Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Crazed Weapons Bearers"

There is almost a need to begin this post with an apology, or at the very least an explanation, because once again the topic is Daily Life, where lunacy's lily lacks not for the gilding of further comment. That Fairfax engaged the service of an editrix who is either deeply cynical or certifiably insane has been evident since she was charged with planting the company's flag in the hip new world of digital publishing. That she then engaged the services of writers with more loose screws than Bunnings tends to suggest the latter diagnosis, for if she was aiming to recruit gibbering frothers to attract an audience of gibbering frothers then a little voice must surely have whispered that she would be able to push that agenda so far and no further. With Clem Bastow making common cause with the Salafist weird beards who have visited grief upon the Miss World pageant, it is once again clear that no nuttery is beyond Daily Life's pale. And if there is slightest doubt remaining, Peter Giugni's thoughts on the Kenya massacre will dispel them.

Let us start with the headline, which should have been rendered thus:

How not to respond to a humanitarian crisis another Muslim massacre

Then it gets worse. Here is the first pragraph:
It is an unfortunate truth that tragedy abounds these days. Sometimes in the form of unavoidable natural disasters. Or the most abhorrent man made events, such as the one we have just witnessed in Nairobi over the weekend, where crazed weapons bearers chose to assault innocent civilians.

"Crazed weapons bearers" indeed! Couldn't Giugni have been a bit more accurate. You know, "mad Muslim butchers"? Perhaps he was worried that mentioning the Religion of Peace by name might see Bastow's front-invitation to the next burqa fashion show invalided.

It gets better, though. With all those infidels bodies clogging Nairobi's morgue,  Giugni seizes upon a tweet, one of several billion sent every day, as his launching pad for some thoughts on the rug-kissers whose creed inspires them to execute anyone who cannot name Old Mo's mum.That he manages to do this without once using the word "muslim" is quite the achievement.

"I doubt they’ll have a great deal of time for your anxieties," he tells the tweeter, "over visiting a coffee plantation cum family heirloom cum relic of international imperialism that arguably accounts for some of the tensions in Somalia today which led to the creation of Al Shabaab as a militant insurgency in the first place."

Clear on that? Scores have been murdered in cold blood because Pommy planters with a taste for gin, polo and other planters' wives planted coffee seedlings in a country with but the slightest connection to Somalia, whence the latest batch of bearded animals emerged.

Giugni piles more fashionable obscenities and circumlocutions each atop the next, pausing only to upbraid his tweeter for not being a master of thumb-typing and spelling. This from a man whose first paragraph is an end-to-end fender-bender of verb-less "sentences" and who has not grasped that compound adjectives need hyphens. Neither has Daily Life's editrix, apparently.

So Daily Life, edited by a nong, also publishes nongs. What's the surprise there?

Just this. When not writing for Daily Life, Giugli is a lawyer and globe-trotting field operative for the Red Cross, with a special and recent interest in Afghanistan. Can't you just imagine the conversations with "clients"?

"So, Mohammad, you blew up an Australian troop carrier."

"By the beard of the Prophet, indeed I did!"

"Well that's not nice, but it is understandable in light of what happened to poor Truganini."

Dribs and drabs of charity flow to worthy causes from the Billabong, and quite a few of those over the years have gone to the Red Cross. There will be no more donations to that particular charity from this point on.

UPDATE: When not making excuses for murderes, Giugli is a pretty cool guy -- so cool there is even a little song about what a cool guy he is.

Peter Giugni is a pretty cool guy
He wrote to his girlfriend over three hundred times
A letter for every day he's away
Saving lives and slaving away
Some might call him Korny
But I think he's pretty fly

Peter Giugni: The king of Generation Y
Peter Giugni: He'll troll you till the day you die
Peter Giugni: He doesn't even have to try
Peter Giugni: He's a pretty fuckin' awesome guy

ؤ نهٔ ؤ يو سړی ؤ چې فلټر نومېدهٔ
خوست پهٔ ښار كې يې كار كاوهٔ
ډېر ښهٔ سړی ؤ
د كنجوسۍ ډېر سخت خلاف ؤ
ډېر خلكو سره يې مرسته كوله
او همېشه عجيب و غريب تحفې انډيوالانو ته يې وركولې

(Once upon a time there was a man called Peter
He used to work in Khost City
He was a very good man
He was strongly against tight-assery
He really helped the people there
And he was always giving his friends all sorts of wondrous presents)

Peter Giugni
Talkin' 'bout Peter Giugni

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Drug dealing and honest work -- same thing, really

We all know that things are tough at Fairfax these days, but just how tough only became apparent with this morning's perusal of the insights available at Daily Life, where moonlighting Radio National web editor Daniel Stacey explains why the TV series Breaking Bad is so much more than a show about a man whose moral flaws become fissures. Stacey is one deep thinker, that's for sure.

"The show resonates because Walter White’s journey towards moral annihilation describes, albeit in hyperbolic form, the experience awaiting anyone joining the modern workplace."

"Breaking Bad illustrates the devil's bargain all young people face, entering a jobs market where most of the outcomes their work will create–pollution, inequality, misinformation, division–are at odds with their personal morality."

"The gangster metaphor plays to Gandhi’s observation that a society should be judged by how it treats its weakest members. Society allows that many of the poor are forced to sell addictive, harmful products to make a living, and compete for clients in never ending bloody turf wars. Is it any surprise then that at the big end of town the same thing happens with oil – where the addiction is structured into the economy, the harm global, and the turf wars, well… wars?"

"...the way to get wealth and power isn't to carry out humble teaching or police work, it's to find employment in jobs that serve profit and ignore consequence. For White that job is cooking meth, for the rest of us it means working for companies that pollute the environment, feed people products that kill them, and shear off mountain tops to generate power for air-conditioning units in the suburban homes in which we raise our children."

And finally, this gem: 

"There is a shade of Walter White in all of us when we try and hide, excuse and eventually give up justifying the negative work we do. When we work for and consume the products of companies that contribute to anthropogenic climate change, sweatshops, obesity, diabetes, species extinction, conflict and hate, and pretend that these outcomes will never come back to harm our families or haunt us in the suburban Arcadias we're so obsessed with building (and fleeing to)."

As noted, things must really be bad at Fairfax, where the stock of resident idiots has now fallen so low they have had to borrow one from the ABC. Because Stacey does not have one of those squalid, profit-oriented jobs -- the ABC is good like that -- he can opine on the moral fitness of others with   absolute confidence. Then he can post another Phillip Adams audio, loiter at the bicycle rack or write his next contribution for Daily Life.

As for the rest of us, out there working for the man, why, we're no better than ice dealers!

A FURTHER THOUGHT:  When we get the long overdue inquiry into the ABC -- a Royal Commission, preferably -- one term of reference needs to be the way in which the ABC goes about filling vacancies. The paper trail that led to Stacey's current position might provide some fascinating insights.

Age readers converge on Swan Island

UPDATE: Have a look at the photo below, which captures the scene at Swan Island this morning. Notice the sign in the background? Get the message about Australian blood being spilled in someone else's wars (no need to guess which Great Satan the protesters have in mind).

Now look at the photo credit. In case your eyes are to old too make out the fine print, here is what it is says:

"Supplied: Swan island peace".

If only the ABC had struck a similar arrangement with al-Shabaab it could have obtained some absolutely wonderful pictures of that protest in Nairobi's Westgate Mall. al-Shabaab, by the way, is said to be one of the targets the decent people on Swan Island, not the scum at the front gate, put a lot of thought and effort into monitoring.  


A GROUP of the usual ferals descended on Swan Island this morning, protesting the presence and activities of the Australian intelligence members and SAS troops who train and plan there. It was a variation on the usual urban affair, the Occupy crowd this time enjoying a country excursion, and the protest resulted in a number of arrests and much free publicity for their cause on the ABC. Sadly, the arrests were made by members of Victoria Police, who are a pretty mild lot these days, so there was no bruising scenes nor blur of crashing truncheons. Isn't it a tragedy that the wallopers weren't all overcome by the sudden urge to go and buy pies and lemonade at that particular moment, leaving the defence of the base to the resident commandoes, who must get thoroughly sick of restricting their bayonet training to dummies of the straw-filled variety.

What sort of evil the hippies imagine is hatched on the other side of the security fence, not one of their member has so far specified. But then they probably didn't feel the need to list their suspicions, as The Age and ABC have mounted such a long and comprehensive campaign of innuendo against the facility that its nefarious purposes are taken by some as needing no elucidation. Rafael Epstein, one of those connected souls who jump from Fairfax to the ABC according to which mate happens to be hiring at the time, can certainly take some credit for today's (disappointingly bloodless) confrontation.

Epstein is now back at the ABC and gabbling away late on weekday afternoons, no doubt pleased as punch that he secured a new job before Fairfax went down for the count. Good work if you can get it, and even better when old ABC cobbers overlook that little bit of trouble the last time you worked there. As he controls the microphone and his producer vets callers, there is no hope of him being asked to explain if the name Ross Langdon incites a little guilt. In case you haven't been following the news, Langdon is the Tasmania architect murdered with his pregnant Dutch wife by Muslims in a Nairobi shopping centre.

According to Epstein and his former Fairfax colleague, Dylan Welch, one of the great causes for concern about Swan Island is that rough men sally forth to places like Kenya, where they gather intelligence on terrorists and their schemes. Why, several of the stories even mention that a particular interest of those working out of Swan Island is al-Shabaab.
Australia's security service, ASIO, is increasingly concerned by the domestic threat posed by the Somali Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab. ASIO has concerns a group within Australia's growing Somali community is sending money to al-Shabaab.

All very wrong and worrying to any Age writer and his Occupist readership.

Ross Langdon, however, might have disagreed.

UPDATE: Diggers sound off on journalism Age-style


The newly reformed Ross Gittins

See, optimism about the human condition is justified after all. A little encouragement really can prompt even the lowest wretches to lift their game, as Ross Gittins, patron saint of the shallow and formerly a prime advocate of using others' words without attribution, has done in today's Silly. It is the usual Gittins drek and he gets any pretense at originality out of the way in the first few paragraphs -- original if you haven't tuned in to the ABC since the recent election.
What a [Coalition] to-do list: sack econocrats guilty of having worked with the enemy, pass an edict against climate change and discourage all discussion of it, stop publicising boat arrivals, build more motorways, move to a cut-price national broadband network and take science for granted.
After that, the column is largely composed of cut-and-paste quotes from chapter seven of this document, whose author Doctor Sticky Fingers rightly acknowledges.

And that is why we should all take heart. Even though Gittins borrowed almost an entire earlier column from an OECD report, and despite the fact that his Silly editors ruled that he had done no wrong, he has now taken it upon himself to change his ways and give credit where all but senior Fairfax executives would think it due.
See, even the worst of us aren't entirely beyond a small measure of redemption. 

Oh, such a perfect day

The billy needed boiling early this afternoon and what had been planned as a simple overnight trip to scope out stretches of the Howqua, Jamieson and Goulburn very nearly became a weeklong escape from the Big Smoke. If the camp mattress had been stowed and the only tent did not have a hole, well it would have been easy to linger and celebrate this year's trout season, which began on September 6. The batteries in the radio were flat, too, which was another incentive to remain. No chance of catching any more post-election spite and bile from the ABC's apostles of the left.

The sun had that wonderful spring muscle to it, bright for a cloudless hour or two in a sky the colour of kittens' eyes. At the other end of the log that was a Bunyip's sylvan throne a blue-tongue came out to charge its batteries, the leading advocate in our little clearing of sustainable solar power. The bush, which never really goes to sleep, is shaking off the southern winter's lethargy. Further to the east about now, in the hills around the Snowy, Gippsland water dragons will be waking to pursue their brief couplings with an enthusiasm that shames Craig Thomson. Then again, water dragons are far more appealing species than corruptocrats. By October the dragon ladies will have dug their nests and be laying  eggs, and come December, the kookas, snakes and other lizards will have gobbled most of their children. Even the trout will get their share of wiggly morsels.

And then along will come a Bunyip with rod and woolly bear, haul them to the bank and eat them all. But today, it was just a cup of tea, a dekko and a mental note that a big brown bugger has made his home in the slower water beside and below the rocks that squeeze the stream into a tumbling, tiny cataract. With a little luck the foxes will have overlooked the water rat family which were in residence last year.

There is a lot wrong with the bush -- invasive species are now occupiers, not intruders -- and with conservation policies orchestrated by Fitzroy greens and administered by Spring Street bureaucrats things will only get worse. But just for a bit today, in the sun and beneath trickle of wood smoke, you would not have considered being been anywhere else, not for all the tea in China. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The pain of youth

Some people like to be tied up and lashed or have their private parts nailed to the table, neither a hobby that has ever inspired much enthusiasm at the Billabong, where the masochistic urge manifests itself in a perversion even further beyond rationality's pale. In these precincts the twisted delight is visiting the Fairfax websites, where two sharp lessons are administered with very nearly every flick of the mouse. The first is that youth carries more weight than wisdom, a sad realisation for anyone on the wrong side of a middle-aged belly and reinforced by all those mugshots of the newspaper's star writers. Look at Ben Cubby's innocent and ever-trusting face, for instance.
Have you seen such a look of absolute belief since those long ago Christmas Eves, when your little ones' faces were aglow with the faith and conviction that Santa and his presents were on their way. Ben still waits eagerly for the next arrival from the North Pole, his delight at further confirmation that it is melting no less intense than the joy of trying on a New Power Ranger outfit and performing globe-saving feats of imagination before the festive tree for Mum and Dad. These days, going by the selective eye with which he sifts the latest climate news, little Ben capers and poses for the approbation of David Karoly and Tim Flannery, whose kisses and hugs and gratitude for never being seriously quizzed he must find even more congenial than those of doting aunties.l

Baby Ben has plenty of company in the Fairfax romper room, including playmate Bianca Hall, who is the Sunday Age and Sun-Herald political correspondent and today addresses the misogynist impulse that shaped Tony Abbott's all-but-gal-free cabinet. The suspicion that she has moved straight from rattling the plastic pots in Barbie's Kitchen to reheating the accepted wisdom was bolstered by her quoting of retiring Senator Sue Troeth, who she introduces only as a Liberal. If Hall was just a little older, had a few more years of observation behind her, she might have mentioned that Troeth is the sort of Liberal who would say that. Her older readers will have immediately recalled that Troeth crossed the floor to support the Carbon Tax and that she is, as people of Hall's generation like to say, "down with" re-editing the dictionary to make the word marriage applicable to same sex couples. Well it worked for "misogyny".

Bianca and fellow Fairfax reporters chase a story

Curiosity inspired a quick google and, yes, it's true -- Hall is only two years removed from reporting building applications and parking restrictions for the Emerald Hill local rag.

And therein the second lesson, albeit a more subtle one: When a Fairfax woman laments the lack of inexperienced women elevated to high office, what she is really saying is that Abbott should run the country much as Fairfax executives run their company.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Age knows Melbourne from A to B

Fairfax investors should make a point to read alleged humourist Danny Katz's latest attempt to be funny in this morning's Age. It will explain an awful lot about where their money has gone and why.

Katz tells us that he was off to Hobart with the little woman for a dose of culture at MONA, an acronym from which he attempts to squeeze a gag as might a victim of terminal constipation strain to extrude a poo. Well that's just Katz being Katz, but his further observations on (a) Age readers and (b) his fellow  aeroplane passengers do tell us rather a lot.

"What's wrong with you Age readers?" he asks of those he imagines to be tittering at his bid to make 'MONA' the punchline of a joke about a romantic weekend. "You're supposed to be a mature higher-managerial AB demographic but you're behaving like low-brow junior-clerical BCs! Come on!)"

Age readers are "high-managerial AB demographic"? Who knew -- certainly not the high-end merchants who no longer advertise in The Age, no doubt because the papers' remaining readers, having taken its advice to eschew consumerism and re-cycle, now do their shopping at Vinnie's and the Salvo shops. Once upon a time well-heeled people did read the Age, but that was before the celebrated Fairfax charter of independence was amended to include the provision that they be reviled for (mostly) not voting Greens.

Having courted a section of the population that no longer reads his tosh, Katz next makes sure to alienate potential Age buyers. Just imagine yourself to be one of those "junior clerical" types and wonder how you might feel to find yourself described as "low brow", purely by definition of your occupation. Insulting your audience works for Don Rickles, but not so well for a paper that has deluded itself into believing it speaks for the real Melbourne (which extends only from St. Kilda to Northcote to Yarraville -- the famous Fairfax Triangle, where profits and reputation vanish without trace).

It could be that Katz is sleeping with the Saturday edition's editor, which might explain why his columns continue to appear. But a more likely explanation is that both are suckers for any orgy of elitist disdain, and today's column delivers that toxin in spades. People who wear tracky dax -- at this very moment their number includes a certain Bunyip -- are to be objects of derision. So, too, families with unfashionable luggage, those who might take an interest in sport, and young women with big bags and unruly hair.

So, students of the stock ticker, look no further for an explanation of your Fairfax-induced poverty. With Danny Katz on the job your portfolio, like the Age itself, is going to shrink even further.

Katz finishes his column thus: "I don't know who you readers are any more, I really don't."

He said it.

UPDATE: Hear Katz promo his latest book -- you'll have to wait for the audio to begin -- amid panting and a background soundtrack of things being rattled and shaken. It will take little imagination to assume, and assume correctly, what Katz was playing with at the time. 

Of crested pigeons and first impressions

On Tuesday afternoon, just before the skies opened and a pleasant round had to be put on hold, a young fellow with a fine set of dreadlocks caught up with the Professor's party of three. The best policy would have been to let him play through, as one of life's near-irrefutable rules is that the brain shrinks in inverse proportion to the length of the dreads sprouting atop it. But Doctor Yowie is a soft touch for lost souls and The Herbalist even worse, so before the one flint-hearted member of the group could send the Richmond Rastafarian on his solitary way down the fairway, an invitation had been issued and everyone was shaking hands. To his credit, the new addition removed his glove before doing so, which spoke of good manners and respectable parents.

Well it turns out that, while jumping to conclusions about apparent hippies is generally a sound policy, there are indeed times when first impressions can be deceptive. As the rain came down and the now-party of four sheltered beneath an ancient cypress pine -- one of the few green fanatics have not had removed in the name of promoting "native" tress, which often aren't native to the parts of the country where they are being planted in their invasive legions -- the subject turned to birds and the expanding number of crested pigeons one sees these days. Assuming that Mr Dreadlocks would subscribe to the Greens view of things and in the interests of ruining the newcomer's round, the Professor quipped that Christine Milne's sprout-sucking admirers would attribute the species' increasing incidence to climate change.

"Aren't they just the biggest arseholes," said Dreadlocks. He then observed that, when he wants advice on nature and its ways, he puts no faith in those who think of Fitzroy's Edinburgh Gardens a wilderness.

We're seeing more of the quite delightful crested pigeons because they like open grasslands -- golf courses, in other words. Rasta turned out to be a thoroughly decent bloke, also agreeing that the ecological havoc pseudo-conservationists are promoting at Yarra Bend Golf Course, where they have transplanted a colony of shrieking, crapping fruit bats to the verge of the third hole, should make them liable to criminal prosecution. Like crested pigeons, the bats are extending their range because suburban gardens' plentiful food supplies make it worthwhile putting up with the sort of Melbourne weather they once spurned. Thanks to those filthy bats, the bellbirds and their calls, which used to be amongst the Bend's charms, are no more, a 200-metre stretch of Yarra riverbank is a wasteland of dead and dying trees, and there are taxpayer-funded signs all over the place warning golfers not to lift hand or club against the wretched creatures. What one doesn't need when relaxing on the fairway is a further hectoring by know-nothing bureaucrats and ecological vandals toting clipboards, dubious degrees in environmental science and the power to impose steep fines. Along with their droppings, the plague of stickybeaking green urgers is one more way in which bats are inflicting their gross damage.

By the time the rain stopped and the round resumed, Mr Rasta had also announced that he voted for Abbott and detested Christine Milne, whom he memorably described.

"How could anyone vote for a fanatic with a face like two cats leaving the room side-by-side?" he wondered

And do you know what? He was right!

Mr Rasta will be welcome to make it a foursome any time he feels like it from now on.

A footnote: Unlike any other pigeon, the crested variety whistles -- although not in the conventional manner. When alarmed and taking flight, air passing over their wings produces a high-pitched warning to their mates. An entire flock taking off is quite the thing to hear.

Update: As reader Kae notes in comments, it's actually more of a squeak than a whistle

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wanted: Women of experience

Amidst all this flap from the usual suspects about an inadequate supply of women in the Abbott cabinet, one thing seems to have been overlooked. With the exception of Mathias Corman, every single member of the inner cabinet is a former minister. Do you think the incoming PM may have thought experience a more important credential, especially with the inherited mess to be cleaned up, than ownership of ovaries?

Have any female ex-Ministers been excluded? Perhaps, but the Professor can't think of any. The case against Abbott would gain some credence -- not much, but some -- if that were the case.

Readers able to nominate a female ex-minister who has been spurned are welcome to name names in comments.

UPDATE:  A modest commenter writes:

I think Teresa Gambaro, returned member for Brisbane, comes the closest. Her record is:

Ministerial appointments:  Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence from 18.7.04 to 27.1.06. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 27.1.06 to 30.1.07. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship from 30.1.07 to 21.3.07.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Citizenship from 21.3.07 to 3.12.07.

So she was close-but-no-cigar (with apologies to Freudians)

The ABC gets back to basics

Beneath this picture of a flint-eyed Julie Bishop at the ABC website....

..... there is this headline.....

followed by this story, which is reproduced in its entirety....
"Ms Bishop says she will leave for meetings at the UN in New York on Saturday and will talk to Dr Natalegawa while she is there."
Mark Scott must be coming to appreciate that his bloated empire does indeed need to trim the waste Joe Hockey said several weeks he would be looking to find. Thus do we now see the ABC approach to reporting the news reduced to its bare essentials: a partisan headline, an unflattering picture of a class enemy and a few entirely irrelevant words to justify the lot.

As a further economy measure, a photoshopped Ms Bishop has not been shown enjoying conjugal relations with a dog, despite such imagery being entirely "in line" with the broadcaster's "target audience".

(h/t:  DuncanM at Catallaxy)

Hon. Members without members (or portfolios)

If Bunyips had not been excluded from the 1967 referendum, it is entirely possible the Professor might have pursued a career in politics. As it stands, we remain second-class specimens, spurned along with all our nation's uterus owners and unwelcome even to knock upon the bolted door of Abbott's cabinet room.

Things would so different if Bunyip PM had taken up residence in the Lodge's fish pond.  Indeed, there would be no shortage of Pulchritude With Portfolio, with cabinet meetings very closely resembling the scene below.

Alas, the vision of the great William Hogarth, who was a Pom but also quite clearly a Bunyip, has yet to be realised.

(Hogarth admirers will not need to be told the print is "Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn".)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The company Gina keeps

If Gina Rinehart ever extracts the digit and actually takes charge of Fairfax her very first initiative as a proprietor should be to fire all those responsible for the Silly and Phage opinion pages -- not because they are irredeemably polluted with green-left groupthink, which they are, but because  none of those quality journalists seems capable of looking beyond the nearest academic enclave when recruiting contributors. The first casualty of this fixation is wit, of which there is precious little in either newspaper, and the second is the elevation of ideology gussied up as rational thought. These deficiencies seem never to be noticed by Fairfax editors, who one guesses bear a striking resemblance to those rows of open-mouthed clowns in carnival sideshows. You know the sort, forever swivelling side-to-side, always in sync with their similarly oscillating colleagues.

The Age's chief gobbler of thoughts more empty than any ping pong ball has today tapped the Parkville Asylum's Brendan Gleeson, professor of urban policy studies and director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, who thinks it is a terrible idea to build a tunnel connecting the Eastern and Westgate freeways. As you might imagine, anyone who heads an institute with the word "sustainable" in its title would say that, in this instance wrapping his personal disdain for cars and the freedom they confer in the garments of, ahem, economic analysis, purported polling and professorial insight.

What Gleeson doesn't mention, nor did the editor who published his thoughts, is that bottom-line considerations he cites are but waving branches above the rather less apparent tap root of his objections. You will need to survey his output to see where he is coming from, and it is most certainly not Doncaster en route by private vehicle to Werribee, otherwise he would be promoting the tunnel for all his ARC grants and sinecures are worth (a very pretty penny, that).

The thing to understand about Gleeson is that when cars go whizzing by his Malvern Star he thinks not of others' convenience but of class struggle and injustice. Indeed, amongst his grant-funded scribblings, concern for "the disadvantaged" and their alleged lack of personal mobility features prominently:
The problem of transport-related social exclusion has formed the basis for a great deal of transport policy development in the United Kingdom in the past decade. More recently, the problem of transport-mediated social exclusion has been investigated in Australia through notions of forced car ownership... 
Unless you are a Fairfax editorial page director, you will get the picture: If we are to have a just and more equitable society, better-off citizens must be forced to get around on bicycles and public transport, which Gaia wants with all heart:
...the east-west link scorns the urgent need to decarbonise our cities in the face of a species emergency, global warming. Other cities and nations will judge us severely for building this smog factory in a time of planetary crisis.
Come on, Gina, stop buggarising around. If you're not going to take full charge of Fairfax, then dump your holding. Even a minority interest in this stupid, stupid company demeans your good name and reputation.

But who's going to root the dog?

It will a bumper edition of Q&A tonight. Here's the guest list:
So, a self-funded loony, an ex-Labor loony, a green loony, a precious-pie luvvie, a former ALP member and party historian, and a wowser.

Oh, and we must not overlook a compere whose most notable talent -- only talent, actually -- is an infinite capacity for interrupting conservatives. Tonight that gift will not be taxed, as there is not a single guest who remotely approaches that description.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Maybe they were thinking of Jellystone Park

WE all love going on holidays to interesting places, and the best holidays are those for which someone else pays. Ah, happy memories! Jaunts to investigate, according to the fashion of the moment, The sodomitic imperative in Etruscan furniture design, Toga hemming in a time of climate change, 309-237BCE and the Professor's greatest contribution to the sum of human knowledge, Breaking the stretched pig-gut ceiling: the suppression of feminist ambition in the pre-glass era.  Alas, now that the Australian Research Council is about to have its pockets picked, and just as the urgency to find new funding models is paramount, a solution:
The No McDonald's in the Dandenong Ranges group used crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise $36,000 to send a delegation to McDonald's Chicago headquarters. The money also funded an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune - an open letter to McDonald's chief executive Don Thompson signed by ''the community of Tecoma''.
That's the shot! And, better yet, the academic tradition of ignoring inconvenient facts -- not to mention making stuff up -- continues apace:
Mr Muratore told the Tribune plans for a restaurant near the ''pristine forest'' of the Dandenong Ranges was ''a little bit like putting a McDonald's right near Mount Rushmore''.
The Dandenongs are "pristine"! Who knew that Puffing Billy and those TV towers are natural wonders, or that feral pussycats and foxes are actually native species? The Tecoma  junketeers do need to appreciate one important point, however: when spinning a line, make sure assertions cannot be easily checked.

A Macca's near Mount Rushmore? That's right, there isn't one -- not yet, anyway. But there is a Dairy Queen, a Subway, a full platter of pizza joints and numerous other fast-food outlets, starting at a distance of no more than 1.8 miles from the monument (which should be boycotted until Ronald Reagan's face is added).

In between room-service breakfasts and tasty crowd-funded dinners after donation-supported trips to see the White Sox and Sears Tower, the Tecoma crusaders will need to revise their  publicity material.

They had just better not cite Yosemite orYellowstone national parks


Altared states

Field research strongly suggests that homosexuals are capable of immense cheerfulness, but that appears not to be the case when a professional shutterbug whips out his Brownie. All thoughts of Australia's Next Top Model vanish instantly and everyone comes down with a toothache, including the poor dog.

The Age today features several other pictures from a new calendar to be issued in support of same-sex marriage, all of which make you wonder why so many in the gay community feel the need to wed when it is evident there is more than enough misery already.

MEMO TO PAUL KEATING: That is not a cocker spaniel.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The root of all Hegel

The former Mrs Bunyip came to the conclusion that the Professor’s poorer attributes of character outweigh the good, a conviction that became so entrenched all efforts to persuade her otherwise amounted to a gross waste of breath and spittle. It was a philosophical clash, essentially, for hers was the perspective of Aristotle, who saw the static and the immutable, while a much-misunderstood Bunyip took the Hegelian view that the act of becoming is at the essence of human experience and betterment. This can be rather difficult thing to explain when plates are flying and your favourite watch has just been thrown into the fish pond, and it became clear soon enough that citing time spent at golf club, trout stream or, most contentiously, down at the mooring, was always going to be rejected as valid evidence of a dawning graduation to a higher state of awareness and, ideally, a mode of conduct integrated into the  freedoms conferred by responsibility within the framework of an enlightened domestic polity

Hegel’s good like that. He can be read in support of just about any contention, as thinkers as distant from each other as Karl Marx and Francis Fukuyama have demonstrated by perceiving in his opacity sharp delineations that have been so handy to their opposing arguments. Unlike a poor Bunyip, these feats of philosophic derring-do were performed without the distraction of a Calabrian mother-in-law’s spite and vitriol.

Yes, philosophy has its place (even when of little practical use), so it has been interesting to observe the New Establishment’s horrified reaction to our incoming federal government’s intention to strip its pursuers of a little ARC grant cash. Well, rather a lot of cash, actually.  At the reliably unhinged Daily Life, where he recently opined on the merits of crowd-sourced pornography,  moonlighting Radio National webpage editor Daniel Stacey has taken up the case of his former teacher, Sydney University’s Professor Paul Redding, whom he credits with making his mind the magnificent thing it is today. No surprises there. If your companions on the page are Clementine Ford and Kasey Edwards, a duck will appear intelligent – nay, gifted – by comparison.  In any event, Stacey writes:
I remember studying Paul Redding’s course on Hegel’s Elements ofthe Philosophy of Right. It was the clearest explanation of social institutions I had ever heard – how they are made and what they mean. Rather than rehearse the typical foundational myths, Redding’s patient teaching deciphered the project of democracy and society, and taught me more about the true obligations and responsibilities of citizenship than scouts and organised sport and years of private education in Catholic schools.

In my paper for that class I remember quoting James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, and bonding with Redding over what a painful reminder Joyce's book was for anyone who had grown up in stultifying Catholic institutions full of guilt and doubt and misinformation.

With a Catholic about to move into the Lodge and this being Fairfax, the gratuitous and rather baffling reference to the wickedness of the Roman church needs no further comment. Get used to it, and expect Fairfax organs to soon offer reader discounts on membership in the Orange Lodge. 

Just what, exactly, Redding taught Stacey was not explained. Was it Hegel the Toady, the statist sycophant denounced by liberal contemporaries as having sold out for personal gain and security to Prussian authoritarianism, or the man who emerged in subsequent scholars’ reviews and re-appraisals as extolling the primacy of conscience and the moral spirit? While Stacey is convinced the Hegel has landed, none can be sure -- Stacey least of all, one gathers -- in just which tree he is currently nesting.

At the ABC, more of the same, this time courtesy of Miram Cosic, who is no less adamant in declaring Professor Redding’s ruminations essential to the future of Australian democracy. By the way, here are some of them. Enjoy! 

One thing neither of Redding’s advocates mentions, curiously, is the cost to the taxpayer of his chin-stroking, which is a rather large sum indeed. Similarly, the Silly’s education correspondent, Josephine Tovey, also neglects to mention the many zeroes on the ARC cheque which drew the Coalition’s attention to Redding's labours.

For the record, the sum he received for plumbing The God of Hegel's Post-Kantian idealism is $443,000. That is roughly the cost of a modest family home in one of those outer suburbs, where few people read Fairfax newspapers or extoll, ABC-style, the unqualified merit of gold-plated philosophical inquiry. 

An innocent coincidence, obviously, because three authors would surely not have omitted mention of the ARC grant's generosity on purpose, would they? Indeed the defences of Redding and his work are themselves proof positive of the need for the public’s broadest possible exposure to the insights of the greatest minds. Had Stacey, Cosic et al been properly educated, they would have recognised an opportunity to invoke Descartes and really impress the bogans who rise every morning, go to jobs many do not like and surrender significant portions of their earnings to support Professor Redding’s cogitations.

You know how it goes: I think therefore I am entitled to your money.

It is lucky for Professor Redding that he never encountered the former Mrs Bunyip in one of her more strident episodes of rampaging philistinism. A well-aimed vase or flying knife and the public purse might be fatter to the same degree that Sydney University's faculty had been diminished.

Australia and the common good would have been so much the poorer for that.

UPDATE:  Always worth a listen:


A considerate silence

Higher thoughts and a sometime-neglected responsibility to make the world a better place have stayed all posts these past few days. The temptation to gloat at Labor's humiliation and mock its attempts to present electoral catastrophe as unalloyed triumph would have been overwhelming, and the less salt rubbed into that open wound the better and brighter Australia's chances of achieving a new era of amity and accord.

So, with selfless restraint, not a word about the carping, petulant, whining, frustrated and self-deceiving bastards who spent six years stuffing everything upon which they could wrap their slimy and corrupt hands.

See, it is easy to be civil.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

You knew this was coming

Life is still moving rather slowly at the Billabong, where last night saw an excessive cheerfulness, but it is good to see the Age up to speed:
The comments are especially poignant. By Wednesday, Friday at the latest, your typical Age readers will have staged a riot somewhere or other.

Parents, if your child reads the Age, grab them by the nose rings and slam their raging faces into your knees (being careful not to damage the expensiove othdontics you paid for). As the left is convinced Australia has been plunged into a new Dark Age of conservative tyranny, might as well prove them right for once.


It is 11.23 on a somewhat hungover Sunday morning and the ABC has not yet been defunded.

Pull up your socks, Mr Abbott

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pop will go the weasels

When Old Scrotum Face plays glove puppet for Labor, as he does once again at taxpayer expense, do you reckon it's because he enjoys the hand sliding in there and up there, or because it has never been withdrawn since his glory days as a Labor spinner?

Whatever the answer, he must be a delight to work with. Even with arm inserted to the shoulder, the operator will never have felt anything of greater substance than spleen, the withered heart of a PR hack and, up where a fair and unbiased brain should be, the little toggles that make the jaw move up and down, just like Gerry Gee.

Now, as a foretaste of what will happen very soon after Abbott PM settles in, place a finger in your cheek and close the lips around it. Now rapidly withdraw the digit.

A satisfying 'pop', no?

Remember that noise. It is what we will hear as all sorts of things are withdrawn, not just from Scrotum Face but the entire ABC.


Look, it's Marieke Hardy deflating!


And Red Kerry too!


there go the Chaser's middle-aged men...


... and Young Chip

 Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Centrelink really should set up branch offices in all ABC foyers.

After all that blood-letting, what's left of the ABC can be devoted to the resurrection of quality viewing:

Labor's real problem: No Bobby Limb

A friend of the Billabong, a rock-ribbed Ronald Reagan-loving free marketeer, writes that he has been sending the clip below to Labor-voting acquaintances:

Surprisingly, given the left's legendary good nature, he has been much abused by return email. There is just no pleasing some people.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Half Measure of Wit

Further to the post below, readers might enjoy watching Stella Young kick out the comedy jams .... and then they might want to consider her barely restrained slagging of "dwarf security guard" Blake Johnston. Ms Young doesn't like what Johnston does a for a living, which is entertaining people by trading on his height and appearance.

No doubt there is some nuanced distinction between she and him, but it must be evident only to the leftoid mind. How much material would be left in her own routine if "cripple" gags -- her term -- were to be excised?

Just those real rib-ticklers about Abbott and Pell. No wonder she found her niche at the ABC.

Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, and Umpy

WHAT an unseemly scene at the ABC, with Red Kerry asserting a silverback’s right to leave his spore all over election night. Ms Sales won’t be appearing, despite Mark Scott’s entreaties, and the thought of declaring her in contractual violation has not, apparently, occurred to him. Of the ABC’s personalities, Sales is the one who best approximates a professional interrogator, often near enough to fair to be forgiven when she is not. You can understand why the poor girl is miffed. Compering the public broadcaster’s last, ever and absolutely final election night coverage, at least as the organisation exists today, will be worth a historical footnote or two. And quite frankly O’Brien doesn’t deserve that notation after his three languid years of introducing Four Corners and, a nice little earner, his corporate gigs and moonlit public speaking. Neither does Ms Sales, for that matter, as she has disqualified herself. Just fancy, an alleged professional so consumed with preciousness that she cannot bring herself to report for duty, and on the very night of nights when her services would be most in demand. Murdoch or Stokes or Spiro the Fishmonger, men of less mild mien, would move to sack an employee who pulled that stunt. But not the taxpayers’ servant, the indulgent Mr Scott.

So what is to be done? The national broadcaster must have some recognisable figure to catch the eye of channel surfers, which is how the returns will mostly be watched across Australia. Little Emma could achieve that, but the talking part is the problem. One can almost hear the topic of a candidate’s second preference being raised and her responding that she had no idea he was bi!

So it is quite the dilemma unless…well, what about… yes, that would be quite edgy…yes, yes, a big ABC ‘yes’!  To compere election night, men and women of Australia, let us welcome to our lounge rooms Stella Young.

The most irritable 60cm in all Australia will be the perfect crucible for the angst and despair certain to consume the ABC  by, oh, 23 seconds after the polls close. The other gabblers will get away with the snipe and the snide as the acid of their disappointment bites, but the special consideration given Stella will free her to really let it rip, just as she has done before.

It was Stella, tweeting from her ABC desk, who demanded a boycott of Myer when the CEO observed that NDIS taxes would leave less disposable income for shopping. Stella bobbed up and down in a fury that time and no one took her to task for attempting to ruin a commercial entity. It was just another day at the ABC, where you can come to work or stay away according to inclination, or play social media vigilante while the boss drips piffle at Estimates hearings.

Stella’s other recommendation, perhaps the greater, is that she is in fine form and just now spitting chips all over the shop. The St Kilda football players who thought a dwarf might make a suitable suti offering at the funeral of their season set her latest rage ablaze, and it was to The Age, Melbourne’s sheltered workshop, she turned quite naturally to vent a little spleen. What she says about the Saints is true, but then anything said or speculated in regard to that team’s excesses is likely to be so. St Kilda altered its colours at the outbreak of the Great War in order not to be mistaken for bestial Germans but reverted  to the original some years later, an appropriate switch for a club that all these years later embraces one Hunnish depravity after the next. While the Saints have not yet hung nuns upside-down in church bells and used their heads for clappers, that day cannot be too far off – especially given the sacrileges that occupied the players when not making like Smaug with their combustible little friend.

Stella is not done though, not by a long chalk. She also has a bit of a barely restrained go at “dwarf security guard” Blake Johnston for paying the rent by taking part in the “dwarf entertainment industry”, which she says encourages people to laugh at those of diminutive stature. Funny, that. Earlier in the column she rather testily reports how annoying she finds it to be offered assistance by strangers who engulf her with their unwanted compassion.  If Blake Johnston’s employment encourages ridicule of all dwarfs, as she asserts, then it would seem not to apply to her -- just like the ABC’s ban on employees using their desks, computers and Twitter accounts for the partisan purpose of intimidation.

While it is Stella’s habit to be very short with those she dislikes (to her credit one of those is the Fat Wog) her notion that the AFL should elevate little people to positions of greater prominence boasts definite merit. If umpires, for example, were to be recruited entirely from the ranks of football-loving dwarfs we could expect them to be so far behind the play that all the tired excuses for this season’s many curious and capricious rulings would no longer be needed. Dress a dwarf as a lime-green maggot and the action at one end of the field will revert to old-school biff and contact while the far-away man with the whistle waddles up from the other.

And goals, too! Throughout the season play was stopped many times while umpires deferred to video reviews. Such interruptions are annoying, break the momentum of play and advantage the defence, which gains extra time to collect its thoughts and re-organise during those interminable minutes before the ruling is announced and the ball returned to play.

The solution is simple: Why not place a dwarf atop each post to endorse the decisions of the goal umpires far below? There can be no doubt such an innovation would give the Sawnoff-Australian community the prominence Stella desires.

Better yet, at such an altitude they would be very hard to set afire.

UPDATE: Stella can fume about the dwarf entertainment industry until the mini-cows come home, but honesty should still oblige her to admit that tiny entertainers have been amongst the greatest theological explicators of our time.