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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Fitzsimons’

The Fitz Files, Gus, and Note 31 which becomes a Catch 22!

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on October 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

The Fitz Files  is entertaining to read, although it has a bit of the smart-alec tone.

Peter Fitzsimons, the writer, wants to astonish us with his wit and judgement. I am sure he wants us to laugh – and I often do. Every Saturday he ridicules, berates, lampoons and occasionally he gives a pat on the back.

The Red Bandanna Gang

It’s divide & ridicule! You either stand on his side admonishing some foolish profiled person – or you find yourself feeling the splash of the spray.

He seems to have that “you’re either with me or agin me” credo. A credo often surfacing in team sport.

Create a strong bond within the playing group – an unbreakable sense of duty to each other, potent emotional connections – and you have a powerful force. Some do this in ways that are inclusive and constructive. Others by exclusion, defining the entire rest of the world as a common enemy.

Fitz shepherds people into gangs that are out to own the morally high ground and to whip up indignation over anything he deems is deserving. Derision, outrage, and ridicule replace gang violence and street battles … but he does want you to join his gang.

In this weeks Fitz Files, Gus Gould is in the crosshairs. Here is the piece – Rabs! Gus! Your pokie rant’s a bit suss.

Which is interesting because Gus’ MO is very similar to Fitz’s – you’re one of us or you’re one of them.

His teams bond strongly.  They also develop a shared consciousness that the rest of the world is out to kill them.

Not just the opposing teams.

Anyone who is not pulling on a jersey. You’re either in the team or you are an enemy – enemies include administrators, accountants, boards, the sales teams, sponsors, events organisers, the media … you name it, if it can be a distraction, it is an enemy. There is a rich harvest for “motivation by seige”.

Of course by “team” I actually mean the more exclusive and restrictive modern sports entity  – “the playing group”. A concept undoubtedly developed because the “team” is far too inclusive … and far too restrictive when looking for enemies that can catalyse potent responses.

As I said, in the Fitz File world – you are either part of the lampooning and derision … or you are, by default, being lampooned or derided for not taking part. Gus has been “Fitzed”!

Gus can fight his own battles – very, very well. In a euphemistic nutshell, Fitz thinks Gus’ position as spokesperson on mandatory pre-commitment is imprudent and untenable. Undoubtedly Gus would disagree. It’s worthy of an argument I guess.

But, by firing bullets at Gus, Fitz also fires bullets at Panthers. He does this by a misleading and unfair misuse of numbers. This is how myth gets created. Fitz quotes Panthers 2010 Annual Report – creating a sense of credibility – what can he say, it’s Panthers own figures. So let’s look at the figures he uses:

2010 Revenue: $154m – Fitz Files got this right.

2010 Revenue from Poker Machines: $91m – another tick for Fitz.

2010 Profit/Loss: nearly $11m loss. The figure is correct. But the outrage from Fitz – “How on earth can this happen?” – is over the top. The losses are explained in the report and, and anyway, it is not unusual for businesses to post losses – even as high as around 7% of revenue. Especially when they have massive amounts allocated to depreciation.

Clearly, it is not good position … but “how on earth” can this be a jaw dropper given the information contained in the report.

And he doesn’t mention, of course, that these figures represent the aggregation of figures from 14 different venues across the state.

And then he comes out with this:

“What on earth falls under the $18.65m annual report entry “other expenses”.?”

I guess the red bandana momentarily slipped over his eyes and he did not see the “31” at the intersection of the row labeled “other expenses” and the column headed “Notes”. So, he did not look up Note 31 which lists 28 items that contributed to other expenses. Note 31 tells you “what on earth”, Fitzy.

He compares the percentage of “other expenses” with other clubs … but what he should be comparing is the item “other expenses” that appears in note 31 … that figure was $2.475m or 1.6% of revenue. Fitz’s figure had it at 12% of revenue. The exaggeration to create affect is only 650%.

Next he makes the amazing comment … amazing because he has already alluded to a big loss.

“And how come with all that moolah only $617,000 could be found for the juniors.”

Ahem! All that moolah!! Didn’t you just tell us they lost 11 million smackeroos? So, if losing money gives you heaps of moolah to spread around in acts of largesse, why would anyone worry about a GFC? Or stock market crashes. 

And your suggestion Fitz, would be to what?

Provide the juniors with $1.6m and post a $12m loss instead of an $11m loss. Geez, if that is so easy, why not give the juniors $50.6m? What’s an extra few mill between friends. I guess by your logic this will mean they have even more moolah to toss around.

You belted Panthers for making a loss and you belt them for not giving away more. That’s some catch that Catch 22! 

Maybe Panthers could have stopped the support for initiatives in the regions of Bathurst, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, or Albury and shift that “moolah” so the kids of Penrith benefit?

Jesus, how does Panthers get out of the iron grip of admonishment cast by someone whose arguments have the logical progession of the paradoxical works of M.C. Escher.

Ascending? Descending? Both - The Fitz Files in Art.

And it is not just Fitz who suffers from this …

Just about every argument about clubs these days has an extraordinary skew – almost to the point of being paradoxical. The skew mainly comes from looking at the revenue figures and treating them as profits.

If rational dialogue is to be had about the relevance of clubs in our communities, then this skewing has to stop. Any business needs to be modelled in a way that is sustainable and one that can be planned around – this can’t be done by creating myth.

Back to the Fitz attack:

Fitz, there is plenty of ammunition available to fire at Panthers. Why pull blanks and he dress it up as live ammo. I can’t understand it, there are exocet missiles just laying around waiting to be armed and launched.

Interestingly, again there is a similarity in the way Gus has approached the mandatory pre-commitment issue that has got under his skin enough for him to get under everyone else’s skin. Gus’ preference seems to be to throw rocks at the enemy. In this case those who advocate pre-commitment as a salve for problem gambling. Again, surprising because Gus is capable of delivering powerful and coherent argument. Instead he weakens his position by resorting to playing the man (and woman) instead of the issue of finding solutions for gamblers.

It would serve everyone better – especially problem gamblers – if commentators, these 2 included, examined the facts more carefully and toned down their exaggeration, personal attacks and histrionics.