What a pity Tony Abbott didn’t stay in the seminary;Tony Soprano, & Moby

27 May

I woke this morning thinking of Tony Abbott, a rude awakening in anyone’s book.

What a pity Abbott didn’t stay in the seminary, and use the  Catholic church as his political playground, I thought. The rest of us would have been spared his rampant ambition, and who cares if he’d trashed the College of Cardinals if they refused him a red hat?

What a pity also, that Abbott wasn’t moved to realise his perhaps most outstanding natural talent, that of thespian.

It’s become clear  as we’ve progressed through the tortuous months since the ALP negotiated government, and since the day the LOTO failed to sell his arse in exchange for a ring of another kind, that Abbott has played whatever role his directors believed expedient.

We’ve watched Tony play the part of a highly offensive, sociopathically aggressive ambassador from the planet of negativity, whose speech patterns gave one reason to ponder whether or not the man was severely linguistically challenged.

Personally, I don’t think that role was difficult for him. It seemed to hint at his nature. Now he’s facing a far greater challenge – maintaining the role of  reasonable, statesmanlike Prime Minister in waiting. The emperor has new clothes.

I’ve heard Abbott described as “complex.” I don’t see it. Rather, I’d describe him as deeply shallow, so bereft of depth and complexity that he can easily be refashioned into the character his advisors believe he needs to be in order to win power. Abbott is an accomplished progenitor of ersatz complexity. He belongs in a Baudrillard text. I have gazed long upon this man, and I cannot find anything of substance in him. He reminds me of nothing as much as the replicants in the classic film, Blade Runner.

Complexity may well be present in Tony, deeply repressed in the interests of ambition. And in all fairness, he is not alone in his uncanny likeness to a replicant: it seems as if the only way to get ahead in Australian politics is to appear as robotic and unempathic as possible. Complexity, that richly human state, is apparently incompatible with what the majority of Australians want to see manifested in their leaders.

I predict that after six months of an Abbott government, many of us will be begging to have Kevin Rudd back. Mark my  words.

I’ve spent much of this last week bed and couch ridden, and fevered with flu. I re-watched three series of The Sopranos, including the episodes in which Tony Soprano, shot by his Uncle Junior, lies comatose in intensive care.

Now there’s a complex Tony. Even his shrink, Jennifer Melfi, is more than a little bit in love with his mercurial personality, though her own shrink, played to perfection by Peter Bogdanovich, reminds her constantly of Tony’s psychopathology, and urges her to ditch him as a patient.

Given his role in the bloody, death-strewn world of The Sopranos, Bogdanovich surprisingly wrote in 2012:

Today, there’s a general numbing of the audience. There’s too much murder and killing. You make people insensitive by showing it all the time. The body count in pictures is huge. It numbs the audience into thinking it’s not so terrible. Back in the ’70s, I asked Orson Welles what he thought was happening to pictures, and he said, “We’re brutalizing the audience. We’re going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum.” The respect for human life seems to be eroding.

As far as our politicians are concerned, the respect for some human life seems to be eroding, while respect for other human life seems to be increasing beyond all proportion.

I had forgotten the haunting Moby song used so effectively to convey Tony Soprano’s state of mind as he wanders alone in the space between life and death. I don’t know that enjoy is the right word, but anyways:

28 Responses to “What a pity Tony Abbott didn’t stay in the seminary;Tony Soprano, & Moby”

  1. samjandwich May 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Yeah great timing! Just enjoying my last free lunchtime before the program I’m working on gets evaluated.

    It’s getting cold in here…


  2. paul walter May 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Hi Jennifer.
    With Abbott’s personalty (disorder?) I wonder at the conflicting patterns of his brutality, repeated serially over the years,reflected in his callous attitude and statements concerning those he considered “other” (Welfare recipients, asylum-seekers, women- obviously a complete mystery, Bernie Banton type blue collars and people whose sexual morality or philosophical beliefs are different to his), as well as political opponents he sent after (Kirby, Hanson).
    The dogmatic moralising social conservatism and Catholic rigid dogmatism do seem to demonstrate the possibility of a pathological rigidity with a life of its own outside is his control that he is subject to.
    . Of course the condition is by no means confined to him alone. There is also a percentage of key ex
    DLP types in the ALP who seem to have similar traits, although some do occasionally show almost a glimpse of humanity. But when you think of the ilk of Shorten and Conroy, there seems not a lot of difference- same faraway look in the eyes, “elsewhereness”, complete insensitivity and incapacity to view their own actions in a moral/empathic light; “humanity” for want of a better term.
    Where would “value and meaning” fit in for such a pathology?
    I think some thing else turns up the thread starter also.
    This is the change in government mode from consensual and collegiate to presidential and furtive, over some decades now.
    People like Howard and Rudd treated their own colleagues and the public eventually with deep suspicion and tried to run thing unilaterally, cocooned from reality by a phalanx of advisers , often as lacking of real life experience as the politician he /herself. Are these sorts of people “bred” for this?
    I suspect Gillard and Obama have also been subject to this suffocating pattern, that has seen intrinsic capabilities muted and immersed to drowning point in a nonstop tidal flow of advisers, hacks and bots as personally isolated as they are and capable only of a weird sub cultural jargonese, to the extent that they never have adequate time for reflection and the sound of their own asphyxiated inner voices or nous and conscience.
    Does the key bee ever find time for respite?
    Is it meant to?
    Who benefits from a dysfunctional political mode?


    • Jennifer Wilson May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Those two outstanding examples of dysfunction, Capitalism & Patriarchy, benefit most from a dysfunctional political mode, yes?


      • paul walter May 28, 2013 at 11:56 am #

        Benefit? Not sure, it’s more a matter of symbiosis. No one really benefits from the current system at this stage in human history. You may say people like Murdoch benefit and materially they do, but at the cost being emotional cripples.
        Unless evolution or some like process can eventually instil “wisdom” and some of the virtues into humanity,it won’t change either. You can actually get very pessimistic: the Naked Ape has discovered all manner of new techno toys with which to wipe out everything, either crudely through bombs and pollution or more subtly through genetics and mind control, as last night’s not-pleasant doco on SBS indicated.
        Reeling with the flu, am sure my response will cheer you up no end, but the good news is we are now getting long in the tooth and may miss the worst ourselves.
        As for the young, we must hope that that which has enabled humans to adapt to adversity for thousands of generations works again for the new generations, it will be out of our hands.


  3. helvityni May 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I said the same thing last week on another blog: Abbott ought to have stayed in the seminary, he could not harm as many people there as he can if elected to be our Prime Minister.
    Why do some (many) people think that a hollow man like Abbott is suitable for this position.


  4. Marilyn May 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Well Gillard should have stayed in bloody Wales because she is a racist frigging coward who has sent the country spiralling into deeper and deeper uncontrolled racism and brutality not seen before in this country.

    She even said last week that the policy of making single parents into abject paupers was deliberate because everyone knows that kids whose parents have jobs do better.

    But if they fucking kids and parents are starving and can’t get a job what is the point of the policy except to punish the least able to fight back.

    Meanwhile the stupid, ignorant coward cuts the country off itself to pretend that law does not exist.

    ‘Paul, you need to wake the hell up.

    and you Helvi. She is a horror show.


    • paul walter May 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      No, the thread topic is about Abbott.
      We have already been ear-bashed to stupefication as to your one sided and simplistic views on party leadership, blaming the victim, exalting the villain.
      Gillard next time, eh?
      Enough already, stop trying to derail the thread- and reality- in the pursuit of your own now-monotonous self-presentation.


      • Marilyn May 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

        Can’t have Abbott without Gillard, grow up Paul.

        I am numb with disbelief that you think otherwise because they are vile twins.

        It makes no difference how many times you demonise Äbbott, he is not the one making fucking policy.


        • doug quixote May 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

          But tear down Gillard Labor and he WILL be.


          • Marilyn May 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

            Well he is going to anyway without a single contribution from me.

            For god’s sake he is no more the devil incarnate than Gillard is but they are both dreadful.


            • gerard oosterman May 27, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

              Yes Marilyn,
              We all know who you are against. But it would be helpful if you could tell us who you are ‘for’. Is there someone that does meet your approval? If so, why don’t you exhort the virtues of that person and convince us about him or her as a better option.
              Give us some hope instead of this unrelenting darkness…


              • Marilyn May 28, 2013 at 6:09 am #

                But there is no frigging light among either major party. I would not vote for anyone in either of them if my life depended on it.

                Look at today – 20,000 refugees live in hellish limbo for no reason other that the moron coward said that the most disadvantaged human beings on earth should not have an advantage over someone somewhere else in the world.

                All the whining and whining they go on with about 22,000 refugees arriving here in one year when that many a month have arrived in tiny Jordan for the past 2 years without them locking them up and torturing them.


        • paul walter May 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

          In your post you exclusively attacked Gillard -as usual- not both. Not a word against Abbott, who is, imho worse than Gillard.
          The thread was meant to to examine the alternative to Gillard, not function as a platform for more of your decontextualised anti Gillard ravings.


          • Marilyn May 28, 2013 at 6:12 am #

            I have zero to say about Abbott, he has no power, he is not doing anything but talk and is a thug not worth my time of day.

            He abused Bernie Banton on his death bed, that makes him a non-person.

            Gillard is the one making bad fucking law – if you shoot someone but I only talk about shooting some one should I be blamed for your actions?

            Gillard has had refugees shot with rubber bullets, she is forcibly deporting Tamils in breach of our own laws, she is trading and trafficking human beings to other nations and jailing them in shit holes, she has cut out the entire country for one small group of human beings and is the first ever to jail children potentially for life because one paranoic public servant thinks it is a good idea.

            Now as Gillard is doing those things why should I blame fucking Tony Abbott.

            Fact is I would not piss on either of them if they were on fire.


    • hudsongodfrey May 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm #


      You fail to balance your appeals to the high moral ground with any sense of placing limits upon the freeloading behaviour of some who would abuse ideologically instituted hospitality. This in neither practicable nor acceptable, but what is most unacceptable is the vitriol others are expected to absorb whenever you can’t stand being spoken truth to.

      It is you need to “wake the hell up” because whether you like it or not it seems almost inevitable that a government that has struggled to remain ever so slightly on the left is about to be replaced with one very much of the right and probably given a dangerous amount of latitude to take our country down a regressive road. And what makes me quite angry about that is that I think many of those who’ll be doing the most complaining about it when it happens, revelling in having the old enemy to blame for everything, are the same ideologues who’ve failed to credit any of the positive initiatives of the Rudd and Gillard governments that we’re about to see torn down about our ears.


      • Marilyn May 28, 2013 at 6:13 am #

        But telling the truth does not mean I support Abbott. Jesus Christ you boys have small brains don;’t you?


        • hudsongodfrey May 28, 2013 at 10:59 am #

          Where did I say, or even infer, that you support Abbott?
          I didn’t, but I did see Gerard’s comment, and it is fair to ask that if the alternative is worse than the current situation why anyone would countenance jumping out of the frying pan into the fire?

          Secondly why do you reach for sexist ad hominem? Is it so impossible for you to hear the truth of what is being put from anyone, no matter who they are without picking on some aspect of their background of a way of excusing your unwillingness to hear that truth?


        • paul walter May 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

          Truth told out of context is not truth.


        • Trevor June 1, 2013 at 9:03 am #



  5. doug quixote May 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Julia Gillard is a very complex woman. One has only to look at the Kent biography of her, in which the biographer had no idea of her subject. I don’t think we’ve seen very far beneath the surface as yet.

    Abbott is about as shallow and transparent as they come. He doesn’t even lie convincingly (“how can you tell he is lying?” . . . “his lips move”).

    Perhaps the conservatives like a shallow action-man type; the last deep thinker was Bob Menzies.


    • Marilyn May 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Self-serving bios. by friends. What a recommendation.

      Gillard cries over a well healed high functioning Australian kid with Down’s syndrome while jailing destitute disabled children from Iran, Sri Lanka and Syria.

      She invites migrants with $5 million to spend but locks up refugees who dare to pay their own way.

      Complex is not the word mate, hypocrite is.


  6. hudsongodfrey May 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    I agree in particular with the view that Abbott is a “deeply shallow” puppet of the right. Very easily persuaded to extreme views when it suits his political ends, but this is modern politics for you. Either there’s a concealed, and never, ever to be fully realised, political agenda that is held hostage to centrist populism by a carping contingent of media and corporate interests, or there’s an even scarier truth. That governments don’t actually govern any more and a shallow front man, or woman, to conceal that is just what our owners ordered!


    • Marilyn May 28, 2013 at 6:14 am #

      Spot on. We have a bunch of sad spivs. from the country who pretend they are different in philosophy but in fact are all the same.


      • hudsongodfrey May 28, 2013 at 11:01 am #

        Agreed, but not without saying that any bunch of retrograde miscreants has within it the ability to rise above their past and improve upon it.


  7. paul walter May 28, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    btw, you have the flu? get well quick!


  8. hudsongodfrey June 20, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    RIP James Gandolfini

    James Gandolfini: dead at 51, say reports.

    James Gandolfini, the Emmy-award-winning actor who played Tony Soprano on the hit television show The Sopranos, has reportedly died in Italy.

    The 51-year-old is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

    Gandolfini was in Sicily to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival when he died, according to TMZ.

    HBO said Gandolfini was on vacation at the time, according to Variety magazine in the US.

    Gandolfini is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, a son and daughter.



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