This week Bolt, the 3-D cartoon magic dog, noticed what everyone else noticed three years ago — that judging by the “most read” list under The Brisbane Times, the queen of the north is entirely populated by readers who are head-injured glue sniffing p-rn addicts. Correction — not Brisbane readers. Brisbane Fairfax readers:

  1. Inside Melbourne’s s-x slave trade
  2. Lost Aussie survives by getting naked
  3. Horse bites off man’s test-cle
  4. Seven-metre crocodile decapitates girl, 10
  5. Italy dig unearths female “vampire”

Quite so. How unlike the readers of that august organ of News Ltd, The Daily Telegraph. Their top five that day:

  1. Boy speared through torso with…
  2. Pauline Hanson secret n-de photo…
  3. Hanson’s n-de photo betrayal
  4. “Dowdy” Pauline doesn’t scrub up…
  5. “I can’t prove it’s Pauline”

Note that items 2 and 3 are the same story in different versions. Well they were filed hours apart. By comparison Fairfax’s mob are renaissance princes, of broad and searching mind. Oh and the last word in item 1 is “Pauline”.

Standpoint is sad. The new UK magazine, produced by the neocon Institute for Social Affairs, has a long story filling in rumours that surfaced months ago — that Czech novelist Milan Kundera and cold-war dissident pin-up had been found to have been an informer in the early 1950s, his actions getting someone 14 years in a labour camp. Kundera denied, and denies, the charges, and the evidence, a single police report, looked like the sort of thing that could be easily faked up and deposited in an archive, to be “found”.

The report has now been authenticated both by content, and physical form (paper chemicals etc), and Kundera has maintained his near-total silence. Standpoint sees it as melancholy news, which suggests that the neocon fantasies of easily identifiable good and evil persist. Kundera joins an impressive gallery of anti-communists and admired Eastern Bloc figures with serious moral lapses — Arthur Koestler was a serial rapist, George Orwell compiled lists of associates for the British Secret Service, Richard Kapucinzski gained his rare opportunity for globetrotting by being an informant in the 50s, and so on. Closer to home, BA Santamaria siphoned off government funding for Catholic schools to create a political slush-fund, and James McAuley was undisturbed to discover he had been an unwitting CIA front for decades.

As Primo Levi noted with reference to the most extreme situation of the century, survivor guilt is usually guilt pure and simple — to survive a camp or a secret police regime you have to cut corners along the way, usually at someone else’s expense. Kundera is available to be read because he survived the worst purges in Czechoslovakia into a time when repression was merely arseholish, not lethal, and then got to Paris. The Kundera who never ratted died in a prison uranium mine in the early 1950s. The Unbelievable Daftness of Being a Neocon.

More anti-Semitism in the British press — “the best news I’ve heard since what happened in May 1940 around a place called France” says one hoon, comparing his joy at collapsing fortunes of the nouveau-riche with the Nazi conquest of Western Europe.

Who is this vicious anti-capitalist? Oh it’s Taki in The Spectator.

In the same column he compared the impact of the GFC on Russia to the impact of [Nazi] General Paulus’s “gallant” sixth army. It’s a measure of the man that his most harmless comment — comparing a bad backgammon game to Hitler’s last days — is one most people would think twice about.

Amazing that those hunting out the new “acceptable anti-Semitism” never read the back of their own magazine. Still good old Taki, hey — keep ’em coming. Perhaps he can be persuaded to include the occasional Burma Railroad/Changi gag so readers of the Spectator Australia can get a taste of the publication’s metropolitan wit?

Pauline Hanson’s threat to sue The Sunday Telegraph over exposure of what many thought (erroneously it now seems) to be her orange roughy, raises an interesting prospect, now that News Ltd employees Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair have gone on record denouncing publication of the snaps. Will News Ltd lawyers thank them for that? Or the possibility that they might end up in the witness box explaining exactly why they used the term “indefensible” to describe the act — indefensible, as in specifically outside NSW’s public figure defence against libel proceedings?

Indefensible on the grounds that fact-checking was so absent that a charge of malice can be added to the sheet, thus exempting News Ltd’s libel insurers from covering any loss in court?

Could be tough times ahead for the dynamic duo.

Does Rupert own any uranium mines?

Peter Fray

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