No matter how many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of words have been written or spoken about this woman and her history of immoderate extravagance, there is no “sniff test”, no “pub test”, no context one need put it in, no perspective to be applied, there is only this, and always has been only this ….
“You spent $5000 bucks chartering a fucking helicopter to go a ninety minute car drive because you were late to a fete? OH, DO FUCK OFF, YOU STUPID FUCKING CLOWN!”
If only that were the headline the first time, and for the few days after, we would not have had to endure the last three weeks of front page photographs and footage of the woman, looking like The Joker playing Cruella deVille in a bawdy vaudeville pantomime – “Bite your pillow Australia, I’M STRAPPIN’ ON AND GOIN’ IN DRY!”
“BOOOOOOO!” the audience respond and recoil in unison. Some even flee the theatre.
A few weeks before all these shenanigans, the host of ABC News Breakfast interviews former Liberal leader John Hewson on various things, and asks Hewson if he is disappointed, if he despairs, the current level of policy debate and discussion in politics, its lack of substance.
Hewson replies that he does, and that he has observed its slow and steady degradation over the past twenty years or so, and I think to myself, “Yes, I too have noticed”.
Not too long before this, Creepy Rupert’s stable of News Corp arse-rags were all a-flutter with excitement that Federal Opposition Leader, Mr Brown Paper-Bag, had been summoned before a Royal Commission into something-something unions and asked questions on matters nobody but they seemed to give a flying fuck about, a matter that has since incuriously and understandably disappeared from the news cycle to make way for all these lurid tales of the aforementioned old bat Bronwyn and her ratty delusions of aristocratic grandeur.
And while Mr. Paper-Bag’s Royal Commission appearance provided the work experience folk at the Photoshop and Pun Departments of Rupert’s papers oodles of jolly good fun for a day or two, a rather subdued announcement was made at that same time that a whopping great open-cut coal mine is to be constructed on a food bowl, and I think to myself, “Are you fucking kidding me? Really?”
Our Prime Minion also declared war on “wind” a while back, but unfortunately for the rest of us, the opening salvo in this war on wind would not consist of blowing his and Joe Hockey’s head off with an air rifle.
Tony got the shits with windmills, and he’d like the rest of us to have the shits with them too.
Jesus H. Christ.
Imagine a run-down, dilapidated amusement park.
In that park is an out-of-control carousel, spinning and spinning and spinning, careening this way and then that, a kaleidoscopic frenzy of speed, tawdry colours and bright lights, and on that carousel are the cast of inmates from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, all of them drunk or off their medications and whooping it up something wild, hanging on to their horses for dear life, laughing, screaming, waving their arms, the organ music’s at max volume and it’s always out of tune.
Welcome to Australian politics.
Each day, it lurches from deliriously, impenetrably weird to full-blown shrill psychosis and back again; one moment it sits quietly in a corner cackling to itself in a warm puddle of its own pee, and the next it’s flinging it’s poo at anyone and everyone in sight, barking at shadows, hollerin’ batshit crazy things at random passers-by, it’s where “Medication Time” never comes, never has and never will, for there are no pills for this.
Waleed Aly writes a column in Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald, observing …
“Labor refuses to prosecute a difficult argument. The Coalition cannot prosecute one without finding an enemy to prosecute along with it. But no one is inviting us into a civil exchange. Perhaps with our instant online outrage and shallowing media cycle we’re not the best guests. Sure, I’ll accept that. But politicians aren’t merely self-interested combatants. They’re custodians of our political culture. And on that score there’s a problem because it’s never been easier to win politically by destroying politics.”
Aly notes that “Our disillusionment with politics is now complete”.
When 70% of Australians polled think leaders of both major political parties are about as useful as a couple eunuchs in a flophouse; when only 8% of Australians get their news from traditional print media, and almost 50% of those do not trust that media; and when the influence of this media is so rapidly declining that its public persuasion factor is almost nil, one may be more inclined to think that it not so much disillusionment with politics, but outright contempt, and a large, sloppy return serve of it to those in government and media who regularly see fit to regard the Australian public with same.
As Rodney Tiffen noted in his Inside Story article from June …
“ … the main medium that picks up on the tabloids’ coverage is commercial talkback radio, which then amplifies the papers’ sense of outrage even further. It should be remembered, though, that their elderly listeners are quite similar to the readers of the tabloid newspapers. Together, the two media form a self-aggrandising and self-referential noise machine, and their volume and bluster should not be mistaken for outreach.”
Tiffen goes on to add …
” … there is an increasing sense of editorial desperation among the Murdoch papers as their commercial plight worsens. Like a one-trick pony, they try ever-bigger versions of the old sensationalist ploys. Politically, the result is even less willingness to report fairly on parties and views they don’t support. Where there was once a populist touch, now there is just a grinding predictability. Where there was once a profitable balance between sensationalism and credibility, now the confected outrage and the beat-ups rarely hit home.”
None of these trends and statistics come as any surprise, for they perfectly reflect my own attitudes toward politics as it is played today, and those in the media who “report” on it, and confirm that I am, most definitely, not alone.
Which begs the question – Who are these people writing for?
Themselves and each other.
And the politicians who still think we’re paying attention to what these alleged “influential” columnists and “opinion-makers” have to say.
As Hadas Gold and Michael Hirsh noted in Politico last year …
“The combination of hyper-polarization and social-media frenzy has created a situation where it seems every spin-meister’s message and TV ad is exaggerated to such absurd lengths that they’ve effectively become meaningless—especially because they’re addressing audiences that are either (a) already fully committed on one side or the other, a choir that doesn’t need preaching to or (b) such sophisticated users of social media that they just don’t buy the crap any more.”
Nobody need read an entire column by anyone in (as Tiffen describes them) “our media’s stable of largely interchangeable and wholly predictable columnists” to know which way they’re whistling and how goes the tune. The headline, the byline, a quick glance at content, reliably daffy keywords are guaranteed to crop up every time, repeatedly, like “leftist” (whatever the fuck that means), and you’re done.
I have often wondered of these so-called “commentators”, the likes of Paul Sheehan or Andrew Bolt or Janet Albrechtson, precisely who they think the fuck they are that their opinions are supposed to matter to anyone who’s not already going to agree with them on a thing, because those who don’t never will.
My opinion on a thing is not fed by the opinions on that thing of others, but by facts, reportage, statistics, peer-reviewed, certified, actual information. WHAT. WE. KNOW.
When Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz writes a column for Fairfax Media all a-frettin’ and a’fearin’ on the certain moral delinquency that shall arise in the wake of marriage equality (should it ever come to pass), not only shall I not read it, I shall also be inclined to briefly despair at the state of a media whose dearth of talent is such these days, that it would choose to publish such shit.
Or when the likes of Rowan Dean are given space anywhere in a nation’s mainstream press media to air their simple-minded and insubstantive sniggerings, or former political parrots Amanda Vanstone or Peter Reith in The Sydney Morning Herald, and don’t even get me started on Maurice “You Can Call Me The Space Cowboy” Newman in the “The Australian”, not paying attention becomes mandatory.
When “the politics of policy” matters more than the policy to the players, when it becomes nothing but an unending bellowing ululation of frenzied irrationality and fear, when criticism becomes treason, when the tactics are always dirty and the umpire’s always on the make, the audience stop listening, the game is rigged and we know it, it’s a sting, a gyp, a monkeyshines hustle, we know when we’re being diddled and played for patsies and we just ain’t buyin’ this crap no more.
“The Abbott government’s failure to implement so many of its own pre-election promises has contributed to a perception of it as an inefficient government. It has also experienced some very public reversals and botches on policy, including the Medicare co-payment, delaying payments for unemployed young people, cuts to the age pension, race discrimination law, jobseekers applying for 40 jobs a month, deregulation of higher education, and Tony Abbott’s signature paid parental leave policy.” – Sally Young, The Sydney Morning Herald
We do not perceive these things in the context and perspective from which our politicians and their pimps and panders in the mainstream press would like us to, we perceive them in the context and perspectives of our lives as we live them, and as we know others do, and the perception has lead us, has led a great many, to the conclusion that this government is shit, and there ain’t nothin’ no-one can do or say that will change that as long they continue to keep proving it to us every day by carrying like a pack of full-retard fuckwits.
Goodnight and good luck.
The above image was auto-generated based upon Facebook information, and you can get your very own front page here. I must say when mine turned up, I did laugh. Aloud.