January 26, 2004


We already know, thanks to John Cameron, just how out of touch is the ABC. The SMH’s Phillip Derriman is almost as totally clueless:

Until a few weeks ago, nobody realised quite how popular Waugh was. Then came his retirement from the Australian team, and the public's response revealed the depth of affection and admiration for the man.

The question that cricket people have since been asking is why. How did this rather introverted, tradesman-like cricketer manage to strike such a chord with the mass of the game's followers?

Nobody realised how popular Steve Waugh was until a few weeks ago? Please. Has Derriman been filing from Antwerp? Next in his series of searing exposés: Australians Like To Swim!, and Is Home Ownership An Issue Amongst The Wider Community?

The Age’s Geoff Slattery also requires a clue, or several:

The way we have become as a nation, we would never hit five fours in a row, as Hookes did in that remarkable cameo in the Centenary Test. We are becoming defensive, inward-looking. As a country, we are more inclined to protect our wicket, to go for the draw, rather than seek the victory. We're not after the glorious outcome, we're content to rejoice in mediocrity. We don't think big any more.

That’s why we avoided any involvement in the liberation of Iraq. Not for us the seeking of victory when, like the French, Germans, New Zealanders and Russians, we could have settled for a tame UN-approved draw. Slattery’s theory makes no sense; Australia increasingly pursues free trade, a policy which tends to erase the mediocre. In fact, mediocrity seems only to be celebrated these days by The Age and the SMH.

(Further destroying Slattery’s stupid metaphor, we’re now far more adventurous at cricket, too. Has Slattery never heard of Adam Gilchrist, who, on debut in 1999 -- during our current era of terrible conservative torpor -- hit five fours off Mushtaq Ahmed in one over?)

Posted by Tim Blair at January 26, 2004 03:01 AM

For those who don't understand cricket scoring:

1 - hit into the infield batsmen safe.
4 - hit through the infield past the boundary.
6 - hit past the boundary on the fly.

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at January 26, 2004 at 03:09 AM

For heaven's sake, I, an American who's watched about 2 hours of cricket in his entire life, knew how popular Steve Waugh was.

Posted by: Andrew at January 26, 2004 at 03:26 AM

Tim — Free trade doesn't drive out the incompetent; it merely drives them into fringe employment such as fast food, government and the media...

Posted by: slayerdaddy at January 26, 2004 at 03:27 AM

The Australia media cluelessness over Steve Waugh is eerily similar to media cluelessness the States after NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona. Earnhardt was an icon, even demigod, for tens of millions of Red Country Americans. Yet, when he died, I doubt you could find two people in the collective NYTimes-WashPost-Newsweek-Time newsroom who had even heard of the guy; a fact embarrassingly reflected in their Jane-Goodall-observes-the-chimps coverage.

Posted by: iowahawk at January 26, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Hey tim, this wouldn' be that same Australian Team that has Andrew Symonds in it, would it? You know, that bloke that has the world record for most sixes in an innings in a 1st class match.

Posted by: Todd at January 26, 2004 at 06:48 AM

sorry, here's the link.

...the undisputed highlight of his stint at Bristol was his unbeaten 254 , an innings which included a world record 16 sixes . , not to be outdone , he blasted another century in the second innings which included 6 sixes.

Posted by: Todd at January 26, 2004 at 06:55 AM

If you examine Derriman's words closely, "...nobody quite realised how popular Waugh was." the implicit statement is that Waugh has always been popular and "nobody" was the person who did not know it. Derriman identifies himself as that "nobody".

Posted by: The Gnu Hunter at January 26, 2004 at 06:58 AM

Journalists should talk to people? That's so naive! Everyone knows that journalists are above "people"!

Posted by: TokenModerateGuy at January 26, 2004 at 07:19 AM

Doesn't Slattery's piece just give you the shits? It seems that there is no level too low for the Howard-haters to stoop to pour out their bile. Typically, it runs to what a shithole Australia has become and what a terrible mob of dupes "we" all now are, thanks to Howard. Although the pronoun "we" is always used to avoid the appearance of arrogance, it is understood that clever lefties can see through it all and undertand what is happening. Using David Hookes' death to make this scummy little political point is just disgusting.

I think that the argument can be more easily made the other way - Howard has freed Australia from the stifling orthodoxy of the Hawke-Keating years. We are now more forward-looking and adventurous - more open to new ideas, more unreservedly committed to free markets and competition, more focussed on personal freedom and personal responsibility and **much more free to speak our minds**. Thank God Howard has effectively destroyed that special brand of po-faced PC-earnestness and stifling of free speech and debate that characterised the long, long years of Labor government.


Posted by: Bob Bunnett at January 26, 2004 at 08:41 AM

Have you noticed how much this weasel "we" is creeping into so much left-wing commentary? Adams, Mackay and many others make great use of it. You'd think if they were as culpable as the rest of us, they'd just shut up.

Posted by: Willmott Fribbish at January 26, 2004 at 09:40 AM

Glenn Milne in The Australian today (server probs again, no link yet) presents a survey that appears to convincingly contradict Geoff Slattery's gloomy appraisal. Key findings here.link word or phrase

Posted by: slatts at January 26, 2004 at 10:30 AM

Geoff Slattery couldn't get a clue if he stripped naked, rubbed himself with clue musk, went to the middle of the clue breeding grounds at the height of clue breeding season when it was full of horny clues and did the clue mating dance for days.

(It's an oldie, but sometimes the oldies just fit perfectly).

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at January 26, 2004 at 11:16 AM

Not sure about cricket, but as far as the insularity and cluelessness of the press, things are little better here in the U.S. The bulk of our news media spent the last several weeks assuring us that Howard Dean was far and away the front-runner in the Iowa caucsuses.

Now that Dean has finished a distant third, the press is now in New Hampshire, intent on grilling the candidates with process-oriented questions about the presidential "horse race" and how media coverage will affect their chances for success.
Meanwhile the people who will actually vote in the primaries are busy asking prosaic questions like "Exactly how would your policies differ from the current administrations'?" or "What's your stance on Iraq?". I'm betting we're now in for another suprise in New Hampshire.

Jounalist Sander Vanocer has said the press seems to want to create, define and resolve all the issues of our time. I tend to agree.

Posted by: Leathan Lund at January 26, 2004 at 12:37 PM

I know absolutely nothing about cricket.
I don't know who Steve Waugh was.
What I really want to know is: what is wrong with being tradesman-like?
I have a trade. Most of the people I know have a trade. Most of us have post-secondary education, and some of us have degrees.
So what exactly does 'tradesman-like' mean?

Posted by: RonG at January 26, 2004 at 03:20 PM

to RonG

Tradesman like: competent, efficient and durable without being flashy

Posted by: mike at January 26, 2004 at 05:26 PM

The Australian cricket team is defensive, protects its wicket and goes for draws rather than victory???? This is the team of Gilchrist, Bevan, Martyn, Brett friggin Lee! I wish!

From a passionate South African cricket fan

Posted by: El-Diablo at January 27, 2004 at 11:38 AM