We Did It! We Broke The Australian's Brain


Like any normal healthy young writer, one of my favourite things in the world is to gloat. When one’s scheming pays off, when one gets to see the enemies one spent so long trying to bring down cowering and sobbing before one, it’s impossible not to feel a powerful sense of smug satisfaction – it’s only natural that, in this position, someone like me should take a few quiet moments to chuckle darkly to myself and make offensive hand gestures to the enemies in question.

This was my reaction to The Australian’s editorial yesterday, and I’m sure it was shared by many of my fellow travellers in the ill-informed innocent callow trainee talking head community. I was so overjoyed that I immediately rang some Triple J alumni of my acquaintance and we all had a good laugh together.

The editorial proves one thing: we in the infantile leftist media have done it. We’ve won. We finally broke the Australian’s brain. It can only be a matter of time before the entire Australian right-wing intelligentsia is committed to institutions, as was our plan all along.

Never let it be said that there is no value in devoting your life to being an irritant. If you’re annoying enough for long enough, an entire segment of the nation’s commentariat will collapse into a screaming bubbly mass of mental decrepitude, the groaning souls of its elderly journalists trying to break free of the morass, only to be sucked back in by the hellish gravity of their own curmudgeonliness.

Oh, I know it’s a shame in some ways. It’s always a bit sad to see a once-proud newspaper reduced to shuffling around the media landscape muttering to itself and accusing other publications of stealing its slippers.

It’s sort of sad to see the way it now babbles on about Paul Kelly’s “penetrating insight and peerless authority”, its rheumy gaze fixated on some magical sky-castle where this means something. It’s poignant the way it thinks it is “blessed” to have Dennis Shanahan around, like a dementia patient whose only friend is a tea-towel he thinks is Jesus.

It’s touching the way it references Greg Sheridan as a point of pride rather than a production glitch that continually allows erotic political fan fiction to be published on its opinion page. And it does bring a tear to the eye to see the venerable publication laid so low that it publicly admits to employing Judith Sloan.

But there’s no room for sentiment in mass media, and the fact is, this sort of complete nervous collapse is exactly what we were hoping for, that night all those years ago when we youthful, firm-thighed ignoramuses got together and plotted the downfall of real journalism. As I recall, it was me, Annabel Crabb, Jacqueline Maley, David Marr and Frenzal Rhomb, and we signed a pledge in the blood of bankers: that we would, through our scurrilous disregard for tradition, disrespect for institutions, and obsessive focus on triviality, destroy the sanity of the keepers of Australia’s journalistic flame at the Australian.

Once the Australian was out of the way, we figured, the way would be clear: with no genuine newshounds in our way, we could sink the whole country beneath a tsunami of banal lifestyle pieces and unspeakable rudeness. And so it has come to pass.

Of course, the ascent of the Abbott government helped in no small measure. With a government filled with such mature, thoughtful individuals, so disinclined to get involved with the mucky, shameful business of political insult and childish name-calling, they were simply sitting ducks, and by extension, so was the Australian, which watched in horror as we juvenile thugs tore pell-mell into the gentle souls of our democratically elected government. Oh yes, we threw around terms like “onanistic reverence” and “frat party” and “George Brandis has a permanent just-soiled-himself look on his face”, and the dominoes toppled according to plan.

It was almost too easy, and now here we are, in control, the funky hipsters of Gen Y taking over the newsrooms from the crusty old fogeys and destroying everything that Keith Murdoch once held dear. No longer will newspapers serve the needs of educated middle-income readers: from now on the media is all about the uneducated, the extreme-incomed, the sexually ambiguous and the wilfully ethnic.

Now that the Australian’s sensible stranglehold on the masses has been broken, it’s anything goes for we who are dazzled by the instantaneous fix of web-first publishing. And goodness aren’t we dazzled – web-first publishing broils out giblets something chronic, I can tell you.

The only risk is that we destructive young Turks, having gained power over all the media with our shoddy sensationalism, fail to go mad enough with power. It’s vital we take it to the limit.

From now on, it’s got to be wall-to-wall juvenilia, all day, every day. Not a story shall be written about the government without using the word “dicknose” at least four times. Not an editorial shall fail to draw parallels with Hitler, Stalin and possibly Idi Amin. Not an opportunity to photoshop bestiality shall be missed.

The new media brigade will work with might and main to ensure that the childishly moronic horseplay that got us into this position endures for many an age, and most importantly, that the drooling insanity evinced by that Australian editorial gets ever and ever more drooling. How long can this idiocy last, Australianistas? Oh it can last quite a while. Enjoy your straitjackets.

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.