December 24, 2003


• "In a sense, it's his ignorance that gives him invincibility, whereas his critics, so eloquent and articulate, achieve invisibility." -- Phillip Adams on George W. Bush

• "The media are all over it like flies on pieces of a Hamas bomber." -- blogger Meryl Yourish

• "Could you provide a name(s) of any ancient Australian philosophers or educators pre-200 B.C.?" -- email sent to Australia by a US librarian

• "If you came to Melbourne from Mars, you'd buy the Age out of curiosity but you'd read the [Herald Sun] to find out what's going on." -- an Age staffer trashes his paper in a note to Professor Bunyip

• "In every sense of the word." -- Prime Minister John Howard

• "I teach my students that of course communism must be seen in a negative light, but the goal of Nazism was to kill people, and the goal of communism was to unite them." -- Italian high school teacher Giuseppe Costantino

• "Pastries, all $1! Fresh, healthy, and good for you. Eat up! That should please your cynical heart." -- sign outside a Sydney bakery

• I was harvesting rice the day Mama informed on me
So I continued laboring valiantly to meet my production quota
But before I could draw a giant-letter poster denouncing her
She got run over by a danged old tractor.
-- Paul Zrimsek writes a Chinese peasant-and-eastern song

• "Somehow, Bush manages to balance his reputation as the most belligerent president the US has ever produced with his claim to be a born-again Christian ..." -- somehow, Hugh Mackay was still at this point writing columns for the Fairfax papers

• "She seems to have let quite a few people down." -- a BBC spokesman after reporter Jane O'Brien ran off to marry an FBI agent she met while covering the war in Iraq

• "The Australian Association for the Teaching of English is meeting at the University of Melbourne, and I’m thinking of gatecrashing to tell them what a terrible job they are doing." -- blogger Andrew Norton

• "A lot of us are better off. Our houses are bigger, our cars newer and roomier. Our interest rates are lower, and that's not to be sniffed at. And yet it hurts to see the way John Howard has changed this country." -- the SMH’s Mark Sawyer

• "We want an end to politically conservative appointments to classification boards, so the decisions are made by competent people with no axes to grind and with some understanding of Australia as a country of diverse communities." -- freedom of speech advocates Christina Andreef, Martha Ansara, David Marr, Jane Mills, Margaret Pomeranz, and Julie Rigg demand less freedom of speech

• "With increasing frequency and growing vehemence, you hear people saying they are ashamed to be Australians." -- Hugh Mackay

• "The obnoxious garlic-breathed drunken homosexual concentration-camp bullfighter who's into organised crime." -- Mark Steyn devises a Single European Stereotype

• "He certainly wasn't a leader with 100 per cent electoral approval, as he claimed, but then in a free election he'd still likely have won more votes than the 24 per cent of Americans who voted for George Bush." -- Malcolm Knox, on Saddam Hussein

• "Often things we don't like are in fact good for us." -- Bali bomber Amrozi urges people to look on the bright side

• "Might I offer a couple of small suggestions to those British citizens who would prefer not to stand trial in military tribunals where the punishment for some crimes can be execution? Don’t join terrorist organisations that fly planes at skyscrapers, and don’t dedicate your life to mass murder." -- Stephen Pollard

• "North Korea is carefully monitoring all Australian behaviour." -- Kim Myong-Chol, of the Centre for Korean-American Peace

• "A declaratory policy could be devised based on the threat of retaliation if an attack occurs in the West by nonstate actors using the Arab way of war. In such a circumstance, there could be a strategy of instant, graduated response: nuclear strikes against several of the capital cites of the Middle Eastern nations." -- Australian navy captain Peter Layton

• "I've never felt so proud. I'd do it again." -- an Australian Navy serviceman, just returned from Iraq

• "Does 'ennui' fit the bill?" -- blogger Tim Dunlop seaches for a way to describe reaction to Delta Goodrem's cancer diagnosis

• "How can I carry on writing for a publication I view as contemptible? The answer is that I can't, and I've written to tell them so.” -- Stephen Pollard severs ties with the leftist New Statesman

• "On behalf of many people in Cape York Peninsula including Noel Pearson, I urge you to stay as Prime Minister." -- Cape York Land Council chairman Richie Ah Mat, in a letter to John Howard

• "They want the park, they want open space, they want homeless people, they want community facilities." -- Sydney Greens politician Silvia Hale knows what inner-city residents want

• "She's not saying we deserved this atrocity. She's saying bigots and xenophobes in Asia THINK we deserve it. There's a difference." -- David Marr defends Bali beer blowhard Alison Broinowski, who never said any such thing

• "So they are dead. Or are they?" -- Robert Fisk, following the deaths of Ubie and Queesy Hussain

• "The Goth phase tends to naturally end in the late teens. This is because Goths get tired of constantly being told that they 'look like idiots' and 'are annoying' and 'can't work the Drive-Thru if they keep dressing like Dracula's Knob-wipe'." --Ray Smuckles

• "We almost wouldn't have an industry if we didn't have the regulations we have and I wouldn't have a job. I wouldn't be earning a living." -- cultural Hansonite Claudia Karvan wants to protect Australia from awful foreigners

• "The secret of Howard's success is, as always, his enemies. No one likes a bully, and the cowardly, unimaginative pack-bullying practised by what passes for intelligentsia in urban Australia, whether they are writers, artists, academics, journalists, John Hewson or Paddington wives, whether you call them the left, or elites, as David Flint has in his new book, is particularly repugnant." -- the SMH’s Miranda Devine

• "Come on, gobble, gobble." -- J-Lo

• "Every day, on my way to the theatre, I pass the General Motors headquarters in Fifth Avenue." -- Phillip Adams shifts GM’s HQ from Detroit to New York

• "They are all very gifted storytellers, or full of crap. Depends on how you look at it." -- my sister, on the Irish

• "We have been destabilised by too many changes coming too quickly; we're tired of 'issues', disappointed in our leaders and disturbed by our own sense of powerlessness ... we have taken refuge in the celebration of our ordinariness, our normality, our domesticity ... we're scared, so we've switched off." -- Hugh Mackay, losing his mind

• "You'd need some DNA. There’s a good way to do it. Take a machete, and whack off his head, and you'll get a bucketful of DNA, so you can see it and test it." -- CIA veteran Cofer Black explains how Osama bin Laden might be identified

• "As we now know, almost everything we were told about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was false." -- Fairfax columnist Robert Manne

Posted by Tim Blair at December 24, 2003 02:53 PM