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August 01st 2016 print

Roger Franklin

Groping for a Story at the ABC

Of all the improbable misdeeds in the ABC's recent exploration of Cardinal Pell's alleged mischief in public swimming pools none are quite so jaw-dropping as the failure to wonder just how difficult it might be to slip a large, sly and hasty hand into a small pair of Speedos

wandering hands IIHalf-remembered from an adolescent reading list is the unique skill of a particular character in one of Robert Ludlum’s interchangeable pulpers. This remarkable fellow, in one smooth and flowing movement, could throw the gear stick of a Lagonda through its H-pattern while hiking his passenger’s hem and caressing the thigh, inevitably creamy, of the requisite paperback love interest.

This talent greatly impressed a 14-year-old reader, and it seems the grownups at the ABC are likewise prepared to believe accounts of wardrobe mischief that are even more improbable – nay, impossible to credit. To take the national broadcaster at the word of last week’s 7.30 shocker on the alleged activities in swimming pools of George Pell, the now-cardinal boasts an amorous dexterity that puts the likes of Jason Bourne to shame.

Female readers may need some guidance, as their bathing costumes seldom come with drawstrings, which are essential for holding up men’s togs. This is important because Pell’s accusers ask us to believe that the priest not only gave each a quick feel or ten outside their bathers, he also slipped the thick-fingered hand of a former Richmond Reserves ruckman down the front.

ABC sorts, who would likely enjoy the exercise, might want to try this experiment: pop, say, Jon Faine of Melbourne’s 774 into a pair of Speedos, turn on the microphone and broadcast the attempts of fellow staffers’ wandering hands to take a quick and surreptitious measure of their man.

The audio would be more than amusing — an overdue dividend on the billion dollars a year it takes to hire people who do not know that drawstrings are very hard to get past. This is particularly so, one would imagine, when the groping is sly and the possibility of being observed by fellow bathers a prospect to encourage haste. The only man able to reach the control nob in that studio would be Faine himself.

Try it at home if still inclined to accept the 40-year-old memories of the ABC’s key witnesses, a pair of convicted bash artists and substance abusers. And remember that wet drawstrings can be even harder to get past, as all men and boys know.  Quadrant couples might find the experimental exercise promotes a heightened marital amity, but they should also be aware that those same cords are often very frustrating to untie, especially when in a hurry.

Faster by far is the speed with which a lie circles the world.

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant online. He favours board shorts, always with drawstrings.

Comments [16]

  1. [email protected] says:

    As an atheist there only a few things that could compel me to defend the catholic church. The first two that come to mind are :-
    1. The cancerous spread of Islamic totalitarianism around the world. I read somewhere that one of the most effective means of culturally fighting a totally irrational death cult masquerading as a religion i.e. Islam, is by promoting a slightly less irrational religion i.e. Christianity. Joseph Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI] once said – “ecclesiastical totalitarianism might be the only antidote to political totalitarianism.” [He was referring to Communism and Nazism] As Islam is both political and theological totalitarianism and Christianity is far less political [in the Anglosphere anyway] he may have a valid point for Islam as well. It has been said by some scholars that if faith collapses, civilization sometimes collapses with it. I don’t agree with that because faith requires the suspension of reason. But as reason has been undermined and devalued by leftists everywhere as the preferred determinant for decision making perhaps faith may become useful again.
    2. The ABC’s vicious witch hunt of Cardinal Pell [with assistance from other sections of the MSM] This is made worse for me because I am FORCED to fund the ABC and I resent it highly.

    • Bill Martin says:

      Your understanding of faith seems to be extremely narrow, restricted to the belief in the teachings of a religion. Only those with genuine faith, weather in a religion or in any other concept, can truly appreciate the reality of it. Authentic faith is not the blind, slavish acceptance or belief of some doctrine, religious or otherwise, but a calm, unshakable feeling that has no relation to reason or knowledge as understood in the physical realm.

      • Jody says:

        Now, that’s a HARD ask!!!

      • [email protected] says:

        Bill, please define ‘authentic faith’ to me. If it has, in your words – ‘no relation to reason or knowledge as understood in the physical realm’- what is it? How do you define it in simple easy to explain English words that others can understand? If it’s a case of ‘if you have to have it explained, you wouldn’t understand it anyway’ it’s meaningless, I regard that sort of evasion as leftist sophistry. After that you might please then tell me who is to be the judge of what is ‘authentic faith’ and what is just plain ordinary faith of the ‘I believe because I believe’ type. Reason/logic is what makes human civilisation possible. No amount of ‘faith’ will keep an airliner in the air if the reason designed technology of the aircraft fails.

        • Bill Martin says:

          I’m afraid I have no other answer but one which to you would be “meaningless”. Other than that, you might contemplate the fact that true love is yet another concept which defies reason and understanding and only those who experience it or have experienced it know it, while it means nothing much to others.

          • [email protected] says:

            Thank you Bill. I can only say that there are numerous definitions, and ‘varieties’ of love. Without wanting to start a philosophical war by correspondence I can tell you what my idea of love, including ‘romantic love’ involves – “falling in love is a deeply personal and positive emotional response to another person’s sense of life and their values, and that that feeling is mutual”. To me love and respect and many other non-monetary values must be earned – I cannot and will never be able to understand what ‘unconditional’ love is supposed to be or mean – what would be its value and what would it mean?

  2. Bill Martin says:

    With all due respect, this little essay is not up to the usual standard of our illustrious editor. No, it’s not the standard of writing but the standard of the argument that is wanting. Certainly, the accusations by the dubious characters lack credibility but the reasoning offered here are not very convincing. Bathers come in a range of styles, some close fitting, others loose, some with drawstrings, others with elastic waistbands. Besides, they claim groping through the bathers as well as within them. What makes these accusations unsustainable is the fact that there seem to be no other accusers besides these two, yet some hundreds of boys must have been involved in the swimming pool frolics and various other activities with Pell over a number of years. In all other priest/pedophile cases a considerable number of accusers came forward, reinforcing the culpability of the accused. Not in this case, it seems.

  3. en passant says:

    As an atheist I conclude that Pell is innocent and the charges not worth the time of day.

    While I am about it: the dingo did it without a shadow of a doubt.

  4. Dallas Beaufort says:

    You can catch a thief but a liar can hang you.

  5. Patrick McCauley says:

    If so … these are very big lies … aggressive, vicious, violent, AK47 type lies … Where do they come from ? How could a person tell such a huge lie ? … did these accusers hate Pell anyway – the way boys hate some teachers at a school … particularly ones that would have been licienced to dish out corporal punishment. Did Pell ever discipline these boys … perhaps strap them ? Why would they try on such a huge lie after thirty years ? Compensation ? (50 grand)

    • Bill Martin says:

      Some years ago there was a spate of stories of adult women accusing their fathers of sexually assaulting them during their early years. Practically all of them turned out to be based on false memories, due to a hysteria induced by one single genuine case. Many a father’s/daughter’s lives were ruined as a result.

  6. Jody says:

    Let’s stick to the time-honoured precept: innocent until proven guilty.

  7. - says:

    Pell is white, male, and a Catholic. Three danger triggers. Try the man again and again and again until the “right” outcome is achieved by the left.

  8. Bran Dee says:

    Extracting what for me is Roger Franklin’s main point: the ABC has its own pernicious agenda and has to be defunded. Friends of the ABC can subscribe if the want to see it and fund it. The ABC is a danger to democracy.

  9. Ian MacDougall says:

    That controversial piece by Roger Franklin The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals appears to have been taken down, with Quadrant Editor Keith Windschuttle publicly apologising to the ABC for it. Effectively, Franklin’s article says that if someone were to bomb the ABC’s Q&A studio, it would be a Good Thing.
    Windschuttle has also reportedly promised to off Franklin “counselling”. I sincerely hope that includes techniques for mirth-suppression, for without such it will be a complete waste of time.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/24/quadrants-editor-in-chief-apologises-for-article-about-bombing-abcs-qa-program

  10. Ian MacDougall says:

    Keith Kennelly wrote in a comment on The Manchester Bomber’s ABC Pals, sadly now no longer available for a perusal by denizens of the Net:

    Islam is a bomb with 1.6 billon potential fuses

    I would go along with that, except to note in passing that the 1.6 billion figure there is a bit rubbery. There are devout Muslims, who take every word in the Koran as literally sent down by God’s Prophet for the benefit of us mortals here below, and then there are the Slackers.
    I encountered just one of the many latter on a visit to Turkey a few years ago. He was a young man who complained that his mother was always at him for not being devout enough, and telling him that he should spend more of his time attending the local mosque. “So I try to keep her happy. But you know mothers. Enough is never enough.”
    It would be interesting to know what the total capacity for the devout is in the world’s mosques, but at a guess there is not praying space for the lot of them if all the Slackers decided to attend at the same time.
    I would suggest that the Islamist strategy is to commit such a series of outrages as to provoke a violent response. Osama bin Laden did this very effectively by attacking New York the way he did, leaving the US under Bush 2 no real alternative but to go after him in Afghanistan. (Bush 1 should have been jailed for calling on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s opponents to ‘rise up’ and then giving them no support when they did; leaving them to be massacred by the dictator.)
    The Islamists want a war between the dar-al-Islam (ie their mob) and the dar-al-Harb (ie the rest of humanity) and they are doing their best to provoke one. And you are quite right: the Muslim population is where the next outrage will come from; London to a brick. But the best way to deal with it IMHO is not to simply round up all Muslims and deport them to Timbuctoo or wherever (a helluva lot easier said than done) or even to ban Muslim immigration, which would be a legal can of worms given that the Australian Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion, but to guarantee ALL young people a right to an education with no compulsory religion component.
    When I went to school, the only compulsory subject of study was.the English language. That is the way it should be.
    To generate an Islamic robot like the alleged Manchester bomber Salman Abedi, it is important that the candidate go to an Islamic school, and have minimal exposure to all competing information, particularly such as is to be found in a liberal democracy like the UK or Australia.
    I suggest that a sensible response to this is to start seeing all religious education as child abuse, and allow none of it to be compulsory within any public or private school. Such education amounts to brainwashing, a key component of which is deprivation of competing information.