Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Baby, it’s PC outside

Readers who enjoy a good Christmas song might have followed the recent kerfuffle about Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which set angry feminists (is there any other sort?) to complaining that it is an endorsement of date rape and the drugging of innocent women. They complained and, as is the way of the world these days, various US radio stations immediately scratched a fine and witty number from their playlists. This was a noteworthy development, although not for the alacrity with which managers responded to the joyless whines of a few neo-wowsers. That’s a given in this age of the social media pile-on. Rather, it signified the democratisation of preconceptions and stereotypes. Once, and not so long ago, it was only Chinese villains who were depicted as the drug-dispensing ravagers of feminine virtue, as above.

Now, it’s all men

The good news is that the #metoo harpies lost this one, as popular protests and no small amount of ridicule have seen Frank Loesser’s classic restored to some playlists. The ban also sent Mark Steyn to his keyboard, where he writes

I’m a reasonable chap, and I’d be willing to meet the Muslim Brotherhood chaps halfway on a lot of the peripheral stuff like beheadings, stonings, clitoridectomies and whatnot. But you’ll have to pry “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from my cold dead hands and my dancing naked legs. A world without “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” would be very cold indeed.

Mark’s extended thoughts on the rape anthem-that-isn’t can be read here.

Everyone has their favourite version, of which scores have been recorded. For Quadrant Online’s money, Bette Midler and James Caan did it best in For The Boys. Sadly, the song didn’t make it into the final cut but does appear on the movie’s soundtrack album.

 

Insights from Quadrant

News seldom seen

Tony Thomas, fresh from eye surgery, writes:

I was waiting around at Sunbury Day Hospital, north of Melbourne, last week for an eye-cataract job. I reached for a Reader’s Digest half-buried among the Hello and Take 5 pile of magazines. The Digest’s cover lines included “Politicians’ Outrageous Perks: This privileged class is living the high life – on our money.” Good job, Reader’s Digest.

But hang on, look at the item immediately below on the Contents page: What’s wrong with global warming? The last time Earth had a warm-up, good things happened.

I flicked to page 45. It’s a piece by Dennis Avery, a veteran US food scientist. There’s an illustration of a yellow blossom in a sort of rain-forest, with the caption, “Robust forests – A warmer world could create plant heaven.”

Dr Avery discusses how the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) helped agriculture and civilisation to thrive, and ridicules the claims about warming costing economies trillions of dollars this century. Here’s how he concludes his three-page essay:

“History and the science of climatology indicate that we have nothing to fear but fearmongers themselves. Any global warming in the 21st Century should be modest, bringing back one of the most pleasant and productive environments humans – and wildlife —  have ever enjoyed.”

Who is this author Avery? Aged 82, he’s been a food policy analyst with the US Department of Agriculture and Department of State. He’s now director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, where he edits Global Food Quarterly.

I flopped back in bemusement. I had no idea Reader’s Digest is spearheading the sceptic cause. I thought it had long been captured, like Time and The Economist, by the junk scientists and their media shills. Holy (greenhouse-gas emitting) cow! the Digest still has a global circulation of 10 million with maybe 50 million readers. It remains  the world’s largest paid-circulation magazine.

I suspected the warming-is-good piece was the sceptic Digest’s sly attempt to undermine the UN’s COP 24 at Katowice. There was no counterpiece that  “warming is bad” or “Avery is in the pay of fossil fuel interests”. Avery’s piece is presented as an orthodox view, needing no rebuttal from fringe groups like the IPCC or our own Climate Council.

Then I took another look at the cover. Damn! It was dated August, 1999. I know hospital waiting-room magazines can be old, but 20 years old might be a local record.

All the same, that the Digest ran such a sceptic piece in 1999 was quite striking. No mass magazine would do it today.  More warming is good for the planet? No, no, no! More warming means horrors to beggar the imagination. Humanity, life itself, would face extinction.  The science is settled. Only limitless landscapes dotted with towering wind turbines can save us from an imminent bonfire of the humanities. Send money now.

Apart from discovering that the media was more open-minded in 1999, I departed Sunbury Day Hospital with a refurbished right eye. Who knows what I might find in the magazine pile when I come back next week for the left eye job?

Tony’s new book The West: An insider’s tales – a romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available here

Insights from Quadrant

Enjoy!

Life has been quite trying of late at Quadrant, where the relaunch of our website has been more than a little taxing. Much the same could be said, of course, of all fields of human endeavour and, indeed, of existence itself.

So, by way of a weekend something to soothe those vexations and bevel life’s rough edges, if only for a minute or two, a Tchaikovsky waltz as performed by a flash orchestra in the atrium of Israel’s Hadassah Hospital.

Insights from Quadrant

The Wilson Trials

In November’s Quadrant, Gerard Henderson touched on the case of Archbishop Philip Wilson, who today (Dec. 6) saw overturned his conviction for failing to report a pedophile priest some four decades earlier:

Now move forward to Tuesday, July 3, 2018, following the conviction in the Newcastle Local Court of Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who was found guilty by Magistrate Robert Stone of covering up child sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in 1976, when he was a junior priest aged around twenty-five. Due to the vagaries of Section 316 in the New South Wales Crimes Act, the archbishop’s conviction turned on the failure to have a reasonable excuse for not reporting the matter to the New South Wales Police during the period April 2004 to January 2006. He is appealing against the decision.

On the ABC TV’s The Drum that evening, discussion turned to the Wilson case. Presenter Julia Baird noted towards the end of the discussion that “there seems to be a consensus on the panel here”. There sure was as—variously—Dee Madigan, Karen Middleton, Megan Motto and Stephen O’Doherty piled into the Catholic Church in general and Archbishop Wilson in particular. No one saw fit to mention that, when he was Bishop of Wollongong and later Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson was a leader in the Catholic Church in facing up to clerical child sexual abuse.

And not one person on The Drum advised viewers that they had not read the decision—which has still not been released (even with redactions) and may never be released. This has led to a situation whereby what has been hailed as a decision of international significance is not readily available to be read in Australia or overseas. Frank Brennan has written to the New South Wales Attorney-General seeking the immediate release of Magistrate Stone’s decision with redactions.

Earlier, in May,  Peter Wales at Quadrant Online painstakingly examined the initial trial. His piece is an invaluable backgrounding and can be read in full here. Those who know Archbishop Wilson only as a headline ogre might be interested in a YouTube homily that better suggests the measure of the man.

 

Essential Reading

Insights from Quadrant
Insights from Quadrant

Baby, it’s PC outside

Readers who enjoy a good Christmas song might have followed the recent kerfuffle about Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which set angry feminists (is there any other sort?) to complaining that it is an endorsement of date rape and the drugging of innocent women. They complained and, as is the way of the world these days, various US radio stations immediately scratched a fine and witty number from their playlists. This was a noteworthy development, although not for the alacrity with which managers responded to the joyless whines of a few neo-wowsers. That’s a given in this age of the social media pile-on. Rather, it signified the democratisation of preconceptions and stereotypes. Once, and not so long ago, it was only Chinese villains who were depicted as the drug-dispensing ravagers of feminine virtue, as above.

Now, it’s all men

The good news is that the #metoo harpies lost this one, as popular protests and no small amount of ridicule have seen Frank Loesser’s classic restored to some playlists. The ban also sent Mark Steyn to his keyboard, where he writes

I’m a reasonable chap, and I’d be willing to meet the Muslim Brotherhood chaps halfway on a lot of the peripheral stuff like beheadings, stonings, clitoridectomies and whatnot. But you’ll have to pry “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from my cold dead hands and my dancing naked legs. A world without “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” would be very cold indeed.

Mark’s extended thoughts on the rape anthem-that-isn’t can be read here.

Everyone has their favourite version, of which scores have been recorded. For Quadrant Online’s money, Bette Midler and James Caan did it best in For The Boys. Sadly, the song didn’t make it into the final cut but does appear on the movie’s soundtrack album.

 

Insights from Quadrant

News seldom seen

Tony Thomas, fresh from eye surgery, writes:

I was waiting around at Sunbury Day Hospital, north of Melbourne, last week for an eye-cataract job. I reached for a Reader’s Digest half-buried among the Hello and Take 5 pile of magazines. The Digest’s cover lines included “Politicians’ Outrageous Perks: This privileged class is living the high life – on our money.” Good job, Reader’s Digest.

But hang on, look at the item immediately below on the Contents page: What’s wrong with global warming? The last time Earth had a warm-up, good things happened.

I flicked to page 45. It’s a piece by Dennis Avery, a veteran US food scientist. There’s an illustration of a yellow blossom in a sort of rain-forest, with the caption, “Robust forests – A warmer world could create plant heaven.”

Dr Avery discusses how the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) helped agriculture and civilisation to thrive, and ridicules the claims about warming costing economies trillions of dollars this century. Here’s how he concludes his three-page essay:

“History and the science of climatology indicate that we have nothing to fear but fearmongers themselves. Any global warming in the 21st Century should be modest, bringing back one of the most pleasant and productive environments humans – and wildlife —  have ever enjoyed.”

Who is this author Avery? Aged 82, he’s been a food policy analyst with the US Department of Agriculture and Department of State. He’s now director of the Center for Global Food Issues at the Hudson Institute, where he edits Global Food Quarterly.

I flopped back in bemusement. I had no idea Reader’s Digest is spearheading the sceptic cause. I thought it had long been captured, like Time and The Economist, by the junk scientists and their media shills. Holy (greenhouse-gas emitting) cow! the Digest still has a global circulation of 10 million with maybe 50 million readers. It remains  the world’s largest paid-circulation magazine.

I suspected the warming-is-good piece was the sceptic Digest’s sly attempt to undermine the UN’s COP 24 at Katowice. There was no counterpiece that  “warming is bad” or “Avery is in the pay of fossil fuel interests”. Avery’s piece is presented as an orthodox view, needing no rebuttal from fringe groups like the IPCC or our own Climate Council.

Then I took another look at the cover. Damn! It was dated August, 1999. I know hospital waiting-room magazines can be old, but 20 years old might be a local record.

All the same, that the Digest ran such a sceptic piece in 1999 was quite striking. No mass magazine would do it today.  More warming is good for the planet? No, no, no! More warming means horrors to beggar the imagination. Humanity, life itself, would face extinction.  The science is settled. Only limitless landscapes dotted with towering wind turbines can save us from an imminent bonfire of the humanities. Send money now.

Apart from discovering that the media was more open-minded in 1999, I departed Sunbury Day Hospital with a refurbished right eye. Who knows what I might find in the magazine pile when I come back next week for the left eye job?

Tony’s new book The West: An insider’s tales – a romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available here

Insights from Quadrant

Enjoy!

Life has been quite trying of late at Quadrant, where the relaunch of our website has been more than a little taxing. Much the same could be said, of course, of all fields of human endeavour and, indeed, of existence itself.

So, by way of a weekend something to soothe those vexations and bevel life’s rough edges, if only for a minute or two, a Tchaikovsky waltz as performed by a flash orchestra in the atrium of Israel’s Hadassah Hospital.

Insights from Quadrant

The Wilson Trials

In November’s Quadrant, Gerard Henderson touched on the case of Archbishop Philip Wilson, who today (Dec. 6) saw overturned his conviction for failing to report a pedophile priest some four decades earlier:

Now move forward to Tuesday, July 3, 2018, following the conviction in the Newcastle Local Court of Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, who was found guilty by Magistrate Robert Stone of covering up child sexual abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in 1976, when he was a junior priest aged around twenty-five. Due to the vagaries of Section 316 in the New South Wales Crimes Act, the archbishop’s conviction turned on the failure to have a reasonable excuse for not reporting the matter to the New South Wales Police during the period April 2004 to January 2006. He is appealing against the decision.

On the ABC TV’s The Drum that evening, discussion turned to the Wilson case. Presenter Julia Baird noted towards the end of the discussion that “there seems to be a consensus on the panel here”. There sure was as—variously—Dee Madigan, Karen Middleton, Megan Motto and Stephen O’Doherty piled into the Catholic Church in general and Archbishop Wilson in particular. No one saw fit to mention that, when he was Bishop of Wollongong and later Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson was a leader in the Catholic Church in facing up to clerical child sexual abuse.

And not one person on The Drum advised viewers that they had not read the decision—which has still not been released (even with redactions) and may never be released. This has led to a situation whereby what has been hailed as a decision of international significance is not readily available to be read in Australia or overseas. Frank Brennan has written to the New South Wales Attorney-General seeking the immediate release of Magistrate Stone’s decision with redactions.

Earlier, in May,  Peter Wales at Quadrant Online painstakingly examined the initial trial. His piece is an invaluable backgrounding and can be read in full here. Those who know Archbishop Wilson only as a headline ogre might be interested in a YouTube homily that better suggests the measure of the man.