The 9pm Bludger’s Art of Lying with John Birmingham

John Birmingham
John Birmingham and a hat. (Photo: Supplied)

Australian author and reprobate John Birmingham joins me yet again for another conversation about everything from journalism to turnips. In fact, journalism and turnips. Yes, it’s another episode of the Spring Series 2021.

We talk about Generation Z, adding chimpanzee hormones to chickens, #ThisIsNotJournalism, dreams, logarithms, how to organise your work, the simulation hypothesis, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the privilege of having no hair, The Matrix, the pee tape — plus of course Scott Morrison, those submarines, and the art of lying.

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John Birmingham has been on the pod four times before, in July 2018, September 2020, November 2020, and May 2021.

Thank you, Media Freedom Citizenry

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This episode it’s thanks once more to all the people who supported The 9pm Spring Series 2021 crowdfunding campaign.

CONVERSATION TOPICS: One person who chooses to remain anonymous.

THREE TRIGGER WORDS: Adam Baxter, Benno Rice, Crispin Harris, Julia Drake-Brockman, Peter Lieverdink, and Sheepie.

ONE TRIGGER WORD: Brenton Realph, Colgo, Dave Gaukroger, Drew Mayo, Frank Filippone, Gavin C, Joop de Wit, Mark Newton, Martin Gribben, Michael Cowley, Mick Fong, Paul Williams, Peter Blakeley, Peter Sandilands, Peter Viertel, Peter Wickins, Phillip Merrick, Ric Hayman, Scott Reeves, Shane ONeill, Stephen Holmes, Syl Mobile, Tim Johns, Wade Bowmer, Wyld, and five people who choose to remain anonymous.

FOOT SOLDIERS FOR MEDIA FREEDOM who gave a SLIGHTLY LESS BASIC TIP: Andrew Kennedy, Bob Ogden, David Heath, Garth Kidd, Katrina Szetey, Kimberley Heitman, Matt Bowden, Peter Blakeley, Peter Blakeley again, Peter McCrudden, Regina Huntington, Stephanie Papworth, Susan Rankin, Tony Barnes, Wolf Cocklin, and three people who choose to remain anonymous.

MEDIA FREEDOM CITIZENS who contributed a BASIC TIP: Errol Cavit, Michael Harris, Ron Lowry, Sam Spackman, Steve Turner, and one person who chooses to remain anonymous.

And another eight people chose to have no reward, even though some of them were the most generous of all. Thank you all so much.

Episode Links

Timeline of generations in the Western world as in its Wikipedia article with notable events by CMG Lee. The retirement and life expectancy ages are approximate due to variations in place and time. (Image: CMG Lee/Wikimedia Commons)
  • John Birmingham (born 7 August 1964) is a British-born Australian author, known for the 1994 memoir He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, and his Axis of Time trilogy.
  • I write books and things. This is sort of like my private club where anyone can hang out to talk about that stuff. So, okay, not that private. I’ll let you know about the stuff I’m doing, the stuff I love, and more importantly, the sort of things I think you might love too. For once, it’s not all about me.
  • [16 September 2021] The Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media after announcing a trilateral agreement with the United States and Great Britain to procure nuclear-powered submarines in a new AUKUS alliance.
  • [16 September 2021] Today, I announce a new partnership, a new agreement that I describe as a forever partnership. A forever partnership for a new time between the oldest and most trusted of friends. A forever partnership that will enable Australia to protect our national security interests, to keep Australians safe, and to work with our partners across the region to achieve the stability and security of our region. This forever partnership that we have announced today is the single greatest initiative to achieve these goals since the ANZUS alliance itself. It is the single largest step we have been able to take to advance our defence capabilities in this country, not just at this point, but for the future.
  • [2 November 2021] The fallout from Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to scrap a French submarine deal in favour of a nuclear option from the US or UK has continued into this week's meeting of world leaders in Glasgow.
  • [3 November 2021] Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will not apologise to France for his decision to scrap a $90 billion contract for France to supply 12 conventionally powered submarines for Australia.
  • [1 November 2021] Emmanuel Macron has accused the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, of lying to him over an abandoned $90bn submarine contract, in a significant escalation of tensions between Paris and Canberra. 'I just say when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave in line and consistent with this value,' the French president said. When asked whether he thought Morrison had lied to him by not revealing Australia’s dialogue with the UK and US over the acquisition of nuclear submarines, Macron was direct in his response. 'I don’t think, I know'.  
  • [3 November 2021] Confidence shattered by ‘crude’ leak of president’s message to prime minister Scott Morrison, says adviser.
  • Following a reshuffle after the 1984 election, Beazley was promoted to become Minister for Defence, a role he would hold until 1990, making him one of the longest-serving holders of that post.[6] Beazley took a particularly active role as Defence Minister, appearing frequently in the press, and was responsible for establishing the Royal Australian Navy's submarine programme, although this would be beset by technical problems. Beazley's time as Defence Minister, combined with his lifelong interest in military matters and enthusiasm for military hardware earned him the nickname "Bomber Beazley" in the press.
  • The former prime minister denounces nuclear-powered submarines plan and says Australians are being led astray on China
  • Sean Kelly gives us the definitive portrait of Scott Morrison – a politician not quite like any other. Morrison understands that politics has become a game – one he is determined to win.
  • Neil Mitchell also asked Mr Morrison if he’s told a lie in public life. “I don’t believe I have, no,” the Prime Minister replied.
  • MITCHELL: Prime Minister, we're talking to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, you ever told a lie in public life? PRIME MINISTER: I don't believe I have, no.
  • The Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry; 1987–1989) into Queensland Police corruption was a judicial inquiry presided over by Tony Fitzgerald QC. The inquiry resulted in the resignation of the Premier (head of government), the calling of two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and the Police Commissioner (who also lost his knighthood). It also contributed to the end of the National Party of Australia's 32-year run as the governing political party in Queensland.
  • The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service, also known as the Wood Royal Commission was a royal commission held in the State of New South Wales, Australia between 1995 and 1997. The Royal Commissioner was Justice James Roland Wood. The terms of reference were to determine the existence and extent of corruption within the New South Wales Police; specifically, it sought to determine whether corruption and misconduct were "systemic and entrenched" within the service, and to advise on the process to address such a problem.
  • It's 9.10 AM and my prostate is quivering with excitement waiting for today's media reports of Scotty pulling a flat white, and Scotty rolling his arm over at the local nets, and Scotty smashing it out of the park with another three word slogan. Thanks media!
  • “Fair dinkum, I’m just a regular bloke like the rest of you – according to my focus group-tested persona,” Mr Morrison said, asking the barber for a bit of a clean up around the edges and few different angles for the photographers.
  • The simulation hypothesis is a proposal regarding the nature of existence which posits that all of existence is an artificial simulation, such as a computer simulation. Some versions rely on the development of a simulated reality, a proposed technology that would be able to convince its inhabitants that the simulation was "real".
  • The mind-bending bigness of Neuralink’s mission, combined with the labyrinth of impossible complexity that is the human brain, made this the hardest set of concepts yet to fully wrap my head around—but it also made it the most exhilarating when, with enough time spent zoomed on both ends, it all finally clicked. I feel like I took a time machine to the future, and I’m here to tell you that it’s even weirder than we expect.
  • Manifest destiny was a widely held cultural belief in the 19th-century United States that American settlers were destined to expand across North America.
  • We talk about many things, including the joys of Denmark, Scott Morrison’s week of disrespecting women, the colour of fleas, the Australian way of fear, Sydney–Melbourne rivalry during the Quarantimes, Clive Palmer, Elon Musk, the Lost Boys of Daylesford, and quite a lot about the philosophy of death.
  • Generation Z (or Gen Z for short), colloquially also known as zoomers, is the demographic cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha. Researchers and popular media use the mid-to-late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years. Most members of Generation Z are children of Generation X.
  • Timeline of generations in the Western world as in its Wikipedia article with notable events by CMG Lee. The retirement and life expectancy ages are approximate due to variations in place and time. In the SVG file, click or hover over a generation to highlight it. See references on en:Generation#Western_world for sources.
  • Twenty-somethings rolling their eyes at the habits of their elders is a longstanding trend, but many employers said there’s a new boldness in the way Gen Z dictates taste.
  • What is unique about your generation? What attitudes about fashion, work-life balance or political activism might benefit older generations?
  • Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture is the first novel by Douglas Coupland, published by St. Martin's Press in 1991. The novel, which popularized the term Generation X, is a framed narrative in which a group of youths exchange heartfelt stories about themselves and fantastical stories of their creation.
  • Trump was so obsessed with Obama that he hired a “Faux-Bama” to participate in a video in which Trump “ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him.”
  • [18 April 2019] On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr released Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two volume, 400-plus-page report on his investigation into the Trump administration’s possible collusion with the Russian government in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. I know, I know: But what about the pee tape?
  • The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a timer to break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for 'tomato', after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student.
  • Forest Grow is an efficient way to BECOME more CONCENTRATED and disciplined! As a reward for your patience, virtual trees will remind you of your "phone-free" time records!
  • Getting Things Done (GTD) is a personal productivity system developed by David Allen and published in a book of the same name. Described as a time management system, the author states in the book that if a task is on one's mind, it will fill one's mind completely, which guarantees that one will be incapable of handling yet another task; therefore one will fail to complete any of them.
  • The Axis of Time trilogy is an alternative history series of novels written by Australian journalist and author John Birmingham, from Macmillan Publishing.
  • Dinner with neighbours tonight. They like #ScottMorrison because “he’s moderate.” She doesn’t like #Albo because “he’s snarky” and doesn’t seem to do anything. She had to be helped to remember his name. A reminder to us all that elections are decided by the unengaged.
  • Pays on party which supplies the Prime Minister following the next Federal election. Bets settled at time of swearing in. All bets carry over if the Gov General does not swear in a PM because supply cannot be guaranteed.
  • Kyle Rittenhouse defense attorney Mark Richards objects to playing surveillance video of the first shooting because Apple "uses artificial intelligence to create what they believe is happening." Richards also admits he doesn't understand the technology "at all."
  • "I'm totally confused" -- Tucker Carlson wonder why the US would be allies with Ukraine instead of Russia, since Russia has more energy reservers. Rep. Mike Turner reminds him that we're supposed to be on the side of democracies. Carlson responds by saying, "I guess".

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Series Credits