This is a repost from the old Blogspot Cast Iron Balcony in March 2004. I was going to link to it in this LP post about Desmond Moran and the Melbourne gangsta thing, but the old blog has lost its template, and its paragraph breaks, completely. For those who perhaps aren’t familiar with Victoria and its obsession with things “Gangland”, I’ve reposted it here instead.
The gangsters of Melbourne have been having something of a killing spree lately. Killing each other, that is. There is even a special Task Force out on them called Purana, which the radio meeja takes great delight in pronouncing “piranha”.
None of us are perfectly consistent: I may be a bleeding heart pinko most of the time but I, too, have an inner right winger. It is hard to feel any sympathy at all for these characters and the temptation is to think “There goes another one! You Bewdy!” and perhaps award a mental Darwin Award.
Callousness is a two edged sword and something that there’s too much of these days, both in the blogosphere and the world at large. It’s to be resisted. Justice can be counter intuitive. Once you say it’s OK for one idiot to blow another away because the other lowlife blew his brudda away and anyway they’re less human than the rest of us, then you’re heading for Rwanda or Northern Ireland. And you’ll be no better than Ronnie Reagan. Remember that 80s joke? Reagan says, “Hmmm, you say there’s a new disease, it’s always fatal, and it affects homosexuals, prostitutes and injecting drug users?… And the problem is…?”
One good reason for ridiculing our homegrown Dougs and Dinsdales is that we need to stop portraying gangstas as cool. The Meeja pretend not to do it, but they can’t help themselves. I guess it’s too easy for a journalist on a deadline to whack in some Hollywood imagery to help a piece along. On the way to work the day after Lewis Moran’s death I saw a Herald Sun poster: GANGLAND KING DIES. Terrific! The Hun, usually of the “lock ’em up and throw away the key” persuasion, promotes this sad man to King status. This wasn’t on the online version, but we did have “Drama plays like a movie”.
A couple of weeks ago in the Australian, the wife of one of the gangstas had a bit of a grumble about it. Sorry, can’t find the link. Her opinion, that a group of younger wannabes at Andrew “Benji” Veniamin’s funeral, standing around in dark suits and black sunglasses, were pathetic and up themselves, reflected the views of many of us out here in the, ahem, wider community. She also mentioned, revealingly, that Veniamin was full of valium and on his way to his mum’s to get his washing done when he was killed.
Think on that, you young boys and girls. Is that glamour? Is that excitement? Valium, the drug of choice of bored Tennis mums in the 60s, and in the boot of the Merc, instead of another wasted gangsta, a load of smelly washing. Boys, organised crime isn’t glamorous; it’s boring. Gangsters are not people to admire; they’re clueless. ‘Benji’ wasn’t shot down in an exciting, Bonnie and Clyde-type scenario; he was sitting in a restaurant with a mouthful of Fettucine Carbonara*, on his way to his mum’s to get his washing done. As a crusty old feminist, sorry, I can’t resist a final poke: If he had simply learned to bung a load of washing in the machine and turn the knob, instead of being a knob, he might still be alive today.
*Embellishment alert: I do not know what type of pasta Veniamin actually was eating. It may have been Alfredo.