An interesting thing happened on the way to the theatre blog tonight.
An interesting thing happened on the way to the
theatre blog tonight.
That’s the sort of prologue or connective phrase a stand-up comedian will use to move his set onto a bit of topical comedy about something, which if accurate and well observed, is always the best kind. It was Saturday and I was busy chiseling the next blog out of a particularly big and bastardly recalcitrant block of dimensionally-fuzzy granite I just knew a decent piece was somewhere entombed in, when I clocked a curious news item.
Some minor talk radio jockey had asked Julia Gillard, the Australian PM, if her live-in boyfriend was gay. Without being too judgemental, there have always been some rumours swirling about whether Julia was AC or DC herself and there’s always been a cynical view that having a live-in hairdresser partner was just a bit of salacious window dressing using him. The jock’s questioning wasn’t too aggressive but the initial reaction to him actually raising the question was him being suspended, and as if that wasn’t punishment enough for showing such temerity to his elders and betters, he was quickly fired within the next twenty-four hours.
I listened distractedly as I blunted another chisel and waited for the inevitable reaction. The admittedly limp dick journos of Oz would surely rally around, no worries mate. I waited and nothing happened. I waited a bit more. It was probably the time lag thingy kicking in, a reaction was surely going to happen. Well, guess what, it’s twenty-four hours later and the tarts of the mainstream media haven’t said a word. Not one. Not even a boo. In point of fact, Julia’s been on TV being quite queen-like and gracious about the terrible ordeal she’d been put through and getting a lot of sympathetic coverage. Lick lick, slurp slurp, bow bow. Even the BBC is running an apology piece.
What little remained of independent mainstream Australian journalism has just compliantly bent over and silently grabbed its ankles. If you won’t at least try to protect one of your own, you’re no better than a pack of feral animals.
I’m an independent blogger who’d rather take it up the rear from a Viagra-engorged Incredible Hulk, whose piece had been dipped in axle grease and then liberally sprinkled with the rusty metal shavings from an old Russian lathe than let a prominent politician zap a journalist for asking an awkward question, and I don’t particularly bloody-well like MSM journos either. That’s what Australian journalism has just done. It’s now a cojones-free zone but no worries mate, we’re still picking up a pay check. In the meantime, you want another tinnie before we go ask the government commissar what we should write today?
Try getting me fired Julia. Though I’m not Australian, I’m beginning to think I’m the offshore shape of any independence when it comes to Australian journalism. You guys and gals in Oz will soon be tuning into sites in New Guinea or Manchuria to find out what’s actually going on in your own country. Of course, you’ll only be able to do that until the Finkelstein legislation kicks in, and the Great Firewall of Australia is built. From then on, it’s welcome to the People’s Democratic Republic of Australistan.
I’m a reader and a listener to other people’s stories. The last thing I do is yap. By now, I know so many tales and they’re all the real material of life which I plunder shamelessly when I write. That’s the needed betrayal of the storytellers you have to do, if you want to write with a simplicity that people can actually connect to. There’s one story which I’m not sure I read somewhere or heard first hand or perhaps third. Perhaps both, there are so many stories.
This one was someone’s early childhood memory which concerned Elvis Presley of all people, and one of those dreadfully lurid birth of Technicolor epics called Blue Hawaii, if memory serves. His first appearance in the film was being paddled around a bend in the river on a raft by a half-dozen garland-bedecked Polynesian girls wearing bikinis as he warbled something that should have died a merciful death in an elevator up to an obscure ninth floor cat house in downtown Duluth or somewhere equally as dire.
It was a tiny local cinema and the storyteller recalled a massive giant of a biker standing up at the front and blotting out half the screen. In a stunned and distraught voice he asked out loud “What the fuck have they done to Elvis?” before stomping out.
Have a care Australia, you’re now on dangerous ground and right on the edge of the abyss. Push back now or in not too many years, you’ll one day find yourself standing up in shock after watching something and asking yourself, what the fuck have they done to Australia?
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