September 08, 2003


Richard Flanagan complains -- in the Melbourne Age’s op-ed pages, of all places -- that Australia doesn’t give enough voice to lefty ranters. Meanwhile reader Joe C. writes that when he called The Age last week to cancel his subscription over this lefty rant, he was told by a subeditor that the column was “meant to be humorous”. Stupid us! How could we have mistaken these zingers for anything other than jokes?

In Britain, Margaret Thatcher dissolved the statutory bodies of the Greater London Council and the Inner London Educational Association. Thus a democratic, grassroots control of the destiny of 12 million citizens was subsumed into an awesomely powerful, large, central Westminster government.


As Governor of Texas, George Bush presided over 160 prisoners on death row. The fact that (as revealed after a comprehensive statistical survey) a high proportion of these inmates were innocent, left him unmoved. His presidency was made possible by a conservative-stacked Supreme Court and by the nepotic machinations of his brother, the conservative Governor of Florida.

Oh, ha ha ha!

In Australia, John Howard has imposed arduous toil for millions of ordinary Australians by handing the poisoned chalice of tax collection to the nation's small retailers. He has strengthened the powers of ASIO to unnecessary, draconian limits, to fuel his lust for control over the prerogative of the individual. He jails the children of asylum seekers. As a prop to his political survival he fosters the anxieties of the so-called silent majority.

HO HO! Very funny, when you think about it.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 8, 2003 03:32 AM

doh! should subs dust off the "irony ahead" banners?

i subscribed because of the article.

all square.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at September 8, 2003 at 10:59 AM


'But what does it say about Australia when one of the last vehicles of expression left to an Australian writer seeking to tell stories about Australian society is a magazine in America?'

America, saviour of the Left.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 8, 2003 at 11:02 AM

Where's the irony, chico? Please help.

Posted by: tim at September 8, 2003 at 11:53 AM

How can a "statistical survey" reveal that any convict on death row is innocent? Balderdash.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 8, 2003 at 12:33 PM

excellent point, PapayaSF.

Posted by: Dan at September 8, 2003 at 12:54 PM

And don't forget, the survey was COMPREHENSIVE!

Posted by: Dan at September 8, 2003 at 01:23 PM

i take it back tim.

the last two paragraphs speak so clearly for the writer's intention that there's no need for any irony banners.

it's fly-paper hung to attract comment. it's wryly amusing. a little after the style of journals like the spectator. god i wish we had some oz writers & commentators of a rightish persuasion like the spec does.

again, surely no-one would take it seriously? i thought we were all relaxed & casual in australia. perhaps that comment pertains to our slacks, not our sensibilities after all.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at September 8, 2003 at 01:41 PM

Flanagan's problem is he's committed the broadcaster's version of the newspaper reporter's sin of not reading his paper. His ABC offering didn't say anything that has not been said repeadedly in the same place by Phillip Adams, Terry Lane, David Marr, Margo Kingston and all the other middle class leftie tards who haven't had an original thought since Gough Whitlam got the lemonade.

Posted by: slatts at September 8, 2003 at 01:53 PM

One of them wrote a fairly interesting column in 1979.

Can't remember who.

Posted by: pooh at September 8, 2003 at 02:31 PM

Accepting their claim of "humor" at face value, I must say that this is the pickle that I've noticed most lefty humorists find themselves in. Like Al Franken, George Carlin, Bill Maher, and, they've decided that the situation is so absurd that all they need to be funny is recount their outraged version of "the facts" in a sarcastic voice. Never has leftism been more effectively revealed as a symptom of development arrested in adolescence.

Posted by: Bovious at September 9, 2003 at 12:30 AM

PS, Chico, that's *JUST A JOKE* mate.

Posted by: Bovious at September 9, 2003 at 12:31 AM

I must say that when I first read it I thought that it was so self-discrediting that nobody would take it seriously.
The original story on which it was based was deadly serious, though. For a demolition of it see:

Posted by: John Ray at September 9, 2003 at 12:56 AM

What is a "subeditor"? Someone who isn't good enough to be a real editor?

Posted by: Pat Berry at September 9, 2003 at 08:07 AM

It's someone who changes someone else's story.

Like a subhuman.

Posted by: pooh at September 9, 2003 at 11:41 AM