Media Circus: Pope resigns edition

Well, all sorts of things are going to fly under the media’s radar this week, aren’t they?

My two favourite tweets last night:

  • @sixthformpoet: The Pope is hardly the first person to lose interest in their real job so soon after joining Twitter.
  • @RyanSheales: The Pope is going on extended hollandaise #ExBenedict

This morning there’s a whole bunch of mean-spirited ageism and ableism, which is much less amusing.

What’s piqued your media interests lately?

As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).

Categories: culture wars, media, parties and factions


29 replies

  1. And Beppie on social media last night:

    For probably the first and only time in my life, I think I can say with the utmost sincerity, I REALLY HOPE THAT TONY ABBOTT FOLLOWS THE POPE’S LEAD.

  2. My first thought: good riddance. My second thought: whoever replaces him could be way worse. Only good thing I can really think of about the man is that he likes kitties, and now perhaps he can have one again (those bureaucratic tossers at the Vatican won’t let the Pope keep a cat in his apartments – go figure).

  3. This morning there’s a whole bunch of mean-spirited ageism and ableism, which is much less amusing.

    Other things I’ve found less than amusing:
    1. people’s insistence on calling him Joseph Ratzinger. Protecting the rights of extremely powerful people to be called by their chosen name isn’t inherently an interest of mine other than protecting everyone being called by their chosen name, and as best I can tell for Benedict that name is “Benedict”. (To be fair I don’t know the details of how a living former Pope is referred to, although he doesn’t actually have that status yet!)
    2. Richard Dawkins being a jerk about celibacy. No surprises there, though. (SotBO: I think institutionally enshrining lifelong celibacy as a superior or holier state is very concerning. But positioning celibacy as lesser or contemptuous or a waste is also bogus.)

  4. Heh, according to the Guardian’s live blog (2:29pm), he can be accurately referred to again as Joseph Ratzinger in a couple of weeks. So I will stand down on that one.

  5. Something that’s happening right here, right now, and that could have a big impact for Australians is this:
    Microsoft, Apple summonsed to explain high prices
    Basically, a federal parliamentary committee has been looking into the whole issue of why it is we’re paying something like $800 for some pieces of Microsoft software, particularly when they’re selling for something like $500 in the USA. They’ve asked Microsoft, Apple and Adobe to explain this before. Nobody’s shown up. So now they’re being summonsed before the Federal Parliament of Australia to explain this.

  6. I saw speculation in the media today (probably on the ABC – I don’t look at much else) that Pell might get the job. I seem to recall the same speculation last time they were choosing a pope. My reaction both times was ‘Ha! Fat chance!’ and ‘Oh god I hope not!’

  7. According to the Guardian blog linked by Mary, George Pell is considered a 66/1 chance. It would be interesting to see an African pope.

  8. Megpie71 – “because they can” I think is the simple answer. Whether the government can actually do anything about it is another matter!
    angharad – well at least Pell becoming Pope would get him out of the country!
    I think it’s a good example the Pope deciding to step down rather than die-in-place, or “be retired” which has been the historical tradition. Hopefully future Popes will follow suit.

  9. North Korea has conducted a nuclear test.
    Barbara Demick’s book is one of the most detailed accounts of what day-to-day North Korean life is like, but her detractors have pointed out that her sample is skewed in favour of people who fled the country and who were therefore inherently biased against the system there. Which is a fair point (although diluted by the fact that she had numerous interviewees, and what they said tallied with other people’s research), but it’s extraordinarily difficult to get any accurate idea of what ordinary North Koreans really think.
    The impression I get is that there’s a widespread fear and mistrust of the regime (there’d have to be), but also a genuine fear of the unknown: their lives may be utterly shit, but they could conceivably be far worse without the “protection” of Kim Jong-un. And because the regime’s surveillance of its population is so absolute, and the penalty for infractions as trivial as not wearing a Kim Il-sung badge so insanely draconian, the prospect of any kind of popular uprising is all but nonexistent.
    Revolutions generally only succeed if the government being overthrown is already severely weakened, and this clearly isn’t the case here – Kim Jong-un needs an equivalent of a “Ceau?escu moment”, that single instant when his people can unambiguously see that the game is up. And Romania was never remotely as militarised as North Korea, so it’s hard to see how that might happen. Sadly.
    Then again, I never thought the Soviet Union would just fall apart in the way that it did – even at the start of summer 1991, the notion that the USSR might no longer exist by Christmas seemed utterly fanciful. So who knows?

  10. The ‘Act of Recognition’ bill regarding indigenous Australians is being introduced into the HoR by the PM right now.

  11. The Obama White House really groks social media – every time he hits a key point in the SOTU speech, they tweet a quote with an attached graphic that highlights the key points and points back to their website.

    “The time has come to pass comprehensive #ImmigrationReform.” —President Obama in #SOTU
    — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 13, 2013

  12. Since you could well have been wondering whether the murdered “model girlfriend” of Oscar Pistorius had a name, given the media’s reluctance to include it in their reports, News with Nipples points out that her name was, in fact, Reeva Steenkamp.

  13. Those of us who watch things go by in the night skies, and who knew that a fairly close pass-by was occurring tomorrow morning (2012 DA14 passing about 27,000 kms from the earth), will be rather excited by the coincidence of a bright, explosive meteor over Chelyabinsk near the Russian Urals, which has been amply recorded on YouTube, and the Bad Astronomer is already on the case. SBS World News just reported that there are 250 injuries on the ground (probably because of very large quantities of window glass having been broken, owing to the loudness of the supersonic shock wave).

  14. And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict’s post-papacy lodgings have been under construction since at least the fall. That in turn put holes in the Holy See’s early claims that Benedict kept his decision to himself until he revealed it.

    <a href="</a&gt;
    (The Catholic church lied about something – who’d have thought…)

  15. Definitely a good time to re-examine Hungry Beast’s surprising (or not) 2010 summary of the history of abuse in the Catholic church.

  16. Ed Butler at AusVotes2013 reckons Christine Milne’s speech for the National Press Club today was more style than substance, but she nonetheless successfully played the press gallery into reporting on the issues that the Greens want people to be talking about.

    Well played, Greens media unit, well played.

  17. Wendy Harmer at The Hoopla takes on the predictable outrage over Hilary Mantel’s speech about Kate Middleton and the Royals: The Duchess and the Wicked Witch

    Condemnation by the press has been thunderous in defence of the pregnant Duchess from such outrageous slurs – even as they run photographs of her in a bikini with “bump” (circle and arrows helpfully supplied by Australia’s own Woman’s Day.)
    The Prime Minister, David Cameron has stepped in to say the comments about the Duchess are “completely misguided and completely wrong”.
    However, I did read the speech and found Mantel to be entirely misunderstood. It’s actually a call for the liberation of the royals, whom she says are kept like pandas in a cage.
    (Although taking her argument to the intensely personal, like Greer did? What did she imagine might happen?)
    At the heart of it, says Mantel, is the question asked of all royal women: ”Are they healthy, are they sick, can they breed?”

    Harmer finishes by noting that for all the sympathy Mantel expresses for the deceased Diana, she wasn’t very kind to very-much-alive-right-now Kate, and that distracts from her larger points.
    My own pedantic nitpick with Mantel’s speech is saying ‘royal vagina’ where she should have said ‘royal uterus’, because it’s the uterus that actually does the work of heir-making, and royal ladies can have perfectly functional vaginas and yet be infertile.

  18. Hadley Freedman at the Guardian does an elegant analysis of the same brouhaha.

  19. Just floated past in my tweetstream:

    RT @randlight: Stand up and take a bow Perth. Geert Wilders gig in Perth has been cancelled because no venue would have him.

  20. tigtog: Thing is, Perth is perfectly capable of producing racist dipshits all on its own – I can remember seeing posters for the Australian Nationalist Movement being plastered onto bus shelters all over the south-eastern suburbs during my teens. So we don’t need the imported ones blathering on here.

  21. Megpie71 – maybe they wouldn’t have him because he is a foreigner…

  22. Good one, angharad!
    Plenty of anti-foreigner bias to go around – from Fully (sic) on Crikey: Abbott voices his opinion on accents and politics

    We believe in a strong, home-grown policy. We believe in strong local candidates. That’s what you’ll always see from the Coalition under my leadership. We will always speak with a strong Australian accent.

  23. I wonder if he means the Strine that Pauline Hanson was castigated for?

    • Fully (sic) reckons it’s more plausibly a dig against ex-Brit unionists (with, for example, strong Scottish accents) in the ALP.

  24. Also apparently Julia Gillard has some advisor who is Scottish. Sorry…it’s crazy birthday week here and my brain is a bit fried…

  25. She def. has at least one advisor who’s American…or is that “okay”?

  26. Aphie/angharad – don’t ministerial advisors require a security clearance and so would be Australian citizens?
    tigtog @ 25 – it’s a pretty traditional anti-union attack. Not that unions leaders are shy either of a bit of xenophobia when it suits the purposes.

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