Monday, February 27, 2012

The Problem Must Be Flatulence...

CAN Julia Gillard get some clear air if she wins?Katharine Murphy in The Phage

Human Services Minister Brendan O'Connor says it is critical Ms Gillard gets clear air after the leadership ballot.Business Spectator

They owe the party a commitment to give Gillard the best chance of restoring Labor's fortunes. She needs clear air.Phillip Coorey in The Silly

Then, with clear air, the Government sells a competent budget and gets a boost from the tax cuts and pension increases in June. Then the polls start to riseTheir ABC’s Barrie Cassidy

… thereby giving Gillard clear air to the election, and a possible chance of defeating Tony Abbott.Ross Peake in The Phage

ALL THROUGH the afternoon it has been clear-air-this and clear-air-that and clear-air-everywhere else. Everyone is saying it on the radio as well, as became clear during an afternoon of Melbourne storms and traffic snarls. Heather Ewart on the 7 o’clock news just mulled the prospects for clean air, and if the ABC gets through what is left of the evening without “clean air” being uttered at least five more times on Q&A and Lateline it will be a marvel or, more likely, because you sat on the mute button.  Perhaps Ewart picked it up from hubby Barrie. Or maybe each seized independently on the seamanlike metaphor, originality and independent thought being hallmarks of Canberra’s analytic elite.

It is always good to observe the language evolve, especially so when it adopts a hot locution and in mere days flogs it half to death. But you really have to wonder in this case. “Clear air” lacks the zaniness of “all your base are belong to us” and while it has not yet been around quite long enough to grate like “world-class whatevers” it is certain to achieve that station soon.

A dreadful waste of personhours as well -- the entire Canberra gallery mouthing “clear air” to itself while nodding sagely.  Perhaps if only half those questers for truth were to stand about repeating the phrase, perhaps in a recognised location, the public might be better informed. It would be easier on the spinners if they could hand out the day’s catchphrase just once. Easier on shoe leather, more convenient for the reporters, and fewer carbon emissions, too, most likely.

And those other reporters, the ones liberated from the obligation to popularise a banality? Why, they could actually find interesting things to write about, and there are many of those.

Has anyone found and spoken with former prime ministerial party planner Tony Hodges? He was last seen in print on his way to London, but that was almost two weeks ago and the press corps does not seem any closer to having a word about Australia Day’s gathering of the tribes. Several reporters are said to have his SMS messages, but none have yet come forward to reveal their contents. Too busy stealing metaphors from honest sailors to spare a thought for how a race riot might have come to be provoked, could that be the reason?

Interesting stuff is all over the shop, and even an inquisitive Bunyip doesn’t have the time to satisfy every curiosity. A little help would be appreciated from the professionals. How much did Mark Arbib pay for that beachfront pad in Maroubra? What are those peculiarities which drew Coroner Alistair Hope’s attention to the contract of purchase for Christmas Island’s twin-hulled rescue boats, the vessels which could not put to sea when SIEV 221 went aground? Come Sunday, just for a little prurient fun before the gardening, it would be good to know if Craig Thomson is more often billed for overdue rental fees on blondes in blue lingerie or strapping women in leather.

There are so many little issues and inquiries a less preoccupied press might pursue, it will be a relief when the clear-air passion subsides and the gallery’s leading practitioners get back to work. As all now are saying of Gillard, a little clear air clear of clear air is all the opportunity they will need.

And that could happen … well, it should happen sooner or later.

31 comments:

  1. Just tell Marnferson to lay off the baked beans!

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  2. Can we trace it back to a single source?
    Seriously, is this just linguistic evidence of spontaneously emergent groupthink in a bunch of collective-thinkers, or are they carrying water under instruction?

    Sad thing is, it doesn't really matter which it is. Outcome is the same.

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    1. It was variation on the theme of "once and for all" as mouthed by many of Gillard and co over the weekend.
      Different words used to sound like something new to report. New news sells best. Even when it's not new.

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  3. The "clear air" epidemic actually started in the morning when the Press vultures gathered outside the caucus room (and in more remote locations) and blathered endlessly and inanely. I was channel-hopping at the time and, as a racing yachtsman of some years, the first instance caught my attention and I wondered, idly, if the air-head user really knew, or understood, the etymology of the term.
    From there on, as you point out, the "clear air" infection spread quicker than a dose of the clap at the seminary. As the mindless usage increased so too did my ire and my staff later told me that the howls of rage emanating from my office alarmed passers-by in the street outside. I really, really hate it when useful, succinct and telling words and phrases are turned into models of triteness by asinine overuse.
    Here endeth the lesson.

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    1. But surely you need clear air if you plan to keep 'going forward', which is now so all pervading that even cricketers are using it.

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    2. But who came up with it - a spin doctor presumably? - and various members of the gallery herd, for that's what they are, took it up slavishly, with hilarious results: they have been exposed as the compliant, obedient, useful idiots they are.

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  4. The clear air will enable the focus to return to "you", you who need her policies explained to you "more effectively". After several firm cuffs around the earhole you should have a greater appreciation for all those wonderful policies and achievements.

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  5. Do you mean 'clean air' or 'clear air' in the first paragraph?

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  6. Ewart and hubby Barrie ... that explains a lot.

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  7. Clearly a problem of inbreeding, with so many in Canberra inter-marrying / partnering up. Pauline Hanson's please explain was spot on, when there is obviously little separation of powers.
    Time to get the pollies back into their own communities before the lack ability for independent thought becomes something genetically more serious.

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  8. "clean air" is a term that has been "socialised" with the media brethren and they discovered they like it, so now it gets a proper outing.

    "socialised" is another term I'm hearing way too often e.g. I was at a conference last week in Canberra and the chief salesperson from an aircraft manufacturer, US based, was "socialising" his proposal for our country to buy more of their product .. at the price, it was the sort of "socialising" one does at the bar in a 5-Star hotel.

    Do try it, it feels great to be part of a herd and it's a very versatile term.

    Media people appear to do way too much "socialising" of what they do, to the point, they all do the same thing, as you point out, and only things which are currently popular.

    You seem to think they should race about independently doing investigative and digging up stuff and such. What a lonely concept, not much opportunity for mutual back-patting there

    Perhaps they need less of the "socialising" and more of the "independence" they claim to be, when they are challenged about their harmonious chanting.

    Mind you, a good chant or dirge, depends on your mood, can be entertaining, almost as good as half an hour on the back-patting machine!

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  9. She who smelt it, dealt it.

    I would be inclined to blame ALP "brainfarts" for the fug enveloping the Gillard government.

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  10. You silly duffer, perfessor. The quality media exists nowadays only to promote and protect The Cause, not to entertain outer-suburban bogans with stories about what is really going on in the world. I mean, who really needs to know why petrol prices are rising? Not dear enough, if you ask me. Filthy hydrocarbons.

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  11. "Interesting stuff is all over the shop, and even an inquisitive Bunyip doesn’t have the time to satisfy every curiosity"
    Translation - Bunyip has received today's briefing from Peta Credlin and Brian Loughnane (sweet couple - can't be any of the above mentioned political inbreeding or groupthink happening here - they're conservatives after all) and is having trouble finding the time to complete their checklist.

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    1. Piss off, you ill-bred simpleton. Our host has magnanimously printed your insult. He shouldn't have. Fuck off back to your dirt floor hovel and talk to your own family of quadrupeds.

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    2. Teach, I can tell you're off the weed as the spelling mistakes have subsided, but you're still spouting pure batshit. Get back on the billys, at least that way you have some excuse.

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    3. Linguistics is not your strong suit. Take Tom's advice.

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    4. What is he trying to...? I don't get what... Huh?

      I refuse to believe this man is a former soldier. I've known a hell of a lot of soldiers, and all of them are of at least average intelligence. They can string a sentence together, for one thing.

      God Bless all our men and women in uniform, both overseas and at home.

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  12. What did the Phat Phart from Radio National have to say?

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  13. Idiots. Utter, bleeding morons.

    Thank goodness I never watch, read or listen to them.

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  14. Dear Professor,
    I hate to draw it to your attention, but your question concerning Maroubra waterfront real estate values has been answered in part by (drum roll) The Silly:
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/link-by-link-the-powerbrokers-of-the-right-emerge-20111121-1nr08.html#ixzz1nYZxiDVT
    The Silly - doing investigative reporting. Who knew?
    No wonder Arbib wants to spend more time with his family. Who wouldn't, with such attractive family dwellings. And there's a HSU link. Williamson's daughter on Gillard's staff! Nice to keep it all in the family. John Maitland - hero of the CFMEU - turns out to be really good ant this capitalist thingy.
    How do like them apples, Numbers? Be thankful The Professor is busy - be very thankful.

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    1. "How do like them apples, Numbers?"
      Couldn't give a proverbial if you must know. Good luck to Arbib. I could understand that you might be upset. Can't have Labor people financially successful - contradicts the stereotype...

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    2. Kate McClymont does a pretty good job of investigative reporting for the Silly but unfortunately has rarely been permitted to get her fangs into political corruption at the higher levels.She's done sterling work on the HSU matter and the best is still to come but even better she's now on the ICAC inquiry into Rocky Gattelari's revelations which are expected to stretch way beyond Wagonga Land Council dealings.

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    3. What would be really newsworthy is the discovery of a NSW Labor politician with no links to the Obeid family.

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    4. Everybody likes to see hard work and thrift rewarded, Numbers. It's just that those qualities do not seem to be on display here. But then you're a numbers man. And you seem, like me, to be faceless. Probably a card carrying member of the NSW Right on those two signifiers alone.

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  15. Watching the live coverage of the spill yesterday, it was instructive to see the group dynamics of the assembled journalists at "work". At some point much earlier than the announcement, word spread that the result was 73-29, alleged sourced from a tweet by Coorey. Several journos instantly retold this without hesitation. When the actual result 71-31 was officially announced the immediate reaction of journos was to question whether there had been a recount. Instinctive reaction to cover their "credibility".

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  16. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.February 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    There is no clear air around sewers, Prof, just a miasma of Labor stenches.

    Here's a thought. If Gillard needs clear air, pack her off to the bottom of Tasmania. Bobby boy could host. Air there comes straight up from the Antarctic. Might help to freeze her out, too. They have to plan for that.

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  17. The Old and Unimproved DaveFebruary 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    The Race Riot story is like a big ol' comet about to plough into the planet Jupiter.

    The Deep Thinkers don't concern themsleves overly much with certain things, so the way is open to amateurs to discover them and forever get THEIR names on the story.

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  18. I think their mentions of 'clear air' could also be unknowing references to this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlqab5pMmuc
    … if Josh can, so also Julia.

    Cheers

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  19. I am just grateful that "We are Us" hasn't caught on as we move forward.

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  20. A bit more than the air needs clearing. The challenge is more akin to clearing the Augean stables. Where's Hercules when you need him?

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