Friday, February 01, 2008

Me-too-ism confirmed

I’ve resisted commenting on the phenomenon that is ‘Party Boy’ Corey Worthington for a number of reasons. Prominent among those is that this young man lives locally to us.

In the main, however, the whole thing seemed to me very tiresome and ho-hum. His fame and/or notoriety seems equally based on his ‘legendary’ status among many of his peers, and the ‘parental’ feelings he seems to excite in newspaper letter writers, for example, many of whom devised a plethora of ways in which to punish him — for his own good, of course, if not for the greater good.

Now today I read this:

In a few notorious days, the 16-year-old become [sic] such a phenomenon that Googling him now produces more than 184,000 web results and more than 3000 blog references.

Well then, here’s one more for our local legend.

And an observation: The ‘Party Boy’ epithet just might stick...

Perhaps Mr Local Legend will fondly remember his youthful exploits when his carers at the nursing home tell him to stop being such a ‘Party Boy’ and take a nap — for his own good, the old ticker not being what it was.

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Goat Friday

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Filthy Lucre II: update

The good humored voice of Indian cricket, Mr. Harsha Bhogle, has penned a piece for the SMH. I find Harsha a well informed and entertaining commentator on the ABC’s coverage and don’t necessarily find much to disagree with in what he’s written. Three things, though, need comment.

Firstly Harsha notes that “Newspapers are selling more copies, news channels are filling up time, and simple minds are being influenced”. One might ask influenced how? The simple minds, I’d suggest, are those that populate the ICC. This is a body which is about as relevant to the running of the game as the term “British Empire” is to what remains of the Commonwealth.

Secondly Harsha writes that “the players who think they heard what he [Harbhajan] said might feel disappointed, but that is not how the law works. If judgment was to be made based on what one person said versus what another did, the world would become unlivable”. Now, on the face of it, there’s little to disagree with there. It is a bit like children with their claims and counter claims. No one ever did it. I this instance though, Harsha might be well advised to inform the BCCI, and Mr Lalit Modi in particular, of his view on how the law works. The BCCI seems to feel that it works by demanding the judge make a particular finding or else India packs its collective bat and ball and goes home.

That this had no bearing on the spineless ICC beggars belief. The ICC’s record on such matters is anything but reassuring. It has a strong track record of not supporting, indeed of removing, umpires who do not see the game in the sub-continental way.

Lastly Harsha declares that Australians might think that “Harbhajan has got away with a slap on the wrist in spite of three players claiming he racially abused Andrew Symonds.” Now, for the record, I’ve no doubt that in sticking his nose in where it wasn’t needed (after the Indian’s pat on Lee’s bum) Symonds instigated the ugly little event. That in no way excuses Harbhajan should he have said what he might possibly not have. And, while we’re on the subject, why is calling someone a “mother f***er” of so little import?

The point is that the execrable spin bowler did indeed get off light. The judge has admitted as much. This due to the fact that the details of Harbhajan’s suspended one match ban for intimidation and abuse of an umpire were not put before him. Nor were any of the other three “convictions” recorded against the bowler. His lamentable record, for the purposes of this enquiry, did not exist because it was not produced.

And, who didn’t produce it for the court? The ICC, of course. Threats of abandoning the tour and further action by the financial powerhouse of the game count for nil don’t they.

Or is that just my too cynical nature?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Filthy Lucre - or - Justice Kolkotta style

And here was me thinking that Channel 9 ran cricket in this country. The delayed start of the Test match in Perth, I thought, was clear evidence that – daylight saving aside – the boffins at Nine would decide what the time was in Perth. I also confused myself over the misapprehension that the ICC – being the International Cricket Council – actually ran or managed the game internationally. It appears that this was not in fact so. The reality of international cricket is that India runs the game.

India – and the other sub continental teams – decide who is “racist” and who is not. Ask Darryl Hair. They also decide who does and who does not “cheat”. They also demand and get what they want. From the Calcutta Telegraph:

The Indian board has brought into play the “honour” of “every Indian”and virtually set the International Cricket Council a 48-hour ultimatum to rescue the Australia tour…

“Then the tour will go ahead,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India official told The Telegraph. He said if the ICC dilly-dallied, there was a “good enough” chance of the team being brought back in protest.

Although no official suggestion has been made about a possible tour cancellation, the BCCI mounted pressure this morning by dramatically holding the team back in Sydney just as it prepared to leave for Canberra…

The board has three demands. One, the ban must go. Two, the ban statement must drop the word “racist”. Three, Steve Bucknor must be dropped as umpire for the third Test in Perth.
As it now stands, the BCCI has been granted every demand. Or, viewed around the other way, the ICC has caved to every one.

Before today’s hearing of the appeal the Indian management and the BCCI threatened to withdraw from the one-day circus due to start in February. This is pursuing justice sub-continental style: overturn the finding and drop the charges or we go home. To quote BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi:

"If a clean chit is not given to Harbhajan, the Indian board's decision is to call the team home".

Clear as a bell that.

None of this is to excuse any on field excess displayed by Australian teams. There is likely plenty that they might answer for over time. Obviously the trick with all of these cases is – as with any legal case – to weigh the evidence and come to a finding. With the Indians it somewhat different, more along the lines of ‘forget the evidence here is the finding you will make’. Perhaps this is how justice works in India.

What I have found interesting in this entire saga is the fact that there were, from the start, three defenses mounted by the Indians. The first was “it was never said”. Outright rejection, didn’t happen, never said it. This was then followed by two reasons as to why what wasn’t said was not offensive: monkeys are revered in India and Harbajan was therefore showing no disrespect; and that the word “monkey” was confused with another Indian word that is extremely close. Must have been the word used by all those back on the sub-continent during the 20/20 tourney I suppose.

Why did the team management and the player feel the deep-seated need to explain something not ever said?

It doesn’t matter because the final defense, the one always going to be deployed, was run by the BCCI vice president. That and Channel Nine's dwindling ratings and lack of substitute programming.

Filthy lucre. It always comes back to money. That and a spineless administration which hasn’t even the intestinal fortitude to ask that teams manage 90 overs in a day’s play.

Wonder what might have happened had an Australian or English player been brought up for calling an Indian an “ape”?

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The Magic of Alex: the Afterglow

Former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer reviews former Indonesian dictator Suharto’s record:

Mr Downer said Indonesia’s treatment of East Timor was always a thorn in the relationship.

“We were plagued of course ... with the issue of East Timor,” he said.

“And of course president Suharto will have to live with that as part of his record as well.”

Memo Alex: Not only has Suharto not been president for almost ten years, he’s also no longer in a position to “live with” anything. It’s the Timorese and Indonesians who have to live with it.

And apparently the record of one of the world’s great kleptocrats escaped Alex’s attention:

Mr Downer said Australia was not aware of the full extent of corruption under Suharto’s rule.

He said human rights abuses in East Timor were discussed, but corruption did not feature in the dialogue between the two countries.

“We didn’t know too much about the level of corruption, but we knew about the human rights record,” he said.

Gee. If the Suharto Gravy Train didn’t rate in Alex’s perceptions, then small wonder that AWB malfeasance in the Iraq oil-for-food scandal passed him by.

What had the Australian people been paying Alex for, all those years?

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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Rectory does Victoria.

Rectory does Victoria

Click on the photo.

The Rectory's recent visit to Ballarat/Castlemaine/Echuca: a small selection.

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