103 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @Paul Norton

    I don’t understand why you would read Quadrant other than as some sort of academic exercise. Generally speaking, I’d prefer to take an acid bath. Does Quadrant have a big readership and influence?

  2. @Tim Macknay

    I would have found your characterisation of him as a right winger insulting had you directed it at me

    Why do so many get so insulted by so little ?

  3. @Julie Thomas
    Interesting, JT.

    My view is simply that ‘superiority feelings’ are pandemic to the entire human race, but it took a lot of hard work to change that into ‘superiority complex’. Yes, the appalling pseudo-science helped it along, but that was really mainly a matter of using “science” to “prove” what was already “known” (and not for the first, or last, time).

    And I grant the Americans carried it to new depths, but they weren’t alone. Though I am curious as to whether any other group ever created an equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan – I’m not aware of any, offhand, but … Also interesting to consider Shakespeare’s Othello and what that might indicate about “race” attitudes then.

    Otherwise it is quite enervating how some just don’t know the difference between ‘conquest’ and ‘colonisation’ and have no concept of context.

  4. colonization
    ˌkɒlənʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
    noun
    noun: colonisation: the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

    It is certainly intriguing to think that some apparently literate folk think colonisation is all about one particular race. I’m still waiting, breathlessly, for GrueBleen to explain how the Kinh conquering and settling in the old Cham Kingdom, eastern Khmer, and various smaller neighbouring lands to establish what we now know as Việt Nam was the work of white people, none of whom were within several thousand kilometres of these places. Once GrueBleen solves this riddle for the world’s historians, there are several thousand others awaiting his stroke of genius.

  5. @Tim Macknay

    Thanks for your follow up. I am surprised that you think that what was said about Yasmin Abdel-Magied is normal comment on this blog. I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    I’d been on the right wing nut job site, you know the one that claims to be a leading libertarian site and the comments there about her were almost exactly the same as were made by HED PE. I don’t watch Q & A and the only thing I know about her is that it was clear she was saying that it was her interpretation that she was putting forward and she was not offering a scholarly treatise of the extant beliefs of Islam.

    It seems to me that her interpretation is one of the ways that Islam can and will be interpreted by Australians differently than it is interpreted in Middle Eastern cultures and through this reinterpretation it will become part of the famous Australian way of life. The two Muslims that I know well who have lived here in my community for decades now have their own idiosyncratic interpretations of their religion and what is good about it, as do the Christians I know.

    And…Did you miss the bit where it was said in among the many descriptions of the way HED PE likes things to be, that; “In an open society, we should all be encouraged to take offence on the chin” Perhaps I was aiming too high and missed his chin?

    And…. I didn’t really mean to say he was right wing – although I didn’t make any effort to clarify that sentence- that is true – but it is also true that it’s only right wing people who have ever threatened to sue me for what I’ve said. Terje did it a few years ago.

    I have read a lot more about Bill Leak than that particular interview and I wonder that it comes across as an insult to say that someone lacks the ability to think of things from other perspectives than their own. It is a common human trait I’d say and it takes a deliberate effort to learn to do such a thing.

    I think that Bill has always lacked self-confidence in himself and it is that lack of self-confidence that leads to lots of people coming across as self-absorbed. This was an observation that speaks to the conclusion I made that he doesn’t have the ability to do insightful critique of the complexity of the political and social world at the level that he is given credit for by his acolytes on the right.

    The Pauline Hanson site that I mentioned is a facebook page. Pauline Hanson Please Explain it is called. I read this sort of thing but I can’t come at Quadrant to keep up with what the right wing peeps are worrying about and test my own understanding of the complexity of the political and social world. The Pauline Hanson mob are very similar to some of my neighbours.

  6. HED PE @51, QuadRANT has a small readership but it includes people who are influential within right of centre politics in Australia, or closely connected with people who are. Its elegies for Bill Leak are very much in tune with what you might have read in the Murdoch tabloids. The current editor of its print version was a close associate of Margaret Thatcher.

  7. @Julie Thomas

    I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    My experience of this on ProfQ’s blog is less, I should say, than yours at least in recent times. However, I very much tend to agree. ProfQ has always tried to set the ‘tone’ of the blog as intelligent discourse about substantial issues – though some of us have occasionally veered off into interpersonal dialogue.

    Other than that, your (psycho)analysis appears eminently sound to me, but I’m not sure that quite enough account has been taken of Leak’s head injury. You would know better than me that “Traumatic Brain Injury” (so called) has a high rate of incidence among convicted criminals. So, I don’t know if Leak may have suffered TBI from his fall, but neither could I rule it out. And mainly, I could not know if any of that affected his later years. But his cartoons did become progressively more simple minded, confronting and combative (and he’s too old to put it down to lead in the brain, though he probably has that too).

    I’m somewhat entertained by the thought that TerjeP threatened to sue you – he was serious ? Yes, I guess he would be 🙂 And now we have a Pauline Hanson type here wailing “Please explain! Please explain?” all the time. I haven’t had the amusement provided by such a one in this blog, ever. Oh well, easy come, rough go.

  8. @Paul Norton

    Prompted by your comment I ducked in to have a look at Quadrant for the first time in years and disicovered; the ALFW sucks, 60% of Australia will be taken over by the Aboriginals; unions sabotaged the WWII war effort; hagiographies of Bill Leak etc … It was just as sickening as I remember it. I can imagine Cory Bernardi and Tony Abbott reading this stuff but I doubt the more moderate elements in the Libs would bother. And none of it seems to be agenda setting. Maybe I’ll check in on Quadrant again in 5 years time in the forlorn hope that it will be readable.

  9. @Julie Thomas

    I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    You didn’t notice yourself kicking Bill Leak’s still warm corpse?

    Bill Leak was not brave; just a brain damaged man with too many psychological issues …

    We would never have any type of altercation if you hadn’t decided to breach the comments policy by telling me I was mentally deranged and in need of psychological help. I spent a good hour looking at your past comments on this and other forums and found 7 other occasions on which you’ve told someone you disagree with that they need psychological help interspersed with, random insults and sob stories about your own depression and hangups about your parents. I must say I’ve never seen anything like it outside of Catallaxy, a blog that I haven’t read in 10 years because too many of the commenters remind me of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining.

    Amyway, I’m hoping we can draw under this and proceed to engage in a mature and disinterested exchange of views on matters of political economy. I imagine John Quiggin has no interest or the time to provide a child minding service for old people.

  10. Just in case anybody was wondering, if Bill Leak’s corpse is still warm it’s because someone’s been storing it next to the radiator. Human bodies cool at about 1.5 degrees C an hour, meaning that about 12 hours gets you well back to room temperature.
    And I’ve even heard that some people use that new-fangled frigeration stuff.
    The What’s-his-name cartoon was hardly more objectionable than every second Bill leak cartoon, many of which would with a simple change of label have fitted neatly into Der Sturmer.

  11. Yeah warm corpses – mmmmmm.

    I restrained myself from going there rather than indulge my very strong impulse to object to the patently irrational idea that corpses stay warm for so long but a fetish is a fetish and if loving Bill is your thing, who am I to object to an emotive reason for attacking a critique of a dead artist.

    But I found this comment on a rwnj site and I think it is so very insightful about why Leak is so beloved by the right and by some putative lefties.

    “I have been reflecting about Bill Leak and I think the thing I just adored about his work was that on seeing his newest offering, I felt that someone else was on my side, seeing things they way I see them.
    Of course he was much much funnier than I could ever be, but it was wonderful to know that someone out there “got” the same vibe about most things that I did. Got my copy of “Trigger Warning” today.”

    There are various attempts to explain what various humans find funny and not a lot of consensus but the finding of a fellow traveller is what Leak offered. Unlike the surprising and out of left field original but when you think about it obvious, associations that David Rowe and David Pope offer in their cartoons.

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media rather than pen and ink. The garish colours and uniformity of colour and line that digital platforms provide I found quite ugly but perhaps that was part of the ‘funny’ aspect for right wing people with their simplistic views of the world and how it should be.

  12. @Julie Thomas

    I am surprised that you think that what was said about Yasmin Abdel-Magied is normal comment on this blog. I really haven’t noticed such a personally derogatory and unnecessary character assessment previously, particularly in response to such a minor incident or transgression.

    I didn’t mean to imply that it was ‘normal’ comment, just that it was no worse than other things that have been said about public figures on the blog that have not been regarded as beyond the pale. I am specifically thinking of a period a few years ago when many commenters were routinely describing figures such as Rudd and Abbott as narcissistic and psychopathic. I disliked this practice at the time, however I recall at one juncture Prof Q not necessarily endorsing comments of that kind, but noting that he didn’t consider the habit of speculating about the psychiatric status of public figures as unacceptable. It’s true that in this instance the target of the comments was a young woman rather than a powerful male politician, but the nature of the comment itself wasn’t fundamentally worse.

    Regarding Yassmin Abdel-Magied herself, like you I don’t watch Q&A and I rarely watch television at all, so I had actually never heard of her before I read online commentary about her exchange with Jacqui Lambie on, I think, The Guardian. As a result of the discussion on this thread I went and read the transcript of the Q&A episode. I must say I didn’t find anything particularly particularly unreasonable about Abdel-Magied’s comments. If she has found a way to make her religion compatible with feminism and with living in a modern liberal democracy, so much the better for her and the people around her. It was not as though she was demanding that her religious standards should be imposed on other people.

    Regarding Leak, I don’t think I said it was insulting to imply that someone lacks the ability to think of things from perspectives other than their own – only that it would be unfair to infer that on the basis of a person’s responses in an interview where they were asked to talk about themselves for forty five minutes. 🙂 You say you’ve read other things about Leak and your view isn’t based simply on that interview – fair enough, although I admit I’m rather skeptical that it’s possible to arrive at a conclusion like that about someone without actually knowing them well. On his cartoons – When I used to read The Australian (going back a decade now) I often enjoyed his work but I never noticed a particularly deep level of insight about politics and society. It was mostly playful mockery. I’ve barely noticed his more recent work apart from the ones that have attracted controversy.

    Like Gruebleen, I’m rather bemused that Terje had threatened to sue you. Presumably it was for defamation? I’d always had the impression that, whatever else you may say about him, Terje was at least consistent in his “libertarian” ideology. But it turns out that after all that, his “libertarianism” was just a self serving posture. Ah, well.

  13. @Tim Macknay

    “…many commenters were routinely describing figures such as Rudd and Abbott as narcissistic and psychopathic

    But Tim, that is what they are and have repeatedly shown themselves to be, such that even amateur psycho-diagnosticians like us can understand. Stating facts is always acceptable, surely ?

    “…his “libertarianism” was just a self serving posture.”

    Have you ever known a self-identified “libertarian” for whom that isn’t true ? Real true libertarians have no need to label themselves or inhabit philosophical boxes – they just are, and do what they do, and to hell with the rest of us. And I never for a moment believed TerjeP to be an actual libertarian.

  14. @GrueBleen

    But Tim, that is what they are and have repeatedly shown themselves to be, such that even amateur psycho-diagnosticians like us can understand. Stating facts is always acceptable, surely ?

    No, I don’t accept that at all. They weren’t statements of “facts”, they were the use of psychological or psychiatric terms as a way of disparaging people who were disliked for other reasons.

  15. @Julie Thomas

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media

    And long before that, any sense of humour he once possessed, had thoroughly deserted him.

    Rowe and Pope, though unforgivingly savage, are still nonetheless funny (even if it’s often graveyard humour).

  16. @Tim Macknay

    “…the use of psychological or psychiatric terms as a way of disparaging people who were disliked for other reasons.

    Well that may be true for you, but I didn’t and don’t “dislike” them – neither of them are in any way important enough to me for me to have “feelings” of any kind about them.

    I just wanted them to get out of the way and stop mucking up our nation and our lives. And that is what I still want – though I grant Rudd has pretty much gotten out of our lives recently. Abbott next.

  17. @Julie Thomas

    And…Did you miss the bit where it was said in among the many descriptions of the way HED PE likes things to be, that; “In an open society, we should all be encouraged to take offence on the chin” Perhaps I was aiming too high and missed his chin?

    Sorry, forgot to mention that yes, I did actually miss that bit!

  18. @Tim Macknay

    Tim, if George Pell said that Christianity is the most feminist religion and blamed the Jews for the current defects in the Christian world, would you find that objectionable? I know I would and it is for that reason that I find Abdel-Magied’s historical revisionism and theology, as set out in the junkee article I linked to as well as the Q&A under discussion, repulsive. I also question her connections with Hizb ut-Tahrir, a regressive far right Islamic group that denounces Jews as wicked, hates gays and thinks 12 year old girls are ripe for marriage.

    I’m surprised that you haven’t heard of Yassmin Abdel-Magied because she seems to pop up everywhere, including next to Malcolm Turnbull at last year’s Iftar, which was a widely reported event. Here she writes about it in the Guardian www theguardian com /commentisfree/2016/jun/18/why-the-prime-ministers-iftar-means-a-lot-to-muslims-in-australia

    Obviously I would like to see progressive versions of all the Abrahamic religions take root and flourish in Australia but I don’t see Abdel-Magied as being part of that project any more so than George Pell.

  19. @Tim Macknay

    A blog is private property and the blog owner has set some rules. Thomas blatantly and routinely breaches those rules, I found seven cases during a quick search. When I said “cop it on the chin”, I wasn’t promoting an exchange of defamatory comments. I can’t see how meaningful intercourse is possible on a blog if folk start flaming each other. Thanks to Thomas’ thuggery, this thread has largely been a waste of time.

  20. @Tim Macknay

    People vary in how they ‘see’ or interpret the significance in the things people do, or find patterns in human behaviour and in this case, I made an assessment that I recognised a pattern of behaviour that was irrational and not fair comment of the type acceptable here, but a critique that is characteristic of a male who just dislikes a certain type of woman.

    I have already explained that the comments were so very similar to the way in which the rwnj’s were talking about her at the time.

    HED PE didn’t only diagnosis that she was narcissistic but made some sort of accusation that she was stealing tax-payer money to go on jaunts or something like that – I’m not really that bothered to go back and check exactly what he said. But he was referring to a govt funded trip she took somewhere, which is another seriously right wing thing to say.

    As you say there is no real comparison between this woman and Kevin bloody Rudd as fair targets for comment or speculation on the psychological possibilities that motivate their behaviour. Good for you though for sticking up for PED HE. I like that.

    And having just read your later comment, you did miss things that HED PE said like; people should take offence on the chin. For me that comment just leaps out and hits me in some part of my thinking apparatus and red flags go up saying hello here is an up himself person who needs some therapy :). People have different abilities; we need to cooperate to build good societies.

    Thanks for agreeing that the woman deserved some credit for having “found a way to make her religion compatible with feminism and with living in a modern liberal democracy” and I thought of that today listening to Julie Dowling – an Aboriginal artist who was on today on The Spirit of Things, I think it was – explaining her way of finding Christianity to be compatible with her commitment to aboriginality.

    If I was marking her for her understanding of Christianity she would fail but in the context of integrating two seemingly incompatible cultures she gets full marks for creativity.

    The interview with Leak for sure was about him and his experiences, but Richard Fiedler, the interviewer, is so very good at going wherever the interviewee wants to go that if there had been any interest by Leak in how his brain damage affected his personality or the way he finds meaning in life the universe and everything it would have come out.

    I listen to Richard and his interviews with a variety of people as often as I can. There is so much grist for the mill; the mill being the attempt to understanding the patterns or rules of human behaviour.

    I was amazed at how little interest Leak showed in the meaning of some of the bizarre delusions that he had while recovering. The one about the old woman in a coma who he imagined had been making obscene jokes is particularly interesting as an indication of interest in understanding how he ‘works’ and where his ideas come from.

    Do you find this to be a negative criticism that someone is entitled to be offended by? I don’t think it is so.

    My previous interest in Leak has been about him as an artist not a political actor or cartoonist; artists are supposed to reveal themselves or somethings about themselves in their art. Bill’s art has always been banal and shallow and easy for people to like without wondering about anything significant. Again not necessarily a negative criticism; just an observation about his personality characteristics.

    Terje lol. It was on Club Troppo I think and Terjay didn’t like to be ‘psychoanalysed’ in the way that I do. He was quite sure it was abuse.

  21. @HED PE

    Tim, if George Pell said that Christianity is the most feminist religion and blamed the Jews for the current defects in the Christian world, would you find that objectionable?

    Well, I generally take eveything George Pell says with a bargeload of salt. If he blamed the Jews for everything I’d certainly find it objectionable, but also unsurprising considering the extent to which anti-Semitism is baked into the theoretical framework of Christianity. If he argued that Christianity was the most feminist religion, I wouldn’t find it objectionable, although there is a distinct possibility I would find it risible.

    However I don’t think such a construction usefully resembles what Abdel-Magied actually said. From my reading of the transcript, her statement about Islam being “the most feminist” was a personal perspective and based on her understanding of some historical comparisons. Also, obviously, she is a successful young professional woman who doesn’t find her religion to be incompatible with that fact.

    As to the stuff about historical revisionism, I’m afraid you’ve lost me. I didn’t read anything like that in the transcript of the Q&A episode. Did she say it on another occasion? Her association with Hizb ut-Tahrir is odd, in the sense that her personal views and lifestyle don’t seem to match up with its ultraconservative prescriptions. But then, perhaps it’s not so different from a young professional woman who is a catholic seeking spiritual advice from a catholic priest, even though he is a representative of a rightwing, authoritarian and sexist religious organisation that harbours and protects child rapists. Religion is odd like that.

    I confess though I don’t really get your comparison with George Pell. Pell is a politically well connected senior official in a powerful established church who has reactionary political views independently of his religion, and uses his very considerable influence to promote a reactionary political agenda. Abdel-Magied is a 25 year old woman who has recently become a public figure, has limited powers of influence, and as far as I can tell, has relatively liberal political opinions. So the comparison makes no sense to me, nor does the fuss about her remarks.

  22. @Tim Macknay

    So the comparison makes no sense to me, nor does the fuss about her remarks.

    I did not say Abdel-Magied has Pell’s influence. Nonetheless she must be of some moderate significance as the federal Government has paid for her overseas trips, she gets to sit next to the PM for dinner, has written opinion pieces in The Guardian, Fin Review, SMH and so on and so forth. I thought my initial comment would have gone unnoticed and I am myself surprised by all the fuss. Here is the type of comment from Abdel-Magied that I find objectionable:

    what most people don’t know is that the misappropriated ‘Sharia’ invoked today by extremist groups and regimes is radically different from the original product, not least as a result of Western colonisation and modern imperialism.

    No one who has read about the history of North Africa/ME could take this racist nonsense, which mererly substitutes Westerners (code for whites) for Jews, seriously. From the time of the Prophet, North Africa/ME has been carved up time and again by numerous non-Western colonial enterprises, including the Ottoman empire. And sharia has always included slavery, stonings, amputations, mistreatment of women and gays etc.. These were not Western interventions.

    It is a great irony that Abdel-Magied pines for the days before the Western powers entered North Africa/ME because at that time her dark skin would have made her a suitable candidate for slavery, something that the Brits outlawed. You might recall that Saudi Arabia and Yemen only grudgingly outlawed slavery in 1962, after much nagging from Britain. But of course, even today prominent Islamic scholars in the ME argue for the return of slavery, including members of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars, like Al-Fawzan.

    Anyway, I’m way past bored with Abdel-Magied so I’ll leave it there.

  23. When I was young, maybe 10 or 12, I first became aware of anti-Semitism. I didn’t get it. Wasn’t Jesus a Jew? If Christians disliked Jews, then they disliked Jesus. Then I became aware of the “Jews killed Jesus” reasoning. But Jesus was still a Jew and the Romans nailed him to the cross. Eh, what? About that time I gave up on religion. It made no sense at all.

  24. @Tim Macknay
    Your response to Heterodox Economics Directory Political Economy (presuming, of course, that he isn’t actually a member of the hed Planet Earth gangsta rap group) is completely on target in my opinion. HED PEs response was puzzling – why would this have such an emotionally destabilising impact on him ?

    My own take, FWIW, is that Yassmin is a not very bright, nor experienced, young lady – though she is the ABC host to its quite popular series Australia Wide – who, in a different place and time, might have seriously wanted to be a “bride of Christ”. Her characterisation of sharia was, to me, inane: it isn’t written down, but people live by it rigorously even though it’s continually adapting and changing and takes a lot of carryon to unscramble.

    Kinda what life might be like for us if we only had unwritten common law (and maybe good old Christian Canon Law) to live by.

    But in respect of at least one point, she is correct: Sharia’s inclusion of a degree of female autonomy in marriage as well as a married woman’s right to retain property is way ahead of Christianity and Judaism. I can’t say I’ve actually closely read, or infallibly remember, the Bible from end to end, but I have simply never encountered anything written in the Bible that acknowledges any degree of female rights and autonomy. Therefore, clearly and demonstrably, her contention that – of the three Abrahamic religions anyway – Islam is the most feminist, is validated.

    So it goes.

  25. @HED PE

    Abdel-Magied seems a fairly typical young religious person of almost any persuasion: high on religion and loving the high because it’s all about them being special and knowing more than anyone else. It’s hilarious to watch.

  26. @HED PE

    Anyway, I’m way past bored with Abdel-Magied so I’ll leave it there.

    And so say all of us.

    But I have to say that your final post was a lot more reasonable than your first. Congratulations.

    And I am amused that Yassmin, too, simply can’t distinguish between two different things: colonialism and imperialism (aka conquest). The British did not colonise India, and the Dutch did not colonise Indonesia. They did respectively conquer and rule, though.

    But the British did colonise America (in competition with a few others), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya etc (and together with the Dutch tried to colonise South Africa). Quite different undertakings from sending in the troops and establishing an imperial ruling class – which is the trick that the Normans taught the Anglo-Saxons and later the northern Italians.

  27. @Ikonoclast
    It’s hilarious to watch.

    Quite so, Ikono.

    But you really will have to work on your history: there was no “Jesus Christ” so the Romans never him to a cross. Spartacus, on the other hand …

    And basically the entire ‘praxis’ of Christianity is of essentailly European – in fact Italian – origin, so the mythical “Jesus” being supposedly Jewish had no meaning for them – surely you’ve seen the very “caucasian” representaions of Jesus, Maryam, God etc. Not a Jew amongst ’em.

  28. @GrueBleen

    Well that may be true for you, but I didn’t and don’t “dislike” them – neither of them are in any way important enough to me for me to have “feelings” of any kind about them.


    I think my view of Rudd and Abbott was the same as yours – I had no particular opinion of them as individuals, but as politicians I was glad to see Rudd bow out of the game and look forward to Abbott doing the same.

  29. The latest elegiac offering from QuadRANT includes the following:

    “What did they accuse you of, Bill, what was your crime?… My hands are trembling as I write. My eyes are full of tears. My heart is heavy with foreboding. When an artist, a writer, a poet, a satirist is persecuted, the country that lets it happen slides toward totalitarianism. No, that’s wrong. A country that funds a spiteful bureaucracy to punish those of whose words it disapproves is already there. It’s just a question of degree. To tolerate that is worse than simply being stripped of the freedom millions died to win and defend. Rather, it is to throw away freedom and liberty like so much worthless rubbish. Today they pick off a cartoonist and a laughing, joyful mob dips its hankies in the blood for souvenirs. Tomorrow? It could be any door — your door, my door, any door — on which the enforcer’s fist bangs in the darkness.”

  30. @Julie Thomas

    Do you find this to be a negative criticism that someone is entitled to be offended by? I don’t think it is so.

    I didn’t mean to imply that I was offended by your characterising Leak in that way – I wasn’t. I do tend to think that if someone told me that I was incapable of seeing things from other people’s point of view, I would take it as a fairly serious criticism and, depending on the context and the intent of the person making the statement, potentially as an insult*. However, I agree that such a comment should not necessarily be regarded as a criticism – it might just be an observation, as was your comment about Leak.

    I agree with you about Leak’s account of his hospital bed hallucinations – he seemed to prefer to treat them as funny stories rather than pondering their meaning.

    *When I talk about insults I don’t mean to imply that I am always, or often, offended or hurt by insults. I’m using the term descriptively to refer to a type of comment that is intended to offend or hurt, rather than one that necessarily does so. Insults are often ineffectual.

  31. @Julie Thomas

    I’d also say that his artistic ability suffered when he began to use digital media rather than pen and ink. The garish colours and uniformity of colour and line that digital platforms provide I found quite ugly but perhaps that was part of the ‘funny’ aspect for right wing people with their simplistic views of the world and how it should be.

    I’ve just had a look at some of Leak’s recent cartoons on his web site, and I have to say that you’re absolutely spot on. His use of colour had changed dramatically since a decade ago, and did become noticeably more garish. I was also struck that virtually all his recent cartoons more-or-less straightforwardly reflected ideological positions taken by The Australian, and repetitively covered a handful of themes, all of which were issues of particular obsession to the reactionary right. It’s a shame.

  32. @Tim Macknay

    I wonder if Quadrant has ever heard of Atena Farghadani.his more often.

    Well I hadn’t until you just mentioned her. The Persians were once a mighty people – only laid low by the idiotic Sassanid-Byzantium wars – and they may yet come again.

    But hey, that Quadrant cri du cul is really something – we should do this more often. But who’s left to do it to; would anybody get emotional over Larry Pickering these days ?

  33. @Tim Macknay

    “…virtually all his recent cartoons more-or-less straightforwardly reflected ideological positions taken by The Australian, and repetitively covered a handful of themes, all of which were issues of particular obsession to the reactionary right.

    But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    Now who said that, I wonder.

  34. @Tim Macknay

    Some people lack the natural ability to feel empathy toward others; there are genes and there are dysfunctional upbringings that combine in complex ways to produce the variety of human personalities that we see.

    Tests show that I am one of the people who lack empathy. I score very low on scales that measure social skills and such but very high on rationality and problem solving. I really don’t understand why other people react in the way that they do, when from my perspective I’m simply telling them what I have observed and noticed about their characteristics.

    Not everyone is annoyed or inappropriately incredibly angry though; the problem if there is one is that I can’t tell who is likely to respond well to what I say and who is not.

    I don’t feel insulted or hurt, when people judge me and say things, like for example that I’m “thuggish”. I think about it and I get a second opinion from or one of my psychologist friends and psychologists seem to be the easiest people for me to get along with.

  35. Julie Thomas,

    thanks for mentioning Richard Fidler and his interviews on ABC radio earlier on this thread. I looked him up then listened to a couple of his podcasts, including the one with Bill Leak. Richard has a great interviewing style and comes across as a decent and kind man and I look forward to his futures shows.

  36. I’m assuming it’s the same Richard Fidler who used to be one of the Doug Anthony All Stars years ago.

  37. @Tim Macknay

    Yes, he is. I thought the face looked familiar but I did not recognise the name so I checked his wiki bio. All three Doug Anthony All Stars come across as intelligent and pleasant chaps in my view. Poor Tim Ferguson now uses a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis.

  38. The new ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, said something quite reasonable, which is that it can be OK for individuals to break unfair laws. This is what the suffragettes had to do to get women the vote, it is what the working class had to do to gain a safe workplace and industrial rights, it is what gays had to do to bring down discriminatory laws and police harassment and it is what people of colour have to do to confront legal and systemic racism. Now Malcolm Turnbull, his toy soldiers and the Murdoch pitbulls are ripping in to her: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/16/sally-mcmanus-has-guts-who-cares-if-the-liberals-moan-about-her

  39. @HED PE
    There’s good piece in today’s Crikey skewering the hypocrisy of journalists who are happy to take information from leakers and whistleblowers (who are often breaking the law, in the public interest as they see it) but are apparently overcome with pearl clutching when a trade unionist suggests that breaking unjust laws might be OK.

  40. @Tim Macknay

    Well said. I like the reference to the pearl clutching. Sums them up really. If one utters the F word in such supposedly polite company then one is the worst person in the world. But supporting unjust wars that kill non-combatants and children in their thousands and putting people in Pacific Archipelago concentration camps is perfectly okay according to them.

  41. @Tim Macknay

    Yes, it was only a few years ago that a couple of News Corp journos were dragged before the courts and narrowly escaped jail for breaking a law that they (and their employer) thought was unjust!!? http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1961451.htm

    It is a pity Shorten whimpered like a poodle instead of giving a rousing speech about liberty and the struggle of ordinary people for justice. I miss Gough, even though he was way before my time! Why doesn’t the Left produce great orators anymore?

  42. Yes, it was only a few years ago that a couple of News Corp journos were dragged before the courts and narrowly escaped jail for breaking a law that they (and their employer) thought was unjust!!? http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s1961451.htm
    It is a pity Shorten whimpered like a poodle instead of giving a rousing speech about liberty and the struggle of ordinary people for justice. I miss Gough, even though he was way before my time! Why doesn’t the Left produce great orators anymore?

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