Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Astonisher Cartoon Raises Eyebrows About Timing And Taste - Big Business Corrupting Coppers With Cholesterol - And The Political Pitfalls Of Facebook.

All that, but also, out Jensen way, outraged and aggrieved burghers are furious, claiming the Astonisher has literally gone to the dogs.
Speaking of the other type of burghers - that is burgers - The Magpie looks at `cut price coppers' being 'corrupted' by meal deals.  

We get a horse-laugh from the  pollywaffle over polling, The `Pie has a wee word for Labor hopeful Mark Harrison about the dangers of Facebook and the guessing game has begun as to who will replace retiring Justice Kerry Cullinane in the Supreme Court in Townsville. 

Now, if nothing in that grab bag tickles your fancy, The `Pie suggets you retire to a darkened nook with a feather - it seems that mental stimulus is obviously not your go. But for you, the other reader, plough on here for this week's load of parliamentary-grade old cobblers.

First of all, pollywaffle.

Last Tuesday, Tony Abbott won the Two Bob Each Way Award when he was confronted with the latest poll that showed, among other things,  that he was trailing Malcolm Talkbull as preferred conservative leader.

''I never comment or take notice of polls', quoth the Wingnut, but seonds later ,when asked about the other poll figures that reported some turmoil in Labor's leadership ranks, our goof, fingers hooked in belt, and swaying back with a smug grin, allowed himself  'Well, these polls clearly show there is disarray in the Labor Party'. 

But don't worry, the Mother Meerkat has the same weird and obvious flapdoodle for the electorate. She also said of the same polls that she took no notice of them. Oh, really m'dear? So on what basis did you head for the cutlery drawer to enter into leadership negotiations with one KRudd? Just feel it in your water, did you, dearie?  

Fair dinkum, not a single one of you Canberra mob are worth feeding. Strewth! 

On the cartoon matter, help us out here, this maybe just the old bird's twisted point of view.


This cartoon was run by The Astonisher on Thursday last - you will recall that that was the day before Good Friday, a time of year when the majority of the community, even the most cynical (read:  especially avian bloggers),  pause to wonder 'what's it all about'. 

The Magpie has had several enraged emails decrying the cartoon as an upsetting lapse of sensitivity, timing and taste. 

Equating Julia Gillard with Christ is, to say the least, one hell of a stretch (bad metaphor, but it is a time of forgiveness) and adds to the offence by having her uttering, in a satrical and base, political sense, a phrase that is at the very heart of Christian philosophy. As one emailer said, in part,  'They pussyfoot around when it comes to Muslim sensitivities, basically because they're moral cowards, they wouldn't have the guts to do the equivalent with Allah (and nor should they) but when it comes to `comfortable, unthreatening' Christianity, they are apparently eager to cause offence'. 

In fairness (look it up, Typo, real  word to some of us) the 'they' in that email was aimed all `medja' , but this cartoon is what incited the emailer to put furious finger to keyboard.

So far, then, some Christians have been offended, that is at least those who read The Bulletin, an activity one assumes is some sort of literary self-flagellation. It's also a fair bet that some of the political persuasion will also have their noses out of joint.  

Then there is the aspect that Wingnut Abbot - or Mr Rabbit -  is depicted as the centurion making a parody of a parody, para-phrasing the best known line from the film The Life of Brian.

One Astonisher defender arguing in justification, pointed to the movie, and suggested this was just mountain and molehill stuff, 'this sort of thing is widespread nowadays'.  

Now that is an interesting perspective. As one perceptive public figure in Sydney recently said “You know you're in trouble when your main argument is everyone else is doing it.”

We all know by now that something is seriously amiss at The Bulletin, but if, in their arrogance and cupidity, Typo and those under his direction are equating their immediate community responsibility with an internationally acclaimed comedic group whose basis is social and not political spoofing, then the paper's rift with this community- which is shunning the paper in its  thousands - is now irreversible.

And as for The Magpie? Was he offended? And if so, so what? 

For what it's worth - which is bugger all  really, but that's never stopped him - The `Pie might best be described as an agnostic,  a 'don't know'. Although he must admit, he does tend to lean towards the belief that this world is a computer game invented by celestial geeks who chortle and smack their foreheads at the some of the decisions humans have made since they were hardwired to a freewill app. ' Hey, Jeremy, look at this, The Talking Mulllet is back on the council  - and Donald Trump is running for US president!'  However, The `Pie does like the wildlife, particularly the birds the geeks have created. (Bet the geeks are getting a nasty headache from forehead slapping when watching Typo in action).

But yes, The `Pie took offence at the cartoon on two grounds - the first was the combined sins of not being anywhere near topical enough on that particular sensitive day of publication - so magnifying its harshness to some. 

And at the same time - the biggest sin of all - it just wasn't funny. 

The second and most important ground was that, from an editorial point of view, it was totally unnecessary, an untopical, cheap and taseless laugh at best, which was only ever going to compound the paper's problems of any real connection with large segments of this community. Typo can only hope the readers of the Astonisher's Catholic supplement are of the forgiving kind.  

Oh, and did the paper receive any letters of complaint? Maybe you'll find out. Maybe you won't. That's just the way it is with this mob now. If not, The Magpie will be happy to air grievances.

What you also may not hear more of is the Astonisher's unchallenged editorial support for a greyhound facilty out Jensen way.  This little civic arm wrestle has been going on for a while now, but while Kirwan swimming pool advocates (an empty beat-up destined to have the same legal outcome anyway) got their front pages, and a variety of other anti-council bulldust campaigns fill up the (increasinly unread) centimetres, you haven't heard a dickybird about the very vocal opposition from local residents  to the greyhound track plans for Jensen. That is despite their representations to the Chief of Stuff, who probaly figured there were no 'hot chicks' for a story pic. What you did get last Saturday was a suck-up, simpering editorial about the wonderful greyhound move to Jensen.  

Couldn't be something to do with Typo and his mum, among others, having a big interest in this very minority pastime with the dishlickers in this town. 

There are those who see this as a classic case of personal proclivities overruling the responsibility of an newspaper editor. Don't  believe it? So how much have you heard about the  trials and travails of the Cluden race track development, the super hospital next door or lack of same, the racing rearrangement swindle in Queensland, and the neddies in general -  as opposed to the score of yarns about the (yawn) dawgs in the past year? 

A stand-alone newspaper has a clear responsibility of a wide reach and fair and bal .... oh, forget it, what's the use. 

Moving on to other things, you are likely to know soon who will don the red and black robe that has for well over a decade now has adorned the distinguished shoulders of Cullinane K. 

Kerry is a judicial officer who could well have as his personal motto 'always firm but always fair'  - his sentencing in this reporter's recollection always ensured a level legal playing field. He's strolling off to mandatory retirement mid-year. First one into the boxes to chase this juicy judicial bunny is reportedly the Brisbane Senior Counsel Roger Traves. Worthy, but no sure thing in this unquestionably political pay-back appointment; who knows who may have brown-nosed a little more ardently the AG of the current shower who have driven this state over the cliff.

Staying with legal matters, The Magpie has been fascinated with the issue of half-price fast food deals for coppers. This half-price arrangement ( apparently a worldwide one in the case of Maccas) also applies in some places to other emergency service workers like firies, ambos and, (not sure but should be) SES bods. But the copper's chief `raven', Bob Aitkenson has decreed 'nevermore' for such a perk to the people who do the most difficult and dangerous jobs in our community. We are asked to conjures up visions of a beefy, burping, swaggering  walloper, his authority oozing over his beltline and collar, threatening to squeeze the pimples of a juvenile fast food empolyee if a 'consideration' is not forthcoming.

If that's the best weak attempt the Brisbane brass can come up with to show us they are fighting corruption, well, then, folks, we're buggered. 

Let's look at this.

The`Pie's view is that just so long the half-price isn't demanded by the recipients but is simply offered by the outlets, there isn't a problem ... the logic here is that surely a business is free to choose its pricing policy and to whom special rates will apply. Surely legislation would be needed to require to change his simple freedom of choice by businesses.  

And what would a Macca's, KFC or Hungry Faceaches or whatever its called have to fear even if they didn't have such a discount policy? And what if the bluegbags were silly enough to try to turn the screws - just how would be a good question - they ain't in the position of the very 'buyable' licensing cops or local government health inspectors. In this state, which admittedly has its fair share of bad apples and dumbos in uniform, this sort of scenario is indeed kindergarten cops. 

In fact, it will be an interesting situation if, because of the ruling on high, we have a walloper demanding that he pay full price. If the extra money is refused, what's he going to do - charge them with selling at half price, or even more heinous ,`givin' stuff away!' ? 

Can't you just hear it now:
Sergeant Costanza, you've have pleaded guilty to allowing yourself to be inpecuniously dealt with by a juvenile under the age of 16, in that you did not pay full price for a Big Whacko DoodleBurger, with the circumstances of aggravation that it was one with all the trimin's!!!
`I insisted on full freight, but she knew what she wanted and was determined to get it, it was clear she didn't want to go all the way. I was unwilling but she pressed corporate arguments on to me, I could almost feel them pressing against the most intimate parts of my (sob) wallet. I felt violated, Your Honour, this teenager was forcing unwanted gifts on me, I felt ... well, dirty and I hated myself. Half price, then what next, it would just start with a Coke on the house, and then who knows what, double Doodleburgers?  But what choice did I have, she said she wouldn't tell anybody, it would be 'our little secret'? (Breaks down sobbing)
Do you need a moment? A glass of water?
Water, yes. How much is that Your Honour?
Nothing, free gratis. Can't pay for water here.
(wail) Oh you're as bad as the rest of them ... (screams as being dragged away)) I want to pay, pay full price, I tell you, I'll never get over this, I'm scarred for life ... Jerry, help .... (the yelling fades as Sgt Costanza is taken down to the cells).
Finally, a short note to young Master Harrison, whom The Magpie is assured by his usual dodgy contacts, will get the nod to carry Labor's escutcheon against Kid Crisafulli in Mundingburra. 

Mark, mate, if you want the voter to be your friend at the ballot box, watch what you have to say to those who want to be your friends on Facebook. Opposing asset sales is one thing, opposing your own country, albeit on the sporting field, is another different thing altogether. Look, we give allowance for the fact that you're a Victorian but steady on, sport, get a grip.  Last September 11th, (a good date for disasters) you obviously made life hard for yourself, to quote your quaintly worded Facebook entry:

'I'm not usually one to judge but the thing with John Williams singing at the start of the Bledisloe Cup is just crap. No wonder the Wallabies have lost 8 years in a row. If that is the best you Wallabies have got, you deserve to be loooosers. Even if you win tonight, you deserve to be looooosers!'
Hmmm, dissing The Wallabies is bad enough, but John Williams? Up here? As said, get a grip, you're here now, not Geelong, which, by the way, is known hereabouts as 'Loooooser Land'. 

That's why you're all coming up here, you clot.
Enough now, away to Poseurs' Bar, where The Magpie intends to bebubble a comely companion and promote interest in a totally free Magpie Whacko Doodleburger. If all the plans of mice and magpie's go smoothly, Whacko will later signify that all the 'trimmin's 'were satisfactory.   


  1. Conan the GrammarianApril 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    1. Re the Red Queen cartoon: The words "Jesus Christ!" are frequently heard in my household whenever the Red Queen appears, so possibly there is a touch of veritas applicable.

    2. Don't be surprised if Kerry Cullinane is not replaced at all.

  2. I have just spent a couple of weeks in Cairns.

    You may well be critical of the Astonisher (and with damn good reason, too), but have you read the Cairns Post lately? What an inane, self-absorbed and fatuous piece of nonsense. It also suffers from a severe complex so far as Townsville is concerned. One would think that we stole their children. Mind you, it comes from the city that invented and embraced vulgarity and lack of taste (I had the misfortune to share a Dash-8 with their bogans-gone-feral basketball fans). The more cerebal locals (yes, Virginia, there are a few)refer to it as the "Last Post" - two minutes silence and you're done.

    And, Conan, it is not Kerry Cullinane you should be concerned (if indeed you are) about not being replaced...word is that Rob Monteith of the Family Court is due to retire soon and word is that there shall be no replacement for him. I hear the legal chappies are lobbying like mad, but the decision may have already been made. Brisbane apparently has the greater need.

  3. The Catholic church is not demanding every Australian pay for their beliefs, it's just politicans wanting to resurrect their own beliefs to pay for an new ideology. It's a shame it was printed at Easter Time.

  4. I've always thought Harry Bruce's work was unfunny (often cringe-inducingly so), except to the extent that his cartoons are laughably partisan, always giving Labor a break, and never missing a chance to kick at anything right of centre. All right, I suppose, it's appearing on the op-ed page, and I'm sure he's the nicest guy in the world in person, but there's still no escaping that cardinal sin (and this may be no more than a case of Townsville having to be the proverbial non-choosy beggar; any real talent will gravitate toward larger, more influential markets) of not being amusing. As for Mr Gleeson, he was supposed to have been gone by the end of January, and now it appears that 'his' circulation figures are even more dire than was first thought. I wonder why he's being kept on... Surely it wouldn't be for the suits to find another EIC post for him somewhere else, if he's making such a hash of his Townsville posting? I've said it before, but Townsville needs a second paper, to smack the first (and only) one into line. Good as you are, Magpie, you can't be expected to carry it ALL on your shoulders...!