Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Champion Verdict

WHAT A shame the old Champion Hotel on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude streets was turned into a rug salesroom. The Bloodhouse was its nom de guerre, and you didn’t need to add an adjective, the adjective, because in Melbourne it went without saying. The blacks’ Bloodhouse, that is what everyone knew it to be, a place where any driver who pulled up outside and waited for the lights to change received a 60-second education in despair. Not the patrons’ despair, because they were too far gone to care, shouting and facing off, lurching into the roadway, women hiking stained dresses and squatting for a squirt in the gaps between parked cars. Much More Ballroom, the hippy mecca, used to be just up the street, but love and peace didn’t cut it on that corner. The vibe, man, it was bad. Stepping over pools of spew, sometimes comatose bodies, it just wasn’t cool. For caring, gentle white folk who talked of love and peace the Champion was a bummer, a corner to be avoided lest it spoil a nice buzz.

It is gone now, long gone, and the former patrons swept from sight. Great for property values, and not one of the terrace renovators who have transformed Fitzroy from slum to chic would wish it back. But today, a few hours after Andrew Bolt was found guilty of ruffling a new, paler and vindictively sensitive species of blackfella, you can’t help thinking how much the old Champion is needed.

The victors will be out there tonight before the cameras, telling how Black Australia just isn’t going to take the Dutchman’s slanders for one more day. Their lawyers will be skiting, too, and the ABC’s talking heads will nod and put the soft questions that, at the government broadcaster, signify support and sympathy.

Indeed, even if a reporter wanted to note that artist Bindi Cole, one of the triumphant plaintiffs, would never, ever have been denied service in the front bar of a quieter, whiter pub than the Champion, he will not put the question. Too dangerous now, legally too risky. Who but Bolt has had the balls to say the emperor has no clothes, and that the exposed skin is so often no darker than a Greek’s? Certainly nobody at the ABC or The Age, where it must have been a day of unsettling internal dialogues. Yippee, the dominant voice would have cried, that Bastard Bolt got his! But what of us and the opinions we express? Might we be next? Expect tomorrow’s editorial to begin by deploring Bolt for what he is and what he wrote, with the rest an exercise in nuanced incoherence. On matters of race, once you have mastered maudlin impotence, it is by far the best policy not to care enough to have a point of view, especially one that might see you sued.

And that is why we need the Champion, as a reminder that the problem, the real problem, has nothing to do with educated self-promoters who know how to get the grants and play the system. They can look after themselves, as it seems they have all been doing, hurt feelings and all.

But the poor bastards who made the Champion their second home, what of them? They have been moved on but are still out there, high on smack in Smith Street, pissed to the gills and just as quarrelsome in the dirt of the Fink’s dry riverbed, bearing bruises and offering sex for a flagon on the outskirts of Ceduna and a thousand other outposts of shame.

Do you think those children of the Champion – grandchildren and greatgrandchildren by now -- will be celebrating tonight in the long grass, breaking out the cheese and pinot gris, doing a little networking, sizing up the opportunities for a grant to shoot an SBS documentary about the day Bolt had his ears boxed?

Not a chance. The Champion is gone and for too many whites, the old problem, and still the real problem, has been largely pushed from sight. Now, thanks to Judge Mordy, it will be perilous even to speak of it.

Justice? We have not seen that today. Not for open debate or common sense, and certainly not for those who need it most.

UPDATE: "Emerging Indigenous artist" Bindi Cole talks about herself and Aboriginality. Have the barf bag ready at about the 3 minute mark.


  1. I think that, once again, the policies of the left actually do more damage to those they purport to help than to anyone else. I find it hard to believe that Aborigines in remote areas are going to feel any great connection, sympathy or pride in the success of metropolitan Aboriginal artists. They probably get depressed.

  2. From the tedious video clip:

    "a connection that white Australia doesn't have"...

    Hmm, do I feel vilified? Nah...

  3. You're not as well-known as Bolt, Professor, but if you were, you'd have the pants sued off you for penning this thread. Take care, unless you have a rich benefactor. Bolt should have such, but I'm very doubtful about News Corp. There are straws in the wind that they're about to drop him to save their own skins.

  4. if the sensation is one of watching the world being ripped apart by fools, I concur.

    Professor, the ticking cultural time bomb, metaphorically speaking, was always the mythology of secularism. When the substance of right and wrong, was sucked into the black hole of relativism, the engine room of that powerfully pulling vacuous core/ its cultural gravitas, was a pre-existing cultural icon - the possibility of some idealized secular social mechanism or society itself. None was there at the inception of the thought, none is there now. Secularism was born as an academic construct for a separation of the touchably temporal from the altogether untouchably ephemeral and sublime. The division is mythical. Everything we touch is what God gave us to touch and any sensation or secondary emotion born of it no less important and cogent than any idyllic abstractions we reach for or obtain in any other sense. Cogent and congruent don't equal right.

    When the ephemeral and sublime seemed to vanish into a more robust demonstrably predictable and effective empiricism [Sir Francis Bacon onwards?], secularism unavoidably morphed, to become the cosmetically plastered on new face of a barely passed and now re-emergent paganism. In this neo pagan Pantheon or slightly more particular and articulate Parthenon yet no single deity, paradigm or construct can assert authoritative control. Thus the logically lobotomized lose rational orientation. Rather than empiricism trumping tenuous abstractions it unleashed any number of them.

    Tom Wolfe's Right Stuff has to have a Right to have Stuffing.

    For God's sake - if that appellation loses meaning so do the applicants with it - a convoluted and twisted consensus vanishingly vague on detail satisfies no-one.

    Jesus was and is who He said he was. So start again.

    So start Again! Let bastards eat their words, just begin again.

    I acknowledge the traditional owners of the line as Spinal Tap who owe their inspiration to God and their vocals to Cher - whether or not they can acknowledge the God bit is for them - it stays the fact.

    A galloping blog entry maybe, but it's there, in your face, there.

    When Henry Kissinger suggested the West under-invested in social capital he understated the reality. You no longer comfortably bask in the calming cooling shadows of a land of bricks and mortar churches, any more than a high school student leaves secondary school in a state of literacy.

    [good enough to post, maybe not, but maybe some sensitive seeker of wisdom and truth will correct, or insert rather, all those missing lines of impressive rhetoric, to make it readable to the masses, or fit for conversion to a cartoon edition, to be understood by the recent graduate?] 3,2,1...

  5. Great writing, as usual, Professor. Also, as usual, right on the money. Of course Bolt's conviction betrays the freedom of public speech; but the speech that we need is about blacks and whites, misrepresentation, misplaced support and malign self-interest.

  6. Remember in the mid to late 80's for a little while celtic and native american stuff became trendy - dreamcatchers, lots of feminist books drawing on american indian and celtic mythology, dovetailing into academics at Monash and Latrobe etc 'discovering' post-colonialism and post-modernism. Dances with Wolves was about to come out or had just been released. This was about the time when Greens Marrickville mayor and BDS champion Fiona Byrne was studying celtic studies...well there was this girl at Uni - scottish, who claimed to me at a party that she was part irish, scottish, cletic and american indian. She also said she was wiccan. Who could argue with her except a geneticist! What galls me is that all these plaintiffs had lovely cushy upbringings, and in no way needed the positive discrimination help they received so their sponsors could satisfy their EEO quota's.

  7. I believe one complainant was Larissa Behrendt, academic/lawyer. Note this from The Australian a short while back:
    "HIGH-profile indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt is under fire after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as "less offensive than Bess Price", an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention."
    Tony Thomas

  8. That was a two bagger. I was barfing before the 3 minute mark. I found nothing believable or authentic about Bindi. Lots of nice grants have come her way no doubt. If free money is offered on a plate, it's no surprise that people are soon queuing up to get it. Any competitive advantage will then be utilised to get to the head of the queue. The city dwelling, academically mass produced, 'urban-chic' aboriginal has a huge competitive advantage through ready access to sympathetic academics, accessible politicians, and the safety net of the 'pro bono' grievance industry.

  9. How about a DNA test to see how " Aboriginal" theseYellafellas really are?

  10. How far back do you want to go Bunyip?
    I recall 1969 when we were being whipped into a frenzy about the red menace. Remember? The Commos were going to descend on us from the North, appropriate all our property, rape our mothers and sisters, and ride unopposed into our national capital to the strains of the Internationale.
    Twenty year old clerks, wool classers, school teachers and rousabouts were being shipped off to the meat grinder that was Vietnam, and hate speech was all the go.
    Those were the days!
    Back then we had no anti-vilification laws, and the thugs and shysters masquerading as state leaders (Bjelke-Petersen and Bolte were prime examples) got away with blue bloody murder.
    Now a shonky little scribbler from little Baghdad on the Yarra gets his comeuppance and suddenly you’re having a fit of the vapours. You mourn the loss of the bloodhouse, because it fits your fantastic cliché of aboriginality.
    You post exposes your crass ignorance, arrogance and complacency.
    Hate speech?
    I remember it well.
    You own it. Get a life.

  11. Let's try an exercise in counterexample with Bindi's claim.

    If a German were to say, 'My people are Aryan, and that gives me a sense of connection to the Fatherland that Jews do not to have', would that not be considered racist?

    Yet, substitute 'Wauthaurong', 'this land' and 'White Australia', and that is exactly what Bindi is saying.

    Is she racist? Should I, as a white Australian, reasonably be offended, humiliated and intimidated?