Tuesday, July 19, 2016

In which the pond marvels at Tony Schwartz, Graham Lloyd and the Caterists ...

(Above: and since it's pay attention to The New Yorker day at the pond, more cartoons here).

At last some good news, and an agile and innovative future for the walri of Antarctica is now assured ...

Meanwhile, perhaps the most scarifying and mortifying read the pond has come across in recent times is delivered by Jane Mayer, in The New Yorker, with Donald Trump's Ghostwriter tells all.

Luckily it's outside the paywall at the moment, and though lengthy, it's a simple enough story - of a man, one Tony Schwartz, who successfully polished a turd, made a small and useful fortune, regretted what he'd done and had to live with the results thereafter, including Spy calling him the "former journalist Tony Schwartz."

There are many moments, lies, evasions, and distortions on view, including this one:

When Schwartz began writing “The Art of the Deal,” he realized that he needed to put an acceptable face on Trump’s loose relationship with the truth. So he concocted an artful euphemism. Writing in Trump’s voice, he explained to the reader, “I play to people’s fantasies. . . . People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and it’s a very effective form of promotion.” Schwartz now disavows the passage. “Deceit,” he told me, is never “innocent.” He added, “ ‘Truthful hyperbole’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s a way of saying, ‘It’s a lie, but who cares?’ ” Trump, he said, loved the phrase.

As part of his mortifying, lacerating regret at fellow-travelling and facilitating a fraud, Schwartz has his regrets:

Schwartz told me that he has decided to pledge all royalties from sales of “The Art of the Deal” in 2016 to pointedly chosen charities: the National Immigration Law Center, Human Rights Watch, the Center for the Victims of Torture, the National Immigration Forum, and the Tahirih Justice Center. He doesn’t feel that the gesture absolves him. “I’ll carry this until the end of my life,” he said. “There’s no righting it. But I like the idea that, the more copies that ‘The Art of the Deal’ sells, the more money I can donate to the people whose rights Trump seeks to abridge.”

It was shortly after reading this that the pond sat down to watch do yet another takedown of the mortifying, scarifying, fellow-travelling, dissembling and distorting Graham Lloyd, and his work for the lizard Oz, on view in Muddying the waters on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lloyd's particular skill is to discover a scientific debate where none exists, and to use dubious sources to sustain the non-existent debate. It's turd polishing of the Tony Schwartz kind, and Lloyd regularly does it for the reptiles - he even has a tag of shame here.

It's not as if there isn't an alternative reality ...

What interested the pond wasn't so much the distortions and misrepresentations as the state of mind of Lloyd, when he wakes up of a morning and looks at himself in the mirror.

Will he ever do a Schwartz, will he ever look at himself and wonder how he imagined that what he does is a form of journalism?

Will he ever marvel at the "former journalist Graham Lloyd"?

Probably not. Most time servers, hacks, lickspittles, quislings and fellow travellers do what they can to carve out a living, and make adjustments and live with their choices. The pond has been there too ...

Some, such as the immortal Dame Slap, are simply barking mad and live on Planet Janet. They're more Trump than Schwartz, out of touch with reality, but gripped by a passionate, narcissistic self-regard which gives them a wondrous certitude.

Others have a foot in both camps. Consider the Caterists:

They might be delusional, they might have a passionate self-regard and a wondrous certitude, but at the same time, the Caterist is a foot soldier, a paid hack, who gets up each day and avoids the mirror of self-doubt, self-reflection or insight, and instead trots out the usual forms of abuse, incantations as reliable through repetition as the Lord's prayer or a rosary bead count for a mindless set of Hail Marys ...

The indicators fleck through the scribbling like iron pyrites through quartz ...

Right there, in the opening par, "resident tree hugger", what room does that leave, except to respond by calling the wretch a lickspittle, fellow-travelling, sell-out quisling?

And then there's the usual mantra that somehow all this is just about political correctness and the pieties of the day, as if the casuistic pedant as above such niceties. 

Instead the savant resorts to subtle words like "dogma" as a subterfuge to avoid the word "science," and so we revert to the world of religion and faith, rather than an actual map of the reef or any of the other observable facts that have provoked some interest amongst scientists.

This way you can easily avoid ending up with a line such as "The world being fucked by climate change, the world being an indispensable input in any business, this could determine whether the country tanks or prospers."

Oh heck, the pond badly needs another cartoon ...

There, that's better, time to sprint through the next gobbet ...

Well yes, there it is, clear enough in that last line. Someone has to spend the taxpayer grant fudging and dissembling for the reptiles, so it might as well be the Caterist lining his pocket.

There's also the usual cheap sarcasm, the obligatory reference to Gore - as if nothing else observable has transpired in the past decade in relation to climate science - and talk of illiberal and sainted experts, as if a hack spending the taxpayer dollar was suddenly in a sanctified position which permitted such disdain of others.

Does the Caterist ever look in the mirror and wonder at the Trump-like shame involved in suggesting that the fate of heavy industry and electricity prices in South Australia or the state of the labour market are all due to climate science and a centrally planned socialist economy up there with good old five year plans?

Does the Caterist have any interest in climate science, and what might be the outcome in the real world if we keep on plodding down the coal-based Caterist future?

Probably not. Sometimes it doesn't pay to look in the mirror, sometimes it's best just to pocket the taxpayer grant and enjoy the feel of taxpayer cash heating the paw against the winter chill ...

And so job done, both the Caterist and the pond can relax ...


  1. They'll probably die a horrible, painful death, won't they?

  2. We have:

    "Some, such as the immortal Dame Slap, are simply barking mad and live on Planet Janet. They're more Trump than Schwartz, out of touch with reality, but gripped by a passionate, narcissistic self-regard which gives them a wondrous certitude."


    "...what room does that leave, except to respond by calling the wretch a lickspittle, fellow-travelling, sell-out quisling?"

    Just delicious, DP. You're in truly fine form this morning. And there's quite a few that are fellow inhabitants of Planet Janet, I reckon (Kevin, Julia, Tony, Malcolm, Andrews of various hues, Cory . . . )

  3. Hi Dorothy,

    "Resident tree hugger", "slavish obedience to the "experts"", "fantasy green-tech future", "technocratic pixies who created this mess".

    All strong arguments from Cater, it's just a shame that none of them are based on facts or reality.


    And of course no mention from Cater that Australian consumers are being price gouged by a cartel.



    1. Touche' DW. Good links,nicely showing what Dorothy so eloquently stated. That Cater is a lazy,deceptive and parasitic little tick. Certainly proves the adage that some pricks would sell their own mother...and their fellow citizens down the river for a buck.I doubt he would even have a mirror in his nest,lest he actually had to look at his own dial which is quite close to that of a man crossed with a rat.Then again that is probably just the consequence of living like one, and hanging out with all those other rats in the bunker.
      Interestingly,quite a bit of chatter re.price gouging in the gas industry on the radio this very morning.Cheers.

  4. Can't wait for the word manglers to get to work on the life and times of the supreme arsehole Roger Ailes.

    1. Take it away Warren:

    2. The lesser Murdochs are looking for an excuse to get rid of Ailes, I think. They might have found it.

  5. Right now, DP, I am imagining Tony Abbott with a huge, bushy, Ned Kelly beard and shaved head. The nation is crying out for a true Leader, one with heaps of charisma.

  6. "The pond has been there too..."
    I think applies to many of us, but not everybody is doing such fine work in atoning for past sins with a must-read blog-confessional :-)
    Yours with appreciation,
    Jim in Adelaide (western suburbs if you don't mind)

    1. Thanks Jim, and the pond has always been a big admirer of Mile End and Thebbie town hall.


  7. "The pond has been there too..."
    I think applies to many of us, but not everybody is doing such fine work in atoning for past sins with a must-read blog-confessional :-)
    Yours with appreciation,
    Jim in Adelaide (western suburbs if you don't mind)

  8. "lazy, deceptive, tick"...well, probably all true, but the Boy from Billericay suffers from a much more fundamental deficit, shared by most on the "right" side of the political spectrum - he is a cynic, in the Oscar Wilde sense: he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    South Australian electricity prices (which I read recently have been surpassed by those in coal-fired New South Wales) bear no relation to South Australian electricity costs, because they do not (by definition) include externalities, the hidden costs of an activity borne by people other than the provider. Anything from elevated cancer deaths downwind of power plants, to higher water costs due to competition for supply, to government subsidies, to the manifold effects of climate change. These increase the cost of coal-fired electricity several-fold (the usual estimates are 3 to 6 times), but not the price. Renewables have some externalities as well, but very much smaller.

    While the kind people of Malawi, Bolivia and Kiribati will pick up the tab for some of our climate change costs, others are local (cancer, water for example) and South Australia will indirectly save some money from shutting down coal plants. Whether this offsets higher electricity prices is beyond my poor powers to say.

    Two other quick observations:
    Market reports suggest the primary driver for rising prices in SA is oversupply. People are using less electricity, suppliers have a matrix which includes fixed costs, so they jack up the prices to compensate. In Caternomics, the solution is obvious - if crow-eaters want cheaper electricity, they should leave their lights on all night.

    The other thing - less directly relevant, but something I saw on a Guardian discussion thread today: a lot of people talk about how China's emissions are going up, so what we do doesn't matter (much). The thing that always seems to be forgotten is that China is increasing its power supply partly so it can continue to supply ever greater quantities of consumer goods to the West. If emissions from China result from the manufacture of a TV that is sold in Australia, then WE are responsible for those emissions. Europe has virtuously hit all its climate change targets by simply not making as much stuff. They consume more (we all do), but claim no responsibility for the emissions from the manufacture of that stuff. A proper carbon-pricing system would track emissions to the point of consumption, not the point of emission (granted, that is many times more difficult to do accurately). I'm sure the Cater would disagree, but lets face it he's a lazy, deceptive tick so who cares?

    1. Maybe add a little Talleyrand to the Oscar, FD: "he has forgotten nothing and learned nothing" (or thereabouts).


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