In which we praise the Australian command of language

And the courage of a newspaper to print such joyous prose:

“There are some ideas so absurd,” said George Orwell, “that only an intellectual could believe them.” There are other ideas, even absurderer, that only The Conversation could deem worthy of public discourse.

The Convo, a sort of undergrad Onan the Barbarian’s soggy biscuit circle taken to its natural, digital conclusion, reached new heights of frantic monkey spanking last week with an otherwise po-faced suggestion that all Australian drinkers be issued with an ID card that would track their grog purchases.

Mmm, Orwellian. But wait, there’s more surveillance state goodness where that came from. Through the magic of modern technology, the card could scold them at the checkout for drinking too much and even whack a punitive and sharply escalating tax hit on punters as the night wore on and they nudged it just a little too enthusiastically, at least for the straighteners and punishers at The Conversation.

Not even the current leadership of the ALP is suicidal enough to go down this path. They will empty your superannuation accounts before moving in on your drinking money. The desperate politicians of Cyprus, facing the prospect of national bankruptcy, decided to steal the savings of Russian mafia bosses instead of doing something like this. Even a censorious puckered arse like Abbott, who might in the darkest corners of his shrivelled heart, enjoy the misery such a system would bring, and, possibly, the encouragement it might offer to church going if the altar wine was exempt … even he could probably not be moved in this direction. No matter how much Cardinal Pell urged him on from the cloisters.

There is only one political party with the balls-out craziness to get fully behind this scheme. I think I’m going to have to withhold my usual sympathy vote from the Greens until I hear them swear on a stack of lentils that they will never endorse the idea.

Just marvellous.

I can think of several UK blogs which could be described as soggy biscuit circles. Although I doubt very much that I\’d ever be able to find a UK newspaper that would let me say so in print.

13 thoughts on “In which we praise the Australian command of language”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    As per the thread this appeared on earlier …

    Dan O’Keefe – a man who has never stood a round in his life.

  2. Surreptitious Evil

    Brilliant comment down the page as well:

    We chaps do not need a new punitive system to prevent excessive drinking?

    We get married for that.

    w from brisbane

  3. The author posted on his twitter feed thus:

    “I am the only one who gets Onan the Barbarian? The sub editors didn’t.”

    That was enough to make me track down the link and read it.

  4. He’s actually a lefty twat who can write a bit. Given that we’ve just seen off some horrendously regressive media laws designed to punish News Ltd for having the temerity to write about the lies and incompetence of the ALP government, you’d think he’d refer to censorious Stephen Conroy who certainly has provided some comic material, not least his red underpants remarks.

    http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/senators-red-undie-remarks-fall-flat-in-new-york-20120928-26pqt.html

    But no, he’d rather invent a fictious “censorious puckered arse like Abbott, who might in the darkest corners of his shrivelled heart, enjoy the misery such a system would bring,” when there is no evidence to suggest Abbot is a believer in great censorship or that he has a shrivelled heart. Quite the opposite judging by his stance against the proposed media laws and his charitable work.

  5. “Far right religious nutcase opposes laws against newspapers printing things that are in his favour, and does things that are in line with his nutty religious views. Therefore, he must be a good man”.

    Pull the other one, it plays a merry tune.

    (yes, Conroy’s laws were shit, but Abbott opposed them for the very obvious reason that they would have made it harder for News to character-assassinate Labour politicians. Over his 30 years in politics, he’s shown no signs at all of being a principled defender of free speech and many of wanting to ban things he thinks are offensive.)

  6. All politicians are strong and principled defenders of free speech when they’re in opposition, and very few retain that when they’re in power.

  7. Surreptitious Evil

    DocBud – nice speech, but I side with Matthew at #8.

    Hopefully, for you and johnb, Abbott is an exception (and that the hordes of unprincipled scum who form the backbone of every political party allow him to get away with it.)

  8. Offshore Observer

    Ahhh JB. A great brisvegas writer. Although his finest work was probably his first “he died with a felafal in his hands.”

  9. Friends of mine have had a drink with Abbott, and from their reports, he is anything but a wowser

  10. I’m under no illusion as to the low standard of modern day career politicians. In the past one could rely on a reasonably sized proportion of politicians basing their pronouncements on firmly held beliefs and when in government trying to formulate policy based on those beliefs. The politicians who swim to the top in the modern political sewer are those who are driven by ambition. While I do think Tony Abbott has some good personal characteristics as evidenced by his community service, he is still one of this modern breed who plays to the gallery. The problem is accentuated in Australia by compulsory voting which, judging by other countries turnouts, makes about one third of votes in marginal seats available for purchase to the highest bidder. This is why Australian elections are characterised by pork barrelling by both major parties.

    I didn’t comment to defend Tony Abbott but to highlight the absurdity of John Birmingham using the ALP spin declared beliefs and character of a person he opposes rather than the real actions of a minister of a government with which he broadly sympathises. Although he has stood up for free speech in the past, including the proposed internet censorship undier Kevin Rudd’s government, he has, as far as I’m aware, been silent on Conroy’s bills.

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