Ho, ho, ho! Hardy-har-har!

That was my first response to Hidden cameras and fake websites: Inside the investigation into One Nation’s bid for NRA donations. {That’s the program’s originator right there.)  And yes, there was at least one sequence where I could hear in their voices that James Ashby and Steve Dickson were pissed as parrots. (“Pissed” in Australia means drunk, blotto, flying, stewed, tanked…) But they weren’t all the time. Furthermore, while pissed they did offer unfiltered views of where they come from, what manner of men they are, etc. And it was ugly.

Fact is I enjoyed last night’s episode on ABC, and congratulate them and Al Jazeera on letting us see these jerks in all their native/naive finery.


On the journalistic ethics of what we saw see the show’s creator, linked above, and Did Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation into One Nation overstep the mark? See also ‘We were on the sauce’: One Nation staffers blame booze and ‘skulduggery’ for gun lobby sting and View from The Hill: James Ashby rocks a few boats, including his own. Check too the form of Master Ashby and Mr Steve Dickson. The latter, an LNP member until January 2017, has in the past issued such oracles as this:

We are having little kids in grade four at school, young girls being taught by teachers how to masturbate, how to strap on dildos, how to do this sort of stuff — that is the real problem in this country.

Last night we saw him sharing his views with the NRA on such topics as the exceedingly left-wing media in Australia, and the 230,000 (sic) a year migrant rate in Australia. You could have been forgiven for thinking he thought they were all Muslims….  Even Christian South Sudanese, apparently. He certainly thought (or was that Ashby) that the UK had been taken over by Muslims!

 We’ve been importing all these Muslims into Australia. We have about 230,000 people coming in a year. Our population’s only 25 million… some really dangerous people. They’re just breaking into people’s homes with baseball bats and killing people. Basically stealing everything they own. Gangs. Our country is going into chaos.

God help us! And God help NSW too now that the taxi-driver’s nemesis has been elected, so it seems, to our state Upper House.

Looking forward to Thursday’s episode on ABC where our Antipodean patriots go grovelling to the Koch Brothers.

Sick and tired of Pauline being sick and tired…

It’s one of her favourite phrases, isn’t it?

Bit of a stink in the last few days about what the government insists was an “error” in the Senate, that is supporting a motion “that it is OK to be white”.  Why this may not be OK is pretty bloody obvious, I would have thought, but you may care to see Business Insider on the subject: “But as it turns out, the exact phrase ‘It’s OK To Be White’ actually did have links to neo-Nazis – on several fronts.”

Pauline feels hard done by:

Ms Hanson says the backdown came after the government was “spooked”  by the Labor Party making connections between the motion and a Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi agenda.

“What a load of bloody hogwash!”

“This has got nothing to do with racism. This is about what is happening in our country.

“I’m white, and I’m proud of it….”

The other day I spooked a few friends on Facebook by publishing this selfie:


I commented: “This got recycled in Quadrant, and I wasted my pension buying it to see what my old Sydney Uni classmate [Dyson Heydon] (1962-3) had to say.” The item is in fact a year old. It is Tory as, of course, and includes this observation:

But for present purposes let us remember the opening words of the Imperial Act which brought our Constitution into being:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble federal Commonwealth under the Crown…

Made me check and I found to my surprise this on the US Constitution:

Neither God or Jesus are mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Nor are they mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Satan also doesn’t show up. Colin McGinn was on Bill Moyers special series on Faith and Reason on PBS last night and mentioned that God is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

So I checked this morning and could not find God or Jesus or any of his disciples, or for that matter Satan, in the U.S. Constitution. I guess I just never looked that closely before because to hear all the debate from the right wing evangelicals and Bush conservatives I could have sworn it had to be there somewhere or what was all the fanatical noise about – like “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance….

Passing on, back to Quadrant, you might note on that cover The Ideology of White-Hatred. “‘Whiteness’—according to our leftist intelligentsia—is both the cause and the consequence of world domination by a conspiratorial elite.” Surprise, surprise!

Let me refer you to some of my old posts, the first from 2001!

In our school newsletter I had been running a series of articles dealing with racism, leading up to the International Day for the Elimination of Racism on March 21 2001. I received the following anonymous letter from a senior student. I would be interested in your responses. I would not normally publish an anonymous letter, but behind the anger and some serious misconceptions, I feel there is an intelligence that deserves respect. I have slightly abridged the letter, but kept true to the author’s views.

On March 2 2001 I received another very polite letter enclosing an American White Supremacist article taken from the Web, I have linked a counter-article by sociologist Caleb Rosado. Please consider….

The second, How Martin Krygier ambushed the Quadranters…, is from 2006.

There they all were on the 18th September celebrating Quadrant’s 50th anniversary, and there was Martin, son of magazine founder Richard Krygier, along with the venerable Dame Leonie Kramer, P P McGuinness (the current editor) and of course the sometimes dippy Duffy, all bent on lauding John Howard’s favourite magazine, in what may also be John Howard’s favourite radio show, with the possible exception of Alan Jones at breakfast on 2GB of course. And it was all going swimmingly until the last few minutes:

Michael Duffy: Martin, can I ask you the same question? Before 1989 Quadrant had a neat role, if you like, a very specific role. What is or ought its role to be? Or does it still have a role?

Martin Krygier: Here I’d part company with my colleagues on the panel. I think it has a very clear and enormously important role until 1989. The end of communism meant the end of an overarching enemy which was relevant at every political level. That meant that you could die and it wasn’t an ignoble thing to do, and that’s what happened with Encounter, or you could do something interestingly and individually different in a more complicated situation, and I believe that under Robert Manne that was being done. I think that more recently, in a way which is not completely as a result of recent trends, but I think that as a result of the culture…we’re a political culture that hunts in packs and there was a tendency once you’re sort of pushed to one side in popular polemics for Quadrant people to actually quite like the role of pariah and being the anti-pack pack. I think that that has continued with a vengeance over the Aboriginal issue and many other things in recent years and it has dismayed me and it’s why I’m not associated with Quadrant now. And I think that it’s…where things are complicated, where it could be that the opposite of a proper position is a foolish one, but that there are many possibilities, many complexities which one could explore, Quadrant seems to me to be a sort of radical simplifier which always finds somebody on the other side, whether they be politically correct (to use the phrase), to be contrarian with. And then people find themselves (or at least I find myself) forced between a pack and the anti-pack and not feeling particularly attracted to either. I think this spirit of dichotomies (I think often false dichotomies) has become dominant and I regret it.

Michael Duffy: We’ll have to leave it there but clearly things got a lot more complicated after 1989. Thanks very much to all of you for coming on the program.

Amen, Martin. But then I admired your 1997 Boyer Lectures too….

Australia: diversity and harmony

I have stopped the 2016 retro series at October, but do invite you to browse November and December in the archive. Cultural diversity and related issues of identity and “patriotism” feature in quite a few of last year’s posts – and earlier of course. For example With the Japanese bikers in the halal restaurant… (August), which includes this:

Note the Buddha in the background, by the way. These photos are from my photoblog under the tag “multicultural”. Despite what some say, we Australians have been rather good at creating a positive experience of cultural diversity. May we continue thus to grow,

Which brings me to the latest by the Revenant of Oz, now a Senator. I prefer to name her thus 1) because she is a revenant and 2) I avoid adding to the sum of her name being mentioned on the Internet. Her latest has caused a degree of mirth:

Australian Multicultural Foundation and SBS chairman Hass Dellal said One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s preoccupation with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) implementing some squat toilets in its Melbourne office reeked of “insecurity”.

ATO’s acting chief finance officer Justin Untersteiner told the Herald Sun this week that the office deployed the toilets because it was committed to “maintaining an inclusive workplace”.

Pauline Hanson asks in a Facebook video posted on Sunday: “If they don’t know how to use our toilets…then what the hell is going on?”

She then responded to a comment on that post: “It’s not just a matter of dollars Wade. It starts with toilets and ends with costing us our Australian way of life.”

Yesterday at Diggers the Revenant entered our conversation. There are varying viewpoints about her in our group. One gentleman offered the story that back in the day when the Revenant was knocking out excellent fish and chips she refused to serve Indigenous athlete Cathy Freeman. I said I would look into it, and can report it was a joke:

Cathy Freeman went into Pauline Hanson’s fish and chip shop and asked for $5 worth of chips. Pauline said ” we don’t serve Aboriginals here, but there is a shop 10 minutes up the road that does”. Cathy said “Don’t you know who I am??? I’m Cathy Freeman.”  Pauline said, “In that case its 5 minutes up the road….”

So the Revenant is not guilty on that one. However, do recall Australia Day 1998 – from a Revenant-friendly site:

Yesterday Pauline Hanson was slated by Prime Minister John Howard, ALP leader Kim Beazley, Governor-General Sir William Deane and others for stating the obvious – that political correctness had been the criteria for the selection of the Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year.

Ms Hanson said on 3AW Radio yesterday, “The government has been pushing us to become Asianised and I’m totally against become Asianised,” when speaking about the selection of Tan Le a 20 year old Vietnamese refugee as Young Australian of the Year.

“It’s rubbing my nose in it that we are appointing an Asian,” Pauline Hanson continued.

Ms Hanson said that an Aboriginal’s (Kathy Freeman) selection was designed to distract attention from the public debate over issues such as Wik and the so-called stolen generation.

John Howard responded by saying “They (her comments) were stupid, they were petty and they’re very divisive remarks being made on Australia day.”

Beazley called her comments “egocentric meltdown”. While Sir William Deane who some people call our Governor General, but I am not sure why, said, “I regard reconciliation as essential if we are to enter our second century as a diminished nation. And by that I mean healing the physical and spiritual wounds and divisions of the past and going forward together as friends and true equals.”

While looking back on great moments in Aussie pride I came upon this 2013 Sun-Herald story: I’m Not Racist But.

Alan Jones, 1995, when told that an Aboriginal woman was told there were no properties but the next white woman was told there were. Jones said if he was a landlord and someone of whatever colour  walked through the door looking and smelling like a skunk, with a sardine tin on one foot and a sandshoe on the other and a half-drunk bottle of beer under his arm, he would expect the agent to say “no”. In August 2000, Jones was found guilty by the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal of breaching the racial vilification provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Bryan Fletcher, 2005, the South Sydney player called Parramatta prop Dean Widders a “black c—“. The club demoted him, fined him $5000 and ordered him to do community work. “He [Widders] knows me very well and he was pretty shocked. It makes me feel ill, what I said,” Fletcher said.

Bruce Ruxton, May 2000, the former Victorian RSL president, wrote to Victorian MPs saying the granting of land rights to Aboriginals was wrong in the first place.

Ron Casey, 2000, 2GB radio presenter, in an exchange with The Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Marr about the disadvantaged state of Aboriginal Australians, Casey said this was “because they won’t get off their black arses and do some work”. He was dismissed by the station and retired from radio not long after.

Pauline Hanson, 2011, One Nation leader, “I’m not racist. No one can ever comment or make a comment on any racist statement I have ever said. I have … as an Australian … a right to question immigration and multiculturalism, which I don’t believe is helping our country.”

Arthur Tunstall, 1995, told a highly offensive joke involving Aboriginal athletes Cathy Freeman and Lionel Rose. It began with “I’m not racist but …”

That brought back some memories. The Revenant still maintains the position she takes in that article, by the way, as do many fellow-travellers and supporters who home in on the “islamicisation” of Australia in matters like halal certification. Latest news: Coalition MPs Cory Bernardi and George Christensen to speak at anti-Islam group dinner.

Senator Bernardi has also been talking in favour of US President-elect Donald Trump’s policies, and posted a photo of himself wearing a “Make Australia Great Again” cap while overseas on a three-moth secondment to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Mr Christensen told Parliament he was concerned about “the rise of Islamism in this country and those who are willing to commit violence in the name of that ideology”.

“I think we should consider some tighter controls on borders such as restricting immigration from countries where there is a high prevalence of violent extremism and radicalism,” he said.

How I wish more notice had been taken by such people of things like Son of Curtis Cheng saddened to see father’s name used in defacing of immigration posters.

The son of slain police employee Curtis Cheng is still grieving his dad’s death, while having to challenge those who would use it to justify bigotry…

“RIP, Curtis Cheng was Aussie”, they read, some with a white cross spray-painted over the face and head of early migrant Monga Khan.

On others, the words “real Australians say no” and “no PC” were smeared over portraits of others who travelled from overseas to make Australia their home.

It is a confused message — an anti-immigration outburst cum tribute to a murdered immigrant.

The irony has not been lost on Alpha Cheng, the son of the man fatally shot by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar outside Sydney’s Parramatta police station in October last year.

“We came to Australia to be part of the society, my parents wanted me to get a good education,” he said of his family’s migration from Hong Kong.

“To see [my dad’s name] as sort of a symbol of trying to exclude a certain group that looks a certain way from identifying as Australian, it’s really sad.”

Alpha Cheng’s Open Letter to Pauline Hanson is a must read.

You asked why did the Lindt Cafe siege happen and why my father, Curtis Cheng, was murdered?

I do not know the answer to this question and I myself am searching for the answer, be it from the continued police investigations and from the coronial inquiry.

What I want to write about is what I do know and what I believe we need to do to create a more harmonious Australia. As you have mentioned that is your aim as well. However, I have strong concerns with your approach and stance.

My concern is the linking of this fear and anxiety to the entire Muslim population. We cannot generalise the actions of extreme individuals to encompass that of other successful and law-abiding citizens who happen to be of the same faith.

My father was murdered by a 15-year-old boy. I cannot deny the fact that the perpetrators professed to be followers of Islamic State.

However, it does not follow from these facts that Muslims should be feared…

What I do know, is that generalisations and fearful attitudes will only increase this and put more Australians at risk.

What has happened to my family does not change my relationship with Muslims in my life. One of my closest friends is a Muslim, but his friendship and his care during the toughest time in my life is the measure of him as a person and not his background faith.

As a high school teacher, I have Muslim students and I have met their parents and family. They have the same hopes and dreams of all Australians; to be successful in their lives and enjoy the freedoms we enjoy. I have not changed my hope for them to be successful member of Australian society.

This fearmongering directed at minorities is not a new phenomenon in history. Nor is it new with me personally. When I first arrived to Australia, I remember being a victim of the hateful and fearful attitudes that the One Nation Party promoted. I remember being told I will be sent back to where I came from because I was Asian and, therefore, not Australian. I remember feeling ostracised and isolated from the country and identity with which I had adopted – in harmony with my cultural heritage.

I do not want the same to happen for the new “scapegoats” in this extreme and simplistic view of society. I refuse to let dad’s tragic death and the fearful attitudes that are growing to lessen my belief that we are a successful multi-cultural and multi-faith society. We need to look how we can heal and build; not how we can divide and exclude. My dad was a gentle and peaceful man; his name should not be used to promote fear and exclusion.

And here is a snapshot of Sydney, using just one measure of diversity:

Nearly 40 per cent of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home. More than 250 languages are spoken in Sydney.

Arabic, which dominates the western suburbs, is the most widely spoken non-English language. Mandarin and Cantonese, found predominately in the north shore, are the next most common languages.

Screenshot - 3_01_2017 , 8_12_37 AM

Last night on ABC was another lesson for us all: Jennifer Hewitt’s visit to the Western Australian town of Katanning. The area’s official website has this to say:

Katanning is a true multicultural community, the most ethnically diverse regional centre in Western Australia and possibly Australia. Featuring some 50 language groups, we are proud to say that ours is a harmonious community, embracing the different cultural and religious backgrounds of our townsfolk.

One of the contributors to this cohesive sense of community spirit is that we as a town recognise ethnic diversity as an economic driver. Apart from providing a strong dedicated workforce to support staffing requirements of industry, new residents are setting up businesses that reflect their cultural heritage. These businesses are thriving, such as the halal butcher who services the region and beyond.

With big business including the sheep sale yards, the grain handling facility, the abattoir and the meat processing facility offering stable employment opportunities, unemployment is low in the town, and this is reflected in our very low crime rate.

Community events form the backbone of Katanning’s social calendar. One of the most important community events on our social calendar is the Harmony Day Festival, where everyone comes together to learn more about the various cultures in our town – the food, entertainment, historical stories, and shared experiences.


There are more than 20 community sponsored flags representing diversity in Katanning Lions Park, Western Australia.

The Back Roads episode particularly focussed on one Alep Mydie, seen here in front of the mosque of which he is Imam.


During the AFL season he is likely to be seen donning the navy and gold of his beloved West Coast Eagles as he leads the service at the local mosque.

“Even my grandchildren have been baptised to be Eagles or Dockers supporters,” Mr Mydie said…

Mr Mydie’s all-embracing view of the AFL mirrors his approach to life more broadly; that religion should not be everything — involvement in the wider community and other activities is important too.

It is a philosophy he lives and breathes. As well as being the local Imam, Mr Mydie is a councillor with the local shire, and runs a busy coffee shop.

In between keeping up with the latest Game of Thrones episodes, that is…

Family was part of the first wave of migrants

Mr Mydie, who is of Malay origin, has been a key part of Katanning life since he moved to the sheep and wheat farming area three-hours south-east of Perth 42 years ago.

He was just 13 when his parents packed up their life on Christmas Island to move to Western Australia, where the local abattoir needed halal slaughtermen.

“We were in the second group of families [which] packed up and in 1974 we moved here to Katanning and here we are,” Mr Mydie said.

He said he quickly learned to adapt — and thrive — in the small town where he looked and sounded different to everyone.

“When we first arrived, people wondered ‘where did these people come from’,” he said.

“We were called ‘chocca boys’, or ‘samboy’, because of our dark skin.

“Gradually we learned the lingo, we learned the language. We never shied away from anything, and we learned along the way.

“We tripped and fell and then we learned, and in the end, at the end of the day, we know who we are.”

Katanning has had huge success as a cultural melting pot with migrants from 42 different nationalities living in the town of 3,800 with one in 10 are Muslim…

Fears around anti-Islamic sentiment

One of the most significant things the growing Malay Muslim population of Katanning did was building a mosque.

The light orange brick building, adorned with silver minarets, opened in 1980 after years of collecting small donations.

“I was a young boy and my grandfather and my other elders sat down together and asked how can we go forward to build a mosque,” he said.

“Looking back to see and to hear how hard it is to build a mosque 30, 40 years [on], how grateful we are.”

Mr Mydie worries about uncertainty created by the global wave of anti-Islamic sentiment.

“Throughout life, you build something of tolerance in life and then it [gets] knocked a bit…. That’s worrying me a lot,” he said.

“Katanning is really, really special. It’s like a magical place, where people accept you. We know how lucky we are.”

The mosque has long been a part of the Katanning community, and regularly sponsors different sports teams in town, like cricket, soccer, basketball and netball…

That’s the Australia I love. May it prevail!

Revisiting August 2016 – plus Debbie Reynolds

Cyrille de Lasteyrie via Eric Tenin on Facebook posted this remarkable photograph:


Carrie Fisher watching her mother on stage from the wings

M returns, while I waste more time on Senator Belfry…

Posted on August 17, 2016 by Neil

M is (i believe) just back from Europe after a long and most wonderful two months and more. He went towards the end of May. Among a heap of photos he posted on Facebook a couple of days ago is this, taken while trekking to Mont Blanc.


An appropriate kind of image given the rest of the post.

Yesterday I devoted time to Senator Belfry’s amazing appearance on QandA on Monday. The transcript is now up. A small sample:

[BELFRY] Sure, the longest temperature record for temperatures on this planet is the Central England Temperature Record, which goes back to the mid-1600s. And the first of the – sorry, the latest in the 17th century, the latest warming cycle in the 17th century going into the 18th century was faster and greater than the latest warming which finished in 1995. And Justin Bieber wasn’t flying his private jet around in the 1600s. That’s the first thing. The second thing was we’ve had a pause in this so-called warming for now 21 years. It depends how you measure it. 21 years. And I’m absolutely stunned that someone who is inspired by Richard Feynman, a fantastic scientist who believes in empirical evidence is quoting a consensus.
BRIAN COX: Can I just say – I brought the graph, right.
BRIAN COX: Let me tell you where the pause is. The pause that’s often quoted, if you take this point here, which is about 1997, I think, and you ignore 2015-2016, you can choose that point and you can draw a slightly straighter trend line on there. But that’s a misunderstanding. The question is does that rise and, also, secondly – I’ve brought another graph – is it correlated with that, which is the graph that shows the CO2 emissions – the CO2 in parts per million in the atmosphere – and you see that peak there, where it goes flying up. So the question essentially is first of all are those two things correlated and, secondly, do we understand the physical mechanisms and we’ve understood those since the 19th century. I mean, I can teach you. I’ll give you a lesson if you want.

Belfry’s technique is to drown you in a blizzard of horseshit. Let’s be honest here. You can go to yesterday’s post and find a link to his own site where the horseshit is stored in vast quantities. On the other hand you could go here.

Date:  Feb. 27, 2014


U.S. National Academy of Sciences, U.K. Royal Society Release Joint Publication on Climate Change

WASHINGTON — The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., released a joint publication today in Washington, D.C., that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change, and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science…

The horseshit vendors, Belfry among them, are armed against that of course. In response to what they will fling at you go to  Has the Royal Society embraced climate skepticism? and The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction.

Rather than being distracted by Belfry’s twaddle, take notice instead of David Attenborough, himself at one time a doubter of anthropogenic climate change.

When asked by the Independent if the world should be more concerned by our deteriorating environment than we are about the threat of terror attacks, his answer was simple: “Yes”.

“The nature of human beings is that they’d far rather face the disaster that is happening tonight than the one that is happening tomorrow,” he said.

“Climate change will affect the whole of humanity, while terrorist attacks will only affect a small section of humanity. Of course, you wouldn’t say that if you were related to someone who had been beheaded or blown up or murdered. But humanity is facing a very big, slow, long, drawn-out threat, and that is to do with the way the weather is changing and the size of the population.”

Sir David reiterated his warning during an interview with the Associated Press to mark his 90th birthday on Sunday, when he explained the most critical problems facing the natural world today. Top of his list was rising temperatures caused by climate change – “a very, very serious worry indeed”.

Finally, an excellent piece in today’s Fairfax press – if you could have found it on their abominable new websites, that is. I resorted to Google in order to locate it.

Richard Muller, a former prominent sceptic US scientist, re-examined 14 million temperature observations from 44,455 sites across the world going back to 1753. The results prompted a “total turnaround” in his views, as my colleague Ben Cubby wrote in 2012.

“Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2½ degrees fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1½ degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases,” Professor Muller wrote.

Roberts [Belfry], a former coal engineer, and then manager of the Galileo Movement, was unimpressed.

“We’ve based our views on empirical science, and there’s nothing in the Muller study to undercut that,” Roberts told Cubby at the time. Climate change science had been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”, he insisted….

‘It does sound outlandish’

For Roberts to be right, at least 80 science academies around the world have to be wrong, as would almost 100 per cent of the scientists publishing work in the field….


So frustrating having to revisit some of the most asinine arguments ever! I watched  my copies of The Climate Wars (2008) by Dr Iain Stewart and Meet the Sceptics (2011) and sighed deeply that all this was bubbling up again. See also my posts Look who’s at the rally along with A Jones and A Anderson… With friends like these… (2011) and Documentaries to make you think, cringe, cry, or wonder.. 2 (2011).

This one I have just downloaded!  Watts Up With That hates it; Lord Monckton tried to have it suppressed.

The truth is that it is brilliant and very fair to a whole lot of people who are not used to the concept of fair representation themselves. Even Lord Monckton is humanised rather than demonised; the presenter even goes so far as to say he rather likes him as a person. That is not just a ploy.

What’s up with Monckton is now pretty well known. It’s easy really: he’s just plain wrong.

Scarier even than that is the US Republican Party and so many “freedom-loving Americans” and weird right-wing TV channels from Fox on through even more biased and crazy excuses for news and commentary. Watch the doco to see what I mean.

And more on the egregious Belfry:

J.K. Rowling Joins Physicist Brian Cox and Monty Python’s Eric Idle in Calling Out Climate Science Denial

And more! Do visit Peter Sinclair’s Denier Destroyed on Aussie TV. Crowd Goes Wild (19 August), especially for the last two videos addressing the climate denial myths that Belfry promotes.

First, the “no warming in…(pick a number) years” canard, (which has really gotten pretty ragged with 2 record warm years in a row and a third underway) is a favorite of Far right US Senator Ted Cruz. I asked 4 scientists to weigh in on the deception…

Finally, the idea that “NASA has fudged the data” is put to rest by scientists who actually understand temperature data and how it is used…

Memento mori – another from the Class of 1959

Posted on August 19, 2016 by Neil

Look at my 2013 post Found–something from my last year at high school.


Look at the Latin prize in Fourth Year, our second-last year at SBHS. David Chadwick, here some years later, but still very recognisable.


And that is from his obituary, published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald

With the Japanese bikers in the halal restaurant…

Posted on August 21, 2016 by Neil

Samaras Restaurant was very busy yesterday when Chris T and I went there for lunch. I felt more than usually patriotic – proud of living in a land where diversity is accepted and respected — as we hoed into the amazing “meat lovers” platter, all halal of course. This is what we had:


The menu says that is “for one” – well, you’d have to be very hungry to manage it. Chris and I shared and, with a side dish of cauliflower, had more than enough. And I tell you, it is even better than it looks! Even in Surry Hills’s “Little Lebanon” in the past I have not had better.

And yes, there was a table of around 15 young Japanese bikers and friends in the restaurant as well, all tucking into the excellent food, and appreciating the friendly vibe and good service. As did the anglo-celtic Aussies who took over those tables when the Japanese left.

Ah Wollongong! Here it is not too unusual to see sights like:




Note the Buddha in the background, by the way. These photos are from my photoblog under the tag “multicultural”. Despite what some say, we Australians have been rather good at creating a positive experience of cultural diversity. May we continue thus to grow,

Which brings me to the latest by the Revenant of Oz, now a Senator. I prefer to name her thus 1) because she is a revenant and 2) I avoid adding to the sum of her name being mentioned on the Internet. Her latest has caused a degree of mirth:

Australian Multicultural Foundation and SBS chairman Hass Dellal said One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s preoccupation with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) implementing some squat toilets in its Melbourne office reeked of “insecurity”.

ATO’s acting chief finance officer Justin Untersteiner told the Herald Sun this week that the office deployed the toilets because it was committed to “maintaining an inclusive workplace”.

Pauline Hanson asks in a Facebook video posted on Sunday: “If they don’t know how to use our toilets…then what the hell is going on?”

She then responded to a comment on that post: “It’s not just a matter of dollars Wade. It starts with toilets and ends with costing us our Australian way of life.”

Waleed Aly commented in the Fairfax Press: a good opinion piece, I thought. He goes on to make an interesting point, having mentioned Revenant sidekick Senator Belfry’s amazing outing on last Monday’s #QandA.

…And  [Belfry]  sounds nothing like Hanson. Sure, he’s not a fan of the Racial Discrimination Act, but he doesn’t seem especially fixated on Muslims – or toilets for that matter. That’s even truer of Rod Culleton, who will be One Nation’s senator in Western Australia. He hates banks, probably because one of them took his farm.

But when asked recently about One Nation’s dogma that multiculturalism has failed, he replied: “I wouldn’t say it’s failed. I respect multiculturalism. You know, I’ve married a very beautiful Greek woman and her family love me like a son.” That woman, by the way, was also a One Nation candidate in Western Australia. Ask her about Hanson’s proposed royal commission into Islam and she says, “that’s one of the ones that, again, I will not be in agreeance with”.

Well, that’s quite a disagreement. It’s remarkable that Hanson would have candidates so at odds with what, until now, has seemed her party’s political reason for being…

We’ll only figure out what that all means over the next three (or six) years. But the starting point is that Hanson presides over nothing particularly organic. Drill to the bottom of One Nation and you find varieties of disillusionment, but not always xenophobia. It’s just not that coherent… But they might have more in common than they seemed to a month ago. That includes the same proclivity for bizarre video stunts. And you know that old saying: it starts with toilets and ends up costing your political authority.

I have wondered what collective I might use for the Revenant’s group: Ein Volk has connotations that may be unfair. I thought of the Had a Gutful Party, which is accurate but abbreviates to HAG, possibly sexist. Maybe POP? Pissed Off Party?

BTW, I do suspect that when you saw, as we all did…


… your first thought was not “that’s a Muslim.” You probably felt something about the cruelty of war. You probably saw a frightened child. You probably reached out in humanity and wished this world could be better. Let’s keep those reactions alive, eh!


And this bus-load makes me proud to be an Australian!

…Many of us are still pretty far from being comfortable travellers in an increasingly diverse world. We may be curious, but we can lack confidence, erring on the side of silence rather than diving in and risk saying the wrong thing.

Perhaps we worry that no one will stand with us if we do speak out. That our fellow Australians indeed are the racists we’re stereotyped to be. That it’s easier to stay quiet than risk a debate with a Hanson supporter. Perhaps it all just makes us feel too nervous and we pretend not to hear over our headphones.

Whatever it was on Thursday, this was a pretty neat example of 50-odd people keeping their cool, making it calmly clear that none of us was tolerating racism, and having the confidence to sort it out. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept, so they say.

Thirty years is a long time and forty even longer

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Neil

I missed this, unfortunately, as I rarely attend night-time things these days, especially in Sydney. I had been invited:

Its a long time ago, but you taught me for a few years at Sydney High – 1985 and 1986 – for 2 unit English. Memorable times, including the infamous “shit poem” you asked a friend to come in and read for us, and our universal dislike of Dickens’ Great Expectations!

My colleagues and I are having a 30 year reunion on Saturday August 13, 2016 – we’d like to invite you if you’d like to come.

The inviter is on the right, a former teaching colleague on the left:


Apparently a debate on the topic “It is better to live fast and wild in middle age than in high school” was part of the night’s proceedings. They were very good at debating, that class of 1986. Some have gone on to considerable eminence in related fields. I’m told  “over fifty-five ex-students and a small number of teachers calling ‘present, sir’ at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst on Saturday 13 August.”  I am sorry I could not be with them, but am having fun guessing, occasionally successfully, who is who in the photos.



Some of these people may recall this:


See More “Neil’s Decades” – 10: 1986 again

Watching “Billy Elliot” again

Posted on August 28, 2016 by Neil

Back in August 2006 I posted:

Then another coachee, doing Standard English, has as one of his texts (yes, I know) Billy Elliot. Again the laptop and the local video library worked wonders for us. Great movie. and a rich enough text too at many levels. A shame I have this embarrassing tendency to cry in the last few scenes, a phenomenon I described to my coachee rather than enact in front of him.

So ten years on I blubbed (privately) in the last few scenes all over again.


Interesting viewpoint about that scene:

The worst part of the film, Billy Elliot, is the ending. I know that the ending has people sobbing in their seats (including Elton John), but it is so sweet and corny that it destroys the real-life aspect of the film. In the film, everybody is happy. Billy is a super-star. Michael is open and proud of his new boyfriend. Tony is thrilled to see his little brother perform. And Dad is overcome with joy and pride. Only Fairytales for children under seven should end with “And they all lived happily ever after.”

The story of Billy Elliot and the miners is depressing, and the audience needs a lift at the end. The film uses the silly happy ending to send the audience home happy. But it ruins the gritty reality of the story. The musical finishes the show with only hope for Billy’s future, and no real hope for anyone else. It is much more realistic for older children and adults. Then the musical cheers up the emotionally drained audience with the “Company Celebration” (Finale). Hall and Daldry corrected a major flaw with this change…

What I posted one year ago

Posted on August 25, 2016 by Neil

You’ll have to go to the original to see what this was about:

Random Friday memory 26: naked in The Shire

Posted on August 28, 2015 by Neil

Oh yes. Well, once at least when I was maybe ten years old…


It was all down to my classmate CT who was a bit of a junior nudist…

Revisiting July 2016

As 2016 nears its end….

This photo blew me away – and July with it!

Posted on July 31, 2016 by Neil

I was in awe of this photo when I saw it this morning in my WordPress Reader.


Isn’t that just wonderful? For more see Leanne Cole:

Leanne Cole is a Melbourne based photographer and teacher. She finds inspiration in the city of Melbourne and travelling throughout Victoria to take images of what she sees and making fine art images of them. She loves teaching people how to take photos, both in classes, groups and individually. You can learn how to use your camera or how to edit your photos from her.

Leanne Cole’s blog is one of a number I follow on WordPress. I often share posts from them on Facebook….

The Revenant of Oz

Posted on July 6, 2016 by Neil

This is she:


I hope that hasn’t scared you too much!

But before we say more about her, let’s see how our Parliament stands this morning.

  • The Coalition is now three seats ahead of Labor. The ABC’s election computer last night moved two electorates — Grey in South Australia and Petrie in Brisbane’s north — from “in doubt” to Liberal-retained
  • The Australian Electoral Commission will continue counting the remaining votes today. 80 per cent of the vote has been counted and eight seats are still in doubt
  • Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says Malcolm Turnbull deserves to remain the party’s leader. “He’s been a consultative leader. He’s been a leader with integrity,” she said

It is in the Senate that we expect The Revenant, and possibly a number of cronies. A summary of where she stands:

After serving one term in Parliament, the former fish and chip shop owner has been parodied and pilloried, sent to prison for electoral fraud and written off countless times by the political class.

Now, she’s on track to win up to four Senate seats.

Her party’s policies are to stop all further Muslim immigration, including the intake of refugees; ban the burqa and any other full face coverings in public places; hold an inquiry or Royal Commission into Islam to “determine if it is a religion or political ideology” and install surveillance cameras inside mosques and Muslim schools.

The party also wants to introduce a National Identity Card for Australians who access taxpayer funded services and revoke any free trade agreements that are not in Australia’s interests.

Her crony most likely adds his dose of enlightened thought in another area:

The One Nation candidate with a strong chance of joining Pauline Hanson in the Senate, Malcolm Roberts, wants climate scepticism taught in schools and says the CSIRO and United Nations’ peak climate body endorse corruption…

One Nation wants the Bureau of Meteorology reviewed, including “public justification of persistent upward adjustments to historical climate records” and a review of the CSIRO to determine whether funding has influenced its climate claims.

Mr Roberts is listed as a project leader for the Galileo Movement, a prominent climate-sceptic group that boasts broadcaster Alan Jones as its patron.

In a paper published in 2013, Mr Roberts claimed CSIRO scientists were “deeply enmeshed in producing corrupt UN IPCC reports”, in reference to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which he also described as “corrupt”…

Just what we need, eh! See also my 2011 post Galileo, Galileo!

What a joke!

This mob make Lysenko look like a model of scientific rectitude! Talk about the cart driving the horse! Ideology rampant, but science no way…

Given The Revenant’s rants about Islam it was somehow appropriate that I received this email on Election Day – pure coincidence.

My name is ——-. You may or may not remember me, I was a student —- from the class of ’04. You taught me English in Year 7. I went on to study Law/Commerce, but didn’t find the field of law particularly satisfying or enjoyable, so after 6 months of work experience during my practical legal training, I quit and did my Masters in Teaching.

I’m now a teacher at —–, an Islamic school in the western suburbs of Sydney, with an overwhelming majority of NESB students. This is my 3rd year of teaching, and as it is a very small school, I am teaching English and Maths, along with my actual specialisation of Commerce (and HSIE in general).

In any case, there was a time in Year 11/12 when I approached you for help with essay writing, and after a discussion, you showed me a piece of writing I had done in Year 7. I had written about my first memory, if I remember correctly, and had detailed my trips to my grand parents’ house in ——  Pakistan. I was just wondering if still had that saved. I would love to see my own writing from Year 7, as I now teach Year 7 English and would like to see how my own writing was like at that stage.

I’d appreciate any help you can provide.

Thanks for your time, and I still remember you as my Year 7 English teacher! I honestly don’t remember who taught me in year 8, 9 or 10 haha, so you must have done something right!

The occasion he came to me in Year 12 is this one, originally blogged on Diary-X in 2004:

Second last period today ….proved to be an enlightening, even humbling, experience. I spent it with a Year Twelve student, whom I shall call “Ali”, who was referred to me by his English teacher because there may have been a problem with what he was proposing to do as an assessment task next week. He is doing Extension 1 (“3-Unit”) in the topic Retreat from the Global.

What he proposed doing (in a three minute talk!) was something very Islamic. Ali was born in Pakistan — in fact he told me in Year Seven that he still spoke and read Urdu (and one or two other languages) and could still recall a three storey red house he lived in in Islamabad as a small child. Now he is seventeen or so, and suitably bearded. Security would probably take an interest in him if he stepped on a plane…

Naturally, the topic of the values and attitudes implicit in globalisation is of great interest to him.

He wanted to introduce his fellow students to the idea that in this world there are those who turn away from globalisation for positive reasons, because they feel there are values under threat which are worth preserving, and he wanted to do this in terms of the particular religious movement he himself belongs to. His English teacher had no idea what movement he was talking about, and, I have to confess, for all my interest in and reading about Islam and Islamists, neither did I.

Have you heard of Tablighi Jamaat?


You don’t often read about these people or see them on the media, after all. I mean, they really aren’t bad, so they really aren’t news.

I’m glad I have met one.

And Barbara Metcalf’s account of them has become a text around which Ali can build his speech.

I checked the school out where that ex-student now works. It looks interesting. Their vision:

To provide a well-rounded education suited to cultural and historical framework of the current living environment in Australia. We hope to empower and equip the future generations to meet the challenges of today’s evolving and highly competitive world. —- is committed to establishing a dynamic and supportive learning environment in which all students can become caring and considerate citizens of Australia. —- will strive to uphold the highest standard as set out in the New South Wales Board of Studies curriculum.

The school will foster understanding and respect for themselves, each other and for the diversity of the multicultural communities in Australia. Students will be encouraged to be innovative, creative, problem-solving and questioning people. Students will strive to achieve their personal best. They will be able to take their place with pride in the community and in the world.

Before leaving The Revenant and her policy in this area, check my post Eating halal food again… – and, sorry to say, the wonderful Shiraz is no longer open for lunch. But there is always Samaras.  You might also check my 2015 post Bringing it home for more related to Samaras, but much more on jihadism very close to home.

I guess you could say I find The Revenant extremely unhelpful to any Australian really wishing to be informed about such matters.

But despite her having been since Day One in 1996 a carbuncle on the Australian political scene (in my opinion) and a perpetual self-referencing soap opera, there are quite a few that like her. According to Alan Stokes in today’s Herald:

…who are these irate Australians?

Let’s look at the numbers nationally and particularly in the seven NSW seats where the incumbent is trailing. They are where people blamed their local MP. They were all held by the Coalition. One seat is inner metropolitan, three outer metropolitan, two provincial and one rural.

They are Barton around Rockdale, Macquarie around Richmond, Lindsay around Penrith and Macarthur around Campbelltown; Dobell around Wyong and Paterson around Raymond Terrace; and Eden-Monaro around Bega….

Pauline Hanson: Support for her anti-immigration views is between 3.32 per cent and 9.88 per cent based in the Senate votes for all NSW outer metropolitan, provincial and rural seats where the incumbent is trailing. In the six city-fringe seats, the average Hanson vote is 0.8 per cent. In Longman north of Brisbane where Assistant Innovation Minister Wyatt Roy was dumped, it is 9.54 per cent for Hanson. In the knife-edge seat of Herbert in north Queensland it’s 13.2 per cent. Even in Murray in Victoria she drew 5.5 per cent.

Anger grows where people are unhappiest about their access to healthcare, financial security, sense of safety and chance of securing a future in this rapidly changing nation. Turnbull hoped voters would trust him when he said he would not threaten Medicare. He promised that the benefits of his economic plan would trickle down to those outside inner-suburban, service-industry, globalised, multiculturally committed and highly educated seats.

Plenty of people didn’t believe him.

Such is life …

Finally, something I first found bizarre is who The Revenant’s pilot and media adviser turns out to be now: James Ashby. Yes, that one! See July 2015 James Ashby joins Pauline Hanson’s entourage, as her pilot and post the 2016 election, How Pauline Hanson made her political comeback.

Oh, and how did The Revenant give me a hernia in 1996? Well, recall her maiden speech. Living at the time in Surry Hills with M from Shanghai, and working where I was, I rather took a dim view of the “swamped by Asians” line. Why, would you believe I even thought it racist?  I wrote to many a politician on all sides expressing how peeved I was that P wasn’t kept in a box somewhere. Some replied, even John Howard. Meanwhile I practised what I preached by being nice to all Asians who crossed my path. One day that included a young Korean lady lugging some very heavy suitcases. Gallantly, and in defiance of Pauline H, I offered to carry them up the stairs for her. Result, alas, a hernia. And a sojourn in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

And that’s where I propose as far as possible leaving The Revenant. This time round quite a few are already speaking up and suggesting that she really might not be the best thing since sliced bread…


Margo Kingston is well worth reading as a counterpoint to this post.

So what to do?

First, understand that Pauline Hanson’s jailing in 2003 drew almost universal condemnation and transformed her into a celebrity. She has appeared on popular reality shows and has a weekly spot on Seven’s Sunrise program. She is LIKED by most “ordinary” Australians. It follows that sneering put downs, nasty labels and suggestions she has no right to be in parliament are utterly counterproductive and will, like last time, increase her support.

Second, understand that her high vote signifies a serious scream about what life is like in those areas, and address the issues.

Third, welcome Hanson to the parliament. She has the right to be there and her voters have the right to be represented.

Fourth, have the conversation. Go with her to where her voters are and have a chat.

Western democracies are splitting up into warring tribes. I think Hanson’s return to our parliament is a chance to bring ours together a little bit.

If we try.

Also good:

Michael Bradley, Why simply calling Hanson racist doesn’t help.

…It’s obviously perplexing, because Hanson has always had visible difficulty with her debating skills. She comes across as not very bright, but perpetually very angry and confused; a person who struggles to articulate how she feels about the world beyond saying “I don’t like it”.

She isn’t exactly a charismatic or charming presence. She is certainly not a demagogue. But here she is, with enough votes to secure two, three or four seats in the Senate for her and a few of the odd white men who have sworn fealty to her brand.

It’s unclear to me what the difference is between our calling Hanson a racist and her habit of branding other people who she has not met with pejorative labels. What Hanson does – in particular, what she says – is frequently reprehensible. She can appropriately be criticised and called to account for the offence and hurt she causes by her repetitive and irrational attacks on everyone and everything she perceives from her extremely limited frame of understanding to be not representative of the “real Australians”, her nostalgically imagined tribe….


Antony Green has crunched the numbers: One Nation Support at the 2016 Federal Election.

The most evil words in the world?

Posted on July 16, 2016 by Neil

… are not those referencing bodily parts or functions or sexual activities. Rather they are those that dehumanise to the point where you think it is a rather good idea to drive a truck through crowds of innocent fellow-humans, or act like that shithead in Norway – not a Muslim—who five years ago ran around shooting 77 teenagers and others because he didn’t care for their politics.

So I lament Nice, and all the other horrors across the world in past weeks and months.


While the majority of Muslims (around one quarter of the world’s peoples) are no threat to anyone, there clearly is a part of Islam that is against anyone outside its tent. In them words like kufr join the most wicked words ever to curse humanity. Now there are other kinder interpretations, such as this US Muslim.

…to ascribe divinity to anything besides God – in the Qur’anic worldview – is to be utterly ungrateful to all the favors God bestows on the person who claims thus. In fact, the Arabic word for “stubbornly ingrate” at the end of Quran 39:3 is kaffar, which is derived from kufr and kafara.

This passage of the Qur’an even further bolsters the view that kufr is essentially ingratitude:

And so, when they embark on a ship [and find themselves in danger], they call unto God, [at that moment] sincere in their faith in Him alone; but as soon as He has brought them safe ashore, they [begin to] ascribe to imaginary powers a share in His divinity: and thus they show utter ingratitude for all that We have vouchsafed them, and go on [thoughtlessly] enjoying their worldly life. (Quran 29:65-66)

On the other hand read this and weep.

(O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and Christians as your friends. They are the friends of one another [in their enmity toward Islam]. Whoever takes them as his friends becomes one of them [a disbeliever]. Allah does not guide the unjust people [who wrong themselves by taking disbelievers as their friends].) [Al-Ma’idah 51] (If the People of the Book were on the true path, would he who takes them as his friends have been called a disbeliever?)

(Fight those of the people given the Book who do not believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment, who do not consider forbidden that which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and who do not follow the true religion [Islam], until they give the jizya with their own hands in a state of humiliation [in submission].) [At-Tawbah 29]

(Those who deny Our aayaat are disbelievers. They are the dwellers of Hell; they will remain therein eternally.) [Al-Baqarah 39] (All non-Muslims are disbelievers because they deny Qur’anic verses.)

Now read a compelling article in today’s Age:

Undercover with Australia’s Islamic radicals

One journalist spent a year undercover in Australia’s radical Islamic networks.

…The man then directed a question to me: “Do you not feel the pain of your Muslim brothers and sisters dying? Is this not why you have come to us, brother? Why you have reached out for guidance to Allah in dar al-kuffar (land of the infidels)?”

In a flash I responded with: “Allah subhana wa taala (glorious and exalted) is guiding me to the path of vengeance and why I must make hijra.”

Allahu akbar (God is greatest) brother, you are a lion and among other lions here today sent by Allah. We must do what is right and according to Allah, subhana wa taala. It is our duty as followers of Allah to stand against this attack on the Muslim way of life. All the kuffar are trying to keep you from the righteous path.”

I was seeing first hand the process speculated on for so long: here, in the middle of a Melbourne park, young men were being radicalised.

As he spoke, men and women walked by, pushing prams and walking dogs, unwitting witnesses to an event that was troubling and terrifying much of the Western world. It was in these types of groups and gatherings where Australia’s dead jihadists were inducted into terror….

Between meetings, the messages flew on encrypted messaging applications arranging get-togethers that I surmised were going on all over Australia. They are held in secret; Muslim community leaders are oblivious.

Their words are dangerously seductive: they play on the confusion of young men struggling with their sense of identity and life in a society whose politics and media seem increasingly alien and hostile to them. Prakash is (probably) dead now. But Abu Hassan, Salman, Brian, Mahmoud are alive and well, still living in the community and still plotting….

Do read the whole thing. And no, Senator Hanson* does not have the solution. Reject all who practise the language of hate and division.

May all the world unite against both war and extremism, wherever they may be. (Whistle John Lennon’s “Imagine”….)


Many of those who had to watch their families being killed by Daesh in the Middle East also had to endure being labelled as the problem in Australia, thanks to loud attacks against them by the likes of Pauline Hanson. The Australian Iraqi Muslim community has had to watch helplessly for years as many of their family members were murdered by Daesh following the illegal invasion of Iraq, and the anti-Islam movement has left them feeling alienated and alone in their grief. Labelling the religion of Islam as a dangerous political ideology has thus been a callous attack on devout Muslims who have been hit by terrorism, and who reject terrorist ideology as un-Islamic.


There is so much not known about the murderous maniac of Nice at this moment, and there are experts who doubt what could be a purely opportunistic claim from ISIS: see Nice attack: Islamic State claims responsibility for truck carnage as police arrest three more people.

Weep too at this evidence of how low some will go on the “other side”: After Nice attack, internet trolls try to frame Sikh man as a terrorist, again.

And the 45th President of the United States MIGHT be….

Will be…

Posted on July 22, 2016 by Neil


Now lest you think I searched for the scariest, dopiest picture I could find… not so! This is the one Rupert Murdoch’s News.com is currently using to top its feed Republican National Convention, day three: Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence feature.

Thanks to ABC News 24 we have been, if we chose, exposed to more of this American circus than we ever wanted to know. I watched quite a bit of it yesterday and wondered if it was real. Reality TV? A Nuremberg rally? A mix of the two? Or a remake of Citizen Kane? And so I was drawn back to some of the genuine touchstones of 20th century American culture, for which I am duly grateful.



And I thought of this:

Death of a Salesman has always been gripping, but our current economic climate makes it all the more devastating for modern audiences. The dream of success remains the American Dream, but the idea that success is more likely to end in disappointment is a reality of our times. The notion that people are disposable is terribly difficult to swallow, but it’s true.

Every artist recognizes a little of Willy Loman in himself, and I don’t think my father is an exception. Willy is selling himself, but also a vision of himself. Essentially, he’s selling air. There’s no rock bottom for Willy. Any artist or businessman who makes something out of nothing has been there at one point or another.

That’s Arthur Miller’s daughter Rebecca on the great Death of a Salesman.


“Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple spots on your hat and your finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman has got to dream boy, it comes with the territory.”

“The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell.”

“When I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich.”

Uncle Ben for President?


“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Do I need to tell you that one?

And I am so so glad that our recent election was, comparatively speaking, free  of some of the nauseating bullshit I witnessed on ABC News 24 yesterday. I am even rather pledging allegiance in gratitude to Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, and her heirs and successors. For one thing I look really dreadful in a red bandanna.

Saturday Updates

You really must read this fact-check: Donald Trump Promises Not To Lie, Right Before Lying A Bunch Of Times. Sadly, though, the subheading is too true: But don’t expect his supporters to care.

In news that will come as little surprise to anybody who has followed the campaign closely, Trump’s [acceptance] speech was littered with misleading claims and even a few flat-out untruths.

Some were obvious, like when he said, “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” It isn’t. In fact, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. is among the least-taxed nations in the world…

Of course, deception has been a hallmark of the Trump campaign. Independent, nonpartisan organizations like Politifact and Factcheck.org have called out Trump over and over again for his misrepresentations, many of them blatant and obvious.

And while they’ve cited misrepresentations by Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, they’ve found her deceptions to be both less frequent and less extreme than his.

Will Trump’s supporters care? Probably not.

And then I saw that wonderful Aussie marvel First Dog on the Moon: Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight and don’t bring facts to a Republican convention.

And then! Today’s Cathy Wilcox cartoon in the Sydney Morning Herald.


No wonder the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year 2016 is “surreal”! “Revenant” was up there too.