December 28, 2007

Fear and loathing in Oz

We can expect more insanity in 2008, however, it will be re-branded and re-badged (in numerous shades of green, would be my guess), now that the Howard's have vacated Kirribilli and the Libs are being led by the teary-eyed Nelson (I bet he cries at weddings too, mostly his own).

January: John Pilger advises Guardian readers that Australia has regressed from a social democracy "into a state of fabricated fear and xenophobia". Wollongong academic Peter Kell tells The Jakarta Post that Australian society has "broken apart".

February: Phillip Adams informs his ABC Radio National listeners the communist dictator Joseph Stalin and the United States President, George Bush, "have a similar attitude to science". Jeff Kennett predicts: "I'm going to live to 150 years … " God help us. Canberra academic Norman Abjorensen predicts that "come July" Malcolm Turnbull will be prime minister.

March: At the launch of his wood-based autobiography, titled Recollections Of An Unreasonable Man, the former National Crime Authority boss Don Stewart decrees that "in this driest continent in the world, there seems to be a desire to cut down every tree in sight".

April: Journalist Deirdre Macken compares Sydney with Melbourne and maintains that "Sydney people want to talk about footy. And wrestling matches. And Christina Aguilera's boobs." All of them, apparently.

May: In his Quarterly Essay, David Marr argues: "Australian children are taught not to speak. It's a big part of our upbringing, learning to shut up, to listen, to wait until we're spoken to." It can only be assumed that Marr's own teachers failed in their task.

June: Commentator Piers Akerman indicates that ACTU activists opposed to Work Choices have been told to target church groups and the like "using computer programs rather than the brick-through-the-window terror favoured by groups such as Hitler's Nazis, Stalin's communists and Mao's Red Guard". Phew. The editor of Meanjin, Ian Brittan, states that he needs his own office in order to discuss in private with authors "whether something should be a comma or a semicolon".

July: Robert Richter, QC, asserts that the attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, and "his cohorts" in the HFD constitute "a terrorist threat to our legal system". Writing in The Age, Richard Flanagan proclaims that "during the Howard years Australia became a country that believed its own propaganda, in the sort of way South Africa had during the apartheid regime".

August: Academic Gregory Pemberton suggests that "Australia's political and media value as a terrorist target will increase later this year at about the time of the APEC summit in Sydney and the federal election".

September: The Age columnist Catherine Deveny writes: "If I were John Howard, I'd be praying for a terrorist attack." She isn't and he didn't.

October: The Anglican bishop George Browning preaches that Jesus "spoke about climate change". Well, he was a prophet - even if his global warming concerns were not reported in the Bible. Channel Nine's John Westacott describes the battle of the election debate worm as "one of the great political censorships in living memory". In fact, Nine's worm-infested coverage was disrupted for only a few minutes. The actor Cate Blanchett tells The Guardian that "we're so in America's back pocket it's embarrassing" and warns that "we've really isolated ourselves from Asia". For the record, Blanchett does Hollywood but not, alas, Bollywood.

November: From his large colonial-style house on two hectares on the outskirts of Sydney, the former Labor leader Mark Latham condemns Australia's "culture of consumerism and isolationism".

December: It's time to reflect on the hyperbole king or queen for 2007. The title is shared. The Canberra academic Bruce Kent starred in comparing Howard with such Nazi mass murderers as Hitler and Himmler and by inventing similarities between the Howard government and the Third Reich. Especially since the HFD was defeated in a free election, which the real fascists never allowed. But Seer [Bob] Ellis of Palm Beach also performed well in the false prophecy stakes. Witness his prediction that Bush "will at least bomb Iran" by November 23 and thereby assist Howard on the eve of the election.

A year of fear and loathing and failed prophets ...

No comments:

Post a Comment