Friday, February 10, 2012

An Apology To Mr Graeme Wood

IT IS NEVER easy to express remorse, but an apology is certainly owed to Global Mail patron and online travel tycoon Graeme Wood, whose Wotif booking service was mentioned below for producing an ad featuring the torture of squid.  There was the reek of hypocrisy about the ad, that ill-considered post asserted, as Wood is a keen and generous supporter of the Greens, whose advocacy of animal rights and vegetarian patties is no secret.  How could such a high-minded fellow put to air an ad that mined cash from cruelty?

It has become clear that post should never have been written, that Graeme Wood adheres to a code of consistent principles, and that it was the Professor’s mistake to think otherwise.

Yes, the squid did not appear to enjoy being chewed upon, but it is now apparent  their pain was of no consequence when examined from the high ground of the Greens’ broader and loftier  perspectives. The revelation came in Wotif’s defence before the Advertising Standards Bureau, which received numerous complaints about the promotion. That cruelty needed to be ignored, Wotif asserted, because the ad actually celebrated the much more important goal of fostering and accepting cultural diversity.

There is no way a humble Bunyip’s paraphrase can do justice to Wotif’s argument, so readers should read the relevant passages for themselves -- especially those readers who are contemplating taking their travel business to companies other than Wotif.com:

… it is important to note the creative intention of the advertisement, namely to highlight examples of unheard of or otherwise off-beat and far-flung travel destinations where certain human behaviour, cultural practices and favourite past-times may differ vastly from what many Australians might consider acceptable or normal …

… the Wotif.com TVC is set in a fictional, small rural community somewhere nondescript and depicts what appears to be a long-running and very popular form of entertainment for that community, namely ‘squid bobbing’, as part of the town’s annual squid festival…

… We acknowledge that some people, including the complainants in this case, may object to the practice of ‘squid bobbing’ because they believe it is cruel to the squid. However, the same could be said by outside observers in relation to numerous cultural practices and past-times all over the world (including Australia) which are nevertheless considered normal and lawful within the relevant culture. For example, many people vehemently object to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, however this activity continues to be an important and popular cultural event in Spain …

Well that did it for the Professor, whose limited imagination, inability to perceive nuance and absolutist frame of mind would never, ever have considered the mistreatment of cattle in Spain to be an iron-bound justification for the mistreatment of fish in Australia.

But you live and learn. Wotif and Mr Wood have the Billabong’s full apology – and, as a token of remorse, the offer of a contribution toward his friends' travel expenses should Bob Brown, Christine Milne and Adam Runt decide to celebrate cultural diversity by setting to sea with a Japanese whaler, clubbing a baby seal with the Inuit or, and this would make a great holiday destination, cheering the action in an Indonesian abattoir.    

30 comments:

  1. Whose limited rhymes with News Limited. Just saying.

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  2. Oh hang your head in shame Prof. You just don't understand the nuances of the Green-Brown religion. Perhaps a re-education camp is in order.
    -Carl

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  3. You just don't get it, do you, Bunyip? Graeme is a member of the oppressed 99% and was gifted his millions by Gaia, not to improve living conditions for animals, but to fight the catastrophic evil of humans; not in a dumb way like the Christians, but in a really cool, fashionable way that makes him an object of admiration by tertiary educated simpletons.

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  4. Tom: Thanks for you tips over the past week or so. If you want to drop a direct line to the Billabong, try bunyipitude-AT-hotmail

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  5. The Old and Unimproved DaveFebruary 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    "and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

    And here were we thinking this applied to all mankind, not just card-carrying atheist Greens.

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    1. I know what creepeth in Wood's response...and it isn't the squid!

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  6. What a whacky cultural practice! Next up female genital mutilation and canine torture.

    Recommend Bunyip have a squiz at the "Dumb, drunk and racist" news item that came out overnight. ABC TV crew sets out to confront the racist side of white Australia and finds a more brutal foe.

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  7. And I thought nobody cared about invertebrates. There are at least two places in the world, one in Japan and the other in Scandinavia, where the slaughter of whales & dolphins rather bloodily would leave bull-fighting for dead in the multicultural steeple-chase that travel agents like this would see fit to promote.

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  8. Everyone can enjoy clubbing seals, Bunyip. No need to be so uppity about it.

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  9. Re: Sending the Greens off with a Japanese Whaler...

    Last year I was listening in on a lecture given by a climate alarmist in the US who informed the class that many moons ago Polynesian man would navigate the Pacific Islands in his canoe using his testicles as a navigation system! (I have not not made this bit up.) Is such a feat possible? Could we throw away our electronic devices and loosen our underpants and guide the Greens to a better world?...

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    1. Huh! You are making up that! We know where a man's brains are; and that men never 'ask the way'; and we know that a man can be led by the scrotum. But navigate? Never!
      Correction. What if the gently swinging orbs took on the function of Foucault's pendulum? That might help to some extent.

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    2. I don't know why you find the concept so difficult Frank.

      For Polynesian man heading south testicles shrink, heading north testicles enlarge, heading east or west testicles remain unchanged.

      It's the opposite for Aleutian man.

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    3. lol... Frank, I'm sure Bob Brown would enjoy using that as a form of navigation... not just in a canoe either.

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    4. He was just saying they had balls...

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  10. I understand they were more user friendly than the sextant and using them produced better results. Michael Jackson was well known for embracing this age-old method as a demonstration of his cultural diversity. Shames he got lost.

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  11. What is it with "past-times"? Can't they write English for God's sake?

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  12. Hypocritical bastards are never in the wrong .They would make any excuse for their holier than thou attitude as in Hanson Young's "accidents happen" comment.Sentient beings are expendable to the greater green Gaia.

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  13. Frank, is it possible for you to elaborate on the "testicle navigation technique"?
    My GPS is due for replacement, and this Polynesian method could certainly save me some money?
    I realise the technique is blatantly sexist, as clearly it's only for men, but I am willing to overlook this failing.

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    1. That is actually how the sextant got its name in navigation. It's the opposite of sexist and the Polynesian rough translation for it is "hold oneself by the testicles and squeeze" - European navigators spent countless hours plotting with the sextant when all they had to do was grab a cluster and wait for the pointer to activate.

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  14. "… We acknowledge that some people, including the complainants in this case, may object to the practice of ‘squid bobbing’ because they believe it is cruel to the squid. However, the same could be said by outside observers in relation to numerous cultural practices and past-times all over the world "

    But Wotif instigates a cruel practice. Invents it out of thin air and portrays it graphically for its own profit.

    It's worse than 10:10 blowing up infidel children for the cause.

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  15. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.February 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Oh Professor, what a man you are! A fascinating apology, delivered like a true male of the species; unstinting, humble, knowledgeable and sincere. Some special men are so good at these, I know from my own relationship experiences.

    Your generous recognition of your multiple faults and failings must surely calm the disturbed spirits of Mr. Wotif, a man of a rather different and more wiltingly green cast of virility, I wot. Wot I don't understand is why his support of some very wayward cultural ways is so curiously admired by his legion of goblin followers.

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  16. The best bit is how they seemlessly construct their defence as if squid bobbing is a real practice that requires some cultural sensitivity, rather than a one off event made up by the wotif adverisers.

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  17. One of the most delicate pieces of writing I have seen in a long time (outside of Kevin Myers' columns.) Congratualtions. And long may your willy grow.

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  18. That's all well and good,you might be sorry, but I do wonder about Mr Wood.

    I think he might just as well have torn up his $15mill, as Ms Attard has no clue how this website will achieve anything like paying for itself, but assures us that she has five years' funding in the bag.

    What sort of person throws that sort of money about for no return at all and little hope of lasting satisfaction?

    What happens to the website and Ms Attard should it all survive five eyars-- seems a bit chancy to me-- but still be doing a "Fairfax" at the end of the five years?

    Who would want to take over the "investment"?
    (My poodle offers the suggestion "Gina Rhinehart")

    And that's without opining that $15mill could have saved quite a few starving Biafrans for longer than 5 years ,I'm sure, and earned the philanthropist a lot more kudos Australia wide!

    Perhaps I'm wrong, too, and Mr Wood and Ms Attard will jump the shark and convert loads of Aussies to their philosophical and ideological views.

    But I'm sure not going to bet on it,as I think pigs might sooner fly!

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  19. Boxing the compass was very painful. Also, older mariners had trouble keeping their needles pointing north for any length of time

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  20. Re: "mistreatment of fish in Australia" - I'm sure you are well aware that the octopus is not a fish, Prof, but a cephalopod mollusc.

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  21. Thank you, blogstrop. You are correct, but if it can be sliced, dipped in batter, deep fried and served with chips and a pickled onion, it is fish enough for this hungry fellow.

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  22. I booked a hotel and had squid (is a squid related to an octopus?) - fried - beautiful they were - thank you Mr Wood - your ad made my mouth water. Had Ms Attard's Shark Fin soup straight after!

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  23. Dibs on the Seal Clubbing booth at the next county fair...

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  24. A Song for the Times:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k76IGLi6jWI

    Cheers

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