The 9pm End of the World, Probably

Donald Trump before he was President of the United States (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

This is the first episode of this podcast for nearly three months, and what I foretold has come to pass.

“‘President Trump’, get used to saying it,” I first warned you on 5 November 2015, a full year before the US elections.

Told you so.

It’s not really a matter of careful what you wish for, because I wasn’t wishing for this. I just foresaw this new era in human history. I can indeed see through time, and you people really do need to start recognising this simple fact.

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The 9pm Team Australia

Senator George Brandis on Sky News: click for full video

Prime Minister Tony Abbott rallies the troops. Attorney-General George Brandis explains how the internet works. And Employment Minister Eric Abetz provides scientific and moral guidance.

In this episode of The 9pm Edict you’ll hear how Australia’s favourite Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, turned a routine TV interview into a train wreck, leading to me calling him incompetent; Brandis’ wig-based adventure; and much more.

We award elephant stamps for special thinking to NSW treasurer Andrew Constance, US congressman Curt Clawson, and the Republican Party generally.

And we discuss Victoria’s proposed laws, Nazis, Godwin’s Law, and my blog post from 2007, Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals.

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Warning, I’m reading Clive James

Cover of Cultural Amnesia by Clive James

Fair warning: Over the next few weeks my writing is likely to become more introspective, and I’m likely to use longer sentences. Because I’ve started reading Clive James’ book Cultural Amnesia.

I haven’t read any of James’ books before. His TV shows annoyed me, mostly because his slightly-too-clever scripting was delivered in that, flat deadpan style of someone implying “I’m cleverer than you, so I’ll speak slowly so you realise how clever I am.” Or so it felt to me. But when I read an interview about Cultural Amnesia back in March, it triggered so many wonderful thoughts that I was inspired — nay, forced to write Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals.

I still think it’s one of my better essays.

So when I finally saw Cultural Amnesia in paperback, I had to grab it. 35 pages in, I’m rapt.

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TagCrowd: visualising writing

Tag clouds have emerged as a great way to visualise what some text is _really_ about — whether it be a political speech or anything else. Now TagCrowd (still in alpha) allows you to create tag clouds from any arbitrary text.

Here’s a tag cloud of my post Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals:

created at

Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals

Hindsight is wonderful. When we look back at, say, World War II, TV documentaries cover the rise of Hitler in a few minutes. It’s easy to forget that Hitler was head of the National Socialist Party from 1921, fully 12 years before he became Chancellor in 1933. And it was another 6 years before WWII officially kicked off with the invasion of Poland.

I’ve often wondered what that all looked like for people living it in real-time. And oddly enough, three articles in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend got me thinking about how that relates to the big global issues today.

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