Saturday, March 03, 2018

In which Polonius and sex rears its ugly head ...


Dammit, reptiles, dammit, the pond will have its Polonius served on a Saturday, perhaps with a slice of toast garnished with sardines, if you please …

Let's not have the old varmint sneak in mid-week …

Propriety, a proper seemly schedule and rolled gold standards must be observed, it's the conservative way, even when Polonius has good news … for it seems politicians don't have sex, and certainly not with their staff, at least if ancient times are any guide ...


A cup of tea?


Of course in the pond's time a cup of tea in bed was deemed the most erotic and sensual treat imaginable (the pond's family had a limited imagination), at least until, in a referential way, post-modernism came along and ruined everything for Giles and the pond ...


Well there's more on the sex lives of politicians past, here, thanks to Sally Young, with this salty closer reminding us all that speculation can be fun … at least before Polonius strides into the room, and there's a solemn hush ...

In Australia, there are historical, cultural and legal dimensions to media reporting that have meant private matters have been exposed only if they involve public issues. Is this coyness a good thing for democracy? Defenders regard it as journalists being high-minded – and broad-minded – respecting privacy rather than being puritanical or salacious. Every case is different, but sometimes the coyness seems to be a form of censorship, a sign of a media that is too close to its subjects, and too much of a boys' club with a "footy trip" approach. 
For people outside the Canberra bubble, it means some stories only make sense in retrospect. Readers might be given hints or suggestions, which they must interpret by joining up the dots and reading between the lines.

Say no more, the pond knows what a cup of tea in bed means ...

As for Gotto, the pond didn't read between the lines, it read Tony Wright here

The eminent research professor and biographer from Monash University, Jenny Hocking, later wrote a splendid biography of Gough Whitlam, in which she revealed that those looking for scandal between Gorton and Gotto were "looking in the wrong place". Ms Gotto, she wrote, was living with none other than Race Mathews, who was then principal private secretary to Gorton’s great political rival, Gough Whitlam. 
Mathews was later a leading Labor politician himself, and as minister for both police and the arts in the Cain government, earned the unfair sobriquet of “Minister for Pigs and Prigs”. He was far from priggish. 
Mathews told Hocking he and Ms Gotto were in love, and at one point considered marriage. Whitlam - who like Gorton, knew all about the cross-party love affair and, like Gorton, decided it was none of his business, both of them being former RAAF chaps who understood these things - had one piece of advice for Mathews. 
“You’ve got to be careful about your pillow talk,” said the great Gough.

This is surely wrong, as the pond understands from informed sources that there is absolutely no sex in Canberra, and that the town is as dry as Camberwell and Nunawading …

The liquor industry actively lobbied for amendments to a proposed licensing Bill introduced in 1906 and won some concessions, including the postponement of the local option provisions until 1917 (later delayed to 1920, when Camberwell and Nunawading were the only districts that voted to close all their hotels and became 'dry' areas) (here)

Yes, we're all Victorians here, in mind and body, in matters of the flesh and the demon drink.

Never mind Jim and Junie and their scoring cash, or all the other skeletons that have recently come out of the closet for a final jiggy jig and a ghostly flourish of the flesh.

As the pond noted awhile ago,  even the hallowed John Curtin wasn't above going the grope … (though it needs clicking on for a read) …



Of course Polonius had another agenda with all this saucy talk … the fear that the immortal Ming the Merciless might be deemed to have had sex with someone not his wife.

Quite rightly, Polonius pleads for Ming's innocence on several grounds:

(a) Ming was entirely sexless;
(b) Ming thought sex was only for procreation and preferred making home movies;
(c) Ming entirely lacked the imagination;
(d) Ming had trouble finding partners who favoured the Warden of the Cinque Port position.

There are probably other reasons, but Polonius flings his leg across all of them ...



What makes this piquant?

Well it's the way that Polonius harbours old grudges and keeps rabbiting on, in much the same way that he's obsessed by pedophiles in the ABC in the 1970s, but manages to remain aloof and unsullied by the behaviour of the Catholic church … (of course things happened, but … billy goat … butt).

It's easy enough to see why Polonius holds a grudge. MacCallum didn't hold back in Crikey back in 2006 (paywall protected).

It is always a pleasure to be insulted by Gerard Henderson, a hired gun whose sponsors at his family business The Sydney Institute are too ashamed to reveal their identities. 

Ouch, speaking of matters sexual, that's a below the belt opener:

Given Henderson’s obsessive propensity for trawling the media for any scrap which can be used to discredit anyone who dares dissent from the views of the dominating Howard-hugging commentariat (in which he is a self-appointed high priest) it is surprising he missed the earlier references I have made to the Menzies-Elizabeth Fairfax affair. 
Of course the one that appeared in The Age in 2002 was before Henderson was sacked from that paper, which may have been a factor in his blindness. The affair was beyond gossip in Canberra in late sixties, when I joined the press gallery; it was simply accepted as part of history and as the only sensible explanation for the fact that Sir Warwick turned against Menzies, albeit briefly, when he discovered it. The story was told by politicians, staffers, journalists (notably Ian Fitchett and Alan Reid, the gallery’s doyens) and commonwealth car drivers. 
I never heard it denied or even questioned by any of the above. I had always assumed that it did not appear in the official histories (especially Martin’s biography, written with Menzies’s co-operation) through a desire not to cause offence.
Henderson’s version does not convince me otherwise. And to suggest that friendships did not sometimes end up in bed in the 1930s, as at any other time… Gerard, you really should widen both your acquaintanceship and your reading. 
And if you really want a bit of salacious gossip, try investigating the one about Bob Hawke and the media mogul’s wife. I’m sure you’ll find that more to your political taste.

Inevitably Polonius was invited to respond, and inevitably Polonius did …and Polonius, being a bit of a prattler, he went on a bit …


The pond is with Polonius on this one.

The idea of imagining Ming the Merciless actually having sex - like imagining one's parents - is simply unimaginable and beyond the pale.

Sure there might be some evidence of it - offspring and whatever - but the imagination shouldn't go there. It should be left in the eastern suburbs, where they might talk of Polonius having sex, while the pond much prefers to imagine it as unimaginable …

As for the affair itself, the pond will leave the final word with Rob Chalmers, whose memoirs the ANU has kindly made available here, where it might be easier to read his full chapter on Ming the Merciless and subsequent … but which for the keen-eyed, included this …



So it was written, and so it is done.

Henceforth let it be decreed that no politicians have had sex, and certainly not while away from home in Canberra, and resolutely don't indulge in extramarital affairs, and certainly never do it amongst themselves, in a fornicating or adulterous way, and as for staff, doing it with pollies or peers, heaven forfend … let the earth move with Gough, and the sky collapse with Gareth before Polonius and the pond are forced to imagine such things …

Let all this be confined to movie stars going about their usual business like rats up a drainpipe …

Of course there will always be a few minor exceptions to these rules, but usually in other pagan countries …


By golly, as the trade wars heat up, but can be easily won, the pond can never stop at just one Donald cartoon …




12 comments:

  1. Polonius re Richard Acland: now either Polonius has no sense of humour, or I don't, or we both don't. And I know which possibility I favour.

    Prattles repeats Ackland's account about "old-timers" who swear they saw Fadden "running naked through Kings Hall in Old Parliament House" apparently in pursuit of "a couple of sylphs". And further that somebody's mother once heard her father exclaim about seeing Fadden leaving a brothel.

    Now one thing I am irrevocably convinced of is that Ackland has a sense of humour - an old lawyer's sensayuma it's true, but a sensayuma nonetheless. However Prattling Polonius has absolutely no sense of humour at all; absolutely none.

    I'm sure there's an implication, or maybe an insinuation, to be drawn there. Though definitely not an inference, oh no, never one of them.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It would require a complete and absolute lack of a sense of humour to argue that Polonius has a sense of humour … or maybe it would require the most perfect and absolute sense of humour

      Delete
  2. Ah, Polonius - still checking 50 year-old sheets for suspicious stains (or lack thereof).........

    Look, Hendo, I don't know if you're able to wrap your obsessed mind around this concept but, assuming that all the activity was consensual, at this point in time -
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Menzies fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Chifley fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Fadden fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Gorton fucked;
    - and so on and so on.

    With the possible exception of your own good self, of course. I'm really not all that sure why you're so concerned about these claims, allegations and alleged legends. Shouldn't the main concern in assessing the activities of these figures be their actual achievements - or lack thereof - in Australian public life?

    BTW, given that you criticise others for accepting gossip and heresay - what's the actual basis for your quite definitive statements?




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  3. Ah, Polonius - still checking 50 year-old sheets for suspicious stains (or lack thereof).........

    Look, Hendo, I don't know if you're able to wrap your obsessed mind around this concept but, assuming that all the activity was consensual, at this point in time -
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Menzies fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Chifley fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Fadden fucked;
    - Nobody gives a fuck who Gorton fucked;
    - and so on and so on.

    With the possible exception of your own good self, of course. I'm really not all that sure why you're so concerned about these claims, allegations and alleged legends. Shouldn't the main concern in assessing the activities of these figures be their actual achievements - or lack thereof - in Australian public life?

    BTW, given that you criticise others for accepting gossip and heresay - what's the actual basis for your quite definitive statements?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Apologies for the double-post; like Polonius, I must have automatically doubled down!

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    1. The truth can stand many repetitions, Anony.

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  5. I was living in blighty when Spitting Image got hammered for showing Thatcher and Reagan rooting at 10 Downing Street. Then came the John Major/Edwina Currie revelations.

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    1. :)³ Glorious times and in its day a fun show ...

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  6. I had a story which I'd intended to post under one of Nattering Ned's rants but I was too late with the two-day deadline. So I thought I'd try again just under the comments of Prattling Polonius, who serves just as well for the purpose.

    When passing through Merino (or was it the nearly adjoining town of Digby? I get them interchangeably in my memory) in Western Victoria I came across a signpost in a park area directing me to "Town Bore 1km". My vivid imagination had pictured a park bench where sat an old codger with a slab, freely boring the pants off anyone coming into the vicinity. I thought what a fascinating tourist attraction. Alas, I was soon disappointed to discover it was a tank-pump system aimed at allowing water tankers to fill up and supply to drought-stricken farms.

    But the thought stayed with me, especially so after reading of Ned or Hendo's latest epistles. Why could not Merino (or Digby, or combined) have a Festival of Bores competition? People would come from far and wide to listen to the leading Bore contenders. It worked for Darwin many years back with a Tall Story type of competition until Frank Hardy came along and dominated it.

    Why not, instead of stories, allow them to talk on anything provided it was boring? Amongst other benefits aside from the tourist attraction, might be a cure for insomnia in the way that hot springs and spas can help with arthritis.

    It would be unfair to competitors to have to compete with professionals like Ned or Polonius, but perhaps we could encourage them to come as guest judges. In return, after the winner is crowned, the judge could get the honour of delivering the closing ceremony speech, thus clearing away any lingerers.

    What do you think? A winning idea for an obscure community? Lets put boredom on the map!

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  7. Are you trolling, pond? That was John Curtin's FATHER. HIS FATHER. John Curtin PM was born in 1885 - five years AFTER the event you cite.

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    Replies
    1. Like father, like son, JW. And also "the sins of the fathers" and suchlike.

      Delete

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