Attila the Pun
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Merlin Fraser

Its like the stars are aligned the wrong way or something. Merlin, he of the Big Brother 'refugee' protest, has spoken alongside Malcolm Fraser at a breakfast function.

Hilariously, Merlin now considers himself a 'valid voice' on the issue, rather than "some punk who put some tape on his mouth and held up a sign and said 'Yeah, dude, free the refugees'." His words, not mine. What has he done to become this valid voice? Sign with Harry M Miller of course!

The German's grasp of politics is exceeded only by his understanding of history -

"Luck told the audience that Australia's detention policy was inhumane and in years to come Australians would look back, as they do now over the Stolen Generations, "and think, how did we ever justify this?"

Pretty damning stuff, if there had been a single proven case of a 'stolen generation' member of course.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I have no doubt that Phillip Adams' latest effort in the Australian will be eviscerated by those with more talent than I (hopefully that omnipresent Adams watcher, Professor Bunyip will jump on board), but the column made me so angry that I had to add my two cents.

Adams' central contention is that the greatest tragedy of September 11 was that it saved the Bush presidency, and may also help Howard. Seriously. In fact - "In objective terms, September 11 was infinitesimal."

Being able to remain objective when 3000 innocent office workers are murdered by terrorists I guess is a sign of his higher intellect. But it gets worse:

"For the mighty US to lose a couple of large skyscrapers in a nation with cities as full of these perpendicularities as a jungle is of trees, would hardly destroy its prospects."

Read that, then read it again. He seriously wrote that. Why not say that the death of 3000 people, in a country of 250 million, is hardly a big deal? This is the same man whom the taxpayers of Australia pay to present a weekly radio program.

Speaking of Australia:

"Just as a few Australians coming under fire in Baghdad may be more than enough to defeat Mark Latham."

What a wuss, he can't actually bring himself to talk about the death of Australian soldiers, he cops out with the line 'coming under fire'. Speaking of which, considering that in recent days Australian servicemen have been mortared, as well as shot at in the air, does that mean we can blame any Latham defeat on that?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Flying the flag, err literally

It will be a condition of the new school funding package that all schools fly an Australian flag. An excellent, though minor, idea. The article of course doesn't headline the PE requirement ('fighting obesity' anybody?) but does quote the usual suspects who are opposed to such an innocuous idea:

Andrew Blair of the Victorian Association of State School Principals said he hoped the flag plan would not mean "a return to colonial Australia days" and that it was accompanied by programs recognising "the multicultural nature of our community".

Yes moron, it means a return to colonial Australia days. The parts of the plan which placed the House of Lords above the High Court, banned non-white students attending, and legislated the use of chalk and slate were luckily defeated at cabinet level.

Hitched to a bandwagon

When Christopher Hitchens gets on a roll, it makes you wonder why other columnists (with the exception of Steyn) would ever bother. Enjoy his asault on His Exalted Tubbiness Michael Moore. Sample:

"I have already said that Moore's film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it's much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex," and the use of "spin" in the presentation of our politicians. It's high time someone had the nerve to point this out. There's more. Poor people often volunteer to join the army, and some of them are duskier than others. Betcha didn't know that."

Let the crushing of dissent roll on...

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Thought for the day

"Before criticising somebody, you must walk a mile in their shoes...

That way, when they hear about it, you will be a mile away, and have their shoes"

(courtesy of Guru Bob)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Advanced degree in talking crap

Natasha Giardina is completing a PhD at James Cook University in Cairns. She is also talking out of her backside.

Childrens books, including Harry Potter, the Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, are "signs of a subliminal cultural war between adults and children."

The fact that that was the opening paragraph in the story gives you an indication of what you are in for here. She goes on:

"On the surface the text seems to say, 'Look kids! This is your culture. We're on your side, especially against adult authority figures'," Ms Giardina said.

"But a closer analysis demonstrates that the writer is merely using this strategy to sell adult ideas such as: 'adults know best', and, 'parents are a source of security when things get tough',"

Imagine trying to 'sell' crazy 'adult ideas' like that.

After 'examining' eight whole books, including those mentioned above, as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, she claims to have found the 'underlying theme' to be that "children should be meek, mild and obedient to the wishes of good sensible adults."

I have read most of the books mentioned, and have concluded that Natasha is basically making this up. Have you seen what they get up to in CS Lewis' classic? Leading armies, fighting evil witches. Sure they are counselled by the wise Lion, but they are right at the front, and certainly aren't 'meek and mild'. From my understadning of Harry Potter, he seems to do okay for himself as well. Anyway, what is wrong with children being obedient to the wishes of 'good sensible adults'? Let Natasha tell you what is wrong with it:

"Ms Giardina said it was not a new idea that children were trying to contest the power imbalance, which they did through what she called children's culture, in which they sought to counteract the powerless position they were in."

Ah, the heady brew of post-modern analysis and victimhood language.

She goes on about a book called Northern Lights, where "the benevolence of adults is actually called into question."

She hopes this book showed that "adults were starting to look at childhood not as a disability to be overcome but as a valuable phase of development."

Somebody actually said that with a straight face. I am going to take a wild guess here, and assume that Ms Giardina doesn't have kids. From the rubbish she is talking, it also appears that she have never met anyone with them. I guess you have to be really highly educated to say really really dumb things.

Of course, a google search always turns up interesting things. Ms Giardina presented a paper called "“Harry's hierarchies: Ideology and power relations in the Harry Potter series” at the conference "harry Potter goes to University. Other such valuable insights presented there were "Seeing Past the Mundane: A Pedagogical Approach to Stylistic Arguments in Harry Potter Criticism” and “Harry Potter and the Terrors of the Toilet"

I am not making this up.

Going further, the JCU website seems to carry a longer version of her 'interview' From this we get such gems as "the adult ideology which is most stable in this genre ... is the implication that children should always trust the guidance of white patriachs"

This ignores the fact that in the TLTWATW, they were guided by a Lion. A tan coloured one I think. She also ignores the fact that most of the books she looked at were written by (drumroll) white males. What else did she expect to find, especially in books written early last century?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Free th votes

Apparently Merlin Luck is no Wizard of Oz. Our newest publicity seeking glory hound, who staged a silent 'protest' on his Big Brother eviction show, is a German citizen and therefore has never voted in Australia.

Was this because he was so horrifed by our inhumane treatment of refugees that he was only willing to live here as a non-citizen? Err no, it was because his German passport allows him to travel and work freely in Australia.

Anyway, who wants to participate in the democratic process where each person has one equal vote each, when you can instead push your cause through the media? But thats enough about Peter Garrett..

Merlin claims he made the sign before going into the Big Brother house. If that is true, why the hell couldn't he sew the 'e' on the end of 'th'?

Of course, we will leave the final word to the man himself.

Nerd alert!

This story will only appeal if you are a) a PC nerd, and b) watched trashy British sci-fi when you were younger, specifically Blakes 7.

Basically someone has modded a case to resemble ORAC, the computer from that program. The results speak for themselves.

This story will appeal if you are a) a nerd and b) enjoyed Predator. Who hasn't wanted an invisibility cloak at one stage or another. Check out the videos of it in action...

Thursday, June 10, 2004
sssh-ooort mem-or-y

Greg Sheridan on Garratt's decision to stand for the Labor seat of Kingsford-Smith:

PETER Garrett is either a lying hypocrite or he has had a Damascus Road conversion in which he has rejected every aspect of his previous world view.

Hmm, I favor the former myself. It shall be very interesting to see what happens with this situation. If Labor win government, will he be fast tracked into a ministry position? If so, the idea of Garrett in Environment is scary. If not, is Garett going to be happy cooling his heels on the backbench? That would seem to be a situation ripe for him to get frustrated and take potshots at his own party as well as the Coalition.

If they don't win government, then his loony green stance would be more beneficial to Labor. It is a lot easier in Opposition to make outlandish claims and not have to back them up. The media will also love him, and he is certainly a polished and seasoned performer.

Personally, I hope he is preselected, thus damaging Latham's claims to 'community democracy', then I hope Labor are stuck with him in opposition for 4 years.

The funniest bit in all this is that one of the supposed reasons that Latham is courting Garrett is to attract the 'youth' vote. Garrett is 51. The leader of the National Party, John Anderson, is 48.

I guess we should just all be thankful that Meatloaf doesn't have an interest in Australian politics...

Friday, June 04, 2004
Hey hey, goodbye..

The 21 year old boyfriend of the newly crowned (and aussie!) Miss Universe hopes that the win won't affect their relationship, and that they will "be strong enough to get through the separation"

Yeah, good luck with buddy.

Still, he does now have the pub story to end all pub stories.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
The insidious silencing of evidence

Why does it not surprise me that Kenneth Davidson a) hates the Howard government and B) luurves non-government organisations (NGO's)?

He is such a fan, he claims they are "an essential part of the democratic process". However, "the ability of these groups to provide independent advice is now also under attack from the Howard Government."

How you say? By Costello's (seemingly withdrawn) threat to remove the tax deductability of organisations that engage in advocacy work. Further, he states that the Board of Taxation has threatened to revoke the charity status of any organisation where the advocacy role is dominant.

Davidson is basing a lot of his article on a report by The Australia Institute. He doesn't refer to the AI as 'left leaning' or 'left wing', however later on when referring to the Institute of Public Affair, he calls the IPA a 'right-wing think tank'.

It is no secret that the IPA is not a huge fan of NGO's, and I am with them all the way. NGO's are wildly undemocratic, and claim to represent on behalf of people when they have no right to do so.

People like Davidson seem to like NGO's when they are singing from the same songbook - e.g. Greepeace, ACOSS etc. But there is nothing to stop me setting up an NGO and claiming to speak on behalf of almost any group I choose.

An interesting example is the Australian Family Association. This christian group is trotted out for a quote every time there is an 'immoral' act on TV. Most of us are members of a family, so do they speak on our behalf? Hell no.

Same with the Public Transport Users Association, whose spokesperson also gets a guernsey every time something happens with PT. I catch PT on a daily basis, so do they represent my views? Not usually.

So why are the views of ACOSS taken as gospel in relation to the poor? (the head of ACOSS once amusingly referred to the 'welfare sector' of the economy) Why are Greenpeace and the Australian Conservation Foundation given such prominence on environmental issues?

As for revoking their charity status, tax exemption status and tax deductability, I don't think that can come soon enough. Why should a lobby group - left wing, right wing, religious, environmental - be granted tax free status?

If they are a charity, which by definition should mean engaged in charitable work, then they should receive tax free status. If they are lobby group, then they should pay tax like any other oganisation.

Quoting the AI report, Davidson says "NGOs are still fearful there will be a crackdown on their charitable status if they continue to engage in advocacy work."


Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Nuclear powered loony

I better start by saying that I am not giving this article by James Lovelock any sort of credence. After all, Lovelock is an "independent scientist and the creator of the Gaia hypothesis of the Earth as a self-regulating organism."

"Independent scientist" means never having to be peer reviewed.

He trots out the usual 'doom is coming' scenarios that you can read on any other hippy website, and even considers humans to be "in some ways are like a planetary disease".

Furthermore, he thinks that

"There is a chance we may be saved by an unexpected event such as a series of volcanic eruptions severe enough to block out sunlight and so cool the Earth."

Not to mention kill millions of people, but what the hell.

But where he deviates from the usual Green mantra is in his suggestions of what needs to be done. Wind and solar power?

"there is no chance that the renewables, wind, tide and water power can provide enough energy"

So what is the answer James?

Nuclear Power.

He writes that:

"Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources."

It is a shame that this is the only sensible thing written in an article that when it isn't wishing a volcanic death on us all, is warning of the dangers of "that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen."

Oh and by the way, this isn't from a Greens website, or one man's personal site, it is from The Independent, nominally a paper for grown ups.

Superlies Me

Next time somebody wants to talk about how clever the new 'documentary' Supersize Me is, point them towards this interview, then point them to the door.

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