Sunday, February 07, 2016

Can-can-cancelled, and the grievances surge to the surface like a pulsating alien emerging from the belly ... if you can handle that image ...

Perhaps it was watching the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra over the weekend that made the pond think so fondly of this Rowe cartoon (and more properly formatted Rowe here).

Yes, the streaming was working for once, and the Berlin Philharmoniker app was giving the Venezuelans away for free, and they were pounding away at Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and being an agile multi-tasker, at the very same time, the pond was reading Gary Wills saying everything the pond has only thought, in his review of E. J. Dionne Jr’s Why the Right Went Wrong, under the header The Triumph of the Hard Right, currently in The New York Review of Books, and outside the paywall for the moment.

Quick, rush to read it here, while the pond prepares a few quotes, because Wills' thesis is easy enough to grasp: 

The sense of betrayal by one’s own is a continuing theme in the Republican Party (a Fox News poll in September 2015 found that 62 percent of Republicans feel “betrayed” by their own party’s officeholders). The charges against Eisenhower were repeated against Nixon, who brought Kissingerian “détente” into his dealing with Russia and renewed diplomatic ties to China. On the domestic front, he imposed wage and price controls and sponsored the welfare schemes of Daniel Patrick Moynihan...

Well yes, indeed, and even as The Insiders returned to the ABC, and the Bolter was nowhere to be found, one could sense that the rage machine would be cranked up to 11, and not just with a sense of betrayal by one's own (where is that renewal letter?), but also by the perfidious others who had caused the ratings calamity.

Betrayal everywhere, and the suffering is immense. Cue more Wills:

To be on the right is to feel perpetually betrayed. At a time when the right has commanding control of radio and television talk shows, it still feels persecuted by the “mainstream media.” With all the power of the one percent in control of the nation’s wealth, the right feels its influence is being undermined by the academy, where liberals lurk to brainwash conservative parents’ children (the lament of Buckley’s very first book, God and Man at Yale). Dionne shows how the right punishes its own for “selling out” to any moderate departures from its agenda once a person gets into office. 

Well, yes, and so to the great agitation and the much unhappiness stalking the land.

What is it with the Bolter?

He purports to be an agnostic, but here he is falling over himself about Pell.

As for the image that got him so agitated, he links to Quadrant, here.... which purports to provide a link to the story. Except on the pond's browser, no link below appears.

So the pond had to do an image search, and landed here, which explains that the image in question is signage featuring Pell, placed outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The same sign also turns up here, and is actually credited again to Joel Carrett of AAP, and again with the note "Protest signage featuring Cardinal George Pell outside the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse."

Now let's overlook the phrasing of the sentence - is it the protest signage or the Cardinal who's outside the Royal Commission? - to marvel at the way that the Bolter is suggesting that this sort of coverage of protests etc, should not take place.

Remember that the next time you read one of the ranters ranting about 18C.

Why is it so funny?

Well the post just below that one was this one ... and it's all about free speech, which presumably doesn't include AAP images ...

Oh it's just too piquant. Simply too piquant muh dear ...

A rant about an image, following hard on the heels of a rant about authoritarian sanctimony, prying hypocrisy, preening victimhood, stifled debate, a plethora of examples of the new wowserism, and so on and so forth ... with brave flourishes of the "intolerados" kind, and a celebration of the right of footballers to piss on couches and pollies to go the grope ... and a plug for a comrade's ramblings, out now. Because grievers always get together to unite in their grievances, or so Wills suggests.

Wills naturally provides American examples - with the current bizarre GOP exercise going down, what else could he do? - but these are easily translatable to the Australian experience ...

Joe Scarborough claims that the Republicans have continually oscillated between moderates and extremists. But he could find only two stellar moderates in the last half-century, Eisenhower and Reagan. Some oscillation! Dionne comes closer to the facts with his tale of a ground bass of growls against moderation, swelling at times or diminishing, but continuously present and becoming more embittered. It is appropriate that this feeling has been in alliance with the Confederate South, the loser of a war it still thinks it should have won. The rest of the Republicans may not be as racist as the South, but they cannot prevail at the federal level without it. 

Indeed, indeed. And if one thinks of all the phobias that agitate the Bolter and Rowan Dean, it's easy to see how the right to be a bigot remains dear to their collective psyche ...

All grievances gravitate toward one another. Some conservatives rightly say that Bill Buckley was their best advocate—he elevated their vocabulary and taste, and he shuddered away from vulgarians like Robert Welch and Willis Carto. But he knew there could not be a conservative party if the South were not included in it. In 1957 he published an editorial titled “Why the South Must Prevail.” It said: The central question that emerges…is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. 

And there we have it. A constant moaning and a litany of grievances, and when a stray image turns up,  then the grievances gravitate toward one another in what seems to be a universal, perhaps even cosmic, fundamentalist way.

And where do we end up?

The truth is that conservatives are right to feel that their own moderates are sell-outs. To be (even moderately) a moderate is to leave the Republican Party—to be what Buckley called an immoral Middle-of-the-Roader. 
To accept Enlightenment values—reason, facts, science, open-mindedness, tolerance, secularity, modernity—is to lower one’s guard against evils like evolution, concern about global warming, human equality across racial and sexual and religious lines—things Republicans have opposed for years and will not let their own members sell out to. They rightly intuit that there is only one Enlightenment party in America, and the Republicans are not it. That is why they have to oppose in every underhanded way they can the influence of younger people who are open to gays, to same-sex marriage, to feminism. it is risky for Republicans even to toy with talk of moderation. That is why even “mainstream” Republican candidates steer away from support for evolution, or measures against global warming, or taxes on the rich, or same-sex marriage. None wants to be guilty of compromise or looking soft. The right hated George H.W. Bush’s plea for a “kinder and gentler” party kindling “a thousand points of light.” They had no more kind or gentle feeling about George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” and his promise to “leave no child behind...” 

How weird does it get?

Well preceding that rant about freedom of speech, which preceded the rant about the image, came another rant ... about freedom of speech ...

Even Christ would be muzzled ... and so on and so forth (there's a lot more in the rant, but the pond thought that it had swallowed enough of freedom boi for the moment).

And so apparently would the ABC - be muzzled that is - at least if the Bolter had his way ...

Well the pond invited people to remember what might be the situation the next time 18C was mentioned, and it's clear enough.

No AAP images, thank you very much ... anything that offends the Pellists is defamatory, but feel free to invite a footballer to piss on your couch. Treat it as a whimsy, a moment of playful fun, that will allow you to spiritually bond with Sydney-siders. Any other reaction, like demanding money for the dry cleaning bill, will see you labelled a fun-killing wowser ...

As for the Bolter? Well the grieving and the grievances will go on and so will the noise ... and this cartoon remains as true as the day it was penned ...

Oh indeed, and perhaps for once he has been ... the pond did so love this gif here ...


  1. Hi Dorothy,

    We live in an increasingly technical world and our politicians are technically illiterate.


    1. PRC technocracy?

    2. What's next? Either way it's bang!

      Patagonia is looking good.

  2. That's pretty sneaky, DP, publishing a post at quarter-past-10 on a Sunday night when all the honest citizens are fast asleep preparing for another working week.

    But DW was with it !

    Of course, as I'm sure DW knows, pollies have always been way less than merely "scientifically illiterate", they are just 'science denialists' of which climate denialism is just a sample.

    But what is fascinating is the way that the GOPish UK - along with Poland and Hungary - is rushing to adopt the time-tested democracy-denial of Russia. And the way that those "Britons never never never will be slaves" folks are joyfully rushing to accept destruction of basic freedoms.


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