It's slowly dawned on me why The Australian is running its relentless anti-NBN campaign.
Sure the luddites are in control of the asylum, and sure it's a defensive, paranoid publication, and surely fair and balanced means a fair and balanced loathing of the Labor party and everything and anything it might be doing, but then I remembered that the original luddites started as textile workings protesting the introduction of mechanised looms.
The Australian can't actually riot, burn and destroy machinery like they did in the good old days of 1811 and 1812, so instead it publishes tedious column after column with ritualised anti-NBN talking points, on an almost daily basis.
Surely the only motivation must be a love of the smell of newsprint in the morning, the trucks rolling out, the newspaper boys and girls still selling the rags on a Sunday for a sliver of cash, the fish and chip wrapping, the cockie cage lining. All destined to be swept away, and that much quicker when real broadband hits town, and people see the world open up before them. (And lordy how things do get swept away, as this Radio National documentary on the rise and fall of the eight hour day and the death of compositing as a trade reminds us).
Latest cab off the rank?
Michael G. Porter with Keep open all digital doors, which starts with this poignant summary:
Don't kill off cable and copper to make the NBN look viable.
Dear absent lord, where do they find these gherkins?
Won't someone think of the children, or the cable, or the copper, or the good old hand looms we had before the war, or the crispy bacon for that matter, or the car battery powered wirelesses, or the noble valve radio, or the four band eight transistor portable radio, or the narrow shearing comb we had before those bloody New Zealanders came along and ruined everything .... (ah, remember the wide comb dispute? Here and here for you labour historians).
Anyhoo, before I collapse from tedium, as a loon pond of record, enshrining loonish scribbles, we must point out that there all the usual talking points - wireless anyone - along with rubbery figures, and Carlos Slim talking about $7,000 a household, never mind that this figure in particular is as rubbery as Mr. Flubber in a Marvel comic.
A blathering acceptance of rubbery figures as a matter of fact while demanding a cost benefit analysis is one thing - since the deliberate ignorance rather proves the point and the need - but then delivering these kind of high faluting words - which don't in actual fact make technical sense - is entirely another matter:
The key subtext is that we should not kill copper and cable to make the NBN business look commercial: that's like banning trams to assist trains.
Say what? That's like using a totally dumb metaphor to assist readers in concluding the writer only knows how to use dumb metaphors. Copper as a kind of tram ready to be born again in these troubled public transport times? Won't someone think of the copper?
And then we get this kind of gobbledegook:
Force-feeding fibre down city and suburban streets that already have cable (for example, Foxtel) that can offer 100 megabits per second is unnecessary and ahead of manifest demand, although that will come in its own time, as in the US and even India.
What on earth does it mean? Apart from the manifest demand for clarity, it seems it's just another paean of praise for the wretched cable system outside my home. Yes, we'd had another crash this morning, and now the tubes are as slow as a wet wick, and I'm in the mood for killing the next cable salesperson to front the door, but hey what's an actual manifest demand for broadband that actually works right here and right now ...
Technological advances soon will mean cable modems can deliver super-fast broadband to metropolitan homes, addressing the high-speed broadband needs of at least eight million Australians. And a probable saving of $10bn to $20bn from not rolling out fibre in the cities at this point would leave a lot for tailor-made assistance to the bush.
So this gherkin proposes to stiff me in order to save the cockies in the bush? Sod off. And while you're at it, take the clapped out stuffed up cable and copper running past this house with you ... as well as Testra and Optus, the bastards ...
I suppose at least he didn't mention how high speed broadband will only be good for downloading movies and music. When we luddites know it will be best for wrecking the newspaper industry, just as we'd have used it for doing down the hand loom and trams and narrow shearing combs if we'd had half a chance ...
It was all so tediously predictable ... how do readers of the soon to be swept off to the archives physical copy of The Australian pay for this regurgitated tripe on a daily basis? It's a bit like sitting down and starting each day with a bowl of porridge, blessed only by a dash of salt, and forgetting about the joys of rich brown Bundaberg sugar ...
So naturally we switched over to the combative Sophie Mirabella, punching on in The Punch with An unstable parliament is not a free pass for Gillard.
Sad to say, Mirabella turns me into a luddite, with a curious desire to wreck, trash and smash her flailing threshing machine style. She's still brooding about the election result - the majority of the voters voted for the Coalition stuff - and I felt like grabbing her and giving her a good shaking, while saying for the dear sweet absent lord's sake, get over it, and move along.
Someone must have tapped her on the shoulder however because after delivering all the standard talking points, about not being a rubber stamp, and how vile Julia Gillard and Labor were, and how nasty they were to sweet Tony, she suddenly remembered she should try to sound positive.
Mirabella trying to sound positive is bit like a valve radio trying to prove how the intertubes is yesterday's technology. She splutters a bit about a positive agenda, and how overturning the Wild Rivers Bill will be jolly good for all:
This is a proactive, constructive role that we enthusiastically embrace.
But she simply can't help herself. The effort proves too much, and so she rounds out her piece with the usual rhetoric, full of shill cries, and confected outrage and invective hurled at others for hurling confected outrage and invective her way:
Given the shrill cries from Labor, it appears that their idea of “consensus” is a quiet, compliant and muzzled Opposition.
But a robust and vocal Opposition is vital for a healthy democracy and that’s exactly what our role should be in this Parliament. No matter how much confected outrage and invective Labor hurls our way.
Vital for a healthy democracy? Suddenly it's Labor's fault that Tony Abbott lied through his teeth, in the manner of all used car salesmen, when he talked of a kinder, gentler polity? We all knew that was non-core blather ...
And what's this chatter about healthy democracy anyway? Democracy, it seems, has been ruined, as Mirabella herself cogently explains, by the way that the majority of voters voted for the coalition and somehow they've ended up in opposition. And now that strutting peacock of an illegitimate government saunters past, teasing and outraging Mirabella all in one tail feather waving move ...
Damn you healthy democracy, damn you to hell ...
So there you have it. A politician raging against the dying of the light, or more particularly against confected outrage and invective by deploying confected outrage and invective ... while across the way a luddite tells us how copper is roughly equivalent to trams, and no doubt just as they're planning to run light rail through Barangaroo, so it seems they'll be fitting out all the buildings with copper rather than fibre, as a pre-emptive precautionary strike, since once again copper will ride again ... along with the narrow comb ...
A kinder gentler polity? I'd settle for intelligent discourse ... oh, and some decent bloody broadband. Right here, right now ...
(Below: and now for a few old fashioned images of Sydney, found here, as we prepare to shoot through like a Bondi tram).