The 9pm Breakfast Martini and Coprophagic Strategy Chat with John Birmingham

John Birmingham and a bit of Ukraine. (Photo: Supplied; Map: Institute for the Study of War; Digital imaging: Stilgherrian)

The autumn series of The 9pm Edict continues with another visit from author, columnist, and reprobate John Birmingham to chat about strategic things, the election, and breakfast martinis.

We talk about the great power competition between the US and China, Nazis, racism, the Yellow Peril, coprophagia, cocktail recipes, and of course the upcoming federal election.

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Episode Links

Phil May (1864–1903), The Mongolian Octopus—Its Grip on Australia, The Bulletin, 21 August 1886 (Photo: National Library of Australia)
  • 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.
  • [21 April 2022] The Sino-Solomon security pact has been labelled Australia’s worst foreign policy failure since World War II amid fears China may establish a military base.
  • [25 March 2022] Solomon Islands has confirmed it is drafting a security deal with China - a move that's triggered alarm in neighbouring Australia and other Western allies in the Indo-Pacific. Leaked papers indicate a Chinese military base could potentially be set up on the island to Australia's north. That's sparked concern from Australia, long the chief defence partner and biggest aid donor to the tiny island.
  • [20 April 2022] Australia, New Zealand and the US have raised concerns on security in the Pacific, after China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands.
  • The Guadalcanal campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by American forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first major land offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.
  • World War Two dives into the history of one of the most devastating wars in human history. Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson and their team of dedicated historians cover the events of World War Two week by week in realtime. Additionally, we take an in-depth look at the war against humanity, key figures in all camps, military hardware, impact on culture, military strategies and life at the home fronts or under occupation.
  • The Yellow Peril (also the Yellow Terror and the Yellow Specter) is a racial colour-metaphor that depicts the peoples of East and Southeast Asia as an existential danger to the Western world. As a psycho-cultural menace from the Eastern world, fear of the Yellow Peril is racial, not national, a fear derived not from concern with a specific source of danger or from any one people or country, but from a vaguely ominous, existential fear of the faceless, nameless hordes of yellow people.
  • [10 May 2019] In the 1880s The Bulletin used cartoons to bolster its editorial commentary. There is no better example of this than The Mongolian Octopus—Its Grip on Australia, which appeared on 21 August 1886. The Bulletin devoted this edition to condemning Chinese migration to Australia. In what reads like a series of xenophobic rants, article after article argues that Chinese migrants suppress workers’ wages, spread disease and promote gambling and corruption, while also encouraging opium use and prostitution. The Bulletin was particularly concerned about the virtue of the colony’s young women who, robbed of all agency, would swoon under the influence of opium. The Mongolian Octopus, which was produced as a supplement which could be removed by the reader and displayed as a poster, captures all of the alleged vices enumerated in the accompanying articles.
  • [25 December 2009] A forum recorded in late November at the State Library of Victoria featuring three of Australia's top cartoonists and the editor of the annual collection of Australia's best political cartoons. November offered rich pickings for cartoonists - the final sitting of parliament and Senate debate on the emissions scheme gave them plenty of material to draw on. This forum was held just after Malcolm Turnbull had survived the first spill motion against his leadership of the Liberal Party and on the very evening that Tony Abbott announced his shock resigation from the Opposition front bench, precipitating the crisis that saw him replace Malcolm Turnbull as Opposition leader a few days later.
  • [25 December 2009] Gallery for Drawing a line: cartoons, politics and humour
  • [8 August 2017] Octopuses are a popular trope in political art. They came in vogue in the 1870s, when Frederick W. Rose depicted Russia as a giant octopus lording over Eastern Europe. The sea monster was quickly given to Germany when it posed a bigger threat to peace in Europe. During the early Cold War, it was Russia’s turn again. The octopus was the perfect metaphor for spreading communism. Here is a selection of the best and worst tentacled sea creatures
  • [22 April 2022] A Todd Sampson-hosted documentary series on the links between social media and hate groups, currently in production, has been denounced by anti-fascist campaigners, while far-right figures have posed for pictures with the presenter and predicted it will “ruffle some feathers”.
  • lmao what the fuck is this dumbshit ad cunt doing, jesus christ
  • [Archive of above.] lmao what the fuck is this dumbshit ad cunt doing, jesus christ
  • [22 April 2022] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has disputed Russia's claims that it seized control of the strategically vital Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, saying it was not completely lost.
  • [20 April 2022] Drone shows Mariupol destruction from Russian shelling: Mariupol has arguably seen the worst of Putin's war waged against Ukraine, with civilians either killed or driven out by constant Russian shelling. This drone footage shows the damage in the city's Primorskyi district.
  • [25 February 2022] Sorry, folks. It’s thinky time. Originally I had intended to write to you today, explaining why I thought a lot of people were needlessly confused by Vladimir Putin. This confusion expressed itself in all the hot takes from the ‘What Does Putin Really Want?’ desk.
  • [4 March 2022] There is only one way this ends well, with some Russian Army guy or FSB hood putting a bullet into Vladimir Putin’s brain, before Putin knows what’s happening.
  • [18 March 2022] The war in Ukraine is already medieval in its brutish cruelty and singular provenance. Vladimir Putin’s villainy could almost be Shakespearean, were his motivations more complex and his character even a little tortured, but his motives are remarkably simple and those tortures which animate both character and deed are all externalised. He is less Richard III than first draft Bond villain.
  • [25 March 2022] A personal note this week. I could feel myself spiralling into a pretty dark place the more time I spent studying the war in Ukraine. Before I became a writer, my degree and my early work were both inside the national security space and decades later it remains a subject in which I’m … over-invested. The more I think about Ukraine—and all the other sorrows of our time, because they’re all still out there—the darker my thoughts get. So this week, indulge me. I’m simply going to write a personal reflection on something unrelated to the accelerating collapse of absolutely everything. It’s also a note about something that was quite unexpected, at least to me.
  • The Fulda Gap (German: Fulda-Lücke), an area between the Hesse-Thuringian border (the former Inner German border) and Frankfurt am Main, contains two corridors of lowlands through which tanks might have driven in a surprise attack by the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies to gain crossing(s) of the Rhine River. Named for the town of Fulda, the Fulda Gap became seen as strategically important during the Cold War of 1947–1991.
  • [14 April 2022] The first three of 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) departed RAAF Amberley aboard an RAAF C-17A Globemaster on 8 April enroute to their ultimate destination in Ukraine.
  • [1 April 2022] Geologists call it the Ukrainian shield. That land in the middle which starts from the northern border with Belarus up to the shores of the Azov Sea, in the south of Donbass. According to the studies of the Ukrainian geological service, in the ancient rocks of this shield are hidden lithium deposits with great potential. Findings that have been identified mainly around the area of Mariupol, the port city of Donbass torn apart by Russian bombing.
  • [31 October 2015] Perhaps you’ve heard, but tensions between the United States and Russia are heating up. With Putin upping the ante in Syria, Marvin Kalb, journalist, scholar, and a nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings, came to Brookings to launch his new book that looks at the Russian leader’s last foray into another country. Entitled, "Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War". Putin’s recent actions in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and, more recently, in Syria have provoked a sharp deterioration in East-West relations. Is this the beginning of a new Cold War, or is Putin just wearing the costume of a prizefighter?
  • [22 April 2022] Researchers from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said the next phase of Mr Putin’s plan will see his forces starving out the remaining Ukrainian defenders.
  • Coprophagia (/ˌkɒprəˈfeɪdʒiə/) or coprophagy (/kəˈprɒfədʒi/) is the consumption of feces. The word is derived from the Ancient Greek: κόπρος copros, "feces" and φαγεῖν phagein, "to eat". Coprophagy refers to many kinds of feces-eating, including eating feces of other species (heterospecifics), of other individuals (allocoprophagy), or one's own (autocoprophagy) – those once deposited or taken directly from the anus.
  • Lewis dredges up some peculiar aspects of German folk culture. Specifically it's the aspect relating to an obsession with human feces, or "dirt," as it's commonly referred to among Germans. 
  • What I came to know as the “lay-and-display” German toilet model has horrified and scarred many an expat or traveler. Instead of excretions making the plunge straight into the water, this toilet has a prominent shelf midway to catch everything.
  • To Bowdlerise means to alter existing programs, plays, etc. so they are less rude and/or offensive. Commonly, this takes the form of swapping "curse" words for euphemisms. The term is used in a negative sense, by those who think the alterations are often done with a ridiculously high fear of lawsuits and/or need for political correctness.
  • Thomas Bowdler, LRCP, FRS (/ˈbaʊdlər/; 11 July 1754 – 24 February 1825) was an English physician known for publishing The Family Shakespeare, an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's plays edited by his sister Henrietta Maria Bowdler. They sought a version they saw as more appropriate than the original for 19th-century women and children.
  • And a national treasure at that! Rest assured it's something we've raised in the past. We'll keep at it.
  • [22 April 2022] Ms Rona isn’t known for doing anybody a solid, but she might’ve slipped Albo a free one after he did himself no favours forgetting to rememberize his stats homework last week. It doesn’t matter that Smoko deserved a caning, and didn’t really get one for up-fucking his own campaign on multiple occasions. As Clint Eastwood reminded us in Unforgiven and, to be honest, Scott Morrison’s entire career pretty much proves, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”
  • With tasting notes already so aptly surmised in the title, Fossey’s Hot Cross Bun Gin is something to be tried to be believed.
  • Drinking martinis happens to all of us at some point in our lives. You wake up one day, the sun is shining, you have plans, dreams, and a bright path leading toward them. Next thing you know, your ass is planted on a bar stool and instead of learning that second language, or hiking the Andes to Machu Picchu, you’re getting yourself on the outside of your second martini.
  • Normally, when people think of drinks that are acceptable alongside their eggs and toast, their minds go to the holy trinity of brunch drinks: the Bloody Mary, Mimosa, and Ramos Gin Fizz. Generally, the Martini is not counted amongst those august peers, as normally the only time to drink them during the day is if you’re throwing back to the era of the “three Martini lunch.” However, London bartender Salvatore Calabrese created a Martini you can enjoy any time of day without being a midcentury business executive. The secret is including orange marmalade. [Or just Google "breakfast martini" for similar recipes.]
  • It is said that The Queen of England’s favorite cocktail is a Dubonnet and Gin. With the upcoming season 2 of The Crown airing, this could make the perfect watch party drink recipe.
  • The Dubonnet cocktail is designed to showcase the finest gin you have in the liquor cabinet. Originally an un-garnished cocktail from the 1930s, the Dubonnet cocktail is now often served with a twist of lemon and sometimes an orange peel.
  • You Came Again located in Brisbane's coolest surburbs, West End, is a Vegan Restaurant and Bar that celebrates all thing vegan.
  • [20 April 2022] Foreign Minister Marise Payne was at a fundraiser while Pacific Minister Zed Seselja was travelling to the Solomon Islands, according to Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell.
  • The 2021 Solomon Islands unrest was a series of demonstrations and violent riots in Solomon Islands from 24 to 27 November 2021.
  • [19 June 2018] Vocus has been awarded a AU$137 million contract by the Australian government to construct a telecommunications subsea cable system connecting Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
  • “Q. Which party do you expect will win the 2022 Federal Election and form Government?” [Insert here a snarky comment about perception bubbles.]
  • [22 April 2022] Russian lawmaker proposes to force Ukrainian POWs to donate blood to injured Russian soldiers. Sergey Leonov proposed the move while speaking with reporters on April 21.
  • Sergey Dmitrievich Leonov (born 9 May 1983) is a Russian politician from the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party. He has represented Roslavl constituency in the State Duma since the 2021 election.
  • [21 April 2022] PM is asked why he continues to defy ASIO who have repeatedly asked to stop politicising Australia’s National Security for political gain. Essentially tells ASIO to Back Off. “Public Servants don’t run the government.” He is in Dangerous territory now. #AusVotes2022

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