Friday, May 20, 2011

Not At This Address

ACCORDING to Stephen Fry on QI the other night, a park ranger in the United States was struck by lightning seven times and survived. It must have become tiresome because he committed suicide before Gaia could send down the final delivery of an old-fashioned eight-ball over (to which cricket should return, just by the way). There have been no lightning strikes at the Billabong lately, but there is another annoyance that persists in testing all patience. Please, readers, be clear about this once and for all: The Australian’s Imre Salusinszky has no connection whatsoever with this blog. None. Never has, probably never will – although if he wished to send tips, make comments or contribute the odd post, they would almost certainly be published straight away (allowing that they do not deal with the alleged magnificence of the Hawthorn Football Club, in which case the spike will be waiting).

Meanwhile, a festering pile of misdirected correspondence is growing by the front gate, much of it from the caring, enlightened left, where the definitions of respect, inclusion and appropriate forms of address appear to be entirely subjective.

“Imre you Zionist c***sucker” is the way one began. Another charming missive wondered how much the Israeli ambassador is paying to underwrite The Australian’s  “hate campaign” against the Greens, Marrickville Council and Loopy Lee Rhiannon. (Funny, isn’t it, how that “hate” talk is doing the rounds at the moment?). Several other notes cannot be quoted, not for their obscenity but because the correspondents’ poor command of grammar, punctuation and spelling rendered their messages incomprehensible.

There is, however, one comment in which Imre will surely take much pride. It is this:

“Imre, does it hurt your feelings when your peers don’t take your newspaper seriously.”

Imre’s colleagues? The writer must be thinking of Michelle Grattan, Peter “Pretentious, moi?” Hartcher and so, so many others at Fairfax and the ABC.

Perhaps, if Imre were to polish his skills as an apologist for Greens inanity and Labor incompetence, if he were to master the skill of learning what not to report, those inky eminences would welcome him into their ranks.

Until then, one suspects he is quite happy being a journalist. Those disdainful colleagues should give it a shot.


  1. Years ago, during the earlier incarnation of the Billabong, there was speculation that the Professor was Imre. I pointed out, in a comment somewhere, that this could not be true, as the Professor is a much better writer than Imre.

    I stand by that comment, and in passing, note how pleased I am that the Billabong is back in business.

  2. I never thought that Pofessor Bunyip could have been Imre. Imre has a very warm sense of humour and puts a lot of himself into his writings. On the other hand, Professor Bunyip is more clinical in his approach as he disects the evidence so dispassionately.
    Both are excellent commenters; but very different from each other.
    David Black

  3. Bunbury in the CountryMay 20, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Professor were behind the parody that was Alene Composta?

  4. I used to have a lot of respect for Imre. He is smart, courageous and presumably doesn't mind when complete strangers refer to him by his first name. I eagerly read his articles in the Australian. However, if the allegation that he barracks for Hawthorn is correct, this betrayal of good taste is shattering.

  5. Those who claim the Bunyip is Imre are not very bright, are they. As if a Sydney-based reporter would be fishing on the Jamieson, commenting knowingly on Simon Overland or attending Lionel Rose's funeral.

  6. So if you're not Imre, who is?

  7. I am Imre.

    Or am I Spartacus?

    Sometimes I get confused.

  8. So long as he doesn't barrack for Collingwood, AusDoug.

    I can cope with Hawthorn.

    That said, I too am happy the Billabong is back in business. The good Prof has sunk below the surface just as I was discovering the blogosphere, and I have missed his work.

    Yay, Prof B!

  9. Apparently, Imre is the good-looking one.


  10. That Peter Hartcher sure is a joke. He talks like he's an upper class Victorian Pom, but gets his words mangled so frequently, he sounds like he spent one year too many on the ganja back at college.