Episode 260 – 5 Years of Podcasting

Today we briefly celebrate 5 years of podcasting and then move on to discuss contemporary topics.

Who are we?

Paul, a bike riding music loving libertarian English Teacher, with a keen interest in Japan and China who is looking for love and as elder statesman of our group he represents the Baby Boomers.

Waz, is the founder and patron of a community running group but due to injury, he doesn’t run, he started a bike riding tour guide business but due to Covid-19, can’t guide and he is an engineer but due to job dissatisfaction has retired and no longer engineers. He started our beer sponsorships and thankfully still drinks beer. I wasn’t sure who he should represent but I looked up gen x.

Scott, is a private school educated accountant and a former card carrying member of the Liberal Party. But being an openly gay man he is the closest thing we have to a representative of an oppressed minority.

I’m Trevor. I’m an ex-lawyer who dabbles in watercolours and plays squash at a local country club. I live in a McMansion in the leafy western suburbs of Brisbane with a tennis court and a custom built wood fired pizza oven so I naturally represent the working class.

Actually my credentials are pretty good.

My grandfather.

No middle name.

Father Anonymous

Congratulates us on 5 years

What have we learned?

5 years and 260 episodes.

What have we learned?

We started off thinking that if people only knew what unfair privileges are being handed to religious groups then they would be appalled and rise up and object.

Wrong.

The people don’t care and when they do, they more often than not, are ok with the religious privilege. Think private schools.

The ongoing power of religious groups is tied up with tradition and increasing embeddedness of religion in the key power structures of government, political parties and the media.

All of the best arguments in the world won’t matter while powerful people have a pro-religious agenda.

To remove religious privilege we must forget about winning arguments and think about winning power.

And if we want to win power we must motivate the people with a tribal pitch. A narrow pitch of a secular utopia won’t work. A pitch to the powerless against the powerful might work.

But it requires a salesman. A storyteller. Someone who can pull back the curtain and reveal the shitty wizard. And it will require tough times when people are hurting and are amenable to new ideas.

There will be no changes without tough times and a charismatic revolutionary.

You have heard the saying … Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman).

You need both.

Real power rests with either of the two major parties. The Liberals are beyond redemption. The Christian parasite has taken over the host. The ALP is still up for grabs. Join it and get some power while waiting for opportunity.

Secularism needs to take a leaf out of the Dominionism playbook.

Secularism needs to plant secular leaders in the Labor party and build power and be ready when the time is right.

Meanwhile … as we speak …

The left is strangling itself with identity politics and along the way has abandoned the working class and the importance of free speech. It has given up on left wing economic policies.

The right has maintained popular acceptance of low taxes and small government. It continues to fool Australians into thinking the coalition are the better economic managers. It relies on the Murdoch press and religious support. Enthusiastic Conservative Protestant Christians willingly adopt prosperity gospel doctrine in return for conservative moral laws and their end times theology helps them ignore the dangers of climate change.

Have I missed anything?

From episode 177

Besides bedroom issues, the two parties are the same.

Remember the quote from Chris Hedges? Well, of course, there’s a difference. It’s how you want corporate fascism delivered to you. Do you want it delivered by a Princeton educated, Goldman Sachs criminal or do you want it delivered by racist, nativist, Christian fascist?

If only the Labor Party had Princeton educated Goldman Sachs criminals! The Liberals offer us the racist, nativist, Christian fascist but the Labor Party offers mere Labor Party hacks. Call me elitist, but when I ‘m screwed over, I like to be screwed over in style.

Multiple Disasters

Now Saharan Dust

Add to that McCarthyism and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Nick Kyrgios is now a voice of reason

Morrison Approval rating

Figures indicate Mr Morrison‘s personal approval has climbed by two points to 68 per cent, however his dissatisfaction rate also fell by the same amount to 27 per cent.

This means the Prime Minister’s net approval rating is the highest it’s been since he became leader in August 2018 and the highest of any prime minister since Kevin Rudd.

From episode 220

Here’s what you need to know. Scott Morrison is an asshole. Just remember that. He will spend the next 3 years smirking. With the help of Murdoch he will throw shit at Labor and none of it will stick to him. He will appear on 7:30 report and smirk his way through the timid questioning of Leigh Sales knowing he can bullshit at will because no-one cares. No-one will stop him. He will impose his morality of demonising sinful welfare recipients while favouring religious nutters. He will suck up to Trump and send us into another war. He will encourage climate change deniers and repell any moves to rein in carbon emissions. He will rob future generations to favour the current one. He will gut government services and cut tax for the top end. He will strangle the economy by thinking that a budget deficit is proof of a strong government. He will favour Baby Boomers and screw Millennials. He will con the working class into accepting neo liberal trickle down bullshit. He will protect corruption if it emanates from his own ranks. Threats to national security will be used for tyrannical laws unless of course the threat is from one of his own members. He will bully our parliament and shut down democracy if it suits him.

But worst of all, he will bring out the worst in us. He will encourage short term, shallow, selfish, materialism with a heavy dose of prosperity gospel moralising. He will teach us to love Billionaires and despise welfare recipients. He will talk about supporting community but with the exception of religious communities he will strip out all funding and government support.

Just like Boris Johnson in the UK, we have a PM who is prepared to do what others would not. An alpha gangster is in charge.

The UK is no better

From the BBC

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey, saying she shared an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Mrs Long-Bailey retweeted an interview with actor and Labour supporter Maxine Peake.

The shadow education secretary – who was beaten to the party leadership by Sir Keir – later said she had not meant to endorse all aspects of the article.

But Sir Keir said his “first priority” was tackling anti-Semitism.

The Labour leader said: “The sharing of that article was wrong… because the article contained anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and I have therefore stood Rebecca Long-Bailey down from the shadow cabinet.

“I’ve made it my first priority to tackle anti-Semitism and rebuilding trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority for me.”

But what did the article actually say?

… about 10 minutes into our conversation that Maxine Peake first calls for the destruction of capitalism. “We’ve got to save humanity,” says the venerated actor and activist, who in her youth was a card-carrying communist. “We’re being ruled by capitalist, fascist dictators. It’s entrenched, isn’t it? We’ve got to the point where protecting capital is much more important than anybody’s life. How do we dig out of that? How do we change?”

… “I don’t know how we escape that cycle that’s indoctrinated into us all,” continues the 45-year-old. “Well, we get rid of it when we get rid of capitalism as far as I’m concerned. That’s what it’s all about. The establishment has got to go. We’ve got to change it.” Born in Bolton to a lorry driver father and care worker mother, Peake is strident and expressive; if religion wasn’t anathema to her, she’d be perfect in the pulpit. “Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” (A spokesperson for the Israeli police has denied this, stating that “there is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway”.)

… Still, Peake doesn’t think art should only reflect the good stuff. In her 2018 comedy-drama Funny Cow, in which she plays an aspiring stand-up in the Seventies trying to make it into the boys’ club of comedy, her character unleashes a barrage of racist and homophobic jokes. So how do we reflect past realities while respecting current sensitivities?

… “My whole thing is you can’t wipe out history, because you don’t learn from it,” says Peake. “When I tried pitching Funny Cow, people said, ‘Well, you’ll have to get rid of all the jokes,’ and we went, ‘It’s the Seventies. It’s Sheffield. We’re trying to say how brutal and bigoted and racist and despicable this world was.’ We can never forget our history or we don’t move forward and we don’t learn. If we Americanise it or Hollywoodise it and rewrite it, then we’ve forgotten it and then we’re shocked when it comes around again.”

Peake believes we should be able to learn from our smaller slip-ups, too – particularly when it comes to terminology. “The thing with language is I think some people get frightened,” she says. “When people don’t understand, they get frightened, and then they get embarrassed and then they get angry and then it turns ugly. We need to break down that embarrassment, don’t we? It’s alright to get it wrong as long as you’re gonna move towards getting it right. Sometimes I’d rather people say something wrong than never say anything because they’re too frightened. So you said something wrong – nobody died! Somebody pulls you up on it, somebody tells you the right word, then you move on. But we’ve got so much shame and guilt in our society about putting a foot wrong. I think people should be allowed to make mistakes, as long as people make those mistakes with a view to going, ‘Well how do I rectify this?’ But make that the culture. That it’s alright to get it wrong every now and again.”

Pie on cancel culture

Dee Nguyen

Edited out Orwellian style

Dee Nguyen has issued an official apology for her remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement that got her fired from MTV’s The Challenge.

The former Geordie Shore star apologized to her cast members on the reality competition series and the production crew and staff at MTV.

Dee came under fire over the weekend after she tweeted: “IDK (I don’t know) why some of you think I’m anti-BLM. I’ve been saying that since the day I lost my virginity.”

The Challenge cast member Bayleigh Dayton shared screenshots of Dee’s comments, which have been deleted.

“THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SUPPORT BLM. I’m disgusted and disappointed. THIS IS NOT A TREND. THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH FOR US. Posting for clout about the death of Black people? Shame on you @deenguyenMTV,” Bayleigh tweeted.

Bayleigh also attached a screenshot of a fan telling Dee to “read the room” and stop posting photos of herself on Instagram.

In response, Dee wrote: “People die every f—ing day. U don’t know me or what I do. I suggest you wake the f–k up and get off social media.

America’s second wave

Looks like one to me

The ABC

Leigh sales did a soft promo for Christopher Pyne

What value a Humanities Degree?

This article is from the June 24 issue of The Courier Mail Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit https://www.couriermail.com.au/.
PAUL WILLIAMS

WHAT’S a university for? For parents with Year 12 children anxious about ATAR scores, the answer is probably to teach their kids the skills they need to get a job in a dog-eat-dog world.

The Morrison Government offers a similar answer – to kick-start (especially export) industries now comatose under coronavirus.

Yes, Education Minister Dan Tehan is offering some altruism in his tertiary education reforms. After all, doing anything to return the jobless to work is better than doing nothing.

But he’s also being opportunistic

– the federal Coalition simply cannot win an election in 23 months’ time with an unemployment level north of 10 per cent.

I was therefore overjoyed to see Tehan slash the cost of maths and agricultural degrees by 62 per cent, teaching, nursing, psychology and languages degrees by 46 per cent, and health, science, IT, architecture, environmental science and engineering by 20 per cent. These reductions will go a long way to assisting Australia’s recovery.

But my jaw dropped when I heard that law and commerce degrees would increase by 28 per cent, and floored by the 113 per cent hike in humanities degrees.

I can already hear the critics – most of whom have never set foot on a university campus – applauding price hikes for allegedly “useless” arts degrees. If they’d had their childhood blinkers removed by a humanities education, they would see just how foolishly parochial they are.

Moreover, why burden the arts and humanities – the intellectual bedrock for an Australia long punching above its global weight in non-scientific fields – with almost sole responsibility for Australia’s economic recovery?

Where’s the economic modelling suggesting that bashing the BA is the most propitious path to economic and cultural prosperity?

Why can’t even a tiny fraction of the $60 billion the Morrison Government found down the back of the couch – earmarked for JobKeeper but now not needed – be invested to cut all degree costs to save Australia’s third-largest export industry raking in more than $30 billion annually?

Does this mean the modern university is now about “training” students with specific skills for jobs now, and no longer about “educating” them for jobs yet to be conceived? And what about research? Aren’t universities about more than making new scientific discoveries like cloning? Aren’t they also about determining how those discoveries might add or subtract from our material and spiritual lives?

I had hoped better from an Education Minister whose first qualification was an arts degree.

But I suspect the pragmatically political Tehan – the privileged son of politician parents – won out.

I also suspect there’s a lot of ideology in the Morrison Government’s dangerously short-sighted response. Indeed, there are few votes among blue-collar workers in regional Australia – key to the Coalition’s re-election chances in 2022 – who question a university sector they see as ivory towers for overpaid, lazy left-wingers – who’ve “never held a real job” – hell-bent on brainwashing young folk.

Why short-sighted ? Because arts and humanities students graduate not just with specific skills for jobs today (like data analysis and report writing), but also adaptable, life-long learning skills for tomorrow (such as assessing the veracity of information via triangulation).

That’s why humanities graduates are in hot demand by private industries demanding their employees be creative thinkers operating outside the box.

The humanities also teaches students to think, speak and write clearly and concisely, to collate and critically analyse data, and to draw conclusions – and make important decisions – from hard evidence and not from what your mates at the pub told you they saw on Facebook.

Arts graduates are also more likely to show tolerance for those who are different or disadvantaged, less likely to form superficial judgments on appearance, and more able to see others’ points of view.

Above all, humanities graduates become problem-solvers – the very type a beleaguered Australian economy needs most.

And, for the record, I am an arts graduate. I’ve also worked in a warehouse, driven second-hand Toyotas most of my life, and do a significant amount of unpaid community work.

In a 60-hour working week, I bend over backwards to help students who’ve gone on to become Cabinet ministers, senior journalists and leaders in business and the public service. Most of my university colleagues are no different.

But don’t let that prevent you from forming an opinion about someone you’ve never met.

PAUL WILLIAMS IS A SENIOR LECTURER AT

GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY


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