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68 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Paul Norton

    Frist! Hello from South Brisbane!

  2. Paul Norton

    [Transferred to Overflow Thread by original poster.]

  3. paul burns

    Voted on-line earlier in the week, so I don’t have to get a carer to come down town with me to vote in the Northern Tablelands by-election. sadly, I think it will probably be the Nats who win, though the current Armidale mayor might be lucky. Labor hasn’t a chance despite having a very good local candidate.

  4. Peter Murphy

    There seems to be an anti-Monsanto protest going on today, judging by the volume of links in my Facebook feed.

  5. Sceptic

    Paul @ 1 did you set the alarm so you could be frist?

  6. Chris

    Paul – what election can you vote online in now? Or is it just asking for a postal vote?

  7. Paul Norton

    Sceptic @5 – no, my circadian rhythms jerk me into conciousness at around 4:30am each day.

  8. Paul Norton

    Dear old Fiumicino won the McKell Cup at Randwick today, with his nephew Vatuvei second third.

  9. Sceptic

    Did anyone see that truly scary Dateline feature on Greece’s ultra right party Golden Dawn? Oh the Propaganda punch of two words! These neo Nazis are now running whole neighborhoods. And apparently they are going to set up in Australia. That is something to look forward to comrades.

  10. Ronson Dalby

    Not just Greece, Sceptic. The UK is becoming a hotbed of racism now with groups like the English Defence League pressing the right buttons for a lot of citizens.


  11. Peter Murphy

    I can think of three reasons that “Golden Dawn” won’t catch on in Australia, I hope. Katter and Palmer are battling over the right-wing populist side, leaving little room for an interloper. Australia is in better economic circumstances than Greece. Most important of all, the term in English has associations with ceremonial magick, Aleister Crowley, and the occult. That’s not something that will attract the average bovver boy.

  12. paul burns

    Chris @ 6,
    NSW by-election for Northern Tablelands.
    You need to get a number and put in a pin number at the NSW Electoral Commission by phone a week before the week before the election. You can also vote by phone but it takes them ages to answer the phone so its easier to do it on line. Initially, I was inquiring about a postal vote, as its a real hassle for me to get out and vote. Have to arrange for a carer and all that crap to be on the safe side, and, as I discovered in the recent local govt. elections, its a real tax to go and do it physically – distance to walk to the polling station from parking place, slopes, steps and hills etc.

  13. Sceptic

    Robson there is an article in the London Daily Telegraph which says that the founder of UKIP Nigel Farage is claiming that big City firms are switching allegiance from the Tories and donating big time to his party. He asserts that they are fed up with EU regulations. It was interesting to note therefore that Crispin Odey who was once married to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Prudence held a big dinner for Farage so he could meet important businessmen.

  14. Sceptic

    Peter @ 11. I agree although the Greek community in Melbourne is very concerned. I agree too about the name. Sounds a bit perfumed for our lot.

  15. paul burns

    Peter Murphy @ 11,
    J. B. Miles, who was behind the fa^^ist Australia First Party, was, I think an associate of Crowley’s in the UK in the 1920s I think. So it might not be that off-putting.

  16. Sceptic

    Peter @ 11 – interesting to discover that Tommy Robinson, the co-founder of the English Defence League, is the son of Irish immigrants. He is certainly smart and articulate.

  17. Liz

    Paul [email protected] And Precedence won at Doomben. A two state double for Zabeel. I can’t wait until mine starts racing.

  18. jules

    Peter @ 11, weren’t all of those late 19th/early 20th century occult group full of fascists?

    I would have thought the obsession with hierarchy, obscure mystical bullshit and thinly veiled white supremacist mythology would appeal to most fascist thugs.

  19. Jacques de Molay

    Finally finished reading Latham’s QE and whilst short thought it was an interesting read. He continues to show he’s a deep thinker with some great ideas but his Craig Emerson-like adherence to the ‘markets’ started to grate along with the continued championing of Sam Dastyari.

  20. Sceptic

    [email protected] 11 and Jacques @ 19 would you explain more about the occult group you have both referred to. A faint bell is ringing.

  21. Sceptic

    Peter and Jacques disregard request for accult info. I woke up early today and I have been doing my own research. I won’t burden you with writing essays this early on Sunday morn. I wonder if those thugs in Greece know that Golden Dawn has a name association with the occult and magic as you suggested Peter. The people I saw on TV didn’t look very mystical to me.

  22. Paul Norton

    Liz @17, I had Precedence as the second leg of my Brisbane daily double yesterday. Unfortunately they’re still looking for Rain Affair, who I had in the first leg.

  23. Paul Norton

    Golden Dawn is a seriously fascist party that has insinuated itself deeply into sections of the Greek state and society. It is a far more dangerous force than most of the others mentioned here, which are either not really fascist but represent various combinations of populism and ressentiment, or which, if they are seriously fascist, are marginal.

  24. jules

    Sceptic here are two links that might aid your research, tho I can’t really vouch for them.

    This ones a bit religious:

    History of Fascism and Anti-Semitism in European Occultism

    This one is kind of interesting:


    Most of this stuff is covered by far right thugs like laRouche and his nut job minions so its mired in their puritanical craziness. Some white supremacists are followers of their own version of pre Christian euro-pagan belief systems, and use runes from Northern Europe as symbols and the basis of their “mystical” beliefs.

    Given the historical connections between western fascism and occultism and the hierarchical nature of both systems of thought it wouldn’t surprise me. Its disturbing tho. (That prick in Norway that killed all those kids definitely tried to tie himself to the idea of European paganism, as well as to christianity, as a way of building a white, specifically non Islamic identity.) Its one of those trends that could turn out badly.

  25. Sceptic

    Paul @ 23, I think they are seriously creepy. You may have seen it but there is film showing one of their leaders punching a female MP on a Greek TV chat show. One of their MPs was hurled out of Parliament the other day for Heiling Hitler even though they deny they are latter day Nazis. I can’timagine what it must be like being a refugee in Athens where they are regularly beaten up. Those Golden Dawn head honchos are calling for the usual list of suspects to be dealt with – bankers, politicians, the rich, anyone not Greek by birth and of course Jews. I can understand their immediate appeal because they are feeding desperate people and providing security just like the Brown Shirts. At the same time, however,I cannot understand why Greeks would support a fascist party modeled on the Nazi party when their country suffered so horribly when occupied by German Nazis during World War Two. Thanks Jules @ 24 for those links which I will read with interest later on. I know something about paganism and the German Nazis but I did not realize the connection between the occult and fascism, in fact, I know very little about the occult. Your links are always very interesting.

  26. Peter Murphy

    I took the trouble of reading Wikipedia’s Golden Dawn article from front to back. Yes, they’re nasty, and as Paul states, they’ve got themselves insinuated themselves into the state. There’s too many sympathizers among the police that will turn a blind eye to their excesses, and the party formed with the blessings of the old Junta, allegedly. They even had the hatred of “Judeo-Christianity” at one stage (how Fascist is that?) although they’ve toned that down in favor of Greek Orthodoxy. And they’re stupidly bellicose to boot:

    In 2012, party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos said during an election meeting in Thessaloniki that “We will take ?stanbul, ?zmir as well as the Black Sea back.” Earlier, Mihaloliakos had said that one day the “Queen City” (Istanbul) will be “liberated”. These regions once had significant Greek populations until the Treaty of Lausanne.

    My thought bubble: “Yes, get into a war with Turkey, why don’t you? Fight the state with the second most powerful army in NATO. That’s going to end well. Actually, don’t do that, because a lot of people would be hurt when you lose.”

    Having said that, I’m still a little dubious as to the appeal of capital F-Fascism in Australia. The last time we had military rule was under the Rum Corps, and the most memorable Fascist action Down Under was cutting a ribbon on the Sydney Harbour Bridge before Lang could get his hands on it. But I’m willing to be instructed otherwise.

  27. Sceptic

    I agree Peter @ 26 I think the Golden Dawn heel clicking and saluting will have limited appeal out here. I think GD’s main interest in Australia is getting enough people to give them money.

  28. Paul Norton

    The thing to remember about Greece is that it is a country that has a traumatic history of conquest and occupation by foreign powers, of which Turkey (and its precursors the Ottoman Empire, the Seljuk Sultanate) is pre-eminent. Present-day Turkey also includes territory that was part of historical Hellas and Byzantium (Istanbul was Constantinople, now it’s…) and that Greece started a war to conquer after World War I. It lost the war, and the ethnic Greek inhabitants of the disputed territories fled, but the sense of grievance persists. The Greek-Australian politician Jenny Mikakos, from the Socialist Left of the Victorian ALP, made a speech not so many years ago bemoaning Turkey’s treatment of the Greeks during that war. Another example of this psychology of historical grievance and trauma was the fuss made about the name of the former Yugoslav republic formerly known as Macedonia, but now officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia in response to Greek sensitivities.

  29. paul burns

    Peter Murphy @ 26,
    The New Guard were a little more dangerous than the antics of De Groot. They apparently had stockpiles of arms and were readying themselves to overthrow Lang if he had been re-elected. Lang, instead resigned/was dismissed though his dismissal had nothing to do with the New Guard. The NSW Police were on top of the New Guard and, from memory quietkly raided their armouries and put an end to them. One of Lang’s memoirs and Eric Campbell’s memoir (neither of them absolutely reliable, though Lang’s is more so, plus the standard history on the New Guard have details, IIRC. Its been a long time since I read the stuff.

  30. paul burns

    On a lighter note.
    From the SMH.

    Faced with the world’s media at Cannes, Lurhmann defiantly threatened to turn to Tolstoy’s War and Peace for his next outing.

    Surely the Ken Russell of Aussie cinema.

  31. Sceptic

    Paul @ 28 – it is a classic fascist move isn’t it to gather support by putting a target on supposed enemies like Turkey. I hope the Greeks don’t land at Gallipoli.

  32. Terry

    The other historical issue in the Greek context is that the de facto setter of European Central Bank policies is Germany, regardless of who is actually heading the ECB at any point in time.

  33. Paul Norton

    Terry @31, yes, and a lot of people would argue that ECB policies have thereby been cooked to promote Germany’s national economic interests at the expense of countries such as Greece.

  34. Liz

    Paul [email protected] 22. I think Rain Affair needs a spell. Plus, it wasn’t a wet track. Epaulette showed, again, how hot the 3yo form is.

  35. David Irving (no relation)

    PB @ 30: Nah, Ken Russell made a couple of decent fillums.

  36. paul burns

    DI (nr) @ 34,
    Very True.
    Mention of War and Peace made me think of all those extraneous fireworks etc in an otherwise okay biopoc of Tchaikovsky.
    Whereas Lurhmann movies are almost always entirely extraneous. I still haven’t worked out how he managed to make The Great Gatsby without actually having read the book. I guess struggling through 120 pages was too much effort for his music video brain. But I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.

  37. paul burns

    On War and Peace. I had 3 or 4 goes at it and didn’t actually finish it till my early 30s. Similarly Anna Karenina.
    Among the great or good novels I’ve tried several times but never finished are Ulysses, Gravity’s Rainbow, (tried about 4 times and in the end just gave up), Don Quixote (got about halfway), The Master and Margharita [sp.?]. There are a few others as well, but can’t think of them at the moment.

  38. Gummo Trotsky

    Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler is the perfect Russo-Lit work for Luhrmann’s next fillum. With one or two Kenny Rogers numbers on the soundtrack, of course.

  39. Salient Green

    I started to read the satanic verses but quickly decided life’s too short.

  40. Liz

    Paul Burns, have you seen the film?

  41. Graham Bell

    Golden Dawn? Neo-Fascists?

    Groups like these wouldn’t prosper if it wasn’t for all the hard work put in by sanctimonious Dobadders, arrogant Trendy-Lefties, air-headed Academics and opinion-makers to make them look good by comparison. These groups would be flatout recruiting enough people to fill a phonebox if it wasn’t for all the help they get from national elites which so obviously delight in harming, insulting, cheating, robbing or neglecting millions of their own citizens.

    One problem we have here in Australia is that we prefer to believe Hollywood fantasies about Nazis rather than to learn the realities of how they came to power – and stayed in power – against all the odds. We prefer the caricature of a dictator to the reality of understanding how it was that almost an entire populace supported someone like Professor Benito Mussolini.

    We don’t want to understand groups like Golden Dawn; that takes too much effort; it hurts our puny brains; all we want to do is to chant “Bad! Bad! Bad!” at them in the firm belief that by doing so, we can make them vanish.

  42. jules


  43. Sceptic

    graham @ 41 as you have indicated wholesale collapse of economic systems spawn fascists. Fear keeps them in power. I often wonder how I would have behaved under such a regime when any personal opposition, no matter how small, could have put those I loved directly in danger. I feel great concern for the Greeks. We do not hear enough about their plight.

  44. paul burns

    Liz @ 40,
    I’ve read the book and watched as many trailers as possible. I’ve also read an excruciatingly bad taste interview with Luhrmann in the Guardian where he claims to be as great a genius as Fitzgerald. Baz Luhrmann is one director one doesn’t have to see to know he will be absolutely awful. He’s not disappointed me so far and from what I’ve seen and read of Gatsby he won’t in the future should I ever chose to waste my money on his work.
    Sure, I should see the movie before I sound off about him, but I am familiar with his body of work and his contempt for his various sources (unless like his first movie and Moulin Rouge it is badly done improvisation.)

  45. paul burns

    Its quite hard to follow the new Guardian Australia. So far, apart from a few articles/vids on Gillard, and some promo pieces, whatever you click on takes you back to the Guardian uk. Couldn’t find any Australia specific book or tv reviews for example. Or maybe I’m just not computer literate enough to follow it.

  46. Liz

    I guess I just disagree with you about Luhrmann. He’s a good old fashioned, vulgar showman, which is a good thing. I know ‘Australia’ was reviled. I think that was it was completely misunderstood by many people.

  47. Graham Bell

    Sceptic @ 43

    My guess is that you would do as most of us would do: confirm – and stay as safe as possible in such an adverse situation.

    We don’t hear all the nuances of what is happening in Greece because we have a dumbed-down, lowest-common-denominator “news(?)” system. It’s up to us to find out more – and learn from what we find …. and, maybe, avoid falling into the same perils.

  48. Graham Bell

    Whooops. Conform – not ‘confirm”.

  49. alfred venison

    Puul Byrnes @37 – perhaps you should leave “gravity’s rainbow” where it is, and give “mason & dixon” a try? its less dense & sprawling than “gravity’s rainbow”, and sounds right down your 18th-century-war-of-colonial-intransigence alley. perhaps that familiarity with the world of the novel’s setting would give you an edge in the race to finish a pynchon. -a.v.

  50. Ronson Dalby

    Have to agree with you about the Guardian AU, Paul. At the moment it’s just an add-on page with some Australian news. I was hoping for a National Times-style publication with opinion pieces and so on.

    Quite disappointing.

  51. paul burns

    Ronson Dalby @ 50,
    Me too. Anyway, I’ve now signed onto their daily e-mail, so we’ll see what that brings.
    av @ 49,
    Have read Confessions of Nat Turner. Or is that William Styron?
    Liz @ 46,
    We’ll just have to agree to cheerfully disagree. Re Australia. Have you read Xavier Herbert’s Poor Fellow My Country. I found some similarities eerie.

  52. paul burns

    salient green,
    Had the same problem with Satanic Verses myself. i think I got about 10 pages in and put it down. Mind you, I only read one and a half pages of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code before I decided I better do something to protect my brain, like stop reading it. Though I did like the movie.

  53. Liz

    Paul Burns, you’ve sort of hit on my point. I don’t think the coincidences to Herbert’s work are at all eerie. I think they’re quite purposeful. There’s references to any number of Australian films, novels and visual art in the film, as well as Hollywood films. It’s a fascinating inter textual work. It’s not realism and people talk about it, as though it were. That’s why I think it’s misunderstood. It’s also working the woefully misunderstood and unfashionable genre of melodrama, which doesn’t help. It’s interesting that people often speak of it as a commercial failure. Yet, it’s the second highest grossing Australian film in Australia, ever.

    ‘The Great Gatsby’ is going gangbusters in the USA, which is no guarantee of quality, of course. It made 50million in its first weekend. I think its main market maybe young women. So, it’s great that there’s a blockbuster that works for them, instead of being about Marvel superheroes. So many young women I know are excited about seeing it; for the fashions, the decor, the music and Leo. And they’ve already read the novel and loved it.

  54. paul burns
  55. Ronson Dalby

    Much better than the ABC livecast, Paul. There’s a man whose looking forward to the wine bottle tonight.

  56. paul burns

    Ain’t he? I’ve caught a fair bit of it. Though I do think some committee members are more than a bit hazy on how the church is structured, still, to avoid overall responsibility, and in regard to which part of the Church owns what etc., which is one the things that really pisses victims off. But the committee is getting there

  57. paul burns

    PELL: I did not know.
    COMMITTEE: I have a letter that says you did know.

  58. Ronson Dalby

    He’s not going to come out of this without his position and reputation in tatters, Paul.

  59. Liz

    I think the Catholic Church will come out of it stinking like the cashed up horror that it is. All that money they earn every year and not a cent in taxes. Despicable. Progressives who are Catholics; don’t you dare complain about Gina Rinehart’s companies not being good corporate citizens ever again.

  60. adrian

    Are come on Liz, the CC only made a measly $16.2 billion last year.

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

  61. Liz

    Yep, and Pell put a $75,000 cap on victims’ compensation. Of course, they can’t afford anymore.

  62. FDB

    “Of course, they can’t afford anymore.”

    Well, he probably knows more than anyone how many payouts there will be. Maybe that is close to all they can afford!

  63. Liz

    Could be right, FDB.

  64. akn

    Liz @ 53: my sentiments exactly re Australia. The fact that Luhrmann set the film in the NT, which is the mythological space in Australia, is the clue. Anyone who looks to Luhrmann for realism is missing the point. That said, I can’t be bothered with Gatsby after Luhrmann massacred the dance scenes in Moulin Rouge; too many jump cuts and too much breathless excitement for me.

  65. paul burns

    I got the impression sometime yesterday Pell admitted the CC in Oz could afford all the pay-outs. His legal rationale (and I’m just stating it, not supporting it) was that $75,000 was the standard compensation payout in Australia.
    I’m not worried about the money so much, though I’d like to see victims get compensation in the several millions. What appalled me was the apparent lack of compassion for what the victims went through. Kids and adults weren’t just molested physically. The psychological, emotional, and most importantly, and this is not to be underestimated for devout Catholics, which all were, the spiritual damage for the victims and their families was beyond compare or perhaps for many repair. But my impression was, and I watched at least 3 and a half hours of Pell’s cross-examination, was that Pell just didn’t get that. And that is atrocious.

  66. Ootz

    Last night Bill Gates on Q&A, in relation to tax evasion, adroitly evaded the question of ethics, by claiming business is bound by and adhering to the laws of the country. If there is a problem with lost revenue then the state needs to legislate accordingly. I have come across that argument regularly in various context and it puzzles me. Why then is there such an outcry about green and red tape, when the onus of sustainability and equality rests solely on the state?

  67. paul burns

    Surely you know by now there is a different law for business other than the one the rest of us have to obey? 🙂

  68. Graham Bell

    Paul Burns @ 65.

    Like many others, I’m disgusted at everything that happened that should never have happened …. and at the abysmal lack of leadership that manifested itself in response to these crimes AND sins.

    Too little has been done to comfort and support those who were victims. Too little has been done to make perpetrators face up to the evil they have committed, to endure rightful punishment for their crimes and then to start seeking their own redemption (and that doesn’t mean fleeing to another parish!).

    Too many good, decent clergy and laity have been made to suffer too much for the moral cowardice and the lack of vigilance of a few. Too little has been done to lead the Church forward out of this unholy mess.

    Wonder who will replace Cardinal George Pell? Soon ….