learn something about someone by the art they chose to hang. I've got some nice indigenous works here …

Oh dear ... and then it turned truly surreal ...

Lane: …Do you often wonder whether you've got a hidden artistic talent? 

Abbott: Well, I first got on a surfboard in my forties…I suspect that Churchill became a much better painter than I ever will be a surfer … We all need things to do …ah, and particularly if you live a very busy and crowded life of the mind … ah, it's important to have distractions and for Churchill, painting was both a physical and a mental distraction … ah, it enabled him to pour something of his soul into something that wasn't just er the daily grind of politics … and at the same time he got outdoors …er … he was working with his hands …

Because that's what art's all about. Nice outdoors life, and a really good distraction.

Oh look, there's Ming the merciless on the wall, blessing the occasion, and there's the simpering Sabra ... land ook, it was a two camera shoot, because you can never get enough coverage of a masterclass in painting and y'artz ...

And so to more revelations ...

I think that I've mellowed a little … 
The Parliament House collection has got some very modern stuff, not all of which will stand the test of time, but it's also got some beautiful paintings … it's a nice representative mixture of the best of Australian art … 
Lane: ...Do you wish that you'd never said that it was like avant-garde crap? 
Abbott: That was a throwaway line and like all throwaway lines, it probably should be thrown away …(cue maniacal laugh) hahahaha 

Cue penetrating question about Churchill making a comeback after Gallipoli and the black dog and turning into one of the world's greatest leaders. Do you find that inspiring? :

Abbott: Well I certainly don't see Churchill as some kind of a patent for my own life er, but nevertheless I think all democratic politicians find much of interest and comfort in the life of Churchill …Churchill never really quit, he was still a member of parliament when he served as a colonel in charge of a battalion on the western front … but Churchill was a product of a different time when it was possible to be a frontline politician and at the same time have quite significant outside work … so he was an extraordinary man .. they say that um you know none of us are that special but Churchill really was, I mean Churchill was um the Michelangelo of politics, the Leonardo da Vinci of statesmanship, I mean, he was an extraordinary individual …

Talk about a field day for Freudians.

Well the pond isn't in to spoilers, so there's one last question to be answered if you attend the 7.30 report here, but spoiler alert, it's of the same unremitting banality as all that went before ...

Which brings the pond to the question, the deep, mysterious, question. Why?

Oh sure, it's the silly season, oh sure the ABC has nothing better to do, and at the end of the show there's often a segment which the pond and partner gawking at the TV have come to dub the "star fucker" interview, where the host stammers and blushes through an interview which is fawning and simpering and fills in the airtime and gives the star a little moment in the sun.

But that's usually to sell tickets to the Enmore or the Opera House or some other useful bit of business. Not to have a twit recant on talk of crap and blather about Churchill and show he really doesn't have the first clue about the y'artz ...

Of course others have mocked relevance deprivation syndrome, as currently being experienced by Abbott, but this little outing struck the pond as nothing short of mental cruelty of the most fiendish kind, up there with the persecution and assassination of Tony Abbott's remaining shreds of dignity, as performed by Abbott and the inmates of the asylum of the ABC's 7.30, under the direction of the Marquis de Sabra ...

Moving along, the pond was also greatly pleased to see that it finally dawned on everyone that dear old "kill the hounds, the hounds must die" Barners is soon going to be just a heartbeat away from the presidency, and able to launch the missiles at New Zealand while Malware's taking a break ...

No, this wasn't just the Fairfaxians. Even the Currish Snail was in on the game ...


Well the pond doesn't do spoilers, but it couldn't resist taking a peek at how things were going for Barners in the vote ...

Not bad, not bad ... almost 37% of deluded optimists in the land, and that with the Currish Snail featuring a clip of Barners talking about how, given half a chance, he would ban abortion and women's right to choose, while blathering and evading the question as much as he could on an old Q and A.

For those who care, it will be remembered that Barners is a "climate science is crap" man from way back, and as well as a consorter with Gina he's long enthused about the joys of that colourless, odourless gas ...

Of course the pond blames it all on Tamworth. What a heart break town it is ... but there's an upside.

For too long, the world has been deprived of top quality loonacy at the highest levels. With Abbott reduced to talking about Churchill and dreams of glory and daubs of oil, things have gone badly awry. With Barners in the chair, we might well get some decent 'kill the hounds' and 'climate science is crap' leadership ...

Then we can get back to the glory days at the herpetarium ... 

Finally, the pond would like to note these two Graudian stories ...

We only provide this link, because it's free and it irritates the reptiles so ... just as the hard copy New Yorker popped into the post box late from its Xmas travels, and reminded the pond that we'd linked to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Siege of Miami before. We sat down and read it again, and what a read it is ... and lordy, lordy, it's still outside the paywall, which probably also irritates the reptiles so ...

And so to cartoons by the immortal Pope, who happens to have a rough plan, and the infallible Rowe,  who knows it's hard to be a woman, and more Pope here and more Rowe here ...

And so to a special holiday season bonus. 

As people loll on the beaches and soak up the sun, they might enjoy this example of the very best of the pond ... a

It came from a long ago time, an era, the glory days, when Tony was very relevant and strident and Barners was doing his very best, and screaming Lord Monckton bestrode the world of science like a colossus, dazzling the minds of sundry reptiles ...

You're welcome.

Have a good holyday, and come on back, ya hear ...


  1. 37%? Isn't that the same number that reckon Trump would make a fine POTUS?

  2. 7.30 synchronicity struck perfectly at no.15. Wife reclining on sofa in lounge,self at kitchen table......WTWFTF!!!!
    I'm off to get a t-shirt printed."I'm so over reality"
    How on fire are Pope and Rowe? Just brilliant.

    1. On the bonus side for Abbott, he (apparently) held back from a sly wink for Sabra. On the plus side for (new) ABC management, that piece must count for a hefty "balance" to the (usual) lefty-liberal-leaning bias. And, on that, I am looking forward to many more compliant nods to our overlords on "Australian Story". I mean, where's the annual update on the frolics of the Packer mob?

  3. I wonder what Janet ended up telling her "teenage daughters". And I wonder what questions those (possibly no longer) teenage daughters ask these days as they dutifully listen to 2GB.

  4. Brilliant as expected, but you pose an interesting conundrum.

    Abbott should never have been allowed into public office, much less molly-coddled into the prime ministership. It has disgraced the whole political system we have, and everybody associated with it. The sooner he disappears from public life, the better chance we have of restoring trust.

    On the other hand, as you have superbly shown, his idiocy is a seemingly unlimited fountain of comedy. Abbott on art? Brandis has already provided hilarity for the Twitter crowd interpreting him on art. Abbott is funnier, just he is really a much bigger arsehat than that pretender Dutton ever dreamed of. So do we keep him around just for the laughs? On balance, I think we're better served without his views.

    It was a lovely bit of nostalgia, rerunning Dame Slap on Climate Change. By a coincidence another old piece of hers had got a run on Twitter. It was in the heat of the sexism nest of hornets that Briggs and Dutton had worked up. Someone unkindly cited a piece of hers on Gillard: how she could not know anything on raising children and therefore was unfit to run the whole nation.

    It occurred to me that she could make a bit of comedy money rerunning her greatest hits, maybe entitled The Dame's Greatest Slaps .

    1. What? "Someone unkindly cited a piece of hers on Gillard: how she could not know anything on raising children [at 7:10] and therefore was unfit to run the whole nation." Never!

  5. Because that's what art's all about. Nice outdoors life, and a really good distraction.


  6. [Churchill] "...he also wasn't much of an historian "

    And useless as a politician and an arsehole of a human being too. All round (and he was), just an incomparable advertisement for the English noble classes

  7. [Him again] "...spend a considerable portion of my first million years "

    Now being a fine RomCath yourself, DP, you'd know the story about "how long is eternity". Well, says the priest, imagine a solid granite ball the size of the sun, and imagine that every million years a small bird flutters by and just very gently brushes the ball with the tip of its wing. Then, when the birds have finally worn that ball down to dust, the first moment of eternity will have passed.

    Even so, not nearly enough time for Winnie to get to the bottom of "it".

  8. Dot, you'll love this - today at Town Hall Station I saw copies of the Australian being given away to passengers.

    If that's official distro process then it's nearly over!

  9. I'm loving your top left loon pictures Dot.

    Today's one of Moorice is especially good.

    A happy and productive New Year to you.

  10. Eternity is posited as out of time; no end, no beginning. Er, no bottom. Indeed, it is easier for a fat man to pass his lard-arse through the eye of a needle than it is for him to paint it.

    Isn't Abbott into the current fad for colouring-in books? Oh, I see, he's no prosecco quaffing hipster.

    How about painting by numbers then, or does his continued running with the reptiles crunching show he's no good at numbers either?

    Outdoorsy Abbott, so art less. Sabra, no Artemis inside.

    1. Coloring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity Book Paperback - paperback, amazon
      13 Ways You Can Make Coloring Books A Part Of Your Adult Life (NSFW)
      Coloring for Grown-Ups: The Adult Activity Book - website

      I think that I've mellowed a little … Oh, get out, no way man!

      What is a hipster?

      Y'artz spruiking scenester Abbott is sliding away onto a slippery slope; same slippery slope ...

      The hipster effect: When anticonformists all look the same
      Hipsters avoid labels and being labeled. However, they all dress the same and act the same and conform in their nonconformity. Doesn't the fact that there is a hip-ster look go against all hipster beliefs? This perspicacious observation of the blogger Julia Plevin [1] in 2008 proves true along the years, and 2014 hipsters all look alike, although their look progressively evolves. The hipster effect is this nonconcerted emergent collective phenomenon of looking alike trying to look different. Uncovering the structures behind this apparent paradox goes beyond finding the best suit to wear this winter. They can have implications in deciphering collective phenomena in economics and finance, where individuals may find an interest in taking positions in opposition to the majority (for instance, selling stocks when others want to buy, [lauding Churchillian painting ye waters]).

      Hipster Olympics

  11. That Abbott puff-piece last night needed some background music. This came instantly to mind:

    1. Love. My pick for the buzzfeed 2015 LNP retrospective: Yakety Sax (aka Benny Hill theme)...

  12. On the wildly optimistic assumption that you can't have too much of a good thins, I give you the Bonzo Dogs Intro and Outro.


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