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Open thread – May 21 – 25

Here’s your new open thread, where you can discuss things that are off-topic elsewhere.

107
  • 1
    Sancho
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The PPers seem like a pretty literate lot, so can anyone recommend a good on-the-ground history of Australia? Particularly the settlement and early colonial stage.

    By that I mean something that describes the daily lives of settlers and how they dealt with the challenges of setting up a functioning society in a new place.

    The more comprehensive histories tend to focus on large political factors and the lives of significant figures in the colonies.

  • 2
    Fran Barlow
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The Australian Frontier Wars by academic John Connor (don’t laugh) is a pretty good read about the conflicts and includes some documentation on indigenous resistance.

    Thomas Keneally’s Origins to Eureka isn’t a bad general book either.

  • 3
    Phil Vee
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Grace Karskens’ The Colony is pretty good. She has a background of archeological digs in the Rocks and her writing is based on that and the wider physical landscape of Sydney and its surroundings. You can’t escape from the fact that the colony was a military project for several decades, but it is still interesting to see how people scratched a living on their own.

  • 4
    Nate The Great
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Wow, ABC goes Godwin with the Thomson speech to Parliament:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/

  • 5
    Eric Sykes
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Thompson spoke well, under great pressure. I await all the commentaries that will no doubt ignore what he actually said.

  • 6
    Sancho
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the book suggestions. I hope there were killer robots on the frontier.

  • 7
    Socrates
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Sancho

    One of the most interesting books I ever read on that topic was the memoirs of Constance Petrie, daughter of Andrew Petrie, one of the pioneer settlers of SE Qld. It is not a history, but it gave a lot of insights into what life was like. This included early (friendly) relations between white settlers and Aboriginals, and how they later became much worse as the gold rushes led to greater pressures on land, and then the more ruthless actions of the Colonial Mounted Police.

  • 8
    Socrates
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Unless I missed something, in one hour of uninterrupted time without any questions being put, Craig Thompson did not present any factual evidence that any claim made against him in the FWA report was false. The over $100K in cash withdrawls and over $50K other personal expenses (apart from the electoral spending and $6K admitted as spent on prostitutes) was not even mentioned. That equates to almost $400/week in cash withdrawls every week for five years, not counting travel expenses. He preferred instead to attack his accusers, from the safety of parliamentary privelege.

    Nor was the claim he would be “set up with a bunch of hookers” explained. Did he use their services or not? Did he pay for their services or not? If he didn’t, who else did?

    Thompson denied doing anything wrong. That may be his opinion. At no point does he deny spending the money as claimed in the FWA report.

    The ABC reports:

    He said an Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) report last week, which found that most of the union funds spent on Mr Thomson's electoral campaign were disclosed appropriately, had "destroyed the credibility of the Fair Work investigation".

    Is that true? The AEC report said that the HSU money spent on Thompson’s campaign (which Thompson had previously denied) had been “mostly” properly declared. Does that make it “mostly” legal?

    Further, the ABC has reported this since his speech ended:

    Mr Bolano later responded to the "fantastic" and "dishonest" claims, saying: "Any suggestion that I conspired to set up Mr Thomson... is utterly false and an abuse of his parliamentary privileges".

    The real test of the believeability of any of Thompson’s monologue, will be to see if he repeats one word of his claims outside parliament.

    All quotes from:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-21/thomson-reveals-official-behind-alleged-set-up/4023774

  • 9
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    For god’s sake, the FWA report was a sick joke. They made it up only based on the word’s of Kathy Jackson.

    the media are feral lunatics out to lynch the man and have been for years.

    Here is the thing though – not a bit of it matters because he has not broken a single law, committed a single crime and nor has he broken a single parliamentary rule so dry up.

    And for god’s sake it’s all on the public record the brawls between members and officials of that particular union.

    And the credit card was in the name of THOMPSON.

  • 10
    Aliar Jones
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Makes you long for ye ole days of John Winston Rodent, when actually proven ministerial misconduct was met with little media coverage and little outrage and said offender was appropriately tapped with a wet lettuce leaf and given a promotion…

    Farr knows the real reason for the shrieking and the Oz prefers not to focus on that…

  • 11
    returnedman
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    HA! Thompson and Thomson!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson_and_Thomson

  • 12
    Lola
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Question of the day: “Mr. Pyne, are you a member of a lynch mob?”

  • 13
    twobob
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Nor was the claim he would be “set up with a bunch of hookers” explained. Did he use their services or not? Did he pay for their services or not? If he didn’t, who else did?

    I recall hearing a grab on the news that Thompson reported the “set up with a bunch of hookers” fracas to the police at the time. This MUST be true because to mislead parliament is a serious offence and one would expect the police to have records of such a report.

    I aslo note the prose in the statement

    Mr Bolano later responded to the “fantastic” and “dishonest” claims, saying: “Any suggestion that I conspired to set up Mr Thomson… is utterly false and an abuse of his parliamentary privileges”.

    See that? He did not deny the threat only the following through of the threat? From that can I conclude that the threat was indeed leveled? Hmmm…

    I don’t know Thompson at all but to have attained his positions in the HSU and in parliament it could be reasonably argued that the man is not a complete idiot. So why then would a man who reported to police an incident involving a setup with sex workers be silly enough to set himself up in such a way, with credit cards and licence records to boot? It would not have been difficult to simply withdraw cash for such a purpose.

    Given the seriousness of the allegations and the time frame involved it seems to me that the FWA’s decision to ignore Thompsons request to peruse brothel video footage of the time was a willful effort to avoid evidence that supported Thompsons claims. Is that how a FWA investigation is supposed to work? By ignoring evidence that should conclusively prove innocence and concentrate on evidence that indicates guilt?
    That is exactly what I would expect from an organisation that was trying to use this man to destroy a government but not something I would expect from an organisation that was trying to determine what actually happened.
    I do think this story will have a few interesting outcomes when all is said and done but I don’t expect that that will occur for quite a while yet. My bet is a royal commission is on the way and Labor should preempt the opposition and establish one now while they can at least set the terms and conditions and while there is still a fair chance at getting at evidence that I expect is desperately being destroyed as I type.

  • 14
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    “Question of the day: “Mr. Pyne, are you a member of a lynch mob?””

    Vomitously embarrassing. Fishing for sound bites.

  • 15
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I am VERY much looking forward to tonight’s media watch. I have some idea what it’s about.

  • 16
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I learned something on the weekend (and that doesn’t happen EVERY weekend, let me tell you).

    Pink Batts. Why are they pink? In 1956, Owens Corning, seeking to set its fiberglass insulation apart from the crowd, tried to dye it red. It came out pink instead, and it was all a terrible mistake. But they shipped it anyway, with apologies, and went back to shipping the white (aka “traditional judeo-christian”) sort as soon as they possibly could.

    But apparently the installers LIKED the pink batts. So much so that they they started demanding more of it (and this was the fifties, don’t forget, the village people were another 20 years away!). So owens corning trademarked it, absconded with the pink panther to do their ads for them and the rest is history.

    And that just goes to show … the depths of the “pink batts fiasco”. It started in 1956! Well before peter garrett was even elected!

  • 17
    Nick the Hippy
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday it was reported that Bill Heffenan had assaulted and vilified a Liberal staffer. Craig Thompson and Peter Slipper must be asking how he made the story disappear in 24 hours.

  • 18
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    And I think tonight’s MW might just be my favorite one for a while.

  • 19
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I think we should nominate The Oz:

    http://pjmedia.com/duranty/

  • 20
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    ABC News Watch is first with a response:

    http://abcnewswatch.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/climate-death-threats-media-watchers.html

    I point out (no idea if it will get through moderation):

    Very good. You’ve found AAP articles on the fairfax web site. Here’s a version with the SMH branding:

    http://news.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-scientists-receive-death-threats-20110604-1flwf.html

    And here’s a version with the age branding:

    http://news.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-scientists-receive-death-threats-20110604-1flwf.html

    That article is written AFTER the original beeby article, which you can find here:

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2011/06/06/australian-climate-scientists-targeted-by-death-threats/

    So you’ve demonstrated that AAP made the same mistake that the ABC did. The original canberra times article (as printed, in the canberra times, on june 4) said just what holmes says it did.

    I see that you’ve learned to type things into google. Well done.

  • 21
    Coldsnacks
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    And I think tonight’s MW might just be my favorite one for a while.

    Getting your 15 minutes of fame? :-P

    As a viewer wrote to Media Watch…

    “… it’s astonishing that a serious newspaper company would be so flippant about threats and abuse directed at ordinary people just for doing their job.

    — Matthew of Canberra, 15th May, 2012″

  • 22
    Fran Barlow
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Within the crazy Americans genre …

    Google “extreme couponing”. Aparently a subvariant of hoarding, there are Americans who get their rocks off collecting coupons and taking advantage of them to get cheap grocery items in shops, and then fill their houses with useless stuff — like cat food and laundry detergent and mustard.

    Most of the participants seem to be sufferers from a form of OCD. One woman had a 40-year supply of toilet paper and another boasted that she had enough razors for her husband to shave his head twice each day for three years. The cat food woman didn’t have a cat. Still, she got it at a serious discount after spending 35 hours each week clipping and collecting coupons.

    It seems to me that any society that drives its members into such pointless and wasteful activity is, on the face of it, seriously irrrational — but apparently, they make sense and it’s central planning that is mad.

    Go figure …

  • 23
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Another wishful thinker: http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2012/05/breaking-media-watch

    Oh, for pete’s sake. You’ve found an AAP article with canberra times branding. Brilliant work. I can pull up that same article with any fairfax layout I want – it’s the same basic URL on every one of their sites. Here’s the same article on the herald sun site:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/scientists-suffer-death-threats/story-e6frf7jo-1226069173816

    That’s NOT the article by rosslyn beeby that started this whole derp-storm. What you’re seeing is the same story getting fed back through the mistake machine and finding its way back to the fairfax web site. That wasn’t “reported” by the canberra times, and everyone knows which article we’re really talking about. But that was a decent attempt to shift the goal posts.

    The original canberra times article didn’t say anything about email death threats to ANU, but that’s beside the point. In the real world, the world of objective facts and real people, away from the ideological war between NEWS and reality, actual people were receiving abuse and threats that they did not deserve, that they’re not paid enough to put up with, simply for doing their job. The Australian is an actual, grown-up newspaper. It doesn’t have to just take the word of another newspaper, it can actually investigate for itself. If it had done so, it might have known that its “expose” was a load of bunk. All it took was to contact a few of the known names for some leads, and to promise unbiased coverage, and it would have found the same evidence that the ABC did.

    Although, given the Aus’ current form, anyone who HAD received threats would be insane to pass along their personal details. It’s not even pretending any more. NEWS is flat-out campaigning, and doesn’t appear to care what impact that campaign has on ordinary bystanders.

    In no universe has the original claim that climate researchers have received threats been debunked. That’s the point of the media watch episode. Squint at it all you like.

  • 24
    Socrates
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    For those who wish to believe that Craig Thomson did not mislead parliament yesterday, there are several claims that can be challenged. Here are two that are checkable:

    Ms Jackson denied Mr Thomson's claim that her union salary had doubled within a week of replacing him

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/its-absolute-fiction-say-union-officials-20120521-1z1fm.html#ixzz1vXT9qyN5

    Thomson yesterday: ''What you do not expect is for Channel Seven reporters to be hovering underneath the bathroom window while my pregnant wife is having a shower. There is a great responsibility in reporting. You need to take that seriously.''
    Channel Seven: ''This is the first time any of us have heard such an allegation. We have spoken to reporters who visited his home and they vigorously deny any such behaviour. All they did was to knock on the front door.''

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/claims-at-odds-with-findings-of-watchdogs-investigation-20120521-1z1fe.html#ixzz1vXUNOSIA

    Thomson has used the Bart Simpson defence: “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me, you can’t prove anything.”. The real winner is Tony Abbott, who can keep asking questions from here till election day.

  • 25
    calyptorhynchus
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Socrates:

    “The real winner is Tony Abbott, who can keep asking questions from here till election day.”

    Well, he can, but he’ll just keep looking like a dork. I mean one of two things is going to happen,

    1. Thomson is going to charged with something, and a trial will begin which will take a very long time, and which will make everyone forget about it.
    2. He won’t be charged and he’ll continue to sit in parliament as an independent, a sort of parliamentary Mrs Rochester and everyone will forget about it.

    Either way nothing he does reflects on the present government, unlike, the Howard Ministers ejected for sleaze whilst in office, lovingly embraced by Howard until the day they were let go.

  • 26
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I still don’t understand why the righists are so desparately obsessed with trying to downplay the death threats. What’s in it for them?

    Could it be that they want to distance themselve from any claim that anti-AGW propaganda and denigration of legitimate scientists (eg. Bolt’s vendatta against Flannery) could possibly have any influence on wackos prompted to violence?

    That must be it.

    So anti-immigration/anti-multicultural rhetoric could have NO influence on the likes of Breveik; or pro-life fundie ravings obviously had NO influence on the fire-bombing of family planning clinics.

    But if the boot’s on the other foot, they happily claim that ‘leftist’ propaganda leads to violent anarchic protest and the implementation of a police state taking our freedoms away.

    Bah humbug!

  • 27
    returnedman
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Oh, so the reporters say they didn’t hover. Well then, I believe them. Because it’s so out of character for reporters to DO such a thing …

  • 28
    Sancho
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Ooh. A metaphor:

    http://www.geekfill.com/2012/05/21/the-media/

  • 29
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    MoC@18

    as it was mine! I am glad you wrote in to Media Watch with a tag that we could all recognise.

    Well done to you :)

  • 30
    Socrates
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    calyptorhyncus

    1. Thomson is going to charged with something, and a trial will begin which will take a very long time, and which will make everyone forget about it.

    I would agree that Labor has maneouvered things sufficiently to ensure that Thomson will not be charged, or at least not face court, before the next election. But once Labor leaves office in 18 months, Thomson and Williamson will be in a lot of legal trouble in my view.

    This won’t be forgotten, because there are still lots of long procedures that can be initiated (and will be by the Libs) that will run to election day. Thomson himself yesterday raised many new phantoms which will be run to ground and proven false over the coming months. He is the gifgt that will keep giving. It suits Abbott for Thomson and Williamson’s cases not to be legally resolved till after the next election.

    The sad thing is, Labor’s tactics are destroying the credibility of the entire union movement, not just the HSU, to cling to power for another 12 months. They are guaranteeing that Tony Abbott will have a sweeping majority, with which he will introduce Work Choices II, but this time with little or no public opposition.

  • 31
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Worthy contenders for a cut’n'paste award –

    “The ABC lives in “Socialist Zealot Thug Land”… and what’s more, we all pay for them to live there… Pathetic, isn’t it??

    And you socialists wonder why we think you want to bully us….and react very negatively to that… As I said… pathetic…
    Finally Had Enough of Geelong”

    “And we are paying for these liars. Is it any wonder labor, climate scientist, the ACTU and Craig Thomson are such a comfortable fit! Spin and lies are there mantra.
    Ken of Brisbane ”

    But this one takes the biscuit –

    “While Coochey can’t believe it, I do – the political left have always been fabricating reality , for it seems it’s the only means by which they cope with dissonant facts. Whether it’s the fabrication of Aboriginal History or of climate statistics, one starts to wonder what else they have been fabricating; The Holocaust perhaps?
    Recalcitrant Redneck of Perth, WA”

  • 32
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    BTW – whats wrong with Geelong?

  • 33
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Should have explained (in case you can’t guess) these are all comments from the Mr. ‘I Love Tim Flannery and want to have his baby’ post about Media Watch’s debunking of Murdoch’s coverage of the death threats.

  • 34
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Liz A & Coldsnacks

    They were pretty good about that. I emailed last week saying I hoped they did something about the story, not trying to be too pushy. I got an email asking if they could use a bit from the email and whether they could identify me, but I didn’t see it for a couple of days, so I got a bit of a fright when I did :-) (picture a Bill The Cat “ACK!”)

    They could have just used my full name and/or email address (which could be awkward), but I explained that “matthew of canberra” is something people would know, and they used that.

    I am still just pleased that they did that story. I have no connection with any climate scientists. I don’t even know any (not these days – I did back in the 90′s, when I worked for the CSIRO). I just honestly think the way NEWS has campaigned on that story has been one of the most obscene abuses of media power this year (and it’s been a big year for that). Attacking politicians, media figures, journalists – that’s one thing. But going after people who are effectively defenseless and have no way to respond is just vicious.

    Certain commentators like to bang on about how all the warmenists have got is ad-hominem attacks, but nothing that has been thrown at them comes close to the smear that’s been perpetrated by NEWS since june 2011. They have been actively making light of (and whipping up) a potentially nasty situation that has no place in an important policy debate. And to think they’ve been moaning for the last few months about how their freedom is somehow the highest good in a democracy. Not a great way to demonstrate it.

    And it’s all so flamin’ unnecessary. I’ve posted it before – somehow, one of the most important and difficult policy debates in decades has been reduced to “I don’t find your death threat claims convincing enough”. It’s insane. Can somebody please go find a grown-up so we can get this thing back on track?!?

  • 35
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    And I see that andrew bolt’s using all the Tricks Of The Trade to “reply” to the media watch story.

    I’m going to have to leave that until tonight. It’ll keep. He’ll be milking clicks off that for days anyway. My first impression is that he’s essentially ignored what MW actually did say and shifted the goalposts to turn it into a completely different story. My impression is that he’s unrepentant. “Thuggish” is a word that springs to mind.

    I need to go get on with the day. Big night last night. Aside from the awesome MW excitement, I was also out trying to trap a stray cat in town and responding to some weird systems weirdnesses at work. Better get on with reality …

  • 36
    calyptorhynchus
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “They are guaranteeing that Tony Abbott will have a sweeping majority, with which he will introduce Work Choices II, but this time with little or no public opposition.”

    Well we’ll see.

    Anyway I like to apologist; earlier I wrote “lovingly embraced by Howard”. I hope this didn’t create a mental image in anyone’s mind they would have preferred not to have.

  • 37
    twobob
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Socrates
    Your concern for the union movement is so commendable but your outlook appears anything but philosophic.
    Your initial premise that labor has maneuvered things is a classic example of your closed mind. Just how has labor maneuvered anything? Form where I stand it appears as if FWA has maneuvered a lot of things that have been used by unscrupulous media operators to implicate the labor government. FWA are the body who have taken the inappropriate amount of time to release their report. FWA have inappropriate links with kathy jackson and with abbott and kathy jackson has inappropriate links with the HR Nicholls Society (I mean WTF is a union leader doing associated with the HR Nicholls Society?).
    I do look forward to your assertion that Labor are responsible because they just are and to your assertion that union representatives should be associated with societies that directly oppose their reason for being because they just should.
    You sound to me like a concern troll with plenty of assertions but with nil actual evidence for your assertions. Please be as kind to either prove me wrong if you can and if you cannot I recommend that you retire to a blog site who will gladly post all of your unfounded assertions because actually informing people and entertaining well founded, fact based information plays no part in their agenda.

  • 38
    Fran Barlow
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Whether it’s the fabrication of Aboriginal History or of climate statistics, one starts to wonder what else they have been fabricating; The Holocaust perhaps? {emphasis added by me}Recalcitrant Redneck of Perth, WA”

    I wonder if this poster has ever complained about how unfair it is to describe those who reject climate science as deniers because you know, “that’s just like saying we’re like deniers of the holocaust or anti-semites or something. Will this ‘ad hom’ never stop??”.

    This is one of the more amusing Godwins examples. I wonder if anyone out there on Blotland called “Recalcitrant Redneck” on that. I’m think it’s a poe, but you never know.

  • 39
    Fran Barlow
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    twobob

    I’ve been a little circumspect on this, in part for just the reasons you outline. It’s clear to me that the people being most frequently reported in public space as scandalised by Thomson’s behaviour are not people with a genuine concern for the integrity of parliament, the HSU, or unions in general. They see this as an excellent stick with which to beat both the ALP and (more importantly) union organisation over the head.

    It’s particularly egregious that one prominent person in drving this camapign is a current figurer associated with HSU. I’m not going to reflect too deeply on her motivation, but I am deeply troubled (chooses words carefully to protect PP).

    What does seem clear though is that the uncontested facts don’t make it seem that Craig Thomson or the other major players were doing the best by their mostly very modestly paid HSU members. Ms Jackson, Mr Thomson and Mr Williamson were all on salaries comprable to or above the PM, and had expense accounts for which little documentation was required. I submit that no honest and ethical person in those circumstances could have remained silent while that was the case, and ought to have moved with expedition to regularise both salaries and expenses and the business of accountability, to bring them into line with what their members would expect. If they were on, say, $120K and had to account scrupulously for all expenses above about $50 in any month I’d regard that as plausible. Had Thomson, from the first day, moved to get that done, I daresay his standing today would be rather different. He could not have been “set up” as he now claims. He’d have been a cleanskin.

    So regardless of whether he is guilty of some crime or not, I regard him and those in similar circumstances in the labour movement, as deserving of very little sympathy indeed. I find it hard to believe that in 2007, the NSW ALP would have known nothing of this, and certainly, in 2010 they could have been absolutely certain that things were seriously awry. Had they canned him then, they’d not now have been in the strife they are in. This reflects very poorly on the NSW ALP. Ethical questions aside, simple hard-headed self-interest has been disregarded.

  • 40
    Howard,B.
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Can some of the more time-rich regulars who saw the throbbing member for Dobell’s speech tell me if Thomson actually said outright “I did not do it” or the some such in his speech? As from what I’ve seen all he did was throw up a smoke screen of “this could have happened, and that might have happened”.

    I guess the big question is why he didn’t/doesn’t go to the police with his claims or state them outside of parliament.

  • 41
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Well its an open thread, so may I change the subject?

    I’ve long been a fan of Sherlock Holmes interpretations. From Basil Rathbone, through Peter Cushing, Peter Cook, Vasily Livanov, Peter O’Toole, the great Jeremy Brett – and many others. It’s taken a while before I could steal myself to watch the Guy Ritchie interpretations, fearing revisionism gone mad.

    But having just done so, I must say I’m impressed. The original Holmes was a caricature when first introduced by good old Sir Arthur – warts an’ all. So he’s freely open to parody. And Downey/Ritchies’s interprestion is a parody of parodies. Like when we first see Watson visiting Holmes in ‘Game of Shadows’ when he walks through a tropical garden in Holmes’s office, complete with monkeys, peacocks and fake posion arrows.

    It’s an imaginative re-interpretion of the classic (lossley based on The Final Solution), with but little reverence for the canon. Eg. Why is Adler with Moriaty? Why does Holmes have a sense of humour? It’s in the spirit of “The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” or “The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” – a bit like H. P. Lovecraft meets Conan Doyle.

    Nevertheless it’s an entertaining and amazing pistache, with bows to kung-fu, The Matrix, super-hero movies and a bit of homo-eroticism thrown in for good measure.

    I enjoyed it, and it reinforces the idea that Conan Doyle’s classic will keep inspiring writers and film-makers for a genreations to come, which surely is a sign of a great author.

    Sure it plays fast and loose with the original image of Holmes and Watson, but its bloody good entertainment, and still retains something of the spirit of the Holmes character – of which I believe Sir Arthur would approve, if he were still around.

    Holmes – originally rooted in the cases of a real-life forensic doctor – has become a 21st century super-hero. And is none the worse for that.

    It’s elementary dear reader – just bloody good fun.

  • 42
    Jack Sparraaggghhh
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Matthew @34, the MW web page did initially show your full name — which I thought strange as the on-screen story identified you only as Matthew of Canberra. So I tweeted to Holmes that this might be a mistake and sometime afterwards the web page was changed to read Matthew of Canberra. I wouldn’t know whether that had anything to do with my tweet. It was my first and only ever tweet (I’m not experienced in using twitter, don’t really believe in it anyway). Anyhow the tweet’s deleted now.

    Yes, Andy as you say is unrepentant. He wants the story to be about who said what and when to whom. However, just from the material presented by Holmes, for any objective observer there can be no doubt that (as you were quoted in the program) there were “threats and abuse directed at ordinary people just for doing their job.”

    Meanwhile, his mate Timmeh sums it up thus:

    In the short term, yep, a win for Holmes. But in the long term, warmies have never understood how much energy these evidence-avoiding tactics drive into the climate debate. …

    UPDATE. Andrew Bolt correctly identifies Holmes as a herring-dragger.

    Interesting. Abuse/threats seem to have become “energy driven into the climate debate.” Well, this is the guy who responds to an actor’s public fantasising about shooting a journalist by inviting the actor over for drinky-poos.

    Thing is, these people see themselves as Galileos of our times. ‘Sceptics’ are on the side of goodness and light. ‘Warmies’ are by definition aligned with the forces of darkness and the international socialist banking cartel. As such, apparently, they deserve no quarter.

  • 43
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Angra @41 – have you not seen the recent Moffatt/Cumberbatch/Freeman BBC Sherlock? That one’s superb.

  • 44
    Bloods05
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I guess the big question is why he didn’t/doesn’t go to the police with his claims

    He says he did, and they did nothing. It should be possible to verify this. Perhaps you could do so in your spare time. Something similar happened once before, in the UK.

    the throbbing member for Dobell

    Oooh aren’t we wicked?

  • 45
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy – Yes, seen a few. It’s very good, and I’m a fan of Cumberbatch. But it goes a bit too far for into the future for me. Yes it’s good, but in my mind Holmes is about 19th c. London, swirling fog, coal-smoke chimneys, foghorns in the Pool, ancient street cries, misery and elegance, growlers and hansoms (terms still used). I admit I’m showing my age and nostalgia.

    ‘Whitechapel’ still has this spirit I think. Don’t go to the Blind Beggar at night saying your name is Richardson!

  • 46
    Angra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Explanation – the Blind Beggar is an old pub in Whitechapel near the London Hospital which was the local for the Krays. Scene of many gang fights between Krays and their main rivals the Richardsons. Unfortunately also the completely unrelated name of my wife, who was a nurse at The London Hospital in the early ’70′s.

    I innocently walked into the Beggar one night after visiting my wife (then a fiance) who was a nurse at The London, and somehow managed to say her name was Richardson to a fellow drinker.

    I’ve never been ushered out of a pub so quickly.

    (Also The London Hospital has the original skelton of The Elephant Man.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Richardson_Gang

  • 47
    Gibbot
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m a little behind in my reading, but I did notice another spectacular own goal from Australia’s most persecuted columnist published yesterday.

    Greenland isn’t behaving as the warmists insist

    “The humble truth in 2012, according to Science:

    Earlier research used a kinematic approach to estimate upper bounds of 0.8 to 2.0 m for 21st-century sea level rise. In Greenland, this work assumed ice-sheet–wide doubling of glacier speeds (low-end scenario) or an order of magnitude increase in speeds (high-end scenario) from 2000 to 2010. Our wide sampling of actual 2000 to 2010 changes shows that glacier acceleration across the ice sheet remains far below these estimates, suggesting that sea level rise associated with Greenland glacier dynamics remains well below the low-end scenario (9.3 cm by 2100) at present… Our sampling of a large population of glaciers, many of which have sustained considerable thinning and retreat, suggests little potential for the type of widespread extreme (i.e., order of magnitude) acceleration represented in the high-end scenario (46.7 cm by 2100). Our result is consistent with findings from recent numerical flow models.

    Ommitted from the quoted paragraph?

    Continued acceleration, however, may cause sea level rise to approach the low-end limit by this century’s end.

    And from three paragraphs above:

    Early acceleration in the southeast decreased, with little change from 2005 to 2010, whereas the northwest overall maintained relatively steady acceleration throughout the decade. As a result, 2000 to 2010 acceleration in the northwest (28%) is comparable to that in the southeast (34%).

    I’m no scientist by any standard, but a 28-34% acceleration in glacial retreat over a decade strikes me as reasonably significant.

    I did post a comment suggesting that Andrew may have overlooked these points, thus accidentally misreporting the report’s actual findings. He appears to have accidentally overlooked my comment.

  • 48
    Corvus
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately the Daily Tele isn’t providing any detail on this survey, nor has Quantum Market Research published the findings online. Essentially there’s no way to check the validity of this survey result that says Australians favour ending immigration period.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/the-tide-of-public-opinion-is-turning-against-immigration/story-e6freuzr-1226362835067

  • 49
    Fran Barlow
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Thing is, these people see themselves as Galileos of our times.

    Gallileo, if he could hear from beyond the grave, would be wailing in frustration. Gallileo resisted a superstitious theocracy (not a well founded scientific consensus) and not with “No sir, I don’t like it” but actual observations and measurements. What is more, unlike our contemporary deniers, Gallileo suffered punishment and had few allies. His views were not driven by the interests of the elite.

    Gallileo was an honourable man. The deniers are not. Let’s never let our contemporary dissemblers and snake oils sales folk muddy the waters.

  • 50
    Matthew of Canberra
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    “Matthew @34, the MW web page did initially show your full name”

    Well, it showed somebody’s full name. I noticed it as well. They fixed it though. Your tweet probably had something to do with it.

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