On reactions admirable and otherwise to Stan Grant’s stepping aside

This man and this speech.

Watch on YouTube

And here is just a sample of what caused him to say and do this.

On Wednesday night Charlie Pickering skewered the pathetic attempt by the Murdoch media to deflect attention from their key role in stirring the pot that harboured this wicked and shameful brew.

All he had to do to prove Patricia Karvelas right was play one after the other poisonous grabs from the claque pictured on the left of screen there.

Watch on YouTube

Just after the story first broke I posted on Facebook:

I watched the Coronation on 10 because they had the best coverage from the BBC. I did not want pontification or discussion to detract from my enjoyment, and as you know I did enjoy it. I think the ABC would have been well advised to separate commentary from presentation that night. It is not what I wanted, irrespective of what views may or may not have been expressed. Let that top and tail the event, talk your heads off then — no worries! I just wanted to see the Coronation so that night the ABC was not to my taste.

But I DO NOT blame Stan Grant. I deplore the comments he has been getting. I am deeply saddened by what he has experienced lately and by his decision to get out. His story is in so many ways an inspiring one, a great example to all Australians. Any who are gloating and putting laugh emojis on stories about his decision to leave are just scum.

I have quite often referenced Stan on my blog in the past. For example: Living with the facts of our history (2017) and Free E-book from ANU: The Lives of Stories (2019).

My free e-books from ANU Press include some excellent publications on Indigenous Australian History, Emma Dortins, The Lives of Stories: Three Aboriginal-Settler Friendships (2018) being one. The three friendships are: Arthur Phillip and Bennelong (see cover), James Morrill and the Birri-gubba people of Queensland, and Windradyne and the Suttor family of Brucedale, Bathurst NSW. The first story is the best known, the third less well known by most Australians. The Windradyne/Suttor story features in Stan Grant’s excellent family story, The Tears of Strangers (Harper Collins 2002), which I read recently courtesy of Wollongong Library….

One of the finest responses I have seen to all this came from my cousin Ray Hampton Christison on Facebook. Ray is no mean historian himself.

I respect this man. I have been reflecting on the difficult conversation our nation in engaged in as we collectively confront the violence and injustice at the root of our national story. Stan Grant has been a wise, gentle and compelling voice in this conversation.

I fear that the conversation may have led many Australians of European descent to an underlying fear that they are outsiders. I was born on Eora land and grew up on Dharawal land, the fifth generation of my family to inhabit this land. I hold a deep and visceral love for this country but am fully aware of the much deeper connection and history that precedes our coming.

When I was a young boy my Sunday School teacher took our class on an excursion to Jibbon Head, near Bundeena. We walked along Jibbon Beach (to me one of the most beautiful of Australian beaches) and on to the headland. Here there are ancient Dharawal rock carvings – a whale, an octopus and the image of a man. I now recognise that image as Baiame, the creator. Back then those carvings told me that this land has custodians who were here long before the British flag was raised at Kamay or Warrung.

I am faced with a conflict. I love this land and my desire is to respect its ancient peoples. I must recognise that my family’s presence is just a blip in the 60,000 year story of this great land. I hope that as a nation we can come to a place in which the first peoples have a true say in how the nation moves forward together.

I replied:

Yes indeed, Ray Hampton Christison! Looking out every day on Mt Keira I can never forget I am on Dharawal country. According to what my father and mother told me about my father’s mother even likely of Dharawal or Yuin descent myself.

See November 25th is a day of some family significance.

Watch on YouTube

Goodbye Twitter, goodbye goodbye….

Been thinking about it. Set up a nest here:

But I hung on as there were still plenty of good tweets coming through. My use of Twitter however has always been minor. But then came the last straw:

So within minutes —

The deed done I visited and found confirmation abounding in what I saw!

And this appeared on my Mastodon feed.

And I find that if I really want I can go to Twitter to see what the good people I usually followed are up to, assuming of course they have not exited too!

One last exhibit: she had 6,984 followers on Twitter:

Reflections post-election, starting with Scomo’s tears

And I must start by thanking whatever gods that be for the FACT Australia has been witnessing a swift, smooth and PEACEFUL transfer of power. Not even the USA can boast that! Especially the USA since the Orange Sickness struck it!

I thank also our predecessors who have made for us from British roots and our own tradition an electoral system that deserves to be the envy of the world for its integrity and practicability.

I am going to do a different take on this.

I have annoyed some by not in the past going out of my way to demonise ScoMo. For example I have never spelled that with a U. Nor have I got overexcited about his religion.

Now it so happens that I have been in this church in Sutherland, or rather in the Assemblies of God church that preceded it. Ir was not called Horizon then and was much smaller and poorer, but the idea was the same. It was 1964 or 1965 I think, and I was still an Elder at Sutherland Presbyterian Church. Yes, another life. Fellow Elder and friend Robert Kennelly had been invited to preach there. He was aiming to become a Presbyterian minister, which eventually he did — but in the Presbyterian Reformed Church — which began in Sutherland just as I left the church.

From our point of view at the time the Pentecostals were more than a bit weird and theologically suss. But Bob accepted and I went along as moral support and to give him feedback on his sermon. Bob remains in my memory, along with Gwenda his wife, an esteeemed friend, as do Greg and Helen Fox who became key members of the PRC. Helen in fact later taught Latin at Sydney Girls High where I renewed acquaintance in the late 90s and early 2000s. A lovely and funny lady.

I was amused to discover where ScoMo’s church is. And it isn’t Hillsong by the way, though ScoMo’s connection with the Houstons was unwise.

Looking back at what I saw in the 60s and what I see in this story one thing does strike me. This church may be many things, some not so good, some no doubt fulfilling to its community. But I would call this a painfully naive kind of Christianity, and I suspect that is an issue with ScoMo. I also suspect, though he may not even be aware of it or would deny it vehemently, that aside from a certain emotional piety there is no great connection between the way he has acted as salesman and politician and anything profound in the religion. Heretical of me, but let me refer to another notably religious Prime Minister — Kevin Rudd. Again flawed (aren’t we all?) but his religion is far more sophisticated and intellectually and philosophically deeper than ScoMo’s.

OK, but to this story. Morrison’s behaviour here is well within what is normal in such a church as this, his emotions genuine — it must have been traumatic to come unstuck as much as he has in the 24 hours before this talk — and so I am not going to judge or criticise him. But it is also naive, Plucking Bible texts completely out of context because the wording seems to suit is common practice in many low church circles, not just in Pentecostalism. In my opinion it is a most undesirable way to use the Bible. As Cam Williamson, a wise Presbyterian minister at Sutherland in the 50s and early 60s used to say, a text without a context is a pretext.

But the truth is he looks and sounds like a broken man here. I am sure he will recover very quickly though.

And while ScoMo is many things, one rarely noted — and of course I may be completely wrong — is that he is, for 2022, incredibly naive and out of touch! Take his master work in his advertising days. Crass as!

Not that he was necessarily directly involved — though I suspect he would at least have approved them– the childish run of attack ads that characterised the Liberal Party campaign will go down in history as among the worst ever.

Amazingly irritating!

Idiotic and offensive

After the event the ABC’s great show Media Watch analysed the campaign’s media performances. The last minute or two introduce two of the most painfully idiotic takes you will ever see from — of course — the sheltered workshop called Sky After Dark.

Those final thoughts are the subject of some excellent analysis in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

The narrative according to a chorus of hardline Coalition MPs and columnists goes like this: the Morrison government positioned itself as “Labor-lite” – experimenting “with the poison of leftism”, according to South Australian Liberal Alex Antic – because it caved in on net-zero emissions, racked up budget deficits, abandoned “freedom” during the pandemic and shirked on fighting culture wars.

This shameless Marxist posture, say the critics, not only failed to placate voters in the Liberals’ traditional seats, those folks having long metamorphosed into Maoists and not for the turning, but alienated the party from “the Quiet Australians” and blue-collar battlers the party ought to regard as its real base.

In this construction, the battlers are less concerned about climate change than they are focused on cost-of-living pressures and whether their kids are being indoctrinated into radical doctrines at school. They seem curiously unconcerned about a minimum wage rise, however.

What really happened has been captured in some great cartoons, not least Cathy Wilcox: