Thursday, May 7, 2009

Greg Sheridan, defending loon pond, and a startling, alarming shortage of loons

(Above: the eye of the dark lord. Any vaginal or vagina dentata implications have nothing to do with the heart of darkness in western civilization as it currently exists).

Shattering news. There's a crisis so grave, so unnerving, so threatening, that it might herald the end of western civilization as we know it, and certainly Australian commentariat column writing as it's currently practised.

There's a shortage of loons. Possibly it's all the fault of Miranda the Devine - with her leave-taking, the loonery doing the rounds dropped by a precise 19.71% (using the same statistical techniques as deployed in the global warming debate), while outright loonacy fell by a noticeable 9.99%. Close enough for some to talk about the ten per cent solution. If things go on this way, the ice caps will be safe for a generation, as the hot air crisis is contained.

But you protest there's always Andrew Bolt, and it's true he's a bastion, a rock of enduring loonacy. But approaching the dark overlord's castle is a bit like haring off to tackle the abhorred Sauron without the power of the ring. The eye of Sauron will smote you like a bug.

Over at the Daily Terror Tim Blair is talking about a jolly foot race between Terror staff - sixty metres of madness - while the lead column features a socialist rant from Maralyn Parker (entitled Our international idiocy) about the way the Australian government is shoveling money down the throats of rich schools in preference to the hapless government system. She's right of course - especially when you get her going on religious schools - but what's this kind of leftie nonsense doing in a Murdoch rag?

Indeedy Maralyn, do you realize that you've pushed sweet Piers Akerman's rant about reds under the beds, and the Chinese red menace coming to steal  our secrets and our children off the front page and out of the editorials? Now who's going to teach us how to weather a nuclear storm by ducking and covering?

But it gets worse. Flash over to The Australian and the lead feature is Greg Sheridan deciding bizarrely that Labor's defence plan is largely correct (Labor's gung-ho plan ideal for defence). Sure he spends most of his time slamming nonsensical bureaucratese and fatuous passages, but when he works out that The Sydney Morning Herald published a story with a fatuous Chinese academic accusing Rudd of fuelling a new arms race, suddenly the Sheridan is all sweetness and light.

At last the Sheridan will have some missiles up his sleeve when doing his regional posturing:

The change to missiles as our primary strike weapon is also fascinating and something that has been coming for a long time. It's very hard to defend against missiles.

We won't ever have enough missiles to make them a truly strategic threat to anybody, but it's a very useful capability to have, as no adversary knows quite what you're going to do with it. There are some good bureaucratic reforms too, especially the quarterly audit.

As is often the case with this Government, the spin is dizzying and not altogether honest, but the substance is pretty damn good.

Pretty damn good!! That sounds like a Larry David line from Curb Your Enthusiasm. Pretty, pretty good.

So while the fat owl is worrying about the Chinese learning all our secrets, Sheridan's exulting about the way the Rudd government has showed 'em and worrying about what a soft cock leftie Malcolm Turnbull is.

... no one could seriously object to the white paper pointing out that China's massive military modernisation, in which realistic estimates have it spending more than $150billion on defence (and soldiers are much cheaper to hire in China than they are in Australia), is a cause for some unease in the region. This, however, once more demonstrates the superior political management of the Rudd Government. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull ended up criticising Rudd's defence policy from the left, saying it was too hawkish on China. When that's the best the Liberals can come up with, the Rudd Government will lose no votes on defence.

Stand me on my head, somehow I got lost with Bugs Bunny at the Albuquerque turn-off on the way to Pismo beach!

And what's more, there's not a single column on global warming by a retired general with an amateur interest in the way resuming nuclear testing could take out a trace gas like carbon from the air and solve all our problems. Instead we get Ross Fitzgerald urging a front bench re-shuffle, a plea for the disabled, Heather Ridouf urging us to spend but not squander, and a piece paying homage to the departing spectre of Mick Keelty. Lordy, why is it I feel so rational and caring all of a sudden.

And when you turn to the Fairfax rags, it gets no better, with eccentric Elizabeeth Farrelly blathering on about the Iron Cove bridge and the RTA, and  Hugh Mackay being serious about binge drinking (Playing at the fringe of the binge). If you go to The Age, all they're worried about is whether Premier Brumby might get the flick in 2010, as if that amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Sure there's still zillions of real world loons. That's why we can marvel at Damir Dokic being detained for threatening to blow up an embassy, and admitting he gave his daughter Jelena a hiding or two for her own sake - and hasn't that kept the gossips' tongues clucking for a few days now.

But what's happened to the collective sanity of our newspaper editors? Who wants a rational set of commentators calmly examining the world's problems and quietly proposing rational strategies and solutions? Or writing lick spittle, servile tributes to the Rudd government's defence policies?

There's no way around it, there's a crisis on loon pond, and I'm getting up a petition demanding the immediate return of Miranda the Devine. Bugger her holidays, we need stories about lads and ladettes, and screen culture melting plastic brains, and greenies starting bushfires, and we need them now! The world we know is collapsing and she's on holidays! 

Ah well, there's sure to be more juice in the connections between Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and that Chinese "businesswoman" Helen Liu, who if she is a spy seems only to have managed to turn Labor defence policy into something that's got the Chinese mildly upset and Greg Sheridan excited. 

And if all else fails, there'll always be Michael Costa turning up to do his impression of a screeching white cockatoo in tomorrow's Australian.

Let's be optimistic. So long as there's a god, the sun will surely rise over loon pond for another day of joyous squawking. 

And once again western civilization will be in dire peril, and only humble members of the commentariat, donning a suit closely resembling the one worn by Clark Kent, will be able to save the world from itself. Bring that apocalypse on.

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