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Media Watch, 1
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
WHY CAN'T ALL JOURNALISTS write like Noam Chomsky?
A suitable conundrum for New Dimensions.
Our institutions are deeply flawed.
Especially the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National.
CREDIBILITY? C'EST MOI!
The Director of our National Museum, Dawn Casey, fears that our adolescent Museum will lose "international credibility" following a review by an independent panel appointed by the Government.
"Even if you incline yourself toward taking up the most recent debate that's happening and change all of your exhibitions to follow whatever has the strongest voice in that debate, you'll just lack the scholarship and professional integrity you need to have as a museum," Ms Casey said.
Curious. She means the phoney war over Keith Windschuttle's demolition of the left-consensus on Australian history on which the Museum has based some of its displays.
Is she conceding defeat? Probably, at least on the field of historical debate.
The politics, however, has just begun.
Is this the same Dawn Casey whose "credibility" rests on the infamous "Bell's Falls massacre" diorama? A confabulation of a myth, which not even the genocidists believe, with authenticating objects, like a firearm that just might have been used. If it had happened.
The Dawn Casey whose spokesman said the fabrication was being persisted with as one of Australia's "voices"? Then added a note saying the fabrication was "contested".
The Director whose Museum has not since represented other "contested" "voices"? Thank goodness.
Who wants dioramas of Australia according to Scientology? Apart from James Packer.
If that's how you win "credibility" among your museological mates, Australia can do without it.
Uncle is indebted to Pastor Terry Lane for this meretricious euphemism for those who employ gangsters to gain entry to Australia, mostly from countries of refuge.
Next time your travelling in the vicinity of the Pastor's comfortable residence, you might drop in for a week or two as an "informal guest".
When you've emptied his beer fridge and cellar you might consider trashing the joint like the Pastor's "informal migrants" are currently doing.
Sunday, December 29, 2002
PHONY WAR ENTERS THIRD WEEK
Since Uncle's last despatch from the battle-front of the war about Australian history there have been skirmishes throughout those sections of the print media that concuss my slow-moving mutt each morning. (You'll be relieved to hear that I refuse to receive the Saturday Henny Herald. In case the RSPCA should hear about it.)
Of the eight contributions printed in that time, only two could be called reviews of Windschuttle's book. That is, written by people who appear to have read it, and addressing the issues and the evidence Windschuttle covers so thoroughly.
One additional academic historian, Stuart Macintyre, Dean of Arts at the University of Melbourne, has joined the gang of academic thugs so ably led by Robert Manne of LaTrobe University. In a contribution that gets Uncle's Monster Mealy Mouth Award (so far) Macintyre opines in the Australian of December 17th that Manne's concocted charge of plagiarism against Windschuttle "appeared to place Mr Windschuttle on shaky ground". Still, he leaves it open for us to believe he might change his mind if he chose to read the book. Don't time your boiled egg by it.
In the same item in the Oz, historian Tim Rowse of the Australian National University, who actually knows something about Aboriginal history, claimed that "[Manne's] plagiarism allegations were a small part of Professor Manne's rebuttal of Mr Windschuttle's argument that just 118 Aborigines were killed by colonists" so mistaking what both of them are saying. But we know which gang he's fighting for.
Most of the contributions in print are about the circumstances of the dispute, the personalities, their politics, their battle scars.
The cutest is from Gerard Henderson in Christmas Eve's edition of the Henny. He uses the dispute for a descant on leftists shifting righwards, according to his definition.
If you want to read a review of Windschuttle, there are currently only two that Uncle has seen.
Roger Sandall in the Australian of 23 December does a very nice job in a very short space. His demolition of the refuseniks is efficient, and he also draws attention to weaknesses in Windschuttle's own interpretation of the evidence that deserve further debate. To get this far he has to engage with the evidence that Windschuttle has put on the table, something that the academic historians who have spoken to date have adamantly refused to do. I wonder why?
Will any academic historian have the guts to engage in this debate on the merits of the evidence? If you see one emerging to challenge the left consensus, do let me know.
A kind reader has already put under my nose the second review, by H A Willis in the Canberra Times of Saturday 28 December (page 19 of the Panorama section). Willis bravely states the truth, that "Lyndall Ryan's influential The Tasmanian Aborigines (1981 and 1996) is shown, repeatedly and conclusively, to be grossly unreliable....The works of Lloyd Robson and Reynolds, somewhat more eminent academic historians, fare little better. ...one has the feeling Windschuttle, like a cat playing with a mouse, is merely saving him [Reynolds] for the main course of a later volume." Willis also knows enough to find fault with Windschuttle.
Apart from the brave Sandall and Willis, this media war is still a phoney war. It will probably remain so as far as our university historians are concerned. But underground a fire is burning, and reputations are being consumed.
By the way, The Weekend Australian for this weekend devotes a large part of its Weekend Inquirer supplement to the issue. In the process it reprints an article on Manne by Deborah Cassrels, first published in the Courier Mail in 2001.
The Cassrels article makes it clear just how much Manne has got invested in the tendentious uses of the work "genocide" in relation to Australian history, and why old Cudgels has decided to go out in front of the genocide gang.
HOW COULD YOU?
Uncle has good reason to doubt your intelligence. After all you're reading this stuff.
Until yesterday, however, I had assumed that you possessed at least as much ethical sensitivity as this well-scuffed moral doormat.
No more! How could so many of you - or a few voting so often - choose to abandon the tainted academic souls of Reynolds and Ryan? And in the midst of this season of good will.
Never mind. The questionnaire will remain on the side-bar, Bravenet permitting, so you can try to get it right. Remember, this is a quantitative/qualitative poll, so make sure the bastards don't vote more often than you do.
Think of it as a kind of deliberative poll. Only a bloody sight more honest.
Friday, December 27, 2002
How did this creep get a gig with Auntie:
"America is a spiritually defined country. It creates the conditions that protect the possibility of a search for knowledge, conscience and spiritual development within its borders. It is probably the most beneficent world power that has ever existed on the earth."
Oh, right, through that New Dimensions back-window.
AT THE WITCHING HOUR each Saturday night, when most of us are making that mysterious transition from drunken hero to hung-over sub-human, Auntie’s Radio National persona passes through its own transmogrification, from Grande Dame of Australia’s ethereal salon of high-minded conversation, to – what?
To whatever, that’s what.
Whatever is whatever you wish to believe today.
Any questions may be asked, but no answers questioned.
Whatever is the New Age.
And when the year passes into its own witching, in the lacuna between Christmas and New Year and the time of recovery beyond, when bricklayers lay no bricks, the New Age moves into Auntie’s full daylight as New Dimensions. The dark moon ascendant at mid-day. Does it shed any light?
Here is its profession: Intimate conversations with many of this century's leading thinkers and social innovators. In the oral tradition of story telling, each program presents original and stimulating ideas about mind, body and spirit, and the connection to self, family, community, environment and the planet.
No false modesty among our New Age intellectuals.
Uncle is sorry to report that you have already missed the program on The Shaman as corporate leader.
Imagine this: You're asked to deliver a message to your CEO in the boardroom. As you approach you hear the sound of drumming. You cautiously open the door and on the floor, surrounded by burning candles, you behold the CEO and board of directors lying, flat with their eyes closed, being drawn into the rhythmic beat of the drum. Are you hallucinating? No. All is well.
I get it! This is a meeting of the Enron directors. Or HIH, with Rodney Adler making a presentation.
Richard Whiteley, author and corporate shaman extraordinaire, is leading them on a journey to find their power animals. The corporate culture as we have come to know it may never be the same.
Power animals? They standing for Parliament, Tonto?
Don’t worry if you missed it, there’s lots more coming. At the stroke of twelve this Saturday coming, Kim Jong Il permitting, you can have your boring world shattered by the following: Now in these times, no-one can deny that our world is interconnected. A new era has dawned. And the challenges upon us all to enhance our relationships at every level.
Set that alarm-clock. Wake the neighbours!
And, don't forget the mid-day series!
Thursday, December 26, 2002
THE IMMORALITY OF PACIFICISM
It's not confined to the decaying churches of Europe. The decaying members of the old left exhibit the same symptoms.
Talking with Auntie's Ramona Koval, playwright Harold Pinter demonstrated that it is possible to live 72 years and learn absolutely nothing.
Pinter finds the rhetoric of a "freedom-loving" West perplexing.
He has never met anyone who was "freedom-hating". In fact, he can not conceive of anyone so morally deformed.
Then again, our Pinter was a conscientious objector against Hitler's war, on his own report.
Still, the folk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival thought him a beacon. So does Auntie.
COP THAT, OLD HARRY!
In a Unity Ticket not seen these last 450 years, the Pope and the head of the Anglican Church have both opposed an attack on Iraq.
Henry VIII will be spinning in his crypt.
TONY BLAIR was yesterday accused of "moral surrender" over war in Iraq - by his own priest.
Father Timothy Russ hit out after the Blair family attended his Catholic church near Chequers.
After the service Fr Russ, a family friend, told the Daily Mirror violence and loss of life are not God's way to solve the world's problems.
It sure suits some other people, though.
If he's asked, Uncle can suggest some candidates for Saddam Husseins human shield against foreign aggression.
Ethical minefield dogs face transplant pioneer.
Alternatively, fierce attacks face plastic surgeon.
Consultant plastic surgeon Peter Butler has called for public discussion before he attempts to graft the face of a dead donor onto a burn victim or someone suffering from face cancer.
Editor of Britain's Bulletin of Medical Ethics Richard Nicholson, says the idea strays too far from medicine's Hippocratic roots.
"My gut reaction is that we are pressing too far, too fast with ideas that impinge on our understanding of what normality is," he said without apparent irony.
Butler says a face transplant could mean a deformity was spotted only at one metre away rather than 15 metres at present.
"I suspect they (the patients) don't understand how much of a rigid mask it may turn out to be...it's going to be very difficult to get any of the nerves and muscles that control facial expression working again."
That's right! Just ask Simon Crean.
JOHN PILGER drowns on Barrier Reef holiday.
FREAK survives inevitable consequence!
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Ah, Christmas morning. A fresh day enlivened by the luxurious banalities of life.
The dog walked, the sloshing pool circumnavigated. The sun risen. Nothing discordant likely to intrude.
Until lunch time.
But you know that. It is probably dyspepsia and exhaustion that bring you to this page.
I console myself with the memory of Matthew Parris’s cogent explanation of why funerals are greatly to be preferred to weddings.
I know it seems like some contrarian conceit of the kind columnists are prone to, but the case is overwhelming
Only a blog-bore would reproduce so much text, but you can still read it on the Spectator’s site.
Uncle finds a strict analogy between Parris’s argument and his own preference for Easter over Christmas, former being the more satisfactory festival, even for an atheist.
Easter, combining the death and re-birth of the same and complete person, makes a much more satisfying subject for symbolism and celebration than the open-endedness of births, most of which fail to justify the hopes so enthusiastically invested in them.
Especially a birth celebrated by the inevitabilities, irritations and continuities of family life, which only the profoundly complacent can think merits such treatment.
If this were the mid-winter solstice Uncle could see the case for the kind of mindless celebration that consoles. Given the hemisphere we’re in, let’s abandon Christmas in favour of National Barbecue Day, when friends celebrate the lifestyle made possible by the climates of this blessed land. Any relationships closer than cousinage to be strictly excluded from this day’s festivities.
I am confident that the prattling Primate Carnley will hasten to embrace my idea once he realises the distress his congregation is causing the heathen majority by its selfishness; and I kill a few dozen Australians.
It’s no wonder we enliven Christmas with gift-giving, to co-opt the enthusiasm of the children. Who could bear it otherwise?
Sunday, December 22, 2002
HO! HO! HO!
Yes, Uncle is feeling that Christmas spirit of goodwill.
There’s too much accusation and bitterness flying around. Where is the spirit of healing and forgiveness?
You could wait for Auntie to begin broadcasting her New-Age nostrums for the intellectually-challenged in the New Year, when New Horizons returns like a January dust-storm.
If you can’t wait that long, join Uncle now in his Christmas charity work.
It’s time to rehabilitate sinners, whose depravity can be cured if they sincerely wish to be saved, and restore them to their proper place in society.
That’s right, I’m talking about those naughty scholars Henry Reynolds and Lyndall Ryan, recently convicted of molesting the children placed in their care. What can we do to help?
Here are Uncle’s options:
1. The Inquisition of Iniquity. We could persuade Wilson Tuckey, Peter Reith and Professor Bunyip to don the black hoods of God’s justice. Their task would be to compose salacious stories of what Henry and Lyndall might have done in their youth. This history would be made required reading in every curriculum-challenged university in the country. If, after twenty years, Henry and Lyndall can provide scholarly proof that they did not commit any of the deeds imagined by our ingenious tribunal, they will be eligible for entry into graduate school for apprentice historians.
2. The Phrase Perversion Test. Our two scallywags would be required to swap phrases in the following statement without changing its sense in any way:
"The evidence shows that Henry and Lyndall have fabricated evidence and misrepresented the rest to support a pre-determined view of Tasmanian history".
3. The Mud-bath of Death. This is more a trial than a test. Henry and Lyndall will be chained to a post in the deepest recesses of Auntie's Commune and subjected to incessant slurping and stroking from Philip Gastropod Adams. If they vomit it proves their hearts are pure. If they die with a smile on their faces who's going to complain?
4. Finally, for those of you without charity, even at Christmas, there is a fourth option. Leave them to suffer the social isolation that disgrace brings. You heartless wretches!
Over to you, gentle readers. Vote early and often. (When Bravenet.com is back online.)
Friday, December 20, 2002
A STOMACH STRONGER THAN THE GASTROPOD'S? Silly season item#6153
Reader Rod is a man of rare intestinal fortitude. Not only could he read the entire column the Gastropod produced for last weekend's Australian, he also wants to follow his advice.
The Gastropod, with the insight we've come to expect of him, attributes all violence, from the cosmic level down, to dicks. And he wants all of us who are possessed of dicks to "beat them into ploughshares". That's alright for Adams, who like his Edenic namesake didn't know he had one until someone showed him.
Enough of that! But not for Rod, who wants to imagine the Gastropodian grub on the anvil, and with Carmenangoin and Margo Kingston going at it, hammer and tongs.
Well, Carmenangoin might just come at it, from feminist principle. Margo would want to visualise it.
Any more of this and Uncle will start murdering babies.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
THE DIVIDENDS OF DILATORINESS
Uncle has always found that if he delays doing something long enough, and that something is worth doing, then someone else will do it, and Uncle can stay in bed that much longer.
So it has proved with my promise to say more about Professor Robert "Cudgels" Manne's hurtful claim that the painfully scholarly Keith Windschuttle had practised plagiarism in his new book, The fabrication of Aboriginal history, part one.
In this morning's Henny Herald the astute Miranda Devine - a clear case of tokenism come back to bite - deals in a business-like way with Manne.
In case the link has disappeared by the time good fortune leads you to this post, let me point out the heart of her case.
Manne has claimed that Windschuttle plagiarised another author, Robert Edgerton, by reproducing whole passages without attribution. This, according to Devine, Windschuttle has now denied, saying that "not even a clause... corresponds precisely to what Edgerton said." That is true, but there is a close similarity in a few phrases that both use. The clearest case is the one quoted by Manne. Edgerton says, in his Sick societies, page 47, that Tasmanian women used "sticks to prise up roots, wooden chisels to pry shellfish off rocks...", no doubt meaning "prise". Windschuttle says women used "wooden digging sticks to uproot vegetables and wooden chisels to prise shellfish from rocks."
See the similarity? Well done! You've probably already worked out why they're similar. Windschuttle and Edgerton are both paraphrasing the same principal author, whom they both cite, although Windschuttle does it more informatively when he says "The most useful overall view of Tasmanian Aboriginal cutlure is still H. Ling Roth, The Aborigines of Tasmania... which discusses the findings of all the original ethnographic studies." Since no Tasmanian aboriginal has lived a traditional lifestyle since about 1835, neither of the present-day authors can do much better than that.
Consider this; how many different ways are there to say that Tasmanians used a flat bit of wood to prise shellfish off rocks? Perhaps you could make it rhyme, or set it to music. Make sure you don't also decorate the bare facts that Roth records.
In other words, the similarity in the words used by these two authors has a simple explanation and in itself says nothing about plagiarism.
Now uncle can be as cynical, twisted and vicious as Cudgels Manne, and that without the assistance of frequent contact with undergraduates. But I find it hard to believe that anyone who hopes to play a part in pubic debate would commit such a transparent fabrication of an offence. But I used to think the same about the historians Reynolds and Ryan and their followers.
According to Devine, Melbourne University's Andrew Alexandra also assumed higher standards of Manne and criticised Windschuttle publicly. He now says "I have now looked over Windschuttle's book, where extensive referencing to the sources .. is to be found. Therefore, I apologise unreservedly to Keith Windschuttle..."
Another reputation bites the dust. What a week or two.
Now if you read the next bit you must promise not to tell Cudgels, who may be tempted to further disgrace himself.
For Windschuttle does in fact make a mistake in his citing of Edgerton.
On page 382 he says "This pattern of tribal conflict...has led the American anthropologist Robert Edgerton to describe the pre-contact Tasmanians as a 'profoundly maladapted population'." and goes on to quote Edgerton extensively, and accurately.
What Edgerton says, and I'll quote it at length to give you the full sense, is: "The Tasmanians have not been singled out for discussion because they were a profoundly maladapted population. On the contrary, compared to many societies that will be discussd in subsequent chapters, they were relatively well adapted at least by the criterion of maintaining their population over thousands of years. But their way of life was heardly ideal. Their feuding was deadly, disruptive and purposeless, their food supply was at times inadequate the their women were discontented. The population also maintained practices that could have proven to be maladaptive if the Tasmanians had been challenged by competing societies...When the Europeans arived, Tasmanian society quickly collapsed." (page 52).
In substance, Windschuttle and Edgerton are agreeing about everything but the measuring-stick to be applied in using the word "adaptive". It's purely a matter of definition, not of their judgement of Tasmanian culture and its consequences. Personally, I would feel more comfortable using the word "maladaptive" for the situation Edgerton describes. Still, I'm glad Cudgels was too careless to find it, and unscrupulous enough to use what he did find.
Windschuttle will continue to survive the "How dare he!" reactions of the usual crowd who wish genocide to have happened, because they just know it should have. And the Reynolds line that in denying a holocaust he is denying conflict.
His contribution to scholarship will stand, because unlike his critics he's behaved like a real historian should, checked the sources thoroughly and assessed them intelligently.
In ten years time Australian Aborigines will have emerged from the stereotypes within which left and right have confined them, and be seen as a remarkably diverse, and historically active, bunch of human beings.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
SILLY SEASON ITEM #2063
Last night's Late Night Live has the Gastropod re-visiting the first of his favourite sessions in the mud-bath, Don Watson's promo interview for his book Bleating for Keating. I had forgotten what a luxurious stroke-fest it was.
If the Gastropod can repeat himself, so can Uncle.
THUS TWISTS THE DEPENDED MAN
Good to see the attention being given to Windschuttle's book on the history of black-white relations in Tasmania.
Apart from the debate on last Thursday's PM, we now have a reply in the Weekend Australian (no link) from Henry Reynolds, some cosh work from Professor Robert Manne in Monday's Henny Herald (no link), and a session on Max-weird McCutcheon's Australia Talks Back (just tonight, so you'll have to wait for audio). And the letters, of course.
You have to admire Reynolds's smoothness, which contrasts with the edginess of Windschuttle, and makes the former good radio talent.
None of this can diguise the fact that Reynolds is back-pedalling like the coyote when he knows he's approaching that cliff. On tonight's Australia Talks Back he abandons his demand that Tasmanian Aborigines be given recognition in the Australian War Memorial. You will, no doubt, recall that this arose from the proposition that the conflict in Tasmania was a war of national defence against British imperialism, on the model of the post-WWII wars of national liberation.
Now Reynolds only requires recognition in some suitable form.
Forget all that. The fact that will remain is this. In future, no historian or writer of any repute will be able to argue that there was either a policy of warfare, let alone genocide, practised upon the Aboriginal people of Tasmania, because Windschuttle has shown these tendentious myths of the 1960s and after are based on lousy scholarship by people with a political agenda.
You can enjoy watching how the indisputable truth of the past 30 years is abandoned without acknowledging the part that Windschuttle, demon denialist, has played. That's politics.
The diatribe Professor Manne writes in Henny Herald, and in the Age, is a curious piece of work, on which Uncle will have something more to say later. For now, just note the extraordinarily, even by Henny's standards, propagandistic style of it.
The heading is "BLIND TO TRUTH, AND BLIND TO HISTORY" a strange way to attack a book that is punctilious in its historical method. In fact, Henry Reynolds takes Windschuttle to task for approaching his subject like a "bare-knuckle barrister". That is, poor Henry thinks Windschuttle has looked too closely at the facts, and is a brute too. A view Manne shares, accusing Windschuttle of "an attention to detail worthy of Sherlock Holmes." as if that were an offense.
The fact is, as Manne knows, to the historians of indigenous liberation, getting the facts right is an offence. It spoils the story.
And the accompanying illustration, of an Aboriginal woman and baby being shot in the back, repeats the old slanders and extends them to Windschuttle.
Professor Manne introduces his diatribe with a cocktail of personal observations and leftist disqualifications. Windschuttle is "once a radical Marxist", and now a "neo-Tory apologist for British imperialism".
By resorting to this kind of abuse Manne is committing his own kind of apostasy, to the liberal principles he appeared to subscribe to as the former Editor of Quadrant. His sacking from that position was clearly an enlightened act.
Finally emerging from her funk, Tasmanian historian Lyndall Ryan, whose reputation Windschuttle has so completely demolished that no re-construction is conceivable, takes resort in post-modern clap-trap. History offers "plausible alternatives". Strange that she has only just discovered it. Previously, she thought alternative views to hers should not be published.
There's more to come. But remember this is the moment the tide turned.
Friday, December 13, 2002
CARMENANGOIN'S NEW JOB
You'll be pleased to hear that the tainted lady of the Labor left has already got a new job. Stroke-pal to the Gastropod on Late Night Live.
Not hard to see why with these political skills: Carmen thinks that John Howard is an Anglo supremacist who believes that people like him should run the world.
But, Carmen insists, she would never call him a racist.
Carmenangoin and Mahathir the Mad form a unity ticket. But what are they standing for?
IS THAT A CAUSE FOR WAR?
Just because the Iraqis have filled their latest confession to the UN with re-cycled 10-year old verbage is no reason to jump on them.
Bloggers do it all the time. It's called internal linking.
The Pre-schoolers at Background Briefing have tried to prove our spooks were caught flat-footed by Bali, JI and all that.
They failed. Instead they proved that in the Pre-school, not having a clue is a license to say anything.
Just how clueless they are can be seen from the following howler about Indonesian history.
Pancasila was introduced by Soeharto and forms the basis of Indonesian law.
Don't tell Megawati Sukarnoputri that Auntie ABC, Australia's national broadcaster, heard all round the world, has forgotten her father.
The Australian has the wood on Bashir the duck.
Henny Herald thinks he's a one-man neutron bomb. Oh dear.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Who cares if she's Carmen or going?
Peter Ruehl quotes the post-modern Carmen Lawrence in last weekend's Financial Review (December 7-8):
"We need to tell Australians a story about the sort of country we want this to be...and how their lives can be improved"
Just what we need - Carmen telling us a story. Every time she tried to tell one at the WA royal commission she forgot it.
DEVIL GETS A GIG IN THE PULPIT
Moving picture director Phil Noyce has been getting some stick lately for making a cartoon claiming to be an episode of Australian history (Rabbit-proof fence) and then slagging off his homeland as if the fabrication were fact.
Less attention has been paid to the tenured university historians who have provided the climate of falsehood from which film-makers' caricatures grow.
But this has been an important week for historical fabricators, because Keith Windschuttle has published the first volume of his detailed examination of their work.
The book is The fabrication of Aboriginal history, volume one, and it is devastating. In short, it shows that some of the leading proponents of the leftist paradigm that sees Tasmanian history as a Punch and Judy show in which evil, exploitative British imperialism practised genocide on Australian Aborigines has been invented.
The tools used by the professional historians responsible for the fabrication included deliberate invention of historical sources that do not exist, moving whole phrases around in witness statements, failing to look for corroboration for the most unlikely of tall tales, among other vices. When these historians are on the political campaign trail the historical evidence just has to do as it is told.
Windschuttle's destruction of their work, and their professional reputations, is complete.
They hang suspended over the abyss like the cartoon coyote waiting for the rest of us to see their true position.
If you don't believe old Uncle, listen to Henry Reynold's response on tonight's PM. Better, wait for the transcript.
Take away the huff and puff, and the Reynolds reply amounts to this. He can't argue with the chapter and verse of Windschuttle's dismantling of his work, so he just pretends it doesn't affect the interpretation.
If the lies don't matter, why bother telling them?
Beneath the bluster, Reynolds is capitulating. The lesser lights appear to be staying under the covers until new year. Their academic mates are trying to bully and censor. "We are deeply concerned that Keith Windschuttle should be given space to attack the credibility of major Australian historians...It is a tragedy for Australian society that someone with such a twisted view of history...should be given any support or credence." bark Professors Muecke, Goodall and Langton in yesterday's Australian.
That makes five people who could not possibly hold jobs in any university that valued its reputation or the traditions of scholarly debate.
Read Windschuttle's brief summary of his case, better still read the book, and be prepared to lose whatever respect you've got left for the professionalism of leftist historians.
GET OUT OF MY LIFEBOAT!
Sometime, when they tell the story of that old, corrupt, sclerotic, arthritic, introverted, helpless, pratfalling, bureaucratic, politically-compromised, socially-detached, ABC Rado National , the one that swims in circles in its own bathwater like a one-legged duck, i.e. the RN that's broadcasting at the moment, they may pause to celebrate the intelligence and foresight of one faceless bureaucrat who made a very smart move. And I'm not talking about resignation.
Some years ago, in the course of one of the many re-arrangements of Auntie's programming furniture, it was decided that the lead programs of ABC News and Current Affairs, ie AM and PM, should be run on both the flash new Radio National and the corny old local State and regional programs.
The result: local programming the combines the audience-responsiveness of local radio with the interest and authority of Auntie's national news and current affairs professionals. That means you can ignore the solitary self-abuse of the communards and still get the best of radio current affairs. Information without "presenters" pretending to be journalists. Forget you ever heard the timbre of the Pastor's drone, the slurping and stroking of the Gastropod, the babble of Max-weird. Bliss!
And so, as the commentariat droned on to its shrinking audience, with their parents aging and their partners growing ever more youthful by step-functions, as Radio National's credibility reached a size that allowed it to fit into Philip Adams's hip pocket with spare room for one percent of Gough Whitlam's ego, the poor State cousins went from strength to strength.
According to the last audience survey of the year (those commercial bastards haven't worked out that exams are bad for you) the ABC's Victorian state programming (774) is equal first in the popularity stakes at 12.1% That's equal to the most popular music FM station.
And the other states range from 7.4 to a respectable 9.6, all improving except NSW.
Meanwhile the RN stations are stagnating at about 2%. That means in the State of South Australia with a population of 1.5 mill the average audience 5.30pm to midnight for the communards and their products is about 3000, according to ACNielsen.
It also means that if you cauterised RN from Auntie's ample torso, where it hangs like a shrivelling leech, the total ABC average evening radio audience (excluding Tasmania and the Northern Territory) would change from 376 000 to 342 000 and who would notice, apart from the taxpayers?
After John Howard's next election landslide he might just feel brave enough to do it.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
This is Uncle's considered diagnosis of Pastor Lane's pathetic condition after Sunday's National Interest on Radio National.
After the routine gloat about the higher tariffs imposed on South Australians by their "foreign-owned" electricity generators, the Pastor turned his mind to something truly shocking.
About one million Australians are working overseas! Lots in the US!
We must get them back! But how?
Perhaps we should pay them at global rates? Like those greedy CEOs we love to hate.
You're not trying to tell me ....
Do you see why Uncle concludes the Pastor's patron saint is Groucho, not Karl?
VICTORIA LEADS THE WORLD
A guest on this morning's Law Report advocates votes for 5-year olds. And older children too.
Yes, he's from Scandinavia.
Our host Damien Carrick neglected to point out that our own State of Victoria (like the State of Excitement but one hundred years older) under the leadership of the Australian Labor Party has already made this overdue improvement.
How else could you explain the recent election result?
Now, everybody, all clap hands!
Sunday, December 08, 2002
ENTER PASSIONATE FOOL
I admit it, I usually find the prospect of listening to the Pre-schoolers of Background Briefing an insufficient incentive to get out of bed of a Sunday morning, even when Auntie's still there. And television in the morning is, to a properly-raised gentleman like Uncle, like drinking whisky before 4.00 pm or claret before noon.
Pushing all this aside, especially Auntie, I rose not long after dawn this morning to watch The Insiders on ABC television, a medium normally best left to those in training for Alzheimers Disease.
I hope you're not standing as you read this, for I confess that I found it lively, informative, engaging and well worth delaying the ingestion of weetbix for.
I was a little late as I am for most appointments (it saves a lot of time for more important things) so you may have to check the details on the ABC Website. And no, I'm not going to do it for you.
The host was the care-worn Barry Cassidy, a journalist whose face suggests he has been pissed on by more egomaniacal, paranoid politicians than one of Uncle's posts.
Done him the world of good.
His job was just to throw the ball to the other journalistic hounds drawn from the raw backstreets of commercial jouralism, in a kind of rotation that Auntie regards as improving the lower breeds. There was Andrew Bolt of the Herald-Sun/Sun Herald/ Herald whatever and that stroke-resistant veteran of the Gastropod's attentions Annabelle Crabb of the Age and someone from Perth who may have been called Matt Ridley. Apparently Piers Akerman is even brought in occasionally in a protective plastic bubble.
Memo to Radio National: good political discussion requires that the audience can not predict the talent's every response to every political event. And it helps if the host doesn't think that he's the real talent. Why not try it? Plenty of time available if you sack those utterly predictable droners Pastor Lane and the Gastropod who have not had a new thought since Gough hit them with his death ray thirty years ago last week.
Which brings me, but not logically, to our encounter with John Robertson of the NSW Trades and Labor Council and ALP heavyweight.
Following the leadership of the tainted lady of the Labor Left, Carmen Lawrence, Robertson is working his tongue to its stump to deliver John Howard victory at the next election.
You know the line: The big change is to abolish this concept of mandatory detention, it is not about opening the gates and allowing everybody in but it is about being compassionate....If we allow our party to be poll driven then we will never see reforms introduced, because reforms are always contentious, they are initially not always electorally popular but over time, if you go out and you campaign around these issues, you can change people's views. I think the great example of that was Whitlam throughout the 60s campaigning to bring our armed forces home from Vietnam, that wasn't popular initially but over time the party campaigned around that and that was one of the successes in '72 for Whitlam.
That's the fool speaking. John Robertson seriously entertains the belief that the Australian people are subject to the same kind of doubts about the merits of controlling the flow of people across our borders as they had about the Vietnam war.
And here's the passion that makes such fools so helpful to their political opponents.
Robertson wants to make mandatory detention the fuel for a campaign to get into the ALP Presidency, now to be elected by the Party membership, someone who is against the Parliamentary leader and the great majority of the Parliamentary Party. He wants the ALP to do to itself what the Australian Democrats did shortly before they imploded.
I think it's just one of the issues that will be a rallying point, or a focus, for the rank and file in the lead up to the first national conference ever that will allow the party to select the national President.
He doesn't think they've got a majority -yet.
If you think that's foolish, cop this. He's prepared to destroy any chance of an ALP government for an issue that may well be of no practical significance, apart from keeping John Howard/Peter Costello in power.
ANDREW BOLT: But that's it you are arguing about something that actually applies to almost nobody, it is purely symbolic.
JOHN ROBERTSON: Well, no, that is not right. We are arguing about a range of issues where there are still significant numbers of people who are being detained.
ANDREW BOLT: No mandatory detention applies under your policy, you came in now, it would apply to what, five people.
JOHN ROBERTSON: No, more than that if you talk about the current policy that exists now. It would apply to anybody who arrives.
ANDREW BOLT: But nobody is arriving.
JOHN ROBERTSON: Well at the moment no-one is arriving...
In the spirit of reconciliation Uncle offers this proposal that should please both John Robertson and John Howard.
Rather than wasting Peter Reith's talents on the ABC Board, which does nothing, give him a real job.
Send him to Indonesia with a crack squad of Australian wharfies, who know how to make things disappear, a small bag of hundred dollar bills and a few balaclavas.
Do a deal with JI, load the boat with suicide asylum-seekers and arrange for them to drop in to Sydney about a month before the next election.
I doubt the ALP will notice, but the electorate sure will.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
LABOR LEFT TALKS BACK
If any of you out there in blogland were keeping alive the idea of defending Auntie from charges of political bias, abandon all hope.
On tonight's Australia (the bit that matters) Talks Back, Max-weird McCutcheon put two dumb fingers up to the dwindling mob of ABC apologists. The subject was, of course, the resignation of left beacon and demonstrated liar, Carmen Lawrence, from the Opposition front-bench.
In the first place Max gave a text-book demo of Uncle's earlier analysis by achieving a remarkable, near-unanimous response from listeners. Let's assume that about two thirds of Australians support the policy of mandatory detention for illegal arrivals. Under Max's tutelage the ABC's responders managed no more than 5%.
Who let that fascist in?
And if you think that the Max-majority represent the cream of the Australian intellect, why don't you listen to them for a change.
Max's second sin, showing he's as stupid as he is biased, was to declare his open support for the Labor left line. It was a pleasure, he said referring to Lawrence's political stratagem, to hear the words "politician" and "principle" in the same sentence. That is, he takes her political positioning at face value.
Max-weird seems oblivious to the long tradition of the word "principle" in the cant of the Labor left faction. Whenever the left adopts a position that fails to satisfy the basic conditions of policy for a Party that aims to be in government some day, it claims to be taking a "principled" stand. When they appeal to the prejudices of the left in the unions and branches, at whatever cost to the rest of us, they make the same hypocritical claim. They act from the heart, from principle, with the rank and file, whatever will disguise the fact that they are prepared to shaft the people to advance their factional and personal agendas.
We don't expect politicians to be honest about their motives.
We're still entitled to puke when Lawrence fronts the press conference she called and damns her colleagues for tailoring their policies to suit the media.
Guess what? None of Max's callers, let alone Max-weirdness himself, even raised the distasteful subject of Carmen's political motivations.
We can assume it's not just a free kick to the Greens - that's incidental.
The one caller hostile to Lawrence wanted to test her "principles" against the evidence given to a Royal Commission by several of her colleagues that she had used confidential family court documents relating to a woman who later suicided in an attempt to shaft a political opponent. Max-weird ruled it out of order! It's all in the past. Isn't it great to be a professional, tax-payer funded, public-service broadcaster.
It seems to me the main question is, does Carmen aim to challenge for the leadership before or after the next election?
Whatever, she's invited the Labor rank and file to walk even further from the mainstream on this crucial issue. Looks like Peter Costello will inherit the Prime Ministership whenever Howard decides to retire.
What are this tainted lady's chances? Here's one opinion:I think that she has a long-term senior career in politics ahead of her.
That's from Kim Beazley, who fluffed his chance for the Prime Ministership on the very same issue on which Lawrence is now trying to build her leadership ambitions.
And whenever Labor returns to government, which Uncle may not live to see, that government will have about the same affection for the ABC, thanks to the communards of Radio National, as the current government. Whatever Lawrence's position, in it or out of it.
Enjoy yourself boys and girls, it gets no better for you than this.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
KERRY AND COITUS INTERRUPTUS
It must be the Christmas madness striking early.
The 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien (the "world's greatest journalist") has taken to the first resort of the journalistic lightweight trying to look like a heavyweight; he's interrupting every response his subjects make before they get to finish a sentence.
The other night it was poor old Simon Crean, who was left looking like a washed-out wimp.
Tonight it was our favourite pantaloon, Lexy Downer, hosing down the fuss over Howard's "shoot first, ask later" strategy. The pantaloon refused to be cut short, leading to some undignified and unenlightening talk-overs, but coming out of it all the better.
Our Kerry closed the interview crowing with self-satisfaction.
YOU SAID IT, MAHATHIR, ME OLD MATE.
Appropriate that the first south east Asian head of state to respond to the beat up of John Howard's "we'll go after them" statement should be Mahathir the Mad.
He says that any Australian intervention would be an act of war.
Which country hasn't been able to find al Quaeda's regional representative Hambali, who has been in residence for several years? Yes, that Hambali. The one living next door to Bashir the duck. The one Jack "rock-head" Roche had no trouble meeting in Malaysia, on his way to do lunch with bin Laden.
Yes, that Malaysia.
Don't say it out loud, but that's just the sort of behaviour that makes the break-down-the-door option so necessary.
Monday, December 02, 2002
WHO'S DECEIVING WHOM HERE?
An observant reader with expertise on Afghanistan notes that the lovely Keysar Trad has removed his hate-talking squawk from the Website of the Islamic Youth Movement. This is the item that the Bunyip drew our attention to, and Uncle commented on so long ago that he can't be buggered finding it again. A few choice extracts are posted below. What can it mean?
Attached is a nauseating little offering from Brother Keysar Trad which has been removed from the Islamic Youth Movement website, presumably for reasons of Taqiyya. In an interview with Piers Akerman some weeks ago Mr. Trad denied that Sunnis used it, claiming Taqiyya is purely a Shia practice. How do you like that? Taqiyya about Taqiyya! What a versatile doctrine. When Alan Jones confronted Trad with the attached filth, Trad claimed he had merely translated it. Other articles at the Islam.org website specifically say that they are translations and name the translator. Trad's rant pointedly did not. Surely not another case of Taqiyya?
Well, sorting these things out is what God or evolution gave us brains for. The alternative is doing something useful with your life.
Just to help you appreciate the spirit in which Trad's leader, Al Hilaly, joined the parade of the pacifists through the streets of Sydney last weekend, here again are some of the thoughts of brother Trad. Note the sign-off on the bottom.
So the little man [John Howard? The average Australian?] feels braver now, and is able to justify taunting our sisters when they walk in the streets as he passes them in his car. Or to taunt me because I look non Western. He is justified, because Pauline has inadvertently convinced him that such actions are the solution to the problems of this country and he is the white knight in his shining armour, with the blue Australian Blood (or should I say: the beer Australian blood) who must come to the rescue.
In a way, they feel safe because of the quantity of water which surrounds this country, so they feel fortified behind this great body, it gives them a feeling of security. But the reality is, the land belongs to God, not to them, and if those foreigners, whom they fear as migrants are not permitted to enter as migrants, they will come as settlers, in numbers so large that they will not be able to process them, hold them, or stop them. What will they do then? If these foreigners who are restraining themselves, because they see a legal hope, that they can come to this vast mainly uninhabited land for whatever reason, are told that there is no longer a legal way to come here, what will they do?
What will a starving person do when he wants food?
They will no longer respect these laws which were drafted in a cocoon away from the reality that the land of Australia does not belong to white European man. In fact, if the original inhabitants had their way, or if we want to employ Pauline Hanson justice, then white man should pack his bags and leave this country, for your people Pauline, have been the worst of guests!
The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country, and now, they only take the select choice of other societies, and the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us. And because we are not elitists, we tolerate them. Yet they want us to assimilate, perhaps they will only become satisfied when we each die our hair red, wear blue/green contact lenses, and operate a fish and chips shop, otherwise, we would not be truly assimilating, would we?
Of course, Australia has to feature prominently in this treatise, for no reason other than the fact that I live here. A study of other western countries will show the situation to be worse. In America for example, the situation with elitism sees the neighbouring Mexicans whose Texas was usurped from them by the Yanks being treated like unwanted feral animals, they are refused any basic human rights, and reports have been filed of their numbers being bashed and humiliated by border patrols. The US policies are more far reaching, it seems that as their power of communication, and weapon potential grows, they expand their influence and interference in the domestic affairs of foreign nations. So we see subversive activities in practically all South American countries to keep them unstable so that they can never pose a threat to the myth of the great free America.
If we look further, we see their interference in the affairs of Islamic countries which are on the other side of the globe, we see them shape the politics of Egypt, Saudi, Kuwait and many other countries, and we see them suppressing the revival of Islam there.
Canada is an example of irony, a country divided into two official languages seeing the French side banning shop signs in languages other than French.
Yet the French appear to be the most intolerant going to the extent of banning the importation of basic Islamic books into their country, including simple books such as Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawy's "The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam", and banning Muslim women from attending high schools and universities if their head is covered with a scarf. To the point of having police there to stop these sisters from entering university grounds.
The British are no better, their incestuous relationship and influence over Arab countries saw them debating the introduction of a new law to deport Muslims on suspicion of so called "fundamentalist" links without a trial. Not to mention their support of the Serbs in the Balkan conflict through opposing arms sale to the Bosnian Muslims.
India, the Asian country which is dominated by the lowest of the low amongst racists, the class society which divides its own people into four classes and places people of other faiths, and Muslims in particular as the lowest of the low. The policies of these cow worshippers, and their extermination of Muslims in their countries and inside Kashmir (to the silence of Western countries) is one more example of how this feeling of elitism is not restricted to the colour of the elitist, it is a lifestyle of those idiots who have intoxicated themselves with a false feeling of power, and who actively exercise this power against others.
What it boils down to is that elitism is practised to the detriment of others in many Western countries, as well as would be Western countries, on various scales. It seems that a common victim of this elitism with all these countries is the Muslim; this is evident through both government policies and the way their media reports negatively on Islam.
The joke is on the elitists and the Muslims who stand idly by letting all this take place without exercising the power given to us by Islam. "And if you turn away, He will exchange a people other than you, then they will not be like you." [S47: V38]
By Br. Keysar Trad
PERHAPS IT'S RACIAL.
The Radio National Breakfast crew have found a writer from the New York Times to tell the soon-to-be-unlamented Vivian Schenker that the US is "addicted to warfare".
Somehow Unlce feels no better informed, either about the US Government or the mental furniture of New York Times writers.
By the way, he has a book to sell.