IT happens to all sane people. You will be at a social function or even a family gathering, for we cannot choose our relatives, when your interlocutor, someone with whom you may not agree but who has seemed until then reasonably rational, quite suddenly says something so staggeringly unhinged that it requires a genuine effort not to gasp. This is not just a predilection of leftoid types, for the remark that strikes like a slap can come from any quarter. It might be, say, global warming that is the topic, and all parties will be sipping drinks and agreeing that it is a con and a scam, and that the only beneficiaries will be brokers, bankers and taxmen. Then it comes, the shocker. Did you know, the envoy from another planet will ask, that the entire climate change swindle is masterminded by the Duke of Edinburgh, who is also the world’s biggest drug dealer? You make excuses and sidle away, perhaps even attaching yourself to a knot of astrology women, bicycle fetishists or folks who profess to believe that “Julia” really does have something to offer and can still restore her standing in the polls. Almost as mad, it’s true, but the left’s lunacies most often have the benefit of familiarity, so experience tells you not to be swallowing liquid when the big, dumb moment comes, as it inevitably does.
There is no protection from the involuntary nasal spray – not today, anyway -- at The Failed Estate, the blog of a former journalist, Mr Denmore, who cants very heavily to port. Quite a good writer and source of sometimes original thinking, Denmore’s site is worth the irregular visit, and his latest post seemed for the first few paragraphs to have justified the click. It is about university journalism courses and how all those youngsters, thousands of them, are signing up with no real hope of landing jobs in a diseased and dying industry. This might have been the springboard for all sorts of commentary – the observation, perhaps, that the kids now swotting their settled climate science will be even more hard-pressed to land gigs, given how quickly the CO2 is going out of that little bubble.
But Denmore’s point is about the business he has left, and he encourages hopes of meaty thoughts by noting the Himalayan decline of Fairfax stock and why News Ltd shareholders have nothing to dance about either. Fair enough and all very well and good – until he outlines his vision of a transformed media landscape. Put down your drinks, keep a straight face and heed the cure for modern media ills:
Given the total saturation of our commercial airwaves by right-wing shockjocks and shouters, it seems hard to believe there is no room for a progressive news-based network in this country. Perhaps Eric Beecher should buy the Fairfax network and fashion a radio version of Crikey?
Can you imagine what 3AW would sound like with the Crikey! crew behind the microphones? Jeremy Sear for brekkie, Guy Rundle for lunch and a long, long snooze in the afternoon with Margaret Simons. And at night, what about the Lavatoreous Prods giving “informed commentary on news and public issues”?
No mention of the Duke of Edinburgh, it’s true, but the company of astrology women suddenly seems quite inviting – especially when you get to the thread's comments, where there is universal agreement that the ABC, raped and perverted by John Howard & Co., is now just another corporatist mouthpiece of the evil right. (sample comment: “I agree re Crikey radio. I also think Crikey TV is quite feasible, once the NBN is built, which is why Rupert was trying to demolish it”).
It is not just that some people have strange opinions, it is that they somehow contrive to manufacture goals and business plans from the whole cloth of favoured fantasies. As the carbon tax and it's rejection demonstrates, that will always be the shocking bit.
Drive Time with Guy Rundle indeed!