SO, why blog? Experience leaves no doubt the urge can get well out of hand, demanding a good deal more time and energy than the subject matter – or rather, the fruits of that content – might actually warrant. In olden days, in this blog’s initial incarnation, grains of uncovered truth tumbled irregularly with the chaff of snark and sarcasm from the posting mill. Those were the little triumphs to be sure, and it would be a lie to say that there was no thrill of the hunt about them. Pouncing on Phillip Adams’ repeated lifting of others’ work, for example, was always satisfying, moreso when even Media Watch was obliged, eventually, to pass comment on one particularly egregious example of literary theft. Indeed, it was the jolliest fun to observe David Marr’s discomfort as he wriggled like a victim of extreme constipation in search of a more comfortable position. Marr succeeded, eventually, in extruding truth as it is recognised at the ABC: Yes, the beloved Phillip had been a little naughty, but that wicked Janet Albrechtsen is genuinely vile and, as Marr strained to explain, so much more deserving of contempt. At the ABC, as in the schoolyard, relativism’s shelter shed is always open to playmates caught in heavy weather.
Why, only the other week, the latest bottom on Media Watch’s chair of ease was doing much the same, although with an emphasis on energy efficiency that befits a fellow so ready to rebuke those who doubt that our planet is in the process of melting. Where Marr strained and winced while declaring Adams innocent of serious wrong, Holmes has simply ignored another matter altogether, one many might consider more serious. That would be the late Alene Composta’s letter to Drum editor Jonathan Green, the one in which she explained how her expose of Liberal moose knucklers would help Labor at the polls. Holmes did address Green’s gullibility in a little item for The Drum (which allowed no comments), but of his colleague’s eagerness to put the ABC’s resources at the disposal of an attempt to influence an election, so far not a word.
So why bother with blogging? Time and again the liars and luvvies, the wholesalers of cant and dribblers of sophistry, are exposed by the likes of Blair, Bolt and Beck, yet the cavalcade of corruption goes ever on, brazen as ever. Consider Mark Scott, for example. Fresh from trailing three steps behind Fred Hilmer as his master led Fairax down the road to ruin, the former chairman’s godson took charge of the ABC, where one of his innovations, Mr Green’s Drum, now features a daily cavalcade of columnists whose inanity might have given even poor Margo pause to publish. Well, at least for a second or two.
Golf is more fun than blogging, as is sailing, fishing and roasting dead flesh over coals for boon companions, especially those who bring available women to the Billabong’s backyard gatherings. Yet against the dictates of common sense and the needs of an easy life, a blog is being revived. Put it down to mischief and, to be frank, just a dash of malice. To be lectured and hectored day after day, to be reminded constantly of one’s moral, physical and dietary shortcomings, well it gets on the wick.
One example: As an experiment, or a drinking game for the younger set, count the number of times “climate change” is uttered in the course of a typical night’s viewing. It is not a concept so much as an aural wallpaper plastered over every show and topic, relevant or otherwise. Young Master Bunyip, who is nesting temporarily at the Billabong, took up the challenge and nipped himself into a state of near alcoholic coma on a recent Monday evening, so frequent were the mentions, prompting a concerned Papa to go on at length about the younger generation’s moral, physical and dietary shortcomings.
Climate change perplexes the New Inventors’ panelists, draws anxious nods on the Gruen Transfer and, via David Attenborough, there are reminders that it causes fretfulness amongst other lesser primates. It overloads our screens with icebergs, deserts, chimneys, and men in Steve Irwin shirts. No documentary regardless of subject, be it bewildered clown fish or flooded farmers, is complete without a fierce pontificator in his laboratory, CSIRO office, campus research centre or field-tripping LandRover, each and every talking ad well-paid head sounding dire alarums about the bad things to come. As the money flows and the cameras roll, it seems almost every political issue is now to be framed in climate change’s prism. The topic sloshes endlessly about our newspapers and nightly viewing, bilge from the bottom of Tim Flannery’s wee tin boat.
Such ubiquity is dangerous, as it poses only the question of how we must deal with climate change, not whether we must deal with it at all. Make no mistake, our Prime Minister would never be pursuing her plan to place a surcharge on everything if the ground upon which she plans to make her stand had not been so thoroughly prepared. When Jonathan Holmes, who purports to cover media sins, becomes a hunter of heretics, as he did through the course of an entire recent show, it can be taken as a given that dogma long ago trumped rational discourse.
Immigration, regulation, the very role of government and the extent to which it may meddle in citizens’ lives and attempt to regulate their follies, the prevailing mindset has dressed those subjects in the same armour, established their nostrums as the wisdom received. They are the concepts whose presumptions must be kept immune to challenge, quarantined even from the innocent query.
It may do no major good, but blogging can be a therapeutic cleanser amid such a storm of crap. Posts may come often or not at all. That will depend on which way the wind is blowing, whether the fish are hungry and if the Billabong’s barbecues continue to draw admiring women, ideally young and firm, whose sympathies can be rotated with relative ease, and after no more than one ordeal by ballet, into the horizontal.
Even if it does no good in the long run, a little venting can still put a shine on the soul.