Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jonathan Holmes, My Champion

IT is well known that animals predict earthquakes and my little Sparkles is particularly gifted in this regard. At about the same time the weight of rising seas triggered the temblor that rocked Japan, I watched in utter fascination as my animal companion cut shark-like figure-of-eights on the lino in front of the fridge. I was able to still her agitation by opening the door and distracting her with an offering of food I knew to be rich in iodine, which calmed and protected her immediately, also serving as the overture to a little face washing and a tranquil nap on the window ledge. I have now set aside several cans of Whiskas for my own health and urge readers to do likewise as the fallout crisis draws near. With the dark curtain of radiant debris descending on the globe, even vegans and vegetarians (like me) will need to embrace iodine-salted fish offal as their lifeline. If you doubt the efficacy of that prescription, ask yourself if you have ever seen a cat with a goiter? If you don’t like the taste, garnish with a little tahini and lemon juice and serve on a peppered cracker. It is quite palatable and, for those on a budget, much more economical than conventional medicine’s corporately produced anti-radiation tablets.

Now it must be said that Seddon remains geologically stable (or so we are told), despite the worst efforts of Big Carbon and the Queen of The Netherlands to alter our Bay’s submarine topography. The flooding of Luna Park in 2005, just across the water from here, was a close call, but things appear to have settled down lately.

Sparkles, however, remains anything but composed. For the past hour she has been once again hyper-active in front of the refrigerator. There have been no further tremors reported from Japan, so the only appropriate explanation must hinge on the photo of Jonathan Holmes, which I keep on the door as a dietary aid.

That subtle, accusatory smile of his speaks more eloquently than any words of the need to ration the Boston buns, make the appropriate choices, if I am to regain my figure. But there is also that twinkle of knowingness and acceptance in Jonathan’s eyes, and such empathy also offers a conditional comfort: If I do make the wrong choices, and they are the sort of wrong choices he also enjoys and which he is prepared to indulge, then I know Jonathan can be counted on to look the other way. Love you, Jonathan, really do!

But back to Sparkles, who is once again telling it like it is. Having shared my dismay at the left’s conscienceless betrayal of this blog, I take Sparkles’ latest frenzy as a prophecy that Media Watch will be taking up the matter of my shameful treatment on Monday night, as indeed it should.

Strictly speaking, this is about much more than media watching. It is about contract law. It is about being stiffed for my $200 publication fee by the national broadcaster. But most of all it is about the disappearance from the Drum of my scoop on the moose slurs directed by machismo, militaristic NSW Liberals against Katrina Keneally. As I pointed out to the Drum editor, the expose was a means to an end. My goal – our goal, I believed -- was to paint the conservatives as the sexist autocrats they are, alert the women of NSW to their moose misogyny and, once the alarum had been taken up by the Fairfax press (as it would certainly have been), to reverse the polls and swing the election back to the progressive side of the aisle.

I said as much in my original post on this blog, and I repeated the game plan in my communications with the Drum’s chieftain and also with his deputy, who did much helpful editing of my original post in order to get it up to ABC standards.

Here is what I wrote to him. The underline is mine:

Dear Jonathan,
would you be interested in a formal version of this post?

It seems to be that if we can link the Liberals to this crotch talk then there is still a chance we can nudge the election toward Labor, or at least do something to limit what looks like it will be catastrophic damage inflicted by voters.

If you prefer to give this assignment to one of your regulars (Kellie Tranter, for example, who writes much better and faster than me, I admit), I would not object.

The important thing is that we do everything we can, use every tool we know, to help Kristina out of the jam some silly moves and a lot of Murdoch venom has put her in.


The scheme and the urgency is all there, laid out in our correspondence. As for me, the Drum’s acceptance of my strategy opened up the very real prospect of a new career as a an ABC-validated and authorised opinionsmith.

It was premature, I know, but for a fleeting, glorious moment I imagined myself a bright star in the pantheon of ABC-approved pundits: Bob Ellis, Marieke Hardy, cheated Higgins byelection candidate Clive Hamilton, journalism professor David McKnight, legal eagle and environmental lawyer Kellie Tranter, David Horton, the great and passionate psychologist and climate expert Stephan Lewandowsky . The name of Alene Composta might have joined their lustrous ranks. Can I confess that, just for that intoxicating instant, I was there at the ABC’s version of the Algonquin Round Table, trading bread rolls and bon mots with the Drum’s elite, offering to wash Bob Ellis’ jumper and perhaps even saying nice things about the staff at Melbourne University Press, where my first book would have been in production.

Fat chance of that now that the left’s feckless poobahs have locked me out of their inner circle. When MUP published the latest scholarship on the life of Mick Gatto, I knew, knew to the core of my being, that the publishing house was ready for my book-length thoughts on Kitty Litter as a medium for carbon sequestration. Given that MUP’s publisher is the Drum editor’s life partner what chance do I now have of seeing my book proposals acknowledged and accepted? What chance now of column-ating on a job-share basis with Fairfax, perhaps even going girl-on-girl with Suzy Freeman-Greene or Adele Horin.

The same with Crikey! When my expose was posted on the Drum, Crikey linked to it immediately. Then they removed all mention of it. Gone! Consigned, like me, to the progressive memory hole. Now I admit that I am inclined to paranoia, but the experiences of the past week clearly demonstrate that they are out to get me by ignoring my contributions to the debate.

Don’t get me wrong. It is a wonderful thing for the left that progressive minds have taken control of the means of debate. We -- and by that I mean people like me -- are now so numerous in academia, the media, in schools and amongst Media Watch producers that it is entirely possible for progressive forces to limit rash discourse and reactionary objections to the few issues that the ongoing evolution of the materialist dialectic has yet to fully resolve. This is not deception and certainly not censorship, as the Boltards and Blairites like to bray. Discussion of asylum seeker policies, for example, were gagged by the shaming observation that it was too soon after an unfortuante event  to discuss the factors that have led to the increase in boat arrivals. Now it is too late, and with the Christmas Island freedom fighters magnificently on the loose, it is too soon to discuss that as well. It is not censorship. It is taking responsible control of the conversation and, overwhelmingly, it is a force for good and betterment.

But not when the left turns on one of its own, as it has done to me.

Can I tell you how angry I am? If an ABC courier were to bring over that cheque I would not accept it, even though it would mean a better quality of iodised fish offal.

So send that $200 to the SMH and Age, which need the cash even more than I.

Go get ‘em, Jonathan Homes. I know we can count on you to lay bare the cronyism and moral corruption..


  1. You are brilliant. Absolutely brilliant

  2. Alene,

    I love a chick with a big heart.

    Especially when her breath smells of iodized fish offal.

    Totally hot.

  3. Alene is it true that you won pre-selection as a lead facilitator in "Citizens Forum on Climate Change". What a shame the whinging right put the kybosh on such a worthy endeavour.

  4. Bravo Alene,
    You deserve so much better than the ABC anyway. If I were you I would set my sights higher to the Fairfax papers, where only the best progressives are to be found. I wish you well in your future career. Don't be put off by the small-mindedness of the ABC. They have a vicious regard for the truly talented, and they perceive as threatening their sense of superiority. Move on Alene, and let them see a real and remarkable talent burgeon and grow to levels they could never atain !
    Best Wishes

    PS : Do you have any good vegan recipes that would complement a Whiskas meal ? Your tip about iodide content will be most helpful. Thanks.

  5. My mum said be careful of the friends you keep. You are judged by your friends, er enemies, er enemedia?


  6. Alene it is so sad to see someone like yourself who has suffered so much in this dismal world of ours get rejected and insulted by the supposedly "progressive" ABC!

    We need to start a campaign to remove bias, racism and sexism as well as all other bigotry from the ABC staff. Surely then your writing will be seen for the great thing it is.

    I hope you and your cat are well.

    Please make sure you keep writing, don't let the male bastard scum get you down!

    Lots of love:

    Kit from Fitzroy

  7. Iodine pills ? Did you take any when the French were doing atmospheric tests closer to you ? All they do is saturate your thyroid so you won't absorb Iodine-131 which can cause thyroid cancer. Your ignorance of physics reflects on everything you write.