Are you an artist?

An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Some examples:

The threat of mental health impacts.

Position A: we must agree, without question, with children who say they are transgender because otherwise their inevitable negative mental health outcome and possible suicide will be our fault.

Position B: we must keep children off school and away from group sports for months to protect the elderly and chronically unwell. The mental health impacts of this are insignificant.

Climate change

Position A: climate change is the biggest existential threat to humanity, all necessary resources and national finances should be applied to solve it. We must think the unthinkable.

Position B: nuclear energy is too big a danger to use to generate our power.

Election fraud

Position A: Russia hacked the 2016 election resulting in the illegitimate Trump presidency.

Position B: there were no irregularities in the 2020 election. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a conspiracy theorist.

The World Health Organisation

Position A: it’s unfortunate the WHO made several significant mistakes over the efficacy of masks and the possibility the Kung Flu came from the Wuhan lab.

Position B: the WHO is correct that the vaccines are safer for all age and health cohorts than catching the virus.

Prophylaxis

Position A: there is no evidence from randomised double blind longitudinal studies of the effectiveness of existing generic pharmaceutical treatments for Kung Flu and anyone suggesting these should be further investigated is a conspiracy theorist.

Position B: a vaccine first produced less than a year ago is completely safe in both the short and long term for all age and health cohorts.

Freedom of speech

Position A: one of the greatest benefits of living in a western democracy is the freedom to criticise government policy without sanction.

Position B: there is no problem with private companies, some of whom have revenue greater than the GDP of many countries, to censor people who spread misinformation as these people are dangerous conspiracy theorists.

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps there’s a bit of artistry in us all. It’s not those who have inconsistency who scare me most, but those with certainty.

Take it away boys:

Clayton’s zero covid policy

Last week was a watershed moment for Australians in their ongoing battle with the virus. A national cabinet agreed to a “plan” out of the current endless cycle of lockdowns, internal border closures and never visiting or being visited by our loved ones overseas.

Here it is:

One can read further details behind each of those steps at… no, wait, there are no further details. That graphic, using standard Microsoft PowerPoint SmartArt, has taken the Federal and States governments’ combined brain power 15 months to produce.

There’s not even a broad range for the ratio of vaccinated residents that would trigger a move between phases.

Those of us with a job in the productive part of the economy can tell you this is a bollocks plan. The measures should have some element of “SMART” to them to be worthwhile, that is; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

This looks rather similar to those ridiculous international statements we are handed as a fait accomplis from climate conferences, such as the Paris Agreement. The process to produce these documents is the same; a bunch of vested interests get together and drive their own agenda into the document, resulting in an inarticulate mush leaping from the minutiae to the macro between bullet points.

In fact, it’s not dissimilar to the process used to record the final Beatles’ album, Let It Be. A group of hostile collaborators tasked with producing something, anything, pumped out a disappointing product. In the Beatles’ case, an album full of solo efforts. In the Australian national cabinet’s example, a shitty PowerPoint slide a primary school child would score mid-class for.

It’s not all bad news though. We finally learned precisely when Australia switched from “flatten the curve” to “zero covid”. We all instinctively know that strategy change occurred, but nobody I’ve spoken to could point to the moment it happened.

It was July last year.

I don’t know about you, but I totally missed that press conference and the subsequent public discussion of the pros and cons of the various options for dealing with the virus. Not even the partisan hacks on Sky News Australia or The ABC mentioned it or discussed it.

Why? No seriously, why? This was a massive national decision and, if it was even reported, it must have been buried deep in the unread part of the newspaper (just next to Peter Fitzsimons’ column, presumably). Why no reporting of note?

Bill’s Opinion

If ever there was an illustration of the consequence of the political consensus across political parties and mainstream media, this would be it.

We didn’t have a national discussion over whether to go for zero cases of Kung Flu because both parties and the media tacitly agreed with it. Our opinion wasn’t sought.

Just a friendly reminder of the consequences government by consensus gets you:

A war in the Middle East looking for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, “45 minutes to launch”.

“Temporary” anti-terrorism laws, “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear”.

Taxpayer funded bank bail outs following irresponsible lending mistakes., “we gotta save the economy”.

And now this, the reversal of a decision made quietly and without scrutiny a year ago that has had implications for 24 million people, who were never asked and are now not being asked for the reversal.

Thank you for your service

Have you been “jabbed” yet? If not, are you angry at the tardiness of the vaccine roll out or are you unconvinced of its long term safety?

Your answers to these questions have become the new line of division within Australia. How you answer identifies you as part of the “in group” or the “out group”.

The in group have decided the vaccine is both effective and safe, or at least, safe enough. The out group are unconvinced.

And, without throwing lots of links to various medical studies, statistics on the at risk age groups of death by covid, or the current logged instances of reported complications with the various vaccines, the schism is right there.

Full disclosure; I am in the out group. Everyone has their own personal reasons for taking or declining the vaccine. Mine are as follows:

  1. My age and underlying health suggests I would not have a severe outcome should I catch Covid
  2. I’m unconvinced by the evidence so far presented that the vaccines have been tested to an acceptable standard
  3. I’m unconvinced the inevitable cases of side effects are being reported to the correct authority to be collated and assessed
  4. In New South Wales, there is fewer than 1 case for every 100,000 people
  5. There is no evidence from countries ahead of Australia in rolling out vaccines that international travel will resume any time soon – one of the key promises made by our leaders
  6. Game Theory – I can still benefit from a vaccine without having to take an additional risk by taking it if enough of you lot do first

Even more helpfully, Australia’s favourite virtue signaller, Peter Fitzsimons, has been loudly and somewhat threateningly writing in his grammatically-challenged Sydney Morning Herald column about how it is our civic duty to take the cure. His latest offering is sub-headlined “Don’t forget where this pain in the arse disaster came from”.

I suspect he wants you to think, “the Liberal state government” in response to that prompter, whereas most people will racistly think, “erm, ‘Peter Daszek’s gain of function laboratory in Wuhan, China“.

But I am grateful to Pirate Pete for holding an opinion on this as it saves us all time from having to think too hard about it, as my handy decision tree below illustrates:

Bill’s Opinion

My decision is to not take the vaccine for probably another 2 years until I’ve seen enough evidence on the severity and distribution of side effects and the effectiveness of other prophylactic and therapeutic treatments of Covid.

The more people such as Fitzsimons label me as a “denier” or”anti-vaxxer”, the more entrenched in that view I am likely to become.

When it comes to other vaccines that have undertaken full scale clinical trials, I’ve had an arm full of them. Previously, before the Covid Curtain fell across our international departure gates, I had travelled to a full and diverse range of shithole countries (nearly all of which have the colour green on their flag, which may or may not be a coincidence), so had to take more precautions. I bet I own one more Yellow Fever certificate than most people reading this.

I’ll take the vaccine once my evaluation of the risk/reward ratio suggests it’s a good idea for me personally. In the meantime, I will respond as follows to people who loudly proclaim their righteous virtue and membership of the vaccine in group:

“Thank you for your selfless service by agreeing to participate in the trial, the results of which I eagerly anticipate reading in 2023”.

AstraZeneca jab reduces the risk of blood clots!

Of course not. There’s no evidence for this at all.

There’s plenty of evidence very few journalists have any useful level of competence at mathematics though (Jess Irvine included).

A classic example presents itself here; a nurse in Queen’sland experienced a DVT (or blood clot) shortly after having her first “jab” of the AZ vaccine.

This was front page news, despite no evidence linking the DVT with the injection.

Sure, there’s no evidence not linking them either, which is presumably the “public interest” reason for the reporting.

The reporting misses some critical questions and answers, of course. It would be setting expectations far too high for us to hope for competent reporting from our media in 2021.

Anyone capable of basic maths, specifically being able to calculate ratios, fractions, or percentages might ask questions such as:

How many DVTs normally occur in a population?

What is the current rate of DVTs in the recently vaccinated cohort?

What is the rate of hospitalisations for dog bites per capita?

The answer to the first question can be found via the USA’s CDC; 0.25%.

The answer to the second question can be calculated from the article; 1.8m jabs delivered in Australia so far and 18 related DVT cases. So 0.001%. If we assume a DVT caused by the jab will occur with a month whereas the CDC figure is annualised, we should multiply that by 30 days, so 0.03%.

The number of dog bite-related hospital referrals can be found here; 0.016%.

Bill’s Opinion

We can draw several clear conclusions from this data:

1. Statistically, the AstraZeneca jab protects people from DVTs. Ok, it doesn’t really but if we’re playing Numberwang, we may as well say it does.

2. Statistically, the AstraZeneca jab is twice as dangerous as walking your dog.

3. Journalists are fucking innumerate twats.

Australian politicians and the N word

Some words are simply SO taboo that even saying them brings catastrophe to the speaker.

In the UK, it’s widely accepted that the NHS is the political “third rail”, i.e. any politician touching it will be electrocuted.

Australia has a different political N word. Let’s see if you can guess which it is before getting to the end of this page.

Some background first.

This week saw the Australia media panjandrums pop on a jaunty little face mask, head to their local airport and fly off to Canberra for the Australian ceremonial version of Changing of the Guard, the Federal Budget.

The first question in many minds might be why? As in, “why, after 2020, is anyone still languishing under the illusion the Federal government has any power or influence?”. But I suppose the chance of a night away from home with the corporate credit card is too tempting for those few souls toiling in the dog days of the news industry.

The ritual regarding the release of the details of the budget to the press is somewhat ridiculous too. The press corps are locked in a room without communications to the outside world to pour over an early glimpse of the details. Ah, if only that room could be of greater capacity and the locks made more permanent…. we can but dream.

What then were the interesting or amusing highlights of this year’s flavour of returning a portion of our taxes to us in a magnanimous grand gesture of altruism?

One which grabbed my attention was the $100m splurge of my taxes into three 10 megawatt power stations. That’s a good thing, I suppose, given the third world power cuts parts of the country experienced in recent years due to the sun and wind being inconveniently unavailable at times when people in South Australia wanted to run their fridge or boil a kettle.

What type of power station can be built these days without the moong dal crunchers becoming upset? Turns out hydrogen is acceptable as it is a zero carbon energy source.

Ring the church bells! We have found a source of “clean energy”, rejoice!

A wander around the various media sources will reinforce the article linked above, explaining to their readers that generating electricity from hydrogen doesn’t emit carbon.

By the way, when did “carbon” become the approved shorthand for “carbon dioxide”? I suppose we shorten amphetamine sulphate to amphetamine or even speed so we have form on this.

Curious minds might ask a question or two about this new wonder fuel, however. For example, where does all the hydrogen come from?

The wiki page answers the question in an unintentionally hilarious way (bold highlighting is mine):

Hydrogen fuel is a zero carbon fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It has begun to be used in commercial fuel cell vehicles, such as passenger cars, and has been used in fuel cell buses for many years. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

As of 2018, the majority of hydrogen (95%) is produced from fossil fuels by steam reforming or partial oxidation of methane and coal gasification with only a small quantity by alternative routes such as biomass gasification or electrolysis of water or solar thermochemistry, a solar fuel with no carbon emissions.

“Zero carbon” seems a somewhat fluid and forgiving definition, as anyone who proudly drives a coal-powered Tesla will virtue signal to you.

Is it accurate then to summarise hydrogen cell energy generation as “zero carbon when the energy used to extract hydrogen was generated using zero carbon energy but almost all of the time it isn’t”?

To be fair to those pushing hydrogen-based energy projects, there is a clearly a “build it and they will come” desire to see the hydrogen extraction become based on wind and solar. It’s just they haven’t come yet.

Back to the politics of it all, because everything about climate change is politics, after all; are we missing any key pieces of information?

Of course we are. Firstly, let’s remind ourselves who the biggest polluter is by a country mile. China now produces more CO2 than all of the western economies combined. Good luck if you think Australia’s actions could change the global climate either positively or negatively by comparison.

Secondly, did you know Australia has some of the largest deposits of uranium in the world?

Did you guess the N word before that sentence?

Bill’s Opinion

Australia, like most countries, has a national narrative it likes to tell itself. One such example is regarding the events at Gallipoli in the First World War.

If you speak to most Australians about it, you will likely hear a version of the following; Nasty Winston Churchill sent the Australian troops to a certain defeat because they were expendable, unlike the English. Also, an Australian bloke called Simpson bravely carried wounded soldiers on a donkey. It’s all a bit more complicated than that, of course; the English lost about four times as many Anzacs and Simpson was an English deserter, most likely using the donkey as an excuse to keep away from being permanently on the front line.

Just like the Gallipoli story, Australia has told itself a story about nuclear energy, such that it is political suicide to even mention its name.

For decades now, no Australian politician, or indeed political commentator, has seriously mentioned the possibility of using our vast stores of uranium to produce cheap and truly zero carbon electricity.

It’s not even a topic to be named and then dismissed after a brief discussion. It’s as if we’ve put the words “nuclear energy” in a locked box, thrown away the key and buried the box deep in a snake infested cave.

And that’s how we get to a national delusion that our three new hydrogen power plants are, by any stretch of the imagination, “green”.

Manchurian OpEds

You’d have to be deliberately obtuse to not recognise the nefarious influence China leverages across “western democracies” (for want of a better descriptor).

We wrote about some Australian examples here.

Without any proof whatsoever, I’m going to have a punt that this may be another example. Excuse the photo of the article, but it’s behind a paywall and I’m not prepared to pay:

Fans of Betteridge’s Law might want to consider a related variation resulting in the following answer to the headline’s question; “It won’t, you fool”. Let’s face it, if you believe China is credibly aiming at a carbon net zero scenario by 2060, I’ve got a harbour bridge you may like to buy.

If that also summarises your view on China’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord (our analysis of that devalued document here), you may wish to also focus in on the Hans Christian Andersen chart presented as authoritative:

CO2 production to peak in 9 years time and then fall quicker than a Premier League soccer player in the penalty box? Okaaaaay.

By the way; Source: CAIXIN. This CAIXIN? Excuse me if I express mild scepticism as to their ability to be objective whilst remaining on the preferred side of a Chinese prison wall.

There’s a lot to parse from the article, feel free to invest the time to read every word. Alternatively, here’s my TL:DR version:

The best way to ensure China achieves its international climate change commitments is for the entire global economy to implement a new form or carbon pricing based on my employer’s complicated computer modelling combined with increased public policy and regulatory rules. No, I’m not going to share the computer model nor what regulatory and policy rules should be imposed.

So, who is Peng Wengsheng, what does his employer do and who’s behind them?

Dr Peng Wensheng is managing director, global chief economist and head of research at CITIC Securities….. Dr Peng was born in 1966 in Anhui Province, China. He received a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Nankai University in 1986, and continued to study at the postgraduate school of the People’s Bank of China. He received a Master’s degree in banking and finance and PhD in economics at the University of Birmingham in England in 1988 and 1993 respectively. Dr Peng is an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University and Nankai University, and was voted first and second in the area of macroeconomic research for China by “Asia Money” and “Institutional Investor” consecutively in 2013 and 2014.”

CITIC Securities Co., Ltd. is a Chinese full-service investment bank. It offers services in underwriting, research, brokerage, asset management, wealth management, and investment advisory. CITIC Securities was established in 1995 and it is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.”

Any other information regarding CITIC? Oh, this:

On August 25, 2015 the Chinese news media announced that several executives within CITIC Securities were under investigation for possible wrongdoing.

Bill’s Opinion

It is entirely possible Dr Peng’s opinions published without examination in The Australian Financial Review are written in good faith. It is also entirely possible his employers, CITIC Securities and the media group CAIXIN are operating freely and without influence from the Chinese Communist Party.

Let’s give a probability to these things shall we?

Your assessment may radically differ from mine but my view is a man who grew up in China, has spent all of his adult life in the pay of Chinese universities and Chinese banks and whose family presumably nearly all still live within the regime…. isn’t an objective commentator.

Similarly, no mater how motivated the CAIXIN media group or CITIC Securities executives are to be independent from the Chinese government, having one’s colleagues investigated would tend to focus the mind somewhat.

I’ll estimate there’s a less than 5% chance this isn’t a Chinese government endorsed, if not written, OpEd.

I actually don’t care that Peng and his employers are stooges. I’m more intrigued as to why the AFR published it without question.

Desperately seeking alpha

WilliamofOckham.com content generator and great friend of this organ, Jess Irvine has written another informative Facebook post on her child’s nursery chat group.

Before we get into it, let’s have a quick reminder of an important phenomenon; the Dunning Kruger Effect. This has been summarised thus:

“.…If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent … The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.

With that context in mind, let’s have a look at Jess’ genius Mumsnet story.

Jess tells us she’s knocking on the door of her 40th year and has never invested in stocks outside of her Superannuation fund, which presumably is managed by somebody else. I’m not sure this is the sort of admission a “Senior Economics Writer” should make in public. One would be sceptical of a surgeon who admitted to never actually holding a scalpel, after all.

But still, not one to be worried by inconveniences such as competence, capability or knowledge, Jess has announced she’s going to be sharing her top stock picks over the near future.

I may need to write a “Jess Irvine piss take bot” to cover these announcements.

The secret to Jess’s investing success starts, as with all of Jess’s advice, with a spreadsheet. To a man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

So, with the spreadsheet, she has categorised the stocks in the ASX into her own unique budget labels: housing, household, utilities, transport, food, health, education, appearance, lifestyle and professional fees.

Curious minds might wonder at this point, why Jess’s investing strategy is limited to the Australian exchange, especially as most major tech companies are on the NASDAQ and the world’s major corporations are listed in London or New York? Keep wondering, as we aren’t told. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with a lack of knowledge and experience.

If you’re paging down the column looking for the first stock pick, don’t bother, we’re being made to wait. After all, Jess doesn’t want to rashly splash her $10,000 on just any old crap.

Wait, didn’t I mention this entire column is to tell us that one day, sometime in the future, Jess may buy up to $10,000 worth of shares?

That’s not strictly true, she does manage to get a mention in about her astute purchase, at the last market peak, of a tiny Sydney apartment, which she now owns is renting from a bank and, that she’s got nearly $300,000 in her pension, which suggests she’s made three fifths of fuck all alpha on the principle over the 20 years she’s been paying in.

The only missing components of a classic Jess Irvine’s Mumsnet post are mention of her coming last in a marathon and having a baby. Plenty of time for that when the stock picks are shared though.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s no real way to confirm this but I’m going to wildly speculate about Jess Irvine, Senior Economics Writer at the Sydney Morning Herald:

  1. The only reason she has that job title is because of her gender. She could not, surely, have been the most qualified business and economics writer available to that newspaper.
  2. The ongoing requirement for the news desk to maintain diversity quotas has emboldened her to push this kind of pointless and, frankly, embarrassing writing on the editors and, being spineless, they roll over and publish it.
  3. All of Jess’s stock picks will rise at least 10% in value over the next year. This will be hailed as genius (self-assessed). proof of her financial acumen and mastery of a pivot table.

In the meantime, nearly everything on the ASX will rise 10% too, what else can it do in an era of central banks hitting CTRL P to infinity?

My advice is don’t take slimming advice from an overweight person and don’t take stock tips from the shoe shine girl.

We sleep soundly at night…. redux

……because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.

Winston Churchill

Today is a lazy repost of this entry.

Why? Well if journalists are able to reprint the same story with new pictures but no additional evidence of war crimes, I’m allowed to recycle my response to their bullshit too.

Pretend fellatio in a bar describes pretty much every senior grade footy club everywhere in the world after 9pm on a Saturday night. If that’s a war crime, please send a postcard to my new address in The Hague.

I really have no idea what goes on in bars the SAS drink in after a day out on patrol being shot at with live ammunition but, unless they actually commit a crime in said bar, it’s their business and I thank them for their service.

So, feel free to re-read “We sleep soundly at night….”:

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith was photographed cheering on an American soldier drinking from the prosthetic leg of a suspected Afghan militant whose death is now the subject of a war crimes investigation into the war hero.

The world is divided in to exactly three types of people;

  1. Those who see the photo above and think, “so what?”,
  2. Those who see the photo above and think, “that’s disgusting, get the lawyers in The Hague on the blower”, and
  3. Those who see the photo above and think, “the infidel dogs in the west must die”.

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have obtained two photographs that show Mr Roberts-Smith, the country’s most decorated living soldier, posing with the prosthetic leg which was used as a novelty drinking vessel.

Obtained” or, in English; “paid top dollar for“.

The photographs appear at odds with claims made by Mr Roberts-Smith’s lawyer in the Federal Court last year that the war hero was utterly disgusted by the use of the leg as a drinking vessel. Lawyer Bruce McClintock stressed Mr Roberts-Smith “never drank from that thing … Because he thought it was disgusting to souvenir a body part, albeit an artificial one from someone who had been killed in action.”

He’s not drinking from it. He’s next to a person drinking from it, neither of whom probably realised that, years after risking their lives on our behalf, investigative journalists would be frothing up a story where front line soldiers in Afghanistan are judged by standards applicable to wine bars in Glebe.

The fake limb gained further notoriety earlier this month when photos of soldiers and non-commissioned officers drinking from it were leaked to The Guardian. The photos supplied to The Guardian did not include any images of Mr Roberts-Smith posing with the leg.

In other news, I visited Dallas once but the authorities are still struggling with collecting the evidence necessary to convict me of assassinating JFK.

The Guardian story, written by freelance journalist Rory Callinan, included photos of two soldiers with faces blurred posing with the boot. The story claimed “rank-and-file” soldiers believe they have been unfairly criticised by the Brereton report and suggest that drinking from the boot could be classified as the war crime of pillaging because the leg was property taken without the consent of its owner.

Rory Callinan’s Twitter feed is to be found here. It is fair to say he posts little else other than allegations of Australian war crimes and the reporting of the investigations. That’s fair enough, he can be a single issue journalist if he wants. Readers may wish to bear this obsession in mind when reading his output, however.

“…drinking from the boot could be classified as the war crime of pillaging“. Perhaps this is technically correct, but when detailing the backlog of various breaches of the Geneva Convention to be prosecuted and in what order, this may be close on the list to the whole of class detention your child got last week because two other kids were misbehaving. Collective punishment is a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention, after all.

Perhaps it’s time for a comment from an adult:

Australian Defence Association chief executive Neil James wrote on Friday that, “to our national detriment, much of the public discussion on war crimes alleged to have been committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan is focusing on secondary, peripheral or irrelevant issues.”

Quite.

Bill’s Opinion

Unfortunately, I’ve no doubt war crimes have been committed in my name. I am certain, at times, armed forces acting for my country have shot first, asked questions later. After the fog of war has lifted, it’s correct to investigate these incidents and take appropriate action against the individual and to examine whether it indicates a culture that should be addressed.

However….I don’t give a flying fuck about our “rough men” drinking out of a dead Taliban’s false leg. In fact, send me the GoFundMe page link and I’ll chuck a few quid in to buy a round of beers for them.

My suspicion is this is the view of most people outside of the ABC, Sydney Morning Herald and Grauniad’s news rooms.

Intersectional Boolean Logic

I’m sure most of us have played Cluedo (or “Clue” if you speak ‘Murican) before; there’s been a murder, Dr. Black shuffled off this mortal coil and your job is to determine the murderer, weapon and scene of the crime using a series of observations, eliminations and a final deduction.

It’s a process of elimination as you rank order sort the suspects, weapons and location then remove them from your investigation.

Well, another clue just dropped in the Intersectionality version of Waddington’s classic. We may be about to learn which racial group has more Wokémon points than another if this continues much longer:

Jamie Chung accessorises with a “Stop Asian Hate” handbag.

No, I’d never heard of her previously either, but she made it in the news with the massive activist work she has undertaken with, erm, some words on a purse. Our generation’s Rosa Parkes, indeed.

“Asian Hate” then, what is it and, assuming we can agree on the definition of “Asian”, who is guilty of it?

The answer to that second question is where those who have leaned a little too far over their logical skis are going to find discomfort. If one has a fixed world view where racism and race-based violence flows exclusively from one group, the Stop Asian Hate campaign might introduce you to a feeling of cognitive dissonance.

Why? Well, this 2019 reprint of a 2010 San Francisco Chronicle report might give us a clue. Turns out the victim is often Mrs Kim, the weapon was an unregistered pistol, the crime scene was a Korean convenience store and the murderer was Dr. Black.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s probably only three ways this campaign is going to go.

The first is an honest data-driven discussion in the media about the actual perpetrators of the majority of this particular crime category. Unlikely, based on everything we’ve learned over the last few years.

The second is a misdirection by pretending the reason Robert Long killed 8 and injured one Asian massage parlour employees and other bystanders was a deeply-felt racial hatred despite his obvious previous strenuous efforts to overcome this by paying to have sex with them on a regular basis.

The third and most likely outcome is the hashtag will quietly atrophy as newsrooms quickly spike the results of their investigations into the ethnicity of the main perpetrators.

In the meantime, given there have been millions of global sales of the game of Cluedo, let’s assume each game is played once every couple of years, why is nobody outraged about the genocide of hundreds of millions of Dr. Blacks? Could they have made it any more obvious, perhaps the weapon was a noose and the murderer was a lynch mob?

Hey, hey it’s offence archeology

It’s a slow news week in Australia. Nothing much worth reporting about; the flood waters have subsided, Federal parliament is on holiday from their rapey calendar, the number of covid cases is back down to zero, and we’re not due a new Prime Minister for weeks yet.

To pass the time, the Sydney Morning Herald news room has borrowed a silver DeLorien, revved it up to 88mph down a deserted George St. and has discovered an important crime against humanity to report upon.

The serious and sober investigative journalist Andrew “Deep Throat” Hornery, kicks us off.

Broede Carmody, who looks like he was yet to be conceived when the show last aired, also piles on….and, just to ensure he got the roadkill, he reversed back over it again.

Rebecca Shaw offers us more of the same.

Someone who reads the news off an autocue at SBS gets in on the act.

Finally, back to the SMH with Julia Baird adding to the canon with this one.

When I say “finally”, obviously I don’t mean that’s the end of it; the former news outlet has clearly found a safe target with which the journos can contrast their prescience and righteousness and will continue to ejaculate column inches until the data analytics team point out nobody is actually reading them.

So, what is this sordid story of evil racism and what lessons can we learn?

Well, you may wish to sit down before you read any further as I have some disturbing news for you….

You won’t believe this but a light entertainment TV show made in the 1980s doesn’t, upon review, pass the 2021 Reinheitsgebot.

No, seriously; some of the jokes relied on crude racial stereotypes, sexist and gauche humour which, by today’s standards, are unacceptable.

Shocking, isn’t it. What a marvellous public service the brave and selfless staff at the Sydney Morning Herald have performed to inform us of this.

Andrew Hornery, for example, had to decline a cushy ex-pat posting to Basra in order to bring us the important and vital revelations that a 40 year old TV show didn’t age well.

This truly is the work of a future Pulitzer Prize winner. One can easily envision Mr Hornery being called in to news studios during the twilight of his career to be asked for his opinion, à la Bob Woodward, on the latest scandal. And, as with Woodward, nobody will be interested in a damn word he says until he delivers the moneyshot, which, instead of “worse than Watergate“, will be, “worse than Hey Hey, It’s Saturday“. Bang! Mic drop.

Bill’s Opinion

The previous post here was a defence of some aspects of “cancel culture”.

The problem is, of course, lazy journalists take the admirable theme of reviewing the past to learn by our mistakes as an excuse to churn out hundreds of column inches pointing out the bleedin’ obvious: we were all different back then.

What I’ve yet to read is an explanation why the show (which I’ve never seen, by the way) was cancelled? Could it be the ratings had fallen because it was out of touch with the mood of the audience?

What would that say about the discerning Australian public? That they rejected cheap humour based on lazy stereotypes?

That would be inconvenient to the narrative, wouldn’t it?

In the meantime, can someone send a few DVD box sets over to the SMH with the back catalogue of Til Death Do Us Part, On the Buses, The Goodies, The Dukes of Hazzard and, heaven forbid, The Black and White Minstrel Show?

That should keep them busy right up until the point the newspaper is finally closed down.