WHEN this little blog was re-animated, one of the founding resolutions concerned Phillip Adams, whose dotage earned him the quiet promise of immunity from correction. Let the poor old chap enjoy his twilight, that was the sentiment, for we all grow grey and weary, and surely it is the essence of Christian charity to ignore an old man’s howling on the heath, no matter how annoying. Unfortunately, as the pack of Camels beside the Billabong’s computer attests, strength of will is not a Bunyip’s strong suit, and after the past few weeks of the Philcher’s offerings in The Australian’s weekend magazine, the temptation to note that the Living Treasure is almost every week dead wrong about something or other has become irresistible.
July 9: Yes, let us lecture them [the Chinese], particularly on human rights. But let us not pretend we do so with a scintilla of moral authority.
Forced abortions, the imprisonment of dissidents, troublemakers treated to a bullet behind the ear – these, according to the Philcher, are no worse than “Canberra’s sleazy approach to refugees”
July 16: Other examples of erotic excess include the Sun King’s romantic accommodations for Marie Antoinette.
Were funds for Le Petit Trianon’s construction set aside in the Louis XIV’s will? He died in 1715, four decades before Antoinette was born. Adams is thinking, after a fashion, of Louis XVI, who was so renowned for “erotic excess” that
he went to the guillotine without an heir his marriage is said by some to have taken seven years to consummate. (Bless me readers, for the Professor has sinned. Commenter Deadman points out that Louis XVI did leave an heir, Louis XVII, who died at the age of 10 in a French prison.)
July 23: Academics were, shudder, elitist. As were the Bradmans of science when they raised the issue of global warming..
Meet one of Adams' “Bradmans of science”.
July30: I remember a dinner with Rupert and his then wife Anna in London, in 1971. Rupert was already loathed in London. “The dirty digger” as Private Eye called him was being blamed, absurdly in my view, for debauching the standards of Fleet Street. It is convenient to forget that Robert Maxwell, for example, had set the highest standards for personal, corporate and journalistic sleaze.
Maxwell did not buy Mirror Newspapers until 1984, quite a few years after Murdoch endured the Philcher’s dinner conversation. In 1971, Maxwell’s media holdings consisted of a large commercial printer and recent, bitter memories of being forced to sell scientific publisher Pergamon Press, having been criticized by regulators as a person unfit to “exercise stewardship over a publicly quoted company.”
And in today's magazine? Well, the Olive Rancher keeps his record intact.
August 6: A visit to Westminster Abbey presents the same propositions in the mighty marble tombs of generals and admirals that have all the plum positions whilst a few artists are squeezed into the cramped slum of Poet’s Corner.
Relatively few military men are buried in Westminster Abbey, although it does boast the Tomb of The Unknown Warrior and a number of generals whose placement would seem more beholding to noble birth than achievements on the field of battle. The Abbey does have a fine bust of Nelson, but his body is interred at St Paul’s, where the Poms prefer to plant their martial and naval heroes, Nelson and Wellington topping the list.
Rupert Murdoch has been copping a lot of grief lately for the allegedly poor standards of the material his newspapers publish. In Phillip Adams the critics definitely have a point.