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A review with more questions than answers

A review with more questions than answers
by Tony Phillips

Having had some forewarning from Peter Hindrup’s review I nonetheless sat down last night to take in a dose of Q and A. Watching it was in part a cause for hysteria and in part the fascination of taking in something appalling. The panel was: Greg Sheridan, foreign affairs editor at the Oz and, with Gerard Henderson, a bona fide channeller of the shade of B.A Santamaria; Bob Carr, styled by some (himself?) as Labor intellectual as well as the right wing former Premier of NSW; Germaine Greer, proud expatriate pain in the arse and one of our foremost genuine intellectuals; Julie Bishop, deputy leader of the Federal Liberals; and Marcus Westbury, arts person with ABC TV and a real "young person".

As the first questions rolled in about the Russia-Georgia conflict I was not surprised to see Greg Sheridan's predictable ideological line trotted out, leavened with a scanty knowledge of the actual conflict. As Bob Carr, Julie Bishop and Germaine Greer all proceeded to bring their prejudices to bear, backed up with stark and obvious ignorance, my interest turned to horrified fascination. Could decision makers in Australia really be so cocksure and stupid to boot? Then I breathed out: of course none of them were decision makers, thank god. Nonetheless, it was quite amazing that none of these experts were actually bright enough to be able to say something intelligent like "I don't really know enough to give an answer about this." Then again this is an area in which I have expertise so I suppose I would be somewhat frustrated. But hell, I wouldn't pretend to explain tax derivatives in the current futures market on national TV and think I could get away with it. But then maybe I'm naïve about how dangerous to my reputation this would actually be.

By the time the topic generalised itself to a more philosophical level it was Greer, and the two ABC members, Marcus Westbury and Tony Jones, who actually had something analytical and thoughtful to say. But it was really hard work sitting through Bob Carr (talking at one point about human rights would you believe!), Sheridan's apologetics for the Americans and Bishop's auto-pilot application of her prejudices.

In the end I fear we are looking at a program that was largely a legacy of Howard government pressure to have something that gave his view of the world representation regardless of any commitment to intellectual honesty or integrity. Dumbed down tabloidism, a low rent blog of talking heads in a stodgy medium. Indeed I recall that even after the show started Liberals were complaining about the audience asking the questions, too smart by half perhaps.

Once the subject moved closer to literature Greer was in her element and began to lift the program above the middlebrow. Though as is her wont she couldn't resist being overly iconoclastic, labelling the monotheistic religions' sacred books as bullshit, casually throwing in the red rag of Marx, albeit quite legitimately, and then attempting the frankly impossible of defending the communist record. In the end she's still perhaps a pre 1968 rather post 1968 radical. But she was lifting the tone. The problem was, who could go with her. Carr, Bishop and Sheridan were all floundering. Sheridan's attempt to posit South Korean history as an answer that supported his capitalism is really good "argument" was again a sad display of that scanty knowledge resting on ideological verities.

As the debate descended into predictable and tired patterns my attention wandered to Julie Bishop. She came across as a Toorak matron hosting a dinner party where the guests seem to be saying things that were, inasmuch as they were comprehensible at all, rather beyond the pale and not at all polite. If she had a fan to go with her pearls I'm sure she would have fluttered it.

The question became, do I stay on to hear more of Greer, and Westbury if he can get a word in, or do I switch over to the Olympics. Or the honest, up-front anti-intellectual, bullying boganism of The Footy Show. A quick flick to The Footy Show promised two fat middle aged guys jumping into a pool off a diving board. It seemed more honest and entertaining than continuing to watch "experts" floundering and splashing around in their own pool of ignorance. But I was left to wonder – after years of the spread of tertiary education, and having achieved a population of 21 million, is this the best we can put up? The elite in Australia still seems to be mainly to something promoted for the pool.


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Hand me that catheter

Malcolm B Duncan: "As for my comment in relation to Eliot Ramsey, it was a direct allegation of fraud if it used its paid worktime to post on the site.  If the allegation was false, I should have expected a comment to that effect."

It's great to see corporate vigilantes so active in the service of capital, Malcolm. But my work doesn't involve the use of computers on a day-to-day basis. This is a hobby.

Hobby, Eliot Ramsey?

Try golf then.  Good walk ruined but takes up a lot of time.


Like blogging, except you don't get wet.

Germaine Greer - On Rage

In her opening address at the 2008 Melbourne Writers' Festival Germaine Greer spoke about rage, which is also the subject of her recently published essay - On Rage.

I thought Germaine Greer had some interesting comments on Q and A.

I listened to her again on Radio National's Book Show yesterday.

She spoke on rage, saying rage is uncontrollable: once switched on it can't be switched off. She said war is institutionalised rage, she mentioned soldiers coming back from war unable to control their rage. It is a very good speech and well worth listening to.

The problem of rage could be underlying some of our more pressing social problems. We should try to overcome rage before we can overcome anything else.

Some of the most important ideas Germaine Greer has ever put forward, I think.

Low octane Greer

John Pratt, I heard her on the Book Show too. The applause from her listeners at the Writers' Festival, both before she spoke and after, was long and deafeningly loud. While she has her detractors among the commentariat and in the blogosphere, she certainly has no shortage of enthusiastic supporters among the reading public.

I must get hold of her essay On Rage, read it in full and review it here. When she writes, Greer presents important ideas which are worthy of consideration. What I have heard of her take on the plight of indigenous Australians strikes a chord with me. Hers is the first analysis I have seen from a public figure which tries to reach beyond superficiality and get to the heart of the matter.

I think she may be a bit confused about the meaning of octane ratings, though.

Fiona: We look forward to your review, Bill.

François Ponchaud exposed the Killing Fields. Not Pilger.

Marilyn Shepherd: "Me, I have been watching them since he brought us the first true stories of the atrocities in the killing fields of Cambodia 30 years ago."

John Pilger did not "reveal" the atrocities in the killing fields of Cambodia.

François Ponchaud, a French Roman Catholic priest who lived and worked in Cambodia for many years, was probably the first westerner to expose the Killing Fields of Cambodia in his book Cambodia: Year Zero.

"As author of Cambodia: Year Zero, he was the person who first alerted the world to the genocide perpetrated by the Pol Pot regime."

A long excerpt from his book was first published as a Reader's Digest article in February 1977.

It was François Ponchaud's book, and the Readers Digest excerpt that notoriously Noam Chomsky and his sidekick Edward S. Herman tried to denigrate and ridicule in their book After the Cataclysm>, one of the most supportive books of the Khmer revolution.

John Pilger's documentary Year Zero - The Silent Death of Cambodia did not appear until 1979, long after the world was already aware of the Killing Fields.

By that stage, even Chomsky gave up trying to conceal the Killing Fields and merely went quiet about them.

John Pilger is a notable supporter of Chomsky who, typically, capitalised on the revelations long after the Left had given up trying to deny them.

Then his admirers tried to make out that he "revealed" them to the world.

Even before Fr. Ponchaud, several Asian language revelations of the killing fields had been written.

As always, Communists supported their masters by recycling their lies until it was impossible to deny them any longer - and then rewrote their own accounts.

Keith Windschuttle, as a Marxist in those days, was prominent amongst those in Australia helping cover up the killing fields (rather ironically). It was his experiences back then which helped turn him so hard against the Left.

Pilger merely "Pilgerised" the work of Ponchaud and others, peddling it to the gullible.

Well gee

Here was me thinking Pilger was a journalist and not a decision maker. The problem with the Serbian thing is that the NATO bombardment was just as horrific and just as much a war crime as anything Milosevic did. And Pilger is totally against all wars, he doesn't just support some and reject others.

He is against cruelty and abuse of human rights - with a big full stop. Unless, Eliot, you go on other people's mindless critiques and don't actually watch his films and read his books.

Caroline Overington was once asked about Pilger when she was peddling her book Kickback, which is one hell of a yarn by the way, and condemned him roundly.

She was asked which things she didn't agree with and said she had never read his books or watched his films.

Me, I have been watching them since he brought us the first true stories of the atrocities in the killing fields of Cambodia 30 years ago.

Before you condemn I suggest you get a body of the man's work as I have done over many years and study the consistent theme of human rights protection.

Grumpy old woman with something to say — block your ears!

Q&A, it seems to me, is consistently not bad. I think Tony Jones does an excellent job. And for some reason his voice comes across as less gratingly strident on this show than on Lateline. Must have better sound engineers, I suppose. Jones always reminds me of a jacket-baked potato with most of its Al-foil peeled off. This time of year, looking at him makes me want to sit in a deckchair eating baked potatoes and drinking mulled wine.

The key to an interesting Q&A is to have interesting panellists. Such things are few and far between. Just as rare are ones who are articulate. Besides Jones himself, and to a lesser extent the irritatingly full-of-his-own-importance Carr, the only one they had on the program in question was Greer. Love her or hate her, surely everyone must agree that she is both articulate and interesting. Of course, some would rather she just brushed her hair and said nothing interesting at all. Life's like that. It takes all kinds to make a world; but many would prefer all the kinds to be just like them.

I have to agree with Malcolm's comments about her Female Eunuch. Reading it, I got the impression that the young Germaine must have written her manuscript using pens of various colours, desperate for an effective way to emphasise the points she was making. Still, as a feminist text of the consciousness-raising kind, it worked very well, and served a useful purpose. I think the feminist movement here in Australia owes her an enormous debt for the inspiration she gave it.

I agree with David Eastwood, too, that she didn't do a very good job of responding to his question. Perhaps she misinterpreted the thrust of the question, though it seemed quite clear to me. She doesn't come across as one who would wilfully evade a difficult question, as so many among us do. The deliberate obtuseness tactic is alive and well, but I don't think it resides in Greer.

Those who condemn her as a coward because she dares denigrate people after they are dead have lost me completely. I'm sure Greer would not have shrunk from denigrating those same people when they were alive. After all, plenty of people did. Let's face it, Diana was quite nutty, calling people on the phone and not saying anything; and Steve Irwin did indeed make his living entertaining a fan base as idiotic as himself by tormenting innocent animals. On him, I agree with Greer completely; and it was about time someone said it. One thing Greer is not, is a coward.

And now, out of the blue, she has said something of much higher importance that needed to be said. Rage. At long last, someone with a voice has been prepared to go to the heart of the matter. To face up to and recognise the root of the problem. To be countered, predictably, by the revelation that hey, the problem is well on the way to being solved — Aboriginal kids are playing footy now! If I remember correctly, that inane response came to us from Bishop of the nicely brushed hair. God help us all, as long as bubble-heads like her are seen as intelligent, and lighters of the way like Greer are written off as cowards.

I know who I'd rather drink mulled wine with, and eat potatoes. 

She did answer it, kinda sorta

The point of the question was to begin to explore the (as I see it) irony between her position on rage, essentially that the men she describes are reacting in some way primally or viscerally to the egregious psychological state they find themselves in (and hence could be excused on that basis as they can't help it) and her early views of men as calculating disenfranchisers of women.

She didn't get that bit but she got the "excused" statement - and did make a hash of responding to that I think.  Excusing is a binary act, either we do or we don't if we want to take exercise judgment, as Greer is usually wont to do.

How naive!

Bill: "I'm sure Greer would not have shrunk from denigrating those same people when they were alive."

Come on Bill. Of course Greer is a coward. Many people criticized Diana and Irwin when they were alive.

Greer waited until they had bitten the dust until she unleashed her vitriol.

Ya call that brave?

Obviously, more controversy equals more money.

Bill: "... and Steve Irwin did indeed make his living entertaining a fan base as idiotic as himself by tormenting innocent animals. On him, I agree with Greer completely; and it was about time someone said it."

Yes of course, Bill! Why show any compassion or feeling for the Irwin family by giving them time to grieve and to come to terms with his sudden and untimely death? Germaine's all heart alright!

She's a bitter, shrivelled, old, irrelevant bitch with nary a kind word to say about anyone. And yes, you are right! I damn well wish she WOULD just brush her hair and shut up!

Ray of sunshine

Kathy: "Ya call that brave?"

Yes. No shrinking violet, our Germaine. I'm sure she anticipated the reaction to her remarks about Diana and Steve. She has opinions, and is not going to censor herself to avoid condemnation from those who disagree with them. Therefore she is not a coward. A bit of simple logic for you.

How can you assume that she never criticised these people while they were still alive? Plenty of people did, including me. I'm sure Greer did the same, if she were asked her opinion. When they died they were newsworthy as never before, for a short while which at the time seemed interminably long; so obviously Greer's opinion was solicited and reported. That's the way news commentary works. Mindless reverence for those who deserved no such thing needed to be counterbalanced by a thoughtful response from someone able to see through the silliness.

I couldn't care less what Greer does with her hair; but I'm glad she won't shut up. I'm more interested in what goes on inside her head than I am in what grows from her scalp. The world needs to hear more from incisive thinkers like her, not less. I wish those superficial dumbers-down of our thinking processes like Bishop, who has nothing significant to say, would shut up. And I couldn't care less what they do with their hair either.

Every day's a bad hair day for Greer

Bill: "She has opinions, and is not going to censor herself to avoid condemnation from those who disagree with them."

Bit hard to disagree if you are dead, wouldn't you agree, Bill?

Bill: "How can you assume that she never criticised these people while they were still alive? Plenty of people did, including me. I'm sure Greer did the same, if she were asked her opinion."

Hmm," I'm sure" doesn't mean she did,  Bill. In fact I have never read anything where Greer criticized "these people" before their deaths. I would be grateful for a link if you have seen otherwise.

Finally, the last word, from a gentleman who definitely has savoir-faire...Plus that touch of class.


Malcolm B. Duncan:  "I should have thought that the suggestion that one was not prepared to say of someone when he or she was alive that which one says after he is dead was a very good argument for describing that person as a coward."

I rest my case.

Errrrm, legal and other jokes – hee hee

Flattered though I am, Kathy Farrelly, it is an old legal joke that one does not become an "authority" until one is dead. Learned though I may be in the law, I am still pleased to acknowledge that I am not yet authoritative.

As for Bill Avent, it just had to be that he likes our [oops, Oxford's – and we know what they get up to there] Germaine. That's logic for you. He knows it all. There's an old psychologist's joke: put two [Jesus Christs, Napoleons, Julius Caesars, whatever] in a room together, lock the door for a day or so and see which one comes out alive. Pad the room and you could put Bill and Germaine in. Don't take the job of opening the door – security guard joke – hee hee.

hee hoo?

Malcolm B Duncan: "As for Bill Avent, it just had to be that he likes our [oops, Oxford's – and we know what they get up to there] Germaine. That's logic for you. He knows it all."

How, pray tell, does that have anything to do with logic? I don't know it all, Malcolm, but at least know what logic is. You clearly do not. Better look it up in one of those many dictionaries of yours.

As for Germaine, I don't know whether I like her or not. We've never met. I do find her writings interesting and intelligent; so I would probably find time spent in her company stimulating. How interesting or stimulating I find things you write had better remain unsaid.

Bill Avent on satire

Read Tristram Shandy have you? One of those who speaks of Jane Austen's grasp of irony?

No, I suspect simply the literalist to the last. You prayed, I have been told. If you understand the lesson, stay not upon the order of your going but go. Then again, don't suppose you find Shakespeare interesting or stimulating either.

By the way, what do you do for a crust? Silly of me really, at that price you'd be overpaid.

Eat bread, of course

I don't blow my own trumpet for a crust, Malcolm. And I see little evidence that you do anything but. No longer content to equate your own imagined genius with that of the mere Swift, you would now have yourself compared with Shakespeare. Incredible stuff; but I have to tell you that if  you want to succeed at satire, you will have to produce something better than that. To work, satire needs to have an element of intelligence in it.

You say you suspect simply. Yes. We are in agreement at last.

Were the silent trumpet so blown

Funny how you never bother to reveal who you are, what you are, or why we should bother.  My life is a public page.  You don't like it?  Don't read it; don't comment on it.

As for a trumpet - never could play the thing - that's what buglers are for.  I just do the bagpipes.

Nothing against pipes, Malcolm

As long as they're over the hills and far away, where they belong. But I don't have much time for the self-obsessed I AM  brigade, incessantly beating their own drums in everyone's ears at every opportunity.

I am interested in other people's opinions on things in general; not in hearing their opinions on how superior they are, in their own estimation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your opinions seem mainly to consist of negative ones on individuals who have achieved more than you have. Everyone from Malcolm Turnbull to Germaine Greer. I have yet to see you even try to argue against the point of view anyone puts forward.

"You don't like it?  Don't read it; don't comment on it"  is all very well. But when you snap and snarl at someone's heels every time they pass an opinion you had better be prepared for some of them them to respond to it.

As for what I do for a crust, you might try minding your own business. Not only are such things irrelevant, but I seem to remember you not long ago threatening Eliot with outing him for wasting his employer's time, presuming him to be responsible to an employer for the way he uses his time. He wisely ignored your nonsense, as I recall. Why would I want to encourage it?

And now we peel the onion

Only skin deep Bill Avent, apparently.  My opinions are often negative - they are rarely about people who have achieved more than I have.  In my lifetime, I have achieved much more than Greer or Turnbull.  I get legislation changed; I keep people out of gaol; I save people from the depredations of banks.  I've spent the last three days wandering the streets in support of a bus route that I occasionally use but that is vital to many elderly residents in my area.  I join; I participate; I achieve small things (read a bit of Pratchett).  What have the people you say I criticise achieved beyond my achievements?

It's not my own trumpet.  It's what one does to repay to the community what the community gave one by way of an education.

As for my comment in relation to Eliot Ramsey, it was a direct allegation of fraud if it used its paid worktime to post on the site.  If the allegation was false, I should have expected a comment to that effect.  Interesting that you support the entity at the same time as neither of you is prepared to say what you do or where you come from.

I'm just Malcolm B. Duncan.  Everyone kows that.  Everyone knows where to find me.  Debating is like that - you need a person to debate.

What, then, do you do?

And now we eat the hole in the donut

Malcolm B Duncan, you continue to amaze me, and not always in a good way. Congratulations on your sevices to the community. Proud as you seem to be of it though, your other success in driving worthy people away from this community doesn't seem to me to serve it well. I can't understand why anyone would want to do that. If I make a fool of myself here, all are welcome to point it out to me. If ever I drove anyone away, I would regret it.

To answer your question: the name of Germaine Greer is known world wide. She gained her fame not by telling the world how great she was, nor by telling it what dills everyone who disagreed with her were, but by presenting her thoughts to the world. Love her or hate her, she inspires reaction. Malcolm Turnbull succeeded brilliantly in law, taking on the British establishment and winning, among other things; and in finance, and now in politics. Love him or hate him, he has runs on the board. Not quite a quiet achiever, but an achiever nonetheless. Writes a pretty readable book, too. I'm willing to bet that neither of the above ever wrote a "none-the-less" in their lives.

As for me, I am of no importance to the world at all. I am not here to tout for business. Nor am I here to tell the world how superior I am; and I am not inclined to accept others as superior merely on their own incessant say-so. What I am, here, is what I write here. That is as it should be. When we play football, we are supposed to play the ball, not the man; and when we debate, we are supposed to debate the issue under discussion, not concentrate on the occupation or lifestyle of the opponent. For all your self-promotion and pontification, it seems to me you have a lot to learn about debate. And I am certainly not interested in establishing social contact with you. I am in the phone book, and have had lengthy and pleasant conversation with a moderator of this site, since departed. But that doesn't mean I want the same with you.

Mob mentality

Kathy: "Bit hard to disagree if you are dead, wouldn't you agree, Bill?"

Yes. But the ones I was talking about are those who subsequently did disagree with her. They are still alive, like you. And, like you, they present no basis for their disagreement.

"I'm sure" just means I'm sure. It is a common phrase, indicating confident speculation. One may be sure of something on the basis of common sense. It goes against common sense to suppose that Greer had never expressed an opinion on Diana or Irwin before they died. Like me and everyone else, she has (I am sure) said untold trillions of things that are not on public record. So if you want to challenge the most likely, it is up to you to go find a link to show she never said such a thing.

Malcolm B. Duncan seems to me to be assuming, as you do, that Greer was not prepared to say what she did before the subjects of her criticism died. That has not been established as fact. As above, I dispute it on the grounds of common sense and likelihood. Perhaps we should ask Greer whether or not she spoke disparagingly of the two while they were still alive. I would be very surprised if she had not.

All in all, you have no case to rest.


It is a pity, Kathy Farrelly, that she (Greer) is not a nice person, like you are.

Just on the basis of that last post, of course!

Spreading sunshine wherever I go

 Paul: "It is a pity, Kathy Farrelly, that she (Greer) is not a nice person, like you are."

Not everyone has my savoir-faire, I  know. More's the pity, eh Paul?

Greer and Pilger are my favourite Left Wing representatives

Marilyn Shepherd: "I will love it, I guess the Greer haters will hate Pilger too."

I love both of them, actually.

I think Germaine Greer more or less epitomises that entire stratum of Australian “intellectual” society whose opinions have been in recent years liberated by the combination of unbounded personal righteousness with utter ignorance of technical detail regarding any given topic on which they happen to be speaking.

A fine example in Germaine's case is her years of fear-mongering about Hormone Replacement Therapy, ensuring continuing needless fear and misery for countless thousands of frightened women who would otherwise benefit greatly from it.

That alone will doubtless be her most enduring achievement as a feminist.

As for John Pilger, I've been greatly heartened over the years by his adamant, unwavering public expressions of support for the “Iraqi resistance”. Nice one. Almost as good as his highly principled stance on support of Serbia against NATO after the Srebrenica massacres.

They on their own, Pilger and Greer, are probably the two best known Australian “intellectuals” abroad and testify to the continuing importance of the autodidact on the margins of political society. They make us proud.

Next week, John Pilger

I will love it, I guess the Greer haters will hate Pilger too.

The pilgerisation of history

Marilyn: "I will love it..."

Bit risky to say that just yet, isn't it? Pilger rightly supported the East Timorese against the genocidal Indonesians, but then went on to apologise for Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian atrocities in Kosovo. I doubt you would have supported him there.

In the words of Martin Shaw:

 John Pilger (letters, 29 November) erects a sadly predictable smokescreen of abuse and distortion, but fails to defend his contemptible excuse that Serbian atrocities in Kosovo were products of 'random brutality' rather than genocidal planning. What blighted vision leads him to deny that Serbian crimes were of a kind with those of the Indonesians in East Timor?

This recalls the line peddled by Alexander Downer in 1999 that the Indonesian military's atrocities in East Timor were not the result of a policy decision coming from the top, but all down to the actions of 'rogue elements' right at the bottom of the Indonesian military pile.

What an issue, Richard

We've changed a lot since the days when no-pants-Mary used to sit in the gutter outside the 'Quinty pub.

I'm intrigued by the contrast between "our" girls, who  seem to feel a need to reveal more and more body parts in order to feel attractive, while Islamic girls are taught, evidently, that they are so desirable that they need to keep themselves covered. 


I think that if anyone cares to read my original post, I was commenting on Germaine Greer as she presented on this broadcast, where to my mind she was by far the most interesting commentator. I really have little interest in appraising her life or works.

Kathy, in my experience, the youth of today, like other age groups, have a range of opinion. I can pass on the good news, however, that at least among some 9 - 11 year olds, Paris is out and Ashlee is in.

Richard: And Hanna Montana rules! Mind you, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are still a bit of an issue. Perhaps a thread on the role models of the next generation of female adults might be in order?

Some smarts never pass

Coward, sniper, passe.

Someone for whom you have no respect.

Good smears, but no reason or arguments there, Kathy Farrelly.

Irrelevant old misanthrope

On the contrary, I  thought I presented a clear argument F. Kendall.

You know, (Greer) attacking  Irwin and Diana, when they had both passed away, and were unable to defend themselves. Certainly cowardly and sniping, in my opinion..Exhibiting a total lack of compassion, and thought  for the families concerned. Her inner ugliness on display for all to see.

Most definitely passe, too.

Germaine 's  relevance and influence in the world today?Just ask the youth of today!

No argument?

F Kendall, I should have thought that the suggestion that one was not prepared to say of someone when he or she was alive that which one says after he is dead was a very good argument for describing that person as a coward.

As for Dr Greer, I tried reading The Female Eunuch when it came out. I was about 14. Tedious, tendentious, doctrinaire drivel. Never finished it. Woman can't write. People who can't write but continue to pontificate well outside their "fields of expertise" should shut up as far as I'm concerned. (Fortunately I'm a barrister so my field of expertise is everything).

In retrospect, I think she has done women infinitely more harm than good. Once they earn it, people deserve equal respect. They deserve a certain formal politeness until they earn disrespect. Miss Greer (as she then was) got the latter from me really early on.

Good heavens

Germaine Greer described you as "an Englishman with a dark skin", Kathy Farrelly?

Life is full of surprises. I feel confident that she made a mistake there.

Not far off in her other comments, though.

Good night!

You are too funny, F. Kendall. Unlike Greer, who is just a nasty piece of work. Why not make such disparaging comments about Diana and Steve Irwin when they were alive?

Why not? Because, she is a coward and a sniper. Someone for whom I have no respect. In fact, these days I do not even bother reading her tirades. She is just so passé.

Dear Peter, you present me with a conundrum. If I were sober I would most probably prefer the company of the elegant and intelligent Bishop. If, on the other hand, I were pissed and in a fighting mood, I'd probably opt for that virago Greer!


Kathy: I agree with you about Greer.  She is so negative and acrid.  Frankly the whole feminist movement did very little for me. Some of those radical feminists left an awful trail of heartache and broken families behind them. I saw them actually encourage women to leave their marriages for no good reason. A group of them even tried to influence me not to marry Ian, but I had more sense than to listen to them on that score. They almost seemed to take delight in hurting men wherever they could.

The comment about Irwin, right at the time of his death, was in very poor taste, and insensitive given the family loss.   And while Diana might have been a bit of a loose cannon at times, she was nevertheless the mother of two young boys. I often think how hard it must have been and still be for them to deal with all the constant public examination of their mother's life and the way she died. Imagine the effect of seeing the replaying of that crash scene over and over again.   They certainly don't need Ms Greer putting her bib in.

I think Greer has passed her use by date well and truly. Appearing on Grumpy Old Women is probably the most appropriate place for her these days.

Julie Bishop

Germaine's summary of The Female Eunuch has been on "the best of" section of the ABC site, and it's interesting to watch Julie Bishop, while Germaine makes lucid and intelligent comments, roll her eyes, drum her fingers, and make complicit smiles to the audience. I recall that she did this at other Germaine comments: eg, when Germaine said that humans are animals.

I didn't mind the "twin set and pearls" clothing that others here don't like: to me, she was dressed rather like a newsreader. But I was dismayed by her limited understanding, and these passive aggressive facial and bodily gestures.

The lone hand

Well, finally some attempt at comment at WD, concerning Germaine Greer's admirable attempt to demystify the NT Intervention. This followed by the usual character assassinations ad hominem from the likes of Devine and her clones, including several here.

F Kendall, you have my unconditional respect for your posts, but some your adversaries need to lift their games exponentially.

And re comments on Bishop, I have a work desk capable of more sensibility than that useless limb of Lucifer.

I rarely agree with Devine

But I reckon her take on Greer's Rage is fairly on the money, except for the vitriol near the end - poor woman clearly can't help herself.


I agree, David. This book(s) review is quite revealing

[New York Times extract]

Born in ''conservative, Anglophile, stultifyingly predictable'' Melbourne in 1939 to a dapper advertising representative and his ''headstrong'' wife, Greer was rigorously educated in Roman Catholic schools. She was ''terrorized'' by her mother, who beat her with a stick or toaster cord. Her ''distant, sometimes tortured'' father, absent overseas in the Royal Australian Air Force, was in Greer's opinion ''weak, craven, feeble'' for not protecting or praising her.

Greer's seething sense of defraudation and her stinging portrayals of men
She would cross the world in obsessive quest of his true identity: ''Daddy, We Hardly Knew You'' (1990) charts her sleuthing into her murky, shame-filled family origins.

Certainly gives an insight into why Greer is such a bitter and nasty person today.

Greer's shocking language and odd dress got her satirized by a student newspaper as ''Germaniac Queer.'' She aspired to a male sexual freedom, and there were abortions and gynecological problems, whose scarring affected her fertility when, in maturity, she longed for a baby.

Wallace examines Greer's rape at a football club barbecue, a trauma that she later publicized as emblematic of male oppression. A witness raises questions about Greer's judgment and actions at the time and insists, contrary to her claims, that sympathetic male students came to her defense"

She is certainly not a big fan of men. She is  in fact, a " misandrist". Hence her comment that Aboriginal men are full of rage.

Greer has deep-seated issues that are colouring her judgement, in my opinion.

Probably right Kathy

Kathy: "Greer has deep seated issues that are colouring her judgement, in my opinion."

Your are probably right. We are all the product of our life experience as well as our genes.

Inner rage is not uncommon in people who in any way see themselves as victims of whatever negatives affected their lives, whether perceived or real.

Some people give vent to that rage, others bottle it up. Greer tends to vent hers which alienates some, but connects her with others. I am in the former group.

I detect a lot of rage in some who post here, and from the life experiences they describe I can understand it.

When people's reponses become predictable you have probably identified their triggers. Once you do that you actually then have a level of control over them which you can elect or not elect to exercise. Baiting is a deliberate use of that knowledge and it does go on here from time to time.

Unfortunately if you have to tippy toe around too many triggers in people, then honest relationships and communication become impossible. Those are the relationships that only exist on the other's terms and for the sake of peace you allow that. If it is family you may have to accept that, but if not, then you have to decide whether the relationship is worth the effort given its limitations.

I actually watched Q and A tonight because I had nothing better to do. It really is very lightweight and I think that is the fault of the format as much as anything.

Frankly I found Tony's analysis here of last week's episode more interesting than the show itself.. Certainly more substance.

Not a good word to say.. Not even of the dead.

Germaine Greer on Salman Rushdie: ‘I refuse to sign petitions for that book [Satanic Verses] of his, which was about his own troubles.’ She went on to describe me as ‘a megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin'.

Germaine Greer on Steve Irwin's death: The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin."

Germaine Greer on Diana: Diana was a devious moron.

Just a few examples to highlight her nasty demeanour and complete irrelevance in today's world.

She is a dishevelled, bitter old harpy in need of a decent hairdresser and a good r**t.

And, finally, Marcia Langton. Professor Langton dismisses Greer's claims that Aboriginal men suffer a rage they "can't get over" and urges the expat academic and author to read more history.

"Taken as a whole, her arguments are racist," says Professor Langton, the chair of Australian indigenous studies at Melbourne University. "They are also just plain wrong."

Greer has certainly come a long way from The Female Eunuch.

And it's been downhill all the way.

At least Julie Bishop gives her hair a decent brush!

With whom would you spend an evening?

Ah Kathy, but with whom would you rather spend an evening over dinner?

I agree with David Eastwood

I suppose this show is instructive in some instances. Certainly demonstrating how vacuous and slim Greg Sheridan's grasp is on foreign affairs does make you wonder why News Ltd actually pays him good money.

And any excuse to watch the always intelligent Germaine Greer and her sheer desperation (which she now seems to keep somewhat in check) as she deals with dolts and fools is a delight. She still looks, however, as if she would just much prefer to bend over and soundly slap the offending one right across the chops.

Very funny

I stumbled across the program for the first time the other night. Your review is very funny: what a tiresome lot. Sheridan looked like someone's used handkerchief and Carr has the manner and presence of a genuine "comrade". As you say ... if this show is the best we can do for public intellectuals we are still a backwater. The same old faces from the same old places.

Hardly a review

Tony, I didn't really intend it as a review, which to me conjures up an attempt to be balanced and objective. Rather, this was my take on the evening, the feel and the impressions I was left with.

That and the fact that I seldom resist the urge to treat the pompous and those who take themselves oh so seriously with mild ridicule.

I do hope, though, that readers got a reasonably accurate impression of what the evening was like.


How interesting that a (as I understand), self-described successful business man in Australia, can introduce a post that is, whatever the importance of its fundamental concern, totally irrelevant to the thread.

Somehow, that seemed to really sum up Q and A.

benny and the jets.

F Kendall, are you referring to the Qantas comment from Alan  Curran?  It was at an egregious tangent, but in a way does illustrate what's gone wrong with  Aussie media and press lately.

The Qantas issue and aviation in general have been deserving of really serious inquiry for decades,  but it's been soft peddled almost universally  in favour of the sort of appalling rubbish that TDT and ACA do, that makes even Q and A look intellectual in comparison.

Which reinforces the view that the first step needed is the removal of the Murdoch and other tabloid hacks, and then the meddling paws of proprietors, politicians and big business outed  from the editorial rooms of press and media, somehow.


F Kendall, I just think we should be more concerned with what is happening with the incompetent engineers at Qantas than commenting on idiots like Carr and Greer.

Besides I did not know where else to post it.

Barking up the wrong lampost.

I think you mean a greedy, treacherous and incompetent management, who have eroded the morale of their workforce, let alone showed a reckless contempt for the safety of their "customers", don't you Alan?

Particularly when management pointedly ignored warnings from manufacturers such as Boeing Corporation, to skimp on safety costs to ramp up profits (and executive bonuses) for a quick inflated sale to the Gordon Gecko Asset-Stripping Naffin' Great Hedge Fund, as happened last year.

Loyalty cuts both ways!

I was also thinking of the ideology-driven deregulation and consequent lack of gorm of the notoriously lax aviation regulatory body, weakened by government under corporate pressure, that allows this James Hardie-type delinquency right across the private sector of this country.

a temps perdu

Thanks, Tony. I agree with the other posters so far. Have big anger-management problems with some of these people. Watching Jones and Carr at each other about media and politics would have been tragic had not such an element of obviously unintended comedy been involved.

Which brings us back to an indirect aspect not mentioned yet, the problem of Leigh Sales and her insult-to-the-intelligence "interview" of Greer the night before on Latteline, which genuinely lives up to the title when Sales hosts.

Was really about attempting a browbeating and humiliating of Greer (the Hausseggar clone failed spectacularly) with shouted slogans thus simultaneously boostering right wing policy as to the Aboriginal Intervention and in particular its value as a stalking horse for an attack on welfare in general.

We can therefore return to one of the original reasons for the intervention for Howard - the realisation that white welfare would remain safe if the blackfellas were still receiving it, if you get my drift...

I beg to differ...

Sheridan did an admirable job of demonstrating how lightweight and polemic much right wing journalism is. That in itself is instructive and useful.

Bishop was OK-ish, and not too rampantly political until the free-kick question towards the end. But, won't the Liberal image consultants act soon to stop sending their women out in twin set and pearls?

Carr was just plain annoying. His magnificens only grows in his own mind. Bob, you will never be Abraham Lincoln, you shat in your own nest too much.

Greer was enjoyable in the studio, and her answers on the Georgia / Russia question showed a depth outside her core area that was refreshing. She obviously wound up somewhat when I asked my question on male rage, but didn't do a good job of responding in my view.

That was my second time on air in this series – which supports theories about the weakness of the show I guess.

Westbury a new one on me, but seemed OK.

I think the art to getting this show right is twofold, the balance of questions selected by the editors before air time and their response to the discussion on the day, last nights questions were well out of the pre-defined sequence.

It's a learning curve for those involved, I believe. I'd suspend judgement at this point.

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