THERE has long been doubt that Rupert Murdoch is an Aborigine. Sure, he looks like one, if we are to go by the members of the Litjus-Mordie tribe, as does everyone else these days. Anyway, all doubts are now settled and we can be sure he is an Aborigine, albeit a naughty one.
How do we know? Because Martin Flanagan in The Age, a paper once prominent in Melbourne, has written a column about him, and Martin only ever writes about Aborigines and their wonderful, magical powers to kick footballs while the Rainbow Serpent does the umpiring and the power of Country pulses upward through their boot stops. Actually, that’s not right. Sometimes he writes about his dog, but it is very easy to get confused about the subject matter because the tone of indulgent condescension is very much of a piece.
Actually, that bit about the dog is also wrong, because if Bowser gets crook, off to the vet! When an Aboriginal player (no need to mention names) was newly arrived at a certain Melbourne club and inspiring Flanagan to cascades of gushing superlatives, the fawning and expressions of admiration for the recruit's tribal initiation scars were non-stop. How authentic! Surely he must know better than any how to snap a goal, that being one of those Indigenous instincts, akin to possums finding your rose bushes in the dark. That nonsense stopped only when the club doctor took a closer look, diagnosed ringworm and ordered up an immediate course of treatment.
Patronising wankery is the sort of stuff Flanagan serves up week after week, habitually asserting in The Age, where farce and fact are interchangeable, that Aborigines not only inspired the invention of football but play it better because they are masters of time, space and place, whatever that means. They also make better TV shows because, well, being Indigenous means the panelists cut straight to the team line-ups, as Flanagan seems to think only a blackfella can.
But you knew Murdoch was prepared to walk through fire when he responded to the campaign to get rid of page 3 girls by thundering: ''Is anyone complaining about Page 3 pix a reader? Enough of this elitist nonsense!''
Many of the responses were predictably earnest. Then up popped Nad-I-Am: ''Rupes, I need to know the size of your testicles before I can engage with you. Come on, mate. 20p for a shot of your balls.''
Nad-I-Am is Nadia Kamil, an Iraqi-Welsh comic, and, as we say in sport, she had come to play. She bombarded Murdoch with demands that, as a man of conviction, he put his privates on the line:
''come on, a photo of your bollocks. All shaved & nicely lit. With a speech bubble next to them with some facile news. 20p.'' When Murdoch ignored her, she upped her demands - ''I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOUR BALLS THINK ABOUT POLITICS'' - finally offering to settle for a similar photo of one of his sons.
All of which, in my opinion, is fair and reasonable comment on Murdoch's tweet….
All of which, in any sane person’s opinion, is a fair and reasonable indication that Fairfax, like Bennelong’s people, will go to its grave without ever quite appreciating the reality that has invaded its cosy, isolated little world of dreamings.
UPDATE: Spoke to soon. A further flick through the Age website reveals that Flanagan has published a second column, as always ooh-ing and awe-ing about the race-based wonderfulness of Indigenous players. Today, he thinks it a fine thing for Adam Goodes, a superb player and thoroughly modern man, to be leaping about as part of some ersatz, concocted-yesterday approximation of Indigenous tradition.
Goodes was the subject of a racial taunt while helping the Swans cream Collingwood last night. That was nasty, but being recruited to make an exhibition of himself for the amusement of the world's Flanagans is the greater insult. He had just better hope all the white architects of the Indigenous Round don't try for even greater authenticity by encouraging sub-incision.