COMMENT: What has happened to the world?

Fair dinkum, I’m going nuts. And if it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. It’s sad because this is the world my kids are growing up in. It’s a world where the disingenuous thrive, where mendacity is trumps, and truth is the currency of fools.

Well call me a fool. And take me to a pub where fools gather that I might have a couple of Friday-arvo hours where I am with my own: people who have had enough of the rubbish dished up to us. By politicians and their cabal of spinners – if only the Australian cricket team had some of those. By sports administrators – what rubbish we hear from them; what hollow, vacuous, witless rubbish. By media outlets – do I live in the world they describe? By educational administrators. By corporates – do they really think we don’t understand that the bottom line is the sign-post at every synapse of their greedy minds?

I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. I don’t want leaders, in any walk of life, whose leadership is supported with the moral structure of a rum fart. Who think we are all so dim they can tell us anything and we will believe it.

I’d had enough when I was 18. I grew up in a climate of ideas which had us believe that someone was going to push the red button to start World War III, and the nuclear apocalypse was going to be just that. And we lived in constant fear of a flock of migratory birds flying across the Bering Strait and some shiny-arse drone, hung-up on policy and process, as astute as the numbskull twin administrators in Good Morning Vietnam who haven’t questioned a thing in their head-nodding lives (but are carrying out their duty to God and country), hitting that panic-button while the arms companies looked on through CCT and willed them to do it.

I had a eureka moment back then. In 1981, sitting on my own in a pub on the north coast of New South Wales, having been put in to a fug by a poor game of golf: I realized I’d been brought up a total innocent and was completely unprepared for the crap world I suddenly found myself in.

I didn’t want to be part of it. And I wanted to return to the work of Arthur Miller and George Orwell, John Steinbeck and Primo Levi, so I could read with new eyes. I wanted their every word to support my conclusion that hedonism was the only possible response. I wanted my days to be beach in the morning, golf in the afternoon, Toohey’s Old and a medium-rare eye fillet with pepper sauce, and a bottle of Coonawarra red that tasted like dead ants and filthy cheese. And to go home and fall asleep in the arms of a Honey-Barbara watching alternating videos (on repeat) of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Seve finishing second in that Open at Royal Birkdale. And I wanted to cry for the world and its stupidity, and why did only a handful of activists and artists notice? And could Seve save the world?

The years have rolled by, and things have become far worse. Because in my youth the malaise was still obvious, and the class warriors would tell you it was obvious. Because there were still class warriors, and not these rum-fart academics who have been seduced by the faddish intellectual nothingness (clever nothingness though it may be) of post-modernism which is a way of understanding so devoid of moral accountability and fibre that it is beyond the rum fart on the spectrum of spinelessness. And why would you let a few miserable French blokes who have never been to Kardinia Park or seen Max Rooke, and hate themselves, light the philosophical path for the rest of the world.

No, it was more obvious then, but now the rubbish happens in a way which is clandestine and sinister, and the voices of dissent have been stifled by the din of the dominant paradigm, and Antonio Gramsci and his disciples are sighing in red-ragger Heaven, which I hope still exists, because, fair dinkum, if God has got a Mission Statement and Core Values and is sticking to the Process, and is considering an offer from a monolithic superannuation firm in Cleveland, well, that’s it really, I’m just racking up a bill at the North Fitzroy Arms, drinking black-market Basket Press until my liver can be seen at the back of my throat, and my cholesterol is higher than my golf handicap. And some other bastard can pay it.

Only I can’t do that. Nor will I. Because I’ve got a family, and like Homer’s odyssey, which is on every night at six o’clock, I might just have to toy with glowing green bars to pay the bills.

The battle has been lost. The powerful now control the dissemination of ideas in a way which presents those who resist their view of the world as naïve and silly (consider the use of the adjective ‘looney’ insofar as the Left is concerned).

But we are the actors in this. We may not have the truth ourselves, but we can see through the rubbish, if we can detect it.

And that is why the Australian nation is in a state of disgust at the moment. Because we have been conned by a cricketing organization that believes its own palaver. It is so blind it doesn’t even know where to look for the truth.

Well, there are those who are still in loose contact with the truth, and I can assure Cricket Australia that it’s because these people have actively critical minds and are willing to assess things honestly. They don’t buy the spin that would have us believe it was very close to a successful summer.

Please.

Makes me happy to be nuts.

Wednesday from Harms: How cricket reflects the societal moment, and how qualifications in commerce and public relations will never serve you as well as a grounding in History, Philosophy and an afternoon in the nets of the Eudunda-Robertstown Cricket Club.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo12, Anna11, Evie9. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. John Butler says

    JTH

    Do you reckon James Sutherland would recognise a rum fart if it hit him?

  2. Dave Kelly says

    Indeed! As always John, very eloquently put.

    Perhaps I am slightly deluded, however I live in hope that the 14 Members of the Board of CA will soon take Messrs Hilditch & Sutherland to task for (in their own way) their rice paper thin “spin”, and in the case of Mr Hilditch, a self assessment of performance that seems like total denial.

    As for other things and the world at large, sometimes (rarely), in the fog of deceit that seems all pervasive as coming from politicians and bureaucrats, there are feint glimmers of hope. One such hopeful glimmer I saw in the last 24 hours in the amazing talk as given by Sheriff Clarence Dupnik with his frank assessment of the tragic events in Arizona and the incredibly dangerous and divisive extremist rhetoric as promoted by some sections of the media and many in politics. Dupnik articulated incredibly well how these increasingly extremist “advocates” ought bear some responsibility for this malaise.

    We need more people prepared to speak out like Clarence Dupnik and John Harms!

  3. David Downer says

    JTH,

    Amen brother!

    DD

  4. Clearsighted says

    Ah John. Your sad and beautifully written testament to our times reflects the ageless tragedy of corruption; the grinding out of spin over truth; the relentless and universal pursuit of power – all for perceived gains which are meaningless and tawdry.
    As you stated, it has ever been thus, but now, the mad emptiness of these forces are accepted as the norm.
    May the inspiration, raw truth and courage that fired the magnificent Max Rooke, inflame the altruist in us all, so that we reclaim the captaincy of our own souls.

  5. Damo Balassone says

    Bravo!

    “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters..”

  6. About 48 years ago, the English actor, singer and comedian Anthony Newley wrote a musical comedy which I saw in Melbourne in 1963. It wasn’t a particularly good musical and Anthony Newley wasn’t a particularly great singer or actor, but it had a fabulous title which every so often I find resonating in my mind.

    STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF!

    (I fully agree with much of what you say JTH but because of a certain recent premiership I am happy to stay onboard at the moment)

  7. JTH – the break obviously served you well.

    I think what you need going forward is to review your life goals by taking up with a Life Coach who will teach you to conspicuously punch padded gloves in an inner city park at 7am each morning just as the traffic is reaching its peak.

    I fear we have been so dumbed down that reversing the trend will be like putting a jumbo jet into reverse as its taking off.

    Another example of what you speak is how our good and gracious friends in the Tax Office have devised a scheme whereby they benchmark industries and professions so that if your business falls outside the great big, vacuous, seething “norm” they ring up their accountant and want to know why and threaten audit action. Recently a representative of the Commonwealth rang me and wanted to know why a restaurateur client had made a gross profit of 33% when the norm is 45%. I said because the bloke running the business is really bad at it. I could hear the Tax Officer’s computer on the other end of the phone going into a fit. Poor bastard had no appropriate box to tick.

  8. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Harmsy,

    spin and vacuousness has taken control partly because the grand narratives have failed us. The two world wars destroyed any vestiges of innocence. Religion and Politics have crumbled because people finally realized that they were lied to in grand way.

    The Gods of distraction therefore rule because we are unsure of what to believe and who to believe in. Hence the rise of Post-Modernism, Rum-fart academics, as you so delightfully put it,and reality television.

    Truth, beauty and meaning have not died. We have to search for them with new eyes, open hearts and minds less cluttered.

    Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Aristotle, J.Krishnamurti help keep me sane when I’ve had a gutful of this world. As the great St.Leonard once sang: “There is a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in”

    For every self-serving,star struck, soul sucking sycophant there is a selfless,sapient and sensitive spirit ready to counter. Right now the advantage is with the first lot, but that can change.

  9. Trouble is, the political parties, AFL and CA are talking their cues from the same people. Professional spinners are both a plague and a leach on modern society.

  10. Grant Fraser says

    jth

    I am reminder of my musings following the MCG debacle. How wonderful it was to hear the English victory speeches. The culmination of a dream for so many young boys, growing up in Natal, Jo’burg and the Cape, with the lions roaring in the distance, all those years ago.

    The Poms have done it in the cricket…even the Kiwis have got into it with Irene van Lofty in the netball. The answer to our sporting malaise is to buy some chaps from Suid Afrika.

    Rgds,

    rgf

  11. In fact, a recent commenter on my blog, who is not in any way politically aligned, made the observation that the modus ops. of CA and the Brumby govt were eerily similar.

  12. Hi John. I haven’t checked out the almanac website much recently. Phew, some heavy stuff being discussed here these days… but spit it out, what are you really trying to say? (just joking).

    For a while (till you mentioned Max Rooke)I was concerned that you were verifying Guru Bob’s observation that some people are destined never to experience contentment, satisfaction and fulfilment. For these people, God created the Geelong Football Club.

    However just as Rick said “We’ll always have Paris” in Casablanca, we Cats fans will always have ’07 and ’09 (and for some of us old buggers, ’51, ’52 and ’63). For some reason I’m also very optimistic about our prospects in 2011, despite a couple of notable departures (!!) from the club. Hope you’re feeling better already.

    Bring on Round 1. We can sort out the world’s problems later.

  13. Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

  14. #2 Dave, I love those moments when someone not expected to be sensitive and thoughtful and clear on a matter shows insight rarely seen. I think I need to start writng those moments down, for the sake of balance. If I start writing the rubbish down I’ll wind up publishing volumes a la Don watson and words. Here’s a positive one that may surprise though: I have heard S.K. Warne speak clearly on a few subjects in recent times. One in particular was his master class a few years ago when he had no qualms about explainng the elements of leg-spin bowling. He had no need to patent it and hide it a way. It was an art to be shared so others might savour it. (Of course Warne Inc is the other side of the story).

  15. #7 Dips, The break was good although I got flogged on the golf course by the younger brothers – but I intend writing about that as therapy. Re the world you describe: I have just spent 15 months in Canberra. You couldn’t make up some of the stuff that I observed there. Helps you understand Nazi Germany from a functional sense: that there are folk (good folk) who have no sense of the broader picture or purpose or intent merely doing the job they’ve been asked, and keeping their noses clean, and their flexi-time in control.

  16. #8 Phil, Now there’s a topic to get us going. Agree with the failure of the grand narrative, although I think you could say the national chauvinism of the nineteenth century and the treatment of the conquered suggested the writing was already on the wall before the wars. But as Manning Clark wrote somewhere, if you haven’t read about the Somme go and get a book and spend the day doing so. It must change your understanding of people and the world. Perhaps, today, the responsibility must fall to the arts in all forms (especially as so much education is for function rather than understanding thses days) to re-imagine the narrative. I think the narrative is now smaller, and is to be found in the immediate communities (however small) in which we find ourselves. I would have put sport in that category as well, but I’ll leave that argument until I tee-off again later in the week.

  17. #9 Tony, Hear! Hear! I am interested in charcaters like Craig Little of 3RRR and Almanac fame who struggles with many elements of the very profession in which he finds himself. Would love to get a comment from Litza on the spin of Cricket Australia.

  18. #10 RGF, yes, a nice observation. As is your observation on Facebook. Oh, if we only could lunch every day. Or even just one day. JTH

  19. #9 Tony, it just amazes me consistently how gullible we can be. The sad thing is that we are not aware of our moments of gullibility, else we’d bring more rigorous critique to them as well. I too hear what I want to hear. At about the same time I was in the golf fug I used to say, “This is my illusion and I’ll live in it.”

  20. #11 And Tony, another (of the many) sad thing is that those who most know things to be spun are those who shut up, as they feel they have the most to lose.

  21. #12 Burkie, The Ctas will be fine. Just have to keep Scarlo fit, find a ruckman, and buy a sulky for cameron Ling (so his gait doesn’t look too out of place). we’ve still got Johnno and Harry. I’m pushing for as many to make the All-Australian Eccentric team in 2011 as possible.

  22. JTH – Cats will win the flag this year.

  23. That Allan Border was sacked as a selector because he was going to play XXXX beach cricket, which represented a contractual conflict with VB, pretty much sums up Australian cricket. (Captain Dumpy)

  24. By the way, CA “process” dictates that James Sutherland be addressed by his correct name: Stakeholders Sutherland.

  25. I had a similar epiphany at the Yamba Pub after a disastrous round of golf, (snapped the head off my trusty 6 iron in the cold early morning).

    I’m beginning to think we are living close to parallel lives. Witness the things that make my life better; Toohey’s Old, golf, Aussie Rules (not necessarily AFL), ciricket, Red Lions, Northern NSW pubs, Cairns and a general mistrust of the ‘system’ as it is spun.

  26. Dips #22,

    what are you drinking at the moment?

    I wouldn’t mind a couple of litres of it.

    The Pie supporters reckon we are up for the spoon.

  27. JTH

    The spin coming from the offices of Cricket Australia represent all that is wrong with my trade (that trade being the aforementioned ‘spin’).

    As is so often the case in the world of politics, the PR hacks advising CA seem further illustrates that in PR ‘verisimilitude matters more than veracity’.

    It is interesting that you refer to a grounding in history and philosophy being of more service than a public relations degree. The PR hacks at CA would be well advised to ditch the PR 101 texts and instead look to Aristotle’s ‘The Art of Rhetoric’.

    According to Aristotle, a speaker or writer has three ways to persuade his audience:

    Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.

    Let’s look at CA’s, in particular Andrew Hilditch’s performance using this criteria.

    The personal character of the speaker (ethos): a speaker’s ethos consists of appearing knowledgeable about the topic he’s speaking about and being a man of good character. Hilditch has appeared too distant, too often. This speaks to the depth of his commitment. People will listen far more intently when they know you’re committed to the cause – Hilditch’s mutterings have been roundly dismissed as disingenuous.

    This in turn effects Hilditch’s ability to put the audience in the right frame of mind (pathos): There are a number of techniques you can use to help overcome this, such as antithesis or through the use of metaphors and storytelling. People are more likely to remember stories than facts because stories tap into our emotions. Hilditch and his advisers once again fall short here.

    Finally, we come to logos, or the appeal to reason. Aristotle believed logos to be the superior persuasive appeal and that all arguments should be won or lost on reason alone. However, he recognized that at times an audience would not be sophisticated enough to follow arguments based solely on logical principles and so the other appeals needed to be used as well.

    One thing I know about my profession is that most who practice it, think they’re smarter than the audience to which they are trying to speak. I’ve no doubt this is prevalent at CA.

    However, the rubbish that’s come out of CA HQ over the past week has been anything but sophisticated or smart. Anyone able to find his own dick could piss all over for what has passed as an explanation for the terrible performance of the Australian XI.

    Like many who permeate the industry, the CA PR hacks are beholden to (and perversely, thrive on) the 24-hour news cycle. Spooked by the AFL continually encroaching on their media turf, they’ve abandoned anything resembling a long-term narrative for the sake of day-to-day media management – a strategy that is risk averse to the point of being impotent.

    The irony is that Australia’s poor performance has resulted in more column inches and more commentary – the media climate is ripe for a long-term strategy built around a clear and coherent narrative.

    It seems a touch appropriate, that like their cricketing counterparts, the PR hacks and the men they advise are incapable of playing the ‘long game’.

  28. John Butler says

    This site is such an education. :)

  29. Pamela Sherpa says

    Hi John, I’m just back from the cricket at Manuka today. Pleasant day -only interrupted by a couple of showers. The most amusing T-shirt I saw had ‘Select this Hilditch’ written on it. The ‘i’ in the ‘this’ was an ‘up yours’ finger. I had to laugh. I didn’t get a chance to ask the wearers how long ago they were printed.
    Sympathise with you re- all wankers,crap and garbage we are fed. It’s a battle to not let it rule our lives.
    Take heart that you can at least recognise it!

  30. Litza, at the risk of “going political” I reckon the following comparison is valid:

    CA:

    “Spooked by the AFL continually encroaching on their media turf, they’ve abandoned anything resembling a long-term narrative for the sake of day-to-day media management – a strategy that is risk averse to the point of being impotent.”

    Rudd Labor:

    “Spooked by (insert option here: ________ ) they’ve abandoned anything resembling a long-term narrative for the sake of day-to-day media management – a strategy that is risk averse to the point of being impotent.”

    I know a few PR people and they all love putting one over the target public. It’s a competition. The bigger the bull-sh!t, the bigger the boast. “I convinced 1000 people that long lines at T-Dome are not an inconvenience.” “Well, I convinced 1000 people that $55 hot dogs are good for the nation.”

    Actually, can I have a job?

  31. Tony T… that is pretty spot-on

  32. Andrew Fithall says

    I sought and found some solace in live music on the weekend. Helen and I had a very pleasant Saturday afternoon and evening at the St Kilda Bowling Club for their “Day by the Green”. Ten bands of good quality. $15 entry! $4 Coopers pots (cheaper for members). Genuine music lovers (and if that is ambiguous – yes both the music and the lovers of music were genuine). Nothing “over-produced”. A wonderful remedy.

  33. #27 Litza

    Very interesting
    Aristotle worked on the presumption that the audience has an open mind.
    As Clarence Darrow noted there is nothing to fear in opinions even strongly held opinions for even the strongest held opinion can be changed however prejudice is a different matter. There is no pursuading those with closed minds. There is a world of differrence between proof and belief. If the cricket administrators believe there is no problem then they will change nothing. I fear we are not going to see any real change for quite some time. The Cricket Administrators will believe what they want to believe and unlike the NSW government they are not up for election.

    I loved JTH’s reference to a rum fart, I wondered how rum might have effected Aristotle. Imagine how many more worlds Alexander might have conquered had he the benefit of Bundaberg rum.
    (Old Jungle saying “Rum will make a Willy wagtail pick a fight with an Emu”)

  34. Litza, As you know I learnt more about rhetoric from the three quarter time addresses of Ronnie Wearmouth at Wests in Brisbane than I have anywhere else. Thanks for those words. Are professionals in the industry aware of what they are doing, or just putting to work the principal elements of their profession. Does anyone ever say “no” or is it the equaivalent of the barrister responsible for defending the guilty?

  35. Litza, are you happy for this to be posted as a separate article?

  36. …not a problem, JTH

  37. … as for the awareness of professionals as to what they’re doing, let me use a guy called Jonathan Wootliff as a microcosm of the industry.

    In 1997 Greenpeace wanted a new communications chief and hired Wootliff, who was formerly with two of America’s biggest PR firms, Hill & Knowlton and Fleishman-Hillard. Now Wootliff’s back on the corporate side, working for Reputation Partners and advising firms such as BP and an Indonesian pulp firm on how to build “positive relationships” with NGOs and activists.

    This may qualify PR as a blood sport.

  38. Litza – love to read an expanded version of your post at #27 – if you’ve got nothing else to do of course!

  39. JTH,
    Wonderful read that has provoked some wonderful discussion and observations. CA are guilty of providing the general Australian cricket supporter (as opposed to followers of the game) with exactly what they have wanted for the past 5 years. Sound bites and door stop speeches. Sounds a little like 20/20 really. Sadly, the recent display on and off the field will soon be forgotten as we move onto the “real stuff”. The fans can get pissed, throw beach balls around and wear watermelons on their head and the world will be right again wont’it. As you alude, the plight of CA and Austrailian cricket is a reflection of the society in which it is now played. I await the day in which cricket takes on a Current Affair style format and given the piffle coming from the Channel 9 box that day isn’t that far away.
    Cheers
    TR

  40. #29 Pam, you didn’t happen to get a photo did you? Would have loved to have had a ,azy afternoon at Manuka. Hope you’re enjoying the break and family logistics and dramas are in check.

  41. westcoastdave says

    #33 ” I wondered how rum might have effected Aristotle”…I think M.Python covered that in verse two:

    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
    On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
    Plato, they say, could stick it away;
    Half a crate of whiskey every day.
    Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
    Hobbes was fond of his dram,
    And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: “I drink, therefore I am”
    Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker but a bugger when he’s pissed!

  42. #25 Gus, The similarities may be cause for some concern. The brunswick heads pub is one of the great places on the planet. My half dozen squeamish games at UQFC would be covered well and truly covered by your steallar career. (btw, played poker at D. Humphery-Smith’s place the other evening.)

    When Loose Men Everywhere came out I was contacted by a teacher who barracked ofr Parramatta in the NRL and lived his life almost exactly as I had lived mine (as recorded in the book anyway) cricket, footy, punt during spring, owner of slow horse, golf, simialr interest in books and ideas. He used a lovely phrase to finish the letter: “I think we must have grown up in the same village”.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  43. Pamela Sherpa says

    Sorry John , didn’t get a photo but one of the wearers was interviewed and featured on the news.
    I ran into a footy friend from Traralgon and sat next to a lovely old gent from Bega.
    No doubt you are keeping an eye on the Qld drama. Is Oakey under water?

  44. Clearsighted says

    #15 John H re. your experiences in Canberra where “…you couldn’t make up some of the stuff I observed there…”
    On a smaller scale, but one with the same bureaucratic entrenchments, I worked over a number of years, for and with children who faced challenges to their learning and acceptance, within the state education system.
    The courage and forebearance of the children with whom I worked, never ceased to astound me – this despite a system that (although it maufactured spin to the contrary) could not, by its very design and dysfunction, provide the inclusive schooling it was there to do.
    I (wrongly) assumed, that all shared an enthusiasm for the well being of the children in our care; that all felt the privilege and meaning inherent in working towards the greater good.
    It became apparent that some did but most didn’t. Sycophancy, apathy and mediocrity were rewarded. A divide and conquer, bullying style of management was employed by the Principal (who was a chronic liar). Money, which could have been applied to useful ends, was wasted on useless PDs etc. etc.
    I wrote and stuck above my desk a sign which read “Sycophancy Sucks”, and another, as a reminder to myself, of Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing.”
    My point in touching on any of this, is that this occurred within the walls of a local school. At the time, I remember thinking, “Shit, if this goes on here, what must happen in the larger world?” From what you wrote of your experiences in Canberra, it appears that it is much of the same, only the “good people” are snoozing behind larger desks.
    I hate to think of what does (or doesn’t) go on in the hearts, minds and souls of those responsible for the management of CA, the AFL, or any person/organisation who floats on the surface of a corporate/political sea without a moral compass.
    We can only hope, that within their midst, our own north remains true.

  45. #44. Great stuff, Clearsighted. Another comment worthy of its own piece. The good news is the number of responses JTH’s piece has received. These are the people that are well aware of Burke’s quote.

    I’ve been encouraging my kids since they were very young to watch Today Tonight and ACA – as a black comedy. They get it.

    The other thing I’m reminded of in amongt all this is a particular episode of what JTH refers to as “Homer’s Odyssey”, where Lisa Simpson asks one tricky question too many and the teacher presses the “Independent Thought Alarm” button…

  46. Grant Fraser says

    speaking of rum farts, lunches and trying to “keep it real” – jth I still have the 1 litre bottle of Bundy with your name on it

  47. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Harmsy’s article and the responses have been refreshingly honest and heartfelt.

    I do wonder what our younger Almanackers think of how the world communicates to them today, especially through the prism of sport.

    Josh, Danni, Steve, Damien, Adam, what do you think about all this? It would be revealing because your generation has been born into spin much more than the middle-aged ranters here.

  48. #47 A comment from a bloke who understands the notion of a true (Greek) gymnasium. Another topic worthy of an article.

  49. #43 Pam, Oakey is flooded. Much of that Toowoomba water went west into Oakey and Gowrie Creeks. Many evacuations – according to news reports. On a personal level my Uncle Stan is a cabbage farmer at Grantham. They stayed. early this morning the Lockyer Creek which runs about half a km from their house was just beneath the floorboards of their Qlder (onstilts). So they must have had about 15 feet of water running beneath them. Very scary. haven’t heard anything from them since 8am. But I think all is OK, unlike it is for some of their neighbours.

  50. #46 Well that should help us RGF

  51. Clearsighted says

    I love bundy and farting.

  52. I knew a chick who drank Inner Circle OP with beer chasers ….you’re not her are you?

  53. Clearsighted says

    #52
    No. Have visited the Bundy distillery, however, where I did drink pure proof (I was dared). Over the next two days, with every sip of water, I became pissed all over again.

  54. Steve Fahey says

    I have just returned from some time in the bush, where one of the things I had a holiday from was the Internet. OK, I did check my emails on my phone each day but I’m not really sure why, other than that I convinced myself that I might miss something important. I still remember being a kid in the 1960s and my parents having to send a telegram to my great-aunty holidaying in country Victoria to inform her that her ex-husband had died suddenly. That meets my definition of importance.

    Anyway, the point of this post is that I logged on this morning to the Almanac and read an amazing, insightful and often funny array of contributions re cricket, spin and the state of modern existence. Long live the Almanac !! Having attended the first 3 days of the Boxing Day test, I feel finally recovered enough to make another contribution.

    I agree with many of the comments re CA losing its focus and becoming too focused on enterprise. Surely its name might provide a small hint as to what its core activity ought be. I have deliberately avoided using the term core business, albeit accepting that it is the peak body of a large industry.

    The events which have made me pull my ever-reducing hair out since the conclusion of the series have been (1) CA’s comment that the scheduling didn’t help our Ashes chances (2) the admission and discussion that several players were distracted from their performances in the Big Bash over the weekend by the IPL auction and (3) being asked to participate in a survey to vote on possible names for the 2 Victorian teams in next years IPL-style Big Bash competition.

    The scheduling argument made my blood boil – who does CA think was responsible for the trip to India on short notice in September/October followed by the mindless one-dayers againt Sri Lanka, as well as the insane decision to make Hussey and Bollinger play T20 for an Indian franchise rather than prepare for a Test series ? It was hardly classified information that the teams were ranked 4 and 5 in the world and that a tough series could be forecast. Apparently playing on subcontinental wickets is a better preparation than all the top players playing two or three Shield games in Australian conditions, which would have also helped the selectors have a reasonable idea of which players comprise the best team (well maybe !!).

    The T20 issues are a real problem for the game. I went to a couple Big Bash games last year, and they were fun, and the kids LOVED the evening’s entertainment. But I have a real problem with the IPL and its franchise and auction systems. Surely we’ve learnt across all sports that if you play games that don’t mean anything that corruption is inevitable and you risk devaluing the sport. I’m not against T20, and I know that it’s flavour of the month at the moment, but so was one-day cricket 30-35 years ago and look what’s happened there. One of the biggest problem is that cricket is training its future audience to expect and receive an outcome in 2.5 hours. This is very bad news for Test cricket, you only have to look at the Test crowds in the top two ranking Test countries, India and South Africa.

    On the issue of the recent IPL auction, I do understand that people in any walk of life are distracted when their contract is up for grabs. Nonetheless can’t we reasonably expect blokes to be able to perform to an acceptable standard in a game that last for all of 2.5 hours ?

    As for the issue of 2 Victorian and NSW teams in next year’s Big Bash, what the hell is that about ? The CA survey said that one team would be representing the traditionly underrepresented sections (in cricket) of the community while the other would represent the traditional cricket (or words to this effect). Whether they are in economic terms or not, they are talking about franchises, not state representative teams. Next we’ll be talking about state derbies. Spare me.

    On a seemingly loosely related or unrelated topic, I was disturbed but not surprised to hear Philip Clark, the ABC Radio Summer mornings presenter attempt to introduce the topic of parliamentary behaviour into a discussion on the dangers of extreme political rhetoric following the US shootings. Bronwyn Beehive and some Labour bloke (a minister from memory) laughed off the standard of behaviour, noting that it was a combative environment and a theatre of sorts. Similar arguments to the cricket in some ways – your public corporate utterings amount to nought if your behaviours don’t match the values you reckon you are espousing.

    Phew, I think I might have Internet access during next year’s bush holiday – it’s too stressful when I return and need to vent !

    Finally, after a week of plentiful tragedies (the American shootings, Queensland), I agree whole-heartedly with Dave Nadel that if it wasn’t for a certain recent premiership things would indeed look pretty dark at the moment.

  55. The biggest issue with Australian politics is that the only person who has been taken seriously in the last 20 years was Pauline Hanson. We elect and slavishly follow the spin of a bunch of theater actors for entertainment purposes.

    I’m trying to keep up with flood reports, (family are safe, friends evacuated although expecting homes to go under); I see idiots laughing at boats, parts of houses and probably lives rush down the Brisbane River and out to sea while they enjoy the fact that they will be having a holiday from working for a week or so. I can’t put words to the anger I feel…

  56. Craig Down says

    Knackers,

    If you haven’t already, you might want to check out G Haigh’s most recent piece on the state of Australian cricket on the Cricinfo website.

    He pushes off the fence and does not miss.

    CD

  57. Couldn’t have put it better myself…..an absolutlely brilliant article.

  58. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Just read it. Have to agree Mul. Every serious cricket fan should have a read. It says a lot about life today and how cricket reflects the lurid parts a little too closely.

    The only criticism is that it comes from a middle-aged cricket writer who has studied the classics and that is not the type this game is marketed to. The 15-25 year age bracket needs to debate this with as much passion as Gideon…if they have it.

  59. Anyway I think Australia can do well in the World Cup if the batsmen keep their shape, the bowlers bowl in the right areas and the team can execute the plan.

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