Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Age Meets Some Typical Readers

IN today’s Sunday Phage, reporter John Elder, who must be sorely in need of a bath, tells of his week embedded with the City Square rabble. He slept with them, he ate with them, he communed with them – and now he wants you know the image presented by the profit-driven media, a category that no longer includes Fairfax publications, was scandalously, slanderously wrong. Yes, there were dreadlocks and green hair aplenty, and “the poor skin of hardcore green and socialist-left protesters”, but the untold story was of all the normal, meek and mild Melbournians who turned out for a better world. That was the angle every other media outfit missed, and Elder feels obliged to set the record straight by quoting a representative sampling of the “many … who decided to stand against the police [and] were not part of the abusive shouting contingent that dominated the media coverage.”

Given that Elder spent the week in their company, his lack of curiosity about the upstanding citizens he quotes is, well, par for the course at The Age.

Take Nicola Paris, for example, whom Elder describes only as “a former nanny and now full-time activist”. She is a bit more than that, having shipped out three years in a row as the resident vegan cook aboard the Sea Shepherd. As for being a laid-back, no-trouble sort of gal, WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert might tell another story, having fired Paris after her staffer was arrested for taking part in a violent scuffle with police outside the office of then-Science Minister Julie Bishop. (Memo to Elder: when even the Greens regard you as a ratbag, you’re a ratbag absolutely.)

Then there is psychologist Jane Morton, 58, who is “ ‘Just someone having a quiet professional life … part of the 99 per cent who wants a safe future for their kids’.''

The only problem with that worthy goal is Morton’s belief it can be achieved only by shutting down the LaTrobe Valley and banning the use and export of coal after 2020. She advances the cause by cluttering the entrance to local member Martin Ferguson’s office and editing voluminous position papers on the need to shut down the carboniferous economy yesterday.

After that, there is still time in Morton’s “quiet professional life” to indulge her interest in other worthy causes, which she lists on her Facebook page. There are a lot of them: Rising Tide North America, Six De6rees, The Story of Stuff Project, Beyond Zero Emissions, Friends of the Earth International, The Transition Decade 2010 - 2020, Avaaz, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, OurSay Australia, Wikileaks, friends don't let friends vote for Tony Abbott, 10:10 Western Australia, Occupy Melbourne, Join me and take online action now for Aussie forests - No Harvey No!, Stop the Machine! Create a New World, Farms Not Fossil Fuels - No New Coal Mine In Bacchus Marsh, The Global Mail, ACF: Protecting the Kimberley, Tar Sands Action, Your ABC. Worth fighting for, Climate Reality, NewsStand: Standing Up for Fair and Diverse News, Black Saturday Community Organiser Arrested by 'Baillieu\Ryan' Government for Defending the Last Remaining Green Forests in Toolangi / SAVE Sylvia Creek Toolangi / Community / MyEnvironment Inc - My Environment, urban support for rural communities fighting coal and coal seam gas development, Stop the National Schools Chaplaincy Program, Peaceful Uprising, 10,000,000 Strong for Comprehensive Climate Legislation, Democracy Now!, Huon Valley Environment Centre, Petition International Criminal Court to Investigate Sri Lanka's war crimes against Tamils., Yarra Climate Action Now, Save The Kimberley, GetUp!, The Oil Drum, 'Better Access' to Psychologists, Support decriminalisation of Homosexuality at UN!, Boycott Network 10 and their Ultra Right-wing Andrew Bolt show, Saving the Nature of the Kimberley, Footprints for Peace, Free Kids Inhalers from Coal Cares, Say Yes Australia, No Fracking Way, Virginia Rising: Stop Mountain Top Coal Removal Now, IPS Inter Press Service News Agency, Christine Milne, Save The Murray, A Climate for Change, Protect Native Forests for Climate Security, Presidential Pardon for Tim Dechristopher, Climate Summit 2011, Stop HRL - No new coal power for Victoria, Unfriend Coal, 100% Renewable, Camp for Climate Action Australia, Appalachia Rising, The Psychological Flexibility Group, Janet Rice for Footscray, PNC: Stop Funding Mountaintop Removal, HELP!!! Recognise Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution, Stop Native Forest Fueled Electricity in Australia, Amnesty International NYC Women Human Rights Action Team,, Union of Concerned Scientists, Perfect Connection Golf Swing, League of Conservation Voters, HANDS OFF COUNTRY - Help us to save a beautifull place of Australia!, Australian Student Environment Network, 1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling,, Coal Free Future Project, Australia Needs a Carbon Tax, Everest Women 7 Summits Eco-Action, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, International Youth Climate Movement, Camp for Climate Action, Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Finally, the gently quoted Fran Murrell, who swears, “'I'm not a youthful radical. I'm from a nice middle-class family concerned with our food supply” – especially food grown and marketed by capitalism’s earth-raping tractor panzers. As Fran puts it, “Business extremism endangers us all. We live on a finite planet and yet have an economic system that collapses without continuous growth.”

It took about 15 minutes to Google the backgrounds of those harmless, altruistic souls. Given that Elder was on hand for a week in which his fellow campers enjoyed free and unlimited internet access courtesy of the nearby Westin Hotel, whose WiFi network the protesters hacked, you might think he would have found a moment between the singing and chanting, the assemblies and vegan curries, to do, you know, just a little research.


  1. an earth raping tractor panzer??!? :)

    Oh boy! Get me to ebay. I got to get me one of those puppies :)

  2. Maybe JE was always in hurry after consuming a vegan curry to really get to know what was really going on. The whole thing reminded me of the sixties, something that completely whizzed past me as I was too busy studying for my future rewards.

  3. "Second, mainstream media in the US and Britain are becoming supportive of the movement as their audiences voice a similar disquiet with social inequality."

    Is a baffling assertion. Where is he getting that idea?

  4. Good 'ol John Elder, easily manipulated even if you give him the benefit of the Stockholm Syndrome (which I don't).

    His little tale should be stuck well between his legs..

  5. Perhaps he was told by the " green fairies" who haunt these " protests" or the ghost of Vladimir Ilich ?

  6. Mark Bolton: From The Grauniad, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times I'm guessing.

  7. Why not post about the unmentionable, Bunyip, the issue behind the protest - instead of endlessly sniping at the protestors? Are you afraid that the mere mention of corporate greed and financial fraud might scare the bejusus out of your delicate readers? Perhaps they might even read a little history - could be dangerous.
    Or perhaps it wouldn't be good form to consider how many dole cheques it would take to add up to the biggest welfare cheque in history ($US700 billion) which was written to Wall Street during the GFC?
    It's much easier (and a sign of gross intellectual cowardice) to snipe at the protestors – reminds me of a dingo we baited a few months ago – either howling at the moon or worrying the sheep. There’s plenty of them (sheep that is) grazing here.
    Your hypocrisy is ripe and thoroughly on the nose on this issue.
    Care for a little debate on our financial system, and the perils of market fundamentalism?
    Come on – be brave.

  8. "instead of endlessly sniping at the protestors"

    Teach, you get an F for comprehension. This post concerned the Age journalist's shortcomings in his article. Back of the class; dunce cap, you know the drill.

  9. earth raping tractor panzers. best band name ever!

  10. "Or perhaps it wouldn't be good form to consider how many dole cheques it would take to add up to the biggest welfare cheque in history ($US700 billion) which was written to Wall Street during the GFC?"

    The "biggest welfare cheque in history" would be the one Obama wrote for various American welfare recipients in 2010. That would be $888 billion. Yes, in one year. Yes, that's more than BusHITLERcheneyburton spent on Iraq during his entire time in office, which also kills another of your memes dead.

    Cite: "President Obama’s welfare spending will reach $888 billion in a single fiscal year--2010--more than the Bush administration spent on war in Iraq from the first “shock and awe” attack in 2003 until Bush left office in January."

    And, of course, more than was allegedly (according to you, but with no backing facts) spent "bailing out Wall Street".

    And you call for a debate on facts...?

  11. @ Mark
    So you're OK with Bailing out corporate smartarses and financial fraudsters, but not providing the means to exist for people with disabilities, frail seniors, and the millions unemployed in the home of the slave, the land of the free lunch?
    Interesting set of values you carry there.

  12. "1735099 said...
    @ar - Baaaaaaa"

    Oh dear. I see the teach has been at his crazy pills again.

    You'll have to forgive him (despite the fact that he's a very, very cross little dude evedn at the best of times).

    These events seem to overly excite him, and I'm guessing the overmedication stems from badly shaking hands and sentiment-bleared eyes (I've heard tell The Internationale can bring many a tear to an aged revolutionary's rheumy eye) groping an over-full 'medicine' cabinet.

  13. Hey, numbers, can you give one example of so-called 'corporate greed', how it manifested itself and how it affected you?

    Just one. In specifics. I'd be particularly interested to find out how the corporation coerced people to deal with it in the first place.

    Details, please. Ta.

  14. "endlessly sniping at the protestors"

    You know for someone who constantly draws attention to their ex army history, you would think that Numbers actually knew what sniping means.

    We aren't actually 'sniping' at protestors, this is more a full regimental fire mission thickened with naval gunfire.

    These 1% friends of yours are open to mocking and laughter by the 98% because in their own words they don't have a point. They are just sulking people upset because the rest of the world got a job, got some money and now has nice shiney things as a reward and they, haven't decided to sleep in and blame 'the man' haven't.

    As for your other comments about millions unemployed in the home of the slave I assume you are talking about China because here in (important word coming up) AUSTRALIA there aren't even a million unemployed.

    (Aug 11 figures from ABS say 625,000 unemployed)

    So if you want to sit in the streets of AUSTRALIA and moan about something that isn't happening here and 98% of the people can't relate to then don't get upset when that 98% start laughing their guts out.

    PS - good luck with the dingos :)

  15. @Jack Lactose
    Well for starters there was Vodaphone who sold me a wireless plan that didn't work. It took me twelve months, threats (from them) of legal action because I refused to pay for a service that didn't work, and action from the Telecommunication ombudsman before I got an apology and a waiving of contract.
    The mistake I made was taking the salesman (he called himself a "consultant") at his word. Silly me.
    Being a corporation and all, it was OK. Happens all the time.......
    @ Mudcrab
    Glad you 're giving the Labor government credit when it's due:)

  16. Notice then how 1735099, having his argument about Wall Street bailouts roundly defeated, does what those of the left often do when losing arguments - change the subject by projecting a hateful, emotional image on his opponent.

    There are no new facts to debate, just a childish 'you're mean and I hate you' refrain.

    Notice how 1735099 begs the question by infering that Mark is against funding pensions when he has said no such thing. Note the emotive language of 'frail seniors', the invective of 'home of the slave', the invective of false moral superiority.

    When the last line of defence is emotion and not fact, then you've lost the debate.

  17. If I could I'd exile all the protestors to Cuba for good- its a win win. They remove themselves from Australia - a racist nation stolen from the Aborigines - and go to a socialist paradise which supports gay marriage, is a democratic nation, and tolerates dissent.

  18. "@ Mark
    So you're OK with..."


    I see what you did there, though.

    You're so embarrassed at having been proved so comprehensively wrong that you felt compelled to make shit up, attribute it to me, and then condemn "me" for it. Hoping all the while that no-one would notice that you didn't address anything I actually wrote.

    A word of caution, son. We're not as stupid as you would like us to be.

  19. @1735099
    "Well for starters there was Vodaphone who sold me a wireless plan that didn't work....Being a corporation and all, it was OK. Happens all the time......."

    Firstly it wasn't OK as you and the TIO showed and as for happening all the time what utter nonsense, given the number of mobile phone users and the quantity of use. Presumably you were too lousy to buy a Telstra Plan and weren't happy with Voda bang for buck and now you are with Telstra. That's the beauty of choice my wiser friend, you pays your money for Tiger or Qantas and you takes your chances. You want perfection, try North Korea or Cuba.


  20. @ 1735099

    Your comment about Vodafone is a good example of the benefits of capitalism. If you don't like one supplier, you have several other options to use instead. Capitalism leads to competition.

    Contrast this with the old days of state-run monopolies like Telecom - if you didn't like their service or offerings, what choice did you have?

  21. @Numbers
    And yet I've got 3 seperate mobile accounts with Vodaphone (1 private and 2 work/busisness accounts), and I've never had a single issue with service, billing, etc..

    You must have been part of the 1% that goes out of their way to FIND/CREATE problems (much like the geniuses at Fairfax and the 'Occupy ' franchises..

  22. @ 1735099

    Constantly obsessing about Wall St. and the U.S., when he is called upon to provide an example of how corporate greed has personally screwed him over, the only example he can come up with is a feeble one concerning a British corporation.

  23. Let me get this straight: Capitalism has led to a corrupt world because you had a tiff with Vodafone?? Are you fucking serious??

    That has got to be the best example of juvenile leftoid solipsism I've ever read.


  24. Research???????!!!!

    Don't you know that at Fairfax, it's all about the culture and whether you are a good 'team"?

    Research indeed....

  25. For the love of all things good and wholesome, would people please stop using the "@" symbol in their replies?

    It seems we're all a twitter about the @, but all it does is make people look like a twit.

  26. Yeap, I am giving the Labor government EXACTLY credit where due. :)

  27. "BusHITLERcheneyburton" Now thats a brilliant name for Satan's little helpers.

  28. There ya go Bunyip - 27 comments - that brought the weevils out of the woodwork. Let me know when you need me again. Bye:)

  29. I wish people wouldn't masturbate in public.