The pond is always on the quest for the perfect commentariat rant, and truth to tell, it's been slim pickings of late.
Your classic commentariat rant should always purport to be a rational, sane contribution to policy debates and discussions, but just simmering beneath the surface, there should be a stew of completely irrational hysteria and hate, decorated with lashings of abuse, over-heated rage, fear, loathing, froth and foam, preferably with a dash of paranoia.
One of the classic ways of achieving this is to lump together all sorts of disparate issues, unlinked except in the ranter's mind, as the ranger proceeds to link them together and blame them on "the other", the different, and anyone who dares to see things slightly differently.
A sure guide to a classic rant is the header.
Now if it's a desiccated Henry Ergas header, or a pompous fly-blown Paul Kelly header - today's example is High-stakes test for the nation - you're entitled to immediately nod off and indulge in a quick cat nap.
No, what's needed for a classic spray is something feisty, like You're all a bunch of fucking idiots. Yes, you!
Of course for the MSM, the fucking is a tad tricky, so Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen settles for next best with Leftist jargon is village idiocy (behind the paywall to keep you on an even keel), and never mind if that offends your average village idiot, because everyone knows there's no problem offending retards, losers, dropkicks and the handicapped if it's all in a good cause. Anything else would be terribly PC, and as we all know, all youse PC types can just get fucked ...
Anyhoo, it turns out that there's nothing more certain to irritate an Eastern suburbs type than people standing in the way of progress, and lordy lordy, is Dame Slap mad as hell:
Around where I live, there has been a recent campaign to "Save Bronte Village." I've lived here for more than 20 years and I've never heard the old set of shops up the road from me be referred to as a village. It's just your regular strip of shops.
Now stop right there.
In its day, back in the twentieth century, when the pond was more high-falutin' and up market, a regular swish and a swell, it had several friends who lived in Bronte, and they referred to it as a village. Most areas the pond has lived in Sydney considers itself a village, though there's really no more pitiful village than Kirribilli.
In fact, Sydney has long thought of itself as an aggregation of villages, partly because of the difficulties of getting around, which sees people stick to their own tribal villages. A bit like those hapless Melburnians who get the fear of dragons when they cross the Yarra.
The pond knows of eastern suburbs types who get the shakes if they head further west than Surry Hills, and frankly the pond can get nose bleed shifting from Newtown to Erko village, and their valiant campaign to cut a supermarket down to size.
But if you're determined on a rant, talk of ethnography or geography or sociology isn't the main game. It's the rant:
...a small group of locals started calling it "Bronte Village" as a ploy to stop a large fruit and vegetable shop opening. We might call it progress. Nothing radical, just a new, bigger shop that sells stuff we need, like fresh fruit and vegetables. The activists call it destroying a village.
You have to hand it to this group of malcontents. They know how to steal a word, make it their own, and then flog it to stop progress. The other day a woman from outside the suburb asked me for directions to "Bronte Village." I told her there is no village here, just a set of shops up the road. Nonplussed she walked on in search of a village.
Now who are these malcontent, ne'er do well, activist ratbag leftist idiots?
Well it turns out that they include the hyphenated Bruce Notley-Smith, the Liberal party member for Coogee, who dared to attend a "Save Bronte Village" Rally:
...I joined in the rally to protect this special part of Bronte from becoming a victim of overdevelopment and ensure that local residents have their voice heard by the developers and Waverley Council.
It was great to see so many turn out on Saturday in support of their community. I look forward to closely following the steps in this process to ensure the future of Bronte Village remains in the hands of the community.
It confirmed everything the pond feared about lickspittle village idiot Liberal party stooges, always ready to pretend they cared abut the community.
Oh for Dame Slap to bite off his head with a sharp snap, nonplussing this wretch by reminding him there's no such thing as society, just a bunch of buildings ...
Never mind, back to the rant, because you see once you've lumped everybody into the wash - no you shouldn't mix socks and shirts and hyphenated Liberals with radicals - you're ready to embark on the full-blooded part of the rant, but first you need a name to outrage you, one that is as shocking as the concept of villages:
This is what the Left does best. Find some sweet-sounding words, repackage them as a beguiling catch-cry for a campaign, and you're on your way. Soon enough careers and industries are built around a few words - words like "social inclusion" - even though no one knows what the words mean. But when your currency is emotion, logic takes a back seat. That's why words matter more for those on the Left. By contrast, those on the other side of politics focus more on tedious matters such as outcomes and empirical evidence.
Yes, damn you, state leftist progressive village idiot state Liberal MPs, where's your tedious focus on outcomes and empirical evidence. But what to call you and your lickspittle talk of community? (You dangerous radical ratbag, how dare you talk of amenity and village character, wash out your mouth)
Think I'm being too tough on so-called progressives? Start with the misappropriation of that word. Progressive. For decades, so-called progressives championed symbolic, feel-good politics for indigenous people. They talked of treaties and cultural identity, collective land ownership, "rights" agendas, the need for more hand-outs. This was the "progressive" agenda, they told us. And don't dare mention other words like "assimilation". That's the other tactic. Find a word and demonise it, to demonise your opponents.
Assimilation became a dirty word and along with it the notion that indigenous people aspire to what non-indigenous people want - a home, a job, a life based on individual desires rather than collective agendas. After 30 years, there was nothing remotely progressive about the outcomes; the so-called progressive agenda entrenched misery in indigenous communities.
There you go, that's how it's done. You've moved from a state Liberal MP chatting about Bronte village to progressives to indigenous issues, and next thing you know Dame Slap is lining up beside the rough Brough to arrange an invasion of the Northern Territory, with bonus control of indigenous spending by government. And the way these assorted policies flamed out in a spectacular way is all the fault of progressives ....
By now surely you're catching the art of the rant.
Don't hold back, don't consider subtleties and nuance, lump all you hate into a basket and bash away, casting sweeping nasturtiums:
Facing the facts, many on the Left now accept that welfare dependency and rights agendas won't deliver a better life, but it's easy to forget how long unorthodox ideas - such as getting people off welfare - were treated with contempt.
Yes, because progressives everywhere know that living on cat food to eke out your welfare payment to the end of the week, is a life of unadulterated luxury, and working on the check outs so you can afford to buy a better brand of cat food shouldn't be treated with contempt, not as you ponce around Bronte village, telling the natives they've never had it so good, thanks to a mall coming into a retail wilderness to give them the very best competitive range of cat foods to choose from. Because we all need choice ...
Oops, you can see how meaningless ranting is so appealing and catching.
And naturally, once you're on a roll, the foam-flecked spittle is spraying into the air, you're ready to move on to other issues, and naturally that's how the ABC is ruining the nation, and how awful it is to talk about compassion:
As for the Left's lingua franca about asylum-seekers, the trick is to claim sole moral ownership of the word "compassion." If you reject their policies of open borders, onshore processing and no detention centres, then, ergo, you lack compassion. You are not entitled to use that word. Worse, you are nasty, fearful, intolerant and, of course, xenophobic. The Greens and many within the Labor Party are members of this compassion con. And so are many within our national broadcaster. Just a few recent examples: earlier this month, after yet more asylum-seekers - including a baby - died at sea, ABC News Radio ran an online survey asking listeners whether they supported (a) a tougher line (b) a more compassionate approach; or (c) the existing policy. More akin to push polling, note the sly use of "compassion" as if only an easing of border policy can deliver compassionate outcomes. The results surely disappointed the ABC compassionistas: 70 per cent of respondents wanted tougher measures.
Ah, the wretched ABC. But note the sly use of the word "compassionistas", which it has to be said, is right up there with fashionistas and warmistas ... so clever, this tasty reductionist sauce ...
So now you've reduced your enemy to a word, a nasty, fearful, intolerant and of course xenophobic word, you can maintain the heat on the ABC:
The compassion con has been one of the greatest frauds perpetuated on this nation. When Barrie Cassidy - host of ABC1's Insiders - recently interviewed Immigration Minister Tony Burke about the so-called "PNG Solution," he said "Where is the compassion in the new policy?"
Yes indeed. Likely after this you'll want a test to root out, weed out, these useless sentimental folk and their pathetic addiction to compassion. Here's the go. Challenge anyone carrying on like a bleeding heart to leave their youngest child out in the snow overnight. If finding snow is an issue, challenge them to put the child in a chaff bag and throw it out to sea, in approved Alan Jones style. Set the example yourself, just to show how it's done ...
The next step of course is to celebrate John Howard's tough policies and excoriate the Labour party. But the pond doesn't do spoilers - well not too many - so let's cut to the chase and the righteous triumphalism:
Once again, so-called progressives have been forced to face the facts, but for too long they relied on the "compassion" word to win arguments. If the Left's use of sweet sounding words was harmless, we might forgive them as irrelevant Utopian dreamers. Sadly, the Left's emotional catch-phrases have led to disastrous consequences - and that's why exposing their hypocrisy is critical.
Uh huh. Now remember, you've got to here by starting off with talk of a Bronte village, featuring a state Liberal MP. It takes a particular skill to berate anyone interested in a "fair go" as rabid ratbag delusionistas. But that's Dame Slap at her finest:
There are plenty of other examples. Words like "social inclusion," "social justice", "human rights" are used to claim the high moral ground, often delivering nothing very moral at all. The Left will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required.
Yes fuck all this talk about a fair go, or human rights or other nebulous airy fairy chatter.
Okay, if you've hung in this far, you'll realise that trading in emotion is entirely the point, and reason and philosophical consistency aren't required, at least not in Dame Slap's world.
If they were, she might have instead spent her column bemoaning the fate of whistleblower Bradley Manning, or hailing Edward Snowden for revealing the extent of government spying, or urging a vote for Julian Assange as a way of sticking it to people who attack Wikileaks libertarian activities ... but naturally she's not really interested in free speech, not when it comes to maintaining a decent security apparatus. In that context, defending the basic human right to free speech, and the right of whistleblowers to bring information to the attention of the world at large would be a bridge too far ...
By this point, you'll possibly also realise you're actually listening to the empty braying of a rabid ideologue, doing a pot and kettle routine, and with a deft change of a few words, the rhetoric is interchangeable:
The Right will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable right-wing agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required
Okay, if you've hung in this far, you'll be demanding a light tough, a comedy moment, to wrap it all up. So you've done indigenous and you've done refugees and you've done progressives and you've done Bronte village and state Liberal MPs. What else?
Why Queen Liz and the monarchy natch.
Take the focus on the royal family. Last week, following the birth of a new prince to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the usual smug, mocking overtures emerged from people like Jon Faine - host of local ABC radio in Melbourne - about the antiquated monarchy. Yet, I'm willing to bet the same people who would happily mow down that bit of our heritage would be keen members of the "Save Bronte Village" campaign. Save a village that doesn't exist but scrap the centuries-old monarchy, in the name of, well, progress. Go figure.
What a perfect conflation. Bronte village and the centuries-old monarchy.
Truly you couldn't invent this sort of splenetic caper - oh okay maybe David Flint could - but at least you can understand why there are so many servile confused lickspittle Australian monarchists out there.
It seems that Prince Chuck is part of our cultural heritage.
Ah well, it's going to be a hard rain that'll fall when Dame Slap gets around to discovering the environmental, greenie, progressive bees buzzing around in Chuckie's bonnet ...
Meanwhile, please allow the pond to award Dame Slap the prize for the rant of the week, high in the competition for rant of the month, and possibly rant of the year ... and all thanks to a state Liberal MP prattling about Bronte village ...
(Below: now remember, be firm, be very, very firm. And remember, if any innocent approaches you asking for directions, bite their bloody heads off, and leave them confused and non-plussed. It's a way of showing your very own brand of compassion and care).
(Below: by request)