GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG – ISSUE NO. 131

30 MARCH 2012

“Media Watch Dog on Fridays…is a sort of popular read in the Crikey office”

Crikey’s Andrew Crook on ABC 2 News Breakfast, 24 September 2010.

“Gerard Henderson is big enough to take care of himself, but that doesn’t stop us worrying about him from time to time.

Lately it’s Hendo’s tendency to self-harm that has us losing sleep.

For example, peruse the correspondence he’s published in his latest Media Watch Dog blog…..There’s a part of us that just wants to ask:

“Hendo, are you OK?”

– James Jeffrey’s “Strewth!” column, The Australian, 8 November 2010.

“I realise this makes me practically retarded, but until five minutes ago

I thought Nancy was Gerard Henderson’s wife, not his dog.”

– Byronbache via Twitter, Monday 7 February 2011

“Before going further can you write to confirm that these emails

are private correspondence and not for publication” – ABC News Radio’s

Marius Benson, 11 March 2011. He did go further – see MWD Issue 86.

Media Watch Dog – “disgraceful”, “sick”

– Professor Robert Manne, April Fool’s Day 2011.

“Go to the Sydney Institute Media Watch Dog website to marvel at [its] work”

– Mark Latham The Spectator Australia 11 June 2011.

“Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.”

– Mike Carlton, Saturday 13 August 2011 (after lunch)

“We’d better be careful what we say, just in case Gerard’s offsider pooch Nancy is keeping an eye on us for his delightfully earnest Media Watch Dog”

– Tom Cowie of The Power Index, Crikey 20 January 2012

Stop Press: Liberty Sanger Discovers That The Pope Is Catholic; Fran Kelly Fails To Discover That John Edwards Does Not Speak For The RBA

MWD Special:  The Inaugural Draft of Bob Brown’s Green Oration As Hacked By Nancy

● Nancy’s Pick-of-the-Week : Colin Friels on Why Steven Spielberg Should Go Away

● Can You Bear It?  Scott Burchill’s Queensland Howlers on Way To Tip; Shane Wright Gets Lost in Gethsemane Metaphor;

Michael Short’s Softer, Gentler  Malcolm Fraser (Just as The Age would wish)

Documentation: Barry Humphries Does Westgarth Melbourne, Melbourne Architecture and The Sydney Push As Told to Jon Faine

● Andrew West Updates the Journos Well-earned Break Line

STOP PRESS

▪ Liberty Sanger – On All The News That Should Be Printed

The sassy Liberty Sanger was at it again on ABC1 News Breakfast this morning – advising viewers what the news should be, rather than what the news is.  Appearing on the “Newspapers” segment, Ms Sanger – whom Tony Jones describes as a Labor lawyer – had this to say about the shock/horror news that the Catholic Church in Australia opposes same-sex marriage.

Liberty Sanger : The front page of the Herald Sun talks about this issue that the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, and also five other bishops writing to their parishioners. It seems that they’re asking parishioners to vote on an online survey, or in an online survey, on the bill that’s presently before the Parliament. I think we’ve now just canvassed the relevant issues, but they’re worried about what same-sex marriage would mean for family life.

My understanding of the bill is that there’s going to be exemptions for churches; no one’s going to be forcing same-sex marriage on religious institutions. This is simply an issue of equality before the law – that everyone in Australia has the same rights before the law.  It’s interesting the Catholic Church is nonetheless agitating and declaring a war on same-sex marriage in those circumstances, because they themselves, of course, are not under threat. But nonetheless they obviously see their mandate as being broader than their own Church, so off they go.

So there you go.  Ms Sanger regards it as news that the Catholic Church in Victoria is opposed to same-sex marriage. [Is the Pope still a Catholic? – Ed].  Moreover, she believes that the news SHOULD be that Archbishop Hart supports gay marriage. [Is there anyone on the ABC gay or straight or unfinancial – who doesn’t support gay marriage? – Ed].

RN Breakfast Howler Re John Edwards and RBA

Where’s Fran Kelly when you need her to correct a live-to-air howler?  Let’s go to the audio tape of Ms Kelly’s interview with ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence which aired on Radio National Breakfast this morning:

Fran Kelly : The super [superannuation] levy rose from three percent to nine percent in the 1990s. This was offset then by strong productivity growth. But we’re not seeing anything like that same sort of productivity growth in recent years, and resources Minister Martin Ferguson has called for a “mature debate” between employers and industrial representatives about our productivity and competitiveness performance as a nation. Do you agree that the workforce needs to lift its productivity?

Jeff Lawrence: Well, I agree that there should be a mature debate and that debate should be based upon the facts. And, the facts are that whatever has happened to our productivity growth has not been related to our industrial relations regulation. The Reserve Bank actually accepts that; John Edwards made a speech yesterday that was quoted in the Financial Review that indicated his acceptance of that. But yet we have employers who continue to make these assertions that changes to industrial relations regulation, or  reduction in conditions of employment and take-home pay will help productivity, when they won’t.

Fran Kelly: What will work productivity, what will work to lift productivity, because that’s what we need to unlock.

Jeff Lawrence – and Fran Kelly – should know that John Edwards does not speak for the Reserve Bank of Australia.  Sure, Dr Edwards is an RBA board member.  But so is Heather Ridout – who is critical of Australia’s industrial relations system.  Individual part-time Board members do not speak for the Reserve Bank.

Bob Brown’s “Fellow Earthians” 3rd Annual Greens Oration – which was delivered to a room full of sandal-wearers in Hobart Town Hall, Macquarie Street, Hobart last Friday evening – did not receive the media attention it warranted. For example, it was not reported in “The Guardian on the Yarra” which is widely read by Greens voters.  Fortunately Nancy hacked into an early draft of the address and this makes it possible to give the oration wider publicity. The inaugural draft bears a strong similarity to the final version which can be found on the Greens website – see  http://bob-brown.greensmps.org.au/content/news-stories/bob-brown-delivers-3rd-annual-green-oration. In view of the importance of this seminal address – the first by an Australian political party leader to canvass the possibility of winning votes in the wider Universe – the initial draft (as hacked by Nancy) is published below in full below.

* * * * *

Bob Brown delivers 3rd Annual Green Oration – First Draft.  Key words: Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Catastrophe, Extincted, Lee Rhiannon, Nee, Brown, Hate Media, Murdoch, Bush, Nihilist, Eternity, Cosmos, Opsimath.

Fellow Earthians – and all others who stand (or sit or lie) on the Eve of Extinction.

Never before has the Universe unfolded such a flower as our collective human intelligence – as far as we all know.  And never before has such intelligence been collected under one roof at the Hobart Town Hall. And never before have I quoted Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi in this my 3rd Annual Greens Oration – except for last year and the year before that.  And never before have I sung “The Earth Song” – as I will later with a little help from Miss Claire Dawson.

We are here today for two reasons.  First, the Big Bang happened 13.7 billion years ago – give or take a billion years here or there – as the Universe exploded into being.  Let’s face it.  Without the Big Bang we would not be here at all and extinction would not be upon us. Put it this way. You can’t be extincted if you were never around in the first place.  Also we’re here because we could not book the Hobart Cricket Ground.  It’s a bit much to ask those celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Greens movement to bicycle all the way to Bellerive.  However, I did feel guilty catching the lift to the first floor this evening.

I am so grateful to you several score of Earthians for turning up today – for the rally to save the Universe.  But I’m sorry to report that we are home alone.  Why is it that no one from elsewhere in the Cosmos has bothered to celebrate our success (so far)  in saving the Cosmos? Nor did anyone send their congratulations by means of intergalactic phone system. Why is this so?  Why are our fellow Greens Out There (GOT) not communicating with Earth?  Why?  Don’t tell me there are no extraterrestrials out there – GOT people.  That’s the sort of crap you read in the Hate Media.

There are some explanations.  Cardinal George Pell has used the Hate Media to opine that the people like us on similar planets all went gay and the necessary breeders became extinct.  According to Pell, no breeding led to no offspring and the GOT and others extincted themselves.  But I don’t believe this.  I reckon that the rest of the Cosmos will not contact us since their calls will be intercepted and they will be misreported in Rupert Murdoch’s Hate Media.  Get rid of the Hate Media and the intergalactic phones will ring again and then we can all put on our sandals – Earthians and GOT alike – and hold hands and love one another.  This I believe – in a Green kind of way.  There’s still time to both save the Planet and get home tonight in time to see ourselves on Lateline.  This I believe. Catastrophe is likely to come after Lateline.

Recently I got back to bed at Liffey in Tasmania after ruminating under the stars for hours.  Why did I have to leave Liffey to watch the stars?  – you might ask.  Well, the smoke from the home-fire burning in my Liffey abode has blocked out the stars for miles around – so I have to cycle into Longford to get a view of the heavens.  Anyrate, when I got home Paul asked: “Did you see a comet?”  I replied in the affirmative.  After all, it would have been deflating to concede that all I saw was a Jet Star flight bound from Hobart to Launceston. But I added: “I saw a comet and it is called Global Democracy;  I saw it in the stars.”  Paul liked my reply so much he threw another log on the fire.

As Karl Marx might have said if he had been a Green and not a Marxist: “Sandal wearers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your hemp-filled chains”. This is my point.  There are just 23 million Australian Earthians among 7 billion other Earthians.  2500 years ago the Athenians gave the vote to a couple of members of the Athens city state. Then 180 years ago Britain gave the vote to men of means.  After his Gettysburg address in 1859 – some years before the Civil War commenced – President Lincoln gave the vote to all men who had survived the Civil War. Are you still with me – or did I get a date wrong here?  What follows is obvious.  Let’s have a World Parliament which everyone elects (including over one billion Chinese).  Provided they don’t work for Exxon, Coca-Cola, BHP Billiton or News Corporation.  As you, my fellow Earthians well understand, you have to draw the line somewhere.

I have never met a person in whom I did not see myself reflected, which is why I always carry a mirror in my hemp bag.  Except for Margaret Thatcher, George W. Bush and Rupert Murdoch.  As for the rest – some grew old and died and some grew old and lived – and I am now part of their ongoing presence on Earth.

All the rest of us are part of us Earthians’ presence on Earth.  Except for our very own Miranda Gibson-Gandhi who is currently perched 60 meters high across Central Tasmania and as she experiences misty eyes due to the smoke from my home-sweet-home fire in Liffey.  In Miranda’s spirit, is the saving of the world. So she is closer to the Cosmos than any of us here tonight.  To sustain her, the Greens have constructed the longest drop-toilet in the Universe – a full 60 meters from top to bottom.  When the bucket comes down we fill it up with bread and water and copies of the Green Left Weekly and Miranda pulls it all the way up.  Clever – don’t you think?

The fact is that to accommodate ten billion people at American, European and Australasian rates of consumption we will need two more planets to exploit in a few decades.  Earth won’t be big enough for the Earthians. Unless there are five million sandal-wearers or five billion like Miranda Gibson-Gandhi who are willing to sit on tall tree platforms for the rest of their lives.  In other words, Eternity.

I reject the nihilist idea that the planet would be better off without us Greens.  But it would be better off without the Murdoch Hate Media.  Let us resolve to last for Eternity.  I look to the Green Youth to keep my candle alight.  I hope they lighten your candle as well as any unlit candles in the Cosmos.  In this stream of life, where birth and death are our common lot, the replenishment of humankind lights up our own existence.  May it go on and on. Until Eternity.

I believe in one Planet, one Person, one Vote and one Value.  It’s sure better than no Planet, no Person, no Vote and no Value.  Think about it.  I’ve discussed this with my fellow Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon (nee Brown).  Lee told me that she was taught at the Lenin School in Moscow, circa 1976, that the One Vote is the way to go.  Lee learnt that Joe Stalin had only one vote but he achieved a lot with it.  Certainly no one felt the need to perch on tall tree platforms in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s time – although, come to think of it, this might have been due to the fact that no trees survived the Bolshevik Revolution.  But Lee has a point – beyond wanting my job.

I am an optimist. I am an opsimath (with a Thesaurus). I am a Green with a burning fireplace down Liffey way.  I am a 67 year old bloke with a candle.  I am Gandhi.  Or perhaps Lincoln. Or maybe Churchill. Churchill famously said that the Universe is the worst form of planet except for all the other planets.   Or something like that.  He was a clever man, Mr Churchill.  But he smoked and drank too much.  Hitler would have been defeated two years earlier if the Free World had not been led by a tobacco addicted alcoholic – and if Lee’s parents (Bill and Freda Brown) had not given Adolf a leg-up by supporting the Nazi Soviet Pact in 1939.

Dearly beloved Earthians, we have gathered together to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Greens and to save Mother Earth.  In another 40 years, I look forward to establishing another Greens party somewhere else in the Cosmos.  By then I believe that Paul’s smoke signals from our Liffey abode will have been seen by the GOT and they will be encouraged to hit the intergalactic phones and contact us.

Today One World Government. Tomorrow One Planet Government. In between, One Large Phone Bill.

Let us resolve

that there should be established

a representative assembly of sandal-wearers

a global parliament of Gandhi look-alikes

for the people of Earth (people like us)

and Mars and Jupiter and Pluto (people like them)

that will save the Earth

and the Planet

and the Cosmos

and the Universe

and sacred sites like Hobart Town Hall

and all clichés and rare words

and all opsimaths

and all living creatures

except for Margaret and George W. and Rupert.

We will steady ourselves – this unfolding flower of intelligence in the Universe.  This I. This Us.  This We. This Greens’ movement.  We will steady ourselves for this long, shared, wondrous journey during which all shall be free – apart from a necessary number of breeders, who will be required to do what has to be done to create brand new Greens’ voters every nine months.

Let us march for a global democracy and parliament to be created in, say, Geneva. Or perhaps Liffey. But first, let’s descend down the stairs on to Macquarie Street, Hobart.

We must. We can. We will.

NANCY’S PICK-OF-THE-WEEK

COLIN FRIELS ON THEATRE AS A SYDNEY DENTIST WATCHING SPEILBERG

What a stunning performance by actor Colin Friels on ABC1 News Breakfast last Monday. In Who’s Who in Australia, the Glasgow-born actor lists his credits as including the film The Nostradamus Kid, the play Copenhagen and marriage to Judy Davis.  [Your man Friels is worth an Oscar, surely – Ed].

The gorgeous Karina Carvalho looked on in admiration as Mr Friels – who is currently in Melbourne for performances in Red – paid out on all and sundry with the encouragement of Red director Alkinos Tsilimidos. Mr Friels started off by saying you have more fun going to the dentist than going to the theatre these days because so much of “live theatre” is “dead”.

Asked by Ms Carvalho whether theatre is “all too commercial now”, Mr Friels let fly. For the record, he was sitting next to Mr Tsilimidos during the interview. Here we go:

Colin Friels: Yeah. Mostly. I think so, yeah. Look what we accept – this drivel we see, this American-dominated cinema you see. I mean, as a very good friend of mine said, who’s sitting next to me, he said: “They make films for four-year-olds, and not very smart ones.” And it’s true. The average junk you’re going to watch out there – the bar is so low. You think, what am I watching a film about penguins for? I mean, adults are going to see these things, and discussing them. With relevance. You think, did Fellini ever exist?

Alkinos Tsilimidos : And disguising them as human drama.

Colin Friels: Yeah, you think, what’s going on?

Karina Carvalho : So, if Steven Spielberg came knocking with a big block-buster and millions of dollars, you’d turn him down?

Colin Friels: Please stop making films, Steven Spielberg. Please stop. We’ve had enough.  We’ve seen it. Go away, please. I love horses – I went to see, what’s it called?

Karina Carvalho: War Horse.

Colin Friels : Who made this piece of banality?  It’s banal.

Karina Carvalho was obviously impressed with the insight of an actor who can depict a piece of banality as, well, banal.  So she asked for more. Lots more. This is what Colin Friels delivered on his home town in Sydney – where he lives down Balmain way with the sandal-wearers and basket-weavers and other seriously alienated types.

Colin Friels : The only good theatre – theatre will only start from its communal base, from the community it’s in. I come from Sydney where one gets no sense of community at all in that God-forsaken city – that smug, pleased with itself, place that it is, you know. So pleased with itself. No sense of community anywhere, it’s very hard to find. So, you wonder, how will theatre even evolve in this place, let alone film? You know, so there’s a lot of work to do, you know. There’s a lot to do, I really think there is. And, to have the dignity to think, I don’t care what anyone else in the world thinks, it’s what am I doing here? That’s what matters.

Too right.  [What was he doing there? – Ed].

CAN YOU BEAR IT?

▪ Scott Burchill Goes A-Tipping (Again)

Just when, as ABC1 News Breakfast co-presenter Michael Rowland put it, Dr Scott Burchill was looking “sartorially elegant” – the learned doctor (for a doctor he is) obviously had more work to do at the tip. So the Deakin University senior lecturer turned up at the ABC studios in Melbourne last Tuesday looking unkempt, unshaven and dressed up for a visit to the tip. He was clothed in a black, scruffy jacket and wearing a dark tee-shirt – on which the following letters were visible, i.e. OVE LIV.

Nancy immediately went into crossword breaking code and came up with this possibility “I Love Living”. Or, perhaps, “I Love Liver”. Or, then again, “Move Livery” – which might be just what the doctor ordered had you just dropped into the ABC en route to the local tip.

However, as MWD readers know, we are primarily interested in Scott Burchill’s mind.  This is what the learned doctor had to say about the Liberal National Party’s huge victory over Labor in last  Saturday’s Queensland election:

Scott Burchill : I’m not sure what you think about this, Michael. But I actually think the loss in Queensland will play to Gillard’s advantage, come the next election. I think the way you can portray state governments in federal elections as being uncooperative, or not playing around, or blaming them for things that didn’t work – it’s much easier when you’ve the other side in power in those state governments.

Scott Burchill attempted to clarify this a bit but the damage was already done. It seems that Dr Burchill is the only commentator in the country who believes that Labor’s devastating defeat in Queensland might be good for Julia Gillard.  But, then, your man Burchill was the only commentator who was interviewed last Monday on the way to – or was it coming from? – the tip.

Later on, Scott Burchill suggested that a certain K.Rudd might be tempted to lead the Labor Opposition in Queensland.  Let’s go to the video tape:

Scott Burchill : But, look, Queensland’s always been a difficult challenge for Labor because, in a sense, there are two Labor parties. There’s a Labor Party for the rest of Australia and the Labor Party for Queensland – and sometimes they don’t always meet in the middle. But, clearly, they’ve got, what, only 12 months or so now to rectify the problem and try and get themselves back into some degree of respectability in the State. Otherwise, they’ve got little chance. Unless, I guess, Mr Rudd is parachuted from the back-bench of the Federal Parliament into State politics in Queensland, but I don’t even think he –

Michael Rowland : State politics? That’s a big call.

Scott Burchill : Well, that’s where he came from, of course. He was a public servant in the Goss Government a few years back.

Michael Rowland : State Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd. You think it’s got a ring to it?

Scott Burchill : Well, they’ve only got, what, six to choose from at this point. And, I know the incumbent [Anna Bligh] is having to stand for a by-election soon, she wants to get out…as quickly as possible. So, I don’t know, wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think the Prime Minister’s views for her own prospects if Mr Rudd made it –

Michael Rowland : Oh, she’d be encouraging it, wouldn’t she?

Scott Burchill: Oh, I wouldn’t have thought so. I’d have thought that things passed under doors in offices this morning.

Karina Carvalho :  Well, given how long Labor is expected to be in Opposition in Queensland for, surely you couldn’t imagine Kevin Rudd wanting to be Opposition leader for that many years.

Scott Burchill: No, no. You’d have to appeal to his self-confidence that he could reverse this in one term. But that may even be beyond his extraordinary capabilities.

Just when viewers were waiting for the executive producer to cut the interview and run yet another advertisement (on the advertisement-free ABC), the presenters realised that it was time for Dr Burchill to head for the tip and thanked their guest.

For her part, Nancy found the performance quite insightful.  According to Dr Burchill, (i) Labor’s trouncing in Queensland might be good for Federal Labor, (ii) Kevin Rudd might take up the job of Queensland Opposition leader, (iii) Anna Bligh, who announced her retirement from politics on Sunday, “is having to stand for a by-election soon” and (iv) Kevin Rudd is unlikely to take up the job of Queensland Opposition leader.  That’s pretty clear, then.

Scott Burchill is an academic – a senior lecturer, no less.  Can you bear it?

Shane Wright Hits Hidden Metaphor Near Jerusalem

This is what The West Australian journalist Shane Wright, who is a member of the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery, had to say about new Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr.  The occasion was the PM Agenda panel discussion on Sky News last Wednesday:

Shane Wright : Look, he’s going to take time. But there’s all this, like, this theory that he’s the Messiah.  But, as Monty Python said, he’s really just a little naughty boy. He’s come from New South Wales state politics – and he’s been out for a few years. It will take him time to find his way up the hill to Gethsemane.

And, that’s where the, Julia Gillard and everyone else is hoping. But, that story, from memory, doesn’t end too well for the Messiah. So everyone’s thinking – yeah, let’s hope it goes on. But that’s, to labour a great analogy there. That’s the problem. Like, there’s so much hanging on him that.  I don’t think Bob Carr, or anybody, could come up to that sort of level of expectation.  And that’s the problem; they’ve built so much up around him, even in the Gallery there’s so much expectation about Bob Carr. But, look, you’ve got to be realistic and the opinion polls are a pretty good dose of reality.

What’s he on about?  [Do you mean – what’s he on? – Ed].  Why would Messiah Carr want to find his way “up the hill” to the Garden of Gethsemane?  Or down the hill from Gethsemane? Or whatever.

Can you bear it?

The “Guardian-on-the-Yarra” Zones In On Malcolm Fraser

MWD just loves Michael Short’s “The Zone” which appears in The Age every Tuesday.  Especially since it is difficult to work out what “The Zone” is on about.  Each week it is introduced as follows:

The Zone is about activism and advocacy. It is collaborative.  Its purpose is to ventilate arguments for moving an issue or situation from what is the case to what might be or ought to be the case.  Across a broad range of areas including public policy, philanthropy, philosophy, culture, community, design and business. The Zone seeks to bring fresh thoughts into the free market for ideas.

This week’s guest on The Zone was former Liberal Party prime minister Malcolm Fraser who has resigned from the Liberal Party and is now a hero of the leftist intelligentsia who attend (taxpayer subsidised) literary festivals and read “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra”.

Mr Fraser’s entry into “The Zone” comes as something of a surprise since he has been running much the same line for over a decade.  Indeed all of it was printed in Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs – a self-serving autobiography which is replete with factual errors (see MWD passim).  The book was jointly written by Malcolm Fraser and leftist sandal-wearer Margaret Simons.

Michael Short quickly got into Malcolm Fraser’s zone. According to this week’s edition of “The Zone” (i) the Coalition “has failed to inspire”, (ii) the Liberal Party’s response to Fraser’s critique is “cheap and easy”, (iii) both the Coalition and Labor are too negative, (iv) Australia is perceived to be “a racist nation”, (v) Australia since the Second World War  “has become craven towards the US to the point that we are a ‘puppy dog’  nation” (vi) China “is a great and proud nation with a sense of history which we don’t even apprehend”, and (vii) Parliament “is littered with apparatchiks”.

And this is what “The Zone” did not tell readers of “The Guardian-on-the-Yarra”.

▪ In 1975 Malcolm Fraser led perhaps the most negative Opposition in Australian history.  In his last opinion poll as Opposition leader in late 1975, Fraser’s approval was lower than that of Tony Abbott today.

▪  Malcolm Fraser :The Political Memoirs is one of the most self-serving political memoirs ever published in Australia. It is neither cheap nor easy to point this out – especially now that Fraser is adored by the leftist intelligentsia.

▪  It is not clear who regards Australia as “a racist nation”.

▪  During his time as prime minister, Malcolm Fraser was extremely close to the United States.

▪ Mr Fraser’s own understanding of China is so deficient that, when the murderous Mao Zedong died in September 1976, Fraser moved a condolence motion in the House of Representatives (See MWD 95)

▪ Malcolm Fraser entered the Australian Parliament in December 1955 at age 25.  He had achieved nothing significant in his own right before he became Liberal Party MP. Some, indeed, thought young Malcolm to be an apparatchik.

Can you bear it?

DOCUMENTATION – BARRY HUMPHRIES IN CONVERSATION WITH JON FAINE AND SHAUN MICALLEF, ABC RADIO 774, 21 MARCH 2012

One of MWD’s Melbourne followers has drawn attention to a recent Barry Humphries interview on 774.  It shows Barry Humphries in his strengths (perception – about the much over-rated Sydney Push of the 1960s) and weaknesses (detestation – for the suburbs and insensitivity – about men younger than him who died at war).  Let’s focus on a few Barry Humphries moments:

A Sapphic Enclave Identified

Barry Humphries: I’ve always had a very ambivalent love for the suburbs of Melbourne, because they drove me crazy.  I couldn’t escape from them. They were oppressive, they were so boring. And now, the other night I had dinner in Westgarth, a suburb of Melbourne, I think, popular with ladies who like other ladies.

Jon Faine: All of Northcote and Thornbury now –

Barry Humphries: The whole area is a kind of Sapphic enclave. And, it was a beautiful evening. I was in a very nice house, hospitable niece. And I thought, I could live here.

The Vietnam War and Melbourne Architecture

Barry Humphries: When people come to Melbourne and they’re told that, look at our wonderful new architecture. They look a bit askance. And I explain to them that all the architects in Melbourne really were in a special regiment in Vietnam and they were all wiped out, unfortunately. So we had to build these things ourselves.

The Phoniness of the Sydney Push

Barry Humphries: Our paths certainly crossed.  I knew her [Germaine Greer] when she was 18. She was extremely attractive.

Jon Faine : Part of the Sydney Push. Clive James –

Barry Humphries: Well, the Sydney Push was a non-existent thing. It invented itself.

Shaun Micallef : So there was no Push at all?

Barry Humphries : None at all, not even a shove. A whole lot of, you know, sort of, punters and losers and has-beens and never-will-bes – congregating at a bar in Sydney calling themselves The Push. For heaven’s sake.

JOURNALISTIC WELL EARNED BREAKS – AN UPDATE

MWD has commented on the fact that most Australians receive holidays – journalists refer to their colleagues in the media as having a “well earned break”.

On last Wednesday’s RN Religion and Ethics Report presenter Andrew West took this rationale to a whole new stage.  West claimed that his producer Noel Debien was to take “an extremely well earned break or long service leave in Italy”.  Bon extremely well-earned voyage, Mr Debien.

* * * * *

Until next time (after Easter). Nancy, you see, is proposing to take an extremely well earned – but short – break.