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Apr 10, 2012

Open Thread 10-13 April 2012

A short work week in which to celebrate the ABC's final answering of the question of religion on TV last night. (The surprise answer: the Hindus were right!) Here's a thread for oth

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A short work week in which to celebrate the ABC’s final answering of the question of religion on TV last night. (The surprise answer: the Hindus were right!)

Here’s a thread for other media jolliness in the meantime.

UPDATE: How news.com.au “reports” a low Labor primary vote:

“Do you hate Labor” was not one of the Newspoll questions. But, you know, why stop making up stuff now?

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89 thoughts on “Open Thread 10-13 April 2012

  1. jules

    “I would ask you again what sort of ‘oppression’ a person like Anita Heiss has endured that warrants her active self-promotion as being of a particular race?”

    And I would ask you who died and made you the racial or the oppression police?

    OK lets agree that while we can all breed and communicate (within obvious limits) and so we’re all one race – then obviously the term race refers to cultural limits based on reasonably random visual cues.

    If so…

    What you call racial pride is pride in who we are and where we came from? You’re telling a bunch of people with a history of bring told not to have pride in themselves or their past … not to have pride in themselves or their past.

    So you’re effectively saying that some of us shouldn’t express pride in who we are or where we come, if we aren’t dark enough for a bunch of privileged people in the elite of Australian society? or if we are. Or something. Once upon a time people were told they couldn’t feel pride in who they were or where they come from. Now you’re doing the same thing.

    So its not them, Howie, its you.

    “It is, as you’ve pointed out, even more unsettling when it is government doing the defining.”

    See this isn’t what actually happened

    A news Ltd columnist took it upon himself to define other people in a way he chose. It happened to be inaccurate and racially divisive and he was found by a court, the arbiter of law in Australia, to have not acted in good faith. In the honest belief he was doing the right thing. (See you can be racially offensive if you do it good faith. thats actually a defense. So people still have a right to offend if they do it in “good faith.” by the way.)

    So the people who the columnist defined, felt his definition was harmful and inaccurate, but had no redress. I mean they could have killed him, or cried about it, but we live in a civil society so they took him to court and said “we want the record set straight”. And the court made an independent judgement and found in their favour. See we live in a civil society where people settle disputes in a lawful matter via an established institution.

    They defined themselves and asked the govt to recognise their defintion over a false one that a columnist made. In a bad faith attempt to cause racial division. Unless I misread the judgement on the case.

    Yet you think that they shouldn’t be able to do that, cos their pride in who they are is “irrational” and somehow illegitimate?

    And that they shouldn’t be able to call on their government to support their right to define themselves as is appropriate and as they see fit.

  2. Howard,B.


    Fair enough if you missed the whole retardgate episode. You may be interested to know you got a less-than-honourable mention over at Blair’s World. Some may say you’ve made it, Matty.

    Sure – but LOTS of people get free stuff. Without free stuff, we wouldn’t have an arts sector.

    Indeed, but we don’t subsidize the art’s or sports etc. according to race. Nor should we subsidize the individual according to race, Matty.

    If people are in need of government subsidy, judge them by their bank account, not their race. That shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

  3. Matthew of Canberra

    “Given that I’ve never sought to quantify it, how you could claim I’ve ‘overstated’ it is a mystery”

    Fair cop. We were discussing the comments, and that’s what I had in mind, so it would have been more accurate to say “I think THEY’RE overstating the amount of support …”. And I stand by that. The commenters seem to be assuming that they’re missing out on something big, and I really doubt that they are.

    “I’m sure you could find lot’s of over-the-top statements to discredit any argument. Your suggestion that the above sentiment characterises this argument is “a pretty ridiculous assertion”.”

    Is it? Not judging by the degree of resentment evident in the feedback I’ve seen. They specifically seem to have latched on to the $90,000 australia grant that heiss won, and that’s become exhibit #1 for the fake aboriginal industry. Sure, there are also plenty of calm, reasonable statements, but very few of those seem to be also based on an accurate understanding of the facts. Do some aborigines get some free stuff? Sure – but LOTS of people get free stuff. Without free stuff, we wouldn’t have an arts sector. Or an amateur sports sector. Or lots of other things. Why just pick on this one group out of proportion?

    As for the ayn rand thing, I’d actually forgotten I wrote that. And I never saw your comment (or andrew 36’s). Believe it or not, I actually don’t always read every comment (or even sometimes entire threads).

    Fair cop. I don’t care about the insult to rand, but it was an unfortunate choice of words. What DOES make me chuckle is that somebody thought fit to {snip} something I wrote about the bolsheviks. I’d love to know what that was. If I’d seen your post, I think I probably would have responded.

    I do remember that night, though. I didn’t go to work the next day (I emailed to say I wasn’t coming in, and that email is, I believe, now considered a classic). I was pretty ticked off about a general situation and my boiler went off.

    Who do I write to, to apologise?

  4. Howard,B.


    But thanks for being a mensch about it

    Now worries, Matty, it’s all part-and-parcel of being the eminent man of reason that I am.

    Though, seeing as we’re talking about being the bigger man, I must say I was a little disappointed in your graceless silence when after taking issue with Joe Hilderbrand’s use of a term used to describe the less-abled as an insult it was revealed you’d done much the same in a drunken rant before.
    It appeared you decided to slink-off quietly instead of mensch-ing up about it, like Jeremy did.

    I think you’re also overstating the amount of “state support” that is available to aborigines.

    Given that I’ve never sought to quantify it, how you could claim I’ve ‘overstated’ it is a mystery. The fact is, it is there. Whenever you fill out a government form or pay for a government run service such as education etc.
    It simply runs contrary to the idea that people should not be treated any differently according to race.

    They suggest that certain folks are getting free money and living high on the hog while others starve, just because they’re aboriginal (or “claim” to be), and that’s a pretty ridiculous assertion.

    I’m sure you could find lot’s of over-the-top statements to discredit any argument. Your suggestion that the above sentiment characterises this argument is “a pretty ridiculous assertion”.

  5. Matthew of Canberra

    Ok, my day has just been made. It’s been a demoralising week, in most respects (I’m talking work, here – not andy’s massive own-goal with amazon, which has been hilarity) but this just put a smile on my face. I might just put the bottle down and go to bed.

    Nativity naivete: Andrew Bolt tries his hand at biblical criticism


    I like john dickson. I’m an atheist, it should be said. But I like him. I’ve never met him, but I have a couple of his books, my GP’s actually MET the guy and I’ve occasionally checked in at his web site(s) to see what he’s up to (I’ve been known to go check out CPX when I’m at my lowest ebb). He has a take on religion that I like to think I’d have … if I believed in anything 🙂

    And this has to be the most beautiful paragraph I’ve read this week:

    Andrew Bolt’s recent “expose” of the Gospel nativity stories and the Genesis creation story reminds me of the overreaching first-year Arts student – every year has one – who has stumbled across questions he himself has never considered, but who then has the temerity and naivete to pose them in class as fresh problems not yet confronted, let alone resolved.

    Go you good thing!

    I guess I need to throw ole andy a bone. I went through the “bugger me, there HAS to me something more than this” phase quite some time ago (it was basically my midlife crisis, scheduled very early thanks to a bit of a substance abuse problem). I actually started with judaism. I like judaism, I like the intelligence of it, the reasoning, the argument, the history. I looked a bit at buddhism, but when I tried to implement it, it just came out as nihilism (I don’t want anything, so screw you – just take it, you @^!%). But I’m afraid I was raised christian (or at least uniting church, which a bit like christian in a lot of ways). So I started reading and listening, I even went to hear what bishop spong had to say, and I think – if I were tempted – I’d choose be evangelical. By which I mean the text-focused calvinist, texas-style (I probably wouldn’t evangelise … oh, ok, I guess you guys knows me well enough by now to say bullshit).

    So I get what I think he’s going through. The search for meaning.

  6. Fran Barlow

    Podrick quoted PrQ above:

    [The great thing about having Bolt as an enemy is that you get his fans thrown in as part of the package. There’s something comforting in knowing that, if someone dislikes you, there’s a high probability that they are the kind of person who comments on Bolt’s blog. ]

    I responded on that thread:

    [You’re quite right PrQ. While I don’t always share your opinions, they are at any rate well-informed, thoughtful and honest — which is a good deal harder a thing to achieve than most suppose. The same cannot be said of The Blot. Robert above is onto something when he notes the alignment of Blot with those of privilege. In a more rational world than this one, Blot would have a proper job rather than singing songs of inequity, ignorance, arrant Unsinn and misanthropy for his supper. In a way, Blot is amongst the tragedies of the system he defends. He might well have been a better man, and now he is an ethical and intellectual abyss.

    I think Paul Keating, of all folk, noted that you were nothing if you didn’t have people who hated you. He also noted that the better the quality of those who hated you, the better you were — or something. I’m not sure I agree, which is perhaps as well because by this standard, being hated by The Blot isn’t much of an achievement. I will agree that you deserve better enemies.

    One might add that the true measure of Blot is found in the quality of his acolytes. Blot draws to him all who find an ethical and intellectual abyss the best of all possible worlds.]

  7. Matthew of Canberra

    Andrew bolt fails the essay question, because he failed the to read the question.

    What richard dawkins actually said on QandA

    Stalin was an atheist and Hitler was not

    What andrew bolt decides to write by way of rebuttal:

    How could a great atheist not recognise another despiser of Christianity?

    Hang on a sec, there. Dawkins didn’t say that hitler was a good christian, or any other sort. He said he wasn’t an atheist.

    As I wrote earlier, I don’t think anyone with their head screwed on would try to pin down a lying maniac on his adherence to any particular religious position – and certainly not on the basis of his public statements. But I don’t think there can be any doubt that he saw himself on the side of (what was to him) a Greater Power. I think hitler did indeed believe in somebody upstairs, and there is evidence that he occasionally viewed that creator as the christian one. That power might not be one that Pell would pray to, but that’s not what we’re discussing here. Like just about everyone else in germany at that time, he also would have been (and seen himself) as a cultural christian. Sure, he railed against the church. But that’s just politics – the church in germany gave hitler a fairly hard time (as I understand it, albeit from a bio of ratzinger)

    Sorry andrew. You’ve tried, but you failed to answer the question. You’ve answered a much easier question instead. And by doing so, you’ve demonstrated why conservatives keep struggling with atheists and secularism – you continue to think it’s all really just about bringing down christianity, and it isn’t.