IT IS not just naked lies that scoot around the globe while truth struggles with its trousers. Idiocy is fast on its feet as well, something that will be demonstrated in the City Square on Saturday, when many of the same people who decry US imperialism take their latest cue from across the Pacific and turn out to Occupy Melbourne. Organiser Nick Carson, a former Greens candidate, is such a modest fellow he did not wish to burden another with writing his Wikipedia entry, so he did it himself. And he has much to be modest about, starting with that runty John Waters moustache and extending, according to Andrew Landeryou, to a mental block when it comes to filing the paperwork expected of charitable and non-profit groups.
The Age mentions none of this in today’s promo for Saturday’s gathering, and the strong suspicion at the Billabong is that future coverage will be no less gentle. Making a laughingstock of yourself and your employer is a predilection of many Fairfax writers, so an incoherent mob camped for no recognisable reason at the front door of a five-star hotel, for which the City Square serves as a publicly funded forecourt, will inspire a good deal of sympathy -- and maybe just a little jealousy. Age writers must struggle daily with syntax and grammar in order to crystalise stupidity, yet their share-house cohabitants need only mill about in the CBD to achieve the same result. Why bother with a journalism degree?
Perhaps because that credential establishes the correct and proper perspective for reporting on fellow simpletons. But don’t take a Bunyip’s word, consult instead the tweeted edicts of New York University’s Jay Rosen, whose most recent visit to Melbourne inspired Swinburne solon Margaret Simons to such a fit of hero worship it is a wonder he did not leave the Wheeler Centre stage draped with her flung underwear.
Not one to see fools branded as fools, Rosen took CNN reporter Alison Kosik to task for being less than reverential to Wall Street’s occupiers. Asked what the protesters were on about, Kosik had quipped that their aim was to “bang on bongos, smoke weed!” Other media gurus, no less horrified, soon piled on:
"What is her job? Is she a straight news reporter?" Eric Deggans, media critic of the St. Petersburg Times, asked sarcastically. "And if she is considered a straight news reporter, it crosses the line because she is revealing contempt for the protesters before she even gets there."
Media critic David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said Kosik needs to understand the power of her tweets.
"It's public record. You can say 'I'm doing it in a different forum, it is not in the story or the post or the report,' but you are still making a public utterance about this story," Zurawik said. "I think this is really a management problem at CNN New York. I don't think their standards are there. You have what is really an important story, literally on your doorstep and you go out and make fun of it."
Zurawik is right about CNN having "a management problem”. Kosik withdrew her tweets and apologised, one assumes at her network’s insistence.
So that is what to expect come Sunday when, if Melbourne is lucky, a clot of public nuisances will have done no worse than impede traffic. And if the mob grows testy? Well memories of the G20 riot that trashed Collins Street in 2006 come very quickly to mind.
But not to worry. Nick Carson and friends represent “an important story” which all the wisdom of an expensive tertiary education insists must be reported with immense respect.
And know what? You can bet your bongos and high-fibre organic hash cookies it will be.
UPDATE: It requires seven minutes of waffle and soft-soapy questions, but Carson eventually gets around to telling the ABC of his urge to make like a seagull and crap all over the City Square. He must pay for a university education and his landlord expects rent.
What a hard, cruel world.