The absolute resentment of Julia Gillard:

John Taylor writes: Re. “On the trail of the persecuted: what motivates the Parl house rallies?” (yesterday, item 1). Bernard Keane is trying to figure out just what is motivating the absolute resentment of Julia Gillard. There would seem to be several factors, foremost of which is the “born to rule” mentality of the conservative opposition and their noisy media supporters.

Misogyny and s-xism play only a minor part. There are as many women protesting as there are gentlemen (and I use the terms loosely). But if I could offer an opinion in the words of Bill Clinton, I would say “it’s the voice, stupid”. Just listen. Does anything the Prime Minister says sound “real” or does it all sound scripted.

Compare her voice with the beautifully modulated speech of Penny Wong, who can make a point sound “smooth” not “scratchy”. Put Wong’s cadence in Gillard’s mouth and the polls would reverse overnight.


Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Libyans really might live happily ever after” (yesterday, item 11). The assumption seems to be that the entry of rebels into Tripoli spells the end of the Gaddafi regime.  This ignores the nature of the war.

Because of NATO air power, Gaddafi’s forces cannot advance over open ground (which is what most of Libya is), cannot hold fixed positions and cannot deploy heavy weaponry.  Their only hope to destroy the rebel forces is in house-to-house fighting.  Whether they really did lure the rebels into Tripoli, or this is just bravado, such a strategy would be a valid, if risky.

The only question is whether Gaddafi can find enough people to fight back …

Robert Crumb:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. The Robert Crumb story is certainly an object lesson in lazy and ethics-free journalism.  Two points in relation to that story.

I’m surprised that you say it appeared in the SMH yesterday, August 23. I’m sure I read it some time ago and now that I look at the website, it does show it as August 13. I’m glad you picked up on it, just not sure why so late.

Apart from the laziness and the questionable ethics involved, I just want to comment on Hetty Johnston getting involved in this, and in fact being used by the journalist and not recognising it. Certainly in the past she has done some fine work exposing the lowest of the low, and I wish her well in continuing that, but by becoming a rent-a-quote in this way she diminishes all the work she has done beforehand. This has nothing, or at best the most marginal, peripheral relation to her advocacy against child abuse.

Whereas once the mention of  Johnston would have evoked feelings of admiration, I’m starting to think of her in the same vein as that human headline and shameless self-publicist Harold Scruby, of Ausflag, the Pedestrian Council and other ratbag organisations fame.

Ms Johnston, next time you are contacted by a journalist, check it out before giving them a quote. You have been used.

Stale news:

Gavin Robertson writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). From today’s Crikey:

“A campaign from the cockpit. Qantas pilots are taking their fight to retain jobs in Australia directly to passengers. One Melbourne-bound flier reports being delivered a message from the flight deck on landing urging passengers to support the campaign and directing them to Quite a cheeky stunt with a captive audience. Qantas confirms it is happening — on long haul domestic and international flights — as part of the ongoing industrial negotiations. Apparently some customers have complained but Qantas is powerless to stop pilots from doing it.”

From The Australian, of July 19 (i.e. five weeks ago):

“Qantas long-haul pilots will disobey their uniform code and make in-flight campaign announcements to passengers after they kick off their industrial action on Friday. The short announcements will tell passengers the pilots are proud to work for the airline and want to continue to do so, while pointing them to a website launched today.

I am beginning to wonder why I continue to subscribe to Crikey, if you insist on delivering me month old news.

The Mentalist:

Amanda Diaz writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (yesterday, item 18). Glenn Dyer wrote:

“After The Farmer Wants a Wife on Wednesday night it slips a repeat of The Mentalist into the 8.30pm slot — that program has already slid in the ratings and been canned in the US.”

As uninspiring a programming choice as it is, I’m pretty sure The Mentalist hasn’t been canned; its fourth season airs in the US in September. If it had been cancelled, the world might have been spared those rubbish Simon Baker ANZ commercials. If only.

Climate change:

John Kotsopoulos writes: Tamas Calderwood (yesterday, comments) states that “almost three-quarters of Australian voters say they won’t vote Labor” and blames carbon pricing for it straitened position.

This claim is on a par with his regular attempts to promote his fanciful version of climate change reality.

The only way that the three quarters assessment could be true would be if all of 14% of Greens and all independents votes were counted in the anti-carbon pricing column. The reality is that it was a deal between Labor, Greens and independents that put carbon pricing on the legislative agenda.

By the way, when will Tamas and his fellow travellers among the shock-jock brigade  finally acknowledge that both major parties support a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. The  only differences are that the Lib version is more expensive, unfunded and, according to experts, less likely to succeed.

Separated at birth:

Alistair Moffat writes: One is an enforcer for an organisation that controls the lives of everyone it touches, and the other is a hit-man for the mafia.


Crikey writes: Re. “Crikey says” (yesterday). In quoting Robert Crumb’s Sydney Morning Herald piece we mistakenly said it was in yesterday’s (Monday) paper. As some of you pointed out, it was in fact published on August 13.

Peter Fray

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