Didn’t Darwin have something to say about catfish?

Or perhaps it was finches…..

Those of us who spend most of our lives in a reality, not fantasy existence, might not be aware that “catfishing” is a thing.

Apparently it’s a form of social engineering when someone is fooled into a relationship with another person who doesn’t actually exist or many aspects of their supposed life is a fabrication. A situation one imagines is a bit like the experience of being Christopher Pyne’s wife.

It would seem some of these relationships are very intense and, to the victim, quite real.

Here’s an example;

The article then goes on to explain a situation where a woman spent six years believing she was in a relationship with a man and then had a revelation and realised it was a hoax.

What was the cause of revelation, the “cruel way” as the headline suggests?

Erm, she told someone that she’d never actually met the person she called “boyfriend”.

No, really. Six years of being girlfriend and boyfriend and they’d never been in the same room at the same time.

Six years. Not days or even weeks. Years.

The unfortunate woman is an F-list celebrity, apparently, called Casey Donovan.

In addition to the couple of hundred words published in the Sunday supplements, she’s got a book for sale which presumably devotes a significant proportion of the chapters to this episode, given that it lasted for about half her adult life.

Here’s a picture of Casey;

Casey’s 15 minutes of fame came after she won a TV singing talent show.

Without wishing to be overly-harsh in our judgement of Casey, perhaps the fairest thing we could say is that, before and during her period of fame she had some not insignificant unresolved personal issues.

Question; if you have responsibility for a reality TV show or a newspaper Sunday supplement, what duty of care do you have when providing brittle personalities with a public platform?

Bill’s Opinion

Much of what passes for entertainment on TV is a direct descendent of the Victorian-era freak shows, putting those on the mental and physical margins of the population on our screens nightly for our voyeuristic curiosity.

When their time in the sun is over, if they are lucky they can return to the task of overcoming whatever challenges they had previously but with the additional burden of any new issues as a consequence of their brief fame.

Such as an imaginary boyfriend.

Apparently Casey is currently driving for Uber, which is a more productive use of her time with the added bonus that she will actually get to meet real humans.

On banana republics

Banana republic:

A small state that is politically unstable as a result of the domination of its economy by a single export controlled by foreign capital.

Australian voters were handed a new Prime Minister this month in yet another bloodless party coup.

That’s 8 in 11 years….

6 in 8 years….

5 in 5 years…

What on earth is going on?

Well, perhaps the first conclusion we can draw is that it is self-evident the office of Prime Minister can’t be very important to the national interest otherwise there’d be frantic debates about how greater stability might be achieved.

Any further conclusions will require more analysis. Hopefully what follows adds a new dimension of thinking to what currently passes as intelligent commentary in the Australian media.

The hypothesis we are putting forward today is that the revolving door on the Prime Minister’s office is a function of three factors in combination, two of which are systemic, the third is economic.

Reason One – Mandate Illusion

Australia is a member of a very exclusive but not particularly salubrious club; the group of nations with compulsory voting laws.

Here’s the global view (from Wiki);

Apart from those countries mainly being in the Southern Hemisphere, what else do they have in common?

To borrow an expression I can’t recall the source of, most have “green on their flag“. i.e. they are shitholes.

The list of countries that mandate voting by law is almost exclusively made up of places you’d think twice about visiting for a holiday, let alone considering emigrating to.

Why do countries such as Uruguay enforce laws to make people vote? Perhaps because the politicians are afraid of the result if the voters had a choice to stay away from the polls?

The result is a false mandate. 98% of Australians vote so the winning party convinces itself it has a mandate to govern.

Here’s an idea; hold a general election and announce that the law isn’t going to be enforced. Who believes more than 40% will be bothered to turn up and vote for a Prime Minister who is unlikely to last longer than 18 months before being rolled by their own party?

Reason Two – Voting Complexity

So, you’ve arrived at the polling booth, under the threat of a fine, what are your voting choices?

Here’s an example from an internet search;

Believe it or not, but this is a simple example. Some can be as wide as 2 pages of A4 in landscape.

You now have two options to complete the form; “above or below the line”.

Marking your choices “below the line” requires you to number at least 12 candidates in order of preference. Marking “above the line”, requires 6 choices.

What you are, in effect, doing by choosing the simpler option is outsourcing your secondary choices to the 6 candidates who will allocate these to whomever they’ve already made a deal with should they be elected.

Of course, nobody wants to hang around in a school hall on a weekend writing War and Peace on a voting form so 95% choose the outsourcing option.

For an example of what can happen with this complex system of preferential side deals, research the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party.

This is democracy, Jim, but not as we know it.

Reason Three – The Miracle Economy has Made Australians (and the Australian political class) Fat and Happy

There’s not been a recession in Australia since 1992. Well done Australia! Although some unkind commentators might suggest this stellar run of the economy might have more to do with the economic foresight of geological forces laying down iron ore under the Australian earth several million years ago than the careful and prudential management of modern politicians.

Regardless of the cause, this has produced marvellous levels of national and personal prosperity for the population. Many issues that in other countries would be the source of great public debate and contention have simply had money thrown at them as the solution in Australia.

The net result; there’s not much fundamentally wrong in Australia, people aren’t dying of hunger, unemployment is down to levels that can be explained by the IQ bell curve.

Politicians, therefore, feel no sense of urgency or need to concentrate on bigger issues other than their continued ability to use publicly-funded chauffeur-driven cars and expense overseas “research visits”.

Self-absorbed navel-gazing, in other words.

Bill’s Opinion

Australia’s political system is fundamentally dysfunctional whilst having the illusion of an engaged voting population.

To find a solution requires acceptance of the possibility that compulsory voting and a Byzantine voting form outsourced to politicians to complete are not signs of a healthy democracy and, in fact, can mask the symptoms of a disengaged population.

The political class are simply responding to the opportunity to avoid doing their job as one would expect in any other country. To accuse them of lethargy and venality is to misunderstand the nature of those who would seek office.

A banana republic indeed.

The world “Could” needs our sympathy again

Could” and his/her/zher’s synonyms are doing all the work in an article about climate change again, the poor things.

By 2050 the average Australian snow season could be between 20 and 55 days shorter under a low risk scenario modelled by the CSIRO.

It’s always good to throw in a graph or chart showing how the trend is pointing to us all going to hell in a handbasket;

Ok, that looks bad. What’s the source, how was it collected and for what purpose? And why does it only start in 1955?

Here it is.

The data was collected by the Snowy Hydro project to keep track of what the likely water flow will be during spring each year.

There’s a handy disclaimer on the website about how much scientific credibility should be given to the data set;

Snow Depths Disclaimer

Snowy Hydro undertakes snow depth readings as required for operational purposes during the snow season. Updates on our website may be made on an irregular basis. For the latest information on snow conditions, we suggest that you visit the appropriate ski resort website.

Snowy Hydro supplies this information in good faith for the benefit of the public. The information was accurate at the time of recording. However, Snowy Hydro advises that the information now posted should not be relied upon, and therefore cannot incur liability for any loss or damage to third parties arising from how the information may be interpreted or used.

Ok. So an employee of the hydro plant goes out each month and shoves a measuring pole into the snow to estimate how much water will flow through the turbines later in the year.

On this basis, we’ve extrapolated that the Australian ski season will be half as long in 30 years’ time.

One might be excused for not putting one’s boots, poles and skis on eBay.com.au just yet then. As David Camacho points out, measuring snow depths in ski fields is not without its challenges too;

David Camacho

One of the biggest reasons for lower snow depths and shorter seasons is increased skier numbers and increased descents/day, carving away the snow which is not totally overcome by piste grooming machines.

Every time a skier descends, they carve away some snow. This is most extreme on warm sunny days. But also important after fresh snowfalls on thin bases. Especially if the season opens before a firm natural base has developed.

Data should be limited to stations where no skiers affect the snowbase, as then you have eliminated an enormous variable from data.

Just like quadrupling the size of resort villages creates an urban heat island effect….

Unfortunately for Eryk Bagshaw (and presumably his boss, Peter “weather is climate” Hannam) his own article suggests that the public aren’t buying this Chicken Little-ism. Expressed preferences versus revealed preferences are most apparent in the price of property in ski fields;

But there have never been more skiers or snowboarders heading to Perisher, Thredbo or Falls Creek.

Houses prices in Jindabyne and Cooma have grown by 42 per cent since 2008, below the 65 per cent average for the rest of regional NSW.

Victorian alpine areas have been more fortunate, mostly due to their closer proximity to Melbourne, according to Domain data scientist Nicola Powell. Bright has seen Sydney levels of price growth, up 122 per cent over the past decade.

Bill’s Opinion

It would be interesting to seek legal opinion on the likelihood of success of a compensation claim for an owner of a ski-field property in Australia who sold on the back of Erik’s advice and subsequently lost money when the big thaw never happened.

What are the consequences of predictions such as these based on highly-questionable scientific methods?

Oh, and we’ll just leave this little gem from today here;

Awkward.

Nihilists gonna nihilist

We’ve all heard that lemmings jump into the sea every year, drowning themselves because they are just following the herd. Except they don’t. That’s actually a myth invented for a Disney wildlife documentary, and it has blinded us to the truth about the weird lives of lemmings for decades.

That’s ok though, we’ve filled the vacuum ourselves;

We’re the only species evolved enough to consciously go extinct for the good of all life, or which needs to.

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement would very much prefer it if you could refrain from reproducing and persuade everyone you know to follow suit.

Why?

Well for the same reason The Club of Rome would like you to stop breathing;

The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man.

They’ve taken the Buddhist (and several other religions, to be fair) belief that life is mainly suffering, extrapolated it and come to the conclusion that the most appropriate response is that we put a stop to the whole cycle.

Is this a reasonable conclusion supported by the weight of evidence, do we think?

First, let’s look at the reasons put forward by this group, why do we need to take such a radical step? Is it to reduce human suffering?

No, the explanations given on their website are all to the benefit of the surviving species and, in fact, are quite disparaging and unsympathetic about human suffering, as this example illustrates;

Naturally, it’s not that simple, but just for fun, let’s envision an impossible dream: all human sperm suddenly and permanently loses viability—no impregnated human egg begins meiosis to form a zygote—none transforms from embryo into the sacred fetus, is carried to term and sentenced to life. Zero conceptions, wanted nor un.

A wonderful fantasy. Phones in crisis pregnancy centers would fall mysteriously silent. Sperm banks would go bankrupt after fraudulently milking the infertile. Adoption agencies would fruitlessly increase baby bounties, and charge an arm and a leg for whoever’s in stock, damaged or not. Needless panic would be hilarious. Like people frantically searching for their oars after the boat has beached.

Or, to paraphrase, “Yes, you pathetic people who feel the need to altruistically raise someone else’s orphaned child just because you are infertile, how pathetic of you compared to us, the people with the monopoly of righteousness.”.

So, it’s all about the surviving species.

Ok, let’s ponder that concept for a moment. Will a lack of humans cause flora and fauna to have an increased level of happiness? Well, we could have a lengthy debate about the nature of happiness and even consciousness, but one suspects we’ll not reach much of a consensus before anyone reading this becomes personally extinct.

Flip it around the other way perhaps; will a lack of humans result in a net reduction in pain and suffering of plants and animals?

Sure, factory-farmed animals will not experience the short and poor quality lives they currently have, mainly because they won’t be born. What about those animals that will be born in the wild after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil? Do we think they will organise themselves in to peaceful communes or will they just fall prey to the next apex predator down the food chain?

We might even ponder a future earth without humans where another species evolves to fill the vacuum. Do we think the new intelligent species will pick up our musty old literature, read what we did to ourselves, be inspired for the love of Gaia and hold a vote to do the same?

Bill’s Opinion

If you’re reading this looking for the answer to the ultimate question of why we are here and what our purpose is on the planet, I’m afraid you’ll have to leave feeling slightly short-changed.

However, we can have a good punt at what the meaning of life isn’t.

We are not born to capitulate, roll over and die. There is nothing unique or beautiful about giving up, it’s been the easiest and most likely thing to happen throughout the history of the planet.

The philosophy behind VHEM has a fundamental flaw; they’ve confused the statement, “life is mainly suffering” with the statement “life is always suffering”. The gap between the two statements is filled with beauty, kindness and joy, albeit brief.

No, if you think humans are a cancer that needs to be surgically removed…. you go first.

Better still, let us know how you get on once you’ve reached TELAH.

Cause and effect

On a recent discussion over at Tim Newman’s place, I made the following comment;

Should I ever find myself single and the wrong side of 50, one of my main criteria to filter for a potential new companion would be that they are widowed. Everyone else is likely to be single for a reason that is likely to repeat itself.

I recently had a fairly large team of people working for me for a multi-year project. Without exception, the single people were all the hardest to manage, the single females the next hardest category and the single females over 40 were the ultimate nightmare. The main problem with that last category is that nothing ever seemed to be their fault.

To expand on this theme, I notice an increasing large amount of it about.

What is it?

It is a phenomenon of anger and resentment expressed by single women over the age of 40 (to pick a fairly arbitrary number).

Anger and resentment nearly always have a deep root in personal regret;

Angry about your career? You probably regret a decision you made (or failed to make, because not making a decision is still a decision) in the past.

Angry about your partner? You probably regret letting some little annoyance or a series of annoyances pass without comment or conflict/negotiation immediately that it occurred.

Resentful of someone else’s success? You likely regret not making similar choices or not being as conscientious.

So, these 40+ year old women with anger issues, what do they seem to be angry about?

Lots of things; other people’s annoying kids, colleagues who don’t want to stay out drinking wine after work, other women, other men, everything and nothing.

I think though, ultimately, they are pissed off with themselves for finding themselves single, childless, rapidly approaching the menopause, awash with disposable income and nobody to spend it on other than some nieces and nephews or their cats.

This resentment spills over into their day to day demeanour and, ironically, becomes a further reason why they are going to find it increasingly impossible to find a partner.

Bill’s Opinion

Historically, 91% of women had children. The equivalent statistic for men was, depending on which source you look at, far lower – wars had a devastating effect on the relative rates of male reproduction. Some sources suggest male reproduction was 17 times lower than female.

To put it brutally; if you were female and childless you must have been infertile or completely and irredeemably unattractive to men.

Today though, through accident or artifice, there is a growing cohort of women who bought into a concept that they could have it all; a career every bit as vital as a man’s whilst attracting or, even with the added bonus of the career being another channel to attracting, an alpha (or alpha-enough) mate.

Of course, the shiny promise of this have it all life didn’t deliver and the reality is significantly different to the dream. Time cannot be reversed, fertility miracles are hard to conjure and any man over 40 who is single is likely to have more baggage than Imelda Marcus on a 2 week cruise.

Teach your daughters well; invest as much attention and effort into your personal life as your career, if not more.

Westpac and O’Sullivan’s Law

If their social media profile is any measure of these things, one of the four main Australian banks, Westpac, is firmly in the vanguard of the Australian First Battalion of the Social Justice Warrior armed forces.

Their CEO, Brian Hartzer, is clearly one of the main drivers of this “progressive” attitude, witnessed by the following samples from his Creepbook for Business activity;

And this word salad that seems to be channeling Eric Morecombe’s line, “they’re all the right notes, just not in the right order“;

Some more virtue signalling that is surely guilty of cultural appropriation (or perhaps the drag queen beauty parade was ironically named after Islam’s holiest city?);

More here. No, really ladies, your promotion was entirely merit-based and not simply to hit Brian’s 50% diversity target;

We’re starting to run out of female leaders prepared to be touted as public examples so we’ll recycle a couple here;

And then we see something quite telling, hiding in plain sight, so to speak;

Actively and publicly supporting a political candidate (multiple times too) on the far left of the political spectrum. Well, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Obviously he’s allowed to have a personal political opinion but it seems mildly inappropriate to be expressing this in a work-related context.

However, he’s got form on this. Last year, during the same sex marriage referendum, Hartzer approved an SMS to be sent to all Westpac employees’ mobile phones encouraging to get out and vote “Yes”. Which, as measures of good shareholder value go, wouldn’t be top of the priority list, one imagines.

Similarly, Hartzer is happy to splash shareholders’ cash on rainbow lighting on the facade of the HQ during IDAHOBIT Day and have rainbow lapel pins handed out to his staff, none of whom feel at all intimidated or coerced into wearing them, I’m sure.

In a further example of Hartzer’s Olympic gold medal level of virtue signalling, the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (h/t the Welsh Twinkie) with the staff include the following gems;

  • Time off for transgender transitioning, and
  • Time off for “Sorry Business”, i.e. Aboriginal staff can take leave because many non-Aboriginal Australians are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Bill’s Opinion

O’Sullivan’s Law states that any organisation or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

Westpac is the case study of this.

Let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of banks; they are to provide shareholder value by securely-holding deposits and prudently writing loans in as efficient a way as possible. Anything else is gravy.

How’s Westpac tracking against that mandate?

Here’s an example to consider; the New Payments Platform (aka Osko), a method to quickly transfer money using a short ID code, was widely launched last year in Australia.

How’s Westpac going with implementing it?

Oh. That’s awkward.

The danger of bad law

Paging James Damore…..

There isn’t currently a report of this that I can find that isn’t behind a paywall. Do your own search however, as it’s bound to be picked up by the news outlets with a broken business model shortly.

In summary, the University of Adelaide has sought dispensation from the legislation governing workplace equality to advertise half a dozen roles as only open to female applicants.

Hang on, what? Isn’t that, erm, discriminating against all the potential male job applicants in the Adelaide area, most of whom presumably have families to support with their income?

How did we get here?

Well, it would seem the university has consistently failed to hire female lecturers qualified to teach computer science and, wracked with guilt over this egregious example of patriarchal oppression, they have decided that the only course of action is to close the door to any lecturer who identifies as a bloke.

That’s bound to work, isn’t it?

Let’s hypothesise as to why they’ve not managed to hire lecturers in a 50:50 gender split. Possible reasons might include one or more of the following;

  • Qualified women feel overwhelmed by the prospect of applying, for some reason.
  • Qualified women are explicitly or subtlety dissuaded by the interviewers.
  • Qualified women fail to impress the interviewers because the interview process is skewed in favour of male candidates in some way.
  • There aren’t many (or even any) qualified female candidates in Adelaide or outside Adelaide who are prepared to relocate.
  • Some other reason related to duh patriarchy.

Putting the possible reasons why we arrived at this situation aside for a moment, let’s explore the legislation. How can it be that anti-discrimination laws can be ignored like this?

Because the legislation is terrible, that’s why. Section 44 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 allows for “The Commission” (which refers to the loathsome Australian Human Rights Commission) to grant exceptions as it sees fit.

I’m sure the legislators back in 1984 thought this was a good idea, in between enjoying the Australian theme to Bowie’s Let’s Dance video and the national pride of having a Prime Minister who held the world record for the yard of ale.

Of course, what they couldn’t should have anticipated was the creeping takeover of the commission by the radical left, resulting in it becoming a mouthpiece for those who would hector and nag and worse, embark on vindictive and flawed prosecutions.

Bill’s Opinion

At its core, this is a problem created in 1984 by poor legislation. Subsequently, the unelected and unaccountable body with discretionary powers to waive legislation has become highly-politicised.

The second problem is that the University of Adelaide is in denial of reality. The two most likely reasons they have not managed to hire an equal number of female IT lecturers are;

  1. As Damore rightly pointed out, IT is less attractive to females than males because women generally prefer to work with people and men generally prefer to work with things.
  2. Adelaide is a very small city in a very small (population wise) country and is geographically remote from even Australia’s large population centres.

Why does the second point matter; because we always see fundamental problems manifest themselves at the margins. Presumably the reason we haven’t seen the University of Sydney requesting this legal waiver is because there is probably just about enough potential female candidates for it not to be a problem. One suspects there are unlikely to be any unemployed female IT lecturers in Sydney.

Of course, it raises the question, what does it say about the likely quality of the lecturers at a Sydney University if ownership of female genitals results in you being accepted for a role over a more qualified male?

Unicorn excreta

….and we’re back. Life rudely interrupted last week, apologies.

This news article presented itself on my Creepbook for Business feed this morning, proving yet again how LinkedIn has become a virtue signalling, leftwing propaganda echo chamber with a very mild utility as a job hunting resource attached.

One hopes that the Monash University staff were commensurately recompensed for a study with such stunning insights as this. After all, it must have taken huge amounts of effort and intellectual ability to log on to the Australian Statistics website, open a CSV file with workplace injury data, insert a pivot table and sort by profession.

What piqued our interest however, was LinkedIn’s choice of stock photo to accompany the headline;

A young female driver with dark skin.

This academic study (demographics page 21) suggests that, after taking the photo of our lady driver above, the photographer might have considered buying a lottery ticket as it was his/her lucky day – a young female driver is rarer than unicorn shit.

We can’t comment on skin colour of truck drivers because we haven’t found any demographic data linking melanin levels and heavy vehicle licences.

Bill’s Opinion

The most dangerous profession in Australia is almost exclusively undertaken by men. LinkedIn is quite correct in their sentiment: we should start a campaign for 50:50 gender equality in this profession.

Go on then, explain how this would work

A ban on gay conversion therapy is the most important thing on the Australian LBGTIQ people’s things to do next list, apparently.

Really?

Some unanswered questions leap to mind about the survey of 2,662 LBGTIQ folks;

  1. Did the interviewees confirm with which of the letters of the LBGTIQ alphabet they identify?
  2. If so, were the survey results adjusted in any way to reflect the ratio of those letters in the general population? The medical phenomenon known as Intersex (the “I”), for example, occurs in about 0.05% of the population whereas male homosexuals make up around 1.9%. Was the intersex person’s opinion weighted to be worth 38 times that of the gay man’s?
  3. Did the survey ask for or offer any suggestions of how such a ban might work?

It’s just that we’re a little sceptical about seeking a unified opinion from such a diverse set of individuals on anything other than matters that impact them universally.

Homosexuality, for example, might have both a genetic and an environmental cause. The reason someone is transgender might also have a genetic and an environmental cause but not necessarily the same ones as the gay man’s. In fact, if we really got into the subject we may find that no two gay men are gay for exactly the same combination of reasons either.

Statistical obfuscation aside, there’s a few outstanding issues with the survey’s conclusion; how would this be written into law and enforced?

Imagine a young man from Adelaide, let’s call him Christopher, a devout Christian with a firm belief in those Christian values. He saved his virginity until he married and is now the proud father of four lovely children.

The problem is, human sexuality is a complex thing and he’s troubled with erotic thoughts about other men. He doesn’t want to be unfaithful to his wife and his religious beliefs strongly inform him that these thoughts are unnatural.

Regardless of whether we believe there’s a moral position to be taken on homosexuality or not, it is his firm desire to overcome these urges.

If he confides in a friend and the friend tells him to focus on his wife, buy her sexy lingerie and increase the romance in their relationship, will this friend now be breaking the new law?

What about if he confides in the family doctor who then refers him to a mental health professional? Are these two doctors acting illegally?

Perhaps even Christopher is in breach of the new anti-gay conversion law by seeking help in the first place? Where is the line drawn?

And the current gay conversion therapists, do they physically force their clients to attend the sessions? Do they use blackmail? Coercion? Surely there are existing laws against that behaviour already?

Bill’s Opinion

This is where Identity Politics leads eventually…… and it should be completely encouraged!

Why? Because the statistical obfuscation required to lump together groups of individuals, survey them for an opinion and then present it back as a unanimously-agreed statement will backfire quickly.

The idea that a man who enjoys having sex with a man, a woman who enjoys having sex with a woman, a man who believes he’s a woman, a woman who believes she’s a man, a person who was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and whatever it is the other letters of LBGTIQ+ stand for all have the same opinions on anything simply doesn’t stand up to any level of real life scrutiny, as anyone who has met people from these letters can confirm.

Don’t believe me? Invite one of each to a café and ask them what their coffee order is.

The survey is guilty of the same statistical error the USA financial industry made with the blending of sub-prime loans with AAA debt and will end in the same mess.

Carry on please!

The (big) little people can’t be trusted

Obviously it’s pick on Aussie journalists week here at WoO. No, I don’t know why either but it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

The SMH’s “senior economics journalist”, Jessica Irvine was paid today to tell us she’s no longer as overweight as she used to be, she’s now a mother, oh, and to advertise her book about no longer being as overweight as she used to be. Nice work if you can get it.

No, seriously, she knocked out a few hundred words to tell us that the secret to her weight loss was eating less and exercising more but because she’s good at spreadsheets she used a spreadsheet to keep track of it.

Also, she wrote this without a hint of irony, which is quite some feat;

But first, let’s address the elephant in the room: why does a senior economics journalist for some of Australia’s most respected newspapers keep banging on about her butt?

There’s two chuckles to be had there, if one is inclined to look for them.

The headline is most interesting though, and it’s taken directly from the body of the article so it’s not one of those usual editorial decisions to put words into the author’s mouth.

Ponder that statement for a moment.

Just whose damn responsibility is it to shed excess kilograms then? I’ve checked Google Maps and they’ve completely failed to label the locations of the human foie gras farms out in the suburbs.

Smashing the personal responsibility framework means acknowledging that most people aren’t maths whizzes and won’t follow the diet I’ve just outlined, particularly not those in lower socio-economic groups among whom obesity is most prevalent.

Sure, it’s about educating individuals to make better food and exercise choices. But fundamentally it’s about redesigning the obesogenic environment we’ve created, by governments stepping in to improve the availability of cheap, nutritious food and opportunities for regular exercise and activity.

Ah, it’s the government’s job to make the stupid masses lose weight because they aren’t as clever as Jessica Smarty(large)pants.

No, really, she wrote that.

Bill’s Opinion

There is nothing quite as obscene as a desire to control other people disguised as altruism.

Jessica doesn’t give a damn about the size of the guts of the people living in the areas of Australia she only ever drives past on the way to the airport or flies over on the way to her foreign holidays.

What Jessica wants is “people like us” to be in charge of what those people can and can’t eat and how they exercise.

And this, by the way, is someone with some level of qualification in that most suspicious of disciplines, economics, a subject with such an inferiority complex it had to invent a fake Nobel Prize for itself in an attempt to gain missing gravitas.

One assumes Jessica played truant in the local McDonalds and Burger King when the lecturers explained the Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman parts of the syllabus.