Thursday, June 24, 2004

Launch of "Not Happy John" in Melbourne

'Twas an interesting night out on Thursday at Readings on Lygon Street for the launch of Margo Kingston's new book, Not Happy John. The event was scheduled to start at 6:30, got under way at about 6:32, and the Israel-bashing had commenced in earnest by 6:44. It was courtesy of Antony Lowenstein, one of Kingston's contributers, who informed us of how brave he was to be challenging Israel (a room full of true believing lefties and an attack on Israel... real brave, Antony, real brave) and Colin Rubenstein's "hegemony" over Jewish opinion in this country. Of course, we heard about Israel - the apartheid state (y'know, the one which upholds freedom of religion) and the evil Jewish plot to crush dissent vis the Hanan Ashrawi affair. Not sure if Protocols of the Elders is a big seller at Readings, but you never know...

Anyhow, Margo was the feature act whom the crowd had come to see. Those who want to read the book will read the book, but the snippets shared on the night were interesting.

- Margo claims to have approached Robert Menzies' daughter and asked her to launch the book. Ms Menzies was supportive of Kingston's defence of an independant public service as envisaged by her father, and was, from Kingston's report, not happy (John) with the way Howard had politicised it. In the end, for obvious reasons, Menzies didn't end up launching it.

- Penguin, the publishers, initially wanted to present Kingston as the "Michael Moore of Australia" and build a profile for her in that way. Kingston rejected the offer, arguing that "she didn't have a sense of humour." After hearing and reading some of her work, the self-deprecation misses the mark.

- Federal Police have apparently still failed to interview H-S columnist Andrew Bolt over the source of the leak of the Andrew Wilkie document. While most eyes turn to Downer's office, only Bolt can confirm or deny. Much as it hurts to be defending Bolt, the right of a journalist to protect their sources is imperative, and an AFP interview is not likely to reveal much. Still, given Bolt's defence of Abu Ghraib, a rather sinister thought about the interigation comes to mind. Bolt could probably provide his own hood.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

seriously, i cannot understand why 'israel-bashing' is regarded as so offensive. i mean, we are living in a liberal democracy, aren't we?

certainly australians have the right to regard themselves as sitting on much higher moral ground than the israelis.

i have never known of aussie soldiers to bomb the homes of aboriginal criminal suspects.

when was the last time you heard of a terror suspect being tortured in an australian prison?

and although kiwis are not our favourite bunch of people, we have never occupied whole chunks of new zealand.

so could all you israel-worshippers just shut up and get over it. if you love israel so much, go and live there. but of course, most of israel's cheer squad would never choose to go and live in a 3rd world country (even if they spend most of their time defending one).

seeya.

ps: your remark about freedom of religion in israel. it actually means freedom for jewish fanatics in east jerusalem to forcibly steal land from churches that have existed in the city for centuries. how much land of the armenian, russian and greek orthodox churches has been stolen? and naturally israel shows enormous respect to all its christian supporters by having its tanks and guns pointed toward the birthplace of christ. even indra gandhi's attack on the sikh golden temple showed more sensitivity.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

The Aboriginal people of Australia are not terrorists; they do not kill innocent civilians to further their cause. Therefore your comparison is invalid.

And as for Israeli tanks pointing towards the birthplace of Christ, that hardly compares to the event that caused it, namely Palestinian terrorists physically breaking into the Church.

Israel's supporters have just as much right as anyone else to express their opinion. Bigoted people such as Margo who try to portray them as a sinister lobby intent on ruling the world are maliciously perpetrating the same old stereotypes that have existed for centuries. 0.15% of the Middle East land mass hardly equates to the entire bloody world, does it?

Cheers

Anonymous said...

when and why did margo become so utterly humourless?

it can't be bitterness at lack of mainstream exposure - she gets a regular airing on comrade adams' show, and of course the smh website indulges her webdiary which is always good for a laugh, though i'm sure that's not her intention.

margo's views get plenty of airing - you don't get more mainstream than fairfax and i for one don't begrudge her this coverage. why can't i then choose to oppose her view and even do it in an organised way, without being pilloried as being part of some zionist conspiracy? i will never understand this double standard.

look at the map. you'll see 21 moslem nations, population 500+ million, surrounding one non-moslem nation, population 6+million. as a zionist, i refuse to let a 22nd moslem nation be created by the destruction of the one non-moslem nation - it is as simple as that.

to margo and antony, best of luck with the book. when i'm next in readings carlton i'll watch out for it in the bargain bin where it will no doubt reside before too long.

i'm no great fan of mike moore but i'm sure he enjoys a beer and a laugh.

cheers