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Last updated on August 5th, 2017 at 03:12 pm

A note from James Waterton:

Earlier last month, I visited the War Remnants museum in Saigon. Pretty much as you’d expect – the victors write the history, of course. Amongst the propaganda and genuinely interesting exhibits, there was a display of posters created by the various socialist Solidarity-with-North Vietnam movements from around the world. Check out the Australian lefty effort:


I couldn’t help but notice that the Australian Left is still using the same visual gags forty years later – making the “S” in U.S. a dollar sign! How witty!

Progressives generally aren’t. Speaking of ’Nam-era Australians, Michael Leunig is now Dr Idiot:

Australian Catholic University will award celebrated newspaper cartoonist and National Living Treasure, Michael Leunig with its highest honour, Doctor of the University (Honoris Causa), at its annual Melbourne graduation ceremony for Arts & Sciences students this Tuesday 28 May …

ACU National Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Mr Leunig possessed the rare ability to demystify the human condition through his engaging cartoons, which were often challenging or thought-provoking, but always ultimately hopeful and positive.

“From his earliest days as a writer for radical press, to his current incarnation as a cartoonist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers and author of more than 20 collections of art, poetry and prayer, Michael Leunig has stirred the social conscience of Australians with his sometimes quirky, but always insightful drawings,” Professor Sheehan said. “Michael has the innate ability to challenge the worst of human folly through his colourful and irreverent art, while still expressing all the joy, fun and emotional poignancy of human life. It is this talent that led the Archbishop of Canterbury to refer to him as a ‘most penetrating spiritual commentator’.

“As with all artistic expression, Michael’s work is sometimes misinterpreted or misunderstood, but his champions far outweigh his critics.”

His champions outweigh his critics? We have a scientific consensus!

(Via Dr Jeremy H.)

Posted by Tim B. on 05/30/2007 at 11:20 AM
    1. Tim the complete phrase is, “
      ‘Liberals’ aren’t; ‘Progressives’ don’t.”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 05 30 at 11:26 AM • permalink


    1. Nixon declared war on Vietnam?  Who re-wrote history and how did I miss that memo?

      Oh, wait.  My bad.  He declared “total” war, whereas Kennedy and Johnson just sent in the happy fun troops to make balloon animals for the children.

      Posted by EmilyJones on 2007 05 30 at 11:33 AM • permalink


    1. Oh FFS.

      Posted by TimH on 2007 05 30 at 11:36 AM • permalink


    1. Them must be some seriously fat champions…

      Posted by mojo on 2007 05 30 at 11:45 AM • permalink


    1. If his “champions” include Michael Moore and Al Gore, they have a pretty um, hefty, headstart on his critics.


      Posted by Tad Pole on 2007 05 30 at 11:46 AM • permalink


    1. Takes mitre down from closet shelf and blows dust off of it; pulls crook from umbrella stand.

      As honorary papal nuncio to Faifax, VA, I take strong exception to the award of this degree by a Catholic university to Michael Leunig. I hereby pronounce anathema on all involved, according to the following bill .

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 01:02 PM • permalink


    1. “Australian Catholic University will award celebrated newspaper cartoonist and National Living Treasure…”

      Since when does a big bag of shit qualify as a national treasure?

      Your guys’ treasury must be damned near depleted.

      Posted by Dave Surls on 2007 05 30 at 01:03 PM • permalink


    1. Did that degree come in a plain brown wrapper?

      Posted by yojimbo on 2007 05 30 at 01:05 PM • permalink


    1. I’m getting sick of this “National Living Treasure” nonsense.
      You know what it is?
      It’s a way of finding an expert (in anything) who agrees with the correct point of view; then deifying that expert so that they have a licence to prance around the country talking about whatever the hell they want to.
      Thus, a cartoonist that specialises in absurdism and whimsy becomes an expert on everything, including foreign policy and world history.

      That’s the “National Living Treasure” scam.
      The Left love “experts.” They are hopeless hero worshippers and utter victims of the Halo Effect, time after time after time.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2007 05 30 at 01:26 PM • permalink


    1. Patient: Doctor! Doctor! Please help me. I am suffering a bad case of ennui!

      Dr. Leunig: My son, for your healing, you shall view my Iranian award winning cartoon three times a day. Go in peace my son!

      Posted by Observer on 2007 05 30 at 01:38 PM • permalink


    1. My main man , Bob Mitchum, speaks out on Vietnam (or rather, spoke out on Vietnam; RIP, Bob).

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 01:43 PM • permalink


    1. The award is an embarrassment to the ACU. Universities now use these once prestigious awards – by giving them to celebrities – in order to attract publicity. There would be literally hundreds of long-serving Christians with genuine mastery in catechesis, hospital, home and prison visitation, interfaith bridge-building, apostolates to Aborigines, etcetera, who are more deserving of praise and recognition from grateful faith and secular communities. Yes, these are the people who don’t want awards anyway, I know. But to associate ACU with this tendentious hate-monger is a disgrace. I’m pretty sure Bob Santamaria – who wouldn’t have accepted anyway – wasn’t ever offered such an encomium. But, then, he only ensured the insidious influence of communism in Australian trades unions was neutralised for decades.

      Posted by C.L. on 2007 05 30 at 01:47 PM • permalink


    1. #12: Thanks for that link, C.L.; an interesting historical figure with whom I was, until now, unacquainted.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 01:52 PM • permalink


    1. You’re most welcome, Paco.

      Posted by C.L. on 2007 05 30 at 01:58 PM • permalink


    1. So, how does Mikey feel about abortion, anyhow? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure the Progressives and Pope Benny don’t see eye to eye on that issue. I may be Catholic of the CEO variety myself, but last I checked, the Pope still wore a funny hat and still opposed most of the Progressive Social Agenda.

      Posted by brett_l on 2007 05 30 at 02:07 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks for the Mitchum link, Paco.  Can you imagine the outrage towards anyone who came out today and said we ought to kill people who are trying to kill us.  Of course, the outrage wouldn’t be by Joe Doaks and family, but by the MSM, the anti-intellectual intellectuals, and celebrities who couldn’t carry water for Mitchum.

      As for this “national treasure” business:  the award is right down there with Pulizers, Nobel Peace Prizes, and the too many to count self-congratulating “awards” given by celebrities to other celebrities for accomplishing respiration (ignoring the obvious gorbal wormening consequences of exhalation, of course).

      Posted by saltydog on 2007 05 30 at 02:47 PM • permalink


    1. It’s weird, but his Billy the Rabbit CD is great.  Even the cartoons that go with it and the lyrics, in the little book.

      His trouble is publishing in newspapers, which in spite of it all demand that you believe them.

      (When people see something with their own eyes, and then read the opposite in the newspapers, they tend to believe the newspapers.  Derivatively from this, there is then revolt and derision, which is then what Leunig runs into.)

      Posted by rhhardin on 2007 05 30 at 03:09 PM • permalink


    1. #16: You’re welcome, Salty. I like Bob, and his portrayal of a PI in Out of the Past ( 1947) remains my all-time favorite vision of the ideal gumshoe.

      It’s up to the Australians, of course, but I’m wondering if it might not be more accurate to change the “National Treasures” list to the “Pyrite Gallery”.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 03:42 PM • permalink


    1. Now you’ve done it, Paco.  From now on, whenever I read the exploits of Detective Paco, I’m going to see and hear Robert Mitchum.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 05 30 at 03:58 PM • permalink


    1. #19: I certainly hope so! And see the movie, if you haven’t yet.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 04:08 PM • permalink


    1. That’s what the drunk said when Mongo rode into town: “Santa Maria!”

      And: Careful with those candles, Paco-me-lad. And stop ringing that damn bell.

      Posted by mojo on 2007 05 30 at 04:33 PM • permalink


    1. #11 Paco,  Thanks for the Robert Mitchum link.  He was one of my dad’s favorite actors so I remember seeing him in movies quite a bit growing up.  Would you believe I even considered naming my son, “Mitchum,” but that got vetoed by my husband.  I bet if hubby sees that video the name will definitely go back on our future baby name list.

      Posted by ladcraig on 2007 05 30 at 04:44 PM • permalink


    1. #19 & #22: Rebecca and ladcraig: Here’s a YouTube short from Out of the Past. Don’t watch the whole thing, though, unless you’ve already seen the movie; this is the last five minutes. It’s my favorite Bob Mitchum movie, and considered by experts to be one of the top film noirclassics.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 05:54 PM • permalink


    1. Even though this happened at University, there is much of this fuzzy type thinking in primary and secondary Catholic schools.  Many practising Catholics don’t even send their children to Catholic schools, an increasing number of parents prefer to homeschool instead.
      C.L., I love B.A. Santamaria.

      Posted by Flat High C on 2007 05 30 at 06:00 PM • permalink


    1. #23: I mean, is this Detective Paco, or what?

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 06:07 PM • permalink


    1. Dr Pinko can go penetrate himself.

      Posted by alien kiwi on 2007 05 30 at 06:07 PM • permalink


    1. A PhD from ACU?  Pardon while I yawn. ACU is not exactly in the front line of prestigious universities in Australia. It’s probably not even a ‘red brick’ university. Still, when you’re a third-rate uni you are confined to giving gongs to third-rate celebrities.

      Bob Santamaria – sadly missed.  I enjoyed his weekly radio and television talks. A style readily parodied – and it was. He was a fine example of substance over style.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2007 05 30 at 06:16 PM • permalink


    1. Re: BA Santamaria

      Still derided by the left as Reds Under the Bed Santamaria.

      Trouble is, they were under the bed and infested the unions as well. Fancy that.

      He spent his life cleaning them out or rendering them impotent. The Labor left still hate him cause he formed the Democratic Labor Party, which kept the ALP out of office for decades.

      For those unaware of BA, the link provided by C.L. is a good start.

      ACU has rendered it’s honorary doctorates valueless.

      As if honorary doctorates were ever worth a shit anyway.

      Peter Beattie has two.

      Posted by Pickles on 2007 05 30 at 06:29 PM • permalink


    1. #25 Paco, it most certainly is. And Sheila (hired because of her wonderful typing skills, one assumes), so helpful, too. Staff these days won’t light your cigarette for you, they just won’t.

      Now, about that dollar sign. Was it A. Rand I read claiming the ‘S’ (with two vertical strikes) was directly derived from the ‘U’ and ‘S’, United States. Nice story, if it’s true. Lefties want you to be ashamed of the dollar when it’s the greatest symbol of human freedom and endeavour there ever was.

      Posted by Dminor on 2007 05 30 at 06:37 PM • permalink


    1. paco, I was planning a trip to the video store over the long weekend. That Mitchum movie will be added to my search list.
      This, however, made my blood run cold:
      ACU National Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan
      A plague upon these accursed Sheehans! They’re worse than cane toads, spreading their toxins everywhere.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2007 05 30 at 06:58 PM • permalink


    1. Talk about Department of Redundancy Department.

      The original $ symbol (with two || marks) is actually based on the letter U placed over the letter S.  So the symbol for American currency is the initials for the name of the country itself.

      So what does U.$. mean?  United United States Dollar?

      Posted by Director on 2007 05 30 at 07:14 PM • permalink


    1. Nice to see that Australian Catholic Uuniversity remains steadfast in its pre-Vatican II Catholic worldview and continues to give succour to Jew-baiters.

      Ironically, when I taught there, most of the students in my class were Muslims from Malaysia and Indonesia, most of whom had bought their way in and wouldn’t have stood a chance at a real university.

      Maybe that explains the award to our Iran-friendly mate Leunig…?

      Posted by Apparatchik on 2007 05 30 at 07:34 PM • permalink


    1. Waving Leunig at me is like waving a red flag at a bull.

      ACU National Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Mr Leunig possessed the rare ability to demystify the human condition through his engaging cartoons, which were often challenging or thought-provoking, but always ultimately hopeful and positive.

      Wha?  The only thoughts I have can not be aired on such a respectable blog site as this.  As for demystifying, hopeful and positive.  Aaarrgghhh!

      It’s a bit like Caligula claiming his horse was a god.  Please tell me it’s not the decline of the Roman Empire in repeats …

      Posted by ann j on 2007 05 30 at 07:53 PM • permalink


    1. ‘most penetrating spiritual commentator’

      Come on you have to laugh at that, snigger.

      Posted by Nic on 2007 05 30 at 07:54 PM • permalink


    1. #12 C.L.

      I’m glad you said that. I might write a letter of protest to the ACU. To take one of your points, I know a nun who after some 40 years of relentless toil, being paid a pittance to work with Aborigines in remote areas, is giving it up to work in a slightly easier area, South African townships! My point is exactly as yours was, why give publicity seeking awards to someone like Leunig when there are plenty of other,more selfless candidates for some recognition out there?

      Posted by Nic on 2007 05 30 at 07:59 PM • permalink


    1. Dear ACU National Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO,

      I can’t draw or write either – can I have a pee haitch dee too please.

      P.S. can it be court mounted.

      Posted by Peter W on 2007 05 30 at 08:22 PM • permalink


    1. #30 SC: You’ll enjoy it, I guarantee. Lotta great dialogue.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 30 at 08:23 PM • permalink


    1. “most penetrating spiritual commentator” – Archbishop of Canterbury

      So Catholics are now taking their cue, and their taste, from the huggy-wuggy, not-sure-if-evil-exists or if the Resurrection-really-happened Anglicans.

      If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead He’d be spinning in his grave…

      Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2007 05 30 at 08:47 PM • permalink


    1. #27 – “A PhD from ACU?  Pardon while I yawn. ACU is not exactly in the front line of prestigious universities in Australia.”

      Indeed, 35th out of the 38 Australian universities in “Measures of International Standing” and a magnificent 37th out of 38 for “Quality of Academic Staff”. 11 Australian universities are rated in being in the world top 500. At an exponentially increasing rate ACU might scrape into the top million. See here.

      Posted by Whale Spinor on 2007 05 30 at 09:41 PM • permalink


    1. So I see Leunig got a job at ANU. Perhaps Loewenstein could get a job there. Then they could live happily ever after.

      Posted by The Best Infidel on 2007 05 30 at 11:32 PM • permalink


    1. The vast majority of Australian Honours seem to go to a lot of people (often public servants and military) who did an unremarkable job (usually just their job) but had the right connections.
      Ornery Doctorates are show biz. I was in the audience the night Robin Williams (the journo with science degree) got his last year from UNSW’s Science Faculty. Ian Kiernan got one the same night. The assembled academics on stage were as colourfully dressed as the cast of The Mikado. There must be an awfully long list of Ornerys by now, and many of them would not be missed.
      Robin & Ian took more interest and displayed more delight in the passing parade of new graduates than the faculty appeared to – no doubt the novelty wears off like the post-prandial ports.
      Leunig is about as spiritually penetrating as a lustful mullah. Waftily wilful and greatly overestimated by the poets of the press and the luvvie brigades. Like Dean “give ‘em hell” Mighell, he’s laughing all the way to the saloon bar.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2007 05 30 at 11:42 PM • permalink


    1. #25, paco

      What wonderful faces!  That picture’s a keeper.

      Mitchum had the voice to go with the face, too. I, too, recommend the movie.  Great noir.  Great photography.

      One of my favorite Mitchum movies is Heaven Loves Mr. Allison, a WWII flick about a Marine sergeant marooned on a Pacific island with Deborah Kerr (as a nun) which is subsequently taken by the Japanese.  Kerr is good, as usual, but Mitchum really carries the movie.

      I met him once in a Dallas cafe in the wee small hours.  He was three sheets, but laughed hardy when I told him I remembered him from Hoppy (that’s Hop-a-long Cassidy for the ignorant).  He was very nice and said I couldn’t possibly be old enough.

      A man’s man, fer sure.  Makes me nostalgic.

      Posted by saltydog on 2007 05 31 at 04:33 AM • permalink


    1. Catholics are going around in circles, if not spiralling downwards inwardly. Bureaucratically top heavy with left leaning influences at every level they lack serious intellectual clout and interest from a child’s first exposure through to the groups that run the parish meetings.

      Posted by Macosghair on 2007 05 31 at 05:54 AM • permalink


    1. #42 Salty: You. Met. Bob Mitchum? Did you touch the hem of his trench coat? Wow!

      I have seen the movie you mentioned, and it is, indeed, a good ‘un.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 31 at 08:29 AM • permalink


    1. #25—Strange.  This is the guy wuz callin’ himself ‘detective Paco’ at the Rusty Joint last nite…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 05 31 at 11:00 AM • permalink


    1. #45: Heh. So many imposters. And I have it on good authority that Detective Paco was nowhere near the Rusty Joint last night; he was at his usual table at Machado’s, interrogating a beautiful brunette over a couple of drinks (while, out of sheer nervousness, no doubt, she ran her stockinged foot up and down his shin).

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 31 at 11:06 AM • permalink


    1. “From his earliest days as a writer for radical press, to his current incarnation as a cartoonist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers…”

      He’s still with the radical press.

      Posted by scooper on 2007 05 31 at 11:24 AM • permalink


    1. Jane Greer: BABE!

      Posted by mojo on 2007 05 31 at 01:54 PM • permalink


    1. #44, Paco,

      Yes, I. Met. Bob. Mitchum.  I would have touched the hem of his trench coat, but he wasn’t wearing it at the time.  He was dressed casually.  My date and I did sit down, at his invitation!, and had a cuppa with him.  He was in Dallas visiting his equally soused friend.  They’d just closed down one of the neighborhood dives and was having breakfast.  One of the best encounters of my life, not just because he was one of my favorite stars, but because he didn’t disappoint me.  Let’s face it, in these days when so many are manufactured from the ground up on feet of clay, finding a genuine man was a treat.

      Posted by saltydog on 2007 05 31 at 05:14 PM • permalink


    1. #49 Salty: “Wow” is just so inadequate, but it’s all I can manage. BTW, there’s a Dick Cavett interview with Bob Mitchum that crops up on one of the cable channels from time to time. Well worth a look.

      Posted by paco on 2007 05 31 at 07:18 PM • permalink


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