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Ship of Fools

June 30, 2014

Listening to Chris Finlayson at the weekend describing the many headed hydra of the left and to Steven Joyce pondering what is the question if the hydra is the answer caused Adam to remember this morning the old allegory of the Ship of Fools. The picture is from the Bosch painting


The Ship of Fools is an allegory drawn from Plato

The allegory depicts a vessel populated by human inhabitants who are deranged, frivolous, or oblivious passengers aboard a ship without a pilot, and seemingly ignorant of their own direction. This concept makes up the framework of the 15th century book Ship of Fools (1494) by Sebastian Brant, which served as the inspiration for Bosch’s famous painting, Ship of Fools: a ship—an entire fleet at first—sets off from Basel to the paradise of fools. In literary and artistic compositions of the 15th and 16th centuries, the cultural motif of the ship of fools also served to parody the ‘ark of salvation’ as the Catholic Church was styled.

In our current world we can visualise the hydra as being, with their hangers on, the passengers on the Ship of Fools. The allegory being especially apt in that the ship is pilotless and nobody on boards knows the direction they are moving in. Then of course we can liken the Labour Party to the Catholic Church, which in past times, was parodied as the ark of salvation, whilst tyrannising the populace with the Inquisition and the relentless pursuit of the Cathars, rather like the present Labour Party pursuit of those members who preofess free trade and/or pro business sentiment.

Or perhaps we can think of the Ship of Fools as a modern day version of the concept written about by Foucault and Barchilion, viz:-

Michel Foucault, who wrote Madness and Civilization, saw in the ship of fools a symbol of the consciousness of sin and evil alive in the medieval mindset and imaginative landscapes of the Renaissance. Though this critical angle conflates myth, allegory and history, scholars such as Jose Barchilion have found Foucault’s words on the subject very insightful. In his introduction to Madness and Civilization, Barchilon writes of the Ship of Fools as if it were an example of actual societal practice:

“Renaissance men developed a delightful, yet horrible way of dealing with their mad denizens: they were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners because folly, water, and sea, as everyone then ‘knew’, had an affinity for each other. Thus, ‘Ship of Fools’ crisscrossed the sea and canals of Europe with their comic and pathetic cargo of souls. Some of them found pleasure and even a cure in the changing surroundings, in the isolation of being cast off, while others withdrew further, became worse, or died alone and away from their families. The cities and villages which had thus rid themselves of their crazed and crazy, could now take pleasure in watching the exciting sideshow when a ship full of foreign lunatics would dock at their harbors.”

In many ways Barchilion’s imagery is very appealing when you consider the likely passengers on our modern day NZ Ship of Fools.

Barefaced cheek

June 22, 2014

There is a good old fashioned phrase ‘barefaced cheek’ , defined as used to describe someone’s behaviour when you want to emphasize that they do not care that they are behaving wrongly; alternatives include shameless and brazen. This came to mind when watching David Cunliffe on both The Nation and Q & A this weekend.

Cunliffe who has been in full bore preachy mode for weeks if not months as he attacks the government on donations and related matters, aided and abetted by Grant Robertson, now when exposed along with his party as neck deep in the poo, is seeking to claim that New Zealanders are not interested in all this stuff and want to hear about the real issues. Given that it has been Cunliffe and his minions who have been raking the muck and claiming the muck is what New Zealanders want to hear about, this is hypocrisy and effrontery of the rankest kind.

Like many who seek to preach from the moral high ground of their virtues he and his have been found to have been vain glorious and are now brought down by their own hubris and over weening sense of self righteousness.

Yet still the media do not really push Cunliffe in interviews on this and still we see the talking head panels seek to defend him.



Knew it was an aberration

June 19, 2014

This morning Adam opined on his Facebook page:-

When TVNZ introduces an item with the words ‘David Cunliffe’s latest debacle’ and Radio NZ has Guyon and Susie running several little negative items re Cunliffe in a row, you know that it is game over for Cunliffe. This is reinforced by Campbell getting out a bunch of wet bus tickets last night and slapping Cunliffe around with them.

Then this afternoon whilst driving back from an appointment he heard part of Jim Mora’s Panel Show. The panellists were David Slack and Dita de Boni. Subject as you would expect was Cunliffe’s latest imbroglio; the comments and attitudes expressed were true to form as regards this show and Radio NZ normally, ie it was all down to the evil National Party, Cunliffe was hard done by etc, etc. If David Slack could have found more ways to give Cunliffe victim saint status ,no doubt he would have. Clearly Radio NZ had a brain fart on Morning Report and have spent the rest of the day making up for it.

Brian Edwards ‘blows the gaff’ on pretensions of the Fourth Estate

May 15, 2014

Brian Edwards, with whom I rarely see eye to eye, has an interesting article on the NBR website. He is writing about conflicts of interest in the media.

Adam’s eye was caught  by these paragraphs, Adam has taken the liberty of bolding some especially pertinent, to his mind, text:-

There is actually nothing new about all of this.

So Edwards is saying that the NZ media have essentially always been compromised in this regard.

Then a key group of sentences:-

The list of television and radio  broadcasters working in news and current affairs who are or have been simultaneously engaged in activities which conflict with their obligation to be and be seen to be utterly impartial in all matters relating to their jobs, is extremely long. They may well be in the majority. Conflicts of interest among such practitioners abound.

According to Edwards conflicts of interest in the news media are endemic and the majority of the media are essentially compromised in this regard. He highlights the area of media training.

The real trouble with the media training business is that some of its practitioners are still working journalists, reporters and interviewers. That makes them both gamekeepers and poachers, who can potentially end up reporting on or interviewing their own clients. Now that is as good a definition of ‘conflict of interest’ as you’ll find.

Edwards has ‘blown the gaff’ on the pretensions of the Fourth Estate. We have seen a lot of guff recently on how the duty of the press is to be impartial and objective and hold politicians to account. Yet myriad instances of ‘poor’ reporting or one sided articles come to mind. So the articles on perceived conflicts of interest in print and broadcast media, nearly always focused on National, are from the pens and mouths of ‘journalists’ who are in fact in many cases conflicted themselves. Now a number of words come to mind, but Adam will settle for two – sanctimonious hyprocrites.


Delahunty fails to check facts

April 18, 2014

Green MP Catherine Delahunty is caught out over a misleading at best statement she made about Bathurst Resources.

This is compounded by what appears to be a somewhat imperfect understanding of the commercial world. Though that might be considered by some to be unsurprising.

Delahunty then proceeds to did the hole she is in deeper by seeking to defend her error and blame it on an informant.

This from one of the Greens MPs most highly rated, by them.

(H/T) Matthew Beveridge)


Weight Loss Update – 45kgs lost

April 18, 2014

Adam’s latest weigh-in yielded a weight loss so far of 45 kgs. In addition his fitness campaign continues. Since the beginning of 2014 he has walked some 500+ kms. In January the pace averaged 12 min 30 seconds. Now in April, Adam averages 11 mins 9 seconds. In addition he distance walked has increased from 122 kms in January to 107 kms this month so far.


An analysis of Labour’s Problems

April 18, 2014

Whilst Adam does not agree with all the sentiments expressed he found this lengthy, but interesting, post at Kiwiblog by a regular commentator there to be of considerable interest.The writer examines why Labour finds itself in such a predicament at the current time.

Given the results in the most recent Roy Morgan poll, see Keeping Stock for a review, the post at Kiwiblog is most timely.

No wonder Mr Cunliffe  looks as if he is ready to take his red flag and retire to his Herne Bay do-up


Image from Getty Images



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