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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 comments

89 thoughts on “Open Thread 10-13 April 2012

  1. Matthew of Canberra

    There might or might not ever be a post from me on that thread. I have to go out, so I won’t be able to watch it

  2. Matthew of Canberra

    “a less-than-honourable mention over at Blair’s World”

    Hey, wow. Is there a word for that, like “I’ve been blaired”?

    It’s about time, though. It’s not like I haven’t been TRYING to tick people off. It’s just a shame that I had to get off my face in order to succeed. That’s not sustainable.

  3. 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.

  4. Howard,B.

    Matty

    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.

  5. 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?

  6. Howard,B.

    Jules

    Got that? No I didn’t think so.

    To be perfectly honest, Jules, you’re right; I don’t. You appear to be arguing that two wrongs make a right.

    Defining oneself, or another, by race is logically irrational and socially divisive. It suggests that the person doing the defining believes that people are different according to race, a sentiment I hope we can both agree on is bunkum. It is, as you’ve pointed out, even more unsettling when it is government doing the defining.

    To address your suggestion that oppressions of the past warrants the irrationality of racial pride (all racial pride being irrational, of course) in the present, 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?

  7. jules

    No Howie – it used to be held that you couldn’t oppress people by race and make up all sorts of bullshit along the lines of “that lot are no good criminals who are always sponging off the taxpayer or drinking themselves into oblivion” with the express purpose of furthering that oppression.

    This whole “It use to be held that one should not be defined by race.” is something that racists made up when people of other races decided to define themselves by their race instead of having it done to them by said oppressive powerful people/racists as yet another attempt to disempower people who they saw as different and inferior.

    Got that?

    No I didn’t think so.

  8. Howard,B.

    Matty

    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”.

  9. Howard,B.

    Jules

    Howard is your issue with Heiss that you’re never gonna win a deadly award?

    Generally speaking, Jules, it is the violation of the principle of not having formalized racial distinctions in our society, that is the issue for me. The active promotion of defining and promoting oneself according to race is also disturbing.

    It use to be held that one should not be defined by race. That appears to have changed.

  10. jules

    Howard is your issue with Heiss that you’re never gonna win a deadly award?

    Seriously if that is the case – build a bridge.

  11. Matthew of Canberra

    Oh, one more

    “I would add as a caveat, Matty, that you cannot simply replace “Aboriginal” with [insert other race here] as in the context of the discussion, only Aboriginal people are eligible for the extra state-support that is the crux of many of these posters’ complaint.”

    Actually, I think I can. Add the word “noisy minorities” and see if it scans. Then all it takes is a couple of stories putting this group or that in the frame and yes, that statement could very easily end up on a certain sort of blog site.

    But thanks for being a mensch about it 🙂

  12. Matthew of Canberra

    “Upon further reflection, I concede, you are both quite right”

    Thanks. I’ll leave the rest – I think I can lay them out with equally compelling logic. Let me know if you’d like me to 🙂

    I think you’re also overstating the amount of “state support” that is available to aborigines. It’s not like your average aborigine can walk into some office whenever they’re a bit low of cash and collect a bit more. We have identified certain cultural significances that our governments have decided to support, and there is clearly an abundance of spending on “programmes” here and there to provide services and infrastructure. But the latter is not at all what is being inferred by the comments appearing on the various blog sites at the moment. 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.

    “instead of addressing the government policy with which they take issue, or that particular segment of the community that endorses it, have made unqualified racial generalizations.”

    Not only that, but INCORRECT unqualified racial generalisations. And you know, I do believe that’s what got a certain pundit in hot poo.

  13. Howard,B.

    Sammy Jankis

    I liken it to complaining when the guy who had the ball and chain on his ankle for the first half of the marathon you’re running gets transported in a car to join you at the front of the field.

    Using your analogy, what is the “ball-and-chain” that has been hindering a person like Anita Heiss, a woman who employs her own publicist, in the great marathon of life?
    Why is it such a successful person of typical upbringing is in need of the “car”?

  14. Howard,B.

    Matty and Jules

    Upon further reflection, I concede, you are both quite right.

    The post :

    “Aboriginal people believe that ‘white’ Australians owe them a living from birth to grave”

    is an unqualified statement regarding all aboriginal people, and thus a racial generalization. Had the statement been qualified with a “some aboriginal people” or “there are aboriginal people”, it would have not been so, but alas the poster has not sought to make such a distinction, and thus you are correct.

    I would add as a caveat, Matty, that you cannot simply replace “Aboriginal” with [insert other race here] as in the context of the discussion, only Aboriginal people are eligible for the extra state-support that is the crux of many of these posters’ complaint.

    In saying that, however, many of the posters, instead of addressing the government policy with which they take issue, or that particular segment of the community that endorses it, have made unqualified racial generalizations.

  15. Sammy Jankis

    savvas jwnhs:

    Now that George Zimmerman has been arrested, I asked myself, where does this leave Bolt?

    I was sure he had been carrying on about this.

    Does that fact that he had to resort to quoting Mike Tyson, prove that Bolt stuffed up badly?

    “Sure, Zimmerman chased down, shot and killed an unarmed youth, but at least he didn’t suggest that someone should be shot! That would be far worse.”

  16. Matthew of Canberra

    SJ @73

    Yeah. Google somebody – anybody – and there’s your story. “This vox-pop statement by J. McFeedle somewhere in New Jersey proves beyond doubt that obama wasn’t born in hawaii …”

  17. savvas jwnhs

    Now that George Zimmerman has been arrested, I asked myself, where does this leave Bolt?

    I was sure he had been carrying on about this.

    Does that fact that he had to resort to quoting Mike Tyson, prove that Bolt stuffed up badly?

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/tyson_a_disgrace_zimmerman_hasnt_been_shot/

    Instead of apologising for his conduct, Bolt digs even further!!!!!

    What a disgraceful person!!!

  18. Matthew of Canberra

    MW @70

    Maybe I need to just go sit by a river or something.

    Jai guru deva …. ommmm ….

  19. monkeywrench

    screw you, forward slash!A!close chevron!

  20. monkeywrench

    I looked a bit at buddhism, but when I tried to implement it, it just came out as nihilism… If Buddhism comes out as nihilism, it means you were doing it wrong. The two ‘anathemas’ as far as Buddhism is concerned are flip sides of the same coin: Eternalism ( a never-ending paradisical afterlife) and Nihilism ( ‘nothingness’ after death). Neither of these states actually exist. If by ‘nihilism’ you mean the cultivation of a self-absorption to the point of ignorance for the welfare of others, then this is also a mis-step. Further reading: anything by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

  21. Matthew of Canberra

    Now I have to listen to the first Live album for some reason ….

  22. 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

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/03/16/3455402.htm

    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.

  23. Angra

    In need of some humour?

    The BBC in it’s wisdom experimented with a computer-based subtitling system during the broadcast of William’s royal wedding, which has some teething troubles. When the Archbish appeared at the altar the subtitles showed “And now to a hushed silence, enters the Arch Bitch of Canterbury.”

  24. Angra

    Fran – they seem to be taking your name in vain over at Catallaxy Files which of course advertises itself as “Australia’s leading libertarian and centre-right blog”.

    Say no more. Except that they along with Bunyip (whoever that may be) seem to be in a disturbing symbiotic relationship with Mr Wonderful.

    I don’t know whether you are still brave or patient enough to post there.

    Personally I wouldn’t bother (no reflection meant on you though).

  25. Matthew of Canberra

    “but in those posts of MoC’s their is no assertion that Aboriginals are inferior by race or should be treated differently, and thus no racism.”

    You can’t be serious.

    People who think they are owed a living are considered, by any normal person, to be of inferior character or contribution than those who don’t. Particularly if those people consider they are owed a living by virtue of belonging to a group, and particularly if they identify ANOTHER group that owes them that living. It’s a bad thing to say about somebody for that very reason – it says they’re lazy, conniving, grasping, they don’t pull their weight. And the very first comment says precisely that.

    Let’s just consider this one again – we can come back to the others. Are you REALLY saying that the following line does not say that aboriginals are inferior to the white people who allegedly support them?

    “aboriginal people believe that “white” Australians owe them a living from birth to grave”

    Seriously? Please explain your reasons.

  26. Howard,B.

    Matthew of Canberra

    I’ll settle for Night Owl, if somebody can supply the gear.

    No, Matty, the way you spin your online webs ensnaring the super-villians of the Right, surely Spiderman is a more appropriate template. You could take on an Australian native arachnid just to differentiate yourself from the stale US version.

    Red-back? Funnel-web? A combination thereof? Red-web?, No. Ah…FUNNELBACK. Yes Funnelback, scourge of the online Right.

  27. Matthew of Canberra

    “Cory Bernadi has launched an iphone app.”

    I don’t quite know what to say. He empraces technology, no doubt about that.

    This line is interesting:

    “it is possible to be on someone’s iPad, smartphone or in their inbox regularly without the filter of the mainstream media

    I wonder if that filter includes ACMA, defamation laws etc?

  28. 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.]

  29. Jeremy Sear

    Cory Bernadi has launched an iphone app.

    Satire is now redundant.

  30. Sammy Jankis

    When people are treated differently according to race in an attempt to undo the damage done by past racism that is not in itself racism…

    I liken it to complaining when the guy who had the ball and chain on his ankle for the first half of the marathon you’re running gets transported in a car to join you at the front of the field.

    “That’s unfair! He doesn’t have a ball and chain on his leg anymore – we’re EQUALS!”

  31. podrick

    Love this comment from John Quiggin.

    [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. ]

  32. 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.

  33. Howard,B.

    Jules

    When people are treated differently according to race in an attempt to undo the damage done by past racism that is not in itself racism Howie

    By definition it, is. However, even if we accept your assertion that it is a justifiable discrimination, the next logical hurdle you face is explaining how a successful middle-class professional with a private school, eastern-suburbs upbringing is in need of such positive discrimination.

    Maybe you should read the things MoC posted again.

    Perhaps you should. Sure, they could have been more sensitive and informed in the manner they framed their argument, it is a sensitive issue after all, but in those posts of MoC’s their is no assertion that Aboriginals are inferior by race or should be treated differently, and thus no racism.

  34. podrick

    I did the silly thing and visited Piers World. The unhinging is becoming stronger in Piers. The first bit I noticed was this opening line.

    [THE economy-destroying carbon dioxide tax will be decided by the courts no matter what the half-wits in the Gillard Labor-Green-Independent minority government claims.]

    Although John Jay seemed to be missing, the unhinging continues in the comments as if on steroids.

    And in news to hand that will be sure to receive the attention of Piers.

    [Newman government to consider new Heiner inquiry: Attorney-General]

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/newman-government-to-consider-new-heiner-inquiry-attorneygeneral-20120411-1wryt.html#ixzz1rnBaQQFH

  35. Bloods05

    Smartarses also get it wrong sometimes.

  36. Angra

    Something funny.

    Apparently quite a few twitter users think the sinking of the Titanic “was only a movie” and are now expessing surprise that it really happened.

    That’s the younger generation obsessed with iThingies for you.

    http://gizmodo.com/5900628/these-imbeciles-thought-the-titanic-disaster-was-just-a-movie?tag=wtf

  37. Matthew of Canberra

    Angra @46

    That’s a brave call. They must have some evidence beyond the speculation that’s been reported if they’re taking a chance on arresting him. In florida, they’re not ALLOWED to arrest him, unless they can demonstrate a case against self defence. If he’s acquitted, it’ll cost the prosecutor (department) compensation.

    Now at least maybe there’ll be something resembling an actual weighing of evidence, rather than speculation.

    If I were him, I’d have turned myself in. At least now he’s physically safe. I was starting to worry a bit, with all the maniacs promising bounties and shooting at cop cars and wotnot.

  38. Matthew of Canberra

    HB –

    You don’t consider “passing aspersions about an entire group of people on the basis of their perceived membership of a racial stereotype of actual group” is racism?

    If I said “all [insert ethnicity] people are lying pricks”, would that be racism? If I said “don’t go near those [see above], they’ll steal your stuff”, would that be racism? If I said “aboriginal people believe that “white” Australians owe them a living from birth to grave” would that be racism? What if I substituted the word “jews”, or “wogs”? Still not racism?

    Calling an entire racial group a “protected species” isn’t racism?

    Claiming that people who lack melanin but claim to be aboriginal “gorge on the teat of our tax” isn’t racism?

    I’m sorry, but what IS racism? Is there any such thing, in practice?

    “Perhaps, Mattman?”

    I used to really wish I could be more like rorshach, but I don’t have the necessary personal characteristics. I’ll settle for Night Owl, if somebody can supply the gear.

  39. jules

    When people are treated differently according to race in an attempt to undo the damage done by past racism that is not in itself racism Howie, tho you tend to claim it is with irritating monotony.

    Maybe you should read the things MoC posted again.

    Angra @ 46 – its about time… and @ 40. I wish I was in Melbourne tonight.

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