A Christmas Message From Ben Pobjie


I have been writing for New Matilda for four years now — so long I can barely remember my life before the site, except that it was bleak, and lonely, and occasionally I would be drugged and forced to perform in snuff films for the European market. Thank God I found satire. New Matilda has indeed been my saviour.

And at this time of year I find myself in sentimental, contemplative mood, thinking of what has come before, and what looms ahead, and just what I have been trying to achieve with my humble cyber-scribblings. I think if there has been driving factor behind my writing career it has probably been money (and on the subject, feel free to click on the "become a financial supporter" link on this site if you would like to see me and the other fine NM contributors keep doing what we are doing and stop me from having to feed my adorable twin daughters hay for Christmas lunch). But besides money, there has been one very particular aim I have been going for in my work here; one crucial message I am trying to get out to you, the great unwashed. And that message is:

Everyone is stupid.

Let that percolate about in your brains for a bit. Let that little pot of truth-stew simmer on your mental hotplate. It’s such a simple statement, but ever so important. It’s the key to understanding the world, and taking your rightful place in it. It’s the key to overcoming your fears and doubts and inferiority complexes, because once you realise that everyone is stupid, your own stupidity looks a lot better. "Hey," you can say to yourself, "I’m no stupider than anyone else! I am taking my stupidity to the TOP!"

And it’s especially significant as we bid a sad farewell to 2011, because unless you count all the other years, this year has been the stupidest yet. Whether you’re thinking about the prime minister wanking about with asylum seeker policy, Joe Hockey pretending to know what numbers are, or the question from the old guy on Q and A, the stupidity this year has been of a spectacular and consistent standard.

Just look, for example, at all the people who this year claimed that same-sex marriage should not be allowed because marriage was primarily about children. Yes! That is what they said! Those words, with those meanings, came out of their mouths! Imagine how stupid you’d have to be to actually think that, let alone say it out loud in adult company. These people are so stupid it’s amazing they have the power of speech at all — that level of intelligence is usually associated with prehistoric species who communicated by slapping each other with fish. You think you’re stupid? You have nothing to worry about.

And that’s been my message these last four years. I’ve wanted to reassure you all that, yes, you may be a bunch of raving idiots, but so is everyone in Parliament, so don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s too much tendency in our society to revere our "betters", to "look up" to those in authority, to "show respect to the office", to "not hurl cupcakes at the Governor-General".

Enough of that, I say!

Do you think Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard lie awake at night thinking about how best to wield their power for the subjugation of the lesser classes? No! They lie awake at night praying frantically to whatever gods they can think of that tomorrow, nobody discovers how moronic they are. Except for those nights when Julia lies awake at night thinking about how great abortion is, of course; and the nights Tony lies awake at night yearning for the return of the One Ring; but these are exceptions to the rule. As a rule they’re terrified of anyone realising what a prize pair of fools they are — that’s why Abbott pauses to say "uh" after every word, so as to just mentally check that the last word wasn’t something really gormless, and why Gillard restricts herself to robotic hand movements and repeating "the dignity of work" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and … sorry, but it’s been that kind of year.

So as this year draw to a close and we put behind us all the guff of 2011, all the hung parliamentariness and Arab Springdom and shiny new Speakers, I say to you, draw this lesson, if you draw any: everyone is stupid. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. So show disrespect, show disloyalty, throw your shoes, email goatse pictures to your local MP. Question everything, revere nothing, swear loudly and in public, and make rude gestures to royalty. Because they’re acting like they know something you don’t, but they don’t. Just like you, they know nothing. And it’s my hope that we idiots can take this land of idiots back from the idiots who rule it.

But even more, it’s my hope that I can continue spreading this stupidity around, like warm butter on a slice of fruit toast, into 2012 and beyond. Thank you for reading, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God Bless New Matilda.

Catch you later.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.