(Above: what an unhappy looking man. Anyone up for a reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray?)
Every so often, with a mind numbing sense of unendurable déjà vu, it's possible to observe the pompous prattling Gerard Henderson returning to the scene of a previous column - yea verily, it has to be said, in the way of a dog returning to its upchuck.
Of course we have the bible to thank for the popularity of this particular phrase, as featured in Proverbs 26:11:
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
To which I guess we can add a corollary - as a Henderson returneth to old columns, so his fools of readers return for a cold second serve.
As the pond is a faithful fool, it naturally looked up MPs ignore job needs of the less educated, printed way back on July 20, 2010, and there it all was. The need of employers to screw young people, especially in the hospitality industry, written from the great and remote height of someone - we're guessing an inner city tertiary educated elitist - who's never actually had to serve a meal in his life ....
And that's just one example amongst many. Flash forward to today and we cop Long-term unemployed pay the price for Labor's regulation and there it all is again, laid out in all the same gory, indecorous detail as a dog's you know what ... the need of employers to screw young people in the workplace, as a reward for giving them a crappy job, finding out that they're a hopeless member of the lumpenproletariat and sacking them without a by your leave ... All care, no responsibility, done and dusted, oh and we pay absolute minimum for two hours work, and if you don't like it, bugger off ...
It's all so utterly tedious - and did I repeat repetitive - that not even a reference to the way the Greens caterer to the self-satisifed inner-city educated class could lift an ailing spirit ...
Oh sure there are also references to academics and journalists being cheerleaders for a dash of regulation, and evil trade unions, but tragically Henderson has failed to sheet home the blame to where it belongs ... the cardigan wearers at the ABC.
Frankly there came an urge to fall into a deep, dark blissful sleep, right about the point that Henderson revealed he too was once a cardigan wearer back in the early nineteen eighties in the department of industrial relations, before heading on to his later career ... shedding crocodile tears about the long term unemployed. We could eat them for lunch, the crocodile moans, if only we was allowed ...
But speaking of the tertiary educated elite, or at least a rag which pitches its charms to the old A-B demographic, The Australian is today in full fine tabloid howling rage, and as usual we turn to the anonymous editorialist for the full blown comedy carnivàle act:
The Greens are inside the political tent now and, along with Labor, they must take responsibility for policy. Time indeed to stop blaming the shock jocks and start listening to voters -- and talkback radio.
Start listening to talkback radio? Start listening to Alan Jones, perhaps in the expectation that he'll finally explain what did happen in that public lavatory in London's West End way back in December 1988? (here for the wiki of Jones' controversies).
Tune in to a revivified John Laws still making cheap racist jokes?
I remember my friend Ron Casey ... he was taken off the air from 2KY for a week because he said the problem with Asian drivers was they didn’t have any peripheral vision, and of course if you look at the shape of the eyes of Asian people he may well have a fact. I don’t know that it’s ever been proved, maybe we should ring an eye specialist and ask is that true... — 2SM Sydney, The John Laws Show, 1st March, 2011 (courtesy Media Watch, here).
It isn't of course, it's just part of a racist spiel.
Tune in to any of the dolts, dullards, assorted loons and ignorant lickspittle lollards who on a daily basis fill the airwaves with meaningless, worthless fury, angry prejudice, rampant bile, and base populism?
That's an invitation all too easy to refuse. Come to think of it, I'd rather be a member of the long term unemployed at the mercy of Gerard Henderson.
There is of course a lot more bile and prejudice of the 'mad editorialist bites educated dog' kind to be found in Don't blame talkback for this cultural divide.
The fault, it seems, lies these days in The Australian's demographic:
Time was when those on the Left of politics were concerned with improving the living standards of the poor and the working class.
Those days seem to have disappeared under a wave of university degrees and green mantras that is dismissive of anyone worried about the price of bread and electricity.
Uh huh. You know where this is going. If you have a university degree, you don't give a bugger about the price of bread and electricity. Why, I wonder, did I brood for years about Paul Sheehan, and his elitist willingess to fork over thirteen bucks - yes that's thirteen smackeroos - for a loaf of bread, as he drooled over the crunchy caramelised crust and suffering a spiritual experience from the tasting (A flour blooms - and a family classic is toast of the town).
You see the right wing commentariat can carry on like this because it's their birth right, to be outrageous ponces. But anyone else who gets uppity ... bring on that anonymous editorialist, sledging away like an Australian cricketer confronted by someone more interested in a book than a leather ball ...
The politics of envy, the easiest card in the pack to play, usually by Liberal politicians nicely suited up for a well paid stint at the trough, used to revolve around the price of wine, and the wave of university degrees willing to uncork a tasty red.
These days, rather than addressing the concerns of ordinary Australians nervous about the cost of a carbon tax, Labor and the Greens, along with their friends in the media, prefer to blame talkback radio hosts for the backlash against the policy. Some even suggest there is an orchestrated campaign to produce a movement styled on the American Tea Party, with naive consumers provoked into anti-government rhetoric by shock jocks in league with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. This stance would be laughable if it did not reveal a deeply worrying divide in our community.
It is of course the business of The Australian to keep on harping about, emphasising and deploring that deeply worrying divide in the community, which happens to see it devour its own AB readership in favour of a tabloid mindset (remind me again why you buy the rag).
Of course the stance about the so-called people's revolt isn't that laughable, not if you have access to a source of news outside the minions of Murdoch. As a healthy corrective it's worth reading Andrew Crook's piece for Crikey The brains behind the anti-caron tax rallies, which puts a few names to the "peoples' revolt".
But do go on dreary anonymous editorialist:
It is the divide described by editor-at-large Paul Kelly when he wrote in The Weekend Australian of the "insiders-outsiders split that shaped the August 2010 election result". It is a divide cemented by Labor's ill-conceived alliance with the Greens, a divide made devastatingly clear in the collapse of support for Labor and Julia Gillard in today's Newspoll, with voters appearing to reject both the tax and the Prime Minister's backflip on the issue. From inside the tent where carbon policy is argued in moral, not economic, terms anyone who questions the cost of a tax to their household budgets must seem misguided, if not downright ignorant. To the largely tertiary-educated insiders, backing a carbon tax is proof of their intelligence, just like gay marriage or euthanasia.
But can the tertiary educated elite manage quite the tone of insufferable, smug, condescending, dismissive arrogance that you manage, oh anonymous editorialist?
Of course you can find the odd alternative voice within The Australian. There's poor old Mumble mumbling away, the mumble of mumbledom common is he, making good use of the things that he finds, things that everyday folks leave behind, as he scribbles a plaintive Leadership in eye of beholder:
We see the same across many issues. Having your cake here, eating it there.
Some have described a tension between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ issues. Insiders are well-heeled cosmopolitan types and senior public servants, the sort of people who watch ABC’s Lateline. Insiders have agendas not supported by outsiders, who are ordinary, everyday etc suburban/regional Australians.
‘Listen to the outsiders!’, the commentator demands. ‘Reflect the will of the people.’
But it’s not so clear-cut. Some insider policy prescriptions over the decades have included: ending White Australia; bringing in a GST; reducing tariffs; privatisation; and financial, labour market and general deregulation.
None was popular at the time, particularly in the outer suburbs and regions.
But all today get a big retrospective public opinion tick. The politicians responsible receive credit.
This thing we call democracy only works because leaders on occasion do things the majority doesn’t like. If they didn’t, the country would stagnate. And the politicians wouldn’t accrue much respect as leader.
Respect? Well I guess along with respect comes the possibility of contempt, and the anonymous editorialist's invitation to listen to talk back radio has left me with a heap of contempt.
If we listened to Alan Jones, we'd be busy turning back the rivers inland right now, at least if we listened to the Alan Jones that supported the proposal, rather than the Alan Jones on his bicycle turning back the Alan Jones' proposal to turn the rivers inland (more on that Alan Jones' joke in Media Watch here).
If teachers teach because they can't do - a most unfair and insulting way to judge that game - then we can double down on talk back jocks who deliver foam flecked invective on a daily basis, because truly that's all they and their raging voices are good for ...
But there's an even deeper contempt at work here, which is the old slick trick that pretends that the insiders are in fact outsiders, and that they truly have a deeper understanding of the world because of their outsider status ... but sssh, they're actually insiders ...
The Australian is a rag with a very limited circulation, and happily, it's falling, down 1.6% on weekdays and 3.5% for the weekend edition (here), rarely topping 140,000 circulation during the week, but it's heavily reliant on its insider status and the status of its readership.
Have a look at the demographic breakdown of the readership on view here and remember it's assorted advertising appeals to up market insiders using useless gits like Phillip Adams ....
If you do a tour of the outsider world the rag claims to care so much about, you'll be pushing uphill to find copies in newsagents, and pushing even harder to find anyone willing to fork over the cover price to buy the wretched thing.
So if we were truly to fear the insider view of things, we'd above all fear the insiders at The Australian ... those wretched minions beavering away to enshrine Chairman Rupert like some latter day Sun Myung Moon (and the moonies have a newspaper or two as well).
Hey, that works for me.
Must ring up a shock jock to explain that the devilish Australian insiders are involved in an unseemly gangster conspiracy to save the mining industry from taxation and in the process help turn the world into a baker's oven, thereby increasing the use of electricity and raising the price of bread ...
(Below: an oldie but a goodie. Whatever happened to agit prop in Australia?)