By sheer coincidence, just before Catherine Deveny was sacked from her AGE gig for tasteless twitters about iconic Orstralians, I clicked onto a masterpiece by Lawrence Money in a spirit of WTF-is-he-saying now. Deveny’s twitters were, to put it mildly, a bit ordinary, but look at what Fairfax publishes on its “blog” section: Could Pauline Hanson be right?. (Previously: “Three Cheers for Pauline Hanson!“)
Money has been around forever on the “social” pages, drip, drip, dripping a kind of slow poison against anyone he sees as being leftyscum, but evidently in Modern Times his previously thinly concealed xenophobia, sexism and homophobia has kicked up a notch. Here’s another one: Enoch Speaks from the Grave!. That is, Enoch “Rivers of Blood” Powell. But obviously Money’s on first name terms.
I’m starting to see that little guy’s moustache in quite a different way.
I don’t know that if I were in Fairfax management’s shoes – a strange place to be, I agree – I would necessarily find Deveny the worst trollumnist on the payroll. A writer who, in her own time, although in a public forum (her “passing notes in class” defence was unbelievably silly), made a couple of rather horrible bad taste jokes about a two very successful people; versus someone who, in the Fairfax online space, contributes to the ongoing drip, drip, drip of polemic against asylum seekers and people of other races and religions?
If I were Rove or Bindi, I’d be hurt by the Deveny tweets. They would be like a little savage kick to the gut, those jokes. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. (And of course they are not me, and possibly they weren’t offended at all…)
But more importantly, Rove and Tasma and Bindi aren’t threatened. “Offended” doesn’t cover how an immigrant or asylum seeker might feel, perhaps traumatised already by war and suffering and then subjected to “opinion” articles like this. Many of them, of course, won’t see the article, but they’ll certainly be aware of the zeitgeist which it feeds. “Offended” doesn’t cover physical personal injury at the hands of people who are given courage and targets identified by this stuff. People have died and they are still dying, some just around the corner from me, so perhaps this is a little close to home… literally.
And Money keeps drip-drip-dripping out his poison in the pages, social and online, of the AGE. I don’t know that I’d bone either of them. But I know which one “offends” me more.