December 22, 2003


You can’t see it online, but in the print edition of today’s Sydney Morning Herald artist John Shakespeare credits his Last Supper-style illustration of the ten most important Australians as “after Michelangelo”.

The Last Supper was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 22, 2003 12:32 PM

Good get, Blair.
Dya reckon maybe John Shakespeare is part of the Illuminati or the Prioriy of Sion, and that there is some freaky symbolism in his depiction of only 10 folks for the famous 13 of the true Da Vinci Last Supper, and all 10 of them being skips?
or do you think it's just rank art to go with a rank article in the SMH.

I know what I think.

Posted by: W at December 22, 2003 at 12:52 PM

It's still after MIchaelangelo.

About 500 years after Michaelangelo, in fact.

Whatever, I always did get my Ninja Turtles mixed up.

Posted by: Jorge at December 22, 2003 at 12:59 PM

The artist left out Jacques Chirac. He should be in the fourth seat from the left - where Leonardo put Judas.

Posted by: Brown Line at December 22, 2003 at 01:16 PM

Oops. Should have studied the caption more closely. My apologies.

Posted by: Brown Line at December 22, 2003 at 01:18 PM

I just arrived in Sydney for a 3 week visit.... and the SMH is so shockingly biased. But you have given me a good laugh...

Posted by: steve at December 22, 2003 at 01:23 PM

The ten most important Australians, and you're not there?


Posted by: Alice at December 22, 2003 at 01:30 PM

Read that article today. John Howard makes it into the list at number 10. Here's why:

In many ways he's a throwback to a past we thought we'd left behind; he evokes that white-picket-fence golden age that many Australians think of with nostalgia, while he exploits the national traits that accompanied it: our racism, our xenophobia, our ocker jingoism, our historic willingness to fight other people's wars whenever the chance arises.
... whatever you think of him, one thing must be admitted: he brings out the worst in Australians. For that alone, he's in the top 10.

All the John Howard cliches rolled into one neat paragraph...

Posted by: TimT at December 22, 2003 at 01:42 PM

What a dope of an article. Germaine Greer more important than Rupert Murdoch? Some cartoonist noone's ever heard of is in but Robert Menzies and Gough Whitlam are out? Such inflated self importance is staggering. Such widespread circulation for such nonsense is disturbing!

Posted by: John at December 22, 2003 at 01:51 PM

For us non-Aussies in the audience, who the heck is the figure in the middle, the one what looks like he's wearing a welders' mask?

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 22, 2003 at 02:37 PM

Temporal sophistication - some got it, this guy don't.

Imagine the same list being made 50 years ago. Better, imagine it 50 years hence - just about all the people in the cartoon (except John Howard & the Irish police killer) will be not just unlikely top 10 picks, but completely unknown.

Leftists & postmodernists are intrinsic temporal naifs - they don't like the past (dead white males etc).

Conservatives are intrinsically temporally aware - they want to preserve that from the past that is good (including white picket fences).

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 02:40 PM

Wonderduck, That is Ned Kelly, infamous highwayman. He is wearing home made armor.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 22, 2003 at 02:47 PM

The guy with the Welders mask is Ned Kelly.

He was a career outlaw who killed several people (including two sleeping cops in cold blood), robbed some banks and was captured wearing home made armour plate (complete with iron mask).

He was hanged by the neck until dead. And has become a 'national icon', particularly beloved of some segments including anti-monarchists, leftys and those with lower than normal gruntle.

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 02:47 PM

HA! I'm just as smart as Robert and I type faster.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 22, 2003 at 02:49 PM

It's interesting that he has negative things to say about Bradman including a reference to racism against Eddie Gilbert. He says that Gilbert bowled Bradman for a duck. The fact was that Bradman was caught behind for a duck. He then says that Bradman described his action as jerky intimating that he was a "chucker" and as a result of this he was no balled out of the game.

Gilbert was noballed 13 times by a Victorian umpire in the next game. The ACB site gives the following comment:
"His fastest delivery was considered suspect, and in the Qld v Victoria game at the MCG in 1931-32 he was no-balled thirteen times by umpire A.N.Barlow.This was the only first-class game in which Gilbert was no-balled, and Victorian umpire Barlow was reponsible for almost all of the throwing calls in Australia between the wars, all by opponents to the Victorian team (but none of them for)."

Gilbert played three more games for Queensland that year and was not noballed again and he continued to represent Queensland until 1935-36 without any further problems with noballing.

So this comment regarding Bradman and the treatment of Gilbert for noballing is a wild exaggeration. There was probably little doubt that his aboriginality affected his representative prospects.

Posted by: amortiser at December 22, 2003 at 03:16 PM

G'day Wonderduck, Fred and Robert,

Just a couple of odd points in Ned's favour - he did not kill anyone until after he was declared outlaw (meaning anyone could shoot him on sight). While his thievery was his own, the killing was forced on him. Also at his last stand he successfully fought his way out of the police lines (thanks to his armour) and was only caught because he tried to fight his way back in to save his brother and the Harts.

There are two versions of his last words "Tell them I died game" and "Such is life".

There were worse people in our history that could of been adopted as heroes - at least he didn't eat anybody.

Posted by: Russell at December 22, 2003 at 03:22 PM

Russell wrote about Ned Kelly, armoured centerpiece of the cartoon:

'... the killing was forced on him ... '

It was someone else's fault?

No wonder Ned's such a leftie icon. He checks all the boxes: Irish, poor, chip on shoulder, thief, police murderer.

And, as always, it's all someone else's fault.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 22, 2003 at 03:38 PM

The ABC had a documentary on Ned a few months back. One of the telling things was that after all these years the Kelly family had quietly returned a watch to his descendants that Ned had looted from a policemen he killed who was tracking him. No explanation was given, no reason why they had waited so long to give it back.

From my reasoning such a "hero" shouldn't indulge in looting personal items from a corpse - it was engraved with his name so there was no mistaking who it was from.

Posted by: Rob at December 22, 2003 at 03:58 PM

What, to be a RWDB you have to be down on Ned? The man had balls as big as church bells. He knew government and its agents were corrupt, and he shot those of its agents who would do the same to him.

The left has already deposited the stain of its embrace on the Eureka Flag. Don't let their reverence for Ned darken his reputation too. The Iron Outlaw would have shot the lot of them, useless pantywaist bastards that they are.

That said, would I like him for a neighbour? Quick answer: No way!

Posted by: superboot at December 22, 2003 at 04:09 PM

Where's Pilger, the Pinko Pachyderm (aka Phillip Adams), the Margoyle, Richard Neville, Anne Summers, Alison Brionowski, Bob Brown, Helen Caldicott and Kylie Moon? At least Germaine the pervert made it; what have the rest of the losers illustrated done to advance the revolution?

Posted by: Habib at December 22, 2003 at 04:13 PM

Like I said, not only Leftys love Ned - Superboot and and Russell may be anti-monarchists, or just plain disgruntled.

It is widely known that the Church of Ned is a catholic one.

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 04:34 PM

More useless information about Ned Kelly.

The anti-authority, anti-monarchy icon was once played by a Knight of the Realm - the recently knighted Sir Mick Jagger - in the film 'Ned Kelly' (1970). It was a turkey.

As you were.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 22, 2003 at 04:47 PM

Robert Blair:
Anti-monarchist? Not at all, but then I wouldn't mind a Republic, either, as long as the president was some powerless, appointed symbol. They could even keep the feathers in his hat, so long as he/she lacks power. Meanwhile, since its irrelevant, and every society needs someone to put a symbolic signature on bills, the current system isn't objectionable.

If I'd been Irish, spent time in Williamstown's hulks like my dad before me, and tasted what must have been the deep, institutionalised discrimination against Catholics, then I might have followed Ned's path. Except I wouldn't have had the balls. He did. Even though he was probably mad as a meataxe, Ned's still a hell of a captivating figure.

Yeah, and being Catholic doesn't hurt either.

Posted by: superboot at December 22, 2003 at 05:14 PM

With my strong, lifelong knowledge of everything about Australia -- hey, I've spent two freakin' weeks there -- I enjoyed the selections.

Of course, those of us not living on that godforsaken pirate island will naturally cheer on the Aussies we know over here. (Where's the bleedin' crocodile hunter??? Or that one guy who had a knife, Crocky McDee or something? Or that homosexual Kiwi actor who claims to be from Sydney?)

What's with the fanatic-right's dislike of Ned Kelly? Jesus, you people and your crummy little country get an outlaw / icon better than Jesse James, Butch & Sundance, Robin Hood and Pretty Boy Floyd combined and you've got the nerve to bitch about him? Who wouldya rather have on that list, Kylie?

Because he is a drunk, dangerous & very funny / smart writer, I would elect the art critic Robert Hughes to the list, maybe over that old angry woman nobody likes. He is funny, and all the wrong people hate him. Also, those miserable & brilliant curs Col Allen & Steve Dunleavy might deserve 11th place, just for making Murdochian newspapering part of the eternal fabric of NYC, the greatest city east of Los Angeles.

Also, I am deeply saddened to learn that the goddamned Dog On A Tucker Box isn't on the list. Or is he? Hard to tell from the article. There is mention of "the drover's dog," whatever that might mean in your mongrel version of English ...

Anyway, huzzah for Ned Kelly! What did Ned Kelly hate? Corrupt cops and old-school class/race-based prejudice. What did he do? Tell the bastards what for. How did he write? Very damned well, as his letters prove. What kind of friend was he? Better than you'll ever be, mate.

I've yelled at Mr. Blair more than once about the Aussie tendency to trash anyone who might possibly bring some cultural respectability & inspiration to your increasingly soft & bogus land. On one hand, you people pathetically claim ownership over anybody who maybe changed planes on your cursed semi-continent. On the other hand, you're desperate to rip apart anybody who actually made a name for him/herself despite the horrible racial liability of being an Aussie.

Also, Tim is actually an Environmentalist, as evidenced by this photo of him working in the early morning to repair the riparian habitat of the Carson River, Nevada, with my wife.

(Sorry, Tim. They've been asking for it ... "it," meaning "everything.")

Posted by: Ken Layne at December 22, 2003 at 05:47 PM

he evokes that white-picket-fence golden age that many Australians think of with nostalgia

Is it just me? I cannot remember too many 'white-picket fences' as I skipped merrily to school back when Sir William Slim was Governor-General.

I think it is a borrowed Americanism, which has little to do with Australia, or the Menzies era.

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 22, 2003 at 05:48 PM

Yay for Ken Layne. Indeed. Bunch of fat girly-girls whining about Ned taking it up to authority. And completely agree with his suggestion that Fat Bob should knock off that Female Eunuch. (In the cartoon, that is, in the cartoon.)

Is "Aussie" a race already?

Posted by: Clog at December 22, 2003 at 05:59 PM

I don't want to drag this out - attention paid to Kelly is a waste of living time ...

"Catholic" is a descriptor (adjective/adverb), it is not the Rome-based Pauline Christian sect. Look it up in the dictionary. It means roughly "all-embracing", eg, anyone can join.

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 07:17 PM

Ken Lane,
Great comment Ken - I found it very informative.

Thank you for your compliment to our 'crummy little country'. We like to think our murderous low-life slimeballs are world-standard, at least up to Jesse James, and (gasp) Pretty Boy Floyd's level.

Having read both Kellys letters and your post above Ken I can see why you think he wrote very well. Perhaps you would like to borrow some of my unread Virginia Woolfe ? I can see you are big on turgid unreadability.

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 07:33 PM

SMH cartoonists may be dim, but the paper's readers sure aren't. Check out the results of the "Important Aussies" poll beside the cartoon.

Posted by: Martin Roth at December 22, 2003 at 07:48 PM

err.. who TF is bruce petty? and who the heck is that old aboriginal woman? is this a joke?

Posted by: Jock Strapphi at December 22, 2003 at 07:56 PM

G'day ilibcc,

Your selective quoting was quite silly - I noted that Ned did not kill until he was declared outlaw. After that it was, literally, kill or be killed - hence the killing was forced upon him.

I am a staunch monarchist - I simply have a fetish for listing the good with the bad.

Posted by: Russell at December 22, 2003 at 08:50 PM

Peggiesue is right, I am fifty years old. White picket fences are a a Noman Rockwell illustration that were nowhere to be seen when I was a child or teenager.
Howard just buttons his lip !

Posted by: ron robertson at December 22, 2003 at 09:03 PM

So the guy who plays Dame Edna is one of the greatest 10 aussies of all time?

That must mean that Milton Berle is one of the 10 greatest yanks of all time.

Posted by: ushie at December 22, 2003 at 09:57 PM

The best thing about the whole article is the vote for "which of the top ten do you take your hat off to?" (top right of the page).

At the time that I posted this, the heavily sledged (in the article) John Howard is coming second only to Don Bradman in terms being considered worthy of respect.

The SMH isn't even in touch with the opinions of its own readers, big commercial future they've got going there...

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at December 22, 2003 at 10:18 PM

From the Catholic Encylopedia:
The Last Supper has been a favourite subject. In the catacombs we find representations of meals giving at least an idea of the surroundings of an ancient dining hall. Of the sixth century we have a bas-relief in the church at Monza in Italy, a picture in a Syrian codex of the Laurentian Library at Florence, and a mosaic in S. Apollmare Nuovo at Ravenna. One of the most popular pictures is that of Leonardo da Vinci in Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Among the modern school of German artists, the Last Supper of Gebhardt is regarded as a masterpiece.

Sheesh my 10 yr old grand daughter knows who painted the famous "last supper"!

The bloody commentariat can be so pig ignorant (Tim excepted).

Merry Xmas All

Posted by: lawrie at December 22, 2003 at 11:03 PM

"Catholic" is a descriptor (adjective/adverb), it is not the Rome-based Pauline Christian sect. Look it up in the dictionary. It means roughly "all-embracing", eg, anyone can join.

Posted by: Robert Blair at December 22, 2003 at 07:17 PM

Keep looking in your dictionary.
Catholic with a Capital C generally refers to the Catholic Church,
which is what the organisation run from the Vatican calls itself.

catholic with "little c" is a different kettle of fish.

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 23, 2003 at 12:43 AM

Where's the inventor of the Stobie Pole?

Posted by: Mike G at December 23, 2003 at 12:56 AM

Meanwhile 90% of Americans are mystified by the exclusion of the only two Australians they've ever heard of -- Paul Hogan and Steve Irwin. The slight to Yahoo Serious is probably forgivable, though.

What about Olivia Newton-John? Rod Laver?

Posted by: Otter at December 23, 2003 at 12:57 AM

Meanwhile 90% of Americans are mystified by the exclusion of the only two Australians they've ever heard of -- Paul Hogan and Steve Irwin. The slight to Yahoo Serious is probably forgivable, though.

What about Olivia Newton-John? Rod Laver? Nat Young?

Posted by: Otter at December 23, 2003 at 12:58 AM

Sure, i'm not a specialist in Aussie history, but there's GOT to be someone more important then Cathy Freeman.

Posted by: madne0 at December 23, 2003 at 12:58 AM

Seriously, besides the two at the ends, I've never heard of these people. They should have included Nicole Kidman, or Kylie Minogue, or at the very least one of the guys from the Vines.

Maybe Michelangelo made the same mistake.

Posted by: Yaron at December 23, 2003 at 01:14 AM

if i can speak for all of us redneck, no passport, beer belly Americans, where the hell is Mad Max, the only Aussie (besides the poofter dundie) that we know?

Posted by: hen at December 23, 2003 at 02:43 AM

So which one are you, Tim?

Posted by: Tibor at December 23, 2003 at 03:13 AM

>The fact was that Bradman was caught behind for a
>duck. He then says that Bradman described his
>action as jerky intimating that he was a
>"chucker" and as a result of this he was no
>balled out of the game.


Actually, he was a slithy tove who gyred and gimbled in the wabe. Bradman intimated from that that Gilbert was a mimsy borogrove.

I'd like to visit Oz someday, but I'm afraid of the language barrier.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 23, 2003 at 03:15 AM

I was initially outraged at the slight of the Wiggles, but then realized: How can you pick just one?

Posted by: Jerry at December 23, 2003 at 04:04 AM

What about me? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

Posted by: Natalie Imbruglia at December 23, 2003 at 04:06 AM

For all who answered my question about who the welder-masked person was, thank you! I read the article, but I didn't remember anything about it mentioning the homemade armor.

I find it fascinating that one of proposed top 10 Aussies is a Cricket player (albeit one of the best ever, it appears). That'd be like us here in the USA naming Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle to such a list.

It's also quite telling that a thief and murderer is named #1, and two sports figures are on the list as well. Gawd, I love Australia.

And to Dave S., how do you think someone unfamiliar with baseball would understand this: "The slugger had a full count, bases juiced, and flared a ducksnort on the hurlers' knuckler. The ump kicked the skipper out afterward."?

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 23, 2003 at 04:27 AM

Helloooo, Anthony La Paglia????

Posted by: S.A. Smith at December 23, 2003 at 05:04 AM

I thought it was from Bunuel's "Viridiana." Well, live and learn.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at December 23, 2003 at 05:44 AM


I've followed baseball (from my former St. Louis bastion, one of the premier baseball towns in the US) for several decades and I've never heard of a "ducksnort". I had a vision of a mucus-laden fastball but I suspect there's another meaning.

Posted by: dazed at December 23, 2003 at 05:57 AM

Presumptuously, on behalf of all non-Aussies, accept my gratitude. For the few odd tidbits of interesting information, and all the amusement they're sprinkled in.

Now, being firmly planted near San Diego (hint) for What about?'s, What about Darren Bennett?
(Aussies blink, "Darren Who???")

Want explanation, ask. Aussie who can, go ahead. Back later.

Posted by: Glenn (not Reynolds) at December 23, 2003 at 07:41 AM

Ken, nobody really gives a toss about the dead gangster, tin hat or no tin hat.

It's the left's obsession with making him a martyr, a saint, an icon, a hero, a role model, a paragon and the subject of way too many books, paintings and films that the rest of us disdain. Oh, and he's at the center of the picture as well, so that makes him Jesus. See? Having sacked religion, the left would have St Ned the Pious as Saviour of the World.

By the way, Tim an environmentalist? Hah! We are currently ripping all our riverside willows out because of the damage they cause to the river systems. They cause billabongs or something.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 23, 2003 at 10:57 AM

Ken Layne: swap you Ned Kelly for Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday,Wild Bill Hickock, Crockett, and John Wayne.

Posted by: d at December 23, 2003 at 12:30 PM

Dazed: "ducksnort" might just be a catchphrase of Hawk Harrison (White Sox TV announcer), but it's in pretty common usage in the Chicago/Milwaukee area.

It's the same as a "flare," or a "Texas Leaguer." Not to be confused with a "seeing eye grounder."

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 23, 2003 at 03:55 PM

forget bruce petty (whoever the fuck HE is). in his place put Matt (short note) Moffit. you went too soon old boy... r.i.p.

Posted by: Jock Strapphi at December 23, 2003 at 05:47 PM

where's les darcy and phar lap?

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at December 23, 2003 at 06:56 PM

Some other great Australians who have been framed by the cops, Bilal SKAF and the other pack rapists MHK x 2 whose names we are not allowed to say. They were framed by the cops and authority figures as well - just ask them they will tell you. Gaols are filled with innocent people.

Not that I want to put Ned Kelly in the same league as those scum, far from it, except to illustrate that crooks have forever blamed religion, ethnicity and persecution by the Police and authority figures for their predicaments.

Ned Kelly was a horse thief. Ned kelly shot dead two troopers, while they slept, and then stole Sgt Kennedys watch. Ned Kelly was a bank robber. Ned Kelly was hanged by the neck until dead - as was the style at the time.

Posted by: Gilly at December 23, 2003 at 08:06 PM

My suggestions would have been Justice Michael Finnane for his fair and justified sentances for the gang rapists of 2000, and Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen for her continued fight against rapists and child-molestors. Americans of course wouldn't recognise these names, as they aren't exactly feted for their hard, unrewarded work, but Justice Finnane sentenced one rapist to 55 years, each year well deserved. Maragaret Cunneen's probably the best prosecutor we have in Sydney. She's won another gang-rape trial in Sydney this year, and she represented the Crown in the cases of two of the Skaf's victims. Both of these Australians should be thanked for what they have done to keep women (and men) safe in Sydney.

Posted by: MissC at December 27, 2003 at 08:08 AM