Saturday, May 30, 2009

Christopher Pearson, Kerry O'Brien, the ABC, a tequila chat, Barack Obama, abortion, and militant Christianity

(Above: a valiant lion, with just a humble lad to help, surrounded by leftie bloggers, Fabians, and militant abortionists).

Over the years, I've cast many a stone at Kerry O'Brien, presenter of the ABC's current affairs program The 7.30 Report, not least for the carrot top's smarmy, smirking desire to do star fucker interviews with stars.

And over the years the format for the show has become dull and calcified, due in no small measure to the desire of the ABC to keep its corporate head down during the head kicking Howard Costello years.

But you have to shed a tear for the poor lad after he made some unexceptional comments over a tequila at 2.30 am on budget night in Canberra to a bunch of young Liberal staffers. O'Brien simply said what any intelligent observer of current federal politics might have said in an off the record, private situation, and now he finds himself being pilloried by the commentariat.

O'Brien's thought crimes, as quoted by an indignant Christopher Pearson in Tell us what you really think include the following:

In reply to one staff member's remark that he had a high regard for Peter Costello, O'Brien reportedly said: "Well, good luck to you then ... I don't. He doesn't like politics; he has always been the first one out of here (Canberra) on Thursday. Peter Costello does not have the nation's interests at heart; he is only in it for himself, always has been, always will be ... He needs to get out ... He is a sponge."

In reply to another comment from the same staff member, to the effect that he had a highregard for some of the reforms of the Hawke-Keating era, O'Brien is noted as saying: "Howard and Costello never recognised the importance of their reforms ... Costello was lazy, he simply rode on the consequences of the Keating and Hawke wave of economic reform."

Well apart from being remarkably kind and tolerant to the fundie Christian loving, self regarding, self absorbed narcissist that constitutes Costello, nobody could have summed up Costello any better, and while the truth might hurt, you'd hardly regard this thought crime with outrage and horror.

So what other thought crimes did O'Brien commit?

Of the incumbent federal Treasurer, O'Brien is said to have volunteered: "Swan is a lightweight", and that he was not impressed with the budget ("It was soft"). Asked who he thought should be leading the Liberals, he reportedly said: "Turnbull is the best you've got." Before the group dispersed, one of the staff members tells me O'Brien offered them "a group hug" but they politely declined.

Well it can't be for calling Swan a feather duster, or abusing a soft Labor budget. Maybe it was for praising Turnbull, as against dipstick Costello? Ah, now I get it, it was the offer of a group hug, which established that O'Brien was either (a) a closet homosexual or (b) a nerdish fan of Galaxy Quest. Now there's thought crime thinking of the highest order.

Pearson, in his usual snide, guttersnipe, petulant way, is exceptionally peeved and indignant. It seems no one at the ABC has bothered to approach Gerard Henderson or Andrew Bolt to correct, comment on or deny the story in their online sites. So being a knight in shining armor or perhaps worming his way amongst the weevils to get to the bran of the story, Pearson himself approached O'Brien through the ABC, and here's what he got:

"There are significant errors of fact in the (Henderson) blog article as they relate to me, but my post-budget conversations that night were private and I see no need to discuss them further. In any event, whatever my personal views are, they do not intrude on my professionalism."

Pearson immediately proceeds to brood about the rough time that O'Brien gave John Howard and any hapless coalition member who strayed on to O'Brien's program, as if a currrent affairs interview should be some kind of suckfest and love in, of the kind approved by thought police but which make for deadly dull television (just watch any O'Brien love in with any celebrity blowing through town for irrefutable evidence).

But Pearson won't have any notion of exciting television, as he draws himself up to whatever indignant height he can muster in the hope of claiming O'Brien's scalp, harking back to the days when "Red Kezza" (we still prefer carrot top in honor of his hair dye) was - gasp - Gough Whitlam's press secretary.

Lordy, there's a red under the bed, or worse still a Whitlamite everywhere as we live through these Whitlam-esque end days. So how to end this wicked reign, which has gone on for an eternity, ever since O'Brien took the presenter seat in 1995, and since carried on as if he was some kind of Ed Murrow?

How long, you may wonder, does one man get to keep the ABC's key job in current affairs? I'm afraid the answer is probably: as long as the corporation is indifferent to problems of apprehended bias and assumes that Fabianism is the default position for all sensible people.

Well as long, one hopes, as Andrew Bolt manages to ruin every ABC show in which he appears.

Let's hope that fabianism - or at least a professional approach to television - stays the default position for all sensible people a little longer than fundamentalist Catholicism. And if you want apprehended bias, just toddle off to Pearson, Bolt, Blair, Albrechtsen, Akerman, Alan Jones and the whole commentariat out there ready to be biased in a loud voice from the roof tops, even without being asked in an allegedly private conversation over drinks. Sheesh.

Speaking of fundamentalist Catholicism, it wouldn't be remiss for Pearson to round out his column by chipping in with a churlish view of Obama giving a talk at a Catholic university. 

But first warrior Pearson must remind himself to gird his warrior loins, and step out to do battle with the heathens who surround him and his faithful flock. Haunted by lefty Australian bloggers and denigrators of phonics in the teaching of reading, Pearson is ready to smote the wicked, and sound just like an Islamic fundamentalist loon:

That is why Christianity refers to itself as "the church militant here on earth", on the assumption that, this side of the apocalypse, it will be engaged in constant combat.

One of the great pitched battles for the foreseeable future is between those who are against abortion and the supporters of abortion on demand.

Great pitched battles? Church militant? Constant combat? The apocalypse? I say old sport, any one for a re-run of the Crusades?

Oh noble warrior Pearson, and so ready to take to task women who think they have a right to control their bodies. Foolish women, supporting abortion on demand, as if women blithely enter into abortion as an economical form of birth control, rather than a deeply distressing matter of emotional turmoil. As if they should have the right to do what their situation demands, as they see it, and as they see fit, rather than doing what the Pearsons of the world want them to do (which is have babies, bring them up as reviled single mothers, adopt them out, or best of all send them off to an orphanage where priests can fiddle with them and they can be brought up happily Catholic).

We've never heard from Pearson about what he thinks about the Brazilian arm of the Catholic church excommunicating doctors for aborting a nine year old girl because her life was threatened by the twins she was carrying as a result of alleged rape by her step father. Guess dancing on that pin is theologically tricky, when simple minded abuse of Obama would suffice.

Instead we now know Pearson is distressed that Obama's invitation to speak at Notre Dame University was hailed as a public relations coup, but Pearson consoles himself that for the first time a Gallup poll found 51% of Americans considered themselves anti-abortion, and yet 53% found the procedure should remain legal under certain circumstances.

There's no great revelation here - I think anybody sensible enough (or ever having seen the emotional impact of abortion up close) would think of it as a last resort option, but if necessary, an option that should be legal and available. But what's more amusing is Pearson's befuddled notion that the rights of women should somehow be understood through the gauze of public opinion polling.

Allow me to break Godwin's law and ask whether I should care that the National Socialists scored 43.9% of all valid votes in an 88.7% poll in March 1933 when it comes to the rights of Jews?

Thank the lord that the Catholic church and the current Pope, and supporters like Pearson and Pell control neither America nor Australia. If you can remember the days of backyard abortions, and doctors and women being forced to operate like criminals,  you'll know the bad old days they'd like to cast women back to. And if abortion isn't legal - which is to say illegal like they want it - then that's where it will end, in a vale of tears, and shadowy nightmares and coat hangers. 

Check out the 1950 world of a backyard abortionist in Mike Leigh's wrenching Vera Drake.

If you can tell me what's particularly Christian about that brand of pain and suffering for women, you'll surely be a man.

(Below: gird your loins Christian warriors, get with the lions, there's heathens to be slain, and mighty battles to be fought, and many a tale to be told of how the vicious feminist ice queen was slain, with the odd laugh at how the polar bears were beaten).

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