Friday, January 27, 2012

The Australia Jessica Knows Best

HOW the Silly's Jessica Irvine conceives of her newspaper's readers, not to mention Australia Day and the quaint, old-fashioned obligation to provide a day's work for a day's pay:

Feeling tired after a long day discharging your patriotic duty to binge drink and indulge in a bout of introspection bordering on a national identity crisis? (What does it mean to be Australian?!) Perhaps you even considered calling in sick today? After all, the placement of a public holiday on a Thursday - so perilously close to the weekend - is like a fresh, meaty bone laid in front of a dog: there for the taking.

Could this impression of an inebriated nation have been gleaned from observing her colleagues' conduct? Quite possibly, which would explain rather a lot. Let us imagine the scene.

Over there in the corner, Betty Farrelly is raising with shaky hand the next tot of absinthe (very French and fashionable) to her thin, parched lips, the other tapping both her keyboard and that bottomless well of incoherence which has produced so many essays to defy the understanding of all but fellow toss pots.

Nearby is environmental enthusiast, the young Ben Cubby, deep in the cups of his depression. He is staring at a light switch and sobbing, both furious and befuddled at the thought of all those volts pulsing wastefully behind the panelling. Adam Morton, up from Melbourne to co-ordinate Fairfax's felicitous transcription of Greens press releases, is swigging from a magnum of fermented lawn clippings and taking steps to put Comrade Colleague Cubby's mind at ease. Standing atop a chair atop a desk, he is mumbling threats against Big Carbon and poised to jam two fingers into a light socket. "This will teach them," he is heard to say.

Morton will need to be careful when he dismounts, because Mike "Butch" Carlton is on all fours with the coming Saturday's column gripped doglike between his teeth. It is an assault on radio listeners, whose mass abandonment of his show would not have mattered if broadcasting's evil bosses placed the same low premium on revenue and audience that characterise the Silly's senior stewards.

 Another day at the Silly

Paul McGeough and David Marr are bonding over a bottle or three, each informing the other of his own magnificence and neither listening all that hard. It is just as well. McGeough would be livid to learn the latest drop is kosher, as he has promised his new missus, the prominent Palestinian activist, that no Zionist wolves' piss will sully expense account or palate.

The scarcity of female quality journalists is at first a riddle, but then the shriek and cackle of alto voices drowns out the broader din and the mystery is solved. Yet another reprise of the Scottish play's first scene is being workshopped in the office of editrix Amanda Wilson, but the chief is not happy. Readers Editor Judy Prisk has been comatose for months and is snoring in the corner.  What is worse, A Dill Horin has drunkenly confused the latest ACOSS press release with the script and it is not working.

"When shall we three meet again?" begins A Dill. "When welfare clients know no pain!" Wilson slaps her, but not hard enough.

Into this  bacchanal, unnoticed by all, comes a small, grey man. He is a Fairfax investor attempting to ascertain what has happened to his nest egg. Editrix Wilson rouses Prisk and puts her on the case.

"It is all about commas, nothing but commas," she slurs and lapses again into unconsciousness.

The little man has no time to cut his losses, call a broker and place the sell order. He is bowled into oblivion by the flying body of Adam Morton, whose blackened fingers carve on the office air an arc of smoking particulants.

Poor Ben Cubby spies the floating carbon and cries even harder 


  1. Professor:

    This is perhaps your best work. A veritable masterpiece.

    Can it be bettered?

  2. Professor, someone should be paying a lot of money for your brilliance.

  3. Look somebody has to read the Fairfax mess. It's too much for me, but the mighty Bunyip is reporting for us outsiders. It's just ... too fantastic.

  4. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.January 27, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Bunyip, it's like all party pieces, you have to have been there to really get the vibe. How on earth did you manage to score the invitation to this recent Fairfax love-fest? You account has the ring of eye-witness truth! I am overcome with admiration for your skill in firstly attending that festive occasion, then escaping it without harm, plus returning with an admirable lithograph of it so we all can share in the emotions, and reporting it with such vivid accuracy. I am sure your Walkley awaits you next time round.

  5. 'Butch' Carlton - an uncannily clever nickname - is unique among columnists of the left or the right in that his stuff is completely acerebral. Other writers have bad or silly ideas, but Butch hasn't any ideas at all. How does he get away with it??

  6. Presumably the "small, grey man" is John B Fairfax wondering what happened to four fifths his $1bn of Rural Press shares merged into Fairfax. His disappointment is tinged only by the knowledge that somehow he and his family are responsible for this mess.

  7. Bunyip,

    Methinks that the destruction of shareholder wealth in publicly listed companies such as unfair fax have similarities with guvmint - both organisations seem to exist to enable the few to rip off the many, officially. The only distinction being the accepted belief that guvmints can't become bankrupt, virtue of their ability to print money. After all, taxation is but a legally enforced method to make you buy shares in corporate Oz, and what you have left, is then gulled into buying shares of public companies controlled by those who control guvmint. After all, physical money has to end up in the pockets of physically real persons.

    And when your grasp of physical reality becomes slippery from your leftist inclinations (people seem to born silly, rather than acquire it from instruction, the latter being comedy), you start to confuse the imaginal with reality and end up with the mess we have now.

  8. A great article, Bunyip, it brought tears to my eyes.
    Many, many years ago, I worked for the SMH, in a lowly capacity, in the Proof Reading Room.

    In those days, highly paid LinoType Operators produced the hot metal metal "line of type" from which the SMH was actually printed.
    Proof reading then corrected those errors.

    The place ran happily on cigarettes, grog, and powerful Unionism. The "Father of the Chapel" was the union boss
    Very happy days! Not so many wussy types then

  9. The doom clock for Fairfax must be reading 2 minutes to midnight. I wonder who will show up to offer one cent on the dollar when it goes into administration ? Can't be long now. I look forward to these quality journalists being liberated from their daily vitriol and being enabled to experience the wonders of the job market, along with Tony Hodges.

    No Worries

  10. What does it mean to be Australian? A favourite question from the chatterati who have taken over the public discourse but seem to have no idea. It’s trotted out whenever our country, our people, are to be devalued. To be Australian means (or used to) you’re the progeny and beneficiary of a society made up largely of decent folk, neither too rich and up themselves nor too poor to maintain that decency. It means you live in an amazing place with a huge variety of landscapes, with natural wealth, with abundant agriculture, fishing and (formerly) enough productive occupations to give most people a go at the decent life.
    Our heritage was mostly that of the British Isles until after WW2, when more varieties of European people arrived. Even the small, flat, dusty town I grew up in had a lot of different migrant types, who all made their contribution to the town and were local identities, as were the aboriginals or partial ones. They certainly weren’t running up and down the streets at all hours of the night, nor to be found drunk in the parks or on the river banks.
    Schools taught and reinforced decency along with the maths, grammar, literature and science.
    The ABC was a respected organization that brought news and entertainment to all parts of the far-flung country's populace. The years have seen increased worldliness and “sophistication” in the media and in the population. Mistakes have been made, including too extended drinking hours, and too much gambling. To some, like Clover Moore, no number of cute little hole-in-the-wall drinking places are enough!
    It’s now easy to point at Manly on a weekend, see the fights in the street in the early hours, see the drug dealer gangs and the daily drive-by shootings in the suburbs, and say “What Australian culture are you on about?”. Just as Nietsche’s madman ran around with a lantern searching for God, and concluding that he had been murdered, so are these chattering maddies in the leftoid media. Their ersatz intellectualism has killed Australian culture, and replaced it with sneering, smug superiority, safe in the all-purpose post-modernist relativism that ordains what? That even a murderous political control system imported along with migrants we didn’t ask for and do not want is superior to our “culture”. Thanks a lot, you empty vessels. Back to your editorial meetings “in thunder, lightning, and in rain”.

  11. Glad you laid into the pricks of the Pravda-on the Yarra and the Silly Moaning Herald so comprehensively.
    Love your work

    PS Gerard Henderson's Media Watch Dog is also worth a read as he tries to keep some of the B's honest,and also has a sharp wit that his Insider's alias lacks!!