Friday, October 07, 2016

In which the pond resolutely refuses to break Godwin's law, no matter how much Tempe tips the wink ...

Acting on the Bolter's advice - how wise the Bolter is - that there was good reading at hand in the new edition of the Spectator - all praise the colonial invaders - the pond rushed off and copped Tempe Harvey getting published on the 8th October, no mean feat for the 7th day, but giving the pond the hope that soon enough it might learn the result of the Melbourne Cup the day before it happened. And wouldn't that make a great sci fi plot ...

It's been done? Oh never mind and anyhoo, Tempe, who bears the name of a certain flight path-stricken Sydney suburb, happens to be Queenslander and inter alia a spokesperson for that great organisation, The Australian Family Association, and her enthusiastic review of Ann Coulter and her love of Donald Trump deeply moved the pond ...

Tempe is a deep thinker, as you can discover here ...

The AFA campaign in question — aimed at repealing Queensland’s new civil union law — was all but ignored until a few weeks earlier when a journalist in the key seat of Ashgrove, contested by premier hopeful Campbell Newman, found an AFA flyer his letterbox. Marriage-like civil unions were recognised by Queensland’s parliament late last year and extend to same-sex couples. These unions lack all three protective elements of marriage. They do not guarantee both mother and father, require zero commitment and are not required to be monogamous.

Heterosexual marriages are required to be monogamous?

Did someone tell the Donald and Rudy and Newt? They're batting an average of three wives each for a total innings to date of nine.

Never mind, it seems Tempe has gone off the monogamy jag, and without being too deeply reflexive about it, the pond was moved to use the review of a reviewer reviewing a book, as celebrated by a review in the Graudian here ...

From the opening paragraph – in which Kakutani cites an eminent magazine editor in 1930 describing Hitler as a “half-insane rascal”, a “pathetic dunderhead”, a “nowhere fool” and a “big mouth” – one can start to guess the direction she’s looking in. 
But that is only the beginning. What happens next is, by the standards of the genteel world of book reviewing, a breach of protocol so wild it has been pinballing around social media ever since. Kakutani dispenses with a conventional review and instead, as if we have reached a point in history when fine sentences are a luxury we can no longer afford, strips Ullrich’s research down to nine, acutely angled bullet points.  
For example, “Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who ‘only loved himself’ – a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatisation and what Mr Ullrich calls a ‘characteristic fondness for superlatives’.” Or, “Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a ‘bottomless mendacity’.” Or, “Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in Mein Kampf that propaganda must appeal to the emotions – not the reasoning powers – of the crowd.” As the review proceeds, it becomes increasingly clear she has a current nominee for president in mind.

Oh indeed, indeed, and this might be a handy way to review Tempe's review:

Speaking of which:

The climax comes two-thirds of the way into the review, when Kakutani extracts from Ullrich’s book the fact that, because serious politicians in Germany considered Hitler a buffoon and a lightweight, dismissing him as “a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating ‘evening’s entertainment’”, they did not see the imminent danger. Had they taken him more seriously, she writes, in what is all the more powerful for remaining an inference, “his ascent might have been derailed”.

Now while the Graudian provides a link to Kakutani's review, it would be remiss of the pond not to link to it here.

Uh huh, can we have a few of those points now Ms Kakutani?

• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.” 
• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.” 
• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.

Thankfully Tempe is oblivious to all this:

Indeed, indeed. Well, the pond didn't make it through all the relevant points, but these will do ...

• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.” 
• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.” 
• Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”

Now all that's left is to thank Tempe Harvey for allowing the pond to do a review of a review without once breaching Godwin's Law and incurring heavy swear jar fines ...

God bless monogamous Queensland and Tiny Tim and one and all ... and so to Moir peddling a very good line in toads - you can catch Moir outside the Fairfax hall of fame tweeting away here ...

Oh come on Mr Moir, what did Toad deserve to have this infamy heaped upon him? Wasn't it enough he lost his hall, in much the same way as Malware lost his liberal leanings?


  1. WTF is Coulter wearing in that pic? Talk about tuck shop arms!

    1. Just some good ol' fadoobadahs, Anony. And what's wrong with them ?

  2. More terrifying still is the fact that the Germans enthusiastically followed Hitler until things started going pear shaped.

    Further, his initial success in jolting the German economy out of its doldrums helped pave the way for future abuses of power.

    The upshot for white/Christian supremacists like Coulter is the fabulous money to be made writing 'emergency' books.

  3. The suburb of Tempe was also home to the legendary Tempe Tip. If it was still there, the tip would be a perfect repository for the entire run of "The Australian Spectator" and the collected batshit-crazy works of Ann Coulter.

  4. Coulter the archetypal psychotic all American loon

    Meanwhile the toxic virus propagated by Coulter & similar right-wing loons and outfits such as Breitbart now has 100% support at the "leading" Australian journal of "conservative" thought - namely Quadrant.
    So much for the quality of "conservative" thought, politics and culture in Australia.
    Even more so that when it suits them they prattle on about and even put on seminars or gabfests re the importance and even the primacy of reason.
    Dame Slap, the Oreo, and Kevin Donnelly do the same, on a very regular basis.

  5. The Weekly Beast:

    ...and-reptiles-go-dark-on-chris-mitchell, but Malware is there to take a shine to 'em all.

  6. Hi Dorothy,

    The quality of Tempe's analysis and the professionalism of The Spectator can be summed up in one word;



    1. Wow, DW - thank you. Saw it but didn't know it was a thing.

    2. Yair, and Tempe looks like such a good old-fashioned (real) Dame Slap, too.

      But then, watching that food centered doco on teev about postponing aging, I found out that I've lost the ability to stand on one leg (well, actually, on one foot I guess). And I'm beginning to lose my ability to spell too ... but then I am just a wee bit older than Dame Harvey, I guess. Still don't reckon I could eat apple peel for breakfast, though.


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