EVER since Mrs. Bunyip decamped, the refrigerator at the Billabong has been getting into a terrible state. Without a homemaker’s eye to spot the stuff that is turning nasty, strange growths and fuzzy, fungal oddities have been sprouting in odd corners, prompting a series of cleanups. Old chops are chucked, lumpy milk becomes the whey to go, and the ringtails do very nicely with the palsied fruit that flies out the back door, bounces off the fence and ends up in the compost heap behind the barbeque. This irregular emphasis on cleanliness may seem like a chore, but there is good in all things and wisdom to be found in the oddest places. Take the plastic tub in which the remains of a scotch fillet were packed away some months ago, along with a dollop of gravy, a smatter of peas and the smashed-together mix of carrots and parsnips that goes so nicely with grilled meat. The container came to light only last night, when it turned up behind a box of Christmas-era custard that was mistaken for milk and plopped a nasty surprise into the evening’s final cup of coffee.
But the Tupperware’s contents, that was another story. Amid those gangrenous swirls of greys and blues and the white-speckled sprawl of pallid green blotches there was an explanation to be found for one of the great mysteries of Australian life: How can it be, week after week, that the meat and potatoes of public discourse looks so much like a compote of corruption? As the putrescent meat and veg from the fridge circled the vortex and disappeared down the lavatory (it was too far gone to join the other jettisoned goods in the kitchen tidy), all was made clear. As with rot and putrescence, people like Leslie Cannold, at it again in this morning’s Phage, maintain their places in the pulpit because they are the favoured residents of a closed and sealed environment.
On Friday, Cannold was sending Mary Magdalene to the knock shop with an article at the Drum. Today she is blessing Fairfax readers with her analysis of Zambian mining royalties. Tomorrow we should anticipate her thoughts on, well, whatever topic tickles her fancy. The subject will not matter because Cannold is in thick with what you might call the groupthinkers’ of Team Tupperware, along with so many other common room comrades, see-nothing editors, favoured think tanks and union-backed “non-partisan” generators of panic and press releases. Like her containerized confreres it appears all she must do to see her latest thoughts published is take her seat at the keyboard. It is a happy little club to which she belongs and as the late Alene Composta demonstrated, admittance is gained with the “correct” opinions, no matter how loony.
How else to explain Guy Rundle, whose words bounce from Crikey! to The Drum to Fairfax and back again? Or crazy Clive Hamilton, who moves from mulling the need to suspend democracy to indignant denials that he ever said any such thing. Or Marieke Hardy, whose CV of vulgar columns, foul tweets and unfunny sitcoms never quite manages to disrupt the latest trip to the bank with an ABC cheque tucked into her garter? Or ponder Catherine Deveny, the Brunswick harpy. How does a “spaz” slinger get appointed to the post of disabilities ambassador? And then, of course, there is Robert Manne, the Boob of Bundoora, who sobbed for mistreated illegal aliens when John Howard’s policies were in effect, but told Q&A’s audience just two weeks ago that Labor made a horrible mistake when it dismantled them.
Or how could it be that Andrew Jaspan rises again? It was the Mini Mancunian who drowned The Phage in a gullytrap of fraudulent stories about the dangers of dredging Port Phillip and was next caught, and caught red-handed, taking his paper’s riding instructions directly from Earth Hour’s charlatans.
It is a dismal record, but he has just been given $6 million of public money to helm a website dedicated to providing leftoid academics with access to yet another lectern.
The answer must surely reside in that closed, hermetically sealed container in which the likeminded love each other’s work. It is a small and stinky world under the lid, a place where there is no tolerance whatsoever for the antiseptic benefits of dissent’s sunlight. So it is banished as the rancid congratulate each other on the soundness of their opinions -- and the rot goes right on festering.
The next time you notice something toxic and nasty in the corner of an opinion page or on the ABC, take heart in the knowledge that the opinions expressed, even the most ludicrous ones, are beside the point. It is not the thought that counts but the purported thinker and his or her good standing with all the other grey little peas in the suppurating mix.
Look inside the container and it is not an edifying sight. But do you know what? There is absolutely no reason why the rest of us have to swallow it. Indulge their mutual invitations to taxpayer subsidized literary festivals, try not to get too upset by the sounds of snouts in the trough of grants and subsidies and appointments to gold-plated gigs at the ABC. It is their mess, let them wallow in it -- until Prime Minister Abbott cleans out the ABC’s shelf in the fridge and Fairfax finishes the job of flushing itself out of existence.
Their day is coming, for there is no future in corruption.