Updated: Christopher Pyne clearly says the C-word? Nope

[Update Friday 16 May 2014, 1115 AEST: Having read the spectrogram analysis by “Fully (sic)”, the language blog at Crikey, I withdraw pretty much everything I’ve said in this post. I did indeed hear the word I thought I heard, but only after having read a headline that told me that’s that I was going to hear. I forget the name for that psychological phenomenon — is it “priming”? — but I know it’s a thing. Anyone listening to the audio files here would have been subject to the same phenomenon.]

Today in the Australian Parliament, Christopher Maurice Pyne MP, Member for Sturt, Minister for Education and Leader of the House, said a word which he says was “grub”. I call Christopher Pyne a liar.

The sentence said across the chamber to Opposition leader Bill Shorten (or maybe someone else) was, quite clearly [to me], “You’re such a cunt.” Listen for yourself.


I will be discussing the phonetics of “grub” versus “cunt” in the next episode of The 9pm Edict. Read the analysis at “Fully (sic)”.

I’m happy to respond to your comments on this stuff, but I’ll be busy recording my podcast sleeping and covering a conference in San Jose before finishing my podcast production, and won’t respond until that’s all finished. Be warned, however, that I’ll simply delete comments that are nothing more that party-political trolling. Keep it to the discussion of phonetics, appropriate language for parliament and suchlike. My website, my rules.

What I will say, however, is that I don’t really care what Pyne said. In the heat of the moment we’ve all said things we later regret. Sometimes, for some people, that might involve swearing. What concerns me is the character of a man who simply lies in the face of the evidence, rather than taking responsibility for his own words and actions. That’s just low.

Christopher Maurice Pyne, you truly are a grub. No, the other word.

There will doubtless be questions about the authenticity of this recording, so I’ll spell out precisely what you’re listening to here.

This audio file is the result of going to a ninemsn news story, since removed, at the URL http://video.au.msn.com/watch/video/pyne-calls-shorten-c-bomb-in-parliament/x78q4ru in the web browser Safari for OS X, and using Audio Hijack Pro to extract the audio of the video as it streamed and saving it into a 16-bit 44.1kHz AIFF audio file. I imported that file into Reaper, a digital audio workstation, trimmed the ends to fit, and saved it as an intermediate AIFF file with the same settings.

I then processed that file by normalising it (which means adjusting the volume so that the loudest sound in the file is set to the maximum audio level possible), creating another intermediate file, and then compressing it to an MP3 file with a variable bit rate of 128kbps at 21,050Hz.

[Update 16 May 2014: Edited to reflect the fact that I’ve put the podcast production back a day.]

Sea hake fillet: truth in advertising?

Photograph from series: werbung gegen realität

The package, according to my amateur knowledge of German, says: “Sea hake fillet in dill sauce with spinach leaf and carrot purée”. Sounds great, eh? The contents, alas…

This is one photo from a series of 100 called werbung gegen realität where the photographer has juxtaposed images from the packaging of processed food with what’s actually inside. This may be Germany, but I reckon it ain’t any different here in Australia. (Hat-tip to Boing Boing.)

Saturday Reading, 1 March 2008

Summer’s over, so time to burrow indoors and catch up on reading, yeah? Here’s a few things to kick off your weekend.