File under ‘Conversation and the art of hate, The.’

It won’t shock you to know that we at CliScep are no great fans of the recent outpourings of a commentator by the name of Darrell Harb. If you haven’t encountered him at The Colliloquy lately, I envy you. If you have, you’ll know that his stock in trade these days seems to consist of infuriatingly-clueless “comebacks” to your best-crafted smart-alec remarks—the ones you put your whole, smart ass into (to paraphrase Homer Simpson when he was accused of doing a half-alecked job). That’s why, just the other day, I described Mr Harb as a “rising star of the dumb-alec commentariat.”

But there’s a morbid joke E.R. doctors like to tell: “Even a stopped stethoscope is right twice a day.”

I never really got it until today, when Harb, the author of countless so-stupid-they’re-inflammatory comments, took an admirably anti-inflammatory stand. You see, the editors at Konversazion Macht Frei had seen fit, in their impotent post-electoral rage, to adorn their latest pile of bull-Dyke with the following image…


…which, you’ll agree, is probably not the best invitation to a therapeutic national [I can’t say the next word without giggling] conversation. And Darrell Harb, to his partial redemption in the eyes of posterity, was having none of it:

Dear Conversation Art Department,

Burning Germaine Greer, even in effigy, sends the wrong message. I can certainly understand some feelings of resentment for the international feminist élite. It was their complacent triumphalism, after all, which cost us this election, allowing The Donald to sneak in via the Dewey-Truman Effect.

But some perspective, please:

  • who could possibly have foreseen that the appeal to Hope and [Gender] Change would backfire on us this time? Affirmative action worked like a charm in the ’08 race (no pun intended), didn’t it?
  • whatever bitterness we feel, the combustion of human beings in the public square is never the answer. Lest we forget, carbon emissions from the age of the auto da fe gave us Medieval Warming. Mercifully, the MWP was a strictly regional phenomenon confined to Christendom. But today, with post-election feelings running so high, do we really want to risk triggering a worldwide Climate Optimum?

Chapeau bas, Mr Harb. I couldn’t have said it differently myself.

Never let it be alleged that we at CliScep don’t give credit where it’s due.

PS: Just in case any Nonversation editors are reading this (and I know you are), see what I did at the top of this post? That’s how you choose art for a story!

Simply type an anodyne pun into Google Image Search, trawl a few pages of hits, and find that one piece of stock photography which perfectly evokes the keyword you had in mind. Then spend a couple of days in Photoshop removing the watermarks they always seem to plaster over their best images for some exasperating reason, et voilà! A professional-looking photograph your readers will think you paid top dollar for.

And the best part is: nobody gets burned.


  1. Brilliant clip, Ian. What powerhouse of innovation came up with it? Was it from a TED talk?

    Every newsroom on television should take note of that proof of concept. My brain found it so much easier to parse than the tired old single-stream model of communication. And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that my dog is now having a seizure.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think the likes of Dyke and Hulme are currently trying to work out how many beautiful boy’s fingers they need to stick in the cracks of their self delusions before the trickle becomes a flood. Poor Germain has had her ego dike breached already by being no platformed by the snowflake generation she helped mould. How rude is the awakening of an idealist.

    Why are these people allowed to be our nations philosophers when they clearly haven’t a clue? At least the pollsters have the excuse that the public are deliberately lying when asked. Hulme and Dyke have never bother ask. They asshulme.

    I watched the news and debate shows for the first significant time since Brexit and it was as bad as I suspected. All those know it alls fumbling around to explain it, alternating between ruefulness, anger and disbelief. Their conclusion half the time is that the public were lied to. NSS! The mistake is to assume the public a) don’t know it and b) wouldn’t prefer to choose an unfulfilled goal they like than a filled goal they don’t. Brexit was as much about British politicians failing in their promises to stand up to the EU as it was the EU’s desire to absorb everything. We don’t expect the dog to be any better behaved, we’ve just decided on a short leash.

    The number of times I’ve read comments from these people of the style ‘we need to frame this to appeal to right wingers/deplorables/Brexiteers/and everybody else bar a small clique of warmists/liberals/Democrats/bankers’. NO, They’ve got to start listening and then negotiating. They might think they constitute an irresitable force, but our impression of an immovable rock is far more authentic.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. We need to start framing climate as a matter of cancer prevention.

    We need to start framing climate as a matter of counter-terrorism.

    We need to start framing climate as a matter of earthquake preparedness.

    I share your nausea at these lies.

    But how can one compare them to the mother of all lies?

    ‘We need to start framing climate science as a matter of science.’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You forgot to put a play on the word “dam[n]” in there, Paul. But “ditch” was a nice touch!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “We need to start framing climate as …”

    Fundamentally they’re using playbooks that nobody ever worked out iwere successful or not. Too many people have been paid for encouraging things that would have happened anyway. Selling massive societal change isn’t the same as flogging a new soap powder, and people can be fairly cautious about that.

    I am reminded of a scene from Dr Who where David Tennant pushes the Great Big Threatening Button That Must Not Be Pushed Under Any Circumstances. It then turns out fine because as the doctor says ‘you can hypnotise someone to walk like a chicken or sing like Elvis but you can’t hypnotise them to death.’

    This bit of video has two important messages. Firstly, don’t push people in a position where they either have to surrender everything or press the button (like leaving the EU or vote for Trump) because they might just do it. Secondly you can’t hustle them into doing somthing they really don’t want to. The only way they will step off the economic high place to reduce CO2 is if they’re absolutely sure they have to. That won’t be done by reframing what they’ve already seen.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m too lazy to read the denialist playbook, I just Googled the denialist bullet points and then use denialist thinking stuff up on the spur of the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. But without having at least committed a denialist cheat-sheet to memory, how can you hope to know that, say, “10-4” is the “Fake Experts” play, while “187” means “Tobacco Strategy! Tobacco Strategy stat, dammit!”

    Climateball, like all sports, is war, and war is deception, and deception requires codes.

    Do you really expect the rest of us to… I don’t know… speak English, just for your benefit?

    Oh, all right.


  8. Was that meant to be an extra-camp Christmas Special or something, or is that what Doctor Who has…. turned into? I haven’t watched it in decades, but if that was representative, all the franchise needs now to shake off its sci-fi credentials once and for all is Benedict F____ing Cumberbatch

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dr Who’s for kids remember but the modern version has comedy subtext for adults. Tennant had recently played Casanova and this was his first full episide as the Dr. I expect he needed to separate the two images. I hate sci fi or fantasy that takes itself too seriously.

    Cumberbatch is fine too, so long as he’s reading other people’s words like in Cabin Pressure (comedy radio) or Sherlock. It’s when they start believing in their press that they offer their opinion. Like anyone gives a sod. They are entertainers, not thinkers. Though with Dyke and Hulme as examples I can see how they might find that the job didn’t have a very high bar. The anti Trump campaign was littlered with celebs all thinking that their support would help (BUT THEY LOVE ME!) The truth is, they actually harmed Hillary. They empasised what a wealthy, smug, out of touch circle she kept.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Slightly OT, but has anyone else spotted this?

    Breaking: 1920’s Brit ‘fatally infected’ All Government Climate Models

    Which contains this intriguing excerpt:

    ”In 1922 Richardson devised an innovative set of differential equations. His ingenious method is still used today in climate models. But unbeknown to Richardson he had inadvertently relied upon unchecked (and fatally flawed) numbers supplied by another well-known British scientist, W. H. Dines.”

    Unfortunately, for Richardson Dines wrongly factored in that earth’s climate is driven by terrestrial (ground) radiation as the only energy source, not the sun. Richardson had taken the Dines numbers on face value and did not detect the error when combining the Dines numbers to his own. Alker continues: “The archives show Richardson never double-checked the Dines work (see below) and the records do not show that anyone else has ever exposed it.”

    Which presumably at least partially explains the totally deranged belief by the AGW cult that “the Sun has no effect on the Earth’s temperature, it is purely driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions”.

    I just love this ‘settled science”!


  11. > Breaking: 1920’s Brit ‘fatally infected’ All Government Climate Models

    This guy sounds like the Henrietta Lacks of the non-biological non-sciences!

    > I just love this ‘settled science”!

    Synonyms for ‘settled science’ include ‘dead science,’ ‘ex-science’ and ‘formerly-expensive science that no longer needs a single researcher on payroll.’

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tiny,

    > Dr Who’s for kids remember but the modern version has comedy subtext for adults.

    Really? When I was a kid they wrote it for adults, but with comedy subtext for kids.

    Why do they have to keep messing with formulae that work? We’re not houseflies, dammit.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dr Who’s writing staff appears to have fallen victim to the pandemic of Shit Irony a.k.a. the Bloody Flux, whose cardinal symptom is an all-consuming, all-intruding obsession with the thought that someone might accidentally think you take your IP seriously. Note that this is roughly the opposite of the euironic condition (the one associated with healthy, non-shitful irony).

    None of this prevents me getting TinyCO2’s excellent point about the Big Threatening Button, however—nice allegory!


  14. Say whatever you like about JJ Abrams’ revival of Star Wars, at least it’s almost entirely innocent of the atrocity that is the knowing wink.

    Please note that if you say the wrong thing, you may incur penalties up to and exceeding the suspension of your CliScep commenting privileges from a tree until they are dead, dead, dead. Remember, free speech begins and ends with the freedom to be wrong about climate change.
    The Founding Fathers never envisioned, let alone intended, the abuse of their great constitutional legacy by loudmouthed Star Warsophobes. How could they? In their day, a light sabre was something used by light cavalry!


  15. I think Star Wars is at its best when it creates a good story with characters you want to spend time with and at its worst when it tries to preach about right and wrong. The early ones present a very simplistic picture of good and bad. The warmists make the same mistake. On paper we’re supposed to be the dark side but who would you rather hang out with Josh or Cook? Anthony Watts or ATTP? Which side has the most humanity? Dr Who makes the same mistakes and slips into preachy mode. Goodness should attract, not be slammed over your head until you surrender.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree, Tiny, but reach a different conclusion: the best (and least preachy) Star Wars movies are the most superficially simplistic, even childish, white-hat/black-hat ones… not the “This is how democracy dies: to bicameral applause in the Galactic Deliberative Assembly!” dreck.

    Kasdan’s and Abrams’ policy of acting as if that embarrassing second trilogy never happened is, if you ask me, the only possible way to make a third one. As a nation and as a planet, the healthiest thing for us to do—psychologically—is simply deny the existence of The Phantom Menace, Send In The Clones and Tears of a Clone.

    “Huh? Deny the existence of what?”

    Exactly. That’s the spirit.


  17. “simply deny the existence of The Phantom Menace, Send In The Clones and Tears of a Clone.”

    Did I mention them?


  18. I don’t think we disagree but I was thinking of Luke being the ‘white’ whereas Solo was ‘grey’. Solo was the likeable charater.

    I once read a series of books that played with the dark versus light conept where you come to realise that the light was the real evil because it held people to impossible standards and was far more brutal than the dark side. You start out cheering for the wrong side and then swap sides about half way though the series, along with the main character. Much better than most things I’ve seen on TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t think we disagree but I was thinking of Luke being the ‘white’ whereas Solo was ‘grey’. Solo was the likeable charater.

    Yep. But…

    A series of books…. better than the average TV show??

    I’m sorry, but I’m gonna need a cite for that. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who’d LOVE to see these magical “better than the Home Shopping Network” books you speak of. Call me skeptical…


  20. It’s a long time a go. I haven’t read anything much (or seen much TV and films for that matter) for decades. Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy it now? I’m proud to say I enjoyed fantasy and sci fi before it became fasionable. I tended to prefer charater driven stuff than the grand empire. I grew up on the radio series of Hitch Hikers. In my school hymn book I wrote DON’T PANIC in large friendly letters for exam stress. I always know where my towel is. I didn’t get the first editions of Terry Pratchet but I’d bought his first two books before the third came out. But I just stopped reading at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ah, but you can’t beat Michael Moorcock for sheer inventiveness, with his Eternal Champion existing in multiple guises, multiple times and multiple dimensions, being not good, not evil, but ever striving to make sense of and reconcile the eternal enmity between Law and Chaos in a multi-dimensional Universe. Darrell Harb is a bit like that, but not nearly so grand or poetic, or immanent.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The doctors say Darrell is already pre-immanent, though, so it won’t be long.


  23. He was in denial, too, Jaime, at first. But after consulting ninety-seven doctors, we’ve resigned ourselves to this.


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