Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clive Hamilton, Stephen Conroy, Thomas Bowdler, Tim Blair and Piers Akerman star in "A Gaggle of Loons"

The other day I was refreshing my memory of Thomas Bowdler, a noble physician who published an expurgated Billy Shakespeare suitable for women and children.

Bowdler, an expert on the country matters so coarsely outlined by Billy in Hamlet, made Ophelia's death an accidental drowning (none of that suicide nonsense), changed Lady Macbeth's cry to "Out, crimson spot" (forget damned), replaced god with heavens (but left off the 'to betsy' bit), dropped the hooker character entirely from Henry IV part 2, ripped out all the sexual innuendo (there's plenty of it if you know where to look, by cock there is) and dropped any hint of piss or shit in the texts (as well as putting a note up the front of Measure for Measure saying it was totally indecent and beyond his help. Now don't go running off to read the play, you'll only wonder what the fuss was about).

As a result, Bowdler now lives on in the language through the fine active verb, to bowdlerise. (You can put a 'zee' in place of the 's' if you come from the good ol' USA).

Now I'm torn. As we live through a new age of Bowdler and the planned censorship of the tubes in Orrstralia, what's the best term to describe the phenomenon? 

Hamiltonize has a nice ring to it, but there's a downside, because the preening prat and professor of Public Ethics at Charles Stuart University might enjoy the notoriety, as a sign he's done noble work (Bowdler never took a backward step or experienced a moment's doubt). 

So immortalized, Clive Hamilton might fancy himself as a kind of antipodean intellectual and upbeat version of Mary Whitehouse (see the Wikipedia on that fascinating old biddy, and The Goodies desperate but futile attempts to get her upset, here). 

Sadly the impulse is the same. Hamilton is really just Whitehouse in drag, and with about as much intellectual justification and weight behind him in his fetishistic fear of perversion and pornography. What Hamilton wants to do is reduce the internet to a standard where it's safe for children to cruise, thereby reducing and infantilizing all adults to the same level, and never you mind about responsible parenting or home filtering. It's one in, all in, for Clive and if you disagree, you have to be a paedophile. No opting out, no voluntary filtering. And the fact that it won't work is neither here nor there.

You do have to wonder what happens when someone becomes obsessed with researching pornography. Does it show a certain tendency, in the same way that in the end Whitehouse really needed vile deeds to get on to her noble steed and tilt at windmills?

To Conroyise is an unfortunate and ugly way to turn a name to verb, but on the upside it sounds a bit like the act Conroy is proposing to perform on the intertubes. Ugly.

And let's face it, Conroy is the main man - responsible, in a Janus-like way for all that's going down, dressing his experiments up as a noble concern for children when really it's a shabby concern for Steve Fielding's vote, mixed with a passing tip of the hat to the wonderful way China manages to shut down dissidents.

When I hear the word censorship, I reach for my libertarian gun, but what really startles me is how conservatives have folded on this issue. Barely a cheep from them as they beep beep around all kinds of other issues. Yet here's the Labor party acting in a way that would make North Korea and Islamic fundies around the world cheer and dance with glee.

I'm thinking maybe Conroystirpate or maybe Conroyminate might be better, but I'm not sure whether hair pullling from the roots Terminator style, as in extirpate, is as good as exterminate, which does conjure up Conroy as a battered, electronic-voiced Dalek shouting "exterminate".

I've searched for words of wisdom from Tim Blair and assorted other loons, and found out that Blair's blog was once blocked by the Howard government's voluntary filtering system. It'd be terrible if the loon and his followers somehow ended up on Conroy's new filter list because he tried to speak on adult subjects in a childish way. But does Blair rush to speak up about Conroy and his Dr Frankenstein routine? Not in what I read.

Why this side-track? Well today Tim Blair is back on his monomaniacal hobby horse of climate change. The only fun is that he's in a state of toxic shock in Malcolm in the merits. 

Malcolm Turnbull has said that the Coalition believes Labor's aim to cut greenhouse emissions  by between 5 per cent and 15 per cent is too little!!

TOO LITTLE? For an issue that's completely bogus? Well no that was yesterday. Today Tim's language is softer. It's a problem - even if it's real - that Australia can do nothing about. And how's this for graspng at straws? There's enough in the Coalition and their Labor opponents who don't believe in global warming at all, maybe enough to build a viable political force, maybe enough to take over the government, maybe to take over the world. And from there, Mars after the planet here becomes uninhabitable.

A loon in full cry is a fine sight.

Also in the Daily Terror is our regular dose of Piers Akerman, aka the fat owl, more welcome than a dose of cod liver oil, but not by much. Thank god it's not breakfast in your part of the world, because you might just choke on your Cheerios

The fat owl has praised ABC local radio! Sure it's just a brief mention in Making sense of loss by words and pictures before berating left wing social engineering educational theorist media teachers, and dishing out unctuous, servile, self-serving praise to The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun, at which point you might well have wished you'd choked on the Cheerios rather than throwing up into them.

A special treat: " ... the press has the capacity to expose the Left's penchant for profligate spending on unnecessary, even damaging, programs ..."

Like the ABC, you self-absorbed, contradictory fat owl!

A loon in full cry, chest puffed up with the finery of self importance and delusions, is a glorious sight.

Bring it on Conroy. Smote the intertubes, block obscenity, slam the lid on loonery. After all the democratic right of loons to speak their minds is driving us all mad, makes us rush off to look at nubile young men in Playgirl poses. Or is it only boys who do that?

Conroystirpate them all.

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