Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chip Of The Old Bloc

MR Anne Summers, sometimes known as former Sydney Writers Festival honcho Chip Rolley, will not take up his duties as editor of The Drum for another month or so, which must demonstrate even more than the pleasure of waking up every morning next to his former boss at Ms magazine just how much luck one young man can jam into such a short and blessed life. There he was, hardly more than a teenage Texas tumbleweed trying to make it in the Big Apple in the Eighties, when he lucked into a job at the proto-feminist monthly. Eyes met across an editorial floor, hearts beat faster and, while Summers' magazine sank into a sea of red ink, love took wing and soared.


It is a beautiful story. Having failed in the US, Summers and business partner Sandra Yates returned to Australia, where some people can be very easily impressed, especially at Fairfax. Summers wrote those wonderful pieces for which she is so well respected, sharing with the Silly's audience all the special perspectives of her fascinating view of the world. When Bill Clinton came to town, for example, she told of choking back tears. He might have been a rapist, almost certainly is a rapist, but he's a rapist of the left so that makes him OK, even to a professional feminist.


Yates, too, was kicking on, landing board gigs and scoring the chairman's job at the SWF. She did it with aplomb, presiding over the festival that makes sure  99.9% of guests are ideologically sound and fully fit to be revered by the sort of people who believe that visiting literary leftists lecturing rooms full of the local variety represent the exchange of ideas in its most pure and noble form.

It was certainly a coincidence that Yates' former business partner's beau just happened to be installed on her watch as the SWF artistic director -- just one of those strange outbreaks of happenstance. We can only imagine Summers' pride, however, at seeing young Chip make something of himself. If you have ever watched a nanna delighting in her grandson's first steps, that must be some small tremor of the joy she felt.

Now Chip is about to move on once again -- and, as ever, the pieces just seem to fall into place for him. Not only did he jump straight from the SWF to a nice, secure ABC salary as Drum supremo -- a job that was briefly advertised and must have drawn hundreds of less-qualified applicants -- he will have the satisfaction of supervising towering talents like the all-hearing Tim Dunlop, the forever couth Marieke Hardy and many other deep thinkers like, well, this one.

And Chip's luck -- he is the Gladstone Gander of the literary set, for sure -- knows no bounds, as anyone who peruses the reader comments beneath this article will quickly realise. There is nothing wrong with the article itself, mind you, which quite correctly observes that newspapers taking their cues from the likes of Summers are too busy circling the biscuits to notice normal, average, sane readers turning away in disgust. The Drum commenters, though, they might be Summers' great grandchildren, banging on at great length about everything that is wrong and morally deficient about Andrew Bolt. According to those commenters, Bolt endorses "the worst aspects of Australian society", profits from "the politics of envy" and manufactures "appalling smears" which are said to be "typical" of him. Also, the ABC site announces, it is "proven" that he "makes things up". Then there is this: "People like Andrew Bolt ... usually want any person with a contrary view to their own put in gaol with the key thrown away."

Throw in accusations of telling deliberate lies and, if Andrew has the stomach for it, it would seem he has grounds to proceed against the ABC for libel.

But that won't be young Chip's problem, as the slanderous comments have not been published on his  watch.

Some guys have all the luck -- and Anne Summers for breakfast as well.

A NOTE: For more on the perspectives and views young Chip will be bringing to The Drum, see Gerard Henderson's little backgrounder


  1. Poor Nana. Will young Chip be entitled to a carer's allowance under Julia's NDIS? Will Nana be entitled to NDIS daycare while Chip is undertaking his onerous new duties at the Drum? Will supplementary sitters and respite care be funded while Chip is attending high-powered business dinners and overseas conferences? So many questions yet to be answered by the architect of Medicare Gold and various AWU rip-offs.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Prof, when da Ape 'has someone for breakfast' that's just about the end of them. So naturally he does not have me for breakfast, he shares his breakfast with me and appreciates what I modestly call my many qualities.

    Which 'breakfast' do you mean our lucky young Chip to enjoy? I take it you refer to the companionable one, which just goes to show that luck comes with a considerable price tag attached if one has to breakfast with Nana daily. As you ironically indicate, no doubt.

    Unless, that is, your sympathies lie with a deluded femi-lady of a certain age being waltzed along her garden path by some sordid adventuring cad. Indeed, perhaps being had for breakfast.

    Idiomatic language can play such tricks on us, can't it?

  3. Very unflattering photo of that old women. A quick search reveals a 20 year age difference between these two people! She's old enough to be his mother. Are they married?

    1. No, they're living in Sydney.


    2. I don't think it's an unflattering photo.
      It's a photo telling the truth. And it's just awful.
      It's not even about 'old' - some 'old' is fine.
      That photo is simply awful.
      Also, I don't like her.
      So in a way, the awfulness pleases me.
      Josie Q.

  4. Ah, a mixed marriage.
    His poor mother must have hoped for someone closer to breeding age.
    Is Chip planning heroic IVF intervention or a quiet exit soonish?
    On the bright side, he's crashed through the notorious pink ceiling that cruelly limits the rise of males at women's magazines.
    Well done , Champion.

  5. Fie, shame on you all. Think Rupert M and Wendy. I don't, can't dispute his good fortune or talent but that she is older is - well it just is.

    1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Yes, indeed, Rupert and Wendy. She who deflects pies so swifly from despoiling the wisdomed face of her love. What a team. And as the siren's song of advice wisely counsels for some, at least consider the diamonds baby, 'cos we all lose our charms in the end.

      Oooh Lizzie, take one of Nana Anne's Black Cards for daring to raise, without a proper Labor-imposed legislative solution ready to hand, the issue of the dreaded biological and aesthetic inequities in male and female ageing, to say nothing of the financial ones. Unreconstructed, you are. A lost cause.

      I don't think you'll ever grow old, intones da Hairy One as we skip and skitter romantically along the beach on my birthday. I won't either. I think he means grow up, same as him (mostly). Well, not till I'm a hundred anyway. :)

  6. Nice pic of Anne. You don't get lips like that sucking Paddle Pops

  7. I clicked on the link "well, like this one" and was confronted by the ugly puss of Rhiannon. Please Prof, think of your readers. But the text was instructive. The first two paras (admittedly that's all I could stomach) might, if written when the Comintern instructed Communist parties, have been written in obedience to a directive to promote a 'united front' policy. It is a tactic of which the ALP should be wary - promote the united front while secretively undermining your allies.

  8. Oh Professor, your biting wit is so delicious to behold!

  9. Professor, which one is the trophy of the arrangement?

    Regards, Greg.

  10. Chip certainly looks very mild mannered in that photo. Has anyone seen this guy loitering around phone booths? Surely there's a man in there somewhere...a super man even..

  11. I wasn't going to comment on the age difference because I honestly couldn't care less.

    What I will comment on is that one thing I learned years ago is that women above a certain age should not wear red lipstick. I have about 5 different shades of red, but I'm sorry - I can't justify wearing it.

    It's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

  12. " would seem he has grounds to proceed against the ABC for libel."

    Wish he would. Could imagine Bolt thinking it was beneath him to respond via the courts, but maybe those fools in their idiot world (who doubtless would have cheered at Bolt's trial loss) need to be taught that this stuff doesn't have to flow just the one way.


  13. 'Gladstone Gander', I haven't laughed this much in a week.

  14. "....circling the biscuits...."

    One of your best, Prof.

  15. Prof, I have been an ardent reader of yours from years back and continue to be. The last few episodes on the bleeding hearts and their dalliance have tickled my funny bones no end.