Rundle: Andrew Bolt v science. “‘I am back at work …” writes The Bolter, under a heading entitled “Tips For Monday 27”, of an item logged as posted at 11.09pm on Sunday, January 26. Amused readers of his blog have long noted the man’s obsessive energy — a post at midnight often as not followed by another at 5am — but this is a new level of Stakhanovism. His workday begins before the day actually does.

Judging by that, and by recent posts — 10 of them on the day before he “returned” to “work” —  the man could do with more rest. In a cross-post from his diary at a small circulation magazine known as the Spectator Australia, he reports on an NZ holiday and notes that political correctness has crept into the museums there too, the Wellington Museum of NZ in particular, whose Maori curators:

“… insist the first Maori sailed to New Zealand from deep in the Pacific in a triumph of navigation. But how could they know the islands were there to find? And where’s the evidence some sailed back home to tell the rest to come over?”

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Well, the Polynesians who became the Maori first landed around the 1280s and may or may not have known Aotearoa/New Zealand was there from earlier explorers — the evidence of travel and back and forth between islands and as far as California is too voluminous to ignore. But even if not, it’s a funny standard for what counts as “discovery” or “triumph of navigation”, ruling out both Captain Cook and Columbus, neither of whom were looking for what they found in more than a few cases.  As to what evidence there is for multiple waves of Polynesian arrival in NZ there is, well, science.

Thus, by DNA testing of Maori remains carbon-dated to around 1300, anthropologists at the University of Otago found a distribution of mitochondrial DNA too broad to be that of a single wave or group, consistent with Maori and Polynesian myths of multiple voyages. That is kinda interesting, and I found it in five minutes of searching. But the Bolter never looked. The point was not the Maori but the affirmation of his white identity as perpetually put-upon, traduced, denied its own narrative of specialness.

The suspicion that the bolts may be flying off comes another item, headed “nation of tribes”, which links to a report of a melee in Sydney, after a drive-by shooting in Sydney’s west. Adds the Bolter:

“I know no more than what I’ve linked to. Yet the reaction suggests an ethnic or religious element … An absence of descriptors in the news reports of those involved is also suspicious.”

Got that? It must be a religious/cultural clash because there’s no mention of such. Later:

“And gradually details eke out to confirm my hunch: ‘It’s believed the man, Dyllan Kettule, 19 …'”

So the evidence for the “fraying of Australian culture” is a surname. You better hope that Imre Salusinszky and Tim Soutphommasane come to blows, and not just if you’re a subeditor. It’s a felicitous juxtaposition of stories. The Maori/Polynesian settlement of Aotearoa/New Zealand was done by tribes capable of planning, co-operation and negotiation. But that possibility must be discredited, so that the term “tribes” can be used as a pejorative for contemporary urban people — viewers of Channel Ten, readers of The Daily Telegraph — guilty of the sort of chaotic behaviour that actual tribes have complex rules to minimise.

Yes, I know it’s only two items, and by tomorrow there’ll be 16 more in this man’s compulsive output. But it’s worth pausing occasionally to note that a mainstream Australian newspaper carries, as its central blog, an incessant supply of racial chauvinism that would not have been out of place in 1910. — Guy Rundle

Daily Fail Down Under. Although it is yet to launch officially in Australia, The Daily Mail, the UK’s click-baiting “news” website, has started its Australian coverage and is already copping claims of racism. In an article (which is a rewritten ABC story) entitled “Three Aborigine boys airlifted to hospital after circumcision ritual goes horrifically wrong and they are left sitting in ‘pools of blood’“, the Mail calls Indigenous Australians “Aborigine boys” and includes a photograph with the caption: “A family of aboriginals strolling in the wild, near Darwin, Australia” …

Daily Mail caption

Marlboro Man dies of lung disease. Earlier this month Eric Lawson, who became famous as the face of Marlboro cigarettes in the late 1970s and early ’80s, died of lung disease. Lawson is the third “Marlboro Man” to die of smoking-related causes, though after his stint at the tobacco giant he also appeared in an anti-smoking campaign. “He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” his wife told the Associated Press. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”


Front page of the day. Russian President Vladimir Putin has overshadowed the Winter Olympics with his homophobia and extreme Russian nationalism. In retaliation, The New Yorker has imagined him as a figure skater — and for the record, we think he’d look wonderful in spangly tights …

New Yorker cover

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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