Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Most Befuddling Puzzlement

I am, I confess, confused. I was reading, as is my wont, Andrew Bolt's latest musings on the mores and manners that shape us as a people, in order to get a feel for the zeitgeist and become better-informed on the trends and dominant paradigms in our post-structuralist community, when I came across one certain article entitled:


Now I found this interesting, as a fan of news, and I naturally read on to discover exactly what said hypocrites were doing to gay men and women. Beating them with sticks? Tripping them with wires? Hurling insults at them which can be very harmful because as Cher said words are like weapons they wound sometimes?

Imagine my surprise when I discovered none of these were the case. In fact Bolt was not exposing a worrying social trend of roving hypocrite gangs attacking stray gays at all, but rather commenting on a philosophical tug-o-war. To wit:

CONTRAST. In March, Australia's Human Rights Commission boasted it had entered a float in Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in "its campaign to allow same-sex marriage".

No fuss.
Last week, a board member of Victoria's Equal Opportunity Commission signed a petition "to oppose moves to 'same-sex marriage' ".
This time: screams, protests, outraged media and a resignation.

Ah, I saw the complaint being put forward by Australia's most-read columnist. He is actually complaining about the hypocrisy exhibited by so many members of the Australian left, in that they will happily acquiesce, or even applaud, when the Human Rights Commission engages in activities to promote human rights, but when a member of an Equal Opportunity Commission speaks out against equal opportunity, they howl in protest.

And it is indeed fair enough that Bolt - who has dedicated his life to exposing hypocrisy and humbug in all its forms - should highlight the inconsistency here, that so-called "politically correct" folk only protest against discrimination and people whose beliefs and actions are diametrically opposed to their jobs, but refuse to utter a peep against anti-discrimination and people who believe and act in accordance with the purpose of their positions. How, Bolt asks, pithily and with style, can the modern Left so fervently celebrate inclusiveness while utterly refusing to celebrate bigotry? What is it with the Left and its repellently brazen embrace of equal rights, so at odds with its fascistic opposition to unequal rights? How can one say he is in favour of equal rights if he opposes equal rights for inequality?


So in summary this was a very well-written article. But there is one part that troubles me, and I'm hoping that with your help we can unravel the mystery it poses. At one point in the piece, Bolt writes:

"After all, broadening the definition of marriage is not a question of equality, since gays are as free as anyone to marry anyone of the opposite sex."

Which is fine. As I am not a Leftist I am not trying to repress his freedom of speech, so write that sentence as much as you like, Mr Bolt, says I. But it raises a conundrum for me, which is: why did he write it? I am always interested in first causes and motivations, so the question of "why" is very important to me. My curiosity rages - there must have been a reason he wrote that sentence, and I've narrowed it down to the most obvious possibilities. I welcome any further suggestions in the comments.

Bolt wrote that sentence because:

a) He had recently suffered a severe blunt force trauma to the head, but was on such a tight deadline he had to complete and file his column prior to seeking medical attention.

b) Having suffered a crippling bout of writer's block, he sought to release the artist within via use of powerful hallucinogenic drugs, not realising such substances can have deleterious effects on one's perception of reality, causing the taker to believe in non-existent objects, sounds, or logic.

c) Bolt had recently triggered an ancient curse which caused him to swap bodies with a nearby five-year-old, and was forced to write a column using the mental capacity and personality of the child.

d) Bolt was toasting a fallen comrade in arms immediately before starting work but, unable to find any liquor in the house, had instead drunk several litres of lead paint.

e) Bolt is a merry prankster playing funny jokes with his readers by seeing if they're savvy enough to spot such sentences even when they are cloaked in the guise of something written by a functioning adult human being.

f) Bolt's parents were closely related by blood.

g) Bolt does not exist and is simply a nom-de-plume for a team of trained elephants who write his column by periodically sitting on a Macbook.

h) Bolt is very very very very very stupid.

Those are the potential explanations I've come up with for why he might have not only written the above but actually allowed it to be published in an actual newspaper, but I know there might be more. What do YOU think, readers? Let me know!


redsheep said...

I'm sticking with 'h' on past form.

Danielle Chubb said...

You are being way too kind to Bolt here, Ben. I sat squinting at the computer this morning for about 25 minutes trying to work out how the article's paragraphs fitted together into a cohesive whole (putting aside that one JUMP OUT sentence) before realising that the article DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL.

I wouldn't have accepted this level of 'persuasive argument' from my first year students. Someone needs to teach Bolt something about logical fallacies. This poster comes to mind.

Gannik said...

If I held back, I think I can sum this up as "Andrew Bolt is a bat-shit crazy fuckwit."

If I held back.

And I'm sure his response to the Logical Fallacies poster (which is excellent by the way) would be to stick his fingers in his ears and shout "JULIARLALALALALALALALALA I'M NOT LISTENING"

Heath said...

Could I be so bold as to add i) He's a professional troll, who writes these things as linkbait to get people who would never agree with him in a billion years to nevertheless read his articles, hence paying his wages? It seems more and more plausible.

Spagman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spagman said...

Bolt is clearly at his desk now humming...

trololololol lolololo lololololol

Aunty Penny said...

I vote for h, but Heath's suggested option of i is very strong indeed...

MarkyGH said...

Have I got this right then using Bolt logic,I a white hetro male am able to marry a gay woman...Maybe he missed something somewhere,because as a hetro male I don't want to marry a gay person.. not that there's anything wrong with being gay..hey Jerry..sorry Andrew

Lucy said...

Heath, my whole family has thought (i) for a long time.

Les Argen said...

I'm more interesting in his conclusion that Prof. George should indeed resign.

Andrew Bolt is both whacking the Left and pandering to it, all in the one article. Fascinating.

mike said...

i was confused like you Ben esp when he says at the end that he agrees that Dr George shouldve resigned rendering all that came before trolling of the highest order. To argue that George was hounded out of his job due simply to his opposition to gay marriage is wrong. He resigned due to publically expousing a discredited view of homosexuality being "treatable" that is at odds with his role in public office.

Hamish said...

I think the answer is without doubt that he's a merry prankster. I'm not convinced he believes anything he writes but is only trying to get a reaction.

tqft said...

I am offended that i have now tangentially read something by Whaandrew.

i), and also possibly

j) ennunciating another half-formed argument for his acolytes to sprout

Ben said...

Where's the option for "he's just a nasty piece of shit"?

Anonymous said...

If chewbacca lives on endor, you must acquit.

Anonymous said...

Bolt's comments only make sense if you believe that being a bigot is a human right. ie. you equate free speech with the right to discriminate according to your prejudices.

Hev said...

I would like to offer up a j): Andrew Bolt is, in fact, a closet extreme Lefty who cunningly poses as an extreme Righty in order to provide a common point of hatred for all the other Lefties in the country, thereby galvanising them into action in opposition to his public, right-leaning persona. After all, for all the differences between us individual left-leaning folk, we can all agree on onr thing -- anything Andrew Bolt says/writes/thinks is wrong. Far from being very very very very stupid, the man's a freaking genius and will do more to progress the left-wing agenda than anyone else in this country simply by pretending to be opposed to it -- he's really one of us and we are all in his debt.

At least, I find that more palatable and less scary than believing that one man could be that fucking thick.

Anonymous said...

perhaps the most witty response he has given yet. Funnier than an Oscar Wilde's fart...

LJP said...

Andrew Bolt is at most a paid troll. At worst he is a social experiment, the results of which will not be known by the general public.

What bothers me is this:

1. People read his articles
2. People think he's a journalist
3. Some who read him just to criticize him might get desensitized and start to agree with him
4. I stood behind him on an escalator once and didn't do anything revolutionary or rash

BTW it couldn’t be (c), five year olds are much smarter than that!

carbizene said...

To me it is quite simple, the Robolt is merrily pointing out that disriminating against those who discriminate is discrimination and act of rank hypocrisy, Kafka would understand.

James said...

You mistake Andrew Bolt for a commentator or critic when his real job is simply to attract attention to the newspaper and its website to sell some advertising. Like the baboon who has learned that pleasuring himself and flinging his poo will draw a crowd at the zoo, Bolt repeats more or less the same performance every day. The only thing that will stop him is a lack of attention from the public.

Doug Quixote said...

The only Bolt article I ever read was the one that got him convicted.

Anonymous said...

"Andrew Bolt is both whacking the Left and pandering to it, all in the one article."

He is whacking himself.

Helen said...

Ben, I don't want to teach you to suck eggs if this is what you're already doing, but as many people have pointed out it's part of News Ltd's game to attract clicks using clickbait like this, however irrational. Therefore we have to minimise this effect as much as possible (I struggle with this dilemma with my own blog!) Do you use the "rel = nofollow" attribute in your link when you're linking to stuff like this? Also, if anyone else can suggest additional measures to deny them SEO goodness when linking to idiots on the net, I'd love see them!

Anonymous said...

How much of a cunt would you have to be to work for the government? This guy deserves the sack because he was a government stooge, not because of his thought crime. I hope all of you authoritarion low life bloodsucking public servants get the sack for thought crimes too. Can I buy you some razors Ben?

Ben Pobjie said...

Why yes Anonymous, you can! Thanks for offering!

Ben Pobjie said...

Helen, this is a dilemma, I know. I'd never heard of the nofollow thing though, because I'm ignorant, so maybe that's something I should keep in mind in future. It's difficult, but in the case of someone like Bolt at least I can be fairly sure that any hits I provide will be of a tiny number compared to what he's going to get anyway, so I figure it's worth it to hold him up to ridicule.

Of course I could just comment without linking back, but somehow, even for him, that seems unfair?

tqft said...

It isn't the number of hits, but the extra mojo Google et al give Bolt for having good in links. When google sees the No Follow, it does not accrue any benefit to Bolt etc for having people reference him.

Then when people search out whatever the issue of the day is, they are less likely to find them. If everyone did it, the distortion of people like yourself effectively rating Bolt as good content would drop off.

blueysquared said...

the man's a freaking genius and will do more to progress the left-wing agenda than anyone else in this country simply by pretending to be opposed to it

I'm with Hev. Its the only thing I convince myself of that will stop me from being utterly consumed with contempt for the man!

Damian Lataan said...

Hi Ben,

I hope you don't mind if I refer to my anti-Bolt blog here; we seem to have common cause. It can be found here:

Whereas you seem to take a more humorous approach to the Bolt scourge, (an approach which brightens my day), I tend to see Bolt as a serious threat to a progressive Australia and my approach accordingly is more serious.

I hope, though, that you pointing a finger at Bolt and laughing at him while others, including me, point a finger at him to denounce him for what he is can collectively provide a balance that denies him at least of an undisputed voice.

Damian Lataan