Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Paul Grabowsky on Q and A at the Adelaide Festival

Q and A on the ABC is worth watching, because the lefties and luvvies on the panel never disappoint. They routinely come out with such po-faced and ridiculous comments that they pretty much make satire redundant. 

Take Adelaide Festival Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky. He was inordinately keen to keep invoking the indigenous angle. That's a real favourite of luvvies. They don't give a rat's about the squalor in which so many Aborigines live. They just see them as a means to take the high moral ground, and subtly wag their fingers at people for having politically incorrect attitudes.

For example, responding to a question about Wayne Swan and complaints about "ruthless individualism" Grabowsky saw a good opportunity to toss in that ol' chestnut about Australian history going back tens of thousands of years, not mere centuries:

PAUL GRABOWSKY: Well, I give a rat’s what he thinks, because I think he is making a very important point. I think the fact about the history of Australia as we are experiencing it at the moment - and, of course, it’s difficult to talk about a nation’s history whilst you are living through it - but this is a nation which is very much a work in progress. We can’t pretend that we have the same understanding of long historical cycles that China does, for example, or European nations. We do know, of course, that we’ve had people living here for 80,000 years under quite extraordinary circumstances. When I am talking to people from the other side of the world, sometimes I like to jokingly refer to Australia as the dark side of the moon. It is a part of the world which throws up so many problems in order to be able to survive in it that it requires considerable ingenuity to be able to create a functioning polis in this place. Our traditional peoples figured out a myriad of ingenious ways to survive here for a very, very long time. The people who have been here since 1788 have not been so ingenious in coming to terms with the place. But I think that by degrees we are figuring out ways how to live harmoniously, and hopefully be something of an example to the rest of the world about how one can be clever in a place.

What a gargle! Sure, indigenous people were ingenious for surviving here so long. But does he sincerely believe what he says about European settlement? If it's so bad and wrong then maybe he should eschew some of the goodies it provides -- goodies like classical music and jazz, air travel, comfy homes, as well as all that plentiful fatty food and pricey plonk (which the portly fella clearly enjoys). Think he'd ever do that? 

And when did humans ever live in harmony with their environment? They're always pillaging the joint (and a good thing too!). It's highly likely that the Aborigines Grabowsky speaks so glowingly of were responsible for the mass extinction of marsupial megafauna, after all.

And this idea that we (and by "we" he clearly means non-Aborigines, so there's a racially divisive subtext there) "are figuring out ways of living harmoniously" is just rubbish. Do wind farms work in harmony with nature? Nope. They plain don't work for starters. And they're bloody great bird-killing, view-wrecking excrescences to boot!

Contrary to Grabowsky's claims "we" have actually been clever in this place for a long time. The green mumbo jumbo that he and his ilk endorse is just plain dumb, and we should avoid it at all costs.

He then lambasted some in pay TV (presumably Foxtel, owned by the eeevil Rupert Murdoch) for their rather coarse coverage of politics:

PAUL GRABOWSKY: No, of course it’s not. I think sexism and misogyny are a part of our culture. Just before we get off the politics for a moment, there is one particular network on pay television which has a lot of political coverage which they deal with like sporting events. They are largely male commentators, although not totally, and the language they use is the same kind of language you would apply to discussing football matches or various sporting events. I find the total tenor of the way that they talk about what is essentially very serious business. I would have to say largely very well-meaning people doing their very best for what they believe to be the best for the country, reducing it to a gutter level of discussion which demeans the entire democratic project.

That's pretty rich coming from a leftie (but I suppose he is a pretty rich one himself). If you want to see some truly gutter, nasty stuff about politicians then you'll find heaps of it coming from his tribe. You can see it live in comedy and cabaret shows like The Wharf Review and you can see it online in the blogosphere and on Twitter. But Grabowsky doesn't complain about that, presumably because he approves of it. To him, democracy is his side having free reign, the other being muzzled.

He made other po-faced pronouncements, for example when a questioner raised the issue of immigration, asking whether immigrants should "speak Australian" socially. He leapt at this chance to spuriously invoke his superior cultural sensitivity:

PAUL GRABOWSKY: I would have to question the premise that you’ve develop in that question because I don’t believe there is a way of speaking Australian for a start. Unless you want to come up with me to somewhere like Nooka in southeast Arnhem Land and hear some real Australian language.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking, isn't it? He's implying that those of us who speak English (including him) are not truly Australian. Only Aborigines are authentic Australians.

Is Grabowsky himself fluent in the language spoken in Nooka? I doubt it. But if he is then why isn't he speaking it all the time, and exhorting us all to do likewise? And why does he compose and orchestrate Western music, and direct a festival that is chockas with Western art styles and genres (albeit performed with as much fake self-loathing is Grabowsky himself displays)? Why all the posturing?

To pull rank, that's why. And by sneering at the masses in such a politically correct way he pleases the powers that be, thereby consolidating his position of influence and privilege.

With the Left it's always ultimately about power; never about principle. That's depressing in general; even more so when it comes to the arts.


  1. Paul Grabowsky produces Pulverising Gobbledegook. Good Gaia, Derek Sapphire's a rational coherent being compared to Paul.

  2. "Pulverising gobbledygook" is a very creative way of saying he murders the language. I doubt you'll get a grant for it, though!