In today’s world, we need less ideology and more common sense; we need less impatience and more respect; we need less shouting at people and more engagement with them.
It is hard to say which peace of hypocrisy from the Sniper is the more aggravating. It comes from an edited text of a speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom in New York. Can you imagine the tone of that outfit? Bring your own AK 47 and Bible.
The argument of the speech seemed to be that what matters when two people love each other is the commitment, and not the ceremony. ‘You do not need to be married to love someone.’ Putting syntax to one side, that is a curious position for a soi disant conservative to adopt – that marriage of itself is just an inconsequential ceremony which is hardly necessary to bind a union or to give peace and security to the members of the union.
But, of course, the Sniper is no more of a conservative than Donald Trump is – they are both abrasive, vote-chasing, populist reactionaries who are immune to the call of principle. It would be good to see a plain old-fashioned unapologetic Tory, but they just don’t make them anyone. Just look at those Looney Tune old barnacles in what passes for our conservative political parties. It is just that absence of principle that is ending people off in search of quacks and crooks.
Well, this column is supposed to be about bullshit, and not politics. It is just as well then that the edited text of the speech begins with a piece of rolled gold bullshit. ‘I have always regarded myself as a ‘pro-family’ member of Parliament…’ If you take out Hitler and Stalin, what politicians do you know who were or are ‘anti-family’?
Here is a good reminder that one test of the worth of a proposition is to ask if anyone could be bothered to assert the contrary. If the answer is no, you may well have got yourself some bullshit.
And we have been assured by a mate of the Sniper, Mr Greg Sheridan of the Murdoch Press, that the Sniper is staying on as an MP for the good of the nation and because he is a good bloke. One day I would like to ask Mr Sheridan, and those curious folk at The Australian Spectator, to meet me at the bottom of my garden. There they could show me the fairies. And in broad daylight.
Poet of the month: Philip Larkin
Strange to know nothing, never to be sure
Of what is true or right or real,
But forced to qualify or so I feel,
Or Well, it does seem so:
Someone must know.
Strange to be ignorant of the way things work:
Their skill at finding what they need,
Their sense of shape, and punctual spread of seed,
And willingness to change;
Yes, it is strange,
Even to wear such knowledge – for our flesh
Surrounds us with its own decisions –
And yet spanned all our life on imprecision is,
That when we start to die
Have no idea why.
PS To return to politics, do you suppose that there is the remotest chance that the Sniper, or Doctor Death All Gone Grecian, are charging the expenses of these evangelical missions to the U S to us back here in Oz? Is the Australian tax-payer to be behind the final immolation of American Conservatism? Do you remember that hilarious day when the Sniper said that he would not allow his faith to interfere with how he ran the country? You falsify such a proposition merely by stating it. Was he going to forget the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount?
A pattern of posts may emerge on this site, but I do propose to publish a Passing Bull note on bullshit once a week and to add a poem as a kind of balm. I will try to avoid politics in this column, but you will understand that asking a student of bullshit to avoid politics is like asking a drunk to stay out of pubs.
There need be no connection between the poetry and what precedes it. For example, Philip Larkin came from a different planet to Oz politicians.
Suggestions on the poets or poetry will be welcome. Or polite suggestions on anything else.