March 19, 2004


When last we heard from Robert Bosler, he was demanding intimacy with the newly-installed Labor leader. Now Margo Kingstonís artistic friend wants to take us on a 4,916-word journey to Dickheadville:

Through the length of just these words we are going on a journey. Itís a journey that will peel back the madding rush of everyday life and we'll be able to see into the deep groundswell of thought and feeling that is moving our nation forward.

As you do so, you'll be aware that you'll be looking into the minds and hearts of Australians moving surely in a clear direction. You will see some people are well aware of where they are going, while others may be less aware, but walking that way nonetheless, looking more at what is beside them than what lays ahead.

This is the world of vision. Itís also the world of the strategists who seek to dive in and return with a treasure of insight which will set the bearing on the compass of their political party towards where the groundswell of people are moving.

Weíre going into those depths now. But before we do, a word of warning. It is often scary. Please take that seriously. It can be very, very frightening. We will discover things that we never before knew; and the fear we feel will come from discovering that what we find in there had been living there a long time, and that it is not going to go away.

It can also be thrilling, ecstatically. How much fear you have will depend on how much you resist what you see. Letís go in and look.

Iíd love to, but I seem to have gouged out my eyes. The sighted among us may post in comments their favourite wank lines from this festival of toss.

UPDATE. Charles Simmins exposes me as a serial eye-gouger. Well, I do wear glasses, so I am four-eyed.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 19, 2004 02:04 AM

wow! it's like reading mark morford without all the unpleasant bodily fluids!

Posted by: DimPenumbra at March 19, 2004 at 02:17 AM

Robert Bosler is actually a woman about to give birth. Nothing else explains this prose. I demand a chromosome count.

Posted by: Emjay at March 19, 2004 at 02:21 AM

wow, what drivel. sounds like the opening of some stupid movie they showed in 4th grade to introduce you to algebra.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 19, 2004 at 02:29 AM

Massive as it is, cyberspace must be a finite resource so there is definitely no room for text of such an overwhelmingly vomit inducing character.
This comment was dictated to my guide dog as I suffered the same reaction as yourself.

Posted by: Cass Brown at March 19, 2004 at 02:34 AM

If my fifth grader wrote something like that for homework I would never let her turn it in. I can't believe that a serious publication would actually print such mind-numbing garbage, whether online or in a dead-tree format. (I'm a Yank, not all that familiar with Australia, so I must presume that the SMH is at least as serious as, say, the LA Times.)

Posted by: ExRat at March 19, 2004 at 02:44 AM

So, not serious at all then?

Posted by: Ben Coates at March 19, 2004 at 02:51 AM

There. Down we go. Into the depths. We are on our way in.

Bizarrely accurate when read out of context.

Posted by: dazed at March 19, 2004 at 03:49 AM

We see a kind of organism....

What KIND of organism does Bosler think he sees? The description suggests a sponge, but there's probably a bunch more invertebrates we can't rule out. (Me, I see a kind of onanism.)

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at March 19, 2004 at 04:08 AM

I love the syllogism at the heart of the article (yes, there is an argument there!):

-The Liberal Party was formed to provide individuals with freedom and choice.
-Individuals now have freedom and choice.
-The Liberal Party is now irrelevant.

That's a fun game! Let's try this with some other organizations. Feel free to add your own:

-The Hell's Angels were formed to intimidate people.
-People are intimidated by the Hell's Angels.
-The Hell's Angels are now irrelevant.

-Unions were formed to fight for workers' rights.
-Workers now have rights.
-Unions are now irrelevant.

-Churches were formed to spread God's word.
-People have heard of God.
-Churches are now irrelevant.

-Tim Blair made a blog to amuse and inform people.
-People have received information and amusement from Tim's blog.
-Tim's blog is now irrelevant.

Posted by: reg at March 19, 2004 at 04:20 AM

I did try to read that whole piece but my eyes started glazing over and I gave up long before I discovered if Bosler had a point buried in there somewhere.

I doubt I've ever seen a writer more badly in need of a good editor, although it would take a truly heroic effort to shape that rambling pretentiousness mess into anything coherent. What Bosler really needs is a ghostwriter.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at March 19, 2004 at 04:27 AM

This is my favourite bit, though:

...the groundswell is hungry for quality Relationship.

Closely followed by this:

It hurts the fabric of our nationís precious hearts and minds.

And this is just beautiful:

Stepping back from the madding rush and discovering what the groundswell of the nation is hungry for, and how it changes, even though some may not know that they themselves are hungry for it until they see others feasting and can view the fare.

Posted by: reg at March 19, 2004 at 04:28 AM

"It can also be thrilling, ecstatically."

This guy is stupid, moronically.

Posted by: Angus Jung at March 19, 2004 at 04:35 AM

Rats. I was in the middle of grading undergraduate papers when I read this. I took a quick look. My red pen-wielding hand twitched all but uncontrollably. I wanted sooooo bad to give it a D- (decent mechanical writing skills, absent of logic, buried argument, wandering in search of a point, perhaps useful as a tool for interrogating captured al-quaida). Barely a pass, but try again.

Now I'm ruined for at least a day for my real grading job.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 19, 2004 at 04:39 AM

How many awkward metaphors can he squeeze into one sentence? Try this one:
Itís also the world of the strategists who seek to dive in and return with a treasure of insight which will set the bearing on the compass of their political party towards where the groundswell of people are moving.

Posted by: Latino at March 19, 2004 at 04:40 AM

So people get paid to write this stuff? And Blair's hawking Victorian porn to keep this site afloat?

God, I want to be an Australian. I can't write, either and nobody pays me!

Posted by: gary at March 19, 2004 at 04:49 AM

I weep for the death of the spirit and the soul.

You know, this is exactly why I started blogging: I was frustrated by all the piss-poor writers who were actually getting paid cash money to write unspeakable drivel in major publications. In effect, guys like Bosler are responsible for my (rather neglected) blog!

In other words, they are war criminals, and will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

ExRat, the SMH is a hopeless rag which is apparently put together by sniggering high school students, and not the honors class either. That said, it and its sister the Age (and the Australian, I suppose) are what passes for serious newspapers in Australia.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 19, 2004 at 04:55 AM

I weep for the death of the spirit and the soul.

Hey, who doesn't?

Posted by: David at March 19, 2004 at 06:04 AM

I blame the Public School system...

Posted by: mojo at March 19, 2004 at 06:05 AM

Ye Gods. It's hard to write that badly when you're parodying bad writing. I mean, if this was satire, people would accuse it of being over the top. Is the SMH printed on drool-proof paper?

Posted by: David Gillies at March 19, 2004 at 07:38 AM

What lays ahead? People engaging in PDA!

Posted by: chuck at March 19, 2004 at 07:38 AM

Breathing in. Breathing out.

Silently, deeply. Down we go. Down into the depths of the national heart and mind. Gently. Pulsing. Enormous. Delightful. Warmly and lovingly discovering itself. You've been here before, and once here, it never really leaves you.

Wow, he sure do write purty. If him and Morford had gay sex and got 'married', at what age would the Romanian orphan they adopted ast 'their child' go on a killing spree with some kind of improvised and/or automatic weapon?

a) 12yrs

b) 15yrs

c) 21yrs

It is, of course, a trick question.

Posted by: Amos at March 19, 2004 at 07:40 AM

We have to remove our prejudices and our pressing need to do whatever is pressing on us to do. We have to strip away our daily concerns, take it all off, and sit there, free. Peaceful. We feel the quiet descend on us. We become aware of our breathing. Breathing in. Breathing out.

I love this stuff. It's so sublimely, poetically awful that it must take a genius in crapulosity to come up with it.

Posted by: TimT at March 19, 2004 at 08:51 AM

He's channeling Margo!

This is how she will communicate with us in future.

Posted by: Fool to Himself & Burden to Others at March 19, 2004 at 09:02 AM

Jayzus, Blair, first Wayne and now Robert. What's this, Be Kind to Writers with Only One Hand on the Keyboard Week?

Posted by: slatts at March 19, 2004 at 09:28 AM

In the midst of the puerile, pretentious, onanistic drivel, we get this gem:

"The Australian Aboriginal people have lived in harmony with the environment some say for 40 thousand years, some say 120 thousand years, but either way it blitzes our brief and destructive reign and from them, right here, we can learn the philosophical approach aboriginals have to that longevity. The worldís teachers are right here. Our worldís beautiful precious gift, our own brothers and sisters. Waiting patiently. "

1. Harmony? Crap. Tell that to the species they hunted to extinction. Tell that to the tracts of forest destroyed by their use of fire as a hunting tool. They literally changed the face of Australia.

2. The world's teachers? Gimme a break. I can't think of one of my Aborigine mates who knows anything about caring for the land that he/she didn't see on bloody "Groundforce"!

Posted by: Apu_Nahasapemapetilon at March 19, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Alright Tim, here's the deal:

I will donate AU$50 to the charity of your choice as a prize for the most tortured, nauseating prose submitted by one of your readers (50 words, minimum). You will be the judge. We have a benchmark, now we just need the will, the stomach, and our eyeballs back in our sockets.

C'mon readers, peel back the foreskins of your souls and let flow the chee... you get the idea.

Posted by: fidens at March 19, 2004 at 10:49 AM

Ok Fidens, here is a start:

"Our aboriginal(first)people,are both the animus and anima,an androgynous earth parent, all creator,toiling, thrusting,chanting in synchronicity with the rythmns of the universe.Our land is but an amniotic sac, nourishing us, empathising us, counselling us.It is we, who should return to the warm,wet,fertile earth,our all-forgiving,non-judgemental,trans-gender,non-parent role-model."

Posted by: nic at March 19, 2004 at 11:14 AM

The first thing we see is that itís big. For twenty million people itís bound to be...but isn't it strange, we don't see twenty million people. We don't see any people at all. We see a kind of an organism, where the oceans of peoplesí hearts and the universe of their minds sort of melds together, moving gently, warm, just seeming to move over itself. All sharpness and hardness went long ago. We are inside the warm soft pulsing body that is our nationís heart and mind. It seems to just want to experience itself. Thatís all it seems to want to do, to feel itself, explore itself, enjoying itself, slowly and timelessly. It seems to delight in its very own existence, as though that delight is reason enough for its being.
Itís sensational! Are you smiling a little? Thatís it, right there. That is the heart and mind, the soul, of our nation...

What stunning prose! My interpretation is that we have mysteriously transmogrified into some sort of giant box jellyfish, or have been subjected to a sneak nuclear attack during the evening, and the resultant melted gooey ooze has congealed in the one spot. One way, we're going to have to look out for giant loggerhead turtles, but can now sting to death the entire population of Indonesia, the other, someone's got an awful mess to clean up.
Methinks someones been watching too much Neon Genesis Evangelicon after eating a few blotters, and has had access to a word processor.
Have you ever seen a better excuse for the summary execution of "Creative Writing" lecturers-hell, why not entire Arts faculties?
This is bad enough to qualify for an Australia Council grant. Now I'm smiling...(imagines tweedy dickheads and harpies in cheesecloth kaftans being dragged out of the faculty lounge, lined up against the staff bar war, automatic weapons being cocked....)

Posted by: Habib at March 19, 2004 at 11:15 AM

Should be staff bar wall, not war; my favourite charity is the Get Habib Bladdered By Closing Time On Friday Fund- all donations put to a very good cause (and about as effective as any other charity).

Posted by: Habib at March 19, 2004 at 11:31 AM

Hey, who doesn't?

Thanks, David. I was hoping for that.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 19, 2004 at 11:55 AM

Thanks for the belly laugh, Tim. If there a catagory in some writing award there in Oz for absolutely the best piece of overblown, self-conscious, self-indulgent, sub-freshman level crapola of the year, the contest is over.

Posted by: Deborah at March 19, 2004 at 02:18 PM

I forgot to mention this, but I had no idea that Australia had so much trouble with groundswells! Is there some kind of geological cause for this problem? Reading the essay, I got the feeling -- a groundswell of feeling -- that this is a pandemic problem cursing both animate and inanimate matter. Are your scientists looking into this? Is it contagious?

Posted by: Deborah at March 19, 2004 at 02:30 PM

Only when Phillip Adams is moving, or has a bowel movement. (Or as they're known here, a seismic shit, or a tectonic turd- depending on which part of the ountry you reside.

Posted by: Habib at March 19, 2004 at 03:54 PM

Reminds me of the boring prophet from the Life of Brian...

"There shall, in that time, be rumours of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi-- with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend's hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o'clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that, in that time, shall the third one... "

Posted by: Jimi at March 19, 2004 at 04:02 PM

Was this supposed to be published April 1?

Do you have April Fools Day in Oz?

If so, does it spin around the other way?

Posted by: Parker at March 19, 2004 at 11:03 PM

it only happens when Parliament is sitting.

Posted by: Habib at March 20, 2004 at 01:02 AM

Um... what?

Posted by: Rebecca at March 23, 2004 at 06:18 AM

We don't have a fool's day only in April- it's whenever our government is coming up with good ideas.

Posted by: Habib at March 23, 2004 at 10:45 AM