Saturday, March 31, 2012

What do you mean, "you people"?

So here's how epic ranter Brendan O'Neill ends his latest rant for your ABC at The Drum, rantily titled Tweet police: censorship of the Tweetmob's making.

Some commentators are now suggesting that perhaps the imprisonment of Liam Stacey is a bit over-the-top. Sorry, but it's too late for that. The jailing of a man for 56 days for the "crime" of tweeting is the logical end result of a feverishly censorious culture that you people helped to create.

You people?

Now that's as sure evidence of a befuddled brain as can be found anywhere on the intertubes.

It's a kind of generic rhetorical form of abuse much beloved by common gossips. You people don't know what you're talking about, you people are to blame for everything, you people are the Devil incarnate, you people are an evil collection of charlatans and perverts.

It doesn't mean anything of course. The pond refuses to be addressed as "you people", nor does the pond accept in any way responsibility for a Conservative government - "buy your influence and your meal ticket at the door before entering the PM's office please" - driving Britain into a period of negative growth, aided by a bunch of woolly minded Libdems who will be wiped out come next polling day.

Nor does the pond accept that it has anything to do with soccer, soccer hooligans, the rise of the fascist race and gay-baiting right in Britain, or the perceived right of complete gooses to tweet deeply offensive remarks, and wonder why some people might have taken exception ... when if they'd delivered said remarks in a pub, you people, or at least some of you people, might have punched out his lights.

But if you do want a likely cause of twitter violence, look around and what do you find? Week in, week out, Brendan O'Neill ranting, and upping the level of verbal hostility and aggro to the point where it routinely becomes a biffing matter, and always with the illiberal liberal elites as the target. Yep, come on down Brendan O'Neill, you people is you. Show us how it's done:

... in the more recent Twittermobs, against racist or homophobic tweeters, it is remarkable how much the online lynch mob fancies itself as "liberal" as it demands the punishment of un-PC deviants.

Of course O'Neill himself is a one person twittermob, a kind of Robocop up against the illiberal liberal elites.

This means the Twittermob is a very peculiar beast: it is intolerance in the service of "tolerance", illiberalism designed to preserve "liberal values". In screeching at racist or homophobic witches, and then watching with glee as these tweetcriminals get dragged before the courts, the Twitterati aim to demonstrate their moral superiority but in truth they only expose their moral depravity, and their illiberal refusal to permit the public expression of any thoughts they consider "evil".

Uh huh. Of course O'Neill - who strikes the pond as a bear of very little brain, and a prime candidate for slogans, whether they be Marxist or libertarian - has no regard himself for the deeper implications of "you people", which have even reached the Urban dictionary:

White Guy: You People Are Always Having Loud Parties
Black Guy #1: Wait What The Fuck You Mean "You People"?
Black Guy #2: Oh You Done Fucked Up Now (here).

The dictionary also cites a reference from 1992 and Ross Perot talking about the financial hardships of "your people":

"When he said 'you people' or 'your people,' it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull," he said. "It's something white folks have used when they don't want to call you nigger, but they don't want to treat you like an equal."

I'm sorry m'lud but I can't see any way around it.

Kindly offer Mr. O'Neill fifty six days in the slammer, and let him go up to a black prisoner - the pond is reliably informed that black people are jailed in England and Wales disproportionately, as they are in the US, compared to whites (here) - and let him start talking about "you people" making too much noise in the cells. Oh you done fucked up Mr. O'Neill ...

There's a deeply paranoid grain of hysteria running through the rest of O'Neill's twittermob rant, up there with the crowds with pitchforks and torches hunting Frankenstein's monster, as if it was illiberal liberals rather than conservatives who first invented the fine art of censorship.

But if you want a truly paranoid vision, you have to turn to Mike Carlton and Barnaby's big move - be very afraid:

Imagine it: Barnaby Joyce, MP, the Member for Rinehart and Acting Prime Minister of Australia whenever Abbott slips into the lycra and goes off cycling.

Yes, Carlton has picked up on a story, which for various reasons, has been buried over the past few days, which has seen the quisling Barners give up the tough job of tackling Tony Windsor in New England - he knew the noble tribe of Tamworthians would give him a hard time - for the easier job of picking off one of his own up in Queensland, as outlined in Barnaby Joyce plans move to Lower House.

There is of course only one reason for the move. Once Barners takes over from Warren Truss, and becomes leader of the Nats, he'd automatically become deputy prime minister, with the pick of a plum ministerial portfolio.

Having Barners a heart beat away from being PM is a bit like having Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency. Sure it's fun when he's being a circus clown and a boofhead, but 2IC for the entire country?

Well it's a measure of the man that he'd prefer to roll one of his own for the sweet life, than take down that devil incarnate Tony Windsor, but let's revert to Mike Carlton for the good oil on Barners:

While Abbott's roots are sunk in the barren rocks of the nasty old Democratic Labor Party, Joyce is a pork-barrelling Queensland primitive in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen mould.

Hey Mike tell us what you really think:

... in the end they converge. Each is an unashamed right-wing populist who will say anything to get elected: stop the boats, axe the tax, climate change is crap, the prime minister is a liar. Sloganeering for the talkback and tabloid masses is so much easier than the unspectacular grind of making public policy.

By golly, quoting Carlton is easier than actually writing a piece for the pond:

Even more so than Abbott, Joyce comes with the added baggage of a touchy-feely chumminess with the mining magnates Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart. Last year he flew in Rinehart's private jet as her guest at the sumptuous, three-day wedding of an Indian industrialist in Hyderabad, a frolic he described as ''absolutely mind-blowing''. A few weeks ago he inserted himself into the Rinehart family inheritance feud, revealing that he had written to one of the estranged daughters urging her to drop her case against Mummy.

And that's just a few examples of Joyce's small town cavortings.

Who can forget Barners attending a gay bashing rally organised by the Australian Christian Lobby, wherein he explained how same-sex marriage would affect the right of his girls to have a secure relationship with a loving husband (here - because, like, you know they'd turn dyke and rush off to become the dom in a gay marriage), or his proposal that we should get down to Antarctica and start mining it straight away (here), or his flirtation with the conspiracy theories of the CEC and Lyndon LaRouche (Barnaby Joyce voices a far Right platform), or his many, many bizarre contributions to the discussion of climate science.

Joyce's contribution to the rational discussion of science has seen charges that climate change deniers are being treated like Holocaust deniers, so he's just refusing to join in the goosestepping parade, while at the same time labelling greenies as eco-Nazis. Yes folks, in Barners world, Godwin's Law is there for the breaking ... (Barnaby Joyce blasts green fanatics as eco-Nazis).

Joyce is a sort of high class Angry Anderson troll, and his appearance at the anti-carbon tax rally was a classic of its kind:

TOM IGGULDEN: The crowd numbered in the hundreds and Senator Joyce soon had their blood boiling too.
BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONALS SENATOR: You heard what they call you. You're oddballs.
PROTESTER: We're rednecks!
BARNABY JOYCE: You're rednecks.
PROTESTER: Yeah, I'm proud!
BARNABY JOYCE: You're Dungeons and Dragon conventioners.
TOM IGGULDEN: At least one is a professed fascist, once photographed in full Nazi regalia. (here).

Yes, the greenies are the Nazis, until you're talking to your real constituency ... people who like to dress as Nazis ...

Oh it's going to be an interesting few years ahead.

What to do? Oh heck, let's just take a leaf out of Brendan O'Neill's rant book ... the pond is certain it's you people who are to blame ...

(Below: and if you don't know the Tropic Thunder joke about you people, why you people can YouTube it here).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Take that partisan sooks, or the Bart Simpson defence part two ...

The war of the rags continues apace, with the AFR maintaining the rage today by placing Rupert Murdoch at the top of the mast.

Naturally the lizard Oz felt the need to strike back, but why would anyone feel the need to pay to circumvent the fickle gold bar of fate? Pay to hear tales of how the molochs of Murdoch are innocent?
No wonder they've proven so adept at climate denialism.

It reminds the pond of that old joke sometimes attributed to Churchill - falsely of course - wherein the cigar-smoker proposes a fuck for a million ponds, and when the socialite is tempted, makes a counter-proposal of five pounds, and then when she indignantly wonders what kind of woman he thinks she is, Churchill notes that's already been established, and now they're just haggling about the price.

In the same way, News Corp. has long been established as a corrupt organisation, and now everybody's just haggling about the extent of the corruption.

The current fracas reminded the pond of other great unsavoury scandals where News Corp bought its way out of trouble - as outlined in Troubles That Money Can't Dispel and dozens of other venues.

The actions outlined therein ranged from the Floorgraphics matter - illegal computer hacking - which led to a US$29.5 million settlement (and the acquisition of the company to bring things in house), to a US$125 million payout to Insignia Systems to a half billion dollar deal to keep plaintiff Valassis Communications happy. And that's before you get anywhere near the News of the World and corrupting cops and phone hacking.

Along the way in the NY Times piece, this little detail pops out:

News America was led by Paul V. Carlucci, who, according to Forbes, used to show the sales staff the scene in “The Untouchables” in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat. Mr. Emmel testified that Mr. Carlucci was clear about the guiding corporate philosophy.

According to Mr. Emmel’s testimony, Mr. Carlucci said that if there were employees uncomfortable with the company’s philosophy — “bed-wetting liberals in particular was the description he used” Mr. Emmel testified — then he could arrange to have those employees “outplaced from the company.

What to do with a rogue like Carlucci? Why naturally, make him the publisher of The New York Post in 2005, and allow him to continue on as head of News America ...

And bully boy tactics aren't just the turf of US players fantasising that they're living the life of Robert de Niro channeling Al Capone in a Brian de Palma movie.

Whatever happened to Chris Mitchell's proposal that he was going to sue the socks off Robert Manne? (Chris Mitchell v Robert Manne: The Australian editor to sue).

Meanwhile, Rupe himself has come out with guns blazing, or at least tweets amazing:

Indeed. And speaking of monoplies, let's hope that the old toffs and right wingers who want to have complete control of pay television in Australia get their just desserts (oh it's a dream, I know, but what a la Mancha dream. Bring on the windmills).

Well if you want to follow the tweets of Rupe, you can join the other couple of hundred thousand here, who watch him with the same fascination as watching a man on a high wire walk between the twin towers.

Richard Ackland has derived some consolation from all this with Note: it takes a scrupulous media to uncover a flawed one, but the reality in Australia is that News Ltd. has the power of market share, and isn't afraid to use it. And wherever it goes and whatever it does and whomever it does business with, a cloud of lawyers follows:

The global law shop Allen & Overy, acting for NDS, is now demanding the AFR remove thousands of emails from its website.

Too late, valiant legal lads, the news is out there, and somewhere they'll have found new homes.

Naturally the fortifications are being flung up by all and sundry at who work within Sauron's vast fortress of doom, and in best pond fashion, old-fashioned abuse is the weapon of choice.

Come on down valiant David Penberthy, give us a good rollicking example of the party line. Show us how denialism works in Tharr be pirates: a media fantasy, cheered on by sooks.

Cheered on by sooks!? What's the bet Penberthy has a baseball bat in the cupboard, and leads a rich fantasy life, and every so often gets out the baseball bat to flay away at the Fairfax hacks. But stay, we've got some denialism to get through:

There is a massive story going on in Australia at the moment. By massive, I mean massive in terms of the amount of space thrown at it. Massive in the level of journalistic indulgence it displays. Massively packed with distortions and sleights of hand. A massive pile of rubbish.

Well that's how to deal with the matter in a level headed way.

Now let's get on with the head-kicking, unless you prefer bat-bashing:

You would have missed the story, as it first appeared in an obscure trade journal read by rich people who collect cufflinks, and was rehashed in a marginally more digestible form by a couple of newspapers which have decided to put media game-playing ahead of their core business of providing readers with facts.

How did it go in The Untouchables? Bash those cufflink collectors ...

But you just have to admire a Murdoch journalist talking about the core business of providing readers with facts. Is he saying News Ltd got out of the core business decades ago?

Ah yes, it's all coming back now:

A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms... What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork... Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don't field... what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I'm goin' out there for myself. But... I get nowhere unless the team wins.
Hoods: Team!
[Capone beats one of the men to death with a baseball bat]

There is of course a profound irony in all this. It was only back in September 2011 that the AFR filched Michael Stutchbury from The Australian. There he was an exemplar, the economics editor, and now it seems he just prints rubbish. (Michael Stutchbury to edit the AFR) Oh et tu Brute. No longer one of the team ...

Penberthy has always fancied himself as a satirist, and this time his satirical skills take on the full flight of an Icarus:

Despite all this Chenoweth’s piece is probably a walk-up start for a Walkley Award as he has assembled the following words in random order to produce something irresistible – MURDOCH POLICE ISRAEL TV PIRATES PROBE NEWS INTERNATIONAL HACKING.

Oh it's so witty, so elegant, such a Shakespearean rag.

For the rest of the piece, as usual, Penberthy resorts to the standard Bart Simpson defence. We didn't do it, nobody saw us do it, you can't prove anything, and even if you could, it doesn't matter anymore because it's ancient dried dung.

But no doubt you're wondering who's the sook in the headlines? Come on down, Stephen Conroy, sook and Kerry Stokes' personal ski bunny.

Oh Penberthy wields a fine baseball bat, but ain't it strange how he selectively targets Conroy for being the bumbling advocate of a net filter (yes the pond has waived Godwin's Law to call him a North Korean), while failing to mention the ongoing, relentless fury of the war waged by News Ltd against the NBN because either (a) they're luddites (b) it undermines their business models or (c) they're just perverse anti-futurist fuckwits.

You see there's a problem when you turn a newspaper into a series of agitprop articles and columns of the nattering negative kind and then whinge when the blow torch gets turned in your general direction:

Conroy and Cameron have as much evidence of any wrongdoing as Chenoweth and Stutchbury. Zero. This has nothing to do with actual journalism and everything to do with partisan media pot-shots, cheered on by a couple of glass-jawed politicians.

Uh huh. Which somehow implies that News Ltd has something to do with actual journalism, as opposed to a parade of prejudices and diatribes, amongst which Penberthy's piece can stand tall and proud.

Well by the end of the rant, there was a clear idea of who had the glass jaw, and yet another chortle at the profound irony of the sight of the dear lad getting indignant about partisan media pot-shots.

This from the house of Blair, the Bolter, Miranda the Devine, Janet Albrechtsen, Dennis Shanahan, Greg Sheridan, Piers 'Akker Dakker' Akerman, and too many other loons and hoons to list here individually without trying the patience of the world.

And yes, he who talks about sooks ends up sounding like a sook. As one of the comments asked, Sook? Who wrote this, a twelve year old?

The funny thing is, Penberthy probably thinks he's helping out the team by wielding the baseball bat in this way, but all he's doing is showing how bully boy tactics work, and are applied to cry baby blubbering sooks in the playground.

Yep, if you don't like what someone is saying, smear them in excrement, steal their shoes, tie the laces together, and hoist those pesky sneakers over the nearest power line ...

It's the News Limited way ...

As for the pond, the only question remaining is whether we might be talking about five pounds ... or five hundred million pounds ...

(Below: a News Ltd journalist at work?)

Yep, take that, climate science, take that NBN, take that sooks, take that partisan media. Spill your blood in the soup, and see if we care ...

Finally a sad note. Earl Scruggs has died. The pond saw him play at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and it's always sad when a finger picker passes on ...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Just give 'em the monorail Bazza ...

Oh come on Bazza, if the Hobartians want the monorail, and offer to take it down and cart it away at their cost, give it to them.

You'll save a penny or two, and Sydney-siders will look on Hobart like fond aunts watching their relatives tool around in a hand-me-down, clapped-out, broken-down three cylinder vehicle.

Don't be mean. Then at last everyone will know that Tasmania clutches the real Springfield within its ample bosom, and Tasmanian tourism will surge ahead in leaps and bounds as tourists go on "find the Hobart Simpsons hunt". Giant doughnut sales will lead to an economic revival and save the forests and avoid the scourge of wood-chipping.

It's the least that Sydney can do ... remember the bonus chortles at a town with a second-hand monorail. (Put Sydney monorail on eBay - alderman).

Meanwhile, the war of the rags has started to warm up. The AFR has gone into a front page frenzy flaunting its Pay-TV piracy story so all can see:

While The Australian sticks its response behind the fickle finger of gold bar fate:
The story is of course just a series of denials, and if you can be bothered, all you have to do is type the header into Google search, and go read the story, but followers of Bart Simpson will already know the riff. "I didn't do it. Nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything."

Followers of The Simpsons - ironically financed by Fox - will never forget the "I didn't do it guy' episode in which Bart gets famous.

Meanwhile, there's another apostate within the Murdoch camp on climate change. There's poor old Daniel Piotrowski scribbling Climate change isn't rocket science. Oh wait, it is, and talking about 'belief' in relation to science.

It seems Daniel thinks that climate science might be real, yet somehow public acceptance of the validity of the science (we'll leave belief to religious fanatics) has diminished. Hmm, whatever could be the reason?

Let's revert to The Australian leading the way with its highlighted piece for today's opinion pages:
Oh dear, more blather about alarmism, happily locked away behind the fickle gold bar finger of fate.

But you know the drill. If you want another dose of The Australian tackling climate science, google away. Make sure you take in Tim Blair and the Bolter, tremendously well qualified scientists, right up there with Cardinal Pell.

Ever so happy to print the controversy they are, at the lizard Oz, and at other hackeries run by molochs of Murdoch, while you might just hear an eerie Bart in the wings murmuring "I didn't continually print denialist stories. Nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything about climate change, anything at all."

But enough of all these light snacks because we just have to mention an arch bit of trolling by Mark Christensen, gearing up for the 2012 atheist convention in Melbourne with Life redeemed by a grander scheme beyond things.

Christensen is one of those angry Christians who likes to shout a lot. He seems extremely irrational about irrationality.

Well maybe he isn't a Christian, maybe he's just a confused angry puppy of the kind that infests The Drum these days and sets up an incessant bashing and clanging and dinning of noise.

There are many highlights and non sequiturs in the piece, but this is surely the pick:

Many atheists are fond of equating God with Santa Claus, along with other pejoratives like fairies at the bottom of the garden and the flying spaghetti monster, whatever that is. A child wonders how it is a jolly old man in an airborne sleigh is able to procure and globally distribute so many gifts without ever being found out. It seems an unachievable task, and it is, which is exactly the point. The impossible is what "defines" Santa.
Children readily accept real magic is both undetectable and incomprehensible. It's a rational response to the subject matter.
It doesn't dawn on atheists – or perhaps it does and they just don't like the answer – that God may well be in the same (non) category.

Yes putting god in the same sleigh with Santa is wonderful logic. But does it ever dawn on Christensen that if god is Santa (or Santa in the same non-category as god), then the way the fat old bastard stiffed the pond with a second hand bicycle and a cheap Coles stocking was the beginning of the end ... though I suppose that's not up there with genocides, holocausts, world wars and the whole damn thing.

There's plenty more silliness, including the notion that god is some kind of de-bugger, some kind of code monkey with a tech fix for what ails us:

Reason rips us from an unconsidered life, often revealing awkward conclusions, including this: once aware of the pain, suffering and brokenness in this world, how does a thinking person flatly reject the likelihood of a remedial mechanism capable of making things whole again? The gap between heaven and Earth must surely come with a fix, a restoration process that most probably involves representation from both here and the other side from whence we came, before time and space.

Yep, god as a remedial mechanism, a fix, a fixer, sort of like the main spring in some eighteenth century watch-makers device.

It seems woolly thinking doesn't just grow on sheep. The funny thing? A few pars before Christensen had been berating atheists for deistic thinking, then comes up with the notion of god as a remedial mechanism.

Truly the intertubes is full of people blathering at great length for no particular purpose, and at least half of them seem to have been driven mad by Richard Dawkins, proving if nothing else that Dawkins must be responsible for the full to overflowing state of the intertubes.

Unless it happens to be the ning nongs and dingbats at your ABC's The Drum, which will publish anything provided it's free and it serves some kind of cosmic ultimate trolling purpose ...

It got so that the pond read Chris Berg's Tasers: the non-lethal force that kills, and felt a surge of libertarian sympathy and camaraderie.

See, see! That's where reading a comparison between god and Santa will get you.

Oh just give them the monorail Bazza, make things right ... show 'em you can play Santa, and maybe someone in Hobart will mistake you for god.

(Below: well at least it isn't a Santa Claus lolcat).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ahoy me hearties, you scurvy land lubbers, hand over your codes, or it'll be walk the plank time ...

(Above: there's only one degree of separation in that title).

As you'd expect, today the smirk - the man who would have been king if only he'd had the gumption rather than being a gummy bear - leads off his piece Queensland tsunami is heading for federal ALP with a fashionable reference to billionaires:

Wayne Swan claims mining billionaires threaten our democracy. But the likes of Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart do not threaten him nearly as much as another, far more important, species - the Queensland voter.

Yep, that's it, as far as Peter Costello's noting of Clive Palmer's now notorious CIA conspiracy intervention in the Queensland election goes.

And the marvel is that this pathetic, tawdry, highly political creature - now reduced to seeking some relevance by becoming a commentator at Fairfax - somehow thought he was entitled to be chair of the Future Fund. And the braying deluded molochs of Murdoch along with him.

But speaking of the Murdoch press, there's a much more interesting game afoot in the motherland, at least for those who think of England as some kind of matriarch, as opposed to a bloody colonial patriarch.

By now the world's had a chance to look at Panorama's program Murdoch's TV Pirates (oh you can go to the Panorama site to catch a glimpse, but of course territorial restrictions apply, so speaking of pirates ... but hey, following in News Corp's footsteps, I guess if it's good enough for the alleged gamekeeper, why, where's the harm for the poachers).

This is a story that appears to have legs, and if you head off to the AFR, you can cop a preview with Murdoch cops blast over pay TV pirates, wherein it's revealed that News Corp lawyers tried to mount a pre-emptive counter-strike:

Last week News Corporation lawyers wrote to British newspapers warning that Panorama’s allegations were “serious, defamatory, false and highly damaging; we urge your paper not to republish it, especially in circumstances where our client has not been given the opportunity to respond”.

And there was more breast-beating and chest-thumping from others:

An NDS spokesman told the Financial Review last week: “Panorama have chosen to focus on issues that have been conclusively disproven, and NDS will take all necessary action to hold responsible anyone who chooses to repeat these baseless and damaging allegations.”

Uh huh. So the allegations have been made, and aired by Panorama, and repeated by many others, so we look forward to news of NDS's immediate legal action against the BBC ... and many others.

The allegations have turned up in all sorts of places. You can read about them in Murdoch TV empire accused of dirty tricks, and they also turned up on PM last night under the header New Murdoch empire hacking allegations, with a quaint denial and this coda:

The BBC did not pose questions to News Corporation ahead of broadcast and was unwilling to engage in any conversation on this issue, which is disappointing.

Disappointing! That doesn't sound like the blustering bully boy defensive legal tactics prior to the program's broadcast. Oh they're ever so disappointed at the lack of conversation and the lack of questions ...

Where's that legal action? Swift and immediate?

And you find the same sort of dilly dallying in the BBC story News Corporation firm NDS accused of ITV Digital hack.

NDS's response has been simply to refer back to a court action in the United States settled some time ago, and involving commercial transactions which soothed the pain for all involved in the action, claiming that was the end of the matter. As if. There's a new game in town. What about this new program and its actual allegations?

So now you know the sound of silence, and it isn't a tree falling in a forest and no 0ne hearing. It's News Corp and NDS playing the blocking game.

There are wider implications of course, and naturally British MP Tom Watson was first out of the block in relation to the assessment of Murdoch and News Corp as fit and proper persons to be in control of BSkyB:

"Clearly allegations of TV hacking are far more serious than phone hacking," he said. "It seems inconceivable that they (Ofcom) would not want to look at these new allegations. Ofcom are now applying the fit and proper person test to Rupert and James Murdoch. It also seems inconceivable to me that if these allegations are true that Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch will pass that test."

Indeed. And the sting in the tail to that piece:

NDS declined to be interviewed for the programme.

Yes that's the way to engage with questions and start a conversation!

Naturally The Guardian also ran a preview - Questions for News Corp over rival's collapse -
about the sordid and sorry world of codes and intrigue and sledgehammers and hard drives, and there's also a little background to the itv Digital saga here in Was ONdigital beaten fair and square, or undermined?

Of course this also revives the long simmering tension between the BBC and News Corp - who can forget James Murdoch bleating in 2009 about the dominant, chilling impact of the BBC on the right of News Corp to rule the world (you can read about it at the BBC in Murdoch attack on 'dominant BBC) but fear not for the future of Vivian White who prepared the Panorama report - perhaps wisely it was announced a few weeks earlier that White's last program was to be the on on piracy and hacking at the heart of the pay TV empire. (John Ware and Vivian White to leave Panorama).

What a tasty farewell gift ...

Meanwhile, BBC news has announced plans to close 140 posts ... as part of its DQF (Delivering Quality First) plan. You have to admire the taste for acronyms.

Meanwhile, there might be a few who think that talk of dirty tricks hasn't spread to the colonies, but all that shows is they haven't read the AFR's story Pay TV piracy hits News:

A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry.

The piracy cost the Australian pay TV companies up to $50 million a year and helped cripple the finances of Austar, which Foxtel is now in the process of acquiring.

A four-year investigation by The Australian Financial Review has revealed a global trail of corporate dirty tricks directed against competitors by a secretive group of former policemen and intelligence officers within News Corp known as Operational Security.


It's unlikely you'll be reading any stories about this in the Murdoch-controlled media, i.e. much of the media in Australia - but it would seem that this story has some legs.

And suddenly the AFR is looking like an investigative rag well worth the read, since it's re-entered the conversation by making its paywall selective. Why there's Whistleblower made to change his tune, and Hacker who got stung, and samples of emails, and it's such jolly hockey sticks good fun ...

If we were British, we might say well played Panorama, and well played AFR. Suddenly you're looking and sounding like a serious newspaper with the bit between the teeth. And now let's see what the paranoids locked behind their paywalls bring to the conversation ...

By the end of it, the pond had quite forgot about the smirk ... and that's always a good thing.

(Below: of course itv Digital could simply have collapsed because of its choice of mascot).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New rulez ...

(Above: the truth as imagined by Clive Palmer and Sophie Mirabella?)

Though known as a species the world over, the school bully perhaps made his most resplendent appearance in Ripping Yarns, in what was the pilot to the series (and of course there's a list of Ripping Yarns episodes on the full to overflowing intertubes).

For some strange reason, the pond was reminded of the school bully turning up in Tomkinson's Schooldays (which naughtily can be seen on Daily Motion starting here) when this strange story, Palmer does not regret CIA claims, popped in to view.

It seems, if the story is correct, that Clive Palmer simply made up stuff, because it suited his cause. All that stuff about the Greens and the CIA was just a distraction, a feint, a way of getting people to overlook the negative aspects of the LNP campaign in Queensland:

"It took a great lot of attention off some of the negative aspects of the election. That was a very good thing," he said.

Uh huh. It seems Clive thinks he deserves a round of applause for delivering up some splendid befuddlement and confusion.

But was it true?

"That's something I wouldn't say at this stage," he said.
"A mistake doesn't become an error until you refuse to correct it, so I'm still thinking about that one.
"But let me just say I don't regret having made that statement."

By golly, that line about a mistake not being an error, and then refusing to correct it any way, is right up there with Donald Rumsfeld's knowing nothing about the unknown unknowns.

It turns out that Palmer was basing his claim on the notion that the US Rockefeller Foundation got funding from the CIA way back in 1974:

‘‘And I know that’s 40 years ago. It may not be the case now.’’

Now it turns out - election done and dusted - that Palmer - chief donor for the NLP - thinks that the Greens and Greenpeace might not be actually funded by the CIA, and that there might not be an international conspiracy involving the United States government to do down Queenslanders and the coal industry, and that perhaps the black helicopters never left the hanger.

Naturally we looked around for signs of shock and outrage, but at a guess, it's probably a little hard for columnists to call a litigious billionaire an unscrupulous liar, a lowlife little better than the average school bully.

And who knows, Palmer - allegedly a national living treasure, or so the National Trust - NSW branch only - tells us - might have some other reason for smearing the Greens than clearing the way for his environmentally ruinous Queensland mining developments, and some day he might tell the world what they are ...

Meanwhile, wouldn't you know it, over at The Punch, there's Sophie Mirabella pondering on the NSW election (thinking about is too elevated a term), and gloating about how ALP evacuees have no love for The Greens, and not a word, not a single mention of Clive Palmer and the CIA and the Greens and the international conspiracy so faithfully reported by the meejia.

It's a singular achievement, as Mirabella manages to extract a message for the ALP:

There are many messages for the ALP in the Queensland result, and many implications at the Federal level, despite their protestations to the contrary.
But they ignore at their own peril the lack of “Greens” in the entrails of the Queensland bloodbath.

Instead she spends her time celebrating the homophobic wonder of Bob Katter's party scoring a couple of seats, and then delivers a couple of closing pars that might have come straight from the mouth of Clive Palmer, paleface forked tongue though it might be:

... many traditional, blue collar, rusted-on Labor voters clearly chose the straight-talking KAP over The Greens radical agenda when looking for a minor party to support.
Acknowledging this emphatic rejection of The Greens must be part of any successful rebuilding process within the ALP.

Uh huh. So now we have another word for poofter-bashing. Up north and down south in Mirabella's fetid brain, they call it straight talking ...

Yep, it seems hunting and fishing rights for indigenous whites in the north are in peril, and a zillion fishing shows will shortly disappear from the multi-channels, to be replaced by American sitcoms ... the price we all must pay for the perfidious greenies and their wicked ways.

Well at time of writing, Mirabella's piece had attracted only one comment, but for some strange reason we feel the need to reproduce it here:

oh sophie your love for clive palmer has no bounds you are just gagging for him. you and the rest of the lnp are nothing but clive palmers little gimps.

Now it's true that primping pimps might have been a little more relevant term than a reference to the GNU Image Manipulation Program, but we catch the drift, and what a fine drift it is ... which is to mention Clive Palmer and the Greens in relation to the election ... because it seems that the likes of Mirabella knows absolutely no shame whatsoever ...

Meanwhile, it being Tuesday, there's just time to note a long and tedious rant by our prince of prattling, our Polonius v. Prufock smackdown master, Gerard Henderson, which proves if nothing else that you can cram the point of an entirely fatuous column into a single header, namely Maybe it's Habib who should apologise for outlandish claims.

Apparently Henderson thinks it was splendid and wise and far- and perhaps fore-sighted for Habib to have been packed off to Egypt for some torture, and then off to Bagram and then off to Guantanamo, and proceeds to cherry pick the report by Dr Vivienne Thom regarding the response by government agencies to the treatment of Habib.

You know how this plays. It's the "Sure but" routine, and Henderson is a dab hand at "sure, but":

Sure, in Thom's report, there are some criticisms of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (then headed by Dennis Richardson), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Federal Police. However ...

Oh okay, "Sure ... however" doesn't have quite the billy goat butting punch of a "Sure, but" routine, but it's always a wondrous sight to see a cherry-picker get agitated about others and the way they pick cherries. Deep down, you can tell that at some point Henderson learned the art of the bureaucrat (and yes, so did the pond, but ...)

Here's how Henderson wraps it up:

The big story of the IGIS report was that Habib's claims about mistreatment by Australian authorities had been dismissed by Thom. But this finding was buried in the news reports - especially on the ABC.

Oh those fiends at the ABC yet again. Did we mention the outer suburbs, deviant inner city dwellers and dissenting academics and the liberal secular conspiracy?

Now it might well be that Dr Thom rejects some components of Habib's story as well as criticising the actions of the agencies involved.

Sure, but in preparing a column on the story, you might have noted that the big story was that Dr Thom recommended that the Australian government agencies involved should prepare an apology to Mrs Mahra Habib for failing to inform her about what was happening to Habib, and that the Gillard government refused to do it ... though they agreed to the other five key points in Thom's report.

Sorry? Sorry, no sorry here ... Sure, but ...

Now just one question. Did Henderson really write the header suggesting that it was Habib who should do the apologising? For being tortured and getting a little agitated about it and wanting to blame someone, anyone for what happened?

The moral of the story? When you want to be one eyed and always abuse the ABC, make sure you poke out your left eye. It helps to present a balanced argument, or at least the imbalanced argument you take for a kind of balance ...

Oh and there's another moral, one Julian Assange might take to heart. When the United States comes knocking on his door, likely as not he can expect little to no help from either the Liberal coalition or the Labor party ... and perhaps in ten years there'll be a report on why he was abandoned, and then some little Sir Echo will turn up to explain "sure, but" ...

Now just remember the new rule and all will be well.

Billionaires rulez ... and please, no billy goat butts ...

(Below: we don't usually quote Fairfax cartoons, tucked away as they are in their galleries here, but this one by Moir we did enjoy. Hark, is that a school bully?)

Monday, March 26, 2012

And so to a lesson in authenticity ...

(Above: the pond keeps its gentlemen readers informed of the latest trends, thanks to trendy Paul Sheehan).

Speaking of elections, it's now precisely a year since the NSW elections saw Labor routed and Barry O'Farrell elected, and what has changed?

Not much, unless you count the grand announcement of the demolition of that carbuncle, the monorail, and the sight of Barry slavering and quivering with delight at the prospect of James Packer installing a casino at Barangaroo - puppy dog heaven, a lap poodle routine which would have done a NSW Labor party politician proud.

One thing has changed - the number of ministerial bingles has been reduced, with only the singularly inept Souris falling foul of the media in recent times in a relatively minor dingle (Souris fronts media over Star allegations).

But the infrastructure issues the state, and especially Sydney faces, have been met with the usual dilly-dallying, partly because they've been allowed to drag on and on for decades without decisive action. The roads remain clogged, public transport inadequate, and so on and so forth, and in the pond's local area, the only sign of change - a makeover of the railway station - was begun in Labor days as a sop to keep the inner west safe ...

In short, if you expect a miracle from state governments, allow me to sell you my slice of cheese toast which looks very much like it has a portrait of the Christ child on it ...

"They always disappoint", said The Wire, so better not to have the faith in the first place.

Meanwhile, in Queensland, plucky Queenslanders have taken a stand against a government which indulged in asset sales ... by giving an overwhelming mandate to a government which is highly likely to indulge in asset sales ...

Perhaps the best you can say is that only two electorates found it in their heart to give a Bob Katter candidate a guernsey. So much for homophobia as an election strategy.

Meanwhile, all the pundits are in a blather about the relevance of the election to the federal sphere, and if Campbell Newman were Tony Abbott, it might have some point. But Tony Abbott is Tony Abbott, at once the reason for the perilous condition of federal Labor and at the same time for the perilous condition of the federal coalition in opposition.

But stay, enough of this, because surely it's time to catch up on the latest dose of fatuities from the newly returned Paul Sheehan, and he too uses the Queensland election for a little brooding, in Action hero challenge for schools.

It's hard to count the many ways that Sheehan manages to be offensive. First of all he seizes on the latest pop culture trend, Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, and takes one swallow for a summer.

Sheehan clearly knows very little about the history of this particular variant on a popular sci fi genre, which goes back at least to the days when Richard Connell wrote a story The Most Dangerous Game in 1924 for Colliers, which has its very own wiki, and a list of some nineteen movies that have been influenced by it. (wiki here). Australia even contributed the terrible Turkey Shoot to the mix, while the Japanese can claim Battle Royale as a direct precedent, which the toffy nosed Americans got upset about because they hadn't thought of it first.

What does it all mean? Well on a creative level, it's just a wrinkle. Men play killing games, so how do you freshen the concept? Get a teenage girl to play the killing game. They've been working that wrinkle since Shakespeare flung the odd heroine into the odd predicament. (Oh okay the Greeks did it too).

On a critical level, you could take it as a commentary on a future dystopia, and television reality shows, and such like ...

Or you could do it as a Sheehan and see it as a sure sign of females seizing control. Just make sure you do it in a condescending way:

I went to see the next tsunami in popular culture, The Hunger Games, because it gave me a chance to see Jennifer Lawrence again. Lawrence is a heart-tugger.

A heart tugger? Is that the only thing she tugs? Quick, cover up the evidence:

She has a quality which the public craves: authenticity.

Oh she's an authentic heart tugger ...

For the dear absent lord's sake, she's an actress in a well-packaged and sold movie. Wash out your mouth with this inauthentic talk of authenticity.

Never mind, having a couple of girls in action movies - why they might even dare to save the hero, not just once but twice - puts Sheehan in a dither, or is that a tither:

...the new reality is unmistakable: young women are full-blooded action heroes now.
Not just in movies. Not just in sport. They are kicking ass all over the place. It is most striking in the area where we can best measure the performance of girls - schools.

Move over Amazons, move over Boadicea, move over Joan of Arc, there's a new reality. And yes, you've guessed it, Sheehan immediately races off to his new favourite website My School to cite statistics and quote NAPLAN results, without any regard whatsoever to significance or meaning. So that he can come up with this pearler:

Given that the schools ranked 39th and 40th are private boys' schools, it means that 33 of the 38 top-ranked schools in NSW are girls' schools or coeducational.

Which is, when you pause to think about it for a nanosecond, an entirely meaningless non-sequitur in terms of considering boys versus girls versus coeducational schooling. Data in search of a brain.

So bravely on we plunge:

On the day when the Higher School Certificate results are released, it is not macho young males who do the strutting; it is more likely to be girls who have kicked butt.

Yep, from one movie and a hasty ill-mannered consideration of the My Schools site - in a way that many educationists warned the site would be mis-used - and Sheehan ends up with full blown paranoia about girls and women kicking butt.

The end result? It's all gone way too far in this wacky post-feminist world:

Australia now has a woman governor-general, a woman prime minister, has had several woman premiers and a series of women High Court judges.

Shocking. Australia's actually had a woman prime minister and several women premiers.

That would be one Australian female prime minister out of twenty seven. Eek, the women and Jennifer Lawrence are over-running the world, quickly lads, head for the battlements.

Yep, it's that old saw, best expressed by that old Moving Pictures song What about me:

The other broad implication of the superior performance of young women over young men in education is that society needs to address this growing imbalance.

Yep, one Jennifer Lawrence, and the entire concept of the male hero is overthrown.

The result is that favourite meme of the commentariat, which is to explain how hapless young men are being run over by a new flock of females.

But there's none of the harden the fuck up, get out and compete rhetoric, just a lot of mamby pamby cry baby stuff. The harden the fuck up rhetoric is saved for the women:

Politicians Bligh and Gillard may have had a rough weekend, but neither woman ever asked the public to vote for them because they are women, but because they are leaders. As it must be.

Uh huh. So Bligh's just been kicked out and Gillard is on the ropes quite often, and not just because she's adopted Ali's 'rope a dope' tactics with Abbott, and yet here's Sheehan whingeing about what a hard time the lads are having.

As for post-feminism social policy, we have to address the widening faultlines in our schools system based on class and gender.

Uh huh. But of course the post-feminist society has been coming for a very long time, it seems, and you will find - if you can be bothered wasting a nanosecond of your life - that Sheehan has been blathering about social issues and the educational performance of the traditional Australian male since way back when (and in December 2003, according to this paper).

It turns out that Anna Bligh and Jennifer Lawrence are just the most recent decoys, hooks, for a long standing fear campaign.

A corollary to this approach has always been to cultivate the fear of Asian students doing well, and swamping decent Anglo culture ... and Sheehan's been running that scare campaign since the nineteen nineties.

That's what happens when you get a bee in your bonnet, and take on the job of a hammer. Everything looks like a nail, and all the statistics are culled so that the answer is always Jennifer Lawrence = 42.

Sheehan's previous foray into insights into education led to a number of letters to the editor (how quaint, people still write letters to the editor which you can read here).

All Paul Sheehan's article has done is clearly demonstrate the fears of both Department of Education and Catholic education principals that the MySchool data would be used indiscriminately and incorrectly.

Amen to that, and we can now add another one. All Paul Sheehan's latest column has done is prove that Hollywood marketing campaigns for hoary old concepts tarted up in the latest style, using the authentic Jennifer Lawrence, would be used indiscriminately and incorrectly to come to foolish conclusions.

Oh it's only Monday, and already the pond is fearful for the future of the human race ...

(Below: how to explain the concept and meaning of the word authenticity to the average Paul Sheehan reader).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sydney Anglicans, mateship, women, love, pain and the whole damn thing ...

(Above: Sydney Anglicans and women, we love the image so well we've run it again).

Every so often, it dawns on the pond that Michael Jensen, and by extension, Sydney Anglicans don't have the first clue as to what they're talking about.

Jensen is now up episode three in his seven sins of Sydney - 7 Sins of Sydney 3: Loyalty to Mates - having established in the first ep that living in a fine town house such as Bishopscourt (with housekeeper) in Darling Point is morally suspect, and in the second ep that gambling on the stock exchange, and losing lots of church moola is also suspect.

But now his third piece is about loyalty to mates, and to cut it short - Jensen is always prolix - it seems we should be first of all mates in Christ, and not so matey with others.

Here's the problem. Jensen spends a lot of time discussing the Australian national myth of mateship, evoking Henry Lawson, and the gold fields and the first world war, but what's this got to do with Sydney in particular or in general?

A long gone history professor of the pond's acquaintance, Russell Ward, made his name and a tenuous career berating undergraduates in Armidale and showing a Lawsonish taste for the grog, by writing his book The Australian Legend (they kept him away from a plumb ANU gig to his eternal despair because of a flirtation with the Communist party).

The point Ward made was that the legend and the mateship mythology came from the bush, not the city. And because I'm too lazy to hunt out my copy, take it away Baron Alder:

Ward’s objective in The Australian Legend was to trace the historical basis for the Australian “national mystique” and he found it in the disproportionate influence of the mores and manners of the outback proletariat over the rest of Australian society.

Yes, if it's a sin, then first of all, it's a sin of the bush and the bushman:

The working-class attitudes of the convicts (whom Ward referred to as Australia’s “founding fathers”), the plebeian self-consciousness of the native-born (which Manning Clark might have been referring to when he spoke of “New World vulgarity”) and the fabled rebellious spirit of the Irish immigrants, all went “up the country” and coalesced in the ideal of the bushman.

And the bush worker:

According to Ward, through the trade unions, through publications such as the Bulletin in Sydney and the Worker in Queensland, through popular song and through the popular literature of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson, the attitudes and values of the bush worker became the “principal ingredient” in an Australian, as opposed to an imperial, nationalism. The “bushman was axiomatically more ‘Australian’” and those hoping to distinguish themselves as Australians affected his manners, dress and turns of phrase. (here)

So if he'd been serious, Jensen really should have established how the bush mythology jumped to the suburbs, and above all to Sydney Anglicans:

There’s something powerfully good about mateship. True mateship is a rare gift and has historically given Australian males a sweet taste of security in the midst of hardship.

At last, an explanation of why Sydney Anglicans persecute women and gays. It's the mateship, the comradeship, that gives them a sweet taste of security and power in the midst of hardship.

Jensen nails the problem in one:

The strength of the mateship bond is also double-edged because of the way in which it includes by excluding. With mateship there has to be a common opponent. There’s always an outsider – someone we won’t include, and whose very exclusion strengthens our mateship bond. If the mate can do no wrong, it is very likely that everyone else can.

Take it away 1 Timothy 2:11-12, show us how to be excluding:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Yes, that sounds like a firm basis for solid Anglican teaching, and the exclusion of women from ordination (why that topic even has its own wiki here).

So the funniest thing is when Jensen gets on to the way that mateship deals a blow to women:

It has become a rather standard complaint of those who want to criticise the mateship myth that it was exclusively male. It celebrates masculine characteristics and the chiefly male experience of bonding at work and in wartime. It imagines a virtuous life for men without women – even against women as the common enemy.

Why that sounds very much like the Sydney Anglicans.

At its worst, the mateship ethos divides the genders. And it gives women two options: to be either ‘damned whores, or God’s police’. They are either the objects of the mateship adventure, or the stern face of moral purity. A man once told me of an experience he had on a bus trip to a sporting weekend with a group of work-mates. As the bus left the city, all the men took their wedding rings off.

The code of mateship demands of course that ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’. At its worst, it is excuse for men to behave badly.

But of course you don't need to go on tour with the Sydney Anglicans to make sure that women can never put on their vestments, let alone take them off, and that when it comes to gays and women, they will behave badly.

Anyhoo, by tract's end, it seems that the solution to mateship and Sydney Anglicans lies in Christ. And that's when we return to the exclusionary principle that Jensen found and berated in mateship:

The friendship to which Jesus calls us and which he offers us is made available by sharing in his sacrifice of himself. It forms a triangle that redeems mateship – friends in Jesus are first of all friends with Jesus.

Yes, it's hard to be mates with liberal secularists. And by the way we're all sinners:

In each piece I have tried to include a reference to the way in which churches and/or Christians are themselves part of the 'sin' that we are describing and analysing.

Yes indeed, it seems Sydney siders are all bushmen at heart, 'Chips' Rafferty types at one with a stereotype that was long in the tooth when 'Chips' was refining his persona in Forty Thousand Horsemen ... and yes that was city mateship at its finest, since Charles Chauvel didn't get much beyond the Cronulla sand dunes ...

But apart from the historical sins of Jensen, confusing and conflating city and bush and mateship and nationalism and ancient stereotypes, the pond could have done with a lot more lashing of Sydney Anglicans for their exclusive and exclusionary male mateship rituals ...

Now there's a sin easy to describe and analyse.

Can someone explain how the Salvation Army can end up with a female General, Linda Bond, while Sydney Anglicans end up with a flock of Jensens? And don't think Linda's a first. Evangeline Booth was the first female General way back in 1934 ...

What's needed is less talk of the evils of mateship, and more talk of the first female Anglican archbishop of Sydney ...

Oh okay, it's Sunday, and the pond is in dreaming mode.

Why it's even possible to forgive Michael Jensen for his continual quoting of The Whitlams as some kind of musical highlight ...

But at such moments - when Christians talk of love and friendship and blood sacrifice and the naughtiness of mateship and drag out the wretched Tim Freedman - the pond prefers a little William Blake and his songs of experience. Click to enlarge:

Time for one more Sunday homily on the evils of liberalism ...

(Above: the Queensland Labor party in search of a vote?)

Watch out, stand clear.

Phew, my mother always warned me about the danger of a herd of stampeding Queenslanders. They trample everything in sight.

Well trampling over, it's time for the Sunday homily, and as always, the pond is in search of balance. Last weekend we contemplated Jewish fundamentalism - what a sight - and this week come on down Uthman Badar with Women undervalued: is Liberalism or Islam guilty?

Poor old liberals, all they usually want to do is lead the quiet life, live and let live, you stay out of my garden, I'll stay out of yours and let's be fair dibs and polite, and so on and so forth. Right proper Prufrocks, anxiety attacks, trousers rolled, ever so nice.

Next thing you know liberalism is akin to Satanism, and the bête noire of the likes of Brendan O'Neill, Miranda the Devine, Andrew the Bolter, and the entire commentariat staff of The Australian ...

Oh and Uthman Badar, because you see, scratch an Islamic conservative, and they're really not that far apart from Christian and Catholic and Murdoch conservatives, and Sydney Anglicans, seeing as how Sydangles take a dim view of empowering women ...

So let's cut to the Uthman chase:

One may well ask: is it Islam that devalues women or liberalism? Is it the call for modest dress in public that devalues women or the multi-billion dollar pornography industries that operate legally in modern liberal-democracies? Is it the de-emphasis on external looks in favour of internal worth that devalues the woman or the use of her body to sell chocolate bars, cars and soft drinks?

Indeed. One may well ask. We all appreciate the importance of modest dress.

"But the problem, but the problem all began with who?" he asked..

In the religious address on adultery to about 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, Sheik Hilali said: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? (here)

"The uncovered meat is the problem."

The sheik then said: "If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."

Now if you take the notion of immodest dress to its logical conclusion, next thing you know you can feel justified and righteous blowing away an unarmed young man dressed in a hoodie, and get support from a Fox news commentator in the process. (oh just fuck off Geraldo Rivera, you cretin).

But back to the streak of puritanism running rife through Uthman's text. Been there, done that. The fear and loathing of the female body ...

What does he make of the male body used to sell Solo drinks, the pond wonders.

Not to worry, let's keep going with the liberal bashing, because Uthman lathers himself up with a fine flecked foaming in his penultimate par:

One hopes the irony is not lost on anyone. Here we have liberals calling for state intervention to suffocate the wishes of a dying person as to how they want to divide their private wealth. And this is being done on the basis of their own faulty interpretations of the traditions of a people who do not ascribe to their ideology. It comes as no surprise, it must be said, that liberals are chopping away at their own irrational ideology.

Yep, tolerance is an irrational ideology, unlike a belief in an imaginary friend, which is presumably a rational theology, even if your imaginary friend isn't mine, and everyone has their own version with different names. And so we come to the ultimate par:

We also have here an example of the intolerance of those who charge Islam with intolerance. Yet under the Caliphate people of religions other than Islam are allowed to conduct their private affairs, including inheritance, by their own beliefs and laws. It seems modern Western liberal-democracies cannot stand up to the same lofty standards, and would rather impose liberal ideals on those who disagree with them even in private matters.

Ah the Caliphate. Uthman provides a link within his text to the Caliphate, but we much prefer the wiki on the Caliphate here to the delusional dreaming of world rule returning that's announced in the pdf he links to, with its weird final par:

The Prophet (saw) said:
The Prophethood will be among you as Allah wills, then He will eliminate it if He so wills. Then a Caliphate on the model of prophet hood will prevail so long as Allah wills, then He will eliminate it if He so wills. Then there will be a biting monarchy as long as Allah wills, then He will eliminate it if He so wills. Then there will be an oppressive monarchy as long as Allah wills, then He will eliminate it if He so wills. Then a Caliphate on the way of prophet hood will prevail. ‘And and he kept silent’.

Yep, it's just another re-tread of revelations and the apocalypse, of the kind commonly found amongst Jewish and fundamentalist Christian true believers (for genuine eccentricity see the Chabad-Lubavitchers, and if you want to know what they do in Melbourne for education, see Yeshivah College, and pay no heed to charges of sexual assault).

Well by now you will have twigged that Uthman is much exercised about a response to the story about an action in the Supreme Court, as reported by that arch-liberal Caroline Overington in that arch-liberal rag The Australian involving the notion that men should get twice the inheritance over women...

Ms Overington felt the need - for that requisite pinch of sensationalism it seems - to present an explanation of what the law was as being the reason for that law, so it could be made out as if Islam attaches, per se, a lower worth to women relative to men, and that this is the reason why a daughter's share of inheritance is less than a son's.

Sure, sure, ad hoc per se, and pari passu pro rata, and that's why women need to be covered up, because you know, that uncovered meat can really inflame the senses.

Then comes the legalistic fudging and gobbledegook beloved by the religiously inclined:

As for the reason why male children inherit double the share of female children, this has nothing to do with the worth ascribed to either gender. Indeed, only those who see the world through the lens of wealth and materialism would infer the worth of people from the material gains they receive. Rather, the law has a context and is part of a larger coherent framework.

Indeed. Though someone must have been looking at the world through the lens of wealth and materialism for the case to have ended up in the Supreme court in Canberra, and for idle chatter of men inheriting double the wealth of women to rear its ugly head.

But then Uthman does the perfect double flip with pike. First establish that it's the men who are long suffering and have many duties, while the women have no responsibilities at all:

The female has no continual financial responsibilities as a child, sister, wife or mother; these responsibilities are always on the men of the family. The husband is obligated to cover the expenses of his wife's basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, as well as to cover the expenses of their children's upbringing. The wife is absolved of these duties, though she may assist if she chooses to. She has a set right, by law, in his wealth, but he does not have a right in her wealth.

Oh the burdens of the patriarchy, the suffering. Right, now for that comedy pike:

If we were to apply the atomistic view of liberalism, we may now argue that men are discriminated against!

With exclamation mark!!

Of course, this would miss the point entirely, which is that the problem is not with Islam, but with the premises of liberalism which divorce the individual from the community and, in an abstract appeal to an intrinsic equality, neglect the circumstances of the real world, taking as a focal point the imagined, apolitical and ahistorical, free individual.

Yes, Brendan O'Neill, you can join in here. It's all the fault of the liberal elite, and their imaginary world. They miss the point entirely. The real world, Brendan, is Islamic, and Islamic women have proper roles, according to the so and thus of patriarchy:

Islam takes seriously the basic family unit that has existed throughout time, as its starting point. In doing so, it honours the woman and her distinguished role as mother and wife. It frees her from the worry of earning a living, allowing her to focus on the most important task of raising children, the future generations. The male too has a primary role as breadwinner and caretaker.

Why that's straight out of the Pellist playbook, or at least back in the day when you could sell this sort of nineteen fifties marlarkey. Phew, better soften that message, lest working women get upset.

These roles are not water-tight compartments. The female can pursue a career if she wants, and the male can be homemaker if he wants, but the primary roles are defined, and the relationship is one of cooperation for the benefit of the family, and in turn, the society.

Yes, you can do it, but you shouldn't, because the primary roles are defined, so let's turn to how it's all gone wrong thanks to the elite liberal conspiracy:

In contrast, secular liberalism has pushed the modern woman to see herself in competition with the male and has done away with any clearly defined roles, leading to family breakdown and social chaos. And still the result has been a rhetoric of equality juxtaposed with a reality of rampant domestic violence, established glass-ceilings, a culture of discrimination in institutions such as the army, and the commoditisation of the woman.

And so on and so forth. Remember people you're much better off bowing and scraping to an imaginary friend, and his representatives on earth.

Oh all right, Uthman's text is unexceptional stuff, if you happen to be reading at the moment anything to do with the Republican war on women and their right to control their bodies, or the Sydney Anglicans asserting why men are the head of the family, and women can't get a gig in the hierarchy. But why musty they all sound the same, and strike the same dreary male note?

And then comes the proselytising shout-out by Uthman:

No wonder then that more and more women are turning to Islam, and away from the deceptive glitter of modernity's 'liberation' of the woman. In the UK, research has shown that over 100,000 people have converted to Islam in the last decade; three-quarters of these are women, and the average convert is the 27-year-old, white, educated, female.

In the Muslim World, we see women playing a key role in the uprisings against Western-backed dictators, and they are calling for Islam, not liberalism. Fifteen hundred Muslim women from around the world joined a conference convened in the Tunisian capital earlier this month calling for Islamic governance in the Muslim World as the way forward for the securing of women's rights, which have long been suppressed under secular or pseudo-Islamic regimes imposed on the Muslim World.

Yes, women are just yearning to cover their bodies, to ensure hapless men aren't inflamed, and there isn't a single liberal Islamic woman in sight (understandable given the way some theocracies like to kill off dissenting women).

Happily there are in fact Islamic feminists and Islamic liberals and Islamic secularists, who understand that separation of state and religion is the way forward, and happily Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, blessed be his name, on March the third 1924 officially abolished the Caliphate, and thus far it has shown no signs of returning. Keep that stake handy ...

So there you go, another rant about liberalism, and the amazing insight that there's not more than a bee's whisker between Brendan O'Neill and Uthman Badar when it comes to the liberal secular conspiracy that's ruining the world.

Phew, it almost makes you feel like cracking a XXXX and a pork roll with a Queenslander, and if you think that's a reference to pornography, it's actually a reference to the way beer mongers use men's bodies to sell their product.

Thank the absent long-suffering lord for secular liberalism - with the number of enemies it makes it must have something going for it - and take it away 4 X'ers, flash us your bodies:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Time to roger a few gerbils ...

(Above: Jeffrey Smart evoking the Cahill expressway. But where are the cars Jeffrey, where are the cars?)

Blow after blow is pummeling the pond ...

For years, we've maintained the rage by singing along to the monorail song on the Simpsons, wondering what Laurie Brereton thought if he ever saw Lyle Langley do his spiel (you can still catch the monorail number on YouTube here).

But soon, it seems, the joke and the pleasure will be lost. What a blow, what a crisis for humanity ...

Laurie Brereton? Wow, that name's a blast from the past. Thanks to the wonders of modern reference tools, let's transport ourselves back to a Brereton profile in The Age on August 29th 1986:

The biggest of his monumental building responsibilities is the Darling Harbour project, with its controversial casino and monorail.
"It was (ex-premier Neville) Wran's concept, my responsibility. The credit for Darling Habour must be given to Wran. It was his vision. It's a project which will change the focus of this City and turn it around to face the west," said Brereton.
Some fear that it will do more than turn Sydney around, that it is going to turn Sydney into a gigantic Luna Park. Laurie Brereton argues that these people have no idea of what Darling Harbour is really about.
"No one understands it yet. They just don't understand that it is two-thirds the size of the CBD." (and you can read the rest of the Brereton comedy routine here at Google newspapers around page 51).

Credit where credit is due then. The hideous vision of Sydney can be pegged to Wran and Brereton.

Okay, so all these years later, the pond understands Darling Harbour is big - a big ongoing mess - but also contends that it's impossible to understand what Wran and Brereton were on when they made this mega tourist slum.

Do you need a vision to build a huge tourist slum with a down at heels low rent casino full of all the usual vices and corruption, and even now causing grief to dazzling Barry?

If only it had turned into a gigantic Luna Park. At least the tourists would have had something to do. Oh okay, the Chinese garden is a nice idea, but does one nice idea redeem a mall that got mated with a restaurant strip and water? And yes, it follows the golden rule, the better the view the crappier the food.

So now they're tearing down the monorail, and what a pity it's too expensive to tear down the rest of the Wran-Brereton vision. Labor apparatchiks, delivering myopia for decades, have been part of the eternal comedy of state government.

Yes it was a Labor government that tore up the Sydney trams, thanks to a motoring lobby headed by the NRMA and a flock of British engineering experts who'd done the same thing in the UK in the name of transport efficiency. And it was Joe Cahill who gave Sydney that other visual blight, the Cahill Expressway ... while in the Carr years, the solution to infrastructure issues was more buses, and not even environmentally more advanced buses, while the yowling molochs of Murdoch somehow thought that Sydney central could cope with huge masses of motor cars. And still thinks it ...

The result? Well it's roughly like having Murdoch blogger and motorhead Tim Blair plan a city. A complete mess ...

To break Godwin's law just a little, you can almost begin to yearn for Napoleon tearing up Paris or Hitler commissioning Albert Speer to do his thing to Berlin ...

Enough already, next thing we'll be shedding a tear at the way the bulldozers at night have torn down the Capitol theatre in Tamworth, the Belle Vue Hotel at George and Alice Streets in Brisbane, or the fine old South Australian hotel on North Terrace (and more listed here in pdf form, the stuff of genuine conservatism).

But stay, you say, what's this about caring about urban environments? Isn't the pond devoted to matters of loonacy?

Oh okay, you're right, so come on down Miranda Devine.

A while ago, eternal bitch Devine put the high heel into Germaine Greer for Greer putting the boot into Julia Gillard's bum and dress sense. Not a good look Germaine, read the header, and it allowed the Devine to lead with the usual sort of mendacious tropes, stupidities and sillinesses for which she's renowned:

If Q and A has a raison d’être it is reflexive antagonism to Tony Abbott and John Howard.

Therefore it is fervently pro-Malcolm Turnbull. Whenever he appears, which is often, he gets applause when he just leans back in his chair.

Uh huh, so what has Gillard's bum size and Germaine Greer got to do with all of that? It's just so pitifully pathetic ...

Could it be that the Devine, who is at best a tepid, nervous and mediocre performer, especially on Q&A, where she's usually hesitant and insipid, is irritated by a program which she endorses by appearing on? Why doesn't she just ban it because of its pro-Turnbull leaning?

Never mind, because next, in typically prudish, should we mention it Catholic, fashion, the Devine's off like a hare chasing a joke about fisting gloves.

Why is that sort of rancid vulgarity acceptable on the taxpayer-funded broadcaster, anyway? Not just acceptable, but actively sought out and published.

And this from a woman who tweeted a joke about rogering gerbils, and did so of her own free will.

It took the rest of the week before anyone rose to the bait. Come on down Wendy Squires, scribbling Two words, feminists: lighten up for The Age, wherein she proposes a gibber test and suggests a ratio of 80/20 of sense to gibber as reasonable. As the Devine produces ninety per cent gibberish on any given day, Squires knew she was on a winner.

Of course where it's just a matter of noting that Gillard has a big bum (let those without a big bum or a big tum cast the first stone), it's all harmless fun, but then occasionally it turns vile, as in the Devine's incredibly cheap point scoring about the murderous rampage in France, which she headlined with Suspected murderer of French Jewish school children cornered, and you'll NEVER guess his name.

Yep, you'd almost swear that the Devine was pleased that the killer was named Mohammed, and you'd NEVER guess his name, because it stuck it to lefties and to some initial claims that the man might have been a racist white European.

Does anyone at any point ever find it tasteless that the likes of the Devine wants to make a political point out of mass murder, along the lines of "hah, he's more your sort of mass murderer than our sort of Norwegian Anders Behing Breivik mass murderer"?

Routinely now these eruptions get seized on, and celebrated along ideological lines, and usually in initial forays of half-baked misinformation. The Devine for example, quotes the murderer at his word about belonging to Al Qaeda, and only days later do we get an alternative with the story French gunman had 'no ties to al-Qaeda'.

Why does the commentariat always go off half-cocked?

About the only time there are valid political considerations, as opposed to a crazed loner going off the rails, is when it's soldiers pissing on the Qur'an or a crazed soldier taking out women and children, thereby severely undercutting the point and the trust in a military operation already in dire trouble.

But did you notice a word from the Devine on the matter of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales?

What you might have noticed, if you'd bothered to plunge into the cesspool of comments attached to the Devine column, were remarks like this:

Thank Allah our Muslims are different. We can thank Jooliar and Chris Bowen that the ones we take from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan are well adjusted after their sea cruise from Indonesia and aren’t suffering from PTSD etc.

That's precisely the sort of comment you get when you trawl with a tee hee header that shouts "and you'll NEVER guess his name."

And the Devine has the cheek to reprimand Greer for stating the bleeding obvious about Gillard's bum (and let he or she without a fat bum or tum throw the first stone).

What a stupid woman. Yes, you can say that about someone and mention their sex. Stupid and offensive.

Why doesn't she just go roger some gerbils.

(Below: okay, time to go down memory lane with First Dog, and roger those gerbils. Click to enlarge, find more First Dog here).