Monthly Archives: October 2006

Gay Erasmus is reading Jonestown

I will wait for it to appear in the Library. Meanwhile, check Erasmus’s first impressions [no longer online]. It certainly doesn’t sound boring.

I had lunch with Lord Malcolm at The Shakespeare; he is still struggling on, by the way, with all his usual courage. He told me that Piers Akerman had written a non-homophobic piece in the Telegraph. Amazed at that possibility, I said: “Oh, was it a defence of Alan Jones?” Indeed it was, so not having read it I have searched it out. I should add that Lord Malcolm is himself more than somewhat right wing on a whole range of things, but that’s OK. Except when I read the article I wondered if it was the one Malcolm referred to, but indeed it is.
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Does Tim Blair still do global warming jokes?

One of the staples of uber-Right humour has been the Global Warming Joke, and Timmie has had some doozies. I wonder where they are today? Not so funny any more, is it? I am not so partisan as to suggest the Australian government doesn’t care, and some of its proposed measures are no doubt good in themselves. But their whole stand-out on the Kyoto Protocols, for all the imperfection of those protocols, is looking more and more like “lack of ticker”. Read the rest of this entry »


Keating: the musical

Keating! opens at the Belvoir Theatre (I live next to it, almost) on November 11, a nice irony that. I am very tempted to avail myself of my Seniors Card discount and go.

Casey Bennetto’s scathingly hilarious lyrics tear through the reign and tragic fall of the Placido Domingo of Australian politics in a production with Neil Armfield and comic satirist John Clarke blowing wind into Casey’s spinnaker.

Part French farce, part Greek tragedy, and all Australian history, “the country soul opera we had to have” transports you back to a time less politically grey as it charts the rise, fall and rise again of an antique clock collector from Bankstown.

SIGH over duets between a love-struck Cheryl and Gareth!
HISS the mean spirited ghost of Lazarus with a triple bypass!
THRILL to the spectacular settings from the plush sitting rooms of Kirribilli House to the Bankstown RSL!

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Jim Belshaw’s “Confessions of a Policy Adviser – 2:Beginnings”

Jim’s personal memories are more interesting than most as he is a man who has been close to the seat of power in Canberra and, furthermore, on a part of the right-wing (centrist?) spectrum that is perhaps out of favour these days. He is also a historian and writes very well. Do go there.

Let me quote two comments from that page:
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Posted by on October 30, 2006 in Aussie interest, Jim Belshaw, Personal, Politics


The importance of context revisited

NOTE: Very relevant to much that follows: Truth and Truthfulness, yesterday’s Encounter on Radio National. See also Truth and Truthfulness in Uncertain Times. The lecture on Gandhi was outstanding.


Well, context is in part what this entry is about. In his latest entry Deus Lo Vult performs a valuable service for all of us who have been unduly influenced by media representations of the Pope’s alleged bagging of Islam earlier this year. I stand corrected, and would encourage everyone, including the Kashmiri Nomad, to reconsider the facts as well. I say this as one who simply does not accept, and never has accepted, the primacy of Rome in the Christian church, let alone the absurd (to me) doctrine of papal infallibility. (As a Catholic priest said to me in the 1970s, Pius IX was “round the twist” when he came up with that one.) I have on the other hand a proper appreciation of the importance of the Catholic Church in the story of Western civilisation in terms of art, music, philosophy, and so much else, and respect the Church’s many good works and acknowledge its great diversity, the last being a fact many overlook.
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Trying to be sane and not hysterical about Muslims…

This is not easy at the moment, and I blame both the Mufti for being such a fool, and the media for pumping up our reactions. And yes, I would hope young Muslims roundly ignore what he has to say on the subject of women, and much else besides, homosexuality not least. What qualifications do I have for any opinions on the subject? 1) I have been dealing with Muslim students for several years, and whenever I could I have tried to engage them in dialogue and discourage any and every manifestation of extremism. That also involves listening. Here is one example and here is another. 2) I have read the Qu’ran (which, much to the chagrin, indeed horror, of devout Muslims I regard as a human book, with good and bad bits in it, and a product of its time and place like any other book) and I have read more about Islam than most people I know. 3) I live around the corner from a mosque in an area dominated by Lebanese restaurants and halal Bangladeshi ones. 4) I have a number of adult friends and acquaintances who are Muslim but perfectly sane. 5) One of my cousins is married to a Lebanese Muslim.
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Posted by on October 28, 2006 in Aussie interest, immigration, Multiculturalism and diversity, News and Current Affairs, Religion



I’ve had it with the Mufti, and with the tabloid press…

The Daily Telegraph again trivialises and distorts issues with this morning’s “Thick Sheikh” banner headline and steers firmly in the direction of Muslim bashing, which I for one strenuously avoid. The Sydney Morning Herald is more measured, but does raise issues about the Mufti that really do deserve serious attention.

In September 2005 I linked on my Blogspot blog to an article by Peter Bergen called Portrait of the Enemy. It is worth linking again in the light of information in Muslims set to dump defiant Hilaly after outbursts in today’s Herald.
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Posted by on October 28, 2006 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Faith and philosophy, Multiculturalism and diversity, News and Current Affairs, Religion