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235 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Mindy

    5 inches of rain so far, looks like more to come today. Really wishing we’d put in that second tank, not that we are likely to run out of water though.

  2. Socrates

    There is a good article here on the Australian car industry, it’s eternal need for more assistance, and why it never has, and never will be, competitive.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/car-companies-in-unholy-auction-for-corporate-welfare-20120302-1u7zu.html

    I know I sound like an economic rationalist, but why do we keep doing this? It doesn’t even create many jobs, and they are low paid. Yet we can’t find enough money for the Gonski education recommendations, or support making all manner of green or new technology, solar hot water being a recent case in point. I live in Adelaide, and when Mitsubishi closed, there was barely a ripple. How do we stop this futile industry?

    We now know that, of the cars that are sold, 80% are bought by government, so the true level of assistance is even more than stated.

  3. Sam

    How do you end a drought? Forget rain dances and cloud seeding. They are old hat and don’t work.

    Build a desalination plant. It never fails.

  4. Sam

    80% of cars are bought by governments?

    I call bullshit.

  5. duncan

    Sam, are you being deliberately obtuse?

    The statement was 80% of locally-made cars.

  6. Salient Green

    All this rain got me thinking about a 1956 syle flood and I found this link which catalogues a truly astonishing amount of rain falling on Queensland in the years leading up to the 1956 flood.
    http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/floodsum_1950.shtml

    After reading that I can rest easy for now as there is room in the Menindee lakes, Dartmouth, Hume and the Edward Wakool floodplain.

  7. Socrates

    Sam

    Sorry I should have said 80% are bought by government and fleet buyers. This article from earlier in the year highlighted the problem; then private buyers were 30%. By years end private buyers were 20%.
    http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/public-snubs-local-icons-20110715-1hgi1.html

    The point is the same though – since the demise of Australian small car manufacture (even the Cruze has many foreign components) very few Aussie made cars are bought privately.

  8. Salient Green

    They wouldn’t need to provide out of pocket subsidies if the import tariffs hadn’t been removed. That’s probably what contributed to the demise of Oz built small cars which is a travesty. My first car was a Chrysler Galant which was a terrific little car, had to be to survive the thrashing I gave it.

  9. Sam

    Socrates

    So what if a large percentage of locally made cars are bought by fleet buyers? That’s not a subsidy to the Industry. Neither, if it comes to it, are car purchases bu governments, unless they have a buy Australian policy.

    I don’t want to be misunderstood here. If it was up to me, I’d cut the subsidy to the car industry to zero, and I would do it yesterday. And I would this even if cars produced not one gram of greenhouse gases.

  10. Socrates

    Salient Green

    I don’t agree. These days it is very cheap to ship cars around the world. The tyranny of distance is gone. We can’t go back to the tariff walls, both for economic and trade treaty (GAT) reasons. Besides it is a massively oversupplied industry world wide. We are better off doing other things. Also, there is little evidence GM or Ford are willing to make small cars here. Ford just set up a Focus plant in Thailand, even though much of the engineering design was done here.

  11. Socrates

    Sam

    They do have buy Australian policies in government in practice. It is even more localised than that. Try finding a Ford in the SA govt fleet – mostly Holdens.

    The point of fleet buyers is that most have tax breaks, so again, it is a form of subsidy. The PC estimated car subsidies cost about $70000 per job in the industry. Many of the workers make less than that.

  12. Sam

    Tax breaks just for Australian made cars?

  13. Lefty E

    The republican primary has now convinced me the next president of the United States will be one Barack Obama

  14. Paul Burns

    Lefty E,
    I think you’re right.
    Yesterday I had the awful premonition, which I hope is wrong, that Rick Santorum will end up as the Republican candidate.
    I know when it comes to politics the whole world seems to be losing its mind, but if Santorum made it to US President that would be a too cruel blow from the Fates. Those they would destroy the gods first drive mad etc.
    On another topic altogether, this morning I watched Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides. Enjoyed it more than I thought I would, esp. the mermaid sequence. (Though I thought mermaids, though not entirely harmless were more benign. This lot seemed more like lamia. The mortals behaved extremely badly as would be expected. ) Seems significant how our mythical corpus lives o through the cinema. Thought this POTC was much darker in tone in some way than the earlier ones.

  15. Socrates

    Sam

    No, fleet buyers use tax breaks that can apply to any cars, but the point is still that a lot of corporates are subsidised to buy cars, some local. With Aussie car sales now at a record high, that makes no sense either. So between subsidies, government buys, and tax incentivised fleet buys, we pay people to make cars here, which we then mostly buy back or pay others to buy. All for a consumable good that has no long term investment value.

  16. Terangeree

    I suspect all governments subsidise their local vehicle manufacturers, and most government and fleet buyers in most countries buy local cars. German police cars, I’ve been told, are BMWs, Audis and even Porsches.

    A Mercedes-Benz that is a $90,000 luxury car here is, in many countries, commonly seen as a taxi.

    In Japan, all government cars at all level of government and almost all fleet cars are Japanese makes.

    And in many countries, there are tax breaks for fleet purchases.

    So why shouldn’t Australia do the same, and maintain a local vehicle manufacturing base that is partly supported by government fleet purchases and tax breaks for fleet owners?

  17. Socrates

    Terangeree

    Many are subsidised so why don’t we just buy their cheap cars instead of making our own expensive ones? Why subsidise cars? Why not something we do well? Why not something that employs a lot more people? If you are going to subsidise an industry, car making is a very poor choice.

  18. Salient Green

    “Why dont’ we just buy their cheap cars? ” Well obviously that question has been asked about all manufactured goods, about food, about labour and probably about other things as well. What sort of work will we be left with if we just give up trying.
    Having subsidies on cars and other products around the world clearly leads to overproduction. Shipping so many goods from one side of the planet to the other is a bad idea because the environmental costs are not being accounted for, nor are the costs of resource depletion.

    That’s why returning to import tariffs is a bloody good idea, for all imports.

  19. David McRae

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the government replaced their fleets with say http://bev.com.au/ (Aus made & owned EV) – but instead, ACT has recently gone with an overseas EV

  20. Terangeree

    @ Socrates:

    Then why do we bother with having a Federal and State Parliaments, when the British have prior experience with governing us?

    And with air transport being so much quicker now, as well as satellites and the Internet and radio making communication much easier between Whitehall and the Antipodes, wouldn’t it save us so much money, hassles and bother if we just outsourced all government activities to London?

  21. GregM

    Paul you were about to have your eye operation about now.

    Have you had it? I’m guessing you have because your typing has improved way out of sight (unintended pun). Way to go.

  22. Helen

    I think we should just leave government to the giant lizard people.

  23. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    Paul Burns: if you have a chance, read On Stranger Times, a fantasy novel by Tim Powers that predates the whole “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. In my opinion, it’s superb.

    The movie is not based on the book; instead, Disney bought the rights to it, and used elements of it to fill in pieces in film number IV, in the same way that you use plaster to fill in holes in a wall. Both works involve Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth – but the plot’s completely different.

  24. GregM

    @ Socrates:

    Then why do we bother with having a Federal and State Parliaments, when the British have prior experience with governing us?

    And with air transport being so much quicker now, as well as satellites and the Internet and radio making communication much easier between Whitehall and the Antipodes, wouldn’t it save us so much money, hassles and bother if we just outsourced all government activities to London?

    I’m grappling with this one.

    Logic deficiency?

    or intelligence deficiency?

    I would have thought that to any intelligent person it would be illogical that a decision to close down an unproductive industry would lead to a call for the return of rule by our former colonial masters, who gave that game away as soon as they could by giving responsible government to their colonies.

    But I know that I will be censored for even pointing that out.

    That’s what Larvatus Prodeo under tigog has descended to.

  25. Terangeree

    Happy Doll’s Festival Day, everyone.

    Remember to put your dolls into storage tonight. :)

  26. Mindy

    Saw the Renaissance exhibition at the National Gallery on Friday. Really fascinating, although I did get sick of the religious images long before they finished. So many blonde Marys and Christ childs. Some lovely lovely paintings though. I think my favourite Jesus one was where he looks both dead and pained as though he is thinking – ‘I’ve only just died and you still want to paint me? Come on…’

    If you get a chance to go see it, really worth it.

  27. Mercurius

    @28 indeed! How much fun is hinamatsuri with Mini Moni??

    (Warning: Song may need to be surgically removed from your head after viewing.)

  28. Mindy

    It’s raining again.

  29. Salient Green

    Does anyone know why the fully electric Nissan Leaf will cost $51,500 when it goes on sale in Australia but can be bought for $35,200 in the US? Our import duties are only 5% and our currencies are pretty much at parity so what could account for such a huge price difference?

  30. Fran Barlow

    This is trroubling:

    Anger Over Police Plan To Outsource Roles

    Private security firms could take over police roles like investigating crimes and detaining suspects, if plans by two major police forces go ahead.

    The West Midlands and Surrey forces have invited bids from commercial operators in a move which senior officers say would free up front line staff.

    Chief constable Lynne Owens, from Surrey Police, said: “Every day we have incidents recorded on CCTV and at the moment police constables seize that CCTV, come back to police stations, log it and process it. {…}

  31. Paul Burns

    Greg M,
    You guessed right.
    Saigon,
    Perhaps that explains why I thought POCIV was a slightly richer movie than its predecessors. Certainly bringing in the Protestant Black Legend about the Spanish in New Spain is something I would have thought was beyond Hollywood. A clever touch.

  32. Godfrey

    Did anyone miss the Indian general strike during the week with 100m workers participating? http://wp.me/pb4Hp-6Y

  33. smssiva

    There was an interesting critique by NAJ Taylor in Al Jazeera of the coverage of Iraque war. It is worth reading IMHO. He homed in on Manne vs Sheriden.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/20122227283350797.html

    Taylors’ opinion on Sheriden was

    ‘In my view, having grossly misread the situation, Sheridan’s response is laden with insults to Manne’s personality and politics, not befitting either a high-profile journalist or a longstanding and exceptionally “public” professor’

    The few reads I have made of Sheriden’s writings have not given me a good impression.

  34. David Irving (no relation)

    smssiva, Sheridan is just another bloviating fool with no insight into how the world actually works – he fits in very well at The Australian.

  35. Terangeree

    Salient Green @ 32:

    At a guess, I’d say it’s because the median household income in Australia and the US are very different.

    The US median of US$49,445.00 per year is about AUD$20,000 less than the Australian median household income (just under $67,000AUD in 2007/2008).

  36. Fran Barlow

    Hmmm Clive Palmer for Australian Living Treasure?

    Well I suppose if the following are in:

    John Howard; Geoffrey Blainey; Bart Cummings; Dame Leonie Kramer; Evonne Cawley; Peter Hollingworth; ….

    maybe Clive deserves a guernsey …

    When are Katter and Hanson making the list?

  37. Ian Milliss

    I’ve had very close experience of the NSW National Trust Board and for the last few years it has been pretty much controlled by developer interests and furthermore is in serious financial difficulties. So it’s not too hard to understand what is going on here, firstly the Board would have a great natural affinity with Palmer despite the public’s (incorrect) perception of the Trust’s values, secondly they are desperate for deep pocket donors. Palmer on the other hand has shown a great yearning for cultural credibilitywhich, like all nouveaux riche, he (also incorrectly) believes can simply be purchased with financial capital – see the much lampooned professorial prefix. Expect generous donations to change hands in the not too distant future.

  38. Fran Barlow

    Palmer on the other hand has shown a great yearning for cultural credibility, which, like all nouveaux riche, he (also incorrectly) believes can simply be purchased with financial capital

    Exactly Ian, — why else would he be involved in soccer on the Gold Coast? It’s not as if this is ever going to be a paying proposition.

  39. Ian Milliss

    Fran was that a snark or can I assume that like me you regard sport (especially sponsorship of unlikely sport) as cultural?

  40. robbo

    Fran@39, while I agree with most of your list Bart does deserve to be regarded as a living treasure. I doubt that anyone will top his record of Melbourne Cup wins and he has a wicked sense of humour.

  41. Fran Barlow

    Fran was that a snark or can I assume that like me you regard sport (especially sponsorship of unlikely sport) as cultural?

    Sponsorship of elite sport does count in this country as an entree into the group of people who can claim to be interested in “community” — at least in the eyes of the slightly wet behind the ears. It lends authenticity to speak. Sponsorship of non-elite sport also counts, but since this doesn’t have the profile of elite sport, the bang for the buck isn’t there.

    As I’ve said many times, there should be no state support, direct or indirect, for elite sport. Moreover, nobody involved in elite sport should be able to stand for a major party. Significant political party officials should not refer publicly to elite sport or express any interest in it, and if they attend sporting events, it should be only as private citizens. They should go incognito, and if discovered, refuse to make any comment on any matter. Elite sport should be a private matter, like personal hygiene or one’s sexual activity.

    I favour a complete separation of elite sport and state.

  42. Fran Barlow

    Bart does deserve to be regarded as a living treasure. I doubt that anyone will top his record of Melbourne Cup wins and he has a wicked sense of humour.

    Lots of people have a wicked sense of humour, so really, it can only be the Melbourne Cup wins that has got him the gong. I don’t see why making good commercial use of higher order mammals to foster the standing of the cultural elite makes one a living treasure. Perhaps there’s something else I’ve overlooked.

  43. Fran Barlow

    has {have got him the gong}

  44. Paul Burns

    S’pose he could’ve raced lemmings or rabbits.

  45. Charlie

    ‘lemmings or rabbits’… …. might stop the nation for too long

  46. Fran Barlow

    S’pose he could’ve raced lemmings or rabbits.

    I wouldn’t back him to outrun either of those. ;-)

  47. Ian Milliss

    “there should be no state support, direct or indirect, for elite sport.”

    couldn’t agree more.

  48. faustusnotes

    I disagree strongly, Ian Milliss, and would love to see more govt support for UFC and kickboxing.

    At the very least, more govt support for free-to-air sport and more funding for sports activities at the local, and sub-elite level, are essential to maintaining public support and engagement.

  49. Ian Milliss

    more govt support for free-to-air sport and more funding for sports activities at the local, and sub-elite level, are essential to maintaining public support and engagement.

    which is a strong argument for cutting govt support.

  50. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes said:

    At the very least, more govt support for free-to-air sport and more funding for sports activities at the local, and sub-elite level, are essential to maintaining public support and engagement.

    For mine, support should be strictly targeted below the elite level. If it is on free to air, it is almost certainly going to be elite sport.

    I’d have some tight rules for defining elite sport. These would relate to the payment base of the teams, revenue per player and official of sponsorship, player payments and other emoluments, drawing area for teams and coaches and so forth.

  51. joe2

    On the story Fran mentioned @33 about the possibility of private security firms taking over police roles like investigating crimes and detaining suspects, it looks like they have already been working together to supply

    information to a blacklist funded by the country’s major construction firms that has kept thousands of people out of work over the past three decades

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/03/police-blacklist-link-construction-workers?CMP=twt_gu

  52. faustusnotes

    MySchool stats show that government selective schools are elitist. I wonder how much of the MySchool data will turn out to be a tool for good, rather than evil?

    Fran, when I lived in the UK it was almost impossible to watch elite sport on free-to-air tv. Even the national soccer team’s exploits were sometimes only viewable on pay tv. The UK is only good at two sports: boxing and soccer (and both not that great) but you can’t watch them at home on the national broadcaster. I really hope Australia can always avoid being like that.

    I have put up a review of three documentaries on my blog. Two of them provide important information about the zombie and troll threat that we all need to know, though I think one may have been a movie posing as a documentary and had nothing really to offer except perhaps some tips about how to make a bad movie.

  53. Katz

    The UK is only good at two sports: boxing and soccer

    Not true. The Brits dominate world ferret legging.

  54. Fran Barlow

    The UK is only good at two sports: boxing and soccer

    and currently cricket. They are strong in snooker (if you count that), darts, (if you count that) squash, tennis (compared with Australia) and at least competitive in cycling, and middle distance running. They have a competitive Rugby team.

    I’d like to see the Olympics and similar events (World Cup of anything) totally privatised: No tax breaks for charities, full taxation on all activity and no stadium guarantees; All activity to fall within lifecycle carbon emission accounting.

  55. David Irving (no relation)

    Great cat picture, faustusnotes. I have a cat who’s almost identical.

  56. Wantok

    Australian Living Treasures: Evidently there are divisions or categories including excellence in the arts, philanthropy, sport, medicine and now buffoonery.

  57. faustusnotes

    well then Fran, I’m in favour of an end to public subsidy for pointless crap like theatre (oh god, the horror), opera (an anachronism if ever one were able to squawk its way across a publicly-funded stage), and any other forms of high art. We don’t need more sculptors mimicking some Greek p(*do from 2000 years ago on the public purse. If all that kulcha is as important as its proponents claim it is, it’ll easily compete with sport for private funding. Right?

    David Irving (no relation my arse!): he has a lucky history.

  58. David Irving (no relation)

    Much luckier than my similar cat, faustusnotes. She just sauntered in looking adorable.

  59. Katz

    Clive Palmer thinks that having lots of money buys him forgiveness for his inability to write or to think clearly.

    http://m.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/wayne-swan-knows-nothing-about-me-or-our-democracy-20120304-1ub09.html

    When attempting to assert that personal wealth should be as sacrosanct from discrimination as race or sex, Palmer puzzlingly paraphrases  John F. Kennedy: ”governments may come and go but ideas go on for ever”. Huh? What idea is relevant to Palmer’s fatuous argument?

    Well perhaps I can help. When Kennedy was US president, the top US marginal tax rate was 75 per cent.

    Yet Palmer, who brags that he is “a director of the John F. Kennedy library in the United States and one of the main benefactors of the Profile in Courage Awards that recognise outstanding government service and leadership” does not want this idea of Kennedy’s to last for one minute.

    It seems that Clive believes that money is a suitable substitute for knowledge and understanding.

    Perhaps now he knows the truth about Kennedy, like many spoiled talentless losers, he’ll take his bat and ball from his glad-handing Kennedy sycophants and go home.

  60. Helen

    Fran @57 – Don’t forget gurning!

  61. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes said:

    well then Fran, I’m in favour of an end to public subsidy for pointless crap like theatre (oh god, the horror), opera (an anachronism if ever one were able to squawk its way across a publicly-funded stage), and any other forms of high art.

    I’m sorry to hear you say that. The arts are neither elite nor plebeian. They are, for better or worse, a declaration of a given society’s conceptions and impulses. They lay the basis for critique by successor societies. One can argue that culture is a duty we owe to those who succeed us. Were we to make no systematic attempt to leave a legacy, we would surely have condemned ourselves more profoundly than our harshest sucessors would dare. So I have no objection in principle to such subsidies. In practice, I am happy to allow others better informed than I am to work out what gets state funded, in what ways, to what extent and over what timelines. If I knew more about the funding of Opera (I know very little) I might be persuaded that it needs less than it gets from the state and that other arts had stronger claims, but that is an entirely separate question.

    By contrast with the arts, elite sport contributes nothing that entirely private bodies are unwilling to supply. One does not see private funding of the arts on anything like the scale of football clubs or basketball or golf. Our best credentialled figures in the arts are not the subject of draft or salary cap and are not being paid $50,000 per week, nor are they the subject of hagiography in the daily tabloids.

    Yet the best of the arts leave something more than a few moments of amusing but ultimately banal diversion for people who would otherwise have been bored. Their output belongs not merely to us, but to posterity.

  62. Fran Barlow

    Katz had it as follows:

    When attempting to assert that personal wealth should be as sacrosanct from discrimination as race or sex, Palmer puzzlingly paraphrases John F. Kennedy: ”governments may come and go but ideas go on for ever”. Huh? What idea is relevant to Palmer’s fatuous argument?

    Palmer today described the treasurer as “an intellectual pygmie”. Apparently, using ethnicity as a source of abuse is an idea that Palmer thinks should go on for ever.

  63. tssk

    Apaarently another advertising campaign against the government (or at least the ALP version of it) is about to begin.

    I guess that whole waiting for the ALP to self destruct under leadership speculation didn’t work for them.

  64. Helen

    Katz – we just had the spectacle of a bunch of people being anointed Living Treasures. Among them Clive Palmer and the mining corporation-friendly Harry Butler.

    And yet these people whinge about how discriminated against they are.

    Here’s the award I’d give Palmer and Butler.

  65. faustusnotes

    Oh come on Fran, the “arts” that the govt funds are entirely elitist and don’t leave a cultural legacy worth preserving at all. They have nothing to say to successor societies, nor do they contain any content relevant to our conceptions and impulses, because they tell dead stories to a dwindling elite. Consider theatre: a bunch of hams over-acting in front of dwindling crowds, giving second-rate performances with the only excitement the vague fear that one of the puffed up ranters is going to explode from the pressure of his or her own declamations. As the Daily Mash famously put it: “I just kept thinking everyone here should go home and watch some good TV.”

    Or opera – a bunch of people squawking and wailing in a language no one understands, about stories that are no longer of relevance to society. Look at Carmen as your prime example: bull-fighting is banned and pre-marital sex is the norm. Who cares about her issues anymore? For that matter, what possible relevance could a play like Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (puke, gag!) have to our world since a) the invention of the oral contraceptive pill; b) the shift from seasonal labour to overseas migrant labour on the sugar fields; and c) the discovery of scriptwriters and TV?

    Or consider Shakespeare, a crock of monarchist, anti-semitic, misogynist just-so stories with as much relevance to our democratic age as a fart in a garderobe – and all of it declaimed in English so stultified you need a year 12 education and a set of cliff’s notes to know what’s going on.

    Not elitist at all, I’m sure. That’s why only university academics, pretentious wannabe intellectuals and very rich people go. Here’s the hint: if you need the kind of education that only one or two fabulously wealthy private schools provide in order to understand it, it’s elitist.

    On the other hand, sport is entirely plebeian, and also participatory. No one can muck about at home with Shakespeare (nor, interestingly, would they want to): nobody can stage their own mock murder and subsequent rebellion either. But for the cost of a simple football anyone can try and play football. There’s a direct and democratic link between the people we see excelling in their art on the screen and those of us at home who want to give it a go. I won’t go so far as to say that sport will last as long as theatre, though I suspect it will; but if you want to insist on throwing taxpayer money to a bunch of preening pan-handlers to produce stuff no one wants to see, then you could at least divert a little bit of money to funding stuff that’s directly relevant to our daily hobbies, and that people like to watch.

    And while we’re at it maybe some of that govt subsidy should go to some of the newer, post-second wave hobbies that form a new and important part of our culture, so that they can leave a message to “successor societies.” How about some govt money to the role-playing industry (Finland does it!); or a bit more investment in supporting live music spaces; or perhaps govt funding for free-to-air matchmaking websites so the yoof can organize casual hook-ups. All of those things are much more fun and much more culturally relevant than a bunch of bores strutting around a stage talking about how their uncle douglas’s hawks flew widdershins about the latrine trench.

  66. Fine

    Isn’t this National Living Treasure thing just an entirely dodgy award pushed by Women’s Weekly? I think they even suggested who you could vote for and Palmer was one of the suggestions, alon with Gina Rinehart. It’s obviously just part of his PR effort to look good and get out of paying tax, because he’s such a great Australian. The strategy is so obvious.

    I was quite glad Kylie Minogue didn’t turn up. I think she was a very tired girl after the Mardi Gras and it may be some indication of what she thinks of the award.

  67. Katz

    Jeez, Faustusnotes turns his hand to high-flown rhetoric.

    I wonder what models of rhetoric he had in mind.

    (Hint: it wasn’t from Sheffield Wednesday vs Queens Park Rangers, even though it makes as much sense.)

    Where did Faustusnotes learn how to counterfeit that rhetoric?

    Indeed, let’s be agreeable. Maybe it’d be a good idea if that stuff was excised from human memory.

  68. Fran Barlow

    Faustusnotes

    The case you put sounds like a redux of Alan Ashbolt v John Docker/Keith Windschuttle c. 1983. Docker and Windschuttle’s populism landed them no place good, their pretensions then and later to the contrary notwithstanding.

    You want to link popularity of a cultural form with virtue? By all means. The consequences of such an approach are all too obvious when one casts one’s eye about public space today. This is a rationale for vacuity, and an apologia for the adaptation of the marginalised to the usages imposed on them by the elite. That is why such claims find their natural home in the right wing tabloid corners of public discourse where Lockett’s groin or Gillard’s rear end is seen as the acme of public commentary.

  69. adrian

    They have nothing to say to successor societies, nor do they contain any content relevant to our conceptions and impulses, because they tell dead stories to a dwindling elite

    Blah blah blah blah blah.

    Been to the theatre lately fn?
    Didn’t think so. So how the hell would you friggin well know.

    Sometimes I think blogs simply exist for the ignorant to crap on about things they know nothing about for no other reason than vainglorious reflection.

  70. faustusnotes

    No Fran, I’m not arguing that we should link virtue with popularity. I’m linking popularity with virtue, and arguing that the theatre and the opera have no virtue. Therefore there is no need to artificially maintain their popularity through state subsidies. Doing so is a rationale for irrelevance. What you are defending is a classic form of middle-class welfare. Well and good! Subsidize away! But expect those of us who enjoy genuinely virtuous cultural pursuits – like kickboxing, or AFL – to demand a little parity in this democratic state of ours.

    Adrian, I’m living in Japan so sadly the theatre is kind of hard for me to understand. But when I was last in the UK yes, I went to the theatre. And in Australia too. In general it was ghastly. And I’m happy for the dwindling band of turtle-necked hipsters who like this sort of thing to have their kulcha subsidized by the state. I just don’t see why we should sneer at giving money to cultural forms that are pursued by vastly more talented people, like Ian Schaffa.

    Katz, what can I say? Fran brings out the best in me!

  71. FDB

    Bit over the tops there Faustusnotes. Also a tad ironic, given your pseudonym’s (apparent) origins in critical analysis of Marlowe.

    Still, I agree with the broad thrust on the topic of funding.

    My own idea is to reduce (not abolish) funding for opera, ballet, and orchestras by, say, ten percent. This would then fund tax breaks (and/or assistance in dealing with noise issues) for small live original music venues.

  72. Katz

    But fn how did it get into you on the first place?

  73. Fran Barlow

    I’m linking popularity with virtue, and arguing that the theatre and the opera have no virtue.

    That was my inference. Still, on that view, one needs no more expertise in evaluating culture than the ability to count heads. This is a profoundly dispiriting view of human possibility.

    But expect those of us who enjoy genuinely virtuous cultural pursuits – like kickboxing, or AFL – to demand a little parity in this democratic state of ours.

    The boss class ensures that those so diverted will get rather more than “a little parity”. They may never have heard of Circus Maximus but they get the concept. This state is of course, ‘democratic’ only in those senses that have nothing whatever to do with expressing the needs of the working people and especially in dispossessing them of their capacity to speak out collectively. Your plea against intellect is superfluous. Outside of imprisonment of the working folk in labour, their exclusion from power and the expropriation of their labour power, the boss class attaches no value to it at all. That is why despite the overwhelmingly plebeian composition of the crowds, commercial sport is really an elite or boss class event.

  74. Paul Burns

    I’m not very musically inclined but even I enjoy Carmen.
    Surely the point of the state subsidising theatre, ballet, opera classical orchestras and fillum is that they all cost heaps to put on and our society can’t afford to or does’nt want to fork out such huge amounts from the private purse. And isn’t that what governments are for?

  75. Eric Sykes

    “What you are defending is a classic form of middle-class welfare…”. Oh yeah, what with the average earnings of an Australia artist being “$24,000 from creative and other arts-related work and the average total income, including non-arts related work at about $37,000″, then great googalie moogalie they should be taxed alongside the super rich shouldn’t they…?

    http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/resources/reports_and_publications/subjects/artists/artists_income

  76. faustusnotes

    Yes FDB, it’s as if I’m taking the piss slightly isn’t it?

    Actually I like classic literature, and I enjoy the odd shakespeare or Marlowe, but that doesn’t make them less elitist as an artform. And I do strongly believe that opera and theatre are a waste of time.

    I like your suggestion a lot, though better still would be to not reduce the funding for opera (shudder), ballet (wtf!?) and orchestras (ugh) while increasing funding for small live original music venues. Which is my point – govt funding should be used to diversity and strengthen culture, not to ossify it through sinking all the available money into a couple of North Shore hobbies. And what could possibly strengthen our culture better than a wider selection of heavy metal, combat sports, and role-playing games?

    Maybe we could take the necessary small change out of the defense budget, or add a 1% top-up to the MRRT, or something.

  77. faustusnotes

    Fran, you’re still missing my point. I’m not saying that theatre and opera are lacking virtue because they aren’t popular. I’m saying that they are lacking virtue because they are awful. Therefore they have become unpopular. The reason not to fund them is that they are crap. This is regardless of their popularity. Good boxing, on the other hand, is sublime. So it deserves whatever support it gets.

    I think your analysis of sports as “bread and circuses” misses the participatory element of those sports, and the way in which elite-level performers are built up from many tiers of community engagement.

    Eric Sykes, the middle-class welfare I’m talking about here is not payments to the artists (more power to them!) but the support of cultural forms that only a narrow slice of the upper class of society enjoy (or, more likely, pretend to enjoy so they can appear sophisticated). It’s welfare for the consumers of the art, not its producers; this is the opposite of subsidizing sports, which rewards a broad mass of consumers as well as a small number of elite performers. Also, currently, there are many admirable sports whose elite representatives really struggle to get by as well. (e.g. most of the combat arts). And I’d wager they’re more likely to be working class than your average thespian …

  78. adrian

    Your ‘argument’ is ridiculous fn. I’ve seen ‘crap’ theatre, film, music and sport. And I’ve seen great examples of all of the above, sometimes verging on the sublime.
    It has nothing to do with the genre and your labelling of all ‘theatre’ as ‘crap’ is purely infantile nonsense.

    I think that Fran was actually giving you more credit than you deserve.

    And if you hate the theatre so much, why bother gracing it with your presence?

  79. faustusnotes

    So adrian, if you’ve seen great and crap examples of all of those things, why should we only subsidize the theatre?

    I graced the theatre with my presence (oh, those fortunate thespians!) for a great many reasons: because I thought it would be good, or because my friend’s friends were in it, or because someone invited me, or because the ruthless forces of cultural imperialism frog-marched me in at gunpoint. But in almost all cases it was crap. I have been known to enjoy some theatre, even, though not sufficiently frequently to be able to claim that it’s a worthwhile art form. I guess the difference is that I don’t pay to watch Big Brother, and when I do I don’t have the voice of society’s Uncle Monty over my shoulder telling me that it’s got a special cultural value: I recognize it for the blathering crap that it is, and fork over a correspondingly appropriate amount of dosh (i.e. 0) to watch it. When I go to see poorly-acted sub-soap opera-level tedium at the theatre, I have to pay and I have to pretend I’m engaging in something of cultural value. When in fact most of the time I’m being fleeced of my hard-earned by a bunch of melodramatists to watch something that lost its cultural relevance at about the time John Snow discovered the healing power of the wrench.

  80. Fran Barlow

    I should reiterate that despite my defence of state subsidy of the arts I have not expressed a view on which particular exemplarsof the arts should attract support and how this should be worked out so as to avoid arbitrariness. The arts covers a lot more than opera and theatre and even things that would qualify as entertainment, as a cursory look through the Australia Council grant list will show. On that list of recipients are some very small community level organisations and projects indeed.

    As I noted above, I know almost nothing of opera and attend the theatre only very occasionally. Precisely for these reasons, I’m disinclined to dismiss them as “crap” with the wave of a hand possessed by someone who failed to take the time to reflect on them.

    There’s no doubt that putting on events such as opera and theatre is, per patron, very expensive. It’s far cheaper, per patron, to put on an event in an arena that can hold 50,000 people and which requires almost no unique props and equipment. By contrast with opera, valuable television rights attach. Accordingly, one can hold a cricket game in a venue where only 3000 show up — Bellerive the other night for example — and still make money on the broadcast rights. Opera and theatre can’t do that AND in practice, you can’t stage them effectively for large crowds without a huge sunk cost in the venue and massive recurrent overheads.

    In short, you are never going to be able to do quality opera theatre except at enormous cost per seat filled. It wouldn’t matter if you were turning people away at the door and running three sessions per day. As a matter of generality, the claim that people don’t go because they are crap is simply not sustainable. The economics of something that is by definition, nearly unique every time it is performed, and necessarily performed for modestly sized audiences (<1000) is going to make it a niche product regardless of its artistic merit or lack thereof.

  81. Fine

    What? All theatre is crap! What terrible rubbish. Your argument is that you don’t like it, therefore it’s crap. The things you like are good. Bah, humbug.

    Your argument is that theatre is only enjoyed by the elite. Sweeping and empty generalisation.

    I’m quite happy to see other activities subsidised, as well. And elite sport is subsidised. How much money goes to sending athletes to the Olympics?

  82. akn

    Fark. You’ve redefined philistinism faustnotes. Even the people who create games and their characters are informed about and by theatre conventions. Maybe you get all you need from the x-box but that’s no reason to go calling the performing arts crap. My only grievance about opera, dance and theatre are that I can’t generally afford decent tickets. Anyway, you forget that sometimes entertainment is just that. For fun and pleasure; they are often merely expressions of human grace and beauty. Sometimes that enough.

  83. faustusnotes

    Fran:

    you can’t stage them effectively for large crowds without a huge sunk cost in the venue and massive recurrent overheads

    Well, it’s a good idea there are no examples of that sort of thing just sitting on the harbour foreshore taking up space, then isn’t it?

    Fine:

    Your argument is that you don’t like it, therefore it’s crap. The things you like are good.

    No, that’s Fran’s argument (about sport). I’m just applying it to theatre. Which is actually crap, whereas kickboxing is actually good. Or do you reject the concept of objective good taste? Because if so, I’ve got a pickled shark to sell you for a very large but reasonable fee.

  84. faustusnotes

    Even the people who create games and their characters are informed about and by theatre conventions

    That must be why World of Warcraft is so boring. Though to be fair, theatre doesn’t usually descend into anti-Chinese pogroms.

  85. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes quoted Fine:

    Your argument is that you don’t like it, therefore it’s crap. The things you like are good.

    then continued:

    No, that’s Fran’s argument (about sport).

    It’s not actually. I like the cricket, as others here will be aware. I just don’t think it (or any other elite sport) should get any subsidies or sweetheart deals from the state. It’s something I enjoy, but I’ve no business asking that the community as a whole help me enjoy it by shelling out, since there really is no benefit to anyone else who doesn’t find it amusing once each fixture has ended. By contrast, the arts are of enduring value. People born long after I’ve drawn my last breath will benefit from support today for the arts. You can’t say that for elite sport.

  86. akn

    @ 87: I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.

  87. alfred venison

    dear editor
    great scott! a culture stoush at lp. and to think i was going to go home & read marshall mcluhan tonight & wash my hair.

    opera’s not my favorite art form by a long shot, faustusnotes, but you haven’t seen or heard any modern opera since alban berg & benjamin britten, have you? heard of john adams? his “einstein on the beach”? “nixon in china”? or the absolutely sphincter tightening raw excitement of “dr atomic”, the new one about oppenhiemer & the manhatten project?

    how about kaija saariaho? sofia gubaidulina? harrison birtwhitsle? (how “did” they get that head, tucked underneath his arm, to sing, in “gawain”? hint: its a stage secret).

    i saw phillip glass’s “satyagraha” (about the idea of non-violent resistance exemplified through the lives of tolstoy, gandhi, m-l king) on nov 11 once late last century & it was the most powerful anti-war statement i’ve seen in years. should be screened every remembrance day.

    saariaho gets a pension from her country to live in paris where the best electronic labs are & bring lustre through her music to her homeland. bjork thinks stockhausen’s the bee’s knees; stockhausen once got subsidies from his gov’t, for music most people, aside from me & bjork, apparently don’t care to listen to. but bjork wouldn’t sound quite like she now does if she hadn’t been exposed to stockhausen along the way of her development. so, would you risk cramping the full expression of a future bjork’s mature style in order to withhold a present day stockhausen’s subsidy? sounds mean & short sighted to me.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  88. Jacques de Molay

    Mr Venison,

    You’ve shown yourself to have good taste in gravatars and clearly now in music too (Bjork).

    That is all.

  89. Fine

    Yes, faustusnotes. I do reject the concept of “objective good taste”. Your example of kick-boxing “good”, theatre “bad” proves that. How is kick-boxing objectively “good” in relationship to the subjective notion of taste? If taste is objective you should be able to prove to me that kick-boxing is “good’ in relationship to taste.

    I happen not to like kick-boxing and can’t imagine why anyone else would like it. OTOH, I can think of a great deal of theatre I’ve seen in the past couple of years I’ve liked; even some stuff whicj I think is amazingly good. I’ll point you in the direction of “Ganesh vs the Third Reich” for instance. Does that mean I objectively have bad taste? I’ve also seen theatre I thought terrible; a really sloppy version of “A Chorus Line” for instance.

    If you wanted to put forward an argument as to why kick-boxing should get government funding I might well support you, because I don’t work on the basis that because I don’t like something means that it’s bad.

    It’s like when someone complains that an activity is boring. No, it isn’t boring. You are bored by the activity. The boredom resides in you. I think there are some objective measures in art btw, but taste is, by definition, subjective.

  90. alfred venison

    dear Jacques de Molay
    i screw up, too, don’t forget.
    but, for now, bjork on stockhausen:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/oct/30/bjork-karlheinz-stockhausen-electronica

    and, bjork’s interview with Stockhausen:-
    http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco6/Bjork/bjorkfr.html

    i love how her electronics evoke a percussion section of limitless timbre. I love how she weaves in references to ravel (say) and then moves right on as if it never happened. like its just another part of the received soundscape of a 21st century composer, the eminently bearable lightness of intertextuality in the hands of an astute artist.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  91. FDB

    Gesang der Jünglinge?

    Now we’re talking.

  92. Jacques de Molay

    FWIW, I’d ban theatre & kickboxing if I ever became PM oh and meat pies too.

    In the interests of good taste Bjork doing Joga live on TV:

  93. faustusnotes

    Fran and Fine are clearly in furious disagreement here. Fine rejects the notion of “objective good taste,” while Fran argues for special treatment for the (italicized) arts because they are of enduring value. What’s that but an argument that taste is objective?

    (I’m still piss-taking here, Fine, and I don’t really believe that there is such a thing as objective good taste, though I do have cause to doubt when I see pickled sharks, or opera).

    Returning to Fran’s “enduring value,” how exactly do we define this? Whose values? Do you mean social values, cultural values, or artistic values? And do we want to live in a society where the government funds things because they promote a set of “values”? I can’t see that working out for anyone outside the Inquisition if Tony Abbot wins the next election.

    Also, if Bjork was inspired by some dusty old 18th century guy and wouldn’t be as great without him, how come we still subsidize performances of his work but not hers?

  94. FDB

    Stockhausen’s music sounds as bizarre and challenging now as it ever did, FN. And it was mostly made in the (19) fifties.

    You have a near-ally here mate. Don’t push it.

  95. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes tried:

    Fine rejects the notion of “objective good taste,” while Fran argues for special treatment for the (italicized) arts because they are of enduring value. What’s that but an argument that taste is objective?

    I’m pretty sure you’re not as silly as the above passage suggests. Taste (objective or otherwise) has nothing to do with it. I went to some lengths to make that clear. It’s the role of the arts in general that provides the warrant, rather than whether any particular exemplar is in good taste.

    Whose values? Do you mean social values, cultural values, or artistic values?

    I’m happy to allow suitably well credentialled people at arm’s length from the regime and corporate Australia to determine how to go about supporting the arts in all their diversity. The arts, as I noted declare, for good or ill, what those articulate enough to set down their ideas think worthy at a given moment. Whether this reflects well on us or shames us, is in good or poor taste, if it is speaks to what those fit to determine the matter think to be a substantial truth about us, it is worth noting for the record.

    And do we want to live in a society where the government funds things because they promote a set of “values”?

    We live in such a society already, and as far as I can tell, always have. That, to return to the original topic, is why elite sport is so heavily supported by the state and why the arts are not. Apparently, Australians like to win at sport, to have world champions and see people get gold medals. Being sporting winners, heroes and role models for the youngsters is apparently really important, or so it is claimed. Being really insightful, articulate, creative or having a passion for equity and inclusion — not so much. What do such people know of putting a ball into a basket from outside a semicircle, hitting a fellow in the face with a fist or falling over with a football under a set of wooden posts?

  96. faustusnotes

    Fran, you still haven’t explained how this “enduring value” is defined and why only the arts has it. Is it really only

    what those articulate enough to set down their ideas think worthy at a given moment

    ?

    Presumably if these ideas they think are worthy have “enduring value” they shouldn’t need a state subsidy to be maintained …?

    I could be sympathetic to an argument that sport and arts are both great things but sport is more popular so doesn’t need the help. But I’m not at all sympathetic to the kind of elitism that argues only the obscure and – by strange happenstance! – only those things that are valued by the wealthy and the classically educated are deserving of support. Especially when that support comes from the taxes of people who don’t care for the medium in question or, worse still, languish in schools where they can’t learn the skills necessary to access it.

    Your final sentence says it all about the underlying morality driving your assignment of “enduring value” (and the “warrant” such activities deserve). If you really think that boxing is just about “hitting a fellow in the face,” or can be dismissed in such a way, then how is your view of sport any more sophisticated than my “philistinism” of viewing opera as mere squawking? Or ballet as merely “learning to prance on tippy-toes”?

    And as for wrapping “having a passion for equity and inclusion” into the arts – spare me. I’ll bet you a groat that kickboxing is a much, much more equitable and inclusive field of activity than ballet, despite requiring just as demanding a set of physical talents. And I bet an aboriginal sports team toured the UK long before an aboriginal opera troupe did.

  97. Chris

    I think the elite arts will survive fine without government funding as will elite sport – after a bit of a an adaptation period. The rich will end up supporting the latter.

    In both areas it would be better to divert funding to community participation – eg for the arts help subsidise venue hire, royalty payments for performance etc…

  98. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes said:

    Presumably if these ideas they think are worthy have “enduring value” they shouldn’t need a state subsidy to be maintained …?

    How could one presume that?

    I’m not at all sympathetic to the kind of elitism that argues only the obscure and {…} only those things that are valued by the wealthy and the classically educated are deserving of support.

    This is your strawman. One may indeed argue that elite sport utters truths that are worthy of note (though personally I’m sceptical) but it would be difficult this side of an outright ban to suppress it — so the state support is wasted. The question is whether those things that are worthy but would not survive without state support ought to have such support.

    It is almost certainly the case that other kinds of social and educational exclusion are at the heart of the demographic bias both in the high arts and towards elite sport. I of course, very much favour overcoming these as well. Let’s be clear — when one lacks effective choice in recreation, one will almost certainly choose the cheapest and most readily available — and the mass commercial kinds are cheap, demand little extra time or skill and are available everywhere via TV/the internet. Those with flexible and short working hours, lots of PDI and so forth can afford a more boutique product.

    how is your view of sport any more sophisticated than my “philistinism” of viewing opera as mere squawking?

    It doesn’t really matter whether it is or not. Neither my take on boxing or yours on opera, or vice versa is pertinent here. The questions remain:

    a) should elite sport be funded in part by the state?
    b) should the arts be funded in part by the state?

    I’m saying no to a) and a strong yes to b).

    I will concede though that if the choice were strictly either both or neither, with very considerable regret, I’d take neither. The state treatement of and dealing with elite sport really is that pernicious, IMO.

  99. alfred venison

    dear editor
    i know the moment has come & gone, but i really must put in a good word for the composer of delightful & tuneful “carmen”: georges bizet. among contemporaries, richard wagner’s wife, cosima, intensely disliked bizet. and it wasn’t only because nietzsche liked him. i reckon cosima wagner’s such a loathsome individual that any composer she didn’t like must be good. and if, like me, you reckon cosima’s a reliable inverse indicator of other composer’s merit, you might want to try out emmanuel chabrier (famous for “espana”). she really hated him, too.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  100. Lefty E

    Twiggy Forrest has got a hide on him : didnt pay a cent of tax last year, and wonders why the Treasurer thinks he’s a leech. Then takes out full page ads to establish what an unfair charge that ‘undue influence’ claim was.

    This guys’s considered a hero by some? He’s a tax-dodging leech!

  101. alfred venison

    dear FDB
    this one’s for you, dude, who knows a “song of the youths” from a hill of beans – 1955-56, 5 tracks, first piece ever to combine electronic sounds & the human voice! actually, stockhausen (1923-2005) wrote a lot of music after the 1950s – “stimmung” that bjork refers to in the interview dates from 1970. “kanthinkas gesang als luzifers requiem”, a nifty number for solo flute, orchestra & electronics, is 1983. my current favourite “oktophonie” [electronic] is 1992, and the outrageously out there “four helicopters” for four helicopters, electronics & amplified string quartet (one in each chopper) is 1993. any of these will, i agree, give one the feeling an intense workout in a first class mental gym.

    and no one should forget the signal influence of stockhausen on the miles davis electronic sound, from the album “on the corner” in 1970; and, miles’ producer, teo macero, was a one time student of otto leunig, a subsidised electronic composer from columbia university. btw, stockhausen’s son, markus, later on had tuition on trumpet from miles (after his father dissuaded him from a career as a guru) and makes albums of his own now.

    if you (or anyone else) wants to hear some (or more) of stockhausen’s music, at no risk to the wallet, there is a swag of it (and a heck of a lot other people’s similar stuff) at the site “wolf-fifth” – just click on stockhausen’s name in the composers tag cloud & help yourself. all recordings at wolf-fifth are excellent transfers from vinyl, are not available on cd, and are free & legal. the vocal piece “stimmung”, referred to by bjork, is there. there is also a shirt load of avant garde classical music (electronic and/or instrumental-vocal, extemporised, improvised and/or notated), including stockhausen’s, available to download at “the avant garde project” & “ubuweb”. same conditions as “wolf-fifth” – free & legal. links to these sites can be found by clicking on my gravatar (view complete) & scrolling to the links section. happy listening.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  102. Chris

    Lefty E @ 103 – correction – Forrest’s company paid no corporate tax last year, I don’t believe anyone has claimed he paid no personal tax. And the no corporate tax is just an artifact of the huge capital investment the company has made. You too can pay no tax if you’re willing to borrow huge amounts of money :-)

  103. akn

    faustnotes: you seem uncomfortable with the description philistine and in any event it probably has too many ‘classical’ overtones for your taste. Something contemporary is reqired therefore may I suggest that you are a Kardashite, that is, an adherant Kardashianism. This is a currently fashionable variant of post modern cultural crudeness in which cultural value is measured by money, celebrity and success in getting attention. The nature of the attention is of no consequence just so long as it keeps coming.

  104. David Irving (no relation)

    Why do you hate meat pies, Jacques @ 95? (Thanks for the Bjork, btw – gorgeous.)

  105. Lefty E

    You make a huge profit, you pay tax. If that doesnt happen, – youre diddling the public.

  106. Lefty E

    So, I’m considering adopting a modicum of grudging respect for Wayne Swan.

    I’ll give it 24 hours, in case someone wants to talk me out of it.

  107. faustusnotes

    Fran:

    How could one presume that?

    Because one presumes that’s the only reason they would need public subsidies. Do you have some other reason why perfectly commercially viable artistic movements should need a state subsidy?

    Everything from here:

    Let’s be clear -

    is pure snobbery. If you think World of Warcraft is “cheap” and demands “little extra time or skill” then, hey, you should get out more (that’s a video of a famous raid that required a great deal of training and coordination among a large number of people in a guild. They have leagues for this kind of stuff in Korea). Just because it doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean you can dismiss it as the lowest common denominator of entertainment, or assume some kind of low-attention-span modern yoof explanation.

  108. Jacques de Molay

    David @ 107,

    No probs, a few traumatic childhood experiences with those little gristle bits ;)

    So, I’m considering adopting a modicum of grudging respect for Wayne Swan.

    I’ll give it 24 hours, in case someone wants to talk me out of it.

    Come on Lefty E, Swannie’s just trying to gee up the base. Obviously I sympathise with his broad narrative but did you see what Emma Alberici did to him on Lateline tonight? It wasn’t a good look for Swannie or the craven gutlessness of the ALP.

  109. Jacques de Molay

    BOB Carr has removed an attack on the Dalai Lama from his personal blog where he described the spiritual leader as a “cunning monk.”

    Australia’s next foreign minister, Mr Carr said his views on the Thoughtlines blog were personal ones, but he did not want them to distract from his plum job.

    “I thought it might have been better expressed,” Mr Carr said.

    In a June 2011 post titled “Don’t Meet This Cunning Monk”, Mr Carr urged Australian political leaders not to meet with the Buddhist leader.

    “The Prime Minister should feel no obligation to meet the Dalai Lama, indeed should feel an obligation not to meet him. He is a religious leader but also a cunning one with a political agenda. His agenda is not in Australia’s interest,” Mr Carr wrote.

    “His strategy is to keep … forcing his presence on Canberra, presumably to generate ill-feeling between us and the Chinese.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/foreign-minister-deletes-dalai-lama-attack-from-blog/story-e6freuy9-1226288254992

  110. alfred venison

    dear editor
    if clive palmer wants some culture kudos let him build an auditorium for the sydney symphony orchestra, for one. he could even call it “clive palmer hall”, like carnegie did in his country. then the orchestra could move out & the bigger hall at the opera house could be given over to decent productions of operas. come on, clive, come on.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  111. Chris

    LeftyE @ 108 – that’s the point – after expenses and deductions – eg depreciation on assets etc they’re not making a profit yet so they pay no tax. Now perhaps the government should not allow them to such fast depreciation rates, but the government have deliberately exchanged tax revenue now for more later.

    Note they’re still getting revenue through royalties but I’m sure you can argue whether that is a tax or not :-)

  112. Lefty E

    Nope, missed Swan and Alberici Jacques – what happened?

    I assume all parties play to their base sometimes ( eg Abbotts recent tripe about John Setka, for which he may actually be sued). What’s the problem ?

    You have to bear in mind these people are currently buying up media outlets as an apparent strategy to increase influence. These aren’t positive influences in our democracy

  113. Lefty E

    Maybe that’s why mining is destroying the rest of our economy Chris – all all seems rather too generous.

    I think the campaign they mounted against the RSPT amounts to straight up tax dodging, the deductions they get are frankly unbelievable, the whining they engage in demands they be publicly slapped at the highest levels more often

    Any more whining out of them and I say hand the fields overt to their competitors . It’s not like the dirt is theirs. It’s ours . Shut up or piss off is my message! With a Smiley face :)

  114. Helen

    Do you have some other reason why perfectly commercially viable artistic movements should need a state subsidy?

    Because, as most people who comment on LP would probably be aware, the Market doesn’t always work.

    Also, your argument about WoW is true as far as it goes – degree of difficulty, training required – but that doesn’t give it artistic merit (speaking as one who agrees the concept of assessing artistic merit is completely torturous). Becoming a Certified Public Accountant is quite difficult and requires training, but I wouldn’t recommend paying a CPA to regurgitate their training onstage.

  115. Lefty E
  116. Katz

    BOB Carr has removed an attack on the Dalai Lama from his personal blog where he described the spiritual leader as a “cunning monk.”

    “Thoughtlines”, the gift that keeps on giving.

  117. joe2

    Meanwhile, Mr Newman will still not say how he will fund his election promises, saying again he will release the details before polling day.

    Oh great! What a model. Tony will love this idea. No need for a dodgy accounting firm to do your costings. Tell the people how you will pay for promises, the day before the election, directly from the back of an envelope.

  118. Chris

    LeftyE @ 116 – well why not just revert their deductions to what other industries get? Even playing field is a much easier argument to make than new tax.

    Helen @ 117 – I think MMO raids would sometimes have artistic merit. MMOs themselves are an artform. And raids can definitely be entertaining to watch, especially when it all goes pear shaped!

  119. Lefty E

    Agreement with Bob Brown though – if Swan was serious , he could beef up the MRRT to recoup the $100b they lost when they caved in on the RSPT

  120. joe2

    Yes, shame on Swan for talking to his base, Jacques, there is obviously nothing in it.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-05/statistics-support-swan27s-inequality-attack/3869920

  121. joe2

    Swan was caught out on the pathetic rate of payment for Newstart by Peter Martin at the press club yesterday.

  122. Helen

    So, Bob Carr is childless, is he? Does this reflect on his suitability to perform his job on behalf of the rest of us? Can someone please inspect his fruit bowl to see if there is anything in it?

  123. adrian

    but did you see what Emma Alberici did to him on Lateline tonight? It wasn’t a good look for Swannie or the craven gutlessness of the ALP.

    Alberici merely adopted the now standard and tiresome ABC interview technique of interrupting at every opportunity with predictable gotcha type questions and not listening to any of the answers. They all follow the same format, so whoever’s in the chair matters little except some are a little more annoying in the way they carrry out their mission than others.

    Of course these techniques are strictly reserved for ALP guests only.

  124. akn

    Besides, faustnotes, the matter of subsidising the performing arts goes right to the heart of Australian-ness. They are a means of reflecting on who we were, who we are as a people and who we might become. The performing arts can and do inform our sense of what it is that makes us distinct from the rest of the world. If you aren’t aware and in any way appreciative of Reedy River, even if you don’t *like* it, or have never sat in awe at the cultural sophistication and technical brilliance of the Bangarra Dance Theatre company, then you really need to question your own Australianness. Because without a sense of that you become merely another cosmopolitan drifter cut off from your own cultural heritage; a consumer of other people’s dreams who, unaware of the best aspirations of his own nation’s history, is incapable of distinguishing other people’s dreams from their nightmares.

    Some people lead remarkable and distinguished lives because of their incessant drive to expressively represent where they live in all of its complexity and beauty. Like Roland Robinson who was a poet, roustabout, boundary-rider, railway fettler, fencer, dam-builder, gardener and a ballet dancer. He was also the ballet critic for the SMH who lived in a hut on the Western side of Lake Macquarie with a dingo. Either a member of the CPA or a ‘fellow traveller’, this ballet dancer was so dangerous to the establishment that he was under ASIO surveillance. Along with a fair number of other playwrights and writers you might note.

    This heritage, according to your own statements, has no value to you. I suspect that is because you are simply unaware of it. But ignorance is never a defence mate.

  125. alfred venison

    dear editor
    the arts have always had patrons. in the bad old days its was kings & aristocrats who forked out . more recently, its become states & plutocrats.

    the los angeles philharmonic is a smart outfit & popular in their home town. they got a fab new frank gehry designed concert hall, named after walt disney. they’re hot on the heels of cleveland for 5th place in the american orchestra league. funded, build & endowed largely by private philanthropy.

    i’m told 9 out of ten of australia’s wealthiest individuals live overseas & the one who lives in his country has a gambling problem. is it any wonder high-end arts are supported by the state here?
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  126. alfred venison

    dear editor
    how about clive (and/or his shareholders) take the interest they’ve earned on the royalties they haven’t paid yet & buy something nice for the country with it? doesn’t have to be a concert hall.

    the sso toured orange & bathurst a while ago (i know, i drove out to hear them, drink the wine & see the gardens at cowra) and were enthusiastically received by the locals in both towns. i spoke with one couple who’d driven most of the day to take in the gig & were pleased as punch.

    maybe clive could fund a touring orchestras program for the benefit of bush-dwellers who like to see & hear a good symphony concert once in a while, in their town.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  127. akn

    I agree alfred venison that this would buy Clive some much needed cultural capital. Or he could buy a race horse like eveyone else does. Ho-hum. Has Gina does anything nice for Australia? Apart from her contribution to poetry?

  128. faustusnotes

    Helen, the raid I linked to is a fine work of art, though the cut-scenes are rather tacky. Particularly the part where they trap the two-headed dragon in the doorway, and you can see the warrior in a kind of intricate dance with its two heads, the rogues cycling in and out of combat, and the rhythmic pulse of the healing flares. They even made a movie of it. And I’m sure someone can find a way to turn accountancy into performance poetry.

    As an example of my case, just yesterday the Guardian announced the Tate is going to spend 8.5 million pounds on just a portion of Ai Weiwei’s ridiculous sweatshop production, Sunflower Seeds, which is going to be formed into a cone and presented as art in a state-subsidized room. These seeds, note, were so toxic that they banned walking on them after two days but Ai Weiwei had people make 100m of them in little workshops in China, then presented them as a statement against sweatshop labour. Suuuuurre that’s a better use of money than if the 8.5m had been spent on subsidizing the British RPG industry (famous for Warhammer, which has now been franchised out to a US company).

    akn, I’m not uncomfortable about being called a philistine and in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not arguing against funding for the arts, I’m arguing against putting that funding in competition with sports funding, and suggesting that the funding should be expanded and widened, with less focus on elitist stuff.

    Your point about becoming “merely another cosmopolitan drifter cut off from your own cultural heritage” is interesting though. I was born in NZ, lived a third of my childhood in NZ, a third in the UK and a third in Australia; took Australian citizenship at the age of 23 and now live in Japan. What exactly is my cultural heritage?

    And further, taking my UK portion of my heritage as an example: the kinds of schools I went to in the UK (dodgy schools in dirt-poor suburbs of rural towns) didn’t teach children latin, or theatre, or dance, or any foreign languages except French/German. If I’m “cut off” from my cultural heritage as expressed through professional dance like Bangarra, is that entirely my own fault? Similarly if I don’t get opera, why should I bother when the culture I grew up in spent 20 years telling me that a person from my background doesn’t deserve to learn the basic skills required to understand it?

    Similarly, the kinds of schools I went to in Australia gave me a choice between a foreign language or advanced mathematics. They didn’t have a theatre class or any other form of art except your bog-standard painting class. Yet they now expect my taxes to fund art forms that only rich-kids’ schools give you the cultural preparation to appreciate?

    The cultures I grew up in refuse to prepare the majority of their population to appreciate the art that supposedly has “enduring value,” yet I’m the philistine for not appreciating that art?

  129. Terangeree

    Helen @ 117:

    Becoming a Certified Public Accountant is quite difficult and requires training, but I wouldn’t recommend paying a CPA to regurgitate their training onstage.

    Why not? Are you saying that accountancy is boring? :)

  130. adrian chanelling the abc

    Look akn, Gina employs Australians, generates lots of money for the country, pays a little bit of tax, so what more does she need to do?

    Some people are just so ungrateful, full of class envy and just a little shrill and rattled.

  131. Katz

    The cultures I grew up in refuse to prepare the majority of their population to appreciate the art that supposedly has “enduring value,” yet I’m the philistine for not appreciating that art?

    But fn, everything you have said to this point implies that these educational authorities did you a favour by choosing not to foist dead culture on you.

  132. akn

    fn:

    i) Oh, so you wear the tag philistine proudly then?

    ii) “elitist stuff” means anything you don’t undertsand or appreciate, doesn’t it?

    iii) your cultural heritage is up to you to define; rootless cosmopolitanism would appear to be about right. You’re not alone but you’re all the same living out a life of individualism without individuality;

    iv) Your impoverished schooling at the hands of the state appears to have done little but create a sense of grievance that fuels the politics of envy;

    v)

    If I’m “cut off” from my cultural heritage as expressed through professional dance like Bangarra, is that entirely my own fault

    Yes.

    And you can put your impoverished class experience back in your pants because it doesn’t impress anyone. I grew up on the docks of Newcastle and went to a school that doubled as a borstal. I thought Jean Genet’s novels were a guide to etiquette. Realising my ignorance early I set about addressing it. People like Roland Robinson encouraged me. I’m still learning;

    vi) The absence of adequate cultural training in Australian schools is no reason to sneer at those who seek it or advocate it. Music, for example, is now booming in NSW schools thanks to the dedication, energy and talent of the NSW Performing Arts Unit. My two kids have both toured to Europe and the US with NSW school orchestras, both subsidised by the public, as musos. My only grievance here is that there isn’t the money to send more such tours because there sure is the talent and dedication amongst the kids.

    vii) Have you ever been to a live exhibition of Ai Weiwei? It makes a difference. Arguing for art, as you do, because it creates jobs, is bizarre.

  133. alfred venison

    dear faustusnotes
    weiwei’s installation was funded by the gallery’s own international investment fund, an art charity, and private philanthropists. whatever the folly & whether or not you or I like it, there is no public subsidy scandal here. i read that manufacturing of the porcelain sunflower seedswas contracted to craftspeople & did not endanger them.
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  134. Johnny Rotten

    [this commentor has now been banhammered ~ moderator]

  135. Dr. John Hewson

    Helen @125:

    So, Bob Carr is childless, is he? Does this reflect on his suitability to perform his job on behalf of the rest of us? Can someone please inspect his fruit bowl to see if there is anything in it?

    Back in 1992 when I was Federal Liberal Leader I attempted to draw the NSW public’s attention to this important fact, as well as the fact that Bob Carr doesn’t have a driver’s license. As with the visionary Fightback! package, I was destined to remain an unappreciated genius on this matter.

  136. adrian

    JR, my revulsion at the sight of Mr Pyne is such that I didn’t see the interview nor would wish to.
    But I’ll check out the transcript when I have time to see if you’re right.

  137. Chris

    Helen – you’re not trying to start up leadership speculation over Carr’s ability to be PM are you? :-)

  138. faustusnotes

    Katz, touche. That’s German for “I agree,” right?

    akn:

    i) no, nor did I say I was

    ii) no, and I think my definition of elitist should be quite clear from what I’ve written: requiring an education that is not available to the majority of the population, while simultaneously portrayed as carrying superior values or some power of inculcating superior morality

    iii) how big of you to allow me to define my own cultural heritage. Your kindness aside, I was asking you to explain where I fit in your worldview, since you’re the one who insists on drawing all sorts of conclusions about my character and background from what I don’t like.

    iv) of a piece with iii), you are now straying into drawing conclusions about my personality from my opinion of art. Quite nasty conclusions too. Is this one of those superior moral values you get from appreciating dance?

    v) I’m not trying to impress anyone, simply trying to establish the setting in which I was taught (or not) the framework from which I am supposed to understand the elite culture my taxes support. Obviously I’m not alone in having been raised that way, which is why I make the point. I’m perfectly aware that I could teach myself about opera, dance and ballet, but that’s also not relevant. What’s relevant is that my society told me I don’t deserve the skills necessary to access that art world. If that is the case, why should I waste my time trying? It’s obvious to me that the elite arts are not as important or as relevant as you say they are, since if they were they would have been taught to me along with literature and music (though come to think of it, I also had to drop music after year 10 for the same reasons).

    I could be playing a good computer game, or I could be learning about an art form that no one thought it relevant to teach me when I was young. I could be employing the skills society actually thinks are important – maths and english – to do fun things, or I could be reading inscrutable websites trying to understand why a pile of sunflower seeds deserves a public subsidy. The important point here is that a lot of people seem to think I should be subsidizing the sunflower seeds with my taxes even though I think they’re bullshit; but the same people don’t want to be subsidizing UFC with their taxes, because they think it’s bullshit.

    vi) I’m not sneering at those who seek or advocate higher art. I’m sneering at those who think it’s specially deserving of my tax dollars, and who simultaneously see the new cultural activities developed after the 1970s as degenerate – as Fran has already shown she does.

    alfred, you can find videos of Ai weiwei’s sunflower seeds being made online. Not only did he not make his own art, but it was made in pretty hard conditions in China, the kinds of conditions which if they were being used to make something for Nike or Apple would be decried as exploitation. I suspect.

  139. Helen

    Chris @139: yes. I shall argue that if performing one’s gender is crucially important to occupying high office (See Gillard, J.: insufficiently nurturing as evidenced by Fruitbowlgate), then in a country like ours, where the obtaining of one’s drivers licence and the doing of doughnuts/burnouts is such an essential rite of passage to manhood, then I must question the FM’s ability to do his job. I’m just being consistent.

  140. Fran Barlow

    Johnny Rotten quoted Adrian as follows:

    Of course these techniques are strictly reserved for ALP guests only.”

    Then continued:

    I take it you did not see her do the same thing to Pyne the other night?

    Or if you did, was that interview ok in your opinion?

    It was scarcely “the same thing”. Here’s Ms Alberici speaking to Pyne:

    Pyne discusses Cabinet reshuffle

    The interview was conducted entirely within the bounds of the normal civil usages. There was no hectoring of Pyne, no petitio principii {“what has rattled you?”} and Pyne was allowed to discourse at length uninterrupted.

    It was really a fairly fluffy interview (though not in the Uhlmann class of coalition pandering)– yet nor was it in the league of BBC’s Hard Talk.

    #TheirABC had another Big Dirt spruiker on with LNP fangirl Fran Kelly this morning. No doubts where they stand.

  141. Fine

    Oh yes, Fran. I heard the Big Dirt Spruiker. Not one ounce of pressure was applied to his answers. The interview consisted of Fran Kelly saying,”Wayne Swan says…” and the interviewee being allowed to state whatever crap he wanted to. It was just a free ad.

    faustusnotes, what I’d like to see is arts funding increased to all levels of art. I love opera, for instance. But, I can rarely afford to go. If it was even more heavily subsidised, I could afford to. So, there’s your argument for increased funding.

  142. adrian

    fn, recently I saw the worst piece of theatre that I had ever had the misfortune of watching. It was trite, boring, pretentious, pointless and dull.

    However, even that was more interesting than your ongoing dialogue regarding the arts which allows you to indulge in your favourite topic of conversation- yourself.

  143. Katz

    Chris @139: yes. I shall argue that if performing one’s gender is crucially important to occupying high office (See Gillard, J.: insufficiently nurturing as evidenced by Fruitbowlgate), then in a country like ours, where the obtaining of one’s drivers licence and the doing of doughnuts/burnouts is such an essential rite of passage to manhood, then I must question the FM’s ability to do his job. I’m just being consistent.

    There is an alternative argument that one gender performing it’s nurturing function disqualifies it for high office, while another gender doing burnouts vouchsafes its qualifications for high office.

    Just sayin’

  144. adrian

    Thanks Fran, that saves me the trouble of reading the transcript.

    Looks like Kelly has gained A grades from the ABC How To Interview Business Leaders school, from which Business editor Peter Ryan is also a star pupil.
    When interviewing business leaders his ‘technique’ is to simply recite a series of Dorothy Dixers no doubt prepared by the business’s PR department.

  145. retronymical

    I’m inclined to be with fasutnotes on this one. It seems to me that the sneering at fn for what appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable take on things is unwarranted. We all have our own cultural heritage, and it is upon this that we construct our views of what is valuable. Without resorting to relativism, it can be argued that as social beings we “do” the world by engaging with each other (which includes disagreeing as much as agreeing). To me once that process results in sneering then we are saying that we are no longer prepared to engage respectfully- something that reveals more about the sneerer than the sneeree. I am hopeful that those who don’t think they’re sneering take the opportunity to correct me.

  146. akn

    fn @ 60:

    I’m in favour of an end to public subsidy for pointless crap like theatre … opera … and any other forms of high art.

    High art being apparently anything you don’t like or don’t understand.

    I’m perfectly aware that I could teach myself about opera, dance and ballet, but that’s also not relevant. What’s relevant is that my society told me I don’t deserve the skills necessary to access that art world. If that is the case, why should I waste my time trying?

    This is the politics of resentment and envy writ large. Highly likely, like me, that no-one taught you in school that sex was a wonderful, intimate experience. I hope the negative school experience hasn’t fostered the same attitude in you towards sex that you display towards the arts. Maybe it has, though?

    It’s obvious to me that the elite arts are not as important or as relevant as you say they are, since if they were they would have been taught to me along with literature and music (though come to think of it, I also had to drop music after year 10 for the same reasons).

    It is equally obvious to me that I wasn’t introduced to the ‘elite arts’ in school because they can be dangerous and subversive and because learning about them corrodes ruling and middle class claims to cultural authority.

    The arts are an arena of political struggle. In a democracy this means public subsidy of same in order to generalise critical and creative capacity rather than leave them as the preserve of the classes you despise. The same analysis applies to women, class elements, Aborigines and immigrants working in the arts. Thirty five years ago this sort of analysis was a commonplace among my colleagues on the wonderfully named Workers’ Cultural Action Committee of the Trades Hall.

  147. Eric Sykes

    Apols in advance for length of post. FN is trying to argue the art world down.

    I believe subsidy to the arts should be increased in Australia, massively, not cut at all. But not a cent of the increase should go into the western classical tradition. They have plenty.

    A good contemporary mixed media installation, operating at an international standard of production value, costs pretty much the same as and in some cases more than an opera season. In Australia of course we rarely, if ever, see art work of this standard, since we spend next to nothing on it, so it always looks at best half-finished or at worst totally naff; which of course plays directly into the hands of those that say a violin requires more skill to use than a computer.

    I know it is hard to comprehend for some but, you know, western art music may not be the ultimate art form, there may actually be other art forms that speak equally as well about the human condition, that delve just as deeply.

    More people engage with contemporary community arts in this country than visit classical music concerts, but you see it’s not a competition, it’s a broad field of human endeavour. I for one have no wish to “cut” funds to Opera or orchestras. I do however, as a contemporary practitioner, absolutely claim and demand equity, and whenever anyone from another art form demands equity it is true that in Australia, the classical elitists jump up and down and claim that the end of civilisation as we know it is approaching.

    The art debate in Australia is a debate about form, culture, class and value, and how the word “excellence” has been strategically used, in Australia, over the last 100 years at least, to exclude a whole range of art forms from mainstream Australian awareness and thus, any long term status or value.

    The status is awarded to particular means of expression above all others. In a colonial culture such as Australia the need to show that we are “as good as” overwhelms any serious investigation of contemporary, living, indigenous (in all senses of the word) culture.

    Every time the contemporary or indigenous requests parity, they are attacked, very effectively by the imperial straw man. This stretches way back to the introduction of 78 records into this country, where the classical buffs lobbied ferociously to ban the importation of jazz discs (jazz of course undermines our way of life). But they couldn’t stop them; US Forces abroad flooded Australia with discs that had never been seen or heard here before. And in the history of Australian community radio, the allocation of licences went first to…yes…you guessed it…the classical stations.

    And of course, Australian colonial classical music culture is, in itself, desperately conservative. I remember being asked to curtail a public lecture at the Victorian Arts Centre in the 90s because I had the audacity to suggest a talk about Stockhausen and his use of the tape edit.

    It is worth noting that Indian artists and musicians strategically claimed the word “classical” after kicking the Brits out, the claiming of the word re-asserted an indigenous culture as having both a vast heritage and contemporary application in the search (ongoing) for post-colonial identity. We now refer to particular strains of Indian arts as “classical” (even tho they are never written down in the way Mozart was). So the status has been undermined, the socio/political strategy of the Indian artists has worked. Ravi Shankar is regarded, broadly, as a musical genius, whereas before independence he was at best “traditional” or merely “folk”.

    Australia could name Aboriginal arts, including dance, story and song, as “classical”. Much Australian Classical dance, story and song then doesn’t even factor as art in cultural policy terms, it is ineligible for any arts funding at all, because at best it is “traditional” or merely “folk”.

    Once again, apols for length. Nuff from me.

  148. retronymical

    Sorry all, I didn’t see fn’s entry at 60 so am now inclined to think that fn’s later posts were more reasonable in response to the sneering (also I see that fn was clearly sneering too). I’ll just stay out of it…

  149. alfred venison

    dear editor
    if anyone really (really) wants to try out opera, without breaking the bank, while still getting to hear & see some of the best productions on the planet, they can always try the dendy cinemas for their “opera at the dendy” season.

    http://www.dendy.com.au/promotion/met-opera-2011-2012-season

    these are simulcasts of selected new york metropolitan opera company productions. live in new york city & beamed around the global village. my sister sees the same productions in edmonton on saturday arvo that me & the prof see on sunday midday & new yorkers see on saturday night. the season’s on at byron bay, brisbane, canberra & sydney (check the link). i don’t know about the other cities, but the dendy in sydney has a ripper sound system & no seats have obstructed views.

    i saw john adams “nixon in china” this way & it blew my socks off – if you think opera always & only sucks you should try out this one at least & see if your opinion doesn’t shift with experience. the production of verdi’s “macbeth”, last year, was also tremendous. it was worth the whole show, just to see the young, up & coming, romanian soprano, angela gheorghiu, who was stunning. she could both act & sing at the same time – a rare & welcome ability; her mad scene was way convincing.

    intermission is occupied with backstage interviews with singers & conductor.

    first class opera, with chock-tops, soda pop, pop corn & other people like you in casual dress – how egalitarian is that? and out in time for a few drinks & supper after.
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  150. joe2

    This is the link to the Lateline interview with Swan.
    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3446366.htm

    I’ve seen both that, and the one with Pyne.

    Emma Alberici, imo, did a great job at interviewing both.

    Swan managed to get his ideas across well, under some pressure. Pyne was shaken by the kind of questioning he and his mob usually never get. Like……

    Isn’t it about time that you told the Australian public, you the Coalition, what you stand for rather than what you stand against?

    So much so, that Andy Bolt is crying about the interview, on his blog, apparently.

  151. akn

    Jolly good Erik Sykes. Nothing like informed opinion to clear the air. For my own part I despair that the Sydney Theatre Co. last year (year before?) put on a Brecht performance at minimum $75. Brecht unaffordable! The irony. As to the SSO their repertoire is as dull as dishwater. For contemporary ‘classical’ music, ie, with score and conductor, you have to go elsewhere. I’ve heard more excellent contemp. Aussie music in the Joan Sutherland Arts Centre at Penrith during band eisteddfods than anywhere else. Is it classical? Who knows but it set my ears and heart on fire. It was often performed by schoolkids whose performances are never, ever reviewd by the SMH. The opera – too expensive for my wallet by half. So I go elsewhere – Pinchgut, on a shoestring, and far more adventurous. So yes, I’d agree. Massive increases for the arts in general and let the corporate sector pay the full cost for opera, the STC and Belvoir St for that matter. They can afford it.

  152. akn

    Yes alfred. My favourite. Direct from the NY Met to Sydney with amped sound. Tops.

  153. Johnny Rotten

    [this commentor has now been banhammered ~ moderator]

  154. faustusnotes

    Once again I agree with Fine and Eric Sykes – more funds across a wider range of activities is the go. And in that expansion, less focus on classical music and opera, unless and until (as Eric suggests) they are forced to open up to a more diverse range of cultural traditions.

    akn, you are aware of the origins of the phrase “the politics of resentment and envy,” right? You’re using it in its classical LNP attack form. Of course it’s always the way of people who are defending an elitist institution to accuse those criticizing it of envy or resentment. In this case, though, it’s my taxes supporting that elite institution – and yet still it apparently maintains ticket prices at well beyond the level the average taxpayer can afford. Isn’t it nice to see they’ve used all that public funding to make these essential artistic institutions more accessible?

    retronymical, my entry at 60 was intended as an over-the-top piss-take and silliness, and as others have observed it would be impossible for me to have written it without at least having a passing familiarity with much that I’m criticizing. However I think the underlying principle is sound: sport and post-70s community-based cultural activities have as much value as most of the stuff currently being funded as “the arts,” and arguments against funding the former are based in snootery. I think Fran showed this very well with her reference to going for the easy and cheapest form of entertainment when you can’t get access to the quality stuff. Those of us who would rather play a computer game than suffer through an opera find this view – whether openly stated or sniffily implied – quite offensive and wonder how it can be justified when we pay taxes to support the opera.

    I find it especially entertaining when working class heroes like akn defend this special form of elitism. There’s a strong streak of anti-sport and anti-television style “oh, the hoi polloi like it so I don’t” cultural criticism in the left, and it gives me the mighty straining poos.

  155. adrian

    Yes, JR there are many I can tolerate, but Mr Pyne is a particularly odious example of a private schoolboy who never got over the fact that he was never made head prefect or suffered some similar indignity.
    I’m sure you understand.

  156. Lefty E

    I read recently that Pyney is considered a “moderate” inside the Liberal party.

    Which surely shows how far to the Right that whole organisation is of popular political opinion in this country.

  157. alfred venison

    dear editor
    why do some working class people, who don’t like arts, squeal like capitalist pigs about their taxes supporting arts they don’t like & not the sports they do like, when other working class people, like me, don’t squeal like capitalist pigs about their taxes supporting sports they don’t like & not arts they do like? am i missing something? or should i squeal like a capitalist pig, too?
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  158. faustusnotes

    Yes LeftyE, I remember when Pyne was considered the lunatic fringe right of the party. How sad!

  159. Jacques de Molay

    Didn’t Cory Bernardi ‘out’ Pyne recently as supposedly tossing up which party to join the Libs or Labor at that start of his career? They used to be close friends but now are said to hate each other and Pyne isn’t that well liked in the Liberal Party becuase he’s considered a very moderate moderate.

    That episode of Kitchen Cabinet with he and Amanda Vanstone on it almost humanised the guy, almost. Pyne & Vanstone grew up together and are really close friends and I think they said they’re even distantly related.

  160. David Irving (no relation)

    Jacques, they’re both from Adelaide, so of course they’re distantly related. As I’m sure you realise, being a local yourself.

    Eeww! That means I’m probably related to both of them as well!

  161. Katz

    Adelaide, where pulling up the floorboards is always an adventure.

  162. akn

    fn: you ignore what you can’t address in other’s comments because it would mean conceding ground.

    See, for example, my contention that it is a political act to learn about, enjoy as an audience or participate in the so called ‘high arts’ and thereby to challenge the cultural authority of the middle and ruling classes who would otherwise preserve the role of ‘high art’ cultural producers to themselves. Which they pretty much do anyway. Not, however, without challenge from lefties as the one time communist party member mezzo soprano and similarly located dancer of my acquaintance have done in Australia. You ignore the example I cited of Roland Robinson (OAM) because it surely must embarrass you to learn that such a man could educate himself and hold his own in any cultural space nothwithstanding his extremely humble origins.

    And you don’t want your taxes to subsidise the talented, adventurous and daring creative spirits of Australia who need them in order to escape the sort of suffocating ignorance that you suffer from? Eff me.

    I could fill this blog with the names of Australian artists and performers of all sorts who benefited from taxpayer support without which they would never have recieved their education, their break or even a scintilla of recognition.

    You aren’t related to Madge Allsop are you?

  163. Jacques de Molay

    David, very true.

    It’s funny that a high school mate and I found out a few years after the fact that we were actually distantly related, his grandmother and my grandmother on my mother’s side were sisters or cousins or something.

    Radelaide indeed!

  164. Chris

    Helen @ 141 – I did hear his lack of driving brought up – I reckon there’s a few aspirationals out there that would really look down on someone who never got a drivers license. Though most disparaging comments I’ve seen about his future as DPM or PM (the sort of context the ones that have been made about Gillard) have been about him being too old.

    I reckon he’d do pretty well as a temp PM to save the furniture at the next election.

  165. Fran Barlow

    Now this is worth a read, but it’s disturbing:

    Robert Manne: Payback. I criticised The Australian. Now I must pay

    Exactly what one would expect from the Murdochracy.

  166. Jacques de Molay

    To be honest my copy of Robert Manne’s QE ‘Bad News’ is sitting on the shelf gathering dust only half read. It was just too tedious “I said something, they said this, I said that” crap. The Greg Sheridan stuff had some sort of value but still he’s just low hanging fruit.

    We know the OO is a joke it’s not meant to be taken seriously it’s just a make-work organisation for right-wingers.

  167. Adrian

    I think you’ve missed the point JdM, which is not how boring Manne may or may not be, but the vindictiveness of News Ltd. And we all know that The Australian has far more influence than its modest circulation would suggest.

  168. joe2

    I thought Bad News was excellent and far from boring.

    Manne went to great lengths to prove his case, which involved sieving through a lot of examples, and leaving no room for Murdochland to hide.

    That’s why they are now so bitchy. He has sprung them forensically and is leading the way for something to be done about these creeps.

  169. adrian

    But you must remember that despite the spot of bother that the UK and US bases of Murdoch Inc are experiencing, the colonial branch is as pure as the driven snow.

  170. Johnny Rotten

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  171. Lefty E

    “the colonial branch is as pure as the driven snow”

    Having far less competition (where is that ‘reform spirit’ in your sector, Oz?), this may in fact be truer than elsewhere.

    No need for as many grubby tactics when you’re running a duopoly with Fairfax, and the poliical thugs of the coalition have beaten the ABC into a compliant Pravda-style outlet for the centre-right.

    Theyre more likely to spend time intimidating critics than tapping phones.

  172. adrian

    Exactly, Lefty E.

  173. joe2

    Ita Buttrose seems to think Rupert was up to a few tricks here. Much more will come out, eventually, as this kind of dodgyness has no borders. As much as the Murdoch pr team would have it all happily divided and separated.

    RUPERT Murdoch suggested having the subject of an investigation by Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph ”followed” because the results of more traditional reporting weren’t compelling enough.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/murdoch-asked-to-have-subject-followed-buttrose-20110822-1j71i.html

  174. Johnny Rotten

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  175. Johnny Rotten

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  176. KEVIN-ONE-SEVEN

    Every time I hear Swan attack the miners I get this creepy feeling that we aren’t going to get much extra revenue from the mining tax. Anyone share that feeling?

  177. joe2

    By your definition JR, you win.

    Nobody has been convicted, so far, that I know of. So, officially, nothing illegal has happened.

    That does not mean nothing illegal, immoral or ant-democratic has not happened in Australia . Just like in England, there is plenty of time for this to blow up and for convictions to happen.

  178. Johnny Rotten

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  179. Johnny Rotten

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  180. Katz

    The punters who consume Rupert’s Australian tabloids don’t require phone hacked fodder to shell out their readies. These folks are easily pleased.

    Meanwhile, the OO, Rupert’s vanity masthead, maintained at significant cost to the shareholders of News, requires no readers to justify its existence.

    There is no incentive for Rupert’s Australian mastheads to break laws.

  181. Ootz

    @ “* would having someone followed “be” illegal? ”

    Is that you Jumpy, or clone clown thereof?

    As far as I know bullying is not illegal or legally defined, yet every institution from schools up to any half decent workplace has strategies and programs in place to counteract such behavior.

    The problem with relying simply on bounds of legality and totally disregard ethics and even common decency leads to long term dysfunctionality. Imagine medical practitioners not being guided by the ethics and professional standards provided in their training as well as by their respective Medical and Hospital Boards. Why can’t journos and media Barons not have common decency or clear defined ethical guidelines when they wield so much social power?

    “Therefore, using your logic it won’t be long before the Labor party blows up.”

    Mate in case you have not noticed, they have blown up long time ago, and if it would not be for that unelectable opposition leader, they would be in opposition loooong time ago. Thanks dog for the minority government we have had to have. I just hope that the same miracle will happen in Qld in a few weeks time. Don’t care if it is the Greens, the big Hat party and the kind of local version of Windsor/Oakshott/Wilkie, as long dweedle dee or dweedel dum have some outside the square/circle thinking company in the government benches.

  182. faustusnotes

    akn:

    it is a political act to learn about, enjoy as an audience or participate in the so called ‘high arts’ and thereby to challenge the cultural authority of the middle and ruling classes who would otherwise preserve the role of ‘high art’ cultural producers to themselves.

    No it’s not. It would be a political act to make those arts more accessible to the masses. It would be a political act to redistribute resources away from the cultural preserve of the rich and privileged towards the kind of cultural activities that garner actual community participation. It would be a political act to redefine “high” culture so that it was relevant to the modern world and took into account modern artistic sensibilities and talents.

    It is not a political act to teach yourself how to appreciate Carmen.

    Teaching yourself to read latin in the 12th century so you could read the bible would not be a political act. Translating the bible into English and sending preachers to spread the gospel in a language people understand would be.

    Another political act would be challenging the idea that dead languages and dead arts are relevant to ordinary people (working class or not!) today. Finding new art forms and trying not to privilege the stultifying and irrelevant over the vibrant and new would be genuinely useful. But defending continued funding for dead arts at the expense of new, participatory and inclusive cultural activities? That would be an elitist act.

  183. Johnny Rotten

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  184. Katz

    Lets apply it to the Labor party shall we?

    Nothing proven yet but lots of smoke.

    Apples and oranges, Mr Rotten.

    The only illegality under notice relevant to the ALP involves an individual who acted alone and without the consent of the ALP.

    Far more seriously for News International, the alleged crimes involved criminal conspiracy. According to still-evolving allegations, individuals in the chain of command conspired to break the law and/or to cover up evidence of breaches of law. Who knows how far up the chain of command this conspiracy goes? Perhaps close to the very top.

    But, as I observed above, perhaps laziness and the ease with which Rupert’s Australian readership is satisfied have preserved Murdoch’s Australian tentacle from actually breaking the law.

  185. joe2

    As defended above, when talking about Murdoch, even without evidence the smoke can be used to judge that there is a fire.

    If you wish to side with Murdoch and his goons, good for you, Johnny.
    I would surprised if your adoration for these societal wreckers was diminished if they were behind bars or not. You are just trying to draw a convenient, legalistic, line in the sand.

    But something is clearly rotten with this organisation, as is being played out in England and elsewhere, and there is no reason to believe the same nasty culture does not extend to Australia. In fact, we see it played out every day by these media bully boys in their attacks on the most vulnerable.

    I do not accept that they have not stooped to illegality in Australia; just because their pr team tells us so.

  186. Terangeree

    Yes, Faustus, things like Shakespeare’s plays are elitist and irrelevant today, aren’t they?

  187. Lefty E

    Every time I hear Swan attack the miners I get this creepy feeling that we aren’t going to get much extra revenue from the mining tax. Anyone share that feeling?

    Yep.

  188. joe2

    Aint some revenue better than none? Not sure why Swan deserves such doubt when his record as treasurer is a strong one. Oh, I know, he said bad things about our Kevvy.

  189. akn

    Madge, you are a fool.

    All art is always political. As Brecht notes “for art to be ‘unpolitical’ means only to ally itself with the ‘ruling’ group.”

    Take this with you back into the shared hell realm of WoW:

    Even the most blockheaded bureaucrat,
    Provided he loves peace,
    Is a greater lover of the arts
    Than any so-called art-lover
    Who loves the arts of war.

    “Freedom for Whom”, in Brecht on Brecht : An Improvisation.

  190. Tim Macknay

    it is a political act to learn about, enjoy as an audience or participate in the so called ‘high arts’ and thereby to challenge the cultural authority of the middle and ruling classes who would otherwise preserve the role of ‘high art’ cultural producers to themselves.

    So upward mobility is now a radical Left strategy? I’d like to see that represented in four-dimensional geometry…

  191. Tim Macknay

    Dammit. stuffed up the blockquotes. mods?

    [Is that better? - Ed]

  192. David Irving (no relation)

    That Coriolanus looks interesting, Terangeree. Better than what that tosser Baz Luhrmann did to Romeo and Juliet, I hope. It has overtones of Gandalf’s Richard III.

  193. Nick

    Speaking of Baz Luhrmann, I came across this recently while searching through archive.org for Australian content:

    http://www.archive.org/details/kangaroo

    Check out the first shots of the homestead :)

  194. akn

    Tim MacKnay: it is if if you have the wit to carry it off. Your sort of prolier than thou attitude equates ignorance, lack of education, the absence of any sort of cultural capital other than those of the most mundane sort (what’s wrong with the footy anyway?) with the best elements of the working class. But to adopt this position you’d have to be unaware of the history of the WEA and the its predecessor movement – the Schools of Arts – to continue to do so. They both have deeper roots in Owenite socialism and urged that anyone could learn and aspire to whatever their talent and genius allows. People like you have always sneered from the sidelines.

    DI(nr): for mine the best Oz film remains Wake in Fright.

    Madge: see Kate Jennings review of above. It starts with a quote from Virgil:

    The way downward is easy from Avernus.

    Black Dis’s door stands open night and day.

    But to retrace your steps to heaven’s air,

    There is the trouble, there is the toil.

  195. Terangeree

    Nick @ 196:

    Oh dear. That film has nothing to do with D. H. Lawrence.

  196. Terangeree

    … and boomerangs do not scream.

  197. joe2

    Fancy a bit of reading?

    Rupert Murdoch: An investigtion of political power by – David McKnight

    This is a download, folks, of the book teaser….
    http://www.allenandunwin.com/_uploads/BookPdf/Extract/9781742373522.pdf

  198. Ootz

    @186 “I know not of this Jumpy you speak of, however your name calling says a lot about you :)

    Name calling, moi? Any entity that labels it self Johnny Rotten is by definition “Larger than Life”, Clone and clown are just the outer extremes of possibilities on that scale. However, you do remind me of jumpy or one of his various embodiments in the LP universe.

    I am intrigued why you left my ” …common decency … ” out and focused on your “…. ethics promoted/taught by intellectuals …”. I gather since you distrust the ethics of medical practitioners, you are presumable more comfortable with faith healing and tend to engage in profound debates by sending death threats to Mr Giubilini and Ms Minerva?

  199. Fran Barlow

    “I know not of this Jumpy you speak of …

    I don’t often use this but here it seems apt. LOL That’s almost the standard syntax for a non-denial denial. More felicitous would have been:

    I know not of this ‘Jumpy’ of which you speak.” I think a version of this line was used in Arrested Development when the alienated actor husband returns to the family hearth dressed as a Mrs Doubtfire-style character.

  200. paul of albury

    ‘of whom’ surely, Fran!

  201. faustusnotes

    akn:

    Your sort of prolier than thou attitude equates ignorance, lack of education, the absence of any sort of cultural capital other than those of the most mundane sort

    Not only is “prolier than thou” pretty rich coming from you, akn, but now you’re hopping directly onto Fran’s bandwagon, and saying that people who don’t like what you like have an “absence of cultural capital.”

  202. alfred venison

    dear editor
    i fear we’re always going to have tax payer subsidised elite sport & tax payer subsidised elite art as long as we have nationalism among nations & competition among corporations. subsidies for elite arts & subsidies for elite sports are done at the national level for reasons of national prestige & projection of national image on the international arena. its the same with corporations: for reasons of prestige, corporations, like nation states, are as keen to proudly bring “us” opera seasons, as they are to proudly provide services to “our” olympians.

    on a lighter note, the 1984 francesco rosi film version of “carmen”, starring julia migenes, ruggiero raimondi & placido domingo (remember “the 3 tenors” at the world cup soccer?) gets a pretty good overall score from the denizens of the int’l movie d/b site.

    a lot of people there liked rosi’s version for its “realism”, others for its singing. for me, i miss the chorus, the chorus are “the people” in operas & they have some really good numbers, too, in carmen, like the night scene at the smugglers den in the mountains. oh well, you can’t please everyone, i guess. but, in any case, people who chose to view this film version & have a soft spot for farmyard animals should close their eyes during the overture.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  203. Tim Macknay

    Tim MacKnay: it is if if you have the wit to carry it off. Your sort of prolier than thou attitude equates ignorance, lack of education, the absence of any sort of cultural capital other than those of the most mundane sort (what’s wrong with the footy anyway?) with the best elements of the working class. But to adopt this position you’d have to be unaware of the history of the WEA and the its predecessor movement – the Schools of Arts – to continue to do so. They both have deeper roots in Owenite socialism and urged that anyone could learn and aspire to whatever their talent and genius allows. People like you have always sneered from the sidelines.

    Good grief.

  204. joe2

    Hey, L.P. folks, has anyone thought about a separate post on The Fink. Report?

    Wendy Bacon and Margaret Simons have both written good pieces to set the ball rolling.

  205. Fran Barlow

    Paul of Albury said:

    ‘of whom’ surely, Fran!

    You got me there. Fair point.

  206. Johnny Rotten

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  207. Johnny Rotten

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  208. joe2

    And besides Wendy Bacon and Margaret Simons who have both written good pieces on The Fink. Report, mentioned @208, another has come into the mix by Graeme Orr.

    http://inside.org.au/finkelstein-one-stop-shop/

  209. joe2
  210. adrian

    Brilliant!
    ‘If we’re not careful the elected government could end up running the whole country.’

  211. Ootz

    I second joe2 @208 for a Finklestein report thread.

    In Jonathan Holmes’ Drum piece on the report. He reckons Michael Gawenda summed it up

    It is my experience that editors and journalists are more interested in burying complaints from readers than addressing them, that mistakes and ethical lapses are acknowledged only grudgingly and that most media organisations have wholly inadequate mechanisms for dealing with complaints by readers, viewers and listeners.

    That should substantiates my point @184,
    “Relying simply on bounds of legality and totally disregard ethics and even common decency leads to long term dysfunctionality (in the long term).” NB apologies to the resident grammar guardians – my brain is miss firing, in pain and bedridden again.

  212. Ootz

    drats – stuffed up html coding so my comment above landed in moderation. Molte scuse tigtog cara, anche per chomping sullo stoushbait ;)

    Further, to my point above and @184, have a look at Mitchell’s legal posturing in pursuing Manne.

    It is all ‘unfolding’ on Andrew Crooks piece @ Crikey. Three updates sofar on whether legal action has actually been taken by Mitchell. A comment and clarifications by Manne and a comment by Wendy Bacon and Julie Posetti worth while a read, as they marvel at Chris’ hubris. If there is something wrong in Manne’s drum piece why not just seek a correction?

    Clearly actions of a dysfunctional leader in a once self respecting profession.

  213. Brian

    Ootz, I had a go at unscrambling your link @ 215, now released. My internet connection is like syrup and refuses to follow the Gawenda link, so I can’t check it.

    Sorry to hear you are crook again.

  214. Tim Macknay

    On Chris Mitchell, the following entry from Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary seems apposite:

    LICKSPITTLE: A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing a newspaper. In his character of editor he is closely allied to the blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity; for in truth the lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although the latter is frequently found as an independent species. Lickspittling is more detestable than blackmailing, precisely as the business of a confidence man is more detestable than that of a highway robber; and the parallel maintains itself throughout, for whereas few robbers will cheat, every sneak will plunder if he dare.

  215. alfred venison

    dear faustusnotes
    “alfred, you can find videos of Ai weiwei’s sunflower seeds being made online. Not only did he not make his own art, but it was made in pretty hard conditions in China, the kinds of conditions which if they were being used to make something for Nike or Apple would be decried as exploitation. I suspect.”

    do you mean this video?:-
    http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/unileverseries2010/room3.shtm

    and look, its sponsored by unilever corp.

    no wonder you “suspect” the conditions shown on that video would be decried. some people would say you are talking through your hat. i’d say you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.

    I don’t much like installation art, whether by weiwei or anyone else, but i like even less misrepresentations of artists & art i don’t like.
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  216. Johnny Rotten

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  217. David Irving (no relation)

    Johnny Rotten, Hendo and Manne have been having an extremely tedious stoush since about 1968 – it’s of no interest to anyone except the participants, and i suspect Manne (who’s ahead on points) is thoroughly sick of it as well. (I did try to find the paragraph you pointed out, but even skimming Hendo makes me lose the will to live.)

  218. Mercurius

    DiNR, yes although the reason may be (mercifully) lost to the ages, I for one would love to know what is the genesis of the extremely tedious Manne-Henderson stoush. The longevity, doggedness and tediousness of the stoush leaves one open to wonder that it might have been a Don’s Party-style event that set the whole lumbering train in motion.

    If only they’d been contemporaries, oh what I wouldn’t give to witness a stoush between William Hazlitt and Gore Vidal!

  219. Andyc

    Tim Macknay @ 218 :-) That definition works so well in so many other contexts, as well! Bierce has his finger on the trigger yet again.

  220. Katz

    Hi Gina! Saw this in the newspaper.

    Staff at Hancock Prospecting say that despite Mrs Rinehart’s long-standing policy of refusing to speak to journalists, she cares a lot about her public image.

    She has a contract with Media Monitors to scan all news media and deliver each morning all news articles with key phrases including Gina Rinehart, Lang Hancock, iron ore and even Rose Porteous.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/13139620/old-fights-surface-as-rinehart-secrecy-folds/

    If you are reading this, then Media Monitors are doing what you are paying them to do.

    PS. With friends like Barnaby Joyce, you don’t need any enemies. Surely, a woman of your wealth can buy better friends. 

  221. Paul Norton

    Mercurius @222, I recall reading a column by Manne from about the time of the Demidenko affair (mid-1990s) which commented on some minor disagreement he was then having with his “friend, Gerard Henderson” arising from the latter’s nit-pickingly forensic criticism of something Manne (or perhaps someone else) had written, and it seemed to degenerate from there, with differences and grievances going back to the 1960s being trawled over in long exchanges between them.

  222. Johnny Rotten

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  223. Katz

    Well yairs, Mr Rotten @ 220.

    It appears that Robert Manne has confused entrepreneur Larry Adler with his son, convicted fraudster Rodney Adler.

    The public record shows that Rodney Adler was closely associated with Gerard Henderson’s Sydney Institute. And some have alleged that Rodney Adler did fund the Sydney Institute.

    Perhaps coincidentally, Gerard Henderson wrote some very kind words in favour of convicted fraudster Rodney Adler on the occasion of his sentencing:

    EMMA ALBERICI: There are other notable supporters who sent references to the judge, but refused to repeat their words on camera, included the Sydney Institute’s Gerard Henderson. 

    GERARD HENDERSON, THE SYDNEY INSTITUTE: “In my dealings with Rodney Adler over almost two decades, I have found him to be straight-forward and of good character. In my experiences, he kept his promises and was honest in his personal dealings…he is a devoted family man whose prime concern in his life turns on the well being of his children.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2005/s1345646.htm

    Notably, Gerard Henderson was prepared to write these words for the eyes of the judge, but unusually for Mr Henderson declined to repeat them in front of a camera. Rarely has Mr Henderson been so shy.

    I wonder if Mr Adler thought he got his money’s worth from the Sydney Institute, if indeed he ever did fund it.

  224. Johnny Rotten

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  225. Nick

    Robert Manne: “It is true that Henderson did attack Bosch re FAI Insurance and Larry Adler in The Australian. It is a lie if he is claiming that he didn’t also attack him, re his dealings Larry Adler etc., in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age as well–see his articles of July 3 1990 and 27 July 1993. Anyone with Factiva can read them. In a postscript to his SMH column of 20 July 1999 he called Bosch a “media groupie”. Sounds vitriolic to me.

    The point you and Hendo stress about the Sydney Institute is trivial and typically misleading. Henderson was the head of the IPA (Sydney). He then broke with the Melbourne group and renamed it the Sydney Institute. In essence it was the same institute.

    When the IPA (Sydney) morphed into the Sydney Institute around April 1989 Henderson told John Lyons in the SMH that Mr Henry Bosch would be “a target”. As you can see, he was.

    It was well known that Larry Adler of FAI Insurance and his son Rodney (who came to grief over HIH and ended in prison) were closely associated with, and strong financial backers, of the IPA (Syd)/Sydney Institute. The son was one of the original businessmen closely associated in 1989 with the Sydney Institute at its formation.(See SMH, April 8 1989). Tim should ask Henderson directly whether he will deny that IPA (Syd)/Sydney Institute received funds from FAI Insurance at the time of both Larry Adler’s and Rodney Adler’s time at FAI.

    In my files I have an article in which Larry Adler accused Henry Bosch and the NSSC of conducting a “blitzkrieg” against FAI Insurance. (Catherine Armitage, SMH, May 7 1988) I assumed that this meant the offices had been raided. (He also spoke of the NCSC’s “terrorism”.) Maybe Larry Adler merely meant a virtual raid. It was an incredibly vicious stoush with threats of legal action in the air.”

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/he_is_karma/

  226. David Irving (no relation)

    Hendo, is that you @ 228?

    To clarify: I followed the stoush for a while some years ago, before succumbing to the tedium. I’m not alone, but lack the interest to provide supporting information.

    The reason I think that Manne is ahead on points is because, unlike Hendo, he doesn’t send me reaching for the razor-in-a-hot-bath solution within seconds.

  227. Katz
  228. Chris

    So why is the soap opera that is Gina Rhinehart’s family dispute considered to be so newsworthy?

  229. adrian

    I’d ask the same question of most of the dross that is presented to us in the name of news.

  230. Jacques de Molay

    So why is the soap opera that is Gina Rhinehart’s family dispute considered to be so newsworthy?

    Because the media have to fill the blank spaces around the ads with something?