The Perception of Excellence

Today’s Guest Poster is Jaycee, with another acerbic take on politics and meeja Oz-style in these strange times. To explain the lead picture (not, unfortunately, one of Jaycee’s OH) – Jaycee’s OH shows Hanoverian horses, with Jaycee as strapper, stable lad, and Mellors (his words, not mine …).

Perceptive Pubsters will be aware that Jaycee posted this as a comment earlier today. I thought it excellent, and asked permission to republish as a thread-starter. Jaycee kindly agreed, so – once again – many thanks, Jaycee, for another thought-provoking piece.

(Image Credit: Equestrian Life)

Something interesting came to my attention over the weekend. I was assisting my partner at an equestrian event where she competed in several classes with her two horses. She is a good rider, and I have been her strapper and video recorder for around a dozen years…so both she and, even more so, I have been able to assess the standard of rider opposition and judging levels over those years.

Of course, as everybody who rides horses knows, it can all come down to “the horse on the day”, but there are consistencies and they are the judging criteria that make or break the ride. These criteria are the ones handed down from eons ago using a set of standards of excellence for each level of competition. These standards evolved from centuries of cavalry manoeuvres required to keep a squadron of horses manageable in a battle situation. I hardly need tell you what sort of discipline THAT would require! Of course, such “hard core” training has been eased somewhat to accommodate the use of sporting horses in a social day out.

But … a strange realisation came to me this past weekend. My partner had competed in two events at the same competency level, with the same horse, same competitors, and with me observing. As I have said , I’ve been watching these competitions for around a dozen years and am not deluded enough to “gild the lily” on my partner’s behalf, so I was surprised when she came in second-last in one event and second place in the other! – with little discernible difference in performance in both rides, but with two different judges.

If you Google “Methods of training for horse riding”, you will come up with a plethora of individual styles, from “Rough-riding” to ‘Touch-therapy’ for horses. I won’t go into it – for my real purpose in this missive is to discuss ‘Perceptions vs. Standards of excellence”. Sufficient to say that, along with the creeping in of many and various breeds of horses, some quite unsuitable for the competitions they are entered into, along with the many and varied styles of training and riding of competition horses, has come softly, slowly , with a generational change, the “sympathetic” assessment of horsemanship down from a set standard of excellence to more of a perception of excellence. So, while both the horse and rider may be exhibiting those moments of in-the-frame composition, both have not been brought there by setting the solid / correct foundations to create that frame, but have been confected to behave as if has been trained thoroughly in horsemanship skills

This confected perception of excellence has permeated through many branches and skills of our society, from excellence in manufacture, to science and medicine, to management, to politics. It has damaged our society and left it vulnerable to persuasive propaganda that shifts opinions and sways decisions on little more than false-reality instant gratification.

(Image Credit: Modern Analyst)

Self-esteem is everything in our society … no-one is a loser. Sure, there are many ways of skinning a cat, but in some things, near enough is NOT good enough, and you can’t get away with “fake it till you make it”. In my trade, building, structure is everything, and it is too late and too dangerous to get wisdom in hindsight. There are standards of excellence. In lens-polishing, for instance, a milli-point or two from perfect would be disastrous. As in any demanding profession, there ARE set standards of excellence that MUST be adhered to for success to be achieved. We cannot let these slip, yet that is exactly what has happened in our politics, in our parliament – and the judges of those standards have foolishly let themselves be persuaded that it was THEY who had “got it right” when they allowed the outrageous destruction of House Procedures to slide into the mire of LNP corruption that is the present government.

Like those sympathies that have corrupted the set standards of excellence in many skills, the MSM Press Gallery journalists were spoon-fed, in small increments over a long period of time, the perception that Labor were incompetent, even though they had moved swiftly to alleviate the hardships of the GFC,

(Image Credit: Peter Martin)

not to mention the collapse of Storm Financial Limited, moved on climate change legislation, tried to apply regional refugee solutions. Then there was the NDIS,

(Image Credit: Alex Ellinghausen)

the NBN,

and all the rest.

But somehow, all the press-gallery could see was “leadership, leadership, leadership” … Why? Because the moguls who owned them told them so, the LNP press releases told them nothing more, their own egos sought to be the “first with the latest” … In short, they reported Labor as a lost cause because of a mistake with their perception of excellence, and reported the Abbott opposition as the best thing since sliced bread, in spite of his many quite glaring and ghastly failings. Because of their failure to report with the standard of excellence – once the cornerstone of their job-skill – their stupidity and gullibility is now written in Australian history.

This dangerous twisting awry of what is required to make an action standard best practice to accepting an action as perceived best practice has leeched into the electorate and allowed the lie of the “motherhood” statement to be accepted as a near-enough perception of done-deed. Thus, the LNP’s “200 policies costed and ready to go” and “We will bring the ‘out-of-control’ budget back in the black by 2016″…were embraced as actual policy. promised and delivered …

Or should I say, Perceived as delivered?

The electorate, by allowing its self-esteem to be stroked and massaged in this way, has given away democracy for the price of a couple of magic beans. Someone is going to have to tell them that fairy-tales do not come true: magic does not happen, God does not save little children from drowning, and economic rationalism is not going to deliver a better standard of living …

But with this whole-hearted and utterly deluded embracing of a perception of excellence, it is going to be a bloody difficult job!

(Image Credit: Grabzon)

879 thoughts on “The Perception of Excellence

  1. LeoneTwo @ 8:10pm
    So that might imply that a certain member of parliament started his career by working out how to rort the system.
    Interesting!

  2. Something that has gone without notice –
    In the 43rd parliament the independents Windsor and Oakeshott always voted in favour of an SSO because they said they did not want to stifle debate. That did not mean they supported whatever motion the suspension of standing orders would allow.

    Today independents Wilkie and McGowan voted ‘No’ with the government on Burke’s SSO motion, voting to stifle debate. Adam Bandt voted with Labor.

  3. The Abbotts have been rorting here for decades. First grandpappy Abbott, then Abbott’s dad, then Abbott himself. I wonder if the girls will find a way to carry on the family tradition.

  4. leonetwo

    The “log cabin” story about promising to become a Catholic if they survived their chicken run from Ingurland is a total larf.

  5. Grandpappy Abbott brought his family – including son Richard, Tony’s dad – to Australia to escape WWII. At the same time our fathers, grandfathers and uncles were going to Britain to fight for the poms.

    Richard joined the RAAF as soon as he was old enough but did not go overseas. After the war he trained in dentistry at Sydney Uni, using his war service grant, so it was at taxpayers expense. He then took his new skills back to the UK to become wealthy.

    Eventually he married Aussie-born Faye, produced Tony and they decided to return to Australia as assisted immigrants aka ten-quid poms. Rorting again. Rorting is in the Abbott DNA.

  6. Not to mention that a Rhodes scholar has to be a single and hence feck off to pregnant girl friend.

    Ditto if your manifest destiny is being a Catholic priest Pope ….

  7. Contrast PMJG’s Dad. The family came over here from Wales and he worked his guts out looking after the mentally-ill, sent his kids to public schools, and these kids went to university and contributed to this country. One is a family of contributors, the other…make up your own mind.

  8. Leone,

    I wonder if the girls will find a way to carry on the family tradition.

    Don’t Fridget and Brances already have their elegant noses well into the trough?

    I will exclude Lulu pro tem.

  9. Leone,

    Today independents Wilkie and McGowan voted ‘No’ with the government on Burke’s SSO motion, voting to stifle debate.

    Sorry, Leone – my Nurse Ratchett duties preclude me from rushing up to PM to administer anti-surprise medication to you.

  10. Fiona
    I suppose those snouts are firmly in the trough. Frances is studying for her Masters in fashion design (surely that goes against daddy’s ideal of degrees only being awarded for serious stuff) in Melbourne, so she would be on the living away from home rate of austudy. Bridget is taking a year off to travel, I suppose we are paying for that too via daddy’s salary.

  11. Puffy,

    Contrast PMJG’s Dad.

    Not to mention FPMJG’s mum, who worked as a cook in a nursing home for pretty much all of FPMJG’s childhood. As FPMJG said, wtte, she had a lot of surrogate grandparenting in those years.

    It is so sad to contrast the considered, sane, humanity of 2010-2013 with the childish vindictive spite of now.

  12. I don’t need no anti-surprise medication but there are a lot of upset tweeters who could use some. They seem to believe that ‘independent’ means ‘Labor supporter’. It doesn’t. Wilkie has always been a Liberal stooge, old habits die hard Ms McGowan is more National Party than independent.

  13. I think what we’re seeing here is the MSM desperately searching around for a way to sell this schemozzle as a positive for the LNP. They can’t work out whether to ignore it, dismiss it, fight back, misreport it or something else. If they haven’t got a triumphant line six hours later, that usually means it’s a massive win to the ALP.

    I used to enjoy watching Sky News floundering about in their search for positives whenever some good news came along in the Gillard era.

  14. This little black duck

    Tony Abbott, the man bought influence for a Scholarship.

    I went to one of those schools that went in for Rodent Scholar shite. It was all about having the right patronage. Let alone any public school knowing or giving a shit about it. Most of the quals for it have nothing to do with academic ability. Exhibit A Anthony Abbott.

  15. For the two of you who are interested in Igor Stravinsky, I have just bought and received 22 CDs of his works for $68.

    Make that one.

  16. Leone,

    Just now I’m having so much fun flourishing moi’s riding crop and threatening patient with walking out on her if I catch her walking around the house without her highly-necessary surgical boots plus appropriate support gear – elbow crutches for “downstairs”, walking frame when in her bedroom suite.

    However, I think that – at last – I’ve impressed upon her how fkng stupid she would be to at least set back her recovery, at most cause serious damage, if she doesn’t do as she’s told.

    I make a great Nurse Ratched …

  17. I think what we’re seeing here is the MSM desperately searching around for a way to sell this schemozzle as a positive

    Aguirre….If I was to paint a metaphor on the evasive behaviour of the MSM. I would view it as someone who got awfully drunk / drugged one party night and woke up in the morning with an exploding head, some plug-ugly snoring beast in bed next to them and only the most ghastly bits and pieces of flashback memory reminding them how they got into this position!

    Then when sobriety comes creeping back, so does the denial!

  18. “For the two of you who are interested in Igor Stravinsky…” Ducky, I’m interested in Stravinsky….which footy team did he win the Brownlow with?

  19. Broombitch may stay as Speaker but she has lost credibility today and will never regain it.

    The Budget session will start with another attack on her.

  20. Fiona
    Riding crop? Should that be ‘Mistress Ratchett’?

    Speaking of footwear, here’s an idle thought.

    Broomhilda favours footwear more suited to a young woman – platform soles, peep toes, sling backs, very high heels – all on the same shoe, and very risky for a woman her age. Like these – yes, this is really Madame Speaker –


    Madame Speaker has a red pair like these too, she seems very fond of them at the moment.

    Anyways – if she persists with such unsuitable footwear it won’t be long before she has a serious fall and does some serious damage to herself. I’m sure this thought has occurred to many in her party who would like to be rid of her. Just saying……

  21. jeebus,
    Those shoes must hurt like hell. I used to wear an elegant 4inch heel but nowadays my toes and ball of foot scream at anything over an inch.

  22. Leone,

    The press did show some from the side of the Speaker. NOT flattering about her nethers.

  23. Perhaps the reason Madame Speaker always looks so nasty is because her feet hurt. Those ‘smiles’ at Pyne and The Idiot are nothing more than grimaces. I wonder if she slips her shoes off while she’s in the chair?

  24. Leone,

    Maddame Speaker does do hurt. She is the fawn of Peta’s benevolence.

    She also, bene Porky Pyne, has become upon the altar of the Liebrals expediency.

  25. The Liebrals are in a cleft stick with their current Speaker.

    They know she will cop heaps in the Budget session and cannot “lose” her without loss of face

  26. Many years ago I galloped around Melbourne’s CBD from this settlement to that consultation wearing the wickedest of high heels.

    They still reside in a suitcase on top of my wardrobe.

    I will never – willingly – wear them again. What’s more important, Darling Daughter’s shoe size exceeded mine when she was approximately eight.

    The NGV? A local school? The rubbish bin?

  27. Probably these are the closest. (sigh) The women of our family are lucky enough to inherit ‘dancers’ feet.’ 🙂

    Except for one of my sisters. She is a throwback to an Aunt who could hoist a heifer over each shoulder and kick a bale of oats along in front of her. Sis has the sweetest nature, unlike moi.

  28. Sis could wring Abbott’s neck without taking a breath, but she is too nice to hurt a fly. She works in aged care and a lot of her clients are at the end of their story. Often the ungrateful families don’t even tell her when the funeral is to be held, when she has been the only one going out to look after their rellie at home. (rural victoria).

  29. The current kerfuffle surrounding Bishop the Elder needs to be resolved……pdq. There is only one, and I mean only one, way this is going to happen.

    We need a Californian Poppy favouring, black silk shirt and tight white britches wearing, swarthy looking lothario, whose gold teeth would put the most pretentious of rats to shame, to sweep into the chamber and do some serious feet sweeping and eloping.

    To my great pique I’m crook and can’t help.

    I’m sure between them BK, tlbd, scorps, barryk, jaycee, ckwatt, j6p, bushfire, ctar1 could muster up a fitting starter.

    Gentlemen……..your duty is clear

    Your country awaits.

  30. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    PS contraction in NSW.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/barry-ofarrell-to-outsource-thousands-of-jobs-20140327-35lr9.html
    Mark Kenny on Abbott’s shocker of a fortnight.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-prebudget-fortnight-of-blunders-and-stuffups-20140327-zqnkm.html
    Kristina seemed to relish her day at ICAC.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/kristina-keneally-shows-shes-no-powder-puff-20140327-35lrp.html
    Gutless, gormless Pell refuses to look Ellis in the eye.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/george-pell-apologises-to-john-ellis-but-is-unable-to-look-him-in-the-eye-20140327-35lqi.html
    Brandis has had a good couple of week too.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-race-change-draws-ire-from-state-liberals-20140327-35lri.html
    Tony Wright on the no confidence motion.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/a-biased-speaker-or-a-bunch-of-sooks-labor-outrage-divides-the-house-20140327-35l7b.html
    An excellent piece from Waleed Aly on the discrimination legislation proposals.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/george-brandis-racial-discrimination-act-changes-create-the-whitest-piece-of-proposed-legislation-ive-encountered-20140327-zqnea.html
    Richard Ackland piles into Pell and his legal team. A good exposure of the power and incisiveness of Commissioner Peter McClellan.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/questionable-ethics-of-cardinal-pells-lawyers-go-under-microscope-20140327-zqnnj.html
    Here’s David Marr’s take on Pell’s appearance.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/27/mystery-george-pell-ignorance-abuse
    David Pope having some fun with Knights and Dames.

    And so does Ron Tandberg.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/ron-tandberg-20090910-fixc.html
    MUST SEE! Alan Moir callout Popeye Abbott.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20090907-fdxk.html
    Cathy Wilcox on anti-vaxxers.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/cathy-wilcox-20090909-fhd6.html
    David Rowe with Murdoch’s Game of Thrones.
    http://www.afr.com/p/national/cartoon_gallery_david_rowe_1g8WHy9urgOIQrWQ0IrkdO

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