Saturday salon 24/5


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

18 thoughts on “Saturday salon 24/5”

  1. Roy Morgan has done an analysis of consumer confidence by profession.

    Most confident are CEOs and managers, followed by food trade workers, then business, HR and marketing professionals, then sports and professional services workers, and ICT professionals.

    Least confident are farmers and farm managers, followed by factory process workers, then health and welfare support workers, cleaners and laundry workers, and machine and stationary plant workers.

    It’s a bit ironic, really. Farmers and farm managers are the least confident, whereas food trade workers are the second most confident, just after the capitalist bosses.

  2. Brian
    Perhaps a clue is the media outlet each profession is most likely to consume.
    Just a theory.
    Personally every time I consume ABC content I feel my confidence slipping away.

  3. Well jumpy, we had the Oz delivered today because the paper chucker made a mistake. If you are an LNP voter you may feel better reading the front page, but you would be seriously misled!

    The linked article actually goes through some of the reasons why those who are feeling good do so.

  4. Brian
    Never read the Australian, it’s never in the shop at 5am up here.
    I do keep an eye on AIGs indexes which give month to month activity in the construction, services and manufacturing sectors ( and breakdowns in each).
    Gives a good history and trend to base future ” confidence ” on.
    It’s pretty sad reading but informative.
    Construction particularly is depressing ( remember the 50 line separates expansion from contraction).
    The bottom graph of inputs costs and selling price over the last 4 years tell you the massive hole we’re in.

  5. @ 5, the other day I thought that since the software can’t count I’d change the settings to “4 or more” go in moderation.

    I’m delighted that it has worked!

  6. A few primary producers around here seem confident but I think that is probably out of unquestioning loyalty to The Party (right or wrong) and to The Leader (also, right or wrong) then again, it may be simply habitual. Others are battening down the hatches.

    Regardless of what criteria the economists use, the current situation has a lot of the features of how the Great Depression was described to me by those who went through it – not everyone lived a hand-to-mouth existence; some continued to live comfortably throughout the Depression. There are some uncanny similarities.

  7. Some things shouldn’t be allowed.

    After enjoying the first of the new series of Last Tango In Halifax on Saturday night, my wife told me that in future programs like that would not appear on the ABC as Foxtel has gazumpted the ABC in buying all the good stuff from the BBC.

    Last time I looked you had to pay an arm and a leg for all the crap on Foxtel and then pay extra for the good stuff.

  8. Brian @ 8,
    Yep. Everything except Dr. Who. I can’t exactly remember whether this deal was done under Labor or the Coalition, but I think it was the Coalition. I recall that when I first heard of it months ago I thought there was no point writing to Barnaby Joyce about it as he wouldn’t do anything. If Windsor had been our local member he would’ve been right on it. The decision was actually the BBC’s international arm. Foxtel just outbid the ABC. The ABC’s defence was they’ll still be broadcasting ITV free to air. The rot begins in August. Foxtel is supposed to be opening a special BBC channel without ads.
    We should have a cultural anti-siphoning law just as we have a sports anti-siphoning law. Fat chance under either Labor or Liberal as they’re both terrified of Murdoch. This is clearly part of Murdoch’s plan to gut the ABC.

  9. Zoot, surely Channel BT isn’t one of the DCTV channels, is it? (DCTV is the slang term applied to all the new dumb-bunny channels that are now clogging up free-to-air TV).
    Pay TV? It wasn’t too bad way back in the late ’90s – but nowadays they would have to PAY ME to watch it. Probably done wonders for libraries and book-sellers as well as driving thousands onto the internet or out into parks.

  10. Here’s one TV cliche I truly hate: A sitcom character goes into a travel agents or has a job interview and within minutes has the other person getting overtly, ludicrously stressed at the idiocy of the sitcom character. So much so that they start weeping at some point. Witness George Baker in Some Mothers Do Ave Em, who in no time at all is driven mad – yes, mad – because Frank Spencer is laughably doltish. John Junkin in that Marty Feldman travel agents sketch is another. Starts ripping up paper and laughing. What is that all about? The problem with this overreacting is that because you wonder what you’d be like in that position (and realise you wouldn’t be like that at all) you then start thinking “But the comic character wasn’t *that* bad”, when the writers clearly want us to think they were. Minor exasperation is fine, wincing perhaps, but a super-rapid descent into insanity is just so unrealistic!

  11. Brian,
    Finally finished Christopher Clark’s The Iron Kingdom. I liked it but I think it is one of those history books you admire, rather than enjoy. Most impressed by Frederick William IV, who I knew little if anything about.

    About to start Richard Pipes’s Russia under the Old Regime.

  12. Paul you mean this one:

    Frederick William IV, a plump, plain, unmilitary man who was known a ‘fatty flounder’ to his siblings and close friends, was the least physically charismatic individual to occupy the Hohernzollern throne since the reign of the first king. (p448)

    He was the one satirised on p 449 as Puss-in-boots trying to walk in the footsteps of Frederick the Great while tipsy.

    He did stop the silly nonsense of persecuting the Lutherans, but there was an astonishing carry-on towards the end of the 1840s when he wanted money to build railroads and the people wanted democracy. I suppose in the end he did show astonishing bravery and pragmatism.

    I was quite impressed with his dad, FW III, who people derogated as dull and a family man, but with his ministers he did a lot to modernise the joint. But then he did go nuts over his desire to bring the Lutherans and Calvinists together.

  13. Paul, I see what you mean about admiring rather than enjoying. I enjoyed the subject matter, but there was masses more detail than I needed for much of the time. I was staggered at the research he must have done.

  14. PB and BB; That it was often a three-way brawl among Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists in the German lands is usually overlooked and the simplistic Catholics vs. Protestants model is preferred (because it doesn’t strain the brain, I suppose). Yet a similar three-way tussle was normal in the English-speaking lands too..

    PBMA @ 12: It’s the whole formulaic staleness of TV shows and Hollywood movies now that has turned me right off bothering to watch them – even the surprises and twists in the plots are predictable. The acting isn’t so much wooden as chipboard. Wonder if the scripts come out of a buzzword generator and the direction is done by modified household robots?

  15. Graham, I was referring to Frederick William III’s push to create a Prussian Union church to replace the Lutheran and Calvinists in Prussia. He initiated this in 1817 and increased the pressure in the 1820s as the Lutherans were about to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the Augsburg Confession of 1530. The pressure increased in the 1830s when people started to leave for Australia, the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

    As I wrote elsewhere:

    Not mentioned by Clark, the first group of Lutheran refugees was led by Pastor August Klavel, assisted by George Fife Angas who founded the South Australian Company with the purpose of establishing the Colony of South Australia. The colony was formally established by a law enacted in 1836 the same year Colonel Light picked out and surveyed Adelaide and settlers began to arrive. The first of Klavel’s group, from the village of Klemzig in the eastern part of Brandenburg, arrived on 21 November 1838, so the Germans were very much there at the beginnings of the new colony.

    FW III actually died in 1840 to be replaced by his son Frederick William IV who took a softer line, granting a general amnesty in 1845, and giving the Lutherans the right to constitute themselves autonomously within Prussia.

    My great grandparents both emigrated from different parts of Prussia in the late 1840s when the religious pressure was off somewhat, but the path was well-worn.

  16. Brian,
    Still, FW IV rang some sort of chord.
    Enjoyed the analysis of the influence of Hegel. (Many years ago a friend of mine who was a lecturer in German gave me Hegel’s Philosophy of World History – can’t recall the correct title – to read, claiming it was essential reading for anyone who wanted to study history. Way back then I was a first year wet behind the years despite being a bit of an autodidact, so I took him at his word and ploughed through the thing, though I found much of it confusing and confused to say the least. After I finished the book, he told me he didn’t mean me to read the book; he’d given it to me as a joke.)
    Among many other things I much enjoyed the tale of the con-man Friedrich Wilhelm Voigt.

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