Dog and Christianity:

Michael Byrne writes: Eleven days ago Crikey published the offensive First Dog on the Moon single balloon dialogue (there is no issue with the cartoon) that depicted Jesus in a sexual act with Senator Fielding.

For your correspondents to flippantly describe it as “pithy” and “reasonable” and ask “where is the offence?” displays an extraordinary ignorance, insensitivity and a bankrupt sense of justice. Such commentary betrays the spirit of the liberal movement wherein respect of the other, their right to believe and to practice their faith in worship is supposedly enshrined.

Overall, the authorship and the publication of the offensive dialogue were illiberal, and uncharitable.

Paul Gilchrist writes: I’ve read a series of comments about a First Dog on the Moon cartoon of Senator Fielding. I didn’t see the original cartoon (I never bother to read FDOM, having never found any humour in it) and I’m not interested in taking part in a flame war. However, on Friday, the flame was still going on, and all four contributors criticise Christianity. Actually, it is really just abuse, not any rational criticism, and if your contributors can’t see why the cartoon about a hand-job could be insulting, I’m sorry for them.

The best comment about this is the old Monty Python skit about the man who will give you an argument for a fee. When a customer comes in, he says “you’re an idiot”. Customer says: “that’s not an argument, that’s just abuse, I could get that next door where they sell insults”. Answer: “well go there, you fool” etc etc. My question is, where do Crikey contributors offer argument, or are they just satisfied with abuse?

Jim Forbes writes: Re. The First Dog/divine hand relief kerfuffle — c’mon, do we really think the son of God gives a toss?

Ronald Biggs:

Jenny Morris writes: Re. “Ronnie Biggs: England’s own Ned Kelly” (Friday, item 16). Charles Richardson’s piece on Ronald Biggs was a bit rich. This sort of re-writing of history is alarming, as is the apparent cool associated with characterising a vicious criminal as a “fighter against authority”. No, Charles, Biggs is no freedom fighter, he’s just a convicted criminal who has only served nine or so years of a 30 year gaol sentence.

Biggs was part of a group which conducted a violent armed robbery, netting what is believed to be far more than GBP 2.6 million. The train driver, referred to by Charles as having been “bashed” was in fact attacked and beaten around the head with an iron bat (or an axe handle — reports differ), handcuffed to another man and thrown into the engine compartment. Jack Mills never returned to work and died six years later. Biggs returned to Britain after “living the high life” with the intention of getting the benefit of the British health system, even if it meant going to gaol.

As one online commentator on an English news site has suggested, maybe the best punishment would be to let Biggs try to survive on the British aged pension in a council flat. In any event, dressing this up as an example of “left-right split” is in my view, drawing a long bow. When accompanied by omission of relevant facts, it is highly irresponsible.

Gavin Robertson writes: Jack Straw is no longer the UK’s Home Secretary. He’s not had this role since 2001. He was speaking (as the BBC article you linked to correctly stated) in his current role as Secretary of State for Justice.

Wage restraint:

Niall Clugston writes: Martin Gordon (Friday, Comments) criticises union leaders as “economically illiterate” but doesn’t seem to be well-informed himself. If the wage restraint of the Accord was a response to the recession of the early ’80s, it obviously failed to prevent the recession of the early ’90s. But then maybe he’s confusing the two recessions. It’s not clear.

Wage restraint has been advocated in the past to fight inflation, but that’s not a problem at the moment. At the moment the government is trying to stimulate demand and therefore it makes no sense to advocate wage restraint.

Free to Air TV:

David Lenihan writes: Re. Julie Flynn, Chief Executive Officer, Free TV Australia (Friday, Comments). Ms Flynn goes into bat for Free to Air TV and would have us believe all is sweetness and light, with the free to air channels providing a wonderful service to the 70% who cannot afford pay TV.

That is sheer nonsense and had the dear lady bothered to do even a smidgen of research she would have found Nine in the metro cities and WIN in the regions are delaying their coverage of the quarter and semi finals from Wimbledon. Last Friday the men’s semi finals started here in the West at 1pm London time, 8pm West Australian time. Coverage on Nine and WIN starts at 11-30pm. What is being shown while the tennis is on live, in the West? A movie and a repeat at that.

If that is “service”, I’m living on some other planet. In the East Nine and WIN regard Wimbledon nowhere near as important as league, two games are shown from 7-30pm until the delayed 11-30pm tennis start. Wimbledon arrives once a year, but the disregard of the major free to air channels for viewers is disgusting. If they want the rights to major international sporting events they should show the events live. Perhaps Ms Flynn would like to rush to their defence now.

Tour de France:

Steven McKiernan writes: Very poor research regarding the Tour de France (Friday, Last night’s TV ratings). A quick look at Wikipedia for Mont Ventoux or ANY of the press kit available from the SBS or the TdF organisation would reveal substantial errors of fact. The Tour first visited Mont Ventoux in 1958, therefore impossible a cyclist would have died during the Tour prior to this date. Who (which cyclist) did die there in 1955?
Tom Simpson died in 1967 after consumption of amphetamines and dehydration lead to heart attack and death.

SBS viewing statistics are surely available for the past few years, why not look at these before you make a comment like
” we will ignore until Cadel Evans or Michael Rogers come to the fore.”

And the other Australian riders? Who may not have a chance of yellow jersey at the end but potentially a stage win, or at least a podium placing and therefore some interest?

  • Brett Lancaster riding for Cervelo
  • Cadel Evans riding for Silence Lotto
  • Mathew Lloyd riding for Silence Lotto
  • Stuart O’Grady riding for Saxo bank
  • Mark Renshaw riding for Columbia
  • Michael Rogers riding for Columbia
  • Allan Davis riding for Quickstep (Allan won the Tour Down Under 2009)

And the other riders of great talent, ex-drug cheats, Lance Armstrong, previous winners? Euskatel-Euskadi the Poseur team of choice, good in the hills but nowhere else?

The critical factor is these riders ride for their TEAM, the dynamics of the teamwork, who is riding well, who isn’t, who is wheel sucking; are tremendous. There is drama in most of the race, some stages provide it more than others, but your advice to start watching after three weeks of racing around France is well, just ignorant, and to be honest makes you look stupid.


Steve Carey writes: Re. AdelaideNow on Bec Hewitt’s bo-bs” (Friday, item 19). The latest Wankley Award prompts me to wonder what possible justification there could be for the picture on the front page of the Australian Business section today. A young female lawyer has been posed in leg-revealing style, and the picture used BIG. Were she male and/or middle-aged, I doubt the same treatment would have been applied.

RIP MJ, but what about the Murray:

Deane Crabb writes: Re. “Reporting Michael Jackson? It’s a war zone out there” (Friday, item 17). You have compared the coverage of the death and funeral of Michael Jackson with the reportage of the situation in Afghanistan by Australian TV networks. But what about the crisis with the River Murray which is being described as the most severe natural disaster this country has faced since European settlement began? As there has been no loss of life (even of one person) it is not newsworthy. This is despite it having a more severe effect that is ongoing and getting worse, and with no end point.

Sarah Palin:

Adrian Jackson writes: The US say the North Korea missile tests would put Alaska within range, but then I though that would not be all that concerning as there is nothing in Alaska except Governor Sarah Palin. Now Sarah (an Arabic word for joy) is resigning as Governor and wants to move to Washington DC, which is out of missile range, to be a future President. She could employ her large family as advisors and discuss world affairs around the White House dinner table whilst eating a freshly killed Caribou. Yeee Haaar.