Personal opinions from a denizen of a land Down Under.
Words are like weapons. We use them every day, we know not the way they impact on others. We remain silent when we ought o speak out, we speak out when we should hold out peace. This is an attempt to get it right.
Another Saturday, and there’s a fresh dose of wisdom from Gay Alcorn, the venerable editor of The Age, a tabloid that is one of the two main newspapers in Melbourne. Once again, Alcorn’s gem was behind a paywall in the morning but is now free to read.
As with her effort some weeks ago — which was dissected here — Alcorn is again trying to play the balance card even as accusations of bias arise. This time, a federal election campaign is in full swing and thus the shrieks from the gallery are that much louder.
Alcorn claims the newspaper, part of once what was a large stable running under the name Fairfax Media until it was taken over by Nine Entertainment, has not moved to the right.
Politicians normally try to keep their private lives separate from their public personas. And the media generally respect this separation, unless any probing can be justified as being in the public interest.
But some politicians purposely ventilate aspects of their private lives when they feel that it will help them in their jobs.
Fifteen years is a long time in any human’s existence. It’s even longer in the case of a dog. Last Monday, the family and I had to bid goodbye to a four-legged friend who had been with the family since 2007, and the wound is still very raw.
The decision to put Harry to sleep was a painful one, but he had come to the stage where he could not control his bodily functions. In human terms, he was almost 80, an age which many humans live beyond nowadays, but still very old for a little dog. He had arthritis in his rear legs and found it very painful to walk outside.
An indication of how far The Age, a tabloid newspaper that is published from Melbourne, has sunk can be seen from a letter to subscribers [note, not those who read it free] from the editor, Gay Alcorn on 2 April.
Perhaps to imbue said document with importance, Alcorn chose to place it behind a paywall. [The Age home page can be read without payment and a limited number of articles are also free to read, before the paywall kicks in.]
But Alcorn apparently considers her writing so important that it has to be paid for. Of such stern mettle are editors [and journalists too] made. Heaven forbid that the common man should be able to read this important missive.
The incestuous relationship between Australian journalists and politicians has been exposed again, with the journalist in question being the political editor of news.com.au, Samantha Maiden [seen below in a picture from YouTube].
The politician, sadly, is no longer in this world; Kimberley Kitching, a senator from the Labor Party, died on 10 March of a suspected heart attack. [More on Canberra’s incestuous culture here and here.]
Given the way that News Corporation, the empire owned by Rupert Murdoch, used alleged events prior to Kitching’s death to accuse other Labor senators of contributing to the stress that led to her exiting the mortal coil, nobody except an idiot would have assumed that the topic would not come up for discussion during political programs on the weekend after her death. Continue reading “Incestuous relationships in Canberra once again on display”
In 1991, the US, aided by a number of other countries, waged a war given the moniker Operation Desert Storm, to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, after demanding billions from that tiny country which it claimed it was owed because the Kuwaitis had stolen oil from wells which were on the Iraqi side of the border.
The second Test between Pakistan and Australia, which ended in a thrilling draw in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, brought to the fore one, rather puzzling question: why is Australia so afraid to enforce the follow-on?
It looks like the decision made by Steve Waugh in Calcutta in 2001 still haunts the Australian team.
On that occasion, Australia, 274 ahead on the first innings, asked India to follow on. Thereafter, what happened is well known: Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman put on 376 for the fifth wicket and India finally waltzed out winners by 171 runs (coincidentally their own first innings score).
Listening to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speak is a painful experience. The man does not seem to know when to stop, even when he is answering pointed questions; he just waffles on and on, giving one the impression that he is trying to exhaust the time available to keep the questions to a minimum.
His verbal acrobatics take him from topic to unrelated topic and the whole thing sometimes makes no sense.
What came to mind while I was forced to listen to one of his media conferences — I was driving — was the description, in Mark Twain’s 1883 classic Life on the Mississippi, of the pilots who guided steamers down that river during those years.
These men needed to know the river intimately, every swell and literally every rock, in order to avoid getting stuck on a sandbank, or, worse, hitting an obstacle and sinking. They had to develop extremely good memories.
There is an unwritten rule in most human societies that one does not speak ill of the dead. You can be the worst murderer, thief, rapist or sociopath and beat your wife every day of the week, but the moment you die, you have to be treated as some kind of saint.
This kind of hypocrisy is so embedded that at least in one language there is a specific word to describe it: Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka. [Despite all my efforts, I just cannot recall the word which was told to me when I was in the eighth standard many moons ago.]
That rule appears to be asserting itself in Australia following the death of cricketer Shane Warne, a player who revived interest in the art of spin bowling when he came on to the international scene in 1992; this was after fast bowlers, predominantly from the West Indies, had ruled international cricket for two decades.
The ABC should find a regular presenter for its Q+A show, instead of shuffling through three of its employees week after week, after one of the trio, Stan Grant, proved conclusively on 24 February that he is incompetent at the job.
Grant asked a member of the studio audience to leave after the man, a Russian-Australian named Sasha Gillies-Lekakis, asked a question about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which contained an erroneous fact. It did not appear to be popular with the audience and the panel which was heavily tilted towards Ukraine.
Gillies-Lekakis would do well to consult a lawyer about his ejection; as an Australian taxpayer, he is also one of those who fund the ABC which receives a little more than a billion dollars from the Federal Government each year.