July 08, 2003


How many people missed out on seeing Ken Park? According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 200. According to The Australian, 250. According to the ABC, around 300. According to The Guardian’s David Fickling, who appears to be missing a section of forehead, 400. According to Associated Press, about 500. And according to the Queensland Sunday Mail, more than 500 people.

This phenomenon, whereby crowd estimates increase relative to distance and time from an event, is known as The Pilger Curve. It is named after its inventor, who within a year or so managed to inflate a reconciliation protest on Sydney Harbour Bridge from 200,000 to one million.

(Incidentally, the free speech advocates at the Sydney Morning Herald who are so furious at the Ken Park ban might ask their management why this site is blocked at their workplace. Do I have to show up at Balmain Town Hall and read to the poor journalists?)

Posted by Tim Blair at July 8, 2003 02:57 AM

Who cares? Can't they just get the DVD and watch the muck at home? Pomeranz, Stretton and Marr can do what they like in the privacy of their own homes. Why do they have to involve all Australians?

Posted by: Kate at July 8, 2003 at 09:44 AM

They probably banned you for health reasons. Their 'reporters' were reading you and suffering apoplexy. ;)

Posted by: Kathy K at July 8, 2003 at 10:18 AM

You're blocked at the SMH? Seriously?

That's...sorry, words fail me.

That's stupid.

Posted by: Brendan at July 8, 2003 at 11:37 AM

Since Margaret Pomeranz is against censorship, can we expect to see her advocating the showing of the new film about David Irving (the one that the Jewish community wants banned)?

Posted by: Rob at July 8, 2003 at 11:41 AM

I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, Tim, but you'll never make a postmodernist -- unless, of course, you're willing to undergo a prefrontal lobotomy, which I'm sure you're not.

Posted by: Norman at July 8, 2003 at 11:55 AM

Kate, if they do that they'd be breaking the law - that's not how classification works.

And what's happened to happy-go-lucky open-slather Timbo? He seems to have had an attack of the prudes with this story...

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 8, 2003 at 11:58 AM

So is Pomeranz to be charged? If not why not?
Like Rob above I too wondered why this pathetic porn promoter Pomeranz was not getting her jollies by ranting on about having the Irving film shown.
Guess it was not "art".
Maybe it was about "ideas" and there is something to be s**t scared of.

Posted by: Lawrie at July 8, 2003 at 12:30 PM

Brendan: yes, I'm blocked. Being charitiable, it could be due to some technical flaw with the SMH's system, I guess ...

Posted by: tim at July 8, 2003 at 01:18 PM

Actually, I think you'll find that 20 million Australians were prevented from seeing Ken Park. Of course only about 20 probably would have watched it given the choice.

Posted by: Patrick at July 8, 2003 at 02:45 PM

From the SMH story:

Marr warned that Australia risked returning to the 1960s. "In a couple of months anyone here will be able to buy a copy from Amazon.com and get a DVD through the post."

Is that sloppy writing, or did Aussies really have Amazon.com in the 60s?

Posted by: John Tabin at July 8, 2003 at 03:02 PM

Woah! Spleenville's got a new slogan -- "Banned at the Sydney Morning Herald"! (Or should I call it, as some do, the "Silly Moaning Hilmer"?)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 8, 2003 at 03:51 PM

Re the Irving film: lack of ranting may well be due to the fact that the steaming stack of Nazi shit can and will be shown in Australia. The court challenge failed yesterday (as always seemed likely) and the film itself is rated G by the OFLC.

Plus: Pomeranz and co. are in Sydney; any decision by the Victorian court would have been restricted to Victoria. The OFLC, on the other hand, is federal, and it's the body that's refused Ken Park classification.

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 8, 2003 at 03:56 PM

Apparently David Irving also has a film about the Israel/Palestine conflict. He slants the piece from the arab perspective. I for one would like to see it.

The Nazi-cuddlepot film that has been released here would be worth a look too as an exercise. I do not believe what he believes, but still, if nothing else it would be interesting to see what sort of crowd would show up...

Posted by: Jake D at July 8, 2003 at 04:47 PM

Please don't run Pomeranz out of town! I know ahe deserves it, but without her as the perfect reverse indicator, I don't know how I'd judge what movies not to see! At the moment its easy - anything she gives more than 3 and a half to should be avoided like the plague.

Posted by: Richard Moss at July 8, 2003 at 05:04 PM

They BLOCK your website? Ho!

All in the name of freedom, yah?

Posted by: Straight_Talk at July 8, 2003 at 06:25 PM

Queensland Sunday Times?????? No such rag

Posted by: Niall at July 8, 2003 at 08:15 PM

Niall's correct - it's the Sunday Mail. Curse that Pilger Curve!

Posted by: tim at July 8, 2003 at 11:00 PM

Bon: do you have a reference for the G rating given to the Irving film?

Posted by: James Russell at July 9, 2003 at 12:13 AM

(never mind, I found one myself)

Posted by: James Russell at July 9, 2003 at 12:24 AM

A comment about the numbers at the Balmain Town Hall screening of Ken Park, since this question has been raised.
There were over 500 people there. We sold numbered tickets which I, as one of a large group of organisers, personally gave out and that's how I know -- the "over" counts the press as people too.
We also put a speaker out the window for those who stood in the parking lot next door and didn't get in.
Numbers do seem to vary wildly but this is not necessarily a plot! Often it is simply carelessness. The only way to actually know is to count -- I have observed several cases of the press and the police underestimating the numbers of people in attendance at an political event. I don't think this was done maliciously. Of course, in experienced or self-serving organisers can similarly over-estimate the numbers.

Posted by: Martha Ansara at July 11, 2003 at 09:40 PM